Speech of His Holiness the Dalai Lama at the Second Gelug Conference

 Now my reason for inviting the representatives of the other Tibetan traditions from the assembly of peoples’ deputies is this. I think that whenever one tradition has a conference it would be advisable to have representatives from the other traditions present to view the proceedings. As I have been saying this for a while, there has been some positive effect. Now what we are having at present is a Gelug meeting. This is convened in the presence of the other representatives. This is a forum for Gelug people to speak their mind, brag a little or whatever. The point is that doing it this way everything is out in the open, not hidden from view. Without this, others may generate suspicions as to what was said. They may project that this was a place for scheming. The danger of exaggerated rumours beginning is thus diminished. There is no reason for scheming. Let me say something else. I mentioned it to some of you, but the majority of you were not present. The very first Dharma conference that we had was in the sixties. Now I think that there are almost none of those other lamas and abbots who attended left. Dudjom Rinpoche was there as was Drugpa Tugse Rinpoche. There was Khen Rinpoche and Karmapa Rinpoche. Of the abbots of the three seats, there were Gen Pema Gyaltsen, Gen Nyima Gyaltsen and the Mongolian Gen Lozang. I heard that in Buxa, if someone gave some offerings, rather than save it, Gen Losang immediately had momos made. Is that true? (laughter). Of course, if there was someone who gave some money as an offering to the monastery, maybe it should have been saved. Instead, he would spend it straight away on momos. There was that one from Sera Je (unidentified). The old bloke was not there. At the conference, he was relating to everyone the activities at Buxa. Whilst doing this he mistakenly said, “ten, twelve, thirteen o’clock”. Of course, there is the twenty-hour hour calculation system. However, it was not that. He just got it mixed up, nine, ten, eleven, twelve, thirteen o’clock – (laughter). It sounded so funny. Anyway, the conference was held at Dharamsala. It was meant to be non-sectarian, so we had representatives from all of the traditions. We also had representatives from the Bon tradition there. There was no one at all who was really demanding equal status for the Bon tradition there, but it was only fair that they be invited as well. There was the Bon abbot of Ral Ling. He wore a black lower robe. He was a very humble, fine man. He was very old. There was someone else representing them as well. He was a well-built man who said that he had spent a number of years at either Loseling or Gomang. Therefore, we had this meeting and broke up. Dudjom Rinpoche had come from Kalimpong. On his return, someone who was one of his students or benefactors turned up. He approached Rinpoche and making out as though he had some earth-shattering news announced, “Oh, it seems that they have been having a conference in Dharamsala. It must mean that they plan to convert everyone to the Gelug tradition”. Rinpoche responded by saying, “What are you talking about? It was a non-sectarian meeting. All the traditions were there and participated and were granted equal respect. I have just come back from there. What do you mean by saying that there is a plan to convert everyone to the Gelug tradition?’ This is what he told me later. The person said that this was the rumour that was going around. So you see, you can have situations like that. A rumour for which there is absolutely no basis whatsoever, something being completely made up. So we have a Gelug conference here.

41‘Zirnkang Gong’ was the residence of Trulku Dragpa Gye]tsen (a figure who, for various reasons is seem as intimately connected with Dogyel and the worship) that was demolished on government order at the time of the fifth Dalai Lama.

 Monks tend to do more debate in the course of their philosophical studies. They can therefore be a little mouthy sometimes. This might be misunderstood and others think that there is some sort of contriving going on here. So I wanted it to be out in the open. There is nothing to be suspicious of. The motives for having a meeting of this nature are honourable. We are trying to see what improvements can be made and what changes there should be. Such events are meant to promote co-operation and understanding between people, whether they be from the Nyingma, Kagyu Sakya or Bön traditions, not create problems between them. When we first came to Dharamsala, Dzogna Rinpoche was working in the religious affairs office. The religious affairs minister was Thesu (p?). He was of the old school in the sense of being rather biased toward the government and particularly the Gelug tradition. He was also it seems worshipping Dogyel. So maybe the problem partly lay there. Rinpoche was annoyed by this and is later said to have criticised the way things were in Dharamsala. He dismissed it, saying that Dharamsala could not be counted upon, that there was ‘a golden parasol that has a white tip, but that white tip is crooked’ 42• He was not to be blamed. This was just a natural reaction to the situation. Anyone, from animals upward, who finds themselves in a minority, is susceptible to the fear of persecution. Watch how dogs act. If one feels outnumbered he becomes very timid, tucking his tail between his legs. Likewise we, living in human society have the same concerns. The mere fact that we are in a minority is enough to make us suspicious of the larger group’s intentions toward us.

The Bön people for example represent a minority amongst the Tibetans. Some people, when referring to followers of that tradition still call them, ‘the wrong-headed’ Böns. Now in such circumstances it is not surprising that they are apprehensive, is it? Such apprehension is not completely unfounded is it? After all, since the time of the Dharma kings, there have been measures brought in against them. So now we all find ourselves here together in a free country, with everyone one, irrespective of which of the three districts of Tibet they come from or which religious tradition they follow, being called upon to make an equal contribution. In such a situation, it becomes particularly important that we take special care and show special consideration for those that, in the past, have been persecuted or who find themselves in a minority. Without such extra care, paranoid fears that others are plotting against them can easily arise in the minds of such people. Now when we compare all of the traditions we will probably find that the Gelug represent the largest in terms of number. That being the case, some fear on the part of the others would not be unnatural. Similarly, when we first came here, the people from U-Tsang were better represented and particularly those from To. That fact alone was enough to make people from Kham and Amdo somewhat touchy. So as I said, as the Gelug are more in number and because their strength in study….
(Break in recording)

So as I said, what we need is transparency. That is why I called the other representatives here. So over the next few days please listen well. Then there should not be the threat of baseless rumours spreading. If subsequently you should hear of people making up things about what was discussed here, please feel as though it is your responsibility to set the record straight. Some people say things purely through ignorance. However these days we also have to contend with those who spread mistruth and disinformation in a quite calculated fashion. The Chinese Communists give them money to create problems and then their grosser delusions of conceit, jealousy and so forth run riot and do the rest. So,please act as impartial witnesses. That would be good.

 Tashi Deleg

1 A reference to the Gelug monastery in Manali where the worship of Shugden continues unabated.
2 Chandrakirti’s Supplement to (Nagarfuna ‘s) Treatise on th Middle Way’
3 Apparently to set up an alternative venue for a Gelug prayer festival in the South of India, that could also act as a place of study.
4 From the prayer Lozang Gyeltenma by Tsunpa Könchog Tenpai Dromnei
5 The first of these texts is by the author of the same name. The latter two are by Chandrakirti. The third text isthe Clear
Words (Madhyamaka) commentary.
 6 A direct disciple of Je Rinpoche, who was responsible for founding the Gyumei Tantric College near Lhasa. 

7 Lozang Ngawang Gyatso (1617- 1682) 

8 A place in northern India where monks from the main centres of study etc. congregated soon after coming into exile. 

9 Gunthang Konchog Tenpai Dronmei (1762— 1823)
10 Yongdzin Yeshe Gyeltsen (1713 — 1793). Tutor of the Eighth Dalai Lama
11 Konchog Jigmei Wangpo (1728 — 1791)
12 Changkya Rolpai Dorje (1717— 1786)
13 The Seventh Dalai Lama (1708 — 1757)
14 The ‘problem’ being referred to was essentially a civil war in 1727-8. ‘Miwang’ was Po Lhawa Sönam Tobgyel 1689 — 1747.
He was originally a minister who, in this tumultuous period took control of one of the factions. The support of many different groups
was enlisted in the struggle, but it is commonly thought that it chiefly boiled down to rivalry between the U and Tsang areas. Po Lha
was from Tsang and was the champion of that side, Supporting it in their opposition to the Lhasa aristocrats, officials etc. Po Lha was
also favoured by the Chinese. The Seventh Dalai Lama was exiled after the war for his alleged support of the Lhasa faction. Po Lha
ruled and brought about relative peace.
15 Lelung Lozang Trinlei (1697 — {approx.} 1747). Note that he became the court Lama of Po Lha.
16 Purchog Ngawang Jampa (1682 — 1762) was another teacher of the Eighth Dalai Lama, who was from Sera Je.
17 Trichen Ngawang Chogden — was the fifty-fourth Ganden Throne-Holder and the tutor of the Seventh Dalai Lama.
18 Panchen Palden Yeshe (1738 — 1780). There are three different systems of calculating how many Panchen Rinpoches there have
been. According to the two most common ones today, this was either the third of the sixth Panchen Lama.
19 Trichen Ngawang Chogden acted against the worship of Dogyel, having a propitiation house demolished, statues removed and
banning the worship in Ganden monastery.
20 The exact circumstances and location of events here is not clear to me.
21 Panchen Tenpai Wangchuck (1855 – 1882) was either the fifth or the eighth Panchen Lama.
22 Panchen Tenpai Nyima (1782— 1853) was either the fourth or the seventh Panchen Lama.
23 These three are tutelary deities found within the Gelug tradition.
24 Gyelwang Gendun Drub (1391 — 1474).
25 This is a form of guardian deity associated with people, the identity of which is decided by which day one was born on.
26 Gyelwang Tubten Gyatso (1876 —1933)
27 This seems to be a paraphrase of some advice given to Je Rinpoche when he had a vision of Manjushri.
28 (Tib. Ngon Tog Gyen) attributed to Maitreya
29 Lines that are seen to relate to the Vajrayogini practice.
30 A well-known Tibetan scholar who works in a university in Japan.
31 A rather unflattering epithet for the Gelug protector Damchen Chogyel that some followers of the Nyingma tradition are said to use.
32 An unidentified protector spirit that was presumably supporting Rongo Rebgong Gwelwa.
33 These verses are from the ‘Clear Meaning’ commentary (Tib. Drel Wa DOn Sel) by the Indian scholar Haribhadra. Within the
Tibetan traditions, this is the most well-used of the Indian commentaries on the Prajflaparamital Abhisamayalankara. In the
opening section (from which these verses are taken) Haribhadra refers to various teachers who have been instrumental in the passing
on of the tradition (by composing works related to the subject). Whilst acknowledging the debt owed to Vasubhandu in the first verse
here, he also states clearly that, in his own opinion, Vasabhandu erred when he explained the fmal view expressed in the Prajfiaparamita
Sutras and Abhisamayalankara as being that of the ‘Mind Only’ view. In the second verse he refers to Arya Vimuktisena,a later scholar
who, because he explained things in accordance with the ‘Middle Way’ view, got them right and thereby corrected Vasubhandu’s mistake.
34 The ceremonial offering of oneself to a particular protector. The formalisation of a life-long bond and commitment to it.
35 ‘Ganden Podrang’ was originally a name conferred at the time of the Second Dalai Lama. This ‘Ganden Palace’ was from then on
the residence of the Dalai Lamas. In 1642, at the time of the Fifth Dalai Lama and with the backing of Gushri Khan this became the
seat of power for the Tibetan administration. The name still refers to the Tibetan government (in exile).
36 Drubkang Geleg Gyatso (1641—1713)
37 ButOn Rinpoche was one of the main figures responsible for the collating of the Kangyur and Tengyur (the Tibetan translations of
the teachings of the Buddha and the Indian commentaries to those). It seems that he decided that some texts which had been counted as
authentic tantric teachings were questionable in their origin and therefore should not be included in the Kangyur. Here then is a work
that he excluded, but that some of the traditions hold to be authentic.
38 Usually counted as a Nyingma deity.
39 A monastery in Tibet that was later re-established in India.
40 A line that the Dalai Lama commonly quotes from a work of (non-religious) aphorisms attributed to a certain ‘Kachei Palu’.
41 ‘Zimkang Gong’ was the residence of Trulku Dragpa Gyeltsen (a figure who, for various reasons is seem as intimately connected
with Dogyel and the worship). Owing to a dispute with the authorities at the time of the Fifth Dalai Lama the residence of this individual
was demolished, they lost their life and the line of ‘trulku’ wilch they represented ended.
42 The parasol is a religious symbol. The white tip was presumably meant to refer to the Tibetan government In using the analogy
of the ‘crooked’ tip the criticism is that the government prejudiced (toward the Gelug tradition).

This translation is by Rabjam Sherab Gyatso (LRZTP); December 2000.