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Vajrasattva is an essentially Tantric, essentially Vajrayanic figure. To the best of my knowledge he doesn't appear anywhere in the other two Yanas - either in the Hinayana or in the Mahayana. Usually, what is said is that Vajrasattva is a Buddha appearing in Bodhisattva form - in fact, is, in a sense, the Adi-Buddha appearing in Bodhisattva form. So this raises the question of what is the AdiBuddha, or what is Adi-Buddha. You are familiar with the conception of the Five Buddha Mandala. In the Five Buddha Mandala one has the Central Buddha, who is usually either Vairocana or Akshobya - and the other four Buddhas are arranged around the Central Buddha - they occupy the four points of the compass, the four cardinal points. So, the Central Buddha is the Fifth Buddha, and the other four Buddhas are aspects of that Central Buddha, even though they also are Buddhas in their own right. But the Central Buddha embodies the Wisdom of the Dharmakaya, or awareness of the Dharmakaya, of the Dharmadhatu rather, the Dharmadhatu-jnana. So in a sense one can say therefore that the Fifth Buddha is the Ultimate Buddha, the Absolute Buddha, and that the other four are specific aspects. But one can also say that even beyond that there is a still more Esoteric aspect. After all, when you visualise the Mandala of the Five Buddhas it's, as it were, two-dimensional, isn't it? There's a central point, then up, then down, to the right and to the left. Then you could, as it were, imagine a Buddha figure behind the Central Buddha, in the third dimension. So this would be a Sixth Buddha, and that is Vajrasattva. Vajrasattva is in fact sometimes called the Sixth Buddha, meaning thereby that He belongs to an even more Esoteric dimension - that you speak of a Sixth Buddha in a way in which you speak of a fourth dimension, yes? I mean, I've made the parallel between a third dimension and Vajrasattva, but really it should be between a fourth dimension; maybe one could put it still more accurately and think of the Mandala three dimensionally. You've got a Buddha in the centre, you've got Buddhas up and down and also Buddhas back and front. Yes? So therefore you've got Buddhas occupying a central point and three dimensions. So where are you going to put your Sixth Buddha? You can put Him only in the fourth dimension - He's more Esoteric still, more hidden still, more recondite, and that is Vajrasattva. So in this particular context Akshobya occupies the centre of the Mandala, and Vajrasattva is therefore sometimes described as the Esoteric aspect of Akshobya; the Esoteric aspect of the Central Buddha. So, when you go outside three dimensions, when you go, as it were, into a fourth dimension, for all practical purposes so far as we are concerned you go outside space. If you go outside space, you also go outside time, because there isn't time and space, as we are told nowadays, but "space-time." So to go outside space into a fourth dimension is also to go outside time into what one can only describe as Eternity. Yes? So, Vajrasattva represents also that, the Sixth Buddha. He is the Adi-Buddha. "Adi" literally means "from the beginning" or "Primeval." But not from the beginning in the sense of literally from a first point and then continuing within time, but first or primeval in the sense of transcending time altogether. So you could say that Vajrasattva represents that Esoteric aspect of Buddhahood which transcends both space and time. Yes? And as transcending space He is the Sixth Buddha, as transcending time. He is the Adi-Buddha, the primeval Buddha or First Buddha, "Original Buddha" as it's usually translated. Not only that; not only is Vajrasattva "from the beginning" as it were, but it is specifically said that He is pure from the beginning. Vajrasattva represents the beginningless purity of one's own mind; that is to say one's own Ultimate Mind or Ultimate Essence. So Vajrasattva is especially connected with purification, especially purification from sins; and the purification consists in the fact that oneself, as Vajrasattva, has never even been defiled; there's no question of purifying yourself, but realising that from the beginning, outside space and outside time, there was never a moment - because there is no moment - when you were not pure. So Vajrasattva's practices are essentially
then Vajrasattva represents the best. So the aim and object of the Vajrasattva Practice is to overcome that sense of alienation." "Pure from the beginning" is often explained as void from the beginning. in connection with after-death ceremonies. So. that one is not free. Vajrasattva is also regarded. So "Vajra" means the element of ultimate Reality. "well.your ultimately pure essential nature. have sinned. It's as though Vajrasattva. I remember. not perfect. only on the surface. . you don't feel pure. "Sattva" means the totally purified consciousness which realises that ultimately void nature. once I went to see Jamyang Khyentse Rimpoche . as it were. but that ultimately they do not matter.practices of the realisation of the intrinsically pure nature of one's own mind. It's the ultimately refined subject completely united with. as the One who saves from Hell. The Vajrasattva Mantra is also repeated in connection with death. outside relativity altogether. in your ultimate essence you are pure. or from sin. Vajrasattva is essentially this. but that ultimately you are not affected by them . which feels impure'. that you are primevally pure. I won't say don't matter. one has the fusion of what we can only regard an the Ultimate Object and the Ultimate Subject. imperfections.not in a relative sense of the higher being relative to the lower. that "Vajra" is a synonym for "Sunyata. So this is what Vajrasattva represents.that one is conditioned. Yes? Do you get the point? So. you are alienated from that purity. overcoming of the alienation between one's ultimately pure. the object in not an object. the highest. in the case of Vajrasattva. what were you actually performing and reciting" and he said that he was reciting or performing the Vajrasattva mantra. So it's as though. and one's mundane. so much as impurity. relative. you may not think of it. and to restore you to a complete realisation of your ultimately pure nature . the lowest experience. the extreme form of which. At that point. Do you get the point? So you could say 'So the successive clauses of the Vajrasattva Mantra represent a successive. even though. the ultimate ." Then I asked. from a certain point of view. So Vajrasattva is associated. because it's sin that causes you to fall into Hell . they can't really be distinguished as subject and object. alienated consciousness. Vajrasattva embodies that outside space and outside time. but. but a lama friend of mine died. basically in more popular terms. or Mind. Any impurity is only apparent. At that Point.he was then in Gangtok so I had to wait a few minutes before going in. It's the purely clear and transparent knowledge of Sunyata on the part of the completely purified consciousness. don't matter. Yes? One's own Absolute Mind. Sometimes the name is explained in this way. the ultimate object. and I have been performing some ceremonies on his behalf. especially as I've said. or Ultimate Mind. So.is to realise that you never.but with the proviso that in the ultimate sense you purify yourself by realising that you have never become impure. which is Vajrasattva. of course. because you are pure from the beginning. Or. sins. Obviously one must understand this deeply and sincerely. represents the diametrical opposite. you know. If you take Hell as being the worst experience. so in this way Vajrasattva comes in. pure from the beginning. ultimately real from the beginning. and when I went in he said "I'm sorry I kept you waiting. in the Tantra especially. Vajrasattva stands for purification. which is Vajrasattva. or example of which.your own true nature remains underneath all that. it doesn't mean that on their own level faults. is suffering in Hell. in this connection. in fact. For one's actual present feeling is that one is not pure. or progressive. and also the only ultimate deliverance from Hell. intact. because traditionally it's associated with deliverance from any form of suffering. but as something not perfect . with purification from sins. completely knowing. the subject is not a subject. Absolute Being. or at least. So one does the Vajrasattva Visualisation and Mantra Recitation for purification from sins . weaknesses.
as it were you know. I will do my part. of course. So the 'Om' comes at the beginning. sort of form a natural group. I will give the results'. the Sadhanas of Tara. as a reminder. the ultimate nature of things.In other words.because. represents the Dharmakaya. Manjughosa. Yes? Question: Is there any association between Vajrasattva and Padmasambhava? Sangharakshita: Not especially or directly. it represents Buddhahood or Enlightenment. Vajrasattva belongs to the Family of Akshobya. Perhaps I'll work out. You do your part. which is the Vajra Family. 'void' in the ordinary sense. your subjective effort. Vajrasattva will do His part. So you enter into this mutual agreement.that the Sadhana of Padmasambhava . more and more in touch with your own intrinsic purity . there's an agreement. There is an object out there which is. Sometimes it's translated as 'oath'. or you feel yourself gradually restored to. as represented by Vajrasattva. as it were. the 'U' is the Sambhogakaya and the 'M' is the Nirmanakaya .I think I've mentioned this before . so-called. Anyway.that one is doing this for the sake of Enlightenment. you should feel yourself becoming more and more integrated with that ultimately pure nature. and I quite like people. I mean. or an agreement. of what the ultimate goal of everything that one is doing in the course of the Sadhana. which is your own true nature in its ultimate depth. Padmasambhava. Then 'Om Vajrasattva Samaya. He undertakes to do something. Sangharakshita: Tara. So the important thing in repeating the Mantra. co-operates with you. Vajrasattva. is just to see this progression. So. You recognise that you are not just practising. you know 'Om' is from the A U M . between you. Yes? Question: Manjughosa. you experience. whether one does the Vajrasattva Practice or any other. taking the distinction between them as real. Lotus Family. leaving behind all surface sins and imperfections and impurities and so on. as you go through the clauses of the Mantra.. pledges 'If you do your part. yourself. Manjughosa. So that is the pledge. as it were. not the Buddhist sense (Laughter). you'll notice that there are exactly one hundred syllables in this Mantra. one day... with you.Maybe I'll give them in the. Vajrasattva. as it were. There is an ultimate purity. as you recite the Mantra. it will do its. 'Vajrasattva' is. The nature of things. Sometimes it's said that the three letters of 'Om' . a pledge. He. So the Mantra starts off with 'Om'. In that clear? So. as it were. proper sequence. the name of the Buddha appearing as a Bodhisattva Himself. Padmasambhava. 'Om' here represents the Ultimate Goal.in other words the three. But even if one doesn't explain it in detail in that way the 'Om' stands for the Ultimate Goal of Buddhahood in its fullness. waiting there to be realised by you. It's not as though it's an entirely subjective process. Padmasambhava belongs to the Padma Family." Yes? 'If you do the practice. You undertake to do something. But I personally feel . wherever possible. But that is how it seems. So if you do your bit. bodies of the Buddha. . This is how it is to be understood. it out in full it's A U M . Yes? Vajrasattva enters into a sort of bond.sometimes it is said that the 'O' is the Dharmakaya. as it were. as it were. when you take up a Sadhana it's as though you enter into an agreement with the Deity .AU together and pronounced as 'O' so if you spell. how or why that is.the Buddha or Bodhisattva of that Sadhana. supporting your subjective quest. taking for the time being subject and object as real. actually is . or pledge. broadly and generally. a state of reintegration with the original purity of your own nature. if you play your part. to get into all four of these. So 'Om Vajrasattva Samaya'. in the void. 'Samaya' here means a sort of bond. The nature of things is such that if you make the right spiritual effort it cannot but bear fruit. as it were. They seem to hang together spiritually. or studying the Mantra. which of course is one's object.leaving beside. a bond. Tara . sort of.
nonetheless.it is there in the background. you want to be completely reconciled with your own true nature. So then.you remind yourself of that at the beginning .that there is this Ultimate Ground of your own being. 'Anurakto' is more like 'passionately'. Yes? You're more centred. That is there to support. as it were. but you're still quite external. coming from Vajrasattva to you and therefore from you to Vajrasattva . But this is beginning to be overcome and you feel a sort of gladness. 'Manupalaya'. Vajrasattva is . The alienation is beginning to be overcome. 'be pleased for me'. in a way. where you are primevally pure. your own true nature does. So here. as it were. you're beginning to be in touch with your own intrinsic purity. your Higher Self . if you're alienated from them they're alienated from you. side by side. truer than you. overshadowing you . Vajrasattva.even from yourself. stand behind you .it's up to you. Then. And then you say 'Sutosyo Me Bhava'. you're invoking Vajrasattva to be pleased with you. And then you say 'Anurakto Me Bhava'. to like you. just barely there. you feel that it's there. In fact it makes them possible. even cold. even hostile. you're being truly reconciled to your own true nature. It is your sort of better Self. 'Manu' is Man. quite external. better than you. that gives you a certain strength. Don't forget. shoulder to shoulder. You can always turn to it. So it does. gives you some hope.even does function as a sort of protector. 'love me deeply'. So before there might have been the feeling that your own true nature. as a sort of distant protector. it's Him and you. because you're becoming more like your own true nature.'Suposyo Me Bhava'. it gives you a sort of protection. Now you see the alienation is beginning to be really overcome . a joy. or 'love me passionately'. 'be glad for me'. If you've got your own true Vajrasattva nature standing beside you. The distance or the gulf between you and your own true nature is being overcome. and co-operate with.'Om Vajrasattva Samaya' . If you dislike somebody you tend to think that they dislike you. but your present state. even though you're still quite alienated from it. that is there in the background all the time. The fact that you have. So 'Om Vajrasattva Samaya'. that true nature is there. protect you . your impurities are being reduced. Even if you don't make any spiritual effort. but still. this agreement or pledge in effect between you.there is a sort of warmth between you. protected. for help . which is translated as 'love me deeply'. a warmth. Vajrasattva does represent your own true Mind . . all your personal efforts. there's a bit of emotional rapport between you. you've invoked Vajrasattva now to stand beside you. So there is a sense in which the alienation is not complete. as it were. if you like. there's more harmony and agreement and similarity between you. as it were. You want to be completely absorbed in each other. not only that .'defender' or 'protector' of Man. . was quite distant. you see that though you are in a state of alienation from your own true nature. Do you see what I mean? But you've come a bit further. Then you say 'Drdho Me Bhava'. back of you. When you're alienated from your own true nature it's as though your own true nature is alienated from you. 'Vajrasattva Tvenopatishta'.there is this 'Samaya'. to use the classical term. It also suggests the mind. Yes? Not even face to face. and the fact that it is there. So you appeal to Vajrasattva. 'madly' 'violently'. your present condition.it's been translated here . Before. Not only hope. You're appealing to Vajrasattva to. 'be firm for me'.to use that rather well-known non-Buddhistic phraseology. as it were. but now you're invoking Vajrasattva to stand beside you. rush together with you. if you so wish. a certain firmness. Your 'Genius'. purer than you. Your own true nature is beginning to approve of you. you want to completely overcome the sense of alienation from your own true nature. you know.in a positive spiritual sense. So the relationship is. means you are.the distance is being overcome. as it were. So therefore 'Manupalaya'. is one of alienation from your own true nature. It's even hostile to you. So Vajrasattva is pleased with you. you start in a condition of alienation. Vajrasattva was sort of just standing behind you. an Ultimate True Nature which is. maybe in the far distance.
nothing but Buddhas. You sort of remember that there was this pledge. 'Bhagavan Sarva Tathagata' all are blessed Buddhas. what a ridiculous mistake!' (General laughter). the significance of which is that when you wake up.that oath or pledge. 'Anurakto'. having purified all one's karmas. so you say. my sins. the 'Hoh' is the central Wisdom of the Dharmadhatu. my conditioned status. 'well look.the Transcendental Laughter. what happens? You take over all those perfections. you say 'make me a better mind'. The great passion of the Tantra where all your emotional energies are directed towards something transcendental. for my impure karmas. The 'Ha Ha Ha Ha'. It means just 'passion'. or 'Anuraga'. my feeling that I am impure'. Sometimes 'MahaAnuraga' 'great passion'. and He has kept it. let me be ultimately real. sort of. you can't sustain it. This means . 'eminent'. sort of. 'Siddhi' means. 'Sarva Karma Sucha Me'. They become yours because you are that now.when you look all around you see nothing but Buddhas. a sublime mind. 'O Vajra-like Ones'. 'accord me all perfections'. magical powers. So you laugh. A spiritual perfection. So this is your. It's not quite like that. completely. So. 'Let me be truly Vajric. So. there's no room for my impurities. Then you say 'Chittam Sreyah Kuru Hum'. Yes? Or each of the Five Buddhas. it's only a partial vision or a momentary vision. I thought that I was unenlightened. let me be a true Individual'. now there is a sort of complete accord between you and your own true nature.This is a very important Tantric term.that is to say 'All you Buddhas . There's no real grammar here but you appeal.liberate me from my conditioned state. So. This is sometimes said to be the crucial clause. experience. but actually I was Enlightened all the time.both as spiritual perfections and. Now let out these five Transcendental Laughs. all your transcendental attributes. Sometimes it's used in the sense of 'magical powers' . sort of. Yes? One for each of the Five Wisdoms. has all these. the last vestige of impurity is removed . but I find that I'm completely pure. as it were. now that I'm purified of all sins let mine be an Enlightened mind. So when Vajrasattva and you become united. 'success'. So then you say 'Vajrama Me Munca'. I thought that I was impure. the four aspects. because I have taken over all your spiritual qualities. So. appeal to or invoke. He's endowed with all possible spiritual perfections. So Vajrasattva. You just explode in this sort of way. Now that we have become one. all beings seem Buddhas to you. 'Mahasamayasattva'. everywhere. 'Sreyah' means 'high'. you think 'how ridiculous!. well. you're not yet liberated. Not only do you realise your own true Buddha Nature and explode with laughter that you'd ever thought you were anything else . all your Buddha attributes become mine. And then you say 'Bhagavan Sarva Tathagata'. It suggests an Enlightened mind. the Great Hero. of the bond . So you. In other words the mind of a Buddha. all beings seem Enlightened. as the embodiment of Buddhahood. let all your perfections. all your Buddha attributes. the Five Jnanas. . as it were. but for the time being at least. literally. 'Vajri Bhava'. you've done your bit and He has certainly done His. 'Sarva Siddhim Me Preycha'. to your own true nature. highest point that you reach. this agreement between you and Vajrasattva. all Buddhas'. therefore you say next. you see them in their ultimate essence. .'accord me all perfections'. Vajrasattva to that end . 'lofty'. 'fruit'. as it were. that you are primevally pure. again to Vajrasattva as 'Mahasamayasattva' He is the great Being of the bond. Tathagatas. as it were. a noble mind.it is translated here 'Blessed all ye Buddhas'.you realise. So. You're basically concerned with purification. He is the Great Being. In other words. 'Purify all my Karma'. It has both connotations . Because we have become one. .it's a very Tantric term. So that's the. take them away'. purify them. And then you say 'Ha Ha Ha Ha Hoh'.
of that alienation between your present grubby self . There's a sort of rhythm. and this is the sort of consciousness one should have. . and each time you recite it you get deeper and deeper into it. is gradually overcome.all evil. which is translated 'Away with Evil'. sort of. especially 'destroy' . So.And then you say 'Ah Hum Phat'. you see. which is the embodiment of Primeval Purity. rather than reciting in the context of meditation. nearer and nearer. you are Vajrasattva-like. Any point or query about that? It is really quite straightforward. 'Phat' means. clause by clause. but in the inner depths. powerful Mantra.and your true. wiped out. though there are tunes to which one can chant it: but that's chanting. but nothing especially musical. [Pause] Question: How should one recite the Mantra? Sangharakshita: It's quite straightforward. they don't exist any more. it's a very. Not on the surface. the Ultimate Essence. immaculately pure Vajrasattva nature. and how the alienation between you and your own true Vajrasattva nature is being progressively overcome.let's say grubby rather than sinful . antidote for any kind of Christian conditioning . yes. that the main thing to understand is the progressive nature of these clauses of the Mantra. you may be quite grubby. and this is the sort of feeling that you should have as you go through it.your present grubby self . after doing the Visualisation you recite the Mantra. that that alienation.that in your ultimate essence you are not a miserable sinner . On the surface. primevally pure. Foundation Yoga. that in fact the purification from sin consists in that realisation that in the ultimate sense you never have sinned.that you are absolutely pure. that you are getting closer and closer. or feeling that one should have. say in the context of Puja. maybe. which is the Vajrasattva Nature. all impurity has been destroyed. it's almost the most basic Vajrayana Practice. So. as one goes through it. to your own true nature. Question: It's interesting that although Vajrasattva is an aspect of the Adi-Buddha. as the Mantra progresses. this is quite a good. [Bhante then recited the Mantra] OM VAJRASATTVA SAMAYA MANUPALAYA VAJRASATTVA TVENOPATISHTA DRDHO ME BHAVA SUTOSYO ME BHAVA SUPOSYO ME BHAVA ANURAKTO ME BHAVA SARVA SIDDHIM ME PREYCHA SARVA KARMA SUCHA ME CHITTAM SREYAH KURU HUM HA HA HA HA HOH BHAGAVAN SARVA TATHAGATA VAJRAMA ME MUNCA VAJRI BHAVA MAHASAMAYASATTVA AH HUM PHAT! Just like that. So.
sometimes light blue.. sometimes as brown.you start at the end. Question: You see sometimes in Bodhisattva .. just with the jewel ornaments. though very often in a naked form. Sangharakshita: No there's Samantabhadri and the . correlations. or yellow or blue or green or white. Sangharakshita: Yes. Sangharakshita: It's a bit parallel to Zen. Tara as the Sambhogakaya. Question: Does Samantabhadra have the same association with Vairocana that Vajrasattva has with Akshobya? Sangharakshita: Yes. Question: [unclear] And he's dressed as a young Bodhisattva? Sangharakshita: Yes.. and the Yum. you find iconographically both colours. You have this arrangement of Padmasambhava as the Nirmanakaya. apart from the Mula Yoga Practice. historically speaking. Ekajati as the Nirmanakaya. are blue .it's just that it's a distinguishing colour. The Sadhanas that I've got. Maybe it was brown because the other colours have been pre-empted by Five Buddhas of the Mandala. In the Vajrayana they're very fond of these. Samantabhadri as the Dharmakaya. Amitabha as the Dharmakaya. and Samantabhadra as the Svabhavikakaya. in feminine form. There's a Zen saying that I've quoted this before . Question: Why is it that in the prostration practice you've got Samantabhadra as being brown. Question: Akashadhateshvari. I mean. broadly speaking. But you often get Samantabhadra in the context of the Nyingmapas. should it be brown? Sangharakshita: It doesn't really . start at the top'. sometimes white. What other colour would you have? If it can't be red. that is a Vajrayanic principle . And in the same way.which is the Akshobya colour..Sangharakshita: Well. So perhaps it is better to have a distinctive colour. for the Nyingmapas. Tara as the Sambhogakaya. I mean. If you have a dark blue Samantabhadra it's the same colour as Akshobya. Question: Doesn't Vajrasattva sometimes appear as blue? Sangharakshita: Sometimes as dark blue. right. Question: Does it matter which. but I think I prefer it to be brown. sometimes He's shown as dark blue.'If you want to climb a mountain. the Thousand Armed Avalokiteshvara as the Sambhogakaya. Though the Bodhisattva Samantabhadra is a different figure from the Buddha Samantabhadra. yes.. whereas very often He's seen as being blue? Sangharakshita: Well.. [Laughs] Question: It fits with the idea of Vajrasattva. sort of. just because it was a different and therefore a distinctive colour.. Samantabhadra . it must be just the 'Trikaya' in this case.dark blue . Samantabhadri.. in a way. you have Ekajati as the Nirmanakaya. yes. I can't remember now. the female counterpart is then white.
and also Padmasambhava. Then. you know. representing the Dharmakaya or the Absolute plane. and then a naked Samantabhadra right at the top. and I've seen it in a temple In Nepal.. this is the historical plane.. upstairs we have. this in the Archetypal plane. If you have the Trikaya.as the Adi-Buddha. [End of tape] . at the human. There's Padmasambhava on the ground floor.I don't know if you've realised that. Then there's Amitabha in gorgeous royal robes on the first floor.. as Svabhavikakaya. in my opinion.. the Avalokiteshvara... is always represented without any garments or ornaments at all. Sometimes the Dharmakaya is represented in this way.. in the main shrine. Question: Where. There are going to be three levels of shrine.. at Sukhavati .. or we're going to have. We have a little of that sort of thing.. you know. you've got three images. Downstairs we've got the Meditating Buddha. a quite good symbolism. historical level.. or Sakyamuni. on the second floor. thousand-armed.. for obvious reasons.
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