With Retreat Practice
Saturday & Sunday, May 6–7
Amitayus is Amitabha, the Buddha of Infinite Light, appearing in a special aspect to bestow the blessings of long life, profound wisdom, and immeasurable merit upon those who turn to him with faith.
By receiving this Empowerment we can develop a special relationship with Amitayus and thus, though continually relying upon him we can remove the karmic obstacles to a long and meaningful life, not only for ourselves, but for others as well.
When our lifespan is exhausted we can lose the precious opportunity afforded us by our having found the precious Buddhadharma. Our spiritual life develops steadily through years of transformative practice. If our progress is cut short by untimely death, serious illness, or the maras of ignorance and other delusions, we may find it hard to experience such good conditions for practicing Dharma again. Through the power of the special blessing of Guru Amitayus we can avert all of these obstacles and request the same blessings for those who are close to us.
On Saturday we will receive the special blessings of Amitayus and on Sunday we will engage in special practices to increase our own or others’ lifespan and eventually become just like this exalted Being.
Saturday, May 6
Empowerment Ceremony: 11 am – 12:30 pm
Commentary on the Yoga of Buddha Amitayus: 3 – 5 pm
receive his personal advice
Sunday, May 7 (Meditation Practice)
Session 1: 10 – 11:30 am
Session 2: 1:30 – 2:30 pm
Session 3: 3:30 – 4:30 pm
Session 4: 5:30 – 6:30 pm
Empowerment Ceremony and Commentary (Saturday): $65
Long Life Meditation Retreat (all day Sunday): $25
Long Life Meditation Retreat (single session): $10
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What is Empowerment?
Empowerment is a special potential power that causes our own Buddha nature and our good qualities to grow and develop. We receive empowerment from our Spiritual Teacher in a blessing ceremony. The Buddhas bestow blessings on all living beings continuously through their pure minds and their spontaneous compassionate intention but an empowerment brings very special and specific blessings.. During a blessing empowerment we come into a closer association with a particular Buddha and our potential to become just like him or her begins to ripen. In simple terms it is a little like having a personal invitation to visit with a particular Buddha and have their private phone number!
What are the other benefits of empowerment?
By receiving empowerment our wisdom and compassion is quickened. We also receive permission to engage in special tantric meditation practices of the Buddha Deity whose special blessings we have received. We can engage in practices with the help of a “sadhana” –a prayer booklet that contains specific prayers and meditation instructions for maintaining these powerful blessings and for transforming our own body, speech and mind into that of a Buddha. At every NKT centre an empowerment is followed by a commentary (or series of commentaries) – teachings that explain clearly the meaning and method of practice.
What happens in an Empowerment?
Most of the action in an empowerment is done by the Spiritual Teacher who is granting the empowerment. At the beginning there is a traditional ritual with chanted prayers performed by the teacher to purify the environment and remove obstructions. Then he or she will explain the special good qualities of the empowerment and engage in the prayers and ritual of bestowing the empowerment, explaining every step so that everyone can understand the meaning. The entire empowerment ceremony can take from 1-2 hours depending on the specific Buddha Deity.
What do I need to do to receive an Empowerment?
Anyone can receive empowerment if they have a good intention, a little or a lot of faith and strong wish to receive the special blessings. The best intention is to seek to receive these special blessings so that we ourselves can perfect our minds and become Buddhas so that we can benefit all living beings. This comes from developing a strong sense of compassion for every living being who suffers. Our faith can be new and perhaps our mind is full of doubts – but having positive doubt and questioning the meaning of Buddha’s teachings helps our faith and confidence to mature and become strong and stable. Any level of faith is good enough to receive empowerment and empowerment can help to increase our faith as well. Empowerment blessings are given freely and it is our choice to hold them and maintain them in the future so that our Buddha nature will grow and ripen.
Will I feel anything unusual?
You may feel very happy, and you may have a deep inner experience –a knowing that is all your own. Or you may feel and experience nothing that you can particularly identify. Nothing happens that will cause you to feel uncomfortable or strange.
Should I bring anything?
Faithful practitioners like to prepare for empowerment by having a clean mind and by being physically fresh as well. It is traditional to make an offering of pure objects such as flowers, incense, candles, beautiful meaningful objects or pure delightful foods like honey or cakes. Whatever you wish can be offered with love and faith. There is a monetary fee for empowerment ceremonies, which we should consider to be an offering that covers the costs of the ritual preparations and helps to sustain the Dharma Centre. No one with strong faith and a special wish would ever be turned away.