A puja is a ritualistic celebration of offerings and prayers, an essential part of which is making a spiritual connection with one's inner essence. The word puja means "to please" and has the connotation to please through offerings and practice.
A puja practice can be performed alone or, as at the Centre, in a group. (Please check calendar for dates.)
The practice involves recitations, prayers and meditation and always results in the generation of good energy. With good motivation, pujas will bring about positive transformations in the mind and can definitely help to overcome problems and hardships.
Everyone is very welcome to come to any of the pujas and there is no need to notify anyone of your intention to attend.
The Guru Puja practice provides us with a unique opportunity to come together in Dharma friendship and share in the joyful and meritorious activity of offering thanksgiving to all our most kind teachers.
It lays the foundation of the whole path to enlightenment on our mind stream, connects us more strongly to our teachers, allows us to accumulate skies of merit and purifies eons of negative karma. The text is available at the Centre and is conducted in both English and Tibetan, commencing at 6pm and finishing around 7pm.
Guru Puja is traditionally celebrated on the 10th and 25th days of the lunar, Tibetan Calendar month.
Tara Puja is usually performed on the 8th of the Tibetan Calendar month. The Puja runs for approximately one hour and everyone is most welcome to attend. The Puja is recited in sections of both English and Tibetan.
Tara (the Liberator) is a Buddha in female form who represents, in particular, the skilful activities of all enlightened beings. Contemplating Tara brings quick results in whatever we want and need, up to the ultimate happiness of enlightenment, as well as bringing temporal benefits of this life relating to work, business, family, relationships, etc. Known as the "Mother of all Buddhas", Tara awakens and helps fulfil our potential to attain enlightenment.
Taking part in this practice enables us to develop Tara's energy within us, which is the energy of our own active compassion and wisdom.
The Seven Medicine Buddhas are powerful in both healing diseases and purification.
Many eons ago, seven bodhisattvas strongly prayed for the temporal and ultimate happiness of all sentient beings, that their names become wish-fulfilling in order to heal both the mental and physical sicknesses and diseases of sentient beings. They vowed that their prayers will be actualised during these degenerate times when the teachings of Shakyamuni Buddha are in decline. When they became enlightened, one of the ten powers of a Buddha is the power of prayer - that means that all the prayers that have been made get fulfilled. As the Buddha's holy speech is irrevocable, you can wholly trust in their power quickly to grant blessings to help all sentient beings in these degenerate times. They are called the Seven Medicine Buddhas, the main one is "Lapis Buddha of Medicine, King of Light". Buddha Shakyamuni taught the teachings on the Medicine Buddha, and according to one tradition, is also considered to be one of the Medicine Buddhas, and hence, within that tradition there are Eight Medicine Buddhas.
Medicine Buddha Puja
The Medicine Buddhas manifested in order to pacify the obstacles to the achievement of temporary happiness, liberation and the ultimate happiness of full enlightenment. They are powerful in healing diseases as well as for purification. The Medicine Buddha practice can be used to help purify those who have already died and liberate them from suffering. It is also very powerful in bringing about success, both temporary and ultimate.
The reason why this practice brings success is that in the past when the Seven Medicine Buddhas were bodhisattvas practising the path to enlightenment, they promised and made extensive prayers to actualise all the prayers of living beings of the degenerate time when the teachings of Shakyamuni Buddha are in decline. They generated a very strong intention to become enlightened for this reason; this was their motivation for meditating on and actualising the path.
Lama Zopa Rinpoche says,
"It is very important that the elaborate Medicine Buddha Puja with extensive offerings be done regularly. The offerings should be as extensive and as beautiful as possible and done in order to benefit all sentient beings."