Happy Tsog Day: Receiving the blessings of the four empowerments

In order to remember and mark our tsog days, holy days on the Kadampa calendar, I am sharing my understanding of the practice of Offering to the Spiritual Guide with tsog.  This is part 20 of a 44-part series.

Through the force of requesting three times in this way, white, red, and blue light rays and nectars, serially and together, arise from the places of my Guru’s body, speech, and mind, and dissolve into my three places, serially and together. My four obstructions are purified and I receive the four empowerments. I attain the four bodies and, out of delight, an emanation of my Guru dissolves into me and bestows his blessings.

At this point we meditate briefly on receiving the blessings of the four empowerments according to the commentary. Then we imagine that an emanation of Lama Losang Tubwang Dorjechang comes to the crown of our head and, entering into our central channel, descends to our heart. We imagine that our subtle body, speech, and mind become of one taste with our Spiritual Guide’s body, speech, and mind, and meditate on this special feeling of bliss for a while. After this we recite the mantras according to the commentary.

The single-pointed request also has the function of requesting the spiritual guide to bestow the four empowerments. The four empowerments are the empowerment of the body; speech; mind; and the body, speech, and mind together of Je Tsongkhapa. The first empowerment bestows the body of a Je Tsongkhapa, which has the ability to emanate countless forms according to the needs of living beings. The speech empowerment bestows upon us the vajra speech of Je Tsongkhapa, which has power to guide all living beings to enter onto, progress along, and complete the path to enlightenment. By attaining the vajra speech of Je Tsongkhapa, our every sound will function to teach the truth of Dharma. The mind empowerment bestows the vajra mind of Je Tsongkhapa, which possesses the five omniscient wisdoms and can see clearly and directly all phenomena in all three times. The empowerment of the body, speech, and mind together functions to unite the vajra body, vajra speech, and vajra mind of Je Tsongkhapa so that they function together in harmony. Receiving the empowerments in this way is exactly the same as receiving the Je Tsongkhapa empowerment. In this way, the practice of Offering to the Spiritual Guide has the same function as self-initiation of Je Tsongkhapa.

We can also understand the empowerments at a deeper level where the vajra body empowerment is the similar in nature as the vase empowerment of Heruka that has the result of enabling all the meditations on the profound generation stage of the body mandala and leads to the final resultant attainment of the Emanation Body. The speech empowerment is similar in nature as the secret empowerment of Heruka, which empowers us to meditate on the completion stage of illusory body and have the good fortune of attaining the resultant enjoyment body. The mind empowerment is similar in nature to the wisdom mudra empowerment which empowers us to meditate on the completion stage of the clear light of the Mahamudra and will give us the good fortune of attaining the resultant Truth Body. And the body, speech, and mind empowerments together is similar in nature to the precious word empowerment, which empowers us to meditate on the completion stage of inconceivable and have the good fortune to attain the resultant union of Vajradhara.

When we receive the empowerments, we imagine that from the crown of our spiritual guide comes white wisdom lights that bestow the body empowerment; from the throat of our spiritual guide come red lights that bestow the speech empowerment; from the heart of our spiritual guide come blue lights which bestow the mind empowerment; and then from the body, speech, and mind of our spiritual guide simultaneously come white, red, and blue lights which bestow the body, speech, and mind empowerment together. As these light rays and nectars descend, we should feel as if we are receiving a subtle infusion of our Guru’s body, speech, and mind into our own body, speech, and mind bestowing upon us all the attainments.

After receiving these blessings, we then imagine that the entire field of merit dissolves into our spiritual guide in the space in front of us, who then comes to our crown, descends through our central channel down to our heart, where he mixes in separably with our indestructible wind and mind. It should feel as if his mind has entered into ours, and our mind is now his. Essentially, we receive a mind transplant where his enlightened mind becomes our own. Since the ultimate nature of our Guru’s mind is the union of great bliss and emptiness, we feel as if our mind has merged with an ocean of bliss and emptiness. Perceiving only the clear light, experiencing great bliss, and seeing directly the mere absence of all the things that we normally see, we recognize this clear light emptiness as our definitive spiritual guide and we impute our “I” upon it, strongly believing that we are Truth Body dharmakaya of our spiritual guide.

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