Learning Pujas from Gen-la
Dear blog friends,
Earlier at Tsem Ladrang Ven. Gen Losang taught our group some more pujas. Today it was how to consecrate mantras for insertion into precious statues. After insertion the puja to consecrate the holy images. I decided to go downstairs and give an explanation of the benefits of pujas, from whence they come from, the lineage and some more information. Afterwards I took a group shot with the puja group. Please take a look at the talk. I think you can learn more information. Good luck.
The dedicated Puja group. Who is learning the sacred pujas as done in Gaden Shartse Monastery for the last 600 years.
Venerable Gen Losang here at Kechara.
Transcript to the video ‘Learning Pujas’
That I am quite a complicated person. By complicated, it means that it’s sometimes hard for people to read me or to know what I am thinking or what I like or don’t like, and let me break it down for you. When it comes to dharma, I am 100% committed and totally serious. When it comes to anything else, I can be a clown just like anybody else. When it comes to anything else, I can have fun and do all kinds of things that you don’t think that monks can do. Just like anybody else. And the reason is actually I am not an outgoing person or kind of a fun person or do this or do that kind of person, I am not that kind of person. But you see, to make dharma reachable, and to make dharma more accessible, the dharma itself is tangible and non-tangible. The dharma itself has life but it requires sentient beings, (Tibetan word) kangsa, to elucidate it. It needs people who are living it, who are believing it and they believe it from living it. You see, you can’t know the dharma scholastically. Or you are good in your memory, and you can repeat and you can quote, and you can say names and dates and places and you know the stuff but you are not living it. If you are just quoting and you have a good memory and you know the dharma very well and you are just quoting it, you can bring people to the dharma but it will also attract likewise type of people who are just interested in it, intellectual sake, maybe a little bit more. But to actually, as Kyabje Zong Rinpoche said to actually moisten a person’s mind and practice, to moisten the ground and which you plant the seeds of dharma, you have to practice. And I remember doing Lama Tsongkhapa’s initiation, Kyabje Zong Rinpoche in Los Angeles had Thubten Dargye Ling told us very clearly, I remember it even to this today, like it was just this morning that, he says, if we practice the dharma, if we ourselves commit to the dharma, if we ourselves really surrender everything, excuses, justifications, anything and everything that can be disturbing to others, if we surrender and we adopt the dharma, then Kyabje Zong Rinpoche says, when we speak or teach the dharma to others, it will really, really, move them. It will not be from mouth to ear to brain, it will be from mouth to ear to brain to the heart.
So therefore, it is very important for all of us to really accept the dharma. On what basis? Some people might say, well I don’t know a lot. Correct, but there are people around you who do know a lot. For those people, makes this mistakes, they act like that, they talk like that. They do act like that, they do talk like that, they do make mistakes and they are strange at times, but they are much better than other people. Much much better.
So therefore, to make the dharma experience alive in another person’s mind and to change their lives, change their destinies , change their outlooks and their goals and aspirations, you yourself finally must 100% accept the dharma. Look, what’s the worst that can happen if you accept? What’s the worst? Even if it hypothetically, there is no bardo and no next life, and no karma, we still have to have a good job or good purpose or something good to do in this life.
Whether it is writing books, whether it’s helping the poor, whether it’s being a singer, whether it’s being a businessman, whether it’s being a good housewife, a good businesswoman, it doesn’t matter. You see, because if you give yourself up to whatever you are doing in this life, at least this life you will have some sort of result. Satisfaction. But if you don’t do it all the way and you do it halfway, and you do it partway, then results will always be partway. So therefore to really look around you and look at the past and look at examples and look at the Mahasiddhas and look at the stories of high Lamas, look at our teachers, look at the monasteries, look at the people around you who have committed, I mean everybody around us can be a hero who have committed to the dharma. Because you know, in this day and age, to commit to the dharma means to commit to others, which means to commit to yourself less in a negative way. Those are heroes. So instead of looking for perfect heroes where people have to be perfect, we look for people who are doing their best. And when we look for people who are doing their best, that will be good enough. Because you know, if we are going to be a judge and say that person has to be like that (to be) perfect for them to be my hero or my object of inspiration, then we have to look at ourselves. What have we achieved, besides, if not even in dharma, what have we achieved?
So therefore, what’s important is that we ourselves have to accept the dharma, practice the dharma, and I am not talking about empty words. All the way, and how do we start, the same thing I have been griping on and talking about for 15 or 20 years now. What is your worst quality? Eliminate it. Every birthday, one of your negative qualities, eliminate it. I have a lot of negative qualities, I have eliminated some. Prove that I, Tsem Rinpoche has eliminated some of our negative qualities. Proof: Kechara house has grown, tremendously. If I didn’t eliminate some of my negative qualities, a lot of people wouldn’t come to Kechara House. And join. And do. Because I’ll be a monsters. Why join a monster? So proof that I’ve eliminated some of my negative scary qualities is that Kechara House has grown. And if I eliminate more of my scary monster qualities that I have because I am in samsara, then Kechara House will grow even bigger. That applies to me, that apply to everyone. And if you yourself start eliminating some of the qualities that are not beneficial, then your own world will start to grow. Your work will grow, your friendship will grow, the respect for you grow, the respect for yourself will grow. And you know, ultimately we need respect for ourselves before we can expect respect from other people, we need to respect ourselves. And do you know how respect for ourselves come. Respect for ourselves come when we, deep in our hearts know, we work hard to eliminate this negative quality, and we are free of it.
Actually, to be free of negative quality is really to be free. To hide behind negative qualities, to keep negative qualities, to defend, to protect, to justify negative qualities, you will never be free. You may hide it from other people who don’t know what you are hiding and you think that’s freedom but it is not freedom. Freedom is not hiding or avoiding what you know you should be doing and you are not. Freedom is knowing that you have these bad qualities and you have these good qualities, and the bad qualities are eliminated at a very fast speed because you don’t have much time left. And then when you know you worked hard to eliminate that certain bad quality that will not benefit yourself and others. Bad qualities are qualities that don’t benefit yourself and others, that don’t get you far. Then you will have self-confidence. Then you will grow. Then you will talk more, better, your head will stand up straight, learning and doing things will be easier and easier. Why? Because you earned it.
Hiding, avoiding, justifying. Hiding our bad qualities, justifying so that we don’t look bad our bad qualities, and covering our bad qualities will bring us a little bit of benefit, short term. Long term, no. Do you know why? Because other people will destroy their bad qualities and move ahead and when you look at them, they started 5 years ago, they moved this far and you are still here. And then 6 years later, they are here, you are here, and 7 years later, they are here, you are here. And then the gap between you and them become farther. And when it becomes farther, you have to hide more, cover more, explain more. Maybe you might even leave or run away or don’t want to talk anymore. Because why? The gap is too far. Most people who leave, most people who run away, – not everybody – are people who don’t like that gap. And the gap is too glaring. The gap is too obvious. Gap means the difference between you and your progress and other people’s progress.
So when the gap becomes very big, you think I should leave, I should go, I must go away. I can’t do this anymore. Why? Because you yourself are not looking at what you should do but you are looking at gap. That gap feeds insecurity. That gap, that space feeds anger. That gap feeds negative thoughts. That gap feeds everything in us that makes us unhappy. We don’t want to go that direction. So what we need to do is, whatever has happened to us, is our karma, if you really believe that, and you should now, you would let go of anger very quick.
Look, if you found out your car’s been stolen, because the gate was open and you are angry and you want to know why and who. And when you think back and someone says ‘hey you left the gate open’, you go ‘oh’, then your anger at other people goes away because you left the gate open. Similarly in that same example if you want to lessen your anger, your insecurities and your fears, then you got to let go of the qualities in you that hurt yourself and others. And as long as you keep that along with that good friend of yours which is insecurity, anger, bitterness, falling behind, fear, those are your good friends for a long time but they are not real friends. They are fair weather friends, they are friends only when things are good, they look good. They are not real friends.
So therefore, if we want to really progress and benefiting others and we are here you know we are here, some of us are getting stipends, we are working in departments, you know we have given up careers or whatever outside and we are doing things inside, you are here, why don’t you just go all the way. Why don’t you just go all the way! If you are here for 5 years, 10 years , 15 years, 20 years, 30 years, until my next incarnation, whatever amount of time you are here, wherever you are, wherever here is for you, dharma or not, go all the way! Why do things half way? Because whatever you do all the way, you take it with you, all the way. So therefore, pujas means to clear. Learning rituals, learning secret tantric hand gestures called mudras, using tantric instruments, vajras and bells, is only a very small part of the puja. Mastering hand mudras, mastering the offerings, mastering the tormas, reading the text, ringing the bell at the right place is only 5% of the pujas, in my guesstimation. It is important . 95% in the puja is what? Intent. There are Lamas in Gaden who are very high. Chia who has been with me for so long has met, like example, Gen Nyima Rinpoche, who is according to very many people is a bodhisattva. Who has stayed in Yamantaka meditation most of his live and achieved oneness with Yamantaka. And one day I went to his house and he lived right behind me in Gaden. A few of my students had the fortune to meet this bodhisattva who has passed away and he said no incarnation, he said don’t look for me, no incarnation. He told clearly to people. Okay, now when I went to meet him, in his khamtsen I forgot what khamtsen he belongs to, Gowa Khamtsen. In his khamtsen in Gaden, they were having a Tara puja. Tara puja, all of you know how to do Tara. The whole khamtsen was there and they invited Gen Nyima to come and they set up a throne for him, and Gen Nyima wasn’t there and in his Ladrang there were very few students, not like the normal five six people, there were maybe one person there watching him, taking care of him, so I go over to Gen Nyima’s place almost every day to visit.
I bring him vegetables and I bring fruits, I bring a lot of offerings because I know he is Yamantaka so if I make offerings to him everyday it is better than offering to a statue. So I used to go all the time and he liked me very much, he, when he saw me, he smiled, and he went like that to me, he said sit here, so I sat on the floor, right below his feet, almost every day, listening to him, talking to him, and having conversations. And he liked me because I joked and I played, and he loves jokes, and he is a little smitchy in his own little holy way. You know he has little smitchy jokes. (Rinpoche whispers, ‘b*tchy’). Okay, but it doesn’t hurt anyone, it’s very funny. He will say things and he will stop and make you think, that was kinda bitchy and funny, but he never accused anybody, no, no, he is a real bodhisattva, he is a real monk, don’t get me wrong. And one day we were seated there, and I said ‘hey where are all your students?’ And Gen Nyima said they went for puja, Tara puja. And I said I just joked, how come the Gekola let you stay home and you don’t have to go when everybody has to go? And he laughed because how dare the Geko tell him, you have to go for puja or you are out! Because if you don’t attend pujas, you get a mark and if you get enough marks you have to go see the disciplinary to explain why you break the discipline. So I joked with him, I mean he is like 60, 70 years old, he is an elite Lama, he is high, of course he is excepted from pujas, you know what I mean? Because I joked with him ‘how come you don’t have to go?’ And he said to me ‘how come you don’t have to go?’ And I said ‘because I am a Rinpoche!’ (Rinpoche laughs) He went like this, (Rinpoche snorted) he said what does that mean. I said ‘how come you don’t have to go’. That’s how we joke. Of course I did it with deep respect and he said ‘because I don’t know how to do pujas.’ and I said ‘oh please’. I went like this, nicely, I said ‘oh please gen-la’, I said ‘Of course you know how to do pujas’. He said ‘no, I don’t.’ It caught me off guard. One of the highest most elite Lamas of Gaden doesn’t know how to do a Tara puja. I said ‘what pujas do you know?’ He said ‘I don’t know any pujas. Even you guys know how to do Tara pujas, even Gim Li Rinpoche knows how to do Tara pujas.’ He said ‘I don’t know how to do any pujas’. I said ‘Oh.’ I said ‘why not?’ He said ‘I am not interested in them. I said ‘why not?’ He said ‘I came to the monastery not to learn pujas, I came to the monastery to learn emptiness and to go meditate so I can become a Buddha.’
I’m not here to do pujas for villages because if I become the Buddha, I can benefit the villages much more than the pujas. And I was like, wow, that shut me up for a week. So I said ‘what pujas do you do?’ He said ‘none.’ I said ‘what happens when you have obstacles?’ He said ‘when I have obstacles, I meditate on Yamantaka.’ I said ‘Oh.’ I said ‘what happens when people want to throw black magic at you?’ He said ‘I meditate on Yamantaka.’ I said ‘what happens when people come and they have problems and they ask you to clear the problems?’ He said ‘I meditate on Yamantaka.’ I said ‘then why doesn’t everybody meditate on Yamantaka?’ He said ‘exactly.’ (Rinpoche laughed) And I said ‘When people have like, sometimes they get dipped, you know like sometimes they get some spiritual energy to come into them and make them have fits. So what do you do?’ Because there’s a puja for that. There’s a special mantra that you eat, it’s a mantra written, blessed and you eat it and it’s call a diety sa, and it affects you, you eat this mantra and when you eat this mantra, you stop having fits. I have seen it, it’s very powerful. I said what, how. He said ‘you know Yamantaka, he has 34 arms, one his arms is holding a Nadja, I don’t know what this is called in English. One of Yamantaka’s hand is holding this, and I said ‘okay, so?’ and he said ‘this represents he can clear way obstacles for people, purify their bodies from interferences.’ So, when Yamantaka holds this one, it represents he clear obstacles, of that nature. And so if you meditate and if you are an accomplished Yamantaka practitioner and you bless the person with the mantra, they will be free from interferences without any pujas or eating mantra. And I was like, well, if I have to clear the obstacles, I have to do a lot of pujas because you know, I am not Yamantaka!. Anyways, that’s what he said. And you know, the way he said it wasn’t like, ah ah, I am Yamantaka and I just do that and they’re fine. He was very humble, very straightforward. He just said it, point blank. And I was like, not one ounce of ego or showing off. And I am very sharp. None. And he said to me, every single item that Yamantaka holds in his hand represents a power you can accomplish through his meditation.
In Vajrayogini’s tantra, the 34 arms of Yamantaka, this side 18, this side 18. This 18 combines to Vajrayogini’s right hand, and this side 18 is combined to Vajrayogini’s left hand. So Vajrayogini’s two hands represent those 34, same. I was like, oh. He didn’t say that but I concluded that. I said ‘oh.’ And then he said you know, Yamantaka’s one of his hands is like that, pointing down, holding nothing but the mudras is like that pointing down. I said yes. And he said ‘well if you do Yamantaka’s meditation and you do the mantra blow on the person, then any spirits who want to enter them or harm them, this mudra of Yamantaka avoids them from entering because this is a threatening mudra – don’t disturb my students.’ So I said what do you do? He said ‘well I meditate on Yamantaka and then I blow the mantra on them and they will be fine.’ I said ‘no pujas?’ He said ‘no.’ I saw this with my own eyes.
Now, so I said you don’t go to any pujas, he said no. You don’t know any pujas? He said no. He said actually, ‘I don’t have any need for pujas’. And I know what he meant. Because the way he said to me, it means he is an accomplished Yamantaka, through Yamantaka he can clear everyone. Not necessary. So I said when you do divinations, what do you do? He said I meditate on Yamantaka. I was like. Oh. Don’t you have to do black tea before you do divinations, offer some incense, purify the room, he said no. He said the room is always purified because of Yamantaka.
And I realize that if you focus on your Yidam in that strong way, it’s the same for any Yidam. If your Yidam is Tara, if your Yidam is Yamantaka, Vajrayogini, Heruka, Guhyasamaja, Kalachakra, it’s all the same and that’s how he accomplished it. So I said Gen Nyima seriously, you don’t know any puja, not even Tara? Because Tara’s like really easy, I even learnt that in America. He’s like, no. And I was so inspired. I was just so inspired. That when you accomplish your Yidam, means you and your Yidam have become one, and you become very powerful in your mediation, you don’t need any pujas. And sometimes when the rains don’t come on time in the monasteries. The villagers, even the Indian villagers will come to the monastery office and ask them to do pujas, so the monastery sets 10 or 15 monks aside to do rain pujas and within a day you will see the rain comes. Especially directed to nagas. But when Gen Nyima was in the monastery, when the villagers come to the monastery and the monastery come to Gen Nyima and Gen Nyima goes outside and he blows out to the air. And I ask him, what mantra did you blow out to the air? And he said Yamantaka. I went, oh. I said which one, and he told me. Because the Yamantaka has four mantras. I said ‘oh. All you do is blow Yamantaka’s mantras in the air?’ And he said yes. And then it rains, and I have seen it. I have seen him, not once or twice, a few times, get assisted out and stand outside of his house on his verandah, blows mantra in the air, literally look at the air and blow it, and then within 15 to 20 minutes, it will start raining. I have seen it with my own eyes because I live right behind him. His house is literally from here to the corner of that altar, twice that distance, that’s it. I see it clearly, in the light of day, I mean he doesn’t do it in the night. And there are times when some seasons the rain is very heavy and then the crops will die. So the villagers come, they go to the office of the monastery, the office of the monastery representative will come with khatas and offerings, maybe two monks and they go ask Gen Nyima, then Gen Nyima will go outside, he will blow into the air, in the rain. It’s raining, within 30 minutes, the rain will completely stop. And I mean for days. I’ve seen this with my own eyes. That’s why when I talk about Vajrayogini or Yamantaka or anything, I know those tantras work. But you see, for those to work, you have to prepare your groundwork now. You have to be honest, do your work hard, don’t be sneaky, you need to let go of your ego, you need to do all that now so when you do Vajrayogini, you have results very fast. You don’t get rid of them when you get Vajrayogini, because by the time you get Vajrayogini, you won’t be able to get rid of them at all because it’s built up so strong already. Get rid of it now. Surrender now. Surrender your ego, go all the way.
Now, for ordinary people like you and me, pujas are very effective because pujas comes from either Buddha himself or one of his great disciples like one of the great pandits like Nagarjuna, Chandragomin, Dharmakirti, one of these great masters, or someone like Atisha who made the wealth vase pujas. The wealth vases in Tibet, they didn’t exist in India, Atisha made those. Because in Tibet, getting things for dharma was very difficult, supplies, needs, sponsors, you know, materials, because Tibet was quite barren compared to lush India. So Atisha when he came to Tibet, when he is building monastery, it is very difficult to get people and sponsors, and what they needed to build, so he invoked Tara’s blessings and he created wealth vases. And what it contained inside, the mantras, the prayers, so you could have that wealth vase, it will bless the environment to attract like a magnet the things you need to make the dharma grow. That was originally started by Atisha. So a lot of pujas were created by highly enlightened masters, for example, even Pabongka Rinpoche came along with very powerful pujas. The Yamantaka sadhanas is written by Pabongka. Current. There were sadhanas of Yamantaka before but Pabongka condensed it and made it even more effective for today.
So there are many pujas written and some of the pujas are by the Lamas and from their own understanding of current pujas and they combined it make it better. Some pujas are from visions. Some high Lamas actually have visions. Clear, authentic visions in which certain beings will teach them and they will write down the pujas and they were compiled, and it’s very effective. Certain pujas were planted in the environment or in the minds or the area of the person so when the time is right that puja will appear. Example, let’s say in Chia’s life, ten lifetimes ago, one Rinpoche planted a puja in his mind stream and he said in 2011, when you have this disaster, this problem, that puja will come to life. So let’s say we have a disaster, a problem, and Chia’s here, he will remember the puja. Maybe he made a prostration and he will remember, maybe he does his guru mantra he will remember. Maybe he does a puja and he will remember and he goes, oh, then he will write that down immediately. And that becomes a mind puja, something that was planted lifetimes ago. That can happen also. Rare for us, but not rare. Anything is possible.
So pujas are effective, mostly by intent. If our intent to do a puja is to show off, get money, get respect, then the pujas will be effective but not totally effective. If your motivation for doing the pujas is truly, as much as you can to benefit the recipient, that means, let’s say Gim Lee ask you to do puja for her health and you do it with an intention that yes, I will do medicine Buddha and I want Gim Lee to get well and I want her to have her obstacles removed and I want her to have her karma purified so she can do dharma and she can become an enlightened being to benefit others. For these reasons, I will do the beautiful and powerful medicine Buddha. And when you do the medicine Buddha puja for Gim Lee with that motivation, not only her obstacles, your obstacles for health will be cleared too.
Okay, you can do pujas for individuals, for you yourself. You can do pujas for an institution like Kechara, you can do pujas for business or organizations, you can do pujas for a group, you can do pujas for a country. You can do pujas for a purpose, you can do pujas for a particular aspirations, you can do pujas before travelling, you can do pujas for safety, for protection, you can do pujas for attainments. Example, tsok pujas are for attainments. When we do a Lama Chopa, composed by the great Panchen Rinpoche, when we do the Lama Chopa tsok puja, la-tsok, it is for attainment. What is a Lama Chopa tsok puja? It is to support us in gaining a great amount of merits so whatever tantric practice we are doing will gain results. So let’s say we are doing Yamantaka, let’s say we are doing Manjushri, let’s say we are doing black Manjushri, let’s say we are doing Tara, we are doing Vajrayogini, we are doing Yamantaka, you see for those tantras, to get results, you need a lot of merits. So every two weeks, you do a tsok puja. In a tsok puja, everything is multiplied. If you have ten things there, it is multiplied to a million. An example, so when you offer a million items, you gain the merits of a million so that you go back to meditate after the puja, you gain accomplishments. Therefore, in between tsok, you should do your sadhanas, very well. You must do your sadhanas very well. So when you do your sadhanas very well, and you don’t miss your tsok and you do your tsok well, it collects tremendous amount of merit for you to gain enlightenment. So tsok pujas have many purposes but primarily to gain merits for your tantric practice to bear fruits and results. For your tantric practice to bear fruits and results, you must have very strong guru devotion, guru samaya, and to hold on to your words and honor and vows and samaya commitments. So whatever vows you have taken during the tantra is very important. So you hold your vows very strongly, you have very strong guru devotion and you do your sadhanas and practice. That one, combined with tsok, will gain attainments, Put in a nutshell, it’s all connected. So therefore, when we do pujas, in Kechara, I don’t want our people to be lopsided, half past six, or simply make up something and do.
We have to have a true lineage. We have to have a true source. So we are very fortune that my friend Gen Losang took time from his studies and his examinations to come and teach us. And he is learning from authentic source and he is from my monastery, our monastery, ours, so we know the source is well. How do we know if he is not doing the pujas on his own in his room, he is doing it in the monastery with thousands of other monks. So whatever he is doing here is what the monks are doing every single day in Gaden. Think about it. What you guys are doing here is exactly what the monks are doing, in Gaden. How do we know that he is correct? Because he is doing with thousands of monks every day for the last 10, 15, 20 years. He can do it with his eyes closed. And he studies the pujas since he was very young. Unlike me, when I was very young, I was in the disco dancing to Madonna in America. So I don’t know a lot of pujas but it’s alright. I aspire to be a Gen Nyima. Why I am aspired to be a Gen Nyima could be because I am lazy or could be I have a good intention, I leave that to you guys to think.
Now, so whatever he is teaching you here, I want you guys to remember, Kechara House and all my friends, it is exactly what thousands of monks are doing in Gaden. How you pick up your vajra, and bell, how you ring your damaru, how you throw your rice, how you use your bumpa, your vase, is exactly how the holy monks and the high Lamas such as – Trijang Rinpoche, Zong Rinpoche, Ganden Tripa, Sharpa Chuje, Jangtse Chuje, Khensur Jampa Yeshe Rinpoche, Khensur Konchok Tsering Rinpoche, Kyabje Lati Rinpoche – all these high Lamas, for their whole lives they benefit others with pujas right, is exactly what you are learning here, think about that. So whatever Lati Rinpoche was doing during his life pujas for other people, whatever Kyabje Zong Rinpoche was doing, whatever Trijang Rinpoche was doing, is exactly what you are doing here. You think about that. So when Trijang Rinpoche was doing this, that’s what Genla’s teaching and that’s what you are doing. When Trijang Rinpoche was doing this with his vajra bell, that’s what Genla is doing and that’s what you are learning from him. So exactly the way Trijang Rinpoche is moving, you are moving. I want you guys to have the impact of that in your mind. How fortunate you are. And I want you to ask yourselves, what merit did you collect in your previous lives to sit in front of a Gaden Sangha to learn authentic pujas to benefit others. What merit did you collect? I want you to think about that for a minute. What did you do? Remember I always say cause resembles results. Results resemble cause. So you must have done something in your previous lives to collect the merits to be right here. Look at you guys, what were you guys doing before the dharma? Nothing wonderful, nothing bad, I mean you are just hanging around like a mosquito. What do mosquitos do? They sleep, they eat, they mate. That’s what you guys were doing. You eat, you sleep and mate. I mean you know you are not bad, but you pretty much like a mosquito, or any other sentient beings on this planet, just eat and sleep and die, and mate.
So what did you do? To be here, in a beautiful alter, with 108 Lama Tsongkhapas or 200 whatever, I have lost count. In front of Tsongkhapa, with dharma friends, with the air cond, in a pleasant (inaudible 0:33:08) with a real monk from Gaden, learning real pujas stemming from Trijang Rinpoche and Pabongka Rinpooche. What did you do? Are you going to throw this opportunity away by leaving this room and going back to your old poor me, justification, and insecurities? Or you can go all the way. And for the pujas to be really effective, doing pujas you are reciting holy prayers and mantras, and supplications and aspirations and words and meditations. So when you leave this room are you going to use the same mouth to be mean to people? To use your mouth to hurt people? Because if you are, it’s like putting honey and milk and curd inside your mouth and putting dirt, and feces and pee in your mouth and mixing it in your mouth, and swallow that. Same. What did you do to be able to be in this room to learn this pujas that His Holiness Kyabje Trijang Dorje Chang, Kyabje Zong Rinpoche, Kyabje Lati Rinpoche, Khensur Jampa Yeshe, what did you do to sit here and learn these directly, and you know you don’t have to go to Gaden, you don’t have to spend any money, you don’t have to come out with anything , someone sponsored their ticket, someone sponsored this place, someone sponsored the air cond, you didn’t have to pay anything to learn. You know monks like them spent 10, 15, 20 years in the monastery with their hair cut to learn all these things? You don’t even have to become monks! How come you are so fortunate and lucky? I rejoice for all of you from my heart. I rejoice. How fortunate for you are to be in Kechara to learn sacred pujas, sacred rites, sacred prayers, passed down by the masters of the past who we know are living Mahasiddhas. And did you spend your whole life like Genla? Studying, meditating, retreating, holding vows, being clean, being a monk? Did you spend your whole life doing that? Or did you spend your whole life having a good time, enjoying yourselves, doing drugs, alcohol, whatever. And then you are here, at the same level, at the same room, learning from a monk.
What did you do to deserve this? Obviously, something. I want you guys to think about that, how fortunate you are. That when it’s puja practice, run here, and have the best motivation, be alert, be very respectful. And if I may recommend to all of you, at the end of the pujas when you finished learning, all of you from your own pockets should put a beautiful ang pow and offer to Genla. Am I telling you to offer ang pow? Yes, I am, he is a monk. Don’t offer him silly things, a little bell, a little clock, all these things he cannot carry. Offer him ang pow to collect merit. You are very fortunate. What’s an ang pow? It’s an expression of our appreciation. How much? What something was worth to you.
Now, when you learn these pujas, make sure you are dressed appropriately as usual because you are in the presence of monks. You guys are dressed fine. Act appropriately, sit appropriately, don’t point your feet at the monks, don’t talk loud in front of the monks, don’t start pushing and joking and playing with the monks, they are monks. This is a real monk, not a business monk, a real one. Why should you do that? Because he is way above you in one sense, yes, because he is very disciplined. In another way, it is to show respect for the dharma, the sangha, the third jewel. Learn the pujas very well. Study it and practice it. And when you have the good fortune and luck to perform the pujas for others who ask you for your help, listen to this, by doing the pujas you help yourself, by doing the pujas you help the person requesting you, by doing the pujas you collect a great amount of merit for you to attain enlightenment, and before that, attainments. By doing the pujas well, you also can help in getting donations to sustain our beautiful center.
Most of you don’t have money to give to the center. And I am talking for everybody around the world. Most of us don’t have a lot of money to give to the center but if we did we would definitely donate, I am sure you guys will definitely help. But you see, if you don’t have the money, you have the skill that can draw the donations. So by doing these pujas well, it will draw donations to give to the center to sustain the center. Are we doing pujas for money? No. But that’s a byproduct so we might as well face the fact it’s a byproduct so you can help Kechara that way. And never just play, after pujas never just go out and just play and just pretend and just tell people to show off. Always be humble about what pujas you know. Don’t show off. Don’t just do part of it here and there and play games and show people and talk like that. Don’t bring down pujas to a low level. Because there will be less effect, for you. Talk about it, Facebook it, tweet it, blog it, explain and share how fortunate you are. Not once, not twice. Since you enter Kechara and for everybody in dharma centers, your life has completely changed for the better.
Today, you’re getting real knowledge. You’re getting secret knowledge, do you know that people in the past, people in the past who have, like, people in the past in the early 30s or 40s or 50s will travel very far to go to Tibet in disguise to learn the secret of Tibetan pujas and tantras because they are effective. And now we brought Shangri-la here, we brought Tibet here. Think about it. We don’t have the fortune right now to have a few Sanghas staying in Kechara constantly or consistently, not yet, but we can do half way, we can learn the pujas ourselves. Be humble when you do the pujas. Learn the pujas well, perfectly. And if you miss something in the pujas, do it over. Make sure that whatever people have (speak in Tibetan) whatever people ask you to do for their health, for their business whatever, make sure it’s genuine. And when you make the offerings, make the offerings as beautiful, as extensive, as rich, rich means what, extensive as possible. Rich doesn’t mean you need silver bowls, if you can put silver bowls, rich means if you use paper cups, use a bigger paper cups. Never be stingy on pujas because they are offers to the Buddhas. Pujas that have been offered to the three jewels, Buddha, dharma and sanghas, you may eat a little afterwards, as a blessing. Pujas that have been offered to the local gods or nagas, you don’t eat. It’s very important to remember. And before pujas, make sure the offerings are pure and wonderful, even preparing tormas you should be enthusiastic to learn and come and do, you know why, because the tormas are being offered to the three jewels. According to Zong Rinpoche, the ingredients of the tormas correlate with certain attainments accomplished in tantra. The ingredients of the tormas, along with the color and the shape, ingredients, color, and shape of the tormas correlate directly to certain attainments achieved in tantra. So those attainments achieved in tantra, manifested in symbolic form is a tormas. So when you are offering the tormas up to the Buddhas, you are offering back the symbolism of the attainments you wish to gain. So therefore, Boddhicitta can manifest as a moon disc of a torma, or a white torma. Purification of negative karma can manifest as a red color on a torma. Meditation on the winds and channels to move your chi so you can gain control of your mind, so you can gain control of your death can be manifest on the white butter that is the line that is put on the edge of the torma. On certain tormas.
So therefore the attainments you gain in tantra correlates with the shape, color and ingredients of the torma. So even making the torma, your mouth is covered, your hand is clean, and you do it well, and you do it perfectly. You don’t do it with a slouchy, bored, let’s do it quickly done attitude because even making tormas is part of dharma practice. That’s how extensive it is. So Kyabje Zong Rinpoche says offering tormas is one of the, one of the root ways to gain attainments. That’s how powerful it is. So therefore the offering should be extensive, your tables big, your offerings should be big and full also. Whatever you are taught as the primary offering, see these are the primary offerings , you can replicate it and duplicate it, that means you can do 20, 30, 40 butter lamps, your tormas can be bigger. In the monastery I was very well known and famous for that and when I ask pujas tormas this big, I usually sponsor them to make tormas this big and that big. They be ‘we know, we know, you want the tormas that big’ Ya, the monks always says that, they said ‘we know, we know’ because every time I call the monks to my room, I always call the monks to my room and say okay, I want this puja done, this puja, and this puja, because I am sponsoring. And then they say, oh how many tormas, they’ll say this many, but I said make it triple. But they say this is enough but I say, not for me, and they go, okay. So whenever we do tormas in the monastery, I know, I require the tormas, like this tormas is unacceptable to me. But it’s fine, because by tantra you bless it to become very big but for me my mediation is not so good so I just have big tormas. Saves me the work. So I always make huge tormas, big ones, a lot of ingredients. Sometimes I put the ingredients and the monks say, that’ll be enough, that’ll be enough, but I said no, no, just put it, just dump it in there, always. I mean if you going to invite Tara, you going to invite Buddha, invite Vajrayogini over to have your torma, I mean it’s a party, it’s a little dinner party, you don’t what Vajrayogini and her 32 dakinis and Heruka and Yamantaka all come and say ‘that’s it?’ like, like who gets to eat first? So I like to have a lot because I always have dinner parties for Buddhas. And my dinner parties always have a lot of offerings. It sounds like that but that’s my imagination I want to implant. And then the place where you have the tormas, the room should be very clean, the room should be very clean, you know why? When you are inviting special guests over, aren’t you going to clean your house and make sure it’s clean, otherwise they say, oh, dirty bum, you lose face. You should make sure the place is clean. You should make sure whatever you put out is perfect, you should make sure everything is bountiful, full, because you are inviting very special guests to come. That’s how I do it. Okay, so, I want you guys to feel very fortunate that you are learning pujas here, from a real source, a genuine source, one. Two, you are learning pujas as another expression of your compassion. You are learning pujas as another expression of your compassionate activity because this activity can benefit somebody in the future. So it is an expression of your compassion. What else could it be? Thirdly, all the conditions for you to learn are here, how fortunate are you? The monk is here, everything is paid for, there’s room, there’s knowledge, everything is comfortable, everything is brought to you, you don’t have to go to Tibet. How fortunate you are. So your job? Good motivation, pay attention, learn it well, that’s your job. So in Kechara house we are very different than other center, with deep respect to other centers, with deep respect. We are very different than other centers because we have so many activities, we have so much to learn and what we are learning is authentic, it’s authentic. You think about all that. In the near future in Kechara House I will institute one to four persons to do Tara pujas every single day, dedicated to our organization. So let’s say in Kechara house, we are going to do Setrap puja every single day, so whatever is necessary for Setrap puja, Kechara house will sponsor because the benefit will go to the whole organization. So in the future, I am going to institute Tara pujas to be done in Kechara house every single day. Do you know why? Tara has a very, according to Zong Rinpoche, Tara has a very special energy that she is very quick to help success in dharma work so any dharma work we want to accomplish, the monks in Gaden, Sera, Drepung, Tashi Lhungpo, all these great institutions, (spoken in Tibetan) will invoke upon the gentle lady goddess, Tara. So for things to accomplish quickly and faster, especially dharma work, Tara is the Yidam. Tara is the Yidam. She removes obstacles for the growth of dharma. So I would like very much for Kechara house to do Tara pujas and a normal Tara puja, minimal is 4 people. Correct? I would like to have Tara puja done every day and another puja I would like to do every single day eventually is Dukkar. Why? Dukkar is powerful for removing obstacles that are beyond our control, and protecting, beyond our control. So I would like very much for Dukkar puja and Tara puja and Setrap to be done every single day from Kechara House to Kechara House and all members can come. It will make the place even more powerful and blessed. It does sound very exciting because we do that in the monastery, we do Tara pujas almost every day. Before we debate we have to do Tara puja every single day and torma to Setrap every day. Every day it’s done, hence the monasteries grow. Imagine, let’s say that Gim Li does Tara every single day for all of Kechara house, she is our representative, she represents all of us and she is invoking Tara to bless all of Kechara House. Very, very powerful. So therefore, I was very excited that all of you are doing this. I am very very happy and I rejoice from my heart that all of you are doing this and I want you guys to please master it, without any deficiency. Be precise. You know why it’s precise? Because somebody’s life might depend on these pujas in the future. How much more worth is a person’s life? It’s, it’s beyond price. You can lose anything but your life. Some people’s safety and protection and care and accomplishment and some people’s aspirations, if you do these pujas it will change and make it better for them, change their destiny and make it better for them. That’s a beautiful responsibility, it’s not a heavy responsibility, it’s a beautiful responsibility. So learn these pujas without any deficiency, meaning no mistakes, and learn it well because it is another expression of your compassion. And this is what we do in Kechara, it’s the traditional pujas available. These pujas are not usually done by lay people, probably never. Okay, in Gaden at least. So you guys are able to do this. You are very fortunate. Alright? So I want you guys to make sure that Gen Losang is always comfortable, make offerings to him, make sure he eats well, make sure he’s comfortable, make sure you show yourself in such a way he wants to come back. Of course he won’t be affected by how you are because he operates from himself but it’s nice to create the causes for a monk to come back, isn’t it? Alright? And he’s not like me, he’s very traditional, he doesn’t joke much, he’s very serious, he’s very un-Tsem Rinpoche. That might be good, that might be better, I don’t know, we all have our own styles, I just have to be, me! As I usually say, if you don’t like me, maybe it’s not my problem. Okay, whatever!
Now, before you start your pujas, training, have a good motivation. May I learn this to invoke upon a certain deity, to remove the obstacles and problems of others so they may gain attainments, happiness and fulfillment. And after you finish your pujas you should do the same motivation. And learn these pujas very well, have a good attitude and be very cohesive with each other. If you are in the back fighting, being bitchy with each other, you come sit here and do your holy pujas, don’t match. Like I say, why put curd or yogurt in your mouth that’s sweet and then put poison on the other side and mix it. Doesn’t make sense. And if there is someone who is not nice and not kind, just let them be, just leave it. Their karma comes back to them, what to do?
Okay? So that’s very very important. Any questions on what I spoke about?
(questions by the audience is inaudible)
I have answered this hundreds of times, hundreds and hundreds of times. For example, when you do solicitation to Lama Tsongkhapa in a guru yoga, isn’t there a part where you ask Lama Tsongkhapa to remain forever until the end of time, turn the wheel of dharma 84,000 times, or have you met Tsongkhapa yet? Have you seen Tsongkhapa yet? By soliciting Tsongkhapa it creates the karma for you to meet any qualified Lama to bring you onto the path. Okay, so, if you, if you are studying with the Lama, and that Lama passes away, the merit that you collect with that Lama will transform or translate into you finding, after your guru is passed, another one exactly the same that will give you and continue in the future life. The merit and the connection and the affinity never end because the purpose of you holding on to that Lama is not to meet him in every life, actually, the real purpose is to become a fully enlightened being, then he is in your heart all the time. You understand? So therefore if your Lama has passed away and there is no incarnation, so you think so how do I, how do I continue? Well, Shakyamuni passed away, how do we continue? Tsongkhapa passed away, how do we continue? You understand the logic behind that? That’s how we continue. Okay, relate that to everything. So whether your Lama’s incarnation comes back or not, it doesn’t make any difference, on an ultimate sense. It would be nice to have our Lama back, but you see, the whole purpose for having our Lama back is not to have our husbands back or our lover back, the whole purpose is to continue on practicing dharma. So let’s say, that I didn’t get to meet Zong Rinpoche immediately, I didn’t get to meet Pabongka Rinpoche immediately but I met Pabongka Rinpoche’s elite student, Geshe Lobsang Tharchin who is the same as Pabongka Rinpoche. It was like studying with Pabongka Rinpoche. But when I saw Kensur Lobsang Tharchin’s picture for the first time, I just thought what a great Lama and that was it, but when I saw Pabongka Rinpoche picture, I cried, I freaked out, my hair stood up, I just went (Rinpoche gasped) but I never got to meet the actual Pabongka Dechen Nyingpo. But when I met his student, I received the teachings, Vajrayogini, the practices, my vows, my refuge from Pabongka’s direct students and during the teachings, he would quote Pabongka all the time. You understand my point? So, what’s the difference? When you do your prayers to Lama Tsongkhapa every day, isn’t there a part where you solicit him to remain until time ends, to turn the wheel of dharma 84,000 times, don’t you say that, in the Gaden Lhagyama Guru Yoga? Well, you have been saying that every day, either Lama Tsongkhapa is dead which he is, and he has no blessings which is not true or it creates the karma for you to get the teachings one way or another. Does everybody understand that? Let’s remember that forever. Okay, questions?
Questions from Jamie Khoo ‘Rinpoche, actually I would like to work to translate all these to English, the effect might be less if we don’t do it in the original language?’
Rinpoche answers ‘Oh no, if that’s the case, then we should all do it in Sanskrit, all right? A lot of the pujas are in Sanskrit. I mean, Atisha when he composed a prayer, he didn’t compose it in Tibetan, he compose it in his language, whatever that language was at that time. Okay, so that means the Thai monks all have to recite in Sanskrit, the Japanese ones have to recite in Sanskrit, what about all of China? What about Tzu Chi Foundation all that? They all have to recite in Sanskrit. They recite in Chinese, Thai, Tibetan, Pali, then they are all ineffective? Illogical! So does it have to be in it’s the original language? Student Jamie answers, ‘No.’ Rinpoche continues ‘But the essence?’ Student Jamie answers, ‘Ya. But I remember Rinpoche said…’ Rinpoche adds, ‘But the mantras will remain.’ Student Jamie continues ‘I remember Rinpoche saying that it is more auspicious if it were in Tibetan…’ Rinpoche clarifies ‘No it’s not more auspicious if we do in Tibet, it flows better. The staccato is there, like, Sang gye cho dang tsok kyi chok nam la, next line, jang chub bar du dag nyi kyab su chi, it’s just easier, the staccato, there is a format. Whereas (in English) it’s like I take refuge the Buddha, Dharma and the Sangha, for all sentient beings until I become a fully enlightened being, you know it’s just sounds better, all right? That’s it, and it’s easier, it’s got a rhythm. It’s very meditative. Because once you start doing the puja in English, it’s fine, the power is there, it just sounds a little different. And if you hear some dance Tibetan chants “I take refuge in the Buddha dharma and sangha and from now until Enlightenment, oh my god! “ I mean it’s nice for some people but there is a set way, it’s kind of nice. It’s not wrong but it’s nice, you know what I mean? So let me answer the question again, the Chinese chant all in Chinese the sutra to the western paradise but that originated from India, don’t you think they originally chanted in their own language? So does that mean no Chinese Mahayanas has ever ascended to Amitabha paradise? Cannot be. So many have ascended to Amitabha paradise, by reciting in Chinese. In fact the Chinese sounds very nice, the way they hit the bell, they hit the drum, tah, tah, tah, tah, tah, tah, tah, ting, and then they prostrate. Actually when they do it well, it’s beautiful, it makes me cry. It’s very beautiful, it’s very very beautiful. I went to real mahayanas temples in the past and I listen to them, chanting to Amitabha, and then when they chant very slow, oh, it’s beautiful. It’s very beautiful. That’s, to me, that’s very original. I don’t know how to justify that but it’s very beautiful. And Tibetans, and have you seen the Thai monks chant? Oh, wow, when they start chanting and they pass down that cord to bless you, it’s like wrap me around twice, I love it! Have you seen the Japanese monks chant? Oh, beautiful! You know why? Because I went to a Buddhist chant forum in America with Geshe-la, where we were in a huge hall and there were Buddhist traditions from all different countries and each one of us have to chant in our own styles and I was there listening to everybody, oh, it’s just so beautiful. Which one beautiful? I don’t, I really couldn’t say. And the Vietnamese, oh so beautiful. To me, Tibetan is very comfortable but it was all fine to me. Then to answer Paris’ question in another way, then which one in that room is a real chanter? Which one has the real blessing? The debate can go on for days. Okay, does everybody understand? And the Chinese in the Chinese sutras recite the mantra of Avalokitesvara, they do recite that, Namo Arya Avalokitesvara. They do it their way and the way Tibetan chanted they both actually wrong, they don’t sound like the original but because the intent is there, its closest possible, it’s fine. Trust me, Avalokitesvara comes from India but he is not Indian. He’s not Chinese, Kuan Yin is not Chinese. Kuan Yin is not Tibetan, Kuan Yin is anything that suits your energy and manifestation of compassion. So for Chinese, it’s a beautiful lady with a white robe holding a child because that’s what appeals to Chinese. For Tibetans, it’s Mahakala fierce, that’s Kuan Yin. But the energy’s the same. Kuan Yin is not a race, it’s not define. Kuan Yin will appear differently in every planet in different dimensions and places differently. Kuan Yin can be you know ET go home!. I mean on different planets, Kuan Yin can appear looking like them, green little men. So don’t define Kuan Yin’s energy in form, just like chanting, to only one way. So if we don’t chant in its original form, will it have as much blessings, the scholar asks? Yes it will. So is Tibetan language more superior in chanting than other language? No, it’s not. You do the best you can. Because if I need to send you all to India to study Tibetan and come back, well, see you my next incarnation! You can see Chia mastering Tibetan? Actually, Chia likes the monastery. If it was a different situation, Chia would be a monk in a monastery, hanging out. Probably, I am sure of it, he holds his vows very well, either by default or on purpose, I don’t know but anyway he holds his vows very well. Any other questions? Good.
Feel good about the pujas you are learning, remember they have a real source, it’s authentic and it really helps people. I want to talk about the seven limbs that are related to the pujas but I am not going to talk about it today. You guys take a rest. Good. Let’s master this so that Kechara House has another service to offer the public that will benefit them. And it benefits us. This is the best education you can get. Alright? Good.
Very good, very good.
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