Posts Tagged 'robert thurman'

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

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Shugden Worshippers – The Buddhist Taliban?

When I first saw this article, I thought it was Robert Thurman’s response to the open letter from the Western Shugden Society. The title of the article is “Shugden Worshippers – The Buddhist Taliban” on a website called unmadeinchina. Robert Thurman has become infamous among Shugden practitioners for his statement in Newsweek in 1997: “It would not be unfair to call Shugdens the Taliban of Tibetan Buddhism.”

The article doesn’t actually say who the author is, but the intentions of this article are clear. It is attempt to brew hatred in the minds of Tibetans toward the NKT and Shugden practitioners in general by using the hatred many Tibetans already have toward the Chinese.

Here’s a few quotes from the article

In 1991, a senior monk named Kelsang Gyatso established a new Dorje Shugden order based in England, calling it the New Kadampa Tradition. (The NKT does not consider itself a form of Tibetan Buddhism.) The practice promised spiritual rewards for cash, which helped trigger problems with the Dalai Lama. Shugden can basically be considered a revival movement within the Geluk tradition. Shugden is considered the protector, not just of individual practitioners, but of the integrity of the Geluk tradition as conceived by its most conservative elements – for which they have been called “the Taliban of Buddhism.”

This smear that the NKT encourages people to give their money to the organization has been refuted many times. Who in the NKT has ever said practitioners could receive spiritual rewards for cash?

Chinese “Buddhist” organizations connected with NKT – such as the Buddhist Association of China (BAC) – use the agency New China to proclaim H.H. the Dalai Lama to be a “superstitious dictator” who holds his people in subjugation.

Where do they get this stuff? I’ve been involved in the NKT for 7 years and I’ve never even heard of the Buddhist Association of China before. If this was true, wouldn’t it be important for them to show some evidence of this connection? It is not true. So there is no evidence.

Not only that, but the Western Shugden Society calls the Dalai Lama a “religious dictator” not a “superstitious dictator”.

Could followers of Shugden have “infiltrated” the famous March 2008 clashes in which the Chinese alleged that some overexcited “monks” acted in ways that are in complete antithesis to Buddhism, but which are advocated by Shugden? Certainly, a fundamentalist sect which trains young monks – especially ones who may be open to using violence is very convenient for the forces of the Chinese occupation.

What will happen to Tibet if the non-violent Buddhism preached and defended by the Dalai Lama dies out and Shugden fundamentalism takes root?

Shugden’s mask may hide an even more terrible one: that of the CCP and of Hu Jintao. And His Holiness the Dalai Lama may be man they are trying to crush.

Can you believe that they are actually blaming Shugden practitioners for the March riots in Tibet? Everyone knows that it’s the Dalai Lama’s followers who hate the Chinese and engage in violent behavior towards them.

They accuse Shugden practitioners of both siding with China and fighting against them. It seems that Shugden practitioners have become the scapegoat for all the problems of the Tibetan Government in Exile.

Smear: NKT is sponsored by the Chinese Government

False Accusations Against the Innocent

There are many followers and representitives of the Dalai Lama who wish to make Shugden practitioners look like evil (violent) spirit worshippers in the public eye. However, there is no evidence that Shugden practitioners are violent or spirit worshippers.

So how can they make Shugden practitioners look like evil spirit worshippers without any evidence? Make it up.  And that’s exactly what they do.

The prime minister of the Tibetan Government in Exile, Samdhong Rinpoche recently said:

The Shugden and the Chinese are obviously allies…Their cults all over the world are financed by the Chinese…people are afraid of Shugden violence. They are like terrorists, they will stop at nothing, everyone knows this.

Have they provided any valid evidence that Shugden practitioners and the Chinese are allies or that Shugden practitioners are financed by the Chinese? No. These are just negative accusations that have no evidence supporting them.

There are millions of Shugden practitioners all over the world and the only evidence the Tibetan Government in Exile has to support that Shugden practitioners are violent is the murders of Lobsang Gyatso and his two attendants in 1997. No one has been convicted for these murders, and there is no valid evidence linking these murders to Shugden practitioners. Yet Samdhong and other Tibetan officials repeatedly claim that Shugden practitioners are violent in nature. Their inability to provide any valid evidence of this violence, in fact, proves the opposite. It proves that they are lying in an attempt to destroy the reputation of Shugden practitioners worldwide.

In a 1997 Newsweek article Robert Thurman said:

It would not be unfair to call Shugdens the Taliban of Tibetan Buddhism.

This statement proves one thing. That Robert Thurman will say absolutely anything on behalf of the Dalai Lama. Even if it means telling blatant lies.

A German Newspaper recently stated that Shugden practitioners engage in animal sacrifice. This accusation is about as ridiculous as Robert Thurman’s accusations in 1997. The “religious expert” who is the source of this accusation wished to remain anonymous.

From the New Kadampa Truth site:

We might ask what such an “expert” is scared of. To appear to be manipulated by the Dalai Lama’s Private Office? To be sued for libel? When asked for evidence or even instances of Shugden practitioners sacrificing animals, the journalist could not give any. This was not the most rigorous example of “investigative journalism”.

It appears that the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan Government in Exile follow the view of the Russian communist leader Vladimir Lenin, who said “A lie told often enough becomes truth”.