Becoming Dulzin Drakpa Gyaltsen
Few practitioners have reached the heights of fame as Dulzin Drakpa Gyaltsen, whose name is known to Gelug practitioners everywhere as the builder of Gaden Monastery. Not many people however, will know the extent of the deeds performed by this accomplished master whose Dharma practice spanned countless lifetimes before he reincarnated as the esteemed master, scholar and student of Lama Tsongkhapa.
Dulzin’s deeds inspired enough people that on multiple occasions, high lamas and even the Buddhas were directly consulted about his previous lifetimes. According to the writings of H.E. Kyabje Dagom Rinpoche, on one occasion, the master Khekyen Lekye Dorje consulted Vajrapani about the past lives of Dulzin Drakpa Gyaltsen. On another occasion, Lama Umapa, an acclaimed teacher of Lama Tsongkhapa, and Tokden Jampel Gyatso both consulted none other than Manjushri himself. Tokden Jampel Gyatso was one of the eight disciples who accompanied Lama Tsongkhapa during his famous four-year retreat in a cave.
To Khekyen Lekye Dorje, by the Buddha Vajrapani
In all three instances, the main essence of Dulzin’s past lives were exactly the same, with some slight differences. It is for certain that Dulzin’s first recorded incarnation was that of a Brahma by the name of Chiwu Gopam. He lived during the time of Lopa Desi, a previous Buddha.
As Chiwu Gopam, he once made offerings of delicious foods to Lopa Desi’s emanation, a Pratekayabuddha. As he made his begging bowlful of offerings, he accompanied it with a two-fold prayer:
- that he will always be able to practise the Dharma in his current life, and in all future lives;
- that he would be reborn in barbarian lands, devoid of Dharma, to bring Buddha’s teachings to millions of people and to bring them to the Three Vehicles
According to the writings of Dagom Rinpoche, this prayer resulted in Dulzin’s six subsequent rebirths in barbarian lands, as the king of these lands who spread Dharma far and wide. Indeed in these lifetimes, he was able to fulfil his promise to bring millions of people to the Three Vehicles of Hinayana, Mahayana and Vajrayana.
For many lives after this, Vajrapani said that Dulzin took rebirths as monks and panditas to teach the Dharma. In the incarnation just before Dulzin however, he took rebirth in a heaven where he was known as Lhayipu Shiwui Tog, who taught Dharma to the gods. After he passed away in this life, he took rebirth as Dulzin Drakpa Gyaltsen, one of the heart students of Lama Tsongkhapa.
During his lifetime as Dulzin, he performed many activities to benefit sentient beings and the Dharma in general. Most famous of his activities was building Gaden Monastery, which he then offered up to his teacher, Lama Tsongkhapa. A highly realised being who abided in love and compassion, Dulzin had a lot of students, many of whom came to become accomplished in the tantras themselves. His body was so holy that anyone who laid eyes on him had the seeds of Dharma imprinted in their mindstream.
Dulzin also made a lot of Maitreya Buddha statues and thangkas during his lifetime, and also made frequent requests to Maitreya Buddha. As a result, when he passed away, he went directly to Tushita where he became Maitreya’s heart son known as Shiwui Nyingpo.
According to Vajrapani, as recorded in the writings of Kyabje Dagom Rinpoche, it would be Dulzin’s final rebirth before he would manifest his enlightened nature as a Buddha. During this time, he would be known as the Buddha Deshen Shegpa Jampei Wangpo (‘Deshen’ meaning ’emptiness’ and ‘Shegpa’ meaning ‘to see clearly’).
To Tokden Jampel Gyatso, by the Buddha Manjushri
This tradition was told to Khekyen Lekye Dorje by Vajrapani, and to Lama Umapa by Manjushri. A similar tradition was told to Tokden Jampel Gyatso by Manjushri, who received a slightly different tradition due to his asking Manjushri specific questions. After requesting Manjushri on multiple occasions to tell him about the previous lives of Dulzin Drakpa Gyaltsen, Manjushri finally answered Tokden Jampel Gyatso.
According to Dagom Rinpoche, Tokden Jampel Gyatso asked four questions of Manjushri:
- who was Dulzin Drakpa Gyaltsen’s first life, second life and in his lives after that?
- in this life, how will Dulzin’s activities benefit the Dharma?
- how long a life will Dulzin live?
- where should Dulzin stay that will be beneficial to the Dharma, and that will improve Dulzin’s practice?
Manjushri told Tokden Jampel Gyatso a similar tradition, that Dulzin’s first recorded rebirth was that of the Brahma Chiwu Gopam at the time of Lopa Desi. He subsequently took rebirth in barbarian lands for six lifetimes, as a king who spread the Dharma to his people.
Then, adding to the traditions received by Khekyen Lekye Dorje and Lama Umapa, Manjushri said that during the time of the current Buddha Shakyamuni, Dulzin took rebirth as the monk (gelong) Dulwa Tog who was known to be proficient in the Tripitaka. His subsequent rebirths were as panditas, gelongs and monks who were all known to be extremely clever and knowledgeable.
In his lifetime just before taking rebirth as Dulzin, Manjushri also told Tokden Jampel Gyatso that Dulzin took rebirth in a heaven as Lhayipu Shiwui Tog.
After passing away as Lhayipu Shiwui Tog, he took rebirth as Dulzin and due to his very strong connection with Lama Tsongkhapa, came to become one of his heart students. During his time with Tsongkhapa, and due to his very deep faith in his teacher, his practice greatly improved and he achieved high realisations in both sutra and tantra.
Manjushri then told Tokden Jampel Gyatso that for many lifetimes, the deity Meyo Karpo had already been following Dulzin and serving him. Sometimes, Dulzin’s previous lifetimes would be able to see Meyo Karpo as if one human could see another; at other times, Meyo Karpo would come to Dulzin’s previous lifetimes in dreams.
Another deity also extremely close to Dulzin’s previous lives was, according to Manjushri, the deity Oser Chenma or Marici. She had cleared Dulzin’s obstacles on many occasions. Heruka was also a significant figure in Dulzin’s previous lives, having blessed him for many lifetimes before he took rebirth as Dulzin.
Tokden Jampel Gyatso also learned that Dulzin had a very close connection with White Manjushri (Jamyang Karpo) who had followed Dulzin for his most recent three previous lifetimes. In those lifetimes, Dulzin had been able to perceive Manjushri directly and have direct communication with this Buddha.
However, on one occasion, one of Dulzin’s previous lifetimes had given a White Manjushri initiation to someone who was not ready, impure and did not have clear samaya with Manjushri. As a result of this, Dulzin’s previous lifetime broke his commitment with Manjushri and henceforth could not perceive Manjushri as clearly as before. It seemed as though Manjushri had retreated a little, thus blurring Dulzin’s previous lifetime’s vision of Manjushri (such as it was described by Dagom Rinpoche).
This was therefore an obstacle to Dulzin’s practice and accomplishments in his current lifetime. Manjushri recommended to Tokden Jampel Gyatso that in order for Dulzin to repair the broken commitment, he should write Manjushri’s mantra 10,000 times in precious inks (made of gold, silver, jewels, etc.). He should also recite Manjushri’s mantra 100 times and that both acts of writing and reciting should be carried out with deep regret.
In Dagom Rinpoche’s writings, Manjushri described the repercussions of Dulzin’s previous life having given initiation to someone not ready. Manjushri said that even after completing these tasks, it would be difficult for Dulzin to meet with Manjushri for another 60 years and that in fact, Dulzin most likely would not live past the age of 60.
Manjushri also cautioned Tokden Jampel Gyatso that it would not be easy for Dulzin to complete these tasks. Obstacles would arise because although these tasks were set to repair broken commitments, they were also by their very nature Dharma work. When engaging in any Dharma work or activities, obstacles would inevitably arise as a result of karma accumulated in our previous lives. Manjushri thus recommended a list of pujas for Dulzin to complete in order to clear these obstacles, including pujas propitiating the assistance of Four-Faced Mahakala and Hayagriva. Manjushri recommended that Dulzin recite their mantras 10,000 times each day.
The karma of giving initiations to unprepared students with impure relationship with the teacher and deity was therefore so heavy that the repercussions followed Dulzin from lifetime to lifetime.
Manjushri then answered Tokden Jampel Gyatso’s final question – where would be best for Dulzin to stay? Manjushri said that it would be better for Dulzin to stay with Tsongkhapa and serve him, and that doing so would improve his mind and practice, and flourishing of virtue. Then, just like Vajrapani had told Khekyen Lekye Dorje and Lama Umapa, Manjushri also told Tokden Jampel Gyatso that Dulzin would take rebirth in Tushita, in front of Maitreya.
Above are therefore two traditions related to the previous and future lives of Dulzin Drakpa Gyaltsen, heart son of Tsongkhapa. In other traditions, it is taught that Dulzin Drakpa Gyaltsen later took rebirth as Panchen Sonam Drakpa and, much later on, as Tulku Drakpa Gyaltsen who became none other than the Dharma Protector Dorje Shugden.
Panchen Sonam Drakpa himself was an acclaimed master whose texts, writings and commentaries are studied as core texts by the great Gelug monasteries to this very day. It is one thing to practise and gain enlightenment; it takes an entirely different calibre of master to teach, compose and write proven methods of gaining enlightenment.
Tulku Drakpa Gyaltsen was of course viewed by the people who served the Great 5th Dalai Lama as a competitor to the 5th Dalai Lama. People flocked to him to receive teachings, and receive practices and blessings. His attainments were so great, and popularity so unrivalled that the Dalai Lama’s jealous attendants saw fit to murder him and rid their lama of any potential so-called competition.
So if these are therefore the level of attainments possessed by Dulzin Drakpa Gyaltsen in his past and future lives, how is it possible that one of his future incarnations as Dorje Shugden can be anything but enlightened?
May the incarnations of Dulzin Drakpa Gyaltsen, wherever they may be, live long lives and their Dharma activities swiftly come to fruition. May their enlightened deeds continue to manifest in lifetime after lifetime, for the benefit of all sentient beings and through their works, create countless more Dharma teachers to preserve and propagate the holy lineage of the King of Dharma Je Tsongkhapa himself.
For more interesting information:
- Magadha Sangmo (须摩提女)
- Who is Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen?
- Dorje Shugden Illustrated Story & Graphic Novel
- Largest Dorje Shugden Statue in the World
- The 14th Dalai Lama’s Prayer to Dorje Shugden
- A short prayer to Dorje Shugden
- Ganden Sumtseling Monastery the beautiful
- Will the Dalai Lama Agree With This?
- The Tsongkhapa category on my blog
- Tsongkhapa Retreat Instructions
- Tsongkhapa’s daily practice (video commentary)
- The Dorje Shugden category on my blog
- Dorje Shugden Retreat: a powerful practice to fulfill wishes
- Dorje Shugden Trakze to Dispel Black Magic & Spirits
- Dorje Shugden Gyenze to Increase Life, Merits & Wealth
- Dorje Shugden Wangze for Power and Influence
- Namkar Barzin
- Updated: Dorje Shugden Teaching Videos
- The Sakya Lineage & Dorje Shugden
- Sakya Trizin’s Dorje Shugden Prayer
- All About Manjushri / 关于文殊菩萨
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