Events in 2008
January 6, 2008
The Dalai Lama presided over the opening ceremony in the Shartse monastery debating courtyard. He said that he would not give teachings at Gaden Shartse because there were many Shugden devotees there.
January 7, 2008
During the opening ceremony of Drepung Loseling monastery in Mundgod, Karnataka State, the Dalai Lama said: “With strong emotion, Samdhong Lama accused Shugden devotees, saying that they have made open and overt contact with the People's Republic of China.” He added that he thinks it is very difficult for the monks to remain like fish and tadpoles together in the three monasteries of the Gelug Tradition.
In the afternoon, the Dalai Lama convened a meeting in Drepung monastery, which was attended by Kolon Samdong Lama, Tsering Phuntsok, the Tibetan minister of Culture and Religion, abbots and ex-abbots. The Dalai Lama urged them to take action to clean up Shugden devotees. He reprimanded the abbots of Jangtse and Shartse monasteries for not taking a rigid stand against Shugden devotees.
The Dalai Lama rebuked the Shartse abbot: "Shugden devotees are growing in your monastery. If you are this inept, you had better resign." The Dalai Lama also reprimanded the Jangtse abbot: “You said that the monastery is clean, but there are still some Shugden devotees. You must do better."
Later that night, Jangtse monastery held a meeting about the signature and oath to give up the worship of Shugden to be taken by every monk. In this very meeting, Serkong Tritul Rinpoche and Geshe Tsultrim were expelled from the monastery because they worship Dorje Shugden.
January 8, 2008
In the assembly hall of Jangtse monastery, each monk stood up in turn in front of the speaker. First he declared that he would never worship Dorje Shugden, and then he walked under the pictures of the Protector Palden Lhamo and the Dalai Lama. Twelve monks who worship Shugden did not attend and were excommunicated from the monastery.
In Phukang Khamtsen, signed statements were collected from each monk, declaring that the signatory never worshipped Dorje Shugden.
The monks who didn’t want to sign the statement and take the oath to forego the practice of Dorje Shugden were pressured to do so. The signature and oath campaign was conducted in 10 monastic sections.
With strong emotion, the Dalai Lama scolded the abbots of Jangtse and Shartse, accusing them of lying: “All you are doing is telling lies and playing drama.” When the Jangtse abbot got up and apologized, the Dalai Lama shouted at him to sit down.
When the signatures were collected in Pukang Khamtsen, one monk was expelled for refusing to sign. Photos and videos were taken during the signature campaign. The Khamtsen signature campaign did not satisfy the Dalai Lama, who insisted that under the eyes of the monastery and in the presence of the other monks, every monk should sign a statement that from that time forth he would renounce faith in Dorje Shugden and promise never to worship Dorje Shugden again.
January 9, 2008
When the Dalai Lama gave the empowerment of Yamantaka in Drepung Loseling monastery at Mundgod, Karnataka State, he said:
“In contemporary democratic practice, there is such a thing as a 'referendum', or 'consulting the majority'. The matter has now reached this point of consulting the majority to see what they want. Therefore, when you return to your respective places after this program at Loseling monastery, put these questions to the monks:
1. Whether you want to worship Dholgyal (Dorje Shugden)?
This is the first question. Those who want to worship should sign saying that they wish to worship Dholgyal; those who do not want to should sign saying, “We do not want to.”
2. Do you want to share religious and material amenities of life (live together in the
monastery) with Dholgyal worshippers?
Sign saying so: 'We do not want to share religious and material amenities of life (live together) with Dholgyal worshippers'.”
The Dalai Lama continued:
“Those who worship Dholgyal are taken care of by the Chinese government. It would be best if they returned to where they are cared for. There is no reason for them to live here. Do you understand?”
He also said:
“Recently, the Shugden society has written to the Indian Government, claiming that the Dalai Lama is banning the practice of Dorje Shugden, that they are becoming apprehensive, and that they seek protection from the government. The MEA has sent an acknowledgement. This has grave implications.”
January 11, 2008
Shartse monastery held a meeting in its office attended by representatives of Khamtsen. The abbot explained that three different meetings had been held: In the first meeting, the Dalai Lama spoke of boycotting religious and material contact with Shugden devotees. In the second meeting he said that the Shugden organization has contact with China and also that Lama Gangchen and Kundeling Rinpoche should return to China. In the third meeting he said that he would distribute a document regarding the Shugden issue, and that the referendum would be held.
The abbot said that this presented an increasingly grave situation and urged Lungrik Tenzin, the representative of Dhokhang Khamtsen, to take this into consideration and follow the example of the others at Khamtsen.
January 13, 2008
In the morning, abbots and representatives of Shartse monastic sections visited the Dalai Lama and showed him the list of names and signatures. The Dalai Lama said: “There are six more programs to come. Shugden devotees need allotment. I will talk to the Indian government.”
In the afternoon, following the teaching in Loseling monastery, the Dalai Lama distributed literature that expressed contempt for the practice of Dorje Shugden. He said:
“In contemporary democratic practice, there is such a thing as a referendum, or consulting the majority. The matter has now reached this point of consulting the majority to see what it wants. Therefore, when you return to your respective places after this program, pose these questions. They must read them and sign whether they continue to worship Shugden or not. If 60 percent of people say that they will continue to worship Shugden, then I will talk no more against Shugden. On the contrary, if 60 percent do not want to worship Dorje Shugden, then I will continue with my plan to eliminate the practice from the monasteries.”
January 19/20, 2008
Samdhong Lama, Kalon Tripa of the Central Tibetan Administration, and Tsering Phuntsok of the Tibetan Deparment of Religion and Culture held a meeting in Drepung monastery regarding Shugden worship. They passed a resolution to conduct a referendum on whether monks want to practice Shugden or not, and whether monks want to share a religious and material relationship with Shugden monks or not.
January 21, 2008
At 3:30 p.m., Sharpa Choeje, Jangpa Choeje, representatives of the Tibetan Department of Culture and Religion, a local Tibetan deputy, the local head of the Tibetan settlement, administrators of Gomang and Loseling monasteries, and administrators of Shartse and Jangtse monasteries passed a resolution which outlined procedures for a referendum, the purpose of which was to impose a ban on the worship of Dorje Shugden. The deadline of the referendum was set for January 26, 2008 and February 8, 2008.
January 23, 2008
Sera-May monastery issued a form:
“Before the witness of the great protector Thawo, I….. take a volunteer oath, without a doubt, making a clear decision to relinquish sharing all religious and material amenities of life with any Dholgyal follower, whoever he may be, from now on.”
January 23, 2008
The Dorje Shugden Devotees Charitable and Religious Society released a 16-point pronouncement in disagreement with and opposition to the referendum proposed by the Dalai Lama. (Document)
January 26, 2008
The referendum was conducted in Sera-Jay monastery, starting at 7a.m. Sharpa Choejey, the representative of the Tibetan Department of Culture and Religion, and the monastic administrator supervised the referendum.
January 26, 2008
With the intention of ceasing to provide food to Shugden monks, the abbot of Sera-May monastery asked the monastic kitchen to close on the occasion of Indian Republic Day. The meal had been funded by the late Khensur Geshe Lobsang Tharching, who was a Shugden devotee.
All the shops in the monastery were closed. Many monks, particularly Shugden devotees, were tense, worrying about the consequence of the forthcoming referendum. There was a widely circulated report that a Tibetan officer would bring some members of the Tibetan public to protest against Shugden monks in Sera-May monastery, and that the public might be provoked into protesting and attacking Shugden monks. Yet there was not even one sign of violence or agitation from the Shugden monks.
January 26, 2008
According to Phayul.com, Tashi Lhunpo monks swore once more in the presence of dignitaries from the religious and political departments of the exile government. This just confirmed the already known stance that Dholgyal (Shugden) was no longer propitiated by the monks of Tashi Lunpo.
February 1, 2008
Monks of Pomra who worshipped Shugden held a meeting in their monastery, during which they resolved to keep their religious faith. A student of a senior monk of Pomra was bribed; he received thousands of rupees for his signature. There is a report that some monks from Pomra were given ten thousand rupees each by the monastic staff for their signatures.
February 3, 2008
Monks who would join the great prayer festival require certificate issued by Gaden, Drepung Molan committee. The certificates reads Dholgyal (Shugden) followers are banned to attend the prayer.
February 4, 2008
In Gaden monastery, an agency was set up to monitor whether monks were still secretly practicing Dorje Shugden. Despite having given their signatures, the old monks continued to be afraid of those doing the monitoring.
February 5, 2008
Gyalrong Lophel appealed to Shugden devotees not to attend his restaurant situated at Camp No 3, near Tibetan Medicine Clinic. He said he was not happy at hearing a rumor linking him to the worship of Shugden because it would pose obstacles to his restaurant business. The appeal appeared in Lochok Ponya, a Tibetan Newspaper published in South India. Two other restaurants run by Amdos took the same stand.
February 6, 2008
Dorje Shugden Society held a press conference at the Press Club of India in New Delhi.
February 7, 2008
In the assembly hall of Shartse monastery, the disciplinarian with tears in his eyes announced: “Now Dhokhang Khamtsen will be separated from Shartse monastery.” Many monks burst into tears.
February 8, 2008
In the afternoon, the Sera-May abbot Gen Rabgya called the administrators of Pomra and asked them to give their signatures denouncing Shugden, considering the interests of the monastery. They said they could not renounce their religious faith.
February 9, 2008
At 6.30 a.m., the referendum was conducted in Shartse monastery, Mundgod, Karnataka State. Representatives of Bangalore and Mundgods, the representative of Rinpoche and so on presided over the process. Each monk picked a stick and entered the assembly hall. The monks were called up one by one. They stood in front of the microphone and read:
“I... take a volunteer oath, without a doubt, that I make a clear decision to relinquish the religious and material amenities of life (live together) with Dholgyal (Shugden).”
Local police were deployed around the venue. There was no sign of any breach of law and order. The process finished at 1 pm. Monks from Dhokhang did not take part in the referendum.
At the same time, the referendum was conducted in Sera-May monastery, Bykakuppe, Karnataka State. Police were deployed and there was no sign of any breach of law and order. No monks from Pomra attended the referendum.
It was the day of the partition of Shartse and Dokhang. The milk for morning tea turned sour. The next morning, the vessel was cleaned properly, yet again the milk turned sour. This happened every morning for a week.
February 9, 2008
There is a report that the Sera-May abbot disagreed with the swearing from time to time, saying that it was causing disharmony between teachers and students, between monastic sections and the monastery, and between individual monks. He asked the local committee to take responsibility if anything bad happened. The committee presided over and monitored the referendum, signature and oath campaign.
February 11, 2008
The Central Committee for the referendum held a meeting where the representatives of every monastery took part. Many did not want to continue the movement, but Jangpa Choeje said: “It would not be good if we avoid the movement.”
Sera-May delegates complained that the monastery had big problems, including the canteen being closed. The meeting was dismissed without reaching any decision, but the participants were informed that a second step was to be implemented soon.
February 13, 2008
Kenchok Rinpoche from Australia and some Chinese offered a long life puja to an ex-abbot, Ngawang, in the assembly hall of Sera-May monastery. Kenchok asked Shugden monks not to attend the long life puja, despite the fact that they have a Guru disciple relationship.
February 13, 2008
An additional Commissioner, a special representative for Tibetans, called a meeting at Sera-May monastery, Bylakuppe, South India. It was attended by the Sera-May abbot, representatives of the Tibetan settlement and representatives of Pomra. The meeting started at 2.30 pm and lasted until 5.30 pm. The AC presented a stack of 800+ letters from America, Europe, and Canada regarding the abuses and discrimination against Shugden monks.
In the evening, there was a meeting held at Sera-Lachi, when it was decided to hold the great prayer festival. Identity cards saying "I will not share religious and material amenities with Shugden devotees” were made for the participants of the great prayer festival.
February 14, 2008
This was the preliminary day for the great prayer festival, but it could not be held in Sera monastery.
February 15, 2008
The great prayer festivals were held at Drepung and Gaden monasteries. In order to patronize the puja and offering, the patron needed to sign that he or she denied spiritual and material resources to Shugden devotees. Some said that they could not sign this because they want to contact monks from Dhokham monastic section who worship Shugden. Shugden devotees were barred from the offerings to the monks.
A meeting was held at the Tibetan local assembly. The heads of Camps 5 and 9 suggested that the monasteries had been cleansed and that a similar campaign must now be carried out among the lay public. The local head said:
“We should not move hastily. There is a second plan to come. When I met Samdhong Rinpoche in Bangalore (Karnataka State) yesterday (February 14, 2008), he told me:
‘If the monasteries are completely cleansed, the campaign - of taking the oath not to worship Shugden and not to share religious and material resources with Shugden devotees - will be initiated throughout India, Nepal and Bhutan, then abroad and gradually in Tibet.’”
February 15, 2008
It was decided that the great prayer festival would be held on the 18th, 19th and 20th of February in Sera monastery. The Festival had normally been organized by Sera Lachi, but this time the so-called ‘Monlam Chenmo organizing committee’ was set up to organize it.
February 16, 2008
An announcement from the 2008 Monlam Chenmo organizing committee, Sera monastery:
“It was decided to hold a great prayer festival at Sera-Lachi monastery for four days. People must be aware that there is no way to integrate with Dholgyal worshippers, except for those who swore not to worship Dholgyal, and no way to share spiritual and material amenities with Dholgyal followers. We ask those who have a relationship with Dholgyal not to offer donations or patronage for the puja.”
February 16, 2008
The Identity Card is issued to monks to attend the great prayer festival of Sera Monastery. It reads that the ID is for those who had already taken the oath not to share religious and material relationship with Shugden devotees.
February 17, 2008
During the night, the 2008 Monlam Chenmo organizing committee posted a letter on the main gate of Sera Lachi monastery, which read: “We are postponing the festival by another week.”
February 18, 2008
Excerpt from Voice of Tibet radio, broadcasted from Norway:
Broadcaster: “This year, on the third day of the Tibetan new year, vote sticks were taken concerning whether monks want to worship Dholgyal or not. 412 monks who continue worshipping Dholgyal in Gaden Shartse monastery have already separated from the monastery, like self-expulsion.”
February 18, 2008
The great prayer festival was planned to be held on this day, but was cancelled. The monks who took part in the prayer would be needed to show an identity card that reads: “I will not share religious and material resources with Shugden devotees.”
In the morning, Taluk Magistrate called the Sera-May abbot, the Sera-Jay abbot, two disciplinarians, two administrators of Sera May and Sera-Jay monasteries, two administrators of Pomra monastic section, and two delegates of the local Dorje Shugden Society and Taluk Magistrate (Tahasildar) have filed cases against the leaders of the two groups as a precautionary measure to maintain law and order.
February 20, 2008
Bod-Kyi-Dus-Bab (a Tibetan Language Newspaper) covered the full announcement of the Deparment of Culture and Religion regarding the vote against Shugden worship. The Minister Tsering Dhondup said:
“I think the monastery must give allotment, examining the number of worshippers there are in the respective monasteries. Since they have already taken the oath that they will never share religious and material resources with (Shugden devotees), there is no way for them to be integrated; they must be separated. I think the local enclave and Dholgyal devotees must consider what to do.”
The newspaper only presented one side of the story; the Dorje Shugden worshippers were not interviewed.
February 24, 2008
It was reported that the Department of Culture and Religion asked the committee that was set up for the purpose of the vote-stick referendum to go to Nepal and carry out the same campaign. They complained that it was difficult for them to go and asked them to send officers from the Tibetan government in exile instead.
The Department replied:
"It is not appropriate for them to do so; it is not good to show the involvement of the Tibetan government in exile. You need to be the public face and we would send the recommendation letters there to help arrangements.”
The committee has agreed to send their envoys to Nepal.
Many monks in the monastery, although they are not Shugden worshippers, expressed their concern about the disharmony, schism, and tension in the monasteries as a result of the referendum. They are not happy with the divisive apartheid policy against Shugden monks. How can they be happy when other human beings are suffering?
But what can they do? Whether you agree or not, whether you like it or not, you have to follow the words of the Dalai Lama and Tibetan government in exile or you will suffer the same difficulties as the Shugden devotees.
Many Tibetans are not truly aware of the Shugden issue. They just repeat what the Dalai Lama says. Also, they are ignorant of the suffering of Shugden devotees and the discrimination against them. They are unaware of the abuse experienced by the devotees and unaware of this new apartheid. Propaganda from the Tibetan government in exile about the Shugden controversy has exhausted the Tibetan public. But they are easily roused by the Dalai Lama's aggressive words and by orders from the Tibetan government in exile.
In view of the ongoing abuses, discrimination and apartheid, the Dalai Lama and his government have the sole intention to provoke the public and monks into creating an atmosphere of disorder. The question remains: what is the purpose of using Dorje Shugden practitioners as scapegoats? From what are they trying to divert attention?
February 20, 2008
The Dorje Shugden Society wrote to the abbot of Gaden Jantse monastery:
“Under threat and tremendous pressure, those who worship Shugden are plunged into a hopeless situation where they have to involuntarily separate from their monastery. We request you to provide them allotment according to their numbers, like Shartse monastery.”
February 24, 2008: The Tibetan public was asked to attend the great prayer festival in Sera-Monastery, South India.
February 25, 2008: In the morning, the Tibetan public was told not to come.
February 25, 2008
The great prayer festival was held at Sera Lachi monastery, which is in Bylakuppee, Karnataka Sate, starting at 7am in the assembly hall. Over 200 police were deployed around the assembly hall. The monks from Pomra who worship Dorje Shugden were made to stay in the courtyard while the other monks held the prayers inside the monastery. Journalists witnessed the drama and newspapers reported this development. Some non-Shugden monks bought a bunch of the newspapers so that they would not reach others’ hands.
February 26, 2008
An anonymous supporter of the ban sent a letter to the Indian Intelligence Bureau, accusing the intelligence agents of being Shugden worshippers and supporting Shugden devotees.
February 28, 2008
In the afternoon, the Regional Tibetan Youth Congress and Tibetan Women’s Association in Bylakuppe summoned their members to take the oath and sign the statement renouncing the worship of Dorje Shugden. This was presided over by the Sera-Jey abbot Lobsang Palden. It took place at Podrang (the Old Palace of the Dalai Lama where the Tibetans normally hold festivals), which is situated at Dickyi Larsoe Tibetan Settlement, Bylakuppe, Karnataka State. The abbot Lobsang recited the letter of oath-taking and those members present repeated it after him. After that, they took the oath and signed the pledge to give up the worship of Dorje Shugden.
The monks are not able to share vehicles when traveling to the shops. Informers and watchmen monitor to see if non-Shugden monks are making any contact with Shugden devotees.
To purchase anything in the monastery shops, monks have to show identity cards certifying that the monk swore not to worship Shugden, nor to share any religious or material relationship with Shugden practitioners.
March 4, 2008
The 14th Tibetan Parliament-in-Exile (TPIE) began its fifth session at Dharamsala. The speaker Karma Choephel lauded the bold initiative of the Tibetan monastic communities in their resolve to end Dolgyal (Shugden) worship, following the long life offering to His Holiness the Dalai Lama held at Drepung monastery in south India in February. He added: “This session will present motions to strengthen the present resolution adopted by the TPIE against the propitiation of Shugden”.
March 8, 2008
At 10 o’clock, the program “Warrant” on Channel 9 in Karnataka State aired a report on the Shugden issue. It showed Pomra monks sitting outside while the other monks sat inside during the great prayer festival on February 26, 2007. The program aired for 30 minutes (with commercial breaks).
The reporter said:
“The minority Shugden devotees are not being granted their rights. …Tibetans are richer in terms of buildings, houses, etc. They are much richer than the local people. They do not pay land tax…”
March 9, 2008
The next day all the shops and restaurants in the Tibetan settlements were closed for fear that concerned authorities would come to raid them.
March 10, 2008
The Statement of the Kashag on the Forty-Ninth Anniversary of the Tibetan National Uprising Day:
“However, a few of the monastic institutions of the Gelug tradition have still not clarified their positions on this issue, as a result of which the propitiators and non-propitiators of Dholgyal live together under the same roof. A broad section of the enlightened monks have, therefore, expressed their views through a number of campaigning activities that this matter must be resolved once and for all.
As such, during his recent visit to Mundgod, South India, His Holiness the Dalai Lama has suggested to the Gelug monastic institutions that, for the future convenience of all, a referendum must be conducted amongst the monks. The responsible authorities of the monastic institutions unanimously supported this idea and a referendum was conducted by relying upon the Buddhist Vinaya system of voting by administering Tsul-shings (Sangha voting sticks). Subsequently, most of the Gelug monastic institutions, including the three Great Monastic Seats, have disassociated themselves completely from the Dholgyal propitiators.
While expressing our appreciation for this, the Kashag would like to urge the monastic world that they should not be negligent in this matter in the future as well. There is, still, a tiny number of monks who have not stopped the propitiation of Dholgyal. Since they cannot live within the compounds of the Great Monastic Seats, they should move out of the monasteries and live elsewhere. Towards this end, the Central Tibetan Administration will provide the necessary assistance we provide to all other Tibetans.”
March 13, 2008
During the call-in broadcast from Radio Free Asia, Jamyang Norbu, a Tibet activist and writer, was asked what he thought of the March 10th Statement:
“The main reason for the March 10th speech is to address the issues of our Nation, but on this day the Kashag twice brought up the complicated issue of deities and Dharmapalas, which is dividing our Tibetan community between those who practice and those who do not. Please, with my hands folded, I request the Exile Government not to bring this subject up in the March 10th speech.”
March 18, 2008
An anonymous letter was posted in Boudha Stupa in Kathmandu, Nepal. It read:
“The Shugden Organization, Adruk family and Shamarpa group are all Chinese spies and must be attacked.”
The Adruk family’s guesthouse was attacked with rocks.
On the list, 17 Tibetan families were claimed to be Chinese spies. One man went to the office of the Tibetan Youth Congress and Tibetan Women’s Association and said: “You need to prove the allegation that we are Chinese spies.” They replied that they had nothing to do with the list. He said: “You know full well that you organized the protest.”
March 31, 2008
The oath and signature campaigns were carried out among Tibetans living in Camp No 7, Mundgod, Karnataka State. The campaign was convened and presided over by the Loseling monastery ex-abbot Pasang, the president of the Tibetan Women’s Association, Pema, the president of the Regional Assembly, Mr. Tenpa, a member of the Tibetan parliament, Tsultrim Woeser, and the head of Camp No 7.
April 1, 2008
A meeting was held in Rabgya house about holding the purification day on April 5, the 29th day of the Tibetan calendar, in Sera-Jay monastery. It was discussed that if Dorje Shugden devotees tried to attend, it would be held elsewhere. If they persisted, they would be asked not to come.
An officer from Dharamsala came to Sera and told them to open the prayer hall, canteen, monastery shop and so on.
April 3, 2008
A meeting was convened in Sera monastery, South India by the Deputy Commissioner, Additional Commissioner, and so on. It was attended by abbots, administrators, representatives of Pomra, and the Dalai Lama’s representative in the Tibetan settlement.
The Deputy Commissioner made three demands:
You had better hold spiritual activities together, as you used to.
If this is not possible, then one party must hold their prayers first, and the other party must do so next.
If even these two demands cannot be met, then there will be no option but to close Sera Lachi and Sera-May monasteries.
The Sera-Jay monks in attendance suggested expelling the Shugden monks and making them go elsewhere. The police said:
“According to your point of view, we should single out the Muslim from the Hindu community and the Hindu from the Muslim community. This is not possible. The so-called referendum is nonsense. You are saying that they only have 200 monks. Whether they have 200, or 500, or 10, the Indian government supports those with truth on their side.”
The high-level police officers gave 24 hours for a decision. The deadline was 3 pm, April 4, 2008.
April 3, 2008
The statement by the Himalayan Buddhist Cultural Association & Himalayan Cultural
Association For Action on Tibet:
“.. hence we will see that the group of Shugden, the ghost, is driven out of our country.”
April 4, 2005
Lobsang Choedar of Sera-Jay monastery declared that he and his people would stop Shugden devotees from attending the next day’s puja at Sera Lachi monastery. He had formed a group named Himalayan Culture. Lobsang is from Tawang of Arnachal Pradesh, India.
He and his group defied the official order of the Deputy Commissioner of Mysore. There was a widely spread report that the members of the Tibetan Women’s Association would come to Sera monastery to protest against Shugden devotees, and to physically drive them out of the monastery.
The police asked the Shugden monks not to attend the puja. The police assured them that there would be no puja in the monastery at all. The Deputy Commissioner gave 24 hours to make a decision. None of the Shugden monks defied the police directives.
However, Lobsang Choedar and his group tried to incite a crackdown against the Shugden monks. The situation in the monastery was tense. Mr. Lobsang Choeder reportedly set up a Himalayan Cultural organization to sacrifice their lives to fight against Shugden devotees. Mr. Choeder gave an inflammatory speech to the Tibetans in Camp No 1 and distributed a three-page letter. The gist of the letter was that he has begun the campaign against Shugden devotees, and that he would finish it; and that he would drive all Shugden devotees from India. The letter contained the hit-list of 12 monks from Pomra. The Tibetans were provoked and called upon today, with Lobsang Choedar being the leader and organizer of the mob.
April 5, 2008
In the morning, Sera Lachi monastery, Bylakupee, Mysore District, Karnataka State, reopened for sojong ceremony. The Tibetan public were called and gathered in the courtyard of Sera Lachi. Most were old men and women. The mobs were violent and ready to pounce upon Shugden devotees. In fact, they caused a clash between the two groups. It was their ultimate intention to create public riot or public clashes, on which basis they would file cases against Shugden devotees for the purpose of harassing them. So they pursued the violent strategy at date. The public mob did not know the real intention of the mob leader. Their intention and aims were doomed several times.
During a conversation, a high level officer of the Tibetan government in exile said: “If you open the cafeteria and they come to collect food, tell them not to come. If they don’t listen, ask the Sera-jay monks to come, and if not, call Tibetans.” Pomra monks were stopped on the way to Sera Lachi. A monk cameraman from Pomra was slapped on the face and someone tried to snatch his camera. The Tibetan Women’s Association and the Tibetan Youth Congress threatened to come at night to attack the Pomra monastic building.
The Tibetan mob protested to the police and the Indian government that they were not supported. And they used harsh words against the Indian government -- the same goverment that accepted them and gave them food and shelter when no one else would.
At 6 pm, Sera-May monastery announced that it would hold a debating class in its courtyard. But it did not do so for, probably, their aim was far from being fulfilled since no riot or clashes had emerged despite the facts that the mobs had been called. And it is unclear where the order to open the Sera Lachi came from, or who exactly opened the temple door.
April 6, 2008, Sunday
A function was held at the Dalai Lama’s palace in the New Tibetan Settlement, Bylakuppe. At this event, Lobsang Rabgya (the Sera-May abbot) and Tenzin Dragpa (his assistant) made a speech to the so-called Himalayan Buddhist Association and Tibetan people, declaring that those who worshipped Dorje Shugden should separate themselves from the other monks of Sera-May monastery and should not attend the joint pujas, debates and so on. They planned to open Sera Mey for pujas and so on, and appealed for support from the attendees to prevent Shugden monks from attending.
April 7, 2008
Puja was held in Sera-Lachi monastery. More than a thousand Tibetans patrolled the monastery with the purpose of barring Shugden devotees from attending.
April 8, 2008
Posters of the photos of five monks were hung up, declaring that they were excommunicated from the institution of Sera monastery and appealing to the Tibetan public and monks not to share religious or material resources with them.
The Delhi High Court sent notice to the Dalai Lama and other respondents on a writ petition filed by the Dorje Shugden Society.
April 9, 2008
The Western Shugden Society wrote a letter to Sera Lachi, Sera-Jay and Sera-May to ask them to reinstate the five monks who were expelled from the monastery because of their religious belief.
April 11, 2008
At 6 pm, debate class was attended by the abbot, Mr. Rabgya, delegates of the monastic section, and Thupten Rinchen of Tsangpa Khamtsen. The monks of Pomra also attended. The abbot and Thupten said: “You, the monks from Pomra, cannot attend the debate class. You are not qualified because you did not take the oath and pledge.” At that point, monks left the courtyard as the result of the presence of the Pomra monks. The next day the debate class continued and monks blocked Shugden monks from entering through the gate.
April 13, 2008
In the SOS school, Bylakupee, Tibetan students were asked to give their signatures that they would never worship Shugden, and also to pledge that they would never share religious and material amenities with Shugden people. 20 students refused to sign and pledge and were threatened with expulsion. The signature and oath campaigns were carried out in the three different camps at Bylakuppe, presided over by abbots of Sera and the Dalai Lama’s representative.
April 14, 2008
Living in a newly built house between Sera and Camp No 3, Kagyur Tulku of Gyaltang province gave his signed statement renouncing his worship of Shugden. He told his assistant to give his signature but his assistant refused, and so was told to leave his home. Kagyur also told the Gyaltang monks of Sera-May to give their signatures.
April 15, 2008
SOS school decided not to expel these students for fear of an international outcry. Instead, the school director asked the other students not to talk to or have any contact with these 20 students who refused to recant their religious belief. So they face a suffering more painful than expulsion.
April 17, 2008
Sera-May school was opened, and Shugden students were denied attendance at the school.
May 15th, 2008
A couple in the Mundgod Tibetan settlements were married on May 12. As normal, they had fixed their marriage date by consulting the Tibetan calendar a few months beforehand. The newly wedded couple were abused and reprimanded by the Tibetan people in the camp, who blamed them for having their wedding on the same day that the sad news of the court hearing against His Holiness the Dalai Lama came to light. Eventually they had to apologize, as did the driver who escorted the bride.
A rumor was intentionally spread in Sera monastery that the Himalayan Buddhist Association had petitioned the Indian government to drive Shugden devotees out of the country; and that the government had sanctioned their expulsion. The rumor was intended to pressurize Shugden devotees and cause them to panic.
According to reliable sources, many Tibetans in the Mundgod Tibetan settlements were unwilling to join the protests against Shugden devotees, believing that it could cause bloodshed. They still remembered the horrible development in the year 2000 when Dhokham Khamtsen, which is now known as Shar Ganden Nampar Gyalwe Ling, was attacked with stones and bricks by Tibetan mobs.
May 16, 2008
Mr. Rinchen Dharlo, the ex-minister of the Tibetan government in exile, traveled to Nepal from America, and so too did a Tibetan exile minister from Dharamsala, reportedly to preside over the meeting attended by Nyenang people. In the meeting, they were reportedly to discuss how to pressurize the Phelgyeling monks into recanting their religious faith.
The senior monks in the monastery took a firm stand that they would never give up the practice of Shugden even though they supposedly face imprisonment and death because of their religious faith. The tentative provocative meeting plunged the monks into a state of stress and tension.
The spirit of their meeting is the offence to religious tolerance through insulting the religious beliefs and wounding the religious feelings of Shugden devotees. The meeting could incite people to hold an unlawful assembly, which would be likely to lead to a riot. Therefore, your writing to the Nepali government can stop this religious intolerance and alleviate the anxiety and uncomfortable life being experienced by Shugden monks, especially the most senior monks in Phalgyeling monastery, Swayambhu, Kathmandu, Nepal.
May 16, 2008
A meeting organized by the Himalayan Buddhist Association was held in the courtyard of Sera Lachi monastery. The monks from the Himalayan regions took part in the meeting. The gist of the meeting was the decision to continuously confront Shugden monks and to excommunicate them not only from Sera monastery but also from India.
May 19, 2008
Gan Rabgya, the abbot of Sera-May monastery, summoned two senior monks of Pomra to his house and informed them about the meeting. He said that since he was concerned, he was sharing this with them for their consideration. He added that they had discussed confronting Shugden monks continuously and furthermore to expel Shugden monks from the monastery as well as from India. He told them: “You still have time to think, or you will be in difficulties.”
This branch association had been actively involved in and pre-meditated the anti-Shugden activities in Sera monastery. And it has not yet been confirmed whether the head office agree with the anti-Shugden activities of the branch association. It is said that this branch has written to the Indian government to appeal for Shugden monks to be driven out of Sera monastery as well as from India. This is an attempt to turn the lawful into the unlawful, and the unlawful into the lawful.