Understanding from the last post what faith is and how we cultivate it, we can now turn to the question of how do we actually practice Dorje Shugden? There are three main parts:
- Make requests out of infinite faith that he provide us with the perfect conditions we need for our attainment of enlightenment in this lifetime. We need to let go of all doubts that he can do this. We need to let go of all doubts we have about our own ability to attain enlightenment in this lifetime. It is possible. We have the methods, we have the Dharma protector, we have the guru, the only thing we are missing is us going for it. We do not make worldly requests related to the wishes of this life, rather we make spiritual requests for wisdom and compassion. We can make requests either for ourself or for others.
- Accept with infinite faith whatever subsequently arises as the perfect conditions we asked for. He won’t always give us what we want, but he will give us what we need. The whole trick is changing what we want to be what we need. We accomplish this through sincere Lamrim practice. The guru will knock us on our butt, but never so much that we can’t pick ourselves back up again. He is especially good at creating situations that reveal to us our delusions. We should make requests that he do this in a way that we can overcome them. An obstacle is only an obstacle to the mind that imputes obstacle. A perfect condition is a perfect condition only to the mind that imputes perfect condition. Reliance on Dorje Shugden enables us to impute perfect conditions on everything, and so everything becomes an opportunity for us to practice Dharma, train our mind, and gain the ability to lead all beings to perfect freedom.
- Then, in these perfect conditions, we practice to the best of our ability. We see what delusions the situation gives rise to and we attack them. Different situations will present different opportunities to practice. If we don’t know what to practice in a given situation, we should make requests that it be revealed to us what we need to practice. Need to be skillful and content to practice within our limits and our abilities. Dorje Shugden knows our abilities and constraints and is working with them. He is not expecting us to do more than we can. Often situations will seem beyond our ability, but that is only because we are trying to work through the situation with our ordinary mind. These situations are encouraging us to use our guru’s mind which has infinite power.
Within the context of the Sadhana, how do we practice? Geshe-la provides precious little commentary. The reason for this is he wants us to develop a personal relationship with Dorje Shugden and for us to engage in the practice with the request that he personally reveal himself to us. This makes it much more personal. So I will follow that example. I will, however, explain some essentials.
HUM is the seed letter for the mind of all the Buddhas, which is the bliss and emptiness of all things. It is from the Dharmakaya that Dorje Shugden arises.
I have the clarity of the Yidam
In my view, this is the most important line of the whole Dorje Shugden part. What it says is that when we engage in Dorje Shugden practice, we are doing so as the Yidam. If we haven’t received HYT empowerments, we can do this as the guru at our heart. The guru-deity has infinitely more power and ability to invoke the protection of Dorje Shugden. So we use the guru-deity to make the requests.
Light rays from my heart instantly invite the wisdom beings from the sphere of nature, and from all the different palaces where they abide. They become inseparable from the commitment beings.
When it says ‘my heart’ it is referring to our heart as the guru deity. ‘Wisdom beings’ are actual Buddhas which we invite to enter into the Dorje Shugden imagined in front of us, recalling that wherever you imagine a Buddha, a real Buddha actually goes. ‘Sphere of nature’ refers to the Dharmakaya. We are in the Dharmakaya of our guru inseparable from our own mind. ‘Different places where they abide’ in particular refers to Keajra and Tushita Pure Land. ‘Become inseparable’ means we imagine that all the wisdom beings dissolve into the commitment beings, infusing them with the power of all the Buddhas. The ‘commitment beings’ are the visualized deities. We then recite the rest of the sadhana, which I explained in a previous series of posts.
At the end we make the prayer,
All the attainments I desire
Arise from merely remembering you.
O Wishfulfilling Jewel, Protector of the Dharma,
Please accomplish all my wishes. (3x)
This is a very blessed prayer. We can use it at anytime, especially when we need protection. It more or less is the meaning of Dorje Shugden’s mantra (OM VAJRA WIKI WITRANA SOHA). The reason why merely remembering him accomplishes all the attainments is because by remembering him he infuses himself into the situation and accomplishes his function. At this point in the sadhana we pause and make personal requests to Dorje Shugden for the flourishing of the pure Kadam Dharma in the minds of living beings.