Posts Tagged 'gelugpa'

Tibetan Politics and the Gelugpa Lineage

This is an interesting section on the Wikipedia page about Geshe Kelsang Gyatso with regard to his views of the current state of the Gelugpa tradition.

Relationship with Tibetan politics

Consistent with the lineage teachings he received from his root Guru, Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche, Geshe Kelsang believes that the practice of Dorje Shugden should continue to be practised by any Gelugpas who wish to do so. This view differs from that held by the current Dalai Lama, who, despite having received the same lineage teachings, now actively discourages this practice. However, as it is an independent Western Buddhist organization, the Dalai Lama has no authority in terms of how the NKT-IKBU is organized and what practices are taught. The controversy surrounding the Dalai Lama’s ban of the practice of Dorje Shugden is described in the article on the Dorje Shugden Controversy.

Geshe Kelsang said at an NKT-IKBU Festival in 1995 that the Gelug tradition is in a state of “serious degeneration.” In explaining this, Geshe Kelsang said that if the Dalai Lama succeeds in destroying the practice of Dorje Shugden, the entire Gelug tradition itself will be destroyed:

If the practice of Dorje Shugden is harmful then it follows that Je Phabongkhapa was not an authentic Buddhist master, and if he was not then there is no doubt that his heart disciples, Kyabje Ling Rinpoche and Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche (the Senior and Junior Tutors of HH the Dalai Lama) were also not authentic. These three Lamas are the most important Gelugpa Lamas of recent times. If these three are not pure Teachers then there is no doubt that the entire practice of the Gelug Tradition is invalid. This is the main issue that needs clarification.

Geshe Kelsang become critical of the Gelugpa hierarchy’s attempts to prevent him from passing on Dorje Shugden teachings that he had received from his own teacher. The distancing of Geshe Kelsang from the Tibetan hierarchy has also been underlined by a number of revisions made to later editions of his earlier publications. Geshe Kelsang’s dedications to the long life of the Dalai Lama found in earlier editions of Meaningful to Behold are omitted from the fourth edition (1994) onwards. Also, Geshe Kelsang’s students made revisions to the list of Mahamudra lineage gurus in the second edition of Clear Light of Bliss published in 1992. (On this point, Kyabje Gehlek Rimpoche explains that “We have two lineage prayers, one long and one slightly shorter one. Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, who had the teaching from Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche at the same time when I was there, gives the shorter lineage prayer and I put in the longer one.”) In the first edition, Phabongkha Rinpoche was followed by Trijang Rinpoche and Ling Rinpoche, the latter being the ‘current holder of the throne of Ganden’. In the second edition, Ling Rinpoche’s name is omitted and replaced by ‘Dorjechang Kelsang Gyatso Rinpoche’ (Geshe Kelsang Gyatso).

New Kadampa Tradition ‘Cult’ Smear, Part 3

Part three of the articles on the New Kadampa Truth Blog about the history of the New Kadampa Tradition’s ‘cult’ smear has been up for a couple days now. This article highlights the Dalai Lama’s first publicized attacks on Geshe Kelsang Gyatso and Je Phabongkhapa (one of the principal lineage Gurus of all modern day Gelugpas).

Part three also addresses the smears of the New Kadampa Tradition and Geshe Kelsang Gyatso published by Newsweek in 1997 in the article entitled Cult Mystery. The main body of which was based on interviews with the Dalai Lama and Robert Thurman.

This combined with the Sera Expulsion Letter cemented in the minds of many Tibetan Buddhists the belief that the NKT was a cult. 1996 and 1997 were bad times for the NKT. Brave as they were to stand up to the Dalai Lama, their actions were misconstrued and the unfair smear of their being a cult began.
The history of the New Kadampa Tradition’s ‘cult’ smear, Part 3

For previous installments:

The history of the New Kadampa Tradition’s ‘cult’ smear, Part 1
The history of the New Kadampa Tradition’s ‘cult’ smear, Part 2

The NKT, Sectarianism and Fractals

Before Today, I never would have known that fractals could be useful in illustrating Atisha’s advice on how to gain the attainments of all deities through accomplishing the practice of just one. But the author of Heart Jewel (both the site and the blog) has presented a skillful refutation of the smear that the New Kadampa Tradition is sectarian by using a fractal illustration.

The NKT follows the middle way which avoids the extremes of sectarianism and eclecticism.

Extreme #1: One tradition is better than the other three (“one size fits all”), which leads to sectarianism.

Extreme #2: Four traditions are better than one (“I need all I can get”), which leads to eclecticism.

The Middle Way: (a) One tradition cannot accomplish everything for everybody (“different strokes for different folks”), which counters sectarianism. But, (b) one tradition can accomplish everything for you (“less is more”), which counters eclecticism.

– From the article: You Do the Math: Understanding Atisha’s Fractal Dharma

Important Posts About the New Kadampa Tradition

Two important posts about the New Kadampa Tradition have been posted on the New Kadampa Truth Blog in the last couple days. These posts refute the smears that the NKT has broken away from the Gelugpa tradition and the mainstream of Buddhism.

After reading these posts I was surfing the web and came across this quote from Jim Belither about Geshe Kelsang Gyatso and found these words inspiring to contemplate:

Through the kind efforts and pure wishes of our Venerable Teacher, Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, the sun of Je Tsongkhapa’s Kadam Dharma, having risen from behind the Eastern Snow Mountains, now radiates to many countries throughout the world. Through the pure thoughts and actions of Kadampa Buddhists, now and in the future, may the teachings, example and blessings of the Buddha and Je Tsongkhapa continue to remain and flourish for the greater good and happiness of all beings.  – Jim Belither

 
The posts are below:

Are NKT practitioners real Gelugpas?
Has the NKT broken away from the mainstream?

Video – Who is Dorje Shugden?

Video interviews with Kadampa Buddhists who rely upon Dorje Shugden the dharma protector.

Quotes from Great Gelugpa Masters About Geshe Kelsang Gyatso

The below quotes from great masters of the Gelugpa lineage help to refute the smear: Geshe Kelsang Gyatso is a ‘self-styled Geshe’.

In the foreword to Geshe Kelsang’s book, Clear Light of Bliss, Yongdzin Ling Rinpoche says:

This excellent commentary on the joyous Mahamudra
Derived from churning the essence of the ocean of Tantric scriptures
That arose from the heart of this most precious Spiritual Guide
Is published with a pure wish to benefit migrators.

In the foreword to Geshe Kelsang’s book Meaningful to Behold, Venerable Trijang Rinpoche says:

The excellent expounder, the great Spiritual Master Kelsang Gyatso, who studied myriad Buddhist scriptures at the famous Je College of the great monastic university of Sera, Tegchen Ling, practised the meaning of the teachings he received, and became a wise, serious and realized Teacher. From the rain of profound and extensive Dharma that he has bestowed upon his fortunate disciples, he has recently given comprehensive instructions on the great Bodhisattvacharyavatara (Guide to The Bodhisattva’s Way of Life).

In the prayer for the long life of the Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, Trijang Rinpoche says:

You who are skilled in the wisdom that unties the sealed knots
Of the profound meaning of the Sutras and Tantras of the Fourth
Deliverer of this fortunate aeon,
Who possess an abundance of good qualities like a thousand petalled lotus,
O peerless, great Spiritual Guide, may you live for a very long time.

The holy Dharma, a treasury of jewels that is difficult to find for many aeons,
Is borne forth on the chariot of your excellent, superior intention;
O Protector who destroy the samsaric miseries of vast numbers of disciples,
Great Knowledge Hero arisen from an ocean (of wisdom), may you live for a very long time.

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