Did the Shugden group, ISC, give up protesting against the DalaiLama? Its a bit more complex …

After The Guardian and Reuters reported about the disbandment of the International Shugden Community (ISC), I expressed some reservations in a blog entry (see Some Final Remarks). Unlike many claims made online and in print – for instance on Reddit or The Guardian – Reuters didn’t establish that the International Shugden Community (ISC) – which was founded and is operated by the New Kadampa Tradition (NKT) – is financed by China nor was the defector Lama Tseta a member, supporter or follower of the NKT. The Shugden groups are also not homogeneous and there are many not one.

Did nobody wonder how it could happen that after the official “disbandment” of the ISC on March 10th, 2016 – the commemoration day of the Tibetan Uprising – during the last day of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s visit to Madison, some of the Dolgyal (Shugden) adherents flew a plane with a large banner that read “Dalai Lama Stop Lying” over the venue in Madison in the afternoon? The plane was up for at least 2-3 hours. 3-4 Tibetan Shugden protesters also stood in front of the venue and distributed materials. So are the protests really over and how much substance have the Reuters articles?

I think in the sense of upholding the spirit of European enlightenment more differentiation and more precision is needed. Things are complex and though the misunderstanding that “Reuters established beyond doubt the link between the International Shugden Community and the Chinese communist party” (The Guardian) might settle for most people the Shugden dispute, it is just not correct. In the light of the facts, ’s self-confident claim in The Guardian, “a victory for real journalism” is quite embarrassing.

Nevertheless, thanks to Reuters, thanks to The Guardian and to the very few other international newspapers and journalists – like Foreign Policy – who tried to report about it in a more nuanced and more informed way.

Thanks to everybody – especially the academic experts – who helped to shine light on this diffi·cult topic!

Here is a reflection by Tibetologist Thierry Dodin about this complex topic:


  1. bristollad says:

    It just reminds me of the old advice:
    “When something seems too good to be true, it probably is.”

  2. jigmeyeshe says:

    I think the Reuters article could do with a re read. There was nothing in there that could be taken apart as untrue – it was based on a careful, long term investigation. However, people have made their own interpretations. More than anything, the Reuters article enabled people to trust more in their distrust of the NKT teachers’ campaign in the name of the ISC – actually the fourth organisation as there was an even earlier one as well, called the ‘Shugden Freedom Foundation’ I think.

    Addressing the issues openly in such a well known and reliable publication such as Reuters certainly gave a lot of confidence to the Tibetans and some Ex NKT who organised the protests against the NKT itself in the UK, targetting NKT teachers who had taken part in the defamations against the Dalai Lama. If only for that, the Reuters article moved these issues on much further – and opening the way to more interest from the media in general as to what exactly are the NKT doing when they promote themselves all over the world? It can only help the situation that it is much easier to ‘see’ the NKT now. And it’s precisely that ‘seeing’ that the NKT cannot stand – Neil Elliott, for instance, is no longer teaching in Putney, London. The NKT will shy away from any kind of ‘deeper’ investigation, whether historical or current. Any unraveling is tremendously helpful at many levels.

    • I agree.

    • Reuters is bigger than a publication, it is a top agency which feeds many publications. All articles are fact-checked and legally unassailable, just as was the New Yorker’s piece on Scientology a couple of years ago. You will find the China label sticking to the Dolgyal Tsokpa’s activities pretty much automatically, thanks to Lama Tseta’s testimony.
      Does any one know the origin of the photo meme “Shugden Fanatics” at the below link? The image of 10 shirtless devotees brandishing swords is very powerful. I’m really curious about the story behind the picture. These guys–unlike Len Foley’s crew–will not give up so easily I suspect!

      • An image search on google using the cut out image of the knife people didn’t find anything.
        I remember seeing this image before along with many other images of shugden lamas paid by the Chinese government doing events. This was just one of many images. It might have even been from a pro-China website.

        I’ll keep looking for 15 minutes.

        • Thanks, Goe. There are many interesting images to be discovered using Google translate to into Chinese language search terms as well as Google earth imagery.
          I would speculate the photo is from Chatreng 乡城 or possibly Lithang ལི་ཐང་ in Kham. Ironically, it was not that long ago the PRC destroyed the monasteries in both these places, including by aerial bombardment.

          • The CCP is insidiously stupid when it comes to Tibetans. All they had to do was improve the life of Tibetans and treat them fairly and they could have taken over easily. No one would have complained, why would they? And it would have been easy to improve Tibetans lives with modern conveniences. Instead they play all these convoluted ideological games, torture, and kill the Tibetans.

            The CCP is an oligarchy of retards with very little skill at governing because they’re rich brats and have almost no insight into the minds of the people they rule. They’re more concerned with pride as leaders than the skills that leaders require.

            • The Hindustan Times recent analysis of the current policy of China regarding Tibet:
              “The policy shift follows the declaration by the Politburo Standing Committee after a week-long closed-door conclave in 2015 that Beijing has the final say in recognition of the Dalai Lama. The official news agency, Xinhua, asserted that “all confirmations of the Dalai Lama have required approval by the central Chinese government, which has deemed the process an important issue concerning sovereignty and national security.” An anonymous source cited by AsiaNews quoted Xi Jinping as saying at the meeting that the Chinese Communist Party would pick “the next Dalai Lama, period! If things do not go well, we are ready to take corrective action.”
              The escalation of extreme anti-TGIE rhetoric from the shambles of the “shugden’ campaign, just shows they are reeling from the abandonment by the NKT. Their movement which started in the 90’s has both failed and imploded. No one is terribly interested in the small village politics of exiles in India, except communist ultra-nationalists. Why the mammoth PRC is so terrified of the little mouse Dharamsala is a mystery.
              Pop singer Faye Wong and other celebrities were criticized for attending the 92nd birthday commemoration of the 16th Karmapa in Budh Gaya in a typically smarmy press CPC statement. So much for freedom of religion: isn’t it the cult urban myth that His Holiness the 16th Karmapa predicted the triumphal predominance of Dolgyal worship in the future?


              • China is begging for someone to throw a wrench into their machine. Maybe it’s time for the rest of the world to start doing psychological operations in China the way they have been doing abroad.

            • Just to follow up, this lesser seen VOA Lama Tseta interview differs somewhat from the Boston interview, particularly with the addition of corroborating photographic evidence. Whether one fells the dolgyalpas were disparate bad actors or were united in common cause (past tense), Lama Tseta’s perspective remains pivotal.

  3. There is a new place to discuss the issue of Shugden and other controversial Buddhist topics.

    It’s called Buddhism1 and it’s on Reddit at

    It was formed to provide an alternative for those who have had problems with unprofessional moderation on other discussion sites.

    The subreddit has minimal moderation and when it is fully operational will use non-Buddhist moderators to ensure that there is ZERO conflict of interest or room for vindictive behavior.

    Please come to r/Buddhism1 and speak freely.

    • I had a look. One of the first actions of the forum founder was to ban all other moderators of the redditcom/r/buddhism forum and the reason is because jellomaniac or some others had been banned elsewhere (E-Sangha or Dharmawheel). So jellomaniac founds an own forum on reddit because of having made bad experiences and he collects those who were banned elsewhere but he is doing also what others did to him or to those whom he collects, which is banning people.

      Jellomaniac banned people even right from the start without that they had any chance to discuss.

      Well, what type of improvement is this?

      It sounds also a bit like that Tsem or NKT zealots from very controversial groups want to get their foot on reddit. The term “free thinkers” behind jellomaniac’s name reminds me of “free sangha”, a pro Tsem, pro NKT, pro Shugden forum with Zach Wayman. Wayman is the person who started the vajra storm group to pray for enemies to pure dharma to be pacified.

      However, I might be wrong because one of the links you posted reads: “Car Crashed into New Kadampa Tradition Center. An Ill Omen for the China Co-Opted Dalai Lama Hate Group?”

      Lets see, maybe I am wrong. But my gut feelings warn me.

  4. How many of these posts are about the actual topic?Wouldnt it be better to place them in a more appropriate section?

  5. His Holiness the Dalai Lama in the USA. Are there protesters? Did the ISC/NKT stop the protests? Though the ISC is still a registered charity in California, there are no protests by the NKT via ISC.

    Only about six Tibetan demonstrators in Washington – they were nowhere near the entrance to the Institute Of Peace nor were they noisy.

    Things have changed …

    Carol wrote on Facebook:

    The ‘International Tibetan Shugden Community’ is demonstrating against His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Washington, US. However, their protest is very small and well away from the main events.

    They say the following on their campaign poster:


    We will be protesting at the following locations:

    June 13th, US Institute for Peace, 2301 Constitution Ave NW (location to be determined)
    June 14th, Capitol Hill, (location will be in front of the Capitol Building #9 Green area on the map)
    June 15th, National Endowment for Democracy, 1025 F St NW (location will be on 23rd St)
    Thank you for your support.
    Lobsang Dorje
    President, International Tibetan Shugden Community
    Cell #(617)970-4195

  6. The main distributor of leaflets was Sonam Rinchen, the same Tibetan who, along with Adar Tsering, received and conveyed the Chinese government instructions from Zhu Weiqun to NKT/ISC seniors for carrying out by NKT footsoldiers.So, while the appearance and infrastructure appear to have changed, this now small group of respectful ( and therefore, to a degree at least, respect worthy ) Tibetans are still being manipulated by the claws of the all consuming imperial Chinese dragon
    The legal setting up of the ITSC was done by a Chinese lawyer and she and the ITSC are based in a NY building which is occupied by solely Chinese businesses. Many of the offices, though purportedly businesses, are just used for storage. The building seems to be the home of covert operations for China’s NY consular general.

  7. Hundreds of well-wishers – and a lone megaphoned protester in Sacramento …

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