There is a new and up-to-date interview with Thierry Dodin – a Tibetologist – about the Shugden conflict, the different Shugden groups, the role of the New Kadampa Tradition, and about the assertions and allegations of the Western Shugden protesters, that follow the Dalai Lama since 2008 all over the world and protest against him almost where ever the Dalai Lama appears in the West.
Is the Shugden group in fact fighting against religious oppression and persecution and for religious freedom, as they claim? Their campaign insinuates that they are being subjected to massive, overwhelming persecution.
Well, let’s look at it logically; let’s look at the facts: the Dalai Lama advises against a cult that he views as a misguided development within his own Gelugpa School. He does not call for wiping out the group’s adherents or destroying their monasteries, but instead simply calls for a clear-cut separation within the monastic context. The Dalai Lama has distanced himself from the Shugden group, and the Shugden group has dissociated itself from him. Thus, in point of fact, there are no longer any overlaps, no more interfering in the affairs of one by the other. Hence, there can be no oppression either – all the less so when the Shugden group, as for example the International Shugden Community, claims in its flyers that this Dalai Lama isn’t even the right one! Why should they let a “false Dalai Lama” whom they do not recognise forbid – or permit – them anything at all? It just doesn’t make sense!
What we are seeing here is an attempt to dismantle the Dalai Lama’s reputation as a proponent of human rights, tolerance and peace, one that is being carried out with especially fanatical zeal by more recent western adherents of the cult. The question is: cui bono (“To whose benefit”)?
The Kashag (Central Tibetan Administration) released a statement in which they clarify why the accusations of the Shugden protesters, that Shugden people would be denied to have passport documents* is not true.
In seeking legal status or political asylum in North America and Europe, Dolgyal followers could be using denial of religious freedom as an excuse, but the very documents on which they stay in India and travel abroad, is issued by the government of India and endorsed by the Central Tibetan Administration. Therefore, the CTA has neither denied them their religious freedom nor obstructed their rights to live in India and travel abroad.
For example, Chime Tsering, the then Secretary General of Dorje Shugden Devotees’ Charitable and Religious Society, travelled on an Identity Certificate (IC), to the US, issued by the government of India with the endorsement of the Bureau of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Delhi. His Indian Registration certificate (RC) was issued by the government of India with the recommendation from the local Tibetan Settlement Officer of the CTA. Furthermore, Athar Tsering, a former secretary of the North American Gelug Buddhist Association (USA) also travelled to the US using travel documents issued by the government of India and endorsed by the CTA. So do many others Dolgyal followers.
* In an earlier statement (from 2006) the Kashag also made clear that Shugden adherents can have of course education and access to schools.