Gangtok attack on Tenpa Yarphel: Advent of degenerate times

Dhundup Tsering

Dhundup Tsering

By Dhundup Tsering

PARIS, France, 7 September 2018

Incident at Gangtok

“The time of degeneration of Dharma has now come,” my wife said suddenly.

“What do you mean?” I said, obviously at a loss. Did the Chinese kill all monks and nuns in Tibet with a nuclear bomb?

She handed me her mobile phone, and showed footage on Facebook. At first, I thought a murderer has been caught, and the responsible Tibetans are holding the guilty to account with a bit of passion! But then, out of the commotion, a woman shouts, “Tenpa Yarphel, you are a Chinese spy. You are a Dalai Lama hater!”

My jaw dropped. Yes, the degeneration of Dharma has now come, I thought.

When a person addresses a vinaya-holding monk in such a degrading manner, I am indeed as a loss to interpret the event in any other manner than a pure advent of degenerate times, when the traditional boundaries between monk and woman, teacher and student, father and son, breaks down into nihilistic contempt with concern only for one’s own personal and tribal interests. And this is not an isolated incident.

Fresh in our memory is the harassment of Ven Tenpa Yarphel at the New York Community Hall during the celebration of HH Dalai Lama’s birthday. The women, all of U-Tsang origin, took on the monk with all manner of unthinkable abuses! The reason? They said the monk had insulted Nechung Oracle and HH Dalai Lama.

Did Kagyu MP Tenpa Yarphel insult Nechung and HH Dalai Lama?

The question is, did the monk really insult Nechung and HH Dalai Lama? I would say no.

Tenpa Yarphel spoke strongly against propitiation of the Nechung Oracle for a number of reasons. One was that Nechung is an oracle of Nyingma and Gelug sect. The second was that the spirit was known for false predictions, one of which resulted in the death of the 13th Dalai Lama. The third was that payment of 5,000 INR was inappropriate due to the fact that our administration has been severed from Gaden Phodrang, and CTA now is totally secular with no smell of old religious practices.

Isn’t he right? I think he is. HH Dalai Lama himself is on record condemning propitiation of spirits and oracles, including the Dorje Shugden which is prevalent among the Himalayan Buddhist community.

Now, coming back to the incident that happened on 2 September 2018 in Gangtok, I urge all right-thinking Tibetans to show basic code of conduct to those misinformed protesters. They have not only earned a religious sin by insulting a member of the Sangha, but also broken the trust and relationship between parliamentarians and the public.

What can we learn from the Gangtok incident?

I think the take-away is that whenever a CTA official is visiting a place, the concerned staff in that place should have the right security measures implemented. We have several incidents of security breaches in the past as well. Two Shugden nuns confronted HH Dalai Lama in a hotel in USA. The confrontation wasn’t as aggressive as it was at Gangtok today, but it was by all means extremely concerning. In future, our Sikyong and the Speaker of the Parliament should ensure all security concerns all well taken care of.

How should the community respond?

We shouldn’t panic or take brash actions. Of course, these days, such sacrilegious acts are increasing in number and intensity, and are happening all over the Tibetan diaspora. But we have to resist such a negative wave pervading our society.

If your friend is involved in those protests, counsel them and reason with them. Tell them they have to think reasonably and impartially and respect the call of HH the Dalai Lama for unity. If you are a public, don’t share their videos on Facebook, and say, “Oh, look, it is so scary. What are these mortos doing to a monk?” They will only be flattered, and engage in more and more protest. As Sikyong has advised, delete if someone sends you those videos on Facebook or WeChat.

Deal with incidents

A lot of people must be wondering, what if such incidents of blasphemy and civil disorder happen in future? Well, the answer is, we have to prevent it. We can prevent it by having place a suitable number of bodyguards, and train them to secure women as well. If you look at the pattern, it is the women who engage in these immoral acts, more so than the males.

If you can’t prevent it, you have to deal with it. Get the bodyguards to grab the offender, and eject them out of the premises as soon as possible. One guard can grab and tackle the subject while the other guards stand together to shield the view of the struggle from the public.

If the bodyguards fail to secure the subject, and/or accomplices attack the bodyguards, law enforcement needs to be called immediately. Failure to do so may risk your life.


In sum, what happened in Gangtok is a indeed a matter of enormous shame. I hope the concerned authorities in Gangtok will give the women involved some counselling or disciplinary action. Calling an MP who is voted on by thousands of Kagyu followers a Chinese spy is not a small claim. It is not small at all. It is as serious as Lukar Jam calling Dalai Lama a traitor. And we shouldn’t take such matters lightly. The degenerate times when a woman will piss on the Vajra Hat of Karmapa is brewing in the horizon. And we will all be sinners together.

About the author

Dhundup Tsering is based in France. He can be reached at [email protected]

Copyright © 2018 Dhundup Tsering Published in Tibet Sun Posted in Opinions » Tags: , ,