Padmasambhava’s Instruction on Offerings to Stupas
Padmasambhava’s Instruction on
Offerings to Stupas King Trisong Detsen requested, “Hey, Great Master, what are the benefits of prostrating to, circumambulating, making offerings, offering service, and so forth to the great stupa, which in nature embodies all the buddhas of the three times?”
The Great Guru then granted this instruction: “Listen, Great King. Generate intense devotion.
Since all the threetime buddhas and bodhisattvas have actually absorbed into the holy object of the mind1 and are abiding in it, any request or prayer done to this great stupa will spontaneously and effortlessly succeed, for it is like a precious wish-granting jewel.
The benefits received by any transmigratory being with a pure special attitude who does prostration or circumambulation or makes offerings are incalculable and cannot be expressed even by all the past, present, and future buddhas.
I will express just some of the benefits for sentient beings to generate happiness. “This supreme holy object of the mind of all the three-time buddhas is a field of offering of all transmigratory beings, including the devas.
Whatever requests and prayers are made to it will be accomplished without effort. It grants every single sublime and common realization.
For example, this great stupa like a precious wish-granting jewel is called ‘liberating by seeing, hearing, and remembering.’2 Anyone who sees the stupa with their eyes closes the door of rebirth in the lower realms.
Anyone who hears about the stupa with their ears leaves the seed of supreme enlightenment. Anyone who remembers the stupa is saved from the harms of craziness and paralysis and generates a special concentration in their mental continuum.
4 “All those who put their palms together to the stupa will abide in the perfect path. “All those who do deity prostration to the stupa will be born as a thousand wheel-turning king.3
“All those who circumambulate the stupa will achieve the seven qualities of the higher realm (race, form, wealth, power, wisdom, long life, no disease).
“All those who make water offerings to the stupa will be born without the sickness of thirst. “All those who make flower offerings to the stupa will achieve a perfect human rebirth, having freedom and richness.
“All those who make incense offerings to the stupa will achieve pure morality.
“All those who make light offerings to the stupa will eliminate all the darkness of ignorance.
“All those who offer scented water to the stupa will be free from unhappiness and all suffering.
“All those who make food offerings to the stupa will be able to live on the food of concentration.
“All those who offer cymbals4 to the stupa will announce the melodious tune of the Dharma in the ten directions.
“All those who offer cymbals5 to the stupa will have profound confidence, self-reliance, and perfections.
“All those who offer bells and anklets to the stupa will have sweet tunes and clear speech—the holy perfect tune of Brahma. 6
“All those who offer mandalas to the stupa will achieve all temporary and ultimate goals, which is the result of completing the two types of merit.
“All those who offer bedding of the five types of jewels will be free of poverty and enriched by unceasing skies of treasure.
“All those who offer mandalas of the seven jewels will enjoy the seven types of king’s royalty and ultimately achieve the holy body having seven qualities. “All those who offer mandalas of the five medicines will be freed from diseases arising from the gathering of the four elements and from the chronic diseases of samsara for eons.
“All those who offer bedding of the five essences will be liberated from all the sufferings of the five transmigratory beings and achieve the five types of buddhas. “All those who offer mandalas of the five grains will have every crop they plant grow well and will enjoy uncultivated crops. “All those who offer the five types of incense will be attractive and pleasing to all others.
“All those who offer the five good scents will achieve clean place and cease all defilements. “All those who offer the five types of animals7 will increase all merit, power, wealth, and all their enjoyments.
“All those who offer umbrellas and victory banners will have the harms of all delusions pacified and all beings will make offerings and will become worthy of respect and service from others.
6 “All those who make offerings of hanging decorations8 and pennons9 will achieve perfect enjoyments of comfort and will be free from the eight great fears,10 or dangers.
“All those who offer garlands and cho pen11 will have ornaments of the seven types of jewels and will achieve the pure happiness of devas and human beings.
“All those who offer lights will directly see all the holy faces of the buddhas and bodhisattvas of the ten directions. “All those who offer seed-oil lights will purify all the obscurations of ignorance.
“All those who offer wood fire as light12 will spread the beams of Dharma in the ten directions. “All those who offer the precious wheel will turn the Dharma wheel. “All those who offer the precious jewel will receive a rainfall of whatever is needed for the mind. “All those who offer the precious queen will generate completely pure wisdom in their mental continuum.
“All those who offer the precious minister will be expert in the various methods to guide all migratory beings. “All those who offer the precious elephant will achieve the meaning of the supreme Mahayana.
“All those who offer the precious sublime horse will have the four legs of psychic power.13 “All those who offer the precious general will destroy all the disputes against others.
7 “All those who offer the seven kings’ royalty will possess the great kings’ policy and Dharma. “All those who offer the eight auspicious signs will achieve the holy body adorned with the holy signs and holy exemplifications.
“All those who offer the eight auspicious substances will have auspicious great blessings, great majesty, and enjoyments of devas’ and human beings’ perfect wealth.
“All those who offer whitewash, saffron, and offering cloth14 will achieve perfect brightness and glory, overpowering all devas, spirits, and human beings with magnificence.15 “All those who make offering of the three whites (curd, butter, and milk) will have a wish-granting cow and enjoy multitudes of animals.
“All those who make offering of the three sweets (honey, sugar, and brown sugar) will enjoy multitudes of devas’ food (nectar) and enjoy the multitudes of things that one desires.
“All those who make offering of food of large grains16 will have no hunger and will close the door to birth as a preta. “All those who make offering of the essence of grain will enjoy food like the oceans of nectar.
“All those who make offering of tsi thog 17 will enjoy food that has eight tastes. “All those who make offering of the wheel of tsog18 will achieve the common and sublime realizations and whatever their mind wishes.
“All those who make offering of bathing water with the five scented smells will purify every single pollution and obscuration and achieve a stainless, pure, attractive, and beautiful complexion.
8 “All those who make offering of the supreme lotus seat will achieve softness (by touching) and be extremely beautiful, and also achieve the fearless lion throne and miraculous birth on the flower lotus trunk.
“All those who become caretakers will be liberated from all the sufferings of the three lower realms and will have perfect qualities.
“All those who help others to make offerings will themselves make offerings to all the buddhas and will accomplish all the actions of all the buddhas.
“All those who clean away dust and stains from the stupa will achieve a beautiful, attractive body.
“All those who remove debris19 from the stupa will cut all the obscurations and negative karmas from the root.
“All those who use the stupa as a mind-seal deity 20 will become a holder of tantric realizations (rig dzin) of great Mudra.
“All those who do speech recitation related to the stupa will achieve the ripened aspect of a holder of tantric realizations.
“All those who treat the stupa as a Guru will become a holder of tantric realizations having control over life.
“All those who repair the stupa will achieve in this life all the four actions,21 succeed all what their mind desires, and achieve peerless, precious enlightenment.22
“All those who put clay on the stupa will become thousand wheelturning kings who reign over as many thousands of world-systems equal to the number of particles of clay.
9 “All those who brought earth and stones for the stupa will have all obstacles to a long life and dangers to their life pacified; they will have a long life, free of disease, and a good holy body.
“All those who put effort with their body, speech, and mind for the stupa will have every single blessing of the holy body, speech, and mind of the buddhas enter their body, speech, and mind.
“All those who with virtue help the stupa will, in all lives, enter into the perfect path of the ten virtues, never be separated from the support of virtuous friends, and achieve all the realizations they wish.
“All those who supervise23 the work for the stupa will be born as the close sons of all the buddhas (bodhisattvas) of the ten directions and will do all the actions of the buddhas.
“All those who act as craftsmen on the stupa24 will be expert in the five types of knowledge in this life and future lives. “All those who take seven steps towards the stupa will receive a pure human body for seven lifetimes and will remember their past lives.
“All those who benefit sentient beings with their mouth (speech) by talking about the stupa will be expert and adorned with qualities of learning.
“All those who benefit the stupa with words25 will have all transmigratory beings listen to whatever they say in all their lifetimes.
“All those who repair just one crack in the stupa will achieve a deva or human body and will enjoy the holy Dharma. “All those who request for the stupa to last long will be enriched by the tantric realization of immortality.
10 “All those who consecrate the stupa, requesting the transcendental wisdom to abide, and who take care of the stupa will guarantee that during all three times there will be no war or famine or epidemic diseases,26 and to pacify that, and the whole country will be happy and peaceful.
“All those who protect the stupa from harm will be liberated from fear of untimely death.
“All those who praise and express the qualities of the stupa to others will explain every single quality of all the buddhas and bodhisattvas of the three times.
“All those who listen and explain about the stupa will do every single action of past, present, and future buddhas.
“All those people who make a line drawing or block model27 of the stupa will be able to go to enlightenment and abide inseparably in emptiness.
“All those who write down the story or biography of the stupa will be writing every Kangyur28 – the teaching of all the past, present, and future buddhas of the ten directions.
“All those who rejoice in the stupa will generate every single quality of a buddha in their mental continuum.
“All those who take blessings from the stupa will receive initiation from all the ten-direction buddhas.
“All those who think of the stupa when passing away will take rebirth by entering in the essence of lotus flower in the western pure land: The Blissful Realm.
“Anyone who gives harm to the stupa will experience various non-virtues in that life and in the next lives will be born in the great hell, The Inexhaustible Hell, with no opportunity to escape and no way to make confession.
11 “In short, this great stupa is like a precious wish-granting jewel. Whatever prayer is made by any transmigratory being requesting common and sublime realizations and all the things that one desires and whatever prayer is made will be granted.
Therefore, even the name of the stupa it is known as Stupa Completing all the Prayers.”
On hearing all this, the king and all his entourage were amazed and struck with unfathomable wonder and, inspired by special devotion, they wept. Throwing their bodies on the ground, they did long prostrations one thousand times.
They expressed, “E MA HO! Even the buddhas cannot express the benefits and wonders of this stupa.
Even our minds cannot think of them also, and our speech cannot express them. Again, like that, from life to life in all our many lifetimes, may we be able to make extensive offerings with limitless multitudes of offerings to the great stupa.”
So they made unfathomable prayers.
Due to this merit, may I achieve the state of omniscient mind, and may the sentient beings defeat the enemy of the vices and liberate the transmigratory beings from the oceans of samsaric sufferings that are disturbed by the violent waves of rebirth, old age, sickness, and death.
1. This means the stupa, a symbol of Buddha’s holy mind.
2. It means by seeing liberating from the lower realms, but it can also mean liberating from samsara eventually.
3. This means a wheel turning king whose power is a thousand times more than a wheel turning king.
4. In Tibetan, röl mo; the cymbals played in protector pujas.
5. In Tibetan, sil nyen; the cymbals used in Lama Chöpa, Tara, Yamantaka, Guhyasamaja and Medicine Buddha pujas.
6. Buddha’s speech like Brahma’s tune.
7. In Tibetan, chen zig , “eye seeing.” (Animals offered to gurus or protectors).
8. In Tibetan, phen, an offering that which is hanging on the pillar in temples made of brocade or other cloths.
9. In Tibetan, ba dän; a particular offering of long cloth.
10. Eight delusions or eight dangers.
11. In Tibetan, chö pen; the ornament that hangs from the ears of the deity’s dress during initiations or fire pujas and so forth.
12. In Tibetan, ma mer ; a particular wood.
13. The leg of miraculous analysis; the leg of miraculous effort; the leg of miraculous intention; the leg of miraculous aspiration.
14. Canopy, umbrella, prayer f lags offered to precious stupas and such.
15. Like how His Holiness the Dalai Lama affects people.
16. Corns, beans, anything bigger than rice.
17. In Tibetan, tsi thog : name of a plant nomads used in Tibet.
18. The real meaning of tsog is the gathering of the dakas and dakinis, but also the transcendental wisdom of non-dual bliss and voidness.
19. In Tibetan, bug bog : messy stuff, like mud, or animal kaka; and nyäl nyil: wet stuff.
20. Yidam. 21. Pacifying, increasing, controlling, and wrathful.
22. In Tibetan, jang chhub: the purified, actualized state.
23. Or guide and work for the stupa. 24. Those who do the carving and so forth.
25. Talking about the stupa. 26. Such as cold diseases. 27. A three-dimensional model or a tsa-tsa.
28. Buddha’s direct teachings that has more than 100 volumes.
13 Colophon: Translated by Kyabje Zopa Rinpoche in Ulaan Baatar, Mongolia, in August, 2013. Dictated to and edited by Ven. Ailsa Cameron. Revised again at Kachoe Dechen Ling, California, USA October 2013.