Puja is a Sanskrit word which means offering. A puja is a ritual that generally involves:
Everyone is welcome to come to these pujas and join in. It is very beneficial for the energy of the Dharma center and for the individuals who participate. When people travel to India, Nepal, or in some cases Tibet, where they have a chance to visit a Tibetan monastery or nunnery, they are often struck by the power of the chanting with a hall full of monks or nuns. We don't have a lot of monks and nuns, but we can still get together and create some powerful energy.
Why do pujas?
Performing pujas and sutra recitations creates merit and purifies obstacles for:
Why Medicine Buddha and Tara pujas?
Years ago, Lama Zopa Rinpoche recommended these two pujas to our group (and to the FPMT centers in general) because they each cover so many situations. Each of the twenty-one Taras and each of the seven Medicine Buddhas addresses specific types of problems and brings specific types of success, which taken all together cover just about everything we could want.
Tsog - rhymes with choke
Tsog is generally performed on the lunar 10th and 25th. See Tibetan calendar at: http://www.fpmt.org/resources/dates.asp
When a Sunday falls on or near one of the lunar dates for offering tsog*, we will perform the Tsog with the Guru Puja. If you have taken a Highest Yoga Tantra empowerment, then you should probably come to this, unless you are already going to one at another Dharma center. (Note: both Guru Puja and Tsog can also be practiced separately; e.g., some people do Guru Puja as a daily practice.)
* When coming to a tsok, bring a food offering to share. This is usually a snack item that can be easily passed out. (We have a request from some participants to consider bringing more healthful offerings, perhaps nuts, crackers, fruit.)
Sadhana is a Sanskrit word that means something like 'practice' or as the Tibetans say, 'means of achievement.' A sadhana is similar to a puja but can include more meditation, visualization, and mantra recitation. In general, the sadhanas that we do at the center are open to everyone, not requiring any empowerment. Often there are alternate ways of visualizing based on whether you have the empowerment for that practice or not.
Sutra and Shastra Recitations
Approximately once a month, we recite a sutra or shastra. Reciting means reading aloud.
Sutra = the canonical teachings of the Buddha. Examples of sutras that we would recite are:
Shastras are the commentaries by the great scholar-saints of ancient times such as:
As with the pujas, you are all very welcome to join in these recitations.