By Tendar Tsering
(Phayul photo/Norbu Wangyal)
BODH GAYA, January 6: During the course of his ongoing ten-day Kalachakra teachings, the Tibetan spiritual leader His Holiness the Dalai Lama firmly urged his devotees on Thursday not to follow the Shugden deity.
“After thorough study and research, I realised that it is harmful to follow the Shugden deity, so I stopped worshipping,” said the Dalai Lama to the gathering of around 200,000 disciples from 63 countries in Bodh Gaya.
“So, after knowing and understanding the harmful impacts of worshipping the deity, it is my responsibility to urge my devotees not to follow it”.
“But it is up to you whether you still want to continue following it or not. My responsibility is to show you the proper way,” 76-year old Tibetan leader said while cautioning Shugden followers not to attend his teachings as it went against the Buddhist concept of the pure relationship between the teacher and the disciple.
The Shugden issue took a gruesome turn more than a decade back when followers of the deity murdered a Tibetan monk teacher and his disciples in Dharamshala, north India for toeing the line of the Dalai Lama.
Local Indian investigating police had concluded that the accused of the murder succeeded in escaping to China occupied Tibet.
There have been concrete evidences of Chinese government exploiting the situation to create disturbances and un-stability in the Tibetan community since the debate on Shugden surfaced.
The Dharamshala based Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) in a release issued on October 3, 2007 exclusively on its position on the Shugden followers from Tibet had directed the Tibetan Reception Centre not to issue referral letters to those Tibetans coming from Tibet who continue to propitiate Shugden to the monasteries.
According to the release, the Charter of the Monastic Discipline of the Gelugpa Sect, adopted in 2006, “categorically forfeits the enrollment of monks who continue to propitiate Shugden in all Gelugpa monasteries”. This directive, however, did not involve those “who wish to join schools in the exile community”.
“In order to undermine the peace and harmony within the Tibetan people, China provides political and financial support to Shugden worshippers in Tibet, India and Nepal in particular, and in general, across the globe” said the CTA in the press statement.
While speaking to an exclusive audience of over 8000 Tibetans from Tibet, a few days back in Bodh Gaya, the Dalai Lama had clarified his stand on the Shugden deity.
“I heard some Tibetans in Tibet think that I am still following the Shugden and I have further heard some even say that I have not urged an end to Shugden worship,” the Dalai Lama said. “So today, I have made it very clear.”