and Nyoshul Khen Rinpoche during an empowerment]]
Empowerment (Skt. abhiṣeka or abhiṣiñca; Tib. དབང་, wang; Wyl. dbang) is the initiation that transmits or awakens primordial wisdom (Tib. ཡེ་ཤེས་, yeshe), the power or realization in the mind of the disciple.
Tulku Thondup explains that among the different ways of categorizing empowerments:
empowerments given to disciples who have not been initiated before are called causal empowerment;
the empowerment given to students for developing their maturation or restoring the broken precepts are classified as empowerment of the path; and
empowerments given to those who are ready to achieve the final attainment and which cause the disciple to attain the ultimate fruition are classified as empowerments of result because they bring the final result.<ref> Tulku Thondup, Enlightened Journey, Shambala, 1995. p113. </ref>
See also the four empowerments.
The Function of Empowerment
Empowerment is to ripen or mature our buddha nature. Even though all beings possess the buddha nature, without receiving empowerment it is not possible to receive blessings and accomplishments through a particular practice, just as it will never be possible to get oil by pressing sand.
His Holiness the Dalai Lama says:<br>
:“When an empowerment is conferred on you, it is the nature of your mind—the buddha nature—that provides a basis upon which the empowerment can ripen you. Through the empowerment, you are empowered into the essence of the buddhas of the five families. In particular, you are ‘ripened’ within that particular family through which it is your personal predisposition to attain buddhahood.”
Two Causes & Four Conditions
The associated cause (mtshung ldan gyi rgyu
) is the presence of the buddha nature
The cooperative cause (lhan cig byed pa'i rgyu) is the use of various substances (rdzas) during the empowerment, such as the vase, image cards and so forth.
The causal condition (rgyu'i rkyen) is the disciple who has faith and intelligence
The dominant condition (bdag rkyen) is the teacher who is fully qualified
The objective condition (dmigs rkyen) is the teacher's knowledge of the empowerment, deities, and mantras, and samadhi
The immediate condition (de ma thag rkyen) is the previous phase or empowerment, since each phase prepares the student for what follows, and that is why empowerments must be given in the proper sequence<ref>Based on Tulku Thondup (1995) pages 115-6 and Khenpo Namdrol, oral teaching January 2012</ref>
Empowerments Given to the Rigpa Sangha
Teachings Given to the [[About Rigpa|Rigpa]] Sangha on the Topic of Empowerment
Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche
, Journey Without Goal
, The Collected Works of Chögyam Trungpa, Volume Four (Boston & London: Shambhala, 2003), Ch. 10 'Abhisheka'.
Herbert V. Guenther
, The Dawn of Tantra
, The Collected Works of Chögyam Trungpa, Volume Four (Boston & London: Shambhala, 2003), Ch. 9 'Empowerment and Initiations'.
His Holiness Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
, Pure Appearance
(Halifax: Vajravairochana Translation Committee, 1992, 2002—restricted title), pages 1-14.
, The Treasury of Knowledge, Book Six, Part Four: Systems of Buddhist Tantra
, translated by Elio Guarisco and Ingrid McLeod (Ithaca: Snow Lion, 2005), Ch. 12 'Initiation'.
& Jamgön Kongtrul
, The Light of Wisdom, Vol. Two
, translated by Erik Pema Kunsang (Boudhanath: Rangjung Yeshe Publications, 1999), Chapter 16.
, The Small Golden Key
(Shambhala Publications, 1999), '12. Empowerment'.
, Enlightened Journey: Buddhist Practice as Daily Life
(Boston: Shambhala, 1995), 'The Empowerments and Precepts of Esoteric Training', pages 106-133.