Select Committee on Foreign Affairs Written Evidence

Letter from Helen Gradwell, Western Shugden Society


  My name is Helen Gradwell. I studied at and graduated from Sunderland University with a B'Ed (Hons) and worked for several years as a Primary School teacher in the North East. In 1998 I became a Buddhist nun and my spiritual name is Kelsang Pema.

  I am a practitioner of the Buddhist Wisdom Deity called Dorje Shugden. This is a centuries-old wisdom practice that helps people to develop virtuous minds such as love, compassion and equanimity.

  I am writing this letter on behalf of all Shugden practitioners throughout the world. You may have already heard that millions of these practitioners in both the East and West are experiencing great suffering and sorrow caused by the Dalai Lama's actions of religious discrimination.

  Between 1996 and 1998 the Western Shugden Society, a loose affiliation of Shugden practitioners from throughout the world, made repeated requests to the Dalai Lama to completely stop these actions of discrimination. They sent many petitions and letters to this end but, giving invalid reasons, he never accepted to stop these actions of discrimination.

  Subsequently, the Western Shugden Society performed peaceful demonstrations against the Dalai Lama in an attempt to draw his attention to the sufferings being experienced by millions of people through his actions of religious discrimination.

  However, his actions did not stop but became worse. In January this year, he launched an aggressive campaign against Shugden practitioners and so the Western Shugden Society has decided to organise demonstrations against the Dalai Lama continually until he stops this religious discrimination.

  For detailed information we request you to please read the enclosed booklet The Tibetan Situation Today—Surprising Hidden News.[59] Further information can be found at the following website:

  As you know, the Dalai Lama is seeking religious freedom from the Chinese. We Shugden practitioners throughout the world are seeking religious freedom from the Dalai Lama. We understand you are helping the Dalai Lama to accomplish his religious freedom, and sincerely request you to please help us achieve our religious freedom from the Dalai Lama.

  Specifically, we are asking four things of the Dalai Lama:

    1.  To give freedom to practice Dorje Shugden to whoever wishes to rely upon this Deity.

    2.  To stop completely the discrimination between Shugden people and non-Shugden practitioners.

    3.  To allow all Shugden monks and nuns who have been expelled from their monasteries and nunneries to return to their monasteries and nunneries where they should receive the same material and spiritual rights as the non-Shugden practitioners.

    4.  To tell the Tibetan community throughout the world in writing that they should practically apply the above three points.

  In the UK alone there are thousands of Shugden practitioners who are suffering both materially and spiritually due to the Dalai Lama's negative policies. We are seeking help from each permanent member of the United Nations Council: the UK Prime Minister, US president, French President, Russian President and Chinese President.

  Could you please grant me an appointment to meet you or your representative so that I can discuss with you in more depth ways in which you might be able to help us achieve our goals. Thank you for taking the time to read this. I look forward to your reply.

1 May 2008

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