By Steve Lee
According to the colophon, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama composed this auspicious prayer during his brief stay at Dungkar Monastery, the seat of the legendary Domo Geshe Rinpoche, prior to his exile into India. The Dalai Lama was requested to compose this prayer by Dorje Shugden himself, via the famous oracle of Dungkar Monastery. Also present when the request was made was the Abbot of Dungkar Monastery, monastic officials and other Sangha members.
This Prayer was composed in accordance to the structure of the Seven-Limbed prayer and was written complete with all the elements for the accumulation of merits; the purification of negative karma and the conditions in reliance upon Dorje Shugden.
The seven limbs consist of Paying Homage, Making Offerings, Confessing, Rejoicing, Requesting the Wheel of the Dharma to be turned, Requesting the Upholders of the Dharma not to Pass into Nirvana and the Dedication.
The original Seven-Limbed Prayer contains Bodhisattva practices that were first described by Shantideva in his seminal text called the Bodhisattvacharyavatara. The limbs contained within Shantideva’s Seven-Limbed Prayer were considered the most complete and has since become the synthesis for other prayers and practices.
A brief explanation of each stanza of the prayer
Glory of the wisdom, compassion and power of infinite Buddhas
Miraculously powerful protector of Manjusri Tsongkhapa’s Teachings
Arisen as a lord of all wrathful worldly hosts
Come from the abodes of Tushita, Kechara, and so forth!
The first stanza begins with the homage to the wisdom, compassion and power (skillful means) of all the Buddhas. These are the main spiritual qualities that are developed in a fully awakened Buddha.
The same qualities are also within Dorje Shugden, who is the Protector of Lama Tsongkapa’s lineage of Nagarjuna’s view of emptiness. Lama Tsongkapa had direct pure visions of Manjushri, with whom he was able to clarify many of the subtler points of his understanding of Nagarjuna’s view. And so Tsongkapa’s lineage bestows special blessings on its practitioners to come to the realization of the Madhyamika swiftly because the lineage descends directly from Manjushri himself.
Being an emanation of Manjushri means that Dorje Shugden is enlightened and that makes him lord over all the other worldly protectors and deities.
The stanza ends with an Invocation of Dorje Shugden to come from all the places that he resides. Dorje Shugden is believed to reside under Lama Tsongkapa’s throne in Tushita; Kechara – Buddha Vajrayogini’s pure realm; Shambhala – the hidden Buddhist Kingdom that is believed to be located within the Himalayas; the Sakya’s main temple where Dorje Shugden was first enthroned as a Dharma Protector and finally, Wu Tai Shan – the five great peaks in China that’s traditionally associated with Manjushri.
Prostrating with devotion of body, speech, and mind
I confess all mistakes and faults in which
Out of delusion, I have contradicted your holy mind:
Accept with forbearance and show your smiling face!
The second stanza begins with paying homage to Dorje Shugden with our body, speech and mind. With our body, we prostrate to Dorje Shugden to lower our ego and to create affinity to receive blessings and protection from this deity. With our speech, we praise Dorje Shugden’s special qualities to eliminate jealousy and we become familiar with his virtues. With our mind, we contemplate on the special qualities of Dorje Shugden and in that way, our faith in this enlightened Protector is deeply entrenched and we take heartfelt refuge in him.
The stanza ends with the Confessional segment of the prayer. In order to activate the purification powers, we must enact the Four Opponent Powers:
(i) Taking heartfelt refuge in Dorje Shugden,
(ii) Regretting our past misdeeds,
(iii) Taking the right remedial actions, and
(iv) Resolving never to repeat the same misdeeds again.
We ask Dorje Shugden for forgiveness and request him to be pleased with us again. If we employ the Four Opponent Powers correctly, Dorje Shugden would be pleased that we have applied the Dharma. It is meritorious to have Dorje Shugden, a Bodhisattva be pleased with us.
Arising from the sport of non-dual bliss and void
Are offerings and torma of flesh and blood heaped like a mountain
First portions of milk, yogurt, beer and tea swirling like the ocean
Auspicious signs and substances and various animals
Peaceful and wrathful ornaments, enemy-destroying weapons and armor
Amassed samaya substances, outer, inner, and secret, without exception!
The third stanza is about the visualization of various types of wrathful offerings arising from emptiness. Wrathful offerings are basically similar to what is offered during the Kawang, in terms of visualizing our negative karma in the form of a slain person that is chopped up.
The extracted blood, sensory organs, flesh, bones and various other bodily fluids are offered up to Dorje Shugden in a ghastly array. This is symbolic of the practitioner offering up all the defilements and attachments that keep us bound in samsara. These offerings are coupled with traditional, auspicious and various other types of offerings.
Having fulfilled your heart commitment and purified degeneration
By making these actually arranged and visualized offerings
Increase Lozang the Victorious One’s Teachings
And the life span and activities of the Teachings’ upholders!
Further the happiness of beings in the Gaden [Podrang] dominion!
The various practices to propitiate and make offerings to Dorje Shugden in the earlier stanzas serve to accumulate merit and thus fulfill our commitments to Dorje Shugden, especially if we have received the Dorje Shugden sogtae or life entrustment empowerment and to purify the negativity of all our broken commitments. The offerings made are also dedicated to the preservation of Lama Tsongkapa’s tradition, to increasing the lifespan of lineage-holders – great tulkus and Geshes who uphold the lineage and bring benefit to many by transmitting the practice of Dharma in accordance to this lineage.
Especially pacify all harm to us, the yogis and entourages
That arises because of previous karma and immediate conditions
And spontaneously accomplish, just as we wish
All good things, both spiritual and temporal!
This stanza is a request to pacify all obstacles and problems that will arise because of our negative karma, and the negative karma from those within our immediate circle such as friends, family and loved ones. Dorje Shugden is also requested to fulfill our worldly wishes and create the right conditions for our Dharma practice.
We make this request not having any expectation of the desired result because the fulfillment of our worldly wishes may create obstacles for our Dharma practice and distract us from the path. Hence, Dorje Shugden may not fulfill every single one of our wishes just to ensure that our Dharma practice continues to grow. After all, Dorje Shugden is a Dharma Protector and his sole purpose is to guard our Dharma practice.
Grind to dust without remainder
Enemy hordes that think and act perversely
Towards the teachings and lay and ordained people
With potent, accurate, powerful great vajra fire!
In this stanza, we request Dorje Shugden to use wrathful or whatever skillful means to pacify the immense obstacles that have arisen from the collective negative karma of lay and monastic practitioners. We request Dorje Shugden to eliminate these obstacles that are endangering the survival of the lineage with swift and decision action. In other words, we request Dorje Shugden to safeguard our lineage, the lineage holders as well as its practitioners.
The vajra fire mentioned at the end refers to the flames that are emitted from Dorje Shugden’s body, symbolizing his great compassion. Therefore, this stanza is requesting Dorje Shugden to act with swift compassion ‘to burn’ and obliterate all obstacles.
Especially, cause the saffron-clad community of Dungkar Monastery
Brightly beautiful in bonds of pure morality
To soar the path of immortal liberation
On unified wings of Sutra and Tantra!
The purpose of this stanza is to request Dorje Shugden to create favorable conditions for the Sangha of Dungkar Monastery to uphold their vows and commitments, and also to increase their spiritual attainments derived from Sutric and Tantric practices. Although specifically referring to Dungkar Monastery, this passage also applies to all other Sangha members, not just those from Dungkar Monastery. In other words, it is a prayer for the growth and spiritual wellbeing of the Sangha in general.
In brief, we enthrone you, O Deity, as the supreme
Collected nature of all Gurus and Protective Deities!
From densely gathered clouds of the four activities
Pour down a cool rain of the two siddhis!
In the last stanza, we enthrone Dorje Shugden – not just in the pendants, tsa-tsas, statues or thangkas but also in our hearts. This is essentially a ritual to request Dorje Shugden to grant spiritual attainments directly. It is also a request for Dorje Shugden to employ the four activities – peaceful, increasing, controlling and wrathful means – to help us develop Bodhicitta and the realization of emptiness.
We can conclude that the “Melody of the Unceasing Vajra” is truly an unusual prayer as it was requested by Dorje Shugden himself via the famed Dungkar Oracle. The Dungkar Oracle was personally trained by Domo Geshe Rinpoche to take very clear trances of Dorje Shugden. Thus, the Dungkar oracle became very famous all over Tibet for his precise prophecies and answers.
It is very unusual that Dorje Shugden requested for his own prayer to be composed. With clairvoyance, He must have foreseen how significant this prayer would be in revealing the Dalai Lama’s true feelings about Dorje Shugden at a time when His Holiness is manifesting opposition towards the Protector in order to generate strategic interest in the practice.
This prayer to Dorje Shugden as composed by H.H. the 14th Dalai Lama is complete and can be recited daily along with a mala of Dorje Shugden’s mantra for busy individuals who don’t have the time to go through the full daily sadhana of Dorje Shugden.
One could also recite this prayer in combination with the Dorje Shugden daily sadhana, inserting this just before the serkyem offering. This is just one of many indispensible prayers to Dorje Shugden and it is rare proof of the Dalai Lama’s true view of Dorje Shugden.