I was exited when I heard the Dalai Lama was coming to Birmingham, Alabama. Not only is it good as it may spark discussions on religion and spirituality but its also a boon for the profile of a city that most people only remember as being associated with football and civil rights atrocities. So when I heard that there would be protests, I was disheartened. I was sure, given that we do not have a large Communist Chinese Party movement here, that it would be some well meaning but slightly rabid right wing conservative Christian group protesting the welcoming of an idol worshiper. Shocked was I to learn that such is not the case, in fact the protests come from within Tibetan Buddhism itself.
As the article notes, followers of a being known as Dorje Shugden are protesting the 1996 ban on his worship by the Dalai Lama. What the article gets wrong, only slightly, is the identification of Dorje Shugden as a "deity." This is understandable, given that in the Western world we divide everything into gods or demons, but really at the heart of the issue. Dorje Shugden was originally seen as an angry or vengeful spirit, who the Dalai Lama describes in the article as an "evil spirit." Over time Dorje Shugden changed into a more protective spirit, and then into a major enlightened being. It is hard to draw parallels in the Western faiths, but it would be somewhat as if a group claimed that Pilate was a tool of God's will and later became a major Christian teacher.
Then of course politics comes into play. With the status of Theocratic Tibet as an occupied dominion of China, any theological differences are seen as paralleling political ones; and the International Shugden Community claims that the are violently persecuted in Tibetan Buddhist communities.
I understand, to a degree, the desire to in force orthodoxy. It starts as a desire to protect the truth and to protect the less enlightened from the dangers of false teaching. That is a slippery slope. If you hold something to be True (bot factual, that is a different thing entirely) then you should also believe that the Truth can stand up on its own, even if falsehood should eclipse it, it will always be the Truth.
It is somewhat arrogant for me to give the Dalai Lama advice on the path to enlightenment, but then again it is in my nature, but perhaps His Holiness should understand the persecutions of the Shugden Community in light of those of his own people. No one gains enlightenment from violence, whether physical or social or economic or otherwise, and to be a perpetrator of such only hurts your own cause.
As Rodney King is misquoted as saying "Can't we all just get along?"