Tibetan Buddhism’s Conflicting Priorities

Conflicting priorities within Tibetan Buddhism, an over-arching community, that spans many sects (‘orders’) and a diaspora of followers, the way Roman Catholics have ‘orders’ and a diaspora of followers. One such group, popularly known as the Shudgens, are rallying around an orthodox Tibetan Buddhist monk name Dorje Shudgen and peer of the Dalai Lama.

Dorje Shudgen espouses a strict orthodox view of the practice of the Galag sect (‘order’) that the Dalai Lama has been trying to mitigate. The Dalai Lama, a world ambassador, has focused on knitting together the common culture and history of Tibetans. His emphasis that the Tibetan culture is as important, and now more important since China has taken over that geography, as the actual government in Tibet. Part of this strategy has been to separate his duties as both spiritual and state leader so now there is a President of the Tibet Government in Exile, who does not have to belong to the Galag sect (‘order’) as the Dalai Lama.

Meanwhile ..orthodox follows of the Galag sect (‘order’) who study with Dorje Shudgen are protesting the ‘mingling’ of different sectarian religious orders that is impacting their practice. If not a conflict of governing, it is certainly a discussion concerning the priorities of mainstream cultural protection and preserving orthodox tradition (that requires membership). The fear among the greater Tibetan populace, is that the Shudgen protestors, in addressing the threat to Tibetan culture, is making ‘back-room’ deals with the Chinese government. The Dalai Lama, on his part, sees Tibetan Buddhism being separate from Tibet the land.

Since I make mention of Catholics, the Chinese government has arrested a Catholic priest assigned by the Vatican without the approval of that country