Can This Holy Being and His Predecessors and Followers Really All be Spirit Worshippers? You Decide.

By saying that those practicing Dorje Shugden are spirit worshippers, the Dalai Lama is saying that his own root Guru, Trijang Rinpoche, was a spirit worshipper. But a quick look at Trijang Rinpoche’s biography shows that he was a holy and reliable Lama, that the Dharma of Je Tsongkhapa that he taught was beautiful and authentic, and that the disciples who follow faithfully in his lineage of relying on Dorje Shugden as the holy Protector of this Dharma are correct to do so, even if it means disobeying the political will of the Dalai Lama.

Kyabje Trjang Rinpoche (1900-1981) was a foremost Gelug Lama and a direct disciple of the great Je Phabongkhapa. He edited Pabongka Rinpoche’s Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand – one of the most-studied Lamrim (stages of the path to enlightenment) texts in the Gelugpa lineage.

He served the fourteenth Dalai Lama first as philosophical assistant, then as personal tutor, together with Kyabje Ling Dorjechang (also a Dorje Shugden practitioner) for altogether fifty years. In this capacity, he taught the Dalai Lama from the elementary level up to the highest Tantric transmissions. He was the Ganden Tripa, the head of the Gelugpa School of Tibetan Buddhism to which the Dalai Lama belonged.

Up to the end of his life, Trijang Rinpoche continuously and widely taught the pure Dharma of Je Tsongkhapa’s tradition for the sake of all sentient beings. The growth of Dharma in the West is also directly and indirectly connected with him because of his own teachings as well as the activities of his disciples such as Kyabje Zong Rinpoche, Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, Geshe Rabten, Lama Yeshe, Lama Zopa, Tomo Geshe, Gonsar Rinpoche, Dagom Rinpoche, Geshe Tsultrim Gyeltsen, the Dalai Lama, and many more. Without him the situation of Tibetan Buddhism in the West would be completely different.

Trijang Rinpoche was also the backbone of the struggle against the Chinese occupation at the most difficult and confused time of Tibetan history (that is, until now). The escape of the Dalai Lama from Tibet in 1959 was also thanks to his wisdom and efforts. He is credited with writing Gyallu, the Tibetan National Anthem adopted by the community in exile, around 1950.

Trijang Rinpoche relied upon Dorje Shugden until the day of his death and (according to a heart disciple with him at the time) was “very disappointed” when the Dalai Lama told him he was giving up the practice. He wrote Music Delighting the Ocean of Protectors, a commentary to a praise of Dorje Shugden called Infinite Aeons by Je Pabongkhapa’s own root Guru Dagpo Rinpoche.

Trijang Rinpoche is universally revered, respected and loved by Dorje Shugden practitioners and even by former disciples who have given up his lineage to follow the Dalai Lama. Tellingly, Lama Zopa, for example, has nothing bad to say about Trijang Rinpoche or even Dorje Shugden. It seems that he has given up this spiritual practice and obliged his disciples to do so simply out of political expediency.

Trijang Choktrul Rinpoche now lives as a private citizen in America so as not to come under the control of the Dalai Lama.

Read also Kuten Lama’s (a Dorje Shugden oracle) biography to see how far-spread the reliance upon Dorje Shugden was amongst the greatest Gelug Lamas of the last century.

(Source :

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  1. Is Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche a spirit -worshipper because of his devotion to and his practice of Dorje Shugden as a Dharma protector?
    My answer is – ‘Trijang Rinpoche is definitely not a spirit-worshipper because Dorje Shugden is definitely not a spirit’.
    First of all, this Holy Being and this Enlightened Dharma Protector both operate from the same ground of selflessness and bodhicitta. Whatever activities they perform are all for the benefit of all sentient beings.
    Trijang Rinpoche’s whole life was lived as an embodiment of pure Dharma. This authentic and highly attained lineage master practiced the pure Dharma as transmitted to him with great care(like one vessel to another) by his Root Guru, the illustrious dharma master, Kyabje Pabongka Rinpoche These two Holy Beings’ practice of Dharma and transmission of lineage teachings and empowerments were all invariably conducted to benefit all beings, without any regard of self.
    Trijang Rinpoche was, and still is, universally loved and highly respected by all who have been influenced by him.It is said that ninety percent of the great lamas throughout the world, teaching and disseminating dharma are either the direct disciples of Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche or His Students, who includes the 14th Dalai Lama.
    As a foremost Gelug Lama and a direct disciple of Pabongka Rinpoche, he edited Pabongka Rinpoche’s ‘Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand’(which holds the quintessence of the Lamrim or the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment). This classical dharma text is one of the most studied dharma text in modern times, and has been like a beacon to innumerable beings caught in the violent waves of samsara and saved from crashing on its shores.
    In his great work,’Music Delighting the Ocean of Protectors’, Trijang Rinpoche has established, in no uncertain terms, the authenticity of Dorje Shugden as the Dharma Protector for this degenerate age, whose sole purpose is to protect the teachings of Je Tsongkhapa, especially his teachings on Nargajuna’s Middle View(which is the correct view of Emptiness that all beings have to realize before they can be fully liberated from suffering and from samsara), for the benefit of all beings.
    Last but not least, if one were to contemplate on the iconography of Dharma Protector Dorje Shugden’s form, one can see that he is definitely the Enlightened Dharma Protector, the Protector of Manjushri Tsongkhapa’s teachings , especially His wisdom teachings on the highest view, Nargajuna’s Middle View on Emptiness.
    The following are highlights of the iconography of Dorje Shugden’s form.
    1)The Domed Hat – represents the highest Madhyamika View on Emptiness, which Nargajuna first expounded and which Je Tsongkhap later presented in His teachings with unsurpassed clarity.
    2)Wisdom Fire – burns our obscurations (arising from our negative karma) which ‘blocks’ and prevents us from seeing the Truth, the correct view of reality,the correct view of self and other phenomena.
    3)Wrathful Look of Dorje Shugden and His Wisdom Lion – The wrath is directed at our egos which fears to confront absolute reality or the truth . This wrathful energy- together with Wisdom Fire and Wisdom Sword – is swift and powerful to clear negativities and inner and outer obstacles, which obstruct us from attaining wisdom and realizing absolute reality.
    4)Wisdom Sword – It cuts through delusions which keep us from seeing Reality directly.
    5) -Heart of the Enemy – ‘Enemy heart’ denotes the root of all our problems and sufferings – ignorance – that makes us see Self, Others and all Phenomena as solid, independent and permanent, and feeds our self-grasping, as well as cause our other ‘poisons of the mind’ to arise – desirous attachment, greed and lust, on the one hand, and aversion, hatred and anger, on the other hand. Holding the heart in His hand means Dorje Shugden “rips out” our Ignorance, and ,therefore , blesses us with more wisdom.
    6)Third Eye(wisdom eye) in the middle of His forehead – With this, this enlightened protector perceives directly the totality of relative and absolute reality, past, present and future.
    Thus,collectively, the above aspects of His form unmistakably establishes His role as an Enlightened Dharma Protector of the teachings of Je Tsongkhapa, particularly His wisdom teachings on Nargajuna’s Middle View. Dorje Shugden as a Dharma Protector,together with the Holy Beings who practice,uphold and spread these teachings,work, as one, for the benefit of all beings.

  2. Trijang Rinpoche had a long and illustrious career as a Dharma teacher and had helped spread Buddhism to the West. He was also the spiritual guide to some of the greatest gurus of our time, as mentioned in the text. Trijang Rinpoche had relied on Dorje Shugden all his life, as can be seen in his Autobiography, “The Illusory Play” and had passed the practice to his disciples including H.H. the Dalai Lama. In his work, “Music Delighting the Ocean of Protectors”, he sopke about the enlightened activities of great masters such as the 5th Dalai Lama and those of Dorje Shugden “as mutually universal and pervasive as the other. But some who are narrow-minded, not understanding this point, consider this Dharmapala to be like an ordinary worldly being”. Trijang Rinpoche explained clearly that ordinary people are not able to see Dorje Shugden as an enlightened being. He said that “This is a projection of ordinary faults upon those of high realization, special Dharmapalas, out of habituation to their own common bad behaviour of competitiveness, prejudice, and harboring of grudges. It simply reveals complete ignorance of the nature of these Dharmapalas, the extent of their realizations, and knowledge of what they protect and do not protect. If such Dharmapalas were motivated by competitiveness, attachment, hatred, and jealousy, how could it be suitable for those who seek liberation to rely upon and make offerings to them? This is because not relying upon or associating with worldly gods and ghosts is one of the precepts of having gone for refuge.”

  3. Trijang Rinpoche wrote the National Anthem of Tibet for the exiled community. Dalai Lama says his own root Guru Trijang Rinpoche is worshippng Dorje Shugden who is a spirit. If the Dalai Lama says his own Root Guru is worshipping and practicing Dorje Shugden who is a spirit. Then he must have chosen the wrong Root Guru all this while studying under Trijang Rinpoche. Trijang Rinpoche was not a lowly Lama but has been Gaden Tripa of the Monastery. He has also spreads his teachings far and wide to the west through his deciples. Otherwise if teachings are not pure you won’t attract so much atudents.

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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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