Author Topic: 35 Confession Buddhas  (Read 7246 times)

Offline gregkavarnos

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35 Confession Buddhas
« on: July 21, 2010, 03:42:38 am »
During a chat Ogyen Chodzom asked me to post her some info regarding the 35 confession Buddhas as a practice to repair vows.

I decided that because it is such a strong and valuable practice that I will post all the info I have regarding the practice in a new thread so that we can all benefit from this practice.

I will start with the one version of the prayer:

Quote
CONFESSION OF DOWNFALLS TO THE 35 BUDDHAS (Tibetan Tradition)
"I, [..say your name..], throughout all times, take refuge in the Gurus;
I take refuge in the Buddhas;
I take refuge in the Dharma;
I take refuge in the Sangha.
To the Founder, the Transcendent Destroyer, the One Gone Beyond, the Foe Destroyer, the Fully Enlightened One, the Glorious Conqueror from the Shakyas, I bow down.
To the One Gone Beyond, the Great Destroyer, destroying with Vajra essence, I bow down.
To the One Gone Beyond, the Jewel Radiating Light, I bow down.
To the One Gone Beyond, the King with Power over the Nagas, I bow down.
To the One Gone Beyond, the Leader of the Warriors, I bow down.
To the One Gone Beyond, the Glorious Blissful One, I bow down.
To the One Gone Beyond, the Jewel Fire, I bow down.
To the One Gone Beyond, the Jewel Moonlight, I bow down.
To the One Gone Beyond, whose Pure Vision Brings Accomplishments, I bow down.
To the One Gone Beyond, the Jewel Moon, I bow down.
To the One Gone Beyond, the Stainless One, I bow down.
To the One Gone Beyond, the Glorious Giver, I bow down.
To the One Gone Beyond, the Pure One, I bow down.
To the One Gone Beyond, the Bestower of Purity, I bow down.
To the One Gone Beyond, the Celestial Waters, I bow down.
To the One Gone Beyond, the Deity of the Celestial Waters, I bow down.
To the One Gone Beyond, the Glorious Good, I bow down.
To the One Gone Beyond, the Glorious Sandalwood, I bow down.
To the One Gone Beyond, the One of Unlimited Splendor, I bow down.
To the One Gone Beyond, the Glorious Light, I bow down.
To the One Gone Beyond, the Glorious One without Sorrow, I bow down.
To the One Gone Beyond, the Son of the Desireless One, I bow down.
To the One Gone Beyond, the Glorious Flower, I bow down.
To the One Gone Beyond, who Understands Reality, Enjoying the Radiant Light of Purity, I bow down.
To the One Gone Beyond, who Understands Reality, Enjoying the Radiant Light of the Lotus, I bow down.
To the One Gone Beyond, the Glorious Gem, I bow down.
To the One Gone Beyond, the Glorious One who is Mindful, I bow down.
To the One Gone Beyond, the Glorious One whose Name is Extremely Renowned, I bow down.
To the One Gone Beyond, the King Holding the Banner over the Senses, I bow down.
To the One Gone Beyond, the Glorious One who Subdues Everything Completely, I bow down.
To the One Gone Beyond, the Victorious One in All Battles, I bow down.
To the One Gone Beyond, the Glorious One Gone Beyond to Perfect Self- control, I bow down.
To the One Gone Beyond, the Glorious One who Enhances and Illuminates Completely, I bow down.
To the One Gone Beyond, the Jewel Lotus who Subdues All, I bow down.
To the One Gone Beyond, the Foe Destroyer, the Fully Enlightened One, the King with Power over Mount Meru, always Remaining in the Jewel and the Lotus, I bow down. (3X)
Alternatively, in Tibetan:
Dag [.. say your name ..] zhe gyi.wa
du.tag.tu la.ma la kyab.su.chi.wo
sang.gya la kyab.su.chi.wo
cho la kyab.su.chi.wo
ge.dun la kyab.su.chi.wo
Ton pa chom.dan.da de.zhin.sheg dra.chom yang.dag.pa dzog.pa sang.gya pal.gyal.wa shakya tub.la chag.tsal.lo
de.zhin.sheg pa dor.je.nying.po.rab.tu.jom.la chag.tsal.lo
de.zhin.sheg pa rin.chen.o.tro.la chag.tsal.lo
de.zhin.sheg pa lu.wang.gyi.gyal.po.la chag.tsal.lo
de.zhin.sheg pa pa.wo.de.la chag.tsal.lo
de.zhin.sheg pa pal.gye.la chag.tsal.lo
de.zhin.sheg pa rin.chen.me.la chag.tsal.lo
de.zhin.sheg pa rin.chen.da o.la chag.tsal.lo
de.zhin.sheg pa tong.wa.don.yo.la chag.tsal.lo
de.zhin.sheg pa rin.chen.da.wa.la chag.tsal.lo
de.zhin.sheg pa dri.ma.me.pa.la chag.tsal.lo
de.zhin.sheg pa pal.jin.la chag.tsal.lo
de.zhin.sheg pa tsang.pa.la chag.tsal.lo
de.zhin.sheg pa tsang.pa.jin.la chag.tsal.lo
de.zhin.sheg pa chu.lha.la chag.tsal.lo
de.zhin.sheg pa chu.lha.lha.la chag.tsal.lo
de.zhin.sheg pa pal.zang.la chag.tsal.lo
de.zhin.sheg pa tsan.dan.pal.la chag.tsal.lo
de.zhin.sheg pa zi.ji.ta.ya.la chag.tsal.lo
de.zhin.sheg pa o.pal.la chag.tsal.lo
de.zhin.sheg pa nya.ngan.me.pa.pal.la chag.tsal.lo
de.zhin.sheg pa se.me.kyi.bu.la chag.tsal.lo
de.zhin.sheg pa me.tog.pal.la chag.tsal.lo
de.zhin.sheg pa tsang.pa.o.zer nam.par rol.pa ngon.pa kyen.pa.la chag.tsal.lo
de.zhin.sheg pa pa.ma.o.zer.nam.pa rol.pa ngon.par kyen.pa.la chag.tsal.lo
de.zhin.sheg pa nor.pal la chag.tsal.lo
de.zhin.sheg pa dran.pa.pal.la chag.tsal.lo
de.zhin.sheg pa tsan.pal.shin.tu.yong.dag.la chag.tsal.lo
de.zhin.sheg pa wang.po.tog.gi.gyal.tsan.gyi.gyal.po.la chag.tsal.lo
de.zhin.sheg pa shin.tu nam.par non.pa.pal la chag.tsal.lo
de.zhin.sheg pa yul.la.shin.tu.nam.par gyal.wa.la chag.tsal.lo
de.zhin.sheg pa nam.pa.non.pa.sheg.pa.pal.la chag.tsal.lo
de.zhin.sheg pa kun.na.nang.wa.ko.pa.pal.la chag.tsal.lo
de.zhin.sheg pa rin.chen pa.ma nam.par non.pa.pal la chag.tsal.lo
de.zhin.sheg pa dra.chom yang.dag.pa.dzog.pa sang.gya rin.po.che dang.pa.ma la rab.tu.zhug ri.wang.gi.gyal.po.la chag.tsal.lo"
Foe Destroyers, fully enlightened Ones and transcendent Destroyers, who are existing, sustaining and living throughout the ten directions of sentient beings' worlds - all you Buddhas, please give me your attention.
In this life and throughout beginningless lives in all the realms of samsara, I have created negative karma, caused others to create it and rejoiced at it.
I have stolen offerings to holy objects, offerings to the sangha and offerings to the sangha of the ten directions.
I have caused others to steal these and rejoiced at such theft.
I have committed the five heinous crimes, caused others to do them and rejoiced at their doing.
I have committed the ten non-virtuous actions, involved others in them and rejoiced in their involvement.
Being obscured by all this karma, I've created the cause for myself and other sentient beings to be reborn in the hells, as animals, as pretas, in irreligious places, amongst barbarians, as long-living gods, with imperfect senses, holding wrong views and being displeased with the presence of a Buddha.
Now before these Buddhas, transcendent destroyers who have become transcen- dental wisdom, who have become the compassionate eye, who have become witness, who have become valid and see with their omniscient minds, I am confessing and accepting all these actions as negative.
I will not conceal or hide them and from now on I will refrain from committing these negative actions.
Buddhas and transcendent destroyers, please give me your attention.
In this life and throughout beginningless lives in all the realms of samsara, whatever root of virtue I've created through even the smallest act of charity such as giving one mouthful of food to an animal, whatever root of virtue I've created by keeping pure morality, whatever root of virtue I've created by abiding in pure conduct, whatever root of virtue I've created by fully ripening sentient beings' minds, whatever root of virtue I've created by generating bodhicitta and whatever root of virtue I've created of the highest transcendental wisdom, bringing together all these merits of both myself and others, I now dedicate them to the highest of which there is no higher, to that even above the highest, to the highest of the high, to that which is higher than the foe destroyer.
Thus I dedicate them completely to the highest, fully accomplished enlightenment.
Just as the Buddhas and transcendent destroyers of the past have dedicated, just as the Buddhas and transcendent destroyers of the future will dedicate and just as the Buddhas and transcendent destroyers of the present are dedicating, in the same way I make this dedication.
I confess all my negative karmas separately and rejoice in all merits.
I implore all the Buddhas to grant my request that I may realize the ultimate, sublime, highest transcendental wisdom.
To the sublime kings of human beings living now, to those of the past and to those who have yet to appear, to all those whose knowledge is as vast as an infinite ocean, with palms joined, I go for refuge.
GENERAL CONFESSION (Tibetan tradition)
Ah, woe is me! Great Guru Vajradhara and all other Buddhas and Bodhisattvas dwelling in the ten directions, and venerable Sangha, please pay attention to me!
I, [..say your name..], for beginningless samsaric lifetimes until now, owing to the defilements - greed, hate and delusion - have committed by body, speech and mind the ten non-virtuous actions;
I have created the five immediate karmas;
I have created the five similar to them;
I have broken the Pratimoksha vows;
I have broken the Bodhisattva's training;
I have broken my tantric pledges;
I have been disrespectful to my parents;
I have been disrespectful to my Preceptor and Teachers;
I have been disrespectful to companions in the celibate life;
I have done actions harmful to the Three Jewels;
I have rejected the true Dharma;
I have abused the Sangha of Aryas;
I have done actions harmful to sentient beings and so forth.
This accumulation of non-virtuous actions that I have done, asked others to do, or rejoiced in when others have done them and so forth; in short, my entire accumulation of faults and offenses that hinder higher rebirth and liberation and cause samsara and evil rebirth, I confess before the great Guru Vajradhara and all the other Buddhas and Bodhisattvas dwelling in the ten directions, and the venerable Sangha; I do not conceal them, I reveal them; henceforth I take up restraint.
If I confess and reveal them, I shall dwell in pleasant contacts; but if I do not confess and reveal them, I shall not. (3X)
:namaste:
"A genius is a person who, on a beach full of nudists, can remember peoples faces!"  Arka

Offline gregkavarnos

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Re: 35 Confession Buddhas
« Reply #1 on: July 21, 2010, 03:44:34 am »

:namaste:
"A genius is a person who, on a beach full of nudists, can remember peoples faces!"  Arka

Offline gregkavarnos

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Re: 35 Confession Buddhas
« Reply #2 on: July 21, 2010, 03:48:42 am »
Another version of the prayer with a short explanation for each Buddha.
Quote
Mahayana Sutra Of The Three Superior Heaps

Namo:  The Bodhisattva's Confession of Moral Downfalls

I, whose name is _________ at all times go for refuge to the Guru, go for refuge to the Buddha, go for refuge to the Dharma, go for refuge to the Sangha.
To the Teacher, Blessed One, Tath?gata, Foe Destroyer, Completely Perfect Buddha, Glorious Conqueror Shakyamuni I prostrate.
To the Tath?gata Complete Subduer with the Essence of Vajra I prostrate.
To the Tath?gata Jewel of Radiant Light I prostrate.
To the Tath?gata Powerful King of the Nagas I prostrate.
To the Tath?gata Leader of the Heroes I prostrate.
To the Tath?gata Glorious Pleasure I prostrate.
To the Tath?gata Jewel Fire I prostrate.
To the Tath?gata Jewel Moonlight I prostrate.
To the Tath?gata Meaningful to Behold I prostrate.
To the Tath?gata Jewel Moon I prostrate.
To the Tath?gata Stainless One I prostrate.
To the Tath?gata Bestower of Glory I prostrate.
To the Tath?gata Pure One I prostrate.
To the Tath?gata Transforming with Purity I prostrate.
To the Tath?gata Water Deity I prostrate.
To the Tath?gata God of Water Deities I prostrate.
To the Tath?gata Glorious Excellence I prostrate.
To the Tath?gata Glorious Sandalwood I prostrate.
To the Tath?gata Endless Splendor I prostrate.
To the Tath?gata Glorious Light I prostrate.
To the Tath?gata Glorious One without Sorrow I prostrate.
To the Tath?gata Son without Craving I prostrate.
To the Tath?gata Glorious Flower I prostrate.
To the Tath?gata Clearly Knowing through Enjoying Pure Radiance I prostrate.
To the Tath?gata Clearly Knowing through Enjoying Lotus Radiance I prostrate.
To the Tath?gata Glorious Wealth I prostrate.
To the Tath?gata Glorious Mindfulness I prostrate.
To the Tath?gata Glorious Name of Great Renown I prostrate.
To the Tath?gata King of the Victory Banner Head of the Powerful Ones I prostrate.
To the Tath?gata Glorious One Complete Subduer I prostrate.
To the Tath?gata Great Victor in Battle I prostrate.
To the Tath?gata Glorious One Complete Subduer Passed Beyond I prostrate.
To the Tath?gata Glorious Array Illuminating All I prostrate.
To the Tath?gata Jewel Lotus Great Subduer I prostrate.
To the Tath?gata Foe Destroyer, Completely Perfect Buddha, King of Mount Meru Seated Firmly on a Jewel and a Lotus I prostrate.
O All you [Tath?gatas] and all the others, however many Tath?gatas, the Foe Destroyers, the Completely Perfect Buddhas, the Blessed Ones there are dwelling and abiding in all the worldly realms of the ten directions, all you Buddhas, the Blessed Ones, please listen to me.
In this life and in all my lives since beginning-less time, in all my places of rebirth while wandering in samsara, I have done negative actions, have ordered them to be done, and have rejoiced in their being done. I have stolen the property of the bases of offering, the property of the Sangha, and the property of the Sanghas of the ten directions, have ordered it to be stolen, and have rejoiced in it being stolen. I have committed the five unbounded heinous actions, have ordered them to be committed, and have rejoiced in their being committed. I have completely engaged in the paths of the ten non-virtuous actions, have ordered others to engage in them, and have rejoiced in their engaging in them.  Being obstructed by such karmic obstructions, I shall become a hell being, or I shall be born as an animal, or I shall go to the land of the hungry ghosts, or I shall be born as a barbarian in an irreligious country, or I shall be born as a long-life god, or I shall come to have incomplete senses, or I shall come to hold wrong views, or I shall have no opportunity to please a Buddha.
All such karmic obstructions I declare in the presence of the Buddhas, the Blessed Ones, who have become exalted wisdom, who have become eyes, who have become witnesses, who have become valid, who see with their wisdom. I confess without concealing or hiding anything, and from now on I will avoid and refrain from such actions.
All you Buddhas, the Blessed Ones, please listen to me. In this life and in all my previous lives since the beginning-less time, in all my places of rebirth while wandering in samsara, whatever root of virtue there is in my giving to others, even in my giving a morsel of food to one born as an animal; whatever root of virtue there is in my maintaining moral discipline; whatever root of virtue there is in my actions conducive to great liberation; whatever root of virtue there is in my acting to fully ripen sentient beings; whatever root of virtue there is in my generating a supreme mind of enlightenment; and whatever root of virtue there is in my unsurpassed exalted wisdom; all of these assembled, gathered, and collected together, by fully dedicating them to the unsurpassed, to that of which there is no higher, to that which is even higher than the high, and to that which surpasses the unsurpassed, I fully dedicate to the unsurpassed, perfect, complete enlightenment.
Just as the Buddhas, the Blessed Ones of the past, have dedicated fully, just as the Buddhas, the Blessed Ones who are yet to come, will dedicate fully, and just as the Buddhas, the Blessed Ones who are living now, dedicate fully, so too do I dedicate fully.
I confess individually all negative actions. I rejoice in all merit. I beseech and request all the Buddhas. May I attain the holy, supreme, unsurpassed and exalted wisdom.
Whoever are the Conquerors, the supreme beings living now, those of the past, and likewise those who are yet to come, with a boundless ocean of praise for all your good qualities, and with my palms pressed together I go close to you for refuge.



ENGLISH   SANSKRIT   TIBETAN   QUALITIES
1.  THE MIGHTY OF THE SHAKYAS   SHAKYAMUNI   (CHOM DEN DE-DE SHIN-SHEG PA-DRA CHOM PA-YANG DAG PAR-DSOG PE-) SAN GYE-SHA KYA-TUB PA   1. Shakyamuni Buddha just saying the Holy name purifies 80,000 eons of negative karma.
2.  VAJRA ESSENCE   VAJRAGARBHA   DOR JE-NYING PO-RAB TU JOMPA   2. Thoroughly Destroying With Vajra Essence purifies negativities through illuminating the wisdom of the teachings.
3.  JEWEL RADIATING LIGHT   RATNARCI   RIN CHEN-U TRU   3. Radiant Jewel Just saying the name purifies 10,000 eons of negative karma.  You will be protected by the devas.  Your wishes will succeed and you will have a long life.
4.  THE KING OF MIGHTY NAGAS   NAGEVARARAJA   LU WANG TSI-GYAL PO   4. King, Lord of the Nagas purifies 20,000 eons of negative karma.  Saying the mantra 100,000 times with devotion, will heal disease.  In the past, as a king he liberated many beings who were trapped as nagas. If a child is ill and cannot chant mantras another person can do them. Chant the, mantras and blow on the child. Bless water in the same way, for them to drink, or apply to the skin. The Naga King helped us in the past, so we ask him to tell his cohorts not to harm us. Do it for a particular person but send it to any others who are ill. Naga illnesses include ulcer, cancer, leprosy, infectious diseases.  The mantra to be recited is:  TATHAGATA BHAGAWAN NAGA RANDZA SHORA ADISTHANA ADISHTITE SOHA.  Before building houses we should do refuge and a tea offering to ask the nagas not to cause problems.

5.  LEADER OF HEROES   VIRASENA   PA WO-DE   5. Army of Heroes purifies 2,000 eons of negative karma for speaking.
6.  GLORIOUS INSPIRATION   SRINANDA   PAL GYE   6. Delighted Hero purifies all negative karmas connected with mind.
7.  JEWEL FIRE   RATNAGNI   RIN CHEN-ME   7. Jewel Fire purifies 2,000 eons of negative karma associated with attachment to engagement in enjoyment.
8.  JEWEL MOON LIGHT   RATNACANDRAPRABBHA   RIN CHEN-DA U   8. Jewel Moonlight purifies 8,000 eons of having called the Sangha derogatory names.
9.  SEEING HIM IS MEANINGFUL   AMOGHADARSIN   TONG WA-DUN YU   9. Meaningful To See purifies 8,000 eons of not seeing correctly.
10.  JEWEL MOON   RATNACANDRA   RIN CHEN-DA WA   10. Jewel Moon purifies the five uninterrupted karmas: particularly killing mother.
11.  THE IMMACULATE ONE   VIMALA   DRI MA-ME PA   11. Stainless One purifies five uninterrupted karmas but particularly killing father.
12.  SUPPLYING SPLENDOUR   SRIDATTA   PAL JIN   12. Bestowed With Courage purifies having killed with anger, particularly an Arhat and other karmas to do with anger.
13.  THE PURE ONE   BRAHMA   TSANG PA   13. Pure One purifies negative karma of blaming a female Arhat of sexual misconduct with attachment.
Taking things belonging to the Sangha, for example, offering to the centre then taking away. Causing anger in a Bodhisattva.
14.  GIVING WITH PURITY   BRAHMADATTA   TSANG PE-JIN   14. Bestowed With Purity purifies 10,000 eons of negative karma.
15.  GOD OF WATER   VARUNA   CHU LHA   15. Water God purifies 1,000 eons of blaming a female Arhat of sexual misconduct.
16.  GOD OF THE WATER GOD   VARUNADEVA   CHU HLAE LHA   16. Deity Of The Water God purified 1000eons of negative karma of having killed a bodhisattva.

17.  GLORIOUS EXCELLENT ONE   SRIBHADRA   PAL ZANG   17. Glorious Goodness purifies 5000 eons of negative karma associated with having killed your guru.
18.  GLORIOUS SANDALWOOD   CANDANASRI   TSEN DEN-PAL   18. Glorious Sandalwood purifies negative karma of having killed and having taken things belonging to the Sangha.
19.  INFINITE SPLENDOUR   ANANTAUJAS   SI JI-TA YE   19. Infinite Splendour purifies 700 eons of negative karma associated with having destroyed a stupa maliciously.
20.  GLORIOUS LIGHT   PRABBASARI   O PAL   20. Glorious Light purifies negativities associated with anger.
21.  GLORIOUS WITHOUT SUFFERING   ASOKASRI   NYA NGEN-ME PE-PAL   21. Sorrowless Glory purifies negative karmas to do with attachment.
22.  SON WITHOUT DESIRE   NARAYANA   SE ME KYI-PU   22. Son of Non-craving purifies negative karmas to do with depression and delusions. When we are ill we should recite this Buddha's name together with the seven medicine Buddhas for purification.
23.  GLORIOUS FLOWERS   KUSUMASRI   ME TOG PAL   23. Glorious Flower purifies 100000eons of negative karma if done in conjunction with Guru Puja.
24.  ONE WITH DIRECT PERCEPTION WHO ENJOYS THE LIGHT OF PURITY   TATHAGATABRAHMAJYOTIVIKRIDITABHIJNA   DE SHIN-SHEG PA-TSANG PE- O SER- NAM PAR-ROL PA-NGON PAR-KYEN PA   24. Pure Light Rays Clearly Knowing By Play purifies negative karma and delusions connected with mind.
25.  ONE WITH DIRECT PERCEPTION ENJOYING THE BRILLIANT LIGHT OF THE LOTUS
   TATHAGATAPADMAJYOTIVIKRIDITABHIJNA   DE SHIN-SHEG PA-PEME-O SER-NAM PAR-ROL PA-NGON PAR-KYEN PA   25. Lotus Light Rays Clearly Knowing By Play purifies negative karma and delusions connected with mind.
26.  GLORIOUS JEWEL   DHANASRI   NOR PAL   26. Glorious Wealth purifies negativities of using enjoyments of the Sangha, purifying the karma of the mind of criticizing and negative karmas to do with the body.
27.  GLORIOUS MINDFULNESS   SMRITISRI   DREN PE PAL   27. Glorious Mindfulness purifies negativities associated with unhappiness and pride.
28.  THE GLORIOUS ONE WHO IS KNOWN FAR AND WIDE   SUPARIKIRTITANAMASRI   TSEN PAL-SHIN TU-YONG DRAG   28. Glorious Name Widely Renowned purifies negativities related to delusion and surrendering caring for others.
29.  THE KING OF VICTORY BANNER, PEAK OF QUALITIES   INDRAKETUDHAVAJARAJA   WANG PO-TOG GI-GYAL TSEN GI-GYAL PO   29. King Holding The Victory Banner Of Foremost Power purifies the karma of avoiding the dharma that you hear in teachings and deciding it is not for you. If you burn your texts it is avoiding the Holy Dharma. Do not throw away the ash from incense place it on the plants or in a high place.
30.  THE GLORIOUS ONE WHO CONQUERS   SUVIKRANTASRI   SHIN TO-NAM PAR-NON PE-PAL   30. Glorious One Totally Subduing purifies negativity of having criticized the guru.
31.  THE VICTORIOUS ONE   YUDDHAJAYA   YUL LE-SHIN TU-NAM PAR-GYAL WA   31. Utterly Victorious In Battle purifies all negativities and particularly those of mind to do with wrong thinking.
32.  THE GLORIOUS ONE WHO TRANSCENDED THROUGH VICTORY   VIKRANTAGAMISRI   NAM PAR-NON PE-SHEG PE-PAL   32. Glorious Transcendence Totally Subduing purifies negativities to do with the disturbing emotions.
33.  THE GLORIOUS ONE WHO ILLUMINATES ALL AND IS PERFECT   SAMANTAVABHASAVYUHASRI   KUN NE-NANG WA-KO PE-PAL   33. Glorious Manifestation Illuminating All purifies negativity to do with not understanding the nature of all things.
34.  THE ONE SUBDUING WITH JEWEL AND LOTUS   RATNAPADMAVRIKRAMI   RIN CHEN-PEMA-NAM PAR-NON PA   34. All Subduing Jewel Lotus purifies negativities of the mind.
35.  THE KING OF MOUNT MERU, FIRMLY SEATED ON A JEWEL AND A LOTUS   RATNAPADMASUPRATISTBITASAILENDRAJA   DE SHIN-SHEG PA-DRA CHOM PA-YANG DAG PAR-DSOG PE-SANG YE-RIN PO CHE-DANG-PEME-DEN LA-RAB TU-SHUG PA-RI WANG GI-GYAL PO   35. Maitreya Buddha The Buddha Of Love (King of the Lord of Mountains Firmly Seated on Jewel and Lotus) the next Buddha, purifying negativities by love.

:namaste:
"A genius is a person who, on a beach full of nudists, can remember peoples faces!"  Arka

Offline gregkavarnos

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Re: 35 Confession Buddhas
« Reply #3 on: July 21, 2010, 03:51:52 am »
An explanation of the practice
Quote
Bodhi Path Centres
Practice of the 35 Buddhas
(part 1)
The two benefits of the practice
The 35 Buddhas practice is a method to purify negative karmas, and to accumulate meritorious karma. The practice produces these two effects.

By purifying the bad karmas, your mind will be free from their influences. This means your mind will be clearer. When the negative karmas are diminishing, your wisdom will strengthen.

The other effect of the practice is that your mind will accumulate merit, a necessary condition for enlightenment. Merit supports you as you try to attain enlightenment. Merit affords you the opportunity to be enlightened. For instance, by your very good merits, you can be reborn in a Buddha field. A rebirth in a pure land is deemed optimal for enlightenment because the Buddhas are there. You can learn directly from them. They are there to guide you, and so you will be able to follow the teachings and become enlightened. Excellent causes and conditions such as these are dependent on your store of merits, so you have to know how to gather them. By doing the practice of the 35 Buddhas, you will accumulate useful merits.
To understand through reason and logic
Whenever you hear about karma and the problems caused by it, your mind naturally thinks of it from your perspectives tied in with your traditions and history. Therefore I will give you some clear instructions to make out the differences between the truth of the teaching versus cultural and traditional attitudes.

First of all, when you listen to the Dharma teachings, you have to know that you are listening to a different subject, a different culture than those found in the European or Western countries. Secondly, when you listen, you have to judge whether it makes sense or not. Judge in a way where you consider the information through logic and reason. The teachings actually show you that logic. Learn that logic. It is not just Buddhist logic. It teaches you to think more clearly. It enhances your understanding, judgment, and wisdom. It enables you to understand that mind is mind.

Before a teaching, you could remind yourself, "I will be listening to something new and totally different from our Western ways I will be listening to a subject entirely different than my own culture and values." Then whatever it is you hear, you will know not to associate it with something very interesting you have in the West that you are attracted to. And you will also know not to associate it with Western ways, which irritate or disappoint you.

An example: Take someone who is always criticizing the Western way of life. He is somewhat of a rebel. Others around him look down on him. This person encounters an Asian culture where he finds the Hindu or Buddhist teachings. He draws similarities between them and his ways. Then, armed with the Hindu or Buddhist views on his side, he challenges those in his society who have always looked down on him. He justifies his own thinking and views. "What I thought all along was correct because the Buddha said so, too. I don’t like to wear clothes so I don’t have to. I can go naked. People always say I’m crazy. I’m not so crazy after all. Look at Milarepa, he was naked, too, and so are the Hindu Babas!" This shows how a person could use foreign customs to validate his own ways.

Here is another example: During the Middle Ages when the Church ruled, a "guilt culture" was prevalent in Western Europe. In this respect, some of you may think that to feel guilty is correct, while others among you may think it very bad.

Now I am explaining to you that in Buddhism, there are teachings and practices that involve feeling regret for past karmas committed. However, I also qualify it by adding that regret in the Buddhist context serves a totally different purpose. The Buddhist regret does not mean for you to feel guilty or to blame yourself.

If you are not flexible in how you think, if you don’t try to develop a new attitude in your listening, or if you are stuck in your own views, then you could seriously misunderstand what I have said to you.

Half of you may interpret what I said like this: "What I thought so far about feeling guilty, which the Christian Church had taught me, was right. He just said it, too – to feel regret for the bad karma. So Buddhism also says the same thing." By interpreting what I have said in that sense, then you have given yourself the confirmation you were looking for. You’d feel encouraged to continue to feel guilty. You have associated my explanation with something in your religious belief that attracts you.

The other half of you may think this. "The Buddhist teaching is just as bad as the teaching of the Church. They are also telling us to feel regret, and to purify the bad karma. That is the same as wanting us to feel guilty, that we should be punished. This purification sounds like the burning of witches. They’re all the same." You have associated my explanation with something in a religion that you dislike.

If you understand the meaning of regret in either of these two ways, then you are wrong. In both instances, you have misinterpreted the Buddhist meaning and use of regret for past karmas.

It is therefore important to know that you are learning a new subject, new to your Western tradition. Some similarities might be there, but most of it is new. Whenever you receive information, you keep an open mind without bias and judgment. Afterwards, you reflect on what you have heard. You think carefully about the meaning of the explanations given. Do the points make sense, and are the explanations reasonable? The explanations given in Buddhist teachings actually train you to reflect, analyze, and introspect skillfully. Your understanding will then be accurate.
The karmic thoughts
Thoughts are many. Some of them are karmic, which will produce results in the form of illusions. The karma, or illusion, does not come from anybody else but you. Karma comes from your own mind. Some examples of karmic thoughts are: profound desire, a very grasping form of desire; profound anger, a deeply rooted anger; and profound ignorance. Any thought that is related to these three thoughts is a negative karma.

Ignorance, to begin with, is a neutral state— like sleep. It does not immediately create karma. But because of ignorance, because of not-knowing, negative karmas can develop. When ignorance gives rise to wrong views, the consequences can be very serious. Strong negative karmas can be created as a result. One example is Sati, the rite of burning widows.

In India, the followers of a religious sect called, Sati, had believed that it was good to burn widows at their husbands’ funerals. This practice is almost extinct now. More recently, it has attracted the attention of researchers, moviemakers, and authors alike.

A Brahmin scholar who had a very strong attachment to his wife invented sati. When the scholar knew his end was near, he wrote a book. In it, he extolled the virtues and rewards for a wife to be burnt in the funeral of her deceased husband. He wanted to make his wife believe that it would be very good for her to jump into his funeral pyre – that they would go to heaven together. This was the main theme of his book, which had turned out very convincing to the people in those days.

The scholar’s misdirection came from three factors. The first was his very strong attachment to his wife. He was said to have been a very ugly man. His wealth had procured him a very beautiful and young wife, and he grew very attached to her. The second factor was his nature was not good. He harbored much jealousy and lacked compassion. He did not mind that his wife would suffer greatly by being burnt alive. The last factor was his ignorance. He did not believe that his action was absolutely wrong. The scholar did not know about karma, about cause and effect. His ignorance caused him to create the terribly bad action— writing the book— with dire consequences for his wife and so many other women afterwards.

Based on the scholar’s book, a religious practice was founded which attracted followers in many parts of India until recently. The practice stirred up very many negative emotions in the believers. As a result, tremendous negative karmas were created. Now the government of India and the Indian public at large are putting an end to this horrible rite. But some people are still convinced by this book.

Some types of anger, and desire are like drawings on water; they can immediately disappear. They do not create much karma. Other types of anger and desire are like drawings in the sand they can be wiped away. These create some light karma. A third type of the karma from anger and desire are like carvings in stone; they will remain and will always cause problems because they are perpetuating ever more negativities.
Remedies for karmic thoughts
Regret is like therapy. It weakens the karmic thoughts that are like carvings in stone. Regret works like an antidote – it is effective against the power of your negative emotions by weakening and then subduing them. However, regret does not mean to blame yourself. We have to be very careful to distinguish this regret from the Christian guilt where self-punishment is used as atonement. I do not wish you to go in that direction, and this is not a criticism of your traditions and culture. Buddhist teachers are always very open-minded in their communication with their students. They do not talk diplomatically, nor do they try to please the students. They talk very honestly, and wish only to lead the students to a proper understanding.

In general, for someone to help you, you have to cooperate with that person. Your cooperation serves you, as it opens you to receive the help of another. Through the supplication to the Buddhas, you are, in effect, bringing their wishes for you, upon yourself. In the practice, you have to arrange some karmic cooperation on your side.

The Buddhas have fully accomplished the path of enlightenment. Therefore, they have wisdom, and their store of positive potentials powerful. Moreover, all the wishes they have made for sentient beings are happening. All that remains is for you to absorb their help. In other words, from your side, you provide the cause to make their great wishes happen to you. And the cause is your pure devotion. Supplicating the Buddhas with pure devotion actualizes their good wishes for you.

Devotion is a pure state of mind rooted in having full confidence and trust in the accomplishments of the Buddhas. Your confidence and trust can only come about through a precise understanding of the wisdom qualities of the Buddhas, and of their wishes for you. Devotion means you know. It is your devotion and knowing that prevents your not-knowing about the Dharma path, and its result that is Buddhahood. An attitude of pure devotion thus prevents ignorance, and doubts that can originate from your basic ignorance. Devotion is a very pure attitude towards the wishes and wisdom of the Buddhas inviting their wishes and blessings to come to you, to purify your negative karmas.

Questions (Q) and Answers (A)
(Q): What you say is so close to me; it feels like something I’ve always known but now it has become clear and bright. And I am touched by that, so I feel like crying.

(A): That’s very good. I am happy you’ve understood what I’ve explained to you. But again, that emotion should not be something that you grasp. Don’t solidify it.

(Q): What happens to people who have bad concepts about guilt, for example in Christianity, and develop the theory that you can be purified by being burnt?

(A): There is not really a problem. But if you stick to a wrong view then it simply remains a wrong view.

Nowadays people do not practice rites like Sati anymore. They no longer act negatively out of wrong religious beliefs. Still, the people who had created the negativities are receiving very bad karma; for instance, the people who had caused so many women to jump into the funeral fires.

The Buddha had always cautioned, "Don’t write books wildly."

This was why Tsongkhapa invented a new way for people to learn the Dharma – to learn it verbally. It was during the time when he was organizing schools in Tibet to teach Buddhism. He did not want the people to know how to write. So, he invented a unique method to train them in a special verbal skill for learning Buddhism precisely. Tsongkhapa organized a school that allowed thousands of people to learn Buddhism by his method.

This was also why the majority of Gelugpas used to only teach people to learn verbally. Their people did not know how to sign their own names because they never learned how to write. Tsongkhapa did not want everybody writing books. To write a book is a very delicate task. Books that are not written properly will confuse people. That was Tsongkhapa’s concern, and even the Gelugpas then did not know of his real motive.

There is a belief in some cultures that a deceased person would receive things that are burnt in his funeral fire. In those cultures, family and friends therefore offer up many nice things for burning during a funeral. I don’t know how this misunderstanding originated. But again, a book was written about this rite, which became popularized and spread in China. Consequently, many precious things are burnt for funerals. The act is not bad karma per se, but it is a waste, isn’t it?

During the Buddha’s time, as expected, the quality of the teachings was very well preserved. Only the qualified students like Kashyapa, or Ananda were teaching. They taught from memory only. Even for several hundred years after the Buddha’s passing, the teachings were still very well maintained. The standards of the Hindu schools then were very high. My guess is some of the teachings of Buddha Kashyapa were kept in those schools, which accounted for the very high qualifications of some Hindu saints.

For example, in those days there were a very few teachers who taught that if you were to kill 1,000 people in one week, then you would go to heaven. Related to this kind of misconception, there was a man who was collecting thumbs of his victims. He had killed 999 people, and he needed only one more. His last victim was supposed to have been the Buddha, who instead, saved him.

It was people’s misinterpretations of the teachings that had started the decline of the Buddha Dharma and the Hindu teachings. Moreover, it was when those misinterpretations were written down in books that the decline really spread on a very large scale.

Wrong views are always created by ignorance. At the moment, wrong views are not an obstacle for you. But when your practice comes to the really deep levels in meditations such as Shi’nay and Lhakthong, then you will realize that wrong views can be indeed disturbing. They are, in fact, the targets for elimination in Lhakthong meditation.
The Practice of the 35 Buddhas (part 2)
The Buddha taught that there are Buddhas in the different universes. In particular, there are 35 Buddhas who reside in the realms located quite near our universe. Quite near in our context, means somewhere near our Milky Way, which astronomers nowadays could see, using the very powerful telescopes.

Each of these 35 Buddhas has a different color. Among them, there are many white, blue and yellow Buddhas. Why are they in these different colors? It is because the humans in those realms where the Buddhas appear are in those colors. In some realms where the majority of beings are yellow, then the Buddhas there also appear in yellow.

This is something that Bodhisattvas do – when they become enlightened, according to their wish, they choose a realm of beings to show them the way to become liberated. To be in their midst, such a Buddha then pretends to be born as a child of a family in their realm. Taking their form, he then pretends to realize that samsara is problematic. And then he pretends to become enlightened when in actual fact, he is already a Buddha. In other words, he pretends to be a normal human being for the sake of helping humans.

Our Buddha Shakyamuni was no exception. He too, was already enlightened. But he came into this world as a human in order to show you that you have the potential to become a Buddha. You can do as he did and become exactly like him. So he appeared as the child of a wealthy family on this earth.

If a beggar boy who has a lot of suffering were to tell you that samsara had no meaning, you won’t pay him any attention. But when a very wealthy man, or a king, tells you that life has no meaning, that samsara has no meaning, that there is something else that you could achieve, he would be much more convincing than the beggar boy. You’d be more likely to give a wealthy prince your attention.

People in general think that someone very rich must be happy. But, the Buddha had conveyed quite the opposite message. "No. I am not happy. Here I am a prince. I have everything. And still, I find no satisfaction. There must be something else"—meaning enlightenment. So he ran away from the family trap, and went to the forest. He didn’t just sleep in the forest; he meditated there, and then he demonstrated his enlightenment. He went through it all to show us that it could be done. He was an example to his followers of how it could be done, and he is our example still today. The Buddha said, "You can achieve everything that I have achieved!"

The Buddhas in the different universes are in the same color and form as the beings in their respective realms. And lucky are the realms where they have Buddhas. A yellow Buddha appears to the yellow humans. A blue Buddha is in the realm of the blue-skinned humans. And black Buddhas appear where black humans are the majority.

Once I was visiting a museum in Chicago, and some Americans asked me, "Why is the Medicine Buddha always in this dark blue color?" And I answered, "There was a universe with people of that color, so the Buddha there was that color. The Medicine Buddha was that kind of blue." Then I corrected myself, "Not was, he still is." Why did I say is? It’s because he is still there, within our Milky Way.

We do have a stronger karmic connection to the Buddhas who are closer to us. Whether their universes are visible to us goes along with our illusions. For example, the Milky Way is within our illusion so it is visible to us. It means there is a karmic connection between the Milky Way and us. The Buddhas are there, in an area that is distantly visible to us, so you can still receive their blessings. Therefore, Buddha Shakyamuni selected the 35 Buddhas for us so that we could pray to them and supplicate them from among the millions of Buddhas.
Explanations on the actual practice
Visualize in the space before you the sky. In the sky, there appear 35 big lotuses. They serve as comfortable seats. You are mentally creating and offering them to the Buddhas to sit on. The 35 Buddhas include our Buddha Shakyamuni. You can imagine him in the center and arrange all the others around him any way you like – in a pyramid, circle or square.

In the Buddha realms, when a Buddha gives a teaching to his disciples, he is sometimes seated in the lotus posture or, otherwise, in the posture as when sitting on a chair like Buddha Maitreya. You can imagine the Buddhas sitting in either of these two ways. (But I don’t think they’d be doing gymnastics, or exercises like push-ups. So don’t imagine them in other postures.)

You invite all these Buddhas and they are there. And then, you do prostrations to them.

You begin with Refuge in the Triple Gem as written in the text.
The Refuge vow:
<sem tschen/ tam tshe/ tag par/ sang gye la/ kyab su tschi’o… >
which means, constantly all beings take refuge in Buddha….

Then, you read the section of supplication to the 35 Buddhas. There are two versions of it. The original version is in Sanskrit, the other is in Tibetan. If you know Sanskrit, you can read that version. Otherwise, read the Tibetan, which is quite nicely transliterated here.

The English translation from the Sanskrit is:
I prostrate to the Baghwan, the Tataghata, the Arhat, the completely perfect Buddha Shakyamuni.

In Tibetan:
<tshom den de/ de shin/ sheg pa/ dra tshom pa/ yang dag par/ dsog pe/ sang gye/ sha kya/ tub pa la/ tshag tsal lo,
dor je’i/ nying po/ rab tu/ jom pa la/ tshag tsal lo >

Here are some explanations of the Tibetan terms:
•   Dorje’i nying po rab tu jompa is the name of one of the Buddhas.
•   La in Tibetan is a grammatical term meaning ‘to’.
•   tshag tsal lo means prostrate.
•   The whole phrase, dor je’i/ nying po/ rab tu/ jom pa la/ tshag tsal lo, therefore means:
I prostrate to Dorje’i Nyingpo Rabtu Jompa.
Or, I prostrate to Vajragarbha, in Sanskrit.
I would suggest that you read the names in Tibetan. This way, it is more convenient for you when you could read together with the lamas. Reading the text in your language (e.g. German, or English) is also fine.

The prostration verse section has been composed with the names of all the Buddhas ending always with la tshag tsal lo.

The practice consists of three parts, or sections.
Section 1:
1. Visualization: The visualization of the Buddhas comes before you do the actual prostrations. If you want to accumulate merit, you can try to visualize in a more elaborate way. As I said before, you think in your mind, or you visualize the 35 large lotuses. Then you invite the Buddhas to come, and to sit down before you in the lotuses. Then, imagine them all coming and sitting down on the lotus seats that you have mentally created and offered them.

You don’t have to visualize each one of the 35 Buddhas in detail, because you cannot do it. Focus on Buddha Shakyamuni, and think that all the other Buddhas are also there. They have wisdom. They have compassion. From your devotion towards them, you have requested their presence, and you have supplicated them, and so they are there!

2. Then you recite the Buddhas’ names, one by one, saying according to the text, as in ‘I prostrate to Buddha Shakyamuni…’ Read the whole verse once complete with all its mental elaborations. This part is referred to as ‘the calling of the Buddhas’ by their respective names.
After you have finished the verse, then you move on to the next part.

3. Offering: Create in your mind the most precious of offerings. All the precious things that you can think of – precious lakes, precious flowers, precious jewels. You manifest the offerings mentally from your mind, in front of the Buddhas, as you would in the Mandala practice.

4. Seven-branch prayer: Recite the prayer once:

i. I prostrate to all these 35 Buddhas, including the countless Buddhas who live in all directions.
ii. I pay homage to the boundless qualities of the Buddhas.
iii. I request all the Buddhas to teach sentient beings.
iv. I request all the Buddhas to appear to sentient beings, don’t disappear!
v. I request all the Buddhas to liberate all sentient beings.
vi. I rejoice in all the merit of sentient beings, including great beings like Arhats, Pratyekabuddhas and Bodhisattvas.
vii. I regret all the (bad) karma of sentient beings, including my own (bad) karma – please give blessing to purify everything in one moment.

5. Recitation with Prostrations: After the Seven-branch prayer, you stand up to do prostrations by calling again the name of each Buddha, one by one.

Each complete recitation of the prostration verse begins with,
<sem tschen/ tam tsche/ tag par/ sangye la/ kyab su tschi’o//>
or ‘I prostrate to Buddha…’
and ends with the name of the last Buddha,
< de schin/ scheg pa/ dra tschom pa/ yang dag par/ dsog pe/ sang gye/ rin po tsche/ dang/ pe me/ den la/ rab tu/ schug pa/ ri wang gi/ gyal po la/ tschag tsal lo//>
Then you go back again to the words in the beginning.

The verse you recite again and again while prostrating to all 35 Buddhas.

As you prostrate, you should visualize all sentient beings are with you, including mosquitoes, as well as beings in the precious human forms. Imagine them all on a boundless plain. The 35 Buddhas appear above in the space, all the sentient beings also can see them, and are together with you doing prostrations to the Buddhas.

To do this prostration practice, you have to memorize the names of the Buddhas. I suggest that until you have the words memorized, you read the words into a tape recorder. Then you could play the disk, or cassette, as you do the prostrations while saying the words along with the tape. This is my suggestion. You only have to memorize the verse for the prostration part. The rest of the practice, you can follow the text.

In one German edition, in the beginning of the supplication verse before the names of the Buddhas, this phrase appears:
<… lama la/ kyab su tschi’o//>
It is a supplication to one’s teachers, and I have taken it out.

The phrase was not part of the original sutra, but a Tibetan addition. It means to take refuge in the teachers. Nowadays there are all kinds of teachers, so there is no security. It is safer and better to stick with the original text.

Chinese Buddhists have a slight criticism of Tibetan Buddhists about one point. Buddhism was invited into China 500 years before it reached Tibet. The Tibetans everywhere added ‘the Lama’, so Buddhism became known as Lamaism.

There were two reasons for the inclusion and placement of the phrase at the beginning of the verse. The first is to show respect for one’s teacher. This is understandable as you receive teachings from your teacher so you could be enlightened. As to its placement at the beginning of the verse, the logic is as follows:

‘Lama’ in Tibetan Buddhism should mean spiritual guides who are enlightened. These include all Arhats, and Pratyekabuddhas who have already attained their respective levels of enlightenment. Their achievements depended completely upon the Buddha. And all Buddhas became enlightened having fully and directly depended on the Bodhisattvas. The Bodhisattvas are the ones who will develop into Buddhas. In other words, one is a Bodhisattva first, before one develops into a Buddha. By that logic, some people supplicate first to the enlightened Bodhisattvas, and then to the Buddhas. But the order does not mean at all that the Bodhisattvas are higher than the Buddhas. Here, I am just repeating their logic to you.

If this logic and the placement of the words were taken to the extreme, the original meaning would be lost. Then, it could be dangerous. Do you know why it could be dangerous? It is because a teacher could then claim this: "I am a great teacher of Buddhism. I even come first in the supplication, and then the Buddha. So, I am above the Buddha." You can all see how that teacher has manipulated the intended logic of the placement. He has distorted the original meaning of the order to suit his own personal ambition, making the Dharma into his own kind of politics. Even today, these kinds of claims are being made. This is the reason I have removed that line.

Here in this practice, concentrate only on the Buddhas. Follow directly the original sutra text. The Buddha is the direct cause of your enlightenment. Prostrate to the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, and don’t add the teacher. Then, there is no danger of going in a wrong direction.

Do the long, fully stretched prostrations many, many, many times. They are called the condensed yoga. Prostrations are very good for health and they have many other benefits. They activate all the positive nerves in the body, which service your wisdom and clear your mind.

With hands together folded, touch the three points of body, speech and mind.

Then prostrate, and touch the Buddha’s feet. In this way, you get rid of all your negative karmas accumulated by body, speech and mind through the three mental poisons of ignorance, anger and attachment.

Think that you are sending all the poisons out of you when you stretch out your body and limbs.

Think that you are liberating all sentient beings in the six realms when you stand up. This is one way to train your mind to activate your Bodhicitta.

I have witnessed that some cancer patients have recovered from their cancers by doing prostrations. I have no proof, but I know someone whose cancer was completely eliminated by doing prostrations. Buddhist practitioners made this very new discovery by chance. I have also told a cancer research center so they could make further investigations into it.

A relative of mine had esophagus cancer. At that time, she could not swallow rice. She could only manage to eat thin porridge, a liquid rice porridge. The doctor’s recommendation was to cut away the cancer. But she refused to go under the knife.

She had heard that doing a lot of prostrations cured one of her friends who had stomach cancer. She did not have much confidence in it at first. Nonetheless, she made up her mind to do it. Her thinking was this: "Let me die. But I will do prostrations until I die and the merit will follow me. The cutting by operation won’t make much difference. I will still die in any case. It might be postponed by a year or two, so it doesn’t matter." She then committed herself to doing only prostrations.

You know, when you do many, many prostrations you will like doing them. Physically, you will feel very comfortable. And so, she did many prostrations every day. Then later, having been able to swallow only porridge before, gradually, she was able to swallow rice. Then later, she could eat again. She stopped prostrations for some time, because they were too much for her. She was growing very thin. But when she felt that the tumor might be growing again, she started doing prostrations again. This time, she did them until the tumor had completely disappeared. She is normal now. This is her seventh year since recovering from her serious esophagus cancer.

Another young Bhutanese lady, had blood cancer in the limbs. She went to a very good cancer research center for two months. I saw her last in Timphu, the capital of Bhutan. It is now her fifth year since her recovery. She did so many prostrations that she developed a lump on her forehead. She is also completely recovered.

One of our khenpos has serious liver cancer. When he first came to the hospital in New Delhi, the doctors told him he could eat whatever he’d like. They had given up on him thinking that he would die within two months. There was no point in putting him on a strict diet. "Let him enjoy," they had thought. Then I told Khenpo to do prostrations. Now it is his fourth year since his diagnosis.

The prostration practice is very powerful, whether as an exercise, or for blessing. The recoveries of all three people must have been due to the blessing as well. Maybe the practice produces an effect that burns the cancer cells, I don’t know.

There is no difference whether you do the prostrations in the way of the Four Foundations Practice, or to the 35 Buddhas. The Bhutanese lady and my relative just recited "Namo Buddhaya, namo Dharmaya, namo Sanghaya," meaning "I take refuge in the Buddha, Dharma, Sangha", that’s all. But they all did the long prostrations. It is good to know. You should all know this because sickness can happen at any time.

Here, you do prostrations to purify your negative karma to attain enlightenment.
Section 2:
Purification: After doing as many prostrations as you’d like, a hundred, or a thousand, you sit down again on your seat, with your hands respectfully joined towards the Buddhas.

Read the rest of the practice text. It is a list of bad karmas that sentient beings can accumulate. Any sentient being has created, and can still create these bad karmas in the past, present, or future.

It starts with <de dag/ la sog pa/…>,
or You and all the others …
and ends with <… tschö tsching/ dom par/ gyi lag so//>,
or …and promise not to do bad things from now on.

The confession prayer is recited three times.

As you recite the words, you should really know that they are the negative karmas. You recite the words with the motivation that you wish to get rid of the negativities.

Pray to the Buddhas to give blessing to purify all the negative karmas, all the karmic seeds of negative actions that are still in your consciousness. Do not interpret the word, ‘confession,’ in the Christian sense. Here you are repeating the whole list of negative karmas. You are thinking that the blessings of the 35 Buddhas are purifying all of the negativities.

If there is no karmic connection for something to happen to you, then it can never happen to you.

Nagarjuna, who lived after Alexander the Great, learned the Greek alchemy of turning stone into gold. He gave gold to many beggars and inadvertently caused inflation in the country! The king sent a messenger to Nagarjuna to beg him to stop!

Nagarjuna thought to himself, "When the beggars come, I can’t help but give to them. I think now is the time for me to leave this world. Rather than wait for a natural death, I need a cause to die now." Nagarjuna knew for the good of the country, he had to end the inflation. So he decided to take himself out. He then tried to see if there was an unnatural cause for his demise. Was there any negative karma left in his mind, which could act as a cause to end his life?

Through his wisdom, Nagarjuna’s investigation into his mind showed him one karmic seed that could kill him: countless millions of years ago, when he was a baby, he had killed an ant by cutting off its head with a blade of grass. That karma was still left there.

So Nagarjuna told the messenger, "Please cut a piece of grass, and touch my head with it." The messenger did as he was asked. Miraculously, Nagarjuna promptly removed his own head, and presented it to the messenger saying, "Now I die." Nagarjuna then disappeared.

This example shows how a karma was stored in the dualistic mind, which when ripened, gave rise to an illusion. Nagarjuna had attained the Bodhisattva bhumis but he had yet to become a fully enlightened Buddha. He was still in an illusion. However, his illusion was so light that it was more like looking at a picture screen, and as such it could no longer trap him.
Section 3:
The third section is the dedication of your merit to sentient beings. Recite the dedication prayer three times.

It starts with: All Buddhas, be aware, [now I am going to dedicate!]. … please be my witnesses!
<sang gye/ tshom den de/ […] dag la/ gong su sol//>

The merit I’ve accumulated in this life, or in any previous lives, from only giving a bit of food to a living being, and up to enlightened merit, all these my merits I have combined them here and I dedicate them to sentient beings.

In other words, the results of my merits must benefit sentient beings.

In this way, you are making an earnest wish that the good results of your merits, from as small as giving a biscuit to a dog up to the merit you accumulate for the sake of enlightenment, should go to sentient beings. Make that wish from the bottom of your heart in front of the 35 Buddhas.

These are then the three sections: the prostration, the confession, (I have to use this word, but please understand it in the Buddhist context) and the dedication. Practice all three sections in front of the 35 Buddhas.

This afternoon we will read the practice text together, just to show you how to follow it. Then we will do some Shi’nay meditation.
Practice of the 35 Buddhas
(part 3, group practice)
First section:
While I read, you will do the prostrations. We all visualize the 35 Buddhas in front of ourselves. When you have memorized the verse, then you will be able to say it faster.
You keep reciting while you do the prostrations.
(Prostrations)
Second section:
Sit down, or kneel down – whatever you like, or whatever is comfortable to you.
The second section is the confession, for purification.

(Speaking the confession part)
The last line means: "I will not deliberately commit all these bad karmas again."
You will get copies of these instructions including the list of the bad karmas, like killing your father, killing your mother, killing an Arhat or other beings.
Third section:
(A). The dedication prayer.

(Speaking the dedication part)

(B). Wishes

Recite the confession prayer three times. Recite the dedication prayer also three times. Then, the lines after that are wishes for all sentient beings from the Seven-branch prayer. This you recite only once.

If your time is limited, then recite the prostrations a few times and then the confession and the dedication prayer once.

If you have time for many prostrations, then you keep on calling the names of the 35 Buddhas and make as many prostrations as you’d like. Then you do the confession, and the dedication once, or three times each.

Questions (Q) and Answers (A)
(Q): Can I also do this practice besides the practice I do right now?

(A): Yes you can. Here, it is best if you go systematically starting from Shi’nay until you reach the most profound practice. Shi’nay is the concentration practice on the breath as I’ve described. Those of you who have no knowledge of Shi’nay and whose minds are very busy should start with this practice. If you have already done a lot of Shi’nay, and you are used to it, then of course, you wouldn’t.

But if your mind is still not calm, it means that you have not effectively implemented the various methods, which you have learned and practiced. This is why I showed you how to start with Shi’nay. To concentrate on breathing by counting is very important.

Once you are well used to the counting, then you won’t count any more. But your mind should still be trained to follow the breath that you visualize. And once you are used to following the breath without counting, then you don’t follow it anymore. You would simply keep your mind on the breath.

You need Shi’nay to pacify your mind. The 35 Buddhas practice is for purification. You should concentrate on the 35 Buddhas practice in lieu of Dzog Shing (the field of accumulation/refuge tree we focus on when we do the prostrations in the Ngöndro). I suggest that everyone now concentrate and prostrate to the 35 Buddhas. This is a very powerful practice. It was Marpa’s prostration practice. Dzog Shing is good, but I think the 35 Buddhas practice is better for you.

If you are doing the Six Yogas of Naropa practice, and you are doing Guru Yoga, then Dzog Shing is fine within those practices. This is Mahamudra practice, so our prostration practice as well as our Mandala offerings should be directed towards the 35 Buddhas.

You can memorize the text of the 35 Buddhas. The blessing contained therein is very, very powerful. It is much better than the practice Dzog Shing, because we are in the Kali Yuga, meaning many things can happen. Therefore, the 35 Buddha practice is a very secure method within a systematic program for Mahamudra, which I have organized for you.

During the times of Marpa, Milarepa, Gampopa, the first Karmapa, Düsum Khyenpa and the second Karmapa, Karma Pakshi, when practitioners were doing the Guru Yoga practice, their gurus were the great Siddhas as I have just named, like Gampopa. There was nothing wrong with these masters. With respect to Düsum Khyenpa and Karma Pakshi, they were perfect –almost like Buddhas. The practices that focused on such highly enlightened teachers were convenient to follow and they were very effective. But nowadays, you are wondering what to do? There is no security in following the teachers anymore.

For instance, a student might think like this. "I took initiation from my teacher, but now I’ve heard something bad about him, so what should I do?" There is doubt. Where is the truth? There are no teachers like Gampopa and Düsum Khyenpa anymore. The followers don’t feel safe, and they are confused. It is happening.

In those days of Gampopa, Düsum Khyenpa, or Karma Pakshi, to hear anything bad about such a master was impossible. What bad things have you ever heard about Karma Pakshi? But nowadays, lots of things are happening.

For example, suppose a certain teacher gives an initiation here, and in keeping with the instructions during Gampopa’s time, he tells you to think of him above your head. And suppose, you agree and do as you are told. Then, something happens to him. You will feel very confused, and you will not know what to do. It is not safe to just follow any teacher. I have come across many teachers, and many disciples who have come up against these kinds of things. Therefore, the thing to do is to put all the teachers into the Bodhisattva group. There can be no problems with that. The teachers give you explanations and instructions about the Dharma. On your side, you should maintain a good attitude towards them. But don’t prostrate to them.

For Mahamudra, the prostration practice is to the 35 Buddhas. Stick to that – it is secure. When you do prostrations to the 35 Buddhas, you will not have any problems and you will only get merit. For sure, you will not see the 35 Buddhas doing something funny later on. After you have finished the prostrations, then you will do the Mandala practice.

You should follow a systematic program in order to achieve quickly the results. You should not do so many different practices. When you don’t do any Dharma practice, you are totally detached, or separated from the path of enlightenment. This means you are not on the Path. You are completely out of it. On the other hand, if you are on the Path, but you are always looking for other paths, or trying out everything, then you will never make progress. You are not going straight, but zig-zag. Don’t go "Dharma shopping."

(Q): I am doing Ngöndro right now. Should I finish it, or should I switch?

(A): If you finish the Four-Foundation practice and then start the Six Yogas of Naropa, then that would be all right. Start this program after you finish the Ngöndro is also fine. There is no difference. I am just making a program that is secure. Everybody is talking about lineage nowadays. And it is very confusing. You are reading books, here and there, thinking about the lineages. In the end, you will be totally confused. After all, we are in the time of the Kali Yuga. So, I have made a practice system that is safe and secure.

(Q): For the Shi’nay meditation, is it also possible to visualize something different than explained while concentrating on the breath? For example, can one focus on the movement of the stomach, or some other Shi’nay meditation?

(A): No, don’t do it like that. What I taught is very important. It is what you should do. The disciples of the Buddha have done exactly this practice. They were all successful and so the method is reliable. Many inventions cropped up afterwards, but they are not so reliable. Shariputra and the other disciples of the Buddha all started with this practice. With regards to the other inventions, what proof is there that they work? The people who invented their own ways are not Buddhas. An invention is just one person’s idea. I could create a wave and call it the way to enlightenment but then I would have no proof to give you that it works. For enlightenment, all teachings should come from the Buddha, only then is it reliable.

(Q): What to do when you have back problems and you can only do the prostrations very slowly.

(A): That’s fine. One prostration with back pain is equal to 1,000 prostrations by a healthy person with respect to merit. You can also visualize yourself doing the prostrations together with the many sentient beings. There is no difference in the merit accumulation. But where health is concerned, then there is a difference – the back pain may disrupt the benefit of the physical exercise.

(Q): And when are they finished? After how many times? Is there a number?

(A): 100,000 times.

(Q): Is it alright to do Ngöndro and Shi’nay at the same time, for example, one in the morning, one in the evening?

(A): Sure, you can do that. For Dharma practice, there isn’t any special time. Dharma is merit. Merit needs to be accumulated by mind. There is no specified time for practice. You should do it whenever it is convenient to you.

You need to practice the method of Shi’nay, because your mind is not in Shi’nay. And when your mind is not in Shi’nay, you cannot do Mahamudra meditation. There are just too many thoughts. You cannot meditate when you are thinking a lot.

All Dharma practices will result in a good rebirth because of the merit one accumulates in doing them. Receiving the many Dharma teachings, and doing the many positive things are always good for merit accumulation. They are good for the next life, for your future lives. But those activities will not make you successful in meditation within one lifetime. By doing ten different practices a day, you will not succeed in any one of them, but you will have merits.

(Q): If one has already finished the Ngöndro, and is doing a yidam meditation, should one go back to do another preparation?

(A): That depends on the result. In Austria, some people, though not many, did the 35 Buddhas practice. They did it exclusively and got the signs exactly as mentioned in the sutra. The results came so quickly – through all the blessings. Everything is fresh. In other words, these practitioners have pure attitudes. They do not hold any wrong thoughts, or views about the Buddhas.

I know someone who gave up on his teacher of many years. What could he do now? He had done 100.000 prostrations, and 100.000 Mandala offerings to his teacher. This is what I meant by, ‘there is no security’. In this time of Kali Yuga, you see many things. That person lost his trust in his teacher because he saw something. I don’t know what it was. He had already finished 400.000 times the practice of thinking his teacher as Buddha Vajradhara. Just think, what kind of problems would that person have now had he practiced the 35 Buddhas? He would not have any problems. He would not have a fight with the 35 Buddhas.

I meet sometimes with a group of students whose teacher had passed away. So I do know them through my own experience. They are doing very well because their teacher had taught them to have respect for the spiritual teacher. To most people, to have respect for a teacher who has given you the instructions for the path to enlightenment, is easy. It is totally reasonable.

This particular teacher had always emphasized to his students to think that Milarepa was Vajradhara in the Ngöndro. People never have any trouble with Milarepa. So to this day, his students are still very respectful and grateful to him for his proper guidance. They don’t have any problems with their dharma practice regardless of what might have happened to their teacher. Day and night, they practice Guru Yoga with Milarepa as Buddha Vajradhara. What problem could possibly arise from that? Milarepa would not create any problems for them.

(Q): When I am already concentrating on one Buddha, then if I were to jump back to the 35 Buddhas, isn’t that more like jumping left and right, instead of going one way straight?

(A): You should not make any differentiations between the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. You should not put them into the different categories like we do with the many species of animals. You should also not divide the Buddhas into parties or groups as we humans do with different social, political, and cultural groups.

You should not think Buddha Vajradhara different from the other Buddhas. The Buddhas don’t belong to any party. They are not divided into groups. They are all aspects of Buddha wisdom and enlightenment. The 35 Buddhas and Vajradhara are of the same nature. The Buddhas are not your personal friends, nor are they fellow human beings who may like you, or not like you. Do you think the 35 Buddhas and your teacher are the same, or not? If you do, you will be confused. They are not the same.

(Q): What about Chenrezig?

(A): Chenrezig has the same nature as the Buddhas. When you concentrate on the 35 Buddhas, Chenrezig is included.

The 35 Buddhas practice includes everything – all the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. This means they also include the 1,000 Buddhas. The 35 Buddhas will not push the 1,000 Buddhas away. This is the reason why the 35 Buddhas practice is organized as it is. When you do prostrations to the 35 Buddhas, you will receive the blessings from 1,000 Buddhas, even from a million Buddhas. You will receive the blessings of countless Buddhas, from all the Buddhas, when you do the 35 Buddhas practice.

How humans conceptualize and group things cannot be applied to Dharma practice. For instance, you might think that one Buddha doesn’t belong here, but there. This is ‘group-mind’, or ‘party-mind’.

An example of a group-mind is when you think that there is a group of holy people here. You decide to stick to them – that is being group-minded. When something is changed in the group, then you will have difficulty shifting to another group. It’ll make you feel uncomfortable.

When you are leader-minded, you are pegging someone to be your leader. Later, when you are then asked instead to pray to ten Buddhas, you have a problem. In your mind, your leader has changed to ten, when you’ve been used to having only one. This is how an ordinary, or worldly mind works. This is how you think now.

There is also a nationalistic-mind. "My country is the best." All these conceptualistic minds should be dropped when it comes to the Dharma. Dharma practice does not require a party-mind, a leader-mind, or a nationalistic mind.

The Buddha taught the 35 Buddhas practice with all three sections of practice. It is from the Sutra of the Buddha. It was taught by the Buddha to sentient beings for them to become enlightened. And we are the ones who want to be enlightened, aren’t we? We have chosen the Buddha’s teachings as opposed to those of Jesus, Mohammed, or Krishna. The three sections of practices to the 35 Buddhas, which have now been presented to you, are very effective in helping you to attain enlightenment. This is the reason why the Buddha taught them. The lineage of this practice has been passed down to us unbroken, and it is a practice within the Mahamudra lineage.

You should do the practice. When you do, try not to apply the party-mind of worldly thinking. This means you should not think that you ‘belong’ to Kagyüpa, Nyingmapa, Sakyapa, or Gelugpa..., etc. Don’t bring the group-mind into it. You are here now for enlightenment, that is your focus. You want to purify your bad karma so you use an effective way to achieve the desired result. The Dharma is not a competition for market share between companies like Suzuki versus Toyota. That kind of mentality is not needed here. Rather, your only concern is to be cured of your sickness, which is your only objective. Here, your sickness encompasses samsara, bad karma, negative emotions, and ignorance. They are your problems, so you want to apply the right methods to be rid of them.

You should not discriminate among the Buddhas. You should not be like the followers of Sarasvati (goddess of wisdom). They refuse to pray to Norjuma, or Lakshmi (goddess of wealth). Why? It is because both Sarasvati and Lakshmi have the same husband. Both devis are married to one god, the king of Desa, which is a kind of Asura realm. Followers of this religion believe that by praying to Lakshmi, Sarasvati would kill them out of jealousy. For the same reason, those who follow Lakshmi also do not follow Sarasvati. But Buddhism is for enlightenment, so you will have no problems with the Buddhas. There are no problems between them. So, there is no need to worry about ‘shifting’.

The approach to the Dharma for enlightenment should be: first, engender Bodhicitta towards all sentient beings. Second, focus on enlightenment by knowing the method-practices, and the wisdom-practices. A method-practice is for the accumulation of merit. And a wisdom-practice aims for enlightenment that comes from your own mind.

The worldly mind should never be applied to the path of enlightenment. Worldly mind means self-clinging, or ego, which entails a lot of discrimination in the mind. If you apply it to Dharma practice, you will never achieve a good result. Everybody should be clear about this point. Forget the worldly mind when you are on the path of Dharma.

Now we do a short meditation.
:namaste:
"A genius is a person who, on a beach full of nudists, can remember peoples faces!"  Arka

Offline gregkavarnos

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Re: 35 Confession Buddhas
« Reply #4 on: July 21, 2010, 03:53:32 am »
Another explanation
Quote
Lama Zopa
THE BODHISATTVA’S CONFESSION OF MORAL DOWN FALLS
To put an end to our samsaric suffering, we must do two things. One is to purify the negative actions that we’ve done every day of our lives and the negativities we’ve created since beginningless time in our infinite previous lives as well. But that alone is not enough. We also have to change our minds and our actions and abstain from creating further negativities. If we don’t, there’ll be no end to our having to purify. If we don’t change our minds and our actions, if we don’t stop creating negative karma, there will always be more negativity to purify. Practicing purification with the four opponent powers can help us both purify negative karma already created and not create more.
To avoid experiencing the suffering results of negative karma, especially rebirth in the lower realms as well as the suffering experienced in the human and deva realms, we should engage in powerful purification practices, such as Vajrasattva meditation, confession before the Thirty-five Buddhas and the various other purification practices. Here I would like to explain briefly how to apply these in everyday life, with emphasis on prostrations to the Thirty-five Buddhas [see Appendix 3].
The moment you get up in the morning, generate bodhicitta motivation. Determine to make the best use of your life by making it beneficial for other sentient beings. In other words, make the strong determination to live your life with bodhicitta all the time. Start by rejoicing that you are still alive, that you didn’t die during the night but were born again today as a human being with the opportunity to practice Dharma, to achieve any of the three great meanings—the happiness of future lives, the happiness of liberation from samsara and the peerless happiness of full enlightenment. In every moment of this life, you can create the cause of any of these happinesses you wish.
Make the strong determination that from now on, especially in this life, especially during this day, you will never separate from bodhicitta, not even for a minute or a second, and will never allow yourself to fall under the influence of the self-cherishing thought.
‘‘I will never allow myself to be controlled by the self-cherishing thought.’’ If you don’t make this strong determination, you won’t be able to practice bodhicitta, compassion for others. ‘‘I will not allow myself to be controlled by the self-cherishing thought, especially in this life, especially today, not for a minute or even a second.’’ Make that kind of strong determination.
Basically, this should be your attitude towards the whole of your life, as explained in the teaching on a lifetime’s practice integrated with the five powers. [See Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand, pp. 612-16 and Advice From a Spiritual Friend, pp. 111-12. The five powers are the power of the white seed, the power of familiarity, the power of determination, the power of repudiation and the power of prayer.] Even if you don’t know many prayers, many different practices, if you can practice these five powers, you are doing the most important practice there is. Even if you aren’t familiar with many Dharma teachings or texts, if you know what the five powers are and live your life accordingly, you give yourself much freedom, peace and happiness and can achieve enlightenment quickly. That’s the greatest advantage, the greatest benefit.
After generating your morning motivation, do prostrations to the Thirty-five Buddhas. I am going to give you a few details of the meditation that is done with this practice so that you’ll be able to create more merit when you do it. The more meditation skills you have, the more extensive the merit you create, the sooner you gain realizations and the closer you and all sentient beings come to enlightenment. If you have the skills, you can collect extensive skies of merit with every prostration that you do.
MOTIVATION
Before you start the actual practice, you should generate a strong feeling for wanting to purify by thinking along these lines: ‘‘The purpose of my life is to free all sentient beings from all their suffering and bring them to full enlightenment. To do this, I myself must first achieve enlightenment, so I must actualize the steps of the path to enlightenment. Therefore, I need to purify all my defilements, negative karmas and downfalls.’’
Generate regret. First recall the definition of negative karma— any action that results in suffering, usually an action motivated by ignorance, attachment or aversion—and think, ‘‘Almost every action I do, twenty-four hours a day, is motivated by worldly concern, attachment to the comfort of this life. It is like this from birth to death in this life and has been like that from beginningless rebirths. Nearly every action I have ever created has been nonvirtuous, the cause of suffering. Not only that, but continuously I have also been breaking my pratimoksha, bodhisattva and tantric vows. Worst of all, I have created the heaviest of negative karmas in relation to my virtuous friends—getting angry at them, not believing what they say, having non-devotional thoughts towards them, harming their holy body and disobeying their advice.
Having these negative imprints on my mental continuum is unbearable. It’s as if I’ve swallowed a lethal poison. I must practice the antidote right away and purify all this negative karma immediately, without a second’s delay.’’
Think of the lower realms, of the hell realms. ‘‘If I were now in a hell realm, how would it be? I would be totally overwhelmed by suffering, by the heaviest suffering of samsara. I would have no freedom to practice Dharma.’’
Then think, ‘‘Even though I’m not dead yet, my death could happen at any moment. At any moment, I could be there in the most terrifying hell realm, the unbearable suffering state. Therefore, without even a second’s delay, I must purify all my defilements, all my negative karmas, all my downfalls. Therefore, I’m going to do prostrations with the meditation-recitation of the Thirty-five Buddhas, The Confession of Downfalls, to cause all sentient beings to receive all happiness up to that of enlightenment; in other words, to benefit all sentient beings.’’
With such thoughts, generate a strong feeling of urgency and regret. Your attitude should be one of wishing to purify yourself, but at the end, expand your attitude to include others with the wish to benefit all sentient beings by bringing them all happiness up to that of enlightenment. With the strong wish to purify yourself in order to benefit others, you then do the prostrations. Even if you do just a few prostrations, if they are done with this strong thought of purifying yourself in order to benefit others, each prostration and recitation of each of the Thirty-five Buddhas’ names becomes extremely powerful.
THE IMPORTANCE OF MEMORIZING THE NAMES OF THE THIRTY-FIVE BUDDHAS
If you are doing this practice in a group and one person leads the chanting while the others do not recite the names of the Thirtyfive Buddhas because they have not memorized them, only one person gets the benefit of the recitation. Those who haven’t memorized the names will get the benefits of making prostrations, but they won’t get the benefit of reciting the names. This is a great loss. How? Take the very first name, that of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, for example. By reciting Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s name, you purify 80,000 eons of negative karma; if you don’t recite his name, this doesn’t happen. Reciting each of the Thirtyfive Buddhas’ names purifies a certain number of eons of negative karma or a particular negative karma. Reciting each name just one time purifies many eons of negative karma.
If someone told you that you would not get cancer for six eons, you would think that that was fantastic. Forget about the six eons, even if someone told you that you would not get cancer in this life, you would think it fantastic, unbelievably good fortune. Now here, in relation to the practice of the Thirty-five Buddhas, we are talking about your not getting cancer or any other problem for thousands of eons because you have purified that many eons of negative karma, which is the cause of not only sickness but that of all other problems and obstacles. Cancer is just a tiny drop in the ocean of samsaric suffering. Purifying even two thousand eons of negative karma is incredibly advantageous. If you were going to die right now, in the next moment, the most important thing, the most urgent thing, you could do would be to purify your negative karma. If you were about to die, which would you prefer to be given: a billion dollars or the chance to purify this life’s negative karma? Which is more important? Which is more precious? Of course, purifying even one negative karma before you die is much better than receiving a billion or even a trillion dollars.
My point is that if only one person recites the names of the Thirty-five Buddhas, only that person receives the advantage of all this purification. Those who don’t recite the names don’t receive the benefit. It’s like one person trying to eat a meal on behalf of a group of people while they don’t eat. The food that person eats doesn’t fill the other people’s stomachs, doesn’t satisfy their hunger. The great advantage of having memorized the names of the Thirty-five Buddhas is that you can recite them in the car or train while going to work. Since you spend so much time going back and forth between home and work, it is good to spend that time doing prayers or reciting the names of the Thirty-five Buddhas.
You can also recite them when you are flying by plane. It’s all right to read them from a book, but it is much easier if you know the names by heart, because then you can purify at any time. Since reciting these buddhas’ names even once purifies many eons of negative karma, it’s a great loss if you don’t recite them. It will take you longer to purify your negative karma and gain realizations, and longer to achieve enlightenment, which means that the numberless other sentient beings who are karmically connected to you will have to experience more suffering.
Therefore, you must realize what a precious opportunity you have right now. This present time is the most precious time. If you don’t take this opportunity to practice, it is a great loss. There is no greater loss than this; it’s a greater loss than losing a million dollars, zillions of dollars. Some people, when their business collapses or they lose a million dollars, become crazy and want to jump off a bridge or the roof of a building. Such losses are nothing, just something material, meaningless. But here, if you don’t take the incredible opportunity to practice confession with the Thirty-five Buddhas, to purify your negative karma and collect merit in such an easy way, you have suffered the greatest loss.
Even if you owned skies of diamonds, gold or wish-fulfilling gems, that alone could not purify your negative karma or stop you from being reborn in the lower realms. However, even if you don’t own any of this wealth, if you recite Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s name just once, you purify 80,000 eons of negative karma.
Reciting the name of any of the Thirty-five Buddhas purifies many thousands of eons of negative karma. Even if you were to lose that much wealth, it would be nothing compared to losing the chance of practicing the Thirty-five Buddhas. This is such an easy way to purify and to collect extensive merit. Simply by reciting the names of the Thirty-five Buddhas, you can achieve unbelievable purification.
THE SEVEN MEDICINE BUDDHAS
After reciting the names of the Thirty-five Buddhas, you recite the names of the seven Medicine Buddhas, who are extremely powerful not only for healing but for success in general. This is because when those seven buddhas were bodhisattvas they prayed and dedicated for sentient beings to be able to overcome their problems and achieve all success. Therefore, praying to the Medicine Buddhas and reciting their names is an extremely precious practice and is very effective for both healing and success. Those who recite the seven Medicine Buddhas’ names and the Medicine Buddha mantra in their daily lives will never be reborn in the lower realms and, no matter what happens, will have no fear of death. Any human being or animal who at the time of death simply hears the name or mantra of the Medicine Buddha will also not be reborn in the lower realms. This practice is very important. Kachen Yeshe Gyaltsen and other recent lineage lamas recited the names of the seven Medicine Buddhas right after reciting the names of the Thirty-five Buddhas. This addition makes this powerful purification practice even more powerful.
HOW TO DO PROSTRATIONS TO THE THIRTY-FIVE BUDDHAS AND THE SEVEN MEDICINE BUDDHAS
When you recite these buddhas’ names, it would be extremely beneficial if you could do three sets as a daily practice. That means you could be doing as many as 150 prostrations each session, depending on how many you make during the confession prayer.
Also, if you have room, you should always do full-length prostrations. You create unbelievably extensive merit if you do. Cover as much ground with your body as you possibly can; when you go down, make your body as long as you can.
Start by doing three prostrations with the mantra OM NAMO MANJUSHRIYE.... Then, in English or Tibetan, recite the refuge formula. If you do it in Tibetan, make prostrations while reciting Lama-la kyab su chi wo (I take refuge in the Guru) as many times as you can during one prostration. Then, when your forehead touches the ground, change to Sangye-la kyab su chi wo (I take refuge in the Buddha), and keep reciting that until, on your next prostration, your forehead touches the ground again. Then change to Chö-la kyab su chi wo (I take refuge in the Dharma) and keep prostrating through Gendun-la kyab su chi wo(I take refuge in the Sangha).
Then, when you next touch the ground with your forehead, change to Tön-pa chom-dän-dä de-zhin-sheg-pa...(Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s name). If you have memorized it, you should recite it as fast as you can. It’s unbelievable—each repetition purifies 80,000 eons of negative karma. That’s why you should memorize all of the Thirty-five Buddhas’ names. The more times you recite each one, the better.
When you do business, you try to maximize your profits. You try to get as many dollars as you can from each transaction. It’s the same here, except that with reciting the buddhas’ names, the profits are so much greater. Reciting just one buddha’s name is much more profitable than billions of dollars of business profit. As I have been saying, reciting the name of just one of the Thirty-five Buddhas, not even all thirty-five, purifies many thousands of eons of negative karma. The merit you collect in this way is much more profitable than billions of dollars. Which is more profitable—making a billion dollars or reciting one buddha’s name just once? There’s no comparison. A billion dollars is worth nothing compared to that. No amount of money can purify many eons of negative karma or generate extensive merit, but reciting a buddha’s name can.
After your forehead touches the ground, change to the next buddha’s name and recite it as fast and as many times as you can. Keep going through all their names until you have recited all thirty-five. I recite the last one three times. Why? Not because other people do but because the thirty-fifth buddha’s name, Dezhin- sheg-pa...wang-gyi gyäl-po (Tathagata, arhat, perfectly completed enlightened one, King of the Lord of Mountains, Firmly seated on Jewel and Lotus), purifies broken samayas and negative karma created in relation to your gurus, which are the heaviest negative karmas of all. Therefore, I think it’s necessary to recite the last buddha’s name three times.
By then adding the names of the seven Medicine Buddhas, all your prayers—for special realizations from your Dharma practice, for good things to happen to you, for the benefit of others—will be successful. Your own prayers will be successful and you will also receive the beneficial effects of all the prayers made by the seven Medicine Buddhas in the past. Therefore, it is very important to recite the names of the Medicine Buddhas in addition to those of the Thirty-five Buddhas. Again recite each name as many times as possible during each prostration. However, you only need to recite the seven Medicine Buddhas’ names once each session—after the first repetition of the Thirty-five Buddhas. You don’t need to do them the second or third time.
If you recite them a second or third time, in the first set, recite the Thirty-five Buddhas and the seven Medicine Buddhas, then go back to the refuge for the second time. After the second set of Thirty-five Buddhas, go back to the refuge again, like that. Three sets. If you can make this your regular practice it would be extremely, unbelievably good. If three sets are not possible, do two. If not two, then one. But remember, with each prostration, recite that buddha’s name as many times as you can, over and over, rather than reciting it slowly throughout the prostration, just once. Each day that you recite the names of the Thirty-five Buddhas—each day that you recite just one buddha’s name— makes your life very different, like the difference between earth and sky. Your mind carries much less negative karma, and that which it does carry is much lighter. Your life will be much more successful, especially in attaining realizations, and you will be able to benefit others much more in both this and future lives.
THE VISUALIZATION AND THE ABSOLUTE GURU
When you visualize Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, visualize Avalokiteshvara at his heart. The psychology of this was explained by the great yogi Sangye Yeshe, who said, ‘‘Without the guru, there is no buddha,’’ which means that all buddhas come from the guru. At the heart of the explanation of guru yoga lies the dharmakaya. In general, we can call this omniscient mind, but to be specific we should call it the extremely subtle mind of the wisdom of great bliss non-dual with the emptiness of all existence.
‘‘Non-dual’’ means the wisdom that sees the emptiness of all existence directly—not from afar, like when we look at distant things, but through having thoroughly pervaded all phenomena— the wisdom of great bliss seeing all emptiness directly and nondualistically, like water mixed with water, through having completely eradicated the dualistic view. This is dharmakaya; this is what is called the absolute guru.
When we talk about the guru we can refer to either the absolute or the conventional guru. But even if the absolute guru manifested right now in the aspect of the Buddha, we wouldn’t be able to see him because our minds are obscured. Therefore, the only way in which the absolute guru can communicate with us is by manifesting in an ordinary human body, a form with samsaric suffering, delusions and mistaken actions. It is only by taking this imperfect form that the absolute guru can communicate with us, manifesting in an ordinary mistaken aspect according to our impure, obscured, mistaken mind; this ordinary aspect is all we can see with our present state of mind.
Thus, the only way the absolute guru can guide us, especially when it comes to giving teachings, is through this ordinary, mistaken, human form. We don’t have the karma to see an aspect purer than this. Even if the guru were to manifest in a pure form, we couldn’t see it. On the other hand, if the absolute guru manifested in a lower form, like that of an animal, that too would be difficult for us to recognize, and it would also be hard to communicate through such a form, to give teachings and so forth. Therefore, this ordinary aspect, which shows delusion and suffering, is very precious, very important, because it is through manifesting in this form that all the buddhas guide us.
If we can understand this, we will realize just how kind the guru is. In this human aspect, the guru grants us the three vows— pratimoksha, bodhisattva and tantric—leading us to happiness in future lives, better rebirths, freedom from samsara and, ultimately, highest enlightenment, cessation of the two levels of obscuration, gross and subtle, and completion of all realizations.
In Tibet and neighboring countries, even the person who taught you the alphabet was regarded as a guru. The only reason people learned the alphabet was so that they could study Dharma, and that was also why the teacher taught it. It was quite different from ordinary school.
Therefore, we refer to the person who teaches the alphabet, who gives oral transmissions of and commentaries on the sutras, and who gives initiations and explanations, commentaries and meditation instructions on tantra—freeing us from all samsaric suffering and obscurations and leading us to enlightenment in these various ways—as the conventional guru. This is the dharmakaya, the absolute guru, guiding us to enlightenment by revealing the entire path through the ordinary mistaken form we call the conventional guru. This happens not so much because of the omniscient mind and perfect power of the absolute guru, the dharmakaya, the transcendent wisdom of non-dual bliss and void, but because the absolute guru is bound by infinite compassion that encompasses us and all other sentient beings, without a single exception. This infinite compassion compels the dharmakaya to manifest in numberless different forms according to the minds of sentient beings, leading us to enlightenment gradually—from life to life, from happiness to happiness.
Therefore, whenever we say ‘‘Guru Shakyamuni Buddha,’’ we should remember that ‘‘Guru’’ refers to the absolute guru, who guides us by manifesting in the ordinary form of the conventional guru. Guru Shakyamuni Buddha is the absolute guru manifesting as Shakyamuni Buddha to guide us to enlightenment. Therefore, ‘‘Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’’ implies the oneness of the absolute and conventional gurus, and the mind that sees this oneness is the mind of guru yoga. Previously, you saw the Buddha and the guru as separate; that mind was not the guru yoga mind. When you see them with devotion as one, you have transformed your mind into the guru yoga mind.
Why do we visualize the Compassionate Buddha Avalokiteshvara at the heart of Shakyamuni Buddha? The Thirty-five Buddhas who transform from the heart of Shakyamuni Buddha do so out of compassion, in order to purify us, so we visualize compassion at the heart of Shakyamuni Buddha to signify this. Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, at the center of the visualization, is the first of the Thirty-five Buddhas, the rest of whom are in the aspect of the five Dhyani Buddhas. Beams emanate from Avalokiteshvara at the heart of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha. At the end of each beam is a throne supported by a white elephant adorned with pearls, and on each throne is seated one of the remaining thirty-four buddhas. The first six are in the aspect of Akshobhya and are blue in color, with the exception of the Naga King, whose body is blue and head is white. They are seated, showing the same earthtouching mudra as Guru Shakyamuni Buddha.
The next seven are white in color and in the aspect of Vairochana. The next seven are yellow in color and in the aspect of Ratnasambhava. The next seven are red in color and in the aspect of Amitabha. The next seven are green in color and in the aspect of Amoghasiddhi. Their postures are those of the respective Dhyani Buddha.
Visualizing elephants supporting the thrones makes the purification more powerful. Adorning them with pearls makes it even stronger.
There are many different ways of visualizing the Thirty-five Buddhas, in accordance with the various traditions of this practice. For example, there is the way Lama Tsong Khapa did it when he made hundreds of thousands of prostrations to the Thirty-five Buddhas in his cave at Wölka, in Tibet. The simplest way to do it is as above, dividing the Thirty-five Buddhas into five groups of seven and visualizing them in the aspect of the Five Dhyani buddhas.
Before you start prostrating, take refuge in Guru, Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. Then, as you start to prostrate, recite the names of the Thirty-five Buddhas one by one. As you recite the name of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, you prostrate to all Thirty-five Buddhas, but especially to Guru Shakyamuni Buddha. As you recite the name of the second buddha, you again prostrate to all, but especially to that one. Repeat this as you complete the recitation of all Thirty-five Buddhas’ names.
Lama Atisha once explained why this practice is so powerful. When these buddhas were bodhisattvas following the Mahayana path to enlightenment, they made many prayers and dedications, such as, ‘‘When I become enlightened, may the negative karma of anybody who prays or prostrates to me be completely purified.’’ Because of the power of these prayers, made with compassion for the benefit of others, even one repetition of these buddhas’ names purifies a vast amount of negative karma. Buddhas have many qualities, one of which is the power of prayer, or aspiration. This power ensures that whatever prayers that buddha made in the past are realized. Therefore, we benefit from the prayers made for sentient beings’ purification by the Thirty-five Buddhas.
THE BENEFITS OF PROSTRATIONS
By doing prostrations, you purify obscurations and receive the enlightened qualities of the holy body, speech and mind of a buddha. Even putting your hands together at your heart is a prostration. The sutras explain that making even this simple gesture to a holy object has eight benefits:
•   In future lives you will receive a good body with perfect shape, organs and senses.
•   You will receive perfect conditions so that your practice will be successful and your wishes fulfilled, and you will be able to work for the teachings and sentient beings.
•   You will be able to live in morality. (Without morality, there is no happiness in future lives, liberation or enlightenment.)
•   You will have devotion. (Without devotion, there are no realizations.)
•   You will have a courageous mind. (Without a courageous mind you cannot continue to practice Dharma or do extensive bodhisattva work for the teachings and sentient beings.)
•   You will be reborn as a deva or a human being.
•   You will achieve the arya path.
•   You will achieve enlightenment.
Whenever you go into a temple, remember that even a simple prostration to just one Buddha statue has these eight benefits. However, in a single temple there may be hundreds of statues and paintings of the Buddha, so prostrating like this to each one as you look at them is unbelievably beneficial. In addition to the merit you create by circumambulating temples and stupas, it is good to use your hands to accumulate merit by making simple prostrations in this way. Since prostrating to even one holy object creates great merit, this is an easy way for you to accumulate extensive merit.
It is said that holy objects are manifestations of the Buddha. Even though we don’t have the karma to see the actual living Buddha, by appearing as statues, stupas, scriptures and other holy objects, the Buddha allows us to accumulate merit. Some sentient beings can see these manifestations of the Buddha, others cannot. In Tibet there were people who were unable to see the Guru Shakyamuni Buddha statue in the Jokhang Temple, Lhasa’s holiest shrine. To them, the temple appeared to be completely dark; they couldn’t see anything. After much purification, one person who had this problem was eventually able to see the light of the butterlamps but he still could not see the statue. Another person saw only piles of dried meat on the thrones instead of the statues. Just because the statues are there does not mean that everybody can see them. It depends on one’s level of the mind.
The teachings say that animals cannot see holy objects. At Kopan I lift the dogs up to show them the thangkas, but I don’t think that they see what we do. It may be very rare for an animal to be able to see a statue; the texts say they don’t see them at all.
Therefore, it is amazing that we have the karma to see holy objects. We are extremely fortunate because it gives us an incredible opportunity to accumulate merit. You should use every holy object that you lay eyes on, for example, all the pictures of deities in your room, to accumulate merit. That’s the reason they exist.
Think of all the stupas, temples and statues in Bodhgaya. Hundreds and hundreds of Indians come to Bodhgaya from all over the country to offer just a few coins to the Buddha statue in the main stupa. Even though their offering is small, because of the power of the holy object, each offering becomes the cause of enlightenment. This is one of the Buddha’s many skillful ways of guiding sentient beings according to their karma.
Another ten benefits of prostrations are mentioned:
•   You will achieve a perfect golden body like Guru Shakyamuni Buddha.
•   You will be extremely beautiful.
•   You will have an enchanting voice.
•   Without fear or shyness, you will be at ease among holy beings and other people.
•   You will make devas and human beings happy.
•   You will become magnificent in appearance.
•   You will be able to be with Guru Shakyamuni Buddha and his disciples, the bodhisattvas and arhats.
•   You will have great wealth.
•   You will be reborn in the higher realms.
•   You will quickly achieve enlightenment.
When doing full-length prostrations, which accords with the tradition of the great pandit-yogi, Naropa, you should get up quickly and not stay down on the floor very long. In some traditions, the palms of the hands are held upwards in the prostration. However, the main point of prostrations is not so much their form but that they are done respectfully. Doing prostrations disrespectfully creates negative karma. If you understand this point, you will not be confused by the different styles of prostration. Also, the way you do prostrations is more important than the number you do. It is the same with mandala offerings; it is better to offer a mandala well than to offer it quickly. If you do just one prostration properly, you accumulate unbelievable merit.
If you want to accumulate as much merit as possible by doing prostrations, there are two important points to remember. The first is to visualize as many bodies as possible—either in human form or in the form of a deity—prostrating with you. Also, as you prostrate to the stupa or altar, think that your body covers the entire earth in all directions. The lam-rim teachings say that even if you cannot do physical prostrations because there is something wrong with your limbs or you don’t even have any, if you simply visualize your body doing prostrations, you receive the same merit as if you had actually done them.
Therefore, by visualizing as many bodies as you can, you gain unbelievable merit, creating the cause to be born many times as a wheel-turning king. In his lam-rim teachings, Pabongka Dechen Nyingpo said that to be born as a wheel-turning king even once, you have to accumulate inconceivable merit. TheLankavatara and other sutras mention that you take rebirth as a wheel-turning king as many times as the number of atoms your prostrating body covers from the surface of the earth through to the other side. Of course, it’s not that the only result of doing prostrations is repeated rebirth as a wheel-turning king; the Buddha only mentioned this result to give us an idea of the inconceivable merit we create by doing even one prostration. However, you cover innumerable atoms between one side of the earth and the other when you prostrate, and one prostration creates the cause for that number of rebirths as a wheel-turning king.
His Holiness Serkong Rinpoche once said that His Holiness the Dalai Lama is a wheel-turning king, but I’m not sure if all wheel-turning kings are bodhisattvas. With the power and wealth of a wheel-turning king, you can engage in many Dharma activities and benefit others immensely.
The merit we accumulate by doing one prostration is beyond our conception. The result—all the temporal and ultimate happiness up to enlightenment—is beyond the grasp of our mind. Furthermore, remember that karma is expandable. From one small virtuous action, you can experience many happy results for many hundreds of lifetimes, just as from one small non-virtuous action you can experience many different suffering results both in one life and for many lifetimes. But if you cannot comprehend the cause, there is no way you can comprehend the result.
The second important point is to remember that whenever you see a holy object such as a thangka, stupa, statue or scripture, you must see it as your guru. Do not miss this point. If there is an altar in your house, think that all the buddha pictures on your altar are your guru. In terms of creating merit, your guru is the highest, most powerful object. You get the most merit from prostrating to your guru. Therefore, when you prostrate to holy objects on your altar or elsewhere with the concentration that they are your guru, you create the most extensive merit; much greater merit than you do by prostrating without this awareness.
In a way, you should have a business-like approach to your Dharma practice. Business people try to earn the greatest profit in the shortest period of time. You should practice Dharma with this efficiency. Every time you prostrate or make offerings to holy objects, the essential thing to remember is that they are your guru. With this awareness, what you do becomes most profitable, accumulates the most extensive merit. Your guru, all buddhas and bodhisattvas, all holy objects, are there on your altar. Thinking that your altar holds the essence of all the holy objects of the ten directions, prostrate. Then prostrate to all the holy beings, the buddhas and bodhisattvas, of the ten directions. Then prostrate to all the holy objects—statues, stupas and scriptures—in Tibet, India and Nepal. Using your mind in this way, you create much more merit from basically the same action. This is the wise way of doing prostrations.
After prostrating, dedicate the merit to all sentient beings in the six realms and the intermediate state. Think first of the narak beings, then the pretas, then the animals and so forth, dedicating consciously to the sentient beings of each realm, your merit becoming everything they need to alleviate their suffering and all realizations of the path up to enlightenment.
Sometimes you can combine your prostrations with meditation on guru devotion, thinking that your guru is buddha. At other times, recall the kindness of sentient beings and how much they are suffering. In this way, you combine prostrations with lam-rim meditation, which can inspire you to practice more and more. Otherwise, after you’ve been prostrating for a while, you might start to feel exhausted and discouraged, thinking, ‘‘What on earth am I doing here? Am I wasting my time?’’ Reflecting on the lam-rim can prevent this from happening.
No matter what vows you might have broken—tantric root vows or pratimoksha or bodhisattva vows—no matter what negative karma you have created, everything can be purified. Out of his incomparable kindness, Guru Shakyamuni Buddha revealed different purification methods, such as prostrations to the Thirty-five Buddhas, who are all manifestations of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha, and recitation of their names. As I mentioned before, recitation of each buddha’s name purifies thousands of eons of negative karma. Also, due to the prayers made by these buddhas when they were following the path, each one purifies a specific negative karma.
One of the Thirty-five Buddhas purifies wrong rejoicing, which is feeling happy when somebody harms your enemy or some other person you don’t like, or when your enemy gets into trouble or something bad happens to him. It is also wrong to rejoice when other beings create negative karma. Depending on what it is that you rejoice about, wrong rejoicing can create very heavy negative karma. For example, if a Tibetan hears that a million communist Chinese have been killed in battle and, out of hatred, feels happy and rejoices, he creates incredible negative karma. Even though he hasn’t been involved in the fighting himself, even though he might have been just sitting on a meditation cushion in his shrine room, by practicing wrong rejoicing, he creates the extremely heavy karma of having killed a million people himself. If you haven’t received many teachings and don’t know the details of how non-virtuous actions are created, you are in danger of creating very heavy karma.
You don’t hear of Lama Tsong Khapa’s doing many prostrations to Vajrasattva, but his life story talks a great deal about his practice of prostrations to the Thirty-five Buddhas. Lama Tsong Khapa did 100,000 prostrations to each of the Thirty-five Buddhas. Each day before going to bed he would recite The Bodhisattva’s Confession of Moral Downfalls thirty-five times. This practice makes your mind very comfortable. In one of his lam-rim teachings, Kachen Yeshe Gyaltsen said that a full monk (ge-long) can remain very pure if he practices in this way.
I asked one of my gurus, Denma Lochö Rinpoche, why Lama Tsong Khapa practiced prostrations to the Thirty-five Buddhas rather than to Vajrasattva [see Teachings from the Vajrasattva Retreat, pp. 81-82]. Rinpoche replied that with one proper recitation of The Confession of Downfalls—which means with correct application of the four powers and meditation on the meaning of the prayer—even the five uninterrupted negative karmas can be purified.
These five heavy karmas—killing your father, your mother or an arhat, causing, with harmful intent, blood to flow from a buddha and causing disunity among the sangha—are called uninterrupted because if you create them, immediately after death you are reborn in the hell realm. Other negative karmas do not necessarily cause you to go to hell immediately; there may be the interruption of some other karmic result before that one. But if you have created one of these five particularly heavy karmas, as soon as you die you get reborn in hell. These are not just heavy negative karmas, but uninterrupted heavy negative karmas. However, even these can be purified by practicing The Confession of Downfalls just once. This was the special reason for Lama Tsong Khapa’s doing this practice. If for some reason you cannot do prostrations, it is still good to at least recite the name of each of the thirty-five buddhas every day, like he did.
No matter how heavy the negative karma we have accumulated, the Buddha has revealed a method to purify it. Through his kindness, we have many opportunities to practice purification. Buddha is more to us than a father. Children trust their fathers with their lives. Whatever happens, children’s lives are completely in the hands of their fathers; they totally rely on their fathers. Similarly, we can entrust our entire life to the Buddha. He has shown us that the way to eliminate all suffering is to eradicate the true cause of suffering, the two obscurations, and has taught us the methods for doing so, leading us to temporal and ultimate happiness. The Buddha guides us from happiness to happiness, up to the peerless happiness of full enlightenment. For us sentient beings, the Buddha is our only refuge.
Colophon
Compiled from various teachings by Lama Zopa Rinpoche, including material for a full-length book version of this booklet and Teachings from the Vajrasattva Retreat. “The Bodhisattva’s Confession of Moral Downfalls: The Sutra of the Three Heaps”(Tib. Dung-shag), translated by Lama Zopa Rinpoche, is from Essential Buddhist Prayers: An FPMT Prayer Book. The part about prostrations in general comes from Rinpoche’s 1990 Bodhgaya teachings and was originally edited by Ven. Ailsa Cameron and revised for this booklet by Nicholas Ribush.
REFERENCES
Geshe Rabten & Geshe Ngawang Dhargyey, Brian Beresford (tr.).
Advice From a Spiritual Friend. Boston: Wisdom Publications, 1996 edition.
Lama Zopa Rinpoche, Daily Purification: A Short Vajrasattva Practice. Boston: Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive, 2001. Constance Miller (ed.), Essential Buddhist Prayers: An FPMT Prayer Book, Vol. 1. Taos: FPMT Education Department, revised edition, 2001.
Geshe Jampa Gyatso, Everlasting Rain of Nectar. Boston: Wisdom Publications, 1996.
35 Buddhas Confession and Purification Practice
This advice was compiled from teachings given by Rinpoche at Istituto Lama Tsong Khapa in Italy, during the Lama Tsongkhapa Guru Yoga Retreat in 2003.
There are four remedy powers. The one that reduces and purifies negative karma is regret. The stronger the regret, the more the negative karma is purified. All phenomena affect each other; that is what dependent arising means—fire can burn, water can make things wet. It works similarly in our mind: our positive thoughts have one effect; negative thoughts have a different effect. So, there is happiness and there is suffering—this is a dependent arising.
Reciting the mantra of Vajrasattva, who attained qualities such as compassion and power in order to benefit sentient beings, purifies negative karma through dependent arising. In the same way, by reciting the names of the 35 Buddhas many times or just once, eons of negative karma is purified.
Lama Atisha explained why reciting the names of the 35 Buddhas has so much power. In the past, when the 35 Buddhas were bodhisattvas, they made many prayers to be able to benefit sentient beings, to easily purify our defilements and negative karma. When they achieved enlightenment, they achieved the Buddha’s ten qualities or powers, one of which is the power of prayer. So, their names have the power of all those past prayers. That is why, when sentient beings recite their names, they have so much power to purify defilements and eons of negative karma. Every single quality the 35 Buddhas attained was in order to benefit sentient beings, there was no other reason or motivation for it, so we should use this advantage.
Think: “The purpose of my life is to free all the hell beings, hungry ghosts, animals, sura, asura, human, and intermediate state beings—every single sentient being in the six realms of suffering, all unenlightened beings who have defilements.
“I must free all the hell beings, from whom I receive all my past, present, and future happiness, realizations of the path, and enlightenment, who are the most precious, most kind ones in my life, from all sufferings and their causes, and bring them to enlightenment by myself alone.
“I must free all the preta beings, from whom I receive all my past, present, and future happiness, realizations of the path, and enlightenment, who are the most precious, most kind ones in my life, from all the sufferings and their causes, and bring them to enlightenment by myself alone.
“I must free all the animals, every one of them, from whom I receive all my past, present, and future happiness, realizations of the path, and enlightenment, who are the most precious, most kind ones in my life, from all the sufferings and their causes, and bring them to enlightenment by myself alone.
“I must free all the human beings, from whom I receive all my past, present, and future happiness, realizations of the path, and enlightenment, who are the most precious, most kind ones in my life, from all sufferings and their causes, and bring them to enlightenment by myself alone.
“I must free all the sura beings, from whom I receive all my past, present, and future happiness, realizations of the path, and enlightenment, who are the most precious, most kind ones in my life, from all sufferings and their causes, and bring them to enlightenment by myself alone.
“I must free all the asura beings, from whom I receive all my past, present, and future happiness, realizations of the path, and enlightenment, who are the most precious, most kind ones in my life, from all sufferings and their causes, and bring them to enlightenment by myself alone.
“I must free all the intermediate state [bardo] beings, from whom I receive all my past, present, and future happiness, realizations of the path, and enlightenment, who are the most precious, most kind ones in my life, from all sufferings and their causes, and bring them to enlightenment by myself alone.
“Therefore, I must achieve enlightenment. In order to do this, I need to actualize the path and purify my defilements, negative karmas, and downfalls collected from beginningless rebirths.”
Just one complete negative karma that is committed through the ten non-virtuous actions—killing, sexual misconduct, telling lies, etc.—produces four suffering results. As well as the ripened aspect result of rebirth in the lower realms, there are three other sufferings: experiencing the result similar to the cause; creating the result similar to the cause; and the possessed result, which is related to the environment and the suffering that is experienced when, for example, you are born after some time as a human being due to your good karma.
Creating the result similar to the cause means committing the same negative action again as a result of the past. Then, that complete negative karma produces another four suffering results, including creating the result similar to the cause; then that complete negative karma produces another four suffering results. As long as we don’t purify that one negative karma and abstain from it we will experience the result again and again. Like this, it goes on and on, forever—the effect becomes endless.
Think: “If I put effort into not creating that one negative karma, I don’t have to experience all the endless suffering that comes from it. It makes a huge difference whether that one negative karma is committed or not.”
To make your practice really effective and powerful, contemplate the endless effect of even just one complete negative karma—having to experience so much suffering in samsara for that one negative karma—so that you can’t stand to live even one more second without purifying it immediately. There are so many negative karmas committed each day, month, and year, from beginningless past lives—it is unimaginable. If you think of all these karmas from beginningless past lives, it becomes more and more unbearable. There is no way to relax for even a second without practicing purification.
On top of this, you need to remember broken pratimoksha vows, and bodhisattva vows, which are much heavier. Then, having taken and broken the tantric vows in this and past lives, which is heavier again. Pabongkha Rinpoche’s commentary on the Six-Session Yoga says that breaking a bodhisattva root vow is 100,000 times heavier than breaking a pratimoksha root vow. Breaking a tantric vow is 100,000 times heavier than breaking a bodhisattva root vow. The vow that results in the heaviest, longest suffering, and is the heaviest obstacle to actualizing the path is the negative karma collected regarding the relationship with the virtuous friend. Remember all of that collected from beginningless rebirths. This is the situation we are in. In those hot hell realms even one tiny spark is much hotter than all human beings’ fire energy, which, comparatively, is extremely cool and pleasurable. This was explained by Buddha, the Omniscient One, with compassion for sentient beings, to save us from the unbearable suffering of samsara, particularly the lower realms.
Think: “Death can come any time, even today; it can come this hour or minute. That means I can be in the most terrifying suffering of the lower realms today, any minute, any second. The minute my breath stops, it is there, actualized. Therefore, I must purify right away, not delaying for even a second.” As is normally explained in the teachings, it is as if you have eaten poison and are going to experience great pain and die, so you want to get rid of the negativity in the quickest possible way.
This also applies when you practice Vajrasattva meditation in daily life or in retreat. You can meditate like this at the beginning of any purification practice, to make it really powerful. How much we can purify negative karma depends on the mind. Our mind creates negative karma but, with strong regret, the mind can purify so much. Regret is like medicine for us.
In Western psychology, regret may be interpreted as negative, but there is negative, harmful regret and useful, positive regret. One becomes medicine for our mind; the other becomes negative, for example, regretting our or other people’s virtue or positive actions. If somebody becomes a monk or nun and you express regret, “Oh, terrible! Oh, I’m sorry!”, or somebody is doing retreat in an isolated place and you say, “Oh, I’m so sorry you are living in a cave, poor thing”, your regret is misplaced. That person may actually be attaining realizations every year and offering the most benefit to sentient beings. That is incorrect regret. There is also correct and incorrect patience and tolerance. Similarly, perseverance in virtue is right perseverance, but perseverance in actions that are negative karma, the cause of samsara or of the lower realms—bearing great hardship to achieve power or reputation for happiness in this life, putting much effort into that, sacrificing, even endangering life, as many people in the world are doing—is incorrect tolerance. Correct tolerance has to be perseverance in virtue; that is the definition of perseverance. There has to be positive action. If an action is negative karma, it doesn’t have that definition of perseverance—it is incorrect perseverance, incorrect patience, or incorrect regret. Non-virtue only harms you and others.
Think: “Therefore, I’m going to perform prostrations by reciting the names of the 35 Buddhas and practicing the Confession of Downfalls, which purifies eons of negative karmas. I am so fortunate, having this opportunity, to create happiness and benefit for every single one of my kind mother sentient beings, every hell being, hungry ghost, animal, human being, sura, asura, and intermediate state being.”
At the end you must think of the happiness of others. If you think too much of your own negative karma and the suffering result of that, then, since we don’t have a realization of bodhicitta or of compassion, there is the danger of performing the prostrations for your own happiness. You need to come back to thinking of the happiness of others. With that attitude, every prostration you perform or prayer you recite is for other sentient beings.
You prostrate not only to the 35 Buddhas but to all the gurus, Buddha, Dharma, Sangha, and all the holy objects of the ten directions. If you prostrate to many merit fields—to billions of buddhas—you create billions of causes of enlightenment. This way is much more profitable. You can recite the 35 Buddhas’ names in whichever language you normally use.
The mantra OM NAMO MANJUSHRIYE NAMAH SUSHRIYE NAMA UTTAMA SHRIYE SOHA multiplies the prostrations one thousand times. If you recite it every day, it helps to develop a direct perception of emptiness in this life, also to not encounter harm or obstacles. If you recite this mantra and the Buddha’s name seven times, then each prostration or circumambulation is increased millions of times. Recite:
OM NAMO MANJUSHRIYE NAMAH SUSHRIYE NAMA UTTAMA SHRIYE SOHA (3X)
CHOM DEN DE DEZHIN SHEKPA DRA CHOM PA YANG DAKPA DZOK PE SANG GYE RINCHEN GYALTSEN LA CHAG TSAL LO (7X)
OM NAMO BHAGAWATE RATNA KETU RAZAYA TATHAGATAYA ARHATE SAM YAK SAM BUDDHAYA TAYATHA OM RATNE RATNE MAHA RATNE RATNA BIZAYE SOHA (7X)
Then, prostrate and recite the 35 Buddhas’ names and the Confession of Downfalls.
After completing any purification practice it becomes more powerful if you seal it with emptiness by meditating on the three circles: the performer of the action, the action, and the object, what is accomplished—looking at them all as empty. Think: “In emptiness there is no creator, me; there is no action of creating; and there is no creation, negative karma.”
Remain in that state of mindfulness, allowing the awareness that all things are empty to continue, that they do not exist from their own side, and then dedicate the merits:
“Due to all the merits of the three times collected by me and by others, may I achieve the 35 Buddhas’ enlightenment and lead all sentient beings to the 35 Buddhas’ enlightenment by myself alone.”
Then, dedicate the merits:
Jang chub sem chog rinpoche
Ma kye pa nam kye gyur chig
Kye pa nyam pa me par yang
Gong ne gong du pel bar shog
May the precious bodhicitta not yet born, arise and grow
May that born have no decline but increase forever more.
The Benefits of Prostrations
Rinpoche commented on the following benefits from performing prostrations.
When making prostrations by reciting the names of the 35 Buddhas, even only one prostration to all the Buddhas, Dharma, and Sangha becomes a cause for achieving enlightenment. Prostrations to statues, scriptures, and stupas create many causes for liberation from samsara and achieving success in this life. But prostrations to the 35 Buddhas become a cause for enlightenment, which is a big difference.
LAMA TSONG KHAPA’S PRACTICE OF THE THIRTY-FIVE BUDDHAS
Even though there are some people who are unable to do prostrations because there is not enough space in here, they still have the opportunity to recite the names of the Thirty-five Buddhas while sitting or standing. Reading the names of the Thirty-five Buddhas, which are in the prayer book, gives you an unbelievable opportunity to purify negative karma. As I mentioned the other day, reciting each name once purifies so many eons of negative karma. What we are trying to do here, not just with the Vajrasattva practice but through various means, is to purify our negative karma and defilements as much as possible and to collect extensive merit.
I once asked Denma Lochö Rinpoche why, while Lama Tsong Khapa did so much practice of the Thirty-five Buddhas, there is no mention of his having done the preliminary practice of Vajrasattva recitation many times. In Lama Tsong Khapa’s life story you hear only that he did many hundreds of thousands of prostrations to the Thirty-five Buddhas. Lama Tsong Khapa actually saw the Thirty-five Buddhas in his cave at Wölka. When he first saw the Thirty-five Buddhas, he saw their holy bodies but they had no heads. It was only after Lama Tsong Khapa prefixed the name of each buddha with the title “tathagata” that he saw the Thirtyfive Buddhas with heads. Tathagata, or de-zhin sheg-pa in Tibetan, could be translated into English as “Gone As It Is” or “Mind Gone in the Sky of Emptiness.”
Only the holy mind of a buddha can directly see the two truths at the same time. While directly seeing the absolute truth, a buddha’s holy mind can at the same time directly see the conventional truth. I’m not completely sure, but I think that higher bodhisattvas can see the two truths together, but cannot see them directly. Only a buddha’s holy mind can directly see the two truths at the same time. In the Lama Tsong Khapa Guru Yoga,the verse that praises Lama Tsong Khapa’s knowledge refers to understanding directly and simultaneously all objects of knowledge, or the two truths, which is a special quality of the buddha’s holy mind. So, “Gone As It Is” means that the mind is flying, or is gone, in the sky of emptiness, directly perceiving the very nature of phenomena as it is.
After Lama Tsong Khapa added the title “de-zhin sheg-pa,” he was able to see the Thirty-five Buddhas with their heads. Lama Tsong Khapa started this tradition. In the Sakya, Kagyu and Nyingma traditions, the names of the Thirty-five Buddhas are recited without the title “tathagata,” or “de-zhin sheg-pa.” Just the name is recited.
When I asked Denma Lochö Rinpoche this question about why there was no mention of Vajrasattva, but only mention of Lama Tsong Khapa’s having done practice of the Thirty-five Buddhas so many times, Rinpoche answered that it is because if you do the Thirty-five Buddhas practice just one time well, you can purify the very heavy negative karma of the five uninterrupted negative karmas (having killed your father, your mother or an arhat; caused blood to flow from a Buddha; or caused disunity among the sangha). All these can be purified by doing confession with the Thirty-five Buddhas practice well just once. Rinpoche gave this as the reason for Lama Tsong Khapa doing so many prostrations to the Thirty-five Buddhas.
There are also stories of the lam-rim lineage lamas doing many prostrations to the Thirty-five Buddhas. Je Drubkhangpa did one thousand prostrations a day. His disciple, Purchog Jampa Rinpoche—a very high lama at Sera Monastery and an embodiment of Maitreya Buddha—did three hundred prostrations every day even when he was very old. Lama Atisha’s life story mentions that he was still doing prostrations to the Thirty-five Buddhas when he was showing the aspect of being very old and shaky. It was said that even though he was old, either Purchog Jampa Rinpoche or Lama Atisha, I don’t remember which, did prostrations like a running wolf.
In Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand, it mentions that Lama Tsong Khapa realized emptiness and achieved many other realizations through doing prostrations to the Thirty-five Buddhas.
The great advantage of having memorized the Thirty-five Buddhas prayer is that you can recite it in the car while you are going to work. Since you spend so much time driving back and forth between home and work, it is good to spend the time doing prayers or reciting the names of the Thirty-five Buddhas. You can also recite it when you are flying by plane. You can recite the prayer from a book, but it is so much easier if you can recite it by heart because it means that you can purify at any time. Since reciting the names even once purifies so many eons of negative karma, it’s a great loss if you don’t recite them. And here, if you don’t recite while everyone else is reciting, you yourself incur a great loss. It also means that you will take longer to purify your negative karmas and to have realizations. It will take you longer to achieve enlightenment, which means that the numberless other sentient beings who have karmic connections with you, and depend on you, have to suffer longer.
Therefore, you must realize what a precious opportunity you have right now. This present time is the most precious time. If you don’t take this opportunity to practice, it is a great loss. There is no greater loss for you than this. As I mentioned the other day, it’s a greater loss than losing a million dollars. It’s a greater loss than losing zillions of dollars. When their business collapses and they lose a million dollars, some people become crazy with lung and want to jump off a bridge or off the roof of a building. Such a loss is nothing! What you lose is just something material; it means nothing. But here, if you don’t take this incredible opportunity to practice, to purify and to collect merit in such an easy way, there is no greater loss than this. This is a much greater loss than losing billions of dollars or skies filled with diamonds or gold. Even if you own skies filled with diamonds, gold or wish-fulfilling gems, that alone cannot purify your negative karma or stop your rebirth in the lower realms. However, even if you don’t own any of this wealth, reciting Guru Shakyamuni Buddha’s name just once has the power to purify 80,000 eons of negative karma.
Reciting the name of any of the Thirty-five Buddhas can purify not simply negative karma but many thousands of eons of negative karma. Therefore, even losing that much wealth is nothing when compared to the loss of missing this chance to practice the Thirty-five Buddhas. This is such an easy way to purify and to collect extensive merit. Simply by reciting the names of the Thirty-five Buddhas, you can achieve unbelievable purification.
CALLING THE GURU FROM AFAR: THE MEANING OF JIN-GYI-LOB
As His Holiness often mentions in his teachings, in the expression jingyi- lob, jin means glorious and lob means transforming the mind into the path, into Dharma. Transforming the mind into the path means that you transform your mind into guru devotion through seeing the virtuous friend as buddha by looking at the virtuous friend as buddha. After transforming your ordinary thoughts toward the virtuous friend into guru devotion, you transform your mind into renunciation of samsara; you renounce the attachment that clings to samsara, to samsaric happiness and perfections. You then transform your mind from the self-cherishing thought into bodhicitta. You also transform your mind from ignorance, the concept of inherent existence, into the wisdom that sees all phenomena as empty (this wisdom includes the selflessness of the person and the selflessness of the aggregates). You then transform your mind from impure thought into pure thought. With this thought, you see everything as pure, as a manifestation of the deity. You see the place as the deity’s mandala; your own body and the bodies of others as the deity’s holy body, and sounds as mantras, the deity’s holy speech. You transform your mind into the completion of the path, up to enlightenment.
You request blessings to transform your mind (lob) into these glorious, or magnificent (jin), paths. The expression jin-gyi-lob involves the transformation of your mind into the whole path, from guru devotion up to enlightenment. Each time we say jin-gyi-lob in Calling the Guru from Afar, we are making single-pointed requests to the guru. We are begging the guru to transform our mind right now, on this cushion, in this session. And we are not talking about transforming mind in general, some mind in the sky, but our own mind.
At the end of Calling the Guru from Afar recite the following verses. “May I never arise heresy for even one second towards the actions of the glorious guru. With the devotion that sees whatever actions are done as pure, may I receive the blessings of the guru in my heart. “Pal-den tsa-wa’i....”
MOTIVATION FOR VAJRASATTVA PRACTICE
Generate a strong feeling of regret, because for purification, this is the most important of the four remedial powers. How much you purify, or lessen, your negative karma depends on how much regret you are able to generate by reflecting on the shortcomings of negative karma—of the ten non-virtuous actions, breaking samaya vows, and negativity collected in relation to the virtuous friend, the heaviest negative karma of all. The power of regret, or of putting the blame on the negative karma, fits very well into the specific motivation for doing Vajrasattva practice.
The other place you can do this practice is when you begin the mantra recitation. You can begin by practicing this power, by generating a strong feeling of regret. Also, in the long sadhana, before you recite the mantra, you request your crown Vajrasattva to purify all your defilements, negative karmas and degenerated samaya—this can also be part of practicing the power of regret. With the recitation of the mantra, you can take time to think in more detail about all the negative karma that you have created. You can expand the subject by thinking of the various ways in which you have created negative karma.
Now meditate to generate a strong motivation of bodhicitta for doing the Vajrasattva meditation-recitation, ensuring that your motivation includes generation of the thought of regret.
CONCLUDING PRACTICES
Think, “From now on, the vows that I can keep, I will keep; the vows that are extremely difficult to keep, I will keep for one day, one hour, one minute, or at least a few seconds.”
Guru Vajrasattva, extremely pleased by your determination not to commit negative actions again, absorbs within you. Your body, speech and mind become inseparable from Vajrasattva’s vajra holy body, vajra holy speech and vajra holy mind.
In emptiness there is no I, no creator; there is no action of creating; there is no negative karma created. All phenomena are totally empty of existence from their own side. While your mind is in the state of emptiness, while you are seeing all phenomena as empty, as they are empty in reality, dedicate the merits.
DEDICATION
“Due to all the past, present and future merits collected by me, buddhas, bodhisattvas and all other sentient beings, may I be able to bring benefit as limitless as the sky to all sentient beings, jus
"A genius is a person who, on a beach full of nudists, can remember peoples faces!"  Arka

Offline gregkavarnos

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Re: 35 Confession Buddhas
« Reply #5 on: July 21, 2010, 03:56:06 am »
A teaching outlining the benefit of prostrations.
Quote
                  Prostrations
                  by Lama Gendun Rinpoche

                  1.  Why do we do Prostrations?

                  1 - The Purification of Pride
                  First of all, we should know why we do prostrations. We do not
                  do them to endear ourselves to somebody else. We do not do
                  them for the Buddha. Such concepts are completely wrong. The
                  Buddha is not a god of this world. We bow down to purify all
                  situations from the past where we did not respect others.
                  Being interested in our own satisfaction and ourselves we did
                  many negative actions.
                  Prostrations help us realize that there is something more
                  meaningful than ourselves. In this way we purify the pride
                  that we have accumulated through countless lifetimes thinking:
                  "I am right," "I am better than others," or "I am the most
                  important one." During countless lifetimes we have developed
                  pride that is the cause of our actions and have accumulated
                  the karma that is a source of our suffering and problems. The
                  goal of prostrations is to purify this karma and to change our
                  mind set. Prostrations help us rely on something more
                  meaningful than our pride and ego clinging. In this way,
                  through full confidence and devotion, we get rid of everything
                  we have gathered because of pride.
                  2 - The Purification of Body, Speech, and Mind
                  When we do prostrations we act on the level of body, speech,
                  and mind. The result of doing them is a very powerful and
                  thorough purification. This practice dissolves all impurities,
                  regardless of their kind, because they were all accumulated
                  through our body, speech, and mind. Prostrations purify on all
                  three levels. Through the physical aspect of prostrating we
                  purify our body. We offer our body to the Three Jewels
                  (Buddha, Dharma, Sangha) and to all sentient beings, wishing
                  that all their wishes are fulfilled. Through the repetition of
                  the refuge mantra and the meaning we ascribe to it, we purify
                  our speech. Through confidence in the Three Jewels we develop
                  enlightened attitude and devotion. As we are aware of the
                  perfect qualities of the refuge and offer everything to it,
                  the veils in our minds dissolve. When our body, speech, and
                  mind are being purified we realize that what we initially
                  thought of as our body is actually a manifestation of
                  enlightenment as active compassion. What we initially thought
                  of as our speech is the expression of enlightenment on the
                  level of joy; our mind is the truth level of enlightenment. We
                  are able to see the enlightened reality of our body, speech,
                  and mind - their full of wisdom truth that we initially were
                  not aware of. We realize that this practice can lead us to our
                  goal, enlightenment, because the three levels expressing the
                  state of a Buddha appear immediately after the three levels of
                  our existence - body, speech, and mind - are purified. We do
                  not have to look for enlightenment anywhere else. We do not
                  have to chase any perfect realizations. The three levels of
                  enlightenment are true inherent qualities of our own body,
                  speech, and mind. We did not see it before. Prostrations help
                  us discover it.
                  3 - Physical Benefits of Prostrations
                  Prostrations strongly influence the balance and harmony in our
                  body. Blocks in its energy channels gradually dissolve. This
                  helps us avoid diseases, lack of energy, and other problems.
                  Our mind becomes clearer. Our ability to understand increases.

                  2.  The State of Mind During Prostrations

                  We should do prostrations with full confidence, joy and
                  motivation to benefit others.
                  1 - Confidence
                  We should have confidence in the perfect qualities of the
                  Three Jewels and be sure that their blessing can remove the
                  veils from our minds. The blessing can appear and the
                  purification is effective when our confidence in body, speech,
                  and mind meets the transforming qualities of the enlightened
                  body, enlightened speech and enlightened mind - the sources of
                  the refuge. If we do not have confidence and cannot open up to
                  the Three Jewels prostrations will only be like a play.
                  2 - Motivation to Benefit Others
                  When we do prostrations we should understand that good actions
                  are the source of happiness of all sentient beings.
                  Prostrations are a good example of this fact. When we do the
                  practice using our body, speech, and mind, we offer our energy
                  to others wishing that it brings them happiness. We should be
                  happy about this fact and do prostrations with joy.

                  The Proper Practice
                  1 - Visualization of the Refuge Tree
                  In front of us in space we imagine the whole refuge tree.
                  First, we imagine Dorje Chang - the lama who represents all
                  sources of the refuge. We imagine the lama as the center of
                  the refuge tree. We should be fully aware that Dorje Chang is
                  our teacher and that he is the mind of our lama. We think
                  about Dorje Chang to make sure that the manifestation of the
                  nature of mind is not stained by our habitual thoughts. To
                  help us keep the pure view, the view of wisdom, we imagine
                  this perfectly pure form. At the same time we keep awareness
                  that Dorje Chang is the mind of our lama.
                  Everything that appears in front of us in space is like a
                  rainbow or a reflection in a mirror; it is not a thing. If we
                  have difficulties visualizing the whole refuge tree we should
                  have confidence that all objects of the refuge are really in
                  front of us even if we cannot hold them in our mind.
                  2 - Awareness of Ourselves and Others
                  We are not alone in our practice. We are surrounded by all
                  beings that fill the whole universe. We imagine our father on
                  our right side and our mother on our left. When we stand
                  between our parents from this life we realize that each and
                  every being without exception has been our parent in some
                  previous life. This helps us remember the goodness of all our
                  parents, all sentient beings, who were helping us during
                  countless lifetimes.
                  We imagine the ones we consider our enemies in front of us,
                  between the refuge tree and ourselves. We think of the people
                  who cause us problems and obstruct the realization of our
                  plans. All these people are very important because they help
                  us develop such qualities as patience and compassion. We
                  usually want to avoid such people. We try to stay away from
                  them. We do not want to think about them. Putting them in
                  front of us helps us not to forget them. Treating enemies in
                  such a way protects us against disrespecting them.
                  We focus our attention on the refuge tree. We are confident
                  that the refuge can free all sentient beings from the
                  suffering of samsara and it can protect us against the anxiety
                  that this suffering causes. In such a mind-set, surrounded by
                  all sentient beings, we start to repeat the refuge mantra.
                  Everything around us starts to vibrate. We experience strong
                  light from the refuge tree. The light shines on us because of
                  our own devotion. This makes us open up even more. Then we
                  start to bow down. We are the masters of the ceremony and lead
                  the whole practice. Our prostrations immediately inspire all
                  beings to begin doing the same practice. We hear all beings
                  repeating mantras and doing prostrations. These vibrations
                  fill the whole universe.
                  Holding such a vision rather than concentrating only on
                  ourselves widens our activity. On the one hand it gives us
                  strength, on the other hand it gives us motivation to
                  practice. All beings doing prostrations with us give us
                  encouragement. Experiencing great amounts of energy from all
                  beings doing prostrations, we feel even more confidence in and
                  devotion to the Three Jewels. The feeling of "riding with the
                  crowd" helps us finish prostrations quickly and experience
                  great happiness during the practice.
                  3 - The Symbolic Meaning of Each Element in the Act of Bowing
                  Down
                  To give the ultimate dimension to our practice we should be
                  aware of the symbolic meaning of a prostration. Touching our
                  forehead with clasped hands, we ask the objects of the refuge
                  for the blessing of their bodies. At the same time we imagine
                  that the blessing of their enlightened bodies radiates on us,
                  goes through our body and dissolves all its obscurations. Then
                  our clasped hands touch our throat. We ask for the blessing of
                  speech. At the same time we think that the blessing of their
                  enlightened speech emanates from the objects of the refuge and
                  purifies all obscurations that we have accumulated through our
                  speech. In such a way we free ourselves from these
                  obscurations. When we touch our heart with clasped hands we
                  ask the refuge for the blessing of their enlightened mind. It
                  helps us get rid of all veils and wrong views in our minds. We
                  are confident that all evil wishes we have been filling our
                  minds with since beginningless time are completely purified.
                  We should think that we are getting the full blessing of
                  enlightened body, speech, and mind from the Three Jewels.
                  Through the power of this blessing, all veils, bad karma, and
                  negative tendencies in our body, speech, and mind are
                  purified. We are completely pure and inseparable from the
                  body, speech, and mind of the lama and the Three Jewels.
                  When our body touches the ground with its five points (knees,
                  hands, forehead) we should realize that five disturbing
                  emotions - anger, attachment, ignorance, pride, and jealousy -
                  leave our body and disappear in the earth. In such a way we
                  experience complete purification.
                  The two aspects of prostrations, dissolving the mind's poisons
                  and getting the blessing from the Three Jewels, cause the
                  transformation of pride, attachment, jealousy, anger, and
                  ignorance into the five corresponding wisdoms. We should be
                  confident that the transformation is actually taking place,
                  that we have the natural, inherent ability to develop these
                  wisdoms.
                  This symbolic aspect of prostrations will work only if we have
                  confidence. Our confidence can give us this big purification.
                  Practicing without confidence is just like aerobic exercise.
                  4 - The Significance of Devotion
                  Our devotion will grow the more prostrations we do. Finally,
                  we will reach the level where we will no longer think that our
                  body, speech, and mind are any different from the body,
                  speech, and mind of the Three Jewels. Prostrations give a
                  wonderful result; they are the source of a very powerful
                  blessing and a great purification. We should not think that
                  prostrations consist only of an activity of our body. The
                  blessing and purification appear mainly because of our
                  devotion.
                  5 - Increasing the Strength of Our Practice
                  We practice with an open mind. We should not think that we are
                  the only person doing prostrations. All beings are doing them
                  with us. We do not have to limit our thinking only to
                  ourselves. We should not assert ourselves by thinking, "I am
                  bowing down." If we think like that we accumulate good
                  potential that corresponds to the act of doing one
                  prostration. If we think of all sentient beings doing
                  prostrations with us, the good potential we accumulate is much
                  bigger. When we are doing prostrations we should think that a
                  hundred of our emanations are doing them with us. If we are
                  able to imagine that our practice will be much stronger. We
                  should not count more prostrations if we imagine more beings
                  doing them with us. This is only one of the special Vajrayana
                  methods that help us strengthen our practice.
                  6 - Linking the Prostrations with Calming the Mind
                  After a while our body will be tired. This is a useful moment
                  to practice calming the mind. When the body and mind are
                  tired, attachment decreases. If we stop doing prostrations for
                  a moment our mind will naturally calm down by itself without
                  any additional help on our side. When after a while our body
                  and mind feel rested again, our mind becomes agitated. This is
                  the sign to start prostrations again. When we alternate doing
                  prostrations with calming the mind we can practice
                  ceaselessly.

                  3.  The Approach to Suffering

                  Sometimes we might experience difficulties doing prostrations.
                  Pain and fatigue will be in our way. There is always some
                  concern: pain in our knees, elbows, lower back, everywhere.
                  There is no reason to be discouraged by it or lose confidence
                  in our practice. Neither should we strengthen the feeling by
                  saying to ourselves, "I suffer so much, I feel so weak." By
                  doing this we completely block ourselves. We lose the ability
                  to act. When the pain is allowed to "have a say," it can
                  become a real obstacle on the path of our further practice. We
                  should use every unpleasant experience, whether physical or
                  mental, as a means to get enlightened. Such experiences should
                  mobilize us toward greater effort on our path.
                  Everything we experience depends on the state of mind we are
                  in. If we want to experience things differently we must change
                  the state of our mind. If we manage to efficiently transform
                  suffering into a positive and beneficial experience, the
                  suffering will disappear completely without a trace. This will
                  give us more happiness and joy.
                  Prostrations are a way of accumulating truly good potential.
                  They are an easy and effective way to purify negative actions
                  from our past. On the other hand, if - due to pain and fatigue
                  - we continue prostrations being depressed, true purification
                  does not take place.
                  The Techniques of Working with Unpleasant Experiences
                  1 - Depletion of Karma
                  We should not think of suffering as something very serious. We
                  should remember that suffering is just karma, that it is
                  impermanent like everything else. Suffering has its end. When
                  our karma ripens we should remain relaxed and observe this
                  natural flow of things. If we manage to infuse our practice
                  with the understanding of the impermanence of karma, it will
                  dissolve by itself. Karma is not something we have to accept
                  or reject. It is like the obligation to pay our bills which
                  appears automatically. When we have paid our debts karma
                  dissolves by itself and there is nothing to reject.
                  2 - Purification of Karma through Physical Indisposition
                  Dharma practice eliminates veils and stains that are results
                  of our former actions. We should perceive the physical
                  indisposition that we experience during the practice as the
                  result of the compassion of the Three Jewels. This relatively
                  small suffering dissolves future karma which will not ripen.
                  For this reason we should experience this suffering with joy
                  and confidence. Such unpleasant experiences indicate that the
                  practice works. The use of purifying methods may result in
                  many unpleasant experiences on the level of body, speech, and
                  mind. At the same time, we are getting rid of difficulties and
                  veils in our minds. As we experience purification as a result
                  of our practice, our confidence in the Three Jewels increases.
                  We feel deep gratitude because these relatively small
                  nuisances help free us from conditions that would otherwise
                  ripen as much greater suffering.
                  3 - Noticing Ego-Clinging through Suffering
                  We should regard every suffering as an antidote to ego
                  clinging. Experiencing one's own suffering is in itself a
                  proof of our egocentric attitude towards all phenomena. At the
                  same time, such situations (where we experience suffering)
                  give us the possibility to get rid of our ego clinging. If we
                  have no ego-illusion we can experience no suffering. We should
                  also understand the cause of our suffering: we experience it
                  because of our former actions which resulted from our ego
                  clinging. Being so focused on ourselves, we have sown many
                  karmic seeds which have now ripened as suffering. We can treat
                  suffering as a teaching showing us the results of actions that
                  result from being focused on oneself. From beginningless time
                  this ego clinging has been the cause of us being caught in the
                  cycle of existence (samsara).
                  4 - Observing Our Ego
                  Ego wants to be satisfied all the time. As long as everything
                  is all right our ego is content and tries to keep this state.
                  Our "self" clings to this contentment and our mind is
                  distressed with desire - the poison of attachment. When nice
                  circumstances are gone, ego still clings to them because it
                  wants to be content. More attachment and desire appear in our
                  mind. In the cases of unpleasant situations the ego reacts
                  with anger and hatred. It tries to avoid them and replace them
                  with pleasant experiences. In this way our mind is anxious and
                  unhappy. We can recognize the continuous influence of ego in
                  every situation. It ceaselessly categorizes experiences as
                  pleasant or unpleasant. If we follow our ego we accumulate
                  karma which will sooner or later ripen as different kinds of
                  suffering.
                  5 - Unpleasant Experiences as a Test of Our Perseverance
                  We should remember about our promise to use our body, speech,
                  and mind for the benefit of others. Knowing that we work for
                  the benefit of all beings we should keep our promise, subdue
                  our internal difficulties, and continue our practice.
:namaste:
"A genius is a person who, on a beach full of nudists, can remember peoples faces!"  Arka

Offline gregkavarnos

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Re: 35 Confession Buddhas
« Reply #6 on: July 21, 2010, 03:57:29 am »
More explanations
Quote
Prostrations to the Thirty-five Buddhas –
The Bodhisattva’s Confession of Ethical Downfalls
Transcribed and lightly edited teaching given by Ven. Thubten Chodron at Dharma Friendship
Foundation, Seattle, USA; January 2000.
The Four Opponent Powers
 Initial Visualization
 Prostrating
 Doing the Practice
 The Prayer of the Three Heaps
 Confession
 Four Doors through which Downfalls Occur
 Rejoicing
 Dedication
 Conclusion
The text that we will study now is the Sutra of the Three Heaps (Skt:
Triskandhadharmasutra). The three heaps or collections of activities that we do in
conjunction with it are confessing (revealing our unskillful actions), rejoicing, and dedicating.
This sutra is found within a larger sutra, The Stack of Jewels Sutra (Skt: Ratnakutasutra) in
the chapter called “The Definitive Vinaya.” Nagarjuna wrote a commentary to this sutra
entitled The Bodhisattva’s Confession of Ethical Downfalls (Skt: Bodhipattidesanavrtti),
which is the name we often use in English to refer to the practice.
Why do we need to purify? Because our mind is full of rubbish. Have you noticed that
your mind is full of all sorts of illogical thoughts, disturbing emotions, and obsessions? These
afflictions are not the nature of the mind. They are like clouds covering the clear sky. They
are temporary and can be removed. It is to our advantage to remove them. Why? We want to
be happy and peaceful and to be free from suffering, and we want others to be so as well.
From our own experience, we know that under the influence of the afflictions –
disturbing attitudes and negative emotions – we act in ways that harm ourselves and others.
The results of these actions can go on a long time after the action itself has stopped. These
two – afflictions and actions (karma) – are the true origins of our suffering, and we need to
eliminate them. To do this, we must realize emptiness, the deeper mode of existence. To do
this, we must develop concentration, and to do this, we first need to abandon destructive
actions, engage in positive ones, and purify the destructive actions we have created in the
past. The practice of prostrating to the thirty-five Buddhas and reciting and meditating on the
meaning of “The Bodhisattva’s Confession of Ethical Downfalls” is a potent method to
purify the karmic imprints that obscure our mind, prevent us from gaining Dharma
realizations, and lead us to suffering.
Our mind is like a field. Before we can grow anything, such as realizations of the
path, in it, we have to clean the field, fertilize it, and plant the seeds. Prior to planting the
seeds of listening to Dharma teachings, we need to clear away the garbage in the field of the
mind by doing purification practices. We fertilize our mind by doing practices which
accumulate positive potential.
Purification practice is very helpful spiritually as well as psychologically. A lot of the
psychological problems we have stem from negative actions we’ve done in this life and
previous lives. So the more we do purification practice, the more we learn to be honest with
ourselves. We stop denying our internal garbage, come to grips with what we’ve said and
done, and make peace with our past. The more we’re able to do this, the happier and more
psychologically well-balanced we’ll be. This is a benefit that purification brings this life.
Purification is also helpful for us spiritually and benefits us in future lives. It’s going
to take us many lifetimes to become a Buddha, so making sure we have good future lives in
which we can continue to practice is essential. Purification eliminates negative karmic seeds
that could throw us into an unfortunate rebirth in the future. In addition, by eliminating
karmic seeds, purification also removes the obscuring effect they have on our mind. Thus we
will be able to understand the teachings better when we study, reflect, and meditate on them.
So to progress spiritually, we need to purify.
Despite all these benefits to be derived from revealing and purifying our mistakes, one
part of our mind has some resistance to it. There’s the thought, “I’m ashamed of the things
that I’ve done. I’m afraid that people will know what’s going on in my mind and then they
won’t accept me.” With this in the back of our mind, we cover up what we’ve done and what
we’ve thought to the point where we can’t even be honest with ourselves, let alone with the
people we care about. This makes for a painful mind/heart.
The word “shak pa” in Tibetan is often translated as “confession,” but it actually
means to reveal or to split open. It refers to splitting open and revealing the things we’re
ashamed of and have hidden from ourselves and others. Instead of our garbage in a container
festering under the ground, growing mold and gook, we break it open and clean it out. When
we do, all the festering mess clears up because we stop justifying, rationalizing, suppressing,
and repressing things. Instead, we just learn to be honest with ourselves and admit, “I made
this mistake.” We are honest but we don’t exaggerate it either, saying, “Oh, I’m such an
awful person. No wonder no one loves me.” We just acknowledge our mistake, repair it, and
go on with our life.
The Four Opponent Powers
Power of Regret
Power of Reliance/Repairing the Relationship
Power of Determination not to Repeat the Action
Power of Remedial Action
Purification is done by means of the four opponent powers. The first one is the power of
regret for having acted in a harmful way. Note: this is regret, not guilt. It’s important to
differentiate these two. Regret has an element of wisdom; it notices our mistakes and regrets
them. Guilt, on the other hand, makes a drama, “Oh, look what I’ve done! I’m so terrible.
How could I have done this? I’m so awful.” Who is the star of the show when we feel guilty?
Me! Guilt is rather self-centered, isn’t it? Regret, however, isn’t imbued with selfflagellation.
Deep regret is essential to purify our negativities. Without it, we have no motivation
to purify. Thinking about the suffering effects our actions have on others and on ourselves
stimulates regret. How do our destructive actions hurt us? They place negative karmic seeds
on our own mindstream, and these will cause us to experience suffering in the future.
The second opponent power is the power of reliance or the power of repairing the
relationship. When we act negatively, generally the object is either holy beings or ordinary
beings. The way to repair the relationship with holy beings is by taking refuge in the Three
Jewels. The relationship with the holy beings was damaged by our negative action and the
thought behind it. Now we repair that by generating faith and confidence in our spiritual
mentors and the Three Jewels and taking refuge in them.
The way to repair the relationships we’ve damaged with ordinary beings is by
generating bodhicitta and having the wish to become a fully enlightened Buddha in order to
benefit them in the most far-reaching way.
If it is possible to go to the people we have harmed and apologize to them, that’s good
to do. But most important is to reconcile and repair the broken relationship in our own mind.
Sometimes the other person may be dead, or we have lost touch with them, or they may not
be ready to talk with us. In addition, we want to purify negative actions created in previous
lifetimes and we have no idea where or who the other people are now. In other words, we
can’t always go to them and apologize directly.
Therefore, what’s most important is to restore the relationship in our own mind. Here,
we generate love, compassion, and the altruistic intention for those whom previously we held
bad feelings about. It was those negative emotions that motivated our harmful actions, so by
transforming the emotions that motivate us, our future actions will also be transformed.
The third of the four opponent powers is the force of determining not to do it again.
This is making a clear determination how we want to act in the future. It’s good to pick a
specific and realistic length of time for making a strong determination not to repeat the
action. Then we must be careful during that time not to do the same action. Through making
such determinations, we begin to change in evident ways. We also gain confidence that we
can, in fact, break old bad habits and act with more kindness towards others.
With regard to some negative actions, we can feel confident that we’ll never do them
again because we’ve looked inside and said, “That’s too disgusting. Never again am I going
to do that!” We can say that with confidence. With other things, like talking behind other
people’s back or losing our temper and making hurtful comments, it may be more difficult for
us to say confidently that we’ll never do again. We might make the promise and then five
minutes later find ourselves doing it again simply because of habit or lack of awareness. In
such a situation, it’s better to say, “For the next two days I won’t repeat that action.”
Alternatively, we could say, “I will try very hard not to do that again,” or “I will be very
attentive regarding my behavior in that area.”
The fourth opponent power is the power of remedial action. Here we actively do
something. In the context of this practice, we recite the names of the 35 Buddhas and
prostrate to them. Other purification practices include such activities as reciting the
Vajrasattva mantra, making tsa-tsas (little Buddha figures), reciting sutras, meditating on
emptiness, helping to publish Dharma books, making offerings to our teacher, a monastery,
Dharma center, or temple, or the Three Jewels. Remedial actions also include doing
community service work such as offering service in hospice, prison, volunteer programs that
help children learn to read, food banks, homeless shelters, old-age facilities – any action that
benefits others. There are many types of remedial actions that we can do.
Initial Visualization
There are several different ways to visualize the 35 Buddhas. Je Rinpoche visualized all the
Buddhas in a circular pattern around Shakyamuni Buddha. They were different colors with
different hand gestures and hold different hand implements. There are some photographs and
thangkas showing this way of visualization.
The visualization that I’m going to describe here is easier. Here, there are five rows of
Buddhas, corresponding to the five Dhyani Buddhas. In general, all the Buddhas in one row
have the same hand gestures and the color of a particular Dhyani Buddha.
Shakyamuni Buddha is above and in the center. From his heart, 34 light beams come
out forming five rows. The top row has six light beams with six thrones, one at the end of
each beam. Then, the second through the fifth rows all have seven light beams with seven
thrones, one at the end of each light beam. Each throne is supported by elephants, indicating
very strong purification because elephants are mighty. All the Buddhas sit on a seat of lotus,
moon, and sun, symbolizing the three principal aspects of the path.
Shakyamuni Buddha in the center is golden in color and his hands are in the gestures
generally depicted in paintings. His left palm is in his lap holding an alms bowl, and his right
palm on his right knee with the palm down in the earth touching gesture. The text begins
with, “To the Founder, the Transcendent Destroyer, the One Thus Gone, the Foe Destroyer,
the Fully Enlightened One, the Glorious Conqueror from the Shakyas, I bow down.” That is
prostration to Shakyamuni Buddha.
In the first row with the six light beams are the next six Buddhas mentioned in the
text. They resemble Akshobya Buddha and are blue in color. The left hand is in the lap in
meditative equipoise, and the right hand is in the earth touching position with the right palm
facing down on the knee. The fourth one, the One Thus Gone, the King with Power over the
Nagas, is an exception. He has a blue body and a white face and his hands are together at his
heart.
In the second row, the next seven Buddhas also sit on light beams and thrones.
Prostrations to these Buddhas begin with “To the One Thus Gone, the Jewel Moonlight, I
bow down.” These seven Buddhas resemble Vairocana. They’re white in color with both
hands at the heart, the index fingers extended.
In the third row, prostrations to the next seven Buddhas start with “To the One Thus
Gone, the Celestial Waters, I bow down.” These Buddhas resemble Ratnasambhava, who is
yellow in color. His left hand is in meditative equipoise and his right hand rests on the right
knee, palm facing outwards in the gesture of giving.
In the fourth row, starting with “The One Thus Gone, the Son of the Desireless One,”
those seven Buddhas resemble Amitabha. They’re red and both hands are in their laps in
meditative equipoise.
In the fifth row are seven green Buddhas starting with “The One Thus Gone, The
King Holding the Banner of Victory Over the Senses.” They resemble Amoghasiddhi and are
green. The left hand is in meditative equipoise and the right hand is bent at the elbow with the
palm facing outward. This mudra is called the gesture of giving protection; sometimes it is
also called the gesture of giving refuge.
Do the visualization as best as you can. Don’t expect to have it all perfect. The most
important thing is to feel like you’re in the presence of these holy beings. As you say each
name, concentrate on that particular Buddha.
Prostrating
Prostrations may be physical, verbal, and mental. We have to do all of them. Physically, we
do short or long prostrations. When we do the purification practice with the 35 Buddhas, it’s
nice to do the long ones. If you have physical limitation and can’t bow down, just putting
your palms together in front of your heart is considered physical prostration.
Physical prostrations include the long and the short versions. Both begin with
putting our hands together. The right hand represents method or the compassion aspect of the
path, and the left hand represents the wisdom aspect of the path. By putting our two hands
together, we show that we’re trying to accumulate and then unify method and wisdom to
attain the form body and the truth body – the rupakaya and dharmakaya of a Buddha.
Tucking our thumbs inside the palms is like coming to the Buddha holding a jewel – the
jewel of our Buddha nature. The space in between our palms is empty, representing the
emptiness of inherent existence.
Prostrations begin with touching our hands to our crown, forehead, throat and heart.
First touch the crown of your head. On Buddha statues, the Buddha has a small protuberance
on his crown. It’s one of the 32 major marks of an enlightened being. He received this due to
his great accumulation of positive potential while he was on the bodhisattva path. The reason
that we touch our crown is so that we, too, may accumulate that much positive potential and
become a Buddha.
Touching our forehead with our palms represents purifying physical negativities such
as killing, stealing, and unwise sexual behavior. It also represents receiving the inspiration of
the Buddha’s physical faculties. Here, we especially think of the physical qualities of a
Buddha. We imagine white light coming from the Buddha’s forehead into ours and think that
the light performs those two functions: purifying the negativities we created with our body
and inspiring us with the Buddha’s physical capabilities. We can also feel inspired by the
nirmanakaya, the emanation body of a Buddha.
Next, we touch our throat and imagine red light coming from the Buddha’s throat into
ours. This purifies verbal negativities such as lying, divisive speech, harsh words, and idle
talk or gossip. It also inspires us so that we can gain the Buddha’s verbal capacities. These
include the 60 qualities of an enlightened being’s speech. We can also think of the qualities
of the sambhogakaya, the enjoyment body of a Buddha.
Then, we imagine deep blue light coming from the Buddha’s heart into ours. This
purifies all mental negativities such as covetousness, maliciousness, and wrong views. It also
inspires us with the qualities of the Buddha’s mind, such as the eighteen unique qualities of
an enlightened being, the 10 powers, the 4 fearlessnesses, and so on.
To do a short prostration, now put your hands on the floor with your palms flat and
fingers together. Then put your knees down. Touch your forehead to the floor and push
yourself up. This is also called the five-point prostration because we touch five points of the
body to the floor: two knees, two hands, and the forehead. That’s how to do the short
prostration.
If you’re doing long prostrations, after touching your crown, forehead, throat, and
heart with your hands, put your hands down on the floor, then your knees. Then put your
hands some distance in front of you, lie down flat, and stretch your hands out in front of you.
Next, put your palms together and lift your hands at the elbow as a gesture of respect. Some
people lift their hands at the wrist. Put your hands back down, and then move them so that
they’re about even with the shoulders, and push yourself back up to a kneeling position.
Then, move your hands back again next to the knees, and at that point, push yourself back up
to a standing position.
When doing long prostrations, some people slide the rest of the way down after
putting their hands on the floor. That’s also ok. Just be sure to have some kind of pads under
your hands, otherwise they get scratched up. When you move your hands on the way up,
move both of your hands in sync, not one by one as if crawling.
Don’t stay on the ground long. In the Tibetan style of prostrations, we come up
quickly symbolizing that we want to come out of cyclic existence quickly. In other traditions,
such as the Chinese Buddhist tradition, they stay down for a long time to give more time to
visualize. In this case, there’s a different symbolic significance in the prostrations, which has
its own beauty.
Verbal prostration is saying the names of the Buddhas with respect.
Mental prostration is having deep respect, faith, and confidence in the Three Jewels
and their ability to guide us. Mental prostration also includes doing the visualization with the
lights coming to purify and inspire us.
Doing the Practice
It’s good to do this practice at the end of each day. Start by reflecting on the things in your
day that you want to purify. Or, think of everything you’ve done since beginningless time and
purify the whole batch. What’s best is to do the four opponent powers with respect to all
negative actions done in this and previous lives, even if we can’t specifically remember them.
We think of the ten destructive actions in general, but also pay particular attention to
purifying the ones we do remember, whether we created them that day or earlier in our life.
Then, do three prostrations saying, “Om namo manjushriye namo sushriye namo
uttama shriye soha.” Saying this mantra increases the power of each prostration so that it
increases the purification and the creation of positive potential. Then say, “I, (say your
name), throughout all times, take refuge in the Gurus; take refuge in the Buddhas; take
refuge in the Dharma; take refuge in the Sangha.” Of the four opponent powers, that is the
branch of taking refuge.
This is a good practice to do daily, in the morning – to wake you up (among other
benefits) – and in the evening to purify any destructive actions you may have done during the
day. Making prostration is also one of the ngondro or preliminary practices. “Preliminary”
doesn’t mean they are simple! It means we do them as preparation to Vajrayana practice,
especially to purify and eliminate obstacles prior to doing a long retreat on a deity. Other
preliminaries are taking refuge, offering the mandala, reciting Vajrasattva mantra, and guru
yoga. In addition, more preliminaries are the Dorje Khadro (Vajra Daka) practice, the
Damtsig Dorje (Samaya Vajra) practice, offering water bowls, making tsa-tsas. As a
preliminary practice, you do 100,000 of each of these, plus 10% to make up for any errors,
for a total of 111,111.
If you do prostrations every day and are not counting them as part of your ngondro,
you can repeat one name of a Buddha after the other while prostrating. Then continue to
prostrate while saying the prayer of the three heaps – confession, rejoicing, and dedication.
If you’re counting the prostrations, an easy way to count it is to do one prostration to
each Buddha while reciting that Buddha’s name repeatedly. Some names are shorter so you
can say more of them during one prostration; others are longer and you can’t say as many. It
doesn’t matter. By bowing one time to each Buddha, you know that you’ve done 35
prostrations right there so you don’t need to be distracted by trying to count them. Count the
number of prostrations you do while reciting the prayer of the three heaps. If you do this a
few times, you will know approximately how many you do during each recitation. Thereafter,
instead of counting each time you do the prayer, just add in that approximate number. In that
way counting doesn’t become a distraction. This is important, for you should focus on having
regret, doing the visualization, and feeling purified, not on counting numbers.
To memorize the Buddhas’ names, make a tape and say the name over and over again
as many times as it takes to do one prostration. The more times you say the Buddha’s name,
the more positive potential you create. Another way is to keep the book next to you, read one
name and then say it over and over as you do one prostration. Then, when you’ve done that
one, read the next Buddha’s name and say it over and over as you do the second prostration.
As you say each name, think that you are calling out to that Buddha with the intention, “I
want to purify all this rubbish so I can benefit sentient beings in the best way.”
Memorizing the names is very helpful because then you can concentrate on the
visualization and on feeling regret, admiration and respect for the Buddhas’ qualities, trust
and confidence in the Three Jewels. The sooner you can memorize the prayer, the better the
practice will be for you because you won’t be distracted by, “Which Buddha? What’s his
name? I can’t remember.”
Another way to do the practice in which counting is easy is to recite the names all the
way through one time, while prostrating to each one, and do that several more times and say
the prayer of the three heaps once at the end. That is, you can do several sets of names and
then the prayer. It depends how you like to do it. It’s up to you.
While you’re prostrating, think about specific things you want to purify. That will
help you be more aware and conscious in your life and to reflect upon what you’ve done. It’s
also good to think you’re purifying all the actions in a broad, general category, because who
knows what we’ve done in our previous lives? So don’t just dwell on the fact that you
criticized your sister today and forget to regret and purify all the other millions of times
we’ve criticized others throughout infinite beginningless lives. We want to purify the whole
lot of negative karma, although we might focus on certain actions that are really weighing
heavy on us and think of them specifically when we do it.
The Prayer of the Three Heaps
The prayer that follows the Buddhas’ names is called the Prayer of the Three Heaps
because it has three parts. The first part is confession, the second is rejoicing, and the third is
dedication. It’s also good to memorize this prayer because then you can prostrate while
reciting it.
Psychologically, I’ve found it very effective to say all these things that I’ve done
wrong while I’m bowing and my nose is on the ground. Somehow, it really hits home that
way, whereas when we stop and read the prayer because we haven’t memorized it, the ego
isn’t hit quite as hard. So, I would really encourage you to memorize the names and the
prayer so that when you do it in a group, you don’t have to stop and read it. Nor do you have
to depend on another person or the tape recorder to read it for you. After all, it’s us that acted
destructively, not the tape recorder, so we should own up to it by saying it ourselves.
When we do this practice in a group and somebody else is reading, we shouldn’t think
that we don’t need to recite the names and the prayer. That’s like thinking the person reading
the prayer will purify for us. Or, the tape will purify our negativities for us. But then, does the
tape get the good karma? Of course the tape can’t get the good karma because the tape isn’t a
sentient being! In the meantime, we miss out on acting constructively if we let the tape say
the names and the prayer.
For that reason, the masters recommend that with any of these practices, such as
making offerings, bowing, meditating, or reciting, we should do it ourselves. If we do
prostrations, we should do it ourselves. If the names of the Buddhas are being said, we should
say them ourselves. If we don’t, it’s like someone saying, “Julie, will you eat for me?” and
then expecting to be full after she eats. It doesn’t work that way. We have to eat ourselves.
It’s the same way with purification. We’ve got to do it ourselves. We can’t hire somebody
else to do it for us.
1. Confession
Each of the Buddha’s names starts out with “To the One Thus Gone.” That’s “de zhin sheg
pa” in Tibetan or “tathagata” in Sanskrit. “The One Thus Gone” means the one who has
crossed over from samsara to enlightenment. It can also mean “The One Gone to Thusness,”
“thusness” meaning emptiness. Here we bow to one who has realized emptiness. In the
original sutra, the Buddhas’ names didn’t have the preface “The One Thus Gone.” When
Lama Tsongkhapa did the practice, he initially had a vision of all the Buddhas but he couldn’t
see their faces clearly. As he continued to do the practice, he added “The One Thus Gone”
before each Buddha’s name as a way of showing his respect to them, and after that he had a
very clear and vivid vision of all thirty-five Buddhas with their faces. That’s why that phrase
is added, though it wasn’t in front of the names initially.
When I was in Tibet in 1987, I was able to visit Okka, the place where Lama
Tsongkhapa did his prostrations. Although it was virtually destroyed by the Communist
Chinese, you can still see the imprint of his body on the stone where he did prostrations. He
did 100,000 prostrations to each of the 35 Buddhas – that’s three and a half million
prostrations! It’s high altitude there, with cold weather and only tsampa (ground barley flour)
to eat. If Je Rinpoche could do so many prostrations under those conditions, then we can
easily do it here with our thick carpeting, a mat under our body, a pad under our knees, and a
towel under our head. We can adjust the room temperature to make it warmer or cooler.
There is water and even hot chocolate nearby! We can manage it!
This practice of bowing to the 35 Buddhas is from a Mahayana sutra and is also found
in the Chinese Buddhist tradition. The Chinese tradition speaks of 88 Buddhas, of which 35
are the ones mentioned here. The prayer of the three heaps is the same too. One time when I
was staying at City of 10,000 Buddhas in California, some of the chanting we were doing
sounded so familiar. Then I realized that it was this practice. They followed it by reciting
“The King of Prayers,” which is from the Mahayana sutra, the Avatamsaka Sutra, which both
of our traditions share.
The prayer of the three heaps starts with “All you thirty-five Buddhas, and all the
others.” When reciting the prayer, imagine the 35 Buddhas in front of you. Around you
imagine all of your previous lives in human form. They are all bowing with you. In addition,
remember that you’re surrounded by all sentient beings, who are also bowing to the 35
Buddhas with you.
To make it more elaborate, imagine this whole scene upon every single atom,
throughout space. So there are infinite numbers of thirty-five Buddhas, and our infinite
beginningless lives and infinite sentient beings prostrate to the Buddhas. Thinking like this
has a powerful effect on the mind. We create much more powerful positive potential and the
purification is stronger as well. It really stretches the mind and completely gets us out of our
narrow way of thinking and opens us up so we remember all sentient beings.
To all you thirty-five Buddhas and all the others, those thus gone. The tathagatas
are those who have realized emptiness. Foe destroyers, or arhats, are those who have
destroyed the foe of the afflictions and are liberated from cyclic existence. Fully Enlightened
Ones and Transcendent Destroyers are other epithets for the Buddha. Who are existing,
sustaining, and living throughout the ten directions of sentient beings’ worlds.
“Existing” refers to them having attained the dharmakaya, the mind of the Buddha, and
“sustaining” and “living” refers to having attained the rupakaya, the form body of the
Buddha. The rupakaya includes the sambhogakaya, the enjoyment body, as well as the
nirmanakaya, the emanation body. The ten directions include the four cardinal directions, the
four intermediate directions, and up and down. It means everywhere.
All you Buddhas, please give me your attention. We start out by asking the
Buddhas to give us their attention, but what we’re really doing is saying to ourselves, “May I
pay attention to you.” The Buddhas are always paying attention to us. We’re just not usually
tuned into them. Asking them to pay attention to us is really a psychological tool to remind
us to pay attention to them. When we tune into the fact that they’re paying attention to us,
that they’re doing their best, day and night, to guide us to enlightenment, that they care about
us, then we will automatically pay attention to them.
In this life and throughout beginningless lives. Think about that for a while.
Beginningless lives! That’s a long time. In all the realms of samsara. That means that
we’ve been born everywhere in cyclic existence, and we’ve done everything in samsara. So
there’s never any reason to feel that we’re special or better than anyone because every single
action that sentient beings do, we’ve done before in our multiple, beginningless lives. When
we seek to purify our negativities, there’s no reason to feel that we’re morally superior to
others because we haven’t done all the awful things they have. When we consider infinite
beginningless lives, it’s easy to imagine that we have been born in every sort of existence and
done every type of action, positive and negative. The only thing we haven’t done in our
previous lives is complete the path to liberation or to enlightenment. That means that
sometime during our beginningless lifetimes, we’ve all acted like Hitler, Stalin, Mao Tse
Tung, and Osama bin Laden. We’ve done everything, so there’s nothing for us to be arrogant
about.
Remembering this is helpful because arrogance is a huge obstacle on the path.
Thinking that we’re special or better than others creates a big block and impedes our spiritual
growth, because if we think we’re already so great, we won’t think to improve ourselves.
Then we remain smug and complacent while our precious human life slips by. However,
having a spacious mind and being aware of our shortcomings automatically deflates that
arrogance. It makes us humble. Then we are receptive to learning. Willing to listen to the
advice of the wise, we’ll put it into practice and will reap the benefits.
In all the realms of samsara. We’ve been born in the hell realms, as hungry ghosts,
and as animals. We have been born as desire realm gods with sense pleasure deluxe. We’ve
been born in the realms of the form and formless gods, with great single-pointed
concentration. In fact, we’ve been form and formless realm gods, abiding in samadhi for
eons, so don’t think you have no ability to concentrate! You’ve been born there with all those
abilities before. The point is that we never realized emptiness directly, so when we fell from
that state, we kept revolving in samsara.
Now we start confessing, revealing our mistaken actions. I have created. I’ve done it
myself. I’ve caused others to create. We have asked other people to do negative actions for
us; we’ve encouraged their harmful actions. How often do we ask our friends or family to lie
on our behalf? How often do we involve others in gossip about people behind their backs or
criticizing them? How often have we encouraged others to cheat on this or that? We must
reflect on not only the negativities that we have done but those we’ve asked, encouraged, or
influenced other people to do.
Sometimes we don’t want to do a certain action because we are concerned that we
might get caught, get hurt, or suffer ill effects. So we ask somebody else to do it for us,
thinking that then it’ll be their problem to deal with. But, karmically, that doesn’t work. If we
ask somebody else to commit a negative action, we get the same karma as if we did it
ourselves because the motivation came from us. So here, we’re confessing all the negative
influence we’ve had on others.
Sometimes the people we have a harmful influence on are the people we love the
most. The people we’re closest to are the people that get involved in our gossip and divisive
speech, in our schemes and shady business deals. They’re the ones that we ask to steal for us,
to lie and cover up for us when we’ve done something wrong. It’s the people we love that we
incite to speak harshly in order to stick up for us when we’re in a quarrel. It’s the people we
love that we provoke to anger and harsh words by our obnoxious actions.
We need to think about this seriously. From a karmic viewpoint, are we helping or
harming our dear ones? If we care about them and think about their future lives and
enlightenment, would we still act towards them the way we do?
I have created, caused others to create, and rejoiced in the creation of negative
karmas. Not only have we done or asked other people to do destructive actions, but when
we’ve seen other people do them, we’ve said, “Great!” “The U.S. forces bombed Baghdad?
Fantastic!” “They killed some suicide bombers? Super!” “My colleague lied to the boss and
we all got more time off? Wonderful!” “This murderer was just sentenced to death. Great!”
It’s very easy for us to think like that, isn’t it?
In other cases, we rejoice at others’ misfortune. “They caught that dishonest person
and threw him in the can. I’m glad. I hope he gets beaten up in prison.” “The reputation of a
person I’m competing with just got trashed. Hooray!” “This politician whom I don’t like is
getting indicted? Finally!”
It’s extremely easy to rejoice at harmful actions others do or rejoice at others’
misfortune. Especially when we watch movies or the news or when we read the newspaper, if
a part of our mind thinks, “Oh, Good,” about the effect of another’s harmful action, we create
negative karma. So we have to be very careful and watch our mind when we’re in contact
with the media because it’s easy to be judgmental and rejoice in others’ negative karmas,
especially if we get some worldly benefit from it. Here, we confess all of this.
Next, some of the heavy negative karmas we’ve created are delineated. These include
misusing offerings to holy objects. For example, we take things offered on an altar for our
own personal use. It just happens to be lunchtime and we’re hungry and there is food on the
altar so we’ll eat it. A friend stops over unexpectedly and we don’t have any cookies or fruit,
so we take some from our altar to give him. Or if we go to a holy place and take things on
that altar because we want a souvenir. People do this, let me tell you. When I first heard
teachings on this, I wondered, "Who in the world would do these things?" Well, since then,
I’ve seen and heard of people doing these actions. People go to Bodh Gaya and want a
souvenir from the altar in the main shrine to put on their altar. They take it without asking
anyone. It happens.
This also includes the case of someone giving us something to offer to the Three
Jewels and we don’t offer it. For example, somebody gives us some money to offer at the
temple at Bodh Gaya, and we spend it on ourselves. Or someone gives us a gift to give to her
teacher, and we forget. Later when we remember, we think, “It was so long ago. I’ll just keep
it for myself.” Or, someone gives us some cookies to offer to the sangha at a monastery, and
we get hungry, eat them, and think that we’ll buy some other ones. No! When somebody has
given something specific to offer, we have to offer exactly that thing and not think that we’ll
use this one and replace it with something else. Once something has been mentally offered, it
belongs to the Three Jewels; it doesn’t belong to us. All these actions and others are included
in misusing offerings to holy objects.
Misusing offerings to the Sangha is misusing things that have been offered to the
Sangha as a community or to arya Sangha as individuals. If we’re managing the Sangha’s
money or an individual Sangha member’s money and misuse it, the karma is very heavy.
Borrowing the possessions of a sangha community and not returning them, taking their things
without asking permission, misusing Sangha property are included in misusing offerings to
the Sangha.
Stealing the possessions of the Sangha of the ten directions. The Sangha of the ten
directions refers to the entire Sangha community. The negativity created with the Sangha
community is much heavier than other negativities because the object is a community. For
example, if someone takes something from a monastery without asking, they have stolen
from however many people there are in the community. If he wants to go to the Sangha and
confess, he has to confess in front of the entire community. However, it’s not always the case
that the same people who were in the community when he stole are still there when he returns
the item and confesses. That makes it difficult to purify the transgression.
We have to be very careful around the Sangha community and its property. Those
who are monastics can’t offer things belonging to the Sangha community to their relatives.
They can’t give away the Sangha’s property without checking either with the manager of the
community or with each member. Monastics can’t take Sangha property for themselves,
especially money offered to the Sangha community. We have to be extremely careful with
that.
It specifically mentions the Sangha here instead of just sentient beings of the ten
directions because the negative karma is especially heavy stealing from those who have
dedicated their lives to attaining liberation or enlightenment. The power of the object is
greater. Sangha are people who have dedicated their lives to practicing the path. Having taken
precepts, they are fully intent on gaining liberation and enlightenment. Therefore, depriving
them of the means of their livelihood is much more serious than stealing from someone who
is not intent on liberation, or someone who works for a living or has an income.
Actions, either positive or negative, done in relation to our spiritual mentors, the
Buddha, Dharma or Sangha become very powerful. Why? As the object in relation to whom
we act, they are very virtuous. Our mind has become very cloudy if we think virtuous beings
are just like everyone else and treat them inappropriately. That doesn’t mean we idolize them.
Rather, we respect their virtue because we want to be like them.
We create a lot of good karma or a lot of negative karma in relation to virtuous
objects. One of the reasons why it’s possible in Tantra to attain enlightenment in one lifetime
is because when we see our guru as an emanation of the Buddha and make offerings, we
create incredible amounts of good karma. It’s very, very powerful good karma. On the other
hand, if we get angry, we create very, very negative karma because it’s like getting angry
with all the Buddhas. So we have to be very careful around the beings who are virtuous
objects.
The prayer speaks about misusing offerings to the Sangha community. To broaden
that a little, we have to be careful about the actions we do in relationship to a Dharma center.
Although it is not as strong an object for the creation of karma, it is stronger than many other
things in our life. For example, we may borrow books or tapes from the center’s library and
not return them. This is stealing from the Dharma center. Someone managing the center’s
finances may be careless, or worse yet, deliberately take money from the center. The person
in charge of doing a certain job may keep extra supplies for themselves. We must be attentive
and conscientious here. Conversely, offering service to a Dharma center or monastery,
making offerings to them – as our monthly supporters do – assisting in organizing activities
are actions that create a lot of positive potential. Why? Because the object is virtuous and
because we’re helping sentient beings to meet the Dharma, which is the true source of benefit
and aid that will cure their suffering.
I’ve caused others to create these negative actions and rejoiced in their creation.
We admit that we have engaged in, encouraged others to do, or rejoiced in many negative
actions, specifically those in relation to holy objects. Instead of pretending we haven’t done
these in this or previous lives, we release the immense energy involved in denial and
acknowledge our mistaken deeds. Honesty brings a tremendous sense of relief.
I’ve created the five heinous actions, caused others to create them, and rejoiced
at their creation. These five are killing our father, killing our mother, killing an arhat,
causing a schism in the Sangha community, and causing blood to flow from the body of a
Buddha. Actually, some of these can only be done at the time of the nirmanakaya Buddha,
but still we can do things that resemble such actions. We have to be especially mindful of not
causing schism and disharmony in the Sangha community. This refers to dividing people into
different groups through political means, gossip, or any other way. Why is this harmful?
Because the Sangha members don’t function harmoniously together as ones intent on virtue
but instead quarrel with each other, fighting over this and that. They waste their time, and
people in society then lose faith in the Sangha. So, it’s extremely important not to cause
schisms in the Sangha. We can extrapolate that to people in a Dharma center; we should not
provoke them to engage in gossip, rivalry, or politics. Who can practice Dharma in a center
where everyone is busy creating negative karma in a big power struggle?
There are various controversies in the Tibetan community nowadays. I recommend
that we don’t get involved in any of them. Just be aware controversies exist and keep a
distance. We come to the Dharma center for the Dharma, not for politics, and so we listen to
the Dharma and practice it. If other people want to get involved in controversies, so be it, but
we stay away and avoid creating a lot of negative karma.
We might think, “I would never do any of the five heinous actions.” Well, check up.
What if one of our parents says, “I don’t want to live any longer. Please help me kill myself.
I’m in too much pain.” Of course, that’s not the same as killing a parent out of anger, but still
if we assist them it’s contributing to our parent’s death. In our monastic vows, even
encouraging death is a root downfall. We have to think carefully about that. We may think,
“Who in the world would kill their mother?” I went to high school with a guy who went
home one day and shot his mother and himself. I grew up in a “nice middle-class
community,” where things like that aren’t supposed to happen. In addition, since we’ve been
under the influence of ignorance, anger, and attachment since beginningless time, there’s the
possibility that in a previous life we did these five heinous actions.
I have committed the ten non-virtuous actions, involved others in them, and
rejoiced in their involvement. We might think that we don’t do the ten destructive actions
very much. But we have to check up! Really check up, and check up closely. Are we really
free from killing even little tiny beings like mosquitoes? We might think, “Oh, I didn’t
actually see it!” when actually, we did. We need to see the ways we justify or rationalize our
harmful actions.
We may think, “I don’t steal.” Check up to see if we repay and return exactly what we
borrowed. Do you pay all your taxes and fees that you’re required to pay? Do you use office
supplies for your own personal use? Do you make personal long distance calls that are
charged to your workplace? All those things fall under stealing.
What about unwise sexual behavior? Look to see if you use your sexuality wisely and
kindly, or if you’ve used it to manipulate others. Has anyone been hurt physically or
emotionally because of the way you’ve used your sexuality? Many people nowadays easily
get involved in unwise sexual behavior but don’t realize it until afterwards. This is something
to be attentive about so that we don’t create problems for ourselves or suffering for others.
Check up to see if you lie. It’s incredible. We might think that our speech is exact, but
when we look closely, we find that we exaggerate. We emphasize one part of our story and
not the other part so that the listener gets a skewed view. That’s deception, isn’t it?
How about divisive speech? We’re upset with somebody and talk with our friend
about it. And of course, my friend sides with me and gets mad at that same person.
It’s easy to talk behind someone’s back, use harsh words, or say very rude and
insulting things to other people. We do it often. Sometimes we accuse others of doing,
saying, or thinking things that they haven’t. We don’t bother to check with them what their
actual intention was, but instead jump to conclusions and accuse them of doing this, that and
the other thing. Or, we tease them or make fun of them, especially little children, in a way
that hurts their feelings. Or sometimes we’re rude, judgmental, and unappreciative of other
people. How much are we aware of what we do, say, and think? How honest are we with
ourselves? We should avoid being smug, thinking, “Oh, ten negative actions. No problem,”
or “These are small things. They’re not so bad.” These ten cover all aspects of our life. If we
truly want to attain enlightenment, we must begin by abandoning gross harmful actions. We
can’t do high practices when our daily life behavior is a mess!
Let’s examine if we engage in idle talk. How much time do we spend over things that
aren’t really important? Do we waste a lot of time hanging out, talking about frivolous things
just to be amused or to pass time?
Then there’s coveting. How much time do we spend planning how to get the things
we want? “Oh, this is on sale. I really want to get it. This sweater is so nice. This sports
equipment is such a bargain.” Meanwhile our closets are stuffed with things we seldom use.
There’s malicious thought. How much time do we spend writing nasty emails or nasty
letters in our minds to other people. Do we frequently think about how to hurt somebody by
telling them about their faults or rubbing in their mistakes? We spend a lot of time thinking
about how to get our revenge for a hurt someone has done to us.
Wrong views are negating something that exists such as karma and its effects, the
Three Jewels, past and future lives. Wrong views can also involve asserting something that
doesn’t exist, such as a creator god. Many times we aren’t even aware of our own wrong
views – this is a dangerous situation, for not only do those views cause us to do other
unethical actions, but also we may teach them to others. Some people think they teach the
Buddhadharma, but in fact, they teach their own opinions.
We’ve involved others in these ten negative actions. How? We gossip with our friends
and talk behind other peoples’ back with our friends. We spend hours coveting things with
our friends, and rejoiced in their involvement. We also rejoice when others do the ten
destructive actions. These ten are not at all difficult to do!
Being obscured by all this karma, I’ve created the cause for myself and others to
be reborn in the hells, as animals, as hungry ghosts, in irreligious places, amongst
barbarians, as long-lived gods, with imperfect senses, holding wrong views, and being
displeased with the presence of a Buddha. These nine correspond to the eight unfree states
in samsara. To have a precious human life with full opportunity to learn, practice, and realize
the Dharma, we must be free from these states. Our negative actions cause us to take birth in
these states. This is one of their disadvantages.
All this karma obscures our mind so that we can’t gain the realizations of the path. It
obscures our mind so that we continue acting in foolish ways, harming ourselves and others.
This karma obscures our mind to the point that we don’t even realize our mind is obscured.
We can’t go back in time and un-do the past. We harmed others, but we’ve harmed
ourselves just as much or even more because we’ve obscured our own mind with these
negative karmic imprints. That’s why we have so many obstacles and difficulties in our own
Dharma practice. That’s why we can’t meet qualified Dharma teachers, why we can’t receive
the teachings we want, why we can’t stay awake during teachings, why we don’t understand
the Dharma, why we don’t have the conditions to do long retreat. All of these happen because
our mind is full of obscurations.
All the unpleasant things we experience in our life and all the obstacles in our Dharma
practice come because we’ve created negative karma to experience them. Not only are we
obscured by all this karma, which causes us not to be able to think or see things clearly, but
also we’ve dragged other sentient beings into our harmful activities so that their minds are
obscured by their negative karma.
If we’ve created any of the ten non-virtues with all three parts – preparation, action,
and completion – we have a 100% perfect negative karma ready to send us to a lower rebirth.
We’ve created negative karma to be reborn as animals. Imagine what it would be like to be
reborn as an animal, or as a hell being, or as a hungry ghost. We’ve created the cause to be
reborn in all these places, and then once we’re born there, what will we do?
Spend some time thinking about what that would be like, how you would feel living
like that. Imagine being born in an irreligious place, a place where it’s very difficult to meet
Dharma teachers or hear teachings. If we live amongst barbarians, we live in a place where
Dharma isn’t available. Fifty years ago the USA was a barbaric country. What would we do if
we were born somewhere with no access to the Dharma? Imagine having intense spiritual
yearning and aspiration, but there was no one to teach you, no books to read, no access to the
Dharma. Then what would you do? Then you’d really be stuck. There would be little
happiness in that life and because of not meeting the Dharma, it would be difficult to learn
about karma and thus difficult to create the cause for happiness in future lives or for
liberation.
Think of people living in communist countries or places where there is no respect for
religion at all, where it’s very difficult for the people to meet the Dharma or have any kind of
spiritual instruction that would uplift their minds. Think of the Buddha’s teachings on
emptiness and how precious they are. What would you do if you were born in a country
where there was a religion that taught ethical discipline and kindness, but nothing about
emptiness? Not hearing teachings on the nature of reality, you wouldn’t know how to
meditate on it, so you had no chance at all of realizing it directly. Thus liberation was out of
the question. Your whole life would be spent doing this and that, going here and there, but it
would be totally meaningless because there was no possibility of liberation or even working
towards liberation.
Think of people born in a central land where the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha exist
but their minds have no interest in the Dharma. In Bodh Gaya, India, there are many street
vendors trying to sell religious objects, but they don’t have faith in them as religious objects.
They sell them to make money, but actually making one’s livelihood selling religious objects
with the same attitude you’d have selling used cars – to make as much money as possible –
creates a lot of negative karma.
We’ve created the cause to be born as long-lived gods. Some gods have super-duper
deluxe sense pleasure. Others are spaced out in perceptionless samadhi. But no matter how
much pleasure we have in samsara, it ends. Even if we have three eons of pleasure, it’s going
to end, and what do we do when it ends? This situation is not satisfactory. As they say,
samsara sucks.
We’ve created karma to be reborn with imperfect senses, to be reborn as deaf and
dumb, or blind. People with sense defects are not inferior, but they face greater obstacles to
learning the Dharma. Blind people can listen to teachings but their selection of Dharma books
in Braille is limited. Deaf people can read a lot of Dharma books, but it’s hard to receive
teachings. As an aside, I must say it always makes me happy when someone is signing at a
talk I give.
Many years ago I was invited to teach in Denmark. The woman who arranged the
teaching worked in a hospital for handicapped children, and I asked her if I could visit them.
The Danes have really nice social institutions. I went into a beautiful room with so many
brightly colored toys and pictures. It was an extravagant children’s place, but I didn’t see any
children because I was distracted by all the colors and stuff. Then, I became aware of groans
and moans and really strange sounds. I looked around and amidst these gorgeous toys were
severely disabled kids. Some were lying in cribs while others were draped over things like
skateboards that they paddled around on. That’s the only way they could move. They were so
severely disabled that they were just lying around, unable to move. Here they had this
beautiful place to live in and so much wealth. They had the best that money could buy, but
they were so limited mentally and physically. It was very sad.
Very easily, we could be reborn like that. Think about the karma we’ve created! How
many times have we said, “What are you, stupid or something?” That creates the karma to be
born stupid. Or we say to people, “Are you blind?” when they can’t find something. Or “Are
you deaf?” when they don’t hear what we said. Calling people names creates the karma to
have those disabilities ourselves. We have to be very careful about what we say!
We have also created the causes to be reborn as someone who holds wrong views. If
we look at the wrong views we’ve held this life, we see we may have created the cause to be
born in the future as someone who believes in a permanent soul or an inherently existent
creator, or somebody who has wrong ethical standards and thinks killing is good. Would we
like to be born as someone who is attracted to strange religious cults or to illogical views?
Regarding being displeased with the presence of a Buddha, we could be reborn as
someone who has the opportunity to practice and study the Dharma but is extremely critical
of the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha, someone who is hostile to Buddhadharma or to the
Buddha himself. What would happen to us then? Being born in any of the above situations
would make learning and practicing the Dharma very difficult.
We have to think about this in depth. “I have all these karmic imprints on my mind.
What happens if I die soon and these imprints ripen? How will that impact me?” Thinking
about this, we may find that we’re concerned and worried. We want to purify these karmic
imprints, but don’t know how long we have left to live. We have no idea when we’ll die.
We may think, “That’s okay, when I die, I’ll meditate and will therefore have a good
rebirth. “Think about it: Can we control our mind well enough so that when we die we will
surely take refuge, generate bodhicitta, and meditate on emptiness? Let alone be able control
our mind when we’re dying, do we even remember to offer our food before we eat each day?
If we can’t remember to offer all our food when we’re healthy and calm, how are we going to
remember to take refuge when we’re dying and our whole world is discombobulated? So, we
shouldn’t be smug or arrogant and think that we’ll be able to do taking and giving (tong len)
when we die and be born in a pure land, no problem. Just look at how we respond when
someone says something we don’t like. Do we respond with kindness and bodhicitta or do we
respond with anger? It’s very clear, isn’t it?
The point is that if we die and these negative karmas are still on our mind, there’s a
very good chance that some of them will ripen. That creates this sense of urgency, doesn’t it?
It may generate some fear. There are two kinds of fear: one is useful and one is useless. If
there’s an actual danger, being afraid of the danger is useful, isn’t it? If there’s danger of the
ozone layer being completely depleted and life degenerating on this planet, it’s good to be
concerned about that happening because then we’ll do something to prevent it. If there’s a
chance of an accident when we’re merging on the freeway, we’ll look where we’re going to
avoid an accident. That kind of fear, that awareness of danger, is very positive. It is not
neurotic fear. The word fear doesn’t have to mean being in a panic, neurotic, uptight,
trembling, and having a completely frazzled mind. Fear can just mean an awareness of
danger, and that kind of fear is useful because then we’ll work to prevent the danger. For
example, if the flu is going around and we don’t want to get it, we take extra care, don’t we?
We drink orange juice and take vitamins. An awareness of danger can be a positive thing.
The kind of fear that is useless is the panicked, emotional fear that makes it
impossible for us to act because we’re totally immobilized. If we’re so afraid of getting sick
that we stay in a stuffy house all day, we defeat ourselves. Similarly, the kind of fear or
concern stimulated by thinking about the karmic consequences of our actions shouldn’t be the
panicked, neurotic kind of fear. If it is, then we have to realize that we’re not thinking
correctly, that we’re not getting the point that the Buddha intended when he told us about the
eight unfree states. The Buddha intended for us to be aware of the danger of our unskillful
actions so that we can prevent them; his goal wasn’t for us to become frazzled and
immobilized.
Sometimes hearing unpleasant things is useful because it activates us. If we know that
there are certain medical problems in our family and a tendency for us to get a certain
disease, we take special care in those areas, don’t we? It’s the same idea here. We need to
take special care of our actions and by doing so, we prevent unwanted consequences.
Student: Can’t we become overly pious, trying to be good Buddhist boys and girls,
acting as if there were some guy with a clipboard somewhere writing it all down? But, that’s
not how it works. Through our thinking and our acting, we sow seeds, and the seeds that we
plant grow.
Ven. Chodron: This is a good point. I’ve noticed that those of us who grew up in
Judeo/Christian cultures often have a childish mentality about causality and karma which we
learned in Sunday school when we were young children and still believe at some level. It’s
especially important for us to be aware of the attitudes we grew up with that we
unconsciously internalized. We probably aren’t even aware of some of these attitudes until
we find ourselves thinking like you mentioned, and drawing the conclusion that Buddhism
feels too confining, just like some of the beliefs we grew up with and later rejected. We might
think that our attitudes are consistent with the Dharma. This is a stage that many of us go
through, and if it isn’t this, another aspect of the Dharma will remind us of the children’s
Sunday school version of religion that we learned and rejected. It’s important to be aware of
this and to notice what we’re thinking and when we’re projecting the attitudes that we grew
up with onto the Dharma.
As you said, the point of talking about actions and their effects is not to make us into
nice, pious, super sweet little Buddhist boys and girls. Instead we’re trying to become normal,
healthy human beings who see things realistically. But we have preconceptions that we’re not
always aware that we have. We don’t realize we have this kind of conditioning until we find
ourselves fighting with some aspect of the Dharma. Be aware of this and keep an eye out for
it.
Student: Perhaps part of our difficulty is that we want a very simple explanation of
what karma is, and we don’t appreciate its complexity.
Ven. Chodron: Yes, that’s a good point. We want a simple explanation of karma and
we don’t appreciate its complexity, but when we get the simple version of karma, we say that
it sounds too much like kindergarten Sunday school. Some Dharma texts on karma say that
one will be reborn in a hell realm for any misdeed done physically and will be reborn as a
hungry ghost for any misdeed done verbally. This is very simplistic. Some people think, “I
killed a gopher and now I will be reborn a gopher.” We can have a simplistic outlook that
overlooks the fact that one action can bring many results and that othe
"A genius is a person who, on a beach full of nudists, can remember peoples faces!"  Arka

Offline gregkavarnos

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Re: 35 Confession Buddhas
« Reply #7 on: July 21, 2010, 03:59:08 am »
Yeah, I know, I'm getting boring!
Quote
Purification Practices:
________________________________________
There are a variety of purification practices, "The Bodhisattva's Confession of Ethical Downfalls" being one of the most popular. We all have done actions that we now feel badly about doing, and we have aspects of ourselves that we do not like and wish to change. Purification practices are excellent means to remove emotional burdens such as guilt, as well as to pacify the obstacles to our happiness and self-improvement created by the imprints of our destructive actions. Guilt over past actions is useless, only leaving us feeling helpless and hopeless. On the other hand, acting to purify negative imprints and afflictions is very productive. It helps us to change our bad habits and subdues obstacles to long life and success in our spiritual practice.
A complete purification practice consists of four opponent powers:
1. The power of regret for having done the negative action.
2. The power of reliance: taking refuge, which restores our relationship with holy objects, and generating the altruistic intention, which restores our relationship with other sentient beings.
3. The power of the remedial action, e.g. prostration, offering, reciting the names of the Buddha, reading or contemplating the Dharma, etc.
4. The power of the promise not to repeat the action.
These four opponent powers are found in "The Bodhisattva's Confession of Ethical Downfalls," the Vajrasattva meditation, and other practices.
The Bodhisattva's Confession of Ethical Downfalls: Prostrations to the Thirty-Five Buddhas
There are several visualizations of the thirty-five Buddhas. The easiest is to visualize Shakyamuni Buddha, golden in color, with thirty-four light rays coming from his heart. These light rays form five rows and upon each ray is seated a Buddha. The Buddhas in each row resemble one of the five Dhyani Buddhas.
In the first row, are the next six Buddhas mentioned in the prayer. They resemble Akshobya Buddha, blue, the left hand in his lap in the gesture of meditative equipoise, the right hand in the earth-touching gesture (on the right knee, palm down). However, the One Thus Gone, the King with Power over the Nagas, looks slightly different: he has a blue body, a white face, and his hands are folded together at his heart.



In the second row, the next seven Buddhas resemble Vairocana Buddha, white, with both hands at the heart, the index fingers extended.




In the third row, the next seven Buddhas resemble Ratnasambhava Buddha, yellow. His left hand is in meditative equipoise, and his right hand is in the gesture of giving (on the right knee, palm outwards).





In the fourth row, the next seven Buddhas resemble Amitabha Buddha, red, with both hands in meditative equipoise on his lap.
 



In the fifth row, the next seven Buddhas resemble Amogasiddhi Buddha, green. The left hand is in meditative equipoise and the right hand is bent at the elbow with the palm facing outwards.
 
Visualize that you are surrounded by all sentient beings in human form and that you are leading them in prostrating to the Buddhas. While prostrating, imagine much light coming from the Buddhas and flowing into you and into all the sentient beings around you. This light purifies all imprints of negative actions and all afflictions.
After reciting the names of the thirty-five Buddhas and the prayer of the three heaps -- confession, rejoicing and dedication -- you may also want to recite the "General Confession."
After this, visualize the thirty-four Buddhas dissolve into Shakyamuni Buddha. He comes on top of your head and melts into golden light. The light descends through the crown of your head and goes to your heart chakra, in the center of your chest. Feel that all negative karma and obscurations have been completely purified and that your mind has become inseparable from the Buddha's pure mind of wisdom and compassion.
To increase the benefit of each prostration, first prostrate three times while reciting:
om namo manjushriye namo sushriye namo uttama shriye soha.
Continue to prostrate while reciting the names of the Buddhas and the confession prayer.
I, (say your name) throughout all times, take refuge in the Gurus; I take refuge in the Buddhas; I take refuge in the Dharma; I take refuge in the Sangha.
To the Founder, the Transcendent Destroyer, the One Thus Gone(1), the Foe Destroyer, the Fully Enlightened One, the Glorious Conqueror from the Shakyas I bow down.
To the One Thus Gone, the Great Destroyer, Destroying with Vajra Essence I bow down.
To the One Thus Gone, the Jewel Radiating Light I bow down.
To the One Thus Gone, the King with Power over the Nagas I bow down.
To the One Thus Gone, the Leader of the Warriors I bow down.
To the One Thus Gone, the Glorious Blissful One I bow down.
To the One Thus Gone, the Jewel Fire I bow down.
To the One Thus Gone, the Jewel Moonlight I bow down.
To the One Thus Gone, Whose Pure Vision Brings Accomplishments I bow down.
To the One Thus Gone, the Jewel Moon I bow down.
To the One Thus Gone, the Stainless One I bow down.
To the One Thus Gone, the Glorious Giver I bow down.
To the One Thus Gone, the Pure One I bow down.
To the One Thus Gone, the Bestower of Purity I bow down.
To the One Thus Gone, the Celestial Waters I bow down.
To the One Thus Gone, the Deity of the Celestial Waters I bow down.
To the One Thus Gone, the Glorious Good I bow down.
To the One Thus Gone, the Glorious Sandalwood I bow down.
To the One Thus Gone, the One of Unlimited Splendor I bow down.
To the One Thus Gone, the Glorious Light I bow down.
To the One Thus Gone, the Glorious One without Sorrow I bow down.
To the One Thus Gone, the Son of the Desireless One I bow down.
To the One Thus Gone, the Glorious Flower I bow down.
To the One Thus Gone, Who Understands Reality Enjoying the Radiant Light of Purity I bow down.
To the One Thus Gone, Who Understands Reality Enjoying the Radiant Light of the Lotus I bow down.
To the One Thus Gone, the Glorious Gem I bow down.
To the One Thus Gone, the Glorious One who is Mindful I bow down.
To the One Thus Gone, the Glorious One whose Name is Extremely Renowned, I bow down.
To the One Thus Gone, the King Holding the Banner of Victory over the Senses I bow down.
To the One Thus Gone, the Glorious One who Subdues Everything Completely I bow down.
To the One Thus Gone, the Victorious One in All Battles I bow down.
To the One Thus Gone, the Glorious One Gone to Perfect Self-control I bow down.
To the One Thus Gone, the Glorious One who Enhances and Illuminates Completely I bow down.
To the One Thus Gone, the Jewel Lotus who Subdues All I bow down.
To the One Thus Gone, the Foe Destroyer, the Fully Enlightened One, the King with Power over Mount Meru, always remaining in the Jewel and the Lotus I bow down.(*)
All you thirty-five Buddhas, and all the others, those thus gone, foe destroyers, fully enlightened ones and transcendent destroyers who are existing, sustaining and living throughout the ten directions of sentient beings' worlds -- all you Buddhas, please give me your attention.
In this life, and throughout beginningless lives in all the realms of samsara, I have created, caused others to create, and rejoiced at the creation of negative karmas such as misusing offerings to holy objects, misusing offerings to the Sangha, stealing the possessions of the Sangha of the ten directions; I have caused others to create these negative actions and rejoiced at their creation.
I have created the five heinous actions(2), caused others to create them and rejoiced at their creation. I have committed the ten non-virtuous actions(3), involved others in them, and rejoiced in their involvement.
Being obscured by all this karma, I have created the cause for myself and other sentient beings to be reborn in the hells, as animals, as hungry ghosts, in irreligious places, amongst barbarians, as long-lived gods, with imperfect senses, holding wrong views, and being displeased with the presence of a Buddha.
Now before these Buddhas, transcendent destroyers who have become transcendental wisdom, who have become the compassionate eye, who have become witnesses, who have become valid and see with their omniscient minds, I am confessing and accepting all these actions as negative. I will not conceal or hide them, and from now on, I will refrain from committing these negative actions.
Buddhas and transcendent destroyers, please give me your attention: in this life and throughout beginningless lives in all the realms of samsara, whatever root of virtue I have created through even the smallest acts of charity such as giving one mouthful of food to a being born as an animal, whatever root of virtue I have created by keeping pure ethics, whatever root of virtue I have created by abiding in pure conduct, whatever root of virtue I have created by fully ripening sentient beings' minds, whatever root of virtue I have created by generating bodhicitta, whatever root of virtue I have created of the highest transcendental wisdom.
Bringing together all these merits of both myself and others, I now dedicate them to the highest of which there is no higher, to that even above the highest, to the highest of the high, to the higher of the high. Thus I dedicate them completely to the highest, fully accomplished enlightenment.
Just as the Buddhas and transcendent destroyers of the past have dedicated, just as the Buddhas and transcendent destroyers of the future will dedicate, and just as the Buddhas and transcendent destroyers of the present are dedicating, in the same way I make this dedication.
I confess all my negative actions separately and rejoice in all merits. I implore all the Buddhas to grant my request that I may realize the ultimate, sublime, highest transcendental wisdom.
To the sublime kings of the human beings living now, to those of the past, and to those who have yet to appear, to all those whose knowledge is as vast as an infinite ocean, I go for refuge.
General Confession
Woe is me!
O Spiritual Masters, great Vajra Holders, and all the Buddhas and bodhisattvas who abide in the ten directions, as well as all the venerable Sangha, please pay attention to me.
I, who am named _________ , circling in cyclic existence since beginningless time until the present, overpowered by mental distortions such as attachment, hostility and ignorance, have created the ten negative actions by means of body, speech and mind. I have engaged in the five heinous actions and the five parallel heinous actions(4). I have transgressed the vows of individual liberation(5), contradicted the trainings of a bodhisattva(6), broken the tantric commitments(7). I have been disrespectful to my kind parents, spiritual masters, spiritual friends, and those following the pure paths. I have committed actions harmful to the Three Jewels, avoided the holy Dharma, criticized the arya Sangha, and harmed living beings. These and many other destructive actions I have done, have caused others to do, and have rejoiced in others' doing. In short, I have created many obstacles to my own higher rebirth and liberation, and have planted countless seeds for further wanderings in cyclic existence and miserable states of being.
Now in the presence of the spiritual masters, the great Vajra Holders, all the Buddhas and bodhisattvas who abide in the ten directions, and the venerable Sangha, I confess all of these negative actions, I will not conceal them and I accept them as negative. I promise to refrain from doing these actions again in the future. By confessing and acknowledging them, I will attain and abide in happiness, while by not confessing and acknowledging them, true happiness will not come.
________________________________________
Notes
(1) The Buddhas are called the ones thus gone (Sanskrit:tatagata) because they have gone beyond the misery of cyclic existence to complete enlightenment and thus have abandoned all defilements and subtle obscurations. They also have realized the ultimate nature of all phenomena, thusness or emptiness.
(2) The five heinous actions are: causing a schism in the Sangha, killing one's father, killing one's mother, killing an arhat, and drawing blood from the Buddha's body.
(3) The ten non-virtuous actions are: killing, stealing, sexual misconduct, (three of the body); lying, divisive speech, harsh words, idle talk, (four of the speech); covetous thinking, maliciousness, and wrong views (three of mind).
(4) The five parallel heinous actions are: killing a bodhisattva, killing a superior being (one who has realized emptiness directly), stealing the provisions or funds of the Sangha community, destroying a monastery or stupa with anger, commiting incest with one's mother who is an arhat.
(5) The vows of individual liberation include the five lay precepts as well as the precepts of the novice and fully-ordained monk and nun, and the one-day vows.
(6) The trainings of the bodhisattva include the guidelines for aspiring bodhicitta and the 18 root and 46 auxillary bodhisattva precepts.
(7) The tantric commitments include the 14 root and 8 auxillary tantric vows, the 19 samaya of the five Buddha families, and other commitments taken at the time of empowerment into practices of the higest class of tantra.
(*) Prostrations to the seven Medicine Buddhas can be included here. The names of the seven Medicine Buddhas are as follows:
To the One Thus Gone, the King of Glory Renowned with an Excellent Name, I bow down.
To the One Thus Gone, the Jewel Moon, I bow down.
To the One Thus Gone, the Stainless Morality of Golden Fortune, I bow down.
To the One Thus Gone, the Supreme One Without Death, I bow down.
To the One Thus Gone, the Ocean of Melodious Dharma, I bow down.
To the One Thus Gone, the King of Direct Knowledge, I bow down.
To the One Thus Gone, the Lapis Buddha of Medicine, the King of Light, I bow down.

:namaste:
"A genius is a person who, on a beach full of nudists, can remember peoples faces!"  Arka

Offline gregkavarnos

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Re: 35 Confession Buddhas
« Reply #8 on: July 21, 2010, 04:00:43 am »
More detailed explanations for the qualities of each Buddha.
Quote
THE 35 TATHAGATHAS:
SHAKYAMUNI
The one who is characteristic of the fully awakened state of the Shakyamuni, “The subduer from the Shakya clan.” The title Shakyamuni refers to his primordial awareness, ability and excellent qualities. Sa refers to his primordial awareness that understands all things without exception; kya refers to his insight and muni means that he’s has bound himself to the truth without duality. “Subduer” (thub-pa, muni) carries the additional significance that he has overcome the detriment of having been born into an important position in the royal family of the Sakya. “Sakya” refers to his excellent quality of being above other beings. The special meaning of ‘subduer’ is that he has bound his body, speech and mind to the truth without duality.
While doing the purification practice visualization of the 35 Buddhas, you should prostrate to him through the three gates of your body, speech and mind with sincere faith, imagining his body to be golden in colour and seated on the central throne in the posture of bestowing the Dharma.
VAJRAPRAMARDI
“The Great Destroyer with the Adamantine Essence” (dorje-snying-pos-rab-tu-‘joms-pa, Vajrapramardi) sits directly above Shakyamini in the heavenly field of the ‘essence of space’. He is blue in colour and in his hands he holds two admantine sceptres (dorje, vajra). “Adamantine” means that his primordial or pristine awareness is non-conceptual; “Essence” signifies that his excellent qualities (yon-tan, guna) are the essential source of all things, and “Great Destroyer” indicates that his function (las, karma) is to destroy everything such as emotional afflictions.
RATNARCIS
In the east, in front of Sakyamuni, sits "the Jewel Radiating Light" (rin-chen 'od-'phro, Ratnarcis) in the celestial field 'endowed with jewels.' He is white and holds a sceptre and a sun. Jewel indicates his excellent qualities are, like a precious jewel, the source of all excellence such as power; his pristine awareness is clear like "Light" free from the darkness of not knowing reality; and "Radiating" refers to his function of eliminating the ignorance of every sentient being.
NAGESVARARAJA
"The Ruling King of Serpent Spirits" (klu dbang-gi rgal-po, Nagesvararaja) is seated to the southeast of Sakyamuni in the heavenly field 'pervading the serpent spirits'. His body is blue in color and he holds a tree of serpent spirits and a blue snake. "Serpent Spirits" refer to his primordial awareness which is cooling and is likened to a serpent of malevolent spirit because, separated from conflicting emotions, it kills grasping at things as having characteristics. His function is "Ruling" because he has power over everything, and his excellence is like a "King('s)" because he is glorious among others, is handsome and lacks any fear.
VIRASENA
"The leader of the Warriors" (dpa'-bo'i-sde, Virasena) is seated in the south in the heavenly field 'endowed with warriors' he is yellow and holds in his hands a scripture and a sword. "Warrior" refers to his primordial awareness which is matchless and undefeatable; warrior also refers to his function of destroying all battles that arise in the cycle of existence, and "Leader" refers to his excellent quality of being endowed with many accumulations of excellences.
VIRANANDI
"The one pleased to be a Warrior" (dpa'-bo dgyes, Viranandi) is seated in the southwest in the heavenly field 'endowed with pleasure.' His body is orange in colour and he holds in hands a sun and a red lotus. "Warrior" refers to his primordial awareness and functions as stated before, and "Pleased: refers to his excellence of mind which, because of its compassionate nature, is pleased to engage in activities for the benefit of sentient beings.
RATNAGNI
"The Jewel Fire" (rin-chen-me, Ratnagni) is seated in the west in the heavenly field 'endowed with luminosity'. He is red and holds a precious jewel and a ring of fire. "Jewel" refers to his primordial awareness which fulfils his purpose without discursive thought; it also refers to his excellence from which arises meditative absorption and total completeness (phun-sum-tsogs-pa, sampanna) which is beyond worldly actions; and "Fire" refers to his function of benefiting sentient beings with his primordial awareness and great energy which burns away their emotional afflictions.
RATNACHANDRAPRABHA
The "Jewel Moonlight" (rin-chen zla-'od, Ratnachandraprabha) sits in the north-west in the celestial field of 'good light.' His body is white in color and he holds in his hands a jewel and a moon. "Jewel" refers to his excellence as before, "Moon" refers to his pristine awareness that is full, bright and cool; "Light" indicates his function to clear away contaminated actions and conflicting emotions, and that he illuminates the actual Truth of phenomena.
AMOGHADARSI
In the north sits the "One With Vision and a Purpose" (mthong-ba-don-yod, Amoghadarsi) in the heavenly field of 'drum-beat.' He is green in colour and holds the two eyes of a full awakened being. "Vision" indicates that his primordial awareness is un-obscured; it also refers to his excellent quality that his eyes of intelligent awareness is un-obscured; it also refers to his excellent quality that his eyes of intelligent awareness and compassion clearly see the truth of reality itself (chos-nyid, dharmata) and the purpose of sentient beings. His function is that he has a "Purpose" to lead all sentient beings to partake in the fruit of definite goodness and higher status.
RATNACANDRA
"The Jewel Moon" (rin-chen zla-ba, Ratnacandra) is seated in the north-east in the celestial field 'abounding in radiant light.' He is pale-green in colour and he holds a precious jewel and a moon. "Jewel" refers to his excellent quality as noted before and "Moon" refers to his pristine awareness and function as stated before.
VIMALA
"The Stainless One" (dri-ma med-pa, Vimala) is seated directly below Sakyamuni in the celestial realm 'covered by ash particles.' His body is the colour of smoke and he holds two stainless mirrors. "Stainless" indicates his pristine awareness without obscuration; (that his function abides in) his ability to make others stainless, and that his excellent qualities, such as his power to brilliantly illuminate beings, distinguishes them from the traces of beings affected by unexpected occurrences.
That is the first group of ten Fully Awakened Beings around Buddha Sakyamuni to whom you should pay homage. The second group of ten is placed directly above the first group.
SURADATTA
The One This Gone who is "Bestower of Courage" (dpa'-sbyin, Suradatta) resides in the direction above Sakyamuni in the celestial field 'endowed with glory.' His body is white in colour and he holds a tree trunk with leaves and fruits. "Courage" refers to his primordial awareness that puts an end to all discursive thoughts; it also refers to his excellence of unflinchingly giving total completeness and happiness to others; and "Bestower" indicates that his function is to bestow pleasure or whatever is wished for on all sentient beings of the three realms.
BRAHMA
"The Pure One" (tshang-pa, Brahma) sits in the eastern direction in the heavenly field 'free from obscuration.' He is orange in colour and holds a lotus and a sun. His pristine awareness is "Pure" since it is free from all obscuration; also his function is to purify since he cleanses all sentient beings from cyclic existence; and furthermore his excellent qualities are pure because, through the strength of his immeasurable excellence, he cleanses both himself and others.
BRAHMADATTA
"The One Who Gives out of Purity" (tshang-pas-sbyin, Brahmadatta) is seated in the south-east in the celestial field 'without sorrow.' He is yellow and holds a moon and a lotus. "Purity" refers to his pristine awareness and excellence as noted before. His function is to "Give" all sentient beings pure happiness.
VARUNA
"The Water Deity" (chu-lha, Varuna) sits encircled by water in the south in the 'stainless' celestial field. He is blue and is in the gesture of bestowing dharma. "Water" refers to his pristine awareness which is extremely clear and unstained; it also refers to his function of compassionately moistening the mental continuum of sentient beings with the scared Truth of Dharma; "Deity" indicates his marvellous quality of having magical powers by which he can conjure up emanations.
VARUNADEVA
"The Deity of the Water Deity" (chu-lha'i-lha, Varunadeva) is seated in the south-west and his body is white in colour. He holds the circle, or mandala of the Water Deity and a mirror. "Water" refers to the pristine awareness as noted before; "Deity" refers to his function which is to work for the sake of all sentient beings through performing tasks such as miraculous emanations; and also refers to his excellent quality as noted before.
SRIBHADRA
"The Glorious Good" (dpal-bzang, Sribhadra) is seated in the west in the heavenly field 'endowed with bliss.' He is red and holds a lotus and a twig from the wish-fulfilling tree. "Glorious" indicates his excellence for possessing complete perfection for the sake of himself and others; "Good" refers to his primordial awareness which is extremely supreme; and also his function of leading others along the good path to the state beyond sorrow.
CHANDANASRI
"The Glorious Sandalwood" (tsan-ldan-dpal, Chandanasri) sits in the north-western direction in the celestial field 'pervaded by a sweet perfume.' He is orange and holds the trunk of a sandalwood tree and a glorious fruit. "Sandalwood" refers to his primordial awareness since it cools and cleanses the pain of emotional afflictions such as ignorance; it also refers to his excellence since, (just as the scent of sandalwood pervades the whole room), all things are likewise imbued with his supreme qualities such as his powers; and "Glorious" refers to his function as noted before.
ANANTATEJAS
"The One of Unlimited Splendour" (gzi-brijid-mtha'yas, Anantatejas) resides in the north in the celestial field 'endowed with splendour.' He is red in colour and holds two suns in his hands and is surrounded by a large retinue. "Splendour" refers to his pristine awareness which is clear and is able to suppress and bring others to clarity; "Limitless" indicates that his function is to benefit innumerable sentient beings and that his pre-eminent qualities are infinite.
PRABHASASRI
"The Glorious Light" (od-dpal, Prabhasasri) abides in the north-east in the heavenly field 'endowed with great significance.' His body is white in colour and he holds a ring of white light. "Light" refers to his pristine awareness which, like the sun, dispels the gloom of both the obscuration to liberation and omniscience of himself and others' "Glorious" refers to both his function and his excellent quality as noted before.
ASOKASRI
"The Glorious One Without Sorrow" (mya-ngan-med-pa'i-dpal, Asokasri) is seated below the Stainless One in the celestial field 'separated from obscuration.' He is pale blue and holds an Ashoka tree. "Without Sorrow" refers to his primordial awareness which transcends cyclic existence and is separated from all obscuration; also it indicates his function of liberating all sentient beings from the sorrows of suffering and the cycle of existence; and "Glorious" refers to both his function and his excellent quality as noted before.
NARAYANA
Elevated above Sakyamuni in the celestial field 'separated from passion' sits "the Son of the Passionless One" (srid-med-kyi-bu, Narayana). His body is blue and his hands are in the gesture of Mount Meru and a lotus. "Passionless" refers to his primordial awareness which is divorced from discursive thought; and also his function of freeing sentient beings from their attachment to cyclic existence; and "Son" indicates his excellent quality of being born like a son from the fully awakened state, and refers to his good qualities such as loving kindness.
KUSUMASRI
"The Glorious Flower" (me-tog-dpal, Kusumasri) resides in the eastern direction in the celestial field 'where many flowers blossom.' He is yellow and holds a yellow flower and glorious fruit. "Flower" indicates that his primordial awareness is like a flower because it is unfolding; and "Glorious" refers to his function of endowing everyone with complete perfection like himself.
TATHAGATHABRAHAMAJYOTIVIKRIDITABHIJNA
"The One Thus-Gone who Understands Clearly, Enjoying the Radiant Light of Purity" (de-bzhin gshegs-pa tshang-pai od-zer rnam-par rol-pas mngon-par mkhyen-pa, Tathagathabrahamajyotivikriditabhijna) sits in the south-east in the heavenly field 'pervaded by purity.' He is white and holds a lotus and a pool of light. The epithet "One Thus Gone" is ascribed to this and the following full Awakened Being, but it should be remembered that it applies equally to all thirty-five Awakened Ones.
"Purity" refers to his primordial awareness as noted before; "Radiant Light" refers to his excellence, his great ability that is extremely clear; "Enjoying" indicates his function of benefiting sentient beings through such feats as miraculous emanations; and through his primordial awareness of mind he clearly understands such things as the means for being of benefit.
TATHAGATAPADMAJYOTVIKRIDIBHIJINA
"The One Thus Gone who Understands Clearly, Enjoying the Radiant Light of the Lotus" (de-bzhin gshegs-pa padmai odzer rnam-par rolpas mngon-par mkhyen-pa, Tathagatapadmajyotvikridibhijina) sits in the south in the heavenly field 'endowed with lotuses.' He is red and his hands are in the gesture of a lotus and a sun. :Lotus" refers to his primordial awareness which blossoms and is not attracted to worldly faults; and "Clearly Understands, Enjoying the Radiant Light" refers to his function and good qualities as noted before.
DHANASRI
"The Glorious Gem" (nor-dpal, Dhanasri) abides in the south-west in the heavenly field 'endowed with gems.' He is brilliant-red [yellow?] and holds his hands in the gesture of two great and unceasing; it also indicates his function of fulfilling all desires by being endowed with great marvellous attributes like the qualities of a gem; and his excellence is indicated by "Glorious" which has two implications as noted before.
SMRITISRI
“The Glorious One Who is Mindful” (dran-pa’I-dpal, Smritisri) is seated in the western direction in the heavenly field ‘endowed with clarity.’ He is yellow and holds a text and a sword. “Mindful” indicates that his great primordial awareness never forgets; it also indicates that his excellence which is his inconceivable ability to remember his previous life; and ‘Glorious’ refers to his function as noted before.
SUPARIKIRTITANAMAGHEPASRI
“The Glorious One Whose Name is Extremely Renowned” (mtshan-dpal zhin-tu yongs-grags, Suparikirtitanamaghepasri) is seated in the northwest in the celestial field ‘without any name.’ He is green and with his two hands he holds the crown of a Buddha above his head. “Name” refers to his excellent quality is such that his great fame pervades throughout the three realms of the universe.
INDRAKETUDHVAJARAJA
“The King of the Victory Banner of the Pinnacle of Sensory Powers” (dbang-po’I tog-gi rgyal-mtshan-gyi rgyal-po, Indraketudhvajaraja) is seated in the north in the celestial field of ‘clear sensory powers.’ He is yellow and holds a victory banner and its precious pinnacle. The “Pinnacle of Sensory Powers” refers to his primordial awareness because, just as we perceive objects through our sensory powers, he perceives the truth of reality through his pristine awareness; and it is like a pinnacle since it beautifies reality; “Victory Banner” refers to his excellent quality of being victorious over cyclic existence; and “King” indicates that his function is to do all that is needed to be done.
SUVIKRANTASRI
“The Glorious One Who Vanquishes Utterly Within” (shin-tu rnam-par gnon-pa’I-dpal, Suvikranta) is seated in the north-east in the heavenly field ‘endowed with merriment.’ He is white and sits in the earth touching posture. “Perfectly” refers to his primordial awareness which is perfect; “Subdues” indicates that his function is to destroy the emotional afflictions and malevolent forces within all sentient beings; and “Glorious” refers to his excellences as noted before.
YUDDHAJAYA
Below the "Glorious One Without Sorrow" in the celestial field 'where there are no conflicting emotions.' sits the "One who is Utterly Victorious in Battles Within" (gyul-las shin-tu rnam-par rgayal-ba, Yuddhajaya). He is black and holds a shield and a sword. "Victorious in Battles Within" indicates his function of turning back inner enemies which are conflicting emotions and contaminated actions of all sentient beings; "Extremely" refers to his primordial awareness; and "Victorious" refers to his excellent quality of being endowed with the ability to gain victory over cyclic existence for the sake of himself and others.
This concludes the third group of awakened beings. Outside the immediately preceding circle of fully awakened beings are the remaining four.
VIKRANTAGAMSRI
"The Glorious One who has transcended by vanquishing within" (rnam-par gnom-pai gshegs-pai-dpal, Vikrantagamsri) is seated to the east of Sakyamuni in the heavenly field "endowed with glory." He is white and his hands are positioned in the earth-touching and fearless gestures. "Vanquishing Within" refers to vanquishing the inner enemies of conflicting emotions and contaminated actions; and "Glorious" refers to his excellence as noted before.
SAMANTAVABHASAVYUHASRI
"The Glorious One Who Enhances and Illuminates Totally" (kun-nas snang bkod-pai-dpal, Samantavabhasavyuhasri) is in the southern direction in the celestial field " Where luminosity is enhanced." He is yellow and holds a sun and the stem of a precious jewel. "Illuminates Totally" refers to his function which is to eliminate the ignorance of sentient beings through his pristine awareness; "Enhances" indicates that his pristine awareness is limitless; and "glorious" refers to his excellence.
RATNAPADMAVIKRAMI
In the westeren direction, in the heavenly field 'endowed with glory' sits the 'One who Subdues by jewel and a Lotus' (rin-chen padmai rnam-par gnonpa, Ratnapadmavikrami) He is red in colour and holds a jewel and a lotus. "Jewel" refers to his excellence; "Lotus" indicates that his primordial awareness is stainless; and "Subdues" refers to his function as noted before.
RATNAPADMASUPRATISTHITASAILENDRAJA
In the north, in the celestial field of ‘precious jewels’ sits the one the “One Thus Gone, the Foe Destroyer, the Completely Perfected Fully Awakened Being, the King of Powerful Mount Meru who is firmly Seated upon a Jewel and a Lots” (de-bzhin gshegs-pa dgra-bcom-pa yang-dag-par rdzogs-pa’I sangs-rgyas rinpoche dangpadmalarabtu-bzhugs pa ri-dbang-gyi rgyal-po, Ratnapadmasupratisthitasailendraja). His throne consists of a lotus, moon, lions and precious jewels. He is sky-blue and his two hands support Mount Meru. You should understand that “Jewel” and “Lotus” refer to both his throne as well as to that of the others, indicating their excellences, function and primordial awareness is unshakable like the king of mountains and his excellent quality is like Mount Meru. “King” indicates his function of doing what is needed to be done.
:namaste:
"A genius is a person who, on a beach full of nudists, can remember peoples faces!"  Arka

Offline gregkavarnos

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Re: 35 Confession Buddhas
« Reply #9 on: July 21, 2010, 04:03:10 am »

That's it, I gave you all I got now its up to you to practice!
 :namaste:
"A genius is a person who, on a beach full of nudists, can remember peoples faces!"  Arka

Offline zerwe

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Re: 35 Confession Buddhas
« Reply #10 on: July 21, 2010, 06:19:02 am »
Yeah, I know, I'm getting boring!
Quote
Purification Practices:
________________________________________
There are a variety of purification practices, "The Bodhisattva's Confession of Ethical Downfalls" being one of the most popular. We all have done actions that we now feel badly about doing, and we have aspects of ourselves that we do not like and wish to change. Purification practices are excellent means to remove emotional burdens such as guilt, as well as to pacify the obstacles to our happiness and self-improvement created by the imprints of our destructive actions. Guilt over past actions is useless, only leaving us feeling helpless and hopeless. On the other hand, acting to purify negative imprints and afflictions is very productive. It helps us to change our bad habits and subdues obstacles to long life and success in our spiritual practice.
A complete purification practice consists of four opponent powers:
1. The power of regret for having done the negative action.
2. The power of reliance: taking refuge, which restores our relationship with holy objects, and generating the altruistic intention, which restores our relationship with other sentient beings.
3. The power of the remedial action, e.g. prostration, offering, reciting the names of the Buddha, reading or contemplating the Dharma, etc.
4. The power of the promise not to repeat the action.
These four opponent powers are found in "The Bodhisattva's Confession of Ethical Downfalls," the Vajrasattva meditation, and other practices.
The Bodhisattva's Confession of Ethical Downfalls: Prostrations to the Thirty-Five Buddhas
There are several visualizations of the thirty-five Buddhas. The easiest is to visualize Shakyamuni Buddha, golden in color, with thirty-four light rays coming from his heart. These light rays form five rows and upon each ray is seated a Buddha. The Buddhas in each row resemble one of the five Dhyani Buddhas.
In the first row, are the next six Buddhas mentioned in the prayer. They resemble Akshobya Buddha, blue, the left hand in his lap in the gesture of meditative equipoise, the right hand in the earth-touching gesture (on the right knee, palm down). However, the One Thus Gone, the King with Power over the Nagas, looks slightly different: he has a blue body, a white face, and his hands are folded together at his heart.



In the second row, the next seven Buddhas resemble Vairocana Buddha, white, with both hands at the heart, the index fingers extended.




In the third row, the next seven Buddhas resemble Ratnasambhava Buddha, yellow. His left hand is in meditative equipoise, and his right hand is in the gesture of giving (on the right knee, palm outwards).





In the fourth row, the next seven Buddhas resemble Amitabha Buddha, red, with both hands in meditative equipoise on his lap.
 



In the fifth row, the next seven Buddhas resemble Amogasiddhi Buddha, green. The left hand is in meditative equipoise and the right hand is bent at the elbow with the palm facing outwards.
 
Visualize that you are surrounded by all sentient beings in human form and that you are leading them in prostrating to the Buddhas. While prostrating, imagine much light coming from the Buddhas and flowing into you and into all the sentient beings around you. This light purifies all imprints of negative actions and all afflictions.
After reciting the names of the thirty-five Buddhas and the prayer of the three heaps -- confession, rejoicing and dedication -- you may also want to recite the "General Confession."
After this, visualize the thirty-four Buddhas dissolve into Shakyamuni Buddha. He comes on top of your head and melts into golden light. The light descends through the crown of your head and goes to your heart chakra, in the center of your chest. Feel that all negative karma and obscurations have been completely purified and that your mind has become inseparable from the Buddha's pure mind of wisdom and compassion.
To increase the benefit of each prostration, first prostrate three times while reciting:
om namo manjushriye namo sushriye namo uttama shriye soha.
Continue to prostrate while reciting the names of the Buddhas and the confession prayer.
I, (say your name) throughout all times, take refuge in the Gurus; I take refuge in the Buddhas; I take refuge in the Dharma; I take refuge in the Sangha.
To the Founder, the Transcendent Destroyer, the One Thus Gone(1), the Foe Destroyer, the Fully Enlightened One, the Glorious Conqueror from the Shakyas I bow down.
To the One Thus Gone, the Great Destroyer, Destroying with Vajra Essence I bow down.
To the One Thus Gone, the Jewel Radiating Light I bow down.
To the One Thus Gone, the King with Power over the Nagas I bow down.
To the One Thus Gone, the Leader of the Warriors I bow down.
To the One Thus Gone, the Glorious Blissful One I bow down.
To the One Thus Gone, the Jewel Fire I bow down.
To the One Thus Gone, the Jewel Moonlight I bow down.
To the One Thus Gone, Whose Pure Vision Brings Accomplishments I bow down.
To the One Thus Gone, the Jewel Moon I bow down.
To the One Thus Gone, the Stainless One I bow down.
To the One Thus Gone, the Glorious Giver I bow down.
To the One Thus Gone, the Pure One I bow down.
To the One Thus Gone, the Bestower of Purity I bow down.
To the One Thus Gone, the Celestial Waters I bow down.
To the One Thus Gone, the Deity of the Celestial Waters I bow down.
To the One Thus Gone, the Glorious Good I bow down.
To the One Thus Gone, the Glorious Sandalwood I bow down.
To the One Thus Gone, the One of Unlimited Splendor I bow down.
To the One Thus Gone, the Glorious Light I bow down.
To the One Thus Gone, the Glorious One without Sorrow I bow down.
To the One Thus Gone, the Son of the Desireless One I bow down.
To the One Thus Gone, the Glorious Flower I bow down.
To the One Thus Gone, Who Understands Reality Enjoying the Radiant Light of Purity I bow down.
To the One Thus Gone, Who Understands Reality Enjoying the Radiant Light of the Lotus I bow down.
To the One Thus Gone, the Glorious Gem I bow down.
To the One Thus Gone, the Glorious One who is Mindful I bow down.
To the One Thus Gone, the Glorious One whose Name is Extremely Renowned, I bow down.
To the One Thus Gone, the King Holding the Banner of Victory over the Senses I bow down.
To the One Thus Gone, the Glorious One who Subdues Everything Completely I bow down.
To the One Thus Gone, the Victorious One in All Battles I bow down.
To the One Thus Gone, the Glorious One Gone to Perfect Self-control I bow down.
To the One Thus Gone, the Glorious One who Enhances and Illuminates Completely I bow down.
To the One Thus Gone, the Jewel Lotus who Subdues All I bow down.
To the One Thus Gone, the Foe Destroyer, the Fully Enlightened One, the King with Power over Mount Meru, always remaining in the Jewel and the Lotus I bow down.(*)
All you thirty-five Buddhas, and all the others, those thus gone, foe destroyers, fully enlightened ones and transcendent destroyers who are existing, sustaining and living throughout the ten directions of sentient beings' worlds -- all you Buddhas, please give me your attention.
In this life, and throughout beginningless lives in all the realms of samsara, I have created, caused others to create, and rejoiced at the creation of negative karmas such as misusing offerings to holy objects, misusing offerings to the Sangha, stealing the possessions of the Sangha of the ten directions; I have caused others to create these negative actions and rejoiced at their creation.
I have created the five heinous actions(2), caused others to create them and rejoiced at their creation. I have committed the ten non-virtuous actions(3), involved others in them, and rejoiced in their involvement.
Being obscured by all this karma, I have created the cause for myself and other sentient beings to be reborn in the hells, as animals, as hungry ghosts, in irreligious places, amongst barbarians, as long-lived gods, with imperfect senses, holding wrong views, and being displeased with the presence of a Buddha.
Now before these Buddhas, transcendent destroyers who have become transcendental wisdom, who have become the compassionate eye, who have become witnesses, who have become valid and see with their omniscient minds, I am confessing and accepting all these actions as negative. I will not conceal or hide them, and from now on, I will refrain from committing these negative actions.
Buddhas and transcendent destroyers, please give me your attention: in this life and throughout beginningless lives in all the realms of samsara, whatever root of virtue I have created through even the smallest acts of charity such as giving one mouthful of food to a being born as an animal, whatever root of virtue I have created by keeping pure ethics, whatever root of virtue I have created by abiding in pure conduct, whatever root of virtue I have created by fully ripening sentient beings' minds, whatever root of virtue I have created by generating bodhicitta, whatever root of virtue I have created of the highest transcendental wisdom.
Bringing together all these merits of both myself and others, I now dedicate them to the highest of which there is no higher, to that even above the highest, to the highest of the high, to the higher of the high. Thus I dedicate them completely to the highest, fully accomplished enlightenment.
Just as the Buddhas and transcendent destroyers of the past have dedicated, just as the Buddhas and transcendent destroyers of the future will dedicate, and just as the Buddhas and transcendent destroyers of the present are dedicating, in the same way I make this dedication.
I confess all my negative actions separately and rejoice in all merits. I implore all the Buddhas to grant my request that I may realize the ultimate, sublime, highest transcendental wisdom.
To the sublime kings of the human beings living now, to those of the past, and to those who have yet to appear, to all those whose knowledge is as vast as an infinite ocean, I go for refuge.
General Confession
Woe is me!
O Spiritual Masters, great Vajra Holders, and all the Buddhas and bodhisattvas who abide in the ten directions, as well as all the venerable Sangha, please pay attention to me.
I, who am named _________ , circling in cyclic existence since beginningless time until the present, overpowered by mental distortions such as attachment, hostility and ignorance, have created the ten negative actions by means of body, speech and mind. I have engaged in the five heinous actions and the five parallel heinous actions(4). I have transgressed the vows of individual liberation(5), contradicted the trainings of a bodhisattva(6), broken the tantric commitments(7). I have been disrespectful to my kind parents, spiritual masters, spiritual friends, and those following the pure paths. I have committed actions harmful to the Three Jewels, avoided the holy Dharma, criticized the arya Sangha, and harmed living beings. These and many other destructive actions I have done, have caused others to do, and have rejoiced in others' doing. In short, I have created many obstacles to my own higher rebirth and liberation, and have planted countless seeds for further wanderings in cyclic existence and miserable states of being.
Now in the presence of the spiritual masters, the great Vajra Holders, all the Buddhas and bodhisattvas who abide in the ten directions, and the venerable Sangha, I confess all of these negative actions, I will not conceal them and I accept them as negative. I promise to refrain from doing these actions again in the future. By confessing and acknowledging them, I will attain and abide in happiness, while by not confessing and acknowledging them, true happiness will not come.
________________________________________
Notes
(1) The Buddhas are called the ones thus gone (Sanskrit:tatagata) because they have gone beyond the misery of cyclic existence to complete enlightenment and thus have abandoned all defilements and subtle obscurations. They also have realized the ultimate nature of all phenomena, thusness or emptiness.
(2) The five heinous actions are: causing a schism in the Sangha, killing one's father, killing one's mother, killing an arhat, and drawing blood from the Buddha's body.
(3) The ten non-virtuous actions are: killing, stealing, sexual misconduct, (three of the body); lying, divisive speech, harsh words, idle talk, (four of the speech); covetous thinking, maliciousness, and wrong views (three of mind).
(4) The five parallel heinous actions are: killing a bodhisattva, killing a superior being (one who has realized emptiness directly), stealing the provisions or funds of the Sangha community, destroying a monastery or stupa with anger, commiting incest with one's mother who is an arhat.
(5) The vows of individual liberation include the five lay precepts as well as the precepts of the novice and fully-ordained monk and nun, and the one-day vows.
(6) The trainings of the bodhisattva include the guidelines for aspiring bodhicitta and the 18 root and 46 auxillary bodhisattva precepts.
(7) The tantric commitments include the 14 root and 8 auxillary tantric vows, the 19 samaya of the five Buddha families, and other commitments taken at the time of empowerment into practices of the higest class of tantra.
(*) Prostrations to the seven Medicine Buddhas can be included here. The names of the seven Medicine Buddhas are as follows:
To the One Thus Gone, the King of Glory Renowned with an Excellent Name, I bow down.
To the One Thus Gone, the Jewel Moon, I bow down.
To the One Thus Gone, the Stainless Morality of Golden Fortune, I bow down.
To the One Thus Gone, the Supreme One Without Death, I bow down.
To the One Thus Gone, the Ocean of Melodious Dharma, I bow down.
To the One Thus Gone, the King of Direct Knowledge, I bow down.
To the One Thus Gone, the Lapis Buddha of Medicine, the King of Light, I bow down.

:namaste:

This is the closest to the one I use in my practice. Obviously, prostrations to any of the holy Buddhas is beneficial and produces merit. However, I have seen where it suggested that for purification that one must include the "Four Opponent Powers." Also, don't forget the multiplier! om namo manjushriye namo sushriye namo uttama shriye soha.
Shaun :namaste:

Offline zerwe

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Re: 35 Confession Buddhas
« Reply #11 on: July 21, 2010, 06:41:33 am »
Also, here is a super cool interactive model of the "ten directions" visulization of the 35 Buddhas and recitation example. http://www.bodhipath.org/index.php?id=131
Shaun :namaste:

Offline Tsomo

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Re: 35 Confession Buddhas
« Reply #12 on: July 21, 2010, 10:13:44 am »
 :dharma:
Hi Greg, great, the 35 Confession Buddhas.
Just the right time for me to find so much info about the 35 Confession Buddhas.
It is much more than what I'd hoped to find out about the practice.
Thanks a million!

And Zerwe, thanks for adding to it!  :namaste:


Offline humanitas

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Re: 35 Confession Buddhas
« Reply #13 on: July 21, 2010, 02:54:01 pm »
Wow, this is all wonderful!  I am going to really study this practice, it looks deeply healing.  Also, do I need an empowerment to do this practice?

:headbow:
Ogyen.
This post was made with 100% recycled karma

Offline Caz

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Re: 35 Confession Buddhas
« Reply #14 on: July 21, 2010, 02:58:34 pm »
Wow, this is all wonderful!  I am going to really study this practice, it looks deeply healing.  Also, do I need an empowerment to do this practice?

:headbow:
Ogyen.

No its a sutra practise.  :pray:
http://emodernbuddhism.com/

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We would like to request you to please respect this precious Dharma book, which functions to free living beings from suffering permanently. If you continually read and practice the advice in this book, eventually your problems caused by anger, attachment and ignorance will cease.

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