Phowa by Ayang Rinpoche

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Phowa by Ayang Rinpoche

Postby phantom59 » Sat Feb 19, 2011 7:42 am

Phowa, or ‘transference of consciousness at the time of death’ is the simplest and most direct method to attain enlightenment. One of the six Yogas of Naropa, it is taught by all Tibetan Buddhist traditions; the Drikung Kagyu Lineage, however, holds the special power to transfer one’s consciousness to the Pureland of Buddha Amitabha. In Tibet, the famous Drikung Phowa was given every twelve years by the two Head Lamas of the Drikung Lineage. HE Choeje Ayang Rinpoche first started to teach Phowa in India in 1963 and the west in 1975 following the instructions from his root master HH the 16th Gyalwang Karmapa Rangjung Rigpe Dorje.

It is also one of the methods to enable one to reach Buddha Amitabha’s pure land. Through a combination of breath, mantra and visualization techniques applied at the time of death, the consciousness is ejected from the crest aperture, circumventing the Bardos and avoiding rebirth in the six realms of cyclic existence. From this gate one’s consciousness can be transferred directly to the domain of Amitabha Buddha (Dewachen, the western Buddha field). Naropa said, “There are nine gates (ordinary aperture called buga) which are of the world, but there is only one which is the gate of Mahamudra (nirvana). If you shut the nine gates then you will get the path of liberation without any doubt.”

In the words of the Marpa the translator, “If you study Phowa, then at the time when death is approaching, you will know no despair. If beforehand you have become accustomed to the path of phowa, then at the time of death you will be full of cheerful confidence.” It is taught that one does not return to the samsaric realms after entering Dewachen, and that one can quickly and easily achieve enlightenment from that realm. Thus, Phowa is alike an insurance that this attainment will follow death.

This practice is especially relevant in the present day, when most of us lack the luxury of lengthy solitary meditative practice. Because of this lack, as well as the overwhelming path that is simple and direct, and which enables us to transform the stresses of modern life into a vital force that cuts through attachment to illusory objects and awakens in us the realization of our own Buddha nature. Life is very short and can end suddenly without warning. When death comes we have no escape, neither our accumulated wealth nor our dear ones can help us … Nothing can, except the precious teaching.

Read more at : http://ayangrinpoche.org/an-introduction-to-phowa/
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Re: Phowa by Ayang Rinpoche

Postby Ngawang Drolma » Sat Feb 19, 2011 8:42 am

:good:
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Re: Phowa by Ayang Rinpoche

Postby Blue Garuda » Sat Feb 19, 2011 1:01 pm

Phowa is indeed a blissful and powerful practice. :)

It is also possible to perform it for other beings who are dying or who have recently died, helping transfer their consciousness to a Pure Land.
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Re: Phowa by Ayang Rinpoche

Postby Tashi Nyima » Sat Feb 19, 2011 5:38 pm

The following is from
http://www.phowafoundation.org/training.html

Anyen Rinpoche’s newly published book, Dying with Confidence, includes Rinpoche’s heart advice to support practitioners through the dying process. The Dying with Confidence training program will give students the guidance and opportunity to master all the skills necessary for a practitioner to use death as an opportunity for enlightenment and to help all sentient beings.

Rinpoche will offer three levels of training:

Level I Training
The Level I training will be in an intensive format during a 5-day retreat and will include:

Phowa instruction and daily phowa practice
Training in the signs of death
Wind energy practice
Impermanence and Bodhicitta practice
Preparation or review of the Dharma Vision

The first Level I Training will be held September 22-26, 2011 in a retreat setting near Denver.

Level II Training
The second training will take place over a Friday evening to Sunday retreat and will include:

Daily phowa and wind energy practice
Review of signs of death
Instructions and practice of the Bardo Prayers
Preparation or review of the Dharma Will

Before Level III, students will be required to attend one weekend phowa retreat to be offered in various locations as well as monthly phowa practices in their own area when possible.

Level III Training
The third level will also take place over a full weekend and will include:

Phowa for others
Benefitting others in the dying process
Empowerment and instruction for Liberation-by-Wearing Mandala
Choosing Entrusted Dharma Friends

Upon completion of Level III, qualified students may be invited to attend other teachings with Anyen Rinpoche, such as an introduction to the bardos or chod.

More details about the Level I Training and registration will be posted on
http://www.phowafoundation.org/training.html
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Re: Phowa by Ayang Rinpoche

Postby Mr. G » Sun Feb 20, 2011 2:37 pm

I've just ordered Anyen Rinpoche’s book...it should be arriving soon.

I really hope the teaching modules he's giving are not "Dharma lite".
    How foolish you are,
    grasping the letter of the text and ignoring its intention!
    - Vasubandhu
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Re: Phowa by Ayang Rinpoche

Postby Nosta » Sun Feb 20, 2011 9:50 pm

Phowa seems to be an interesting practice, specially if you can apply it to dying beings near you, but i dont understand why use it to yourself when recitation of "Namo Amituofo" is easy than visualizations, mantras, etc.

I am not saying that Phowa is wrost than Nembutsu, just trying to understand how things works.

Can someone here give me an insight on my question?

Thank you very much.

:namaste:
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Re: Phowa by Ayang Rinpoche

Postby Blue Garuda » Sun Feb 20, 2011 11:14 pm

Nosta wrote:Phowa seems to be an interesting practice, specially if you can apply it to dying beings near you, but i dont understand why use it to yourself when recitation of "Namo Amituofo" is easy than visualizations, mantras, etc.

I am not saying that Phowa is wrost than Nembutsu, just trying to understand how things works.

Can someone here give me an insight on my question?

Thank you very much.

:namaste:


Some prefer Nembutsu, some are drawn to different methods.

Not saying Nembutsu is worse than Phowa either, but for me Phowa is the path. :)

If there is a difference it is perhaps that the practitioner of Phowa is 'active' in the transference of their own (or another being's consciousness) rather than asking a Buddha to carry it out.

Secondly, there is a choice within Phowa - one may work through different Buddhas and seek the rebirth in different Pure Lands, according to the being whose consciousness is being transferred.

I know very little of Nembutsu, so forgive me if I am mistaken.
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Re: Phowa by Ayang Rinpoche

Postby Adamantine » Mon Feb 21, 2011 12:16 am

Yeshe wrote:
If there is a difference it is perhaps that the practitioner of Phowa is 'active' in the transference of their own (or another being's consciousness) rather than asking a Buddha to carry it out.


Actually supplication is a very important part of Phowa, in my understanding.. so in a way it is a meeting of being 'active' and asking both. .
Contentment is the ultimate wealth;
Detachment is the final happiness. ~Sri Saraha
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Re: Phowa by Ayang Rinpoche

Postby Nosta » Mon Feb 21, 2011 12:24 am

Thanks for your answer Yeshe.

Can you tell me meore on how to do the practice on dying animals or even persons?
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Re: Phowa by Ayang Rinpoche

Postby kirtu » Mon Feb 21, 2011 1:13 am

Nosta wrote:Phowa seems to be an interesting practice,


Interestingly I was going to post something on phowa. Actually Shakyamuni Buddha taught a form of phowa in the Pali suttas, specifically teaching people how to be reborn in the Brahma Realm (a god realm). Then there is the visualization of the Amitabha Pure Land and the practice of Amitabha in the Mahayana sutras. So phowa teaching comes from Shakyamuni Buddha.

specially if you can apply it to dying beings near you,


Well you can apply it to other beings but this is more aspirational than anything else. But upon their death a being can see you doing practice for them and then they can generate a positive mind and even follow the practice. This then can positively change their rebirth destination and perhaps even place them in the Pure Lands (but they would usually have had to be familiar with the practice themselves and are then reminded by your practice to do practice that they have already done before).

but i dont understand why use it to yourself when recitation of "Namo Amituofo" is easy than visualizations, mantras, etc.


Either one is fine it just depends on you. But visualization and mantra involves body, speech and mind deeply. You can visualize doing nembutsu too. Nembutsu is mantra/dharani practice.

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"Only you can make your mind beautiful."
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Re: Phowa by Ayang Rinpoche

Postby kirtu » Mon Feb 21, 2011 1:31 am

Yeshe wrote:Phowa is indeed a blissful and powerful practice. :)

It is also possible to perform it for other beings who are dying or who have recently died, helping transfer their consciousness to a Pure Land.


And it's possible for us to win a Nobel Prize but it isn't that likely. It's not considered safe for untrained people to try to do phowa for others except for very light kind of phowa that Sogyal Rinpoche wrote about in his book "The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying".

The issue is that it is taught that we would have to be quite accomplished to be able to transfer another being's consciousness to the Amitabha Pure Land (much less any other Pure Land). However a Palyul teacher did say that if we demonstrate signs of accomplishment and have faith in the practice then we could at least theoretically do phowa for others but didn't really elaborate further. During a Longchen Nyingtik phowa retreat the teacher mentioned that tulkus would train by transferring insects.

Sogyal Rinpoche in his "Tibetan Book of Living and Dying" presents a kind of phowa that anyone can do with visualization of Amitabha or any other Buddha shining wisdom (or healing) light on the being and eventually being absorbed into light in the heart of the Buddha.

Kirt
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"Only you can make your mind beautiful."
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Re: Phowa by Ayang Rinpoche

Postby Nosta » Mon Feb 21, 2011 1:39 pm

kirtu wrote:Actually Shakyamuni Buddha taught a form of phowa in the Pali suttas, specifically teaching people how to be reborn in the Brahma Realm (a god realm). Kirt


Two questions if you allow me lol (you must be thinking "What a boring guy, always with a thousand of questions" lol):

1) Whats the interest of teaching the rebirth in a God (and impermanent, and with suffering) Realm? Why would Buddha teach that if he knew that teaching rebirth on a pureland is much better?

2) Do you know any good links to sites or ebooks where one can learn more on Phowa?

Thank you very much.

:namaste:
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Re: Phowa by Ayang Rinpoche

Postby kirtu » Tue Feb 22, 2011 1:15 pm

Nosta wrote:
kirtu wrote:Actually Shakyamuni Buddha taught a form of phowa in the Pali suttas, specifically teaching people how to be reborn in the Brahma Realm (a god realm). Kirt


1) Whats the interest of teaching the rebirth in a God (and impermanent, and with suffering) Realm? Why would Buddha teach that if he knew that teaching rebirth on a pureland is much better?


In the Mahayana and esp. the Vajrayana the view is that Shakyamuni Buddha gave different teaching for people of different capacities (this is also found in the Pali suttas but I have always heard that the Theravadin practitioners reject this view).

So he taught rebirth in a Brahma Realm for beings who couldn't follow other teachings. At the same time there is a Pali sutta, the Dhananjani Sutta, where Sariputra guide a person (Dhanajani) to the Brahma Realm and is subsequently mildly admonished by the Buddha for having done so. The commentary says that apparently the Buddha saw that Dhananjani had the potential to attain one of the four stages of liberation detailed in the Southern School (Stream Entry, Once Returner, Never Returner or Arhant).

2) Do you know any good links to sites or ebooks where one can learn more on Phowa?


Real phowa can only be learned directly from a lama. There is a mild phowa that can be learned from books but this is essentially prayer and visualization. And that is detailed in Sogyal Rinpoche's "Tibetan Book of Living and Dying" (there is a Kindle version). That section has been replicated in places on the web:

Here is one- the language is directly from Sogyal Rinpoche's book although it has been slightly adapted as this site is interested in helping the consciousness of dead animals.
Here is another

Please note that both of these sites are New Ageish. This phowa visualization (what Sogyal Rinpoche refers to as essential phowa) can still be beneficial.

Real phowa where you transfer your consciousness has to be learned without question from a lama. Until you do that then just visualizing Amitabha's Pure Land is the most that can be done (Tulku Thondup gives a guided visualization for this in his excellent "Peaceful Death, Joyful Rebirth" [there is unfortunately no ebook version of this excellent book yet]).

There is also Lama Lodu's excellent book on the Bardo Teachings that Snowlion has republished and there is Lati Rinpoche's teaching on death and dying (which I haven't actually read).

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"Only you can make your mind beautiful."
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Re: Phowa by Ayang Rinpoche

Postby Nosta » Tue Feb 22, 2011 6:09 pm

Thanks a lot for your useful insights on my questions.
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Re: Phowa by Ayang Rinpoche

Postby Blue Garuda » Tue Feb 22, 2011 8:21 pm

kirtu wrote:
Yeshe wrote:Phowa is indeed a blissful and powerful practice. :)

It is also possible to perform it for other beings who are dying or who have recently died, helping transfer their consciousness to a Pure Land.


And it's possible for us to win a Nobel Prize but it isn't that likely. It's not considered safe for untrained people to try to do phowa for others except for very light kind of phowa that Sogyal Rinpoche wrote about in his book "The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying".



Um - where exactly did I state that an untrained person should perform such a practice?

There are other methods as you indicate.

If asked, I would have replied that the practitioner who does so without transmission may be as much at risk as if performing HYT practices without proper transmission. I won't elaborate further, but I perform Phowa for others and ensure proper protection is in place. ;)
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Re: Phowa by Ayang Rinpoche

Postby Blue Garuda » Tue Feb 22, 2011 9:25 pm

Adamantine wrote:
Yeshe wrote:
If there is a difference it is perhaps that the practitioner of Phowa is 'active' in the transference of their own (or another being's consciousness) rather than asking a Buddha to carry it out.


Actually supplication is a very important part of Phowa, in my understanding.. so in a way it is a meeting of being 'active' and asking both. .


Yes, I guess the balance depends on the nature of the Phowa. There are many.

In some performed for another being, there is considerable ritual activity before the transference, during it and afterwards - which was what I was trying to convey. Some rituals are lengthy, and quite complex - well, to my pea brain anyway! :)
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Re: Phowa by Ayang Rinpoche

Postby Nosta » Wed Feb 23, 2011 12:10 am

Yeshe, for "lay" people like me and other members, without ay possibility to have a master that can teach Phowa and give empowerment, would you advise anyy good substitute for the practice of Phowa?

Maybe Nembutsu its the right for us?

By the way, what exactly means (and how it works) "to give empowerment"?

Thank you again for your patient and useful answers. :namaste:
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Re: Phowa by Ayang Rinpoche

Postby Blue Garuda » Wed Feb 23, 2011 10:24 am

Nosta wrote:Yeshe, for "lay" people like me and other members, without ay possibility to have a master that can teach Phowa and give empowerment, would you advise anyy good substitute for the practice of Phowa?

Maybe Nembutsu its the right for us?

By the way, what exactly means (and how it works) "to give empowerment"?

Thank you again for your patient and useful answers. :namaste:



I think kirtu has answered this already.

I would on no account perform Phowa for another being (human or animal) without training.

However, on seeing death or the approach of death in another being I think it is good to wish them a good rebirth and to feel compassion for them. I have heard that chanting the Om Mani mantra 3 times is useful, but I have no idea about 'Nembutsu' as I wrote earlier.

Here is an explanation of empowerment:
http://www.khandro.net/TibBud_empowerment.htm

''Initiation, Empowerment or wangkur:

A characteristic feature of Vajrayana Buddhism is the requisite ritual for participating in the worship, service and practice (Skt.: sadhana) of a deity or bodhisattva. This is the process by which a lama with experience in the particular practice confers on others the description, explanation, visualization and order of the practice, along with appropriate offerings and specific mantras. It is more than the sum of its parts though; it is a lineage transmission of blessing and energy.

The empowerment or initiation grants permission, bestows help with, and gives access to, the benefits of a tantric practice. It can be short or long, and complex or very simple. It normally includes the wang (Skt. abisheka) which is the actual consecration or dedication of the student to the practice-deity, the lung which is the oral transmission -- a recitation of the procedural text or manual (sometimes in a condensed or speedily-read version,) and the tri or instructions on how to do the practice. In special cases, a brief ritual-touching of the student with the text, accompanied by recitation of the associated mantra is sufficient.''
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