I want to now explain some general advice on how to increase the power of our practice of Dorje Shugden. These apply equally to the meditation break as well as the meditation session.
- The extent to which he can help us depends on the degree of faith we have in him. If our faith is weak, his protection will be weak. This is not because he is holding back it is because our mind remains closed so he has no point of entry for bestowing his blessings. If our faith is indestructible and infinite, then his protection of us will be infinite. If we understand this we will realize that our primary training in the practice of Dorje Shugden is increasing our faith in him.
- He can help us to the extent that our motivation is pure. When our motivation is pure, it is like we align the crystals of our mind perfectly with the light of the deity. To improve our motivation, we need to train sincerely in lamrim. The main function of lamrim is to change our heart desires from worldly ones into spiritual ones. Once we get our motivation right, everything else naturally falls into place. It is the mental factor intention that determines the karma we create, so intention is the most important.
- He can help us to the extent that we realize that he, ourselves and everything else are empty. The main point is this: Dorje Shugden isn’t anything from his own side. He is as powerful as we construct him to be. We can construct him as an ordinary being or as an infinitely powerful wisdom protector.
The most effective way of increasing the power of our reliance is to engage in sincere dedication prayers. When we dedicate the merit we have accumulated it is like putting our spiritual savings in the bank where they can never be destroyed and they can earn spiritual interest. Each sadhana has a different dedication prayer which summarizes the main function of the spiritual practice. In the case or Dorje Shugden, the dedication prayers are as follows:
By this virtue may I quickly
Attain the enlightened state of the Guru,
And then lead every living being
Without exception to that ground.
This is the first effect of this practice. This is the explicit strategy of Je Tsongkhapa’s tradition for emptying samsara. Je Tsongkhapa is a spiritual guide who trains others to also become spiritual guides. These new spiritual guides then train others still and so on. In this way, generation after generation, the beneficial effects of Je Tsongkhapa’s deeds continue forever. This is the “great wave of Je Tsongkhapa’s deeds.” The person who got me into spirituality was a close friend in college. He opened the door for me and encouraged me to step through. After several years of practicing, I thought back to the fact that without the kindness and encouragement of this one friend I would not have a spiritual life at all. So when I saw him I asked him, “how can I pay you back?” His answer was a very powerful teaching: he said, “do the same for others. And when others ask you how they can pay you back, give them the same answer. In this way, the kindness keeps going forever.” Venerable Tharchin says that the highest spiritual goal to aspire to is to take our place in the lineage. At some point we will be the lineage guru whose responsibility it is to carry forward the lineage. We must prepare ourselves for that responsibility in much the same way people prepare themselves for big misions or assignments.
Through my virtues from practising with pure motivation,
May all living beings throughout all their lives
Never be parted from peaceful and wrathful Manjushri,
But always come under their care.
This is the second effect of this practice. If beings are never separated from peaceful and wrathful Manjushri, in other words Je Tsongkhapa and Dorje Shugden, then their enlightenment is just a question of time.
The following two verses, known as the Prayers for the Virtuous Traditon, were actually written by a previous incarnation of Dorje Shugden, and we recite them after every practice.
So that the tradition of Je Tsongkhapa,
The King of the Dharma, may flourish,
May all obstacles be pacified
And may all favourable conditions abound.
This should be fairly self-explanatory by now. It is the essential meaning of the entire Dorje Shugden part.
Through the two collections of myself and others
Gathered throughout the three times,
May the doctrine of Conqueror Losang Dragpa
Flourish for evermore.
The two collections are the collections of merit and wisdom, and the three times are the past, present and future. In other words, we mentally invest all of the merit every accumulated into the flourishing of Je Tsongkhapa’s Dharma (Losang Dragpa is another name for Je Tsongkhapa).