Refuting Chogyel Namkhai Norbu’s Provocations

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.

Jangchup Choden


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


*Editor’s note


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.

Jangchup Choden

Disclaimer: These articles by Jangchup Choden above does not necessarily represent the views of


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  1. It is quite unfortunate that a lama such as Chogyel Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche should see it fit to seek to destroy a deity that many high and virtuous lamas regard as a sacred protector of the Dharma, not that he could. A few have tried and the fact that they failed can only mean either (i) they have no real powers or (ii) Dorje Shugden is an enlightened being that cannot be destroyed. Otherwise, they are saying the Buddha’s Dharma has no power.

    It would have been impossible for so many acclaimed masters such as Mindrolling Lama to have failed in exorcising a destructive “demon”. If Padmasambava could subdue all the spirits and demonic forces of Tibet, then it should follow that the necessary skills and knowledge in taming and controlling demons would have been carefully passed down over the generations and held by present day masters and still retaining their potency. If indeed Dorje Shugden is an evil spirit as he is accused, I am very sure that the Dalai Lama’s office and CTA would have deployed all necessary resources to rid themselves of Shugden. This is only common sense. Instead they have resorted to name-calling and dishonest activities aimed at punishing Shugden monks and lay practitioners.

    The proper response for Namkai Norbu Rinpoche now is to realize and acknowledge the true nature of Dorje Shugden, just as the Great Fifth after all attempts to exorcise the Protector failed. In addition, he should publicly recant all the accusations and insults hurled at a Protector so many know to be Manjushri in nature.

    Since the ban, some lamas, perhaps in attempt to curry favour with Dharmansala, have joined in the persecution of Shugden (Is it not strange that it was only after HHDL’s ban that they became vocal about such an ‘evil spirit’ and not before?) In so doing, they have wrought such bad karma upon themselves and incurred a bad reputation along the way. There is one observation that I have made i.e. for all the oppression that Shugden lamas and monks have received, there is not a single attempt spiritual or otherwise, to “destroy” their enemies. Isn’t that strange for people who are supposed to be worshipping a sinister, destructive and powerful spirit? Or does that show that Shugden lamas are the true practitioners of Dharma?

    I do hope Namkai Norbu Rinpoche fully recovers from his illness and I pray for Dorje Shugden to bestow upon Rinpoche good health and a long life.

  2. “Why is there such a deity in the first place?” was the first question which came to my mind. The omniscient Buddha laid down stringent rules of an ordained person in order to tame our body, speech and mind in order to attain liberation for oneself and others.This set of teachings embody the entire Vinaya Pitaka and more often than ever represented by the robes of an ordained person.

    And here we have a deity who’s lower bottom is designed to be a dagger pressing hard against a monk in robes. Supposedly my argument is as such. All Tantric teachings and tantra came from the Buddha himself in the form of Vajradhara. So does the Vinaya. So why would we have a visual representation which is conflicting each other? A tantric deity trampling over the robes of a monk?

    Another issue of mixing teachings which do not originate from the Buddha himself is another issue which is severely wrong in the eyes of taking refuge in the Three Jewels of Buddhism. How can we take something so shamanistic and primitive and mix it with the teachings of liberation?

    I am not here to judge whether it is applicable for these teachings to mix and to leash hate on a deity. But if we go by the law of karma, there’s only one good explanation when it comes to harming others – we get harm in return

  3. It is very unfortunate that Chogyel Namkhai Norbu criticize Dorje hugden practice.Those who visit Dorje Shugden history site will be able to see more accurate and balanced assessment of the importance of the practice.Dorje Shugden is none other than Vajradhara himself and his practice goes back 350 years and that he was regarded as an Enlightened Being.
    How can a Buddha be considered dangerous?

  4. As a Buddhist monk, teacher or practitioner, we never criticize any form of religious worship and we should respect all forms of spirituality, whether they are right or wrong.

    If Chogyel Namkhai Norbu is true to his practice, he would not go all out to criticize any religious worship unless he is an attention seeker or look to be in favor of Dalai Lama or the CTA. He is also an open Bon practitioner and associate with spirits openly.

    As it is written, there are 8 classes of Gyalpos who were previously monks who broke their vows, did not practice correctly and return to be harmful and Nechung is a high level Gyalpo Pehar and Dalai Lama consults this Nechung oracle. It is logical to say Namkhai Norbu practices Nechung too as he criticizes Gyalpo Shugden.

    Gyalpos are also known to be provocative and we can become nervous, create conflict, illness related to negative provocations and confusion which were the signs and result of what Namkhai Norbu practices ie. Nechung.

    Need we say more that Namkhai Norbu was incorrect to criticize Gyalpo Shugden, was religious biased and created disharmony due to his provocation.

    May Namkhai Norbu rest and get well soon. Since motivation counts the most to reach highest enlightenment, may he be able to see the “truth” of Dorje Shugden.

  5. It is indeed very sad to see pictures of harming another deity or Buddha. Norbu Rinpoche may have his reasons why Dorje Shugden is evil and should stop practice (you have the freedom of who to practice and who not to practice), but so do I. He may have his reasons to stop practice, but I have my reasons to continue practice, and the main reason is that many of the high lamas who spread the lineage of Dorje Shugden are very kind, compassionate, and most importantly, by practicing Dorje Shugden, they can control their rebirth and reincarnate back to benefit others. If high lama such as Song Rinpoche, Trijang Rinpoche who practice Dorje Shugden is indeed evil, how can they reincarnate back to benefit others?

    Anyway, my point is, Buddhism is about cultivating patience, compassionate, acceptance, tolerance, etc. If Dorje Shugden practitioners are evil, selfish, etc, then may be you can show us your compassionate and love so that we can become good; not by condemning others to make yourself look better.

    Also, Norbu Rinpoche commented that Guru Padmasambhava is wrong about giving the task of protecting the Samye temple to Pehar (because it caused confusion for him when he includes Pehar in his puja). So, does it mean texts/teachings by Guru Padmasambhava are wrong too? Since HH Dalai Lama also rely heavily on Pehar on many important decisions, does it mean HH Dalai Lama is wrong as well?

    I am sensing much confusion from Norbu Rinpoche…

  6. Chogyel Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche (CNNR) is an open Bon practitioner. What does this say about CNNR’s Buddhist Refuge? He has outrightly boken his Buddhist Refuge Vows! Whatever CNNR said about about Galypo carries no weight!

    If gyalpo practices are dangerous why had Samye Monastry allowed it? Why had Padmasambhava even taught the Gyalpo practices? If Galpo is provocative and dangerous why would Padmasambhava kept him as the protector at Samye? Padmasambhava could have eliminated Gyalpo immeditately and not left him to remain until now to harm more people!

    His Holiness the 5th Dalai Lama wanted to eliminate Gyalpo and not succeeded? How can a powerful lama like him not able to destroy Gyalpo?

    CNNR had offended other practitioners like the Sakyas and Gelugs. It is the religious freedom of others and anyone to propitiate Dorje Shugden. Why critise others’ religious beliefs and create disharmony among the Buddhists? Very unbecoming of a lama like CNNR!

    How could it be for a lama like CNNR to desperately want to destroy Dorje Shugden (DS) when high lamas from the Gelug tradition like HH Trijang Choktrul Rinpoche, or even HH the 14th Dalai Lama had never even thought of such drastic actions against DS? Why aren’t the Spiritual leaders of the four major Tibetan Schools do something to DS if DS is really dangerous to mankind?

    Buddhism is about compassion for all beings and not to harm or destroy them!
    CNNR had even critised H. E. Gangchen Rinpoche, Nechung and even Padmasambhava indirectly. Is this how a lama should behave? Instead of promoting harmony and love on all beings, CNNR was promoting hatred, disharmony, wrong views to others about Buddhism and the enlightened beings like Buddha Dorje Shugden and Padmasambhava. Very heavy negative karma for someone like GNNR to even ask his students to do the Vajrakilaya practices against Dorje Shugden.

    Chogyel Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche is clearly wrong in his actions and accusation about Dorje Shugden!

  7. Hi everyone,

    I would like to just offer some clarification.
    ChNN is a dzogchen practitioner. Dzogchen is a nyingma teaching that was adopted by Bon when Bon become more Buddhist. Bon has been included in the 6 lineage traditions of Tibetan Buddhism. Many years ago before the time of Guru Rinpoche, Bon was a shamanistic tradition but since then it has become Buddhist.

    The essence of Vajrakilaya is not to literally destroy but to manifest enlightened activity where there is confusion, which destroys the effects of Mara. It seems like in ChNN point of view, Gyalpo spirits can cause Mara to attack (this is a metaphor). When Mara attacks our vision becomes cloudy and so on, and we make the wrong choices, nonvirtuous decisions. ChNN sees that worshiping a Gyalpo that is manifesting confusion and not enlightened activity is definitely something that could be effected by Vajrakilaya practice, as it could help manifest some enlightened activity instead.

    ChNN has not broken his “refuge vows” by doing this. Vajrakilaya DOES NOT HARM OTHERS. Kilaya only manifests enlightened activity where there is none through karmic connections.

    The fact that some people on here actually think that a yidam can cause harm like that is very peculiar – and then to say, with this ignorant point of view, that a Vajra Master has broken samaya and so on…

    What these high lamas are saying is that Gyalpo cannot be destroyed while others are worshiping them. In order to attempt to destroy the Gyalpo, some practices are done to help deter worshippers from their wrong actions, which are harming others. When you worship a gyalpo, you increase its strength, it may even be so strong and fulfill some of your wishes so that you think it is enlightened but it is not since it is doing so for its own good – to become more powerful – and not to help you become a Buddha. Therefore, some lamas have done rituals to help gyalpo worshippers overcome this fault, but the strength of the gyalpo due to many centuries of worship has overcome the minds of the gyalpo worshippers. It is so sad, these gyalpo puja practitioners could be great vajrayana students who benefit many beings, instead they worship a worldly spirit as if it were a Buddha – when it is obviously not. If Shugden were a Buddha, would Shugden have caused a split in the community of practitioners?

  8. Here is the real story on Pehar, Bon deity Dorje Lekpa, and Padmasambhava, and community relations.

    Gyalpo Pehar is a non-Buddhist spirit subjugated by Guru Padmasambhava.
    Prayer-requests to Pehar are found in the Longchen Nyingtik practices, for example in a practice text published by Ven. Sogyal Rinpoche ( Rigpa Fellowship ). That text is phonetic Tibetan, not English, so I cannot read it. But it is well known that Padmasambhava bound Pehar to the service of the Buddhists.


    Dorje Lekpa ( or Dorje Legpa ) is another non-Buddhist spirit subjugated by Guru Padmasambhava. Dorje Lekpa comes from the indigenous Bon tradition, and once again Padmasambhava bound Dorje Lekpa to the service of the Buddhists. Dorje Lekpa is one of the three principal protectors of the Dzogchen tradition established in Tibet by Guru Padmasambhava.

    Padmasambhava fought the Bon tradition on several levels in order to establish the Buddhist teachings in Tibet, and this took much time and effort. The Tibetan aristocracy opposed Buddhism and blamed the Buddhists and Padmasambhava for a major plague on the Tibetan plateau at one point. The pro-Buddhist King Trisong Deutsan had to negotiate with the very antagonistic Bonpo ministers.

    It is said that the Nyingma lineage holder ( direct student of Padmasambhava ) Yeshe Tsogyel fought the Bonpo, reversed their large scale magic attacks, and thereby killed a fair number of Bonpo. It is said that following the ( temporary ) victory of the Buddhists ( Padmasambhava, Yeshe Tsogyel and King Trisong Deutsan et. al. ), Yeshe Tsogyal then set about reorganizing the Bonpo practice into “Reformed Bon”, which would mean banning animal sacrifice and attacks on Buddhists.

    It is also clearly stated that a number of Bonpo practices were brought into the Nyingma school, including prayer flag ceremonies, smoke ceremonies, and Dorje Lekpa. Prayers to Dorje Lekpa are standard in the ritual cycles of Tibetan Dzogchen, but the practice of Dorje Lekpa ( and Mahakala Maning, Rahula ) are secondary to the practice of Ekajati, a fierce manifestation of goddess Guhyajnana. Ekajati may be related to the Buddhist goddess Tara, but she is a Buddhist goddess who oversees ( the secondary ) Dorje Lekpa.

    Thus, the Nyingma school inherits the Bonpo champion Dorje Lekpa and some other Bonpo practices, but historically this is after the open conflict between early Tibetan Buddhists and the more-or-less-indigenous Bonpos who opposed Buddhism.

    There certainly are some western Nyingma initiates who are initiated by Bonpo lamas into the Bon tradition, and I know of one, but these individuals are very very few. I do not know whether the Dalai Lama is initiated into Bon, but he inherits the Bon deity Dorje Lekpa from HH Dilgo Khyentse, as I do along with many students of Sogyal Tulku.

    I do not know whether Chogyal Namkhai Norbu is initiated into Bon per se. But his teaching and practice of Dorje Lekpa are not new to the Nyingma tradition as it is part of the classical ritual cycle he inherited e.g. through Longchen Nyingtik as I have demonstrated and repeatedly seen.

    The Dalai Lama directly supports the free expression of ( reformed ) Bon as an authentic Tibetan dharma tradition. However, the Bon tradition is not Buddhist, and does not employ Vajrasattva nor Buddhist refuge. Bonpos have been and will remain non-Buddhists, even though they took in a lot from Buddhist philosophy.

    One of the main Buddhist teachers of Dzogchen is Chinese, and he condemns and disallows the Bon tradition altogether. The mahasiddha Milarepa also condemned the Bon outright as animal spirit worship. ( See the book “Miraculous Journey” by Lama Kunga Rimpoche. )

    However, the Kagyu practitioners of Dzogchen and the Chinese practitioners of Dzogchen all inherit the Bon protector Dorje Lekpa. And even though I have no Bonpo teacher, I also inherit this protector. In short, there is some Bonpo inheritance in all Buddhist dzogchen practice, whether one supports or condemns the Bonpo tradition of the past or present.

    The same obtains for the Gyalpo Pehar. This is another non-Buddhist deity who plays a supporting role in the Dzogchen and Nyingma traditions, as stated. Anyone who has a Padmasambhava empowerment definitely inherits connections to both Pehar and to Dorje Lekpa.

    Many criticisms can be made of Nyingma practice and practitioners, and in fact major Nyingma teachers such as Chogyur Lingpa have made the exact same criticisms! The fact remains that the Karma Kagyu, Drikung Kagyu and Sakya schools rely heavily on Old School Indian mahasiddha practices of Padmasambhava, Vajrakilaya, and so forth, and all make substantial use of Tibetan “terma” or “discovered treasure” teachings and practices.

    It is also definitely true – not that I represent these teachers in any way – that Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche and the Dalai Lama actively oppose the practice of Dorje Shugden. I received the high White Tara from the Gelugpa Khensur Jhado Tulku Rinpoche, at which time emphatically forbade ninety White Tara initiates at the initiation from doing any Shugden practice. He was most serious.

    This is a restriction I am willing to accept, since I have lots of vajrayana stuff to do anyway. I would not however publically oppose the practice of Dorje Shugden, nor use Vajrakilaya or other dharmapala sadhana to hammer on Shugden people or practice. One reason is that I have high Tara initiation from the late HH Kyabje Zong Rinpoche in 1983, and he was a major proponent of Dorje Shugden. I have not renounced this connection, and I will not work against it.

    I am a non-sectarian practitioner. The practice of Dorje Shugden and the Bon lineage are incompatible with my diverse lineages. But then again, so is the other Karma Kagyu school of HH Trinley Thaye Dorje, and his main transmissions come from the late HH Chogyey Trichen Rinpoche, a major teacher for me!
    Simply put, I don’t go against any of these. I don’t have to, and it would only cause me serious problems ( in particular with samaya ) that I don’t need.

    I am not the opponent of anyone here in any way. At the same time, anyone who goes directly against Padmasambhava is very much my direct opponent, and the direct opponent of most Tibetan Buddhists too. So that is something people will want to be very careful to avoid at all costs, unless they want a very very big brawl. By all means, criticize Padmasambhava, dzogchen, Nyingmas and so forth as much as you want.

    But I and others keep life simple and leave aside outright condemnation and hate speech. Those are likely cause for serious regret down the road. And as the saying goes, “He who slings mud generally loses ground.” Like the Brazilian Gelugpa who got kicked off a Kalacakra online forum for claiming that the Indian mahasiddha Padmasambhava “practiced West African voodoo” : the Brazilian apologized and they kicked him off anyway.

    I know the theory and practice of dharmapala attacks and defense. In Mahayana the main point of combat magic is to ward off attack, not to initiate it. Making big trouble is really sadomasochistic. I prefer instead to be very diplomatic, and very boring 99.5% of the time. I have enough to deal with. Make sense?


  9. Hello,

    I’m not Buddhist and cannot comment on this division one way or the other. But, the photograph of Chogyel Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche in a hospital bed used to illustrate the article dates from 1995, when the Rinpoche was seriously ill. As this predates all the controversy, to use it here seems, somewhat, misleading.

  10. @Stephen – What a petty thing to take issue with. As opposed to commenting on the suffering of the people under the ban, you take issue with the timing of a photograph. You don’t need to be Buddhist to understand suffering. People in Africa starve; do you need to be African to sympathise? Americans are this close to getting Donald Trump as a President; do you need to be American to sympathise?

    What is misleading is the Dalai Lama saying Dorje Shugden is a spirit when he is not. Or that Dorje Shugden people have their religious freedom. That’s what’s really misleading.

    By the way, the controversy proper started in the 1970s so your facts are wrong.

  11. Dear Trime
    With reference to your last paragraph :-

    My opinion :-
    1) There are certainly methods to destroy Gyalpos. The Mindroling Lamas are famous for their methods to destroy Gyalpos; they tired doing it to Dorje Shugden when DS first manifested 400 yrs ago(when he was yet to be worshipped) and every time the Lama put DS in the fire, Yamantaka appeared in the fire. Then the 5th Dalai Lama immediately realised that DS was NOT A SPIRIT but in actual fact the MANJUSHRI Buddha (Yamantaka is Manjushri). The 5th Dalai Lama felt very sorry for making that big mistake and wrote a prayer/praise to Dorje Shugden. The 14th Dalai Lama is Chenrezig, if he wanted to destroy DS it would not be impossible. Many others tried to destroy DS but he still stands till today to benefit all sentient beings – please contemplate that there is this great possibility you are wrong about him being a Gyalpo because HE IS NOT.

    2. the DS High Lamas DO BENEFIT MANY BEINGS. Do you know anyone of them personally ? have you visited their monasteries to observe how they have spread the Buddha Dharma in all corners of the world to reduce sufferings? Have you spoken to those they have helped? Have you seen their work ? What have you personally done to render your statement here that they do not benefit many beings. I for one, is a very grateful beneficiary of a very kind DS Lama. If you care to know I will share with you what my Lama does to help others. So please, for your own sake do not belittle these High DS Lamas if you are ignorant of their work.

    3. ever since the ban on DS practice came about
    ** Dharma brothers in the same monastery had to split because those who practice DS were ostracized. They had to leave their beloved monastery and stop talking to their dharma brothers who stayed back
    ** DS practitioner’s families were ostracized. They had to split from family members who held on to their DS practice. They cannot even go home to attend their beloved member’s funerals because they do not want to give problems to their family members. When a DS practitioner goes home, authorities will come to give trouble to the family
    ** DS practitioners could not go to their local doctors/hospitals/provision shops/restaurants etc . They had to travel further to other towns to seek treatment and help
    ** DS practitioners who were working with the CTA had to quit their jobs or quit ttheir practice
    ** DS practitioners cannot attend any teachings held by the Dalai Lama
    ** DS practitioners was always put in the spotlight for being evil/cult practitioners even though they have done no wrong

    Now, dear Trime, is there more segregation/ division/split before or after the ban on Dorje Shugden was implemented ? Please contemplate with wisdom and compassion. I hope you will have realisations and may your delusional perceptions be removed. With folded hands.

  12. This is false or wrong information. CNN Rimpoche doesnt advice his students to do Vajrakilaya (actually is another aspect, not this but this doesn’t matter much here) to destroy Gyalpo Shugden, never said that, but to protect oneself of the negative influences produced by Gyalpo class of beings and specially the active Gyalpo Shugden. So this info is also misleading.

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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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