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Everyone is welcome to our group chanted prayers, or puja in Sanskrit. These are an important component of training in a spiritual life. They help to still our mind, connect with the Buddhas, and receive blessings. Below is the list of the group prayer sessions we practice together at the Center. All pujas are chanted in English. Beginners are welcome!
If you know someone who is suffering from mental distress, facing a challenging time, an illness or death, please go to our online dedication list to submit their information. We will put friends, family and community on our weekly dedication list and make prayers for them.
MONDAY & WEDNESDAY through FRIDAY | 5–5:45PM
SATURDAY & SUNDAY | 2–2:45PM (check calendar)
By engaging in the Guru Yoga practiced in conjunction with Je Tsongkhapa we can purify negativity, accumulate merit, receive blessings, and attain a very special compassion, wisdom, and spiritual strength. This puja includes two short silent meditations. (45 minutes)
Wishfulfilling Jewel with Tsog
TUESDAYS | 5-6:15PM (check calendar)
By engaging in the Guru Yoga practiced in conjunction with Je Tsongkhapa we can purify negativity, accumulate merit, receive blessings, and attain a very special compassion, wisdom, and spiritual strength. By relying upon the Dharma Protector Dorje Shugden we can overcome obstacles to our practice and create favorable conditions. These two practices are the very essence of Kadampa Buddhism. This practice includes a tsog offering. For tsog pujas, we gather together to pray and make special offerings. Feel free to bring a food, beverage or light offering. (75 minutes)
ONCE A MONTH, on the 8th of each month (check calendar)
Tara is a female Buddha, a manifestation of the ultimate wisdom of all the Buddhas. Each of the Twenty-one Taras is a manifestation of the principal Tara, Green Tara. Tara is also known as the ‘Mother of the Conquerors’.
Tara is our common mother, our Holy Mother. When we are young we turn to our worldly mother for help. She protects us from immediate dangers, provides us with all our temporal needs, and guides and encourages us in our learning and personal development.
In the same way, during our spiritual growth we need to turn to our Holy Mother, Tara, for refuge. She protects us from all internal and external dangers, she provides us with all the necessary conditions for our spiritual training, and she guides us and inspires us with her blessings as we progress along the spiritual path. (45 minutes)
Offering to the Spiritual Guide (OSG)
ONCE A MONTH, on the 10th or 25th of each month (check calendar)
The practice of relying upon a Spiritual Guide, or ‘Guru Yoga’, is the root of the spiritual path and the foundation of all spiritual attainments. In Kadampa Buddhism, Guru Yoga is practiced in association with Je Tsongkhapa, an emanation of the Wisdom Buddha Manjushri. The principal Guru Yoga of Je Tsongkhapa is Offering to the Spiritual Guide, which is an extensive practice that is usually performed twice a month, on the 10th(at AKBC, we will be just engaging in this prayer on the 10th) and 25th days, at Kadampa Buddhist centers.
It was compiled by the first Panchen Lama, Losang Chökyi Gyaltsän, as a preliminary practice for Vajrayana Mahamudra. Although the main practice is reliance upon the Spiritual Guide, it also includes all the essential practices of the stages of the path (Lamrim) and training the mind (Lojong), as well as both the generation stage and completion stage of Highest Yoga Tantra.
Guru yoga is a special method for receiving the blessings of our Spiritual Guide. Here, the term ‘Guru’ does not imply that our Spiritual Guide should be Indian. Our Spiritual Guide is any spiritual Teacher who sincerely leads us into spiritual paths by giving correct instructions. Thus our Spiritual Guide can be oriental or western, lay or ordained, male or female. These days, for example, it is quite possible to meet a Spiritual Guide who is a western lay female. The term ‘yoga’ in this context indicates a special way of viewing our Spiritual Guide. To find out more about this practice, see the book Great Treasury of Merit. (120 minutes)
ONCE A MONTH, on the 15th of each month (check calendar)
The essence of the practice is to take eight precepts and to keep them purely for a period of twenty-four hours. By doing this practice again and again, we acquaint ourself with the practice of moral discipline and thereby make our human life meaningful.
We receive many great benefits from practicing moral discipline in this way. It helps us to solve the problems of this life by avoiding the causes of suffering; and it creates the cause for us to take fortunate rebirths in future lives and thereby protects us from the sufferings of lower rebirth.
In particular, because it is performed with bodhichitta motivation, this practice is very powerful for purifying negative karma. It accumulates a vast collection of merit and creates the cause for us to attain the unsurpassed happiness of enlightenment.
We first need to receive these precepts from a qualified Preceptor, and then we can take them on our own as often as we wish. When we take the eight Mahayana precepts, we explicitly promise to abstain for twenty-four hours from eight actions: killing, stealing, sexual activity, lying, taking intoxicants, eating after lunch, sitting on high or luxurious thrones or seats, wearing ornaments, perfume, etc, and singing and dancing, etc.These eight, however, are merely symbolic, for in reality we promise to abstain from all non-virtuous actions for twenty-four hours.
Taking and keeping these precepts is a special purification practice. Buddha realized that all living beings’ suffering comes from their previous negative karma, and so he taught special practices to purify it.
To purify our negative karma we must practice the four opponent powers: the power of regret, the power of reliance, the power of the opponent force, and the power of promise. These are explained fully in Joyful Path of Good Fortune. Within these four, we are here emphasizing the power of promise—promising not to repeat non-virtuous actions. (45 minutes)
ONCE A MONTH, on the 29th of each month (check calendar)
Melodious Drum puja is recommended for experienced practitioners. This monthly practice consists principally of prayers to our Dharma Protector, Dorje Shugden. A Dharma Protector is an emanation of a Buddha or Bodhisattva whose main functions are to avert the inner and outer obstacles that prevent practitioners from attaining spiritual realizations, and to arrange all the necessary conditions for their practice. Dorje Shugden always helps, guides, and protects pure and faithful practitioners by granting blessings, increasing their wisdom, fulfilling their wishes and bestowing success on all their virtuous activities. This practice includes a tsog offering so you can bring a vegetarian food offering with you if you wish. (3 1/2 hours).