Chogyel Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche is a well-known anti-Dorje Shugden proponent. He has openly spoken against Dorje Shugden on a few occasions. It has come to our attention that Namkhai Norbu has instructed his students together with him to engage in Vajrakilaya practices and to recite thousands of mantras aimed at the destruction of Dorje Shugden. Vajrakilaya practices should be done with the sublime motivation of reaching the highest enlightenment in order to bring benefit to all sentient beings, and not used for any destructive purposes. He and group of students have been engaged in this holy practice of the Yidam Vajrakilaya for unsavory purposes. How can any Buddhist practice be aimed at the harm or destruction of another being spirit or human? Compassion is the basis of all Buddhist practices taught by Buddha in Sutra or as Vajradhara in tantra. I cannot gauge his motivation exactly but results do show clearly.
I have been informed that after this practice of Vajrakilaya against Dorje Shugden, Namkhai Norbu has fallen ill and become temporarily paralyzed. He might have become better since then, but this was the latest news. Engaging in these esoteric practices with wrong motivations can have negative results. His illness could or could not be the results of this wrongly motivated Vajrakilaya practice, but it is certainly a coincidence. Negative karma can be accrued from any action regardless of labeling them spiritual or not. It’s the motivation that counts the most. In the past there was once a Yamantaka practitioner who engaged with wrong motivation. He wanted power and the ability to harm his enemies. As a result he incarnated as a spirit with the ‘form’ of Yamantaka but harmed all those in contact with him. It was not the Yidam Yamantaka that caused this result but his negative motivation during this practice.
I do wish Namkhai Norbu healing and realization of the true nature of Dorje Shugden. Spiritual teachers of his age and lineage should never criticize any form of religious worship and should respect all forms of spirituality. Religious freedom is not propaganda but the individual rights of every human being on this planet. Criticizing other forms of spirituality does not bring teachers to a positive light nor help their works.
Below is the writings of Chogyel Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche in regards to Dorje Shugden. Please note in his writings he ‘criticizes’ Nechung as well as H.E. Gangchen Rinpoche in Italy without naming names. Nechung was appointed by Padmasambhava as a guardian of Tibet. He may be a Gyalpo, but he is still highly revered by many. So for Namkhai Norbu to mention that Pehar (Nechung) caused him ”confusion and nervousness” is quite perplexing. Since Samye is the first monastery to be built and blessed by Padmasambhava, it must be a sacred place. Padmasambhava enshrined Pehar to be the guardian in this monastery. Why would Padmasambhava assign some guardian that causes nervousness and confusion? The current Dalai Lama heavily relies on Pehar and often consults the Nechung oracle in trance. For Namkhai Norbu to quote the Dalai Lama positively on the banning of Dorje Shugden, yet on the other hand criticizes Pehar, is also nonsensical. He is indirectly perhaps saying the Dalai Lama is wrong for relying on Pehar? Namkhai Norbu is perhaps biased in his views due to some sort of sectarianism from his personal side? This could or could not be the case. You can come to your own conclusions. I present his thoughts to you here.
Provocations of the Gyalpo
by Chögyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche
In general one cannot say that the class of Gyalpo are always negative. There are also some important Gyalpo guardians. For example, Guru Padmasambhava gave the task of protecting the temple of Samye to Gyalpo Pehar. So it is not negative at all. But then, regarding the Gyalpo, there are different levels and it is very important for us to understand the character of the Gyalpo and how they create provocations because each of the eight classes has their own way of provocating.
The Gyalpo always provoke people with nervousness, confusion and being upset. These are the most important secondary causes through which the Gyalpo can provoke or disturb and for the person under their influence, confusion rises even more. So this is the provocation of Gyalpo in general.For example, when I was younger, during my college years, I knew that Samye temple was very important. It was the only temple built during the time Padmasambava and the guardian of this temple is Gyalpo Pehar. So I thought that Gyalpo Pehar must be important. When I did the puja of the guardians, I always included Gyalpo Pehar. Then I also had the feeling that Gyalpo Pehar was good and that I had to do even more. But gradually I started to understood the characteristic of the provocation of the class of Gyalpo. When I did the practice of Gyalpo Pehar (*Nechung) I observed that my confusion and nervousness increased. Then I thought that it would be better not to do this practice and since that time I haven’t done it anymore.
There also exists a Gyalpo, not of a high level like Gyalpo Pehar, but a bad spirit. (One can become a bad spirit particularly when one has received Vajrayana teaching and created some heavy samaya problems, then something bad happens and they become a bad spirit.) This kind of spirit becomes dependent on the class of Gyalpo. That means if they are a bit powerful they can become a kind of Gyalpo and can do something. Instead somebody less powerful becomes only a subject (victim) of the Gyalpo.
At the time of the 5th Dalai Lama there was a monk who broke his samaya in a very bad way and created lots of problems and at the end of his life he died very tragically and became a kind of Gyalpo. He became part of a group of Gyalpo. Later this Gyalpo manifested and some Gelugpa and Sakyapa lamas had contact with that spirit. And it seemed that that spirit helped them and served them so they considered him to be a good guardian. Then they invented a puja to have more contact with that spirit. Later the 5th Dalai Lama and Minlig Terchen, an important Nyingmapa lama, found out about this and said that this was a very bad spirit which shouldn’t be considered as a guardian, but should be eliminated. They performed many pujas in order to eliminate him but maybe they did not succeed very well. Some Gelugpa Lamas continued to do pujas and particularly some very sectarian Gelugpa lamas believed that this Gyalpo was a very good guardian because he only protected the Gelugpa school and eliminated and controlled all the other schools. They believed that and continued to do more pujas and ask for more of these kinds of actions which seemed to work with the Gyalpo. Or at least they thought they did. And they went on like this for many centuries.
Some Lamas didn’t like what was happening and tried to go against this development, but without success. Then our present Dalai Lama told us that when he was young, one of his younger teachers taught him this practice of Gyalpo. The Gyalpo was called Gyalpo Shugden, it wasn’t just any kind of Gyalpo. He said that when he was young, he did this kind of puja for some years. But later when he studied the books of the 5th Dalai Lama, he found that it was something negative. And he discovered that this guardian had also disturbed the government of Tibet. Later on the Dalai Lama asked people for many years not to do this practice anymore, because it is very negative. That is true, because I know at least three or four people in my country, in particular one of my uncles at the Sakyapa monastery, who also did the Gyalpo practice. One of my uncles was a lama there and performed pujas in the Gyalpo temple for two or three years. In the end he had a very strong illness, his energy became disordered and he had a great many problems. I know three other lamas who performed pujas in the same temple and one after another each of them went mad. This was the influence of the Gyalpo. Sometimes it seems that for a short while the practice of Gyalpo helps – that is why many people do the Gyalpo puja – but in the real sense they get disturbed later on because when someone is connected with the Gyalpo, they are transformed and become subject to them. When these people die they become part of the class of Gyalpo. The life of a Gyalpo may last for five or six thousand years so for that reason it is considered something very negative.
But instead of following the advice of the present Dalai Lama some Gelugpa lamas went against him saying that this guardian is important and that they had to do this puja and this practice. They tried to develop this practice, particularly in China and Tibet: in Tibet there are many Gelugpa monasteries with Gyalpo temples. Then they made some propaganda and said that the Dalai Lama does not allow free religious practice. The Dalai Lama never said that he forbade them to do this practice; he simply advised them that it is not good. Everybody can give advice, why not? So when the Dalai Lama went to America, at the two or three different places he visited there were small groups with some Tibetan Gelugpa lamas and their western followers who protested saying: “The Dalai Lama denies us the right to free religion”. Of course the Chinese gave them a lot of support because they like it very much when Tibetans have disagreements among themselves.
Namkhai Norbu is an open Bon practitioner. By all schools of Buddhism, Bon is not considered even remotely related to Buddhism, the Dharma or Buddha. It is an indigenous spirit or shamanistic religion of pre-Buddhist Tibet. The deities or beings of the Bon has harmed practitioners in the past. There are rituals to alleviate their harms and protect you from their spirits. Why would Namkhai Norbu, who practices Shamanism which includes a pantheon of many types of nature spirits both benevolent and harmful, criticize Dorje Shugden? Namkhai Norbu is relating and associating with spirits openly.
So you have to be careful because now even in the western world these groups are trying to influence people saying they are spreading dharma teachings. You are always free to decide for yourselves, but you can receive negativities. In Italy this group is very influential because the second most important person who is against the Dalai Lama lives in Milan and it is the place where the practice of Gyalpo is being developed. If you have had some connection with these people you should do the practice of Guru Dragphur. By doing the practice of Guru Dragphur, you won’t receive the negative influence of the Gyalpo. But those who have already had a relationship with them should stop this relationship and should do the practice of Guru Dragphur otherwise they will find themselves with many problems later on. Or if somebody feels that these problems are already there come to me and I give you a kind of protection for not receiving these negativities.
Chogyal Namkhai Norbu
Transcription: Antje d’Almeida
Author: Chogyal Namkhai Norbu
One of the most effective practices for controlling negativities is Guru Tragphur. This Guru Tragphur, however, is very special because it is the union of Hayagriva, Vajrapani, Garuda and Vajrakilaya as well as Yangdag Heruka. This practice is a terma of my uncle Heka Lingpa, also known as Jamyang Chokyi Wangchuk and Khyentse Yangsid Rinpoche.
In our modern society there are many people who don’t believe that other powerful beings really exist but it is important to understand the situation. This doesn’t mean we should believe blindly. Instead of believing everything when someone says that there is a deity or a spirit, we should think a little. Then we can discover and understand.
For example, in the universe there are many dimensions; that is something we can also understand scientifically. We say there are many galaxies and solar systems, and we know that these stars have immense dimensions. So, if there are these dimensions why should there not be beings there too? How can we decide that there are only human beings?
We have many problems with illnesses, such as cancer and tumours, and now also AIDS. All these illnesses are related with negative provocations. If we do not control this negative energy, but just try to cure this illness with only medicine and therapy, we cannot cure it. However, if we know about that negativity and which kind of practice to use in order to control it, and do that practice together with therapy and medicine, then it really works. So it is very important to understand these provocations.
Gyalpo is one of the Eight Classes. The Gyalpo is a very big class and also a very provocative one. Where the Gyalpos provoke, people become nervous; where there are Gyalpos there is war, conflict, problems, and a lot of confusion. Today the class of Gyalpo is really a problem in our society. Provocations from the Gyalpos exist everywhere.
Beneath the manifestation of Guru Tragphur there are two figures: the male form is a Gyalpo and looks like Gyalpo Shugden to show that we have this kind of problem in this epoch. For that reason if you do Guru Tragphur practice you cannot receive negativities, the Gyalpos can never dominate you.
“Beneath the manifestation of Guru Tragphur there are two figures: the male form is a Gyalpo and looks like Gyalpo Shugden to show that we have this kind of problem in this epoch.”~ Namkhai Norbu
I find this statement almost preposterous. How could the Dharma King Dorje Shugden be so powerful that there is a specific Yidam manifested just to ‘dagger’ him down? Just to oppose him? Gyalpos are a class of spirits who were monks that broke their vows, practiced incorrectly or disgraced their sacred duties. Any monk from India, Nepal, Tibet, Mongolia, Russia, Cambodia, Thailand, Myanmar, Japan, China, Korea, Sri Lanka etc can reincarnate as a spirit and this class of spirits are called Gyalpos, who return and can be harmful due to their broken vows. There must have been hundreds of Gyalpos and how can Namkhai Norbu so conveniently point out the Gyalpo daggered by Guru Tragphur is actually Dorje Shugden? Even the depiction of the monk spirit Gyalpo under Guru Tragphur is cultural with a round domed hat holding staff and begging bowl. Round domed hats are worn by many high ranking monks when travelling in Tibet. Where in the practice texts or sadhanas of Guru Tragphur does it mention Guru Tragphur is trampling Dorje Shugden? Quite a far stretch from the actual symbolic purpose of this deity daggering Gyalpo class of spirits. If you notice, the Gyalpo being daggered is a monk with a staff and begging bowl, while Dorje Shugden carries a curved sword and heart. The implements are completely different. So how can Namkhai Norbu simply conclude it is Dorje Shugden? Namkhai Norbu is indirectly offending the Sakyas and Gelugs who propitiate Dorje Shugden. This is disharmonious and is also religious bias. Is this religious discrimination in the truest sense? Why don’t we also place the Christian Satan, the Jewish hell denizens mentioned in the old testaments, the Wiccan nature spirits, leprechauns, fairies, Pan, Greek Gods, Taoist Deities, Egyptian Gods et al. under Guru Tragphur also? These are beings considered harmful by certain sectors of society, so why just single out Dorje Shugden who has no history of harm? It is simply his imagination to say the Gyalpo under Guru Tragphur is definitively Dorje Shugden. The evidence stands otherwise. But then again, you can observe, do research and come to your own conclusions. I thank this website for publishing my article here. I hope it serves to bring some wisdom to an issue that cannot settle unless we stop persecuting from hearsay and examine the facts.
Disclaimer: These articles by Jangchup Choden above does not necessarily represent the views of www.dorjeshugden.com