Smear: Geshe Kelsang Gyatso is against the 14th Dalai Lama
Truth: It is true that Geshe Kelsang is an opponent of the Dalai Lama's ban of the practice of Buddha Dorje Shugden, but he is not against the Dalai Lama himself and has no interest or investment in Tibetan politics. He has also not broken any commitments to the Dalai Lama, as the Dalai Lama has never been his teacher.
In November 1996, Geshe Kelsang said in an interview:
"In April of this year (1996), I received many strong requests from Tibetans living in India, and some requests from Western people who have connections with Tibetans, to help them achieve freedom of worship for the Dharma Protector Dorje Shugden. I received many letters and much information about the ban on this practice.
At the beginning I completely ignored this and I thought I would never involve myself in this Tibetan political problem. Later, I received some urgent faxes from an American lady called Tina, a friend of one Tibetan called Losang Chogyal in India. My assistant contacted Tina through e-mail to confirm that the faxes were authentic. We realized that this information came from India.
Through these letters I understood that HH had publicly stated that Dorje Shugden is an evil spirit, and that he had the intention to impose a complete ban on this practice. In order to fulfill his wishes many Tibetans in different areas of India were removing statues and pictures of Dorje Shugden from temples and private houses, destroying them, throwing them in the garbage, burning them etc., and forcibly preventing people from worshipping.
Because of this, so many people in many areas were afraid and experiencing much suffering and disharmony, especially in some of the monasteries. The tension was such that people were beginning to fight with each other, Tibetan against Tibetan.
At that time, I remembered what happened in Tibet under Mao's regime, with people destroying precious statues, Dharma scriptures and experiencing so many different types of suffering. I thought this present situation in India is very similar to that in Tibet. I was so disappointed and found it difficult to bear the bad news. Then, my mind changed and I developed a strong wish to help these Tibetan people.
On the other hand, I thought that if I became involved in these politics I would be criticized by many people and that even my life may be at risk, but finally I said to myself that I must stop self-cherishing and work for the welfare of these people. First, we organized to publish all the information we had received from India through many different newspapers in the United Kingdom, but no-one would print it. Because it was a story about Tibetans, the newspapers contacted the Tibetan Office to check its authenticity, and of course they denied it. So, because of these problems the members of 'The Shugden Supporters Community' held a meeting and decided to hold demonstrations in the hope that HH would change his mind and withdraw the ban on the worship of Dorje Shugden.
After two demonstrations had been held, a delegation from the Shugden Supporters Community formally requested HH to sign an agreement to stop the ban on the practice of Dorje Shugden and to restore freedom of worship to his people who wished to worship Dorje Shugden. He did not sign the agreement.
After the third demonstration, I strongly requested the members of the Shugden Supporters Community to stop all political activity immediately. Because I understood that HH would not accept, there was no meaning in continuing. I requested the people in Dharma Centers to forget all these politics and concentrate solely on their Dharma practice."
In January 2008, the Dalai Lama stepped up his efforts to suppress the practice of Dorje Shugden by banning it in monasteries in South India, and his Tibetan government in exile backed this up with a forced signature campaign. Many monks were expelled from their monasteries. The forced signature campaign and ostracism also spread into the lay community. The Western Shugden Society was formed in April as a confederation of concerned individual Western and Tibetan Dorje Shugden practitioners to oppose this ban and segregation, partly through the method of peaceful demonstrations (after their letters had been ignored). The WSS and the NKT are different organizations. For more about this subject, see the Western Shugden Society website and other sources.
Furthermore, the 14th Dalai Lama is not Geshe Kelsang's teacher and Geshe Kelsang has never received empowerments from him. The Sera Expulsion letter claims:
He (Geshe Kelsang) had received the fifth Dalai Lama's Lamrim Jampel Shalung at the Norbu Linka summer palace and the Kalachakra Initiation in 1956 from H.H.The Dalai Lama which incidently was the first Kalachakra.
This is incorrect. From an interview with Geshe Kelsang on 24th November 1996:
Q: In this letter [the Expulsion Letter] it says that you received the Lamrim Jampel Shal-lung at the Norbu Linka summer palace in Tibet and the Kalachakra Initiation in 1956 from HH the Dalai Lama. Did you receive these?
GKG: I never received the Lamrim Jampel Shal-lung from HH. I don't know where they got their information from. I don't know why the people of Sera-Je Tsangpa Khangtsen are saying this. I believe they think they are telling the truth, because they are Buddhist monks. Of course it is true that HH gave these Lamrim teachings at the Norbu Linka summer palace, but at that time I was unaware of this.
When HH was about to give the Kalachakra Initiation in Lhasa, I tried to join this teaching but unfortunately there were no places left, it was full. For a short while I waited with some lay people, and then I returned home. So I never received the Kalachakra Initiation from HH.
Later, in India I was in Dalhousie, near Dharamsala, in the mountains doing long retreat. One day, I heard the news from my assistant that HH was giving a teaching on the Great Exposition of the Stages of Tantra by Je Tsongkhapa. I decided to attend these teachings and left for Dharamsala. Again, I became very sick and was unable to attend. Later, when I was in Manjushri Buddhist Centre, England, we requested HH to visit, but he could not come. It seems that I have no karma to listen to HH's Dharma teachings. Of course, in the past I have attended some of his general public talks, but that is different. Just because I attended these talks we cannot say that he is my root Guru.