affiliated with the
Foundation for the
Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition

 

The Guhyasamaja Buddhist Center 

 

 Practices and Holidays

Lama Chopa (Guru Puja)

The Lama Chopa or "Guru Puja" is a practice that incorporates all of the most essential teachings of the Buddha--everything required to achieve Enlightenment. 

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.

Suggested readings:

Four Mandala Offering to Chittamani Tara

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

Golden Light Sutra Readings

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 description...

The Bottom Line: investment of time? 30 minutes per month, no travel involved; benefits? beyond measuring, in this and future lives! Please check out the website: http://www.fpmt.org/golden_light_sutra/ and take a moment to read about the benefits of this practice.

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 at 202-518-1221

 Eight Mahayana Precepts

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:
1. Avoid killing, directly or indirectly.
2. Avoid stealing and taking things without the permission of their owner.
3. Avoid sexual contact.
4. Avoid lying and deceiving others.
5. Avoid toxicants: alcohol, tobacco and drugs (except for medicinal purposes).
6. Avoid eating more than one meal that day. The meal is taken before noon, and once one has stopped eating for thirty minutes, the meal is considered finished. At other times of the day one can take light drinks, but not undiluted whole milk or fruit juice with pulp. Avoid eating black foods: meat, eggs, onions, garlic and radishes.
7. Avoid sitting on a high, expensive bed or seat with pride. Also avoid sitting on animal skins.
8. Avoid wearing jewellery, perfume, and make-up. Avoid singing, dancing or playing music with attachment.

For a precept to be broken completely, four conditions must be present:
1. The motivation is a negative attitude such as attachment, anger, etc.
2. There is an object of the action, e.g. a being that is killed or an object that is stolen.
3. One does the action. If one tells someone else to kill, steal or lie, it is also a transgression.
4. The action is completed, e.g. the being dies before oneself or one thinks, "This is mine."

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.

source: http://buddhism.kalachakranet.org/resources/8_mahayana_precepts.html

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.

Prayers for Our Center to Flourish: an easy method for bringing success for yourself and for Guhyasamaja Center.

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.

Brief Prayers of Offering and Dedication

Om Ah Hum! (3X)

All Buddhas of the three times and ten directions,
And especially White Mahakala, the wish-granting jewel,
Together with your entourage:
Please accept these offerings of nectar,
And pacify all the suffering of all myself and all sentient beings.
Bestow upon us wealth and prosperity.
May all my aspirations be accomplished!
May our life-span, merit, wealth and power increase!

Produced from substances to be offered to oceans of Victorious Buddhas,
Are gathered Oceans of divine offerings of oceans of Buddha realms!
To the Victors and the entourage with oceans of qualities,
I offer with oceans of faith, please accept!

Om Argham Pratitsa Hung Soha
Om Padyam Pratitsa Hung Soha
Om Pushpe Pratitsa Hung Soha
Om Dhupe Pratitsa Hung Soha
Om Aloke Pratitsa Hung Soha
Om Gandhe Pratitsa Hung Soha
Om Nevide Pratitsa Hung Soha
Om Shabta Pratitsa Hung Soha

By virtue of offering praises and requests to you,
In the land where others and I live,
My diseases, spirit-harms, poverty and conflicts cease!
May you make dharma and auspiciousness prevail!

(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
Tayatha Om Vajre Vajre Maha Vajre Maha Tedza Vajre Maha Vidya Vajre Maha
Bodhichitta Vajre Maha Bodhi Mendo Pasam Kramana Vajre Sarva Karma Avarana
Bisho Dhana Vajre Soha (3X)

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 Dze O
Kyi Gyalpo La Chag Tsel Lo (3X)

Prepared by Dr. Lorne Ladner

Download prayers in PDF

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last updated: january 5, 2013