Long-life Empowerment Based on White Heruka

December 30, 2018

Bodhgaya, Bihar, India – As is customary, this morning, as His Holiness the Dalai Lama left Gaden Phelgyeling Monastery for the teaching ground, three Lamas led the way. Representing his host, Namgyal Monastery in Bodhgaya, was the Disciplinarian of the Monastery and representing the requesting sponsors of the teaching, were the Abbots of Ganden Shartse and Jangtse Monasteries. They wore their yellow Dharma robes and carried incense in their hands. Each wore the elaborate yellow hat topped by a long crest of upstanding threads that oral tradition explains represent the one thousand Buddhas of this fortunate aeon. The overall yellow colour denotes ethical purity, while the white and yellow fabric inside, as well as the red piping along the edge, are said to denote the protectors of the three families—Avalokiteshvara, Manjushri and Vajrapani.

A group of monastics and lay people reciting the Heart Sutra in Russian at the start of the Long Life Empowerment given by His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Bodhgaya, Bihar, India on December 30, 2018. Photo by Lobsang Tsering
A group of monastics and lay people reciting the Heart Sutra in Russian at the start of the Long Life Empowerment given by His Holiness the Dalai Lama in Bodhgaya, Bihar, India on December 30, 2018. Photo by Lobsang Tsering

His Holiness stopped several times as he walked to wave to the crowd and occasionally greet individuals. He paid his respects to the images of enlightenment in the Kalachakra Pavilion and took his seat on the throne.

Today, Burmese monks recited the Mangala Sutta in Pali. There followed recitations of the Heart Sutra in Mongolian, Russian, Japanese and English.

To begin with His Holiness explained that he had been feeling bilious and a little unwell yesterday. However, with rest and the positive wishes of the general public, by afternoon he felt better. He told the crowd that has grown to more than 16,000 that this morning he would give a Long-life Empowerment based on White Heruka that comes from the Manjushri Cycle of Teachings in the lineage of Lama Umapa.

His Holiness the Dalai Lama addressing the crowd of more than 16,000 at the Kalachakra Ground in Bodhgaya, Bihar, India on December 30, 2018. Photo by Lobsang Tsering
His Holiness the Dalai Lama addressing the crowd of more than 16,000 at the Kalachakra Ground in Bodhgaya, Bihar, India on December 30, 2018. Photo by Lobsang Tsering

“I took the empowerment long ago. I do the recitation and meditate on the winds in connection with this every day. It’s said that this is a practice that is especially beneficial in these degenerate times. It will serve as an auspicious conclusion to this year’s teachings in Bodhgaya.

“You need to check your motivation—think, ‘Since I’ve found this fortunate human rebirth and have met with the Buddha’s teachings, may I be of benefit to other beings.’ You have to work hard.

“Bodhichitta is the supreme means to cure beings of their ailments. It’s the remedy for disturbing emotions. It’s the one medicine that helps self and others. You have to train the mind to develop qualities like compassion to make it less stiff and more pliable.”

Some of the more than 16,000 people attending the Long-life Empowerment given by His Holiness the Dalai Lama at the Kalachakra Ground in Bodhgaya, Bihar, India on December 30, 2018. Photo by Lobsang Tsering
Some of the more than 16,000 people attending the Long-life Empowerment given by His Holiness the Dalai Lama at the Kalachakra Ground in Bodhgaya, Bihar, India on December 30, 2018. Photo by Lobsang Tsering

His Holiness guided the audience through the visualizations of the longevity empowerment. At appropriate points monks passed through the crowd distributing long-life pills to eat and nectar to sip. At the end, he declared:

“I hope we’ll have the opportunity to complete this cycle of initiations another time. I expect to meet many of you here again in a year and it will be good if you can give an account of the progress you’ve made in your practice. I remember presenting what I’d understood to my teacher, who remarked, ‘It seems you’ll soon be something of a space-yogi’.

Long-life pills waiting to be distributed to the crowd during the Long-life Empowerment given by His Holiness the Dalai Lama at the Kalachakra Ground in Bodhgaya, Bihar, India on December 30, 2018. Photo by Lobsang Tsering
Long-life pills waiting to be distributed to the crowd during the Long-life Empowerment given by His Holiness the Dalai Lama at the Kalachakra Ground in Bodhgaya, Bihar, India on December 30, 2018. Photo by Lobsang Tsering

“You have to make an effort. It’s a bit of a shame if you receive a lot of teachings, but there’s no change in your understanding or in the warmth of your heart. You have to rely on the wisdoms of listening, reflection and meditation. I’ve been meditating on emptiness for almost 70 years, helped by my mentor Ngödrup Tsognyi. As far as bodhichitta is concerned, to start with I thought it was too difficult, but I studied the ‘Guide to the Bodhisattva’s Way of Life’ and ‘Precious Garland’ and kept up my efforts. If you can do that too, change will come. You have to work to incorporate whatever you hear or read into your practice—that’s the purpose of seeking to live long.

“Tomorrow, there’ll be a Long-life Ceremony based on White Tara that the Central Tibetan Administration, Namgyal Monastery and Shelkhar Ngashap are performing on my behalf.”

And with that, His Holiness came down from the throne, smiling and waving as he left the stage and returned to the monastery.