Encountering Dorje Shugden

27 May

I have several Buddha pendants but this is the one I always wear.

The first time I have ever heard of Dorje Shugden’s name was when I had the fortune to visit Tsem Rinpoche’s house more than a decade ago. I had just gotten to know Rinpoche long enough that he would invite me over to his place. At that time, Kechara House was not established yet. I was shown Rinpoche’s altar and when it came to a prominent statue of a fierce-looking deity riding a snow lion, Rinpoche told me that his name was ‘Dorje Shugden’. I had to ask Rinpoche to repeat and I still didn’t quite catch the name even on hearing his name the second and third time over. I decided not to ask again as that would make me look real stupid.

Not long after, Rinpoche had requested me to research on Dorje Shugden and come up with a writeup after that. In hindsight, the research got me to learn up on Dorje Shugden and it was the first time I came into contact with the controversy. I didn’t know what to make of it initially because the information about Dorje Shugden’s illustrious previous lives just didn’t jive with the idea that he is a harmful spirit. Unfortunately for me, the research never materialized  and the person I was working with decided to call it quits as well. Rinpoche had never intended to publish the writeup anyway but he felt that there will come a time when the ban would be over and there would be a lot of people who would want to learn about Dorje Shugden.


A warm and close picture of Tsem Rinpoche with Dorje Shugden who is inside the Panglung oracle.

Rinpoche never really asked me to practice Dorje Shugden in the earlier years. He kept it a private practice that he would only share with some of  his closer students and friends. Hence, he never taught it in public and there were no Dorje Shugden pujas in Kechara at that time. On a personal basis, I really liked Setrap and I think he is powerful and effective but I didn’t feel connected. As soon as I found out Dorje Shugden’s mantra, I started to recite it as a daily practice. At that time, I could not find Dorje Shugden prayers anywhere. Since, I began my Dorje Shugden practice, I felt privileged that I got to connect with an extremely potent and powerful protector. It would take many years before Rinpoche would even share what he knew about Dorje Shugden in a series of private teachings.


I met Dorje Shugden for the first time at his residence – Kyabje Dagom Rinpoche

Fortunate for me, I got to meet Dorje Shugden face-to-face from very early on. On my earlier pilgrimages to Nepal, Rinpoche had arranged for the pilgrims including myself to have audience with Kyabje Dagom Rinpoche (one of Rinpoche’s teachers) and to attend a Dorje Shugden trance with an oracle from Ladakh. I recall being ushered in a prayer room with walls lined with really old silk thangkas. The oracle was standing  facing the altar and away from us as a few monks chanted the invocation verses. When the ritual music and chant reached a crescendo, the oracle suddenly jumped around, screamed and proceeded to strangle himself with a khata. Everybody gasped in horror and a few folded their hands. It was obvious Dorje Shugden had arrived as that little re-enactment heralded his arrival. Strangely, none of the other oracles did that when they entered into a trance of Dorje Shugden.

Fortunate for me, I had met Dorje Shugden a number of time through several oracles over the years. Initially, I was always in fear because I heard he was impatient and particularly wrathful to those with bad intentions or broken samaya. Rinpoche used to tell us cautionary tales of how Dorje Shugden would pick up a monk and throw him aside for breaking his vows and commitments. I was uneasy about that because I am not exactly an ideal practitioner. However, from my experience, I had always encountered warmth, kindness and lot of Dharma wisdom through his pronouncements to me personally.


That’s me prostrating to Dorje Shugden in the Panglung Oracle. It was a surreal experience being this close physically to Dorje Shugden.

Fortunate for me, I never had a life-threatening obstacle that Dorje Shugden had to save me from. But I have seen many people being saved from a malevolent spirit or a major financial problem, accidents and so forth. It’s incredible how effective he is! Its just too bad that people who are influenced by the rhetoric of the controversy not see this side of the protector. To this day, I continue to hear miracles happening for those who practice Dorje Shugden and need his assistance very badly. I just can’t see the miracle-maker Dorje Shugden to be a lowly and harmful spirit. Hence, I am really happy to share Dorje Shugden to just about anyone who is open and receptive. He had been extremely kind to me on many occasions and I am sure he would be to many others as well. I am eternally indebted to Rinpoche for introducing me to Dorje Shugden and how Rinpoche’s advice combined with Dorje Shugden’s blessings and protection had changed my life and protected my family all through these years.

DS Peaceful copy

My favourite representation of Dorje Shugden – compassionate guide and like a ray of light in the midst of the dark gloom of our negative karma,

21 Responses to “Encountering Dorje Shugden”

  1. Lew May 28, 2016 at 1:00 am #

    This is a nice recount of your introduction with Dorje Shugden. For me, I had the fortunate to meet Dorje Shugden in trance a few times, and in one occasion, I saw him expel some kind of spirit who possessed a villager. It is quite violent but in the end, the villager came out well. Luckily for me, the meeting with Dorje Shugden and getting blessing from Him is a peaceful event 🙂

  2. Albert May 28, 2016 at 1:31 am #

    Thank you pastor David for the sharing, I remember when I first hear about Dorje Shugden was from Pastor Henry, he explain to me about the story of Dorje Shugden and during that time, it was really an eye opener for me because I was amazed with the level of compassion he has, to benefit the sentient beings, to protect Je Tsongkhapa’s lineage, he’s willing to let himself killed and to arose as a Protector.

    The whole story can be found here: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/dorje-shugden/dorje-shugden-illustrated-story-graphic-novel.html

    For the past 1 year, i have heard so many times on how Dorje Shugden has helped and saved their life and their family’s lives, many times, the miracle happened almost immediate, within seconds after they have performed Dorje Shugden puja in Kechara House.

    I would like to share 2 testimonial from my customers who has witnessed the miracle of Dorje Shugden.

    1. One day, my customer, Mr A called me, saying his brother was admitted to ICU and his situation was very critical, he may not pass through that night, so I arranged a Dorje Shugden puja to be done in Kechara House, within 5 minutes after the puja was completed, I received a call from A informing me that his brother’s situation has became stable and ready to move to normal ward the next day after some observation.

    2. One day, my friend Mr Sim, happened to drop by my working place, when we were chatting, I showed him Dorje Shugden image and explain about Dorje Shugden’s life story to him, I also advice him to recite Om Benza Wiki Bitana Soha x 108 daily.

    A week later he came back and told me that Dorje Shugden mantra is really amazing. He said: some time ago when he was trying to close a deal with a big company, but after much effort, there is no news from the company, so he has gave up hope for it. after 1 week of reciting Dorje Shugden Mantra, suddenly he received a call from that company asking him to meet up. He was so happy and since then, he went to Kechara Paradise outlet every week to order 7 candles to be offered everyday. He said, since he made the daily candle offering, his life became much smoother.

    By the way, Mr Sim is from a Nyingma Buddhist centre, before he started to recite Dorje Shugden’s mantra, he asked his teacher for advice on whether he can recite or not, his teacher told him that Dorje Shugden is a Buddha, so it’s up to him to decide.

    When miracle like this happened for 1 or 2 times, you can say it is just coincident, but when this ‘coincident’ happened again and again and again for many times, it is not coincident anymore, it proved that Dorje Shugden is really an enlightened being that is here to benefit the sentient beings.

    • Su Ming May 28, 2016 at 1:30 pm #

      Dear Albert,

      Thank you very much for sharing with us your experiences. It is always nice to hear from you as you are one of the many of Kecharians who has been with Kechara for a long time and your experiences on your own and also in Kechara Paradise is something not many know about. By knowing & sharing, you will be able to assist more. Your knowledge is amazing as I have seen how you spoke to others before about Dharma cause you are sincere. Looking forward to hearing more from you.

    • Pastor Henry Ooi May 29, 2016 at 11:43 am #

      Dear Albert,
      I am glad you are still in Kechara and practising Dorje Shugden. Share and benefit others as you have benefitted.

  3. Pastor Shin May 28, 2016 at 1:53 am #

    Thank you for sharing how you were introduced to Dorje Shugden. Through the years, I have witnessed many lives were saved, changed for the better because of Dorje Shugden’s help, many times it was a matter of life and death.

    My experience of Dorje Shugden was also that of kindness and lot of Dharma wisdom. I strongly believe that Dorje Shugden is an emanation of Manjushri, simply because of his profound wisdom, the advises that he gave, his patience and encouragements to those on the Dharma path time and again. If that is not a Dharma Protector, then what is?

    For those who wish to get to know Dorje Shugden, do have a read at his advice to the Kechara Forest Retreat team, you’ll know what I mean.


  4. Casteven Lim (KH JB) May 28, 2016 at 2:01 am #

    Thanks Pastor David for sharing, many of Rinpoche students are fortunate enough to meet Dorje Shugden face to face very early on. Few years ago i see the Dorje Shugden trance in youtube; i really wish i able to meet Him face to face one day. My dream have come true on 21st June 2015. I wish to thanks Rinpoche kindness that invited Panglung Oracle to take trance of World Peace Protector Dorje Shugden in Kechara Forest Retreat, Malaysia. There are more than 700 Kecharians and friends over the world met Dorje Shugden face to face. I and my family are there also, how fortunate we are. Below is the link for the exciting moments in Wisdom Hall, KFR;


    Hence just as mention by Pastor David above, i am also one of person who helped by Dorje Shugden to improve my financial status and saved my life in an accident.


    May more and more peoples connect with the world peace protector Dorje Shugden and protected by Him.

  5. Justin Cheah May 28, 2016 at 2:29 am #

    This is a nice recount of your encounters with Dorje Shugden.

    I dare to say, all of us, young and old, who have encountered Dorje Shugden are as grateful as you to our Guru Tsem Tulku Rinpoche for it was His compassion that we get to meet Dorje Shugden’s practice in this life let along face to face.

    Like you, i have heard many of the encounters and some were seen directly in front of my eyes. I have the fortune to also introduce to a few of my friends who had problems especially one of them who had spirits disturbing her family.

    Not surprisingly, she came back to me the next day after started to chant the mantra and told me the spirit disturbances had gone! I am sure many of the difficult times i had in my life, it was because of Dorje Shugden that have saved me.

    Thank you for sharing this Pastor David. It is a real practice and it does not ask us to harm others but love them. It is very important that everybody understand and have strong faith in Dorje Shugden practice. May the ban and controversy be lifted and clear the air for more people to benefit from it.

  6. nicholas May 28, 2016 at 2:40 am #

    Thank you Pastor David for your sharing. I totally agree with you that Dorje Shugden is a very swift protector that able to help many people. My first encountered of Dorje Shugden was by lovely Su Ming. From her guidance I started to learn more about this protector. Dorje Shugden has helped my mother when she had a bad stroke and through Rinpoche and Dorje Shugden blessing her recovery was a miracle even the doctor was surprised.

    Of course I believe there are many more people had their great experience on how Dorje Shugden has helped them.

    For those who want to know The Benefits of Dorje Shugden Practice, Pastor David has video teaching at http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/dorje-shugden-teaching-videos.html#teach02

  7. Pastor Jean Ai May 28, 2016 at 2:55 am #

    Thank you Pastor David for sharing with us your recollection of the first time you encountered Dorje Shugden. It is indeed one of the most special moments in our life that we should all record and remember in detail, because that’s the day we met the Protector who will remain with us until we achieve bodhicitta. Who else apart from our guru will promise us such kindness?

  8. Cynthia Lee May 28, 2016 at 3:48 am #

    It’s always nice to hear your stories, Pastor David.

    I myself have encountered Dorje Shugden on numerous occasions which has always beneficial to me although I did witness his wrath. Similarly, I was not anywhere near a good practitioner at all with immense negative karma, I was fearful to be single-out. Instead, I was given the advice I needed and DS has also agreed on protecting me. If it wasn’t because of my the kindness of my guru, Tsem Rinpoche who introduced and bestowed DS practice to me, my life would have been meaningless.

  9. Grace Leong May 28, 2016 at 7:49 am #

    The first time I saw a Dorje Shugden image was in Nepal. A friend explained the details of this Buddha and how it has helped many people in their Dharma practice.
    For several years I was reciting the Melody of the Unceasing Vajra, prayers of Dorje Shugden written by HH the 14th Dalai Lama. Currently I use the Diamond path as my daily prayer text.
    Dorje Shugden has helped my family and i ride through some really difficult times in our lives. Through the kindness of my Guru we are now able to do group Dorje Shugden pujas and also request for special Dorje Shugden pujas to invoke special blessings in times of great needs.
    Dorje Shugden has been in my life for the last 5 years and it has only brought me more peace and calmness. I would recommend this Buddha practice to everyone.
    Thank you Pastor David for your sharing. Looking forward to more 🙂

  10. Datuk May May 28, 2016 at 1:29 pm #

    On 21 June 2015, when 700 people gathered at Kechara Forest Retreat to meet in person the Buddha Protector Dorje Shugden, I smile with delight how much our Organisation had benefitted many people.

    There were a few instances within Kechara House, that really set me to tears of joy. One such event was when my beloved Guru sat on the throne and spoke openly on the practice of Dorje Shugden. On that day, I felt the skies were shining with hope for so many who had endured in silence their sufferings and I felt there is hope that their sufferings will end. It was indeed a very auspicious and emotional day for me.

    For a lama and teacher like Tsem Rinpoche to have to be private about His practice and beliefs is very heart wrenching as what He has, can be of such benefit to all sentient beings.

    It is this beautiful courage to be beneficial to others that HE Tsem Rinpoche decided to let the world share this practice.

    Personally, it meant so much for me to see for myself how this special Person would have taken the courage to serve all sentient beings, a Lama so highly attained is also my root guru.

    I have practiced Dorje Shugden for almost 20 years without knowing who He is nor any mantra or rituals of the practice.

    However on meeting Rinpoche I had the honour and privilege to learn about this Great Protector who had been my guide and protector for so long without being offended by my ignorance.

    Amazing story of benefit to others with the propitiation of Dorje Shugden and may we continue to grow with the Kind hands of Tsem Rinpoche leading us.

    Thank you Pastor David Lai for this inspiring and motivational post.

  11. Li Kheng May 28, 2016 at 6:16 pm #

    Thank you Pastor David for your personal encounter with Dorje Shugden. Anyone who has Dorje Shugden in their lives are very, very fortunate. My family and I are very lucky to have met Dorje Shugden about 20 years ago and had been blessed by his presence in our home through the various crisis such as the 1997 and 2008. Also, Dorje Shugden led us to meet with Rinpoche who taught us more about Dorje Shugden with knowledge and not just blind faith.

    I hope that more people will “meet” this perfect Dharma Protector who is most suited for practitioners of this day and age when everything is about speed and instant rewards.

  12. Pastor Niral Patel May 28, 2016 at 9:38 pm #

    Thanks Pastor David for your experience of being introduced to Dorje Shugden and then meeting him in person through the oracle. It is really sad that people do not see the beneficial aspects of Dorje Shugden’s practice rather than concentrate on what they have been told to believe. I myself have seen a great and beneficial change in my life due to the practice of Dorje Shugden, so know that his practice is very beneficial.

    One thing that i find interesting in your experience is that the first oracle you met took trance and proceeded to strangle himself with the khata, re-enacting the event that led him to arise as a Dharma Protector. This is not something i have come across in person, when meeting him in trance nor have i come across videos of this. Thank you for sharing this with us.

  13. Wah Ying May 29, 2016 at 12:01 am #

    It’s nice to read Pastor David’s writing or stories. I am fortunate enough to meet Dorje Shugden during the trance in Kechara Forest Retreat as well. I was also quitely feeling uneasy when we queued up to get the Protector’s blessing..since I know I am not a good practitioner, however I feel Dorje Shugden just like my Guru – when He gave the teachings during the trance, He delivered the teachings of Buddha just as my Guru gave us. He is like our father as well, answered to many’s prayers including mine, deliver urgent for those who need His help.

  14. Vinnie Tan May 29, 2016 at 2:43 am #

    Thank you Pastor David for this great sharing with all of us here. Dorje Shugden is indeed a protector that always help and only mean well for us. Over the years, I have seen many cases of how Dorje Shugden has helped them in their lives. No matter if it is a financial way, or miracles that are done for them so that they would have something less to worry about.

    Usually what we pray for will be granted for us. If we are not granted what we pray for, something that is better will be given to us. However, these things that we ask for is not of beneficial to us, we will not be able to reach these things.

    However, with that said, we still have to work hard in order to be able to reach the items that we want.

    Thank you Pastor David for this great story. 🙂

  15. Wei Theng May 29, 2016 at 7:11 am #

    Very heartwarming to hear Pastor David sharing how you met with Dorje Shugden. Thank you Pastor David!

    Yes, agreed with Pastor Niral that this is the first time that I have heard about the oracle you met took trance and proceeded to strangle himself with the khata, re-enacting the event that led him to arise as a Dharma Protector.

    I am fortunate to meet with Dorje Shugden during trances in Kechara Forest Retreat. The most touching part is that I met him with my whole family. Besides getting blessings from him, he also gave a teaching which is so profound and Dharmic to all us who attended the trance.
    Another teaching: http://www.tsemrinpoche.com/tsem-tulku-rinpoche/buddhas-dharma/the-farm-of-your-mind.html

    May may more will receive Dorje Shugden blessings and protections!

  16. bengkooi May 30, 2016 at 11:11 pm #

    Reading this story brings back memories of my first encounter with Dorje Shugden. I was lucky enough to be travelling in a group that visited Taiwan almost 10 years ago. The Venerable Panglung Kuten was taking trance of Dorje Shugden and Kache Marpo and being super new to Buddhism, I didnt really have a clue as to what was going on with all the chanting and music etc.

    When Dorje Shugden entered the oracle, I was rather shocked with his ferocity and the energy of his movements and his facial expression. But when I finally came before him (there was a long queue!) I felt what could only be described as intense kindness and I felt touched to my core.

    Since then, I have had the opportunity to meet Dorje Shugden through the Gameng Kuten and many more times through the Panglung Kuten, and every time is as special as the first. Just like Pastor David, I am indebted to Rinpoche for introducing this incredibly potent practice to me and I hope that many more can connect with him too.

  17. gary foo May 31, 2016 at 12:51 am #

    Thank you Pastor David for the story you shared. Love to hear stories about people first time meeting with this Great Protector and how eventually lives became for the better
    My first bump into Dorje Shugden was during one of my rare jogs around my neighbourhood I bump into this poster of a kinda fierce looking deity with a hat riding on a lion and a few times it happen around klang valley. Until one day I saw his poster again in typical coffee shop in Ipoh, and I remember thinking to myself ‘You are everywhere, arent you’ which in a way he is [in a way he is, since he has access to the Akashic Records 🙂 ] That’s when I started googling and finding out more about the controversy and also surprised to find out he was Buddha.
    For me Dorje Shugden is definitely more of a Buddha than a Ghost etc because:
    1. Studying his mantra formation, which includes OM, Vajra and Hum which is common in most Buddhas i.e. Om Mani Pad Me Hum, Om Ah Hum Vajra Guru Padma Siddhi Hum etc I don’t recall any ghosts having any mantra. Dhyana Master Hsuan Hua in his commentaries on Om Mani Pad Me Hum revealed the power of the mantra syllable OM and HUM on ghosts, so unlikely any ghosts would want you to recite a mantra with Oms and Hums
    2. The oracle of Dorje Shugden and Karche Marpo, whom I was fortunate and blessed enough to due to the kindness of the Lama, to attend his blessing and teaching session at Kechara Forest Retreat. Why would a demon want to spend time teaching the Dharma?? Hellooooo…to all those people with Heads still stuck in the sands
    3. Controversy has clouded H.E. the 25th Tsem Rinpoche emphasis in the early years on the Guru Yoga of Lama Tsongkapa, Migstema Mantra, 8 verses of thought transformation, Lam Rim and such a long long list of Dharma Gems! Just because of the linkage with Dorje Shugden all the above has been wiped out from their memories. Probably this is what I call “Selective Amnesia” 
    4. The oracle who can be the vessel for the Great Protector Setrap within the same trance session can also be the vessel for Dorje Shugden. Thus either both are demons or boths are enlightened Buddhas. Those from the Gelugpas who believe in Setrap cannot afford to have an alternative thingking about Dorje Shugden

    Thanks again Pastor David for this sharing and I hope more people from around the world can share their stories. Bless ye all..

  18. keng tan May 31, 2016 at 1:43 am #

    Thank your for this post Pastor David Lai. I came across Dorje Shugden issue some 14 years ago but as a fledgling in dharma, was none the wiser because many of the online reports paint a bad picture of Dorje Shugden.

    When I had he opportunity to receive personal dharma teaching from Rinpoche 13 years ago, I broached the subject and Rinpoche mentioned, in not too many words, a ‘divine play’ at hand spreading dharma globally.

    My family and I were introduced to Dorje Shugden practice at the begining of 2015. Between 2002 and 2014, I have been to public talks by various teachers including HHDL for dharma purposes and no other reasons. Not practising Dorje Shugden, I guess, I have not breached HHDL call for Dorje Shugden practitioners not to atten any of his public talks. This is my Lama’s kindness as being 8000 miles away and the backward internet services then, my Lama gave me the freedom to access public talks given in the vicinity of where I live.

    Since being introduced to Dorje Shugden, I can attest to the help Lord Dorje Shugden has given to me – most vividly in one instance where my son would have to cancel a trip back to KFR to attend the trance session and at the eleventh hour, he got his passport renewed without the normal protocols.

    I am very grateful to my Lama and to the Kechara team for all the factual writings on Dorje Shugden, the teachings and debates because it helped enhance my knowledge.

    I hope many people will come to understand the plight of Dorje Shugden practitoners and support us in the fight for religous freedom.

    When I see or hear abusive comments online against Dorje Shugden practioners, it breakes my heart.

    People are making vacous comments against Dorje Shugden practitioners without any rational debate whatsoever. this is sad, very sad. Our Lama posted on His personal blog to educate people who are interested to know what the issues are and a thoughful methodic process to stimulate our minds to develop the kind of wisdom, Lord Buddha taught. However those against Dorje Shugden practitoners, appears to see this as a threat and incessantly ‘shout’ abuse at our Lama and His followers.

    People have to understand we are not converting other people but religious presecution of Dorje Shugden practitioners has to be highlighted and we have to fight for the ban on the practice to be lifted, not only for the sake of freedom but for stopping the harm that practitioners are experiencing daily.

    Once again thank you for this article.

  19. Pastor Adeline May 31, 2016 at 7:00 pm #

    As a pastor, I have the privilege to witness many cases on how Dorje Shugden assisted people in their life and in their passing from this life. I would like to share one that I believe will increase faith in many or even make you want to know more about him.

    I had a case with a 27-year-old young man who was admitted to the hospital due to a lump on his pineal gland. He was moved from a normal ward to the ICU and didn’t survive after 7 days. The family did more than three Dorje Shugden pujas for him during that period and one just before he was passing as well as seeking advice from other methods they thought useful.

    Moments before he passed, his family sought assistant in a medium who told them a person dressed in white stood next to his bed ready to take him away. The doctor also announced the failure of his organs.

    Kechara Puja House immediately performed a Dorje Shugden puja upon my request. After the funeral, the family went to the same medium for advice who told them he was surprised to find that the young man took rebirth in a very peaceful and nice place. The medium said in his 20 years of experience, never once had he came across a case like this would bear such positive result. He asked what the family has done for him. According to the medium, if a person in white stood next to a person, it normally ends with lower rebirths for the dying person.

    This is just one of the many cases I have come across which I hope everyone will find useful in getting to know Dorje Shugden and his ability.

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