The 29th of every month is Protector Day. This is part 10 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 reason why we make offerings and requests, which was explained in the previous two posts, is to accumulate a special merit which will ripen in the form of Dorje Shugden being able to respond to our requests. In the next part of the Sadhana, we actually make specific requests and prayers to Dorje Shugden. These prayers reveal what Dorje Shugden can accomplish for us through our faithful reliance.
Whenever your followers with commitments
Request any of the four actions,
Swiftly, incisively, and without delay, you show signs for all to see;
So please accomplish the actions that I now request of you.
The first line indicates how if we choose to keep the heart commitment of Dorje Shugden (which was explained in a previous post) we become uniquely qualified to be able to make requests to Dorje Shugden to accomplish the specific actions we request of him, not just that he arrange things in general. This is like a special qualification that gives us special power. By requesting that Dorje Shugden causes the Dharma to flourish, we create the karma for it to flourish within our own mind. In the context of the sadhana, what we are requesting of him is what follows in the sadhana, but outside of the sadhana, we can request him anything.
The stainless sun of Je Tsongkhapa’s tradition
Shines throughout the sky of samsara and nirvana,
Eliminating the darkness of inferior and wrong paths;
Please cause its light to spread and bring good fortune to all living beings.
Path in a Dharma context refers to believing a thought in our mind. If we believe our delusions to be true, we are following an inferior path. If we believe our wisdom to be true, we are following a correct path.
May the glorious Gurus who uphold this tradition
Have indestructible lives, as stable as the supreme victory banner;
May they send down a rain of deeds fulfilling the wishes of disciples,
So that Je Tsongkhapa’s doctrine will flourish.
Through increasing the study, practice, pure discipline, and harmony
Of the communities who uphold the stainless doctrine of Buddha,
And who keep moral discipline with pure minds,
Please cause the Gedän tradition to increase like a waxing moon.
There are two methods for growing a Dharma center, external and internal. The external methods include doing good publicity making the center known, working for the center in the running of the center, improving the facilities, etc. Internally, a Dharma center is actually the collection of spiritual realizations of its practitioners. If the practitioners have no realizations, it is a small center, even if it has hundreds or thousands of members and many external temples. If the practitioners have rich realizations, it is a large center, even if there are only a few practitioners and the external conditions are limited.
Venerable Tharchin explains the way to grow a center is for the practitioners of that center to gain authentic spiritual realizations and then form karmic bonds between them. We are given the problems of the community we serve. We then use the Dharma to solve these problems. Then, Dorje Shugden arranges for people who have these problems to come to the center. He does not do it beforehand because he doesn’t want people to come to a center and not find the answers they are looking for. So he waits until we gain experience and that we have something useful to share. In particular, we can gain such realizations if people in Dharma centers study, practice and maintain pure discipline and harmony.
Through your actions please fulfil the essential wishes
Of all practitioners who uphold the victory banner
Of practising single-pointedly the stages of the paths of Sutra and Tantra,
The essence of all the teachings they have heard.
Here we make special requests that whenever any practitioner makes requests to Dorje Shugden that he respond. In this way, we put our karma behind it, and we each help one another in our requests.
Beings throughout this great earth are engaged in different actions
Of Dharma, non-Dharma, happiness, suffering, cause and effect;
Through your skilful deeds of preventing and nurturing,
Please lead all beings into the good path to ultimate happiness.
This is an important verse. Dorje Shugden has the ability to transform any action or any experience into a cause of enlightenment. For example, if somebody falls ill with cancer, we can request that it become a powerful cause of his enlightenment. Or if our child starts using drugs, etc., we can request that this become a cause of their enlightenment. Through this, Dorje Shugden will bless their minds where the condition will function as a cause of enlightenment. It may not be immediately obvious how, but over the years with our sincere requests, it will definitely happen. The feeling is that he gradually shepherds all the beings within the protection circle onto and along the path to enlightenment. It will take time, but through our persistent and faithful requests, eventually everyone without exception will be lead along the path to enlightenment. Again, note that this doesn’t mean that they are all brought to the Kadampa path, though certainly some will. We are happy for them to be brought to any authentic path.
In particular, please destroy the obstacles and unfavourable conditions
Of myself and other practitioners.
Increase our lives, our merit, and our resources,
And gather all things animate and inanimate to be freely enjoyed.
Again, we make specific requests for practitioners, understanding their importance.
Please be with me always like the shadow of my body,
And care for me always like a friend,
By accomplishing swiftly whatever I wish for,
And whatever I ask of you.
If you want to receive the protection of Dorje Shugden like a true spiritual friend, the best way to do so is to become a true spiritual friend for others. This creates the karma necessary for you to receive his protection in this way. The same is true for receiving his protection like a spiritual father. Become a spiritual father (or mother) for others. Take responsibility for others in your life, do not just do the minimum. We should take worldly responsibility and spiritual responsibility for others.
Please perform immediately, without delaying for a year, or even for a month,
Appropriate actions to eliminate all obstacles
Caused by misguided beings with harmful minds who try to destroy Je Tsongkhapa’s doctrine,
And especially by those who try to harm practitioners.
It is possible that some people may oppose our practice of Dharma. Dorje Shugden can dispel all such obstacles through external and internal blessings. He can do this by blessing our mind to see the other person’s ‘interference’ as perfect for our practice. Then it is no longer an obstacle. He can also do this by blessing the minds of others so that they no longer create obstacles for us. We do not request this for selfish reasons, rather we do so to protect others from creating the bad karma of interfering with the pure spiritual practice of another.