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To proclaim a new independent sub-school of the Buddhist Gelug tradition ('Auld Vertuus Sc

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We, the faithful disciples of Ven. Khenpo Kyosang, now address a petition to Mr. Ludwig Roemer, President of the Academic Board of Je Tsongkapay Ling Buddhist College, and to Mr. Christian Lauer, Chairman of the Board of Directors of Je Tsongkapay Ling Buddhist College, being a community of Kyosang Rinpoche’s followers with open membership, and ask both persons

to proclaim a new independent European sub-school of the Tibetan Buddhist Gelug tradition, by name of ‘Auld Vertuus School’ or any other name disciples of Ven. Kyosang Rinpoche may choose at their meeting.

Our arguments are as follows:

1. The Central Tibetan Administration does nor care for needs of the European disciples of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, and His Holiness is not informed about their needs as it follows from their letters being unanswered and from other such facts.

The administration of Je Tsongkapay Ling Buddhist College has sent two official enquiries to the Office of His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Both enquiries referred to spiritual and most urgent questions. None of them was answered.

Directors of Dharma centers, affiliated with Je Tsongkapay Ling Buddhist College, and several disciples of Ven. Kyosang Rinpoche as individuals have sent to the Central Tibetan Administration four official or private enquiries, concerning the spiritual heritage of Ven. Kyosang Rinpoche and other spiritual matters. (We only mention the cases that were reported to us.)

Only two on them were answered, and answered in a manner which avoided any distinct and definite statement, affirmative or negative, and detached His Holiness the Dalai Lama or His Office from any responsibility for spiritual needs of His Western followers.

2. The European Buddhists of the Gelug tradition badly need competent European Buddhist teachers of Western origin, not their substitutes as ‘Dharma center presidents,’ ‘kalyanamitras,’ ‘persons in charge,’ ‘meditation instructors’ etc.

American, European, and Australian Dharma centers of today are often run by laypersons of Western origin who have received Buddhist education and/or authorization to run a center from a Tibetan Buddhist teacher. Such persons are usually in charge of all religious activities of the centers, and are called ‘kalyanamitras,’ or ‘meditation instructors.'

The important point is that no one regards such persons as true Buddhist teachers. The result is that kalyanamitras do engage in professional religious activities and at the same time detach (or are detached in public opinion) from responsibility for their teachings or individual spiritual recommendations, given to other members of their Sangha, as they always may state that they are ‘not teachers.’ To say it in other words, any kalyanamitra acts and is seen as a competent clergyman in any case he or she prefers to ‘enjoy his or her rights,’ and proclaims his or her inability to be a religious professional in any case he or she wants to reject any considerable responsibility for his or her actions.

We believe that this state of affairs is not a normal one and must come to an end either by establishing a regular method of recognizing new Buddhist teachers or by ascribing more responsibility to the ‘Western Buddhist lay clergy’ and laying universal guidelines for kalyanamitras’ activities.

3. There is nowadays no generally accepted method of recognizing and ordaining new Western Buddhist teachers, and the Central Tibetan Administration does not show its willingness to create such a method. Nor is it capable of doing it, being an administration of the Tibetan nation.

This point may be left without commentary. Indeed, wishing the leader of the Tibetan nation to determine the details of religious proceedings in Western countries is quite strange a thing. To believe that any person in Tibet or India, however saintly and even holy this person may be, can be made responsible for development of Buddhism and Buddhist organizations in Western countries is, to our humble opinion, an aberration of mind.

4. According to the teachings of Ven. Kyosang Rinpoche (see Chapter ‘Democracy’ of his book Snow Lion Faces Europe), any religious community may elect its own teacher if the members of the community are capable of finding criteria of his or her spiritual assessment.

The mentioned place goes as follows.

'One year ago, my opinion was asked on whether a lama may be elected by members of a religious community from themselves and so become community leader. He or she surely may be. A "lama" is just a word, a conventional one, there is no such thing as "lamaness" which exists independently and by its own way, somewhere in the air or in the sky. You may elect each lama you want. But are you sure he or she will be a good one?

'How can you become sure of it? There is only one way of finding a good lama: the feeling that you do get better by following his recommendations.'

[Khenpo Kyosang Rinpoche. Snow Lion Faces Europe. — Lulu Enterpises, 2012. — Second revision, 2017. — Page 36]

5. These criteria are already laid in Lamrim Chenmo by Je Tsongkapa, the great book our deceased teacher valued so much.

The qualities of a teacher to be relied upon are named and explained in the Great Treatise on the Stages to the Path for Enlightenment, or Lamrim Chenmo, written by Je Tsongkhapa, the founder of the Gelug tradition. Below is the quotation which lists them.

'Rely on a Mahayana teacher who is disciplined, serene, thoroughly pacified;

'Has good qualities surpassing those of the students; has a wealth of scriptural knowledge;

'Possesses loving concern; has thorough knowledge or reality and skill in instructing disciples;

'And has abandoned dispiritedness.'

[Tsong-Kha-Pa, The Great Treatise on the Stages to the Path for Enlightenment. — Snow Lion Publications, Ithaca, New York, 2000. — Volume One. — Page 71]

6. We go further and believe that a council of Western Buddhist teachers may also elect their supreme head or, otherwise, may take all needed decisions needed to for existence of an independent Buddhist tradition and its propagation. 

No statement or saying by His Holiness the Dalai Lama contradicts this idea, and there are quotations from His speeches which seem to prove it, as is shown below.

'For thousands of years people have been led to believe that only an authoritarian organization employing rigid disciplinary methods could govern human society. However, because people have an innate desire for freedom, the forces of liberty and oppression have been in continuous conflict throughout history. Today, it is clear which is winning. The emergence of peoples' power movements, overthrowing dictatorships of left and right, has shown indisputably that the human race can neither tolerate nor function properly under tyranny.'

[Tensin Gyatso, H.H. Dalai Lama the 14th.  Buddhism and Democracy. — Washington, D.C., April 1993 —

'Without any apparent centralized authority Buddhism has endured for more than two thousand five hundred years. It has flourished in a diversity of forms, while repeatedly renewing, through study and practice, its roots in the teachings of the Buddha. This kind of pluralistic approach, in which individuals themselves are responsible, is very much in accord with a democratic outlook.'

[Tensin Gyatso, H.H. Dalai Lama the 14th.  Buddhism and Democracy. — Washington, D.C., April 1993 —

'The institution the Buddha established was the Sangha or monastic community, which functioned on largely democratic lines. <…> Within the community decisions were taken by vote and differences were settled by consensus. Thus, the Sangha served as a model for social equality, sharing of resources and democratic process.'

[Tensin Gyatso, H.H. Dalai Lama the 14th.  Buddhism and Democracy. — Washington, D.C., April 1993 —

7. Establishing a sub-school of the Gelug tradition, independent from the Central Tibetan Administration or Tibetan spiritual authorities, would therefore be in a perfect accordance with teachings of Ven. Kyosang Rinpoche, and would not contradict to convictions and ideas of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

See commentary on the next point.

8. We, the European Buddhist of the Gelug tradition, shall decide our own destiny and take responsibility upon ourselves, as it fully complies with spiritual recommendations that our deceased teachers used to give us.

And there is no other way for the European followers of the Gelug tradition to do it as to establish a sub-school of the Gelug tradition, independent from the Central Tibetan Administration or from Tibetan spiritual authorities. This independence may be a crucial condition for Sangha in Western countries to function ‘on largely democratic lines.’


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