The 14th Dalai Lama’s prayer to Dorje Shugden-By HE Tsem Rinpoche

Dear friends around the world,

What is interesting is His Holiness the Dalai Lama is considered as the incarnation of the Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara, therefore a highly realized and attained being. Whether the Dalai Lama is 10 years old or 70 years old, his mindstream is the same and attained. Attainments cannot go backwards and at any age or any lifetime (incarnation) as he is highly attained. If this is the case when His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama composed the prayer to Dorje Shugden years ago, his mindstream was the same mindstream as now. So how can he make a mistake that back then he saw Dorje Shugden as a superior being and now he doesn’t? I don’t mean disrespect to His Holiness the Dalai Lama with this, but examining the situation only.

If Dalai Lama has been worshipping Dorje Shugden for decades, consulted his oracles, composed prayers for Dorje Shugden, then how can he finally and suddenly see Dorje Shugden as negative? How could Dorje Shugden have ‘fooled’ or ‘misled’ such a high being as the Dalai Lama for so many years? That does not make sense. Since Dalai Lama is a highly realized being, he should be able to see Dorje Shugden as a superior being or a negative being from the very first time they ‘met’. This ability is inherent in highly attained beings such as H.H. the Dalai Lama. If we are to hypothetically say His Holiness the Dalai Lama can make mistakes, then this puts us all in a quandary because he saw Shugden as superior in earlier years but later as malevolent. Does this make sense? Because if he can make a mistake once, he can hypothetically make another one. So the ban and his current negative views about Dorje Shugden perhaps can be wrong? I am just presenting some hypothetics.

People with clairvoyance when they come across a formless being, they can tell immediately if the being is good or negative. This does not change. It does not make sense the Dalai Lama saw Dorje Shugden as a very high being in Dungkar Monastery and then later in 1996 suddenly he said Dorje Shugden is not good and then institute the ban against Dorje Shugden? That would mean Domo Geshe Rinpoche who is highly realized is wrong too and for many incarnations wrong also? And hundreds of other highly realized practitioners are wrong also for 400 years? How could Dorje Shugden have fooled so many for so long until 1996? Does not make sense at all. Domo Geshe Rinpoche worshipped Dorje Shugden for many incarnations. His incarnations never went wrong or to the three lower realms, but returns again and again. This clearly proves Dorje Shugden’s practice does not send us to the three lower realms. How can Dorje Shugden be a superior being when His Holiness was younger and then later became a malevolent being needing a ban against his worship? Not logical.

This is the prayer to Dorje Shugden as composed by His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama at Dungkar Monastery of Domo Geshe Rinpoche. It is good to recite daily or when in need of help. You can see in the prayer His Holiness enthrones Dorje Shugden as the “supreme collected nature of all Gurus and Protective Deities and requests to grant siddhis” (attainments). Ordinary spirits cannot grant siddhis therefore in this prayer, Dalai Lama recognized Dorje Shugden as a superior being who can grant two types of siddhis. Ordinary and extra-ordinary siddhis. His Holiness surely could not be tricked by a spirit. His Holiness saw Dorje Shugden as a superior being embodying the gurus and Protective Deities who can grant two types of siddhis.

Tsem Rinpoche



A Propitiation of Mighty Gyalchen Dorje Shugden, Protector of Conqueror Manjusri Tsongkhapa’s Teachings

By the Supreme Victor, the Great 14th Dalai Lama


Glory of the wisdom, compassion and power of infinite Buddhas
Miraculously powerful protector of Manjusri Tsongkhapa’s Teachings
Arisen as a lord of all wrathful worldly hosts
Come from the abodes of Tushita, Kechara (Paradise or pure land), and so forth!

Prostrating with devotion of body, speech, and mind
I confess all mistakes and faults in which
Out of delusion, I have contradicted your holy mind:
Accept with forbearance and show your smiling face!

Arising from the sport of non-dual bliss and void
Are offerings and torma of flesh and blood heaped like a mountain
First portions of milk, yogurt, beer and tea swirling like the ocean
Auspicious signs and substances and various animals
Peaceful and wrathful ornaments, enemy-destroying weapons and armor
Amassed samaya substances, outer, inner, and secret, without exception!

Having fulfilled your heart commitment and purified degeneration
By making these actually arranged and visualized offerings
Increase Lozang the Victorious One’s Teachings
And the life span and activities of the Teachings’ upholders!
Further the happiness of beings in the Gaden [Podrang] dominion!

Especially pacify all harm to us, the yogis and entourages
That arises because of previous karma and immediate conditions
And spontaneously accomplish, just as we wish
All good things, both spiritual and temporal!

Grind to dust without remainder
Enemy hordes that think and act perversely
Towards the teachings and lay and ordained people
With potent, accurate, powerful great vajra fire!

Especially, cause the saffron-clad community of Dungkar Monastery
Brightly beautiful in bonds of pure morality
To soar the path of immortal liberation
On unified wings of Sutra and Tantra!

In brief, we enthrone you, O Deity, as the supreme
Collected nature of all Gurus and Protective Deities!
From densely gathered clouds of the four activities
Pour down a cool rain of the two siddhis!

This, A Propitiation of Mighty Gyalchen Dorje Shugden, Protector of Conqueror Manjusri Tsongkhapa’s Teachings, entitled Melody of the Unceasing Vajra ’s composition was urged, not only by the vajra prophecy of the great emanated Dharmapala himself, but also on behalf of the general community by the master of the Dungkar Dratsang and all of its officers, with offerings. Accordingly, the one called Holder Of The White Lotus, Bearer of the Buddhadharma, Ngawang Losang Tenzin Gyatso Sisum Wangyur Tsungpa Mepa De (14th Dalai Lama) composed it at Dungkar Monastery with spontaneous auspiciousness.

All benefit and bliss! Siddhi Rastu

Domo Geshe Rinpoche, at whose Dunkar Monastery His Holiness composed these inspiring verses, was one of the greatest Mahasiddhas in Tibetan history. A greater example of saintliness and, mind you, non-sectarian compassion would be hard to find. Kyabje Trijang Dorje Chang said of him, “We are exactly the same”, and Domo Geshe put his Monasteries in Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche’s care before he passed on. The 13th Dalai Lama praised him as Je Tsongkhapa incarnate. Both the 13th and the 14th Dalai Lama praised Dungkar Monastery’s oracle, through which they obtained very valuable advice in difficult times.

This prayer shows beyond the shadow of a doubt the enlightened origin and the “holy mind” of the King Protector as seen by His Holiness. No “ghost” can come from Tushita and Kechara, Maitreya and Vajrayogini’s pureland. No “ghost” can cause you to “soar the path of immortal liberation on unified wings of Sutra and Tantra”!

(Extracted from the internet)



This is the last picture of the His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama taken in Tibet prior to the cultural revolution. The year was 1951, His Holiness Dalai Lama was at Dungkar Gonpa (Dungkar Monastery), in the Chumbi Valley near the southern Tibetan border with Sikkim and Bhutan, poised for a possible flight to India.

Surrounded by many of his entourage and the Kalon who fled with him, His Holiness blesses a golden urn containing sacred relics of Gautama Buddha, which the Maha Bodhi Society of Sri Lanka has brought for him to sanctify. It was here at Dungkar Monastery of Domo Geshe Rinpoche’s, His Holiness Dalai Lama composed the prayer to Dorje Shugden.

(Extracted from the internet)

After Domo Geshe Rinpoche Ngawang Kalsang passed away in 1936, the Dungkar Monastery’s administration requested the central Tibetan government for permission to embalm his body. Although only the bodies of the Dalai Lamas and the Panchen Lamas were customarily embalmed and sealed in large stupas, the request was granted. The Regent Reting Rinpoche’s decree read, “In Southern Tibet, including Sikkim, etc., Domo Geshe Rinpoche’s activities were exactly like those of Je Tsong Khapa. In accordance, we will allow Rinpoche’s body to be preserved.” The holy stupa was consecrated in 1938 by Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche Dorje Chang and remained an object of veneration until it, along with the entire Dungkar Monastery, was destroyed in the Cultural Revolution.


Under the direction of Domo Geshe Rinpoche the Dungkar Monastery became the seat of the famous and respected Dorje Shugden oracle that was consulted by people from all over Tibet. At the crossroads between India and Tibet, Dungkar Monastery also became known as a stopping place for most Tibetan and foreign dignitaries who were on their way to and from Lhasa. Thus, Dungkar Monastery was open to international contact in a way that was unusual for Tibet at that time.

When His Holiness the Thirteenth Dalai Lama returned from India in 1912 he stopped in Domo area, and a meeting took place between His Holiness and Domo Geshe Rinpoche at Kangyur Lhakang in Galingkang. One morning His Holiness mentioned to his attendants that he expected a very special visitor that afternoon. That day Domo Geshe Rinpoche, who always looked like a simple monk, brought special delicacies to offer to His Holiness and spent a long time in private talks with him. In the evening, His Holiness asked his attendants if they had seen the very special person who had visited him in the afternoon. They said that they had only seen a monk in tattered robes. His Holiness replied, “That is too bad. I saw Je Tsong Khapa himself.”

Many years later, in the 1950s, the Dungkar Monastery twice hosted His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama and his government for extended periods of time. It was during these visits, the prayer to Dorje Shugden was composed by His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama.


The throne of Domo Geshe Rinpoche in Dungkar Monastery.


His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama at Dungkar Monastery or White Conch Shell Monastery.


This is the famous oracle of Dorje Shugden in Dungkar Monastery in full trance of  wrathful form of Dorje Shugden. Due to the blessings of Domo Geshe Rinpoche, this oracle was famous for his clear prophecies. People from all over Tibet, Mongolia and North India would travel to Dungkar Monastery to consult Dorje Shugden. Domo Geshe Rinpoche was a very devoted practitioner of Dorje Shugden, Tsongkapa, Vajra Yogini and Guru Rinpoche Padmasambhava. There was no conflicts. His Holiness the Dalai Lama had consulted this famous oracle of Dorje Shugden while staying in Dungkar Monastery. Because the words from Dorje Shugden was clear and concise and accurate, Dalai Lama developed great respect for Dorje Shugden and composed the special prayer.


This is the same oracle monk taking trance of the peaceful Dorje Shugden in Dungkar Monastery. When Dorje Shugden took trance in peaceful form, he can stay longer and speak more. In the wrathful form, the stay will not be long. Dulzin Dorje Shugden in peaceful form always wears the robes of a monk and pandit’s hat. Dorje Shugden’s previous lives as Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen, Dulzin Drakpa Gyeltsen etc. were great scholars hence in peaceful form he wore the robes of a monk and the pandit’s hat of a scholar.

In this form of trance, Dorje Shugden can give extensive Dharma talks lasting many hours quoting from scriptures without looking at any texts, do extensive rituals and even confer initiation. Even if the oracle monk out of trance was not learned, but in trance of Shugden, it was completely different. The oracular prophecies of Dorje Shugden were highly sought after whether in the wrathful or peaceful forms. This oracle was specially blessed and created by Domo Geshe Rinpoche in Dungkar Monastery.

Tsem Rinpoche


His Eminence the 1st Domo Geshe Rinpoche who built Dungkar Monastery.


His Eminence the 2nd Domo Geshe Rinpoche.


The 3rd and current incarnation of His Eminence Domo Geshe Rinpoche. This incarnation was both confirmed by the current Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche and Dorje Shugden oracle in trance.


World Peace Buddha and Protector Dorje Shugden


Here’s something extra, not only did the 14th Dalai Lama compose prayers to Dorje Shugden, but so did the Great 5th Dalai Lama!

His Holiness the 5th Dalai Lama


Prayer by the 5th Dalai Lama to Gyelchen Dorje Shugden


Though unmoving from the sphere of primordial spontaneity,
With wrathful turbulent power, swifter than lightning,
Endowed with heroic courage to judge good and bad,
I invite you with faith, please come to this place!

Robes of a monk, crown adorned with rhinocerous leather hat,
Right hand holds ornate club, left holds a human heart,
Riding various mounts such as nagas and garudas,
Who subdues the mamo’s of the charnal grounds, praise to you!

Samaya substances, offerings and torma, outer, inner and secret,
Favorite visual offerings and various objects are arranged.
Although, previously, my wishes were a bit dense,
Do not stop your powerful apparitions, I reveal and confess!

Now respectfully praising with body, speech, and mind,
For us, the masters, disciples, benefactors and entourages,
Provide the good and avert the bad!
Bring increase like the waxing moon in spiritual and temporal realms!

Moreover, swiftly accomplishing all wishes,
According to our prayers, bestow the supreme effortlessly!
And like the jewel that bestows all wishes,
Always protect us with the Three Jewels!

Even the composition of this short praise and propitiation brought benefit. Thus, although undisputed great Tantric masters tried to subdue him by burning him in the fire through their rituals, his display of miraculous power only grew greater. (from ‘Music Delighting the Oceans of Protectors’, page 105).

His Holiness the 5th Dalai Lama wrote this propitiation after realizing that Dorje Shugden was not a harmful spirit, as he had first assumed because of the disturbing appearances that manifested after Tulku Drakpa Gyaltsen’s death.

As Kyabje Trijang Dorje Chang explains, such displays as that of trying unsuccessfully to subdue the Dharmapala, serve to bring out the greatness in both the Dalai Lama and Dorje Shugden who, in the process, showed his having mastered Guhyasamaja’s two stages, amongst other signs.

The Great Fifth not only wrote this prayer, but even crafted a famous and still-existing statue of Dorje Shugden with his own hands.

His Holiness the 5th Dalai Lama composed prayers, and also made a statue of Dorje Shugden. The Dorje Shugden statue is now housed at Gaden Pelgyeling Monastery, Nepal. I had the fortune to have audience with this holy statue. Even the 5th Dalai Lama revered Dorje Shugden. The 5th Dalai Lama and 14th Dalai Lama are the same mindstreams and both are Avalokitesvara. In that case they cannot be mistaken if they see Dorje Shugden as a superior being and also composed prayers to Dorje Shugden. The 5th Dalai Lama also commissioned a chapel to be built in Lhasa dedicated to Dorje Shugden. This chapel still exists today and attracts thousands of pilgrims. It is called Trode Khangsar. I will blog about it in the near future.


Prayer to Dorje Shugden in Tibetan by the 14th Dalai Lama.


Prayer to Dorje Shugden in Tibetan by the 5th Dalai Lama.


…what’s new


This is my Guru His Eminence Tsem Tulku Rinpoche.  I like this pose and the message contained therein is very pertinent – “…just do what we know is right and pursue something virtuous for others…”

It has been very difficult for me, juggling with work, finances, family, and doing as much as I can to support my Guru’s work, which to be honest, is very minimal at the moment.

Ashamed – sometimes but I never give up the opportunity to share what I learned from my Guru and without Him, I would not be where I am today.  Rinpoche instilled a certain discipline in me and gave the confidence I required to conduct myself both in the spiritual and secular world.

People find the change in me.  Some think I am a little brash as times but at time, it is required to get the point forward. Time is running out for most people and it is pointless to ‘pussyfoot’ around, being ‘diplomatic’ when people don’t deserve the gentle treatment.

My point, I will always treasure my Guru and devoted to Him.  Rinpoche is a caring person and cares for everyone He comes across.  He thought me to love and care for others – though I am still clumsily fumbling my way through.  No, it is not my Guru’s fault I am slow.  I just am.  But with perseverence, I will one day achieve want I want to achieve.  To help spread the word of Lord Buddha through my Guru’s lineage. I am connected with my Guru, I am fortunate, I will not let that connection be broken, no matter what happens.


Wheel of Sharp Weapons

A Mahayana Training of the Mind

Wheel of Sharp WeaponsIn Tibetan “Theg-pa-chen-po’i-blo-sbyong-mtshon-cha-‘khor-lo”
By Dharmarakshita

The Wheel of Sharp Weapons, a basic text for the Mahayana training of the mind, was composed by the great yogi Dharmarakshita. It was brought to Tibet by the great Indian Pandit Atisha (982-1054) and was translated from Sanskrit into Tibetan by Atisha and his main disciple Upasaka Drom Tonpa.

The present English translation from the Tibetan text has been prepared by the Translation Bureau of the Library of Tibetan Works & Archives.


The name of this work is ‘The Wheel of Sharp Weapons
Effectively Striking the Heart of the Foe’.
I pay heartfelt homage to you, Yamantaka;
Your wrath is opposed to the Great Lord of Death.


In jungles of poisonous plants strut the peacocks,
Though medicine gardens of beauty lie near.
The masses of peacocks do not find gardens pleasant,
But thrive on the essence of poisonous plants.


In similar fashion, the brave Bodhisattvas
Remain in the jungle of worldly concern.
No matter how joyful this world’s pleasure gardens,
These brave ones are never attracted to pleasures,
But thrive in the jungle of suffering and pain.


We spend our whole life in the search for enjoyment,
Yet tremble with fear at the mere thought of pain;
Thus since we are cowards, we are miserable still.
But the brave Bodhisattvas accept suffering gladly
And gain from their courage a true lasting joy.


Now desire is the jungle of poisonous plants here.
Only brave ones, like peacocks, can thrive on such fare.
If cowardly beings, like crows, were to try it,
Because they are greedy, they might lose their lives.


How can someone who cherishes self more than others
Take lust and such dangerous poisons for food?
If he tried like a crow to use other delusions,
He would probably forfeit his chance for release.


And thus Bodhisattvas are likened to peacocks:
They live on delusions – those poisonous plants.
Transforming them into the essence of practice,
They thrive in the jungle of everyday life.
Whatever is presented they always accept,
While destroying the poison of clinging desire.


Uncontrollable wandering through rounds of existence
Is caused by our grasping at egos as real.
This ignorant attitude heralds the demon
Of selfish concern for our welfare alone:
We seek some security for our own egos;
We want only pleasure and shun any pain.
But now we must banish all selfish compulsion
And gladly take hardship for all others’ sake.


All of our sufferings derive from our habits
Of selfish delusions we heed and act out.
As all of us share in this tragic misfortune,
Which stems from our narrow and self-centred ways,
We must take all our sufferings and the miseries of others
And smother our wishes of selfish concern.


Should the impulse arise now to seek our own pleasure,
We must turn it aside to please others instead;
For even if loved ones should rise up against us,
We must blame our self-interest and feel it’s our due.


When our bodies are aching and racked with great torment
Of dreadful diseases we cannot endure,
This is the wheel of sharp weapons returning
Full circle upon us from wrongs we have done.
Till now we have injured the bodies of others;
Hereafter let’s take on what sickness is theirs.


Depressed and forlorn, when we feel mental anguish,
This is the wheel of sharp weapons returning
Full circle upon us from wrongs we have done.
Till now we have deeply disturbed minds of others;
Hereafter let’s take on this suffering ourselves.


When hunger or violent thirst overwhelms us,
This is the wheel of sharp weapons returning
Full circle upon us from wrongs we have done.
Till now we have kept what we had without sharing;
We have plundered and stolen and lured people on.
Hereafter let’s take from them hunger and thirst.


When we lack any freedom, but must obey others,
This is the wheel of sharp weapons returning
Full circle upon us from wrongs we have done.
Till now we have looked down upon those who were lowly
And used them as servants for our own selfish needs;
Hereafter let’s offer our service to others
With humble devotion of body and life.


When we hear only language that is foul and abusive,
This is the wheel of sharp weapons returning
Full circle upon us from wrongs we have done.
Till now we have said many things without thinking;
We have slandered and caused many friendships to end.
Hereafter let’s censure all thoughtless remarks.


When we are born in oppressive and wretched conditions,
This is the wheel of sharp weapons returning
Full circle upon us from wrongs we have done.
Till now we have always had a negative outlook –
We have criticised others, seeing only their flaws.
Hereafter let’s cultivate positive feelings
And view our surroundings as stainless and pure.


When we are parted from friends and from those who can help us,
This is the wheel of sharp weapons returning
Full circle upon us from wrongs we have done.
Till now we have taken the friends and good servants
Of others away, wanting them for ourselves;
Hereafter let’s never cause close friends to part.


When supreme holy gurus find us displeasing,
This is the wheel of sharp weapons returning
Full circle upon us from wrongs we have done.
Till now we have turned from the gurus and teachings,
Preferring the counsel of misleading friends;
Hereafter let’s end our dependent relations
With those who would turn us away from the path.


When unjustly we are blamed for the misdeeds of others,
And are falsely accused of flaws that we lack,
And are always the object of verbal abuse,
This is the wheel of sharp weapons returning
Full circle upon us from wrongs we have done.
Till now we have despised and belittled our gurus;
Hereafter let’s never accuse others falsely,
But give them full credit for virtues they have.


When the things we require for daily consumption
And use, fall apart or are wasted or spoilt,
This is the wheel of sharp weapons returning
Full circle upon us from wrongs we have done.
Till now we have been careless with others’ possessions;
Hereafter let’s give them whatever they need.


When our minds are unclear and our hearts are unhappy,
We are bored doing virtue but excited by vice,
This is the wheel of sharp weapons returning
Full circle upon us from wrongs we have done.
Till now we have led others to acts of non-virtue;
Hereafter let’s never provide the conditions
That rouse them to follow their negative traits.


When our minds are disturbed and we feel great frustration
That things never happen the way that we wish,
This is the wheel of sharp weapons returning
Full circle upon us from wrongs we have done.
Till now we have caused interfering disturbance
When others were focused on virtuous acts;
Hereafter let’s stop causing such interruption.


When nothing we do ever pleases our gurus,
This is the wheel of sharp weapons returning
Full circle upon us from wrongs we have done.
Till now with our gurus we have feigned pious manners,
But out of their presence have reverted to sin.
Hereafter let’s try to be less hypocritical
And take all the teachings sincerely to heart.


When others find fault with whatever we are doing
And people seem eager to blame only us,
This is the wheel of sharp weapons returning
Full circle upon us from wrongs we have done.
Till now we have been shameless, not caring about others,
We have thought that our deeds did not matter at all,
Hereafter let’s stop our offensive behaviour.


When our servants and friends are annoyed by our habits,
And after a while cannot stay in our homes,
This is the wheel of sharp weapons returning
Full circle upon us from wrongs we have done.
Till now we have imposed our bad habits on others;
Hereafter let’s change and show only kind ways.


When all who are close turn against us as enemies,
This is the wheel of sharp weapons returning
Full circle upon us from wrongs we have done.
Till now we have held grudges inside us with anger
With thoughts of sly methods to cause others pain;
Hereafter let’s try to have less affectation,
Nor pretend to be kind while we harbour base aims.


When we suffer from sickness and such interference,
Especially when gout has swollen our legs,
This is the wheel of sharp weapons returning
Full circle upon us from wrongs we have done.
Till now without shame and with no self-control
We have stolen or misused what others have given;
Hereafter let’s never take anything offered
To the Three Jewels of Refuge as if it were ours.


When strokes and diseases strike without warning,
This is the wheel of sharp weapons returning
Full circle upon us from wrongs we have done.
Till now we have broken our vowed words of honour;
Hereafter, let’s shun such non-virtuous deeds.


When our mind becomes clouded whenever we study,
This is the wheel of sharp weapons returning
Full circle upon us from wrongs we have done.
Till now we have thought that the study of Dharma
Lacked prime importance and could be ignored;
Hereafter let’s build up the habits of wisdom
To hear and to think about what Buddha taught.


When sleep overwhelms us while practising virtue,
This is the wheel of sharp weapons returning
Full circle upon us from wrongs we have done.
Till now we have gathered the causes for obstacles
Hindering our practice of virtuous acts.
(We have lacked all respect for the scriptural teachings;
We have sat on our books and left texts on the ground.
We have also looked down upon those with deep insight.)
Hereafter for the sake of our practice of Dharma
Let’s gladly endure all the hardships we meet.


When our mind wanders greatly and runs towards delusion,
This is the wheel of sharp weapons returning
Full circle upon us from wrongs we have done.
Till now we have neglected to meditate fully
On defects pervading this transient world;
Hereafter let’s work to renounce this existence
(And see the impermanent nature of things).


When all our affairs, both religious and worldly,
Run into trouble and fall into ruin,
This is the wheel of sharp weapons returning
Full circle upon us from wrongs we have done.
Till now we have felt cause and effect could be slighted;
Hereafter let’s practise with patience and strength.


When rites we perform never seem to be fruitful,
This is the wheel of sharp weapons returning
Full circle upon us from wrongs we have done.
Till now we have relied on the gods of this world
Or on unskilful actions to bring us relief;
Hereafter let’s turn in another direction
And leave our non-virtuous actions behind.


When none of the wishes we make reach fulfilment,
Although we have made prayers to the Three Precious Gems,
This is the wheel of sharp weapons returning
Full circle upon us from wrongs we have done.
Till now we have had an imperfect commitment
To Buddha whose teachings deserve complete trust;
Hereafter let’s place our exclusive reliance
On Buddha, his teachings and those in his fold.


When prejudice, polio or strokes have us crippled
And external forces or harm rise against us,
This is the wheel of sharp weapons returning
Full circle upon us from wrongs we have done.
Till now we have collected vast stores of non-virtue
By breaking our vows and offending protectors
In our practice from guru-devotion to Tantra;
Hereafter let’s banish all prejudiced views.


When we lack all control over where we must travel
And always must wander like waifs with no home,
This is the wheel of sharp weapons returning
Full circle upon us from wrongs we have done.
Till now we have disturbed holy gurus and others
And forced them to move from their homes or their seats;
Hereafter let’s never cause others disturbance
By evicting them cruelly from where they reside.


When the crops in our fields are continually plagued
By drought, floods and hailstones, insects and frost,
This is the wheel of sharp weapons returning
Full circle upon us from wrongs we have done.
Till now we have failed to honour our pledges;
Hereafter let’s keep all our moral vows pure.


When we are poor, yet are filled with much greed and desire,
This is the wheel of sharp weapons returning
Full circle upon us from wrongs we have done.
Till now we have been misers, reluctant to share.
The offerings we have made to the Three Jewels were meagre;
Hereafter let’s give with a generous heart.


When our bodies are ugly and others torment us
By mocking our flaws, never showing respect,
This is the wheel of sharp weapons returning
Full circle upon us from wrongs we have done.
Till now we have made images lacking in beauty,
By venting our anger, we have made ugly scenes;
Hereafter let’s print books and make pleasing statues,
And not be short-tempered, but be of good cheer.


When attachment and anger disturb and upset us
No matter how much we may try to suppress them,
This is the wheel of sharp weapons returning
Full circle upon us from wrongs we have done.
Till now we have held on to the improper outlook,
Stubbornly cherishing only ourselves;
Hereafter let’s uproot self-interest completely.


When success in our practices always eludes us,
This is the wheel of sharp weapons returning
Full circle upon us from wrongs we have done.
Till now, deep within, we have clung to our ego,
Fully immersed in self-cherishing ways;
Hereafter let’s dedicate all of the virtuous
Actions we do, so that others may thrive.


When our mind is untamed though we act with great virtue,
This is the wheel of sharp weapons returning
Full circle upon us from wrongs we have done.
Till now we have engaged in those worldly ambitions
That aim at success for ourselves in this life;
Hereafter let’s work with pure one-pointed effort
To nourish the wish to gain freedom’s far shore.


When after we do any virtuous action
We feel deep regret or we doubt its effect,
This is the wheel of sharp weapons returning
Full circle upon us from wrongs we have done.
Till now we have been fickle and, stirred by base motives,
Have courted only those who have power or wealth;
Hereafter let’s act with complete self-awareness,
Exerting great care in the way we make friends.


When those with ambition repay trusting friendship
By luring us on with their devious schemes,
This is the wheel of sharp weapons returning
Full circle upon us from wrongs we have done.
Till now from ambition we have acted with arrogance,
Hereafter let’s dampen our self-centred pride.


When the force of attraction or that of repulsion
Colours whatever we hear or we say,
This is the wheel of sharp weapons returning
Full circle upon us from wrongs we have done.
Till now we have ignored what has caused all our troubles:
The mass of delusion that dwells in our heart;
Hereafter let’s try to abandon all hindrances –
Note their arisal, examine them well.


When no matter how well-meant our actions towards others,
They always elicit a hostile response,
This is the wheel of sharp weapons returning
Full circle upon us from wrongs we have done.
Till now we have repaid loving-kindness with malice;
Hereafter let’s always accept others’ favours
Both graciously and with most humble respect.


In short then, whenever unfortunate sufferings
We haven’t desired crash upon us like thunder,
This is the same as the smith who had taken
His life with a sword he had fashioned himself.
Our suffering is the wheel of sharp weapons returning
Full circle upon us from wrongs we have done.
Hereafter let’s always have care and awareness
Never to act in non-virtuous ways.


All of the sufferings that we have endured
In the lives we have led in the three lower states,
As well as our pains of the present and future,
Are the same as the case of the forger of arrows
Who later was killed by an arrow he had made.
Our suffering is the wheel of sharp weapons returning
Full circle upon us from wrongs we have done.
Hereafter let’s always have care and awareness
Never to act in non-virtuous ways.


When the troubles and worries of family life grieve us,
This is the same as the case of a child,
Who was cared for with love, later killing his parents.
Our suffering is the wheel of sharp weapons returning
Full circle upon us from wrongs we have done.
Hereafter it is fitting in all of our lifetimes
For us to live purely as monks or as nuns.


As it’s true what I have said about self-centred interest,
I recognise clearly my enemy now.
I recognise clearly the bandit who plunders,
The liar who lures by pretending he is part of me;
Oh what relief that I have conquered this doubt!


And so Yamantaka, spin round with great power
The wheel of sharp weapons of good actions now.
Three times turn it round, in your wrathful-like aspect –
Your legs set apart for the two grades of truth,
With your eyes blazing open for wisdom and means.


Baring your fangs of the four great opponents,
Devour the foe – our cruel selfish concern!
With your powerful mantra of cherishing others,
Demolish this enemy lurking within!


Frantically running through life’s tangled jungle,
We are chased by sharp weapons of wrongs we have done
Returning upon us; we are out of control.
This sly, deadly villain – the selfishness in us,
Deceiving ourselves and all others as well –
Capture him, capture him, fierce Yamantaka,
Summon this enemy, bring him forth now!


Batter him, batter him, rip out the heart
Of our grasping for ego, our love for ourselves!
Trample him, trample him, dance on the head
Of this treacherous concept of selfish concern!
Tear out the heart of this self-centred butcher
Who slaughters our chance to gain final release!


Hum! Hum! Show all your powers, O mighty protector.
Dza! Dza! Tie up this enemy; do not let him loose.
P’a! P’a! Set us free by your might, O great Lord over Death.
Cut! Cut! Break the knot of self-interest that binds us inside.


Appear Yamantaka, O wrathful protector;
I have further entreaties to make of you still.
This sack of five poisons, mistakes and delusions,
Drags us down in the quicksand of life’s daily toil –
Cut it off, cut it off, rip it to shreds!


We are drawn to the sufferings of miserable rebirths,
Yet mindless of pain, we go after its cause.
Trample him, trample him, dance on the head
Of this treacherous concept of selfish concern.
Tear out the heart of this self-centred butcher
Who slaughters our chance to gain final release.


We have high expectations of speedy attainments,
Yet do not wish to work at the practice involved.
We have many fine projects we plan to accomplish,
Yet none of them ever are done in the end.
Trample him, trample him, dance on the head
Of this treacherous concept of selfish concern.
Tear out the heart of this self-centred butcher
Who slaughters our chance to gain final release.


Our wish to be happy is strong at all times,
Yet we do not gather merit to yield this result.
We have little endurance for hardship and suffering,
Yet ruthlessly push for the things we desire.
Trample him, trample him, dance on the head
Of this treacherous concept of selfish concern.
Tear out the heart of this self-centred butcher
Who slaughters our chance to gain final release.


With comparative ease, we develop new friendships,
Yet since we are callous, not one of them lasts.
We are filled with desire for food and fine clothing,
Yet failing to earn them, we steal and we scheme.
Trample him, trample him, dance on the head
Of this treacherous concept of selfish concern.
Tear out the heart of this self-centred butcher
Who slaughters our chance to gain final release.


We are experts at flattering others for favours,
Yet always complaining, we are sad and depressed.
The money we have gathered we cannot bear to part with;
Like misers we hoard it and feel we are poor.
Trample him, trample him, dance on the head
Of this treacherous concept of selfish concern.
Tear out the heart of this self-centred butcher
Who slaughters our chance to gain final release.


We have done very little to benefit someone,
Yet always remind him how much we have done.
We have never accomplished a thing in our lifetime
Yet, boasting and bragging, we are filled with conceit.
Trample him, trample him, dance on the head
Of this treacherous concept of selfish concern.
Tear out the heart of this self-centred butcher
Who slaughters our chance to gain final release.


We have many great masters and teachers to guide us,
Yet, shirking our duty, ignore what they teach.
We have many disciples, yet do not ever help them;
We cannot be bothered to give them advice.
Trample him, trample him, dance on the head
Of this treacherous concept of selfish concern.
Tear out the heart of this self-centred butcher
Who slaughters our chance to gain final release.


We promise to do many glorious deeds,
Yet in practice we give others minimal help.
Our spiritual fame has been spread far and wide,
Yet inwardly all of our thoughts are repulsive
Not only to gods, but to demons and ghosts.
Trample him, trample him, dance on the head
Of this treacherous concept of selfish concern.
Tear out the heart of this self-centred butcher
Who slaughters our chance to gain final release.


We have read very little, heard only a few teachings,
Yet talk with authority expertly on voidness.
Our knowledge of scriptures is pitifully lacking,
Yet glibly we make up and say what we like.
Trample him, trample him, dance on the head
Of this treacherous concept of selfish concern.
Tear out the heart of this self-centred butcher
Who slaughters our chance to gain final release.


We have many attendants and people around us,
Yet no one obeys us nor heeds what we say.
We feel we have friends in positions of power,
Yet should we need help, we are left on our own.
Trample him, trample him, dance on the head
Of this treacherous concept of selfish concern.
Tear out the heart of this self-centred butcher
Who slaughters our chance to gain final release.


We have gained lofty status and ranks of prestige.
Yet our knowledge is poorer than that of a ghost.
We are considered great gurus, yet even the demons
Do not harbour such hatred or clinging desire
Or as closed-minded an outlook as we seem to have.
Trample him, trample him, dance on the head
Of this treacherous concept of selfish concern.
Tear out the heart of this self-centred butcher
Who slaughters our chance to gain final release.


We talk about theories and the most advanced teachings,
Yet our everyday conduct is worse than a dog’s.
We are learned, intelligent, versed in great knowledge,
Yet cast to the wind wisdom’s ethical base.
Trample him, trample him, dance on the head
Of this treacherous concept of selfish concern.
Tear out the heart of this self-centred butcher
Who slaughters our chance to gain final release.


We have selfish desires and horrible anger
Which fester inside us, we would never admit;
Yet without provocation we criticise others
And self-righteously charge them with faults we possess.
Trample him, trample him, dance on the head
Of this treacherous concept of selfish concern.
Tear out the heart of this self-centred butcher
Who slaughters our chance to gain final release.


We wear robes of saffron, yet seek our protection
And refuge in spirits and gods of this world.
We have promised to keep solemn vows of strict morals,
Yet our actions accord with the demons’ foul ways.
Trample him, trample him, dance on the head
Of this treacherous concept of selfish concern.
Tear out the heart of this self-centred butcher
Who slaughters our chance to gain final release.


Our pleasure and happiness come from the Buddhas,
The gurus, the teachings, and those who live by them,
Yet still we make offerings to ghosts and the spirits.
All of our guidance derives from the teachings,
And yet we deceive those who give this advice.
Trample him, trample him, dance on the head
Of this treacherous concept of selfish concern.
Tear out the heart of this self-centred butcher
Who slaughters our chance to gain final release.


We seek to have homes in monastic seclusion
Yet, drawn by distractions, we venture to town.
Discourses we hear teach us most noble practice,
Yet we spend all our time telling fortunes with dice.
Trample him, trample him, dance on the head
Of this treacherous concept of selfish concern.
Tear out the heart of this self-centred butcher
Who slaughters our chance to gain final release.


We give up monks’ vows, the true path to gain freedom;
We would rather be married, have children and homes.
We cast to the wind this rare chance to be happy,
And pursue further suffering, more problems and woes.
Trample him, trample him, dance on the head
Of this treacherous concept of selfish concern.
Tear out the heart of this self-centred butcher
Who slaughters our chance to gain final release.


Discarding our practice to reach liberation,
We drift about searching for pleasure or trade.
We have obtained human bodies with precious endowments,
Yet use them to gain only hellish rebirths.
Trample him, trample him, dance on the head
Of this treacherous concept of selfish concern.
Tear out the heart of this self-centred butcher
Who slaughters our chance to gain final release.


Ignoring effects that the teachings can bring us,
We travel on business for profit and gain.
Leaving behind all our gurus’ wise lectures,
We tour different places in search of some fun.
Trample him, trample him, dance on the head
Of this treacherous concept of selfish concern.
Tear out the heart of this self-centred butcher
Who slaughters our chance to gain final release.


We hoard what we have, never willing to use it,
And leech all our food and our clothing from friends.
We leave aside wealth from our father’s inheritance,
Taking from others as much as we can.
Trample him, trample him, dance on the head
Of this treacherous concept of selfish concern.
Tear out the heart of this self-centred butcher
Who slaughters our chance to gain final release.


It’s amazing how little endurance we have
To do meditation, and yet we pretend
To have gained special powers so others are fooled.
We never catch up with the paths of deep wisdom,
Yet run here and there in needless great haste.
Trample him, trample him, dance on the head
Of this treacherous concept of selfish concern.
Tear out the heart of this self-centred butcher
Who slaughters our chance to gain final release.


Someone gives us advice from the depths of his heart,
Which is for our own good, but is harsh to our ears,
And with anger we view him as if he is our foe.
Yet when someone without any true feelings for us
Deceitfully tells us what we like to hear,
Without taste or discernment we are kind in return.
Trample him, trample him, dance on the head
Of this treacherous concept of selfish concern.
Tear out the heart of this self-centred butcher
Who slaughters our chance to gain final release.


When others consider us close and dear friends
And relate in strict confidence all they know,
We disclose their deep secrets especially to their foes.
When we have a good friend who is constantly with us,
We locate his weak points so we can torment him.
Trample him, trample him, dance on the head
Of this treacherous concept of selfish concern.
Tear out the heart of this self-centred butcher
Who slaughters our chance to gain final release.


Our jealousy is strong and whatever is said
We are always the sceptic, we doubt what is meant.
We are fussy, bad-tempered and hard to get on with,
Inflicting obnoxious behaviour on others.
Trample him, trample him, dance on the head
Of this treacherous concept of selfish concern.
Tear out the heart of this self-centred butcher
Who slaughters our chance to gain final release.


When someone requests us to do something for him,
We are never obliging, but think up instead
Clever devious methods to do him some harm.
When others concede and agree with our viewpoint,
We do not acquiesce – we argue still more.
Trample him, trample him, dance on the head
Of this treacherous concept of selfish concern.
Tear out the heart of this self-centred butcher
Who slaughters our chance to gain final release.


We do not pay attention to what others tell us;
We are a trial to be with; we strain others’ nerves.
Our feelings are hurt at the slightest remark,
And we hold grudges strongly – we never forgive.
Trample him, trample him, dance on the head
Of this treacherous concept of selfish concern.
Tear out the heart of this self-centred butcher
Who slaughters our chance to gain final release.


We always are jealous of those of great status;
We feel holy gurus are threats to avoid.
Overwhelmed by attachment and ruled by our passions,
We spend all our time lusting after young loves.
Trample him, trample him, dance on the head
Of this treacherous concept of selfish concern.
Tear out the heart of this self-centred butcher
Who slaughters our chance to gain final release.


We do not think of friendships as long-term commitments,
We treat old companions with thoughtless neglect.
And when we are making new friends with a stranger,
We try to impress him with grandiose ways.
Trample him, trample him, dance on the head
Of this treacherous concept of selfish concern.
Tear out the heart of this self-centred butcher
Who slaughters our chance to gain final release.


We lack clairvoyance, yet lie, feigning powers,
And then when proved wrong, we must bear all complaints.
We have little compassion for those who are near us;
Whenever they blunder, we are quick to lash out.
Trample him, trample him, dance on the head
Of this treacherous concept of selfish concern.
Tear out the heart of this self-centred butcher
Who slaughters our chance to gain final release.


We have poor education and limited knowledge;
Whenever we speak we are unsure of ourselves.
Our learning in scriptural texts is so meagre,
When hearing new teachings we doubt they are true.
Trample him, trample him, dance on the head
Of this treacherous concept of selfish concern.
Tear out the heart of this self-centred butcher
Who slaughters our chance to gain final release.


By making a habit of anger and passion,
We come to despise everyone that we meet;
And by making a habit of jealous resentment,
We ascribe fruits to others, disclaiming their worth.
Trample him, trample him, dance on the head
Of this treacherous concept of selfish concern.
Tear out the heart of this self-centred butcher
Who slaughters our chance to gain final release.


We do not follow proper procedures of study;
We say it is needless to read the vast texts.
We feel there is no value in learning from gurus;
We slight oral teachings and think we know best.
Trample him, trample him, dance on the head
Of this treacherous concept of selfish concern.
Tear out the heart of this self-centred butcher
Who slaughters our chance to gain final release.


We fail to explain what the ‘Three Baskets” teach’,
But instead dwell on theories we have made up ourselves.
We lack deep conviction and faith in the teachings,
Whatever we say leaves disciples confused.
Trample him, trample him, dance on the head
Of this treacherous concept of selfish concern.
Tear out the heart of this self-centred butcher
Who slaughters our chance to gain final release.


We do not despise actions unwise and immoral,
Instead we dispute and attempt to pick flaws
In the excellent teachings and great masters’ works.
Trample him, trample him, dance on the head
Of this treacherous concept of selfish concern.
Tear out the heart of this self-centred butcher
Who slaughters our chance to gain final release.


We are never embarrassed when acting disgracefully,
Only respectable deeds cause us shame.
Trample him, trample him, dance on the head
Of this treacherous concept of selfish concern.
Tear out the heart of this self-centred butcher
Who slaughters our chance to gain final release.


All the things we should do we do not do even once,
For improper behaviour takes up all our time.
Trample him, trample him, dance on the head
Of this treacherous concept of selfish concern.
Tear out the heart of this self-centred butcher
Who slaughters our chance to gain final release.


O mighty destroyer of selfishness-demons.
With body of wisdom unchained from all bonds,
Yamantaka, come brandish your skull-headed bludgeon
Of egoless wisdom of voidness and bliss.
Without any misgivings now wield your fierce weapon
And wrathfully swing it three times round your head.


With all of your fierceness come smash this foul enemy!
Burst ego-concepts with your wisdom’s great might!
With your boundless compassion protect us from suffering
The miseries caused by our self-centred actions;
Destroy our self-cherishing once and for all!


With all of the sufferings that others experience,
Smother completely our selfish concern.
The sufferings of others arise from five poisons;
Thus whichever delusion afflicts other beings
Take it to smother delusions of self.


Though we have not a doubt, for we recognise fully
The cause and the root of mistakes we all make,
If there is still left a part of our minds that would tend
To support this delusion of self that we have,
Then destroy the firm hold of this part of our minds
That, against our true wishes, makes fools of us still.


As all that is wrong can be traced to one source –
Our concern for ourselves whom we cherish the most –
We must meditate now on the kindness of others.
Accepting the suffering that they never wished for,
We must dedicate fully our virtues to all.


Thus accepting ourselves all deluded non-virtuous
Actions that others have done in the past,
In the present and future with mind, speech and body,
May delusions of others as well as our own
Be the favoured conditions to gain our enlightenment,
Just as the peacocks eat poison and thrive.


As crows may be cured after swallowing poison
By a powerful antidote given in time,
Let’s direct to all others our virtuous merit,
That this may replenish their chances for freedom –
May all sentient beings reach Buddhahood soon!


Till the time when all motherly beings and I
Gain the perfect conditions for us to be Buddhas,
Though the force of our actions may cause us to wander
Through various realms in the six rebirth states,
May we always be able to help one another
To keep our aim fixed on enlightenment’s shore.


Then for even the sake of but one sentient being
May we gladly take birth in the three lower states.
With enlightening conduct that never grows weak
May we lead all the beings in miserable rebirths
Out of their sufferings and causes for pain.


As soon as we have placed ourselves into their realm
May the guards of the hells come to see us as gurus.
May the weapons of torture they hold turn to flowers;
May all harm be stilled – peace and happiness grow.


Then may even hell beings develop clairvoyance
And take higher rebirths as men or as gods.
By developing strongly the wish to be Buddhas,
May they pay back our kindness through heeding the teachings
And regard us as gurus with confident trust.


Then may all sentient beings of the three higher rebirths
Perfect meditation on egolessness.
In this way may they realise the non-self-existence
Of worldly involvement and freedom as well.
May they place concentration on both of these equally,
Seeing their natures as equally void.


If we practise these methods we shall soon overcome
Our true enemies: selfish concern and self-love.
If we practise these methods we shall overcome also
False concepts of ego we hold to be real.
Thus by joint meditation on egolessness
And on non-dual wisdom of voidness and bliss,
How can anyone not gain the causes to win
A Buddha’s physical body and its fruit, Buddhahood?


O mind, understand that the topics discussed here
Are interdependent phenomena all;
For things must rely on dependent arising
To have an existence – they cannot stand alone.
The process of change is alluring like magic,
For physical form is but mental appearance,
As a torch whirling round seems a circle of flame.


There is nothing substantial to anyone’s life-force –
It crumbles apart like a water-soaked log;
And there is nothing substantial to anyone’s life span –
It bursts in an instant like bubbles of foam.
All the things of this world are but fog-like appearance;
When closely examined, they fade out of sight.
Like mirages these things at a distance seem lovely,
But when we come closer, they are not to be found.


All things are like images found in a mirror,
And yet we imagine they are real, very real;
All things are like mist or like clouds on a mountain,
And yet we imagine they are stable and firm.
Our foe: our insistence on ego-identities
Truly our own, which we wish were secure,
And our butcher: the selfish concern for ourselves –
Like all things these appear to be truly existent,
Though they never have been truly existent at all.


Although they appear to be concrete and real,
They have never been real, anytime, anywhere.
They are not things we should burden with ultimate value,
Nor should we deny them their relative truth.
As our grasping for egos and love for ourselves
Lack substantial foundations with true independence,
How can they yield acts that exist by themselves?
And then how can this cruel vicious circle of suffering,
The fruit of these actions, be real from its core?


Although all things thus lack inherent existence,
Yet just as the face of the moon can be seen
In a cup of clear water reflecting its image,
The various aspects of cause and effect
Appear in this relative world as reflections.
So please, in this world of appearances only,
Let’s always be sure what we do is of virtue
And shun all those acts that would cause us great pain.


When our bodies are charred in a horrible nightmare
By the world-ending flames of a stellar explosion,
Although this ordeal is not actually happening,
We nevertheless feel great terror and scream.
In similar fashion, unfortunate rebirths
In hells or as ghosts are not actually real,
And yet we can fully experience their pain.
Thus fearing such suffering as burning alive,
We must cease all these actions that yield this result.


When our minds are delirious, burning with fever,
Although there is no darkness, we feel we are plummeting
Further and further into a black pit
With the walls pressing closer the deeper we fall.
In similar fashion, although our dark ignorance
Lacks self-existence, we nevertheless
Must by all means break out of its strangling constriction
By putting the three kinds of wisdom to use.


When musicians are playing a beautiful melody,
Should we examine the sound they are making
We would see that it does not exist by itself.
But when we are not making our formal analysis,
Still there is a beautiful tune to be heard,
Which is merely a label on notes and on players
That is why lovely music can lighten sad hearts.


When we closely examine effects and their causes,
We see that they both lack inherent existence –
They cannot stand alone, either whole or apart,
Yet there seem to exist independently rising
And falling events, which, in fact, are conditioned
By various forces, components and parts.
It is this very level on which we experience
Birth and our death and whatever life brings.
So please, in this world of appearances only,
Let’s always be sure what we do is of virtue
And shun all those acts that would cause us great pain.


When a vase has been filled by the dripping of water,
The first drops themselves did not fill it alone;
Nor was it made full by the last several drops.
It was filled by an interdependent collection
Of causes and forces that came all together –
The water, the pourer, the vase and such things.


It is precisely the same when we come to experience
Pleasure and pain: the results of our past.
Effects never come from the first causal actions,
Nor do they arise from the last several acts.
Both pleasure and pain come from interdependent
Collections of forces and causes combined.
So please, in this world of appearances only,
Let’s always be sure what we do is of virtue
And shun all those acts that would cause us great pain.


When not making formal dissections with logic,
Merely letting life’s happenings flow freely on,
Although we experience feelings of pleasure,
In ultimate truth, this appearance of happiness
Lacks self-existence inherently real.
And yet on the everyday operative level
This seeming appearance has relative truth.
To understand fully this deep profound meaning
For slow-minded persons, alas, will be hard.


And now, when we try to do close contemplation
On voidness, how can we have even a feeling
Of conventional truth at the very same time?
Yet what can there be that has true self-existence?
And what can there be that lacks relative truth?
How can anyone anywhere believe in such things?


Just as objects of voidness are non-self-existent,
The voidness of objects itself is the same.
The shunning of vice and the practice of virtue
Are likewise devoid of all mental constructions
That they are independent, self-contained acts.
In fact, on the whole, they are lacking completely
All mental projections and all pre-conceptions.
Thus, if we can focus our clear concentration
On voidness without our mind wandering astray,
Then truly we shall come to be wondrous beings
With a deep understanding of the most profound void.


By practising this way the two Bodhicittas
Of the ultimate and the conventional truth,
And thus by completing without interference
Collections of insight and merit as well,
May all of us quickly attain full enlightenment
Granting what we and all others have wished.


‘The Wheel of Sharp Weapons Effectively Striking the Heart of the Foe’ was composed by the great Yogi Dharmarakshita in his retreat in the jungle where many fierce animals prey. What this great yogi, the possessor of vast scriptural knowledge, the full powers of logic and deep profound insight has written here is the essence of the teachings of all his holy gurus. He always practised in accordance with this essence in his fearsome jungle retreat during the degenerate age in which he lived.

From among his many disciples, Dharmarakshita transmitted these teachings to Atisha (982-1054); and Atisha practised them wherever he traveled in order to tame those who were most wild. When Atisha developed true insight into the two Bodhichittas through these teachings, he composed the following verses:

I went through much hardship abandoning royalty,
But, by collecting much virtuous merit,
I met my true guru, Dharmarakshita.
By showing me these supreme nectar-like teachings,
He has granted me sovereignty over my mind;
So that now I have attained all the forceful opponents,
Having memorised fully these words he has taught.

Although I do not favour a partisan viewpoint –
Whenever I study the various teachings
I always make efforts to broaden my wisdom
To see boundless wonders in every tradition –
Yet I have to admit that these teachings especially
Have been of great help in this age of decay.

From among his many unimaginably great disciples in both India and Tibet, Atisha transmitted these teachings to Upasaka Drom Tonpa, who had been prophesied to be his most fitting disciple by many of Atisha’s meditational deities such as Tara. Atisha transmitted these teachings to Drom Tonpa in order to pacify the minds of the disciples of remote Tibet who were difficult to tame.

This work has been translated from Sanskrit into Tibetan by the fatherly Atisha himself and his spiritual son Drom Tonpa.


Do you want to hear the truth? His Eminence Tsem Tulku Rinpoche

Some people spend their time helping others, taking care of others, assisting others, spending for others. They use their mind, intelligence, time, care, resourcefulness and abilities to help others. THIS IS AMAZING. They do it without wanting credit and give credit away. These people have found the magic alchemy of life. The elixir that transforms our lives into something with meaning. Visualize yourself on the moon staring back at earth and then try to find the miniscule dot that is you. Do this daily whether you are religious or not. See how your mind will think over time. Remember, that is you and that is all. Your life can be snuffed out so easily. You are tiny, but your wants and feelings are over-projected to massive blinding illusory importance. This is a delusion we blindly follow like a moth to flames. Don’t be so wrapped up in it. Old age, disease, problems, disasters, death, disappointments are always around the corner because we have the causes created for it. This is not being negative, but truthful. Life is lived well when pain has been realized. Cannot avoid pain so we must realize it, face and see the true source of the pain. But we can decrease the effects of pain with doing good works. Don’t blame others for what your karma brought you because it brings more karma to you to suffer and those you blame won’t even be around for the next round for you to blame. Blame karma not others. And you created the karma. Remember that always and daily. Don’t blame others for what karma brought you. Why? Because your blame will bring more karma and the cycle does not end.

Anger is a sign of deep dissatisfaction with ourselves that our selfish aims are not accomplished. Selfishness is the real enemy. Everyone else is just a bystander. Selfishness and its pursuits will be everyone’s downfall and this is just the truth of human existence and we cannot avoid this. No one has avoided it and if we think we are the magician who can “abracadabra” this away, go ahead and try. Greater men have tried and fallen. Selfishness is the real enemy and this is across the board. Embrace and change. Or avoid and attract more pain.

Some spend their lives going on endless trips, self indulgences, fun, food, spending money on themselves only and endlessly social media about this. They glorify nothing but only the banal and mundane. The mundane becomes the creation of a false garden of Eden each time they glorify it they think or hope. What they glorify is the illusions which gets bigger and makes the fall bigger in the end. They do this over and over and even collect ‘fans’ who like and share their posts because they know no better also. They are not bad as they know not what they follow. It’s like someone with HIV knowingly and spreading it to people who have no idea what it is and practice copulation in ways that transmit to them. They glorify the process of transmission and the ignorant follow along. But in the end the ones who are ignorant followed the Pied Piper into the river and drown. These selfish beings who self indulge and glorify it sometimes want glory, name, position and to look good too. They want the name and glory without the long hours and hard work. They demote and eloquently degrade the hard works of others and commitment they have to put in to achieve something good and lasting. And when they cannot keep up, they need to further insult those who continue and justify their leaving or non participation. Leaving is fine, but be truthful. When they make mistakes, they want you to not speak about it and they never improve because of this hiding. They want everyone to bow to them and to live in a world they never look bad although they look terrible but it’s unspoken. As if though if not spoken, it does not exist. They are nice to the rich and powerful and snap at those they feel are below them or will take their unkindness. They spend more time being forgiving and kind to the wealthy as if suddenly their tolerance level has reached beyond the summit of the Himalayas. But to those around them, they are impatient. They affect the people around them negatively. They affect their partners, friends, children, relatives and parents negatively. They are temperamental and fly off the handle instantly if they don’t get what they want. It’s always about them and them alone. Everyone must surround them and coax them to be ‘happy’ again. To beg for their forgiveness. And when in their bad moods, no sense can be spoken to them. They quit, slam the door, run and escape. It is ALWAYS everyone else’s fault. What they owe you and what they have received from you in good times evaporates faster than a drop of water in the Sahara. As if you have never done anything good for them. They will endlessly tell the whole world it’s someone else’s fault. That will only work a few times though. They EVEN BLAME YOU FOR THEIR ANGER AND WILL WANT FACE TO COVER THEIR BAD BEHAVIOUR when they’ve ‘calmed’ down finally! People around them must bow to them they feel. Because they never humble themselves to anyone for now but a day of reckoning will come. They will run out of people who tolerate them. You see, they are always right and everyone is wrong because they are divine or something or perhaps Manjushri. These people are actually the most unhappy people in the world and over time you can observe this. You see, no one can be happy always under the illusions they are perfect, without fault and everyone must kowtow to them. Being inconsistent, giving up, temperamental, spoiled, laziness and wanting name and glory without much work spices the soup of anger. They have much hidden anger which is their downfall and the truth they avoid. Anger which arises from the selfish mind accumulated from years. Being selfish may be an ugly word, but do you want to hear the truth? With truth something can be done.

And when their anger spells are over, they want to pretend nothing has happened. They don’t apologize or half heartedly do so… Be warned, these types of people lose the most precious commodity in life – FRIENDSHIP AND TRUE LOVE/CARE. What else is there in life??? In the end, money, position, power and beauty will win no one but only users. See examples of people in your life past and present who ‘have it’ or ‘had it’ and at the same time have nothing in their lives…..People go away from them. They attract like-minded people to enjoy their selfishness. They just use each other. In the end, they are alone, broken, hating themselves. Let them dance and show you what a good time they are having but the music does stop. Old, sick and just waiting for death alone because their lives were used for nothing. Even having money becomes a curse and not blessing as people wait for them to die to get the money and possessions. Every meeting with ‘loved’ ones and friends is painful because it’s rare that because of love they visit you. They live in anger, wake up in anger, sleep in anger, eat in anger, smile with anger, think in anger, look good in anger, travel in anger, shower with anger, go to parties with anger, study with anger, pay bills with anger, and basically the anger consumes them. Everything they do is to get attention they are dying for and when they get some attention, their anger gets more because it’s never enough. They are feeding a huge monster that just keeps growing. Anger is a monster and wanting credit and attention feeds it. Selfishness is anger’s best fodder too. They abandon those who have been kind, loving and caring to them easily. These people don’t deserve their sufferings but being angry and lashing out and desiring only things that benefit oneself will create the karma to experience this. They will keep experiencing this. Anger can be loud or quiet. It can come with a smile and the person can speak softly. But it will manifest over time because of their total unhappiness with themselves and they will ruin your world and existence if they can knowingly and unknowingly.

You may feel karma doesn’t really exist or not sure, then you explain the disparities in the world and around you. You can explain the disparity within your own experience of your life. To exist in selfish mind, is to create the karma and attract all that anger attracts which is doom for the self. To exist in selfishness will only attract anger. Because in time all the selfish pursuits will be slowed down or stopped due to loss of friends, sickness, old age and maybe running out of people and money. But the habits don’t die. The longing does not die. Having the habits and not the means to carry out the selfish pursuits will result in more anger, more bitterness and more blame to others. But now we are older or old and no one will take it. So all that we had to ‘attract’ others that had them tolerate our outbursts, selfishness will fade, but our longing for attention, ‘fun’, selfish pursuits will not and that is the suffering. The suffering is the longing that does not die and we made solid by habituations. The suffering of change. The suffering of impermanence. In life if all we’ve cultivated was selfish pursuits and fun, then we will experience their negative results. You cannot paint things black and then be unhappy they don’t turn out white.

Everyone MUST AVOID this fate for themselves. Be patient. Overcome anger. Apologize when wrong and DO NOT REPEAT. Integrity is the foundation of development of the mind into higher states of thinking and existence. Be kind to everyone and be tolerant. Control the anger till there is nothing to control. You can control your food intake, walking, urinating, defecating, spending, entertainment so why not anger? It’s just a part of you.

You may have a partner, husband and wife, but it has no meaning, because it’s only in name. You may have a few people ‘hanging around’ you, but they are not friends or love you. There are exceptions, but don’t use the exceptions as the norm. It may be even habit they are around or just as selfish so it’s convenient to be with you. It’s hard to love some so angersome, self absorbed and into themselves only. If they do, there is something ‘cooking’. Self absorbed angry people will have to pay the price sooner or later. No escape.

Being kind to all and working for others bring happiness. All great men and women have taught this. There are tens of thousands of examples of this and it’s timeless. When others disappoint us, never use them as a reason to degenerate, because you will experience the results and not them. Don’t use others as a reason to degenerate ever or to be dishonorable. Don’t share in their downfall by letting it affect you and you fall. You don’t help them and you can’t blame them when you are alone and the results are upon you. You hurt many as they have hurt you. Your pain is just as valid as the pain you give others when you don’t have integrity, keep your word or degenerate. Don’t let others be disappointed by them through you. The pain they gave you will be the same pain you give others. They are not worth your downfall. We should never forget this whether we are religious or not. This is not religion, but it is the alchemy of life. Alchemy transforms ordinary metals into gold. Kindness and selflessness is the alchemy of life that turns our misery into happiness. Overcome our negative qualities and increase our positive qualities.

If we believe in religion, we should use our religious training to curb our minds. We should APPLY the religious teachings and not just learn it or know it. A Zen proverb, “A donkey carrying a pile of holy books is still a donkey”. Meaning we can have all the holy religious training in the world and be near it, but the goal is to eradicate or lessen the selfish mind. We have to apply what is in the holy books. This is the goal. What is the point to know so much and not apply it to oneself. The second key is to apply to oneself and immediately. If you are not religious, that is fine because you still want to have a good life. Never burn our bridges due to anger. A good life is not indulgences and endlessly indulging in them but living to bring benefit to others. Indulgences are simple to understand. They serve you in the short term and destroy you and those around you in the long run. You consider this point and face the truth in your mind. There is no escape even if you don’t want to think about it. The hurricane comes whether you choose to prepare or not. The weather forecast can only warn you. The Dharma teacher or Dharma can only kindly warn you. It’s good to face it because you will turn something bad into good.

In the end, you ask yourself, did Buddha become enlightened or not? If He did, then there is enlightenment. If there is enlightenment, then we have to work towards it. Enlightenment is the state of non-desire without suffering and no selfish ego. If Buddha has achieved this and you believe in the Buddha, this is your goal too. Buddha’s enlightenment negates the rationality of your selfish mind on any level. Buddha’s enlightenment defeats you in debate about your selfish pursuits. Therefore why cherish it but one should expunge the selfish mind and work on this passionately and daily. Starting now. This is not a matter of being religious. Don’t hide behind that being or not being religious label. This is about you and who you are and your future. If you choose to believe Buddha did not achieve enlightenment, then you are right and carry on being unhappy happily for the rest of your life. Everyone is wrong. No one gained attainments and higher states of mind. Buddha was a liar and his enlightenment was false and He is a selfish egoist. Only your selfish mind and indulgences are the supreme deities and continue to be worshipped. Think carefully. Is your Yidam (one’s affinty Buddha) the resplendent deity emanated of anger with six arms symbolic of indulgences, pleasure, greed, instability, projections and selfishness? This ‘Yidam’ has not served us well. It’s time to change Yidams to one who has eradicated selfish mind and it has many arms to encourage our spiritual growth. A Yidam of six arms perhaps where each arm symbolizes fortitude, consistency, patience, tolerance, integrity and kindness. A resplendent Yidam emanated of kindness. A kindness we have cultivated within us. How many arms and which Yidam is just symbolic but put my sharing in your heart as I mean no offense. But my duty is to share dharma and the essence of dharma is development of the kind mind as in the Lojong set of teachings. This is our best Yidam to embrace and hold and cultivate. If you want to hear the truth, I have just shared it with you. It’s not my truth but the teachings of a Universal Sage, A Buddha, an Enlightened Being distilled for your easy comprehension.

This sharing was just written as I was inspired by contemplating on a very powerful text called THE WHEEL OF SHARP WEAPONS where Yamantaka is requested to destroy our self cherishing mind. The cause of all sufferings. Read this text monthly. I highly recommend this text.The pith of any religious practice or living a good life worth living is the destruction of selfish mind and its harmful companion – anger.

Tsem Rinpoche

Did you know this about Pabongka Rinpoche? HE Tsem Tulku Rinpoche

Dear friends,

When I arrived in Howell, New Jersey back in 1972 as six year old boy going on seven, little did I know living ten minutes walk away was one of the greatest living masters from Tibet who was known then as Geshe Lobsang Tharchin and was a direct disciple of Kyabje Pabongka Rinpoche the great. Later Geshe Lobsang Tharchin would be the abbot of Sera Mey and then retire and be known as Kensur Rinpoche Jetsun Lobsang Tharchin. Geshe Tharchin had arrived in Howell in 1971. Geshe-la was a direct teacher, scholar and didn’t joke around too much, at least with me. I would visit the temple (Rashi Gempil Ling) often for prayers, making offerings and getting teachings. This was the temple my family went to as well and contributed financially to. I was naturally attracted to this place and he was the teacher to my mother’s consternation. Geshe Tharchin was always kind but stern with me so I was very scared of him but wanted to be near him because I just knew he was not ordinary. I received my refuge vows, first teachings, higher empowerments, bodhisttva and tantric vows from this great Geshe Tharchin eventually. I trust him, believe in him and love him till this day with all my heart. He was also a student of Kyabje Zong Rinpoche and Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche. The advice Geshe-la gave me still rings strong in my heart till this day and I will never forget his advice.

Geshe Tharchin translated and composed several books. One of the books he generously translated was The Principal Teachings of Buddhism. I highly recommend all books by Geshe-la. On the cover is the actual image of Lord Tsongkapa’s mummified body in Gaden Monastery, Tibet. Very holy pilgrimage point. In the beginning of the book Geshe-la gives us some insight into the monastery, how he grew up, how he studied and his interactions with Kyabje Pabongka Rinpoche the great. Very interesting. It is with these memories Geshe-la relates some interesting stories about this legendary master of Tsongkapa’s lineage with great faith and candor.

Apparently Kyabje Pabongka Rinpoche manifested as a dull learner and never completed his Lharam Geshe degree. He just finished with a minor degree which didn’t mean much if you were interested in the hierarchy of the monastery. Nor was it a celebrated or coveted degree. Not that this would matter to a genuine practitioner. He was by all accounts slow, not fast and not sharp. It was only later when he went to study with an unknown lama named Dakpo Rinpoche, he was made to meditate in the nearby mountain retreat and became highly realized and many wonderful signs appeared at Dakpo Hermitage where Rinpoche resided. Pabongka Rinpoche then became highly realized and was heavily sought after for teachings and blessings for the rest of his life. Pabongka Rinpoche considered this master as his root master and always addressed him as a root lama who had conferred on him intense Lam Rim meditations which gave Pabongka Rinpoche his realizations. Later when Pabongka Rinpoche would visit his lama, he would ride a horse as usual in those days. But when his lama’s hermitage came into view, he would dismount and prostrate all the way to the entrance in the dust as this was his respect to his lama for conferring him teachings for gaining high realizations. When Pabongka took leave of his lama, he would walk backwards until the hermitage was out of view and then only mount his horse and be on his way. Pabongka Rinpoche was a corpulent man so prostrating and walking backwards for long distances was very difficult, but he did it to show deepest respects to his lama.

Later Pabongka Rinpoche became the teacher of Gaden Tripa reincarnations, Abbots, Emeritus abbots, high ranking geshes, scholars, yogis, meditators, nobility, government ministers, ordinary lay persons and even the root teachers which later became the tutors of the 14th Dalai Lama. Although Pabongka Rinpoche scholarly learning was not ‘high’ and did not have high degrees, his meditations advanced him far and he became a great teacher when teaching attracted over 10,000 in the audience. Requests for initiations, teachings and oral transmissions came non stop. Many stories of special signs would appear to Pabongka Rinpoche. It was said when he gave Shri-Cakrasamvara (Heruka) initiations, many in the audience would witness a third eye open on his forehead or when he invited the holy beings to enter and bless the audience, people would shake as the blessings were tremendous. Statues of Cakrasamvara would pour forth nectar from its mouth witnessed by many in the presence of Kyabje Pabongka Rinpoche. Often Kyabje Pabongka Rinpoche would have clear visions of Vajra Yogini appearing to him. There are many more stories of this great incomparable master but mostly he was humble, very kind and used his life to disseminate the pure Buddha Dharma to all those who requested. Due to his extreme popularity, there were many who were jealous and made up unfounded rumors about him. Rumors as he was against Nyingmas, or threw statues of Guru Rinpoche into the water and all types of untrue concocted stories twisted beyond any recognition. How can such a famous master surrounded by 14 attendants and vast students at all times hide doing such actions? Impossible. If you don’t do much, they criticize you and say you don’t do much. If you are a famous teacher, they find other ways to scorn you and create gossip. In samsara there is no winning, just forgiveness and benefitting others regardless.

In Tibet, there were many holy beings as well as not so holy beings both in robes and in lay clothes. Some in life aspired to attain the highest realizations as taught by Buddha and some wished to amass power, fortune and fame. It takes all kinds to make the world go round. Pabongka Rinpoche actually comes from a very high lineage of tulkus who were more than famous, but due to politics in the Tibetan government he was not granted his true tulku name. There were a few tulkus who suffered this fate.The ministers were very set to not have their power bases disturbed and to have a high incarnation who was active in the royal court of China in the previous incarnation, would invite the attention of the Chinese. They were afraid if Pabongka Rinpoche was recognized as who he really was, then he will be bestowed with great honors, gifts, wealth and perhaps even position from China within Tibet. This would upset the delicate power balance in Lhasa. Therefore his line of incarnations are not ‘allowed’ to be recognized to safeguard the powers present in the Tibetan Lhasa government. Other tulkus who were very beneficial or famous had their incarnation line stopped, killed or outlawed if it suited the Tibetan government. Some tulkus estates (ladrangs) were fully confiscated and the tulkus exiled or killed or simply not allowed to teach. The Tibetan government were very afraid of any of these tulkus usurping their power by commanding the populace against them no matter how saintly they were. Some of the previous incarnations of the Karmapas, Panchen Lamas and Sharmapas were exiled by the Tibetan government fearing their fame and growing influence. This is what happened to Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen who was killed due to his fame and popularity and the then Tibetan government were afraid he would usurp the 5th Dalai Lama who had just taken control of Tibet. The 5th Dalai Lama later wrote apologies and prayers to Tulku Drakpa Gyeltsen. This was not uncommon at all. Just because the Tibetan government outlaws a tulku to return, doesn’t mean the tulku does not return. As in Pabongka Rinpoche’s case he did return and was not given his name and estate but instead the reincarnated name of a minor tulku or Pabongka Hermitage. The abbot of Pabongka Hermitage had died and he was given this name although not his name. This is how they figure it. Even if you don’t have your real name, the merits, imprints, blessings of a powerful tulku will return and continue his works no matter what name is given. It’s just if the lama’s real tulku name is given, the thousands of disciples would be happy to re-unite with their master again. So to enthrone him would open the karmic opportunities for him to do so as well as his previous lives’ deeds. Not necessary but helpful.

This recount by Geshe Tharchin is so fascinating and of course very accurate and I will let you read. Actually His Holiness Kyabje Pabongka Rinpoche’s name shines like the moon and stars as all his previous lives merits and imprints opened up. Pabongka Rinpoche is the root teacher of both Trijang Rinpoche and Ling Rinpoche. As you know, these two great beings became the tutors to H.H. the fourteenth Dalai Lama. The lineage and practice Dalai Lama has now has come from Trijang and Ling Rinpoches which in turn came from Kyabje Pabongka Rinpoche. Pabongka Rinpoche is every Gelugpa’s lineage master and we invoke upon him daily through our Maha-annutaratantra deities practices. We must respect Pabongka Rinpoche very much and to disparage any of our lineage masters, or root masters or their teachings is to break samaya which leads to not achieving attainments. We should never say Trijang Rinpoche or Pabongka Rinpoche is wrong, had wrong practices or not good teachers or allow others to say it if at all possible, because they are our lineage masters. Any genuine master of any lineage would never disparage any lama. The true sign of a practitioner comes first when they control and tame their speech. We should not disparage even a ordinary sentient being, never mind a great being and lama and lineage master. None of the generation of teachers one above me from Tibet from Sera, Gaden and Drepung has not received teachings from either Pabongka Rinpoche or Trijang Rinpoche or both. And if we have received teachings from their disciples then they are our lineage lamas and we must show deepest respect if we want attainments. Our teachers are definitely disciples of Pabongka Rinpoche and Trijang Rinpoche. So we must respect them as we respect our masters. And we should definitely respect our own masters. Within the Gelug school of Buddhism, Pabongka Rinpoche pervades all masters and all lineages. We should never disparage them, their teachings or lineage. We should see them as perfect Heruka Buddhas which they are. If they are tainted, then the teachings we have now even through H.H. Dalai Lama would be tainted and therefore we are wasting our time practicing. The teachings and lineage are not tainted for sure as there are many modern day great Gelugpa teachers with extraordinary attainments alive today as proof.

There is no stopping this incredible line of tulkus labeled as Pabongka Rinpoche. There are many great beings reincarnated both recognized and not recognized or given other names who are working for the benefit of sentient beings even now as we read this. Name is not important but understanding this important aspect of Tibetan Buddhism will help us.


Tsem Rinpoche


Please proceed to read:



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Title of the book: Tsongkhapa: The Principal Teachings of Buddhism

Commentary: Kyabje Pabongka Dechen Nyingpo

Translated by: Kensur Lobsang Tharchin with Geshe Michael Roach

Published by: Classics India Publications in Delhi, in association with The Mahayana Sutra and Tantra Press

Publication year: 1998


[Below, content of the book typed out from page 4 – 10]

It was at this time that the glorious Pabongka Rinpoche, the author of the commentary you are about to read, came into my life. Like me he had as a young man taken his course of studies at the Sera Mey College of Sera Monastery; in fact, he was from the same house, Gyalrong.

Pabongka Rinpoche was born in 1878, at a town called Tsawa Li in the Yeru Shang district of the state of Tsang, north of Lhasa. His family were of the nobility and owned a modest estate called Chappel Gershi. As a child he exhibited unusual qualities and in his seventh year was taken before Sharpa Chuje Lobsang Dargye, one of the leading religious figures of the day.

The lama felt sure that the boy must be a reincarnated saint, and even went so far as to examine him to see if he were the rebirth of his own late teacher. He was not, but the sage foretold that if the child were placed in the Gyalrong House of Sera Mey College, something wonderful would happen with him in the future.

Later on, the youngster was found to be a reincarnation of the Changkya line, which included the illustrious scholar Changkya Rolpay Dorje (1717-1786). The lamas of this line had done much teaching in the regions of Mongolia and China- even in the court of the Chinese emperor himself- and the name “Changkya” had very strong Chinese connotations. Already in those days the Tibetan government and people were sensitive to the pressures put on us by our powerful neighbor to the east, so the name “Changkya” was ruled out, and the boy declared to be “Pabongka” instead.

Pabongka, also known as Parongka, is a large and famous rock-formation about three miles’ walk from our Sera Monastery. The very word “pabong” means in our language a large boulder, or mass of rock. The place is historically very important for Tibetans, for perched on top of the rock is the palace of Songtsen Gampo, the 7th Century king who made Tibet one of the leading nations of Asia at the time, and who helped bring the first Buddhist teachings from India.

Until Songtsen Gampo’s time, the Tibetans had no written language. The king, who desired that the great texts of Buddhism be translated into our language, sent a number of delegations to India with the charge of bringing back a written alphabet. Many of the young men who went died in the terrible rainy heat of the Indian plains and jungles, so different from our high Tibetan plateau, but the minister Tonmi Sambhota finally returned. He proceeded to create an alphabet and grammatical system that last to this day. And it is said that he performed this great labor in the palace of Songtsen Gampo, atop the cliffs of Pabongka.

Pabongka Rinpoche was actually the second Pabongka, for it was finally agreed to announce that he had been recognized as the reincarnation of the Kenpo (or abbot) of the small monastery atop of the rock. For this reason he was sometimes referred to as “Pabongka Kentrul”, or the “reincarnation of the abbot of Pabongka”. Pabongka Rinpochte’s full name, by the way, was Kyabje Pabongka Jetsun Jampa Tenzin Trinley Gyatso Pel Sangpo, which translates as the “lord protector, the one from Pabongka, the venerable and glorious master whose name is the Loving One, Keeper of the Buddha’s Teachings, Ocean of the Mighty Deeds of the Buddha”. He is also popularly known as “Dechen Nyingpo”, which means “Essence of Great Bliss” and refers to his mastery of the secret teachings of Buddhism. We Tibetans feel that it is disrespectful to refer to a great religious leader with what we call his “bare” name- such as “Tsongkapa” or “Pabongka”- but we have tried here to simplify the Tibetan names to help our Western readers.

Pabongka Rinpoche’s career at Sera Mey College was not outstanding; he did finish his geshe degree, but reached only the “lingse” rank, which means that he was examined just at his own monastery and did not go on for one of the higher ranks such as “hlarampa”. The “hlarampa” level requires an exhausting series of public examinations and debates at different monasteries, culminating in a session before the Dalai Lama and his teachers at the Norbulingka summer palace. It was only after his graduation from Sera Mey, and the success of his teaching tours through the countryside outside the capital, that Pabongka Rinpoche’s fame started to spread. Gradually he began to build up a huge following and displayed tremendous abilities as a public teacher. He was not tall (as I remember about my height, and I am only 5’6”), but he was broad-chested and seemed to fill the entire teaching throne when he climbed up on it to begin his discourse.

His voice was incredibly powerful. On frequent occasions he would address gatherings of many thousands of people, yet everyone could hear him clearly (in those days in Tibet we had never heard of microphones or loudspeakers). Part of the trick of course was to pack the audience in Tibetan-style, cross-legged on the floor, with the lama on an elevated platform. Still the audience would flow out onto the porch of the hall, and sit perched above on the roof, watching through the steeple windows.

Pabongka Rinpoche had an uncanny ability to relate to his audience, and for this reason he became a teacher for the common man as well as for us monks. Generally speaking, the majority of the Buddha’s teachings as we learn them in the monastery are extremely detailed, deep and sometimes technical. Moreover, we use rigorous tests of formal logic to analyze them as we move up through our classes. These methods are important for gaining the highest goals of Buddhist practice in a systematic way, and for passing these teachings on to others. But they were beyond the abilities and time of many of our Tibetan laymen. The Rinpoche’s great accomplishment was that he found a way to attract and lead listeners of every level.

His most famous weapon was his humor. Public discourses in Tibet could sometimes go on for ten hours or more without a break, and only a great saint could keep his attention up so long. Inevitably part of the audience would start to nod, or fall into some reverie. Then Pabongka Rinpoche would suddenly relate an amusing story or joke with a useful moral, and send his listeners into peals of laughter. This would startled the day dreamers, who were always looking around and asking their neighbors to repeat the joke to them.

The effects on his audience were striking and immediate. I remember particularly the case of Dapon Tsago, a member of the nobility who held a powerful position equivalent to Minister of Defense. Public teachings in Tibet were as much social as religious affairs, and aristocrats would show up in their best finery, often it seemed not to hear the dharma but rather to put in an appearance. So one day this great general marches in to the hall, decked out in silk, his long hair flowing in carefully tailored locks (this was considered manly and high fashion in old Tibet). A great ceremonial sword hung from his belt, clanging importantly as he swaggered in.

By the end of the first section of the teaching he was seen leaving the hall quietly, deep in thought- he had wrapped his weapon of war in a cloth to hide it, and was taking it home. Later on we could see he had actually trimmed off his warrior’s locks, and finally one day he threw himself before the Rinpoche and asked to be granted the special lifetime religious vows for laymen. Thereafter he always followed Pabongka Rinpoche around, to every public teaching he gave.

The Rinpoche had never spent much time at the small monastery atop the Pabongka rock, and his fame soon reach such proportions that the Ngakpa College of Sera Monastery offered him a large retreat complex on the hillside above Pabongka. The name of this hermitage was Tashi Chuling, or “Auspicious Spiritual Isle”. There were some sixty Buddhist monks in residence there, and as I remember about sixteen personal attendants who helped the Lama with his pressing schedule: two monk-secretaries, a manager for finances, and so on. The Rinpoche would divide his time between his quarters here and a small meditation cell built around the mouth of a cave, further up the side of the mountain.

The cave was known as Takden, and it was here that Pabongka Rinpoche would escape for long periods to do his private practice and meditations. The central chamber had a high vaulted ceiling, so high that the light of a regular fire-torch could not even reach it, and the darkness seemed to go up forever. In the center of the ceiling there was an odd natural triangle in the rock, which looked exactly like the outer shape of one of the mystic worlds described in our secret teachings.

In the corner if this wonderful cave, an underground spring flowed from a rock- and above it was another natural drawing, this one just like the third eye that we see painted on the forehead of one of our female Buddhas. By the way, this “third eye” you hear about is largely metaphorical, and stands for the spiritual understanding in one’s heart. We believed the cave was home for a dakini- sort of Buddhist angel- because people often said they saw a wondrous lady come from the cave, but no one had ever seen her enter.

It was in his private quarters at the Tashi Chuling hermitage that I first met Pabongka Rinpoche. He had been away on an extended teaching tour in eastern Tibet, and just returned. I was still the wild teenager and had been stuck with the distasteful job of nyerpa for Gyalrong House- this means I was a kind of quartermaster and had to make sure there was enough firewood and food to keep the house kitchen going for several hundred monks. Since the Rinpoche was a member of Gyalrong, we were supposed to send a committee over to the hermitage to welcome him back and present him gifts. As nyerpa I was expected to arrange some supplies and help carry them along.

In private conversation Pabongka Rinpoche was in the habit of constantly attaching “Quite right! Quite right!” to everything he said. So I distinctly remember when I came into his presence, and he put his hand on my head, and he said “Quite right! Quite right! Now this one looks like a bright boy!” From that day on I felt as though I had received his blessing, and some special power to pursue my studies.

In my eighteenth year, the Rinpoche was requested to come across to our own Sera Mey College and deliver a discourse on the Steps of the path to Buddhahood. He would receive countless requests of this sort, usually from wealthy patrons who hoped to collect some merit for the future life, or from monks who wanted to receive the transmission of a particular teaching so they could pass it on to their own followers in the future. The Rinpoche would usually promise to consider the request, and then try to satisfy several at one time by delivering a large public discourse.

These discourses would be announced months in a advance. The sponsors would rent a huge assembly hall in one of the major monasteries just outside the capital, or reserve one of the great chapels in Lhasa (no cars in Tibet those days), attend the teaching, and walk back quickly before the evening debate sessions at the monastery park. I remember the elderly monks would start out before us and return later, or even get permission to take a room in Lhasa for the duration of the course, since the walk was difficult for them.

This particular discourse at Sera Mey went on for a full three months. We sat for six hours a day: three hours in the morning, with a break for lunch, and then three hours in the afternoon. Pabongka Rinpoche went carefully through the entire Lam Rim Chenmo, the great exposition of the entire Steps on the path to Buddhahood written by the incomparable Lord Tsongkhapa- who is also the author of the root verses explained by Pabongka Rinpoche in his commentary here. The Rinpoche referred to all eight of the classic texts on the Steps of the path during his discourse, which was attended by about 10,000 monks.

Like so many others in the audience, I was stunned by the power of his teaching. Most of it I had heard before, but the way in which he taught it and, I felt, the blessing I had received from him made it suddenly strike home for me. Here I was, living the short precious life of a human, and fortunate enough to be a student at one of the greatest Buddhist monasteries in the world. Why was I wasting my time? What would happen if I suddenly died?

In my heart I made a decision to master the teachings, for the benefit of myself and others. I remember going to my room, to my house teacher Geshe Namdrol, and declaring my change of heart to him: “Now the bad boy is going to study, and become a master geshe!” Geshe Namdrol laughed, and told me, “The day you become a geshe is the day I become Ganden Tripa!”

Now the Ganden Tripa is one of the highest religious personages in Tibet: he holds the throne of Lord Tsongkapa himself, and wins the position by attaining the highest rank of geshe- the hlarampa- and then serving as the head of one of the two colleges devoted to the study of the secret teachings. My house teacher had never gone above the tsokrampa rank of geshe, so could never have become the Ganden Tripa anyway, and we both knew it. I got angry, in a good way, and swore to him that I would not only become a geshe but a hlarampa geshe as well. In my later years, after I had passed the hlarampa examinations with highest honors, Geshe Namdrol used to come a little sheepishly and ask in a roundabout way if I could help him pick a good topic for the day’s debates.


His Holiness Kyabje Pabongka Rinpoche the great or otherwise known as Dechen Nyingpo. He is the master of all masters and one with Heruka.


The erudite master and my first teacher, Geshe Lobsang Tharchin or Sera Mey Kensur Rinpoche Jetsun Lobsang Tharchin.



[Disclaimer: I don’t own any of the content of this book. All content is owned by Classics India Publications in Delhi. Copyright Disclaimer Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for “fair use” for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use.]

For more related articles of interest and importance:



Dorje Shugden Trakze to Dispel Black Magic & Spirits – HE Tsem Tulku Rinpoche


A Practice to Dispel Black Magic and Spirits

This commentary on Trakze practice was compiled from traditional sources by His Eminence Tsem Rinpoche.
Date: 30th January 2015


[NOTE: This is a commentary on Trakze’s practice and can be done daily by anyone who wants to receive protection even if you are not afflicted by black magic and spirits. This practice does not require any initiations]


Download the Commentary on Trakze Practice

Download the Daily Trakze Practice


Spirits definitely exist. In the Buddhist cosmology as described by the historical Buddha Shakyamuni, spirits are beings that belong to one of the Six Realms of existence within samsara. While people often feel skeptical about the existence of spirits, modern technologies capable of detecting these formless beings are slowly changing opinions about the ever-presence of these supernatural beings.

Unlike animals and humans who share the same ‘form’ realm of existence, spirits exist within the formless realm. Beings that take rebirth in the formless realm can exist for thousands of years, and one of the main causes of taking rebirth there is strong unpurified ‘attachments’. It is our attachment to something, resulting from our projections onto certain objects and subjects, that drives us to take rebirth in the spirit world, a realm with great suffering and metaphorically described as ‘An existence where one’s thirst is unquenchable’.

It is important to understand that like all sentient beings trapped within the uncontrolled cycle of existence in samsara, spirits are similarly trapped by their karma. Although they can exist for thousands of years, they still have a ‘lifespan’ which means they are mortal and cannot live forever. Once the karma which dragged them into the spirit world expires, they will fade and take rebirth in another existence.

Spirits have no definitive form and can come in all shapes, sizes, forms, colors and temperaments. Some spirits can be benevolent, while some are malicious. Sometimes, due to certain circumstances, spirits from the formless realm intersect with our realm. It is during these moments when we ‘cross paths’ with the spirit that it becomes an opportunity for the spirit to attach itself to us.

There are many ways how a spirit can attach itself to us, and some of the most common methods are:

  1. Through an object. In some cultures which have a history of believing in spirits, it is an unsaid rule that antique items or objects with a long history are to be handled with caution.
  2. A place or location. This explains why some places are haunted. Spirits that haunt certain spaces can create disturbances when they share a common space with human beings.
  3. Through black magic. A spirit can be sent to us in the form of black magic. In such cases, the spirit infestation can manifest in the form of calamities.

Although spirits abide in a non-tangible existence, which means they are formless; they have the ability to move tangible objects. Therefore, there are several ways to identify if we are haunted by a negative being. Some common or “classic” symptoms of spirits and spirit infestations are:

  • Unusual electrical occurrences, such as the blinking of lights, electronic items turning on and off by themselves, or even short circuits when the spirit is spoken about.
  • Unusual series of accidents that occur one after the other.
  • Episodes of consistent negative dreams.
  • Feeling the presence of a spirit in the room. For example, there is a sense of being watched or touched.
  • Personal belongings disappearing, moving or breaking on its own.

Recognizing that spirits do exist and their ability to cause harm (and in some severe cases, death), one must develop the clarity of mind to identify and confirm spirit infestation and take corrective measures. Sometimes it is easy to get paranoid and blame everything that does not go well in life on spirits, therefore careful observation is necessary to confirm spirit infestation. For example, a person experiencing the symptoms listed above may think they are schizophrenic, but there is a possibility that it is caused by a spirit. In this case, taking schizophrenia medications will not help the situation.



 H.H. Kyabje Zong Dorje Chang (centre), Vajrayogini (left) and Dorje Shugden (right)-Tsem Rinpoche’s personal thangka

In Buddhism, the most simple, powerful and instantaneous method of protection from spirits is to take refuge in the Three Jewels. Taking refuge in the Three Jewels is to develop faith in the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. Formally, taking refuge involves taking vows and the vows taken depend on the school or tradition of Buddhism. It is important to read and understand the refuge vows and realize the Buddha who is free from all fears is the perfect object of refuge. When we take refuge in the Buddha, we practice the dharma and we respect the sangha, we are protected from many different types of spirit.

A very good example to illustrate the effectiveness of the Three Jewels’ protection against spirits is the story of Guru Rinpoche, a great Buddhist master who subdued countless fierce and malicious spirits that plagued Tibet. Through his example and many other examples of recent masters we can have confidence in the Three Jewels to protect us from spirit harm as well.

However, in certain cases, some people have “special” karmic affinity to certain types of harm and formless beings. This karmic affinity enables the spirits to “break through” the refuge protection and cause harm. Therefore, for people with such karmic affinity with a spirit, they will experience harm even if they have taken refuge in the Three Jewels.

In other cases, some people may use certain methods to contact beings from another realm. This practice is very dangerous as we can never be sure if the spirit contacted is malevolent or not. Sometimes, if the spirit that was called upon is strong and malicious, it can stay around to cause harm.

One may question: Why can’t the Three Jewels protect these individuals who have certain karmic affinity with a certain type of spirit? Although one has taken refuge and is under the protection of the Three Jewels, there is still the individual karma that is very strong and directly determines outcomes.

For illustration purposes, let’s refer to more familiar situations: Even though one is protected by the Three Jewels, one can still fall sick, experience calamities and tragedies and suffer emotional ups and downs, and death due to the karma accumulate as a consequence of the actions of the body, speech and mind. In such cases, one may engage in certain spiritual practices or request for pujas of a specific deity to be performed, for example, Medicine Buddha practice, whose energy is specifically targeted for healing.

Therefore, when experiencing the fruition of karma, one should not simply claim that the Three Jewels are not giving protection. The Three Jewels give protection for the short and long-term. For short-term protection, the Three Jewels grant the teachings of the Dharma to enable practice that eliminate all causes of suffering. For the long term protection on the other hand, the Three Jewels bless us to take rebirth in places and situations where Dharma practice is conducive.



In cases where there is this “special” karmas that create affinity with certain spirits, and harm and affliction is still being experienced, the practice of Dorje Shugden can be done for protection.

Dorje Shugden manifests in five forms for different purposes. Aside from the principal manifestation, he has four other recognized emanations, each with their specific functions. All five forms of Dorje Shugden are complete objects of refuge and protection although they have different emanated function.

Out of the five forms of Dorje Shugden, Trakze also known as Karma Shugden is the most wrathful emanation of Dorje Shugden. His practice is especially efficacious for overcoming powerful delusions and very negative, harmful energies.



Trakze or Karma Shugden is the most wrathful form of Dorje Shugden that is very suitable to counter negative disturbances.
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The practice of Trakze will not only eliminate spirits but also eliminate unnatural disasters, problems and difficulties. Trakze is also suitable for protection for long journeys. He will also offer protection from people’s negative speech, negative mantras, spells or charms as well as sudden death or ill-fated, fatal accidents. So, this form of Dorje Shugden is very powerful.



Altar set up:

  1. A Buddha image or statue
  2. A Trakze image or statue
  3. A Dharma text
  4. A Stupa
  5. One set of Sensory Offerings (Optional) (From left to right – Water, water, flower, incense, light, perfume, food, and a conch shell)
  1. One set of water offerings (Optional)

An altar is an important component of the practice of Buddhism, as it serves as a reminder of our practice objectives – which is to develop qualities in ourselves so we may be able to help all sentient beings. This is the spiritual benefits of having an altar. For those who practice Trakze specifically to counter spirit disturbances, the benefit of having an altar with the image of Trakze is by itself a form of protection.

An altar can be set up anywhere except inside the washroom. To develop the view that the enlightened beings on the altar are present before us, it is appropriate to always show respect in front of the altar. Therefore, if an altar is set up in the bedroom, it is encouraged to cover it when engaging in activities that are private in nature.

An ideal altar would consist of all six items listed above. However, at the very least, the altar should hold an image of Trakze and, with time, one can add the remaining items when available. How complete our altar reflects how seriously we take the practice of Trakze in order to counter our problems. Therefore, just like anything, the amount of effort placed into the practice reflects the results of the practice.

“Extra touches” can be added to the altar. One set of water offerings with seven to eight cups can be arranged in front of the altar with clean water filled to about the length of one grain of rice from the brim. A set of wrathful offerings which symbolizes the offering of one’s negative karma, can be neatly arranged behind the water offerings.




Download the Prayer Text Here



Video on How to Do Prostrations:

The practice begins with the recitation of the refuge formula three times. In this case, one is taking refuge in Lama Tsongkhapa – the Guru and Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha.

When reciting the refuge formula, visualize Lama Tsongkhapa surrounded by his eight main disciples strongly at eye level. If this visualization is too difficult and advanced at the beginning, one can start by visualizing just two of his main disciples, Khedrup-je Rinpoche and Gyelsab-je Rinpoche. Envision them sitting in Ganden Heaven on their thrones adorned with jewels that are glittering. All three are smiling, happy and warmly sending down their blessings.

Lama Tsongkhapa and his two main disciples

From within Lama Tsongkhapa’s throne (seat), visualize a powerful dark red light emanating out, this light is none other than Manjushri’s mind, descending from Ganden Heaven to appear in front of you.

Visualize a virulent, powerful, tumultuous, and black-grey cloud – with very strong sounds like thunder and lightning surrounded by all types of virulent and wrathful animals such as vultures and eagles. In the midst of this dark cloud is Trakze, in the form as visualized above. In his heart, there is a sun disc on which is a syllable letter “Hung”, red in color. From the letter “Hung”, light emanates out into the 10 directions to invite all the Buddhas, Boddhisattvas and deities, and dissolves back into the “Hung”, the Buddhas, Bodhisattvas and deities becomes one with Trakze in nature and become firm in front of you. Now Trakze embodies the complete Three Jewels within his form. So anything done to Trakze is the same as if you have done to all the Three Jewels. The visualized Trakze is the samaya being, and the Trakze invited from within Tsongkhapa’s throne is the wisdom being. When they combine, they become one and inseparable. So you should  believe that the real wisdom being Trakze is in front of you now. It is important to believe that. Then, visualize Trakze in this very virulent and powerful storm swept cloud surrounding Trakze, emanated from below Lama Tsongkhapa’s throne, remains connected to Trakze. This signifies the source of blessing is from Lama Tsongkhapa and we are connected to Ganden Heaven.



The Four Immeasurables are recited to establish good motivation that all practice done to protect oneself does not harm any other being, including the beings that are causing harm to you.

The premise on which The Four Immeasurables are practiced is that ‘everyone wants to be happy, but happiness cannot be achieved in isolation‘. In fact, happiness depends upon the happiness of all, revealing that all life is interdependent. In order to be happy, one needs to cultivate wholesome attitudes towards others in society and towards all sentient beings.

Therefore, the best way of cultivating wholesome attitudes towards all sentient beings is through contemplative meditation on the Four Immeasurables, which cultivates loving-kindness, compassion, appreciative joy and equanimity towards an immeasurable number of sentient beings.

The practice of Four Immeasurables is also a powerful antidote to negative mental states such as anger and pride.



Commentary on Lama Tsongkhapa practice:

After completing the Four Immeasurables, proceed to the Guru Yoga of Lama Tsongkhapa. When reciting the Migtsema mantra (at least 21 times) with this visualization as guided above (described at ‘Taking Refuge’), it is important to develop the thought and faith that Trakze (in 3-Dimension / 3D) is in front of you, all-powerful and protective. Upon completing the Guru Yoga of Lama Tsongkhapa, move on to recite Dorje Shugden’s prayers.






Kanshag to Dorje Shugden is a very powerful practice to remove our obstacles. In the case of black magic and spirit infestations, Kanshag is specifically effective to purify the negative karma that has created the causes for one to experience this affliction.

The Kanshag prayers may sound very violent and rough. However this is not unique to Dorje Shugden practice. It is also a common feature in other Dharma Protector prayers such as Kalarupa, Palden Lhamo, Mahakala and many others. Therefore, to the ignorant, or one who does not have a qualified master to explain the significance of such wrathful manifestations in the prayers, one may wrongfully feel repelled or recite it only based on faith. While reciting the Kanshag based purely on faith is acceptable, it is however better when we do our practices with a certain level of awareness so that the practice is more effective. Once we realize that this wrathful manifestation by the Kanshag came into existence purely from Dorje Shugden’s pure compassion for all sentient beings, we will learn to appreciate and value the practice with great devotion.

In this Nathang (Black Thangka / painting) Dorje Shugden [Note: see image below] is in the middle, manifesting as Trakze with his four emanations: Shize, Gyenze, Wangze and Trakze. The entourage of Dorje Shugden, appearing in wrathful forms, are just below Trakze.

In visualizing the purifying of one’s negative karma through Kanshag, we must first understand that the human figures depicted in this visualization are not human beings as we know. These human-like figures are without sentience and are the negative qualities that cause us to continuously create negative karma, such as jealousy, anger, ignorance, attachments and more. Because these negative qualities are not tangible, we visualize them as representative-beings in human-like form in order for Trakze and entourage to slay these negative qualities for us.

Karma Shugden (Trakze)
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high definition photo for print out



Behind Trakze stands a massive and wrathful bone palace (Rubey Gyi Phodrang). Surrounding the bone palace is virulent weather. Thick, heavy dark clouds accompanied with thunder, lightning, rain and storm. Flying around aimlessly in this bad weather are violent animals – vultures and hawks – with eyeballs emerging from their mouths. Dragons, flying amongst the clouds, signifying the scary and fierce lightning.

The lands surrounding the palace are violent mountains. The jagged, rough and treacherous tracks of the mountain can easily claim one’s life. The dangers of these mountains are magnified with the presence of scary animals – Garudas, wild mad elephants, lizards, alligators, snakes, scorpions – and anything scary and violent is present, roaming all over the place. The stench of corpses fills the air of the dark, dangerous mountains.

From the violent mountains flows the endless treacherous river of blood that is described like the sacred river Ganges. The blood-filled river and its tumultuous flow within the field, with jagged and dangerous rocks by the river that is plagued by wild, vicious animals. Between these dangerous blood-river arises flames and thick smoke, with countless of corpses surfaced on the bloody river.

Everything within this vast space was manifested through the compassion of Dorje Shugden. Because we are unable to fathom how much accumulated negative karma we have collected from many lifetimes, Dorje Shugden manifests this grotesque field to show us our accumulated negative karma in a way we can relate and understand. The fearsome and scary beings, environment and conditions shown to us are meant to make us realize that this is the fate we will have to face if we do not do practices to purify our karma. In this practice, Dorje Shugden, his manifestations and entourage descends upon it to cause great destruction on this horrible field of negativity, thus purifying our negative karma.



When you recite the Kanshag, the door into Dorje Shugden’s mandala, which is usually guarded by Kache Marpo, opens. The grotesqueness within the palace doors are all manifested by Dorje Shugden, to purify our karma which leads to our eventual liberation.


(Image on the right: The door into Dorje Shugden’s mandala)







Amidst this dreadful weather and landscape is the abode of Trakze, residing in a wrathful bone palace. The wrathful bone palace is decorated with human bones and flesh. Here, we see human bone ornaments, flayed human skin used as victory banner floating in the smoky wind, and human skin hung inside the palace like curtains.

The elaborately decorated palace with bones and flayed skin signifies the many materials Trakze has collected through his work of liberating sentient beings. It also symbolizes his great ability and potential of liberating countless beings. Thus, Trakze’s palace is filled with bones and all things perceived as gruesome because he collects and accepts everyone’s negative karma and sufferings.

When we offer our negativity in this form to the Buddhas to slay, it is something that we perceive as ugly. However to the Buddhas, their main objective is to free us from our negativities. Therefore these negativities are presented and transformed as the ultimate offering of a spiritual practitioner. Therefore, once Trakze has slain these negativities (which we visualize in the form of a being), he uses the bones and the skin as decorations for his abode, to celebrate our liberation from these undesired qualities.

The bone palace is also represents Tong Len (the practice of taking other’s suffering and giving one’s merits over to them) in visual tantric form. This means that Trakze will take all the bad karma from you. He will live in this dreadful environment and violent conditions manifested by our negative karma so that we do not have to.

The Nine Wisdom Mothers are not physically alluring, but manifest as fearsome ogresses with scary fangs, talons, with long fingernails and toenails. They appear as these nine frightening beings, running amok and creating havoc. The nine mothers are cutting, pulverizing, slicing, chopping, ripping, scratching and clawing at our negative karma, destroying it.







The Eight Guiding Monks are not calm and quiet; yet they manifest the realizations of acquiescence or contemplation in a wrathful manner. Instead, they are running around in very ‘un-monkly‘ ways, performing violent acts and wrathful rituals to subdue sentient beings.



The Ten Youthful and Wrathful Assistants are emanated from the ‘limbs’ of the principle deity, in this case Trakze. These ten assistants manifest in their most wrathful form as terrifying beings – in order to activate purification quickly to remove sufferings, with chains and ripping our inner and outer obstacles apart.





Therefore, when we recite the Kanshag, we are requesting Dorje Shugden and entourage to destroy our accumulated negative karma through their violent and wrathful ways. We are purifying the karma which not only causes us physical harm but also mental sufferings. Traditionally, wrathful methods have always been quicker. It is for this reason that Dorje Shugden’s practice, when done well, can clear our obstacles to fulfilling our wishes quickly. Thus he is known to aid us swiftly.


Kanshag visualization:

Visualize the wrathful environment which is the manifestation of our negative karma. In this space, a massive human-like figure, huge as a mountain, manifests before you. This human-like figure is all of our negative karma and negative qualities that hinder our spiritual growth.

Visualize Trakze and his wrathful entourage descending onto this human-like figure and dismembering it, forming countless complete sets of wrathful offerings.

The wrathful offering consists of:

  1. Argham’ (tea) – visualize all the blood from the being is emptied into the first bowl and offered up.
  2. Phupe’ (wrathful flower) – visualize the skull overturned. In the skull is placed the heart. On the heart are the eyes, ears, tongue and nose; all symmetrically arranged on the heart.
  3. Duphe’ (incense) – visualize the bones of the body are taken and burned. The smoke arising from this is offered to Trakze.
  4. Aloke’ (light) – visualize all the fat of the body taken out and made into a butterlamp and offered up to Trakze.
  5. Gyende’ (perfume) – visualize all the remaining liquids in the body such as urine, bile, pus and others, emptied into a bowl and offered up.
  6. Niweide’ (food) – visualize all the flesh of the body being cut up and offered.
  7. Shapta’ (sound) – visualize the thighbone carved into a wind instrument, as an offering to Trakze.

Upon ending the Kanshag prayer, visualize that all these negative manifestations have been destroyed by Trakze and entourage. The visualization of purification is in wrathful, gory form as a training for us not to be attached or repulsed to pleasant and unpleasant. It is another method in which renunciation is meditated upon by seeing our bodies arising from negative karma pulverize, smashed and destroyed as in the Chod teachings. This practice may be visual and wrathful in nature but it is all in the spirit of Buddhist renunciation, as when the Thai monks meditate in cemeteries or in front of bones and skulls to actualize detachment from our bodies in which we have false view of its permanence and thereby invest in inordinate time, energy and resources – when in the end it fails us with death. Renunciation is an extremely powerful component in our meditations to actualize in order that our Dharma practice becomes genuine. This necessity to actualize renunciation is pervasive in all three Yanas of Buddhism.   (End of visualization)


Wrathful Flower Offering

This is the wrathful flower offering made when reciting Kanshag. It is a very powerful practice that is related to “Chod” which cuts away the attachment to the body. Some find it difficult to understand the reason behind offering such vile and “dirty” substances to the Buddha. However, the vileness is perceived by the tainted mind. In this case, the Buddha does not have the karma to perceive harm or accept anything dirty in nature. Therefore, whatever items (be it visualized or actual) offered up to them will be transformed into pleasant, beautiful gardens and pools of delight.

Therefore, when making these offerings while reciting the Kanshag, we are purifying the karma that we have accumulated from many lifetimes. The Kanshag should be recited as many times as possible but as a guideline, it can be recited three, seven or 21 times during each prayer session, depending on the potency of the affliction. The Kanshag recitation together with visualization is a very powerful method for purifying immediate negative karma. The more Kanshags we can recite with visualization of Trakze, the more immediate the results. 100,000 Kanshag recitations are sometimes done by the assembly of monks in unison over a few days because it is so effective. No negative repercussion can ever arise from reciting Kanshag of Trakze or any other Dharma protector.



After reciting Kanshag, it is beneficial to make offerings of torma to the Dharma Protector.

Tormas are ritual cakes made mostly from flour and butter that are used as offerings in Tibetan Buddhist rituals. Tormas come in various shapes and sizes, according to their purpose but they are usually in conical form. They can be dyed in different colors depending on the practice for which the torma is being made. Tormas are most commonly found in white and red. H.H. Kyabje Zong Rinpoche mentioned it will not be practical for non-monastics to offer traditional tormas. So he said it will be fine to offer things we like to eat for example cookies and biscuits. If we are travelling or in a hotel, plane or train, we can still do the Trakze practice without any of the offerings, just the recitation and visualization. We should make do with time, place and circumstances to the best of our abilities. Sincerity, trust and faith in our practice to Trakze will definitely bear results.

Making traditional torma: The maker wears a mask to protect the “cleanliness” of the torma from our breath (which is considered impure)


A simpler altar set up. For practitioners that are not able to make tormas traditionally, one can use jars filled with cookies to replace the tormas

For regular practitioners who are not trained to make the traditional form of tormas, the tormas can be represented with a glass bottle, filled with cookies. If one wishes to make torma offerings throughout the practice, the following tormas can be prepared:

  1. One large jar filled with biscuits (torma offerings to Lama Tsongkhapa)
  2. One large jar filled with biscuits (torma offerings to Trakze)
  3. One smaller jar filled with biscuits (torma offerings to Trakze’s entourage)

However, if time is limited, the torma offering can be optional. The tormas (biscuits) are in jars simply to prevent insects from getting into them. You can offer the tormas on plates, bowls or cups and discard them in a clean place at the end of the puja/prayer. If you are in an apartment, you can simply eat the tormas as a blessing or if you don’t want to eat them, it can be wrapped in a paper and then discard it in the garbage.



The practice is also called Golden Drink Offering or Serkyem, which forms a central part of the Dorje Shugden Kangsol. This practice was developed as an extended offering to the Dharma Protector to request for swift assistance. Hence, the Serkyem offering has become popular and it is commonly practiced among modern practitioners to request for swift assistance, especially in times of dire need. Traditionally, tea is used as an offering. However other beverages like milk or even carbonated drinks can be used as a replacement.

The Serkyem offering is traditionally offered by pouring the beverage into a two-tiered vessel, which consists of a taller vessel placed into a lower bowl. If the Tibetan-style Serkyem ritual item (which is normally made of brass) cannot be obtained, one can replace it by using a tall glass (such as a wine glass) placed in a glass bowl.

During the offering, the beverage is poured from a pot or jug into the taller vessel until the liquid overflows down into the lower bowl. In Buddhism, the overflowing liquid is highly auspicious as a symbol of abundance of merits, virtues, material resources and conducive conditions for Dharma practice.

The beverage can either be poured fully into the vessel prior to the recitation of the Serkyem verses, or it can be poured a little at a time during the recitation of relevant passages throughout the liturgy. If the latter method is chosen, pour a little of the tea into the taller vessel so that you do not present an empty vessel to the Buddha. Before starting, consecrate the Serkyem by circling a lit incense three times clockwise around the Serkyem set while chanting the mantra ‘OM AH HUM‘.

While making the Serkyem offering, visualized the beverage as divine nectar that expands to fill an entire ocean which represents all the desirable things in the world that pleases the five senses.

A traditional Serkyem set



Once you complete the black tea (Serkyem) offering, recite the wrathful mantra of Dorje Shugden as a request for protection. Trakze’s mantra is “OM BENZA WIKI BITANA RAKYA RAKYA HUNG”. You can recite one, three, seven or as many malas of this mantra as you can. It is encouraged to recite as many mantras as possible. It is also essential that the practice is consistent and done daily until the affliction is completely resolved. Upon completion of the mantra recitation during each session, recite the Vajrasattva purification mantra for 21 times.

During mantra recitation, visualize the light from Trakze protecting and blessing you and Dorje Shugden surrounds you. Nothing can penetrate this protective shield while you are doing this mantra.

While reciting the mantra, visualize Dorje Shugden emanating himself into trillions of images of himself, going in the 10 directions: North, South, East, West, the intermediate directions, up and down. Dorje Shugden surrounds you and your environment with his emanations, offering you complete protection from spirits, harm, demerit or objects of demerit. Nothing can penetrate or get through this divine protection. Simultaneously, nothing can leave this protection, as Dorje Shugden safeguards your merits.

Then from the central image of Dorje Shugden, visualize that from the red “Hung” from the heart, various lights emanate into your body. The force of this light is very strong and powerful, washing over you. For illustration purposes, it would be as if you are standing under a waterfall. The water just washes over you completely, dispelling all the dirt on you.

Visualize the powerful dark red light coming from Dorje Shugden entering your heart. The light pervades your body completely, expelling all impurities through your orifices in the form of scorpions, snakes, insects and lizards. From your whole body, black substances are expelled and the inside of your body is left clean and crystal clear. Immersed and surrounded by Dorje Shugden’s red wisdom light, you are clean and purified.

You should feel very fresh and awake after doing this visualization. With this “clean” sensation, think: “My mind is in control. I am in control. No spirits will harm me, no interfering beings will harm me”. With this thought in mind and while reciting the mantra, do not dispel the spirit in a wrathful manner. Instead, develop compassion for them. They are causing you harm because, just like people who hurt you, they are suffering too.

The most important ingredient of this practice is to develop compassion for the spirit(s) that inflicts harm on you, as it is due to these spirits’ negative karma which compels them to create more negative karma through harming you. When you develop compassion for these beings, you will no longer need the ritual. It is said that when deep and sincere compassion is developed within your mind stream, the spirits will leave the moment they hear your voice because they are unable to harm a being with great compassion. Therefore, the most important ingredient for this practice is to have great compassion.

When you engage in this practice with compassion and recite the mantra together with the visualizations, your body, speech and mind are immersed in the protection of the practice. Your body is engaged as you are seated in meditation posture, your speech is immersed through the recitation of the mantra and your mind focused as you do the visualization. Thus, your body, speech and mind that are referred to as the three doors, which is the gateway for impurities to enter, are blocked.



Before bringing the session to a close, it is good to recite the Dothey prayer, the praise to Dorje Shugden written by H.H. Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche. After you finish Dothey, visualize Trakze and Lama Tsongkhapa dissolving into you and recite dissolution verses. The Dothey also contains graphic words and exhortation to ‘kill the enemy‘, but the graphic verses are in reference to only symbology, not actually directed at sentient beings. In any Buddhist practice, no harm is inflicted on others by ritual, thought, meditation and action. The word ‘kill‘ in Dothey refers to the destruction of one’s own inner enemies which are ego, selfishness, miserliness, anger and hatred. So ‘kill the enemy‘ in Dothey may sound quite violent but it refers to the violence that we actually create emotionally to people around us. Due to this afflicted emotions, this practice is aimed at ‘killing off‘ those negative emotions within us or at least realizing – the enemy is within.

End the session with a short dedication.

It is very important to make a compassionate dedication that the afflictive being be free and liberated. Then, do a dedication that you may be free and protected from affliction.



Blessing items for Protection

After you have recited the mantra, you can do a few things which are:

  1. Blow on some dry, plain, uncooked rice that is stored inside a clean container
  2. Blow on yourself
  3. Blow in a bottle of water

When you recite the mantra, which is the sound manifestation of the Buddha’s virtue, it said that your breath is fused with the positive energy of the mantra. Therefore you are transmitting this potent energy when you blow into these objects.

The water that has been blessed can be used to bathe your body or to drink in order to keep the spirits out. It can also be given to someone who is afflicted by spirits or black magic. The water can be sprinkled throughout the house or anywhere you feel the presence of an unseen entity.

The rice that has been blessed can be burnt in places that are afflicted. Therefore, if your house has an affliction, you can burn the rice, which is infused with the power of the mantra and is activated when burnt.

When blowing the mantra’s energy on yourself, the channels on your body which will be blocked and prevent any negative energy from entering are: your two eyes, two sides of the nostril, mouth, two ears, both of your ring fingers, anus and secret organ. These are the 11 places where spirits enter you if left unprotected. For extra caution, you can take a little bit of water and put it on these 11 areas. For the two lower orifices, you sprinkle the water in the front and back area and visualize that your two lower orifices are blocked.

1, 2 and 3 are optional, we can just recite our mantra and end.


Helping friends

If a friend or family member is suffering from such afflictions, you can visualize your friend being protected within Trakze’s smoke, fire and thunder, with your friend standing facing Trakze and many blessed tumultuous red lights emanating from Trakze, absorbing into your friend and absolving him of all ills, afflictions and he is blessed with peace of mind. You can also do it simultaneously for a friend and oneself because there are no limitations of Trakze’s power.

You can also give them blessed water or rice so that they may use it to dispel negative energy in their environment. In some cases, some malicious spirits can begin to cause harm to those around you. If such a situation may occur, you can also include your whole family in your visualization to keep them safe.



Trakze is no other than Manjushri in a ferocious form, emanating to specifically counter obstacles and afflictive entities. In general, Trakze’s practice can purify an environment, bless one’s business, protect one’s home, and give blessings to loved ones, but the real purpose of Trakze’s practice is to be blessed in order to gain an understanding into the deeper teachings of Dharma and facilitate the mind training practices such as Lojong. Ultimately, Lord Manjushri can manifest in myriads of shapes, forms, and appearances, both animate and inanimate because an enlightened mind has no restrictions. Doing Trakze’s practice will bless us and our environment to help increase Dharma activities, energy, and facilitate attainment. The enlightened beings will manifest, re-manifest and again emanate according to time, place, circumstances and karmic affinity of the sentient beings they are benefiting.

So, Dorje Shugden’s practice is 400 years old and considered relatively new, because many now are in need of this type of emanation. Dorje Shugden’s affinity and his special ability to help beings will be recognized more widely in time. We may hold Dorje Shugden in any of his forms such as Trakze as our main Dharma Protector practice. Again, Dharma Protector is not our main practice but sometimes necessary to alleviate many daily problems we encounter. Once we trust and rely on a sublime being such as Dorje Shugden, as the years pass, we will see a special relationship develop and he will take care of us as a father for his only child.

Dorje Shugden’s compassion, wisdom and skillful means are unlimited as he is a fully enlightened Buddha, manifesting as a Dharma Protector. How fortunate we are to even hear his name and also to engage in his practice. Whether you are Buddhist or non-Buddhist, Gelug or any other school of Buddhism, poor or rich, male or female does not matter. People like to label Dorje Shugden as a Gelugpa protector but that is wrong because he is no other than Manjushri, and Manjushri cannot be pigeon-holed within only a Gelug framework.

True Dorje Shugen has a special affinity to Lama Tsongkhapa and his teachings because in one of his lives he was one of the 8 principle disciples of Lord Tsongkhapa. But even prior to Lama Tsongkhapa, he had incarnated as many great masters in Tibet, Nepal, India, and China. He was in fact one of the Qing Emperors of China named Kangxi. Kangxi had ushered in the age of Buddhism and Tsongkhapa’s teachings into the royal court of China and into China itself. The Qing dynasty emperors of China and their descendants are called Manchurians. According to Qing dynasty’s official historical record, the Researches on Manchu Origins; the ethnic name ‘Manchu’ came from Manjushri. The Qinglong Emperor also supported this claim on the origin of their ethnic name and wrote several poems on the subject.

His line of incarnations extend back to one of the 84 Mahasiddhas. Dorje Shugden’s blessings and protection will be bequeath on anyone who sincerely invokes upon his enlightened energy. Again I would like to stress he does not only assist Gelugpas and Buddhists, but anyone from any walks of life that need assistance. For example his practice was also prevalent within the Sakyas, where he manifested as riding on a black horse.  If you believe otherwise, you are limiting the powers of an enlightened being. Dorje Shugden in any of his forms will assist anyone who sincerely requests his assistance. You do not need to be a Buddhist or go through any special rituals to receive his assistance. From the comfort of your home, you can download the daily practice I’ve included here and start immediately. Read the commentary carefully and thoroughly for your knowledge and understanding. Do not fear if you cannot do the visualizations or offerings ‘perfectly’ because Dorje Shugden is a Buddha and will not be ‘upset’ with anything lacking. Sincerity and consistency is the key. When you rely on Dorje Shugden consistently and over time you will have a powerful ally as your friend, assistance, protector and confidante. Trust Dorje Shugden all the way. No part of his practice can be harmful in any way. Hundreds of highly attained lamas from the Gelug and Sakya schools of Buddhism have relied on Dorje Shugden for 400 years. Many large monastic institutions as well as powerful lay practitioners were under the full protection of this divine protector. If you have come across this, it could be an indication you have strong affinity. Download the picture, print out and place on your shrine and start the practice. For those who are too young, ill or elderly and find doing the daily practice perhaps too taxing, they can keep a photo of Dorje Shugden or Trakze near them and simply recite his mantra. Again sincerity and faith are the keys. I sincerely wish all of you the best.

My team have worked very hard and for days together with me to bring this compilation to all of you. I, from my heart, thank my compassionate and hardworking team of great people whose sole purpose of assisting me is to bring you benefits. They are really great and kind people. We have many like them in Kechara I am honored to say. Thank you team very much!

I dedicate all merits to my team’s happiness, peace, growth and liberation. I also dedicate the merits that the great lineage holders of all traditions and all teachers who speak about peace, love and development of compassion have long lives and further success. It has been a tremendous honor, privilege and pleasure for me and my team to bring this extremely beneficial practice of Trakze for the first time here. I wish everyone supreme success, health, growth and liberation. May you come under the peaceful, wrathful, mystical and myriad forms of the supreme Manjushri in this and all future lives.

Sarva mangalam.

Tsem Rinpoche



The aspiration for offering this practice is so that it will benefit many people. May those who practice Dorje Shugden as Trakze or any other Dorje Shugden emanations be free of their afflictions, black magic, obstacles and spirits. May the resources they need to live good lives and spiritual practice be bestowed by Dorje Shugden Trakze. May they have peace of mind, peaceful sleep, peaceful family, peaceful life and free of accidents. Please remember Dorje Shugden is a world peace Buddha emanated as A Dharma protector and his nature is the fully enlightened Manjushri. This prayer is provided so it may be convenient and free to access to such a precious practice, especially for those that truly need it.

I have worked with my team to compile all of this in hopes that it will be of tremendous benefit.