April 23, 2009, the 101st (current) Ganden Tripa wrote Trijang Chocktrul Rinpoche (officially recognized by His Holiness the Dalai Lama on April 23, 1985 as a reincarnation of the late Kyabje Trijang Dorje Chang (1900-1981))...
(The Ganden Tripa is the leader of the Gelug sect of Tibetan Buddism; see footnote)
(In 2004, the Trijang Buddhist Institute in Vermont USA was dedicated to Trijang Chocktrul Rinpoche. May 9, 2007 the Dalai Lama offered his dedication, writing "This object of veneration is offered to Trijang Buddhist Institute with the prayer that the Buddha’s teaching flourish, that all sentient beings may obtain the treasure of the Dharma, and that they may live in happiness and virtue." Click here for the Institute's web site)
July 11, 2009, Shugdenites, most vocally represented in NKT's protest rallies around the world to protect Shugden, began spinning this notice as "Ganden Tripa authorizes Dorje Shugden practitioners to represent the Gelugpa Tradition...this clearly indicates that Dorje Shugden practice is a valid part of the Gelug tradition, does it not? At very least, it gives lie to the idea, much promoted on the internet of late, that Dorje Shugden practitioners are a fringe group who do not represent mainstream Buddhist practice."
However, nowhere in the web site, writing or announcements of the Trijang Buddhist Institute is Shugden mentioned, let alone praised. After significant research, support for Shugden by Trijang Chocktrul Rinpoche has yet to be found. That "Dorje Shugden practitioners are a fringe group who do not represent mainstream Buddhist practice" is indisputable. Probably fewer than 0.01% of the world's Buddhists pray to the anger god Shugden, and those who do have shown themselves to be malevolent and violent. NKT's protest rallies can hardly be considered Buddhist.
Trijang Chocktrul Rinpoche gave a radio interview about Shugden in Dharamsala, India, stating...
“I could not decide against him [the Dalai Lama] but nor could I stop propitiating Shugden with whom my relationship dates back to previous incarnations. I find myself in an immensely difficult situation. The followers of the Protector would not have listened to me...and no one seems to care about the difficulties I am facing...
I also don't want the people of Chatreng, who have great expectations of me, to be disheartened. But if I continue to propitiate the Protector publicly, I would be compelled to become a sort of head of his worshippers, and this would be an offence to the Dalai Lama from whom I received my Bhikshu ordination, and has always treated me with extraordinary benevolence.
I cannot even hope to keep a low profile as they [the Shugdenpas] would not let me.
I have reason to believe that my return to India may possibly result in internal chaos, attempts on lives and other immoral activities bringing disgrace to His Holiness...
I cannot sleep and I have had health problems. I am worried about thinking what will happen next. It is quite terrifying to think that I might be a cause of disgrace instead of serving the Tibetan people and His Holiness...
Some have told me, 'If you abandon the Protector [Shugden], there is no knowing what will happen. We will not consider you a lama [as guru]. The people of Chatreng are strange, very wild and unruly. We do not know what they may do.'
It is very clear my life might be in danger. So I have decided to leave my Labrang and disrobe, so that none of the Shugden worshippers can ask me to be their leader. I hope that this way I can respect the wishes of the Dalai Lama and still revere the protector, practicing in private and far from everyone. I intend to follow a middle way, neither for nor against Shugden. I appeal to both parties not to contact me."
In my own Labrang I have recently witnessed a kind of factionalism and I have discovered that one person in particular was planning an evil conspiracy. This plan was to murder my assistant, Tharchin, and to implicate His Holiness's government in exile with this odious crime. The conspirator aimed to become chakzoe [manager] of my estate. Tharchin has been very kind to me, more so than my own parents, and has taken care of me since I was three years old. As well as managing the affairs of my Labrang.
With my own ears I heard this person discussing on the telephone a plan to assassinate Tharchin. It is really a matter of great sadness and surprise, especially since the person involved in this ploy has been very close to me as well. If he succeeds in his plan, it would be a cause of great trouble for the Labrang, as well as a cause of disgrace to the Tibetan government and His Holiness the Dalai Lama.
These are not lies, but true facts which I want everyone to know. That is why I made this statement."
Trijang Chocktrul Rinpoche concluded his message urging Shugden followers to stop seeking him, "I do not wish to be in touch with you."
Another Buddhist wrote recently about the misleading Shugdenite statement above...
"Your post is misrepresenting and contorting the facts. Also you should know, that Trijang Chogtrul Rinpoche is moderate in Shugden worship, he does not force anybody to practice it and leaves the decision to the other person.
You also should know that Kelsang Gyatso, head of NKT, does not acknowledge Trijang Chogtrul Rinpoche to be the reincarnation of Trijang Rinpoche and that there are no contacts between NKT and TBI or Kelsang Gyatso and his former teacher.
Also you should know that Trijang Chogtrul Rinpoche is concerned himself about fanatical Shugden followers and escaped them when they tried to murder his assistant, with the aim to put the blame for the assassination into the shoes of the Dalai Lama. and the TGIE. (Tibet Government in Exile)
Trijang Chogtrul Rinpoche concluded his message urging the followers of Dorje Shugden to stop seeking him. He said: “I do not wish to be in touch with you…”
After this statement Trijang Chogtrul Rinpoche moved to the United States of America, where he lives only with his closest students.
Since Trijang Chogtrul Rinpoche states that “These are not lies, but true facts which I want everyone to know.” I think it is appropriate to quote here what he said himself in the interview with the Dharamsala radio station."
(an NKTite responded to this comment by saying (falsely) that the Trijang Buddhist Institute is nothing more than Shugen practitioners, (falsely) that the Ganden Tripa feels that Dorje Shugden practitioners are perfectly valid to “represent and transmit” the Gelug Dharma, that Kelsang Gyatso rejoices whenever anyone has the good sense to recognize the Dorje Shugden practitioners have been among the cream of the Gelug Sholars and Yogis of the past several hundred years (false).)
(from another NKTite...."no wonder why trijang chocktrul rinpoche has distance him self from the DL his lies have become unbearable for many, all i see is a man clinging to to much power in an attempt to unite all the schools under his directorship this is shameful." Another NKT falsehood. Trijang Chocktrul Rinpoche web site praises the Dalai Lama.)
(it has been reported that Kelsang Gyatso was told by Kyabje Trijang Dorje Chang, Kelsang Gyatso's purported root guru, that he will not take rebirth (reincarnate). Also, The "internal" NKT constitution consists a passage which states that Tulkus are not accepted within NKT. Thus, NKT does not recognize rijang Chocktrul Rinpoche as a legitimate reincarnation, and presumably not a legitimate Shugdenite as well.)
Also, comment about Shugden by the previous Ganden Tripa is enlightening,
"If it (Shugden) were a real protector, it should protect the people. There may not be any protector such as this, which needs to be protected by the people...The act of pronouncing one's strong faith in worldly gods is no different from publicizing your faults and downfall in your adherence to "the advice or refuge-seeking."...This demonous act of ignoring the advice of His Holiness on spiritual and temporal ground intended for the benefit of Tibetans and masterminding certain detrimental activities in finding slightest differences to your view clearly signifies ones lack of patriotism. Does the sour reality of governmental official needing police and security to escort them on their visit to the monasteries, centers of peace and religion, not become a cause for shame and embarrassment to the Tibetans in general and the monastic centers in particulars? Thus, it is timely to stop this strife by being aware of the grave outcome and essence less nature of this root of disagreement."
In 2003, the 101st Ganden Tripa (the author of the letter above heralded by Shudgenites as a glorious endorsement of Shugenism) said, "I did not do the practice of this protector."
Comments from the Gelug monastery that Kelsang Gyatso attended are also enlightening (see Gyatso Credentials).
Notably, Kelsang Gyatso and NKT do not represent Tibetan Buddhism or its Gelug school, both of which they consider corrupt and have thus created a break away Shugden cult claiming to be the only pure form of Buddhism on earth. One of the problems claimed by NKT with Tibetan Buddhism is the respect Tibetan Buddhists have for the Dalai Lama. Poignantly, the Ganden Tripa, Trijang Chocktrul Rinpoche and membes of the Trijang Buddhist Institute respect the Dalai Lama as well.
Thus, once again Shugdenites desperately stretch truth until it breaks. At NKT, believing in broken truths is better than recognizing, disseminating and practicing truth.
Press Release - Thar Deu Ling Buddhist Association.
Paris, January 22nd 2003.
On January 20th 2003 His Holiness the Dalai-lama announced in BodhGaya at the conclusion of the Kalachakra empowerment the appointment of Khensur Lungri Namgyel rinpoche as the 101th Ganden Tripa.
The Venerable Khensur Lungri Namgyel Rinpoche is a former abbot of two of the most important monastic institutions of Tibetan Buddhism, the Gyutö Tantric College and Ganden Shartse Monastic University.
The Ganden Tripa position is the highest of the Gelug lineage: its recipient is the supreme spiritual head of the Gelug school founded in Tibet in the 15th century by the great yogi-scholar and saint Dje Tsong Khapa.
The Gelug school (better known in the West as the Yellow Hats) is among Tibetans the lineage which counts the most devotees and monasteries. The famous monastic institutions of Ganden, Sera and Drepung as well as the two Tantric Colleges of Gyutö and Gyumed belong to that lineage. Numerous illustrious spiritual teachers practiced within that lineage, such as the Dalai-lamas themselves or the Panchen-lamas, also.
The position of Ganden Tripa is traditionnally conferred upon the most accomplished spiritual Masters of the Gelug lineage; previous holders were Gyeltsap Dje and Khedrup Dje, the two main students of Dje Tsong Khapa, the Third Panchen Lama Sönam Drakpa, or more recently the late two tutors of His Holiness the Dalai-lama: Kyabje Ling rinpoche and Kyabje Trijang rinpoche.
The 101th Ganden Tripa, the Venerable Khensur Lungri Namgyel rinpoche was born in 1927 in Kham (eastern Tibet). Ordained at eight years old, after fifty years of meditative practices and studies he was elevated by H.H. the Dalai-lama as successively abbot of Gyutö Tantric College (in 1983), and as abbot of Ganden Shartse Monastic University (in 1992). In 1986 he was the special envoy of H.H. the Dalai-lama to the oecumenical meetings of Assisi in Italy convened by H.H. the Pope John-Paul II. He is a French national and has been living in Paris, France for more than 20 years. He transmits the Buddhist teachings of his lineage in a Dharma Center, Thar Deu Ling (http://www.geocities.com/thardeuling) which he founded in 1980.
Official Press Release of the Tibetan Administration in exile
The Ganden Tripa or Gaden Tripa (tib. dGa’-ldan Khri-pa) ("Holder of the Ganden Throne") is the title of the spiritual leader of the Gelug (Dge-lugs) school of Tibetan Buddhism, the school which controlled central Tibet from the mid-1600s until 1950s. He is identical with the respective abbot of Ganden Monastery. The Dalai Lama is the temporal head of the Gelug school, a position of greater political authority but of lower spiritual rank.
The Ganden Tripa is an appointed office, not a reincarnation lineage. It is awarded on the basis of competitive examination. Since the position is not a life-long one, there have been many more Ganden Tripas than Dalai Lamas to date (101 as against 14).
Either Tsongkapa (Tsong-ka-pa) (1357–1419), who founded the Gelug sect, or his successor, Gyaltsab Je (Rgyal-tshab-rje), may be considered to have been the first Ganden Tripa. (After Tsongkhapa's passing, his teachings were held and kept by Gyaltsab Je and Khedrub Je who were the next abbots of Ganden monastery. The lineage has been held by the Ganden Tripas--the throne-holders of Ganden Monastery--.)
In January 2003, the Government of Tibet in Exile announced the nomination of the 101st Ganden Tripa. An excerpt from that press release gives his background:
“The 101st Ganden Tripa, the Venerable Khensur Lungri Namgyel rinpoche was born in 1927 in Kham (eastern Tibet). Ordained at eight years old, after fifty years of meditative practices and studies he was elevated by H.H. the Dalai-lama as successively abbot of Gyutö Tantric College (in 1983), and as abbot of Ganden Shartse Monastic University (in 1992). In 1986 he was the special envoy of H.H. the Dalai-lama to the ecumenical meetings of Assisi in Italy convened by H.H. the Pope John Paul II. He is a French national and has been living in Paris, France for more than 20 years. He transmits the Buddhist teachings of his lineage in a Dharma Center, Thar Deu Ling which he founded in 1980.”
The present holder is Khensur Lungri Namgyal, the 101st Ganden Tripa (and not, as is often misunderstood, the Dalai Lama).
The 100th Ganden Tripa, Venerable Lobsang Nyingma Rinpoche, has since retired and now resides at Dharamsala together with the 14th Dalai Lama.