Regularly Scheduled Practices

8th Day Medicine Buddha Sadhana

 

 

On the 8th day of each lunar month, we offer the Namchos Medicine Buddha sadhana, a short Parnashawari/Loma Gyonma sadhana, and Thangtong Gyalpo's famous prayer to end illness and disease.

The Medicine Buddha sadhana we practice is from Mingyur Dorje's Namcho/Sky Dharma cycle of terma. It is a union of both the Sutra and Tantra. 

Parnashawari is one of the 21 Taras. She is especially effective for curing disease. She is also the patron Deity of herbal medicine in Tibetan Buddhism. The Parnashawari practice we do comes from Lama Dawa Chodrak.

Thangtong Gyalpo was a great, 15th century Buddhist yogi, physician, blacksmith, architect, and pioneering civil engineer. He is considered a mind emanation of Guru Rinpoche and a reincarnation of Dolpopa Sherab Gyaltshen. Thangtong Gyalpo spoke this prayer in the midst of an epidemic and the epidemic ended.

If the 8th day falls on a weekday, practice is from 6:30 to 8 or 8:30 PM. If it falls on a weekend, it is from 4:30 to 6 or 6:30 PM. 

 

10th Day Guru Rinpoche Tshog

 
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On the 10th day of each lunar month, we offer Ju Mipham's Shower of Blessings tshog ceremony. This is based on the famous 7-line prayer to Guru Rinpoche. Although this tshog ceremony is relatively short and easy to do compared to most other tshog ceremonies, its blessings are extremely potent and quick.

Participants are encouraged to bring a food offering, typically some sort of finger-food that is easily dividable. Examples include fruits, nuts, crackers, cakes, and cookies, candies, sliced vegetables, meats, sodas, wine, alcohol, pre-made sandwiches, pre-made hors d'oeuvres, sliced or cubed cheese, etc. Other possible offerings include incense, flowers, and candles.

If the 10th day falls on a weekday, practice is from 6:30 to 8:30 PM. If it falls on a weekend, practice is from 4:30 to 6 or 6:30 PM.

All Vajrayana practitioners are encouraged to offer tshog on the 10th and 25th days of each lunar month, i.e., 10 days after the new and full moon respectively. Offering tshog repairs one's samaya, purifies one's sins, and accumulates huge stores of merit in an extremely short period of time and is a cornerstone of Tibetan Buddhist practice.  

 

 

15th &/or 30th Day Phowa

On the 15th and/or the 30th days of the lunar month, we practice Longchen Nyingthig phowa or transference of consciousness. This practice prepares one to transfer one's consciousness to Amitabha's Pure Land of Sukhavati. It is also an opportunity to do phowa for any recently departed beings at the request of their family or friends.

Longchen Nyingthig phowa is unique in that, as it is done today, it incorporates phowas from four different lineages. Thus one gets the blessings from not just a single lineage but from four.  Since different practitioners have different karmic connections and propensities, this allows for a greater opportunity for effectiveness. Various practitioners will find that they have a greater affinity for one or the other of these phowas and that one or the other results in more and deeper meditative experience.

If the 15th or 30th day falls on a weekday, practice is from 6:30 to 8:30 PM. If it falls on a weekend, practice is from 4:30 to 6 or 6:30 PM. 


25th Day  Dakini Tshog

 

On the 25th day of every lunar month, we offer Cho-kyi Go-cha's Red Saraswati tshog. This is a rare and profound Dakini sadhana and tshog.  Participants are encouraged to bring a food offering, typically some sort of finger-food that is easily dividable. Examples include fruits, nuts, crackers, cakes, and cookies, candies, sliced vegetables, meats, sodas, wine, alcohol, pre-made sandwiches, pre-made hors d'oeuvres, sliced or cubed cheese, etc. Other possible offerings include incense, flowers, and candles.

If the 10th day falls on a weekday, practice is from 6:30 to 8:30 PM. If it falls on a weekend, practice is from 4:30 to 6 or 6:30 PM. 

 

Naga Puja

 

At least once per lunar month, we try to offer Naga puja. Usually this includes one or more Naga sang/smoke offerings, Naga confession, and an offering specifically to the Goddess of the Mississippi. Sometimes we say a  Naga Amendment instead of one or more of the previously mentioned practices. In Tibetan Buddhism, Naga and other associated spirits, such as Lords of the Earth, Tsen, and Mahoragas, are powerful nature spirits who control the environment. When pleased with us, they can grant us wealth and other kinds of help. When upset with us, they can cause various types of skin disease, cancers, and urogenital disorders. We offer these practices as a way to please the Nagas, to alleviate their disease and suffering, and to repair any harm we have done to them through damaging the natural environment. 

Participants are encouraged to bring offerings for the Nagas. However, the Nagas are very picky and all offerings must be new, clean, and unused. Offerings may include popped or puffer grains of all kinds (rice, wheat, corn, etc.), yogurt, butter, honey, molasses, Naga sang, and Naga incense. 

Nagas may only be propitiated on certain astrologically favorable days. If a Naga day falls on a weekday, practice is from 6:30 to 8:30 PM. If it falls on a weekend, practice is may be from 9 to 11 AM or from 4:30 to 6 or 6:30 PM. 

 

 

Thub-chog

Nay-ten Chag-chod

Zang-chod Mon-lam

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Thub-chog is Ju Mipham's short Shakyamuni sadhana. This is widely practiced with the Nyingma community and especially on the Four Great Times. Nay-ten Chag-chod is another Shakyamuni sadhana which includes the 16 Nay-ten or Supporters of Holy Places. These are 16 great Bodhisatvas Who agreed to remain in the world after Lord Buddha's Parinirvana in order to protect and support the Dharma until the coming of the next Buddha, Maitreya. Each of these 16 resides in a holy place or pitha surrounded by His retinue. This practice helps maintain the presence of the Dharma in the world and also helps stabilize our Teacher's health, longevity, and Enlightened activity. Zang-chod Mon-lam is Mahayana Buddhism's supreme, most effective aspiration prayer. It is an account of how the Bodhisatva Samantrabhadra practiced the Dharma in order that emulate His example. Reciting this prayer generates inconceivable amounts of merit.

We usually do all three of these practices on three of the Four Great Times/Days: Cho-trul Du-chen, the 15th day of the first lunar month, Saga Dawa Du-chen, the 15th day of the fourth lunar month, and Lha-bab Du-chen, the 22nd day of the ninth lunar month. Cho-trul Du-chen commemorates Lord Buddha's vanquishing of the Tirthikas by the performance of miracles, Saga Dawa commemorates Lord Buddha's Enlightenment and Parinirvana, and Lha-bab Du-chen commemorates Lord Buddhas descent from Tushita Heaven where He was teaching His departed mother, Mahamayi. Tibetan Buddhists believe that all karma, good or bad, is multiplied 10 million times on these days. Therefore, Dharma practice is highly encouraged on these days. If one of these days fall on a weekday, we usually practice from 6:30-8:30 PM. If one of these days fall on a weekend, we usually practice from 9-11 AM or from 4-6 PM depending on peoples' schedules.


SUTRA RESOUNDING

Cho-khor Du-chen, the fourth of the Four Great Times, commemorates Lord Buddha's Turning the Wheel of Dharma for the first time. It is celebrated on 4th day of the sixth lunar month. On this day, we typically read a selection of Mahayana Sutras from 9 AM to noon, 1-3 PM, and 3:30-5:30 PM. Participants may attend any or all of these sessions, and  we serve a vegetarian lunch to anyone who would like to share a meal with us that day.


OTHER PRACTCES

We offer a variety of other practices from time to time depending on circumstances. These include Phowa, the transference of consciousness for the recently departed, Ney-dren, purifying the departed of their sins and obscuration and leading them to Enlightenment, Ri-wo Sang-chod and/or other smoke offering ceremonies, special tshog ceremonies commemorating the anniversaries of various Saints and Sages, and special prayer gatherings to alleviate suffering in response to various natural and man-made catastrophes. These are announced via our email mailing list, on Bob Flaws/Lama Pema's Facebook page, and on the calendar on this website.