Requirements to give empowerments?

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Re: Requirements to give empowerments?

Postby Mr. G » Sun May 20, 2012 10:32 pm

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Re: Requirements to give empowerments?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Mon May 21, 2012 9:38 am

Caz wrote:On that note Greg the primary factor of her receiving blessings and accomplishing results was her faith. Applying faith to a Guru is essential for results as Im sure you well know. :thumbsup:
I don't know if you will find a reference in the Buddhist Canon regarding the positive qualities of naieve faith. Let us not take a Tibetan anecdote as scriptural authority for the exercise of blind and passive acceptance.
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Re: Requirements to give empowerments?

Postby Caz » Mon May 21, 2012 1:10 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:
Caz wrote:On that note Greg the primary factor of her receiving blessings and accomplishing results was her faith. Applying faith to a Guru is essential for results as Im sure you well know. :thumbsup:
I don't know if you will find a reference in the Buddhist Canon regarding the positive qualities of naieve faith. Let us not take a Tibetan anecdote as scriptural authority for the exercise of blind and passive acceptance.
:namaste:


The point is her faith transformed ordinary appearance, Im not suggesting any form of blind and passive acceptance but rather pointing out the very important role that faith from the disciple plays in transforming the mundane. Its not to suggest that one should not look for a spiritual guide without the minimum qualities mentioned in the Lam rim texts. :namaste:
Abandoning Dharma is, in the final analysis, disparaging the Hinayana because of the Mahayana; favoring the Hinayana on account of the Mahayana; playing off sutra against tantra; playing off the four classes of the tantras against each other; favoring one of the Tibetan schools—the Sakya, Gelug, Kagyu, or Nyingma—and disparaging the rest; and so on. In other words, we abandon Dharma any time we favor our own tenets and disparage the rest.

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Re: Requirements to give empowerments?

Postby conebeckham » Mon May 21, 2012 5:03 pm

From one point of view, the "requirements to give empowerments" are merely familiarity with the process of giving empowerments, and in most cases, the ability to read Tibetan. (There may be Western-language Empowerment Texts by now, I suppose......) Plus, you may need certain physical implements--a vase (Bumpa), some pretty pictures painted on cardboard (tsakli), maybe a nice mirror (Melong), a torma, or other stuff, depending on the empowerment.

Anyone can participate in a ceremony, anyone can give it if they have the above requisites, the texts, and the basic procedural knowledge, and anyone can take it if they want to. But that's just a ceremony. A bonk on the head with a vase, innit?

To effectively transmit lineage blessing via Wang, the primary thing is authorization from one's teacher, no doubt about it.

In most traditions, as a generality, this requires that the prospective Vajra Master have done some extensive retreat practice, and have, at bare minimum, faith and confidence in his or her teacher, and in the practice methods being transmitted-- as well as the requirements noted in my first paragraph. The most important things are the mental states of the giver and the recipient.

But really, true "wangs" are relatively rare. They require a great master, a student with qualities, and other auspicious Tendrel. Of course, if one is operating within a tradition, one needs an authorization to practice a given method, and the Wang is a key element of this authorization (along with the Tri and Lung, ideally). But, as is said in many empowerment texts, the empowerment itself can be a path to liberation--there are cases of masters who achieved the final fruition via empowerment itself. Empowerment can be opening the door to blessing, or it can be shoving the student through the threshold (into the world of Enlightened Mind).

These days, it seems "empowerments" and other ceremonies are bestowed with no extensive retreat experience, little knowledge of the wider context of any given empowerment, and in some cases, even without the permission of one's own master. In my opinion, the qualities of the Vajra Master are much more important than the qualities or focus of the empowerment itself. Also, a key factor is the samaya involved--how you relate to your teacher, as a student, and to the practice, are paramount. A Dog's Tooth doesn't exhibit unstable mind, or engage in questionable behavior, or bestow empowerments in the marketplace out of a desire for goods, money. etc. Human Beings, however, may dress up in robes, and conduct "religious ceremonies" while doing all of those things, and with regard only for spreading their own peculiar doctrine, or increasing the numbers of their "disciples," etc.
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Re: Requirements to give empowerments?

Postby philji » Fri Jan 18, 2013 8:51 pm

Having read through all the posts here there are a myriad of explanations of the requirements needed to give wang.. I am still no wiser..... If a lama has great faith in his own teacher, has done extensive practice of the deity or practice, knows the ritual required for the wang and has great devotion to the practice is this enough...or is the crunch factor the permission from his own teacher....
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Re: Requirements to give empowerments?

Postby conebeckham » Fri Jan 18, 2013 9:01 pm

I believe, Phil, that one needs one's master's permission to give empowerments in general. Not in each specific case, perhaps, but I think anyone considering giving empowerment for the first time would ask their own master about whether such a thing was appropriate. The way I see it, once the green light has been given, the door is open.
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Re: Requirements to give empowerments?

Postby Kunga » Fri Jan 18, 2013 9:38 pm

The general tantric rule is that 100,000 mantras accumulated in retreat plus the pacifying fire puja is the minimum requirement to give the wang. This is why in many lineages students complete the approximation retreat of a yidam and can then give the initiation to themselves - Vajrayogini, Yamantaka seem to be common practices where this is widespread. This self-initiation is the same as a wang given by someone else, it complete restores all vows, broken samayas, etc., and if you have made a previous practice commitment with another lama you can amend it.

There's a story about Khyentse Wangpo relating to this. Once he encountered an old woman who was the only surviving practitioner in one particular line of practice. He got her to do the retreat and then, when she had finished, she gave him the wang and lung, so he could transmit the practice himself.

In Sakya if we do the approximation retreat of a major mandala (Hevajra, Chakrasamvara, etc.) then that qualifies us to give any initiation in that class of tantra. So one HYT retreat gives permission for that class; a Kriya tantra retreat gives permission for that class etc. These retreats normally last about 6 - 9 months. There's also a curriculum of study in the Ngor tantric college which results in one qualifying as a Vajra Master.

Ultimately, the guru's permission is required, and all the other qualities are preferable too. Realisation of the yidam and other signs of success would be good but they're not at all guaranteed when someone is given permission to give wangs.
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Re: Requirements to give empowerments?

Postby philji » Fri Jan 18, 2013 10:48 pm

Thanks guys......it's becoming clearer. Next question...what if you have received an empowerment from someone who may not have been authorised......where does that leave you with. Regard to samaya etc.
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Re: Requirements to give empowerments?

Postby heart » Fri Jan 18, 2013 10:52 pm

philji wrote:Thanks guys......it's becoming clearer. Next question...what if you have received an empowerment from someone who may not have been authorised......where does that leave you with. Regard to samaya etc.


Just let it go.

/magnus
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Re: Requirements to give empowerments?

Postby ngodrup » Fri Jan 18, 2013 11:11 pm

Technically, if the lama in question received the empowerment (and we're talking about HYT)
from a qualified Lama, he or she also received what's called vajra master empowerment.
In theory, one gets authorization at the time of empowerment. But, you see there are
so many variables. 99.44% of the time, that's not really enough. ;) You might go back to
that Lama's teacher.
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Re: Requirements to give empowerments?

Postby Kunga » Sat Jan 19, 2013 6:58 pm

[quote="philji"]Thanks guys......it's becoming clearer. Next question...what if you have received an empowerment from someone who may not have been authorised......where does that leave you with. Regard to samaya etc.[/quote

With regard to samaya, it really depends on what you mean and what class of empowerment you received. For example, if you took a wangchen (major initiation) in which the tantric vows are received then you do have 'samaya' with that teacher in the fullest sense of the word - he/she becomes de facto one of your tantric root gurus (and you can have many).

In the most common form of empowerment - jenang (permission blessing) - the tantric vows are not conferred, as it's assumed you've already received a wangchen, so the karmic link is not the same and someone does not become a tantric root guru. It's a sort of abbreviated way of allowing you to do a particular practice by setting the dependent origination between your body, speech and mind and that of the associated yidam. I think you make a general promise not to disparage the teacher. It's not such a big deal. This doesn't mean it is insignificant, though.

I'm not sure what happens with empowerments such as chod because technically it falls outside the tantric system of classification, whilst utilising tantric methods. I would say that it's probably on a level with a jenang. That's purely my opinion.

If you're really unsure about the teacher, or want to disassociate yourself you can always hand the empowerment back. If you've only received some kind of jenang I would just forget about it, but try not to say anything negative. If the teacher's done the retreat and gives the wang, even though he's not authorised, and you make the promises then you've probably still received something or made some kind of link.

Do you know that this teacher wasn't authorised?
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Re: Requirements to give empowerments?

Postby heart » Sat Jan 19, 2013 7:12 pm

Kunga wrote:
philji wrote:Thanks guys......it's becoming clearer. Next question...what if you have received an empowerment from someone who may not have been authorised......where does that leave you with. Regard to samaya etc.


With regard to samaya, it really depends on what you mean and what class of empowerment you received. For example, if you took a wangchen (major initiation) in which the tantric vows are received then you do have 'samaya' with that teacher in the fullest sense of the word - he/she becomes de facto one of your tantric root gurus (and you can have many).

In the most common form of empowerment - jenang (permission blessing) - the tantric vows are not conferred, as it's assumed you've already received a wangchen, so the karmic link is not the same and someone does not become a tantric root guru. It's a sort of abbreviated way of allowing you to do a particular practice by setting the dependent origination between your body, speech and mind and that of the associated yidam. I think you make a general promise not to disparage the teacher. It's not such a big deal. This doesn't mean it is insignificant, though.

I'm not sure what happens with empowerments such as chod because technically it falls outside the tantric system of classification, whilst utilising tantric methods. I would say that it's probably on a level with a jenang. That's purely my opinion.

If you're really unsure about the teacher, or want to disassociate yourself you can always hand the empowerment back. If you've only received some kind of jenang I would just forget about it, but try not to say anything negative. If the teacher's done the retreat and gives the wang, even though he's not authorised, and you make the promises then you've probably still received something or made some kind of link.

Do you know that this teacher wasn't authorised?


Hey Kunga,

Are you a Sakya? Just curious because this difference between jenanh and wangchen is normally considered very important in the Sakya. Not so in the Nyingma,or as my Guru once told me "an empowerment is an empowerment".

The reason I said "just let it go" is that an empowerment given by someone that isn't qualified will not carry any samaya IMO. When I myself been in similar difficulties I was told "don't think bad, don't think good, just let it go". Seems like a good advice still.

/magnus
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Re: Requirements to give empowerments?

Postby Konchog1 » Sat Jan 19, 2013 7:36 pm

Kunga wrote:In the most common form of empowerment - jenang (permission blessing) - the tantric vows are not conferred, as it's assumed you've already received a wangchen, so the karmic link is not the same and someone does not become a tantric root guru. It's a sort of abbreviated way of allowing you to do a particular practice by setting the dependent origination between your body, speech and mind and that of the associated yidam. I think you make a general promise not to disparage the teacher. It's not such a big deal. This doesn't mean it is insignificant, though.
According to the Lam Rim Chen Mo, not disparaging a teacher is true for Sutra practices, so it certainly is the case in Jenangs as well.
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Re: Requirements to give empowerments?

Postby Pema Rigdzin » Sat Jan 19, 2013 7:40 pm

And there is absolutely no such thing as "handing an empowerment back" in any Vajrayana tradition. Empowerment is essentially an arrangement of karmic connection between one's body speech, and mind and those of the lama and deity in question in order that one may use the path to realize one's own three kayas. You can't hand an empowerment back anymore than you can hand back karma from something you've thought, said, or done.

And I think that if the person that gave the empowerment had received it himself in a qualified way, has pure samaya, and has given it to you according to the lineage instructions, then it is valid and will fulfill its functions even if that lama is not realized. But I do think it's somehow much more powerful if the lama does have realization, and certainly you'd want him to if he's gonna guide you in your practice thereafter. But if the person lacks any of the above criteria, then there is no lineage or proper tantric tendrel, and hence no empowerment.
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Re: Requirements to give empowerments?

Postby philji » Sat Jan 19, 2013 10:00 pm

Hi Kunga...not I am not sure that the teach is not authorised....he has commitment to the practice, has received it from a great master who he considers his root guru. He has done retreats on the sadhana in question.
But as far as I am aware he has not been told by anyone that he can give the wang...but I may be wrong......I have received the same empowerment from another teacher so it's not too big an issue .
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Re: Requirements to give empowerments?

Postby Yudron » Sun Jan 20, 2013 2:17 am

philji wrote:Hi Kunga...not I am not sure that the teach is not authorised....he has commitment to the practice, has received it from a great master who he considers his root guru. He has done retreats on the sadhana in question.
But as far as I am aware he has not been told by anyone that he can give the wang...but I may be wrong......I have received the same empowerment from another teacher so it's not too big an issue .


Well, that would be quite intrepid of him! Very few empowerment texts have been translated. So, first you have to read Tibetan. Then you have to know all the mudras and the ritual, then you'd have to possess all the mandalas, sacred substances, and ritual items. Then you's have to get up to speed to be able to do it without pausing and looking baffled. If you are going to be a charlatan, I think it would be easier to make up your own ritual and text. Why not?

If one of my peers in any of the sanghas I am associated with gave a wang without permission, the earth would shift on it's axis from the power of the wrath of the lineage lamas. It would be hard to overstate how inappropriate that would be.
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Re: Requirements to give empowerments?

Postby Kunga » Sun Jan 20, 2013 10:17 am

Hudson thanks...he knew the empowerment perfectly, had all necessary items, was immaculate n his presentation of it. He is fluent in tibetan and English..has a family lineage of practitioners and was brought up since childhood with Rinpoche's. he guided us thru the wang in a perfect fashion and many said it was the most clear empowerment ever attended. He also gave lung and tri...so what to say can not fault in any of this....
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Re: Requirements to give empowerments?

Postby Kunga » Sun Jan 20, 2013 2:34 pm

heart wrote:
Kunga wrote:
philji wrote:Thanks guys......it's becoming clearer. Next question...what if you have received an empowerment from someone who may not have been authorised......where does that leave you with. Regard to samaya etc.


With regard to samaya, it really depends on what you mean and what class of empowerment you received. For example, if you took a wangchen (major initiation) in which the tantric vows are received then you do have 'samaya' with that teacher in the fullest sense of the word - he/she becomes de facto one of your tantric root gurus (and you can have many).

In the most common form of empowerment - jenang (permission blessing) - the tantric vows are not conferred, as it's assumed you've already received a wangchen, so the karmic link is not the same and someone does not become a tantric root guru. It's a sort of abbreviated way of allowing you to do a particular practice by setting the dependent origination between your body, speech and mind and that of the associated yidam. I think you make a general promise not to disparage the teacher. It's not such a big deal. This doesn't mean it is insignificant, though.

I'm not sure what happens with empowerments such as chod because technically it falls outside the tantric system of classification, whilst utilising tantric methods. I would say that it's probably on a level with a jenang. That's purely my opinion.

If you're really unsure about the teacher, or want to disassociate yourself you can always hand the empowerment back. If you've only received some kind of jenang I would just forget about it, but try not to say anything negative. If the teacher's done the retreat and gives the wang, even though he's not authorised, and you make the promises then you've probably still received something or made some kind of link.

Do you know that this teacher wasn't authorised?


Hey Kunga,

Are you a Sakya? Just curious because this difference between jenanh and wangchen is normally considered very important in the Sakya. Not so in the Nyingma,or as my Guru once told me "an empowerment is an empowerment".

The reason I said "just let it go" is that an empowerment given by someone that isn't qualified will not carry any samaya IMO. When I myself been in similar difficulties I was told "don't think bad, don't think good, just let it go". Seems like a good advice still.

/magnus


Hi Magnus, I'm a Sakya monk but also a Nyingma practitioner,
The Sakyapas and Gelugpas place such a big emphasis on major empowerments because they consider it the correct way to fully enter vajrayana practice - but this seems to be not emphasised by some teachers, even though they give major empowerments regularly. Wangchens for the Throma practice is given in the Dudjom lineage but my (Dudjom) lama says it is for people who are 'seriously' doing the practice - it demonstrates that there is a difference between that and a regular empowerment in his understanding.

Anyway, each to his own, I'm certainly not pushing one lineage's take on the situation over anothers. :-)

K
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Re: Requirements to give empowerments?

Postby mañjughoṣamaṇi » Sun Jan 20, 2013 2:58 pm

Pema Rigdzin wrote:And there is absolutely no such thing as "handing an empowerment back" in any Vajrayana tradition. Empowerment is essentially an arrangement of karmic connection between one's body speech, and mind and those of the lama and deity in question in order that one may use the path to realize one's own three kayas. You can't hand an empowerment back anymore than you can hand back karma from something you've thought, said, or done.


Hi Pema,

An acquaintance of mine "handed an empowerment back" along with practice commitments to Jetsun Kusho, so I believe there is some type of precedent for this within the Sakya tradition, thought I am uncertain what this means or how this is meant to function.

All the best.
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Re: Requirements to give empowerments?

Postby Kunga » Sun Jan 20, 2013 3:12 pm

mañjughoṣamaṇi wrote:
Pema Rigdzin wrote:And there is absolutely no such thing as "handing an empowerment back" in any Vajrayana tradition. Empowerment is essentially an arrangement of karmic connection between one's body speech, and mind and those of the lama and deity in question in order that one may use the path to realize one's own three kayas. You can't hand an empowerment back anymore than you can hand back karma from something you've thought, said, or done.


Hi Pema,

An acquaintance of mine "handed an empowerment back" along with practice commitments to Jetsun Kusho, so I believe there is some type of precedent for this within the Sakya tradition, thought I am uncertain what this means or how this is meant to function.

All the best.

Hi, the Sakya tradition is super strict about maintaining customs rather than inventing them, so this is not something that comes from them - it exists generally but many don't know about it. It's more like handing back the vows/samayas - one can return any set of vows from the three classes to one's preceptor.

K
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