Category Archives: Prayer and Ritual

Offering Light

“So that I, and all other sentient beings without exception, may purify obscurations, perfect the accumulations, and look upon the divine face of the deity, I present this victory banner of butter lamps to the assembly of external and internal peaceful and wrathful deities who have gone beyond bliss.

Performing mainly for our kind mothers and fathers, who are the sentient beings within the three realms of cyclic existence, and with compassion for those in the realm of the bardo, having purified all negative actions, karmic potentialities and defilements, may they be liberated from the places within the six realms of cyclic existence!  May they reach the Five Families of Those who have gone beyond bliss!”

From Raising a Victory Banner of Butter Lamps found within The Tantra of the Assembly of Peaceful and Wrathful Deities.

Tibetan translation by Raven Cypress Wood ©2017

New Book Announcement

SO DRUM AH KAR MU LA TING NAM Ö DU MU YÉ TSÉ NI DZA

~Essence mantra of the deity of longevity, Lama Tséwang Rikdzin

In the Yungdrung Bön tradition, the longevity practice of Lama Tséwang Rikdzin is foremost among the many longevity practices within the religious tradition. Indestructible: The Longevity Practice of Lama Tséwang Rikdzin by Raven Cypress Wood contains the English translation of the longevity practice of Lama Tséwang Rikdzin from the Tséwang Jarima Chok Dü scripture. From the foreword written by Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche:

“The wisdom of Tséwang Rikdzin and the practices associated with this teaching can help us retrieve, extend, and enhance our life force: healing environmental, physical, emotional, and energetic imbalances in our lives. Strengthening and extending our lifespan provides more time for our spiritual development and for serving and benefiting other sentient beings.”

The Tibetan syllable NI, the syllable of a human being, and support for the vital life force. Calligraphy by Geshe Tenzin Wangyal Rinpoche.

Lama Tséwang Rikdzin is the embodiment of the Five Buddha Families and can therefore bestow any quality or wisdom that is needed.  In this particular practice, the attainment of longevity, physical health, vitality, and a complete and healthy soul are emphasized.

“Lama Tséwang Rikdzin is a tülku whose heart emanations are sent forth throughout the ten directions. He has power over longevity and protects the lifespan and prosperity of all practitioners.”

Excerpt from ‘Indestructible: The Longevity Practice of Lama Tséwang Rikdzin”

This book is suitable for both those familiar and those unfamiliar with the practice. It includes information regarding the Yungdrung Bön religious tradition, Lama Tséwang Rikdzin, and the root text which contains the longevity practice. The book is available as a hardback edition with color images and text, or a black and white paperback edition.  It can purchased through the Sacred Sky Press online store at: http://www.lulu.com/spotlight/SacredSky

“We pray for the mending of all of our lifespan that has been torn.

We pray to be reunited with all of our lifespan that has been separated from us.

We pray for all of our lifespan that has been dispersed to be gathered back together.

May our prosperity and our lifespan be deathless and indestructible!”

Excerpt from ‘Indestructible: The Longevity Practice of Lama Tséwang Rikdzin”

The Thirteen Bön Activities

Offering prostrations before His Eminence Menri Ponlop Yangton Thrinley Nyima Rinpoche. Photo credit: Lee Hartline.

The Thirteen Bön Activities:

  1. Writing the syllables
  2. Reading sacred books
  3. Reciting the scriptures
  4. Turning the wheel of Bön
  5. Presenting offerings and prostrations
  6. Stopping ordinary speech and maintaining silence
  7. Reflecting upon the meaning of the words
  8. Listening to the sacred teachings for one’s self
  9. Teaching the sacred teachings for others
  10. Meditating upon the actual meaning
  11. Practicing towards a goal
  12. Exerting one’s self in performing virtuous activity
  13. Exerting one’s self with the causes to obtain a precious human body

Engaging with these activities is a practice of the two accumulations of merit and wisdom.

Selection of the New 34th Menri Trizin

Offerings to the Religious Protectors of Yungdrung Bon. Photo Credit: Menri Monastery

After lengthy consultation with His Eminence Yongdzin Tenzin Namdak Rinpoche, the selection process for the 34th Menri Trizin began on the 1st day of the 11th lunar month, December 19th 2017, at Menri Monastery under the direction of His Eminence Menri Lopon Yangton Thrinley Nyima Rinpoche. In general, every Yungdrung Bön geshe is an eligible candidate. However, due to the current difficult situation, it has been decided that only those candidates outside of Tibet are eligible. If for any reason, an eligible geshe does not want to be considered as a candidate, he is free to withdraw his name by contacting the monastery. After these considerations, there were approximately sixty names of eligible candidates.

Names of candidates. Photo credit: Menri Monastery

On December 19th, Menri Lopön Thrinley Nyima Rinpoche, Triten Norbutse Khenpo Tenpa Yungdrung Rinpoche, as well as other exalted professors and administrative members wrote each candidate’s name onto a small piece of paper, and placed that paper inside of a ball of tsampa dough, which was then dried in the sun. Each of these balls of tsampa dough were placed into two separate vases, and sealed with wax. These vases were placed in the protector temple and will remain there while lengthy prayers and offerings are made to the religious protectors in order to invoke their wisdom.

Prayers and rituals being performed. Photo credit: Menri Monastery

On December 21st, many prayers and offerings were made in order to remove all obstacles and hindrances. On December 22nd, the main rituals began which will take six days to complete. The majority of the monastic community will be performing the One Hundred Thousand Offerings to Sipé Gyalmo in the main temple. Simultaneously, there will also be offerings and prayers to the main yidam of the Menri Trizin, Purba, at the Menri Trizin lama residence by a smaller group of monks.

Yungdrung Bon monks praying in the main temple of Menri Monastery. Photo credit: Menri Monastery.

On the morning of December 27th, His Eminence Menri Lopön Thrinley Nyima Rinpoche will shake the first vase until a ball of tsampa dough comes forth. Then, he will similarly shake the second vase until a ball of tsampa dough comes forth. These two balls of dough, each containing a candidate’s name inside, will then be placed into a vase. Another five days of offerings and prayers to the religious protectors will commence.

Notice and schedule of ritual events posted at Menri Monastery. Photo credit: Khedup Gyatso.

On the morning of January 1st, the vase containing the two names will be shaken in front of the sacred image of Lord Tönpa Shenrap Miwoche in the main temple by His Eminence Menri Lopön Thrinley Nyima Rinpoche. The tsampa dough that emerges will contain the name of the 34th Menri Trizin. This traditional process is known as Lha Sung Den Tarwa, Requesting the Religious Protectors to Reveal the Truth.

During this time, it has been requested that the worldwide Yungdrung Bön family offer prayers and aspirations for the selection of the 34th Menri Trizin.

Offering Light

Offering light at Menri Monastery in Dolanji, India. Photo credit: Unknown.

Presenting Offerings and Accumulating Merit

The Thousand Offerings to Nampar Gyalwa. Photo credit: Raven Cypress Wood

To all Those who have gone beyond bliss and their retinues,

who have the nature of the unborn and unceasing sky

and who have the un-arisen characteristics of the natural state of the mind,

with their countless, billions of emanations,

each unwavering from the ultimate state of great bliss,

and inexpressible beyond visualization and recitation,

prostrating and praising,

I present these offerings to You!

~ Excerpt from Presenting the Five Offerings.

Translated from the Tibetan by Raven Cypress Wood ©2017 All Rights Reserved

Offering Devotion and Receiving Blessings

His Eminence Yangton Menri Lopon Rinpoche presents the butter lamp offering.

On November 4, 2017, on the 15th day of the 9th Tibetan month, Tashi Menri Monastery in Dolanji, India held memorial events to mark the 49th day after the passing into liberation of the 33rd Menri Trizin Lungtok Tenpé Nyima Rinpoche. By invitation of His Eminence Menri Lopon Trinley Nyima Rinpoche, the tulkus, professors, geshes, and monks assembled in the temple. There, before the precious cremation bones, ash and relics of the 33rd Menri Trizin Rinpoche, with a feeling of intense longing, they prostrated and recited the Prayer to the Victor Bön, His Holiness Lungtok Tenpé Nyima Rinpoche.

L-Holy cremation ash C-Holy ringsel R-Holy cremation bone

Following that, the Praise of the Twelve Deeds of Shenrap Miwo Künlé Nampar Gyalwa was recited. Having formally presented the precious cremation bones, ash and relics to His Eminence Menri Lopon Rinpoche, he gifted each member of the monastic community with the actual accomplishment of the support for blessings, a majestic and empowered cremation bone.

Nuns of Menri perform the Tsewang Bo Yulma Tsok.

In the afternoon, the Menri community of nuns gathered and performed the Feast Offering of the Tséwang Bö Yulma. During this time, other monastic colleges within Menri Monastery performed various practices and rituals as well. Later, everyone gathered outside in the courtyard and again recited the Praise of the Twelve Deeds and the Prayer to His Holiness Lungtok Tenpé Nyima Rinpoche.

L-Cremation tsa tsa containing holy cremation bone. R-Public receiving a tsa tsa.

From then until midnight, both the monastic community and the public offered butter lamps, prostrations, and circumambulated the lama residence where the 33rd Menri Trizin had lived. At midnight, the public were invited to come before HE Menri Lopon Rinpoche and to receive a holy tsa tsa containing a majestic cremation bone inside. All of these holy relics, which are imbued with extraordinary power, are objects of support for the faithful to receive unlimited blessings and to develop profound devotion.

The Yungdrung Bon community chanting in the courtyard.

Once everyone had received a holy tsa tsa, they gathered outside where HE Menri Lopon Rinpoche led the presentation of the five offerings, the recitation of Offerings to the Lama, and the Prayer to His Holiness Lungtok Tenpé Nyima Rinpoche.

Sacred Ground

Yungdrung Bon lamas preparing the mandala base of a Nampar Gyalwa Fire Offering. Photo credit: Raven Cypress Wood

May the Wheel of the Yungdrung Bön Turn Forever!

Monks at Menri Monastery during the commemoration time for His Holiness 33rd Menri Trizen Rinpoche. Photo credit: Unknown

 

Prayers for the Master

Monks offering prayers and butter lamps after the passing of His Holiness 33rd Menri Trizen Rinpoche September 2017. Photo credit: Unknown

When the Lama Passes Beyond: A Brief Explanation

On September 14th, 2017, the spiritual leader of all Yungdrung Bön and head of Tashi Menri Monastery in Dolanji, India, His Holiness 33rd Menri Trizen Lungtok Tenpé Nyima Rinpoche entered into a state of tukdam at his lama residence at Menri Monastery. In general, tukdam refers to a state of meditative stability attained by meditation masters that continues after the external breath of their body has ceased but the internal breath, or winds, remain.  Therefore, the subtle channels through which these winds move remain stable. The area of the body containing the heart chakra remains warm to the touch.  The skin remains soft, and the face retains a glow of vitality.  Often, the master is sitting in meditation posture, but can also be in the yogic posture of the “sleeping lion” lying upon the right side of the body, knees together and slightly bent with the right hand under the head and the left arm resting upon the body.  During this time, great care is taken to not disturb the body or interrupt the state of mediation.   Great blessings can be received by connecting with the master during this important time.

After an indeterminate number of days, the internal winds cease, the channels collapse, the physical body slumps, and the warmth dissipates from the heart center. For His Holiness 33rd Menri Trizen Lungtok Tenpé Nyima Rinpoche, he ended his state of tukdam after five days on September 18th, 2017. At that time, chants related to the cleansing of the sacred body are recited while the physical remains are ritually bathed with water mixed with special herbs.  Sacred seed syllables are then written on the body and the body is wrapped in a pure white cloth. Disciples who connect with the lama during this time either by being near the sacred remains or at a distance, can receive great blessings.

Tsok offerings after the passing of His Holiness 33rd Menri Trizen Rinpoche. Photo credit: Unknown.

Because the master has attained a state of enlightened realization, the prayers and rituals that are offered during this time are different than that for an ordinary being.  Rather than offering prayers to support their experience of death, disciples focus upon practices to honor the teachings of the master.  These prayers and practices include performing acts of virtue to benefit all beings, reciting aspirational prayers such as the Tséwang Monlam found at this link https://ravencypresswood.com/2017/09/14/tsewangs-precious-mala-of-meaningful-aspiration-prayers/, and practicing guru yoga in a pure and fervent way.  Additionally, the monastic community offers many tsok, or sacred feast offerings. At the time of cremation, an elaborate fire ritual called Kün Rik is performed during which a wide variety of offerings are presented to the entire cycle of deities.

An example of Kun Rik offerings from 2014. Photo credit: Geshe Nyima Kunchap Rinpoche

Although the master has attained the ultimate state of realization and therefore does not experience the 49 days of transiting the bardo, the 49 day period is still observed as a time to continue with prayers, spiritual practice, renewal of vows, and acts of virtue in order to honor the teachings and spiritual guidance of the master.

The Field of Accumulation: The Yidams

Tsok zhing according to Menri

Tsok zhing according to MenriThe Yungdrung Bon Merit Field of the Menri Tradition

In the Yungdrung Bön tradition, the place where the deities and objects of veneration are gathered is called the “Tsok Zhing”, the “Field of Accumulation”.  It is also sometimes translated as the “Field of Merit” or the “Merit Field” because what is being accumulated by paying homage and making offerings to this place is merit, or virtue.  This is the Merit Field according to the Menri Tradition from a drawing done by the great master and scholar HE Yongdzin Tenzin Namdak Rinpoche.

Yidams are deities who have their own individual cycles of practice with the aim of acquiring the qualities and blessings of the yidam being meditated upon.  In general, these cycles of practice are centered around an individual retreat in which the practitioner focuses upon self-transformation into the deity, recitation of the deity’s mantra, along with any other ritual or meditation specific to the deity which support the attainment of the deities qualities and blessings.  There are yidams specific to a family lineage, to monastic lineages as well as personal yidams.  Some of the vows associated with yidam practice are general to all, and some vows are specific to each yidam.  Some yidams are represented more than once to signify their different tantric cycles.

#2-4, 14 & 18: The Five Supreme Embodiments of the Father Tantra (See previous post:https://ravencypresswood.com/2016/06/05/the-five-supreme-embodiments/)

1. Zhiwa Künnang Khyappa: This yidam represents all peaceful yidams

2. Trowo Tsochok Khagying: This yidam is an embodiment of the Enlightened Mind of Buddha Tönpa Shenrap Miwoche.

3. Walsé Ngampa: This yidam is an embodiment of the Enlightened Body of Buddha Tönpa Shenrap Miwoche.

The Yidam Walse Ngampa, Embodiment of the Enl ightened Body

4. Lhago Tokpa: This yidam is an embodiment of the Enlightened Speech of Buddha Tönpa Shenrap Miwoche.

5. Sangwa Ying Rol

6. Tséwang Rikdzin: As a long life deity, this yidam is white in color.

7. Magyü Sangchok Tartuk: This yidam is the principal deity of the Mother Tantra and is also known as Tukjé Galpo.

8. Drenpa Namkha

9. Bumpa

10. Rampa

11. Rolpa

12. Dütsi Yungdrung Khyilwa

13. Takla Pudri Marpo

14. Gekho Sangwa Drakchen:  This yidam is the embodiment of the Enlightened Qualities of Buddha Tönpa Shenrap Miwoche.

15. Trowo Druksé Chempa: This yidam is the Embodiment of the Enlightened Activities of Buddha Tönpa Shenrap Miwoche.

16. Meri Walchen Gekho

17. Chidul Yidam Gyatso Trogyal Raksha Khagying

18. Sangpur

19. Walsé Khyungnak Trowo Karpo

20.Wal Khyung Marpo

Yidams of the Other Tantras

#22-#25 The Four Principal Enlightened Ones (See previous post https://ravencypresswood.com/2016/08/20/the-four-principal-enlightened-ones/)

21. Gyepa Kunnang Khyapa

22. Tönpa Shenrap Miwo

23. Sipa Sangpo Bumtri

24. Lhachen Shenlha Ökar

25. Yumchen Satrik Érsang

26. Shenrap Nampar Gyalwa

27. Namdak

28. Jamma

29. Mélha

30. Kéngtsé Lenmé

31. Sherab Mawé Séngé

The Yidam Mawe Senge

32. Dülchok Tönpa Tritsuk Gyalwa

33. Jamma

34. Namdak

35. Mönlam Taye

36. Menlha

37. Künying

38. Gényen Tékpa Lha

39. Jamden

40. Dükhor

41. Künrik

42. Gyalwa Gyatso

43. Namjom

The Yidam Namjom, aka Nampar Jompa, and his emanations.

Praying for Support

The Great Lama and yidam, Drenpa Namkha

“EMAHO! May the collective, compassionate blessings of the Victors of the ten directions, the yidams, and the khandro come for the welfare of sentient beings in this world!

I pray for the uninterrupted blessings from the subduer of demons, Drenpa Namkha!

Now, during this negative time, there is lots of fighting and violence, and many sentient beings die because of weapons.  You are surrounded by the fierce, enlightened male and female deities.

I pray to the Great Lama and his two sons, to the subduer of demons, Drenpa Namkha, stop the fighting and violence!

Now, during this negative time, virtuous activities aren’t accomplished and there are many obstacles to the practice of virtue and morality.  You are surrounded by the root lama and his retinue.

I pray to the Great Lama and his two sons, to the subduer of demons, Drenpa Namkha, bring the practice of virtue to its fulfillment!

Look upon me with your unbiased compassion morning and night, during the past, present and future.  Turn back both seen and unseen enemies!

My present and future refuge and protector, bless me to accomplish my intentions!”

~Translated from the Tibetan by Raven Cypress Wood ©All Rights Reserved

 

Celebrating the Sacred

HE Menri Lopon Trinley Nyima Rinpoche lights candles on a cake celebrating the birth of Lord Tonpa Shenrap Miwoche. Photo credit: Unknown

Sacred Gathering

Monks during a festival at Triten Norbutse Monastery near Kathmandu, Nepal. Photo credit Andrzej Nieckula

Special Announcement from Menri Monastery in India

Bum-Tsok: 100,000 Torma Offerings to Sidpe Gyalmo This Week

May 5, 2017

Dearest Friends

Greetings!  It is my pleasure to write to you today to share some news with you. Today, May 5th is the first day of the Sidpe Gyalmo Bum Tsok at Menri Monastery. This is the first Bum Tsok offering of the year 2017, and it will last one week.  All monks, nuns and lay practitioners (ngakpas) will make a total of 100,000 offerings to Sidpe Gyalmo and all the protector deities of the Yungdrung Bon. We will accumulate 100,000 of each of the offerings of the five senses, namely flowers, butter lamps, water bowls, incense and torma cakes. We will also offer the Nam Gye, which includes zug, dra, dri, ro, reg cha, bon and ter.

The reason for making 100,000 offerings is that the retinue of Sidpe Gyalmo is composed of 100,000 beings, so we should make one offering for each one. The purpose of the Bum Tsok offering is to bring peace, health, prosperity, and happiness to all sentient beings.

There aren’t any specific sponsors for the Bum Tsok. Anyone who wishes to contribute can do so for their own benefit or for the benefit of all sentient beings. The Bum Tsok also cleanses one’s obstacles, both inner and outer.  Outer obstacles are related to the five elements, disasters, and problems caused by harmful spirits.  Inner obstacles are problems such as depression, anxiety, and fear, especially when there are no external causes. The real causes are our karmic traces and tendencies carried over from our previous lives. Offering Bum Tsok to Sidpe Gyalmo is very helpful to clear away such obstacles.

A common saying in Tibetan is “Gyamtso chu tik drel wa.” A literal translation could be “A drop of water connects with the ocean.”  The meaning is that regardless of the size of our donation, our offering connects with and merges with the great ocean of offerings of the collective, and helps to increase its great virtue.

To those of you who would like to make an offering for yourself, for your family, or for all beings, the best way is to do so through Khyungdzong Wodsel Ling.

All offerings received by May 09 will be forwarded to Menri Monastery for this event.  All money received after that date will be held until the next Bum-Tsok.  These special offerings are only done once or twice a year so please send your offerings ASAP.

Offerings can be made at the KWLing.org website here:  http://kwling.org/bon/bum-tsok-offering/

With my blessings,

Menri Lopon Trinley Nyima

 

 

Adding Virtue to Everyday Actions

MA TRI mantra above a doorway. Photo credit: Unknown

From the Dechok Rinchen Dronma’i Phen Yön, The Benefits of the Recitation Practice of the Precious Lamp, also known as The Thirty-two Benefits of the MA TRI Mantra:

“(6) This recitation practice is a precious lamp.  Anyone who has generated the mind of compassion, if they write out the mantra and put it above the doorway of the retreat place or throughout the community, then just by entering these places one will attain liberation.  Entering practice is the benefit of this precious lamp.”

~Translation from Tibetan to English by Raven Cypress Wood ©All Rights Reserved

The MA TRI mantra is one of the three essence mantras of the Yungdrung Bön tradition. The complete mantra is:་OM MA TRI MU YÉ SA LÉ DU.

 

Sacred Performance

Monks prepare to perform the sacred dances for the Tibetan New Year at Triten Norbutse Monastery in Nepal. Photo credit: Dr. Nyima Samphel Gurung

Mandala of the Divine: The Yungdrung Bön Altar

menri-shrine-edit

Special ceremony altar at Menri Monastery in Dolanji, India. Photo credit: Unknown.

In the Yungdrung Bön religious tradition, the principal altar is referred to as the ‘Mandala of the Divine’, or the ‘Upper Mandala.’  Once properly established, the altar becomes the sacred place in which to host the majestic presence and blessings of the deities.  In this way, it becomes a powerful support for spiritual practice and the development of the practitioner.  From the Benefits of the Recitation Practice which is a Precious Lamp:

“Whoever goes before a lama, a lopon or one of the three supports (statue, text or chorten) and recites the MA TRI mantra while prostrating or circumambulating, their aspiration will be quickly accomplished.”

Regardless of the size of the altar display, the practitioner imagines the offerings and the presence of the deities as boundless and unlimited.  It is important that the area be clean and be respected as a sacred place even if the altar is a single butter lamp,

Traditionally, the altar is located in a higher place such as the top most floor of a building.  Ideally, the altar faces East and is seen as one enters the room where it is located.  If facing East is not possible, South is second best although sometimes West or North are the only available options.  Ideally, the altar has three, four or five levels.  Whatever is placed upon the altar should be clean, undamaged and have a sacred purpose.  The altar is sometimes painted and sometimes covered with silk.  Although there are specific rituals that specify the use of white or black cloths, in general the colors of white, black and green are not appropriate for the altar.  When the text specifies placement of items to the ‘left’ or ‘right’, the perspective is always that of the deities.  Therefore, ‘left’ becomes the practitioner’s ‘right’ when facing the altar.  For example, according to the text the protectors red offering of tea or rakta is placed on the left and the white offering of alcohol is placed on the right.  However, for the practitioner facing the altar, the red offering of tea or rakta is to their right, and the white offering of alcohol is to their left.  Below, ‘right’ and ‘left’ are from the perspective of the practitioner facing the altar.

HH 33rd Menri Trizen. Behind him and to the left are texts wrapped in red cloth on shelves above the deity statues. Photo Credit: Unknown.

The Higher Levels of the Altar: It is important to have representations of enlightened Body, Speech and Mind on the altar.  Enlightened Body is represented by statues and images such as thangkas, enlightened Speech is represented by texts, and enlightened Mind is represented by the chorten. Yungdrung Bön scriptural texts are always placed in the highest possible position with nothing on a level above them.  They are considered even more important than an image of the Buddha because they contain the actual teachings and guidance that leads sentient beings out of their suffering.  Sometimes they are placed on the same level with the deity statues due to limited space.

The Elegant Yungdrung Bon Chorten

Generally, statues and yidam torma are placed on the level below the texts.  Images of high lamas are placed below the statues.  If there is only a single lama image, it should be placed in the center.  If there is more than one lama image, the image of the highest status lama is placed to the practitioner’s left and the second highest status lama is placed to the right.  The third highest status lama image is placed to the left of the first image, etc.

The Lower Levels of the Altar: Offerings to the deities are placed on the lower levels of the altar.  Most important are the five daily offerings of butter lamps, incense, clean water, food and flowers.  (See previous post The Five External Daily Offerings https://ravencypresswood.com/2017/01/14/the-five-daily-offerings/.)  Mandala rings are ritually filled with dry barley or rice and placed as an offering.  If there is only one mandala, it is placed in the center.  If there are two mandalas, they are placed to the left and right.  Flowers are placed to the side of the altar and burning incense is placed below.

Mandala offering with the unique Yungdrung Bon square top. Photo credit: Unknown.

Once everything has been properly established, the altar is ritually cleansed with the sprinkling of clean water and the smoke of pure incense together with their respective mantra.  Everything is imagined as being completely pure.  The practitioner then performs at least three prostrations of body, speech and mind with a heart of devotion.  At this time, the altar has been ‘opened’.  From this time until it is ‘closed’ in the evening, one must perform prostrations before approaching the altar.  Out of respect, whenever approaching the altar when it is ‘open’, the mouth is covered as a way to keep it completely pure and clean.

According to the texts, the altar is opened in the morning ‘when the birds leave their nest’ and closed in the afternoon when ‘the birds return to their nest.’  This is generally considered to be dawn and late afternoon before sunset.  When acquiring items for the altar, setting it up, and opening and closing it each day, one imagines that by engaging in this virtuous activity, that the five poisons of ignorance, anger, attachment, pride and jealousy are purified.

Raven Cypress Wood ©All Rights Reserved

 

Sacred Beauty

Prayer Wheel and tsa tsa house in Tsarka Dolpo, Nepal. Photo credit: Geshe Tenzin Yangton

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