Dalai Lama sued for repressing religious freedom


1. Dalai Lama sued for repressing religious freedom

2. Response by the Tibetan Government
3. Report on the legal case by Al Jazeera


While the Dalai Lama is accusing China accusing for repressing religious freedom in Tibet, he himself is being sued in India for heavy-handedly persecuting followers of a deity of Tibetan Buddhism deemed by the Dalai Lama as "non-spiritual" allegedly out of political necessity. As such, the Dalai Lama is accused of being more like a "totalitarian dictator", rather than a reincarnation of the Buddha of Compassion that he proclaims himself as.

The lawsuit was initiated by the 13th Kundeling Rimpoche in the high court of Delhi. According to the petition, the Kundeling Rimpoche believes in "the freedom of worship as guaranteed by the Indian Constitution, and is opposed to the ban on the worship of Dorje Shugden, as being illegal and unconsitutional."

In the present petition, Dorje Shugden is said to have been for centuries worshipped as a protector of religion in the Gelugpa tradition, one of the four schools of Tibetan Buddhism.

The deity of Dorje Shugden is worshipped in the Indian Buddhist tradition prevalent in Himachal Pradesh, Laddakh, Uttaranchal, West Bengal and Sikkim. Dorje Shugden is also worshipped in all areas of the world where the Gelugpa tradition is followed, such as Bhutan, Nepal, Mongolia, parts of China, parts of the former USSR, various countries in Europe, U.K. and U.S.A.

According to Kundeling, the Dalai Lama realized in the mid-1970s that he had to reconsider his options after the thawing of Sino-US relations and thus a withdrawal of the funding of the Free Tibet movement by the Central Intelligence Agency of the USA.

"Therefore, in view of the sudden paucity of funds, a stratagem was devised whereby the call for a Free Tibet was to be slowly given up, and in order to divert the opinion of the public (especially Tibetans) from this, a controversy was created regarding the worship of Dorje Shugden," court documents say.

Against such a background, the Dalai Lama was accused to have used his dual role as the temporal head of the Tibetans in exile and as a spiritual guide. He issued numerous statements to the effect that the continuance of the worship of Dorje Shugden would be directly harmful to his health.

In a full-strength propaganda against the worship of Dorje Shugden, the Dalai Lama allegedly adopted a logic that read:

  1. The Dalai Lama embodies Tibet.
  2. People who dare criticize the Dalai Lama must be Chinese agents
  3. The Dalai Lama does not approve of worship of Dorje Shugden
  4. Therefore Dorje Shugden worshippers must be Chinese agents

Kundeling quotes a study saying that while acknowledging that the worship of Dorje Shugden in Tibet goes back to over three centuries, the Dalai Lama has now been making statements against the worshippers of Dorje Shugden. He states that the worship of Dorje Shugden is harmful for the cause of Tibetan unity and is harmful to his own personal self.

"The website of the Respondent No. 4 [the Dalai Lama], www.dalailama.com, from which these Annexures have been downloaded, reveals that the Dorje Shugden issue takes up more webspace than any other issue," the petition filed in court says.

It is argued that the Dalai Lama, through his right-hand man who is a minister of the Tibetan government in exile, refuses to issue various documents, such as identity cards, to the Tibetan refugee community unless the applicants sign a form declaring renunciation of worship of Dorje Shugden. These forms are not handed out, but are required to be signed there and then.

The Dalai Lama is accused of blackmailing Dorje Shugden worshippers into giving up their religious beliefs. At the same time, Indian citizens who worship Dorje Shugden are reviled and condemned as non-Buddhists and Chinese agents.

Dorje Shugden worshippers are branded as criminals and offenders by the Dalai Lama and his government. This has resulted in a situation where the District Administration is not even prepared to consider any complaints made by the worshippers of Dorje Shugden in respect of the violence committed against them by the supporters of the Dalai Lama. By 1996, Dorje Shugden worship was effectively outlawed.

The sworn affidavit says that Dorje Shugden worshippers have made numerous attempts since 1996 to bring about a rapprochement, but every time they have been spurned by the Dalai Lama, who amazingly still proclaims himself to be a reincarnation of Avalokiteshwara, i.e., the Buddha of Compassion. The acts of the Dalai Lama in this regard are more like that of a totalitarian dictator and not that of a Buddha of Compassion.

Many monks who believed in that practice went and settled in Mundgod in Karnataka, with the express intention of carrying out their religious practices without interference from the Dalai Lama. However, in January, 2008 the Dalai Lama visited the Mundgod area and gave speeches against the worship of the Dorje Shugden. This eventually led to an attack by the followers of the Dalai Lama upon the worshippers of the Dorje Shugden.


Response by the Tibetan Government

The Tibetan government response to the legal petition is to respond (as usual) by falsely accusing the practitioners of Dorje Shugden (derogatorily known as Dhoegyal) of (1) being in league with the Chinese oppressors, (2) being murderers, and (3) trying to stop Tibetan freedom. There is no evidence, and never will be any evidence, for any of these claims.


Organisations accuse Dhoegyal Society of undermining Tibetan freedom struggle
Phayul Saturday, May 10, 2008 20:15 [Pro-Dalai Lama Tibetan Website] By Phurbu Thinley


Dharamsala. May 10: A group of Tibetan non-governmental organisations, representing various sections of Tibetan community, today strongly condemned the Delhi-based Dhoegyal society of undermining the Tibetan freedom struggle in the face of the current political crisis in Tibet.


The groups, consisting of Tibetan People's Movement for "Middle Way", Domey Cholka, Dotoe Cholka, Utsang Cholka, Cholsum United Association, Ngari Association, Association for Former Political Prisoners, Cholsum Volunteers Association, Association of Hotels and Restaurants and Shop Keepers, were reacting against the recent case filed in the Delhi High Court by the Delhi-based Dhoegyal Society against the exiled Tibetan leader the Dalai Lama and the Central Tibetan Administration.

The Dhoegyal or Dorjee Shugden Devotee's Charitable and Religious Society based in New Aruna Nagar in Delhi recently filed a case against the Government of India, the State Government of Himachal Pradesh, the Central Tibetan Administration and His Holiness the Dalai Lama accusing them of alleged violation of Human Rights and Religious Freedom, and suppression of the propitiators of the highly controversial Shugden deity.


The group of organisations today said Dhoegyal society's recent activities, including the latest court case and reported protest campaigns planned against the Tibetan spiritual leader, were "thoroughly premeditated with the help of forces bent on maligning His Holiness the Dalai Lama and weakening the Tibetan struggle for freedom."


In a letter addressed to the Indian Home Minister Shri Shivraj Patel, the Tibetan groups have called on his attention to the intensified activities of the Dhoegyal society, and urged him to "instruct necessary initiatives and appropriate actions against the activities of the Dhoegyal Society and its members".


The letter signed by all the 10 Tibetan organisations said the Dhoegyal society's activities were spearheaded by "self-proclaimed" Kundeling Rinpoche alias Nga-Lama or Lobsang Yeshi Rinpoche and some of his western supporters.


The groups further wrote Shugden society's activities have "intensified" in the recent past with the nearing of the 2008 Olympics in Beijing and described the latest court case as "part of a larger conspiracy aimed at destabilizing the Tibetan community and to divert world attention from the ongoing crisis in Tibet".


"In fact, we have been reminded by our brethrens within Tibet, since last many months, about possible Chinese plan to exploit the Shugden issue during the months leading to Olympic Games," the groups' joint letter claimed.


"We, the Tibetan people are deeply hurt by these unthinkable actions of the Shugden Society and its members, that we are compelled to believe that they have clandestine relations with the Chinese Government," Mr Dawa Tsering, a founding member of the Tibetan People's Movement for Middle Way said during the press conference here today. Mr Urgen Tenzin, Director of the Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy (TCHRD) and representatives of the other organisations were also present during the press conference.


"At a juncture when whole of Tibet is burning under the communist repression, it is imperative that all Tibetans stand united against the oppression. But we see no solidarity and support, however small though, coming from the Shugden Society or its members to the suffering of Tibetans in Tibet," Mr Dawa said.


Refuting the allegations filed by Doegyal society, in its complaint to the Delhi High Court, as being "all lies and unfounded accusations", the Tibetan organisations, in their letter, accused the Shugden supporters of engaging in "violent acts of silencing those who are opposed to their views and beliefs".


"It is quite apparent that the Dhoegyal Society is playing right into the hands of China under the garb of Human Rights and Religious Freedom," the groups' joint appeal letter notes.


Drawing attention to the murder of three monks close to the Dalai Lama in February 1997 by people allegedly traced to having close link to the Delhi based (Dhoegyal Shugden Society, the organisations accused the Dhoegyal supporters of resorting to "acts of intimidation, beating, arson and murder" since establishing the "(Dhoegyal) Dorjee Shugden Devotee's Charitable and Religious Society in Delhi in April 1996".


The groups also blamed the Dhoegyal supporters of conniving with the Chinese government to stage protest and malign His Holiness the Dalai lama in hand with the overseas Chinese and labeled Nga-Lama and the Dhoegyal Society as being "hand in glove with the Chinese government".


In their letter the Tibetan groups said they were "undoubtedly clear about the fact that the Dhoegyal Society and its members are funded and used by the PRC Government" as a conduit to retain China's political interest in Tibet and called on the Indian Government to treat them as "not only a threat to the security of His Holiness the Dalai Lama but also to the National Interest of India".


In a strongly worded appeal letter, the groups wrote, "In the event of any untoward incident occurring in relation to the security of His Holiness, we all are equivocal in our belief that it will be then only (Dhoegyal) Shugden supporters to be blamed for" and urged the Indian government to further "beef up security around His Holiness the Dalai Lama".


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The Hypocrisy

Follow the story of the Dalai Lama's 30-year political campaign to destroy a centuries-old spiritual tradition taught to him by his own Spiritual Guide, and the efforts of those he's hurting to stop him:

Brief summary
- What is happening
- What is the Western Shugden Society (WSS)?
- Detailed reports of discrimination from inside India and elsewhere

The Dalai Lama's position
- A Great Deception
- Praise to Wisdom Buddha Dorje Shugden by the Dalai Lama
- In the Dalai Lama's words

Why is this happening?
- Why is this religious suppression taking place?
- Are the Dalai Lama's reasons valid?

Efforts to restore religious freedom
- Geshe Kelsang's open letter
- The ban is illegal and unconstitutional
- Press reports and videos
- Dorje Shugden Devotee's Charitable and Religious Society
- Dalai Lama sued for repressing religious freedom
- A conflict with a solution
- Announcement from Serpom Norling Monastery

Analysis of situation
- Sectarianism
- Can the Dalai Lama ever make a mistake?
- Is the Dalai Lama the only spiritual leader in Tibetan Buddhism?
- Theocracy or democracy?
- Spirit worship or authentic Buddhist practice?
- Freedom of worship
- The Dalai Lama's justifications
- Analysis by Dalai Lama's translator (PDF)
- What would Thomas Jefferson think of the 14th Dalai Lama?
- Book Reviews
- Videos

Evidence and first-hand accounts
- Chronological background
- Discord in exile documentary
- Political motivations for the ban
- Summary to date from Tibetan exiles
- Other

Ongoing persecution 2008-2010
- Recent vote sticks and call for help
- Forced signature and ID card campaign
- Persecution of monks at Sera Monasteries
- Public humiliation and explusion of monks
- Letter to Indian Prime Minister regarding abuses
- Letters from Dorje Shugden Devotees
- Urgent appeal from Sera Monasteries
- Support from Indian police
- Western Shugden Society letter to Sera monasteries
- Western Shugden Society letter to TGIE
- Heartfelt request from monks in Mundgod
- More discrimination planned around the world
- Letter from an FPMT monk
- Other
- What you can do

Related Sites

Dorje Shugden