Are Buddhsist Racist

Read my one & only interview in the New Statesman

What is Racism?


Race can be defined as:

"A classification system used to categorise humans into distinct populations or groups by anatomical, cultural, ethnic, genetic, geographical, historical, linguistic, religious, and/or social affiliation.”


Racism can be defined as:

“The belief that all members of each race possess characteristics, abilities, or qualities specific to that race, especially so as to distinguish it as inferior or superior to another race or races.”


When a group of people are labeled according to a certain religious belief or affiliation and their access to public services, jobs, livelihoods and social freedoms are denied or restricted on the basis of this belief or affiliation this is racism.

United Nations

The United Nations was formed following the 2nd World War and it's hope was that it would function as an International body promoting peace and universal standards of humanity to prevent a recurrence of the widespread religious persecution that had so characterised the rise of the Nazis and threatened the peace of the World.

One of its most widely cited documents is the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. This was adopted by the UN General Assembly on December 10th 1948 and was designed as a road map to “guarantee the rights of every individual everywhere".

Hernán Santa Cruz, one of the members of the drafting committee wrote:

“I perceived clearly that I was participating in a truly significant historic event in which a consensus had been reached as to the supreme value of the human person, a value that did not originate in the decision of a worldly power, but rather in the fact of existing—which gave rise to the inalienable right to live free from want and oppression and to fully develop one’s personality. In the Great Hall…there was an atmosphere of genuine solidarity and brotherhood among men and women from all latitudes, the like of which I have not seen again in any international setting.”

A truly remarkable document the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights garners widespread support and praise from leaders and nations throughout the world. As well as forming the basis for the Charter of the Tibetans in Exile the Dalai Lama himself is a vocal proponent of it.

On the 50th Anniversary of the Declaration he wrote:

“Some governments have contended that the standards of human rights laid down in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights are those advocated by the West and do not apply to Asia and other parts of the Third World because of differences in culture, social and economic development. I do not share this view and I am convinced that majority of ordinary people do not support it either. I believe that the principles laid down in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights constitute something like a natural law that ought to be followed by all peoples and governments.

I am encouraged by the widespread concern for violation of human rights whether in Tibet or any other part of the World. People everywhere have come to realise the great importance and value of human rights. Not only does it offer the prospect of relief to many suffering individuals, but it also is an indication of humanity's progress and development. I feel that concern for human rights violations and the effort to protect human rights represents a great service to people of both the present and future generations.”

It is worth noting that the Dalai Lama made this statement on December 7th 1998. That was after the Tibetan Government in Exile had banned the practice of Dorje Shugden in its 1996 and 1997 resolutions.

So it seems that either the Dalai Lama wasn't aware of the resolutions passed by the Tibetan Parliament or that he believes that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights does not apply to the issue of Dorje Shugden practice.

Does the UN UDHR apply to Dorje Shugden practice?

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