Requesting Prayers from Serenity Ridge’s Resident Lama Geshe Tenzin Yangton
Geshe Tenzin Yangton, the resident lama at Serenity Ridge Retreat Center, is available to perform prayers for sangha members and friends in your home or at Serenity Ridge, depending on what is requested.
In keeping with longstanding Tibetan Bon Buddhist tradition, prayers can be performed to offer blessings and generate merit, remove obstacles, purify negative energy, fulfill wishes, benefit those who have died and heal the living. They can be requested for oneself or for a friend or family member.
From among the direct teachings of the Nine Ways of Bon by spiritual guide Tönpa Shenrap Miwoche, these healing rituals are from the Fourth Way within the group of Causal Vehicles. In this life, according to each individual’s faith, devotion, capacity and other circumstances, sentient beings are helped through the performance of religious prayer.
Prayers Offered by Geshe Tenzin Yangton
Each of the prayers listed below brings merit and blessings, and removes obstacles. The specific emphasis of each prayer is described below.
- House Blessing (1–2 hours): For either new or established homes. Brings the positive energy of blessings and purifies negative energy.
- Sang Sol & Lungta, Smoke Offering & Raising Lungta (2–3 hours): Removes obstacles, repairs religious commitments, raises one’s energy, and brings good luck and the fulfillment of wishes.
- Recitation of auspicious texts from the Bön Canon (3–8 hours, depending upon text):Text from the Yungdrung Bön Ka (direct words of Buddha Tönpa Shenrap) can either be recited in your home or at Serenity Ridge. Recitation of the sacred texts generates great merit and brings blessings to oneself, one’s family and the environment. Traditionally, approximately once per year a family will invite lamas to come to their home and recite a sacred text. Geshe-la can help suggest a text. Examples of texts that are traditionally recited are:
- The root text of the Great Mother Sherap Chamma.
- The root text of the Great Mantra OM MA TRI.
- The Shining Precious Golden Light, a text for wealth and prosperity.
- The short hagiography of the Supreme Teacher Tönpa Shenrap Miwoche.
- Medicine Buddha (2 hours preparation and 2 1/2 to 3 hours for the prayer): The Medicine Buddha is said to be a manifestation of Tonpa Shenrab, founder of the Tibetan Bön Buddhist tradition. The Medicine Buddha prayer helps bring health and healing to mind, body and the world.
- Removal of Obstacles (1–3 hours): Obstacles are removed through prayer invoking the Yungdrung Bön protector deities, including Yeshe Walmo.
- Long Life Prayer (Chi Lu) (1 full day): Prayer to remove negativities and obstacles that interfere with one's lifespan.
- Soul Retrieval (La Lu) (1 full day): Requested when one feels a loss of soul, weak or full of fear.
- Long Life (Chi Lu) and Soul Retrieval (La Lu) (2 full days): These rituals are performed together for those with serious, life-threatening illness.
- Combination of Prayers: Repairing One’s Commitments, Long Life, and Increasing Wealth & Prosperity (8–9 hours)
- The Accomplishment of Red Garuda and Tsok Offering (1 full day): Performed primarily for healing of serious illnesses and strong feelings of being harmed by external forces. Additionally, can be performed for general obstacles and longevity, as well as to generate merit for offering tsok.
- The Accomplishment of Sherap Chamma (1 full day): Performed mainly to ask for help regarding the eight fears: enemies; rumors and negative speech that threaten one’s success; infertility; illness and problems caused by the lu (Sanskrit: naga); attack of one’s belief in the Yungdrung Bon with wrong views; errors of impurity in tantric ritual; fear of death; and astrological types of obstacles and negativity. Additionally, can be performed for general obstacles and longevity, as well as to generate merit for offering tsok.
- The Accomplishment of the Ma Gyü and Tsok Offering (5–8 hours): For practitioners of dzogchen, this ritual is beneficial for praying for success in realizing the correct dzogchen view and attaining realization. Additionally, one generates merit for offering tsok.
According to Bon teachings, because of the profound power of the teachings, and the loving kindness and compassion of the deities and the lama, these prayers are naturally helpful and comforting to the deceased, regardless of their knowledge of the teachings or belief in other religious traditions.
Regarding counting the days: In general, in the Yungdrung Bön tradition the actual day that an individual dies is not counted. Day 1 is the day after the death day. Day 4 actually begins ‘Day 1’ of the 49 Days of the Bardo. (It is said that for the first three days in the Bardo, the person who died is deep in the Bardo, unconscious. Beginning on the fourth day, the person starts to become more aware.)
- Powa (transference and liberation of the consciousness) and recitation of the “Bardo Thodal, Liberation Upon Hearing” (1–2 hours): This can be performed on the day of death or at any time during the 49 days. The practice of powa is used to guide the individual’s consciousness to either liberation or a higher rebirth depending upon the person’s capacity. The recitation of the Bardo Thodal is used as a support to remind the individual of his or her previous practice and connection with the pure teachings.
- Chang Bu (Liberation from the Six Realms) ritual (3–4 hours): This prayer is performed on the third day after death. The Chag Bu ritual is repeated once each week for 49 days (7 weeks), or can be repeated just on the final 49th day. The Chang Bu practice is used to help the consciousness of the deceased as he or she goes through the many experiences of the bardo before rebirth. This removes obstacles and guides the individual to a higher and positive rebirth.