The International Shugden Community (ISC) was created in the late-’90s to organize protests against the Dalai Lama’s ban of the Dharma Protector practice of Dorje Shugden and the subsequent repression of religious freedom in the Tibetan community. It has been claimed that this was a front for the New Kadampa Tradition (NKT) and the NKT is still often criticized for being the ones doing all the protesting against this ban. However, the truth is that there were also a large number of Tibetan Dorje Shugden practitioners involved.
The ISC no longer exists now that the protests against the Dalai Lama’s ban of Dharma Protector Dorje Shugden practice were successful in achieving some religious freedom.
The core objectives of the New Kadampa Tradition-International Kadampa Buddhist Union (NKT-IKBU) and the ISC were different. The purpose of the NKT-IKBU is to help Kadampa Buddhism flourish in contemporary society free from politics. The purpose of the ISC was to bring about religious freedom for those Dorje Shugden practitioners who were suffering as a result of the ban implemented by the Dalai Lama.
The NKT-IKBU, a registered charity, is defined as the international association of study and meditation centers that follow the pure tradition of Mahayana Buddhism derived from Atisha and Je Tsongkhapa, introduced to the West by NKT Founder Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, and that follow the three NKT study programs, and that are guided by NKT Internal Rules.
The ISC, a registered company, was defined as an international coalition of practitioners of Dorje Shugden dedicated to accomplishing religious freedom for anyone who wishes to engage in this practice, and to restoring harmony, respect and cooperation between Shugden and non-Shugden Buddhist practitioners around the world.
While differences between the organizations are obvious, there are also areas of overlap. Both the NKT-IKBU and ISC wish for Buddhism to flourish in this world free from politics. Additionally, both cherish the practice of the Dharma Protector Dorje Shugden. Many NKT practitioners actively expressed their faith in Dorje Shugden by helping to support and organize the activities of the ISC. They choose to participate as individuals devoted to their practice of Dorje Shugden, not as NKT-IKBU members.