(TibetanReview.net, May08, 2014) – Practitioners, mostly Westerners, of a highly controversial spirit call Dorje Shugden among a section of Tibetan Buddhists have supported Norwegian government leaders’ decision not to meet with the Dalai Lama and have vowed to protest against the exiled spiritual leader of Tibet during his May 7-9 visit to Oslo. While the overwhelming majority of Tibetan Buddhists avoid the spirit in keeping with the Dalai Lama’s advice that worshipping it is un-Buddhist, its supporters disagree and accuse him of having banned the worship.
Although the protesters call themselves members of the International Shugden Community, they are said to belong mainly to the London-based New Kadampa Tradition whose head, Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, is known for his virulent antipathy towards the Dalai Lama due to the Shugden issue.
“The Dalai Lama has engaged in religious discrimination, ruthlessly suppressing what he regards as religious dissent among Tibetan Buddhists and by extension thousands of Buddhists around the world for the past 20 years,” theforeigner.no May 6 quoted the group’s spokesperson Len Foley as saying. But the group’s allegations, repeated in appeals to a number of national and international human rights bodies and others, have been uniformly rejected as unfounded. Nevertheless, the group has kept publicizing the allegations and kept following the Dalai Lama with protests during his overseas tours. Atheist communist Chinese leaders too have criticized and condemned the Dalai Lama over the issue.
Foley has said hundreds of Buddhists, including monks and nuns, will protest during the Dalai Lama’s Oslo visit. Such claims have been made numerous times before but yielded only a handful of protesters.
During his religious teachings in Latvia’s capital Riga on May 6 the Dalai Lama said he was feeling sorry for the Shugden practitioners protesting against him because they did not properly understand the nature of Shugden. He said the Dorje Shugden spirit arose during the fifth Dalai Lama’s time in the 17th century from distorted prayers. “The Buddhist refuge is in the Three Jewels,” he added.