Dharma Protectors of Tibetan Buddhism

By | Apr 24, 2016 | Views: 1,954
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Mahakala - one of the most well-known Dharma protectors within Tibetan Buddhism

 

Introduction

Dear Friends,

A common question that is often asked to the Kechara Buddhist Pastors by those who are not familiar with Tibetan Buddhism relates to the practice of Dharmapalas or Dharma protectors. These are actually beings who support our practice through a number of methods. Primarily they are propitiated in order to remove obstacles and difficulties that block spiritual progress. As human beings, we encounter myriad problems on a daily basis and most of the time these problems consume a lot of our time and effort, limiting the amount of time we can spend on spiritual development. We cannot solve these problems quickly and effectively without some form of help. Dharma protectors assist us by removing such obstacles.

Linked to this is the fact that we spend most of our time during daily life working to sustain ourselves and our families. This again limits the time we can spend on spiritual development. It is in this regard that Dharma protectors also help to create the conducive conditions for practitioners and afford more time on our spiritual development. But these conducive conditions refer to much more than just resources, and include the presence of a Dharma centre, a qualified guru to teach us the path, and even meeting with people who support us in practice.

On a higher level Dharma protectors can help to remove, or create the circumstance in which we ourselves become empowered to remove inner obstacles to our spiritual path. These can include doubt, depression, laziness, anger, jealousy, thoughts of giving up and other emotional issues. Therefore in essence Dharma protectors are beings who act very compassionately like a divine friend, somewhat akin to a guardian angel, safeguarding both our physical and spiritual well-being.

Dharma protectors often arise in wrathful forms with wrathful sounding liturgies. This wrath is testament to their quality of extreme compassion which motivates them to act urgently to bless and protect, whether as emanations of enlightened beings (such as Dorje Shugden in the Gelug or Sakya traditions, or Achi Chokyi Drolma in the Drikung Kagyu tradition) or worldly oath-bound beings (such as Shangmo Dorje Putri in the Sakya tradition). The analogy most often used is that of mother angry at her child for doing something that can cause harm. This wrathful nature also includes an element of speed in helping us. This can be observed within our own worldly behaviour. For example when we are angry, we naturally move and react much quicker than usual. Therefore wrathful demeanour represents the element of speed in which the particular protector can come to our aid.

Dharma protector practice is prevalent throughout all traditions of Tibetan Buddhism and is in fact integral within tantra. I wanted to show this through sharing a brief overview of 10 Dharma protectors from different traditions. Through this I hope to share with everyone, the varied forms Dharma protectors can take. I hope you enjoy reading!

Pastor Niral

Ps. Thanks to Pastor Antoinette Kass and Martin Chow for their invaluable help and assistance.

 

Rahula

The oath-bound demi-god Za Rahula

Alternate names: Za Rahula (Sanskrit), Kyab Jug Chenpo (Tibetan).

Status: Oath-bound demi-god.

Tradition: Nyingma.

Known to protect: Dzogchen Teachings & Terma Teachings.

Description: Rahula is one in the triune of Dharma protectors within the Nyingma tradition, known as ‘Ma Za Dam Sum’ or the ‘Three Terma Protectors’, together with Ekajati and Dorje Legpa. Out of the three protectors, Rahula is considered the most wrathful, therefore his full propitiation is restricted to only those who have received the highest teachings.

Rahula is one of the nine-planets within ancient Indian belief systems. He is a king of the asura (demi-god), and swallows the other heavenly bodies causing eclipses. He was oath-bound by Guru Rinpoche to serve and protect the Dharma, especially the ‘terma’ teachings, which were hidden by Guru Rinpoche for certain practitioners to find and reveal in the future.

Though a high level worldly protector, Rahula is very wrathful and known to cause seizures and other ailments to those who misuse the Dharma or who are in danger of breaking their vows. It is said that he holds his noose around the neck of practitioners as a reminder to keeps one’s vows. For those who are very sincere in their practice, it is said you can actually feel his noose around your neck at all times. Many great Nyingma lamas have relied on Rahula as a personal protector, due to his quick assistance and his wrathful form, for work dealing with healing the most serious diseases and the preparation of medicines. Through his practice one can cure naga-caused ailments and interferences as well as those caused by the spirits inhabiting the earth. He is also known as a deity capable of changing weather conditions, in order to relieve drought, stop rain, and other natural disasters.

Physical attributes: Rahula is portrayed with a serpentine lower body that is coiled and upper body with nine heads and four arms. The nine heads actually represent the nine heavenly bodies that he has eclipsed by eating them and which now appear as his heads. His actual face appears on his stomach, and is the largest and most wrathful. The crow’s head that appears at the very top of his form represents the Three Jewels and his oath to support practitioners.

His bow and arrow represents his ability to destroy those who misuse the Dharma or are enemies of the Buddhist teachings and harm practitioners. The sceptre in his upper right hand represents his ability to defeat nagas. And in his upper left hand he holds a naga that he uses as a noose. He has 1,000 eyes which appear all over his form, symbolising his ability to see everywhere at all times within samsara.

He sits on top of a triangular throne in a lake of blood, symbolising his release of worldly attachments, is usually grey in colour and surrounded by wrathful fire, symbolising his ability to burn away miseries caused by samsara. He is usually grey in colour, but his colour and slight variations of his form occur depending on the particular terma teaching he is protecting. In representations that have the correct iconography, either Guru Rinpoche or Vajrapani are portrayed above Rahula’s head, to remind practitioners that Rahula is oath-bound and to remind Rahula of the same.

Prayers:

“Arisen out of the pure Land of Fire and Infinite Ferocity,
The Lord who is created out of violent activity,
Smokey grey in colour, nine heads, four arms, one thousand flaming eyes,
Homage to the Dharma protector Kyab Jug Chenpo.”
– A Nyingma prayer

“From the palace of the triangle of swirling blood and fat,
Terma guardians, Ekajati, Rahula and Damchen, to you I pray:
Grant your blessings so that outer and inner obstacles may be pacified!”
– From the Vajrakilaya Prayer: A Rain of Accomplishments, as revealed by Gyarong Khandro and recorded by Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

Since Rahula is an oath-bound protector who can be very wrathful, only those who have permission from a qualified lama should engage in his full propitiation.

Za Rahula. Note that Guru Rinpoche is depicted at the top, reminding Rahula of his oath to protect the Dharma and its practitioners.

Za Rahula

Za Rahula

Za Rahula

 

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Ekajati

Ekajati - an emanation of Tara

Alternate names: Ral Chig Ma (Tibetan), Tse Chig Ma (Tibetan).

Status: Emanation of Tara.

Tradition: Nyingma.

Known to protect: Dzogchen Teachings & Terma Teachings.

Description: Ekajati is part of the ‘Ma Za Dam Sum’ or the ‘Three Terma Protectors’ that Rahula is in as we have seen. She is known as the main protector of the Dzogchen teachings and is the guardian of all ‘terma’, or revealed teachings. Her name means ‘one braid of hair.’ She is considered to be an emanation of Tara in the form of a Dharma protector.

She is known as the protector of all secret mantras, therefore her own mantra is secret and cannot be recited without the appropriate empowerment and permission from a qualified guru. As she is the keeper of these mantras, she reminds practitioners of their preciousness and the tantric commitments not to reveal them to those who are not ready to receive them.

Within the Nyingma tradition she is given great importance. There is even a portion of the Vima Nyingtik, or ‘seminal heart of Vimalamitra’ teachings dedicated to the prayers, rituals and rites to propitiate her. This is known as the Ngagsung Tromay Tantra, also known as the Tantra of Troma Ekajati. Within the Sarma traditions (Kagyu, Sakya and Gelug) she is less known and practiced, but can be found in various Mahakala practices and Tara practices. She has presence in certain Green Tara practices, where she is an attending deity within the mandala. In some traditions she is also known as the mother of Palden Lhamo.

Of special note, within the Gelugpa tradition as held by His Eminence 25th Tsem Rinpoche, she is included as one of the three deities in the Chenresig Ngesung Kundrol practice, together with Chenresig and Green Tara. Here she is not depicted in the same form as in the Nyingma tradition but in a similar form to Green Tara.

Physical attributes: Ekajati is portrayed as black or dark blue in colour. She has one braid of hair which flows upwards like a flame (after which she derives her name). She has one eye, one long and sharp tooth, which bites down over her lower lip and one breast.

In her right hand which is in a wrathful mudra, she holds a stick aloft, while pointing upwards. This stick has an impaled human corpse at the top. In her left hand she holds a human heart that is dark red. In some representations she holds this out to the side, and in other representations, she is depicted holding it to either her heart or near her mouth, as if she is eating it. This depends on which terma she is protecting. Other representations have the heart replaced with a noose.

She wears a crown made of five skulls, with a scarf of smoke around her neck and adorned with earrings, necklace, bracelets, armlets and anklets. She wears a flayed tiger skin skirt. In some representations she uses a flayed human skin as a cloak as well.

She is depicted in a dancing posture, atop a prostrate human figure, with a triangular throne. The human figure represents obstructers, obstacles and our negative karma. She is completely surrounded by wisdom fire and smoke that emanates from her body.

Prayers:

“Arisen out of the suffocating black wind at the world’s end,
Mistress of every action and understanding,
Empress of the Mamo, Queen of Existence,
Homage to the Protectress of the Tantra, Ralchigma!”
– A Nyingma prayer

“From the palace of the triangle of swirling blood and fat,
Terma guardians, Ekajati, Rahula and Damchen, to you I pray:
Grant your blessings so that outer and inner obstacles may be pacified!”
– From the Vajrakilaya Prayer: A Rain of Accomplishments, as revealed by Gyarong Khandro and recorded by Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

Since Ekajati’s function is to preserve the secret practices, her practice is not engaged in by those who do not have an appropriate empowerment or permission from a qualified guru.

Ekajati

A blue form of Ekajati

A form of Ekajati with the protectors Za Rahula and Dorje Legpa

 

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Dorje Legpa

The oath-bound Dorje Legpa

Alternate names: Damchen Dorje Legpa (Tibetan), Vajrasadhu (Sanskrit).

Status: Oath-bound theurang (demon).

Tradition: Nyingma.

Known to protect: Dzogchen Teachings & Terma Teachings.

Description: Dorje Legpa is the third in the ‘Ma Za Dam Sum’ or the ‘Three Terma Protectors’ trinity, together with Ekajati and Rahula. His name means ‘Excellent Vajra’ and his practice can be found in both the Nyingma and Kagyu traditions, but is mainly practiced in the former.

In oral legend in some parts of Tibet, he is considered to have been a monk from Nalanda Monastery in India. However he committed many negative actions, which led to his rebirth as a theurang spirit that came to roam Tibet. Before becoming a Dharma protector, Dorje Legpa was propitiated as a god of war and gambling, due to his immense power despite belonging to the theurang class of spirits. Guru Rinpoche is known to have bound him by oath to become a protector of the Buddhist teachings, especially the various terma or ‘revealed’ teachings.

Physical attributes: Dorje Legpa is portrayed red in colour, riding a snow lion. He brandishes a vajra made from meteoric iron in his right hand and holds a heart in his left hand. In his variant forms he is portrayed riding a goat with crossed horns instead, a typical animal mount for a theurang spirit. This type of goat is native to Tibet and is even known as the ‘oath-bound goat.’ Theurang spirits are known to delight in mischief and chaos, and can inflict illness upon people, especially children. He also wears a dommed Tibetan traveling hat.

Dorje Legpa is most commonly depicted at the bottom of deity thangkas, together with Rahula and Ekajati. In singular depictions, either Guru Rinpoche or Vajrapani are portrayed above him, to remind practitioners he is a worldly and oath-bound protector and as a reminder to Dorje Legpa to remember his oaths to protector the Dharma and its practitioners.

Dorje Legpa has a vast retinue, including 360 of his own brothers. His main emanation, who serves as his chief attendant, is known as ‘Damchen Garba Nagpo’ or the ‘Oath-bound Blacksmith’. In this form he holds a vajra hammer instead of a vajra. In this form he is given an equally important protective position as Dorje Legpa, and is considered the chief Dharma protector of blacksmiths.

He is often mistaken as being Dorje Shugden due to various similarities in their iconography, such as riding a snow lion, red in colour and wearing a domed hat.

Prayers:

“Resident in the Valley of Shang in the country of Uyuk, in the burning Iron Palace,
He was born of malignant spirits and skilled in magical transformation,
Servant of the Bhagawan Vajrapani,
Homage to Dorje Legpa, Harbinger of Liberation.”
– A Nyingma Prayer

“From the palace of the triangle of swirling blood and fat,
Terma guardians, Ekajati, Rahula and Damchen, to you I pray:
Grant your blessings so that outer and inner obstacles may be pacified!”
– From the Vajrakilaya Prayer: A Rain of Accomplishments, as revealed by Gyarong Khandro and recorded by Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

As an oath-bound spirit, one should only engage in Dorje Legpa’s full propitiation prayers when authorised to do so by a qualified lama.

A wrathful form of Dorje Legpa. Note he is not wearing a domed hat but his hair is loose and flowing upwards.

Dorje Legpa

Dorje Legpa

Dorje Legpa

 

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Mahakala Bernagchen

Mahakala Bernagchen - an emanation of Avalokiteshvara

Alternate names: Legden (Tibetan), Black Cloak Mahakala.

Status: Emanation of Avalokiteshvara (Tibetan: Chenresig)

Tradition: Karma Kagyu & Nyingma.

Known to protect: Personal protector of the Karmapa & protector of the Karma Kagyu.

Description: This form of Mahakala arises from a Nyingma ‘terma’ tradition but was introduced to into the Karma Kagyu tradition by the 2nd Karmapa, Karma Pakshi (1206-1283). It was in the Karma Kagyu tradition that his practiced was solidified and became widespread.

It was from the time of Karma Pakshi that Mahakala Bernagchen began a very special relationship with the Karmapas, acting as their personal protector. In fact the Karmapas are renowned for performing a Mahakala dance during the preparations for the New Year Festival. As both Mahakala Bernagchen and the line of Karmapas are considered inseparable, both are considered emanations of Avalokiteshvara.

It is said that Avalokiteshvara manifested in this wrathful form to be of more benefit to sentient beings in this degenerate age, thereby upholding his vow to not enter into the bliss of complete enlightenment until all sentient beings are enlightened. At this point all the Buddhas proclaimed that this form would have the empowerment of all the wisdom dakinis, the strength of Yama (God of Death) and have the spirits, yakshas, devils and demons as his messengers. It is also noted that he represents all the wrathful empowerments of the Body, Speech, Mind, Qualities, and Activities of all the Buddhas throughout the past, present and future.

Physical attributes: Mahakala Bernagchen is portrayed as squat in stature, his limbs are short but very powerful. He is black in colour with a fierce wrathful expression. His three eyes are wide and bulging through the fierce manifestation of his compassion. His mouth is open in a wrathful smile with bared fangs. His orange-yellow beard and hair flow upwards. The nails of both his hands and feet are long, and sharp.

In his up-raised right hand he brandishes a Kartika (Tibetan: drigug) which is curved flaying knife that has a vajra handle, symbolising the cutting away of the Three Poisons. In his left hand, he holds to his heart a skull-cup filled with blood. He wears a crown with five dried skulls, representing the Five Dhyani Buddhas, earrings and a garland of freshly severed heads. His defining feature is the heavy black cloak he wears over a green Tibetan chuba. He is surrounded by wrathful wisdom fire and smoke. He steps on a human corpse, symbolic of the death of all karma, delusions and therefore all obstacles, on the path towards complete enlightenment.

Prayer:

Prayer to Mahakala

Composed by Jetsun Mikyo Dorje, His Holiness the 8th Karmapa (1507-1554), to fulfil a request made by Rinchen Palmo.

Om! The impure world and beings are purified into emptiness.
From emptiness appears wisdom’s wind,
Fire, and hearth-stone skulls.
Upon them is a kapala containing the five meats and five amritas.
The air and fire cause the samaya-amrita to boil;
It shines with intensely bright light
That invites the jnana-amrita.
The amritas become inseparable, are blessed by OM AH HUNG,
And have an unequalled flavour and aroma.
The root and lineage gurus, the yidam deities,
The dakas, dakinis, and dharma protectors are invited.
They gather as thick clouds in space before me.
I offer to the root guru, who is the union of all the yidams;
I offer to the root guru, who is the union of the three jewels;
I offer to the root guru, who is the union of all the dharma protectors;
I offer, in particular, to the dharma protectors who wear a cloak (Mahakala)
And to Palden Lhamo Rangjung Gyalmo (Mahakali).
To this Mahakala and Mahakali, and to their entourage,
King Vaisravana, who is king of the northen direction and Ngadak,
Dorje Legpa, Singon, and Shing-Kyong,
Karnak Dorje Gyalpo, and all the others
Who protect the teachings of the Karmapas,
Receive this offering of the supreme torma
Of the immaculate five meats and amritas,
The living five amritas
With eight principal ingredients, and the liquid offering of rakta.
I make the Samantabhadra offering of the five sensory pleasures,
The secret offerings and the “thatness” offering,
With a true understanding of the actual nature of your perfection of qualities and your faultlessness,
I praise you with every single praise that can be made by body, speech and mind.
I pray to you for the fulfilment of my wishes.
Bestow upon me and all others as I sit upon this seat,
The supreme and the common siddhis.
I pray in particular for the increase of our life spans, health, prosperity, and wealth.
I pray that all I wish for in my mind will be instantly accomplished,
So that I will quickly accomplish every teaching of the Karmapas.
I pray that you grant me, in this very moment,
The powers that will enable me
To destroy into dust
All those who harm the teachings of the Karmapas.
I dedicate the positive power of my offering, praise, and faith
To all beings, who have all been my mother,
So that they will obtain the state of complete Buddhahood.

MANTRA: OM SHRI MAHAKALA YAK KHYA BETALI HUNG DZA

Mahakala Bernagchen

Mahakala Bernagchen

Mahakala Bernagchen

Mahakala Bernagchen

 

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Palden Lhamo

Palden Lhamo - an emanation of Saraswati

Alternate names: Gyelmo Magzorma (Tibetan), Ochen Barma (Tibetan), Sri Devi (Sanskrit), Remati (Sanskrit), Kalidevi (Sanskrit).

Status: Emanation of Saraswati.

Tradition: Gelug.

Known to protect: Personal Protector of the Dalai Lamas.

Description: Palden Lhamo, although found in all four traditions of Tibetan Buddhism in one form or another, is most prominent in the Gelugpa tradition due to her role as the personal protector of the line of Dalai Lamas. It was in the visions of the 1st Dalai Lama, His Holiness Gendun Drup’s visions that she vowed to protect his reincarnation lineage. Since that time she has been the personal protector of all 14 Dalai Lamas. She is propitiated in many major monasteries and is known to be very quick and effective. She is considered to be an emanation of Saraswati, the Buddha of music, literature, poetry and speech, known as Yangchenma in Tibetan. Saraswati is the consort of Manjushri, the Buddha of Wisdom.

She is the protector of the sacred Lhamo Latso Lake in Lhokha Province, Tibet. Since the time of the 2nd Dalai Lama, high lamas have travelled to the lake to ask for guidance in finding the next incarnation of the Dalai Lama in visions while meditating there. As such the lake has become a very famous pilgrimage spot and to those who practice purely she will grant visions in the lake, foretelling the future.

Palden Lhamo was married to King Shinje, the ruler of an ancient island fortress called Lanka. When she married him she vowed that she would make him favourable towards the practice of Buddhism or put an end to his whole dynasty. Over the years the king did not change his ways and continued torturing his subjects, even killing many of them and the subjects themselves carried on their cannibalistic practices. Matters became worse as he began raising their son to become the ultimate destroyer of the Buddhist tradition. After exhausting all avenues, she gave him an ultimatum – either give up his evil ways or she would kill their son. He didn’t listen, so one day when the king was away, she killed her son and drank his blood, using his skull as a cup. To escape the king, she rode away on a horse, using her son’s flayed skin as a saddle. The king rode after her to no avail, shooting a poisonous arrow at her, however this hit the horse instead. She removed the arrow from the horse and proclaimed “May the wound of my mount become an eye large enough to watch over the twenty-four regions, and may I myself be the one to extirpate the lineage of the malignant kings of Lanka.” This is why Palden Lhamo’s mount has a third eye in its left rump.

You can sponsor a Palden Lhamo Puja here

Physical attributes: Palden Lhamo’s form is similar to that of a female ogress. Her face is outlined by wild orange-brown hair, with nine peacock feathers floating above her head. She exposes her teeth and fangs, which are gnawing on a human corpse and has an intimidating stare with three blood-shot and bulging eyes. Her three bulging eyes represent her ability to see into the past, present and future without obstructions and her dark blue colour represents her attainment of great bliss and realisation of emptiness. Her body is smeared with ashes, fat and blood and her entire form is surrounded by flames, representing her presence in the charnel grounds.

In her right hand she holds a skull-cup full of blood, symbolic of the destruction of all obstacles. In her left hand she holds a sandalwood club topped with a vajra, a weapon used to watch over the oath-bound, ensuring their dedication and integrity in upholding the Dharma. She carries with her a bag of diseases that she collects from those who invoke her, symbolic of her ability to help cure health-related illnesses, and on the other hand release them to plague those who commit evil actions. Her legs are in a semi-relaxed posture, and a chain connects one ankle to the other. She sits on a horse or mule, who is untrainable and whose fearful shrieks sounds like thunder.

She has a sun disc at her navel and a crescent moon above her head. She wears a billowing black scarf and flayed human skin as a shawl. Her upper garments are made from black fabric, whereas her skirt is made from tiger skin, held together by a belt made of intertwined snakes. She wears a crown adorned by five skulls and various bone ornaments such as bracelets and ankles and wears a garland of freshly decapitated heads.

The reins of her horse is made of poisonous snakes, which wrap around the human skin saddle. Snakes dangling from the horse hold a pouch that contains a pair of dice used to determine karmic fate, one black and the other white, and a ball of string made up of rolled up weapons. This represents her ability to grant divinatory powers using dice to those who have received her empowerment. She also carries a red tablet used to cast spells tucked into her belt.

Prayers:

  1. Praise To The Protectoress Palden Lhamo, The Goddess Saraswati in Wrathful Form
  2. Palden Lhamo Self-Healing by Kyabje Gangchen Rinpoche

A special Palden Lhamo statue in Lhasa, Tibet

Palden Lhamo

Palden Lhamo thangka from Rashi Gempil Ling, New Jersey

 

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Citipati

Citipati - an emanation of Heruka Chakrasamvara and Vajrayogini

Alternate names: Kinkara (Tibetan), Shri Shmashana Adhipati (Sanskrit)

Status: Emanation of Heruka Chakrasamvara and Vajryogini.

Tradition: Sakya & Gelug.

Known to protect: Special Protectors of the Heruka Chakrasamvara and Vajrayogini tantras.

Description: Cittapati’s practice arises from the Heruka Chakrasamvara Tantras. They are a pair of skeletons, the male is considered the emanation of Heruka, whereas the female is considered an emanation of Vajrayogini. Apart from being a protector from the Heruka tantras, they are considered the special protectors of the Vajrayogini tantra stemming from the Mahasiddha Naropa. They are commonly referred to the ‘Lord and Lady of the Cemetary.’

In their role from the Heruka tantras they are propitiated primarily for wealth and conducive conditions for Dharma practice, and also for protection from thieves. As the special protector of the Vajrayogini tantra their role is two-fold. They primarily protect Vajrayogini practitioners from obstacles arising from their karma and to create conducive conditions for the practice of Vajrayogini, in order for practitioners to gain high realisations and ultimate enlightenment. The other role is to protect the teachings from being lost or abused.

Though Citipati can be found throughout most traditions, their practice is prominent in the Sakya and Gelug traditions, as these place emphasis on Naropa’s lineage of Vajrayogini practice. Citipati is also important in various Chod lineages through all traditions.

Physical attributes: Citipati are white in colour and have the form of a male and female skeleton. They have big bulging eyes, mouths open and curled tongues. In their right hands they hold up over their heads clubs made of human bones, and in their left hands they hold skull-cups filled with blood.

Their crowns are adorned with five dry skulls, and they both wear lower garments made of silk that move as they dance amidst roaring wisdom fire. In some depictions the father is seen as embracing the waist of the mother. They are depicted in a dancing posture, with one leg standing on a cowrie shell.

In variant depictions the father is seen wearing a lower garment of tiger skin rather than silk; the mother holds a stalk of grain instead of a bone club, and a treasure vase instead of a skull-cup. This is symbolic of Citipati’s ability to provide practitioners with both spiritual attainments (as symbolised by the father) and conducive conditions for the practice of the Dharma (as symbolised by the mother) such as apple food and wealth.

Prayers:

Since Citipati’s practice is closely related to Highest Yoga Tantra, as emanations of Heruka and Vajrayogini, their practice is restricted to those who have received the appropriate permissions from a qualified guru.

Citipati. Note in this depiction the Mother holds a sheaf of gain and a teasure vase.

Citipati

Citipati

 

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Six-Armed Mahakala

Six-Armed Mahakala

Alternate names: Nyingshuk (Tibetan), Gonpo Chagdrugpa (Tibetan), Shadbhuja Mahakala (Sanskrit), Swift-Acting Six-Armed Mahakala.

Status: Emanation of Avalokiteshvara (Chenresig).

Tradition: Shangpa Kagyu & Gelug.

Known to protect: Special Protector of the Shangpa Kagyu tradition, one of the three principal protectors of the Gelug tradition & protector of the Great Scope of Lam Rim.

Description: The practice of Six-armed Mahakala was brought to Tibet by Khedrup Khyungpo Naljor, who also founded the Shangpa Kagyu tradition and as such considered a special protector of the lineage and its practitioners. This form of Mahakala has become popular not only in the Shangpa Kagyu, but other Kagyu lineages, as well as the Sakya, Jonang and Gelug traditions. He is considered to be an emanation of Avalokiteshvara.

His practice was originally taught by Hayagriva, who himself is a wrathful emanation of Avalokiteshvara in the form of a tantric yidam (meditational deity). The form of this Mahakala differs according to the various traditions, including body colour, implements, addition of a consort and retinue figures. The most popular of these variations is Six-Armed White Mahakala (Tibetan: Gonpo Karpo Chagdrugpa, Sanskrit: Shadbhuja Sita Mahakala), who is popular among all traditions as a wealth deity.

Jagchen Jampa Pal (1310-1391 CE) a lineage holder of the Shangpa Kagyu passed this practice on to his student Lama Tsongkhapa (1357-1419 CE), who founded the Gelugpa tradition. In this tradition Six-Armed Mahakala came to prominence as the special protector of Great Scope of the Lam Rim (Graduated Stages on the Path to Enlightenment) teachings. Within the Gelugpa tradition he is portrayed in his most wrathful form, with legs apart in the ancient Indian warrior pose. This contrasts his form in other traditions, in which he stands up straight with both legs together.

Physical attributes: Six-Armed Mahakala is mid-night blue in colour, appearing in a very wrathful manner. His head is adorned with a crown that has five skulls, symbolic of the Five Dhyani Buddhas and therefore the transformation of the five negative afflictions into the five positive virtues. He has three eyes, symbolic of his abilities to see the past, present and future. His mouth gapes open, revealing his teeth and razor sharp fangs and his tongue is curled. His dark orange hair flows upwards.

His six arms represent the six perfections. His primary right hand holds a curved flaying knife, which not only cuts through obstacles, but also our negative karma and delusions. This is held above a blood-filled skull-cup which rests in his primary left hand. His secondary right hand holds a damaru (ritual drum). The sound from this is said to represent the primordial sound or vibration that originated existence; to rouse us from our ignorant state and practice the Dharma; and to scare away negative beings. He holds a skull rosary in his upper right hand which he counts, representing his continuous and unending activity to assist sentient beings. In his left hands he holds a trident and noose, representative of the Three Jewels and binding those who stray from or harm the Dharma respectively.

He is adorned with a necklace, bracelets, anklets and earrings. He wears the green scarf of a Bodhisattva, a loin cloth of tiger skin and flayed elephant skin as a cloak. Snakes slither across his body to form the sacred thread of the Bhramins. These represent the arising of psychic powers and instincts. By wearing them, he shows us that these should not impede our spiritual progress but we should harness them for spiritual attainments.

He stands on a prostrate white Ganesha, here representative of our animal instincts that can be extremely destructive. The sun cushion represents his achievement of emptiness and the lotus represents his achievement of compassion. He is surrounded by the roaring flames of wisdom fire, demonstrative of his powerful energy to burn away our negative karma and delusions.

Prayers:

Praise of the Six-Armed Lord

HUM!
NYUR-DZA CHAN-RA-ZIK-LA CH’AK TS’AL-LO
ZHAP-DUP-D’ANG-CHA VINAYAKA NAN
NAK-PO CH’EN-PO TAK-G’I SHAM-T’AP CHAN
CH’AK-DR’UK DRUL-GY’I GYAN-GY’I NAM-PAR GYAN

Quick-acting Avalokita, homage to you!
Wearing anklets, you trample Ganesa.
Mahakala, you wear a tiger-skin loincloth
Fully adorned with snake-ornaments on your six arms.

YA-PA DR’I-G’UK B’AR-WA TR’ENG-WA DZIN
T’A-MA DAMARU-NI DD’AK-TU TR’OL
YON-PA T’O-PA D’ANG-NI DUNG TSE-SUM
D’E-ZHIN ZHAK-PA ZUNG-NA CH’ING-WAR J’E

The (first) right holds a triku (chopping-knife), the middle a mala,
The last plays violently a damaru;
The left hold a skull-cup, and a three-pronged lance,
And likewise a noose, which serves for tying up.

DR’AK-POI ZHAL-NI CH’E-WA NAM-PAR TSIK
CHAN-SUM DR’AK-PO U’TRA GY’EN-D’U BAR
TRAL-WAR SINDHURA-YI LEK-PAR J’UK
CHI-WOR MI-KYO GYAL-POI GYA-TAP TAN

Your wrathful mouth completely bares its fangs
Your three eyes are fierce. The hair of your head blazes upward.
Your forehead is properly anointed with red lead.
On your crown, Aksobhya’s royal presence is fixed.

TR’AK-DZAK MI-GO NGA-CHUI DO-SHAL CHAN
RIN-CH’EN T’O-KAM NGA-YI U-LA GYAN
SHING-LA J’ON-NA TOR-MA LEN-DZA-PAI
PAL-DAN CH’AK-DR’UK-PA-LA CH’AK-TS’AL TO

You wear a great necklace of fifty men ‘s heads, dripping blood.
On your crown, you’re adorned with five dry, jeweled skulls.
You come from your tree and accept our torma offering,
Glorious Six-Armed – homage and praise to you!

SANG-GYA TAN-PA NYAN-PO SUNG-WA-D’ANG
KON-CH’OK U-P’ANG NYAN-PO TO-PA-D’ANG
DAK-CHAK PON-LOP K’OR-D’ANG CHA-NAM-KYI
KYEN-NGAN B’AR-CH’A T’AM-CHA ZHI-WA-D’ANG
CHI-DO NGO-DR’UP NYUR-D’U TSAL-D’U SOL!

Sternly protect the Doctrine of the Buddha!
Sternly praise the height of power of the Jewels!
For us – teachers, disciples and entourage –
Please quell all bad conditions and obstructions,
And grant us quickly whatever siddhis we wish!

MANTRA:
OM BENZA NARA TRIM TRIM HUNG HUNG PHET PHET SOHA

Six-Armed Mahakala in the form commonly practiced in the Shangpa Kagyu tradition

Six-Armed Mahakala as he is practiced in the Gelugpa tradition. Note he stands in the warrior pose compared to the Shangpa Kagyu form in which he stands straight.

Six-Armed Mahakala

Six-Armed Mahakala

Six-Armed Mahakala

 

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Kalarupa

Kalarupa - an emanation of Manjushri

Alternate names: Shinje Chogyal (Tibetan), Yama Dharmaraja (Sanskrit), Black Karma Yama.

Status: Emanation of Manjushri.

Tradition: Gelug.

Known to protect: Special Protector of the Yamantaka Tantras, one of the three principal protectors of the Gelug tradition & protector of the Small Scope of Lam Rim.

Description: Kalarupa is found throughout all the Kagyu, Sakya and Gelug traditions as a special protector associated with the Vajrabhairava Yamantaka Tantras. He is generally said to be the protector that Lama Tsongkhapa chose for the Gelugpa lineage, and as such is practiced throughout all Gelugpa monasteries and institutions, including at Kechara House. He is depicted with his consort Chamundi.

As the protector of the Small Scope of Lam Rim, Kalarupa is the protector of those who observe the law of karma, or cause and effect in their spiritual practice, as he observes both their wholesome and unwholesome actions. Similar to the roles of other Dharma protectors who guard specific teachings, Kalarupa protects Yamantaka practitioners from obstacles arising from their own karma. In addition he assists by creating conducive conditions for the practice of Yamantaka, in order for practitioners to gain high realisations and ultimately enlightenment. This role also includes to protect the teachings from being lost or abused.

You can sponsor a Kalarupa Puja which will be conducted by Kechara Puja House here.

Physical attributes: Kalarupa is dark blue in colour with the fierce head of a buffalo that has very sharp horns. He has three round blood-shot eyes, and his mouth is open revealing razor sharp teeth. In his right hand he holds upraised a bone club which has a skull at the top. In his left hand he holds a lasso.

He is adorned with a crown of five skulls and bone ornaments, and a garland of fifty fleshly severed heads. He is in a wrathful warrior pose, standing on top of a bull. He is accompanied by his consort Chamundi who is also dark blue in colour. In her right hand she holds aloft a trident and in her left hand she holds a skull-cup filled with blood. She wears adornments similar to Kalarupa. Both are do not wear clothes, save for their ornaments.

The buffalo stamps on a lifeless human corpse, which signifies overcoming enemies, obstacles and delusions. This rests on a sun disc symbolising Kalarupa’s attainment of the understanding of emptiness. Kalarupa and consort are surrounded by blazing wisdom fire, which burns up obstacles caused by our karma and delusions.

Prayer:

Praise To The Dharma-King Kalarupa

HUM
Kalarupa, splendid, fierce in form!
A string of human heads, mouths dripping blood
Hangs from your shoulders; destroyer of the pride
Of irresistible Mara-hosts, I praise you!

With vajra song, making great uproar,
I offer a torma, complete in all its parts
Tea and liquor offerings, foes’ minced flesh
And fish, adorned with oceans of blood and fat.

The worst of enemies who harms the
Doctrine Of the Tathagatha, you smash to dust!
From now on, you destroy for us the yogins,
The fears of sickness, age and death – I praise you!

Showing your fangs, as dazzling white as Venus,
Your eyes, destroying enemies, dart like lightning,
As with your pores blazing like the great fire
At time’s end you burn all demon-hosts – I praise you!

Lord of all Mamos, such as Chamundi
Possessed of effulgent splendour like sunlight
When you shout “DZA” to accomplish Divine Activities
You conquer fox-like hindering demons – I praise you!

All demons keep you on their heads like a hat
Your angry, buffalo-demon’s mouth gapes open
And shakes the great earth, screaming, rattling & buzzing
Wielder of skull-club born from YA, I praise you!

Attendants mounted on buffaloes sharp of horns
And hoof, others on dusty whirlwinds, such
As Shakali and Shinje-Bebma – a retinue
Of demons of the three worlds – surround you, I praise you!

O splendid-virtued, forcefully laughing, “HA HA”!
Accept the offerings, ARGHAM and the rest,
And incessantly carry out the promise
You swore before the glorious Yamantaka!

MANTRA:
OM KALARUPA HUNG PHET

Kalarupa

Kalarupa

Kalarupa

 

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Vaishravana

Vaishravana - Buddha of Wealth & Gaurdian of the North

Alternate names: Namtose (Tibetan).

Status: Buddha of Wealth and Guardian King of the North.

Tradition: All traditions.

Known to protect: Buddha Shakyamuni’s Vinaya teachings & special protector of the Medium Scope of Lam Rim.

Description: Within the Gelug tradition, Vaishravana appears twice in the Gelug Refuge tree, but in different forms. In his standing form he appears as one of the Four Heavenly Kings. He is the guardian of the North, living on the northern slope of Mount Meru, protecting the heavens from attack from the Asuras (demi-gods). In this form he is also the King of all the Yaksha beings, with a Naga princess for a consort. As with the rest of the Four Heavenly Kings, he swore and oath to Buddha Shakyamuni to protect the Buddha, the Dharma and those who follow the Buddhist path of practice. He is also considered to be the chief of the Four Heavenly Kings and is commonly portrayed on the walls of monasteries and temples to safe guard from obstacles and interferences.

In the form where he is riding a lion, Namtose is included in the Refuge tree as a wisdom protector, demonstrating his actual enlightened nature. In this form he is both protector and a Buddha of wealth. As the protector the Medium Scope of the Lam Rim, he protects those who practice ethical purity through keeping their various types of vows, especially those who hold their Vinaya or monastic vows.

You can sponsor a Vaishravana Puja here.

Physical attributes: Vaishravana has one face with a very stern expression, with wide and round eyes. He has bushy eyebrows and a beard. Usually he is not shown with his mouth open, because his breath is harmful to others, therefore he keeps his mouth tightly closed. His body is a rich golden colour.

He adorned like an ancient warrior-king, wearing flowing garments, adorned with a jewelled five pronged crown, necklace, bracelets, anklets and gold earrings. The five prongs of his crown symbolise the Five Dhyani Buddhas. He wears trousers and boots similar in style to those from Mongolia. Above this he wears a golden coat of amour and the green scarf of a bodhisattva.

His right hand holds a victory banner as a symbol of his sovereignty, while his left holds a mongoose, commonly associated with good fortune in ancient India. This mongoose spits jewels symbolising his capacity as a Buddha of both spiritual and material wealth, similar to Dzambala. He rides a snow lion.

Prayers:

Praise to Vaishravana

HUM
MIG JIG SENG GEI DAN TENG NA
PHA LA JUNG WAI GON PO NI
NGAL SO GE WA TOB PO CHHE
SA GYA WANG CHHUG KHYO LA DU

Hum
The protector arisen from (the syllable) VAI
Upon a fearless lion seat
Is resting, virtuous and powerful.
I bow to you, the lord of the eight stages.

TSUN MO ZHI DANG SA ZHI DANG
KHYA PAR LA DRUB NO JIN GYA
NOR TER WA YI LU CHHEN GYA
LHA SIN DE GYA KHOR CHA LA
CHHO CHING TO DE CHHAG KYANG TSHAL
DRA GEG MA LU ZHOM PA DANG
JOR PAI LONG CHO PHHUN TSHOG SHING
DO GU YI ZHING DRUB PA DANG
ZHAN DON LHUN GYI DRUB PAR DZO

To you four princesses, four princes,
Eight harm-giving yakshas who do special tasks,
And eight great wealth-granting nagas, along with
You retinue of eight classes of gods and cannibals,
I make offering and prostration.
Destroy my enemies and hindrances without exception,
Bring about perfect enjoyment of wealth,
Fulfil my desires as I wish, and
Spontaneously achieve the welfare of others.

MANTRA:
OM VAISHRAVANA YE SOHA

Vaishravana

Vaishravana

Vaishravana

Vaishravana

 

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Pehar

The oath-bound Pehar

Alternate names: Gyalpo Pehar (Tibetan), Nechung (Tibetan), Dorje Dragden (Tibetan).

Status: Oath-bound Gyalpo spirit.

Tradition: Nyingma & Gelug.

Known to protect: Special Protector of Samye Monastery & installed as a State Protector by His Holiness the Great 5th Dalai Lama.

Description: Pehar was a non-native Gyalpo spirit who resided in Tibet when Guru Rinpoche arrived from India. Guru Rinpoche subdued Pehar, binding him by oath to protect the Dharma at its practitioners. He installed Pehar as the special protector of Samye, the first monastery established in Tibet. Guru Rinpoche also subdued many other Gyalpo spirits and put them under the control of Pehar.

During the time of His Holiness the Great 5th Dalai Lama, Pehar was installed as one of the State Protectors of the Tibetan government. Pehar will take trance in a qualified oracle (known as the Nechung Oracle) to give pronouncements, advice and blessings to the Tibetan government. Hence, Pehar is also commonly known as Nechung. Traditionally this is done on an annual basis, in front of the Dalai Lama, or as and when his assistance is needed.

Pehar actually has five main forms, of his body, speech, mind, qualities and activities. These are known as Monbu Putra, Dra Lha Kye Chigbu, Gya Jin, Shing Cha Chen and Pehar, respectively. The deity that takes trance of the Nechung Oracle is actually an emanation of Dra Lha Kye Chigbu, the speech aspect, known as Dorje Dragden.

Physical attributes: Pehar is white in colour and has three faces. His right face is blue, his central face is white and his left is red. Each face is grimacing, with mouth open baring fangs, with three round and bulging eyes. He has six arms. His primary left hand holds a bow, and his primary right hands holds an arrow drawn on the string of the bow, ready to fire. In his lower right hand he holds a sword and in his lower left hand he holds a stick. In his upper right arm he holds a stick with a taming hook and his upper left hand holds a knife. He wears a tiger skin loin cloth and a round domed traveling hat. He is adorned with various ornaments including necklace, bracelets and anklets. He sits upon a snow lion with a green mane in the middle of sea of blood. He is surrounded by blazing fire.

Prayer:

“In former times at Glorious Red Rock,
Acharya Padmasambhava, inviting the profound vast protector,
Had bound by an oath as the entrusted steward of all Dharma Establishments;
To Pehar I bow.”
– Nyingma praise.

Since Pehar is an oath-bound Dharma protector, it is not advisable to propitiate him without the appropriate permission and teachings from a qualified guru.

Pehar

Pehar

Pehar

Pehar

 

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Four Important Questions

In light of the information shared on various Dharma protectors, I would like to take the opportunity to clarify four questions commonly asked regarding the Dharma protector Dorje Shugden, who is practiced and relied on throughout the Gelug school of Buddhism and the Kechara organisation.

 

Dorje Shugden’s form is wrathful. Isn’t this proof that he is a demon or spirit?

Dorje Shugden - an emanation of Manjushri

Some people mistakenly consider Dorje Shugden to be either a demon or spirit due to his wrathful form (riding a snow lion, carrying a sword and taming hook, etc). This does not make sense when taking into consideration the majority of other Dharma protectors, who similarly have wrathful forms. For example, the wrath of Dharma protectors such as Dorje Shugden is represented in their red and bulging eyes. These protuberant eyes do not arise from anger or evil but due to an abundance of welled up compassion. From this post alone, we can even see that some are even more wrathful in form compared to Dorje Shugden. These include Rahula, who has nine heads and the serpentine body of a Naga and Palden Lhamo who gnaws on a human corpse in her mouth.

This wrath, as mentioned in the introduction, is symbolic of the quality of extreme compassion that enlightened beings have for sentient beings. The analogy mentioned is of a mother scolding her child for doing something that can cause harm, for example playing with fire. This wrathful form is therefore due to their extreme compassion to assist and benefit sentient beings.

When people label Dorje Shugden as a demon due to his form, they are (a) ignoring the form of the majority of other Dharma protectors and (b) limiting the activities of the Buddhas by imposing their own projections. Within Buddhist teachings we are taught not to let our projections, or our expectations of how we think things should be, to cloud our judgement and mind. By judging Dorje Shugden purely on his physical features, we are limiting our understanding of the compassion of the Buddhas. Manjushri, the Buddha of wisdom has indescribable compassion for sentient beings and due to this emanated as Dorje Shugden in order to benefit us. This is similar to Saraswati emanating as Palden Lhamo, Avalokiteshvara emanating as Mahakala Bernagchen, Tara emanating as Ekajati or even Vajrayogini emanating as Achi Chokyi Drolma. The enlightened beings are constantly emanating in various forms to benefit beings. This can even be applied to yidam (meditational) deities as well. For example the well-known Yamantaka is very wrathful and even has a buffalo head.

The fact is, that even though Dorje Shugden’s form can be seen as wrathful, there are many more Dharma protectors and even yidams who are wrathful. The claim is not made that they are demons or spirits, therefore it does not make sense to label Dorje Shugden as such based on his wrathful appearance.

 

Dorje Shugden has violent imagery in his prayers, doesn’t this make him evil?

As explained above, the expression of wrath or violence within Tibetan Buddhism does not necessarily denote good or evil. Rather, in the case of enlightened beings, it is an expression of the love and extreme compassion that they have for us. The practice of Dorje Shugden is just one example with an entire corpus of practices that include such violent imagery. Thus it does not make sense to label Dorje Shugden as evil in light of all other Dharma protector practices.

In fact violence within prayers is characteristic of all Dharma protector practices. It is through this very violence, if we understand its meaning, that we can see the truly compassionate nature of the enlightened beings who appear as Dharma protectors. This violence can be explained in two ways. The first is in relation to the speed in which the Dharma protectors can aid practitioners as mentioned in the introduction. The second is because of our own karma. Since the obstacles we encounter in life are due to karma which can be very heavy, we propitiate the Dharma protectors to help overcome this karma, and to do so quickly and effectively, this needs to manifest as violent in nature. For example if you are walking in the jungle but your way is covered with branches, plants and the like, you do not pick at the plants one by one to make room to pass, but you use a knife to cut away the undergrowth so that you can proceed. This is why Dharma protector practices include violence. This is also a reason why Dharma protectors manifest in wrathful forms too. For example many are seen wearing wrathful ornaments or the clothes of a general, such as Namtose. This is because protectors ‘go to war’ with our karma in order to benefit us on our spiritual journey.

The meaning of this violence within Dharma protector practice has been explained before by His Eminence 25th Tsem Rinpoche in his commentary to the Trakze Dorje Shugden practice. This practice is extremely wrathful in nature, and as such is beneficial to assist practitioners in the dire circumstances such affliction from spirit harm and black magic.

 

Why do you practice Dorje Shugden when he is sectarian? He only protects Gelug practitioners.

As seen from the information above, Dharma protectors have a specific function such as protecting a particular lineage, or certain teachings. For example Dorje Legba is only known to protect the terma teachings, not other teachings. Similarly Dorje Shugden arose to protect the teachings of Lama Tsongkhapa. This however does not make him sectarian. This is clearly evident because he is an enlightened being. As such he views all sentient beings equally with love and compassion. Anybody who prayers to Dorje Shugden will benefit from his practice.

Protectors can arise in order to protect certain lineages such as Achi Chokyi Drolma, who protects the Drikung Kagyu lineage as a whole and Mahakala Bernagchen the Karma Kagyu. They do this because the teachings within these lineages can have a very real benefit in people’s lives, lead them to high attainments and even enlightenment. In other cases protectors can arise in order to protect very specific teachings, such as Dorje Shugden protecting the teachings of Lama Tsongkhapa, Ekajati protecting the terma teachings, or Six-armed Mahakala who protects those practicing the Highest Scope of the Lam Rim. For Vajrayogini practitioners, Citipati is taken as their special protector.

The claim that Dorje Shugden is sectarian because he only protects one lineage is therefore biased and bigoted. All Dharma protectors protect something but they are not all labelled as sectarian. The very fact that these beings protect the various lineages and teachings shows that they are all equally beneficial to spiritual development. If we were to label Dorje Shugden as sectarian, logically, we would need to label all Dharma protectors as sectarian, and ignore the fact that some Dharma protectors are the emanations of the enlightened beings who have perfect equanimity for all sentient beings.

 

Dorje Shugden is wealth god. Why pray to him since praying for wealth will bind one further to samsara?

Gyenze - the increase form of Dorje Shugden

Dorje Shugden can be propitiated for wealth, especially as Gyenze who is his increase form. Gyenze can also be propitiated for much more such as the increase of life-span and merits. However, this ability is not only a part of Dorje Shugden’s practice but of all other Dharma Protectors. This ability is linked to the very function and nature of Dharma protector practice, which is (a) to eliminate obstacles and (b) to provide conducive conditions for spiritual practice.

Due to the circumstances of our human civilisation, providing conducive conditions for spiritual practice necessarily involves the accumulation of wealth to survive. Rather than focus on the actual method, which is the accumulation of wealth, we should think about the motivation behind this accumulation. It is for the furtherance of spiritual practice. Even in monasteries across all Tibetan Buddhist traditions, pujas are conducted to bring wealth and resources for the preservation and furtherance of the teachings leading to enlightenment.

This aspect is just one facet of Dharma protector practice. For example even Citipati is propitiated for the accumulation of wealth, especially in creating conducive conditions for the practice of Vajrayogini. This is even more apparent in the form of Namtose and his epithet of ‘Buddha of Wealth’. Namtose holds a jewel-spitting mongoose, clearly evidence of the fact that his practice can bestow wealth, whether this is outer (wealth) or inner (spiritual attainments).

Therefore this accumulation of wealth is for the higher purpose of spiritual development, rather the accumulation of wealth for samsaric reasons. In essence the practice of Dharma protectors, which includes Dorje Shugden, does not bind one further to samsara, but provides you with the necessary conditions and the great opportunity to practice the Dharma in order to transcend samsara altogether.

 

Conclusion

The practice of propitiating Dharma protectors exists throughout all traditions within Tibetan Buddhism. These beings, whether the holy emanations of the enlightened beings or mundane oath-bound deities, assist practitioners to create conducive conditions and eliminate obstacles facing both their worldly and spiritual lives. As we have seen, wrath plays an important roles in this as a method to overcome the negative karma that stops us from practicing the Dharma.

The claims laid against protectors, such as Dorje Shugden, must be viewed in relation to the entire pantheon of Dharma protectors, the reasons for their various forms and their practices. It is too often the case, that one can have a mistaken understanding of something. As Buddhists, who follow the logical system of analysis as expounded by the historical Buddha Shakyamuni, we shouldn’t take these claims on face value. Instead we need to analyse these claims in relations to Dharma protectors as a whole.

As we have seen, Dharma protectors, some of whom are emanations of enlightened beings can manifest in wrathful forms due to their extreme compassion. They emanate as Dharma protectors for the preservation of lineages or certain teachings which contain methods that lead practitioners out samara and therefore their suffering. Certain claims made against Dharma protectors must be understood from a much larger perspective in order to understand the true benefit of their practice.

May the Dharma protectors mentioned in this post, continue to protect practitioners for a long time, helping them in their spiritual journey towards enlightenment!

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Pastor Niral Patel
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About Pastor Niral Patel

Since becoming a Buddhist, Niral has had a voracious passion for the Dharma. He is known to have his head buried in books and loves to share what he knows. Niral has now found a better way to share his weird, whacky and, more often than not, other-worldly ideas with an unsuspecting audience - as a guest author on his Guruji's blog!
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16 Responses to Dharma Protectors of Tibetan Buddhism

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  1. MartinC on Feb 9, 2017 at 5:26 am

    What a refreshing change! ‘Suzy in Hawaii’ who clearly can think for herself and see beyond her own old prejudice discovers the goodness and beauty of the Dorje Shugden practice. What an uplifting account from an honest and spiritual person- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vl-4lIwxph4&t=11s

    Suzy

  2. Samfoonheei on Nov 12, 2016 at 7:06 pm

    Thank you Pastor Niral,Martin and Pastor Antoinette for the sharing.clear and understanding post of Dharma Protectors of Tibetan Buddhism.Its good knowledge to know of the lineage of Dharma Protectors.
    Dharma protectors exists throughout all traditions within Tibetan Buddhism. Some of Dharma protectors whom are emanations of enlightened beings can manifest in wrathful forms due to their extreme compassion.
    Our protector Dorje Shugden is one of them which have benefits us a lot.
    The claims against Dorje Shugden, must be viewed and understand much larger perspective.
    May the ban on Dorje Shugden be over soon,

  3. Anne Ong on Oct 18, 2016 at 12:48 pm

    This is a very insightful and interesting article. We can see the common elements that Dharma Protectors have, which is wrathful and with fierce expression. Thank you Pastor Niral,Martin and Pastor Antoinette for the sharing this great write up on Dharma Protectors
    from different lineages.

  4. Tsem Rinpoche on Sep 15, 2016 at 3:19 am

    Trode Khangsar Chapel in Lhasa, Tibet

    Over 400 years ago a great and learned lama Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen was famed in Mongolia, Tibet, Nepal and China for being very saintly and compassionate. He resided in his residence (Zimkhang Gongma Ladrang) in Drepung Monastery. His root guru was H.H. the Omniscient 4th Panchen Lama and his close dharma brother was the 5th Dalai Lama.

    The 5th Dalai Lama and Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen had a very close and dharmic relationship and often went to receive teachings together from the 4th Panchen Lama. They were close in age. They both became very learned and well known. During this time, the Dalai Lama was enthroned as a Dharma King of Tibet. But more people went to see Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen for teachings, initiations and divinations. This made the attendants of the 5th Dalai Lama feel threatened that Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen’s fame might usurp the power of the 5th Dalai Lama. So they had a khata forced down his throat. At that moment, Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen dissolved his psychic winds and generated the wish to be a great guardian of Buddha and Tsongkapa’s teachings. As his consciousness dissolved, he entered ‘bardo’ as a dharma protector of the highest order (jikten depey sungma). Many signs were seen throughout Lhasa at this time and the earth was said to have shaken in Lhasa. This event was already predicted to Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen’s previous incarnation when he was one of the 8 main disciples of Lord Tsongkapa the Supreme Master and he served Tsongkapa directly by building Gaden Monastery.

    When the 5th Dalai Lama heard what his scheming and power-hungry attendants had done, he was very distressed. He was very sorry Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen was murdered and dishonored as he was a great dharma master. The 5th Dalai Lama composed an apology to Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen. In Lhasa, tens of thousands gathered for the cremation of Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen’s holy body. During the cremation, the 5th Dalai Lama’s apology was read out at which flames spontaneously arose from the body of Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen commencing the cremation. From the body, during cremation, a powerful whirlwind of smoke tunneled into the sky for all to see as this was an indication Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen’s consciousness has arisen as the Dharma Protector Dorje Shugden. The Dharma Protector Setrap immediately recognized this new protector Dorje Shugden and ‘enthroned’ him as a powerful Dharma Protector in the realm of the Buddhas. From this, Setrap and Dorje Shugden are closely connected and very close working hand in hand always. After the cremation, the great 5th Dalai Lama built a Dorje Shugden chapel on the spot the cremation took place and named it Trode Khangsar. The 5th Dalai Lama commissioned the statue of Dorje Shugden in this chapel and had monks installed in the chapel to do continuous propitiations to Dorje Shugden. Trode Khangsar Chapel was a commemoration to Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen who was wronged and also a celebration of his consciousness arising as the World Peace Peace Protector Dorje Shugden.

    This Trode Khangsar Chapel still exists now in Lhasa where many make pilgrimages there. It is in good condition and was recently renovated. It is over 400 years old and a testimony to the respect the Great 5th Dalai Lama had to Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen who arose as Dorje Shugden.

    I have visited this holy chapel in Lhasa years back. I’ve never heard of it till I was in Lhasa and by chance, I was told about it which I was happy to visit. I could not find the place but strangely a bunch of pilgrims from Amdo told me they would show me how to get there in Lhasa.

    This short video is a short clip of this holy Trode Khangsar Chapel in Lhasa today commemorating Dorje Shugden, built by the great 5th Dalai Lama. The great 5th Dalai Lama even composed a prayer to Dorje Shugden which is still available today and we can recite to invoke the blessings, protection, and assistance of World Peace Protector Dorje Shugden.

    Tsem Rinpoche


    Read more: Trode Khangsar – A 400-year-old Dorje Shugden Chapel in Lhasa
    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/dorje-shugden/trode-khangsar-%E2%80%93-a-400-year-old-dorje-shugden-chapel-in-lhasa.html

    Short video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FTybDwTeLAM

    __________________________________

    The 5th Dalai Lama’s Prayer to Dorje Shugden

    HUM
    Though unmoving from the sphere of primordial spontaneity,
    With wrathful turbulent power, swifter than lightning,
    Endowed with heroic courage to judge good and bad,
    I invite you with faith, please come to this place!

    Robes of a monk, crown adorned with rhinoceros leather hat,
    Right hand holds ornate club, left holds a human heart,
    Riding various mounts such as nagas and garudas,
    Who subdues the mamos of the charnel grounds, praise to you!

    Samaya substances, offerings and torma, outer, inner and secret,
    Favourite visual offerings and various objects are arranged.
    Although, previously, my wishes were a bit dense,
    Do not stop your powerful apparitions, I reveal and confess!

    Now respectfully praising with body, speech, and mind,
    For us, the masters, disciples, benefactors and entourages,
    Provide the good and avert the bad!
    Bring increase like the waxing moon in spiritual and temporal realms!

    Moreover, swiftly accomplishing all wishes,
    According to our prayers, bestow the supreme effortlessly!
    And like the jewel that bestows all wishes,
    Always protect us with the Three Jewels!

    From: http://www.dorjeshugden.org/practice/the-5th-dalai-lamas-prayer-to-dorje-shugden

    Tibetan prayer from: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/dorje-shugden/the-14th-dalai-lamas-prayer-to-dorje-shugden.html

  5. Wan Wai Meng on Sep 11, 2016 at 8:57 pm

    Thank you Pastor Niral, for sharing with us other dharma protectors that are being propitiated outside of the Gelug Tradition. One of the thins I learnt from this article that it is not sectarian if a dharma protector arose to protect a particular lineage, type of teachings or even higher practices.

    All dharma protectors help spiritual practitioners to have conducive conditions to they can practice and focus well on their spiritual pursuits. As with the many tantric and wrathful countenance of the Tibetan Buddhist protectors and yidams, perhaps what one should consider is not to be taken in by the appearance. Example not everyone who smiles and has a beautiful face, are kind and not everyone with not so pleasant countenance is harmful. We need to penetrate deeper than what we see just with our eyes.

  6. Datuk May on Jul 11, 2016 at 10:35 pm

    Dear Pastor Niral,

    It is true that in Tibetan Buddhism there is a lot of emphasis on Dharma Protectors. Most Dharma Protectors appear in wrathful forms of which you have eloquently explained why. Dharma Protectors whom each Vajrayana Buddhist choose to propitiate is the Guardian angel who helps him/her to travel his/her path with better ability to eventually reach enlightenment.

    As such I would also like to mention that in other religions too there are guardian angels who will help the practitioners. Therefore it is my opinion that protectors for religious/spiritual practitioners are wonderful and compassionate beings.

    Especially in the case of Kechara whose Protector is Dorje Shugden, a fully enlightened Buddha.

    Thank you for such an informative post and I like to share it with all my friends on facebook.

  7. Wylfred Ng on Jul 4, 2016 at 8:29 pm

    Thank you Pastor Niral for the sharing on Dharma Protectors from different lineage.

    This is an interesting article. We can see the common elements that a Dharma Protectors have, which is wrathful and with fierce expression.
    Some might think that the protector practice is scar due to their expression, but if we understand buddhism further, the dharma protectors just manifested their compassion in the wrathful way. Their purpose is the same as Buddha, to assist us to achieve enlightenment and bodhicitta.

    Some might use the point that Dorje Shugden practice is not a genuine practice as the Dorje Shugden Kangsol is very wrathful. But actually all the Dharma Protectors prayers are wrathful.

    Thank you

  8. Shane Jayasuriya on Jun 19, 2016 at 11:53 pm

    very good article about dharma protectors .. Thank you Pastor Niral. _/\_

  9. CindyH on Jun 10, 2016 at 2:23 pm

    When you reflect upon it, the existence of enlightened Dharmapalas is a testament of great compassion at play. Knowing full well that we would have difficulties and distractions when it comes to Dharma practice, these enlightened beings manifest in various forms best suited to assist us. One of such is manner is by manifesting as Dharmapalas to primarily support our spiritual progress and practice. Since problems, afflictions and obstacles are a plenty to hamper spiritual progress in samsara, the Dharmapala practice allows for an avenue removal of such obstacles and also a support system to practice Dharma. It has been said to be akin to having a special friend who acts as a guardian angel to safeguard our spiritual path and our general wellbeing.

    Even the physical forms in which they take are actually meant to benefit us. The wrathfulness stems from their urgency to bless and protect us (most likely since they can see what in store for us in the future if we don’t change and embrace Dharma). The wrath of Dharmapalas is also a representation of the swiftness in which they can deliver their assistance. That being said, whilst the Dharmapalas are able to deliver swiftly, the actual speed or swiftness in which we receive such aid from our Dharma Protector depends on a few factors – the spiritual relationship we have with our Guru, the affinity we have forged with the Dharma Protector over time, and how well we keep our spiritual vows and commitments. Bottom line is the better we maintain these, the faster we are able to receive such assistance and we need to do our part in generating merits so the Dharma Protector can help us. If you examine the wrathful features of enlightened Dharmapalas, they are laden with meanings which serve as reminders to us in relation to Dharma practice.
    The wrathful form which is not conforming to general view of enlightened beings also can be said to be a form of teaching as it challenges our perceptions and prompt us to think. It reveals to us the (problematic) way we think and perceive things, whether you take things at face value or really take time to investigate and find out the real nature of things.

    Similarly, when it comes to the misconceptions about Dorje Shugden, the thing is whether to dismiss, not find out and blindly take information as gospel truth because it fits into the norm of things or do we take the time to investigate when presented with information offering an alternative explanation?

  10. NUTroll on Apr 30, 2016 at 10:36 am

    some Protective energies are very serious . Its intresting point of view: https://pbs.twimg.com/media/Cg_XSOQWMAAg4Az.jpg

  11. Uncle Eddie on Apr 29, 2016 at 6:17 pm

    Yes, all Dharma Protectors do usually appear in a ferocious form of a wrathful demeanour, with a ferocity that knows no bound as described in some transformation. This is said to be the terrifying form of the “Buddha of wisdom personified enlightenment”, through the conquest of anger, for all “ugliness” arising from inner spiritual obstacles i,e. fear, hatred, pride and jealousy. This intensed “ugliness” and fiercefulness serve as a teaching to remind us that all the causes and effects of anger arising from ignorance are “ugly”, distorted and even so frightening! As said, in the aspect of a supramandane protector, like our Dorje Shugden, he is just like one of the many emanations of Manjushri, Yamantaka, four-faced Mahakala or Kalarupa. It is therefore, incorrect to malign the deeds of a Buddha appearing in various illusory emanations in order to subdue any evil beings! Due to his enlightened compassion, Dorje Shugden with his emanation of manjushri may also have to emanate in various other forms to help practitioners. It is also said that he can display in the forms of birds, deer, maras, rakshas, the blind or mained as shown in the sutras. The practice of Dorje Shugden has been in the Sakya lineage for over 400 years, and that Dorje Shugden is none other than Lord Manjushri, who is beneficial to all beings! So how can anyone be wrong in relying on Dorje Shugden when he is actually relying on Manjushri, a Buddha of Wisdom, when so many great learned and highly attained masters have attested to whatever is practised is true, proper and geniune!!! Thank you, Pastor Nira Patel, for your wonderful article which I have enjoyed reading so much!

  12. Alice Tay on Apr 28, 2016 at 11:18 pm

    感谢仁波切和Pastor Niral和其他幕后成员无私的收集这些护法的资料,让我们真的获益不浅。

    在藏传佛教,每一传承都有不一样的护法,但是博文里有提到一些传承也有共同的护法如:
    1. Mahakala Bernagchen – 噶玛噶举派和宁玛派传承
    2. Citipati – 萨迦派和格鲁派传承
    3. Six-Armed Mahakala – 香巴噶举派和格鲁派传承
    4. Vaishravana – 所有传承
    5. Pehar – 宁玛派和格鲁派传承

    护法除了主要护持佛法以外,还会帮助修行者,给他们创造有利的修行条件,排除来自各方面的各种障碍。而我们常见到的护法如金甲衣护法和以上所提到的护法都是愤怒相的化身。原因是护法有着无比的慈悲化现为愤怒及强大的能量来协助我们克服内在及外在的世俗障碍,好让我们在修行道路更称心。这就好像一位母亲为了避免孩子受到或造成任何伤害之前而责骂他们,比如在玩火。这愤怒的呈现,其实是因为有他们慈悲的协助而利益更多众生。

    其实相比之下多杰雄登护法和以上所提到的护法,多杰雄登护法是更容易被人们接受。因为多杰雄登护法是以一个出家人的形象和我们更靠近,而且可以更迅速的帮我们消除障碍。希望会有更多人可以有机会阅读这篇博文来了解每个护法的背景。在事情还未搞清楚之前,有时候沉默是最好的选择,因为至少不会说错话而造下恶业。

  13. Shelly tai on Apr 27, 2016 at 4:08 pm

    Thank you Pastor Niral for explaining to us the benefits of Dharma protector, prior to joining Kechara I always missunderstand all these wrathful image that I come across is like someone propitiate demon very scary to even look at the statute but after understand more about all these wrathful image the benefits and why they appers to us in this wrathful form I do not see them as scary and evil anymore .

  14. Stella Cheang on Apr 27, 2016 at 11:56 am

    Dharmapalas practice is a common practice in Tibetan Buddhism, because of the function of Dharmapala. They arise to support our spiritual progress and practice through a number of methods. As human beings, we are never short of worldly problems on a daily basis and most of the time these problems consume almost all of our time and effort, technically rendering us hapless in pursue of spiritual development. Hence, we propitiate Dharmapala to help us remove obstacles and difficulties that block spiritual progress.

    Dharmapalas often arise in wrathful forms with wrathful sounding liturgies. Pastor Niral explains here that the “wrath is testament to their quality of extreme compassion which motivates them to act urgently to bless and protect”, akin to a “…mother angry at her child for doing something that can cause harm”. Dharmapalas in wrathful form also means the speed in which the particular protector can come to our aid.

    From the 10 different Dharmapalas shared here, it is apparent that each and every one of them are in wrathful form, and has violent imagery, but it does not mean that they are demon or evil. In fact, most of the Dharmapalas depicted here are emanation of enlightened beings such as Heruka & Vajrayogini, Tara, Chenrezig, Saraswati and Manjushri. Therefore it is inessential to judge a Dharmapala by his look.

    Due to the circumstances Dharmapala arose, they have a specific purpose or function; e.g. protecting a particular lineage, or certain teachings. They do this because the teachings within these lineages can have a very real benefit in people’s lives, lead them to high attainments and even enlightenment. Protecting a teaching or lineage specifically does not automatically mean it is sectarian. In fact, out of great compassion, Dharmapala such as Dorje Shugden treats all sentient beings equally with love and compassion.

    Thank you Rinpoche and Pastor Niral for this detailed article on Dharmapala.

    Humbly, bowing down,
    Stella Cheang

  15. Chris Chong on Apr 24, 2016 at 7:30 am

    Dear Pastor Niral,

    Thank you for presenting this information on Rinpoche’s blog. I enjoyed reading it very much.

    Dharma protectors had been propitiated in many different lineages other than Gelug. Many of them have wrathful appearance and gore iconography. It is due to their extreme compassion that they manifested in that way. If one conclude that Dorje Shugden is a demon because he is “evil” looking with the fierce iconography and goring details, that person is clearly ignorant. Clearly they are not studied dharma and familiar with Tibetan Buddhism. How can they condemn something that they are not familiar with ?

    One might also say, Dorje Shugden practice promotes materialism because he has an increasing form, Gyenze. There are many deities in Buddhism that can grant increase in wealth when are propitiated. Example will be Yellow Dzambala and Namtose. They blessing can bring increase energy to practitioners in their outer AND inner wealth. So it not just about the money. Many of us pray to the Buddhas for a better life , better job and better financial security. Does this mean the Buddhas are promoting materialism too ?

    Dorje Shugden is a fully enlightened Dharma Protector that can benefit alot of practitioners in this age. Let’s be objective when we look at the arguments made to condemn Dorje Shugden as demon. Be fair and be neutral. Stop being ignorant.

    Chrid

    • Pastor Niral Patel on Apr 26, 2016 at 8:55 pm

      Well said Chris. Thanks for sharing your understanding. As you’ve mentioned there are many practices within Tibetan Buddhism that are known to provide practitioners with better material circumstances, and one must understand the reason for this. It is so that practitioners have the means of survival so that they can spend more time practicing the Dharma to better themselves.

      It is very sad when people denigrate Dorje Shugden’s practice as nothing more than a practice to gain wealth, and therefore samsaric in nature. This is obviously because these people are not using a logical Buddhist understanding of the practice.

      In fact many of these very same people who denigrate Dorje Shugden for this, themselves practice deities that can bring material benefit such as Dzambala or Namtose. This just shows the double-standards that people are operating by. Its a shame for sure, but as highlighted in the post, if one really looks at the situation from a logical Buddhist perspective, one comes to the understanding that Dorje Shugden’s practice is not samsaric in nature but has a great impact in our spiritual lives. This is because his practice provides us with the conducive conditions necessary for spiritual practice, leading to the ending of suffering and for others when we ourselves achieve enlightenment.

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  • Lin Mun
    Friday, Apr 28. 2017 04:00 PM
    Everything we offer to Buddha is a form of mind transformation and practise our mind to be focus even when doing water offering. When pouring the water into the bowl we have to recite Om Ah Hum (3 times), think positively and pouring it slowly so it does not spill and leaving the space of a grain of rice before reaching the top. After offering we also have to clean the bowls properly without leaving stain. All this is to train our mind.

    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing the many benefits and water offering in a simple to understand article.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/making-water-offerings-to-the-buddhas.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Friday, Apr 28. 2017 03:38 PM
    Trolls are assiociates as beings of Scandinavian folklore.A large number of different mythological creatures continue to live on in Scandinavian folklore.They have different shapes,habitat and filthy features . There are also numerous tales of trolls told and retold.Trolls are also believed to have the magigal powers, which were folktales ,posses capabilities that are beyond human .What ever it was a remnant of a long-lost reality for sure. I do believe that there’s a very high chance trolls had existed in the past.
    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing ,i do enjoyed all the stories in these article even though it just folk tales.
    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/science-mysteries/the-hidden-nature-of-trolls.html
  • Jason
    Thursday, Apr 27. 2017 11:54 PM
    People always expect return on some contribution being done especially in charity events. When the return was under their expectations then they will feel sad or unhappy.
    As Rinpoche said, Dharma is a teachings to transform our mind to become bodicitta or selfless to benefit others without condition. Once we practiced selfless mind, our mind will not be affected by others people reaction.
    What will be my legacy? I think this is not really important to me anymore once I know Dharma teachings from Rinpoche.
    Thanks Datuk May for sharing to benefit more people.

    Jason

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/guest-contributors/what-will-be-your-legacy.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Thursday, Apr 27. 2017 08:56 PM
    Amazing miracles true story …of how Rinpoche helped. With Rinpoche blessing during the children baptismal ceremony,this little boy who had not spoken since 9 years old was able to speake again.Incredible….
    Chef Au truly believes been a vegetarian has help him to collects merits for his son.Rinpoche’s care and compassion has benefited many more people.Through these stories hope more people will be inspired to achieve the state of compassion and attainments.
    Thank you Rinpoche and Pastor Loh Seng Piow for this sharing.
    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/personal-attendant/the-miracles-of-tsem-rinpoche-true-story-4.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Thursday, Apr 27. 2017 07:51 PM
    Having fully trust and faith in Rinpoche ,Fat monk’s mother was well again, after been diagnosed with cancerious tumour at the liver.
    Following instructions given by Rinpoche, his mother recited mantras and Fat monk did a series of pujas as told,his mother recovered then.
    Amazing……Miracles do happen.
    Thank you Rinpoche and Pastor Loh Seng Piow for sharing.
    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/personal-attendant/the-miracles-of-tsem-rinpoche-true-story-3.html
  • Stella Cheang
    Thursday, Apr 27. 2017 05:27 PM
    We are no strangers to the creatures called Werewolves. They are often depicted as the Jekyll-and-Hyde-like monsters in movies who are unable to control their animal instincts when they shift from human form to a wolf-like creature, usually during the full moon. Together with the Vampires who can transform into bats, are my childhood imagery villains, who triggered my curiosity on mythical creatures during younger days. They still do, lol.

    It is gruesome to learn that real life werewolves are actually brutal even when they are in human forms. It is a far depict from the movies and fictions, where they are civil and level headed when in human form. I hope one day science or technology can provide more proves the existence of werewolves, and debunk the reason of this mystical shapeshifter.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/paranormal/werewolves-the-shapeshifters.html
  • Stella Cheang
    Thursday, Apr 27. 2017 05:07 PM
    The miraculous power of Protectors’ practice can heal and shield us from negative karma from ripening. Through the blessings of our Guru, coupled with strong faith and trust, the practices will take effect swiftly and effectively. Rejoice to Steven Lee. May he be guided by the Three Jewels always. Thank you, Pastor Seng Piow for sharing the true story with us.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/personal-attendant/the-miracles-of-tsem-rinpoche-true-story-10.html
  • Lin Mun
    Thursday, Apr 27. 2017 03:57 PM
    This is a very touching article. I totally agree that dog is a man’s best friend. They are always so loyal to the owner. However it is sad that not all pet owners are such. Some will only treat them literally as an animal and therefore do not take good care of them. Dogs or any other animals are beings that have feeling. There should not be neglected and be abused by us. This article reminds us to always care for all beings and respect them.

    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing this heartwarming article.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/animals-vegetarianism/faithful-dog-chases-deceased-owner.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Thursday, Apr 27. 2017 02:21 PM
    Its a heartfelt touching article of this faithful dog.Cannot imagine this ,such a wonderful relationship between that dog and the deceased owner.The greatest fear dogs know is the fear that we will not come back for them That i noticed from observing from my pet poodle.In this case this faithful dog knew his owner won’t be back.
    Dogs are loyal, patient, fearless, forgiving, capable of pure love and have feelings too.He must have missed the owner badly that he wanted to accompany the owner all the way to the resting place.
    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing. May that faithful dog ,continue to serve and well taken, love by the other family members.
    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/animals-vegetarianism/faithful-dog-chases-deceased-owner.html
  • Samfoonheei
    Thursday, Apr 27. 2017 01:46 PM
    Werewolves are known to be mythical creatures found in fiction instead of lurking in the dark woods,In various parts of the world there were few cases who have gone down in history as real life werewolves Interesting to read it from these post..How far it was true or just legends.,no one really know . Many myths and legends surrounding werewolves .To become a werewolf, it is necessary to be bitten by a werewolf in their form at the time of the full moon. Thats what all of us knew from the movies and from fiction told. Reports of werewolf sightings continued even till this century but mostly in between 1428 and 1447 .The most recent sighting of werewolf sightings in 1972. was in Ohio .but eventually subsided .
    Thank you Rinpoche for sharing these interesting article which i do enjoyed reading it,
    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/paranormal/werewolves-the-shapeshifters.html
  • Valentina
    Thursday, Apr 27. 2017 01:11 PM
    Join our blog chat session this Saturday 11AM – 12PM (GMT +8) on the topic of:

    Twenty-Four Holy Places & Eight Great Charnel Grounds part 2 – (focus topic: Eight Great Charnel Grounds)

    At one time there was a god by the name of Rudra who was originally part of Mahadeva’s retinue. He was a very fierce being who also had many of his own consorts. Together with his consorts he began to oppress sentient beings, and promoted violence and unethical behaviour. At that time, Heruka once again arose, and in a dance of great compassionate wrath, liberated Rudra and his consorts from their physical bodies, sending their minds to pure lands. The places where Rudra’s body parts fell became charnel grounds. …read more by clicking the following link:

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/twenty-four-holy-places-eight-great-charnel-grounds.html
  • Jason
    Thursday, Apr 27. 2017 03:07 AM
    This year Wesak Day fall on 10 of May. This day is very special and meaningful to me because I will visit Kechara Forest Retreat(KFR) to join some meritorious event there.
    For me, Wesak is a day to commemorate Buddha Sakyamuni in three aspect( Birth , Enlightened, Nirwana).
    While we celebrate Wesak, we must remind ourselves to learn from Buddha teachings and practice it in order to gain attainment.
    Thanks Rinpoche and Pastor Seng Piow for sharing in order to create more understanding on Wesak Day.

    Jason

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/wesak-day-special-on-rtm-2.html
  • Stella Cheang
    Wednesday, Apr 26. 2017 06:10 PM
    OMG! This is very touching. To see a doggie who never left go of his owner in spite of death. Way more powerful than many who proclaimed “till death do us part.” Just like the human, not all doggies are as loyal as this tear-jerking pet, but I truly believe almost all doggies offer unconditional love to the person who feeds and cares for them. Even when they are stray animals. There was a stray dog who will run two streets from the entrance of the “Taman” until the car stops in front of the house, just to greet me. You can imagine the warm and conviction in my heart that these beings are more than capable of loving than many of us, human! Thank you for this lovely sharing. I miss my doggie, Sherab.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/animals-vegetarianism/faithful-dog-chases-deceased-owner.html
  • Stella Cheang
    Wednesday, Apr 26. 2017 06:00 PM
    Thank you, Pastor Seng Piow, for this amazing sharing. There is no doubt about the ability of our Guru, His Eminence the 25th Tsem Tulku Rinpoche. His incarnations have been compassionate and taken rebirth to return and spread the dharma so that sentient beings can benefit and learn some dharma in our short life.

    We shall never doubt our Guru; but must see that He is one with our Yidam and Protector, an attained being. Even if our Guru does not demonstrate clairvoyance abilities, we must never contest our Guru, for he holds the key (dharma) that can liberate us from eternal suffering in samsara.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/personal-attendant/the-miracles-of-tsem-rinpoche-true-story-1-2.html
  • Stella Cheang
    Wednesday, Apr 26. 2017 05:50 PM
    Thank you, Pastor Seng Piow, for the illustrated miracle story on how Rinpoche guided Cynthia and Marici away from danger through protector’s practice. The unseen exist, whether we like it or not. Some of them are malicious and have the affinity or karma with some of us. Hence they can cause harm and disturbance. By engaging in Protectors’ practice like Dorje Shugden and Setrap that have been practiced by the high lamas of the Gelug school of Tibetan Buddhism, we are protected and guarded against harm.

    Rinpoche is compassionate and only want the best for us. His teachings are not meant to show off the power of the divines but offer us a way out from our desperate samsara conundrum that binds us from engaging in deeper spiritual practice. Rinpoche always teaches us to focus on mind transformation and Tsongkhapa practice. How fortunate we are to have met Rinpoche in this lifetime. We must not let this rare and precious opportunity go to waste.

    http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/personal-attendant/the-miracles-of-tsem-rinpoche-true-story-12.html

1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5 · »

Messages from Rinpoche

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CREDITS

Concept: Tsem Rinpoche
Technical: Lew Kwan Leng, Justin Ripley, Yong Swee Keong
Design: Justin Ripley, Cynthia Lee
Content: Tsem Rinpoche, Justin Ripley, Pastor Shin Tan, Sarah Yap
Writer: Pastor Loh Seng Piow
Admin: Pastor Loh Seng Piow, Beng Kooi

I must thank my dharma blog team who are great assets to me, Kechara and growth of dharma in this wonderful region. I am honoured and thrilled to work with them. I really am. Maybe I don't say it enough to them, but I am saying it now. I APPRECIATE THESE GUYS VERY MUCH!

Tsem Rinpoche

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The Unknown

The Known and unknown are both feared,
Known is being comfortable and stagnant,
The unknown may be growth and opportunities,
One shall never know if one fears the unknown more than the known.
Who says the unknown would be worse than the known?
But then again, the unknown is sometimes worse than the known. In the end nothing is known unless we endeavour,
So go pursue all the way with the unknown,
because all unknown with familiarity becomes the known.
~Tsem Rinpoche

Photos On The Go

Click on the images to view the bigger version. And scroll down and click on "View All Photos" to view more images.
Holy Lady Buddha Vajra Yogini\'s blessing can be found when we decide to focus out to others instead of in to only ourselves.
~ Tsem Tulku Rinpoche
2 weeks ago
Holy Lady Buddha Vajra Yogini's blessing can be found when we decide to focus out to others instead of in to only ourselves. ~ Tsem Tulku Rinpoche
His Holiness Vajradhara Kyabje Zong Rinpoche of Gaden Monastery who is the refuge of countless, gives a clear explanation of Dorje Shugden. One is able to hear his holy voice and translation by Geshe Tsultrim Gyeltsen! Please see here and share: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=122352
2 weeks ago
His Holiness Vajradhara Kyabje Zong Rinpoche of Gaden Monastery who is the refuge of countless, gives a clear explanation of Dorje Shugden. One is able to hear his holy voice and translation by Geshe Tsultrim Gyeltsen! Please see here and share: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=122352
: This picture says it all. Click on it to enlarge and read and please share.
3 weeks ago
: This picture says it all. Click on it to enlarge and read and please share.
This is a simple chart showing the three main psychic channels used in tantric meditations to control the winds, raise tummo (fire energy), gain higher consciousness and insight and also for gaining siddhis. These channels are used in meditations for controlling the mind, when the mind ejects from the body (phowa) and one\'s death. These three channels are very important. Tsem Rinpoche
3 weeks ago
This is a simple chart showing the three main psychic channels used in tantric meditations to control the winds, raise tummo (fire energy), gain higher consciousness and insight and also for gaining siddhis. These channels are used in meditations for controlling the mind, when the mind ejects from the body (phowa) and one's death. These three channels are very important. Tsem Rinpoche
I think my cute doggie Oser is actually Tintin\'s dog Snowy!
3 weeks ago
I think my cute doggie Oser is actually Tintin's dog Snowy!
Great Masters of Gaden Shartse Monastery. From left to right: His Eminence Kensur Jampa Yeshe Rinpoche, His Holiness Sharpa Choeje Jetsun Lobsang Nyima, H.E. Kyabje Zemey Rinpoche, H.E. Kyabje Lati Rinpoche, His Holiness 101st Gaden Tripa throne holder Jetsun Lungrik Namgyal.
3 weeks ago
Great Masters of Gaden Shartse Monastery. From left to right: His Eminence Kensur Jampa Yeshe Rinpoche, His Holiness Sharpa Choeje Jetsun Lobsang Nyima, H.E. Kyabje Zemey Rinpoche, H.E. Kyabje Lati Rinpoche, His Holiness 101st Gaden Tripa throne holder Jetsun Lungrik Namgyal.
 Left to right: Dharma boy, Mumu boy and Oser girl. The three of them are my beautiful and loved Schnauzer dogs. They loved looking through the window to see traffic, people and movement. They loved the smells that drifted through their little noses. I love seeing the three of them together like this. I love them. Tsem Rinpoche
3 weeks ago
Left to right: Dharma boy, Mumu boy and Oser girl. The three of them are my beautiful and loved Schnauzer dogs. They loved looking through the window to see traffic, people and movement. They loved the smells that drifted through their little noses. I love seeing the three of them together like this. I love them. Tsem Rinpoche
Little Mumu boy...he loved balloons. When he saw them, he wanted to get close and perhaps bite them. Cute. I love this picture of Mumu reaching for the balloons. He was young and healthy! This picture captures his energy, enthusiasm, curiosity and high energy. I love this picture of him chasing the balloons. His pictures are always so nice....He was not a pet but family to me. I love him tremendously and always will. Tsem Rinpoche
3 weeks ago
Little Mumu boy...he loved balloons. When he saw them, he wanted to get close and perhaps bite them. Cute. I love this picture of Mumu reaching for the balloons. He was young and healthy! This picture captures his energy, enthusiasm, curiosity and high energy. I love this picture of him chasing the balloons. His pictures are always so nice....He was not a pet but family to me. I love him tremendously and always will. Tsem Rinpoche
Little Mumu boy and myself.. He was not a pet but family to me. I love him tremendously and always will. Tsem Rinpoche
3 weeks ago
Little Mumu boy and myself.. He was not a pet but family to me. I love him tremendously and always will. Tsem Rinpoche
2017-His Holiness the 101st Gaden Tripa, Jetsun Lungrik Namgyal is doing well and 90 years old. His Holiness Lungrik Namgyal is a powerful master of sutra and tantra and practitioner of Dorje Shugden. Currently residing in France.
3 weeks ago
2017-His Holiness the 101st Gaden Tripa, Jetsun Lungrik Namgyal is doing well and 90 years old. His Holiness Lungrik Namgyal is a powerful master of sutra and tantra and practitioner of Dorje Shugden. Currently residing in France.
One of the most sacred statues of Avalokitesvara made of sandalwood housed in Lhasa, Tibet. He has shown miracles also. Every pilgrim wishes to make offerings to this Lord of Compassion.
3 weeks ago
One of the most sacred statues of Avalokitesvara made of sandalwood housed in Lhasa, Tibet. He has shown miracles also. Every pilgrim wishes to make offerings to this Lord of Compassion.
 Sacred Avalokitesvara statue in Nepal. Thousands come to worship this special Buddha as it has conferred wishes in the past.
3 weeks ago
Sacred Avalokitesvara statue in Nepal. Thousands come to worship this special Buddha as it has conferred wishes in the past.
Tsem Rinpoche\'s Vajra Yogini statue and offerings
3 weeks ago
Tsem Rinpoche's Vajra Yogini statue and offerings
Two of my teachers from Gaden Shartse Monastery in South India. Left side is Most Venerable Geshe Tsultrim Gyeltsen whom I lived with for 8 years in Los Angeles where his centre Thubten Dhargye Ling is located. On the right is the abbot emeritus H.E. Kyabje Lati Rinpoche the scholar and yogi. I was very fortunate to have them in my life and learn so much dharma from them. Tsem Rinpoche
3 weeks ago
Two of my teachers from Gaden Shartse Monastery in South India. Left side is Most Venerable Geshe Tsultrim Gyeltsen whom I lived with for 8 years in Los Angeles where his centre Thubten Dhargye Ling is located. On the right is the abbot emeritus H.E. Kyabje Lati Rinpoche the scholar and yogi. I was very fortunate to have them in my life and learn so much dharma from them. Tsem Rinpoche
 It is so wonderful to be kind to people, be caring, feed them, make sure they are healthy and share dharma if they are interested with them for their future. But simply to be nice to others is worth getting up and being alive...otherwise why be alive to hurt/use/distrust and hate others? No point living that way..must change that..... It is nice to live our lives to benefit others and be patient even if we have been hurt before because by caring we can heal the hurt and \'defeat\' the ones that hurt us because we don\'t become bitter..... Tsem Rinpoche
3 weeks ago
It is so wonderful to be kind to people, be caring, feed them, make sure they are healthy and share dharma if they are interested with them for their future. But simply to be nice to others is worth getting up and being alive...otherwise why be alive to hurt/use/distrust and hate others? No point living that way..must change that..... It is nice to live our lives to benefit others and be patient even if we have been hurt before because by caring we can heal the hurt and 'defeat' the ones that hurt us because we don't become bitter..... Tsem Rinpoche
Tsem Rinpoche\'s heritage in China. Must read: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=120499
4 weeks ago
Tsem Rinpoche's heritage in China. Must read: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=120499
Thank you Buddhist Pastor Chia for sharing your story on how you met His Eminence Tsem Rinpoche over 20 years ago. We can learn much from your story.~Admin  Please read: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=116928
4 weeks ago
Thank you Buddhist Pastor Chia for sharing your story on how you met His Eminence Tsem Rinpoche over 20 years ago. We can learn much from your story.~Admin Please read: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/?p=116928
Mumu boy is incredibly photogenic. He is beyond cute. Tsem Rinpoche
4 weeks ago
Mumu boy is incredibly photogenic. He is beyond cute. Tsem Rinpoche
 (left to right) Rabten Tulku, Gonsar Rinpoche, Gyume Kensur Rinpoche, Trijang Rinpoche, H.H. Gaden Trisur Rinpoche (France)
4 weeks ago
(left to right) Rabten Tulku, Gonsar Rinpoche, Gyume Kensur Rinpoche, Trijang Rinpoche, H.H. Gaden Trisur Rinpoche (France)
Beautiful 200 roses arrived today for me as a gift from Su Ming. Very kind and thoughtful of her as usual. Tsem Rinpoche
4 weeks ago
Beautiful 200 roses arrived today for me as a gift from Su Ming. Very kind and thoughtful of her as usual. Tsem Rinpoche
It\'s good to be with kind and sincere people.
4 weeks ago
It's good to be with kind and sincere people.
If we are kind, we lose less of ourselves-Tsem Rinpoche
4 weeks ago
If we are kind, we lose less of ourselves-Tsem Rinpoche
My Mumu boy didn\'t want to eat. Eating is not one of his favorite activities throughout his life. So I talked to him to let him know why he needs to eat and keep his strength up when this photo was taken. He was listening intently and after my talk with him, he ate. Tsem Rinpoche
4 weeks ago
My Mumu boy didn't want to eat. Eating is not one of his favorite activities throughout his life. So I talked to him to let him know why he needs to eat and keep his strength up when this photo was taken. He was listening intently and after my talk with him, he ate. Tsem Rinpoche
This is so true. Click to enlarge and understand more about unpleasant people.
4 weeks ago
This is so true. Click to enlarge and understand more about unpleasant people.
This mahasiddha Kukkuripa is easy to identify as he is accompanied by a small dog whom he loved very much.
1 month ago
This mahasiddha Kukkuripa is easy to identify as he is accompanied by a small dog whom he loved very much.
Mumu taking a rest in the turquoise room. Over the years, I always feel very satisfied when I see him covered with a blanket, safe and sleeping. I always wanted to make sure he was safe from harm, illness and distress. I wanted him to have a happy and loved life. Tsem Rinpoche
1 month ago
Mumu taking a rest in the turquoise room. Over the years, I always feel very satisfied when I see him covered with a blanket, safe and sleeping. I always wanted to make sure he was safe from harm, illness and distress. I wanted him to have a happy and loved life. Tsem Rinpoche
I wrapped my little Mumu boy up in my blanket and propped him up on my bed. He didn\'t move or wiggle and just looked at me. He is one funny entertaining little guy. Tsem Rinpoche
1 month ago
I wrapped my little Mumu boy up in my blanket and propped him up on my bed. He didn't move or wiggle and just looked at me. He is one funny entertaining little guy. Tsem Rinpoche
March 2017-Coaxing my little Mumu boy to eat his meal. He was not well and therefore not hungry. Tsem Rinpoche
1 month ago
March 2017-Coaxing my little Mumu boy to eat his meal. He was not well and therefore not hungry. Tsem Rinpoche
Click on picture to enlarge and see what Milarepa says. Profound.
1 month ago
Click on picture to enlarge and see what Milarepa says. Profound.
We are always trying to get somewhere, try something new, find some friends, get some entertainment and in the end we end up in the same place. Time to really practice Dharma seriously and stop wasting time we don\'t have. ~Tsem Rinpoche
1 month ago
We are always trying to get somewhere, try something new, find some friends, get some entertainment and in the end we end up in the same place. Time to really practice Dharma seriously and stop wasting time we don't have. ~Tsem Rinpoche
March 20, 2017-Mumu is just so adorable with his bright eyes.
1 month ago
March 20, 2017-Mumu is just so adorable with his bright eyes.
More and more people inviting Lord Dorje Shugden home to connect with on their shrines. I am so happy to see this as it will benefit them and their families so much. That is the purpose to be alive which is to benefit others as much as possible. Tsem Rinpoche
1 month ago
More and more people inviting Lord Dorje Shugden home to connect with on their shrines. I am so happy to see this as it will benefit them and their families so much. That is the purpose to be alive which is to benefit others as much as possible. Tsem Rinpoche
His Eminence Tsem Rinpoche is a good sport watching his students do Halloween drag costumes for a charity show. Funny!
1 month ago
His Eminence Tsem Rinpoche is a good sport watching his students do Halloween drag costumes for a charity show. Funny!
His Eminence Tsem Rinpoche is a good sport watching his students do Halloween drag costumes for a charity show. Funny!
1 month ago
His Eminence Tsem Rinpoche is a good sport watching his students do Halloween drag costumes for a charity show. Funny!
The Japanese are very innovative. Tsem Rinpoche
1 month ago
The Japanese are very innovative. Tsem Rinpoche
Read this as it will be interesting
1 month ago
Read this as it will be interesting
Recite this before any meal or drinks for blessings of abundance. Tsem Rinpoche
1 month ago
Recite this before any meal or drinks for blessings of abundance. Tsem Rinpoche
This sacred statue of Buddha is in Nepal brought originally from Tibet and has spoken on many occasions. Very blessed to see this holy image and keep a picture...bless you always. Tsem Rinpoche
1 month ago
This sacred statue of Buddha is in Nepal brought originally from Tibet and has spoken on many occasions. Very blessed to see this holy image and keep a picture...bless you always. Tsem Rinpoche
I love Mumu boy tremendously. We went through so much together for so many years. You are a great being to be with. Tsem Rinpoche
1 month ago
I love Mumu boy tremendously. We went through so much together for so many years. You are a great being to be with. Tsem Rinpoche
Dear everyone, I am sharing this beautiful and modern altar to Dorje Shugden in Malaysia. I am glad to see more and more people creating sacred spaces. Tsem Rinpoche
1 month ago
Dear everyone, I am sharing this beautiful and modern altar to Dorje Shugden in Malaysia. I am glad to see more and more people creating sacred spaces. Tsem Rinpoche
Lhamo Karmo, a female buddha form visualized above the crown of one\'s head at the time of death, to encourage consciousness to leave the body via the crown aperture. From my book \"The Female Buddhas.\"- Glenn Mullin
2 months ago
Lhamo Karmo, a female buddha form visualized above the crown of one's head at the time of death, to encourage consciousness to leave the body via the crown aperture. From my book "The Female Buddhas."- Glenn Mullin
The Tibetan female tulku Dorje Pakmo, from a fresco on the wall of the Dorje Pakmo monastery (Samding) in Tibet, near the Turquoise Lake. In Tibet the Dorje Pakmo was ranked with the Dalai Lama, Panchen Lama and Sakya Trizin as the four highest lamas in the country.-from Glenn Mullin
2 months ago
The Tibetan female tulku Dorje Pakmo, from a fresco on the wall of the Dorje Pakmo monastery (Samding) in Tibet, near the Turquoise Lake. In Tibet the Dorje Pakmo was ranked with the Dalai Lama, Panchen Lama and Sakya Trizin as the four highest lamas in the country.-from Glenn Mullin
Dharma boy, Mumu boy and Oser girl checking out the scene..cute
2 months ago
Dharma boy, Mumu boy and Oser girl checking out the scene..cute
My Dharma boy has such a cute expression here. He is a good boy!
2 months ago
My Dharma boy has such a cute expression here. He is a good boy!
February 9,2017-My Mumu boy and Oser girl are just relaxing together..super cute
3 months ago
February 9,2017-My Mumu boy and Oser girl are just relaxing together..super cute
Click on the picture to enlarge and see what Suzy from Hawaii commented on the Dorje Shugden issue after much research. She is very candid and honest. Refreshing. Original is posted here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vl-4lIwxph4
3 months ago
Click on the picture to enlarge and see what Suzy from Hawaii commented on the Dorje Shugden issue after much research. She is very candid and honest. Refreshing. Original is posted here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vl-4lIwxph4
This is a good one to read
3 months ago
This is a good one to read
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ASK A PASTOR


Ask the Pastors

A section for you to clarify your Dharma questions with Kechara’s esteemed pastors.

Just post your name and your question below and one of our pastors will provide you with an answer.

Scroll down and click on "View All Questions" to view archived questions.

  • April 20, 2017 10:45
    Ronnie asked: Dear Rinpoche and Pastors, I'm studying abroad and very far away from home, seeking guidance and advice as I have no one else I can talk to about this. Please read with an open mind, I don't know where else to go for help. I'm pregnant and it's an unplanned pregnancy. I'm stuck between keeping it or letting it go. I'm young and having a child at my age in the society we live in now would be considered taboo. The father of the child thinks I should let it go because it may cause a setback to both our careers and cause major family issues. He thinks we aren't ready to raise a child especially since we're both still in university and his parents think badly of me even though they've never met me or tried to get to know me. I'm sure no one would ever have the heart to take away a heartbeat but it seems like it isn't the right time to have a child now and if we did go through with it, the child probably won't be able to have the best things life can offer looking at where we are now in terms of finance and maturity. I'm lost, confused and unsure what the right thing to do is now. Any advice at all would be helpful right now. Thank you so very much for taking time to read my story.
    pastor answered: Dear Ronnie, I’m sorry to read that you are going through this situation. I can understand that this situation is tough to go through. You are always more than welcome to come here to ask questions. May I suggest that you talk to either someone in your family or your friends to help you come to an appropriate solution? This is because, what you feel, what you are going through, will change from time to time and you would need someone to talk to, someone that you can lean on through this situation you are facing. Depending on where you are in the world, professional help can also be sought to help you make a decision, which will be the best option for you seeking help. From a Buddhist perspective, the taking of a life is not considered a positive act, therefore those on the Buddhist path, would normally abstain taking a life if possible. However, that being said, one must always weigh the decision oneself. Everything we do in life, necessarily involves karma both positive and negative. That is why Buddhists try to overcome samsara in general. Your situation is complicated because you are abroad, but if possible you should really open up to someone you are close to in order to help you through making this decision on a personal basis. When you talk to someone, whom you are able to express yourself more, you may able to come to better decision that is right for you. There may be other options open to you if you seek help. I personally know women who have been in similar situations. One of these women, let the child go and the other went through the pregnancy and then gave the child up for adoption. You may or may not have thought of this option, but it is one that could be open to you, depending on where in the world you are. Any decision we make in life, however big or small it may seem, has far reaching consequences whether in this life, or in future lives. This is just a part and parcel of life within samsara. However, we should weigh the decisions we make clearly given the situation we are in. We cannot always do this weighing ourselves, but need to talk about our options with others we can rely on such a friends, family or professionals. You should consider doing this, which will help you greatly emotionally, and may give you the grounding you need to make the correct decision for you. I hope this helps.
  • April 19, 2017 04:57
    Dongho asked: What is a nyung ne practice? According to Lama Zopa Rinpoche, it's a purification sadhana. However, what are the instructions for this? I'm guessing it's to Chenrezig, but how does it work? Also, from what I have read, Vajrasattva practice is only for broken vows while Akshobhya is for regular misdeeds. Does that mean one has to take the Akshobhya practice to purify bad karma from this life and previous instead of Vajrasattva? As for the purification practices, are some like Vajrasattva and Chenrezig only to purify the bad karma and let it come quickly or is it to prevent it from coming? I am confused in it. As for signs, I recited a mantra of White Yangchenma that a Sakya lama, Lama Kunga Thartse Rinpoche, gave me with the Sakya visualizations I read on, and after one mala, I heard some lady call my Korean name even though no one in my neighborhood knows of my name and my family members weren't in the area. What does this mean?
    pastor answered: Dear Dongho, Thank you for your questions, it’s nice to see you back here again. Nyung Ne practice is a purification practice that centres around Chenrezig. It is a very beneficial practice that stems from a holy nun named Gelong-ma Palmo. It is a two and a half day practice that can be repeated many times over and over again to intensify the purification and build a closer relationship with Chenrezig. As well as its purification aspect, the practice is known to generate vast amount of merit, and also compassion, as the practice centres around Chenrezig, the Buddha of compassion. The practice involves taking the eight Mahayana precepts for the duration, fasting, meditating, prostrating and praying. The practice usually entails empowerment into the practice of Chenrezig, therefore the exact meditations, prayers can only be explained to those who have the empowerment. Vajrasattva practice is not necessarily only for repairing broken vows, etc. That’s why it is advised that you engage in the practice at the end of the day, to repair any vows that you may have broken during that day, as well as stopping any negative karma you created that day from multiplying. This would entail reciting the mantra 21 times, together with the four opponent powers. However, if you engage in this practice more intensely, it definitely has the capability to purify all sorts of karma. That is the reason why in Ngondro, or preliminary practices one engages in before tantra, the practice of 100,000 Vajrasattva mantra recitation is an integral part. You can read more about Vajrasattva and his practice here: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/prayers-and-sadhanas/an-important-purification-practice.html. Within purification practices, some of the karma will be purified completely, so you do not feel its effects at all, but when purifying other karma you will need to feel its effects somehow. For example if you have the karma to be in a car accident and get seriously injured, and you are engaging in any practice, but especially the purification practice, since you have purified most of the karma, you will only experience being in a very minor car accident, with only very superficial injuries. Therefore, in this case, the karma has been purified to the extent that it does not affect you as much, but you still need to feel part of its effect. In regards to any signs that you receive which engaging in the practices given to you by one of your specific gurus, you should report the happenings to that particular guru. He will be able to give you more of an accurate answer, as it may be related to the particular practice that he gave to you. I hope this helps. Thank you.
  • April 17, 2017 07:06
    Thomas asked: Dear Pastors, When a serkyem set has been used so much and one is ready to get rid of it and replace it with a new one. What is a respecful mode of disposal?
    pastor answered: Dear Thomas, Thank you for your question. Your question shows that you have a lot of respect for offering items, which is very good. If possible, you should try to repair the item if within your means, and doing so make embellishments to make it a better offering item, which can still be used. If this is not possible, then you should dispose of the item with a good motivation. You should think that this item has been used to make offerings to the enlightened beings, but now that it is broken or unusable, you are going to dispose of it, and replace it with a new one. Since it itself is not a receptacle of energies of the enlightened beings, such as a statue, tsa tsa or thangka, it does not require a special dissolution before being disposed of. However since it was used to make offerings, it still requires some form of respect when disposing, and this comes from one’s motivation and the way in which you dispose of it. Usually, when disposing of items in this way, make the motivation that you have used it and that it is now time to dispose of it, and replace it with a new one. When you do this you can dispose of it in a respectful manner. For example, if you are going to throw it away, you do not simply open the trash can and throw it in. You wrap it up in something, like a bag or newspaper and dispose of it respectfully. Another method you can dispose of it is to recycle the object, if the material it is made from can be recycled. That way you are more conscious of the environment as well. I hope this explanation helps. Thank you.
  • April 16, 2017 22:38
    Curious asked: Dear pastors In a recent youtube video something like paying respect to deceased ones, pastor Nirel Patel explained that merits are like the interest and good karma is like the principal sum. So merits always regenerate themselves and hence do not get used up but good karma is like the principal sum so it gets used up. So my question is what are practices that generate merit? And can we turn a mundane daily activity into a meritorious one? Maybe can you provide an example?
    pastor answered: Dear Curious, Thank you for your question. First, to clarify a point, in regards to good karma, you are right, it is like a principal sum in a bank account, but you take away from it when you experience something good in your life, and you add to it when you do good deeds. Merit on the other hand, once accrued never diminishes, therefore when something is based on merit, it is based on the energies of this never diminishing sum, which you could say is like interest. In short, the principal sum when talking about karma is always added to and subtracted from. However, when talking about merit, once you have it, there is no way to destroy it, you will always benefit from it. There are various ways to explain how to generate merit. I will explain a way that I find easiest to understand. In normal life, when we go about performing any sort of activity, be it ‘good’ or ‘bad’ we do so out of ignorance of the true nature of existence, and it is usually self-motivated. For example, we work our entire lives to generate monetary income, so that we have enough money, resources, and materials goods to be comfortable. This is self-motivated, but it is the accepted way the world works these days, and is part and parcel of being bound to samsaric life. On the other hand, the act of merit making can be categorised into three parts: i) motivation, ii) the act itself, and iii) dedication. Let’s start with motivation, when engaging in various virtuous acts, we should have the motivation that by engaging in the act, we have the motivation to alleviate the suffering of someone else, and that may we gain enlightenment so that we can benefit them in the future. The second is the act itself. The third is to dedicate the energy of the virtuous act to gaining enlightenment. These three are what make merit. This may be a little confusing, so let me give an example: giving help to a homeless person. Whereas in ordinary life, this is something praised as a very good deed, it does not create merit without motivation and dedication. In order for this to become merit, one must set the motivation that one is giving help to the homeless free of the eight worldly concerns, to alleviate their suffering and also making the motivation that you will achieve enlightenment for the sake of the person or people you are helping. Then after you have helped them, you dedicate the energy created to the spiritual journey towards full enlightenment to help all sentient beings, while at the same time benefiting as many sentient beings as possible on the way there. This transforms the act into not only a virtuous action but also one that generates merit. On the other hand, if you were to help the homeless without these, you are creating good karma, which although beneficial, keeps you bound to existence within samsara. As it is the goal of Buddhist practice to overcome the cycle of samsara, a Buddhist would want to generate merit instead of good karma. I hope this explanation helps. Thank you.
  • April 13, 2017 11:38
    D.A. asked: If Begtse Chan is not from Mongolia, what are his real origins or story exactly? And which lamas offer his empowerment? As for Manjushri Nagarakshasa, which lamas specifically offer his empowerment and practice?
    pastor answered: Dear D.A. Thank you for your question. Begtse, is also known as Chamsing, or Jamsaran in Mongolian. As mentioned in an earlier sharing with someone who also asked a question about Begtse, the practiced was introduced to Tibet from India by the translator Nyen Lotsawa, and is considered one of the main protectors of the Hayagriva cycle of tantras. According to the scriptures that derive from the Sakya tradition, who incorporated the practice from the translators, and in which tradition Begtse became a very important protector, Begtse in a previous life was born many eons ago. In that particular life, he was born as the younger prince in a royal family. His name was Drag Gye, and his older brother’s name was Drag Den. Over time both princes developed differing religious beliefs, to the point where they could not get along with each as they both held their own religious views strongly. As was the custom during that time, they decided to settle their differences through logical debate, with the loser having to convert to the winner’s religion. This custom was also prevalent in ancient India, and there are many stories of such debates occurring between the great masters of the past and those of other faiths. Drag Gye lost the various debates, but ran away instead of converting to his older brother’s religion. Drag Den caught him, and tried to punish him for breaking the rules of debate and going back on his promise. Drag Gye told his brother that even if he was killed he would not give up his religion, however if Drag Den let him go, that in the future when Drag Den became enlightened, he would protect his teachings. With that Drag Den let him go, and gave him a set of copper armour, a stick, and a bow and arrow. Drag Den also gave Drag Gye a new name: Sog Dag Yam Shi Mar Po. After this incident the two brothers never saw each other again in that lifetime. Many lives after that Drag Den was reborn as Prince Siddharta, who eventually became enlightened and is now known as Buddha Shakyamuni. Drag Gye, or Sog Dag Yam Shi Mar Po, was reborn in a cemetery in the North West direction. His parents gave birth to two eggs, one was a coral-like colour and the other was an agate-like colour. These two eggs flew high into the sky and reached the heavenly realms, there they subdued the gods. Then flying back down to earth, they subdued many nagas. Eventually they even came to threaten their own parents. The parents petitioned the Dharma protector Ekajati for her help, who threw her own staff (khatvanga) at the eggs, and broke them apart. From the coral-like coloured egg came a ferocious man with yellow hair, he proclaimed that his name was ‘Sog Dag Yam Shi Mar Po’. When he emerged he was wearing a set of copper armour, wielding a stick, copper sword, and a bow and arrow. From the agate-like coloured egg came a female who was blue in colour, her teeth were like shells, she had turquoise eyebrows, and her hair was made of fire. She emerged wielding a copper knife, ritual dagger (phurba), rode a terrifying bear and wore an intricate necklace made of agate and lapis lazuli. It was then that Ekajati once again took action, and subdued them, after which they became Dharma protectors. The male figure became known as Begtse, and the female as his sister. When you propitiate Begtse, his sister is automatically included and aids practitioners as well. As for which lama offer his practice and empowerment, most lamas do not advertise which teachings or practice they hold. Therefore you should respectfully approach lamas and ask them if they have the practice and can bestow it, or if they know of any lamas that have the practice, depending on how much you want to practice Begtse. Similarly, this applies to those lamas who have the practice of Manjushri Nagarakshasa. However, this practice is included in the Rinjung Gyatsa series of empowerments. This unique cycle of teachings, includes all 4 classes of tantric practices, and includes the practice of Manjushri Nagarakshasa. Therefore those lamas who have received the complete transmission, and have kept their commitments for this practice, are qualified to pass this on to others. I hope this explanation helps. Thank you.
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CHAT PICTURES

Pastor Gim Lee assisted by Kechara Puja Team, conducted a Dorje Shugden puja and blessings at a premise. Lucy Yap
yesterday
Pastor Gim Lee assisted by Kechara Puja Team, conducted a Dorje Shugden puja and blessings at a premise. Lucy Yap
Art expression using chalks and papers is an avenue for young children to cultivate positive perspective of life and connect with their artistic or creative side. Stella, KSDS
3 days ago
Art expression using chalks and papers is an avenue for young children to cultivate positive perspective of life and connect with their artistic or creative side. Stella, KSDS
Children as long as 2 years old are ready to learn up skills and attitude that will help them shape their life. When else will be best to instil them with good Dharma values if not since young? Stella, KSDS
3 days ago
Children as long as 2 years old are ready to learn up skills and attitude that will help them shape their life. When else will be best to instil them with good Dharma values if not since young? Stella, KSDS
Senior students of the children class of Kechara Sunday Dharma School had their class in the ghompa every Sunday. Stella, KSDS
3 days ago
Senior students of the children class of Kechara Sunday Dharma School had their class in the ghompa every Sunday. Stella, KSDS
Besides young Karlson and Ern Ern, there are new faces in Kechara Sunday Dharma School 2-4 years old. Stella, KSDS
3 days ago
Besides young Karlson and Ern Ern, there are new faces in Kechara Sunday Dharma School 2-4 years old. Stella, KSDS
Kechara Sunday Dharma School students 5-6 years old making prostration to Lama Tsongkhapa at the beginning of the class every Sunday. Stella,KSDS
3 days ago
Kechara Sunday Dharma School students 5-6 years old making prostration to Lama Tsongkhapa at the beginning of the class every Sunday. Stella,KSDS
@KecharaHouse tonite, 48 puja attendees filled the air with a loud chorus of prayer n mantra 2 Dorje Shugden n Setrap!  PHNee
4 days ago
@KecharaHouse tonite, 48 puja attendees filled the air with a loud chorus of prayer n mantra 2 Dorje Shugden n Setrap! PHNee
A big Thank You to the kind volunteers and to Jace Chong!
4 days ago
A big Thank You to the kind volunteers and to Jace Chong!
Make your weekend meaningful! Contact Jace Chong to volunteer in Kechara Forest Retreat for the aviaries.
4 days ago
Make your weekend meaningful! Contact Jace Chong to volunteer in Kechara Forest Retreat for the aviaries.
Thank you to our young volunteer to improve the life of the birds in our aviary!
4 days ago
Thank you to our young volunteer to improve the life of the birds in our aviary!
English Level 2 Dharma Class, Pastor Han Nee started the Day 5 Lamrim, which is the Seven-Limbed Prayer with Homage and Prostration( 35 Confessional Buddha )  was extensively covered. -  Yew Seng
4 days ago
English Level 2 Dharma Class, Pastor Han Nee started the Day 5 Lamrim, which is the Seven-Limbed Prayer with Homage and Prostration( 35 Confessional Buddha ) was extensively covered. - Yew Seng
Sunday Dharma class kids learning to take refuge with teacher Alice. Lucy Yap
4 days ago
Sunday Dharma class kids learning to take refuge with teacher Alice. Lucy Yap
One of the outdoor activities for KSDS students is to exercise the drawing that near to the nature. Alice Tay, KSDS
6 days ago
One of the outdoor activities for KSDS students is to exercise the drawing that near to the nature. Alice Tay, KSDS
Teacher Jesvin explained the camp rules and regulations to the camper. Alice Tay, KSDS
6 days ago
Teacher Jesvin explained the camp rules and regulations to the camper. Alice Tay, KSDS
KSDS teachers and the young participants of WOAH  Camp played & have fun together for this game, Self defense and attack. Alice Tay, KSDS
6 days ago
KSDS teachers and the young participants of WOAH Camp played & have fun together for this game, Self defense and attack. Alice Tay, KSDS
The younger group of KSDS were happy because they're given chance to feel,touch and play the slime. Alice Tay, KSDS
6 days ago
The younger group of KSDS were happy because they're given chance to feel,touch and play the slime. Alice Tay, KSDS
Teacher Laura guided the students do meditation. Alice Tay, KSDS
6 days ago
Teacher Laura guided the students do meditation. Alice Tay, KSDS
Day break at Kechara Forest Retreat! Sunrise meditation during Inner Reflection Retreat, April 2017
6 days ago
Day break at Kechara Forest Retreat! Sunrise meditation during Inner Reflection Retreat, April 2017
Inner Reflection in April 2017 with guests from USA, Singapore, China and UK! Join our upcoming meditation programs!
6 days ago
Inner Reflection in April 2017 with guests from USA, Singapore, China and UK! Join our upcoming meditation programs!
Visitors in Kechara Forest Retreat, circumambulating the holy Vajra Yogini Stupa. Picture credit Pastor Gimlee
6 days ago
Visitors in Kechara Forest Retreat, circumambulating the holy Vajra Yogini Stupa. Picture credit Pastor Gimlee
Students are getting ready to do prostration in Gompa following a Teacher Kien and Teacher Zhi Yan instruction. Lin Mun KSDS
7 days ago
Students are getting ready to do prostration in Gompa following a Teacher Kien and Teacher Zhi Yan instruction. Lin Mun KSDS
Teacher Callista & Teacher Irene were sharing with children on the topic of courage. It is good to instil dharma knowledge from young. Lin Mun KSDS
7 days ago
Teacher Callista & Teacher Irene were sharing with children on the topic of courage. It is good to instil dharma knowledge from young. Lin Mun KSDS
Children are learning how to recite mantra from teacher Alice and teacher Laura. Lin Mun KSDS
7 days ago
Children are learning how to recite mantra from teacher Alice and teacher Laura. Lin Mun KSDS
Students were all so excited listening to the process of making slime as they are going to make one themselves. Lin Mun KSDS
7 days ago
Students were all so excited listening to the process of making slime as they are going to make one themselves. Lin Mun KSDS
Robey, Natalie and Lauren doing sharing on how to make slime. A great exercise for them to learn leadership & public speaking. Lin Mun KSDS
7 days ago
Robey, Natalie and Lauren doing sharing on how to make slime. A great exercise for them to learn leadership & public speaking. Lin Mun KSDS
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