PRAYERS

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Chanted Prayers (or Puja in Sanskrit) are an important element of our spiritual training. They help to still our mind and receive blessings from enlightened beings in order to create the best internal conditions for our meditation practice to bear fruit. Prayer, “monlam” in Tibetan, simply means “wish path”. The prayer booklets we use are known as ‘sadhanas’ meaning “methods for accomplishing attainments”. Using ancient prayers translated into English, these practices help us to purify our negativity and fill our mind with positive energy.

Chanted prayers also help us create a direct connection with enlightened beings so that we can receive their special blessings, guidance, and protection as we travel along the spiritual path.

If you enjoy meditating with others, chanted prayers are a great opportunity for you to engage in group prayers. The sessions are suitable for beginners as well as those with experience. No need to book, just come along and relax.

All pujas are free of charge. Everyone is welcome. No booking is required.

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OFFERING TO THE SPIRITUAL GUIDE

This is a special Guru yoga of Je Tsongkhapa in conjunction with Highest Yoga Tantra. It was compiled by the first Panchen Lama, Losang Chokyi Gyaltsen, as a preliminary practice for Vajrayana Mahamudra.

The main practice is relying upon the Spiritual Guide, but it also includes all the essential practices of the stages of the path (Lamrim) and training the mind (Lojong), as well as both the generation stage and completion stage of Highest Yoga Tantra.

By relying upon Je Tsongkhapa, our compassion, wisdom, and spiritual power naturally increase. In particular, because Je Tsongkhapa is an emanation of the Wisdom Buddha Manjushri, his faithful followers never experience difficulty in increasing their wisdom.

The essence of Guru yoga is to develop a strong conviction that our Spiritual Guide is a Buddha, to make prostrations, offerings, and sincere requests to him or her, and then to receive his or her profound blessings. According to the Guru yoga of Offering to the Spiritual Guide, we develop conviction that our Spiritual Guide is the same nature as Je Tsongkhapa, who is an emanation of the Wisdom Buddha Manjushri.

There are many benefits from practising Offering to the Spiritual Guide. These are explained in the book Great Treasury of Merit, which contains a complete commentary to the practice.

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LIBERATION FROM SORROW

Tara is a female Buddha, a manifestation of the ultimate wisdom of all the Buddhas.

Each of the Twenty-one Taras is a manifestation of the principal Tara, Green Tara. Tara is also known as the `Mother of the Conquerors'. Tara is our common mother, our Holy Mother.

When we are young we turn to our worldly mother for help. She protects us from immediate dangers, provides us with all our temporal needs, and guides and encourages us in our learning and personal development.

In the same way, during our spiritual growth we need to turn to our Holy Mother, Tara, for refuge. She protects us from all internal and external dangers, she provides us with all the necessary conditions for our spiritual training, and she guides us and inspires us with her blessings as we progress along the spiritual path.

If we rely upon Mother Tara sincerely and with strong faith, she will protect us from all obstacles and fulfil all our wishes. Since she is a wisdom Buddha, and since she is a manifestation of the completely purified wind element, Tara is able to help us very quickly. `Tara' means `Rescuer'. She is so called because she rescues us from the eight outer fears (the fears of lions, elephants, fire, snakes, thieves, water, bondage, and evil spirits), and from the eight inner fears (the fears of pride, ignorance, anger, jealousy, wrong views, attachment, miserliness, and deluded doubts).

Temporarily Tara saves us from the dangers of rebirth in the three lower realms, and ultimately she saves us from the dangers of samsara and solitary peace.

If we recite the twenty-one verses of praise, we shall receive inconceivable benefits. These praises are very powerful because they are Sutra, the actual words of Buddha. It is good to recite them as often as we can. We do this together with the prayer booklet 'Liberation from Sorrow'.

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POWA

Powa, or transference of consciousness, is a profound method for transferring the consciousness of the deceased to the Pure Land of Buddha. After a person dies and before they take their next rebirth, there is an opportunity for those who have some connection with them to guide their consciousness’ away from the painful rebirths of samsara and into the pure lands, worlds created by minds experiencing things in a pure way.

Powa Ceremony, a beautiful and powerful ritual practice drawn from the Buddhist tantras, enables us to benefit the deceased by coming together as a group and making prayers and offerings on their behalf. Then, through the power of our compassionate intention, strong prayer, and concentration on the practice, we transfer the consciousness of the deceased to the Pure Land of the Buddha of Compassion so that they will experience a pure and lasting peace and finally be freed from the painful cycling of suffering and it’s causes.

By engaging in this practice we ourselves will create a great collection of virtue, which will also lead us into the pathway to the Pure Land of a Buddha. We perform this Powa Practice on behalf of those who have recently died, traditionally within forty-nine days of their death.

Everyone is welcome. Please bring an offering of food, flowers, if you wish.

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WISHFULFILLING JEWEL

This sadhana includes two practices revealed by the Wisdom Buddha Manjushri. The first is a special Guru yoga in which we visualize our Spiritual Guide as Je Tsongkhapa, who himself is a manifestation of Manjushri. By relying upon this practice, we can purify negativity, accumulate merit, and receive blessings. In this way, we shall naturally accomplish all the realizations of the stages of the path of Sutra and Tantra, and in particular we shall attain a very special Dharma wisdom.

The second practice is a method for relying upon the Dharma Protector Dorje Shugden. Through this, we can overcome obstacles to our practice and create favourable conditions so that we can nurture and increase our Dharma realizations. If we rely upon the Dharma Protector Dorje Shugden sincerely, our faith in Je Tsongkhapa will naturally increase and we shall easily gain experience of the pure Buddhadharma transmitted directly to Je Tsongkhapa by the Wisdom Buddha Manjushri.

These two practices are the very essence of the New Kadampa Tradition of Mahayana Buddhism. If we practise them regularly and sincerely, we shall reap a rich harvest of pure Dharma realizations, and eventually come to experience the supreme joy of full enlightenment.

Wishfulfilling Jewel With Tsog

Wishfulling Jewel with tsog are prayers are ceremonies that involve making offerings of food and drink to the Buddhas in conjunction with prayers and meditation of Wishfulfilling Jewel. They are an excellent method for accumulating merit, purifying negativity and receiving blessings.

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MELODIOUS DRUM VICTORIOUS IN ALL DIRECTIONS

This practice consists of five parts: Praise to Manjushri, the Guru Yoga of Je Tsongkhapa, Self-generation as Heruka, the Fulfilling and Restoring Ritual of the General Protectors, and the Fulfilling and Restoring Ritual of the Great King Dorje Shugden. Of these, the last is the principal practice.

During this puja we make extensive offerings and perform other practices (1) to fulfil our heart commitment to rely upon the Protector sincerely, regarding him as inseparable from the Guru and Yidam, and to practise the pure Dharma of Lamrim, Lojong, and Mahamudra; and (2) to restore any degenerate or broken commitments we may have incurred.

We begin the practice with Praise to Manjushri to remember that the Guru and Protector are in reality emanations of the Wisdom Buddha. We then perform the Guru yoga of Je Tsongkhapa and, after dissolving the Guru into our heart, perform self-generation as Heruka. We then invite the general Dharma Protectors such as Mahakala, Kalarupa, and Kalindewi, before beginning the actual sadhana of Dorje Shugden. The fulfilling and restoring ritual of the general Protectors is interwoven with the sadhana of Dorje Shugden.

A Dharma Protector is an emanation of a Buddha or a Bodhisattva whose main functions are to avert the inner and outer obstacles that prevent practitioners from gaining spiritual realizations, and to arrange all the necessary conditions for their practice. Beings in this present time have a strong karmic link with Dorje Shugden, and so he is the Dharma Protector who is most able to help them. Therefore it is said that, Now is the time to rely upon Dorje Shugden. Dorje Shugden always helps, guides, and protects pure and faithful practitioners by granting blessings, increasing their wisdom, fulfilling their wishes, and bestowing success on all their virtuous activities.

There are many brief and middling-length sadhanas of Dorje Shugden, such as Heart Jewel and Wishfulfilling Jewel. This extensive sadhana is called Kangso in Tibetan, which means Fulfilling and Restoring Ritual, and it is usually performed once a month in Dharma Centres.