Author Topic: The Origin of Dharma Protector Practice.  (Read 15460 times)

Big Uncle

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The Origin of Dharma Protector Practice.
« on: August 25, 2011, 04:24:57 AM »
As far as my knowledge goes, Dharmapala or Dharma Protector practice originated from India. It came to prominence during the later development of Buddhism in India and this coincides with the rise of Vajrayana and its iconoclastic Mahasiddhas. Today, Dharma Protector practice is highly developed in Vajrayana Tibet, Mongolia, Northern China and India. (And the obvious culmination seems to be in Dorje Shugden) However, certain elements of Dharma Protector worship may still be seen in many old Mahayana temples throughout East Asia with the propitiation of the 4 Heavenly Kings at entrances of major temples.

With this information, I suspect that the Dharma Protector practice came to prominence as a supporting practice for deep Vajrayana practice. Due to the speed, intensity and nature of Vajrayana practices, the Dharma Protector practice was co-developed to assist practitioners to avoid the practitioner from being 'engulfed' by the obstacles and negative karma arising from such a powerful practice. Hence, you will find a major Protector is assigned to each of the main Higher Tantric Practices (practices that can potentially bring enlightenment within one lifetime). The intensity, efficacy of these practices can also mean tremendous obstacle for practice, hence, a special wisdom protector is needed just to practice these Tantras. Examples are 4-Faced Mahakala for Chakrasamvara, Citipati for Vajrayogini, Kalarupa for Yamantaka and so forth. 

dsiluvu

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Re: The Origin of Dharma Protector Practice.
« Reply #1 on: August 30, 2011, 04:18:54 PM »
Thanks BU for the explanation above but as a newbie... one may ask...

So is it better to get a Dharma protector practice first than a Yidam practice?

Which one is best to introduce to someone completely new to the path and has many obstacles but may be frightened away by the fierce outlook of protectors??

dorjedakini

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Re: The Origin of Dharma Protector Practice.
« Reply #2 on: September 14, 2011, 09:47:26 AM »
@dsiluvu : In the normal process, A guru will give you the refuge, then Yidam practice, followed by Protector practice. To receive sign from Yidam practices we needs merits, due to degeneration time, people these days want to have quick fixed instead of spending time meditating, doing the preliminary practices.

The Lama is very compassionate as to receive sign or result through Protector practice, the merits required is lesser than Yidam practices, but by giving the protector practices to modern people, when they see some result, they will slowly want to practice Dharma more. What beautiful is that Dorje Shugden is Manjushri, the 4 drakpas, hence relying solely on Dorje Shugden, not only we can solve our daily problem, we can achieve enlightenment through this powerful protector practice.

Wrathful deities are not only found in Vajrayana, but in Mahayana, Hinduism, Taoism as well. So i think should not be a problem to others to accept once they know the benefit of relying a enlighten Dharma protector.

Manjushri

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Re: The Origin of Dharma Protector Practice.
« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2011, 11:29:16 AM »
So what I gather from the readings here is that the Protector practice works in parallel with the Yidam practice? They work hand in hand for your spiritual growth?

Like when you are struck with a cold, you have a course of antibiotics, but you also have medication for the sorethroat, the cough and the running nose for example.

Is the protector practise the same as this? You have the Yidam practice, but you do protector practise on the side to generate more merits to guide you along the path, so that you clear your self generated obstacles and generate more realizations?

So, is it then compulsory for one to do protector practise?

Damian.D

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Re: The Origin of Dharma Protector Practice.
« Reply #4 on: September 14, 2011, 10:11:40 PM »
I have always been told that to clear obstacles to our Dharma practice we need a protector.

@Manjushri ..... Don't you want to be able to practice your Dharma without obstacles?

dorjedakini

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Re: The Origin of Dharma Protector Practice.
« Reply #5 on: September 14, 2011, 10:23:46 PM »
Why we need a protector is because now is the degenerate time where by people often cheat, lie, hurt another person in order to achieve short term happiness, either for money or fame or relationship.

After we taken refuge, or simply we want to be a better person after learning Dharma, other people will still come and hurt us because of the nature of people's mind in this time, Dharma protector protected us from being harmed by other when we practice the Dharma.

kris

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Re: The Origin of Dharma Protector Practice.
« Reply #6 on: September 15, 2011, 11:26:13 AM »
This is what I learnt yesterday:

We live in an era where there are a lot of external attractions to prevent us from practicing the good qualities such as alturism. On a worldly level, A Dharma protector will help us financially so that we can practice Dharma, but on an ultimate level, Dharma protector will help us to stay on the path and practice the good qualities of Buddhas. And when the Dharma protector is Manjushri (i.e. Dorje Shugden), He will give us the wisdom and knowledge to stay on path and have correct views.

Barzin

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Re: The Origin of Dharma Protector Practice.
« Reply #7 on: September 23, 2011, 10:43:14 AM »
In this degenerate time, we all need a protector.  If a protector is not needed, then why would Buddha manifest as a protector or even put on his wrath?  It is because our negative karma is huge, so by doing protector practice, they help us to purify our negative karma by helping us to gain merits through our virtuous work and altruism.  Why the wrath?  because it represents swiftness.  So by doing that so we can concentrate and practice dharma, and ultimately achieve the qualities of a Buddha and eventually enlightenment.




thor

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Re: The Origin of Dharma Protector Practice.
« Reply #8 on: September 24, 2011, 09:14:50 PM »
With this information, I suspect that the Dharma Protector practice came to prominence as a supporting practice for deep Vajrayana practice. Due to the speed, intensity and nature of Vajrayana practices, the Dharma Protector practice was co-developed to assist practitioners to avoid the practitioner from being 'engulfed' by the obstacles and negative karma arising from such a powerful practice. Hence, you will find a major Protector is assigned to each of the main Higher Tantric Practices (practices that can potentially bring enlightenment within one lifetime). The intensity, efficacy of these practices can also mean tremendous obstacle for practice, hence, a special wisdom protector is needed just to practice these Tantras. Examples are 4-Faced Mahakala for Chakrasamvara, Citipati for Vajrayogini, Kalarupa for Yamantaka and so forth. 

The above is very true. I had a funny thought tho.... if times are so degenerate, and it is so so rare (as my teacher always tells me) to come across the Buddha let alone practice the Dharma, then why don't Dharma Protectors manifest for the Mahayana practitioners as well? I know that some Mahayana traditions like the Japanese Mahayana does have Buddhist protectors, but they are not enlightened nor do the practitioners propitiate them in the Vajrayana sense... or do they? Does anyone have more information about this?


Big Uncle

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Re: The Origin of Dharma Protector Practice.
« Reply #9 on: October 03, 2011, 03:49:18 PM »
Thanks BU for the explanation above but as a newbie... one may ask...

So is it better to get a Dharma protector practice first than a Yidam practice?

Which one is best to introduce to someone completely new to the path and has many obstacles but may be frightened away by the fierce outlook of protectors??

In the past, the Lamas would never teach or encourage Dharma Protector practice before Yidam. It is taught as a secondary practice to Yidam and it will always be secondary as the goal of Dharma practice is to reach full enlightnment and the Sadhanas of Yidams are the direct method towards this end. That was in the past where there were less distractions and the merits were generally higher. These days, Lamas have to promote Dharma Protector practice more so than Yidams because that is the degeneration of our times. People are more distracted, have less merits and dwell heavily on material and temporary solutions.

WoselTenzin

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Re: The Origin of Dharma Protector Practice.
« Reply #10 on: October 05, 2011, 02:11:38 AM »
What Big Uncle say is true.  People of today are so overcome by their attachments to mundane things like wealth, relationship, power etc. Dorje Shugden manifested in a worldly form and can fulfill their temporary wishes and help them solve their immediate problems swiftly so that they can be brought to the path of Dharma,  When people can see that the effects of their temporary problems being reduced or solved by propitiating Dorje Shugden, they will be more motivated to learn more about Dharma and eventually can be introduced to Yidam practices.

Yidam practice emphasizes on gaining attainments but many people today do not understand the meaning of attainments let alone having a wish to attain it.  As such, to introduce Yidam practice immediately will be less effective especially when someone is plagued by many immediate problems. 

Reena Searl

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Re: The Origin of Dharma Protector Practice.
« Reply #11 on: October 06, 2011, 08:16:06 AM »
I always experience that Protector use to create the conducive conditions for me to continue my dharma journey. Initially, it may be obstacles and problems, but dealt with the problems with positive mind, at the end its for dharma practice.
 :)

whitelion

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Re: The Origin of Dharma Protector Practice.
« Reply #12 on: October 11, 2011, 12:05:38 AM »
I'm not too sure when and where this protector practice start from, but i do understand that dharmapala came in different level or different duty. Eg, Lamrim have 3 protectors to protect 3 different scoops of Buddha's teaching : 6 arms Mahakala, Namtose, Karalupa .

DS is a enlighten protector in his worldly form, DS manifested to protect Lama Tsongkhapa holy teaching during degenerate time.

DS is very powerful because he's no different from Kalarupa, Yamantaka or Manjushri, DS is Manjushri. DS is very suitable for our degenerate time based on his vows. Another reason why DS is so important for us now, it's because DS it the latest, youngest protector among others, which mean his method will be the most updated and suitable for our age. Secondly, DS fulfilled our worldly needs such as money and wishes, by no worries regarding our needs, we will be able to learn more dharma teaching. Thirdly, DS will make sure we will go to a better place, a place that we will have conducive condition to practice Dharma in the future life.

this is just a brief idea why DS is so important for our age. Please share with us if someone have any better understanding... 

pgdharma

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Re: The Origin of Dharma Protector Practice.
« Reply #13 on: October 16, 2011, 05:57:10 AM »

So, is it then compulsory for one to do protector practise?
Hi Manjushri, it is not a matter of compulsory for one to do protector practice or not. But if one has the merits to receive a protector's practice, why not do it as dharma protector practice is very efficacious to clear away obstacles and create a conducive environment for us on our spiritual path.


Tenzin K

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Re: The Origin of Dharma Protector Practice.
« Reply #14 on: November 27, 2011, 03:46:16 PM »
As mentioned during this degenerate time, we have a lot of negative karma and so much of distraction.

It's not easy for the people at this era to fully concentrate or focus on their spiritual practice. Protector practice is the most suitable practice at this time to assist most people to pacify their obstacle and to help generate more merit for them to gain attainment.