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Dalai Lama hosted by Nobel committee, explains his Shugden stand

(TibetanReview.net, May08, 2014) – Although Norway’s current parliament and government leaders have kept the visiting Dalai Lama at an arm’s length, saying they couldn’t afford to offend China, he was visited on his arrival on May 7 by Prime Minister Kjell Magne. The meeting took place in the former’s hotel room and the two updated each other on their works since their previous meeting.

At the Nobel Institute, where the exiled spiritual leader of Tibet was invited to mark the 25th anniversary of the conferment of the prize on him, the Dalai Lama met with the Chairman of the Nobel Committee, Mr Thorbjørn Jagland, who is also a former prime minister. Jagland escorted him into a meeting over lunch with the current members of the Committee which included one from the time the Dalai Lama was awarded the prize.

During a round-table meeting with the media later on, Jagland introduced the Dalai Lama, reminding the gathering that he was awarded the prize in recognition of his efforts to bring freedom to the Tibetan people through non-violence and his concern for the natural environment. And in an apparent reference to Norway’s top leaders’ decision not to meet with him, Jagland told the Dalai Lama: “You are a man of peace, a religious leader worth listening to and someone worth speaking to.”

Asked about the mostly Western pro-Shugden demonstrators on the street outside, the Dalai Lama said it had a long story but the issue was a simple one. He said, “This spirit, Shugden, has been controversial since the time of the 5th Dalai Lama nearly 400 years ago. The 5th Dalai Lama said it had arisen as a result of distorted prayers and was doing harm to the Buddhadharma and beings. Many prominent Lamas after that took a similar view. The 13th Dalai Lama placed restrictions on this practice, even though it didn’t have so many followers.”

He called it disgraceful that even he had, out of ignorance, propitiated this spirit from 1951 until the early 1970s.

He said that the claim that he had banned the worship of the spirit was manifestly untrue while emphasizing that asking the worshippers not to attend his teachings was in keeping with the requirement to maintain the sanctity and integrity of the relationship between a teacher and his disciple. He said: “A spiritual bond is formed between a teacher and disciple and I have asked that if people want to worship this spirit they don’t take teachings from me. This is what they are calling a ban. They chant ‘Stop lying,’ but I think you should ask who is lying here. I try to be non-sectarian. This practice has long been associated with sectarianism. I feel sorry for these demonstrators because of their ignorance about this issue.”

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