19 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Convincing reading - but make up your own mind.
This book seems to have polarised opinion. It is written in a fairly readable style and the information presented within it is potentially world changing. The Dalai Lama - loved and worshipped in the west - is presented here in an altogether different light and the evidence included (if believed) shows a politically motivated man who presents one image to the west and...
Published on 31 Mar 2010 by PRS
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Political propoganda
Downloaded for free - initially quite interesting and prompted me to follow up with a little more research about this minority spiritual practice and why it was 'banned' (it isn't banned, practitioners are advised not to follow this rare form of worship in Tibet, although admittedly monks who persist in practicing it in Tibetan Buddhist monasteries can be expelled...
Published 7 months ago by Varan (da man) Komodsky
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Political propoganda,
Downloaded for free - initially quite interesting and prompted me to follow up with a little more research about this minority spiritual practice and why it was 'banned' (it isn't banned, practitioners are advised not to follow this rare form of worship in Tibet, although admittedly monks who persist in practicing it in Tibetan Buddhist monasteries can be expelled.
It becomes clear rather quickly that this is a personal attack on the 'ruling' (what?) Lama, supported by the Chinese government.
It is of interest to a student of black political propaganda I suppose. Not factual evidence supplied that can be supported by further evidence available in the Western World.
10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Deception and Unfair review,
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Do not read this book as it is written with a personal vendetta against the Dalai Lama, rather than an intellectual argument. Every sentence, paragraph and page is filled with almost hatred of the Dalai Lama.
I was hoping of reading a book that was written with absolute equanimity to the arguments of the Dalai Lama and the denouncement of the Dharma Protector by him. I myself questioned if he worshipped Dorje Shugden for most part of his life, quite publicly and privately. He is not just replacing one Dharma Protector with another, but is denouncing the teachings of Je Tsongkhapa which he allegedly follows and by that action he is denouncing the teachings of Je Tsongkhapa.
Also I was shocked that the Dalai Lama never openly, loudly and clearly denounced that the harming of Dorje Shugden practitioners in way is totally unacceptable to him and to the Buddhist traditions and believes.
Do not read this book, if you just want to read a hate book of the Dalai Lama, rather then bringing clarity to all buddhist practitioners about this Dorje Shugden debate and a debate it should be not a book written with a venomous pen.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A Great Conspiracy Theory (minus 5 stars),
THIS IS THE WORST BOOK EVER WRITTEN.
This horrid title is the kitchen sink of name-calling... a rabidly virulent anti-Dalai Lama book. It is an expansion of the Western Shugden Society's previous volume, The Tibetan Situation Today, as if that wasn't already sickening enough. Like its predecessor, it is packed with polytheistic deity worshipping nonsense and has nothing to do with real Tibetan situation or authentic Dharma. I am not a Dalai Lama follower, nor do I care about the Dorje Shugden non-issue, but this sort of unrelenting jealous rage and hatred gives genuine Buddhism a black eye.
According to the authors of this monstrous lunacy, the Dalai Lama is a Fascist, an evil Capitalist, and a Communist (all of which are mutually-exclusive)! One of the many deranged distortions claimed here is the Dalai Lama has ties to Nazis. The so-called Nazis are one Heinrich Harrer of Seven Years in Tibet fame ...talk about a stretch! Many more conspiracy theories abound within, to include having 'shady ties to the C.I.A.'! The authors even claim the Dalai Lama is pro-Communist Chinese! If anyone is caught with an image of the Dalai Lama in Communist China, they are subject to arrest and long-term imprisonment. Meanwhile, the Western Shugden Society operates openly in that country. You do the math.
In China recently, a woman's arm, tattooed with the image of the Dalai Lama, was cut off before she was jailed. Meanwhile, the WSS (and sister organization, the New Kadampa Tradition) operate in the open. Yet somehow, in the down is up and up is down world of the WSS, the Dalai Lama is the Communist when in fact, it is the WSS which has the blessings of the Chinese government. This is due to the fact that both groups (WSS and NKT) aggressively attack HHDL, which is exactly what the Communist Chinese want.
Additionally, these angry authors throw countless unsubstantiated slurs at his His Holiness to include literally labeling him 'the devil' and 'a murderer' ...and they really mean it! FYI... there is no devil in authentic Buddhism... like everything else, they just made this up.
In summary, this book is insanely paranoid, point-blank evil and anti-Buddhist with regards to its intent. If it weren't so divisive, it would be laughable. Unfortunately, the Western Shugden Society has many supporters as is evidenced by the nearly verbatim regurgitation of the book's main talking points within the positive reviews; cult-like in their fervor. Of note is the fact that the authors of this book also reviewed their own nonsense, giving it 5-stars, of course. Ugh! Unbelievable expose? Well yes, unbelievable is an applicable word especially when your book completely lacks truth. Apparently, many people need hate and a common enemy within their lives and disguise it as religious freedom to relieve the guilt of such a angry practice. Hateful NKT demonstrators at Dalai Lama events explain away the anti-Dharma behavior they exhibit (grimaces, clenched fists, angry words) by claiming it is meant in a 'compassionate' way. Huh? Are they trying to fool non-believers or themselves? In that regard, this book does not differ much from the tactics employed by other extremist groups. Sickening.
THIS IS THE WORST BOOK EVER WRITTEN.
19 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Convincing reading - but make up your own mind.,
This book seems to have polarised opinion. It is written in a fairly readable style and the information presented within it is potentially world changing. The Dalai Lama - loved and worshipped in the west - is presented here in an altogether different light and the evidence included (if believed) shows a politically motivated man who presents one image to the west and another to his own people.
It's always good to question leadership - especially within the spiritual field. The Dalai Lama's political role means that this, perhaps, should be questioned more deeply and with greater scrutiny than the norm. This book does have a clear agenda (and there is no attempt to hide it) - but when accusations of persecution are involved this is clearly to be expected. Whatever the truth of the matter, if The Dalai Lama is innocent of these allegations then he and his followers clearly have nothing to worry about at all. If true, then the Dala Lama clearly has many problems and is not the man many want to believe him to be.
The book itself does contain a lot of accounts, photographic evidence and historical information that undeniably throw up some real questions that the Tibetan Government and The Dalai Lama need to attempt to defend or accept as mistakes and try to revert the damage done. It's hard to imagine what the positive outcomes of this book may be - a revoking of the seemingly prejudicial decrees against some Buddhist Sects? - an admittance from the Dalai Lama that he has made some serious mistakes? Who knows? Whatever the outcome, clearly some deep healing needs to occur within the Buddhist community and Tibetan cause.
As the holder of a degree in Politics and History I found the book to be fascinating and well substantiated. As someone with a deep interest in Spiritual practice I found it somewhat shocking. The Nechung oracle (the Dalai Lama's "spirit" adviser) has long been associated with major mistakes and all sorts of weird goings on and the book points to some interesting details in regard to this. The "word on the street" is to some degree in alignment with many of the claims of the book - and I am sure that any genuine person with a good heart and a dose of intelligence will now be looking at the Dalai Lama with more scrutiny than before.
It seems the age of blind faith amongst westerners may now be over with regards the Dalai Lama.
On a personal note, I am always wary of highly emotive reviews - preferring a more balanced approach that allows the real truth to emerge free from prejudice and strong opinion. I hope that if anyone actually reads this review and the book in question they will feel free to decide for themselves whether the Dalai Lama is indeed, part of a great deception. I believe he is and that he should stop lying to the world and give religious freedom.
8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Awful propoganda: avoid.,
The Western Shugden Society and the NKT are to be avoided. They forced the ban of an academic text that discussed the history, a bloody one at that, of the cult of Shugden and his worshippers and outlined much of what is wrong with the NKT. The Dalai Lama and more importantly the lineage of privilege that is the Dalai Lama are worthy of criticism and deeper investigation by any westerner invested in Tibetan Buddhism, but not by anything these people might write.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars illigetimate,
There are legitimate arguments that can be levied against Dalai Lama from a nationalist, feminist, liberation theological or gay/lesbian perspective. These have been levied against him publicly and he has responded in a way that usually humbles the plaintiffs - and from my reading of his responses they aren't mere words. He radically shifts policy, refocuses, contemplates and responds in a way that is consistent with his Buddhist beliefs including stating that many of the traditional beliefs should be abandoned in the light of modern science, psychology and sociology. But 'The Great Deception' lives up to it's title. It is a rant, a rabid foam mouthed polemic - not a balanced, researched, considered critique of the exiled stateless Tibetan people's leadership. The title of the book deceived me. It has less to do with Dalai Lama and more to do with people that somehow think they are being persecuted by a stateless horde of Buddhist refugees living thousands of miles from them and with whom they want nothing to do with anyway. The mind boggles. What next for the author - perhaps 'The Vicious Vatican - how the pope made a tiny minority animistic cult in Burkina Faso tut-tut in dismay.
24 of 36 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars interesting and insightful,
"With a role for every occasion - holy man, politician, international statesman, simple monk, pop icon, Buddhist Pope, socialist, movie star, autocrat, democrat, Marxist, humanitarian, envirnomentalist, Nobel Peace prize winner, nationalist, Buddha of Compassion, communist, God-King - the Dalai Lama weaves a complex web of religion and politics that entraps his audiences wherever he goes. Nobody has seen anything like it. People are easily swayed by the historical mistique of Tibet and its 'God-King', and feel captivated and convinced by his charm." (from the final chapter)
What emerges from this remarkable and insightful book is that in spite of the huge success that the Dalai Lama has enjoyed in terms of charming and inspiring audiences around the world, he has been extremely unkind to some of the people closest too him.
Having failed to make any meaningful progress in terms of gaining independence for Tibet (or autonomy under Chinese rule) he decided to settle for what he considered to be the next best thing - to try to unite all Tibetan Buddhists under one umbrella, with himself as head.
Tibetan Buddhism is divided into four distinct traditions: Gelugpa, Sakya, Kagyu, and Nyingma. The Dalai Lama's efforts to unite them under one umbrella took place in two distinct phases. The first of these started after he first arrive in Dharamsala in India from Tibet in 1959. At this time he tried to get the Gelugpa, Sakya, Kagyu, and Nyingma traditions to dissolve their separate identities and to agree to come together as a single form of Buddhism. This would be equivalent to asking the different forms of Christianity in Britain to dissolve their separate identities, and it should come as no big surprise that this proposal was met with alarm and rejection from the Lamas of these traditions (the Gelugpa tradition maintained a neutral position at the time). A great deal of disharmony and conflict followed culminating in an assasination in 1976.
Realizing that this tactic had failed the Dalai Lama did an abrupt about-turn, and, from 1978 onwards, started seeking to dismantle his own tradition, the Gelugpa, and to become an adherent of all of the other schools of Tibetan Buddhism, in a newly discovered spirit of (supposed) 'inclusiveness' and 'non-sectarianism.' This probably sounds very nice to most people. However, there are several problems with his position:
1) From a Buddhist point of view his position is wrong. Tibetan Buddhism teaches that spiritual progress can only be made by following one tradition purely, and developing faith and reliance upon one Spiritual Guide. If we want to dig a well we will not be able to do so if we stop digging one hole and then move to another. In a similar way we cannot make spiritual progress if we try to do the practices of many different traditions simultaneously.
2) The Dalai Lama's motivation for offering this advice is not even a sincere belief in the 'inclusiveness' (mixing of different beliefs) that he advocates. His motivation is the wish to see all Tibetans united under one single religious umbrella. In so far as he wants this so that they can continue to have a strong sense of shared indentity, even in exile, this is to some extent understandable. However, he could still be criticised for using religion for nationalistic ends, and he would certainly have no right to do anything more than suggest this as an option for people to agree with if they wished.
3) The way in which the Dalai Lama has pursued his vision of 'inclusiveness'/ mixing of the different traditions, is by seeking to persuade Gelugpa's to abandon their faith in a Buddhist deity called Dorje Shugden. The prayers of Dorje Shugden emphasise the value and importance for Gelugpa pratitioners of maintaining the purity of their own tradition by not mixing their teachings and practices with those of other Buddhist traditions.
Although the Dalai Lama does, in a sense, have the right to offer this 'advice' if he so wishes, he has no right to offer it as anything more than just advice, and must accept that not everyone will necessarily choose to agree with him. He did in fact start out by offering this advice in the spirit of gentle encouragement and on 18th July 1980 said: "I am not saying Gyalchen [Dorje Shugden] is not an authentic deity, but in any event, for those who mainly rely on Palden Lhamo [another Buddhist deity] of Gyalpo Kunga [a non-Buddhist deity], whether it be a great master or a monastery, it does not bode well to worship Gyalchen.'
4) However, in the manner of a school teacher getting increasingly cross and angry with naughty school-children who fail to behave, the Dalai Lama became increasingly shrill and desperate in his pronoucements; culminating in 1996 with the claim that Dorje Shugden was in fact an evil Chinese spirit who was damaging the cause of Tibet and threatening his life. He then went on to try to ban the practice of Dorje Shugden among Tibetans.
The degree of pain and heart-ache that the Dalai Lama caused Tibetans, who felt loyalty towards both him as their political leader, and towards their spiritual masters from whom they had received the advice to worship Dorje Shugden, can scarcely be imagined. In one documentary covering this issue several elderly monks interviewed stated that they dearly wished that they had died before these pronouncements had been made.
He has caused so much pain and heart-ache, and has divided Tibetans, who traditionally regard each other wish great warmth and affection, among themselves. He has been so cruel and mean towards the people he is closest too. "What does it profit a man if he gains the whole world but loses his soul" could be aptly applied to the Dalai Lama. He has achieved phenomenal success in raising the public profile of Buddhism, and even in terms of increasing the public's appreciation of the value of Buddhist teachings on love, patience, forgiveness, and compassion, and yet he has comprehensibly failed to practise those teachings himself with respect to many of those who have shown him the greatest of kindness. Would we admire a man who was fantastic company with his friends at the local pub, but treated his wife and children with cruelty and contempt? Then no more should we admire this charming but phenomenally deceptive man.
Read this book, and find out the sad but sobering truth about present-day Tibetan Buddhism. There is a core of profound beauty and wisdom to be found within Tibetan Buddhism. Sadly it has been corrupted by the political motivations and wounded-pride of its most famous representative. The purpose of this book is to try to bring an end to that state of affairs so that Buddhist Dorje Shugden practitioners, and others, can practise their faith with confidence, and offer the fruits of their profound meditation and spiritual practice to the whole world.
15 of 25 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Spiritual Solution to a Political Problem,
This book advocates a spiritual solution to a political problem that has plagued Tibetan society for the past 15 years, the controversy over the Dalai Lama's religious discrimination against Dorje Shugden practitioners. Walking in the footsteps of the Buddha, high Lamas should renounce involvement in political affairs. Buddha spoke of his renunciation in this way:
"Bodhisattvas should follow my example. I renounced my kingdom and attained complete enlightenment. You must be aware of how close the relationship between renunciation of the world and the eventual attainment of supreme enlightenment is."
Buddha's father offered to abdicate the throne in favor of his son's rule, to which Buddha replied:
"Father, I am no longer the son of one family, one clan, or even one country. My family is now all beings, my home is the Earth, and my position is that of a monk who depends on the generosity of others. I have chosen this path, not the path of politics. I believe I can best serve all beings in this way."
It is readily apparent throughout this book that the Western Shugden Society is *no* fan of Communist China, a "totalitarian regime" that "invaded" Tibet and has now "occupied" it for more than 50 years. Still, primary blame for the "catastrophic decline" of Buddhadharma in Tibet over the past few hundred years, which ultimately precipitated the loss of the country to the Chinese, rests solely on the unholy mixing of religion and politics which the book calls 'Lama Policy'. The current Dalai Lama's political ambition to become the unprecedented spiritual head of all Tibetan Buddhists, his unfailing adulation of Mao, and his fascination with 'half-Buddhist, half-Marxist' communism (seriously retarding his exile government's democratization) are all given heavy treatment in the book. Many Tibetans feel personally betrayed by the Dalai Lama, who unilaterally handed over the cause of Tibetan independence to the Chinese as early as the 1980s, without consulting either the Tibetan parliament or his people. Once Tibetan nationals started to realize that their hopes for a 'Free Tibet' had been ruined, the Dalai Lama's scapegoating of Dorje Shugden practitioners began... and for the past 15 years this clintonesque misdirection has worked amazingly well, albeit to the detriment of the Tibetan exile community's internal trust, peace, and harmony.
The book puts forth a most intriguing thesis, which is touched on throughout various chapters as it retraces the history of the Dalai Lamas; the implications will be earth-shattering for many Tibetan Buddhists, yet liberating for many others including myself. That is, "a great deception" has been perpetrated since the death of the Fourth Dalai Lama, in that no one who has carried this title since--from the Fifth to the current Fourteenth--has actually fulfilled the First Dalai Lama's promise to his root Guru, Je Tsongkhapa, who was the founder of the Gelugpa tradition: "From now until I attain enlightenment I shall seek no refuge other than you... I pray that, with my mind free from the influence of attachment and hatred, I may strive to maintain your doctrine and cause it to flourish without ever giving up this endeavor" (translation in the book Heart Jewel by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso). The first four Dalai Lamas are presented as pious, holy men who lived "exemplary lives of pure moral discipline and spiritual practice," and so there is no doubt about their authenticity.
In sharp contrast, the so-called Fifth Dalai Lama's military escapades (including sectarian suppression of the Jonang, Kagyu, and Bön traditions), political intrigues (including the assassination of his spiritual 'rival', Dragpa Gyaltsen), and abhorrence of his root Guru the Panchen Lama call into doubt whether he was really the reincarnation of the Fourth Dalai Lama at all. Rather, "Many Gelugpa lamas believe that Dragpa Gyaltsen, and not Losang Gyatso, was the actual incarnation of the Fourth Dalai Lama and that when Dragpa Gyaltsen died he became a Protector of Je Tsongkhapa's Ganden tradition" (i.e., he manifested as Dorje Shugden). Indeed, it would be interesting to know how pervasive this interpretation is amongst contemporary Shugden Lamas, because it helps to explain so much, for example, why the earliest rituals to Dorje Shugden identified him as an emanation of Avalokiteshvara (see the Dorje Shugden History website), and why it is that the Sixth, Seventh, Eighth, Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh, and Twelfth Dalai Lamas weren't particularly noteworthy, to say the least.
The book is a damning account of the Fifth, Thirteenth, and current Dalai Lamas' theocracies and their failures as political and spiritual leaders. And, although the book is heavily sourced, it is intended merely as a starting point for journalists and scholars to dig even deeper. In a sense, exposing the Dalai Lama's "open secrets" to the world in this way is like giving us permission to look past the facade and not feel blasphemous for doing so: the authors invite the world again and again to scrutinize the Dalai Lama's actions just as they would any politician, and not be mesmerized by the celebrity of this 'simple Buddhist monk'. For these Tibetan Buddhists, the Dalai Lama can no longer hide behind the mask of Avalokiteshvara, the Buddha of Compassion, for his actions simply do not merit it: even the current Dalai Lama's militant campaigns, political intrigues, and abhorrence of his root Guru (whom he never acknowledges) are laid bare, a haunting replay of the Great Fifth's samsaric life.
Nevermind the fact the Dalai Lama has never had the ecclesiastical authority to ban prayers to Dorje Shugden, what this book makes transparent is that neither does he have the *moral* authority. Of course, the Dalai Lama's Buddhist teachings and lectures are spectacular, which is a testament more to the wisdom and kindness of his unsung Spiritual Guide, Trijang Rinpoche, a Dorje Shugden practitioner who arguably was the greatest Tibetan Buddhist master of his generation. The Dalai Lama often says that we have to choose between himself or Dorje Shugden, which in effect amounts to choosing either the Dalai Lama or the late Trijang Rinpoche; for many Shugden practitioners this has been a difficult but clear choice, and this book makes it crystal clear.
19 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Mixing of Religion and Politics,
When the Dalai Lama expelled 900 monks worshipping the tradition Buddhist Deity Dorje Shugden from Gelugpa monasteries in Southern India in January 2008, claiming that it was 'spirit worship' and that Shugden practitioners were responsible for arson and even murder, it was clear that something was seriously wrong in Tibetan Buddhism. The Dalai Lama himself had engaged in this practice for many years and it was a mainstream Gelugpa practice relied upon by many great and powerful Teachers of the Gelugpa and Sakya traditions for centuries. Such extreme behaviour by a religious leader and Nobel Peace Prize winner, appearing to persecute a particular group of practitioners in his own tradition while at the same time preaching love, peace, tolerance and inter-religious dialogue rang alarm bells. The subsequent demonstrations by members of the Western Shugden Society seeking equal rights for Shugden practitioners also surprised the world, as up to that time, the Dalai Lama was regarded as a blameless holy man with a universal message of love. How could the Western Shugden Society find fault with such a pure religious leader? The answers are contained within this book which delves behind the fantasy image of the Dalai Lama created by such films as 'Kundun' and 'Seven Years in Tibet' to discover a more shocking and discouraging truth about the man revered by millions throughout the world.
This book clearly shows how Tibetan Buddhism is suffering from political pollution, culminating in the Dalai Lama's interference in the affairs of the Kagyu tradition over the choosing of the 17th Karmapa and the banning of the practice of Dorje Shugden in this century. This political pollution began at the time of the 5th Dalai Lama who, supported by the Ooshot Mongols, took political control of Tibet and in so doing established a religio-political duality that tore Tibet apart. The Dalai Lama's position as a political leader was further consolidated by the 13th Dalai Lama and now the 14th who is continuing this policy of mixing religion and politics which is called 'Lama Policy' by the Western Shugden Society.
The book makes many bold claims about the Dalai Lama's deceptiveness, which at first glance may be difficult to accept given his extremely positive public image, not to say devotion, in the eyes of millions. However, the book contains extensive references and proves each claim it makes. It makes shocking reading and the WSS encourages the world's media to make further investigations to uncover the truth. This is no collection of crackpot 'conspiracy theories' but a carefully researched exposition of the Dalai Lama and his use of religion to accomplish selfish political goals and consolidate his own power over the Tibetan people. The references are well known authors and journalists which lends credibility to the WSS's claims.
I would recommend this book to anyone with an interest in Tibet and Tibetan Buddhism, and I would advice reading with an open and inquiring mind. It's sad to see one of the icons of Buddhism shown up to be a self-serving politician but it's better to know the truth that to continue in a state of delusion. The wish of the Western Shugden Society is to remove political pollution from Buddhism. If the claims of the book are shown to be true through further investigative journalism, this will go a long way to doing just that.
17 of 30 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting reading,
Interesting book. Can't say I'm too impressed with the way its written, but it does gather together enough material to make a provoking case - and a controversial case, its highly critical of the Dalai Lama and the power / corruption in Tibetan politics/religion. I'm guessing this is an issue that normally gets shadowed by the the Tibet-China conflicts. Its sad to hear that the Tibetan governments human rights record is potentially equally dubious. I'd say well worth a read. The authors have clearly got an agenda, but they've packed so much info into their case that it leaves you thinking there's a serious point being made here, that can't be denied and shouldn't be ignored.
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A Great Deception: The Ruling Lamas' Policies by Western Shugden Society (Paperback - Jan 2010)
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