Western Shugden Society: Sowing Dissent Through Baseless Allegations


Today, the 29th of September 2008 will be remembered by most people as the day that the Wall Street bailout bill failed to pass in the US Senate. However, for Buddhists, it will be remembered as the day that the Western Shugden Society officially began its campaign to overthrow HH the 14th Dalai Lama and the Tibetan Government in Exile. Of course, the timing very unfortunate, as talks between the TGIE envoys and the Chinese government are at a crucial juncture. One wonders what the publication from this article accomplishes, apart from maintaining press coverage and the morale of WSS advocates.

The article, does not list any text or other reliable sources, apart from one book, an Ocean of Truth, but doesn’t cite the author or publication date of this apparent source. It doesn’t even say who the author of this latest WSS article is, perhaps preferring anonymity to forthrightness. It simply says at the beginning: “The following information has been compiled from various sources.” Those who wonder what these sources are, of course, are missing the point. Why? Well, really, an accurate or balanced account isn’t the point. It seems that the Tibetan organizations were correct in their summation of the Shugden campaign that was dismissed by the WSS as hateful and libelous rhetoric. But in fact, as we can now see plainly, WSS and its supporters are trying to “Sow dissent and undermine the Dalai Lama”.

Whoever wrote this article didn’t consider very carefully the implications it would have even for the Shugden camp. If it were true that the current Dalai Lama in an impostor, this would indicate two things:

  1. That Trijang Rinpoche, an omniscient Buddha and party to the background of the current Dalai Lama, kept secret something he knew to be a lie.
  2. That Dorje Shugden, at the time of the selection of the 14th Dalai Lama, failed once again in his “duty” to “protect” the Ganden tradition.

But surely, though Trijang Rinpoche may have been mistaken about Shugden, as a monk and by most accounts compassionate person he would not have allowed an impostor Dalai Lama to continue on the throne. The mystifying contradictions only go to once again further the conclusion reached by Tibetans in India a long time ago, that the WSS is “sowing dissent and undermining the Dalai Lama.”

In addition, the latest attempt by WSS reveals another ill-founded and un-Buddhist tactic – manipulation of Islamophobia. After using the headline “Saffron-robed Muslim” in their “information” booklet “The Tibetan Situation Today”, once again the thinly veiled anti-Muslim rhetoric appears in this article, “Taktser was a Muslim village”, and of course the unverified statements (no witnesses, no documents) that Buddhists had to pay Muslim officials bribes “in order to release” His Holiness the Dalai Lama from the Muslim community. Increasingly the prejudices of some in the WSS members, or at the very least the authors of their publications, are beginning to show. Though they claim the contrary, the label fundamentalist is becoming increasingly appropriate for the WSS.

Not content to merely undermine His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s selection by a litany of highly realized lamas as well as the Tibetan government, the latest propaganda aims to manipulate the deaths of two elderly but venerated lamas. Though HH Ling Rinpoche lived until the ripe old age of 80, we are told that his death was the fault of the Dalai Lama encouraging Gelugs to investigate the Nyingma tradition. Trijang Rinpoche, who also died at the mature and venerable age of 80, died because the Dalai Lama decided to give up Shugden.
One wonders how the WSS can claim that HH Dalai Lama and Tibetans who follow him are superstitious when they make such bold, unsubstantiated and superstitious claims themselves.

Clearly, the cause of Tibet, the work of HH Dalai Lama, the stability of the Three Great Monasteries is no concern of the WSS. Only the undermining of the institution of the Dalai Lama and the faith of his followers. It is very apparent that the political aspect of this campaign has shifted into high gear.

Clearly the WSS would have us believe that Serkong Rinpoche, Serkong Dorjechang, Ling Rinpoche, Trijang Rinpoche, Reting Rinpoche, the Ganden Tripa, HH Sakya Trizing, HH Karmapa, Penor Rinpoche, Phakchog Rinpoche and the countless others lamas who support HH Tenzin Gyatso as the 14th Dalai Lama are misleading the public. WSS alone can be counted to tell the “truth” about all Tibetan issues.
Perhaps one good thing can come out of this latest attack: nobody will believe ever again that the WSS is non-political.

For an accurate account of the enthronement of the Dalai Lama, verified by countless venerable lamas including WSS favourite Trijang Rinpoche, see this work:

  • Wangdu, Khemey Sonam (2000). “Discovery of the Fourteenth Dalai Lama. An Eyewitness Account.” In: Discovery, Recognition and Enthronement of the 14th Dalai Lama. Dharamsala: Library of Tibetan Works and Archives, pp. 1-52

Annotation by blog owner

This is the author’s reply to the WSS article Reting Lama – How he chose the false Dalai Lama. The author wished to be anonymous.

For more about the Dalai Lamas see

  • The Open Road: The Global Journey of the Fourteenth Dalai Lama by Pico Iyer
  • Freedom in Exile: Autobiography of the Dalai Lama by Dalai Lama XIV*
  • Fourteen Dalai Lamas: A Sacred Legacy of Reincarnation by Glenn H. Mullin

For more about Tibet’s history

  • The Story of Tibet: Conversations with the Dalai Lama by Thomas Laird
  • The Dragon in the Land of Snows: A History of Modern Tibet Since 1947 by Tsering Shakya
  • In Exile from the Land of Snows: The Definitive Account of the Dalai Lama and Tibet Since the Chinese Conquest by John Avedon
  • A History of Modern Tibet, 1913-1951: The Demise of the Lamaist State by Melvyn C. Goldstein

* recommended by Paul Williams in Encyclopedia of New Religious Movements (edited by Clarke, Routledge, 2005), p. 137