As we can see below, it may indeed be one of the most profound processes for spiritual emancipation available to a practitioner. And yet, it is not suitable for beginners, in my opinion.
Tantra (of any system) is NOT a shortcut, it is a steep steep climb and climbers who are only beginning to ascend might want to think things through before taking the initiation and the vows (in my opinion).
Generation stages of the whole system of Anuttarayoga Tantra:
1 The yoga of sleeping
2 The yoga of rising
3 The yoga of experiencing nectar
4 The yoga of immeasurables
5 The yoga of the Guru
6 The yoga of self-generation
7 The yoga of purifying migrators
8 The yoga of being blessed by Heroes and Heroines
9 The yoga of verbal and mental recitation
10 The yoga of inconceivability
11 The yoga of daily actions
H.H. Geshe Kelsang Gyatso:
BY PRACTICING THESE INSTRUCTIONS WE QUICKLY RECEIVE GREAT AND POWERFUL BLESSINGS
When we practice these instructions we quickly receive great and profound blessings from all the Buddhas. These blessings help us temporarily, and eventually enable us to attain the ultimate goal of full enlightenment.
THESE INSTRUCTIONS ARE A SYNTHESIS OF ALL ESSENTIAL INSTRUCTIONS
The instructions on the practice of Vajrayogini are a synthesis of all the essential instructions contained within the Tantras of Heruka, Yamantaka and Guhyasamaja. All the essential points of the stages of Secret Mantra are included within the practice of Vajrayogini.
THESE INSTRUCTIONS ARE EASY TO PRACTISE
The instructions on the practice of Vajrayogini contain concise and clearly presented meditations that are relatively easy to practice. The mantra is short and easy to recite, and the visualizations of the mandala, the Deity and the body mandala are simple compared with those of other Highest Yoga Tantra Deities. Even practitioners with limited abilities and little wisdom can engage in these practices.
BY PRACTICING THESE INSTRUCTIONS WE CAN SWIFTLY ACCOMPLISH ATTAINMENTS
Many great Teachers such as Dorjechang Trijang Rinpoche have said that through the practice of Vajrayogini those with only middling fortune can attain Dakini Land in this life.
If we continually recite Vajrayogini’s mantra we will remember the mantra when we are dying, and then, as if in a dream, we will hear Vajrayogini and her retinue of Dakinis calling us and inviting us to her Pure Land. In this way Vajrayogini will guide us through death and the intermediate state and lead us to the Pure Land of the Dakinis.
THESE INSTRUCTIONS INCLUDE A SPECIAL BODY MANDALA PRACTICE
Body mandalas are not included within all Deity practices. A practice that contains a body mandala is more profound than one that does not, and the most profound of all body mandalas is that of Vajrayogini.
THESE INSTRUCTIONS INCLUDE AN UNCOMMON YOGA OF INCONCEIVABILITY
The uncommon yoga of inconceivability is a special method, unique to the practice of Vajrayogini, whereby we can attain Dakini Land within this life without abandoning our present body. The sadhana or ritual prayer for the attainment of the Pure Land of Keajra, The Uncommon Yoga of Inconceivability, can be found in Appendix II (of a book The new guide to Dakini Land, please see below for complete info).
WE CAN PRACTISE BOTH GENERATION STAGE AND COMPLETION STAGE TOGETHER
In practices such as Yamantaka and Guhyasamaja, practitioners can meditate on completion stage only after they have gained experience of generation stage; but in the practice of Vajrayogini we can train in completion stage meditations, and even gain certain completion stage realizations, while we are still training in generation stage.
THESE INSTRUCTIONS ARE ESPECIALLY SUITABLE FOR THOSE WITH STRONG DESIROUS ATTACHMENT
In general it is difficult for those with strong desirous attachment to practice Dharma, but this is not so with the practice of Vajrayogini. Throughout this world there exist countless emanations of Heruka and Vajrayogini manifesting as ordinary men and women. These emanations help pure practitioners of Vajrayogini to transform their desirous attachment into the spiritual path. If such practitioners conscientiously keep their commitments and faithfully practice the eleven yogas.
THESE INSTRUCTIONS ARE PARTICULARLY APPROPRIATE FOR THIS DEGENERATE AGE
The practice of Vajrayogini quickly brings blessings, especially during this spiritually degenerate age. It is said that as the general level of spirituality decreases, it becomes increasingly difficult for practitioners to receive the blessings of other Deities; but the opposite is the case with Heruka and Vajrayogini – the more times degenerate, the more easily practitioners can receive their blessings.
Furthermore, in the Root Tantra of Heruka Vajradhara promised that in the future, when times became spiritually degenerate, Heruka and Vajrayogini would bestow their blessings on those with strong attachment. In general, as the number of lineage Gurus of a Deity’s practice increases, the blessings of that Deity take longer to reach practitioners; but the greater the number of lineage Gurus of Heruka and Vajrayogini, the more quickly practitioners receive their blessings.
VAJRAYOGINI’S MANTRA HAS MANY SPECIAL QUALITIES
In the Root Tantra of Heruka Vajradhara says that we can gain attainments merely by reciting Vajrayogini’s mantra, even with poor concentration. Nowadays this is not possible when reciting the mantras of other Deities. However, we need to have very strong faith in Vajrayogini and her mantra if we are to gain realizations by mantra recitation alone. If we think deeply about the benefits and special qualities of these instructions we will realize that we now have a very precious opportunity to study and practise them. We will generate a feeling of great joy which will give us great confidence in the instructions and encourage us to put them into practice.
THE QUALIFICATIONS NECESSARY FOR PRACTICING THESE INSTRUCTIONS
Before we can practise the two stages of Vajrayogini Tantra we must have certain qualifications. Through the study and practice of the stages of the path, Lamrim, we should have gained at least some experience of the three principal aspects of the path: renunciation, bodhichitta and the correct view of emptiness.
These are sometimes known as ‘paths common to both Sutra and Tantra’. Once we have built the foundation of experience in the common paths we are qualified to enter the special path of Tantra. The gateway to Tantric practice is empowerment.
Before we can engage in Vajrayogini practice we must receive from a qualified Tantric Spiritual Guide the empowerment of Heruka, and the empowerment of Vajrayogini in her sindhura mandala.
These empowerments place special, virtuous potentials on our consciousness which, when nurtured by subsequent spiritual practice, eventually ripen into the realizations of generation stage and completion stage. During the empowerments we take certain vows and commitments, which we must observe scrupulously. Upon this basis, if we practice Vajrayogini’s instructions continuously and sincerely we will receive all the benefits mentioned above.
Written by HH Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, The New Guide to Dakini Land.
Link to Tharpa Publications website >>
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