Love is the great protector, protecting us from anger and jealousy, and from harm inflicted by spirits. When Buddha Shakyamuni was meditating under the Bodhi Tree he was attacked by all the terrifying demons of this world, but his love transformed their weapons into a rain of flowers. Ultimately our love will become the universal love of a Buddha, which actually has the power to bestow happiness on all living beings. (Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, Eight Steps to Happiness: the Buddhist Way of Loving Kindnessp. 124, © 2000)

In one sense, the whole Dorje Shugden debate boils down to whether or not you believe a 17th century Tibetan Buddhist monk named Tulku Dragpa Gyaltsen had achieved enlightenment. Say no—in accordance with the Dalai Lama’s oracles, dreams, and dough ball divinations—and you are accepted with open arms into the Tibetan Buddhist fold. Say yes—in accordance with the tradition taught by the Dalai Lama’s very own Teachers—and you face religious shunning and social ostracism.

The Dalai Lama broke faith with his Gurus over Dorje Shugden in the 1970s; once these old Masters had passed away, he began to publically defame their other disciples, asking them to do the unthinkable: break their own Guru-disciple bonds by renouncing their commitments to the Dorje Shugden practice, or be scapegoated for all the countless ills that have befallen Tibet for the past 50 years. Having no ecclesiastical authority to ban worship of this Protector Deity, the Dalai Lama flexed his political muscle as Head of State to impose his personal religious views on those living in Tibetan government-controlled monasteries, resulting in a schism of the spiritual community. In solidarity with Tibetan Buddhists now exiled from exile, and holding steadfast to his Spiritual Guide’s precious teachings, Geshe Kelsang Gyatso still hopes that one day there will be unity and harmony once again within Je Tsongkhapa’s tradition…


  1. Standing Up for the Middle Way: A Buddhist Perspective on Religious Freedom
  2. Context Changes Everything: Do Geshe Kelsang Gyatso’s Writings Promote Sectarianism?

Pure Dharma

  1. Do we really need to rely on a tradition?
  2. What makes for a ‘pure’ Buddhist tradition?
  3. What does it mean to practice Dharma ‘purely’?
  4. Can I have more than one Guru or Spiritual Guide?
  5. Can I practice Buddhist and non-Buddhist teachings?
  6. Can I practice different Buddhist traditions at once?

Religious Harmony

  1. Are non-Gelug teachings complete paths to enlightenment?
  2. What is the relationship between the NKT and Gelugpas?
  3. What is the problem between the Nyingma and the Gelug?
  4. Why is there disharmony between Tibetan Buddhists?

Dorje Shugden

  1. Who is Dorje Shugden, and what is he so angry about?
  2. Why does Dorje Shugden appear so fearsome?
  3. Is Dorje Shugden a Deity or a demon?
  4. Was Je Phabongkhapa a spirit worshipper?
  5. Was Trijang Rinpoche a spirit worshipper?
  6. Can the Dalai Lama’s health be harmed by evil spirits?
  7. Did Dorje Shugden help the Dalai Lama escape from Tibet?

Mixing Pure Dharma with Tibetan Politics

  1. Do you support the separation of church and state?
  2. Does not the Dalai Lama decide what is practiced by Gelugpas?
  3. Did Dorje Shugden practitioners issue death threats?
  4. Does Dorje Shugden harm Gelugpas who mix traditions?
  5. Does the Dorje Shugden practice promote sectarianism?
  6. Do you believe the stories in Zemey Tulku’s Yellow Book?
  7. Did Phabongkhapa use political power against Nyingmapas?

The New Kadampa Tradition

  1. Is the New Kadampa Tradition part of Tibetan Buddhism?
  2. Why was the presentation of Buddha’s teachings changed?
  3. Why were pictures of the Dalai Lama removed from shrines?
  4. Is there a rule that NKT students can read only NKT books?
  5. Is Geshe Kelsang Gyatso a self-proclaimed Geshe?
  6. Are the NKT vows an authentic presentation of the Vinaya?
  7. Are the NKT’s ordination vows in keeping with the Vinaya?

Religious Freedom

  1. How could the Dalai Lama’s unlawful ban on Dorje Shugden practice possibly
    destroy Je Tsongkhapa’s tradition?
  2. Is it un-Buddhist to demonstrate for the unalienable human right to religious freedom?
The Triple Gem in the Heart Jewel Practice
Buddha Jewel
Je Tsongkhapa
Dharma Jewel
Lamrim, Lojong & Mahamudra
Sangha Jewel
Dorje Shugden

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