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.

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