Some messages from the Dalai Lama to the protesters

No spiritual teaching can be taken “at face value,” the Dalai Lama added — a remark that may have been aimed as much at the swarms of protesters gathered outside the Beacon Theater as it was toward supporters inside the venue.

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A new Huffington Post article reports about the teachings of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in New York City and the protests. They quote also Nicholas Pitts (Gen Kelsang Rabten) spokesperson of the ISC (with one sentence) and Bob Thurman; but more important they contacted INFORM, Dr. Suzanne Newcombe, about the protesters. I like to see that because so far most media quoted often 2/3 of their articles the strange allegations made by Nicholas Pitts/Kelsang Rabten and the ISC protesters and rarely – if at all – any academic expert or scholar was asked. On the way such articles lost to inform and to touch the reader with the good message and inspiring heart instructions of the Dalai Lama …

Well done! Well done! Sadhu, Sadhu! Thank you HuffPost!

Suzanne Newcombe is a research officer who has studied the NKT at Inform, an organization based out of the London School of Economics that aims to provide balanced information on new and alternative religious movements. Newcombe said the protests were likely set up by individuals or by front organizations, rather than by the NKT directly.

“Individual members take it upon themselves to protest what they call ‘gross injustices’ being thrust on them because of the Dalai Lama’s policy,” Newcombe told HuffPost over the phone. “His advice against practicing Shugden became emphatic in 1996. Then there was a vote in the major Gelug monasteries not to allow the practice in 2007. But now independent Shugden monasteries have been set up around the world.”

Newcombe suggested that while followers of the NKT may strive to reach enlightenment and “be good Buddhists,” many who have left the movement report that NKT authorities did not allow them the space to develop their own faith.

However, more important is the message of the Dalai Lama. While the protesters have not much meaningful and truthful to say, the Dalai Lama urges the audience to apply scrutiny in checking teachings and teachers:

“Anything that is violating norms of reason or is contradictory should not be accepted, even though it is coming from a high lama,” the Dalai Lama said through an interpreter.

Tashi Khamshitsang, a member of the Tibetan Parliament who attended the teaching, explained it this way to The Huffington Post: “When you find a teacher, judge him by who he is, and once you are certain, then you can receive his teaching.”

In the same vein, the exiled leader also spoke about distinguishing between provisional and definitive truths. Provisional teachings, he explained, are those teachings that masters use to nudge their disciples a little bit further along the path to wisdom, while definitive truths are more absolute.

The key is to determine whether the content of a particular scripture passage “stands to reason and validates experience,” the Dalai Lama said, or whether there is another layer of truth still waiting to be uncovered. The Buddhist leader also applied that reasoning to the perceptions of individuals, which he said will always be subjective.

“We tend to think we are objective,” the Dalai Lama said, “but our perception field is just a projection of our own mind.”

Maybe also the latter is a hidden message from a wise fully ordained monk and Buddhist master to the protesters? A kind hint?

There is also nothing wrong in striving “to reach enlightenment and ‘be good Buddhists'” – though this might not be achieved through launching an slander campaign against a fully ordained monk and revered Buddhist master who is seen by the majority of Buddhists as a saint, a true Bodhisattva; Chenrezig, the Buddha of Compassion in human form.

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