New Delhi, 11 January 2015
Every year, the Rigpa Sangha and Orgyen Tobgyal Rinpoche combine forces to offer Sogyal Rinpoche a ‘tenshuk’– a ceremony that aims at stabilizing and even lengthening life that’s traditionally offered to a master – following a text Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo compiled called Sweet Droplets of Amrita from the Mouths of Siddhas. This year, 2015, we wanted to do a slightly simpler version of the practice, and to ensure that the potency and authenticity were preserved, asked Orgyen Tobgyal Rinpoche for his advice. His response was that we should do the Chimé Phakmé Nyingtik...
... and at the point where you all enjoy the tsok, the lama to whom you wish to offer the tenshuk should join you. As an offering, ask him to sit on the throne, then immediately meditate on Amitayus. If you like you can do the self-visualization and descent of blessings mentioned in the text, but you don’t have to. Do the practice for Summoning Longevity, offer the long-life vase, pills and nectar, offer the mandala, and then the supports of enlightened body, speech, mind, qualities and activities, and finally the long-life prayers. This is how you practise.
Should you want an even shorter practice, follow the Sutrayana approach to tenshuk. Invite the lama and the moment he sits on the throne offer a mandala and representations of enlightened body, speech and mind, omitting the offerings of enlightened qualities and activities, and recite the long-life prayers. These days, this is how short tenshuks are offered to His Holiness Dalai Lama and other great masters.
For a really short long-life ceremony, once the lama is sitting on the throne you should present the seven-branch offering from The King of Aspiration Prayers: Samantabhadra’s “Aspiration to Good Actions”, then offer the mandala, representations of enlightened body, speech and mind, and long life prayers. It’s simple enough. I don't need to keep going on and on about it.
Actually the text Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo composed will guide you through the long-life ceremony used for important lamas, as well as for other people. In the text, Khyentse Wangpo indicates how to do a long and elaborate practice, a medium-length ceremony, and a short one. He also tells you how to do it with or without a sundok. It’s all there in the practice, in the small print. You’re asking me all these questions, but you haven’t yet looked at the text!
The other questions you ask don't make any sense at all. This one, for example, “Can you conduct the ceremony without a vajra master?” What can I tell you? All these activities must be lead by a vajra master.