If you can, offer the best orange or yellow silk robe to the buddha statue inside the temple. You can get a monk’s yellow robe (Tib: chögö). It can just be one piece of cloth and that can be offered. If there is time it can be sewn into a robe, otherwise just offer a piece of cloth.You can also fill up many begging bowls with food offerings and offer these in front of the statue.
When you make the offering of the robe, you can start by doing Jorchö practice inside the temple. If there is somebody who can chant the prayers, that is very nice, otherwise you can read in English.
Then do the extensive offering practice, all the meditations that I do when I offer a scarf to the Buddha statue and so forth. Do that short practice in front of the Buddha. The practice includes blessing, offering and prostrations.
Purifying the place
THAM CHÄ DU NI SA ZHI DAG
SEG MA LA SOG ME PA DANG
LAG THIL TAR NYAM BÄI DUR YÄI
RANG ZHIN JAM POR NÄ GYUR CHIG
Everywhere may the ground be pure,
Free of pebbles and so forth,
As level as the palm of the hand,
In the nature of sapphire, and soft.
Set up the offerings, whatever number you can, and of the best quality possible. Bless every offering you put on the altar by reciting OM AH HUM.
Recite the Offering Cloud Mantra that blesses the offerings and causes each buddha to receive numberless offerings.
Offering Cloud Mantra
OM NAMO BHAGAVATE VAJRA SARA PRAMARDANE TATHAGATAYA / ARHATE SAMYAKSAM BUDDHAYA / TADYATHA OM VAJRE VAJRE / MAHA VAJRE / MAHA TEJA VAJRE / MAHA VIDYA VAJRE / MAHA BODHICHITTA VAJRE / MAHA BODHI MANDO PASAM KRAMANA VAJRE / SARVA KARMA AVARANA VISHO DHANA VAJRE SVAHA (3x)
Extensive Power of Truth
KÖN CHHOG SUM GYI DEN PA DANG
SANG GYÄ DANG JANG CHHUB SEM PA THAM CHÄ KYI JIN GYI LAB DANG
TSHOG NYI YONG SU DZOG PÄI NGA THANG CHHEN PO DANG
CHHÖ KYI YING NAM PAR DAG CHING SAM GYI MI KHYAB PÄI TOB KYI
CHHOG CHU NA ZHUG PÄI SANG GYÄ DANG JANG CHHUB SEM PA THAM
CHÄ KYI CHÄN NGAR PHAG PA JAM PÄL DANG KUN TU ZANG PO LA
SOG PÄI NAM PAR CHHÖ PÄI TRIN GYI PHUNG PO SAM GYI MI KHYAB PA
ZÄ MI SHE PA NAM KHA DANG NYAM PAR JUNG WAR GYUR CHIG
By the power of truth of the Three Rare Sublime Ones,
The blessings of all the buddhas and bodhisattvas,
The great wealth of the completed two types of merits,
And the pure and inconceivable sphere of phenomena,
May these piles of clouds of offerings arising through transformation by the bodhisattvas Arya Samantabhadra, Manjushri, and so forth—unimaginable and inexhaustible, equaling the sky—arise and, in the presence of the buddhas and bodhisattvas of the ten directions, be received.
Then recite the actual offering verses:
Offering Divine Garments
NA TSHOG WANG PÖI ZHU TAR RAB TRA WA
GANG LA REG NA DE WÄI GYUR GYUR PÄI
GÖ ZANG RIN CHHEN DAG LO JANG CHHIR BÜL
ZÖ PA DAM PÄI GÖ KYI GYÄN PAR SHOG
In order to purify my mind, I offer an exquisite precious garment,
Multi-colored like Indra’s variegated bow,
That when touched becomes the cause of bliss.
May I be adorned with the holy garment of patience.
OM VAJRA VASTRAYE AH HUM SVAHA
Sit down and go for refuge to the Buddha and the Three Rare Sublime Ones.
SANG GYÄ CHHÖ DANG TSHOG KYI CHHOG NAM LA
JANG CHHUB BAR DU DAG NI KYAB SU CHHI
DAG GI JIN SOG GYI PÄI TSHOG NAM KYI
DRO LA PHÄN CHHIR SANG GYÄ DRUB PAR SHOG (3x)
I take refuge until I am enlightened
In the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Supreme Assembly.
By my merits of generosity and so forth,
May I become a buddha to benefit transmigratory beings. (3x)
Then you can recite the following two verses, and the four immeasurable thoughts, generating bodhicitta, etc.
Do not engage in any harmful actions;
Perform only those that are good;
Subdue your own mind—
This is the teaching of the Buddha.
A star, a visual aberration, a flame of a lamp,
An illusion, a drop of dew, or a bubble,
A dream, a flash, of lightning, a cloud—
See all conditional things as such!
The Four Immeasurable Thoughts
How wonderful it would be if all sentient beings were to abide in equanimity, free from the closeness of attachment and the distance of hatred.
May they abide in equanimity.
I myself will cause them to abide in equanimity.
Please, Guru-Deity, bless me to be able to do this.
How wonderful it would be if all sentient beings were to have happiness and the causes of happiness.
May they have happiness and its causes.
I myself will cause them to have happiness and its causes.
Please, Guru-Deity, bless me to be able to do this.
How wonderful it would be if all sentient beings were free from suffering and the causes of suffering.
May they be free from suffering and its causes.
I myself will cause them to be free from suffering and its causes.
Please, Guru-Deity, bless me to be able to do this.
How wonderful it would be if all sentient beings were never separated from the happiness of higher rebirth and liberation.
May they never be separated from these.
I myself will cause them never to be separated from these.
Please, Guru-Deity, bless me to be able to do this.
Generating Special Bodhicitta
MA SEM CHÄN THAM CHÄ KYI DÖN DU DAG GI
TSHE DI NYI LA NYUR WA NYUR WAR DÖ MÄI SANG GYÄ
LA MA LHÄI GO PHANG NGÖN DU JÄ
For the sake of all mother sentient beings
I shall quickly, quickly, in this very life,
Actualize the state of the primordial Buddha-Guru-Deity.
GO SUM GÜ PÄI GO NÄ CHHAG TSHÄL LO
NGÖ SHAM YI TRÜL CHHÖ TRIN MA LÜ BÜL
THOG ME NÄ SAG DIG TUNG THAM CHÄ SHAG
KYE PHAG GE WA NAM LA JE YI RANG
KHOR WA MA TONG BAR DU LEG ZHUG NÄ
DRO LA CHHÖ KYI KHOR LO KOR WA DANG
DAG ZHÄN GE NAM JANG CHHUB CHHEN POR NGO
I prostrate reverently with my body, speech, and mind.
I present clouds of every type of offering, both actually arranged and mentally emanated.
I confess all my negative actions and downfalls collected from beginningless time.
I rejoice in the virtues of ordinary beings and aryas.
Please remain until the end of cyclic existence,
And turn the wheel of Dharma for transmigratory beings.
I dedicate my own and others’ virtues to great enlightenment.
Do either a long mandala or short mandala offering (depending on your time) and include the Special Request for the Three Great Purposes.
Recite Dependent Arising: A Praise of the Buddha. This is a special prayer in praise of the Buddha having realized dependent arising, enlightenment and guiding us sentient beings. This is referring to the Prasangika school view of dependent arising or emptiness, which is extremely subtle.
Or there is another prayer that is recited in Sangha confession called Praise by Way of the Twelve Deeds.
When you read either of these prayers it is important to meditate on the words and the meaning. Western people often think reciting prayers is boring, with no meaning. Here in Buddhism every single word has a very deep meaning; it is unbelievable, very deep meditation, if you are paying attention to every word.
You can chant the mantra of Buddha: TADYATHA OM MUNÉ MUNÉ MAHAMUNAYÉ SVAHA.
Visualize that light and nectar beams, white in color, flow from the heart of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha. These enter your body, speech and mind, purifying disease, spirit harms, negative karma and obscurations. They are washed out of you just as dirt leaves clothes when they are washed. Then think that you receive all the qualities.
Do one mala mainly focusing on purifying, then 21 times of the last mala mainly focusing on receiving all the realizations. Or you could do half purifying and half receiving the qualities.
You can do the lamrim prayer The Foundation of all Good Qualities. When you recite this, stop for a little while for meditation, but if you don’t have much time then you can just recite it straight through. If you have time there are other lamrim prayers that you could do, such as Meditation on the Stages of the Path or The Three Principals of the Path. This is a short lamrim that is common, a little bit longer version is Hymns of Experience of the Path to Enlightenment by Lama Tsongkhapa. There are many other lamrim prayers by other lamas that you can also do, such as Calling the Guru From Afar.
I am just letting you know all of these because I am not there to do the practice with you. These prayers purify obstacles and actualize all the realizations.
At the end do the dedication prayers:
JANG CHHUB SEM CHHOG RIN PO CHHE
MA KYE PA NAM KYE GYUR CHIG
KYE PA NYAM PA ME PA YI
GONG NÄ GONG DU PHEL WAR SHOG
May the precious supreme bodhicitta
Not yet born arise.
May that arisen not decline,
But increase more and more.
GE WA DI YI NYUR DU DAG
LA MA SANG GYÄ DRUB GYUR NÄ
DRO WA CHIG KYANG MA LÜ PA
DE YI SA LA GÖ PAR SHOG
Due to this virtue, may I quickly
Become a Guru-Buddha,
And lead all transmigratory beings,
Without exception, to that state.
Prayer that Spontaneously Fulfills All Wishes
TONG NYI NYING JE ZUNG DU JUG PÄI LAM
CHHE CHHER SÄL DZÄ GANG CHÄN TÄN DRÖI GÖN
CHHAG NA PÄ MO TÄN DZIN GYA TSHO LA
SÖL WA DEB SO ZHE DÖN LHÜN DRUB SHOG
Savior of the Land of Snow teachings and transmigratory beings,
Who extensively clarifies the path that unifies emptiness and compassion,
To the Lotus Holder, Tenzin Gyatso, I beseech—
May all your holy wishes be spontaneously fulfilled.
Also recite the prayer Words of Truth. This is composed by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and is very important for Tibet and the world.
Then pray, “Whatever sufferings others have let me have it, and whatever happiness or merit I have, let them to have it.” Actually, this is the best puja, except when it actually happens then we forget the prayer Ha ha ha ha!
These prayers can be dedicated for the success of the projects, especially the Maitreya Buddha statues.
You probably know this prayer, because I say it many times:
Due to the merits accumulated during the three times by myself and others, which are empty from their own side, may the I, who is empty from its own side, achieve the state of enlightenment, which is empty from its own side, and lead all sentient beings, who are empty from their own side, to that state as quickly as possible by myself alone.
Also recite the Prayer for the Flourishing of Lama Tsongkhapa’s Teachings, for oneself and one’s family members, all the people who are connected in every project, all the FPMT students and supporters, all the many people who bear so much hardship and also everybody in this world. Pray for Lama Tsongkhapa teachings to flourish and spread out in this world. Then recite the names of the Buddha and bodhisattvas seven times and recite the mantras to increase the merit:
Mantras to increase merit
To increase the merit created by a hundred thousand times, recite the homages and mantra:
CHOM DÄN DÄ DE ZHIN SHEG PA DRA CHOM PA YANG DAG PAR DZOG PÄI SANG GYÄ NAM PAR NANG DZÄ Ö KYI GYÄL PO LA CHHAG TSHÄL LO (1x)
To Bhagavan, Tathagata, Arhat, Perfectly Complete Buddha, Vairochana, King of Light, I prostrate. (1x)
JANG CHHUB SEM PA SEM PA CHHEN PO KÜN TU ZANG PO LA CHHAG TSHÄL LO (1x)
To Bodhisattva Mahasattva Samantabhadra, I prostrate. (1x)
TADYATHA OM PANCHA GRIYA AVA BODHANI SVAHA / OM DHURU DHURU JAYA MUKHE SVAHA (7x)
To actualize all prayers as well as to multiply their benefits by a hundred thousand, recite the homages:
CHOM DÄN DÄ DE ZHIN SHEG PA DRA CHOM PA YANG DAG PAR DZOG PÄI SANG GYÄ NGO WA DANG MÖN LAM [THAM CHÄ RAB TU] DRUB PÄ GYÄL PO LA CHHAG TSHÄL LO (1x)
To Bhagavan, Tathagata, Arhat, Perfectly Complete Buddha, King [Fully] Accomplishing [All] Dedications and Prayers, I prostrate. (1x)
The Power of Truth
MÄ JUNG SÄ CHÄ GYÄL WÄI JIN LAB DANG
TEN DREL LU WA ME PÄI DEN PA DANG
DAG GI LHAG SAM DAG PÄI THU TOB KYI
NAM DAG MÖN PÄI NÄ KÜN DRUB PAR SHOG
Due to the blessings of the eminent victorious ones and the bodhisattvas,
The truth of infallible dependent arising,
And the power of my pure special attitude taking responsibility,
May all the aims of my pure prayers be accomplished.
The other way that you can do the prayers is, after sitting down you can do Praise to the Buddha then begin Jorchö preliminary prayers (the first four prayers I have mentioned) and then whatever prayers you have time for.
If you can do this inside the temple that is very good, otherwise if you can do it under the tree where Buddha has shown the activity of enlightenment.
Make very strong prayers such as the bodhisattva Samantabhadra prayers, or the dedication prayer from the Guide to the Bodhisattva Way of Life.
JAM PÄL PA WÖ JI TAR KHYEN PA DANG
KÜN TU ZANG PO DE YANG DE ZHIN TE
DE DAG KÜN GYI JE SU DAG LOB CHHIR
GE WA DI DAG THAM CHÄ RAB TU NGO
I fully dedicate all these virtues
To be able to train just like
The hero Manjushri, who knows reality,
And just like Samantabhadra as well.
DÜ SUM SHEG PÄI GYÄL WA THAM CHÄ KYI
NGO WA GANG LA CHHOG TU NGAG PA DE
DAG GI GE WÄI TSA WA DI KÜN KYANG
ZANG PO CHÖ CHHIR RAB TU NGO WAR GYI
I fully dedicate all my roots of virtue,
With the dedication praised as the best
By all the gone-beyond victors of the three times,
In order to have good conduct.
These are very beautiful because you are dedicating for all the good things to happen to others, such as harmony, no fighting, no harm. You become those methods and give it them. This is the short version; the long version is the King of Prayers. It is fantastic, it makes you so happy, even a depressed person will be so happy, because you have done something so worthwhile.
There are also prayers on Maitreya Buddha. There is one prayer from one of the panchen lamas who built a four-story Maitreya Buddha statue, so this is very good to recite.
Then there is the prayer showing how Buddha sacrificed himself for all of us sentient beings for so many eons. If this is chanted well, it is inspiring.
When you go to Ragjir
It is very good if you offer lights and incense, also bread, fruit and whatever you have, arranged very nicely. If you have brought a picnic lunch with you then you can put it all together and offer it all together.
You can do the same prayers that I explained before. Sit down and do the preliminary prayers as before. It’s good to recite Dependent Arising: A Praise of the Buddha, then recite the Heart Sutra. Read slowly and meditate on the meaning, unless you come very late or have no time to meditate, then you can just read it straight through. For me it happened quite a few times like this.
What we see now in Rajgir is old mountains, a worn-out place, a small place, but in the text it says that many hundreds of thousands disciples were there and the Buddha gave teachings on the Perfection of Wisdom:
- Perfection of Wisdom of the object—that phenomena are devoid of true existence
- Perfection of Wisdom of the subject—which teaches emptiness, dependent arising
- Perfection of Wisdom of the path—the wisdom directly seeing emptiness
- Perfection of Wisdom of the result—the wisdom of the dharmakaya
Make strong prayers to realize emptiness because oneself and all sentient beings have been suffering in samsara from beginningless samsaric lifetimes.
It is very important when you are in Bodhgaya to pray every day under the bodhi tree and to recite teachings on emptiness, also to recite lamrim prayers. When you reach the subject of emptiness then to do meditation on the four-point analysis.
Also it’s good to recite some teachings on bodhicitta, for example, the chapter on bodhicitta from Shantideva’s Guide to the Bodhisattva Way of Life, and also from the lamrim outline—equalizing and exchanging oneself and others, the benefits of cherishing others and the shortcomings of cherishing oneself, and tonglen. Tonglen is a great and very important practice to do.
Then do dedication prayers, especially the prayer for yourself and others to never be separated from Lama Tsongkhapa’s teachings.
You may wonder why the stupa is down low and not level with the ground. This is because it was completely covered by dirt and had to be dug out.
Kyabje Khunu Lama Tenzin Gyaltsen, who is a guru of His Holiness the Dalai Lama, said that what we see now in Rajgir is something small, old and kind of ruined, as I explained before. But even nowadays Buddha is still giving teachings for inconceivable arya bodhisattvas on the exact same spot. Therefore, their view of the land is totally different, something different from what we see.
The Fifth Dalai Lama once saw the whole mountain as Dharma texts, completely filled from the bottom to the top. He had this view.