The Dalai Lama shows up in controversial headlines at times, for his beliefs that abortion is taking a human life, that homosexuality is sexual misconduct for Buddhists, and recently, for saying “too many” refugees are entering Europe.
In Dharamshala, the capital of the Tibetan government in exile, he told German reporters in 2016:
Europe, for example Germany, cannot become an Arab country. Germany is Germany. There are so many that in practice it becomes difficult.
The Dalai Lama also said “we can feel their suffering” and those who are more fortunate have an obligation to help them. However, “from a moral point of view,” he said, refugees should only be admitted to the West temporarily. “The goal should be that they return and help rebuild their countries.”
The comments were, not surprisingly, ignored in the liberal media. They don’t mind protecting national identity when it comes to Tibet, but it’s “racist” for Germany to do the same.
When it comes to Tibetan Buddhism, Leftist outlets are stuck between a rock and a hard place. On the one hand, progressives support the Free Tibet movement and want to see Tibetans return to controlling their own destiny in what would be essentially an ethnostate. On the other hand, even though the Dalai Lama tries to walk the line between the traditional and modern world in his comments—talking mostly about compassion and happiness rather than socio-political issues—progressives choose to ignore his conservative views or even twist his words to support their agenda.
What’s happening to the Tibetan people is absolutely genocide, a term even used by many Tibetan independence advocates. The Dalai Lama has distanced himself from these movements, advocating peaceful resistance and that Tibet remain part of China but with more autonomy. Considering that since Chinese occupation, one million or more Tibetans have been murdered, tortured, or starved, and that 6,000 Tibetan temples have been desecrated or destroyed, it may be that the Dalai Lama is simply trying to placate China to protect the Tibetans who still live under Chinese control. China has also closed 99 percent of Tibet’s monasteries, jailed thousands of monks, and banned images of the Dalai Lama.
Besides advocating to keep Germany ethnically German, the Dalai Lama has criticized radical Islam, saying “Killing in the name of faith is unacceptable.” His Holiness said holy war should be an inner struggle “to combat our inner destructive emotions; it (jihad) does not mean harming other people.”
He’s also attacked Islam for proselytizing, saying: “Whether Hindu or Muslim or Christian, whoever tries to convert, it’s wrong, not good.” He added: “I always believe it’s safer and better and reasonable to keep one’s own tradition or belief.”
Spiritual Warfare: Dorje Shugden
Nationalism also comes into play when the Dalai Lama advises Shugden Buddhists to not worship the malevolent spirit Dorje Shugden (Dolgyal) because the practice is dangerous to Tibetans and the Tibetan cause. Some claim the practice actually harms His Holiness.
This occult warfare, Reuters discovered, is actually a tool of China’s Communist Party:
A monk and prominent former member of the Shugden movement who was based in India and Nepal, Lama Tseta, told Reuters that China paid him and others to plan and coordinate the activities of the sect’s followers overseas. Tseta said officials from the Communist Party’s powerful political special-operations unit, the United Front Work Department, control the effort and allocate funding. These officials direct the protests through senior Shugden monks in China and the Tibetan exile community in India and the West, who are the spiritual leaders of the sect, he said.
“The Chinese are using them as a tool to make the Dalai Lama look fake, to achieve their own ends, to undermine Tibetan Buddhism and to fragment Tibetan society,” Tseta said in an interview.
It certainly sounds like the Tibetans have their own version of George Soros to contend with. Many of the Communist propaganda targets are Westerners who are looking into Buddhism, but don’t know the differences between the various sects.
The New Kadampa Tradition is the main group you’re likely to encounter that worships Dorje Shugden. They operate World Peace Cafés around the world, primarily in England but a number are also in the States. I went to one of the cafés a few years ago and it was obviously a well-funded operation. Given that they may be Communist-funded anti-Tibetan front, and given that the members I met were very cult-like and the place had a very weird vibe, my advice is to avoid the World Peace Cafés and adherents of the New Kadampa Tradition.