Bauda, Kathmandu, 12 May 2003
In a house opposite Shechen Monastery in Bauda, Orgyen Tobgyal Rinpoche and his wife were sleeping peacefully when an emissary from Rigpa arrived to ask questions about how to do a ‘one hundred thousand tsok offering’. Rinpoche sat up instantly, wrapped himself in his bedclothes to keep warm, and began to speak... This short teaching was originally translated by Matthieu Ricard, but unfortunately the recording has been misplaced.
Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche said that making a one hundred thousand tsok offering wasn’t part of the ancient tsok tradition. It developed later, when Jikmé Lingpa’s short tsok prayer was used (Tsok dzé dö yön...) to offer 100,000 tsoks. Before then, it was more usual to make just 100 or 1,000 tsok offerings.
Just as there’s an elaborate, a medium and short way of doing a 1,000 tsok offering, there are also three ways of doing a 100,000 tsok offering.
1,000 Tsok Offering
For the elaborate ritual, the sadhana is recited 1,000 times, with one material tsok offered for each repetition. Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche told me that before Minling Chung Rinpoche went to China Minling Chung Rinpoche went with His Holiness Dalai Lama year-long visit to China from July 1954 to June 1955 for peace talks and met with Mao Zedong and other Chinese leaders, including Chou En-Lai, Chu Teh and Deng Xiaoping., he made 1,000 tsok offerings, and the Mindroling monks recited the sadhana from Lama Sangdu 1,000 times, and made 1,000 tsok offerings. Therefore, the elaborate way of offering 1,000 tsoks is to recite the sadhana of whichever of the Three Root deities you want to practise, and for each recitation make one offering of tsok substances.
For the medium-length ritual, the sadhana is recited 100 times, and for each recitation ten tsoks are offered. So you first recite the confession, then ten tsok prayers, then the aspiration prayers, and so on.
For the short ritual, the relevant sadhana is recited and 1,000 tsok prayers and material offerings accumulated.
100,000 Tsok Offerings
Count the Recitations
Nowadays, accumulations are usually based on the amount of tsok prayers you recite.
If you want to practise the elaborate approach, you accumulate recitations of the whole tsok section of your practice text accompanied by one material tsok offering. So you recite the tsok section of your text and offer a tsok, then go back to the beginning of the tsok section or prayer and repeat the recitation and offering.
If you want to follow the shorter approach, once you’ve completed 100 recitations, go back to Yeshe Kuchok and practise it again, followed by the tsok prayers, from ‘blessing the tsok’ to the ‘remainder offering’. This is how to count your accumulations.
Count the Material Offerings
Gona Tulku said that this is the method of accumulation Khyentse Chökyi Lodrö often used. If you want to make 100 tsok offerings, cut the tsok torma into ten pieces, put each slice on a plate with the other tsok substances, then recite ten tsok prayers for each plate, to make a total of 100 tsok offerings.
Traditionally, Tibetans make tsok tormas from tsampa dough. If you want to make 100 offerings, you will need 100 tsok tormas; to make 1,000 offerings, you will need 1,000 tormas. And also add as many offerings as you can gather. You must include a little of meat and a little alcohol—“Without meat and alcohol a tsok is incomplete”—and as much of the other kinds of offerings as possible.
Write Down the Amount of Offerings
Less rigorous practitioners cut a square in the tsok torma on which they write the number of offerings they accumulate, then offer that. This tradition of offering 100,000 tsok also exists.
Whichever method you use, you should gather as many offerings as possible and generate the tsok visualization.
If Dzongsar Khyentse bases his accumulation on the elaborate approach of reciting the whole tsok section of the practice text, he gathers rice and barley, etc. whatever’s available, and pours it from a plate or a cup into a large receptacle, then counts the number of cups or plates he offers. I’ve seen him make a 100,000 tsok offering of rice in this way. Another way is to count the kilos of rice you offer—this is a new way of counting. Which means it should also be OK to offer 100,000 cakes, for example.
These are the ways we count tsok offerings. This is all I know.
Translated by Gyurmé Avertin
Edited by Janine Schulz