THE SADHANA OF THE INSEPARABILITY OF THE SPIRITUAL MASTER AND AVALOKITESHVARA
Throughout history man has complained of the degeneration of his times. The present day is no exception. People, rich or poor, powerful or weak suffer from one form of misery or another. Whether they attempt to confront this reality or withdraw and isolate themselves from it, the suffering of mankind remains. Although war, poverty, disease and mental dissatisfaction continue to plague the world, an individual should never blame others for such problems. The true object of blame for all misfortune is the self-cherishing attitude of those who are directly involved in such confusion. This self-cherishing attitude narrows an individual's outlook to his own likes and dislikes and is the motivating force behind the continued creation of his unhappiness.
All beings wish to be happy and free from misery. Although scientific development, modern weapons and abundant material progress may alleviate the temporary effects of dissatisfaction, such external means can never totally eradicate its fundamental cause. The true solution is to cultivate deep human compassion, love and respect for others. Whether a person is a Buddhist or a Christian, a follower of a specific religion or simply a believer in non-violence and morality, good human qualities such as kindness, generosity, humility and compassion are preferred by all. By cultivating such altruistic and beneficial attributes, the cause of suffering, self-cherishing, will gradually diminish. This, in turn, will promote unity and harmony among human beings of all nations.
In Buddhist teachings compassion, the wish that all beings be separated from their suffering, plays an especially important part. In order to help others be free from misery, Buddha taught that the most effective way is to attain the fully purified state Beyond Sorrow (Nirvana). The wish to do so for the sake of oneself and all others is known as Enlightened Motivation (Bodhicitta). The source of such a selfless motivation is compassion, and its result - accomplished by means of the six transcending perfections (paramitas) - 1) selfless giving, 2) ethics, 3) patience, 4) enthusiastic perseverance, 5) meditative concentration, 6) discriminating awareness - is the full awakening of Buddhahood. In such a state, after completely eliminating every trace of self-cherishing and when directly understanding Voidness, the actual way all things exist, one will become an effective source of benefit for all others. This is because an Enlightened Being has the power to lead others out of their suffering.
Although compassion is cultivated in one's own mind, the embodiment of it is the deity known as Avalokiteshvara (Tib. Chän-rä-zig). The various aspects that are visualised in meditational practices and represented in images and paintings are merely the interpretive forms of Avalokiteshvara, whereas the actual definitive form is compassion itself. However, the interpretive form is not restricted to meditational deities but can appear in a human form. The Dalai Lamas of Tibet have been recognised as true human manifestations of Avalokiteshvara. Through his deep compassion he has shown himself in a manner to which one can easily relate. It is fortunate that there is an opportunity to practice this prayer and method of accomplishment (sadhana) written by His Holiness the XIVth Dalai Lama himself.
This sadhana was composed when His Holiness was nineteen years of age and was first printed in Tibet in the Wood/Horse year (1954). This translation was originally made at the wish of Mr. Ang Sim Chai of Malaysia. It is my sincere and deep hope that people, through this practice, will discover a universal means of creating happiness through generating compassion and love for all. May every creature share in its boundless effects.
Grateful acknowledgement is made to all those who assisted in this work.
In the Spiritual Masters I take Refuge
In the Awakened Ones I take Refuge
In the Truth I take Refuge
In the Spiritual Beings I take Refuge
(Recite three times)
GENERATION OF BODHICITTA
SANG-GYE CHO-DANG TSOG-KYI CHO'-NAM-LA
In the Supreme Awakened One, his truth and the Spiritual Community
JANG-CHUB BAR-DU DAG-NI KYAB-SU-CHI
I take refuge until becoming Enlightened.
DAG-GI JIN-SOG GYI-PE SO-NAM-KYI
By the merit from practising Giving and other Perfections.
DRO-LA PAN-CHIR SANG-GYE DRUB-BAR-SHOG
May I accomplish Full Awakening for the benefit of all.
(Recite three times)
PRAYER OF THE FOUR IMMEASURABLES
The Limitless Equilibrium Meditation
SEM-CHEN TAM-CHE NYE-RING CHA-DANG-DANG
How wonderful it would be if all beings were in Equanimity
DREL-WAI TANG-NYOM LA-NE-NA CHI-MA-RUNG
Free from attachment and hatred which keeps some beings close and others far
NE-PA GYUR-CHIG, NE-PA DAG-GI CHA-WO
May they be in equanimity, I myself will make them be in equanimity
DE-TAR CHE NU-PAR LAMA-LHA JIN-GYI LAB-TU-SOL
Please Guru Deities bless me to be able to do this
The Limitless Love Meditation
SEM-CHEN TAM-CHE DE-WA-DANG
How wonderful it would be if all sentient beings had happiness and
DE-WAY GYU-DANG DEN-NA CHI-MA-RUNG
the cause of happiness. May they have happiness and its cause
DEN-PA GYUR-CHIG DEN-PA DAG-GI CHA-WO
I myself will make them have happiness and its cause
DE-TAR CHE NU-PAR LAMA-LHA JIN-GYI LAB-TU-SOL
Please Guru Deities bless me to be able to do this
The Limitless Compassion Meditation
SEM-CHEN TAM-CHE DUG-NGEL-DANG
How wonderful it would be if all sentient beings were released from suffering
DUG-NGEL-GYI GYU-DANG DREL-NA CHI-MA-RUNG
And the cause of suffering. May they be released from suffering and its causes
DREL-WAR GYUR-CHIG DREL-WAR DAG-GI CHA-WO
I myself will release them from suffering and its causes
DE-TAR CHE NU-PAR LAMA-LHA JIN-GYI LAB-TU-SOL
Please Guru Deities bless me to be able to do this
The Limitless Joy Meditation
SEM-CHEN TAM-CHE TORE-DANG
How wonderful it would be if all sentient beings were never separated
TAR-PEY DE-WA DAMPA-DANG MA DREL-NA CHI-MA-RUNG
From the sublime happiness of release and the happiness of higher rebirths.
MI-DREL-WAR GYUR-CHIG MI DREL-WAR DAG-GI CHA-WO
May they not be separated from these, I myself will make them not be separated from these.
DE-TAR CHE NU-PAR LAMA-LHA JIN-GYI LAB-TU-SOL
Please Guru Deities bless me to be able to do this.
(Recite the immeasurables three times)
TAM-CHE DU-NI SA-ZHI-DAG
May the surface of the earth in every direction
SEG-MA LA-SOG ME-PA-DANG
Be stainless and pure without roughness or fault
LAG-TIL TAR-NYAM BE-DUR-YA
As smooth as the palm of a child's soft hand
RANG-ZHIN JAM-POR NE-GYUR-CHIG
And as naturally polished as lapis lazuli.
LHA-DANG MI-YI CHÖ-PAY-DZE
May the material offerings of gods1 and men
NGO-SU SHAM-DANG YI-KYI-TRUL
Both those set before me and those visualised
KUN-ZANG CHÖ-TRIN LA-NA-ME
Like a cloud of offerings of Samantabhadra2
NAM-KAY KAM-KUN KYAB-GYUR-CHIG
Pervade and encompass the vastness of space.
OM NAMO BHAGA-WATE, BANZA SARA DRA-MARDA-NE
TATHA-GATA-YA, ARAHA-TE, SAMYAK-SAM BUDDHA-YA
TAYA-TA, OM BANZE BANZE MAHA BANZE
MAHA TENZA BANZE, MAHA BIDYA BANZE
MAHA BODHICITTA BANZE
MAHA BODHI MAN-DROPA, SAM-DRAMA-NA BANZE
SARWA KARMA AWARANA, BISHO DHANA, BANZE SOHA
(Recite the purification mantra three times)
KON-CHOG SUM-GYI DEN-PA-DANG
By the force of the truth from the three Jewels of Refuge
SANG-GYE-DANG JANG-CHUB SEM-PA
By the firm inspiration from all Bodhisattvas and Buddhas
By the power of all the Buddhas who have fully completed
TSOG-NYI YONG-SU DZOG-PAY
Their collections of both good merit and insight
By the might of the void
CHO-KYI YING NAM-PAR DAG-CHING
Inconceivable and pure
SAM-GYI MI-KYAB-PAY TOB-KYI
May all of these offerings be hereby transformed
DE-ZHIN NYI-DU GYUR-CHIG
Into their actual nature of voidness
(In this way bless the surroundings and the articles of offering)
DE-CHEN LHUN-DRUB CHO-KU KA-YING-SU
In the space of the Dharmakaya of great spontaneous bliss3
NA-TSOG KUN-ZANG CHO-TRIN TRIG-PAY-U
In the midst of billowing clouds of magnificent offerings
SENG-GE TEG-BAY WOE-BAR NOR-BU-TRIR
Upon a sparkling jewelled throne supported by eight snow lions4
CHU-KYE NYI-DA GYE-PAI DEN-TEG-DU
On a seat composed of a lotus in bloom, the sun and the moon5
NYING-JEI TER-CHEN PAG-CHOG JIG-TEN-WONG
Sits supreme exalted Avalokiteshvara, great treasure of compassion
NAM-PA NGUR-MIG CHANG-WAY DO-GAR-CHEN
Assuming the form of a monk wearing saffron coloured robes.
TSA-WAY LA-MA SUM-DEN DOR-JE-DZIN
Oh my Vajradhara Master, kind in all three ways6
JE-TSUN LO-ZANG TEN-ZIN GYA-TSO-PEL
Holy Lozang Tenzing Gyatso
KAR-MAR DANG-SEL GYE-PAY DZUM-ZHEL-CHEN
Endowed with a glowing fair complexion and a radiant smiling face
CHAG-YE TUG-KAR CHO-CHE CHAG-GYA-YI
Your right hand at your heart in a gesture expounding Dharma
LE-BAM REL-DRI TSEN-PAY PE-KAR-DANG
Holds the stem of one white lotus that supports a book and sword7
YON-PA NYAM-ZHAG TSIB-TONG KOR-LO-NAM
Your left hand resting in a meditative pose holds a thousand spoked wheel8
GUR-KUM DANG-DEN CHO-GO NAM-SUM-DANG
You are clothed in the three saffron robes of a monk9
TSO-MAY SER-DOG PEN-ZHA DZE-PAR-SOL
And are crowned with the pointed golden hat of a Pandit10.
PUNG-KAM KYE-CHE YUL-DANG YAN-LAG-NAM
Your aggregates, sensory spheres, senses, objects and your limbs
RIG-NGA YAB-YUM SEM-PA SEM-MA-DANG
Are a mandala complete with the Five Buddhas and their consorts11
TRO-WO RANG-ZHIN KYIL-KOR KOR-LOR-DZOG
Male and female Bodhisattvas and their wrathful protectors
NA-NGAI WO-TRENG TRUG-PAI GUR-KYIM-OO
Encircled by a halo of five brilliant colours12. My Master is
ZHAB-NYI MI CHE DO-RJE KYIL TRUNG-TSUL
seated in full lotus posture, sending forth a network of
GANG-DUL GYU-TRUL DRA-WAY TRIN-PUNG-GYE
Cloud-like self emanations to tame the minds of all sentient beings.
TUG-KAR YE-SHE SEM-PA CHEN-RE-ZIG
Within his heart sits Avalokiteshvara, a wisdom being with one head
ZHEL-CHIG CHAG-ZHI DANG-ZUNG TAL-MO-CHAR
and four arms, his two upper arms are placed together
OG-MAY SHEL-TRENG PE-MA KAR-PO-NAM
His lower two hands hold a crystal rosary and a white lotus13
RIN-CHEN GYEN-DANG DAR-GYI NA-ZAY-DZE
He is adorned with jewelled ornaments and heavenly raiments
RI-DAG PAG-PE NU-MA YON-PA-KAB
Over his left shoulder an antelope skin is draped14
DA-WAY LANG-TSO PE-DAR KYIL-TRUNG-ZHUG
and cross-legged he is seated on a silver moon and lotus15
DE-YI TUG-KAR TING-DZIN SEM-PA-NI
The white syllable HRIH, a concentration being at his heart,
HRIH-YIG KAR-SEL WO-ZER CHOG-CHUR-TRO
Emits brilliant coloured light in all the ten directions.
LA-MAI NA-SUM DOR-JE SUM-GYI-TSEN
On my Master's brow is a white OM, within his throat a red AH
TUG-KAY HUM YIG LE-TRO WO-ZER-GYI
At his heart a blue HUM from which many lights shine
RAB-JAM CHOG-SUM MA-LU CHEN-DRANG-TE
out in miriad directions, inviting the Three Jewels of Refuge
TIM-PAY KYAB-NEY KUN-DU NGO-WOR-GYUR
to dissolve into him, transforming him into the collected essence of the objects of Refuge.
(In this manner visualise the Spiritual Master)
THE SEVEN LIMB PUJA
SEL-DZOG TSEN-PEL DZE-PAY TONG DROL-KU
Your liberating body is fully adorned with all the signs of a Buddha16
NYEN-JEB DRUG-CHI YANG-DEN GAG ME SUNG
Your melodious speech, complete with all 60 rhythms, flows without hesitation.
ZAB-YANG KYEN-TSE PAG-PAR KA-WAI-TUG
Your vast profound mind filled with wisdom and compassion is beyond all conception.
SANG-SUM GYEN-GYI KOR-LOR GU-CHAG-SEL
I prostrate to the wheel of these three secret adornments of your body, speech and mind.
DAG-PO ZUNG-DANG MA-ZUNG CHO-PAY-DZE
Material offerings of my own and of others
NGO-SHAM YI-TRUL LU-DANG LONG CHO-DANG
The actual objects and those that I visualise,
DU-SUM SAG-PAY NAM-KAR GE-TSOG-KUN
Body and wealth and all virtues amassed throughout the three times.
KUN-ZANG CHO-TRIN GYA-TSOR MIG-NE-BUL
I offer to you upon visualised oceans of clouds like Samantabhadra's offerings.
MA-RIG TIB-POI MAG-GI YI-NON-PE
My mind being oppressed by the stifling darkness of ignorance
CHE-RANG KA-NA MA-TOY DIG-TUNG-SOG
I have done many wrongs against reason and vows
LOG-PAR CHEN-PAY NONG-PA CHI-CHI-PA
Whatever mistakes I have made in the past, with a deep sense of regret,
GYO-DOM DRAG-PO MIG-ME NGANG-DU-SHAG
I pledge never to repeat them and without reservation I confess everything to you.
PAL-DEN LA-MAY NAM-PER TAR-PA-DANG
From the depths of my heart I rejoice
TEG-SUM KYE-PAG RANG-ZHEN TAM-CHE-KYI
In the enlightening deeds of the sublime Masters
DU-SUM NAM-KAR GE-WAY PUNG-PO-LA
And in the virtuous actions past, present and future
NYING-NE SAMPA TAG-PE JE-YI-RANG
Performed by myself and all others as well and by ordinary and exalted beings of the Three Sacred Traditions17
NA-TSOG DUL-JAY KAM-KYI JE-SONG-NAY
I request you to awaken every living being
DAM-CHO KAB-SUM LHA-YI ROL MOY-DRA
From the sleep of ordinary and instinctive defilements
ZAB-ZHI YANG-SU TROL-BEY YI-CHEN-KUN
With the divine music of the dharmas pure truth
SHE-NYON DRIB-PAY NYI-LAY LONG-DU-SOL
Resounding with the melody of profoundness and peace and in accordance with the dispositions of your various disciples.
SI-ZHI MU-TA DREL-WAY NGON-TOG-LA
I entreat you to firmly establish your feet
DRO-KUN DE-WAY BUG-JIN MA-TOB-BAR
Upon the indestructible vajra thone
ZHAB-ZUNG E-WAM MI-SHIG KYIL MO-TRUNG
In the indissoluble state of E-WAM18
ZHOM-ME DOR-JE TRI-LA TEN-PAR-ZHUG
Until every sentient being gains the calm breath of joy in the state of final realisation, unfettered by the extremes of worldliness or tranquil liberation.
NAM-KAR LEG-JE GYI-DANG GYI-GYUR-KUN
I dedicate fully my virtuous actions of all three times
JE-TSUN LA-ME DREL-ME JE-DZIN-CHING
So that I may receive continuous care from a Master
KUN-ZANG CHO-CHOG MON-LAM YONG-DRUB-NE
And attain full Enlightenment for the benefit of all
DRO-KUN DON-DU DZOG-JANG TOB-CHIR-NGO
Through accomplishing my prayers, the supreme deed of Samantabhadra.
LONG MANDALA OFFERING
OM BANZA BHU MI AH HUM
OM Vajraground AH HUM
WONG CHEN SER GYI SA ZHI
Here is the mighty and powerful base of gold
OM BANZA RE KE AH HUM
OM Vajraline AH HUM
CHI CHAG RI KOR YUG GI KOR WAI U-SU
The outer ring is encircled with this iron fence
1 RII GYÄL PO RI RAB
In the centre, the king of mountains, Mount Meru
2 SHAR LU PAG PO
In the east, the continent Purvavideha
3 LHO DZAM BU LING
In the south, Jambudvipa
4 NUB BA LANG CHÖ
In the west, Aparagodaniya
5 JANG DRA MI NYÄN
In the north, Uttarakuru
6, LU DANG LU PAG
7 Around the east, the sub-continents Deha and Videha
8, NGA YAB DANG NGA YAB ZHÄN
9 Around the south, Camara and Aparacamara
10, YO DÄN DANG LAM CHOG DRO
11 Around the west, Satha and Uttaramantrina
12, DRA MI NYÄN DANG DRA MI NYÄN GYI DA
13 Around the north, the sub-continents Kurava and Kaurava
14 RIN PO CHEI RI WO
In the east is the treasure mountain
15 PAG SAM GYI SHING
In the south is the wish-granting tree
16 DÖ JOI BA
In the west is the wish-granting cow
17 MA MO PAI LO TOG
In the north is the harvest that needs no cultivation
18 KOR LO RIN PO CHE
Here is the precious wheel
19 NOR BU RIN PO CHE
Here is the precious jewel
20 TSUN MO RIN PO CHE
Here is the precious queen
21 LON PO RIN PO CHE
Here is the precious minister
22 LANG PO RIN PO CHE
Here is the precious elephant
23 TA CHOG RIN PO CHE
Here is the precious and best of horses
24 MAG PON RIN PO CHE
Here is the precious general
25 TER CHEN POI BUM PA
Here is the great treasure vase
26 GEG MA
Here is the goddess of beauty
27 TRENG WA MA
Here is the goddess of garlands
28 LU MA
Here is the goddess of song
29 GAR MA
Here is the goddess of dance
30 ME TOG MA
Here is the goddess of flowers
31 DUG PÖ MA
Here is the goddess of incense
32 NANG SÄL MA
Here is the goddess of light
33 DRI CHAB MA
Here is the goddess of perfume
34 NYI MA
Here is the sun
35 DA WA
Here is the moon
36 RIN PO CHEI DUG
Here is the umbrella of all that is precious
37 CHOG LÄ NAM PAR GYÄL WAI GYÄL TSÄN
Here is the banner of victory in all directions
38 U SU LHA DANG MII PÄL JOR PUN SUM TSOG PA MA TSANG WA ME PA
In the centre are all the possessions precious to gods and men
TSANG ZHING YI DU WONG WA DI DAG
This magnificent collection, lacking in nothing
DRIN CHÄN TSA WA DANG GYU PAR CHÄ PAI
I offer to you, my kind and holy root Lama
PÄL DÄN LA MA DAM PA NAM DANG KYE PAR DU YANG
Together with you, Venerable Lineage Lamas
LA MA PAG PA CHEN-RE-ZIG
And to you Lama, compassionate Avalokiteshvara
LHA TSOG KOR DANG CHÄ PA
Together with the assembly of Gods
NAM LA ZHING KAM UL WAR GYIO
I offer this pure and beautiful collection to you
TUG JE DRO WAI DÖN DU ZHE SU SOL
In your compassion accept what I offer for the sake of all beings
ZHE NÄ DAG SOG SEM CHÄN TAM CHÄ LA
Having accepted these, to myself and to all beings
TUG TSE WA CHEN POI GO NÄ JIN GYI LAB TU SOL
Please grant your blessings through your great compassion.
SHORT MANDALA OFFERING
SA ZHI PÖ KYI JUG SHING ME TOG TRAM
By virtue of offering to you, assembly of Buddhas visualised before me
RI RAB LING ZHI NYI DÄ GYÄN PA DI
This Mandala built on a base, resplendent with flowers, saffron water and incense
SANG GYÄ ZHING DU MIG TE UL WAR GYI
Adorned with Mount Meru and the four continents as well as the sun and moon
DRO KUN NAM DAG ZHING LA CHÖ PAR SHOG
May all share in its good effects.
DAG-ZHEN LU-NGAG YI-SUM LONG-CHO DU-SUM GE-TSOG-DANG
This offering I make of a precious jewelled mandala together with other pure offerings and wealth.
RIN-CHEN MAN-DEL ZANG-PO KUN-ZANG CHO-PAI TSOG-DANG-CHE
And the virtues we have collected throughout the three times with our body speech and mind.
LO-YI LANG-NE LA-MA YI-DAM KON-CHOG SUM-LA-BUL
O my Masters, my Yidams19 and the Three Precious Jewels, I offer all to you with unwavering faith.
TUG-JEI WONG-GI ZHE-NE DAG-LA JIN-GYI LAB-TU-SOL
Accepting these out of your boundless compassion, send forth to me waves of your inspiring strength.
IDAM GURU RATNA MANDALAKAM NIRYATA YAMI
THE BLESSING OF THE MASTER
JE-TSUN LA-MAY TUG-KAY HRIH YIG-LE
From the HRIH in the heart of Avalokiteshvara, seated in the heart of my Venerable Master,
DU-TSI WO-ZER NA-NGAY GYUN-BAB-TE
Flow streams of nectar and rays of five colours penetrating the crown of my head.
RANG-GI CHI-WO NE-ZHUG DIG-DRIB-JANG
Eliminating all obstructions and endowing me with both
CHOG-TUN NGO-DRUB MA-LU TOB-PAR-GYUR
common and exclusive powerful attainments.
H.H. DALAI LAMA'S GURU MANTRA
OM AH GURU BANZA-DHARA WAGINDA SUMATI SHASANA DHARA SAMUDRA
SHRI BARA SABA SIDDHI HUM HUM.
(Recite the mantra of the Spiritual Master as many times as possible)
THE PRAYER OF THE GRADUATED PATH
TREL-DANG YUN-GYI DE-WA MA-LU-PA
Bestow on me your blessings to be devoted to my Master
ZHIR-GYUR MA-NOR LAM-TON DRIN-CHEN-JE
With the purest thoughts and actions gaining confidence that you
RAB-JAM KYAB-KYI PUNG-POR NGE-NYE-NE
O Compassionate holy Master, are the basis of temporary and everlasting bliss
SAM-JO DAG-PE TEN-PAR JIN-GYI-LOB
For you elucidate the true Path free from all deception and embody the totality of refuges past number.
NOR-CHOG JE-WE DRUN-MIN DEL-JOR-TEN
Bestow upon me your blessings to live a life of Dharma
TOB-KYANG MI-TEN NAM-DOR CHA-ME-PE
Undistracted by illusory pre-occupations of this life
DI-NANG JA-WE NAM-YANG MI-YENG-WAR
For well I know that these leisures and endowments can never be surpassed by countless treasures of vast wealth
DAM-CHO CHO-PE DA-WAR JIN-GYI-LOB
And that this precious form once attained cannot endure, for at any moment of time it may easily be destroyed.
ZO-KA NGEN-DROI JIG-LE KYOB-PAY-PUL
Bestow on me your blessings to cease actions of non-virtue
CHOG-SUM TEN-GYI GYAB-SU LEG-ZUNG-TE
And accomplish wholesome deeds by being always mindful of the causes and effects
KAR-NAG LE-DRE JI-ZHIN SEM-PA-YI
From kind and harmful acts while revering the three Precious Jewels as the ultimate source of refuge
DIG-PONG GE-DRUB MI-PAR JIN-GYI-LOB
And most trustworthy protections from the unendurable fears of unfortunate rebirth states.
SIN-MO LU-DRI JI-ZHIN LHA-WONG-GI
Bestow on me your blessings to practice the three higher trainings20
PUN-TSOG KUN-KYANG LU-WAY CHO-CHEN-DU
Motivated by firm renunciation gained from clear comprehension
TONG-WAY NGE-JUNG DRAG-PO GYU-KUL NE
That even the prosperity of the Lord of the Devas21
LAB-SUM NYAM-LEN JE-PAR JIN-GYI-LOB
Is merely a deception like a siren's alluring spell.
TONG-ME DU-NE DRIN-GYI LEG-KYANG-PAY
Bestow upon me your blessings to master the oceans of practice
SI-ZHI GU-PE NAR-WAY MAR-GYUR-DROY
Cultivating immediately the Supreme Enlightened Motivation
NGANG-TSUL SAM-NE SEM-CHOG RAB-KYE-DE
By reflecting on the predicament of all mother sentient beings who have nourished me with kindness from beginningless time
CHO-PA GYA-TSOR LOB-PAR JIN-GYI-LOB
And now we are tortured while ensnared within one extreme or other, either on the wheel of suffering or in tranquil liberation.
RAB-DANG-YO-ME NYAM-ZHAG ME-LONG-NGOG
Bestow on me your blessings to generate the yoga
TAR-DREL DO-NEY TONG-PAY NGO-TSAR-BUM
Combining mental quiescence with penetrative insight
GOG-ME TRA-WAY ZHI-LHAG ZUNG-DREL-GYI
In which the hundred thousand-fold splendour of Voidness forever free from both extremes22
NAL-JOR GYU-LA KYE-WAR JIN-GYI-LOB
Reflects without obstruction in the clear mirror of the immutable meditation.
TSEN-DEN DOR-JE DZIN-PAY SHE-NYEN-GYI
Bestow on me your blessings to observe in strict accordance
DRIN-LE CHE-ZAB NGAG-KYI GOR-ZHUG-NE
All the vows and words of honour that form the root of powerful attainments
NGO-DRUB TSA-WA DAM-TSIG DOM-PA-NAM
Having entered through the gate of the extremely profound Tantra
TSUL-ZHIN SUNG-WAR NU-PAR JIN-GYI-LOB
By the kindness of my all proficient Master
NYI-ME DE-TONG YE-SHE TSON-NON-GYI
Bestow on me your blessings to obtain within this lifetime
KUN-JE LA-LUNG GYU-WA RAB-CHE-NE
The blissful great Seal of the Union of Body and Wisdom23
KU-TUG ZUNG-JUG DE-CHEN CHAG-GYA-CHE
Through severing completely my all creating karmic energy
TSE-DIR NGON-DU GYUR-BAR JIN-GYI-LOB
With wisdom's sharp sword of the non-duality of Bliss and Voidness24
THE MERGING OF THE SPIRITUAL MASTER
DE-TAR SOL-WA TAB-PE LA-MA-CHO
My Supreme Master, requested in this way
GYE-ZHIN JON-TE RANG-GI TSANG-BUG-GYU
Now blissfully descends through the crown of my head
DAB-GYE NYING-U MI-SHIG TIG-LER-TIM
And dissolves in the indestructible point
DE-NYING LAR-YANG PE-DAR LA-MAY-KU
At the centre of my eight-petalled heart25
SEM-PA SUM-TSEG DAR-ZHIN SEL-WA-YI
Now my Master re-emerges on a moon and lotus, in his heart sits Avalokiteshvara
TUG-KAY HRIH TAR YIG-DRUG NGAG-TRENG-GI
Within whose heart is the letter HRIH, encircled by a rosary of the six syllable mantra.
KOR-LE DU-TSI GYUN-BAB NE-DON-DANG
The source from which streams of nectar flow eliminating all obstacles and every disease.
DIG-DRIB KUN-JANG LUNG-TOG YON-TEN-GYE
And expanding my knowledge of the scriptural and insight teachings of the Buddha.
SE-CHE GYEL-WAY JIN-LAB MA-LU-TOB
Thus I receive the entire blessings of the Victorious Ones and their Sons
LAR-YANG WO-TRO NO-CHU KYON-JANG-TE
And radiant lights again shine forth to cleanse away defects from all beings and their environments.
NANG-DRAG RIG-SUM PAG-PAY SANG-SUM-DU
In this way I attain the supreme yogic state
KYER-WAY NEL-JOR CHOG-LA NE-PA-GYUR
Transforming every appearance, sound and thought into the three secret ways of the Exalted Ones26
OM MANI PAME HUNG
(Recite the six syllable mantra of Avalokiteshvara (Tibetan - Chenrezig), Buddha of Compassion, as many times as possible)
100 SYLLABLE MANTRA OF VAJRASATTVA
OM BANZA-SATTVA, SAMAYAM MANU-PULAYA
Oh Vajrasattva, keep your pledge,
BANZA-SATTVA TVENO PATISHTA
Vajrasattva reside in me,
DIRDHO ME BHAVA, SUTOSHYO ME BHAVA
Make me firm, make me satisfied,
SUPOSHYO ME BHAVA, ANU RAKTO ME BHAVA
Fulfill me, make me compassionate,
SARVA SIDDHAM ME PRAYACCHA
Grant me all siddhis.
SARVA-KARMA SUCHA ME
Also make my mind
CHITTAM SHRIYAM KURU HUM HA HA HA HA HOH
Virtuous in all actions Hum Ha Ha Ha Ha Hoh
BHAGAVAN SARVA TATHAGATA
All the Blessed Tathagatas,
BANZA MA ME MUNCHA, BANZA BHAVA
Do not abandon me, make me indivisible,
MAHA SAMAYA SATTVA
Great Pledge Being.
AH HUM PHAT
(recite three times)
DI-TSON LEG-JE DA-ZHON BUM-GYI-ZI
In the glorious 100 thousand-fold radiance of the youthful moon of wholesome practice
LO-TER GYAL-WAY CHO-TSUL KUN-DAY-TSEL
From the blue jasmine garden of the Victorious Treasure Minds method of Truth27
ZHE-DRUB GE-SAR GO-PE-SA-CHEN-KYON
May the seeds of explanation and accomplishment germinate and flower across this vast earth
SHI-PA DRUB-PE SI-TAR DZE-GYUR-CHIG
May the ensuing auspiciousness beautify everything until the limit of the universe28
PUN-TSOG GE-LEG JE-WE RAB-JI-PAY
By flying high above the three realms29
GA-DEN CHAB-SI NOR-BU GYAL-TSAN-CHE
The never vanishing great jewelled banner of religious and secular rule30
MI-NUB SI-SUM LA-NA DREN-PA-YI
Laden with millions of virtues and perfect accomplishments
PEN-DEY DO-PA BUM-DU JO-GYUR-CHIG
May myriad wishes for benefit and bliss pour down.
GYA-CHEN YIG-DZIN GEG-MOY KYON-YANG-POR
Having banished afar the dark weight of this era's degeneration
DU-KYI GU-PAY MUN-TSOG TAG-SING-NE
Across the extent of the earth - a sapphire held by a celestial maiden
DE-KYI NANG-WA DAR-WAY GE-TSON-CHER
May all living creatures overflow with spontaneous gaiety and joy
YI-CHEN NAM-PAR TSEN-PE NYEM-GYUR-CHIG
In the significant encompassing brilliance of happiness and bliss.
DOR-NA KYE-WAY TRENG-WAR GON-KYO-KYI
In short, O Protector by the power of your affectionate care
DREL-ME NYE-ZHIN JE-SU ZUNG-WAY-TU
May I never be parted from you throughout the rosaries of my lives
KUN-GYI WONG-CHUG ZUNG-JUG GYEL-SA-CHER
May I proceed directly with an ease beyond effort
BE-ME DE-LAG NYI-DU SON-GYUR-CHIG
Unto the great city of Unification31, the all powerfull cosmic state itself.
GANG-RI RA-WAY KOR-WAY ZHING-KAM-DIR
In the heavenly realm of Tibet (surrounded by a chain of snow mountains)
PEN-DANG DE-WA MA-LU JUNG-WAY-NE
The source of all happiness and help for beings
CHEN-RE-ZIG WONG TEN-ZIN GYA-TSO-YI
Is Tenzin Gyatso - Chenrezi in person -
ZHAB-PE SI-TEY BAR-DU TEN-GYUR-CHIG
May his life be secure for hundreds of kalpas!
SE-CHE GYEL-WAY ME-JUNG TUG-JEY-TU
By the force of the immaculate compassion of the Victorious Ones and their Sons,
CHOG-DU KUN-TU MI-TUN GY-TSOG-ZHI
May everything adverse be banished for eternity throughout the universe
SI-ZHI GE-LEG YAR-NGOY DA-WA-TAR
May all favourable omens become increasingly auspicious
PEL-GYE GE-TSEN DAR-WAY TRA-SHI-SHOG
And may whatever is of virtue in the round of this existence or in tranquil liberation, flourish and grow brighter like the new moon waxing full.
MANTRAS - recite 21 or more
OM MUNI MUNI MAHA MUNAYE SOHA - (Shakyamuni Buddha)
OM MANI PADME HUNG - (Avalokiteshvara) Compassion
OM WAGI SHARE MUM - (Manjushri) Wisdom
OM BADZA PANI HUNG - (Vajrapani) Invincible power over negativity
OM TARE TUTTARE TURE SOHA - (Green Tara) Helpfulness over obstacles
OM TARE TUTTARE TURE MAMA ARYU PUNI GYANYA PUNDING GURUYE SOHA
- (White Tara) Long Life Mantra
* * * * * *
MAHAKALA - PRAISE OF THE SIX-ARMED DHARMA PROTECTOR
HUM! NYUR-DZÄ CHÄN-RÄ-ZIG-LA CHAG TSÄL-LO
Quick-acting Avalokita, homage to you!
ZHAB-DUB-DANG-CHÄ BI-NAA-YA-KA NÄN
Wearing anklets, you trample Ganesa.
NAK-PO CHEN-PO TAG-GI SHAM-TAB CHÄN
Mahakala, you wear a tiger-skin loincloth.
CHAG-DRUG DRÜL-GYI GYÄN-GYI NAM-PAR GYÄN
Fully adorned with snake-ornaments on your six arms,
YÄ-PA DRI-GUG BAR-WA TRENG-WA DZIN
The first right holds a triku, the middle a mala,
TA-MA DAA-MA-RU-NI DRAG-TU TRÖL
The last plays violently a damaru
YÖN-PA TÖ-PA DANG-NI DUNG TSE-SUM
The left holds a skull-cup, and a three-pronged lance,
DE-ZHIN ZHAG-PA ZUNG-NÄ CHING-WAR JE
And likewise a noose, which serves for tying up.
DRAG-PÖI ZHÄL-NI CHE-WA NAM-PAR TSIG
Your wrathful mouth completely bares its fangs
CHÄN-SUM DRAG-PO U-TRA GYEN-DU BAR
Your three eyes are fierce. The hair of your head blazes upward.
TRÄL-WAR SIN-DHU-RA-YI LEG-PAR JUG
Your forehead is properly anointed with red lead.
CHI-WOR MI-KYÖ GYÄL-POI GYÄ-TAB TÄN
On your crown, Aksobhya's royal presence is fixed.
TRAG-DZAG MI-GO NGA-CHUI DO-SHÄL CHÄN
You wear a great necklace of fifty men's heads, dripping blood.
RIN-CHEN TÖ-KAM NGA-YI U-LA GYÄN
On your crown, you're adorned with five dry, jewelled skulls.
SHING-LÄ JÖN-NÄ TOR-MA LEN-DZÄ-PAI
You come from your tree and accept our torma offering,
PÄL-DÄN CHAG-DRUK-PA-LA CHAG-TSÄL TÖ
Glorious Six-Armed - homage and praise to you!
SANG-GYÄ TÄN-PA NYÄN-PO SUNG-WA-DANG
Sternly protect the Doctrine of the Buddha!
KÖN-CHOG U-PANG NYÄN-PO TÖ-PA-DANG
Sternly praise the height of power of the jewels!
DAG-CHAG PÖN-LOB KOR-DANG CHÄ-NAM-KYI
For us - teachers, disciples and entourage -
KYEN-NGÄN BAR-CHÄ TAM-CHÄ ZHI-WA-DANG
Please quell all bad conditions and obstructions,
CHI-DÖ NGÖ-DRUB NYUR-DU TSÄL-DU SÖL!
And grant us quickly whatever siddhis we wish!
(recite three times)
* * * * * *
NOTES ON THE SADHANA TEXT
1 'Gods' are those beings who abide in the celestial realms, the rebirth state with the least suffering within the cycle of existence (samsara).
2 Samantabhadra is one of the eight Bodhisattvas of the Mahayana lineage. He is famed for the extensiveness of his offerings made to the Buddhas of the ten directions. 'Bodhisattva' literally means 'Courageously Minded One Striving for Enlightenment'. A Bodhisattva courageously endures any hardship to overcome ignorance and the momentum of previous unskilful actions on order to attain Full Enlightenment for the benefit of all other beings.
3 The Dharmakaya is the Truth Body of a Fully Enlightened Being. It is the final accomplishment of all practices and results in an accumulation of meditational insight.
4 Four of the eight snow lions look upwards providing protection from interferences from above. Four gaze downwards protecting from those below.
5 The lotus rising through the mire of a swamp symbolises the purity of the Bodhisattva who rises above the bonds of cyclic existence uncontaminated by the confusion of the world. The moon symbolises the conventional Enlightened Motivation of Bodhicitta, the altruistic aspiration to attain Buddhahood for the sake of others. The sun symbolises the ultimate wisdom of Bodhicitta, the direct cognition of voidness, the true mode of existence.
6 'Vajradhara Master' is a name given to a Tantric Master, indicating that he is considered inseparable from Buddha Vajradhara (Tib. Dorje Chang - Holder of the Vajra Sceptre) the Tantric emanation of Buddha Shakyamuni. The vajra is a symbol of strength and unity. He is kind in three ways - 1) by giving the empowerment to practice the deity yoga of Tantra, 2) the oral transmission that remains unbroken from the Enlightened One himself, 3) and the oral explanation of the tantric procedures based on his own experience.
7 The white lotus symbolises the pure nature of the discriminating wisdom of the penetrative insight into Voidness. The knowledge of this is symbolised by the book of scripture resting on the lotus together with the flaming sword of total awareness that cuts through the root of ignorance. The scripture is one of the 'Perfection of Wisdom' (Prajnaparamita Sutras).
8 The thousand spoked wheel signifies the turning of the Wheel of Truth (Dharmacakra) the teachings of the Buddha.
9 The threes robes stand for the Three Higher trainings in Ethics, Meditative Stabilisation and Discriminating Wisdom.
10 The golden hat of a Pandit symbolises pure morality. Its pointedness stands for penetrative wisdom. A Pandit is a master of the 5 major branches of knowledge - Art, Medicine, Grammar, Reasoning and the inner or Buddhist sciences.
11 Meditation on the Five Buddhas or Conquerors (Jinas) is utilised in Tantric practice to purify the 5 aggregates (skandhas) and to transform the 5 defilements of greed, hatred, self-importance, jealousy and ignorance into the five wisdoms. The five aggregates are form, feeling, recognition, compositional factors and consciousness. The five wisdoms are voidness, equality, individuality, accomplishment and the mirror-like wisdom. They are often mentioned in translations as the 'Dhyani Buddhas'.
12 The five colours are red, blue, yellow, green and white, they are associated with the Five Buddhas.
13 The beads on the crystal rosary held by Avalokiteshvara symbolise sentient beings. The action of turning the beads indicates that he is drawing them out of their misery in cyclic existence and leading them into the state Beyond Sorrow (Nirvana). The White Lotus symbolises his pure state of mind.
14 The antelope is known to be very kind and considerate towards its offspring and is therefore a symbol for the conventional Enlightened Motivation, the cultivation of a kind and compassionate attitude towards others.
15 The moon stands for the method by which one follows the spiritual path and engages in the conduct of the Bodhisattvas. The lotus symbolises the discriminating wisdom of insight into Voidness.
16 There are thirty-two major and eighty minor signs that indicate the attainments of an Enlightened Being.
17 The Three Sacred Traditions of Buddhism are those of Sravakas, Pratyekabuddhas and Bodhisattvas.
18 E-WAM is a Sanskrit seed syllable meaning 'thus'. It symbolises the unity of the positive and negative aspects of cosmic energy which in terms of the momentum from the past and the potentiality of the future, are unified in the present.
19 The Yidam is the meditational deity with whom one identifies when practising tantric deity yoga. This should only be done after having received empowerment from a fully-qualified tantric master.
20 The Three Higher Trainings (siksas) are : Ethics (sila), Meditative Stabilisation (samadhi) and Discriminating Wisdom (prajna)
21 Even Indra, the Lord of the Devas, will one day expend the accumulation of virtuous actions that causes him to hold one of the highest positions within the six realms of cyclic existence, and he too will fall into a lower realm.
22 The two extremes are the beliefs in either true self-existence or non-existence. The Middle Way (Madhyamika) shows a path that it is neither of these
23 The Great Seal (Mahamudra, Tibetan: phya-rgya chen-po) of the Union of Body and Wisdom (yuganaddha, zung-hjug) is the unity of the clear light (prabhasvara, hod-gsal) and the illusory body (mayakaya, agyu-lus). The illusory body is the finest physical body, a combination of energy (vayu rlung) and consciousness (citta, sems). The clear light is the wisdom of the non-duality of Bliss and Voidness.
24 The non-duality of Bliss and Voidness is the bliss of the direct understanding of Voidness.
25 The heartwheel (chakra) of the central psychic channel (nadi) has eight divisions.
26 The three secret ways of the Exalted Ones are viewing all surroundings as a blissful abode (mandala) and all beings as manifestations of deities, hearing all sound as mantra and intuitively knowing everything to be empty of true existence.
27 'Victorious Treasure Mind' is a name given to Manjushri, the meditational deity embodying discriminating wisdom. His method of Truth is the direct cognition of Voidness.
28 The limit of the universe is when all beings attain Full Enlightenment.
29 The three realms are the realms of desire, form and formlessness
30 Religious and secular rule refers to the form of government in Tibet prior to 1959
31 The great City of Unification, the all powerful cosmic state, is Buddhahood.
THE TEACHING OF THE DIRECT MEDITATION
THE REFUGE PRAYER
I take refuge in my spiritual master, who is the very essence of all the past, present and future Buddhas, the source of all the holy Dharma teachings, and the lord of the Arya Sangha.
Please bless my body, speech and mind and bestow upon me the ability to progress through the stages of the profound graduated path and may no outer, inner or secret hindrance keep me from realising this path from beginning to end.
THE PRAYER OF THE BEING OF LOWER SCOPE
At this moment I have received a perfect human rebirth, which is supremely meaningful and for many reasons very difficult to attain. Though it is infinitely precious it is very perishable and subject to decay even in the shortest instant because of its changeable nature. My death is definite, but the actual time of my death is unknown to me.
The profound law of Karma cannot be denied and the sufferings of the three lower realms are unbearable. Therefore, please bestow upon me the ability to perform virtuous actions and to expel negative actions, and to take refuge in the Buddha, Dharma and Sangha from the depth of my heart.
THE PRAYER OF THE BEING OF MIDDLE SCOPE
Through the practices of the being of lower scope I will attain rebirth in the three upper realms. This is not enough to gain final release from the sufferings of conditioned cyclic existence. Thus I will be compelled to continuously undergo the limitless sufferings of conditioned cyclic existence because of uncontrolled delusion and Karma.
Therefore, I must deeply realise the evolution of conditioned cyclic existence from uncontrolled rebirth to death to rebirth. Please bestow upon me the ability to practice, both day and night, the three essentials of the Dharma Path; higher conduct, higher concentration, and higher wisdom, through which I will go beyond all suffering and arrive at the citadel of Nirvana.
THE PRAYER OF THE BEING OF HIGHER SCOPE
There is not one being in cyclic existence that has not been my mother countless times. Thus I love all living beings without exception and have great compassion for them in their infinite sufferings. Please grant me blessings that I may be able to lead all sentient beings to final liberation. In order to do this I renounce the perfect happiness of self, which is the Nirvana of the lower vehicle, and vow to obtain Buddhahood through exchanging myself with others upon the basis of the equilibrium meditation and through engaging in the practice of the six transcendental perfections of the Bodhisattva's path.
THE PRAYER OF THE BEING OF HIGHEST SCOPE
Through following the Bodhisattva's path I will gain indestructible courage and will have no sorrow in experiencing the sufferings of others even to the end of time. The sufferings of others are unbearable even for the shortest second and as I feel their sufferings as if they were my own, please grant me blessings to be able to complete the lightening quick path of the Vajrayana and to attain the stage of Buddha Vajradhara within this short life time by protecting the ordinations and pledges of the spiritual master as if they were my eyes.
The fully enlightened mind has three characteristic qualities: universal compassion, the wisdom that sees the true nature of reality and the skillful and effective means to deal with all situations beneficially. The first of these three, loving compassion, is the attitude that wishes all beings, without exception, to be separated from every form of suffering, pain and dissatisfaction. Such great compassion - and the enlightened motive of bodhicitta which strives towards enlightenment for the sake of others - is symbolised by Avalokiteshvara (Tibetan: Chenrezig) shown here in his four-armed aspect.
His first two hands hold a wish-granting gem, while his other two hold a crystal rosary and a lotus. Around his shoulder is draped the skin of a deer symbolising the gentle nature of compassion. The lotus appears frequently in Buddhist art and usually symbolises purity. Just as this beautiful flower grows in muddy swamps only to open its petals immaculately above the surface of the water, so too does the enlightened mind emerge from and make its influence felt within worldly existence without being stained by it.
Vajrasattva is white, with one head and two arms. He is seated, legs crossed in the adamantine posture. With his right hand he holds a sceptre at his heart and with his left a bell at his hip. Most of his hair is tied up in a three tier knot surmounted by a precious jewel. He has a hair between his eyebrows that curls clockwise. He is adorned with the eight precious ornaments associated with the Perfect Body of Enjoyment of an Awakened Being: a golden crown inlaid with five wish-fulfilling gems; a pair of gold earrings; armlets; bracelets and anklets; a necklace; a necklace extending to his waist; and around his waist a golden belt or girdle hung with strings of pearls. He is draped in five silken garments: a half-length shirt with short sleeves; across his shoulders, an ornamented poncho-like garment; draped over his crown and hanging down to below his ears, a pair of multi-coloured silk strips; dangling down his back, beautiful silk tassles; and on the lower part of his body, a five-coloured silken garment. He is handsome and smiles peacefully.
The white lotus beneath Vajrasattva signifies that his mind-stream is uncontaminated by the faults of cyclic existence, just as a lotus rises unpolluted from the mire of a swamp. Moreover, just as creatures are afflicted by the heat of the sun and soothed by the coolness of moonlight, so the lunar disc relieves sentient beings from the pain arising from emotional afflictions and misery. Vajrasattva's two legs crossed in the adamantine position symbolise that, on the one hand, his great compassion prevents him from attaining for himself alone the peace of merely trans-wordly liberation ( the goal of the Hinayanist ) while, on the other hand, though he remains in cyclic existence to help others, his intelligent awareness cognising the emptiness of inherent existence safeguards him from being affected by wordly entanglements.
Vajrasattva's body is white, symbolising complete purity. He has one face because his mind is single-pointed and he sees all phenomena as being of 'one taste' within the expanse of emptiness. The five jewels on his crown stand for the five wisdoms. His hair arranged in a top knot surmounted by a jewel indicates that he is the all-pervading lord of both cyclic existence and Nirvana, the state 'beyond the sorrow' of grasping at inherent existence. His right arm stands for the conventional truth and his left for the ultimate truth. The sceptre in his right hand symbolises method, which in tantra is great bliss or eternal delight, and the bell in his left hand stands for the wisdom of intelligent awareness, penetrative insight into emptiness. Thus his two arms indicate the indivisibility of method and wisdom. His eight ornaments indicate that in tantric practice all objects of desire are brought into the path and ornament the yogi having insight into emptiness. The five silken garments represent the four ways of gathering disciples, or the four kinds of Buddha activity.
Symbolic gesture of the Mandala offering with your hands
The practice of offering the Mandala consists of the ritual offering of the world, and all its wealth, to the Object of Refuge as an act of veneration.
The configuration of your hands contains the same meaning as the Mandala offering. The two fingers raised upwards in the centre represent Mount Meru.
The four corners formed by interlocking the other fingers, represent the four continents and you should imagine that all the wealth contained in the entire world is present in your hands.
When the offering is completed, if you would like to visualise those to whom you have offered the Mandala as happily accepting it, you should proceed to unfold your hands away from you.
If, on the other hand, you feel it is more appropriate to receive the blessings of the Object of Refuge to whom the offering is made, then you should unfold your hands towards you.
Origin of Mahakala, the Dharma Protector Deity
At one time in the past, the Lord of Great Compassion, the Noble Avalokiteshvara, raised the Idea of Enlightenment, the Bodhicitta, and then for countless kalpas accumulated merit. After passing through the ten Bodhisattva levels, he received the special Great Light empowerment. Then, as he entered the ranks of the Noble Sons of the Buddha, he made this vow:
'Throughout the samsaric world realms in the limitless space of the ten directions, I will benefit beings. I must liberate all beings from samsara. Not until all beings are established on the level of Buddhahood, not even one left behind in samsara, will I myself enter Buddhahood. Only when all beings without exception have been guided to Buddhahood, will it be well for me to achieve it. Until then I will remain in samsara for the benefit of all beings. And to ensure it, may my body be shattered into a thousand pieces if I break this vow.'
From then on, Avalokiteshvara resided at the Potala Mountain. Through his limitless emanations, at every moment, he accomplished the ripening and liberating of innumerable sentient beings - to an extent beyond our means to express. And in this manner he passed uncountable years - many, many kalpas.
Then, at one time, he thought it possible that now he had delivered all beings from samsara. With his omniscient vision he looked, and saw that the realms of sentient beings had neither increased nor diminished. Not only had they not decreased in number, but now those sentient beings near him were in the Age of Darkness, and were even more difficult to subdue. Then saying, 'Now, I cannot benefit even one sentient being,' Avalokiteshvara broke the vow he had previously made, and his body shattered into a thousand pieces. Then the Root Lama who by his vow always holds us in his compassion, the Noble World Protector, who has conquered and transcended, and because of his immeasurable light is called the Buddha Amitabha, vividly appeared and said:
'Son of my family, it is not well that you have thus broken your vow. Now you must replenish your broken vow, and make an even greater resolution to benefit beings.'
The shattered body of a thousand pieces, by Amitabha's blessing, was united into one body with eleven heads and a thousand arms. Avalokiteshvara then thought that his previous great vow could never be exceeded. And yet by it he had been unable to benefit even a few beings. So for seven days he was unable to decide what to do. Then he thought that by means of a wrathful form he would be able to subdue the degenerate beings of this Age of Darkness. And, seeing many beings who practised Dharma and yet were unable to escape from the Bardo realms, he thought that by a wrathful form he could also protect them from the Bardo. And lastly, he thought that the beings in this Dark Age were poor and needy, experiencing only suffering, and that by a wrathful form he could provide them with an antidote to their suffering, so that their needs could be met by their simply making the wish.
With this three-fold activity, his vow became even greater than before. From the heart of Noble Avalokiteshvara emerged a dark blue HUNG letter, which transformed into the Instantaneous Protector of Wisdom. In all the Pure Lands, the ground shook with six kinds of earthquakes. The Conquering and Transcending One of Immeasurable Light and all the other Tathagatas of the ten directions proclaimed with one voice:
'Son of the family, it is well that you have made this resolution. You shall have the empowerment of all the wisdom dakinis. You shall have the strength of the wrathful Yama, Lord of Death. You shall have the mountain spirits, the yakshas, the devils and the demonesses as your messengers. You shall embody the great wrathful empowerments of the Body, Speech, Mind, Qualities and Activity of all the Buddhas throughout the three times.'
Ever since then, Mahakala has remained as the Doctrine Protector of all the Buddha fields.
Symbolism of Mahakala
The Protector's body colour is dark blue, symbolic of the changeless Dharmakaya. His three eyes symbolise his clear comprehension of the three times, and the vivid manifestation of the three bodies of Buddha. The crown of five skulls symbolise the five poisons - anger, desire, ignorance, jealousy and pride - transformed into five wisdoms. His six arms symbolise the completion of the six perfections - generosity, patience, morality, diligence, meditation and wisdom. the triku knife symbolises the cutting of ego-attachment. The skull bowl filled with blood symbolises the subjugation of the evil ones. The rosary symbolises his continuous activity for the benefit of beings. The damaru hand-drum symbolises his power over the dakinis. His trident symbolises his power over the three spheres - desire, form and formless. The lasso symbolises his action of binding those who break their vows. His two feet symbolise means and wisdom. That his left leg is straight and his right leg bent symbolise his accomplishment of benefit to self and others. He tramples on the Binayaka, to symbolise his destruction and dispersal of great obstacles. The sun on which he stands symbolises his illumination of the darkness of ignorance. The lotus seat symbolises purity undefiled by samsara. The blazing fire symbolises his action to consume neurotic states of mind. The tiger skin, purification of desire; the elephant skin, purification of pride; the snake, purification of anger. All his other ornaments symbolise that he has the complete qualities of the Buddha.
Dharma Therapy Trust
under the guidance of
Venerable Geshé Damchö Yönten
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