If you have ever walked into the Prayer Room at Kunzang Palyul Choling, you cannot have helped but notice the large collection of crystals. And perhaps you have wondered, “Why do they have all of these crystals? Is this typical of Buddhism? What is their purpose?”
The Mineral Kingdom on a Mission:
The world is filled with uncountable minerals – crystals, ores, and gems. Not only are they beautiful to behold, but they actually serve a vital function of maintaining the vibratory structure of the universe. Originally brought into manifestation by rays of tone and color and vibration originating from the Primordial State of Awareness (the Absolute), they assure true communication and transmission of divine energies. Crystals function to transmit peace, love, absolute oneness, absolute awakened consciousness. They help to remind human kind of our own true nature, which is not unlike the clearest crystal and not unlike the most beautiful and radiant gems.
Each mineral or family of minerals has a specific attunement with different aspects of the Primordial Wisdom State that is the nature of all things. If they were not present on our planet, many divine qualities would be lost to our memory. But no mineral creates energy of its own. They are transmitters, attuned to the cosmos. They tend to refract universal energies into specific qualities. If it seems that a crystal creates energy, it is because it has touched the Infinite and speaks of it, as though it had heard a song and continues to sing.
It is with this understanding that the crystals at KPC are utilized and upheld. Walking through the Temple you will see magnificent specimens of all types: clear and smokey quartz, rose quartz, amethyst, citrine, tourmaline, apophyllite, elestials, and so on. Each type of mineral has a specific attunement to the Primordial State of Awareness, and together they work to absorb and amplify prayer energy and the presence of this primordial awareness (Buddhanature or God-consciousness) into the world. Since 1985 KPC has maintained a 24-hour-a-day Prayer Vigil for the planet and all beings and the crystals are considered a vital part of our efforts.
How Do Crystals Fit Into Tibetan Buddhism?
While KPC is distinctive among Buddhist Centers in the number and unique use of crystals, they are indeed utilized within the Tibetan Buddhist Tradition. In Tibetan Buddhist empowerment, the Lama will confer a special ‘nature of mind” transmission, wherein he holds up and students gaze upon a perfectly clear quartz crystal, symbolic of our Primordial Wisdom Nature. Prayer beads (or malas) are also often made of semi-precious stones, from quartz to lapis lazuli, to amethyst. The mala is blessed and empowered by one’s teacher, and serves as an aid to one’s spiritual practice.
Crystals, whether individual stones or prayer beads, in conjunction with a tried and true spiritual path can act as catalysts – bringing forth and ripening latent karmic potentials within your mind. They may facilitate meditation and the breaking up of basic delusion. But ultimately no mineral can give you anything that you don’t already possess. They are supports to the spiritual path, not objects of refuge themselves. On the path to enlightenment we have to find a way to catalyze the things that are most helpful to us, and that’s what crystals do. That’s what they will do for a practitioner. They should be an aid in our remembering – a support to realizing our true nature.
Something Truly Special
KPC’s crystals were chosen for their unique energies and strategically placed in order to facilitate the anchoring and transmission of prayer energy into the world. Our spiritual director, Jetsunma worked to merge the energy of the crystals with one another and with the compassionate Buddha Nature. Through twenty five years of continuous, unbroken prayer, the crystals have supported the mission of KPC and Jetsunma’s vision to bring benefit to countless sentient beings.