Dalai Lama to face counter protest


Published: Sunday 21st June 2015 by The News Editor

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Hundreds of people are expected to protest next week when the Dalai Lama visits Britain.

More than 500 members of the International Shugden Community (ISC) will turn out when the Tibetan spiritual leader opens a Buddhist Community Centre in Aldershot, Hants on June 29.

They say the Dalai Lama is engaged in the alleged persecution of Shugden Buddhists in the Tibetan exile community and that media reports have shown religious intolerance and segregation practices, including signs above shops and medical facilities refusing service to people of Shugden faith.

A spokesman for the ISC said: “Practitioners of Shugden faith account for over four million people worldwide and included at least 60% of Tibetans before the Dalai Lama’s campaign of persecution began. The Dalai Lama himself was a practitioner for over 40 years before he decided to change.

“To draw attention to this issue the International Shugden Community was formed in 2014 and has organised peaceful and lawful demonstrations outside the Dalai Lama’s speaking engagements across North America, Europe and Australia.”

The spokesman said that the Dalai Lama and Central Tibetan Administration (CTA) were not addressing or attempting to resolve “this persecution”.

He added: “Instead they use slander as a smokescreen to deflect attention from this issue. They say we are paid by the Chinese. We are not paid by the Chinese and they provide no evidence for this claim. They say we are murderers. We are not murderers. This is ridiculous and they provide no evidence for this claim.

“T he Dalai Lama and the CTA are engaged in the unethical and immoral act of persecuting Shugden Buddhists. They should be made to address this and stop these human rights abuses. Please ask them to do so.”

An alliance of 10 UK Buddhist Organisations issued a statement formally dissociating themselves from the protests.

They said: “We remain convinced that differences of opinion among Buddhists should be expressed in a peaceful, respectful, truthful and reasonable manner. We are very concerned about the protesters’ aggressive, misleading and unethical behaviour and the false image being presented to the public.

“The UK Buddhist Organisations signed up to this statement express their respect and support for His Holiness’ stance on promoting wider religious harmony between the religious traditions and on promoting mutual respect and admiration between the Buddhist traditions.”

The signatories, who include The Buddhist Society, said neither Amnesty International (1998) nor the Supreme Court in Delhi (2010) were able to ascertain a violation of human rights when checking on claims that Shugden devotees had been subject to systematic discrimination and infringement of their human rights within the exile community.

They described the ISC as a “highly sectarian” group which had been staging aggressive protests during the Dalai Lama’s visits to America, Australia and Europe.

Its aim “is to destroy the religious and moral authority of His Holiness the Dalai Lama”, they said. “This also suits the Chinese Communist Party very well.”

Published: Sunday 21st June 2015 by The News Editor

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