A Guide to Spiritual Practice

As the glorious Chandrakirti said:
Any time you have freedom and your state is favourable,
If you do not take their advantage
And lose your freedom by falling to the lower realm,
Who will then raise you up again?

- Pabongka Dorje Chang, Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand


Why Must I Practice?

The greatest thing we can achieve in this life is to be able to liberate ourselves and others from suffering and its causes. To achieve that, we have to achieve the lam-rim, the gradual path to enlightenment through purifying all the negative karma we have collected and accumulate extensive merit.


What is Spiritual Practice?

Spiritual practice is not something mystical that is separate from what we do as we go about our daily business. Often, people think that to be a spiritual person, one must leave the trappings of everyday life and embark on an epic journey to a faraway land in search of awakening.

The truth is, spiritual practice can be incorporated into our daily lives. Many of these practices are readily available and establishing a consistent routine of study and practice ensures our progress along the spiritual path.


Relying on a Spiritual Guide

The Guru is the root of the spiritual path and the foundation of all spiritual attainments, hence the importance of relying on a qualified Spiritual Guide. Just like carpenters and sculptors must first study with a teacher, spiritual aspirants also need to find a guru who is capable of guiding us along the spiritual path.

Without receiving instructions and guidance from a qualified Spiritual Guide, one can never gain realizations or attainments. The Spiritual Guide helps us by giving us vows, empowerments and initiations, teaching us what is to be practised and what is to be avoided, and it is through the teacher that the blessings of the lineage flows.

If you do not have a teacher, it would highly recommended that you search for one living in your area. If you don’t know where to start, this is a list of established lineage masters and spiritual guides and dharma centers that you may wish to consult:

  1. H.H. Trijang Chocktrul Rinpoche
    Trijang Buddhist Institute
  2. Kyabje Yongyal Rinpoche
    Gadenpa Buddhist Centre
  3. Kyabje Gelek Rinpoche
    Jewel Heart Headquarters
  4. Dagom Tensung Ling Tibetan Buddhist Monastery
  1. Zasep Tulku Rinpoche
    Gaden For The West
  2. Zawa Tulku Rinpoche
    Tsongkhapa Meditation Center
  1. Ven. Geshe Kelsang Gyatso
    Manjushri Kadampa Meditation Center
  2. H.H. Trisur Rinpoche Lungrik Namgyal
    Thar Deu Ling
  3. H.E. Gangchen Rinpoche
    Albagnano Healing Meditation Centre
  4. Gonsar Tulku Rinpoche
    Rabten Choeling
  5. H.E. Dagyab Kyabgoen Rinpoche
For more reading on Spiritual Guides:
  • Relating to a Spiritual Teacher: Building a Healthy Relationship (2000). Snow Lion Publications.
  • Liberation in the Palm of Your hand: A Concise Discourse on the Path to Enlightenment (2006). Wisdom Publications, p. 217-269.
  • The Fulfillment of All Hopes: Guru Devotion in Tibetan Buddhism (1996), Wisdom Publications.
  • Great Treasury of Merit: How to Rely Upon a Spiritual Guide (1992). Tharpa Publications, p. 1-11


Studies and Practices

Lama Tsongkapa presented a special arrangement of Sutra and Tantra practices which can lead one to full enlightenment in one short lifetime. Below is a summary of the core teachings, beginning with the Lamrim (Stages of the Path), following by Lojong (Training the Mind) and lastly Mahamudra (the actual quick path to enlightenment).


I. LAMRIM (Stages of the Path)

The Lamrim (Stages of the Path) tradition presents a systematic, step-by-step cultivation of the Buddhist path to enlightenment from the point of view of three types of individuals.

First it leads students through the stages of the two lower spiritual motivations – individuals who aspire for a better rebirth, and then those who aspire for individual liberation. It culminates in the presentation of the path for those practicing from the point of view of the highest spiritual motivation, the Mahayana – individuals who aspire to attain enlightenment for the benefit of all living beings.

One studies the Lamrim to gain a panoramic understanding of the general teachings of the Buddha, and then receives the Lojong teachings in order to establish a quintessential regime of daily practice.

For more detailed information on the Lamrim and how to meditate on it, these are some suggested reading materials:

  • The Lamp for the Path to Enlightenment (www.lamrim.com)
  • Liberation in the Palm of Your hand: A Concise Discourse on the Path to Enlightenment (2006). Wisdom Publications.
  • Joyful Path of Good Fortune: The Complete Buddhist Path to Enlightenment (1995). Tharpa Publications
  • The Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment, Volume I (2004). Canada: Snow Lion.
  • The Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment, Volume II (2004). Canada: Snow Lion.
  • The Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path to Enlightenment, Volume III (2004). Canada: Snow Lion.


II. LOJONG (Training the Mind)

Lojong is a special formulation of the practical essence of the Lamrim teachings. Atisha embodied the pith of the Lojong teachings in his Lojong Tsa-tsig, and many of Atisha’s own Lojong teachings come to us only through passages found in the Book of the Kadampa Masters.

Two Lojong texts most studied today across all schools of Tibetan Buddhism are Geshe Chekawa’s Seven Points for Training the Mind and Geshe Langri Tangpa’s Eight Verses for Training the Mind.

For more detailed information on Lojong, these are some suggested reading materials:

  • Transforming the Mind: Eight Verses on Generating Compassion and Transforming your Life, His Holiness the Dalai Lama. Thorsons
  • Mind Training: The Great Collection, Geshe Thupten Jinpa. Wisdom Publications.
  • Universal Compassion: Inspiring Solutions for Difficult Times, Geshe Kelsang Gyatso. Tharpa Publications.



“Mahamudra” is a Sanskrit word meaning “great seal” and refers to the nature of all phenomena. It also refers to sophisticated Buddhist systems of meditation and practice to realise this great sealing nature. The distinctive characteristic of the Mahamudra method is the realization of the relationship between mind and reality through focusing on the mind itself.

The Gelug tradition of Mahamudra is known as Gelug-Kagyu because it uses Kagyu-style methods for recognising the conventional nature of mind and then typically Gelug methods for its deepest nature.

For more detailed information on Mahamudra, these are some suggested reading materials:

  • The Gelug/Kagyu Tradition of Mahamudra, H.H. the Dalai Lama and Berzin, Alexander (1997). Ithaca, Snow Lion.
  • Becoming the Compassion Buddha: Tantric Mahamudra for Everyday Life. Lama Thubten Yeshe. (2003). Wisdom Publications.
  • Mahamudra Tantra – An Introduction to Meditation on Tantra, Geshe Kelsang Gyatso (2005). Tharpa Publications.



The purpose of preliminary practices is to purify ourselves of the grossest level of obstacles and build up positive force so that our studies and meditations will be more efficacious in bringing us to enlightenment.

Positive force or “merit,” refers to the conducive internal state that results from constructive, or “virtuous” actions of body, speech, mind and heart.

The preliminary practices are sometimes enumerated as five or nine:

  1. Refuge: One recites Namo Gurubhya, Namo Buddhaya, Namo Dharmaya, Namo Sanghaya while visualizing the field of positive potential.
  2. Prostrations: One prostrates to the 35 Confessional Buddhas, while reciting their names and the confessional prayer.
  3. Mandala Offerings: One recites the Refuge and Bodhicitta prayers and the mandala offering verses, while visualizing offering the entire universe and everything beautiful in it to the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha.
  4. Vajrasattva (Dorje Sempa) Mantra: One recites the Vajrasattva 100-syllable mantra along with Vajrasattva practice and the accompanying visualizations.
  5. Samayavajra (Damtsig Dorje) mantra: One recites the mantra of this Buddha together with the appropriate visualizations.
  6. Dorje Khadro (Vajra Daka): Imagining black sesame seeds as the negativities of ourselves and others, one offers them in a fire to the mouth of the fierce deity Dorje Khadro, who swallows them with pleasure as if they were nectar.
  7. Water Offerings: This involves offering bowls of water to the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, together with the accompanying visualizations.
  8. Guru Yoga: One meditates on the inseparability of the Buddha’s mind, the Spiritual Guide’s mind and one’s own mind, together with visualization and mantra recitation.
  9. Tsa-tsas: One creates clay or plaster images of the Buddhas.

It is important to know that even the Mahamudra teachings also emphasize the importance and need for extensive preliminary practices.

For more explanations on preliminary practices, you can refer to the reading materials below:



In order for realizations to ripen within our mind, we need to receive the Spiritual Guide’s blessings through the practice of Guru Yoga. Therefore, we should begin each preliminary practice with the particular guru yoga that we are able to do, such as the Six-Session Guru Yoga, the Guru Puja ( Lama Chöpa), the Guru Yoga of Lama Tsongkapa (Ganden Lha Gyäma) or the Guru Yogas of various deities for which we have received permission to practice.

For more explanations on Guru Yoga, these are some suggested reading materials:

  • The Union of Bliss and Emptiness: Teachings on the Practice of Guru Yoga, Dalai Lama. (2009). Snow Lion Publications.
  • Hundreds of Deities of Tusita: Commentary on Lama Tsongkhapa Guru Yoga, H.E. Chöden Rinpoche (2013). Awakening Vajra Publications.
  • Heart Jewel: The Essential Practices of Kadampa Buddhism, Geshe Kelsang Gyatso (1997). Tharpa Publications.



The principal function of a Dharma Protector is to protect Dharma teachings, lineages and practitioners. If one studies the nature and function of Dorje Shugden, one will develop great faith and clearly understand the benefits of relying upon this Dharma Protector.

Dorje Shugden helps, guides, and protects pure and faithful practitioners by granting blessings, increasing wisdom, fulfilling wishes, and bestowing success on all virtuous activities. His powerful mandala and retinue are the synthesis of the Three Jewels – Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. Many sadhanas of Dorje Shugden state that Dorje Shugden is the embodiment of the ‘Guru, Yidam, and Protector’.

For more explanations about relying on Dorje Shugden, these are some suggested reading materials:

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  1. Wow!!! Wonderful post.

    It’s like a shortcut for our spiritual path! The guideline is simple yet direct. It is good for the beginner also benefit for senior practitioner. The guideline seem like from primary school then go into high school and graduate from college or university. Easy for everyone to pick it up fast.

    If we believe on karma then we must seriously think about how to create a good cause to prevent us not going down into three lower realms. Besides that, we must work hard to improve our spiritual practice by follow instruction from our teacher, learning Dharma, doing Dharma works and so on. Through those different method then we can collect more merit and purify our negative karma.

    By practicing Dharma which teach by high Lama, we can go ahead to pursuit high attainment. And hopefully can get enlightenment when the time is come.

    I appreciated the message delivered through this post. Wish more and more people can receive the benefit of the Buddha teaching and more peoples will support what all the vajra Guru is trying so hard to achieve. Thank you!

  2. Personally, while I appreciate that the author of this article is trying to make peace or something on all sides, I have to say, I do not feel it wise to rely on the books by the Dalai, as he broke samaya with his lineage masters and is acting in everyway possible against the dharma.
    This is sort of like a child in a dysfunctional family trying to act as though his alchoholic parent were simply of one opinion while the non-alchoholic parent who distanced themself, were equally as likely to be right.
    Not really,okay. The Dalai has brought complete dysfunction to Buddhism; I cannot function in his paradigm, nor become a Buddha either, as he robs us of good and pure transmissions and replaces them with mixed up (non-direct lineage) stuff.
    So if you follow the advice and read the books by the DL on here, that’s okay, but please understand that you are not getting a direct line of perfect transmissions coming from Buddha. With Trijang Rinpoche’s you are, with Pabongkahpa’s you are, and with Geshe Kelsang Gyasto you are, to name a few.
    Also the book “Heart Jewel” by Geshe Kelsang Gyasto is about the sadhana of Je Tsongkhapa and his enlightened Dharma Proector Dorje Shugen.

  3. After I finished read out this article, what was stuck of my mind was Dharma Protector is so important for modern practitioner like you and me. My reason is we have a lot of interruption from our daily life for example financial problem, business drop down, relationship not stable, negative disturbances, crisis of marriage, communication problem with our kids, black magic and so forth…all these problem will stop our spiritual practice, or create a lot of troubles make us not easy to practice Dharma.

    We all know, Dorje Shugden is the higher protector to help us clearing up all obstacles, difficulties and problems then we can focus in our practice. So it is so important all the practitioner can have enough merit to meet with a powerful protector such as Dorje Shugden who is enlighten being and willing to help us without any requirement.

    For us can focus on our own spiritual practice, the faith towards our teacher and protector is important. Because through the blessing from our teacher and protector, our obstacles will be reduce then make us easy in spiritual path.

    That why it is so important we must work hard bring the ban down. Only after the ban be lift then more people can gain benefit through the protector practice especially Dorje Shugden practice. Why Dorje Shugden? The reason is he is one of the most powerful protector who manifest in this century only to help modern people like us. Must kick out this barrier, then can reach out more. I think this is a perfect way to look forward!

  4. A wonderful overview of the path traversed by Gelug practitioners with references to teachers, reference books and etc etc. @Blueupali As Buddhist we should be able to learn from all sources if it beneficial and enlightening even from our ‘enemies.

    Je Tsongkhapa tradition will spread all over eventually, but when the ban on Dorje Shugden is lifted everyone will greatly benefit through engaging in Dorje Shugden practices.

  5. @Eli,
    The Dalai isn’t my enemy, nor am I sure whether he is a Buddha or not; we can learn from anything if we are practicing like Milarepa. To get to that point, we need clear transmissions that come from teacher to disciple from the Buddhas themselves.
    I only mention this so people will understand while it is fine to read the Dalai (certainly I am not against checking it out, that’s how I realized he wasn’t what people said— your opinion may differ or not) I just wanted to point out that because he mixes the dharma with politics and mixes all the traditions together in a hodgepodge way (unlike real rime authors who actually are still giving proper transmissions) that with the Dalai you won’t be getting real pure transmissions, and also if you follow his advice to it’s conclusion, you would be mixed up on everything, as well as have obstacles on the path to enlightenment; for instance you would be told to stay away from Dorje Shugden’s followers.
    So read away on any topic you like by any author, but just be aware that just because someone is popular in the west doesn’t make them the best spiritual guide. Buddha said to examine his teachings like you would examine gold were you purchasing it, so make sure what people are saying is right— any people.

  6. Thank you for posting this guide on the gelugpa spiritual practice. It is concise and easy to grasp. The reference to books are very helpful. I understand that it is important for us to study under a qualified teacher if we want real results in our spiritual practice.

    I feel that even HHDL’s books should be read although he may appear hypocritical. It is still helpful to read other lamas’ commentaries, contemplate on what we’ve read and discuss it with our teacher.

    Once again, thank you for this article. I will definitely share it with my friends!

  7. Thank you for provided full completed post for beginner like me. I learned a lot through this post. All the information provided from this article very helpful for my spiritual practice. At least I knew how to start my practice.

    In the article also mentioned that our root Guru is very important for our spiritual journey. I totally agreed because I am the one who met my spiritual teacher few years ago, then I started understand the philosophy of Buddhism. Through my understanding of Buddhism then I changed my mind set of Buddhism. Nowadays, I will share with you Buddhism not just labeled as religion, Buddhism can be consider a lifestyle for who truly believed on cause and effect. How can I changed my mind set about Buddhism, because my teacher give abundant of knowledge.

    After I have certain understanding of Buddhism, I decided myself become a real Buddhist. I took refuge from my teacher who change my life. I really appreciated what my teacher teach me and make my life become colourful than most of the people I meet.

    That is how I came cross into Buddhism. That is the reason I agreed with the key point highlighted in this post. The Guru is a key point for a person who looking for spiritual path. My personal view is the Guru is the most powerful person in your life who can bring you to the real path you looking for bottom from your heart.

  8. This is really a good post for beginners that seeking for spiritual practice. It gives the reason and example that easy to understand and the references help a lot.

    From this post it’s like a road map guiding us step by step towards the spiritual path and can see that the Dharma Protector is also one of the important practices that help us in our spiritual practice. From the explanation Lord Shugden is a complete embodiment of the enlightened being that we can rely on to support us in our spiritual journey.

    Thank you again for sharing the guide of the Gelugpa spiritual practices which so much easy to follow. More people will be benefitted and understand the practice.

  9. @blueupali The Dalai Lama is not just reknown in the West but also amongst Asians as well. I do remember the Kalama Sutta which ask us to check out the teachings as if we are merchants inspecting our goods that we are buying into.

    The 5th Dalai Lama operated during a time of great strife and instability, it was either he takes power and political one at that, or face the uncertainty of further sectarian violence or wars.

    The fact that the Dalai Lama said on camera he allows Trijang Rinpoche to practice DS is proof enough for me that the Dalai Lama is masking his real intentions to the general public. You do not need to be rocket scientist to know that Trijang Rinpoche after escaping South India for Europe/States will one day rally other Dorje Shugden lamas and practitioners around him. It does seem trijang Rinpoche is emerging to be a leading force for the lifting of the ban.

  10. thank you for this great overview.

    @eli, @blueUpali, there are so many text out there, how do we know which one we should read and which one should not? how do I assess if it is good since I myself is not enlightened? how do I know if the text will confuse myself even more?

    Can I say that it is therefore very important to have a qualified guru or spiritual guide?

  11. simple yet effective guide for those who is seeking spirituality. Many of us would blindly sit and chant mantra without realizing the meaning behind it, and some also just follow the crowd to famous Lama, without understanding the reason to go to a Lama.

    Through this article it will give better understanding on the importance and proper way to start our spiritual practice step-by-step.

  12. I appreciate this wonderful summary of the Gelug practice. Something here for all. Thank you DS.com

  13. Thank you DS.COM. I like this post. It is so clear and full of information. It guide me what to study, how to practice and i learn a lot here.

    The most important thing we must have a GURU to guide us through out our spiritual practice to gain enlightenment. Without GURU we cannot practice well.

    We must get the blessing from GURU and all the lineage GURUS blessing. Protector Dorje Shugden is here to assist us to clear obstacles in our spiritual practice so that we can have a smooth practice journey through out our life.

  14. Thank you for the considerate writing. From the presentation of information and supporting materials like book titles and website links, it is very clear that the author purely intends to create clarity and accessibility for all readers to practice.

    It is also refreshing that, to promote and encourage spiritual practice, this article place focus on developing a easy-to-understand-and-practice approach to embrace true spiritual practice and attainment.

    Personally, I enjoy reading the Joyful Path of Good Fortune: The Complete Buddhist Path to Enlightenment because the presentation is structured and the language is easy to grasp. Liberation in the Palms of Your Hand: A Concise Discourse on the Path to Enlightenment is a very comprehensive and detailed book that is perfect for spiritual aspirants want a “taste” of the teachings of Lord Buddha conveyed in a more traditional manner. It is worth noting that Liberation in the Palm of Your Hands is written based on a discourse given to monks by the great Pabongka Rinpoche.

    The 8 Verse for Training the Mind by Geshe Langri Tangpa is a very useful tool to practice Dharma in everyday life. As written in the article, spiritual practice is about consistent application of our study in our “routine life”. The 8 verses are good reminders and self-check on our minds as we respond to external phenomenas. By asking myself which of the 8 verse can be applied when facing challenging situations, I become more aware of the mind’s habituation and make effort to re-habituate non-virtuous reactions.

    Lastly, I believe the spiritual journey for each person is precious and unique to their own. This is why, the Guru plays such an important role to support an effective and efficient Dharma journey. As a sincere Dharma student and aspirant, the most important thing to do is to 1) focus on learning and implementing the pure teachings of Lord Buddha and 2) not cause harm to others especially those who are also on a spiritual path because disturbing or hindering others from their spiritual potential is one of the worst thing we can do if we believe in karma.

    Thank you to the website team for sharing this wonderful article.

  15. Thank you ds.com for sharing this very useful and informative article. especially all those links to the reading material about Dharma protector Dorje Shugden. I love reading about DS. This is the practice that i can engage with and rely on for many lives. I always make wishes to meet DS again and again for lives until I become enlighten.

    I know DS always with me and He protected me and helped me over come obstacles so that I can have more time to study dharma. I started to share with my friends about DS practice. I told them to start with the mantra. They always give me good feed back saying that they feel so real and they see things started to turn better. From there, they will have less worried and more time to study dharma and puja.

    Without DS, life will be much harder, need not talk about practicing dharma. Thank you ds.com who has been up keep this website very well and i personally had benefited a lot from here and I do hope more and more people with get in touch with DS through this website. Studying from here I feel very safe because I know you are very consistent of following only the pure lineage.

  16. Such a clear ,simple and concise to read overview to guide spiritual seekers to the path. The section that I like the most is on where to search for spiritual masters to make it easy for beginners. Your recommendation will be good because ds.com is a trusted site.

  17. Well researched, well documented and well written. It is a very good guide for dharma practitioners with nice pictures, references and links. The explanation ‘Relying on the Dharma Protector Dorje Shugden’ is brief yet sufficient for readers to investigate more. I will share this wonderful article on social media. Thank you to the writer(s) at dorjeshugden.com

  18. Well done! Thanks to DS.com team for the wonderful informative write up of this articles. It’s very easy to read and understand for a new Dharma practitioners. It will help a lot of spiritual beginners, specially the pictures, the link and the suggestion of reading materials will contribute a lot to their spiritual journey.

  19. This article can be made into a pocket handbook and be presented to newcomers to Buddhism or even as a reference book for all Buddhist. It is very relevant and quite complete.

    Thank you DS.Com for such a well thought out and clear article.

  20. This article can be made into a pocket handbook and be presented to newcomers to Buddhism or even as a reference book for all Buddhists. It is very relevant and quite complete.

    Thank you DS.Com for such a well thought out and clear article.

  21. For many people who are new to spiritual practice, spirituality sound like adding more tasks or burden on top of our busy daily secular activities. At least that was what I used to think. But with this article, it certainly put everything about spirituality into correct perspective & a perfect guide for those who are interested.

    This is a wonderful article to read, its clear, easy to read & well research references that is concise & lineage base spiritual practice is a perfect guide to modern days people in this era. In particular the “Lamrim- Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand” is a 24 days discourse & commentary by one of the greatest Tibetan master Kyabje Pabongka Rinpoche on the Buddha’s teaching which is a step by step guide that could be understood & practiced by whoever wanted to follow the Buddhist path. It suited for practitioners of all levels, for those who are seeking happiness in this life, for those who wish to be liberated from all suffering & the ultimate lasting happiness for those who seek full enlightenment.

    Thank you again for posting this wonderful article dorjeshugden.com. Many people will be inspired & benefitted by reading this.

  22. Thank You dorjeshugden.com for this well-written article on spiritual practice. It has consolidated and highlighted all the essential practices within the incomparable Lama Tsongkhapa Lineage which provide the complete path to liberation and enlightenment. Useful links and references are also conveniently provided. A must-read for serious spiritual seekers!

  23. Thank you for sharing this article with us. It is a very comprehensive writing, especially useful to the beginner who is serious in taking on the spiritual path. Not only that, many references are made and given for a more details study of the topic. This is also what I like about DS.com, not only we learn about Dorje Shugden, we learn a lot about what Dharma is, what spiritual practice is. It is like a Dharma school.

    Unfortunately where I am living now, there is no Dharma centre. But I am still able to learn because of DS.com. Please keep up with the good work.

  24. Thank you ds.com. for this excellent article !
    In this degenerate times,we need a dharma Protector to help,guide and protect pure and faithful practitioners by granting blessings,increasing wisdom,fulfilling wishes and bestowing success on all virtuous activities .Many sadhanas state that Dorje Shugden is the embodiment of the “Guru.Yidam and Protector.By studying the nature and function of Dorje Shugden ,we will develop great faith and understand clearly the benefits of relying upon Dorje Shugden.
    May this article benefit many beings.

  25. This concise writeup on true spiritual practice is great! Great for beginners who wanna kickstart themselves onto a spiritual journey. Thanks for this as it explains the essentials and the basics that we need as our foundation to our practice. If we want to progress further onto our journey towards enlightenment, these preliminary practices will be our foundation.

    @BlueUpali, Well, the Dalai Lama is an emanation of Chenrezig. Recognized. If there was any doubt in his teachings and doings, like what you said, it would probably mean that the state of enlightenment and attainments can diminish and change through incarnations? Kinda mindblowing. Anyways, the junior tutor to Dalai Lama was Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche and Ling Rinpoche… I am sure that all His Holiness learnt and is transmitting to others comes from an unbroken and pure lineage too.

  26. Thank you for this precise article that has summarised the main points that for us to be reaching enlightenment.

    It has reminded us the importance of having a Dharma protector to be guiding us towards the correct direction that we have to be going in order to achieve the things that we should be in order to reach enlightenment one day.

    The article is very useful for both new or senior students. It is clear about what should be done and practiced. Thank you DS.com admin for once again another great article.

  27. I’m just curious whether we can actually go ahead and read the books on Mahamudra. From what I understand we have to have permission from our Guru to read those. There may be some teachings that can be detrimental to a beginner’s practice without guidance.

    Anyway, the rest of the article is very interesting and helpful.

    Thanks for the great guide.

  28. It’s very good to read Dharma books, so that we can know and learn more. However, if we have a qualified spiritual guide to guide us along the spiritual path, we are more secured as we can clarify and find out with the spiritual guide for our doubt that read from the dharma books. As such, this is very important to have a qualified spiritual guide before we achieve spiritual attainments.

  29. Dear Dalai Lama,

    Since you started the cruel ban against the 350 year Dorje Shugden practice, how has it benefit your Tibetan society and Buddhism in the world? Things have become worse and most educated Tibetans can see this. They don’t speak out not because they don’t see your ban as wrong, but you instill fear in them and not respect. It is like fear of a dictator. I am sorry to say so. Everyone is divided. There is no harmony. Before your ban there was more harmony and unity.

    By enacting the ban, you split the monasteries, split so many families, split regions in Tibet apart, split your disciples from you, split your own gurus from you, split Tibetan Buddhism apart. You have created so much disharmony.

    It is not democratic what you have done to ban a religion within your community. You always talk of tolerance and acceptance and democracy and yet you do not accept and tolerate something different from your beliefs. When people practice Dorje Shugden you ostracize them, ban them from seeing you, ban them from using Tibetan facilities. You know you have done that. There are videos that capture your speech and prove this point. You even had people expelled from monasteries just because they practice Dorje Shugden. Some of the monks you expelled have been in the monastery for over 40 years. Many older monks shed tears because of this.

    Many young educated Tibetans lost confidence in you as they saw the damage the Dorje Shugden ban created and they lose hope. Many have become free thinkers. They reject what you have done. So many people in the west left Buddhism because of the confusion you created with this ban against Dorje Shugden which is immoral.

    You could of had millions of people who practice Dorje Shugden to support, love and follow you, but you scared them away. They are hurt and very disappointed. They loved you and respected you deeply before the ban. It has been 60 years and you have failed to get Tibet back. Your biggest failure is not getting Tibet back after 57 years in exile. Now you are begging China to allow you to return to Tibet to the disappointment of thousands of people who fought for a free Tibet believing in you. So many self-immolated for a free Tibet and now you want Tibet to be a part of China with no referendum from Tibetans. Just like a dictator, you decide on your own. It was your government and you that lost Tibet in the first place. Your policies and style of doing things do not benefit Tibet and Buddhism. You have been the sole ruler of Tibet your whole life and you still have not gotten our country of Tibet back for us. Our families and us are separated. Yet you create more pain by creating a ban to further divide people. Please have compassion.

    No other Buddhist leader has banned or condemned any religion except for you. It looks very bad. You are a Nobel laureate and this is not fitting of a laureate. You should unite people and not separate them by religious differences.

    You said Ms. Aung San Suu Kyi did not do right to the Rohingya people in Myanmar due to religious differences, but you are doing the same thing to the Shugden Buddhists within your own society. There is a parallel in this. You separate the Shugden Buddhists from the others in Tibetan society.

    You have lost so many people who would have loved and supported you. You have lost so much support around the world. The Shugden Buddhists who love you number in the millions. When you are fast losing support from governments and private people, it will not do you well to lose more.

    After you are passed away in the future, the rift you created between the Dorje Shugden and non-Dorje Shugden people will remain for a while and that will be your legacy. Disharmony. You will be remembered for this. Not as a hero but a disharmony creator.

    Dorje Shugden will spread and further grow, but you will be no more as you are a human. No one wishes you bad and in fact we hope you have a long and healthy life, but we have lost so much hope and have so much despair because of you. All the hundreds of Dorje Shugden lamas, tulkus and geshes are maturing and there are hundreds of Dorje Shugden monasteries in Tibet who will not give up Dorje Shugden. You have made a mistake. These hundreds of teachers and teachers to be will spread Dorje Shugden further in the future.

    The gurus that gave us Dorje Shugden as a spiritual practice and you have called these holy gurus wrong and they are mistaken in giving us Dorje Shugden. How can you insult our gurus whom we respect so much? If they can be wrong, then you can be wrong. Then all gurus can be wrong. So no one needs to listen to any guru? You have created this trend. It is not healthy. Your own gurus practiced Dorje Shugden their whole lives. Your own gurus were exemplary and highly learned.

    Dalai Lama you have created so much pain with this ban against so many people due to religion. You are ageing fast. Are you going to do anything about it or stay stubborn, hard and un-moving. You show a smile and preach peace and harmony wherever you go. But will you do the same to your own people? Please rectify the wrong you have done. Please before it is too late. You can create harmony again or you can pass away in the future with this legacy of peace. May you live long and think carefully and admit what was a mistake in having this unethical ban against Dorje Shugden religion.

  30. There are many people who say that to gain enlightenment, we don’t need a guru. They say that if we read from the books and meditate as it is explained, it is enough. Many people think that we don’t need to depend on a guru to be free from suffering and samsara. However, without first depending on a teacher, even if we have a whole library of Buddhadharma texts, sutra and tantra, we don’t get even the right intellectual understanding of the words. Many times there is the danger that we get the wrong understanding, even if the book is written correctly. This is not the mistake of the book, but of our mind.

    Also, to attain the realization of the graduated path to enlightenment, besides reading and understanding the texts, we have to get an explanation from the teacher. We have to receive the meditation techniques from an experienced teacher. Also, we have to both learn by example, from our own experience, and we have to learn what is right and what is wrong from an experienced teacher. Without depending on the guidance of a teacher, there is no way to receive nirvana, or release from samsara.

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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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