A Commentary on Nyirtoe

Composed by H.H. Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche, Nyirtoe is a special prayer to Dorje Shugden and is considered to be an ideal prayer for the busy modern individual to propitiate Dorje Shugden.

Manjushri in angry form,
You are the hero in terrifying role.
Main of my powerful war gods,
You are the mighty Dorje Shugden.

The prayer begins with the Sanskrit syllable KYE as an invocation upon the protector deity Dorje Shugden. The first verse recognizes Dorje Shugden to be an emanation of the Bodhisattva Manjushri manifesting in a wrathful aspect. Dorje Shugden is also called a hero, following the ancient Indian epithet for an enlightened being who is victorious over delusions, negative karma and ego.

Kyabje Pabongka Rinpoche revealed Dorje Shugden to be a wrathful manifestation of Manjushri

In Buddhism, protector deities manifest themselves in wrathful form as an expression of extreme compassion, just like a concerned mother over a wayward child. On the other hand, wrath also has a quality of swiftness in coming to our aid. Hence, most Dharma Protectors and some yidams appear wrathful.

Dorje Shugden is not a war god in the conventional sense. His role is to help us in our spiritual fight against delusions, negative karma and ego. Therefore, the fierce and wrathful aspect of Dorje Shugden is really directed towards the ‘enemy’ within and not really a physical enemy. In Buddhism, all negativities we experience are the result of inner negativities and therefore, Dorje Shugden acting like a war god helps us to oppose these inner negativities and delusions.

Affectionate when cultivated,
You treat the commitment-abiding like a son (or daughter).
Powerful when beseeched,
Your ferocity is swifter than lightening.
When angry at the enemy,
You obliterate him to the seventh generation.

The second verse reveals and praises Dorje Shugden’s apparent preference for practitioners who uphold their vows and spiritual commitments, particularly to their spiritual teacher. It is not that Dorje Shugden has a preference but broken vows and commitments are said to ‘blind’ Dorje Shugden’s ability to help us. The more we uphold our vows and commitments, the easier it is for Dorje Shugden to come to our aid. Just like the previous verse, the enemy here is our delusions and negative karma.

We your practitioners,
Pile torma like mountains;
Gather medicinal blood (sman rak) like sea;
Spread base substances (rten rzas) like the stars.

In this verse, we offer imaginary or visualized tormas along with other traditionally prescribed offerings. Tormas are conical ritual cakes made up of barley flour, butter, yoghurt, sugar and honey and are used as an offering in Tantric rituals. The adornments on the tormas are physical representations of tantric meditation. The medicinal blood mentioned in this verse reflects water offerings imagined as copious blood of the fallen enemy (our delusions and negative karma). Base substances refer to the other traditional offerings like beer, yoghurt, barley flour, milk and tea.

The ornate tormas on the lower section of the altar are offered up to the 5 families of Dorje Shugden

We honour you with the first part of food and drink;
We fulfill all that you want.
I am calling you from my heart;
Lend me your ear.

This verse is to request Dorje Shugden to fulfill our wishes on the basis of the daily offerings of food and drink that we have made to Dorje Shugden. Offering food and drink to Dorje Shugden before we partake is recommended as an easy way to accumulate merits and create affinity with Dorje Shugden on a daily basis. This is not Dorje Shugden’s requirement but a powerful means which allows Dorje Shugden to come to our aid.

I practice you all the time;
Show me sign that I have succeeded.
Protect the command and the Teaching;
Show me your smiling face.

In this verse, we request Dorje Shugden to reveal a sign that our Dharma Protector practice has been successful. This is particularly important especially for those who are in dire need of assistance and a sign encourages us to continue with our practice. Dorje Shugden’s smiling face is symbolic of Dorje Shugden showing approval and encouragement of our Dharma practice. This also means that we gain merits because when we please Dorje Shugden, we are pleasing a Buddha.

Be the war god in my protection;
Be my messenger and servant.
Be the fort of my protection;
Be the storekeeper of my people and possessions.

This verse requests Dorje Shugden to be a war god in the manner described above and to deliver signs that reveal the success of our Dharma practice. We request Dorje Shugden to please perform the activities of a Dharma Protector to clear obstacles and safeguard all that we own including the people that are close to us.

Be the day’s bodyguard;
Be the night’s watchman.
Be the cloak on my back;
Be my staff in the front.

This verse is to request Dorje Shugden to protect us from all adversities, especially from hidden dangers, and to bring about all the necessary resources and guidance that support our Dharma practice.

Be the bridge over water,
And stairs on the rock.
Be those who see me off;
Be those welcoming me.

Here, we request Dorje Shugden to bless us with all conditions and resources to overcome life’s obstacles. This verse also requests Dorje Shugden to watch over our safety when we are travelling or commuting.

Raise me if I fall;
If I forget, remind me.
Be the doctor when I fall sick;
If poisoned, give me potent remedy.
For me, raise banners on the high points;
Blow conch-shell in cities.

In this verse, we request Dorje Shugden to protect us when we have reached a low point. This is usually when we encounter worldly crisis, for instance in terms of relationship, career or financial problems, as well as during moments when we feel like giving up on our Dharma practice or an important aspect of our lives. We also ask Dorje Shugden to give us the wisdom to make the right decisions during crucial moments and to remember the right advice or teaching that will help us through difficult times.

We also ask Dorje Shugden to protect us when we are ‘poisoned’ by our delusions and negative emotions. The most potent medicine for delusions is the Dharma, and we request Dorje Shugden for the merit to receive the Dharma to overcome our ‘poisons’. On the other hand, we also pray that when everything is going well for us and when we are ‘on top of the world’, that we have the wisdom to continue practicing the Dharma by raising the victory banner of practice. The victory banner denotes triumph over Mara, i.e. our victory over our delusions, death and impermanence.

A victory banner usually adorns the four corners of a Buddhist monastery as it symbolizes victory of the Buddha’s teachings in the four directions

When we request Dorje Shugden to blow the conch shell in the cities, we are requesting his assistance to inspire others through our actions and practice. The conch shell also symbolizes the spreading of the Dharma, which is one of the main commitments of Dorje Shugden. Therefore, we request Dorje Shugden to shore up the merits and causes to spread the Buddhadharma particular that of the Gelug lineage.

If two equals debate, you should make the victor;
If two equals wrestle, you should determine the winner.
If two equals wager, you tip the winning edge;
If two equals compete in greatness, raise banners of greatness.

This verse is a request to Dorje Shugden to bless us so that the odds for whatever we engage in are always in our favor. This is also a special verse dedicated to develop skillful means to subdue difficult people. This is especially important when we are trying to benefit someone or we are trying to further the cause of the teachings.

Kill the vengeful enemy;
Subdue obstructers.
Liberate those holding wrong views;
Prevent ill luck and ill omen.

In Buddhism, the vengeful enemy is actually an internal enemy and that refers to our self-cherishing mind or in short, our ego. Therefore, we are asking Dorje Shugden to kill our ego, as it is the cause of all our obstacles, negative karma and sufferings. Then, we ask Dorje Shugden to help us overcome our delusions and the results of our negative karma that obstruct our spiritual path or positive merits from manifesting.

Dorje Shugden is an emanation of Manjushri, the Bodhisattva of Wisdom and one of his specialties is to help us overcome wrong views. Wrong views are intellectually formed opinions that deny the existence of objects or aspects of the Buddha’s teachings that will bring us to enlightenment. An example of wrong view would be the opinion that our careers and worldly life are more important than our spirituality or Dharma practice.

Hence, consistent and sincere propitiation of Dorje Shugden help us to accumulate merits in order to realize the folly of our wrong views. Finally, we ask Dorje Shugden to create all the possible conditions that will prevent us from creating more negative karma and perpetuating wrong views, symbolized by ill luck and ill omen.

Introduce me to a hundred advantages;
Foil a thousand disadvantages.
Remove obstacle to my hopes;
Fulfill all objectives.

The last verse of this prayer requests Dorje Shugden once again to provide all the possible advantages and avert all the possible disadvantages that would bring about worldly and spiritual success. The verse ends with one final request to remove all problems and obstacles that would prevent the fulfillment of the practitioners’ worldly and spiritual aims.

This short prayer to Dorje Shugden is full of meaning and is imbued with all necessary requests for one’s success. Understanding the significance of this prayer and the qualities of the eminent master who composed it, the busy modern practitioner of today should recite it daily to gain the affinity and blessings of Dorje Shugden in our lives.

[The full text of the Nyirtoe prayer is available here: http://www.dorjeshugden.com/prayers/dorje-shugden-prayers/nyirtoe/]

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4 total comments on this postSubmit yours
  1. Thank you very much for the explanation of this auspicious, precious and meaningful prayer to Dorje Shugden. This just shows us that Dorje Shugden is a fully enlightened Buddha that expresses the activities of wisdom and compassion, which are manifested in worldly forms to free us from delusions. Not only that, when our karma to have direct learning of the dharma has dwindled during the time of great afflictions, Dorje Shugden arises as a Dharma protector to guard against and kill our enemies to facilitate our liberation. How lucky we are!

  2. Many thanks. I will add this to my daily prayers. Very beautiful indeed.

  3. Thank for sharing this short, simple yet profound prayers and it’s explanation.

  4. Very nice prayer for the modern person. A short and powerful prayer so busy individuals.

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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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