According to Buddhism, the world in which we live, and all that happens to us, is a result of our past actions. Past harmful actions create unhappy results and skilful actions create happy results.
One way to increase our potential to experience happiness, to accumulate extensive positive potential, and to purify obstacles in our lives is to make offerings to the different manifestations of enlightened beings, and to monks and nuns.
Having a puja performed is definitely not being saved by ritual. On the contrary, by generating a sincere virtuous motivation while making extensive prayers and offerings, unfavourable circumstances that bring problems can be changed. It is said that prayers performed by ordained monks and nuns are especially powerful as they are performed on the base of pure morality. As a result, it is not the ritual itself that clears obstacles from the wishes of the sponsor, but rather it is the sincere virtuous motivation of the sponsor to make offerings to the monks.
You can have a special puja performed for yourself, your loved ones and friends, for the success of your business or other activities, to remove obstacles to health, or to assist a person who is sick. Pujas are also performed for the dying, in order to help calm their minds during the stage of transition, as well as for the deceased in order to bless and guide their minds to a higher state of rebirth and liberation. In each puja, the monks follow a prescribed practice that contains the prayers, mantras to be recited and accompanying visualisations.
Brief Description of Main Pujas
Medicine Buddha Puja
The Healing Buddha, has promised to help all those who are sick and dying. He is depicted holding a bowl containing the five kinds of medicines.
The puja helps to clear and avert obstacles due to sickness and disease. The blessings from Medicine Buddha prevents one from falling into the lower states of rebirth. Those already in a lower state of rebirth will be quickly liberated and will take rebirth in a precious human body.
This puja is specifically recommended by our teacher Kyabje Zopa Rinpoche as the Medicine Buddha is particularly effective during these difficult times.
Cittamani Tara Puja
The Wisdom Mother is invoked in times of personal difficulties, health problems, and when there is need for quick wisdom action. Closely associated with Chenrezig, Tara is virtually inseparable from the Buddha of compassion.
She personifies the feminine aspect of his solicitude and actively assists him. She manifests in many different forms to benefit all beings. To recite the praises to the Twenty-One Taras is considered immeasurably helpful in all adverse circumstances.
In the aspect of Cittamani Tara she benefits quickly the mind of those who pray to her. Gifted with a variety of powers, Tara is the guardian from all fears. She arrives, ready to put to right the most terrible of situations.
Sixteen Arhats Puja
Buddha Shakyamuni personally selected the Sixteen Arhats from amongst his disciples
and requested them to protect the Dharma. At the time of the parinirvana they
vowed to remain in the world and maintain the Dharma until the time of the
future Buddha Maitreya.
"The benefits of making offerings and prayers to the Sixteen Arhats
- All the Victorious Ones (Buddhas) are pleased.
- Anyone who correctly practices it will have no obstacles.
- One will be able to abide in pure morality.
- It increases one's scriptural understanding and realisations.
- One will have perfect inner and outer conditions to practice Dharma.
- One will not be overwhelmed by untimely death and will have a long life.
- The community of Sangha will be increased.
- The study and practice of the Tripitaka (Three Baskets) will increase.
And so forth, there are infinite benefits one will
enjoy until enlightenment is achieved."
Lama Zopa Rinpoche
Lama Chopa Tsog
This puja is a profound practice which is performed in Nalanda every two weeks. In our tradition the reliance on our spiritual teacher is the foundation of every spiritual progress. In the practice we pay homage to our teacher and try to identify with their qualities. This practice contains the whole path to enlightenment and performing this puja creates a powerful potential of spiritual growth for the participants and the sponsor.