El·e·na [el-uh-nuh, uh-ley-nuh; It. e-le-nah] /ˈɛlənə, əˈleɪnə; It. ɛˈlɛnɑ/ –noun a female given name, form of Helen // A proud student of His Eminence Tsem Rinpoche // Personal assistant with a BSc (Hons) Psych from Uni of Warwick // These are snapshots of my life, in words and pictures

"Tsem Rinpoche came out as a Dorje Shugden practitioner"

July 10, 2015 2

People have been saying “Tsem Rinpoche came out as a Dorje Shugden practitioner“. Personally, I find that statement quite amusing.

First of all, like many of Rinpoche’s close students, Rinpoche never ‘came out’ about the practice because Rinpoche never hid the practice from me. If there was ever a time I didn’t know about Dorje Shugden, it’s not because Rinpoche actively hid the practice from me (or anyone else). It’s because I didn’t know who he was, in the same way I didn’t know about Vajradhara, Kalachakra, Yamantaka, etc. before I was taught about them. Does that mean Rinpoche ‘hid’ Vajradhara, Kalachakra, Yamantaka, etc. from me? No, it just means I wasn’t taught about them and you can apply the same example to yourself. How? There are thousands of Buddhas in the Tibetan Buddhist pantheon that you are not aware of. Are you prepared to accuse your guru of hiding these Buddhas from you? Think about it 😉

Probably my first picture with Rinpoche. Rinpoche did not hide Dorje Shugden from this 12 year old...how could he? The 12 year old had only JUST learned about Buddha Shakyamuni and Manjushri at this time!

Probably my first picture with Rinpoche. Rinpoche did not hide Dorje Shugden from this 12 year old. How and why would he? This 12 year old had only JUST learned about Buddha Shakyamuni and Manjushri!

Second, that statement is based off an assumption that someone’s private practices are for public consumption. No, they’re not and unless you’re Rinpoche’s student, where is there any obligation for Rinpoche to break tantric code and tell you what deities he relies on? And even if you ARE Rinpoche’s student, where is there any obligation for your guru to break tantric code and tell you what deities he relies on? Like the Kadampa practitioners of old, Rinpoche is extremely traditional when it comes to his practices; Rinpoche has told us before we will never know who his main yidam is as there isn’t a single picture of the deity throughout our organization. So Rinpoche was simply following in this tradition which does not reveal Protector practices.

Third, the statement assumes that Rinpoche was somehow ashamed of his practice and therefore hid it. No, Rinpoche was not embarrassed. Rinpoche was doing what he has always done, which is to follow his gurus’ instructions in the same way you followed yours. His gurus’ instructed him to practice Dorje Shugden quietly which is exactly what Rinpoche did. When Rinpoche’s gurus said it was okay for him to speak about Dorje Shugden publicly, and to spread the practice to others, that is exactly when Rinpoche did. So Dorje Shugden was not Kechara’s (the organization) practice, but certainly for many of Rinpoche’s close students we have been relying on Dharmapala for many years already on a personal capacity.

Meeting Yamantaka, His Holiness Kyabje Dagom Rinpoche. Suffice to say I was aware of Dorje Shugden by this age (just seven years later)

Meeting Yamantaka himself, His Holiness Kyabje Dagom Rinpoche. Suffice to say I was aware of Dorje Shugden by this age haha (six years later)

Finally, what did you expect Rinpoche to do? Greet you for the first time with “Hi, I am Tsem Rinpoche and I practice Dorje Shugden?” Where is there any obligation for Rinpoche to identify himself to you as a Shugden lama on the outset? The fact you have that expectation for someone to greet you in that manner, indicates that there is something very wrong with the whole situation; that is, someone need identify themselves in order that you know how to treat them.

So just because you did not know what my teacher is practicing, it does not mean that my lama is deceiving me. And yes, I do know what I am doing but thanks for your concern anyway :)

Okay, so let us accept your statement and say that Rinpoche ‘came out’ as a Dorje Shugden practitioner. More importantly than his practice of Dorje Shugden, examine your own behaviour and mind before and after Rinpoche ‘came out’. How does Rinpoche’s coming out excuse your current behaviour? How does his coming out justify your vulgar speech, harsh words, constant attacks and fault-finding? For some people, they have been more than happy to stay on the Hate Tsem Rinpoche bandwagon for years simply because of Rinpoche’s Dorje Shugden practice. How much time has been lost spreading negativities online and offline? How much time has been lost creating negative karma?

How much closer to death are you now, compared to when you launched your crusade? Remember that at the time of death, Rinpoche’s ‘coming out’ will have no bearing on where you will be reborn so perhaps it would more logical to be more concerned about your own spirituality rather than Rinpoche’s coming out.

These are just my thoughts based on my observations of how people have treated Rinpoche (and in fact, other Shugden lamas) over the years. If anyone’s practice consumes all of your time, energy and focus, consider whether you are actually the one winning in this struggle of the mind. The other person may be occupying all of your thoughts and works, but are you occupying theirs? :)

Dorje Shugden

2 Comments → ““Tsem Rinpoche came out as a Dorje Shugden practitioner””

  1. blueupali 7 years ago   Reply

    I am delighted that Tsem Rinpoche “came out” as a Shugden practitioner; it gave me a lot of happiness to know that there are so many people out there doing this beloved practice. Since I am not his student, then no, I would not expect he has to tell me anything, and in general, I wouldn’t ask someone unless I needed advice or wanted to attend puja with them . However, I am really really happy he is a Shugden person and I am rejoicing a lot that he has been so kind to post the practices of Trakze and Gyendze (Karma and Ratna Shugdens) so we can benefit. :)

  2. Gary Foo 5 years ago   Reply

    It is so easy to just demonize anyone by just hiding behind the keyboards in ones comfy zone..truly cowards! What you say is perfectly true PJA in that so what if any Lama A or Lama B ‘comes’ out and say they are practicing Shugden? The real question should be : I as a practitioner should be focusing on my spiritual path of compassion and wisdom instead of being a busy body and writing nasty things about people who choose to follow Shugden. I am really quite baffled by all the Shugden attackers in that life is so much more than just focusing on attack and attack..Go pick a more happier hobby for goodness sake :)
    The one thing that could be most ironic is that one day it will be Shugden himself who saves these poor souls from the fiery pits due to his compassion and wisdom _/\_

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