“Tor in Tibetan is that which, when the hurricane or tornado comes, the whole city, whole town, after one hour, is totally destroyed, everywhere pieces, all the houses gone, so all the pieces are tor. Or when in a field you plant crops you throw seeds, this is called tor. Or when you give grain, when you give food to birds, you tor, but not so much that, tor is more like the hurricane destroying a city or town, after half an hour, one hour, totally, everything is scattered. Tor is like that, something scattered or destroyed. Tor is more in the sense of destroy. So torma, that which destroys.
“So one meaning of torma is destroying miserliness, your miserliness, so therefore torma are made very rich, the best and richest quality you can make. It means you spend money destroying your miserliness, making a good offering to the deity. So that’s one meaning of tor, that which destroys your miserliness, your attachment.
“Then the other meaning is related also to the maha-anuttara tantric path, where the experience of transcendental wisdom, the great bliss, the voidness, is the real torma. That is the real torma … So then that tor destroys like a bomb; it destroys the root of samsara: the ignorance holding the I, the aggregates, to be truly existent. So the torma is that which destroys that …
“Just one more word, then finish. Why do Tibetans make tormas so beautiful, with decorations and shapes, as beautiful as they can make them? It creates the cause to have beautiful bodies in future lives if you make the tormas very beautiful …”
For the entire article: Lama Zopa Rinpoche Explains Tormas – FPMT