The Dalai Lama was not Ven. Geshe Kelsang Gyatso’s teacher and Geshe Kelsang never received empowerments from him. There is therefore no truth in the accusations that he has broken his commitments (samaya) with the Dalai Lama, such as this September 2023 comment from a Tibetan follower of the Dalai Lama:

Mr. Kalsang knows he is a possible buddha but having broken his vows by being disobedient to the highest master the Dalai Lama he will Likely spend many more lifetimes going around causing pain to himself. Such monks are better off dead than alive. Om mani padme hung.

In Buddhism, everyone chooses their own Spiritual Guide, and Ven Geshe Kelsang’s teacher was Vajradhara Trijang Dorjechang (pictured above).

A letter from Sera Monastery claims:

He (Geshe Kelsang) had received teachings on the fifth Dalai Lama’s Lamrim Jampel Shalung at the Norbu Linka summer palace and the Kalachakra Initiation in 1956 from H.H.The Dalai Lama which incidentally was the first Kalachakra.

However both claims are incorrect. From an interview with Geshe Kelsang on 24th November 1996:

Q: In this letter [from Sera Monastery] it says that you received the Lamrim Jampel Shal-lung at the Norbu Linka summer palace in Tibet and the Kalachakra Initiation in 1956 from HH the Dalai Lama. Did you receive these?

GKG: I never received the Lamrim Jampel Shal-lung from HH. I don’t know where they got their information from. I don’t know why the people of Sera-Je Tsangpa Khangtsen are saying this. I believe they think they are telling the truth because they are Buddhist monks. Of course it is true that HH gave these Lamrim teachings at the Norbu Linka summer palace, but at that time I was unaware of this.

When HH was about to give the Kalachakra Initiation in Lhasa, I tried to join this teaching but unfortunately there were no places left, it was full. For a short while I waited with some lay people, and then I returned home. So I never received the Kalachakra Initiation from HH.

Later, in India I was in Dalhousie, near Dharamsala, in the mountains doing long retreat. One day, I heard the news from my assistant that HH was giving a teaching on the Great Exposition of the Stages of Tantra by Je Tsongkhapa. I decided to attend these teachings and left for Dharamsala. Again, I became very sick and was unable to attend.

Later, when I was in Manjushri Buddhist Centre, England, we requested HH to visit, but he could not come. It seems that I have no karma to listen to HH’s Dharma teachings. Of course, in the past I have attended some of his general public talks, but that is different. Just because I attended these talks we cannot say that he is my root Guru.

More recently, appearing on his website, the Dalai Lama himself has also stated:

 In 1981 (between July 15-17th), he (Geshe Kelsang) came to Deer Park in Madison Wisconsin to receive the Kalachakra empowerment (from me).

However, records at Manjushri Center for 1981 show that between 12th July and August 2nd, Ven Geshe-la was at Manjushri Center in England granting Avalokiteshvara empowerment and giving teachings on The Thirty-Seven Practices of a Bodhisattva by Thogme Zangpo.

This together with Geshe-la’s own statement above (“I never received Kalachakra Initiation from HH”), makes clear that this claim by the Dalai Lama is incorrect. The Dalai Lama and Geshe-la did meet in the USA, possibly in Mussoorie or Deer Park, but not during the Kalachakra empowerment.

Although Geshe Kelsang opposed the Dalai Lama’s ban against the practice of Dharma Protector Dorje Shugden, he was not against the Dalai Lama himself and had no interest or investment in Tibetan politics.