Pujas for the Deceased


Puja is a skillful tantric practice of purification using the power of mantra, the power of concentration, and the power of Buddha’s words of truth.  Pujas are rituals that involve visualization, recitation of mantras and prayers and making offerings to the enlightened beings (Buddhas/Deities). Pujas are performed to receive the blessings of enlightened beings, accumulate merit, and dispel obstacles and negative circumstances.

In traditional Buddhist culture, lay people make offerings and request pujas to increase positive circumstances and success in spiritual and worldly affairs as well as to deal with or avert problems that may occur in these areas.

Each puja is centered around a Buddha figure specifically suited to perform a given function such as removing obstacles or pacifying illness.

When requested, sponsored puja will be performed by Venerable Khenpo Samdup joined by DDSC practitioners, as well as by monks in monasteries in India, Nepal and Tibet, if so wished.  The public can participate in the puja if desired.  No registration required to sit in on the puja.


Pujas can be sponsored to benefit oneself or another, for the deceased.  Pujas sponsored at DDSC will be primarily performed by the DDSC resident lama, Venerable Khenpo Samdup, joined by other lamas and practitioners as possible.

The time of death is a critical period for the puja practice and also a difficult time for the loved ones.  At this crucially important time, DDSC can help pre-arrange and ensure that the prayers, practices and sacred rituals (which you would like to be performed) for the loved ones at the time of death (or as close to the time of death as possible in the Hospice or at Private Home) are carried out.

  • Please provide name(s) in the “Comments” box of this Donation, and specify type(s) of puja for the loved ones:  1) Buddha Amitabha, 2) Drikung Phowa, 3) Combined Buddha Amitabha, Chenrezig and Vajrapani , or 4) 49-day Sur Practice.

In traditional settings, when a puja is requested, an offering is made with the request. The offering is a form of the practice of generosity which enables the one making the request to accumulate merits that further enhance the effectiveness of the ritual. Making an offering toward the puja creates a connection between the person being prayed for and the prayers being made.  If the requested offering involves a hardship, please contact DDSC so that accommodations can be made.

When Venerable Khenpo Samdup (joined by other lamas and practitioners) leads the puja, it will be performed in Tibetan. When an English-speaking DDSC practitioner is assisting the puja, he/she will alternatively guide participants make prayers in English through the DDSC puja prayer book.

If requested, prayers or pujas can be also performed in conjunction at one of the monasteries with which DDSC is affiliated such as Drikung Kagyu Monastery and Shedra and Drikung Kagyu Nunnery.



Amitabha_goldenphowa-lineage-tree5x7Buddha Amitabha: This puja invokes the wisdom and blessings of Buddha Amitabha, the Buddha of boundless light. Because of Buddha Amitabha’s merit and aspirations, ordinary people can be reborn in Amitabha’s Pure Land called Dewachen and achieve increasingly higher levels of realization without taking rebirth in samsara.


Drikung Phowa: Phowa “transference” is the practice of directly transferring the consciousness of the deceased to the Pure Land of Buddha Amitabha. In the best case, the consciousness of the deceased will experience rebirth in the pure land of Amitabha Buddha. Failing that, the practice is said to help insure a happy rebirth in the higher realms.


Combined Buddha Amitabha, Chenrezig and Vajrapani Puja: This puja invokes the wisdom and blessings of the three Buddhas in order to help secure a positive rebirth for the deceased. The puja will be performed once a week for seven (7) weeks.


49-day Sur Practice: In the practice of “Sur”, burnt offerings are made for the benefit of beings in the intermediate state (bardo) between births. This practice will be performed once daily for 49 days. This is the amount of time it is traditionally said that a deceased being spends in the intermediate state between births.

Names of the deceased will stay on the list for 49 days from the date of death – the general limit of the bardo (period between this life and the next). Note that the actual 49th-day practice should be done on the eve of their next life, e.g., if he/she died on a Monday, then perform the practice on a Sunday.