NYC: dissident Buddhists, idiot leftists protest Dalai Lama

The New York Times’ City Room blog reports a strange spectacle from 6th Ave. July 17:

As thousands of people, mostly of Tibetan and Nepalese ancestry, streamed out of Radio City Music Hall on Thursday afternoon, where they had gone to hear the Dalai Lama give a lecture on the Four Noble Truths of Buddhism, they found themselves in a chaotic scene on the Avenue of the Americas.

About 200 members of a Buddhist sect, the Western Shugden Society, were outside the hall protesting the Dalai Lama, who they said had persecuted monks who supported the sect. Some among the thousands coming out of the lecture began shouting at the protesters. The crowd began to swell, and eventually thousands were shouting “Long Live Dalai Lama” and waving dollar bills at the protesters, asserting that they had been paid by the Chinese government.

Police officers on horseback, and dozens on the ground, began scrambling to set up barriers and push the crowds off of the streets, but the avenue was closed for about 20 minutes around 5 p.m. Office workers stood at windows along Rockefeller Center’s office buildings, gazing down at the crowds, which grew louder and larger.

Some of the Dalai Lama supporters began approaching the protesters and were shoved away by police.

After his lecture to a sold-out house at Radio City, where some supporters paid as much as $1,000 a ticket, the Dalai Lama took questions that audience members had submitted in advance. The second question was whether he had anything to say about the protesters outside, who had begun setting up long before the Dalai Lama’s lecture began at 2 p.m.

The Dalai Lama said he used to follow their practice, known as Dorje Shugden, from about 1951 until the early 1970s, but that he had given it up because it was intolerant of other Buddhist teachings.

“This is just spirit worship,” he said. “After I read more about it, I realized my mistake and dropped my practice.”

He added: “I think 99 percent of Tibetans follow my practice. Some small portion worship this spirit. I am committed to freedom of speech, freedom of talk. So I say to them, enjoy freedom of talk.”

He also argued that two past Dalai Lamas had restricted the practice, and that he was following tradition.

The Western Shudgen Society asserts that the Dalai Lama has more than a decade “been fostering a campaign of intimidation, humiliation, and ostracism” against practitioners of Dorje Shugden.

Kelsang Pema, a spokeswoman for the Western Shugden Society, said she had flown from England to engage in the protest. More than half of the protesters appeared to be Westerners, although Ms. Pema said 100 Tibetan monks also took part in the protest.

Although the crowd who attended the lecture at Radio City contained a sprinkling of Westerners, most were of Himalayan ancestry and they were the ones shouting at the protesters from across the Avenue of the Americas and from the north side of 50th Street.

The protesters were on the southwest corner of 50th and Sixth, behind police barricades. There did not appear to be any arrests. Ms. Pema said of the Dalai Lama, “He’s a Hollywood monk. If you ask him something serious, he smiles and laughs and pretends he doesn’t know English.” (The Dalai Lama answered the question in English, with some help with words and phrases from a translator seated near him on the stage.)

Ms. Pema said people had come from 18 countries to participate in the protest. She denied that her group had been paid by the Chinese government. “We get no money from the Chinese. They can check our organization. We’re clean.” The protesters handed out literature explaining their position.

The Times fails to note that the idiot-left group Fight Imperialism-Stand Together (FIST) also had a contingent at the anti-Dalai Lama gig. Here’s their press release. Note the last sentence:

A protest of Washington’s anti-China policies is planned for July 17 when the Dalai Lama will be speaking at Radio City Music Hall here. The U.S. government has been involved in the “Free Tibet” campaign from the beginning, while the media facilitates its execution.

The latest efforts began in mid-March, when the Dalai Lama covertly encouraged Tibetans to riot. The rioters looted, burned and attacked non-Tibetan ethnic groups, killing and wounding scores. Then in April, protesters attacked Olympic torch runners in several countries in a clear campaign against this year’s Beijing Olympics. These attacks and accompanying protests were glorified by a media that has failed to exhibit similar enthusiasm for covering anti-war protests.

The Dalai Lama and the U.S. imperialists have worked hard to erase the Dalai Lama’s past as a feudal leader, and these days hardly anyone in the Western media questions the fact that he is supposed to be a living deity. “Spiritual” leaders, it seems, are condemned or elevated according to their strategic utility to the ruling class. In the U.S., the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, for example, was raked over the coals by the media for his preaching against racism. But Washington, which was comfortable with Tibet’s status as a part of China before the Chinese Revolution, now considers the Dalai Lama to be of great importance and therefore greatly “spiritual.”

The Dalai Lama also supports past and present U.S. military operations in south Korea, Afghanistan, Yugoslavia and Iraq. He is hardly a representative of peace.

Not everyone has such short memories, however. The twelfth Samding Dorje Phagmo, Tibet’s only living female Buddha, a critic of the Dalai Lama and vice-chairwoman of Tibet’s regional government, says that “Old Tibet was dark and cruel, the serfs lived worse than horses and cattle.” (Reuters)

We won’t ask how FIST professes to know that the Dalai Lama “covertly” encouraged Tibetans to riot. More interesting is the reference to the twelfth Samding Dorje Phagmo. If you look up the April 30 Reuters story (which FIST fails to either date or link to), you will find that it cites China’s official Xinhua agency—and that the twelfth Samding Dorje Phagmo is a vice-chair of the Beijing-compliant Tibetan Autonomous Regional People’s Congress!

Tibet’s only female living Buddha, Samding Dorje Phagmo, who is also a top regional official, accused the Dalai Lama of violating Buddhist teachings, referring to the riots in Lhasa last month.

The twelfth Samding Dorje Phagmo said Tibet’s incorporation into Communist China has transformed it from the backwards feudal society of largely illiterate serfs with little medical care.

“Old Tibet was dark and cruel, the serfs lived worse than horses and cattle,” she told the official Xinhua agency.

The 66-year old woman was chosen as the incarnation of the deity Vajravarahi. Head of the Samding monastery, she is also a vice-chairwoman of the standing committee of the Tibetan Autonomous Regional People’s Congress, or regional parliament.

“Watching on television a tiny number of unscrupulous people burning and smashing shops, schools and public property, brandishing knives and sticks to attack unfortunate passers-by I felt boundless surprise, deep heartache and indignant resentment,” she said.

China has accused the Dalai Lama, Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, of plotting the riots and unrest that spread across many ethnic Tibetan parts of the country, in a bid to overshadow the Olympic Games and push for independence.

“The sins of the Dalai Lama and his followers seriously violate the basic teachings and precepts of Buddhism and seriously damage traditional Tibetan Buddhism’s normal order and good reputation,” the Samding Dorje Phagmo was quoted as saying.

The Dalai Lama rejects China’s claims, saying he supports the Olympic Games and seeks only greater autonomy for Tibet.

We’ve already noted some of the surreal politics of the officially atheist Chinese state’s game of divide-and-rule with Tibet’s Buddhists. It is perversely amusing to see FIST (the latest front group for the retro-Stalinist Workers World Party) drawn into the game…

See our last posts on China, Tibet and the idiot left.

  1. Protesting the Dalai Lama’s religious ban
    For those unfamiliar with the Buddhist tenets and Tibetan politics, this whole controversy can seem to be inpenatrably complex. A very simplified version can be understood through an analogy. In Judaism, Christ is considered to be just another prophet, by nature a worldly being. In Christianity, Christ is considered to be the Son of God, by nature a transcendental, or divine being. Virtually all of the historical disputes between Christians and Jews, especially in the early days of Christianity, revolve around this one central question. In a very similar way, many Tibetan Buddhists who follow the Dalai Lama consider Dorje Shugden to be by nature a worldly being. Others consider Dorje Shugden to be by nature an enlightened being. Just as early Christians were declared heretics and accused of worshipping false gods, so too Dorje Shugden practitioners are being accused of similar things. Both sides have their authoritative lamas (spiritual teachers) supporting their positions, with historical evidence and logic to support their claims.

    So who is right? People often think one side must be right and the other wrong. But the short answer is both are right and both are wrong. What Dorje Shugden practitioners say (that Dorje Shugden is a wisdom Buddha) is right for them and wrong for practitioners who follow the Dalai Lama. What followers of the Dalai Lama say (that Dorje Shugden is a worldly spirit) is right for them and wrong for Dorje Shugden practitioners. So in the end, who is right? The answer is it actually doesn’t matter.

    The final resolution of this crisis is simple: religious freedom. We have our spiritual bread, you have yours, so let’s all respect one another’s choices. If everyone did that, then we could all co-exist peacefully, in harmony, and we could all be focused on what matters: becoming better people.

  2. FYI: There’s nothing
    FYI: There’s nothing remotely “leftist” about the Dorje Shugden cult. In Tibet, it has always been a rigid, literalist, fundamentalist and extremely intolerant sect dedicated to maintaining dogmatic purity within the Gelugpa school, even to the point of violence against other Buddhists. That makes them “rightist” in my book.

  3. Seeing behind the scene
    The Shugden issue is a complex stuff. It is made by the Western Shugden Society / New Kadampa Tradition even more difficult because they hide their attacks and claims behind anonymous website “with no legal office” and operate with unverified claims and putting spins on the facts.

    There is no “ban”, just this word is propaganda. Nobody in NKT is persecuted and people are free to practice Shugden in India. Of course monasteries do not allow a practice which was used to assassinate others. Moreover many Shugdenpas are fundamentalists and troublemaker. Communities have also the right to restrict their influence to protect themselves from being harmed. In the past there were already three monks killed by Shugdenpas and they tried to kill also the assistant of Trijang Chogtrul Rinpoche…. Shugden practice is what blocks religious freedom. It was used to thread people (including the Dalai Lama) to practice non-Gelug teachings (e.g. Nyingmapas), if you practice them Shugden will kill you. What a mess.

    For more see investigative journalist R. Bultrini’s article A Spirit of the XVII Century or Blog – Western Shugden Society unlocked, The Battle of the Sixth Avenue and Who is behind the Western Shugden Society?

    1. The real reason for the protests
      This whole protest is about a Buddhist cult trying to rescue its damaged reputation. In short, 80% of the WSS is made up of NKT members. For more information about this group, and their lies (including sockpuppetry on wikipedia and using multiple identities) visit these pages:

      The truth is out there, its just not as well-funded as the NKTs lies and paid-for press releases.

    2. No ban??

      If there is no ban on the practice of Dorje Shugden then how do you explain the video footage that can be seen in the link below.

      The Dalai Lama now says to people in the west that he has never issued or encouraged a ban on the Buddhist deity Dorje Shugden yet in India, for the past 12 years he has encouraged members of the Tibetan government, the people of the exile community and abbots of all the major monasteries to discriminate against and seperate themselves from those who will not give up the peaceful Buddhist prayer of Dorje Shugden.

      The link above shows clear evidence that when the Dalai Lama openly tells people that he never issued a ban he is actually lying

  4. The DL’s extreme approval rate
    Let’s compare the numbers:

    Tony Blair’s highest approval rate: 69%
    Bill Clinton’s highest approval rate: 73%
    G.W.Bush’s highest approval rate: 85%

    Mao Tsedong claimed 95% of Chinese supported him. Approval rate translation: 95%
    The Dalai Lama claims that 99 percent of Tibetans support him. Approval rate translation: 99%.
    Kim Jong-Il claimed 100% of North Korean supported him. Approval rate translation: 100%

  5. Fake Panchen Lama involved in this practice?
    There is a photo of the Chinese communist picked Panchen Lama in front of a thanka (religious picture) of Dorje Shugden. I don’t know how involved he is in this practice, though.

    user posted image

  6. Dalai Lama’s religious persecution!
    Millions of Buddhist across the world carry out the practice of an ancient well loved prayer to the Buddhist Deity Dorje Shugden.

    The Dalai Lama has illegally banned this prayer even though he himself practiced it for most of his life and was taught to him by his Spiritual Guide before him. Since banning the prayer in 1996, the Dalai Lama has set about instigating and endorsing a series of non-democratic and vehement campaigns toward Shugden practitioners causing tremendous pain and great schisms within the Buddhist community worldwide.

    His campaign has intensified since January this year when over a 1000 monks were unconstitutionally expelled from their monasteries, Tibetans-in-exile were forcibly intimidated to engage in public signature and swearing campaigns, and since which Shugden devotees have experienced having identity cards and visa applications withheld, they have been denied basic needs and necessities such as food, water and medical assistance, and there have been instances of thuggish attacks against persons and arson against their property simply because they wish to maintain their spiritual beliefs.

    The Dalai Lama continues to campaign for support to seek religious freedom from the Chinese. Yet, millions of Shugden practitioners worldwide are also seeking religious freedom – from the Dalai Lama.

  7. Is the Dalai Lama who we think he really is?
    Ever thought about why the Dalai Lama is acting in very unholy and un-Buddhist ways- even though he is supposed to be a re-incarnation of Avalokiteshvara -the Buddha of compassion? Is it possible that perhaps he is not the re-incarnation of Buddha of Compassion? Yes it is possible! Is it possible that the Shangri-la was never the Shangri-la westerners thought it was? Yes it is possible!
    Perhaps the Dalai Lama is not really the Dalai Lama? Check out this really interesting article called ‘Reting Lama – How he chose the false Dalai Lama’. Explains a hell of lot!
    Here is the web address;…lse-dalai-lama

    If that is a possibility – then it is also possible that the Dalai Lama’s actions and behaviour are completely contradictory to Buddhism or even to humanity! Check out this excellent article by Ron cook called ‘Six principal reasons why the Dalai Lama is not a Buddhist’ on…not-a-buddhist.

    It is hard to accept but the evidence is there if you care to look!