The Neydren Ritual for the Deceased
The Vajrayana Buddhist Neydren is a traditional ritual performed by an authorized lama or experienced practitioner. This liturgy is typically inserted into a sadhana (generation stage) practice, such as Vajrasattva or Chenrezig, and the ritual assists and guides the consciousness of the deceased into higher states of rebirth. Names, pictures and/or photographs, and sometimes the cremation ashes of the deceased are utilized during this ritual. It is traditional to offer a donation for this service, and please consult with a qualified practitioner or lama to learn more about it. For teachings on this topic, please see TLC's Video page to access our film "Understanding the Neydren Ritual for the Deceased" taught by Khenpo Paljor Gyatso. Contact TLC at firstname.lastname@example.org for information about when and where this ritual may take place in the SF Bay Area and Southern Oregon.
Following a neydren ceremony, sa-tsas are created to contain the cremation ashes, and are then consecrated. [See TLC's webpage for information about creating sa-tsas here.] It is also traditional to offer a donation for this service.
Advice About the Neydren Ceremony from Venerable Gyatrul Rinpoche and Lama Yeshe Nyima
First, as in approach to any practice, recall your motivation. Consider the good fortune of participating in coming together with others, a result of the blessings and compassion of the buddhas and the quality of our aspiration to be of benefit to the deceased. Maintain an awareness of the deceased as being one's teacher. He or she is acting as our teacher by showing us the truth of our mortality, impermanence, and by influencing us toward practice. Participation in the neydren ritual generates a very powerful blessing which benefits the deceased, ourselves and every being in every state of suffering. One needs to have a broad scope of mind while engaging in it, and must consistently expand the benefit to all beings, not just the one passing. This will increase the quality and potency of the practice.
It is important to keep your mind in a positive state of happiness and openness in order to benefit the deceased, and more so if the body is present at the location of the practice, which is
also a benefit, though not necessary. Behavior around the body has an effect. At the moment of
death and afterward, the perception of the consciousness of the deceased is increased far beyond the usual, at least nine times its normal capacity. All negative emotions in the minds of the participants cause obstacles in the mind of the deceased. Immediately dispel all such thoughts. Opening your heart and maintaining peace are the highest priorities. To keep all sentient beings in mind as benefiting from this practice provides the opportunity of great merit.
Advice About the Neydren Ceremony from Venerable Gyatrul Rinpoche
The guiding and liberating ceremony is a practice that is carried out by practitioners who have understanding and skill in the methods of inner mantra. This practice is always performed in conjunction with the sadhana of the wisdom deity. It is in that state of pure awareness that the possibility of guiding the consciousness that is still lost in the bardo can occur. Contact is made with the disembodied consciousness by writing the seed syllables that correspond to the six realms of existence and also by making replicas and effigies of certain individuals. Through the power and blessing of prayer, compassion, method, and wisdom the consciousness may be contacted and led from states of bewilderment and fear to higher, more productive, positive and spiritual states of rebirth as well as the possibility of even awakening in the pure realms of wisdom awareness. This ceremony is powerful and beneficial on many levels. Even the thought to benefit others in this way is an important step toward their eventual liberation from suffering.