15 July 2008

Dalai Lama sued for repressing religious freedom

While the Dalai Lama is yelling at China accusing it 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 is a reincarnate Lama 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."

The worship of Dorje Shugden has been controversial in Tibetan Buddhism since the Fifth Dalai Lama, who tried to repress his competitor, who worshipped Dorje Shugden, to claim the title of the de facto ruler of the Tibetan government by painting Dorje Shugden as an evil deity.

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. Legend has it that the Dorje Shugden, a human being who lived in the 17th century, was the strongest contender for selection as the Fifth Dalai Lama, but was foully murdered. His spirit then emerged and took on the role of a Dharmapala, who vowed to protect the Gelugpa traditions.

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 the Kundeling Rimpoche, 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

The Kundeling Rimpoche 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.
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