Precious word empowerment

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The precious word empowerment (Tib. ཚིག་དབང་རིན་པོ་ཆེ་, tsik wang rinpoche; Wyl. tshig dbang rin po che) is the fourth and most important of the four empowerments. Khenpo Ngakchung writes that the goal of the precious word empowerment is to generate the spontaneously arisen innate wisdom, the absolute meaning of empowerment.[1]

Thinley Norbu explains why it is called 'word' empowerment:

The lama indicates to us by words in order to make us realize that the basis of our own natural mind is buddha nature. [...] In some systems, in the word empowerment, the lama indicates by a gesture, such as showing an object like a crystal, and explains how we should watch our mind.[2]

The precious word empowerment:

Alternative Terms/Translations

  • ultimate empowerment of the absolute nature
  • symbolic empowerment


  1. From Tulku Thondup, Enlightened Journey (Boston: Shambhala, 1995), page 228.
  2. Thinley Norbu, The Small Golden Key (Boston & London: Shambhala, 1993) page 62.

Further Reading

  • Tulku Thondup, Enlightened Journey (Boston: Shambhala, 1995), Chapter 9 'The Empowerments and Precepts of Esoteric Training' and Chapter 12 'Receiving the Four Empowerments of Ngöndro Meditation'.
  • Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche, As It Is, Vol. 2 (Hong Kong: Rangjung Yeshe Publications, 2000), page 207.