Dolgyal public statement

The following statement has been written to provide all students of Jamyang London Buddhist Centre with clear information on the centre’s position regarding the practice of Shugden (Dolgyal).  

Our position is in line with the guidance of FPMT, the international Buddhist organisation to which Jamyang London Buddhist Centre is affiliated, and His Holiness the Dalai Lama.  

Dolgyal is the name of a harmful spirit who some regard as a Dharma protector. 

His practice has been adopted by a few Buddhist groups, especially those who oppose His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s aspiration for Tibet to be governed as a democracy, preferring to return Tibet to a theocracy with one school of Tibetan Buddhism retaining political and spiritual authority.  

His Holiness the Dalai Lama considers this position to be sectarian, and after much research, consultation and reflection has advised that the practice of Dolgyal not be done.  

Statement from the Office of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. 

He [His Holiness the Dalai Lama] has stated that, as a Buddhist leader with a special concern for the Tibetan people, it is his responsibility to speak out against the damaging consequences of this kind of spirit worship. Whether or not his advice is heeded, His Holiness the Dalai Lama has made clear, is a matter for the individual. However, since he personally feels strongly about how negative this practice is, he has requested those who continue to propitiate Dolgyal not to attend his formal religious teachings,  which traditionally require the establishment of a teacher-disciple relationship. 

All centres affiliated to FPMT follow this advice which is supported by the organisation’s  Spiritual Director, Kyabje Lama Zopa Rinpoche. 

While Jamyang London Buddhist Centre acknowledges that individuals have the right to practice any form of religion that they wish, it must be stressed that this particular spirit practice does not accord with the centre’s ethos or teachings. 

Therefore, it is the policy of Jamyang London Buddhist Centre that all staff and key volunteers do not engage in the practice of Dolgyal. Similarly, it is the policy of Jamyang London Buddhist Centre that all students and community members who attend teachings and events at, or organised by, the Centre do not engage in the practice of Dolgyal. If you are unsure of whether you are doing this practice, think you may be doing so unwittingly, or have left the practice and wish for advice on how to transition away from it, please get in touch using the contact details below. 

Similarly, if you no longer study with a teacher who practices Dolgyal, have left a centre where the practice occurs, are considering doing so, or have questions about this and related topics, and would like support, please get in touch using the contact details below. 

[email protected] 

More information:

Approved by Jamyang Board of Directors, November 2011 

https://fpmt.org/teachers/zopa/advice/shugden/