A Short Practice of Chenrezig
These notes are based on the 15th Karmapa’s Chenrezig instruction commentary
|Chenrezig painted by HH 17th Karmapa|
First, calm the mind by doing a little silent sitting meditation.
Then, imagine Chenrezig in space in front of you. His form is not solid, but is seen as being illusion-like and made of light. He is white in color, sitting cross-legged on an open lotus flower topped by a horizontal white disk of the moon.
He is brilliantly white, radiating an effulgence in five hues (mostly white). He is fine-featured, smiling with the love a mother has for her only child. He has four hands (symbolizing the Four Immeasurables, loving kindness, compassion, joy & equanimity): The first pair joined in prayer at his heart, holding between them a wish-fulfilling jewel. His right lower hand holds a crystal rosary; his left lower hand holds a white lotus and its stem. He wears a blouse of the finest white silk embroidered in gold, beautiful silk ribbons and a red silk skirt.
His body is adorned with a five-jeweled crown, earrings, necklaces, bracelets, (armlets) anklets, a belt with tinkling bells, all made of gold and set with gems. Over his left shoulder, covering his left breast, is the skin of a Tinasara deer - a legendary animal said to be so kind that it never harms any being and is willing at any moment to give up its life to benefit others. His long, shiny black hair is bound up in a topknot, with some falling freely on his shoulders.
Think that he is the embodiment of all buddhas, bodhisattvas, and teachers. While reciting the Refuge and Bodhicitta prayer, think that you are leading all sentient beings to take refuge in him.
The following two pages contain the prayers with commentary.
Refuge and Bodhicitta prayer
(Say three times)
At the conclusion of the refuge and bodhicitta prayer, think that Chenrezig bathes you and all sentient beings in purifying light, washing away your ignorance and negativities. He then dissolves into light and merges with you, blessing your stream of being.
Sang Gye Chö Dang Tshok Kyi Chhok Nam La
In the Buddhas, the Dharma, and the Supreme Community,
Jang Chhup Bar Du Dak Ni Kyap Su Chhi
Until I reach enlightenment, I go for Refuge.
Dak Gi Jin Sok Gyi Pay So Nam Kyi
By practicing the Six Perfections, Generosity and so forth,
Dro La P’hen Chhir San Gye Drup Par Shok
In order to benefit beings, may I achieve Buddhahood.
During the Visualization section, visualize a seed syllable HRI on top of a lotus and moon mat above your head and the heads of all sentient beings. Then imagine that this seed syllable changes instantly into Chenrezig. In other words, there is a Chenrezig above your head, and a Chenrezig above the heads of all sentient beings. As before, the form of Chenrezig is not solid and is made of light.
During the supplications and praises, think that you are praying to Chenrezig.
Dag Sog Kha Khyab Sem Chen Gyi
On the crown of my head and the heads of all beings filling space,
Ji Tsug Pey Kar Da Way Teng
Upon a white lotus and moon disk, is the seed syllable HRI.
Hri Le P’hag Chog Chen re zig
From this letter appears the Supreme Exalted One Avalokiteshvara.
Kar Sal Ö Zer Nga Den Dro
Luminescent white, radiating five-colored rays of light,
Dze Dzum T’hug Je Chen Gyi Zig
He gazes with eyes of compassion.
Chak Zhi Dang Po T’hal Jar Dzay
Of his four hands, the first pair are held palms-together at the heart;
Og Nyi Shel Treng Pe Kar Nam
The lower two hold a crystal rosary (right) and a white lotus (left).
Dar Dan Rin Chen Gyen Gyi Dre
He is adorned with garmets of silk and precious ornaments, and wears an
Ri Dak Pak Pe Tö Yog Sol
antelope skin as an upper garment.
Ö Pak Me Pe U Gyen Chen
He is crowned by Amitabha, the Buddha of Boundless Light.
Zhab Nyi Dor Je Kyil Trung Zhuk
His two legs rest in the vajra posture;
Dri Me Da War Gyab Ten Pa
his back is supported by an immaculate moon disk.
Kyab Ne Kun Du Ngo Wor Gyur
He is, in essence, all the sources of Refuge combined.
Prayer of Praise to Chenrezig
(Say three times)
Jo Wo Kyon Gyi Ma Gö Ku Dok Kar
Lord, unmarred by imperfection, body white in color,
Dzok Sang Gye Kyi U La Gyen
whose head is ornamented with a perfect Buddha,
T’huk Jey Chen Gyi Dro La Zik
gazing on beings with the eye of compassion,
Chen re zig La Chak Tshal Lo
to Chenrezig I reverently prostrate.
While chanting the verse before the mantra recitation, we imagine that the Chenrezig above our heads bathes us and all sentient beings with light, which washes away all of our ignorance and negativities and changes us all into Chenrezigs. In keeping with the earlier visualizations, we are not solid and are made of light. We also have the same form and attributes as Chenrezig.
De Tar Tse Chik Sol Tab Pe
Having thus offered one-pointed supplication,
P’hag Pay Ku Lay O Ser Tro
light rays emanating from the Exalted One’s body
Ma Dak Lay Nang T’hrul She Jang
purify impure actions and appearances, and confused mental states.
Chyi No De Wa Chen Gyi Zhing
The outer environment becomes the pure land of Dewachen (“The Blissful”)
Nang Chu Kye Drö Lu Ngag Sem
For the beings within, their body, speech and mind
Chen Re Zig Wang Ku Sung T’hug
become the body, speech and mind of the Lord Avalokiteshvara;
Nang Drag Rig Tong Yer Me Gyur
appearances, sounds and mental states becomes inseparable from emptiness.
Mantra (Say many times)
While meditatively cultivating the visualization’s essential point, recite OM MANI PEME HUNG. Recite however much you wish.
During the mantra recitation, we think that all beings in the universe (in the form of Chenrezig) are reciting OM MANI PAYMAY HUNG; that all form is of the nature of Chenrezig (i.e., form and emptiness inseparable); that all sound is of the nature of mantra (sound and emptiness inseparable); and that the nature (though not the content!) of all thought is enlightened wisdom.
At the conclusion of the mantra recitation, we see all beings as Chenrezig dissolve into light and merge with the Chenrezig above our head. The Chenrezig above our head then dissolves into light and merges with us. We feel that we and Chenrezig have indivisibly become one. Then, we (as Chenrezig) dissolve into light and thence into emptiness. This dissolution can be done in several ways:
■ We simply dissolve into light, disappearing into space
■ Or, we dissolve from top into our heart and bottom into our heart, where the mantra and seed syllable HRI rest on a lotus and moon. The mantra dissolves into the HRI, and the HRI from bottom to top and then into emptiness.
When the first thoughts occur to us after this dissolution, we think, “I am Chenrezig!” and then re-create the visualization of ourselves (and all sentient beings) as having the light-made body of Chenrezig. It is in this form that we conclude the chanting.
Om Mani Peme Hung
Among the last prayers we recite are dedications of merit, dedicating the benefit of our practice to all sentient beings. In this way, we act on the vast aspiration of Chenrezig to benefit all sentient beings, and make our wishes identical with his.
Dag Zhen Lu Nang Phag Pe Ku
The bodies of myself and others, all appearances, are the form of the Exalted One;
Dra Drag Yi Ge Drug Pe Yang
all sounds are the melody of the six syllables;
Dren Tok Ye She Chen Pö Long
all mental constructs are the expanse of great primordial awareness.
Once we have begun practicing this sadhana, we can recite the mantra any time we wish, and re-imagine ourselves as Chenrezig at any time. When we are in pain, when we are troubled, we can recite the mantra or visualize ourselves as Chenrezig and re-establish the thread of practice we developed when we are on the cushion. Eventually, our practice will help us uncover our basic compassion and understand the basic nature of our minds.
Ge Wa Di Yi Nyur Du Dak
By the virtue of this activity,
Chen re zig Wang Drup Gyur Ne
may I quickly attain the state of the Lord Avalokiteshvara,
Dro Wa Chik Kyang Ma Lu Pa
and having done so, then establish all beings
De Yi Sa La Gö Par Shok
without exception in that same state.