Buddhist Empowerment

Go down

Buddhist Empowerment Empty Buddhist Empowerment

Post by LauraJ on Wed Oct 14, 2009 5:38 am

For lack of a better place to put this, I'm putting it in the tea lounge even though it's not really tea lounge material. But we don't have a general TB forum at this time. The following passages describe empowerment as it takes place in Buddhism including the purposes of it, and what one can expect.


"Various medicines have various types of strength or power. Water has a power to wet things and clean things. Fire has a power to burn. When we put water in a field it helps to grow flowers or crops. All phenomena have a particular power associated with them. Through the power of interdependence, when we ask for the blessing, blessing comes as a particular type of power. One receives that power, the blessing, and one's defilements and obscurations are purified and dispelled. "
~ Yongey Mingyur Dorje Rinpoche

Initiation, Empowerment or wangkur

A characteristic feature of Vajrayana Buddhism is the requisite ritual for participating in the worship, service and practice (Skt.: sadhana) of a deity or bodhisattva. This is the process by which a lama with experience in the particular practice confers on others the description, explanation, visualization and order of the practice, along with appropriate offerings and specific mantras. It is more than the sum of its parts though; it is a lineage transmission of blessing and energy.

The empowerment or initiation grants permission, bestows help with, and gives access to, the benefits of a tantric practice. It can be short or long, and complex or very simple. It normally includes the wang (Skt. abisheka) which is the actual consecration or dedication of the student to the practice-deity, the lung which is the oral transmission -- a recitation of the procedural text or manual (sometimes in a condensed or speedily-read version,) and the tri or instructions on how to do the practice. In special cases, a brief ritual-touching of the student with the text, accompanied by recitation of the associated mantra is sufficient.

Kyabje Kalu Rinpoche (d. 1989,) who served for many years as Chief Meditation Master of the Kagyu, in Gently Whispered (New York: Station Hill, 1994) said:

"Most tantrayana or vajrarana visualization and mantra practices require that an initiation and subsequent authorization and instruction be given by a qualified lama before the sadhana, or ritual practice, can begin.

However, a few practices, those that were given publicly by Lord Buddha Shakyamuni, do not fall under such restrictions. Very definitely, all the practices given in the Sutras have the full blessing of the Buddha and therefore can be practiced if one has the aspiration to do so. Such practices include those of the noble Chenrezig and of the mother of the buddhas, Green Tara. Naturally, whenever it is possible for you to take the vajrayana initiation of Chenrezig or Green Tara, you are encouraged to do so. Right now, however, the practice in which I am giving you instruction can be practiced straight away, due wholly to the blessing of Buddha Shakyamuni. When you finally do get around to receiving the Chenrezig initiation, it will deepen your practice and strengthen your connection with your tsaway lama and with Yidam Chenrezig."

Gently Whispered contains a complete sadhana of Chenrezig which is possible to practice without an empowerment beforehand, although the practitioner should see to getting one as soon as possible.


What Will Actually Take Place?
1. vase empowerment
2. secret empowerment
3. knowledge-wisdom empowerment
4. speech, sound, word or "suchness" empowerment

Tom: " . . . the fourth empowerment, although called the "Word Empowerment", is not always given or introduced with "words." Sometimes an object is displayed that illustrates the clarity and luminosity of mind.

I remember receiving one empowerment when the word empowerment was bestowed in a manner that I cannot rightly describe. It may have been a word but if so, it went by so quickly that others who were present didn't even notice it happening. It certainly was a sound, and it was certainly from the lama, but its signification was lost on me, although the shock of hearing such a loud and punctuated sound from one who had previously been quietly chanting was quite remarkable. Perhaps it was this suddenness that prevented others in the group from even hearing it. Hmmmm. "

(Initiations for the practices of Chenrezig or Tara do not generally fit that pattern.)

Transforming Poison into Nectar

Here is an excerpt from Khenchen Konchog Gyaltshen Rinpoche's (as yet, unpublished) commentary on Bhante Dharmaraja's Jewel Treasury of Advice: 100 Verses from the Heart. The Drikung Kagyu master [whose Sanskrit monastic name is transliterated to respect a regional accent as] Bhande Dharmaradza, lived from 1704 to 1754, and is considered a reincarnation of the great Dharmakirti (1595-1659.)

(The Verse)
The ripening four empowerments are like a stream of nectar.
They purify the four obscurations and plant the seeds of the four kayas; they are the root of the path of mantra.
This is my heart's advice.

(The Commentary)
When we have a qualified lama and have kept the samaya, then we can receive Vajrayana teachings. If you ask for the distinction between the sutra and tantra systems, it is the empowerment ceremony, abhisheka in Sanskrit. Any practice for which empowerment is required, that is what we call a Vajrayana practice. If a practice does not need an empowerment first, then it is from the sutra system of practice. Many masters have different explanations of this point, but this one from Lord Jigten Sumgön [1143-1217] is very clear and precise.

Our ordinary mind is hard, unripened. So, it must be ripened with the empowerments. In Tibetan, the word for nectar is dutsi, which means a substance that transforms poison into nectar. It is also called stainless ambrosia or un-afflicted nectar. So the reference here recalls this quality of transformation, like alchemy.

In alchemy, base metals are transformed into gold. Our mind is like that base metal, which is transformed into gold by the empowerment ceremony. While the stream of the nectar is poured into us during the ceremony, we meditate that we transform into the deity state, thereby purifying all our negative thoughts and obscurations. We manifest our mind as the deity's mind. Our whole being is transformed into the mandala of the deity.

Through the four empowerments we purify the four obscurations. By purifying the four obscurations, we plant the seed to achieve the four kayas the future. These steps are the basic elements of tantra, the root of the Vajrayana system. Without these ceremonies, we have no authority to practice Vajrayana, so we cherish this so much.

The four empowerments are:
• vase,
• secret,
• wisdom, and
• fourth.

The four obscurations are:
• physical,
• verbal,
• mental, and
• subtle.

The four kayas are:
• Nirmanakaya,
• Sambhogakaya,
• Dharmakaya, and
• Svabhavikakaya.

Through the meditation of the first, the vase, empowerment we purify our physical obscurations. We see ourselves now as ordinary beings of flesh and bone, which is the source of our suffering. If we see clearly during the empowerment ceremony, we manifest our physical body into an enlightened form. In other words, we transform ourselves into the deity. By attaining the state of the deity, we plant the seed to achieve the Nirmanakaya.

During the second empowerment, called the secret empowerment, we purify the obscurations caused by our speech. Our ceaseless chatter and all the negative words that we use are transformed into Buddha's speech. By purifying our verbal obscurations, we plant the seed to achieve the Sambhogakaya.

By receiving the third, or wisdom, empowerment we purify our mental obscurations. All our delusions are transformed into wisdom nature, and our minds manifest without boundary. By purifying our mental obscuration, we plant the seed to achieve the Dharmakaya.

The fourth empowerment is sometimes called the precious word empowerment, but usually is called "the fourth." By receiving this empowerment, we purify the subtle obscurations to enlightenment. The subtle obscurations of duality are transformed into primordial awareness. By purifying our subtle obscurations, we plant the seed to achieve the Svabhavikakaya.

~ courtesy Ani Trinlay at The Kagyu Mailing List

These four initiations are usually associated with the highest of the four main classes of tantra, such as Hevajra (Kyedorje), Chakrasamvara (Demchog), Vajrayogini (as Dorje Naljorma) or Kalachakra (Dukhor)


Number of posts : 791
Registration date : 2008-12-24

View user profile http://www.buddhistlounge.com

Back to top Go down

Back to top

- Similar topics

Permissions in this forum:
You cannot reply to topics in this forum