The 29th of every month is Protector Day. This is the last part of a 12-part series aimed at helping us remember our Dharma Protector Dorje Shugden and increase our faith in him on these special days.
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. When I later 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 missions 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).
To summarize, the practice of Dorje Shugden can be reduced to the following:
- We renew our motivation as a spiritual being – we realize that the only thing that matters is the causes we create because they are the only things we can take with us.
- We request with infinite faith that Dorje Shugden provide us with perfect conditions for our swiftest possible enlightenment.
- We then accept with infinite faith that whatever subsequently arises is the perfect conditions for our practice that we requested.
- We then practice in these conditions to the best of our ability. It doesn’t matter what appears, what matters is how we respond. So we try to respond well.
If we do these four things, I guarrantee that we will be gradually lead to enlightenment. It will just be a question of time.
There is much much more to say about the practice of Heart Jewel, but I wanted to keep things simple. I strongly encourage everyone to read again and again the book Heart Jewel, which Geshe-la has said is his most important book. We should also take advantage of the opportunity to speak with some senior practitioners about how to establish a daily practice and we should request teachings and empowerments on this practice from our local teacher.
I dedicate any merit I accumulated from doing this series of posts so that every living being joyfully establishes a daily practice of Dorje Shugden. I pray that everything that happens to every living being is perfect for their swiftest possible enlightenment. I request the wisdom to be able to understand how whatever happens to anybody is perfect for their enlightenment and I request that all of the conditions be arranged for me to share this perspective with others in a way that they can accept it. In this way, we can all happily accept everything that happens in our life and swiftly make progress to enlightenment. OM VAJRA WIKI WITRANA SOHA!