Zong Rinpoche on Je Pabongka: “He Was Actually Heruka”

Mahasiddha Pabongka Rinpoche has a long history and during his time the Dharma increased greatly in Tibet. He was actually Heruka Demchok.

He was born in North Central Tibet and as a boy entered Gyalrong house of Sera Mey. At first he was very poor and not famous. He studied hard to be a Geshe, meditated and gave empowerments. Pabongka studied with Jaba Sonpo Rinpoche who was a complete lineage holder, especially of the teachings of Ranchi Lama. One night, he dreamt of a person giving him a pot of milk and requesting him to drink it completely. This symbolized that the complete teachings would be transferred to him.

Later on, a monk came to see him. This monk explained that there were a lot of philosophies in Tibet but not much teaching on Lam Rim. The monk offered to be his patron so that he could go and teach.

At one time while returning from the south of Tibet, Pabongka Rinpoche met many people, requesting Lam Rim teachings. He taught in Lhasa and he went everywhere in Tibet and many people became his students. Of course this caused some jealousy at times. He propagated Je Tsongkapa’s Dharma with much enthusiasm and stated that these teachings were the best.

Finally, the monk who was Pabongka Rinpoche’s patron returned and thanked him. He told him to rest, while he was away at the Five Mountains of Manjushri in China. At this period, no one asked him to teach Lam Rim. Three years later, this monk returned and requested him to teach Tantra. After this many people requested Tantra teachings. Now, Pabongka contemplated these events and realized that this monk was Dorje Shugden.

Pabongka went to see his guru Tapo Dorje Chang. His spiritual master was very special. He was born in Na Sur Tapo where his monastery was located. He had a long line of incarnations numbering four or five. The first Tapo Khacho Uncho, while meditating, saw Tara, Chenrezig and they gave empowerments to him. Tapo Dorje Chang also traveled to the pure lands. Yidams give him initiations such as “Cittamani Tara“. He also held the thirteen deity initiation called “Da-pan Na-ja soon“.

Mahasiddha Pabongka asked Mahasiddha Tapo Dorje Chang, his guru, to go to Tusita. In Tusita, the Mahasiddha Tapo Dorje Chang had met Lama Tsongkapa. At that time, Tapo Dorje Chang had requested teachings from Je Tsongkapa. Lama Tsongkapa lifted the cloth that covered the front of the golden throne he was sitting on. From under the golden throne came the five forms of Dorje Shugden. Dorje Shugden gave to Mahasiddha Tapo Dorje Chang Tenpai Gyaltsen complete instructions and the Mahasiddha returned to Tibet with these texts.

Tapo Dorje Chang gave Pabongka not only the initiation and lineage of Dorje Shugden, but also all his lineages that he held. When Tapo Dorje Chang was young, he had many visions of Lhasa and he went to Drepung Monastery. Later in his life, he became a sage and remained in Tapo meditating. One time, Pabongka was going to Kham and he wanted to visit the guru. Tapo Dorje Chang told him to visit on his return. But he went before so he could visit twice. Tapo Dorje Chang told him

I told you after your trip to Kham. Anyway, now many dakinis are requesting me to come.

Pabongka knew what this meant and requested him to live longer. He asked what he should do. Pabongka said to meditate on the emptiness of the events. So he went to Kham and Tapo Dorje Chang passed away.

Pabongka Rinpoche spread the Dorje Shugden practice and had many famous and wise students beginning in 1920’s. He was particularly famed for his pristine elaboration of the Lam Rim.
~ From Chod in the Ganden Tradition: The Oral Instructions of Kyabje Zong Rinpoche, Snow Lion, 2006.


Zong Rinpoche (1905-1984) was a Gelug Lama and disciple of the third Trijang Rinpoche, junior tutor of the 14th Dalai Lama. Rinpoche was famous as a sharp analyst and master of philosophical debate, as well as a powerful Tantric practitioner. He had impeccable knowledge of all rituals, art and science, and was renowned for his ‘many actions of powerful magic,’ as a result of which ‘the most marvellous, indescribable signs occurred.’

Zong Rinpoche served as the Abbot of Ganden Shartse Monastery for nine years beginning in 1937, during which he brought about new heights of scholarship and monastic discipline among the monks, as well as raising living standards for the poorest of them.

Zong Rinpoche first came to teach in the West in 1978, at the request of Lama Thubten Yeshe. Thousands of Westerners have since received teachings from him, both in the West and in India. He forged strong links with dharma centres in America, Canada, England, France, Italy and Switzerland. (Read more about H.H. Zong Rinpoche here)

[Extracted from: www.dorjeshugden.info and www.fpmt.org]

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  1. I have a lot of faith in Zong Rinpoche and all that he says about Je Pabongka is no further than the truth. Zong Rinpoche was recognised during the 13th Dalai Lama’s time, no easy feat.

  2. Dear Dalai Lama,

    Since you started the cruel ban against the 350 year Dorje Shugden practice, how has it benefit your Tibetan society and Buddhism in the world? Things have become worse and most educated Tibetans can see this. They don’t speak out not because they don’t see your ban as wrong, but you instill fear in them and not respect. It is like fear of a dictator. I am sorry to say so. Everyone is divided. There is no harmony. Before your ban there was more harmony and unity.

    By enacting the ban, you split the monasteries, split so many families, split regions in Tibet apart, split your disciples from you, split your own gurus from you, split Tibetan Buddhism apart. You have created so much disharmony.

    It is not democratic what you have done to ban a religion within your community. You always talk of tolerance and acceptance and democracy and yet you do not accept and tolerate something different from your beliefs. When people practice Dorje Shugden you ostracize them, ban them from seeing you, ban them from using Tibetan facilities. You know you have done that. There are videos that capture your speech and prove this point. You even had people expelled from monasteries just because they practice Dorje Shugden. Some of the monks you expelled have been in the monastery for over 40 years. Many older monks shed tears because of this.

    Many young educated Tibetans lost confidence in you as they saw the damage the Dorje Shugden ban created and they lose hope. Many have become free thinkers. They reject what you have done. So many people in the west left Buddhism because of the confusion you created with this ban against Dorje Shugden which is immoral.

    You could of had millions of people who practice Dorje Shugden to support, love and follow you, but you scared them away. They are hurt and very disappointed. They loved you and respected you deeply before the ban. It has been 60 years and you have failed to get Tibet back. Your biggest failure is not getting Tibet back after 57 years in exile. Now you are begging China to allow you to return to Tibet to the disappointment of thousands of people who fought for a free Tibet believing in you. So many self-immolated for a free Tibet and now you want Tibet to be a part of China with no referendum from Tibetans. Just like a dictator, you decide on your own. It was your government and you that lost Tibet in the first place. Your policies and style of doing things do not benefit Tibet and Buddhism. You have been the sole ruler of Tibet your whole life and you still have not gotten our country of Tibet back for us. Our families and us are separated. Yet you create more pain by creating a ban to further divide people. Please have compassion.

    No other Buddhist leader has banned or condemned any religion except for you. It looks very bad. You are a Nobel laureate and this is not fitting of a laureate. You should unite people and not separate them by religious differences.

    You said Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi did not do right to the Rohingya people in Myanmar due to religious differences, but you are doing the same thing to the Shugden Buddhists within your own society. There is a parallel in this. You separate the Shugden Buddhists from the others in Tibetan society.

    You have lost so many people who would have loved and supported you. You have lost so much support around the world. The Shugden Buddhists who love you number in the millions. When you are fast losing support from governments and private people, it will not do you well to lose more.

    After you are passed away in the future, the rift you created between the Dorje Shugden and non-Dorje Shugden people will remain for a while and that will be your legacy. Disharmony. You will be remembered for this. Not as a hero but a disharmony creator.

    Dorje Shugden will spread and further grow, but you will be no more as you are a human. No one wishes you bad and in fact we hope you have a long and healthy life, but we have lost so much hope and have so much despair because of you. All the hundreds of Dorje Shugden lamas, tulkus and geshes are maturing and there are hundreds of Dorje Shugden monasteries in Tibet who will not give up Dorje Shugden. You have made a mistake. These hundreds of teachers and teachers to be will spread Dorje Shugden further in the future.

    The gurus that gave us Dorje Shugden as a spiritual practice and you have called these holy gurus wrong and they are mistaken in giving us Dorje Shugden. How can you insult our gurus whom we respect so much? If they can be wrong, then you can be wrong. Then all gurus can be wrong. So no one needs to listen to any guru? You have created this trend. It is not healthy. Your own gurus practiced Dorje Shugden their whole lives. Your own gurus were exemplary and highly learned.

    Dalai Lama you have created so much pain with this ban against so many people due to religion. You are ageing fast. Are you going to do anything about it or stay stubborn, hard and un-moving. You show a smile and preach peace and harmony wherever you go. But will you do the same to your own people? Please rectify the wrong you have done. Please before it is too late. You can create harmony again or you can pass away in the future with this legacy of peace. May you live long and think carefully and admit what was a mistake in having this unethical ban against Dorje Shugden religion.

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.…Instead of turning away people who practise Dorje Shugden, we should be kind to them. Give them logic and wisdom without fear, then in time they give up the ‘wrong’ practice. Actually Shugden practitioners are not doing anything wrong. But hypothetically, if they are, wouldn’t it be more Buddhistic to be accepting? So those who have views against Dorje Shugden should contemplate this. Those practicing Dorje Shugden should forbear with extreme patience, fortitude and keep your commitments. The time will come as predicted that Dorje Shugden’s practice and it’s terrific quick benefits will be embraced by the world and it will be a practice of many beings.

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