Starting out on the Chenrezig Practice

why practice Chenrezig?

Chenrezig is the expression of the compassion of all Buddhas—including the Buddha that is you. It’s important to believe and understand that you (and all beings) are Chenrezig.

So why do we act out anger, pride, depression, desire? That’s our karma, our human nature—but our true essence, our true human nature, is Buddha nature: compassion and wisdom. 

The practice of Chenrezig offers a meditation to transform our mental problems into compassion and wisdom, thereby uniting with our innate Buddha nature. 

How to?

The essence of the Chenrezig practice is simple. Start with the mantra OM MANI PEME HUNG (pronounced ohm mah-nee peh-meh hoong).

How wonderful! You have now spoken Chenrezig’s mantra and gathered many blessings.

Now think of a being for whom you feel deep compassion. It could be an animal, a poor person, a rich person, a good person, a bad person, your partner, your mother or father, your child. With compassion filling your heart, say the mantra again:


Now your practice of Chenrezig has deepened immeasurably. Relax and let your compassion embrace all beings: human and nonhuman, friends, enemies, and those who are unknown….


Inconceivably vast blessings permeate the universe. How wonderful!


Keep in your heart the motivation to become enlightened for the benefit of beings. That motivation, called bodhicitta, is literally a form of spiritual energy. At every stage of the path, bodhicitta charges and transforms everything you do.

what’s the practice about?

On the face of it, the meditation consists of chanting the liturgy and visualizing the form of Chenrezig. 


But a lot of these words and concepts are strange! It’s true. Like anything worth while, it takes effort and study to learn the meaning of the various parts of the practice. 

However, as Bokar Rinpoche says, “Every person whose heart is moved by love and compassion, who deeply and sincerely acts for the benefit of others without concern for fame, profit, social position, or recognition, expresses the activity of Chenrezig.” 

So, even from the first time, you are innately familiar with the practice. 

a few things you can do during the practice

  • Enjoy and be at ease. Take a little vacation from worries about doing things “just right.” None of us are experts; we’re all friends helping each other along the path. 
  • Rather than strain to encompass the entire practice, let your attention move in a meditative way over different aspects. Bokar Rinpoche suggests being like a child who picks up one toy, plays with it a while, then picks up another in a spontaneous, natural way.
  • Let your mind rest in the bare sound of the chanting. The sound itself carries blessing and is healing to hear, even before you learn the meaning. 
  • Let compassion fill your heart. Wish that all beings be free from suffering and enjoy happiness. Imagine that the blessings of the sounds are filling the universe and transforming suffering into happiness. 
  • Try chanting along–don’t worry about hitting a wrong note or mispronouncing. It’s all good! 
  • Focus on a visual feature of Chenrezig, such as the wish-fulfilling jewel in Chenrezig’s hands. Like the words, the visualization of Chenrezig carries blessings. 

Om Mani Peme Hung! 
may all beings attain Enlightenment!