OFFERING TO THE SPIRITUAL GUIDE PUJA

Twice a month on the 10th & 25th we engage in special chanted prayers, or ‘puja’, called Offering to the Spiritual Guide. The practice of relying upon a Spiritual Guide, or ‘Guru Yoga’, is the root of the spiritual path and the foundation of all spiritual attainments. In Kadampa Buddhism, we engage in the Guru Yoga practice of Je Tsongkhapa, who is an emanation of the Wisdom Buddha Manjushri.

 

These prayers were first compiled by the first Panchen Lama, Losang Chökyi Gyaltsän, as a preliminary practice for Vajrayana Mahamudra. Although the main practice is reliance upon the Spiritual Guide, it also includes all the essential practices of the stages of the path (Lamrim) and training the mind (Lojong), as well as both the generation stage and completion stage of Highest Yoga Tantra.

Guru yoga is a special method for receiving the blessings of our Spiritual Guide. Here, the term ‘Guru’ does not imply that our Spiritual Guide should be Indian. Our Spiritual Guide is any spiritual Teacher who sincerely leads us into spiritual paths by giving correct instructions. Thus our Spiritual Guide can be oriental or western, lay or ordained, male or female. These days, for example, it is quite possible to meet a Spiritual Guide who is a western lay female. The term ‘yoga’ in this context indicates a special way of viewing our Spiritual Guide.

Tsog’ means ‘collection’ and when we make Tsog offerings we do them collectively, as a group. In this way we accumulate collective karma – we create the cause to progress along the Spiritual Path together. We also accumulate a great deal of merit – positive mental energy – the cause of good fortune.

During a Tsog puja we arrange a table of food and drinks – making it look as beautiful as we can. We imagine that we are preparing a banquet of delight for the holy beings to enjoy. We then invite the holy beings to the place of offerings and imagine they enjoy this blissful banquet.

Afterwards, we enjoy the Tsog offerings with our Spiritual friends. These Tsog puja’s are a great way to get to know your Spiritual friends and to feel a part of a Spiritual Community.

Please bring an offering of your own to add to the table – any food or drink that you feel is beautiful. (No meat or alcohol please.)