Practices and Holidays
Lama Chopa (Guru Puja)
We usually see ourselves as ordinary people in a polluted environment, surrounded by so many problems and so much suffering and ignorance.
During the Lama Chopa, we actively cultivate a different world view-- an Enlightened perspective. We imagine what it would be like to be an Enlightened being or a Buddha, seated in a Buddhaverse in a sky filled with Enlightened teachers. And, then we visualize around us all of the countless unenlightened beings who are suffering.
We then develop great compassion for all beings' suffering and engage in practices so as to liberate all suffering beings, leading them and ourselves to Enlightenment.
Doing these practices in relation to our spiritual teachers or mentors with a motivation of deep compassion for all suffering beings is said to be the fastest, most effective way of progressing towards Enligthenment ourselves in order to benefit others.
The Guru Puja is often combined with the offering of Tsog. Through the power of our motivation, prayer and actions, we transform offered food and flowers into precious substances with the power to bestow blessings of infinite value. This special prayer feast creates merit and honors the Merit Field of Holy Beings. All who take bodhisattva vows commit to make offerings as often as possible. Those who take a highest yoga tantra empowerment commit to offer Tsog on the tenth and twenty-fifth of each Tibetan lunar month. This practice strengthens one's commitment to the Guru and helps to purify any infractions. Making a tsog offering as part of Guru Puja is the perfect way to honor these commitments.
Tara is the female Buddha of compassion. Tibetans view her like an Enlightened mother, always ready to come to the aid of beings in need. Doing Tara practice helps us to awaken our own potential for Enlightened compassion. During the Tara puja itself, while chanting prayers, we do meditations and visualization practices to create extensive good karma together, creating causes to be able to generate inner realizations and also to be able to benefit others extensively. For beginners, it can be challenging to do the meditations and visualizations while chanting the prayers that make up the Tara puja, but such group practices are actually a very powerful way of creating karma together for succeess and transformation.
"Tara can solve many problems in your life: liberate you from untimely death; help you recover from disease; bring you success in business; help you to find a job; bring you wealth. When you have a really serious problem, such as a life-threatening disease, if you rely upon Tara, very commonly you will be freed from that problem; you will recover from that disease."
~ Lama Zopa Rinpoche
Suggested readings: prayer booklet: http://www.fpmt.org/prayers/21tarasltrrdr.pdf
Schedule: first Sunday of the month
Please join our group for once-a-month readings of the Golden Light Sutra.
Each person reads at his/her own home, but we join in reading 'together'
at a set time. Everyone reads the first and last chapters; then one or
two chapters are assigned to each individual. Together we accomplish a
complete reading. Most people finish in about 30 minutes. Detailed
If you would enjoy being part of our group to read the sutra “together”
(though each person will be at home), please email ani Lhamo at washDC_at_guhyasamaja.org
(replace the "_at_" with "@"), or you can call her
The Eight Mahayana Precepts are taken for twenty-four hours. It is especially good to take them on full and new moon days and on special Buddhist days. The essence of this practice is to be mindful of the Mahayana motivation; to take these precepts in order to lead all sentient beings to enlightenment. Observing precepts for even such a short time has tremendous benefits: one accumulates a great amount of positive potential (merit) in a short time. One will receive pleasant rebirths and eventually will attain enlightenment. One is protected from harm and the place where one lives becomes peaceful and prosperous. One's mind is peaceful and calm; one gains control over one's bad habits; there will be fewer distractions when meditating. One gets along better with others. One will meet the Buddha's teachings in the future and can be born as a disciple of Maitreya Buddha.
The eight precepts are:
For a precept to be broken completely, four conditions must be present:
The first time one takes the precepts, it is done from a master. Thereafter, one can do the ceremony before a Buddha image by regarding it as the actual Buddha.
Click here for Lama Zopa Rinpoche's description of how the precepts are taken and the text of the main prayers. Lama Zopa's practical guide on the precepts can be downloaded or read online at the Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archives.
According to the Buddhist worldview, all of our experiences arise in dependence upon causes and conditions. Our actions or karma determine whether we will experience happiness, harmony, success, and even spiritual realizations.
So, the success of our Dharma center in being able to support our own and others' study and practice of the Dharma also depends on our group karma. If we individually and collectively wish to have opportunities to study and practice, then we must create karmic causes to bring this about.
To give us all a free, easy, enjoyable way to create such positive karma together, Khensur Rinpoche has asked his attendant, Ven. Tashi, to make over 120 daily water bowl offerings. Ven. Tashi also makes a daily tea offering to the Dharma protectors.
Even though we are spread out around the DC Metro area, one easy thing we can do each day is to simply think of those offerings and then mentally offer them to our Gurus, Deities, Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, and so on. Even briefly directing our mental energy in that way, we create powerful, positive karmic causes which we can then dedicate to the success of the center in being able to benefit ourselves and countless others through the Dharma.
You can use your own personal verses for offering or dedication. Below are some verses recommended by Gyumed Khensur Rinpoche Losang Jampa.
Om Ah Hum! (3X)
All Buddhas of the three times and ten directions,
Produced from substances to be offered to oceans of Victorious Buddhas,
Om Argham Pratitsa Hung Soha
By virtue of offering praises and requests to you,
(translated by Tenzin Bhuchung)
Next you can also dedicate strongly as you wish, for Dharma to flourish, for there to always be support for the Sangha, for wisdom and compassion to overcome ignorance here in the DC area, for your own and others' practices to bring vast realizations, and so on.
Mantra for Multiplying the Offerings (often recited by Lama Zopa Rinpoche):
Om Namo Bhagavate Vajra Sara Pramadana Tathagataya Arhate Samyaksam Buddhaya
Mantras to greatly increase the karmic power of any virtuous actions. (You can recite any or all of them. These will increase the power of all your Dharma practices for the day, not just these offerings):
Janchub Sempa Sempa Chenpo Kuntuzangpola Chag Tsel Lo (3X)
Om Duru Duru Zaya Mukhe Soha (7X)
Tayatha Om Pentsa Driwa Awa Bodhine Soha (7X)
Chom Dan Da Dezhin Shekpa Dra Chom Pa Yang Dag Par Dzog Pa Sangya Nang
Prepared by Dr. Lorne LadnerTop of page
last updated: january 5, 2013
Guhyasamaja Center is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. Tax ID: 550881124