five poisons | Tibetan Buddhist altar (2023)

An excerpt from a teaching by Jetsunma Ahkon Norbu Lhamo on October 18, 1995

(Video) Buddhist offering Mudhras (the 8 offerings)

We made many offerings to the Guru. Mainly what we offer to the Guru is five cups: five cups of poison. We offer hatred to the Guru, because there in the presence of primordial nature, there in the presence of the display of thebodhicitta, there in that immaculate non-dual purity, we shamelessly hate, abuse and neglect. We commit horrible sins against others who are innocent, against maternal sentient beings, not only in this life, but also before. And we did it boldly in the presence of what is so sacred it is indescribable.

We offer the chalice of greed and covetousness. Every day in the presence of our own mind, the face of the Guru, inthe great silent sound of the primordial void, there inthe great screen of luminosity silent light, right there instead ofbodhicitta, from our mouth, we offer the cup of greed instead of the speech of consolation. This is what we offer to the Guru. This is the offer we made. We are not ashamed to grab. We are full of greed. We keep thinking about me, me, me and "What can I have?" And what can I do?" and "How great I am!" and “Don't you want to give me a little more approval?” “Don't you want to give me a little more?” This is what we do before the Guru.


And then the third cup that we offer to the Guru's face is our ignorance. We do not start out simply with ignorance, which is excusable, in the sense that we are born; we wake up; at five or six we reach consciousness. Later it turns out that we are dumb as poles. We just don't know. We are ignorant. We still don't have education. But now we come to the point where we receive the teaching. We have had enough of the teaching where it could be said that while we still remain insamsara, we are moving away from ignorance. We are knocking down or repressing the poison of ignorance. However, in front of the Guru, in front of the primordial empty nature that is our nature, in front of the very unfolding ofbodhicitta, we remain deliberately ignorant. Voluntarily. We do not carry out our practice. We deviate from our practice. We don't try very hard. We do not listen to the teachings. We do not follow the advice of our Gurus. We keep listening to the teaching as if it were water rolling down our backs.

Imagine that you had the opportunity to listen to Guru Rinpoche and that was the only Dharma contact you would have in your entire life, and Guru Rinpoche offered to give you the keys to liberation, everything you need. What would that listening be like? Hopefully, if you're not dumber than a pole, you'd listen to the Guru as if it were your own breath. You would listen with all your heart and every word would be like food, like nectar to you. You would take it all home and work with it all the time. If this was the only opportunity you would be given and you were receiving these teachings from Guru Rinpoche, you might think so.

(Video) Offering Mudra - Argham Padyam Phupe...

But in front of our root Guru, that is not what we do. We diligently report to class and listen to the teachings. I used to walk around and ask the students, "What was the teaching I taught the other night?" But I stopped that because it used to break my heart when there was no answer.

We are guilty in the way we make offerings. We cling to our ignorance. We listen to the method, we listen to the teachings, and yet we don't practice to the best of our ability. And so we offer the cup of ignorance to our Guru. And that was the best we could do.

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The next drink that we offer to the Guru is envy. Audacious, in the face of our own nature, in the very display ofbodhicittawe looked at the achievements of others and said, I can do this. We compete and we get jealous. We look at other people's belongings and say, "I wish I had that instead of you." We try to feel better, practice self-aggrandizement, elevating ourselves and putting others down. These things we did in the very face of the Guru who is indistinguishable from us and our nature, and indistinguishable from the nature of all beings.There is only nature.It is not divided into containers. It's not like an ice cube tray where everything is divided into sections. So when we look into the face of any other sentient being, any motherly sentient being, and perform our usual ritual of jealousy and competitiveness, then this is the game we are really playing with the root Guru. Therefore, we have actually been jealous and competitive with the root Guru, because there is no distinction. And if we think that it is good to be like this in front of other sentient beings, but it is not good to be like that in front of the Guru, then we are also holding the cup of ignorance. By now, we should know better than that. They taught us more than that. We now know that all sentient beings have within them the Buddha nature, the Buddha seed, and this is inseparable from the Guru nature.. So if we harm, ignore, mistreat or abuse others, that is what we have done to the Guru.We raise the glass of jealousy.

And the last wonderful offering that we made to the Guru is the cup of pride. Before the Guru, that nature which is omnipresent, fundamentally undifferentiated, free from any kind of conjecture, artifice or distinction; In the face of this sheer display, we consider ourselves great, special, and superior. We consider ourselves what requires special attention. We consider ourselves what requires approval because we are so wonderful. And we are not ashamed, before the Guru, to indicate that we are superior to others. We are not ashamed to do this. Strangely, we feel ashamed and embarrassed at the thought of giving up in devotion, but we are not ashamed to show our stinking and disgusting pride in front of the Guru. He doesn't bother us at all. Our thinking is completely opposite.

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Now, that's not good news. We like to hear good and inspiring things. We like to be entertained. It's not the kind of stuff we like to hear. But you know, if you're really honest with yourself, if you really examine yourself, you'll know that what I'm saying is true.

© Jetsunma Ahkön Lhamo

(Video) Buddhist Tantra: The Four Complete Purities (EB: Common Prayers and Practices)


What are the 5 Buddhist poisons? ›

The five principal kleshas, which are sometimes called poisons, are attachment, aversion, ignorance, pride, and jealousy.

What are the five disturbing emotions? ›

To achieve this realisation it is necessary to abandon the five disturbing emotions (kleshas – Skt) – great attachment, anger or aggression, ignorance or bewilderment, pride and envy. When these disturbing emotions are purified, the five wisdoms shine forth.

What are the 5 wisdoms in Buddhism? ›

They are as follows:
  • wisdom of dharmadhatu.
  • mirror-like wisdom.
  • wisdom of equality.
  • wisdom of discernment.
  • all-accomplishing wisdom.
Mar 19, 2014

How do you overcome the three poisons? ›

The Antidotes

These antidotes are called the three wholesome roots: non-greed, non-hatred, and non-delusion. To antidote and overcome greed, we learn to cultivate selflessness, generosity, detachment, and contentment.


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