Discussion of the fifth religious tradition of Tibet.
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kalden yungdrung
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Post by kalden yungdrung » Mon Sep 12, 2016 10:08 am

Tashi delek,

- For Surchöd we burn food.
- For Sangchöd we burn fragrant herbs.

That would be the difference somehow, but the main thing is that we practice Surchöd for the dying persons.
But we can see it also a daily practice.

Mutsug Marro

Sangchöd - 03.jpg
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Teaching given by Lopön Tenzin Namdak Rinpoche.
Transcribed and edited by C.& D. Ermakovi:


This is one of the 4 Generosities which we usually practise. It is also very popular among the spiritual practitioners of Tibet and among Tibetans in general.

This practice is done particularly when someone dies, but it can be done on a regular basis, not only when someone dies. Its purpose is the same as that of Sang: we make offerings to the 4 Guests.

But when we do Sur, it is particularly directed towards a type of being we call Driza.
Some of them belong to:

- The Preta Realm,
- The Realm of the Hungry Gods
- Some belong to the demi-god realm.

These are special beings called Driza or 'smell-eaters'. There are many different types and races of beings,
and they live and survive in different ways. Some depend on smell and gain satisfaction through smells.

Also, when someone has died and is in the Bardo we do this practice for them and it helps a lot as they can obtain whatever they wish through it - food, shelter, protection or whatever else they need.

How much they can get and how satisfied they can be depends on the practitioner, on the practitioner's realization, and also on their connection. In any case, even if someone is not familiar with these beings, because of the truth of the Buddha's Teaching, the truth of the pure Natural State of existence and the truth of the mudras and mantras, if we do this practice it can help, be effective and give its result.

So you don't need to wonder how it works, how the beings can get something if you do that practice; you don't need to analyze it. If we could go very deeply into it we might be able to get a good result, but if we just think about our normal condition, we would say this is not possible, and that leads many people to say [that] this is just blind faith. In fact, this is not the case. Why?

Because when we talk about the power of the truth of the pure Natural Sate of existence it means that anything is possible, all possibilities are there. 'Everything depends on one's own mind.

All phenomena which we enjoy, this existence which we live in, are all in fact created by our mind. How can mind have power? If you think very carefully about the power of mind, it is inconceivable.

That is why we often talk about the importance of visualization. If your visualization is very stable and all the conditions are there, you can see how nowadays people develop all these high-tech things which we think are incredible, but everything develops through one's mind, through one's reflection.

Internally, too, everyone can produce various effects by using breathing and visualization. People are aware of this nowadays through things like Qi Gong which work with energy. These are all because of visualization, breathing and certain techniques.

It is even possible to transform your own material body into light. For example, thanks to the power of his practice Milyu Samleg was able to transform all the people in his country into light, into Rainbow Body. This is because of the power of the Truth of the Natural State. So everything is possible!

And then the question of whether this practice helps or not no longer remains. If the cause is there, then the result will come naturally. What kind of cause do we need? Basically we have to have the understanding that everything is Empty Nature, as illusion or Empty Form. That is very important.
Secondly you need to have particular visualizations. Then mudras and mantras are also needed. So everything
comes together just as when there is the seed and water, sun and good soil, then the crops will grow naturally.

This is the basic, fundamental idea of all these practices of:

- Sangchöd,
- Surchöd
- Water Offering
- Chöd
- Ganapuja.

Every offering is like this. The difference is, the different materials which we use and also the way in which we do the offering itself. For example, when we do a Water Offering we use water as the support for our practice, as the offering, and generally we need to add particular herbal medicines.

- For Surchöd we burn food.
- For Sangchöd we burn fragrant herbs.

But the fundamental idea is the same.

As for Surchöd, the practice is found within many different cycles of the Bön Teachings. We find it in the Lower Vehicles, in Sidshen Thegpa, the 4th Way of Bon, part of Bön of Causality.

It also belongs to the Outer and Inner Tantric cycles. It is a very, very good method to keep a connection
between living beings and the deceased. Usually if people live together they love each other very much and don't want to be parted, but nevertheless, against their wishes and without their choice, people have to separate.

That is the nature of our life. One dies and one stays.

When someone dies we mourn, we cry, we do so many things, but none of these are helpful. People think that they are completely disconnected and that the living cannot do anything for the deceased. But according to the Teachings, it is not finished and we can still do many helpful things, even much better than we could do during the deceased's lifetime.

When someone is alive they can manage by themselves or there are many people around to help. But when someone dies, they are utterly alone, so we can imagine how much they feel before they die, at the moment of death and then after they die. They remain utterly alone, and if you could help at that time, then that is truly a great help.

If you want to be connected with this person, with the deceased, you still can be. You can connect with them in a very good way. One of those ways is the practice of Surchöd. And another way is to dedicate the merits of whatever practice you do to the deceased.

Sur is a very good way of helping. The lifespan of Bardo is unlimited. Some beings can stay in Bardo for a very long time, others stay a very short time. Usually we say that the average Bardo lifespan is 49 days. During those 49 days, the deceased feels everything just as though he were alive; all his feelings are similar to those of his lifetime.

He can feel hungry, cold, happy or sad or suffering - he can feel all these just as we do in our lifetime; it happens in the same way in the time of Bardo.

Rinpoche always gives the example of dreamtime. When we dream we have different kinds of feelings, just as in our waking life. If we have a very deep depression or suffering during the day then in the dreamtime, too, we can be influenced by that feeling and feel depression, suffering and worry. If we are happier and feel more comfortable in our waking life then that can influence our dreams, too, and our dreams will feel more

It is exactly the same during Bardo. Many texts advise us that we can check how far our spiritual practice ha's developed by observing our dreams. You can check how you will be able to control your Bardo time by checking how much you can control your dreams. We can have different experiences in our dreams, too. For example, if we have a very strong connection with someone, this can come into our dreams. Why? When we are connected with someone, that connection is mainly based on desire and attachment. When our desire and attachment are very strong, karmic traces are there and this can manifest and enter into our dreams. Therefore, if someone very close to us dies we can have a dream of them and they can enter our dreams.

The texts usually explain that this is a sign that they need some help from you; they are somehow expecting some help from you. In this case it is always advisable to do special practices such as purification practices or Surchöd. So you can' do Surchöd particularly for a dead person.

But you can also do Surchöd every day as a daily practice. In that case, you have to visualize the 4 Guests, the same 4 Guests as we visualize in the Sangchöd practice. You can imagine all the substances which
we burn as being divided into three different divisions as in Chöd.

You offer the pure part to:
- The Buddhas,
- The High Guests,
- The 3 Jewels;

you offer the liquid part as nectars to:
the High Protectors;
the substance part becomes the 5 Desirable Things,
and is offered to the third and fourth groups of Guests, in particular to the Hungry Ghosts and Driza.

The 5 Desirable Objects correspond to the 5 senses, so
- for the eyes we offer all beautiful forms;
- for the object of the ear we offer pleasant sounds;
- for the object of the nose we offer good smells;
- for the object of the tongue we offer delicious tastes and for the object of the body we offer pleasant - ----- sensations.
- For the object of mind, for mental consciousness, we offer all desirable things in general.

These are called the Five Desirable Qualities. Why?

We call them in this way because all beings, including all human beings, [desire so many things] but everything can be categorized into these 5 qualities.

So we have to visualize all the objects of offerings in this way.
The best meditation is no meditation

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kalden yungdrung
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Re: Surchöd

Post by kalden yungdrung » Sun Feb 25, 2018 9:18 am


The best meditation is no meditation

User avatar
kalden yungdrung
Posts: 3869
Joined: Sun Aug 01, 2010 10:40 pm

Re: Surchöd

Post by kalden yungdrung » Sun Feb 25, 2018 1:23 pm


For Sangchöd see:
The best meditation is no meditation

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