At NKT's 2006 Summer Festival, bosso Gyatso professed that Shugden and Tsongkhapa were the same, both of whom manifestations of Bodhisattva Manjushri (Manushri, a Boddhisattva student of Shakyamuni, is considered to have become a Buddha long before Shakyamuni in the Pure Land known as Tathagata Lamp of the Nagas). According to Gyatso,
"Dorje Shugden is a Dharma Protector who is a manifestation of Je Tsongkhapa. Je Tsongkhapa appears as the Dharma Protector Dorje Shugden to prevent his doctrine from degenerating. Of course, Je Tsongkhapa himself takes responsibility for preventing his doctrine from degenerating or from disappearing. He takes responsibility for his doctrine to remain from generation to generation.
To do this, since he passed away he continually appears in many different aspects, such as in the aspect of a Spiritual Teacher who teaches the instructions of the Ganden Oral Lineage. Previously, for example, he appeared as the Mahasiddha Dharmavajra and Gyälwa Ensapa; and more recently as Je Phabongkhapa and Kyabje Trijang Dorjechang. He appeared in the aspect of these Teachers. And he also appears in the aspect of different Dharma Protectors such as Kalarupa, and later as Dorje Shugden. And he also appears in the aspect of different Dharma Protectors such as Kalarupa, and later as Dorje Shugden. In his extensive praise to Dorje Shugden, the great Yogi and scholar Kelsang Khädrub...listed some of Dorje Shugden’s former reincarnations, which were, during Buddha’s time, Bodhisattva Manjushri, and later Mahasiddha Biwawa, the great Sakya Pandita, and Butön Rinchen Drub. These holy beings were also Je Tsongkhapa’s former reincarnations. From this, we can understand that Dorje Shugden’s former reincarnations and Je Tsongkhapa’s former reincarnations were the same.
So it is clear that Je Tsongkhapa and Dorje Shugdän are the same mental continuum – one person but different aspects. Tsongkhapa himself appears as Dorje Shugden to prevent his doctrine of the Ganden Oral Lineage from degenerating by pacifying obstacles, gathering necessary conditions, and bestowing powerful blessings upon practitioners of this doctrine.
If we continually rely upon Dorje Shugden with faith, he will care for us like a mother cares for her child. He will guide us to the correct path or liberating path. Through this, we can easily make progress along the quick path to enlightenment that is shown to us by Je Tsongkhapa."
Thus, according to Gyatso and NKT:
Shugden is a manifestation of Tsongkhapa and Tsongkhapa is a manifestation of Shugden
Pabongkha and Trijang are reincarnations of Tsongkhapa (but not Buddhas, confirmed by Gyatso's self identification as the 3rd Buddha following Shakyamuni and Atisha)
Tsongkhapa is a manifestation of Kalupa (who was Tsongkhapa's Dharma protector, apparently predating Tsongkhapa's manifestation of Shugden since no one prior to Pabongkha identified Tsongkhapa as Shugden including Tsongkhapa himself (neither did he self identify as Kalupa))
Shugden is a reincarnation of Bodhisattva Manjushri and Biwawa, who were incarnations of Tsonghkapa hundreds of years before Tsongkhapa lived (though Tsongkhapa did not know this or never told anyone even as one of the most prolific authors ever)
Shugen's former incarnations and Tsongkhapa's former incarnations are the same
Shugden and Tsongkhapa are the same person
Tsongkhapa appears as Shugden to prevent Tsongkhapa's doctrine from degenerating (though Tsongkhapa relied upon Kalupa for Dharma protection)
Tsongkhapa became a Buddha AFTER his death
Shugden is both a Buddha and Dharma protector (oxymoron?)
Gyatso is a Buddha but not manifestation of Manjushri, Shugden or Tsongkhapa (since Gyatso sees himself as the only one protecting the lineage of Pabongkha and Trijang (thus a Shugden protector rather than a Dharma protector), how did he get bypassed as a Shugden incarnation?)
Gyatso sees Shugden as a major if not primary deity (though Tsonghkapa did not and Gyatso does not promote Tsongkhapa as a deity)
What an identity crisis! Manjushri started a reincarnation string, manifesting as various incarnations of Shugden known as Bodhisattva Manjushri, Biwawa, Tsongkhapa, Pobangkha and Trijang, among several others, though not including Gyatso. Since Gyatso sells himself as the only protector of Trijang's teachings, does this mean that the Shugden lineage ended with Trijang e.g., has the world been without a living Shugden since 1981, 27 years now)?
NKT's Purported Shugden Incarnations
Bodhisattva Manjushri, about 500 BC. Disciple of Shakyamuni.
Biwawa, dates not known by essay author, approximately 500 AD. Famous for stopping the sun (i.e., world rotation) for 3 days to evade his bar bill and stopping flow of Ganges River because he did not have the money to pay the river ferry operator (according to Shugdenite lore, "at the time of Manjushri and Mahasiddha Biwawa, people generally had more merit and much purer minds, and so displays of miracle powers were often very powerful and effective in causing them to develop faith and other realizations"; apparently, we have been degenerating ever since and our bars today would react differently about a patron who refused to pay his bill but used monumental miracles; by the way, the miracle of stopping the sun/earth rotation for 3 days would wreak plague-like havoc on the global environment and the lives of billions of living beings)
Sakya Pandita, 1182-1251. Sakya Lama in Tibet
Buton Rinchen Drub, 1290-1364. Sakya master, Abbot of Shalu Monastery
Tsongkhapa, 1357-1419. Inclusionist Lama who embraced all schools of Buddhism; later, 'Shugden' became an exlusionist in his Pabongkha incarnation in fundamental contradiction to Tsongkhapa's being and teachings; became a Buddha AFTER his death; Tsongkhapa's Dharma Protector was Kalupa, not Shugden
Duldzin Drakpa Gyeltsen, 1350-1413. Contemporary of 1st Dalai Lama, student of Tsongkhapa who declined offer of becoming 1st Dalai Lama promising to help him as second holdler of the Ganden throne
Panchen Sonam Drakpa, 1478-1555. Tutor of 3rd Dalai Lama, 15th Ganden Tripa, Abbot of Ganden/Drepung and Sera Monastery; it is said that "when Panchen Sönam Dragpa died he remained in single-pointed concentration on the clear light of death for fifteen days. His body then diminished to the size of a forearm and from this body many statues and relics appeared"
Pabongkha, 1878-1941, promoted Shugden to a Buddha deployed to harm living beings (over the 2,500 years of 'Shugden' incarnations, Shugden was not touted as a Buddha until Pobangkha said so (probably after the 13th Dalai Lama died, inducing Pabongkha to end his moratorium on promulgating Shugden harm at the request of the 13th Dalai Lama); Pabongkha represents the polar opposite of Tsongkhapa, turning his profound inclusionism to isolationist inclusionism to use Shugden for retaliatory purposes of destruction and murder
Dorje Trijang, 1901-1981. Junior tutor of current Dalai Lama and Gyatso's root guru; wrote Music Delighting the Ocean of Protectors - "In the aspect of a supra-mundane Protector, he is Dharmaraja Kalarupa and, in the aspect of a mundane protector, he is the great Dharmapala Mighty Dorje Shugden" - a bipolar identity alternating between enlightened and non-enlightened....when acting as Shugden, according to Dorje Trijang, 'Shugden' is non-enlightened; according to Shugdenites, "Mundane protectors are generally spirits that have been subjugated and bound by oath by great masters" (thus, those Tibetan Buddhist Lamas who claim that Shugden is a mundane 'deity' are correct)
Who is next? Are you?
However, there are significant problems with NKT's Shugden lineage. Unless Shugden can be different reincarnating people simultaneously, Shugdenites expose large seemingly-unexplainable obstacles. If Shugden reincarnated in the successive fashion as Shugdenites profess above, their domino game breaks. Note the dates. Buton Richen Drub died AFTER Tsongkhapa's birth. Tsongkhapa died AFTER Duldzin Drakpa Gyeltson's birth, Thagpu Dorje Chang died AFTER Pabongkha's birth and Pabongkha died AFTER Dorje Trijang's birth. The overlap in life spans sometimes ranged from a few years to over 40 years. (it is not clear whether Shugden first reincarnated in Tsongkhapa or Duldzin Drakpa Gyeltse - either way, one died after the other was born; sources other than Gyatso for Shugden's incarnation in Tsongkhapa have not been found) Did Shugden depart his incarnations before they died? Or, since some of the pairs were student/teacher close, did Shugden bounce back and forth between them? Was Shugden's transfer something palpable such that they could discuss and compare notes about their experiences? Could they actually feel Shugden leaving and returning - something like a contracting/expanding vacuum, e.g., did a 'realization index' rise and fall perceptively in these 'realized' men? Since Tsongkhapa did not become a Buddha until after he died, did he ignore or repel during his life Gyatso's purported Buddha nature of Shugden? Like everything else regarding Shugden, absurdity exposed.
Note: none of the incarnations of Shugden were known as Shugden during their lives. This wrathful personification was attached typically hundreds of years later (by Pabongkha). Why is there no indication that all these Shugden/Manjushri incarnates were aware of their status?
Interestingly, Shugden began as a Sakya incarnation long before serving Gelug exclusionist/fundamentalist militancy to harm and murder human beings and destroy Nyingma monasteries and statues.
Apparently exemplifying that old sexism (like when Gyatso viewed women as unclean in his book Transform Your Life (about the wondrous biology of gestation, Gyatso wrote "Inside our mother's womb it is hot and dark. Our home for nine months is
this small, tightly compressed space full of unclean substances. It is like
being squashed inside a small water tank full of filthy liquid with the lit
tightly shut so that no air or light can come through...we bring only pain
and confusion from our mother's womb."); Shugden never reincarnated as a female.
With this wacky split-personality Shugden lore no wonder modern-day Shugdenites are so delerious with inner bipolar struggles often revealed as deamons.
Shugden (aka Tsongkhapa and Manjushri according to Gyatso) - even with all his powers and harmful deeds against non-believers - has been unable to protect Tibetan Buddhism, which Gyatso abandoned about 20 years ago because of its degeneration caused by those seeking harmonization among the 4 schools of Tibetan Buddhism and a thriving home land, e.g., the 5th, 13th and 14th (current) Dalai Lamas.
Unlike Tsongkhapa who did not become a Buddha until after he died (i.e., when Shugden died again in 1419), Gyatso became a Buddha during his life (1931-present). Since Gyatso is marketed as the 3rd Buddha, Pobangkha and Trijang, even though they are reincarnations of Shugden who according to Gyatso is a Buddha, have yet to find their Buddhahood. (NKTites claim that they have proof that Shugden is a Buddha)
The promised "quick path to enlightenment' has yet to be fulfulled.
According to Michael von Bruck:
"The contemporary controversial Shugden worship starts probably with Tagphu Dorje Chang, the teacher of Phabongkhapa (1878-1941), who handed down the practice to Trijang Kinpoche (1901-81), the junior tutor of the 14th Dalai Lama. It is here, at the turn of this century, that Shugden (Dolgyal) enters the Gelukpa tradition, whereas before many textual references hint at the Sakya school. And only at that time the deity seems to become a sectarian protector. This sectarian emphasis or exclusivity is evident in Phabongkhapa (1878-1941). In his Initiation texts for the practice of the visionary teachings, there are teachings on Amitayus, Avalokiteshvara, Vajrapani, Tara and the Guru Yoga, and there is no mention of Shugden because the text deals with high Tantric initiations. That Shugden is not mentioned in this context suggests that he considers the deity not among this high class of deities.
The whole controversy focuses on the interpretation of the status of Shugden. There is a contradiction concerning Shugden that cannot be resolved. On the one hand it is argued that Shugden is a wrathful, mundane protector deity with such and such an origin in history, and to deal with such a spirit one has to have control over him. On the other hand, those who propitiate Shugden maintain that Shugden is a high deity beyond the mundane level and therefore deserves life-entrustment (srog gtad), i.e. complete surrender, like emanations of the Buddha. Whether the sectarian issue (Gelukpa exclusivity) is connected with this problem is a different question. It depends on the interpretation of Shugden, and this varies, as has been demonstrated.
It is clear that by historical evidence the authenticity of that tradition on Shugden cannot be decided."
About Shugden, Dorje Trijang wrote in his notes of Pabongkha's teachings:
"This protector of the doctrine is extremely important for holding Tshongkhapa's tradition without mixing and corrupting it with confusions due to the great violence and speed of his actions, which fall like lightening to punish violently all those beings who have wronged the Yellow Hat tradition, whether they are high or low. This protector is also particularly significant with respect to the fact that many from our own side, monks or lay people, high or low, are not content with Tsongkhapa's tradition, which is like pure gold, and have mixed and corrupted this tradition with the mistaken views and practices from other schools which are tenet systems that are reputed to be incredibly profound and amazingly fast but are in reality mistakes among mistakes, falulty, dangerous and misleading paths. In regard to this situation, this protector of the doctrine, this witness, manifests his own form of a variety of unbearable manifestations of terrifying and frightening wrathful and fierce appearances. Due to that, a variety of events, some of them having happened or happening, some of which have been heard or seen, seem to have taken place: some people become unhinged and mad, some have a heart attack and suddenly die, some see through a variety of inauspicious signs their wealth, accumulated possessions and descendants disappear without leaving a trace, like a pond whose feeding river has ceased, whereas some find it difficult to achieve anything in successive lifetimes."
Over Shugden, It has been reported that Gyatso's uncle, Kuten Lama - a famed Shugden Oracle, ultimately denounced Gyatso, returned to India from Gyatso's Manjushri Institute in England in 1996 to wholeheartedly support The Dalai Lama, and refused to again act as an Oracle for Shugden. Apparently, Gyatso considered his uncle a fake Oracle because if Shugden was indeed a Buddha as professed by Gyatso, Shugden would not manifest through an Oracle.
Tsongkhapa, claimed by NKT to be a Shugden incarnation but not to have become a Buddha until after he died, relied upon Kalupa for his Dharma Protector. Why didn't Tsongkhapa rely on Shugen (i.e., himself) for Dharma protection? According to Pabongkha, Shugden is a mundane protector (non-enlightened) while Kalupa is a supra-mundane protector (enlightened). So, according to this lore, Shugden (aka Tsongkhapa) relied upon his other self Kalupa for Dharma protection. Furthermore, NKT markets Gyatso as the 3rd Buddha on this earth (the first Shakyamuni, the second possibly Atisha; Tsongkhapa, only became a Buddha AFTER his death even though he supposedly was a reincarnation of Manjushri). Why was Tsongkhapa not recogized for his supposed Buddha nature during life by being a Shugden reincarnation? Assuming that Pabongkha is right - that Shugden (mundane) and Kalupa (supra-mundane) are coexistant entities - how did they relate to each other in Shugden's many incarnations? How can a being be both mundane and supra-mundane concurrently or inclusionist and exclusionist/fundamentalist concurrently (e.g., Shugden and Kalupa concurrently)? Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde syndrome?
The Chinese Government, in contradiction to the process employed by Tibetan Buddhists for hundreds of years, defined in 1995 Tibet's highest Lama to propogate Shugden worship in China, and "then the world" according to Shugdenites. According to the Chinese Government, this is the Panchen Lama (notice Shugden thanga behind the boy, now 19 years old):
The Chinese Government kidnapped Tibet's real Panchen Lama and his family in 1995 (at age 6 and the 10th reincarnation of the first Panchen Lama, 1385-1438, Tibet's Panchen Lama became the world's youngest political prisoner). Will this standin eventually be called a Shugden reincarnation? How can Shugdenites profess such devotion to Shugden as a protector of Gelug exclusionists simultaneously embrace the 'Panchen Lama' installed by the Chinese Government and not the real Panchen Lama recognized by the Tibetan Government and Tibetan Buddhists?
Following the Chinese invasion of Tibet during the 1950s, Tibet has been plagued with cultural genocide and forced introduction of the Chinese Government's brand of Buddhism, using Shugden as a wedge between the Tibetan people and traditional Tibetan Buddhism and The Dalai Lama - much like NKT's Gyatso is doing around the world, according to many in cooperation with the Chinese Government. According to Kundeling Rinpoche, who is suing The Dalai Lama and the Government in India over Shugden (a lawsuit endorsed by NKT), "I approve the Chinese presence in Tibet. What we are living with the Dalai Lama today shows how authoritarian his theocratic regime must have been in the past. It was much more violent than what Tibetans are living today under Chinese rule...If we had to live with him (The Dalai Lama), we could have possibly been crucified." (note: the time which Kundeling refers during which there were violent times in Tibet refers to the 1950s, the decade of Tibet's invasion of the Chinese Government; Kundeling, on behalf of Shugdenites like NKT, prefer a Tibet subdued by Chinese Government's cultural genocide in Tibet and prefer a communist culture rather than a Tibetan culture. Gyatso is determined at all cost to establish NKT as the supreme religion in the world.
NKT's disingenuous campaign for 'religious freedom' (demanding Shugden worship in monasteries and countries opposed to it) is consistent with Shugdenites' preference for the cultural genocide in Tibet at the hands of the socialistic Chinese Government's takeover of Tibet during the 1950s rather than cultural and Buddhist heritage and pluralism (NKT is the leading Shugdenite organization, Gyatso the supreme Shugden protector/socialist; virtually all Buddhist monasteries reject Shugden supremacy and worship and no country other than China promotes Shugdenism for its own purported merits or as a wedge against The Dalai Lama). NKT seeks socialistic authoritarian dominance over all Buddhist institutions with its vision of pure faith, which NKT believes infinitely more perfect than the historical legacies of Shakyamuni and Tsongkhapa, which NKT views as degenerate and necessitating NKT's cleansing. NKT's socialism and the Chinese Government's socialism and protests are in sync against The Dalai Lama and religious freedom inside Buddhist monasteries to not support NKT's Shugden, NKT/Chinese Government socialistic anti-Dalai Lama fetishes, and Tibetan autonomy.
All this serves a most unclear if not bizarre, infeasible and dangerous history of Shugden, who was not deified as a Buddha until late in Pabongkha's life. As the 100th Ganden Tripa asked, why does Shugden need protection by humans (e.g., Gyatso, the leading Shugden protector)?
What is clear though: controversial and impotent Shugden lore does not provide justification for NKT's despicable campaign against The Dalai Lama and various other Buddhists.
It is telling that Gyatso, the leading Shugdenite, chose to focus on Pabongkha's "mundane" (non-enlightened) Dharma protector Shugden rather than the "supra-mundane" (enlightened) protector Kalupa (who Tsongkhapa relied upon). Gyatso clearly prefers the worldly protector (Shugden) rather than the enlightened protector (Kalupa) because Shugden's purpose is to destroy and kill non believers and those not adhering to the sect within a sect, the fundamentalist exclusionist Gelugpas instigated by Pabongkha. Notably, since Gyatso abandoned Tibetan Buddhism and the Gelugpa 20 years ago, he too may ultimately be a target for Shugden's destructive wrath. NKT is rapidly degenerating into egotistical delights, and many have concluded that NKT is self destructing.
Shugden deployment by the Chinese Government for cultural genocide in Tibet, although consistent with and probably because of the historical use of Shugden to harm living beings, is sickening. NKT's use of Shugden to malign Buddhists is deplorable.