Three-Kaya Mandala Offerings of Nyingma
Consequently, one would be free from demons and obstacles and attain accomplishment soon. However, worldly offerings are too inferior and contaminated for the unexcelled Three Jewels; one should therefore practice the superior and transcendental Mandala offerings.
For ordinary practitioners of the exoteric vehicle to complete the Paths of Accumulation and Preparation, they need to gather merits for one Asamkhyeya-Kalpa, while Vajrayana practitioners can complete the same within one lifetime through Mandala offerings.
The time required to practice this kind of Mandala is less than the other two kinds introduced below. Success in this practice can result in merits similar to those of Vaishravana (i.e., the Northern Heavenly King, or the Heavenly King of Treasures), and thereby speed up the progress toward Buddhahood.
That the ordinary Mandala offerings can result in merits similar to Vaishravana is due to the fact that this practice involves visualized offerings of the entire universe: Mount Sumeru, Four Continents, all kinds of supreme treasures, with such pure and supreme offerings appearing in abundance like clouds and oceans.
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In addition to the rice and gold offered in the normal Three-Kaya Mandala, this method includes other objects that assist in the visualization and dependent origination of the offerings, for example, coins of various countries, small globe, golden ornaments, and pistachio nuts. As a result, the time required for offering this kind of Mandala is about three to four times that of a normal Three-Kaya Mandala.
As one of the Four Foundational Practices, Mandala offerings should be repeated for at least 100,000 times. Practitioners may choose between the ordinary Mandala and the uncommon Three-Kaya Mandala of Nyingma to practice for the 100,000 repetitions.
I. Ordinary Mandala
II. The Uncommon Three-Kaya Mandala of Nyingma
There are three layers in a set of Three-Kaya Mandala plates.
If the bottom plate is also counted, there are actually four layers.
Mandala plates would best be made of gold, of silver is next, but of copper is also acceptable. Copper ones that are gold or silver plated are also fine. Each layer of the Mandala plates is engraved with images of the Seven Jewels or the Eight Treasures.
In order to make the offering, one should sit cross-legged on the floor, place a (approx.) two square feet cloth on a bamboo tray (or other kind of suitable container) with enough rice for the three layers of the Mandala.
While reciting "Om Samaya, Ah Samaya, Hung Samaya" (which means respectively the precepts of body, speech and mind) and then the Hundred Syllable Mantra once, rub the plate surface with the inner side of the right wrist in circular clockwise rotation three times, and visualize that the body, speech and mind of oneself and all sentient beings are thereby purified.
Then continue to rub the plate surface counter-clockwise for three times, visualizing the seeds for the merits and wisdom of the three Bodies of all Buddhas are obtained by the practitioner and all sentient beings.
- Thousand million of thousand million world systems,
- Each full of seven treasures and wealth of gods and humans,
- Together with my entire body and belongings are completely offered,
- May I attain the throne of the universal monarch of Dharma.
Then place the second layer Mandala ring on top of the even surface of the first layer which is filled up with rice, put in a gold coin and fill up the second layer Mandala ring with rice. Recite the following verses and visualize accordingly:
- The Pureland of Secret Adornment with unexcelled great bliss,
- Complete with five definite attributes and the five aspects of Wisdom,
- Offered with supreme offerings gathering as inconceivable masses of clouds,
- May I attain the enjoyment of Sambhogakaya Pureland.
This is the offerings to the Sambhogakaya. Then place the third layer Mandala ring on top of the second layer, put in a gold coin and fill it up with rice. Recite the following verses and visualize accordingly:
- The originally present, pure and youthful body in the vessel,
- Being adorned with immutable compassion,
- Identified with the Land purified of the attachments to body and drops,
- By offering it, may I abide in the realm of the Dharmakaya.
When raising the Mandala to offer it, visualize the Mandala multiplying into five, five multiplying into twenty-five, etc. until the entire Dharmadhatu is completely filled with Mandalas, as shown below:
When repeating the offerings, use the offered rice in the bamboo tray to fill each layer until almost full, then top up each layer with new (not being offered before) rice from the small rice box; this is to symbolize new merits adding to old merits and become continuously without end.
III. Yogi Chen's Uncommon Three-Kaya Mandala
Therefore, if it is not feasible to offer it daily, then offer it on the 10th day of each lunar month to Guru Padmasambhava, on the 15th day to the Yidams, on the 25th day to the Dakinis, and on the 29th day to the Dharma Protectors.
Besides, most of the precious objects need to be add on with both hands, hence, first put the base Mandala plate on a circular container (e.g., a tray) covered with yellow cloth and then place the whole thing firmly on a low bench.
At the beginning, hold the base plate by the left hand, with a small amount of rice in both hands, rub the plate surface clockwise and counter-clockwise thrice, recite the Hundred Syllable Mantra, etc.; all are done as in the previous kind of Three-Kaya Mandala offering.
Coins or gold coins of various countries can be placed on the first, second and third layers. The small globe should be put in the center of the first layer. Each layer should be filled up with rice, and some new rice should be added on top of each layer, symbolizing the ever increasing of new merits, enjoyment and offerings.
Gold and jade ornaments engraved with auspicious words, such as "merit,""prosperity," "wealth," "longevity," "love" and "joy," should be placed according to their colors and meanings in the directions of the corresponding Five Buddhas:
white in the East (toward the practitioner), yellow in the South (the right hand side of the Buddha), red in the West (toward the Buddha), green in the North (the left hand side of the Buddha), and blue in the center;
The cardinal directions are arranged in this way because the Buddha is assumed to be seated at the center of the Mandala, facing the practitioner, to receive the offerings. Hence, the Buddha's front is the East and the rest follows in a clockwise circle.
Earrings should hang on the second layer Mandala ring in pairs (left-right, front-back).
One should instead pick them up piece by piece, put coins, rings and jades in two separate boxes, and lay necklaces one by one on a bench. Thus, it will be convenient for the next offering, and there would be no need to waste time in untangling them.
Thereafter, every day add some new rice and pistachio nuts to the Mandala, and then, while raising the Mandala with both hands, the practitioner makes a complete clockwise turn and recites the Three-Kaya Mandala stanzas once, then put the Mandala back on the altar.