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Consecration .of images and stfipas in Indo-Tibetan Tantric Buddhism I by Yael Bcntor.

Dedicated to Mkhas-btsurt-bzang-po Rin-po-che and Dbu-mdzad Zur-pa Bstan-pa-dar-rgyas


This book could not have been written without the help and support of a number of teachers and institutions. I would like to begin with my first teacher in the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Prof. David Shulman who not only introduced me to Indian culture, but also encouraged me to study the Sanskrit language for which he was a wonderful teacher. Ms. Lydia Aran at the same university provided many fruitful insights into Buddhism and Himalayan Art. I would like to thank also the Exchange Program between the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and Indiana University which enabled me to continue my studies in the Tibetan Studies Program in the Department of Uralic and Altaic Studies at Indiana University. I am grateful to Prof. Christopher I.

Beckwith who provided a thorough explanation of the grammar of the Tibetan language which so far cannot be found in any written work. It has been a great privilege to be able to study with Prof. Thubten J. Norbu who not only offered illuminations on Tibetan Buddhism in general, but also guided my initial steps in the study of the Indo-Tibetan ritual for consecration of stfipas, images and books. Prof. Elliot Sperling has taught me much on the history and politics of Tibet. Very much appreciated are his informal and friendly assistance and his tendering to practical concerns. I would also like to express my thanks to Prof. Michael Walter who invited me to participate in the reading sessions of Tibetan and Sanskrit works held at his home, and was always ready to listen to my questions. Prof. P. Ollivelle has contributed much to my study of Sanskrit by offering his guidance to my reading in this language. My main advis·er, Prof. Gregory Schopen, not only shared his profound knowledge of Buddhist Sanskrit but also provided much inspiration and original thinking with regard to various questions in Indo-Tibetan Buddhism and the methods of approaching them. I am very grateful to his valuable comments on my research during all the years I had the privilege to study with him. Finally, I would like to thank my husband Dan Martin from whom I have learned about Tibetan Buddhism no less than in the formal setting of a university.

I would like also to thank the faculty of the Department of Uralic and Altaic Studies for supporting me during three years of my graduate

udies and Prof. Elliot Sperling for procuring funds for an additional 'ar. The in situ research for the present project in Nepal during ~87-9 would have been impossible without the assistance of Fulbright ·ays Doctoral Dissertation Research Abroad Fellowship as well as te William and Flora Hewlett Foundation and Henry Luce Foundaon administrated through the Social Science Research Council Inmational Doctoral Dissertation Research Fellowship which provided )th financial support and help in obtaining a permit for staying in epa! for the duration of the research. The Social Science Research ouncil supported also the first period of the write-up project. I am deeply grateful to the numerous people who helped me during 'Y in situ research in Nepal. I would like to thank all the heads of tonasteries in the Kathmandu Valley who explained to me the msecration ritual and provided information on specific consecration tents in their monasteries, as well as to all the officiants who clarified lrious ritual details. I am grateful to all of them for their patience ith my seemingly endless questions, to their hospitality and invitions to attend rituals, and for providing me with ritual manuals.

would like to especially thank Mkhas-btsun-bzang-po Rin-po-che ho explained to me a number of works on consecration including .e difficult passages on consecration in the Tantras as well as a few msecration manuals and sections of explanatory works. His extenve knowledge of older Tibetan texts ·and their peculiarities as well : current works and practices was extremely valuable. Dbu-mdzad •r-pa of Dga'-ldan-chos-'phel-gling not only informed me on the mual re-consecration of Bodhanath Stfipa which is the basis for the ·esent work, but also encouraged my investigation. Tirelessly he 1ided me throughout the ritual before and after its performance and 1en in the breaks during the long days of the actual performance. is experience as both chant leader (dbu-mdzad) and ritual helper "chod-g.yog) and his personal fondness for rituals significantly mtributed to the present work. I would like to thank also Khor-chen in-po-che who assisted my work in various ways throughout my stay Nepal. Well informed on monastic events of all sects in the athmandu Valley, he often accompanied me on my visits to heads ' monasteries. Furthermore, he recorded most of the explanations on msecration works given by Mkhas-btsun-bzang-po Rin-po-che, tran' ribed them and added his own explanations. I would like to express my thanks to Prof. Menachem Milson, the

Dean of the Faculty of Humanities, and to Prof. David Shulman, the head of the Indian Studies Program at the Hebrew University for creating an atmosphere conducive to research and for providing me with the leisure for completing this work. Without the help of all these precious people this book would not have been possible.


A study of consecration rituals is concerned with the foundations of the sacred nature of objects for worship. The present work examines this sacred nature through a study of the Indo-Tibetan ritual for consecrating images, stupas, books and temples (rab-gnas, prali$(hd).' The consecration of these objects is accomplished by the main Buddhist tantric ritual of transformation through which also human practitioners turn themselves into a chosen Buddha. Indo-Tibetan consecrations are included within the general category of cho-ga (vidhi), a term which might be very broadly translated ritual or ritual method. In a large number of Tibetan monasteries the performance of rituals is the primary undertaking of most monks. Even in monastic educational institutions monks devote part of their time to rituals. Almost all forms of Tibetan meditation are highly ritualized and therefore fall within the category of ritual as well. Furthermore, ritual texts constitute a significant part of nearly every Tibetan library. Western scholarship, however, has not yet adequately reflected this Tibetan preoccupation with rituals.'

At a very early stage of their monastic studies every Tibetan novice concentrates on the memorization of the major ritual works of their particular tradition. A certain number of monks do not undergo any 1 It is note that almost all the literature on Tibetan consecration that exists in Western languages is written by Tibetans. Such are the works by Manen (1933, translation of Phun tshog), Dagyab (1977:32-33), Gyatsho (1979). Gyalzur (1983, in collaboration with Verwey), Sharpa Tulku (1985, with Michael Perrott), and PaQ.chen Otrul (1987). The only extended discussion by a non-Tibetan is by Tucci (1949:308-316). There is also a dissertation on this subject by Schwalbe (1979), although he did not directly utilize Tibetan literary sources. Finally, David~Neel ( 1945) wrote on the consecration ritual mainly in order to demonstrate that. in f~ct, it is not nearly so "primitive" as it may seem. More studies by Western scholars were devoted to Theravfida consecrations including those by Leclere (1917:139-152), Gombrich (1966), Glteau (1969), Ruelius (l978a & 1978b). Bizot (1994) and Swearer. (1995, forthcoming 1995 & forthcoming). The work of Tambiah (1984:243-257) might be also added to this list. See also Strickmann (forthcoming 1995, ch. 3) on Chinese consecration. 2 The most comprehensive study of Tibetan ritual is that of Beyer (1973). Previous inquiries were undertaken by Snellgrove (1957) and Lessing (1942 & 1976). For recent works see Ellingson (1979a), Decleer (1982), Kailash 1982, no .. 4 (on Himalayan death rituals), Heller (1985), Kvaeme (1985 & 1988), Pang1ung (1985), Skorupski (1986), Buffetrille (1987), B1ondeau and Karmay (1988), Kohn (1988), B1ondeau (1990), Cabez6n (forthcoming, 1995), Kapstein (1995), etc.

other formal training in Buddhist ideas or practices. Training in rituals and engaging in their performances constitute their main course of study. Most monks in Tibetan monasteries in India and Nepal, however, attend a monastic school for novices until the age of eighteen to twenty where they are taught the foundations of Buddhist doctrine. While attending these schools and even at colleges of higher education, monks are constantly engaged in ritual performances. During all Tibetan holidays and auspicious or inauspicious days, organized monastic rituals are performed in. the main assembly hall of every Tibetan monastery, monastic colleges included. Each of these monasteries performs additional rituals whenever there are special requests (which means at least several times each month), in which all monks participate. Graduation from a monastic college does not at all imply an end to ritual duties. For example, most of those who attain the dge-bshes degree in the Dge-lugs-pa tradition need to join for about two years one of the tantric colleges (Rgyud-stod or Rgyud-smad) where they not only study tantra, but also perform rituals. This formal education through rituals and constant preoccupation with them undoubtedly have a significant influence on the perceptions of these monks with regard to their tradition.

Therefore, the study of ritual texts and performances will shed light not only on one of the main preoccupation of the majority of monks, but also on their preconceptions. In addition to fundamentals cif rituals, manuals have embedded in them various theoretical concerns. Madhyamika doctrines, for instance, are incorporated into rituals such as the mirror initiation, the offering of Suchness (de-kho-na-nyid), dissolution of the object of generation into emptiness, etc.' The intricate and seemingly-paradoxical relationship between the performer and the Buddha or yi-dam-inferiority of the practitioner in the face of the Buddha, transformation of the practitioner into that Buddha, and the employment of the powers of the Buddha or yi-dam by the practitioner-finds varied expression even within a single ritual.' Various theories on the act of making offerings to the Buddha and to images found in verses accompanying such offerings may also shed light on the perception of the Buddha. Buddhist legends are reflected in other passages. All these serve as primary sources for the monks' understandings of their own traditions, 3 These rituals are further discussed below. See also Bentor 1995a. 4 Cf. also Eckel 1985; Beyer 1973:64.

and so should be of primary concern to any scholar wishing to make general assessments of Tibetan monastic religiosity. Unfortunately, this has not been the case. The great majority of studies on Tibetan Buddhism focus on scholastic and philosophical aspects. Yet, the greatest Tibetan intellectuals today, as in the past, engage themselves not only in Buddhist philosophy, but in ritual performances as well. Eminent teachers of all Tibetan schools frequently preside over rituals. The great majority of works in the collected writings of most Tibetan teachers are devoted to rituals. If the tradition itself does not divide philosophy from ritual, there is no justification for the fact that ritual is so often belittled or ignored by scholars of Tibetan Buddhism. Since Tibetan rituals are very little studied, one of their most crucial, but also elusive aspects remains very little understood. This is the yeshes sems-dpa' which in the case of consecration is invited into the image or stupa. Even though most Tibetan works are not very explicit with regard to the nature of the ye-shes sems-dpa', they do characterize it by apparently contradictory qualities. On the one hand the ye-shes sems-dpa' is said to be similar ('dra) to the visualized damtshig sems-dpa'.

In the very fundamental tantric process, practitioners first visualize the yi-dam. Into this visualization, called the dam-tshig sems-dpa', the ye-shes sems-dpa', which is similar to it, is invited. The two are then fused into non-duality (gnyis-su med-pa). This process indicates that the ye-shes sems-dpa' resembles the yi-dam which is visualized in one's mind. On the other hat\d, the ye-shes sems-dpa' is described as pervading the entire universe down to the tiniest particle with its presence.' Therefore, the meditator should realize that the invited ye-shes sems-dpa' is more than the visualized yi-dam. Moreover, that which embodies the stupa or image is not only the nonduality of the ye-shes sems-dpa' but the non-duality formed by the absorption of the ye-shes sems-dpa' into the dam-tshig sems-dpa'. Any use of concrete terms for that which is present in the consecrated image or stupa would collapse its transcendental, and therefore sacred, nature. A certain degree of mystery must be maintained with regard to the most fundamental objects of worship and reverence. The ye-shes sems-dpa' is said to correspond to the dharma body (chos-sku, dharma-kiiya). The dharma body is understood in both specific and inclusive meanings. The latter includes the form bodies 5 See the section on consecrations, the two truths, and the bodies of the Buddha in the introduction.

(gzugs-sku, rupa-kfiya, i.e. sa'!lhhoga-kfiya and nirmfiiJa-kfiya) as well.' Also consecrated stupas or images may be understood to consist of both the dharma and form bodies, in an analogy to Buddhas themselves. The conception of stupas and images as form bodies can be found in a very common verse recited during the main part of the consecration which invites the 'descending entity' to enter the image as all the Buddhas entered the womb of Mayadevi from Tu~ita heaven. This emulates the first of the deeds (mdzad-pa) of the Buddha which, according to Mahayana ideas, led to his emanation in the world as a human being. This kind of invitation clearly expresses the notion that the stupa or image is not only an embodiment of the dharma body but also of the form body. Indeed, the great majority of explanations found in the consecration literature concerning the purpose of the consecration refer to consecrated stilpas and images as serving a role similar to the presence of the Buddha himself.'

Such a stupa or image provides means for interaction with the sacred in conventional terms while keeping the ultimate terms in the background. Another term which is closely related to ye-shes sems-dpa', is lha.' Lha, which is also used for translating the Sanskrit word deva, has manifold meanings. It means various deities of Indian origin, such as Brahma (Tshangs-pa), and others of probable Tibetan origin. It also may be used to refer to protectors such as Dpal-ldan Lha-mo (Sridevi). Lha also indicates one of the six realms of beings ('gro-ba rigs drug), kings and sometimes even recently deceased persons. More important for the present work are the meanings of lha which refer to Buddhas, bodhisattvas and yi-dams. Here are included those which are invited to be present in stilpas and images through the consecration ritual.

Indeed, lha is also used as a synonym for ye-shes sems-dpa'. The types of religious objects that receive consecration are the most revered Buddhist objects of devotion that are considered to be receptacles of the body, speech and mind of the Buddha. The receptacles of the Buddha's body are images and thang-kas; the receptacles of the Buddha's speech are books and dhliraiJfs; and the receptacles of the Buddha's mind are stilpas and tsha-tshas.' Here the word "receptacle" (rten) will be used, as the most general term, for all of these 6 See Makransky 1992:153. 7 See the section on consecration, the two truths, and the bodies of the Buddha in the introduction. 8 For the concept of lha in Tibetan Buddhism see Samuel 1993:157-175. 9 For tsha-tshas, see Tucci 1932/1988.

sacred objects. Tibetan temples usually contain examples of all three categories of receptacles. Laypeople usually try to have at least some representation of each of the three types of receptacles on the family altar as well. It is by means of the consecration ritual that these religious objects are made sacred.

A number of rituals accompany the construction of a Tibetan receptacle. These open, well in advance of the actual construction, with a ground-ritual (sa-chog) for procuring and blessing the site. 10 During the construction, the ritual of depositing the relics or dhliral)fs is performed (gzung-gzhug or gzung-'bu/). 11 Only upon the completion of the receptacle does the consecration ritual (rab-gnas, prati~!hfi) per se take place. Consecration may be repeated on an annual basis or upon the visit of a high lama who is often requested to reconsecrate existing receptacles. When a receptacle requires considerable restoration a ritual called arga12 is performed in which the lha that was invited to abide in the receptacle through the consecration ritual is requested to reside temporarily in a specially prepared mirror for the duration of the restoration."

For a study of a ritual, which is at least in part based on a textual tradition spanning more than a thousand years, a thorough textual analysis must be presumed. Further, organized monastic ritUals are based primarily on textual material. At the same time, rituals are meant to be performed. Thus a philological approach cannot by itself pretend to represent a ritual within a larger range of religious ideas and practices. On the other hand, without being first familiarized with the texts used, it would be nearly impossible to follow the elaborate ritual steps and procedures of the performance itself. Therefore a diachronic study of Tibetan consecration texts is combined here with observations of performances and interviews with performers and religious experts. The observational research was carried out in the Kathmandu Valley of Nepal in 1987-1989. The widespread construction of new Tibetan monasteries there resulted in the performance of a number of consecrations and re-consecrations during that period, by members of four Tibetan sects. Without this opportunity to attend 10 Gyatsho 1979; Mkhas~grub Rje 1968:278-285. ll See Manen 1933; Kalsang 1969; Dagyab 1977; Gyalzur 1983; Bentor 1994 and in preparation 2.

12 This ritual should not be confused with the offering of argha water (mchod-yon or yon-chab), the first water offered to an invited iha. 13 Manen 1933; Gyatsho 1979 Bentor 1995a.

ritual performances and discuss them with both religious experts and officiants this study would not have been possible. The introduction to this work contains discussions of the IndoTibetan consecration ritual, the relation between consecration and other Tibetan tantric rituals, the essence of the consecration, the structure of the ritual, the consecration literature as well as the principles of ritual performance. Background information on the ritual manual, the monastery which performed the consecration translated below, and the setting for the ritual performance are provided as well. The main part of the book focuses on the performance of the consecration of Bodhanath Stilpa in the Kathmandu Valley, Nepal, by Dga'-ldan-chos' phel-gling monastery in 1988 according to the manual composed by Khri-byang Rin-po-che, the Junior Tutor of His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama. This manual is the one most commonly used for extensive consecrations nowadays by members of the Dge-lugs-pa school. For each ritual action of the consecration I have provided a . short discussion and explanation in an attempt to clarify the consecration process. The Appendix contains a bibliography of about 200 Tibetan textual sources on consecration, a list of major consecration works or passages on consecration contained in the Tibetan Kanjur and Tanjur and a selected bibliography of sources on certain rituals closely related to consecration (gzungs-'bul and arga).


The complex system of tantric rituals does not yield to a simple classification scheme.' Generally speaking, one can distinguish between rituals performed for one's own sake and rituals performed for the sake of others. The foremost rituals for the sake of oneself consist of the soteriological practices toward the attainment of enlightenment. Obviously, soteriological practices are aimed not only at one's own liberation but, following the bodhisattva path, at the eruightenment of all sentient beings, and rituals performed for others carry benefits for the performer as well. Furthermore, soteriological practices give rise not only to supramundane results, but also to mundane ones. Still, it is convenient to distinguish between rituals performed for the mundane or supramundane purposes of oneself and those performed for the sake of others.

The soteriological practices are based on the sddhana (sgrub-thabs, 'means of achievement'). It is possible to view the sddhana in a number of ways. From one perspective it is a transformation of the practitioner's body, speech and mind (Ius ngag yid) into enlightened body, speech and mind (sku gsung thugs) of· a chosen Buddha (yidam). The transformation of the body is performed through generating oneself as the yi-dam and taking up its pride (nga-rgyal); the transformation of the speech through the recitation of the yi-dam's mantra; and the transformation of the mind through gathering back the visualization of the yi-dam and dissolving it into the non-dual emptiness.' Among the various processes included in the sddhana, of special importance is the fourfold generation (bskyed-pa) ritual which is variously applied in most tantric rituals of all types-those performed for the sake of oneself and those performed for others.' This fourfold generation includes the following:

1 Beyer's classification of tantric rituals (1973:245-258) is over-simplified. 2 See, for example, the sddhana ·of Cakrasamvara by Padma-dkar-po which is built around these three transformations, translated by Beyer (1974:140--153). 3 The word 'generation' (bskyed-pa) is used in multiple senses. In its general meaning it refers to the entire process of the sddhana. Generation has also a specific meaning:

I) Generation of the dam-tshig sems-dpa' (samayasattva). 2) Blessing of the sense-bases (skye-mched, fiyatana). 3) Invitation of the ye-shes sems-dpa' (jfzanasattva) and its merging with the dam-tshig sems-dpa'.

4) Sealing the mergence through self-initiation.' In the first among these processes one visualizes oneself as one's chosen Buddha (yi-dam). This visualized form of the yi-dam is called dam-tshig sems-dpa'. Secondly one assigns various seed syllables of various Buddhas and bodhisattvas to one's sense-bases, thereby elevating the visualized yi-dam to a level worthy of the actual yi-dam. In the third limb one invites the actual yi,dam or the ye-she semsdpa' and causes it to merge with the dam-tshig sems-dpa'. Fourthly, one performs the initiation process upon oneself (bdag- 'jug, more on this below). This is not only an enhancement of the initiation, but also a process meant to seal the merger between the ye-she sems-dpa' and the dam-tshig sems-dpa'.

This fourfold generation is preceded by the 'visualizing away' (mi dmigs) one's own ordinary existence. Thus immediately before the fourfold generation one erases the ordinary reality. This process is performed in conjunction with meditation on emptiness. The ritual manuals instruct one to purify the object of meditation into emptiness (stong-par sbyangs, cf. R. 368.1). It is one of the tantric rituals' seeming paradoxes that the process of achieving comprehension of the true nature of all things demands, in one of the very first steps of the process, the ability to understand the meditational object as empty of inherent existence. In other words, the attainment of the goal is required in order to enter the path toward that goal. This illustrates one of the basic principles of tantric practice, which is to bring the goal into the very beginning of the path. While treading the path, the meditators simulate the goal until finally they actually achieve it. For this reason ·also it is said that one cannot engage in the sadhana practice without generating (or giving birth to) the form body (gzugs-sku) of the yi-dam (more on this below).

4 Following the Guhyasamtija Tantra, in most scholastic works the fourfold generation is called bsnyen-sgrub yan-lag bzhi (cf. Beyer 1973:106-108; Wayman 1977:156-160, 361-362; etc,).

s The water initiation is conceived, in part, as the pouring of water filling the disciple's ·entire body, purifying all impurities and producing great Bliss. The excess of this water forms a small 'Lord of the Family' (rigs-bdag) on the crown of the disciple's head (cf. J. 213.4-6), thereby sealing the initiation water. In a similar manner, the initiation is conceived to seal the ye·shes sems·dpa' in the· dam-tshig sems·dpa'.

receiving initiation. One of the purposes of the initiation is believed to be the conferral of the powers to meditate on emptiness, even as a 'mere' simulation. The sadhana is the means provided by the tantra for realizing the non-dual nature of all things. While according to the sutra one meditates directly on emptiness, the tantra provides certain methods for assisting in such meditation. Furthermore, the dissolution into emptiness serves to remind the practitioners that emptiness is the ultimate origin of all appearances, including the mandalas and lha which will be generated during the sfidhana.

This process can be understood in terms of the three dimensions of reality: the ordinary, exalted and actual. It is important to emphasize that the actual reality is not transcendent, but immanent. The ordinary reality is conventional, relative level of everyday existence. The actual reality is reality as it really exists; emptiness, suchness, non-duality, and other such words are used to refer to it. The exalted reality is activated by means of the sadhana. Its importance lies in its mediating character, as it enables the conversion from the ordinary to the actual reality.' During a sadhana practice, the practitioners transform their ordinary reality into the dam-tshig sems-dpa' on the dimension.of the exalted reality. Subsequently, the practitioners invite the ye-shes sems-dpa' from the actual reality on the dimension of exalted reality. The invited ye-shes sems-dpa' is described as 'similar' (' dra-bo) to the visualized dam-tshig sems-dpa'; that is to say the visualization out of ordinary reality is similar to the projections out of the actual reality. The two merge, thereby enabling the realization of the identity of the two dimensions they have issued from. The merging into one unity designated 'one taste' (ro-gcig) or non-dual (gnyis-su med-pa) demonstrates the identity of the ordinary reality of the salj1Saric world with the actual reality of the nirvavic world. The merger takes place on the intermediate dimension of the exalted reality, the dimension which enables such a conversion.

This process, the tantric ritual par excellence, is a key to tantric rituals of all types. In the stidhana it serves to bring the meditators to the exalted dimension where they realize or emulate the realization of the non-duality of ordinary conventional level of appearances and actual truth. In sadhanas of the Highest Yoga Tantra, the procedure 6 This is somewhat similar to the mode by which the paratantra, the other-dependent nature according to the YOg§.cara school, makes a conversion between the constructed (parikalpita) and perfected (parini~panna) natures possible (Nagao 1983).

does not leave off at the exalted dimension, but continues toward the actual dimension by means of dissolution into nonduality ,7 often related to the Perfection Process (rdzogs rim, equivalent to the transformation of the mind mentioned before). The Perfection Process with signs refers to the yoga of the subtle body ( cf. Geshe Kelsang Gyatso 1982; Cozort 1986). In the Perfection Process without signs, the visualization of oneself as the merging of both visualized and actual yi-dams is dissolved. The meditators visualize that the entire cosmos dissolves into the mandala in the center of which they are situated. The mandala dissolves into the central yi-dam and that yi-dam is gathered from above and below into the wheel in its heart. The wheel dissolves into the yi-dam's seed-syllable, the seed-syllable into the anusvara, and the anusvara into the drop on top of it. This drop turns fainter and fainter until finally it disappears into non-dual emptiness ( cf. Beyer 1973:452-454). In sum, by means of the Perfection Process without signs the exalted dimension of the mediation is transformed into the actual one.

The sddhana is not terminated in the state of non-dual actual reality, but concludes with a return to the ordinary conventional reality (cf. Beyer 1973:454-456). Not only wisdom, but compassion as well, plays an important role in Buddhist sddhanas. Out of compassion, the meditators resume the form of their yi-dam and appear in sarrzsdra for the sake of helping all sentient beings, according to the bodhisattva ideal, which lies at the basis of the sddhana practice. The appearance in the world in the form of a yi-dam is accompanied by a greater and greater realization of the actual nature of existence and the lack of inherent existence of that appearance. This process is similar to the emanation of the glorious and emanation bodies of the Buddha (saf11]Jhogakdya and nirmal)akdya) out of the dharma body (dharmakdya) (cf. Nagao 1981).

In rituals such as consecrations, on the other hand, the transformation from the exalted reality to the actual one is only secondary. The main components of the core of the consecration are as follows.' I) Visualizing the receptacle away (mi dmigs-pa); always performed in conjunction with meditation on emptiness.

7 In certain s/ldhanas this dissolution may be found also at the end of the Generation Process. 8 These are common to almost all consecration manuals I have been able to study, and to all the elaborate performances of the ritual I observed.

2) The fourfold generation, culminating in the merging of the yeshes sems-dpa' and the dam-tshig sems-dpa' into non-dmility (dam ye gnyis-su med-pa) and the sealing of this merger (rgyas gdab).

3) Transformation of the receptacle back into its conventional appearance of an image, stupa, book, etc. (rten bsgyur). 4) Requesting the ye-shes sems-dpa' to remain in the receptacle as long as saf!1Sfira lasts (brtan-bzhugs). The first two steps here are faithful parallels to those of the sadhana. But in place of the final dissolution into nonduality, (usually related to the Processes of Perfection without signs) and of 'appearing in the world', in case of consecrations a process called 'transformation of the receptacle' (rten-bsgyur) is performed. The transformation from the exalted to actual reality which characterized the Perfection Process is performed instantly here. Then follows a transformation back into the conventional appearances of the original image, stupa, etc., which is analogous to the process of reemergence in the world at the conclusion of a sadhana. Hence, after the consecration the receptacle is no longer a conglomerate of profane substances, but an embodiment of the yi-dam which has taken the original form or appearance of that receptacle. 'Dul-'dzin Grags-pa-rgyal-mtshan (1374-1434) explains the transformation of the receptacle as follows:

... think that the form of that lha [invited into the receptacle] is transformed completely and turns into the appearance of that cast image, painting and so forth ... With regard to books, think that Snang-bamtha'- yas (Amitabha) and his consort, having dissolved into light, transform into the form of letters.

Not only the process of 'appearing in the world' at the conclusion of the sadhana, but also the transformation of the receptacle at the later part of the consecration is regarded as parallel to the emanation of a Buddha in the saf!1Saric world. Indeed, certain (but not all) writers distinguish three types of emanation bodies (sprul-sku gsum). The supreme emanation bodies (mchog-gi sprul-sku) are the Buddhas; the born emanation bodies (skye-ba sprul-sku) are various incarnations of Buddhas. and bodhisattvas born in the world, such as the Dalai 9 Lha'i gzugs'de yongs-su gyur-pa las lugs-rna dang bris-sku la-sogs-pa gang-yin de'i rnam-par gyur-par bsam-mol . .. po-ti ni Snang-ba-mtha' -yas yab-yum 'od-du zhu nas thini-pa yi-ge' i gzugs-su gyur-par bsam-mol DZ- 378.3-6.

Lamas and other incarnate lamas; finally, the made emanation bodies :bzo sprul-sku) are emanations made by artists and consecrated by lamas, such as stapas and images, and even bridges. Such is the iistinction made, for example, by Gu-ru Bkra-shis (18th-19th c.), etc. A.ccording to the latter,

The supreme emanation bodies (mchog-g~ sprul-sku) are those appearing in the world in the manner of the twelve deeds [of the Buddha]. The born emanation bodies (skye-ba sprul-sku) are those appearing as sentient beings ·in the manner of Aryas, ordinary people, etc. Made emanation bodies (bzo sprul-sku) are those appearing in an unanimated manner, such as stUpas, boats and bridges.

Thus, stapas and images are considered to be types of emanation bodies, that is to say various yi-dams appear in the world as stapas and images for the sake of sentient beings. According to the Tibetan tradition, those endowed with higher realization are capable of seeing these stapas and images in their exalted state-as the yi-dams themselves (Cabez6n & Tendar 1990: 138).11 The last among the core rituals of the consecration·, the request to those invited into the receptacles during the fourfold generation to firmly remain there (brtan-bzhugs) as long as sarnsara lasts, has no direct equivalent in the sadhana. Yet, it is called by some authors the main part of the consecration (rab-gnas-kyi gtso-bo, in R. 442.4; PC 866; etc.). It is never omitted, even in a very concise form of consecration. This ritual is possibly a part of the pre-tantric consecration, although not much is known of such a ritual.

Thus, the consecration ritual is a specific application of the sadhana practice. The first three steps (see above) have parallels in the sadhana practice, while the final one does not involve a transformation. The object of the ritual is not oneself, but the receptacle to be consecrated. In a process parallel to that of transforming oneself into one's yi-dam by means of a sadhana practice, the receptacle is transformed into an emanation of that yi-dam. As part of the systematization of tantric rituals, a basic transformative ritual has been developed which can 10 mchog-gi sprul-skujambu'i gling-du mdzad-pa bcu-gnyis-kyi tshu/ ston-pa-rnams dang/ skye-ba Sprul-sku 'phags-p"a dang so-so'i skye-bo'i tshulla-sogs-pa sems-can-du ston-parnams dang! bzo spruJ.sku! mchod-sdong dang/ gzings dang/ zam·pa /a-sags bem-po'i tshul·du ston-pa-rnams .. (vol. 1, 128-9, see the bibliography of Tibetan works). H See also Gyatso 1986. For Hindu examples see the collections of papers in Padoux 1990 as well as Colas 1989.

or the so called sUtra·style consecrations, see Bentor 1992.

be applied for different purposes. Having mastered the sildhana practice, the performers are able to participate in most types of tantric rituals, where the object of transformation varies from an image (as in the case of consecration) to a vase, another. implement or another person. Authors of tantric ritual manuals, including consecration manuals, take for granted the performer's command of the sildhana. Furthermore, the mastery of the sildhana practice is a prerequisite for performing various rituals. The Tibetan term denoting this is bsnyensgrub las gsum. Bsnyen-sgrub, 'approaching and achieving', is a designation of the fourfold generation process in terms of the Guhyasamilja Tantra. More specifically it refers to the practice of the generation process in a retreat. Only following such a retreat is one allowed to perform the various ritual actions (las). The number three (gsum) at the end of the term indicates that the performance of las is contingent upon the two former practices.

Not only is the consecration a special application of the sildhana, it is also performed as part of it. Only as a yi-dam can the performers transform a receptacle into a yi-dam. 14 Therefore, the consecration opens with the generation process of the sildhana. After transforming themselves into their own yi-dam, the performers transform a receptacle into that yi-dam in an application of the same process. Having completed the transformation of the receptacle, the performers proceed to complete the sildhana. Moreover, not only is the consecration performed in the frame of the sildhana, in its elaborate version, it is typically a matrix of four complete, and potentially autonomous, rituals. Some of the rituals in this matrix serve as frames within which the others are enclosed (cf. Witzell987; Minkowski 1989). The following diagram may serve to clarify this.

First Day of the Consecration:



13 Interview with Mkhas-btsun-bzang-po Rin-po-che; Bloomington 1986, translated by J. Hopkins. 14 For a similar concept in Hinduism see the refererices in Fuller 1984:15.

Main Day of the Consecration: Sii.dhana Consecration Fire Offering Final Day of the Consecration: Sadhana Propitiation Fire Offering


In each of the days, the largest frame consists of the siidhana, while the fire offering (sbyin-sreg) is always enclosed by other rituals. The propitiation (bskang-gso) is performed as the smaller frame of the concluding rituals. That is to say, the propitiation is performed within the frame of the siidhana, but at the same time encloses the fire offering and consecration. Each of these four rituals in itself is a complex performance with its own manual. The subdivisions in the present ,, work may provide an indication for the various ritual actions included within each of the four major rituals comprising the consecratiqn. Each of these four rituals are constructed out of basic units of ritual actions which are shared in common with a large number of such rituals.

At least two attempts to classify Tibetan rituals have been made in the West, one by Beyer who based his classification mostly on rituals for Tara and the other by Ellingson who relied not only on the content of rituals but also on the very informative character of ritual music. Although they have arrived at differing systems of classification, both agreed that Tibetan rituals are intermixed combinations of their basic categories. Ellingson says: " ... in actual performance, these separate categories are blended together into complex mixtures ... " (1979a:684). Similarly, Beyer remarks: "But we must bear in mind that it is rare to find· any ritual type in total isolation, especially in communal ritual activity" (1973:257).

Now is not the time to construct still another general classification of Tibetan rituals. Instead we will make a few general observations about the consecration ritual. Consecrations belong to those rituals performed first of all for others. Contrary to rituals performed for the sake of oneself, which usually take place in seclusion, elaborate rituals for others are usually done in public. Brief consecrations of private receptacles may take place in the lama's own residence with or without the presence of the patron. But our main concern here is with elaborate consecrations lasting at least one day. These are usually performed at the assembly hall of a monastery by most of its monastic members, following a highly structured manual.

Looking at Tibetan definitions of the consecration ritual can provide us with a better understanding ofits meaning for the members of the tradition. The following definitions will also serve to demonstrate that there are really no major differences between the various sects with regard to this ritual. In one of the important explanatory works on this ritual, Padma-'phrin-las (1641-1717), defines consecration as follows: With a pure concentration (samiidhi) invite the mandala of ye-shes from the realm (dhdtu) to the receptacle which appears as a conventional reflected image. By the union of the ye·shes sems-dpa' with the damtshig sems-dpa' that receptacle is well established (consecrated) as the nature (ngo-bo) of ye-shes." The Sa-skya-pa scholar Rmor-chen Kun-dga '-!hun-grub (1654?-1726?) says:

The absorption of the ye-shes sems-dpa' into the dam-tshig sems-dpa' lha as a sesame seed is designated as consecration. 16 (The ye-shes sems-dpa' pervades the dam-tshig sems-dpa' as the sesame oil pervades its seed even though the hard seed does not seem to contain liquid). Sde-srid Sangs-rgyas-rgya-mtsho (1635-1705), the author of another important explanatory work on consecration, defines consecration as follows: 15 Kun-rdzob gzugs-brnyan-du snang-ba'i rten de fa ting-nge-'dzin rnam-par dag-pas dbyings nas ye-shes-kyi dkyil-'khor spyan-drangNe dam-tshig-pa dang ye-shes-pa mtshamssbyar- te rten de ye-shes-kyi ngo-bor rab-tu gnas-par byed-pa'o/ p. 15.3--4. 16 Lha dam-tshig-pa Ia ye-shes-pa til-gyi gong-bu lta-bur bstim-pa la rab-gnas-kyi thasnyad mdzad-pas nal Work 2, pp. 536.5-537.1.

As for the essential aspect of the consecration ritual in general, it is a special ritual of virtue and auspiciousness in which the receptacle of the dam-tshig sems-dpa' is transformed into the great blessing of the Buddha and the ye-shes sems-dpa' is invited to abide [in it] together with a cOmplete set of ancillaries.

Such a definition seems to be the basis for later definitions including the one by the twentieth century Bhutanese Brag-phug Dge-bshes Dge' dun-rin-chen (1926--) who explains consecration in the following terms: As for the characteristics that set this ritual apart from others, it is a ritual in which the ye-shes sems-dpa' is requested to abide in the receptacles of the dam-tshig sems-dpa' together with ancillary [[[rituals]]]." Finally, an early definition given by Atisa (982-1054) might be cited: Consecration is purifying. and generating the dam-tshig sems-dpa' with the purpose that the ye-shes sems-dpa' would abide there for a long time.19

According to these exemplary definitions, the core of ihe consecration is the generation of the receptacle as the dam-tshig sems-dpa' and the absorption of the ye-shes sems-dpa' therein. The first and the third limbs of the fourfold generation are the basis of the consecration here. A few authors allude also to the second limb. The essence of the ritual is defined as the transformation of a receptacle into a new entity which consists of the absorption of the ye-shes sems-dpa' into the dam-tshig sems-dpa'. As indicated in some of the definitions of consecration, in addition to the core rituals, the consecration also includes a number of ancillaries. These ancillary rituals will be discussed in due course.

Examining the etymology of the Tibetan word for 'consecration' might further clarify its meaning. The term translated here as 'con- 17 Spyir rab-tu gnas-pa'i ngo-bo ni dam-tshig sems-dpa'i rten de las sangs-rgyas-kyi che-ba'i byin-rlabs.brdzus-te ye-shes sems-dpa' bzhugs-su gsol-ba'i dge-shis-kyi cho-ga yan-lag rdzogs-pa'i khyad-par-can-du gyur-ba-ste/ p. 151.1. 18 Dam-tshig sems-dpa'i rten 'di-rnams lal ye-shes sems-dpa' bzhugs-su gsol-ba'i choga yan-lag dang bcas-pa khyad-par-du gyur-pa' i mtshan-nyid-can-nol p. 256.2-3. 19 Dam-tshig sems-dpa' sbyangs bskyed Ia! ye-shes sems-dpa' yun ring-du! gnas-pa'i phyir ni rab-tu gnas/ Toh. 2496, p. 510.6. Similar definitions may be found also in the following works. Gung-thang-pa, work 2, p. 101;. 'Jam-dbyangs-bzhad-pa I, work 3, p. 673.2-3; Rmor-chen, work 2, p, 536.5; Brag-phug Dge-bshes, commentary on the Hevajra Tantra (see the bibliography of Tibetan works) p. 343; Kun-dga'-snying-po, commentary on the Hevajra Tantra p. 47 .1.6-2;1; Bsod-nams-rgyal-mtshan, commentary on the Hevajra Tantra p. 412.1-2.

secration' is rab-gnas or rab-tu gnas-pa in Tibetan and prati~thti in Sanskrit. According to Monier-Williams' dictionary the wordprati~thti is derived from prati-'towards, near to; against, in opposition to; back, again, in return; down upon, upon, on'20 and sthti-'to stand, stand firmly, station one's self, stand upon, get upon, take up a position on'.21 The basic meaning of prati~thti is 'standing still, resting, remaining, steadfastness, stability, perseverance'.22 One of the common meanings of the verb prati~thti is 'to establish' .23 Especially in its causative form, prati#htipayati, this verb is often used with regard to establishing or setting up images."

In the case of consecration, however, this verb does not refer to· the receptacle, but to the ye-shes sems-dpa' which is established in the receptacle. In this case it is not the installation of an image but rather of a ye-shes sems-dpa' therein. The numerous occurrences of the term prati~thfi in Sanskrit literature have been intensively studied by the great Indologist Jan Gonda, who also provides examples f(lr the occurrence of this word in the sense of 'consecration' and with the meanings" ... to place a definite power in an object, to endow an object with divine faculties etc."

Tibetan explanatory works on consecration most often provide an etymological analysis of the word prati~thti. Gter-bdag-gling-pa (1646- 1714) explains the morphemes of supratiHhfi as follows: Su is 'very' (rab), prati is 'separately' (so-so) [and] sth{i is 'to abide' (gnas-pa). Therefore it is suitable to convey [the meaning] also as 'the abiding as the embodiment of each receptacle. '26 Gter-bdag-gling-pa explains the morpheme prati as so-so (on analogy with the well known example of rendering pratimok~a as so-sor thar-pa). Hence, according to his explanation, the abiding of the yeshes sems-dpa' is distributed among various receptacles. None of the other Tibetan etymological explanations I could find break the word (su)prati~thti into its grammatical morphemes. Sde-srid Sangs-rgyasrgya- mtsho says:

20 MW p. 66lb. 21 Ibid. p. 1262b. 22 Ibid. p. 671 b. " Cf. Gonda 1954/1975. " Cf. MW 671b. " Gonda 1954/1975:371. .

26 Su rab pra-ti so~so ${hd gnas-pa-ste rten so-so'i bdag-nyid-du gnas-pa Ia' ang bgrangdu rung-ngol work 2, p. 6. This explanation is found also in Sde-srid Sangs-rgyas-rgyamtsho, p. 151.4.

In rendering the word prati${hd-vidhi according to a [Sanskrit-Tibetan] glossary (sgra-las), pra in approximate translation is a particle expre$Sing 'excelling' (lhag-pa) or 'very' (rab); ti~!h!J has the meaning of firm or abiding for a long time; and vidhi is the ritual method of perfOrmance. Thus, it is called 'ritual of supreme abiding' (rab-gnas-kyi choga) ... In short, by the descent of the blessings of the ye-shes semsdpa' nature [the receptacle] is transformed into that which has a supreme nature and remains for a long time to sustain the merit of the trainees (gdul-bya). [Therefore it is called] rab-gnas. It is called cho-ga since it actually bringS about the accomplishments of virtue and auspiciousness.

This is based partly on the etymology provided by the Indian master Nag-po-pa in his consecration work included in the Tibetan Tanjur. Because of the 'transformation into that which is supreme' and 'long lasting' it is called rab-gnas. Among these, [by] 'transformed into that which is supreme' is [meant] 'accomplishing' it as the embodiment of the ye-shes sems-dpa', and [by] 'long lasting' is [meant] abiding as long as saf'(ISiira laSts.

This is perhaps ·also the basis for the following etymological analyses. Brag-phug Dge-bshes explains: As for the etymological analysis, because [by] it the receptacles are 'accomplished' as the best and superior to other objects (chos-can), it is rab, and because it is a ritual which makes the [[[ye-shes]] sems-dpa'] abide for a [long] time it is call rab-gnas.29 Gter-bdag-gling-pa says:

According to the glossaries, suprati~{hd-vidhi is a ritual for 'accomplishing' well and causing to remain for a long time. Because the receptacle 27 Pra-ti·${ha bi-dhi-zhes-pa'i sgra las drangs tshe pra ni nye-bsgyur-te [hag-par stonpa'i tshig-phrad dam rab ces dang/ ti·${ha ni brtan-pa'am yun-ring-du gnas-pa'i don dang/ bo-dhi [bi-dhi] ni bya-ba'i cho-ga-ste rab-gnas-kyi cho-ga-zhes grags-shing ... Mdor na rang-bzhin ye-shes-kyi byin phab-pas rang-bzhin mchog-tu gyur-pa dang/ gdul-bya'i bsodnams- kyi nyer-'tShor yun-du gnas-pa'i rab-gnas dang/ de lta-bu'i dge-zhing shis-pa'i dngospar bsgrub-par byed-pa Ia cho-ga-zhes bya-stel p. 151.2-5. 28 Mchog-tu gyur-pa .dang/ yun ring-bas rab-gnas-shes bya-stel de Ia mchog-tu gyurpa ni ye-shes sems-dpa'i bdag nyid-du bsgrub-pa !a bya Ia! yun ring-ba ni 'khor-ba jisrid- du bzhugs-pa !a bya'o/ Toh. 1822, p. 523.6-7. 29 Nges-tshig nil chos-can gzhan las rten-rnams rab dang mchog-tu bsgrub-pas na rab dang! de yun-du gnas-par byed-pa'i cho-ga yin-pa'i na rab-gnas-zhes brjod-dol p. 256.2-3.

is 'accomplished' as the very essence of the ye-shes sems-dpa', it is 'well'; and because it is made to remain as long as saTflSdra lasts, it is 'a long time'. In addition to these two, because it is connected with sumn:toning and infusing the ye-shes sems-dpa' as well as with its abiding in the receptacle, it is called rab-gnas-kyi cho-ga [the ritual of consecration].

Rather than providing grammatical insights, these explanations elucidate · the interpretation of the term 'consecration ritual' (rab-gnas cho-ga). Here not only the transformation of the receptacle into the essence or the embodiment of the ye-shes sems-dpa' is emphasized, but also the firmly abiding of the ye-shes sems-dpa' in the receptacle for as long as sai?1Sara lasts. The latter is none other than the final stage of the core rituals of the consecration (brtan-bzhugs) which has no direct parallel in the sadhana but is unique to the consecration.


According to the Tibetan definitions of the consecration ritual, at its core the ye-shes sems-dpa' is invited to abide in the receptacle for as long as sai?1Sara lasts. The term rab-gnas refers to the establishing of the ye-shes sems-dpa', its localization in the world of sai?1Sara so that it would be available to sentient beings striving on the Buddhist path. Such a process of establishing theye-shes sems-dpa' contradicts its true nature-non-localizability.31 This will become clearer through the following quotations. Sde-srid Sangs-rgyas-rgya-mtsho explains the ye-shes sems-dpa' as follows:

The indivisible, secret and naturally immaculate ye-shes sems-dpa' of the body, speech and mind of all Buddhas is as vast as space. The yeshes of the Buddha pervades everything, up to each of the countless particles, with holy nature. Therefore there is nothing to invite from the 30 Suprati$(hll bi-dhi-zhes-pa'i sgra las bzang-por sgrub-pa dang! yun-ring-du gnas~par byed-pa'i cho-ga-ste/ rten ye-shes sems-dpa'i ngo-bo nyid-du bsgrubs-pas bzang-po dang! 'khor-ba ji-srid-du gnas-par byed-pas yun ring-ba' of de gnyis kyang ye-shes-pa dgug gzhugs dang rten bzhug dang 'brel-ba'i phyir rab-gnas-kyi cho-ga-zhes bya-stel Work 2, p. 5-6. 31 The form aspect of the ye-shes sems-dpa' will be discussed below in the section on the invitation to the ye-shes sems-dpa' and all Buddhas and Bodhisattvas during the preparatory rituals.

outside. However, ordinary people [beginners] whose minds are inferior do not know it. 32 The entire animated and unanimated three worlds are included amongst dharmas, which [in turn] are comprised of both the grasped and the grasper. All these have from the very beginning reached the nature of clear light. The ye-shes sems-dpa', which is not conditioned by another, abides pervading itself as does the sesame oil in the sesame [seed].This is known as naturally arrived-at establishing/consecration (rab-gnas).33 fhe paradox of inviting the ye-shes sems-dpa', which is omnipresent IVithout ever being established, is dealt with in a number of conseoration works. The following dialogue contained in the Consecration fantra is an especially noteworthy example:

The bodhisattvas asked: Oh Blessed One! How do the Victorious Ones establish/consecrate (rab-gnas) all the unestablished/unconsecrated (rab-tu mi gnas-pa) dharmas? The Blessed One replied: All the Buddhas firmly abide without any establishing/consecration. [They] abide, as space does, in everything. The alternative viewpoint is false imputation (rab-tu brtags). In the case of relative. worldly truth there is the false imputation of establishing/ consecration. When examined from the point of view of ultimate truth, who blesses what how? From the beginning [it was there] unproduced. So how could it be established/consecrated? This has been taught only as a basis for comprehension by sentient beings who have just set foot on the path. 34

32 Sangsvrgyas kun-gyi sku gsung thugs dbyer medvpa'i gsang-ba yevshes semsvdpa' rang-bzhin-gyi rnam-par dag-pa de ni mkh(i /tar rgya-che-zhing sangsvrgyas-kyi yev shes grangs medvpa'i rdulvrer yang dam-pa'i rang-bzhinvgyis kun [a khyab-pa yinvpas ohyi-rol nas spyanv'dren rgyu med kyangl so-skye blo-dman-rnams-kyi mi shes-sol p. 156.2-3.

33 Rgyuvba dang mi rgyu-ba'i 'jig-rten gsum-po mtha' dag gzungvba dang 'dzin-pa gnyisvkyis bsdus-pa'i chos-su 'du Ia de thams-cad bzod-ma nyid nas 'od-gsa/-ba'i ngo· bor son-bas gzhan-gyis 'duma byas-pa'i ye-shes sems-dpa' til dang til-mar-gyi tshul-du rang Ia khyab-par gnas-pa de Ia lhun-grub-kyi rab-gnas-zhes bya-ba dang/ p. 157.1-2. A similar passage found in Gter-bdag-gling-pa, Work 1, p. 1. 34 Byang-chub sems-dpa' -rnams-kyis gsol-bal bcom--Jdan-' das chos thams-cad rab-tU mi gnas-pa la/ ji-ltar na rgyal-ba-rnams-kyis rab-tu gnas-pa lags/ bcom-ldan· 'das-kyis bka'stsal- p(ll sangs-rgyas kun ni rab-tu bzhugsl rab-tu gnas-pa gang na-'ang medl kun-du [tu] mkha' /tar gnas-pa Ia/ cig-shos-kyis ni rab-tu brtagsl 'jig-rten kun-rdzob ia brten nasi rab-tu gnas-pa rab-ru brtagl dam-pa' i don-du dbyad-pa nal gangvzhig gang-gis gang-du brlabl gzod-ma nas ni skyed med-pal ci-'dra ji-ltar rab-tu gnas/ dang-po'i las-can semscan- rnamsl rtogs-pa'i rgyu-ru mdzad- [Tog Palace: bshad] par zadl Toh. 486, p. 292.7- 293.3.

The answer is given here in terms of the two truths. The notion of establishing a Buddha in a receptacle exists only in relative truth. In ultimate truth, consecration is an impossibility. The theory of the two truths i~ applied here in order to harmonize ritual practice with certain theoretical positions (more on this below). Since these answers are offered also by ritual manuals, it is likely that they would serve the point of view of ritualists as will become evident below. This position of the Consecration Tantra is also taken up by several renowned authors of consecration manuals. Rje-btsun Grags-pa-rgyalmtshan (1147-1216) says:

In ultimate truth, by performing conse<!tation of the Tathdgata's image one does not make any improvement on it; by not performing it there is no impairment.· Still, consecration was taught as a mere designation in conventional truth for the sake of increasing the· virtue of the faithful. 35 Thus, in ultimate truth the consecration has no effect. Its value is oniy for the devotee who perceives it in conventional truth. The standpoint of the Consecration Tantra with regard to the notion of establishing a Buddha or a lha is not limited to this Tantra alone. The consecration chapter of the I)akarQava Tantra has the following: All the lha including the resident[ s] of the mandala, the holy dharma etc. are in the place of origination of all dharmas. In whatever abode they reside they are well established/consecrated at all times." Similarly, the consecration chapter in the Sarnvarodaya Tantra says: How can the unestablished/unconsecrated lha be established/consecrated? Because the faithful disciple makes a request, this is performed for the sake of merit. 37

According to the Tantras cited here, the purpose of a consecration is not the establishing of the ye-shes sems-dpa' in a receptacle, but 35 Don-dam-par de-bzhin gshegs-pa'i sku-gzugs La rab-tu gnas-pa byas-pas bzang-du 'gro rgyu med Ia! rna byas-pas ngan-du 'gro-ba med kyang skye-bo dad-pa dang ldanpa'i dge-ba spel-bar bya-ba'i phyir kun-rdzob tha-snyad tsam-du rab-gnas bstan-te!. Rgyudkyi mngon-rtogs (see the bibliography of Tibetan works) p. 53.2.2-3. 36 Lha ni dkyil-' khor-pa dang be as! dam-chos la-sogs thams-cad-rnamsl chos-kyi 'byunggnas nang-du-ste! bzhugs-pa gang-gi gnas-rnams-su! dus thams-cad-du rab-gnas-pa' of Toh. 372, p. 395.3-5.

37 Ji-ltar rab-tu mi gnas lhalrab-tu gnas-par bya-bar nus! ·slob-rna dang-bas gsol 'debspas/ bsod-nams-phyir ni bya-ba-ste/ Toh. 373, pp. 582.7-583.1. The Sanskrit is somewhat different: Si~yasyddhye~a!Jd-Srdddhaf(l karttavyaJ'(l puJ].ya-hetutalp nirvvikalpaka-rQpe!Jtl prati~thd-deva-stMpanarvf (Ben tor, in preparati?n I).

accumulation of merit of the patron (Sa171varodaya) and development of religious realization by the beginners (Consecration Tantra).38 The first point is taken also by Bu-ston:

If one asks: ~'since all dharmas are unestablished (rab-tu mi gnas-pa), isn't this 'establishing/consecration' (rab-gnas) a contradiction?" [The answer is:J since ultimately there are no mental elaborations of establishing agent (gnas-byed) and that which is to be established (rab-tu gnas-bya), the establishing/consecration is unnecessary. Yet, the establishing/ consecration_was taught for the sake of increasing the merit of those who have just set foot on the path.39

The latter point is made also by Atisa who, in his frequently quoted consecration text in the Tanjur, says: The consecration is both necessary and unnecessary. When examined ultimately [i.e. in ultimate truth], who blesses what how? From the beginning [it was there] without birth and cessation; how could it be established/consecrated? For those who possess the realization of all dharmas as clear light consecrations of objects for worship are unnecessary. Neither is it for those who have not realized emptiness but have realized that stapas, books, images and so forth arise from blessed emanations of the Buddhas, and do not arise otherwise. If they have strong faith, a consecration is not necessary. For the beginners, the untrained, in relative truth, in worldly labels, for beings who do not know the real essence, the teacher taught consecration.40 Similar arguments apply not only to consecration rituals but to any tantric ritual in which the ye-shes sems-dpa' is absorbed in the damtshig sems-dpa', as the Bhutanese scholar Brag-phug Dge-bshes maintains:

38 Accumulation of merit and wisdom are the two fundamental preoccupations of a bodhisattva. · 39 '0-na chos thams-cad rab-tu mi gnas-pa yin-pa'i phyirl rab-tu gnas-pa 'gal-/of zhenal don-dam,par rab-tu gnas-bya gnas-byed-kyi spros-pa dang bral-bas rab-gnas mi dgoskyangl kun-rdzob-tu las-dang-po-pa'i bsod-nams spel-pa'i ngor rab-gnas-gsungs-tel work

40 Rab-gnas dgos dang mi dgos gnyisl dam-pa'i don-du dpyad-pa na! gang-zhig gang gis gang-du brlabl gdod-ma nas zhi skye med Ia! ji-'dra ji-ltar rab-tu gnasl chos-rnams !hamscad 'od-gsa/-dul rtog[s]-dang ldan-pa'i mchod-gnas Ia! rab-tu gnas-pa mi dgos-te/ yang na stong-nyid rna rtogs kyangl mchod-rten glegs-bam sku-gzugs sogs! sangs-rgyas rnam' phrul byin-rlabs las/ byung-ba min na mi 'byung-bar! rtogs-te shin-tu dad-/dan nal rabtu gnas-pa mi dgos-so/ dang-po'i /as-can rna 'byongs lal 'jigs-rten tha-snyad kun-rdzobtul 'gro-bas de-nyid mi shes lal ston-pas rab-tu gnas-pa bshad! Toh. 2496, p. 510.3-5.

Now, if everything is of the nature of the dharmakfiya, what absorbs into what? There is no objective sphere to be absorbed into. Therefore, if one asks, 'is ritual also unnecessary?' In ultimate truth that is just it. 41 This view may be extended to any ritual or religious practice and even to the Buddha himself, as Sa-skya Pav(lita (1182-1251) says in his Sdom Gsum Rab-dbye:

Therefore, ultimately all phenomena being ·without mental elaborations there is not any ritual there; when there is not even the Buddha himself, there is no need to mention any other ritual. All the classifications of the cause, the path and the result are relative truth. Individual liberation, mind of enlightenment, initiation and so forth, and to that extent also ritual and meditative visualization, as well as the whole profound interdependent origination, the classification of the ground and the path, and everi obtaining perfect Buddhahood, is relative and not ultimate.42 On the other hand, religious activity on the level of conventional truth is the key for realization of the ultimate truth. As Atisa said: The absolute cannot be understood independently of general [[[Buddhist]]] practice (vyavahtira). Without the ladder of genuine relativity a wise man cannot ascend to the top of the palace of reality (tattva). 43 This verse relies. not only on Bhilvaviveka,44 but also Candrakirti's Madhyamakawitlira (VI 80): "The relative truth functions as the means, the absolute truth functions as the goal,"45 as well as on Nagarjuna's Mulamadhyamakaklirikli (XXIV 10): "The absolute cannot be taught unless one relies upon convention. "46

Sde-srid Sangs-rgyas-rgya-mtsho summarizes such differing positions with special reference to consecration. 41 '0 na thams-cad chos-sku'i rang-bzhin yin na gang-gis gang Ia bstims-te bstims-bya'i yul med-pa'i phyir cho-ga yang mi dgos-pas-so-zhes nal dam-pa'i don-du de-ka yin-tel p. 254.2-3.

42 De phyir dam-pa'i don-du nal c.hos-rnams thams-cad spros-bral yin/ de La cho-ga gang yang medl sangs-rgyas nyid kyang yod min nal cho-ga gzhan lta-smos ci-dgos/ rgyu dang Jam dang 'bras-bu-yi/ dbye-ba thams-chad kun-rdzob yin/ so-sor-thar dang byang chub semsl dbang-bskur la-sogs cho-ga dang/ bsgom-pa'i dmigs-pa ji-snyed dang! rten-'brel zab-mo thams-chad dang/ sa dang lam-gyi dbye-ba dang/ rdzob-pa'i sangs-rgyas thobpa yang/ kun-rdzob yin-gyi don-dam min/ p. 307.1 (see the bibliography of Tibetan works). 43 Satyadvaydvatdra 20, translated in Lindtner 1981:195. 44 Bhavaviveka's statement which gave rise to this verse is the central theme of Eckel's To See the Buddha (1992). 4s Lindtner 1981:173. 46 Lindtner 1981:187.

For people who realize the condition of ultimate truth which is without mental elaborations, fOr those who have completely passed beyond this great ocean of saf]1Silra, any rituals such as consecration are definitely unnecessary. For beginners who have not realized this, the definite necessitY of rituals and so forth should be made known. With regard to the two truths consecration is both necessary and not necessary.47 Similar views were expressed by the Consecration Tantra and Atisa above.

Thus, consecration is explained as a process of the localization of the omnipresent 'divine power' for the sake of those who do not realize its true nature. It is not an easy matter to perceive the omnipresent nature of the ye-shes sems-dpa', nor to regard the entire universe as sacred. One prefers to confine the ultimate powers in certain identifiable places. The consecration ritual serves this purpose. For the great majority of the Tibetan Buddhist community who have not achieved enlightenment and, in fact, do not consider themselves to be close to that goal, the implication of these theoretical positions is that consecrations are necessary.

This necessity, however, is based on the sophisticated Buddhist philosophy which views both levels as existing simultaneously. Therefore, having explained the consecration on both levels, the Tantras and writers quoted above proceed to discuss the consecration ritual in detail. In order to remind the participants in the consecration ritual of the abstract concept of the ye-shes semsdpa', which is antithetical to the very process of the consecration, a ritual mirror is employed on several ocassions during the consecration. Through this mirror both aspects of the ye-shes sems-dpa' are brought into the ritual. This topic is further discussed in Bentor 1995a (see also the sections on showing in the mirror below.)

In conclusion, since the consecration ritual suggest' s the possibility of making the ye-shes sems-dpa' available on a mundane level, it raises questions about its congruency with theoretical conceptions of ultimate reality, in which actions such as establishing or transforming do not occur. Nonetheless, the application of the theory of the two truths not only serves to solve the apparent contradiction between the main purpose of consecration and the true nature of reality, it effec- 47 Don-dam spros-bral-gyi gnas-lugs rtogs-pa'i gang-zag 'khor-ba'i rgya-mtsho chenpo 'di las brgal zin-pa-rnams-kyi ngor rab-tu gnas-pa /a-sogs-pa'i cho-gas mtshon-pa gang yang mi dgos-par thag-chod-pa yin Ia/ de-/tar ma rtogs-pa'i /as-dang-po-pa-rnams Ia ni cho-ga la-sogs-pa nges-par dgos-pa'i shes-byed/ bden gnyis Ia bltos nas rab-gnas dgos-pa dang mi dgos-pal p. 158.4-5.

tively underlines the need for performing consecrations." Even though ultimately the ye-shes sems-dpa' is all pervading and unestablishable, as Atisa and others cited above maintain the only way to understand its true nature is by means of religious activity on the level of conventional truth, for example, through the consecration ritual. On the level of conventional truth, receptacles are considered to contain the actual presence of the Buddhas or the yi-dams.

As we have seen, images, thangkas, stflpas and so forth are regarded by certain authors as one type among the emanation bodies (sprul-sku) of the Buddha, namely, 'made emanations' (bzo-bo sprul-sku).49 While the ye-shes sems-dpa' might be regarded as parallel in a way to the dharma body (dharmakdya), after the transformation of the receptacle in the third among the core rituals of the consecration, 50 the receptacle becomes an emanation body. In the following verse from the Consecration and Sarrtvarodaya Tantras which is recited in almost every consecration the descent into the receptacle is equated with the periodic birth of emanation bodies of the Buddha in the Safi'ISdric world. As all the Buddhas, from [their] abodes in Tu~ita heaven, entered the womb of Queen Maya, likewise, may [you] enter this reflected image (gzugs-brnyan)-"

The conception of consecrated receptacles as emanation body is evident also, for example, in the request made by the ritual master in the consecration work by Brag-phug Dge-bshes.

48 Passages articulating the point of view of ultimate truth similar to those presented here from Tibetan sources are found also in Mahayana Siltras (see Snellgrove 1987:37 and Lancaster 1974:289). Similar views are found also in Hinduism. In his investigation of the term prati~!hd Gonda says: "It has often been said that by going through this process ·of 'consecration' the natUre of the images changes, that they are no longer the mere materials of which they are constructed, but become containers· of life and supranormal power. Yet a different view is, of course, in the case of many Indians, and especially the 'theists', the right one: the ceremony merely serves to ennoble the worshipper, to realize the presence of the divine power, God's presence, in the image, so that it becomes an effectual means of contact between the divinity and himself." (1954/1975:371}. 49 See the section on tantric rituals and consecration above.

50 See the section on tanttic rituals and consecration above. 51 While the Tog Palace edition has (p. 745): "nlay you enter (zhugs) this reflected image", the Derge and Peking (p. 122.3) editions have: "may you abide (bzhugs)". 52 Ji-ltar sangs-rgyas thams-cad nil dga'-ldan-du ni gnas-pa /aslllm-mo sgyu-'phrul /hums zhugs-ltar! de-bzhin gzugs-brnyan-' dir bzhugs [zlzugs]-shigl Consecration Tantra, Toh. 4S6, pp. 293.7-4.1; the Sarrrvarodaya Tantra, Toh. 873, p. 582.2, has a similar but not identical verse.

May these receptacles consecrated by me, the vajra holder, having become receptacles of worship and loci of prostration for all beings, actually perform the actions of the emanation body of the Buddha.53 In another place the same author explains:· When we erect a reflection of the emanation body, a representation of the actual Buddha, for the benefit of those of lesser fortune. who are not trainees (gdul-bya) of the actual Buddha, enlightened actions (phrinlas) which are no different from those of the actual Buddha occur ... 54 Rgod-kyi-ldem-phru-can (1337-1408) also maintains: The benefits produced in a receptacle consecrated in a special ritual are inconceivable. They are similar to the benefits of the appearance of the . teacher, the Buddha in the world.

A receptacle actually acts as an emanation body of the Buddha. Rmorchen Kun-dga' -!hun-grub further explains what these activities are. It has been taught that in a place where a blessed receptacle of the body, speech and mind of the Sugata resides, the teachings of the Buddha will spread and increase by means of both expianation and practice (bshad-sgrub). By its power also diseases, famines and conflicts will not occur in that area. Happiness will increase, etc. Immeasurable benefits will occur, etc. There will be compassion which resides in the wondrous receptacle of the body, speech and mind.56

According to Gung-thang-pa (1762-1823), a receptacle would "look with compassionate eyes on the trainee (gdul-bya) until the end of saf!'lsfira. " 57 It would create faith and devotion in those who see it SJ Bdag rdo-rje 'dzin-pas rab-tu gnas-par byas-pa'i rten 'di-rnams 'gro-ba sems-can thams-cad-kyi phyag-gi gnas mchod-pa'(rten-du gyur nas sprul-pa sku'i mdzad-pa mngonsum- du mdzad-par gyur-cig! pp. 299.6-300.2. 54 Rang-cag sangs-rgyas dngos-kyi gdul-byar ma gyur-pa'i skal-ba dman-pa-rnams-kyi don-du sangs-rgyas dngos-kyi zhal-skyin sprul-pa'i gzugs-brnyan bzhengs nal sangs-rgyas dngos dang khyad-par med-pa'i phrin-las 'byung-bar ... p. 337.4-5. 55 Rten-la rab-gnas khyad-par-can chags-pa'i yon-tan ni bsam-gyis mi khyab-po! bstanpa sangs-rgyas 'jig-rten-du byon-pa'i yon-tan dang mnyaml work l, p. 481. S5 Bde-bar gshegs-pa' i sku gsung thugs-kyi rten byin-rlabs-can gang-du bzhugs-pa'i saphyogs der bshad-sgrub gnyis-kyi sgo nas sangs-rgyas-kyi bstan-pa dar-zhing rgyas-pa dang/ de'i stobs-kyis yul-khams-rnams-su yang nad dang mug 'khrugs-rtsod med-cing bdeskyid gong 'phe/-du 'byung-ba sags phan-yon dpag-tu med-pa 'gyUr-par gsungs-pa sags sku gsung thugs rten ngo-mtshar-can bzhugs-pa'i thugs-rje yin la/ Work I, p. 537.1-3. 57 'Khor-ba'i phyi-mtha' bar-tu gdul-bya-rnams Ia thugs-rje'i spyan-gyis gzigs-pa .. . · Gung-thang-pa, Work 2, p. 102.1.

and induce them to generate the mind of enlightenment." Another important role of images, thangkas, stupas, etc., is to serve as receptacles for offerings and bases for the accumulation of merit. Although offerings to images, stupas and so forth were being made long before the formal consecration ritual is known to have developed, the tantric consecration is considered to render the receptacle worthy of receiving such offerings. Several consecration works contain the following statement: As long as a king has not appeared in the capital, he does not possess any political power. Similarly, as long as the consecration is not completed [the receptacle] is unworthy of worship."

Not only this, but "even if one did make offerings, merit would not result from it, and that place would become inauspicious."60 This point is· emphasized in the Consecration Tantra, "If a completed image remained unblessed for a long time it would be inauspicious; during that time it is unworthy of worship."" Hence consecrated receptacles serve another role of the Buddhas and their emanations: providing loci for worship and offerings for the sake of accumulating merit. Consecrated receptacles, then, fulfill the various roles of the Buddhas in the sa!Jlsaric world. They serve as one possible answer to the question of the presence of the Buddha in our world.62 The Mahayana already made an infinite number of Buddhas and bodhisattvas available in the cosmos. The tantra supplies a concrete sense to the rather metaphysical Mahayana idea with regard to the presence of these Buddhas and bodhisattvas in the world. Consecrated receptacles serve to localize certain emanations of the Buddhas, making them available for interaction with human beings."

58 The Consecration Tantra, Toh. 486, p. 294. 59 This is cited by Grags-pa-rgyal-mtshan, p. 246.1 [[[Sa-skya-pa]]]. Similar passages are found in Gter-bdag-gling-pa, work 1, p. 16 [Rnying-ma-pa] and Brag-phug Dge-bshes, p. 242 [Bka'-brgyud~pa].

60 Mchod kyang bsod-nams-kyi 'bras-bu mi 'byin gang-du bzhag-pa'i phyogs der y'ang bkra mi shis-pa skyed-par gsungs-shing. Gter-bdag-gling-pa work l, p. 4. 61 Gang-du sku-gzugs rdzogs-pa lal by{n ma brlabs~par ring gnas nal de la bkra mi shis 'byung~zhingl ji-srid mchod-pa der mi 'osl Toh. 486, p. 292.5-6. 62 On this question see, Eckel (1985, 1992); Schopen (1987, 1988); Trainor (1990 and in progress); Collins (1992); etc. 63 For discussions of a similar issue in Hinduism, see Gupta 1972:325-26; Baumer 1989; Davis 1989 and 1991:112-136; Padoux 1990; etc.


The consecration ritual is a special application of the sfidhana practice to stupas and images, thangkas and so forth. In both cases the subject of the ritual, either the practitioners themselves or the receptacles to be consecrated, are transformed into a certainyi-dam. Yet, the employment of a soteriological practice performed by human beings for the transformation of an object is bound to face some difficulties. This is most evident in the last among the fourfold limbs of generation, the initiation. Since the consecration is an application of the generation process, the receptacle too will have initiation conferred on it as part of the consecration.

Before discussing the initiation conferred on stupas, images and thangkas, a few words should be said about the purpose of initiation in general and its place in the sfidhana practice." Generally, initiations are conferred on disciples by their gurus at their introduction to a certain practice. Such initiations have various roles, including the purification of the disciples, endowing them with permission and authority to engage in the specific practice, and conferring on them powers which will enable them to embark on the practice. The initiation which comprises the fourth limb of the generation is somewhat different. Its procedure is very similar to the initiation conferred before a disciple can engage in a certain practice, yet it is not conferred by a guru, but performed by the disciples themselves. Accordingly, the latter is also termed 'self-entry' (bdag-'jug).

While in the former initiation the disciples are led by their guru into the mandala, in the latter the disciples enter the mandala themselves, after being already introduced to it by their guru. In self-entry the disciples visualize that the chief lha of the mandala performs the action the guru carries out during the earlier initiation. In principle, this is not different from the earlier initiation since also in that case the disciples visualize that their guru is no different from the chief lha of the mandala. While practitioners need to receive the guru's initiation only once for each practice, they need to be constantly engaged in the self-entry or self-initiation as part of their tantric practice. The self-entry serves 64 For a more detailed treatment of initiations in Western languages the reader is referred to the works by Mkhas·grub Rje (1968:308-337), Wayman (1973:54-70), Jamyang (1981). the Fourteenth Dalai Lama (1985), Dargyey (1985), Jackson (1985:119-138), Geshe Sopa (1985:91-117), Snellgrove (1987:213-237), Sharpa Tu1ku with Guard (1991, SlY), Geshe Kelsang Gyatso 1992:329-397 (GDL), etc.

as a constant renewal of the guru's initiation and restoration of the disciple's vows, as well as a limb in the process of transforming oneself into a yi-dam. In addition to these two initiations, there is also an initiation called 'supreme' (dbang-mchog) since its conferral would instantly bring its recipient to achieve complete Buddhahood. Sde-srid Sangs-rgyas-rgya-mtsho explains these three initiations as follows:

[I] the ripening of the beginner-the cause initiation, [2] the accomplishment of ripening-the path initiation, [3] the attainment of the supreme conferral of initiation-the result initiation.65 The path initiation which is included in the sddhana practice is also the initiation conferred on the receptacle during its consecration. The Sde-srid continues:

Here [in the case of consecration] from among the three initiations, because of the gathering of the accumulations by the master, disciples and donors, there is conferral of the path initiation.66 In fact, it is not accurate to call the initiation conferred during consecration an initiation of the receptacle as this initiation is conferred only after the visualizing away (mi dmigs-pa) of the receptacle and the invitation of the ye-shes sems-dpa'. Indeed, this initiation is called in various manuals, including the one translated below (R .. 410.2), 'Initiation of a lha' (lha Ia dbang-bskur).67 This does not render the conferral of initiation during consecration less problematic. If the lha established in the receptacle requires initiation, it could not be a true Buddha, and if it does not require initiation, why· is an initiation performed?

Most works on consecration chose to completely ignore this difficulty. Some of the explanations on the initiation of the lha are made in terms identical to those used for explaining initiation conferred on 65 Dang-po smin-byed rgyu-yi dbtmgl smin-pa sgrub-pa lam-gyi dbangl dbang-bskur mchog thob 'bras-bu'i dbang-ste (p. 254.4-5). 66 Gsum las 'dir dpon slob rgyu sbyor bcas-pa'i tshogs gsog-pas lam dbang bskur-ba yin-pa (ibid.). 67 This is the title also of one of the Indian consecration works included in the Tibetan Tanjur (P. 5152) and a title in the outline of Mkhas-grub-rje's Rgyud-sde Spyi'i Rnampar Gzhag-pa. Unfortunately, Mkhas-grub-rje did not write the chapter which corresponds to that title (cf. Mkhas Grub Rje 1968:308--9 and 325; for two types of initiations see also ibid: p. 236, n. 37). The phrase 'initiation of a lha' is also used as an equivalent for 'consecration ritual', lha la dbang bskur-ba rab-gnas cho-ga-'the consecration ritual conferring initiation on a lha' (ibid.).

disciples. One such example for this is the explanatory work on consecration by Gter-bdag-gling-pa (1646--1714). The explanation here, as in many other explanations of the initiation ritual, is in terms of: I) the basis of purification (sbyong-gzhi), the recipient of the initiation; 2) the purifying agent (sbyong-byed), the agent by which the initiation is conferred; 3) the purifier (sbyong-pa-po), those who confer the initiation; 4) the fruit of the purification (sbyangs- 'bras), the purpose of the initiation.

The basis of purification is the impurities which make the continuum of the /ha contaminated with faults. The purifying agent is the stream · of water of enlightened wisdom, the bodhicitta which dissolves through the great passion of the lha. The /ha of the 'complete three thrones'" who is invited to the space [in front] are the purifier. As for the fruit of the purification, by purifying the continuum of the objective sphere a special divine essence of enlightened wisdom is accomplished. As for conferring initiation, this is etymologically explained as washing the impurities and establishing capability .69 In this explanation the word 'disciple' was simply replaced with lha. Like a disciple, the lha prior to its initiation is described as contaminated with faults.

On the other hand, Brag-phug Dge-bshes devotes a detailed discussion to the problem of conferring initiation on a receptacle or the lha invited to abide therein. This serves as an interesting example of the process of introducing changes in rituals in spite of the fact that their authority relies on their strict adherence to the 'original' form as found in the Kanjur and Tanjur. Brag-phug Dge-bshes begins by stating that the ritual should be performed according to the traditional custom and cites an authority for this. However, after presenting his uncertainty, he introduces some slight variations in his own manual while maintaining that these are his own discursive thought (rnam- 68 Gdan gsum tshang-ba' i lha. Thes-e are the lha invited to confer the initiation. According to one system, it includes male and female Tathagatas (gshegs-pa dang gshegs-ma), male and female Bodhisattvas (sems-dpa' dang sems-ma), and male and female wrathful ones (khro-bo dang khro-mo, see PC 850; K. 1342), For a variant system, see K. 1342; Rigzin

69 Sbyang-gzhi lha'i rgyud nyes-pas rnyog-pa-can-du byas-pa'i dri-mal sbyong~byed lha-rnams chags-pa chen-pos zhu-ba'i byang-sems ye-shes-kyi chu-rgyunl sbyong-ba-por nam-mkhar spyan-drangs-pa'i gdan gsum tshang-ba'i lha-rnams/ sbyangs-'bras dmigs yulgyi rgyud dag-pas ye-shes lha'i ngo-bo khyad-par-can-du sgrub-pa dbang-bskur-ba'i byedpa- can-te nges-tshigs dri-ma bkrus-ba-dangl nus-pa 'jog-par 'brel-p'as {'grel-bas]-so/ Gterbdag- gling-pa, work 1, p. 15.

rtog) and requesting other scholars to examine this question further. In the following we will look at Brag-phug Dge-bshes's analysis in · detail. As we mentioned above, most consecration manuals contain the prescription to confer initiation on the receptacle as if it were a disciple. Abhayakaragupta, one of the main authorities for the Tibetan consecration ritual tradition, concludes his instructions on initiation conferred on receptacles by saying:

The consecration of an image and so forth should be performed as a consecration of a disciple. Eminent scholars ['great chariots'] said that there is no difference [between -the two].70 Referring to this sentence, Brag-phug Dge-bshes says in his discussion of the initiation, "Eminent scholars said that it is necessary to confer [[[initiation]]] on an image, etc., as on a disciple without any difference."" However, he seems to have had some doubts about it. He begins with deliberations about initiation conferred on a receptacle and continues in discussing also initiating the lha invited into that receptacle. Brag-phug Dge-bshes's deliberations are as follows: Objection: It would follow that the receptacle to be consecrated would also have impurities, just like a person who has a defiled continuum; for if it did then it would be no different from the person, but if it did not, there would be no need to initiate the receptacle either.

[Reply:] Here I think that the basis of purification (sbyang-gzhi) is not the impurities accumulated by the receptacle to be consecrated itself, but by the worldly point of view of others, i.e. the bad motivation of the makers of the receptacle." The object of purifications (sbyang-bya) [in the initiation of the receptacle] are impurities of misapprehensions, thinking that [the receptacle] is made from inferior conditions, and the ill will of everyone including the maker of the image and the patron. The purifier (sbyong-bye<f) of these [[[impurities]]] are the ritual, [its] substances and the mantra, mudrii and samiidhi of the /ha. Therefore, 70 Slob-ma'i rab-gnas bzhin-du sku-gzugs Ia sogs-pa'i rab-gnas bya'o zhes shing-rta chen-po-rnams-kyis khyad med-par gsungs-so. Vajrdvali, Toh. 3140, p. 123.6. 71 Slob-rna bzhin-du sku-gzugs sogs la'ang khyad-pa med-par bskur dgos-par shing-rta chen-po-rnams-kyis gsungs-so (265.5-6).

72 '0 na nyon-mongs rgyud-ldan-gyi gang-zag bzhin-du rab-tu gnas-bya'i rten-la'ang dri-ma yod-pa thal! yod na gang-zag dang khyad-pa med-par 'gyur la/ med na rten dbang yang dgos-pa med-pa'i phyir-ro zhe na/ 'dir sbyang-gzhi rab-tu gnas-bya'i rten fa rangngo nas bsags-pa'i dri-ma med mod-kyil 'on-kyang gzhan 'jig-rten-pa~i blo ngor rten 'di byed-pa-po dag-gi kun-slong ngan-pas byas-so snyam-pa dang! pp. 265.6-266.2.

there is no need [that the initiation] should be different from that of a person. The fruit of the purificatipn (sbyangs~ 'bras) is not such as attaining new characteristics of a state of attainment from the point of view of the receptacle itself. Still, it exhibits a method of complete pllrification from the point of view of others. As in accordance with the customs and circumstances of a certain country, the enthronement of [its] king is performed, [so] by means of the steps of initiation and enthronement offerings [ mnga' -dbul, see below] [the receptacle] is blessed as a field of merit. Henceforth, it is actually made to be held as a special objective sphere by others.73

This explanation obviously stands in contrast to that of Gter-bdaggling- pa. The receptacle itself is not contaminated. Its impurities result only from the misapprehensions of others and from bad intentions of those involved in its making. For purifying these defilements the consecration employs methods well known within the realm of tantric rituals, so that others would regard the receptacle as pure. However, the recept~cle itself undergoes no transformation. Still, this method implies that the receptacle was inferior prior to the ritual, or that it can be contaminated due to others. Brag-phug Dge-bshes denies this: Now if one asks, is the receptacle tainted by impurities of the mental continuum of others? In this case. [the receptacle] is not tainted by the impurities of others. Yet, for example, as by washing something tainted by dirty mud with water and [cleaning] substances, it would be considered as pure, likewise, objects which previously were held as of in"7 ferior benefit or status, etc., later, because of a different perspective are held as superior. Not only that, but all the subdivisions of the consecration ritual such as the purification, bathing, etc., were said to be held only from worldly perspective.74

73 Rgyu-sa sogs dman-pa dag las grub-bo snyam-pa'i log-rtog-gi dri-ma-rnams-dangl /ha-bzo dang yon-bdag-gi bar-du re-'khang-gi bdud zhugs-pa-mams sbyang-bya yin Ia/ cho-ga dang rdzas dang lha sngags phyag-rgya'i ting-'dzin-rnams de'i sbyong-byed yinpas gang-zag dang khyad med-du dgos lal sbyangs-'bras rten-gyi rang ngor go-'phanggi chos-gsar-du thob-pa /ta-bu riled kyan'gl gzhan-gyi blo-ngor dri-ma yongs-su sbyangba'i tshul bstan-te rgyal-po rgyal-srid Ia mnga' -gsol-ba ltar yul-chos dang go bstun-te dbang-bskur mnga'-dbul-gyi rim-pas bsod-nams-kyi zhing-du byin-gyis br/abs-pa las/ phyinchad gzhan-gyis kyang yul khyad-par-can-du bzung-ba mngon-sum-gyis grub-pas~sol p. 266.2-6.

74 '0 na gzhan rgyud-kyi dri-mas rten la gos-sam zhe na/ 'di Ia gzhan-gyi dri-mas gospa med kyang dper na mi-gtsang 'dam-gyis gos-pa'i dngos-po chu dang rdzas-kyis bkruspas gtsang-bar 'dzin-pa bzhin-dul sngar phan sa sogs dman-par bzung-ba'i )lU[ de yang! de nas bzung-ste mchog-tu 'dzin-pa mthong-ba'i phyir-rol der ma-zad sbyang khrus sogs rab-gnas-kyi rnam-gzhag thams-cad 'jig-rten-pa'i blo '[a /tos nas gsungs-pa kho-na-stel pp. 266.6-267.2.

Brag-phug Dge-bshes goes on to provide citations from tantras, such as those translated above,75 to demonstrate that consecration is performed only in conventional, and not ultimate truth. As we have seen, not only the initiation of a receptacle, but virtually everything is unnecessary from the point of view of ultimate truth. Such a solution does not render the consecration consistent on the level on which it operates, the conventional truth. This is, however, not the end of Bragphug Dge-bshes's analysis:

Now, is there or is there not a difference in the manner of conferring {initiation] on a receptacle and on a person? If there is; it is not suitable to confer [[[initiation]]] on a lha in the manner performed for ordinary people. If there is not, [it leads] to the exaggeration of implying that also the lha must strive on the path [to enlightenment] as a person. The answer is that in any case the -object in both manners of conferring - [[[initiations]]] is not an ordinary one. In both cases [the initiation] is conferred only after visualizing [the disciple or the receptacle] as a lha. Therefore, [the fact that in the consecration the lha] is a lha does not make a difference.

Also when initiation is conferred on disciples who have just embarked on the tantric practice, the actual recipient of the initiation is a lha. This is the result of the fact that the procedures of the initiation includes, prior to its actual conferral, the transformation of the disciples by the guru into the lha of the mandala into which they will be initiated." Still the disciples' initiation is but the first step. Thereupon they are required to engage in the self- or path- initiation ..

Also, in regard ~o actual transformation or non-transfonnation of the nature [of the recipient of initiation], if the objective of the initiation is actual transformation, there is no need to strive on the path; if it is non-transforming, there is need to strive. This corresponds to the difference between the supreme initiation in which, at the time of the initiation, there is liberation, and the middle initiation in which, by means 75 In the section on consecration, the two truths, and the bodies of the Buddha.· 76 '0 na rten dang gang-zag Ia bskur tshul-gyi khyad-par yod dam medl yod na gangzag pha/-pa Ia byo-ba ltar lha Ia bskur-bar mi-rungl med na gang-zag bzhin-du lhas kycmg lam la brtson dgos-pa thal-/o zhe nal bskur tshul de gnyis gang yin. kyang phal-pa ia bskur-ba min-te lhar-gsal nas bskur-ba yin-pas /ha yin-pa Ia khyad-par med kyangl p. 267.3-5.

17 As we shall see, no person, implement or substance can take part in a tantric ritual withou_t a ·prior transformation into an exalted state (cf. R. 410.5-411.2).

of habituation to the generation and completion [[[Wikipedia:processes|processes]]], there is liberation.78

Brag-phug Dge-bshes implies here that the initiation conferred on the consecration lha is the supreme initiation which instantly transforms it into a state of Buddhahood. This is a position different from that of Sde-srid Sangs-rgyas-rgya-mtsho (quoted above) who adheres more closely to the analogy with a person and explains the lha's initiation as a path initiation (which Brag-phug Dge-bshes calls middle initiation). Brag-phug Dge-bshes suggests here that if the lha of the receptacle undergoes a transformation it would be into a state of Buddhabood which does not require any striving on the path. This solves the problem of a lha striving on the path, but brings us back to one of the first questions. A process of transformation implies that the initial state of the lha was inferior or impure.

Even though a cause-initiation conferred on beginning practitioners is performed by their guru, the role of the disciple is not passive. Without the active participation of the disciples and especially without taking upon themselves the vows and commitments the initiation entails," its purpose cannot be accomplished. The only result would be blessing (byin-brlab) and planting the seed for future occasions.80 This of course has implications when a ritual of initiating human beings is applied to objects or lha. Thus, Brag-phug Dge-bshes continues his discussion:

When one examines this in detail, even though there is no difference in the manner of conferring, there is a slight difference in whether or not there is a promise. The essential characteristics of initiation con-. ferred on a perSon is the establishment of a capacity for maturing his or her mental continuum into the qualities of the state of Buddhahood, together with [his or her] promise to achieve that, and the attainment of the [[[initiation]]] precepts. [[[Initiation]]] conferred on a lha is a roleplaying of enlightened action ('phrin-las-kyi rol-pa) for the sake of 78 De'i rang-bzhin mngon-du gyur rna gyur-gyi khad-par las! dbang don mngon·du gyur na lam la brtson mi dgos-pa dang! rna gyur na brtson dgos·pa ni dbang·rab dbang-dus· su grol·ba dang dbang·'bring bskyed rdzogs Ia goms·pas grol·ba'i khyad-par bzhin-no/ p. 267.5-Q. 79 Mkhas·grub Rje 1968:308-337.

80 See, for example, ibid. The development of a soteriological ritual such as initiation into a means of conferring blessing on a large gathering of people and children through what is called public initiation is extremely interesting. This topic, however, lies outside the scope of the present study.

taming. The establishment of the body, speech and mind as new receptacles, their residing in the habitation of suffering (i.e., in sarrzsdra), the conferral of initiation through tantric skilful means of mantras and samfidhi of a lha are just blessings as a field of merit for the sake of the trainee (gdul-bya). There is no attainment of new qualities of the state of Buddhahood .. BecauSe when initiating /ha there is no person, promising, [participating] in the questions and answers,81 keeping vows,82 bestowing the oath water,83 and binding in pledges are unnecessary. These are my discursive thoughts. 84

Here Brag-phug Dge-bshes makes a different statement. He asserts that initiation conferred on a lha does not involve any transformation, but is rather performed merely for the sake of sentient beings. The solution to the discrepancy resulting from the application of a process meant for people onto an objects is found again in terms of the two truths. The purpose of the initiation of the lha abiding in the receptacle is explained as a.role-playing on the level of conventional truth for the sake of directing sentient beings toward true realization and in order to provide them with opportunities for accumulating merit.

The initiation conferred on a lha is explained as analogous to the appearance of Buddhas in the saq~sfuic world, to the consecration of receptacles by establishing the ye-shes sems-dpa' in them or to religious practices. All these are needed on the level of conventional truth only. The level of conventional truth, according to the Buddhist tradition, is full of contradictions which can be understood only through the broader perspective comprising both truths. The case of an initiation conferred on a lha is nothing but one of these inconsistencies. The problem arising from the employment of a ritual of passage to objects cannot be reconciled then simply on the level of conventional 81 For these questions and answers in case of Kiilacakra initiation, see KL 222-223; see also GDL 365.

"' See KL 235; SIV 45, 51-52; GDL 366-369, 379. " Cf. J. 20 1.6; KL 241. 84 De Ia zhib tu dpyad na bskur tshul la khyad-par med kyang khas-b/angs yod medkyi khyad-par cung-zad yod-de/ gang-zag la bskur-ba nil go-'phang-gi chos rgyud la sminpa'i nus-pa bzhag-tu yod-pa dang! de sgrub-par khas-blangs-pa dang-bcas bka' -lung thobpa'i mtshan-nyid-can yin-no/ lha Ia bskur-ba nil gang-'dul phrin-las-kyi rol-pa sku gsung thugs-kyi rten-gsar-du bzhengs-pa dang! nyam nga-ba'i gnas-su bzhugs-pa-rnamsl gsangsngags thabs mkhas-kyi sgo nas lha sngags ting-' dzin-gyis dbang-bskur-te gdul-bya'i bsodnams- kyi zhif!-g·du byin-gyis-brlabs-pa tsam las.go-'phang-gi chos-gsar-du thob-par medpar dang/ khas-blangs-kyi gang-zag kyang med-pa' i phyir dris-lan btab-pa rnams-dangl sdom bzung dang/ mna' -chu sbyin-pal dam-tshig bsgrags-pa-rnams lha dbang Ia mi dgosso snyam-pa ni kho-bo'i rnam-rtog-gol pp. 267.6--268.4.

truth. Brag-phug Dge-bshes final conclusion is twofold. First, there is no attainment of the state of B uddhahood on the part of the lha by means of the initiation. Secondly, he concludes that since an initiation of a lha is devoid of the part of an individual who takes it upon him- or herself to strive for the attainment of Buddhahood while keeping the vows and pledges the initiation entails, there is no need to include in initiating a lha ritual actions which presume the presence of such an individual.

After consulting Brag-phug Dge-bshes' deliberations on this question, we are in a better position to understand the emendations and adjustments ,made in the initiation conferred on the receptacle in the manual translated below. (It should be emphasized, however, that the twentieth century work by Brag-phug Dge-bshes is not the source for these emendations which have already appeared in Dge-lugs-pa and other consecration manuals in the last few centuries. Brag-phug Dgebshes's text was chosen here because it does address the issue under discussion and does so thoroughly.) In instructing the performers with regard to the initiation Khri-byang Rin-po-che says: ... in the case of conferring initiation on a /ha, act as if the consecration lha were disciples, and as if the lama were no different from the chief lha of the mandala. With such convictions perform the ritual actions of conferring initiations.85

However, during the initiation itself, Khri-byang Rin-po-che, like the First Pat;1chen Lama before him,86 instructs the performers to omit the purifications (dbang-gi dag-pa bzhag-pa). These purifications or transformations are the main objects of the initiation ritual. Below are given the sections of the five Tathiigatas initiations which are omitted in Khri"byang Rin-po-che's manual, as compared with the sadhana text on which it is based. (Similarly also the purifications and transformations of the higher initiations are omitted. )87

35 Lha La dbang-bskur-ba'i tshe rab-tu gnas-bya'i lha-rnarns s/ob-ma'i tshul dang! b/ama dang dkyil-'khor-kyi gtso-bo tha mi dad-pa bla-ma'i tshul-du mdzad nas dbang-bskur bya-ba-rnams mdzad-par mos-shingl R. 418.1-2.

86 dbang-gi dag-pa sags mtha' rten bzhag-ste, PC 850. a7 According to the system of Highest Yoga Tantra (rnal-'byor bla-med rgyud, anuttarayoga- tantra), the initiation consists of the following components: 1. Vase initiation (bum dbang, kala§fi.bhi$eka). 2. Secret initiation (gsang dbang, guhydbhi$eka). 3. Wisdom initiation (shes-rab ye-shes dbang, prajfui-jfitmdbhi$eka). 4. The fourth initiation (dbang bzhi-pa, caturthdbhi$eka or turiydbhi$eka, called also the 'word initiation', tshig dbang). The five Tathagata initiations belong to the vase initiation.

1. Thus, obtaining the water initiation of Ak~obhya purifies the defilements of hatred; the skandha of consciousness is transformed; the enlightened wisdom of dharma-dhfitu is actualized; the accomplishments (dngos-grub, siddhi) of Ak~obhya and his 'family' are achieved."

2. Thus, obtaining the crown initiation of Ratnasambhava purifies the defilements of pride and miserliness; the skandha of feeling is transformed, the enlightened wisdom of equanimity is actualized; the accomplishments of Ratnasambhava and his 'family' are achieved.89 3. Thus, obtaining the vajra initiation of Amitabha purifies the defilements of passion; the skandha of perception is transformed, the enlightened wisdom of discrimination is actualized; the accomplishments of Amitabha and his 'family' are achieved.90 4. Thus, obtaining the bell initiation of Amoghasiddhi;mrifies the defilements of jealousy; the skandha of compositional factors is transformed, the enlightened wisdom of accomplishment is actualized; the accomplishments of Amoghasiddhi and his 'family' are achieved."

5. Thus, obtaining the name initiation of Vairocana purifies the defilements of ignorance; the skandha of form is transformed, the mirror-like enlightened wisdom is actualized; the accomplishments of Vairocana and his 'family' are achieved." Through each of the five Tathagata initiations one of the five defilements and the five skandhas respectively are purified; one of the five enlightened wisdoms and the accomplishments of one of the five 88 De~ltar mi-bskyod-pa chu'i dbang thob! zhe-sdang-gi dri-ma sbyangs/ rnam-shes-kyi phung-po gnas bsgyurl chos-kyi dbyings-kyi ye-shes mngon-du byas/ mi-bskyod-pa dang de'i rigs-kyi dngos-grub sgrub-pa fa dbang-bar byas-so/ J. 214.2-3. 89 De-ltar rin-chen 'byung-ldan cod-pan-gyi dbang thob/ nga-rgyal dang ser-sna'i drima sbyangsl tshor-pa' i phung~po gnas bsgyurl mnyam-pa-nyid-kyi ye-shes mngoncdu byasl rin-chen-'byung-ldan dang de'i rigs-kyi dngos-grub sgrub-pa la dbang-bar byas-sol J. 217.2-3.

90 De-/tar 'od-dpag-med rdo-rje' i dbang thob! 'dod-chags-kyi dri-ma sbyangs! 'du-sheskyi phung-po gnas bsgyurl so-sor rtog-pa'i ye-shes mngon-du byas/ 'od-dpag-med dang de'i rigs-kyi dngos-grub sgrub-pa Ia dbang-bar byas-sol J. 220.2-3. · 91 De-/tar don-yod-grub-pa dril-bu'i dbang thobl phrag-dog-gi dri-ma sbyangsl 'dubyed- kyi phung-po gnas bsgyurl bya-ba grub-pa' i ye-shes mngon-du byasl don-yod grubpa dang de'i rigs-kyi dngos-grub sgrub-pa Ia dbang-bar byas-soJ J. 222.5-223.1. 92 De-/tar rnam-par snang-mdzad ming-gi dbang thobl gti-mug-gi dri-ma sbyangsl gzugskyi phung-po gnas bsgyurl me-long /ta-bu' i ye-shes mngon-du byas/ rnam-par snangmdzad dang de'i rigs-kyi dngos-grub sgrub-pa Ia dbang-bar byas-sol J. 224.6-225.1.

Tathil.gatas respectively are achieved. Through the ultimate purification and attainment of each of these aspects, a practitioner will achieve enlightenment. Omitting these purifications and transformations, as Khri-byang Rin-po-che's manual indicates one should, amounts to performing the procedures of the initiation without their main essence. Such an initiation is void of its purpose. The basis for such an instruction to omit the purifications and transformations is the presupposition that for a lha such processes are unnecessary. It seems, then thatKhribyang Rin-po-che and his predecessors accept the view expressed in Brag-phug Dge-bshes' final statement (denoted as the first aspect of his final conclusion above). According to their ritual manuals, in the initiation conferred during consecrations there is no attainment of a new state. All these ritual actions are performed as role-playings for the· sake of the trainee. Yet there is no explanation for any such adjustment in the manuals themselves. Those familiar with both initiation and consecration rituals are able to discern these differences. But the explanation for the ritual, given as usual in smaller letters, instruct the performers only to confer the initiation as if the consecration lha were disciples.

In addition, taking into account the non-human nature of the initiation recipients, Brag-phug Dge-bshes instructs the ritual master to omit certain sections of the initiation, mostly those pertaining to vows and commitments. Khri-byang Rin-po-che's manual does not contain similar instructions. However, in comparing his manual to the sadhana one realizes that the following sections of the self-initiation are omitted: taking the common and uncommon bodhisattva vows,93 the questions the lama asks the disciple, the disciple's answers, taking the relative and ultimate bodhicitta vows and pledges of secrecy, the descent of the ye-shes sems-dpa', and a request for the lha to take care of the disciples as long as they have not attained enlightenment." Hence also in the manual translated below is imbedded the assumption that the recipient of this initiation is in no need for such ritual actions; that the receptacle is different from a disciple. Also the second aspect of Brag-phug Dge-bshes's final conclusion cited above has been implemented in this (and other) consecration manuals.

93 The common Bodhisattva vows are common to both sUtra and tantra, while the uncommon Bodhisattva Vows are specific to the tantra alone. 94 J. 195.3-197.2, 200.6--204.2, 204.6. ,The corresponding sections in the case of the Kalacakra initiation, which are quite similar to J., are translated into English in KL 226- 228, 222-223, 234-235, 235, 240-246, 249.

To sum up, in applying to the consecration ritual initiation pertaining to human beings certain discrepancies arise, In order to solve some of them, special adjustments are made in the initiation conferred on a lha (lha Ia dbang-bskur). The initiation is deprived of its characteristics of purification and transformation. Besides, all the commitments on the part of the human recipient of the initiation are absent. Even though the initiation during the consecration is deprived of some of the goals of an initiation conferred on a disciple, it fully retains one basic function of the initiation, that of sealing (rgyas gdab) the consecration lha in the receptacle.


The dominant elements in the Tibetan consecration are the tantric rituals which transform the receptacle into a lha. This adaptation of the fourfold generation, however, is not the only form of consecration included in the Tibetan rituaL There are additional rituals which seem to have been independent consecrations in their own right, incorporated into the elaborate consecration. Although these rituals lost their importance as the primary mode of consecration in the presentday ritual, they were not wholly forsaken, but positioned in a subordinate status within the structure of the elaborate rite,

This points to an important characteristic of Tibetan and other rituals, their composite nature, Tibetan rituals are rooted in a long history, and are based also on Vedic and indigenous Indian, as well as Tibetan, traditions. These traditions and their rituals developed over a long period. New doctrinal changes had their impact on rituals as welL Modifications were introduced with the ,Buddhist adaptation of rituals of Hindu provenance and with the growing influence of the !antra. Nevertheless, older rituals rather than being supplanted underwent adjustments and adaptations. They were preserved as part of the structure of the later forms of the rituaL We shall look at some such rituals which once may have been independent consecrations and are now included in the exparlded ritual as ancillaries. I. The ritual of opening the eye The ritual of opening the eye is one of the best examples for a form of consecration known since long before the tantric consecration had

developed, which is assigned a secondary position in the tantric ritual. Furthermore, in its new role, new meanings were attributed to the opening of the eye.

There is evidence to indicate that the ritual of opening the eyes has been practiced in almost every Buddhist country, including Sri Lanka," Thailand," Cambodia," Japan," and China, as well as in Hindu India99 and Egypt. 100 As pointed out by Gombrich, Pali literature contains references to the opening of the eye which date at least to the fifth century when Buddhagho~a refers to it. In the sixth century it is mentioned in the MahfivalfiSa. Yet, at that time this ritual was already "believed to be far older. "'01 Schopen pointed to an allusion to eye opening in the Ratna-gu~a-sarncaya-gathd (VII 2), "which is almost certainly several centuries earlier than Buddhagho~a." 102 The earliest dated mention of the Tibetan term for eye opening (spyandbye) known to me is from an inscription in cave 365 in Tun Huang dated by Huang Wen-huan103 and Uray 104 to 834-835 C.E. This inscription commemorates the opening of the eyes of an image (skugzugs spyan phyed) in the personal shrine of Hon Pen (or Hung-pien), the preceptor of the Buddhists in Tun Huang. 1

In all detailed accounts of the eye opening available to me at present, this rite is but one part of a multiplex consecration ritual. In Sri Lanka it is accompanied by paritta and a sixfold ritual ($a(i-aliga). 106 In Bangkok, "the ceremony of 'opening the eyes' of the image (boek 95 Coomaraswamy 1908:70-75; Gombrich 1966; Ruelius 1978b. 96- Wells 1960:128-9; Tambiah 1984:250. 97 Leclere 1917:381-2. 98 Frank 1988:70-71. 99 Rangachari 1931:124-125; Goudriaan 1965:174-5; Eck 1981:5-6; Welbon 1984:77- 78; Davis 1992.

00 Budge 1909. 101 Gombrich 1966:26. '" 1987:215-216. 103 1980:48. 104 1984:351.

105 Stein 1983:200 & n. 95; Uray 1984:350; Stein 1988:1425; see also the mention of sku-bla spyan-dbye in Thomas 1951 :IT 381. It is also interesting to note that in most instances the Indian consecratiOn works called Prati~fhll.-vidhi whJch occur in the Tibetan Tanjur were translated by the Tibetan Rab-gnas Cho-ga, but in three cases, including the works by Kun-dga' -snying-po and Praji'HipB.lita, Prati~{hd-vidhi was translated by Spyandbye (Toh. 1284, 2521, 2522). The subject-matter of the latter is, however, no different from the subject-matter of the former. Thus, the term spyan-dbye, 'opening the eyes', seeins to have been an alternative translation for rab-gnas, 'consecration'. 106 The" sixfold ritual consists of devapUj/J., navagrahapUjiJ., Bhairavapiljd, lndraktlapUjd, Khadgap/J.lapUjii, and Kalasth/J.panap(l.jd [KalaSasthiipanapUjd?] (Ruelius 1978b:320).

phra net) is not part of the consecration ceremony but a separate and less important sequence ... ,"107 the climax of the consecration being the chanting of the glithfi buddhfibhi~eka. 108 According to the Hindu Vaikhanasa school, the opening of the eye is but one among twentyfive ritual actions, their culmination being the sprinkling of the image with water in a vase into which Vi~QU was invited. 109 More such examples are found in the literature mentioned above. It seems that it is not only the Tibetan ritual that is composed of a number of ritual actions, including the opening of the eye, Which may have been independent rituals capable of accomplishing a consecration on their own right, but later became subordinated to a more recent ritual. Failing to recognize the present-day ritual as such· an aggregate creates problems in its interpretation. Analyzing the Vaikhiinasa consecration, Welbon remarks:

That this ritual [the eye opening] is a crucial stage in the installation of the image is unquestionable. But it is just as certain that the prati$(hii is not accomplished through this ritual eye-opening ... With certainty, we can say no more than that through this ritual the image is mysteriously changed and its very special career has begun.110 Welbon seems inclined here to consider the consecration as a unified whole. Therefore he is puzzled by the presence of more than one ritual action which seems to accomplish the purpose of the consecration:111 ... it can be noted that although the structure of the proceedings is relatively straightforward and easy 'to follow, the 'central mystery', if 1 may so term it-namely, the transformation Of an artwork into a mfirtiremains veiled. That is, it is not altogether clear precisely at what point in the ceremonies the image becomes divinity incarnate.112 The occurrence of the eye opening in considerably different consecrations, however, clearly demonstrates the agglutinative nature of the consecration ritual in various Buddhist and Hindu cultures. In most

Ill As mentioned above, it seems that the climax of the Vaikhanasa consecration is in the sprinkling of the image with vase water, as Welbon himself states later (p. 80), 112 Wei bon )984:77.

of them the opening of the eye is not the dominant means of consecration, but an important ancillary. Yet, it still preserves the characteristics of an autonomous coilsecration. The basic meaning of the ritual of eye opening is enlivening or vivifying. Having been endowed with sense faculties, the image is no longer merely inert metal or wood; it has been animated. 113 The eye is related not only to life, but also to knowledge and wisdom. The opening of the eye represents, in Buddhist views, the enlightenment. This has been pointed out by, among others, Frank: II est bien connu que l'reil est un symbole de sapience et d'Eveil; sa presence signifie de maniere toute sp6cifique que le venere figure dans l'image voit Ia vente et Ia fait voir. 115 Similarly, Leclere remarks:

The Cambodians, the Siamese, the Laotians and perhaps other Buddhist peoples recall the interior spiritual event of the Buddha's achieving bodhi in miming the literal opening of the statue's eyes with a needle. 116 Khri-byang Rin-po-che's manual contains several pronouncements which accompany the ritual of opening the eye. Their analysis can clarify the explicit interpretation of the eye-opening there and the allusions it evoked for Tibetans. The first pronouncement is as follows: As the king of the eye healers removes the worldly [[[eye]]] film, so the Victorious Ones remove your film of ignorance. A similar pronouncement is included in the initiation ritual. The verse just cited seems to be in fact a different translation from Sanskrit or a variant wording of the verse found in initiation manuals. 117 The opening of the practitioner's eye is one of the appendages to the vase 113 Gombrich 1966:24; Delahaye 1982:47; Welbon 1984:78; Frank 1988:71, etc. In his study of 'Eye and Gaze in the Veda', Gonda has suggested that the strong emphasis in ancient India on the eyes should "consciously or unconsciously have been made an element in a variety of rites and religious customs ... " (1970:4; see also Schopen 1987:214-216,

116 Quoted in Tambiah 1984:252. I was unable to trace Tambiah's reference to its source. ll7 This verse is not unique to KhriMbyang RinMpoMche's manual, but appears also in the preceding consecration manuals by the First Pa~chen Lama (p. 853.1-2) and 'DuiM 'dzin GragsMpaMrgyal-mtshan (p. 376.5).

initiation in 'the usual Tibetan initiations. According to the sadhana of Rdo-rje-'jigs-byed; this ritual is as follows: On each of one's [the practitioner's] eyes there is [the seed syllable] Praf(l. Holding the vajra in [your] right hand toward the eyes as if it were an eye-spoon (mig-thur), [recite]:

Of!'l vajra·naitraiJ'l a]:zpahara patalaf!l Hrtl:z. 118 As the king of the eye healers removes the worldly eye film, so, 0 son, the Victorious Ones remove your film of ignorance. Freed from the film [which causes] ignorance, the eye of enlightened wisdom has been opened. 119 Both the opening of the eye of a disciple and the opening of the eye of an image may ultimately derive from a pre-tantric ritual of eye opening employed in various contexts.t'0 Yet, at present for those familiar with Tibetan rituals, the immediate allusion of this pronouncement is the opening of the eye of a disciple or practitioner in the cause and path initiation. Hence the opening of the eye of the receptacle during its consecration is seen as a form of initiating it into enlightened wisdom (ye-shes).

Perceiving the opening of a receptacle's eye as an irtitiation into enlightened wisdom entails the problem of conferring initiation on an already enlightened lha invited to abide therein as we have seen in the previous section. Therefore, other authors of consecration manuals introduce some modifications to the verse for the eye operting borrowed from the initiation. Brag-phug Dge-bshes, for example, has the following:

As the king of the eye healers removes the worldly [[[eye]]] film, so [I] shall open the eye of the Victorious Ones for the sake of sentient beings.121 118 Read apahara for al;pahara; 'Ortt Remove the film of the vajra eye Hrfl;.' 119 Rang-gi mig gnyis Ia yi-ge prart~ re-re/ Ortt vajra naitran; al;pahara patalalfl. Hrf/:11 zhes lag-pa g.yas-kyi rdo-rje mig-thur-gyi tshul~du mig-gi thad-du bzung-stel ji-ltar migmkhan rgyal-po-yisl 'jig-rten ling-tog bsal-ba-ltarl bu khyod-kyi ni mi shes-pa'il rab-rib rgyai-ba-rnams-kyis bsaif ma-rig-pa'i ling-tog dang bral nas ye-shes-kyi spyan-bye-bar gyurl J. 231.5-232.1: cf. also KL 340-341:

Wayman 1970/84:160 and 1973:69. 120 The notion of an all-seeing eye is both universal and ancient. Common in Buddhism are the 'divine eye' (lha'i mig, divya-calqu), classified among the supernatural know ledges (mngon-shes, abhijfiti), and the classification of three and five eyes, which has been surveyed by Wayman (1970/84:153-161). Furthermore, the attainment of 'eye ointment' (mig-sman), which enables one to see all the worlds, belongs to the eight ordinary siddhis (thun-monggi dngos-grub brgyod, Beyer 1973:252-253; Rlgzin 1986:171-172). 121 Ji-ltar mig-mkhan rgyal-po-yisl 'jig-rten rab-rib bsal-ba ltar! de-bzhin rgyal-barnams- kyi spyanl sems-can don-du dbye-bar bya! p. 312.4-5. A very similar verse is found

Rje-btsun Grags-pa-rgyal-mtshan provides the following interpretation: It is called opening the eye because just as by opening the eye of a blind person he or she is able to enter the city, so by opening the eye of an image it is able [to act] for the sake of sentient beings.122 The first part of this quote alludes to the well known notion of a disciple who, as a blind person, cannot find his or her way to the city of liberation and enlightenment. (It is in the context of 'entering the city' that the Ratna-guT)a-sai'(ICaya-gatlui refers to the attainment of the eye of wisdom, while alluding to the ritual of opening the eye of a painting; see above). 123 It is evident that the intended audience of Rje-btsun Grags-pa-rgyal-mtshan would be familiar with these notions, which are then taken a step further.

The eye of the image is opened during its consecration not for its own sake, but so that it would be able to act for the sake of sentient beings, The final pronouncement of the ritual of opening the eye in Khribyang Rin-po-che's manual expresses a similar aspiration: "May [you (the lha abiding in the receptacle)] apply [yourself] to look with enlightened wisdom on the patron and others." (R. 426.4--5) More often, the notion of the wisdom eye is replaced with a compassionate eye. The parallel pronouncement in Brag-phug Dge-bshes' manual is: "May [the receptacle's eye] become an eye which takes upon itself to look with compassion on us." (296.4) Similarly explaining the essence (ngo-bo) of the consecration, Gung-thang-pa says, The main action or imperative of the consecration is effecting the indistinguishability of the ye-shes sems-dpa' and dam-tshig sems-dpa'. To this the ritual of eye opening is appended because its aim is the commitment to look on the trainees (gdul-bya) with a compassionate eye until the end of saf!1Siira. 124

Here the eye opening is interpreted as a ritual for inducing the eye of the lha invited to abide in the receptacle to look with compassion also in other consecration works, including that of Advayavajra found in the Tanjur (Toh. 1487, p. 313.5-6). 122 Long-ba mig-phye nas grong-khyer-du 'jug nus-pa bzhin sku-gzugs spyan-phye nas sems-can-gyi don nus-par bya-ba'i phyir spyan-dbye zhes-bya'o! Rgyud-kyi Mngon-rtogs

123 Ratna-gw:za-sarttcaya-gfithd VII 1-2, translated by Conze 1975:23. 124 Zhes rab-gnas-kyi bya-ba' am dgos-pa'i gtso-bo dam-ye dbyer-med-du byas-te/ 'khorba'i phyi mtha'-bar-du gdul-bya-rnams la thugs-rje'i spyan-gyts gzigs--pa lhur byed-pa'i don yin-ba'i rgyu-mtshan-gyis spyan-dbye'i cho-gar yang btags-pa yin! ibid. p. 101.6- 102.1.

on sentient beings. The eye opening is considered now as an ancillary to the tantric consecration and is not attributed with consecratory functions of its own. Its main purpose is explained in the consecration works cited here as strengthening the effect of the consecration. The main purpose of the consecration is to establish in the receptacle a lha [a Buddha], who will perform the activities of the Buddha. These include acting with enlightened wisdom or compassion towards all sentient beings. The opening the the receptacles' eye is considered to enhance such activities, thereby serving to increase the potency of the tantric consecration. In conclusion, according to these consecration works, the once independellt ritual of opening the eye became subordinate to the tantric consecration, and its original role became secondary .125

2. The 'enthronement' offerings (mnga'-dbul) Another non-tantric ritual which possesses the characteristics of being a potentially independent consecration is the 'enthronement' offerings. These are the first offerings made to the receptacle upon its consecration. In his commentary on the Hevajra Tantra, Grags-pa-rgyalmtshan explains the enthronement offerings as follows: "Because [the receptacle] becomes worthy of offerings, these are also called enthronement offerings."'" And in the Rgyud-kyi Mngon-rtog he says: When by making immeasurable offerings one perlorms enthronement offerings, this is similar to the appearance of a king in [his] capital, [therefore] it is called enthronement offerings.

These offerings give legitimacy to the receptacle in its role as a recipient of offerings, in a way similar to royal enthronement which authorizes a monarch to rule. It is well recognized that royal symbolism plays important role in Indo-Tibetan rituals of various types, including 125 The middle pronouncement in Khri-byang Rin-po~che's manual states that the lha abiding in the receptacle is already endowed with an eye of enlightened wisdom. The eye opening here serves as an aspiration on the part of the performers and patrons for all sentient beings to obtain such an eye. Similar notions are expressed in one type of the verses which accompany offerings to the receptacle, and will be discussed below (in the sections on bathing and offerings). 126 Mchod-pa'i 'os-su gyur-pa'i phyir mnga' dbul-ba zhes-kyang bya'o/1 (136.2.6). 127 Mchod-pa dpag-tu med-pa byas nas mnga' -phul-bas na rgyal-po rgyal-sar thon-pa dang 'dra-ste mnga'-dbul-ba zhes bya'o! p. 54.1.1.

initiations and consecrations.'" All these rituals also share elements of a new birth such as bathing and anointing as well as the offering of crowns and other ornaments. It is not easy, however, to trace direct influence of the coronation on the consecration or vice versa. This is especially true in light of the considerable shifts the Indian coronations underwent from the Vedic coronation (Heesterman 1957) to the present (Witzel 1987). Sa-skya Pal)(lita maintains that consecration rituals which resemble coronations were taught in the siltras. However, they are not true consecrations:

Consecrations are not taught in the sUtras. However, if one says that rituals such as royal enthronements, offerings, praises, recitation of verses of auspiciousness are consecrations, then one may say that consecrations are taught in the st1tras.

There may have been rituals of royal enthronement performed as consecrations for receptacles which Sa-skya Pal)c;lita, at least, distinguishes from tantric consecration. But a further investigation of the enthronement rituals to which Sa-skya PaJ;Jc;lita was referring is necessary. Unfortunately none of the extant commentaries on the Sdom Gsum Rab-dbye, and none of the consecration works I have studied so far, provide any further clues on this point. The enthronement offerings as a whole is a ritual sequence unique to consecrations. It consists of general and specific offerings.

The general enthronement offerings (spyi'i mnga' -dbul) contains offerings common to most Indo-Tibetan rituals such as the five upadiras, the five sense gratification offerings, the eight auspicious emblems and so forth, which are made for the first time to the receptacle thereby inaugurating or dedicating it as a recipient of offerings. The special enthronement offerings (bye-brag mnga' -dbul) are specific to either images, books or stupas. They consist of certain requisites specific to that type of receptacle. Requisites of monks are offered to images portraying monastic figures; ornaments, clothes and a comb to images of the sarrtbhogakaya; book boards and cloth to books; and life-wood (srog-shing, ya~fi), parasols, flowers, etc., to stupas. These specific offerings seem to be an agglomeration of separate rituals which occur m See Snel1grove 1959; for royal symbolism in Hindu rituals, see Biihnemann 1988:152. 129 Mdo nas rab-gnas bshad-pa med! on-kyang mchod-bstod bkra-shis sags/ rgyal-po'i mnga'-dbul /ta-bu Ia/ rab-gnas yin zhes smra na smrosf 'Sdom Gsum Rab-dbye (see bibliography of Tibetan works) p. 31l.l-2.

in various works some of which are found in the Tanjur. Thus, for example, Advayavajra's consecration work contains enthronement offerings for images,130 while similar works by Padma-lcags-kyu131 and Zhi-ba'i-snying-po132 contain only offerings for stupas, etc. A special notice should be paid to the specific offerings made to an image of a monk, as there are interesting parallels to them. During a consecration of images in Cambodia, as described by Leclere, the ritual master took scissors and mimed cutting the hair of the image, while reciting a Pilli verse called Pheak ka~tray ('face scissors'). Then he took a razor and mimed shaving the beard and eyebrows while reciting a verse called Kof!l}Jo et kor ('the razor blade').133 The shaving of the hair as well as the conferral of monastic robes and bowl are parts of the ordination (upasampadd). 134 Indeed, Wells remarks on an image consecration in Northern Thailand:

This Buddhilbhiseka Ceremony was spoken of as an ordination ceremony whereby the images entered the priesthood."'" The element of ordination in consecration rituals throughout South and Bast Asia is also emphasized by Strickmann in a forthcoming work which I received while preparing the present study for publication.'" Even though from among the various sorts of rites of passage it is to the initiation that Tibetan writings on consecration allude, the offerings made to an image of a monk in Tibetan consecrations hint to ordinations as well. The offerings to an image of a monk in Khri-byang Rin-po-che's manual include razor and nail shears. Other manuals such as those by Bragphug Dge-bshes137 or Advayavajra138 mention also the three robes of a monk (chos-gos gsum), consisting of snam-sbyar, bla-gos and shamthabs, 139 as well as staff ('khar-gsil), alms bowl (lhung-bzed), strainer (chu-tshags), etc. These are some of the main requisites of monks (yobyad, pari$kdra). 140 These offerings no doubt allude to the ordination aspect of the consecration.

3. Rituals accompanying the request to the lha to firmly remain in the receptacle

In several consecration works (including R. 442.4; PC 866) the request to the lha to firmly remain in the receptacle as long as sai)1Sara lasts is designated the main part of the consecration. It may be recalled that this is the only one among the core rituals of the elaborate consecration which does not involve a tantric transformation. Appended to this ritual act are a few additional actions whose proximity to what is called the main ritual action of the consecration points to their relative central role in this ritual as well. There is evidence that at least the first of them served as an independent consecration. Unlike the ritual of the opening of the eye, however, these rituals still preserve their full consecratory functions. When consecration is performed in a brief form, it consists mainly of the request to the lha to firmly remain in the receptacle together with the rituals appended to it. In elaborate consecrations in which the tantric fourfold generation predominates, these appended rituals become peripheral.

I have already discussed the first of these appended rituals elsewhere (Bentor 1992, see also below}. 141 It is composed of therecitation of the verse of Interdependent Origination (ye dharma ... )142 while scattering grain and flowers on the receptacle. This ritual makes an appearance as an independent short form of the consecration ritual in the Tanjur, including in Atisa's Pha-rol-tu Phyin-pa' i Theg-pa' i Sa-tstsha Gdab-pa'i Cho-ga (Toh. 3976 = 4488; P. 5041 = 5373).143 The title of this work indicates that this ritual belongs to the Paramitayana, that is to say to the sutra and not the tantra system.144 The role of the verse of Interdependent Origination in practices related to stupas and images has already been treated on more than one occasion (Boucher 1991; Bentor 1992). What is important for present purposes is that these ritual actions comprise an autonomous consecration wholly incorporated into the frame of the tantric consecratory ritual. 141 See the section on empowering the flowers during the preparatory rituals. 142 The 'verse of Interdependent Origination' is very well known in both its P:lli and Sanskrit fonns. For the Pali see Vinaya I, p. 40 (Mahdvagga I, 23, 5 and 10). For "the Sanskrit see Senart 1897: vol. 3, p. 62; and Waldschmidt 1962, ch. 28b, 10 and ch. 28c, 6- (translated into English by Kloppenborg 1973).

143 Other works which contain a prescription for consecration through the recitation of the ye dharma ... gdtha will be listed below in the section on empowering the flowers during the preparatory rituals. 144 The possibility of a satra-style consecration became a topic of polemics (see Bentor, !992).

The other ritual accompanying the request to the lha to firmly abide in the receptacle is the recitation of verses of auspiciousness (bkrashis). The performance of some ritual for auspiciousness has long been associated with consecrations. In listing types of consecrations which were taught in the sutra, Padma-'phrin-las mentions the blessing with 'auspicious words of the three precious ones' and with the 'verse oflnterdependent Origination' .145 Similarly, in the passage from the Sdom Gsum Rab-dbye cited above, Sa-skya Pa(l(lita mentions the recitation of verses of auspiciousness as a form of consecration which does appear in the s(itras.

Before continuing our discussion of the recitation of verses of auspiciousness as a consecration, a few words should be said about the ritual of the confession of sins for auspiciousness. Padma-'phrinlas mentions also the performance of the confession of sins for auspiciousness (bkra-shis-kyi gso-sbyong) as a consecration ritual. And also the so called confession of sins for auspiciousness is known to exist for the sake of making auspiciousness and consecrating temples, regions, etc. 146 '

Nowadays this ritual is performed mainly for consecrating secular edifices such as private homes. The ritual of confession of sins is one of the oldest Buddhist rituals. In addition to its basic purpose of confessing and thereby purifying sins, it has acquired some additional aims. A similar phenomenon is known also in regard to Chinese Buddhist confessional rituals. Hsiangchou Yo writes:

The appearance of various confessional rituals accommodated more and more people who had different purposes in practicing confessional ritual. Some people practiced confessional rituals in order to attain happiness and to prevent calamities, some for the sake of. saving the deceased, others for stabilizing spiritual life, and still others for the retribution of grace. The religious functions of confessional rituals were thus broadened. As a result, they became increasingly popular. 147 It seems that the process of differentiation of rituals in Buddhism bas been relatively slow. For a long period existing rituals were performed 145 Dkon-mchog gsum-gyi bkra-shis-kyi tshig dang rten-'brel snying-pos byin-gyis brlabpar gsungs-pa ... p. 4. 146 Gzhan yang bkra-shis-kyi gso-sbyong bya-ba yang gtsug-lag-khang dang yul-khams sogs bkra-shis-pa dang rab-tu gnas-pa'i phyir yin-pa shes-so/ p. 5. 147 Hsiang-chou Yo 1991:177.

for a large variety of purposes. In Tibet only the tantra developed a wide range of distinct rituals designed to accomplish diverse goals. According to the Tibetan classification, 148 one category of the confession of sins (the mthun-pa' i gso-sbyong) includes two types of such rituals: the confession of sins which is performed on specific occasions (dus nges-pa'i gso-sbyong), such as the bimonthly confessions performed at every monastery, and the confessions of sins which is not associated with any particular occasion (dus ma nges-pa' i gsosbyong). The confessions of sins for auspiciousness (bkra-shis-pa' i gso-sbyong) belongs to the latter group. 149 Its frame is similar to the bimonthly confession of sins; however, certain words in the recitation are replaced to suit the circumstances.

These various rituals for auspiciousness, whether the recitation of some of the verses of auspiciousness or the performance of the confession of sins for auspiciousness, belong to a general type of ritual employed for undifferentiated purposes. These, as well as the recitation of the verse of Interdependent Origination, are usually associated with the sutra class. Some of them are found in the sutra section of the Kanjur. But rituals may be classified as belonging to the sutra also when they are not directly based on the sfltras, but are free of the basic tantric elements, i.e. the generation of the dam-tshig sems-dpa' and the invitation and absorption of the ye-shes sems-dpa'. Whether or not the recitation of both the verse of Interdependent Origination and the verses of auspiciousness are to be called sutra

rituals, 150 their· incorporation into the main part of the consecration indicates their continuing importance in tantric contexts. The rituals included in what is termed the main part of the consecration seem to contain various older forms of consecration that were never supplanted. One· factor that preserved the recitation of both the verse of Interdependent Origination and the verses of auspiciousness as an autonomous consecratory process until today is no doubt the brevity and 14s Cf. Padma-'phrin-Ias, "Dul-ba'i gso~sbyong-gi cho~ga'i lag-len legs-bshad nor-bu'i do-shal," pp. 441-442 (see the bibliography of Tibetan works). I would like to thank Rig' dzin Mkhan-po, the head of the Rnying-ma educational es_tablishment (bshatt-grwa) in Kathmandu for introducing me to this subject; see also K. 1271, 1275, 3029. 149 To this group belong also confessions of sins for averting harm (gnod-pa bzlogpa'i gso-sbyong), and confessions of sins for reconciling hostility ('khon-pa bsdum-pa'i gso-sbyong), or for reconciling the saflgha (dge-'dun bsdum-pa'i gso-sbyong) Sanskrit: sdmagrt-po ~adha (BHSD 591); P~li: samaggt-uposatha (cf. Upasak 197?:53). 150 See a previous note in this section.

relative easiness of such a consecration, which can be employed for the numerous consecrations of privately owned receptacles that every Tibetan lama is called upon to perform. As one of the most concise forms of consecration a lama may recite the verse of Interdependent Origination together with a popular set of three verses of auspiciousness known as the "first, second and third verses of auspiciousness".'" In the manual translated below, the verses of auspiciousness recited during the main part of the consecration are the verses of auspiciousness which belong to the sadhana ofRdo-rje-'jigs-byed. As in other instances, this sadhana forms the basis of the consecration related to it.

4. Offering bath

Ritual bathing is an element common to almost every religion. Here we are not concerned with baths taken by persons for purifying themselves, but rather about offering baths to religious objects or lha. The bathing of images (snana) is a well-known Indian ritual of offering attested in Buddhist and Hindu literature, inscriptions and testimonies of travellers, 152 which is still very popular nowadays. Such a bathing functions, for the most part, as purification, offering and consecration.'" Bathing, anointing or aspersion are in various cultures rituals offered to the 'newly born' in coronations, initiations, consecrations and so forth. Even when performed alone the offering of the bath has consecratory functions.

The bathing in consecrations and initiations can be distinguished from bathing as offerings by the direction this process takes. While the bathing of a receptacle as an offering ritual is presented from someone lower to someone or something higher, the initiation or consecration are a bestowal ritual, granted from someone higher to someone lower.'" The bath offered according to Khri-byang Rin-po-che's manual 1 ~ 1 Bkra~shis dang-po, bkra-shis gnyis-pa and bkra-shis gsurn-pa. These verses are recited during the enthronement offerings (mnga-'bul) in the consecration below (R. 435.6-436,1). For the Sanskrit and Tibetan texts together with a Japanese translation see Takahashi 1979. 152 Cf. I Ching 1896: passim; Shtideva, Bodhi-caryavatara, chapter 2; Schopen, 1990:187; Goudriaan 1970:181-186; Biihnemann 1988:139-148 and 151-154; etc. 153 Another function of the bathing is royal consecration or enthronement (cf. Heesterman 1957; Brhat Sa'llhitd chapter 48; Witzel 1987; etc). 154 The discrepancies between the initiation conferred on the consecration lha arise partly because it is conferred on an equal entity. The ritual master, who is no different from the lha of the mandala, confers initiation on a similar lha.

consists of two parts called the ordinary bath (phal-khrus) and the supreme bath (mchog,khrus). In the ordinary bath the aspects of purification and offerings are emphasized, while the supreme bath is in fact a consecration. From among the threefold functions of the bathing, its consecratory function will be remarked upon here, while its aspects of purification and offerings will be addressed below .155 The proceedings of the supreme bathing are no different from the water initiation.'" During the preparatory rituals the yi-dam Rdo-rje' jigs-byed is invited into the Victorious Vase (bum-bskyed). He dissolves into the water of the vase so that the two become 'one taste' (ro-gcig). The actual supreme bathing is conferred with water which is no different from Rdo-rje- 'jigs-byed himself. Similar to the water initiation, the supreme bathing is offered while visualizing the mandala of the three seats (gdan gsum tshang-ba'i dkyil-'khor)157 in the sky. As Mkhas-grub Rje explains,

One should be convinced that among the initiatory deities invited from the 'corners' (zur), Locanil. and the others hold the flask and actually confer initiation; however, the lifting of the flask is done by the 'preceptor' (upfidhytiyd) and the Hierophant (acarya). 158 What distinguishes the abhi~eka bath from an ordinary bathing in Hindu Smil.rta rituals is that the former seems to be offered by divine beings, such as Savill;, the Asvins, etc.'"

The occurrence of the supreme bathing in the consecration is not common to all Tibetan consecration manuals. Some of the works which do include the supreme bathing contain some remnants of polemics on its incorporation into the rite. Their justification, which is based, as usual, on textual authority, sheds no light on the meaning of the supreme bathing. The First Pal).chen Lama says: Both ordinary and supreme bathing are truly necessary. The Consecration Tantra 160 has,

In bronze vessels arrange smooth pure sesame oil and nice urjumbara161 shoots and offer them. Anoint them [the receptacles] with the five 155 See the section on offering bath in the preparatory rituals.

scents; anoint them with the five seed syllables.'" Together with the assemblage of disciples bathe with the purity of mantra. This is the ordinary bathing. Also [Here the First Pa(lchen Lama continues his quote from the Consecration Tantra:] With mind captivated with the so-called auspiciousness recite the verses; actually initiate according to the ritual method, as the action of the Vidy§. Locan§.. 163

Thus the supreme bathing is shown separately. Also, the Saf11varodaya Tantra164 has:

Anoint with scented butter, bathe with the cleansing substances as well. Once again bathe the images also with165 the various vase[s]. Thus, the first half of the verse clearly teaches the ordinary bath and the later half, the supreme bath, separately.'" Thus, the First Pa(lchen Lama explains the mention of the anointment and bathing in the Consecration Tantra as referring to the cleansing substances and bathing vases of the ordinary vases, while the remarks on verses of auspiciousness and the vidya he takes as referring to the 162 This refers to the application of the cleansing substances on the five places corresponding the the five Tathilgatas. The First PaQchen Lama has sa~bon lnga ni gtor·bar bya for the sa-bon-gyis ni de-dag byug of the Consecration Tantra in the Derge and Peking I(anjurs. Yet,_ The First Pal.).chen Lama shares his reading of the Kanjur with that found in the Tog· Palace Kanjur (vol. 98, p. 747.4). A considerable number of central Tibetan writers quote a version of the Kanjur closer in its readings to the ·Tog Palace Kanjur than to the Derge or Peking Kanjurs (which are most commonly used by western scholars). 163 While the Tog Palace, vol. 98, p. 747, has rig-rna Spyan-ma, 'the Vidy& Locana, the First PaQ.chen Lama's work has rivma- can las. This phrase is omitted in the Derge and Peking: Kanjurs.

164 Toh. 373, Derge Vol. 78, p. 582.4. 165 The Derge version has yis for yi. The First PaQchen Lama's readings agree with those of the Tog Palace, vol. 93, p. 402.1. 166 Khrus-la' ang phal-khrus dang/ mchog-khrus gnyis nges-par dgos-te/ Rab-gnas-kyi Rgyud las! 'jam-pa'i til-mar dag dang nil u-dulfi·Va-ra lcr~g-ma bzangl 'khar-ba'i snodkyi nag-dag-tu/ bkod la rab-tu dbul-ba bya/ dri lhga-yis ni de nas phyugs/ sa-bon lngas ni gtor-bar byal slob-ma'i tshogs dang bcas-pa yisl sngags-kyi gtsang-sbras bkru-bar byal zhes-pas phal-pa'i khruS dang! yang! bkra-shis zhes-bya'i yid-'ong-ba'i! blo dang ldan pas tshigs-bcad brjodl rig-rna can las ji-bzhin-dul cho-ga bzhin-du dngos dbang-bs~ur/ ces mchog-gi khrus so-sor bstan-pa ltcirl Sdom-'byung las kyangl-drf.zhim ldan-pa'i mar-gyis byugs/ 'dag-chal-gyis ni khrus kyang byal slar-yang bum-pa so-so-yif sku-gzugs-rnams ni khrus kyang byal zhes tshigs-bcas-phyed dang-pos phal-khrus dang phyed-phyi-mas mchogkhrus so-sor gsal-ba bstan-nol PC pp. 832.6-833.4. The Sanskrit is slightly different: sugandha-gandha-tailena valka/ena tu snlipayetl puna/;. pratyeka-kalaSena pratimliTl;lsnGpaye! ff This might be translated: 'Then one should bathe with well scented sesame oil and tree bark. One should bathe the image once more with each vase' (see Bentor, in preparation 1).

supreme bath. The last two components constitute an important part in the water initiation, in which the female lha of the five senses are visualized as reciting verses of auspiciousness while the assembly actually recites them.'67 Then, while visualizing that the consorts, beginning with Locana, confer initiation from white vases filled with the five nectars, the ritual master pours water from the Victorious Vase.168

It seems that the Sa171varodaya Tantra does not refer to two different bathings but to the two steps in administrating any bath-the anointing with cleansing substances and the rinsing with scented water from the vases: Yet, the point is not whether the First Pavchen Lama and other authors. of consecration manuals have sufficient scriptural · justification for including the water initiation in the bathing. The fact is that a considerable number of consecration manuals recognize an affiliation between these two rituals, and therefore include the water initiation in the bathing in addition to its occurrence during the initiation ritual proper.

Unlike the ordinary bathing, the supreme bathing is conferred not by humans but by the Tathagatas' consorts. The materials of this bath are not the scented waters of the bathing vases, but the water of the Victorious Vase which is conceived as transformed into the chief lha of the mandala. However, it seems that the supreme bathing does not have an initiatory function but rather two other purposes. On the one side, like the ordinary bathing, it is an act of worship here performed with the most valuable Buddhist means-a bath offered by the Tathagata's consorts with water which is Rdo-rje-'jigs-byed. On the other hand, bathing the receptacle with water which is a lha seems to be a method of consecration in itself. The Tibetan consecration works I consulted do not provide any interpretation for the supreme bathing. It should be noted in comparison that some non-Tibetan consecration rituals are based on precisely the same principle as the supreme bathing. We might take a look at consecrations of the Vaikhanasa sect in Tamil Nadu which have been more extensively studied. The climactic acts in the Vaikhanasa consecration observed by

169 Note, however, that the water initiation included in the initiation section proper follows Anuttara Yoga Tantra, while the water initiation done as part of the bathing seems to follow the tradition of the Lower Tantras.

Welbon begin with the invitation of Vi~l,lU into the ritual vase (kumbha). Vi~pu graciously accepts the Gcdrya's invitation and descends into the water in the kumbha, where, it seems, he is considered to be fully present. He does not enter into the image; but the image itself is from this time referred to as dev'a ... The prati~!hd will be effected when the two are joined, at the mahilsiimprok~a(Ul [great sprinkling] when the water is sprinkled on the image.

Thus, this consecration is accomplished here by bathing the image with the water of the vase into which Vi~1,1u has descended. Another parallel is found in the Sino-Japanese consecration rituals. 171 This is in complete agreement with the process of the Tibetan supreme bath. The water of the Victorious Vase which is 'one taste' with Rdo-rje' jigs-byed is used for the conferral of the Tibetan supreme bath. Through this process the yi-dam permeates the receptacle, thereby consecrating it. Unlike the other secondary consecrations discussed above, this consecration by means of the supreme bathing is a tantric ritual. Yet, it is distinct from the main tantric consecration conferred through the fourfold generation process.

The secondary consecrations included in the frame of elaborate consecrations preserve various characteristics of the ritual whose expression are absent or only partly present in the tantric core of the consecration. These elements include the enthronement, ordination and rebirth aspects of the consecration as well as independent forms of consecration such as the opening of the eye, and consecration by means of the verse of Interdependent Origination, consecration by means of rituals for auspiciousness, or through bathing. It should be emphasized that all these rituals are seen as complementing each other. There are no contradictions among them apparent only to the critical Western eye. 172 Even though traditional Tibetans see the entire ritual as ultimately derived from the word of the Buddha, they recognize that it contains various traditions.

170 Welbon 1984:80; see also the prescriptions for such a consecration according to KdSyapa's Book ofWisdom-Goudriaan 1965:170-198 as well as Rangachari 1931:130-- 131; Colas 1989:141-142 and Davis 1992:48-49. 171 Strickmann forthcoming, chapter 3, section 3. 172 Cf. Welbon 1984 and Colas 1989.


1. The ritual master

Consecrations are considered among the chief responsibilities of tanttic masters. Grags-pa-rgyal-mtshan lists these as follows: "Further, among the actions of a vajracarya (rdo-rje s/ob-dpon), the most important are these three: initiations, consecrations, and fire rituals. "173 The biographies of most Tibetan lamas tell of a considerable number of consecrations these lamas performed during their lives. Especially the highest hierarchs, such as the Dalai Lamas, Karma-pas, Sa-skya Khrichens and Bdag-chens are frequently requested to consecrate or reconsecrate stupas, images and temples. Receptacles consecrated by high lamas are considered to be a source of greater blessings than larger ones consecrated in a much more elaborate ritual but by a lesser lama. Even the most meticulous performance of consecration, according to the most perfect manual, is not considered to bring about any effect unless the ritual is performed by a capable master. The ideal qualities of a consecration master are no different from those disciples should seek for in their gurus. Various consecration works contain some of the standard exemplary qualities of a master according to the Guru-paiicika ( Lnga-bcu-pa), the model of the three sets of de-nyid bcu,114 and so forth. On the other hand, Dadpa Mkhan-po states: "In the deteriorating times nowadays such complete qualities ar~ very rare."175 He maintains that the ritual master should at least be endowed with the outer de-nyid bcu, obtain the vajracdrya initiation, generate a mind of enlightenment, complete the approaching practice, keep their vows and commitments, hear explanations about the consecration ritual, observe and know it, be skilled in performing initiation and so forth. 176

Tibetan literature contains various accounts of miraculous consem Yang na rdo-rje s!ob-dpon-gyi las ni di;Jang bskur-b~ dang rab-tu gnas-pa dang sbyin-sreg gsum gtso-bo yin Ia! Commentary on the Hevajra Tantra (see bibliography of Tibetan works), p. 136.2.2.

114 See Rigzin (1986) phyi'i de-nyid bcu (pp. 267-268); nang-gi de-nyid bcu (p. 227). 175 Deng-sang snyigs-ma' i dus-su yon-tan de thams-cad tshang-ba shin-tu dkon-pa ...

176 In the Sdorn.Gsum Rab-dbye (p. 311.1-311.2), Sa-skya PaQ!;iita sets forth a very formalistic imperative for the ritual master of consecrations and initiations, demanding that they be recipients of the vajr{iclirya initiation.

crations testifying to the extraordinary powers of their performers. One of the best known such examples is the consecration of Bsamyas by Padmasambhava. According to the Padma Bka' -thang: Guru Padma spent seven days in the Attainment of the Diamond Plane (rdo-rje-dbyings), conferred unction (dbang) upon the sovereign king, and threw the flowers of consecration.

When he threw the flowers to the threefold roof, the images from the temples at once went outside, and brandished their attributes. The king feared in his heart that the images would not return to their places,

but, having made circumambulations [thrice] of the stfipa at the pinnacle, the deities returned to their places in the temple.177 Especially appreciated are consecrations performed from a distance as a demonstration of great powers, such as the consecration of the stupa of Chag Dgra-bcom (1153-1216) located in Rte'u-ra in Tibet, but consecnited from Nepal. When Rav!ndra performed the consecration in Nepal, a shower ofrice grain fell in Rte'u-ra. 178 Similarly, the 12th Karma-pa Byang-chub-rdo-rje (1703-1732) consecrated three monasteries in Rumtek, Sikkim from his seat in Mtshur-phu. 179 Rgod-kyi-ldem-phrn-can (= Rgod-ldem) distinguishes various masters endowed with the ability to consecrate.

The best are pers·ons who, having realized the meaning of emptiness and compassion, see the truth; by just directing their thought, undoubtedly they consecrate. The middle ones, having united the duality nf the generation and perfection [[[Wikipedia:processes|processes]]] by completing the signs of the 177 Translated by Kenneth Douglas and Gwendolyn Bays, 1978. Rdo-rje dbyings-kyi sgrub-pa zhag bdu,n thonl mnga'-bdag rgyal-por dbang-bskur mdzad-nas-su/ slob-dpon padmas rab-gnas me-tog 'thor! dbu-rtse rigs gsum me-tog 'thor-ba'i tshel nang-gi lharnams phyir-ru shar-gyis 'thonl phyag-mtshan thams-cad gdengs-shing bsgyur-ba byungl rgyal-po'i thugs-/a nang-du mi tshud snyam! dbu-rtse mchod-rten bcas-par thengs gsum bskor/ s/ar-yang lha-rnams lha-khang nang-du bzhudl pp. 270.6-270.2 (see the bibliography of Tibetan works). For older accounts of this consecration, see Nyang-ral Nyi-ma' od-zer, Zangs-gling-ma, ch. 11 1989:54-55, and his Chos-'byung 1988:302 (see the bibliography of Tibetan works). For an inscription inscribed on the occasion of the consecration of Bsam-yas, which is included in the Mkhas-pa'i Dga'i-ston, see Snellgrove 1987:409--10.

178 This is the grain scattered on the receptacle during· the recitation of the verse of Interdependent Origination (Blue Annals, p. 1056). 179 This type of consecration is called zangs-thal (see Tsering 1984:19, note 19).

approaching and achieving practice, 180 would perform [[[consecration]]]. The lesser ones would perform by their ptire training and vows. Thus, they must confess their sins; the sngags~pas must confess any violation of their commitment. Otherwise they are not fit to act as masters. I believe that the person who actually sees undoubtedly consecrate. 181 In another work, Rgod-ldem ranks ritual masters as follows, Masters of the lower path of the H1nayana are not suitable for performing consecrations. When Mftdhyamika masters of the Mahayana consecrate, they merely purify the inanimate elements. When masters of the (outer) tantra of the mantra (vehicle) consecrate, they mer~Iy generate [the receptacles] as a lha in front of themselves. When masters of the generation and great perfection [[[Wikipedia:processes|processes]]] consecrate, -they are merely able to invite the ye-shes sems-dpa' and [make it] absorb [into the damtshig sems-dpa']. When a yogi who has realized the great ye-shes consecrates, just as, for example, by making a request to a wish-fulfilling jewel, every want will be fulfilled, by merely having the intention to consecrate an image of the Tathdgata and by making a 'sign' (rten' brel), a consecration, in which the ye-shes sems-dpa' is invited from the realm (dbyings), absorbs into the image, and firmly remains [there] until the desired qualities are attained, would be accomplished for the duration of twenty -one aeons.

Similarly, Brag-phug Dge-bshes maintains:

180 See the section on tantric rituals and consecration above. 181 Gang-zag rab-tu gyur-pa nil stong-nyid snying-rje'i don-rtogs-shingl bden-pa mthongba'i gang-zag-gis dgongs-pa gtad-pa tsam gyis kyang/ rab-tu gnas-par the-tshom 'med! 'bring-gi[s] bskyed-rdzogs [g]zung-'brel cingl [b]snyen-sgrub rtags-rnams rdzogs-pas bya/ tha-ma [b}slab-sdom gtsang-mas bya/ de yang bso-sbyong b/ang-bar byal sngags-pas dam-tshig bshags·sdom-byal de min slob-dpon byar mi rung/ nga'i rjes-su 'jug-pa yis/ mngon-Sum gzigs-pa'i gang-zag-gist rab-tu gnas-par the-tshom medl work 2, pp. 493-494; also cited by padma-'phrin-las, p. 23.2-4. Padma-'phrin-las has 'bring-gi for gzigs-pa'i in the last sentence. In this case, the last sentence would be: 'I believe that, in fact, the middling persons undoubtedly consecrate'.

182 Theg-pa chung-ngu lam man-chad-kyi slob-dpon-gyis rab-gnas byar mi rung/ thegpa chen-po dbu-ma'i slob-dpon-gyis rab-gnas byas nal 'byung-ba bem-po sbyong-ba rtsi [tsam]l sngags-kyi brgyud [phyi-rgyud]-kyi slob-dpon-gyis rab-gnas byas nal mdun-pa lha-ru bskyed-pa tsaml [b]skyed rdzogs chen-po'i slob-dpon-gyis rab-gnas byas nat yeshes- pa spyan-drangs na~ bstim nus-pa tsaml_ ye-shes chen-po rtogs-pa'i rnal-'byor-pa'i [pas] rab-gnas byas nat dpe yid-bzhin nor-bu Ia gsol-ba thebs-pa /tar/ de-bzhin gshegspa'i sku-gzugs Ia rab-gnas gsol-ba'i mdun-pa ['dun-pa] dang/ rten-'brel byas-pa tsamgyi[ s] gang-/a bsam-pa 'dod-dgu bsgyur-tef dbyings-nas ye-shes-pa spyan-drangs-pa dang/ gzugs-sku Ia bstim-pa dang/ 'dod-pa'i yon-tan rna grub-kyi bar-du brtan-par bzhugs-pa'i rab-gnas rlung khug-pa nyi-shu rtsa gcig-gi bar du 'gyur chags-pa yin/ work l, pp. 482.5- 483.4. Cited by Padma-'phrin-las, pp. 22.4-23.2, from which the amendments in brackets are taken.

Persons who know appearance as the miraculous display of awareness (rig-pa) accomplish a. consecration 'With its perfect meaning.183 Persons who do not know appearances as the dramatic action (rolpa) of ye-shes, even if they petform consecration a hundred times, as tong as they hold the receptacle and the ye-shes sems-dpa'. as different, they cannot accomplish a genuine consecration because the spirits of mistaken dualistic thinking have possessed them.184 Furthermore, a distinction is made between the outer physical aspects of the performance which involve ritual substances, implements and actions, and the internal aspect of the level of religious practice which renders the performer capable of effecting the consecration. The Bhutanese Brag-phug Dge-bshes lists them· thus: An outer consecration of substances and signs which is elaborated (sprosbcas); an inner consecration of habituating the generation and completion processes, which is without elaboration (spros-med); and a secret consecration of the perfect meaning, which is completely without elaborations (shin-tu spros-rned).

Similarly, Rgod-ldern distinguishes thirteen elements, or 'signs' (rten, brei), in the consecration ritual. The outer signs include the generation of the mind of enlightenment, riches, actions, youth, substanGes, good omens, and auspicious astrological timing. The inner signs comprise the fitness for action of the subtle body, clear and stable concentration (samadhi), the appearance of signs of warmth (as signs for the successful practice of the approaching and achieving) and complete ancillaries of the ritual. The secret

signs are the ability to invite the ye-shes sems-dpa' and the power to request it to firmly remain as long as its actions are not completed. Through the complete accomplishment of these elements, a perfect consecration will be performed. The outer 'signs' depend on the patron, the inner-on the ritual master and the supervisor of the ritual, the secret-on the yogi who actually transforms into ye-shes. In the case of the consecration of Bsam-yas monastery, the model of all consecrations, these apply 183 Snang rig-pa'i ~ho-'phrul-du shes-pa'i gang-zag-gis yang-dag don-gyi rab-gnas grubpa

18-4 Snang-ba ye-shes-kyi ro/-par ma shes-pa'i gang-zag-gis rten dang ye-shes-pa thadad- du bzung phyin-chad rab-gnas-kyi cho-ga brgya tshar-du byas kyang gnyis-'dzin 'khrul rtog-gi byur-'dre zhugs-pa'i dbang-gis cho-ga yang-dag mi grub-bo! pp. 255.6--256.1. 185 Phyi spros-bcas mtshan-ma rdzas-kyi rab-gnas/ nang spros-med bskyed-rdzogs gomspa'i rab-gnas/ gsang-ba shin-tu spros-med yang-dag don-gyi rab-gnas-so/ p. 256.4-5.

to the king Khri-srong-lde-brtsan, the master Silntirak~ita and the yogi Padmasambhava respectively .186 In the following, when the discussion at times heavily concentrates on the physical, 'outer' elements of the ritual performance, the inner and secret components should not be forgotten. It is beyond the scope of an academic thesis of this kind to evaluate the actual presence of the internal elements (the visualizations, manipulations of internal energies, and so. forth). Yet most Tibetan authors assume that in a proper and effective consecration they will be present.

2. The lha invited into the receptacle

The lha invited to abide in the receptacle varies according to the tantric tradition followed by the performers of the consecration. At present, for the most part, the Highest Yoga Tantras are dominant in Tibetan sfidhana practices and therefore also in consecration rituals performed in conjunction with them. The yi-dam U$!a-devata) commonly established in receptacles nowadays are Rdo-rje-sems-dpa' (Vajrasattva), Rdo-rje-'jigs-byed (Vajrabhairava), Kye-rdo-rje (Hevajra), Bde-mchog (CakrasaqJVara), Gsang-ba-'dus-pa (Guhyasamil.ja), and others. As is well known, some of these lha are popular within certain sects. While Hevajra is a very popular yi-dam among the Saskya- pa, Vajrabhairava practices are common with the Dge-lugs-pa and so forth. Most Tibetan monks are familiar with only a limited number of sfidhanas which are practiced at their monasteries. It is in conjunction with these practices that the consecration is performed at a given monastery.

Consecration rituals developed also within the lower tai!tras (rgyud- 186 Rab-tu gnas-par byed-pa lal rten-'brel zab-mo bcu-gsum 'dzom-pa'i dgos-par sngagskyi brgyud chen-po nas gsungs-so/ de 'ang bsam-pa'i sems-bskyed bzang-bal 'byor-pa'i longs-spyod dag-pal bya-ba byed-pa-rnams-kyi gzugs dang/ lang-tsho dang! rdzas dang/ rten-'bre/ bzang-po/ gza' dang rgyu-skar dus bzang-ba-rnams phyi'i rten-cing 'brei-bar . 'byung-ba'ol rlung-sems las-su rung-cing dar-ba/ ting-nge-'dzin gsal-cing brten-pa [brtanpa} l drod-rtags mngon-du thon-pa/ cho-ga yan-lag tshang-ba-rnams nang-gi rten-'brellol rgyal-ba'i dgongs-pa long-pas dbyings nas ye-shes-pa spyan-drangs nus-pal nam 'phrinlas ma grub-kyi bar:-du gzugs fa ye-shes-pa bzhugs-su gsol-ba {nus-pa}-rnams gsang-ba'i rten-' brei-/of' di-rnams 'grub na bkra-shis phun-sum tshogs-pa'i rab-gnas-ces bya-ba 'grubpar gsungs-pas/ phyi' i rten-'brel yon-bdag-la rag ius-pas/ rje mnga' -bdag chen-po'i sgrigsshigl nang-gi rten-'brel slob-dpon dang cho-ga mkhan-po-la rag /us-pas! slob-dpon bodhi- satwas sgrigs-shigl gsang-ba'i rten-'brel ye-shes mngon-du gyur-pa'i rnal-'byor-pala rag Ius-pas/ slob-dpon padma-'f?yung-gnas-kyi bsgrigs 'tshal-lo! Rgod-ldem, work l pp. 478-479, partly cited in Padma-'phrin-las, p. 30.3-6.

sde 'og-ma) in rituals that probably preceded those of the Highest Yoga Tantra. Consecration works contain references to invitations of [ha of the lower tantras, which are typically arranged in threefold, fivefold, or sixfold 'families' (rigs, gotra). 181 The lords (gtso-bo) of the three families, the Tathagatas Ak~obhya (Mi-'khrngs), Arnitiibha ('Od-dpag-med), and Vairocana (Rnam-par-snang-mdzad) correspond to the aspects of body, speech and mind respectively .188 According to the Vajrfivalf, 189 in consecrating temples Vairocana is established therein; in consecrating books, Amitiibha; in consecrating images, if one does not know to which 'family' it belongs, Ak~obhya or Vajrasattva are established; if the family is known its lord is established. 190 In a recent work, Ngag-dbang-legs-grub (1874-1952) presents an elaboration of this system. Vairocana is established in temples, stupas, tsha-tshas, etc.; Amitiibha in books, protection wheels (srung' khor) mm)i wheels, etc.; Ak~obhya in various emblems (phyag-mtshan) such as vajra and bell; and Vajradhara in images, thang-kas, etc. 191 Ngag-dbang-legs-grub combines both methods of the higher and lower tantras. The main yi-dam established in the receptacle according to his consecration works is Hevajra (one of the most popular yi-dams of the Highest Yoga Tantra in the Sa-skya-pa, but also in the other sects). Yet, Hevajra takes upon himself aspects of the various Tathagatas, Vairocana, Amitiibha, Ak~obhya and so forth according to the receptacle being consecrated.192

It is possible that the system of the lower tantras was predominant in the consecration ritual before it was adopted by the Highest Yoga Tantras. Also in the water initiation which occurs as the supreme 187 Mkhas~grub Rje 1968:100--139; Snellgrove 1959:II.iv 96--103, 1987:189-198. 188 Ak~obhya and Vairocana, however, are often interchanged. 189 Toh. 3140, p. 126.5-126.7. · 190 For alternatives, see ibid., p·p. 126.7-127.1.

191 See Abhayakaragupta, Toh. 3140, pp. q6--7; 'Jam-dpal-bShes-gnyen, Toh. 2573, p. 72; Heruka Gal-po, (see the bibliography of canonical consecration texts) p. 329; Kundga'- snying-po (see the bibliography of Tibetan works) p. 47.4; Grags-pa-rgyal-mtshan, p. 159; the First Paochen Lama, p. 825; Sde-srid Sangs-rgyas-rgya-mtsho, 241-2; Kongsprul Blo-gros-mtha'-yas (see the bibliography of Tibetan tex:tual sources on the insertion of dhdratJts into receptacles) p. 119; Brag-phug Dge-bshes, 237; Ngag-dbang-legs-grub, work 2, pp. 489-494. There are, of course, variations between these works. 192 There is also a fivefold· system correlating with the classification of the five TatMgatas, which addition to body, speech and mind, also qualities (yon-tan) and action for the dharma (phrin-las). Such an ex:ample may be found in a work by Kong-sprul Blogros- mtha'-yas (1813-1899, see the bibliography of works on the insertion Of dhdral).ls into receptacles).

bathing layers of the lower tantra are evident."' It is difficnlt to detennine, however, what the system of the lower tantra was. In general, the classification into the four classes of tantra raises as many problems as. it might potentially solve. In a number of consecration works Si!kyamuni Buddha is invited to abide in the receptacle, 194 and in some of these instances the ritual is designated by the controversial term "sutra style consecration" (mdo-lugs rab-gnas or pha-rol-tu phyinpa'i lugs rab-gnas)."' Even though Sakyamuni Buddha does appear as the main lha of the mandala in certain tantric systems'" it still needs to be determined to what extent these works reflect an early intermediary system between the Siltra and Kriya Yoga systems.

3. The consecrated receptacle

As we saw, Tibetans usually classify the objects to be consecrated as receptacles of body, speech and mind. Most commoniy consecrated are images, thangkas, stupas, as well as entire temples.'" Major receptacles such as. large images in a temple or a stupa for a deceased lama are usually consecrated in an extensive ritual lasting from one to three days 198 performed by an abbot or incarnate lama together with the entire assembly of monks. Smaller receptacles, which are usually privately owned, are consecrated in a brief ritual frequently performed by high monastic personages alone in their own quarters. This brief ritual, which lasts only a few minutes, may consist of merely reciting the verse of Interdependent Origination and the consecration mantra m Another example for elements of the lower tantra is found in the initiation. In order to facilitate the visualiZation of oneself as a lha, the initiates put on the clothes of the lha (dbang-rdzas). Even in initiations of the Highest Yoga Tantras, the garments of the saftlhhogakii.ya form of the lha are worn. This form seems to be a remnant of the practices of the lower tantras.

194 Such as the works by Phag-mo~gru-pa, Rang-byung-rdo-rje (according to Kong~sprul Blo-gros-mtha-yas, see the bibliography of consecration works not available to me), Khamssprul III, Rje Mkhan-po XIII, work 2, Kong-sprul Blo-gros-mtha'-yas, etc. 195 Bentor, 1992. 196 See for example Sarva-durgati-pariSodhana chapter 2.1. 197 Amulets which contain relics, paintings of lha, dhdral)ts, protective wheels (srung 'khor) and so forth are also consecrated (cf. Skorupski 1983b). 198 The most extensive consecrations I observed, namely the annual reconsecration of Bodhanath StOpa analyzed below, and the consecration of the sttlpa in Bloomington, Indiana, by His Holiness the Dalai Lama and monks of Rnam-rgyal Grwa-tshang, lasted for three days. Some manuals such as the one for an extensive consecration written by Brag-phug Dge-bshes, are designed for five days of ritual. When a sand mandala is constructed, the ritual may last still longer (see Sharpa 1985). However, the diawing of a sand mandala prolongs only the preparation phase, not the actual ritual.

(0111 suprati#hfi vajraye Sw'lhfi) while scattering previously empowered grain on the receptacle, accompanied by a request to firmly abide in the receptacle and verses of auspiciousness."' A slightly more elaborate ritual may include also a very brief invitation of lha into the receptacle. 200 The specific concise consecrations vary slightly from one lama to another.

In the section on consecration found in the tantras there is no systematic classification of consecrated receptacles. The Consecration Tantra mentions "the consecration ritual for beaten metal [images], paintings and engravings."'" The Sarrzvarodaya Tantra speaks about "an image or a book or a painting."202 Snang-byed-zla-ba lists in his work found in the Tanjur "images, stupas, temples, holy dharma [[[scriptures]]], cloth paintings, and books which are well proportioned, nice, perfect, a cause of happiness."203 On the other hand, a classification into receptacles of body, speech and mind is found in some of the Indian works contained in the Tanjur. Atisa refers to

images, books and stupas as receptacles of body, speech and mind respectively. 204 Also, Nag-po-pa classifies receptacles as embodiments (bdagnyid) of body, speech and mind. Yet under the category of body embodiments he enumerates stupas, temples, stone pillars, groves, wells, springs, pools, horse platforms and wooden pillars;205 under speech, rosaries and books on mundane as well as supramundane topics. However, there is no enumeration under mind embodiments. In sum, the common Tibetan classification into receptacles of body, speech and mind is found in the Tanjur; but not always in its final shape. Some consecration works including that by Nag-po-pa mentioned above, Abhayiikaragupta,206 'Dus-kyi-'khor-lo'i-zhabs,207 and the First 199 See the section on requesting the deities to firmly abide below. 200 Note that the ritual of requesting the deities to firmly abide in the receptacle has its own short invitation.

wl Brdungs-pa dang/ bris-pa dang! 'bur-du byas-pa la-sogs-pa rab-tu gnas-pa'i choga gsungs-pal Toh. 486, p. 292.2.

202 Pratimdrt;~ vd pustakam pa{art;~ vd. sku-gzugs sam ni glegs-bam mam bris-sku , .. (Bentor, in preparation 1).

203 Sku-gzugs mchod-rten gtsug-lag-khangl dam-chos ras-ris glegs-bam-rnamsl bzangpo tshad-kyis mdzes-ba dang/ rdzogs-pa bde-ba'i rgyu-rnams lal Toh. 1904, p. 17.1-2. 'M Toh. 2496, pp. 514.2-515.4.

205 Mchod·rten dang/ gtsug-lag-khang dang/ rdo-rings dang shing-ljon-pa dang/ khronpa dang/ chu-mig dang/ lteng-ka dang! rta-babs dang! shing-rings-rnams-sol Toh. 1257, pp. 559.6-560.1. "' Toh. 3140, pp. 129-131. 207 Toh. 1392, pp. 57-58.

'Jam-dbyangs-bzhad-pa208 mention consecrations for secular edifices, such as wells and groves. This type of consecration occurs also in Hindu works.209 Secular edifices, however, are certainly not major objects of consecration in the Tibetan tradition. Their inclusion in Tibetan works may be attributed largely to their occurrence in the Tanjur. Exceptions to this are means for crossing such as bridges and boats. Gu-ru Bkra-shis lists bridges and boats among the 'made emanation bodies' together with stiipas. 210 There is also one example for a text written for the consecration of bridges. 211 Yet, the great majority of Tibetan writers differentiate between consecrations of receptacles of [[body, speech and

mind]] and consecrations of secular edifices. The common Tibetan view on this seems. to be represented by Ngag-dbang-legs-grub who maintains that worldly entities such as local lha, male and female patrons, the wheel of existence, animated and unanimated objects, monasteries and towns, offerings substances, ritual substances and implements, boats, bridges, water wheels, etc., cannot be consecrated through the tantric ritual of generating them as a lha. These are consecrated through the recitation of verses of auspiciousness and the verse of Interdependent Origination accompanied by scattering of flowers 212


The extant literature on the Indo-Tibetan Buddhist consecration ritual can be classified into three groups. The first consists of canonical texts or Tantras, including the Consecration Tantra (Rab-tu Gnas-pa Mdor Bsdus-pa'i Rgyud, Suprati~!ha-tantra-samgraha preserved only in Tibetan), and chapters on consecration in the Saf!Warodaya (chapter

210 See the section on tantric rituals and consecration above. 2u Dbyangs-can-grub-pa'i-rdo-rje, "Zam-pa rab-gnas bya-tsul 'gyur-med rdo-rje'i lhunpo," T6hoku 116484 (unfortunately this text is unavailable to me at present). Bridges may also serve as metaphors for the Bodhisattva, making them potentially sacred symbols, and not merely secular objects (cf. the life of the bridge builder Thang-stong-rgyal-po). 212 'Jigs-rten-pa'i gzhi-bdag/ yon-bdag pho-mo! srid-pa'i 'khor-lo! snod-bcud dang dgongrong- gi bkod-pal mchod-rdzas dang/ spyan-gzigsl gzingsl zam-pal chu-skor sogs !a ni bgegs-bskrad-dang/ dkon-mchog gsum-gyi bkra-shis dang! gang-ser-ma dang/ ye-dharmfis me-tog 'thor-ba tsam las bskyed chog med-dol work 2, p. 494.2-4. For the recitation of verses of auspiciousness· and the verse of Interdependent Origination, see the section on further rituals of consecration above.

22, Toh. 373), Hevajra (chapter Il.i, Toh. 417), I)dkarl)ava (Chapter 25, Toh. 372), Catur-sampu{a-yoginf (chapter 5, Toh. 376), Abhidhfinottara (chapter 4.8, Toh. 369), a short reference in the Vajrapaiijara Tantra (Chapter 9 and the concluding part, Toh. 419), as well as the consecration chapter of the Heruka Gal-po (chapter 21). The complete bibliographical details for these works are provided in the appendix. All but the last work are to be found in the Tibetan Kanjur. The Heruka Gal-po is included in the Rnying-ma'i Rgyud 'Bum. To the

second group belong thirty works devoted to consecration found in the Tibetan Tanjur. All these works, while presumably of Indian origin, are available at present only in their Tibetan translations. A considerable number of these works were written by renowned Indian pal)(iitas including Atisa, the tantric Advayavajra, Nag-po-pa, Anandagarbha, Prajfiapalita, Maiijusrlmitra, Santigarbha, SIIl)"li, Ajitamitragupta, Nagarjuna, Sumatiklrti, etc. In addition, there are a number of larger works found in the Tanjur which contain important. passages on consecration including the Vajrdvalf, Kriyd-samgraha and Kriyd-samuccaya. Again, a bibliography of these works appears in the appendix of this study.

The third group includes indigenous Tibetan works on the subject written from at least the twelfth century up until the present day. About two hundred titles of Tibetan consecration works composed since the twelfth century are included in an appendix to this volume. Out of these, one hundred and fifty were actually.loC:ated in reprints of Tibetan works available in the United States or in Nepal and India as well as in the microfilm collection at the National Archives in Kathmandu. Fourty-six among the consecration works which are known to have once existed but are not currently available are listed in the appendix as well. Additional works will certainly come to light in the future.

The canonical texts on consecration provide scriptural authority for later Tibetan consecration works. Yet they do not serve as ritual manuals nor do they "embody what the practitioners actually do" as Ray claims (1974:173). Tibetans do not refer to any of the tantras when it is a question of the actual performance of rituals. The relation between the Buddhist tantras and the actual rituals is further discussed elsewhere (Bentor, in preparation 1). The consecration works found in the Tanjur contain rituals much more systematized than the tantras. For example, the outline of Ratnarak~ita's prescriptions for consecration found in his commentary

on the Sarrwarodaya Tantra (Bentor, in preparation I) or Abhay~karagupta's instructions in the Vajrdvalf are ordered in a manner very similar to Khri-byang Rin-po-che 's systematic manual and apparently indeed served, together with other works, as the basis for later Tibetan consecrations. A considerable number of ritual utterances of Tibetan consecrations are adopted from the translations of Indian works on consecrations found in the Tanjur. Again, although these works serve as scriptural authority for the ritual, none of them is used nowadays as a consecration manual. Of the 26 works specifically dedicated to the consecration ritual found in the Sde-dge Tanjur, 13 works are classified under Highest Yoga Tantra,213 eight under Yoga Tantra,214 five under Kriy~ Yoga Tantra,215 and none under Cary~ Tantra. This classification seems to be mainly according to the central yi-dam in each work. An inquiry into the variations in the actual ritual methods employed within consecration works grouped under different tantra classes has yet to be conducted.

The large number of consecration works composed by Tibet's most revered lamas is a good indication of both the prevalence and importance attached to this ritual. Most of these works were composed for a particular consecration performed by its author. These were then used by their disciples, until one of them would write a new manual to replace the older one, although the 'new' manual generally relied on its predecessor as well as on other such manuals. A very significant part of the collected works of a large number of renown Tibetan lamas is made up of such ritual works. At

present, consecration manuals composed before the seventeenth century are very rarely used. The manuals currently employed are several steps removed from the Indian consecration works which probably served as the basis for the earliest Tibetan works. This process allows constant innovation. It should be noted that the small variations in Tibetan consecration are created much less during a performance than in the writing of new manuals. During the performance ritual manuals are closely adhered to. 216 But high lamas, especially incarnate lamas and abbots, are considered to

216 Unlike what is found in the scholarly literature with regard to various other cultures, the great majority of Tibetan ritual masters are definitely competent to follow ritual manuals of their tradition.

be endowed with sufficient insight to be able to introduce changes. As the proverb goes: Each area has its language, each lama has his religious tradition.217 Thus, at the same time that the tradition emphasizes that rituals derive their authority from previous works, it allows these lamas to make innovations. Yet, most innovations introduced by Tibetan authors are relatively minor. Examples for one type of innovation were seen in the discussion of the problem of initiating receptacles. Usually the variations which are significant for members of each tradition do

not seem to be of great importance to the outsider. The basic frame of the consecration ritual has been preserved intact from at least the eleventh ce!ltury. It is also worth noting that consecration works belonging to the various Tibetan sects do not significantly differ from each other. Their main distinctions are in the different sadhana texts used in conjunction with the consecration, not in the consecration texts themselves. It is also evident that manuals of different sects did not develop in isolation from each other. Certain among the Tibetan authors of consecration works consulted not only previous manuals belonging to their own sectarian lineage, but also works of other schools.

The first consecration work is said to have been composed by a Tibetan was that ofLo-chen Rin-chen-bzang-po (958-1055). This work, cited by Sa-sky'a Grags-pa-rgyal-mtshan (p. 252.3.3) and later consecration authors under the title Sdom-tshig or 'Outline', is no longer extant.218 Considering the extensive temple constructions in which Rin-chen-bzang-po was engaged,"' it is not unlikely that he would have written something about their consecration. One of the most influential early Tibetan consecration works is that written by Sa-skya Grags-pa-rgyal-mtshan. Various later works by members of all Tibetan sects rely on it. Other early consecration works of importance were written by Bu-ston (1290-1364). While Sa-skya Grags-pa-rgyalmtshan, and one of Bu-ston's works, follow the Yoga Tantra system, later Tibetan consecrations are based on the Highest Yoga Tantra.220 217 Lung-pa re-re Ia skad-lugs redf bla-ma re-re Ia chos-lugs red!. 218 Rin-chen-bzang-po ls known to have composed other works which have not come down to us. D. Jackson points to his work on 'refutation of erroneous practices' mentioned by Sa-skya Pal).c;iita (1987:13, n. 22), while Ellingson notes the 'Dbyangs of the Tigress's Roar' (Stag-mo'i Ngar Dbyangs) in Rin-chen-bzang-po's biography by Blo-bzang-bstan' dzin (1979a:240).

219 Snellgrove & Skorupski 1979-80. 220 The other work by Bu-ston concerned with consecration adheres to the Kill.acakra

At least three among the important early consecration manuals are not available at present, even though there are grounds for hope that they still exist in Tibet221 One of these works written by the Third Karma-pa Rang-byung-rdo-rje (1284--1339) is important for the Karma Bka' -brgyud-pa tradition. Kong-sprul B!o-gros-mtha'-yas (1813-1899), who based his own composition on this subject on this work, describes it as explaining both sutra-style (mdo-lugs) and tantra-style consecration. Judging from the sutra-style consecration in Kong-sprul's work, this tradition is quite distinct from the main tantric tradition described in the present work.222 Another early work which is of significance to the Sa-skya-pa was written by Stag-tshang Lo-tsa-ba (b. 1405). Also, the consecration work by Byams-pa-gling-pa Bsod-nams-mamrgyal (1401-1475) is cited in the works by Sde-srid Sangs-rgyas-rgyamtsho, Padma-'phrin-las, and others.

To judge from my own experience in Tibetan monasteries located in· the area of Bodhanath, Nepal, important authorities for Rnyingma Smin-gling tradition were the consecration works by Gter-bdaggling- pa and 'Jigs-med-gling-pa. 223 In the Sa-skya-pa sect, the works by Ngag-dbang-legs-grub are popular. The Dge-lugs-pa tradition of consecration relies especially on the manuals by 'Dul-'dzin Gragspa- rgyal-mtshan (1374--1434), the First Pm,>chen Lama Blo-bzangchos- kyi-rgyal-mtshan (1570--1662), Khri-byang Rin-po-che and the First Lcang-skya.

Consecration manuals are written for the use of ritual specialists intimately familiar with both ritual theories and the finer details of their performance. They contain a large number of specialized technical terms, as well as numerous reminders comprehensible only to specialists. A ritual such as consecration is not an autonomous entity, but constitutes a part of a larger systematic whole. It incorporates a large number of ritual actions common to other rituals including sddhanas, initiations (dbang-bskur, abhi~eka), fire offerings (sbyinsreg, homa) and propitiations (bskang-gso). On the other hand it is performed within a larger frame of a s{Jdhana of ·the same lha that tradition. However, this consecration tradition does not seem to have been .an important one in Tibet.

221 For their complete bibliographical references, see the selective bibliography of Tibetan textual sources on consecration works not available to me in the appendix. 222 For more on the sUtra·style consecration, see Bentor, 1992. 223 The authorities for the Rnying-ma Byang-gter traditions are the consecration works by Rgod-kyi-ldem-phru-can.

would be invited to the receptacle. Skilled performers are not only familiar with all these rituals, they also have memorized a considerable number of ritual recitations. Therefore, manuals often mention only the first few words of a set of verses or of a mantra. It is obvious then that a study of any given ritual has to deal with many others as well.

Neither the consecration manuals nor the explanatory works on consecration are concerned with the meaning of ritual actions. These derive their raison d' etre from their occurrence in scriptures. Only very rarely is a rationale for a certain action suggested. Ritual manuals are believed to be based on a reliable lineage of masters who preserved the Word of the Buddha as expressed in the tantras and explained by recognized Indian masters.224 The major concern of the ritual manuals is not the meaning of the ritual actions, but rather the exact method of performing them. Still, this does not mean that these rituals are meaningless in the sense Staal maintains.225 Embedded in manuals are numerous arguments on fine details of performance, citing passages from the Kanjur and Tanjur in support of claims for the validity of one's own system and in refutation of some of the methods employed by others.226 ·

During the late seventeenth century a genre of explanatory works on consecration developed. These works include the two-hundred page ninth chapter in the compilation by Sde-srid Sangs-rgyas-rgya-mtsho (1635-1705) concerning the stupa enshrining the relics of the Fifth Dalai Lama entitled 'Dzam-gling-rgyan-gcig, which is also the name of the stupa itself. At about the same time the abbot of the Rnyingma- pa Rdo-rje-brag Monastery, Rig-'dzin Padma-'phrin-las (1641- 1717) also wrote an extensive explanation on consecration. These two works not only cite identical passages, but they also have very similar sentences in common. It has yet to be determined in which direction the obvious borrowing took place. Yet, it is

well known that the Fifth 224 When I asked Mkhas-btsun-bzang-po Rin-po-che, referring to a specific ritual action, 'Why do you do this?', he laughed answering that foreigners are always concerned with questions of 'whys'. However, to him and to other ritual masters such questions do not normally occur. The reason he performs a certain ritual action is because the Buddha has instructed it to be so. For this reason, he has faith that the ritual will achieve its purpose. m See, for example, the discussion of 'the symbolism of the mirror in Buddhist consecration rituals (Bentor 1995a).

226 Such arguments are found in the translations of the first part of the Sngags-rim Chenmo' and of the Rgyud Sde Spyi'i Rnam-gzhag (Mkhas-grub Rje, 1968; Tsong-kha-pa 1977, 198!).

Dalai Lama had close ties with Rnying-ma-pa monasteries (especially Smin-grol-gling and Rdo-rje-brag). Unlike later Dge-lugs-pa consecration works, the Sde-srid cites a number of Rnying-ma sources. At that time a third explanatory work on consecration was written by Gter-bdag-gling-pa (1646-1714) who belonged to Smin-grol-gling, an important Rnying-ma-pa Monastery particularly at that time . . The tradition of explaining the consecration was, of course, not invented in the seventeenth century. The Consecration Tantra opens with general remarks on the ritual master, the receptacles to be consecrated, the benefits of performing the ritual, the faults in not performing it, consecration viewed from the perspective of the two truths, etc. Some of the consecration works in the Tanjur also provide certain explanations as well. However, while the earlier works devote only a verse (or its prose equivalent) to each topic of discussion, the later works are much more comprehensive.

A standard set of topics for discussing the consecration is found in a consecration work by the early Sa-skya-pa scholars including Kun-dga' -snying-po (1092-1158) and Bsod-nams-rtse-mo (1142-1182), who use the term bzang-po drug, 'the six good ones', for these six topics: the receptacle (rten), ritual master (slob-dpon), place (gnas), time (dus), ritual implements and substances (yo-bya<f), and the ritual method (cho-ga).221 Yet, their discussion of these topics is brief. Gterbdag- gling-pa has eight topics of discussion:228 the nature of consecration (rang-bzhin), the consecrated receptacle, the faults of not consecrating, the benefits of consecrating, the ritual master, the place, the time, and the ritual method. Most of these topics are touched upon in the present study.

In his extensive explanatory work, Padma-'phrin-las includes a discussion of non-tantric consecrations, including the consecration of the gaiJ<fi,229 the confession of sins for auspiciousness (bkra-shis-kyi gso-sbyong),230 Santigarbha's work on stupas231 which relies on the Mahfi-sannipata Sutra,232 Bodhisattva's text on stupas,233 the Bka'- 227 Kun-dga'-snying-po, in his third commentary on the Hevajra Tantra (pp. 73.3-74.1, see the bibliography of Tibetan works; Bsod-namHtse-mo, p. 110.1.1-.1.2.

gdams-pa sutra-style consecration,234 and Sumatikirti's consecration work.235 After a short survey of the history of consecration in Tibet, mainly of the temples built by Srong-btsan-sgam-po, and Bsam-yas, Padma- 'phrin-las reviews textual sources for consecration including some of those found in the Tanjur, both Rnyingcma-pa and Gsar-mapa Tibetan sources, as well as their classification according to the various tantra classes. The greater part of his work is devoted to very detailed discussion of the method of performing each ritual action supported by a large number of quotations. Sde-srid Sangs-rgyas-rgyamtsho, in addition to the above .mentioned subjects, makes special reference to the consecration of the stupa for the Fifth Dalai Lama, including the patrons and their contributions, which have historical and even socio-economical significance. The greater part of his consecration chapter is a survey of the ritual itself according to a number of traditions.

The explanatory works of Dil-dmar Dge-bshes and Sgrub-sprul 'Phrin-las-rgya-mtsho in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries respectively rely heavily on the similar work by Padma-'phrin-las. The work of the former also includes the following tenfold classification of topics:236 origin (khungs) the performance traditi9n (gnas-par byaba' i srol) which consists of the history of the ritual in India and Tibet, the meaning of the word, (sgra don), the essence (ngo-bo), the etymology (nges-tshig), the reasons for the non-necessity of the consecration, the evidence for its necessity, the method of performing it, the faults of not performing it, and the benefits of performance. Consecration in its elaborate form

includes, near the end, an explanation of the ritual for the sake of the patron and the audience.237 Some of the explanatory works were written for such occasions. The most elaborate such work was written by Dad-pa Mkhan-po, the first Spang-lung Rin-po-che (ca. 1770-ca. 1835). This work specifies that one should open the explanation to the patron with a general survey of the history of the Buddhist teachings, the twelve acts of the Buddha, the history of Buddhism in Tibet, the various sects, history of the Dge-lugs-pa sect in particular, its masters and monasteries, its basics of learning and teachings. If the patron is a high lama, the text

217 See the section on commanding the patron below.

recommends that one should relate his and his predecessors' biographies, the history of his monastery, and so forth. If he is an important political figure, an account of his deeds should be given. Explanations on receptacles of body, speech and mind, on the first images of the Buddha, on the form of the stCtpa, on the benefit of establishing receptacles, the first images in Tibet, on the qualities of the patron and master, the place, receptacle, time, ritual method, necessity and benefits all should be given. Other explanatory works for use during the consecration were written by Rmor-chen Kun-dga'! hun-grub [[[Sa-skya-pa]]]; Gter-bdag-gling-pa (work 2) [Rnying-ma-pa]; Phrin-las-rgya-mtsho [[[Bka']] -brgyud-pa/Ris-med], etc. There are also three additional Dge-lugs-pa explanatory works written by the First 'Jam-dbyangs-bzhad-pa (1648-1721/2), work 3; the Second 'Jamdbyangs- bzhad-pa (1728-1791); and Gung-thang-pa (1762-1823), work 2. Finally, Brag-phug Dge-bshes Dge-'dun-rin-chen wrote in our century four consecration manuals, the more extensive one contains a large number of explanatory remarks, some of which are cited in the present work.


The ritual manual which will be translated below is entitled: "Dgongnas Stag-brag Bsam-gtan-gling-du rab-tu gnas-pa'i cho-ga dge-legs rgya-mtsho'i char-'bebs dang/ rab-gnas rta-thog-ma/ arga'i cho-ga bcas dpal-ldan Smad-rgyud-pa'i phyag-bzhes !tar mdzad rgyun nag-'grossu bkod-pa," which may be translated: "The Consecration Ritual, [called] 'Immense Downpour of Virtue and Goodness' of the monastery Stag-brag Bsam-gtan-gling, together with a [short] consecration [called] Rta-thog-ma, and an arga ritual according to the ritual practice of the glorious Lower Tantric College (Smad-rgyud), a sequence of actions written as it should be performed."'"' This manual was composed by Khri-byang Blo-bzang-ye-shes-bstan' dzin-rgya-mtsho (1901-1981), The Junior Tutor of H.H. The Fourteenth Dalai Lama.239 The Stag-brag Bsam-gtan-gling monastery, which 238 This work is abbreviated here as R. For the bibliographical data see the abbrevia~ tfons.

239 In the version of this work used in Dga'-ldan-chos-'phel-gling in Nepal the author's name is lacking. For a short biography of the Third Khri-byan:g Rin-po-che in English see Dzemay (19~2).

appears in the title, should not be confused with Skyid-grong Bsamgtan- gling, which we will encounter below. The former is the monastery of the Regent Stag-brag Ngag-dbang-blo-bzang-gsung-rabsmthu- stobs-bstan-pa'i-rgyal-mtshan (1874-1951). During the short golden age of this monastery the regent sponsored the woodblock printing of collections of important rituals (chos-spyod) which became available and popular among other Dge-lugs-pa monasteries.240 There were a number of reasons for choosing Khri-byang Rin-poche's manual for translation. This manual is used in quite a number of extensive consecrations performed by members of the Dge-lugspa sect nowadays. It follows the consecration tradition of the Lower Tantra College, Rgyud-smad Grwa-tshang, which has acquired great fame. Rakta Tethong relates the following instance from the period when he was studying in Rgyud-smad.

We had been invited to come there in the first place because the Lama Gyupa [[[Bla-ma]] Rgyud-smad Grva-tshang] rab-gnas ritual was one of the most famous rab.:.gnas. Because, you see, certain monasteries are famous not just for certain instruments or musical-styles, but even for specific rituals.241

Further, this consecration manual was employed in the performance of the most elaborate consecration I observed during my field work in Nepal, the annual reconsecration of Bodhanath StOpa by the Dga'ldan- chos-'phel-gling Monastery. Thus, I could study this manual from two vantage points: textual and observational.

Finally, Khri-byang Rin-po-che has made two important contributions in composing this manual; by comparison with earlier works on which he relied quite heavily. Firstly, he supplies elaborate 'stage instructions', that is to say, instructions on the ritual actions which accompany the recitations, visualizations and mudrfis. These instructions, which are written, as is usual, in smaller letters, add to the manual some of what was previously available only in oral explanations. This is especially helpful for understanding the ritual, since 240 See the preface to the collection of rituals of this monastery Dgon-gnas Stag-brag Bsam-gtan·gling-gi Phyag-bzhes Mdo-sngags Chos-spyod in vol. 1 (see R. in the abbreviations). According to Gelek Rin-po-che The new regent (Stag-bragl had also begun a series of major scholarly projects. He ordered all Tibetan manuscripts then available in Central Tibet to be collected, had new woodblocks carved and published and distributed them .. He also had all the available woodblocks in Central Tibet (in monasteries, homes, etc.) catalogued" (Goldstein, 1989:373, note 8). 24 J Rakta Tethong 1979:14. For the name Lama Gyupa see ibid. p. 12.

it is not always clear from the recitations alone what exactly is occurring at any particular stage in the performance. The second main contribution of Khri-byang Rin-po-che is the elimination of any choice on the part of the performers. The consecration manual by the First Pat;chen Lama, the main source for Khribyang Rin-po-che's manual, contains numerous alternatives. It is a general manual which can be performed with

various yi-dam belonging to either Highest Yoga Tantra or to the lower Tantras. It can be performed in an extensive (rgyas-pa), middle ('bring-po), or brief (bsdus-pa) manner, and so forth. Khri-byang Rin-po-che adapted the Pal)chen Lama's suggestions for the performance of an extensive consecration with Rdo-rje-'jigs-byed-lha-bcu-gsum as the yi-dam. (Rdorje-' jigs-byed has been the yi-dam for most Dge'lugs-pa consecrations in recent times.)242 Thus, in places where the Pal)chen's manual simply instructs one to perform a certain ritual action according to the system connected with one's yi-dam, Khri-byang Rin-po-che specifies exactly what should be performed by inserting the beginning and concluding words of the ritual in question according to one of the standard Dge-lugs-pa manuals. While this deprives the ritual officiants of most of the responsibility for the performance and closes the door to certain possible innovations, it provides us with more detailed information on the complete performance. It should

be noted that the process of further specifying the exact ritual that should be performed in places where there had previously been some choice is not unique to Khri-byang Rin-po-che, nor to the Dge-lngs-pa school. It is part of the general process of systematization that Tibetan ritual has been undergoing since at least the beginning of this millennium. There is, however, also a major drawback in choosing Khri-byang Rin-po-che's manual for translation. By adding only the beginning and concluding words, he created an elliptical manual. Most performers are able to supply the missing passages from memory. For the Western reader, however, these passages were supplied from the sddhana and fire offering rituals.

In its general sequence of ritual actions, Khri-byang Rin-po-che's manual corresponds with Ratnarak~ita's commentary on the consecration section of the Sa171varodaya Tantra (Toh. 373, ch. 22) as well as with Abhaydkaragupta's treatment of consecration contained in the Vajrdvalf (Toh. 3140, pp. 113-131), on which Ratnarak~ita seems to 242 See, for example Dad-pa Mkhan-po.

have relied as well. Khri-byang Rin-po-che's manual has several elements in common with the well known Tibetan consecration work by Sa-skya-pa Grags-pa-rgyal-mtshan (1147-1216). It is not clear, however, whether Khri-byang Rin-po-che relied directly on this work or on later Sa-skya-pa manuals, or on previous Dge-lugs-pa works which were in turn based on Grags-pa-rgyal-mtshan. Another relatively early Tibetan consecration work on which Khri-byang Rin-poche's work probably relies is that of Bu-ston. However, while the works of Abhayiikaragupta and Ratnarak~ita belong to the system of the Highest Yoga Tantra, the consecration manuals by Rje-btsun Gragspa- rgyal-mtshan and Bu-ston follow the tradition of Yoga Tantra. Khri·byang Rin-po-che's manual is of course based on previous Dgelugs- pa consecration works as well. The first Dge-lugs-pa consecration manual

was written by 'Dul-'dzin Grags-pa-rgyal-mtshan (1374- 1434), who gives all credit to the instructions he received from Rje nong-kha-pa (1357-1409) on this topic. The consecration manual by the First Papchen Lama, which relies on the preceding, further systematizes this ritual. This manual, like many other ritual works by this author, served as a basis for all later Dge-lugs-pa consecration manuals. While 'Dul-'dzin Grags-pa-rgyal-mtshan allows for the possibility of performing the consecration according to either Yoga Tantra or Highest Yoga Tantra, the First Pal) chen Lama already leans toward the second option. Some Dge-lugs,pa writers such as the Fifth Dalai Lama (1617-1682) and the Sixth Rgya1-sras (b. 1743) introduced very few or no changes in the Pal)chen's manual, which is still included in its entirety, for example, in the Rnam-rgyal Grwa-tshang (the Dalai Lama's monastery) collection of rituals (chos-spyod). Other popular Dge-lugs-pa consecration manuals such as those by the First Lcangskya (1642-1714)

and Gung-thang-pa (1762-1823), also heavily depend on the First PaQchen Lama's work. In addition, a considerable number of the recitations in Khri-byang Rin-po-che' s manual, as well as in many other Tibetan manuals, are borrowed from the works of BodhisattVa, Zhi-ba'i-snying-po, Nag-po-pa, Padma-lcags-kyu, Prajfiiirak~ ita, etc, contained in the Tanjur and from the Consecration Tantra, Arya-Buddhtinusmrti, Mahti-sannipdta Sutra, etc., contained in the Kanjur. Each of these occurrences will be pointed out during the discussion below. The resulting manual is a composite of different works written at different times and for different purposes. Therefore Khri-byang Rinpo- che' s consecration manual does not represent a unified theoretical

point of view. In fact, it contains .some conflicting ideas which will be discussed later. Additionally, this manual draws from works directed to only one kind of receptacle. For example, while the works of Zhi-ba'i-snying-po and Padma-lcags-kyu in the Tanjur deal with stupas, other works such as that of Nag-po-pa, emphasize images. Yet, Khri-byang Rin-po-che's manual which draws from them is used, like most other Tibetan consecration manuals nowadays, for all three receptacles of body, speech and mind.

The performance of rituals is based on the actions of the body, speech and mind as they are expressed in mudrfis and bodily positions, mantras and pronouncements, as well as visualizations (respectively)."' While all of these are considered essential for performing a ritual, not all of them are specified in ritual manuals. Absent are detailed indications on mudrfis and any specific directions for the music. 244 Earlier ritual manuals such as some of those found in the Tanjur, or the consecration ritual by Sa-skya-pa Grags-pa-rgyal-mtshan (1147-1216), provide detailed prescriptions for the mudras. Later, the mudras became part of the oral teachings, for reasons which would become immediately

obvious to anyone who might try to make these mudrfis relying on texts alone. Thus, no more then the names of the mudras are supplied in the manual below, and that only occasionally. Further, no interpretation for them is provided in the great majority of ritual manuals.245 For more about mudrfis the reader is referred to . publications of photographs, illustrations and discussions of mudrfJs.246 One should bear in mind, however, that mudrfis are not static postures, but a flow of movements that lead from pne to another. They can be fully illustrated therefore only by motion pictures. One should also remember that there are some differences between the various Tibetan sects in the performance of mudrfJs.

On the other hand, Khri-byang Rin-po-che's consecration manual 243 Cf. also Beyer 1973:143-147. For the Japanese equivalents of these concepts see Saunders 1960: 17-27; Snodgrass 1988:33-58; Yamasaki 1988: 106--122. 244 Wiih regard to Tibetan ritual music there are a number of studies including those by Canzio, Egyed, Ellingson, and Tsukamoto.

24s In some cases the movements are not so difficult to interpret. For example, the mudr/i of inviting a lha into. the practitioner's body resem_bles embrace. The rnudrtt of offering maQcjal resembles the universe with mount Meru and the four continents. The extent to wi:tich the execution of mudriis is an integral part of a ritual performance becomes evident when one asks a lama about a certain ritual passage. In my experience an experienced officiant would accompany any ritual recitation with the appropriate mudrds even outside the ritual. 246 Beyer (1973), Tsong·kha·pa (1981), Saunders (1960), Gonda (1972), etc.

provides sufficient indications for all the ritual pronouncements (which also serve as a basis for the visualization) as well as relatively detailed instrnctions on the ritual actions .. As was already noted, it was the inclusion of the latter which partly influenced my decision to choose this manual for translation. These ritual pronouncements and actions appear in the translation below, and some of them will be further discussed below.


A performance of the consecration translated below was observed in . fall 1988 in the monastery Dga'-ldan Chos-'phel-gling located in Bodhanath, Nepal. Among the important characteristics which distinguish Dga' -ldan-chos-'phel-gling from some of the newer establishments at Bodhanath are its almost unbroken ritual tradition brought from Tibet, and its close ties with significant segments of the local Tibetan community, which in many respects reflects the traditional situation in Tibet. Dga'-ldan-chos-'phel-gling was built about forty years ago by the Mongolian Lama Gurudeva, making it one of the oldest Tibetan establishments in the Nepal valley. The founder is best known among scholars as one of the publishers of Tibetan books in New Delhi.

In 1959 when the monks of Skyid-grong Bsam-gtan-gling Monastery on the Nepalese border fled Tibet, they could find refuge in this monastery. Unlike most other refugee monks, they were able to transfer the entire content of their monastery into exile. The main image of S!ikyamuni Buddha was offered to His Holiness the Dalai Lama and was preserved in the museum at the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives as one of the few large, intact major images brought out of Tibet.247 The Narthang Kanjur collection from Skyid-grong Bsam-gtan-gling is also preserved at this Library. The monastery documents have been the subject of a recent study by Schuh (1988).

" .•. the pride object of the museum, a historic 6' 8" bronze statue of sakhyamuni (sic) Buddha adorned with the finest crown and chest ornaments crafted by Tibet's foremost metal workers which was commissioned by H.H. the Eighth Dalai Lama for the people of Southern Tibet. .. " (Gyatsho n.d.: 4). In 1987 after the completion of :fsheMmchogM gling Monastery in Dharamsala this image was transferred there, although not without objections.

Some of the treasures brought from Tibet are still preserved at the monastery's new home in Nepal.248 Skyid-grong Bsam-gtan-gling was founded in 1756 by the Tutor of the Eighth Dalai Lama Yongs-'dzin Ye-shes-rgyal-mtshan (1713- 1793). Schuh has perhaps saved the reputation of Skyid-grong Bsamgtan- gling among Western scholars by pointing out a mistaken reading of Wylie who translated the words of Btsan-po No-mon-han regarding this monastery as: " ... they do not master even the smallest rules of the Rnam-'dren Bu-ram-shing-pa [=Buddha], so I have heard." What the No-mon-han actually said, according to Schuh, is: "they do not violate even the smallest precept of behavior of the Guide Ik~vi\k:u." For more about the founding and history of Skyid-grong Bsam-gtangling, see Schuh 1988.

After arriving in Nepal, the monks of Skyid-grong Bsam-gtan-gling were able to continue, with certain changes, a specific ritual tradition they brought with them from Tibet. In 1970, the monastery was transferred to the Tibetan government in exile. Since then, the abbacy of this monastery has rotated between the three main Dge-lugs-pa monasteries (gdan-sa gsum), Dga' -!dan, 'Bras-spungs, and Se-ra, each of them sending in turn an abbot for a period of five years. The abbots usually do not interfere with the ritual tradition of the monastery, which is locally known not by its official name, but as Bsam-gtangling. 249 Even nowadays, when there are over a dozen functioning monasteries at Bodhanath, Dga' -ldan-chos- 'phel-gling continues to serve a large number of Tibetans in the Kathmandu valley, including some of the more well-to-do families. This is in contrast to some of the new monasteries which have not yet been able to cultivate a longterm, local social and economic base.250

One of the changes introduced into the ritual tradition of Bsamgtan- gling in Nepal is the replacement of the ritual for the Sixteen Arhats (gnas-brtan mchod-phyag),251 which had traditionally been performed annually in Skyid-grong on Lha-babs Dus-chen,252 with an .248 See also Lobsang Dorje 1971.

249 Or Mchod~rten Bsam-gtan-gling, Mchod-rten being the local Tibetan name for Bodhanath. 250 Some of these other monasteries find sponsorship in other parts of Nepal or from foreign Buddhist groups. 251 Cf. the collection of rituals Dgon-gnas Stag-brag Bsam-gtan-gling-gi Phyag-bzhes Mdo-sngags Chos-spyod (New Delhi, 1975) vol. 1. 2~2 On this date, see below. Conversation with the retired abbot of Skyid-grong Bsamgtan- gling in Dharamsala, July 1989.

annual reconsecration of Bodhanath Stilpa. This tradition began in 1972 following a repair of Bodhanath Stilpa after a fire had broken out there.253 By performing an annual consecration on Lha-babs Duschen, this monastery which now represents the Dalai Lama, follows the tradition of the Dalai Lama's own monastery Rnam-rgyal Grwatshang, which performs an annual consecration on this holiday. In the past it had been the temple of the Chini Lama254 which was in charge of Bodhanath Stfipa. The increasing Tibetan population in the Kathmandu Valley (since 1959) has slowly gained influence there. At present, both the Chini Lama temple and Dga'-ldan-chos-'phel-gling Monastery share responsibility for the affairs of the stapa. Thus, in addition to its religious meaning, the annual· reconsecration of Bodhanath Stilpa carries with it a certain social and political significance. The annual consecration in Dga' -ldan-chos-'phel-gling is performed on one of the major Tibetan Buddhist holidays. There are four major Buddhist holidays (dus-chen bzhi) in the general Tibetan religious calendar. Bco-lnga Mchod-pa (also known as Cho-'phrul Bstan-pa, 'the display of miracles') is on the 15th day of the first month; Saga Zla-ba ([[Sakyamuni

Buddha's]] entrance into his mother's womb, enlightenment and parinirvtiiJa) on the 15th day of the fourth month; Chos-'khor Dus-chen (the first turning of the wheel of dharma or the first teaching) on the sixth day of the sixth month; and Lha-babs Duschen (Sakyamuni Buddha's descent from Tu~ita Heaven after teaching his mother there) on the 22nd day of the ninth month. On these four holidays every Tibetan monastery performs rituals for the sake of the public in general, including the local community and "all sentient beings." This is in distinction to the rituals performed for the benefit of a single person or family upon their request and sponsorship. It is common for many Dge-lugs-pa monasteries, including Rnam-rgyal Grwa-tshang, to· perform rituals for the three major Dge·lugs-pa yidams (Gsang Bde 'Jigs gsum) on the last three holidays mentioned above-on Sa-ga Zla-ba for Gsang-ba- 'dus-pa (Guhyasamaja), on Chos-'khor Dus-chen for Bde-mchog (Calcrasal)l vara), and on Lhababs Dus-chen for Rdo-rje-'jigs-byed (Vajrabhairava).255 These rituals 253 Conversation with Bstan~pa·dar-rgyas, the retired chant leader (dbu-mdzad) Dec. 1988.

254 The home base of the Chini Lama family is in Helambu, north of the Kathmandu Valley, although several generations of this family have lived in Bodhanath. 255 In addition, on KaJ.acakra Day, the fifteenth of the third month, a ritual for Duskyi-' khor-lo (Ka.tacakra) is performed.

include the organized monastic performance of the sadhanas pertaining to each of these yi-dams. The consecration ritual is performed on Lha-babs Dus-chen in conjunction with the sadhana of Rdo-rje- 'jigsbyed. All these rituals last for more than one day.256 The main day of the performance (dngos-gzhi) falls on the holiday proper. All these rituals cannot be performed without sponsorship. While rituals performed for the benefit of certain individuals are fully sponsored by them, annual rituals are technically sponsored by the monastery itself as part of their service to the community at large. Still, there has been a main patron for the annual reconsecration of Bodbanath Sti\pa for the last fifteen years, a well-known restaurant owner. There are in addition many lesser patrons who usually bring their private images and thang-kas to the monastery to be reconsecrated together with Bodhanath Sti\pa. These receptacles remain in the assembly hall of the monastery for the duration of the three day consecration."'

These sponsors have no interest in the ritual details and are not present in the monastery throughout the consecration. Along with other people of the community, the sponsors pay their regular brief holiday visits to Dga' -ldan-chos-'phel-gling and other monasteries in the Kathmandu Valley. During these visits, they circumambulate the assembly hall, prostrate to the lamas and lha, offer them scarves (kha-btags), incense, butter lamps, mchod-thig258 and so forth, and then return home. Thus, they entrust their images and thang-kas to the lamas and come only to receive blessings themselves. Even the main patron is present only during the one section of the ritual ('commanding the patron', yonbdag bsgo-ba, see below) in which his presence is required by the ritual itself. The names of all the sponsors, along with the amounts of their donations, are read aloud to all the monks during the tea breaks. These contributions are used to cover all the ritual expenses, and for providing more festive meals for the monks than is usually 255 At least three without preparing a sand mandala, and about eight days if a sand mandala is used ( cf. Sharpa 1985).

257 Some years ago a monk delegation from Dga'-ldan-chos-'phel-gling used to go to the homes of their community before the annual consecration to collect the private images for reconsecration in the monastery. Since some members of the community felt that they were being pressured for more donations, this practice came to an end. Nowadays only those who Choose to do so bring their images to Dga'-ldan-chos-'phel-gling for reconsecration.

258 Offering of butter lamps can be perfonned in several ways, by lightening an already prepared butter lamp after giving a small donation, or by adding melted butter to an already burning butter lamp (mchod-thig) etc. INTRODUCTION 75 the case. Additional contributions are received from almost every visitor to the monastery. The holiday income usually exceeds the actual expenses for the ritual, and the excess is put into the monastery's general fund. In addition to sponsoring the ritual itself, the main patron also offers new paint, 'clothes' (na-bza') and flowers to the stupa.259 The flowers are offered in a special Tibetan way, by offering saffron flower tincture:260


In major organized monastic rituals performed in the assembly hall of the monastery, the entire community of monks and novices participates. In Dga' -ldan-chos- 'phel-gling there are about seventy individuals who fall into these categories. Among them a few hold special ritual roles including those of ritual master, chant leader, ritual helper, players of musical instruments and so forth. The master of the ritual (rdo-rje slob-dpon, vajrdcdrya) is, in most cases, the monastery's own abbot or a non-resident lama invited especially to perform the (re)consecration. It is through their powers that the ritual purpose is accomplished. The rest of the assembly is considered to be their retinue. For a further discussion of the ritual master, see above.

The chant leader (dbu-mdzad literally 'the one at the head'), however, is the person who actually leads the ritual. By pronouncing the first few syllables of almost every new verse or mantra, he ensures the correct ritual sequence. With his cymbals (sil-snyan) he leads the music accompanying the recitation and he also determines the type of chanting used in each ritual unit.261 His role is especially important when the ritual performance shifts from one ritual manual to another (see below). Chant leaders are usually older monks with years of experience in ritual performances. While in some monasteries their nomination is 'for life', in others such as Dga' -ldan-chos-'phel-gling monastery there is a rotation in this role. In certain cases, chant leaders are more 259 A photograph of this stUpa is found on the cover of Lati 1979 (in its 1985 reprint). The 'clothes' in this picture have already suffered from the weather. See also Slusser 1982: plate 215.

260 Their remnants can be seen as well in the photograph on the cover ofLati Rinpoche's book as darker yellow lines on the white dome of the stapa. 261 .cr. Ellingson, 1979a and 1979b.

familiar with the performance of organized monastic rituals than abbots and reincarnate lamas. They have a special social and economic status within the monastery. Unless a reincarnate lama is present, the chant leader is usually ranked second only to the abbot in ritual performances. It is often the highest religious role that a non-incarnate monk cari aspire to in a given monastery.i62

The ritual helper (mchod-g.yog) is responsible for all the special ritual actions. The ritual master and almost all the other monks remain in a meditative posture through most of the performance. It is not possible, however, to perform some of the required ritual actions from such a position. The role of the ritual helper is to perform all the actions the ritual master cannot. The ritual helper is conceived of as being an 'active' aspect of the ritual master. The two are one entity, one aspect sitting in a meditative posture, while the other performs everything that requires moving about. Therefore, another name for ritual helpers, which they themselves seem to prefer, is las rdo-rje 'action vajra'. Thus, from their seats the ritual master, chant leader and other monks perform the major ritual activities of

visualization, chanting, making seals (mudrds), employing their vajra and bell, their <;iamaru drum,263 etc. The ritual helper assists in the performance of special offerings such as bathing (khrus-gso/),264 enthronement offerings (mnga' -'bul), offering gtor-mas to the obstructions (bgegs-gtor), etc. He also provides the ritual master and the assembly with the necessary ritual substances and implements at the right points of the ritual.265 His duties include the preparation of all the required ritual substances and implements before the ritual

begins, the arrangement of the altar, mandalas, offerings, gtor-mas, etc. During certain relatively complicated ritual actions, such as the bathing or purification of obstructions, the ritual helper officiates simultaneously with one or two assistants. In certain monasteries, especially in relatively new establishments in the Kathmandu Valley, the role of the ritual helper in ordinary organized monastic rituals is rotated among the young adult monks, a task which helps familiarize them with every aspect of the ritual. In other monasteries, such as Dga'-ldan-chos-'phel-gling 262 For the roles of the rol-dpon and dbu-chung see Tucci 1980:132. 263 Cf. Ellingson, 1979a:771.

264 For these ritual actions see below. 265 The ritual helper may even need to take on diplomatic responsibilities when the ritual master comes from a slightly different ritual tradition than the monastezy in which be perfonns.

this is usually the responsibility of the senior monks, though they are assisted by their juniors. Another special ritual role in the performance of the consecration below is held by the senior most monk who is in charge of offering the four waters (chu bzhi). In addition certain monastic members specialize in the playing of one or more musical instruments, including the sil-snyan, dung-dkar, rgya-gling, sbub-'chal, dung-chen, rkanggling and rnga-chen. 266

The ritual performance requires the coordination of all these participants. The staging of major organized monastic rituals is an immensely complicated undertaking. Monks spend years of their life learning to perform such rituals. In addition to the meditational aspects, for successful results the ritual master should be very familiar with the ritual, the ritual helper should prepare all the required ritual implements and substances and at the appropriate moments place what is necessary in front of the ritual master and the assembly. Everyone should know how to perform all the ritual actions. The chant leader should know all the chants and their sequence in the consecration ritual so that the rest of the assembly can follow him. The chant leader should lead also the performance of music. All musicians should be competent in the use of their instruments, should know their parts and the proper moments for their use in the ritual sequence. Thus, the external aspects of the ritual alone comprise an extremely complex task.


Major rituals such as an elaborate consecration are usually performed in the assembly hall of a monastery. Smaller movable receptacles are often brought there. However, as will be seen below, the physical presence of the receptacle in the assembly hall is not necessary. In some cases, such as a consecration of a large stfipa, a temporary tent or another shelter is constructed next to it. However, the inner structure of such a construction resembles that of an assembly hall. Therefore, most of the discussion here will apply in either case. 266 For discussions of these musical instruments whose names do not have exact equivalents in English see Ellingson 1979a. See also Tucci 1980:117-9.

Diagram I: The setup for the consecration in Dga' -ldan-chos-'phel-gling

Main Mandala A- abbot.

U - the chant leader (dbu-md;;:;ad). S - the senior-most monk. Main Image Protectors owned images. main entrance D- drums. , .. - rows of monks.

The setting for the performance of the consecration in Dga' -ldanchos-' phel-gling monastery in Bodhanath can be seen in Diagram 1. The monks numbering about seventy sit in six rows, arranged in three pairs. The more seniority the monk has, the closer he is to the main image and altar. At the center-front is situated the bathing mandala (khrus-dkyi[); at its center the representation of the main receptacles being consecrated and the mirrors which will hold the ye-shes semsdpa' of the receptacle (see below). At the left front stands a pavilion housing the painted cloth mandala of Rdo-rje- 'jigs-byed-lha-bcu-gsum with offerings and gtor-mas in front of it. In between these two mandalas there is a much smaller offering mandala with the enthronement offerings (mnga' -dbul), the eight auspicious substances (bkrashis rdzas brgyad), etc. (see below). In front of the main image an altar is set aside for the smaller images brought by monastic and lay people to be consecrated together with Bodhanath Stiipa. Thang-kas are hung from the upper beams.

1. The mandala of the lha

As mentioned, the consecration ritual is a special application. of the sadhana practice which includes the entrance of the consecration lha into the mandala (bdag-'jug). The sadhana practice in this case, as in most other Dge-lugs-pa consecrations, is that of Thirteen lha Rdorje- 'jigs-byed (Dpal Rdo-rje-'jigs-byed-lha-bcu-gsum). The mandala is housed in a pavilion of four pillars and a roof267 with curtains on all four sides. Dga'-ldan-chos-'phel-gling monastery uses a painted mandala framed in glass.268 A thang-ka depicting this mandala which belongs to Dga' -ldan-chos- 'phel-gling itself was published by Lobsang Dorje and Black.269 This publication also contains a detailed description of this mandala according to the manual of the Generation Stage by Blo-bzang-lhurt-grub (1819-1850). In addition, a description of this mandala is translated below.270 The offerings and gtor-mas in front of the mandala palace include gtor-mas for Rdo-rje-'jigs-byed, 267 For a drawing of such a roof see Kohn 1988:396. 268 In Rnam-rgyal.Grwa-tshang, His Holiness The Dalai Lama's monastery, a colored powder mandala is prepared for a similar consecration on Lha-babs Dus-chen. The drawing of such a mandala requires four days (cf. Sharpa 1985:37-41). 269 1973. Unfortunately a large number of Tibetan words are misspelled in their transliteration. The reader should consult the Tibetan spellings on p. 281 there. 170 In the section caUed 'seeing the mandala' included in the preparatocy rituals for the initiation on the first day of the consecration (see also SS. 31-33, 3~1).

his consort and the twelve members of his retinue ('khor), the general tjdkinfs (mkha'-'gro-spyi-gtor), and so forth, as well as the four protectors and the lord of the ground (gzhi-bdag) to whom the propitiation ritual (bskang-gso) will be performed. For illustrations of these offerings and gtor-mas, see MY 6.271

2. The bathing mandala

This mandala is specific to the consecration ritual and therefore will be discussed in more detail here. It is situated at the front center of the assembly hall before the main image and also in front of the ritual master (see Diagram 1). Its layout can be seen in Diagram 2. Under the various implements a square mandala is drawn. From among the four actions272 the consecration ritual belongs to rituals of increase (rgyas-pa' 1as),273 which are associated with the square shape. Instructions for the square shape of the bathing mandala are found also in consecration texts found in the Tanjur.'74 Sde-srid Sangs-rgyas-rgyamtsho explains this mandala as follows:

On top of a yellow cover [the color of increase] there is a four-door square bathing [[[mandala]]]. At its center is an eight petalled lotus. The middle and four petals in the cardinal directions are marked with the five Tathii.gatas (rigs lnga) and the petals in the intermediate directions with the four consorts (yum bzhi).275 This is one of the most common mandalas of the five Tathagatas. Each of the following authors assumes that the performers are familiar with this mandala and therefore supply only a few hints. Abhayakaragupta has:

271 For general instructions on the preparation of these gtor-mas see MV 3-4. 272 See the section on fire offering below. 273 Sde-srid Sangs-rgyas-rgya-mtsho p. 234. 274 For example, in the works by Kun-dga'-snying-po, Toh. 2521, p. 255.1-2; Toh. 2523. p. 265. 275 Khebs ser-po'i khar khrus-kyi gru bzhi sgo bzhi-ba'i dbus pad-'dab brgyad-kyi lteba dang phyogs bzhir rigs-lnga dang mtsams bzhir yum bzhis mtshan·pa'i steng ... p. 234.2-3.

Diagram 2: The Bathing Mandala (khrus-dkyi[).

Bathing Cleansing Stainless Cleansing Vases Substances Offerings Substances of (khrus- (bdag- (dri-med the Supreme

bum)276 rdzas)277 mchod-pa)178 Bathing 1. mngar a. bdud-rtsi ~nga i. dri-bzang w. dri-bzang 'daggsum chal

2, zho-gsar b. snum-rkyang ii. me-tog x. drkhim-po' i 'bru-mar 3. 'bras-bu c. shing-shum iii. mchod-yon y. dri-bzang lnga' i gsum phye-ma skarnpo 4. 'bru d. ba-byung lnga iv. mar-me z. dri-bzang Idegu 5. dri-bzang e. spos-mar 6. 'bras-yos f. skyu-ru-ra' i phye-ma 7. sman g. snum-rkyarig 8. rin-chen h. dri-bzang

Others R. representation of the receptacle

M. mirror

A. gtor-ma for the dharma protector

B. water for touching279 C. scented

The woolen cloth at [the cardinal directions] beginning with the east has [the Tathfigata signs] of wheel, jewel, lotus and sword, at the intermediate directions the signs of the four consorts.281 Brag-phug Dge-bshes also gives a similar description and adds that: At the center of the eight petaled lotus there is a five pronged white vajra . .. 282

Gung-thang-pa who also provides an outline of this mandala further specifies the signs of the four consorts. The [[[lotus]]] petals [in the cardinal directions beginning] from the east clockwise are marked with a wheel, jewel, lotus, and sword; white, yellow, red and green [respectively]. The four at the intermediate directions [beginning with] the southeast clockwise [are marked with] a wheel, vajra, lotus and sword; white, blue, red and green [respectively]. The eastern direction of this drawing or colored powder mandala faces the ritual master and is covered. At the center a flower and kuSa [grass] 283 seat is made. 284

On top of the eight lotus petals beginning from the east the eight bathing vases (khrus-burn) are placed.285 According to Sde-srid Sangsrgyas- rgya-mtsho (p. 234) the nine vessels of the cleansing substances ('dag-rdzas) are placed in front of the bathing vases. In Dga' -ldanchos-' phel-gling, however, the cleansing substances are placed between the bathing vases according to their sequence in the ritual in order to prevent possible confusion. While . the layout of the eight bathing vases on the mandala of the five Tathagatas and four consorts belongs to an old tradition and is found in numerous consecration works including the earlier ones, the tradition of the cleansing substances seems to be a later and less well. established one. 281 Shar /a-sogs-pa'i snam-bu Ia- 'khor-lo dimgl rin-po-che dang/ padma dang/ ra/gri- rnams-dangl mtshams-rnams-su yum-bzhi'i mtshan-ma dang! Vajriivalf, Toh. 3140,

282 Nang-du padma 'dab-ma brgyad-pa'i lte-bar rdo-rje dkar-po rtse lngd-ba! p. 244.3. 283 Sitting on kuSa grass the Buddha attained Enlightenment. For the kuSa grass see Gonda 1985:29-51; Snellgrove 1987:226, n. 174. 284 'Dab-mar shar nas g.yas skor-du 'khor-lo! rin-po-che/ padma! ral-gril dkar ser dmar ljangl ·liztshams bzhir shar-lho nas g.yas skor-dul 'khor-lol rdo-rjel padma/ ral-gri dkar sngo dmar ljang-rnams-kyis mtshan-pa! Rdul-tshon-gyis bri-ba'aml ras-bris-su byas-ba'i shar-gyi mtshan-ma slob-dpon la bstan nas dgab/ de'i dbus-su me-tog dang ku-sha'i gdan .. Gung-thang-pa, work 1, p. 58.1-3. · 285 See the section on empowering the bathing vases below.

At the center of the bathing mandala in Dga'-ldan-chos-'phel-gling stands a representation of the receptacle. This is used in cases such as that of the consecration of Bodhanath Stilpa, in which the receptacle cannot be present in the assembly hall of the monastery. This representation is made to somewhat resemble the upper part of a human body. It is made of two round vases; the larger one is placed right side up, while the smaller is placed on top of the former upside down. This construction is then covered with embroidered silk. During the ritual of the consecration lha's entrance into the mandala this representation in human form will be wearing the initiation implements (dbdng-rdzas, see the initiation below).

Next to the representation of the receptacle stand two ritual mirrors. To these mirrors will be invited the ye-shes sems-dpa' of Bodhanath and Svayambhunath Stilpa respectively. Since the ritual performed in Dga'-ldan-chos-'phel-gling is a reconsecration, the ye-shes sems-dpa' which are already present in these stfipas will be conveyed by means of these mirrors into the assembly hall for a renewal of the consecration'" At the end of the consecration in one of its most dramatic moments the ye-shes sems-dpa' will be returned into the respective stfipas and requested to firmly remain there (brtan-bzhugs).281 Additional ritual substances are placed on the bathing mandala as well. These include the cleansing substances for the supreme bath (mchog-' khrus), the four stainless offerings (dri-med mchod-pa bzhi), pure water for touching (nye-reg chu-gtsang), and incensed butter (spas-mar) which are used in the purifications (sbyang-ba). Each of these items will be explained at the context of

its use in the ritual. There is some discussion in the consecration literature whether the third mandala, the offering mandala should have at its center mount Meru and the four continents. In Dga'-ldan-chos-'phel-gling this mandala simply houses the various offerings special to the consecration including the enthronement offerings (mnga' -dbul), the offering for opening the faculties of the eye and so forth, and the eight auspicious substances (bkra-shis rdzas brgyad) offered to the patron. 286 See the section on showing the mirror below.

287 During the consecration the ye-shes sems-dpa' are not invited from the ritual mirror into the representation of the receptacle as one would expect. The monks officiating at the consecration consider the lha to be present during the ritual not in the re~sentation but in the ritual mirror. Some of the offerings to the receptacle (including the offering of ornaments) are made to the mirror. Still most ritual actions pertaining to the receptacle are performed with regard to the representation.

The throne of the ritual master faces the eastern288 direction of the bathing mandala. The ritual mirrors and supreme bathing substances are situated on this side as well. On a table in front of the ritual master are set from right to left the following ritual implements: the Victorious Vase (rnam-bum), the vase of action (las-bum), tjamaru drum, vajra (rdo-rje), bell (dril-bu) imd a skull (kapala) containing the inner offerings (nang-mchod).289 The ritual manual is set in front of the two vases.


No person, substance, or implement involved in a ritual performance can take part in it or be used in it in its ordinary worldly form. The performance of almost every tantric ritual begins with a process of 'exaltation' which brings both performers and objects into a 'exalted' or 'Buddhaized' state appropriate for effecting the ritual purpose.290 The processes through which persons, substances and implements are transformed into an 'exalted' level can be generally classified into three groups. For people, the fourfold generation process is employed. The performers transform themselves into a lha through the sadhana practice employing the process of 'generating oneself as a lha' (bdagbskyed,

see above). Also, the patrons who participate in the ritual at one point cannot do so in their worldly appearances: As they are usually unable to transform themselves into lha, the ritual master together with the other monks performs this transformation of the . patrons as it is done in initiation rituals where before entering the mandala the disciples are transformed into lha. The only ritual implement or substance which is transformed by means of the fourfold generation is the water of the Victorious Vase (main-bum or rnam-rgyal bum-pa) used in the 'entry into the mandala' (bdag-'jug) or path-initiation of both performers and receptacles. Like the performers, the water of the Victorious Vase is generated as the main yi-dam of the consecration. This is the process called 'generation 288 The eastern side of a mandala does not necessarily -accord with the geographical east.

289 For an illustration of these implements, see MV 7. These items will be discussed below. 290 Cf. Gupta 1979; Wheelock 1989. A similar notion is found in the Satapatha BrtihmaiJQ: "What is human is inauspicious at the sacrifice." 1,4,1,35; 1,7,2,9; 1,8,1,29; etc.

of a lha in a vase' (bum-bskyed, it will be further discussed in the section on empowering the ritual vases below). For these transformations into the main yi-dam the term 'generation' (bskyed-pa) is generally used. Alternatively, also the word 'accomplishing' (sgrub) is employed, as in sgrub-thabs (sddhana), 'means of accomplishing' or bum-sgrub a synonym of bum-bskyed. The word sgrub alone is used in the consecration literature for transformation into an 'exalted' state which is not visualized in the form of a particular yi-dam. When applied to various ritual substances, sgrub will be translated here as 'empowerment'. At the outset of the ritual after the transformation of

the performers as well as the Victorious and Action Vases, certain ritual substances are empowered. These include the bathing vases (khrus-bum), the cleaning substances ('dag-rdzas), flowers and grains to be scattered on the receptacle, as well as the gu-gul and white mustard which will be used for wrathful purifications. The empowerment of these substances endows them with potencies to accomplish their ritual purpose which are not found in ordinary bathing water, grain or white mustard. They are brought as well to an exalted dimension distinct from their mundane existence. Yet, there is no unified process for such empowerments. The various processes of empowerment performed for each of the ritual substances will be discussed on the appropriate occasions below. Their common feature is that none of them involve the invitation of the yeshes sems-dpa'.

A third process of transformation is called byin-brlab or byin-gyis brlab-pa, and will .be translated here as blessing. It applies to ritual implements such as the vajra and bell291 or to substances including the various offerings and gtor-mas. Again, different processes are included under the designation of blessing and will be discussed in due course. Here the commonly performed blessing of the offerings will be given as an example. These blessings consist of four limbs:292 l. cleansing (bsangs), 2. purifying (sbyangs), 3. generating (bskyedpa), 4. blessing (byin-rlabs).293

l. The cleansing is performed through sprinkling water from the vase of action (las-bum) while reciting the mantra of the lha situated at "' Cf. DK 85.3-86.6; S. 12-13. 292 This is a fourfold and not a threefold process as Beyer 1973:143 explains it.

the northern gate of the Rdo-rje-'jigs-byed-lha-bcu-gsum's mandala. This lha, Ral-gri Gshin-rje-gshed, is also dissolved into the water of the vase of action. The nature of the vase of action and the role of this lha will become clearer in the discussion of the ritual of empowering the vases (bum-sgrub). The purpose of this ritual action is clearing impurities and interferences. Both the cleansing and the following ritual step of purifying are common to all rituals of 'exaltation', including generations, empowerments and blessings.

2. The purification of the offerings is a process of dissolving them away or visualizing their disappearance (mi dmigs-pa). On one level the practitioner envisions that in the place of the physical offerings there is nothing. The mundane offerings are dissolved so that divine offerings may replace them. This process, however, is always given a Buddhist interpretation involving a meditation on Emptiness. The practitioner does not visualize that the physical offerings are not there any more, but rather meditates on their

nature as devoid of own existence. In all rituals of 'exaltation' at this point of the process Madhyamika meditations on Emptiness are incorporated in the tantric rituals. Here the offerings are purified from their ordinary mistaken appearances and their true nature is realized. While earlier steps of the ritual included ritualization of moral attitudes, and the accumu. lation of merit (bsod-nams-kyi tshogs),294 here the practitioners perfect their accumulation of enlightened wisdom or knowledge (ye-shes kyi tshogs) in a ritualized manner as well.

The realization of the offerings as empty of own existence is accompanied by the recitation of the following mantra: 0Yf! svabhdvasuddhfil; sarva-dharmdl; svabhdva-suddho 'ham. 'OY!I pure by nature are all dharmas; pure by nature am I.' This mantra is called chosnyid rnam-par dag-pa'i sngags 'the mantra of purifying into dharma nature' .296 The practitioner visualizes all dharmas in general and the offerings in particular as empty of own existence. The mantra 0Yf! svabhdva etc. is closely related297 to the following mantra sunyatdjfzdna- vajra-svabhdva-dtmako 'ham, 'l am the vajra nature of the 294 See the 'section on generating the mind of enlightenment' below. zgs Cf. Beyer 1973:29-35 and de Jong I984:91-ll3 passim. "' Cf. Nag-po-pa, Toh. 1259, p. 569.6. 297 Cf. Mkhas-grub Rje 1968:160 note 12; idem. "Opal Rdo-rje-'jigs-byed-lha-bcu-gsumma 'i bskyed-rim rnam-par bshad-pa," (see the bibliography of Tibetan works) p. 240;

eniightened wisdom and Emptiness', which is similarly employed in the process of dissolving into Emptiness. 298 In fact, however, this process is twofold. It involves not only contemplation on Emptiness but also effectuation of this process, that is to say, by the power of the mantra recitation the offerings are considered to indeed transform into Emptiness. During the prior approaching practice (bsnyen-pa) ofone's yi-dam, the

performers should have already contemplated on the meaning of this mantra. In performing rituals (las) such as consecration, they should already be able. to transform themselves into a lha and employ the lha's powers in effectuating this and other mantras. Thus, while at the beginning of one's training the mantra serves as means for meditation on Emptiness, after completing the bsnyen-pa, the practitioners are considered as being able to employ the mantra for transforming the object of his or her meditation into Emptiness. This mantra is made effective because the practitioner has acquired the required powers through meditation on its content.

3. Having been 'dissolved' into Emptiness, the offerings are then generated out of Emptiness as 'exalted' substances. The generation manual has the following:

From the continuum of Emptiness Ab [appears); from it arise very vast and wide skulls inside of which are Huf{ls. From their melting arise water for welcoming, water for refreshing the feet, flowers, incense, light, fragrance, food, and music. Appearing as offering substances, their nature is Bliss and Emptiness (bde-stong). As objects of enjoyment for the six senses they function to generate uncontaminated supreme bliss.299 Three points are made with regard to the' new 'exalted' nature of the offering substances.300 I. They appear as offering substances. 2. However, their nature is Bliss and Emptiness, the non-dual nature the realization of which is the purpose of the yogic practice. 3. Their function is characterized as generating special uncontaminated Bliss. This they accomplish by serving as objects of enjoyment for the six senses. Thus, the offerings are transformed into the nature of all Buddhas, but appear to be offering substances. They function as objects of enjoyment for the six senses: the light for the enjoyment of the

eye, music for the ear, food for the mouth, scent for the nose, etc. This in turn serves to generate special uncontaminated Bliss. The tantra utilizes the enjoyments of the senses for the sake of accomplishing Bliss.301

As Otrul Pai;lChen explains:

Although the physical offerings displayed are the best to be foundpure water, fresh flowers, fragrant incense and so forth, they belong to the world of ordinary appearances and as such are not suitable to be offered to pure beings. 302

Thus, the offerings actually offered are quite different from those present. They consist of visualized magnificent fields of flowers, clouds of sweets, incense, precious lamps, splendid fragrance, celestial food and so forth. Similarly, the music that is offered is more than the actual music played by the actual musical instrument. Ellingson (1979a), who discusses visualized music at length in his dissertation on Tibetan ritual music, remarks:

This inclusion in the concept of ritual music of music that is mentally produced but not physically present implies that, from a performer's perspective, the whole of the music offered in a given performance_ is always more than the sum of its audible parts. Furthermore, not only is the 'music' substantially different form the sounds heard; it is also different in different ways for each individual performer! Such concepts pose a special kind of problem for external observers who center their attention on physical observation and measurements.303 A s-imilar process of dissolving into Emptiness out of which a 'exalted' entity is generated is utilized not only with regard to the offering substances but also with respect to the practitioners of sadhanas and initiations.

4. The final blessing of the offerings is accomplished through the recitation of the mantra 0T{'l Aiz Huf{'l. The three parts of this mantra correspond to the Buddha's body, speech and mind respectively. Its recitation by an accomplished master transforms one's ordinmy body, speech and mind (Ius ngag yid) into 'exalted' or 'buddhaized' body, speech and mind (sku gsung thugs). Here this process is applied not

to a person who possesses body, speech and mind, but to the offering substances. Yet, the purpose is similar in that each aspect of the offerings substances is transformed .into an 'exalted' state. This process, which is similar to nydsa,304 is employed also in sddhanas where it is elaborated to include the blessing of the sense-fields as well (skyemched byin-rlabs, see below). The blessing of the offering is performed by reciting Ol?l A(l Hfirtl for each of them (i.e. Ol?l [[[name]] of the offering] A(l Hfirtl) while making the appropriate mudrd and visualizing the offerings being transformed into 'exalted' substances, w.hose nature is non-duality. Yet they are capable of appearing and functioning in the world.

The performers are so familiar with this fourfold process that it is only rarely given in its complete form.'05 In the translation below I have supplied numbers in square brackets to indicate each of these four steps which in the consecration manual usually appear in a fragmentary form. In sum, during the ritual all persons are yi-dams and all ritual substances and implements are regarded as empowered with special powers. The entire ritual does not take place on a worldly plane, but on ari 'exalted' one. 304 For a further discussion of this see the section on the blessing of the sense fields (skye-mched) and the body, speech and mind in the main part below. 305 A complete version is found in DK 88.6-89;3.


(Rab-gnas Cho-ga Dge-legs Rgya-mtsho'i' Char-'bebs)



An English translation of the consecration manual written by Khribyang Rinpoche, the Junior Tutor of the 14th Dalai Lama (abbreviated as R.), is presented below. Subdivisions into the various ritual actions were provided by the translator. More often than not the subtitles do not appear in the Tibetan manual. In those cases when subtitles appear in the consecration manual of the First Pa1,1cen Lama, on which Khri-byang Rinpoche relies, I have incorporated them here. In other cases I have added divisions which would help clarify the proceedings. As has already been noted, the actual performance of the consecration relies on five separate manuals (R., DK., J., SS., and KS.). As the performers have memorized the other four manuals, only very short references are made to the sections of the performance based on those manuals. For the sake of the reader in most cases a translation of the missing text is supplied in square brackets. Short texts are occasionally supplied in the notes. The complete Tibetan text of R. is provided in the appendix.

Two versions of Khri-byang Rinpoche's manual have been published (Copy A = R. and Copy B). While R. contains a small number of mistakes, Copy B has almost none.· But, since R. was actually used during the performance, it was chosen as the basis for the translation. All significant variant readings of Copy B are given in the notes. Some of these are helpful for understanding R. The mantras are given as they are found in R. For the convenience of the reader, when a word of a mantra differed only slightly from its form in common Sanskrit dictionaries, the dictionary form was supplied. When other manuals had an alternative to a problematic mantra, it was also given in a note. Most mantras in Tibetan texts appear with resolved sandhi. No attempt to reconstruct normal sandhi was made. The greatest difficulty occurs with regard to the case endings of some of the mantras which do not correspond to classical forms. Yet, they are typical for many of the Tibetan ritual manuals. My translations of the mantras are very tentative. The intent is to give the reader some indication of their content. While some of the instructions for ritual actions are given in the imperative, others are given in the third person. They have been


translated in the form in which they occur in the manual. A short discussion is provided before each individual ritual episode on its first occurrence. The text of these discussions begins on the left margin. The translated text is indented. The pronouncements recited during the performance are still further indented. THE TITLE [355] The Consecration Ritual, (called) "lmmense1 Downpour of Virtue and Goodness" of the monastery Stag-brag Bsam-gtangling, 2 together with a (short) consecration (called) Rta-thog-ma.' and an arga ritua\4 according to the ritual practice of the glorious Lower Tantric College (Smad-rgyud).' A sequence of actions written as it should be performed' [356] (opening verse)'

l Literally, 'oceanic' (rgya-mtsho). 2 See the section' on the ritual manual in the introduction. 3 Literally, "From the top [or back] of a horse." According to T.J. Norbu this alludes to the brevity of the ritual which can be performed while riding a gaiioping horse near the receptacle. In comparison to the main work in this text, which is translated below, and whose performance usually lasts three long days, the performance of the Rta-thogma usually lasts one to three hours. While the main work here is one of the most frequently performed Gelugpa elaborate consecrations, the Rta-thog-ma is most commonly used for brief consecration. Its complete title is "Rab~gnas rta~thog~ma'i ngag 'don nag 'gros~su bkod-pa." (See Appendix). Despite the title, its performance usually lasts one to three hours. This and the following work will not be translated below. For a translation of the Rta-thog-ma, see Bentor (forthcoming 1996).

4 See preface.

~ Or Rgyud~smad. It is called 'lower' because it was located topographically below the Upper Tantric College, not because it was in any other way inferior to it. 6 Nag-'gros abbreviation for· nag~po 'gro~shes (K. 1499a); literally "knowing [how] to go in the dark" (according to Geshe Bstan~dar) or "knowing [how] to go according to the black [ink]" (according to Geshe Sopa) which indicates that the instructions are stated in a clear way. It also implies that an experienced monk would be able to recite the entire ritual pronouncements relying on this ritual manual alone. lt is assumed, however, that he has mastered the sddhana ritual of Rdo~rje- 'jigs~byed, including the generation of oneself as the.lha (bdag-bskyed DK), and the entry of oneself into his mandala (bdag-'jug J.), as we.U as the burnt offerings ritual {sbyin-sreg SS.) in connection with this Jha and the propitiation ritual (bskang~gso). In addition, several famous recitations such as the Bstan' bar~ma (see below R. 451.6) are not given ·in full. As will be seen, for a great number of recitations and mantras only the first few syllables are given in our text. 7 Not translated here.



Here is' the consecration ritual "Immense Downpour of Virtue and Goodness", according to the practice of the glorious Lower Tantric College, a ritual practice of sequential actions [as performed in] the monastery of Stag-brag. Bsam-gtan-gling located at the center of the dharma field (chos-kyi zhing) of Tibet.' a realm blessed by the illusory drama (sgyu-'phrul"gyi rol-pa) of the enlightened wisdom (ye-shes) of the supreme exalted Phyagna- padmo.10 [357] So that it would remain unimpaired even in its smallest detail, the practice is arranged very clearly and plainly as it should be performed. It is indicated in such a way that the actual pattern of the ritual would be clear (and even) the beginner and unwise could perform it. 11


Tibetan scholastic writing is often divided into three parts:. preparation (sbyor-ba), main part (dngos-gzhi) and concludings (mjug). For example, Bu-ston (1290-1364) explains the procedure of both studying and teaching the Bnddhist religion as consisting of these lhree phases." Likewise, Sa-skya Pa(l(lita (1182-1251) divides the structure of debate (rtsod-pa) into lhree such parts." Similarly, rituals, including consecrations, are structured in this trifold manner. In the consecration of Bodhanath StOpa each of these sections lasts a whole day. 8 The following is a short commentary on the title of the text. 9 Gangs-can literary the snowy [country], 1° Kamalap1iiJ.i or Padmap1il)i. In Tibet this is understood as an epithet for Spyan-rasgzig (AvalokiteSvara); see K. 1734b. 11 Even though this is a standard statement, the special clarity of this ,particular consecration manual was, indeed, one of the main reasons for choosing it for translation. 12 Bu-ston, Chos-byung pp. 55.7-58.4 and pp. 63.4-64.7. Translated in Bu-ston 1931 vol. 1. pp. 74-76 and pp. 83-85. 13 Sa-skya Pm;tQ.ita, Mkhas-pa 'Jug-pa'i Sgo p. 109; Jackson 1987:191, 200-203, 323, · etc.; see also Beckwith 1990.



Of the three (parts of the ritual), (I] the preparatory rituals (stagon), [2] the main [358] part of the ritual (dngos-gzhi) and (3] the concluding rituals (mjug-chog), the first (part) is the preparatory rituals.


General preparatory rituals

The preliminary rituals (sngon-'gro)

A bell wakes up the monks and calls them to join the assembly. The monks enter one by one and begin to perform their daily rituals at their own individual pace.' These private devotions include taking refuge and generating bodhicitta, the seven-limbed ritual (yan-lag bdun, saptliliga-puja),2 mwvja/ offering,' prayers to the lineage of lamas (bla-ma' i 'don chog),' guru-yoga,' confession of sins (ltung-bshags)6 and so forth. These rituals are not exclusive to monks and nuns, but are performed also by lay-people. Their purpose is purification and accumulation of merit. These rituals are commonly performed also at the opening of generation rituals such as the following one. Here they also serve to provide the proper motivation for the performance 1 The older monks usually are the first to enter. They pezform these individual rituals carefully. The younger monks walk in at the last minute and seem to take some shortcuts in the performance.

2 This ritual, which is based on the Bhadra-carf-pratJ,idhdna (cf. Schopen 1989a), is discussed in detail by Geshey Ngawang Dhargyey (1974n8:214-223); Beyer 1973: vide sub index (office, seven-fold); see also MV 41; etc.

3 See below. 4 A bilingual manual for such recitations· was published by the Library of Tibetan Works and Archives (LTWA 1975). ' Cf. GDL 78-105; MY 25-27; etc. 6 See Willson 1985:63-80.

of the consecration. At the end of these rituals the monks are served breakfast. Generation of oneself as Rdo-rje-'jigs-byed (bdag-bskyed)

1. The generation ritual (bskyed-pa) The generation of oneself as a lha is employed in s{tdhanas where the aim is to accomplish the complete transformation of oneself into a lha. This type of generation is also used in non-soteriological rituals such as consecration, since only as lha can the performers invite a lha into the receptacle. The lha generated in self-generation is one of the yi-dams, never a lesser divinity. It is through the power of yidams that non-soteriological rituals are accomplished.'

Note that Beyer's classification of ritual types in which self-generation occurs only in contemplative soteriological rituals (1973:255) is misleading. Self generation is not the major element in what Beyer terms magical functions; however, it is certainly a prerequisite for such performances. As in the fascinating ritual of thread crosses (mdos)' that Beyer himself uses for illustrating this type of ritual, one of the first ritual actions is generation of oneself as Tara (Beyer 1973:331- 333). Since the performers are considered to have already mastered this process, the self generation in such rituals is usually brief. Still, the basic presupposition of organized monastic rituals is that they are effected through the power of oneself as a lha.

Therefore the consecration begins with a process by which the performers generate themselves as a lha (bdag-bskyed). There are a number of translations and discussions in Western languages of the generation process including those of Tsong-kba-pa (1977 & 1981), Mkbas-grub Rje (1968), Geshe Kelsang Gyatso (1982), Beyer {1973 & 1974:140-153), Jackson (1985), Guenther (1987), Kloppenborg (1987), Sharpa (1987) and Geshe Kelsang Gyatso (1991). In the present case the yi-dam is Rdo-rje-'jigs-byed-lha-bcu-gsum (Rdo-rje-'jigs-byed thirteen lha).9 The ritual manual followed here is "Dpal Rdo-rje-'jigsbyed- lha-bcu-gsum-ma'i sgrub-thabs rin-po-che'i za-ma-tog," written 7 See the section on tannic rituals and consecration in the introduction. 8 See also Blondeau 1987-88 & 1990.

9 The thirteen lha are as follows: At the center Opal Rdo-rje-'jigs-byed together with his consort (yum) Rdo-rje-ro-langs-ma; in .the east, Gti-mug Gshin-rje-gshed (Gshin-rjegshed of Ignorance); in the south, Ser-sna Gshin-rje-gshed (Gshin-rje-gshed of Avarice);

by Tsong-kha-pa. 10 The version used in the performance in Dga' -ldanchos-' phel-gling was based on the print of it included in the collected rituals of Stag-lung-brag Bsam-gtan-gling monastery entitled "Opal Rdo-rje-'jigs-byed-lha-bcu-gsum-ma'i bdag-bskyed/ bum-pal dbangchog smon-shis dang bcas-pa. "11 All adult monks in Dga' -ldan-chos' phel-gling, as well as in most other Dge-lugs-pa monasteries, have memorized this ritual. Significant sections of this work were translated by Sharpa Tulku and Perrot ( 1987). A similar sadhana of Rdo-rje' jigs-byed alone (Dpa '-bo-gcig-po) written by Pha-bong-kha-pa Byamspa- bstan-'dzin-'phrin-las-rgya-mtsho (1871-1941) was translated by. Sharpa Tulku and Guard, (1990, abbreviated MV). The reader is referred to these works for details of the generation of oneself as Rdorje-' jigs-byed. Here only some brief remarks will be made. 12

The word generation (bskyed-pa) is used in both specific and general senses. In its specific use it refers to the process of generating the lha out of Emptiness. The performers visualize themselves as the damtshig sems-dpa' (samaya-sattva) including both its celestial palace or mandala-the residence of the lha, and the lha itself-the resident of the mandala (rten gzhal-yas-khang bskyed dang rten-pa lha bskyedpa). The general use of the term generation includes, in addition, the entire process of the sadhana. The latter is also called the generation process (bskyed-rim) as distinguished from the perfection process (rdzogs-rim). This latter process, which follows the former in the Highest 'Yoga Tantra, does not play an important role in the consecration ritual.

In his commentary on the consecration chapter in the Hevajra Tantra, Sa-chen Kun-dga'-snying-po (1092-1158), among others, mentions the following methods of generation in its specific meaning. in the west, 'Dod-chags Gshin-rje-gshed (Gshin-rje..gshed of Passion); in the north, Phragdog Gshin-rje-gshed (Gshin-rje-gshed of Jealousy); at the eastern door, Tho-bo Gshin-rjegshed (Gshin-rje-gshed of Hammer); at the. southern door, Dbyug-pa Gshin-rje-gshed (Gshinrje- gshed of Club); at the western door, Padma Gshin-rje-gshed (Gshin-rje-gshed of Lotus); at the northern door, Ral-gri Gshin-rje-gshed (Gshin-rje-gshed of Sword); in the southeast, Carcika; in the south-west, Phag-mo [Vfu'§.hi]; in the north-east, Dbyangs-can-ma [[[Sarasvati]]]; in the north-west, Gauri; (Cf. DK 130-132; Sharpa 1987:33; Lobsang Dorje 1971; etc.).

10 See the bibliography of Tibetan works. 11 For the bibliographical data of this work which is abbreviated DK see the list of abbreviation. 12 For a short work on this ritual see also Decleer 1977.

The five awakenings or the fourfold ritual or the threefold one or generating the dam-tshig sems-dpa' from just [its] seed syllable." The generation in five awakenings (abhisan:lhodhi) includes the following:" · J. The generation as suchness (de-bzhin-nyid). As in the generation. of the offerings above, 15 the first stage is the realization of Emptiness. 16

2. The generation of the moon (zla-ba). Out of Emptiness the throne for the lha is generated as a moon.17 3. The generation of the seed syllable (sa-bon). From the moon the seed syllable of the lha appears. 4. The generation of the emblem (phyag-mtshan). The seed syllable transforms irito the lha's emblem marked with the seed syllable.

5. The generation of the complete body (sku rdzogs-pa). From the complete transformation of the emblem marked with the seed syllable the entire lha appears.

A similar generation process is called the 'generation in a three-fold' ritual. 19 It is parallel to the last three stages of the former generation. On top of a throne (such as a lotus and a sun or a moon) the lha's seed syllable appears. It is transformed into the lha's emblem marked with the seed syllable. From its complete transformation the complete body of the lha is generated.

Another method of generation which is common in Kriya Tantra is discussed, for. example, by Rje Tsong-kha-pa (1981:104-114) and Mkhas-grub Rje (1968:158-163). This is generation through six lha (lha drug): the ultimate lha (de-kho-na-nyid-kyi lha), the sound lha (sgra'i lha), the letter lha (yi-ge'i lha), the form lha (gzugs-kyi lha), the seallha (phyag-rgya'i lha), and the sign lha (mtshan-ma'i lha). Here the term generation is used in a more general sense. Even though 13 Mngon~byang lnga' am/ cho-ga yan-lag bzhi' am! gsum-manl sa-bon tsam las damtshigs sems-dpa' bskyed-del. See the selective list of commentaries on the consecration chapter in the Hevajra Tantra in the bibliography of Tibetan works, p. 47.3.6-4.1. 14 Cf. Beyer 1973:111; Rigzin 1986:96; etc.

15 See the section on rituals of transformatiOn in the introduction. 16 Cf. Wayman 1977:157-8 and the references there. 17 For wrathful deities the throne is generated as a sun. 18 Various ritual manual contain numerous variations on this theme. 19 Cho~ga gsum bskyed, cf. Padma-lcags-kyu, Toh. 3107, p. 402.1.

the form of the lha is completed in the fourth stage, the generation process here continues through the seallha which is equivalent to the blessing of the sense-fields (skye-mched byin-gyis rlabs) in the higher Tantras (see below).20

A common systematization of the entire process of generation in the higher Tantras is usually stated in terms of the four limbs of approaching and accomplishing (bsnyen-sgrub yan-lag bzhi) found in the Guhyasamaja Tantra. 21 These include approaching (bsnyen-pa, seva), near achieving (nye-bar sgrub-pa, upasadhana), achieving (sgrub-pa, sadhana), and the great achieving (sgrub-pa chen-po, mahfisadhana). This fourfold generation process too has been discussed in English by Wayman, Beyer (ibid.), etc.

Another fourfold classification of the entire sadhana process better corresponds to the actual categories usually found in ritual manuals. Such a classification is outlined, for example, by Kun-dga' -snyingpo. It includes the generation of the dam-tshig sems-dpa', that is to say the generation in its specific meaning as cited above. Then, [through] [2] the entrance of the immeasurable ye-shes sems-dpa' [into the dam-tshig sems-dpa'] [3] the blessings of the sense-fields (skyemched, ayatana) and body, speech and mind, [4] conferring initiation, the four limbs should be completed. 22

In most later ritual manuals, however, the second and third limbs are often switched. The process of generating oneself as Rdo-rje-'jigsbyed- lha-bcu-gsum in the consecration ritual consists of these four limbs. Having completed this process the performers would similarly generate the receptacle as this lha in the process called rten-bskyed. These four limbs will be discussed in more detail in that ritual context. 2. Empowering the ritual vases (bum-sgrub or bum-bskyed)23 There are three main generation rituals: generation of oneself as a lha (bdag-bskyed) as in the previous ritual, generation of a lha in front 20 Tsong-kha-pa ibid.: 108; Mkhas-grub Rje ibid.: 162-163. " Cf. Beyer 1973:106-108; Wayman 1977:156-160; 361-362; etc. 22 De nas ye-shes-sems-dpa' dpag-tu med-pa gzhug! skye-mched dang sku- gsung thugs byin-gyis brlab! dbang-bskur-te yan-lag bzhi rdzogs-su bya'ol ibid. p. 47.4.2-3; cf. also B. 101-106.

23 Even though both the consecration manual (R. 358.3) and the sfidhana (DK 100.5) instruct one to empower the vases before the generation ritual, in actual practice at Dga'ldan- chos-'phel-gling, the vases are empowered only after the generation, but before the entrance into the mandala (bdag~'jug) in which the Victorious Vase (rnam~bum) will be

(mdun-bskyed),24 and generation in a vase (bum-bskyed). The ritual under discussion here is the last among these generations. Its name, bum-sgrub, which is related to the word sadhana (sgrub-thabs), can be translated also as 'accomplishing', 'actualizing', or 'consecrating' the vase. Here the translation 'empowering the vase' will be used. In front of the ritual master two vases are placed on a bed of kusa grass and flower, the Victorious Vase (rnam-rgyal bum-pa, or, in short, rnam-bum) on the right and the vase of action (las-kyi bumpa, or las-bum) on the left. The empowerment ritual prepares these vases for the ritual actions in which they will later be used. Mk:hasgrub Rje explains the ritual use of the two vases as follows: As to the purposes of the flasks, the victorious flask is used at the time of Initiation and the [hierophant's] oWn entrance [into the mandala] as well as for conferring the numerous water initiations. The action flask is used for sprinkling the mandala, the offering materials, himself (i.e. the hierophant), the place, and the disciples."

The chief lha of the mandala, here Rdo-rje-'jigs-byed-lha-bcu-gsum, will be invited to and dissolved into the water· of the Victorious Vase, while the 'action' (las, karma) lha of this mandala (Ral-gri Gshinrje- gshed) will be invited and dissolved into the water of the vase of action. Thus, the Victorious Vase is conceived as an abode for the main lha and his mandala, while the vase of action is used for performing ritual actions, mostly cleansing (bsangs). The Victorious Vase, which will be used for conferring initiation in the self-entry into the mandala, and in the supreme bathing (khrus-mchog, see below), is not directly employed in the ritual. Some of its water is poured into the vase of action which is then used instead. As an abode of the lha of the mandala it is not appropriate for the Victor4>us Vase to perform actions.

The ritual manual for the empowerment of the vases during the consecration is appended to the generation manual (DK 184.3-191.3). Since rituals of empowering the vases have already been translated into English,26 I will give here only a short synopsis of this ritual used. The implication here is that the offerings in the generation rituals were cleansed with water not yet empowered. This problem can be solved by adding one drop of previously empowered water into the vases.

according to the manual used in this case. On top of the Victorious Vase a small conch shell (dung-chos) containing scented water is placed. On top of it is a small vajra21 around which a five colored" dhfirm;f thread (gzungs-thag) is coiled.29 The ritual master holds the other end of this thread next to his heart. The mantras he recites are conceived of as coiling along the dhfiral}f thread (hence its name), and reaching the vase. In this way the powers of the mantras and of the ritual master are transmitted into the water in the Victorious Vase.30

Then the vases are cleansed, dissolved into Emptiness and generated as .'divine' vases in a ritual of transformation discussed in the introduction. The 'divine' vase is endowed with the all essential characteristics (mtshan-nyid) of a vase." The water inside the vase is transformed into the divine Ganges river. The Victorious Vase is a vase outside, but inside it is a divine Palace, the mandala of Rdorje-' jigs-byed-lha-bcu-gsum. This mandala is generated here in a ritual similar to the generation discussed in the preceding

section. The yeshes sems-dpa', similar to the generated ones, are invited. Offerings and praises are made to them. With the mantra 01'[1 vajra-amrtaudakatha Harrz, the water in the conch is transformed into fine vajra particles made to be nectar of enlightened wisdom (ye-shes-kyi bdudrtsi). A string of mantras coils from the heart of the ritual master along the dhfiral}f thread. It invokes the mind-stream (thugs rgyud) of the lha inside the vase. A stream of nectar falls down filling the vase. Having recited a long series of mantras,32 the ritual master pours the water from the conch into the vases as 'welcoming water' (mchodyon, argham) and offers the five upadiras (see below) and music. For the empowennent of the vases related to Rdo-rje-'jigs-byed, see MV 95-96; SIV 40-41.

27 Las rdo~rje, or 'action vajra'-this object should not be confused with an alternative name of the ritual helper mchod g.yogs, who is sometimes called 'actiOn vajra', see above. 28 These are the colors of the five Tathagatas.

29 See the illustrations at the end of K. val. 3; B. 409; MV 93; etc. 30 The ritual use of a thread has many interesting applications in Buddhist and other rituals. It is used for transmitting power, demarcating sacred areas, uniting a group of people attending certain rituals, as protecting thread, etc. (cf. Tambiah 1984:248-250; de Silva 1981 passim; Locke 1987:175; Lewis 1989).

31 Cf. DK 185.1-2; Tsong-kha-pa, Sngags-rim Chen-mo (see bibliography of Tibetan works) vol. 161, p. 121.4; Snellgrove 1987:224; B. 411. 32 These include the mantras of the lha of the mandala inside the vase: 0f!l vajra udaka Htll'(l, the hundred syllable mantra of Rdo-rje-'jigs-byed (see the section on 'empowering the white mustard' below), his action mantra (below) Htlrp, and so forth.

Then a request for the removal of obstacles for the duration of the ritual is made. Then, by the fire of great passion the lha inside the vase dissolve and become 'one taste' (ro gcig) with the water as the essence of bodhicitta. Through this process the Rdo-rje-'jigs-byed-lha-bcugsum become indivisible from the water of the Victorious Vase.

The empowerment of the vase of action is similar. The lha invited here is Ral-gri Gshin-rje-gshed, Yamantaka of the Sword, the lha at the northern gate of the Rdo-rje-'jigs-byed-lha-bcu-gsum.33 In the northern direction the Tathagata family (rigs, gotra) of action (las, karma) is situated. Therefore, this lha has a special role in the ritual performances. Ral-gri Gshin-rje-gshed becomes indivisible from the water of the vase of action which together with· the mantra of this lha is used for cleansing the offerings, vases, etc, or oneself, before dissolving them into Emptiness and generating them as 'divine'. In a more general instance which applies to a variety of rituals performed not necessarily in connection with Rdo-rje-'jigs-byed, A!Ilftakm. l(iali is generated in the vase of action. In this case the cleansing will be performed through the recitation of the mantra of that lha while pouring water from the vase of action." According to yet another system, Rdo-rje-gnod-sbyin (Vajra-yak~a) is generated therein."

The empowerment of the vases described here follows the system of the slldhana ofRdo-rje-'jigs-byed (DK). It is by no means common to all traditions. There are minor differences even between the traditions of Skyid-grong Bsam-gtan-gling and that of at least one of the three main Dge-lugs-pa monasteries whose members are appointed as abbots of Dga'-ldan-chos-'phel-gling.36 Mkhas-grub Rje (1968:287- 291), who rejects some traditions pertaining to this ritual, provides us with a typical example of the. numerous minor variations among Tibetan rituals whlch occur also in each of the ritual actions discussed below. In order to avoid further elaboration in the treatment below, which, as the reader will soon realize, unavoidably deals with numerous details, only the tradition followed by Khri-byang Rin-po-che will be mentioned.

With regard to the physical content of the two vases, in addition 33 See also Lobsang Dorje 1971 :225; DK 126-7; and S. 40 where a description of him is given.

~ Cf. R. 375.3; B. 413-414. AmrtakuQ.Q.ali is one of the ten wrathful deities (khrobo bcu) situated at the northern direction (the 'action' direction) according to the Guhyasam~ja tradition (cf. Rigzin 1986:33-34). 's Grags-pa-rgyal-mtshan, p._ 129. ' 6 See the section on Dga'-Idan-chos-'phel-gling in the introduction.

to scented water they contain the twenty-five substances of the vase (bum-rdzas nyer-lnga), also called the five times five ingredients (lnga tshan lnga). These include the five grains ('bru lnga),37 five precious substances (rin-po-che lnga), five scents (dri lnga), five herbs (sman lnga), and the five essences (snying-po lnga). The number five corresponds, of course, to the number of the Tathigata 'families'. On these substances as well as on their further symbolism there are studies available in Western languages.38 Among Tibetan lists of the twentyfive substances," one might mention those by Tsong-kha-pa,40 Dpa'bo Gtsug-lag-phreng-ba41 the First Lcang-skya Ngag-dbang-blo-bzangchos- ldan42 and Gung-thang-pa.43 They are commonly purchased from the Tibetan Medical and Astrological Institute (Sman-rtsi Khang) in Dharamsala.

Below is translated only the section on the generation of oneself . as Rdo-rje-'jigs-byed which appears in the consecration manual. As all performers have memorized and practiced this ritual, the words given here serve only as reminders. For fuller treatments of this ritual the reader is referred to the literature mentioned above.


(Perform the following ritual actions:)" beginning with the confession of sins (ltung-bshags),45 blessing thevajra and bell (rdor 37 These are also the five grains granted by A valokiteSvara as the original ancestor of the Tibetans to his half-mao, half-ape offspring which marks the beginning of sedentary life according to the Tibetan myth of origin. See Stein 1972:46 for the account based on the Bka'-thang Sde-lnga and also Bsod-nams-rgyal-mtshan, Rgyal-rabs Gsal-ba'i.Melong

38 Cf. Waymari 1973:79~81; Snellgrove 1987:224, n. 171; Carelli 1941:17-19 cited there: Schwalbe 1979:70; Beyer 1973:290; etc .. These fivefold substances are placed inside images and stUpas as well. The components of a stCipa or image are ascending from the· mundane to the supramundane. The twenty-five substances which are placed relatively low at the throne of the receptacle are meant to serve mostly mundane purposes such as abundance of wealth, health, auspiciousness, etc. 39 Some of the substances which are listed by their Sanskrit names may be unknown even to the Tibetans (see Padma-'phrin-las, pp. 40--45). 40 Sngags-rim. Chen-mo (see bibliography of Tibetan works) vol. 161, pp. 121.5-122.3; see also K. under the name of each sub-group of five substances. 41 P. 108 (see the bibliography of Tibetan works). 42 "Rten Ia gzungs-gshugs 'bul-tshul shel-dkar me-long" (see the bibliography of works on gzungs-'bul) p. 86.1.3-8. 43 Work 1, p. 59.

44 Before the preparatory rituals of the consecration itself can commence, the consecrators perform the sddhana of Rdo-rje-'jigs-byed and the empowerment of the two vases (bum-sgrub). All the ritual actions mentioned immediately below are components of these two practices. 4s See, for example, pp. 581-588; for English translations, see Beresford 1980:15-21;

dril byin-rlab),46 the blessing of the inner offerings (nang-mchod byin-rlabs),41 the blessing of the preliminary offerings and gtormas (sngon-' gro mchod gtor byin-rlabs), as well as of the offering of the 'self-generation' (bdag-bskyed mchod-pa byin-rlabs),48 the offering of the maiJI}a/49 of twenty-five offerings" meditation on and recitation of Rdo-rje-sems-dpa' (Vajrasattva) (Rdor-sems sgom-bzlas)." At the beginning of the process of bringing death to the path as the dharmakaya,52 empower the Victorious and action vases according to the ritual manual (mam-bum las-bum gzhung-ltar bsgrubs)53 (recite:) 01'(1 Khanga-t;lhrik Hul'(l Phat.54 01'(1 svabhfiva-[suddhfif:z sarva-dharmaf:z svabhfiva-suddho 'ham]."

SPVO 33-36; Bendall 1922/1981:165-167; etc. 46 This and the following ritual actions are preliminaries for the 'self-generation' (bdag-bskyed) ritual of the Rdo-rje-'jigs-byed-lha-bcu-gsum (DK). The section of the blessing of the vajra and bell can be found in OK 85-6. It was translated into English in s. 12-13. 47 DK 86-8; translated in MY 33-34. Similar ritual actions are presented in English in B. 158-9; Jackson 1985:120-121; GDL 56-65; etc. " DK 91-92; translated in MY 38-39; S. 13-14; B. 143, 263, 415. 49 In order to distinguish between the mandala offering and the mandala of lha (dkyil' khor), the word ma1)cjal is used here for the fanner. 50 DK 92.

51 DK 92-95; translated in MV 39-40. The purpose of this preliminary practice to the generation process is to further purify the performer whose defilements may hinder the accomplishment of the ritual. This purification includes additional confession of sins and renewal of vows (sdom) and commitments (dam-tshigs), Together with the rituals of taking refuge, generating the mind of Enlightenment, prostrations, marpjal offerings and guru yoga (bla-ma'i rnal-'byor), the recitation and meditation on Vajrasattva belongs to the exraordinary preliminaries (thun-mong ma yin-pa'i sngon-'gro), which are widely discussed in Eng1ish in the works of Dge-bshes Rabten (1975, based on a work by Padmadkar- po), Beresford (1980:79-116), Jackson (1985:122), GDL 69-77, 271-272 [Dge-Iugspa}, Dilgo Khyentse Rin-po-che (1987) [Rnying-ma-pa], aeyer (1973:432-442), Kongtrul, Jamgon 1977 (Bka'-brgyud-pa], etc. (see also Kohn 1988:373-376).

52 This refers to the process of meditation on Emptiness, the initial step in the actual sddhana (cf. MV 43). The correlation of the three meditational stages-dissolution into emptiness, appearance of a seed syllable (sa-bon) out of which one's yi-dam would arise, and generation of one's yi-dam-with death, intennediate state and rebirth is discussed in Lati Rinbochay 1979, which is a translation of a work on this subject by A-kya Yongs' dzin Dbyangs-can-dga'-ba'i-blo-gros, and in Dhargyey 1985:82-112, which emphasizes the Kru.acakra tradition, etc.

~3 The manual for this ritual action can be found immediately after the end of the selfgeneration (bdag-bskyed) in DK 184-191; see also DK 100. 54 Read Om Khahga-dhrk Hf1, Pha{ 'the one holding a sword' (khailga = khac;lga MW 335a). This is the mantra of the Yamclntaka of the Sword (Ral-gri Gshin-rje'i-gshed), the lha at the north door in the mandala of Rdo-rje-'jigs-byed-lha-bcu-gsum. ss '0'71 pure ~y nature are all dharmas; pure by nature am I.' This is the mantra of purification into Emptiness (cf. OK 100). It is called chos-nyid rnam-par dag-pa'i sngags

The sign (mtshan-ma) at the inner east becomes inseparable from the essence (ngo-bo).56 • Thus and so forth, change the words (respectively),;' and" From oneself as the chief (lha) ... 59 enter into the mandala of oneself.60 And so forth. At the end of the approaching practice (bsnyenpa) (recite) the hundred syllable (yig-brgya) (mantra).61 Make offerings (mchod)62 with Of[! Hrf/:1 $trf/:l Ha[/:l] ... 63 make the inner offerings (nang-mchod).64 Praise with

The supreme form ... 65 'the mantra of purifying into dharma nature, (cf. Nag-po-pa Toh. 1259, p. 569.5). From this point on the ritual of generating Rdo-rje- 'jigs-byed is performed according to DK. Large sections of this ritual are translated into English by Sharpa 1987 (S.). DK 110.3- 114,1, 123.1-124.1, 116.3-121.6, 124.5-129.5 are translated inS. 36-7,37, 37-39,39- 41 respectively.

56 Since this section of the ritual is performed only when the ritual of self-enny into the mandala (bdag-'jug) follows the self-generation (bdag-bskyed), the author included its first sentence here as a reminder to the performer (cf. DK 132.) 57 This pronouncement is repeated with regard to the other directions of the compass. 58 From here on the self-generation ritual is continued through the invitation of the mandala of the enlightened wisdom of Rdo-rje- 'jigs-byed-lha-bcu-gsum (DK 140.4-142.2; S. 41-3) and the self-entry into the mandala (DK 142.3-143.4; S. 43-4). 59 Here begins the section of offerings ~nd praises. For the sake of having a recipient for them, the pr:actitioner produces 'from oneself as the chief' [[[lha]] of the mandala (i.e. Rdo-rje-'jigs-byed)J a second lha which is a replica of the first. This second lha is produced in a manner similar to kindling one butter-lamp from It resides outside the mandala near its eastern door (DK 143.6-144.1). 60 Cf. DK 156.2-3, the second lha is absorbed back in oneself. 61 For the hundred syllable mantra of Rdo-rje-'jigs-byed see the section on 'empowering the white mustard' below.

62 These offerings consist of the water for welcoming (mchod-yon, arghal'(l), water for refreshing the feet (zhabs-bsil, pddyaf[l), scent, flowers, incense, butter lamps, food and music (cf. DK 96.6-97 .3). For these offerings of the two waters, five upacdras and music see the section on offerings below. 63 This mantra accompanies the offering of the water for welcoming. For the mantras recited while making the remaining offerings see DK ibid. and MV 41-42. 64 . For offerings and inner offerings, see below as well as DK 144-157; S. 44-45, 63- 66; B. vide sub. index.

65 Gzugs-mchog mchog-tu drag-po-chel dpa' -bo mc~og-gi spyod-yul-can/ gdul-dka' 'dulba'i don-mdzad-pa/ Rdo-rje-'jigs-byed fa phyag-'tsha/1. For these common verses of praise see, for example, P. 427.1-4. After offering gtor-mas to the Guardians of the Directions (phyogsskyong), Self-entry into the mandala of Rdo-rje-'jigs-byed-lha-bcu-gsum (bdag- 'jug)

The entrance into the mandala constitutes the fourth limb of generation practice. During the ritual actions which preceded the empowerment of the ritual vases, the first three limbs of the generation were performed including the generation of the dam-tshig sems-dpa', the blessing of the sense-bases and the absorption of the ye-shes semsdpa' in the dam-tshig sems-dpa'. Now the fourth limb is performed according to the third and final part of the sfidhana manual, entitled Dpal Rdo-rje-'jigs-byed-kyi Dbang-chog Dngos-gzhi Ngag-'don-gyi Rim-par Bsgrigs-pa.66

As we have seen, the initiation encountered in the consecration is the path-irtitiation.67 The consecration lha will be made to enter the mandala in a certain variation on the ritual by which disciples enter. As in the case of conferring irtitiation on a disciple, here also the ritual master is required to first enter the mandala himself in order to recreate his close bond with the yi-dam and ensure that his vows and commitments are unbroken. 68 This would enable him to engage in the ritual of the consecration lha's entrance into the mandala. The ritual under discussion here is such a preparatory entrance into the mandala by the ritual master and his attendants. The rituals of initiation and self-entrance into the mandala were already discussed above.69 They will become clearer when we come to the entrance of the consecration lha into the mandala below. The reader is referred also to a concise selfcentry into the mandala of Rdo-rje-'jigs-byed alone (dpa' -bo gcigpo) by Pha-bong kha-pa Byams-pa-bstan-'dzin-'phrin-las-rgya-mtsho translated by Sharpa Tulku and Guard, (1991, abbreviated SIV). Again ortiy the part of this ritual which appears in the consecration manual is translated below.

66 In my list of abbreviations I have designated the final part of the sddhana manual J. (for [bdagJ<iug) in order to distinguish it from the earlier parts of the same manUal DK (for bdag-bSkyed). For the complete b-ibliographical data of these works see the abbreviations. 67 See the section on ritual of passage for objects in the introduction. " Cf. KL 208. 69 See the section on ritual of passage for objects in the .introduction.


Of(l Khaizga-qhrik Hurrz [359] Phat.70 (Transform) oneself instantly into Hilrp-mdzad ... 71 According to the manual of the self-entry (into the mandala)" properly complete in due succession (this ritual) of achieving and offering (sgrub-mchod),73 as in the usual case, up until the mmJqal of thanksgivings (gtang-rag-gi mmyja[).14

The 'Preparatory rituals of the Consecration (rab-gnas sta-gon) After the morning tea break, more than five hours after the beginning of the performance, the ritual begins to follow the consecration manual itself. With regard to the music played during the consecration ritual, since this ritual belongs to the category of peaceful rituals, only musical instruments classified as peaceful" may be played here. Only the bell, one of the basic implements of a ritual master, and the sil-snyan cymbals" are played during the consecration in Dga'-ldan-chos-'phelgling. The rgya-ling and rnga which were played during the previous ritual steps are not employed here. In the propitiation ritual (bskanggso) performed on the third day of the consecration the entire monastic 'music ensemble' is employed including also the dung-chen, sbub-' chal and rkyang-gling reserved for wrathful rituals such as propitiation.

l. Empowering the bathing vases and cleansing substances (khrus-bum dang bdag-rdzas bsgrub-pa)77 In the course of the consecration, a ritual bath (khrus) will be conferred on the receptacles. The first preparation is the empowerment, 'deification' or exaltation of the bathing water and substances in order 70 This is the mantra of the Yamiintaka of the Sword (Ra1-gri Gshin-rje'i-gshed). This will not be noted below.

71 A wrathfullha (cf. Mkhas-grub Rje 1968:118, 316). 72 The previous line is at the beginning of the self-enlry (bdag-'jug) ritual (J. 191). 73 The ritual of self-entry is referred to here. 74 As was mentioned already, the consecration ritual is performed within the self-entry ritual. After performing the greater part of this ritual according to J. 191...,.251, the consecration ritual itself begins. The perfonnance ends with the concluding sections of the self-entry (J. 251-269). 75 Ellingson 1979a: passim. 76 For the musical instruments mentioned here see Ellingson, ibid., and illustrations in Tucci 1980:118, as well asK. back of vol. 3, 77 Most of ihe Tibetan titles of the ritual actions do not appear in R. They are taken,

10 qualify them for use in such a ritual. In brief consecrations the vase of action is used for the bathing. However, in this extensive ritual eight bathing vases and nine cleansing substances are used in the ordinary bathing. Additional four cleansing substances are used in the supreme bathing." The bathing vases which are situated on the bathing mandala (khrus-dkhyil, see Diagram 2), are similar in appearance to the vase of action. 79 Likewise, they possess a beak and a piece of foliage for sprinkling called, literally, 'mouth ornament' (kha-rgyan), made of a fruit-bearing tree.80 They are filled up to two-thirds full with scented water (usually saffron scent) and with one of the following substances. This list is common to most Tibetan traditions of consecration.

Tibetan Sanskrit English Note

I. mngar~gsum trimadhu three sweets sugar, honey, molasses81 2. zho~gsar dad hi yogurt fresh 3. 'bras-bu [tri]phala three fruits the three myrobalans82 gsum

4. 'bru vrfhi83 grain usually rice 5. dri-bzang gandha scent usually saffron" 6. 'bras-yos lajd roasted grain usually rice 7. sman o~adhi herbs mostly medicinal65 8. rin-chen marJi precious powder of precious and semisubstances precious metals and stones86

for the most part, from the outline (sdom) in the consecration ritual by the First Pal)chen Lama (PC), the basis upon which R. was written. 78 For these two terms see the bathing below. 79 An illustration of a bathing vase can be found in K., end of vol. 3. 8° Cf. Snellgrove 1987:224; Brag-j:>hug Dge-bshes, p. 213.6--shing 'bras-bu-can-gyi kha-rgyan dang bcas-te.

81 Padma-'phrin-las, p. 40. 82 A-ru-ra, ba-ru-ra, skyu-ru-ra; see also MW 459c; Go-'jo Dbang-'dus 1983:399 (see the bibliography of Tibetan works). See also Wayman 1954-55. 83 Khri-byang Rin-po-che's consecration manual has bruhi which probably should be read as vrthi (see for example Grags-pa-rgyal-mtshan, p. 243.4). Vrthi is grain in general, but especially rice (cf. MW 1043b). 84 Or the five scents mentioned in the section on empowering the vases above. Padma' phrin-las, p. 40.3; Gter-bdag-gling-pa, work l, p. 9; etc. 8s The five herbs listed above, or according to Padma-'phrin-las, p. 41.1, the six good ones (bzang-po drug, see K. 2512; Dash 1976; Molvray 1988). 86 Cf. the five times five substances above.

The nine cleansil)g substances are:

Tibetan English Note

I. bdud-rtsi lnga five nectars honey, sugar, curd, milk and butter'17 2. snum-rkyang pure oil88 3. shing-shun tree bark89 4. ba-byung lnga the five products milk, butter curd dung, and urine9o of the cow 5. spas-mar scented butter ground incense mixed with butter 6. skyu-ru-ra' i powder of Emblic phye-ma myrobalan91

7. dri-bzang saffron powder92 8. snum-rkyang pure oil93 9. yung-ba turmeric powder

87 These are the peaceful not wrathful five substances. Cf. Vajrdvalf 116.3: zlw dang! 'o-ma dang/ mar dang! sbrang-rtsi dang/ bye-ma-ka-ra bsres-pa. See also Padma-'phrinlas, pp. 37.6, 43.6;· Brag-phug Dge-bshes, p. 216. These are also called the three whites (dkar gsum) and the two sweets (mngar gnyis). 88 In India usually sesame oil (til-mar). In Tibet it was replaced with any grain oil ( mar, see Padma-'phrin-las, p. 43).

89 Vajrtlvalt, p. 116.5: nyagrodha (Banyan Tree, Ficus Indica; cf. MW 57lc), udumbtira (read: uf!umbara; Ficus glomerata, MW 186c), plafcya (Ficus infectoria; MW 714c), pippa/a (Ficus religiosa; MW 627c), and gan[[[dha]]?]mundha. According to Padma-'phrinlas, theSe five tree barks are difficult to find in Tibet. Therefore they may be replaced with 1. bal-bu (tiilfSa, see Mvy. 4207, 5786, K. 1825b, MW 445b: Flacuortia cataphracta). 2. 'om-bu-tamarisk (for other identifications, see Molvray 1988:72). 3. kham-bu-peach, apricot [?] see also Molvray 1988:48. 4. lcang-skya-a kind of cane or reed (K. 764b). 5. shug-pa------£edar, juniper (see also Molvray 1988:77). Padma-'phrin-las adds that if these are not to be found, simply use powder of sug-pa (sug phye, cf. Molvray 1988:78). Similarly, Sde-srid Sangs-rgyas-rgya-mtsho (p. 234) remarks that one who cannot find 'the five barks should replace them with white legume (sran) powder.

90 Vajriivalf 116.4; Padma-'phrin-las 44.1; etc. The cow should be young, red and pure; the products should not be allowed to fall on the ground (Brag-phug Dge-bshes, p. 216, etc.). For copious details on the cow and its five products see, MV 2, n. 2 and also KL 498, n. 12. 91 Skt. tJ.malaka. 92 Cf. Vajrlivalt 116.7. 93 This substance is repeated twice here. Some, such as Gung-thang-pa, omit this second occurrence; others, such as Brag-phug Dge-bshes, replace it with ground legumes (sran phye).

The cleansing substances of the supreme bathing are: Tibetan

1. dri-bzang 'dag-chal 2. dri-zhim-po' i 'bru-mar 3. dri-bzang lnga' i phye-ma skam-po 4. dri-bzang lde-gu


scented bathing powder scented oil dry powder of the five scents scented paste

As with the five-times-five ingredients, the more complex mixtures are nowadays purchased from the Tibetan Medical and Astrological Institute (Sman-rtsis-khang) in Dharamsala.

According to some traditions,94 a mandala ·Of nine lha is invited into the Victorious Vase (rgyal-bum) and the eight bathing vases. The chief lha of the mandala is generated in the Victorious Vase while the eight members of the entourage(' khor) are generated at the bathing vases situated at the four cardinal and four intermediate directions. A similar tradition is found also in some of the Hindu consecrations." However, most ritual manuals follow Sa-skya-pa Grags-pa-rgyalmtshan's (243.1.2-3) statement that it is not necessary to generate a lha inside the bathing vases. The process of empowering the bathing vases and cleansing substances here can be classified as intermediary between the two rituals of empowering the vases (bum-sgrub) and blessing the offerings (mchod-pa byin-gyis brl!lb). While through the empowerment of the vases the water of the vase is transformed into the lha of the mandala, the blessing of the offerings does not involve an invitation of a lha. The bathing vases are empowered through the fourfold process of cleansing, purifying into Emptiness, generating out of Emptiness and blessing with 0'1' Aiz Huf1!. 96 The 'roots' (rtsa) of the Buddhist religion, lamas, Yi-dam, Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, Heroes (dpa' -bo), I;>iikinis and Dharma Protectors (chos-srung) are dissolved into the string of mantras visualized inside the bathing vases, thereby blessing the bathing substances with nectar (bdud-rtsi). As in the case of empowering the Victorious Vase, a dhftral)i thread (gzungsthag) with a small action vajra (las-rdor) is placed on top of each of the bathing vases in turn. This thread transmits the powers of the 94 Cf. 'Dul-'dzin, p. 345. 95 Rangachari 1931: 125-128; etc. 96 See the blessing of the offerings in the section on 'rituals of transformation' above.

empowering mantra (sgrub-sngags)97 from the ritual master's heart to each of the bathing vases. Translation:

Because it is necessary first to empower (sgrub) the bathing vase(s) (khrus-bum) and cleansing substance(s) ('dag-rdzas), the ritual helper (mchod-g.yog) places the vajra of the dhdraQf thread on top of the vase of the three sweets (mngar gsum).98 I. the ritual master (slob-dpon) cleanses (the bathing vases) with water from the vase of action (las-bum) and with the mantra. 0/'f! Khmiga-¢hrk [Hul'f! Pha!J. 2. Purify (them) with Sunyata-{jfzana-vajra-svabhdva-atmako 'hal'f!] .100 (They) transform into Emptiness.

3. From the continuum of Emptiness (appears) the (seed syl-. !able) Bhrurrr, from it, on the cleansing materials (dag-byed) such as the cleansing substances ('dag-rdzas) (which are) in vessels (made) of precious substances such as bronze and copper, and inside the bathing vases, (appears) at the center of a lunar disk, a ray of light, encircled with the mantras to be recited that end with the letter Hul'f! [?]; (which) summons Lamas, yi-dam, Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, Heros (dpa' -bo ), [360] DakiQfs (mkha' -'gro), Dharma ·.protectors (chos-srung), and in short, all the qualities of the animate and inanimate world (snod-bcud). 101 They dissolve into the string of mantras. By means of a descending stream of nectar from that (string), the cleansing substances are blessed.

4. Thus, the ritual helper first makes the pad-kor (mudra), then 97 The empowering mantra is: O~p [insert name of substance in the bathing vase] sndna~paja-megha-samudra-spharal)a-samaya-Srfye Hart~. It is recited for each of the bathing vases twenty-one times. 98 This is the first among the eight bathing vases. For this and for the dhdraQf thread, see above. 99 Read SU.nyatd. 100 'I am the vajra nature of the enlightened wisdom and Emptiness' see the section on 'rituals of transformation' in the introduction and also KL 243. 101 This list includes the 'roots' (rtsa) of the Buddhist religion cf. Dagyab 1977: pp. 5-8, 17-19; B. 38-54; etc.

offers the dhilraQf thread to the ritual master.102 The ritual master (recites:) Ort~ Ail Hurt~ one hundred times. Then successively Om trimadhu-snana, 103 Ort~ dadhi, {01'[1 1 phala, [OrtZ 1 bruhi, 104 [OrtZ 1 gandhe, 105 [OrtZ 1 labja, 106 [OrtZ 1 o~ati, 107 [OrtZ 1 maQi at the end of each of these attach puja-megha-samudra-spharaQa-samaya-srfye Hurt~'" (and recite) each 21 times. 109 The ritual helper shifts the vajra (at the end) of the dhlirmJf (thread) to (each of the other) seven vases successively."" The dhliraQf thread has to touch also the cleansing substances. 111 Recite as usual Ort~ sarva-tathdgata112 -{ abhi~ekata-samaya-srfye A(l Hfirt~l' 13 and

Ort~ Bhrfirt~ Svahli. 114 Ort~ amrta-[ayur dade Svahli]'" 102 While the end of the dhdraQf thread together with a small action vajra (las-rdor) attached to it is placed on the vase being empowered, the ritual master holds the other end of the thread next to his heart. 103 Read sndna. These are the name mantras of the eight bathing vases. 104 Read vrihi cf. the consecration work by Grags-pa-rgyal-mthsan (G.) p. 243.4.5. 105 Read gandha. 106 Read ldjd, 107 Read o~adhi.

108 '01?1 splendorous gathering of an extensive ocean of clouds of offerings Har[!.' (cf. KL 220; Skorupski 1983c:l8). 109 The mantra 01?1 trimadhu-sndna-pUja-megha-samudra~spharaf.UJ~samaya~Srfye HUitl ('01!1 splendorous gathering of an extensive ocean of clouds of offerings for bathing with the three sweets HUT(I. ') is recited 21 times, then the mantra of the second bathing vase Oft/. dadhi-sndna-pUja~megha~samudra~spharaf)Q-samaya~Srfye Hfup is recited etc. 110 In coordination with the corresponding mantra. 111 Which are placed in small vessels ip between the bathing vases according to the sequence of their use in the ritual. 112 Read tathtigata-.

113 '01!1 glorious gathering of all initiating TathAgatas A~ Hfup' [?] or 'Oifl the glory of the vow of initiation of all TathAgatas A~ Hal!~' [?]. Cf. PC. 821 and R. 388.3-4. 114 This is the heart mantra (snying-po, hrdaya) of Gtsug~tor~rnam-rgyal (U~oi~avi~ jayil). See, for example, Padma-phrin-las, p. 60. The relation of the lha associated with stfipas, such as Gtsug-tor-rnam~rgyal, Gtsug~tor~dri~med (Vimalo~oi~§), 'Od~zer-dri~med (RaSmivimal1l), etc., to the consecration will be discussed elsewhere. 115 Cf. R. 398.5. 'Oifl bestow deathless life Svdhd'. This is the nye-snying (upahrdaya) mantra of Gtsug-tor~rnam-rgyal (ibid.).

and 0f!l ye dharma [hetuprabhava hetuf!l te~df!l tathdgato hy avadat te~fif!l ca yo nirodha evaf!l vadi .116 The ritual master leads the recitation of these mantras 21 times. 117 The ritual helper collects the dhdraryi thread. 2. Empowering the flowers (me-tog bsgrub)

At the climax of the ritual-the request to the ye-shes sems-dpa' to remain in the receptacle as long as saf!ISfira lasts, which is performed both in the assembly hall and in front of Bodhanath Stilpa-the receptacles are blessed by means of scattering grain and flowers on them. 118 So that these grains '!Jld flowers will be potent, they first need .to be charged with powers. As we have seen above this is an independent short form of the consecration ritual.119 The grains and flowers are charged by means of the verse of Interdependent Origination, or the ye dharma ... gathd:

Y e dharmd hetuprabhava hetu/fl te~dn:z tathdgato hy avadat te~lirrt ca yo nirodha evaf?l vddt rnahdSrama1Jlll:z. 120 The Tath§.gata has procl!!imed the cause, as well as the cessation, of all things (dharma) arising from a cause. This is the Great SramalJ(l' s teaching.121 This verse is considered to be the epitome of the Buddhist teachings. According to Boucher, by the 6th-7th centuries this verse "became 116 The ye dharmd ... gdtlui, as above. 117 Usually the chant leader (dbu·mdzad) leads the recitation by-pronouncing the first syllables of each of the utterances. In special cases, as in -the recitation of these empow· ering mantras, the ritual master leads the utterances. 118 For a Hindu consecfation in which a flower is used to transfer life into an object, see Biihnemann 1988: 193, n. 31. The consecration manual here (R. 361) mentions only flowers (me-tog). In practiCe, however, grain (barley or rice) scented with saffron is mixed with tsam-pa-ka 'flowers'. Although tsam-pa-kas (Sanskrit campaka, Mvy. 6151, MW 388b Michelia campaka) have graceful appearance of dry white flowers, they are seeds which grow in large pods. The tsam-pa-kas are imported into Tibet where they are widely used in rituals as substitutes for flowers. 119 See the section on further rituals of consecration, section 3, in the introduction. 120 The 'verse of interdependent origination' is very well known in both its Piili and Sanskrit forms. For the Piili see Vinaya I, p. 40 (Mahdvagga I, 23, 5 and 10). For the Sanskrit see Senart 1897: vol. 3, p. 62; and Waldschmidt 1962, ch. 28b, 10 and ch. 28c, 6 (translated into EngliSh by Kloppenborg 1973). 121 Translated by G6mez 1989:51.

a manifestation of the Buddha's real presence at cultic centers ... " (1991:15). As we have seen in the introduction, according to Atisa, this verse is capable of consecrating. Atisa's prescriptions for this ritual are: "One recites the mantra of interdependent origination three or seven times onto grain or flowers, and offers them [to the receptacle]."'" The grain or flowers transfer the powers of the mantra into the receptacle, thereby consecrating it. Consecrations through the recitation of the ye dharma ... gathiJ appear also in Advayavajra's KudN!i-nirghfitana, 123 the Adi-karma-pradfpa, 124 and other works in the Tanjur including those by Nag-po-pa125 and 'Jam-dpal-bshesgnyen126 as well as another work by Atisa. 127

At the time ofPadma-'phrin-las (1641-1717), this ritual which came to be called Sutra-style consecration (see Bentor 1992) seems to have been considered as a slightly more elaborate version of the ritual prescribed by Atisa and others around his time. This famous abbot of Rdo-rje-brag Monastery describes what certain people, including the Bka'-gdams-pas, considered to be sutra-style consecration as follows: A mirror on which the 'verse of interdependent origination' is written with saffron, is placed on a heap of grain or flowers. The reflection of this gathfJ is absorbed into the grain or flowers. Then the monks circumambulate the object being consecrated and scatter on it the grain or flowers, which were 'empowered' (sgrub) with the 'verse of interdependent origination' .

The ritual action of empowering the grain and flowers during the consecration at Dga' -ldan-chos- 'phel-gling is a further extension of the ritual described by Padma-'phrin-las. It adds a tantric element to it. Before the consecration began, the ritual helper had written with 122 De nas 'bru' am me-tog la rten-brel-gyi sngags Jan gsum mam bdun bzlas la dbullo. P. #5373, p. 179.1.2; #5041, p. 203.5.2-3. 123 P. #3073; M.H. Shastri 1927:7-8. 124 Cf. La Vallee Poussin 1898:192-194 and Beyer 1974:56-64. 125 "Mchod-rten-gyi cho-ga-zhes-bya-ba," (Toh. 1259, P. 2388, vol. 56). 126 "'Jam-dpal-gyi mtshan yang-dag-par brjod-pa'i byang-chub chen-po'i sku-gdunggi cho-ga," (Toh. 2568). 127 "Tsha-tsha'i cho-ga," (P. 4868, vol. 86); see also "Sa.-tsha bya-ba'i rim-pa," (P. 2401, vol. 56). 128 "Gzhan yang Bka' -gdams sogs nang-bar rab-tu gnas-pa' i sngon rol-tu 'bru' i phungpo spungs-pa'i steng-du me-long la dri-bzang-gis rten-'brel snying-po bris-pa bzhag-ste dge-siong-rnams-kyis bskor-te rten-'brei snying-po'i gzungs-sgrub byas-pa'i me-tog-gis rten Ia gtor-pa Ia rab-gnds-kyi sgras btags-pa sogs mdo-lugs~kyi rab-gnas-su bzhag kyang chog-par snang-ngo" (Padma-'phrin-las, p. 5).

saffron powder the seed syllables of the five Tathagatas on the brass bathing mirror as follows:

On:z Trdn:z Aiz Hrfiz Hiin:z

Around the edge of the mirror beginning at the seed syllable Hiin:z he had written the verse of interdependent origination. He places this mirror on top of a shallow brass bowl, occasionally called gzungsbum, 129 or 'dhdra(ll vase', containing grain and flowers. At the beginning of the empowerment of the flowers the ritual helper places the dhdrmJf thread and the action vajra on top of this mirror. The ritual master visualizes that the letters written on the mirror rise up. A radiant ray of light invites all the qualities of san:zsdra and nirvdiJil and all the blessings of the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. They dissolve in the mantras and flowers. Then the ritual master holds the end of the dhdra!Jf thread next to his heart, while reciting the verse of interdependent origination one hundred times. Thereby as we have

seen before, this mantra travels along the thread and charges the letters on the mirror. Then, while the ritual helper pours water from the vase of action on the letters written on the mirror, the ritual master brushes them off with a diirvd grass brush. The letters of the mantra which dissolve into the water permeate the grain and flowers. Thus in a sintilar but slightly more elaborate way than that described by Atisa and later by Padma-'phrin-las, the grains and flowers are impregnated with the powers of the ye dharma ... gdthd. In addition, they are

permeated with the tantric seed syllables of the five Tathiigatas. As in the consecration rituals described by Atisa and Padma-'phrin-las, these grains and flowers will be scattered on the receptacle. This is the first example of a previously independent consecration ritual incorporated into the extensive performance we encounter. 130 The empowering of the grain and flowers as performed in the assembly hall is often only the final reenactment and renewal of empowering performed by the ritual master in seclusion over a lengthy period of time."' Also in performing brief consecrations lamas do not 129 GterMbdagMglingMpa, work 1, pp. ll-12.

130 See the section on further rituals of consecration in the introduction. 131 See for example BragMphug DgeMbshes, pp. 217.2 and 200.5-6. THE PREPARATORY RITUALS 117 simply recite the verse of interdependent origination onto the grain and flowers for the first time. It is through a multitude of blessings accumulated during long retreats that the grain is empowered with the powers of numerous recitations of mantras. In addition, the powers of a previously consecrated image, preferably one consecrated by a highly revered lama, are also transmitted into the grain and flowers which is then used for consecrating the new image.132


Place the bathing mirror on which the Ye dhar .. .1'3 has been written on top of a vessel (containing) flowers.~ [361] Offer it in front of the ritual master. Place the dhtirm;f thread with its vajra on the mirror.

The letters (on the mirror) rise up; a radiant blazing ray of light invites all the qualities of existence (srid-pa) and peace (zhi-ba) and all the blessings of the Victorious Ones and their Sons. They dissolve in the string of mantras and flowers. The ritual helper offers the dhfira(l! thread (to the ritual master). The ritual master leads the recitation of the: Ye dhar[mfi hetuprabhavfi hetuf!l te~fif!l tathfigato hy avadat tqfif[l ca yo nirodha evaf!1 vfidf mahfisramm;u1M. 135 After reciting (it) about one hundred times, the ritual helper collects the dhfira(l! thread. The ritual master holds the dur-ba grass136 brush and the mirror in his right and left hands (respectively). The ritual helper pours137 water from the vase of action (las-bum) on the mirror. This water, into which the letters (written on the mirror) dissolve, permeates the flowers (in the vessel).

3. The empowering of the gu-gul and white mustard The gu-gul and white mustard will be used for wrathful purification (drag-pos sbyangs) and elimination of obstructions during the 132 Brag-phug Dge-bshes 200.6. 133 The ye dharm/J ... giithd, as above. 134 In practice the vessel contains grain (mostly barley) perfumed with saffron powder etc. and mixed with tsam-pa-ka 'flowers'. 135 The ye dharmd ... giithtt, as above. 136 Read dUrvii, this will not be noted below. According to MW 499 Panicum dactylon. See Gonda 1985:108-121. 137 Copy B has sbreng for sgreng.

consecration. Now they are transformed into formidable entities by means of wrathful mantras. The gu-gul (Skt. guggulu or guggula)'" is a fragrant gum resin used also as a medicament.'" Here the gugul is used as incense whose empowered fragrance expels obstructions. The powers of Rdo-rje-'jigs-byed's wrathful action mantra (see below) are transmitted through the dhtiral}f thread to the gu-gul. Similarly the white mustard is empowered through the dhtirm;f thread with the wrathful mantra of Sumbha Ni . .. 140 and the hundred syllable mantra of Rdo-rje- 'jigs-byed (see below).

According to Brag-phug Dge-bshes, the recitation of these mantras is accompanied by the following visualization.

From [one's) heart an immeasurable assemblage of the Wrathful One emanates. By dissolving into the substances for fumigation and scattering the Wrathful Ones are transformed into the appearances of those substances. Therefore those substances turn into powerful, potent and able substances empowered with the ability to disperse to a great distance all kinds of spirits, and obstructions which lead astray, through touching or fumigating any object they are scattered on.141 Similarly Bstan-pa-dar-rgyas, the retired chant leader of Dga' -ldanchos- 'phel-gling Monastery explains that through the recitation of these wrathful mantras the white mustard is conceived of as being transformed into human skulls which later during the purification would be launched at the obstructions to expel them. 142 The use of white mustard for destroying obstruction has a long history in India (Gode 1963).


A. Empowering the gu-gul. Place the vajra (at the end) of the dhilra>Ji (thread) on top of the gu-gul. The ritual master leads the recitation of: 138 Mvy 6257; according to MW p. 356b, Bdellium or the exudation of Amyris agallochum (a fragrant gum resin, used as a perfume and medicament); see also Molvary 1988:49; Kohn 1988:387.

139 Go-'jo Dbang-'dus 1983:78-79; Kohn 1988:387 n. 37; 140 Cf. Mvy. 4327, 4328; Buffetrille 1987: n. 24 which quotes also a work by Stein unavailable to me; Stutley 1977:289. See also Snellgrove 1987:141, n. 50. 141 Thugs-ka nas khro-bo'i tshogs dpag-tu med-pa· 'phros-te/ bdug-rdzas dang brabsrdzas Ia thim-pas khro-bo-rnams bdug-rdzas dang brabs-rdzas de dang de' i rnam-par gyur-pal des dngos-po gang Ia gtor-zhing reg-pa dang bdug-pas gdon-bgegs log-par 'drenpa'i rigs thams-cad rgyang ring-du 'byer-bar byed nus-pa'i grub-pa'i rdzas mthu-stobs nus-pa dang ldan-par gyurl p. 217.3-5. 142 Private conversation, Bodhanath 1988.

Hri/J Stri/J [Vikrttinana Hulfl Pht1f]. 143 one hundred times.

B. Empowering the white mustard (yungs-kar). 119 Place the dhfiraQf vajra on top of the white mustard. (The ritual master) leads (the recitation of:) Sumbha Ni [[[sumbha]] Hulfl grh!Ja grh!Ja Hulfl grhiJfipaya grh!Jfipaya Hiilfl tinaya Ho bhagavan vidyti-rtijti Hulfl Phat]. 144 one hundred times, the hundred syllable mantra (of Rdo-rje-' jigsbyed): Yamtintaka [ samayam anuptilaya Y amtintaka tvenopati~tha drit;iho me blulva suporyo me bhtiva sutoryo me blulva anurakto me bhfiva sarvasiddhim me prayaccha sarvakarma suca me cittalfl srfyalfl kuru Hulfl ha ha ha ha hoi} bhagavan Yamtintaka. ma me muiica Yamtintaka blulva ma/ulsamayasatva Ai} Hulfl Pha{]. 145

three times. Collect the dlulraift thread. 143 This is Rdo-rje-'jigs-byed's action mantra. Notes to this mantra will not appear below. 144 Cf. PC. 829. For an English translation of this mantra (given with a few variations) see B. 263. See also La Valtee Poussin 1896:1.9; Tsong-kha-pa 1981:98; Skorupski 1983c:l04; Kohn 1988. See also "Half peaceful (half wrathful) purification" below. 14 ~ See pp. 439, 459-460, etc.


Announcing the consecration (snyan-gsan-gyis gsol-gtab) This is a highly dramatic moment in the performance when all the monks, wearing the outer ceremonial robe, stand up on their seats. The announcement of the ritual and its purpose is one of the common elements found in both Buddhist and Hindu rituals which goes back to the Vedas. Gonda defines the Vedic ritual act, which is known as sal[lkalpa as the performer's ... determination (earnest resolution and conscious will) to direct and control his energies in such a way as will secure the attainment of the object in view, the declaration of what rite he is to perform and for what purpose ... (1980:312).

According to Biihnemann: At the beginning of the pujfi its performance has to be declared by the sa1f111lkalpa formula which specifies the kind of puja that is going to take place and the fmit that is desired. 1

Similarly, Kane2 says that " ... there are certain matters common to almost all rites ... " one of which is the "sal[lkalpa (a declaration of what rite he is performing and for what purpose)."' These statements can be applied to Tibetan consecration as well. In the case of announcing the consecration, a Vedic ritual action was given a Buddhist pattern through an adaptation of the buddhfinusmrti practice. The buddhdnusmrti, or calling to mind the qualities of the Buddha, and its purposes, which are variously explained. in the different sources, were thoroughly discussed by Harrison (1978 & 1992). Following the generation of oneself as a lha, a meditation on the qualities of the Buddha may seem superfluous. Yet, we cannot assume that the consecration was always constructed in this form. The announcement, even here, contains no tantric elements except the action mantra of Rdo-rje- 'jigs-byed appended at the end of each unit. It is

3 Later Hindu consecration rituals include four principle stages, "the sarnkalpa--or solemn declaration of the purpose and the intention, the homa or oblation, the utsarga, i.e., the declaration that the object has been dedicated, and the dalcyind and feeding the Brahmans." Gonda 1954/1975:372, which seems to be based on Kane 1974:II, p. 842.

possible that this ritual action opened a non-tantric version of the consecration. Unfortunately, almost nothing is known about pre-tantric Buddhist consecration rituals. We can only speculate on how this recollection of the Buddha could serve as an invocation for the ritual, and as means for acquiring powers needed for its performance through meditation.

The buddhfinusmrti may also serve to endow the receptacle with the various qualities of the Buddha recollected in the practice. This has parallels in certain present-day Theravada consecrations.' After all one of the main aims of both buddhdnusmrti and consecration is encountering a Buddha. The buddhdnusmrti may also reflect an early form of consecrating images that was incorporated into the l11ter complex procedure within a different context. This would be similar to the process that occurred with regard to the opening of the eye, enthronement offerings, the recitation of the verse of Interdependent Origination and so forth. 5

We cannot establish even that the announcement by means of buddhtinusmrti always opened the ritual. In one of the earliest Tibetan consecration works written by Phag-mo-gru-pa (1110-1170),6 this is indeed the case. Buddhfinusmrti serves also in the announcement of the bathing ritual even in its form incorporated into the consecration (see below). However, in Nag-po-pa's consecration manual found in the Tibetan Tanjur (translated during the time of Rin-chen-bzang-po)7 the buddhfinusmrti is included in the second announcement (see R. 394.4-395.3) made after the invitation of the lha.' At this point of the ritual the buddhdnusmrtilcan definitely serve as a consecratory process, through which the receptacle is endowed with all the recollected qualities of the Buddha.

We might also speculate on the development of specialized rituals such as consecrations. Some of the earliest known Buddhist rituals including the buddhdnusmrti and the confession of sins (gso-sbyong, po~adha or upo~adha)9 play a marginal role in the consecration. The former ritual is employed in the announcement, while the later, when performed for auspiciousness (bkra-shis-kyi gso-sbyong), can in certain 4 Swearer 1995. s See the section on further rituals of consecration, in the introduction. ' Work l, pp. 647-648. 7 De Jong 1972: section 15. • Toh. 1822, pp. 528.4-529.3. 9 See the section on further rituals of- consecration, in the introduction.

circumstances also serve as a substitute for the consecration. Perhaps in certain times and locations· well known rituals were adapted to function as consecrations. Later when more specific rituals for consecration were developed the earlier adaptations were marginalized. But, again, the data at hand does not enable us to reconstruct the early forms of consecration. In its present form in the tantric consecration, the buddhfinusmrti serves to reiterate basic Buddhist principles. This function is even more evident in the following ritual action.


Then, every one stands up wearing the outer (yellow) garment (of fully ordained monks)10 [362] holding (their) vajra and bell. The ritual helper (mchod-g.yog) distributes barley for scattering ('thor-nas)," and fumigates the receptacle(s to be consecrated) and the entire assembly .12 I shall consecrate" this, which is the Buddha, the Blessed One (bhagavat), 14 the Tathilgata, Arhat, the completely Enlightened One (sawaksambuddha), endowed with knowledge and conduct (vidya-cara!Ja-smppanna), the Sugata, knower of the world (loka- vit), charioteer of people to be tamed (puru~a-damyasarathi), the Supreme One (anuttara), teacher of lha and people (deva-manu~ya!Jfim sasta), the Buddha, the Blessed One, endowed with perfect conception" of cause and effect, the knower of all dharmas, the Blessed One.

After playing the cymbals (sil-snyan) in sil-'ur-chem,16 clang them (brdab-si{) three times.

10 If qualified to wear it (snam~sbyar, saT(lgha{f) see K. 1594. H This grain which will be scattered in the air, again substitutes flowers. It serves as a basis (rten) for elaborate visualized offerings which accompany any supplication. 12 When the ritual helper, who walks around the assembly hall approaches the rows of monks they draw the iricense smoke towards their faces and inhale it. 13 These verses can be found in the consecration work by Nag-po-pa, Toh. 1822, pp. 528.4-529.3 with some changes additions and omissions. 14 Since the qualities enumerated in this section are, for the most part, better known in Sanskrit, they will be given in parenthesis in that language here. 15 Dgongs. Copy B, R. 405.5, DZ 368.4 have dgos In copy B it looks like dgongs (or another word) was corrected to dgos. Nag-po-pa, Toh. 1822, p. 528.4--5 has rgyu dang 'bras-bu phun-sum-tshogs-pa gsung-pa 'the teacher of the complete cause and effect' [?]. 16 A specific way of playing the cymbals.

om namo bhagavate Sakyamuniye11 tathtigataya arhate sa",yaksaf(lhuddhtiya tadyathti 01!! muni muni mahtimuniye" Sw1hti. 19 01!1 Hrf/;1 Strf/;1 Vikrtanana Hal!! Pha(. The music stops here. 20 The assembly scatters the flowers." [363] 01!1 Vajrasattva Ha11;1.

I shall consecrate this, which is the Buddha, the Blessed One who is perfectly endowed with the thirty-seven limbs of enlightenment (bodhi-pa/cyya-dharma), the ten powers (dasa-bala), the four assurances (vaisaradya), the three unique applications of mindfulness (aveJJika-smrty-upasthtina),. and great compassion (mahti-karu!Ja), etc. in sum endowed with the dharmas of learner and one with no more to learn (saik~tisaik~a), free from • all faults, endowed with immeasurable qualities of the Sugata, the Blessed One.

Play the cymbals in sil-'ur-chem. 01!1 namo bhagavate Stikyamunaye22 [tathtigatiiya arhate samyaksaf(lhuddhtiya tadyathti 01!! muni muni mahiimunaye Sviihti]. 01!! Hrf/;1 Strf/;1 [Vikrtanana Hal!! Pha!]. The music stops here. The assembly scatters the flowers. 01!1 Vajrasattva Hu11;1.

I shall consecrate this, which is the Buddha, the Blessed One, who is endowed with the five aggregates beginning with supreme morality,23 the three miraculous displays (pratihtirya), [364] the three meditative concentrations (samddhi), the three trainings (sik~a), the four states of Brahma (brahma-vihtira), the four concentrations (dhyana), perfectly endowed with the 17 Read Sdkyamunaye, as in R. 363.5. 18 Read inunaye. 19 '0'!1 homage to the Blessed One Sillcyamuni, the Tathagata, the Arhat, the completely Enlightened One, namely Orrt Sage, Sage, Great Sage Svdhtl.' This is Buddha Sakyamuni 's mantra.

20 Throughout the recitation of these mantras music is played. 21 That is to say, its grain substitute, as an offering. 22 See above. 23 These are the asama-sama-pafica-skandhas, mi-mnyam-pa dang mnyam-pa' i phungpo lnga, see Mvy. 103-108 and Rigzin 1986:314; or the pafic/Jndsrava-skandha, zag-medkyi phung-po lnga, see Rigzin 1986:359; Lamotte 1944-1981:1233 note 3 and 1349-1361.

four noble truths (drya-satya) and with perfect unmistaken knowledge of these, has mastered all knowable objects (jfzeya), entirely abandoned the defilements (klesas), etc. victorious over .the four Maras,24 the Blessed One. Play the cymbals in sil-'ur-chem. 0'1' nama bhagavate Sakyamunaye [ tathdgataya arhate samyaksafl!huddhdya tadyathd Of!! muni muni mahdmunaye Svahd].

Of!! Hri/:z S,tri/:z [Vikrtanana Hflfl! Pha,t]. The music stops here. The assembly scatters the flowers. 0'1' Vajrasattva Hfll'(l.

I shall consecrate this, which is the Buddha, the Blessed One, who has completely perfected the six perfections (pdramitas), perfectly accumulated the accumulations" of merit and knowledge (pu!Jya-sambhdra andjfzana-sambhdra), perfectly adorned with the thirty-two major marks of the Great Being (mahdpuru$ a-lak$a1Jil), embellished with the 80 minor marks (anuvyaiijana), 26 [365]-by looking at the body of the Great Being there is no satiation (atrpta), by seeing it there is no disharmony (apratikflla dadanena)-his Form Body is the ultimate attainment [?], the kin of all beings, the Blessed One. Play the cymbals in sil-' ur-chem. Then clang them three times. 0'1' nama bhagavate Sakyamunaye [ tathdgataya arhate samyaksafllbuddhdya tadyathd Of!! muni muni mahdmunaye Svdhd].

0'1' Hri/:z S,tri/J [Vikrtanana Hflfl! Pha.t]. The music stops here. The assembly scatters the flowers. 0'1' Vajrasattva Hfll'(l. Generating the mind of enlightenment (sems-bskyed) Almost every Tibetan ritual includes in its preliminaries a ritualization of the generation of the mind of enlightenment. There are two types 24 See Lopez 1988:24-27. 25 Or equipments. " Cf. de Jong 1954; Wayman 1957; K. 2309-2310, 1637; Rigzin 1986:341-343, 250-252.

of bodhicitta: ultimate bodhicitta (don-dam sems-bskyed, paramarthacittotpada) and relative bodhicitta (kun-rdzob sems-bskyed, saiJlvrticittotpfida)." Ultimate bodhicitta is the realization that the nature of all phenomena is Emptiness. Relative bodhicitta is the Bodhisattva vow to liberate all sentient beings and lead them to enlightenment. While through.ultimate bodhicitta the Bodhisattva accumulates knowledge (ye-shes tshogs), through the relative bodhicitta he or she accumulates merit (bsod-nams tshogs). Here we are concerned only with the relative mind of enlightenment.

The generation of bodhicitta was performed already twice during the preliminaries, once within the seven limbed ritual (yan-lag bdun, saptanga-puja) according to the Bhadra-carf-praf)idhfina,28 and once within the preliminaries to the generation of oneself as a lha.29 As noted previously, this ritualization of a basic Mahil.yilna idea serves to provide the performer with the requisite religious and moral attitude. Now the generation of the mind of enlightenment is repeated with a special reference to the consecration ritual. For this purpose, a short passage is adopted from the Mahfi-sannipata-ratna-ketu-dhfiraf)i-nama- maMyana-sutra ('Phags-pa 'Dus-pa Chen-po Rin-po-che Tog-gi Gzungs-zhes bya-ba Theg-pa Chen-po'i Mdo).30 In this passage the audience of the Buddha praises him for having already accomplished a· multitude of Bodhisattva actions." This praise is then used in stupa and tsha-tsha32 texts found in the Tanjur as the Bodhisattva's vows taken by the performers of the consecration. In return, the performers request siddhis (dngos-grub) which will enable them, inter alia, to perform the ritual.

One of these texts was written by Padma-lcags-kyu who, in his work on the making and consecrating of tsha-tshas through a ritual 27 See for example SilqtJ-samuccaya, chapter'" 1; Dargyay 1981. 28 See above, 'the preliminary rituals'. 29 DK p. 92.5.

30 As pointed out by PC p. 825; Sde-srid Sangs-rgyas-rgya-mtsho, p. 245; Padma' phrin-las, p. 5.2. For Sanskrit edition, see Dutt 1959/1984: vol. 4; Kurumiya 1978. The Tibetan is found in Toh. 138; Tog Palace, vol. 76, etc. 31 The content of this sfltra is outlined by P.C. Majumdar in his introduction to the edition of this text found at Gilgit (Dutt 1959/1984: vol. 4, pp. i-xiv). Our passage is taken from the fourth chapter. An improved edition of this same text is supplied by Kurumiya (1978). n See the works on tsha-tshas by Kong-sprul, Mi-pham and Zhu-chen in the bibliography of Tibetan works as well as the Lalqa-caitya-samutpatti (Rajapatirana 1974), Hsiian Tsang 1885: book 2:146-7 Sarvadurgati-pariSodhana Tantra 74a-78b; Schopen forthcoming; etc.

of Ajitadhiira or Sitatapatra (Gdugs-dkar-mo-can)33 gives instructions concerning the making of the tsha-tshas (pp. 400-403), the invitation of the ye-shes sems-dpa' therein (p. 403.2),34 and on making offerings including the eight offerings special to stupas (pp. 403-404).35 Then he says: Then the ritual master (slob-dpon, vajracarya) endowed with the thought of enlightenment will pronounce the [following] verses. May the supreme Buddha consider me. I shall relieve all sentient beings .. . 36 Then he appends the praise found in the Maha-sannipata transformed into the first person with some variations (cf. R, 366.1-367.5), Thereafter the vajraciirya requests, "May you bestow on me various accomplishments (dngos-grub, siddhi) in accordance with my virtue,"37 Then the ye-shes sems-dpa' is invited again, initiation is conferred, and offerings and praises are made.

Santigarbha' s stupa ritual38 is very similar in content to that of Padma-lcags-kyu, Its treatment of the generation of the mind of enlightenment is in places, however, closer to that of Khri-byang Rinpo- che's consecration manual than that of Padma-lcags-kyu. The aspiration begins with, "I request all the Buddhas, the Blessed Ones, who are endowed with immeasurable extremely astonishing rigor to consider me."39 Similar words of praise, which do not appear in Padmalcags- kyu's text, are found in Khri-byang Rin-po-che's consecration manual. The performer continues in the first person "I will relieve all sentient beings , .. " and ends with: "Therefore may you grant me the highest bequest, bestow [on me] supreme accomplishments of activity,"40 which is similar to Khri-byang Rin-po-che's consecration 33 Toh. 3107. The name of the lha is given in the Sanskrit title as Ajitadhfu'a and in the Tibetan title as Gdugs-dkar-mo-can.

34 The lha had been previously invited also into the clay (p. 401.6) and bimbi ('bi- 'bi, p. 402.2). . 35 These eight offerings are included also in the manual translated below (R. 438.4-- 440.6).

~ De nas slob-dpon byang-chub-sems /dan-pas tshigs-bcad brjod-bya-stel bla-med sangsrgyas bdag Ia dgongslsems-can thams-cad dbugs dbyung-zhingl ibid., p. 404.6. 37 Bdag-gi sdig bral mthun-pa-yil dngos-grub sna-tshogs bdag Ia stso/ (ibid. p. 405.2). 38 Toh. 2652. 39 Ngo-mtshar chen-po grangs-med-pa'i brtson-'grus dang ldan-pa'i sangs-rgyas bcom/ dan-'das thams-cad bdag Ia dgongs-su gsol (p. 609.5). 40 De-bas na bdag Ia las-kyi dngos-grub mchog stsal nas gnang-ba dam-pa mdzaddu gsol! p. 610.2; compare to R. 367.5.

manual. It is likely, therefore, that works such as Sdntigarbha's stupa text were the source for the generation of the mind of enlightenment in Tibetan consecration texts. This is supported also by Padma-'phrinlas' explanatory work on consecration." Moreover, it is also clear that the Tibetan authors did not draw this passage directly from the Mahiisannipata Sutra since their texts contain most of the variations which appear in Padma-lcags-kyu and Sdntigarbha's works. But it is important to note that some authors of explanatory works did know the sfitra source of this passage. In fact, the First PaJ)chen Lama42 and Sde-srid Sangs-rgyas-rgya-mtsho43 mention only the Mahii-sanniptita Sfitra as the source for the Bodhisattva aspiration. Padma-'phrin-las44 is the only author known to me that mentions the Tanjur source in addition to the sfitra source.

The Tanjur adaptations of the passage in the Mahii-sanniptita Sfitra also expand the Bodhisattva vow to include the eradication of the five poisons (dug lnga). These include desire (' dod-chags), hatred (zhesdang), jealousy (phrag-dog), and avarice (ser-sna) in addition to ignorance (ma-rig-pa), which alone appears in the Mahii-sanniptita. The systematization of the five poisons is usually considered to be a later development related to the five Tathdgata 'families' (rigs lnga, pafica-tathtigata ).45

The Tibetan consecration text supplies an additional element to the Bodhisattva vows as adapted in the Tanjur works mentioned above. It includes not only the Bodhisattva aspiration but also a dedication of the merit acquired by the performance of the consecration toward achieving the Bodhisattva's aims. It has:

For the sake of all sentient beings I shall consecrate a receptacle of the three precious ones. By that power I shall relieve all sentient beings . · .. 46

In conclusion, the praise to the Buddha of the Mahti-sanniptita Sfitra was incorporated into the consecration ritual for the generation of the mind of enlightenment by the performer, and for his or her request 41 P. 5.3. 42 P. 825 .. 43 P. 245. 44 Ibid. 45 Snellgrove, Hevajra-Tantra introduction. 46 Bdag-gis sems-can thams-cad-kyi don-du dkon-mchog gsum-gyi rten rab-tu gnas-par bgyi basi de'i mthus bdag-gis sems-can thams-cad-kyi dbugs dbyung-ngol (R. 366.1-2). 128 THE PREPARATORY RITUALS for siddhis. It was later given the additional function of dedicating the merit gained through the performance of the consecration. It thus supplies the motivation for the performers of the consecrations which is not identical to that of the patron. The generation of bodhicitta is performed while kneeling after having stood for the announcement. Holding their hands in aiijali mudrfi, the monks offer a flower to accompany their request for siddhis.


Then, as for the generation of the mind of enlightenment: having squatted down,47 join the hands in the aiijali mudrfi while holding a flower.48

Having prostrated to all the Buddhas," the Blessed Ones, who are endowed with innumerable and inconceivable great marvels, I go "for refuge. May all of them consider me. [366] For the sake of all sentient beings I shall consecrate a receptacle of the Three Precious Ones (dkon-mchog gsum). By the power of that I shall relieve all sentient beings. I shall liberate (them) from the great abyss of cyclic existence(' khor-ba). I shall defeat all the opposing and misleading forces. I shall clear all defiled conceptions" which link the karmic inclinations (bag-chags) of sentient beings. I shall break down the mountain of pride of sentient beings. I shall uproot

the tree of rebirth of sentient beings. I shall smash into dust the sun of the lord of death. I shall clear the darkness of ignorance. I shall guide the faithless, heretics and those holding wrong views into the right views and transform them into believers. I shall reverse the river of karma. [367] I shall dry the ocean of existence (sridpa). I shall light the lamp of dharma. I shall show the path to enlightenment. I shall lead to patience and calm. I shall widely bestow51 the bliss of meditative concentration (bsamgtan, dhyfina). I shall extinguish the host of fires of desire. I shall demolish the sharp weapon of hatred. I shall guide to 47 Copy B has tsog-pur for tseg-bur.

48 In practice, instead of flowers the monks hold a stick of incense as an offering. 49 These verses are also very loosely translated in 6trul 1987:58. 50 Nyon-mongs-pa'i rtog-pa. Mahti-sanniptita Tog Palace, vol. 76, p. 110.6, Zhi-ba'isnying- po, Toh. 2652, p. 609.6, and G. 247.1.4 have nyon-mongs-pa'i rnyog-pa 'the stains of the defilements (kleSas)'; Sanskrit: kleSa-kdluzyaf(l (Kurumiya 1978:99). 51 Cher-stsal. Mahti-sannipdta ibid. has rtser-stsal, Sanskrit: krlf/,ilpit{i (Kurumiya 1978:100) ..

truth. I shall calm the turmoil of jealousy. I shall untie the knot of avarice." I shall appease all suffering. Having entered the city of great bliss and fearlessness, I shall abide there. Therefore, may you bestow and grant me supreme accomplishments (dngos-grub, siddhis) of activity.

Take off the outer garment and sit back in rows. Showing in the mirror (me-long bstan-pa) One more action must yet be completed before the ritual actions of inviting the /ha into the receptacle can commence. This action is described very briefly in the manual as: "Before the generation of the receptacle complete the showing in the mirror."53 The ritual performed at Dga'-ldan-chos-'phel-gling was not the first consecration of Bodhanath Stilpa. The ye-shes sems-dpa' had been present in the stupa before the ritual began. For the sake of the annual reconsecration of Bodhanath Stilpa, the renewal of the previous consecrations, the yeshes sems-dpa' is invited from the stupa into the assembly hall of the monastery where the ritual is performed. This short ritual was performed by two monks during the preliminary steps of the Consecration described so far. Since I remained in the assembly hall with the majority of the monks, the following is based on the description of this ritual action given to me by the retired chant leader (dbu-mdzad zur-pa) and the ritual helper, or vajra of action (mchod-g.yogs, las rdo-rje) Bstan-pa-dar-rgyas.

Two monks were sent with one of the mirrors from the bathing mandala (khrus-dkyil, see Diagram 2) to Bodhanath Stilpa. Standing in front of the stupa, one holding the mirror while the other holds incense as an offering to the lha, they invite a reflection of the yeshes sems-dpa' into the mirror. The invitation is performed in a similar manner to the invitation into the receptacle in the main part of the consecration (R. 406.5) which will be discussed below. The lha is not invited to abandon the stupa, but to produce a reflected image which corresponds exactly to the original. Another common simile for this is a candle lighting another candle, as occurs, for example, in the generation manual." The ye-shes sems-dpa' is conceived of as 52 Copy B has mdudvpa for mdud-pha. 53 Rten-bskyed gong Ia me-long bstan tshar-ba byedl R. 367 .6.

4 DK. 143.6. For the use of this simile in Hindu rituals, see BUhnemann 1988:88 and Colas 1989: 143.

present in the ritual mirror for the duration of the consecration. This mirror is kept on the bathing mandala next to the representation of the receptacle facing the ritual master (as in Diagram 2). The symbolism of the. mirror is evoked in the course of the consecration in more than one way. The mirror's most evident use at this point of the ritual is to capture the reflection of the ye-shes sems-dpa' of the stfipa and convey it into the assembly hall of the monastery. However, the production of a mirror image of the lha in the mirror immediately brings to the mind of any monk versed in rituals the mirror initiation. Thereby it alludes to the nature of that lha as well as of all phenomena, as that of an image in a mirror. The mirror initiation which will be performed also in the main part of the consecration is as follows. The ritual master makes the reflected image of [his] vajra rise in the mirror and offers it to the receptacle while reciting with melody: 'From A~ a mirror arises. A~ phenomena (dharmas) are like reflected images [[[arising]] in a mirror] clean, pure, uncontaminated, ungrasped and inexpressible.

This recitation is drawn from the initiation manual, which goes on to say,

As in a mirror, clear, pure, uncontaminated, myself Rdo-rje-sems-dpa' (Vajrasattva), the essence of all Buddhas, oh son, dwell in your heart. Devoid of own nature, unestablished, knowing dharmas in that way, act without an equal for the sake of sentient beings. You are born as a son of the Protectors. Know that generally all dharmas are like reflected images, and particularly Rdo-rje-sems-dpa', who dwells in your heart, is like a reflected image in a mirror.56

The purpose of the mirror initiation is to create a predisposition for the realization of all dharmas, including lha, those visualized during meditations and those residing at stfipas, as reflected images in the 55 Slob-dpon nas me-long-du rdo-rje'i gzugs-brnyan shar-ba rten !a 'bull dbangs-rta dang be as/ AQ las skyes-ba' i me-long-du gyurl AQ chos-rnams gzugs-brnyan [ta-bu stel gsal-zhing dag Ia rnyog-pa medl bzung-du med-cing brjod-du med/ (R. 419.4-5). s6 Rdo-rje-sems-dpa' me-long bzhinl der ni gsa/ dag rnyog-pa med! sangs-rgyas kun bdag-rang-nyid nil bu khyod-kyis ni snying Ia zhugsl rang-bzhin med-cinggnas mtid-parl chos-rnams de-/tar shes nas khyod! sems-can don ni mnyam-med byos/ skyob-pa-rnamskyi sras-su skye/ spyir chosthams-cad gzugs-brnyan lta-bu dang/ khyad-par-du rang-gi snying la zhugs-pa'i Rdo-rje-sems-dpa' ni me-long nang-gi gzugs-brnyan /tar shes-par gyis shig/ J. 232.4-233.1; Wayman 1973:69, 1974:262; KL 341.

mirror, devoid of own nature and unestablished. After receiving the mirror initiation from the guru, a disciple should repeat this experience as part of his or her daily slidhana practice. Gradually, the cognitive experience of seeing the reflection of the vajra in the mhror is said to lead to a transformation in the practitioner's direct experience of the nature of things. 57 The mirror initiation emphasizes also that one's yi-dam58 is but a particular instance of dharmas in general. Therefore, the practitioner of a slidhana should realize while meditating on his or her identity with the yi-dam that also

that yi-dam is devoid of any existence to call its own, is like a reflected image in a mirror, is unestablished.59 Likewise also the yi-dam invited into a certain image or stupa ultimately cannot be established. When Bstan-pa-dar-rgyas described to me the ritual of 'showing in the mirror', he interpreted it in the words of the mhror initiation just cited. Thus, the ritual of showing the mirror at this point of the consecration serves the additional purpose of reminding the performers that the nature of the lha which would abide in the receptacle is similar to that of an image in a mirror. The purpose of the consecration is to establish (rab-gnas) lha in the receptacle, so that

they would firmly abide there as long as saf[ISiira lasts.60 Ultimately, however, all dharmas, including lha are unestablished. The actual nature of the ye-she sems-dpa' is omnipresence. In ultimate truth the mental elaborations (spros-pa) of 'establishing' and 'established' do not apply.61 Hence no lha can be established. Since the conventional purpose of the consecration ritual stands in direct contradiction to this ultimate view, it is important for the authors of ritual manuals to reiterate the ultimate view. Thereby not only does the consecration accomplish its purpose of establishing lha in the receptacles, it also indicates that in actual fact nothing is established in accordance with the ultimate truth. This is further discussed in Bentor (1995a and forthcoming 1995).

In addition to the invitation of the ye-shes sems-dpa' of Bodhanath StOpa, two monks are sent with the second mirror from the bathing 57 Cf. Tenzin Gyatso, the Dalai Lama, 1985:127. 58 The name of the yi-dam appearing in the recitation of the mirror initiation may be adjusted to t:Qe· specific practice for a particular yi-dam (as for example K!ilacakra, etc.). 59 Cf. Tucci 1961:64-67. 60 See the section on tantric rituals and consecration in the introduction. 61 See the section on consecration, the two truths, and the bodies of the Buddha in the introduction.

mandala to invite the ye-shes sems-dpa' of Svayambhu Stilpa.62 This stupa, located on a naturally majestic hill on the northwest side of Kathmandu valley is the most sacred site for the Newar Buddhists of Nepal. It has been also a traditional sacred stupa for the Tibetans, especially members of the Bka'-brgyud-pa school. Chag Lo-tsa-ba Chos-rje-dpal (1197-1264), who visited Svayambhu in thethirteenth century remarks on a consecration ceremony performed in a temple there by the Indian master Ratnarak~ita.63 After inviting a reflection of the lha from the two main stupas, the monks also go to invite the ye-shes sems-dpa' of privately owned images at the homes of those who have requested them to do so.


Before the generation of the receptacle complete the showing in the mirror. Generation of the receptacle as the dam-tshig sems-dpa' (rten-bskyed)

As was mentioned above, the consecration of the receptacle is a special application of the process of transforming oneself into a lha through a sadhana practice. It utilizes the same method as the ritual of transforming the performers into Rdo-rje- 'jigs-byed which took place at the beginning of the consecration. As we have seen, there are several Indo-Tibetan systems of analyzing the generation process. The method which corresponds most closely to the actual subdivisions of the consecration manual (as well as to most other Tibetan rituals) is the four-fold process quoted above as outlined by Kun-dga' -snying-po. The first limb in that process is the generation in its specific meaning, that is to say the generation from Emptiness of the dam-tshig semsdpa' (samaya-sattva). This first limb is performed now.

The common classification of the generation with regard to the locus of the generated lha includes, as we have seen, the generation of oneself as a lha (bdag-bskyed), generation of a lha in front (mdunbsi<} led) and generation of a lha in a vase (bum-bskyed). This triad seems to refer mainly to soteriological rituals. It does not include generation in a person or object (other than a vase); the latter being 62 For this stUpa see, Slusser 1982 vide sub index, see also the list of reference there. 63 See Roerich 1967:512.

the foundation of the consecration ritual. Examples for the generation of a lha in a person are the generation of disciples as a lha at the beginning of their initiations, or the generation of the patron as a lha which occurs at the end of the consecration ritual discussed here. As in all rituals of 'exaltation' ,64 the generation of a lha in an object here is preceded by two ritual actions. The first is cleansing the impurities of the receptacle with the mantra of the lha at the northern gate of Rdo-rje- 'jigs-byed mandala and with water of the vase of action into which the same lha was dissolved. Then the receptacle is dissolved into Emptiness by the power of the

mantra sunyata-jiianavajra- svabhfiva-atmako 'ham. From here on the various processes of 'exaltations' proceed in various ways. In the present case Rdo-rje' jigs-byed and his consort are generated out of Emptiness through the generation in five awakenings (mngon-byang lnga bskyed).65 Rdo-rje' jigs-byed is generated with nine heads, thirty-four arms and sixteen legs, as yab-yum, that is to say in union with his consort. He is not accompanied by a retinue ('khor) of tWelve lha as in the generation -of oneself as Rdo-rje-'jigs-byed above. Descriptions of this form were translated into English by Sharpa Tulku and Guard (MV 52-54, SIV

16--18) as well as by Sharpa Tulku and Perrot (S. 37-39). My translation below relies on these translations. A thang-ka portraying this visualization, which belongs to Skyid-grong Bsam-gtan-gling Monastery, was published by Lobsang Dorje and Shirley Black (1971). As every part of a stupa bears symbolic meaning (Roth, 1980; Benisti 1960), also every aspect of the visualized lha including colors, limbs and emblems carries meaning for the meditator. This symbolism is partly explained by Rje Tsong-kha-pa at the end of the sfidhana manual.66

On the first day of the consecration, the day of preparation (stagon), the receptacle is generated as the dam-tshig sems-dpa', but the ye-shes sems-dpa' is not fused with it. This fusion will take place only in the main part (dngos-gzhi) of the consecration. 64 See the sections on tantric rituals and consecration and on rituals of transformation in the introduction. 65 As disj::ussed in the section on generation above. Since Rdo-rje- 'jigs-byed is a wrathful lha, his throne is a sun and not a moon as mentioned in the previous discussion. 66 DK. 163.5-165.2, based on a work by L!Uita. In their description of Rdo-rje-'jigsbyed- lha-bcu-gsum, Dorje and Black also incorporated such explanations of the symbolism.


Then, as for the generation of the receptacle: [1] Cleanse with 0f1! Khaliga-dhrk [Huf1! Phal]. [2] Purify into Emptiness with Sunyata -[jfiana-vajra-svabhtiva-atmako 'haf1!]. [368] [3] From the continuum of Emptiness68 on top of a variegated lotus (visva-padma) and a sun (appears) Hu'fl, from it (appears) a vajra marked with Hu'fl, from its complete transformation (appears) Glorious Great Rdo-rje-'jigs-byed, his body dark blue in color [with nine faces, thirty four arms and sixteen legs, standing in a posture in which his right legs are bend and left extended; capable of devouring the three realms, calling out Ha Ha with his tongue coiled, fangs bared,

having wrathful scowls, next to which his eyebrows and eyes blaze like (the fire) at the time of destruction (of the world at the end of a kalpa), the yellow tips of his hair bristle upward. He makes the threatening seal at the mundane and supramundane lha, frightening the terrifiers. In a loud cry he roars like thunder 'Phaif1! kara'. He devours human blood, grease, marrow and fat, crowned with five dry skulls meant to frighten, adorned with garland of skulls (made of) fifty fresh heads, decorated with bone ornaments, 69 such as a sacred thread of black serpent, a wheel of human bones, (bone) earring, etc. He has a bulging belly, his body naked, his eyebrows, eye-lashes, beard and bodily hair blaze like the fire at the end of time.

His main face is that of a buffalo, black, very wrathful and endowed with sharp horns. On top of it, in between the two horns there is a red face, very frightening, its mouth dripping blood. Above that a yellow face of Mafijusri, slightly wrathful, adorned with ornaments of youth. At the crown of 67 Read Sanyatii., cf. R. 359.3-4 above. 68 This is the beginning of the generation of oneself as Rdo-rje-'jigs-byed. The complete text is found in DK 116-121. It is translated into English inS. 37-39, MV 51-54, SlV 16-18.

69 For the six bone ornaments seeK. 2713; Rigzin 1986:401 (note that there are variations in these lists).

his head five hai~ locks are tied, The first face at the base of the right horn is blue, to its right a red face and to its left a yellow face. The first face at the base of the left horn is white while to its right a grey face and to its left a black face. All the faces are very wrathful, and all nine faces have three eyes each. Both right and left first hands hold a fresh elephant hide with its head to the right, its hair showing outwards, stretched by its left front and back legs. In the first among the remaining right (hands) he holds a curved knife, in the second a javelin, in the third a pestle, in the fourth a knife, in the fifth a lance, in the sixth an axe, in the seventh a spear, in the eighth an arrow, in the ninth an iron hook, in the tenth a club, in the eleventh a kha{valiga, in the twelfth a wheel, in the thirteenth a five-pronged vajra, in the fourteenth a vajra hammer, in the fifteenth a sword, and in the sixteenth a small drum.

In the remaining left (hands) he holds a skull filled with blood, in the second the head of Brahm~. in the third a shield, in the fourth a leg, in the fifth a lasso, in the sixth a bow, in the seventh intestines, in the eighth a bell, in the ninth a hand, in the tenth a shroud, in the eleventh a person impaled on a pointed stake, in the twelfth a furnace, in the thirteenth a scalp, in the fourteenth (he makes) the threa,tening seal, in the fifteenth a flag with three protrusions, and in the sixteenth a fan.

With the first of his right legs he tramples a man, with the second a buffalo, the third a bull, the fourth a donkey, the fifth a camel, the sixth a dog, the seventh a sheep, the eighth a fox and with the first of the left (legs) a vulture, the second an owl, the third il raven, the fourth a parrot, the fifth a hawk, the sixth a large bird, the seventh a cock, the eighth a swan. He tramples under his feet Brahm~. Indra, Khyab-'jug,70 Drag-po,71 six-faced KumMa, Vimyaka, Candra and Sfuya, all facing down.] He stands amidst a blazing mass of fire. At the heart of the dam-tshig sems-dpa' [on a lunar throne 70 Vi$1)U or Kr$Qa. 71 Rudra or Tivra.

appears the ye-shes sems-dpa' as (ever) young Mafijusr1 slightly wrathful, his body yellow colored. His right hand brandishes .a sword, his left holds a book at his heart. He sits crossed legged in the vajra position, adorned with the thirty two major and eighty minor marks (of a Buddha). His long hair tied in five knots (on top of his head), and he is adorned with all the ornaments.

At his heart, from A!z arises a solar mandala. At its center, the ting-nge-' dzin sems-dpa', a dark blue syllable Huf1!] 12 emanates five rays of light. 73

In his lap the consort Rdo-rje-ro-langs-ma (Vajravettilli or Vajravet1il1) [blue with one face and two hands, the right brandishes a vajra curved knife and the left holds a skull filled with blood of the poisonous one, while embracing the Father. She is adorned with a crown of five dry skulls and with a garland of fifth dry (skulls), adorned with the five mudra. Her right leg is extended and]74 with her left (leg) she embraces the Father (Rdo-rje-'jigs-byed). The preparatory rituals of the self-entry into the mandala (bdag-'jug)

Entering the mandala ( dkyil- 'khor gzhug-pa) The last among the four limbs of the generation process is the selfinitiation of the practitioner. As the consecration is based on the entire generation process, the initiation of the receptacle will be performed during the consecration. The initiation consists of two parts, preparatory rituals and the main initiation. These are performed during the preparation and main part of the consecration itself, in the first and second days respectively. The problems arising from the application 72 DK 120.3-4 has rang·nyin dam-tshig sems-dpa'i thugs·kar ... 'at the heart of oneself as the dam-tshig sems-dpa' ... ' In the case of consecration (as in the case of the burnt offering ritual (sbyin-sreg, homa translated by Sharpa) the generation is in an object, while in the s(idhana text on which both rituals rely the generation is of oneself as the lha (bdag-bskyed). Since in the consecration ritual·the receptacle and not oneself. is generated as the dam-tshig sems-dpa', the word rang-nyid (oneseiO is omitted. To remind the performer of this, the phrases before and after rang-nyid are given in our text. 73 These are the three 'piled up' sems-dpa' (sems·dpa' gsum brtsegs): 1. dam-tshig sems-dpa' 2. ye-shes sems-dpa' 3. ting-nge sems-dpa' {cf. Rigzin 1986:442) . . 74 Again, DK 121.3 has rang-gi pang na yum Rdo-rje ro-IangS-ma ... 'at my lap the consort Rdo-rje-ro-lang-ma . .. ' ·

of a soteriological ritual, meant to be conferred on people, onto objects, such as the receptacle to be consecrated, were discussed in the introduction. Below only a few comments on the peculiarities of initiation conferred on a receptacle in comparison with a disciple initiation will be made.

The preparatory rituals of the initiation performed now commence with a request for the conferral of the initiation and an offering of a maiJ¢1 on behalf of the consecration lha. The various offerings and implements, such as a garland of flowers offered to the disciple (which he or she offers later to the main lha of the mandala), the blindfold as well as the irtitiation attire of the Sa!J1bhogakaya worn by the practitioners during the self-initiation, are offered or 'worn' here by the representation, of the consecration lha at the center of the bathing mandala." As mentioned in the introduction, the purification and transformation which are the main object of a disciple's initiation are omitted here. Also all the utterances and commitments of a practitioner or a disciple, as well as the descent of enlightened wisdom,76 are omitted.

In the consecration manual only brief rentinders of the recitations of the initiation are provided. The performers are supposed to, and usually do, know the irtitiation ritual by heart. They are mostly rentinded of the amendments made in the self-irtitiation to accord with the present irtitiation of the consecration lha. For the sake of the reader I have completed here the initiations of Ak~obhya, Ratnasambhava, 77 the vajriiciirya and the three, higher initiations.


A. Requesting entrance into the mandala

In the presence of the lama who is no different from the chief (lha of the mandala) the consecration lha (rab-tu gnas-bya' i lha-rnams) beg to offer the field realm (zhing-khams)18 as a gift in requesting the entrance into the mandala of Glorious Great Rdo-rje- 'jigs-byed.79 75 Khrus-dkyil, see the section on 'the setting' in the introductio~. 76 See KL 246. 77 The initiations of the latter three among the five Tathagatas, those of Ami~bha, Amoghasiddhi and Vairocana follow the course of the two first initiations. 78 The entire universe. 79 Cf. J. 193.4 where the phrase rab-tu gnas-bya'i lha-rnams does not appear. As was

B. Offering ma(l<;lal (ma(l<;lal 'bul-ba) Each of the initiations begins with the offering of marpjal. Initiations cannot be conferred on those who lack the proper motivation for receiving them. By offering a marpjal, disciples express their ultimate commitment, offering the lama the world 'on a silver platter', as it were. Here, the offering of maT}qal is performed on behalf of the consecration lha. In order to distinguish the maT}qal offering from the related but different notion of mandala, which refers to the divine palace of the lha together with

its inhabitants-the lha themselves, Tibetan writers usually use the Sanskrit word maT}qal[a] for the former, and its Tibetan translation dkyil-'khor for the latter. For keeping this distinction clear, the word mawjal is reserved for the former. 80 The maT}qal offering is a ritual offering of the entire world as it is described in treatises such as the Abhidharma-kosa," together with its most precious riches, to one's lama and the three objects of Refuge (Buddha, Dharma and Sangha). The maT}qal offering was performed already in the preliminaries to the consecration as part of the daily rituals. It belongs to the four preliminary activities (sngon-'gro chos bzhi)82 of accumulating merit one is generally required to complete in order to qualify as a recipient of initiation. Here it is performed in requesting the initiation. Only an offering of a magnitude equal to the entire universe is appropriate for requesting such a bestowal."

The maT}qal offering is performed again as a thanksgiving for the lama//ha for the conferral of the complete initiation into the mandala of Rdo-rje-'jigs-byed.84 Among the antecedents of the maT}qal offerings one can list the second chapter in Santideva's Bodhi-carydvatara (2.6) in which one offers mountains, for~sts, lakes, and wish-granting trees which are first visualized in one's mind as well as, as pointed out by Klong-rdol Lama," the offerings made by Dharmodgata to the book in which ihe Prajiia-pdramita was written. 86 mentioned above, while in J. the practicioner enters the mandala, here the lha invited to the receptacle enters the mandala. 80 Here I follow Beyer 1973.

82 The accumulation of 100,000 prostrations, 100,000 acts of refuge, 100,000 maQtjal offerings, and 100,000 recitations of the hundred~syllable mantra of Vajrasattva. 83 This point is emphasized also in B. 168. 84 R. 417.5-6. 85 MHTL 15868. 86 A~ta~sdhasrikd-prdjfid-pdramitd, Mitra 1888;506; Conze 1973!75: 288. For more about the maiJ4al offering, see Schubert (1954), Lessing (1956 and 1942:105-6),


[(I} visualize this (ma!Jt/al whose)] base is anointed with incense [and strewn with flowers, adorned with mount Meru, the four continents, the sun and the moon, as a Buddha Land (sangsrgyas zhing, Buddha-k$etra); by .offering (it)] may [all sentient beings] course in the Ptire Land (rnam-dag zhing).81 Idaf[l guru ratna-[mal)(ialakaf[l nirydtaydmi]."

[May you, great joy, empty self, the vajrdcdrya] embraced by [[[Rdo-rje]]-]ro-langs-ma [consider me. 0 great protector I am seeking the firm mode of great enlightenment. Bestow on me the commitments. Bestow on me also the mind of enlightenment. Also bestow on me the three refuges, Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha.] May the protector let me enter into the supreme city of the great liberation. 89 [369] (Repeat) three times, while joining the hands (in afljali mudrd). During the consecration lha entry into the mandala, the ritual master (alone) makes the mudrds, the assembly does not.90 C. In front of the closed doors Then, The consecration lha tum into white Yamfintaka of Ignorance (Gti-mug Gshin-rje-gshed)91 with three faces, white, blue and red. The first two among the six hands hold a curved knife and a skull at the heart. The remaining two right (hands) hold a wheel and a sword; the two left-a jewel and a lotus.92 Wayman (1973:101-106), Beyer (1973:167-70) LTWA (1975), Dge-bshes Tarchin (1981), etc. Beyer (op. cit., p. 488, n. 222) provides a list of Tanjur works on this subject. 87 Sa-gzhi spos-kyi byugs-shini me-tog bkram! ri-rab glings bzhi nyi zlas brgyan-pa 'di! sangs-rgyas zhing-du dmigs-teng bu/-ba-yisl 'gro kun rnam-dag zhing la spyod-par shog/. This is the most common verse accompanying the offering of maQr.).al. 88 'I offer this precious mandala to the guru'. 89 For the complete text see J. 194.2-5. My translation of the two'Iast verses is based on KL 219, see also MV 44.

90 Only the ritual master has the powers required for such a ritual. 91 This is the lha at the inner eastern side of the mandala. One enters the mandala from the east, the direction of the rising sun. For the mandala of Rdo-rje- 'jigs-byed-lhabcu- gsum see the introduction. 92 Cf. J. 194.6-195.2 and S. 39, see also Lobsang Dorje 1971:225-7. This Passage consists of the iconography of YarrWttaka of Ignorance. As before, this sentence is given here because the 'oneself' (rang-nyid) of J. is replaced here with 'the consecration /ha'.

A!t kha!fl-vfra [Hulfl]. 93 The ritual helper offers a garland of five flowers to the ritual master." The ritual master offers it to the receptacle." 0!fl cak~u-bhandha96 [varamanaya Hulfl}.91 Offer the blindfold (mig-dar)." Olfl Khanga-dhrk [Hulfl Pha!]. Offer, successively, the lower garment of the lha (smad-g.yogs), the upper deity garment of the lha (stod-g.yogs) and the U~TJf~a (gtsug-tor)." Recite the mantras very slowly for each one. Hulfl PhatYXJ

D. In front of the open doors101 Olfl A!t Mudgara-dhrk Hulfl. 102 A!t Kha!fl-vfra Hulfl. 93 Or Ab khart~-vfra HUrrz, cf. J. 195.2. For an interpretation of this mantra see KL 442; Wayman 1974:44.

94 These flowers in the colors of the five Tathiigatas symbolize the five poisons which are purified through the sddhana practice into the five TathB.gatas. 95 After entering the mandala the disciple/consecration lha present these flowers to the lha of the mandalas as offerings. See Geshe Sopa 1985:98; KL 221. In practice, a garland made of tsam-pa-ka 'flowers' is offered. 96 Read· bandha.

97 Cf. J. 195.2. 'Oltl tie a cover over the eyes HUrtt [11'. 98 A red blindfold (worn usually above the eyes) symbolizes one's blindness before seeing the mandala. As a disciple puts on this blindfold before entering the mandala (see Geshe Sopa 1985:98; KL 220) the ritual master (with the assistance of the ritual helper) places the blindfold on the 'forehead' of the representation of the