Shize: A practice for healing and long life
Lord Manjushri was one of the foremost disciples of the historical Buddha Shakyamuni. Although Manjushri was very advanced in his meditations and practices, he still manifested as if he was learning in the presence of Lord Buddha. There are many teachings that arose as a result of Manjushri’s questions to Lord Buddha. This is because when Manjushri was receiving teachings from the Buddha with the rest of the congregation, he would always stand up respectfully and ask questions. Because Manjushri requested, the Buddha would elucidate, explain and answer his questions, and thus a set of teachings would arise to benefit people. It wasn’t always that Manjushri needed to ask questions to get the answer, but he asked out of compassion for sentient beings who would benefit from the answers. In the Buddhist tradition, an enlightened being will teach only when a student has made a request for that being to turn the Wheel of Dharma.
Since Manjushri is a fully advanced and fully enlightened being, he has no corporeal boundaries. He can appear as male or female, wrathful or peaceful, many-armed, one-armed, two-armed or with no arms. He can appear in any dimension, any space, any time, any place. He can appear simultaneously; he can appear in the millions, in the thousands, in the hundreds of thousands, simultaneously and each emanation with the ability to operate independently to benefit others. This is because of Manjushri’s enlightened nature. When enlightened beings emanate, they can emanate in many forms, in any way to help other beings.
Hence we have the Protector Dorje Shugden who is a direct emanation of Manjushri, as was initially confirmed by the Sakya masters. Later, the Gelug masters extracted the teachings, practices, meditations, rituals and rites of Dorje Shugden. They did so from the writings of the great Sakya patriarchs, the first ones to recognise Dorje Shugden and enthrone him, and encourage his practice, by even writing long prayers to propitiate him. The Gelugpa masters took these teachings from the Sakya masters and developed it further.
Within the writings and teachings of the great masters of the past, it has been shown that Dorje Shugden has five principal forms. I have spoken about these five in the past: his principal form as Duldzin, his increase form as Gyenze, his control form as Wangze and his wrathful form as Trakze. Finally, we have his peaceful form here, Shize.
‘Shize’ is the Tibetan word for ‘appearing in a peaceful form’. In this case, the peaceful form of Dorje Shugden has one face and two arms. His right hand holds a wealth arrow which is adorned with five-coloured silks and a divination mirror. The divination mirror demonstrates that this form of Dorje Shugden can help you to see into even the distant future; Shize’s practice is very effective in helping us to receive prophecies or develop clairvoyance.
Shize’s left hand gently grasps a lasso, representing his ability to bind all attachments and defilements that restrict us from doing Dharma practice. Therefore when we worship this form of Dorje Shugden, we are requesting his blessings to bind our attachments, negativities and obstacles that obstruct us from practising Dharma. Shize wears the clothes of a celestial prince; his many layers of robes are very ornate, made of intricate brocade and beautifully-coloured. On his feet are very beautiful boots. Shize also wears the ornaments of a high-ranking royal personage on his head and his body.
His royal elephant is adorned in similar fashion. Splendidly bejeweled, the elephant is tamed, calm and very pleasant. Shize sits astride this elephant with his legs outstretched, in the pose of one who is able to come and help you any time you invoke upon his energies. His riding on the elephant represents the steadiness of the mind, and the mind that does not deter from obstacles or from benefiting others, and that is very stalwart and also extremely stable.
When you do Shize’s practice, you are invoking the energy of peace and accomplishing things through peaceful methods. So if you are in an area that has an epidemic, you can do Shize’s practice. If you are in an area that has many arguments and a lot of disharmony, or in a household or a place or organisation that has a lot of disharmony, then you can engage in Shize’s practice to help calm the situation down and to find peaceful resolutions.
If our mind is always jumpy, unhappy, depressed and sad, or it is always unstable, Shize’s practice is excellent for calming ourselves down and increasing our merits. His practice results in our minds becoming much happier and being alleviated from depressions.
We can also rely on Shize’s practice to overcome serious illnesses. There are many deities in the Buddhist pantheon who can help us in overcoming our illnesses. We can rely on any of them but who is ‘most effective’ depends on our own karmic affinity as to which deity we can practise. In this case, if we have a karmic affinity to Dorje Shugden in the form of Shize, then we can engage in his practice to help prolong our life, quell illnesses, release us from obstructions and to create peace and harmony in a place that is fraught with disharmony, instability, obstacles and problems. Even in areas where there are a lot of natural disasters, Shize’s practice can be engaged in to calm the area down and to relax the area.
The Shize practice that I present here is compiled from traditional sources. You do not need any oral transmission, initiation or permission – former or formal permission – to do this practice. You can engage in it immediately. Hence, I have provided everything here for you to do Shize’s practice, including three separate mantras, all of which are valid. You can choose from any of the three mantras to recite. I’ve also provided a link where you can download his picture, which you can keep on your altar.
The benefits of Shize’s practice are manifold. On an outer level, you will experience healing and increase of life, as well as blessing of medicines that you’re about to take, blessing of herbs and the blessing of one’s mind. All of this can be accomplished with Shize’s practice. Shize’s practice is also wonderful for calming and blessing the environment, including the ground, trees, air, water, grass, animals and the landscape so that the place will be calm and happy, and bring peace to people’s minds. So Shize’s purpose, on an outer level, is to bring peace, calmness, happiness and an increase of life.
On an inner level, by doing Shize’s practice correctly, he will bless and guide us. Relying on Shize will remove the obstacles for us to do Dharma practice and, ultimately, to achieve Bodhicitta and the realisation of Sunyata according to Nagarjuna’s view. This is because Shize is a direct emanation of Dorje Shugden who is none other than the enlightened Manjushri himself.
I wish everybody tremendous luck and good wishes that you may engage in his practice. May you experience quickly the benefits of relying on Shize, the peaceful form of Dorje Shugden.
COMMENTARY ON SHIZE PRACTICE
A Practice to Increase Healing, Long Life
and the Efficacy of Medicines
This commentary on Shize’s practice was compiled from traditional sources by His Eminence Tsem Rinpoche.
Date: 4th July 2016
[Note: This is a commentary on Shize’s practice and can be done daily by anyone who wishes to cultivate the energies of healing and long life in their lives. This practice does not require any initiations.]
Download the Commentary on Shize Practice
Download the Daily Shize Practice
A quick scan of media headlines will give you a good idea about what concerns people today – career, financial stability, relationships, children, education and, as enduringly as ever, good health. Tonics, diet tips, vitamins, health potions and proclamations of the latest superfoods fill the airwaves, each declaring that they can promote longevity. Because everyone yearns for good health, the market for longevity therefore traverses borders and income strata, from the poor who worry about the expense of sickness to even the grossly rich, who are not immune to the desire for a long life and good health, perhaps to have more time to enjoy luxury.
Illness and death are therefore universal truths, something that no one can escape, regardless of their wealth. This is something that the historical Buddha Shakyamuni himself recognised some 2,500 years ago. Raised in a palace and cloistered within four walls of luxury with his every whim and fancy catered to, the Buddha had only ever experienced youth and beauty. That is, up until his first trip out of the palace when Prince Siddhartha Gautama (as he was known then) witnessed what has come to be known as The Four Sights – an old man, a man ravaged by sickness, a corpse and an ascetic. He realised these states of existence applied to everyone and he knew no way of stopping them. At that moment in time, he did not have the knowledge to help anyone, let alone his loved ones, avoid the suffering of The Four Sights. His beautiful wife Yasodhara and his beloved son Rahula would one day grow old and pass, and he was powerless to stop this from happening; he realised everything he had experienced up until that point, all the youth and wealth, had been a delusion, a distraction and a lie. It was these truths and this realisation that compelled him to leave the palace to seek a permanent end to suffering.
And so Buddha eventually came to meditate under a Bodhi tree where he gained full enlightenment. From that moment onwards until his parinirvana, there are many stories and parables associated with the Buddha demonstrating the universality of death and the attainments one gains upon realising that universality. One of the most famous parables concerns a distraught mother, Kisa Gotami, who lost her son. In her grief, she carried her son’s body to her neighbours’ homes, asking them for a medicine which could cure death. After some time, a man kindly advised her to request for the Buddha’s intervention so she went to seek Him out. Upon meeting the Buddha, Kisa Gotami repeated her request, asking that the Buddha cure her son. The Buddha compassionately agreed, saying He needed a handful of mustard seeds from a home where no one had lost a child, husband, parent or friend. Overjoyed at this ray of hope, Kisa Gotami thusly focused her search on identifying such a house. At each household she encountered, she repeated her request for a handful of mustard seeds, only to discover every single house had lost a friend or loved one.
Growing weary and losing hope, Kisa Gotami sat down and watched the lights of her city as she pondered her next move. The lights flickered up then down, over and over again until night finally took over. She compared this to the lives of sentient beings whose lives flicker up and down, until they are finally extinguished. Unbeknownst to Kisa Gotami, she was actually engaging in death meditation and it was then she realised that “death is common to all; yet in this valley of desolation there is a path that leads him to immortality who has surrendered all selfishness.” After coming to this realisation, Kisa Gotami abandoned her quest to cure her son’s death and buried him in the nearby woods. She then joined the Buddha as one of his disciples, studying and practising under him until she gained realisations.
The path to immortality that Kisa Gotami referred to can be found in the 84,000 teachings of the Buddha. The Buddha explained at length the causes of suffering and the methods of alleviating suffering for ourselves and others. In the Buddha’s corpus of teachings, the Buddha also elucidated the basis of extending one’s life, and the reasons why we should do it. Within the Buddhist context, ill health is generally considered an obstacle to spiritual practice. When we are sick, our weakened state distracts us from meditation and practice. Physically, our discomfort is a distraction and mentally, our desire to ease this discomfort agitates our mind to such a point that meditative focus is impossible.
The Buddha recognised this after six years of meditation, when He practised austerities to the point of near-starvation. After nearly drowning after having fallen into the river in his grossly depleted state, the Buddha realised His body was too weak and if He continued, He would die before gaining knowledge of ultimate liberation. Thus when a village girl Sujata offered to Him payasam (pudding of milk and jaggery), the Buddha partook in some, much to the disgust of his meditation companions who felt he had given up his ascetic practices. They abandoned him soon after. Feeling reenergised however, the Buddha realised that a Middle Path approach was necessary in order to gain attainments. Too austere a practice and one would be distracted by weakness, illness and maybe even death, while too lax a practice could lead to mental laziness and submitting to the distractions of worldly existence.
For the higher practitioners however, ill health can become a catalyst for deeper practice. When we suffer from severe illness, it forces us to confront our mortality. Where most people fear this, practitioners who are higher in terms of knowledge and attainments will see ill health as an opportunity to remind themselves of the fragility of human life. Not only will it compel them to practise even harder, knowing they may pass at any time, but they rejoice in their ill health because it is a sign their negative karma is being spent so they never have to experience it again. They may perhaps even use it as an opportunity to develop bodhicitta by practising tonglen – the practice of taking suffering upon oneself – and visualising that other sentient beings’ negative karma is ripening upon them (the practitioner). With their ill health, they therefore have the opportunity to absorb these sentient beings’ suffering.
The practice of tonglen is something only humans can engage in. Sentient beings in other realms, for example the animal realm, do not have the cognitive capacity for this. Hence not only did the Buddha counsel on the importance of a human body for spiritual practice, but He also extended this counsel to human life and its crucial role in spiritual practice. The importance of this teaching is replicated in all Buddhist traditions. For example, in the first chapter of the Lamrim (Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand), His Holiness Kyabje Pabongka Rinpoche expounds on the preciousness of human life and the rarity of such a rebirth. This emphasis is for the reader to set their motivation to approach the Lamrim seriously, and to impress upon the practitioner that we should not waste our life on activities that deepen our samsara. In Chapter 1, Pabongka Rinpoche employs the parable of a blind turtle to demonstrate the preciousness of human life. He teaches that it swims in a vast ocean, only to surface every 100 years. On the surface of this vast ocean is a yoke spinning at random. The preciousness and rarity of a human life is comparable to the chance of this blind turtle surfacing every 100 years and catching its head in the yoke.
Given the preciousness of our human life, longevity in the Buddhist context is about extending our opportunity to make full use of our precious human life, in order to learn, practise, understand, contemplate and gain realisations from the Dharma. As noted by Kisa Gotami, there exist practices within the Buddha’s corpus of teachings to help extend one’s life and develop the causes for good health. This is done through the purification of negative karma, which can manifest as health obstacles, and the accumulation of merit to create conducive conditions for one’s practice.
In the Tibetan Buddhist system for example, meditation masters may instruct their students to change their names and burn all of their clothes during potentially life-threatening situations. Accompanied by rituals, this is a symbolic severing of their ties with the karma for disaster to fall upon them. Another practice is that of Shize, who is one of the forms of the enlightened Dharma Protector Dorje Shugden. Shize’s activity is that of pacification and his specific purpose is to clear obstacles towards our health and life, and to increase the efficacy of medicines and treatments. His practice is explained in greater detail below.
The importance of Shize lies in the fact that at some point, everyone will fall sick, require treatment and eventually come face to face with death. Even rituals cannot overcome this; but the practice of Shize, if done with good motivation, can have the effect of purifying the karma that leads to a shortening of lifespan. In addition, Shize has the power to subdue tempestuous elements that distract us, and return us to recalling the advice of the great masters – to rely on no one and nothing else but the Three Jewels. Through relying on the Three Jewels, we will gain the double-fold result we want, that of health and long life, and the causes to further our spiritual practice. What is most beautiful about this is that when we further our spiritual practice and take one step closer to enlightenment, we will achieve the state that Kisa Gotami recognised thousands of years ago, the state of true immortality as a fully enlightened Buddha, where no sickness, ill health or death will ever besmirch our existence again.
THE ACTIVITY OF PACIFICATION
In the Buddhist practice, we take refuge in the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas in order to increase our merits, purify our karma and be blessed with the four types of activities, which are Pacification, Increase, Subjugation and Wrath. These four types of enlightened activities all arise from the wisdom and skilful means of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas in order to benefit us.
The activities of Pacification are to purify, pacify and remove obstacles and illnesses. On the other hand, the activities classified under ‘Increase’ are those which bring about an increase of beneficial causes and conditions for our material and spiritual well-being to come to fruition. The activity of Subjugation aims to arrest negative circumstances and minds. Finally, the activity of Wrath is the action of eliminating the most dangerous and negative causes and conditions that are harmful to us. Each of the aforementioned activities is embodied in each of the five emanations of Dorje Shugden – Duldzin Dorje Shugden (main form), Shize (Pacification), Gyenze (Increase), Wangze (Subjugation) and Trakze (Wrath).
When we propitiate Shize, we are tapping into Dorje Shugden’s activity of Pacification. Since Shize is an emanation of Manjushri, propitiating and making offerings to him will generate the merits we need for conducive conditions to practise. One such conducive condition is that of good health and long life. Where poor health can be a distraction and create physical obstacles, a short life reduces the amount of time we have in this human body to study, practise and gain realisations. Propitiating Shize therefore increases our lifespan which is important because it allows us the time to develop spiritual realisations that we can take to our next life.
Due to the enlightened nature of Shize, the merits that accrue from propitiating this deity cannot be exhausted in the same way mere good karma is used up. Merits are dedicated towards our full enlightenment and it is infinitely enduring. Hence the accumulation of merits through Shize’s practice, as well as the corresponding purification of bad karma can change the destiny of our next rebirth. It helps to create the causes for us to receive a higher rebirth again, one in which we can continue on our spiritual journey.
Thus, as described by Kyabje Pabongka Rinpoche, Dorje Shugden in the form of Shize acts as a dispeller of all obstacles, eliminating sickness, spirits, misfortune and hindrances, and the karma that creates them.
THE FIVE AGGREGATES
The Five Families of Dorje Shugden refer to his main emanation of Duldzin Dorje Shugden; the ‘peaceful’ emanation, Shize or Vairochana Shugden; the ‘increase’ emanation, Gyenze or Ratna Shugden; the ‘control’ emanation, Wangze or Pema Shugden and the ‘wrathful’ emanation, Trakze or Karma Shugden. Each of these emanations represents one of the five aggregates of Dorje Shugden, and each emanation takes on a different appearance that denotes their special function manifested in order to benefit practitioners in different manners. While these emanations appear as separate deities, they are, in reality, of the same mind stream as Dorje Shugden, and each is complete in itself.
The five aggregates, also known as skandhas, are what the Buddha had explained to be the five aspects that make up a sentient being. The five aggregates are Form, Feeling, Discrimination, Mental Factors and Consciousness. For an enlightened being like Dorje Shugden, he is able to emanate each of his aggregates as a separate being. Shize is the emanation of Dorje Shugden’s aggregate of form and he acts as a healer, purifying negative karma that is the cause of our physical and mental ailments. The aggregate of form is related to our physical bodies and the five elements – earth, air, water, fire and wind. More generally, it is all that we can see, hear, touch, smell and taste, and it also includes the subtle faculties that do the seeing, hearing, smelling, touching and taste. These aggregates capture phenomena around us which stimulates and feeds our gross mind, thereby leading us to behave in a manner that generates further karma. With Shize’s guidance and practice however, we learn to arrest this karma and prevent it from fruitioning into our physical and mental ailments.
[Download more high resolution images of Shize here]
Since Shize is the emanation of Dorje Shugden’s aggregate of form that has been purified, every aspect of his body represents various enlightened qualities. Furthermore, Shize’s physical form reveals his great ability and strength to pacify the negative karma that creates obstacles for us. In this way, his practice is excellent for healing our diseases, be it mental or physical, as well as overcoming disease, natural disasters and calamities, and purifying negative karmas and obstacles. In the mandala of Dorje Shugden, Shize appears below the main deity (Duldzin Dorje Shugden) in the form of a prince with one face and two arms.
White in colour, Shize has a semi-wrathful smile. In his right hand, he holds aloft a lance that has a mirror tied to it. The lance – sometimes an arrow – has five-coloured silks tied to it. In his left hand, he holds a noose. He rides astride the king of elephants which is white. Wearing flowing white silk robes, a golden turban adorns his head. The colour white is associated with Shize, for its association with learning and knowledge and if meditated upon, white can cut the delusion of ignorance which ultimately is the source of all our ailments. The colour white is also associated with purity; in this case, Shize’s practice is a purifying one, removing the causes for us to develop and suffer from serious illnesses.
“O you whose purified aggregate of form, in the dance of the pacifier, is a new youthful body of a hundred thousand autumn moons, holding silk beribboned arrow and noose, riding the king of elephants, the dispeller of negative conditions and obstructors, to you I praise.”
In actual fact, no Buddha or Dharma Protector can change our karma. Therefore, how Shize is able to come to our aid is because he works with the merits and purification that was accumulated through our practice of propitiating him. In other words, Shize’s practice supplies the merits through which we access Shize’s divine powers that help us. Without this, we would be unable to receive his blessings, therefore the practice is important. Naturally, we gain merits through relying, making offerings, visualising and reciting his mantra. With these merits, Shize is able to activate positive karma that is dormant and he is also able to hold back negative karma from ripening. When Shize holds back heavy negative karma, it is not removed but temporarily prevented from ripening until we have purified the karma to the extent that the karma is diminished or completely purified so that it is not harmful anymore.
You who are a manifestation of Manjushri’s vajra body,
Please arise in this pacifying form,
As a dispeller of all obstacles,
To dispel sickness, spirits, misfortune and hindrances.
An important ‘advantage’ of Shize and that which makes this practice most efficacious and swift is the fact that Shize is an enlightened being in a worldly form. This means that he is a lot quicker in coming to our aid than other healing deities due to having a closer karmic affinity with us. This is because Shize is in the form of a deva, a powerful existence within the six realms of samsara. According to the Buddha, the other realms below are the demi-god, human, animal, spirit and hell-being existence. Yet, although Shize’s existence is a deva, his mind is that of Manjushri. In addition, being a relatively ‘new’ protector that only arose over 300 years ago, Shize’s close affinity with us translates into him having the strength of a thousand Dharma Protectors and his practice is much swifter than any other healing deity or practice.
RELATIVE BENEFITS OF SHIZE’S PRACTICE
- Increase lifespan
- Help heal diseases
- Potency in blessing medicines
- Potency in helping to overcome depression and other mental disturbances
- Calming down arguments
- Helping to let go of anger and anger-related issues
- Calming down an environment with a lot of anger energy and upheavals
- Calming down natural disasters and problems in the area
- Excellent for blessing places with tumultuous energy and those related to crimes. In such places, residual negative energy can remain long after the activities have ceased
- Excellent for blessing water, rivers, lakes, waterfalls and the environment, for example trees, land and crops
- Excellent to bless us to develop psychic abilities and to enhance any psychic abilities one may currently possess. The art of foretelling the future is enhanced with Shize’s practice
ULTIMATE BENEFITS OF SHIZE’S PRACTICE
- Removing obstacles to gain higher insight into the Buddha’s teachings
- Removing obstacles to gain higher insight and wisdom in general, even if it is not related to the Buddha’s teachings. The results gained from engaging in Shize’s practice are not based on our own spirituality or religion.
- Help us to see the faults of the selfish mind, which is the cause of anger. Shize counters this by giving us a calm mind
- Ultimately, clears obstacles to engage in practice to gain Bodhicitta and the ultimate view of emptiness according to Nagarjuna
SETTING UP AN ALTAR
In order to propitiate Shize, it will be good to have a shrine to Shize, complete with representations of the Buddha’s Body, Speech and Mind, alongside various types of offerings. The ‘Body’ here refers to a statue, thangka or picture of Shize alongside our root Guru or lineage Gurus. ‘Speech’ is represented by a Dharma text and ‘Mind’ is represented by a stupa.
On our shrine to Shize, we can offer incense, water, flowers, any types of food, electric or candle lights, sensory offerings, mandalas, the Eight Auspicious Signs, the Seven Royal Emblems and so forth. As part of our practice, we should ensure that the altar is neat, clean and the offerings are changed regularly. The practice of cleaning and making offerings before engaging in Shize’s practice is part of the preparatory rite that will ensure the success of our practice.
Altar set up:
- A Buddha image or statue
- A Shize image or statue
- A Dharma text
- A Stupa
- One set of Sensory Offerings (Optional) (From left to right – Water, water, flower, incense, light, perfume, food, and a conch shell)
- One set of water offerings (Optional)
An altar is an important component of the practice of Buddhism, as it serves as a reminder of our practice objectives – which is to develop qualities in ourselves so we may be able to help all sentient beings. This is the spiritual benefit of having an altar.
An altar can be set up anywhere except inside the washroom. To develop the view that the enlightened beings on the altar are present before us, it is appropriate to always show respect in front of the altar. Therefore, if an altar is set up in the bedroom, it is encouraged to cover it when engaging in activities that are private in nature.
An ideal altar would consist of all six items listed above. However, at the very least, the altar should hold an image of Shize and, with time, one can add the remaining items when available. How complete our altar is reflects how seriously we take the practice of Shize in order to derive the benefits of his practice. Therefore, just like anything, the amount of effort placed into the practice reflects the results of the practice.
“Extra touches” can be added to the altar. One set of water offerings with seven to eight cups can be arranged in front of the altar with pure, clean water filled to about the length of one grain of rice from the brim. A set of wrathful offerings which symbolizes the offering of one’s negative karma, can be neatly arranged behind the water offerings.
THE PRACTICE GUIDE
Download the prayer text here
Videos on How to Do Prostrations:
- Tsem Tulku Rinpoche Teaches Prostrations Part 1 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fbMFtzTGgkE)
- Tsem Tulku Rinpoche Teaches Prostrations Part 2 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Qon9lYJ_7M)
The practice begins with the recitation of the refuge formula three times. In this case, one is taking refuge in Lama Tsongkhapa – the Guru and Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha.
When reciting the refuge formula, strongly visualise Lama Tsongkhapa surrounded by his eight main disciples at eye level. If this visualisation is too difficult and advanced at the beginning, one can start by visualising just two of his main disciples, Khedrup Je Rinpoche and Gyaltsab Je Rinpoche. Envision them sitting in Gaden Heaven on their thrones adorned with jewels that are glittering. All three are smiling, happy and warmly sending down their blessings.
From within Lama Tsongkhapa’s throne (seat), visualise a powerful yellow light emanating out. This light is none other than Manjushri’s mind, descending from Gaden Heaven to appear in front of you.
Visualise a brilliant mass of luminous clouds and in the midst of the clouds is Shize, in the form described above. In his heart, there is a sun disc on which is a syllable letter “Hung”, white in colour. From the letter “Hung”, light emanates out into the 10 directions to invite all the Buddhas, Bodhisattvas and deities, and dissolves back into the “Hung”. The Buddhas, Bodhisattvas and deities become one with Shize in nature and become firm in front of you. Now Shize embodies the complete Three Jewels within his form. So anything done to Shize is the same as if you have done to all the Three Jewels. The visualised Shize is the samaya being, and the Shize invited from within Tsongkhapa’s throne is the wisdom being. When they combine, they become one and inseparable. So you should believe that the real wisdom being Shize is in front of you now. It is important to believe that. Then, visualise Shize, emanated from below Lama Tsongkhapa’s throne, remains connected to Shize. This signifies the source of blessings is from Lama Tsongkhapa and we are connected to Gaden Heaven.
THE FOUR IMMEASURABLES
The Four Immeasurables are recited to establish a good motivation that all practices done to benefit oneself do not harm other beings.
The premise on which The Four Immeasurables are practiced is that ‘everyone wants to be happy, but happiness cannot be achieved in isolation‘. In fact, one’s happiness depends upon the happiness of all, revealing that all life is interdependent. In order to be happy, one needs to cultivate wholesome attitudes towards others in society and towards all sentient beings.
Therefore, the best way of cultivating wholesome attitudes towards all sentient beings is through contemplative meditation on the Four Immeasurables, which cultivates loving-kindness, compassion, appreciative joy and equanimity towards an immeasurable number of sentient beings.
The practice of The Four Immeasurables is also a powerful antidote to negative mental states such as anger and pride.
GURU YOGA OF LAMA TSONGKHAPA
Commentary on Lama Tsongkhapa practice:
After completing The Four Immeasurables, proceed to the Guru Yoga of Lama Tsongkhapa. When reciting the Migtsema mantra (at least 21 times) according to the guided visualisation above (described at ‘Taking Refuge’), it is important to develop the thought and faith that Shize (in 3-Dimension / 3D) is in front of you, all-powerful and efficacious. Upon completing the Guru Yoga of Lama Tsongkhapa, move on to recite Dorje Shugden’s prayers.
DORJE SHUGDEN’S PRAYERS
The Kangshag to Dorje Shugden is a very powerful practice to remove our obstacles and purify the negative karma that has caused us to experience poverty, lack of resources and dire conditions.
The Kangshag prayers may sound very violent and rough. However this is not unique to Dorje Shugden’s practice. It is also a common feature in other Dharma Protector prayers such as Kalarupa, Palden Lhamo, Mahakala and many others. Therefore, to the ignorant, or to one who does not have a qualified master to explain the significance of such wrathful manifestations in the prayers, one may wrongfully feel repelled or recite it only based on faith. While reciting the Kangshag based purely on faith is acceptable, it is much more effective when we do our practices with a certain level of awareness and understanding. Once we realize that this wrathful manifestation by the Kangshag came into existence purely from Dorje Shugden’s pure compassion for all sentient beings, we will learn to appreciate and value the practice with great devotion.
In visualising the purifying of one’s negative karma through Kangshag, we must first understand that the human figures depicted in the visualisation below are not human beings as we know. These human-like figures are without sentience and are the negative qualities that cause us to continuously create negative karma, such as jealousy, anger, ignorance, attachments and more. Because these negative qualities are not tangible, we visualise them as representative beings in human-like form in order for Shize and entourage to slay these negative qualities for us.
Visualise a wrathful environment which is the manifestation of our negative karma. In this space, a massive human-like figure, huge as a mountain, manifests before you. This human-like figure is all of our negative karma and negative qualities that hinder our spiritual growth.
Visualise Shize and his entourage descending onto this human-like figure and dismembering it, forming countless complete sets of wrathful offerings.
The wrathful offerings consist of:
- ‘Argham’ (tea) – visualise all the blood from the being is emptied into the first bowl and offered up.
- ‘Phupe’ (wrathful flower) – visualise the skull overturned. In the skull is placed the heart. On the heart are the eyes, ears, tongue and nose; all symmetrically arranged on the heart.
- ‘Duphe’ (incense) – visualise all the remaining bones of the body (save the thighbone) being taken out and burned. The smoke arising from this is offered to Shize.
- ‘Aloke’ (light) – visualise all the fat of the body taken out and made into a butterlamp and offered up to Shize.
- ‘Gyende’ (perfume) – visualise all the remaining liquids in the body such as urine, bile, pus and others, emptied into a bowl and offered up.
- ‘Newide’ (food) – visualise all the flesh of the body being cut up and offered.
- ‘Shapta’ (sound) – visualise the thighbone carved into a wind instrument, as an offering to Shize.
Upon ending the Kangshag prayer, visualise that all these negative manifestations have been destroyed by Shize and entourage. The visualisation of purification is in wrathful, gory form as a training for us not to be attached or repulsed to the pleasant and unpleasant. It is another method in which renunciation is meditated upon by seeing our bodies arising from negative karma pulverized, smashed and destroyed as in the Chod teachings. This practice may be visual and wrathful in nature but it is all in the spirit of Buddhist renunciation, such as when Thai monks meditate in cemeteries or in front of bones and skulls to actualize detachment from our bodies in which we have false view of its permanence and thereby invest in it inordinate time, energy and resources – when in the end it fails us with death. Renunciation is an extremely powerful component in our meditations to actualize in order that our Dharma practice becomes genuine. This necessity to actualize renunciation is pervasive in all three Yanas of Buddhism. (End of visualisation)
Therefore, when making these offerings while reciting the Kangshag, we are purifying the karma that we have accumulated from many lifetimes. The Kangshag should be recited as many times as possible but as a guideline, it can be recited three, seven or 21 times during each prayer session, depending on the urgency of the situation. The Kangshag recitation coupled with visualisation is a very powerful method for purifying immediate negative karma. The more Kangshags we can recite with visualisation of Shize, the more immediate the results. 100,000 Kangshag recitations are sometimes done by the assembly of monks in unison over a few days because it is so effective. No negative repercussions can ever arise from reciting Kangshag of Shize or any other Dharma protector.
After reciting Kangshag, it is beneficial to make offerings of tormas to the Dharma Protector.
Tormas are ritual cakes made mostly from flour and butter that are used as offerings in Tibetan Buddhist rituals. Tormas come in various shapes and sizes, according to their purpose but they are usually in conical form. They can be dyed in different colours depending on the practice for which the torma is being made. Tormas are most commonly found in white and red. H.H. Kyabje Zong Rinpoche mentioned it will not be practical for non-monastics to offer traditional tormas. So he said it will be fine to offer things we like to eat, for example cookies and biscuits. If we are travelling or in a hotel, plane or train, we can still do the Shize practice without any of the offerings, just the recitation and visualisation. We should make do with time, place and circumstance to the best of our abilities. Sincerity, trust and faith in our practice to Shize will definitely bear results.
For regular practitioners who are not trained to make the traditional form of tormas, the tormas can be represented with a glass bottle, filled with cookies. If one wishes to make torma offerings throughout the practice, the following tormas can be prepared:
- One large jar filled with biscuits (torma offerings to Lama Tsongkhapa)
- One large jar filled with biscuits (torma offerings to Shize)
- One smaller jar filled with biscuits (torma offerings to Shize’s entourage)
However, if time is limited, the torma offering can be omitted. The tormas (biscuits) are in jars simply to prevent insects from getting to them. You can offer the tormas on plates, bowls or cups and discard them in a clean place at the end of the puja/prayer. You can also eat the tormas as a blessing. If you don’t want to eat them, they can be wrapped in paper and then discarded in the garbage.
BLACK TEA OFFERING (SERKYM)
This practice is also called Golden Drink Offering or Serkym, which forms a central part of the Dorje Shugden Kangsol. This practice was developed as an extended offering to the Dharma Protector to request for swift assistance. Hence, the Serkym offering has become popular and it is commonly practiced among modern practitioners to request for swift assistance, especially in times of dire need. Traditionally, tea is used as an offering. However, other beverages like milk or even carbonated drinks can be used as a replacement.
The Serkym offering is traditionally offered by pouring the beverage into a two-tiered vessel, which consists of a taller vessel placed into a lower bowl. If the Tibetan-style Serkym ritual item (which is normally made of brass) cannot be obtained, one can replace it by using a tall glass (such as a wine glass) placed in a glass bowl.
During the Serkym offering, the beverage is poured from a pot or jug into the taller vessel until the liquid overflows down into the lower bowl. In Buddhism, the overflowing liquid is highly auspicious as a symbol of abundance of merits, virtues, material resources and conducive conditions for Dharma practice.
The beverage can either be poured fully into the vessel prior to the recitation of the Serkym verses, or it can be poured a little at a time during the recitation of relevant passages throughout the liturgy. If the latter method is chosen, pour a little of the tea into the taller vessel so that you do not present an empty vessel to the Buddhas. Before starting, consecrate the Serkym by circling a lit incense stick three times clockwise around the Serkym set while chanting the mantra ‘OM AH HUM‘.
While making the Serkym offering, visualise the beverage as divine nectar that expands to fill an entire ocean which represents all the desirable things in the world that pleases the five senses.
Once you complete the black tea (Serkym) offering, recite the increase mantra of Dorje Shugden as a request for healing and pacifying activities. Shize’s mantra is “OM BENZA WIKI BITANA SHANTI SIDDHI HUNG”. You can recite one, three, seven or as many malas of this mantra as you wish. It is encouraged to recite as many mantras as possible. It is also highly recommended that the practice is consistent and done daily. Upon completion of the mantra recitation during each session, recite the Vajrasattva purification mantra 21 times (You can recite either the 100-syllable Vajrasattva mantra or the short mantra – OM VAJRASATTVA HUNG).
When reciting Shize’s mantra, it is important to accompany it with the visualisation as taught by His Eminence the 25th Tsem Rinpoche
(NOTE: Shize has many mantras but the iteration ending “SHANTI SIDDHI HUNG” is generally recommended. Also good for practitioners to recite, if they would like to, are “OM BENZA WIKI BITANA CHINTAU KURU YE SOHA” and “OM BENZA WIKI BITANA AYU SIDDHI HUNG“. Any of these will be appropriate.)
An Extended Explanation of the Mantra Recitation Visualisation – done
First, we visualise ourselves as a yidam. Yidam is the meditational deity or Buddha from any of the four classes of Tantra that we are initiated into. If we do not have a yidam that we have received initiation of, we visualise Lama Tsongkhapa sitting gently on the crown of our head. Then, lights that are white in colour go out to Shize’s heart. Shize sits on a sun disc with the white syllable ‘HUNG’ and surrounding mantra garland at his heart. The mantra garland is basically Shize’s mantra encircling the syllable ‘HUNG’ clockwise. This represents the ‘Mind’ of Shize. The white lights represent our request to Shize to perform activities to heal and pacify obstacles.
From Shize, white healing lights return to you. Visualise the healing light descending upon you, enveloping you and entering you.
The light envelopes your body as it glows and heals your body. Your mind becomes light and your body becomes fit. The sickness is then expelled through your anus. Believe, believe, believe this and hold the visualization will reciting the Shize’s mantra.
Upon the completion of the visualisation, we do the Dissolution meditation. At this point, the commitment beings (visualised Shize and entourage) dissolve into Shize and then, the actual Shize which is the wisdom being dissolves into us. We think that we have become one with Manjushri. The completion of this visualisation is crucial towards gaining inner wealth and spiritual attainments.
DOTHEY AND DEDICATION
Before bringing the session to a close, it is good to recite the Dothey prayer, the request to Dorje Shugden for his enlightened activities which was written by H.H. Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche. The Dothey also contains graphic verses and exhortations to ‘kill the enemy‘, but such graphic words are only symbology, not actually directed at sentient beings. In any Buddhist practice, no harm is inflicted on others by ritual, thought, meditation or action. The word ‘kill‘ in Dothey refers to the destruction of one’s own inner enemies which are ego, selfishness, miserliness, anger and hatred. So ‘kill the enemy‘ in Dothey may sound quite violent but it refers to the violence that we actually create emotionally towards the people around us due to such afflictive emotions. This practice is aimed at ‘killing off‘ those negative emotions within us or at least realizing that the enemy is within.
After you finish Dothey, visualise Shize and Lama Tsongkhapa dissolving into you and recite the dissolution verses. End the session with a short dedication. It is very important to make a sincere dedication.
Shize is no other than Manjushri, emanating to specifically heal our sicknesses, increase our lifespan and improve the efficacy of our treatments and medicines. Doing Shize’s practice will bless us to subdue obstacles related to our health so that we can increase our engagement in Dharma activities, energy, and facilitate attainments. Thus, while the general result of Shize’s practice is health, long life and increase in merits, the real purpose of Shize’s practice is to be blessed with more opportunity to engage in spiritual practice. With this, we eventually gain an understanding into the deeper teachings of Dharma and facilitate the mind training practices such as Lojong.
Shize’s practice therefore clears the karma which gives rise to the physical and mental illnesses that we experience, both as the diseases we recognise and those that are more subtle. The real ailments are those of the mind – miserliness, greed, jealousy – which create the causes for us to experience physical and temporal suffering. Hence Shize’s practice, in creating the causes for us to deepen our understanding of the Dharma, actually heals our mental, subtle ailments which in turn cuts away the root cause of our physical sufferings.
Ultimately, Lord Manjushri can manifest in myriad shapes, forms, and appearances, both animate and inanimate because an enlightened mind has no restrictions. The enlightened beings will manifest, re-manifest and again emanate according to time, place, circumstance and karmic affinity of the sentient beings they are benefiting.
So, Dorje Shugden’s practice is 400 years old and considered relatively new, because many now are in need of this type of emanation. Dorje Shugden’s affinity and his special ability to help beings will be recognised more widely in time. We may hold Dorje Shugden in any of his forms such as Shize as our main Dharma Protector practice. Again, the Dharma Protector is not our main practice but sometimes necessary to alleviate the many daily problems we encounter. Once we trust and rely on a sublime being such as Dorje Shugden, as the years pass, we will see a special relationship develop and he will take care of us as a father for his only child.
Dorje Shugden’s compassion, wisdom and skilful means are unlimited as he is a fully enlightened Buddha, manifesting as a Dharma Protector. How fortunate we are to even hear his name and also to engage in his practice. Whether you are Buddhist or non-Buddhist, Gelug or any other school of Buddhism, poor or rich, male or female does not matter. People like to label Dorje Shugden as a Gelugpa Protector but that is wrong because he is no other than Manjushri, and Manjushri cannot be pigeon-holed within only a Gelug framework.
True, Dorje Shugden has a special affinity to Lama Tsongkhapa and his teachings because in one of his lives, he was one of the eight principle disciples of Lord Tsongkhapa. But even prior to Lama Tsongkhapa, he had incarnated as many great masters in Tibet, Nepal, India, and China. He was in fact one of the Qing Emperors of China named Kangxi. Kangxi had ushered in the age of Buddhism and introduced Tsongkhapa’s teachings into the royal court of China and into China itself. The Qing Dynasty emperors of China and their descendants are called Manchurians. According to the Qing Dynasty’s official historical record, the Researches on Manchu Origins; the ethnic name ‘Manchu’ came from Manjushri. The Qinglong Emperor also supported this claim on the origin of their ethnic name and wrote several poems on the subject.
Dorje Shugden’s line of incarnations extends back to one of the 84 Mahasiddhas. His blessings and protection will bequeath on anyone who sincerely invokes upon his enlightened energy. Again I would like to stress he does not only assist Gelugpas and Buddhists, but everyone from all walks of life who need assistance. For example, his practice was also prevalent within the Sakyas, where he manifested as riding on a black horse. If you believe otherwise, you are limiting the powers of an enlightened being. Dorje Shugden in any of his forms will assist anyone who sincerely requests his assistance. You do not need to be a Buddhist or go through any special rituals to receive his assistance. From the comfort of your home, you can download the daily practice. I’ve included here and start immediately. Read the commentary carefully and thoroughly for your knowledge and understanding. Do not fear if you cannot do the visualisations or offerings ‘perfectly’ because Dorje Shugden is a Buddha and will not be ‘upset’ with anything lacking. Sincerity and consistency are the keys. When you rely on Dorje Shugden consistently and over time, you will have a powerful ally as your friend, assistant, protector and confidante. Trust Dorje Shugden all the way. No part of his practice can be harmful in any way. Hundreds of highly attained lamas from the Gelug and Sakya schools of Buddhism have relied on Dorje Shugden for over 300 years. Many large monastic institutions as well as powerful lay practitioners were under the full protection of this divine protector. If you have come across this, it could be an indication you have strong affinity. Download the picture, print it out, place it on your shrine and start the practice. For those who are too young, ill or elderly and find doing the daily practice perhaps too taxing, they can keep a photo of Dorje Shugden or Shize near them and simply recite his mantra. Again, sincerity and faith are the keys. I sincerely wish all of you the best.
My team have worked very hard with me to bring this compilation to all of you. I, from my heart, thank my compassionate and hardworking team of great people whose sole purpose of assisting me is to bring you benefits. They are really great and kind people. We have many like them in Kechara I am honored to say. Thank you team very much!
I dedicate all merits to my team’s happiness, peace, growth and liberation. I also dedicate the merits that the great lineage holders of all traditions and all teachers who speak about peace, love and development of compassion have long lives and further success. It has been a tremendous honor, privilege and pleasure for me and my team to bring this extremely beneficial practice of Shize for the first time here. I wish everyone supreme success, health, growth and liberation. May you come under the peaceful, wrathful, mystical and myriad forms of the supreme Manjushri in this and all future lives.
DEDICATION BY TSEM RINPOCHE
The aspiration for offering this practice is so that it will benefit many people. May those who practice Dorje Shugden as Shize or any other Dorje Shugden emanation receive his great blessings of long life and health. May they have the merits to always be reborn with eight freedoms and ten endowments, in places with the authentic Dharma so that they may listen, learn, understand, practice and gain realisations. May they have peace of mind, peaceful sleep, peaceful family, peaceful life and free of accidents. Please remember that Dorje Shugden is a World Peace Buddha emanated as a Dharma protector and his nature is the fully enlightened Manjushri. This prayer is provided so it may be convenient and free to access to such a precious practice, especially for those that truly need it.
I have worked with my team to compile all of this in hopes that it will be of tremendous benefit.
Note by Blog Team:
- Invite home a beautiful Shize tsa tsa to aid your practice: http://www.vajrasecrets.com/shize-tsa-tsa-with-bronze-finish
- Download more high resolution images of Shize: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/downloads/buddha-images.html
- If you are in need of any Dharma items to conduct your practice, visit http://www.vajrasecrets.com/
For more interesting information and links:
- The Tsongkhapa category on my blog
- Tsongkhapa Retreat Instructions
- Tsongkhapa’s daily practice (video commentary)
- The Dorje Shugden category on my blog
- Dorje Shugden Retreat: a powerful practice to fulfill wishes
- Dorje Shugden Trakze to Dispel Black Magic & Spirits
- Dorje Shugden Gyenze to Increase Life, Merits & Wealth
- Dorje Shugden Wangze for Power and Influence
- Namkar Barzin
- Don’t Be Disenchanted – My Sharing (Setrap Retreat)
- Updated: Dorje Shugden Teaching Videos
- The Sakya Lineage & Dorje Shugden
- Sakya Trizin’s Dorje Shugden Prayer
- Tsem Tulku Rinpoche Teaches Prostrations Part 1
- Tsem Tulku Rinpoche Teaches Prostrations Part 2
- Kechara Forest Retreat
- Vajrasecrets: Shize statue
- Vajrasecrets: Shize pendant
- All About Manjushri / 关于文殊菩萨
- Advice to a YAMANTAKA Initiate
- White Manjushri Daily Practice
- 1,000-armed Manjushri!!!
- Cosmic Tantra
- Sayonara to Depression 再见吧！忧郁
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If you are in the United States, please note that your offerings and contributions are tax deductible. ~ the tsemrinpoche.com blog team