January 11, 2011
Issues around the worship of the Tibetan deity Dorje Shugden have been the source of much conflict ever since the deity and its associated practices were adopted by the Gelug sect of Tibetan Buddhism. But it was not the Gelugs who inducted the deity into the Tibetan Buddhist pantheon. In fact, it was only in the early 20th century that Gelugs adopted practices linked to Dorje Shugden. Previously, such practices were primarily associated with the Sakya sect.
Depending on your teacher, Dorje Shugden is either a deity or a potentially harmful demon. Tibetan iconography expert Jeff Watt's interest, however, is not sectarian. At Himalayan Art Resources, Jeff lays out for us the history of Dorje Shugden and the deity's representation in Tibetan art. Above, Dorje Shugden is depicted riding a lion. For an overview and easy navigation, click here.
Warning: Fine to discuss the art but sectarian mudslinging is strictly prohibited (seriously)!