Dalai Lama underplays protest against him by Shugden followers

  • Naresh K Thakur, Hindustan Times, Dharamsala
  • Updated: Nov 07, 2014 18:46 IST

Tibetan spiritual leader, the Dalai Lama, on Friday underplayed the protest demonstration being held against him by followers of Dorje Shugden, stating that he doesn't know the exact reason, but it could be out of “ignorance”.

The 79-year-old, who returned from his fortnight-long tour to United States and Canada, was talking to media persons at Gaggal Airport in Kangra.

Replying to a query whether the protest by Shugden followers was causing any disturbance to him or to the Tibetan government in exile, the Nobel Peace laureate said, “No, nothing, ofcourse it is their duty … some demonstration, I don't know what is the main reason. I can say it is out of ignorance.”

“Some of them are really angry at me; ok no problem. It's a good practice for patience and tolerance, so no problem,” added the spiritual leader in a lighter vein. Shugden is an ancient deity denounced by the
Dalai Lama and also referred to as 'Dolgyal' or 'demon king'.

Group of Buddhists, who revere the century-old deity as a “protector”, have in recent past intensified protests against the Dalai Lama demanding him to lift the ban on rituals involving Shugden.

However, supporters of the Dalai Lama and Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) refuted the allegations saying that the spiritual leader had not banned any practice and that Buddhism did not allow for such restrictions.

Concerned over the threats to the Dalai Lama's security, following a surge in the activities of 'extremists', the Tibetan government-in-exile, in August this year, had released a list containing names and personal information of those, who held demonstrations during the spiritual leader's recent foreign tours.

“Essentially, posting of this information stems from security concerns and need for creating awareness within the Tibetan community about the members of a group (Shugden followers) with a history of violence such as murder, physical assault and arson,” Kashag (cabinet) of the government-in-exile had said in a statement.

The government-in-exile also accused the Shugden followers of making baseless allegations against the Dalai Lama and that they act as a tool for the Chinese government to slander spiritual leader's reputation.

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