The Dalai Lama’s Personality Cult and it’s Effect on Tibetan Buddhism
A cult of personality arises when an individual uses mass media, propaganda, or other methods, to create an idealized, heroic, and at times, worshipful image, often through unquestioning flattery and praise. A cult of personality is similar to divinization, except that it is established by mass media and propaganda usually by the state, especially in totalitarian states.
Why do so many people hear spiritual wisdom in his vague witterings, meaningless tautologies and empty rhetoric?
“The Dalai Lama has successfully branded himself as a modern-age (new-age) prophet of overall goodness… In the popular perception (my own included until last week) the Dalai Lama is simply good. If asked just how and why and in which way he is good, what he has done for his fellow human-beings, we may come up with a list of modest achievements, but nothing that seems compatible with his rarefied status.” Joachim I Krueger, Psychology Today, 2013
In 2008, France 24 broadcast a report from Dharamsala where they filmed Dorje Shugden monks being shunned by the local community on the Dalai Lama’s orders. France 24 presenter asked one of their correspondents Capucine Henry:
“So just how taboo is it to criticize the Dalai Lama?”
“It’s completely taboo. Actually our shooting of the reportage was very difficult because we had our camera smashed in. If you criticize the Dalai Lama, you are judged to be a Chinese spy.”
Profiting on his celebrity status, the Dalai Lama has been able to single-out Shugden Buddhists as “enemies of the state” to draw attention away from his political failings in achieving a Free Tibet. Yet, the Shugden ban is set within a broader landscape of political intrigue and criminality as this self-styled Buddhist Pope has used assassination, false imprisonment, and political scapegoating to remove anyone that may pose a threat to his supreme authority.
The cult of the Dalai Lama functions to destroy Buddhism in this world and usher in his own message of new-age ethics. After all, this is the guy that stated that “religion was no longer adequate”, that he no longer believed in Buddhist scriptures, and who calls his own Teachers spirit-worshippers. The events below are testimony to this.
Destroying Tibetan Buddhism
Guru Deva Rinpoche
The Mongolian Lama, H. E. Guru Deva Rinpoche died in exile in 2009 aged 101 years. He was forced to leave India because his printing press published a letter questioning the Dalai Lama’s actions regarding Shugden. Then, under increasing pressure from Tibetans in Nepal, Guru Deva is forced to return to Mongolia.
Imprisonment of Dudjom Rinpoche
Dudjom Rinpoche was one of the important modern masters of the Nyingma tradition, and a great spiritual teacher. After his arrival from Tibet in the 1960s, he gave extensive teachings in Kalimpong and Darjeeling, and he became famous throughout the Tibetan exile community. However, suddenly Dudjom Rinpoche was arrested and jailed in Siliguri, falsely accused by the Dalai Lama’s exile government of being a Chinese spy.
“This is the favourite accusation of the Tibetan government in exile made against anyone who they perceive as posing a threat to the absolute authority of the Dalai Lama. Dudjom Rinpoche became very popular; he became very famous and that posed a threat to their absolute authority. That is basically what an autocratic system is all about. Except for the leader, nobody can be smarter or more famous or more good looking or more prosperous than that particular person. You can’t outshine your ruler. If you do, you have to be cut down to size.“ Kundeling Rinpoche
The Assassination of Gungtang Tsultrim
When in 1964, Gyalo Thondup, the Dalai Lama’s eldest brother proposed to abolish the old Buddhist orders and establish a new religious body in the sole control of the Dalai Lama, worried Lamas rushed to the Karmapa for help and guidance. They chose the Karmapa as their political leader, and thus, a powerful and opposing power to the Dalai Lama came into existence. Leaders of 13 large Tibetan settlements created an alliance called the ‘Association of Thirteen Settlements’. Another large camp from Nepal, led by General Bawa Yeshe, joined them, thus becoming ‘Fourteen Settlements’. Khamtrul and Chogling Rinpoches were appointed President and General Secretary, respectively. Ultimately they prepared to face the Dalai Lama’s authority and for over a decade Tibetans in the exile community continued to be polarised into two main groups.
In 1976 at Clement Town on the outskirts of Dehra Dun in India, Gungthang Tsultrim, a prominent leader of the ‘Fourteen Settlements’ was strolling in the backyard of his house. He was shot several times at point blank range. The power supply conveniently went off, enabling his murderer to escape. The assassin confessed to operate on orders from the Tibetan cabinet. He was paid rupees three hundred thousand by the Tibetan government-in-exile in Dharamsala. He had also been offered money for eliminating the 16th Karmapa, he confessed.
Two Karmapas and the Kagyu Tradition
After the 16th Karmapa passed away, the Dalai Lama used his own power to force the selection of the Karmapa’s reincarnation. The selection has always been an internal matter solely for the Kagyu tradition itself, never for the Dalai Lama’s who had historically followed the Gelug tradition. Of the two candidates, one was born in Chinese-occupied Tibet and officially recognised by the Chinese authorities. The other was born in India and recognised by the Kagyu master Shamar Rinpoche. Shamar Rinpoche’s lineage has been closely connected with the Karmapa lineage since the 13th century, and he has always been considered second only to the Karmapa himself within the Kagyu tradition. The Dalai Lama sided with the Chinese and ‘officially’ recognised their candidate. This decision that caused chaos within the Kagyu tradition, and a deep schism that has turned this spiritual tradition against itself, and at times has led to violence.
“The presence of both Ogyen Trinley Dorje and Trinley Thaye Dorje, the claimants to the position of the 17th Karmapa at Bodh Gaya at the same time baffles visitors to the place even as the two spiritual leaders are engaged in a war of nerves for the control of the all-important Rumtek monastery, the centre of the Karma Kagyu sect of Buddhists.According to experts, the Karmapa tradition is older than the Dalai Lama’s tradition and as such, the sect hardliners do not approve of Dalai Lama’s recognition to Ogyen Trinley Dorje as the 17th Karmapa.
Moreover, Shamar Rinpoche, the second most important spiritual leader of the Karma Kagyu sect, several years back, openly questioned the Dalai Lama’s recognition and said that this amounts to “medieval dictatorial command” and it was not acceptable to him. Virtually calling the Dalai Lama an outsider to the Karma Kagyu sect, Rinpoche claimed that the issue of Karmapa has to be decided by the sect, not outsiders.” Abdul Qadir, TNN Dec 16, 2012
The Defamation of Je Phabongkhapa (Pabongka Rinpoche)
Phabongkha Rinpoche, (1878-1941) was widely considered to be one of the great Lamas of the 20th Century. He attained his Geshe Degree at Sera Monastic University, Lhasa, and became a highly influential teacher in Tibet. He was the root Guru of both tutors of the present Dalai Lama, and the teacher of many of the other Gelug Lamas who have been brought Buddhism to the West since they fled Tibet in 1959.
“Phabongka was famous for his view that lamas should not become involved in politics, which is not an attitude the Dalai Lama can accept, especially from such an important figure within the Gelug Tradition.” Melvyn Goldstein
The Dalai Lama now defames this great Teacher implying that Je Phabongkhapa developed a sectarian bias due to his association with Dorje Shugden:
“In the case of Kyabje Pabongkha Rinpoche, he was, in the earlier part of his life, a practitioner of ecumenical faith. Gradually, he developed a relationship with Dholgyal. Need I say more?” 27 March 2006
Lies concerning Kyabje Ling Rinpoche
In 2013 during a teaching at Gaden Shartse Monastery the Dalai Lama stated that Ling Rinpoche (his late Teacher) had no connection with Dorje Shugden. Yet this prayer was written by Kyabje Ling Rinpoche at the request of the Gelug assembly at Varanasi University for a simple way to do fulfillment, confession, request for activity and serkyem for Mahakala, Dharmaraja (Kalarupa), Palden Lhamo, Vaishravana and Dorje Shugden.
Lama Yeshe and his Teachers practiced Dorje Shugden. Lama Yeshe consulted Dorje Shugden on many issues throughout his whole life. That FPMT was built on Lama Yeshe’s faith in Dorje Shugden, so the FPMT’s roots have deep-seated connections to Dorje Shugden. They may deny the current connections but they cannot deny past connections. If Dorje Shugden practice and practitioners were all evil, then their founder Lama Yeshe was evil, and in this case the FPMT must be evil . But this is surely not the case?
FPMT centres around the world are famous for their ‘witch hunts’ against other Buddhist Traditions and practitioners that venerate Dorje Shugden, or that are suspected of keeping the practice. They think of themselves as some kind of spiritual police for the Dalai Lama. But the real motivation behind them pointing fingers at others is abundantly clear and it is not for spiritual purposes. No witch hunts can be motivated by spiritually good intentions. The FPMT want to look good for the Dalai Lama so they get their support. With more support, more members and more money. Their methods are wrong.
The senior FPMT students met Lama Yeshe first and accepted him as their guru/Teacher before they ever met the Dalai Lama, so they should hold what Lama Yeshe held close to his heart, which is Dorje Shugden and his practices, not sell the FPMT’s soul to the Dalai Lama.
The Panchen Lama Affair
After the death of the Panchen Lama in 1989, the Chinese government agreed to permit the selection of a new Panchen Lama and in 1993 the Fourteenth Dalai Lama was invited to cooperate in the selection process. At the end of 1994, Chadrel Rinpoche, the head of the search team, indicated that, of the twenty-five candidates, Gendun Choekyi Nyima was the true reincarnation of the Panchen Lama.
Chadrel Rinpoche tried to secure Chinese approval of the boy, but “… the [Chinese] government asked Chadrel to submit three to five names for the golden urn drawing.” The ‘golden urn drawing’ is a traditional divination lottery in which the reincarnation is determined by selecting or ‘drawing’ one name from a golden urn containing the names of all the short-listed candidates. In mid-May, before the Chinese government had completed the arrangements for the golden urn drawing, the Dalai Lama suddenly announced to the world that he recognised Gendun Choekyi Nyima as the new Panchen Lama. He asserted that the Chinese government had no authority over this selection by saying, “The search and recognition of Panchen Rimpoche’s reincarnation is a religious matter and not political.”
This naive announcement by the Dalai Lama of course embarrassed and infuriated the Chinese government and Chadrel was sentenced to six years in prison. Beijing disqualified Gendun Choekyi Nyima and used the golden urn lottery to select a different boy, whom the Chinese government formally confirmed in November 1995.
The Dalai Lama’s premature announcement of his choice of the Panchen Lama was a disaster, both politically and for those personally involved. Melvyn Goldstein writes:
“… the Dalai Lama’s decision to pre-emptively announce the new Panchen Lama was, to say the least, politically inastute…. To be sure, it made Tibetans and their Western supporters feel good to see the Dalai Lama exert his authority over the issue, but the price he paid was substantial and the gains were minuscule. In practical terms, … he has in effect relegated the boy he chose to a life of house arrest.
‘… Moreover, his announcement has badly undermined the credibility of the more moderate Chinese officials who sold the State Council on the idea that the ethnically sensitive selection process would be in China’s best interests. It has therefore reinforced the hard-liners’ contention that China cannot trust or work with the Dalai Lama and has set back chances that China will agree to renew talks with him.”
The Secret Society of Eliminators of the External and Internal Enemies of Tibet
In August 1996, this Group made public, death threats against two young Shugden Lamas forcing them into hiding. The threat read as follows:
“Anyone who goes against the policy of the government must be singled out, opposed and given the death penalty. As for the reincarnations of Trijang [the Dalai Lama’s own Teacher] and Zong Rinpoche [another great Tibetan Shugden Lama], if they do not stop practising Dolgyal and continue to contradict the word of H.H. the Dalai Lama, not only will we not be able to respect them, but their life activities will suffer destruction. This is our first warning.”
“Ten Most Hated Enemies of the Dalai Lama and Tibet”
“if the situation was such that there was only one learned lama or genuine practitioner alive, a person whose death would cause the whole of Tibet to lose all hope of keeping its Buddhist way of life, then it is conceivable that in order to protect that one person it might be justified for one or ten enemies to be eliminated—if there was no other way.” Dalai Lama November 1997
Following the Dalai Lama’s statement for one or ten enemies to be eliminated, posters of the Ten Most Hated Enemies of the Dalai Lama and Tibet were circulated around the exile Tibetan communities in Nepal and India. Prepared by the Research and Analysis Wing of the Department of Security of the Tibetan exile government, they were complete with photographs and biographical information, and encouraged Tibetan people to kill these ten innocent Dorje Shugden practitioners.