This practice consists of five parts: Praise to Manjushri, the Guru Yoga of Je Tsongkhapa, Self-generation as Heruka, the Fulfilling and Restoring Ritual of the General Protectors, and the Fulfilling and Restoring Ritual of the Great King Dorje Shugdän. Of these, the last is the principal practice.
A Dharma Protector is an emanation of a Buddha or a Bodhisattva whose main functions are to avert the inner and outer obstacles that prevent practitioners from gaining spiritual realizations, and to arrange all the necessary conditions for their prac- tice. Beings in this present time have a strong karmic link with Dorje Shugdän, and so he is the Dharma Protector who is most able to help them. Therefore it is said that, Now is the time to rely upon Dorje Shugdän. Dorje Shugdän always helps, guides, and protects pure and faithful practitioners by granting blessings, increasing their wisdom, fulfilling their wishes, and bestowing success on all their virtuous activities.
There are many brief and middling-length sadhanas of Dorje Shugdän, such as Heart Jewel and Wishfulfilling Jewel. This extensive sadhana is called Kangso in Tibetan, which means Fulfilling and Restoring Ritual, and it is usually performed once a month in Dharma Centres. During this puja we make extensive offerings and perform other practices:
We begin the practice with Praise to Manjushri to remember that the Guru and Protector are in reality emanations of the Wisdom Buddha. We then perform the Guru yoga of Je Tsongkhapa and, after dissolving the Guru into our heart, perform self-generation as Heruka. We then invite the general Dharma Protectors such as Mahakala, Kalarupa, and Kalindewi, before beginning the actual sadhana of Dorje Shugdän. The fulfilling and restoring ritual of the general Protectors is interwoven with the sadhana of Dorje Shugdän.
Further information on the Guru yoga of Je Tsongkhapa and on the Dharma Protector Dorje Shugdän can be found in the book Heart Jewel, and further information on self-generation as Heruka can be found in the book Essence of Vajrayana.