Friday, November 12, 2010

Vajrasattva Empowerment and Refuge

This is the 32nd entry from my fieldwork diary. The original date is 17.10.2010.

*Although I had written around 33 pages in total by hand (by the end of H.E. Garchen Rinpoche's lectures), there were still a few things that I had missed out on during his speech. Mostly due to the fact that I didn't write quick enough to catch everything that he had said, for which I am sorry.
I should also mention that the English translation of every speech was done by Ari-Ma, H.E. Garchen Rinpoche's American disciple and personal translator.


"All buddhas are of the same essence, it is a union of compassion. The mind of the Buddha is like free flowing water. One attains temporary benefit through accomplishments.

VAJRA refers to the empty nature of mind.

Without birth there is no death. Everything is of one nature, and if one realizes this one is a buddha. The defining line between Buddha and a sentient being is very fine.

It is important for the practitioners not to be deceived by outer forms. All sentient beings have the cause of buddhahood.

Visualize the form of Vajrasattva in vast space and how all sentient beings are taking refuge. Self-grasping must be purified. You must wish to help others. Meditate and visualize the seed syllable HUNG in a flame."


Everyone lined up in a queue to receive the Vajrasattva Empowerment and to take refuge in The Three Jewels.


"I take refuge in transcendent awareness, the heart essence of Buddha.
I take refuge in compassion, the heart essence of Dharma.
I take refuge in spiritual friends, the heart essence of companions."

"When harm to others and its cause are abandoned, the individual liberation vows are complete.
When help to others and its cause are accomplished, the bodhisattvas' vows are complete.
When one is adept at the pure perception of the vessel and contents, the mantric vows are complete."


According to Wikipedia:
Buddhists are said to "take refuge" in, or to "go for refuge" to, the Three Jewels (aka the "Three Refuges"). This is often done formally in lay and monastic ordination ceremonies.

The general signification of Three Jewels is: 

the Buddha;
the Dharma, the teachings;
the Sangha, the community of (at least partially) enlightened beings, often approximated to community of monks and nuns (Bhikkhus and Bhikkhunis).


It was my first time taking refuge under H.E. Garchen Rinpoche. We took our vows and from every person a piece of hair was cut, which then was put into a small pouch that would go to a monastery in Eastern Tibet. It was somewhat fascinating to realize that a piece of your hair would later be kept at such a special and holy place somewhere far away, somewhere you've never been before.

The whole experience of taking part in that ritual was interesting - the kneeling in front of a great enlightened master to receive his blessing; being in the presence of a living buddha; the dharma pills that need to be taken for five days; the exchange of white scarves; the candlelit butterlamps, the smoke from the incense and the smiling people. The inner peace and the feeling of gratitude.


Everyone received a *Dharma name on a card.

Wikipedia says:
A Dharma name is a new name acquired during a Buddhist initiation ritual in Mahayana Buddhism and monk ordination in Theravada Buddhism. The name is traditionally given by a Buddhist monastic, but is also given to newly ordained monks, nuns and laity.

If the student doesn't have a relationship with the monastic teacher and the ceremony is a public one with a congregation present, their new name will tend to reflect the lineage/tradition rather than the individual person. When it is given by a monastic who knows the disciple, however, the name is often tailor-made.

Dharma names are generally given in the language of the particular sangha where the name is bestowed. People in the Karma Kagyu tradition of Tibetan Buddhism are often given the name Karma.


The name I received was Konchög Dagme Zangmo, which apparently means something like "Excellent Lady of the Selflessness of the Triple Gem". I think I chuckled a bit when I first read that. :)


"Do not commit any wrong.
Perfectly practice virtue.
Completely tame your own mind.
This is the Buddha's teaching."


*Important side note: These diary entries do not reflect every word the teacher said, and there may be some mistakes or misunderstandings, for which I am sorry and accept responsibility. In a few instances, I have interjected my own interpretation or explanation.

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