The 29th of every month is Protector Day. This is part 3 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.
We are continuing with our discussion of how to rely upon Dorje Shugden during the meditation break. In the last post we discussed how we can take personal responsibility for removing the faults we perceive in others. In this post we will discuss how to view our life as a training ground for becoming the Buddha we need to become.
How can we understand this? Dorje Shugden knows who we have karma with to be their Spiritual Guide. We each have the karma to be the spiritual guide of certain beings. Dorje Shugden knows this and he knows what karma we have with them. If we ask him to do so, Dorje Shugden can manage our karma in such a way that he forges us into the Buddha we need to become. Primarily Dorje Shugden provides us with favorable conditions and arranges everything to be perfect for our practice.
But he is so powerful, he is also able to ‘use’ our negative karma and ‘transform’ it into the spiritual path. We can adopt the wisdom view that he “gives” us now the problems that our future students will have so that we can learn how to use the Dharma to overcome these problems. We have the negative karma on our mind to experience anything and everything. Dorje Shugden is able to manage the flow of the ripening of our negative karma so that the negative karma which does ripen is that of our future students and it ripens in a context where we will be able to transform it into the path.
What are the benefits of relying upon Dorje Shugden in this way? It will create indestructible karmic links between ourselves and our future students that will ripen in the form of us being their spiritual guide in the future. We will gain the realizations we need to be able to help the beings with whom we have the closest spiritual karmic connections. It will enable us to find great meaning in all of our inevitable difficulties in life. Life will still be difficult, but these difficulties will be part of a larger project to forge us into the Buddha we need to become.
Practically speaking, how do we view our life in this way? The key lies in viewing everyone as an emanation of Dorje Shugden for our practice. The view we adopt of others determines the qualities we draw out. This is so because view itself is a creative action, it is not a passive observation. We do not view others in a particular way because they ‘are’ that way (they are not any way), rather we view others in a particular way because it is most beneficial to them for us to do so.
The view we adopt is to view others as emanations of the Spiritual Guide. We can maintain pure view of others. We consider them to be Buddhas appearing in the aspect of ordinary beings so we can act normally with them. By acting normally with them, we gain the realizations we need to attain enlightenment. We can maintain pure view of their actions by considering all of their actions to be the supremely skillful actions of a Buddha. For example, if they make some big mistake, we can view it as they make mistakes to teach us things. If we assent to the appearance of others as being ordinary, engaging in ordinary actions, we will simply plant the karma which will give rise to the appearance of ordinary beings engaging in ordinary actions. In this way, we re-imprison others into contaminated aggregates engaging in non-Dharma actions and us into a world of ordinary appearances.
If instead we imagine that others are by nature emanations of Dorje Shugden engaging in supremely skillful actions to lead us to our swiftest possible enlightenment we plant karma which will give rise to the appearance of others as emanations engaging in the actions of a Buddha. In this way, we free others from contaminated aggregates and we create the causes for them to engage in the actions necessary to lead themselves to enlightenment.
But how do we do this, especially when we see others acting in deluded and unskillful ways. There are two key questions we can ask ourselves to be able to maintain this view: First, what do their actions teach me? Second, what do their actions give me in terms of an opportunity to practice? Our answers to these questions point us to the wisdom that is able to receive perfectly reliable Dharma instructions and opportunities to practice from whatever others do.
We can even do this same practice with our own body and mind. If we assent to ourselves as being an ordinary being engaging in ordinary actions, it will creates the karma for the recreation of that appearance. But if we view our ordinary body and mind as emanated for us to practice overcoming in order to forge us into the Buddha we need to become, it will plant the karma for that appearance to arise in the future. For example, if we get sick, it is for us to practice with. If we have a delusion, it is for giving us an opportunity to practice the opponents, and so forth.
This view is extremely beneficial for both ourselves and for others. We are able to transform whatever happens to us into the path to enlightenment and we are able to receive the blessings of the spiritual guide through everyone. It also karmically reconstructs others and ourselves into pure being. By imagining that they are Buddhas engaging in a Buddha’s actions, it karmically reconstructs them so that they will later actually engage in enlightened actions and become a Buddha.
In sum, the practice of Dorje Shugden can be reduced down into four simple ideas:
- Renew our spiritual motivation, that what matters to us is creating good causes for spiritual progress.
- Request with infinite faith that whatever happens to us (or others) is perfect for our swiftest possible enlightenment.
- Accept with infinite faith whatever subsequently arises as the perfect conditions we requested.
- In those perfect conditions, practice to the best of our ability. To practice means to try to send our mind in the direction of enlightenment by striving to abandon our delusions and by cultivating virtuous minds. It does not matter whether we succeed in actually doing so, what matters is that we try. If we try, we create good causes which will ripen in the future in our ability to do it.
We can use our reliance on Dorje Shugden to overcome all our delusions. This practice was explained to me by the great Gen Togden many years ago. He said we can overcome our anger through relying on Dorje Shugden by considering that anger wishes things to be other than they are. When we rely on Dorje Shugden, we know they are perfect, so there is no basis for wishing they are otherwise, thus there is no basis for anger. He also said we can overcome our attachment through relying on Dorje Shugden. We think we need something for our happiness, but we do not know. So we make requests to Dorje Shugden that if this is what is best, then please arrange it; if not, then we request him to please sabotage it. Finally, he explained we can overcome our ignorance through relying on Dorje Shugden. Dorje Shugden is a wisdom Buddha, so we can request him to bestow his blessings so we will always know what to do in all situations.