Aug 20, 2018

Posted by in BUDDHISM IN OTHER LANGUAGES | 22 Comments

THE MEANING AND TRUE SPIRIT OF EMPOWERMENT ( Lễ quán đảnh: Ý nghĩa và thực chất)


Guru Rinpoche

It is said that in Vajrayana, one needs empowering before practicing Dharma. So the question is whether or not other schools of Buddhism can get enlightenment without empowerment or initiation? This question arises from those who give weight to the need of empowerment.

It is essential to look into the real meaning of empowerment so that the Tantric door can be widely opened. I will not tell about other Buddhist schools which have their own skillful means (upaya). But it should be emphasized that a ceremony of empowerment or Dharma transmission is necessary to practice Tantric Dharma.

Empowerment or “dbang bskur” in Tibetan or “abhiseka” in Sankrit which literally means pouring water on head.  This ceremony implies the permission of listening, studying and practicing the teachings of Vajrayana. It’s not essential to be done in a solemn ceremony or in the witness of the assembly of monks in a monastery but it can take place quite simply (noted in “The Words of My Perfect Teacher”). Types and procedures of empowerment differ depending on the spiritual level of the followers. So in any case, empowerment simply means permission. In the 62th verse of his renowned “A Lamp for the Path to Enlightenment”, Master Atisha called it “the preceptor initiation”.


“Then, to receive the preceptor initiation,
You must please an excellent spiritual teacher
Through service, valuable gifts and the like
As well as through obedience.”

Master Atisha

“Guru initiation” is explained by Atisha as “permission”. From whom? From one’s Guru. A 61 year old man had personally attended Padmasambhava for a year. Before the Rinpoche departed, he offered him a gold flower and was taught the practice of “Pointing the Staff”. Simply this is an empowerment ceremony without any other complicate procedures. After twelve years of attending Tilopa, one day, Naropa got a teaching from his master:” Now it’s time to transmit Dharma to you. Bring me a mandala!” In this wild, secluded place, Naropa found nothing to make a mandala. Finally, he urinated on the sand and made a simple sand mandala. Tilopa accepted it and continued with the transmission. This is another kind of empowerment ceremony, which proves that this ceremony does not depend on outside circumstances but the mind and willingness of the disciple.

Lama Thubten Yeshe shares the same view in his book named “Introduction to Tantra: The Transformation of Desire”: “We should not worry about outside rituals of the Dharma transmission (empowerment) like chanting, praying, striking bell or others. But far from it, its inner or true meaning that matters. It is a special kind of communication between Guru and disciple and therefore depends as much upon the Guru’s realization as it does on the disciple’s openness and level of spiritual development…”

ITA’s Director – Master Thinley Nguyen Thanh in Latvia

In case that one cannot meet a guru in human form, the encountering of “terma” (hidden teachings) or Tantric texts is also seen as the way of initiation. This is because in “terma”, Guru Rinpoche made a vow that anyone who coincidentally met it (i.e terma) would have a good affinity to practice it (like “Dakini Teachings”). In the “Dakini Teachings”, Padmasambhava insisted that he had learnt from many gurus for 3,600 years, requesting for many termas, receiving many teachings, learning and teaching, meditating and practicing, but none of them was as profound as this Terma. Among “Five Types of Greatness” in practicing Dharma, he mentioned nothing about the necessity of receiving empowerment (page 144). He also said: “May this be practiced by those who fortunately meet it” (page 239), or “May this meet with all worthy and destined people in the future” (page 165). This means anyone who meets with this teaching has the right to practice it. In “Wondrous Ocean”, Jigmed Terpai Nyima (1865-1926) said to transform obstructions in the time when Dharma was impeded, Padmasambhava gave prophetic blessings to terma revealers (terton) who would be present timely to reveal and decipher hidden teachings on the practice of wisdom deities, mantras and ritual protocols, just like finding a right medication for each disease. Saving those who do not know how to save themselves is one of important objectives of terma (hidden treasure). What does it mean? It means once one meets this Teaching, he or her has been given initiation (this is the simplest understanding of the meaning of terma). This also refers to the Buddha’s teaching before he entered Nirvana that after his death, the disciples must take precepts as their master and take the Dharma as their refuge in case that they cannot find out any kalianamitra in human form.

Tantric scriptures say all spiritual attainments follow from relying on your guru who is qualified to transmit Dharma (empowerment) and to permit you to do a practice. Nonetheless, in casting off extreme attitude on the role of empowerment, I quote a teaching of Lama Yeshe to conclude this article:

“… we should perceive two different layers of meaning of “Guru”. The objective, relative Guru is the teacher who communicates with us by many ways, directly or indirectly. But in a deeper, more objective layer, our Guru is none other than our own inner wisdom, our own fundamental clarity of mind. In fact, the relative, external Guru only helps us to some extent but he cannot guarantee that we gain insight and realizations. But our own Guru, our inner clear wisdom, can accomplish everything.”

Thinley Nguyen Thanh

Translated by Mat Hue Phap

  1. Salvatore Antonio Fois says:

    Venerebol Guru,

    My name is tantra siramitra.

    Very interesting article, so we are the looke ones in this lifetime to come across the Holly Dharma.

    I found it very interesting to know that, but in many practis, it is all ways important to ask the permission of the the venerebol Guru if it is possible to do or not some practice it is better to be cautious about!!

    May Avery one be happy.


    Thank you!!

    • Nguyên Thành says:

      I think, the first you must read more on This is the most important Dharma practice of Mat gia Song Nguyen tantra house. The second, You can recite mantra with breathing!

  2.  Tantra Mahavita says:

    Dear Saint Guru: I bow to the feet of the Holy Guru. Grateful for their kindness and compassion to teach us such vast and profound teaching .This is the most important Dharma practice . May our Guru have a long life with happiness for the benefit of all sentient beings. May all beings find the happines of Budhha Nature . OM MANI PADME HUM

    • Kính bạch Thầy!

      Con xin phép được dịch comment của đạo hữu Tantra Mahavita sang tiếng Việt như sau:

      “Kính bạch Thầy tâm linh tôn quý!

      Con xin cúi đầu đảnh lễ dưới chân Thầy.

      Con cảm tạ ơn Thầy đã từ bi ban cho chúng con lời dạy sâu sắc và quý báu trong bài viết này. Đây là điều quan trọng nhất trong thực hành pháp.

      Con cầu nguyện Thầy thân tâm an tịnh, trụ thế lâu dài vì sự lợi lạc của tất cả chúng sanh.

      Cầu nguyện tất cả chúng sanh thành tựu hạnh phúc của Phật tánh.

      Om Mani Padme Hum.”

  3. Tantra Amishuta says:

    Dear Holy Guru,

    May I have permission to learn Dharma? I know you have been teaching me but I want to continue my path to enlightenment. This article was beautifully written and I plan to write an article myself soon. Thank you for your lessons and your beautiful words and ways of teaching. Om mani padme hum. May you be well for the sake of yourself and others may we continue our path to enlightenment.

    • Nguyên Thành says:

      You can.

    • Kính bạch Thầy!

      Con xin phép được dịch comment của đạo hữu Tantra Amishuta sang tiếng Việt như sau:

      “Kính bạch Thầy tâm linh tôn quý!

      Thưa Thầy, con có được phép học Pháp từ Thầy không ạ? Con vẫn biết Thầy đang dạy con nhưng con muốn xin phép Thầy cho con được học tiếp để con được tiếp tục bước đi trên hành trình giác ngộ.

      Bài viết của Thầy tuyệt vời. Con dự định viết một bài cảm niệm sau khi đọc bài viết của Thầy. Con cảm tạ ơn Thầy về những bài viết trên trang nhà, những lời dạy tuyệt vời và phương pháp dạy dễ hiểu của Thầy.

      Con cầu nguyện Thầy trụ thế lâu dài vì sự lợi lạc của hữu tình.

      Cầu nguyện chúng con luôn tinh tấn trên hành trình giác ngộ.

      Om Mani Padme Hum.”

  4. Tantra Amishuta says:

    Thank you Guru,

    I appreciate all of your lessons. I wish that my health would allow me to come to you and visit to learn first hand but I love the lessons online. Maybe one day I will be able to or you can come to the USA and i can meet you here. Om Mani Padme Hum

  5. Salvatore Antonio Fois says:

    Venerebol Guru.

    My name is tantra siramitra.

    I would like to express my gratitude

    For a lauding me to practice the breathing meditation of the mani mantra.

    Thank you very much.

    May Avery one be happy.


  6. Boying Baguio says:

    Dear Holy Guru,

    My greetings to you.

    I have been reading some Buddhist articles and been trying to practice my self  those teachings that I come to comprehend only. In some points, people around me ask me if I am really now a Buddhist. The things is, I cannot answer them with full confidence that I am a Buddhist now. Since, in the Catholic belief, as my formerly was, rituals had been made (Baptism) for someone to be called as a fully Catholic. There was even some time ago when I have to fill a blank to an information note asking about my religion and I can’t write Buddhism because I haven’t had any ceremony for my legal rites to say that I am a Buddhist. Nevertheless, I am in the concept of Buddhism and willing to be one.

    May all sentient beings be in peace and away from sufferings.

    I am Tantra Maruta, from the Philippines.

    Om Mani Padme Hum

  7. Mô Phật!

    Mật thúy rất hoan hỉ với thiện hạnh dịch bài viết của vị Thầy sang tiếng Anh của huynh Mật Huệ Pháp cầu nguyện cho huynh luôn tin tấn thực hành pháp để được tha lực hộ trì cầu mông tất cả chúng sanh luôn có duyên lành biết đến chánh pháp OM ah hum

  8. Tantra Upatissa says:

    Dear Guru thanks for sharing this article.

    We must completely focus on our inner Guru by following teachings from external Guru who bestows Dharma blessings on us so we can deligiently practice.

    May Guru and his consort live long and protected and get enlightened.

    May all beings in all the directions of the world be free from suffering and get enlightened.

    Om Mani Padme Hum..

  9. Tantra Mishataru says:
    Dear Holy Guru, thank you for this wonderful message concerning empowerment. From the first I felt confuse about whether to begin Sharna. But at least now I am straightened up by doing my research on your web. Thank you so much for this.

    Om Mani Padme Him.

  10. Aman Prakash says:
    Dear guru

    Thank you for this article. I bow my head before your lotus feet.

    Empowerment is of two type. In relative, we connected to guru by physical,mental.But in absolute term, our mind is our guru. We should have to clear openess attitude toward mind. I think this openness attitude give us to understand mind. I had seen many times, our body do action without pre intention. It is because of natural flow of our mind to stay in samsara. We should have to think on that.why I am doing this and that.

    May guru teachings illuminates all over the world for peace and happiness. May guru and dakini live long for the sake of all sensient being.

    May all sensient being attain true nature.

    Om Mani padme hum

  11. Mark Alley says:
    Thank you for your kindness in qriting this teaching.
  12. Tantra Mashinaga says:
    Dear Guru,

    I consider myself a lucky man to have found such a wise and compassionate teacher. I diligently read your articles and get excited when I learn something new.

    I ask now if I am worthy enough to continue to learn from you? I can feel myself slowly changing because of the lessons and mantras I have learned in your articles. My wish is to visit My Guru when he allows me to. I hope that when the Guru requests my presence that I am financially ready to make the journey. Than you for this article and for your compassion

    May Guru live a long and happy life in order continue to teach the dharma to others

    May all beings be free of suffering and attain happiness

    Om Mani Padme Hum


  13. Tantra Ashihata (Simon Michael) says:
    Dear holy Guru ,

    my name is Tantra  Ashihata.

    I appreciate you for this wonderful article you have given to us. I am glad with the way you stress on permission before practicing the dharma otherwise many will abuse it if left into the hands of everybody to practice at will without permission.  I therefore ask the Guru to look at us with compassion and empower us with the right to practice good dharma.

    May Guru  live long for the seek of the happiness of all sentient being.

    Om mani padme hum.


  14. Tantra Mashinaga says:
    Dear Guru,

    Thank you for this article. I understand I need to honor my Guru to strength my inner guru.

    May Guru live a long and happy life

    May all beings be free of suffering and attain happiness

    Om Mani Padme Hum

    Tantra Mashinaga(Mark Hamilton)

  15. Josh says:
    Guru, thank you for this article. May I have permission to practice and learn Dharma?

    Om mani padme hum

    May Guru and his consort have a long life for the sake of all sentient beings

    May all sentient beings find freedom from suffering

  16. Josh says:

    Thank you Guru.

    Om  mani padme hum

    May Guru and his consort have a long life for the sake of all sentient beings

    May all sentient beings find freedom from suffering

  17. Tantra Sagovana says:
    Dear Guru,

    My name is Tantra Sagovana.

    Thank you for sharing this article.

    In this article you explain the true meaning of empowerment, that empowerment simply means permission.

    May all sentient beings be healthy and well and be free from suffering.

    May Guru be healthy and live long for the benefit of all beings.

    Om Mani Padme Hum.

    Tantra Sagovana (Ahmed Khan)

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