The Garchen Buddhist Institute is pleased to introduce a new program of Sponsored Puja Services.
The introduction below will answer questions you may have about our Puja Services.
Below that, you will see a list of the Pujas we offer.
Click Here to skip to our Puja Offerings
What Are Pujas?
Pujas are prayer rituals which involve visualization, mantra recitation and offerings to enlightened beings (Buddhas & Bodhisattvas). They are performed to receive the blessings of these enlightened beings, to accumulate merit, and to dispel obstacles and negative circumstances for oneself and others.
Why Request a Puja?
In traditional Buddhist cultures, lay people ask members of the monastic community to perform pujas for them in order to increase positive circumstances and success in their spiritual and worldly affairs, as well as to deal with or avert problems which may occur in those areas.
The monastic community’s many years of profound practice experience lends great blessings and power to the puja. This mutually supportive relationship between the lay and monastic communities generates a vast, resonant field of bodhicitta, which will benefit all beings.
How Does a Puja “Work”?
Pujas can be sponsored to benefit oneself or another, for the living or for the dead. Each puja is centered around a specific Buddha, whose activity is specially suited to fulfill certain functions – such as protection, removing obstacles, pacifying illness, or helping the deceased.
Pujas sponsored at the Garchen Buddhist Institute will be performed by one or more of our resident lamas – Venerable Khenpo Tenzin, Lama Abao, or Lama Bunima – who may also be joined by other practitioners.
How do I Request a Puja?
Read the descriptions below to select your puja. Click the “Request Puja” button. You will be taken to a Puja Services request form. In the Dedication section of that form, write your aspiration for the puja and the names of those for whom you are requesting the puja.
Is There a Fee for this Service?
It is customary to make an offering when requesting a puja, but there is no fixed fee. All of our puja services are by donation. It is our sincere intent that anyone who wishes to receive the benefits of a puja can and will. On our request form, we offer a guideline of suggested donations but you may donate whatever amount is comfortable for you. Your donations will go toward the Lamas as an offerings for performing the puja, and to help support Garchen Buddhist Institute.
No matter the size of your donation, be assured that your pujas will be performed. If you are in a position to donate more than the suggested amount, that will greatly benefit those who can only donate a small amount.
We are grateful for all donations, no matter the size. Such donations are a practice of generosity which accumulates merit and creates auspicious connections between the puja sponsor, the person being prayed for, the Buddha being prayed to, and the lamas offering the prayers and pujas.
“[Pujas] assist with the purification of negative factors, and the generation of positive, favorable conditions. I will always pray that the negative circumstances, hindrances, and obstacles of the ritual benefactors be pacified and their wishes be accomplished spontaneously.”
~ H.E. Garchen Rinpoche ~
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PUJAS FOR THE LIVING
ACHI CHOKYI DROLMA
Mother Achi is great grandmother to Lord Jigten Sumgon Ratna Shri, the founder of the Drikung Kagyu lineage to which Garchen Rinpoche belongs. She promised Lord Jigten Sumgon that she would protect the teachings which he brought to light and transmitted. Thus Mother Achi is the special enlightened guardian of the Drikung Kagyu lineage and its practitioners. Whoever practices and appeals to Achi Chökyi Drolma will be freed from unfavorable circumstances and obstacles in this life, as well as obstacles connected with Dharma practice.
Achi rides a blue wisdom horse to symbolize the swiftness of her enlightened activities, and holds a wish-fullfilling jewel to symbolize her ability to bestow everything needed and desired when asked.
Her practice removes inner and outer obstacles, creating positive, supportive conditions (worldly and otherwise) for successful spiritual practice.
Amitabha is known as the Buddha of Infinite Light and presides over the Pure Land of Great Bliss called Dewachen. Because of Amitabha’s merit and aspirations, ordinary people can be reborn in Dewachen and achieve increasingly higher levels of realization without taking rebirth in samsara. Thus, Amitabha is considered the protector of beings who call upon him at the time of death. Amitabha is central to the practice of Phowa (the transference of consciousness at the time of death – see below).
It is beneficial to perform Amitabha practice on behalf of a person who is near death, or shortly after their death, so they will have an positive transition and a good rebirth. Amitabha practice can also ward off obstacles to long life.
Lord of Limitless Life and Pristine Awareness, Amitayus is the Sambogakaya aspect (Enjoyment Body) of Buddha Amitabha. Upon his lap, within hands resting in meditation posture, he holds a long-life vase.
He is often depicted with two other deities, White Tara and Ushnishavijaya; together they are known as the three deities of long life.
Amitayus practice is a special method for increasing lifespan, wisdom and merit. It is often engaged for long life, and the prevention of untimely death.
Chenrezig is the embodiment of the compassion of all the Buddhas. His great compassion seeks to to relieve the suffering of all beings and bring them to ultimate enlightenment. It is said that while he was in the presence of Amitabha, Chenrezig thought, “As long as there is even one being who has not attained awakening, I will strive for the benefit of all.”
When Amitabha heard this, he transmitted to Chenrezig the six syllable mantra: OM MANI PADME HUNG. It is said that all the teachings of the Buddha are contained within this mantra, and by its power our mind’s obscurations will be purified.
We develop the enlightened quality of compassion through Chenrezig practice and mantra recitation as well as by compassionate conduct toward all beings.
Considered an emanation of Chenrezig, Dzambala is an embodiment of the perfect generosity of all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas of the past, present and future. He is visualized as a great king, sitting astride a turquoise dragon. In his left hand rests a mongoose who spits out precious jewels, a symbol of abundance.
His practice, known as “Summoning Good Fortune”, can lead to the cessation of material suffering, the generation of wealth and prosperity, the relief of poverty and suffering (both on a psychological and material level), and the development of the compassionate mind of enlightenment. We do the practice with the wish that all beings be relieved of all suffering of poverty, hunger and thirst, and that all needs may be fulfilled.
She is active compassion manifest in female form, the mother who loves all sentient beings as a mother would her only child. Her name in Sanskrit means “Star” or “She who ferries across”. In Tibetan, she is called the Swift Savioress, readily stepping from her lotus throne to help sentient beings.
Green Tara protects us from the eight great fears, which are in reality projections of the mind’s negativities: elephants (ignorance), fire (anger), lions (pride), robbers (wrong views), floods (desire), imprisonment (miserliness), demons (doubts), and snakes (jealousy). Thus, while her practice protects us from worldly fears, suffering and danger, it also moves us toward enlightenment by reducing the inner forces of delusion, negative karma, afflictions and obscurations.
Guru Rinpoche is also known as Padmasambhava – “the lotus born” – referring both to his pure birth from a lotus, and his completely awakened state. Considered the reincarnation of Buddha Shakyamuni, he established the Buddhadharma in Tibet.
Guru Rinpoche is the condensed essence of all enlightened beings. Through his form, primordial wisdom manifests in the world to benefit all sentient beings.
The profound practice of Guru Rinpoche can transform afflictive emotions – such as anger, jealousy and attachment – into wisdom and compassion. It also creates great merit while removing outer, inner and secret obstacles .
This puja is performed to remove obstacles to worldly or spiritual accomplishments and to avert harm from spirits or non-human entities.
Mahakala is a wrathful form of Chenrezig. It is said that while in deep contemplation, Chenrezig saw the Dark Age of delcine (now), and how beings would experience suffering upon suffering. He thought that if he could appear in wrathful form, beings would be protected by merely wishing for his protection. Then from his heart a dark blue HUNG syllable emerged which transformed into the Instantaneous Protector of Wisdom, Mahakala.
Thus, Mahakala is the Dharma Protector of all Buddha fields.
He is invoked to protect dharma practitioners from delusion, promote positive qualities, and support the accomplishment of dharma practice.
Embodiment of the wisdom of all the Buddhas, Manjushri perceives the true and fundamental nature of all things.
In his right hand, Manjushri holds the vajra sword of discriminating wisdom, which cuts through the ignorance arising from conceptual views and ego. In his left hand, he holds a blue lotus flower upon which rests the Prajnaparamita – the Perfection of Wisdom Sutra.
Cutting through the veils of ignorance, Manjushri enables the individual to cultivate and increase wisdom by sharpening intelligence and the ability to engage in critical analysis.
His practice is often engaged for this purpose, as well as to enhance memory, improve literary ability, and ultimately to develop bodhicitta, which leads to the state of omniscience.
Medicine Buddha is sometimes called the First Doctor, or the Supreme Healer. His blue-colored body signifies omniscient wisdom and compassion as vast as limitless space.
His wisdom and blessings are called upon to aid in healing both physical and mental suffering, and to enhance and support the work of medical practitioners.
Medicine Buddha practice is a very powerful method for easing the suffering of illness and disease – both for oneself and others. He further assists in overcoming the subtle inner causes of illness – the three poisons of ignorance, desire and aversion, and their resulting negative karmas.
Namgyalma is one of the three long-life deityies, along with Amitayus and White Tara. She is of profound power and compassion, able to see all three times, able to purify all the karmas and obstacles – internal and external – to health and longevity.
It is said her compassion is so powerful that any being who merely hears or sees her mantra will never be reborn in the lower realms again. If her mantra is hung from a high place (like a stupa, a tree, a rooftop, or a mountain peak) every being – even the tiniest insect, or being without a body – who walks in, on or under that structure, or who is even touched by its shadow, will be liberated from rebirth in the lower realms. Any wind or breeze that touches her mantra will purify the negative karma of any being it touches thereafter. Click Here to download a high-res image of her mantra mandala.
Namgyalma’s practice is performed for longevity, and removal of obstacles. It is a powerful method for purification and ultimate liberation.
His Holiness Drikung Kyabgon Chetsang Rinpoche has instructed everyone to practice the incomparable Parnashavari during this time of Covid-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. Parnashavari is the 20th of the 21 Taras (connected with the wisdom of Amoghasiddhi). She is attired in the green leaves of medical plants, and is the one who protects us from contagious diseases.
Practicing Parnashavari with love and compassion in our hearts can help to quickly remove negative karmas and obstacles – pacifying the true causes of disease. Thus, she is especially invoked during epidemics, and her practice is particularly timely today.
For more information regarding recommended practices during this time of pandemic, please visit our Coronavirus Resource Page.
H.E. Garchen Rinpoche has taught extensively on the nature and benefit of Smoke Offering.
Smoke Offering is the practice of offering fragrant incense smoke to benefit all beings (corporeal and non-corporeal) of all realms, to assuage their suffering and fulfill all their wants and needs. It is performed in to accumulate merit, purify obstacles, and repay karmic debts.
(To watch a series of videos of Garchen Rinpoche’s teachings on Smoke Offering, Click Here to go the the videos on our Facebook page. Type “Smoke” in the video search bar.)
THIRTY-FIVE CONFESSIONAL BUDDHAS
The 35 Confessional Buddhas is a profound sutra-based purification practice involving the invocation and recitation of the holy names of the confessional Buddhas, along with prostration. Through this practice we consciously work with the Four Opponent Powers to purify ourselves. These powers are: feeling regret, relying upon on the objects of refuge, taking the antidote (practice), and promising/resolving to do better.
It is said that recitation of each Buddha’s holy name purifies tens of thousands of aeons of negative karma, and that no matter what vows we may have broken, or how heavy our negative karma may be, everything can be purified through this practice.
Thus, no matter where we are along the path, this practice remains vitally important for the purification of karma and should be engaged regularly.
His Eminence Garchen Rinpoche has taught extensively on the benefits of White Tara practice. She is the mother of all Buddhas, and our own comforting mother offering longevity and protection to all beings tossed in the ocean of suffering. She has seven eyes enabling her to see all beings in all realms of existence. Her expression is deeply compassionate and peaceful.
White Tara is spacious like the sky, the very essence of enlightened mind beyond duality.
Her practice promotes long life, healing, and relief of all types of suffering – for self and others. Connecting with her, we draw closer to developing her enlightened qualities in ourselves. Ultimately, her practice is a means for attaining liberation.
Known as Lord of Powerful Means, Vajrapani embodies the energy and power of all the Buddhas (just as Cherizig is the embodiement of their compassion, and Manjushri their wisdom). His name means “wielder of the thunderbolt”, representing the irrepressible energy of enlightened mind.
Also called the Lord of Secrets and the Master of Unfathomable Mysteries, Vajrapani is the holder and protector of all the Tantra teachings. He upholds truth even in darkness and ignorance.
Vajrapani wields a vajra (thunderbolt) in his right hand, representing compassion’s power to cut through delusion and dogmatism. He dances within a halo of flames, representing wisdom’s transformative power.
Vajrapani practice helps us gain access to the irrepressible energy he embodies, and offers powerful removal of obstacles and unfavorable conditions.
PUJAS FOR THE DEAD
Phowa is the practice of directly transferring the consciousness of the deceased to Amitabha’s Pure Land of Dewachen. In the best case, the consciousness of the deceased will experience rebirth in the pure land of Amitabha buddha. Failing that, the practice is said to help ensure a happy rebirth in the higher realms.
It is traditionally believed in Tibet that even those who have accumulated great negative karma have a chance for attaining enlightenment through the practice of Phowa.
Tibetan lay people considered it extremely important for a lama to perform Phowa for the dying and recently deceased because of their expertise and realization. Similarly, for those in the West who lack the luxury of lengthy solitary meditative practice, Phowa is particularly beneficial.
JANGCHOK – BURNING AWAY AFFLICTIONS
A Ritual for the Dead
This beautiful and tender ritual purifies the obscurations and negative karmas of the deceased. It is usually performed in conjunction with another practice, such as Tara or Vajrasattva.
Driven by obscurations and karmically habitual tendencies, beings helplessly act in ways which confine them to cyclic existence, binding them to repeated cycles of suffering. The Burning Away Afflictions practice is performed in order to close the door to confused perceptions. In this practice, the living express their love for the departed, make offerings to them, remind them of their true nature, and supplicate them to turn toward dharma. From that foundation, the negative karmas, afflictions and obscurations of the deceased are then burned away. A brief phowa is part of this practice.
49-DAY SUR PRACTICE
In the practice of Sur, burnt offerings are made for the benefit of beings in the bardo (intermediate state between births).
This practice will be performed once daily for 49 days. This is the amount of time it is traditionally said that a deceased being spends in the bardo.
Sur offerings are consecrated and placed in a fire or burned as incense. The fragrant smoke is offered to the objects of refuge and shared with all sentient beings.
The 49-day Sur Practice is an excellent method to generate profound merit on behalf of the deceased, and to eliminate obstacles for them.