Introducing Samye Institute's Vajrayana Membership

Vajrasattva

རྡོ་རྗེ་སེམས་དཔའ་
rdo rje sems dpa'
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Author: Samye Institute
Last Updated: November 10, 2022

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Vajrasattva, (Tib. Dorjé Sempa) is the sambhogakaya buddha, the sovereign of all the buddha families. His name translates as “Diamond being” or “Thunderbolt being”.

All schools of Tibetan Buddhism engage in the practice of Vajrasattva as the tantric method of purification, as it is said to be powerful and purifies any faults committed in any of the three vows (those of individual liberation, the Bodhisattva vows, and the tantric samayas). On this provisional level, the practice of Vajrasattva is the primary method of confessing misdeeds and wrong views and for clearing obscurations and samaya violations. The purification practice of Vajrasattva is one of the four (or five) practices of the ngöndro, or foundational practices of Vajrayana Buddhism. In this context, the practitioner visualizes Vajrasattva as the “power of the support” (Tib. ten gyi tob) as the confession and regret are declared.

It is said that if practitioners repeat the 100-syllable mantra twenty-one times every day that it reduces the strength of negative karma and habitual tendencies and prevents them from developing into stronger patterns.

The Nyingma school also includes the practice of Vajrasattva as a yidam deity, as one of the three main yidam deities practiced by Guru Rinpoche: Vajrasattva, Vajrakīlaya, and Yangdak Heruka.

On an ultimate level, Vajrasattva is the primordially pure nature of mind beyond concepts.

Homage to glorious Vajrasattva!

Like a mountain of snow, your body is brilliant white,
And your enlightened speech resounds as perfect Dharma,
Profound and expansive, your sky-like mind is twofold wisdom,
Blessed lord, spiritual warrior—to you I pay homage!

Even negative karma and obscurations accumulated over many eons
Are reduced to nothing in an instant merely by recalling your name,
Guardian Lord, there is no one anywhere to compare with you,
And so, again and again, in devotion I pay homage!

Deities of the maṇḍalas of the hundred, five or three buddha families,
And the lord of the sixth—they are all none other than you.
And it was you too who gathered the words of the buddha, the secret treasury—
Embodiment of all the victorious buddhas, to you I pay homage!

From In Praise of Vajrasattva by Patrul Rinpoche.