101st Ganden Tripa Leaves Ganden Shartse to Join Dorje Shugden Monastery

Dorje Shugden practitioners have known for some time that Khensur Lungri Namgyal Rinpoche, the 101st holder of Je Tsongkhapa’s throne, or Ganden Tripa, is a practitioner of this protector.

101st Ganden Tripa Lungri Namgyal Rinpoche

It has been very interesting nonetheless, to watch what has happened as he has left office, his official seven year term completed. The Ganden Tripas have been the heads of the Gelugpa lineage since the time of Je Tsongkhapa. Perhaps it is interesting to note that the Ganden Tripa has traditionally been an elected position from within the monastery system of the Gelug tradition, but at some point since 1999, the Dalai Lama has inserted himself into the process, and the head of the Gelug tradition is now appointed by this political leader of Tibetans.

As Lungri Namgyal Rinpoche was nearing the end of his term in April of 2009, he did a remarkable thing. He wrote a letter.

Leaving no doubt as to his authority to do so,

I, the undersigned, Lungri Namgyel, the official head of the Gelug order of Tibetan Buddhism (Ganden Tripa) and successor to the said order’s founder, Je Tsongkhapa (1357-1419), whose headquarters are Ganden Monastery in Karnataka state, south India

the Ganden Tripa conferred upon Trijang Rinpoche and his Trijang Buddhist Institute, “the authority to represent and transmit the teachings of the Gelug order of Tibetan Buddhism in the United States.”

The previous Trijang Rinpoche, Trijang Dorjechang Losang Yeshe, was the greatest master of the previous century, and the Root Guru of the Dalai Lama. The current recognized reincarnation fo Trijang Rinpoche, recognized as such by the Dalai Lama, is a well known Dorje Shugden Practitoner like his predecessor, and his Trijang Buddhist Institute openly continues the practice in the United States.

For those who know little about this issue, it may not seem like much, but for anyone aware of the severe social and political penalties in Tibetan society for publicly going against the wishes of the Dalai Lama, it is a statement of tremendous import, not to mention courage. The fact that the Ganden Tripa waited until he was completing his career as a head of the tradition to make such a statement is also rather telling. It shows that while he held the office, it simply would have been too controversial. The Ganden Tri would likely have been removed from his office by the Government. That he had to wait until he was no longer subject to the Dalai Lama’s control to express his views, is indicative of the air of intimidation created by the Tibetan Government in Exile. For more detail on this topic, see Ganden Tripa Authorizes Trijang Buddhist Institute.

But it seems the story doesn’t end there. The latest news from South India is that the Ganden Trisur (the epithet Trisur refers to a retired Ganden Tripa such as Lungri Namgyal Rinpoche) has officially left Ganden Shartse, a monastery under the control of the Tibetan Government in Exile, for Shar Ganden Monastery. Shar Ganden is a new monastery that has recently been formed by those monks and lamas that have been expelled or otherwise made unwelcome at Ganden Shartse. It proudly and openly upholds the tradition of practicing Dorje Shugden as a wisdom protector of Manjushri Je Tsongkhapa’s teachings.

Shar Ganden Monastery, South India

Thousands of practitioners have left the traditional monasteries where they are subjected to bans, harassment and repression by the government and its enforcers, to join monasteries like Shar Ganden and Serpom Norling, a monastery formed from the practitioners previously associated with the Pomra Khangtsen of Sera monastery. These new monasteries are increasingly seen as the actual repositories of the Ganden tradition, free from Government interference, and many high lamas and tulkus have left the Government’s monasteries to join them.

Now, in a shocking move, the most recent head of the Ganden tradition along with his Labrang, or office, has joined them. The Ganden Trisur’s personal assistant related that, in the words of one member of the Dorje Shugden Forum,

HH Trisur Rinpoche had to wait this long until the term of office as Gaden Tripa completed to MAKE THIS MOVE BECAUSE IF HE HAD MADE THIS MOVE EARLIER, THE DALAI LAMA WOULD HAVE REMOVED HIM FROM OFFICE. And that would not be good for the Gelug on the whole. NOW THAT HE HAS FINISHED HIS TERM, HE CAN DO WHAT HE LIKES. NO ONE CAN TOUCH HIM, DISTURB HIM OR DISGRACE HIS POSITION. INCREDIBLE PLANNING. THIS WAS RELAYED BY HIS PERSONAL ASSISTANT!

It seems that the current Trijang Rinpoche and his entire office have also joined Shar Ganden Monastery.

Above all, it is sadly ironic that great Gelug Lamas like the Ganden Tripa and Trijang Rinpoche, whose previous incarnations include several Ganden Tripas, have had to leave Ganden Monastery in order to uphold Je Tsongkhapa’s lineage when Je Tsongkhapa established Ganden Monastery for precisely this purpose.

Has it ever been more clear that religion and politics should not be mixed? The brilliant founding fathers of the United States gave this gift to the people of this country, and this policy is also enshrined in the guiding documents of many of the most influential and prosperous western democracies. May the Tibetan people too gain the privilege of engaging in their spiritual practices without the ominous shadow of government control obscuring the light of religious freedom.

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5 thoughts on “101st Ganden Tripa Leaves Ganden Shartse to Join Dorje Shugden Monastery

  1. Lee Dhi

    Hello Truthaboutshugden,

    Thank you for relaying more truth about our beloved Protector, Dorje Shugden!

    The recent events related to Dorje Shugden in the Tibetan Buddhist world have been most exciting and encouraging. So much effort has been put into the conspiracy to stop the growth and practice of Dorje Shugden. Eventually, results reveal that these efforts were in vain.

    The endorsement of Dorje Shugden by Trijang Rinpoche, Khensur Lungri Namgyal Rinpoche and several other great Lamas, will ignite the “permission” and “acceptance” of Dorje Shugden once again amongst more and more Dharma leaders and practitioners.

    The shelter that Shar monastery and Serpom Norling provides will become the safe haven for people who have been forced to stop Dorje Shudgen practice. Today, these individuals who had no one to turn to and no place to run in the past, have Shar Monastery to seek refuge in. They also have great Lamas like Trijang Rinpoche and Khensur Rinpoche to gain support from. With this backup, I believe we will witness more Dorje Shugden “secret” practitioners reveal themselves.

    I also admire the strategic planning and execution of Khensure Rinpoche’s letter and his move to Shar Ganden Monastery. Besides being timely and precise, I see Khensur Rinpcohe’s discipline to refrain from openly practicing Dorje Shugden during his term as Ganden Tripa as a true display of Dharma:

    1) respect for the Dalai Lama
    2) great compassion and wisdom to forgo his own personal desire to be close to his Protector for the benefit of the Gelugpa tradition and Tibetan Buddhism as a whole

    If a practitioner of Dorje Shugden could display such qualities, it reiterates the goodness of Dorje Shugden. I cannot wait to see more wise, compassionate and skillful Dorje Shugden practitioners like Khensur Rinpoche come into the open and take lead in guiding Dharma practitioners everywhere!

  2. Thomas Canada

    Yes there is terrible injustice, yes we need to keep alive our sense of outrage and compassion.
    The more powerful our compassion
    can become for all involved, both the oppressed and the present oppressors, the better for us.

    That’s the real spiritual practice.

    While acting with our best love and wisdom we’ve got to remember the nature of samsara, how it’s extremely tragic in every most painful way possible.
    All sentient beings actually want to escape it. The only way to do that eventually comes down to seeing its lack of true existence.
    It’s like a bad dream!
    But we can wake up and wake others up too.

  3. Kate Walker

    Thomas, I love your compassion. While your outrage drives you, I’m happy that you’re tempering it with compassion for those who know not what they do.

    May Dorje Shugden enfold us with his loving compassion and bring this saga to an end soon.

  4. Journalist M.F.Machado

    Dalai Lama is an incarnation of Avalokishtevara.

    Dorje Shugden is not an incarnation of Manjushri.

  5. truthaboutshugden Post author

    Hi Journalist M.F. Machado

    Thank you for writing. You must be one of those scholars I am calling upon in the blog title to do some checking. The above comment, I take it, represents your findings. Would you kindly share with us some of your reasonings so that we are not forced to conclude that this is just an expression of your prejudice?

    best wishes,
    TAS

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