The daily puja at Kadampa Buddhist Centers is Heart Jewel, which is a Guru yoga of Je Tsongkhapa combined with the condensed sadhana of his Dharma Protector and a short mediation on Lamrim.
This puja includes two practices revealed by the Wisdom Buddha Manjushri. The first is a special Guru yoga in which we visualize our Spiritual Guide as Je Tsongkhapa, who himself is a manifestation of Manjushri.
By relying upon this practice, we can purify negativity, accumulate merit, and receive blessings. In this way, we will naturally accomplish all the realizations of the stages of the path of Sutra and Tantra, and in particular we will attain a very special Dharma wisdom.
RELYING UPON THE DHARMA PROTECTOR
The second practice is a method for relying upon the Dharma Protector Dorje Shugden. Through this, we can overcome obstacles to our practice and create favourable conditions so that we can nurture and increase our Dharma realizations.
If we rely upon the Dharma Protector Dorje Shugden sincerely, our faith in Je Tsongkhapa will naturally increase and we will easily gain experience of the pure Buddhadharma transmitted directly to Je Tsongkhapa by the Wisdom Buddha Manjushri.
These two practices are the very essence of the New Kadampa Tradition of Mahayana Buddhism. If we practice them regularly and sincerely, we will reap a rich harvest of pure Dharma realizations, and eventually come to experience the supreme joy of full enlightenment.
An extensive explanation of this sadhana can be found in the book Heart Jewel, by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso.
This event will be on the 10th 25th please see our calendar for times
The practice of relying upon a Spiritual Guide, or ‘Guru Yoga’, is the root of the spiritual path and the foundation of all spiritual attainments.
In Kadampa Buddhism, Guru Yoga is practiced in association with Je Tsongkhapa, an emanation of the Wisdom Buddha Manjushri.
The principal Guru Yoga of Je Tsongkhapa is Offering to the Spiritual Guide, which is an extensive practice that is usually performed twice a month, on the 10th and 25th days, at Kadampa Buddhist centers.
It was compiled by the first Panchen Lama, Losang Chökyi Gyaltsän, as a preliminary practice for Vajrayana Mahamudra.
Although the main practice is reliance upon the Spiritual Guide, it also includes all the essential practices of the stages of the path (Lamrim) and training the mind (Lojong), as well as both the generation stage and completion stage of Highest Yoga Tantra.
Guru yoga is a special method for receiving the blessings of our Spiritual Guide. Here, the term ‘Guru’ does not imply that our Spiritual Guide should be Indian. Our Spiritual Guide is any spiritual Teacher who sincerely leads us into spiritual paths by giving correct instructions.
Thus our Spiritual Guide can be oriental or western, lay or ordained, male or female. These days, for example, it is quite possible to meet a Spiritual Guide who is a western lay female. The term ‘yoga’ in this context indicates a special way of viewing our Spiritual Guide.
To find out more about this practice, see the book Great Treasury of Merit.
This practice is offered on the 8th of every month. See Calendar for day and time.
The Tara Puja Liberation from Sorrow which includes a special prayer composed by Buddha, “Praises to the Twenty-one Taras,” is performed regularly at Kadampa Buddhist centers worldwide.
A female Buddha, Tara is a manifestation of the ultimate wisdom of all Buddhas. Each of the twenty-one distinct Taras is a manifestation of the principal Green Tara, also known as “Mother of the Conquerors.”
As children we turn to our mother for help and guidance. She protects us from immediate dangers, provides us with all our temporal needs, and guides and encourages us in our learning and personal development. In the same way, during our spiritual growth, we need to turn to our Holy Mother, Tara, for refuge. She protects us from all internal and external dangers, provides us with all the necessary conditions for our spiritual training, and guides us and inspires us with her blessings as we progress along the spiritual path.
“Tara” means “Rescuer.” She is so called because she rescues us from the eight outer fears (of lions, elephants, fire, snakes, thieves, water, bondage, and evil spirits), and from the eight corresponding inner fears (of pride, ignorance, anger, jealousy, wrong views, attachment, miserliness, and deluded doubts).
Temporarily, Tara saves us from the dangers of rebirth in the three lower realms and ultimately saves us from the dangers of samsara and solitary peace.
If we rely upon Mother Tara sincerely and with strong faith, she will protect us from all obstacles and fulfill all our wishes. Since she is a wisdom Buddha, and since she is a manifestation of the completely purified wind element, Tara is able to help us very quickly.
If we recite the twenty-one verses of praise we shall receive inconceivable benefits. These praises are very powerful because they are Sutra, the actual words of Buddha. It is good to recite them as often as we can.
By doing this practice again and again, we acquaint ourself with the practice of moral discipline and thereby make our human life meaningful.
We receive many great benefits from practicing moral discipline in this way. It helps us to solve the problems of this life by avoiding the causes of suffering; and it creates the cause for us to take fortunate rebirths in future lives and thereby protects us from the sufferings of lower rebirth.
In particular, because it is performed with bodhichitta motivation, this practice is very powerful for purifying negative karma. It accumulates a vast collection of merit and creates the cause for us to attain the unsurpassed happiness of enlightenment.
We first need to receive these precepts from a qualified Preceptor, and then we can take them on our own as often as we wish. Instructions on both these methods are included in this sadhana.
If we wish to take the essence of this precious human life we should strive to engage in this practice as often as we can.
An explanation of the practice
When we take the eight Mahayana precepts, we explicitly promise to abstain for twenty-four hours from eight actions:
- Sexual activity
- Taking intoxicants
- Eating after lunch
- Sitting on high or luxurious thrones or seats
- Wearing ornaments, perfume, etc, and singing and dancing, etc.
These eight, however, are merely symbolic, for in reality we promise to abstain from all non-virtuous actions for twenty-four hours.
Taking and keeping these precepts is a special purification practice. Buddha realized that all living beings’ suffering comes from their previous negative karma, and so he taught special practices to purify it.
To purify our negative karma we must practice the four opponent powers: the power of regret, the power of reliance, the power of the opponent force, and the power of promise. These are explained fully in Joyful Path of Good Fortune. Within these four, we are here emphasizing the power of promise – promising not to repeat non-virtuous actions.
There are many levels on which we can make this promise. We can promise not to commit non-virtuous actions for the rest of our life, for a year, for a month, for a week, or, in this case, for a day.
If we manage to keep our actions of body, speech, and mind pure for one day we can then extend it to two days, then to three days, and so on, until eventually we can keep pure moral discipline all the time.
If we reach the point when we can keep our actions of body, speech, and mind completely pure all the time, we shall have accomplished the Pure Land. With a pure body and a pure mind there is no basis for experiencing suffering; instead we shall experience only unceasing happiness from within.
We all want to be happy – living in a pure environment with pure friends, pure enjoyments, and so on – but this is unattainable for as long as we have negative karma in our minds.
Therefore, we need to rely upon Buddha’s skilful method for purifying our negative karma. This practice is very simple, and it lasts for only a day at a time; but it leads to very great results.
Melodious Drum puja is recommended for experienced practitioners only. Newcomers are welcome but please speak with centre staff first. Calendar
This monthly practice consists principally of prayers to our Dharma Protector, Dorje Shugden. A Dharma Protector is an emanation of a Buddha or Bodhisattva whose main functions are to avert the inner and outer obstacles that prevent practitioners from attaining spiritual realizations, and to arrange all the necessary conditions for their practice. Dorje Shugden always helps, guides, and protects pure and faithful practitioners by granting blessings, increasing their wisdom, fulfilling their wishes and bestowing success on all their virtuous activities. This practice includes a tsog offering so you can bring a vegetarian food offering with you if you wish. (3.5 hours)
This event will be on the 10th January 2020
This is only for Highest Yoga Tantra Practitioners only.
Once we have completed a Vajrayogini close retreat of actions and a fire puja, we are qualified to perform this self-initiation practice. This renews and strengthens our Bodhisattva and Tantric vows, and purifies negativities, including Tantric downfalls.
Practising self-initiation regularly is important because maintaining our vows and commitments is the foundation of all Tantric attainments and, if we break our vows and commitments and do not restore them through an appropriate method, this will be a great obstacle to our attaining Tantric realizations.
Through taking self-initiation regularly we open the door to successful practice of generation stage and completion stage, we will be cared for by Heruka and Vajrayogini in all our lives and receive their blessings so that we quickly attain the Pure Land of Vajrayogini.
Please bring an offering of food or flowers if you wish.
This event will be on the 15th April 2020
April 15th marks the anniversary of Buddha Shakyamuni demonstrating the attainment of enlightenment in 589 B.C.E.
This is an extremely important day in the Buddhist calendar because our actions are 100,000 times more powerful than on other days.
This event is marked by special purification and fasting retreats in Kadampa Buddhist Centers worldwide based on the practice Drop of Essential Nectar.
This practice, which is done in conjunction with Eleven-faced Avalokiteshvara. It is very powerful for purifying negative karma of body, speech, and mind, and for pacifying strong delusions such as desirous attachment and hatred.
It is also a special method for receiving blessings and improving our experience of love, compassion, and bodhichitta.
The following excerpts about the life of Buddha are taken from Geshe Kelsang Gyatso’s book, Introduction to Buddhism:
Siddhartha then made his way to a place near Bodh Gaya in India, where he found a suitable site for meditation. There he remained, emphasizing a meditation called “space-like concentration on the Dharmakaya” in which he focused single-pointedly on the ultimate nature of all phenomena.
After training in this meditation for six years he realized that he was very close to attaining full enlightenment, and so he walked to Bodh Gaya where, on the full moon day of the fourth month of the lunar calendar, he seated himself beneath the Bodhi Tree in the meditation posture and vowed not to rise from meditation until he had attained perfect enlightenment. With this determination he entered the space-like concentration on the Dharmakaya.
As dusk fell, Devaputra Mara, the chief of all the demons, or maras, in this world, tried to disturb Siddhartha’s concentration by conjuring up many fearful apparitions. He manifested hosts of terrifying demons, some throwing spears, some firing arrows, some trying to burn him with fire, and some hurling boulders and even mountains at him.
Through the force of his concentration, the weapons, rocks, and mountains appeared to him as a rain of fragrant flowers, and the raging fires became like offerings of rainbow lights.
Seeing that Siddhartha could not be frightened into abandoning his meditation, Devaputra Mara tried instead to distract him by manifesting countless beautiful women, but Siddhartha responded by developing even deeper concentration.
In this way he triumphed over all the demons of this world, which is why he subsequently became known as a “Conqueror Buddha.”
Siddhartha then continued with his meditation until dawn, when he attained the varja-like concentration. With this concentration, which is the very last mind of a limited being, he removed the final veils of ignorance from his mind and in the next moment became a Buddha, a fully enlightened being.
To find out more about Buddha, see Introduction to Buddhism.