Shugden Vandalism: “We Know Where You Live, So Keep Your Mouth Shut”. The Aesopian Language Threat to Buddhists by Hermetic Observer

Imagine you are Jewish, you just finished breakfast and are leaving for work to find your car, house, and neighborhood has been spray painted with swastikas.

Imagine you are African American and you are waking from sleep to the sound of your toddler crying and cast across the walls of your bedroom is a muted yellow light of flames. Pulling back the curtains you see dozens of men and women hiding their identities in white costumes to either side of a burning cross. Your first thought is your family.

Imagine, after your Buddhist community declared their position on shugden, your neighborhood and the neighborhoods of other members were spray painted with the image of a deity vowed to kill you because you practice teachings that come from another lineage of Vajrayana.

In Malaysia, a certain non-Tibetan shugden group uses graffiti, anonymous packages, threatening letters, and fliers in an attempt to intimidate Buddhists. They particularly target neighborhoods known to have Geluk, Kagyu, Sakya, and Nyingma Buddhists and ex-members of their group that know too much.

It doesn’t stop there however as in 2011 they used their “bio” team to target non-shugden Geluk centers in other countries as well. Notably scattering fliers at Vajrayana centers as they visited under the guise of being devotees of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

In 2012, as part of their intimidation campaign, which included illegal graffiti of people’s homes and businesses, they also funded “street art” in proximity to Tibetan Buddhist organizations and populations. Note that this shugden group has no physical presence in these communities. The proximity to ethnic Tibetans and the extreme distance from the Malaysian based group shows the intention.

For example, in 2012 a shugden mural was painted in Richmond Virgina, 9 minutes from the Kagyupa Ekoji Buddhist Sangha. The shugden group behind the mural has its nearest center (tax dodge) over 2,600 miles away.

Another mural that was on West Adams Blvd, Los Angeles California, is in the center of a large Tibetan population and many non-shugden Vajarayana centers. Once again, the Malaysian group has no physical presence there.

Murals were also placed in the center of Tibetan populations in Berkeley, CA, and New York City. The murals are touted by shugden sock puppets online as being proof of “acceptance” by those regions, but once again there is no physical presence by the funding group.

I also have personal experience with this as I am an ex-member of the Malaysian based shugden group whose neighborhood was blanketed with hundreds of shugden fliers and vandalized after I left the organization over the organization’s lack of ethics. The message was clear. “We know where you live and we’re willing to break the law to keep your mouth shut.”


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