Long Life Ceremonies
The Purpose of Long Life Pujas
One of the most moving ceremonies in Tibetan Buddhism is the long life puja for a teacher, an elaborate display of devotion towards a spiritual guide comprising heartfelt prayers and praises, and a procession of symbolic offerings. The purpose of the long life puja is for students to purify the mistakes that occur in relation to their teacher, and to create the causes and conditions to continue to receive benefit from that teacher for a very long time.
The essential practice for creating the cause for the guru’s long life is harmony between students. Additionally, our devotion to our teachers is best expressed by following their advice, which includes offering service. By maintaining harmony, following our teachers’ advice and offering long life pujas students are accumulating the merit needed for our precious gurus to stay in the world with us for a long time.
Offering long life pujas is a cause for one’s own long life.
To understand why a long life puja is essential, we must understand the value of the Guru. He or she is our guide in this life, the bardo, and future lives. He is immensely important. It is not a case where if we ask him to live he will, and vice-versa, but that to offer such a ceremony purifies our own broken samayas.