Dorje Shugden - Retinue and Mandala

Retinue and Mandala

One of the characteristics of the iconography of Dorje Shugden is the central figure surrounded by four cardinal emanations. According to Nebresky-Wojkowitz:

  • "In the East resides the 'body emanation' (sku'i sprul pa) Zhi ba'i rgyal chen, white with a mild expression" (Vairochana Shugden)
  • "In the South dwells 'emanation of excellence' (yon tan gyi sprul pa) rGyas pa'i chen." (Ratna Shugden)
  • "In the West dwells 'emanation of speech' (gsung gi sprul pa) dBang 'dus rgyal chen, of white colour, having a slightly wild expression." (Pema Shugden)
  • "In the North resides the 'emanation of karma' ('phrin gyi sprul pa) Drag po'i rgyal chen. His body is of a green colour, and he is in a ferocious mood." (Karma Shugden)

According to adherents, Dorje Shugden is the incarnation of the five Buddha families and appears in five forms that symbolize the five families, called 'the five lineages of Dorje Shugden'. These forms also symbolize Dorje Shugden's attainment of pacifying, increasing, controlling and wrathful actions and his main form as Duldzin symbolizes the supreme attainment of enlightenment itself.

According to Sachen Kunlo, a Sakya Lama, each of the thirty-two Deities of Dorje Shugden's mandala has a specific enlightened function: Duldzin Dorje Shugden leads followers to correct spiritual paths by bestowing wisdom; Vairochana Shugden helps pacify negative karma and obstacles; Ratna Shugden increases good fortune; Pema Shugden helps control the mind; and Karma Shugden overcomes the four maras and evil spirits. The nine great Mothers help Tantric practices; the eight fully ordained monks help Sutra practices; and the ten wrathful Deities help daily activities.

Unlike other Dharma protectors, the practice of Dorje Shugden has a body mandala. This is considered an indication that he is a fully enlightened being because only Buddhas have body mandalas. Dorje Shugden's body mandala is based on the 32 deities of Lama Losang Tubwang Dorjechang (Je Tsongkhapa).

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