“Empowerment” (Tib. wang) is an inaccurate and misleading translation of the Sanskrit term abhisheka, which literally means “sprinkling, bathing, purifying”.
The Four Empowerments are first conferred by the Lama, and then renewed and cultivated as often as possible by the practitioner, preferably on a daily basis.
There are Outer, Inner, and Other empowerments:
- The Outer purify the imaginary nature (appearances)
- The Inner purify the dependent nature (causes and conditions)
- The Other purify the truly established nature (Buddha Forms, Qualities, and Activities)
The basis of purification is Buddha Nature, and the affective and cognitive obscurations are what is to be purified.
- Purifies the body
- Eliminates or reduces the habitual tendency toward depriving sentient beings of life, taking what is not freely given, and sexual misconduct
- Purifies speech
- Eliminates or reduces the habitual tendency toward deceit, sowing discord, harsh speech, and idle chatter
- Purifies the mind
- Eliminates or reduces the habitual tendency toward covetousness, malice, and holding acquired wrong views
- Purifies the subtle obscurations
- Eliminates or reduces the habitual tendency to sustain the innate wrong views of separation and supremacy