The protest was staged by some 100 followers of the Shugden community, followers of an ancient deity the Tibetan spiritual leader denounced decades ago. Rough Cut (no reporter narration).
ROUGH CUT (NO REPORTER NARRATION) STORY: Around 100 Buddhists rallied in front of the Jacob Javits Convention Center on Friday (July 10), protesting the Dalai Lama, who they say has persecuted followers of an ancient deity that the Tibetan spiritual leader denounced decades ago. The Tibetan leader is on a two-day visit to New York as part of his 80th birthday celebration and was taking part in events inside the Javits Center. The crowd of Shugden Buddhism practitioners, a subset of Buddhists who worship the 300-year-old deity Dorje Shugden, held protest signs and chanted, "False Dalai Lama stop lying." "We are asking the Dalai Lama to stop his religious prosecution against his incited religious hatred against a group of Buddhists. And due to that, lot's of lies have been told about this particular practice and because of that Tibetans within Tibetan communities are segregated," said Lizette Fowler, a member of the International Shugden Community. Dalai Lamas are the head monks of the Gelugpa lineage of Tibetan Buddhism. The current Dalai Lama is the 14th in this lineage, and in 1989 won the Nobel Peace Prize. Critics claim that the Dalai Lama has excommunicated thousands of Shugden Buddhists from Tibetan exile communities in India, and continues to push practitioners out of communities around the world by encouraging his followers to deny them jobs, schooling and health care. Lobsang Choejor, a protester from Toronoto says his wife and children back in India "are not safe." "They live with all the Tibetans but they are separated," he added. Another protester, An Dhar says the Dalai Lama can end the segregation with just a few of words. "(We are ) asking Dalai Lama to solve this situation. So he can use only one word. So he doesn't need to spend money, he doesn't need spend much time." Kunjo Tashi, a supporter of the Dalai Lama and President of the Tibetan Association, called Shugden "a cult" saying it is "not a Buddhist culture". The Dalai Lama, who fled from Tibet in 1959 following an uprising against Chinese power, believes Shugden was born out of hostility towards a previous Dalai Lama, and divides and harms his followers, according to a statement on the religious leader's website.