Teachings given in New York City on 24 September 2005 by His Holiness the Dalai Lama on The Yoga Method of Avalokiteshvara, the Buddha of Compassion.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama
The Actual Practice
1. The Ultimate Deity
Contemplating as follows is (the meditation on) the Ultimate Deity:
OM SVABHAVA SHUDDHAH SARVA DHARMA SVABHAVA SHUDDHO HAM
The nature of myself, the deity to be meditated upon, and all phenomena are in essence of one taste of emptiness.
2. The Deity of Sound
Contemplating as follows is (the meditation on) the Deity of Sound:
From the sphere of emptiness, the aspect of the tone of the mantra, OM MANI PADME HUM, resounds, pervading the realm of space.
3. The Deity of Syllables
Contemplating as follows is (the meditation on) the Deity of Syllables:
My mind, in the aspect of the undifferentiable suchness of myself and the deity, becomes a moon mandala, upon which the very aspect of the tone of the mantra resounding in space is set down, having the form of written syllables. The sounds and the written letters [of the mantra] are mixing, like very pure mercury adhering to grains of gold.
4. The Deity of Form
Contemplating as follows is (the meditation on) the Deity of Form:
The (syllables) transform into a thousand-petaled lotus, as brilliant as refined gold, marked at the center by the mantra, OM MANI PADME HUM. From the tips of the multicolored light rays emitted from the moon, lotus and mantra, innumerable holy bodies of the Arya (Avalokiteshvara) spread out, pervading all the realms of space. Great clouds of miraculously emanated offerings are beautifully offered to the buddhas and their children.
From yet another great emanated cloud, a continuous rain of nectar descends, extinguishing the fires of suffering of all migrators of the hell and other realms. They are satisfied with bliss (and become Avalokiteshvara). Then the light rays along with the bodies of the deity return and enter into one’s own mind (in the aspect of) the moon mandala, lotus and mantra garland.
These transform into a multicolored lotus and a moon seat, upon which oneself arises as Arya Avalokiteshvara with a white-colored body in the prime of youth and radiating rays of light. Of the eleven faces, the root face is white; the right, green; and the left, red. Above that, the central face is green; the right, red; and the left, white. Above that, the central face is red; the right, white; and the left, green.
They also have long narrow eyes and smiling expressions. Above these is a wrathful black face with bared fangs and wrathful wrinkles, a third eye and orange hair standing upright. On the crown is a peaceful red face with crown protrusion, having a chaste aspect, devoid of ornaments and with (its own) neck.
The first two hands are folded at the heart (and hold a jewel), the second right hand holds a rosary, the third eliminates the hunger and thirst of the hungry ghosts by sending down a stream of nectar from (the mudra of) granting sublime (realizations) and the fourth holds a wheel. The second left hand holds a golden lotus with a stem, the third holds a water vessel and the fourth holds a bow and arrow.
The remaining nine hundred and ninety-two hands, as soft as lotus petals, are (in the mudra of) granting sublime realizations. In the palm of every hand is an eye. The hands do not extend above the crown protrusions or below the knees.
An antelope skin covers the left breast and there is a lower garment of fine cloth. (The waist is) endowed with a golden belt adorned with jewels; (the head of the wrathful face) is beautified with a garland of orange hair. He has a jeweled crown, earrings, necklace, armlets, bracelets and anklets, wears garments of various (colored) silks and radiates rays of white light.
5. The Deity of Mudra
Contemplating as follows is (the meditation on) the Deity of Mudra:
At the crown of the (central) head is a white OM, at the throat, a red AH, and at the heart, a blue HUM. Upon a moon disk at the heart is a white (syllable) HRIH, with a long vowel (i) and subsequent aspiration (h).
[Then, say the following (mantra five times while) touching and blessing the heart, brow, throat and the tops of the (right and left) shoulders with (one’s hands in) the commitment mudra of the lotus family, which was demonstrated before. This is the Deity of Mudra.]
OM PADMA UDBHAVAYA SVAHA (5x)
6. The Deity of Sign
Invocation and Absorption of the Wisdom Beings
Then, invoke the wisdom beings saying:
Light rays radiate from the HRIH at one’s heart, invoking from their natural abode Arya Avalokiteshvara, surrounded by the entire assembly of buddhas and bodhisattvas.
OM ARYA LOKESHVARA SAPARIVARA VAJRA SAMAYA JAH JAH JAH HUM BAM HOH.
They become non-dual with (oneself), the commitment being.
Invocation of the Dhyani Buddhas and Offerings
Again, light rays radiate from the HRIH at one’s heart, invoking the empowering deities: the five (Buddha) families, with Amitabha as their principal deity, together with their retinues.
Present offerings while saying:
OM PANCHA KULA SAPARIVARA ARGHAM, PADYAM, PUSHPE, DHUPE, ALOKE, GANDHE, NAIVIDYA, SHAPTA PRATICCHA SVAHA
Request for Initiation
“All tathagatas, please bestow empowerment upon me.”
Requested thus, the Goddess Dressed in White and the others who are emitted from the (tathagatas’) hearts hold aloft vases filled with nectar and say:
“Just as at the very time of birth,
The devas offered ablution (to the Buddha),
I, too, with pure divine water,
Offer ablution to the holy body.”
OM SARVA TATHAGATA ABHISHEKATA SAMAYA SHRIYE HUM and bestow the empowerment.
Thereby, the entire body is filled [with divine water] and all defilements are purified. From a transformation of the excess water remaining on the crown, the head becomes adorned with Amitabha—the very nature of one’s guru—on the crown, Akshobhya on the forehead, Ratnasambhava behind the right ear, Vairochana at the back, and Amoghasiddhi behind the left ear.
On the moon disk at one’s heart is the exalted wisdom being, Arya Avalokiteshvara, with a white-colored holy body, one face and two hands. The right (hand is in the mudra of) bestowing sublime realizations and the left holds a lotus (at his heart). The moon disk at his heart is marked by the concentration being symbolized by the white (syllable) HRIH, with a long vowel (i) and subsequent aspiration (h).
[Having focused upon oneself, clearly visualize the holy body of the deity, then meditate one-pointedly upon it is called meditation on the Deity of Sign.]
Offerings to the Self-Generation
Blessing the Offerings
Then (perform) the offerings of the self-generation. Cleanse (the offering substances of) hindrances by means of the (action) mantra along with visualization:
OM PADMANTAKRITA HUM PHAT
OM SVABHAVA SHUDDHAH SARVA DHARMA SVABHAVA SHUDDHO HAM
(The offering substances) become just empty. From the sphere of emptiness, from (eight) BHRUM (syllables), eight vast and extensive precious vessels arise. Within each, (the syllable) OM melts into light from which arise drinking water, water for feet, flowers, incense, lamps, perfume, food and music. They are empty in nature, have the aspects of the individual types (of offerings) and function to bestow special uncontaminated bliss.
OM ARGHAM AH HUM (drinking water)
OM PADYAM AH HUM (water for feet)
OM PUSHPE AH HUM (flowers)
OM DHUPE AH HUM (incense)
OM ALOKE AH HUM (light)
OM GANDHE AH HUM (perfume)
OM NAIVIDYA AH HUM (food)
OM SHAPTA AH HUM (music)
Presenting the offerings
Present the offerings by (reciting the following while making the appropriate mudras):
OM ARYA LOKESHVARA SAPARIVARA ARGHAM PRATICCHA SVAHA
OM ARYA LOKESHVARA SAPARIVARA PADYAM PRATICCHA SVAHA
OM ARYA LOKESHVARA SAPARIVARA PUSHPE PRATICCHA SVAHA
OM ARYA LOKESHVARA SAPARIVARA DHUPE PRATICCHA SVAHA
OM ARYA LOKESHVARA SAPARIVARA ALOKE PRATICCHA SVAHA
OM ARYA LOKESHVARA SAPARIVARA GANDHE PRATICCHA SVAHA
OM ARYA LOKESHVARA SAPARIVARA NAIVADYA PRATICCHA SVAHA
OM ARYA LOKESHVARA SAPARIVARA SHAPTA PRATICCHA SVAHA
[If you would like to do them extensively, the offerings can also be made (while reciting) offering garland verses along with the mantras (as is done while presenting offerings to the front generation.]
Praise by saying:
Highly venerated by all the Buddhas,
You accumulated all holy qualities, and
Were conferred the name Avalokiteshvara:
I prostrate to the always merciful one.
Blessing the Rosary
[Then, with regard to doing the (mantra) recitation, bless the counting rosary. With palms joined at one’s heart, pay homage to the guru and deity saying]:
OM GURU SARVA TATHAGATA KAYA VAK CITTA PRANAMENA SARVA TATHAGATA VAJRA PADA BANDHANAM KAROMI.
[Then put a properly assembled rosary that conforms to the activity to be done (i.e. a crystal or bodhi seed rosary for peaceful actions) between your cupped hands and bless it by reciting (the following mantra) seven times]:
OM VASU MATI SHRIYE SVAHA. (7x)
Contemplate as follows:
On a moon disk at one’s heart is the concentration being (the syllable HRIH), surrounded by garlands of the mantras to be recited, white in color and standing clockwise. Light rays radiate from them filling all the inside of one’s body and purifying all negativities and obscurations.
Light rays radiate outwards from which an incalculable assembly of deities of the Great Compassionate One are emitted, purifying the negativities and obscurations of all sentient beings and setting them in the state of the Arya (Avalokiteshvara). (These then) collect back and dissolve into the HRIH syllable at one’s heart.
Reciting the Long Mantra
NAMO RATNA TRAYAYA, NAMAH ARYA JNANA SAGARA, VAIROCANA VYUHA RAJAYA, TATHAGATAYA, ARHATE, SAMYAKSAM BUDDHAYA, NAMAH SARVA TATHAGATEBHYAH, ARHATEBHYAH, SAMYAKSAM BUDDHEBHYAH, NAMAH ARYA AVALOKITE SHVARAYA, BODHISATTVAYA, MAHASATTVAYA, MAHAKARUNIKAYA,
TADYATHA, OM DHARA DHARA, DHIRI DHIRI, DHURU DHURU, ITTI VATTE, CALE CALE, PRACALE PRACALE, KUSUME, KUSUMEVARE, ILI MILI, CITI JVALAM, APANAYE SVAHA
Reciting the Six- Syllable Mantra
OM MANI PADME HUM
Reciting the Padmasattva Mantra
[Then, recite the hundred-syllable (mantra of Padmasattva) three times, and make amends for excesses and omissions (in one’s practice), and stabilize the blessing.]
OM PADMASATTVA SAMAYA, MANUPALAYA, PADMASATTVA TVENOPATISTHA, DRIDHO ME BHAVA, SUTOSYO ME BHAVA, SUPOSYO ME BHAVA, ANURAKTO ME BHAVA, SARVA SIDDHIM ME PRAYACCHA, SARVA KARMA SUCAME, CITTAM SHRIYAM KURU HUM, HA HA HA HA HOH, BHAGAVAN SARVA TATHAGATA, PADMA MAME MUNCA, PADMA BHAVA, MAHA SAMAYA SATTVA AH HUM PHAT
The Concluding Practice
Request to Reside or to Depart
Please remain here together with this image
For the welfare of migrating beings and
Excellently bestow health, long life, riches,
And supreme (realizations).
OM SUPRATISTHA VAJRAYE SVAHA
OM. You enacted all aims of sentient beings
And bestowed appropriate attainments.
Although you depart to the buddhafield,
Please return again later.
OM VAJRA MUH
The exalted wisdom beings depart to the natural abode (the sphere of emptiness). The supporting and supported commitment beings [which are] the mandala itself and visualized deities melt into light and dissolve into me.
I transform into the Great Compassionate One, with one face and two arms, marked by a white OM on the crown, a red AH at the throat and a blue HUM at the heart.
Due to these merits, may I quickly
Become the Great Compassionate One
And place all migrating beings, without exception,
In that very state.
Long Life Prayer for His Holiness the Dalai Lama
In this realm surrounded by snow mountains,
You are the source of all benefits and happiness,
Tenzin Gyatso, you who are one with Avalokiteshvara,
May you remain steadfast until the end of cyclic existence.
Verses of Auspiciousness
May the source of benefit and goodness—the doctrine—spread and expand,
May the beings upholding the doctrine have excellent health and
May the source of happiness and well-being for all embodied beings,
The doctrine of the Buddha, always increase.
May there be auspiciousness of Supreme Teachers, precious Buddhas;
May there be auspiciousness of Supreme Protector, precious Dharma;
May there be auspiciousness of Supreme Guide, precious Sangha;
May there be always auspiciousness of these Three Jewels.
1. See His Holiness’ teaching on the Four Noble Truths.
2. See Meditation on Emptiness, pp. 208–10.
3. See Becoming the Compassion Buddha for Lama Yeshe’s commentary on His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s practice text on Four-Armed Avalokiteshvara, The Inseparability of the Spiritual Master and Avalokiteshvara.
4. See the booklet Nyung Nä for details of this practice.