By Lobsang Wangyal
MCLEOD GANJ, India, 15 September 2015
Followers of the Jonang tradition of Tibetan Buddhism staged a protest outside the Tibetan Parliament-in-exile in Dharamshala, demanding their representation in the Parliament.
A group of 120 people, mostly monks, gathered outside the Parliament building as the 15th Parliament began its tenth and final session, with banners and placards seeking answers from as to why they have been refused representation.
Ngawang Dorje, adviser of the Jonang Association, said that the followers of Jonang have been requesting their representation in the parliament for 18 years.
He added that there are hundreds of thousands of Tibetans who follow the Jonang school of Tibetan Buddhism.
In a letter presented to the Parliament, the members of the Jonang Well-Being Association have asked why the parliament is ignoring suggestions of the Dalai Lama and other spiritual leaders.
They alleged that they have been requesting the Parliament to recognise their tradition similar to that of the other Tibetan Buddhist sects, and that they be given representation like the four sects and the Bon tradition.
The four sects and the Bon tradition have two representatives each in the exile Tibetan parliament, which has 45 representatives in total.
For Jonang followers to have representatives in the Parliament, the exile Tibetan Charter needs to be changed by the members of the Parliament. The Charter could be amended by two thirds of the members present in a session.
The Jonang tradition is traced to an 11th-century Kalachakra yogi, Yumo Mikyo Dorje. His disciple Kunpang Tukje Tsondru (1243-1313) founded the main Jonang monastery in “Jomonang”, which gave the name to the tradition.
In the mid-17th century, the Jonang came under attack by the Gelug under the rule of the Fifth Dalai Lama, and forcibly converted Jonang monasteries into Gelug monasteries.
There are said to be about seventy active Jonang monasteries in Tibet today.