Posts Tagged 'Trijang Rinpoche'

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).

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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

Lama Yeshe’s Request for Geshe Kelsang to come to England

This is a little bit of history that I hadn’t known about before tonight. It’s now on the Wikipedia article about Geshe Kelsang Gyatso. We are so fortunate that Lama Yeshe and Trijang Rinpoche requested Geshe Kelsang to come to the West and that he accepted.

In Geshe Kelsang’s own words:

When I was in India I received an invitation from Manjushri Institute in England through Lama Yeshe, who was my very close friend in Tibet. He and I were from the same monastery in Tibet and we had the same Teacher. He wrote to me and requested me please to go to England and give Dharma teachings. I received this invitation but I didn’t answer for two months. At that time it was difficult for me to say yes due to certain commitments to local Tibetan people, and also I thought how could I teach as I could not speak English? I had no confidence. Lama Yeshe was very clever; he went to visit my root Guru Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche, and requested him to ask me to go to England to teach Dharma. He knew if my root Guru asked me, then I would agree to go.

The FPMT’s Restrictions on Dorje Shugden Practitioners

New article from the New Kadampa Truth site:

From the FPMT website: “Restriction: FPMT has recently issued a new policy regarding the Shugden practice in accordance with the wishes of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Lama Zopa Rinpoche has expressed the wish “not to have a guru-disciple relationship with anyone who is practicing Shugden.”

Since Lama Zopa is still the nominal head of the FPMT, this means that Tibetan politics has now irreversibly permeated the FPMT. It means that not even Lama Zopa’s precious teachers, Trijang Rinpoche or Lama Yeshe, or their reincarnations, would be allowed to attend Lama Zopa’s teachings.

FPMT members have long accused the NKT of being a sectarian cult. The irony is that the NKT is an open and tolerant organization that has never turned anyone away from a teaching due to their religious beliefs. This religious belief is the 400-year old practice passed down through generations of fully accomplished Buddhist masters, including half the lineage Gurus of the FPMT.

Meanwhile, it is unclear whether or not Lama Osel (the reincarnation of Lama Yeshe) would countenance this latest extraordinary development. He has kept his distance from the FPMT for the last few years. The de facto head of the FPMT is now the Dalai Lama.

Lama Zopa has said this about himself and Lama Yeshe, the Founder of the FPMT:

“Of course, Lama and I practiced Dorje Shugden for many years. That was always the main thing that Lama did whenever there were problems to overcome. At the beginning of every Kopan course, Lama always did Shugden puja to eliminate hindrances.”