The Puja of Following an Enlightened Being’s Advice
Within Tibetan Buddhism there are many pujas, or prayers to the enlightened beings. These are known to alleviate various issues, obstacles or create conducive conditions for our life and work. For example when travelling one can engage in the recitation of Chok Chu Munsel or perhaps the puja to a Dharma Protector, such as Dorje Shugden. These two methods are known to clear obstacles and provide protection, especially important when travelling.
In short, pujas work in two ways, both dealing with karma. Karma is the ultimate cause for the circumstance, which we need to change, to arise. First by performing a puja we purify the negative karma causing that particular circumstance. For example the Kawang Prayer in Dorje Shugden’s puja is known to be an extremely effective method of purifying negative karma. As this negative karma is purified, either partially or completely, the circumstance changes for the better. Basically, the cause creating the circumstance is weakened or purified altogether. Take the instance of being ill. If we perform pujas we can purify the karma that causes the sickness, therefore we can recover faster or are healed completely.
The second way in which pujas deal with karma is to generate immense amounts of merit. Merit is so powerful that it basically overrides the potent effects of the negative karma causing the situation. Again taking the example of illness, if one’s life in danger then Animal Liberation can be used as a method to overcome this karma, allowing one the opportunity to live longer. This works through the generation of merit by releasing animals into their natural habitat, often saving them from the slaughterhouse or deplorable conditions, with the motive of planting the seeds of enlightenment in their minds through prayer and mantra.
Sometimes a series of pujas are required to effect the desired change in the situation. This is due to the severity of the underlying karmic cause. The more severe the karma is, the more purification of karma and generation of merit is necessary to create a more desirable circumstance. Pujas however only serve to solve the immediate circumstances that are effecting the practitioner. Karma is fluid, therefore circumstances change. For example one month your circumstances may be health related, so you engage in a puja to help clear the illness; and the next month the effects of another karma may arise leading to financial difficulties. You may be travelling this week, so in need of protection, but next week you might be at home. Buddha Shakyamuni did after all teach that Samsara is suffering. However Shakyamuni also taught us the way out of this suffering, which is the path and attainment of enlightenment.
So what does this have to do with advice from enlightened beings? Out of compassion the Buddhas manifest in many forms, one of these is obviously the Dharma Protector Dorje Shugden. Yet again through compassion he can manifest his divine assistance when we really need it. This can come in the form of advice from the Lama, through an oracle or through dice divination performed by someone qualified. Following this advice to perform a task, which could also be termed an ‘instruction’, is basically akin to a Puja but more than a ritual or prayer. Therefore its effects to create a positive change through purification of negative karma and generation of merit is longer as opposed to a Puja which only benefits our circumstances in the short term. That is not to say that Pujas are not important, simply that the effects of following advice or instructions has a further reaching effect.
Since the function of following this enlightened advice is the same as engaging in a ritual Puja, we term the following of these instructions as a Puja itself. Engaging in this sort of Puja is beneficial in many ways, most specifically as there is more purification of negative karma and generation of merit over a longer period of time. Taking illness as an example again, some sicknesses are more serious than others, and even among these some are slow acting yet extremely dangerous to our health and life. If instructions are given by Dorje Shugden, for example to build a temple or provide support to the Sangha, one can rest assured that over time even these types of illnesses can be overcome.
In some instances, these instructions can come out of the blue. We may not have asked for these instructions but they are given to us. In these cases we may not realise what karma we have to face in this life, but through compassion and his enlightened quality of clairvoyance Dorje Shugden would have given us this particular instruction to protect us from facing the onslaught of karmic effects. When following this instruction over a period of time we are able to lessen these effects, so when the causes and conditions come together for the negative karmic effects to manifest, we do not suffer as intensely as we would have if not following these instructions. From another angle, as we are generating merit we actually create the necessary conditions for great things to be achieved. Whereas we may have the karma to achieve something “good” in this life, following instruction creates the merit to achieve something “great.” Taking the example of building a temple, we provide the necessary environment for people to find succour after our deaths. The Dharma is kept alive and practiced in temple environments, therefore we have created more than just a physical building but a repository of the teachings that leads people away from their suffering and allows the generation of true happiness. Through our efforts in creating this, we not only benefit in this life, but in our future lives, as long as this repository of Dharma exists.
I myself am testament to this type of Puja. Having received advice through dice divination, I have followed the instruction for over three years now and have seen immense benefit from the situation I was and still am facing. It is no longer as severe, and barely noticeable. This has given me the opportunity to practice the Dharma and, I hope, benefit people overcome their own suffering. Making a promise to an enlightened being is the same as receiving instructions. If you have made a promise, following through with it will provide tremendous benefit.
As an enlightened being Dorje Shugden can do us no harm. In fact due to his compassion he only wants the best for us. Therefore when we follow his instructions, we can rest assured that following through with our tasks will bring tremendous benefit no matter how difficult or even trivial it may seem. When we do this, we create a close relationship with Dorje Shugden. As our negative karma is purified and merit is generated, he is able to help us even more. However if we seek advice or instruction and do not follow through with it, our negative karma simply multiplies, making it less likely that Dorje Shugden would be able to help us due to the overwhelming force of our negative karma.
The key here is integrity coupled with an understanding of karma and a change in one’s outlook towards the future. Reliance on Dorje Shugden, a fully enlightened being, will surely bring greater benefits than what we currently comprehend.
For more interesting topics:
- Updated: Dorje Shugden Teaching Videos
- What are pujas about… do take a good read…
- Intimate advice for us
- Powerful Pujas
- The Farm of Your Mind
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