Dorje Shugden’s heavenly abode (mandala) is a three-storey palace that is manifested from his enlightened mind. When we engage in the practice of this enlightened Dharma Protector, we invoke upon Dorje Shugden and his full 32-deity entourage, which correspond to the 32 deities of the Tantric Buddha Guhyasamaja’s body mandala. Thus, it is important to understand the different elements that make up Dorje Shugden’s divine mandala and to be able to visualise this clearly in our daily meditations and practices.
Dorje Shugden’s Five Families
Dorje Shugden resides on the palace’s ground floor in five different forms. His principal form is Duldzin who rides on a snow lion. Alongside the principle form are his four other emanations and all five are known collectively as ‘Dorje Shugden’s Five Families’.
The five forms are the manifestation of Dorje Shugden’s five aggregates; each aggregate manifests as an individual form. This is akin to a person putting on different uniforms for different tasks. For instance, one can put on a policeman’s uniform to represent the law, a doctor’s outfit to represent the medical profession and so forth. Therefore, Dorje Shugden wears five different ‘uniforms’ simultaneously in order to perform the different enlightened activities.
Each of Dorje Shugden’s five forms also corresponds to the Five Dhyani Buddhas – Amitabha, Akshobhya, Vairochana, Amoghasiddhi and Ratnasambhava – and each represents an aggregate that has been purified of a particular delusion. Therefore, the inner purpose of each form of Dorje Shugden is to remove obstacles pertaining to each aggregate.
Duldzin Dorje Shugden
The principle deity is Duldzin and he is named after his previous life, Duldzin Drakpa Gyaltsen, the Holder of the Vinaya who was one of the eight main disciples of Lama Tsongkhapa. He wears the golden domed hat of a travelling lama on his head and is attired in the three sets of robes of a fully ordained monk.
In his hands, he holds a meandering wisdom sword and the heart of the enemy (symbolising the uprooting of ignorance), and carries a taming hook in the crook of his left arm. He rides upon a snow lion symbolising his great fearlessness.
Duldzin is the manifestation of the aggregate of consciousness or the Buddha Akshobhya and therefore, he counters anger and hatred. He bestows wisdom and clears all inner and outer obstacles.
Shize Vairochana Shugden
Shize, the pacifying form of Dorje Shugden appears as a radiant prince with a semi-wrathful smile. In his right hand, he holds a ritual arrow tied with a mirror and in his left hand, he holds a noose. He is white in colour and wears flowing white silk robes, a golden turban and rides the King of Elephants.
Shize is the manifestation of the aggregate of form or the Buddha Vairochana and therefore, he counters ignorance. He purifies our negative karma and heals by pacifying serious illnesses and natural disasters.
Gyenze Ratna Shugden
Gyenze, the increasing form of Dorje Shugden holds a long-life vase with the branch of a wish-granting tree skywards in his right hand and a bowl filled with jewels in his left. He is sometimes depicted with a taming hook and victory banner in the crook of his left arm. He is yellow in colour and wears princely yellow robes and rides a golden palomino horse.
Gyenze is the manifestation of the aggregate of feeling or the Buddha Ratnasambhava and therefore, he counters pride and miserliness. He increases life force, wisdom, inner and outer wealth, and all that is meritorious.
Wangze Pema Shugden
Wangze, the controlling form of Dorje Shugden is blood red in colour and has a semi-wrathful and flirtatious expression. He holds a taming vajra hook in his right hand and a jewelled noose in his left. He wears red silk robes adorned with flowers and rides upon a turquoise dragon.
Wangze is the manifestation of the aggregate of discrimination or the Buddha Amitabha and therefore, he counters desire and lust. He brings about peace of mind and helps to tame very difficult people and turn negative situations around.
Trakze Karma Shugden
Trakze, the supremely wrathful form of Dorje Shugden is dark red in colour and has an extremely wrathful appearance. He holds a huge sword in his right hand and clutches a bleeding heart in his left. He is dressed in black silk garments and rides upon a powerful Garuda.
Trakze is the manifestation of the aggregate of compositional factors or the Buddha Amoghasiddhi and therefore, he counters jealousy and fear. His practice is especially efficacious in overcoming powerful and life-threatening obstacles, violent and volatile living spaces and huge obstacles for both spiritual and secular endeavours.
The Retinue of Dorje Shugden
Dorje Shugden’s entourage – the Nine Mothers, the Eight Guiding Monks and the Ten Youthful and Wrathful Attendants – is also manifested from his mind. Taking on various appearances and forms, they surround Dorje Shugden’s Five Families and perform specific functions in relations to the practitioner’s spiritual path in general and practice of Dorje Shugden in specific.
The Eight Guiding Monks
The eight fully ordained monks are dressed in saffron robes and wear various monastic hats including the golden domed hat, the pandit’s hat, the yellow hat, the split meditation hat and so forth. Each carries various items of monastic practice such as the monk’s staff, a begging bowl, a Dharma text, the ritual implements of vajra and bell, the khatvanga Tantric staff and so forth.
The Eight Guiding Monks assist practitioners by removing obstacles and creating favourable conditions for the holding of vows and the growth of the Dharma. In particular, they assist sincere disciples in the practice of Sutra.
The Nine Mothers
The nine beautiful celestial maidens, also known as dakinis, are dressed in heavenly silk garments. They wear the eight jewellery pieces and carry the five objects of desire.
The Nine Mothers allow us to develop control over the four elements within our body and the five senses. In particular, they assist sincere disciples in the practice of Tantra in order to gain Tantric attainments through higher meditations.
The Ten Youthful and Wrathful Attendants
The ten youthful and wrathful deities take on the appearance of warriors who are of Chinese, Mongolian, Nepalese, Tibetan, Kashmiri and Bengali origin. They have a variety of facial expressions ranging from smiling to wrathful and carry various sharp weapons in their hands.
The Ten Youthful and Wrathful Attendants help practitioners avert inner and outer obstacles. In particular, they assist sincere disciples in keeping their commitments to their spiritual guides.
The Great Ministers of Dorje Shugden
Standing guard at the gates of the mandala are the two great ministers of Dorje Shugden, Kache Marpo and Namkar Barzin. These two oath-bound Protectors have entrusted their lives to their king, Dorje Shugden and they perform duties similar to that of a minister assisting their king in governing the kingdom. Both are not emanations of Dorje Shugden but are Dharma Protectors in their own right.
The Dharma Protector Kache Marpo is an emanation of the Buddha Hayagriva. Since Dorje Shugden came into existence, this enlightened being bound himself willingly to Dorje Shugden and became his main minister. Although fully enlightened, Kache Marpo manifests as a tsen spirit similar to the Dharma Protector Setrap.
Just like Setrap, he possesses three eyes that symbolise his ability to see into the past, present and future at the same time. His wrathful expression symbolises his great compassion and concern for the sufferings of sentient beings. He wears leather armour with five banners of victory fluttering above his leather helmet. He holds a noose that is tied to the ‘enemy’ – symbolic of ignorance – while simultaneously piercing the ‘enemy’ with a powerful spear.
Scriptural evidence links Kache Marpo to Tsiu Marpo, another Dharma Protector who is the head of the Seven Blazing Brothers, and Kache Marpo is considered to have once been a part of these seven brothers. The tale of the origins of The Seven Blazing Brothers tells of Tsiu Marpo who was once a man by the name of Lise Chorpa from the land of Li. He was a virtuous man who lived in the forest but was wrongly accused to be a threat.
In a witch-hunt, a mob hunted him down and the king blinded by fear, decapitated him. The various parts of his body – his flesh, bones, heart, fluids and so forth became the Seven Blazing Brothers of which Tsiu Marpo is the chief.
Namkar Barzin is an unenlightened Dharma Protector bound by oath to be the minister of Dorje Shugden. He has three eyes, gnaws upon his lower lip, holds a skull cup filled with blood in his left hand and wields a sword in his right. He wears the robes of an ordained monk and rides a mythical mount called a qilin.
Namkar Barzin arose in the 1920s. When he was alive, he was a hot-tempered Mongolian Geshe. At that time, he had just returned from a pilgrimage to the Buddhist sites of India. On his way back to Lhasa, he stopped to visit Dungkar Monastery where he suddenly became very ill. As the Lama of Dungkar Monastery, His Eminence Domo Geshe Rinpoche was away, Umze Sherab requested the Geshe to stay on to recover from his illness. However, the Geshe insisted on continuing his journey because he wanted to return to Lhasa in time for the Monlam prayer festival.
On the journey, his health degenerated further in the rough weather and he passed away along a steep road to Phari. As he lay dying, he engaged in meditative death practices. Several local shamans came across his body and, thinking that he had passed away, performed the last rites for the Geshe which had an adverse effect on his death meditations. To make things worse, some local herders made fun of his corpse. Angered, the Geshe arose as a ferocious raging spirit.
Not long after, the herders and their livestock died one by one under terrible circumstances. They all had expressions of fear on their faces as if they were killed by the unseen. Even the shamans were not spared and died under similar circumstances. One of them actually fell into a trance before dying and uttered strange noises while holding out his hand with four fingers outstretched. The spirit had revealed the number of victims on whom he sought vengeance.
People tried various means to appease this ferocious spirit but nothing worked. Finally, someone reported all that was happening to Domo Geshe Rinpoche. The Lama quickly quelled the spirit in a powerful ritual and placed him under the care of Dorje Shugden.
Then, Domo Geshe Rinpoche installed Namkar Barzin as the Protector of Tromo and Dungkar Monastery. A shrine to this Protector was built and soon after, the monastery’s oracle began to take trance of Namkar Barzin and offer advice concerning the monastery. Prayers and liturgies were composed to propitiate Namkar Barzin as a Dharma Protector in his own right.
The Upper Levels of the Divine Palace
On the first level resides the swift and powerful Protector Setrap Chen together with his own entourage. Setrap is an older Dharma Protector who is closely related to Dorje Shugden. Dorje Shugden’s previous incarnation was Lama Loden Sherab who brought and established Setrap’s practice in Tibet by establishing Setrap as the Protector of his monastery, Sangphu. Later, when high Lamas tried to destroy Dorje Shugden with deadly rituals because they thought he was a raging spirit, Setrap manifested several visions to distract the Lamas from completing their rituals, thus allowing Dorje Shugden to escape.
Setrap’s true nature is that of Buddha Amitabha but he emanates in the form of a Dharma Protector to benefit sentient beings. Thus it comes as no surprise that the top level of the divine palace is the residence of Buddha Amitabha, because he is the original nature of Setrap.
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How do you pronounce the words of this Mantra?
OM BENZA WIKI BITANA SOHA TSESO PALJOR
LONG CHO THAMCHED PUTRIM KURU OM
What does it mean to propitiate? What is physically and mentally happening when one is propitiation a something, such as a worldly spirit? Could one propitiate any recently deceased person who was a friend or relative of one?
Dear Jairo Jamyang Pawo Moreno,
Thank you for your question. Propitiation means to do something which please the being you are asking help from. In the case of propitiating Dorje Shugden this refers to practicing the Dharma and engaging in his practice, so that he can aid you by clearing obstacles and creating conducive conditions. When this connection is established, he is able to help you even more in your practice of the Dharma and progress along the spiritual path. This is because he is an enlightened being, and operates from enlightened compassion.
Therefore to propitiate a spirit means to do something that please the spirit in order to get something in return. Certain spirits are very powerful, and can interact with and influence the physical world. For people who propitiate spirits, they are creating a connection with this being, most of the time for a worldly matter. This can be done by making physical offerings to the being, and asking them for things.
In doing so, a karmic connection is created during the process. This karmic connection can be either beneficial or detrimental, as with all karmic links. In the future when the seeds of this karmic connection manifest, both parties will once again be linked in some form or another. Since the nature of samsara is suffering, as taught by the Buddha, as this karmic connection manifests again, the way both parties react will lead to another karmic connection being created. This in turn will most probably become negative in the end.
This also explains why some people have spirit disturbances and others do not. In a previous life, the two parties would have created a karmic connection, and in this life that very same karmic connection manifests as a person being afflicted by a spirit.
Technically you could propitiate a recently deceased person, but even if you did, you do not know what would happen. For example if the person has already taken rebirth, for example in the animal realm, even if you propitiate them, nothing would happen. This is because the animal form they are in is not capable of granting you what you want. On the other hand, if the person had be reborn into the spirit realm, if you propitiate them, they could grant you what you want if they had the ability.
The propitiation of spirits however, is not something that is encouraged in Buddhism. One of the many tenets of Buddhism is not to take refuge in or engage in the propitiation of beings, apart from the enlightened beings themselves. A lot of people ask why, and the reason is quite simple, as I have stated above. When you take refuge in or propitiate a non-enlightened being, you are actually creating a karmic connection with them, which can very easily turn negative in the future, and keeps you bound to samsara, which Buddhists seek to transcend. On another level, since these beings are not enlightened, they have their likes and dislikes, are attached and have emotions. Therefore they can easily turn against you if they perceive that you have made a mistake, not given them enough offerings, or offend them somehow.
On the other hand, the enlightened beings do not have such worldly emotions, therefore they do not behave like samsaric beings. In fact they operate from the basis of enlightened compassion for all beings and enlightened wisdom, without traits such as the three poisons: ignorance, desire/attachment and hatred/jealousy. I hope this helps. Thank you.
what is the DS`s puja
Thank you for your question. A puja is the act of worshiping or propitiating a deity, through invocation, making offerings, and prayers, usually in a ritualistic manner. By doing so you engage your whole being to invoke upon the energies of the enlightened deity to bless you or the person the puja is dedicated to, for a specific reason. For example the Medicine Buddha puja is usually engaged in to help those who are ill overcome their illness. Dorje Shugden’s puja is engaged in to clear obstacles in both ones secular and spiritual lives, and create conducive conditions for spiritual practice.
The full Dorje Shugden puja is usually engaged in once a month, however there is a daily practice available here: http://www.dorjeshugden.org/practice/diamond-path-a-daily-sadhana-of-dorje-shugden. The daily practice is in essence a shorter daily version of the puja. If engaged in daily it creates a very strong connection to Dorje Shugden and his enlightened energies, which definitely bring a benefit to your life. I hope this helps. Thank you.
Are Gaden Tradition & Ganden Doctrine the same?
Thank you for your question. Generally speaking both Gaden Tradition and Gaden Doctrine can be used interchangeably. Both refer to the teachings and practices as taught within the Gelugpa tradition stemming from Gaden monastery, which is the mother monastery of the lineage, as it was Lama Tsongkhapa’s own monastery, built and offered to him by his student Duldzin Drakpa Gyeltsen (who was a previous incarnation of Dorje Shugden). You can read more about the previous lives of Dorje Shugden here: http://www.dorjeshugden.org/overview/the-previous-existences-of-dorje-shugden. However, depending on the context, there could be a slightly different meaning. The Gaden Tradition can refer to the Gelugpa tradition as a whole, as it was founded in Gaden, whereas the Gaden Doctrine, can specifically refer to the teachings and practices of Gaden monastery or the Gelugpa tradition. I hope this short explanation helps. Thank you.
I am very confusing with the visualization when I recite DS mantra. May I know what and how I visualize when recite DS mantra.
Thank you for your question. Yes, it can be confusing to figure out what and how to visualise when you are reciting the Dorje Shugden mantra. There are different visualisations during the mantra recitation depending on the form of Dorje Shugden you are concentrating on. Most people concentrate on the main form of Dorje Shugden for their daily prayers, so this visualisation is one that is used the most.
For prayers that concentrate on Dorje Shugden in his main form, such as the Diamond Path (http://www.dorjeshugden.org/practice/diamond-path-a-daily-sadhana-of-dorje-shugden), you can find out more about mantra recitation and the visualisation here: http://www.dorjeshugden.org/practice/dorje-shugdens-mantra. I have copied the visualisation below for your easy reference.
Visualisation (main form)
First visualise Duldzin Dorje Shugden (primary form) in front of you at arm’s length. Surrounding him are Shize (peaceful form), Gyenze (increasing form), Wangze (controlling form) and Trakze (wrathful form). Surrounding them are the remaining entourage. At this point we should visualise and believe strongly that Dorje Shugden and our Guru are one. This is very important for the practice of Dorje Shugden, and you should have great faith in this.
You then visualise that lights go out from Dorje Shugden, making offerings to all the Buddhas of the ten directions. The lights gather back into Dorje Shugden, together with the enlightened energies and blessings of all the Buddhas, into the seed syllable “HUM” that sits at the heart of Duldzin Dorje Shugden. This seed syllable represents the enlightened mind of Dorje Shugden. Surrounding this “HUM” is the primary mantra “OM BENZA WIKI BITANA SOHA” which moves around the “HUM” seed syllable in a clockwise direction, which is known as a mantra garland.
Some of the light branches off and strikes the “HUM” seed syllables at the heart of Dorje Shugden’s other main forms as visualised above – Shize, Gyenze, Wangze and Trakze. You should visualise Shize with a white mantra garland circling the “HUM” at his heart and Gyenze with a yellow mantra garland circling the “HUM” at his heart. Similarly Wangze and Trakze have a red and a dark-red mantra garland respectively circling the “HUM” seed syllables at their hearts.
Light of the corresponding colour then shines forth from all five forms of Dorje Shugden and enters the crown of your head, filling your body with light and the blessings of Dorje Shugden. This acts as a request to Dorje Shugden to perform the peaceful, increasing, controlling and wrathful activities. You can think strongly at this time that you have gained the power to easily understand and practice the Dharma, leading to attainments. You can also visualise yourself being healed of any ailments, or being protected from negative influences. Lastly, visualise that all your requests are fulfilled by Dorje Shugden.
The four cardinal emanations of Dorje Shugden all have their own associated mantras and visualisations as well. See below for links to these prayers, which include the associated visualisations.
Shize – For healing and long life (http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/dorje-shugden/shize-a-practice-for-healing-and-long-life.html)
Gyenze – To increase life, merits and wealth (http://www.dorjeshugden.org/practice/dorje-shugden-gyenze-to-increase-life-merits-and-wealth)
Wangze – For power and Influence (http://www.dorjeshugden.org/practice/dorje-shugden-wangze-for-power-and-influence)
Trakze – To dispel black magic and spirits (http://www.dorjeshugden.org/practice/dorje-shugden-trakze-to-dispel-black-magic-spirits)
I hope this helps to answer your question.
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