This sadhana was prepared for the Chenrezig Retreat sponsored by Casa Tibet Mexico and Dharma Friendship Foundation in 2001-2002. It accommodates the needs of both those who have and those who have not received the great empowerment into the mandala of 1000-armed Chenrezig. This sadhana is based on the Chenrezig sadhana by Zopa Rinpoche in Pearl of Wisdom, Book II. The self-generation section was abbreviated and added from the Nyung Ney sadhana (fasting retreat with Chenrezig).
In the space in front of me is the divine form of 1000-armed Chenrezig, who is the embodiment of all the infinite buddhas’ compassionate wisdom. He stands on a lotus and moon seat. His body is in the nature of white light, youthful, and decorated with magnificent jewel ornaments.
He has eleven faces. Of the three on his shoulders, his center face is white, the right green and the left red. Above those, his center face is green, right red and left white. Above those, his center face is red, right white and left green. Above those is a wrathful dark blue face with yellow hair standing erect. On the top of that is the red head of Amitabha Buddha, peaceful and smiling.
Chenrezig’s first two hands are at his heart, palms together, holding a wish-fulfilling gem. On his right, the second hand holds a crystal rosary, reminding me to recite the mantra. The third hand is in the gesture of giving realizations and from it a rain of nectar falls, curing the hunger and thirst of the hungry ghosts. The fourth hand holds a Dharma wheel.
On his left, the second hand holds a golden lotus, the purest of flowers although it is born from the mud. The third hand holds a vase containing the nectar of his compassionate wisdom. The fourth holds a bow and arrow, symbolizing defeat of the four negative forces. The other 992 hands are in the gesture of giving the highest realizations. An antelope skin is draped over his left shoulder, symbolizing that hatred is overcome completely by peaceful, compassionate wisdom.
Taking refuge and generating the altruistic intention (bodhicitta)
I take refuge until I have awakened in the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha. By the merit I create by engaging in generosity and the other far-reaching practices, may I attain Buddhahood in order to benefit all sentient beings. (Recite three times from the depth of your heart.)
The four immeasurables
How wonderful it would be if all sentient beings were to abide in equanimity, free of bias, attachment and anger. May they abide in this way. I shall cause them to abide in this way. Guru Chenrezig, please inspire me to be able to do so.
How wonderful it would be if all sentient beings had happiness and its causes. May they have these. I shall cause them to have these. Guru Chenrezig, please inspire me to be able to do so.
How wonderful it would be if all sentient beings were free from suffering and its causes. May they be free. I shall cause them to be free. Guru Chenrezig, please inspire me to be able to do so.
How wonderful it would be if all sentient beings were never parted from upper rebirth and liberation’s excellent bliss. May they never be parted. I shall cause them never to be parted. Guru Chenrezig, please inspire me to be able to do so.
Reverently I prostrate with my body, speech and mind,
And present clouds of every type of offering, actual and mentally transformed.
I confess all my destructive actions accumulated since beginningless time,
And rejoice in the virtues of all holy and ordinary beings.
Please remain until cyclic existence ends,
And turn the wheel of Dharma for sentient beings.
I dedicate all the virtues of myself and others to the great awakening.
This ground, anointed with perfume, flowers strewn,
Mount Meru, four lands, sun and moon,
Imagined as a Buddha land and offered to you
May all beings enjoy this pure land.
The objects of attachment, aversion and ignorance—friends, enemies and strangers, my body, wealth and enjoyments—I offer these without any sense of loss. Please accept them with pleasure and inspire me and others to be free from the three poisonous attitudes.
idam guru ratna mandalakam nirya tayami
O Arya Compassionate-eyed One
Who is the treasure of compassion,
I request you, please listen to me,
Please guide myself, mothers and fathers
In all six realms to be freed quickly
From the great ocean of samsara.
I request that the vast and profound
Peerless awakening mind may grow.
With the tear of your great compassion,
Please cleanse all karmas and delusion.
Please lead with your hand of compassion
Me and migrators to fields of bliss.
Please Amitabha and Chenrezig
In all my lives be virtuous friends.
Show well the undeceptive pure path
And quickly place us in Buddha’s state.
Meditation on the Eight Verses of Thought Transformation
(After each verse, visualize much light coming from Chenrezig, flowing into you and completely filling your whole body. It purifies the selfishness and ignorance which prevent you from understanding the meaning of that verse, and gives you the ability to understand and integrate each verse into your life. If you like, say the six-syllable mantra a few times while visualizing that.)
With the thought of attaining enlightenment
For the welfare of all beings,
Who are more precious than a wish-fulfilling jewel,
I will constantly practice holding them dear.
Whenever I am with others
I will practice seeing myself as the lowest of all,
And from the very depth of my heart
I will respectfully hold others as supreme.
In all actions I will examine my mind
And the moment a disturbing attitude arises,
Endangering myself and others,
I will firmly confront and avert it.
Whenever I meet a person of bad nature
Who is overwhelmed by negative energy and intense suffering,
I will hold such a rare one dear,
As if I had found a precious treasure.
When others, out of jealousy,
Mistreat me with abuse, slander and so on,
I will practice accepting defeat
And offering the victory to them.
When someone I have benefited
And in whom I have placed great trust
Hurts me very badly,
I will practice seeing that person as my supreme teacher.
In short, I will offer directly and indirectly
Every benefit and happiness to all beings, my mothers.
I will practice in secret taking upon myself
All their harmful actions and sufferings.
Without these practices being defiled by the stains of the eight worldly concerns,
By perceiving all phenomena as illusory,
I will practice without grasping to release all beings
From the bondage of the disturbing unsubdued mind and karma.
Those who have not received the great empowerment into the Chenrezig mandala
(If you have not received the great empowerment into the Chenrezig mandala, continue with the front-generation, doing the purification and absorption below. Then go to the dedication verses at the end of the sadhana. Those doing the self-generation, may skip the purification and absorption and go to the section entitled “Those who have received the great empowerment into the Chenrezig mandala” and continue from there to the end of the sadhana.)
Purification and receiving inspiration
Chenrezig now comes on top of my head, facing the same direction as I do. Chenrezig also appears on the heads of all sentient beings, who are seated around me. At the heart of each Chenrezig are a lotus and flat moon disc. Standing at the center of the moon is the seed-syllable HRI, the essence of Chenrezig’s omniscient mind of wisdom and compassion. This is surrounded by the letters of the long mantra, and inside this stand the letters of the six-syllable mantra. All of it is made of radiant light.
From the mantras and HRI much white light and nectar, which represent the nature of Chenrezig’s blissful omniscient mind, flow into me, permeating my entire nervous system. They totally purify all disturbing attitudes, negative karmic imprints, diseases, and obscurations. I feel completely pure and blissful. The light and nectar also fill me with all the realizations of the gradual path to enlightenment, especially Chenrezig’s love, compassion, and wisdom.
Similarly, light and nectar from the Chenrezigs on the crowns of all the sentient beings flow into them, purifying all negativities and obscurations and inspiring them with all the realizations of the path to enlightenment. (Do this visualization while reciting the long mantra and then the six-syllable mantra.)
namo ratna trayaya/ namo arya gyana sagara/ berotsana buha radzaya/ tatagataya/ arhate/ samyaksam buddhaya/ namo sarwa tatagatebhye/ arhatebhye/ samyaksam buddhebhye/ namo arya awalokite/ shoraya/ bodhi satoya/ maha satoya/ maha karunikaya/ tayata/ om/ dara dara/ diri diri/ duru duru/ itte wate/ tsale tsale/ partsale partsale/ kusume kusume ware/ ihli mili/ tsiti dzola/ ahpanaye soha/
om mani padme hum
I will live my life in a meaningful way, and do all actions with the motivation to attain awakening for the benefit of all sentient beings. Because I have such a noble intention, Chenrezig is extremely pleased. He melts into white light and absorbs into my heart.
By Chenrezig absorbing into me, my mind becomes the nature of great compassion, loving-kindness, and bodhicitta. My body is filled with light and becomes very pure and clear, like crystal. (Concentrate on this for a while.)
The Chenrezigs on the heads of all the sentient beings melt into light, absorb into them, and bless them so that they may progress along the gradual path to enlightenment.
(Now dedicate the positive potential from doing the meditation by reciting the dedication prayers at the end of the sadhana.)
Those who have received the great empowerment into the Chenrezig mandala
(Do the self-generation practice of the six deities.)
1. Ultimate nature of the deity (meditation on emptiness)
om sobhawa shudo sarwa dharma sobhawa shudo ham
(OM by essential nature all phenomena are pure; by essential nature, I am pure.)
The natures of myself, the meditational deity, and all phenomena are pure in the one taste of emptiness.
2. Deity of sound
Within the sphere of emptiness, the aspect of the tone of the mantra, om mani padme hum, resonates, pervading the realm of space.
3. Deity of letter
The ultimate nature of the deity is inseparable from the transcendental aspect of my own mind. This manifests as a moon mandala. Above that, the sound of the mantra resonating in space manifests around the moon in the aspect of written letters, which are like very pure and bright mercury mixing completely with grains of gold.
4. Deity of form
That transforms into a thousand-petaled lotus, glittering with brilliant light. Its center is decorated with om mani padme hum. Infinite light radiates from the lotus, moon and mantra letters, presenting clouds of offerings to all the Buddhas and bodhisattvas. They bestow blessings and inspiration of their body, speech and mind, and the light reabsorbs.
Again light radiates. On the tip of each ray is the Superior, the Great Compassionate One, going out to purify and empower all the sentient beings. A great cloud is emanated and from it a rain of nectar falls, pacifying the sufferings of the sentient beings. All sentient beings are satisfied with bliss and become Chenrezig. All of these Chenrezigs absorb back into my mind which is in the form of lotus, moon and mantra garland.
These transform into a variegated lotus and moon seat. Above that I arise as Chenrezig, white, youthful, radiating and beautiful. I have eleven faces. Of the three on my shoulders, the center face is white, the right green and the left red. Above those, my center face is green, right red and left white. Above those, my center face is red, right white and left green. All of the faces have fine, narrow eyes and are smiling. Above those is a wrathful dark blue face, snarling and having three eyes and yellow hair standing erect. On the top of that is the red head of Amitabha Buddha, in the form of a monk, peaceful and smiling.
My first two hands are at my heart, palms together, holding a wish-fulfilling gem. On my right, the second hand holds a crystal rosary. The third hand is in the gesture of giving realizations and from it a rain of nectar falls, curing the hunger and thirst of the hungry ghosts. The fourth hand holds a Dharma wheel.
On my left, the second hand holds a golden lotus. The third hand holds a vase with nectar. The fourth holds a bow and arrow. The other 992 hands, soft like lotus petals, are in the gesture of giving the highest realizations. In the palm of each hand is an eye. The hands do not extend beyond the crown pinnacle or below the knees. An antelope skin is draped over my left shoulder. I am adorned with a skirt made of the finest cloth, a golden belt decorated with jewels, jeweled crown, earrings, necklace, armlets, anklets and scarves of different colors. My red-yellow hair is arranged in garlands.
At my crown is a white OM, throat red AH, heart blue HUM. At my heart is a moon disc with the white syllable HRI.
5. Deity of mudra
om pay ma utpa waye soha
(With the mudra of the lotus essence, touch your hands to your heart, brow, neck, right and left shoulders. Say this mantra while touching each point.)
6. Deity of sign
At my heart is a moon disc. Seated on that is the transcendental wisdom being, white Chenrezig, with one face and two arms. His right hand is in the mudra of giving sublime realizations and the left is holding a lotus at the heart. At the heart is a moon disc. On that is the concentration being, the white syllable HRI. The HRI is surrounded by the letters of the long mantra, and inside this stand the letters of the six-syllable mantra.
(Meditate to develop clear appearance of yourself as Chenrezig and divine identity of being Chenrezig:
Clear appearance of yourself as the deity. Go over the details of your Chenrezig body and then concentrate single-pointedly on this image of yourself as Chenrezig. Doing this overcomes the ordinary appearance of yourself as an ordinary being involved in cyclic existence. Don’t think your ordinary body has become Chenrezig because your ordinary body of flesh and bones vanished when you meditated on emptiness and your wisdom realizing emptiness now appears in the form of Chenrezig.
Divine identity (divine dignity or divine pride). By concentrating on the feeling “I am the Buddha Chenrezig,” you will overcome the ordinary grasping which holds onto a poor-quality image of yourself and grasping at yourself as inherently existent. An inherently existent “I” doesn’t become Chenrezig – it can’t because such an “I” doesn’t exist at all. Rather, your conventional “I” becomes Chenrezig.
Then, aware that the two, appearance and emptiness, arise together, meditate on the yoga of non-dual profundity and clarity. Clarity is imagining having the body of the deity; profundity is the wisdom knowing this body and self are empty of inherent existence. Try to unify method and wisdom in one consciousness, i.e., meditate that your wisdom realizing emptiness (wisdom) assumes the appearance of the deity (method). That is, while you appear as Chenrezig, ascertain that you are empty of inherent existence. While you are empty, you appear as Chenrezig. Chenrezig is like a reflection or an illusion, appearing in one way but existing in another. Chenrezig is a dependent arising, dependent on the basis of designation, name and concept.)
At my heart is a white moon and the concentration being HRI. Surrounding this, standing clockwise on the moon are the syllables of the long mantra, white in color. Inside this stand the syllables of the six-syllable mantra. Light radiates from these and completely fills my body. All obscurations, disease and hindrances are purified. The light radiates outside, carrying a countless number of Great Compassionate Ones. They purify all sentient beings’ negative karma, disturbing attitudes, and obscurations.
The light gives sentient beings all the temporal happiness they want. It also ripens their minds so that they receive the realizations of the gradual path to enlightenment and attain the ultimate happiness of Buddhahood. All sentient beings become Chenrezig.
Again light rays radiate from my heart. They carry offerings to all the buddhas and to all the sentient beings who have become Chenrezig. All these Chenrezigs are extremely pleased and experience bliss.
Then all the qualities of Chenrezig’s holy body, speech, and mind in the form of white light come from all the Chenrezigs and absorb into my heart, blessing my mind. All the Buddhas and all the sentient beings who have become Chenrezigs fall like snowflakes into me. I feel very blissful and my body, speech, and mind become completely one with Guru Chenrezig’s holy body, speech and mind.
(While doing the above visualizations, recite the long mantra and the six-syllable mantra.)
namo ratna trayaya/ namo arya gyana sagara/ berotsana buha radzaya/ tatagataya/ arhate/ samyaksam buddhaya/ namo sarwa tatagatebhye/ arhatebhye/ samyaksam buddhebhye/ namo arya awalokite/ shoraya/ bodhi satoya/ maha satoya/ maha karuni¬kaya/ tayata/ om/ dara dara/ diri diri/ duru duru/ itte wate/ tsale tsale/ partsale partsale/ kusume kusume ware/ ihli mili/ tsiti dzola/ ahpanaye soha/
om mani padme
(Visualize Vajrasattva on your crown. Nectar flows from his heart into you, purifying any incorrect mantra recitations. Recite the following 100-syllable Vajrasattva mantra 3x.)
om paymasattva samaya manu palaya/ paymasattva deno patita/ dido may bhawa/ suto kayo may bhawa/ supo kayo may bhawa/ anu rakto may bhawa/ sarwa siddhi mempar yatsa/ sarwa karma su tsa may/ tsitam shriyam kuru hum/ ha ha ha ha ho/ bhagawan/ sarwa tatagata/ payma ma may mu tsa/ payma bhawa maha samaya sattva/ ah hum pey
Becoming the simple form of Chenrezig
All my faces absorb to the root face, all the arms to the root arms. I maintain the divine dignity of myself as the Great Compassionate One, with one face and two arms, with an OM at my crown, AH at my throat and HUM at my heart.
Due to this merit may we soon
Attain the awakened state of Chenrezig
That we may be able to liberate
All sentient beings from their sufferings.
May the precious bodhi mind
Not yet born arise and grow.
May that born have no decline
But increase forever more.
Due to the merit accumulated by myself and others in the past, present and future, may anyone who merely sees, hears, remembers, touches or talks to me be freed in that very instant from all sufferings and abide in happiness forever.
In all rebirths, may I and all sentient beings be born in a good family, have clear wisdom and great compassion, be free of pride and devoted to our spiritual masters, and abide within the vows and commitments to our spiritual masters.
In whatever guise you appear, O Chenrezig, whatever your retinue, your life span and pure land, whatever your name most noble and holy, may I and all others attain only these.
By the force of these praises and requests made to you, may all disease, poverty, fighting and quarrels be calmed. May the Dharma and all auspiciousness increase throughout the worlds and directions where I and all others dwell.
In the snowy mountain pure land
You’re the source of good and happiness.
Powerful Tenzin Gyatso, Chenrezig
May you stay until samsara ends.
When you are doing your daily activities, visualize yourself as Chenrezig and the environment and beings around you as Chenrezig’s pure land with many Chenrezigs. When you eat or enjoy other sense pleasures, offer them to Chenrezig. Whenever you are praised, think the other people are praising Chenrezig.