What the teachers say about restarting your Buddhist practice: overcoming obstacles, bringing back the enthusiasm, re-establishing faith and commitments
Video mantra chanting: Lama Tsongkhapa’s Migtsema wonderfully chanted by Yoko Dharma. Benefits: healing, compassion, metta, wisdom
Video teaching: Metta and Karuna, the “most important” Buddhist practices of Love and Compassion, from H.E. Zasep Tulku Rinpoche with Lama Tsongkhapa Migtsema mantra chanted by Yoko Dharma
Sacred outlook – Seeing beyond ordinary perception in modern culture, and American Buddhism
Why is pride a poison, and when can pride of accomplishment be considered a good thing? With full Ambattha Sutta “Pride of Birth and its Fall.”
Vajrasattva, the Great Purifyer, among the most powerful and profound healing and purifications techniques in Vajrayana Buddhism
Family lay Buddhism: What the Teachers Say about keeping motivated in your Buddhist Practice as parents — and coping with every-day family life in a modern stressful world
Reconnecting with nature to reboot our “spiritual self” activates a feeling of self-transcendence
Video: Buddhist Teachings on Ngondro, The Foundation Practices with Venerable Zasep Rinpoche
Kucchivikara-vattha: The Monk with Dysentery (Sutra teachings) “If you don’t tend to one another, who then will tend to you?”
“Putting Compassion on the Scientific Map”: Compassion Boosts Happiness/Health; and Research Indicates That Practicing Buddhists Are Happier than Average.
Video with wonderful mantra chanting: Om Gate Gate Paragate Para Samgate Bodhi Soha, the essence of Heart Sutra and Emptiness
Music Mantra Video: Taking Refuge in Buddha, Dharma and Sangha and the Four Immeasurables wonderfully sung by Yoko Dharma with video visualizations
Broken Commitments: 3 Teachers weigh in on practice “overload” and breaking Vajrayana practice promises. What do we do about it?
Dalai Lama and Lama Tsongkhapa: teachings on calm abiding meditation that go beyond “the breath” as the focus — targeting the main affliction
Music Mantra Video: Om Mani Padme Hum wonderfully chanted by Yoko Dharma, the sacred sound of compassionate Buddha Chenrezig
Tara Book excerpt and teaching: Who is Tara and how can She help us? An introduction to Tara, Karma, Shunyata, Dependent Arising, and Buddha Nature by Venerable Zasep Tulku Rinpoche
What’s with all this consort union in Tantric Buddhism? No, it’s not about sexual fantasies. The psychology of Yab-Yum consorts, union of wisdom and compassion
Video: “How do I deal with my anger? Sometimes it consumes me and hurts others”: a Buddhist student asks teacher Ven. Zasep Tulku Rinpoche
Video: “Experience Buddhism” with Namdrol Rinpoche “Buddhism emphasizes, and lays its very foundations on, equanimity.”
Lama Zopa Rinpoche and other teachers recommend Kṣitigarbha mantra and practice for times of disaster, especially hurricane and earthquake, because of the great Bodhisattva’s vow
Medicine Buddha healing mantras chanted by the amazing Yoko Dharma
Why 35 Confessional Buddhas practice and “The Bodhisattva’s Confession of Moral Downfalls” is a critical purifying practice for Buddhists
What the Dalai Lama and Patch Adams Have in Common: Laughter, and Compassion, the Best Medicine
“Preliminary practices… clear and enrich our minds, allowing practice to progress smoothly” — Thubten Chodron. Why Ngondro is a lifetime practice, and a “complete path”
Tantra Helps “Stop Ordinary Perception”, and is the Fast Path to Enlightenment. But How Do Modern Buddhists Relate to Deities?
Painter and digital Thangka artist Jampay Dorje aims to bring “Thangka painting into a modern era” with spectacular art, lessons for students, and a life-long project to illustrate all of the 11 Yogas of Naropa
Buddha teaches us to view every meal as if we were reluctant cannibals: Samyukta Agama Sutra 373, the Four Nutriments
Letting Go — letting go of past, letting go of future, letting go is the hardest thing to do: Na Tumhaka Sutta
Becoming Gesar, the fearless Buddhist: How to overcome fear in uncertain times, according to Pali Sutta, Mahayana Sutra and Tantra
The Hand of Buddha defeats the three poisons : Vajrapani (literally, “Vajra Hand”) — Guardian of Shakyamuni Himself; Vajrapani, the power of the mind to overcome obstacles such as pride, anger, hate and jealousy
Tonglen video: Why giving and taking practice is an important kindness meditation and Bodhichitta practice; how to do it: taught by Zasep Rinpoche
Understanding Dependent Co-Arising is critical to Buddhist practice: The Great Causes Discourse Maha-nidana Sutta
Pali Sutta for Our Age: Old Path White Clouds: Walking in the Footsteps of the Buddha by Thich Nhat Hanh, a Book Review of a Classic
The bridge between science and Buddhism, atoms and no atoms, theism and athiesm; Yidam deity meditation and the Cognitive Science of Tantra
“Every one has Buddha Nature.” A teaching video: Venerable Zasep Rinpoche with mantra chanting by Yoko Dharma
Empowerment Was Important to Me

Empowerment Was Important to Me

By D. Sandy, Guest Contributor

A few months ago, I finally took the step I had been contemplating over the past few years as a practicing Buddhist. One of my elderly relatives who has constantly been my guide advised me to undergo the empowerment ritual saying it would lend more depth to my spiritual practice. Fortunately, I took this advice very seriously and went through this initiation and today, I can truly say that it has helped in my spiritual development.
During the empowerment ritual, my teacher explained that this is an initiation into deity practice. I won’t go into which deity or who my teacher is. I just wanted to share my experience and why I think it is worthwhile to those who are ready.

Empowerment normally transmits from a guru or teacher
Empowerment comes from a lineage of gurus or teachers. Although anyone can practice deity meditation, empowerment deepens practice and guides the student. Here are two such teachers, Venerable Khenpo Sonajm Tobgyal Rinpoche with teacher Kyabje Nyoshul Khenpo Rinpochewe.
Mantra Practice and Empowerment
My teacher said an important part of empowerment is to plant the seeds and encourage nurturing through the sadhana and mantra practice. In my experience, the moment of transmission, instantly trained my mind to concentrate, develop and practice.
Although at the time of empowerment I did not fully comprehend all the words spoken—I don’t know many of the words delivered in Tibetan—in hindsight I can say that today, after months of practicing since empowerment, there have been many tangible benefits.
Before, my mind used to be filled with too many thoughts of things happening at office and at home and I used to find myself worrying over several things. Although I realized that was not possible to do anything about certain things beyond my control, it used to be difficult to refrain from thinking about them. This interfered with practice and concentration. Empowerment helped me through that somehow. Now, when I sit or do mantra, I can concentrate fully.
Empowerment often involves deity meditation or practice.
Empowerment often involves deity meditation or practice. Vajrayogini is one such Buddhist deity. Empowerment is important to benefiting from deity practice.
Deity Practice Changed Me
As I began deity practice at this new, deeper level, I could feel these unnecessary thoughts simply going away. It was as if my mind, constantly engaged, was slowly transforming from a conflicted me to a mind willed with deity. As the burden of all these thoughts reduced, I began noticing a slow change in my personality and attitude, too. My friends say I’m more relaxed and smile more.
Previously, whenever I had a small illness or physical discomfort, I used to keep on stressing about the pain and discomfort I was going through. Since, I began empowered practice, I can truly say that I’m now more of an interested observer in that pain, detached enough to see it as healing rather than sickness.
Empowerment Improved My Attitude to Other People
Another important change, perhaps the most important one, my attitude towards other people has changed for the better. All my life, I have always been quick to observe the flaws of other people around me and on quite a few occasions, even got into intense arguments with many people. Sometimes, I would not say anything openly, but would carry an ill feeling in my heart that did not allow me to interact well with certain people, or just ate away at me.
Now, I find myself mellowing in my response to people. This didn’t happen consciously. I wasn’t trying to change my way of dealing with people. But, I have stopped finding fault with others. During any interaction, I now concentrate on doing the best possible from my side and if at all things don’t go exactly the expected way, I am able to look for the mistakes I made rather than blindly assuming it was all the other person’s fault.
In other words, it is as if during the ritual of empowerment, my reacher planted the seed of clarity and today, with my spiritual practice, I am watering the sapling that has grown from that seed.

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