September 26, 2015
Dear Ven. Geshe Kelsang, Your Holiness Karmapa (Thaye Dorje), Your Holiness Trijang Rinpoche, and Kundeling Rinpoche:
I hope this letter finds all of you in good health. I am writing to discuss further an issue which concerns all of Vajrayana Buddhism, the issue of the Dalai Lama. Please understand I have the utmost respect for the Dharma, and am very concerned for its flourishing. It seems to me that the institution of the Dalai Lama, when he passes away and the 15th recognition is found, will be terrible for Buddhism because China will be involved. I wrote you before on the possibility of declaring independence spiritually from the Dalai Lama, and I would like to further explain that idea.
I actually think that all of us have horrible problems with even the 14th Dalai Lama. Whether or not he is a Buddha emanating (backwards, or in reverse) to pretend he is like a deviputra mara politician who got recognized as Chenrezig I do not know, but at any rate, when the outer form of a Buddha is to show horrible behavior then we are supposed to act normally and tell him he is wrong, is my understanding from Geshe Kelsang’s school. Shamar Rinpoche, may Karmapa find his rebirth quickly, used to tell the Dalai Lama to stop interfering in the Kagyu school. Geshe Kelsang is on record saying that the Dalai Lama is lying. I am American, and feel like trying to follow the politician lama as though he were a spiritual leader of Buddhism is like asking a 10 year old child to please climb back into its mother’s womb to live; obviously, the circumstances no longer permit the former arrangement of years prior, of having lived in that mother’s womb. Likewise, I feel like trying to force all of humanity to cow-tow to the Dalai Lama and pretend that he is automatically the most superior lama in the history of the universe, is as ridiculous as trying to get a 10 year old to climb back into his mother’s body. He can’t live there anymore; he won’t fit— he came out of the womb because his time in the womb was done. In the west, we got over the kings awhile back, and we officially separated religion and state, after having a lot of the sort of crusades and other bloody battles fought on the basis of religion. Certainly, we are a work in hopefully progress, in the west, and will continue to work on our human rights toward Muslims etc.. However, the first step is the official separation of church and state. That is the separation we need in the Tibetan community, in the Vajrayana Buddhist community, and in, if you ever go back there, Tibet itself.
As I noticed the issue when among the Tibetans, it seems that the Dalai Lama has done a really amazing job of silencing everyone, of turning everyone against the other, and making everyone be afraid for their own safety to the point that they are afraid to stand up for the rights of each other, lest they lose their precious human life. However, now that most people are in exile, and now that Buddhism is spreading throughout the west, it seems insane to keep the trappings of the feudal political system of Tibet— it is really horrible for all living beings to be so oppressed by a terrible caste-like system of lamas and serfs. The Buddha, of course, taught against any sort of caste-system but the Dalai Lama seems to have found a clever way to institute one among his dissenters: the lowest most outcast caste is of course the untouchable Shugden caste of which I am a member. The next highest is the people who follow Shamar Rinpoche’s Karmapa, Thaye Dorje; I was accepted in many circles as a member of that group, as long as I made some ambiguous statement about still likeing the Dalai Lama, then people were fine with me; however, if I got to know them well, I would hear how Shamar Rinpoche is actually a demon (he’s recognized as the mind emanation of the Buddha Amitaba). Likewise, we all know that the Dalai Lama, who has rather bad taste in Karmapas, also has difficulty remembering that his root teachers all regarded Dorje Shugden as Buddha Manjushri. I honestly think Thaye Dorje is Karmapa and Dorje Shugden is Manjushri, by things I was taught and faith granted from the Buddha. However, of course anyone can follow whomever they want and believe as they do; with that said ,however, please note how if people follow the Dalai Lama that they must, in order to keep samaya, disavow material and spiritual relations with Shugdens; thus they must shun us as though we have done something wrong.
The Dalai Lama (here I am taking a page from Shamar Rinpoche’s and also Geshe Kelsang’s manners of dealing with him) is wrong to teach this sort of hate and segregation; he is wrong to do this just as he was wrong to interfere with the Karmapa recognition. In Nepal (March 2001), I went to a Shugden monestary with a Kagyu friend from Hannha’s (Lama Ole)’s group; we had tea with a Shugden Geshe, though we did not talk about Shugden AT ALL and I was instructed by my friend not to ask anything about the lama’s practice. I noticed though, that the Tibetans seemed afraid of being associated with Shugden; I got the impression that they didn’t want to be seen talking to people who might be Shugden while staying at (allegedly) a Shugden run hostel in Kalimpong. I noticed that one monk, when I returned to the U.S. was worried that I had one of Geshe Kelsang’s books on my shelf, though the other monk (these were monks that worked with Shamar Rinpoche at the BodhiPath) said it wasn’t a problem to have the book on my shelf. When I questioned the first monk as to the issue, he explained the problem as this Geshe (Kelsang) does the practice that the Dalai Lama doesn’t like. My reply then was that we follow the Karmapa the Dalai Lama doesn’t like so what do I care what his opinion is on anything (sincerely.) Of course, the reason he was worried I would imagine, is we already had enough problems, why add more? What may have been true back then, that both schools worked on our problems separately, seems like something that now is time to evolve.
I see no reason that listening to the Dalai Lama is useful to anyone, knowing what I know about this man. I also can see that the Shugdens still are banned, but if he should lift it, several will go running back and pretending that he knows what he is talking about again. Likewise, the Kagyus from Shamar Rinpoche’s side of the school were hoping to get Thaye Dorje Karmapa recognized — in other words that the Dalai Lama recognize both his China boy and the actual Karmapa. At this point, I cannot see that the Dalai Lama has done anything useful on either front. Furthermore, even if the Dalai Lama were to say the right words to create some harmony, there is still the problem of the future: when he dies, China has indicated it won’t accept the failure to reincarnate of the Dalai Lamas. They intend to pick one. If they don’t pick one, perhaps they use the pretend China Karmapa, or the China Panchen Lama. If we would declare a separation of religion and state now, before the Dalai Lama dies, that would be helpful. We need to make clear we declare independence from him and from all political institutions; to take the idea from Shamar Rinpoche’s democracy book: that no one who holds political office also hold religious office and vice versa. Of course, I don’t know exactly how to word that, but basically the Dalai Lama not be recognized would most likely be really helpful. If we could get that in writing from him, perhaps one day we could even have a free Tibet, as he is the one that ceded Tibet to China in a completely undemocratic fashion.
Basically, what I would also like is for Kagyus from the Thaye Dorje side and Shugdens to be friends and to support one another; I personally think everyone having to be polite about the Dalai Lama is ridiculous; I am not forced to be this polite about any Christian leader, even if I were Christian, nor about the U.S. President, or anyone else. Just, worldwide we are supposed to bow and respect this charlatan Dalai Lama 14. This is ridiculous; he can post a sign on his house that says “no Shugdens,” but I am the one ridiculed if I attend a protest where we say “False Dalai Lama stop lying;” after the Dalai Lama was ridiculed for his misogynistic statement about a female Dalai Lama needing to be attractive, many defenders jumped to his aid, but people were VERY chastising of those of us that posted a meme that calls him “Donald Lama” and suggests he is like Donald Trump. We are not to verbally “insult him”, (and for the alleged Buddha of compassion he is really sensitive to his own ego) though it is fine if he segregates our people? It’s 2015; this is really archaic behavior.
Please will all of you come to some conclusion about how to declare spiritual and if you like, political independence from the Dalai Lama. We do not need China picking one; we do not need to be afraid of having prayers on our shelves—or of chanting them either; we do not need our teachers to have to go in hiding. I wrote the U.S. Government awhile back and suggested that they request the Dalai Lama end the Shugden ban in writing and either retract his China Karmapa decision or at least recognize Thaye Dorje Karmapa as well. Those are two fine goals, and if that is possible, fine, but also please get him to put into writing that he wants no more recognitions, or simply declare independence from him spiritually.
In closing, I really love Dorje Shugden, and all the Shugden and Kagyu lamas that I have met, and am hoping we can all be friends.