Posts Tagged 'geshe kelsang'

Geshe Kelsang Explains the Relationship between Je Tsongkhapa and Dorje Shugden

Venerable Geshe Kelsang explains how Dorje Shugden is Manjushri Je Tsongkhapa. This was at the Dorje Shugden empowerment at the 2006 NKT Summer Festival at Manjushri Kadampa Meditation Centre in England.

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A Presentation of Dharma for the Modern World

Today, I came across a website where someone was saying many horrible things about Geshe Kelsang Gyatso. Most of what they were saying has already been addressed on the New Kadampa Truth website. But, one thing they were saying has not. They were questioning whether or not Geshe Kelsang had permission from, his spiritual guide, Trijang Rinpoche to make a new presentation of Dharma. At the NKT Summer Festival, in 2004, Geshe Kelsang made it very clear that he did have permission from Trijang Rinpoche. Below is part of this teaching.

A Presentation of Dharma for the Modern World

Sometimes if we mix ordinary view and profound Dharma, then it causes people more confusion. For we Buddhists the confusion is enough! It is everywhere, big confusion in Buddhist people. Because previously our Buddhist texts were very profound and modern people found them very difficult to understand. Buddhist Teachers are also giving teachings following the tradition of their own country, which is very difficult for people in other countries to understand. In this way, there is huge confusion.

So now our responsibility, the main job of Kadampa Buddhist Teachers, is to disappear the confusion of the people throughout the world. We should never cause confusion to increase. Therefore, you need certain skillful methods.

Even for myself, at the very beginning it was very difficult. If I taught according to the Tibetan tradition, Western people found it very difficult to accept or understand-there was not much meaning for them. If I taught my own presentation, a different design, I worried because I need to follow my lineage Gurus’ tradition. So big problem, you know. Every Teacher who came from ancient country, from Eastern country, had this problem. But I solved my problem when I had my last meeting with my Spiritual Guide Trijang Rinpoche.

At that time, he was near passing away, so I went to India to see him. I had a very good opportunity to have a long meeting. I made him a long-life ritual prayer called “ten shu” with an assembly of monks, and then I had a long meeting. During this, I asked many questions about my own problem, because if I taught according to the Tibetan tradition, Western people found it difficult to accept because they are not like Tibetan people. They are educated people who went through school and university or college. They have learned a lot. They are knowledgeable people. They will not follow blind faith. They immediately check how it is true or not. They immediately want practical things. So if we follow our own tradition, it is very difficult. So now I gave many lists from Sutra and Tantra, now what do we do with this?

He said clearly, “Don’t worry! My students are Tibetan people. Your students are people from other countries. Of course, you teach with different methods. Of course, your presentation of Dharma is necessarily going to be different than mine, because people’s characteristics, nature, capacity, wishes, and society are different.”

He said this and I was so happy that he gave me permission. He said: “You don’t worry. Buddha himself said that the way of presenting Buddhadharma should be like the way a doctor gives medicine to different people. The doctor never gives one medicine to everybody, every sick person. Different sick people receive different medicines, because they are not the same. Similarly, the way of presenting Dharma is necessarily going to be different according to different people.”

He told me this example. So then I realized that he gave me permission to make a new design for the people of the modern world. So we did, and it works very well. – Geshe Kelsang Gyatso

Does Dorje Shugden Have a Problem?

Below is part of a teaching that Geshe Kelsang Gyatso gave about Dorje Shugden at the NKT Summer Festival in 2006.

“You know that it is quite common that, nowadays, people are used to saying Dorje Shugden is a problem. Dorje Shugden has no problem at all! No problem. He is an enlightened being who is completely free from samsara’s problems. The ‘problem’ is a human problem, created by political people. These people created this problem to fulfill their own wish, not for any benefit, but their own wishes.

We should never allow ourselves to be discouraged, no? We can do this by concentrating on the truth. Now, I need to tell the truth! This is my job, you know! Otherwise, who would do this? No one has freedom, only me. So, the truth is as follows.

Dorje Shugden is a Dharma Protector who is a manifestation of Je Tsongkhapa. Je Tsongkhapa appears as the Dharma Protector Dorje Shugden to prevent his doctrine from degenerating.”

Read further about Dorje Shugden at Dharmaprotector.org

E-sangha and the New Kadampa Tradition

The moderators of E-sangha have barred any positive comments about the New Kadampa Tradition, Geshe Kelsang Gyatso or Dorje Shugden from the site. However, they haven’t barred negative comments. They claim that the NKT is non-Buddhist. Apparently, it’s not only the New Kadampa Tradition that has had such experiences with E-sangha even though they claim to be a forum for all traditions of Buddhism.

From the blog In Pursuit of Mysteries:

E-sangha is a web forum that promotes itself as being for all Buddhists of all traditions of practice. It has a large base of users and, in fact, its number of users is large enough, over time, that the very number and amount of activity acts to pull in online Buddhists who hear about the site. In reality, E-sangha is a very unfriendly place for many Buddhists. It is run by a small junta of moderators with a bit of an iron fist (not even with the velvet glove!). This group brooks no disagreement with their beliefs or methods. Members of the forum who don’t toe the line with great alacrity for this collective are quickly and quietly banned from the site.

Members of the moderator junta claim that they do what they do for the sake of Buddhism and the spread of the Dharma. In their opinion, incorrect beliefs or doctrines lead to trouble and confusion so their discussion is not allowed, even to show that they are wrong.

From the New Kadampa Truth site:

Namdrol (Loppon Malcolm Smith), and the other moderators on E-Sangha have barred any positive discussion of NKT or Dorje Shugden on that supposedly ‘open’ and ‘non-sectarian’ Buddhist chat forum, the largest on the Internet, effectively labelling NKT as non-Buddhist. Criticism of NKT and Geshe Kelsang is always welcome though. Namdrol has posted many vituperative and irrational comments against the NKT and Dorje Shugden practitioners. He is also apparently a disciple of Namkhai Norbu. E-Sangha is currently being sued by Soto Zen priests who are also barred from E-Sangha for not fulfilling some of the doctrinal beliefs of the moderators of the site.

Dharma Protector

Another great site which refutes the smears of the New Kadampa Tradition is dharmaprotector.org

This unofficial website is a compilation of responses to the allegation of sectarianism on the part of the New Kadampa Tradition and its founder, Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso. By collecting together direct quotes from his published works, formal interviews, and even public debates, this website aims to show how the New Kadampa Tradition is actually non-sectarian. I wrote the first section to help us understand Geshe-la’s middle way between sectarianism and syncretism. – dharmaprotector.org

NKT Ordination and the Vinaya Sutra

Recently, Tenzin Peljor has been spreading smears about the New Kadampa Tradition’s ordination. Peljor has been stating that according to the NKT’s current ordination vows NKT monks and nuns can raise families, and go to war to serve one’s own country. This is not true.

NKT monks and nuns take vows of celibacy and vows to abandon killing any living beings (including insects). So it would be unacceptable for NKT monks and nuns to have children (post ordination) or to join the military.

However, Tenzin has also stated that NKT monks can work to make money. This is true. Many ordained Sangha in the NKT work to support themselves. In Eastern countries, Buddhist monks and nuns beg for food with a begging bowl. In Western countries, Buddhist monks and nuns would be looked down upon for begging. Without the respect of Westerners it would be difficult to benefit them. So many Western ordained Sangha work to support themselves while also maintaining their ordination vows.

Buddha Shakyamuni said that the Vinaya should be practiced in accordance with what is most acceptable for society.

Tenzin Peljor also says that it is incorrect that Buddha said this. It is not just Geshe Kelsang who has quoted Buddha saying this.

The below quote is from Thich Nhat Hanh’s book Freedom Wherever We Go:

When the Buddha was about to enter Nirvana, he told his attendant, the Venerable Ananda, that the minor and lesser rules [of the Vinaya] could be removed, so that the text would remain light, relevant, and appropriate. At that time, Ananda did not inquire which specific trainings the Buddha was referring to. So after Buddha’s passing into Nirvana, the elder monk Kassyapa did not dare to remove any of the precepts. Two thousand six hundred years have gone by, and this recommendation by the Buddha has not been carried out.

From the New Kadampa Truth website:

Traditionally, Tibetan Buddhism follows the Vinaya Sutra, which comes from the Hinayana tradition. In the system of Tibetan Buddhism, the level of ordination is determined by the number of vows. Someone is a fully ordained monk if they hold 253 vows, or a fully ordained nun if they hold 364 vows. (There is no longer any tradition for full ordination for women in the Tibetan tradition and so Tibetan Buddhist nuns are secondary to monks.)

The NKT ordination follows the tradition of ordination explained by Geshe Potowa and other Kadampa Geshes. According to this system, it is the level of renunciation that determines the level of ordination, not how many vows you hold. In NKT ordination, a monk or a nun becomes ‘fully ordained’ (Gelong or Bhikshu (monk), Gelongma or Bhikshuni (nun) by holding the ten vows of ordination and having developed the realization of renunciation, that is, having developed the spontaneous wish for liberation such that it is ever-present in the mind, day and night.

Smear: New Kadampa Tradition Ordination is not valid

NKT and Sectarianism

Another easily refuted smear that is frequently spread on the internet is that the New Kadampa Tradition is sectarian.

Sectarianism is bigotry, discrimination, intolerance or hatred arising from attaching importance to perceived differences between subdivisions within a group, such as between different denominations of a religion or the factions of a political movement.

Geshe Kelsang Gyatso on sectarianism:

At the same time as cherishing our own tradition we should respect all other traditions and the right of each individual to follow the tradition of their choosing. This approach leads to harmony and tolerance. It is mixing different religious traditions that causes sectarianism. This is why it is said that studying non-religious subjects is less of an obstacle to our spiritual progress than studying religions of different traditions. From the book Understanding the Mind.

From the New Kadampa Truth website:

Truth: The NKT is not sectarian because we respect all religions and the right of others to choose what they want to practice, while we ourselves practice the teachings of our Mahayana tradition.

Read the full article Smear: NKT is Sectarian