A very special boy was born in 1779 in Mongolia. The boy would come to be known as Ngawang Khedrup, one of the greatest Mongol teachers of the Gelug tradition. He received his novice vows in Urga (modern day Ulaan Bator) and was enrolled into Tashi Chophel Monastery.
When he was old enough, he traveled to Tibet and enrolled into Drepung Gomang Monastery to study the five great treatises. At the monastery, he studied under a line of illustrious teachers including the Fourth Jetsun Dampa, the Eighth Dalai Lama and the Second Reting Rinpoche, one of the earliest Gelug Lamas to embrace the practice of Dorje Shugden.
While he was residing in Lhasa, there were certain adversaries fueled by jealousy who accused him of breaking his monk vows. However, with his strong faith and reliance on the Protector Dorje Shugden, he was soon absolved of all accusations when he went to consult the oracle of Trode Khangsar. Interestingly enough it was Nechung to advised him to consult Shugden on this matter, stating that only Shugden would be able to determine the truth in such disputes. This in itself is a clear indication of Shugden’s enlightened nature, for it is only Buddhas who have the highest level of unbiased wisdom to discriminate between right and wrong.
After he completed his monastic studies and received his Rabjampa degree, he decided to return to Mongolia. Upon his return, the Emperor Daoguang awarded him with the title of the Supreme Chief Khenpo. At that time, he took up office as the Abbot of a Gelug college which was renowned for specializing in the practice of Hevajra in the 19th Century. It was called the Hevajra Practice College of Urga.
Throughout his lifetime, Ngawang Khedrub wrote extensively and his collection of works includes sadhanas, hagiographies of Jetsun Dampa, commentaries of the Lamrim and a text detailing the death process. He seemed to have an especially close connection with Maitreya – his writings on sadhanas seemed to be centered on the Buddha Maitreya, including a praise to Maitreya. The book Mongolia and the Mongolians even details that a statue of Maitreya, standing at more 120 feet, was apparently commissioned by Ngawang Khedrub.
In a short text on Panchen Sonam Dragpa’s hagiography, Ngawang Khedrup wrote that the Dharma Protector Dorje Shugden arose from the omniscient wisdom of Panchen Sonam Drakpa. It is therefore not a surprise that one of his disciples, Ngawang Yeshe Thubten, became the author of one of the earliest Dorje Shugden ritual texts.
Later Gelug masters including Kyabje Pabongka Rinpoche frequently quote from this same text, drawing a direct link between Dorje Shugden and Panchen Sonam Dragpa as a previous incarnation. It is thus from great Lamas like Ngawang Khedrub that the lineage and practice of Dorje Shugden continues to grow in Mongolia.