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Ceasing Shugden

From Chinese Buddhist Encyclopedia
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A student wrote to advise that he given up Shugden (Dolgyal) practice, and he asked Rinpoche what he should do with his Dolgyal materials. He also had a question about Vajrayogini.

My very dear Ray, Thank you very much for your kind letter and for what you are expressing.

Regarding your questions: yes, burn the material you have. Regarding the crystal, you don’t need to crush it. Just put it high on a mountain far away, where it won’t be found.

Regarding Vajrayogini, the syllable should be BAM not VAM. Anyway, please use the Tibetan syllable, not English. The English is just for sound, but the Tibetan has incredible significance.

The sun, the moon and the nada are signifying the three appearances. If you use just English you lose all that, so you must visualize the Tibetan syllable.

Rinpoche gave the following talk on the Dharma protector practice, Dorje Shugden. First he talked about the importance of compassion and our responsibility for leading all sentient beings to enlightenment.

To do that, we need first to become enlightened ourselves. In order to do that, we have to complete the entire path to enlightenment, the root of which is guru devotion. Then Rinpoche talked about the qualities of the guru, including the ten qualities from the Abhisamayalamkara and the twenty qualities required of a tantric guru.

If you are making a new Dharma connection with a teacher, aside from the other qualities of the teacher that you should check, you should also examine the teacher to make sure that he or she is in harmony with His Holiness Dalai Lama regarding the practice of what is called döl-gyäl, the protector Shugden.

Make sure that the teacher does not do this practice. These days, that is an extra analysis you should make. In that way, you’ll avoid problems in the future.

Recently, I also introduced a new guideline for the protection of the Dharma centers and their students, which is not to invite to the center teachers who do the protector practice and are therefore against His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

However, this doesn’t include gurus who may have practiced the protector in the past. It doesn’t mean that they’re bad. I’m not saying that.

If you have already made a Dharma connection with such teachers and you criticize them or give them up, that is totally incorrect; that is opposite to lam-rim practice.

The lam-rim, sutra, and tantra teachings all explain how to practice guru devotion so that we can avoid creating such heavy negative karmas as criticizing our gurus.

It’s for our benefit. Since we disciples want profit, not loss, since we aspire to achieve the highest profit, enlightenment, the complete qualities of cessation and realization, it is crucial to know how to practice guru devotion.

If those gurus who used to do the practice still had the same aspect now, if they were still alive in that aspect, they would also change.

For example, His Holiness himself did the practice in Tibet for a short while, but after extensive analysis, checking many experiences and signs, and considering the advice of many other high lamas who advised not to do the practice, His Holiness also decided against it.

It is not only His Holiness who is saying not to do this practice. Before His Holiness, many other high lamas, holders of the entire Buddhadharma, also instructed their monasteries and students not to do this practice.

After checking in many ways, His Holiness came to the conclusion that for the benefit of individual people as well as the world in general, he would stop doing this practice and also advised others to stop.

Therefore, if those gurus who did the practice still had the same aspect, they would stop. Also, many gurus, many great teachers who are still living, have stopped as well, even though they used to do the practice before.

Even though many people, groups, and monasteries have asked His Holiness to change his advice on this, he has remained firm. Since he arrived at his decision through many years’ analysis, there has been no change; His Holiness always says the same thing in this regard.

As His Holiness has said in many teachings, he will never change his opinion on this matter.

If His Holiness the Dalai Lama is not Chenrezig, if he’s not Buddha, who else is there in the world that you can point to as Buddha?

If His Holiness is not the Buddha of Compassion, then it’s a mistake to call other lamas Buddha, who are said to be incarnations of a Buddha.

Rinpoche then explained in detail how His Holiness is Chenrezig and how the guru is Buddha.