Relying on a Dharma Protector or Dharmapala is an essential and beneficial practice within Vajrayana Buddhism. As a result of living in the Kaliyuga (degenerate) age, where negative karma is immense and distractions from the spiritual path are abundant, treading the path to Enlightenment can be an arduous and obstacle-ridden road.
It is for these reasons that the practice of a Dharma Protector is even more important for easily distracted practitioners, especially as daily life is surrounded by elements that are capable of pulling us away from the route to Enlightenment. Reciting Dorje Shugden’s prayers is beneficial for sure, yet it is always best to know the correct way to rely on his divine help in order to have lasting faith and confidence in his holy practice.
Below is an excellent extract from Tharpa Publications describing two simple methods of relying on Dorje Shugden.
The Way to Rely Upon Dorje Shugden
There are two ways to rely upon Dorje Shugden: in thought and in deed. If we recognise that Dorje Shugden is the embodiment of the Three Jewels, if we remember his kindness in protecting and preserving the Buddhadharma, if we recall how he eliminates obstacles and gathers the necessary conditions for Dharma practitioners, and if with deep faith we develop respect for him and hold these special feelings continually, we are relying upon Dorje Shugden in thought.
With deep faith and conviction in Dorje Shugden we can practise his extensive, middling, or condensed sadhana. After completing a close retreat we can engage in peaceful, increasing, controlling, and wrathful actions and gradually achieve the supreme attainments. By engaging in these practices we can protect others by helping them to eliminate their obstacles and develop wisdom, to find the right conditions for practising Dharma, to fulfil their wishes, and to meet with success in their daily lives. Whenever we engage in any of these deeds with faith we are relying upon Dorje Shugden in deed.
There are many commentaries, rituals, and sadhanas in relation to Dorje Shugden which were composed by high Sakya and Gelugpa Lamas. For beings of this present age the late Trijang Dorjechang, who was the embodiment of Buddha Shakyamuni, Heruka, Atisha, and Je Tsongkhapa, wrote his great commentary to Infinite Aeons, the praise to Dorje Shugden composed by Tagpo Kelsang Khädrub Rinpoche. He also wrote many special rituals and yogas for gaining different attainments connected with Dorje Shugden. Tharpa Publications, 2008
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