Reviews of ‘A Great Deception – The Ruling Lama’s Policies’

A Great Deception - The Ruling Lama's Policies

Below are some of the best reviews of A Great Deception – The Ruling Lama’s Policies from The book is now available in the US from the Independent Publishers Group. If you’ve read the book, feel free to post your own review in the comments section below or better yet write your own review on

Review by Michael-James B. Weaver

This book advocates a spiritual solution to a political problem that has plagued Tibetan society for the past 15 years, the Dorje Shugden controversy. Walking in the footsteps of the Buddha, high Lamas should renounce involvement in political affairs. Buddha spoke of his renunciation in this way: “Bodhisattvas should follow my example. I renounced my kingdom and attained complete enlightenment. You must be aware of how close the relationship between renunciation of the world and the eventual attainment of supreme enlightenment is.” Buddha’s father offered to abdicate the throne in favor of his son’s rule, to which Buddha replied, “Father, I am no longer the son of one family, one clan, or even one country. My family is now all beings, my home is the Earth, and my position is that of a monk who depends on the generosity of others. I have chosen this path, not the path of politics. I believe I can best serve all beings in this way.”

It is readily apparent throughout this book that the Western Shugden Society is *no* fan of Communist China, a “totalitarian regime” that “invaded” Tibet and has now “occupied” it for more than 50 years. Still, primary blame for the “catastrophic decline” of Buddhadharma in Tibet over the past few hundred years, which ultimately precipitated the loss of the country to the Chinese, rests solely on the unholy mixing of religion and politics which the book calls ‘Lama Policy’. The current Dalai Lama’s political ambition to become the unprecedented spiritual head of all Tibetan Buddhists, his unfailing adulation of Mao, and his fascination with ‘half-Buddhist, half-Marxist’ communism (seriously retarding his exile government’s democratization) are all given heavy treatment in the book. Many Tibetans feel personally betrayed by the Dalai Lama, who unilaterally handed over the cause of Tibetan independence to the Chinese as early as the 1980s, without consulting either the Tibetan parliament or his people. Once Tibetan nationals started to realize that their hopes for a ‘Free Tibet’ had been ruined, the Dalai Lama’s scapegoating of Dorje Shugden practitioners began… and for the past 15 years this clintonesque misdirection has worked amazingly well, albeit to the detriment of the Tibetan exile community’s internal trust, peace, and harmony.

The book puts forth a most intriguing thesis, which is touched on throughout various chapters as it retraces the history of the Dalai Lamas; the implications will be earth-shattering for many Tibetan Buddhists, yet liberating for many others including myself. That is, “a great deception” has been perpetrated since the death of the Fourth Dalai Lama, in that no one who has carried this title since–from the Fifth to the current Fourteenth–has actually fulfilled the First Dalai Lama’s promise to his root Guru, Je Tsongkhapa, who was the founder of the Gelugpa tradition: “From now until I attain enlightenment I shall seek no refuge other than you… I pray that, with my mind free from the influence of attachment and hatred, I may strive to maintain your doctrine and cause it to flourish without ever giving up this endeavor” (translation in the book Heart Jewel by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso). The first four Dalai Lamas are presented as pious, holy men who lived “exemplary lives of pure moral discipline and spiritual practice,” and so there is no doubt about their authenticity.

In sharp contrast, the so-called Fifth Dalai Lama’s military escapades (including sectarian suppression of the Jonang, Kagyu, and Bön traditions), political intrigues (including the assassination of his spiritual ‘rival’, Dragpa Gyaltsen), and abhorrence of his root Guru the Panchen Lama call into doubt whether he was really the reincarnation of the Fourth Dalai Lama at all. Rather, “Many Gelugpa lamas believe that Dragpa Gyaltsen, and not Losang Gyatso, was the actual incarnation of the Fourth Dalai Lama and that when Dragpa Gyaltsen died he became a Protector of Je Tsongkhapa’s Ganden tradition” (i.e., he manifested as Dorje Shugden). Indeed, it would be interesting to know how pervasive this interpretation is amongst contemporary Shugden Lamas, because it helps to explain so much, for example, why the earliest rituals to Dorje Shugden identified him as an emanation of Avalokiteshvara (see the Dorje Shugden History website), and why it is that the Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh, and Twelfth Dalai Lamas weren’t particularly noteworthy, to say the least.

The book is a damning account of the Fifth, Thirteenth, and current Dalai Lamas’ theocracies and their failures as political and spiritual leaders. And, although the book is heavily sourced, it is intended merely as a starting point for journalists and scholars to dig even deeper. In a sense, exposing the Dalai Lama’s “open secrets” to the world in this way is like giving us permission to look past the facade and not feel blasphemous for doing so: the authors invite the world again and again to scrutinize the Dalai Lama’s actions just as they would any politician, and not be mesmerized by the celebrity of this ‘simple Buddhist monk’. For these Tibetan Buddhists, the Dalai Lama can no longer hide behind the mask of Avalokiteshvara, the Buddha of Compassion, for his actions simply do not merit it: even the current Dalai Lama’s militant campaigns, political intrigues, and abhorrence of his root Guru (whom he never acknowledges) are laid bare, a haunting replay of the Great Fifth’s samsaric life.

Nevermind the fact the Dalai Lama has never had the ecclesiastical authority to ban prayers to Dorje Shugden, what this book makes transparent is that neither does he have the *moral* authority. Of course, the Dalai Lama’s Buddhist teachings and lectures are spectacular, which is a testament more to the wisdom and kindness of his unsung Spiritual Guide, Trijang Rinpoche, a Dorje Shugden practitioner who arguably was the greatest Tibetan Buddhist master of his generation. The Dalai Lama often says that we have to choose between himself or Dorje Shugden, which in effect amounts to choosing either the Dalai Lama or the late Trijang Rinpoche; for many Shugden practitioners this has been a difficult but clear choice, and this book makes it crystal clear.

Review by Aaron Pearson

What a fantastic read. I couldn’t put this book down. Once you get past the first couple of chapters, which makes some quite strong accusations against the Dalai Lama and his `religious ban’ on a group of Buddhists, the book starts to unravel the background behind these claims – and there’s a lot of information to back them up. The book has almost 400 references to various resources so it does seem pretty credible after all.

The book gives a lot of interesting facts about the previous Dalai Lamas, a lot of which I didn’t know about. Particularly interesting was the chapter on the present Dalai Lama, with new information about his escape from Tibet, about his dealings with the CIA, and other things like the fact that members of his family are part of his Government – it’s quite an eye-opener.

The main point of the book is to put pressure on the Dalai Lama to stop his ban against Buddhists who follow a deity called Dorje Shugden. I understand that he claims there is no ban, but when I looked into some of the references in the book I found some video footage of the Dalai Lama referring to the ban as `his’ – see the Western Shugden Society website, under ‘videos’. On the same website I also found some footage from a TV News Channel of a Buddhist monk being refused entry to a local shop because he is a follower of Dorje Shugden. With all these claims I read saying that there is no ban, this type of evidence seems pretty hard to ignore. It seems like a pretty clear cut case of religious discrimination when you can’t even go into a shop and buy some groceries because of your religious beliefs!

What I came away with was a feeling that the image of the Dalai Lama I had previously was a bit superficial. I knew he’d won the Nobel Peace Prize, that he is the head of the Tibetan Government etc. and on that basis I had him down as a good guy, fighting for World Peace, but I now realise I didn’t really have anything to back this up with. This book takes things to a whole new level. There are pictures of him shaking hands with Chairman Mao, with ex-Nazi SS soldiers, with the Aum Cult leader (responsible for the Japanese train gassing) and more. Now I’m not saying I think he’s a Nazi, but when you put all of this together, my image of him being a ‘holy man’ is now looking a bit dubious. Well, that’s my take on it anyway.

I would recommend this book to anyone who likes a bit of controversy and to anyone who is interested in finding out about the Dalai Lama’s background – everything other than what he would want you to know of course. And to anyone who won’t read the book because they don’t feel comfortable that the ‘holy’ Dalai Lama is finally being brought into disrepute, if this information is true, you might want to think about the suffering of the Buddhists in Tibet who are being discriminated against – if we continue to turn a blind eye to these types of reports, then maybe no one will ever find out the truth behind these claims?

Review by C. Poulengeris

I read this book really carefully and I think it is excellent. For a long time Tenzin Gyatso (14th Dalai Lama) has been doing whatever he likes with very little scrutiny from Western observers. Anyone who should dare to criticise the Dalai Lama is usually just attacked. Far better to investigate the complaints to see if they hold water. In this book the Dalai Lama’s most serious failings are exposed. It is a little bit like the story of “The Emperor’s New Clothes”.

In any case, I would recommend this book because it is very well researched with a lot of documentary evidence. It has cast iron evidence of

1. His links to the CIA
2. His shady, shady finances. This guy has received hundreds of millions of dollars over the years for “Tibetan Independence”. Everyone knows that the Dalai Lama (against the wishes of many Tibetans themselves) gave up on Tibetan Independence years ago. What has happened to the money. It certainly hasn’t been used for the benefit of alleviating poverty amongst Tibetans!
3. How he is attempting to divide and weaken the Gelugpas (by attacking the worship of a popular deity called Dorje Shugden) so that they will then join his “Rime” (Ecunemical) movement. (The Rime movement by the way never existed until recent times, invented by, yes the 14th Dala Lama)
4. His utter failure to do anything whatsoever either for Tibet or for Tibetans in general (above and beyond some serious nepotism regarding his close family)
5. His disrespect for his own Spiritual Guide (His Holiness Trijang Dorjechang). There is documentary evidence where he says that HH Trijang Dorjechang was wrong to worship Dorje Shugen. According to Mahayana Buddhism ANYONE who directly criticises their own Spiritual Guide is creating heavy negative karma.

It is, I believe, very well researched and accurate.

Anyone who may find it hard to believe that the Dalai Lama is fallible should read this book. It exposes the Dalai Lama’s failings. As Abraham Lincoln said: “You can fool some of the people all of the time, and all of the people some of the time, but you can not fool all of the people all of the time.”

An excellent book.

4 responses to “Reviews of ‘A Great Deception – The Ruling Lama’s Policies’

  • Thomas Canada

    As I suggested that perhaps Gandan and NKT, send as many monks from India and the world’s centers and elsewhere to Indiana. How much could it cost to charter a Jumbo Jet directly or ask the PRC to lend us one and take the Monks from India to Indiana.Imagine a Jet landing at the Bloomington Airport with the Red flag and five gold stars?
    Where they can all retreat to Kunten Lama’s Hill, and secure the Oracle from whom we know are suspect. Three Hundred or more by the time we are done, fill the Green Hills of Southern Indiana with Saffron_Life Blood Red commited to confront the Dalia Lama with the legalities of a Protest Permit.
    Two thousand Chinese might join to shout in unison Be a Lama or Shut Up, something like that.
    We have something like four months to make the applications and obtain the visas. Make a stink, if the try and deny it. Anyway you shake it we come out on top.
    It is only a question of going there!
    National News coverage would be gurarnteed. Why Bloomington?
    It’s small, it is non confrontational, unless the Dalia people start it.
    It’s accessible and free spirited.
    Here as I say, we could make a stand without endangering anyone as the Cult tried on the protestors in NY last year.
    Meet the Dalia on Western American Ground and we’ll see if he has the guts to say what he did in India a few days ago.
    It is possible if others are willing to go to the trouble to make this man less than a king in a democracy.
    Stand the ground, he has tossed out the Challenge, by just going there.
    No matter what his pretense, he is after the Kunten and the Monasteries that flourish there and elsewhere, due to these monks hard work over just a few years is remarkable within itself. But bring the Monks and Lamas from the monastery in India to Indiana and make them one. We then can Turn the Wheel Of Dharma To The West As One We Turn Together and Seal and Protect In Indiana. We must defend oneself ane one’s friends,this place is a Good Place to Stand the Ground that Dalia tries to desecrate. Surely no one is naive that he attacks on holy ground and then makes plans to challenge the Protector in Indiana.
    Bring India to Him.
    Otherwise, what is the point of even having a Sangha?
    Global Challenge, who can decide and who can move this along if it resonnates. We can move fast, remember we built Lord Shugden Monastery in Indiana in slightly less than six months and we now know more than we did then. We could pull this together. Say the word and say you’ll come and all the rest will follow like honey from the cone.
    We have to make a stand and in the clear light of day within protected halls within the Highlands of Southern Indiana. Here all can see without distractions the clarity of our position and smallness of his own.

    Write the People in China and ask for a Jet to carry our Warriors of Shambala from across the world to the southen hills of Indiana.
    We are making history and Western Shugden Society challenges ourselves and everyone else to seize this opportunity to Protect Our Master’s Lineage and Defeat Peacefully in Public this man who claims to be a God King Holy Lama.
    What a surprise to see in his eyes as we turn his own form of vengeance back upon himself.

    The Warriors who write these books are really brave and deserve our respect and support. Because they are but you and me and United We Stand! against a demonic tyrannous betrayer of the sentien beings.

    Kindly consider that we might do this together and blow their minds. Just like Woodstock,we could all come together and do this healing once and for all.

    Think about it?

  • Thomas Canada

    Will someone kindly send the Shar Gadan Monastery the Invitations/ They need to make applications with the tgie and US State Department as soon as we can.
    The Journey of a thousand miles begins with just one step. So please let us get this on!
    It’s not complicated, you do not even have to think. Just send the Invite and take another step to see how it will unveil.
    This is how we brought over all of you. Really no idea as to how or with what,except the Overwhelming Desire to Turn The Wheel to the West and bring all the monks for you to enjoy and learn from. This is what is happening for you now. So turn the wheel and see how you will feel by this Spring and the Jet lands in Bloomington.
    You’ll be worried and fret alot. There are more resources now than then. So why do you hestitate? The Protector call you now to make a committment and see the Usurper brought down.
    Time to make the Stand in Your Adopted Land. This Foreigner comes and tries to throw mud in your face,right where you live now. If not you, then who else?
    Time to huddles up and make those calls to invigorate yourselves and dish it out for a change.
    If the monastery is to have face and respect, then stand up for yourselves and rest will come along. I know, I did it before. The Monastery still stand and expands. Show your faith and your patriotism. We do not take Tyranny lying down and this man say you accept it, becasue no one els will just shut the door in his face.

  • Thomas Canada

    A Great Deception
    Examining the claims of the Western Shugden Society
    dharmaprotector |
    February 2, 2010
    Sir Charles Bell’s Portrait of a Dalai Lama

    (Please note: Most of the following is actually not cited in the book A Great Deception: The Ruling Lamas’ Policies but can be taken as supplementary.)

    In his book Beyond Dogma, the current Dalai Lama is asked about what international political action he advocates to prevent Tibetan genocide. In part, the Dalai Lama responds:

    As a Buddhist I am in the habit saying that we have three refuges: the Buddha; the Dharma, the teachings; and the Sangha, the monastic community. We can now include a fourth one: the international community. Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha are terms which may seem mysterious to you, but at the level of active support the international community becomes a fourth refuge, one we greatly need. (p. 125)

    The 13th Dalai Lama (1876-1933) also tried this non-spiritual approach: first seeking refuge in the Russians for protection from the invading British; then, when “hope from aid from Russian was dashed to the ground,” warming up to the British for recognized independence and protection from the Chinese; then, in the closing years of his life, turning strongly towards China and weakening relations with the British! Indeed, this life-long political juggling act made it difficult for the Dalai Lama to practice the Buddhist teachings he had memorized as a child:

    On one occasion I quote to him the lines out of Ajax of Sophocles, describing the instability of friendship; for an enemy may later become a friend, and a friend turn into an enemy. Without a moment’s hesitation he quotes an old Tibetan saying, which runs as follows:

    Even the friend may sometime become a foe
    Even the foe may sometime become a friend;
    Remembering this, bear enmity to none.

    Yet still, Bell notes that after Tibet’s fighting with the Chinese:

    It was necessary to persuade the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan Government to spare the lives of these two [Chinese] men, whatever their past history might have been, because if they put them to death they would thereby sow the seeds of great future trouble for themselves and for us. So I went so far as to say, “Even if a man oppressed me, plundered my goods, and killed my children, I should still try to keep calm and consider how it would be best to deal with the matter.” On this the Dalai Lama sat back in his chair, laughed consumedly, and said that he quite agreed. (p. 142)

    Had the Dalai Lama become so far removed from the teachings of Je Tsongkhapa (quoted below), that a Christian foreigner was the one to remind him of his vow to abandon killing, especially when done out of political retaliation?

    I seek your blessings to complete the perfection of patience
    So that even if every living being in the three realms,
    Out of anger were to abuse me, criticize me, threaten me, or even take my life,
    Undisturbed, I would repay their harm by helping them.

    Perhaps this should not be so surprising. When Bell asked the 13th Dalai Lama, “In which Dalai Lama’s time did the first Panchen Lama live?” he replied that he did not know (p. 127). What was it that caused the 13th Dalai Lama to compromise on the religious ideals taught to him as a youth?

    Though murder in Tibet is not uncommon, the Dalai Lama abolished capital punishment, except for an attempt to poison himself, or other very serious crime against the religion, such a crime occurring only once in every five or ten years. Until the time of his flight to India, while the ideals of his youth were still strong within him, the Dalai Lama, as he himself informed me, allowed no capital punishment in any circumstances. Later on, however, as he became more and more immersed in the difficulties of administration, he found that capital punishment was occasionally unavoidable. (p. 179)

    Opening the chapter entitled Full Control:

    Probably the most difficult of all the Dalai Lama’s tasks in his home administration lay in restraining his own monks. They had been accustomed to exercise great power in the secular administration, but he was determined to restrain them from political activities, except within certain well recognised limits; for instance, the Parliament. Indeed, this latter power he also held in check, because he seldom summoned the Parliament, when he was older and found his authority secure beyond all question. He would never admit the argument that religion and politics are inseparable. But religion was over all, Buddha was over all; and that was the role that he represented and filled. Himself a monk, he reduced the worldly power of the monks around him, and to that extent he increased the authority of the lay officialdom.

    The King of Bhutan, a neighboring state, allows the Church no great influence in politics. This king and his people are of Tibetan stock, and follow devoutly the Tibetan religion.

    In fact, the idea has long since passed into a Tibetan saying, “Religious affairs and secular affairs stand apart from each other.” Ye cannot serve God and Mammon. The Dalai Lama undertook both, but he stood above the law; and even of him you would hear criticism on this account from those who were traditionally opposed to Lhasa, as in Tashi Lhunpo, and from those outside the range of his secular authority, as in Bhutan and Sikkim. (p. 191)

    And, ending the chapter entitled Full Control:

    The Dalai Lama was indeed an absolute dictator; more so as regards his own country than Herr Hitler and Signor Mussolini in theirs. To gain his position he could not make use of oratory, as they did; still less of the radio, even if arrangements for broadcasting had existed. But he had greater resources than either oratory or wireless. For he could reward or punish, both in this life and in future lives. “Does it not matter to you whether you are reborn as a human being or as a pig? The Dalai Lama can help to secure that you will be reborn as a human being in a high position, or, better still, as a monk or nun in a country where Buddhism flourishes.”

    Nothing is more important to a Tibetan than his birth in the next life, for indeed, if his life has been evil, and there is none to intervene on his behalf, he may even be condemned to hellish experiences for a thousand years or more. In these circumstances it will be readily understood that the Dalai Lama’s power was almost irresistible. Yet even all this would not have given him that commanding position on the secular side, unless he had possessed a strong will, a good constitution, and a real love of politics and administration. (p. 197)

    Bell adds later that “as for the outstanding advantages of his position, he takes them for granted. His people are assured of his divine pre-eminence, his power over this life and the next. What a lot he owes to that!” (p. 372).

    Then, in 1914, the first World War broke out. In spite of his precarious position, the Dalai Lama offered a thousand Tibetan soldiers to fight on the British side. Rather pathetically, when offering these men, he wrote that he could not send rifles with them. There were not many rifles in the whole of Tibet, and it would have been suicidal to let any of those rifles go. It was indeed not possible to accept this offer of soldiers, but many Tibetans joined the hospital and ambulance corps.

    The Dalai Lama also ordained that certain religious services should be held in the main monasteries throughout Tibet for the success of British arms. This may seem a trivial matter, but, as a matter of fact, the monasteries had to be paid for this service, and the expenditure on this by the Tibetan Government, hardly able to find money for its own needs, was considerable.

    In one of the verbal messages that I received from His Holiness, while telling me about these religious services, he added, “We have transferred privately to the credit of the British Government a number of the services which have been held for the Tibetan Government. If we had held all of them for the British, our people would have thought that the British troops must be in desperate straits, and would have been greatly anxious as to the result of the war.”

    …The Panchen Lama’s Government, though unfriendly towards the Government at Lhasa, wished still to remain on terms of close friendship with the British. It is said that while [Chinese] anti-British reports were circulated in Tibet, the Panchen Lama held religious services for killing the enemies of the British in the war. That is a dangerous thing for any lama to do, because it is believed that those who hold such services are themselves likely to die soon. (pp. 235-236, 237)

    Are the karmic ramifications for “religious services for the success of British arms” and “religious services for killing the enemies of the British” really that different?

    As far as the supernatural cause that led to the Dalai Lama’s death, we can read the speech by Helmut Gassner (pp. 7-8), as well as a recent essay by Trinley Kalsang, which tell of the vengeful spirit of a monk killed by the Tibetan government who occasionally steps into the medium of Nechung, the State Oracle, giving the Dalai Lamas disastrous advice; this theory is still widely accepted today among Tibetans:

    Now rumours began in Tibet as to the cause of the illness and its nature. The traders coming down from Tibet with their strings of mules carrying the yearly supply of wool, yak tails, skins and other products, brought their own stories with them.

    It appeared that the Precious Protector had gone to the Field on the last day of the tenth Tibetan month, corresponding with the middle of December. The day of the week was Sunday. According to Tibetan ideas, if a man dies on a Sunday or a Tuesday, it is an evil omen. People say, “He died on a stormy day.” The family may expect much sickness and other calamities.

    As the Dalai Lama has no family, it seemed to many Tibetans that this passing away on a Sunday portended evil to the Government of Tibet, and through the Government to the whole country.

    All reports agreed that the Precious Protector’s illness had been short.

    Among stories that were then being passed from mouth to mouth, the following might be related. At the end of February, 1934, Palhese, coming for his daily talk, asked me with suppressed eagerness, “Has Rai Bahadur Norbhu told you about recent happenings in Lhasa concerning the passing of the Precious Protector to the Field?”

    “He has told me about the medium of the Nechung Oracle giving the Precious Protector medicine which injured him.”

    Says Palhese, “It is about the medicine that I wish to speak. It was given at the instigation of a tulku from Nyarong (a province in eastern Tibet), who has been reborn as a devil. It did indeed do injury; in fact, it made the Precious Protector an ‘Is Not.’

    “At the time when the Tengyeling Regent was ruling, this tulku held religious services to promote the interests of Tengyaling and destroy the Precious Sovereign. The tulku was arrested, put in prison, and given many severe floggings with the usual leather thongs on his bare skin, so that his flesh hung in strips after each flogging. But he was a Lama of great learning and ability, and he used to meditate on ‘the void.’ So it was noticed that during each flogging, severe though it was, he uttered no exclamation of pain, not even the smallest sound. And what was still more remarkable, by the next day his flesh had entirely healed.

    “At length, however, angry at this treatment, the Nyarong tulku asked the warder in charge of him for a small knife to cut a lump out of his boot. The warder gave it. When the lama went to pay a call of nature, he used the opportunity to cut his throat. The warder rushed up to seize him, so the lama jumped out of the window of his cell, which was two floors above the ground. The fall killed him.

    “Passing from life thus, in anger at the treatment he had received, he reincarnated as a devil, and being of great learning and ability, as a powerful devil. So a high lama of eastern Tibet was engaged to catch the tulku’s mind, put it in the ground, and build a choten over it. This was done; the choten was strongly built, and the necessary articles—religious books and the like—were placed inside it. But a day or two afterwards a great vertical crack was seen in the choten. There had been no earthquake or thunderstorm, and it was clear that the devil was one of great power, and so the mind was able to crack the choten and escape through it.

    “Later on, it was noticed that the prophecies issuing through the prophet of the Nechung Oracle were wrong and harmful. At the time of the British military expedition to Lhasa in the Wood Dragon year, he gave out that the Tibetan Government should send soldiers to fight against the British, but that the soldiers should not fire their rifles; this was what happened at Guru [The place, about twenty-eight miles beyond Pari, where fighting first broke out between the Indian and Tibetan troops]. This and other counsels were not the true utterances of the Oracle, but were put into the mind of the prophet by this evil. And it was this devil who instigated the prophet to give this deadly medicine. There are in Tibet those who can see and recognise deities and devils, and those recognised the devil by their own methods, while the high lamas did so by their power of divination.

    “That prophet had been dismissed after the British expedition but two or three years ago the Precious Protector reinstated him, allowing the deity to come again inside him.”

    This is the only instance which I heard that a tulku had been reborn as a devil. (pp. 435-437)

    Tenzin Peljor says, “One of the sources NKT/WSS are using is Sir Charles Bell, but Bell is clear that the 13th Dalai Lama was a good ruler, who worked extremely hard and selflessly as the servant of his people. (Do you need some quotes?)” Well, yes! Bell calls the Dalai Lama ‘selfless’ only once, and it is his only substantial praise of the Dalai Lama after 440 pages, with only 3 pages of the 13th Dalai Lama’s biography left to go! Even then, this is mentioned more in passing so as to guess the natural cause of the Dalai Lama’s demise:

    When we were in Lhasa in 1921, Kennedy, from such reports as reached him, thought that the Dalai Lama’s heart was weak. In 1934, Harnett, from what I told him, thought that the symptoms of the Dalai Lama’s last illness perhaps indicated uraemia or pneumonia, aggravated by the giving of wrong medicine. In his advanced years and growing weakness he may well have caught a chill, going backwards and forwards at night between Clear Eye Palace and Jewel Park Palace. The season at this time was mid-December.

    It would be equally true to say of this selfless ruler that he died of overwork in the service of his country. The overstrain of this was aggravated by his quick temper, checked more and more from bursting out as he grew older; but the strain was always there. And he had suffered those two hard periods of exile, hard for the body and hard for the mind. (p. 441)

    Turn the page, and Bell provides a few other Opinions on His Rule:

    Thus the Thirteenth Dalai Lama passed to the Honourable Field. Within a few months of his death he came to be called “The Great Thirteenth,” equal to, if not greater than, him whom men had always called “The Great Fifth.”

    During his life Tibetan opinion was divided regarding his administration. The great Tashi Lhunpo Monastery, focusing the ideas of the Panchen Lama’s party, was against him. So was that portion of the Tsang province which lies under its shadow, as well as the supporters of the Tengyeling Monastery, and the greater part of Drepung Monastery. A number of those living outside the boundaries of his secular rule, for instance in Bhutan and Sikkim, were glad to show their independence by criticism. This antagonism came from the educated classes; to the peasants he was above criticism, just the Precious Protector, the Inmost One.

    In order to strengthen Tibet internally and externally he found it necessary to impose fresh taxation, and no country dislikes increased taxes more than Tibet does.

    The commonest criticism was that he should have confined himself to the purity of the spiritual rule, and appointed a Regent to hold the dirty reins of worldly government. Neither from Asiatic or European did I ever hear the smallest whisper against his moral character. Still, Kazi Dawa Samdrup, a learned Bhutanese, was one of several who expressed the opinion that by taking up the secular rule the Dalai Lama became more earthly, and when he went to the Honourable Field, would have to work hard to regain his previous spiritual position. (p. 442)

    In the closing paragraphs, Bell asks, “Was the Dalai Lama on the whole a good ruler? We may safely says that he was, on the spiritual as well as the secular side” (p. 444). One reason he gives for each is that (a) the Dalai Lama “diminished [the monks’s] interference in politics,” and thereby “increased the spirituality of Tibetan Buddhism,” and (b) the Dalai Lama “built up an army in the face of opposition from the monasteries; prior to his rule there was practically no army at all.”

    I have often read that ‘conservative monastic elements’ had opposed the 13th Dalai Lama’s “modernist-leaning reforms, which attempted to turn Tibet into a modern state through the assimilation of foreign ideas and institutions (such as an efficient standing army and Western-style education)” (Kay, p. 43), yet Bell says that “The Dalai Lama had no wish to develop his country on Western lines; in fact, he had a horror of that” (p. 190). The only ‘reform’ that the monastic establishment was opposed to, according to Bell, was building an army! He only mentions the closing of the English school in Gyangtse in connection with the Dalai Lama taking political refuge in China.

    According to tradition, Guatama was offered the choice of being a World Conqueror or a religious mendicant evolving into the Buddha. He chose religious poverty rather than great wealth and world sovereignty. So did Christ. But here a whole nation did so—Tibet. Has any other nation stood on this high level? (p. 34)

    We may rightly ask why the 13th Dalai Lama himself was not able to stand on that level, and whether from a spiritual perspective this degeneration of his refuge vows caused Tibet’s fall to the Chinese. Perhaps the answer comes from his previous incarnations, who Bell claims, also felt “that their sanctity was tarnished by the dirt of worldly administration” (p. 65).

    What was the Dalai Lama’s own attitude to his status in the Buddhist world? Did he himself believe that he was supreme among Buddhists, a god on earth? Among Tibetans and other Asiatics he claimed this supremacy in every word and deed. As for myself, it was undesirable and unnecessary for me to ask such a question. My chief duty was to promote friendship between Britain and Tibet, a duty doubly strong in these days when so many injure our fatherland by ignorant criticism of those whose forms of government or rules of conduct differ from our own.

    Whenever the idea was in the background of our talks, he would look at me with a deprecating smile, as much as to say, “I know I cannot expect you to believe it.” And he was always ready to admit a lack of knowledge or lack of power in the presence of a few daily associates, such as the Court Physician. But in public it was always asserted. On the medal that he gave me it is confidently claimed [“From the Dalai Lama who holds the Vajra, Lord of all Buddhists on the earth…”]; in his Political Testament it is placed clearly on record. (pp. 216-217, [147])

    I find the above interesting because the Resolution of the Tibetan Cholsum Convention, which hopes to “ensure the fulfillment of the great religio-political visions of His Holiness the Dalai Lama,” goes so far as to claim that the current Dalai Lama “is the overall head of all Buddhist traditions on this earth”! Some detractors have doubted the accuracy of this English translation, saying that a Dalai Lama would never describe himself thus, yet here it is again in all its ‘glory’ … Just think of all the things this title has been used to justify!

  • tenzin

    I was given this book by a Buddhist friend who told me “Read this, it will make you think”.

    I’m a relative newbie to Buddhism, compared to those who have been in this for most of their lives (well, at least more than 2 years) and am still learning about the different schools, methods and practices.

    This book was a real eye-opener for me, and I would like to share this experience with other readers.

    The purpose of this book (as mentioned on the back cover) is:
    1) To liberate millions of innocent practitioners of the Buddhist Deity Dorje Shugden and their families from suffering
    2) To restore peace and harmony between Shugden and non-Shugden practitioners
    3) To re-establish the common spiritual activities of Shugden and non-Shugden practitioners
    4) To free Buddhism from political pollution

    For those not in the know, Dorje Shugden is either (depending on which side of the fence you are on)
    A) an enlightened deity of the Tibetan Buddhist pantheon
    B) an evil spirit

    The book starts off by giving an introduction of the current Tibetan political and religious situation focusing mainly on the ban on Shugden’s practice and how the Dalai Lama, revered all over the world, is actually a hypocrite and dictator. Next is a run-down on of the ‘Lama Policy’ of Tibet, with a brief summary of all 14 Dalai Lamas, with special mention going to the 5th, 13th and 14th (current) Dalai Lamas. Lastly, this book presents a thorough investigation of the actions and consequences of this ban, the activities of the Dalai Lama (both public and secret) and how his policy is affecting thousands of Tibetans and Buddhist practitioners around the world.

    I personally found this book slightly militant in tone, biased in view, and written in a sensationalist style. However, it has an extensive list of reputable references (over 350!), and from my research, is factually accurate. No lies have been told in the writing of this book but neither has the full story come to light, I feel.

    I also found it surprising that one of the key points highlighted, related to the recognition and enthronement of the current Dalai Lama, has no concrete references to substantiate it.

    I did find it an interesting read, and would recommend this to anyone who is interested in Tibetan politics, Tibetan Buddhism or just enjoys controversy or conspiracy theory.

    Like my friend said, it did make me think.

    Now available in paperback
    287 pages
    Published by WSS

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