The Ruling Empire of Dorje Shugden

Any enlightened being, whether they belong to any of the four classes of Tantra or not, manifest their Enlightenment with a following or entourage. This can be seen even in the case of the historical Buddha Shakyamuni and his 16 Arhats. Just as a king needs ministers in order to manage and execute the necessary tasks to run the country, Buddhas have entourages of Bodhisattvas, Arhats and Protectors to help and assist in turning the Wheel of Dharma and helping all sentient beings.

The Buddha said many times during his discourses and sermons that he is the one who asks the questions, he is the one who answers them and he is also present in the assembly. This means that due to Buddha’s compassion, he emanates in whatever form necessary, including as his own student or as a member of his audience, in order to bring the Dharma to us according to our level of understanding.

Dorje Shugden is no different from the Buddha in terms of attainments, but due to his vows and karmic connection with sentient beings, he arose in the form of a Dharma Protector instead. Dorje Shugden’s entourage resides within his mandala and comprises of 32 deities, including the main deity, the great King himself. According to Kyabje Pabongka Rinpoche Dechen Nyingpo, these 32 deities coincide with the limbs, joints and body parts of Lama Lobsang Thubwang Dorje Chang. According to other sources, these 32 deities are direct emanations of the 32 deities of the Kingly Guhyasamaja Tantras.

In this article, we will be discussing in brief the general meaning and significance of each member of Dorje Shugden’s entourage.


Duldzin Dorje Shugden

The emanation of Manjushri’s vajra mind, Duldzin Dorje Shugden is the principal deity of the entire Dorje Shugden mandala. He is commonly depicted with a wrathful expression and on occasion, with a peaceful smiling face. According to the scriptures, his wrath is used to ward off spirits and negative forces which hinder our practice while his peaceful demeanor shows his pleasure towards practitioners who abide according to the Vinaya and keep their vows and commitments well.


Vairochana Shugden

The emanation of Manjushri’s vajra body, Vairochana Shugden powerfully dispels sickness, spirits, misfortune and hindrances through peaceful methods. His complexion is white and he smiles with a hint of wrath. He emanates white lights to pacify situations and overcome the unruly. His ride is a magnificent elephant which symbolizes his ability to overcome negativities.


Ratna Shugden

Also known as the Glory of the Three Realms, Ratna Shugden is an emanation of Manjushri’s indestructible qualities who increases life, merit, and inner and outer prosperity. He holds a long life vase up to the sky representing his ability to increase our life. In the mouth of the vase is a wish-granting tree which denotes his ability to increase Bodhicitta. He rides a heavenly palomino symbolizing his swiftness in answering our prayers.


Padma Shugden

The great subduer of the three worlds is born from Manjushri’s vajra speech, which attracts and gathers resources and calms the minds of those who are untamed. He holds a taming hook adorned with silken banners which hooks in resources for the Dharma to grow. The banners represent his rule over the three realms. His ride is a turquoise dragon which symbolizes his mighty mystical power in bringing all beings to the Dharma.


Karma Shugden

The lord of all indestructible enlightened deeds and actions of Manjushri appears in the wrathful fierce form of Karma Shugden. He subjugates the most dangerous and malignant of situations. Like Manjushri, he brandishes a fiery sword which cuts asunder the root of all evil. He holds to his mouth a crystal heart jewel which symbolizes his ability to crush the roots of samsara. He rides the king of birds, which means that he is quick in ensuring that those who call on him will receive his assistance.


Dorje Shugden’s entourage


The Nine Mothers who assist in the practice of Tantra

These nine goddesses are the purified aggregates and elements of Lord Manjushri. They help practitioners overcome the four elements and purify their attachments to the aggregates using Tantric methods. Like the consorts of higher yoga Tantric yidams such as Heruka and Guhyasamaja, these goddesses attend to the great King in any matter pertaining to Tantric practices.

  1. Goddess of the Earth element – She holds the symbol of earth in her right hand, a mandala symbolizing her control over all earthly elements.
  2. Goddess of the Water element – She holds in her right hand a small wave of water, signifying her power over all aspects of the water element.
  3. Goddess of the Fire elementShe is the goddess who, like Lama Tsongkapa during Monlam Chenmo, is able to subdue uncontrollable fires.
  4. Goddess of the Wind element – Like the goddess Tara, she is swift in assisting practitioners with the most subtle Tantric meditations in order to gain realizations.
  5. Goddess of Sight Sense – In her hand is a beautiful mirror, reminding all practitioners that all perceptions in the world are not inherently existent.
  6. Goddess of Sound Sense – She is usually depicted with either a flute, drum or sometimes with the Vina. This goddess overcomes all sounds, both good and bad.
  7. Goddess of Smell Sense – She holds a conch shell filled with liquid perfume, symbolizing her ability to help Tantric practitioners achieve detachment from all smells.
  8. Goddess of Taste Sense – She holds a plate of fruits which denotes her ability to cut the practitioner’s attachment to taste.
  9. Goddess of Touch Sense – She holds beautiful silks and displays her power to overcome the desire of touch.


The Eight Guiding Monks

Born from the limbs and joints of Lama Lobsang Thubwang Dorje Chang, the eight guiding monks thunder with the sound of eloquent teachings of the Dharma during degenerate times, especially the teachings on Lojong, Lamrim, and Madhyamika. They all wear the three robes of a monk, and each bears the different implements of an ordained person. They are personifications of the eight great Bodhisattvas and skillfully explain the Tathagatha’s intent according to the individual’s disposition.

Their actual identities are:

  1. Manjushri who embodies wisdom:
  2. Avalokiteshvara who embodies compassion;
  3. Vajrapani who represents power;
  4. Ksitigarbha who increases the richness and fertility of the land;
  5. Sarvanivarana-Vishkambhin who purifies wrong-doing and obstructions;
  6. Maitreya who embodies loving kindness;
  7. Samantabhadra who displays special expertise in making offerings and prayers of aspiration; and
  8. Akashagarbha who has the perfect ability to purify transgressions.


The Ten Youthful and Wrathful Assistants

The ten youthful and wrathful assistants are direct emanations of the 10 vidyadharas of Buddhism. They are young, fit and display “unruly” manners in order to counter the ignorant nature of the mind.

Their costumes represent the pervasiveness of Lama Tsongkapa’s teachings in China, Mongolia, Nepal, Tibet, Kashmir (modern day Pakistan) and Bengal. Though they may appear to be ordinary human beings, they are in fact highly evolved beings who are receptacles of wisdom to help all sentient beings.

Since he arose, Dorje Shugden’s influence has steadily increased and he has proven himself to be efficacious in helping all sentient beings to realize the Three Principle Paths. His emanations continue to evolve in order to protect sincere practitioners from being led astray by those who mix and pollute the precious and sacred teachings of Lama Tsongkapa and the Gaden tradition.

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25 total comments on this postSubmit yours
  1. As always the information and descriptive writings and explanations on this website is superb and fantastic.

    It is so encouraging to know how much Dorje shugden and entourage would do to assist us in our path of Dharma. There is nothing missing that we may need.

    The five main forms help us with our Body Speech and Mind development. The nine mothers with our tantric practice. The 8 guiding monks with our vows and the 10 youth and wrathful assistants with removal of our negativities and obstacles.

    How very fortunate to be within the mandala of Dorje Shugden.

  2. The additional detailed information of the entourage, namely the 9 Tantric Mothers , the 8 Guiding Monks and the 10 Youthful and Wrathful assistants are very helpful and interesting. There are so many levels of guidance and protection for every DS practitioner. Guidance and protection from the 5 main forms of DS; from the 9Mothers, from the 8 monks, from the 10 assistants, from Kache Marpo and from Namkar Bardzin too ! Those who have the merits to receive these teachings and practice it wholeheartedly, are certainly very fortunate indeed.

  3. Thanks for the team that work hard tirelessly behind the awesome

    The information above make me more clearer about the whole DS mandala, we are so fortunate and blessed by practice hence always protected by the Wisdom Buddha Dorje Shugden and His entourages always.

  4. All the ones described are only the tip of the iceberg for the entourage of Dorje Shudgen, there are countless ones also helping the buddha dharma, such is the power of Dorje Shugden to command the help and allegiance of countless sentient beings for the sake of the Buddha Dharma. Rejoice in reading this article.

    Dorje Shugden commands a whole legion of beings in all manner of peaceful and wrathful forms, and these beings who serve the great King benefit from serving the Great King. Just like how Nechung collected vast merits and purification in the service of His holiness the Dalai Lama and the Tibetans as the state oracle of tibet.

  5. Thank you! Heartening and encouraging to remember all these aspects of the enlightened mind helping us.

  6. Thank you who provide us this important knowledge about DS so that as a practitioner we will understand how is our protector will help instead blindly do the practice only.

  7. Dorje Shugden’s mandala is very complete and encompass all necessary practice and protection for mundane and spiritual advancement. By relying Dorje Shugden practice, we can have our protector and idam together. Dorje Shugden is an enlightenment being, manifestation of Manjushri, as our karma is closer to Dorje Shugden, it is highly effective for us to do this practice and benefited from it

  8. Thank you for providing detailed explanation on Dorje Shugden and his entourage. The information is not only interesting but also very helpful for my understanding and practice. For me, Dorje Shugden is more than just a Dharma protector. He is a Buddha who has under his command, numerous beings, both wrathful and peaceful, whose goal is to help sentient beings in their Dharma practice. May the practice of Dorje Shugden spread in the ten directions.

  9. Wow ! This is yet another level of precious information relating to the DS practice.It is very meaningful to understand what each member of the entourage is doing to enhance our DS practice.Thank you.

  10. Dear

    Thank you for this insightful article about Dorje Shugden’s entourage. It is amazing once Dorje Shugden emanated, He did not only emanate in the form of the main deity, but also in the form of five main forms (Duldzin, Shitze, Gyenze, Trakze and Wangze) and the other entourage such as the 9 mothers and 10 youthful and wrathful assistants. Each of this form has specific purpose. I took this as a sign that since the very beginning, his intention to arise as Dharma protector is to help sentient beings in accordance with their capacities and disposition.


  11. This is short yet wonderful explanation of the entourage of the King Dorje Shugden. His entourage is such an amazing example of how the enlightened beings manifest in various forms to suit practitioners of our time and era. From the Five Forms of Dorje Shugden, who embody the qualities of pacification, increase, subjugation and wrath that are all activities of the Buddhas, the nine mothers who assist tantric practitioners, the monks who assist sutric practitioners and the wrathful assistants who help to remove obstacles, the practice is one that supports the practice of the Buddhist teachings in a wholesome manner.

    For those of you who are interested in a further and in-depth explanation Geshe Kelsang Gyatso in his book entitled Heart Jewel, explains that the Entourage actually mirror the 32 deity entourage of the Guhyasamaja tantra as well. This explanation is very beneficial for those who are practicing tantra as the Guhyasamaja tantra is considered the King of Tantras within the Gelugpa tradition, in which Dorje Shugden’s practice is most prevalent. For myself that explanation was a bit hard to understand as i do not practice that particular tantra. Thank you to this website’s administrators for posting this, which is simpler yet encompassing explanation of the entourage.

  12. The 32 entourage of Dorje Shugden is incredible because it closely mirrors that of the Guhysamaja It is incredible because this reflects back on the enlightened nature of Dorje Shugden. It’s incredibly how diverse are his emanations and the manner in which Dorje Shugden benefits practitioners from an outer level to and inner level through overcoming various obstacles.

  13. Fantastic information and thank you Lovett for the added info re the similarity between Shukden’s mandala and that of the Guhyasamaja. I originally found it curious that Shukden’s mandala has the same number of deities as Lama Tsongkhapa’s mandala. Is it all a coincidence or are they all inter-related?

    The information about how the Eight Guiding Monks are in fact the various Bodhisattvas just blew me away. When I read precious articles like this and gain more knowledge, I feel even greater faith swelling in me and I am very moved by the compassion of the Buddhas to manifest in such elaborate forms to help sentient beings.

    Thank you so much for this DS.Com

  14. Dorje Shugden is certainly the perfect protector of our time. Each member of his entourage is able to assist in every aspect of our life in a manner that is relatable. I am personally very drawn to the 9 mothers as they control the elements of nature, which I see to be a direct mirror of the element within us. Our close interconnection with Nature is essential for us to live in harmony and enjoy both outer and inner prosperity. Additionally, when we read about the dying process and how our elements dissolve, I identify the importance of these beautiful 9 mothers in aiding us to pass away well.

  15. Dorje Shugden is indeed a very compassionate enlightened Buddha, through his force of compassion, he has manifested in many different forms to assist practitioners from different walks of life, giving them the ultimate solution. I personally have heard a few miracle stories from friends who do the practice sincerely and so far, they have been fortunate to be able to do it. I pray that may the ban be lifted very swiftly and smoothly so that all the conflicts stop, may all Dorje Shugden and non Dorje Shugden practitioners be reunited again.

  16. The article states “According to other sources, these 32 deities are direct emanations of the 32 deities of the Kingly Guhyasamaja Tantras”. Is this why Lama Gangchen always equates Dorje Shugden’s practice with the tantra of Guhyasamaja? Interesting post, thanks for this

  17. Amazing detailed description of the 5 forms of Dorje Shugden and all His entourage, only a being of a Buddha’s quality can have this whole system forming around Him. And Dorje Shugden is perfectly attained to be able to manifest in 5 different forms to assist sentient beings in various aspects of their lives, together with the help of His entourage, and with compassion, to pave the way for sentient beings’ Dharma endeavor.

  18. Great job!
    The details about the emanations of Dorje Shugden with the details on the 8 guiding monks and the 9 mothers as well as the 10 youthful and wrathful assistents.

    How blessed when we come across such holy beings. May we be close to Dorje Shugden and His empire in all our lives. May the ban come down soon.

  19. Thank you for this detailed information on Dorje Shugden’s entourage and the explanation of each of them. What I find most interesting is that every single one of these entourage is actually an emanation of Dorje Shugden himself. How amazingly compassionate Dorje Shugden is to do this to benefit sentient beings! And if we read carefully the activities of each entourage, we know that Dorje Shugden is definitely an Enlightened being because of the actions they do like the eight guiding monks thunder with the sound of eloquent teachings of the Dharma during degenerate times, especially the teachings on Lojong, Lamrim, and Madhyamika. If Dorje Shugden was an evil spirit why would these eight guiding monks teach Dharma? The more we read and find out of about Dorje Shugden, the more we realise he is a fully enlightened Buddha and the discrimination against this practice is definitely a political one and hence an even greater injustice to our human rights. Thank you

  20. This detailed information on Dorje Shugden’s five families and entourages are very useful and logical. The understanding of the meaning and their functions further support the beneficial of Dorje Shugden’s practice. On the other hand, it also shows us the complexity and the variety of our obstacles that we very much needed their help in order to continue our path towards enlightenment.

  21. It is truly an honor to be able to connect to Dorje Shugden and His entourage. It is an equally humbling experience. Dorje Shugden in an enlightened being, emanation of Lord Manjushri, He arose as the Dharma Protector of our time to grant us assistance in a swift manner. The manifestation of His entourage is a reflection that we, sentient beings, indulging in the delusion of Samara require many support in different form, to suit us at our different level. For those who has been bestowed this practice by Lama from pure lineage, I personally think that this is the greatest gift of all. We must cherish it and guard this practice at all cost.

  22. Thank you for the details of Dorje Shugden’s entourage. This is the first time I’m seeing the detailed list of the entourage.

    To see the Bodhisattvas are the 8 Guiding Monks, I am in awe. This is no mere Dharma Protector we are talking about here but more of a Buddha.

    And, the brief description of the goddesses who are the 9 Mothers. Never knew the iconography of the 4 Goddesses of the elements and the 5 Goddesses of the Senses before this.

    And the 10 youthful and wrathful assistants who counter our ignorance with seemingly ‘unruly’ behaviours!

    I have really learned something today. Thank you.

  23. From Mandala of Dorje Shugden, we learned that Dorje Shugden is actually a Buddha. From the 5 forms of his emanations to the ten deities, Dorje Shugden have emanate to have all sort of sentient beings, Dorje Shugden help without divided who we are, what religion we are and where we are. And from the manifestation of Dorje Shugden’s mandala, Dorje Shugden could also control the elements and also our senses to help us more.

    This article is very useful

  24. What will the all the people around the world and in Tibet do now? Dalai Lama says he is happy that Tibet is a part of China and should remain a part of China. So many Tibetans self-immolated for Tibet to be independent and now Dalai Lama did a 360 degree turn and says he wants to go back to Tibet and China and Tibet should be a part of China. So unbelievable. So many are angry and disappointed.

    Tibetans ready to be part of China: Dalai Lama
    Organised by the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA), the event was a part of “Thank You India – 2018″ held by the Tibetan community across India to mark 60 years of its exile in the country.
    Indo-Asian News Service
    Tibetans are ready to be a part of China if guaranteed full rights to preserve their culture, the Dalai Lama said on Friday.
    “Tibetans are not asking for independence. We are okay with remaining with the People’s Republic of China, provided we have full rights to preserve our culture,” the 83-year-old spiritual leader said at “Thank You Karnataka” event here in the city.
    Organised by the Central Tibetan Administration (CTA), the event was a part of “Thank You India – 2018″ held by the Tibetan community across India to mark 60 years of its exile in the country.
    “Several of Chinese citizens practicing Buddhism are keen on Tibetan Buddhism as it is considered scientific,” the Nobel laureate said.
    Born in Taktser hamlet in northeastern Tibet, the Dalai Lama was recognized at the age of two as the reincarnation of the 13th Dalai Lama, Thubten Gyatso. He fled to India from Tibet after a failed uprising against the Chinese rule in 1959.
    China annexed Tibet in 1950, forcing thousands of Tibetans, including monks, to flee the mountain country and settle in India as refugees.
    Since then, India has been home to over 100,000 Tibetans majorly settled in Karnataka, Himachal Pradesh among other states.


  25. 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.

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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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