His Holiness the Dalai Lama's response to media a question on Shugden at the press conference in Indianapolis on August 16, 1999


Question: The practitioner of Dorjee Shugden, will they be permitted to the Kalachakra? Answer: Now here, you need lot of explanation. Basically, for the last more than 300 years, this controversy remained. And then particularly in the last 60 years, lot of controversial things happened. Here controversy means, lot of sectarian, unhappy things occurred in eastern Tibet, Central Tibet, and Southern Tibet. In any way, in my own case, due to my ignorance, I practice this spirit. I practiced worship of this spirit. Eventually I realised that this is not the right way, this is a mistake. Then I carried further investigation. I found, the fifth Dalai Lama actually considered this spirit to be a malevolent force which may have been born as a result of misguided aspirations.

And then many Tibetan masters, particularly among the Geluk tradition, yellow hat tradition, like Purchok Ngawang Jampa, one great master, very famous; and then the teacher of the seventh Dalai Lama, Trichen Ngawang Chokdhen, very famous. Then another Tibetan lama, of course, well known, Kyangja Rolpai Dorjee, and then the teacher of the eighth Dalai Lama, Yongzin Yeshi Gyaltsen. All these and other masters considered this an evil force. So then things became clear. And also, as mentioned before, for the last 300 years, particularly in the last 60 years, if you investigate and meet more people from all major four Buddhist traditions of Tibet, then you will get the clearer picture, what really happened in the last few centuries and particularly in the last few decades. So the basic thing is firstly, I mean there are three points. Number One, Since the fifth Dalai Lama considered this an evil force, evil spirit, and he once tried to destroy that. So therefore, me as the Dalai Lama, the 14th incarnation of the Dalai Lama, I am among the lineage of the Dalai Lama, so I have to follow. It is logical. It is better to follow the fifth Dalai Lama and also the 13th Dalai Lama. The 13th Dalai Lama also placed restrictions on this evil spirit. So then I realised my mistake and then I stopped completely worshipping this.

Number Two. As you know I always try to promote non-sectarian spirit, not only among Tibetan Buddhist traditions, but also among other religious traditions, as many people by now know. Particularly among the four Tibetan Buddhist tradition, I myself receive teachings from Nyingma tradition, Sakya tradition and Kagyud tradition. So this is my approach. So this spirit, you can see from some books in order to praise this spirit, it is made very clear that if one follower of the yellow hat sect, if that even touch the scripture of the Nyingma tradition, this spirit will destroy you. In fact the ninth, no the eighth Panchen Lama, because he practised the Nyingma tradition, follower, I mean worshipper of this spirit believe that this spirit destroyed the eighth Panchen Lama because he practised the Nyingma tradition.

So you see in my effort in promotion of non-sectarianism this becomes a great obstacle. So this is Number 2 reason.

Then Number 3, unfortunately among Tibetans, our Tibetan Buddhist tradition is actually very rich and very authentic. However, there is a sign of danger of degeneration of this rich Buddhist tradition into spirit worship. It is a great pity. And then that spirit is also not reliable, very controversial and many great lamas considered this an evil force. So, therefore, I put restrictions. Then some people who practice this distorted my standpoint. Since I carry this attitude with sincere motivation and sufficient reason, so I want to continue with the stand. Therefore, now in religious tradition, in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition there is a concept known as the importance of the sacred bond between the teacher and the disciples. So in order to be safer for the students side, if you worship this spirit then please don't come to listen to my teaching because it is for their own sake. So this is no change. My position is still like that. Same.

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Last updated: 18-August-99