Dalai Lama speaks of China’s betrayal, Shugden misinformation

Emily Maitlis of the BBC’s Newsnight programme interviewing His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Aldershot, Hampshire, UK on June 29, 2015. (Photo courtesy/Jeremy Russell/OHHDL)
Emily Maitlis of the BBC’s Newsnight programme interviewing His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Aldershot, Hampshire, UK on June 29, 2015. (Photo courtesy/Jeremy Russell/OHHDL)

(TibetanReview.net, Jul01, 2015) – Tibet’s exiled spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, has said that he had gone to China in 1954 with trepidation, but returned to Tibet the next year filled with hope and confidence on assurances given by top Chinese leaders, but was forced to flee his homeland in 1959 to become a refugee. Speaking in an interview Jun 30 with Emily Maitlis of the BBC’s Newsnight programme just before visiting a Nepalese Buddhist centre in the British army town of Aldershot in Hampshire, he said Chinese hardliners, especially the generation that came after Chairman Mao, were Han chauvinists. He has also said worshippers of the 17th century Tibetan spirit called Dolgyal or Shugden who were protesting against him during his overseas visits had no understanding of the issue they were protesting about.

Speaking about his meeting with Mao Zedong and other leaders in 1954-55, he said they led him to develop great hope that with the help of Chinese communists Tibet could be modernized. He has spoken of having told a Chinese army general who he had met on the road while returning to Tibet, “I came through here last year full of fear and apprehension, but I am returning instead full of hope and confidence.”

However, in 1956 things got worse in Tibet after the Chinese invasion and he became a refugee in 1959. Speaking on this development, he has said, “Although Mao had experience, the generations that followed him had only been brought up on propaganda. They failed to understand that the people of Tibet and Sinkiang are, like the Han people, proud of their own culture, their language and literature. These hardliners thought only their values and way of life had any worth.”

The Dalai Lama also felt that Mao Zedong’s original motivation had been good; but gaining power spoiled it. He has pointed out that before 1949 Mao had considered Tibet a foreign country. However, that changed and between1956 and 1959, by some estimates, 300,000 Tibetans were killed. He has described those nine years in Tibet, up to 1959, as very difficult.

Asked to explain about the protestors who now dogged his travels wherever he went, calling for the lifting of an alleged ban on the propitiation of Dolgyal or Shugden, the Dalai Lama has said:

“There is no ban on their practice. If you go to South India you’ll find people who propitiate this spirit Dolgyal or Shugden have their own monastery beside the larger Tibetan monasteries. This matter has been controversial for almost four centuries. Over the last 80 years since the passing away of the 13th Dalai Lama it has flared up and is strongly associated with sectarianism.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama with Emily Maitlis of the BBC’s Newsnight after their interview in Aldershot, Hampshire, UK on June 29, 2015. (Photo courtesy/Jeremy Russell/OHHDL)
His Holiness the Dalai Lama with Emily Maitlis of the BBC’s Newsnight after their interview in Aldershot, Hampshire, UK on June 29, 2015. (Photo courtesy/Jeremy Russell/OHHDL)

“Until the early ‘70s I propitiated this spirit, but one of the results was that my right to receive teachings from other traditions was restricted because of fear of what this Shugden spirit might do. I decided to investigate, reading particularly the 5th  Dalai Lama’s biography and other writings. When I gave up the practice I became free to explore other Buddhist teachings; while I still did it I had no such freedom. The 5th Dalai Lama called Dolgyal an evil spirit, so I consider it my duty to tell others of this reality. Whether they listen to me or not is up to them. These young people in monastic robes shout, ‘Stop lying’, but they don’t know the full history of the issue. They should do more research on its effects.”

Following the interview, the Dalai Lama visited the Tashi Dongak Choeling Monastery, the new Buddhist Community Centre established by the Nepalese Buddhist community. He inaugurated the centre and also inaugurated and consecrated a chörten or stupa and statue of the Buddha there.

Invited to address the gathering by the President of the Centre, Kaji Sherpa, he emphasized the importance of focusing on exercising intelligence and gaining knowledge for being a good Buddhist. He stressed the importance of maintaining harmony amongst religious traditions, noting that the pro-Shugden protestors, whose raucous presence on the street outside everyone was aware of, would remove the photographs of Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche and the Karmapa that he could see on the wall.

“They shout, ‘Stop lying’, but I’m confused what it is they think I’m lying about. This tradition is very sectarian and it was only after I disassociated myself from it that I was able to take teachings from masters like Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche and Chopgye Trichen Rinpoche. So I complain that while I did this practice I had no religious freedom,” he concluded.

Following lunch at the Aldershot Football Club, the Dalai Lama shared stage at the football ground with several other religious representatives to address a fathering of about 6,000 people. The Mayor of Rushmoor also welcomed them all to Aldershot.

The event ended with a reading of a financial statement and it was explained that the balance of funds raised for the event would be used for charitable purposes, especially in Nepal.

The noisy pro-Shugden protests persisted throughout the day, even during the moment of silence in memory of the victims of the recent earthquakes in Nepal and the playing of the national anthems of Nepal and Great Britain. And alliance of 10 UK Buddhist organizations had earlier issued a statement, saying they were “very concerned about the protesters’ aggressive, misleading and unethical behaviour”.


On Jul 4, 2015 morning, the Office of HH the Dalai Lama Lama issued the following correction:

Please note that the e-mailed report “His Holiness the Dalai Lama Inaugurates Buddhist Community Centre in Aldershot” June 30th 2015 contains a factual error.

 The final sentence reads –

‘In connection with the noisy pro-Shugden protests that persisted throughout the day, even during the moment of silence and the observance of the national anthems, Buddhist Organisations in the UK have issued a statement that can be read by following this link:’

This has been amended on the dalailama.com website version to read ‘even during the observance of the national anthems,’ which is definitive and correct.

The relevant content of the above report, which is based on it, stand corrected and clarified accordingly. –Editorial Team.


  1. the protestors did not chant during the one minute’s silence. This can be confirmed with the police if you have any doubts.


  2. I think you’ll find you’re wrong or you have been mislead about the protestors continuing their noise through the minute silence in memory of the earthquake victims. I was at the event and the protestors stopped and remained quiet for that period.

  3. This article is full of misrepresentation.

    1. Everyone who was demonstrating was completely silent during the minutes silence.
    2. Dorje Shugden is a wisdom Buddha not a Spirit
    3. We are NOT associated with or funded by the Chinese
    4. We protest loudly but peacefully ask any countries police force where we have demonstrated, the only people they have a probl with are those poor people who have been misled by the False Dalai Lama
    5. We are not sectarian we just want to practice our faith purely and not mix it with other traditions or faiths. This is not to say we have a problem with those other faiths we just want to practice ours

    False Dalai Lama stop lying and grant Shugden practitioners religious freedom!.

    • @Jane. I agree everyone was silent during the minute silent. Thats because the police forced everyone to remain silent.

    • 2. Jane, lets see what kelsang gyatso guru and Dalai lama younger teacher has to say about Shugden in his book.

      In Trijang Rinpoche’s text about Shugden, “Music Delightning an Ocean of Protectors” (PDF version at the Shugden site), Trijang Rinpoche clearly explains Shugden’s nature and way it arose. He says that Shugden / Dogyal is a mundane (ie. worldly) protector (p. 11), a damsi (vow breaking) spirit (p. 107) and a gyalpo spirit called Dolgyal (p. 109) that harms and kills sentient beings (p. 111–122 and more). About the violence Shugden brings to other sentient beings Trijang Rinpoche states (p. 121–122):

    • 3. Shugden followers themselves boast they have links with communist China. Watch this video. Its coming straight from the horses mouth.

      Shugden followers links with Chinese. The below youtube link shows Adar Tsering boasting he has link with Communist China. He holds a Chinese passport and travels to China very often.

      Photo of Shugden followers celebrating Losar 2013 with Chinese Embassy. My friends identified on this photo lama Ajo from Serpom monastery, lama Gyatso who recently in Tibet to criticise HH Dalaï Lama there, as well as US Shugden leaders, Phuntsok and Dechen Tulku. Dechen.


      You will see all these people alongside NKT at protest site. There are many such pictures of Shugden lamas and Shugden followers with Chinese communist party members attending new year in Nepalese Chinese embassy and NY. Adar and some of the people on the pictures are always with NKT protesting.

    • 4. Heckling, harassing the Dalai Lama. Calling him nazi, worst dictator, muslim, false………… Provoking and abusing his followers. Disturbing his teachings where thousands of people attending.
      Do you call that peaceful, loud and buddhist. We don’t think so.

    • 5. Non-Sectarian. Really. Do you really know the meaning. Let see the admiration Shugden teachers and followers have for their so call wisdom buddha.
      The Dalai Lama is opposed to the worship of Shugden because it is associated with sectarian violence. The main lama that popularised this protector was Pabongkha Dechen Nyingpo. He said that all other religions lead to the lower realms and all other Tibetan Buddhist traditions lead to hell.
      “The views of all Sakyas, Kagyus, Nyingmas and so on are erroneous. They are not even Svatantra or Cittamatra, let alone the view of Prasanga Madhyamaka – meditating only the nihilist view like tirthikas and Hashang. If one upholds the nihilist view, the result is nothing other than going to Avichi hell.”
      He said that Shugden killed members of his own sect, the Gelugpa, for taking the ‘false’ teachings from other traditions.
      “Dorje Shugden is extremely important for holding Tsongkhapa’s tradition without mixing and corrupting it with confusions due to the great violence and the speed of the force of his actions, which fall like lightning to punish violently all those beings who have wronged the Yellow Hat Tradition, whether they are high or low. Many from our own side, monks or lay people, high or low, are not content with Tsongkapa’s tradition, which is like pure gold, and have mixed and corrupted it with the mistaken views and practices from other schools, which are tenet systems that are reputed to be incredibly profound and amazingly fast but are mistakes among mistakes, faulty, dangerous and misleading paths. In regard to this situation, this protector of the doctrine, this witness, manifests his own form or a variety of unbearable manifestations of terrifying and frightening wrathful and fierce appearances. Due to that, a variety of events, some of them having happened or happening, some of which have been heard or seen, seem to have taken place: some people become unhinged and mad, some have a heart attack and suddenly die.”
      His main student was the Dalai Lama’s junior tutor, Trijang Rinpoche. Trijang agreed and wrote a book telling stories about the people that, according to him, Shugden killed. He praised Shugden for killing people of different traditions and religious orientations to himself.
      “Whether they were lords of Tibet, great lamas who held the political power of the throne, lamas and tulkus, great or small, with illustrious lines of incarnation, holy beings rich in scriptural and realized qualities, high lords of vast lands and works, those haughty with pride of family lineage, dominion and wealth, any who hypocritically claimed to be followers of Protector Manjusri Tsongkhapa’s Teachings while remaining unsatisfied with Je Lama’s precious Teachings of Sutra and Tantra which, in terms of view, meditation, and action, need not crave more from any other tradition, and, instead, mixed, polluted, or confused them with other modes of view and practice, whether lay or ordained, regardless of status, there have been many who have met with unpleasant wrathful punishments, such as being punished by authorities, litigation and legal disputes, untimely death, and so forth. Such swift, decisive signs appear to direct perception. Here praise is offered to that manifestation as a great wrathful protector who raises the Yellow Hat Teachings to the heights of the heavens.”

      There are many such quotes.

      The Dalai Lama doersn’t agree that people should be killed for practising different religions so has been a outspoken critic of this violent sectarian practice.

    • My real biggest fear in all this NKT Kadampa nonsense, is that it will and is giving genuine Buddhadharma a bad name and will be putting off many from the path to Enlightenment.

      The NKT seems to have some nice World Peace Cafés, but if “Percy Sugden” is behind the scenes then we are in for a downfall of Dharma IMHO.

      HH the 14th Dalai Lama is the greatest Boddhisattva alive on the planet, you are creating a lot of negative karma for your selves and others.

      If he were false then why would you be bothered?

      Please do some research on this issue and put you energies into doing good, cease doing bad and tame & train your minds (the 3 main themes of Buddhism).



      Anyway as HH says it’s up to you (and hopefully your conscience).

  4. I don’t like these protestors, but I don’t think you should had said they continued to protest during the silence for victims of the Nepal earthquake. I was there. The protestors were also silent at that time.

  5. Jane,

    Listen to me and sing the song of purification. Don’t dwell on the false notion that Shugen is a wisdom Buddha. He will remain as evil spirit forever. Guru Rinpoche will surely take care of him་. (ཨོྃ།)
    And by the way, Dalai lama has time & again made it clear that he has no authority to put a ban on any religion. And still why you donkeys are not getting…
    Instead of wasting your precious time on protesting, why not worship Dorji Shugden diligently, and calm your lost & agitated mind. See Dorji Shugden has so far benefited no one simply because he doesn’t have what it takes to be a good spirit, leave aside the nomenclature Buddha on this guy.

    You have still time to think carefully. Otherwise I’m afraid he will let you down no matter what.


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