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.
Please support us so that we can continue to bring you more Dharma:
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
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.
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.
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.
There is an article here that may be great help to you given your particular situation: http://www.dorjeshugden.org/practice/dorje-shugden-trakze-to-dispel-black-magic-spirits
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.
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.
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.
There are no upcoming events at this time.
|Page Views By Country|