Maturing Your Mind through Vajrayana Practice Deity Initiations
What is a Deity Initiation?
Initiations are special ceremonies in which the Lama acts as a conduit between yourself and the deity. He or she transmits blessings and authorizes you to perform meditational practices specific to that deity.
Why does one request an initiation?
Certain practices require an initiation as a prerequisite. For example, at Sakya Monastery each month we do practices such as Mahakala, White Tara, Medicine Buddha, and Shitro which all require a deity initiation. Even if a practice does not have an initiation prerequisite, having an initiation strengthens the practice and enables one to practice it at home. To see examples of past initiations please feel free to peruse the initiation binder in the Sakya Monastery Tibetan Cultural Hall.
Procedure for requesting an initiation
A request and offering for an initiation or teaching may be made by an individual or group.
A note with your request and offering should be in an envelope accompanying the katag.
Offer the katag to the Lama to indicate a request for an initiation.
Responsibilities for an initiation
Offering to Accompany Request – A $100 monetary offering with a katag is offered to the Lama when requesting the initiation.
Cho Do – A monetary offering of $20 is required one week before the initiation so that the Monastery assistant can buy materials: candles, incense, torma ingredients, etc.
Fruit – The evening before the initiation, a bowl of fruit is required for the Lama’s table, to establish the coming of an auspicious event.
Initiation Deity’s picture, mantra, and/or Sadhana – Make copies of the deity picture, mantra and/or Sadhana for the initiates, or provide funds for the Monastery to make copies.
Gratitude – To express appreciation, at the conclusion of the initiation, katags and monetary offerings are made to the Lama ($150), each of the assistants ($, usually three assistants) and the translator ($75-120).