Lineage, Prayer, and Blessings Teaching


Happy Chökhor Duchen Day of Miracles, the first Full Moon of the Wood Dragon Year! In honor of this auspicious day, we are offering Lama Tharchin Rinpoche’s illuminating teaching on Lineage, Prayer, and Blessings given at Open Secret Bookstore in 2006. Stream for free on SoundCloud.

From Lama Tharchin Rinpoche’s teaching:

The basic idea behind lineage is that of blessing. Lineage represents the continuity of blessings. Without the presence of the lineage, there’s no way for us to access blessings. This is true in general in Buddhism, but particularly in the Vajrayana and even more so in the practice of Dzogchen. Without having received these blessings of a wisdom lineage, it is impossible for the continuity of your mind to become ripened within the spiritual path and for that ripening to bring you to liberation. This is the relation between blessing and lineage.

When we set out on the spiritual path, we need three essential things: faith, compassion, and recognition of our indwelling wisdom so that it becomes manifest. We must have faith. Faith is the fuel that we bring to our spiritual path. We develop faith in the three kayas in our own pure nature and in the outer world. Our first moment of faith is trust in our own pure buddha nature. Our second moment of faith is in the emanations of enlightenment in our world – the nirmanakaya, and then in its sources, the sambhogakaya and dharmakaya. We make supplications to these manifestations of enlightenment and merge our minds with their wisdom minds. We recognize the three kayas within ourselves. Then they are no longer buddhas of the past and we are no longer buddhas of the future – we are the enlightened beings of the present.

Prayer or supplication is important because it makes a connection between our ordinary selves and enlightenment. What is the point of praying with faith? To receive blessings. When we pray, we make a connection with our own pure nature. And this connection, like an alchemical substance, changes our experience of ourselves from this ordinary sense of body, speech, and mind, into the vajra body, speech, and mind of enlightenment.

Photo: Lama Tharchin Rinpoche with sand mandala. Big Island, Hawaii, circa 1990. Thank you, Megan Mitchell, for sharing the photo.

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