The Cult and Iconography of the Tibetan Protective Deities

Extracted from Page 445 of Oracles and Demons of Tibet | by Réne De Nebesky-Wojkowitz

NOTE: The material for this book was collected between 1951 and 1954, with the assistance of two Gelug lamas, and one Nyingma lama

The various descriptions of Nechung Gompa, vivid and interesting as they may be, still do not suffice to give a detailed account of this remarkable temple and its treasures.

I tried in vain to obtain a dkar phyag (guide-book) of Nechung Gompa, and the following description of the temple, received from sku gshogs Blo bzang phun tshogs – the son of the former state oracle rGyal mtshan mthar phyin – has therefore to suffice until the time at which it will be possible to make a more thorough survey.

According to Blo bzang phun tsogs three gates lead into the cloistered courtyard of the monastery. The southern gate (1) is held closed in accordance with an old tradition that the chos skong rDo rje shugs ldan is waiting at this entrance for the day to come on which he will be allowed to enter the monastery, to succeed Pe har as the chief dharmapāla of Tibet after the former has become a ‘jig rten las ‘das pa’i srung ma and has vacated the temple.

Through the western (2) and eastern (3) gates visitors of all ranks may enter the monastery. From the roofing of the western gate hang several stuffed tigers and leopards, which had been presented to the shrine. They act now as a guard against all evil powers which might try to penetrate the sanctuary.

[This extract provides historical basis for Dorje Shugden's 'legitimate' takeover of Nechung's duties as Oracle - if Dorje Shugden is an evil power, why aren't there stuffed tigers and leopards above his gate?]

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  1. The southern gate of this Nechung temple remains close. Traditionally speaking, it will open when the time comes for Dharmapala Dorje Shugden to take over from Nechung as the ‘chief Dharmapala of Tibet’.
    This is most interesting. We are reminded of the ‘unlikely partnership’ of these two Dharma Protectors in spreading the Buddhadharma.Nechung was the Protector who had ‘extracted’ a promise from Lord Duldzin Drakpa Gyeltsen to protect, at all cost, the teachings of Je Tsongkhapa, especially his teachings on Nargajuna’s Middle View which he had taught with unexcelled clarity. Nechung was also the one who came to Tulku Drakpa Gyelsen later and asked that he fulfil the promise, which Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen subsequently did,by arising as tha wrathful Dharmapala Dorje Shugden(with much help from Nechung who ‘engineered’ the circumstances).
    So now we come to this age and time where Nechung has initiated a ‘hate’ Dorje Shugden campaign and Dorje Shugden practice is flourishing! An unlikely,yet substantially great partnership to spread the Dharma everywhere beyond Tibet!

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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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