Dagpo Kelsang Khedrup

Most Gelugpas would have known or heard of the great Lama Kyabje Pabongka Rinpoche. After all, Pabongka Dorje Chang is the very reason we are all fortunate enough to have the precious text, Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand. This text is still being studied and used in Gelug monasteries and Dharma centers throughout the world to this day.

Without Pabongka Rinpoche passing on the valuable teachings to his heart disciple, Trijang Dorje Chang, none of us would probably be able to even lay our eyes and hands on this immensely blessed text.

Teachings that are passed down from one generation of teachers to the next generation of disciples are highly blessed. They become the treasured “oral transmissions” that is the heart of the Gelugpa tradition. Therefore, the teacher and disciple relationship is of utmost importance. It is what we call the path of Vajrayana.

For instance, the Southern style Lamrim that we all know today as documented in the Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand was actually a priceless teaching given to a great lama named Kelsang Tenzin directly from the Buddha of Wisdom himself, Manjushri.

Then Kelsang Tenzin had passed on these teachings to Dagpo Kelsang Khedrup, who passed it on to Dagpo Jampel Lundrub. This is how the special teachings came to Pabongka Rinpoche. It was Pabongka Rinpoche who then spread this teaching to the masses throughout Tibet; and from there, it has spread to the world.

Dagpo Kelsang Khedrup was no ordinary Lama. As the Guru of Pabongka Rinpoche’s Guru, Dagpo Jampel Lhudrup, Dagpo Kelsang Khedrup was the conduit of the many precious teachings that survived and were passed onto Pabongka Rinpoche.

Pabongka Dorje Chang also spoke highly of Dagpo Kelsang Khedrup on many occasions, where he declared Dagpo Kelsang Khedrup as one of the most important Lamas in the Gelugpa Lineage. The role of the lineage holders is very important and thus Dagpo Kelsang Khedrup was honoured in the Lamrim, as well as in the lineage prayers of the Gandapa Heruka Body Mandala.

In his lifetime, Pabongka Rinpoche promoted two specific teachings widely and passionately. One was the Southern style Lamrim which makes up the text Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand, and the other is the practice of a special powerful Dharma Protector, Dorje Shugden.

During the civil unrest in Tibet, Pabongka Rinpoche passed both these practices in their entirety to Kyabje Trijang Dorje Chang, as he knew that he was not able to leave Tibet. Pabongka Rinpoche did not want these precious teachings to die with him but for the lineage to continue and spread far and wide. He believed that in the future, many people would need the special Protector practice of Dorje Shugden as it would benefit many people of this time.

Following the wishes of his Guru, Pabongka Rinpoche, Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche promoted both practices widely, giving thousands of people the valuable Protector Dorje Shugden Initiation. Trijang Rinpoche also wrote the famous commentary, Music Delighting the Ocean of Protectors. This was a commentary on a praise of Dorje Shugden written by Dagpo Kelsang Khedrup that was called “Infinite Aeons”.

In essence, “Infinite Aeons” was a comprehensive text on the Dharmapala Dorje Shugden Fulfillment Ritual. It was passed down to Pabongka Rinpoche, who then passed it onto his closest disciple, Trijang Rinpoche. This became the vital text that Trijang Dorje Chang based his commentary upon in the Music Delighting the Ocean of Protectors. This text is still being studied and used among Shugden practitioners across the globe today.

In “Infinite Aeons”, the great Dharmapala Dorje Shugden’s previous incarnations are listed to include Sakya Pandita, Birwapa, Panchen Sonam Drakpa and Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen. Within this document, there are stories about the erudite Lama, Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen in this extensive praise to Dorje Shugden. There are details of Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen’s life story, how he was murdered, how he arose as the Dharma Protector Dorje Shugden and was enthroned first by the Sakya clan and the Chinese Emperor. It also details how Dorje Shugden was finally confirmed as a Protector by the 5th Dalai Lama himself. Above all, “Infinite Aeons” explains that Dorje Shugden is an enlightened emanation of Manjushri in the wrathful form.

The text states that Dorje Shugden arose as a Protector to guard the precious teachings of the Nagarjuna’s Middle View as taught by the Dharma King, Lord Tsongkhapa.

In this text Dagpo Kelsang Kedrub included the serkym, or golden drink offering ritual, as well as offerings to the three main Yidams – Heruka, Yamantaka and Ghuyasamaja. In addition, we can find complete verses praising each of the five emanations of Dorje Shugden, and the Protector’s entourage – all 32 of them, excluding Kache Marpo.

Dagpo Kelsang Khedrup authored many important texts, such as the biographies of the Lamrim Lamas, generation of Bodhichitta and etc. However, the most crucial text of all would be the “Infinite Aeons”, as it confirms that Dorje Shugden is truly an enlightened being and not an evil spirit. Most importantly, it confirms that Dorje Shugden is none other than Lord Manjushri in a fearsome form.

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  1. Dear Admin,

    I want to point out that there is ample evidence that the picture you keep using as Dagpo Kelsang Khedrup, both here in this article, and at the front of Trijang Rinpoche’s commentary is actually Pabongkhapa’s root Guru Dagpo Jampel Lhundrup.


    and especially here from the present Dagpo Rinpoche himself:


  2. Dear Admin,

    The picture you use here for Dagpo Kelsang Khedrub, and which you used in your English translation of Trijang Rinpoche’s Shugden commentary is a picture of Dagpo Jampel Lhundrub, the disciple of Dagpo Kelsang Khedrub. You and Vajratruth also say elsewhere that Tagpu Pemavajra was the author of Infinite Aeons. This has caused some confusion and I have clarified it all using valid sources. You should edit this post by removing the picture so people don’t think it is Dagpo Kelsang Khedrub. Thank you


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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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