Point 5: Historical References

Point 5: Historical References

http://dalailama.com/messages/dolgyal-shugden/historical-references

The Fifth Dalai Lama
Trichen Ngawang Chokdhen (1677-1751)
Phurchok Ngawang Jampa (1682 – 1762)
Yongzin Yeshi Gyaltsen (1713 – 1793)
Thukan Lobsang Choekyi Nyima (1737–1802)
Phabongkhapa Dechen Nyingpo (1878–1941)
Jigme Dhamchoe Gyatso (1898–1947)

Editor: Please note that most of these so-called historical references do not even mention Dorje Shugden. It is widely accepted that the Great Fifth changed his mind after realizing that Dorje Shugden was not a demon and was even responsible for building the first chapel to this Protector.

The purpose of mentioning these ‘testimonials’ seem to be a stretch of desperation for those who know more than what is quoted out of context. The editor’s notes are to give another point of view or elaborate on a particular point so the reader can make up his own mind.

The Fifth Dalai Lama

Folio 157 (front and back) of the autobiography of the Fifth Dalai Lama (1617-1682) called Dukulai Gosang, Volume Kha, Lhasa Publication:

It is well known that at Dhol Chumig Karmo[1] a very powerful perfidious interfering spirit (dam sri)[2,] born due to distorted prayers, has been harming the teaching of the Buddha and sentient beings in general and in particular.

(Ed: As emanations of the Wisdom Buddha, every incarnation that arose before Dorje Shugden manifested was a fully enlightened being. Each incarnation contributed greatly towards the growth of Dharma throughout the Buddhist world. Dorje Shugden’s lineage of incarnations include past great Mahasiddhas , renowned Buddhist scholars, monastics of high moral discipline and outstanding Dharma teachers. Just to name a few, these incarnations include Mahasiddha Birwapa, Sakya Pandita, Buton Rinchen Drub and Duldzin Drakpa Gyeltsen. This most noteworthy lineage includes Panchen Sonam Drakpa who wrote commentaries of sutra and tantra which are being studied to this day at Drepung Loseling and Gaden Shartse. Monks study these texts to qualify for their geshe degrees.

In terms of realizations, abilities and wisdom, Lama Tsongkhapa’s disciples believed that Duldzin Drakpa Gyeltsen and Lama Tsongkhapa were equal.

It was due to Duldzin’s commitment and devotion to the Dharma that he first made a promise to arise as a Dharma Protector specially to protect the Middle view of Nagarjuna, as taught by Lama Tsongkhapa.)

The harmful activity has intensified since the firebird year (1657) and (the spirit) has been successful in many of his missions. However, hardly anyone has taken any action, as if this did not concern him or her. So, at the end of the earth-bird year (1669) a new house was constructed at Dhol Chumig Karmo and articles were placed there in the hope that it would become a place for the Gyalpo to settle. However, his harmful activities only intensified and recently many lay and ordained people have been afflicted with diseases and a few monks have died. Therefore, all the monks unanimously decided that a fire ritual should be performed.

(Ed: There was great political tension during the reign of the Great 5th Dalai Lama because of the popularity of Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen. Sonam Rabten, the principal executive of the Dalai Lama and his protégé, Norbu, tried to kill Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen but the attempts failed as he did not have the karma to be killed.

Due to Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen’s compassion and promise to become a Dharma Protector, he even told them the only way he could be killed. At the time of his death, a slight amount of fierce energy resembling wrath arose in Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen and this enabled him to arise as the wrathful Dharma Protector, Dorje Shugden.

Many began to fear that Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen had become an angry spirit due to them experiencing great disturbances. Livestock and crops died, there were earthquakes, the weather was turbulent and chaos prevailed. It wasn’t because Dorje Shugden is an evil spirit but the unfortunate experiences which arose were due to the cumulative negative karma accrued by those who had plotted to murder a High Lama.)

Consequently, two groups of practitioners were organised. One was led by Nagrampa Dhondup Gyatso, who acted as the Vajra Acharya of (a performance of) the Dorje Drolo ritual and the other was led by Nangjung Ngagchang Losang Khyentse, who acted as the Vajra Acharya of (a performance of the) Yangsang Karma Dragpo ritual. Likewise Rigzin Pema Thinley of Dorje Drag, Dharma King Terdag Lingpa, Vugja Lungpa, Drigung Tulku Rinpoche, Katshal Zurpa Ngari Konchok Lhundup and Palri Tulku performed the Wrathful Lama, Yama, Phurba, Loktri practice for seven days, at the conclusion of which a fire-ritual was performed during which the ‘perfidious interfering spirit’ and his entourage were burnt. Everybody was convinced (of its success because of) the appearance of wonderful signs and the smell of burning flesh that everybody witnessed.

(Ed: So if this evil spirit was destroyed, and Dorje Shugden is still existing, they must be talking about different beings!)

Thus, many sentient beings were explicitly granted the gift of fearlessness because their lives were saved. Moreover, indirectly these creatures (‘byung po)[3] were delivered to the peaceful state of being released from having to experience the intolerable suffering of bad states of rebirth due to their increasing negative actions.

At that time a testimony[4] was written to indicate that these creatures or evil spirits were without protection and refuge and (consequently) the Dardhingpas of Dorje Drag Monastery compiled mantras. As a religious practice for the deceased, Sera and Drepung Monasteries performed the Prayer of the White Umbrella Deity 44,000 times and recited the Heart Sutra 118,000 times during eleven sessions during which tea was offered in each monastery.

(Ed: It was then that the Great Fifth Dalai Lama called for powerful rituals to be done to pacify and destroy Dorje Shugden. However, all the rituals were in vain. It was soon clear that Dorje Shugden could not be subdued. How can a spirit be more powerful than the High Lamas and not able to be destroyed? The only logical conclusion is that Dorje Shugden is not a spirit thus he cannot be destroyed.

The Dalai Lama then wrote an official proclamation and prayer, recognizing Dorje Shugden as an undisputed Dharma Protector and a direct emanation of Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen. He also constructed Trode Khangsar as a place of worship for Dorje Shugden which still exists in Tibet to this day.)

At sixty-seven other well-disciplined monasteries in the neighbourhood, monks were requested to perform the White Umbrella Prayer as many as possible for the deceased. At Yerpa the Gyuto monks performed the prayer of appeasement of Gonpo (Mahakala) and Choegyal (Dharmaraja) 693 times, Tenma Shasana 1,121,800 times, (Sixty Section Ritual Cake Offering to Overcome Evil) Drugchu pai Tordog. At Choekhor Gyal they performed rituals to (Palden Lhamo) Magzorma, to Mahakala the Lord of the Tent (Gur and zhal), and to Begtse and at Gatshal they performed the prayer of appeasing the Dharma protectors in general 10000 times and the prayers of the Six Armed (Mahakala), Leshin and Vaishravana (rNam sre) 1000 times. At 11 district capitals they performed the Prayer for Invoking the Spirit of the Deity to Vanquish the Enemy (dgra-lha-dpangs-bstod) and other practices to appease local deities and spirits.

(Ed:There are many monasteries today dedicated to Dorje Shugden as the Dharma Protector. Phelgyeling Monastery houses the very first statue of Dorje Shugden made by the 5th Dalai Lama and to this day, still propagates the sacred lineage of this protector.)

Notes:

  1. Dhol Chumig Karmo is Shugden’s place of origin, where a shrine was constructed to him. He is also referred as Dholgyal because he is a Gyalpo from Dhol Chumig Karmo. Gyalpo refers to a class of evil spirit. Since Shugden belong to this group, he is also called Gyalchen, the great Gyalpo.

    (Ed: ‘Gyal’ means victorious, or king. That’s why Dorje Shugden is often referred to in English as the ‘great king protector.’ Likewise, ‘Gyalwa Rinpoche’, the honorific term Tibetans use for His Holiness the Dalai Lama, or ‘Gyalwa Karmapa’ doesn’t mean they are a class of evil spirit. Since whichever gyalpo has been sent to the dharmakaya already according to this article, the discussion of his names in the present tense seems rather redundant.)

  2. Dam sri, a transgressive interfering spirit, is the spirit of one who has deliberately breached his oath or commitment to his lama out of resentment and dissension.

    (Ed: the 15th Gaden Tripa, Panchen Sonam Drakpa’s text on the vinaya is studied widely at Drepung Loseling Monastery and Gaden Shartse Monastery up until today, and the Tibetan library of Tibetan works and archives proudly mention his 45 volumes of authoritative works in the small compilation, ‘Overview of Buddhist Tantra’, which they published recently. They also mention Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen, his next incarnation, with gusto… involuntary humor? Or are we truly made to believe that bodhisattvas who have held their vinaya (remember that Panchen Sonam Drakpa’s previous incarnation was even named Duldzin – vinaya holder..) and samaya for so many lives purer than we can even imagine, can suddenly turn into demons?)

  3. ‘Byung po means creature or evil spirit.
  4. Zur dpang refers to a testimony or the deposition of a witness.

Translation of the testimony that the Fifth Dalai Lama (1617-1682) mentions in his autobiography. The original Tibetan can be found on page 148 front and back (English pages 423 and 424) of the volume Da of his Collected Works published in Gangtok, Sikkim.

“Because of the manipulations of Lag Agyal (the mother) of Gekhasa, the false reincarnation of Tulku Sonam Geleg Palsang (Tulku Dakpa Gyaltsen) got his way (and was installed as the successful candidate). However, because of distorted prayers he became a perfidious spirit (dam sri) and brought serious harm to sentient beings. Therefore, a total of seven groups of practitioners led by (Pema Trinley) Rinpoche of Dorje Drag, Choegyal Terdag Lingpa, Choeje Vugja Lungpa, Ngari Ngagchang Konchok Lhundup, Palri Tulku and two groups of practitioners of Phende Legshe Ling (Namgyal Dratsang) performed a ritual fire offering and burnt the interfering spirit.

(Ed: In which case, there is nothing to worry about since this ‘spirit’ has been destroyed!)

This is the declaration I have written at that time.
To the deities, Legden, Chagdrug, Leshin and Magzor.
To the oath bound protectors Gongzhi, Gonpo, Chamsre and Begtse, etc.
Who have been propitiated and whose practice (has been done)
I offer this sublime libation.
The so-called Dragpa Gyaltsen pretends to be a sublime being,

(Ed: He must be good at pretending in order to be seen as the same rank and have the same or superior attainments to the Fifth Dalai Lama)

Even though he is not,
And since this interfering spirit and creature of distorted prayers
Do not support, protect or give him shelter, but grind him to dust.
To the female protectors like Nodjin Yangghaza, etc. and
Gyalpo Ku-nga, Khyabjug, Dorje Leg and particularly
Nechung and his entourage
I offer this sublime libation.
The so-called Dragpa Gyaltsen pretends to be a sublime being,
Even though he is not,
And since this interfering spirit and creature of distorted prayers
Is harming everything – both the dharma and sentient beings -
Do not support, protect or give him shelter, but grind him to dust.

To the seven Barwa brothers like Tse-marpa etc.
And likewise Setrab of Sangphu etc.

(Ed: So Setrab, who is in Dorje Shugden’s mandala, is okay to propitiate but Dorje Shugden isn’t?)

- the wrathful gods and spirits
Among whom this negative spirit seeks support -
I offer this sublime libation.
The so-called Dragpa Gyaltsen pretends to be a sublime being,
Even though he is not,
And since this interfering spirit and creature of distorted prayers
Is harming everything – both the dharma and sentient beings -
Do not support, protect or give him shelter, but grind him to dust.

Having agreed before the root and lineage lama Vajra Dharas
To increase what is good and beneficial to sentient beings and the dharma,
If you protect this perfidious spirit,
Will you not cause your own past pledges to degenerate?

There are groups of interfering spirits who display inopportune miracles
In the form of human sickness, cattle disease, hailstorms, famine and drought.
May their power and ability
Their body, speech and mind be smashed into tiny particles.

Trichen Ngawang Chokdhen (1677-1751)

From page 67 of the biography of Trichen Ngawang Chokdhen (1677-1751) composed by Changkya Rolpai Dorje (1717-1786):

Previously, a very vicious and evil spirit (it is not specifically stated that the spirit is Dholgyal, but it is clear from Changkya’s biography that the spirit referred to is Dholgyal. It also refers to the time when Trichen Ngawang Chokdhen was the Ganden Throne-holder) possessed a man at Draksep.

(Ed: Trichen Ngawang Chokdhen was the root Guru of the 7th HHDL as well as being the 54th Ganden Tripa. Chankya Rolpai Dorje, an illustrious lama wrote the biography of Trichen Ngawang Chokdhen which mentioned about a spirit which Trichen Ngawang was against. The spirit being referred to was a local spirit known as Taktse Gyalpo and not Dorje Shugden.)

Some unstable lamas, former abbots, and monastic hostels (khangtsens) did practice in relation to it simply by invoking and propitiating it. A cairn for invoking spirits had also been erected on top of the Jangtse mountain. Considering how inappropriate was this turn of events he issued an edict to the assembly of monks that as there had been no tradition of propitiating worldly spirits and protectors within the premises of this seat of learning since the time of Je Tsongkhapa, henceforth, nobody would be allowed to engage in such activities. The cairn was demolished (this is very clearly stated in the biography of Changkya) and the stones and earth were returned to the places from which they had been taken.

(Ed: As mentioned, the spirit the biography refers to is Taktse Gyalpo, a spirit said to have been of a monk who died in bad circumstance and not Dorje Shugden. Gyalpo is also a common term used to refer to deities and local spirits of former lamas or monks. There are many Gyalpos and this term does not apply to Dorje Shugden.

In addition, this edict of not propitiating worldly spirits and protectors does not apply to Dorje Shugden because Dorje Shugden is enlightened.)

The spirit was invoked through a medium in trance and was then ordered not to come through such trances henceforth. Dolgyal replied, “If this is the order of Tri Rinpoche, I have no choice but to leave.” Then, the ghostly spirit fled to Taktse Shol. Je (Trichen Ngawang Chokdhen) himself went into retreat.

He made it a rule that the prayer to Dharmaraja composed by the Omniscient Gendun Gyatso (the second Dalai Lama), should be said in the Main Hall of Ganden. Due to Dharmaraja’s wrath, the Lamas and former abbots who had been propitiating the spirit were killed and the monastic hostels also suffered many misfortunes. Consequently, such misdeeds entirely ceased and the action that had been taken became an excellent cause for maintaining the purity of the monastery.

(Ed: Interestingly enough, Trichen Ngawang Chogden’s unmistaken incarnation, Trichen Tenpa Rabgya was a famous practitioner of Dorje Shugden. He composed praises and and rituals for Dorje Shugden’s practice, requesting him to come from the “wisdom Dharmakaya” which clearly shows the nature of Dorje Shugden as an enlightened being.

It is interesting that when Dharmaraja (Kalarupa, who like Dorje Shugden is a wrathful manifestation of Manjushri) kills and bestows ‘many misfortunes,’ it becomes ‘an excellent source for maintaining the purity of the monastery,’ whereas when Dorje Shugden saves vow-breakers from creating more negative karma, it is proof of his vicious sectarian nature.)

Phurchok Ngawang Jampa (1682 – 1762)

In the Catalogue of the Three Monastic Seats composed by Phurchok Ngawang Jampa (1682-1762):

Thus, at the time when Je (Tsongkhapa) himself was alive, apart from those dharma protectors who are bound by oath and are mentioned in the tantras themselves, no objects for propitiating or seeking the slightest help of harmful negative worldly spirits who are ghosts, was ever installed within the premises of this monastic seat.

(Ed: There is no reason to propitiate harmful worldly spirits when we can propitiate enlightened Dharma Protectors like Dorje Shugden.)

As a result, all the members of the community, both Lamas and disciples lived in harmony and the tradition of study and practice flourished. Even (the cairn) to the spirit of Tsongkhapa’s birthplace was placed outside the monastery. However, nowadays, many people who consider themselves to be followers of Tsongkhapa, and who adopt the three robes of a fully ordained Buddhist monk, go for refuge in ghostly spirits. They will have to face the consequence of meeting with great misfortune.

(Ed: Following the path as Je Tsongkhapa laid, the Gelug has always maintained strong emphasis in study, contemplation and practice, thus producing many illustrious masters who incarnates back again and again to turn the wheel of Dharma. Spirit worship is not allowed and is unnecessary as the great protector of Nagarjuna’s Madyamika is Dorje Shugden, who is the wrathful emanation of Manjushri, the Buddha of Wisdom. Here, Phurchok Ngawang does not mention Dorje Shugden by name.)

Yongzin Yeshi Gyaltsen (1713 – 1793)

From The Lotus Ornamenting the Teachings of the Buddha. Biography of Yongzin Yeshi Gyaltsen (1713 – 1793); the tutor of H.H Jampel Gyatso, the eighth Dalai Lama. Composed by the Eighth Dalai Lama.

Further, with regard to the education of the young Panchen Rinpoche (name and year), all his attendants should take full care. It would be a great shame otherwise, saying that he is a Buddha and needs no effort as required by an ordinary (child). Even if he is a Buddha, as long as he assumes an ordinary aspect, he should be given the education the way it is given to an ordinary person. It would be an incomplete legacy pertaining to service of the Dharma and sentient beings; the ones left by unlearned scholars and untrained yogis. Therefore, everyone should take utmost care about the study of the venerable (Panchen Rinpoche).

Another point to be considered is that the new Dharma protector (Dolgyal) is the source of ruin of Tashi Lhunpo (monastery). The very Dharma protector, which Panchen Losang Choegyan is connected with, will suffice. Other than that, if (the monastery) starts introducing the propitiation of some harmful spirit, it will be a great source of inauspiciousness (to the monastery). Everyone should be extremely cautious about it.

(Ed: It is impossible that Dorje Shugden caused the ruin of Tashi Lhunpo. At Tashi Lhunpo, Shigatse, monks do daily prayers to Dorje Shugden up til today)

Thukan Lobsang Choekyi Nyima (1737–1802)

On page 446 of volume Ka, Zhol edition, of the Collected Works of the great Gelugpa scholar, Thukan Lobsang Choekyi Nyima (1737–1802), which was reprinted in 1969 in New Delhi, the following account is found of (a conversation between) Changkya Rolpai Dorje (1717–1786) and his student Thukan Lobsang Choekyi Nyima:

Reaching the site of the cairn to Machen, he explains in detail to Thukan Lobsang Choekyi Nyima as follows: “Je Lama (Tsongkhapa) and his students do not propitiate worldly gods and protectors and hence even the cairn of Machen, the god of his birthplace, is not included within the parameter of the circumambulatory (path at Ganden). (However,) in the past some Ganden Throne Holders propitiated Dolgyal (Shugden) and experienced misfortunes, consequently Tri Chen Dorje Chang dismantled Dolgyal’s image and shrine and banished it from the monastery.”

(Ed: According to Helmut Gassner: ‘ Since 1996 His Holiness has cited the names of Trichen Ngawang Chogden and Changya Rölpa’i Dorje as having proscribed Dorje Shugden. He cites a passage in Changya’s biography composed by the master Thuken wherein Trichen Ngawang Chogden supposedly had an image of Dorje Shugden removed from Ganden Monastery. On closer scrutiny, however, it appears that in Changya’s original rendering of the story about Trichen Ngawang Chogden, to which Thuken refers, Dorje Shugden is not at all mentioned, while reference is made to a local spirit instead.‘)

Phabongkhapa Dechen Nyingpo (1878–1941)

On pages 471-2 front and back of the Tibetan text of the biography of Phabongkhapa Dechen Nyingpo (1878-1941) composed by his student Denma Losang Dorje and published by the Nyimo Publisher Palden, the following account is found:

“(Here is) an appeal from me, Phabongkhapa, holding the name of an incarnate, in accordance with an instruction that I have received from you through Tse Khendron Chenmo. (I am glad that) you have received my application of 22nd of the 12th month last year, and I am grateful that you have kindly clarified each and every point therein. It was entirely my mistake and I have absolutely nothing to say (to defend it). It will be my endeavour in the future to take the meaning of your instructions earnestly to heart and I ask your forgiveness for whatever mistakes I have made in my appeal.”

Phabongkhapa quotes the Dalai Lama’s letter: “With regard to the three points mentioned here, there is still much ground for debate, both in logical and scriptural terms, but this is enough for the time being. With regard to your reference to making endeavour in the practice of taking refuge, first of all you are propitiating Shugden (Dolgyal) as a protector. Since they received Lamrim teachings from you at the Drepung Monastic Religious Centre last year and so made a connection with you, propitiation of Shugden among students there has greatly increased. The Great Nechung Choegyal who from the very beginning was commanded and entrusted to protect and guard this monastery, expressed his displeasure to the Drepung Lachi several times, saying that (due to propitiating Dolgyal) the degeneration of the Buddha dharma had been speeded up. This is the source of his displeasure. I feel that your seeking the support of a wrathful worldly spirit (to secure benefits in) this life specifically contradicts the precepts of taking refuge. Therefore, your statement, ‘I want to say from the depths of my heart that it is only due to my being confused by ignorance and not that I have knowingly entered an unwholesome path and led others onto the same path.’ is contradictory.”

Phabongkhapa answers: “You have therefore instructed me to give you an answer. I have propitiated Shugden until now because my old mother told me that Shugden is the deity of my maternal lineage. I wish to inform you that henceforth, with intense regret (for what is past) and (with the intention of) restraining my faults (in the future), I will never again propitiate (Shugden) or make daily offerings and supporting prayers and that I will wholeheartedly keep this commitment in the core of my heart. Whatever mistakes I have committed until now, such as having become a cause for the mental displeasure of the Great Nechung Choegyal, contradicting the precepts of taking refuge and so forth, I request you, the supreme protector, who is especially compassionate to the lowly, to regard me with love and great compassion and patiently to forgive me.

With great respect I here offer one silk scarf as a medium of request and five silver coins (to contribute to the) mandala offering.

(Ed: It’s patently obvious here that Pabongkha Rinpoche was forced to make these statements. After the 13th Dalai Lama’s passing, Pabongkha Rinpoche went all out to promote Shugden, which shows that he was merely being politically correct out of respect to the 13th Dalai Lama.)

Jigme Dhamchoe Gyatso (1898–1947)

The following account is found on pages 394 and 395 of the Biography of Jigme Dhamchoe Gyatsho (1898–1947) by the Dhomey scholar Tsetan Zhabdrung (1910–1985), first published in June 1987.

“Some of the followers of Ven. Phabongkha Dechen Nyingpo Rinpoche engaged in heated argument over the systems of philosophical tenets of the new and the ancient traditions. They engaged in many mistaken activities such as destroying images of Padmasambhava and other peaceful and wrathful deities. They said that reciting the mantra of the Vajra Guru is of no value and would destroy the Padma Kathang (by burning it or throwing it into rivers.) Similarly, they asserted that turning Mani prayer wheels, observing weekly prayers for the deceased, and so forth are of no purpose and so placed many on the path of wrong view.

(Ed: Even (or perhaps especially, out of great compassion) the highest lamas have lots of stupid disciples, who misunderstand and misinterpret everything, especially their lama’s wrathful activity, quote it out of context and use it as excuse for their own ego trips. Such stories – whether they are true or not we don’t know – keep being used over and over as ‘proof’ of Kyabje Pabongkha’s sectarian tendencies. However, if we refer to Pabongkha Rinpoche’s Lamrim teachings, it is contradictory to what he taught about the serious and negative effects sectarianism. A lama’s wrathful words or actions at a certain time regarding certain situations always come from compassion and to get stuck at the superficial appearance is to remain bereft of the blessings conveyed on the inner and secret level.

It is interesting also that while such unchecked and unproven stories of the past are told and retold, fanatic mobs are performing ‘religious cleansing’ by tearing Dorje Shugden statues from people’s and monasteries’ altars, desecrating and destroying them, trampling Kyabje Trijang Dorje Chang’s pictures in the dirt in Dharamsala, setting houses with the ‘accused’ still inside on fire.

With regard to the alleged sectarian sentiment especially to Nyingma school, this is blatantly not true as it can be seen that many Gelugpa temples are graced by Guru Rinpoche statues. One of the famous examples of Gelugpa Lamas embracing Guru Rinpoche is Dromo Geshe Rinpoche, who is a contemporary and very close to Pabongkha and Trijang Rinpoches, who also did yearly special ceremonies to Guru Rinpoche.)

They held Gyalpo Shugden (Dolgyal) as the supreme refuge and the embodiment of all the Three Jewels. Many monks from minor monasteries in the southern area, claiming to be possessed by Shugden, ran madly in all directions destroying the three symbols of enlightenment (images, scriptures and stupas) and so forth. Displaying many such faults they greatly harmed the teachings of the second conqueror, Je Tsongkhapa. Therefore, if you were to compose an advisory letter for everyone’s benefit and were to publish it and distribute it throughout the three provinces of U, Tsang and Kham, it would greatly contribute to counteracting such disturbances to the teaching.

(Ed: Unproven testimonies or testimonies taken out of context can be very misleading and at times completely wrong. For a recent example, check the stories about when Chatral Rinpoche got attacked. The first news out and happily repeated on every street corner was the story that a Tibetan Geluk monk, ‘possessed by Shugden’ attempted to strangle Chatral Rinpoche.

Over time, the monk was not Geluk anymore, then he was not a monk, then he was not Tibetan, and in the end turned out to be a deranged American.

However, the Geluk-Shugden-monk rumor will prevail in the heads of thousands who will pass it down as fact to anyone who cares to hear… so much for some ‘testimonies.’)


The original article on dalailama.com in full:

Historical References

The Fifth Dalai Lama
Trichen Ngawang Chokdhen (1677-1751)
Phurchok Ngawang Jampa (1682 – 1762)
Yongzin Yeshi Gyaltsen (1713 – 1793)
Thukan Lobsang Choekyi Nyima (1737–1802)
Phabongkhapa Dechen Nyingpo (1878–1941)
Jigme Dhamchoe Gyatso (1898–1947)

The Fifth Dalai Lama

Folio 157 (front and back) of the autobiography of the Fifth Dalai Lama (1617-1682) called Dukulai Gosang, Volume Kha, Lhasa Publication:

It is well known that at Dhol Chumig Karmo[1] a very powerful perfidious interfering spirit (dam sri)[2,] born due to distorted prayers, has been harming the teaching of the Buddha and sentient beings in general and in particular. The harmful activity has intensified since the firebird year (1657) and (the spirit) has been successful in many of his missions. However, hardly anyone has taken any action, as if this did not concern him or her. So, at the end of the earth-bird year (1669) a new house was constructed at Dhol Chumig Karmo and articles were placed there in the hope that it would become a place for the Gyalpo to settle. However, his harmful activities only intensified and recently many lay and ordained people have been afflicted with diseases and a few monks have died. Therefore, all the monks unanimously decided that a fire ritual should be performed.

Consequently, two groups of practitioners were organised. One was led by Nagrampa Dhondup Gyatso, who acted as the Vajra Acharya of (a performance of) the Dorje Drolo ritual and the other was led by Nangjung Ngagchang Losang Khyentse, who acted as the Vajra Acharya of (a performance of the) Yangsang Karma Dragpo ritual. Likewise Rigzin Pema Thinley of Dorje Drag, Dharma King Terdag Lingpa, Vugja Lungpa, Drigung Tulku Rinpoche, Katshal Zurpa Ngari Konchok Lhundup and Palri Tulku performed the Wrathful Lama, Yama, Phurba, Loktri practice for seven days, at the conclusion of which a fire-ritual was performed during which the ‘perfidious interfering spirit’ and his entourage were burnt. Everybody was convinced (of its success because of) the appearance of wonderful signs and the smell of burning flesh that everybody witnessed. Thus, many sentient beings were explicitly granted the gift of fearlessness because their lives were saved. Moreover, indirectly these creatures (‘byung po)[3] were delivered to the peaceful state of being released from having to experience the intolerable suffering of bad states of rebirth due to their increasing negative actions.

At that time a testimony[4] was written to indicate that these creatures or evil spirits were without protection and refuge and (consequently) the Dardhingpas of Dorje Drag Monastery compiled mantras. As a religious practice for the deceased, Sera and Drepung Monasteries performed the Prayer of the White Umbrella Deity 44,000 times and recited the Heart Sutra 118,000 times during eleven sessions during which tea was offered in each monastery.

At sixty-seven other well-disciplined monasteries in the neighbourhood, monks were requested to perform the White Umbrella Prayer as many as possible for the deceased. At Yerpa the Gyuto monks performed the prayer of appeasement of Gonpo (Mahakala) and Choegyal (Dharmaraja) 693 times, Tenma Shasana 1,121,800 times, (Sixty Section Ritual Cake Offering to Overcome Evil) Drugchu pai Tordog. At Choekhor Gyal they performed rituals to (Palden Lhamo) Magzorma, to Mahakala the Lord of the Tent (Gur and zhal), and to Begtse and at Gatshal they performed the prayer of appeasing the Dharma protectors in general 10000 times and the prayers of the Six Armed (Mahakala), Leshin and Vaishravana (rNam sre) 1000 times. At 11 district capitals they performed the Prayer for Invoking the Spirit of the Deity to Vanquish the Enemy (dgra-lha-dpangs-bstod) and other practices to appease local deities and spirits.

Notes:

Dhol Chumig Karmo is Shugden’s place of origin, where a shrine was constructed to him. He is also referred as Dholgyal because he is a Gyalpo from Dhol Chumig Karmo. Gyalpo refers to a class of evil spirit. Since Shugden belong to this group, he is also called Gyalchen, the great Gyalpo.
Dam sri, a transgressive interfering spirit, is the spirit of one who has deliberately breached his oath or commitment to his lama out of resentment and dissension.
‘Byung po means creature or evil spirit.
Zur dpang refers to a testimony or the deposition of a witness.

Translation of the testimony that the Fifth Dalai Lama (1617-1682) mentions in his autobiography. The original Tibetan can be found on page 148 front and back (English pages 423 and 424) of the volume Da of his Collected Works published in Gangtok, Sikkim.

“Because of the manipulations of Lag Agyal (the mother) of Gekhasa, the false reincarnation of Tulku Sonam Geleg Palsang (Tulku Dakpa Gyaltsen) got his way (and was installed as the successful candidate). However, because of distorted prayers he became a perfidious spirit (dam sri) and brought serious harm to sentient beings. Therefore, a total of seven groups of practitioners led by (Pema Trinley) Rinpoche of Dorje Drag, Choegyal Terdag Lingpa, Choeje Vugja Lungpa, Ngari Ngagchang Konchok Lhundup, Palri Tulku and two groups of practitioners of Phende Legshe Ling (Namgyal Dratsang) performed a ritual fire offering and burnt the interfering spirit. This is the declaration I have written at that time.

To the deities, Legden, Chagdrug, Leshin and Magzor.
To the oath bound protectors Gongzhi, Gonpo, Chamsre and Begtse, etc.
Who have been propitiated and whose practice (has been done)
I offer this sublime libation.
The so-called Dragpa Gyaltsen pretends to be a sublime being,
Even though he is not,
And since this interfering spirit and creature of distorted prayers
Do not support, protect or give him shelter, but grind him to dust.

To the female protectors like Nodjin Yangghaza, etc. and
Gyalpo Ku-nga, Khyabjug, Dorje Leg and particularly
Nechung and his entourage
I offer this sublime libation.
The so-called Dragpa Gyaltsen pretends to be a sublime being,
Even though he is not,
And since this interfering spirit and creature of distorted prayers
Is harming everything – both the dharma and sentient beings -
Do not support, protect or give him shelter, but grind him to dust.

To the seven Barwa brothers like Tse-marpa etc.
And likewise Setrab of Sangphu etc. – the wrathful gods and spirits
Among whom this negative spirit seeks support -
I offer this sublime libation.
The so-called Dragpa Gyaltsen pretends to be a sublime being,
Even though he is not,
And since this interfering spirit and creature of distorted prayers
Is harming everything – both the dharma and sentient beings -
Do not support, protect or give him shelter, but grind him to dust.

Having agreed before the root and lineage lama Vajra Dharas
To increase what is good and beneficial to sentient beings and the dharma,
If you protect this perfidious spirit,
Will you not cause your own past pledges to degenerate?

There are groups of interfering spirits who display inopportune miracles
In the form of human sickness, cattle disease, hailstorms, famine and drought.
May their power and ability
Their body, speech and mind be smashed into tiny particles.

Trichen Ngawang Chokdhen (1677-1751)

From page 67 of the biography of Trichen Ngawang Chokdhen (1677-1751) composed by Changkya Rolpai Dorje (1717-1786):

Previously, a very vicious and evil spirit (it is not specifically stated that the spirit is Dholgyal, but it is clear from Changkya’s biography that the spirit referred to is Dholgyal. It also refers to the time when Trichen Ngawang Chokdhen was the Ganden Throne-holder,) possessed a man at Draksep. Some unstable lamas, former abbots, and monastic hostels (khangtsens) did practice in relation to it simply by invoking and propitiating it. A cairn for invoking spirits had also been erected on top of the Jangtse mountain. Considering how inappropriate was this turn of events he issued an edict to the assembly of monks that as there had been no tradition of propitiating worldly spirits and protectors within the premises of this seat of learning since the time of Je Tsongkhapa, henceforth, nobody would be allowed to engage in such activities. The cairn was demolished (this is very clearly stated in the biography of Changkya) and the stones and earth were returned to the places from which they had been taken. The spirit was invoked through a medium in trance and was then ordered not to come through such trances henceforth. Dolgyal replied, “If this is the order of Tri Rinpoche, I have no choice but to leave.” Then, the ghostly spirit fled to Taktse Shol. Je (Trichen Ngawang Chokdhen) himself went into retreat. He made it a rule that the prayer to Dharmaraja composed by the Omniscient Gendun Gyatso (the second Dalai Lama), should be said in the Main Hall of Ganden. Due to Dharmaraja’s wrath, the Lamas and former abbots who had been propitiating the spirit were killed and the monastic hostels also suffered many misfortunes. Consequently, such misdeeds entirely ceased and the action that had been taken became an excellent cause for maintaining the purity of the monastery.

Phurchok Ngawang Jampa (1682 – 1762)

In the Catalogue of the Three Monastic Seats composed by Phurchok Ngawang Jampa (1682-1762):

Thus, at the time when Je (Tsongkhapa) himself was alive, apart from those dharma protectors who are bound by oath and are mentioned in the tantras themselves, no objects for propitiating or seeking the slightest help of harmful negative worldly spirits who are ghosts, was ever installed within the premises of this monastic seat. As a result, all the members of the community, both Lamas and disciples lived in harmony and the tradition of study and practice flourished. Even (the cairn) to the spirit of Tsongkhapa’s birthplace was placed outside the monastery. However, nowadays, many people who consider themselves to be followers of Tsongkhapa, and who adopt the three robes of a fully ordained Buddhist monk, go for refuge in ghostly spirits. They will have to face the consequence of meeting with great misfortune.

Yongzin Yeshi Gyaltsen (1713 – 1793)

From The Lotus Ornamenting the Teachings of the Buddha. Biography of Yongzin Yeshi Gyaltsen (1713 – 1793); the tutor of H.H Jampel Gyatso, the eighth Dalai Lama. Composed by the Eighth Dalai Lama.

Further, with regard to the education of the young Panchen Rinpoche (name and year), all his attendants should take full care. It would be a great shame otherwise, saying that he is a Buddha and needs no effort as required by an ordinary (child). Even if he is a Buddha, as long as he assumes an ordinary aspect, he should be given the education the way it is given to an ordinary person. It would be an incomplete legacy pertaining to service of the Dharma and sentient beings; the ones left by unlearned scholars and untrained yogis. Therefore, everyone should take utmost care about the study of the venerable (Panchen Rinpoche).

Another point to be considered is that the new Dharma protector (Dolgyal) is the source of ruin of Tashi Lhunpo (monastery). The very Dharma protector, which Panchen Losang Choegyan is connected with, will suffice. Other than that, if (the monastery) starts introducing the propitiation of some harmful spirit, it will be a great source of inauspiciousness (to the monastery). Everyone should be extremely cautious about it.

Thukan Lobsang Choekyi Nyima (1737–1802)

On page 446 of volume Ka, Zhol edition, of the Collected Works of the great Gelugpa scholar, Thukan Lobsang Choekyi Nyima (1737–1802) , which was reprinted in 1969 in New Delhi, the following account is found of (a conversation between) Changkya Rolpai Dorje (1717–1786) and his student Thukan Lobsang Choekyi Nyima:

Reaching the site of the cairn to Machen, he explains in detail to Thukan Lobsang Choekyi Nyima as follows: “Je Lama (Tsongkhapa) and his students do not propitiate worldly gods and protectors and hence even the cairn of Machen, the god of his birthplace, is not included within the parameter of the circumambulatory (path at Ganden). (However,) in the past some Ganden Throne Holders propitiated Dolgyal (Shugden) and experienced misfortunes, consequently Tri Chen Dorje Chang dismantled Dolgyal’s image and shrine and banished it from the monastery.”

Phabongkhapa Dechen Nyingpo (1878–1941)

On pages 471-2 front and back of the Tibetan text of the biography of Phabongkhapa Dechen Nyingpo (1878-1941) composed by his student Denma Losang Dorje and published by the Nyimo Publisher Palden, the following account is found:

“(Here is) an appeal from me, Phabongkhapa, holding the name of an incarnate, in accordance with an instruction that I have received from you through Tse Khendron Chenmo. (I am glad that) you have received my application of 22nd of the 12th month last year, and I am grateful that you have kindly clarified each and every point therein. It was entirely my mistake and I have absolutely nothing to say (to defend it). It will be my endeavour in the future to take the meaning of your instructions earnestly to heart and I ask your forgiveness for whatever mistakes I have made in my appeal.”

Phabongkhapa quotes the Dalai Lama’s letter: “With regard to the three points mentioned here, there is still much ground for debate, both in logical and scriptural terms, but this is enough for the time being. With regard to your reference to making endeavour in the practice of taking refuge, first of all you are propitiating Shugden (Dolgyal) as a protector. Since they received Lamrim teachings from you at the Drepung Monastic Religious Centre last year and so made a connection with you, propitiation of Shugden among students there has greatly increased. The Great Nechung Choegyal who from the very beginning was commanded and entrusted to protect and guard this monastery, expressed his displeasure to the Drepung Lachi several times, saying that (due to propitiating Dolgyal) the degeneration of the Buddha dharma had been speeded up. This is the source of his displeasure. I feel that your seeking the support of a wrathful worldly spirit (to secure benefits in) this life specifically contradicts the precepts of taking refuge. Therefore, your statement, ‘I want to say from the depths of my heart that it is only due to my being confused by ignorance and not that I have knowingly entered an unwholesome path and led others onto the same path.’ is contradictory.”

Phabongkhapa answers: “You have therefore instructed me to give you an answer. I have propitiated Shugden until now because my old mother told me that Shugden is the deity of my maternal lineage. I wish to inform you that henceforth, with intense regret (for what is past) and (with the intention of) restraining my faults (in the future), I will never again propitiate (Shugden) or make daily offerings and supporting prayers and that I will wholeheartedly keep this commitment in the core of my heart. Whatever mistakes I have committed until now, such as having become a cause for the mental displeasure of the Great Nechung Choegyal, contradicting the precepts of taking refuge and so forth, I request you, the supreme protector, who is especially compassionate to the lowly, to regard me with love and great compassion and patiently to forgive me.

With great respect I here offer one silk scarf as a medium of request and five silver coins (to contribute to the) mandala offering.

Jigme Dhamchoe Gyatso (1898–1947)
The following account is found on pages 394 and 395 of the Biography of Jigme Dhamchoe Gyatsho (1898–1947) by the Dhomey scholar Tsetan Zhabdrung (1910–1985), first published in June 1987.

“Some of the followers of Ven. Phabongkha Dechen Nyingpo Rinpoche engaged in heated argument over the systems of philosophical tenets of the new and the ancient traditions. They engaged in many mistaken activities such as destroying images of Padmasambhava and other peaceful and wrathful deities. They said that reciting the mantra of the Vajra Guru is of no value and would destroy the Padma Kathang (by burning it or throwing it into rivers.) Similarly, they asserted that turning Mani prayer wheels, observing weekly prayers for the deceased, and so forth are of no purpose and so placed many on the path of wrong view.

They held Gyalpo Shugden (Dolgyal) as the supreme refuge and the embodiment of all the Three Jewels. Many monks from minor monasteries in the southern area, claiming to be possessed by Shugden, ran madly in all directions destroying the three symbols of enlightenment (images, scriptures and stupas) and so forth. Displaying many such faults they greatly harmed the teachings of the second conqueror, Je Tsongkhapa. Therefore, if you were to compose an advisory letter for everyone’s benefit and were to publish it and distribute it throughout the three provinces of U, Tsang and Kham, it would greatly contribute to counteracting such disturbances to the teaching.

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  1. You people never learn from history, do you? Always facilitating the enemy outside — China — to undermine the Tibetan nation, in this case, what’s left of it in exile. As the leader of an exiled community, the Dalai Lama has every right to advise his people against harmful practices and tendencies in the Buddhist dharma. It is not a fatwa as in the Muslim religion where followers are obligated to obey on pain of physical punishment. But that is what you are presenting to the world and pleasing Beijing no end because you are doing a better job of painting the Dalsi Lama as an unmitigated ogre which Beijing’s collossal propaganda machine has miserably failed to do so. Thank you so much!

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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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