Dorje Shugden’s golden domed hat is a representation of the protection he grants to practitioners and upholders of Madhyamaka, Nagarjuna’s special view of Emptiness...
Dorje Shugden’s golden domed hat is a representation of the protection he grants to practitioners and upholders of Madhyamaka, Nagarjuna’s special view of Emptiness as embodied perfectly in Lama Tsongkhapa’s teachings.
1959: H.H. the Dalai Lama wearing the domed hat as he first enters India through Sikkim
Nagarjuna elaborates on what we now call Madhyamaka philosophy in commentaries on the direct or true meaning of the Prajnaparamita Sutras in his “Collection of Middle Way Reasoning“.
This is a group of six texts Nagarjuna wrote, the famous main treatise titled “Root Verses of the Middle Way on Wisdom“. This “Middle Way” is defined as one between the extremes of annihilationism and eternalism, both of which are refuted by Nagarjuna because they are dependently co-arisen.
Nagarjuna is also said to be an accomplished alchemist/metallurgist who could transmute iron into gold.
A Travelling Tibetan Lama’s Hat
The young 17th Karmapa wearing a gold domed hat while travelling to Tsurphu
Common amongst all traditions of Tibetan Buddhism, the domed hat is traditionally worn by Tibetan lamas while travelling on the road to protect themselves from the elements.
Hence, the golden domed hat also symbolises Dorje Shugden’s mobility and swiftness in coming to the aid of sincere practitioners who practise the Middle Way.
Dorje Shugden doesn’t just stay in one place; he is always moving, always traveling and always on-the-go to help whomever calls upon him.
Gold from the Dzambu River
Dorje Shugden’s golden domed hat is adorned with gold from the Dzambu river. In Buddhist cosmology, the centre of the universe is Mount Meru or Mount Sumeru (Tibetan: ri rab), a huge mountain with four sides made of precious stones and full of the most wondrous things.
The Dorje Shugden statue made by the 5th Dalai Lama wears a golden domed hat
Around Mount Meru is a vast lake, and around this lake is a chain of golden mountains. Behind this chain of mountains is yet another lake surrounded by golden mountains, and this repeats itself seven times – seven lakes and seven chains of golden mountains.
Beyond the last chain of mountains is the lake Chi Gyatso. Chi Gyatso is where the four worlds were founded, each like an island with its own specific state and inhabitants. Our own world to the South is called Dzambu Ling.
Thus, Dorje Shugden’s domed hat being adorned by gold from the Dzambu river is another indication that Dorje Shugden is accessible to us, close to us, the inhabitants of Dzambu.
So, Dorje Shugden’s golden domed hat tells us that he protects the practitioners and upholders of the true meaning of the Prajnaparamita Sutras as taught by Buddha Shakyamuni, which was elaborated by Nagarjuna and perfectly taught by Lama Tsongkhapa. He is ever mobile, swift and ready to aid the inhabitants of this world.
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I am travelling to Lhasa in 10 days' time and am planning a 5 day itinerary in and around Lhasa. Please can you indicate key places of pilgrimage outside of the usual ones. For example, I've been trying to locate Chusang Hermitage near Lhasa but without success. Also, do you know of any Dorje Shugden gompas in Lhasa? Thank you so much,