Events in 1997

Feb, 5, 1997

The monk director of the Dialectic school, who entertains close ties with Taiwan, was murdered in Dharamsala, together with two of his assistants right in the midst of their school during daylight. The Indian Press, informed by the Exile Government, immediately linked the murder with Shugden devotees.

Feb. 9, 1997

About 40 Indian police, including the police chief of Dharamsala, travel down to Delhi to arrest the leaders of the Dorje Shugden Society in the middle of the night without a court order. They were then celebrating Tibetan New Year in the society. The five accused leaders receive anticipatory bail from the Delhi Court, and are released the next day without charge.

Feb. 14, 1997

The five leaders of Shugden society go to Dharamsala voluntarily to cooperate with the investigation. They are held illegally under tight security in a hotel (to avoid habeas corpus which only covers being held in a police station) for nearly two weeks, interrogated eight hours daily without food, water, or any facilities, or permission to see their lawyer, or contact with their families.

Feb 1997

The Dharamsala Tibetan Administration alleges the hit-list of officials including H.H. the Dalai Lama, comes from Dorje Shugden Society. There is no proof. Indian government pays IRs 4.6 million for the security of Dharamsala officials.

March 2, 1997

The Shugden Society releases a press release, refuting the allegation that the society was involved in any way in the murder of Lobsang Gyatso and his two attendants.

March 3, 1997

The five leaders of the Dorje Shugden society are released from Dharamsala and return to Delhi. There is still no evidence of their wrong doing.

Before March 10, 1997

H.H. the Dalai Lama encourages newcomers from Tibet in very clear terms to fight the Dorje Shugden followers.

March 12, 1997

It is reported that sources in the Tibetan Administration in Dharamsala tell a prominent American journalist (Tim McGirk, Time Magazine) that they have no proof at all of any wrong doing by the Dorje Shugden Society, and that Dharamsala believes the murders were committed by the Chinese.

March 13, 1997

The five leaders of Dorje Shugden Society receive anticipatory bail from Delhi High Court. There is no evidence of wrongdoing. The Police officer responsible for the illegal detention in Dharamsala is reprimanded by the Delhi Court.

March 17, 1997

In anticipation of H.H. the Dalai Lama's visit to Taiwan (March 22- 29, 1997), statements against Dorje Shugden and prominent masters of the tradition are circulated.

March 26, 1997,

Prominent Taiwan newspaper refuses to run an ad by private Taiwan individuals of an open letter to H.H. the Dalai Lama, requesting to heal the split in the Gelug tradition.

Last week of March 1997

Tibetan Exile Minister Sonam Topgyal tries to bring up in the Tibetan Exile Parliament the suspicions related to Dorje Shugden Society. The under-secretary stops him. Parliament conclusion: since there is no proof of wrongdoing by Dorje Shugden Society, it is improper to discuss mere suspicion.

March 27, 1997

South China Morning Post: “H.H. the Dalai Lama said yesterday he had broken with tradition to accept US $500,000 in donation from Taiwan people, vowing to use the funds for his exiled government. He said he normally did not accept money for his mass enlightenment lectures but agreed to do so because Taiwan was so rich.”

April 1997

The leaders of Dorje Shugden society again travel to Dharamsala twice to participate in the investigation. No evidence of wrongdoing is found.

* April issue of TIBETAN REVIEW still reports news in the form of false allegations and rumours from an Indian newspaper 'Indian Express' published on February 4, 1997.

May 1, 1997

World Tibet News reproduces a translation of an article that appeared in the Indian Newspaper 'Jansatta' printed in Chandigarh on April 28th. Several aspects of this report give serious grounds for concern.

May- July, 1997

Legal proceedings are unduly drawn out, even though there is no evidence against the leaders of the Dorje Shugden Society. Sources in Dharamsala believe the exile government is trying to interfere in the legal process. Dharamsala wages a slanderous media campaign against the Dorje Shugden Society in Delhi and anyone abroad whom Dharamsala perceives as political opposition, in England, Germany, and Italy (July).

The difference in views gets more entrenched: Buddhists who rely on Dorje Shugden claim H.H. the Dalai Lama's ban has caused divisiveness in the exile community, while Dharamsala insists it is Dorje Shugden. The former say they are loyal to H.H. the Dalai Lama and only want their religious freedom to practice as they have for centuries. Dharamsala brands them as anti-Dalai Lama.

May 16, 1997

Advice given by Lama Zopa to his students: Therefore, it becomes very important to support His Holiness and to fulfil His Holiness’ wishes. For that reason, Kopan Monastery stopped doing this practice. This was done for His Holiness. This does not mean that Pabongka Dechen Nyingpo, His Holiness Trijang Rinpoche, and His Holiness Song Rinpoche have made mistakes. It does not mean they are wrong. Nor does one have to look at the protector as evil. For us ordinary people it is difficult to judge, because we cannot see these lamas’ minds. Another side of the teaching is that it is mentioned that the protector is an Arya Bodhisattva, a manifestation of Manjushri. So, then, there is also the risk of our creating very heavy karma in that context.

However, Lama Zopa's point of view has dramatically changed in the recent years and he now takes a leading role to spread the anti-Dorje Shugden campaign all over the world, up to calling personally the older students of Lama Yeshe and advising them to give up Dorje Shugden, saying that they are thus making a delighting offering to H.H. Dalai Lama. All his own masters, Kyabje Trijang Dorje Chang, Kyabje Song Dorje Chang, the Most Venerable Geshe Rabten Rinpoche, Venerable Lama Yeshe, all had Dorje Shugden as their main protecting deity. Lama Yeshe introduced his centres to this deity and invited Kyabje Song Rinpoche to perform blessing rituals for the sake of the flourishing of these centres. Now many of them have given that up, due to the new action of Lama Zopa.

June 6, 1997

Amendment of the Tibetan constitution:
Original Version: The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court: The chief justice of the Supreme Court should be a Tibetan nationality, and in a court of law...need not be referred to...
New Version: The Chief Justice of the Supreme Court: The chief justice and two other justices of the Supreme Court, in addition to being a Tibetan national, should not be a devotee of Gyalchen Shugden and in a court of law... need not be referred to.


Advertisements from Tibetan Newspapers known as She-Ja and Bokyi Dhubab state that everyone who resists H.H. the Dalai Lama must be treated ruthlessly by all means, including violence. The secretary of the association responsible for these ads, Tashi Wangdu, president of the Tibetan Regional Council, states that his actions were in accordance with the wishes of the Tibetan exile government and that violent threats are made against people who do not accord with the wishes of H.H. the Dalai Lama.

June 19, 1997

Office of H.H. the Dalai Lama sends a letter to Gaden Monastery instructing that monks requesting full ordination from His Holiness must submit a letter from their abbots, certifying that none of them have any connection with Dorje Shugden.

June 25, 1997

Lobsang Jinpa, Private Secretary of H.H. the Dalai Lama's office wrote to monk Jampa Wangyal: “...on this visit (to Tibet), do your best to advise your acquaintances on the issue of Protector worship. A sum of Rupees 300,000 (US $ 7142.85) is being provided for construction of the new monastery (Saluga, India).”

July 3, 1997

Dr. Lobsang Thubten's house (sec Nov, 7/8), which was under police protection, had been vandalized. When he and his family went with police protection to check on it, a mob of three hundred Tibetans attacked them with bricks and iron bars. A monk recently arrived from Tibet went into the crowd and got severely beaten to the point of unconsciousness. The local police stood by and the family had to save him from being killed. He had to be hospitalized. A journalist's camera got taken by the mob. Only after the Provincial Armed Constabulary' (PAC) was deployed did the family get some protection. The police forcibly removed the family's possessions and loaded it onto a police truck, insisting that they could otherwise not get out alive. They returned to Delhi.

July 9, 1997

Dhomey Association (Regional group from Amdo) circulates a resolution and their “patriotic request” which amounts to inciting their members to be in no uncertain terms to fight the enemies, i.e. the Dorje Shugden groups in general, and specifically singling out Geshe Dragpa Gyaltsen, spokesperson of our Society.

July 14, 1997

A letter signed by 73 residents of the Tibetan community of Majnu-Ka-Tilla, Delhi, is written to the Commissioner of Police in New Delhi, asking for police protection. This letter makes clear their fear and their feelings of isolation and helplessness in the face of hostility within the exile Tibetan community.

July 25, 1997

The five leaders of the Dorje Shugden Devotees Charitable and Religious Society in Delhi receive bail from the local Dharamsala court. This clears them of any connection to the murders.

A writ is filed in and accepted by the Delhi High Court to protect the lives and property of the Dorje Shugden Society's members who have been threatened by Tibetan social groups.

September 18, 1997

The Tibetan exile government’s Department of Security publishes information on 10 prominent opponents of H.H. the Dalai Lama's ban against Dorje Shugden, as the so-called 10 most hated enemies of Tibet and H.H. the Dalai Lama. These profile their names, addresses, occupation, photographs, and contain false, unproven, and defamatory allegations. This information is widely distributed in the Tibetan settlements, as well as posted on walls. (Three of them feature in a Swiss news report 10 vor 10 January 1998).

The information on one of the people includes the names and addresses of his brothers. One brother repudiates him, another flees the country, and the third changes his name and moves to an outlying settlement.

Another gives details about where the children of one of the dissidents are being educated. Because of this and due to death threats made by telephone. One saying to the man's six year old daughter, “We will kill your Daddy”. The man sends his family abroad for their safety.

September 20, 1997

During the summer session of the exile Tibetan People's Assembly, reference is made to a second signature campaign against the worship of Dorje Shugden, which had been held among 200 government employees in Dharamsala on September 17th.

October 8, 1997

H.H. the Dalai Lama says publicly that possibly followers of his own master, Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche, were involved in the murders of February 1997.

October 14/15, 1997

H.H. the Dalai Lama continues to increase the pressure on Dorje Shugden practitioners by stating that monks from Sera-Mey Pomra Khangtsen and Dhokhang Khangtsen of Gaden Monastery, who continue to practice Dorje Shugden, do not like him; a statement designed to inflame opposition to these monasteries.

October 17, 1997

10-points resolutions adopted by the parliament, during the fourth session of the 12th Tibetan parliament, signed by Thubten Lungrik:

1) To extend repeated support to all the resolutions adopted by the Tibetan peoples' parliament on June 6, 1996 by general consensus, and thereby arouse the interest of the general public on the intent of those resolutions;

2) To continue clear campaign about the negative aspects of worshipping Dholgyal (Shugden), and to lay emphasis on the distribution of literature, audio and video cassettes to the general public;

6) In particular, effort has to be made with respect to the monastic colleges. Efforts should be made to ensure that restrictions against the worship of Dholgyal (Shugden) in these monasteries, which are already in place, should be continued.

11) There should be complete ban on the worship of Dholgyal (Shugden). Tibetan Govt. offices, NGOs, Private individuals should as a whole make this possible.

December, 1997

H.H. the Dalai Lama, in an interview in the American Magazine Mother Jones, says: “...if there is the situation such that there was only one learned lama or genuine practitioner alive, a person whose death would cause the whole of Tibet to lose all hope of keeping its Buddhist way of life, then it is conceivable that in order to protect that one person, it might be justified for one or ten enemies to be eliminated - if there was no other way.”

December 4-6. 1997

The Private Office of H.H. the Dalai Lama interferes in the internal affairs of Sera-Mey monastery by ordering the removal of the recently elected disciplinarian, one of the three highest offices within the monastery, on the grounds that he is a Dorje Shugden worshipper.

December 25, 1997

In the light of the forthcoming visit to Sera-Mey monastery by H.H. the Dalai Lama, Mr. Tashi Wangdu, the minister for Tibetan exile government, visits the office of Sera-Mey monastery. He directs that seven monks out of 600 monks of the Pomra Khangtsen will not be allowed to attend any of the forthcoming programs during H.H. the Dalai Lama's visit. One of these seven monks is Ven. Ngawang Namgyal (75), the head of Pomra Khangtsen. No reason is given. Later, he orders that none of the 600 monks of Pomra can attend H.H. the Dalai Lama's teachings. Petitions requesting to be allowed to attend H.H. the Dalai Lama's teachings sent by Pomra Khangtsen to the Minister of Security on December 26 and 27 are ignored.

December 29, 1997

H.H. the Dalai Lama arrives at Sera Monastery at 1 p.m. Without prior warning he gives his first talk at 2.00 p.m. during which he says that “anyone who worships Dorje Shugden, if they do not want H.H. the Dalai Lama to die, should get up and leave the prayer hall.”

December 30-31, 1997

H.H. the Dalai Lama's Private Secretary, Lobsang Jinpa, sends a message via the abbot of Sera-Mey, saying that those students who have successfully completed their Geshe degree studies but who engage in the worship of Dorje Shugden will not receive any certificates for their examination. These include seven senior students who give regular classes at the monastery. Five of them respond by saying that if this is the condition required for them, they will not accept their Geshe degree. The Private Office later retracts this condition and the students receive their certificates.