Questions about empowerments and jenang

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KiwiNFLFan
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Questions about empowerments and jenang

Post by KiwiNFLFan » Wed Mar 18, 2020 1:03 pm

This weekend, His Eminence the 7th Kyabje Yongzin Ling Rinpoche will be giving teachings at my local Tibetan Buddhist temple. On the Sunday afternoon, there will be a White Manjushri Jenang.

Could somebody please explain what a "jenang" is and how it differs to a standard empowerment? Does it involve a commitment to doing a daily practice? Does it establish samaya with the guru? (I've heard breaking samaya causes you to go to hell).

Would I be eligible to receive the Jenang? I have never received any tantric empowerments, and I took refuge in the local Thai temple (Dhammakaya). However, I wish to practice Tibetan Buddhism and would like to establish a relationship with a teacher (the local lamas don't speak English AFAIK, so I've started studying Tibetan).

What does receiving a tantric empowerment require of you? What are 'tantric vows'?

kausalya
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Re: Questions about empowerments and jenang

Post by kausalya » Wed Mar 18, 2020 3:29 pm

KiwiNFLFan wrote:
Wed Mar 18, 2020 1:03 pm
This weekend, His Eminence the 7th Kyabje Yongzin Ling Rinpoche will be giving teachings at my local Tibetan Buddhist temple. On the Sunday afternoon, there will be a White Manjushri Jenang.
Hi, Kiwi. Kindly pardon the gaps in my knowledge... I'm responding because you raise very good points for someone like me to consider.
Could somebody please explain what a "jenang" is and how it differs to a standard empowerment? Does it involve a commitment to doing a daily practice? Does it establish samaya with the guru? (I've heard breaking samaya causes you to go to hell).
To my knowledge, a jenang is not an empowerment in the sense implied by the word "empowerment," but instead a "subsequent permission" for someone who already has initiation into any class of tantra, from Kriya upwards, to engage in a separate practice than initiated, as directed by the lama.

For the lower classes of tantra, the deities are arranged into distinct families, with restrictions on which deities you can then access with a subsequent permission, versus which deities will then require a full empowerment into a different family. They are ranked with progressively fewer restrictions --- I don't happen to remember the details on that, sorry.

Concerning a person who has empowerment into one of the two higher classes, Yoga and Annutara Yoga (Highest Yoga Tantra, lit. Aniruttara), that person can practice any deity of those lower classes, without family-based restrictions, as long as the jenang is given.
Would I be eligible to receive the Jenang? I have never received any tantric empowerments, and I took refuge in the local Thai temple (Dhammakaya). However, I wish to practice Tibetan Buddhism and would like to establish a relationship with a teacher (the local lamas don't speak English AFAIK, so I've started studying Tibetan).
Please don't take my word on this, & ask the lama what can be done, but my understanding is that you're not eligible at present without meeting additional criteria (specifically a full Kriya tantra empowerment). Perhaps you might get lucky, & special dispensation of some kind will be made in order to prepare you. I do know that you're going to need the Bodhisattva vow as a minimum for practicing tantra.
What does receiving a tantric empowerment require of you? What are 'tantric vows'?
For the lower classes of tantra, you don't have any commitment except to offer your best efforts in practice & gratitude/the beginnings of devotion to the lama for what has been provided. No tantric vows are conferred --- these become relevant in HYT only, and there is no reason to jump into it. Lack of preparation can create the appearance of obstacles that you can avoid by following the lama closely & asking all pressing questions you have.

This is by design, since without the Tantric vows, you will not incur retribution in vajra hell for the mistakes you make. HYT, at the end of the complete four-step Great Initiation, is when you say to the lama & the lama says to you that you have enough dharma knowledge to stand on your own two feet; if the lama dies tomorrow, you will still find your way unerringly to enlightenment regardless. That is a tremendous commitment to awakening that no one can simply make without knowledge of how it all will come together in the end --- at least not without opening the door to confusion & pain.

Importantly, though, it's said that someone who breaks their tantric vows & goes to vajra hell will still reach enlightenment faster than someone who doesn't take the vows at all, so there is no need to have a sense of finality with broken vows. We commit to doing our best in each day that we have, and the comfort that we can derive from the instructions extends gradually, like breaking in a new pair of shoes.

Technically, you don't have mutual samaya until you take a HYT empowerment, either, but you do have that commitment to sincerity in your practice, to demonstrate to the lama your commitment to progress through the stages, & encourage them to trust you with their heart instructions.

Myself, I envy your position right now. I didn't ask enough questions when I had the best chance, and I made lots of obstacles for myself, in so doing... cherish the time at these beginning stages, and exert your efforts there to resolve whatever doubts you have. Take it slow & sincerely, and you will do amazingly well in all your efforts.

H
"For as long as space remains,
For as long as sentient beings remain,
Until then may I too remain
To dispel the miseries of the world."
(Shantideva)

zerwe
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Re: Questions about empowerments and jenang

Post by zerwe » Wed Mar 18, 2020 7:38 pm

I may be wrong on this, but a Jenang is a "subsequent permission." Subsequent permission to practice for those who have received Highest Yoga Tantra initiation. For those who have received a full Highest Yoga Tantra initiation, it would enable you to fully engage in practicing (visualisation of oneself as White Manjushri) the Jenang deity and sadhana. For those who have not received HYT initiation it would serve as a blessing, a manner of making a connection with the Lama, and may enable you to do some practice. In this case you would NOT be taking tantric vows, but you WOULD be taking refuge and bodhisattva vows. There typically are not any commitments unless the Lama specifies otherwise.

You are very fortunate. I wish to one day make a connection with Ling Rinpoche.

Shaun :namaste:

kausalya
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Re: Questions about empowerments and jenang

Post by kausalya » Wed Mar 18, 2020 7:59 pm

To revisit this in more detail... as an example, here are the practice guidelines for the Black Manjushri sadhana published publicly by the FPMT:

* Note that White Manjushri & Black Manjushri are from the same family of Kriya (Action) tantra, the Tathagata family.
[Y]ou are permitted to generate yourself as Black Manjushri only if you have received:

•the initiation (wang) of this aspect of Black Manjushri

•or the initiation of any deity of performance, yoga, or highest yoga tantra and the subsequent permission (jenang) of Black Manjushri

•or the initiation of any deity of the tathagata type of action tantra and the subsequent permission of Black Manjushri
I had completely neglected the possibility that it might be received as a blessing/to create a connection, and not to practice. Thanks for that, Zerwe. :twothumbsup:
"For as long as space remains,
For as long as sentient beings remain,
Until then may I too remain
To dispel the miseries of the world."
(Shantideva)

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Mantrik
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Re: Questions about empowerments and jenang

Post by Mantrik » Wed Mar 18, 2020 8:17 pm

kausalya wrote:
Wed Mar 18, 2020 7:59 pm
To revisit this in more detail... as an example, here are the practice guidelines for the Black Manjushri sadhana published publicly by the FPMT:

* Note that White Manjushri & Black Manjushri are from the same family of Kriya (Action) tantra, the Tathagata family.
[Y]ou are permitted to generate yourself as Black Manjushri only if you have received:

•the initiation (wang) of this aspect of Black Manjushri

•or the initiation of any deity of performance, yoga, or highest yoga tantra and the subsequent permission (jenang) of Black Manjushri

•or the initiation of any deity of the tathagata type of action tantra and the subsequent permission of Black Manjushri
I had completely neglected the possibility that it might be received as a blessing/to create a connection, and not to practice. Thanks for that, Zerwe. :twothumbsup:
The FPMT publish other practices which are prefaced with the same sort of permission - if you have an HYT empowerment you may practice them with self-generation. These include Vajra Armour and Fire Sword of Black Garuda, so very relevant at the moment. I assume the 'lung' for these is still required even though permission is granted?
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Thanno Garuda Prachodayath

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kausalya
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Re: Questions about empowerments and jenang

Post by kausalya » Wed Mar 18, 2020 8:47 pm

Mantrik wrote:
Wed Mar 18, 2020 8:17 pm
The FPMT publish other practices which are prefaced with the same sort of permission - if you have an HYT empowerment you may practice them with self-generation. These include Vajra Armour and Fire Sword of Black Garuda, so very relevant at the moment. I assume the 'lung' for these is still required even though permission is granted?
What it says, according to my reading of it, is that even a person with a HYT empowerment still needs the jenang for self-generation, but front-generation can be practiced by anyone at all.

The only reason they seem to get into these specificities is that there are restrictions on what jenangs you can get if you only have an empowerment into a limited form of action tantra.

I would not necessarily attempt any of the available practices as front-generated forms, either, without the lung for the mantra (unless it were an easy mantra to pronounce, or I had a way of hearing a recording of the correct pronunciation). The reason is that struggling with the mantra pronunciation would seem to create frustration & miss the point. Vajra Armour is one such mantra that I find difficult :P
Last edited by kausalya on Wed Mar 18, 2020 8:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
"For as long as space remains,
For as long as sentient beings remain,
Until then may I too remain
To dispel the miseries of the world."
(Shantideva)

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Mantrik
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Re: Questions about empowerments and jenang

Post by Mantrik » Wed Mar 18, 2020 8:50 pm

kausalya wrote:
Wed Mar 18, 2020 8:47 pm
Mantrik wrote:
Wed Mar 18, 2020 8:17 pm
The FPMT publish other practices which are prefaced with the same sort of permission - if you have an HYT empowerment you may practice them with self-generation. These include Vajra Armour and Fire Sword of Black Garuda, so very relevant at the moment. I assume the 'lung' for these is still required even though permission is granted?
What it says, according to my reading of it, is that a person with a HYT empowerment still needs the jenang for self-generation, but front-generation can be practiced by anyone at all.

The only reason they seem to get into these specificities is that there are restrictions on what jenangs you can get if you only have an empowerment into a limited form of action tantra.
That makes sense. Thanks.
The Garuda practice was published for people to use during the SARS outbreak, so is very relevant to the Covid-19 situation.
http://www.khyung.com ཁྲོཾ

Om Thathpurushaya Vidhmahe
Suvarna Pakshaya Dheemahe
Thanno Garuda Prachodayath

Micchāmi Dukkaḍaṃ (मिच्छामि दुक्कडम्)

kausalya
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Re: Questions about empowerments and jenang

Post by kausalya » Wed Mar 18, 2020 9:01 pm

Mantrik wrote:
Wed Mar 18, 2020 8:50 pm
kausalya wrote:
Wed Mar 18, 2020 8:47 pm
Mantrik wrote:
Wed Mar 18, 2020 8:17 pm
The FPMT publish other practices which are prefaced with the same sort of permission - if you have an HYT empowerment you may practice them with self-generation. These include Vajra Armour and Fire Sword of Black Garuda, so very relevant at the moment. I assume the 'lung' for these is still required even though permission is granted?
What it says, according to my reading of it, is that a person with a HYT empowerment still needs the jenang for self-generation, but front-generation can be practiced by anyone at all.

The only reason they seem to get into these specificities is that there are restrictions on what jenangs you can get if you only have an empowerment into a limited form of action tantra.
That makes sense. Thanks.
The Garuda practice was published for people to use during the SARS outbreak, so is very relevant to the Covid-19 situation.
The Black Manjushri sadhana, at the end, includes a clear direction to recite Most Secret Hayagriva, as well. I have recited it without fear despite not having the lung, because it's not a long & challenging mantra.

I seem to remember that all three practices we've mentioned are good for infectious diseases, so it's a matter of preference :D

Didn't mean to veer off-topic, though.
"For as long as space remains,
For as long as sentient beings remain,
Until then may I too remain
To dispel the miseries of the world."
(Shantideva)

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Re: Questions about empowerments and jenang

Post by Mantrik » Wed Mar 18, 2020 9:18 pm

kausalya wrote:
Wed Mar 18, 2020 9:01 pm
Mantrik wrote:
Wed Mar 18, 2020 8:50 pm
kausalya wrote:
Wed Mar 18, 2020 8:47 pm


What it says, according to my reading of it, is that a person with a HYT empowerment still needs the jenang for self-generation, but front-generation can be practiced by anyone at all.

The only reason they seem to get into these specificities is that there are restrictions on what jenangs you can get if you only have an empowerment into a limited form of action tantra.
That makes sense. Thanks.
The Garuda practice was published for people to use during the SARS outbreak, so is very relevant to the Covid-19 situation.
The Black Manjushri sadhana, at the end, includes a clear direction to recite Most Secret Hayagriva, as well. I have recited it without fear despite not having the lung, because it's not a long & challenging mantra.

I seem to remember that all three practices we've mentioned are good for infectious diseases, so it's a matter of preference :D

Didn't mean to veer off-topic, though.
My fault. :)
But it all relates to jenangs and what we have permission to perform, and even more importantly, what we don't :)
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Om Thathpurushaya Vidhmahe
Suvarna Pakshaya Dheemahe
Thanno Garuda Prachodayath

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Yeshe Dorje
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Re: Questions about empowerments and jenang

Post by Yeshe Dorje » Thu Mar 19, 2020 6:54 am

You are so lucky to have this opportunity! I was hoping to meet H.E. Ling Rinpoche as he was due to come to Australia after he finished his NZ visit but the virus has put a stop to that. As others have mentioned you are eligible to receive the jenang but will most likely not have permission to generate yourself as the deity until you receive a HYT initiation or a Kriya tantra great initiation from the same buddha family. My understanding is that you will still most likely be able to perform the sadhana but with front generation instead of self generation. I think most of this will be made clear on the day. As others have mentioned you will also take refuge and bodhisattva vows. I know time is short but it may be worth while at least getting a feel for what these are first. When first encountered these vows can seem daunting and of course they are to be taken very seriously, having said that one of my teachers said that while breaking these vows means creating negative karma every second that you are living in these vows without breaking them creates much merit. Of course you can take the initiation as a blessing if you don't feel ready. Please also try and attend the teachings on the Three Principle Aspects of the Path. Once again you are very fortunate to have such an opportunity! :namaste:

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Lobsang Chojor
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Re: Questions about empowerments and jenang

Post by Lobsang Chojor » Thu Mar 19, 2020 5:28 pm

KiwiNFLFan wrote:
Wed Mar 18, 2020 1:03 pm
This weekend, His Eminence the 7th Kyabje Yongzin Ling Rinpoche will be giving teachings at my local Tibetan Buddhist temple. On the Sunday afternoon, there will be a White Manjushri Jenang.

Could somebody please explain what a "jenang" is and how it differs to a standard empowerment? Does it involve a commitment to doing a daily practice? Does it establish samaya with the guru? (I've heard breaking samaya causes you to go to hell).
A jenang is a permission which was traditionally given after a wang (full empowerment). It's up to the teacher if they set a commitment, Ling Rinpoche often sets a commitment of reciting the mantra once as this is easy to fulfill and making a promise and keeping it is very beneficial.
Would I be eligible to receive the Jenang? I have never received any tantric empowerments, and I took refuge in the local Thai temple (Dhammakaya). However, I wish to practice Tibetan Buddhism and would like to establish a relationship with a teacher (the local lamas don't speak English AFAIK, so I've started studying Tibetan).
You can take a jenang because their purpose is to make our body, speech and mind of the same essence as the body, speech and mind of the deity. However, unless you have received a wang beforehand you can only do front generation not self generation of the deity.
What does receiving a tantric empowerment require of you? What are 'tantric vows'?
As White Manjushri is kriya tantra you will only receive refuge and bodhisattva vows, tantric vows are only taken with yoga and highest yoga tantra empowerments. The bodhisattva vows can be studied before taking them but the tantric vows cannot.


Ling Rinpoche is a great teacher I highly recommend recieving the sutra teachings beforehand even if you decide not to take the jenang.
"Morality does not become pure unless darkness is dispelled by the light of wisdom"
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ༀ་ཨ་ར་པ་ཙ་ན་དྷཱི༔ Oṃ A Ra Pa Ca Na Dhīḥ

jmlee369
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Re: Questions about empowerments and jenang

Post by jmlee369 » Sat Mar 21, 2020 10:20 am

KiwiNFLFan wrote:
Wed Mar 18, 2020 1:03 pm
This weekend, His Eminence the 7th Kyabje Yongzin Ling Rinpoche will be giving teachings at my local Tibetan Buddhist temple. On the Sunday afternoon, there will be a White Manjushri Jenang.

Could somebody please explain what a "jenang" is and how it differs to a standard empowerment? Does it involve a commitment to doing a daily practice? Does it establish samaya with the guru? (I've heard breaking samaya causes you to go to hell).

Would I be eligible to receive the Jenang? I have never received any tantric empowerments, and I took refuge in the local Thai temple (Dhammakaya). However, I wish to practice Tibetan Buddhism and would like to establish a relationship with a teacher (the local lamas don't speak English AFAIK, so I've started studying Tibetan).

What does receiving a tantric empowerment require of you? What are 'tantric vows'?
As I'm sure you've heard, Ling Rinpoche's visit to Dunedin has been cancelled due to the COVID-19 situation. While your question about wang and jenang has been answered by other posters for the most part, I just wanted to say that even without samaya, you still create a guru-disciple relationship and it is important to maintain a positive relationship with the guru after receiving a jenang. You are of course welcome to receive the jenang without the prerequisite wang, but you will not be able to perform the full practice. Regardless, if there is a daily commitment (most often a certain number of the mantra to recite, or even sadhana practice), you should keep it. Tantric vows are taken at the level of Yoga and Highest Yoga Tantra, the term is used vaguely and interchangeably with samaya but it is not necessarily the same. That step should be taken after a lot of preparation and practice.

Btw, Geshe Dhonye can hold small talk in English, but there is an interpreter for all teachings, so you don't need to study Tibetan. Dhargyey Centre is an excellent place to study and practice the dharma, and while Lhagon Rinpoche does not actively teach, you can learn a lot from just being in his presence.

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