Today, I want to share with you the story of Jikten Wangchuk Gyalpo, an Awakened One who existed before the time of Buddha Sakyamuni. Actually this is the story of one of Jitken Wangchuk Gyalpo’s closest students and attendants – a monk named Gelong Chöchi Londro – whose Bodhhisattva Vows were so pure and sincere that he desired to create, upon attaining Enlightenment, a buddha-realm the incorporated all of the qualities of all the buddha-realms into one place. And for millions of years, Gelong Chöchi Londro is said to have practiced on behalf of sentient beings everywhere.
One of Gelong Chöchi Londro’s later incarnations was as King Zipji Muchee, and it was to one of this king’s ministers from the Hindu Brahmin caste that a son, Gyamtso Nyingpo was born. As Gyamtso Nyingpo, who was ordained as monk, and became known as Dharmakara Bodhisattva, grew in his spiritual awareness, he eventually realised awakening, and became known as the Buddha Rinchen Nyingpo (or Ratnagarbha). This particular Buddha promised the king that just as he had previously been born Gelong Chöchi Londro, he would one day becoem the Buddha Amitayus (Amitabha). For millions of years Zipji Muchee practised the Dharma, vowing that he would not achieve buddhahood until every being who prayed to be in his buddha-realm could be born there. Eventually his prayer was fulfilled, and he became Amitabha. The buddha-realm he manifested is known as Déwachen (or Sukhavati, in Sanskrit).
And so it came to pass that in the present aeon, the Buddhas Manjushri, Chenrezig, and Vajrapani, and many other sentient beings, requested Sakyamuni to teach “The Sutra of the Pure Realm of Déwachen”.
There is a sadhana (spiritual practice) that is one of the required practices of the dharmachari in our Order, and which is optional for all other ordained and lay practitioners, which was revealed by the tertön, Rigdzin Minjur Dorjé (a reincarnation of the great translator of the sutras, Vairocana.) This great tertön transmitted the sadhana to Palyul Kunzang Sherab (the previous incarnation of His Holiness Penor Rinpoché).
Amitabha Buddha is the Buddha of Long Life. It is beneficial to perform his practice for the benefit of a person who is passing on, in order that they will have a smooth transition from this life to the next. Anyone can engage in the practice. You do not have to be a great exalted being who has abandoned all non-virtue. You do not have to be a superb practitioner. This is a Sutrayana practice. Therefore, it is something that will work for anyone.
The entire sadhana is comprised of eight short and simple, but very powerful parts. It is also perfectly suited for a retreat practice for someone unable to attend a formal retreat, and can be offered three times each day, while spending the remainder of the day meditating, resting, and doing tonglen practice.
1- Instantly in the space in front-above yourself arises Buddha Amitabha.
He is red in color, one face, 2 hands resting in His lap, palms up w/knuckles touching. This mudra symbolizes meditative equipoise.
He is holding a begging bowl and wearing robes of ordination, seated in Lotus Posture. He is surrounded with His retinue of Sublime ones.
2- As we are awed by His splendor we take refuge with body, speech, and mind.
“Buddha Amitabha I take refuge in you in this and every life” repeat 3 x
3- Then, thinking kindly of all sentient beings, recite:
“For the sake of beings I give rise to the Bodhicitta so all may benefit” repeat 3 x
If you have a pure Lama, consider that while the appearance is Amitabha, the essence is identical to one’s Root Guru.
4- Then hold the mala and recite Mantra, counting with beads. One full Mala is 108 reps.
The mantra OM AMI DEWA HRI is repeated 108 times.
“AMI” means “limitless light” and “DEWA” means “deity”. So the mantra means “deity of limitless light”.
While reciting, one concentrates on compassion as motivation, the extraordinary qualities of Amitabha, the yearning for Liberation in one life.
So the mind should be filled with pure Devotion and wholesome yearning, and Kindness toward all beings, every one, animals, ALL.
5- After at least one full Mala of Mantra, recite:
“I prostrate to Amitabha Buddha!”
“May I be reborn in the pure realm of great bliss”
6- Then Amitabha and his entourage dissolve into light, and pour into top of one’s head (crown). And mixes like milk and water with one’s mind.
“And may all sentient beings without exception be placed in that very state.”
7- Then we can recite the prayer to be reborn in Dewachen
Prayer to be reborn in Dewachen
E MA HO / NGO TSAR SANG GYE NANG WA TA YE DANG /
YE SU JO WO TUK JE CHEN PO DANG /
YÖN DU SEM PA TU CHEN TOP NAM LA /
SANG GYE JANG SEM PAK ME KOR GYI KOR /
DE KYI NGO TSAR PAK TU ME PA YI /
DE WA CHEN ZHE JA WAY ZHING KAM DER /
ZHEN DI NE TSE PÖ GYUR MA TAK/
KYE WA ZHEN GYI BAR MA CHÖ PA RU/
DE RU KE NE NANG TAY ZHEL TONG SHOK /
DE KE DAK GI MÖN LAM TAP PA DI /
CHOK CHUY SANG GYE JANG SEM TAM CHE KYI /
GEK ME DRUP PAR JIN GYI LAB TU SOL /
TA YA TA / PEN TSA DRI YA A WA BO DA NA YE SO HA /
Marvelous Buddha Making Boundless Light (1),
Lord of Great Compassion (2) on your right, on your left the Satva with Great Power(3), countless buddhas, bodhisatvas ’round. There is marvelous countless happiness in the pure land that’s called Dewachen. Then when I and others pass, may we swiftly cut off all the other births. Born there we’ll see Amitabha’s face. Now I chant this aspiration prayer. Bodhisattvas, buddhas on ten sides(4),
bless us-to gain this free of obstacles.
Tadyatha Pantsa Driya Awa Bodhanaya Soha!
(1) Dharmakaya form of Amitabha
(4) E, SE, S, SW, W, NW, N, NE, up, down.
8- Dedication Prayer
By the power and the truth of this practice,
May all the beings enjoy the happiness and the causes of happiness,
May they be free suffering and causes of the suffering,
May they never be separate great happiness stripped of suffering,
May they remain in the great equanimity which
Is free from any passion, any aggressiveness and any prejudged.
In solidarity with our sisters and brothers of the Nyingma tradition, particularly those at Kunzang Odsal Palyul Changchub Choling, we encourage everyone to engage this practice at 7 PM EST daily.
Be gentle with yourselves, and know that you are appreciated and loved.
khenpo gurudas sunyatananda
Drawing on the essential teachings of the great spiritual teachers, philosophers and freethinkers throughout time, Khenpo Gurudas Śunyatananda (retired Archbishop Francis-Maria Salvato, O.C.) has been regarded as a provocative, revolutionary “voice of reason” within the field of religion and spirituality, since 1983. Having the distinction of being one of the few openly non-theistic, openly-gay and post-denominational thinkers ever to serve as Bishop-Exarch and spiritual leader of the autocephalic Eastern Catholic Franciscans in North America, Gurudas is the author of more than 600 articles, eight books and currently serves as the spiritual advisor for a non-theistic, intentional spiritual community, The Spiritus Project. He can be reached at: http://mindfulnessjournal.tumblr.com/
Copyright ©2012, Khenpo Gurudas Sunyatananda (The Most Reverend Dr. F. Francis-Maria G. Salvato, M.Sc., O.C.). All rights reserved. This material may be reproduced, blogged, quoted or distributed, provided the entire copyright including contact information remain intact. It may NOT be altered in any way, without express written permission.”