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The daily puja at Kadampa Meditation and Buddhist Centers is Heart Jewel, which is a Guru yoga of Je Tsongkhapa combined with the condensed sadhana of his Dharma Protector and a ten-minute meditation 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 favorable 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
Wednesday 5.00pm wishful filling Jewel with tsog
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 Meditation centres
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.
September 10th 7.00pm
September 25th tbc
The essence of the practice is to take eight precepts and to keep them purely for a period of twenty-four hours.
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.
Tara is a female Buddha, a manifestation of the ultimate wisdom of all the Buddhas. Each of the Twenty-one Taras is a manifestation of the principal Tara, Green Tara. Tara is also known as the ‘Mother of the Conquerors’.
Tara is our common mother, our Holy Mother. When we are young we turn to our worldly mother for help. 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, she provides us with all the necessary conditions for our spiritual training, and she 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 (the fears of lions, elephants, fire, snakes, thieves, water, bondage, and evil spirits), and from the eight corresponding inner fears (the 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 she 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.
Green Tara prayers are done on the 8th of each month, please contact us for times.
Green Tara prayers for April will be at 08:00 if you would like to attend please call 0116 262 0317. Our office times are from 10.00am – 4.00pm Tuesdays – Saturdays.