Practices › Confession
Courtesy of Himalayan Art Resources
Whatever negative acts I have committed,
While driven by desire, hatred and ignorance,
With my body, my speech and also with my mind,
I confess and purify each and every one.
Lotsawa House presents the following texts related to the practice of confession (bshags pa):
A popular Nyingma version of the famous Bodhisattvas’ Confession of Downfalls (byang chub sems dpa’i ltung bshags), also known as the Sūtra of the Three Heaps (phung po gsum pa’i mdo), invoking the thirty-five buddhas of confession as a means of purifying transgressions of vows and downfalls of the bodhisattva vow.
The Ārya caturdharmanirdeśa nāma mahāyāna sūtra (‘Phags pa chos bzhi bstan pa zhes bya ba theg pa chen po’i mdo, Toh 249) is the ultimate source for the doctrine of the four powers (stobs bzhi), a popular feature of Tibetan teachings on confession. In this initial, canonical presentation, however, the four are referred to as 'factors', although two are also called 'powers'. They are: 1) the action of total rejection, 2) the action as remedy, 3) the power of restoration, and 4) the power of support.
This version of Aśvaghoṣa’s text outlining the fourteen root downfalls of the Vajrayāna differs from the version in the Tengyur; in addition to some minor variations, it contains additional lines to facilitate the confession of all fourteen forms of transgression.
- The Confession of Downfalls from the Great Compassionate One’s Lotus Uṣṇīṣa by Chokgyur Dechen Lingpa
This treasure text invoking the Thirty-Five Buddhas of Confession was revealed by Chokgyur Dechen Lingpa as part of the cycle of The Great Compassionate One, Lotus Uṣṇīṣa (thugs rje chen po pad+ma gtsug gtor). It presents a concise version of the famous Bodhisattva’s Confession of Downfalls (byang chub sems dpa'i ltung ba bshags pa).
This version of the Yeshe Kuchokma (ye shes sku mchog ma) was arranged by Chokgyur Dechen Lingpa (1829–1870) for recitation during the Ngakso Drupchen (sngags gso sgrub chen) and the Khorwa Dongdruk (‘khor ba dong sprug) practice. Chokgyur Lingpa has added an additional line as well as the syllables oṃ, āḥ and hūṃ to the root text.
This version of the famous confession, revealed as part of the Tukdrup Barché Kunsel (thugs sgrub bar chad kun sel) cycle, differs slightly from the eleventh chapter of the Immaculate Confession Tantra, with minor variations throughout and an additional two lines at the very end.
- Heart of Vajrasattva—The Heart of Confession, the King of Purification Practices, from 'The Immaculate Secret Vajrasattva' by Do Khyentse Yeshe Dorje
- Emptying the Hells from Their Very Depths: The Sovereign Practice for the Confession of All Impairments and Breakages of Vows and All Negative Actions and Obscurations from the revelation of Guru Chökyi Wangchuk
This practice of confession and fulfilment, popularly known as Narak Kong Shak, was arranged by combining elements of Guru Chökyi Wangchuk’s revelation called Kagye Sangwa Yongdzok together with the Kagye Drakpo Rangjung Rangshar of the Northern Treasures.
A practice of confession and offering as a means to purify vows and restore commitments related to every level of the path, from the śrāvaka vehicle through to Atiyoga or the Great Perfection. The text was first revealed by Jigme Lingpa in 1760 while he was staying at Samye Chimphu.
- A Discourse on the Confession of Harmful Deeds Spoken by Yama Dharmarāja to Karma Chakme by Karma Chakme
A short practice to confess misdeeds and pledge never to repeat them. It incorporates the four powers (stobs bzhi) first introduced in the Caturdharmanirdeśa sūtra: 1) power of support, 2) antidotal power, 3) power of repentance, and 4) power of restraint.
Based on an earlier text by Paṇchen Lobzang Chökyi Gyaltsen (1570-1662), this is a short practice of confession that incorporates the four powers (stobs bzhi): 1) power of support, 2) antidotal power, 3) power of repentance, and 4) power of restraint.
- Eradicating Downfalls by Reciting the Names of the Buddhas: The Swift Path to Complete Awakening in a Single Instant revealed by Nyala Pema Düdul
This practice of invoking and paying homage to various buddhas is said to be a powerful means of purifying obscurations and accumulating merit, tantamount to reciting the Kangyur in its entirety. It belongs to the Profound Secret Teachings of The Natural Liberation Pervading Space (mkha' khyab rang grol) revelation.
- The Sovereign of Confessions for all Impairments and Breakages, Extracted from the Rampant Elephant Tantra revealed by Nyala Pema Düdul
Although part of the Space-Pervading Self-Liberation (mkha' khyab rang grol) revelation, this confession is virtually identical to the popular Yeshe Kuchokma liturgy that is taken from the Immaculate Confession Tantra (Dri med bshags rgyud).
As Dudjom Rinpoche himself explains, this is simultaneously a supplication, confession, and aspiration prayer. It involves the invocation of one's gurus, contemplation and confession of one's faults, and aspiration to overcome such flaws and realise the nature of the guru.