Does Dorje Shugden Encourage Sectarian Practices?

The commitments to Dorje Shugden’s practice are secret but I can 100% assure you that it does not involve any form of sectarianism.

Instead, the commitments reinforce a dedication within you to:

1. Follow Tsongkapa’s tradition all the way until enlightenment 2. Hold Dorje Shugden as your principle Protector until you gain Bodhicitta

Great masters who can reincarnate back with control, who have great attainments in their mindstreams and great compassion – such as Pabongka Rinpoche, Trijang Rinpoche and Zong Rinpoche – would never hurt anyone, not even a fly. If they propagated something so negative, they would definitely never gain attainments. See this from a logical point of view.

Hlamo Apchi, a Drigung Kagyu Protectoress

There are specific Karma Kagyu or Drigung Kagyu protectors like Hlamo Apchi. Hlamo Apchi is a female protector who was thought to be a spirit, but later found out to be highly attained. She was rejected by the Kagyus and people at that time warned others about her and her practice. Not only was she considered negative, but shunned, only to later ‘usurp’ the other protectors and become the principal protector for the Drigung Kagyus up until the present day.

The Drigung Kyabgon Rinpoches of hundreds of years ago adopted her as the principle Protector of the Drigung Kagyu sect. Her job has been to protect those of the Drigung Kagyu sect’s followers and unique teachings. Does that mean that those who follow her are sectarian? Of course not. It is that the Drigung set of teachings are very precious and need protection from degeneration. So there is a special protector just to protect the Drigung Kagyu teachings and followers but Hlamo Apchi will not harm other sects. If people of other sects propitiate her, she will of course help them also, although the main ‘function’ assigned to her is to protect the Drigung Kagyu cycle of teachings.

This is the same as with Dorje Shugden and Gelugpa practitioners. Dorje Shugden practitioners would be no more sectarian than Drigung Kagyu devotees of Hlamo Apchi. And just as Hlamo Apchi will assist anyone of any sect, so too will Dorje Shugden assist all who are devoted and sincere in their practice; it is only that his special ‘function’ is to protect the Gelugpa teachings of Lama Tsongkhapa. There is absolutely no sectarianism in the practices of Dorje Shugden.

This opinion piece has been extracted from the forum. Please add to the discussions on the forum if you have further perspectives, comments and thoughts. We always welcome debate and exchange. The original thread can be viewed at

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  1. Curiosity and some desperation brought me to Dorje Shugden. I began his practice a few months ago and my life has become a catastrophe with one horrible thing after another almost immediately coming about. I had on 4 occasions chanted the mantra “om vajra wiki witrana punya siddhi hum” as a 3 mala practice (324 times). Each time terrible and unexpected things happened.

    I wonder if this is because I am a monk of the Japanese Tendai (Chinese Tientai) lineage and not connected to Je Tsongkapa. Of course my karma could be so miserable that Dorje Shugden simply caused it all to manifest at one time. But why do terrible things happen EVERY time I do a Dorje Shugden practice? Should some nice things manifest as well? The exact opposite happens when I do Ushnisha Sitatapatra practice. Should I abandone Dorje Shugden?

    Ven. Shaku Mui Shin Shi Dai-Ajari

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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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