Provocations of the Gyalpo

by Chögyal Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche

In general one cannot say that the class of Gyalpo are always negative. There are also some important Gyalpo guardians. For example, Guru Padmasambhava gave the task of protecting the temple of Samye to Gyalpo Pehar. So it is not negative at all. But then, regarding the Gyalpo, there are different levels and it is very important for us to understand the character of the Gyalpo and how they create provocations because each of the eight classes has their own way of provocating.

The Gyalpo always provoke people with nervousness, confusion and being upset. These are the most important secondary causes through which the Gyalpo can provoke or disturb and for the person under their influence, confusion rises even more. So this is the provocation of Gyalpo in general.

For example, when I was younger, during my college years, I knew that Samye temple was very important. It was the only temple built during the time Padmasambava and the guardian of this temple is Gyalpo Pehar. So I thought that Gyalpo Pehar must be important. When I did the puja of the guardians, I always included Gyalpo Pehar. Then I also had the feeling that Gyalpo Pehar was good and that I had to do even more. But gradually I started to understood the characteristic of the provocation of the class of Gyalpo. When I did the practice of Gyalpo Pehar I observed that my confusion and nervousness increased. Then I thought that it would be better not to do this practice and since that time I haven’t done it anymore.

There also exists a Gyalpo, not of a high level like Gyalpo Pehar, but a bad spirit. (One can become a bad spirit particularly when one has received Vajrayana teaching and created some heavy samaya problems, then something bad happens and they become a bad spirit.) This kind of spirit becomes dependent on the class of Gyalpo. That means if they are a bit powerful they can become a kind of Gyalpo and can do something. Instead somebody less powerful becomes only a subject (victim) of the Gyalpo.

At the time of the 5th Dalai Lama there was a monk who broke his samaya in a very bad way and created lots of problems and at the end of his life he died very tragically and became a kind of Gyalpo. He became part of a group of Gyalpo. Later this Gyalpo manifested and some Gelugpa and Sakyapa lamas had contact with that spirit. And it seemed that that spirit helped them and served them so they considered him to be a good guardian. Then they invented a puja to have more contact with that spirit. Later the 5th Dalai Lama and Minlig Terchen, an important Nyingmapa lama, found out about this and said that this was a very bad spirit which shouldn’t be considered as a guardian, but should be eliminated. They performed many pujas in order to eliminate him but maybe they did not succeed very well.

Some Gelugpa Lamas continued to do pujas and particularly some very sectarian Gelugpa lamas believed that this Gyalpo was a very good guardian because he only protected the Gelugpa school and eliminated and controlled all the other schools. They believed that and continued to do more pujas and ask for more of these kinds of actions which seemed to work with the Gyalpo. Or at least they thought they did. And they went on like this for many centuries.

Some Lamas didn’t like what was happening and tried to go against this development, but without success. Then our present Dalai Lama told us that when he was young, one of his younger teachers taught him this practice of Gyalpo. The Gyalpo was called Gyalpo Shugden, it wasn’t just any kind of Gyalpo. He said that when he was young, he did this kind of puja for some years. But later when he studied the books of the 5th Dalai Lama, he found that it was something negative. And he discovered that this guardian had also disturbed the government of Tibet. Later on the Dalai Lama asked people for many years not to do this practice anymore, because it is very negative. That is true, because I know at least three or four people in my country, in particular one of my uncles at the Sakyapa monastery, who also did the Gyalpo practice. One of my uncles was a lama there and performed pu-jas in the Gyalpo temple for two or three years. In the end he had a very strong illness, his energy became disordered and he had a great many problems. I know three other lamas who performed pujas in the same temple and one after another each of them went mad. This was the influence of the Gyalpo. Sometimes it seems that for a short while the practice of Gyalpo helps – that is why many people do the Gyalpo puja – but in the real sense they get disturbed later on because when someone is connected with the Gyalpo, they are transformed and become subject to them. When these people die they become part of the class of Gyalpo. The life of a Gyalpo may last for five or six thousand years so for that reason it is considered something very negative.

But instead of following the advice of the present Dalai Lama some Gelugpa lamas went against him saying that this guardian is important and that they had to do this puja and this practice. They tried to develop this practice, particularly in China and Tibet: in Tibet there are many Gelugpa monasteries with Gyalpo temples. Then they made some propaganda and said that the Dalai Lama does not allow free religious practice. The Dalai Lama never said that he forbade them to do this practice; he simply advised them that it is not good. Everybody can give advice, why not? So when the Dalai Lama went to America, at the two or three different places he visited there were small groups with some Tibetan Gelugpa lamas and their western followers who protested saying: “The Dalai Lama denies us the right to free religion”. Of course the Chinese gave them a lot of support because they like it very much when Tibetans have disagreements among themselves.

So you have to be careful because now even in the western world these groups are trying to influence people saying they are spreading dharma teachings. You are always free to decide for yourselves, but you can receive negativities. In Italy this group is very influential because the second most important person who is against the Dalai Lama lives in Milan and it is the place where the practice of Gyalpo is being developed. If you have had some connection with these people you should do the practice of Guru Dragphur. By doing the practice of Guru Dragphur, you won’t receive the negative influence of the Gyalpo. But those who have already had a relationship with them should stop this relationship and should do the practice of Guru Dragphur otherwise they will find themselves with many problems later on. Or if somebody feels that these problems are already there come to me and I give you a kind of protection for not receiving these negativities.

Chogyal Namkhai Norbu
Transcription: Antje d’Almeida


© Merigar, Dzogchen Community Italy, 2005
With kind permission from Merigar.

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