Manjushri is most often depicted as a male Bodhisattva wielding a flaming sword in his right hand. The sword represents the realisation of transcendent...
Manjushri is the oldest, best known and most significant Bodhisattva in the Mahayana Buddhist pantheon and was first referred to in early Mahayana sutras such as the Prajnaparamita (Perfection Of Wisdom) Sutras.
Manjushri in the Chinese tradition
Within Vajrayana Buddhism, Manjushri is a meditational deity and considered a fully enlightened Buddha. In Shingon Buddhism, he is one of the Thirteen Buddhas to whom disciples devote themselves.
He figures extensively in many esoteric texts such as the Manjusri-mula-kalpa and the Manjusrinamasamgiti. Through his early association with the Prajnaparamita Sutras, he came to symbolise the embodiment of prajna (transcendent wisdom).
Manjushri is most often depicted as a male Bodhisattva wielding a flaming sword in his right hand. The sword represents the realisation of transcendent wisdom which cuts down ignorance and duality which binds sentient beings to a cycle of suffering and unhappiness.
Who wields the sword of wisdom hewing down suffering wherever its sprouts appear, clearing away the darkness of all ignorance.Praise to Manjushri (Gangloma)
In Chinese and Japanese Buddhist traditions, Manjushri’s sword is occasionally replaced with a ruyi scepter, especially in representations of his Vimalakirti Sutra discussion with the layman Vimalakirti. This is significant because in this form or aspect, Manjushri is playing the part of an arhat or a liberated person (one who has attained Nirvana) and is not wielding a wisdom sword to help others transcend or win over ignorance.
A ruyi scepter serves as a ceremonial scepter in Chinese Buddhism or a talisman symbolising power and good fortune in Chinese folklore. A traditional ruyi has a long S-shaped handle and a head fashioned like a fist, cloud, or lingzhi mushroom.
Up Close and Personal
Dorje Shugden is an emanation or aspect of Wisdom Buddha Manjushri. Just like Bodhisattva Manjushri, Dorje Shugden too wields a flaming sword in his right hand but his sword is curved.
Dorje Shugden in Kechara Forest Retreat, Malaysia
In contrast to a straight sword, a wavy sword is reminiscent of the South East Asian keris dagger and greatly increases the severity of wounds inflicted.
The keris is also effective in up-close martial arts. Indeed in the past, they were carried by warriors as a secondary armament in case they lost their main weapon, which was usually a spear and used for fighting at a distance.
Hence, the significance of Dorje Shugden’s sword is not only that it is the same Manjushri sword of discriminating wisdom, but it does its job “better”. It also indicates that Dorje Shugden stands by very close to us to do his work.
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While trying to find a local buddhist meditation group in my area, I happened upon a website that is connected to Ligmincha Int'l. It is a Bon sect claiming to be the oldest form of Tibetan Buddhism. I searched for a connection with Dorje Shugden and came across a page that had terribly negative comments about him. It said that he was a demon spirit, vengeful and capricious with evil intent, the ghost spirit of an evil king not to be trusted. His practice was discouraged for he would not be helpful. Naturally, I was upset. They also intimated that he appealed to Westerners who didn't know any better. I do not think that the page I got this from was directly connected to the above-mentioned organization. However, it did make me pause because I am new to all of this and don't know how judge it all. Can you offer any
reassurance? Thank you
Answer from Pastors
It's nice to see you here again. Bon is actually the pre-Buddhist religion of Tibet. The first and oldest Tibetan Buddhist sect is actually known as the Nyingma tradition, which basis a lot of its teachings on the life and works of Guru Rinpoche. There are four main schools of Tibetan Buddhism, the Nyingma, Kagyu, Sakya and Gelug. As far as I am aware, the Bon tradition incorporated Buddhist elements over time as it came into contact with these four schools.
Fundamentally however, Bon philosophy is Tibetan in origin, whereas Buddhist philosophy and practice is Indian in origin as that is where Buddhism actually came from. Whereas Buddhist teachings trace back to Buddha Shakyamuni, Bon teachings trace back to a figure known as Tonpa Sherab. All Buddhist schools, as the name of the religion suggests trace their origins back to the historical Buddha. But Bon does not. That does not make Bon an negative tradition in any way. It is a religion in and of itself which should be respected, but from a logical angle is not Buddhist in origin.
Now, some people may say that Dorje Shugden is an evil being, or a spirit. In your comment, you mention that he is the ghost of an evil king. This is certainly not true, and this is clear from his previous life, in which he was a holy and practiced monk. As for being an evil being, I am sure you have read the various articles on the blog section of this website? In it there are many articles about high lamas of different Tibetan Buddhist traditions that all practiced Dorje Shugden. If one were to say that Dorje Shugden was an evil spirit, this would make all of these great masters wrong in their practice. If they were wrong in their practice then they were wrong in all their Buddhist practices. If that was the case, the entirety of Tibetan Buddhism would be invalidated, as these are the very same masters who have passed the teachings down over time.
But this cannot be the case, because we have seen how the high lamas have benefited so many people with their teachings, and how they themselves have shown many signs of being spiritually attained. You can read more about these masters and their works, on the blog section of this site, if you haven't done so already. I really hope this helps.
I noticed a picture of someone's altar on the blog and it seemed to have Lakshmi and Lord Shiva together with Dorge Shugden. Is it permissible to have Hindu gods on a Buddhist
altar? I have suffered all of my life with religious OCD i.e. Scrupulosity, which means that I worry about every little thing in my practice; that I may be doing, saying or thinking something wrong or not appropriate or even insincere. Eventually, what happens is that from worrying about doing something wrong, I wind up doing nothing. I have Hindu items which
are hindering me from my setting up of a new altar for Dorge Shugden, as I do not know what is the respectful way to dispose of them. I would appreciate any suggestions you have. I would also appreciate any help you might render in order to help me overcome this debilitating condition as it has wrecked my spiritual life. Thank you very much.
Answer from Pastors
Dear Philip Strumolo,
It is nice to see you here again. From a strict Buddhist perspective, we do not include other deities together with the Buddhas (enlightened beings) on out altar. However, there is nothing wrong with doing so if your aim is to create a sincere connection with Dorje Shugden and given your circumstance.
The main reason for this is that Dorje Shugden is an enlightened being, that means everything he does comes from unbiased compassion. Since everything he does is from compassion, he will not 'conflict' with other deities if placed on the same altar. So, there is nothing wrong with doing so. It will not create a problem whatsoever.
If you prayer to and create a connection with Dorje Shugden, you should concentrate on the recitation of his mantra. Not just reciting, but concentrating on the sound and energy of the mantra. This is very important.
For your specific circumstance, Dorje Shugden's mantra can help, as can the mantra of Lama Tsongkhapa, which is included in the Diamond Path, which is the daily prayer text. This is available here: http://www.dorjeshugden.org/practice/diamond-path-a-daily-sadhana-of-dorje-shugden. Lama Tsongkhapa's mantra has the benefit of calming one's mind and can help deal with OCD as well. Dorje Shugden's mantra can have the same effect, because in essence both Lama Tsongkhapa and Dorje Shugden are both Manjushri in nature, but manifested for specific purposes and with certain practices to help people in their spiritual path. I hope this helps.
I've always been been able to dark entities since I was a teen. I used to have a lot of night terrors and and a dark thing used to render me immobile during the night. Even my sister could see it at times.
And it always approached from the left side - there's a sensation of something* touching the left side of the body when it happens. It's just very disturbing.
I happen to come across D.S post and am wondering how the effects manifest. I need help as it's really affecting me.
Answer from Pastors
It's nice to see you here. And let me just say that I know what you are going through. I have also been similarly afflicted by entities such as these in the past.
From the sounds of it, it seems that you have a karmic connection with a particular entity from a previous life, alternatively in this life you have the karma to be sensitive to these types of entities so you have these types of experiences.
The article starts off with a quick explanation how we can be afflicted by spirits and black magic and then goes on to explain a very powerful practice that helps to stop things like this from happening. It is a very long article, so please take your time to read it. While this particular form of Dorje Shugden may appear very frightening, he is actually very compassionate. The article will explain more.
This practice is very powerful and I have personal experience with this practice, as well as know people who have overcome similar disturbances using this practice. I hope this helps. Thank you.
Is the above-mentioned center related to you in any way? I do not see Dorge Shugden mentioned on their website. I have noticed that they refer to themselves as The New Kadampa Buddhists. I, especially at this point, do not wish to get off to a wrong start if they do not promote Dorge Shugden practice. A social setting is not imperative for me. I need a practice that will help me improve my life and finally bring some worthwhile happiness and peace to me. I do not wish to get involved with contradictory opinions but to have my own solid practice. I hope this makes sense to you. I thank you for your kindness and for your answers.
Answer from Pastors
Dear Philip Strumolo,
Nice to see you hear again. The above centre is not associated with us. However, they do indeed practice Dorje Shugden very strongly. Their courses are known to be very good, as long as you yourself put in the effort in your learning and meditation, and the Dharma that they practice stems from our same Gelugpa lineage. Their teacher is very learned and has spiritual attainments, therefore his centres can be trusted. I hope this helps. Thank you.
I am a beginner in this practice and no
immediately ready to set up my altar. However, can you use the same space that was once used a an Hindu altar? Can one purify that space ? or must one use a different table? There is a space constraint .issue. Yet I do not wish to offend our holy teachers.
Answer from Pastors
Dear Philip Strumolo,
You can use any space you like that is available to you, as long as it is a respectable area. Actually, there is no way to offend the enlightened beings, as they are above all emotions and concepts. However, from our side we should be as respectful as possible when setting up an altar space for the representations of the enlightened beings.
If you are using a space that has been used for something else before, you should clean it well. And then you purify it with incense reciting the mantra "Om Ah Hung" are you do so. So, you light incense, and then wave it over the space while reciting the mantra. Then you can set up the altar there.
If you are making offerings on the altar, then you can use the same procedure to purify and bless the offerings once they are made. I hope this helps. Thank you.