There is a sect called Dorje Shugden. I only learned about it last week. It came up on my Facebook Page that there was a dispute between them & the Dalai Lama. It seems the Daily Lama & this sect are at loggerheads. Indeed from what I read on the internet it seems that there has been some violence between the two. It is kind of my imaginary friend against yours. With religion of any kind we do have to have to suspend our rational selves somewhat.
Dorje Shugden seem to believe something somewhat different from what one could call orthodox Tibetan Buddhism. But there isn’t a great deal of difference. They seem to believe in magic incantations & magic medicine. Which as I understand Tibetans have traditionally believed in. At the time of the Chinese invasion in 1951, the Tibetans invoked magic to counter the guns tanks & aircraft, the warplanes & the men of the invaders. The system of choosing the Dalai Lama is arcane & it seems to be by a system of dreams & omens. Such is religion. It is full of magic & incantation. There is make believe in religion. Some of it may be true. Who knows? China had Maoism, now it has consumerism. Tibet had Buddhism. It still does, though, really it is hard to imagine Tibet ever being independant again. In fact, there are more Chinese living in Tibet than there are Tibetans & the Chinese have in fact managed to go some way to emasculating Buddhism. Tibet has become, indeed has been for some time, a Chinese province. There is much Western consumerism in evidence in Tibet these days. At least that is what we are led to believe.
The Dalai Lama shouted at a nun of the said Dorje Shugden sect or religion because she asked him what it was he had against it. The Dalai Lama said, this is not religion because it was spirit worship. He also said it wasn’t religion because he had read the scriptures & knew this was so.
Allegations have been made against the Dalai Lama. It is said that he is autocratic & doesn’t brook any opposition. This is at odds against all that we know about him. Well, maybe he is an autocrat. Certainly he is human. Living the celibate life of a monk cannot be easy. The Dalai Lama certainly does well in covering up his own urges & instincts. It can definitely be said that he is much loved & it can be said that he is listened with awe.
Possibly it is a case of the elephant in the room. He never says anything too profound. He says he is a Marxist. Personally I doubt if he knows much about economics, Marxist or otherwise. It seems to me that he saying this to ingratiate himself with the Chinese. In fact, China is no longer a communist country in that sense. China has a capitalist economy these days & people can generally say what they like as long that they don’t criticise the government.
The Dalai Lama does rather indulge in platitudes about having a compassionate heart & so on. He famously avoided stepping on an insect when he was visiting Ireland. He is a monk, apparently. But he doesn’t really live the life of a monk. He leads a simple life but hardly an ascetic life.
It is a pity that he has somewhat besmirched his reputation by shouting at the Dorje Shugden nun. But all it proves really is that he is human. The platitudes that he has spouted are platitudes that are baldy needed. They are clichés. But clichés often hide much truth; besides they are comforting.
The Dalai Lama talks about compassion, about love & respect; stuff like that. Obama doesn’t, Cameron doesn’t. Chairman Mao didn’t & neither do the present Chinese leadership.
But then His Holiness as Tibetans & others continue to refer to him has abrogated his political role. He is the spiritual leader of the Tibetans whatever that might mean. I have never been quite sure what the term spiritual means but I suppose in essence it means loving & respecting others, this emanating from self respect & having a deep feeling that the way is to treat others is with love & respect. The Dalai Lama does have that. I am sure the Dorje Shugden have this as well. There has been some historical trouble between them, that is between the Tibetans of whom the Dalai Lama is leader & the Dorje Shugden. Their leader seems to be called Zong Rimpoche. There seems to be even more of the cult of the personality surrounding him.
It is difficult to know what to make of it. Somehow one had thought more of Tibetan Buddhists. But then, somehow, for some reason, it is harder to be friends with those whose opinions are closest to yours than with those whose opinions are completely different. The Dalai Lama & the Dorje Shugden should make up their differences. The trouble with religion is that it isn’t true. They should make peace with each other. Their little differences of doctrine shouldn’t matter. Essentially they both believe in respect for all living creatures. They both consider themselves Buddhist. They are both Tibetan. They have bigger fish to fry than each other.