Tag Archives: karmapa

The Dalai Lama is Misusing Tantra

When a nation’s politics and a religion’s spiritual teachings become mixed, the goodness of both is lost.

This week, the Dalai Lama is performing the Kalachakra ceremony in Washington, DC, drawing great interest from the US national media.

What exactly is the Kalachakra, and what is the significance of this?

Kalachakra is a practice belonging to Buddha’s teachings called Highest Yoga Tantra. Tantric teachings were taught to help ripen our inner Buddha nature quickly, and so they are known as the quick path to enlightenment. For this reason these teachings are incredibly precious.

In order to enter into a Tantric practice such as Kalachakra, one receives an empowerment or initiation. However these teachings and practices can easily be corrupted if done with a selfish motivation, so the empowering teacher explains the importance of practicing for the purpose of benefiting others. Without a pure, compassionate motivation, an ignorant practitioner of Highest Yoga Tantra could easily misuse the teachings to increase their own enjoyment, reputation, and worldly success. But with a motivation of universal compassion and loving-kindness, practitioners gain a powerful tool to enhance their spiritual practice and train their mind. But what happens when the Tantric master is a head of state?

Tantra & Public Approval

Though the Dalai Lama has officially relinquished his political duties, he remains the de facto leader of Tibet. How is this? His opinions and pronouncements are taken as unquestionable dictates. Thus the spiritual leader retains his political authority.

By granting the Tantric empowerment of Kalachakra, the Dalai Lama takes on the role of the Vajra Master. When entering the practices of Highest Yoga Tantra, practitioners develop a special, inner relationship with the Spiritual Guide granting the empowerment. To speed up their spiritual progress, they learn to view their Spiritual Guide, who appears as an ordinary being, as a Buddha, a fully enlightened being. This helps practitioners take the teachings to heart and overcome their mental difficulties quickly, and they carry this commitment (samaya) with them into their daily lives.
When the Dalai Lama finished giving a Tantric empowerment, he doesn’t go off and continue to focus on pure spiritual activities – he takes up the political cause of Tibet. As it says in A Great Deception, “The consequences of mixing Dharma with politics will always be at best bad, at worst catastrophic.”

The consequence of this is that when the Dalai Lama gives a speech on foreign policy, his followers view it as an enlightened being’s foreign policy. When the Dalai Lama advocated for the freedom of Tibet, his followers view this as an enlightened being’s support of Tibetan independence. When the Dalai Lama issues a reform, his followers view it as an enlightened being’s reform. When the Dalai Lama ostracizes an entire segment of Buddhist society, his followers view it as an enlightened being’s indictment.

Using Tantra to Harm

So we can see the problem. By giving Kalachakra empowerment so many times publicly and simultaneously continuing his political activities, the Dalai Lama has actual used Buddha’s precious Tantric teachings to increase his political power and eliminate opposition. This is incredibly shameful.

The Dalai Lama has been able to hide behind this commitment for his followers to view him as a Buddha. He has been able to use Tantric samaya to quash opposition to his pronouncements. He has been able to use his robed Asian mystique to spark unquestioning admiration in Westerners. As a result, the 14th Dalai Lama has pursued an unprecedented consolidation of political and spiritual authority.

This pursuit of power has resulted in substantial damage to all four schools of Tibetan Buddhism. He severely damaged the Nyingma tradition by defaming the popular Dudjom Rinpoche in the 1960s, accusing him of spying for the Chinese, leading to his arrest. This is still a popular accusation used to hinder the Dalai Lama’s opponents! He divided the Kagyu tradition by throwing his weight into the Karmapa controversy, supporting Communist China’s candidate and denying Shamar Rinpoche’s selection. This division resulted in pitched battles at Rumtek Monastery, the seat of the Karmapas. Rumtek is now closed off to both candidates and the Kagyu tradition remains deeply divided. He disparaged his own root Gurus of the Gelug tradition by saying they were wrong about their Dharma Protector practice, and subsequently banning this practice of Dorje Shugden, destroying the religious freedom of Gelugpas around the world. Those continuing to practice Dorje Shugden are ostracized. They are verbally and physically assaulted because of the Dalai Lama’s political pronouncements under the aegis of his Tantric samaya.

World Peace?

The Dalai Lama has said that the Kalachakra will bring world peace. This depends on the intention of the Vajra Master and the disciples. Unfortunately, the Dalai Lama has been unable to separate Buddha’s teachings from the political cause of Tibet. What’s worse, is that he hasn’t been able to separate this clearly for his disciples. Thus the most recognized face of Buddhism misuses Tantra for his personal gain. He uses Tantra to increase support for his ban on Dorje Shugden practice; and as he performed the Kalachakra in Washington, DC, he has even pushed the ban on American soil:

This a tragic misuse of Buddha Shakyamuni’s teachings. How can an enlightened being use pure view to enforce harming living beings? How can this be a pure intention?

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Did Dalai Lama’s Successor (Orgyen Trinley) Have Plastic Surgery?

This video brings up some interesting questions about Orgyen Trinley’s eyes.


The Karmapa Controversy Revisited

16th Karmapa

Below are a couple interesting excerpts from articles about the Karmapa controversy.

The tale of two Karmapas by Julian Gearing – Dec 24, 2003

Whether the recognition of Urgyen Trinley was a joyous event, as his supporters claim, or a “spiritual coup” carried out by Tai Situ and the Dalai Lama, as critics claim, the recognition has to be understood against the backdrop of old world Tibetan politics. Tibetan society is autocratic and hierarchical, especially in the Buddhist orders. Since the Dalai Lama fled Tibet after the Lhasa Uprising in 1959, he had been trying without success to bring unity to the Buddhist schools, bringing together his Gelukpa lineage with the Nyingma, Sakya, Karma Kagyu and other smaller schools, including the animist Bon religion.

The 16th Karmapa had been stubborn in his insistence on maintaining the independence of his school, and maintained a “loyal opposition” to the Dalai Lama’s government. After the murder in the 1970s of one of the Karmapa’s supporters who was the head a group of refugee settlements, the Karmapa took more care with his security and spent more time overseas. He died in the United States in 1981. The Tibetan leader’s efforts to bring him into the fold failed. Then in 2000, Urgyen Trinley arrived on his doorstep.

Tibetan Buddhist factions come to blows: A dispute that has challenged the Dalai Lama’s authority led yesterday to a battle, writes Tim McGirk in New Delhi – March 18th, 1994

It is a tale of monastic intrigue, with accusations of murder, forgery and manipulation by the Chinese government. This medieval drama culminated in a pitched battle at a monastery outside Delhi yesterday, when monks and Tibetans faithful to the Dalai Lama threw bottles and bricks and fought against a coterie of Shamar Rinpoche’s followers, many of them Westerners initially attracted to the Buddhist creed of non-violence.


See also: Karmapa Controversy Video


The top three most political lamas in the world


Some people seem to think that the issue of whether or not Buddhists leaders should be involved in politics is a complicated issue. In reality, the issue is not complicated. Politics and Buddhism are complete opposites, because all of Buddha’s teachings explain how to control our mind (the inner world) and politics is about controlling the outer world. In Buddhism, we learn that external problems have no cessation. The goal of all sincere Buddhist practitioners is to attain an inner cessation of delusions which are the true source of our suffering.

Political lamas are causing the degeneration of pure Buddhadharma in this world, because Dharma mixed with politics is not pure. Therefore, it is important for Buddhist throughout the world to stop following political lamas. As long as there are Buddhists who will develop faith in political lamas the Chinese and the CIA will continue to interfere with Buddhism by appointing puppet lamas. Now is the time to stop developing faith in political lamas.

Below are the top three most political lamas in the world.

The most political lama in the world, by far, is the fourteenth Dalai Lama. He is probably the most political lama in the history of Buddhism. Buddhism has been in this world for 2,500 years and in all that time no single person has caused as many schisms as the fourteenth Dalai Lama.

Ogyen Trinley Dorje is the second most political lama in the world. He is likely to replace the 14th Dalai Lama after he passes away. This appointment would give him power and influence within the two largest schools of Tibetan Buddhism (Kagyu and Gelug). Ogyen Trinley has had ties with the CIA and the government of the People’s Republic of China.

In the book Buddha’s Not Smiling Eric Curren states,

For a decade, the Chinese government has appointed puppet lamas to strengthen its control over occupied Tibet. Shockingly, the Chinese have recruited Tibetan leaders in exile to further these goals. Politically appointed lamas threaten the integrity of Tibetan Buddhism, yet thousands of Buddhist worldwide are unaware of this controversy, the picture blurred by the media bias towards current Buddhist leaders.

chinese panchen lama

Qoigyijabu (Gyancain Norbu) is the third most political lama in the world today. Gyancain Norbu is the current Panchen Lama chosen as a puppet lama for the PRC leadership. The involvement of China in this affair is seen by some as a political ploy to try to gain control over the recognition of the next Dalai Lama, and to strengthen their hold over the future of Tibet and its governance.


The Karmapa Controversy – Video


Buddha’s Not Smiling

Below are some excerpts of a review of the book Buddha’s Not Smiling: Uncovering Corruption at the Heart of Tibetan Buddhism Today, by Erik D. Curren. The review was written by Lama Karma Wangchuk.

History belies the Shangri-La image of Tibetan lamas and their followers living together in mutual tolerance and non-violent goodwill. Indeed, the situation was quite different. Old Tibet was much more like Europe during the religious wars of the Counter-reformation than a neighborhood in Berkeley, California where synagogue, mosque, church and dharma center make cozy neighbors….For hundreds of years in Tibet, lay followers of each religious school clashed with each other for control of the government of central Tibet or rule over provincial areas. Lamas had to defend their monasteries and landholdings from supporters of the other schools as well as from the central government …

One of this book’s most valuable achievements is to show, for perhaps the first time in English, how the complex sectarian conflicts of Old Tibet followed the lamas when they fled into exile in 1959. At first, faced with the Chinese invasion in the fifties and early sixties, Tibetans experienced a period of unity and the Karmapa and Dalai Lama enjoyed a close friendship. But in exile, things changed. “Hundreds of years of habit would not die so easily,” Curren writes, “and after a few months in India, competition between the administrations of the Dalai Lama and the Karmapa resurfaced. The Dalai Lama and his ministers had just lost their country. In exile, they wanted to create a unified Tibetan community. To achieve this new unity, exile leaders in their new headquarters in the Indian hill-town of Dharamsala began making plans to extend their control over the five religious schools of Tibet .”

Curren’s account of the United Party initiative will be shocking to many readers. The United Party was a plan run by the Dalai Lama’s brother Gyalo Thondup to unite all Tibetans, regardless of their region or religious affiliation, into a coherent group able to stand together against the Chinese. The most controversial part of the plan was a scheme to combine the four Buddhist schools and the Bon religion—governed separately for more than five hundred years back in Tibet —under a single administration led by the Dalai Lama. “When word of the United Party’s religious reform got out in 1964, the exiled government was unprepared for the angry opposition that leaders of the religious schools expressed. To them, this unification plan appeared as a thinly disguised scheme for the exile government to confiscate the monasteries that dozens of lamas had begun to re-establish in exile with funds they had raised themselves.”

The sixteenth Karmapa led the opposition to the United Party, serving as spiritual advisor to a group of refugees from thirteen resettlement camps in India and one in Nepal—the “Fourteen Settlements” group—thus earning the enmity of the Dalai Lama’s ministers in Dharamsala. Under the Karmapa’s leadership, the opposition group succeeded in stopping the religious consolidation plan, and in the mid-seventies, the United Party closed up shop. But apparently ministers in Dharamsala were looking to avenge their political defeat. In 1977, an assassin claiming to be working for the Tibetan exile administration shot and killed the political head of the Fourteen Settlements, Gungthang Tsultrim. As Curren writes, “When apprehended in Kathmandu, the murderer, Amdo Rekhang Tenzin, told the Royal Nepalese Police that the Tibetan exile government had paid him three hundred thousand rupees (about thirty-five thousand dollars) to assassinate Gungthang. Even more shocking, the hit man claimed that Dharamsala offered him a larger bounty to kill the sixteenth Karmapa.”


The Karmapa Controversy

[blip.tv ?posts_id=2955341&dest=-1]

The above video clip includes interviews with Trinley Thaye Dorje and Shamar Rinpoche about the recognition of the 17th Karmapa. Below is another excerpt from the new book A Great Deception – The Ruling Lama’s Policies.

After the Sixteenth Karmapa passed away, the Dalai Lama took the unprecedented step of using his own power to force the selection of the Karmapa’s reincarnation. This was entirely unwarranted because historically the selection has always been an intenal matter solely under the jurisdiction of the Kagyu spiritual tradition itself. There were two candidates: one born in Chinese-occupied Tibet, the candidate officially recognized by the Chinese authorities; and the other born in India and recognized by the great Kagyu spiritual master Shamar Rinpoche. Shamar Rinpoche’s lineage has been closely connected with the Karmapa lineage since the 13th century, and he has been considered second only to the Karmapa himself within the Kagyu tradition. The Dalai Lama sided with the Chinese and ‘officially’ recognized their candidate, a decision that caused chaos within the Kagyu tradition, producing a deep schism between those who follow the Dalai Lama and those who follow Shamar Rinpoche. This schism has divided this spiritual tradition against itself, and at times has led to violence.

This is just one paragraph from the section entitled The Karmapa Affair in A Great Deception.


The Dalai Lama Has Also Caused Divisions in the Kagyu Lineage

The Karmapa Controversy

The Dalai Lama has also caused divisions in the Kagyu lineage by appointing the 17th Karmapa (Urgyen Trinley Dorje). A large percentage of Kagyupas don’t follow the Dalai Lama appointed Karmapa, instead they follow the Karmapa appointed by the Shamarpa (Trinley Thaye Dorje).

Below is part of an interview in Buddhism Today with Trinley Thaye Dorje (the Karmapa appointed according to the traditions of the Kagyu lineage).

Buddhism Today: How is a Karmapa recognized?

Trinley Thaye Dorje: The main holders of the Karma Kagyu Lineage are the so-called Black Hat Karmapas and the Red Hat Karmapas. The first refers to my own line of reincarnations. The later refers to the line of reincarnations of the Kunzig Shamarpas. In many cases the Karmapas have recognized the respective next Shamarpa and the Shamarpas in turn the next Karmapa. This is also what has occurred with my recognition. It was the 14th Kunzig Shamar Rinpoche who confirmed that I am the incarnation of the 16th Karmapa.
Of course, the whole principle of reincarnation is not easy to understand, in particular if one is not familiar with Buddhism. Normally, samsaric beings are reborn through the power of their karma and their emotions. In the case of the successive lines of the Karmapa reincarnations this is different. Taking rebirth happens due to the wish to be reborn to help sentient beings. In this way I took rebirth as the 17th Karmapa.

Buddhism Today: The Dalai Lama has not recognized you as the Karmapa. Would such recognition be important for you?

Trinley Thaye Dorje: The Dalai Lama is certainly a great man. The Karma Kagyu school, however, is an independent lineage and, according to our tradition, the Karmapas have to be confirmed in this Karma Kagyu lineage and not by the Dalai Lama. There is no need for that.

Also see the Karmapa Controversy on the Wisdom Buddha Dorje Shugden Blog