Light Offerings & Pujas
It is common in Tibetan Buddhist monasteries to perform various ceremonies and rituals at people’s request. This has now become a tradition in Kamalashila as well. We offer the following:
Pujas for the Ill and For the Deceased
The word “puja” stems from Sanskrit and means something along the lines of “to honour” or “to show respect”. A puja is a form of Buddhist meditation made up of several parts. The basis of a puja is the recitation of a Tibetan text in which such things as taking refuge, the making of offerings, and the dedication of the merit of the meditation play a role. The Medicine Buddha puja is practised regularly by us in Kamalashila – often in the stupa in front of the Medicine Buddha statue donated by the Karmapa. Medical-psychological studies have shown that the recovery of patients who are prayed for is far better on the average than those in comparison groups. This is true even when the people who are ill are unaware of the fact that they are being prayed for. Please feel free to contact us if you or someone in your family or circle of acquaintances is ill so that we can dedicate the next Medicine Buddha practice to you or to the person who is ill.
The Annual Amitabha Retreat for the Deceased
Once each year an Amitabha retreat takes place in Kamalashila, during which such topics as death and dying are given special attention. During the retreat, the Amitabha meditation for the deceased is carried out. Amitabha is the Pure Land Buddha who greets the deceased in paradise. If you wish to have someone who has died included in the Amitabha puja, then send us the person’s name and perhaps a photograph of them and we’ll be happy to include them in the puja. Whether the person has just died or has been dead for a longer period of time is of no importance. We collect the names of the persons concerned during the year and perform the meditation in November on their behalf. Simply send us a letter or an e-mail.
Butter Lamp Offerings
Light offerings symbolize Buddha Shakyamuni’s enlightenment over 2,500 years ago. Every light offering celebrates this and brings with it the accumulation of a great deal of merit. For practitioners of Tibetan Buddhism, a light offering also contains the wish to achieve buddhahood and the strong intention to recognize the clear light at the time of death. Light offerings are also closely linked to transitional phases in life.
Light offerings are preferably offered in front of consecrated depictions of buddhas, bodhisattvas, or high-ranking masters who symbolize perfectly awakened loving kindness, compassion, and wisdom. The Buddha statue, the Tara shrine, the Karmapa shrine, and the Medicine Buddha statue in the stupa are representatives of these. They make our meditation rooms good and auspicious places for Buddhist light offerings.
Butter lamp offerings are traditionally carried out in Tibetan Buddhism at all major celebrations, such as weddings, the birth of a child, the birthday of a friend, or on the wedding anniversary of one’s parents. But they are also made during difficult periods such as times of illness, after difficult changes in one’s life, and also after the death of a relative. In the latter case, butter lamps are traditionally offered for the deceased for 49 days after the person’s death.
By offering these tranquil and beautiful lamps
In the presence oft the perfect Buddha, the King of Illumination;
The Gyalwa Karmapa, the Lord oft the World;
And all the Buddhas with their children,
May the poison of malicious enmity
Never arise in the mind of any one of us.
With loving minds, like the meeting of mother and child,
May all the world be filled with peace and happiness.
We warmly invite you to take advantage of this highly meritorious practice. The lamps are prepared by us and are placed either before the Tara shrine or the Medicine Buddha statue as you wish. Please send us an e-mail and tell us who the offering is for – perhaps with a short text for the card next to the lamp – and where and starting when we should perform the light offering.
Afterwards, please transfer the required amount to our bank account and indicate what the payment is for:
Per butter lamp:
For three days: 10 euros
For seven days: 18 euros
For ten days: 23 euros
For forty-nine days: 75 euros (only for deceased persons)