Statement of UK Buddhist Organisations

BY IN Publications & Artcles NO COMMENTS YET



by the International Shugden Community/ New Kadampa Tradition



We, the undersigned UK Buddhist organisations, state that we have no connection to, or association with, the protests against His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama staged in the UK by the International Shugden Community / New Kadampa Tradition.  We actively dissociate ourselves from any activity of this organisation.

We assert that any differences of opinion among Buddhist organisations are better expressed in a peaceful, respectful and reasonable manner. We are especially concerned about protestors’ aggressive, misleading and unethical behaviour and the confusing image of Tibetan Buddhism this presents to the UK public.

The UK Buddhist Organisations signed up to this statement express their respect and support for His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s strong commitment to promoting religious harmony and mutual understanding across all the world’s major religious traditions.  Religious harmony is one of His Holiness’s three main lifelong commitments. Consequently, he takes a strong stance when it comes to sectarian intolerance. It is for this very reason – that the International Shugden Community / New Kadampa Tradition is sectarian – that the activities of the protestors are deemed unacceptable.

We further express our complete confidence in His Holiness the Dalai Lama and his advice.


Further detailed information on the controversy, the nature of the ISC/NKT and web links to helpful reference materials are found beneath our signatures.




Awakened Heart Sangha UK

Bodhicharya Kent

Bodhicharya Somerset

Bodhicharya Sussex

Bodhicharya Totnes

British Buddhist Community of the UK

Buddhist Society, London

Cham Tse Ling, Preston

Drukpa UK

Dzogchen Community UK

Gomde UK Tibetan Buddhist Centre

Jamyang Bath

Jamyang Leeds

Jamyang London

Jamyang Liverpool

Jamyang Mindroling, Coventry

Jamyang Salisbury

Kagyu Dechen Dzong, Yorkshire

Kagyu Ling, Manchester

Kagyu Samye Dzong, London

Kum Nye UK

Land of Joy, Northumberland

Lelung Dharma Centre, London

Lam Rim Bristol

Lam Rim Wales

Lam Rim Wilts & Glos

Palpung Changchub Dargyeling, Wales

Pundarika UK

Rigpa UK

Sakya Dechen Ling, London

Sakya Thinley Rinchen Ling, Bristol

Sakya Thubten Ling, Bournemouth

Saraswati Study Group, Somerset

Togme Sangpo Study Group, Scotland

Vajra Kalyana Mitrata UK

White Tara Meditation Group, Oxford

Yeshe Study Group, Cumbria



There are four main Tibetan schools of Buddhism: Geluk, Sakya, Nyingma and Kagyu. The schools are based on particular sets of teachings which arose at different times during Tibet’s history.  The teachings of each are considered to be appropriate to different minds; in the end, their practice leads to the same goal of Enlightenment.  Tibetan Buddhism is a Wisdom and Compassion tradition, the oral lineages of which have been handed down without a break from the time of the historical Buddha Shakyamuni. In contrast, the propitiation of a renegade ‘Shugden’ entity carries with it a long history of sectarian disharmony between the Geluk and other schools.

At  a crucial juncture for Tibet, occupied for over 50 years by the People’s Republic of China, and at a time when Tibetan culture is deeply threatened, together with its unique and effective practice of Buddhism, there is a strong need for harmony and co-operation. His Holiness the Dalai Lama has highlighted the negative influences, and the implications for the future,  of the divisive, sectarian practice of propitiating ‘Shugden’.  His Holiness requests his own disciples not to engage in this practice, but has also made clear that

whether or not his advice is heeded is a matter of individual choice. However,

contrary to protesters’ claims, the Dalai Lama has not banned this practice; rather

he has strongly advised against it.


Regarding ‘Shugden devotees’ in India and other exile communities of Tibetans, neither Amnesty International (1998) nor the Supreme Court in Delhi (2010) could ascertain any violation of human rights when checking on claims that devotees had been subjected to systematic discrimination and infringement of their human rights.



The International Shugden Community (ISC) is the latest in a series of front organisations set up by members of  the New Kadampa Tradition (NKT), a UK religious charity based in Ulverston, Cumbria under the guidance of a ‘Supreme Leader’, Kelsang Gyatso. This wealthy organisation with members worldwide has a long history of antagonism to the Dalai Lama and rejects his authority. Since early 2014, the ISC has staged aggressive protests during His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s visits to America, Australia and Europe.

The NKT is composed in the main of non-Tibetans who have little or no ability to speak or read Tibetan language and consequently little or no access to Tibetan Buddhist culture except through the writings of Kelsang Gyatso. Although the organisation follows an ethnic Tibetan teacher and utilises Tibetan Buddhist terminology, it does not consider itself a Tibetan Buddhist organisation – although, confusingly, its adherents often wear Tibetan coloured monastic robes, making it impossible for the public to tell the difference between those who have and whose who have not taken full Buddhist monastic vows.

In their campaign against the Dalai Lama, the International Shugden Community / New Kadampa Tradition has aligned itself with the Chinese Communist Party’s drive to undermine the Tibetan religious leader.



(1) There are four main traditions of Tibetan Buddhism, the oldest the Nyingma (8th century), two later ones – the Sakya and Kagyu (11th/12th centuries), with the most recent the Geluk (14th/15th centuries). The Jonang tradition is considered a 5th. There is an even more ancient tradition, that of Bon, and a number of surviving smaller schools.

(2) The Dalai Lama’s advice on Dholgyal/ Shugden can be found on his official website:

(3) More information on the history of various front organisations (International Shugden Community formed 2014-15, Western Shugden Society formed 2008-14 and Shugden Supporters Committee), of the New Kadampa Tradition itself and its ‘Supreme Leader’, Kelsang Gyatso, can be found at:

(4) Shadow Boxing on the Path to Nirvana by Madeleine Bunting, The Guardian, 6 July 1996:  “The SSC’s [Shugden Supporters Committee] campaign against the Dalai Lama is a dream scenario for the Chinese Government. In 1993, they decided their best tactic for Tibet, this most troublesome province of the People’s Republic, was to divide the Tibetans among themselves. Eighteen months ago, Chinese documents began to appear undermining the Dalai Lama as a religious authority, indicating a shift of strategy. The SSC insist in their press releases that they have no connection with the Chinese. But are they inadvertently doing the Chinese’s work for them?

(5)  See report: ‘China’s new directive on controversial Shugden spirit in Tibet in bid to further discredit Dalai Lama’ at

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