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The Dalai Lama is no Pope

by Visakha Kawasaki, Kandy, Sri Lanka, The Buddhist Channel, Dec 6, 2006

I write with regards to the article, “Dalai Lama’s office disapproves Singapore Expo on ‘Buddha Relics’

Aside from the fact that the Dalai Lama seems to have some problems with discipline within his own sect, with the expo’s organizers claiming to be Gelugpa, it needs saying that the Dalai Lama is not in a position to declare that all Buddhists who revere relics of the Teacher or his chief Disciples are somehow worshiping “the unenlightened evil spirit!”

He is certainly mistaken too when he claims that by showing reverence for the relics of the Buddha and other Arahats, a Buddhist “effectively ‘breaks’ one's Refuge Vows and will effectively become a Non-Buddhist, negating the source and root of all Dharmic practices.”

The Dalai Lama’s followers have been urged to “....inform all other unknowing Buddhists, that, according to the Buddha's holy Teachings as preserved in every tradition and lineage as well as His Holiness the Dalai Lama's advice, taking refuge in wordly (sic) -spirit, in this context, this programme's uncompromising stand of practising and taking refuge in dulgyal-shugden, effectively contravenes one's Refuge in the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha."

Although the Dalai Lama may deserve respect as the head of his sect, he is not a Buddhist Pope, and might do well to educate himself about other Buddhist traditions, and avoid pronouncements of such a “catholic” nature.

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