In recent years, offerings of candles and incense to Dorje Shugden have become extremely popular, especially in Kechara Forest Retreat. Due to the close karmic connection between Dorje Shugden and modern spiritual seekers such as ourselves, this enlightened Dharma Protector is exceptionally swift in responding to prayers, and giving his blessings and protection. That’s why so many people make offerings to Dorje Shugden as it is one of the most effective ways to accumulate merits to fulfil our spiritual and worldly goals.
To accommodate the growing requests to make offerings to Dorje Shugden, our founder Tsem Rinpoche saw a need for a much larger outdoor space where people would be able to make offerings in a safe, sanctified environment. This is how the Dorje Shugden grotto came to be.
The Dorje Shugden grotto is located behind the sacred Vajrayogini Stupa and next to Wisdom Hall where Rinpoche enthroned the world’s largest Dorje Shugden statue. It consists of a grand altar for Dorje Shugden alongside a candle-offering grotto. Two stone incense burners are available to accommodate both traditional Tibetan incense (sang) offerings as well as Chinese-style joss sticks.
There is also space for visitors to make offerings of Dorje Shugden mantra stones, similar to how mani stones are offered at sacred power places in Tibet, Nepal and throughout the Himalayas.
As many mantra stones have been offered, everyone who circumambulates the Dorje Shugden grotto is not only circumambulating Dorje Shugden’s statue but also his sacred mantra OM BENZA WIKI BITANA SOHA. In doing so, we plant the seeds of enlightenment in our mindstreams so that in the future, we are able to accomplish bodhicitta (ultimate compassion), the realisation of emptiness and attain higher states of consciousness.
On January 18, 2019, the Dorje Shugden statue arrived in Kechara Forest Retreat, greeted by Kecharians and visitors eager to witness the historic occasion. Over the next two days, volunteers and members came together to prepare the statue to be invited to its final location. Thousands of holy relics and precious items, as well as trillions of Buddha images, mantras, prayers and texts were inserted into the statue, which was then sealed in the traditional manner. Many of these items were personally selected by Rinpoche.
In the afternoon of January 20, under sunny and clear blue skies, a crane enthroned the magnificent 9-foot bronze Dorje Shugden statue on the 4-foot stone altar as Kecharians and visitors recited his mantra. In the following week, monks from Phelgyeling Monastery in Nepal performed the soongdrup, rabney and trusol pujas to consecrate the statue and grotto.
The completion of the Dorje Shugden grotto transforms the area between Wisdom Hall and the Vajrayogini Stupa into a sacred sanctuary on what is already holy land. Since its completion, the grotto has become one of Kechara Forest Retreat’s most popular sites for visitors and residents to pray, meditate, or simply relax in a place of power.
The grotto is open to all so do come and connect with the power and blessings of the enlightened Dharma Protector Dorje Shugden the next time you visit Kechara Forest Retreat.