Is the Dalai Lama the Pope of Buddhism?

One of the smears of the New Kadampa Tradition is that the NKT is a splinter group from the main Tibetan Buddhist traditions, because the NKT does not follow the Dalai Lama. Many Westerners have the mistaken view that the Dalai Lama is the head or Pope of all Buddhists. It is true that the NKT does not follow the Dalai Lama, but it is not true that the NKT is a splinter group. Below are quotes from other articles which have already addressed this topic.

“The Dalai Lama is not the head of any of the four traditions of Tibetan Buddhism – the Nyingmas, Kagyus, Sakyas and Gelugpas. Each sect of Tibetan Buddhism has its own head. Many people mistakenly think that the Dalai Lama is the head of Tibetan Buddhism, or at least of the Gelugpa school, but if he is not head of any of the individual schools of Tibetan Buddhism, how can he be head of the whole Tradition? There is no ‘Pope’ of Tibetan Buddhism.

The confusion about the Dalai Lama’s religious authority lies in the fact that he is a politician who is also a monk. When the Dalai Lama speaks, is it a politician who is speaking or is it a spiritual leader? No-one is quite sure, but clearly it can’t be both because the aims of politics and religion are opposite and contradictory. It’s not safe for a monk to do the job of politician unless the monk is stronger than the politician. If not, the monk becomes a politician who abuses religion for worldly goals rather than a religious leader who uses power and influence to accomplish spiritual goals.” from the article entitled ‘On What Authority Does the Dalai Lama Do These Things?‘ from the Wisdom Buddha Dorje Shugden Blog wisdombuddhadorjeshugden.blogspot.com

From the New Kadampa Truth website:

“Truth: Some people say that the NKT has split from the Dalai Lama, but the Dalai Lama is the political leader of Tibetans in exile and not the head of any of the four schools of Tibetan Buddhism nor of Mahayana Buddhism in general, so there is nothing to split from. Although he is considered the embodiment of religion and politics as a God King for many Tibetan natives, he is not the spiritual leader for all Tibetans, for all Mahayana Buddhists, nor for the NKT.” more about this

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