Nice art, troubled history

Issues around the worship of the Tibetan deity Dorje Shugden have been the source of much conflict ever since the deity and its associated practices were adopted by the Gelug sect of Tibetan Buddhism. But it was not the Gelugs who inducted the deity into the Tibetan Buddhist pantheon. In fact, it was only in the early 20th century that Gelugs adopted practices linked to Dorje Shugden. Previously, such practices were primarily associated with the Sakya sect.

Depending on your teacher, Dorje Shugden is either a deity or a potentially harmful demon. Tibetan iconography expert Jeff Watt’s interest however, is not sectarian. At Himalayan Art Resources, Jeff lays out for us the history of Dorje Shugden and the deity’s representation in Tibetan art. Here, Dorje Shugden is depicted riding a lion. For an overview and easy navigation, click here.

(Source : http://www.tricycle.com/blog/nice-art-troubled-history-dorje-shugden )

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  1. The Dorje Shugden practice is started and practiced by the Sakya Lineage in the early years of Tibetan Buddhism. Then later the Gelugpas took over teach and follow the practice. But in the present day you don’t hear of the Sakyas practicing Dorje Shugden anymore. Why? According to Jeff Watt who is not a sectarian says this depends on how you view Dorje Shugden. As a piece of art or and how your teacher tells you. Jeff Watt has also written a history of Dorje Shugden as an art of a Deity with detailed explanation of the representation of the function on what Dorje Shugden holds and why he is riding on a Snow Lion. Dorje Shugden is also the emanation of Manjushri.

  2. I went to the Himalayan Art website and looked at the images. Usually Dorje Shugden is depicted as riding a lion, but this is the first time I see Dorje Shugden on a throne. These old thangkas and sculptures are very precious and should be preserved for posterity because they are evidence of the history of this protector practice and the different ways he is depicted.

  3. In progress is Among Shugden Texts: A Recovered History, a presentation of various works on Dorje Shugden from the 17th to the 19th centuries, with a refutation of Georges Dreyfus’ The Shuk-den Affair: Origins of a Controversy. There is an overwhelming amount of evidence of texts supporting Shugden before Pabongkha (1878-1943), yet almost no one seems interested in it, and of course the detractors benefit greatly from the “murky origins” of this practice.
    The Dalai Lama’s research completely ignores all of this positive verifiable evidence, which has existed for quite some time in collected form. This evidence was not found as a result of an archaelogical expedition; it is quite a shame that intelligent scholars have completely ‘ignored’ what was available in university libraries for the last 30 years.Although this is not organized as a refutation, this presentation will draw out and explain various relevant points to show how they refute many of the fallacious ideas written in existing essays on this subject, especially The Shuk-den Affair. Such a beautiful image, It needs to be free to express itself! MAY THE BAN QUICKLY BE LIFTED!

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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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