Meditation on Thousand-Armed Chenresig

from Ven. Thubten Chodron's Pearl of Wisdom, Book II
(used with permission)

Visualization

1000-Armed ChenresigIn the space in front of you, visualize the divine form of 1000-Armed Chenresig, who is the embodiment of all the infinite Buddhas' compassionate wisdom. He stands on a lotus and moon seat. His body is in the nature of white light, youthful and decorated with magnificent jewel ornaments. (The visualization may also be done on the top of your head.)

He has eleven faces. Of the three on his shoulders, his center face is white, the right green and the left red. Above these, his center face is green, right red and left white. Above those, his center face is red, right white and left green. Above these is a wrathful dark blue face with yellow hair standing erect. On the top of that is the red head of Amitabha Buddha, peaceful and smiling.

Chenresig's first two hands are at his heart, palms together, holding a wish-fulfilling gem. On his right, the uppermost hand holds a crystal rosary, reminding you to recite the mantra. The next hand is in the gesture of giving realizations and from it a rain of nectar falls, curing the hunger and thirst of the hungry ghosts. The next hand holds a Dharma wheel.

On his left, the uppermost hand holds a white lotus, the purest of flowers although it is born from the mud. The next hand holds a vase containing the nectar of his compassionate wisdom. The next holds a bow and arrow, symbolizing defeat of the four maras. The other 992 hands are in the gesture of giving the highest realizations. An antelope skin is draped over his left shoulder, symbolizing that hatred is overcome completely by peaceful, compassionate wisdom.

Taking refuge and generating the heart dedicated to attaining enlightenment for the benefit of all sentient beings (Bodhicitta) (three times)

    I take refuge until I am enlightened
    In the Buddhas, the Dharma and the Sangha.
    Through the merit I create by practicing giving and the other perfections,
    May I attain Buddhahood for the sake of all sentient beings.

The Four Immeasurables

    How wonderful it would be if all sentient beings were to abide in equanimity, free of bias, attachment and anger. May they abide in this ay. I shall cause them to abide in this way. Guru-deity, please inspire me to be able to do so.

    How wonderful it would be if all sentient beings had happiness and its causes. May they have these. I shall cause them to have these. Guru-deity, please inspire me to be able to do so.

    How wonderful it would be if all sentient beings were free from suffering and its causes. May they be free. I shall cause them to be free. Guru-deity, please inspire me to be able to do so.

    How wonderful it would be if all sentient beings were never parted from upper rebirth and liberations's excellent bliss. May they never be parted. I shall cause them never to be parted. Guru-deity, please inspire me to be able to do so.

Special Dedicated Heart

    Especially for the sake of all mother sentient beings, I must quickly and more quickly-in this very life-attain the precious state of complete and perfect Buddhahood. Therefore, I shall practice the gradual path of Guru Chenresig yoga.

Seven-limb Prayer

    Reverently, I prostrate with my body, speech and mind
    And present clouds of every type of offering, actual and mentally-transformed.
    I declare all my negative actions accumulated since beginningless time
    And rejoice in the merits of all holy and ordinary beings.
    Please remain until samsara ends
    And turn the wheel of Dharma for sentient beings.
    I dedicate the merit created by myself and others to the great enlightenment.

Mandala Offering

    The fundamental ground is scented with incense and strewn with flowers,
    Adorned with Mount Meru, the four continents, the sun and the moon.
    I imagine this as a buddha-land and offer it.
    May all living beings enjoy this pure realm.

    The objects of attachment, aversion and ignorance –
    Friends, enemies and strangers – my body, wealth and enjoyments
    Without any sense of loss, I offer this collection.
    Please accept it with pleasure
    And bless me with freedom from the three poisons.

    idam guru ratna mandala kam nirya tayami

Request Prayer

    O Arya Compassionate-eyed One
    Who is the treasure of compassion,
    I request you, please listen to me,
    Please guide myself, mothers and fathers,
    In all six realms to be freed quickly
    From the great ocean of samsara.
    I request that the vast and profound
    Peerless awakening mind may grow.
    With the tear of your great compassion,
    Please cleanse all karmas and delusion.
    Please lead with your hand of compassion
    Me and migrators to fields of bliss.
    Please Amitabha and Chenresig,
    In all my lives be virtuous friends.
    Show well the undeceptive pure path
    And quickly place us in Buddha's state.

Meditation on the "Eight Verses of Thought Transformation"

After each verse, visualize much light coming from Chenresig, flowing into you and completely filling your whole body. It purifies the selfishness and ignorance which prevent you from understanding the meaning of that verse and gives you the ability to understand and integrate each verse into your daily life. Say the six-syllable mantra om mani padme hum a few times while doing this visualization.

  1. With the thought of attaining enlightenment
    For the welfare of beings,
    Who are more precious than a wish-fulfilling jewel,
    I will constantly practice holding them dear.

  2. Whenever I am with others,
    I will practice seeing myself as the lowest of all
    And from the very depth of my heart,
    I will respectfully hold others as supreme.

  3. In all actions, I will examine my mind
    And the moment a disturbing attitude arises,
    Endangering myself and others,
    I will firmly confront and avert it.

  4. Whenever I meet a person of bad nature
    Who is overwhelmed by negative energy and intense suffering,
    I will hold such a rare one dear,
    As if I had found a precious treasure.

  5. When others, out of jealousy,
    Mistreat me with abuse, slander and so on,
    I will practice accepting defeat
    And offering the victory to them.

  6. When someone I have benefitted
    And in whom I have placed great trust
    Hurts me very badly,
    I will practice seeing that person as my supreme teacher.

  7. In short, I will offer directly and indirectly
    Every benefit and happiness to all beings, my mothers.
    I will practice in secret taking upon myself
    All their harmful actions and sufferings.

  8. Without these practices being defiled by the stains of the eight worldly concerns,
    By perceiving all phenomena as illusory,
    I will practice without grasping to release all beings
    From the bondage of the disturbing, unsubdued mind and karma.

Purification meditation and mantra recitation

Chenresig now comes to the top of your head, facing the same direction as you. Visualize Chenresig on the heads of all sentient beings who are seated around you. At each of the Chenresigs' hearts, visualize a lotus and flat moon disc. Standing at the center of the moon is the seed-syllable HRI, the essence of Chenresig's omniscient mind of wisdom and compassion. This is surrounded by the letters of the long mantra and inside this stand the letters of the six-syllable mantra. All of it is made of light.

From the mantras and HRI much white light and nectar, which represent the nature of Chenresig's blissful, omniscient mind, flow into your body, permeating your entire nervous system. They totally purify all delusions, negative karmic imprints, diseases and obscurations. Feel completely pure and blissful. Similarly, light and nectar from the Chenresigs on the crowns of all sentient beings flow into them, purifying all negativities and obscurations. Do this visualization while reciting the long mantra 3, 7 or 21 times and then the six-syllable mantra 21, 108 or as many times as possible.

Long Mantra

   namo ratna trayaya - namo arya gyana sagara - berotsana buha radzaya - tatagataya - arhate - samyaksam buddhaya - namo sarwa tatagatebhye - arhatebhye - samyaksam buddhebhye - namo arya awalokite - shoraya - bodhi satoya - maha satoya - maha karunikaya - tayata - om - dara dara - diri diri - duru duru - itte wate - tsale tsale - partsale partsale - kusume kusume ware - ihli mili - tsiti dzola - ahpanaye soha  

Six-syllable Mantra

om mani padme hum

Absorption

Think, "I will live my life in a meaningful way and do all actions with the motivation to attain enlightenment for the benefit of all sentient beings." Because you have such a noble intention, Chenresig is extremely pleased. He melts into white light and absorbs into your heart.

By Chenresig absorbing into you, your mind becomes the nature of great compassion, loving-kindness and bodhicitta. Your body is filled with light and becomes very pure and clear, like crystal. Concentrate on this for a while.

The Chenresigs on the heads of all the sentient beings melt into light and absorb into the sentient beings and bless them so that they may absorb into the sentient beings and bless them so that they may progress along the gradual path to enlightenment. Then dedicate the positive potential from doing the meditation by reciting the prayers below.

Dedication

    Due to this merit may I soon
    Attain the enlightened state of Chenresig
    That I may be able to liberate
    All sentient beings from their sufferings.

    May the precious bodhi mind
    Not yet born arise and grow.
    May that born have no decline,
    But increase forever more.

    Due to the positive potential accumulated by myself and others in the past, present and future, may anyone who merely sees, hears, remembers, touches or talks to me be freed in that very instant from all sufferings and abide in happiness forever.

    In all my rebirths, may I and all sentient beings be born in a good family, have clear wisdom, have great compassion, be free of pride and devoted to our Spiritual Masters, and abide within the samaya (vows and commitments) of the Spiritual Masters.

    In whatever guise you appear, O Chenresig, whatever your retinue, your life span and pure land, whatever your name most noble and holy, may I and all others attain only these.

    By the force of these praises and requests made to you, may all disease, poverty, fighting and quarrels be calmed. May the Dharma and all auspiciousness increase throughout the worlds and directions where I and all others dwell.


Daily Activities

When you are not meditating, but are doing your daily activities, visualize and be mindful of a small Chenresig made of radiant light at your heart. This is especially effective to help you be mindful of your actions, for Chenresig is a witness to all you do or say during the day. Also, whenever you eat or enjoy other sense pleasures, imagine offering them to Chenresig. Whenever you are praised, rather than becoming proud, think the other people are praising Chenresig.

In Kriya (Action) Tantra, to which this Chenresig practice belongs, the practitioner develops the wisdom of clarity and profundity. Clarity is imagining having the body of the deity; profundity is the wisdom knowing this body and self are empty of inherent existence. Try to unify method and wisdom in one consciousness as an enlightened being does, i.e. meditate that your wisdom realizing emptiness (wisdom) assumes the appearance of the deity (method).

Four guidelines for someone practicing the Chenresig yoga method

  • Avoid insulting others when they insult you.
  • Avoid getting angry when others are angry at you.
  • Avoid beating others when they hit you.
  • Avoid observing others' faults even when they observe yours.
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