Iconography of Dorje Shugden (Notes) – by Pastor Gim Lee

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Resource: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/dorje-shugden-teaching-videos.html#teach06

Iconography – roadmap to to the ultimate goal od all buddhists that is to become a buddha and is a simple representation of buddha’s qualities to help us on our spiritual path.

Every detail of a buddha’s image is symbolic teaching for us, such as:

  • the sitting position
  • the hand mudra
  • the ritual implements that they hold, and
  • the ornaments that they wear

Dorje Shugden is an enlightened being.

When we learn and practice sincerely, all things around us will increase and become better, such as our family and loved ones, our friends, our financial situation, our spiritual development.

We will meet with dharma and a perfect spiritual guide so that we can be on the path to learn and to grow.


represents upholding the highest form of buddha’s teachings.  He arose as a dharma protector to protect Lama Tsongkhapa’s teachings.  In Tibet, when a lama travels, they always wear a round domed hat for protection, hence DS wearing a hat represents He doesn’t stay in one place as He is always moving, always travelling and always on the go to help whovever calls upon Him.  He is constantly travelling and helping us

The hat also represents the highest view of emptiness by Nagajuna, which DS arose to protect


A wisdom eye on His temple – He can perceive the reality of our past, present and future simultaneously.


He is in the form of a monk because He arose from a lineage of pure monks.  He wears the full robes of a fully ordained monk, a bikshu in sanskrit or a gelong in tibetan.  One of His glorious previous incarnation was a great dharma master known as Tulku Dragpa Gyaltsen.  He was a well-known monk from the 5th Dalai Lama’s time.



In this right hand He holds a a wisdom sword, meaning He is Manjushri, the buddha of wisdom.  There is a flame on top of the sword which means He can pacify our obstacles so that we can learn dharma.  It also eliminate out negative karma for our wisdom to arise in our minds. The wavy sword will cause greater damages and it denotes the ability to cut our ego and delusion, the negativities that bring about our unsatisfaction.

Taming Hook

in His left arm, which is a type of weapon that symbolises His power to control and overcome our so-called wild mind, the negative thoughts and habituations that normally lead us to do negative actions and thus bring us the unhappiness.  Taming hook also represent His ability to ‘hook’ in our need to provide a condusive situation for us to be able to do our dharma practice.  The need such as resources, pleasant situations, long life and a healthy body.

Wish Fulfilling Jewel

On His heart level, He is holding a wish fulfilling jewel to represent that He can all wishes and increase our dharma practice.  By BS holding this jewel, it represents that when praying to Him, trusting Him,  and meditating upon Him, He can fulfill all our wishes.  It also increases the circumstances to meet the dharma, increase the circumstances for us to learn that dharma and increases the circumstance for us to understand the dharma.  He can also help us with finances resources and solve difficulties.  This wish fulfilling jewel is the same or similar to the jewel that buddha of great compassion Chen-re-zig holds.

Tiger boots

He wears tiger boots to show He manifests in a worldly form, which means He  is closest to us, by our karmic connection, and thus can help us swiftly when we call upon Him.  It also represents His great compassion, to take on a form that is easier for us ordinary people to connect with Him.  He also has one foot down and the other foot up, similar to Tara’s posture. with the same symbolism of His ever readiness to assist us as and when we call upon Him.

Jewel Spitting Mongoose

on his left elbow, symbolises that by doing His practice He will bless a sincere practitioner with necessary material benefit or need for us to focus on our spiritual practice.

Snow Lion

he rides on a snow lion.  Lions are believed to the the king of animals.  It means that He is able to tame the ego of the followers, to tame the anger of His followers and to tame all the negative qualities in the followers.  It symbolises DS immense power.  In His saddhana, it says that DS has the power of 10 million dharma protectors.


He is surrounded by flame of wisdom that pours out from the pores of His body meaning He has already gain great compassion and this will burn out the ignorance.  When we come closer to DS, the wisdom fire will burn away our ignorance or the negativity in us that bring us the unhappiness.

Sun Disc and Lotus Seat

Sun disc on top of the lotus seat where DS lion stands on.  Sun disc symbolises the destruction of the enemies, our inner enemies, our negativities – the not so kind side of us, the side that constantly blaming everyone and everything else.

The lotus seat shows that all DS actions are based on a arise from His great compassion to help us.  The position of sun disc on lotus seat indicates that DS is an enlightened buddha.  He will help anyone, any beings, anywhere and anythime, when we engage in His practice.

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