Great Ministers of Dorje Shugden

Beyond the 32 deities are the two great ministers of Dorje Shugden, Kache Marpo and Namka Bardzin. These are two oath-bound Protectors who have entrusted their very life essence to the King Protector and perform duties similar to that of a minister assisting their monarch in governing his kingdom. They are not emanations of Dorje Shugden but are Dharma Protectors in their own right.

Kache Marpo

Kache Marpo is believed to be an emanation of Hayagriva in the form of a tsen spirit. Assuming a worldly form, this enlightened Being bound himself willingly to the will of Dorje Shugden and became his main minister. Kache Marpo is described by the Fifth Dalai Lama as the doctrine’s watchman.

He rides a saddled horse with the force of the wind and the speed of traversing the universe in a single instant. As a tsen spirit similar to Setrab, he gnaws upon his lower lip in perpetual fury and haste, like an expression of his impatience to help destroy the obstacles and causes to our suffering.

Also like Setrab, he possesses three eyes that perceive the past, present and future simultaneously. He wears leather armor, with five banners fluttering above his leather helmet. He holds a noose that is tied to the ‘enemy’ – symbolic of ignorance – while simultaneously piercing the ‘enemy’ with a big powerful lance.

Very little is known of Kache Marpo except the fact that he is closely related to Tsiu Marpo, another worldly Protector who is the head of the Seven Blazing Brothers. Kache Marpo could perhaps have once been a part of the seven brothers.

In the story which tells the origin of The Seven Blazing Brothers, Tsui Marpo is said to have first manifested as Lise Chorpa from the land of Li. He was a virtuous man who lived in the forest but was mistakenly believed to be a dangerous man.

Blinded by fear, people hunted him down and the king, in a fit of fear, decapitated him with his royal sword. However, due to the power of his attainments, the various parts of his body – flesh, bones, heart, fluids and so forth – arose as the Seven Blazing Brothers, of which Tsui Marpo is the chief.

Namka Bardzin

This Protector is of fairly recent origin and is an unenlightened, oath-bound minister of Dorje Shugden. Namka Bardzin is a tsen spirit with three eyes. He is shown with his teeth gnawing his lower lip, brandishing a sword in his right hand and holding a skull cup filled with the enemies’ blood in his left. He wears the robes of an ordained monk and rides a mythical unicorn-like creature called a gyaling.

He came into being during the 1920′s when he was still alive as a Mongolian Geshe. This Geshe had just returned from a pilgrimage through India and stopped by Dungkar Monastery on his way back. During his stay, he developed a high fever but insisted on leaving because he wanted to return to Lhasa for the Monlam festivities.

At that time, the legendary Domo Geshe Rinpoche was away from the monastery. In his place, the lead chanter, Umze Sherab, requested the Geshe to stay so he could recover from his illness first. However, he politely refused and left the monastery in haste. During the arduous journey, his health degenerated further and his life finally came to an end along a steep road to Phari. While he lay down dying, he engaged in meditative death practices.

Several Bönpos (practitioners of the indigenous Tibetan faith) came across his body and found that he had passed away. With good intention, they performed funerary rites that were similar to the Buddhist transference of consciousness. However, their ritual and handling of his remains had an adverse effect on the dying Geshe’s subtle meditations. As a result, he became a fearsome, raging spirit and when his dead corpse was made fun of by the local herders, strange things began to happen to them.

The herders and livestock slowly died, one by one, of a terrible disease. Their expressions at death looked like they had been disturbed by the unseen. The Bönpos too succumbed and died under similar circumstances. One of them even fell into a trance and uttered strange noises while holding out his hand with four outstretched fingers. It seemed the unseen had revealed the number of victims he wished to attack.

Many tried various means to appease this ferocious spirit but to no avail. Finally, these tragedies came to the attention of Domo Geshe Rinpoche as many people were very afraid of who would be attacked next by this spirit. Domo Geshe Rinpoche was told of the deaths so he quickly quelled the spirit in a powerful ritual and placed him under the care of Dorje Shugden. Then, he installed him also as the Protector of Tromo Monastery and Dungkar Monastery. A shrine to this Protector was built and soon, the monastery oracle could take trance of him and offer advice concerning the monastery. He is thus also a Dharma Protector in his own right.

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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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