10 Holy Dorje Shugden Statues around the World
I thought you might just enjoy the post and the visuals.
As Dorje Shugden’s practice continues to spread far and wide, there are increasingly more monasteries built in dedication towards the great protector.
We looked through the internet in search of statues that are both private possessions of Dorje Shugden lamas, as well as those which stand to be significant within Dorje Shugden’s history.
Below are 9 holy Dorje Shugden statues located all over the world. Enjoy!
1. His Holiness Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche’s Personal Statue, India
The opportunity to take a glimpse into the personal possessions of a private and highly-attained lama is a bonafide rarity. Above is the personal Dorje Shugden statue of the previous incarnation of HH Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche; the direct disciple of HH Kyabje Pabongka Rinpoche, junior tutor to HH 5th Dalai Lama and the root lama of many highly attained lamas including HH Kyabje Zong Rinpoche, Lama Yeshe and Geshe Rabten.
In this life and previous incarnations, HH Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche has shared a very close and special relationship with Dorje Shugden. It is said that HH Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche always kept Dorje Shugden very near him throughout his life, as shown in this highly blessed statue that was kept in His private bedroom.
It was under HH Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche’s advice that the Dalai Lama sought the counsel of Dorje Shugden via the Panglung Oracle during the Cultural Revolution. This led to the Dalai Lama’s secret escape out of the Potala Palace and safely into India.
In full knowledge of the tremendous benefits, prior to the escape, the Dalai Lama requested to borrow a Dorje Shugden thangka painting that was initially given by the Dalai Lama as an offering to his Guru, HH Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche. The thangka followed HH Dalai Lama’s throughout the escape, and was returned to HH Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche upon arriving in India. The Dorje Shugden thangka now resides in Trijang Ladrang, in Gaden Monastery.
A fun fact: HH Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche’s line of incarnation traces all the way back to Chandra, the famous chariot driver who escorted Prince Siddharta out of the palace to eventually attain enlightenment.
2. Longrong Monastery, Sichuan Province, China
One of HH Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche’s student was the highly attained HH Kyabje Zong Rinpoche, who was said to be an emanation of the Buddha, Heruka Chakrasamvara and one of the 2 heart sons of Lama Tsongkhapa, Khedrub Je.
HH Kyabje Zong Rinpoche, was born in the Kham region of Tibet which is now divided and covers the land area of present-day Tibet Autonomous Region, Qinghai, Gansu, Sichuan province and Yunan province of China.
In the current Sichuan province, is Longrong Monastery, the largest monastery in Derong County. It is also one of the 13 major monasteries of the Gelug lineage in the Kham area, and the mother monastery of HH Kyabje Zong Rinpoche.
Established on 10 hectares of land, Longrong Monastery is home to 500 monks, 10,000 volumes of Buddhist scriptures and the Dorje Shugden statue above. During Losar, Tibetan New Year, it is common to see tens of thousands of people congregating at the monastery.
Fun fact: At the end of HH Kyabje Zong Rinpoche’s life, Kyabje Zong Rinpoche stated very clearly and publicly that His whole life’s work was accomplished through His sincere reliance on Dorje Shugden.
3. Gaden Shartse Monastery, India (till 1983)
For many decades, the Dorje Shugden statue above resided in the protector chapel within Gaden Shartse Monastery‘s large prayer hall, also known as the Lachi. The protector chapel also housed various statues and images of other Dharma protectors such as Mahakala, Kalarupa, Shidak Gyenye, Yamantaka and Vaisravana.
Installed by HH Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche, HH Kyabje Zong Rinpoche, and 2,000 sangha members of Gaden Monastery, this sacred statue was worshipped by thousands of pilgrims, sangha members and lay people who made daily offerings and prayers to Dorje Shugden.
Monks from both Gaden Shartse and Jangste would perform daily pujas and rituals in the Lachi, where Dorje Shugden was one of the prayers done, together with the other protectors stated above.
In 1983, His Holiness the Dalai Lama issued an order to move the Dorje Shugden statue out of the Lachi and into a chapel of its own. As such, the sangha members of monastery had no choice but to carry out the order, and had the statue placed in a protector chapel that is currently located on the same compound as Sokpa Jamyang Khamsten, behind their monk hostel.
With the hundreds of thousands of pujas that were done by elite masters, tulkus, Geshes etc of Gaden Monastery, this statue is highly blessed and energized, and continues to be worshipped by many today.
4. His Holiness the 5th Dalai Lama’s Handmade Statue, Kathmandu, Nepal
Located within the bustling capital city of Nepal is Phelgyeling Monastery, a Gelugpa monastery that was originally located in Nyanang, Tibet since 1665.
During the Cultural Revolution, one of the sacred artefacts that was saved from Phelgyeling Monastery in Tibet (a monastery that was eventually destroyed) was the revered statue above. Made by the 5th Dalai Lama own hands, the holy statue was reinstalled within the new protector chapel upon the re-establishment of the monastery in Nepal.
At about 10-12 inches high, the holy statue is covered in full brocade and encased in glass. It is believed that this is the first statue of Dorje Shugden.
Another ‘first’ by the 5th Dalai Lama also includes a prayer to Dorje Shugden. The propitiation was written after the 5th Dalai Lama realized that Dorje Shugden was not a harmful spirit as initially assumed, but instead an enlightened Dharma protector. The prayer is still being recited by hundreds of thousands of Dorje Shugden practitioners today.
5. Kopan Monastery, Nepal (till sometime after 1984)
The above statue was a sacred personal item belonging to one of the most renown Tibetan lamas who brought Buddhism to the West, Lama Yeshe. It was public knowledge that Lama Yeshe’s main protector was Dorje Shugden, whom Lama Yeshe fully relied upon throughout his life until he entered clear light in 1984.
Together with Lama Yeshe’s main student, Lama Zopa, they co-founded Kopan Monastery in Nepal, which became known to cater to Western students with the aspiration to further develop their Dharma practice.
Lama Yeshe actively encouraged his students to take Dorje Shugden as their Dharma protector, and made requests to other great lamas to confer Shugden sogtae (empowerment) onto his students.
During the construction of Kopan Monastery, many Dorje Shugden pujas were done before the foundation was laid. Lama Zopa later shared that Lama Yeshe would perform a Dorje Shugden puja before every teaching course began in Kopan Monastery to remove obstacles. Additionally, whenever there were any problems, Dorje Shugden was the main protector that Lama Yeshe would rely upon.
The Dorje Shugden statue above was the personal statue of Lama Yeshe, which was kept with him at Kopan Monastery. Upon entering clear light, his students gave away the statue to Tsawa Pulthok Rinpoche (from Drepung Loseling Monastery, Nepal).
In 2008, before entering clear light, Tsawa Pulthok Rinpoche gave away the statue to Gangchen Ladrang, Nepal, where it is currently housed and propitiated to.
6. Tashi Lhunpo Monastery, Ü-Tsang Province, Tibet Autonomous Region
Founded by the 1st Dalai Lama in 1447, Tashi Lhunpo Monastery is located on a hill in the center of Shigatse, the 2nd largest city in Tibet, within the traditional Ü-Tsang province.
The monastery has served to be the successive seat of the 2nd highest ranking tulku lineage in the Gelug tradition and all of Tibet in fact, the Panchen Lama. This tradition began since the 4th Panchen Lama, whose successive incarnations expanded the monastery to eventually cover an area of nearly 74 acres.
Tashi Lhunpo Monastery remains as a culturally and historically important site, due to the rare assets that have been well-preserved from the Ming and Qing dynasties. Together with various rare sutras and thangkas, the monastery is invaluable for research on the history and society of Tibet.
Tashi Lhunpo has a long history of practicing Dorje Shugden, and the practice continues strongly till today. The statue above is only but one of the many Dorje Shugden statues and paintings within the monastery. Those fortunate enough to visit the monastery will also have the opportunity to receive blessings from Dorje Shugden’s entourage, which includes the Ten Youthful and Wrathful Assistants, Nine Mothers, and Eight Guiding Monks.
Interesting fact: The 4th Panchen Lama was the 5th Dalai Lama’s teacher.
7. Riwo Choeling Monastery, Lhoka (Shannan) Prefecture, Tibet Autonomous Region
The Lhoka Prefecture is often regarded as the birthplace of Tibetan civilization, and interestingly, the first Buddhist monastery and palace were also built here.
Located in the spiritual Yarlung Valley region of the Lhoka Prefecture is Riwo Choeling Monastery, a monastery that was founded in the 15th century by Khedrup Je, one of the 2 heart disciples of Lama Tsongkhapa.
It is said that Lama Tsongkhapa was traveling through the valley and expressed how the 2 mountains were shaped like a sword. As it was in reference to Manjushri’s wisdom sword, the remark meant that the area would be a place that is open to learning the Dharma.
Located at the top of a mountain, Riwo Choeling Monastery can only be reached by foot. Within the monastery resides Dorje Shugden, who is known to be the protector of the monastery.
8. Denma Gonsar Monastery, Kham, Tibetan Autonomous Region
Located in the Kham region of Tibet, Denma Gonsa Monastery (or Denma Gonsa Rinpoche’s Monastery) is home to the world’s largest Lama Tsongkhapa statue at 12-storey high, and the 2nd largest Dorje Shugden statue at 18-ft high.
Blessing the entire Kham area, Denma Gonsa Monastery was formed by the previous incarnation, HH 19th Kyabje Denma Gonsa Rinpoche, who rebuilt an existing old monastery that was destroyed over the years by the natural elements and humankind.
Upon completion in 2011, Denma Gonsa Monastery became the seat for HH Kyabje Denma Gonsa Rinpoche to transmit the pure teachings of Lama Tsongkhapa to 600 monks, as well as the lay people living within the region. High lamas such as the current Kyabje Pabongka Choktrul Rinpoche incarnation travelled often to this monastery to also receive rare teachings, practices and commentaries.
Prior to entering clear light in 2005, HH Kyabje Denma Gonsa Rinpoche instructed his main attendants to recognize his incarnation only if the boy is able to perfectly recite the root tantra of Guhyasamaja from memory. The Guhyasamaja tantra is one of the most important scriptures in Vajrayana Buddhism, and in its fullest form consists of 17 chapters.
Many claimed to be the incarnation, but on the 31st of July 2014, the officially recognized 20th incarnation of Denma Gonsa Rinpoche was enthroned. The video of the young incarnation reciting the text from memory can be found on YouTube.
The grand enthronement ceremony was attended by 200,000 people who traveled from all corners of Tibet, reflecting the level of faith and interest many Tibetans still have in the Buddha Dharma.
During the Qinghai earthquake, it was said that the surrounding buildings in the area were damaged except for the Denma Gonsa Monastery complex. Dorje Shugden being the main Dharma protector of the monastery, was highlighted as the main reason for the miracle.
9. Trode Khangsar, Lhasa, Tibetan Autonomous Region
Originally constructed in 1670, Trode Khangsar is located in the capital city of Tibet, Lhasa. HH 5th Dalai Lama had commissioned the protector house (or tenkhang in Tibetan) to be specifically dedicated to Dorje Shugden.
Within the tenkhang is an image of Dorje Shugden which was also commissioned by the 5th Dalai Lama.
At the end of the 17th century, Trode Khangsar was entrusted by the 5th Dalai Lama’s Regent Desi Sangye Gyatso to Riwo Choeling Monastery who restored the damaged and over-painted murals during the Cultural Revolution. Riwo Choeling Monastery continues to manage the tenkhang till today, where many tourists and pilgrims visit, and monks perform daily pujas to Dorje Shugden.
Trode Khangsar remains to be a historically significant building as it represents how Dorje Shugden was officially established in Tibet.
10. Choijin Lama Temple, Mongolia
The Choijin Lama Temple (Mongolian: Чойжин ламын сүм) is a Buddhist monastery in Ulaanbaatar, the capital of Mongolia.
The complex consists of four temples originally occupied by the brother of the ruler Bogd Khan, Choijin Lama Luvsankhaidav, who was the state oracle at the time. The complex was begun in 1904 and completed in 1908. In 1938 the Stalinist government converted the complex into a museum.
The main temple features an 18th-century gilt statue of Buddha Sakyamuni with a statue of Choijin Lama Luvsankhaidav on the Buddha’s right and the embalmed corpse of Baldanchoimbolon on his left. In addition, the temple boasts a copious collection of religious instruments, thangka paintings, a copy of the 108-volume Kangyur and hand-printed 226-volume Tengyur brought from Tibet by the Bogd Khan, and a collection of cham dance masks).
The annex to the temple contains a heated ger and a central square in which Choijin Lama Luvsankhaidav performed rituals.
The Zuu Temple, dedicated to the Buddha Shakyamuni features papier-mache sculptures of Buddha in the past, present, and future. The 16 disciples of Buddha appear on the temple walls with four Maharantsa protectors shown sitting in caves on either side of the door.
The Yidam Temple was used as a place of prayer by Choijin Lama Luvsankhaidav, and therefore closed to the public. In its center is a gilt bronze sculpture of one of the 84 Indian yogis, or Mahasiddha. Also depicted are the tantric gods Kalacakra, Mahamaya, Vajradhara and others with their shakti or consorts in postures of meditation that symbolize power and strength.
The fourth temple, the temple of amugulang or peace, is dedicated to the first Mongolian reincarnation of Boghda Jevzundamba, Undur Gegeen Zanabazar, (1635-1724).
Extra surprise: Kechara Forest Retreat, Bentong, Malaysia
Standing 24 feet tall, this Dorje Shugden statue is currently the largest one of its kind in the world. Commissioned by H.E. the 25th Tsem Rinpoche, this Dorje Shugden statue is housed in Kechara Forest Retreat, where it is the focal image for Dorje Shugden pujas and many other events. In mid 2015, the statue was consecrated by Dorje Shugden in trace through the famed Panglung Oracle.
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