Dharamshala — In an effort to clarify the false narrative put forth by a sect of people called 'Shugden followers' who claim religious persecution, Sikyong Dr Lobsang Sangay launched a documentary film and book on November 14th, providing factual explanations about the worship of this controversial spirit.
Dolgyal Shugden has been a longstanding issue in the Tibetan religious community. Dolgyal, a deity that was once worshiped by His Holiness the Dalai Lama, he later renounced in 1975 after discovering the profound historical, social and religious problems associated with it. According to His Holiness, historical investigation reveals that Dolgyal practice, which has strong sectarian overtones, has a history of contributing to a climate of sectarian disharmony in various parts of Tibet, and between various Tibetan communities, which has led him to regularly make his view public that this practice is inadvisable.
The 13-minute documentary film titled ‘Shugden Protesters: Allegations vs Facts’ explores the Dolgyal group’s claims and the Central Tibetan Administration's responses and policies, while the 365-page book is an updated version of an earlier book on Dolgyal featuring articles on Dolgyal by noted Buddhist scholars, which also include the complete Reuters article from 2015 which uncovered financial ties between the group and the Chinese government.
Addressing the launch, Sikyong said, “It is with the objective of clarifying the Tibetan administration’s stand and to expose the blatant contortion of facts by these misguided fringe groups that we are releasing this book and film to provide factual and truthful information on the matter.”
“A few misguided people manipulated by the Chinese government have been regularly protesting at teaching venues of His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Europe and the US in the past few years. However, there has been a dramatic decrease in their activities since the publication of a Reuters article exposing their complicity with the Chinese government in March.”
“Even so, there are still some instances of such protests by a few misinformed foreigners on social media and elsewhere. Even among the Tibetan youth, there are some rare cases where they seem to question the logic behind this controversy, stemming from their belief in the right to freedom of speech and religion.”
“Therefore, we felt it necessary to compile this book and produce this short documentary film to provide a fresh narrative on the issue,” Sikyong explained.
Sikyong also added that these misguided people are being manipulated by the Chinese government to advance their propaganda of maligning the good name of His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the just cause of the Tibetan people led by the Central Tibetan Administration.
Sikyong urged the Chinese government to reform their failed policies in Tibet instead of resorting to instigating misinformed people to foment trouble within the Tibetan community.
Ms Tenzin Dhardon Sharling, Secretary of the Department of Information and International Relations, noted that recently there has been a decrease in protests, saying, “it is true that Dolgyal protests against His Holiness has abated in the last few months. However, there is a rise in their activities, which are not distinctly visible to the public eye, particularly on social media. It is with this objective that we are releasing this book and film,” she said, expressing her deep concern.
“These groups began protesting against His Holiness the Dalai Lama in the name of religious freedom and human rights. Now they have resorted to disrupting Tibetan social harmony at the instigation of the Chinese government, even using the same narratives employed by the Chinese propaganda machinery.”
“It is clear now that Dolgyal activities have become a tool for the Chinese government to slander His Holiness the Dalai Lama, demean the Tibetan people’s faith in His Holiness and disrupt Tibetan harmony,” she said.
The book and the film, produced by the Department of Information and International Relations (DIIR), is the latest in a series of efforts by the department to provide truthful information about the issue and raise awareness about the group, which apparently has a notorious history of violence within the Tibetan community.