My friends asked me “How was seeing the Dalai Lama? Amazing, I bet.” I had just returned from seeing him for the first time in my hometown, Vancouver, British Columbia. What I experienced during the day was surprising.
Before I explain what happened, I want to convey that this is simply a recount of facts, and not a political or religious view at all. I’ve always been drawn to and curious about Buddhism, but only have a beginner’s understanding of it.
“False Dalai Lama”:
As I arrived at the venue at the University of BC, I heard chanting at the doorfront, and thought “Oh, isn’t that lovely, they’re probably doing some Tibetan chants to welcome us”. However, as I got closer, I realized the chanted words were “False Dalai Lama”. I stopped in my tracks, turned around and saw a group holding placards saying “False Dalai Lama”, “Stop Lying” and “Give Religious Freedom”.
I thought: “Oh! A Protest? Protesting against the Dalai Lama? How could this be, as he is all about teaching the world about compassion. Could it be a Chinese group?”
After the event, I read about this group called the International Shugden Community and The False Dalai Lama. (This is a group borne from a former group called the New Kadampa Tradition.) The document explains their view on how the Dalai Lama controls Tibetan refugees, does not allow refugees to have free speech, and punishes anyone who speaks up against his wishes through his formed group called The Tibetan Women’s Association. They believe that the Dalai Lama selfishly wants to control all Tibetans within Tibet and is a liar. The list goes on about what they believe he is doing.
There was a smaller group facing the protestors standing in support of the Dalai Lama. They are former members of the New Kadampa Tradition (NKT) who broke away from this group. They handed out their response to the protest and I scanned it here for you: Dalai Lama supporters view.
That is all I will say on this point. If you’d like to read more, feel free to click the two links above.
I admit I was shocked to read this, but I have not been swayed by reading this.
Now for a bit about the actual event:
The experience of being in the Dalai Lama’s presence was special and nice. I am grateful to my dear friend who bought me the ticket for my birthday. The event was ill-organized, to say the least. There were about 6,500 attendees, and we were asked to eat a vegetarian lunch but they did not provide a venue for such (hotdogs & hamburgers at one concession for 6,500 people), and did not allow us to bring in our own food or beverages. I think so many people were disappointed or late, that only half the audience returned after lunch. The beautiful thing about the lack of organization, is that I didn’t hear one person complaining or angry through the whole messy experience! The power of a compassionate energy must have been at work 🙂