Manjushri Empowerment and Instruction

The empowerment ceremony requires that you take it with the proper motivation. The best motivation is bodhicitta, which is loving kindness and compassion for self and others. It's important to take the empowerment with the motivation to help others. The true masters have stressed the importance of right motivation. Milarepa had many students. Some had great realization, but others realization wasn't have so profound. Milarepa explained the difference was because the difference of their motivation. Some of his students had not generated a great strong motivation to help others. There are many other examples like this.

Manjushri is a wisdom deity and my personal practice too. There are wrathful and peaceful forms. This empowerment is for a peaceful form. Wisdom helps us see what need to be done and what is to be abandoned. Through this practice we receive the clear energies to do this. For three years I have done this meditation as a dark meditation. I believe I hold an unbroken lineage of this practice. We will next do the refuge ceremony and I will give names to the new people at the end of the ceremony. You are taking refuge in the Buddha, the completely enlightened one. The dharma are his teachings. And the sangha are those on the path. They are both the ordinary sangha, like us, and enlightened beings like Chenrezig and Tara. These three are called the external refuges. The ultimate refuge is the Buddha's teaching, not his form. By studying his teaching we gain great wisdom. Therefore we have to take refuge from the Buddha, dharma, sangha in order to realize the internal refuge, which is ourselves. We must realize we have the qualities of the buddha within ourselves. There is also the secret refuges. These are the winds, drops, and channels.

The Nyingma lineage is the old lineage of Tibetan Buddhism. The other Tibetan lineages are the new lineages, sometimes referred to as the Kadampa lineage. This includes the Gelugpa, Sakya, and Kagyu. Generally there are four levels of tantra: Kriya, Charya, Upa, and Anu. The Anu is divided into father, mother, and nondual practices. I am confident that I have received an unbroken lineage of these teachings.

Tantra requires the practice of Tantric rituals. One has to have the complete ritual. Then you receive the blessings. If the master does not do the self empowerment the energy is diminished. So this morning I meditated on myself as Manjushri. This vase I am holding is the main vase. I meditated on dissolving five colored light into the water in the vase. So those practices are already done.

The body empowerment allows you to meditate on your form as Manjushri. Without an empowerment it is difficult to get the realization of the practice. Next is the speech, mind, and suchness empowerments. After the empowerments comes the samaya vow. The most important samaya is bodhicitta.

You start the practice with the refuge prayer and the four immeasurables. This is the generation stage. Then you recite the first mantra, "om shunyata jnana bendza svabhava atma ko 'ham". This mantra means all internal and external phenomena are seen as empty. Then you visualize a lotus, sun, and moon disk surmounted by the syllable MUM. The generation stage has many ways of being done. In Dzogchen the visualization is done instantly. It sounds easy, but it's hard to do. In this practice first all things are seen as emptiness. Emptiness means all phenomena are interdependent by nature. It does not mean they are nonexistent. It also doesn't mean empty like an empty house. It means they only exist interdependently. Each phenomenon has causes and conditions. Therefore it is empty. There is a danger of misunderstanding emptiness as nothingness. Interdependence is loving kindness and compassion. When you understand this, you understand emptiness. Through loving kindness and compassion arises a greater understanding of emptiness. So I suggest instead of meditating on emptiness you should meditate on loving kindness to have the right view.

Then you visualize a moon and sun seat. The moon and sun represent the female and male energies. It also represents the peaceful and wrathful deities. But it always represents our essential nature. The syllable MUM is transformed into Manjushri. The three should be visualized clearly. The seed syllable represents buddha nature. Without causes and conditions happiness cannot arise. When you grow anything it has to have a seed. Likewise we ourselves have to have the causes of happiness inside us.

The next visualization is the form of Manjushri. This is described clearly in the text. Whatever Manjushri is holding is visualized next. The sword represents wisdom and the flower represents compassion. Next visualize a white OM in the forehead, a red AH in the throat and a blue HUM in the heart of Manjushri. The light radiates inviting many Manjushris to dissolve into yourself. The light purifies many negative karmas. The recitation "dzam hung bam ho" represents the four immeasurables. Now you have a clear visualization and have invited the wisdom beings. You are meditating on yourself as Manjushri.

Now you radiate light from the heart and invite the five Buddha families. Then you make offerings to them and ask then to empower you. They fill your body with nectar. You make the seven offerings. They are argham, the water offering for the face, and padyam, the water offering for the feet. Then pushpam, the flower offering. Then dhupam, the incense offering. Then alokam, the lamp or candle offering. Then gandhe, the perfumed water offering. Then newide, the food offering. Then shabda, the music offering. During each offering Join your hands and make the lotus gesture four times. Follow this by the hand gesture for each of the offerings. Snap the fingers twice, and fold the hands after each offering.

The praise in this sadhana is very famous. Many scholars in India each wrote a verse in praise of Manjushri and it turned out they all had written the same praise. After you recite the praise, then you recite the mantra. It is "om wa gi shwa ri mum". it runs clockwise around the the central syllable "mum" as you recite it. Recite it neither too fast or slow. Your concentration should be on the central syllable. Recite the mantra as long as you want. The mantra and central syllable radiates light to the ten directions, purifying the karma of all beings. It then returns bringing the blessings of the Buddhas and bodhisattvas. Then focus on the seed syllable and rest the mind in its the natural state. Then continue the recitation of the mantra. If you are doing a Tantric practice, any mala will be fine. Draw the beads of the mala towards you over the index finger. Hold it at the heart level. When you complete the recitation rub the mala between your hands and blow on it. The mantra recitation has purified your speech and you are transferring that to the mala. Using the mala during the recitation represents liberating all sentient beings.

Now the completion stage starts. The purpose of the generation stage is to represent the birth process. The completion stage represents the process of death. You should be imagining the form of Manjushri as clearly as possible. Then all phenomena turn into light and dissolve into you in the form of Manjushri. The form of Manjushri dissolves into the mantra. The mantra dissolves into the seed syllable, MUM. The MUM dissolves from the bottom up. The topmost part of the seed syllable is the nada, which dissolves and leaves you resting in the natural state. When thoughts arise again, visualize yourself taking the form of Manjushri.

When we die, our ability to experience the external world is reduced. The winds subside, making it difficult to move. Food is hard to digest, because the internal heat isn't working. The five elements shrink. The last to go is breathing. When that is gone, there is death. If we meditate in this way when death comes we will understand the process. Normally our mental ability is lost when we die. But through the practice of the completion stage you have the power to control this energy. That is why the great lamas have the power to control their incarnations. Everyone has to deal with death. So this gives you the power. Both the generation and completion stage are important. During the day visualize yourself as the deity and offer what you eat to the deity. Recite the mantra before falling asleep.