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This video, produced by the New Kadampa Tradition (NKT), was published on Apr 10, 2012 with the following description:
“Dorje Shugden is the Wisdom Buddha, appearing as the Dharma Protector of modern Kadampa Buddhism. He is our ultimate friend and protector; by relying on him with faith, all our spiritual needs and wishes will be fulfilled and all obstacles dispelled. Receiving the empowerment of Dorje Shugden makes an unbreakable connection between us and this holy being, so that we will always come under his loving care, never apart from a wise and powerful ally.”
The swift growth of Dorje Shugden’s lineage in the West has been largely due to the efforts of the New Kadampa Tradition (NKT), which was founded by Ven. Geshe Kelsang Gyatso. When NKT first split from the Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition (FPMT), many saw it as a betrayal of the Gelug tradition by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso. However, 1100 NKT centers later, one begins to see the wisdom of Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, who has instilled amongst his students a loyalty and devotion so essential for Vajrayana practice.
FPMT, on the other hand, appears to have forgotten its roots in its efforts to toe the line. It seems that they have conveniently ignored their own history; the massive Dorje Shugden rituals performed at Kopan, how fervently its founder, Lama Yeshe, relied on Dorje Shugden, and how Dorje Shugden was the protector who brought FPMT to a global level.
A very close and senior student of Geshe Kelsang Gyatso is Gen-La Dekyong, whose humility and clarity of speech is apparent when she is giving teachings or empowerments. Gen-La Dekyong is the General Spiritual Director of the New Kadampa Tradition and she bestows many empowerments including that of Dorje Shugden every year at the Buddhist Festivals. These festivals are hugely popular, with 2000-6000 people attending them. We rejoice in the efforts of Gen-la Dekyong and NKT to touch people’s hearts and minds with the Wisdom Buddha’s energy and empowerments.
The video in this post is of Gen-La Dekyong giving a Dharma sharing during a Dorje Shugden empowerment at the Manjushri Kadampa Meditation Centre, the mother center of NKT. As Gen-La Dekyong points out succinctly
…we have no power on our own to overcome delusions. We need help, we need Dorje Shugden’s help, Wisdom Buddha’s help, our Guru’s help. We need help, support and power. We need power.
We’re asking Dorje Shugden – please help me with my Dharma practice. There is no more qualified protector for the Ganden Oral Lineage at this time than Dorje Shugden, now is the time to rely upon Dorje Shugden.
An empowerment is usually associated with permission to practice a particular deity or protector. Naturally, if we receive an empowerment from someone who has received it from an authentic unbroken lineage and is attained in that particular practice, we also receive the powerful lineage blessings all the way from its first practitioner.
It is a prerequisite of the Dorje Shugden life entrustment1 (initiation-empowerment) or srog gtad (pronounced as ‘Sogtae’) that we have first received the Anuttara Yoga Tantric practices like Yamantaka or Heruka Chakrasamvara. The Dorje Shugden empowerment is an opportunity to establish or strengthen our connection with Dorje Shugden as he is a powerful loving friend, ally and protector and his practice is beneficial for anyone.
Once you receive empowerment you promise to hold Dorje Shugden as your main protector until you gain Bodhicitta. Dorje Shugden promises to protect you on the dharma path until you gain Bodhicitta in life after life.2
The exact origin of life entrustment seems to be unknown, and it is also possible that the term came to be popular at a certain time and was used in place of initiation (rje gnang). It would appear that “life entrustment” (srog gtad) and “life empowerment” (srog dbang) are used interchangeably. Although life entrustment is similar to a subsequent permission initiation (rje gnang), it would appear the term life entrustment is never used in relation to yidams.3
Initiations in general may entail the initiate abiding by certain commitments (dam tshig) after receiving the initiation. This is a common feature of Vajrayana Buddhism. In some cases, this means daily recitation of a sadhana. With protectors it may entail that monthly fulfillment or torma rituals be observed, which is less time consuming in comparison to a daily sadhana.3
In Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche’s namtar4, it is very apparent that Dorje Shugden was ever present watching over the young Trijang Rinpoche, supporting and ensuring the next generation of Gelug teachers are ready for the future and the preservation of Je Tsongkapa’s tradition. Dorje Shugden is not a protector just for the moment, he is a protector for innumerable lifetimes.
A Biography of Geshe Kelsang Gyatso
Watch this short documentary on Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso.
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