His Holiness the Great 5th Dalai Lama (1617-1682) on Dolgyal

Button_EngDolgyal’s legacy started during the time of the Great 5th Dalai Lama. One wonders if there is anything about Dolgyal in the autobiography and other works of the Great 5th Dalai Lama. His Holiness the Great 5th Dalai Lama’s autobiography is known by the name ‘Dukulai Goezang’ that literally means ‘the exquisite silk custom’. The full name of the biography is The Exquisite Silk Custom: Presentation of Deceptive Ordinary Activities of This Life as Accounts of Realisations by the Elderly Monk from Zahor Called Ngawang Lobsang Gyatso. On the back of page no.173 [Traditionally, Tibetans count the front and back of a sheet as one page] of the second volume of his autobiography, the fifth line of the page mentioned goes thus:

“Aimed at pacifying the fierce sorceries of the king [spirit] of Dol Chumig Karmo that have intensified with time, and in order to tackle other omens of hexes of other pitiable fearsome spirits, led by Dakna Choejor, my monastery conducted an exorcism which was drawn to completion by a fire ritual in the Wood Tiger Year [1674].”

The king [spirit] of Dol Chumig Karmo refers to Dolgyal [Dol stands for Dol Chumi Karmo and Gyal is the short form of Gyalpo which means king].

Excerpt on Shugden in the biography of the Great 5th Dalai Lama

Excerpt on Shugden in the biography of the Great 5th Dalai Lama

On the frontpage of page 239, it says thus:

“In the Wood Rabbit Year [1675], there were bad omens resulting from perilous activities of formless spirits in general, and specifically, of the spirit with strained commitments from Chumi Karmo [Dolgyal]. Thus, led by vajra master bhikshu Lodroe Gyalwa, my monastery performed a wrathful exorcism by applying the ritual of ‘The Ferocious Vajra of the One Holding the Awareness’ after completing millions of wrathful mantras. It was also completed with a fire ritual at the end. In this way, we have assured and stabilised the wellbeing of the people of Tibet”.

Excerpt on Shugden in the biography of the Great 5th Dalai Lama

Excerpt on Shugden in the biography of the Great 5th Dalai Lama

On the front page of page 257, it says thus:

“Although words of harms inflicted upon sentient beings and the Buddha Dharma on the whole as well on individuals by a perfidious spirit with strained commitments — who was born as a devil from erroneous prayers — came to be widely known since the ‘Fire Bird Year’, even as they were many on whose shoulders rested the responsibility to control his inflictive activities, insofar, pretending as if it was not their business to handle the situation, it became difficult to find anyone who would control it. A spirit house was constructed at the end of the ‘Earth-Bird Year’ and objects to please the spirit were placed there so that it would settle down peacefully. However, its perilous activities proliferated. Recently, there have been epidemics among the monastic as well as the lay community, even leading to the death of a few monks. As such, all the monks of my monastery unanimously decided to perform wrathful exorcisms.

Two separate groups of retreat, one based on Guru Dorji Doloed’s [a wrathful aspect of Padmasambhava] practice headed by vajra master Ngagrampa Dhondup Gyatso, and another based on the practice of the ‘Extremely Secret Haryagriva’ headed by Ngagchang Lobsang Kyentse, the vajra master of wrathful exorcism from Nechung, were conducted with the objective of accomplishing a certain number of mantras. Other strict rituals of exorcism based on the wrathful practices of Lama Drakpo [ferocious Lama], Yama, Vajra Kilaya, Lotri and others that lasted for a week were headed by Dorjidak Rinzin Tulpaiku, Chogyal Terdak Lingpa, Wuja Lungpa, Drikung Tulku Rinpoche, Katselsurpa Ngyari Kunchok Lhundrup and Pelri Tulku. These were followed by wrathful exorcism of fire rituals to burn spirits with strained commitments and other devilish spirits. Various remarkable signs were seen, and everyone witnessed smells of burnt bodies, convincing them of the successful subjugation of those evil spirits. Directly, this gave respite to many from fear for their lives and reinvigorated fearlessness in them, and indirectly it stopped those pitiable spirits from their ever swelling negativities and placed them to the joy of relief from inexhaustible miseries resulting from such negativities. To support the success of the exorcism, eleven sessions of prayers were held at Sera and Drepung in which the prayer of the White Umbrella [Buddha] was counted 4400 times, and the Heart Sutra was counted 11800 times. Each monk was given two loads of grain as offerings for their participation in the prayer. At sixty seven nearby well-disciplined monasteries, tea offerings were made, requesting them to conduct the White Umbrella prayer, to count it as much as they could. Gold that could buy one load of grain for each monk was sent to each of these monasteries as offerings for their monks who participated in the prayer sessions. At Yerpa, the Gyuto monks performed the ritual of Fulfillment [appeasement] in connection with Mahakala and Dharma Raja six hundred and ninety three times. They also recited the Shasana mantra 121800 times, and performed numerous number of the ‘Pacifying Ritual of Cake Offering’ associated with Dharma Raja called the ‘Sixtyth’ [Dukchumai Tordog]. At Choekor Gyal, they counted the rituals of ‘Fullfillment’ in connection with both the ‘Gur and Shel’ aspect of Mahakala, Kali Devi, [Palden Lhamo] and Begtse, each of them amounting to 10,000 times. For the six armed Mahakala, Dharma Raja, and Vaishravana, they counted the ‘Fulfillment Ritual’ 1000 times each. In eleven districts, prayers to revitalise the spirits of the Dra Lhas [it literally means ‘gods that vanquish enemies’] were performed, and local deities and land spirits were appeased.”

Excerpt on Shugden in the biography of the Great 5th Dalai Lama

Excerpt on Shugden in the biography of the Great 5th Dalai Lama

Excerpt on Shugden in the biography of the Great 5th Dalai Lama

Excerpt on Shugden in the biography of the Great 5th Dalai Lama

Thus, it is clearly mentioned in the great 5th Dalai Lama’s autobiography that Tulku Dakpa Gyaltsen was born as a perfidious spirit out of distorted prayers. It also states that as they failed to calm him down through peaceful means, they had to perform wrathful exorcisms on him and other spirits of the same devilish nature.

The autobiography further states:

“At that time, an attestation [calling on the Dharma protectors]
was written so that those devils would not find any refuge.”

The front of page no. 148 of the Volume Da of the Great 5th Dalai Lama’s alphabetically ordered volumes starts with a particular section called Compilation of Supplications, Invocations, Prayers of Propitiation, Confessions and Eulogies Called Spontaneous Execution of the Four Kinds of Activities. In there, it says thus:

“Tulku Dakpa Gyaltsen, the son of Lak Agyal from Gey Khasa, who was successful in getting recognised as the reincarnation of Tulku Sonam Gelek Pelsang due to deceitful ploys of his mother, was born as a spirit of strained commitments out of distorted prayers and aspiration. Seeing the spirit inflicting harm on the Dharma and beings with his sorceries, prayers and wrathful exorcisms were performed by Dorjidrak Tulku Rinpoche, Choegyal Terdak Lingpa, Cheoje Wuja Lungpa, Ngari Ngagchang Kunchok Lhundrup, Pelri Tulku, two retreat groups at Phende Legshed Ling Monastery [Namgyal Monastery], thus forming seven groups of retreats. The following attestation was written at the time of performing wrathful fire rituals in order to completely subjugate them [Dolgyal and other evil spirits]:

The six armed Mahakala, Dharma Raja and Kali Devi,
The four faced Mahakala, and Chamsel Begtse and so forth—
The protectors who are bound by oath and
Of whose propitiation and practice people engage in,
I offer you the essence of this sublime libation:
The so-called Drakpa Gyaltsen pretends to be a sublime being, although he is not,
And since this demonic spirit of strained commitments and distorted prayers
Is harming everything – both the Dharma and sentient beings –
Never be his refuge protection, and support, but grind him to dust.

The Tenma group of protectors such as the dreadful Yanglhasangpo and others,
The Five King Protectors, Khyabjug and Dorji Lekpa,
Particularly the great Dharma king Nechung and his retinues —
I offer you the essence of this sublime libation:
The so-called Dakpa Gyaltsen pretends to be a sublime being, although he is not,
And since this demonic spirit of strained commitments and distorted prayers
Is harming everything — both the Dharma and sentient beings —
Never be his refuge protection, and support, but grind him to dust.

The seven Barwa brothers such as Tsewu Marpo and others,
All gods and devils such as Setrab of Sangphu,
In whom this devil seeks refuge —
I offer you this sublime libation:
The so-called Dakpa Gyaltsen pretends to be a sublime being, although he is not,
And since this demonic spirit of strained commitments and distorted prayers
Is harming everything – both the Dharma and sentient beings –
Never be his refuge protection and support, but grind him to dust.

In front of Vajradhara, all root and lineage masters,
As you have pledged to revitalise sources of delight and benefit
For the wellbeing of the Buddha Dharma and sentient beings,
If you protect this spirit of strained commitments,
Wouldn’t that breach your past commitments?

These groups of pitiable spirits
Conjure dreadful hexes of different kinds
That manifest in the form of diseases for humans and animals,
As well as hailstorms, famines, and droughts.
As such, their power and abilities,
Together with their bodies, minds and speeches—
Grind all of them into the state similar to tiny particles.”

As stated above, the line, ‘the so-called Dakpa Gyaltsen pretends to be a sublime being, although he is not’, says that although Dakpa Gyaltsen was not the real reincarnation of Tulku Sonam Gelek Pelsang, he still got recognised and enthroned with success. Here, it states clearly that with distorted prayers as the cause, he was born as a spirit. The real nature of the spirit is stated by the line ‘this demonic spirit with strained commitments’. The line, ‘since he harms both the Dharma and sentient beings’, speaks of his activities of harming the Dharma and sentient beings.

The attestation written at the time of wrathful exorcism performed on Shugden, as found in the volume Da of the Great 5th Dalai Lama

The attestation written at the time of wrathful exorcism performed on Shugden, as found in the
volume Da of the Great 5th Dalai Lama

The attestation written at the time of wrathful exorcism performed on Shugden, as found in the volume Da of the Great 5th Dalai Lama

The attestation written at the time of wrathful exorcism performed on Shugden, as found in the
volume Da of the Great 5th Dalai Lama

Some might wonder if this was the real intent of the Great 5th Dalai Lama. The secret work of the Great 5th Dalai Lama titled The Sealed Secrets that consists of twenty five categories was only available in its handwritten form. In one of its categories known as Bumpai Gyachen that could literally be translated as the Sealed Secret called the Vase Decorated by Haryangriva’s Lotus, the second line of the back page no. 8 says thus:

“The Guru of Great Compassion appeared with two dakinis on his sides, and said, ‘perform a fire ritual at the remains of the Upper Chamber of Drepung; for peace in Tibet, hoist victorious flags, and establish victorious sites.”

Excerpt on Shugden in the biography of the Great 5th Dalai Lama

Excerpt on Shugden in the biography of the Great 5th Dalai Lama

Excerpt on Shugden in the biography of the Great 5th Dalai Lama

Excerpt on Shugden in the biography of the Great 5th Dalai Lama

As this was a sealed secret, some of the technical words such as the ‘Upper Chamber’ were written in secret code words, decoding of which reveals the intended meaning. The traditional Tibetan style of writing code words is complex. Words are intertwined once, twice, thrice or four times. Drepung’s Upper Chamber refers to the residence of Tulku Dakpa Gyaltsen, who succeeded in being recognised as the 4th reincarnation of Panchen Sonam Dakpa. The Upper Chamber initially belonged to Panchen Sonam Dakpa’s teacher Gyalwa Gedun Gyatso, the second Dalai Lama. The second Dalai Lama chose the Lower Chamber [perhaps for its warm sunshine] and gave the Upper Chamber to Panchen Sonam Dakpa. The words ‘upper’ and ‘lower’ in this context stand for the landscape location [the Upper Chamber was built on a higher landscape] and do not signify any status or rank.

Again in The Sealed Secret of Dragger and Skull Cup, two other sections within The Sealed Secrets, the second line of the front page of page no. 1 says thus:

“During the Tibetan New Year of Earth Bird Year, I had a vision of a dark coloured female, as huge as a the size of a mountain, who put her right leg on top of the Upper Chamber of Drepung and her left leg on top of Choekorling Monastery. Stamping hard on the Upper Chamber, a plume of dust filled the vicinity.”

Excerpt on Shugden in the secret biography of the Great 5th Dalai Lama

Excerpt on Shugden in the secret biography of the Great 5th Dalai Lama

Choekorling is a name of one of the seven monasteries of Drepung in the past. Dolgyal’s issue is mentioned in the later part of the Great 5th Dalai Lama’s works [which are publicly available] and in The Sealed Secrets, and the degree of importance attributed to this issue is undeniably evident from them. Although some might argue that His Holiness the Great 5th Dalai Lama’s position on Dolgyal, as expressed in his biography, is not a definitive statement but subject to interpretation, however, there is more evidence to prove that it is definite and not an interpretable one. Some even claim that His Holiness the 5th Dalai Lama had composed a eulogy of Shugden after failing in his exorcism that he had conducted to subdue Shugden, but nowhere in his voluminous works is found any such eulogy. This fact coupled with all other historical accounts only strengthen the assertion that Dolgyal is only a perfidious spirit, much to the disappointment of those who think of him as a genuine protector.

The later part of His Holiness’ works [that are publicly accessible] and his inner works of The Sealed Secrets converge at the same point that Dolgyal’s nature is not that of a sublime being, but only a perfidious one, and that Kali Devi does not approve of him. These facts can be clearly understood from the words of the Great 5th Dalai Lama.