Is Dorje Shugden a Deity or a demon?

[From Trijang Rinpoche, Spiritual Guide to both Geshe-la and the Dalai Lama:]

[S]ome, who have fallen under the influence of the demon of partisanship, think and say that this supreme deity, the great emanated Dharmapala, is no different than an ordinary gyalpo or tsen spirit who has an inferior form as a result of being a monk or lay person who died with bad karma. Leave aside relying upon him as a protector, they even deride others who do so. There are some, indeed, who echo such claims knowing nothing about it. Yet all this talk is nothing but babbling speculation. Why? Because this great guardian of the teachings is well known to be the precious supreme emanation from Drepung monastery’s upper house, Dragpa Gyaltsen, arising in a wrathful aspect. The proof is unmistaken.

Tulku Dragpa Gyaltsen, as is taught in the lineage, was the final birth in a reincarnation lineage that included the mahasiddha Birwapa, the great Kashmiri pandit Shakya Shri, the omniscient Buton, Dultzin Dragpa Gyaltsen, Panchen Sonam Dragpa, and so forth; this is proven by valid scriptural quotation and reasoning. These great beings, from a definitive point of view, were already fully enlightened and, even to common appearances, every one of them was a holy being that attained high states of realization. What worse karma could there be than denying this and asserting that he was reborn in the preta realm? (Trijang Rinpoche, Music Delighting the Ocean of Protectorspp. 7-8, circa 1967)

‘If I give up my wealth, possessions, clothing and so forth to others, how shall I ever be happy? What shall I eat? What shall I wear?’ The self-cherishing mind that thinks like this is following the terrifying path of the frightful spirits. A spirit is usually an object of our fear but the true object of fear lurks within us in the guise of our self-cherishing attitude. People fear spirits because they are afraid they will do them harm; but if we banished our self-cherishing attitude, we would not be afraid even if a whole army of ghosts appeared before us.

From exalted kings down to the lowliest of insects, all living beings are beset by fear caused by their self-cherishing attitude. If we are worried by inauspicious omens we should realize that selfishness is the worst omen of all. The Kadampa Geshes gave the self-cherishing attitude the nickname ‘devil with the head of an owl’. Fear, anxiety, dissatisfaction and suffering will arise continuously until this inner devil of self-cherishing is completely exorcised.

‘If I use and enjoy my wealth, possessions, clothing and so forth for myself, what shall I be able to give to sentient beings?’ The mind that thinks like this selflessly cherishes others and is following the joyful path of the fortunate Deities. A Deity is an exalted being who grants blessings and empowerments. If we depend upon the Deity of cherishing others, we need not devote ourself to any other celestial being; this Deity of selflessness will fulfil all our wishes both in this world and in the worlds to come….

To summarize, whatever joy there is in this universe arises from cherishing and desiring the happiness of others, and whatever suffering there is arises from cherishing our own happiness. Is it possible to think of one instance of misery that cannot be traced to the demon of self-cherishing? (Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, Meaningful to Behold: Becoming a Friend of the Worldpp. 346-347, © 1980, 1986, 1989, 1994, 2007)