Lama Chopa is a practice of guru devotion special to the Gelugpa tradition of Tibetan Buddhism where we invoke all the lamas of the graduated path lineage beginning with Shakyamuni Buddha himself, extending to our present direct teachers who have shown us the path.
Practicing this Guru Puja [Lama Chopa], which is an integration of the three deities, makes it much easier to achieve enlightenment in a brief life of this degenerated time. Doing this practice every day, with purification and many infinite skies of merit, brings the mind closer to the path to enlightenment and closer to enlightenment itself, and so much closer to freeing all sentient beings from obscurations and suffering and leading them to enlightenment. Putting the meaning of this into practice in ones life makes each day extremely rich and worthwhile.
- Lama Zopa Rinpoche
“Without all seven limbs, there is no way for your practice to carry you to enlightenment.”
These seven limbs
requesting to teach,
requesting to live long,
contain all the practices needed for extensive purification and accumulation of merit before entering the main body of the practice.
They are called `limbs’ because they provide support for the main body of our practice, which is the actual meditations on the paths of Sutra and Tantra.
The Seven-Limb Prayer I prostrate reverently with my body, speech, and mind. I present clouds of every type of offering, both actually arranged and mentally emanated. I confess all my negative actions and downfalls collected from beginningless time. I rejoice in the virtues of ordinary beings and aryas. Please remain until the end of cyclic existence, And turn the wheel of Dharma for transmigratory beings. I dedicate my own and others’ virtues to great enlightenment.
WHAT ARE THE SEVEN LIMBS? The seven-limb prayer is one of the six preparatory practices to be done prior to any meditation practice. It became part of the lamrim tradition as taught by Lama Atisha, who received it from Lama Serlingpa.
The six preparatory practices are:
cleaning the place and setting up representations of the enlightened body, speech, and mind
obtaining offerings honestly and arranging them beautifully
adopting the seven-featured position of Vairochana and taking refuge, developing bodhichitta, and so on
invoking the merit field
offering the seven-limb prayer and a universal mandala and