Meditations Open to All
Thursdays at 6:00 p.m. and one Sunday every month at 9:00 a.m.
This meditation is common to many traditions of Buddhism. In this practice, we rest our attention on a simple meditative support, such as the breath. Instead of following thoughts and emotions as we usually do, we release them and maintain our connection to the support.
“From this practice, we can experience a stable and calm mind. We learn to maintain and return to a sense of stillness, no matter what our outer circumstances. The mind is relaxed, alert and aware. The results of this practice are serenity, freedom in the face of circumstances, and ultimately Buddhahood.”
From Meditation for Beginners, by Bokar Rinpoche
Wednesdays at 7:00 p.m.
Chenrezig is a chanting practice that utilizes visualization and mantra as the means to cultivate and strengthen the kindness and compassion that is native to us.
Tonglen: Taking and Sending Practice
One Sunday every month at 9:00 a.m.
The foundational perspective of Tonglen practice is to consider all beings as our kin, because we and all beings share the wish to be happy and avoid suffering. From that common perspective, we aspire to utilize our natural great heart of compassion to relieve beings of suffering and bring them genuine happiness.
The guided Tonglen meditation begins with consideration and transformation of our own sufferings, and moves us outward to encompass the reality of others’ situation.
Tuesdays at 7:30 a.m.
Green Tara meditation is a melodic visualization and mantra practice that strengthens our natural fearlessness.
Tuesdays from 12:30 to 1:30 p.m.
Everyone is welcome to enjoy the silence of the sanctuary during the Tuesday midday open meditation.
Meditations Requiring Empowerment & Instruction
Wednesdays at 6:00 p.m.
Mahakala practice is a chanting practice that cultivates the energy of wrathful compassion to cut through our obstacles and obscurations. This meditation may be witnessed by anyone, but one must receive the empowerment and instruction in order to join in the practice.
This meditation creates a connection with the great yogi of Tibet, Milarepa. The practice is done seasonally and at Tibetan New Year.
Thursdays at 5:00 p.m.
This purification practice is rarely done in American meditation centers, but was the gift of His Eminence Kalu Rinpoche to KSC in the 1980s.
Thursdays at 4:00 p.m.
This is a fire offering practice of purification.
One Saturday every month at 10:00 a.m.
This long-life meditation utilizes a relationship with the fully realized lady of wisdom, Sukhasiddhi, who was a primary source of the Shangpa lineage.
The Refuge Vow
The Refuge Vow is the first step on the Buddhist path. It is a statement of confidence in the path’s founder, the Buddha, and in our own qualities of goodness and potential to awaken just as he did. In the Refuge Vow we also acknowledge our reliance on the teachings of the Buddha, and we commit to learning and embodying them. Finally, in the Vow we entrust ourselves to the community of teachers and fellow practitioners who are our companions on the Buddhist path. The Refuge Vow is offered on an annual basis at KSC.
What Is Empowerment?
Receiving a Vajrayana Empowerment is like planting a seed for Enlightenment. A special and sacred rite, empowerment prepares our body, speech and mind just as tilling the soil and adding nutrient-rich compost encourages the seed to sprout and grow. Even though we are Buddha nature, our self-doubts and confusion often keep us from connecting to it. So, empowerment is an important step toward our own enlightened mind.
An empowerment will introduce those attending to a single meditational deity, creating an auspicious connection with the awakened energies that the deity represents. After empowerment and instruction, a meditator is able to practice the meditation associated with that deity. This is a process in which the meditator relaxes their usual focus on themselves, and practices being much more that one usually imagine oneself to be – a great awakened being with the skill to affect the world and its beings in a positive way.
There are usually four aspects to an empowerment ritual: (1) the vase empowerment prepares the body and removes impurities and hindrances that limit our view of ourselves; (2) the speech or secret empowerment purifies our speech and supports correct practice; (3) the wisdom empowerment refines our thinking and cleanses the mind of impediments and illusions; and (4) the word or mahamudra empowerment distills our practice to focus on the very essence of mind.
The empowerment ceremony sometimes includes sacred objects that symbolize different aspects of the empowerment, and we pass before the Rinpoche and the Lamas to experience the presence of these sacred objects. For example, the bumpa, a vase with a peacock feather, signifies the vase empowerment of the body. Also, there will be other symbols and images that relate the empowerment to our chakras, or energy gateways, at the head, throat and heart centers.
It is best to have taken the Refuge Vow before attending an empowerment. For those who have not done so, the opportunity to take refuge will be offered early in the empowerment ceremony.