Lama Tsongkhapa Guru Yoga

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Refuge and bodhicitta

I take refuge until I have awakened in the Buddhas, 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. (3x)

Actual practice: Visualization and offering the seven-limb prayer

From the heart of the Lord Protector of Tushita’s hundred gods,
Floating on fluffy white clouds, piled up like fresh curd
Comes the Omniscient Lord of the Dharma, Losang Dragpa.
Please come here together with your spiritual heirs.1

In the sky before me, on a lion throne with lotus and moon seat,
Sits the holy guru with his beautiful smiling face.
Supreme field of merit for my mind of faith,
Please stay one hundred eons to spread the teachings.

Your mind of pure genius that spans the whole range of knowledge
Your speech of eloquence, jewel ornament for the fortunate ear,
Your body of beauty, resplendent with the glory of fame,
I bow to you so beneficial to see, hear, and remember.

Various delightful offerings of flowers, perfumes,
Incense, lights and pure sweet waters, those actually presented,
And this ocean of offering clouds created by my imagination,
I offer to you, O supreme field of merit.

All the negativities I have committed with body, speech, and mind
Accumulated from beginningless time,
And especially all transgressions of the three ethical codes,
I confess each one with strong regret from the depth of my heart.

In this degenerate time, you worked for broad learning and accomplishment,
Abandoning the eight worldly concerns to realize the great value
Of freedom and fortune; sincerely, O Protector,
I rejoice at your great deeds.

Venerable holy Gurus, in the space of your truth body
From billowing clouds of your wisdom and love,
Let fall the rain of the profound and extensive Dharma
In whatever form is suitable for subduing sentient beings.

Whatever virtue I may have gathered here,
May it bring benefit to the migrating beings and to the Buddha’s teachings.
May it make the essence of Buddha’s doctrine,
And especially the teachings of venerable Losang Dragpa shine for a long time.

Short mandala offering

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 niryatayami

Short request to Je Tsongkhapa in Tibetan

mig may tse way ter chen chen re sig
dri may kyen pay wong po jam pel yang
du pung ma lu jom dze sang way dag
gang chen kay pay tsug kyen tsong kha pa
lo zang drag pay zhab la sol wa deb

Short request to Je Tsongkhapa

Avalokiteshvara, great treasure of objectless compassion,
Manjushri, master of flawless wisdom,
Vajrapani, destroyer of all demonic forces,
Tsongkhapa, crown jewel of the Snowy Lands’ sages
Losang Dragpa, I make request at your holy feet.

Nine-line request to Je Tsongkhapa

Buddha Vajradhara, the source of all powerful attainments,
Avalokiteshvara, great treasure of objectless compassion,
Manjushri, master of flawless wisdom,
Vajrapani, destroyer of all demonic forces,
Losang Dragpa, crown jewel of the Snowy Lands’ sages,
O Guru-Buddha, the embodiment of all three refuges
I humbly request you with my three doors:
Please grant inspiration to ripen myself and others
And bestow the general and supreme powerful attainments.

Recite any of the above verses continuously while doing the following visualizations:

Purification visualization

In the space in front of you is Je Tsongkhapa, the embodiment of Manjushri. On his right is Gyalsabje, the embodiment of Chenresig, and on his left is Kedrupje, the embodiment of Vajrapani.2 From these three, tubes of white light are emitted. They merge to form one and then flow into your heart. White nectar, like pure milk, flows through them into you and purifies all disease, spirit harms, destructive karmas and obscurations. While reciting the request, first concentrate on purifying destructive karma created with the guru and the Three Jewels. Then concentrate on purifying destructive actions created with sentient beings. After finishing the recitation, concentrate on your body being completely calm and clear, like crystal, completely free from all defilements.

Visualizations to generate wisdom

  1. Request:

    Please inspire me to generate great wisdom that has no resistance to understanding the meaning of Buddha’s extensive scriptures.

    From Je Tsongkhapa and his two spiritual children flows the orange nectar of great wisdom that fills your entire body. The essence of each atom of nectar is a small Manjushri. These Manjushris radiate light rays that touch the Buddhas and bodhisattvas in the ten directions. All of their wisdom, in the form of millions of Manjushris, absorbs into you through the pores of your body, like snow falling into the ocean. Feel that you have generated great wisdom.

  2. Request:

    Please inspire me to generate clear wisdom that can understand the subtle and difficult points of the Dharma without confusion.

    The visualization is the same as above, but the essence of each atom of nectar is Manjushri’s mantra, om ah ra pa tsa na dhi. Millions of mantras are invoked from the Buddhas and bodhisattvas. They dissolve into you, and you generate clear wisdom.

  3. Request:

    Please inspire me to generate quick wisdom that quickly cuts off all ignorance, wrong conceptions, and doubt.

    Visualize as above, substituting Manjushri’s seed-syllable, DHI, and feel that you have generated quick wisdom.

  4. Request:

    Please inspire me to generate profound wisdom that understands the meaning of the scriptures in a profound, limitless way.

    Visualize as above, substituting Manjushri’s implements, the sword and text, and feel that you have generated profound wisdom.

  5. Request:

    Please inspire me to generate the wisdom of explaining the Dharma that elucidates the definite, correct understanding of all the words and meanings of the scriptures.

    Visualize as above, substituting texts, and feel you have generated the wisdom of explaining the Dharma.

  6. Request:

    Please inspire me to generate the wisdom of debate that courageously refutes the evil words that express wrong ideas.

    Visualize as above, substituting eight-spoked wheels of swords, and feel that you have generated the wisdom of debate.

  7. Please inspire (bless) me to generate the wisdom of composition, which uses perfect grammar and words and has the meaning of clear wisdom that gives joy.

    Visualize as above, substituting texts and eight-spoked wheels of swords, and feel that you have generated the wisdom of composition.

If you wish, recite The Foundation of All Good Qualities or meditation on the stages of the path.

Requests

May the wisdom of learning, thinking, and meditation increase, and may the wisdom of teaching, debating, and writing increase. May I attain the general and supreme powerful attainments. Please inspire me to quickly become like you.

May the simultaneous-born great bliss shine immediately, and the afflicted shadow of grasping at inherent existence be cleared. May I cut the net of doubt of the true nature of mind. Please inspire me to quickly become like you.

Request and absorption

Glorious and precious root guru, sit upon the lotus and moon seat on my crown. Guiding me with your great kindness, bestow upon me the attainments of your body, speech, and mind.

Glorious and precious root guru, sit upon the lotus and moon seat at my heart. Guiding me with your great kindness, grant me the general and supreme powerful attainments.

Glorious and precious root guru, sit upon the lotus and moon seat at my heart. Guiding me with your great kindness, please remain firmly until I attain full awakening.

Dedication

Due to this merit may I soon
Attain the awakened state of Guru-Buddha
That I 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.

Whatever virtue I may have gathered here, may it bring benefit to the migrating beings and to the Buddha’s teachings. May it make the essence of Buddha’s doctrine, and especially the teachings of Venerable Losang Dragpa shine for a long time.

In all of my lives, through the Victorious One, Lama Tsongkhapa acting as the actual Mahayana guru, may I never turn away for even an instant from the excellent path praised by the Victorious Ones.

For a 2-part teaching on this practice, given by Venerable Thubten Chodron in 1994, see Lama Tsongkhapa Guru Yoga, Part 1 and Lama Tsongkhapa Guru Yoga, Part 2.


  1. “Lord Protector of Tushita’s hundred gods” refers to Maitreya, the future Buddha. “Losang Dragpa” is Je Tsongkhapa’s ordination name. His spiritual children are his two chief disciples, Gyalsabje, on his right, and Kedrupje, on his left. 

  2. The meaning of this visualization is that the guru appears in the aspect of Je Tsongkhapa and is all of the Buddhas’ wisdom, Manjushri. The guru appearing in the aspect of Gyalsabje is all of the Buddhas’ compassion, Chenresig. Appearing in the form of Kedrupje, the guru is all of the Buddhas’ power, Vajrapani. 

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