Preliminary Procedures for the Chakrasamvara Empowerment
Thekchen Chöling, Dharamsala, HP, India – When His Holiness the Dalai Lama arrived at the Tsuglagkhang early this morning the temples, surrounding verandas and the yard below were already packed with people, who included 5000 monks and nuns, 600 Mongolians and other members of the public.
To begin with His Holiness sat facing the mandala and silently conducted procedures preliminary to his giving the Chakrasamvara empowerment. Once these practices were complete, he took his seat on the throne.
Indicating a small boy sitting to his left His Holiness told the crowd, “We have the reincarnation of Khalkha Jetsun Dhampa Rinpoché of Mongolia with us today. His predecessors had a close association with the Krishnacharya lineage of Chakrasamvara. One of them established a monastery in Mongolia dedicated to its practice. So, his being here today is quite auspicious.
“In Tibet tantra spread widely. With regard to Chakrasamvara, the Ghantapada and Luipa traditions were popular, but this Krishnacharya lineage was quite rare. I received it from Tagdrag Rinpoché and have long felt a close affinity for the practice. Today, I’ll go through the preliminary procedures for the empowerment proper that I will give tomorrow.
“Chakrasamvara is classified as a mother tantra. It belongs to the highest yoga tantras. Whereas Guhyasamaja emphasizes the illusory body, Chakrasamvara focusses on the clear light. However, if you make the illusory body your primary practice, the clear light also arises.
“As I said, I feel a close affinity to the Krishnacharya tradition. I have received the empowerment and undertaken the requisite retreat. This may seem somewhat boastful, but I also feel I have some connection with the great Mahasiddha Krishnacharya.
“This empowerment requires the preliminary practices that we’ll do today. I’ve done the self-generation and visualized myself as Chakrasamvara.
“First of all, we offer a ritual cake to fend off any hindrances there may be to the conduct of the empowerment. Of course, the real hindrance is the ignorance within us, so perhaps we can consider the ritual cake is being offered to those who are ignorant of their true nature.
“Buddha Shakyamuni was unique among spiritual teachers and founders of spiritual traditions in that he taught about compassion and working to help others. He showed the path to follow, which entails understanding what conduct to adopt and what to give up. He revealed the means by which we can transform ourselves.
“In tantra we actualize the mind of clear light. If we can do that, we also have the means to attain the illusory body and bring them together on the level of a trainee. These teachings are scientific. They accord with reality.
“Buddhahood is a state free from all faults and impediments and endowed with all qualities. How do we achieve it? By employing the spontaneous mind of clear light. We have this within us and can transform it into the path to enlightenment.
“The clear light mind, which is always accompanied by a subtle wind energy transforms into the illusory body at the trainee level. Such high attainments are possible to achieve. Within our minds we have wind and mind of varying degrees of subtlety. Wind and mind that have existed from beginningless time are the basis for the designation of a person. By transforming the coarse wind and mind we can actualize the subtle clear light mind with its accompanying energy-wind.
“As far as this empowerment is concerned, we undertake it not in order to attain higher rebirth, but as a means to attain enlightenment. To practise tantra we need a clear vision of ourselves as a deity. Therefore, we dissolve the idea of ourselves as an ordinary being and transform into Heruka or Chakrasamvara.”
Prior to giving the Bodhisattva vows His Holiness spoke about the importance of cultivating the awakening mind of bodhichitta. He mentioned that it brings peace of mind, adding that all the thousand Buddhas of this fortunate aeon will become enlightened in dependence on it. This is why, he said, he generates bodhichitta and reflects on emptiness as soon as he wakes up every morning. He commended Shantideva’s ‘Entering the Bodhisattva Way’ as the book that best elucidates the qualities of bodhichitta and ways to cultivate it, revealing that he keeps a copy by his bed.
His Holiness encouraged members of the congregation to visualize the Buddha in the space before them surrounded by the Eight Bodhisattvas and the great masters of India and Tibet. Before these witnesses he invited his listeners to take the Bodhisattva vows by repeating the appropriate verse three times after him.
To complete the preliminary procedures His Holiness called on Jhado Rinpoché to throw the tooth stick, which fell in the east. Consecrated water was distributed by pouring it into the devotees’ cupped hands. Blessed protection cords were handed out, along with short and long stems of kusha grass. These were to be placed under the pillow and mattress respectively to help clarify sleep. Finally, initiates were advised to examine their dreams tonight.
As the morning’s session came to a close, His Holiness met briefly with a significant contingent of Mongolians who are the patrons of this teaching. The crowd dispersed and the view in every direction was filled with the upstanding stems of kusha grass the initiates held in their hands.