The Wisdom Buddha Protector of Je Tsongkhapa's Tradition
What is the Western Shugden Society (WSS)?
The Western Shugden Society (WSS) is an international association formed in 2008 to protect the religious freedom of people who worship the Buddhist Deity Dorje Shugden. Although for centuries millions of Buddhist practioners have peacefully engaged in the practice of this revered Deity, or Wisdom Buddha, in 1978 the 14th Dalai Lama illegally banned the practice of Dorje Shugden, declaring the Deity to be an evil spirit and maintaining that his worship shortens the Dalai Lama's life and threatens the cause of Tibetan independence.
It is not entirely clear why the Dalai Lama has taken such strong actions against practitioners of Dorje Shugden. Many great masters of the past have treasured this practice, including the Dalai Lama's own teacher, and the Dalai Lama himself for the first 45 years of his life. However, in 1978 the State Oracle of Tibet advised the Dalai Lama to ban the practice of worshipping Dorje Shugden. This led to a series of repressive and unconstitutional actions that are now increasingly documented in various places, including on the Western Shugden Society website, the Dorje Shugden Devotees website, this Wisdom Buddha Dorje Shugden website, its blog, and elsewhere.
Despite the fact that the constitution of India prohibits Deity discrimination, Shugden practitioners in India are now being required by the Dalai Lama's government in exile to sign a document promising to abandon this Deity. Those who do not sign are subject to many forms of retaliation, including ostracism from their communities, withdrawal of both material and spiritual support, intimidation of themselves and their families, expulsion from monasteries and violent verbal and physical attacks by those who follow the view of the Dalai Lama. To date, over 900 monks have been expelled from their monasteries and refused material help to meet their daily needs. As a result of these illegal actions, the Dalai Lama and his government are now being sued in the Indian courts for violation of the Indian constitution, which guarantees complete religious freedom for its citizens.
To support Dorje Shugden practioners in India and other countries who are fighting for their religious freedom, a group of Tibetans and non-Tibetans living in the West came together in 2008 to form the Western Shugden Society. The WSS have written to the Dalai Lama and his government to request meetings, protest the ban and request evidence substantiating the Dalai Lama's claims that the practice of Dorje Shugden is somehow harmful both to himself and to the cause of Tibetan independence. To date the Dalai Lama's office has declined to offer such proof, or to meet with any representatives of the Western Shugden Society.
Receiving no response from the Dalai Lama and his government, in June of 2008 the Western Shugden Society began to engage in a series of peaceful protests to request that the Dalai Lama restore religious freedom to those who wish to engage in this ancient practice, bringing international attention to the situation. Although demonstrations in New York, Wisconsin, England, Germany, France and elsewhere have attracted thousands of concerned protesters, the Dalai Lama has yet to respond to the requests of the WSS and of Dorje Shugden practitioners throughout the world.
The Western Shugden Society pledges that they will continue to advocate for the rights of those who wish to peacefully engage in Dorje Shugden practice until the constitutional rights and religious freedoms of those practitioners are fully restored.
For more information, see the official Western Shugden Society website.
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:
- 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
- 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
Evidence and first-hand accounts
- Chronological background
- Discord in exile documentary
- Political motivations for the ban
- Summary to date from Tibetan exiles
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
- What you can do