I've been puzzling over a particular verse of Samantabhadra’s prayer for a while:
You who are like beacons of light shining through the worlds,
Who passed through the stages of enlightenment, to attain buddhahood, freedom from all attachment,
I exhort you: all of you protectors,
Turn the unsurpassable wheel of Dharma.
I know it relates to asking the Buddhas to turn the wheel of the dharma but what I'm not totally clear on what the words mean. I've heard that the protectors can be seen and unseen. I'm guessing the seen protectors are the dharma teachers (or Buddhas or Bodhisattvas?) currently living in this world but who are the unseen protectors and how do they protect the dharma? (I have some theories and a vague understanding but I'm not going to share my garbled thoughts at this stage).
All contributions gratefully received.
The unseen protectors are deities, but the level of involvement depends on the level of practice (lower or higher tantra).
In essence seen and unseen protectors are the same.
Blessings of deities are in connection with one's samaya (vows).
Protection (dharma) is related to one's samaya.
Mahakala is considered to be a chief "unseen" protector.
Because this is a Vajrayana prayer in a sutra it is likely an offering of merit.
I try to concentrate more on practice than too much study so my learning is weak.
Hope this is helpful to you.