We traditionally wear a hat with black threads or strands hanging down to cover our eyes when offering to hungry ghosts. When doing sur practice, you must have actual food to burn on the coals to offer it. Otherwise, it would be like trying to have lunch with no food. These are the five types of grain, five types of medicines, five types of scented substances, five types of essence, and five types of jewels.
If you cannot get those ingredients, then the minimum would be to use just roasted flour mixed with butter. However, you can use different kinds of roasted flour—barley, wheat, or corn—mixed with lots of butter. If you can do so, the best thing is to include all twenty-five ingredients. The Kriya Tantra Vase Pill traditionally has these twenty-five ingredients. You can usually get those from the Tibetan monasteries or from the Tibetan Medical Institute in Dharamsala.
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If you have any of these pills, then you crush one and mix that little bit with a large container of roasted flour. Using these ingredients is a very powerful method for success. Another important point related to the materials used is that you should not say anything bad about the substances you are offering to the spirits.
His Holiness Zong Rinpoche explained that if you say anything bad about the materials while you are preparing them—either before or during the ritual—then the spirits or pretas [hungry ghosts] who are close by waiting around to receive offerings or who have some kind of clairvoyance will actually see the offerings in that way.
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Rinpoche told stories about this—how people said bad things about the offerings and then they actually appeared like that to the spirits. So, instead say how beautiful or wonderful the materials are and then also recite the words of the ritual and do the visualizations. Returning to the twenty-five ingredients, they are as follows:. Red and white sandalwood offered to Lord Buddha by the goddesses Tsedog and Kyongma, respectively 2.
Akaru wood incense 5 3. Camphor — offered to Lord Buddha by the goddess Ochajuma 4. Saffron — offered Lord Buddha by the Princess of Scents 5. Nutmeg zadi — offered to Lord Buddha by a cannibal. Kandakari 2. Leti 3. Shu Thag white 4. Claw of water lion 6 5. Gold 2. Silver 3. Pearl 4. Coral 7 5. Gold — essence of earth: offered by Bhaham Namyang 2. Lentsa Tibetan salt essence of water: offered by the King of the Nagas 3. Honey — essence of flower: offered by the leader of humans, Khagon 4.
Butter — essence of milk: offered by the farmer girl, Lagkyinga 5.
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Brown sugar — essence of fruit: offered by Hananmum. Kunkyen Jamyang Shepa, who was an extremely famous, learned, highly attained teacher, wrote about the benefits of these substances for vases and tormas in the root text Kiria Pungzang as follows:.
If you have all twenty-five ingredients, it has great benefit. I myself tried to collect those materials for doing sur practice. In the United States I tried to do this, but one thing was missing. Bendurya is a dark stone which sometimes contains silver or something like gold inside of it. Dondrub, a very good, expert doctor, told me that. He told me that bendurya is very deep blue; very dark, profound blue and shiny. So, try to put together all these five families of five ingredients, crushing and baking them. Then whenever you make a Serkyem tea offering, add a little bit of that to the tea.
And, every time you do sur, you can also put a little bit with the grains, or just mix these twenty-give ingredients in with the batch of grains that you have. Also, if you have these twenty-five substances, then when you do protector pujas, Tara pujas, and especially when you do retreats, if you mix a little bit of these into the tsampa or other grains for making the torma, that makes the torma offering very powerful. There are two ways to make torma offering very powerful, for success and for attainments. One is your meditation, of course, having good concentration and then blessing and offering them.
This is also related to your samaya, your living as much as possible purely in your vows. Samaya is most important one, and then your meditation makes your offering very powerful when offering and asking the deity or the protectors to help you to be successful and to fulfill your wishes. The other way to make a torma offering very powerful for success is external—putting these twenty-give ingredients into your torma.
This also applies to putting these ingredients into your tea offerings to the Triple Gem, the protectors and sentient beings. It also applies to including them in your sur offering. That way our offering becomes more perfect, more powerful, and so then our wishes and prayers get actualized more quickly. Recite the prayer taking refuge and generating bodhicitta three times. Rely on Buddha with your whole heart, for the sake of all sentient beings as well as yourself.
You can think of all the numberless buddhas or just think of Guru Shakyamuni Buddha as the object of refuge. I go for refuge until I am enlightened. To the Buddha, the Dharma, and the Supreme Assembly. By my merits from giving and other perfections, May I become a buddha to benefit all sentient beings. So think that yourself and all sentient beings are taking refuge, relying on the buddhas with your whole hearts.
Then generate bodhicitta by considering each beneficiary in the six realms. I must free every one of the numberless hell beings, who are the source of all my past, present, and future happiness, from all suffering and its cause, the defilements, and bring them to enlightenment.
I must free all the numberless spirits, who are the source of all my past, present, and future happiness, from all suffering and its cause, the defilements, and bring them to enlightenment. I must free all the numberless animals, who are the source of all my past, present, and future happiness, from all suffering and its cause, the defilements, and bring them to enlightenment. Likewise, I must free all humans, gods, demigods, and intermediate state beings, who are the source of all my past, present, and future happiness, from all suffering and its cause, the defilements, and bring them to enlightenment.
To do this I must achieve enlightenment myself. Therefore, I am going to practice the charity of aroma: offering aroma to the merit field and giving aroma to sentient beings.
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Instantaneously I appear as Khasarpani an aspect of Chenrezig , white in color with one face and two arms, the right hand granting sublime realizations, and the left hand resting on a moon cushion and holding the stem of a white lotus. I am seated in the half-vajra posture and have an antelope skin draped over my left shoulder. So, having visualized yourself in the form of Chenrezig, then invite or hook the guests.
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You do this by emitting light rays from the syllable HRIH at your heart which go out and invite back the guests of samsara and of peace who are beyond samsara. The guests of peace who are beyond samsara include the entire Guru Puja merit field. This includes the gurus, the deities, the buddhas of the fortunate eon, the Medicine Buddhas, and then also the bodhisattvas, the arhats, the dakas and dakinis, and the protectors. Included here are the entire Three Jewels: the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha, and you also invite the guests of samsara who are the objects of your compassion.
This category includes all the sentient beings of the six realms. You can particularly think of spirits, of those intermediate state beings who have died recently, and of those towards whom you owe karmic debts. Imagine them all seated comfortably on pleasant cushions. It purifies hindrances. After you put the ingredients on the fire, then sprinkle water [from the vase in front of you]. You sprinkle using a branch or flowers which you dip into the vase and then sprinkle. VAJRA means indestructible or inseparable—referring to inseparable method and wisdom, inseparable bliss and voidness.
So, that experience of wisdom—of the inseparability of those two—is the real nectar. So, here you are in the form of Chenrezig. As you recite the mantra, many emanations of Vajra Amrita Kundali Vajra Swirling Nectar transform out from your heart.
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Vajra Amrita Kundali is wrathful and green-blue in color with one face and two arms; the left hand holds a bell, and the right hand holds a variegated vajra a double vajra which has different colors. Innumerable emanations of Vajra Amrita Kundali chase all interferers beyond the earth and destroy them. Then the wrathful deities are absorbed back into your heart.
With this mantra you purify the sur into emptiness, as it is empty. The way the sur appears to you is as real sur, in the sense of something existing from its own side. The way it appears to us is a total hallucination. So, you look it as empty of that real one existing from its own side.
So this first one relates to the ultimate purity—the selflessness--of the person. Here, dharma refers to existence—to things that exist.