torstai 8. elokuuta 2019

Becoming Vajrasattva, Practitioner's Account

Becoming Vajrasattva,
Practitioner's Account

The following is written by Ben, Open Heart-practitioner who describes his experiences with Vajrasattva-practice, one of the tantric preliminary practices described in Open Heart Preliminary Practices-book.



All of us have a yard, a small plot of land in our name. It is a place that collects many things. And sometimes we forget to tend to this yard, allowing it to become overgrown with numerous weeds.
Broken promises, lies, cringey and regretful moments of the past, half-finished projects, habitual beliefs, all sorts of energetic dead ends can become tied up in this inner field. 
Tantra and Bodhicitta remind me of the activity of the farmer. Cultivating fruit with its roots in the deep grounded soil. So when we decide to take ourselves upon this tantric bodhicitta-farmer path, we need to start with a solid plot of land with which to raise our crops.
This is where the Vajrasattva practice comes in. Toss the energetic dead ends in the trash, uproot the weeds, and till the soil until its hidden fresh nutrients are brought to the surface. Creating fertile soil. 
In this sense, I can understand why repeating the Vajrasattva mantra 10,000 times is a preliminary exercise. It prepares the practitioner with a fertile soil ground upon which to start sewing the seeds of and tending to their practice. At the same time, there is nothing to improve upon the basic ground that the Vajrasattva practice reveals. 
One way of visualization for Vajrasattva practice.

The Practice

The technique is touched upon in the Preliminaries book. After receiving the Vajrasattva practice empowerment from Kim Rinpoche, I chose to repeat 324 mantras per day while visualizing myself as Vajrasattva and then rest in his basic indestructible purity. The 10,000 repetitions were completed in 31 days. Aside from accomplishing what I have described above, this practice also gave me an insight into some of the technology behind tantric practice. 
Vajrasattva embodies the basic indestructible purity of all Buddhas. This basic purity is within us all, always. But due to our own mental-emotional-physical wounds and scars, it can be difficult for us to experientially realize this for ourselves. A sutric approach would be working hard at this project over time. Examining yourself, noticing all the different patterns of confusion, practicing various meditations, and trying to heal while rediscovering your stainless naturalness. 
The tantric is approach is different. It says, “Okay you feel so shitty about yourself that in this instant you cannot feel your own indestructible purity. No problem. Instead you’re going to dissolve and reform as Vajrasattva for a little while. And as Vajrasattva, the very embodiment of the diamond-like purity of all buddhas, you can feel what that purity is like.” And thus you effectively take a shortcut. Instead of undergoing the illusion of change during the sutric route, you undergo the illusion of becoming Vajrasattva. Both bring you to basic purity but in different ways and in different timelines. 
Of course as this whole practice is unfolding, it is having an effect on your karmic and energy bodies. That is the purifying effect. So it both reveals the knowing of purity even as it has purifying activity. 


I began the practice the week after my 4th bhumi opening. It really helped digest and move through the dark night elements that followed the opening. Being in contact with primordial purity even as all that stirred up shit swirled around and through the mind-body was massively beneficial by keeping me oriented even as the loss of previous imprints created disorientation. If anything, it emphasized that which was reliable and constant regardless of the rhythm of bhumi openings and dark nights. 
During that month of practice, I also had my 5th and 6th bhumi openings. 
From the very beginning, the practice reminded me of what it felt like to be a child. There is a freshness, a whole-someness, an effervescent wakefulness. Like getting out of a swimming pool on a beautiful summer day. 
I felt that the Vajrasattva practice did a lot with my energy body too. The space of my arms, head, torso and legs began feeling seamless and non-divided. 
And with all of this also arose a sense of pride. Not in a boastful way but in a grateful way, a non-self-referencing way. Nothing held back or hidden, wearing naked simple presence. 



I am truly grateful for the empowerment and the opportunity to have done this practice. It is clear that I will continue to engage Vajrasattva in deity yoga in my spiritual practice. 
I expect this to be helpful in a variety of circumstances.
  1. Post-bhumi openings. I will likely do a few days of 3x108 Vajrasattva mantras after each opening to help with the transition.
  2. Liberating tied up energies. Sometimes we begin things we don’t finish, whether that be due to a change in direction or a lack of commitment. Instead of allowing those energetic intentions to linger out there half-baked, Vajrasattva practice will help free up those energetic dead ends. 
  3. Letting go of past transgressions. When we’ve done something wrong, much of the focus often goes to how to fix it externally. And rightly so. But that can also mean we might neglect to move on internally and the memory still causes us to cringe and contract. Vajrasattva practice will help to forgive as surrender and it is probably why it was used to mend broken vows. 
And I am sure more applications will become clear along the way.