hum nyur dzé chen ré zik la chak tsel lo
Hung! I bow to the swift acting Chenrezig,
Generally in Vajrayana Buddhism we have this misconception about the protector. We assume that the protector is somehow guarding your door, a little bit like a gatekeeper. There are enlightened protectors and unenlightened protectors, and there are some spirits that some people make prayers to in the temple. The genuine protector comes with some history. Six Arm Makahala was something that came through a long history. Even when you are brought up in the monastery, you still have this misconception because even when you make a prayer there are a lot of wrathful words and sentences saying cut this and burn that etc. So, you have all this sort of Lord of the Rings imagination and it is really misleading.
When you are in the retreat, you discover more because you start to focus on yourself rather than just what you are reading. It helped me to understand that Six Arm Mahakala is not just the regular protector that we assume, but is an enlightened protector, an emanation of Avalokiteshvara and it is also a guru yoga practice.
So for me, that gave me courage throughout the retreat as well. Whenever I was sick or unwell or uncertain about somethings, I always made a prayer to Six Arm Mahakala with 100 percent trust and belief. Having that kind of commitment and that kind of perspective is very necessary when you are in the retreat. As for the retinue of Mahakala, it says in the text that if you prioritize the main one, all the benefits from the surrounding entourage will come naturally. Of course, Palden Lhamo, Khyetrapala, Dzinamitra, Takiradza and Drogon Trakshe are part of the Six Arm Mahakala. If you practice one, all the others are included. It was helpful for me.
It is said that when you do a retreat there will be obstacles, so having a protector and having a belief in your protector, whether it shows good result or not, always having that devotion is very necessary. We have this normal human habit that when we are happy, we forget. When we are sad, then we remember the protector or the religion or whatever. The protector is always giving you the reflection of the guru yoga practice and always bringing you down to the basic foundation and basic principles. This was necessary for me and it is the meaning and essence of the Six Arm Mahakala. It gives me a constant reflection about guru yoga and the guru yoga practice reflects to my mind about the basic principles, about being a practitioner, to having less thoughts, less expectations, less desire through your practice, but keeping the rhythm and maintaining with your heart towards the dharma regardless whether you are in good times or difficult times.
From my first book < I Am a Lost and Found Buddhist >
Love and respect from your Kalu Rinpoche