Torma

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Torma

Postby Konchog1 » Sun Oct 21, 2012 5:41 am

Much to my surprise, I can't find instructions for making offering Torma with ingredient amounts on the internet.

Help please. I just want to make a simple barley Torma for the spirits.

Thank you.
Equanimity is the ground. Love is the moisture. Compassion is the seed. Bodhicitta is the result.

-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

-Ra Lotsawa, All-pervading Melodious Drumbeats
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Re: Torma

Postby ngodrup » Sun Oct 21, 2012 6:11 am

Because each torma is linage specific.
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Re: Torma

Postby Pema Rigdzin » Sun Oct 21, 2012 6:24 am

What kind of spirits? For many spirits, any nice offering of cookies or whatever (if you don't know how to make the torma) is ok whenever. But for nagas, for instance, it has to be completely vegan and only on certain days and properly done.
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Re: Torma

Postby Konchog1 » Sun Oct 21, 2012 7:09 am

Pema Rigdzin wrote:What kind of spirits? For many spirits, any nice offering of cookies or whatever (if you don't know how to make the torma) is ok whenever. But for nagas, for instance, it has to be completely vegan and only on certain days and properly done.
To BSTAN-MA, the Goddess of the Earth,
All lords of the site of the three thousand worlds,
To the Five Sisters of Long Life,
And to all the protectors who reside in Tibet (and in this land),
And particularly to the devas, nagas, and lord of the site,
And to the hungry ghosts

http://tibetanaltar.blogspot.com/2011/0 ... -site.html

ngodrup wrote:Because each torma is linage specific.
Even the eatable Tormas?!
Equanimity is the ground. Love is the moisture. Compassion is the seed. Bodhicitta is the result.

-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

-Ra Lotsawa, All-pervading Melodious Drumbeats
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Re: Torma

Postby pemachophel » Sun Oct 21, 2012 5:49 pm

Tibetans don't do Betty Crocker or Joy of Cooking kinds of recipes. It's a "little of this and a little of that" kinda thing. You learn by watching and doing. But it's also not rocket science. So, that being said, get yourself some roasted tsampa. Is that available to you? In the U.S., it can be ordered from Purple Mountain Tsampa (annlachman@gmail.com). Pour out some in a mixing bowl. Add the three whites and the three sweets (cream, yogurt, and butter, sugar, molasses, and honey), but not too much. You don't want the dough to be gooey. It has to remain fairly stiff. Add a little hot water to make into dough. Knead thoroughly until you have a dough which holds together, can be shaped, and does not loose its shape after being set to stand. If you have access to it, add a small amount of tor-dzey powder (pre-mixed ingredients for tormas). This can be ordered in the U.S. from Potalagate. The things that are usually lineage specific are the shape, color, and butter decorations (mar-gyan). However, my guess is that you are wanting to make simple ka-tor (white torma). In that case, not such a big deal. If you can't get tsampa, you can also use quick oats with hot water. Another option is whole wheat flour in boiling water cooked in a pot on the stove until it forms a stiff dough. This method is less user-friendly since you wind up with a difficult-to-clean pot with dough typically burnt onto the bottom.

Don't be afraid to experiment a little.

Good luck and best wishes from one of the very first American chopons. :namaste:
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Re: Torma

Postby Yudron » Sun Oct 21, 2012 6:38 pm

Konchog1 wrote:Much to my surprise, I can't find instructions for making offering Torma with ingredient amounts on the internet.

Help please. I just want to make a simple barley Torma for the spirits.

Thank you.


Congratulations for trying to make torma, that's great.

I wonder, though, what do you mean by "spirits?"

There are a lot of different kinds of tormas for different purposes. Maybe you are meaning the red torma offered to obstructors at the beginning of a retreat, or the white torma offered to the local "landlords" requesting the use of an area of land for Dharma practice?
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Re: Torma

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sun Oct 21, 2012 6:44 pm

For shal say (white) food offering torma (which are basically the same across all lineages) all you need is oats (the finer ground they are the better, ie the cheaper oats are usually better than the Quakers which tend to be almost whole), some boiling water, some butter or vegetable oil, some marzipan (optional) and some ground up mendrup (optional).

Throw the oats into a large bowl or small tub (about 100-150g of oats makes two nice sized torma) and slowly pour on boiling hot water so that the oats soak it all up but don't become mushy. If you do throw in too much water you can just add more oats anyway, if the water is not enough to bind the oats then just add more water.

Let it soak (and cool down) a bit then throw in a little butter or a splash of vegetable oil and some ground up mendrup and start to knead the mixture until it binds together nicely.

If you make too much mix wrap the excess in plastic wrap or put it in a freezer bag (so it doesn't dry out) and put it in the fridge or the deep freezer (if you only offer once a month) for later use.

Roll it into a fat sausage shape and then start to mould it into the shape you need (rough drawing follows):
shal say torma.jpg
shal say torma.jpg (42.62 KiB) Viewed 2499 times

Notice the circles? They are the butter ornaments that you need to make. I cheat and use marzipan instead of butter since my fingers are kind of too strong, so I tend to squish the hell out of the butter or make it too thick to compensate. They don't need to be coloured.

The one that goes on the back is in the case where you have damtsig with the deity you are making the offering to (ie if you don't have damtsig don't put it on). It is tear dropped shaped rather than oval and you squish the narrow end of the "tear drop" to make it stick to the torma.

Then either melt some butter (or use some vegetable oil, it makes life easier) and a paint brush to coat the torma so it doesn't dry out.

That's it!
:namaste:
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
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Re: Torma

Postby Yudron » Sun Oct 21, 2012 6:49 pm



Beware of this website, it is run by a convicted felon, and ex-con, who is masquerading as a lama.

ngodrup wrote:Because each torma is linage specific.


There is a thing called a "tsog tor" or "tsampa tsog" that is sweetened tsampa dough made roughly in the shape of a breast. In rural communities this was not known as a torma--it was the tsog feast itself, sometimes containing treats like dried cheese. Each person might even get their own individual one to eat, or a larger one might be shared. This might be more universal, and not so lineage specific.

Also, there is a Rinchen Barwa'i (blazing jewel) torma that one takes a pinch of and eats at the end of a group or individual retreat, that has the three jewels with flames. It might be a general torma that various lineages used. I don't know.
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Re: Torma

Postby Yudron » Sun Oct 21, 2012 6:56 pm

Greg, our shalzey procedure is pretty similar to yours.

Gyen are a bit time-consuming to make for daily life, so we make color copies of a set of drawn gyen, cut them out and stick them on.

You can also buy permanent Shalze and other tormas on-line. The back of Snow Lion used to have some, and Lama Tharchin Rinpoche offers them for sale at rinchenbarwa.com... more will eventually be available.
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Re: Torma

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sun Oct 21, 2012 7:12 pm

PS I forgot to say. To make the gyen (butter ornaments) you need a bowl full of ice cubes and water. You drop the pieces of butter (which have to be the size of the ornament you will make) rolled up into balls and you let them chill thoroughly. Then, whilst keeping the butter in the water, you mould them into disks using your frozen fingers. See why I use marzipan?
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Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
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Re: Torma

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sun Oct 21, 2012 7:15 pm

You can also buy permanent Shalze and other tormas on-line. The back of Snow Lion used to have some, and Lama Tharchin Rinpoche offers them for sale at rinchenbarwa.com... more will eventually be available.
Fast food tormas! Geez, you Americans are incorrigible! :tongue:

By the way Konchog, if you are pressed for time you can just use "white" biscuits!

Thing is that making torma helps ripen karma!
:namaste:
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
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Re: Torma

Postby Konchog1 » Sun Oct 21, 2012 7:24 pm

Thank you very much pemachophel and Greg. I'll be trying your recipes.

Yes Yudron, I want to make a White Torma for the Lord of the Site. Will you direct me to better liturgy? Thank you.
Equanimity is the ground. Love is the moisture. Compassion is the seed. Bodhicitta is the result.

-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

-Ra Lotsawa, All-pervading Melodious Drumbeats
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Re: Torma

Postby Yudron » Sun Oct 21, 2012 7:37 pm

Konchog1 wrote:Thank you very much pemachophel and Greg. I'll be trying your recipes.

Yes Yudron, I want to make a White Torma for the Lord of the Site. Will you direct me to better liturgy? Thank you.


Oh, how auspicious!

Each complete sadhana -- now I hope I'm not showing my lack of knowledge of the Sarma--should have have a kartor (kar means white and tor is short for torma) and gektor at the beginning. In the lineage I am most familiar with--the Dudjom Tersar--we use the four line kartor offering from the Khandro Thukthig if we need to do one outside of a sadhana practice.

So, based on this, I'd say it doesn't need to be long or elaborate--you can use what you have. I am not a lama, or a teacher, just going on what we do as a habit.
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Re: Torma

Postby Yudron » Sun Oct 21, 2012 8:06 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:
You can also buy permanent Shalze and other tormas on-line. The back of Snow Lion used to have some, and Lama Tharchin Rinpoche offers them for sale at rinchenbarwa.com... more will eventually be available.
Fast food tormas! Geez, you Americans are incorrigible! :tongue:

By the way Konchog, if you are pressed for time you can just use "white" biscuits!

Thing is that making torma helps ripen karma!
:namaste:


Yes, we Americans are utterly incorrigible. However, I make baling instead of buying biscuits or cookies off the shelf if I don't have time to make the tormas for my own personal puja... and I just wouldn't bother to do a group puja if I didn't have time to make the tormas.

How to make baling:

Baling is short for balingta, which means torma offering in Sanscrit.

Pinch a little dough (with sacred substances, dzey) between your thumb and fist and second finger (or some lamas prefer three fingers and a thumbe) and quickly squeeze it in to a three (or four) sided symetrical shape, then press the last side on your other palm. The result is like a faceted hershey's kiss, or unhulled barley. The resultig mini-torma should be about half a centimeter or smaller. Make a enough to cover a cookie sheet. Paint them with diluted red food coloring (lama artists prefer the torma red color to be an orangy red, so add a little yellow if you have it). One way to easily paint them is to put them in a small strawberry container and dip them in the food coloring solution quickly to coat. Then, you can use the baling as a substitute for a red torma (usually protectors) or dry them by putting them in a turned off oven over night, or until thoroughly dry. You can then store them in a container and use them for instant tormas when you need them. No more cookies or biscuits needed!

As noted above, Naga tormas do not have tor dzey or dudsi in them, because these have meat in them. One can add special substances for the Naga according to your lama's instruction. We think Naga baling wold be round, because the red baling represent weapons.

Note: Lama Tsering Gyaltsen of Oregon makes all kinds of sacred substances (dzey) from Kongtrul's recipies in the Rinchen Terdzod, and makes them available on an offering basis when they are in stock.
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Re: Torma

Postby Sherab Dorje » Sun Oct 21, 2012 8:22 pm

Yudron wrote:Pinch a little dough (with sacred substances, dzey) between your thumb and fist and second finger (or some lamas prefer three fingers and a thumbe) and quickly squeeze it in to a three (or four) sided symetrical shape, then press the last side on your other palm. The result is like a faceted hershey's kiss, or unhulled barley. The resultig mini-torma should be about half a centimeter or smaller. Make a enough to cover a cookie sheet. Paint them with diluted red food coloring (lama artists prefer the torma red color to be an orangy red, so add a little yellow if you have it). One way to easily paint them is to put them in a small strawberry container and dip them in the food coloring solution quickly to coat. Then, you can use the baling as a substitute for a red torma (usually protectors) or dry them by putting them in a turned off oven over night, or until thoroughly dry. You can then store them in a container and use them for instant tormas when you need them. No more cookies or biscuits needed!
That's completely different to the baling we make.
As noted above, Naga tormas do not have tor dzey or dudsi in them, because these have meat in them. One can add special substances for the Naga according to your lama's instruction. We think Naga baling wold be round, because the red baling represent weapons.
I have been instructed to use (a special type of) martor for naga.
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Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
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Re: Torma

Postby pemachophel » Sun Oct 21, 2012 8:55 pm

A few years ago, I was marveling at the tormas at a drubchen I was at and how elaborate the butter ornaments were. (These torma were made by the Bhutanese Khenpo Urgyen Wangchuk who lives at Tara Mandala.) I was groaning over the ice-water method shared above for shaping butter ornaments. Another Bhutanese Lama (Lama Sonam of LA) said that many Lamas in Asia now use a prepackaged product obtained from pastry supply shops in Malayasia. Unfortunately, he didn't know the name of the stuff. That intrigued me but I didn't follow up on it. I was not planning a trip to KL any time soon. However, recently an American Lama asked me to make torma for a wang He was giving and He sent me the pics for all the torma based on the particular lineage involved. That made me think about the substance the Bhutanese Lama told me was now being "commonly" used in Asia. (How commonly, I have no idea.) In any case, I went on-line and found this stuff called pastry rolled fondant. It is used to make "icing" for layer cakes and other ornaments. Think large wedding cakes with all their over-the-top ornamentation. This stuff is white in color, totally edible, and made out of sugar, water, oil, and other veggie ingredients (like cellulose). It comes in blocks and does not need refrigeration until opened. It readily accepts food coloring and is easily rolled out and/or shaped without melting easily in your hands. I used this stuff for the butter ornaments for the torma for the above wang and was amazed at how fast and easy it was. The Lama in question had no problem with them. Quick, easy, beautiful, edible -- all-good. For me, definitely the way to go. You do have to refrigerate the remaining fondant after the bag is opened. It's not expensive. I ordered it on-line, but it could probably be purchased OTC at a pastry supply store in a large city. Just FYI. I'm sold on the stuff. Khenpo-la, move over; here I come!
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Re: Torma

Postby Yudron » Sun Oct 21, 2012 9:00 pm

Yudron wrote:Pinch a little dough (with sacred substances, dzey) between your thumb and FIRST and second finger (or some lamas prefer three fingers and a thumbe) and quickly squeeze it in to a three (or four) sided symetrical shape, then press the last side on your other palm. The result is like a faceted hershey's kiss, or unhulled barley. The resultig mini-torma should be about half a centimeter or smaller. Make a enough to cover a cookie sheet. Paint them with diluted red food coloring (lama artists prefer the torma red color to be an orangy red, so add a little yellow if you have it). One way to easily paint them is to put them in a small strawberry container and dip them in the food coloring solution quickly to coat. Then, you can use the baling as a substitute for a red torma (usually protectors) or dry them by putting them in a turned off oven over night, or until thoroughly dry. You can then store them in a container and use them for instant tormas when you need them. No more cookies or biscuits needed!


Interesting, Greg. How do you make baling? (Notice I changed my typo above to FIRST and second fingers instead of fist and second fingers.)

And your lu tors are red, how interesting.
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Re: Torma

Postby Yudron » Sun Oct 21, 2012 9:03 pm

pemachophel wrote:A few years ago, I was marveling at the tormas at a drubchen I was at and how elaborate the butter ornaments were. (These torma were made by the Bhutanese Khenpo Urgyen Wangchuk who lives at Tara Mandala.) I was groaning over the ice-water method shared above for shaping butter ornaments. Another Bhutanese Lama (Lama Sonam of LA) said that many Lamas in Asia now use a prepackaged product obtained from pastry supply shops in Malayasia. Unfortunately, he didn't know the name of the stuff. That intrigued me but I didn't follow up on it. I was not planning a trip to KL any time soon. However, recently an American Lama asked me to make torma for a wang He was giving and He sent me the pics for all the torma based on the particular lineage involved. That made me think about the substance the Bhutanese Lama told me was now being "commonly" used in Asia. (How commonly, I have no idea.) In any case, I went on-line and found this stuff called pastry rolled fondant. It is used to make "icing" for layer cakes and other ornaments. Think large wedding cakes with all their over-the-top ornamentation. This stuff is white in color, totally edible, and made out of sugar, water, oil, and other veggie ingredients (like cellulose). It comes in blocks and does not need refrigeration until opened. It readily accepts food coloring and is easily rolled out and/or shaped without melting easily in your hands. I used this stuff for the butter ornaments for the torma for the above wang and was amazed at how fast and easy it was. The Lama in question had no problem with them. Quick, easy, beautiful, edible -- all-good. For me, definitely the way to go. You do have to refrigerate the remaining fondant after the bag is opened. It's not expensive. I ordered it on-line, but it could probably be purchased OTC at a pastry supply store in a large city. Just FYI. I'm sold on the stuff. Khenpo-la, move over; here I come!


This is a great tip. In druptra we mix wax and ghee to make the gyen material. It's quite a production!
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Re: Torma

Postby Sherab Dorje » Mon Oct 22, 2012 8:13 am

baling.jpg
baling.jpg (16.5 KiB) Viewed 2357 times

It's red on the outside and white on the inside.

The middle of the sides (except the base side) are pressed inwards somewhat to make a more star shaped sculpture (hard to replicate using paint program).

There's also a gyen on the back for offerings to deities with which we have damtsig.
:namaste:

PS Fondant is a good idea too! Marzipan is just as easy to work with and I just buy it from the supermarket.
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Torma

Postby Yudron » Mon Oct 22, 2012 8:22 am

gregkavarnos wrote:
baling.jpg

It's red on the outside and white on the inside.

The middle of the sides (except the base side) are pressed inwards somewhat to make a more star shaped sculpture (hard to replicate using paint program).

There's also a gyen on the back for offerings to deities with which we have damtsig.
:namaste:

PS Fondant is a good idea too! Marzipan is just as easy to work with and I just buy it from the supermarket.


Wow! May I ask what tradition that is from? I've never seen any torma like that before. What do you use this baling for?
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