Six Dharmas of Nāropa - 02 Special Preparations
Type of Spiritual Experience
A description of the experience
CHAPTER TWO SPECIAL PREPARATIONS
The Jetsün Milarepa also said in his song:
"Good and evil do never fail
To bring about corresponding fruits;
Hence, one should be extremely careful to avoid evil deeds.
Even petty misbehaviours, one must forbid;
For the law of retribution never fails,
And the misery in the Lower Paths is hard to bear!
If anyone realizes not the faults of desire
And the consequences of pleasure,
He can never resign ardent longings!
Then, from the Samsaric Prison he has no way to escape.
One should therefore remind oneself:
All these desires are delusions!
Bearing this understanding in mind
One may work on the cure of the kleśas!"
If one remembers not the gratitude one owes
To the father- and mother-like sentient beings in the Six Paths,
One is liable to fall down to the Small Vehicle, (Hinayana).
Therefore one should foster great compassion,
And learn to nourish the Bodhi-Heart."
In view of these admonishments (by the celebrated masters), one ought to work hard in the preparatory practices until one's mind is consolidated. One should bear in mind that to complete a perfect journey, a clear knowledge is needed of the route and what is required for the journey. This is not a light matter. In fact, the most important and crucial of all the teachings is the preparation work, or the "Common Foundation of All Practice."
In the second group of teachings, the extraordinary preparations for the Supreme Vehicle, there are also two types of preparations, the general and the special.
The general preparation for the Supreme Vehicle means to attain a complete initiation, and to observe the precepts of Tantra.
In accordance with the teachings of these great masters of the Marpa Lineage in the past, a disciple must have the complete Four Initiations before the bestowal of Tantric teachings. This point is emphasized in many Tantras; for instance, the Second Ti-Li of the Mahāmudra Tantra says:
"When the disciple starts to learn the teaching,
He should first try to obtain an initiation.
After the attainment of initiation,
He will then become a candidate
Capable of receiving the grand esoteric teachings!
"Without Initiations there will be no accomplishment!
If he grinds sand, no butter will ever come out of it."
As said in the basic Tantra of Bde-mchog:
"The experts in Dhyana, the advanced Yogis,
Should always observe their precepts carefully.
Whoever violates the Tantric precepts
Will never accomplish anything in Mandala,
He will attain no Siddhis whatsoever."
It is clearly stated that if the disciple has not entered the Mandala and obtained the initiation, or if he does not observe the precepts and know the teaching of the Two Steps of the Arising Yoga thoroughly, he will never attain any accomplishments—even if he practises a long time.
After these general preparations we now consider special preparations, which are the supreme preparation practice. After the disciple has learned the necessary supreme preparation practices such as the general virtuous deeds, the attainment of Initiation, and the observation of Tantric Precepts, he should then begin the essential Tantric practice:
- the Guru Yoga,
- Vajrasattva Yoga, and the
- Mandala Offering Performance.
Based upon the traditional sayings of the Gurus in the past, the explanation of the Vajrasattva Yoga and the Guru Yoga follows:
- Vajrasattva Yoga - is designed for cleansing the sins and removing the obstacles of the disciples, while the
- Guru Yoga is designed for the bestowal of blessing and grace on the disciples.
He should earnestly devote himself to taking refuge in the Three Precious Ones like a hunted prey. ... He should remind himself of the immense debt of gratitude that he owes [other beings] - think how much work has to be done by a mother to bring up a child; think how a mother protects her child from dangers, illness, hunger. By constantly bearing such thoughts in mind, a resolute will to benefit the mother-like sentient beings will arise in one's heart. ... he should make a fervent oath: "I will bring all happiness by all possible means to sentient beings. I will set them free from all sufferings and unhappiness." He realizes that to materialize this wish there is no other way but to look for attainment of Buddhahood; thus a genuine Heart-for-Bodhi may arise within him. He fully understands that it is for the sake of sentient beings that he hopes for the Supreme Enlightenment and practices the Yoga of this Tutelary Buddha—Vajrasattva. ...One should practice this Yoga according to the following procedure.
Visualize a white lotus on the top of your head. In the center of the lotus is an Ah word which is transformed into a Moon Wheel. Upon the Moon Wheel stands a Hūṃ word, which transforms into a Thunderbolt, and from this Thunderbolt's lower part a Hūṃ word radiates infinite beams of light (by which the Two Acts are performed). It shines forth reaching to the Buddha's Pure Land and renders offerings and services. Then it returns and shines downwards into the lower Lokas to relieve the sufferings of the sentient beings. Then the light retracts to the Hūṃ word and instantaneously becomes the Buddha Vajrasattva—his body is white, his right hand holds a Thunderbolt, and his left hand holds a bell. He also holds the Mother Buddha, the White Mother of Elegance. She has all the ornaments adorning her body and holds the Curved Knife and Human Skull. Her beauty and elegance are beyond description. She sits in a Lotus Posture and her body bears the thirty-two glorified marks and eight subsidiary signs of Buddha's body. In the Mother's heart lies a moon, upon which the white Hūṃ word radiates infinite light to the Buddha's land inviting the Wisdom Buddha to come down. When the Wisdom Buddha descends, remember to perform the Five Offerings and say Tsa Hūṃ Boṃ Hoo—to consolidate the Buddha. And, from the Mother's heart, the light again emanates to invite all the Buddhas in the universe to come down. You should earnestly pray them to grant you the Initiation. Then think that from all the nectar-filled vases held in the hands of all the Mother Buddhas, there begins to flow out the nectar to fill your body. Thus the Initiation is given to you.
Meanwhile you should recite: Aum Sarwa Da Ta Ga Da Ah Bi Ke Gada Samaya Shir Ye Hūṃ!
After the initiation, the over-flowing nectar gathers over your head and crystallizes into an image of the immutable Buddha (Me Gy Ba) to adorn your head. Thereupon, with the greatest sincerity of your body, mouth, and mind, you should pray as follows:
"O! Bhagavat Vajrasattva! Pray cleanse all the sins and transgressional evils of mine !"
.... Circling the Hūṃ word in his heart-center is the following sacred incantation:
Oṃ Ba-tsa Heruga Samaya Manubabaya Heruga Delobaditsa Dri Dor Mabawa Sudokayo Mabawa Subodayo Mabawa Ah Hu Rado Mabawa Sarwa Sidhi Mebaryatsa Sarwagarma Su Tsame Tse Dar Shirya Guru Hūṃ Ha Ha Ha Ha Ho Bhagavan Bentsa Heruga Mamemutssa Heruga Bava Mahasamaya Satta Ah Um Pai!
When reciting the incantation, you should visualize the incantation-circle rotating on and on. As the speed of the rotation steadily increases, beams of light emanate from this incantation-spin and shine upon the bodies of all sentient beings, cleansing their sins and removing obstacles. ....(Through this inspiration) a stream of pure nectar begins to flow out from the body of Vajrasattva. It flows into your body through the Pure Gate on the top of the head, until the whole body is full of nectar. At the same time, this incoming stream of nectar washes away all filthy and putrid matters— which symbolizes the sins. One should think that through the pores over all the body the filthy matters, representing the sins and kleśas, are squeezed out and washed away. The body is filled with nothing but the pure and clean nectar. Thereupon, with a confidence of benefiting others and self, you should recite the incantation. When the recitation is finished, the devotee should apply the principle of the Four Mighty Ways to confess all his sins and wrong doings to Buddha. Then he should think that all his sins of the Three Wheels—the sin, sinner, and the act of sin—are cleansed thereby.
(At the end of this meditation) the Yogi reads the following prayer:
"O my protector! Because of my ignorance and desires
I have committed certain transgressions and evil deeds.
My Guru, my refuge! Save me and protect me!
O my lord, the one who holds the immutable Vajra!
Thou art the essence of great kindness and compassion!
The supreme lord of all, in whom I take refuge!"
...Then the disciple should think that his body, mouth, and mind are united and identified with the Buddha Vajrasattva. At the end of this meditation, the disciple should dedicate the merits and make an expression of good wishes toward all sentient beings.
In order to obtain blessing and grace from the Guru, the instructions for the practice of Guru Yoga are given as follows:
1. To view the Guru as the Field of Merits.
2. To serve and revere the Guru - as said in the Tantra of Five Steps:
"He should give up all other services and offerings
And concentrate on serving and offering to the Guru alone.
If his Guru is pleased,
The disciple will soon attain the All-Knowing Wisdom.
If the disciple serves and offers to his Guru
As he offers and serves the real Buddha,
What accomplishments and merits cannot he attain then?
What easier way to enlightenment can he find?"