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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My son Indranil has severe chest pain and spine pain, right opposite the chest area. He has bad headaches, fogginess, depression, breathlessness for past 6 years. These are so debilitating that he has no energy or urge to do anything. How can he be healed? Pl. Bless him.
Dear Santosree Rath,
I'm very sorry to read about the health problems that your son has been facing. From a Buddhist perspective in these instances we should always do two things. The first is to seek professional medical help, as the illness can be treatable with modern medication if it is diagnosed. This will lead to your son being able to live a normal healthy lifestyle.
From the spiritual side, the psychical illness is caused by negative karma from previous lives. This negative karma manifests in this life as an illness. So, with Buddhism there are many methods of purifying this negative karma so that it no longer affects your son.
One of the best ways to purify this karma is for your son to engage in the practice of Shize Dorje Shugden. This form of Dorje Shugden is specifically for the healing of illnesses and for long life. You can read more about this practice and learn how to engage in it here: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/dorje-shugden/shize-a-practice-for-healing-and-long-life.html.
If your son is old enough, you can teach him the prayers and mantras and he can engage in the practice himself. Otherwise if he is young, you should try to teach him the mantra which he can recite for healing. The key to this practice is consistency. It should be done every day with great faith and trust is Shize and you will see that he helps you. He is a Buddha so only wants the best for people, when we make a connection with him through prayer and mantra recitation, he is able to help us.
This practice also helps to create the karmic causes for any medical treatment done to be as effective as possible. That is why you should visit your local medical healthcare professional to get the best treatment for your son as well. I hope this helps. Thank you.
May I know if I can just chant DS mantra "Om benza wiki bitana soha" 108 times per night at my bedside before I go to sleep? Or, just keep chanting the mantra any time of the day whenever I have the time (eg: on the way to work) and not working? Its hard for me to be in front of an altar all the time. Will it be OK with DS?
Thank you for your question. Yes, you can recite the mantra to Dorje Shugden at any time of the day, as long as you are in a respectful place (for example, not in the washroom). Usually mantras are recited in front of one's altar as part of a daily practice. However, if you do not have enough time to do this, you can of course recite the mantra whenever convenient.
Mantras are usually recited together with visualisation as part of a daily practice. This would be most beneficial but due to time constraints of a modern lifestyle, this can be hard to do. So of course, you can recite mantras whenever you can.
As Dorje Shugden is an enlightened being, he will not be angered if you don't recite his mantra in front of the altar. In fact, Dorje Shugden acts out of compassion for all sentient beings, therefore whenever you recite his mantra, you are making a divine connection with his energies. This is something that is very beneficial and can be done any time. I hope this helps. Thank you.
I wish to be initiated where do I need to go. I reside in India after reading I have this urge to be intiated. Can you please guide me to a master who can take me as his pupil.
Dear Rohit Sinha,
Thank you for your question. There are many lamas throughout India that can help you with this. You can contact Serpom Monastic University in Karnataka State as they are one of the biggest monasteries in India that practises Dorje Shugden. They should be able to provide you with current and up=to-date information about which lamas can help you in this regard, follow this link to their website for their contact details: http://serpommonastery.org/uncategorized/contact/
I hope this helps.
Hi. I'm very new to D.S. mantras and prayers. I'm not new to practice that opened me up the way I cannot deal with nasty energies mentally. I'm dealing with the size of anger, jealousy, control, nastiness, being very in a bad way judgmental, envy, that I didn't know ever existed. And I don't want to hear that I must learn to control my reactions. I can't. I basically can't. What the moment arrives I can't stop it. I'm ruining my life, my relationships. Interesting enough that I have those emotions to my partner! Perhaps because no-one else is this close?
And actualy, why can I tolerate something in my friend bit cannot in my partner or his friends?
What kind of Karma is that? What am I dealing with?
A friend recomended D.S practice. But what do I ask for? How do set up an intention? And what actualy Om Vajra Wiki Witrana Soha means?
Sorry if I sound ridiculous and should just read up the internet..
Thank you for your question. In Buddhism we believe that we all have such emotional tendencies and that we react in different ways to different people in various situations. This is mirrored in secular psychology. However in Buddhism we have very effective methods to overcome these tendencies so that we can get along with people and have a better control over our own emotions. When people tell us we need to control our tendencies, this is easier said than done and most of the time we think that we cannot because it is just too hard. But stopping these tendencies takes time and practice, because they are so ingrained into our minds.
In Buddhism, this is achieved through meditation of which there are many forms. But luckily, the practice of Dorje Shugden not only calls upon his energies to transforms our lives but is itself a form of meditation. As for what karma you are dealing with, actually you shouldn't view it as what kind of karma that you are dealing with, but that you are in fact just dealing with karma. According to Buddhist philosophy we have all had countless previous rebirths and the actions we took in those lives affects us now because they have become tendencies. So these tendencies are a manifestation of our karma. That is why Buddhism places strong emphasis on controlling our body, speech and mind, so that we can overcome these tendencies and not let them affect our future.
Dorje Shugden's practice is perfect for this. You can begin the practice by reciting the short prayer here: http://www.dorjeshugden.org/practice/starting-on-dorje-shugdens-practice. And then recite as many mantras as possible. There is an explanation of the meaning of the mantra and the visualization here: http://www.dorjeshugden.org/practice/dorje-shugdens-mantra. You use the recitation of the mantra and the visualization as the object of your meditation. You may find this hard to do at first, but over time with consistent practice, you will see that your mind will start to become calmer and you are able to handle whatever life throws at you in a more balanced way. What's more, creating a connection with Dorje Shugden will help to make your life obstacle free as that is one of the benefits of his practice.
When most people engage in his practice, they want something or ask for something, like the clearing of obstacles, etc. But what you are after is something more higher, it is the ability to control your mind from negative emotions so that your life can improve, which is a very good intention to have. You can just say to yourself "through this practice may I be able to control my thoughts and disturbing emotions be lessened" before you begin the practice. This will be a very good way to set the intention or motivation when engaging in the practice. I hope this helps. Thank you.
May I know if it is still fine to recite without being in front of an altar? Also, what if I am unable to visualise while reciting as per taught in this post?
Yes, it is acceptable to recite the prayers and mantras without being in front of the altar. Dorje Shugden is an enlightened being and will hear your prayers no matter where you are. However, it is advisable to recite your prayers in front of your altar, because you altar acts as a physical connection with the enlightened beings. At the same time, you can make physical offerings before you engage in the practice, generating more merit which is something we all need, both in our every day life and our spiritual path. That being said, sometimes it may not be conducive to recite in front of an altar, therefore you can recite wherever you are.
As for the visualisation when reciting, it is ok if you cannot visualise at first. You can just recite for now, but as you get used to the practice, you can start by learning the visualisation part by part. That would be extremely beneficial. It is said to make the most of out any practice you should engage your body, speech and mind. You engage your body by sitting down to recite, not engaging in any other activity, you engage your speech by reciting the prayers, and you engage your mind when you do the visualisations. This is the best, but even if you cannot visualise, you are still engaging you body and speech, which is also very beneficial and will generate the spiritual merit and remove obstacles that are part of the practice. I hope this helps.
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