Is Shugden the Dharma Protector of the 21st Century?

Button_EngContemporary Shugden followers have been circulating rumours that Dolgyal is the protector of the 21st century, indispensible for those who want to be supported in their practice. I want to examine how far it is true:

Without any reliable scriptural authority or valid reasoning to prove it, what substantial benefit do you Shugden fanatics get by fooling others? If you really wish to help sentient beings and contribute to the Buddha Dharma, this is not the way to do them properly. Tsongkhapa’s tradition is such that externally it coincides completely with the teachings as practised by the Sravakas and Pratikabuddhas; internally, it emphasises on Bodhichitta; and secretly, it is invigorated and enhanced by Tantrayana. Thus, although this tradition is truly impeccable, you seem to depict it as a tradition that is essentially concerned with spirit worship. Not only are you obsessed with your own limited understanding of Buddhism, but you are also dragging others into this cultish practice of appeasing spirits, thus, endangering their spiritual quests and aspirations: Thus, these are only signs that your sense of discernment is greatly impoverished.

Although Mahakala, Dharma Raja, Vaishravana — who have been bound to oath by Tsongkhapa himself — and Kali Devi are all unanimously accepted as genuine Dharma protectors, as if they were incapable, you have gone to the extent of calling Dolgyal, a controversial spirit, as ‘the protector of Tsongkhapa’s tradition’. This is an exploitation that you are causing inadvertently, if not intentionally. Basically, the Dharma protectors are those who assist and protect the Dharma practitioners. However, for you, it seems to be the other way around as you are so resolute on protecting this spirit at all cost. However, that you are now protecting your so called protector is a legacy that has no precedence at all, and no one has ever heard of such a thing from the past. The means by which you protect your so called protector is by inflicting harm and creating obstacles to the activities of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the most respected and trusted Buddhist figure in this world who is actively and genuinely benefitting the Buddha Dharma and sentient being, and to whose activities the whole world stands as witness. By creating schism and disruption in our society, and instilling fear in the minds of many Tibetans, you have given us reasons strong enough to doubt if you are at all Buddhists, not to mention the credibility of your being Tsongkhapa’s followers or not.

As Dolgyal does not even have any criterion of being a good spirit, how do you assert that he is a Dharma protector of the 21st century when he does not even qualify as a protector? To claim that he is the protector of the 21st century, he should be someone who is especially beneficial to the Buddha Dharma in this century, and particularly to Tsongkhapa’s tradition. However, the three monastic seats of Gelukpa [Sera, Drepung and Gaden], its two Tantric colleges, Namgyal Monastery, and the rest of Geluk monasteries consider Dolgyal as a perfidious spirit. All of these monasteries have good respect and appreciation for other traditions. Thus, even as Dolgyal is not accepted as a protector in any of these important seats of Tsongkhapa’s tradition, don’t you have an inkling of shame in hailing him as a protector of Tsongkhapa’s tradition or as the protector of the 21st Century?

Generally, protectors should have pure aspiration and altruism to benefit sentient beings and the Dharma. Speaking in terms of being a special protector of a particular time, it should be associated with special prayers and aspirations from the past to support practitioners of that particular time. His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama is the most revered Buddhist icon and authority of this 21st century, held in the highest esteem by all the schools of Tibetan Buddhism. His Holiness and all the schools of Tibetan Buddhism accept Dolgyal as a perfidious spirit. Dolgyal’s history begins with distorted prayers that led to his birth as a pitiable spirit; in the middle, he is associated with stories of causing harm on sentient beings and the Dharma; and in the end, he is known to bring only destructions to himself and his gullible followers. If you claim this spirit — whose practice has been challenged by many authentic masters throughout the history — as a protector of a new religion that you want to establish, you have every liberty of doing so. However, by hailing a hungry ghost, who has been recognised by the Great 5th Dalai Lama as someone born from distorted prayers, whose real nature is that of a perfidious spirit with strained commitments, and whose only activity is to bring harm on the Dharma and sentient beings, as a protector of Tsongkhapa’s tradition and the protector of the 21st century, you are only misleading others into an erroneous practice of propitiating spirits and nagas. Such horrendous karmas can only cause your birth in realms where you will never hear even a word of Dharma for countless of eons. I only wish to warn you to make sure you do not land yourself in the worst of hells by blindly following an evil spirit. As far as Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche and Kyabje Phabongkha are concerned, as they were capable Tantric practitioners, they must have enslaved Shugden and other spirits by developing the divine pride of being Tantric deities themselves. They definitely did not rely on Shugden as much as you do, even at the expense of forsaking His Holiness Dalai Lama.

Ngulchu Thokme Sangpo, one of the most renowned Bodhisattvas in Tibet, says in his Thirty Seven Practices of Bodhisattvas:

‘As they are also chained in the prison of Samsara,
How could anyone be saved by these worldly gods?
Therefore, it is the practice of a Bodhisattva
To seek refuge in the [three] jewels that are infallible.’

When His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s activities and aspirations are so deep and vast in this 21st Century — just as it is said that devils are evenly rigorous when the Dharma is rigorous — Dolgyal is a spirit whose harmful activities are in their peak, creating schism and enmity among different traditions in the guise of pretending to be a Gelukpa protector. Thus, he brings disrepute and hatred towards Tsongkhapa’s tradition. By disseminating divisive words that denigrate other traditions and by creating fear in Geluk practitioners if they ever embraced Nyingma teachings, through such deceptions, Dolgyal creates hurdles that impede the proliferation of activities of Geluk Lamas and the Dharma. If practicing the Nyingma tradition is the real reason for his persecution, Dolgyal should have also persecuted Nyingma Lamas. However, one never hears any tale of his persecution of any Nyingma master. Thus, the fact that he is associated with the persecution of only Geluk Lamas definitely speaks of his being a devil with deep grudge against the Geluk tradition. Therefore, if we were to warn people that relying on this spirit for protection — at a time when the Nalanda Tradition is rising in its popularity in the world — will bring even greater harm than any other evil spirits, and hail Dolgyal as the king of devils, how would you truthfully and logically defend him?

When Kyabje Phabongkha was reprimanded by His Holiness the 13th Dalai Lama, if claims of Dolgyal’s being an emanation of Manjushree; or his being the same in nature with Guhyasamaja; or his being the protector of Tsongkhapa’s tradition; or the story of how Nechung encouraged him to arise as a wrathful protector; or Dolgyal’s being an indispensible protector in the age of degeneration are not bogus, Kyabje Phabongkha should have truthful presented all the sources in Sutra or Tantra for his claims to His Holiness, or logically tried to validate Dolgyal as an infallible protector. However, he felt short of any response than saying that Dolgyal was the local land-god of his mother and confessed of going against the advice pertaining to taking refuge in the Three Jewels. This fact is clearly stated in the biography of Kyabje Phabongkha written by his own secretary Lobsang Dorji. The voluminous biography was printed in Tibet. Why did he not defend his position on Dolgyal?

Perhaps, you might say that His Holiness the Dalai Lama was a dictator and that Kyabje Phabongkha could not respond for fear of further reprimand. I have seen that you have referred to both the 5th and the 13th Dalai Lama as dictators in your books and documents being disseminated. However, Phabongkha Rinpoche refers to His Holiness the 13th Dalai Lama as one of his root masters, and praises His Holiness as ‘the Guardian who is exceptionally compassionate towards the lowly’. Kyabje Phabongkha received much affection from His Holiness the 13th Dalai Lama in the beginning. His Holiness even granted him the honour of teaching instead of the Gaden Tripa at Meru during its autumn teaching session. That was before he started spreading Shugden’s practice. Both of us accept that Kyabje Phabongkha respected his Lamas as a true Buddha. Thus, how can you call what he considered a Buddha a dictator? In his Lamrim text Liberation in the Palm of Hand, Kyabje Phabongkha refers to all the successive Dalai Lamas as emanations of Avalokiteshvara. Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche, in his auto-biography, also refers to His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama as an emanation of Avalokiteshvara.

However, if your defense is that Kyabje Phabongkha did not consider the 13th Dalai Lama as a Buddha, you are only disgracing yourself by thinking so lowly of Kyabje Phabongkha’s practice. Being an established practitioner of the Lamrim teachings, he surely considered all his masters as Buddhas. Is there really any point in contradicting yourself, and yet adamantly clinging to your old ways?

In the Lamrim Dedicational Prayer of Tsongkhapa, it states thus:

‘As I persevere in the practices of this supreme vehicle [Mahayana]
By means of embracing the practices of the ten engagements,
May the powerful ones always support me:
May all auspiciousness extend to all directions.’

Thus, a genuine protector of Dharma would naturally help you if your own practices are diligent and motivations sincere. However, although Dolgyal likes being called the protector of Tsongkhapa’s tradition, the most tangible and undeniable reason to prove that he is a perfidious spirit, who only causes destruction to Dharma, is that the majority of the contemporary Tibetans who still propitiate him had received teachings and empowerments from His Holiness the Dalai Lama earlier, and but have now forsaken His Holiness for Dolgyal. By defending Dolgyal, they have consistently turned against their own Lama and continue to vilify him. Thinking of the karmic consequences that such hideous activities will surely result in, ideally, Dolgyal should have told his followers not to turn against their own Lama. He could have told them to leave him and embrace their Lama. It is not mentioned in any Buddhist scripture that protectors are more important than your Lama. Thus, that Dolgyal seem to enjoy the limited appeasements by his gullible followers only proves that he is a very silly spirit. Even as the whole of Tibet reveres His Holiness, and when all the great past and present masters of Tibet unanimously accepts His Holiness the Dalai Lamas as human emanations of Avalokiteshvara, by turning against His Holiness the Dalai Lamas as well as the nation of Tibet that they lead, by despising the Nyingma tradition, Dolgyal himself has strongly proved that he is not a protector, but a pathetic devil.