“Prayer is when you are in a state of awakening.” – Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo
In Vajrayana Buddhism, the point of spiritual practice is not just to calm the mind, but to recognize the true nature of all phenomena. To that end, visualization and mantra recitation are used extensively on the path of awakening.
“As you generate yourself as a Buddha or Bodhisattva, reciting mantras and devotional prayers, your mind arises as a pure form. This is different from the ordinary mind that struggles to wake up each morning, dragging along its ego-clinging baggage or karma and looking for happiness in futile ways. This pure form is an expression of pure cognition, free of conceptualization and limitation. It is pure awareness, a state of pure luminosity. The deity we generate is an expression of that pure state. All phenomena are understood to be the deity’s body, voice, and activity. Thus, phenomena cease being something we grasp.” — Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo
Traditionally known as sadhanas, each practice begins by cultivating the compassionate desire to liberate all beings from suffering, and ends with a prayer dedicating the virtue of the practice for the benefit of all sentient beings.
Participants in a group practice pray together in KPC’s prayer room.
Medicine Buddha is dark blue in color and used for healing physical, mental, and emotional ailments. Medicine Buddha is known specifically to help eliminate pain and sickness, purify disease, and restore health for both yourself and those whom you are practicing for. However, the practice is as much about the mind as it is the body. The practice purifies and removes the underlying, karmic causes of disease and cultivates the causes for holistic well-being.
Riwo Sang Chod literally means “Mountain Smoke Offering”. Although Riwo Sang Chod can be performed with a single stick of incense, for more elaborate offerings a sacred fire can be built and various substances such as wood, incense, and medicine can be burnt as offerings. The burnt substances are transformed into inexhaustible amrita (medicine), that are visualized to emanate throughout space like massive clouds with vast desirable qualities that heal and benefit all beings. Riwo Sang Chod is said to be exceptionally beneficial for cleansing the environment, increasing health and prosperity, and stimulating world peace and harmony. It is a very powerful ceremony, performed outdoors, that accumulates both merit and wisdom.
Dorje Phagmo is an ecstatically fierce red dakini whose head is surmounted by the head of a sow. The pig’s screech shatters illusion and cuts sharply through to the direct realization of the emptiness of self. She is often associated with triumph over ignorance and helps cut through attachment and desire. She is the main deity in the Nam Cho three roots daily tsog practice at KPC.
Tsog (pronounced “soak”) is a profound offering practice used for purification and to swiftly gather immense merit and wisdom. This is done by offering a “feast” ceremony with many different foods and drinks. The offering substances are then considered to be blessed and transformed into nectar through the practice, essentially transforming that which is desirable, or even “dirty” or “negative” (such as meat or alcohol), into a method to attain wisdom.
Therefore, an important part of the practice is utilizing pure perception, training your mind to view everything as intrinsically pure, including the substances offered and those enjoying them. In the most profound sense, tsog is the non-duality of method and wisdom, compassion and the recognition of emptiness. It is through this practice that swift results are attained. Tsog is particularly powerful in groups because the blessings and results of the practice are magnified.
Rigdzin Dupa is celebrated on Guru Rinpoche day (the 10th lunar day of the Tibetan calendar) with a Rigdzin Dupa practice and tsog. Rigdzin Dupa, ‘The Gathering of Awareness Holders,’ is a powerful practice for dispelling obstacles and celebrates the masculine energy of method, or compassion.
Yumka is celebrated on Dakini Day (the 25th lunar day of the Tibetan calendar) with a Yumka practice and tsog to celebrate the feminine energy of wisdom. The central meditation visualization of the Yumka practice is on the wisdom Dakini Yeshe Tsogyal, foremost consort to Guru Rinpoche. The Yumka sadhana is renowned as a full path to enlightenment.