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Vajrayogini – The Powerful Divine Red Lady

From Tibetan Buddhist Encyclopedia
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Homage to the Divine Lady Whom out of compassion Emanates in myriads of forms In this degenerate age to subdue our various minds Using the energy of desire, She attracts us to her form Then brings us to full liberation

His Eminence the 25th Tsem Rinpoche

During the kaliyuga, or the degenerate times, certain tantras that were taught by the Buddha over 2,500 years ago become much more potent over time. Among the many tantras that are more potent during the degenerate times are the set of anuttarayoga tantras, which include deities such as Guhyasamaja, Heruka, Yamantaka, Kalachakra, Gyalwa Gyatso, Cittamani Tara, Hevajra and Vajrayogini. These are the main types of anuttarayoga tantra deities that are more efficacious, and their practices lead to gaining quicker attainments during degenerate times.

These tantras are classified into two types, mother tantras and father tantras. Mother tantras focuses more on clear light, while the father tantras focuses on great bliss or the generation of the rainbow body. The tantras themselves are not defined by whether the deity themselves are male or female but by the method through which we gain enlightenment, either through utilising the clear light methods or the rainbow body methods. Within the class of mother tantras, one of the most supreme is Vajrayogini, and her practice is considered extremely efficacious.

It is said for those who keep the five pre-requisites of practicing her sincerely, have guru devotion, engage in her sadhana daily, recite her mantra without break, and engage in tsok offerings, they will gain high attainments and enter Kechara paradise. For students of the lowest scope, here scope refers to merit, they will ascend to Kechara paradise within 14 lifetimes, where she abides and receive teachings from her directly. For students of the medium scope, they will be met by her in the bardo and be taken to Kechara paradise. And finally, in the highest scope, they will not leave their body behind, but will be taken in their current form to Kechara paradise. This has been witnessed or experienced by many practitioners of the past. Therefore Vajrayogini’s practice is extremely potent, and is the direct antidote and counter to desire, attachment and sexual energy that is not directed correctly. Desire and sexual energy that is misdirected can bring much heartache and problems. Vajra Yogini’s practice is a direct counter to these and many other wrong states of mind. In fact full enlightenment can be gained by this practice if done diligently.

By seeing Vajrayogini, making offerings to her, and making a connection with her, one will gain a great amount of merit, and create the causes to practice her teachings in the future. To have a beautiful image of her and make offerings in a conscientious way creates a very strong connection to her. It is highly recommended for everyone to have a Vajrayogini image, offer the best materials onto her image as an offering, keep her image well, make prayers to her and worship her, even if you don’t have her initiation.

Therefore Vajrayogini’s practice is extremely potent and relevant for people of this time and age. In this post I wanted to provide you with information of how you can develop a connection with and prayer to this supreme deity without requiring initiation. Please learn up well and practice. You will see a major difference in your life for the better.

Tsem Rinpoche

Background We live in a modern world when everything is convenient, comfortable and there are many different forms of distractions available. However, although the conveniences of modern life enable us to spend less time on daily and mundane chores (e.g., washing, cleaning, etc.) and on surviving, they actually provide us with more time to indulge in distraction. Hence, greed and materialism is on the rise and people are less inclined towards virtue. Consequently, our minds are plagued by conflicting emotions and delusions (e.g., anxiety, anger, miserliness, senselessness, depression, jealousy, unhappiness, etc.). These are all the signs that we are living in a spiritually degenerate time known as the Kaliyuga. More than 2,500 years ago, Buddha Shakyamuni had predicted that the Kaliyuga age would come, and he taught and prescribed the Tantras as the suitable teaching and practice for this time and age, of which Vajrayogini Tantra is the most supreme.

All enlightened beings, including Vajrayogini, embody the qualities of the Buddhas of the 10 directions and of the three times (past, present and future). Therefore, Vajrayogini, in all her perfection, is a worthy object of worship. Many great masters such as His Holiness Pabongka Rinpoche and Kensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tharchin have said that Vajrayogini practice is particularly suitable for beings in these degenerate times because her practice helps to purify and transform desire, which is the current and most pervasive energy within samsara. Vajrayogini manifested specifically to pacify our self-created inner obstacles that are provoked by the outer environment that we are living in. Therefore, Vajrayogini’s blessings are very potent and powerful for this day and age.

Of Vajrayogini, Pabongka Rinpoche is known to have said the following:

“Look, this is the synthesis of all the Buddhas. This one counters all the negative attachments arising from the desire we have during the Kaliyuga age.

The Vajrayogini Lineage Practiced in Kechara Vajrayogini practice can be traced back to the Chakrasamvara Root Tantra that was taught by Buddha Shakyamuni who manifested as Buddha Vajradhara more than 2,500 years ago. Many lineages of Vajrayogini emerged from this text and in particular, the Naro Kacho lineage of Vajrayogini was revealed to Naropa, an 11th Century Indian Mahasiddha in a vision.

Subsequently, her practice was passed down through a long line of great Indian masters and eventually to several Nepali masters, including the Pamthingpa brothers. The brothers were the students of Naropa, and they passed down the practice of Naro Kacho Vajrayogini to Melgyo Lotsawa Lotro Drakpa, an 11th Century translator of the Sakya tradition. Through Melgyo Lotsawa Lotro Drakpa, the practice was adopted by the Sakyas as part of their most precious 13 Golden Dharmas and eventually found its way to the Gelug tradition. When they engage in the Vajrayogini practice, practitioners recite the names of the lineage masters and solicit their blessings, and the Phamthingpa brothers are included in this list.

Although Vajrayogini is said to be Lama Tsongkhapa’s (1357 – 1419 CE) innermost yidam, prior to the 18th Century, her practice was not prominent within the Gelug tradition. After the 18th Century, the Sakya transmission of Naropa’s Vajrayogini was introduced to the Gelug tradition. One of the most influential Gelug lamas of that era, Pabongka Rinpoche (1878 – 1941 CE) promoted Vajrayogini as the main meditational deity within the Gelug tradition. Two of Pabongka Rinpoche‘s main students, Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche and Kyabje Zong Rinpoche, disseminated the practice to their own students (e.g, Lama Yeshe, Lama Zopa, Kensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tharchin, Gelek Rinpoche and so forth) who in turn also promoted Vajrayogini practice. Since then, Vajrayogini has become a widely accepted practice within the Gelug school of Tibetan Buddhism.

When he was about 15 years old, Tsem Rinpoche received a Vajrayogini initiation from the great Sera Mey Kensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tharchin in New Jersey who was the student of Kyabje Pabongka Rinpoche, Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche and Kyabje Zong Rinpoche. He was also the great Abbot of Sera Mey Monastery and a great master of Sutra and Tantra. His main practice or yidam (meditational deity) was the Buddha Vajrayogini. He was a great master of Vajrayogini and a great abbot of the monastery while he was in office. During his tenure as the monastery’s abbot, Kensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tharchin worked hard to improve the educational standard, and he managed to pay off a considerable sum of the monastery’s loan.

In 1982, Tsem Rinpoche had the fortune to meet another great master, Kyabje Zong Rinpoche and received a Vajrayogini initiation again from this great master. The auspicious two-week event took place in Yucca Valley, California. During this occasion, Kyabje Zong Rinpoche gave the Vajrayogini initiation together with the full commentary.

Therefore, Vajrayogini practice at Kechara is derived from a pure unbroken lineage of great masters and practitioners. In Buddhism, a lineage is very important because the blessings to gain attainments through one’s practice descends through the lineage of practitioners who came before us. Thus without the lineage, the practice is devoid of blessings and attainments cannot be obtained from doing the practice in question. Having an authentic lineage also means that the practice we received has a valid source and was not made up.