Dorje Shugden Movie Project

Dorje Shugden: On The Trail Of A Buddhist Protector is a documentary film project. The general idea is to do documented research on the origin and practice of the Buddhist protector deity Dorje Shugden.

It is important to show the practice as integrated part of a living Buddhist tradition without going into the recent controversy. To see how Dorje Shugden practitioners realize their protector practice in their day to day life offers a different way of perception.

The team will travel to Tibet and surrounding countries, visit historically relevant sites and talk to Dorje Shugden’s followers and masters all over the world. The film will adopt a rather scientific and objective approach, understandable for everybody.


The dedicated team consists of five people and together they represent quite some expertise. Students of film and visual design, a professional photographer, a monk, known for his knowledge on the subject and a professional sound designer, not to forget helpers and friends, translators and organization talents. This project is not connected to any organization.


This documentary film is made to present well-researched information about the Buddhist protector deity Dorje Shugden. The brief storyboard below is extracted from the movie’s official website:

To begin with, there will be a short introduction, explaining the concept of deities in Buddhism , even though we cannot go too deep into Buddhism in general, we hope this will provide enough information for everyone, including “Non-Buddhists” to follow the topic.

Next we can identify Protector deities, explaining their function, using examples such as the widely spread Mahakala worship. At this point we want to introduce Dorje Shugden followed by some explanation on the distinction made between different types of protectors, as there are spirits, mundane and supra-mundane beings. Identifying Dorje Shugden as a supra-mundane protector will conclude the first chapter.

Related to the origination of Dorje Shugden, we will start with a portrait of Thulku Dragpa Gyaltsen. In order to demonstrate the status of Dorje Shugden as an Enlightened One, this will include previous incarnations of Thulku Dragpa Gyaltsen, emphasizing some anecdotes of previous incarnations lifes. Especially the life and qualities of Dulzin Drakpa Gyaltsen and his special relationship with Je Tsongkapa, founder of the Gaden Tradition, explains the function of this extraordinary protector.

Although we don‘t want to engage in any political statements, the story of Tulku Dragpa Gyaltsen includes some historical political information, such as the relationship to the great fifth Dalai Lama and Desi Sangye Gyatso. In order to get to know the whole picture of the arising of our wonderful protector, there are more dimensions to consider.

Therefore we also want to explain the emanation of Dorje Shugden as a son of the god Ganesha for example. And how the different ways of perceiving Dorje Shugden go together without contradiction.

The relation of Dorje Shugdens mandala and the 32 deities of Guhyasamaja as well as the body mandala of Lama Lobsang Thubwang Dorjechang. In conclusion this chapter is to clearly show the enlightened heritage and qualities the practice of Dorje Shugden offers, as well as its special connection with Je Tsonkapas teachings. We will shoot this chapter at the original historical settings and see which traces still can be found.

In order to understand Dorje Shugden practice and its stand in Tibet it is very necessary to consider the Sakya Lineage. Beautiful practices derived from this Lineage and it was widely spread in monasteries all over Tibet.

Especially in this chapter we will also focus on the Sakya tradition explaining, similarities and differences with the Gelug lineage in terms of view and practice. We will talk about important Masters from both lineages and their contribution towards todays Dorje Shugden practice.

By quoting from wonderful scriptures such as the Sakya and the Gelug Kangso, biographies of Lineage holders and masters from both traditions, we will completely refute the wrong view that it was Je Phabonka Rinpoche who established Dorje Shugden as enlightened protector.

Now that we got a basis, knowing more about the Origin, Dorje Shugden himself, as well as the transmission lineage, we can get into the related practices. We want to introduce the great variety of rituals and practices related to this protector, find out about their goals and what they have in common.

Giving an overview from large monastic rituals up to the short prayer of an devoted lay person. Talking to and showing many different people can also demonstrate the extend of devotees throughout society. It will be wonderful to see powerful rituals and interviews with people from various backgrounds describing their personal relationship with Dorje Shugden and how this practice affects their spiritual lifes.

Of course, today the practice of Dorje Shugden is not only existing in traditional Buddhist countries, but spreads all over the world. There are strong communities and individuals practicing Dorje Shugden as a very part of their Buddhist belief and their day today life. We want to visit and portrait some of them, film interviews, find out about the personal experience people had, we will talk to their teachers and Lamas, the lineage holders of Dorje Shugden practice today.

Psychological studies show, the start, as well as the end of a movie, have a special tendency to be remembered. In this respect we started the movie, emphasizing the enlightened qualities of our powerful protector and we are going to conclude with sincere, strong practitioners explaining the nature and function of Dorje Shugden and their personal experiences. We want to have a strong, honest and impressive last sequence that can last for a long time in the recipients minds.


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4 total comments on this postSubmit yours
  1. hi..
    I am Tashi Lama from Nepal, 30 years old. I first came to know about Kyapje Dagom Rimpoche in 2002 from Phelgyling monastery in Kathmandu. Since, then i accepted my guru as Kyapje Dagom Rimpoche. I started practicing his teaching till now. About, Shugden, i have read few of his books written by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso. It might be funny if i tell you this, but i have meet Shugden one night standing on my chest and warning me to stop doing evil things.. Since, i started reading and studying more about Shugden history. I have discussed the story with Kyapje Dagom Rimpoche too. But, its my previous life bad karma that before i could learn more from Kyapje Dagom Rimpoche left us behind. I am still in search of Shugden( Dulzin Dakpa Gyaltsen)history. I am very glad that your team is making documentary movie and it would really help me to learn more. Can i know when will the movie release ?
    Currently, i am here in Nepal and i do transportation business. I spend most of time at Phengyling Monastery at their prayer hall and sometimes sponsor the Puja and food of monks.
    With regards
    Tashi Lama
    [email protected]

  2. This film project is a laudable project.For one thing, it will dispel speculations about the Dorje Shugden Practice as worship of a spirit, as the camera will bring to focus how Dorje Shugden practitioners realize their practice as ‘an integral part of a living Buddhist tradition’.
    The film will also refute the wrong view that Pabongkha Rinpoche was the one who had established Dorje Shugden as an enlightened protector and that Dorje Shugden is only practised by Gelugpa purist practititioners, by showing that the Dorje Shugden practice is also entrenched in the Sakya Lineage.
    The film will portray graphically how it is that Dorje Shugden is an enlightened protector by graphically tracing his enlightened lineage and showing how he arose as a Dharma Protector.

  3. I don’t know much about the story of Dorje Shugden. But after browsing through this section of the website on how Dorje Shugden came about and the story that he is a Supramundane Being. I am glad that a movie project is in the making. I also notice that there are a lot of followers devoted to Dorje Shugden especially in the West. In the U.K. Geshe Kelsang Gyatso has so many followers and numerous centres around the world practicing Dorje Shugden even going against the Ban which Dalai Lama and Tibetan Government has imposed on the practice. I am sure Dorje Shugden may have help these followers solve their problems otherwise people will not practice and follow without proof of a good sign. I am looking forward to know more from the movie.

  4. Thanks to the team for making it happened…Dorje Shugden movie project.

    It’s a very good ideal to have illustrated story of how Dorje Shugden came to be. And it will help lots of people to understand easily the life story of Dorje Shugden, which is more than two hundred and fifty years ago. The lineage of Him and how He arose as a Dharma Protector.

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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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