When I wrote the previous Puja blog I didn’t realise there would be a part two, but find I have much more to say about pujas and sadanas. If a puja is a road, a path, a route; the sadana is a map. Where are we going you might ask, and while one puja might not take you to enlightenment, all pujas are a path to blessings, merit, improved faith, refuge and renunciation; and an opportunity to recharge your practice. The sadana booklet that accompanies each puja is a special method for attaining spiritual realisations. And realisations, in case you didn’t realise, are, according to my dictionary, the act of making something real, or as if real, or bringing something into being. Heady stuff for us Buddhists, as realisation seems to also have the whisper of transformation. To realise also means to comprehend, to attain, to accomplish. My dictionary mentions one more surprisingly relevant definition for Buddhists: to bring home to ones own experience. Sometimes a realisation is also a feeling. Nothing intellectual or academic, something felt in the body, a shiver of understanding or recognition. The next puja I attend, I will contemplate any or all of these definitions of realisation as I journey from one state of mind to another, prompted by the sadana.
Like any journey, the puja takes some pre-planning. What will I pack and what will I leave behind?
A puja is active. As you travel through the puja with your sadana, you are moving through a landscape as it were. The more pujas you do, the more the clearer the journey and as the journey takes shape in your mind you begin to sense more strongly the pattern, the landmarks, the direction. When I first started doing pujas they felt interminable and I found myself thinking will this puja never end? Nowadays they seem to fly past. Familiarity, however, does not result in boredom or restlessness; familiarity deepens the whole process. And, like any journey, a puja leaves you off in a different place to the place you started; with a different mind to the mind with which you started.
There is something to be said for doing the practice of a Puja or Sadhana together with your siritual family. why not give it go? There is a Heart Jewel puja every weekday at Compassion Centre from 17:45-18:45; and a Wishfulfilling Jewel every Saturday from 11:30-12:30. In addition there are two Offering to the Spiritual Guide pujas per month of the 10th and 25th of every month. Often we also have Tara pujas on the 8 of the month. Join us!