Barom Kagyu Prayer Sadhanas
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Benefits of some prominent Dharma practices
It is said that one’s practice is more stable if one knows the reason why one is practicing. Consequently, it is the purpose of this note to provide such a summary of the reasons and benefits of the some of the prominent Dharma practices.
From the ultimate truth standpoint, all Buddhas are the same and they share the same “Trikaya”, that is the Vajra Mind (Dharmakaya), the Vajra Speech (Sambhogakaya) and the Vajra Body (Nirmanakaya). They have equal wisdom and great compassion for all sentient beings, without any sense of bias.
At the same time, from the relative truth viewpoint, each Buddha/deity has his/her distinctive and unique sets of blessings. And so, Bodhisattvas, prior to enlightenment, made solemn declarations that they would refuse to attain Buddhahood unless certain sets of fundamental vows they made were accomplished. It is for this reason that people decide on particular Dharma practices according to the need to either overcoming some specific problems or fulfilling certain particular wishes.
Medicine Buddha Sadhana
TADYATHA OM BEKHANDZE BEKHANDZE MAHA BEKHANDZYE RADZA SAMUDGATE SVAHA
It is said that just hearing a recitation of the name of Medicine Buddha pacifies all diseases, mental or physical and even spirit harms.
When the Medicine Buddha first expressed his aspiration to enter upon the Bodhisattva path, he made 12 fundamental vows to help sentient beings. In one of these vows, He declared that:
“ if any sentient beings who are suffering from all kind of diseases and if such sentient beings hear my name and call it out with utmost sincerity, then they shall be cured of all diseases”.
The blessing of Medicine Buddha mantra recitation is not limited to its healing powers for it also brings about inconceivable merit. If you pray one-pointedly to Medicine Buddha, you will gain the following benefits:
- healing powers for oneself and for all other sentient beings,
- understanding non attachment, the value of generosity and the negative effects of avarice,
- having a greater respect for morality and the practice of Dharma, thus resulting in a better and happier life,
- decreasing jealousy and the urge to deride others, resulting in a more tranquil mind and lesser suffering, and
- pacifying arguments and discord, thus turning a malevolent person into a benevolent person
- close the door to rebirth in the suffering lower realms.
Therefore, one should seriously commit oneself to practice this precious teaching.
White Tara Sadhana
om tare tuttare ture mama ayu jnana pukting kuru soha
People usually think that there is Green Tara, White Tara, 21 Taras and so forth, but in reality there is just one Tara, but in many different manifestations. She manifests in various and different forms to be more fitting and of benefits to the various predispositions of her followers.
The White Tara practice is known as “the White One who ransoms death” practice, according to Atisha’s tradition. Therefore, the primary purpose of doing White Tara practice is to obtain long life and avoid untimely death and disease.
In addition to longevity, regular practice of White Tara will eliminate bad dreams, omens, negative influences and hindrances. She is the embodiment of utter purity and the essence of beauty. In the Praise of White Tara, Padma Karpo wrote:
“You who revel with beauty, the thought of you dispels untimely death, sickness, and the eight dangers.”
Green Tara Sadhana
om tare tuttare ture soha
The practice of Green Tara is an inconceivable benefit for all beings. Whoever engages in daily practice of Green Tara will overcome all problems, such hindrances and obstacles, sickness, job related difficulties, family problems, fears and nightmares and ultimately will lead to full enlightenment.
At the ultimate truth level, Buddha Shakyamuni used the language of “Great Mother” to explain the nature of Tara. Hence, she is the Mother of all the Buddhas and the Mother of Samsara and Nirvana.
At the relative truth level, it is said that Tara was born from the teardrop of Chenrezig in order to work tirelessly to liberate sentient beings from suffering.
Green Tara (Tara SengDeng Ma) protects a limitless number of beings from the eight and sixteen samsaric fears, like a loving mother who protects her only child.
She is the embodiment of all the activities of all the Buddhas. Having limitless great love, she is like a heroine who swiftly and steadfastly protects and benefits all beings.
The Buddha himself composed the sadhana and he clearly stated that:
“anyone who has genuine devotion for Tara and recites clearly at dawn and dusk, will receive protection from all dangers, pacify all negativities and be free from all unfortunate rebirths”.
This practice is particularly suitable for people who lead very busy lives and who have little time to spare.
An Aspiration for Birth in the pure realm of Sukhavati
(Kagyu Monlam book, 2nd edition, page 397)
Karma Chagme wrote in his own hand:
“This is the Treasury of my practice. There is nothing more beneficial than this. There are no instructions more profound than this. It is the root of my Dharma.
Don’t cast it aside; strive in its practice”
In general, it is very difficult for ordinary people to take birth into a buddha-realm. It is said that in order to enter a buddha-realm, one must have removed even the most subtle of obscuration, kept very pure samaya, and have attained the first bodhisattva level.
However, due to Amitabha’s strong wishing-prayers, anyone who makes this aspiration prayer to go to Sukhavati (Dewachen), can be guaranteed to be reborn there, even though one has not purified all negative karma.
Therefore, if possible one should recite this aspiration with one-pointed faith every day; if not, once a month or every year. If you do so, obstacles in this life will be dispelled and there is no doubt one will be reborn in Sukhavati after this life.
Barom Kagyu Ngondro Practice
It is essential to lay a firm and stable foundation for one’s spiritual path by beginning with the necessary preliminary practices, called Ngondro. The Barom Kagyu masters have recommended the systematic approach to all newcomers to the Buddha Dharma. Only after having completed Ngondro, students may proceed to the more advanced and profound elements of the Vajrayana path, such as Mahamudra meditation, the six yogas of Naropa and so forth.
The Preliminaries (Ngondro) consist of:
Four outer Preliminaries, (the 4 thoughts that turn the mind):
- Precious human birth
- Impermanence and death
- Defects of Samsara
- Karma, the law of cause and effect
And the four inner Preliminaries:
- taking refuge and generate Bodhicitta (prostrations)
- meditation and recitation on Vajrasattva (purification of negative karma)
- Mandala offering (accumulation of merit and wisdom)
- and Guru Yoga (receive blessing and wisdom in one’s mind stream)
(Requirement: 100,000 repetitions of each of the inner preliminary practice)
Milarepa, the great saint of Tibet, took as his main practice, the contemplation on death and impermanence, and he intoned:
“In horror of death, I took to the mountains — Again and again I meditated on the uncertainty of the hour of death, Capturing the fortress of the deathless unending nature of mind. Now all fear of death is over and done.”
Barom Kagyu Aspiration Prayer
This very important aspiration was composed by Tishri Repa, the heart son of Barompa Darma Wangchuk, the founder of the Barom Kagyu school of tradition. Tishri Repa was very devoted to his root teacher and built a famous silver reliquary to house the remains of Barompa Darma Wangchuk.
Practitioners who recite this aspiration and supplicate to the Barom Gurus, help the Buddhadharma to flourish and spread throughout the world. They will also ensure the continued existence of the Barom Kagyu lineage from generation to generation.