The Practice of the Four Arm Chenrezig (Every Wednesday 8 pm to 10 pm)
Chenrezig (Avalokitesvara) - He Who Looks With An Unwavering Eye - is the embodiment of all the Buddhas' infinite compassion. He is a manifestation of the Buddha in the Sambhogakaya; and his mantra is considered the essence of the Buddha's compassion for all beings.
There are many inner obstacles to our mental development thus creating external obstacles. To obtain success in our Dharma practice and to actualize our path to enlightenment, we need to rely on a special deity or Buddha, for example, Chenrezig. Being the Buddha of great compassion, his mantra OM MANI PADME HUNG, represent the body, speech, and mind of all the Buddhas and noble Bodhisattvas, purifies the obscurations of body, speech, and mind and brings all beings to the state of realization. Our own faith and efforts in meditation and recitation creates the transformative power of the mantra thus purifying ourselves in this way.
The six syllable mantra closes the gates leading to rebirth in the hell realm, hungry ghost realm, animal realm, jealous god realm, and the god realm, thereby opening the possibility of transcendence of suffering. It clears the way for the practice of the six perfections. It purifies bad karma, habits, and defilements.
The Practice of Chod (Every Thursday 8 pm to 10 pm)
During the second sermon, Lord Buddha Shakyamuni gave the Prajnaparamita teaching to his followers. The essence of his teaching was to develop the perfect wisdom of Enlightenment. Later on, the Indian saint Dampa Sangye and a Tibetan great master Machikma Labdron introduced a unique method of cutting the ego clinging instantly based on the essence of the Prajnaparamita teaching. In Tibetan, this practice is called Chod.
The main practice of Chod is to recognize the defilement of ego clinging, attachment to self and phenomena, which obstruct the Path to Enlightenment. This method is used to rid the root of defilement, that is the ego clinging, and all the subsequent defilements such as hatred, desire, and ignorance that arise from it.
The Chod practice is effective for purification of sickness and especially for those who have disturbance caused by evil spirits. It also benefits us in our daily needs such as prosperity, health, and longevity.
In KKBC weekly practice, the short version of the puja is used. The sadhana is called Milam Lungten which means The Prophetic Dream. It includes prayers done with a bell ('Drilbu' in Tibetan) and a drum ('Damaru' in Tibetan). Any interested individual who wishes to practice the short sadhana should seek for oral transmission and initiation from a qualified vajra master before starting to practice individually.
The Practice of Four Foundations (Ngondro)
Ngondro is a set of basic meditative practices in current use by all Tibetan sects. The Torch of Certainty (Nges-don sgron-me) by Jamgong Kongtrul is an important text to read before asking the master for oral transmission and beginning the Ngondro preliminary practices.
Before starting with the first foundation, the practitioner should first contemplate on the four ordinary foundations, which are thoughts that turn the mind towards religion. These are reflecting on the preciousness of the human body, impermanence, karmic action, cause and results and shortcomings of Samsara.
The precious human body has eight opportunities and ten blessings, not being tortured by extreme heat or cold like the hell beings, not being constantly tormented by unsatisfied cravings like the hungry ghosts, not being ignorant and persecuted like the animals, not being unfortunate enough to be born in a country untouched by Dharma, not holding perverted views and having a natural dislike for the Dharma, being born in an age where a Buddha has come to teach the precious Dharma and not being deaf and mute and unable to understand Dharma in a world without language. The human body is however easily lost as we are constantly threatened by potentially fatal circumstances such as flood, fire, earthquakes, epidemics, tsunamis etc. yet we do not know when they would occur. It is certain that we would die yet when we would die is uncertain. We tend to accumulate negative karma instead of positive karma and hence it is difficult to gain the opportunity to be reborn with a precious human body. In the short time we have, we should make fullest use of our blessings by directing our practice towards achieving Buddhahood.
Impermanence affects all worldly conditions, all living beings and even material substances are eventually destroyed. While we are happy, we do not think of old age, death or losing our health or wealth. Yet they inevitably occur due to impermanence. Before we are affected by it, it is best to practice Dharma strenuously. After death all your worldly possessions will not follow you and only the results of your negative actions will find it. The holy Dharma and accumulation of positive karma are what will help you. We can accumulate positive karma by refraining from killing, stealing, lying, improper sexual intercourse, slander, idle or frivolous chatter, covet what someone else has, resent others or hold perverted views but instead do the opposite. In samsara, all sentient beings are affected by the three types of misery, the misery of change, misery of suffering and misery of conditioned existence. Samsaric happiness is like a bubble, it does not last. If we spend our time on clinging to such happiness, the true joy that is beyond all suffering which is found when we are liberated will be lost to us.
The first foundation involves taking of refuge by chanting a liturgy and doing prostrations at the same time and engendering the enlightened attitude 111,111 times. This is what is practiced during the weekly practice session in KKBC, but if there are questions to be asked about the second foundation (purifying of harmful deeds and removal of obstacles by chanting the 100-syllable mantra), the third foundation (accumulation of merit and awareness by the offering of the mandala) and the fourth foundation (guru yoga), they can be arranged to be answered by the resident lamas or by the leader of the practice.
The Practice of 35 Buddhas (Every Saturday 8 pm to 10 pm)
The 35 Buddhas practice is a method to purify negative karma, and to accumulate meritorious karma. The practice produces these two effects.
By purifying the bad karma, one's mind will be free from their influences. This means one's mind will be clearer. When the negative karma is diminished, one's wisdom will strengthen.
The other effect of the practice is that one's mind will accumulate merit, a necessary condition for enlightenment. Merit affords everyone the opportunity to be enlightened. For instance, by one's very good merits, one can be reborn in a pure land. A rebirth in a pure land is deemed optimal for enlightenment because the Buddhas are there. One can learn directly from them. They are there to guide, and so one will be able to follow the teachings and become enlightened. Excellent causes and conditions such as these are dependent on one's store of merits, so one has to know how to gather them. By doing the practice of the 35 Buddhas, one will accumulate useful merit.
In order to get the most benefit of this practice, one should obtain oral transmission and special instruction from a guru such as Shangpa Rinpoche.
The Practice of Green Tara (Every Sunday 10 am to 12 pm)
Green Tara "The Swift Liberator" is a well loved Yidam. Many countless Kalpas ago, Avalokiteshvara, the embodiment of the perfect compassion of all Buddhas, took up the mission to liberate all sentient beings, without exception, from all forms of suffering and dissatisfaction. Tara is commonly believed to manifest from the tears of Avalokiteshvara to fulfill his mission to liberate sentient beings.
Since then, the noble Tara had manifested to 21 Taras to protect sentient beings from Samsaric suffering, particularly the 8 major and 16 minor fears. Buddha Shakyamuni introduced the teachings of Tara in the Sutra and Tantra, and specially emphasized "In praise of Tara", which was composed by Buddha Vairocana. Lord Buddha also mentioned that if one recites the "21 homages" two, three, or seven times, one would overcome all major and minor fears and be protected from all kinds of natural disasters and humanly created disasters.
The original scared Text known as Gongter Drolma Zabtiq was revealed by the yogi and terton, Chokgyur Lingpa, an emanation of the great Indian guru, Padmasambhava (Guru Rinpoche). This scared Text was then offered to Jyamyang Khentse Wangpo and has been preserved until today, losing none of its original impact and fervour. It is being practiced by both Kagyu and Nyingma practitioners. Many great practitioners from India and Tibet who practiced Green Tara have overcomed every obstacle and achieved the supreme qualities of Buddha. The benefit of this practice is immeasurable.
Milarepa Tsog Puja (Every 15th of the lunar month, at 8pm)
Way back in the early 90s, Shangpa Rinpoche gave teachings about the Milarepa Tsok Offering Puja. He taught disciples the tunes used in chanting the sadhana and showed the details of when and how to make shrine offerings accompanied by methods for using the cymbal and drum. Teachings on this practice has also been given by Khenpo Tsultrim in KKBC.
Tormas are made to go with the puja and tsok offerings are set up. There is group chanting using cymbals and big drum. The purpose of this is to honour the Great Enlightened One who had attained enlightenment within just one life time.
Devotees from all over are welcome to participate in this chanting. If one wishes to receive blessing, one can just sit in and join the puja, but if one needs to practice by on his or her own with proper offering and visualization, then, one has to get proper oral transmission, and initiation from Shangpa Rinpoche or any qualified master who is familiar with this practice.
Mahakala Puja (Every 29th of the lunar month, at 8pm)
This puja is common in Vajrayana practice as the Mahakala is often referred to as a Protector. Mahakala is known to be the fearful manifestation of Buddha pacifying all negative forces. Particularly, in the Karma Kagyud Tradition, Mahakala is often regarded as the protector for every practitioner who is progressing in the path of Mahamudra.
In this centre, there is one day of the month that is made significant for the puja and that is the 29th of each lunar month. Tormas are made and offerings are set up. Any devotee can just sit in to join the puja on group chanting basis to receive blessing. Similarly, anyone who needs to do the practice of this puja by oneself should get oral transmission and initiation but initiation of this kind is rather rare as disciples have to be very committed after receiving the initiation.