Date: 12/23/2009 11:16:10 PM
Subject: [CASonline] Khensur Rinpoche Clarifies
Dearest Friends @ CAS,
We had the good fortune to clarify with the Loseling Khensur Lobsang Gyamtso Rinpoche on dark, murky developments here.
Khensur Rinpoche is the Abbot Emeritus of one of Tibet's greatest monasteries and is one of the seniormost lineage-holders of the Gelugpa Lineage. Rinpoche is a widely-respected prime teacher and / or colleague of some of Tibet's highest reincarnated masters.
Rinpoche, very recently, the "Chinese Gelugpa" associations which have actively opposed the Dalai Lama over practice of the controversial spirit, shugden, has changed their name to the Khadampa Buddhist Association. What advice could you give us on this intriguing development and will you be able to advise us on what is the "real" or actual Kadampa tradition ??
The Kadampa tradition is "founded" by Lama Atisha, who is one of the early pioneers who brought the holy Dharma into Tibet. Much later, Je Tsongkhapa studied and practised very widely on teachings by Lama Atisha. As a result, the tradition "founded" by Je Tsongkhapa is known in Tibet as the New Kadampa tradition while Lama Atisha's teachings are known as the Old Kadampa tradition.
The Khadampa Buddhist Association is headed by a bearded Taiwanese man who claimed himself to be recorngised by his teacher, "Serkong Tritul", ( this is not the authentic Serkong Yangsi Rinpoches officially recognised by mainstream Tibetan Buddhists worl-wide ) as the reincarnation of Chenrezig of Guan Yin. His disciples, to differentiate themselves from all other Buddhists monks and nuns in the world, wore their robes with a strip of dark green cloth striped vertically downwards from the left chest. Is there any sound historical or scriptural references to this development ??
There has never been any historical precedent or valid scriptural basis for wearing these green-striped robes. In fact, I am concerned that their lineage is not authentic because "Serkong Tritul", head of this association, has flipped-flopped by declaring himself to be the reincarnation of this, and then, that, different Ganden Tripas in the past. In addition, he has switched his claim before to having been the reincarnation of a great yogi practitioner "Apong". It appears that there has been some contradictions in his own claims !!
Let me recount, in short, how reincarnation became institutionalised in Tibet. The first recognised reincarnated master of Tibet is the first Gyalwa Karmapa. Subsequently, the recognition of reincarnation of past masters ( called "tulkus" ) spread to the other traditions. In the Gelugpa lineage, it is mainly the Dalai Lama or the Ganden Tripas who will recognise Tulkus. In the Sakya lineage, the Sakya Trizin will be mainly responsible while for the Nyingma lineage, great masters such as the Mindroling Trichen, the late Dudjom Rinpoche or Palyul Penor Rinpoche will be the authority. In the Drikung Kagyu, the Drukpa Kagyu and other lineages, the respective great masters will fulfill the task and they each have their respective, stringent and definitely valid systems of recognising incarnations of great masters from their lineage.
Here, "Serkong Tritul" is not recognised by any of the senior lineage-holders of any of the schools. His Holiness the Dalai Lama has never recognised him as a Tulku and neither has any of the heads of the other lineages. This association claims to represent the Kadampa lineage, but all the old Kadampa masters have passed away, so these old, holy Kadampa masters could not have recognised them as Kadampas or as tulkus of the Kadampa lineage.
The formal inheritors of the Kadampa lineage are the Gelugpas. None of the Gelugpa lineage-holders alive today - not His Holiness or the Ganden Tripa - recognised him as a tulku. So, merely claiming himself to be a tulku does not and could not, at all, factually make him one.
They have been requested to offer proofs of their recognition as Kadampas. "Serkong Tritul" has also been questioned many times to provide proof of who recognised him as the real tulku of Serkong Tritul and to date, they could not offer any answers or proof.
"Serkong Tritul", himself, although un-recognised by any to have the authority to recognise or enthrone anyone as Tulku, has himself recognised a Taiwanese man to be an emanation of Chenrezig and a high tulku. They have aggressively marketed themselves as who they claimed themselves to be and many Buddhists in the general public are not aware that Tulkus need to be strongly, clearly verified via the traditional, established systems.
The public need to investigate carefully and thoroughly. They MUST investigate. Then, they can draw a reasonable, accurate conclusion themselves. Otherwise, practising what is taught by the unqualified teacher/s will have disastrous consequences.
These days, both in the west and in Taiwan, Singapore or other Asian countries, I have heard of people who self-market themselves as reincarnation of truly great lineage masters such as Je Tsongkhapa or even great, enlightened Bodhisattvas like Maitreya !! Please, of course, there is no need for us, on our side, to believe any such claims.
If these claims are real, they need to be backed by official recognitions by the respective leaders of the different Tibetan Buddhist lineages. Otherwise, we need not believe in them.
The Khadampa Buddhist Association is organising a huge exhibition of alleged relics of the Buddha's saliva, bones, brains or blood although no verified source has been provided by them. It appears that they are trying to gloss over this sudden surfacing of thousands of "relics" by side-stepping the issue of the need for historical or scriptural references.
The Taiwanese "tulku", the alleged incarnation of Chenrezig, has also, in front of television audiences, held an alleged hair of Lord Buddha between his fingers, with the hair apparently twitching like a worm from side to side in his hands. When he dumped the hair in a mug of liquid, the hair apparently "swam" of its own efforts, to much consternation and gasps of the innocent public !!
In the Buddhist scriptures, which are the reliable references for Buddhists, we have no records of the Buddha having left any relics of the blood, brain or saliva.
I, myself, ( as a fully-ordained monk or Bhikshu and Buddhist teacher of 75 years of age ) have never heard, read or learnt of Lord Buddha having left relics of the blood, brain or saliva.
Hence, it is necessary that we know the source of these alleged "relics", before we could accept the claims or before we could conclude that these alleged "relics" are from the Buddha.
When Lord Buddha manifested Nirvana at Kushinagara, it is recorded in the scriptures that the bone relics of Lord Buddha were devotedly collected by the gods to be enshrined and offered devoted services in their heavens. Venerable Ananda and Venerable Kashyapa requested the gods to leave some relics in our human realm as a source of merit and blessings for our world. As a result, some of the Buddha's bone relics remained with us and subsequently, it is recorded, too, that Nagarjuna enshrined some precious relics in treasure casket at Bodhigaya.
However, the claims by this association, of the sudden but un-accounted for revelation of thousands of blood, brain or saliva relics, could not be referenced from any of the holy scriptures, history, tradition or in the Tibetan circle.
This association, before it re-named itself as the "Kadhampa Buddhist Association"
His Holiness the Dalai Lama and the 100th Ganden Tri Rinpoche have both advised against practising shugden. This small group of people have spurned advice of these two great masters. They rejected advice by them.
One of the reasons why His Holiness bans shugden, is because, in history, shugden has harmed many Nyingma practitioners. I have not seen them with my own eyes but this is what is contained in the many historical accounts.
Past holy masters have used shugden on the basis of it as a servant. Nowadays, shugden practitioners rely on him as their guru, their yidam and their protector and take whole-hearted refuge in it.
His Holiness has said that the late Zong Rinpoche, the late Trijang Rinpoche and the Pabongkha Rinpoche Dechen Nyingpo are all great masters especially of the Lam Rim teachings. However, their adoption of shugden practice is a mistake and is an obstacle to the Dharma.
His Holiness has mentioned many times before that for the late Trijang Rinpoche, he can control shugden and not the other way round. His Holiness said that the late Trijang Rinpoche can carry out the four holy activities of a Buddha: pacifying, enriching, magnetizing and wrath and so Trijang Rinpoche is completely different from ordinary beings. These days, we are not of that calibre, practitioners nowadays have not reached the level of attainment of the late Trijang Rinpoche.
The present Trijang has disrobed and has married. He said that because of this, he can no longer practise shugden, because, to practise shugden ( in its full depth and engagement ), one needs to be a very pure monk. So, the present Trijang Rinpoche has openly stated that he no longer could practise shugden and so does not practise shugden !!
The late Zong Rinpoche, towards the end of his life, has made confession of his mistake of practising shugden to His Holiness and has promised His Holiness to stop the practice.
I, myself, have no relationship whatsoever with shugden. One of my main teachers, the late Khensur Pema Gyaltshen, has advised very clearly on the detrimental consequences of practising shugden. I am from Drepung Monastery ( note: Rinpoche is the Abbot Emeritus of Drepung Loseling, the largest of 3 colleges in Drepung Monastery ) and our monastery's main protector is Nechung Choegyal. So, in general, Drepung Monastery has no relationship with shugden. In Drepung Loseling, all our monks made vows to curtail the practice of shugden. The mainstream Tibetan circle is well aware of Drepung's stand on shugden.
In fact, now, in the 3 great Gelugpa monasteries of Drepung, Sera and Ganden, the monastic penalty has been invoked and shugden practitioners have been expelled from all of them. The overwhelming majority of students in these 3 great monasteries have no relationship whatsoeverwith shugden practitioners. They do not debate with them, study with them or live with them.
These expelled or ex-communicated shugden practitioners have in fact re-established monasteries outside of the mainstream Gelugpa establishments. Hence, we can say that the Gelugpa lineage is, presently, now, formally and factually pure of any shugden practices. We have no problem now as the shugden practitioners are out of the Gelugpa system.
Thank you so much Rinpoche. Your advice will be very important to the undiscerning individual.
Thank you so much !! Thank you !!
tELL A fRIEND
"KNOW DHARMA; SHARE DHARMA !!"
Be part of our thousand++ "Friends @ CAS" ( that belongs to Chenrezig & other holy beings )
"I wanna number my days in samsara. sUBSCRIBE mE NOW !!"
CASonline - Your Buddhist online news and teachings.
( All online articles lovingly archived at http://www.casotac.