In general, people say, ‘We are following Dharma”, and speak of it as a kind of religion created by Buddha Shakyamuni.
That is not a correct point of view.
Buddha never created any kind of school or religion.
Buddha was a totally enlightened being, someone beyond our limited point of view.
The teaching of the Buddha is to have presence in that knowledge.”
~ Namkhai Norbu Rinpoche
Arya-mangalaloka-Tara, Tara Auspiciously Shining (Bkra shis snang ba’i Sgrol ma), who grants prosperity and brings about auspicious circumstances
Homage to her, whose crescent-moon tiara
And jeweled ornaments sparkle brilliantly,
Who from Amitabha atop her vast stream of hair,
Floods forth immense rays of light.
On a double lotus and moon, from A appears Yellow Tara with one face and eight arms. The right hands hold trident, hook, vajra and sword. The left hands hold a jewel at the heart, hook, club and flask. The lord of the type is Vairocana.
She is gold, and we praise her crown ornaments. From her crescent moon crown ornament, white light radiates and eliminates sickness, suffering, sorrow, poverty, and depression. Then yellow light radiates from her crown ornament and performs the action of increasing. It enhances sentient beings’ life span, positive potential, wisdom, and good qualities.
From the small Amitabha on Tara’s crown, light streams to all sentient beings, purifying their negative karma and inspiring them to gain Dharma realizations.
om tare tuttare ture mangalam swaha
Iconography by Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche.
21 Taras by Indian artist VV Sarpar.
“According to Tantra, one of the most powerful purifications is meditations on Vajrasattva. Recite the mantra of Vajrasattva, the 100-syllable mantra. If you don’t have initiation, you can say the mantra, no problem, you can visualize Vajrasattva in front of you. [Or] Above your crown, as well.’
— H.E. Zasep Tulku Rinpoche
The Four Opponent Powers
Beyond the perfection of a practice involving all three of Body, Speech and Mind, Varjasattva practice also includes the profound “Four Opponent Powers”:
– The Power of Dependence: Taking Refuge in the Three Jewels, Buddha, Dharma and Sangha.
– The Power of Regret: recalling all of our negative actions in the past motivated by ignorance, attachment or aversion.
– The Power of Remedy: the mantra and visualization and mental focus on purification.
– The Power of Restraint: or undertaking to refrain from creating negative karma (actions) in the future.
Vajrasattva Heruka Mantra
oṃ sri vajra heruka
dṛḍho me bhava
sutoṣyo me bhava
supoṣyo me bhava
anurakto me bhava
sarvasiddhiṃ me prayaccha
sarvakarmasu ca me
cittaṃ śreyaḥ kuru
ha ha ha ha hoḥ
bhagavan vajra heruka
mā me muñca heruka
Oṃ. Vajrasattva Heruka keep your samaya.
As Heruka, remain near me.
Be steadfast towards me.
Be very pleased with me.
Be completely satisfied with me.
Be loving to me.
Grant me all accomplishments.
In all actions, make me mind pure and virtuous. Hūṃ. Ha ha ha ha hoḥ.
O Blessed One, Vajra-nature of all the Tathāgatas, do not abandon me.
Be of vajra-nature, O great Samaya-being, āḥ.
How can Vajrasattva Heruka Buddha purify?
“Whatever manifestations of realms, palaces and forms there are, peaceful and wrathful deities, they do not exist on a gross level. They are forms of shunyata endowed with all the supreme qualities. Therefore, they are known as possessing the aspect of being without self-nature. The minds of those buddhas are completely filled with the wisdom of unchanging non-dual bliss emptiness. Therefore, they are known as possessing the aspect of union. Their body, speech, and mind are eternally filled with the taste of great bliss, free from increase and decrease. Therefore, they are known as possessing the aspect of great bliss.”
– Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
Sanskrit with extensive English translation:
oṃ sri Vajra Heruka
The most excellent exclamation of praise, the qualities of Buddha’s holy body, speech, and mind; all that is precious and auspicious. Vajrasattva, you whose wisdom is inseparable bliss-emptiness,
And whose pledge must not be transgressed, lead me along the path you took to enlightenment,
Make me abide close to your holy vajra mind,
dṛḍho me bhava
Please grant me a firm and stable realization of the ultimate nature of phenomena,
sutoṣyo me bhava
Please grant me the blessing of being extremely pleased and satisfied with me,
supoṣyo me bhava
Bless me with the nature of well-developed great bliss,
anurakto me bhava
Bless me with the nature of love that leads me to your state,
sarvasiddhiṃ me prayaccha
Please grant me all-powerful attainments,
sarvakarmasu ca me cittaṃ śreyaḥ kuru
Please grant me all virtuous actions and your glorious qualities,
Seed syllable of the vajra holy mind, the heart essence and seed syllable of Vajrasattva,
ha ha ha ha hoḥ
Seed syllables of the four immeasurables, the four empowerments, the four joys, the four kayas, and the five wisdoms,
bhagavan vajra heruka
You, who are the vajra of all who have destroyed every obscuration, of all who have attained all realizations, of all who have passed beyond suffering, and of all who have realized emptiness and know things just as they are,
mā me muñca
Do not abandon me,
Grant me the nature of indestructible union, the realization of your vajra nature,
You, the great pledge being with the holy vajra mind,
Syllable of uniting in non-duality.
DILGO KHYENTSE RINPOCHE
Whatever meditation or reflection you have done, it will never be wasted. The benefit it brings will be present in your mindstream at the time of your death and will help you be reborn in a place where the Dharma flourishes, near an authentic spiritual teacher.
Life after life, you will evolve from a mediocre into an average practitioner, and from an average practitioner into an excellent one. The essence of learning is the reflection, and the essence of reflection is meditation.
As you go deeper and deeper into the meaning of the teachings, the wondrous qualities of the Dharma will become ever clearer, like the sun appearing ever brighter the higher you fly.
The sign that you have fully assimilated your learning of the Dharma is that you become peaceful by nature. The sign that you have assimilated your meditation is that you are free of obscuring emotions.
As learning leads to reflection and reflection transforms into meditation, your eagerness for the deluded activities of this life will relax, and you will yearn for the Dharma instead.
Anything you do that is in accord with the Dharma, however small or trivial it may seem, will be beneficial. As the Sutra of the Wise and the Foolish says:
Do not take lightly small good deeds,
Believing they can hardly help;
For drops of water one by one
In time can fill a giant pot.
Similarly, even if you practice only for an hour a day with faith and inspiration, good qualities will steadily increase. Regular practice makes it easy to transform your mind. From seeing only relative truth, you will eventually reach a profound certainty in the meaning of absolute truth.
The main hindrance to the growth of such qualities is a distraction. Distraction can occur in every single moment. If you let time flow pointlessly by, at the time of death you will regret that you have not practiced the Dharma. But by then it will be too late, and your regret will not help at all.
Now is the time to go to a secluded place and put the instructions you have received from your teacher into practice. Each instant of your life will then become precious and meaningful, leading you further away from samsara and closer to liberation.
***The Heart of Compassion
Arya Jjagadvashi Tara, Tara Summoner of Being
Homage to her who can summon forth
The assembly of all earth’s protectors.
By the wrathful quake of the HUNG in her frown,
She completely liberates all destitute beings.
On a lotus and sun seat, from HA appears Black Tara, very fierce. Her right-hand holds a hook that summons the eight planets, her left a hook that dispels misfortune. She is in the alidha posture. The lord of the type is Ratnasambhava.
Her specialty is to increase enjoyments and wealth and eliminate poverty. This can bring about success in business and improve health.
Here Tara is praised because she can activate the ten directional protectors, the “local protectors.” These protectors are inclined toward virtue and are leaders of other spirits. To activate them to do their various activities, she radiates light with hooks on the end of each beam. The hooks bring back the protectors, and she orders them to do beneficial work in the world. They naturally respond to her and listen to her instructions.
om tare tuttare ture vasudharini swaha
Iconography by Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche.
21 Taras by Indian artist VV Sapar.
Sources: Khyentse Foundation.
Listen here, Palgyi Senge,
my eminent noble son!
All phenomena of samsara and nirvana are your own mind,
And do not appear apart from this mind —
Devoid of a self-nature,
beyond thought, word, and description.
Don’t accept the pleasant or reject the awful,
don’t affirm or deny,
Make no preferences,
But remain vividly awake
in the state of unfabricated naturalness!
By remaining like this, the sign of progress is that
your body, speech and mind
Feel free and easy,
beyond the confines of pleasure and pain.
That is the moment of
understanding the awakened state!
– Vajra Guru
Compassion is the most important on the path of Vajrayana (and possibly on the various other paths to complete freedom as well). And yet, there is compassion and there is compassion…
This is a rather delicate topic, so lets thread gently.
In my opinion and indeed experience, normal everyday experiences cannot really be separated from the spiritual quest for freedom. Even in monasteries, there are personal relationships present and with personal relationships come really a lot of room and opportunities for respect, understanding and, unfortunately, abuse, deception, and lies.
Below we can see quotes that clearly express the need for discrimination, clarity and common sense. If people would have exercised their common sense, there would have been much fewer abuses in everyday relationships, monasteries, and Guru-disciple relationships these days all over our world.
When I reflect on these topics, slight sadness appears in my heart. I wish we would live in a world where non-violence, mutual respect, and acknowledgment of inherent human freedoms would be present everywhere, spontaneously. Unfortunately, we are not living in such a world (well, I’m not).
There are situations where gentleness, non-violence, and respect simply isn’t enough. Sometimes, expressing boundaries and firm NO! result in much much more benefit than meek “idiot compassion”.
“…The third near enemy of compassion is idiot compassion.
This is when we avoid conflict and protect our good image by being kind when we should definitely say “no.” Compassion doesn’t only imply trying to be good. When we find ourselves in an aggressive relationship, we need to set clear boundaries.
The kindest thing we can do for everyone concerned is to know when to say “enough.” Many people use Buddhist ideals to justify self-debasement. In the name of not shutting our heart, we let people walk all over us.
It is said that in order not to break our vow of compassion we have to learn when to stop aggression and draw the line. There are times when the only way to bring down barriers is to set boundaries….”
– Pema Chödron
(from the book “The Places That Scare You: A Guide to Fearlessness in Difficult Times”)
I have seen this so many times in life and also in private psychotherapy practice! Generally speaking, most people who might consider themselves very spiritually advanced, can’t say no even to the abusive parent or manipulative partner. And many cannot stop giving off themselves to the point of physical and emotional burn-down. What kind of spirituality is that?
It takes a really advanced stage of spiritual development to creatively use abusive people and to bring their negativeness onto the path, otherwise, it is only a drama. It is definitely easier to be “spiritual” than to be a happy human. Spiritual in this context, of course, means the new age touchy-feely we-are-all-one BS.
If one cannot or does not want to take care of oneself (here on this Earth), no one will, unfortunately:
“…Compassion isn’t complete if it doesn’t include yourself.”
– The Buddha
There is so much at stake when it comes to real and thorough spiritual development. And being all mushy and yielding is simply not enough. One has to take a firm stance. And indeed, in these times, it is easier to attain spiritual states than live courageously and with self-compassion in life here on Earth.
My Spiritual Master articulates this even more directly:
“…The theory of non-violence has spoiled the mind and courage of people today. I am for fighting; fighting against the evil and crime everywhere, which should no longer be tolerated…
…I don’t want this non- violence. The people preach non-violence, but instead, they make water out of their blood. I want to wake up the sense of true humanity. With great difficulty, you get this human body. I want brave and courageous people. A man must have great courage…
I am against non-violence that makes a human being a coward. Fight for Truth! To face life, you must have great courage every day!
Everyone must be courageous, facing the difficulties of life with bravery! Cowardly people are like dead people!
I want a world of brave and courageous people…”
– Mahavatar Babaji
Even H.H. Dalai Lama shares His thoughts on this all-important topic:
“Non-violence means cooperation when it is possible and resistance when it is not.”
If one can’t exhibit a funny “mudra” clearly seen performed by Tantric Master Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche (seen below) in certain circumstances, maybe there is still more room for spiritual (and personal) development.
What do YOU think?
The everyday practice of Dzogchen is simply to develop a complete carefree acceptance, an openness to all situations without limit.
We should realize openness as the playground of our emotions and relate to people without artificiality, manipulation or strategy.
We should experience everything totally, never withdrawing into ourselves as a marmot hides in its hole. This practice releases tremendous energy which is usually constricted by the process of maintaining fixed reference points. Referentiality is the process by which we retreat from the direct experience of everyday life.
Being present in the moment may initially trigger fear. But by welcoming the sensation of fear with complete openness, we cut through the barriers created by habitual emotional patterns.
When we engage in the practice of discovering space, we should develop the feeling of opening ourselves out completely to the entire universe. We should open ourselves with absolute simplicity and nakedness of mind. This is the powerful and ordinary practice of dropping the mask of self-protection.
We shouldn’t make a division in our meditation between perception and field of perception.
We shouldn’t become like a cat watching a mouse.
We should realize that the purpose of meditation is not to go “deeply into ourselves” or withdraw from the world. Practice should be free and non-conceptual, unconstrained by introspection and concentration.
Vast unoriginated self-luminous wisdom space is the ground of being – the beginning and the end of confusion. The presence of awareness in the primordial state has no bias toward enlightenment or non-enlightenment. This ground of being which is known as the pure or original mind is the source from which all phenomena arise. It is known as the great mother, as the womb of potentiality in which all things arise and dissolve in natural self-perfectness and absolute spontaneity.
All aspects of the phenomena are completely clear and lucid. The whole universe is open and unobstructed – everything is mutually interpenetrating.
Seeing all things as naked, clear and free from obscurations, there is nothing to attain or realize. The nature of phenomena appears naturally and is naturally present in time-transcending awareness. Everything is naturally perfect just as it is. All phenomena appear in their uniqueness as part of the continually changing pattern. These patterns are vibrant with meaning and significance at every moment, yet there is no significance to attach to such meanings beyond the moment in which they present themselves.
The everyday practice of Dzogchen is just everyday life itself. Since the undeveloped state does not exist, there is no need to behave in any special way or attempt to attain anything above and beyond what you actually are. There should be no feeling of striving to reach some “amazing goal” or “advanced state.”
To strive for such a state is a neurosis which only conditions us and serves to obstruct the free flow of Mind. We should also avoid thinking of ourselves as worthless persons – we are naturally free and unconditioned. We are intrinsically enlightened and lack nothing.
When engaging in meditation practice, we should feel it to be as natural as eating, breathing and defecating. It should not become a specialized or formal event, bloated with seriousness and solemnity. We should realize that meditation transcends effort, practice, aims, goals and the duality of liberation and non-liberation. Meditation is always ideal; there is no need to correct anything. Since everything that arises is simply the play of mind as such, there is no unsatisfactory meditation and no need to judge thoughts as good or bad.
Therefore we should simply sit. Simply stay in your own place, in your own condition just as it is. Forgetting self-conscious feelings, we do not have to think “I am meditating.” Our practice should be without effort, without strain, without attempts to control or force and without trying to become “peaceful.”
If we find that we are disturbing ourselves in any of these ways, we stop meditating and simply rest or relax for a while. Then we resume our meditation.
If we have “interesting experiences” either during or after meditation, we should avoid making anything special of them. To spend time thinking about experiences is simply a distraction and an attempt to become unnatural. These experiences are simply signs of practice and should be regarded as transient events. We should not attempt to re-experience them because to do so only serves to distort the natural spontaneity of mind.
All phenomena are completely new and fresh, absolutely unique and entirely free from all concepts of past, present, and future. They are experienced in timelessness.
The continual stream of new discovery, revelation, and inspiration which arises at every moment is the manifestation of our clarity. We should learn to see everyday life as mandala – the luminous fringes of experience which radiate spontaneously from the empty nature of our being. The aspects of our mandala are the day-to-day objects of our life experience moving in the dance or play of the universe. By this symbolism, the inner teacher reveals the profound and ultimate significance of being. Therefore we should be natural and spontaneous, accepting and learning from everything. This enables us to see the ironic and amusing side of events that usually irritate us.
In meditation we can see through the illusion of past, present, and future – our experience becomes the continuity of nowness. The past is only an unreliable memory held in the present. The future is only a projection of our present conceptions. The present itself vanishes as soon as we try to grasp it. So why bother with attempting to establish an illusion of solid ground?
We should free ourselves from our past memories and preconceptions of meditation. Each moment of meditation is completely unique and full of potentiality. In such moments, we will be incapable of judging our meditation in terms of past experience, dry theory or hollow rhetoric.
Simply plunging directly into meditation in the moment now, with our whole being, free from hesitation, boredom or excitement, is enlightenment.
This is the dance of the five elements in which matter is a symbol of energy and energy a symbol of emptiness. We are a symbol of our own enlightenment. With no effort or practice whatsoever, liberation or enlightenment is already here.
– Excerpts from Dzogchen Practice in Everyday Life by H. H. Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
“…Here in this womb-like spaciousness,
In the spontaneity of the now,
Samsara is all good and while nirvana is also good
In this all-good matrix, in the now,
Neither samsara nor nirvana exist.
Appearances are all good,
And while emptiness is also all good
In this all-good matrix, in the now,
Neither appearance nor emptiness exist.
Life is all good, and while good and bad feelings are also all good
In this all-good matrix neither life nor feelings exist.
Self and other are both all good
And while acceptance and rejection are also all good
In this all-good matrix, no self and other,
No affirmation or negation is possible….”