Monday, November 23, 2009

Thinley Norbu On Vajrasattva

“The Daily Yogic Method for the Accomplishment of Lama Vajrasattva, 
the Vajra Warrior”

Excerpt from a commentary by Thinley Norbu Rinpoche

Vajrasattva is white, radiant like a diamond, and possessing the nine peaceful
1) A subtle body (the sign that pride has
been purified).
2) A perfectly proportioned body (the sign
that hatred has been purified) .
3) A well-toned body (the sign that desire
has been purified).
4) A pliant body (the sign that ignorance
has been purified).
5) Youthful appearance of the body (the
sign that jealousy or envy has been purified.
6) A clear body (the sign that the defect of
stains has been purified).
7) A radiant body (the sign of containing all
Excellent qualities) .
8) An attractive body (the sign of having the perfection
of all the 32 excellent marks and the 80 minor signs).
9) Splendor and blessing of the body (the
signs of vanquishing all things).
These qualities are not possessed by oneself
as Vajrasattva alone. All beings of peaceful, illusory,
enlightened awareness possess these qualities. Thus one
should meditate.

There are also nine wrathful qualities possessed by the illusory beings of enlightened awareness. Wrathful deities show:
1) lustful, coquettish, flirtatious, demure aspects (in
order to lead those beings who have desire out of
2) wrathful, brave aspects (in order to lead those
beings who have hatred);
3) awful, repulsive aspects (in order to lead those
beings who have ignorance);
4) coquettish, demure laughing sounds (in order to lead
those beings who have desire);
5) harsh, threatening sounds (in order to lead those
beings who have hatred);
6) wrathful sounds like thunder (in order to lead those
beings who have ignorance);
7) compassion (in order to lead those beings who have
8) magnificence (in order to lead those beings who
have hatred);
9) equanimity and peace (in order to lead those beings
who have ignorance).

If all these qualities are even slightly understood, the symbolic meaning of these beings will be understood. If western students understand the meaning of the peaceful and wrathful ones, then whether they are painting thankas or creating any other Dharma imagery, they will understand the meaning of what they are doing, and it will be of benefit to their spiritual practice. All of this is clearly explained in my book, The Small Golden Key. Western students have great pride. But don't be too prideful-please read this book. Although I am a poor person and writer, if students have the right, pure intention and read my book, then although I have no qualities to speak of, they might possibly be benefited. The Small Golden Key is very brief and concise because if there were too many details, it would have too many pages. Yet, though it is very brief, it is clear and can be of great benefit for some readers. For others, however, the fact that it is concise might make it difficult to understand; for others, if it were extensive, it would be too difficult. Although it is very brief, it was written to give the essence.

Not only Vajrasattva, but all peaceful deities possess the nine peaceful characteristics. Similarly, all wrathful deities possess the nine wrathful characteristics. The teaching on these characteristics can be found in my book. Check there without having great pride. Great, prideful people look down on others who are humble and lowly. No matter how kind one is to those with great pride, it makes no difference. They think they are like great, high lamas or famous people. Even though they don't have the ability to teach the Dharma in a deep way, they lie about their qualities. People like this really love power and fame. Even if a teacher teaches something very minor, these people think it is the deepest, most profound teaching they ever heard. Except when trying to steal your pure awareness or qualities, they would never think that you had been kind to them. Even if they have a bit of interest, they do nothing but ridicule.

Those of you who have some sense of humility, do not ridicule your teacher. You have very great pride. If your pride becomes too great, then great obstacles will arise for you. No harm will come to your teacher. When your pride is great and swollen, you can only see the sky. However, to be as great as you think you are, you need qualities. Yet, you cannot even see good qualities in others. When those who ridicule others and are prideful are not able to see the good qualities of others, they will be unable to have good qualities themselves. So check very carefully in my book and review the nine characteristics of the peaceful and wrathful ones. The wrathful characteristics do not need to be applied in this practice because the deity is peaceful.

Since the peaceful characteristics do apply here, check their meaning carefully. The deity also possesses the 32 major and 80 minor marks of a buddha. A detailed explanation of these marks would amount to many pages. If you want an extensive understanding of these marks, you should consult the mNgon.rtog.rGyen or the jug. pa. In fact, these major and minor marks are explained in my book. They are taught in both the Mahayana and Vajrayana traditions. The major and minor marks are a sign of the Sambhogakaya Buddha. Most people think that these marks are the signs of the full Nirmanakaya Buddha. In actuality, however, these marks are the signs of the Sambhogakaya Buddha of the two qualities of separation and maturation, the quality of separation is the Dharmakaya and the quality of maturation is the Rupakaya. The 32 major and 80 minor marks belong to the Rupakaya. Thus, concerning the explanation of these marks, if one wishes to follow the Hinayana or Mahayana traditions, one can find the teachings in the mnGgon rtog rGyen. If one wishes to follow the Vajrayana tradition, the teachings can be found in the Sang wa'i Nying po. In the Sang wa'i Nying po, the 32 major and 80 minor marks relate to the main deity and the entourage of deities gathered in his/her mandala. There is ac ommentary to the Sang wa'i Nying po known as the Chokchu Minpa Selwa, in which this is explained extensively. One can follow either the Sutrayana or the Vajrayana tradition regarding these marks.

The deity is adorned beautifully with the five silken garments the silken scarves, upper robe, sleeves, and so forth, as well as the eight jewelled ornaments of the crown, earrings, necklace, shoulder armlets, and so forth. His hair is in a knot at the crown and is clasped by a precious blue jewel. In his right hand he holds a vajra to his heart; in his left he holds a bell at his hip. Hig legs are in the vajra asana. He is embracing his consort,Nyema Karmo. Nyema Karmo is sixteen years of age, endowed with the qualities of youth. The youthful Sambbogakaya beings in general are endowed with the fine qualities of health, pleasing disposition, passion and purity. (But I do not know if all 16-year old women are like this.) In addition to possessing all the fine qualities, she is extremely pleased and passionately smiling. She is wearing the ornaments of the five mudras, such as the wheel at the crown, the necklace, the bracelets, the anklets, and so forth. In her right hand she holds a vajra blade which is around the neck of her consort and in her left she holds a skull cup filled with nectar which she offers to him. Her two legs encircle her consort's waist.

Vajrasattva and Nyema Karmo are united in the unfailing, exhaustless great bliss. In speaking of exhaustless bliss, I am not referring to our own exhaustible worldly desire, such as intoxication, game playing, or acts of sexual desire which arises from holding onto conceptualization, desire, and attachment. Worldly bliss is happiness which is exhaustible. Exhaustless bliss is without conception, without attraction or attachment; it is beyond suffering and is liberated from ordinary bliss. Thus it is called the exhaustless great bliss. Vajrasattva and consort are united in this kind of exhaustless great bliss. This is the union of the male and female principles, the union of bliss and emptiness. The true nature of bliss is emptiness. This emptiness is not nihilistic emptiness: It is not just empty like the sky, with no substance whatsoever. This bliss is the bliss of intrinsic awareness; It is extremely expansive. Vajrasattva and consort are joined in the union of this exhaustless bliss and emptiness. Their aggregates and their sensory elements are enriched with the peaceful and wrathful conquerors. 

To illustrate this further, the five aggregates represent the five Buddhas. The five Buddhas represent the five buddha families: the Buddha family, the Vajra family, the Ratna family, the Padma family, and the Karma family. The five elements-earth, water, fire, air, and spacerepresent the consorts: Sangye Chenma (earth); Mamaki (water); Gur Karmo (fire); Damtsig Drolma (wind); Ying Chukma (space). Thus, the five elements are the five Consorts of the five Buddhas from each of the respective five families. Similarly, all of the sensory elements represent the eight male bodhisattvas. The sense organs represent the eight mind beings. Each organ has an object (i.e., the hearing organ has its particular object, the taste organ has its particular object, etc.). The eight objects of the eight sense organs are the eight female bodhisattvas. Allof the branch sensory elements represent the wrathful male and female deities. All of the aggregates and sensory elements that make up the human form are in essence the vast assembly of the mandala and entourage of the various peaceful and wrathful conquerors who are all spontaneously and naturally residing there.

From within the pure, clear, spontaneous appearance of Vajrasattva and his heavenly realm (the vast mandala as well as the forms that are present within it, together with the realization that all of this pure appearance is spontaneously born), limitless blazing light rays spring forth through the vast expanse of phenomena. The blazing light rays naturally fill up the mandala. Not just one mandala but all mandalas from all of the buddha families are filled so that there is no boundary or limit. The great one, Vajrasattva, thus pervades the widest reaches of all deities and all mandalas. He is the being endowed with limitless compassion. His compassion is measureless, without limit, and beyond definition. These are Vajrasattva's qualities. His appearance, and the emptiness of his appearance, is seen clearly as the illusory being of enlightened awareness. His emptiness is naturally unobstructed. His appearance is not impure but is fully purified. His appearance is like a rainbow of light and not gross like ordinary substances. His form is emptiness and appearance in union-the illusory form.

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5 reader comments:

Anonymous said...

Is any form of empowerment or transmission needed for this practice ?

Anonymous said...

Is there more to Rinpoche's teaching. Thanks for posting.

Anonymous said...

I also would like to know if there is anymore to this teaching.

Anonymous said...

Is the blog master previewing these posts? I reiterate the last 2 posts. Is there anymore to this teaching?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous, I don't know much but yes, I think traditionally you would need the lung and empowerment. I would also love to know what commentary this teaching comes from. Where can I find it?