Gentle Reader, below please find the full text of the Devotional Ritual for Tibetan Ancestress Yeshe Tsogyal that I will be presenting at PantheaCon this coming weekend. Thanks for reading!
Yeshe Tsogyal Devotional
Written by Yeshe Rabbit
Water Blessing and Altar Tender: Lady Rowan Nightshade
Door and Bell Tender: Salamangkero Yansumi Diwata Oceana
As people gather to enter, Yansumi stands at the door, explains the procedure, and then hands out the copies of the ritual to any attendees.
Inside the door, Rowan has a small pitcher with saffron water. She pours a small amount into each person’s cupped hand, they rinse their mouth, and spit it out into a bowl as a purification.
Rabbit will be playing the singing bowl as individuals enter and leave.
At the appropriate points in the ritual, Rowan will unveil and re-veil the altar. She will also hold the bowl of unguent for people to dip in for anointing purposes and Yansumi will have a box of tissues for them to wipe their hands with and a bag for refuse.
Yansumi will sound the bell at the appropriate points in the ritual.
Thank you for your help, sisters!
Please, when you enter the room, maintain silence until we begin the ritual with the sounding of a bell. There will be nothing explained beforehand or commented upon in a casual way. Rather, we will maintain a formal dignity throughout the following ritual. A bell will sound as we progress through each part of the devotional rite, giving you space between enactments to read about the next part. Aside from that, please just watch and follow my lead when in doubt.
Please take a few moments now to read ahead through this document so that you will know what to do at each stage of the ritual. If you object to any part of it, please do not stay for this ritual. If the energy of this ritual is not comfortable to you at any point, please quietly depart with kindness and relief. It is of the utmost importance that all of us come freely and receptively to this working, with purest possible intent. Thank you for your respectful participation. You honor me with your presence at this very humble offering. If there is any good that comes of this rite, may it be completely dedicated to the benefit of all sentient beings. If there is any harm in this whatsoever, please allow it to fall upon me as a tool for my own learning.
ONLY IF YOU WANT TO/ARE ABLE TO, please stand and perform the three prostrations I will demonstrate. Envision, as your hands touch each point on your body, that they are are in union with the glowing light points on Yeshe Tsogyal. If you do not want to or are unable to prostrate, please feel free to simply move your hands in the gestures of reverence from your seat. After the final prostration, all please stand who are able.
First, we purify our vessels with the recitation of the perfect mantra, while envisioning ourselves being filled with a golden, iridescent light that emanates from a secret place deep within.* Allowing this feeling to bubble up, begin to flood it forth from your body, clearing any blocked channels, bathing you from within and joining with the collective radiance in the room. While doing this, we chant:
OM MANI PADME HUM (108 times)
Next, we establish our approach, offering the following words of gratitude:
We thank you, Elders, Oracles, Alchemists, and Teachers of times past.
We thank you, all sentient beings of the now, endlessly offering us inspiration for practice.
We thank you, Teachers yet to come, for choosing to enter our stream of consciousness, and generously bringing your wisdom.**
As pagans in alignment with a transcendent vision of the highest possible good, we bring our reverence to the Tibetan mother of wisdom, Yeshe Tsogyal. You teach us that the Divine is present within each being, and that it is accessed and awakened continually through evolving practice. We pray to you today, Great Mother, in your language and our own, in a pledge of solidarity with all compassionate sentient beings, across all directions and times. Great Queen of the Lake, you are a light of truth and a mirror that reflects our indwelling divinity. We ask that you look, with your penetrating, discriminating gaze, upon our reverence, and find goodness in it.
Then we say:
I take refuge in the Mother of Wisdom.
I take refuge in the Wisdom Awakened.
I take refuge in all others who are ever-awakening in Wisdom, my brothers and sisters of many paths.
We take a moment, looking around the room at one another, to contemplate the divine nature of each being, and the sacred sovereignty of each culture on Earth, the vast expressions of uniqueness within the domain of the unfolding All. Then, we turn to the altar.
Now, we establish our intent within the context of Yeshe Tsogyal’s gaze. We say:
We come before you today, Great Mother of Wisdom, seeking but a glance from you. The swift, powerful arrow of the glance of an enlightened one pierces the fabric of that which we call reality, and awakens transcendent consciousness within each of us. Offer us but a glance, dear Lady, as we prostrate ourselves before you to demonstrate the sincerity of our devotion.
(The altar is revealed)
Envision a red light emanating forth from Yeshe Tsogyal: crown, third eye, eyes, throat, heart, center, sex. This light suffuses your body at all of these given points as well, gently and warmly.***
We say the following mantra together as we each take turns coming up and anointing the statue of Yeshe Tsogyal with a unguent made of honey, oil, and red wine.****
OM A-AH HUNG BANZRA GURU GYANA SAGARA BAM HA RI NI SAH SIDDHI HUNG
After you have anointed the statue and returned to your seat, continue to chant and hold the vision of Yeshe Tsogyal emanating that sweet, fulfilling, intoxicating red light into your body. We will continue like this until each person has had a turn. When we all return to our seats, we will continue to chant for a few moments. Then we abide in silence to allow the sacred nature of the moment to stir the depths of our consciousness.
We say together:
Great Queen of the Lake, Mother of Primordial Wisdom,
in your vast compassion you have joined us today
that we might experience the nectar of your presence.
You who speak as the voice of the divine within each of us,
awakening us in the night with insightful whispers,
inspiring us in our daydreams and visions with brilliant flashes of illumination,
coaxing us and luring us and inciting us to reach higher for the sweetest fruit on the tree of wisdom,
we offer you our grateful thanks for our teachers and their teachings,
for our personal gnosis and our self-discovery,
for our tireless delight in re-awakening.
May we always re-awaken in the presence of your wisdom, Mother!
May we always and unceasingly dedicate our meritorious actions for the benefit of all sentient beings, and may we, too, be included in that number!
May we always be showered with the blissful nectar of awakening at the times when our hearts are dry, parched, and filled with suffering!
May our every suffering somehow alleviate the suffering of another!
May we be powerful in our ability to transmute the poisons of the world, both those from within and those from without!
May we take upon ourselves the responsibility of performing magic for the greatest possible good of all!
May all sentient beings, through all directions and times, experience the joyful rewards of our practice, and may every practice be filled with the laughter of realization!
We offer your our gratitude, dearest lady, for your presence today at our Devotional. Please, Great Mother, dissolve your energy gathered in this room into my being, that I may live the clarity of your truth from within, ever-evolving in self-knowing and universal consciousness.
At this, the red light that has been radiating from within the statue is absorbed into the bodies of everyone in the room. The altar is covered once again.
We say together:
May this practice, and all that we do, be of benefit to all beings throughout all of space and time. Blessed be.
With this word, I place upon this practice the seal of my devotion.
With this word, I place upon this practice the seal of my awakened knowing.
With this word, I place upon this practice the seal of my ongoing self-discovery.
It is done!
* This golden light is the light of our perfection, in each moment, just as we are. Perfection is not the same as flawlessness. Perfection is the process of celebrating each moment and each situation as a means to attuning with the Divine in its many forms and guises.
** I would like to take this opportunity to offer my grateful thanks for the many individuals from whom I continuously learn about the principles and applications of the dharma and tantric practice, including the late Dilgo Khentsye Rinpoche, HH Penor Rinpoche, Alexandra David-Neele, living lineage Buddhas HH Dalai Lama, Pema Chodron, Ngakpa Chogyam Rinpoche and Khandro Dechen, The Monks of the Gyuto Vajrayana Center in San Jose, authors Keith Dowman, Miranda Shaw, and Sam Webster, exemplar joi wolfwomyn, and the many other Buddhas I encounter in my daily interactions.
*** This is a healing light, a nourishing light, a light of acceptance and non-judgment, a light of invigoration, a light of sensual effusiveness, a light of deep knowing, a light of radiant truth, a light of union with Primordial Wisdom and Timelessness. This permeates every place in your body, rendering you with a feeling of fullness, content, presence, and wholeness; a sense of being truly transcendent and truly alive, at once, in this now moment.
**** The honey represents the sweetness of Her wisdom, and the industriousness with which She pursued enlightenment. The oil represents the fertile, nourishing principle of balm of compassion that She cultivated as a result of Her many trials and struggles in life, and the red wine represents the blood of this human life, the gratitude we all have for being here together, co-creating this moment in time.
Note from the Author of this Rite:
I took the name Yeshe, a Tibetan word that means “Primordial Wisdom", as a means to invoke the transcendent nature of the limitless exploration, learning, and devotion represented by the lady Yeshe Tsogyal’s example. Yeshe Tsogyal is known as the Speech of the Buddha within the context of Her role as one of the Five Wisdom Dakinis, or consorts of Padmasambhava. A Buddha in Her own right, She represents the skillful transmission of the dharma teachings via the spoken and written word. Throughout history, the energy current of the eternal Wise Mother has emanated again and again to offer spiritual refreshment, compassionate example, and devotional strength to the practitioners of many different schools of Hinduism, Indian Buddhism, and Tibetan Buddhism. According to the literature, this particular current of the Great Mother has been the Ganges River, the Hindu and Tibetan Goddesses Sarasvati, Prajnaparamita, Vajrayogini, and Vajravarahi, and the mortal Buddhas Yeshe Tsogyal (757-817 CE), Machig Labron (1055-1145 CE), and Jomo Memo (1248-1283).
Ironically, the name Yeshe is also a childhood nickname of mine, being a Polish diminutive of “Jessica,” which is my given name. Coincidence? Divine signpost? I get to choose, and I choose to invest myself in the belief that this coincidence is a Divine signpost for me. I trust that you have your own experiences of Divine signpost in your lives, as well, and I honor these with you.
It is my belief that Yeshe Tsogyal, and indeed all those figures we revere as gods and ancestors, originate from a collective and evolving co-creative consciousness to awaken the parts of us individually that are ready for growth at appropriate times. Thus, it is my hope that this rite has awakened within you whatever was awaiting birth this weekend so that you may go forward to attain the next lessons of your own divine journey with joyful and determined spirits.
It is my intent that by sharing this devotional rite for the good of all sentient beings, I may take upon myself whatever suffering is needed to alleviate the sufferings of others and further my spiritual growth, so that I may be of greater service hereafter.