Vajrasattva in the Bardo

Vajrasattva-single

The following is an excerpt from a teaching by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo offered during a Phowa retreat:

On the second day, here they’re saying Vajrasattva Buddha appears. This is Vajrasattva, the very same one that you are practicing in your Ngöndro. Think how ready you will be for him! The minute he shows up you’re going to go, “Yes! I know who you are!” In this case, Vajrasattva Buddha is also associated with Akshobya Buddha, but he will appear as Vajrasattva Buddha on the second day with white light. And again, the white light will be unnaturally brilliant, according to what we have understood, dazzling, frightening in its dazzling light; and at the same time a softer, easier on the eyes (even though there are no eyes, we have that kind of perception in the bardo at that point), black light, the softer black light of the hell world, will manifest. Now listen to how tricky this is. We are faced with an unnaturally white, unnaturally bright, scary light, or a softer, black light that, because we have felt hatred more than we have felt Vajrasattva, we are more familiar with. It will not be so frightening to us. It will be softer, and it will seem to be seductive, more so than the white light. So what we have to do is to be sure and avoid that black light, because that black light results in rebirth in one of the hell realms.

Copyright © Jetsunma Ahkon Norbu Lhamo All rights reserved

The Power of Ngondro

The following is respectfully quoted from “Natural Liberation” by Padmasambhava:

OM VARJASATTVA SAMAYAM ANUPĀLAYA VAJRASATTVA TVENOPATISTHA DRDHO ME BHAVA SUTOSYO ME BHAVA SUPOSYO ME BHAVA ANURAKTO ME BHAVA SARVA SIDDHIM ME PRAYACCHA SARVA KARMASU CA ME CITTAM ŚRĪYAM KURU HŪM HA HA HA HA HOH BHAGAVAN SARVATATHĀGATA VAJRA MĀ ME MUŃCA VAJRA BHAVA MAHĀSAMAYA SATTVA ĀH

This is an extremely important practice. It’s dealt with quite concisely here, but more more elaborate instruction can be found in other teachings on the preliminary practices. This practice is of very tangible benefit. There are other teachings on Atiyoga and so forth that we may consider more esoteric or advanced, but it’s questionable how deeply benefited we can be by those and how much we can truly enter into experience of the Great Perfection. Here, though, is something of practical benefit. If you are familiar with this practice, it’s good to share it with others who may be beginners. By such a practice as this, the two types of obscurations can be purified. Once all of your obscurations have been completely purified, you are a buddha; and that means you have realized the Great Perfection.

Due to ignorance, delusion and stupidity,
I have transgressed my samayas, and they have degenerated.
O spiritual mentor, protector, protect me!
Glorious Lord Vajradhara,
Merciful being of great compassion,
Lord of the world, protect us!
Please cleanse and purify the whole mass
Of sins, obscurations, faults, downfalls, and taints.
By this virtue, may I now
Swiftly actualize Vajrasattva
And quickly bring every sentient being
Without exception to that state.
O Vajrasattva, may we become exactly
Like your form, with your retinue, life span, pure realm,
And with your supreme , excellent signs.

OFFERING THE MANDALA

Once you have begun purifying the two types of obscurations, there is the task of accumulating the two collections of merit and of knowledge for one’s own benefit and the benefit of others. The welfare of others is accomplished in the realization of the Rūpakāya, or form embodiment, of the Buddha; and it is toward accomplishing that end that one offers the mandala.

OM VAJRA BHŪMI ĀH HUM
The basis becomes the powerful golden ground.
OM VAJRA REKHE ĀH HŪM
On the periphery is a surrounding jeweled iron fence.
In the center is the supreme king of mountains,
Majestic in its composition from the five kinds of precious substances.
Lovely in shape, beautiful, and delightful to behold,
Seven golden mountains are surrounded by seven concentric seas.
In the east is the continent Videha, in the south, Jambudvipa,
The west is adorned by Godàniya,
And in the north is the great Uttarakuru;
With the eight sub-continents of Deha and Videha,
Cāmara and Aparacāmara,
Śāthā and Uttaramantrina,
Kurava and Kaurava,
The sun, moon, Rāhu and kālāgni,
And this bounty of wealth and enjoyments of gods and humans
I offer to the precious spiritual mentor and his retinue.
Out of compassion, please accept this for the sake of the world.

Short Confession to the Peaceful and Wrathful Deities

This is an offering from Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo. This prayer is found in the “The Great Perfection: Buddha in the Palm of the Hand the Lama’s Oral Instruction Upon the Recitation and Visualization of the Preliminary Practice – Ngyundro” from the Nam Cho cycle of teachings revealed by Vidyadhara Terton Migyur Dojre.

From Jetsunma: “There are many blessings and one can recite this prayer and mantra to dispel obstacles, increase health and all well being. Please try!”

From the Sang Dzog (Secret Perfection) Tantra, recite

The Short Confession to the

Peaceful and Wrathful Deities:

CHOM DEN DE ZHI THRO RAB JAM KYI TSHOG LA CHAG TSHAL LO

I prostrate to the vast assembly of enlightened peaceful and wrathful deities.

E MA HO   CHOG CHU DÜ ZHI KÜN GYI DAG NYID CHE

How Astonishing!    The supremely great beings of the ten directions and four times,

LAMA GYAL WA ZHI THRO YONG DZOG GONG

The entire assembly of Lamas and enlightened peaceful and wrathful deities, please be attentive.

DIR SHEG NYI DA PEDMA’I DEN LA ZHUG

Come forth and be seated on your lotus, sun and moon seats.

NYAM CHAG NA RAG JANG CHIR CHAG CHÖD ZHE

In order to cleanse all downfalls and broken commitments which result in the lowest rebirth, I bow down to you and present offerings.

YÖN TEN PHUN TSHOG LAMA NAM LA CHAG TSHAL LO

I prostrate to all the Lamas who are fully endowed with pure qualities.

MIG MED TRÖ DREL CHÖ KYI KU LA CHAG TSHAL LO

I prostrate to the unvisualized, uncontrived Dharmakaya.

DE CHEN LONG CHÖD DZOG PA’I KU LA CHAG TSHAL LO

I prostrate to the complete enjoyment, Sambhogakaya body of great bliss.

DRO GÖN CHIR YANG TRÜL PA’I KU LA CHAG TSHAL LO

I prostrate to the Nirmanakaya, which manifests in whatever way is necessary to protect beings.

NE LUG MIGYUR DORJE KU LA CHAG TSHAL LO

I prostrate to the unchanging nature of reality, the Vajra body.

YANG DAG NGÖN PAR CHANG CHUB KU LA CHAG TSHAL LO

I prostrate to the perfectly pure body of the actual Buddhanature.

NYÖN MONG ZHI DZED ZHI WA’I LHA LA CHAG TSHAL LO

I prostrate to the peaceful deities who have pacified delusion.

LOG TA TSHAR CHÖD THRO WA’I KU LA CHAG TSHAL LO

I prostrate to the wrathful deities who annihilate incorrect view.

THAB GÖN TSHE DAG JAMPAL KU LA CHAG TSHAL LO

I prostrate to the skillful protector, owner of life, Mañjushri, the body emanation.

KYÖN DREL DRA DROG PEMA’I SUNG LA CHAG TSHAL LO

I prostrate to the speech emanation, Hayagriva, of the Lotus Family, who is free from all faults.

YANG DAG DÖN DEN BENZAR THUG LA CHAG TSHAL LO

I prostrate to the mind emanation, Yang Dag, of the Vajra Family, possessor of true purpose.

DUG NGA NED SEL DÜD TSI MEN LA CHAG TSHAL LO

I prostrate to Dudtsi Men (Amrita Kundali), who clears the illness of the five poisons.

DREG PA JOM DZED PHUR PA’I LHA LA CHAG TSHAL LO

I prostrate to Vajrakilaya and his assembly, who see to the destruction of worldly spirits and forces.

JUNG WA’I NGA DAG MA MO’I TSHOG LA CHAG TSHAL LO

I prostrate to Mamo and her assembly, who control the five elements.

SA DANG LAM DZOG RIG DZIN TSHOG LA CHAG TSHAL LO

I prostrate to the assembly of pure awareness holders, who have perfected the stages and paths.

TEN PA SUNG DZED DAM CHEN NAM LA CHAG TSHAL LO

I prostrate to all the Dharma Protectors, who protect the Doctrine.

DRA GEG DÜL DZED NGAG DAG NAM LA CHAG TSHAL LO

I prostrate to the deity Ngag-Dag and his assembly, who tame enemies and obstructing forces.

GANG GI GYAL WA ZHI THRO YI

To all the enlightened peaceful and wrathful deities

KYIL KHOR LHA LA CHAG TSHAL NA

And their mandalas I pay obeisance

NYAM CHAG MA LÜ KÜN CHANG TE

And pray to cleanse all of my broken commitments without exception.

TSHAM MED NGA LA MÖ CHI GÖ

There is no doubt that the five limitless nonvirtues can be cleansed,

NA RAG NE KYANG DONG TRUG TE

And even the lower realms can be emptied from their depths,

RIG DZIN GYAL WA’I ZHING DU DRAG

And beings will be guided to the pure realms of the enlightened pure awareness beings.

DORJE SEM PA’I SANG NGAG NGÖ

Since Vajrasattva is the essential nature of the Secret Mantra,

LE DRIB NYAM DRIB DAG CHED PA’I

Cleansing all of our karmic obscurations caused by broken commitments,

KHOR WA DONG TRUG YANG NYING DA

To empty the realms of cyclic existence, recite the mantra.

OM BENZAR SATO SAMAYA  MA NU PA LA YA  BENZAR SATO TE NO PA

TIKSHTRA DRI DHO ME BHA WA

SU TO KHAYO ME BHA WA  SU PO KHAYO ME BHA WA

A NU RAKTO ME BHA WA SARWA SIDDHI ME PRA YATSHA

SARWA KARMA SU TSA ME  TSITTAM SHRI YAM KU RU HUNG

HA HA HA HA HO BAGAWAN

SARWA TATHAGATA BENZAR MA ME MUÑTSA  BENZRI BHA WA MA HA SAMAYA SATO AH

Short Confession: From Nam Chö Vajrasattva Ngondro

Vajrasattva-single

The following is a Short Confession found in the Nam Chö Ngondro practice of Vajrasattva revealed by Tertön Migyur Dorje:

In the View, I confess all commitments broken through mental activity,
Knowing the View is the all-pervasive foundational Bodhicitta;
Realizing that the View exists in non-existence,
And practicing meditation that is non-existent,
Realizing activity is neither existent nor non-existent,
The Bodhicitta is without expectation or disappointment.
All root and auxiliary committments,
Breaches and failure to uphold them, are unborn, ungenerated,
And liberated in the indivisibility of the object to confess and the confession itself.

Purifying One’s Intention

An excerpt from the Mindfulness workshop given by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo in 1999

Another aspect of our Ngöndro practice is purification, the prayers to Vajrasattva. How would it be if we were to sit for maybe an hour and practice the purification and confession of Vajrasattva and accumulate the mantra and then just put our books aside and consider it’s over?  That’s it.  I confessed.  I said all the prayers, the short ones and the long ones, short confession, long confession.  Remember, if you practice like that, you never have to revisit it again.  It’s a lazy, cop-out way to practice.

Instead, we should think, “I’m deeply involved in the practice of purification and confession which does not stop at the end of my practice.”  There are so many ways to practice that kind of purification: by being mindful, by making offerings in the way that I’ve described, by moving into a state of better recognition about what is precious and what is ordinary, and ultimately moving into the state of Recognition of the nature of all phenomena.  Automatically one is constantly purifying the senses, constantly purifying one’s intention, which is the very thing that needs purifying even more than everything else.  If we practice in that way as we’re walking around, it complements any confessional prayers that we make.

In most of the confessional prayers, if you really read the meaning and content of the prayers, there is talk about broken samaya in the confessional prayers.  Nobody really knows what that means.  Does that mean you didn’t do your mantra today?  Well, maybe on one level it means that, but on a deeper level, it is referring to the state of non-recognition.  So in everything that we do, if we continually make offerings, as we continually give rise to a deeper Recognition, then the five senses are being purified constantly. The habit that I’m suggesting you develop will antidote the automatic reaction that is so natural for us, so habitual.   Remember, we can insert this way of thinking or this way of practicing because we are human.

I really like animals, but one thing I’ve noticed about animals, even if they are trainable and very smart, they cannot change or alter the way they perceive their environment.  They can’t do that.  The dog can’t say, “Wait a minute, before I lift that leg, let’s think about the nature of that fire hydrant.”  The dog is not capable of this.  You are.  That is one of the great blessings of being a human being, and yet the habits that we tend to cultivate are the habits that you don’t even need to be a human being to do: that habit of automatically reacting, not taking oneself in hand, not creating any kind of space or a moment where we can Recognize the nature of reality, not making any offerings.  We tend to just automatically move through life like an automaton, like a robot.

However, being human, we can develop a little bit of space in our minds to antidote that constant clinging and reactivity, and yet we’re all about collecting things.  Well, you know, crows collect things.  We’re all about having relationships.  Well, even animals can bond for life.  We’re all about having children.  Well, dogs and cats do that, too.  Isn’t it wonderful that here in Dharma practice, if we choose to, if we practice sincerely, we can do that which only humans can do?  How amazing!

© Jetsunma Ahkön Lhamo

True Purity

Vajrasattva

From The Spiritual Path:  A Compilation of Teachings by Jetsunma Ahkon Lhamo

 

Let’s say you have become satisfied with an idea of what a practitioner should be. You are quiet, meek, gentle, and ever so passive. You attempt to be pure by never adorning your face, hair or body. You do what you think is right. Fine. But what if you stop there? What if you allow days, weeks, years, your whole life to pass by with no true sense of the need to eradicate hatred, greed and ignorance from your mindstream? What if you have no real understanding of the emptiness of phenomena? No true perception of the nature of mind? What have you really accomplished? What is yours to carry with you? How will you enter the afterlife state, the bardo? Will you not see as you have always seen? Will you not see the events within the bardo state as external phenomena? Will you not be excited, afraid? Will you not still be lost in the delusion of self and other?

On the Vajrayana path, true purity, true virtue is central and precious. Even one moment of true perception of the nature of mind is the only conceivable virtue. If you merely live according to the rules, you will definitely have merit. But in terms of the value of your own nature, your own mind, you will not have the purification that leads to true perception. The Vajrayana path is unique in its perspective on this. It adopts the morality and rules of the Hinayana path, as well as the Mahayana perspective of compassion and purity, yet it goes further into the understanding that true perception is the thing of value—the diamond.

The goal of the Vajrayana path is to realize the nature of mind. The nature of mind is absolute compassion. At that primordial-wisdom level, there is no good or bad. There is clear, uncontrived, pure, self-luminous nature. Primordial mind is unborn, yet perfectly complete. It is unmarked, un-measured by time or space. It is self-arising. True virtue is not a way of acting. Nor is it a way of thinking—as most people understand thought. There is only one real virtue: the realization of primordial mind. Naturally arising within that realization is a deep and abiding compassion—a compassion that is capable of manifesting in any form necessary in order to bring true benefit to beings.

Please understand that primordial mind itself is not filled with hatred, greed and ignorance. This is simply not possible. The mind is forever pure. It is unchanging. It cannot be defiled in any way. What then is the problem? Where is the defilement? Not in mind itself, but in perception. The real value of practicing on the Vajrayana path is that you are involved in a system by means of which your mind can arise with all the pure qualities of the Buddha. Think, for instance, of Buddha Vajrasattva. This is the practice of a Buddha who is the perfect union of wisdom and compassion. He represents that phase of mind as it first moves into manifestation from the primordial level. The pristine connection between the primordial nature of mind and its transition into an activity phase is not separate from that basic nature.

© Jetsunma Ahkön Lhamo

Short Confession from Nam Cho Ngondro Vajrasattva

The following prayer is a short confession from the Nam Cho Dzogchen Ngondro Vajrasattva practice:

In the View, I confess all commitments broken through mental activity. Knowing the View is the all-pervasive foundational Bodhicitta; realizing that the View exists in non-existence, and practicing meditation that is non-existent, realizing that activity is neither existent nor non-existent, the Bodhicitta is without expectation or disappointment. All root and auxiliary commitments, breaches and failure to uphold them, are unborn, ungenerated, and liberated in the indivisibilty of the object to confess and the confession itself.

OM BENZAR SATO SAMAYA
MA NU PA LA YA
BENZAR SATO TE NO PA
TISH TRA DRI DHO ME BHA WA
SUTO KHAYO ME BHAWA
SUPO KHAYO ME BHAWA
ANU RAKTO ME BHAWA
SARWA SIDDHIM ME PRA YATTSHA
SARWA KARMA SU TSA ME
TSITTAM SHRI YAM KU RU HUNG
HA HA HA HA HO
BHAGAWAN SARWA TATHAGATA
BENZAR MA ME MUNTSA
BENZAR BHA WA MA HA
SAMAYA SATO AH

 

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