Western Shugden Society – Propaganda unlimited

“The Dalai Lama’s expensive Buddhist teachings on the Four Noble Truths inspire a riot in NYC” (Western Shugden Society)

WSS has published an immense amount of YouTube Videos. The last wave of publications was organized in a manner that they offer either no comments or just one or two comments supporting their own policy, and then the comments section was closed, so that no further comments by others are possible. Sometimes the same videos have been published a second time.

A very good example of the spin doctor PR tricks of WSS/NKT is the video:

As it has been already stated in Western Shudgen Society – The Spin Doctors, the way WSS/NKT operates is

  • taking some events
  • exaggerating them
  • then take them out of context
  • show only a very one-sided perspective which lacks understanding of the complex and complete situation
  • make a mix of some truths, untruths and semi-truths
  • don’t mention facts which offer a different perspective
  • present a story which shows that Shugden followers are pure and peaceful beings but innocently persecuted by an aggressive mob or an evil oppressor
  • use words which put down the other side as being hostile or ill-minded

All this can be easily seen in the WSS-video Riot After Dalai Lama’s Teaching in NYC.

The term “riot” suggests an uncontrolled “mob” – the latter a term also put into world wide media usage by WSS on other occasions. On the video cited one can see only a few angry Tibetans and how other Tibetans try to calm down those few Tibetans who are upset. In the beginning the video celebrates how expensive the fees were but does not say that the profit made was donated to charitable purposes which was the plan from the beginning:

The profits from the teachings, about $158,500, will go to benefit the broader NYC Himalayan community. 40% will go to fund a Sherpa Cultural Center. 30% will go to fund a Tibetan Cultural and Language School. The remaining 30% will go to the Himalayan Buddhist Community Buddha Jayanti Celebration Fund.”

So keep in mind that this was a fund raiser for the Himalayan Buddhist Community’s benefit. The organisers put it all together and invited the Dalai Lama (who taught for free, of course) and took the risk. [..]

At all Buddhist teachings of HH the Dalai Lama the income and costs are revealed at the end of the teachings, and if there is a surplus it is publicly announced for what charity work this money is donated. For decades the policy of HH the Dalai Lama has been that ticket fees should just cover the organising costs and should be as low as possible. For monks and nuns the teachings are often free.

HH the Dalai Lama always delivers his teachings for free – they are often downloadable at his website, except where the organisers have copyright agreements with firms for the sake of reducing the ticket price.

On the shoulder of the organisers lies the burden of the great risk not to be able to pay for all the things such events cost, including security, insurance, venue rent, etc.

The WSS YouTubeVideo deliberately libels Tibetans and the Dalai Lama – he had “riled up” Tibetans – by spinning the facts. Moreover if – how WSS claims – “a mob of Thousands of Thousands” spat on them, isn’t this a clear sign that they have no support from the Tibetan community? So for whose right or freedom they are fighting?

It appears that WSS first tramples on the wounded soul of Tibetans and then happily shows pictures that some got upset. What a victory…

The methods and reasons WSS/NKT applies are not different from that of communist China’s leadership. They also wanted “to help” the Tibetans by “giving freedom” from the “persecution of the Dalai Lama” or “feudalism”. But no Tibetan asked them for their help or to be “liberated” by them. The “liberty” fight of China was based on the fundamentalist beliefs and greed of Mao, likewise the “liberation” project of Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, who is the person who initiated these protests, is based on his own fundamentalist beliefs and hostility towards the Dalai Lama, and as the Chinese forbid pictures and veneration of the Dalai Lama, Geshe Kelsang has likewise actively banned the veneration of the Dalai Lama and his pictures in his centres.

That some Tibetans are upset being faced with PRC-propaganda-like “liberators” may be understandable. WSS are bashing their sole hope. Those Tibetans traumatised by real persecution, torture and terror, it may be understandable that it is hard to bear for them to be faced with such a situation.

As O’Brien has put it: “At a time when the majority of monks from Lhasa’s three largest monasteries are in prison or detention camps, and possibly being tortured, it shouldn’t be hard to understand why some Tibetan Buddhists might be infuriated by the Shugden protesters, as His Holiness’s Radio City audience was. The Shugden cult is undermining the fragile coherence of the Tibetan diaspora and the future of Tibetan Buddhism itself. And for what?”

Or as monk Khedrub puts it:

The WSS, if we include the demonstrations that took place in the mid-1990s has been following the Dalai Lama around at over 10 teaching events. The Tibetans have shown restraint at every single one. Though there was some inappropriate behaviour THIS ONE TIME, those who tossed bottles etc. were in the small minority of Tibetans speaking out. The majority, though spirited, remained behind the barricade and simply yelled (as did the WSS) their opinion.

My friend who attended the Dalai Lama’s teachings in the UK told me that the protest of the WSS was so loud people had problems hearing the dharma talk. So, really, the WSS has been trying to shut down the teachings.

The Tibetans are understandably emotional. In their country, they are not permitted to hear the Dalai Lama’s talks, and are forced to step on his picture in front of Chinese authorities. They come to the West to try and start a new life, seperated from what is familiar. In what for many may be their first reunion with their Spiritual Leader in years, his teachings are interrupted by the shouting of Westerners and a handful of Tibetans. People who, from the statement above, and the websites I gave, see no problem in working with the Chinese.

Open letter from Geshe Kelsang Gyatso to Tom Burton, Executive Editor, The Sydney Morning Herald

Nov. 2002

In October 1998 we decided to completely stop being involved in this Shugden issue because we realised that in reality this is a Tibetan political problem and not the problem of Buddhism in general or the NKT. We made our decision public at this time – everyone knows the NKT and myself completely stopped being involved in this Shugden issue at all levels.

I can guarantee that the NKT and myself have never performed inappropriate actions and will never do so in the future, this is our determination. We simply concentrate on the flourishing of holy Buddhadharma throughout the world – we have no other aim. I hope people gradually understand our true nature and function.

There is no ‘Buddhist Taliban’ – such a thing is merely your own creation.

April 2008

My Dear Students,

I need help from you to solve the Dorje Shugden problem created by the Dalai Lama. Right now the Dalai Lama is removing the Tibetan Shugden worshipers from the Buddhist community saying that Shugden worshipers are not Buddhist because they worship an evil spirit – Shugden. At the same time he is preparing to remove western Shugden worshipers from the Buddhist community with the same reasons. His aim is to destroy the pure lineage of Je Tsongkhapa´s doctrine. To stop this evil action, as the representative of the Western Shugden Society, I personally will organise demonstrations against the Dalai Lama directly. I requested Kelsang Pema and Kelsang Thubchen to do this job for me and they have accepted.

Please help Pema and Thubchen with whatever they need.

With much love and prayers

Geshe Kelsang Gyatso

August 2008

“The Dalai Lama’s expensive Buddhist teachings on the Four Noble Truths inspire a riot in NYC” (Western Shugden Society)

“Demonstrators Evacuated By Police After Mob of Thousands of Hostile Dalai Lama Supporters Surrounds Them” (Western Shugden Society)

“If this intense reaction and mob mentality is the result when a few people publicly question the Dalai Lama’s actions on American soil with police present and western laws, imagine how difficult it is for these people to speak up against their unelected leader in the Tibetan community in exile.” (Kelsang Pema)

“Thousands of supporters of the Dalai Lama shouted and “spit” on a group of demonstrators belonging to a Buddhist sect which alleges that the Tibetan spiritual leader is persecuting its members, forcing the police to intervene to prevent clashes between them.” (Western Shugden Society)

As Geshe Kelsang Gyatso wished in the Open Letter:

I hope people gradually understand our true nature and function.

May they understand.

see also