This blog is operated by Tenzin Peljor (Michael Jäckel).
About the blog
Why this blog?
I saw a need for an informal blog addressing certain controversial issues related to Tibetan Buddhism, Tibet, the Dalai Lamas and Buddhism in general. Since many years now, there is a great amount of distorted, misleading or superficial information online about these topics that are often posted based on active one-sided campaigning, a lack of knowledge, political and personal agendas etc.
For me this undertaking is a deeply spiritual issue. Concepts of an enemy, black and white thinking, sectarianism etc. cause hostility, anger, hate, conspiracy myths etc., these can easily fuel the kleśas (mind poisons) like ignorance, hate or attachment, instead of reducing these. And since the kleśas are the main causes of suffering (according to the Buddha and if you investigate this subject matter carefully) to contribute to a reduction of kleśas by contributing to a better understanding of complex subject matters or by dispelling misunderstandings etc., is something constructive, something beneficial – at least in my eyes.
Why wouldn’t anyone … have compassion for those stumbling with their eyes of wisdom closed and joyously persevere so as to clear away such confusion?Āryaśūra Pāramitā-samāsa
A brief overview about the history of this blog
In the early months of 2008 the New Kadampa Tradition (NKT-IKBU) gradually started to manipulate and cease control over some Wikipedia entries in preparation for their second international anti-DalaiLama media campaign, which started in April 2008. I observed and directly experienced these attempts in the German and English Wikipedia, and covered what I observed here: 1) Wikipedia: Dorje Shugden’s Enlightened Lineage or How to Make ‘History’ 2009/04/15 and 2) Wikipedia und Tibet. There was no real opposition to these attempts by Wikipedia editors with knowledge of these topics. After I gave up on Wikipedia, seeing that media uncritically spread the claims of the campaigning Shugden group and some (BBC UK, ABC Australia) even linked to the already manipulated Wikipedia articles for further information, I felt the need to collect relevant information on websites (www.info-buddhism.com and www.info-buddhismus.de) and to start an informal blog (this one) for informal posts and discussion.
This blog was then created in June 2008 and the first post was one about the Dalai Lama because he was the main target of this international media campaign by the NKT. In order that interested people find quickly this blog when being confused or searching for information about the protests, I gave this blog the name “Western Shugden Society – Unlocked” and the url http://www.westernshugdensociety.wordpress.com. However, NKT devotees campaigned against me on different online platforms, like Flickr, BeliefNet, Wikipedia or WordPress to get my contributions removed. WordPress then blocked the url and I had to rename it into http://www.thedorjeshugdengroup.wordpress.com. (See Blog “Western Shugden Society – Unlocked” Moved to Another URL).
Realising gradually that Tibetan Buddhism and Tibetan culture are extremely complex and have far more difficult issues than the Shugden controversy, a year after I posted an critical post about the silence of Tibetan Buddhists with respect to the abuse allegations against Sogyal Lakar in March 2012, Sogyal Rinpoche and the Silence of the Tibetan Buddhist Community and the Dalai Lama, I renamed this blog in July 2013 to http://buddhism-controversy-blog.com and the title “Tibetan Buddhism – Struggling With Diffi·Cult Issues”.
This new url http://www.buddhism-controversy-blog.com is mapped by WordPress to the older url, http://www.thedorjeshugdengroup.wordpress.com. Since the mapping is not capable to map the urls to files, links to files on this blog will read something like https://thedorjeshugdengroup.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/letter-to-lamas.pdf instead of https:///buddhism-controversy-blog.com/2012/03/letter-to-lamas.pdf. This might cause some suspicion or stir in the future conspiracy myths.
Once I am dead, senile, seriously sick or bankrupt etc., this blog will likely continue to exist for a while but because of not being able to pay the bills, WordPress will turn the url back to the second one, http://www.thedorjeshugdengroup.wordpress.com – a name given to explain the background of the Shugden controversy and the campaigning protesters and not to spread Shugden agit-prop. Moreover, all custom CSS, carefully chosen custom fonts etc. – which I chose to improve the design and typography of this blog – will be lost so that the blog design and typography might look a bit ugly. I am sorry for that.
The problem with the media
Media often lack the background knowledge, time, clarity and understanding of such complex issues as addressed on the blog and very often the media miss to ask true experts in those fields to offer balanced and factual correct information. The blog aims to balance this perceived imbalance in the public domain by addressing different issues and by providing background knowledge or links to sources that offer sober information or at least another perspective. What is been linked is not necessarily the opinion of the blog owner.
I don’t consider myself an expert in any field but rather as someone who tries to understand complex things. Another wish of mine is to protect open seekers from unreliable, less differentiated, semi-true or twisted information that increase ignorance, hostility and attachment. My wish is that the information and links provided here increase understanding and not negative emotions, and that they serve as a condition that people can make up their own minds.
In general I try to avoid the term “cult” because it is a very subjective term. “One man’s cult is another man’s religion”, as someone wisely said. However, sometimes I might use the term “cult” just for the sake of abbreviation or clarity, and then I am referring to groups with a high degree of manipulation, control, coercion, exploitation and abuse or structures that undermine the freedom of an individual, binding him or her ever closer to the group and its leader and making him or her more and more dependent and unfree.
Meditation in Berlin
As an orientation, for people in Berlin who are searching online for meditation classes, I created this site with recommendable meditation groups http://www.meditieren-berlin.de. This sadly is needed since the New Kadampa Tradition (NKT) is one of the first groups you get as research results on google and because Urban Sports Club collaborates with the NKT – even after been made aware that this group has harmed many people.
Meditation in … – the extended version | Update Nov. 2020
The Buddhist magazine Ursache\Wirkung and I started a project, http://www.meditieren.tips, which lists places and groups where spiritual seekers can learn meditation. We list groups which we either can recommend or which we find nonviscous. The aim is to provide a list of safe offers for every major city in Germany, Austria and Switzerland. Berlin, Frankfurt, Hamburg and Leipzig are the first towns in this list. Little by little other cities will follow. In addition, there are book tips and a few short introductory texts or web links on the topic of meditation.
Guest posts do not necessarily reflect the point of view of the blog owner. They are added to allow a constructive discussion from different angles. Most guest posts are written anonymously because the authors wished to be anonymous. However, the real name of the author of any guest post and his or her background is known to the blog owner.
For biographies of guest writers who don’t write anonymously for this blog see this page: Guest Writers.
To receive neutral information about any Buddhist organisation or teacher one can contact INFORM, founded in 1988 by Professor Eileen Barker with the help of British Home Office funding and the support of the mainstream Churches. See also: Reporting Personal Experience On Religious Movements.
A range of mainly academic papers that clarify some of the issues addressed here can be found on this website: http://info-buddhism.com.
- The Buddhist Monk Blogger Tackling Abuse By Gurus by Religion Unplugged (Tenzin Tsagong)
- Some corrections with respect to claims made about me in the internet by Tenzin Peljor
- The Imperfect Buddha Podcast 3.2: Tenzin Peljor is in the house! by Post-Traditional Buddhism blog
If you want to have a reasonable discussion, you could try to follow the following guidelines…
Last edited by tenpel on Oct. 14. 20222, 8:52 CET