Who is Kache Marpo

Kache Marpo is a very ancient Buddhist deity originating from the time of Guru Rinpoche, a thousand years ago. Kache Marpo was installed as one of the Dharma Protectors in Samye Monastery by Guru Rinpoche in the past, as one of the protective divinities to help increase the growth of Dharma in the country of Tibet and the surrounding areas. Kache Marpo is considered an emanation of Hayagriva, which makes him a fully accomplished enlightened being and also a Buddha who appears in a worldly form.

Kache Marpo has a red face, three eyes and two arms. He gnaws his lower lip with his upper teeth and has bared fangs to scare away obstacles and maras. He wears the helmet of an ancient warrior with five flags fluttering in the wind, representing the five Dhyani Buddhas. In ancient times, warriors would wear flags on their backs to denote who they are, where they are from, their rank, and so on. He wears a full set of leather mail on his body which enables him to stop arrows and other projectiles that are shot at him. But in Dharma terms, it represents that he is impenetrable because he has achieved full enlightenment.

In his right hand which is swinging up in the air, he holds a long spear and in his left hand, he holds a noose. The noose is dragging a human-like form, which represents our negative karma, our sufferings, our problems, and our pains in samsara. The human is bound and tied, meaning that Kache Marpo has the power to bind our obstacles. He pierces the human with the long spear held in his right hand, further enforcing his ability to destroy our obstacles.

He rides on a horse over an ocean of blood. The blood represents all suffering that is inherently existent in samsara and the projections within samsara. When he rides over this ocean, it signifies that he is above and beyond any type of suffering.

A very simple visualization that you can do during Kache Marpo’s practice is to visualize that from every pore of his body, psychic flames erupt and spew into the ten directions to announce his arrival.

In the Nyingma tradition, he is very much worshipped in the form of Tsiu Marpo. Later when Dorje Shugden manifested, Tsiu Marpo saw the benefits of Dorje Shugden’s practice and activities, and on his own free will, he took an oath to become one of Dorje Shugden’s ministers. So, he is practiced within the Nyingma tradition as Tsiu Marpo and within the Gelugpa tradition as Kache Marpo.

In Tibet, there are many famous Kache Marpo oracles. They can come in peaceful or wrathful form, and are very well known for the accuracy of their advice. Even though they are oracles of Kache Marpo, when the oracle takes trance, Dorje Shugden the King will enter first. After the King leaves, Kache Marpo will then come and speak on behalf of the King (Dorje Shugden).

There is a very famous oracle in Tibet called the Panglung Oracle, whose picture I have included here. During the Cultural Revolution in 1959, he was consulted by H.H. Trijang Rinpoche for the safety of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. When he was consulted, Dorje Shugden entered first, then Kache Marpo entered and pronounced that the Dalai Lama should leave Tibet immediately. This event is well recorded by the monks who witnessed this as well as the monks who actually carried the messages back and forth. So, one of the most famous Kache Marpo oracles in Tibet who was very, very well known for his accuracy was the one who gave the prophecy that the Dalai Lama should leave Tibet.

You don’t have to do Kache Marpo’s practice separately. When you do the Dorje Shugden practice, he is automatically included. Having said that, Kache Marpo can and has been practiced as a separate Protector in his own right because he is highly qualified. This also speaks very highly of Dorje Shugden that another highly qualified Protector would submit himself to Dorje Shugden’s ways and methods of increasing the Dharma.

I have included here some short write-ups about the history and iconography of Kache Marpo, some pictures of him for download, and also some praises written by high lamas such as His Holiness the Fifth Dalai Lama and so on for your convenience.

I hope this gives a little bit of information on this benevolent and very effective Dharma Protector who also happens to be the attendant of Dorje Shugden.

Tsem Rinpoche




Who is Kache Marpo?

Kache Marpo is one of Dorje Shugden’s main attendants and is said to be an emanation of Hayagriva. Kache Marpo assists Dorje Shugden in carrying out his Dharma instructions and activities, and assists us in overcoming inner and outer obstacles to our spiritual practice. Even though Kache Marpo takes on the form of a worldly Protector, in actuality his true nature is the wrathful form of Avalokiteshvara. Thus Kache Marpo is an enlightened Dharma Protector and as such, has his own set of pujas, offerings and rituals which can be used to propitiate him and invoke his blessings.

The Gelugs are not the only tradition of Tibetan Buddhism which has relied upon Kache Marpo. Kache Marpo was known to and propitiated by the Sakyas in the form of Tsiu Marpo. They propitiated Tsiu Marpo along with Dorje Setrap and Dorje Shugden, who together formed Gyalpo Sum (The Three Kings) who were the main Protectors of the Sakya lineage.

In his present role as a Gelug Protector and powerful acolyte of Dorje Shugden, it is said that Kache Marpo waits on his horse outside Dorje Shugden’s celestial abode, to carry out the King’s (Dorje Shugden’s) instructions and lead the fight against our obstacles.



Kache Marpo’s abode is described to be “A brilliant, splendid brown palace made of leather, which is surrounded by a red ocean formed by the blood of horses and men”.

The color of his body is similar to the vibrance produced when the sun shines on a huge mountain of coral, bright red and luminous. He has the shape of a “son of devas”, with one face and two hands. In his right hand he brandishes a red, sharp lance, with which he pierces the heart of our negative karma and wrong views, rendering them impotent. His left hand holds a noose that is wound around the neck of an obstacle-creating demon. Kache Marpo appears as a Tibetan warrior adorned with a leather cuirass and helmet decorated with victory banners of silk in nine colors.

His facial expression is very wrathful. He gnaws his lower lip in perpetual fury and haste, showing his impatience to help us destroy our obstacles and the causes of our suffering. His three eyes that represent his ability to perceive the past, present and future, throb with red-gleaming veins as they stare with full hatred at obstructors and evil-doers. He rides a very fierce horse, which possesses magical qualities and mounted with a precious saddle, belt and other accessories.

Click to download more high resolution pictures of Kache Marpo


Oracles and Trances

The 7th Panglung Oracle taking trance of Kache Marpo in Serpom Monastery. He just like his father the 6th Panglung Oracle is respected for his clear prophetic answers and ease of trance signifying pure practice and clean samaya

Kache Marpo takes trance in qualified oracles to support practitioners by giving accurate prophecies, sound advice, blessings and healing of diseases, depending on what is necessary. Kache Marpo consistently displays great patience and offers his assistance to sincere Dharma practitioners.

Kache Marpo usually takes trance peacefully through an oracle to give instructions and advice. He will always check with Dorje Shugden before giving out any advice to practitioners. Having great respect for Dorje Shugden, it is witnessed during trance that Kache Marpo always refers to him as ‘The Great King’.

Kache Marpo takes trance in the current Panglung Kuten (Kuten means oracle in Tibetan), who was trained by His Holiness Trijang Dorje Chang and currently resides in Taiwan. He also takes trance in the Gameng Kuten in the USA. In Tibet, the previous Panglung Kuten who lived in Panglung Retreat near Sera Monastery, Lhasa was very famous and many people including H.H. the 14th Dalai Lama, H.H. Trijang Rinpoche, dignitaries and high officials would consult him for advice and guidance.

Hundreds of visitors in Serpom Monastery await their turn to receive blessings directly from Kache Marpo

When the oracle takes trance of Kache Marpo, he may appear wrathful or peaceful depending on the location he is in as well as the ‘requirements’ of the audience. If the people in a certain area are aggressive, full of anger and stubborn, Kache Marpo will take on a wrathful disposition. On the other hand, if the people are compassionate, loving and patient, Kache Marpo will appear in a calm and peaceful form.

At times, Dorje Shugden and Kache Marpo will not remain for long during the trance and may not even accept the offerings presented. This occurs when, through their clairvoyance, Dorje Shugden and Kache Marpo know that the people in the audience who are seeking divine help will not adhere to the advice given. Thus, out of compassion, Dorje Shugden and Kache Marpo do not stay for long so that these people do not accumulate further negative karma by disobeying the instructions given.


A Brief History of Kache Marpo

Invite home a beautiful Kache Marpo thangka from VajraSecrets

Kache Marpo is one of the Seven Blazing Brothers who arose from the Tsiu Marpo pantheon and belongs to the ‘tsen‘ classification of Protectors. Prior to the 17th century, Kache Marpo was typically depicted as a minor figure until His Holiness the 5th Dalai Lama popularized his practice during his reign. The Fifth Dalai Lama’s collected works contain a short propitiation to the Yaksha Kache Marpo (in volume Da folios 147a5-149a5), and also contain writings that support this history of how Kache Marpo came to be. The works also have descriptions of Kache Marpo that closely matches the attendant deity found in Dorje Shugden rituals.

Newer research by Christopher Paul Bell also confirms Kache Marpo as the enlightened Tsiu Marpo. Christopher Bell’s recent work, “Tsiu Marpo: The Career of a Tibetan Protector Deity” mentions that one of the 6 ‘demons’ that formed from Tsiu Marpo’s body is known as the ‘Rock Might Demon‘ who comes from the red highlands. This description is in sync with the account of Kache Marpo as coming from the ‘mansion of the high rising copper red mountains’ in “The abbreviated torma offerings and request for activity of Powerful Tsen Go Kache Marpo called Sport of the Slaughterer” written by H.H. Trijang Rinpoche. Christopher Bell’s thesis statement that the ‘Rock Might Demon‘ is ‘Overlord of the Red Copper Rock‘ further supports the derivation that the rock might demon is Kache Marpo that manifested from Tsiu Marpo’s body. Lastly, the iconography of the ‘Rock Might Demon‘ (on p50 of Bell’s thesis) is identical to Kache Marpo’s except for the sword, which ‘Rock Might Demon‘ holds (Kache Marpo wields a lance).


Tsiu Marpo

Tsiu Marpo is a ‘subjugated’ Tibetan worldly god of the warrior class (drala). Tsiu Marpo functioned as a Buddhist protector deity of Samyé Monastery (est. 779 C.E.), the oldest Buddhist monastery in Tibet, when the previous Protector, Pehar Gyalpo, was transferred to Nechung Monastery just outside Lhasa. Tsiu Marpo, commonly recognized as a worldly Protector, is the head of the Seven Blazing Brothers. His practice was popularized by the Nyingma teacher Ngari Panchen Pema Wangyal (1487-1542). In essence, Tsiu Marpo is Tamdrin (Hayagriva) and it was Padmasambhava who bestowed empowerments and gave Tsiu Marpo his secret name of Kunkyap Dorje Drakpotsel, meaning “The Power of the Fierce, All-pervading Vajra”.

Tsiu Marpo is said to have first manifested as Lise Chorpa from the land of Li. He was a high practitioner who lived in the forest and due to a misunderstanding, was mistaken to be a dangerous man. Blinded by fear, people hunted him down and the king, in a fit of fear, decapitated him with his royal sword. However, due to the power of his attainments, the various parts of his body – flesh, bones, heart, fluids and so forth – arose as the Seven Blazing Brothers, of which Tsiu Marpo is the chief.

Kache Marpo a.k.a. Tsiu Marpo is very much practiced within the Nyingma lineage up till the present day. You will see his depiction in many Nyingma temples.





Prayers to Kache Marpo written by various Great Masters



Praise to Yaksha Kache Marpo, the Doctrine’s Watchman
by H.H. the 5th Dalai Lama

Riding on a saddled precious horse
Having the power of the wind,
Traversing the universe in an instant,
Praise to Yaksha Kache Marpo, the doctrine’s watchman.

Furious mighty being biting the lower lip,
Three eyes blazing the sun and moon watching enemies,
Emanating messengers taking the life of false guides,
Praise to the liberator of the ten enemies.

Wearing leather armor, banners, colored garb and
Leather helmet with a victory banner, treasury of nine good signs,
Tying enemies with a lasso, piercing their hearts with a lance,
Praise to you and your retinue.

Mantra of Kache Marpo: OM SHRI DHARMAPHALA


These praises are extracted from a ritual to Kache Marpo written by the Fifth Dalai Lama (5DL, Volume Da folios 147r-148r). According to the colophon, Kache Marpo requested the Fifth Dalai Lama to write this ritual. Kache Marpo is most commonly known as Dorje Shugden’s minister (ODT, 143).

Trode Khangsar is Dorje Shugden’s Ashokan Pillar. According to the White Conch Dictionary, it was established by the Fifth Dalai Lama himself. Management of Trode Khangsar was entrusted to Riwo Choling monastery, a Gelug monastery in Lhoka. On the same lot of Trode Khangsar was a small shrine called Monkyi Khangsar (smon skyid khang gsar) where Kache Marpo was invoked via oracle (WCD, 1312).


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Abbreviated Torma Offering and Request for Activity of Powerful Tsen Go Kache Marpo called Sport of the Slaughterer
by Kyabje Trijang Dorje Chang


From the stirred-up ocean of dark red blood. Land of Tsen
From the mansion of the high rising copper red mountain
The great agent attendant of Dorje Shugden
Tsen Go Kache Marpo, come now hither!

In center of a palace emanated from awesome power and wrath
On the red supreme horse endowed with magical strength
With whatever emanation, O fearsome hero
In order to perform the yogi’s activity, remain stably here!

An ocean of food and drink of humans and gods and
Amassed torma of slain enemies and obstructers flesh and blood
Blessed into the nature of undefiled nectar
I offer to the great wild Tsen and retinue.

Desirable close offerings, Eight Auspicious Substances and Symbols
Seven Royal objects, Vajra mail and armor
Ornaments, clothing, mounts and favored visual animal offering*
Outer and Inner samaya substances lacking in nothing.

Made desirable through blessing with samadhi, mantra and mudra
This, with nature of the Samantabhadra sky treasure,
Accept and restore degenerated samaya without exception
And be wholly fulfilled in your stern heart commitment!

Of great power to subdue the Teachings’ enemies and vow breakers
With terrible wrath, inexhaustible as the sky
Fierce King of Tsen, Kache Mar
Great enemy destroying protector, praise to you!

Formerly those Vidyadharas, the root and lineage Gurus
Placed the drawing of the insurmountable vajra to your crown
And placed the supreme taste of nectar on your tongue,
Remember the stern commitment they proclaimed and
Spread in ten directions the teaching and practice of the
Excellent system of Tsongkhapa, quintessence of millions of Buddha’s Teachings,
Ensure long life of the hosts of sublime sustainers of the teachings,
And ripen the essence of their intended benefit and bliss!

Cause the Sangha communities to be harmonious and of pure moral discipline,
And Dharma, endowments and desirables to flourish like the summer ocean,
Without even the words sickness, weapons or famine,
And the land to be endowed with happiness and auspiciousness!

On all enemies and obstructers with poisonous hateful winds
Towards the Teachings, its Holders, sponsors, sponsored and this monastic abode
Rain down a hundred thousand powerful vajra weapons,
And grind them to atoms of dust without trace!

Especially since we, at all times, rely on you
Practice you, request you and make offerings to you
When we call you by name, Wild Tsen, don’t harden your ears
When we beckon you don’t be unclear of sight!

When set on an enemy, Tsen, don’t slow your horse!
When exhorted to action don’t be weak in power and might!
Show smiling face and give rise to signs of accomplishment!
Kill hateful enemies, subdue harmful spirits and obstructers

Dispel without exception undesirable bad conditions and obstacles
Such as sickness, weapons, spells and unpleasant conversation
Generate life, glory, proclaim good reputation,
Cause our people, wealth and livestock to flourish, fulfill our every hope!

In short, in all places, paths or activities
Accompany us, never parted, like a body and its shadow
Protect through the six periods of day and night unwaveringly
And swiftly accomplish our desired enlightening activities!


[This prayer offering may be combined with the extensive ‘kangso’ of Dorje Shugden or as a separate practice by itself.]


Prayer Offering of the Wild Tsen Kache Marpo
by Ngawang Lozang Jorden

[For those who wish to perform a brief prayer offering to the Protector of Riwo Choling, the Wild Tsen (Tsen Go) Kache Marpo, first arrange offerings and tormas as usual. Also have a rising white cloud of white incense smoke. Recite prayers of refuge and bodhicitta three times. Then having generated oneself in the form of the Yidam, bless the kangwa (fulfillment ritual) substances, offerings and tormas as in highest yoga tantra. Then continue: Purify with…]



From within emptiness before me, inside a red copper mountain which soars toward heaven, in the midst of a wave stirred red ocean of horse and human blood, inside a frightening and splendid maroon varnished leather castle is emanated Dharmapala Wild Tsen Kache Marpo in color like a coral mountain embraced by sunlight, one face, two hands; in the right an upraised sharp red spear marked by a banner pierces the hearts of those with degenerated samaya.

The left holds at the heart a red tsen spirit noose lassoing the waist of enemies and obstructers. He wears leather mail and leather helmet and is adorned by nine stacked victory banners. Face very fierce, he bites his lower lip. His red veined eyes dart and glare at enemies and obstructers. On a very fierce red topaz hued magically powerful horse adorned with upper and lower bound saddle he sits with any variety of manner, marked by OM at crown, AH at throat and HUNG at heart. By light rays emanating from the HUNG at my heart, from the land of Tsen, The Supreme Abode Enjoying Overwhelming Power and Wrath, the Wild Tsen Kache Marpo along with his retinue is instantly invited to this place.


From The Supreme Abode Enjoying Overwhelming Power and Wrath,
O Supreme Minister of Dorje Shugden’s command,
That Great King who protects the Second Conqueror’s teaching,
Wild Tsen Kache Marpo, pray come!

In nature all Buddhas, never transgressing,
The lotus skull rosary of instructions and precepts,
To protect the Teachings and destroy enemies and obstructers,
Pray come to this yogi’s/yogini’s pleasant abode!

Having well received clouds of offerings pure in faith and commitments,
For sake of swiftly achieving the four enlightening actions,
O Red Yaksha of unbearably fierce wrath,
Pray come unobstructed along with your retinue!

They become non-dual with the commitment beings.



O Attendant to the general Yidam mandalas
Holding power over life, Wild Tsen Kache Mar,
For activity, protect the Buddha’s Teachings and,
For sustenance, eat this amassed flesh and blood of enemies!

Prostration and praise to the Powerful Dregpa,
Who cuts down enemies, obstructors and vow breakers,
Accept these outer, inner and secret offerings and,
Please grant attainment of supreme enjoyment!

[Recite the hundred syllable mantra]

O Second Conqueror Tsong Khapa inseparable,
From Vajradhara and Padmasambhava,
Assemblies of direct and lineage Gurus,
And host of Yidams with retinues please listen!

Under influence of ignorance’s deception,
Our three doors are overpowered by deluded minds,
All transgressions of enlightened body, speech and mind, and the precepts,
With intense regret we reveal and purify.

Especially transgressions of precepts and missing of,
Powerful Protectors, your offerings, tormas and restoring-fulfilling rituals,
And not thanking you for accomplishment of requested activity, etc.,
The collection of faults transgressing your mind I sincerely confess.

Through confessing to you Yakshas, red lords over life,
Having purified all collections of faults,
Accompany us like a body and its shadow,
And always care for us with the four activities!



With argham of blood, flowers of sense organs,
Incense from human flesh and blazing lamps from human fat,
Perfume of bile and food of flesh and bone, and sound of
Frightful majestic music of thigh bones and skull drums, with these
Tsen Go Kache Marpo, may your heart commitment be fulfilled,
And host of attendant slaughterers may your heart commitment be fulfilled,
Having fulfilled the heart commitment of the whole retinue host,
Dispel contary conditions and accomplish enlightening activity.

Wild yaks, goats, sheep, birds, dogs, lions, and elephants,
Flying throughout the sky and slinking all over the ground,
And the mount of the supreme horse who instantly circles the billion worlds,
With upper and lower bound saddle and strength of the wind, with these
Tsen Go Kache Marpo, may your heart commitment be fulfilled,
And host of attendant slaughterers may your heart commitment be fulfilled.
Having fulfilled the heart commitment of the whole retinue host,
Dispel contrary conditions and accomplish enlightening activity.

Mail of leather, banners radiant in five colors and designs,
Leather helmet with nine stacked auspicious victory banners,
Axe, sword, catapult, razor knife and arrow,
Enemy lassoing red noose and sharp spear, with these
Tsen Go Kache Marpo, may your heart commitment be fulfilled,
And host of attendant slaughterers may your heart commitment be fulfilled,
Having fulfilled the heart commitment of the whole retinue host,
Dispel contary conditions and accomplish enlightening activity.

Tormas, tsog, tea and beer swirling like a mountain lake,
Fringed parasols, victory banners, canopies and garlands,
Mon and Indian outfits such as dancers’ masks,
Life essence crystal, life wheel mantra, with these outer, inner and secret bases,
Tsen Go Kache Marpo, may your heart commitment be fulfilled,
And host of attendant slaughterers may your heart commitment be fulfilled,
Having fulfilled the heart commitment of the whole retinue host,
Dispel contary conditions and accomplish enlightening activity.

Mount Meru, four continents, subcontinents, sun and moon,
Eight auspicious substances and symbols, seven precious objects,
Next precious seven, and five objects of desire,
With all the wealth of humans and gods
Tsen Go Kache Marpo, may your heart commitment be fulfilled,
And host of attendant slaughterers may your heart commitment be fulfilled,
Having fulfilled the heart commitment of the whole retinue host,
Dispel contary conditions and accomplish enlightening activity.



Through the Great Wild Tsen’s tongue of a straw of light, he draws up the entire essence of the torma and partakes.






In form of a raksha having the glory,
Of a ruby mountain embraced a hundred-fold by the sun,
Emanating in whatever terrifying manner,
Slaughterer destroying those with the ten evils, praise to you!

Raising red spear cutting off lives of enemies and obstructors,
Holding at the heart the red noose snaring vow breakers,
Chomping lower lip with fierce terrifying upper teeth,
Life snatcher with brilliance of ruby, praise to you!

On the supreme red horse full wrathfully majestic,
Saddled and endowed with magical strength,
Fiercely lording death over beings in various manners,
Red Yama, praise to you!

Coming forth from seven eggs of blood,
Which came from countless ages ago,
Seven Blazing Brothers among which is Great Wild Tsen,
Powerful Kache Marpo, praise to you!

First Buddha, second Padmasambhava,
Midway all-knowing peerless Tsongkhapa,
Lastly Great King Mighty Dorje Shugden,
Closely remember your instructed stern commitments!

In brief, since we entrust to you, great Dharmapala,
The monastic abode, people, wealth and all,
Guard and protect us during the six periods of day and night,
And accomplish peaceful, increasing, powerful and wrathful activities!



May there be auspiciousness of root and lineage Gurus
May there be auspiciousness of the hosts of yidam deities!
May there be auspiciousness of the goddesses, dakas, and dakinis!
May there be auspiciousness of the Dharma Protector guardians!

That the Dharma King Tsongkhapa’s,
Pure Dharma tradition flourish,
May obstructive omens be eliminated,
And conducive conditions without exception be complete!

In dependence on the two unified accumulations,
Of myself and others over the three times,
May the teachings of the Victor, Lozang Dragpa,
Increasingly blaze for a very long time!


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  • ODT: Nebesky-Wojkowitz, Rene de. (1956). Oracles and demons of Tibet: the cult and iconography of the Tibetan protective deities. Mouton.
  • WCD: Dung dkar blo bzang ‘phrin las. (2002). Dung dkar tshig mdzod chen mo (White Conch Dictionary). Beijing: Krung go’i bod kyi shes rig dpe skrun khang.
  • 5DL: Ngag-dbang-blo-bzang-rgya-mtsho. (1995). The collected works (gsung ‘bum) of Vth Dalai Lama Ngag-dbang-blo-bzang-rgya-mtsho. Gangtok: Sikkim Research Institute of Tibetology.
  • Bell, Christopher Paul, “Tsiu Marpo: The Career of a Tibetan Protector Deity” (2006). Electronic Theses, Treatises and Dissertations. Paper 1306.
  • http://www.himalayanart.org/search/set.cfm?setID=3465
  • http://www.himalayanart.org/search/set.cfm?setID=494




Dorje Shugden Teaching Videos – HE Tsem Tulku Rinpoche

Homage to the lineage masters H.H. Pabongka Rinpoche, H.H. Trijang Rinpoche and H.H. Zong Rinpoche

Dear treasured friends around the world,

When I first founded Kechara back in the year 2000, one of my wishes was to have a Dharma community… people who dedicate themselves to learning, practicing and teaching the Dharma. As Kechara grew, this need became even more urgent because physical growth must also be accompanied by the ability to explain and expound the dharma, as more and more people will need it. If the Dharma has survived for this long, it is because there have been teachers who committed themselves to preserving the knowledge, passing it on from one generation to another. In the case of Kechara in Malaysia, one person alone would never be able to meet the needs of hundreds of students, which is why I conceptualized the Pastors, who are wonderful individuals that dedicate their lives in service of others.

I have noticed that accurate information about Dorje Shugden’s practice and lineage is difficult to come by online. This is not surprising as due to unfortunate circumstances, the practice of this very beneficial deity has been muted in the last 20 years, which explains the lack of teachings available for the public online. So I thought we, in Kechara, should create videos to share and teach Dorje Shugden’s practice to others so that people from all around the world can learn about this beneficial practice. Dorje Shugden is not the only practice we do in Kechara, but it is a practice that has been passed on by my teachers to me, and I have in turn passed them on to my students.

I am very happy to see Kechara Pastors and senior students taking this opportunity to be involved in such a beneficial project, so that it can be made available to the public for free… and after many months of fundraising, pre-production, planning, filming, editing and post-production, I am very happy to share with you these professionally produced educational videos which cover a myriad of topics about Dorje Shugden including his history, lineage and practice.

I will be adding more videos over the next few weeks as they are released, so do return to check out the latest teachings. There will also be videos about Dorje Shugden in Chinese language which will be released on this post at a later date, so keep an eye out for those too!

It is my deepest hope and wish that these videos will enable more people to understand about Dorje Shugden, and for all misconceptions about his true nature to be cleared. I would like to thank everyone who contributed their time, effort, funds, prayers, etc. to this project, especially Ms. Han and her crew for being on set from morning to night shooting and spending countless hours editing the videos to perfection. I thank Beng Kooi the coordinator, the writers team, ladrang, speakers and sponsors. I am extremely happy about this project because I know it will bring tremendous benefit to many people around the world and into the distant future.

I wish everyone well, and may all of you gain great advancement in your spiritual practice. May all of us find hope, peace, kindness and finally enlightenment.

Sarva Mangalam.

Tsem Rinpoche



The Videos

  1. Why We Need Dharma Protectors
  2. The Benefits of Dorje Shugden’s Practice
  3. Dorje Shugden’s Story: How and Why He Arose
  4. Dorje Shugden’s Incarnation Lineage
  5. The Lineage of Dorje Shugden in Kechara
  6. The Iconography of Dorje Shugden
  7. The Mandala of Dorje Shugden
  8. The Relationship Between Dorje Shugden & Setrap
  9. Dorje Shugden and The Tradition of Oracles



Additional Resources



Why We Need Dharma Protectors


Dharma Protector practice is central to Vajrayana Buddhism and is the third of the Three Roots, which is a refuge formulation in Tibetan Buddhism. The other two are The Guru and The Yidam. The role of the Dharma Protector is to help the practitioner clear inner and outer obstacles and also to provide suitable conditions for the practitioner to conduct his practice with minimum distractions. Within Tibetan Buddhism, Dorje Shugden is the most recent Dharma Protector to arise, with the specific purpose of protecting Lama Tsongkhapa’s teaching on Emptiness, and he is regarded as a wrathful emanation of Manjushri.

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The Benefits of Dorje Shugden’s Practice


The Protector Dorje Shugden is in fact the Wisdom Buddha Manjushri, emanating in a worldly form to help dharma practitioners in their practice. Being the most recent Dharma Protector to arise, and also by virtue of his taking on an earthly form, Dorje Shugden is naturally closest to us in karmic terms (strongest karmic affinity). As an emanation of Manjushri, Dorje Shugden’s practice also provides all the benefits related to Manjushri’s practice. Another added advantage of Dorje Shugden’s practice is that he emanates in five forms to specifically meet the various mental dispositions of individual practitioners and to help them with different types of enlightened activities.

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Dorje Shugden’s Story: How and Why He Arose


An intricate tale of how Dorje Shugden arose as a Dharma Protector to protect Lama Tsongkhapa’s teachings on Emptiness. This historical account, based on the writings of H.H. Trijang Rinpoche, spans hundreds of years of Tibetan history. Starting with a chance encounter between the Dharma Protector Nechung and Lama Tsongkhapa’s main disciple, Duldzin Drakpa Gyaltsen, the tale culminates with a dramatic showdown during the time of the Great Fifth Dalai Lama and the rise of the Dharma Protector Dorje Shugden.

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Dorje Shugden’s Incarnation Lineage


Dorje Shugden’s incarnation lineage is a stellar list of scholar-saints and great Mahasiddhas, which extends all the way back to the Buddha Manjushri. These tales of Dorje Shugden’s previous lives reflect how Manjushri has arisen time and time again, lifetime after lifetime, to help dharma practitioners through his various emanation and capacities. The enlightened mind stream that is Dorje Shugden today is also the same mind stream of these indisputable lamas, pandits and Mahasiddhas. Thus, this incarnation lineage is clear evidence of Dorje Shugden’s enlightened nature of wisdom and compassion.

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The Lineage of Dorje Shugden in Kechara


Kechara’s Dorje Shugden lineage is pure and unadulterated, and can be traced directly through an unbroken line of lineage masters all the way to Duldzin Drakpa Gyaltsen. Thus, the practice of Dorje Shugden within Kechara is ripe with the blessings of the lineage masters including Mahasiddha Tagphu Pemavajra, H.H. Pabongka Rinpoche, H.H. Trijang Rinpoche and H.H. Zong Rinpoche.

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The Iconography of Dorje Shugden


The iconography of an enlightened being is a roadmap to enlightenment, communicating not only the function of the deity but also serves to invoke a certain awareness in the minds of practitioners. Therefore, every detail of a deity’s form, from their stance and posture to the implements they carry, their mounts, and their mudras are in fact teachings in themselves. Dorje Shugden’s iconography is no different and illustrates well the deity’s enlightened nature and how he helps practitioners overcome their outer, inner and secret obstacles.

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The Mandala of Dorje Shugden


The thirty-two deities of Guhyasamaja’s mandala are represented in the mandala of Dorje Shugden, and each of these beings is an emanation of Dorje Shugden himself. This introduction to the various deities of Dorje Shugden’s mandala illustrates the many ways in which he can assist us, through the Five Families of Dorje Shugden as well as through his entourage – the Nine Mothers, the Eight Guiding Monks and the Ten Youthful and Wrathful Deities.

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The Relationship Between Dorje Shugden & Setrap


Dorje Shugden’s close relationship with the Dharma Protector Setrap Chen is historically significant. Not only did Dorje Shugden’s line of previous incarnations, including Tulku Drakpa Gyaltsen, propitiate Dharmapala Setrap, it was also one of Dorje Shugden’s past incarnations, Lotsawa Loden Sherab, who brought the practice of Setrap from India into the Tibetan pantheon of deities. The close association between these two enlightened Dharma Protectors can also be seen in the story of how Dorje Shugden arose, as well as within the depiction of Dorje Shugden’s mandala.

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Dorje Shugden and The Tradition of Oracles


Oracles are intermediaries between the deities and humans, and are the channel through which the deity speaks, gives advice, heals, teaches (in the case of Dorje Shugden) and has communion with lamas and practitioners. Dorje Shugden oracles play an important role in Tibetan Buddhism from recognizing incarnations of highly important lamas to giving advice in critical situations, for instance when helping the present Dalai Lama escape from Tibet in 1959 against very difficult odds.

Don’t be a Saint – HE Tsem Tulku Rinpoche

Dear friends,

I realize there are just some who karmically cannot shift their minds to higher thoughts of enlightenment embarking on it through cultivation of the 8 Verses, 50 Stanzas, Wheel of Sharp Weapons, Bodhicitta or be inspired by the saints. They just think on the level they think. Saints such as the glittering Shantideva, hardworking Naropa, devoted Milarepa or advanced Ghantapa has no inspiration on them at all. I realize their days and nights pass in how to fulfill the 8 Worldly Dharmas and not avert it. I realize all that. But on a practical day to day level to want name, fame, money, respect, praise and power by overriding others wouldn’t work long term either. Or by ignoring the needs of our compatriots or to just blatantly be sneaky with information, control and manipulations cannot be overlooked, ignored or remain undiscovered forever. To lie in our speech day in and day out and think all imbecilic or dense is not practical at all. Even taking advantage of others must be based on some evidence of truth of how we size others up! Eventually we will be found out. We will be found out and then where does that lead us.

To want recognition, name and some power or money is understood but let the ones surrounding us on a daily basis have some too or at least don’t keep using them until you burn your bridges. Don’t treat those around us insignificantly or just as convenient methods to reach our goals. Because those around us will not remain silent and will rise up and speak and expose us. Therefore in the end we gain nothing.

Don’t take advantage of those around us. We can’t be a saint, but don’t be a devil. We can achieve what we want better if we were genuine with the people around us and have a smattering of loyalty, genuine care and agenda-less giving from time to time. Do our work, pay what we owe, never let them chase for loans from us. Money can break couples and even families apart. Never make people chase us for what we owe. If we treat everyone around us like stepping stones, in the end we will be stepped on. Their feelings for us will be stone cold. People are patient and are forgiving, but not permanently if we keep assuming them as just donkeys to be used for our purposes repeatedly. People are not donkeys or stepping stones but something to be treasured, respected and or at least be genuine with. Even donkeys or any animals should not be treated badly. In life, during our youth or middle age or old age, it’s who we loved, who loved us, what love we have in our hearts and the compassion we have that makes us missed, respected and thought kindly of. That is all that matters. Then it’s the final darkness when we close our eyes forever. We are but just specs of light or darkness in the universe. We choose to be which one.

Don’t be a saint and that is fine. Cannot be a saint and that is fine. But at least be human. Being human means to have some civilized respect for others and not just use others for our own selfish purposes. To have some empathy and care on some level. Every action we do or don’t do should not be for selfishly moving ahead of others. Have respect for those around us and don’t use them, abuse them and not care about them. Don’t just see them as objects to be used for you to rise up. What goes up must come down or before you go up, you might never rise as people might not cooperate. Believe in karma or at least cause and effect. Believe in this and temper your minds with it. It goes a long way.

Don’t use people. Be fair. Give and take. Be human as much as you can and at times if you fail at least don’t be a devil. Be open on your faults as people are not blind and forthright in improving because you stand to benefit. Do really improve. Don’t keep apologizing to cover or deceive. Do your share of your allotted work and carry your load. Have some integrity. Integrity and doing work need not be spiritual but the actual stepping stones to what you want to achieve. Being human, courteous, respectful with integrity are timeless qualities for both the ‘godly’ and ‘ungodly’. Achieve our basic human wants or more but with the correct methods. Don’t use or abuse others ever. Remember, everyone needs someone. So better we be nice to some at least. Remember the world is not our oyster, but we are just a blind turtle in the big ocean of samsara.

I myself try to do the above and I do fail, but I rest in the fact I am definitely improving by leaps and bound and will continue to because everyone around me is worth it. I am worth it. Those around me are worth it for sure. I can’t get anywhere without others and that is practical and real.

Tsem Rinpoche

Dorje Shugden: My side of the story (多杰雄登:我这方面的说法) Pt 2 HE Tsem Rinpoche

So in the “Fifty Verses of Guru Devotion” by Ashvagosha, it states very clearly, without the permission of your Guru, you don’t go to any other teachers for teachings, initiations, even a blessing. Why? When you go to another Guru and you jump from one Guru to another, and you skip from one Guru to another, you’re sending a message out to the world: your Guru is not good enough, your teacher doesn’t have enough blessings. Your teacher is not knowledgeable enough. Your teacher is not good enough so you need to run to others. Some people say, “Oh, but I just want to get blessings from another teacher.” Why would you want blessings from another teacher if your teacher already is giving you blessings? So in the “Fifty Verses of Guru Devotion”, you don’t jump from one teacher to another, for a few reasons. One is, once you establish your relationship with your teacher, you study with your teacher, you learn with your teacher, and whatever your teacher has will be the path to enlightenment, and that should be more than enough for you.

If you’re going to get teachings from two or three or four or five or six teachers, how can you practice what every single teacher gives you? That’s not possible. Okay, that’s one. Number two, when you accept one person as a teacher, you see them as the embodiment of an enlightened energy, enlightened knowledge, enlightened mind. So what that teacher teaches you, if you put it into practice, you will gain the attainments. When you gain the attainments, that is the same as any other attained person, with any other teacher. So you don’t need to run to many, many, many teachers. So I’m very strict on Guru Devotional practice, I always have been very strict. So when I arrived in Los Angeles, I knew this was a great teacher, but I don’t have the permission of my first teacher. Why would I want to switch from my first teacher to the second teacher? Because my parents didn’t allow me to study, they didn’t allow me to go to the temple so I had to leave. They wanted me to get married, get a college degree, have kids and go to parties and drink and you know, have fun. That’s what they told me. My parents even picked out one Kalmyk-Mongolian girl for me to marry in the future, they’ve already talked to the parents, that’s the way they do things. So I ran. I wanted to be a monk.

So I called up – I was in Los Angeles – from Geshe-la’s house and I got Geshe-la’s permission and I called up Kensur Rinpoche in New Jersey, and I explained to him the situation. And he already knew of course, he understood, he’d heard I had run away. He was happy to hear I was safe and that I’m alright. So I said to him, “I can’t come back to New Jersey in the near future so therefore, I don’t have the merit to study with you although I want to. I am living in the house of Geshe Tsultim Gyeltsen. Do I have your permission to study with him or what shall I do?” Kensur Rinpoche on the other line, if he told me to leave, I would pack up and leave immediately. I would never question my teacher. I don’t have a habit of showing disrespect to my teacher. But Kensur Rinpoche said these words to me: “You are very lucky. Geshe Tsultim Gyeltsen is a great master and scholar. You should treat him exactly the way you would treat me. And you should serve him and study with him and be a good student.”

Wow! At that moment a few things dawned on me. One is how real Buddhist masters have no jealousy. How real Buddhist masters, they don’t care how you become enlightened or with who, as long as you become enlightened. I saw the first time, clearly, a glimmer of how incredible my teacher was. You say, “How can you say for the first time?” I’m talking about in action now. The second thing is, he officially gave me his permission to study with Geshe Tsultim Gyeltsen. So if I study with Geshe Tsultim Gyeltsen, there will be no karmic repercussions of Guru-hopping, center-hopping. The third thing is, he told me that Geshe Tsultim Gyeltsen is a great master. If my master tells me he’s a great master, I don’t need to check, I believe my master, and that I should serve him as I would serve my teacher in New Jersey. Wow! So I was very happy and sad because I love my teacher in New Jersey. I was happy because I can’t be there but I can continue my study. And guess what? He is of the same lineage, of the same teacher, of the same tradition. They’re Lama Tsongkhapa’s tradition, the student of Trijang Rinpoche, the student of Zong Rinpoche. They’re both highly acclaimed geshes.

So I ran up… I put the phone down, I prostrated. After I put the phone down, I prostrated to the phone because my teacher has spoken on the phone. So to show respect, I prostrated to my teacher and then I ran upstairs to Geshe-la and I told him what Kensur Rinpoche said. Geshe-la just said, “Okay, make me a cup of tea.” I went, “Okay, how come nobody’s happy for me?” Then I realized another quality of Geshe-la, he has no ego. When I told him what Kensur Rinpoche said about him, he has no ego, he didn’t talk about it more, he just said, “Okay, make me a cup of tea.” And I went, “Wow! This teacher has no ego. I just praised him from another teacher and it doesn’t move him at all, he doesn’t ask for details.” So as I was making tea I was thinking about the qualities of these two teachers – no ego.

So I became the official student of Geshe Tsultim Gyeltsen by two methods. One is I received permission from my first teacher because I couldn’t study with him. Second is Geshe Tsultim Gyeltsen accepted me. So it was pure bliss. I lived from 16 years old – I had turned 16 already – you know, 15 going on 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22… I lived with Geshe-la nearly to 23 before I went to India. In between, I moved out to West Hollywood for one year to experience life and I moved back in. So for one year in Los Angeles out of those seven years, eight years, I moved to West Los Angeles near Sunset Boulevard. Yes. And then I experienced samsara for one year and I moved back. While I was living in the Dharma center, I received teachings from Geshe-la every week. I was, on many occasions, had the honor to cook for him as I said earlier. I did his laundry because the laundry area is right next to my room. I cleaned, I vacuumed, I washed, I shopped; I did everything. I wasn’t paid for it; I did it because it’s a service to my Guru. For me, serving my Guru should not be paid, and for me, it’s very important to have integrity with my Guru. For me it’s always been very important that whatever I promise my Guru, he need not remind me, he need not chase me, he need not say anything to me. Once I make a promise to my Guru, I will keep it until I die. This is how I was brought up, this is what I believe, this is what I trusted, this is what the Dharma books taught me.

If you don’t have integrity towards your Guru which is the highest being in your life, that teaches you the dharma to become enlightened, then you won’t have integrity with anyone. If you can take a diamond and throw that out, of course you can take glass and crystal and throw it out. Who takes diamonds and throws it out and keeps the crystals in their house and keeps glass in their house, and keeps it clean and makes a ring out of the glass? Why would you throw diamonds out and keep the glass? So if you don’t take care of a diamond, you won’t take care of glass. So for me, the Guru is a diamond and I will take care of it.

So whatever I promise my teacher from a very young age, it was instilled in me to have integrity, to not let your Guru push you, remind you. Never bring your issues to the Guru and disturb his mind. That’s what I was taught. Never ever shout or scream at your Guru or cut him off or turn him off, or not speak to him or show any disrespect because your Guru is the one that teaches you Dharma, your Guru is the one that teaches you the path to enlightenment because you cannot meet, I cannot see or meet the Buddha. I cannot meet Manjushri, or Maitreya or Tara. I can’t get teachings from them, but definitely they exist and they have become enlightened. Since they exist and they have become enlightened, they received teachings from their Guru but I can’t receive teachings from them because I don’t have the karma to see them at this time. Since I don’t have the karma to see them at this time, I can only rely on the holy Gurus to give me teachings.

So since the Gurus give me teachings, they are the substitute for the Buddhas, or the Buddhas in action. So if I show disrespect to the Buddhas in action or my teachers, if I show… if I lie, if I break my promise, if I shout or I’m rude to them or I always want attention or money or things from them, they’re not my Gurus. I’m treating them like a spoilt child with a rich parent. How will that help me in my spirituality? Everything that we have with our Guru is to tame our minds. Every relationship we have with our Guru, everything our Guru teaches us, everything our Guru does to us or says to us – a qualified Guru – is to train our minds and to make us have the qualities necessary for spiritual attainments. So if we cannot have integrity with our teachers, we cannot keep our promises with our teachers, we cannot keep up whatever we are practicing or learning with our teachers, it’s going to be like that everywhere we go, with everybody we meet because we don’t value anything.

Now, I was very happy because I can study with Geshe Tsultim Gyeltsen. I can’t tell you how happy – for the first time in my life at 16 years old, yes at 16, I was free. No parents. I worked a part-time job to support myself. I lived in a dharma center. I was living on the ground floor and upstairs, on the first floor was another great living master from Gaden Shartse Monastery with a true lineage, true practice. I was attending Lamrim and Tantra classes, torma classes. I was able to serve my teacher just like Milarepa, to cook for my teacher, to wash for my teacher, to clean for my teacher, to shop for my teacher, to escort my teacher. And when he goes places, sometimes I had the honor to go with him and even carry his bag. I loved going places carrying his bag because I was thinking, “I’m the assistant, see me?” I know, a little bit of ego coming up. I was very proud, I was very proud to walk anywhere with Geshe-la. And I loved going shopping with him – sometimes, he would go shopping, go here and there – because I liked to see how he interacted with people. I saw how he interacted with the students in the center, I saw how he interacted with people on the bus, in the stores, in the cashiers, the restaurants, I saw. He was the picture of kindness with everyone. And I loved it because I wasn’t expecting anything else.

The laundromat where I worked part time. This was just one of the many places that I worked at when I lived in Los Angeles

And one day – he has a lot of students – one day I was going to Tsog and I met up with one of Geshe-la’s students and he showed me a picture of Kyabje Zong Rinpoche. Wow, I couldn’t believe it! I’ve never seen this Lama or heard of this Lama anywhere, how could I? I saw a picture of Zong Rinpoche and the student said to me, “Oh, he’s an emanation of Heruka, this is what they believe him to be.” I saw the picture, I begged that person for the picture. He gave it to me. I took that picture, I put it on my altar, I could not believe it. You know, like… electricity went through my body. I was so excited, I was so moved, I cannot describe to you the feeling I had when I saw Zong Rinpoche’s picture. And they told me this is Geshe-la’s teacher, Geshe Tsultim Gyeltsen’s teacher. I was like, “Wow!” And guess what, after I got that picture, a few months later, it was announced His Holiness Kyabje Zong Rinpoche would be visiting our center for six months. You cannot believe how I felt! You cannot believe the elation and excitement. So what I did was, I wanted to make a connection with this teacher and I wanted to make a strong connection. So in my little mind I thought to myself, “I’ll make offering of prostrations.” [Tibetan phrase] So what happened was, I put his picture on my altar and I did one hundred prostrations to Kyabje Zong Rinpoche’s picture every single day for a few months before he came. My purpose was to offer prostrations of body, speech and mind. Because I don’t have money, I offer body, speech and mind, I offer incense, a light to Zong Rinpoche every single day and I prayed, “May I have a strong connection with you, may I receive teachings from you, may I become attained just like you, may I receive the lineage from you.” I used to pray like that every single day and make prostrations of a hundred prostrations to him. Well, the big day came. Guess what? A few months later, I had to go to work. I was very frustrated because Kyabje Zong Rinpoche was arriving at a time where I would be at work. I wanted to be at the door to receive him.

So I was at work and I was so excited. After work – I worked part-time – I ran back to the center and there were bags everywhere, there were new shoes, I knew he was here. I heard a strange voice up there – not an unpleasant one, a strange one – and I said, “Oh my god. That must be him.” I was shaking! So I was downstairs in the kitchen pretending I was busy. I was begging for them to take me upstairs to meet him, waiting, hoping, praying but at the same time, I was scared.

H.H. Kyabje Zong Rinpoche visited Los Angeles and stayed in Thubten Dhargye Ling for 6 months

So finally Geshe-la said, “Okay, you can come upstairs and meet Zong Rinpoche.” I was like, “Gasp!” So I walked up very nervous, I was so scared. I walked into the room; there he sat, wow, straight and erect, with a long goatee, white, very sharp eyes, no smile. He didn’t smile at me at all the whole time. I walked in, I couldn’t stare at him. I could not stare and look at his face. I was so nervous, I was so scared, I was so excited, I was in awe, I was entranced. This is gonna sound a little strange to people who don’t understand – I knew I was in the presence of a Buddha. So I prostrated three times and I just looked at him like that, and I looked down, looked up like that, because you know, I’m curious. I go to people’s closet to find their Dharma Protectors… you know, so I’m that type of kid. And I was so scared but I just, I had to look.

So then I broke down and started crying. I don’t know why. I don’t know why I cried. I just cried and cried and cried and Zong Rinpoche sat there looking at me, unmoved, no emotion and he told Geshe-la to tell me, “I’m not anything special, you don’t need to cry. Now you can tell him to get out.” So I got chased out. So I’m like crying like a child and I left his room and Geshe-la told me… so I said to Geshe-la, “I didn’t do too well.” He says, “No, nothing’s wrong.” So I went downstairs and I started cooking dinner, and I started preparing tea and all that stuff because Zong Rinpoche came with a lot of entourage. So every single day I was cooking for Zong Rinpoche, his assistant, Geshe Tsultim Gyeltsen, the two sponsors, the translator, the translator’s uncle… so I was cooking every day for seven people for six months. I cooked breakfast and I cooked dinner; lunch somebody else took care of it. And as the days went by, Zong Rinpoche took a very kind liking to me.

So what happens is, I’d serve him food and I’d run out of the room because I didn’t want him to chase me out and tell me “Get out.” I was afraid. So I’d walk in, I’d knock on the door and then I’d put his food in front. Then I’d wait a half hour, go upstairs and take the tray. And I’d pray… you know, I was very sneaky, I’d make extra food so that I’d make sure there’s leftovers so when I bring it down, I can take his leftovers. Because I read if you eat the lama’s leftovers, it’s a great blessing. So I used to make extra food for him just to make sure there’s leftovers. I remember someone complaining, “You’re making too much, there’s leftovers.” I said, “I know.” So I used to eat Zong Rinpoche’s… sometimes there would be no food left so I’d take the crumbs, literally. I’d be like, and I’d put it to my head and then I’d eat it, because I believed him to be a Buddha.

So I became very close with him, I became… it became to the level where I’d actually just walk into his room and I would sit on the floor, and I would give him massages on his feet, sometimes on his head, on his hand. Or I would just sit with him when he’s meditating or sometimes when Zong Rinpoche was taking a nap, I would sit next to him and just kind of stare at him. I mean, literally I would just stare at him because I just could not believe what a great lama he was. And Geshe-la was very pleased with me; he says, “You’re doing a good job,” serving his Guru.

I had the honor to serve H.H. Zong Rinpoche during his stay in Los Angeles

So, at that time I was doing Manjushri, Avalokiteshvara’s mantras and some light practices, and Lama Tsongkhapa’s Guru Yoga taught by Geshe-la and I was doing Palden Lhamo mantras. I liked Palden Lhamo a lot. “JO RAMO JO RAMO JO JO RAMO TUNJO KALA RACHENMO RAMO AJA DAJA TUNJO RULU RULU HUNG JO HUNG” – I would recite that all the time. And I recited that when I ran away and I did that all the time. And so, something inside of me said I should get a Dharma Protector. So one day I was upstairs with Kyabje Zong Rinpoche in his room and an assistant, just the three of us. And I asked Kyabje Zong Rinpoche through the assistant, “What shall I do? You know, how shall I practice?” But before I tell you that, let’s backtrack.

Palden Lhamo is one of my favorite Dharma Protectors

Before Zong Rinpoche came, in Thubten Dhargye Ling, every single month Geshe Tsultim Gyeltsen did Dorje Shugden Kangsol. Dorje Shugden Kangsol and Setrap Kangsol. Geshe Tsultim Gyeltsen, every single month with his students – about 50, 60 of them – would do Setrap and Dorje Shugden puja. Why is that? Setrap is the Protector of Gaden Shartse Monastery; Dorje Shugden is the other Protector of the Gelugpa teachings and Geshe-la’s personal Protector. You see, Geshe-la has received sogtae or initiation of Dorje Shugden from his teacher and he does the puja every single month. One of the commitments of doing sogtae is you do the puja every single month. And he taught us about Dorje Shugden, he explained about Dorje Shugden, he encouraged Dorje Shugden’s practice and he explained everything about Dorje Shugden.

In fact, Geshe-la gave us teachings from “Music Delighting an Ocean of Protectors” text composed by Trijang Rinpoche. It is a whole volume composed by Trijang Rinpoche on the practice, the lineage, the history, the background, the rituals, the meditations, the mantras, the fire pujas of the Protector Dorje Shugden. This volume of texts was composed by His Holiness Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche, and Geshe-la had a copy of it and Geshe-la gave us teachings from it. So Geshe-la gave us personal teachings on the history of Dorje Shugden, where he came from, how he arose, and the practice and the benefits. So Geshe-la taught us all of that and encouraged us to practice. So every single month, Geshe-la would have the Dorje Shugden and Setrap pujas. Every single month that I was there, for seven, eight years. I didn’t miss it.

Now, so when Zong Rinpoche came, I was exposed to Dorje Shugden by Kensur Lobsang Tharchin’s assistant and nephew Lothar, and I found out later Kensur Rinpoche in New Jersey also practices Dorje Shugden every single month. I was exposed in New Jersey to this Dharma Protector in our Dharma center Rashi Gempil Ling. Then when I went to California, Los Angeles, I was exposed to this Dharma Protector again by Geshe Tsultim Gyeltsen who gave teachings on it, encouraged it, did pujas in his Dharma center. He’s my Guru, so I followed along. You just follow along. If your Guru says he’s enlightened, he’s enlightened. So when Zong Rinpoche came, I was doing Dorje Shugden’s practice, not heavily, just lightly. And I was doing Palden Lhamo’s mantra but I didn’t want to have a lot of Dharma Protectors because I thought it would be kind of confusing for me later when I’m busy. My main motivation is to keep it one, one, one, not to have a lot. So I asked Kyabje Zong Rinpoche himself, “I’m practicing two Dharma Protectors now. Can you please give me your advice which Dharma Protector I should choose for the rest of my life to remove obstacles of my Dharma practice?” This is exactly what I said to Zong Rinpoche. So Zong Rinpoche said to me just like this – “If you want, I will give you my Dharma Protector.” So I folded my hands and I bowed, and I said to Zong Rinpoche, “Please give me your Dharma Protector. If it’s good enough for you, and that’s what you practice your whole life and you’re a Buddha, it’s more than good enough for me.” The deal was sealed.

So within one month, Zong Rinpoche gave initiation of Dorje Shugden in Thubten Dhargye Ling, Los Angeles, California. What’s sogtae? Sogtae is when the Lama introduces you to Dorje Shugden – in a symbolic way, join hands with Dorje Shugden – and Dorje Shugden gives you his heart and gives you his blessings and gives you his commitment to protect you. You give back to Dorje Shugden that you will hold him as your principal Dharma Protector until you achieve Bodhicitta. Because once you achieve Bodhicitta, you don’t need a Dharma Protector anymore, you yourself is already highly attained. So that is the commitment we make. That’s it. That is it.

And so Kyabje Zong Rinpoche gave sogtae to three people at a time so it took all day, there were 60, 70, 80 of us. So you can only get initiation three persons at a time, there’s no group initiations for sogtae at that time. So I went up with another two persons, I received the initiation, I received the chakra and also the crystal that represents Dorje Shugden’s heart, and I received sogtae and initiation from Zong Rinpoche. And, after that I did Dharma… I did my Protector practices with Geshe-la and the group every single month and learned the rituals, learned the mudras, learned the prayers, the chanting, all of that. In fact I learned how to make tormas for Dorje Shugden from Geshe-la. He taught me. So, my tormas were a little wilted but they still were edible. So I would actually make the tormas in the Dharma center. I was the torma boy. And sometimes Geshe-la would do the puja to Setrap and Dorje Shugden twice a month, sometimes three, because people requested it, so I would make tormas two or three times a month and I would sit in. I was the drum boy. That means Geshe-la would play the cymbals, I’d play the drums. He plays cymbals. Sometimes I’d mess up, Geshe-la would give me a look. I’d be like, “Uh oh!” And we did puja with Kyabje Zong Rinpoche many, many times, the whole time he was there, every month. Can you imagine, I’m in the room with Buddha Zong Rinpoche, Buddha Geshe Tsultim Gyeltsen, all my Dharma brothers and sisters, about 80, 90 of us at that time and we’re doing Dorje Shugden puja together? And everything was fine.

So let me reiterate a little. I met… I had my first encounter with Dorje Shugden with Lothar back in New Jersey. And then when I left New Jersey I was in California, and Geshe-la, Geshe Tsultim Gyeltsen introduced us to Dorje Shugden and he encouraged us to practice, he told us to practice, and, and he taught us to practice by using Trijang Rinpoche’s text “Music Delighting an Ocean of Protectors”. I used to attend those teachings. Geshe-la would speak in English and tell us what it said. And we did the practice. There was no negative talk against Dorje Shugden, there was no ban, there was nothing. Nothing at all. Nothing bad happened to our center. Nothing bad happened to anyone. Nobody said anything negative about Dorje Shugden, we didn’t hear anything negative about Dorje Shugden.

And I want to make it clear, we practiced Dorje Shugden in Thubten Dhargye Ling Dharma center in Los Angeles but that was not our main practice. Our main practice was Lojong, was the Eight Verses of Thought Transformation. It was Gaden Lhagyama, Guru Yoga of Lama Tsongkhapa. It was Tara. It was Lamrim, heavily. And it was debates and it was the Twelve Interdependent Links, it was the Three Principal Paths. Those are the main teachings that Geshe-la taught us all the time. We did very little Dorje Shugden practice on a daily basis, just once a month, but we all had his picture, we all had his prayers and all that. And there was no politics, there is, you know, the teachers gave it to you, Geshe-la received it from his teacher Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche and Zong Rinpoche. I received it from Zong Rinpoche. Zong Rinpoche received it from his teacher Trijang Rinpoche. Trijang Rinpoche received it from his teacher Pabongka Rinpoche. Pabongka Rinpoche received it from his teacher and so on and so on and so on.

So when we started practicing Dorje Shugden in the 80s, okay… so it was what, I was 18… so 1983… yeah, I was 18, 1983, I received the Dorje Shugden practice from His Holiness Kyabje Zong Rinpoche. 1983. We never prayed to Dorje Shugden that other lineages would be hurt. We never prayed to Dorje Shugden that even our enemies or perceived enemies would be hurt. We did Dorje Shugden practice that we may be able to understand the Lamrim very well, we may be able to understand the Lojong teachings very well, that we may gain attainments, that we may be able to understand the Buddha’s message in Lamrim and to transform our minds and become a patient, kind, compassionate person. In other words, to get enlightened. We never ever prayed or was told to pray, or was advised to pray to Dorje Shugden for any other reasons. There was no Chinese government involvement. There is no propaganda, there is no politics, there’s nothing.

I’m 18 years old. I’m living with Geshe Tsultim Gyeltsen in Thubten Dhargye Ling dharma center in Los Angeles. His Guru which became my root Guru, Zong Rinpoche, came and visited us for six months. We received the teachings from Kyabje Zong Rinpoche. We were given the initiation and we swore to practice and to keep our commitments for life. We also received Yamantaka, Vajrayogini, Cittamani Tara, Heruka, Avalokiteshvara Ngesung Kundrol, Hayagriva, White Tara, Je Tse Zin Ma, etc, etc. We also received these other practices from Kyabje Zong Rinpoche and commentary. And we have to do all those practices. So every single day I have to do all those practices besides Dorje Shugden as advised by Zong Rinpoche. So Zong Rinpoche gave us Cittamani Tara, Heruka, Yamantaka, Vajrayogini, he gave us Ngesung Kundrol, Je Tse Zin Ma, etc, etc. So we have to do these other practices every single day also. And my practice every day comprises this much of Dorje Shugden and this much of the other stuff that Kyabje Zong Rinpoche gave us. And that’s how it was. There’s no issues, nothing. Nothing at all.

I was… I didn’t practice Dorje Shugden because I’m connected to the Chinese government. I didn’t practice Dorje Shugden because I want to contradict Dharamsala or CTA or His Holiness the Dalai Lama. And you know the Dalai Lama visited our center many, many, many times. And we have images of Dorje Shugden everywhere and the Dalai Lama didn’t say anything, alright? So therefore what’s very important to know is this, is that when we received the practice of Dorje Shugden from Kyabje Zong Rinpoche, it was 100% for spiritual reasons. Zong Rinpoche is my teacher, is the teacher of my teachers and when he gives out the practice and we promise, we just do it. It’s called integrity. I don’t care what other teachers tell me. I don’t care what other lineages tell me. I don’t care what other people tell me. I only care what my Gurus told me. I don’t mean disrespect to the other teachers. I don’t mean disrespect to anyone else but I want to make it clear that when we received that practice, that practice was for spiritual purposes. Nowhere in the Dorje Shugden prayer it tells you to destroy your enemies or hurt people or damage but the prayer is always about developing compassion, developing renunciation, developing the right view of Emptiness according to Nagarjuna, and developing the mind that can attain Bodhicitta and that’s what we prayed for. In fact Geshe-la didn’t allow us to pray to Dorje Shugden for minor things, nothing.

Now let me backtrack a little bit. Before we received anything from Zong Rinpoche, before we received any teachings from Geshe-la, my very first encounter with Dorje Shugden with Geshe-la was this. I was looking for a job and I needed to work and pay bills and I wasn’t very qualified to get a job, I was 16. So I applied for a job and they said they’ll consider. If I get this job it will be near the center, it will be easy for me. I can pay off my bills. So I went up to Geshe-la, I told him the whole situation. Geshe-la was sitting in his room upstairs, Geshe Tsultim Gyeltsen. He has Yamantaka thangkas, he has his, you know, his altar in his room and he has a thangka of Dorje Shugden. So he said to me, “Do you really want this job?” and I said, “Yes, I need this job very badly.” He pointed to the thangka of Dorje Shugden and he said, “This is Dharmapala,” or ‘Dharma Protector’ in Sanskrit. “If you pray to him everything will be fine.” So right in front of Geshe-la I made three prostrations to Dorje Shugden’s thangka and I prayed “May I get the job.” And guess what, three days later I got the job. I wasn’t supposed to get the job but I got the job. And after that, Geshe-la started teaching about Dorje Shugden, talked about Dorje Shugden, explained and encouraged the practice along with many other practices. But I want to explain Geshe-la’s main… the main focus was Lamrim. And then after that when Zong Rinpoche came, Zong Rinpoche gave us the initiation. And that is how I got connected to Dharma Protector Dorje Shugden when I was 18 years old. Again let me stress, not for any political reasons but purely spiritual.

Dorje Shugden: My side of the story (多杰雄登:我这方面的说法) Pt 1 H E Tsem Rinpoche

Hello everyone.

Today I’ve assembled here to give you – my good friends around the world, my supporters and many monks, my teachers and neutral people out there who’d like to understand things more… today, I would like to talk about the World Peace Buddha and Dharma Protector Gyalchen Dorje Shugden. I would like to explain to everyone my relationship with this Dharma Protector. And my intention of giving everyone an explanation of this Dharma Protector is not to convert you or not to get you on my side or not to make you think good or bad in any other way. Over the last ten, fifteen, twenty years, I’ve received many, many, many hundreds, hundreds of enquiries into this Dharma Protector Dorje Shugden. I’ve received many questions from people who practice Dorje Shugden and I’ve received questions from people who don’t practice Dorje Shugden or some who don’t even like Dorje Shugden. And these questions have been piling up more and more and more. So I thought that I will give some explanation to some of the questions. I can’t cover everything tonight but I’ll do my best to cover some of the more important points.

Kechara House – I’m the spiritual advisor of Kechara House, and also the founder along with some very close, beloved and hardworking students… students of the dharma, students of the inner journey. We’ve created Kechara House and today it has grown to be quite big and successful, if I may say so humbly, due to the hard work of everybody in Kechara – the coherence, the harmony and basically our goal together to make our inner world and if possible the outer world a better place to live in.

My mother in her younger days

What I want to talk about first is my relationship with Dorje Shugden, how it came about, and what’s my connection with him. Now, I’m going to give a little bit about my background. I think most of you already know but for those of you who are new, then I’ll explain a little bit. My father was an ex-Drepung Loseling monastic monk or monastery monk in Tibet, and my mother is a descendent of a royal house in Xinjiang. She’s the royal house of Torghut which is the predominant Mongolian group there – tribe – and her mother (my grandmother) and her father (my grandfather) were the ruling family for many generations in that area. And due to the Cultural Revolution, which affected all of China and Xinjiang and Tibet, my father left Tibet and immigrated to Taiwan. My mother left Xinjiang then journeyed to Tibet and then eventually to Taiwan. When my father first went to Taiwan, he didn’t bring his wife and his three children there. And while he was there he had met up with my mom and she was a young girl that time, impressionable and under a lot of scrutiny for being the royal princess at that time because her clansmen are around her. So she was under a lot of scrutiny to act, walk, talk, dress in a certain way necessary of her station in life. And so she had met my father in Taiwan and I guess they had fallen romantically involved and she became pregnant. And when she became pregnant, she was told by my dad that he actually has a wife and family in Tibet. And so this brought a lot of distress and problems and difficulties in their community there because there is a large Mongolian-Tibetan community in Taipei. And so, it was decided by my grandmother and my mother’s side of the family to keep everything hush-hush, and keep everything quiet. And so therefore my mother gave birth to me in Taipei General Hospital quietly and after she gave birth to me, I was never taken in by her or acknowledged by her, or never became a part of her family. And what had happened was that she had contracted some local Taiwanese people there and paid them every single month to watch me, to take care of me. She didn’t actually abandon me but she couldn’t keep me with her because it was not something that you did in those days where a single lady became pregnant, not married, had a child; it’s just not the thing to do back in the sixties. I was born in 1965. This is not to say my mother is right or wrong, or my father is right or wrong. I’m not passing judgement on anyone. This is just telling you the situation of what happened at that time.

And so I was being watched by a family there and I would remember, once in a while, my grandmother used to come and visit me. Now I know it’s my grandmother but of course at that time I did not. And I was told by my mother later on – much, much later on – that at seven months old – I was seven months old, not one year yet – that a group of lamas and monks and teachers came to her house and told her that I was officially recognized as a reincarnation of one of Tibet’s Lamas. Now when I asked my mother what reincarnation, what they said, who was the name of the search party, she says it’s been so long she can’t remember. But I was told by her that they had actually come to recognize me and to, I guess, take me to the monastery to be enthroned at seven months. My mother didn’t allow that to happen. The reason is because when you’re enthroned in a monastery you have to say who your mother’s name is, who your father’s name is, and at that time it would not have been a pleasant experience for the family to say who this child’s family was. So therefore she kept me there and the recognition didn’t take place.

And eventually at around six years old, going on to seven years old, I was taken over to [the] United States from Taiwan. And I remember my grandmother taking me on Pan Am Airlines – it doesn’t exist anymore but it did before – and I arrived in New York and I was taken to my mother’s house with my grandmother and I stayed there overnight. The next day, a Mongolian couple which belongs to their clan, the Torghut clan, drove up from New Jersey and picked me up in a big white Ford car. And I remember my mother telling me… she never ever told me she’s my mum but she told me that, “That’s your parents and you’re gonna go with them.” So I was like, you know at six years old, you’re like, “Okay…” because I thought I had parents in Taiwan, and then I meet these people, I just went along with them. So I was adopted over to the United States by a Kalmyk-Mongolian couple and I lived in Howell, New Jersey, so I arrived at six, seven years old.

My step parents, Burcha and Dana Bugayeff

Now the Kalmyk community there are very interesting. The Kalmyk people are people who originally came from Xinjiang and then conquered Europe, conquered Russia and all of that – as you know, the Mongols conquered everyone. And part of the people went back to Xinjiang, Mongolia, part of the people stayed in Kalmykia. So part of my family is from Kalmykia which is either [the] Western part of Russia in the state called Kalmykia – it’s now there, it’s a Republic now – and then part of my family is in Xinjiang. In fact I have blood family relations now in both places. The Kalmyks during World War 2, there was a Russian Revolution and so the country was turning topsy-turvy and a lot of problems and difficulties, so people emigrated out of the country. And so the Kalmyk people immigrated from Kalmykia and they arrived in the United States. And these hardworking beautiful Kalmyk people are Mongolian in origin. Kalmyk is just like… it’s like in Chinese, you have Canton, you have Fujian, you know, you have different provinces. So Kalmyk is just one of the peoples of Mongolia. There are seventy five nationalities of Mongolians. So they are one of the nationalities. And so they went to the United States and they worked very hard, they brought their culture, they brought their religion which is Tibetan Buddhism, and they brought their food, their customs and their homeland back to the United States and they settled in the tri-state area of Pennsylvania, which is Philadelphia City, and New York and New Jersey. So, my Kalmyk people that I was adopted over [to] belonged to New Jersey. And in New Jersey you have three Buddhist Kalmyk temples. Three. You have Nitsan, Rashi Gempil Ling and Tashi Lhunpo. So all three Kalmyk temples have their Kalmyk-Mongolian priests, monks, geshes. Some were educated in the great monastery in Tibet of Drepung Monastery. Then in north of New Jersey there was one more very beautiful Mongolian-Kalmyk monastery run by Geshe Wangyal.

So, I lived in Howell, New Jersey which is a little non-descript small town, nice, and until I was around fifteen, sixteen. And I lived in the Kalmyk community there. You have to remember, half of my heritage is Mongolian, Kalmyk to be specific. Half of my heritage is Tibetan. My father is Tibetan, my mother is Mongolian. So, both cultures practice Tibetan Buddhism, both. So there was no conflict of religion where I lived. So I lived on West 3rd Street, that’s where my step-parents lived, and their name was Burcha and Dana Bugayeff. And they did the best they can for me and they loved me the way they can, and they gave me what they can. In essence, they were kind people, and they wanted me to be who they wanted me to be, like most parents.

Growing up in Howell, New Jersey

Now, I arrived in the United States in 1972. Nearby in Rashi Gempil Ling Temple which is the temple that my parents go to, to worship and pray and you know it’s packed with Kalmyks there… in 1971, one of the greatest Tibetan masters and teachers, and a heart student of Kyabje Pabongka Dorje Chang arrived. You see, because the Mongolian community there wanted a great teacher, they wanted a great monk so they wrote in and they had this great master come. This great master later became the Abbot of Sera Mey Monastery, an erudite scholar, writer and teacher who lived peacefully and passed peacefully away in Howell, New Jersey. Very much liked by His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

So anyway, this great teacher, his name was Kensur Lobsang Tharchin Rinpoche. So for convenience’s sake because the Tibetan names are very long, I will say Kensur Lobsang Tharchin, alright? He was a scholar of the highest class. He was a master of Sutra and Tantra. Not only was he a scholar and master of Sutra and Tantra, he was one of those rare ones that actually practiced and put into practice what he had learned in the great monastery of Sera in Tibet.

Rashi Gempil Ling Buddhist temple, where I met my first teacher, Kensur Lobsang Tharchin Rinpoche

So the Kalmyk community had invited and requested and confirmed this teacher to come to be their resident teacher in our monastery, Rashi Gempil Ling, there in Howell, New Jersey. So can you imagine he came in 1971, I came in 1972. I was six, going on seven years old and guess what? I lived on West 3rd Street; the temple was on something like East 6th Street, isn’t it? East 6th Street, just two, three streets away. And for me to ride my bicycle to the temple, literally took me seven, eight minutes, I rode very fast and also it was very nearby. So just ten minutes away by bike if you go slowly – or by walking fifteen, twenty minutes – just ten minutes by bicycle away, was living one of the greatest dharma teachers of our century, Kensur Lobsang Tharchin Rinpoche. He gave classes, he taught, he conducted meditation retreats, he gave initiations, oral transmissions. You have to understand, he is a scholar that can create many other scholars, one of the highest. And he is a direct student of Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche, Kyabje Zong Rinpoche, His Holiness Kyabje Pabongka Dorje Chang – Pabongka Rinpoche. He is someone in Tibet that served these Lamas, received teachings and lineages from them, and he was the purest monk – very kind, very helpful and used his whole life to serve others by teaching them Dharma tirelessly. I lived ten minutes away from this master, talk about good luck. More than good luck.

I feel in my previous life, I must have made some good prayers to be born near such a great master, just down the street literally. So at a young age when I saw this master, I was entranced. Even at six, seven years old, eight years old, nine years old – I remember, I was in awe of him. No one told me how great he was, who’s gonna tell a little kid how great he is? No one told me what a great scholar he was, what a great master he was, what an incredible meditation teacher he was, no one said that, no one tells that to a seven, eight year old kid. When I saw him, I just said, “There’s something special about this person and I want to follow him.” My little child mind said that to me, “I want to follow him.” That’s what I did. So, I started going for his classes, I started going for his teachings, I started going for his retreats, I started going for the meditations and I became more and more involved, and stronger and that’s it.

What did Geshe-la teach us? Sorry, Kensur Rinpoche; at that time we called him Geshe-la because he wasn’t the Abbot yet. What did Kensur Rinpoche teach us at that time? He focused on Lojong – the transformation of the mind. He focused on us learning about Dharmakirti and debate. He focused on us on Lamrim. He focused on the practice of Heruka and Vajrayogini Tantras. He focused on holding the vows. He focused on doing the meditations and rituals correctly. There was no magic, no hocus-pocus, nothing; very straightforward, very clear Dharma teachings. And I went for this for years. When I was around twelve or thirteen years old, I had been studying with this great master for a few years already, to the consternation of my parents because they adopted me to be their only son, and to grow up to carry their name and get married and have, you know, a lot of sons. That’s what Mongolian parents expect of their children and I wanted to be a monk. I told them I want to be a monk. They were not happy, at all, but that’s another story.

So, when I was around twelve or thirteen, then Kensur Lobsang Tharchin invited his nephew over to help, to run the temple there. So Kensur Lobsang Tharchin Rinpoche invited this nephew of his; as far as I remember, that time his name was Lothar. He invited him over from Sera Monastery, India, and he arrived and he stayed in our monastery and I just remember Lothar being there one day. And so, Lothar spoke no English, but he laughed a lot, he smiled a lot; very jovial, very happy. He was a monk and his job was to serve Kensur Rinpoche, his uncle, and this great master, and to take care of the temple.

So, Lothar was there for a few years. I used to go to the temple because you know, I don’t get to see Kensur Lobsang Tharchin Rinpoche all the time, and you know Kensur Lobsang Tharchin is very strict, very firm, so I was kind of scared of him. But I used to go to the temple all the time to mow the lawn, put fertilizer on, wash the dishes, sweep up the place, clean up the temple, whatever I can do because you have to understand, I really liked the temple. I really liked Kensur Rinpoche. I really wanted to be near him, and serve him. I actually wanted to move to the temple, but I dared not tell that to my parents. That’s what I really wanted, was to move into the temple, wear robes and live there and serve Kensur Rinpoche and study. That’s what I really wanted to do. So in lieu of that I just went there as much as possible to serve. And let me tell you a little secret – I actually went there to the temple to serve in hopes I get a glimpse of Kensur Rinpoche and he’ll call me and give me special teachings. Usually he’ll tell me, “Eat the momos, go home.” So that was my secret wish, was to bump into Kensur Rinpoche and get special teachings. Not that I feel I’m special but I really, I loved him very much, I still do. Now, the special teachings never happened, one to one. I used to get stern stares from him. He used to look at me with stern stares. So I’d look back like this.

Anyway, I was a precocious, slightly naughty child. Maybe that was why the stern stares but anyway, Lothar and me became friends, that’s Kensur Rinpoche’s nephew. Lothar and me became very good friends so I used to go visit the temple almost every day, especially in the summer, and just hang out. I’d do my prayers there, help them clean up and laugh and joke and he… Lothar inscripted me to teach him English. So I taught him a little English, ABCs and all that stuff.

One day Lothar was downstairs cleaning the kitchen, and I’m very precocious, very nosy, very interested and very busybody. I’m the type if you tell me, “Don’t touch it”, I’ll make sure I’ll touch it and twice. So while Lothar was downstairs cleaning up, he told me, “Wait here.” Of course I didn’t listen. He said don’t go to his room or don’t go upstairs because that’s Kensur Rinpoche’s room and that’s his room next to it and all that stuff. Well I dared not go into Kensur Rinpoche’s room because you know, I just dare not. I snuck upstairs to his room, and I wanted to see what a monk’s room looks like. What does a monk have, what’s in his drawer, what’s in his closet, what’s on his bed, what’s under his bed, what kind of bed he uses because I really wanted to be a monk. I really am interested in what monks do.

So I snuck up to his room, Lothar was downstairs, humming away, washing dishes you know, and then I could hear him and guess what? I opened everything up, I looked at everything. There was his robes, his prayer beads, his… you know, his monk items, his bed and all that. I opened up the closet. When I opened up the closet… America has an open closet, when you slide it open, guess what I saw? The closet was totally empty and there was a shelf on top. And there was a black and white picture. Black and white picture with a cup of tea in front of it. And the black and white picture had a figure that… something like that. That’s all I can remember.

So by the time I reached up and I grabbed the picture so I can get a better look, and memorize it because that’s what I like to do, when I grabbed the picture in, Lothar walked in, grabbed the picture from my hand and said, “No, no, no, no! That’s not for you!” I said, “Why not? What’s that picture?” He said, “Not for you.” I said, “Can you tell me his name?” “Not for you!” “Who is it?” “Not for you!” “Why is he in there alone in the closet with a cup of tea?” “Not for you.” That was the answer, because he… I think that’s all he can say, he didn’t speak English much. “Not for you!” So he put the picture back, he put the cup back – I spilled it a little bit – and then he closed the closet door. I opened it, he closed it again, and I said, “I want to see.” He said “Nope.” Years later, I realized it’s Dorje Shugden. So, that was my first encounter with Dorje Shugden, ever. My first encounter.

Then things at home went topsy-turvy. My parents were extremely unhappy with me wanting to be a monk, going to the temple, staying at the temple, getting more and more involved. They were very, very unhappy. So, they started creating a lot of problems for my teacher and they were in fact trying to get him deported. I know, how did it become like that, but it became like that. They were unsuccessful, thank goodness, because nobody else believed what they were saying. And their real purpose was that, to get him out of my life. So, this happened over and over again, you know, I was going through a lot, a lot of problems with my parents who would not let me study. They would ground me, sometimes I would be beaten, sometimes I’d be punished, sometimes I’d be yelled at. Sometimes I’d be in teachings at the temple and my father would walk in, to my embarrassment.

So this went on for a few years until I couldn’t take it anymore and I left home. I left home; I hitchhiked from Howell, New Jersey to New York City; from New York City I hitchhiked across the country to Los Angeles. My intention was Hawaii but I didn’t have boat fare, forget about airplane. So I ended up staying in Los Angeles. Now when I arrived in Los Angeles, I lived at a cousin’s house for a few months and I was looking for a Dharma center. I went to the University of Oriental Studies and there was a very kind professor there called Dr. Leo Pruden. And I walked in and I met Dr. Leo Pruden. You have to understand, I was walking around Los Angeles and in the Yellow Pages – there’s no Internet and Google that time – in the Yellow Pages I found the University of Oriental Studies. And I thought, “Well Oriental, Buddha, Tibet, must be related.” So my little mind told me, “Go there.” I was fifteen, going on sixteen. So I don’t know how I found it; I found the address, I asked directions. I walked to the University of Oriental Studies – it took me hours – and I arrived. When I arrived there I looked for Dr. Leo Pruden and I told him, “I’m a Tibetan… I’m a Mongolian boy and…” – that time I told him – “I’m a Mongolian boy and I’m looking for an altar, a shrine where there’s a Buddha and I’d like to sit in front and do my practice, my meditation and my mantras.”

And he said, “Oh, you’ve come to the wrong place, my boy. This is a university but we don’t have any shrines here but I can take you to a place that has a shrine.” I said, “Really?” So Dr. Leo Pruden, out of the goodness of his heart, packed me inside his car, drove me for about twenty minutes away and we arrived at 135 St. Andrews Place in Los Angeles. There was a non-descript bungalow house there. From the outside it just looks like any other bungalow house and I walked in with Dr. Leo Pruden and guess what I saw? The whole living room was transformed into a Dharma center. So you have thangkas hanging on all the walls. The carpet is kind of… if I remember, it’s got Tibetan carpets on, on top of the wood. There’s meditation cushions stacked everywhere neatly. There’s an altar there with a throne to the Dalai Lama. There’s an altar there with Lama Tsongkhapa and Buddha and Tara and all that stuff. And below the altar, on the floor, with the sunshine streaming in through yellow curtains, was Geshe-la – Geshe Tsultim Gyeltsen of Gaden Shartse Monastery. Well, Gen is one of… a great scholar from Gaden Monastery, a great practitioner; again, a student of Kyabje Zong Rinpoche and Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche, again. So I walked in there, can you imagine? 15 years old, met Dr. Leo Pruden one hour ago, he drives me to 135 St. Andrews Place, I walk in and in the corner there’s this Tibetan Lama, meditating. There’s a statue above him of Lama Tsongkhapa and the light streaming in on him. And I walked in and Dr. Leo Pruden introduced me to Geshe-la, and I told Geshe-la my history. I told him what happened, I told him how I got to Los Angeles, why I’m here and Geshe-la said to me, “Wow! This is very good.” He said, “Today is Tsog Day, the Tibetan lunar tenth of the month, so we’re going to have Tsog tonight” and I’m like, “Wow!” “Why don’t you come tonight?” So I was like, “Okay.” I was so excited. I’m in Los Angeles, all by myself, 15 years old, going on 16. I had my freedom, I found a Buddhist master, there’s no more restrictions from my parents. I’m alone and I just walked in and I find this master. Again, how did that happen? And a student of Trijang Rinpoche and Zong Rinpoche some more, okay?

This house used to be Thubten Dhargye Ling Dharma Centre. They have since moved to larger premises

So, I ran around the city, I went here and there – I didn’t have any money – I walked here, hung out at the bus stops – my favorite place was the bus stops because they’re free – and drank some drinks and stuff and I prepared myself for Tsog. Then I walked back to the center, I went for Tsog. And in New Jersey we learnt how to do the rituals already. You know, the vajra and bell, doing the mudras, doing the chanting. So I sat in the front; Geshe-la had made me sit in the front and the place was packed, maybe about 60 students, 70 students. We did Lama Chopa Tsog. So afterwards they were like, “Wow, you are 15 years old, where did you learn to do that? How did you learn how to chant? How did you learn how to do the pujas and the Tsog and all that stuff?” I didn’t think it was a big deal because everybody in New Jersey did it – well I did.

So anyway after that, Geshe-la introduced me to everybody and told everybody my situation and all that. And there were some nice committee members there. One of the committee members took pity on me and she talked to the committee and lowered the rent to the room downstairs to the bungalow, can you imagine, for US$160 a month? You see, in the Western Dharma centers, you pay the Dharma centers, you don’t get a salary, you don’t get a stipend, you don’t get free rooms, you don’t get gifts, you don’t get anything. Everybody’s very poor. You pay the center to be there. You pay the center to attend teachings. So and that’s the norm because people got to pay their bills. So she got the rental reduced down to US$160 and listen to this – there are four bedrooms upstairs, a library, a living room, a kitchen and one small maid’s room downstairs, near the entrance to the bathroom. And that small room downstairs was about… maybe 8ft by 10ft, something like that, which is fabulous and I got the room. They talked to the committee, they approved for me to live there. They allowed me to live there. I could not believe it! I moved in to the Dharma center; I took my two bags, I didn’t have much. I moved in to the Dharma center, I lived downstairs. Just behind the wall is our meditation hall, the meditation prayer hall, with Tsongkhapa, the thrones. And every Sunday, Geshe Tsultim Gyeltsen gave teachings right there. You know, I’d get out of bed, fix my hair and walk in – I’m in Lamrim class! Can you believe that? I’m in Lamrim class!

Every… and every day, I got the pleasure, the honor and the meritorious opportunity to clean Geshe-la’s room, to serve him tea 10, 12 times a day – Geshe-la liked tea a lot – to do his laundry, to clean up the meditation hall, the gompa. I got the pleasure to cook for Geshe-la, to do his shopping and to maintain the whole house because upstairs there’s one or two students staying with Geshe-la but the students went to work. I went to work but I only worked part-time. So I lived in this Dharma center called Thubten Dhargye Ling on 135 St. Andrews Place, with another great living Buddha, Geshe Tsultim Gyeltsen. Can you believe that?

But I had one small obstacle. You see, because in the “Fifty Verses of Guru Devotion” it says if you have a Guru you do not need to go to another Guru or study with another Guru or be with another Guru. One Guru, one… stick to one Guru.

So I wasn’t able to get teachings from him because I had my Guru in New Jersey which I loved and I treasured and there is nothing wrong. The only time you switch Gurus is when your Guru tells you to get this from another Guru or you learned enough and it’s time to move on, with your Guru’s permission. So, what happened was, I called up – and that time calling long-distance was very expensive – I called up Geshe-la… I called up Kensur Rinpoche in New Jersey and I told him why I had run away – he knew – and where I am now. And I told him, “I am in Los Angeles in the house of Geshe Tsultim Gyeltsen. May I study with him?” Now, if Kensur Rinpoche in New Jersey said no, I would have just moved out. He’s my Guru and I have to follow him.

Aghori by HE Tsem Rinpoche

Dear friends,

I came across something very interesting. There are many methods to the divine, or finding God or connecting to a sacred heaven since the beginning of time. As trends change, so do worship. The Hindu faith has over 1.2 billion adherents in the world and it is over 5,000 years of continuous practice. Hinduism has many sects and sub-sects also. In India and all over the world Hinduism is accepted as a mainstream religion and it’s a profound path.

We cannot judge what is correct or not. We cannot condemn another person’s faith or method to God or reaching Godhood. Everyone has their rights to worship or not worship as they like. No one should criticize anyone else’s religion no matter how different, ‘strange’ or unfamiliar it can be to you. So we cannot criticize anyone’s religion or restrict their rights to freedom of worship. Especially religious leaders of any religion should never criticize another person’s religion, discourage or degrade. We need world peace and harmony. Religion can be a vehicle of peace or destruction depending who wields this dangerous power.

Dorje Shugden practitioners do not make animal sacrifices, eat human corpses, become intoxicated as part of the rites, be nude in public, sit on top of corpses to meditate, drink animal urine or eat their feces. They do not eat rotting food, make offerings of human sacrifices to Shakti (Female divine power as embodied by Kali), smear ashes of burnt human corpses on their bodies. I am not saying good or bad to these practices.  I am simply stating Dorje Shugden practitioners do not engage in similar rituals or even remotely similar. Many places unfamiliar with Indian religious culture would find these practices perhaps too difficult to understand? Dorje Shugden practitioners are taught to develop compassion, offer vegetarian foods (where possible), meditate on Lam Rim or mind transformation teachings, be good human beings, give charity, take refuge in the Three Jewels, have guru devotion, do their Dharma studies and apply and achieve the enlightenment of Lord Buddha to be of benefit to all sentient beings. Yet they are not allowed their religious freedom in India as sanctioned by the Tibetan Leadership within their own Tibetan communities.

The democratic Government of India protects all religions but within this the Tibetan leadership creates religious differences leading to discrimination, violence, hatred and bias against Shugden practitioners. They call Dorje Shugden a demon and his practitioners followers of the devil.  Why is there a ban against Shugden where its practice is much more milder than the Aghori faith in their expression of worship? Many cultures would even see Shakti or Shiva in his terrific form as demonic and far from being God.  If India allows Aghori why not Shugden faith? But then it’s not India that bans Shugden. But there is loophole. India gives Tibetans a sort of autonomy within India which Tibetan leadership exploit this loophole by banning worship of Dorje Shugden for political reasons. If a Tibetan started practicing the Aghori sect of Hinduism, how would the Tibetan leadership accept this? Would Shiva or Shakti requiring blood and human flesh to be eaten be considered a Buddha? If Shiva or Shakti is not a Buddha would their practice be banned? Why or why not? Tibetan leadership doesn’t consider Dorje Shugden a Buddha and needs to be banned. If Shiva/Shakti is banned, then is that based on religious freedom or protecting their people from the big bad “demon”? Which one is it? Are you going to interfere with people’s religion and ban religions or give full religious freedom? You cannot give religious freedom and then publicly discourage people from it.  Religious freedom or protecting their people from the practice of non-Buddhas as in the case of Shiva/Shakti?  Amidst practices such as the Aghori sect which is accepted (which it should be), the ‘requirements’ for Shugden practice is more ’easier to accept’ and benign in its expression to the general populace and there is nothing that can be seen as extreme. So again, why is Aghori accepted and not Shugden practice? If the Tibetan leadership dare make comments about Aghori or any sect of Hinduism, they would have huge protests and they know it. Because they don’t allow religious freedom and they know it. They do their best to cover this fact. Any genuine democracy and their leaders NEVER criticize any religion even actual devil worshipers such as Satan believers. I am not advocating or not advocating any worship, just making a statement that religious worship should be allowed in any form and no government or leader should ban/criticize or interfere.

Aghori derives from the Sanskrit word “Aghor” which means absence of darkness. Aghor implies natural state of consciousness where the mind is free of fear and repulsion. It is to achieve rising above what we fear and what we attach the ego to. If one is fearless, then one does not discriminate or damage. Aghori sect of Hinduism engages in all these practices that some in different parts of the world may find difficult to grasp or repulsive. But as I said, the road to the divine is not one single road map, but many types and we have to respect. This sect is constitutionally protected in India and also no one calls them slanderous names, degrades them or calls them vulgarities because of their practices and methods to God or enlightenment.

Some basic information on Aghori practices and *sadhus:

1. The sadhus will eat leftovers from human corpses as part of their ritual.

2. They drink from human skulls as well as use the human skulls as bowls to eat food.

3. The ashes of human corpses are smeared on their body regularly.

4. They are followers of God. They believe in God. God is whom they call Shiva which this sect dates back as beginning in the 5th century. They also worship God in the female form or Shakti which is Kali.

5. They must disconnect from family after being ordained as a sadhu and never ever return to the village of their birth again. Families and responsibilities are thought to be a hindrance to spiritual enlightenment.

6. Hindus cremate the bodies of the dead in special places called charnel grounds. Aghori sadhus must live only in charnel grounds their whole lives to be free of attachment to pleasure and comfort.

7. They will kill animals and offer animal sacrifices to the female form of God, Kali. In the past they would also offer human sacrifices to God as well as animal. Now it is primarily animal sacrifices.

8. One has to practice meditation under a guru’s direct guidance for minimum 12 years to enhance one’s spiritual advancements.

9. Aghori sadhus use wood from funeral pyres to produce fire for their needs. They dress themselves in clothes taken from dead bodies.

10. To be initiated into sadhu-hood, one must find a guru and follow him precisely in all instructions. Find a human skull (kapala) and use this as a food bowl. Must smear ashes of cremated corpses on their bodies during meditation. You have to during certain rituals eat rotting human flesh and meditate while sitting on a human corpse. This symbolizes no fear and eliminating all attachments to form, taste, touch, sight, smell and phenomena in order to ascend to God. To become one with Shiva. To become enlightened.

11. There are many Aghori sadhus that wander their whole lives in complete nudity to free themselves from illusions. This is to transcend human feelings of hatred, love, jealousy and pride.

12. Daily they eat rotten food and leftovers found in garbage dumps or dumpsters. Also to eat animal feces and animal urine in their diet.

13. They believe God exists everywhere whether it’s in cow dung or all foods. Therefore nothing is unholy, unclean and or inauspicious. Everything is sacred because everything is infused with God’s energy. They wish to blur the lines of holy and unholy, good and bad to transcend normal ordinary human likes and dislikes in order to achieve enlightenment.

14. They roam freely without worry of community, food, family and they sleep in any charnel ground they come across at night. Their sleeping places or any semblance of resting area must be a place where corpses are cremated. They must only partake food and drink through a human skull or kapala.

15. They also partake of smoke and alcohol which differentiates them from other Hindu sects. To be imbibed or intoxicated is another way of disconnecting from ordinary mundane views.

These are some basic tenants, rules and beliefs of this Aghori sect of Hinduism. I am sure there is much more depth, meaning and symbolism to this faith for those who wish to study further as you can search on line. I don’t think we should conclude any religion or faith or spiritual path from the external practices/symbolism that may greatly differ than our own. India is a great and ancient nation with many forms of religion for thousands of years. We cannot ‘judge’ their methods to God or enlightenment based on the criteria we learned from our own culture. What is acceptable and not acceptable culturally is vastly different. No culture is better than another. A culture whether secular or spiritual is unique and must be seen from their perspective and not ours. Social norms, acceptability, religion develop to suit the people over time of a particular region. After all, in the end who is to say which way is correct or not correct. But one thing for sure, all leaders both secular and spiritual must always grant religious freedom and never create division based on religion. This is necessary for peace in the family, neighborhood, community, town, province, state, countries and the world. We need to present religion in a way that creates harmony and mutual respect.

Tsem Rinpoche


Or view the video on the server at:



Aghori Sadhus drinking from a human skull cup


Aghori sadhu on the move with his bone ornaments, human skull and smeared ashes from a cremated human corpse on his face and body. These are the requirements of this sect of Hinduism.


 Shakti or the female form of God.


Aghori sadhu who are widely feared and respected and considered very powerful.


Animal sacrifice and blood offerings are part of the rites to Shakti


Aghori charnel ground ritual


Shakti requires blood and she is the female form of God. God is genderless. We ascribe gender to God. So therefore God can manifest as male or female, benign or ferocious, fearsome or gentle. God has no borders and barriers.


Invoking Shakti in charnel ground during ritual by Aghori sadhu.


Aghori dedicate their practice, devotions and worship to God who is personified by Shiva. Shiva is the universal divine. And they believe God or Shiva is everywhere and in everything. Their goal is to merge with God Shiva and become one and enlightened. They can also do the same with Shakti, or female personification of God.


*Sadhu – priests/and or meditators/mendicants/ascetics


I offer this post with no offence to anyone especially the Hindus. If there are mistakes in this, I ask for profound forgiveness of my Hindu brothers and sisters. The methods, rites and worship of the vast and profound Hindu faith is not something I fully fathom nor understand. I as any ignorant observer from another culture can only share the superficial elements of this sect of Hinduism. I offer my profound and deepest respect to all aspects of Hinduism, their teachers and adherents.

Tsem Rinpoche

For more information on Dorje Shugden:  http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/category/dorje-shugden

Dear Henry, Contemplate Daily ~ HE Tsem Rinpoche

Dear Henry,

I am happy to see your practice.

It’s ‘funny’, but at the time of death, considering all of our activities in our lifetime, the ‘activity’ below are the ONLY ACTIONS that will help you at the decisive moment of death.

When you do your daily practices as written below, please add death meditation while you are doing them. Daily be focused on your death meditation. Be creative… sometimes see yourself dying in a car accident with all the pain and gore… see yourself with a disease and dying slowly, or suddenly in your sleep… die different ways daily in your practice…. Contemplate in detail the death of your body, how your body will rot and decay. How you have taken care of your body and give it so much ‘pleasures’ yet it is a traitor dying and rotting on you. Yes, your body is not yours. See your body rotting, stench filled,  decaying and infested with maggots. See the maggots really eating away at your body, till it becomes bones… and identify that this body IS NOT HENRY. Henry is not this body, although Henry was connected to this body… think deeply on that while you do your black tea, mantras, recitations, and prostrations… Don’t imagine your body decaying, but ’see’ it with your mind’s eye. Make it real as possible as it will become real anyway eventually. Sometimes see your body being prepared for cremation, and see your body burning away. Do this type of death meditation daily… be aware of it… then your mind will shift even more… See your possession given away and your kids, friends, loved ones continuing after you are gone and how eventually you will be remembered less and less. People do not wish to forget you, but eventually will. Eventually they will be gone too. They will be forgotten… nothing but space remains… even that does not remain as we see it.

Everything that was identified as Henry’s or belonging to Henry will be gone. Then think within this ‘emptiness’ of non-existent Henry, what is important then? Think deeply. You don’t have to come out with any conclusions from this contemplation…just think. The purpose of this is not for a conclusion, but the whole process of death and visualizing it is highly important….Please do it Henry. Do it daily and do it creatively and do it with 100% conviction. Ask the Buddhas and Protector to give you realizations while doing this meditation. Add to the meditation on your own. Put more into than what I have written. Death meditation if done continuously is the one practice that will transform the mind, our actions, motivations and aspirations for a higher end. It will really change us for bigger and much better purposes.

With care, I’ve written this to you and now when I re-read it, I wish to share it with other liaisons and students also. Your email is private, but I will share as it will benefit. Don’t mind please.  I recommend the liaisons and students to do it also please… Henry, when the time of our lives come to an end, smile for a better journey ahead because you’ve ‘packed your bags and made good travel plans’.

Doing your practice, living a good life of Dharma, having a positive eventual death/bardo/rebirth/ and continuing your practice in the future is the ONLY PURPOSE WE MET. I am happy to have met you.

Tsem Rinpoche



Henry is a long time student, everyday he does his sadhanas, prayers and prostrations as I have recommended specific ones for him. I added the above contemplations for Henry today to do while engaged in his daily recitations/practices/prostrations. I thought I’d share this email to him with everyone as it will benefit many I feel. Everyone may add the contemplations with their practice daily…

May everyone be ok always,

Tsem Rinpoche



Below is a sample of Henry’s email to update his daily practice to me:



Dear Rinpoche,


Below is the update of my practices for the month of:


MAY 2011

Om Mani Padme Hung – recited daily one mala since 4th June 2011. Also 10 mala since my Aunt passed away. Will continue until the 49th day.

Kangshag – read up to 5500, target 10,000.

Guru mantra – recited up to 316,000

A Gem to Increase Life & Wisdom – recited daily.

Peace mantra – recited daily.

Long Prostration – done 2800, started February 8th.

35 Confessional Buddhas – read daily, started February 8th.

Serkym and sadhana – daily.


APRIL 2011

Kangshag – read up to 4226, target 10,000.

Guru mantra – recited up to 220,000

A Gem to Increase Life & Wisdom – recited daily.

Peace mantra – recited daily.

Long Prostration – done 1710, started February 8th.

35 Confessional Buddhas – read daily, started February 8th.

Serkym and Sadhana – daily.


MARCH 2011

Kangshag – read up to 3665, target 10,000.

Guru mantra – recited up to 125,300

A Gem to Increase Life & Wisdom – recited daily.

Peace mantra – recited daily.

Long Prostration – done 1135, started February 8th.

35 Confessional Buddhas – read daily, started February 8th.

Serkym and sadhana – daily.



Kangshag – read up to 3401, target 10,000.

Guru mantra – recited up to 562,000

A Gem to Increase Life & Wisdom – recited daily.

Peace  mantra – recited daily.

Long Prostration – done 341, started February 8th.

35 Confessional Buddhas – read daily, started February 8th.

Serkym and sadhana – daily.



Kangshag – read up to 2785, target 10,000.

Guru mantra (started January 22) – recited 11,400. Offering up and requesting Rinpoche to live long.

A Gem to Increase Life & Wisdom – recited daily.

Peace mantra – after completion of 114,000 mantras, reciting one mala daily.

Serkym and sadhana – daily.


Love always,
Henry Ooi
Liaison to H.E. Tsem Rinpoche