Kyabje Zong Rinpoche’s Advice on Dorje Shugden’s Practice
In 1983 His Holiness Kyabje Zong Rinpoche bestowed the initiation of Dorje Shugden to Geshe Tsultrim Gyeltsen’s students. The initiation, or sogtae in Tibetan, took place at Thubten Dhargye Ling Dharma centre in Los Angeles, USA which was Geshe-la’s centre, and Geshe-la requested this initiation on his students’ behalf. Thus being one of Geshe-la’s students, I had the good fortune to receive teachings from Kyabje Zong Rinpoche including the practice of Dorje Shugden.
The first time I laid eyes on Kyabje Zong Rinpoche’s picture was in Los Angeles, in my friend’s van when he came to pick me up for tsok at the centre. There was a picture of a lama on his dashboard that I had never seen before. I didn’t know who this lama was so I asked my friend and the instant I heard his name, faith spontaneously arose. All I could think about was that this person was a Buddha and if you followed him, you would reach enlightenment and I fully, truly really believed that. So you can only imagine how excited and scared and overjoyed I was when I found out that Kyabje Zong Rinpoche himself was going to visit and live in our centre. You can read more here about how I met His Holiness Kyabje Zong Rinpoche and also our relationship over here.
On the afternoon Kyabje Zong Rinpoche was due to arrive, I was so frustrated because I had to go to work. So right after work, I rushed back to the centre and when I got there, there were a lot of unfamiliar shoes outside and unfamiliar luggage crowded in the main hall. That was when I heard the voice of Heruka himself coming from upstairs. Shortly afterwards, Geshe-la introduced me to his teacher, Kyabje Zong Rinpoche and upon sight I knew that he was and always would be my root guru. Geshe-la also later appointed me to cook and personally serve Kyabje Zong Rinpoche for the entire duration of his stay and so that became my daily routine for the next six months. I would go to work and when I wasn’t working, I had the great merits to serve, cook meals, clean and assist two Buddhas – Kyabje Zong Rinpoche and Geshe-la. This happened every single day without fail.
So although I was ‘just’ 18 at the time, already I felt a deep and very profound connection. And that connection to Kyabje Zong Rinpoche is just as strong within me now in 2017. It has been more than 30 years since I last saw His Holiness Kyabje Zong Rinpoche but my faith today is just as firm as the first time I met him or, dare I say, even more firm today. I will never, ever abandon any teachings, practices, advice or instructions given to me by Kyabje Zong Rinpoche. I will practise what he gave me personally till my end and also share what Kyabje Zong Rinpoche gave me to many others because everything he gave me was perfect and without flaw. There can never be a flaw or negative quality in anything that comes from Kyabje Zong Rinpoche.
Over 30 years ago, I made my choice that His Holiness Zong Rinpoche is my root guru and I have never wavered from it since or had second thoughts or doubted. I think everyone has the right to choose their guru, accept his practice and no other gurus or their students should criticise this. Because it is not their right to do so. To advise against another guru and his teachings is not proper spiritual etiquette. If you are truly spiritual, you will never criticise another person’s teacher or their practice ever. The relationship between a teacher and disciple is between them. When we start criticising, there is no end to the criticism. We are just ordinary people and we can be in danger of one day criticising someone sincere both student and teacher. Hurting their relationship and endangering their spiritual path does not benefit them or us. The karma for us will be heavy and it will return to us in the form of not gaining any higher attainments and realisations. Kyabje Zong Rinpoche lived a healthy, long and highly fruitful life benefiting thousands. He passed at 80 in full control without any illness and he predicted the time of his own passing exactly. In fact he was supposed to pass away earlier but due to many requests from his students, and also the promise he made to find his root guru His Holiness Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche’s incarnation, he delayed his own passing. So today his incarnation has returned in perfect form and resides in Gaden Shartse Monastery and has nearly completed his studies. This shows clearly if you practise Dorje Shugden, only good things arise. Some people like to say if you practise Dorje Shugden, you lose your refuge vows and you will take rebirth in the three lower realms. Well certainly Kyabje Zong Rinpoche did not take rebirth in the three lower realms and he would never send his thousands of students to the three lower realms by giving them Dorje Shugden practice.
So His Holiness Kyabje Zong Rinpoche manifested passing in 1984 and his body stayed in death meditation for three days without decomposition in the South Indian heat where Gaden Monastery is located. During the lifetime of His Holiness Kyabje Zong Rinpoche, no one and no lama even would speak negatively about Dorje Shugden as they could not refute the logic and erudite knowledge of Kyabje Zong Rinpoche. Even the Tibetan leadership would never say one word about Dorje Shugden. They knew they could not defeat Kyabje Zong Rinpoche in debate as the many senior monks said. The Tibetan leadership (Dharamsala or CTA) never ‘advised’ His Holiness Kyabje Zong Rinpoche to cease his practice and proliferation of Dorje Shugden. It was after the passing of this great master we hear some negative reverberations from Tibetan leadership against Dorje Shugden for political reasons it seems. But it does not affect me and the millions of practitioners around the world. In life, whatever we do, there will be people against it and in agreement. We just have to be firm. I am firm because my root teacher gave this practice to me.
So Geshe-la had formally requested the initiation, also known as sogtae or life-entrustment, from Kyabje Zong Rinpoche of the powerful Dharma protector Dorje Shugden. Geshe-la was himself a very dedicated practitioner of Dorje Shugden, and wanted his students to have a strong connection with the protector so that they too could benefit from this beneficial practice. Geshe-la both before and after my meeting of Kyabje Zong Rinpoche encouraged me to practise Dorje Shugden which of course I never had any hesitation over. Geshe-la had become one with Chenrezig himself, I have always seen it this way, and therefore I knew for a fact Geshe-la requested Kyabje Zong Rinpoche to bestow the Dorje Shugden initiation for the sake of his students.
A master of Kyabje Zong Rinpoche’s calibre is like the rarest jewel. Kyabje Zong Rinpoche was an erudite scholar, ritual master and practitioner of the highest degree, a part of the older generation of lamas who were educated and trained in Tibet itself. Known as a master of both sutra and tantra, Kyabje Zong Rinpoche is universally considered one of the greatest masters within the Gelug lineage of Tibetan Buddhism of recent times. His Holiness was a master of debate, philosophy and practice and as such a great master, he agreed to give the initiation for the benefit of Geshe-la’s students. Then after the initiation was given, Geshe-la and his students practised Dorje Shugden very strongly and together we did monthly pujas for years. I know this because I did the pujas with them without fail every single month until I left for India to join the monastery.
In the video below, you can hear the holy voice of Kyabje Zong Rinpoche giving advice and commentary when he conferred the practice of Dorje Shugden. Such a high and renowned master of the Tibetan Buddhist lineage practised Dorje Shugden. His spiritual attainments are unquestionable and if he practised such a Dharma protector we can be assured that this practice is a beneficial one, which will definitely help us along our spiritual path towards enlightenment. This practice has been existing for over 400 years of lineage both in Sakya and Gelug. Many great and holy Sakya and Gelug masters practised Dorje Shugden deeply and advised their students to do so. Some of these Sakya masters were throne holders (Sakya Trizins) of the Sakya lineage. Some of these masters were throne holders (Gaden Tripas) of the Gelug lineage also.
Please listen carefully to what His Holiness Kyabje Zong Rinpoche has to say about Dorje Shugden in his legendary straightforward and commanding eloquence. It is a huge, huge blessing to hear the voice of Heruka himself.
I bow to His Holiness Kyabje Zong Rinpoche in this and future lives,
His Holiness Kyabje Zong Rinpoche Giving Advice
on the Practice of Dorje Shugden
In this video we hear the holy voice of Kyabje Zong Rinpoche giving advice on the practice of Dorje Shugden. Kyabje Zong Rinpoche wanted to make sure those that were present got the maximum benefits from their practice, and that they kept their practice well, therefore he shared this with those who had taken the life-entrustment initiation.
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(Geshe Tsultrim Gyeltsen speaks in Los Angeles requesting for Dorje Shugden sogtae (initiation) from His Holiness Kyabje Zong Rinpoche)
My root guru His Holiness Kyabje Zong Tulku Dorje Chang Lobsang Tsundu Thubten Gyeltsen gives most emanation deity Gyalchen Dorje Shugden’s life entrustment initiation along with very pure and excellent biographies and stories, here is the voice record while giving the empowerment.
I, Geshe Tsultrim Gyeltsen student formally requested.
His Holiness Kyabje Zong Rinpoche speaks on Dorje Shugden
(His Holiness Kyabje Zong Rinpoche begins to speak through a translator)
After receiving this Dorje Shugden initiation, you have to do puja once a month. Also, it is necessary to follow the commitment, and you have to make a commitment with the lineage and with the order.
So that means, for example you [might] receive teachings from different traditions but mainly, your practice, your focus, your energy [should be put] into this lineage, the Gelugpa lineage.
If you have to or if you wish to do some kind of Dharmic activities with other sects of Buddhism, that is okay to do some kind of activities but your main practice or the principle practice, you have to make the commitment with this lineage of Lama Tsongkhapa. That’s why I mentioned before, you have to know and told that you should not take initiation if you are not sure. So once you take this initiation, then you have to make a commitment with the Gelug lineage and this is necessary not to mix up everything.
There are sometimes rumours that people say, “Oh, Shugden initiation is not…”, people say that it is not necessary to take Shugden initiation or, some people say Shugden is even not good protector.
That is not true. People who have this Shugden initiation and people who practice Dorje Shugden, those people have very great, successful meditation and practice. Even worldly measures, like worldly activities and business and job; everything becomes very successful.
Because it says Dorje Shugden is a Gelugpa protector, so some people they think when you say ‘Gelugpa protector’, they think we are narrow-minded and they think people who practice Shugden, they think they are narrow-minded and they think people who practice Shugden, they are sectarian. Actually, not sectarian…maybe because they are sectarian so they think that the people who practice Shugden are sectarian. People make up all kinds of stories and rumours, you should know that beforehand.
Some people, after taking the Shugden initiation and teachings, when they hear these rumours, they think…ignorant people, narrow-minded people make those rumours, and some people think that it is true and so maybe they give up the practice or they even don’t want to have this protector which is very bad, and that is not good for the person.
Actually it is up to you, whatever you want to do is up to you; your own life, everything is your own choice and your freedom and your own enlightenment, and what you want to do or not is up to you but I’m talking about what is good for you. You have to be very careful about what you do and you should not become gullible; you should not just follow someone saying “this is no good” and listen to all these stories from people. You should not change your mind, and you should always be aware and you have to make sure.
In Tibet, it doesn’t matter what people say and actually in Tibet, there’s many people who follow this and do this practice and actually, always there’s more and more people who do this kind of meditation.
So you have to know this, you have to be very sure or otherwise, later on, if people say to you “Oh, this practice is no good” and they make all kinds of stories and rumours…then if you give up, then it’s not good for you and then it will be a big mistake for you. Therefore you have to make sure that you keep this commitment and follow this commitment.
Because this is your own choice, and no one says you should do or you must do this and your own…like you choose to do this so you have to think about this very carefully. No one says you must do this without your own choice, and it’s like if you don’t want to and no one can say “you should do this or shouldn’t do this.”
(repeated) Because it says Dorje Shugden is a Gelugpa protector, so some people they think when you say ‘Gelugpa protector’, they think we are narrow-minded and they think people who practice Shugden, they think they are narrow-minded and they think people who practice Shugden, they are sectarian. Actually, not sectarian…maybe because they are sectarian so they think that the people who practice Shugden are sectarian. People make up all kinds of stories and rumours, you should know that beforehand.
This is a very special protector and very precious, so therefore you have to do puja monthly.
You have to do the puja once a month, the prayer, long sadhana or long prayer, once a month but if, for example, if next month, if you know you’re going to be very very busy, if you know that you can’t do this, it’s impossible – then you can do the puja for next month, this month. The month before, you can do two [pujas] within two days.
If you don’t know how to read the sadhana, the prayers; if you cannot do the sadhana or you’re unable to do [the sadhana], then you also can ask the Lama, or monks or teachers to do this for you.
It is very important to know that you really want to take this initiation, and it is not just to come here and take this initiation because other people are taking this initiation. If you feel “I should do this and if I don’t do, then maybe I’m going to miss something”, that is the wrong idea. If you really want to make the commitment, then you should take. Otherwise you shouldn’t.
As I mentioned before, if you don’t know how to say the prayer and if you’re unable to do the puja once a month, then you can ask a Lama or your friend who knows this prayer and this monthly puja – you can invite them to your place, and ask them to do the puja.
Or if you can’t do [the puja] at your home, then even if it’s long-distance, like at some kind of monastery or where the Lama or the friend is – you can ask them, or him or her, to do this puja.
The reason I’m saying this again and again is because if you don’t follow just any kind of people, and if you’re not gullible, then it’s okay.
However, it is possible sometimes that even a Lama or monk or some kind of teacher says “this is not right, and it’s wrong, and you shouldn’t do this kind of practice” – then it’s possible that you can change your mind. You think, “Because a Lama or some kind of teacher is saying this to me, maybe it’s true” – so people are very easily influenced and they can change their minds.
And one of the reasons [I am saying this again and again is] because many Westerners don’t know the Dharma deeply, and all the significance and symbolism and the meanings. They also don’t know who is the right teacher and who is not the right teacher; they just go wherever there is a teacher or some sort of Lama, and they go and listen to all these teachings and that’s why. Westerners are generally very honest people, very direct, and very…they’re good people, they have a good heart.
Like in India or in Tibet, sometimes they…some people, they don’t practice Shugden but they say they are practicing Shugden. And some people, they do practice and they say something else. What people say and what they do is different, and so there’s kind of a corruption.
In India, some people mislead other people, other Tibetans. When some Tibetans ask them to do the Shugden puja, they will say, “Yes, I will do puja for you.” But after they go, they will do something else, and not the Shugden puja – they do another different puja. The people who asked them to do puja, they don’t know – if they can’t read, they can’t read and write – that these people say they are doing Shugden puja, but they don’t do it. They do something else and they just do what they want to do, and it’s very bad.
The reason why they do that is because in India and Tibet, householders will invite laypeople or monks to do this puja. It is a long puja and long day, so the household makes offerings like dana. These people are lying, saying they’re doing the Shugden puja but they don’t do. And they actually don’t like to do Shugden puja but in order to get some kind of benefit or money or some other reason, they say they do the pujas and it’s very very bad and very samsaric motivation.
Eventually those people, the householders who request for the Shugden puja will know or realise; they know that these people are not doing the right puja because they feel that it is not helping. It is not working because they are not doing the real puja. Eventually, they can feel intuitively because it is not helping, it doesn’t feel right. They will say they don’t want those people to do the puja, and will ask someone and make sure that the people who do the Shugden puja, are also practicing Shugden.
Here, we don’t have that kind of problems and there is no doubt. I’m just talking about general stories so that you have some type of understanding and everything.
This transcript has been edited for clarity and ease of understanding.
His Holiness Kyabje Zong Rinpoche
on the History & Lineage of Dorje Shugden
In Tibetan Buddhism, it is always said that whatever we practice must come from an enlightened source to be beneficial in our spiritual journey. As such in this video, Kyabje Zong Rinpoche shares with us the history and reincarnation lineage of Dorje Shugden to explain how great Dharma protector is through the examples of his previous lives, showing us his powerful spiritual attainments.
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The Dharmapala is real1 and he is the emanation of Vajrapani. From the Thousand Buddhas, he is the ‘Sangye Hlungzey’2 , the last Buddha from the thousand. He generated Bodhicitta and said before the Buddha, 999 Buddhas, whatever actions the Buddha did, he will also do those.
He started generating Bodhicitta before with the ‘Rinchen Nyingpo’3 the essence of the jewel. He started there and since then he created merit in the things he did. In history, if you think about this, in our country, there was a great Mahasiddha Buton Rinchen Drub. He was also the Dharmapala.
Before that in India, he was the great master of the Mahasiddha Birwapa. His name was Birwapa.
During Birwapa’s time in India, there was a very large monastery with many monks and scholars of Buddhism. There were around 500 of them together in one place and Atisha was the proud leader of those monks. Birwapa was living in that very monastery and he was also one of the great scholars.
He kept a small bottle of the wine for the tsog offering. It was his commitment of the tantra, therefore he kept that.
Atisha saw the wine and as he was the leader of those monks, Atisha said “You cannot stay in the monastery. You have to keep away from the monastery because you keep wine in the monastery. Therefore, you have to go”.
He then said to Atisha, “This wine doesn’t hurt me”.
Atisha said, “I know that it does not hurt you but it hurts others, therefore you have to leave the monastery”. Then when the monks were together in the chanting hall, he said “I am a bad person therefore I cannot go through the door and I have to go upwards”. Then he took his cushion, sprung through the ceiling and went up in space.
Then he went away. When he reached the banks of the Ganga, a very big river in India, he said, “I am a bad person, therefore if I cross you, then you will be bad, therefore better you just keep away from me”. He told that to the river and at that time the river parted and he passed through.
From there he arrived at a temple and in that temple the people sacrificed many animals every day to make offerings to their God. He went inside the temple right to the statue of the God and he pushed away the very strong, big statue with his knee and pushed it outside.
The devotees were very upset but they couldn’t challenge him so they asked, “Please allow us to put the statue back into the temple. We want this statue back inside the temple. Please put it back there.” They asked this to Birwapa who then said, “I will take this statue back inside of the temple but you need to make a commitment, I first need something from you”.
“What is the commitment?” They asked.
“That you don’t kill any more animals to sacrifice to this God and also when you give an offering to this God, buy rice or any other food, if you do that, then I will put the statue back into the temple”.
Inside the temple, there is also a dakini ‘Namkyi Jetsun’4, there is also a statue of that. Then he went there and he tapped the head of the statue of the dakini. Then the dakini’s head absorbed into the body, and there’s no head.
When the head went down into the body of the stone, stone body, then he pulled up the two ears, holding each ear with each hand, and brought the head back up like normal.
Since then the goddess had a new name, ‘Lhamo Namjurma’5, meaning “hold from the ear”, that’s how the goddess got the name.
In India, he also taught, developed and propagated the Dharma. After that, he went to Nepal. In Nepal, he saw the statue of Lhamo Chandika made from stone.
During that time, in Nepal, there are some people who check, like mathematics, like prophesise, clairvoyance, something like this. They said there was need to sacrifice animals. About 2 million animals to be killed and sacrifice within 3 years and if they don’t do that, the Nepalese government or people, the country will have very bad opportunities, or something very bad will happen.
The Nepalese government, they wanted to, in fact they had to do this, because they had to care for the country but they didn’t have that kind of animal. They were thinking what do we do? Then Birwapa he said, “Take it easy, I have an idea. It doesn’t need 2 million animals but only black sesame seeds, hundreds of bags of sesame seeds”.
Nepalese government need to make the sacrifice to Lhamo Chandika, and while Birwapa was performing the fire puja, some people saw Lhamo Chandika in the wood pyre, when he gave her the sesame seed through his hand, they also saw many animals, what looked like animals strewn forth.
At that time, Birwapa has a very high quality or had very high reputation of the Dharma, Dharma’s power. And then after that, then his generation, in our country there is ‘Panchen Shakya Sherab’6. He is also reincarnation of the mahasiddha and *Panchen Shakya Sherab6 is also very great scholar but not only scholar, like a mahasiddha of scholars, a very great one.
After that later, then also Buton Rinchen Drub came, also generation of the eight Shabje Sherab, come down then great scholar also Buton Rinchen Drub.
Buton Rinchen Drub, after he left, he also reincarnated back during the time of Lama Tsongkhapa, Je Rinpoche, at which time, came the great mahasiddha called Dulzin Drakpa Gyeltsen.
Then Dulzin Drakpa Gyeltsen also changed his life, and also then after that was Panchen Sonam Drakpa. Panchen Sonam Drakpa is the teacher of the 3rd Dalai Lama. Panchen Sonam Drakpa has good, very excellent qualities and also very high reputation and after that then, after that came Sonam Yeshe Wangpo.
When Sonam Yeshe Wangpo left, his next incarnation was Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen.
Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen was a very great scholar. Even as a thirteen year old boy, he was a great scholar, spiritual, taken to practising the Lamrim, clear self realization and the ability to teach to others too. His guru is Panchen Lobsang Chokyi.
During Lama Tsongkhapa’s time, Nechung Chokyong, the government’s protector, although he didn’t show his real form but instead emanated as one young boy, went many times to Lama Tsongkhapa’s place, with Lama Tsongkhapa together with his the disciples, he asked, “I need help, I need help, who can do it?”
He asked many times but nobody says “I will do it”, nobody said that.
Then one day, Dulzin Drakpa Gyeltsen who was the oldest student of Lama Tsongkhapa around that time thought to himself, “This boy has come many times”, and proceeded to say “I will help you, I will help you”.
Then the young boy said to Dulzin Drakpa Gyeltsen, “Don’t you forget what you told me, don’t forget’ and disappeared.
At the same period, this boy, that is the time of Lama Tsongkhapa, the 1st Dalai Lama, Gyalwa Gendun Drup, he is the disciple of Lama Tsongkhapa. Since then, the Dalai Lama, the 2nd, the 3rd, the 4th and the 5th Dalai Lama also, five generations after, then Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen came. Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen is there, during Lama Tsongkhapa’s time he is Dulzin Drakpa Gyeltsen, he was there. Then 5th Dalai Lama’s time he came and his name is Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen.
Then one day, Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen went to the oracle. Nechung came through the oracle, with other people present, asked “Do you remember what you promised to me, do you remember that?”
Then Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen said, “I don’t remember”.
Then Nechung gave some barley to Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen, “You take this, burn the barley and smell it with your nose and then you will remember”. When Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen got back to his place and burnt the barley, he remembered Nechung as the emanation of the small boy, his promise to help and also remembered his whole past.
When he remembered, he thought, “Now I need to show the form of a Dharmapala”. After that where also, then he said that Nechung, Damchen Dorje Legpa is another protector of the Dharma, very powerful.
Then he said also, he talked to Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen, “Now in this time, now is the lucky time, we have pure Dharma and this is the system of Lama Tsongkhapa that is like gold. And also, if you become a protector of that, then you will be his best one, you are the best protector of the Lama Tsongkhapa’s system of teachings”.
Then next time when he went to Nechung and Nechung came through the oracle. He said “I will do it, I will take the form of Dharmapala but I don’t have cause of death”.
What is the cause of death? Somebody to make anger or somebody to create bad action to him, then that will be the cause to become and take form as a Dharmapala. Therefore he told this, “I don’t have that kind of a problem”. Then Nechung says “You will stay in Lhasa, go into Lhasa”. “I will make a cause of death”, Nechung told Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen.
Then that’s what Nechung told to Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen and just like that, Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen went to the Lhasa. Lhasa is the capital of Tibet. While he was staying in Lhasa, people, Tibetan people, local people or from long distance came to see him. His reputation was much higher than His Holiness the Dalai Lama at that time. Therefore one of the attendants of the Dalai Lama, Desi Sangye Gyatso, got angry and mad and he tried to kill Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen.
Then the attendant of the 5th Dalai Lama, Desi Sangye, killed Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen. But His Holiness the Dalai Lama doesn’t know anything, no. Then this attendant of the Dalai Lama he told to His Holiness the Dalai Lama, Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen was very sick. His Holiness the Dalai Lama then said, “If he is sick, I want to go to there and I want to see him”.
Desi Sangye Gyatso then said “Oh, you cannot go there. Your Holiness please you don’t go because his sickness is very dizzy. Very dizzy. Very badly dizzy. Also it is not good for you. Please don’t go”. And he stopped His Holiness from going there whilst on the other side, Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen’s body was burned.
When burning his body, very special smoke, a smoke with a rainbow together rose. Rainbow in the smoke together just like a pillar, straight into space, very long one….
Then this rainbow and smoke mixture stayed in sky, go up, and that time, the attendant of Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen was very upset. He thought about how people were very bad to him. Killed and also everything very bad action they did to him, but he don’t think about those, and he goes straight up to the pure land, looked like he is going up straight to pureland. That he doesn’t like.
And also “Why don’t you do anything and go straight that way”. His robes hit the smoke and then smoke is coming down. Doesn’t go up anymore. And then come down to earth and the whole area very smoky with the rainbow just like fog on the ground…
Then he started to become, taking a wrathful form, a very powerful one. Then he went to Sangphu, From Lhasa to Sangphu. Sangphu is on the other side of Lhasa. They have a protector called Setrabpa, this is the college of Setrabpa. He went there and stayed there.
Then there were many different kind of signs, very powerful and very strange for this country, our country. Everybody was afraid.
Then the 5th Dalai Lama and his government, they tried to make a burn, through the fire puja. Very great ones, like His Holiness Dalai Lama, Karmapa, ‘Dorje Tra’7, and many Gaden Karampa, those powerful lamas tried to make it burn with a fire puja. But they cannot burn, cannot do anything, it was powerful.
Therefore then they know that, after that they put “Now you are the protector, to make the protector, then Dorje Shugden”, and since then also, from the Chinese King like that time also, his great name Dharmapala therefore… many different places also, even China, they sent many different kinds of offerings to Dharmapala and also those kind of Dharmapala hats.
Since then, very powerful protector, a very powerful, great quality protector, therefore then sogwang8, means the initiation of the Gyalchen, since then can, when they were given the initiation of the Dharmapala… that blessed Dharmapala through the text by Lama Rinchen Wangyal. But then sometimes, that one also the text lost.
Since then lost that text, and then people, even high level teachers they couldn’t get the initiations of Dharmapala.
Then during Kyabje Pabongka’s time and also Tagphu Dorje Chang. Tagphu Dorje Chang, a very great mahasiddha, he is very great, truly great Mahashidda. And then Kyabje Pabongka asked Tagphu Dorje Chang,“Please try to get the initiation of the Dharmapala because we need it”, asked.
Then Tagphu Dorje Chang he went to the Tushita Heaven because Lama Tsongkhapa is there now. And he went to Tushita Heaven and also he see that Lama Tsongkhapa and also then get the initiation for Dharmapala from Lama Tsongkhapa. Two different kinds of initiations. Tagphu Dorje Chang got it.
Then from the Lama Tsongkhapa given this initiation to Tagphu Dorje Chang, Tagphu Dorje Chang gave the initiation to Kyabje Pabongka, Then Kyabje Pabongka gave this initiation to Kyabje Trijang Dorje Chang. Then from Kyabje Trijang Dorje Chang gave then His Holiness our guru Kyabje Zong Rinpoche. He got three times, about three times. Then since then to gurus, it’s four generations.
Tagphu Dorje Chang is a great mahasiddha of the Tibetans, that is the everybody knows just general, everybody knows he is great, because like a statue also talking to him, even like this, also normally Tara and himself, like a person each other, talking to each other, this kind has…
Kyabje Pabongka is a great mahasiddha and long time because his long history and in this time also he the great action of the Dharma increasing and also make develop in the whole of our country Tibet, he is giving teachings and also develop Dharma very kind for us indeed. He is also the emanation of the Chakrasamvara, he is the real Chakrasamvara.
His Holiness also says, and those kind of you have great teachers, great mahasiddhas, through that ways the initiations came and also we got and if you want more details of those real, if you want to know then it has textbook… His Holiness mentioned one textbook I had, because through His Holiness this time I got, and also maybe I can make a Xerox for you, and also you will have centre here or any other centre, therefore if you want to learn you learn from them from your teacher.
Those the commentary of these texts, printing in India also if you want it, Geshe-la His Holiness mentioned where is there.
This transcript has been edited for clarity and ease of understanding.
His Holiness Kyabje Zong Rinpoche
Chanting Prayers to Dorje Shugden
In this short video we see Kyabje Zong Rinpoche, an undisputed master of both sutra and tantra chanting prayers to Dorje Shugden while simultaneously playing ritual instruments. Kyabje Zong Rinpoche was so great in his practice that he knew every aspect of Dorje Shugden’s practice, including the various rituals. Listen to his holy voice to gain immense blessings.
Or view the video on the server at:
Wrathful Dorje Shugden Ritual at Zong Labrang’s Temple
During Tibetan New Year (1985)
Dorje Shugden has been practised for centuries. In this video we see that this was especially so in Kyabje Zong Rinpoche’s Ladrang (household) in Gaden Monastery. Here we see the preparations for, and an actual wrathful Dorje Shugden puja during Losar (Tibetan New Year) celebrations in 1985. The wrathful puja to remove obstacles involves a lot of preparations such as the creation of intricate tormas, and elaborate rituals.
Kyabje Zong Rinpoche was known to be extremely particular about pujas and especially tormas. Before pujas he would come to inspect the set-up and if the offerings were not abundant or the tormas were not done well, he would not do the puja until the set-up was correct. He was known to even crush the tormas in his hands and leave the prayer hall, he was famous for this. Tormas are ritual cakes with a shape and design specified in the texts for the rituals, and they have a related tantric meaning and symbology so Kyabje Zong Rinpoche took it very seriously. Please watch this video to see just how high Dorje Shugden is regarded to have such a grand puja performed, and the importance that Kyabje Zong Rinpoche had placed on the practice. This puja was engaged following Kyabje Zong Rinpoche’s direct instructions.
Or view the video on the server at:
His Holiness Kyabje Zong Rinpoche
His Holiness Kyabje Zong Rinpoche was one of the few erudite Gelugpa masters of our time. Well known to have full control of his rebirth, this was witnessed twice in Kyabje Zong Rinpoche’s previous incarnations as Zongtrul Phuntsok and Zongtrul Chopel, who were both born in the Zong-go family.
As a young boy Kyabje Zong Rinpoche showed remarkable skill in his studies as well as being able to memorise texts. In 1916, when he was 11 years old, he travelled to U-Tsang and joined Shartse College of Gaden Monastery. It was there that Kyabje Zong Rinpoche met His Holiness the 3rd Trijang Rinpoche Lobsang Yeshe Tenzin Gyatso, who was 14 years old at the time. Later His Holiness Trijang Rinpoche became Kyabje Zong Rinpoche’s root guru. Kyabje Zong Rinpoche was also known for his close friendship with a contemporary of his time, Kentrul Thubten Lamsang, who is the previous incarnation of His Eminence Tsem Rinpoche.
Although Kyabje Zong Rinpoche was recognised as a reincarnated lama (tulku), and as such had access to all the privileges of a high lama, he instead chose to live a very humble life and focus on his studies. He was so humble that he would use an empty tea box supported by bricks to read his scriptures instead of a table. He was also observed to be disinterested in food or drink, choosing instead to stick to a simple diet. One would never have recognised Kyabje Zong Rinpoche as a incarnate high lama, because he looked and behaved just like any other young monk in robes tattered from the physical exertions of the debate grounds.
It did not take long for Kyabje Zong Rinpoche to capture the attention of many others due to his skill in debate. Within his first year of study in Gaden Shartse Monastery, Kyabje Zong Rinpoche surprised many senior scholars from Gaden Jangtse with his depth of knowledge and debating skills during an all-night debate session between both Shartse and Jangtse Colleges. Kyabje Zong Rinpoche’s skill in debate was so good that the following year, when he debated on the first verse of Pramanavarttika, he was praised by the famous Geshe Amdo Sherab Gyatso who said, “There would not be a worthier debate on this subject even if Dharmakirti himself were here in person!”
Over time, Kyabje Zong Rinpoche gained great repute amongst monks of the three monastic universities of Gaden, Sera and Drepung. He was respected not only for his debate prowess, but for his intelligence, wisdom, power of retention and his deep practice of the teachings. At the age of 25, Kyabje Zong Rinpoche received the highest honours for his Geshe Lharampa degree. Following this, he received outstanding results in his examinations at Gyuto Tantric College. From then on, he became highly regarded as a great and erudite scholar. Deeply influenced by the Madhyamika philosophy, Kyabje Zong Rinpoche dedicated his life to the practice of tantra, combining it with the penetrative insights of the Indian master Nagarjuna.
A few months later, following the advice of Thepo Rinpoche, Kyabje Zong Rinpoche was appointed the Abbot of Gaden Shartse Monastery by the Regent Reting Rinpoche. During his nine-year tenure as Abbot of Gaden Shartse, Kyabje Zong Rinpoche made many great changes, which led the monastery to new heights. As a result of Kyabje Zong Rinpoche’s leadership, Gaden Shartse became a shining example of monastic discipline and scholarship, with a strong emphasis in tantra and rituals. Improvements were also made in the monastery’s administrative structure, thus bringing improvements to the living standards of the monks, especially for the poorest members of the monastery.
After serving as the monastery’s abbot for over nine years, Kyabje Zong Rinpoche journeyed on a long pilgrimage to Tsari in south-eastern Tibet in 1946, which is one of the places where Lama Tsongkhapa engaged in retreat. It was during this part of Kyabje Zong Rinpoche’s life that people witnessed many miracles and news quickly spread of Rinpoche’s attainments and tantric abilities to remove obstacles in people’s lives. One well-known incident was Kyabje Zong Rinpoche curing Geshe Tenzin Choephel who suffered from defective eyes that limited his mobility. After a few ablutions by Rinpoche, the Geshe was able to walk again unaided and after this incident, Kyabje Zong Rinpoche became even more famous for his great healing abilities and blessings.
In 1959, Kyabje Zong Rinpoche left Tibet and entered a life of exile in India where, in 1965 and at the request of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Rinpoche became the Director of the Tibetan Schools Teacher Training Program in Mussoorie. Under his leadership, he oversaw 58 scholars from all the major traditions of Tibetan Buddhism.
Later, the Dalai Lama also appointed Kyabje Zong Rinpoche as the first principal of the new Central Institute of Tibetan Higher Studies at Sarnath in Varanasi, India. In 1971, Kyabje Zong Rinpoche retired from his position in Varanasi and moved to the newly-established Gaden Shartse Monastery in Mundgod.
Even though Kyabje Zong Rinpoche had retired, he continued to receive constant invitations from many of his students in the West. Thus, after a third request was made by Lama Thubten Yeshe, Kyabje Zong Rinpoche travelled to the West in 1974. His last trip to the West was in 1983, a trip which took him to America where he reconnected with Tsem Rinpoche, the present incarnation of his close friend Kentrul Thubten Lamsang. It was during these visits to the West that Kyabje Zong Rinpoche gave teachings on both sutra and tantra, including teachings on Chod of the Gaden Ear-Whispered Lineage, as well as Dorje Shugden sogtae (life-entrustment ceremony). Kyabje Zong Rinpoche became renowned for his widespread Dharma discourses and had an illustrious reputation within the Tibetan as well as the Western Buddhist world.
In 1984, the world lost a leading Dharma master and tantric practitioner when His Holiness Kyabje Zong Rinpoche entered clear light. Remaining in death meditation for three days, his body did not decompose despite the hot South Indian weather. In the following year (1985), his incarnation Zong Chocktrul Rinpoche returned in perfect form. The present incarnation currently resides in Gaden Shartse Monastery, where he continues his education and has gained a reputation for being a highly skilled debater, much like his previous life.
Click here to download high resolution images of this great practitioner.
His Eminence Geshe Tsultrim Gyeltsen
His Eminence Geshe Tsultrim Gyeltsen, affectionately known as Geshe-la, was once described as “one of the last living Tibetan Buddhist masters to have been trained in Tibet” before the events of 1959. Out of the 20,000 monks who lived at the three great monasteries of Tibet (Gaden Monastery, Sera Monastery and Drepung Monastery), Geshe-la was one of the lucky few senior members of the sangha who managed to escape Tibet into India.
Named Jamphel Yeshe by his parents, this attained master was born in 1924 in Kham, eastern Tibet. At a very young age, Geshe-la came to be greatly inspired by his uncle who was a monk at a nearby monastery. When he was just seven years old, he entered monastic life with the blessings of his parents. There he began to study both sutra and tantra and under the care of Geshe Jampa Thaye from Sera Monastery, received teachings on dialectics for nine years.
At the young age of 16, as the only monk with a group of 15 merchants and pilgrims, Geshe-la set out on a 33-day trek across the high mountain passes in order to reach Lhasa, the capital of Tibet. His aim was to enrol at Sera Monastery and earn a Geshe degree. This degree is equivalent to a western doctorate in Buddhist Philosophy, but it has a significantly longer timeline for completion, often requiring more than 20 years of study.
Geshe-la however, did not reach his intended destination of Sera Monastery. During his journey, Geshe-la was invited to visit Gaden Monastery for tea. Upon climbing the hill towards the monastery, he was overwhelmed by the sight of Gaden. Weeping tears of joy, he instantly knew that it was at Gaden and not Sera where he would continue his studies. Coincidentally, on the day he arrived, the monastery was celebrating the anniversary of Lama Tsongkhapa’s enlightenment. The monastery was infused with a spiritually-charged atmosphere, with light illuminating the whole monastery from countless butterlamps and the sound of chanting filling every room. This sacred atmosphere strengthened Geshe-la’s resolve to stay at Gaden even further.
Joining Shartse College of Gaden Monastery, Geshe-la trained for over 20 years in various subjects including logic, wisdom, compassion, ethics, phenomenology and mind training. The abbot at the time, His Holiness Kyabje Zong Rinpoche, took notice of this young monk’s strong Dharmic imprints and paid special interest to Geshe-la’s study and progress.
In 1959, upon hearing that His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama had left Tibet, Geshe-la left Gaden Monastery after evening prayers. Together with six other monks, the small group made their way across the Himalayan mountain range on foot, forming part of a mass exodus of Tibetans that fled into India.
In India, Geshe-la settled in Dalhousie in northern India where he began his studies at Gyuto Tantric College before taking his final Geshe examinations. Geshe-la took his examinations, consisting of rigorous debates, in front of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama and his two tutors, Kyabje Ling Rinpoche and Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche. Not only did Geshe-la pass the examination with honours but he was awarded the highest degree of Lharampa Geshe.
In 1963, Geshe-la travelled to the Pestalozzi International Children’s Village in Sussex, England. There he taught Tibetan writing, grammar, culture and Buddhist philosophy to 22 Tibetan children, who were either orphans or whose parents were still living in Tibet.
In 1976, Geshe-la relocated to the United States where he briefly held teaching positions at the University of Southern California (USC), the University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) and the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA). While there, the erudite teachings he gave on meditation and Tibetan language attracted many students, who requested him to start a Dharma centre and start teaching more. Two years later, in 1978, Geshe-la founded Thubten Dhargye Ling (“Land of the Flourishing Dharma”). The name of the centre was bestowed by His Holiness the Dalai Lama at Geshe-la’s request.
Geshe-la was renown as an erudite scholar and proliferator of the Buddhist teachings. He founded two more Dharma centres in Colorado and Texas, was involved with the Buddhist Sangha Council of Southern California (dedicated to the further understanding between Buddhist communities), and actively worked for the human rights of the Tibetan people. He had the goal to further education and religious studies amongst the Tibetan communities throughout India, and also authored two books:
- Compassion: The Key to Great Awakening, a commentary on the Eight Verses of Mind Training and the Thirty-seven Practices of a Bodhisattva
- Mirror of Wisdom: a free book on the subject of emptiness
Geshe-la’s passing was just as extraordinary as his life, and is testament to his great spiritual attainments. On February 13, 2009, Geshe-la entered clear light and the amazing events witnessed by many show us the level of practitioner that he was:
- A large rainbow formed just as Geshe-la left his clear light meditation.
- Geshe-la’s sacred body remained without any signs of deterioration for three days and three hours, while Geshe-la was in clear light meditation. A shorter time in clear light meditation indicates a quicker rebirth.
- Geshe-la’s body remained preserved throughout the long flight back to India despite the heat.
- The monks who prepared his body for cremation found that his body had become smaller and was pliable enough to set in lotus position. This was astounding considering the long period of transportation.
- There were very few mistakes, interruptions or problems during the funeral process. In fact the ceremonies all went almost perfectly well.
- When the smoke from his funerary stupa arose, it drifted to the West and slightly to the North, considered an indication where Geshe-la would take his next incarnation.
- When the “fire house” inside the funerary stupa was opened, Geshe-la left a very rare and extraordinary relic. Among the ashes was a formation known as the “eye, tongue and heart” which is associated with the body, speech and the mind. This is considered to be a sign of his very high spiritual attainments.
- Upon examination of the sand mandala under the “fire house” the ritual master discerned a small footprint formation leading to the Northwest. This was interpreted to mean that Geshe-la would take rebirth soon, and in a Northwest direction from Gaden Monastery in India, where the cremation took place.
- Several days later, His Holiness Kyabje Lati Rinpoche mentioned, in a humorous manner, that Geshe-la would be reborn in the United States.
Geshe-la’s contribution to the spread of the Buddhadharma amongst the Tibetan communities who fled into India, and in the West is remarkable. His vision and devotion transcended time and cultural boundaries, and his life and work continues to inspire students with the unique Buddhist legacy the he brought from Tibet.
For more interesting information:
- Geshe Tsultrim Gyeltsen’s Special Thangka
- H.H. Kyabje Zong Rinpoche’s Biography
- Kyabje Zong Rinpoche: Birth, Death & Bardo
- Kyabje Zong Rinpoche’s Rare Teachings
- Kentrul Thubten Lamsang
- High Lama Images (Free Download)
- Dharma work, Attitude & TDL
- Brief Commentary on 50 Verses of Guru Devotion
- Complete Commentary on 50 Verses of Guru Devotion
- Dorje Shugden Retreat: A Powerful Practice to Fulfill Wishes
- Dorje Shugden Shize: A Practice for Healing and Long Life
- Dorje Shugden Gyenze to Increase Life, Merits and Wealth
- Dorje Shugden Wangze for Power and Influence
- Dorje Shugden Trakze to Dispel Black Magic & Spirits
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