During a stay at Nagi Gompa in 1994 I had the opportunity to ask Tulku Urgyen the following:
MT: I was wondering if Rinpoche could explain exactly what ‘blessing’ is?
Rinpoche: What people usually consider blessings are what I would call ‘superficial blessings.’ It’s like when you have something you want to get rid of and you ask, “Please bless me to be free from what I don’t like,” whether this is being sick or in pain, evil spirits are attacking you, your business isn’t going that well, etc.. So, people ask for something to wear around their necks, something to eat, maybe some charm to be made and so on. Then when they feel better, the evil spirits are repelled, business is going well or whatever, they say, “I got the blessings.” These are known as ‘superficial blessings.’
On the other hand, the real blessings are the oral instructions on how to become enlightened in a single lifetime, which you can receive from a qualified master. That’s the real kind of blessing.