Sectarian Rivalry – The Yellow Book by Zimey Rinpoche

HH Ling Rinpoche, HH the Dalai Lama and HH Trijang Rinpoche

Researcher David Kay states in his paper[1]

The young Fourteenth Dalai Lama was introduced to the practice of Dorje Shugden reliance by Trijang Rinpoche prior to the exile of the Tibetan Buddhist community in 1959. After some years in Dharamsala, the Dalai Lama became aware that his practice was in conflict, first with the state protector Pehar[2], and later with the main protective goddess of the Gelug tradition and Tibetan people Palden Lhamo (dPal Idan lha mo), who, as a ‘jig rten las ‘das pa’i srung ma (an enlightened protector), objected strongly to Dorje Shugden’s pretensions.[3] He did not, however, voice his doubts about the merits of Dorje Shugden reliance until 1978 following the publication of a sectarian text by the Gelug lama Zimey Rinpoche (1927-96). This text, which is variously known as The Yellow Book or The Oral Transmission of the intelligent Father,[4] enumerates a series of stones that Zimey Rinpoche had heard informally from Trijang Rinpoche about ‘the many Ge-luk lamas whose lives are supposed to have been shortened by Shuk-den’s displeasure at their practicing Nying-ma teachings’ (Dreyfus 1998: 256). The text asserts the pre-eminence of the Gelug school which is symbolised and safeguarded by Dorje Shugden, and presents a stern warning to those within the Gelug whose eclectic tendencies would compromise its purity. This publication provoked angry reactions from members of non-Gelug traditions, setting in motion a bitter literary exchange that drew on ‘all aspects of sectarian rivalry’ (Kapstein 1989: 231).[5]

Matthew T. Kapstein states:

There has been a great deal of sectarian dispute among Tibetan refugees in India. Much of this has its roots in the works of Pha-bong-kha-pa Bde-chen snying-po [Pabongkha Dechen Nyingpo] (1878-1937), whose visions of the Dge-lugs-pa [Gelugpa] protective deity Rdo-rje shugs-ldan [Dorje Shugden] seem to have entailed a commitment to oppose actively the other schools of Tibetan Buddhism and the Bon-po. While the status of the protective deity was the ostensive topic of debate initially, all aspects of sectarian rivalry have since been brought into play. The first cannonade was the Dge-lugs-pa [Gelugpa] partisan Dze-smad sprul-sku’s [Zemed Tulku’s] Bstan-srung byung-brjod. This was answered, on behalf of the other sects, in T. G. Dhongthog’s Dus-kyi sbrang-char.* The Dge-lugs-pa [Gelugpa] response came not from Dze-smad [Zemed Tulku], but from a disciple: Yon-tan-rgya-mtsho’s [Yönten Gyamtso’s] Gdong-lan. At least two counter attacks then appeared: T. G. Dhongthog’s Dus-kyi me-lce, and Bya-bral Sangs-rgyas-rdo-rje’s [Chatral Sangye Dorje’s] Rdo-rje me-char.* Yon-tan-rgya-mtsho [Yönten Gyamtso] responded in turn with his Brgal-lan kun-khyab ‘brug-sgra. While these disputes were unfolding, H. H. the Dalai Lama disavowed the opinions of Dze-smad [Zemed Tulku] and his followers in a privately distributed mimeographed statement, published later by the government of Bhutan: Skyabs-mgon bka ‘slob. The Tibetan government in exile in Dharamsala has also published a statement of the Dalai Lama’s official position on these matters, Dol-rgyalskor gsal-bshad, and a collection of his pertinent speeches, Chos-skyong bka’-slob. [..]

The Dge-lugs-pa [Gelugpa] sect, both in India and Tibet, has become deeply fissured over the Shugs-ldan [Shugden] issue. During the past several years, the dispute has also become an international cause célèbre , particularly following the gruesome slaying in February 1997 of the principal of the Buddhist dialectical college in Dharamsala, a crime that has been widely blamed on adherents of the Shugs-ldan [Shugden] cult. The controversy has as a result been widely discussed in the press, and on several websites. In November 1997, a special panel was convened to discuss it at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Religion. These developments are conveniently and accurately surveyed in Lopez 1998, pp. 188-196. See now also Dreyfus 1998.)[6]

Paul Williams states in A quick note on Dorje Shugden (rDo rje shugs ldan):

The problem is that Pabongkhapa was renowned for being—or at least held by followers of other schools of Tibetan Buddhism as being—extremely sectarian and intolerant of other schools. The practice of Dorje Shugden was considered at least by other traditions as having been developed as a form of Gelug triumphalism and aimed at bringing into play a Dharma protector for the (magical) suppression of the other schools, or at least their marginalisation. In particular it was considered that the practice of Dorje Shugden was aimed at the Nyingma pa tradition. In the later 1970s and early 1980s there was fierce controversy among certain Gelug, Sakya and Nyingma Lamas in India over Dorje Shugden and his status, which the Dalai Lama attempted to cool down. The material has been published and is available in Tibetan.

The following is an excerpt of the Yellow Book. The Tibetan Youth Congress (TYC) translated this excerpt into English, added an introduction, and published it in 1996. The Yellow Book, Thunder of stirring Black cloud or The Oral Transmission of the intelligent Father, was originally published in 1974 by Tagdrag Uze and Choephel Legden who published also the Collected Works of Lama Pabongkhapa.[7] The Labrang (dwelling) of Trijang Rinpoche ordered 500 copies of that book.[7]

Introduction by TYC

We have been observing the Shugden Controversy more patiently than many people. Basically we find two reasons for it. On the first place it is politically motivated and the second reason is lack of proper knowledge. We are therefore, sending these statements with a pure motivation to help all the parties in the game. Since a great deal of garbage is being trashed out for public consumption, we hope to balance up the record. The practice of propitiating Dholgyal Shugden is a religious activity in our society. So a brief reference to the basic principles of Buddhism should be useful. The Buddha has taught the four noble truths – the suffering, its cause, the path and the state of liberation. In line with this the law of Karma is very basic. So the main message is that you are the creator of your own destiny. You suffer because of your evil actions. The other side of the coin is that you gain peace and full Enlightenment as results of your positive actions. His Holiness the Dalai Lama is our supreme leader and has a dual role, political and spiritual. He wants the best for his people and therefore explained the demerits of propitiating Dholgyal during some of his religious sermons. Dholgyal’s historical tie with the Tibetan government has been negative. So when you worship Dholgyal it brings some negative influence on the common Tibetan cause. In the long-run the practitioner too faces misfortune. We take refuge in the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. But those who worship Dholgyal Shugden fully entrust in him and see him as the ultimate refuge. Dholgyal is at best a worldly spirit. The followers of Dholgyal barely have much respect to the Buddha. From a Buddhist perspective this is a fundamental mistake.

We must also recall that His Holiness the Dalai Lama attaches great importance for religious tolerance and understanding. Personally he had teachings from all the four major traditional schools of Tibetan Buddhism. His respect for other religions is also well documented. Some of his best friends are Christians and Jews. Under the circumstances, do you really find any ground for all these hue and cry of religious intolerance and suppression of religious freedom? Let us be very honest. Therefore we can see the political motive behind the controversy. His Holiness gave his instructions very clearly and openly. There was no coercion or force and you are left to make your own decision. We all expect His Holiness to guide us on the right path. Naturally you are not supposed to blame him for doing his job. We did some research about Shugden and its followers. The late Venerable Zeme Rinpoche was one of the most celebrated scholars of our time. We truly have much respect for his scholastic credentials. But unfortunately he was almost one-sided when it came to Shugden worship. His praise to Shugden sadly contains a great deal of sectarian feelings. His writings naturally influenced his students.

We are producing a few extractions from his works which do not need any elaboration. We leave it upto the readers to make their own judgement.

In these accounts narrated by Rinpoche, you will find that all those who did not follow Gelug tradition and sought teachings from other schools like Nyingma, they were punished by Dholgyal Shugden. Many of them had very short life. If Dholgyal really had such power, why did he allow Lhatsun Rinpoche to live so long? There were many other masters who practiced and taught Nyingma, Sakya and Kyagyu doctrine and enjoyed long life. We have met some old people who knew Lhatsun Rinpoche when he was in his eighties. This Rinpoche, the master, was in a matter of argument the boss and his disciples like Tatsak Rinpoche only followed him. If you really can hurt you hit at the root.

There are many more arguments to disprove what the late Zeme Rinpoche had written. Regardless of religious persuasions human beings all over the world believe in fate. And in Buddhism we term it the law of karma. A popular English saying, “What you sow, so shall you reap”. In a nut shell all those people mentioned in Rinpoche’s writing faced the result of their past actions. And Dholgyal’s role sounds whimsical and imaginary. As a Buddhist, when you forget the Buddha and take refuge in the Triple Jewel no evil spirit can harm you. But when you forget the Buddha and take refuge in a worldly spirit then the coming days will tell you the whole story.

We would like to appeal to all parties to practice patience and understanding. Our nation is facing a very critical time. Religious bigotry has served no purpose in any part of the world. The need of the hour is communal harmony and true feeling of loving kindness.

Excerpt of the Yellow Book by Zemey Rinpoche

Full Title: Account of the Protective Deity Dorje Shugden, Chief Guardian of the Gelug Sect, and of the Punishments meted out to Religious and Lay Leaders who incurred His Wrath

Published: 1973[4]

BQ4890.R37 D93 00


DELHI : 1973



Praise to you, the protector of the Yellow Hat tradition, you destroy like a pile of dust; Great adepts, high officials and ordinary people; who defile and corrupt the Gelug order.

With this quotation from the praise to Dorje Shugden, Kyabje Yongzin Trijang Dorjeechang told me some highly interesting accounts which he had not written for publication. As is clear from the above mentioned praise, the protector has punished those who corrupted the Gelug order. The symptoms were clear with various episodes of punishments from the king, entanglement with the law and untimely death for many powerful lama regents, incarnate tulkus, highly adept scholars, high officials and rich and powerful people. While being followers of Lama Tsongkhapa tradition, they have corrupted it with other tenets and traditions. Since Kyabje Rinpoche told me about these with great compassion it is very precious for me. With these accounts as the basis, I compiled other reliable material and added to the Ocean of Praise to the Protector.


All knowing Losang Palden Choekyi Dakpa was the lord of the Doctrine and from a very young age proved himself as an eminent scholar. He thus had great potential to serve the Dharma and sentient beings. But he did not make the flawless and well established teachings of the Dharma Raja Lama Tsongkhapa as his principal practice. But instead he studied many treasure texts of Nyingma order and did meditation on those teachings. These were mentioned in his autobiography. Dorjee Shugden repeatedly asked him not to do that. He got annoyed with the deity and performed a wrathful and despicable ritual to burn it. Along with other ingredients he put a thanka of deity in the fire. But the fire could not consume the thanka. Then he took out the thanka and put it under the steps of his door in Tashi Lhunpo. Because of those actions, the Panchen Rinpoche became ill and eventually passed away in the water-sheep year of the 15th rapjung when he was only thirty years of age. In this way the Panchen Rinpoche was unsuccessful in his Dharma propagation deeds.

His successor, Panchen losang Thubten Choekyi Nyima Gelek Namgyal too faced a great deal of problems (as a consequence). Because of misunderstanding between his monastery and the Tibetan Government, he had to escape to Mongolia. Later he wished to come back to U- Tsang, but there were unsurmountable hurdles and he could not succeed. At the age of fifty five, in the year fire-ox, he passed away in Kyigudo. A year before he passed away, Je Phaphongkha Rinpoche Dechen Nyingpo came to pay his respects. During that meeting, the Panchen Rinpoche told Phaphongkha Rinpoche that since Phaphongkha Rinpoche was the incarnation of Lodo Balpa, the Tashi Lhunpo monastery naturally had respect and faith in him The Panchen Rinpoche asked him to give teachings and also asked him to take out the thanka of Shugden deity which was buried by the previous Panchen Rinpoche. In accordance with the instructions of the Panchen Rinpoche, Je phaphongkha went to Tashi Lhunpo monastery in the year of iron-dragon of the 16th rapjung. There he gave many religious sermons including the lamrim teachings. He also took out the thanka of the Shugden deity and put it in a shrine in the Tashi Lhunpo and worshipped it.

Phaphongkha Rinpoche composed a text which was a kind of agreement and understanding between the monastery and the deity.

The next Panchen Rinpoche, Panchen Losang Thinley Lhundup Choekyi Gyaltsen was born in Amdo. He displayed various remarkable deeds which were clear signals of his greatness. When he came to U-Tsang, certain impediments delayed his enthronement. Soon after his arrival to Tashi Lhunpo, he composed a prayer to Dorjee Shugden which helped creating harmony between the deity and the Panchen Rinpoche. However, later things changed. There was a statue of Shugden in a shrine in the palace. When it was seen by the spiritual tutor of the Panchen Rinpoche, Yongzin Kachen Ang Nyima, he told one of the attendants to take out the devil’s statue from there. When it was referred to the Panchen Rinpoche, he told the attendant to keep it where the teacher could not see. The tutor disliked Shugden and often told the Panchen Rinpoche that they practice pure kadampa tradition and that if he sought many deities, it could ruin him. The tutor banned the usual practice of propitiating Gyalchen Shugden at Tashi Lhunpo and the oracle karma, too, was banned from invoking the deity. The special invocation during the new year was also banned. Since then many bad omen occurred one after the other. A battle broke between the Shikatse soldiers and the Tashi Lhunpo subjects. The Tutor Ang Nyima himself fell from his horse two times. Several ominous incidents happened during the opening ceremony of the new palace, Dechen Phodrang. Because of these, they had to restore the practice of worshipping Gyalchen Shugden. On the invitation of China, the Panchen Rinpoche left for China in the wood-horse year.

Soon after the Panchen Rinpoche had departed from Tsang, unprecedented flood rushed from Gyaltse. The flooding totally washed away Kunkyobling, the main residential complex for many Panchen Lamas. Yongzin Ang Nyima could not return home and finally succumbed to an insect bite. Because the Panchen Rinpoche did not practice a pure philosophical tenet, unending disasters followed one after the other.


Tehor Zig-gyab Rinpoche worshipped Dorjee Shugden as the Chief of all deities. He completed his Dharma education at Tashi Lhunpo and earned the coveted Kachen degree. Then he went to Kham and propagated the Dharma and became very popular there. He again came back to Tashi Lhunpo and paid his respect to Panchen Losang Thubten Choekyi Nyima. The Panchen Lama became very fond of this scholar and asked him to be the abbot of Kunkyobling. Later the Panchen Lama gave his text of Nyingmapa teachings and some rituals tools. Due to that reason, he studied various Nyingmapa teachings. During that time a Nyingmapa tantric practitioner called Kyungtul came to see him. This visiter told him that if he learned Nyingma teachings he could become famous like the 5th Dalai Lama. So Zig-gyab Rinpoche decided to get teachings on Rinchen Terzod from the tantric master.

Dorjee Shugden on several occasions asked him not to study and meditate on Nyingmapa teachings. And if he did not heed to the deity’s advice, the Rinpoche would suffer from many hardships and could even shorten his life span. But Zig-gyab Rinpoche did not pay any attention. One day Dorjee Shugden was greatly annoyed and told the Rinpoche that, “I may not pierce you with my deadly claws, but if I did, I cannot take them out.” In this way the deity persuaded the Rinpoche to uphold a pure Gelug tradition. But the latter did not pay any heed and said that he has to abide but the instructions of his Lama. Ziggyab Rinpoche rented a house near Lhasa and received many Nyingma teachings and transmissions from the tantric master, Kyungtul. Gyalchen Shugden created a variety of miracles in their presence. So they decided to do a retreat. During that time Prime Minister Sheta Paljor Dorjee suddenly became very ill. So he requested for Zig-gyab Rinpoche to bestow an initiation for him. When the Rinpoche returned home after giving the initiation, he became very ill and after one day he passed away. If Zig-gyab Rinpoche did not practice Nyingmapa teachings and remained a proper practitioner of pure-gold like Gelug tradition, he could have a long life and his meritorious deeds could have spread far and wide. Kyabje Trijang Dorjeechang told me these accounts who in turn has heard from Tehor Losang Gyatso, an attendant of Zig-gyab Rinpoche until his last days.


Phagpa Lha Losang Thubten Mepham Tsultrim Gyaltsen was a great scholar and as such he should have upheld and propagated pure Gelugpa tradition. But he corrupted his philosophical stand and moral conduct and consequently lost his monk’s vow. He thus had to face the punishment by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Thubten Gyatso; and he was deprived of his religious and political powers. Later he lived in his house in Chamdo. One day while he was on his way to the toilet, he fell down and a broken bicycle piece pierced near his male organ and no amount of medication was of any help. After a long illness he succumbed to the injury. He had to face these difficulties, because he annoyed the deity Dorjee Shugden. When Je Phaphongkha was on his tour of the Kham area, he stayed over night at Phagpa Lha’s house. During the night he had a very ominous dream in relation to his host. Je Phaphongkha told about the dream to his secretary, Dema Losang Dorjee. All these accounts were told to my ever kind teacher, Kyabje Yongzin Trijang Dorjeechang by Chamdo Gyara Rinpoche.


Regent Reting Rinpoche had to suffer punishment with the king’s order. The misfortune was caused by the miraculous power of the Dharma protector great Dorjee Shugden. Let me explain. The fourth Reting Rinpoche, Ngawang Yeshi Tenpai Gyaltsen, offered the entire possession of Reting Ladang to the Tibetan Government and requested His Holiness the 13th Dalai Lama, Thubten Gyatso, not to search for the future Reting reincarnation. But His Holiness Thubten Gyatso returned everything back to the Ladang and asked them to search for the reincarnation. Accordingly the search party found the reincarnation in a simple family in Dakpo. This Rinpoche had made his foot prints on rocks. I saw one in the Reting monastery. One day while his mother was away the soup started boiling and overflowed from the earthen pot. So he closed the pot with his shoe lace. He displayed such miraculous powers while he was only a child. On the advice of His Holiness Thubten Gyatso, he was recognized as the 5th Reting Rinpoche and named Thubten Jampel Yeshi Gyaltsen.

He was admitted to Sera Je College where he completed his religious education. When H.H. Thubten Gyatso visited the Reting monastery in the water- monkey year, it seemed that he left some instructions to Reting Rinpoche concerning the governance of the nation.

His Holiness the Thirteenth Dalai Lama passed away in the water-bird year. For about two months the Prime Minister and the Kashag held the responsibility of the Government. After that the General Assembly nominated the Reting Rinpoche, Gaden throne Holder Yeshi Palden and Yongzin Phurchok Jamgon Rinpoche for the regency. The Reting Rinpoche’s name was confirmed with traditional tests were done in front of Lord Avaloketeshvara in the Potala Palace. Accordingly he was enthroned as the Regent on the 10th day of the first month of the wood-dog year.

Thus he held the responsibility to head the Gaden Phodrang, the Tibetan Government. He took particular interest in the construction of the tomb of the thirteenth Dalai Lama and the search for the next reincarnation. He personally went to the precious lake and saw the visions which gave clear signals of the reincarnation. He then recognized and enthroned the right reincarnation of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

Those were indeed some of his wonderful deeds.

On the fourth day of the tenth month of the earth-hare year, the Reting Rinpoche did the hair cutting ceremony of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. In the last month of that year, he resigned from the post of regency after seven years of service. He had the traditional responsibility to uphold pure Kadampa tradition. His own monastery was the seat of Dromton Gyalpai Jungne. Moreover since the first Reting Rinpoche, Trichen Ngawang Chokden, tutor of His Holiness Kelsang Gyatso, the subsequent reincarnations preserved and propagated pure Gelug tradition. Many illustrious Gelug masters including Je Phaphongka exhorted and persuaded him to maintain and promote the stainless tradition of the great Lama Tsongkhapa.But the Reting Rinpoche did not pay any heed and he sought a number of hidden-treasure teachings of the Nyingma order from Tsenyi Tulku of Chamdo. He also received full transmission on Dzongchen from Sangya Dorjee. Thus the Reting Rinpoche departed from the tradition of his masters.

The final misfortune began to show up when the Reting Rinpoche had disagreement with the then Regent, Tadak. The government found evidence that the Reting Rinpoche had plotted against the life of the Regent Tadak. So, Kalon Surkhang Wangchen Gelek and Kalon Lhalu Gyurme Tsewang Dorjee went to the Reting monastery along with their force and arrested the Reting Rinpoche. Headed by Tsenyi Tulku, many monks from the Sera Je college revolted against the Tibetan government with arms. As the tension grew between the Sera Je College and the government, the latter increased its force and an intense fighting continued for days. Under the command of Kalsang Tsultrim, the government army fired at the Reting monastery and cause much destruction.

When the Reting Rinpoche and his friend Khardo Tulku was interrogated by the General Assembly, the latter confessed that they were guilty. The Reting Rinpoche also acknowledged his mistakes and pleaded for a chance to confess to the Regent himself. The appeal was sent through the Kashag with the endorsement of the General Assembly. But the appeal was rejected. The Reting Rinpoche was kept in Sharchen Chog under tight security with the officials, Lhungshar Orgyen Namdol and Rupon Kalsang Damdul in command. While he was in confinement, he suddenly passed away in the night on the 17th of the third month. No outsider had any knowledge of the cause of his death.


A similar case can be narrated about Khardo Tulku Kelsang Thubten Nyendak. Initially he sought teachings from Je Phaphongkha. But later, he corrupted his philosophical view and practice. He received many Nyingma teachings from Tsenyi Tulku along with the Reting Rinpoche. He was arrested with the Reting Rinpoche on the charges of plotting against the life of the then Regent Tadak. Later he was imprisoned in a dark cell with his legs in chains. After four years in jail, he was released during the amnesty announced when His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama was enthroned. After that he was free to live according to his wish, but soon he was passed away. So in short, all his deeds were unsuccessful which was purely due to the miraculous power of Dorje Shugden.


In accordance with the prophecy of the deities and lamas, Kundeling Tatsak Rinpoche Losang Thupten Jigme Gyaltsen was recognized as the reincarnation of his predecessor. He completed his religious education from the Gomang College of Drepung monastery. He had the traditional responsibilities to practice and promote a pure Gelug order. But he departed far away from the stainless system of Gelug practice and received treasure text teachings from Lhatsun Rinpoche and received certain corrupted initiations known as the father’s experience and the mother’s dream which originated from Mongolia. These activities greatly annoyed the king of Gelug Dharma protectors, Dorjee Shugden, and as such Tatsak Rinpoche was accordingly punished. One day he suffered an acute pain in his chest. After consulting many deities and lama, he was told that it was caused by Dorjee Shugden. So, the oracle of the deity was invited and with invocation, he confessed his mistakes with the support of Lhatsun Rinpoche. It was of no help and in that place Lhatsun Rinpoche was scolded for his impure practice. Tatsak Rinpoche’s illness was more serious and he in much pain. So he sent Kundeling Oser Gyaltsen to invite Kyabje Trijang Dorjeechang. Another appeal was made via Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche. I personally witnessed the event. During that time the great Dorjee Shugden said that since he had committed himself to protect the Gelug doctrine, there wasn’t much he could do. However, when such evolved Gelug master is supporting, he would see what could be done. But mainly the whole thing depended on how Tatsak Rinpoche behaved. The deity then asked Tatsak Rinpoche, “What will you do in the future ?” Tatsak Rinpoche wept bitterly and replied that he confessed his past mistakes and promised that henceforth he will stop the practice of Nyingma teachings. After that he recovered to some extent. Because he did not keep his promise, his health deteriorated again. Tatsak Rinpoche then left for India for medical treatment and as well as for the purpose of pilgrimage. He went to a big hospital in Calcutta for treatment. Even that was of no avail and he passed away.


Our very kind and exalted master Phaphongkha Dechen Nyingpo, the holder of the vajra, too, received transmission on the secret Hayagriva and the Great Exposition on Pure Vision by the Dalai Lama from Dagri Rinpoche Thinley Pema Kunsang Chogyal, great mahasidhi Ose Thekchog Dorjee,Gungtul Rinpoche Khenrap Palden Tanpai Nyima, Menyak Rekhu Rinpoche Lobsang Chodak Gyatso and others during his early life. Moreover he received initiation on Dupthap Dojoi Bhum-sang from Gungtul Rinpoche. Later Je Phaphongkha received many transmissions and teaching from Nyingma tradition. In those days he used to have strange dreams. Sometimes he saw in his dreams bearded monks and at other times grandly robed monks showing unhappy moods. One night he slept on the bed which was on the east of the room, but when he woke up he found himself on the bed which was on the west side of the room. One night when he was not able to sleep he heard some strange and ominous voices of a woman and another person shouting alternately around mid-night. The noise seemed to be coming from a distant place coming closer to his home, finally he saw a red hand sticking through the curtain. He thought it was due to the miraculous power of Dorjee Shugden. He confessed and asked to be forgiven and the noise returned the way it came. In the water-mouse year, when the Chinese troops had already entered Tibet, the Tibetan Government decided to do some religious service for the peace and safety of the nation. With the instruction from His Holiness the Dalai Lama, JePhaphongkha gave the transmission Kagyur in the Gaden Hall. Soon after that teaching, he was so seriously ill that he almost passed away. The sickness was due to certain poison. When he recovered, his whole body had become bluish. Dorjee Shugden also used other means to persuade Je Phaphongkha to practice and propagate pure Gelug tradition free of defilements. Finally he stopped taking and practicing Nyingma teachings and did not propagate what he had learned. He kept his promise and maintained pure Gelug tradition. Therefore, during the later part of his life, his Dharma deeds spread even to places outside Tibet like China and Mongolia.


Now let me reveal some accounts of powerful officials who received wrathful punishment from Dorjee Shugden. Surkhang Pema Wangchen became a Cabinet Secretary, because of his corrupted view and conduct his life was short lived. He was born in a noble family which had special links with the deity. From a very young age he was highly talented and well versed in Tibetan language. He was proficient in Chinese language too. If you read his Tibetan poetry, it is enchanting. He was referred to as a pundit. At the age of fourteen, he entered the public service and soon afterwards got promotion. Because of his talent, His Holiness the 13th Dalai Lama became fond of him and posted him to the rank of the Cabinet Secretary. That was indeed a great honor for him and obviously a great achievement in worldly affairs. But he did not keep his family tradition of the practice of Dorjee Shugden worship nor did he maintain a pure Gelug tradition. In the Surkhang family, they worshipped Dorjee Shugden on every special occasion. They observed the propitiating of the deity on the eight day of every new year. When invoking the deity, very special offerings were made on that day. The family used to invite all their relations for the occasion, and after the worship they had a great feast. So, he had the responsibility to practice Gelug teachings and worship Dorjee Shugden. But his views and practice were corrupted and he showed much interest in the Nyingma teachings. Because of his influence, his father Sonam Wangchen sought teaching on the `treasure-text’ from Nyarong Terdon Sogyal and due to that he died suddenly at the age of thirty seven.

Pema Wangchen sought many Nyingma initiations and teachings from Lama Pao Rinpoche. He also sought many other Nyingma Lamas, including lama Tenzin Dakpa from whom he received a great deal of Dzongchen teachings. He reprinted `Yonten zot’ which was written by Kunkhen Longchen. Pema Wangchen had a good relationship with Geshe Sharab Rinpoche. Since this Geshe was a scholar of pure Gelug order, he refuted certain thesis written by Lama Tenzin Dakpa. Owing to Pema Wangchen’s persuasion, the Geshe did not complete his composition. In that place, the Geshe advised Pema Wangchen by way of some beautiful poems that the latter should follow the flawless doctrine of the Dharma Raja Lama Tsongkhapa.

The Geshe further added that he was not sectarian and his instructions were proper. But Pema Wangchen was adamant and paid no heed to what the Geshe said. Because he did not enter the proper path and abandon the wrong one he fell ill as a result. So with the invocation of Dorjee Shugden the advice was sought for treating the sickness. Dharma protector Dorjee Shugden told him to make the statues of Lama Tsongkhapa and his two chief disciples. He was also asked to do many ritual services. On top of that the deity advised him to eliminate the wrong path and exhorted the need to enter the proper way. As he did not act in accordance with those instructions he suffered from another disease. This time he got sores on his body. Thamcho Palden, the physician to H.H. the Dalai Lama, treated him. When one sore was cured another appeared and the pain was excruciating. In the mean time, his son, too, died due to the same disease.Pema Wangchen suffered with the pain and misery of that disease for about a year. With the help of some Lamas, he confessed to Dorjee Shugden many times. One time the deity was invoked and Pema Wangchen confessed. But the deity declared his final decision. Dorjee Shugden said that he was helpless. People like him, highly educated and holding high post in the government, but who did not practice pure Gelug tradition could harm Gaden Phodrang, the Tibetan government as well as the Gelug doctrine. All his efforts, taking medical treatment, performing religious services and engaging in every possible means proved of no help. The punishment of Dharma protector Dorjee Shugden struck and he died at the age of twenty two.


Originally the Lhalu family practiced pure Gelug tradition. But Lhalu Jigme Namgyal entered Nyingma order and practiced the teaching to the best of his ability. His spiritual master was a tantric practitioner who lived in Bari retreat. Along with himself, Jigme Namgyal’s mother also received a good deal of Nyingma teachings. But the master committed adultery with his mother. Yangzom Tsering of Shetra was married to Lhalu Jigme Namgyal. She had much faith in the Gelug doctrine and worshipped Dorjee Shugden as the protector. So there remained a discord between the husband and wife. When he was young he suffered from a disease and was infested with lice. The pain and misery were immenseand finally through numerous miracles of the deity he had to take the long path to the life beyond. Soon his son Phuntsok Rabgyal also died and Yangzom Tsering was left behind. There was no heir to continue the family.


The staff working for the Lhalu family collectively made an application to the Tibetan government stressing the problems in that family. So with instruction from H. H. the 13th Dalai Lama, Tsepon Lungshar was appointed incharge of the Lhalu family. Since the lady in the family, Yangzom Tsering was true to her faith and the deity, there was a clash of faith with Tsepon Lungshar. The man practiced an impure faith as he had heard a great deal of Nyingmapa teachings and received their initiations. Since Lungshar was fairly dogmatic about the Nyingma faith, the lady had to shift the statue of Dorjee Shugden from their house to Tashi Choeling.

Later Tsepon Lungshar was ill for a long time. They saw many evil omens during that time. One day a vulture actually landed on their house top which was considered very ominous. He consulted many great lamas and was told to do many ritual services including Lama Chopa offerings. The later part of Lungshar’s life became more tense as he was caught up in political intrigues. He had some differences with certain cabinet ministers regarding the governance of the nation. So with the support of some officials, he formed his own group and wrote to the Regent, the Prime minister and the Kashag about their proposals. Along with that letter he made allegations against Trimon Kalon. According to another version, Kendung Lobsang Tenkyong and Tsepon Lungshar were jointly commissioned to look after the provisions for the enlarged Tibetan military. The National Assembly had outlined the source of income for the military.

According to that stipulation, the commission scrutinised the estates of the ministers and other high officials. They made good progress, but later they were accused of partiality and favoritism. His colleague Kendung Lobsang Tenkyong, passed away in the mean time. During that political back-stabbing, Lungshar was arrested and put behind the bars. His eye balls were taken out and in their place boiling oil was poured. The intensity of his pain and misery were beyond imagination. The last few years in he prison were most pathetic. Finally he died in prison.


Kalon Trimon Norbu Wangyal got into the public service during the reign of His Holiness the 13th Dalai Lama. He was very efficient and was therefore promoted to higher posts in the bureaucracy. Soon he was raised to the rank of Tsepon. He was chief of the army when the Chinese troops were ousted from Tibet in the water-mouse year and his outstanding job during the time was rewarded. He became knowledgeable in the art of administrations and politics.

His Holiness Thubten Gyatso was very pleased with Kalon Trimon. So later he was appointed as the Governor of Domey with the rank of cabinet minister. He was by all accounts crowned with great success and honor.

Despite his official title and success, he had great faith in the Nyingma tradition and sought various teachings from many Nyingma lamas. He maintained them as his principal practice. These activities annoyed the Gelug Dharma protector Dorjee Shugden and consequently Kalon Trimon became insane.Even when he still had the title of a minister, he did many crazy things. One time he went to the market place and started beating all the cymbals that were arranged for sale. One day he wore a white lower garment, which usually used by Nyingmapas and red upper shawl. In those garments he went straight to see the then regent Reting Rinpoche. The regent said in a matter of jest that he was in the dress of a treasure master. And asked what treasure he had. Since he had many sons, he said, “I have the treasure of human beings.”

So he was out of his senses and did not know what was right and what was wrong. Not only did he suffer, the life for his wife and children were very hard. He did not care for the family property and wealth. He wasted them like anything. So the boys had to leave the home with whatever share they could get. In the process, Kalon Trimon literally became a poor man heavily indebted and at last he had to leave this world.”

(THE LATE ZEME RINPOCHE ON SHUGDEN: Statement on Shugden by TYC, Dharamsala)


Ngawang Chokden was the 54th Ganden Throne Holder and tutor of the seventh Dalai Lama. He is also mentioned by the current Dalai Lama as an opponent of spirit worship in the Gelugpa school. The Dalai Lama said:

“I came across the contents of the work of Purchok Ngawang Jampa on the history of the Three Geluk Seats of learning dealing with Ganden. That work records information about restrictions on Dholgyal. And the biography of the Seventh Dalai Lama Kelsang Gyatso’s Tutor Trichen Ngawang Chogden reveals that during his tenure as the Ganden Tripa, the worship of earthly guardian-spirits on the premise of Ganden monastery was restricted. These historical actions are clearly revealed in the biography of Changkya Rolpey Dorje written by Thuken Choekyi Nyima which records that Trichen Ngawang Chogden when restricting the worship of earthly Guardian-spirits within the premise of Ganden monastery clearly mentioned Dholgyal by name. And the historical record there is extraordinarily clear that the tradition of worshipping them in the Ganden monastery’s premise was restricted and outlawed. It is therefore a matter of common knowledge that we are not restricting the worship of Dholgyal, or have brought up a hitherto non-existent Dholgyal name, totally out of nowhere; rather, there is a historical precedent to our action dating from that period.”[8]

Keeping this in mind and examining the conflict as portrayed by Kapstein”[6][9] and other researchers[10], it is amazing to see how all these tensions, problems and controversial historical developments are perverted or actively denied by Shugden followers up to the claims made by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso: “I would like to ask: what is the problem between the Nyingma and Gelug traditions? There is none. The majority of people from both traditions naturally live in harmony, so why is HH the Dalai Lama destroying this harmony by saying things like ‘Shugdens say you should not even touch a Nyingma document’?”[11]

Instead of acknowledging the tensions and trouble Geshe Kelsang claimed wrongly

“Now, my main point is that people should know that all the present problems regarding Dorje Shugden within the Mahayana Buddhist world have no creator other than HH the Dalai Lama.”[11]

Further Resource Links:


[1] Tibetan and Zen Buddhism in Britain: Transplantation, Development and Adaptation by David N. Kay, page 49, Routledge, 2004, ISBN 0415297656
[2] Since the time of the Fifth Dalai Lama, Pehar has served as the traditional Dharma-protector of the Tibetan state. Pehar has been, and continues to be, consulted by the Dalai Lama and his government on affairs of state through the protector’s chief medium, who is known as the Nechung (gNas chung) Oracle. The importance of oracle priests in the processes of political decision-making may provide a context for understanding the claim that Dorje Shugden should replace Pehar as the state protector. According to ex-monk and popular Buddhist author Stephen Batchelor, such a shift in Dharma-protector allegiance would have given supporters of Dorje Shugden a degree of political influence (interview, June 1994). If the view that he was the chief Dharma-protector in Central Tibet had gained a wider acceptance, it would have been ‘Rdo-Rje-Sugs-Ldan rather than Pe Har himself who functions as the State Oracle at Nechung‘ (Chime Radha Rinpoche, 1981: 31). According to some commentators, Dorje Shugden worshippers within the Gelug continue to harbour aspirations for political power. The most recent declaration of the Dalai Lama regarding Dorje Shugden propitiation has thus been interpreted by some as an essentially political statement.
[3] Palden Lhamo is seen not only as the chief guardian goddess of the Gelug tradition, but also as the patron-deity of Tibet who is ‘very much connected with the cause of Tibetan intependence and the protection of Tibet from foreign invaders’ (Schwartz 1994: 131)
[4] The full Tibetan title of Zimey Rinpoche’s text translates as ‘Account of the Protective Deity Dorje Shugden, Chief Guardian of the Gelug Sect, and of the Punishments meted out to Religious and Lay Leaders who incurred His Wrath’. The book was published in 1973 but not circulated publicly until 1975.
[5] The main participants in this exchange were a Gelug disciple of Zimey Rinpoche called Yonten Gyaltso and the Sakya scholar T. G. Dhongthog, who composed at least three rejoinders to Zimey Rinpoche’s position, one of which was entitled The Rain of Adamant Fire: A Holy Discourse Based Upon Scriptures and Reason, Annihilating the Poisonous Seeds of the Wicked Speech of Dzeme Trulku Lobsang Palden (1979). (PDF) Full bibliographical details of this dispute can be gleaned from Kapstein (1989:231).*
[6] Kapstein, Matthew (2000) ‘The Tibetan Assimilation of Buddhism: Conversion, Contestation and Memory’ Oxford University Press, p254
[7] The Earth Shaking Thunder of True Word by Tenpai Gyaltsan Dhongthog, 2000, Sapan Institute, Washington, p 3 (PDF)
[8] HH the 14th Dalai Lama, Speech to an audience dominated by Tibetans from Tibet on 27 March 2006 during the Spring Teachings,
[9] Kapstein, Matthew (1998) ‘The Purificatory Gem and Its Cleansing: A Late Tibetan Polemical Discussion of Apocryphal Texts‘, History of Religions, February 1989, Vol. 28, No. 3: 217-244
[11] False Accusations Against the Innocent, Geshe Kelsang’s letter to Newsweek,

[12] Two weeks before NKT started the present protests via WSS (April 22, 2008) a group of new editors appeared and changed the related articles by means of deleting academic sources; adding extensive quotes from Geshe Kelsang’s writings; adding quotes from anonymous websites; deleting passages even when verified by WP:Reliable Sources; blocking academic research by labelling them as “heavily biased”; using sock puppets, and applying blocking strategies at the talk page. Since that the NKT related articles, like New Kadampa Tradition or Dorje Shugden, are in a constant process of change. The former articles were collected here.

*Note: The Rain of Adamant Fire was written by Chatral Sangye Dorje Rinpoche, a Nyingma lama. The full title reads: The Rain of Adamant Fire. A holy discourse based upon scriptures and reason, annihilating the poisonous seeds of the wicked speech of Dzeme Trulku Lobsang Palden by the old nyingmapa hermit Chatral Sangyey Dorje (PDF-Tibetan language). Tenpai Gyaltsen Dhongthog wrote a few books on this issue, only one was translated into English, called The Earth Shaking Thunder of True Word: A refutation of attacks on the advice of H.H. the Dalai Lama regarding the propitiation of guardian deities. The first few pages were posted on the NKT thread on e-sangha (page 26) It was published in 2000 by the Sapan Institute and may still be available from them: Sapan Institute, 137 N.W. 205th Street, Shoreline, Washington 98177, U.S.A. A PDF of The Earth Shaking Thunder of True Word by Tenpai Gyaltsan Dhongthog can be purchased from the Tibetan Buddhist Resource Center for $30. Being a Sakya lama T.G. Dhongthog probably knows quite a bit about this protector as it started out as a Sakya protector after being tamed by Sakya Trizin Sonam Rinchen. Sakyapas completely reject the NKT claims that Shugden is a reincarnation of Virupa, Sakya Pandita or Buton. (This additional information as well as the excerpt of the Yellow Book was provided by B.J. from the New Kadampa Survivors.)

last update: Jan 18, 2009