The Scholar Dorje Shugden

Drepung Loseling Monastery in Tibet. Trehor Gyurpon Rinpoche belonged to this monastery.

Trehor Gyurpon Rinpoche was a famous lama from Drepung Loseling Monastery, who left Tibet for India during the time of the Cultural Revolution in China. In the year before Trehor Gyurpon Rinpoche was due to graduate from his Geshe degree studies, he started making plans for the customary offerings to the Sangha, which he would make during his graduation. As he was low on funds, he had to think of ways to save money. One of the ways that he could think of was to return to his home region of Kham for a year. This would give him time to save money and then resume his studies in Lhasa.

One morning however, before he could put his plans into action, during the early hours of dawn, between 5am to 6am, a protector appeared before him in a dream. The protector advised him not to worry about the funds but instead to continue with his studies. Trehor Gyurpon Rinpoche was also advised by the protector that he will help with his monetary requirements. The protector then said to Trehor Gyurpon Rinpoche: “I am Dorje Tsenchen.”

When Trehor Gyurpon Rinpoche awoke, he was puzzled and was not sure of the identity of the protector that he dreamt of because there are literally hundreds of protectors with “Dorje” in their name. He then assumed that it must have been Dorje Drakden who appeared to him. Dorje Drakden, more commonly referred to as Nechung, is one of Drepung Loseling’s Dharma protectors, hence Trehor Gyurpon Rinpoche’s conclusion. Trehor Gyurpon felt sure it was Nechung who had appeared to him in the dream because who else could it be?

Some 15 days later, when Nechung took trance of an oracle, Trehor Gyurpon Rinpoche went to seek confirmation from the oracle that it was indeed Nechung who appeared to him in the dream. At the trance however, Trehor Gyurpon Rinpoche was told by Dorje Drakden that it was not him and that there are many protectors with names starting with “Dorje”. This puzzled Trehor Gyurpon Rinpoche even more.

Trode Khangsar

Some time later, Trehor Gyurpon Rinpoche went to the Jokhang Temple in Lhasa to perform his circumambulations. While there, he met some friends from Lhokpa Khangtsen who were very busy and frantically preparing for something. He enquired as to the nature of their haste, and they told him that they were rushing to Trode Khangsar, the Dorje Shugden chapel, because Dorje Shugden was taking trance. They invited Trehor Gyurpon Rinpoche to join them for the trance, to which he agreed.

Back then, the trances of Dorje Shugden were monthly affairs. The trance sessions were very scheduled and routine. For example, the trance would ALWAYS start at 7pm and Dorje Shugden would ALWAYS leave the oracle by 8pm. However, on this particular occasion, Dorje Shugden had not left long after he was due to leave, despite the fact that all the questions had already been answered. Dorje Shugden seemed to be waiting for something or someone. This puzzled the monks from Trode Khangsar and they began to ask each other “What’s going on? Why hasn’t Dorje Shugden left yet?”

At this point, Trehor Gyurpon Rinpoche and his friends arrived at the door, and started to offer three prostrations before entering. Dorje Shugden immediately said, “No need to prostrate, I waited a long time for you. You (pointing to Trehor Gyurpon Rinpoche), come here.”

Trehor Gyurpon Rinpoche followed instructions and approached Dorje Shugden’s throne. He seized the opportunity to ask Dorje Shugden if it was Dorje Shugden who appeared in his dream. Dorje Shugden affirmed with a “Yes”, saying that it was him in Trehor Gyurpon Rinpoche’s dream.

Trehor Gyurpon Rinpoche then felt very grateful and inquired as to how he could thank Dorje Shugden for helping him. Dorje Shugden replied, “Study Panchen Sonam Drakpa’s texts, especially those on the Middle Way. You have a lot of doubts. You must continue to study. Don’t go home. Your main problem is not money. Your main problem is doubt. When you have doubts, ask me. I’ll answer you.” Upon hearing this, Trehor Gyurpon Rinpoche relaxed.

Over the following month, Trehor Gyurpon Rinpoche did indeed encounter many doubts in his studies, just as Dorje Shugden had predicted. As Dorje Shugden had advised, Trehor Gyurpon Rinpoche wrote down his questions as he went along but had doubts that Dorje Shugden would be able to answer them. Before the next trance, he then decided to replace the very difficult questions with easier ones.

Panchen Sonam Drakpa, an eminent scholar, prolific author and one of the previous lives of Dorje Shugden

At the next trance, Dorje Shugden scanned the questions quickly and asked Trehor Gyurpon Rinpoche why the main question, the question that Trehor Gyurpon Rinpoche had the biggest doubts about, was not included. Dorje Shugden told him that on a specific page and line in Panchen Sonam Drakpa’s text, Trehor Gyurpon Rinpoche had a huge doubt about the teaching presented. So, Dorje Shugden wanted to know, why was the question not put forward to him? Upon hearing that, Trehor Gyurpon Rinpoche immediately developed tremendous faith in Dorje Shugden and offered three prostrations.

Over the years, Trehor Gyurpon Rinpoche had many debates with Dorje Shugden during trance sessions. At first, Trehor Gyurpon Rinpoche felt uncomfortable debating with Dorje Shugden but Dorje Shugden ‘forced’ Trehor Gyurpon Rinpoche into debate, to help Trehor Gyurpon Rinpoche progress by answering his questions.

As a result, Trehor Gyurpon Rinpoche had very close relationship with the Trode Khangsar oracle. Years later while in exile in India, Trehor Gyurpon Rinpoche came across a Dorje Shugden oracle based in Assam. Hoping to rekindle the same kind of relationship he had with the Trode Khangsar oracle, and to check the authenticity of the Assam oracle, Trehor Gyurpon Rinpoche asked a simple question: “What is a bhumpa?” The answer seemed easy enough – a ritual vase – but what Trehor Gyurpon Rinpoche really wanted was for the Dorje Shugden oracle to read the answer in Trehor Gyurpon Rinpoche’s mind. The oracle gave a vague answer: “It is interdependence.” After that incident, Trehor Gyurpon Rinpoche felt that he could not trust the oracle and never went back.

Dorje Drakden, more commonly known as Nechung

Later, when the ban on the practice of Dorje Shugden was imposed and practitioners were required to give up their practice, Trehor Gyurpon Rinpoche appeared to have conceded and publicly ceased the practice. However, when Trehor Gyurpon Rinpoche entered Clear Light, his attendants found a bag on him. In this bag was a Dorje Shugden ladö, the heart crystal given to those who have received the Dorje Shugden sogtae or life entrustment initiation. It was kept together with a picture. It thus transpired that despite outer appearances, Trehor Gyurpon Rinpoche had kept his faith in Dorje Shugden and had kept Dorje Shugden close to him. Trehor Gyurpon Rinpoche had been practicing Dorje Shugden secretly despite the ban on the practice, holding his faith in the protector until the end of his physical form.

The story of Trehor Gyurpon Rinpoche’s achievements during his lifetime are incredible and goes to show just how closely the Dharma protector Dorje Shugden aids sincere practitioners in their spiritual lives. Just like a scholar of the highest caliber who became skilled through the attainment of the teachings (and not just rote learning), Dorje Shugden personally assisted Trehor Gyurpon Rinpoche to overcome doubt in the teachings and excel in his studies, without the worry of material needs. Trehor Gyurpon Rinpoche’s unwavering faith in Dorje Shugden, due to his clairvoyance and abilities as a Dharma teacher, led him to practice Dorje Shugden in secret, keeping the sacred commitments made when he received the life entrustment initiation. Despite the ban on Dorje Shugden, Trehor Gyurpon Rinpoche continued his practice, show great devotion and faith. His story is inspiring example of what it means to be a spiritual practitioner with integrity and perseverance.

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  1. I am moved by the closeness shared between Trehor Gyurpon Rinpoche and Protector Dorje Shugden. Dorje Shugden’s previous life was the attained Master, Tulku Dragpa Gyaltsen and before that a long line of reincarnate Masters, including Panchen Sonam Drakpa. As such I am not surprised that Trehor Gyurpon Rinpoche was able to learn directly from Dorje Shugden. No other Protector has this ability to teach as Dorje Shugden does.

    Trehor Gyurpon Rinpoche displayed such compassion when he publicly stopped his Shugden practises but continue to practise in private. This enabled him to remain in his monastery to continue teaching the Dharma thus keeping Je Tsongkapa’s teaching alive to benefit many when it was needed the most.

    Thank you dorjeshugden.com for this inspiring article of a true practitioner and may the ban on Dorje Shugden be swiftly lifted to stop further negative karma being created that prevents so many from receiving Dorje Shugden’s beneficial practises.

  2. Thanks for sharing this. I havent heard of other Dharma Protectors insisting that the practitioner questions them. Its usually shut up and do as your told haha

    This story reminds me of the way Shugden receives tsok when in trance? He picks up a vajra and bell to accept it and does rituals and whatnot, where other protectors cut it with a sword. I was told that reflects his previous lives as a highly accomplished lama.

    Well I dont see this as any different. You dont have other Dharma Protectors giving teachings or answering Dharma questions in this manner. And in this case, Dorje Shugden found another way to protect the Dharma which is to help propagate the teachings directly by clearing doubt so the blessings remain potent through the practitioners practice, understanding and in his mind.

  3. Dear DS.com

    Thank you for the interesting article. it is short and enjoyable to read. I have never heard of Trehor Gyupon before. The story of how Dorje Shugden helped to clear his financial trouble and doubt is inspiring. I am particularly impressed that Dorje Shugden was so patient with him and answer his questions although he tried to hide the biggest questions that created the doubt – which is so human because sometimes I also have my doubt. I feel that Dorje Shugden is acting like a father and a patient mentor to those who have faith in him and provided whatever help that we need.

    Michaela

  4. Thank you dorjeshugden.com for giving the background and the close relationship of this Rinpoche and Dharmapala Dorje Shugden.

    Trehor Kyorpen Rinpoche is a master of meditation, known for his serious practice after he became a Lharampa Geshe in Tibet, and later in exile in India. It is said that After Trehor Kyorpen Rinpoche became a Geshe, he went looking for a cave on Lhumbo Tse, a very high mountain near Lhasa. He took very few things with him, Lamrim Chenmo, his robes and one monk-attendant. While he was searching for a suitable meditation cave, stones kept dropping near him, as if they were thrown towards him to get his attention. When he went into the cave, there was a skeleton in a meditative posture. Trehor Kyorpen Rinpoche then offered a mandala. After the mandala was offered, the skeleton collapsed and Trehor Kyorpen Rinpoche then decided to practice in that cave. This Rinpoche spent his life in practice and continued to do so when he left to India and stayed in Dalhousie.

    Knowing that this great practitioner Rinpoche has such a close relationship with Dorje Shugden in his earlier days, and that he didn’t give up his samaya with Dorje Shugden makes my heart leap with joy, and strengthen my faith in this Dharmapala who has done so so much to bring benefit to many in hopes of preservation and propogation of Buddhadharma.

    Thank you for your good work and please continue to share more about this Wisdom Protector with the world.

  5. Thank you for sharing this article. This is a heartwarming story showing us how Dorje Shugden could and would guide a sincere practitioner on his path of spirituality. Dorje Shugden would appeared in the dream of Trehor Gyurpon Rinpoche, waited for him when Dorje Shugden took trance, and even debate and giving personal dharma teaching to him. It was very compassionate of Dorje Shugden to take care of Trehor Gyurpon Rinpoche. Many people were able to benefit and learn dharma because of Trehor Gyurpon Rinpoche’s attainment.

  6. I thoroughly love this story and do not believe that this is just folklore.

    When I first met Dorje Shugden years ago, I was told that he is the only Dharma Protector who would teach Dharma while taking possession of an oracle and I thought this was remarkable. Years later I would be one of the lucky ones to have received such a Dharma teaching from Dorje Shugden himself.

    The relationship we can have with Dorje Shugden is unlike the relationship we have with other deities. It is definitely more personal and intimate and it feels like it is a relationship that has spanned many lifetimes.

    Just read Kyabje Trijang Dorje Chang’s ‘Nyirtoe’ and again you see how close thie Buddha gets with those who are committed to practice the Dharma and who have placed their trust in him.

  7. When one has gone through dreams, trance experiences and all the debate sessions as that experienced by Trehor Gyurpon Rinpoche, it would be imposible to shake off the faith or stop one from practicing the very Buddha that has become the essence of one’s life.
    The faith attained here is clearly beyond the petty ban which is imposed.
    In the first place there are so many doubts and negative repercussions resulting from the execution of the ban against Dorje Shugden and its followers. If the ban was suppose to benefit people how come it created so much sufferings ?
    Those who practice Dorje Shugden must stand away from all the distractions and threats. We should stay focus and steadfast to the practice that has benefited us and many others. Just like the example shown by Trehor Gyurpon Rinpoche.

  8. It sad that great lamas have to hide their practice. With the ban on the practice of Dorje Shugden and having it imposed by violence, have made it very difficult for anyone to practice. It is even more heartbreaking for the lamas with sogtae. They just can do no right here.

    Though he may be called a liar for seemingly to concede with the ban but in fact was practicing it secretly, I feel that he had no choice as his commitment is to his protector and enlightened being as well as to the propagation of Lama Tsongkhapa’s teachings.

    Even in this situation all Trehor Gyurpon Rinpoche wanted was for the continuation of the teachings of Lama Tsongkhapa.

    Dorje Shugden’s direct intervention in Trehor Gyurpon Rinpoche case, generated great faith. And, it was this faith that Trehor Gyurpon Rinpoche kept and continued the practice despite the ban. Indeed a spiritual practitioner with integrity and perseverance.

    Trehor Gyurpon Rinpoche is a true inspiration to all and an example of what faith and devotion means.

  9. This is a nice and inspiring story about relationship between Trehor Gyurpon Rinpoche with Dorje Shugden.
    Dorje Shugden not only appeared in the dream to ask Trehor Gyurpon Rinpoche not to worry about the funds instead continue his studies. On the other hand, Trehor Gyurpon Rinpoche immediately developed his great faith in Dorje Shugden when he had the biggest doubts which was not included but being asked by the Dorje Shugden while taking trance.
    Later, when Trehor Gyurpon Rinpoche entered Clear Light, his attendants found a bag with Dorje Shugden ladö inside. This means that Trehor Gyurpon Rinpoche have received the Dorje Shugden sogtae and kept Dorje Shugden close to him.

  10. Wow… this is an inspiring story to see how compassionate and caring Dorje Shugden is to help clear Trehor Gyurpon Rinpoche’s many doubts on the teachings. It also goes to show who Dorje Shugden really is, which is the great scholar Lama who is Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen and previously Panchen Sonam Drakpa, which is what makes Dorje Shugden extraordinary because He is a great high Lama who cares for nothing more than to see Dharma being learnt and taught and spread further. So compassionate is this great Lama Protector Dorje Shugden to even appear to teach Trehor Gyurpon Rinpoche.

    Where have we ever heard of any protector, enlightened and unenlightened, who teaches people the Dharma and clear their doubts and even debate with them so that they will learn?! No Dharma protector except Dorje Shugden does so because first and foremost He is a Lama.

    Secondly, this beautiful story just shows us that no matter what the CTA may say or do or ban Dorje Shugden, many great Lamas, who are real genuine Lamas will know the qualities of DOrje SHugden and will no doubt continue to do his practice in their hearts secretly. If really Dorje SHugden was an evil demon spirit, then why on earth would Dorje Shugden teach the Dharma and clear Rinpoche’s doubts and why would this Rinpoche still have his heart crystal with Him till the end of His life.

    If He really believe what Dalai Lama said about Dorje Shugden, he would have long time ago thrown away anything associated with DS. So again this and many other stories show us that the ban and discrimination on Dorje Shugden is indeed a huge political stunt and injustice political stunt by the Tibetan Leaders for their own selfish ulterior motives to gain power, wealth and temporary success.

    It is so silly of Dharmasala because up until now they are no where near in helping the Dalai Lama return to Tibet as promised by the Dalai Lama. How many more broken promises can Dharamsala make for the folish Tibetans to get sucked in? Sooner or later it is all going be revealed because the truth will always be revealed no how hard we try. Do they not know what is karma, are they not Buddhist to be this illogical and ridiculously ignorant? I sometimes ask.

  11. Thank you for sharing this information. From my reading about Dorje Shugden, I begin to see more of his deeds and his concerns, and I see that it is only for the benefit of the growth of the Dharma.

    I am familiar with many protectors in Tibetan Buddhism, but none quite like Dorje Shugden, in terms of his contribution to the Dharma by leading His Holiness the Dalai Lama out of Tibet, his assistance to various great teachers, and now this.

    Please share more of these in the future and thank you for keeping this website updated and informative.

  12. Dorje Shugden manifest help and assistance in so so many ways, but always bringing benefit to us all. It is very true that Dorje Shugden is the only Dharma Protector known to give dharma teachings.

    By giving teachings those teachings can be subject to scrutiny or even checked against the holy scriptures. Naturally as Dorje Shugden is a buddha, there will not be any fault with the teachings at all.

    I wonder if the nature of Dorje Shugden which is one with Manjushri, has to do with the myriad and varied ingenious ways of bringing the dharma to sentient beings.

  13. I came here to say one thing… Imagine Nechung debating like this!

    Imagine Tenma debating like this!

    Imagine Gadong debating like this!

    Only Dorjee Shugden can teach, debate and educate like this, no one else! That tells you very clearly he is a different caliber when compared to the other unenlightened deities that the Tibetan government relies on! It makes you wonder what kind of karma they have to discard, disregard and discriminate against an enlightened being, and to hold, treasure and rely on unenlightened deities!

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Contemplate This

.…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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