A Festival for Knowledge Holders
I prostrate to the Guru! To Vajrasattva, the pervasive lord of all buddha families, To the wisdom jewel, the supreme Arya Nāgārjuna, and so forth, To the collection of direct and lineage lamas, I make supplications, and request common and supreme attainments. Instantaneous Self
Generation In a single instant I become Dveṣavajra (Vajra Hatred) along with mother Sparśavajrā. I have a dark blue body, three faces—dark blue in the center, white on the right and red on the left—and six arms, the right hands holding a vajra, wheel, and lotus and the left holding a bell, jewel and sword. Consecration of Inner Offerings Oṃ Āḥ Vighnānatakṝt Hūṃ| Oṃ Śūnyatā Jñāna Vajra Svabhāva Ātmako ‘Ham| All becomes empty.
From within emptiness, Yaṃ emerges and transforms into a wind maṇḍala. Above that is Raṃ which becomes a fire maṇḍala. Above that is Oṃ Āḥ Hūṃ which become three human heads that serve as a hearth. On top of the hearth is Āḥ, from which comes a skullcup, vast and big. In the base of
that is Āḥ from which comes a lotus marked with Āḥ. Above the lotus are the five meats and five nectars, each marked with its respective name syllable1 as well as the syllable Oṃ. Above the skullcup is Hūṃ which becomes a vajra marked with Hūṃ, from which light shines forth. This light strikes the wind maṇḍala, causing the wind to blow, which causes the fire to blaze,
and as a result all of the substances in the skullcup melt and boil. The vajra and Hūṃ descend into the skullcup, and through their melting all faults of color, odor and potential are purified. The lotus and Āḥ that are under the substances melt, and through their melting the substances are transformed into the essence of nectar. The light rays of the Oṃ syllables marking the substances invoke nectar from the hearts of all
buddhas which is added to the nectar in the skullcup and causes it to increase and multiply. Oṃ Āḥ Hūṃ| (recite seven times) Consecration of Outer Offerings for Directional Protectors Oṃ Āḥ Vighnānatakṝt Hūṃ| Oṃ Śūnyatā Jñāna Vajra Svabhāva Ātmako ‘Ham| All becomes empty. From within emptiness, from Āḥ come eight skullcup vessels. Within each of these is the individual seed syllable2 from which comes the essence of each
individual offering substance, all of which are endowed with the three qualities.3 Oṃ Arghaṃ Āḥ Hūṃ| Oṃ Pādyaṃ Āḥ Hūṃ| Oṃ Puṣpe Āḥ Hūṃ| Oṃ Dhupe Āḥ Hūṃ| Oṃ Āloke Āḥ Hūṃ| Oṃ Gandhe Āḥ Hūṃ| Oṃ Naividya Āḥ Hūṃ| Oṃ Śabda Āḥ Hūṃ| Consecration of the Torma Offering to the Directional
Protectors4 Oṃ Āḥ Vighnānatakṝt Hūṃ| Oṃ Śūnyatā Jñāna Vajra Svabhāva Ātmako ‘Ham| All becomes empty. From within emptiness, Yaṃ emerges and transforms into a wind maṇḍala. Above that is Raṃ which becomes a fire maṇḍala. Above that is Oṃ Āḥ Hūṃ which become three human heads that serve as a hearth. On top of the hearth is Āḥ, from which comes a skullcup, vast and big. In the base of that is Āḥ from which comes a lotus
Above the skullcup is Hūṃ which becomes a vajra marked with Hūṃ, from which light shines forth. This light strikes the wind maṇḍala, causing the wind to blow, which causes the fire to blaze, and as a result all of the substances in the skullcup melt and boil. The vajra and Hūṃ descend
into the skullcup, and through their melting all faults of color, odor and potential are purified. The lotus and Āḥ melt, and through their melting the substances are transformed into the essence of nectar. The light rays of the Oṃ syllables invoke nectar, which is added to the
nectar in the skullcup and causes it to increase and multiply. Oṃ Āḥ Hūṃ| (recite seven times) Presenting Offerings to the Directional Protectors Light radiates out from the Hūṃ at my heart and invokes all of the directional protectors, who enter into clear light and arise as a collection of deities in union as father and mother.
Inner Offering and Torma Offering Oṃ Daśadik Lokapāla Saparivāra Oṃ Āḥ Hūṃ| Request to Pacify Obstacles May all you directional protectors along with your retinues help me to perfectly accomplish all of my virtuous activities involved in the performing of this sādhana and may you pacify
Refuge and Bodhicitta I go for refuge to the Three Jewels— In order to benefit all wanderers may I attain buddhahood. (Recite three times) Purification A stream of nectar descends from the body of Vajrasattva at my crown, and purifies all disease, defilements, negative actions and obscurations. Recite the 100 syllable mantra twenty-one times Vajrasattva father and mother dissolve into me, whereby my three doors become
indivisible with Vajrasattva’s body, speech and mind. Invoking and Offering to the Merit Field Light radiates from the Hūṃ at my heart, inviting Guru Akṣobhya’s maṇḍala. Outer Offerings Oṃ Vajradhṛk Saparivāra Arghaṃ| Pādyaṃ| Puṣpe| Dhupe| Āloke| Gandhe| Naividya| Śabda| Praticcha Hūṃ Svāhā| Inner Offerings Oṃ Vajradhṛk Saparivāra Oṃ Āḥ Hūṃ| Offering Praise Akṣobhyavajra, you are pristine awareness;
Your vajradhātu mind is great wisdom; Your three supreme vajras are the three maṇḍalas; I prostrate and offer praise to you, Guhyaghoṣa!6 The merit field departs to its natural abode. Generation of the Protection Wheel Oṃ Svabhāvaśuddhaḥ Sarvadharmaḥ Svabhāvaśuddho ‘Haṃ| All becomes empty. From emptiness comes Bhrūṃ, from which comes a yellow command wheel,7 on the center hub of which I arise as Vajradhara father, with a
white body, three faces and six arms in mutual embrace with Vajradhātviśvarī mother, and through this enter into single-pointed union. Light shines out from the Hūṃ at my heart, inviting Akṣobhya and the ten wrathful deities surrounding him. Having entered my mouth, they transform
into eleven long Hūṃ syllables (ྂ), which melt into eleven bodhicitta drops and enter the lotus of the mother. There, they transform into Akṣobhya and the ten wrathful ones, and Akṣobhya is drawn up from the mother’s lotus to my heart. Vajradhṛk|8 He is sent forth outward from my
heart as countless emanations, performing the general and specific holy activities. Having done so they dissolve into me and I become Dveṣavajra father and Sparśavajrā mother. The ten wrathful ones are drawn up to my heart. Then, with Yamāntakṝt| and so forth9 they are sent forth outward from my heart to the individual spokes of the ten directions and settle in the manner of subjugating all pernicious ones. Oṃ Sumbha Nisumbha Hūṃ Hūṃ Phaṭ| Oṃ Gṛhna Gṛhna Hūṃ Hūṃ Phaṭ| Oṃ Gṛhnāpaya Gṛhnāpaya Hūṃ Hūṃ Phaṭ| Oṃ Ānayaho Bhagavan Vidyārāja Hūṃ Hūṃ Phaṭ| By commanding Sumbha in
this way, he seizes all interfering forces, and having thrown them into the sacrificial fire pit, stakes them down with ritual daggers, from their heads to the soles of their feet, and, in so doing, the three, my body, speech and mind, become unwavering. Oṃ Gha Gha Ghātaya Ghātaya Sarvaduṣṭān Phaṭ Phaṭ| Kīlaya Kīlaya Sarvapāpān Phaṭ Phaṭ| Hūṃ Hūṃ Hūṃ| Vajrakīlaya| Vajradhāra Ājñāpayati Sarvavighnānaṃ Kaya Vāk Citta
Vajrakīlaya Hūṃ Hūṃ Hūṃ Phaṭ Phaṭ| (recite two times) Additionally, the outside of the wheel is completely surrounded by a vajra ground, vajra fence, vajra tent, vajra canopy, mountains of flames, and so forth. Oṃ Āḥ Hūṃ| (recite three times) Actual Self Generation Since functioning
things do not exist, there is no meditating on them; The object of meditation is not a meditational object. Thus, since functioning things are devoid of substance, Meditation is inconceivable.10 Since all objects of meditation and meditators and so forth, all existent phenomena, are
ultimately without essence, they become emptiness. From within emptiness come the four elements, and those four become a variegated vajra with a Bhrūṃ syllable at its center. From that arises an inestimable
palace, with four sides, four doors, and so forth, perfectly complete with all of the characteristics, including seats. On all of those seats, merely from one’s supreme devotion, all thirty-two deities completely appear, simultaneously. I arise on the central seat as Vajradhara father and mother Akṣobhyavajra and Sparśavajrā with a blue colored body. In the east is white Vairocana. In the south is yellow Ratnasambhava. In the
west is red Amitābha. In the north is green Amoghasiddhi. In the southeast is white Locanā. In the southwest is blue Māmakī. In the northwest is red Pāṇḍaravāsinī. In the northeast is green Tārā. On the second level, in the southeast is white Rūpavajrā. In the southwest is yellow
Śabdavajrā. In the northwest is red Gandhavajrā. In the northeast is green Rasavajrā. On the seat to the right of the eastern doorway is white Maitreya, and to its left white Kṣitigarbha. On the seat to the right of the southern doorway is yellow Vajrapāṇi, and to its left yellow Khagarbha. On the seat to the right of the western doorway is red Lokeśvara, and to its left red Mañjughoṣa. On the seat to the right of the
northern doorway is green Sarvanīvaraṇaviskambhin, and to its left Samantabhadra. In the eastern doorway is black Yamāri. In the southern doorway is white Prajñāntakṛt.11 In the western doorway is red Hayagrīva. In the northern doorway is black Vighnāntakṛt. In the southeast is black Acala. In the southwest is blue Ṭakkirājan. In the northwest is blue Nīladaṇḍa. In the northeast is blue Mahābala. Above is blue
Uṣṇīṣacakravartin. Below is blue Sumbharājan. All of the deities have three faces and six arms, and have the customary ornaments and hand implements. Light shines forth from the Hūṃ at my heart and summons all sentient beings, who enter into the maṇḍala without any obstacles and are bestowed initiation with bodhicitta. Through this each becomes Vajrasattva and departs for their own individual buddha-field. The light of
the Hūṃ at my heart invites all of the deities of the maṇḍala from their position in the outer maṇḍala and establishes them at the various places of my body.12 At my crown is Vairocana. At my throat, Amitābha. At my navel, Ratnasambhava. At the location of my secret cakra,
Amoghasiddhi.13 At my navel, Locanā. At my heart, Māmakī. At my throat, Pāṇḍaravāsinī. At my crown, Tārā. At my eyes, Kṣitigarbha. At my ears, Vajrapāṇi. At my nose, Khagarbha. At my tongue, Lokeśvara. At my heart, Mañjughoṣa. At my secret place, Sarvanīvaraṇaviskambhin. At my joints,
Samantabhadra. At the crown of my head, Maitreya. At the gateway of my eyes, Rūpavajrā. At the gateway of my ears, Śabdavajrā. At the gateway of my nose, Gandhavajrā. At the gateway of my mouth. Rasavajrā. At the gateway of my vajra organ, Sparśavajrā. At my right hand, Yamāri. At my left hand, Aparājita. At my mouth, Hayagrīva. At my vajra organ, Amṛtakuṇḍalin. At the base of my right shoulder, Acala. At the base of my left
shoulder, Ṭakkirājan. At my right knee, Nīladaṇḍa. At my left knee, Mahābala. At the crown of my head, Uṣṇīṣacakravartin. At the soles of my two feet, Sumbharājan. Taking Death onto the Path as the Dharmakāya All of the deities of the body maṇḍala sequentially dissolve into clear light.
All becomes empty. Taking the Bardo onto the Path as Saṃbhogakāya From within emptiness, by means of the five clarifications, I arise as the Primordial Protector father and mother, a white body, three faces, six arms. Taking Rebirth onto the Path as Nirmāṇakāya The bodhicitta of the tathāgata father and mother establishes hosts of Akṣobhyas, filling the realm of space. They condense into one Akṣobhya at the center of the
inestimable palace, and by my subsequent entering into him I arise in the aspect of peaceful Nirmāṇakāya Vajrasattva, with a blue body, three faces, six arms, embracing a mother similar to myself.14 Meditation on the Body Maṇḍala All of the individual parts of my external body become
the individual parts of the inestimable palace,15 and all of the individual internal parts are the individual deities. From my form aggregate is Vairocana. From my discrimination aggregate, Amitābha. From my consciousness aggregate, Akṣobhya. From my feeling aggregate, Ratnasambhava. From my volition aggregate, Amoghasiddhi. From my earth constituent, Locanā. From my water constituent, Māmakī. From my fire constituent,
Pāṇḍaravāsinī. From my wind constituent, Tārā. From my veins and sinew, Maitreya. From my joints, Samantabhadra. From my eyes and so forth, the six sense organs, come the six bodhisattvas. From the form sense-sphere, and so forth, the five sense-spheres, come the five female
bodhisattvas. From my hands and so forth, the ten limbs, come the ten wrathful deities. They are individually established at my individual places, my crown, and so forth, as before. The collection of deities of my three places16 are invited to the space in front. I make the request, “May all of you be of one essence with me!” and thereby the whole imagined assembly of invited deities and goddesses enter into single-pointed
union. Due to the fires of their desire, they completely melt into white, red and blue nectar. That nectar itself dissolves into my three places, and through that the bodies, speech and minds of all tathāgatas become indivisible from my own three vajras. Oṃ Sarva Tathāgata Kāya Vāk Citta Vajra Svabhāva Ātmako ‘Ham| I am the Commitment Being, and on a moon seat at my heart is the Wisdom Being, red body, one face, two arms,
embracing a Wisdom Mother similar to himself. At the heart of the Wisdom Being is the Samādhi Being, the blue syllable Hūṃ. I am that three-fold being, and Vajradhara, abiding as lord and lady of the Akṣobhya family, is established atop the crown of my hair. Dissolving the Body Maṇḍala I,
myself father and mother, enter into single-pointed union, and thereby offer bliss to all of the victors. All of the deities of the body maṇḍala are satiated, and, melting into a single bodhicitta drop, enter the lotus of the mother through the vajra pathway of the father. The drop splits into two pieces, the first of which becomes an inestimable palace. The second again splits, now into thirtytwo pieces. These transform into the
thirty-two seed syllables of the maṇḍala deities, which then transform into the thirty-two hand implements, which then transform into the thirty-two deities of the maṇḍala. In this way, all aspects of the maṇḍala and the deities of the maṇḍala are completely realized within the lotus of the mother.
Sending Forth All Aspects of the Maṇḍala to Benefit Sentient Beings17 Akṣobhya is drawn up from the lotus of the mother and through the vajra of the father to my heart.18 Vajradhṛk| He is sent forth outward from my heart and spreads countless emanations in the ten directions, which all engage in all of the activities of the buddhas, such as turning the wheel of Dharma, and so forth, especially purifying the hatred of all
hateful sentient beings. He establishes all sentient beings in the state of Akṣobhya. All of the emanations, both those sent out and those newly transformed, combine into one, mixing indivisibly with Akṣobhya’s Wisdom Being, and receive initiation with the bodhicitta of the lord and lady of the Akṣobhya family, residing at the crown of the emanated Akṣobhya. Akṣobhya then returns back and dissolves at my heart, and I become
Dveṣavajra father and mother. Sparśavajrā is drawn up to my heart. Sparśavajrā| She is sent forth outward from my heart and spreads to the ten directions, purifying all sentient beings’ attachment to tactile sensation, and offering the bliss of tactile sensation to all the victors. All of the emanations combine into one, mixing indivisibly with Sparśavajrā’s Wisdom Being, and receive initiation with the bodhicitta of the lord
and lady of the Akṣobhya Family. Having returned back, Sparśavajrā dissolves into the mother of the general maṇḍala. Vairocana, and so forth, all of the remaining deities of the maṇḍala, are drawn up to my heart. With Jinajik| and so forth they are sent forth outward from my heart and spread in the ten directions, performing the general and specific activities. All of the individual emanations combine into one, each mixing indivisibly with their Wisdom Being, and receive initiation with the bodhicitta of the lord and lady of their buddha family. Having returned back, they settle on their individual seats in the general maṇḍala as before. The inestimable palace is drawn up into my heart. Oṃ Āḥ Hūṃ| It is sent forth outward from my heart and spreads to the ten directions, purifying all of the faults and defects of the environment. The emanations all combine into one, and, having returned back, dissolve into the previously generated inestimable palace. Recitation of the Mantras of the Maṇḍala Deities, along with Visualization
Oṃ Āḥ Hūṃ| Oṃ Āḥ Vajradhṛk Hūṃ Hūṃ| (Akṣobhya) Oṃ Āḥ Sparśavajra Khaṃ Hūṃ| (Sparśavajrā) Oṃ Āḥ Jinajik Oṃ Hūṃ| (Vairocana) Oṃ Āḥ Ratnadhṛk Svā Hūṃ| (Ratnasambhava) Oṃ Āḥ Ārolik Āḥ Hūṃ| (Amitābha) Oṃ Āḥ Prajñādhṛk Hā Hūṃ| (Amoghasiddhi) Oṃ Āḥ Moharati Laṃ Hūṃ| (Locanā) Oṃ Āḥ Dveṣarati Māṃ Hūṃ| (Māmakī) Oṃ Āḥ Rāgarati Paṃ Hūṃ| (Pāṇḍaravāsinī) Oṃ Āḥ Vajrarati Tāṃ Hūṃ|
Kṣitigarbha Thlīṃ Hūṃ| (Kṣitigarbha) Oṃ Āḥ Vajrapāṇi Oṃ Hūṃ| (Vajrapāṇi) Oṃ Āḥ Khagarbha Oṃ Hūṃ| (Khagarbha) Oṃ Āḥ Lokeśvara Oṃ Hūṃ| (Lokeśvara) Oṃ Āḥ Mañjuśrī Hūṃ Hūṃ| (Mañjughoṣa) Oṃ Āḥ Sarvanīvaraṇaviskaṃbin Oṃ Hūṃ| (Sarvanīvaraṇaviskambhin) Oṃ Āḥ Samantabhadra Saṃ Hūṃ| (Samantabhadra) Oṃ Āḥ Yamāntakṝt Hūṃ Hūṃ| (Yamāri) Oṃ Āḥ Prajñāntakṝt Hūṃ Hūṃ| (Aparājita) Oṃ Āḥ Padmāntakṝt Hūṃ Hūṃ| (Hayagrīva) Oṃ Āḥ Vighnānantakṝt Hūṃ Hūṃ| (Amṛtakuṇḍalin) Oṃ Āḥ Acala Hūṃ Hūṃ| (Acala) Oṃ Āḥ Ṭakkirājā Hūṃ Hūṃ| (Ṭakkirājan) Oṃ Āḥ Nīladaṇḍa Hūṃ Hūṃ| (Nīladaṇḍa) Oṃ Āḥ Mahābāla Hūṃ Hūṃ| (Mahābala) Oṃ Āḥ Uṣṇīṣacakravartī Hūṃ Hūṃ| (Uṣṇīṣacakravartin) Oṃ Āḥ Sumbhararājā Hūṃ Hūṃ|
(Sumbharājan) Recite the hundred syllable mantra. Dissolution Into and Subsequent Emergence from Clear Light I, myself father and mother, enter into single-pointed union, and thereby melt, and then dissolve into clear light. Then, again, before the eyes of Locanā and so forth, the four goddesses, I arise as the three-fold being, and I am directly perceived by all of the maṇḍala deities. Akṣobhyavajra, you are pristine awareness; Your vajradhātu mind is great wisdom; Your three supreme vajras are the three maṇḍalas; I prostrate to you, Guhyaghoṣa! Outer Offerings to the Tathāgatas Oṃ Sarvatathāgata Arghaṃ| Pādyaṃ| Puṣpe| Dhupe| Āloke| Gandhe| Naividya| Śabda| Rūpa| Śabda| Gandhe| Rasa| Sparśa| Pujamegha Samudra Spharaṇa Samaya Śriye Hūṃ| Inner Offerings to the Tathāgatas To the mouths of the direct and lineage gurus, Oṃ Āḥ Hūṃ| To the
mouths of the collection of deities of Akṣobhya’s maṇḍala, Oṃ Āḥ Hūṃ| To the mouths of all the heroes, sky-goers and dharma protectors, Oṃ Āḥ Hūṃ| To the mouths of all the worldly deities who reside in this place and all sentient beings, who become deities, Oṃ Āḥ Hūṃ| Oṃ Amṛta Svadana Vajra Svabhāva Ātmako ‘Ham| All of the guests are overjoyed and satiated with the wisdom nectar.
Secret Offering and Thusness Offering I, myself father and mother, enter into single-pointed union, and thereby make the secret offering and the thusness offering to all of the deities of the maṇḍala, causing them all to rejoice. Absorption The light from the Hūṃ at my heart invites all of the deities of the maṇḍala, and they are again established at all of the points of my body such as my crown and so forth. Each individual
deity dissolves into the respective aspect of the inestimable palace, which are the respective parts of my body. The bodhicitta of the single-pointed union is used to bestow initiation on all sentient beings, which purifies all of their negative actions. Each sentient being then
transforms into the syllable Hūṃ, and from that Hūṃ they all transform into Vajradhara. Having been drawn by the light from the Hūṃ at my heart, they all dissolve into me. Oṃ Yoga Śuddhāḥ Sarvadharmāḥ Yoga Śuddho ‘Ham| Optional Dedicatory Torma Offering20 Consecrating the Torma Oṃ Āḥ
Vighnānatakṝt Hūṃ| Oṃ Śūnyatā Jñāna Vajra Svabhāva Ātmako ‘Ham| All becomes empty. From within emptiness, Yaṃ emerges and transforms into a wind maṇḍala. Above that is Raṃ which becomes a fire maṇḍala. Above that is Oṃ Āḥ Hūṃ which become three human heads that serve as a hearth. On top of the hearth is Āḥ, from which comes a skullcup, vast and big. In the base of that is Āḥ from which comes a lotus marked with Āḥ. Above the
lotus are the five meats and five nectars, each marked with its respective name syllable as well as the syllable Oṃ. Above the skullcup is Hūṃ which becomes a vajra marked with Hūṃ, from which light shines forth. This light strikes the wind maṇḍala, causing the wind to blow, which
causes the fire to blaze, and as a result all of the substances in the skullcup melt and boil. The vajra and Hūṃ descend into the skullcup, and through their melting all faults of color, odor and potential are purified. The lotus and Āḥ melt, and through their melting the substances are transformed into the essence of nectar. The light rays of the Oṃ syllables invoke nectar, which is added to the nectar in the skullcup and
causes it to increase and multiply. Oṃ Āḥ Hūṃ| (recite seven times) Invoke Deities and Directional Protectors Light shines out from the Hūṃ at my heart and invites all thirty-two wisdom deities abiding at the hub of the protective wheel along with the directional protectors. Torma Offering to Wisdom Deities Oṃ Vajradhṛk Saparivāra Idaṃ Balingta Khākha Khāhi Khāhi| (Offer with three repetitions) Then Outer Offerings to Wisdom Deities Oṃ Vajradhṛk Saparivāra Arghaṃ| Pādyaṃ| Puṣpe| Dhupe| Āloke| Gandhe| Naividya| Śabda| Praticcha Hūṃ Svāhā| Inner Offerings to Wisdom Deities
Oṃ Vajradhṛk Saparivāra Oṃ Āḥ Hūṃ| Offer Praise Akṣobhyavajra, you are pristine awareness; Your vajradhātu mind is great wisdom; Your three supreme vajras are the three maṇḍalas; I prostrate and offer praise to you, Guhyaghoṣa! Then Torma Offering to the Directional Protectors Oṃ
Daśadik Lokapāla Saparivāra Idaṃ Balingta Khākha Khāhi Khāhi| (Offer with three repetitions) Then Inner Offering to the Directional Protectors Oṃ Daśadik Lokapāla Saparivāra Oṃ Āḥ Hūṃ| Request to Keep Commitments May all you directional protectors along with your retinue pacify all
conditions contradictory to the establishment of the Dharma and perform all activities for establishing the Dharma. Then, request all to depart. Colophon: I, Ngawang Phuntsog, who does nothing but the three gross activities, compiled together this properly balanced self-generation of
Guhyasamāja, neither too extensive nor too condensed, called “A Festival for Knowledge Holders,” for myself and for those, like myself, of little intelligence. It is suitable to instead recite Sarva Duṣṭaṃ Samaya Mudra Prabhañjaka Mama Śānti Rakṣa Cakuru Svāhā| as the mantra for the torma offering above.21 May virtue and goodness increase! Translator’s Colophon: Seeing a lack of short sādhana material available in English
language for Guhyasamāja practice, and inspired by an initiation into the maṇḍala of Guhyasamāja at Gyume Tantric College by His Holiness the Fourteenth Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso, I, Gelong Gyalten Lekden, who has little knowledge and less experience, decided to complete this
translation at Sera Je Monastery, January 2016. All mistakes are mine alone, I request your kind forgiveness. If any benefit arises from this translation I dedicate it whole-heartedly to the continued long lives of our holy gurus, that until samsara is emptied they may stay, teach, and lead thick-headed wanderers such as myself to perfect, complete enlightenment. Translator’s Note: It is often explained that a student should
use a short sādhana as a basis for practice only after becoming familiar with the elaborate sādhana. When one already knows the structure and visualizations of the practice the brevity of a condensed sādhana will not impact their meditation. We do not always follow this advice,
however, and it is a safe assumption that people who are not intimately familiar with the longer Guhyasamāja Self Generation practice will want to use this shorter sādhana (myself included!). For that reason I have tried to fill in a few details in the endnotes, enough so that any of the coarsest doubts based on just the words of this particular text might be eliminated. Any details I have filled in have come from my own readings of the longer sādhana, of Khedrub Je’s
commentary, of Panchen Lobzang Chokyi Gyaltsen’s commentary, of Akhu Sherab Gyatso’s commentary, and of the root tantra, in mixtures of Tibetan, Sanskrit, and English, as well as from advice I have received from teachers. Any instance where I have added something into the text itself, such as section headings or a short clarifying point, this is indicated through the use of square brackets and does not need to be recited as
part of the ritual text. Many of these are implied in the Tibetan or explicit in the longer sādhana, hence their inclusion. Please do not confuse any of my explanations of the practice with proper instruction! It is important to receive instruction from a qualified teacher on this practice. The Ārya Lineage of Guhyasamāja has various lineages of practice, and some teachers will suggest different visualizations and so
forth. My notes attempt merely to make this a living practice accessible for students of various levels, not to claim any authority regarding the practice (which I certainly do not have). Confident that anyone with a mind attuned enough to engage with tantric meditation manuals is able to properly navigate the Sanskrit grammatical landscape, and also hearing more and more contemporary teachers stress an importance of proper
Sanskrit pronunciation, I have strived to render all Sanskrit, mostly proper names and mantras, as accurately as possible. Of course, numerous Sanskrit words and mantras are given with different spellings not only in the different publications of this particular sādhana but across much of the Guhyasamāja—and other tantric—material in the Tibetan language, complicating the endeavor. I have tried to correct the Sanskrit as best
as I could, comparing different editions and Sanskrit language materials where possible, though mistakes still likely remain. I have chosen to consistently render all proper names in their undeclined forms. Some of these will be familiar (Akṣobhya instead of Akṣobhyaḥ) but others less
so (Sumbharājan instead of Sumbharāja), as it has become common to render some names without declension (especially if they end with a vowel) and others in their singular nominative form. For the sake of consistency I have chosen not to follow that practice, as I believe maintaining
consistency is quite important as we modulate these practices from one language to another. Some students are suggested by their teachers to use Tibetan pronunciation of mantras and not proper Sanskrit, in which case you will have to “convert” what is given, but this is not difficult.
1. The five meats are the flesh of human, elephant, horse, cattle, and dog. The five nectars are urine, excrement, blood, semen, and brain matter. The fives meats and five nectars share the same five name syllables, which are, sequentially: Hūṃ (), Bruṃ (ཾ), Aṃ (), Jriṃ ( ), and Khaṃ ()
2. The individual seed syllables of the offering substances are the first letter of the Sanskrit name of that offering, “crowned with a drop.” In sequence, then, the seed syllables are: aṃ (), Pāṃ (ཾ), Puṃ (ཾ), Dhuṃ (ཾ), Āṃ (), Gaṃ (), Naiṃ , (ན ), and Śaṃ (). 3
4. Here the text actually reads “The torma offering is consecrated in the same manner as the inner offering,” but I have inserted the referenced consecration ritual, for ease of use. Note that the visualizations for the consecrations of the inner offering and the
torma offering are identical, but the first has as its conventional basis the inner offering substance you are using, and the second has as its conventional basis the torma (or visualized torma) you are offering.
6. This is the first verse from the concluding (seventeenth) chapter of the Guhyasamāja Root Tantra. It is recited three separate times throughout this practice, but note the slight modification during the second recitation.
7. More commonly called a protection wheel, this is also called a command wheel, because, as Akhu Sherab Gyatso says in his commentary, “Since the wheel rotates in accordance with the principal’s command, it is called a command wheel.”
deity’s actual name, a slightly modified version of their name, or an alternative name. Vajradhṛk is the name mantra of Akṣobhya, and in this meditation it is through expressing the name mantra, as a command, that the Akṣobhya who has come to the heart is expelled outward.
10. This is the third verse from the second chapter of the Guhyasamāja Root Tantra, and one of the most well-known from that tantra. The meaning of the Sanskrit is difficult to convey in Tibetan without more exposition, and harder yet in English, hence English translations vary greatly.
11. Note that here in the practice this wrathful deity is referenced as Prajñāntakṛt, which is also his name mantra, but here it has been translated into Tibetan (shes rab mthar byed), as opposed to in the later recitation of his mantra where is it written in Sanskrit (or, rather, Sanskrit-ized Tibetan). This indicates a distinction between when it is his name mantra to be expressed and when it is being used as a name to reference him, but this is lost when both are rendered in Sanskrit as I have done. Later in this sādhana he is referenced by his more common name, Aparājita (gzhan gyis mi thub pa). The same thing happens again in this section with the wrathful deity referenced as Vighnāntakṛt (bgegs mthar byed) and then later as Amṛtakuṇḍalin (bdud rtsi ‘khyil ba).
12. In this system the focus is on the corporeal body, not the subtle body, and although the positions of the buddhas of the five families accord with the five cakras they are not located within the central channel but simply in that same location in the coarse body. A few locations of the body have multiple deities residing there, and in these cases lords and ladies of the buddha families are in union, Maitreya (crown) and Mañjughoṣa (heart) are slightly behind them, any other deity slightly in front of them. Although already meditating on yourself as Akṣobhya,
also visualize an Akṣobhya at your heart (in union with Māmakī). The ten wrathful deities at the ten limbs are actually visualized as outside of the body, because, as His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama says in his commentary to Lama Choepa, “wrathful deities are forces to counter the interferences, so should be emerging, not hiding inside! It would seem unnecessary to visualize the wrathful deities if all they do is hide!”
13. Other translations interpret this as the “thigh,” but that is likely incorrect. Others use “groin,” which is more accurate. The lords of the five buddha families are located at the locations of the five cakras, and the term mentioned here (brla’i rtsa ba) is referencing that. The long sādhana assigns each lord of the family a somatic zone, and Amoghasiddhi is the area from the navel to the secret place. 14. While the grammar is clear, this short text does not elaborate, and it is easy to make the mistake that the emanations of Akṣobhya enter into oneself as the
central deity of the maṇḍala, and not the other way around, since that seems more in line with other visualizations found in tantric manuals. This specific visualization, however, is taking the experience of rebirth onto the path, and causes the practice to be different. As Panchen Chokyi Gyaltsen comments, “Other texts say, ‘Akṣobhya is emanated from my heart, fulfills the aims of sentient beings, condenses into one, and
then dissolves in me, and by means of this dissolving I transform into Akṣobhya,’ and many former and later Tibetans accept the same, but this is not possible. Why is it not possible? The bardo being enters in between the sperm and egg, but the father doesn’t enter into the bardo being. Similarly, the bardo being enters into the sperm and egg of a mother and father, but doesn’t enter into a sperm and egg that the bardo being
itself has produced.” 15. The front, back, right and left sides of the body become the four sides of the palace, the mouth, nose, anus and urethra the four doors, and so forth. See the long sādhana for more details. 16. Countless emanations of Vairocana and Locanā in union from Oṃ at the crown; Amitābha and Pāṇḍaravāsinī in union from Āḥ at the throat; Akṣobhya and Māmakī in union from Hūṃ at the
heart. 17. In the long sādhana every remaining deity of the maṇḍala is drawn up to one’s heart from the lotus of the mother through the vajra of the father, and with their individual name mantra each is sent out individually and performs their own uncommon activities. Every deity has a Wisdom Being at their heart and a lord and lady of their particular buddha family on their crown. Even though every deity of the maṇḍala is of
one nature with buddhahood, the action of establishing sentient beings in the state of a buddha similar to themselves is only performed by the five lords of the buddha families. In his commentary, Akhu Sherab Gyatso says this is because “Regarding the activities of those other than the five tathāgatas, even though their realizations and abandonments are similar to adamantine enlightenment, since they are abiding in the aspects
of bodhisattvas there is no mention of them performing the twelve deeds of a buddha, and so forth.” Therefore, in this visualization, when it comes time for combining all emanations into one and receiving initiation, if the deity is one of the five lords then all of the emanations sent out as well as those newly established combine into one and receive the initiation, for the purpose of establishing them as proper aspects of
the maṇḍala. If the deity is any of the other twenty-seven, since they are in bodhisattva form and do not establish the sentient beings as buddhas, only the emanations sent from the heart combine into one. The initiation from the lord and lady at their crown, however, is still bestowed on all sentient beings, but it is performing different functions for the maṇḍala deities than it is for the remaining sentient beings.
For the maṇḍala deities the initiation establishes them as proper aspects of the maṇḍala, whereas for the other sentient beings it ripens their mental continuums in order to prepare them for their eventual buddhahood. In this condensed practice, after establishing oneself as father and
mother Akṣobhya and Sparśavajrā, the remaining deities are all sent out at once during the third verse. In that case the visualization needs to include the remaining thirty deities all engaging in their various activities simultaneously, but only the name mantra of Vairocana needs to be
expressed. 18. The text itself just says “drawn to my heart,” and while various scholars have expressed doubt about the method of being drawn up, in his commentary Khedrub Je clearly says that having clearly established the intention to perform the specific activities of a given deity, “that deity being considered, abiding in the lotus of one’s consort, is drawn through one’s vajra organ to one’s heart. Why is this the case?
Because having abided in the divine pride of Dveṣavajra each individual deity is sent forth from one’s heart by the utterance of that deity’s name mantra.” 19. The actual visualization is not described in this sādhana, assuming the practitioner already knows it. One such visualization taught is that when reciting the mantra of any given deity, the letters of the mantra encircle the seed syllable at that deity’s heart, and from that seed syllable emanations of the deity are sent out and perform the general and specific activities to benefit sentient beings. On the in-
breath the emanations are visualized as returning to the seed syllable whence they came. Although each mantra is recited three times in the long sādhana, a single recitation of each is acceptable in this condensed practice. That said, having the visualization ride the in-breath and out-breath is easier to do if you are reciting each mantra more than once. 20. Here the text reads “If one desires to offer a torma, consecrate it
similar to the inner offering,” but I have re-inserted the consecration ritual, for ease of use. The text lists this torma offering as optional, and if you choose to omit it then the sādhana concludes with the preceding absorption. In both cases, after either the absorption or requesting
the guests to depart, you should offer various auspicious verses, dedication prayers, and so forth, as is customary. 21. That is to say, as a more condensed method for offering a dedicatory torma, after consecrating the torma you can offer it with just this one line, leaving only the request to depart.