Every part of Dorje Shugden's form has deep spiritual significance. Its entirety represents the complete path of the Lamrim, thus meditating upon it with...
Like the Buddha, Dorje Shugden’s body manifested from his great attainments. Hence, every part of his form has deep spiritual significance. Dorje Shugden’s entire body represents the complete path of the Lamrim or the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment, and meditating upon it with correct understanding will generate great merits and spiritual attainments. This is a brief explanation of Dorje Shugden’s form:
The meandering wisdom sword of Dorje Shugden is similar in significance to the one that the Buddha of Wisdom, Manjushri wields. It is a strong indicator that Dorje Shugden’s mind is none other than the mind of Manjushri.
The wisdom sword cuts through the ignorance and delusions that have arisen from our negative karma and obscurations so that we may attain the Buddha’s wisdom. The wisdom sword also symbolises Dorje Shugden’s ability to cut through and purify our negative karma. The meandering blade of the sword is a feature of blades which are designed for inflicting maximum damage. Therefore, it shows just how efficacious Dorje Shugden’s practice is for the purposes of purification, removing obstacles and ultimately to gain merits and attainments.
Dorje Shugden’s golden domed hat is symbolic of the protection he grants to practitioners and upholders of the highest view of Madhyamika, Nagarjuna’s special view of Emptiness as embodied perfectly in Lama Tsongkhapa’s teachings and lineage. The domed hat is traditionally a travelling Tibetan Lama’s hat; thus it symbolises Dorje Shugden’s mobility and swiftness in coming to the aid of sincere practitioners.
Dorje Shugden has three round bulging eyes that represent his clairvoyant ability to perceive past, present and future simultaneously. It is also an indicator of a being who has realised and is able to perceive the conventional and ultimate truths – a Buddha. Such a being is a worthy object of refuge thus one can place total trust in Dorje Shugden.
The heart jewel is a scriptural description of the bleeding ‘enemy’ heart that Dorje Shugden holds in his left hand. This heart is known as the heart of the ‘enemy’ as it represents the source of all our negativities – ignorance. It also symbolises how effective Dorje Shugden’s practice is at ripping out ignorance, which then gives us space to cultivate the wisdom mind which can overcome all obscurations, negativities and delusions.
In another interpretation, the heart jewel is a heart of great bliss symbolising Dorje Shugden’s pure Bodhicitta intent, which is to protect all beings and lead them to full Enlightenment.
The heart also symbolises our innate Buddha-nature which is that of great compassion. This shows that Dorje Shugden supports and protects those who dedicate their lives to others by striving towards supreme Enlightenment.
Resting on Dorje Shugden’s lower left arm is a jewel-spitting mongoose, an ancient symbol of great wealth. This signifies that by engaging in his practice, Dorje Shugden will provide sincere practitioners with all their material and spiritual needs. The most supreme form of wealth that can be bestowed by Dorje Shugden is, of course, the spiritual attainments of wisdom and compassion.
The taming vajra hook held in the crook of Dorje Shugden’s left arm is considered an implement of control, subduing all negativities and wild, harmful delusions that are obstacles for liberation. On the other hand, the taming hook also represents the hooking in of all favourable conditions for Dharma practice to flourish including material assistance, supportive spiritual friends and a spiritual guide of an authentic lineage.
In his previous lives as Duldzin Drakpa Gyaltsen, Panchen Sonam Drakpa and Tulku Draka Gyaltsen among others, Dorje Shugden was a pure fully ordained monk. Hence, he wears the three types of monk robes symbolising that he is a Protector of those who uphold their vows and that he will remove obstacles that lead towards the Dharma. The robes also reflect the importance of the Sangha and of holding one’s vows and commitments.
Tiger Skin Boots
Dorje Shugden wears tiger-skin boots which reveal his manifestation in a worldly form. Although he is a fully enlightened being, Dorje Shugden has taken rebirth as a deva to have a closer karmic affinity to all ordinary beings. Thus, it takes less effort and merits to ‘contact’ him and he is therefore ‘easier’ to propitiate. When compared to other enlightened Dharma Protectors such as Kalarupa, Mahakala, Palden Lhamo and so forth, the boons granted through Dorje Shugden’s practice arise much quicker, especially in times of dire need.
In the Gelug tradition, Dorje Shugden’s mount is a fierce and powerful mythical snow lion. The snow lion is in fact an emanation of Dorje Shugden’s mind and represents fearlessness. Fearlessness is attained when we are victorious in our practice over the three psychic poisons – ignorance, attachment and hatred.
The snow lion’s appearance is intended to be ferocious and frightening. This wrathful demeanour of both Dorje Shugden and his mount symbolise his ability to tame obstructing beings and overcome obstacles so that they do not become a hindrance to the practitioner.
Such wrath is a common attribute of many Dharma Protectors. In Buddhism, the energies of wrath denote swiftness and extreme compassion for the suffering practitioner who is besieged by inner and outer obstacles.
Dorje Shugden’s snow lion is usually depicted trampling on a naked human form – the ‘enemy’, which symbolises our three poisons as mentioned above. The trampling of the ‘enemy’ into the sun disc also symbolises the elimination of ignorance via the realisation of Emptiness.
The lotus is perhaps one of the most enduring images of Buddhism. Buddhas and Bodhisattvas are usually depicted sitting on lotus thrones and the significance of the lotus has been elucidated in the Buddhist scriptures many times over.
The lotus growing out of the mud is a befitting epithet for an enlightened being who has developed great compassion. Astride his snow lion, Dorje Shugden is atop a thousand-petalled lotus symbolising that he has the great compassion of all the Buddhas, and that all his actions arise from great compassion.
Dorje Shugden’s lotus is crowned by a sun disc or sun cushion, which reveals his direct realisation of Emptiness. It is also a common attribute of wrathful deities’ iconography.
The wisdom fire that surrounds Dorje Shugden is a manifestation of his Bodhichitta, or great compassion. These wisdom flames are emitted from every pore of his body to form a great nimbus of fire surrounding him. Traditionally, the flames are said to burn up our obstacles and mental obscurations. Therefore, the closer we get to Dorje Shugden in our practice, the more Dorje Shugden’s wisdom flames are able to consume our obstacles that keep us away from the spiritual path.
Every detail of Dorje Shugden’s form has great spiritual significance
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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?
Answer from Pastors
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.
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.
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.
Answer from Pastors
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.
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.