Taking Empowerment as a Blessing

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SilenceMonkey
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Taking Empowerment as a Blessing

Post by SilenceMonkey »

I'm somewhat new to Tibetan style Buddhism. As I'm navigating this world of empowerments and gurus, I'm a little confused about the nature of public teachings. Some people say it's a great opportunity, that you need empowerment to be able to practice, etc... Others say all it is is symbolic and is basically just a blessing, no real empowerments are given at these big teachings. Others say it's a waste of time, just take empowerments from your own guru (and lineage).

I've looked around a bit, and haven't found much yet about what it means to "take empowerment as a blessing." It seems Kalu Rinpoche has said one can take empowerment with the intention 1) To take it merely for blessing, 2) To practice at some point in the future, 3) To practice immediately. Is intention all that is needed to make an empowerment either a blessing or an initiation? How does one go about "taking empowerment as a blessing" (say, if one does not wish to actually practice it every day or at all)?

Is it wise to take many empowerments as blessings, perhaps to create good karmic links with many teachers and lineages? Or would it merely confuse the mind and the spirit?
chimechodra
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Re: Taking Empowerment as a Blessing

Post by chimechodra »

I've seen several teachers, lamas, khenpos, etc. frequently state that there's no such thing as taking an empowerment as a 'blessing.' Any empowerment you take comes with the full weight of the samaya associated with it. That being said, it is important to know how to go into the essence of samaya. Some people think that for every lama who has given you an empowerment, you must do a long life prayer for them every day or do the associated sadhana every day or something like this. However, generally most teachers will agree that if you practice one yidam, you practice them all. While different teachers will say different things, like do guru yoga, do one sadhana, maintain bodhicitta, etc., it is all essentially the same message (more or less): don't stop practicing and maintain the proper view.

I would say, first talk to a lama and clarify for yourself how to unify samaya. Then, take empowerments only from teachers you fully 100% completely trust.
Malcolm
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Re: Taking Empowerment as a Blessing

Post by Malcolm »

SilenceMonkey wrote: Mon Jul 23, 2018 12:06 pm I'm somewhat new to Tibetan style Buddhism. As I'm navigating this world of empowerments and gurus, I'm a little confused about the nature of public teachings. Some people say it's a great opportunity, that you need empowerment to be able to practice, etc... Others say all it is is symbolic and is basically just a blessing, no real empowerments are given at these big teachings. Others say it's a waste of time, just take empowerments from your own guru (and lineage).

I've looked around a bit, and haven't found much yet about what it means to "take empowerment as a blessing." It seems Kalu Rinpoche has said one can take empowerment with the intention 1) To take it merely for blessing, 2) To practice at some point in the future, 3) To practice immediately. Is intention all that is needed to make an empowerment either a blessing or an initiation? How does one go about "taking empowerment as a blessing" (say, if one does not wish to actually practice it every day or at all)?

Is it wise to take many empowerments as blessings, perhaps to create good karmic links with many teachers and lineages? Or would it merely confuse the mind and the spirit?

Take empowerments because you are interested in the teacher, if you are only interested in the teaching, don't go.
kausalya
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Re: Taking Empowerment as a Blessing

Post by kausalya »

Investigate why you want it. If it's because you genuinely want to be of greater use to others & are looking for a way to do that, then that's a sufficient motivation. You will learn to keep the commitments at the correct time.

Then, take time to look at what's feasible: which teachers are available? which ones are you most interested in, based on who they are or your impressions of them? Who strikes you as the best example of someone you would be proud to emulate? Then make arrangements to meet them, and ask what they recommend.

Like that.
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For as long as sentient beings remain,
Until then may I too remain
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Aryjna
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Re: Taking Empowerment as a Blessing

Post by Aryjna »

Why would you want to take them as blessings in the first place?
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Wayfarer
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Re: Taking Empowerment as a Blessing

Post by Wayfarer »

I don’t know how else you would take it. If it’s not a blessing, then what is it?
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Re: Taking Empowerment as a Blessing

Post by Norwegian »

Wayfarer wrote: Tue Jul 24, 2018 12:58 am I don’t know how else you would take it. If it’s not a blessing, then what is it?
An empowerment.
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kausalya
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Re: Taking Empowerment as a Blessing

Post by kausalya »

Aryjna wrote: Mon Jul 23, 2018 11:23 pm Why would you want to take them as blessings in the first place?
This is mainly for people who want the dharma connection, but are unsure of their ability to fulfill commitments.

Some lamas are understanding about this. I can more or less see both sides of it.
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Until then may I too remain
To dispel the miseries of the world."
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Motova
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Re: Taking Empowerment as a Blessing

Post by Motova »

If you want a blessing then have a Lama bless some water for you to drink.
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PeterC
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Re: Taking Empowerment as a Blessing

Post by PeterC »

Motova wrote: Tue Jul 24, 2018 3:44 am If you want a blessing then have a Lama bless some water for you to drink.
Exactly. There's no such thing as receiving an empowerment "as a blessing". You can't not receive samaya with the vajra master, the only thing you might not receive is a practice commitment - but anyone receive an empowerment with no intention of ever practicing it, from a lama they don't know, really needs to ask themselves what they're doing.
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Aryjna
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Re: Taking Empowerment as a Blessing

Post by Aryjna »

kausalya wrote: Tue Jul 24, 2018 1:31 am
Aryjna wrote: Mon Jul 23, 2018 11:23 pm Why would you want to take them as blessings in the first place?
This is mainly for people who want the dharma connection, but are unsure of their ability to fulfill commitments.

Some lamas are understanding about this. I can more or less see both sides of it.
If you take it as a blessing, which may not even be possible in most cases unless the lama has said so explicitly, you are not taking an empowerment. So I don't think it can be much different than attending a talk or refuge ceremony at best.

If you take it to create a connection, you are hoping that at some time in the future, which may be an infinity, you will have the same extremely rare chance to receive an empowerment, which you have now but are rejecting it. So why would someone expect it to be any different next time?
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PeterC
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Re: Taking Empowerment as a Blessing

Post by PeterC »

Aryjna wrote: Tue Jul 24, 2018 7:43 am
kausalya wrote: Tue Jul 24, 2018 1:31 am
Aryjna wrote: Mon Jul 23, 2018 11:23 pm Why would you want to take them as blessings in the first place?
This is mainly for people who want the dharma connection, but are unsure of their ability to fulfill commitments.

Some lamas are understanding about this. I can more or less see both sides of it.
If you take it as a blessing, which may not even be possible in most cases unless the lama has said so explicitly, you are not taking an empowerment. So I don't think it can be much different than attending a talk or refuge ceremony at best.

If you take it to create a connection, you are hoping that at some time in the future, which may be an infinity, you will have the same extremely rare chance to receive an empowerment, which you have now but are rejecting it. So why would someone expect it to be any different next time?
How does that work, though - the vajra master opens the mandala, you say the words requesting the empowerment, make the offerings, get hit over the head by various implements and so forth - do you keep your fingers crossed throughout? I've never really understood on what basis an empowerment becomes not an empowerment
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Aryjna
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Re: Taking Empowerment as a Blessing

Post by Aryjna »

PeterC wrote: Tue Jul 24, 2018 9:45 am
Aryjna wrote: Tue Jul 24, 2018 7:43 am
kausalya wrote: Tue Jul 24, 2018 1:31 am

This is mainly for people who want the dharma connection, but are unsure of their ability to fulfill commitments.

Some lamas are understanding about this. I can more or less see both sides of it.
If you take it as a blessing, which may not even be possible in most cases unless the lama has said so explicitly, you are not taking an empowerment. So I don't think it can be much different than attending a talk or refuge ceremony at best.

If you take it to create a connection, you are hoping that at some time in the future, which may be an infinity, you will have the same extremely rare chance to receive an empowerment, which you have now but are rejecting it. So why would someone expect it to be any different next time?
How does that work, though - the vajra master opens the mandala, you say the words requesting the empowerment, make the offerings, get hit over the head by various implements and so forth - do you keep your fingers crossed throughout? I've never really understood on what basis an empowerment becomes not an empowerment
I suppose you don't do anything like follow the instructions, take vows, get hit over the head etc., you just sit there and watch.
haha
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Re: Taking Empowerment as a Blessing

Post by haha »

What Kalu Rinpoche has said is completely clear. There were many Tibetans who used to participate if a higher Lama was going to give empowerment. I remembered one story told by ChNNR. He said while he visited in Nepal, some Tibeten or Sherpa came to see him just for blessing.

Sometimes, some exceptional Lama is giving the empowerment and there is no way one will get that teaching from that teacher in future. It is better to keep such linage blessing for one's future purpose while one is doing preparatory practice.

It is no use and no higher benefit if one does not practice after receiving it. Actually, I remember something said by HHDL. ”Actual initiation very few understand. Without understanding no initiation there." It is just like a public function.

Receiving the empowerment, one is making the bond with that teacher, linage and that deity. Without careful consideration, taking empowerment from any teacher is not wise. But receiving more empowerments from the teachers one trusts is indeed good.
SilenceMonkey wrote: Mon Jul 23, 2018 12:06 pm Is it wise to take many empowerments as blessings, perhaps to create good karmic links with many teachers and lineages? Or would it merely confuse the mind and the spirit?
Here is an excellent answer by Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche from “ Pure Appearance
As Guru Rinpoche said, “lf one receives an empowerment every year, and in a hundred years one receives a hundred empowerments, even if one is reborn as an animal, one will be a very powerful animal." If one receives one empowerment every year, through these empowerments one's merit and windhorse will increase and one's obscurations will be purified. When those who have received empowerments die, even if they are reborn as animals, they will be born as powerful animals, such as lions or elephants. They will never be born as weak and lowly animals. If one receives many empowerments now, even if one does not practice the development and completion stages, if one keeps samaya, at death one will be reborn in a place where the secret-mantra doctrine flourishes. Then again one can receive empowerments, practice the secret mantra, and attain the state of buddhahood within seven lifetimes. Such are the qualities of empowerment.
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Aryjna
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Re: Taking Empowerment as a Blessing

Post by Aryjna »

haha wrote: Tue Jul 24, 2018 10:56 am What Kalu Rinpoche has said is completely clear. There were many Tibetans who used to participate if a higher Lama was going to give empowerment. I remembered one story told by ChNNR. He said while he visited in Nepal, some Tibeten or Sherpa came to see him just for blessing.
The story is that many tibetans just show up there, not paying any attention, talking among themselves, and thinking it is some kind of generic blessing. It just shows that they lack the capacity to enter the teachings.
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Re: Taking Empowerment as a Blessing

Post by Mantrik »

Aryjna wrote: Tue Jul 24, 2018 12:55 pm
haha wrote: Tue Jul 24, 2018 10:56 am What Kalu Rinpoche has said is completely clear. There were many Tibetans who used to participate if a higher Lama was going to give empowerment. I remembered one story told by ChNNR. He said while he visited in Nepal, some Tibeten or Sherpa came to see him just for blessing.
The story is that many tibetans just show up there, not paying any attention, talking among themselves, and thinking it is some kind of generic blessing. It just shows that they lack the capacity to enter the teachings.
I heard a similar story from Dzogchen Ripoche. At the monastery a few people would turn up when he gave teachings, but when he gave empowerments hundreds would turn up.

It sounded as if it was a bit like a family picnic for the Indians, with a garnish of blessings.
Last edited by Mantrik on Tue Jul 24, 2018 2:12 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Seeker12
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Re: Taking Empowerment as a Blessing

Post by Seeker12 »

Wayfarer wrote: Tue Jul 24, 2018 12:58 am I don’t know how else you would take it. If it’s not a blessing, then what is it?
The distinction, I think, is that some people don't actually want to implement anything into practice, they just want to go 'bask in the blessing' of the ritual, meet the teacher, forge a connection, etc. Commonly, public empowerments are done this way where there is no real explicit commitment.

Alternatively, an empowerment can be an introduction and empowerment into a certain practice that comes with various commitments. This would generally be done when one has an appropriate basis for such practice.
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Aryjna
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Re: Taking Empowerment as a Blessing

Post by Aryjna »

Mantrik wrote: Tue Jul 24, 2018 1:42 pm
Aryjna wrote: Tue Jul 24, 2018 12:55 pm
haha wrote: Tue Jul 24, 2018 10:56 am What Kalu Rinpoche has said is completely clear. There were many Tibetans who used to participate if a higher Lama was going to give empowerment. I remembered one story told by ChNNR. He said while he visited in Nepal, some Tibeten or Sherpa came to see him just for blessing.
The story is that many tibetans just show up there, not paying any attention, talking among themselves, and thinking it is some kind of generic blessing. It just shows that they lack the capacity to enter the teachings.
I heard a similar story from Dzogchen Ripoche. At the monastery a few people would turn up when he age teachings, but when he gave empowerments hundreds would turn up.

It sounded as if it was a bit like a family picnic for the Indians, with a garnish of blessings.
I think the point of these stories is that if you just go there and sit stupefied without bothering to notice what is going on it may be a 'blessing', because you are not actually receiving anything. But this is not something any serious practitioner would do.
Sherab Rigdrol
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Re: Taking Empowerment as a Blessing

Post by Sherab Rigdrol »

HH the 41st Sakya Trizin stated explicitly this past Sunday that taking empowerment with an impure motivation will do harm to that individual and that taking empowerment out of curiosity (ie for a blessing) will have no benefit at all, nor will it harm them.
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Re: Taking Empowerment as a Blessing

Post by javier.espinoza.t »

when common people goes around for blessing from an empowerment I would say they want a mundane blessing.

they want the world, they don't want to free themselves.

if this isn't degeneration I don't know what is it.
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