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Guide to Dakini Land

– The Highest Yoga Tantra Practice of Buddha Vajrayogini

Guide to Dakini Land is a practical manual for those seeking a swift and blissful path to full enlightenment. It provides detailed instructions on the eleven yogas of generation stage, which are special methods for transforming all our daily activities into a blissful spiritual path, as well as the essential completion stage meditations that lead to full enlightenment. Included are all the sadhanas of Vajrayogini, advice on how to do a Tantric retreat, and a wealth of additional material that will be indispensable to anyone wishing to rely on Buddha Vajrayogini.

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Guide to Dakini Land

Guide to Dakini Land

Content

Contents

Illustrations vii
Acknowledgements ix
Preface xi
 
Preliminary Explanation 1
The Yogas of Sleeping, Rising, and Experiencing Nectar 27
The Yoga of Immeasurables 41
The Yoga of the Guru 81
The Yoga of Self-generation and the Yoga of Purifying MigratorsXXXX 109
The Yoga of being Blessed by Heroes and HeroinesXXXX 129
The Actual Generation Stage Meditation 155
The Yoga of Verbal and Mental Recitation 163
The Yoga of Inconceivability and the Yoga of Daily ActionsX 183
How to Attain Outer Pure Dakini Land through the Practice of Generation StageXXX 205
Completion Stage 213
Dedication 228
 
Appendix I – The Condensed Meaning of the CommentaryXX 229
Appendix II – Sadhanas 241
Dakini Yoga 243
Quick Path to Great Bliss 271
Feast of Great Bliss 317
Vajrayogini Retreat Preliminaries 387
Preliminary Jewel 413
Vajrayogini Burning Offering 423
Vajradaka Burning Offering 477
Samayavajra Sadhana 483
Appendix III – Diagrams and Illustrations 489
Hand Gestures 491
Ritual Objects 497
 
Glossary 505
Bibliography 517
Study Programmes of Kadampa Buddhism 521
Tharpa Offices Worldwide 525
Index 527
Illustrations
Venerable Vajrayogini x
 
Commentary
Mandala of Vajrayogini 2
Buddha Vajradharma 28
Venerable Vajrayogini 42
Naropa 80
Pamtingpa 112
Palden Lama Tenpa Sonam Gyaltsen 154
Dechen Nyingpo Phabongkha Dorjechang 204
Losang Yeshe Trijang Dorjechang 212
 
Dakini Yoga
Guru Vajradharma 244
Losang Yeshe Trijang Dorjechang 246
Venerable Vajrayogini 258
 
Quick Path to Great Bliss
Guru Vajradharma 276
Hero Vajradharma 282
Venerable Vajrayogini 288
Kinkara 302
Dorje Shugden 304
 
Feast of Great Bliss
Guru Vajradharma 318
Hero Vajradharma 334
Venerable Vajrayogini 354
Kinkara 372
Dorje Shugden 374
 
Vajrayogini Retreat Preliminaries
Venerable Vajrayogini 388
Khandarohi 404
 
Preliminary Jewel
Venerable Vajrayogini 414
 
Vajrayogini Burning Offering
Fire Deity 432
Venerable Vajrayogini 444
 
Vajradaka Burning Offering
Vajradaka 478
 
Samayavajra Sadhana
Samayavajra 484
 
Diagrams and Illustrations
Hand Gestures 491
Ritual Objects 497
Tormas 498
Practitioner’s table 499
Letter BAM and mantra rosary 500
Seed-letters 501
Fire puja mandala 502
Ritual objects for fire puja 503
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Guide to
Dakini Land

Also by Geshe Kelsang Gyatso

Meaningful to Behold

Clear Light of Bliss

Heart of Wisdom

Universal Compassion

Joyful Path of Good Fortune

The Bodhisattva Vow

Heart Jewel

Great Treasury of Merit

Introduction to Buddhism

Understanding the Mind

Tantric Grounds and Paths

Ocean of Nectar

Essence of Vajrayana

Living Meaningfully, Dying Joyfully

Eight Steps to Happiness

Transform Your Life

The New Meditation Handbook

How to Solve Our Human Problems

Mahamudra Tantra

Profits received from the sale of
this book will be donated to the
NKT-International Temples Project
A Buddhist Charity,
Building for World Peace

www.kadampa.org/temples.htm

Geshe Kelsang Gyatso

Guide to
Dakini Land

the highest yoga tantra
practice of
buddha vajrayogini

THARPA PUBLICATIONS
UK • USA • CANADA
AUSTRALIA • HONG KONG

 

 

First published in 1991
Second edition revised and reset 1996
Reprinted 1999, 2005, 2008

The right of Geshe Kelsang Gyatso
 to be identified as author of this work
 has been asserted by him in accordance with
 the Copyright, Designs, and Patents Act 1988.

All rights reserved.
No part of this book may be reproduced
 in any form or by any means except for the quotation
 of brief passages for the purpose of private
 study, research, or review.

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Tharpa Publications has offices around the world.
See page 525 for contact details.

Tharpa books are published in most major languages.
See page 525 for details.

© The New Kadampa Tradition-International Kadampa Buddhist Union 1991, 1996

Cover painting of Buddha Vajradharma by
 Chating Jamyang Lama.
Line illustrations by Andy Weber and Kelsang Dewang

British Library Cataloguing in Publication Data
Gyatso, Geshe Kelsang 1932-
Guide to Dakini Land:
The Highest Yoga Tantra Practice
 of Buddha Vajrayogini - 2nd ed.
1. Tantric Buddhism
2. Yoga (Tantric Buddhism)
I. Title
294.3925

Library of Congress Control Number: 94115615

ISBN 978-0-948006-40-1 – hardback
ISBN 978-0-948006-39-5 – paperback

Set in Palatino by Tharpa Publications.
Printed on acid-free 250-year longlife Wentworth opaque paper
 and bound by Cromwell Press, Trowbridge, Wiltshire, England.

...

Acknowledgements

The instruction of Vajrayogini is the most profound teaching of Highest Yoga Tantra. Originally taught by Buddha Vajradhara within Heruka Tantra, it is the supreme method for purifying our environment, body, and mind.

At Manjushri Centre in 1981, out of his inexhaustible great compassion Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso granted the empowerments of Heruka and Vajrayogini and then gave a complete commentary to the Vajrayogini instructions. So that the blessings of Buddha Vajrayogini may be received by many living beings throughout the world, Geshe Kelsang Gyatso then composed this book, Guide to Dakini Land, based on his original commentary.

For his immeasurable kindness in revealing these precious instructions to us, and in composing this supreme text, we thank the author from the depths of our hearts. We pray that we may gain perfect realizations of these instructions

 

by putting them into practice purely and with strong effort.

We also thank all the dedicated senior Dharma students who worked with the author to edit the book and prepare it for publication.

Through the merit created by this work may all living beings swiftly attain the state of Buddha Vajrayogini.

Roy Tyson,
Administrative Director,
Manjushri Kadampa
Meditation Centre,
February 1996

Preface

Sentient beings have many different capacities for spiritual understanding and practice. For this reason, out of his compassion, Buddha Shakyamuni gave teachings at many levels, just as a skilful doctor administers a variety of remedies to treat different types of sick people.

For those who wish merely to attain human happiness Buddha gave teachings revealing actions and their effects, or karma; and he taught moral discipline as their main practice. For those who wish to experience the permanent inner peace of liberation, or nirvana, for themselves alone, Buddha gave teachings on the faults of samsara; and he taught the three higher trainings – training in higher moral discipline, training in higher concentration, and training in higher wisdom – as their main practice. For those who wish to attain the ultimate goal of full enlightenment Buddha gave teachings on the development of great compassion and bodhichitta; and he taught the six

 

perfections – the perfections of giving, moral discipline, patience, effort, mental stabilization, and wisdom – as their main practice. All these teachings are open to anyone who wishes to study and practise them. The experiences that are gained from practising them are called the ’common spiritual paths’.

Besides these teachings, Buddha also gave teachings on Tantra. These may be practised only by those who have received Tantric empowerments. The experiences gained by practising these teachings are called the ’uncommon spiritual paths’.

In the Tantric teachings Buddha revealed four classes of Tantra. The practices explained in this book, Guide to Dakini Land, are included within the highest of these, Highest Yoga Tantra. These are the very essence of Buddha’s teachings. They include special methods for preventing ordinary appearance and ordinary conception, special methods for preventing ordinary death, intermediate state, and rebirth, and uncommon methods for transforming all daily experiences into higher spiritual paths. By transforming ordinary experience in this way, we can prevent many of the problems we experience in our daily life and swiftly attain the ultimate happiness of full enlightenment.

The source of all the essential meanings contained in Guide to Dakini Land is Illuminating All Hidden Meanings (Tib. Be don kun sel), which is

 

a precious commentary to the practice of Heruka and Vajrayogini Tantra by Je Tsongkhapa. Through the kindness of my root Guru, Kyabje Trijang Dorjechang, I have had the opportunity to study and practise the instructions of Heruka and Vajrayogini. Now I have written this book as a special offering, mainly for western practitioners.

To practise the instructions explained in this book we require special inner conditions. First we should train in the common spiritual paths and then receive the empowerments of Heruka and Vajrayogini. Having received these empowerments we should strive to maintain our vows and commitments purely.

This book should not be read as if it were a magazine, nor should it be read by those harbouring disrespectful or negative thoughts towards Vajrayogini practice, or by those who have no faith in the instructions or no intention of putting them into practice. However, if we have a pure motivation and read the entire book carefully, concentrating deeply on its meaning without rushing to finish it, we can gain profound realizations of Buddhadharma.

Geshe Kelsang Gyatso,
Tharpaland,
January 1990

Preliminary Explanation

The commentary to the Highest Yoga Tantra practice of Venerable Vajrayogini consists of the preliminary explanation, the main commentary to the generation and completion stages, and the dedication. The first of these, the preliminary explanation, has seven parts:

  1. Generating a correct motivation
  2. The origin and lineage of these instructions
  3. The benefits of these instructions
  4. Biographies of past Buddhist practitioners who gained realizations through practising these instructions
  5. The qualifications necessary for practising these instructions
  6. The four special causes of swift attainments
  7. What are outer and inner Pure Dakini Lands?

GENERATING A CORRECT MOTIVATION

These instructions concern the extraordinary spiritual path of Tantra, or Secret Mantra, which is the quickest and most profound method for attaining great enlightenment. We should rejoice in this precious opportunity to study these instructions which, if put into practice, can lead to full enlightenment within one short human life. However, studying these instructions will be truly meaningful only if our motivation is pure. If we read this book merely out of intellectual curiosity we shall not experience its real meaning. To receive the maximum benefit from these instructions, each time we study or practise them we should begin by generating a pure, altruistic motivation. We can do this by reciting the following prayer three times while concentrating on its meaning:

I and all sentient beings, the migrators as extensive as space, from this time forth until we reach the essence of enlightenment,

Go for refuge to the glorious, sacred Gurus,

Go for refuge to the complete Buddhas, the Blessed Ones,

Go for refuge to the sacred Dharmas,

Go for refuge to the superior Sanghas.

 

We should then recite three times:

Once I have attained the state of a complete Buddha, I shall free all sentient beings from the ocean of samsara’s suffering and lead them to the bliss of full enlightenment. For this purpose I shall practise the stages of Vajrayogini’s path.

THE ORIGIN AND LINEAGE OF THESE INSTRUCTIONS

The two stages of the practice of Vajrayogini were originally taught by Buddha Vajradhara. He manifested in the form of Heruka to expound the Root Tantra of Heruka, and it was in this Tantra that he explained the practice of Vajrayogini. All the many lineages of instructions on Vajrayogini can be traced back to this original revelation. Of these lineages, there are three that are most commonly practised: the Narokhachö lineage, which was transmitted from Vajrayogini to Naropa; the Maitrikhachö lineage, which was transmitted from Vajrayogini to Maitripa; and the Indrakhachö lineage, which was transmitted from Vajrayogini to Indrabodhi. This commentary to the generation and completion stages of the Highest Yoga Tantra practice of Vajrayogini is based on the instructions of the Narokhachö lineage.

THE ORIGIN OF HERUKA TANTRA

At one time this universe was controlled by the worldly deity Ishvara. His mandalas and lingams existed in many places in this world, the most important ones being in the twenty-four holy places. Ishvara’s followers sacrificed innumerable animals as offerings to him. This greatly pleased Ishvara and in return he helped them to obtain wealth and worldly success, but he obstructed anyone who tried to attain liberation or enlightenment. Under the influence of Ishvara the people of this world slaughtered thousands of animals every day, thinking that they were performing virtuous actions. In reality however they were accumulating heavy negative karma and depriving themselves of the opportunity to attain liberation.

The Heroes and Heroines of the five Buddha families found this situation intolerable and asked Buddha Vajradhara to intervene. Buddha Vajradhara manifested in the form of Heruka and through the power of his blessings subdued Ishvara and transformed Ishvara’s mandalas into his own. The other Deities of Heruka’s mandala subdued Ishvara’s retinue by converting them to followers of Heruka.

Heruka did not reabsorb the mandalas that he had emanated in the twenty-four places but left them intact, and to this day beings with especially

 

pure karma are able to see these mandalas and the Heroes and Heroines who abide within them. For practitioners of Heruka and Vajrayogini these blessed places are particularly powerful sites for meditation.

After subduing Ishvara and his retinue, Heruka expounded the condensed, middling, and extensive root Tantras of Heruka. Of these, only the Condensed Root Tantra of Heruka has been translated from Sanskrit into Tibetan. Buddha Vajradhara also expounded many explanatory Tantras, which are commentaries to the root Tantras, and a number of these have been translated into Tibetan. It is in these root and explanatory Tantras, especially in the forty-seventh and forty-eighth chapters of the fifty-one chapters of the Condensed Root Tantra of Heruka, that Buddha Vajradhara gave clear instructions on the practice of Vajrayogini.

THE LINEAGE OF THESE INSTRUCTIONS

The first Guru in the lineage of these instructions is Buddha Vajradharma and the second is Buddha Vajrayogini. Vajrayogini transmitted these instructions directly to Naropa, who diligently put them into practice and as a result gained great realizations. Although Naropa had many disciples he kept his practice of Vajrayogini secret, transmitting it only to two brothers from the

 

Nepalese town of Pamting, now called Pharping. He recognized that the Pamtingpa brothers, Jigme Dragpa and his younger brother Ngawang Dragpa, had a particularly strong karmic connection with these instructions. Sakya Pandita Kunga Gyaltsen and other famous Teachers have remarked on the fact that even Naropa’s most famous disciple, the great Tibetan Master Marpa, did not receive these instructions.

The Pamtingpa brothers passed these instructions to the Tibetan translators Lokya Sherab Tseg and Malgyur Lotsawa. It was Malgyur Lotsawa who translated the Condensed Root Tantra of Heruka from Sanskrit into Tibetan. Through his kindness many Tibetans in the past became great Yogis and Yoginis, and today many people have the opportunity to study and practise the Heruka and Vajrayogini Tantras. Malgyur Lotsawa himself reached the supreme Union of Vajradhara and attained Pure Dakini Land in that life.

From Malgyur Lotsawa these instructions were passed down in unbroken succession to Phabongkha Rinpoche, and then to the most Venerable Kyabje Trijang Dorjechang, holder of the lineage. It was from this great Master that I, the author, received these instructions. From Buddha Vajradharma to Kyabje Trijang Dorjechang there have been thirty-seven lineage Gurus. The lineage of these instructions is unbroken

 

and the blessings passed down from Buddha Vajradharma are intact. Each lineage Guru attained complete experience of these instructions, thereby ensuring that their power has not decreased. These instructions are completely authentic and are clearly presented. If we put them into practice with deep conviction and joyous effort we shall definitely gain realizations.

THE BENEFITS OF THESE INSTRUCTIONS

It is said in the Condensed Root Tantra of Heruka that the benefits to be gained from engaging in the practice of Vajrayogini are limitless and that a thousand voices could never fully enumerate them. Here we shall consider ten principal benefits.

BY PRACTISING THESE INSTRUCTIONS WE QUICKLY RECEIVE GREAT AND POWERFUL BLESSINGS

When we practise 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 practise. 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 without great difficulty.

BY PRACTISING THESE INSTRUCTIONS WE CAN SWIFTLY ACCOMPLISH ATTAINMENTS

Many great Teachers such as Kyabje Trijang Dorjechang have said that through the practice of Vajrayogini those with only middling fortune can attain Pure Dakini Land within one lifetime. Those

 

with greater fortune will attain this with ease, and even those with lesser fortune can attain Pure Dakini Land in the intermediate state between death and rebirth. If we continually recite Vajrayogini’s mantra we shall remember the mantra when we are dying, and then, as if in a dream, we shall 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.

It is said that even those with the least fortune who do not attain Pure Dakini Land in the intermediate state will be led by Vajrayogini to her Pure Land within seven lives. Even if such practitioners find themselves in the deepest hell, Vajrayogini will bless their minds and cause their previously accumulated virtuous actions to ripen. In this way they will be released from hell and guided directly to the Pure Land of the Dakinis.

Thus through keeping our commitments purely and practising these instructions sincerely we can attain Pure Dakini Land in this life, in the intermediate state, or certainly within seven lives.

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 Pure Dakini Land within this life without abandoning our present body.

WE CAN PRACTISE BOTH GENERATION 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 practise 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 practise the eleven yogas, eventually they will meet an emanation of Vajrayogini manifesting as an attractive man or woman. By causing desirous attachment to arise in the practitioner, that emanation will bless their channels, winds, and drops. Then, by entering into union with the emanation, the practitioner will be able to transform his or her desire into spontaneous great bliss. With this blissful mind the practitioner will meditate on emptiness and eventually eradicate all delusions, including desirous attachment. In this way he or she will swiftly attain full enlightenment. Just as fire that is produced from wood eventually consumes the wood that produced it, so too Tantric bliss, which is developed from desirous attachment, eventually consumes the desirous attachment

 

that gave rise to it. This skilful method of transforming attachment into the spiritual path was adopted by Masters such as Ghantapa and Tilopa.

The essence of Highest Yoga Tantra practice is to generate a mind of spontaneous great bliss and use that blissful mind to meditate on emptiness. We attain the mind of spontaneous great bliss by gathering the inner winds into the central channel through completion stage meditation. For completion stage meditation to be successful, the channels, drops, and winds of our body must be blessed by Deities. We accomplish this through generation stage practice.

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.

Whenever Vajradhara expounded a Tantra he emanated the mandala associated with it, but after completing the discourse he would usually reabsorb the mandala. For example, when he expounded the

 

Root Tantra of Kalachakra he emanated the Kalachakra mandala, and when he had finished he reabsorbed it. However, he did not reabsorb the mandalas of Heruka or Vajrayogini. These mandalas still exist at various places throughout this world, such as in the twenty-four holy places. Because of this, human beings in this world have a special relationship with Heruka and Vajrayogini and can quickly 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 shall realize that we now have a very precious opportunity to study and practise them. We shall generate a feeling of great joy which will give us great confidence in the instructions and encourage us to put them into practice.

BIOGRAPHIES OF PAST BUDDHIST PRACTITIONERS WHO GAINED REALIZATIONS THROUGH PRACTISING THESE INSTRUCTIONS

Many people have accomplished the highest attainments through Vajrayogini practice. Of the Eighty-four Mahasiddhas of ancient India, many gained their attainments through the practices of Heruka and Vajrayogini, and since the time when these Tantras were introduced into Tibet many Tibetans have also gained similar realizations. It is still possible to emulate these practitioners and accomplish the same attainments.

There now follow brief biographies of five great practitioners who received special care and guidance from Vajrayogini and as a result reached Pure Dakini Land.

LUYIPA

Luyipa was a great Indian Mahasiddha who relied upon Heruka and Vajrayogini. One day, on the tenth day of the month, he went to a charnel ground to meditate. When he arrived he saw a group of men and women having a picnic. One of the women gave him a piece of meat, which he ate, and as a result his mind was blessed and instantly purified of ordinary appearance. He attained a vision of Heruka and Vajrayogini, and realized that the men and women were in reality Heroes and Heroines. His previous pure practice of Vajrayogini had caused her to manifest as the woman who offered him the meat. In this way Vajrayogini helped him to attain both outer and inner Pure Dakini Land.

GHANTAPA

The Mahasiddha Ghantapa lived deep in a forest in Odivisha, (present-day Orissa), in India, where he engaged in intensive meditation on Heruka and Vajrayogini. Since he was living in such an isolated place his diet was poor and his body became emaciated. One day the king of Odivisha was out hunting in the forest when he came across Ghantapa. Seeing how thin and weak he was, the king asked Ghantapa why he lived in the forest on such a poor diet, and encouraged him to return with

 

him to the city where he would give him food and shelter. Ghantapa replied that just as a great elephant could not be led from the forest by a fine thread, so he could not be tempted to leave the forest by the riches of a king. Angered by Ghantapa’s refusal, the king returned to his palace threatening revenge.

Such was the king’s anger that he summoned a number of women from the city and told them about the arrogant monk in the forest. He offered great wealth to any one of them who could seduce him and force him to break his vows of celibacy. One woman, a wine-seller, boasted that she could do this and she set out for the forest to look for Ghantapa. When eventually she found him she asked if she could become his servant. Ghantapa had no need of a servant, but he realized that they had a strong relationship from previous lives and so he allowed her to stay. Ghantapa gave her spiritual instructions and empowerments and they engaged sincerely in meditation. After twelve years they both attained the Union of No More Learning, full enlightenment.

One day Ghantapa and the former wine-seller decided to encourage the people of the city to develop a greater interest in Dharma. Accordingly, the woman returned to the king and reported that she had seduced the monk. At first the king doubted the truth of her story, but when she explained that she and Ghantapa now had two children, a son and

 

a daughter, the king was delighted with the news and told her to bring Ghantapa to the city on a particular day. He then issued a proclamation disparaging Ghantapa, and ordered his subjects to assemble on the appointed day to insult and humiliate the monk.

When the day came, Ghantapa and the woman left the forest with their children, the son on Ghantapa’s right and the daughter on his left. As they entered the city Ghantapa was walking as if he were drunk, holding a bowl into which the woman was pouring wine. All the people who had gathered laughed and jeered, hurling abuse and insults at him. ’Long ago’, they taunted him, ’our king invited you to the city but you arrogantly refused his invitation. Now you come drunk and with a wine-seller. What a bad example of a Buddhist and a monk!’ When they had finished, Ghantapa appeared to become angry and threw his bowl to the ground. The bowl sank into the earth, splitting the ground and causing a spring of water to appear. Ghantapa immediately transformed into Heruka and the woman into Vajrayogini. The boy transformed into a vajra which Ghantapa held in his right hand, and the girl into a bell which he held in his left hand. Ghantapa and his consort then embraced and flew into the sky.

The people were astonished and immediately developed deep regret for their disrespect. They prostrated to Ghantapa, begging him and the

 

emanation of Vajrayogini to return. Ghantapa and his consort refused, but told the people that if their regret was sincere they should make confession to Mahakaruna, the embodiment of Buddha’s great compassion. Through the deep remorse of the people of Odivisha and the force of their prayers a statue of Mahakaruna arose from the spring water. The people of Odivisha became very devoted Dharma practitioners and many of them gained realizations. The statue of Mahakaruna can still be seen today.

Because of Ghantapa’s pure practice of Heruka and Vajrayogini in the forest, Vajrayogini saw that it was the right time for him to receive her blessings and so she manifested as the wine-seller. Through living with her Ghantapa attained the state of Pure Dakini Land.

DARIKAPA

King Darikapa was another of the Eighty-four Mahasiddhas. He received empowerments and instructions on Heruka and Vajrayogini from Luyipa. Luyipa predicted that if Darikapa were to abandon his kingdom and apply great effort in the practice of Vajrayogini and Heruka he would swiftly attain enlightenment. Darikapa immediately left his palace and wandered from place to place as a beggar, practising meditation at every opportunity. In a city in South India he met a wealthy courtesan

 

who was an emanation of Vajrayogini. The woman owned a large mansion and she took Darikapa in as her servant, where he worked for twelve years. During the day he performed menial tasks in and around the house, and at night he practised Luyipa’s instructions. After twelve years he attained the fifth stage of completion stage, the union that needs learning. It is said that Darikapa and the courtesan’s entire entourage of fourteen thousand all attained Pure Dakini Land. In this way Darikapa received the guidance of Vajrayogini.

KUSALI

A novice monk called Kusali also came under Vajrayogini’s care. One day, while travelling along the banks of the River Ganges, he met an old leper woman in great pain, who wanted to cross the river. Kusali was overcome with compassion for her. He bound her onto his back with his upper garment and started to ford the river but, when they were half way across, the leper woman transformed into Vajrayogini and led him to the Pure Land of the Dakinis.

PURANG LOTSAWA

Purang Lotsawa was a great Teacher who lived near Shiri Monastery in western Tibet and who had many spiritually advanced students. When he became aware through various signs that he was ready to attain Pure Dakini Land, he dug out a small cave in a hillside where he planned to live in solitary retreat. As he entered the cave at the start of his retreat he announced that if he left before attaining Pure Dakini Land his throat should be cut by the Dharma Protectors. He told his assistant to seal the entrance of his cave, leaving only a small hole through which food and drink could be passed.

Some time later a Tantric Yogi accompanied by eight women arrived and asked to see Purang. The assistant turned them away, but that evening, when he told Purang about the visitors, Purang told him not to dismiss anyone who asked to see him. The visitors returned the next day and so the assistant showed them to the cave. Suspecting that they were not ordinary people, he looked for a place to hide so that he could see what would happen, but by the time he had found a suitable place the visitors had unaccountably entered the cave. The assistant crept up to the small hole in the side of the cave and looked in. The cave was full of radiant light. The eight women were sitting in a row with the Yogi at one end and Purang at the other. The Yogi was

 

rolling letters of gold, which he passed to the women. They in turn passed them to Purang, who appeared to be eating them. Purang became aware of his assistant looking through the hole and shouted at him to go away. The assistant left immediately. Later, when he returned with Purang’s supper, Purang was sitting alone with no sign of the Yogi or the eight women. That night Purang went to the Pure Land of Vajrayogini.

The next morning the assistant took Purang his breakfast but found the cave empty. Although he was convinced that Purang had attained Pure Dakini Land he was afraid that others might think that he had been the cause of Purang’s disappearance. To allay such suspicions he called together a number of people and showed them that the seal to Purang’s cave had not been broken. Although some people were convinced and believed that Purang had attained Pure Dakini Land, others still suspected the assistant of murder.

To resolve the matter a Tibetan translator was sent to Nepal to consult a famous Vajrayogini practitioner who had great powers of clairvoyance. After the translator had explained what had happened to Purang, the Nepalese practitioner replied that on the day of the disappearance, while in meditation, he had seen through his clairvoyance that Purang had been invited to the Pure Land of the Dakinis by a Hero and eight Heroines. The Hero

 

was Heruka and the eight Heroines were the eight Goddesses of the doorways of Heruka’s mandala. As a result of Purang’s pure practice, Heruka and Vajrayogini had come to his cave and taken him to Pure Dakini Land.

Many great practitioners of the Gelug tradition such as Takbu Tenpai Gyaltsen, Drubchen Cho Dorje, Changkya Rolpai Dorje, and many of their disciples have attained the Pure Land of the Dakinis. Such things happen even today. For example, in recent years there was a Tibetan layman called Gonche who lived in eastern Tibet in a place called Chatring. To all appearances he was an evil man, always fighting and stealing, and generally engaging in many negative actions. The Chinese invasion of Tibet eventually forced him to flee from his motherland. One day, on his journey into exile, he saw a boat crossing a stretch of water carrying about thirty Chinese soldiers. He shot holes in the boat, causing it to sink, and all the soldiers drowned. When he finally reached the Nepalese border he joined the Tibetan resistance.

Some years later, as an elderly man, he travelled to Dharamsala in India where he visited Kyabje Trijang Rinpoche, who advised him to abandon all negative actions and to devote himself to spiritual practice. From that day Gonche’s mind changed. He developed strong regret for all his past harmful actions and promised to practise Dharma sincerely.

 

Some time later, Trijang Rinpoche gave a Vajrayogini empowerment to a large group of his disciples, and Gonche was among them.

Trijang Rinpoche advised Gonche to go to Nepal to do a long retreat on Vajrayogini. Receiving material assistance from his family and spiritual advice from some local Geshes, Gonche entered into retreat; but during his retreat he died. At the time of his death many people saw a rainbow above his retreat hut. Three days later he was cremated and this time a rainbow appeared over the funeral pyre. These rainbows were seen by the local people as well as by the monks who had assembled to pray for him. High Lamas said later that the rainbows were signs that Vajrayogini had led Gonche to her Pure Land while he was in the intermediate state.

Many female Vajrayogini practitioners have also attained enlightenment through this practice. These accounts of the attainments of past practitioners demonstrate the great value of the practice of Vajrayogini and are a source of inspiration for our own practice.

THE QUALIFICATIONS NECESSARY FOR PRACTISING 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 Master 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 practise Vajrayogini’s instructions continuously and sincerely we shall receive all the benefits mentioned above.

Guide to Dakini Land - Paperback
Paperback
Details: 552 pages includes 37 line illustrations
Language: English (UK)
ISBN: 9780948006395
Size: 21.6 x 13.8 x 2.2cm
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Guide to Dakini Land - Hardback
Hardback
Details: 552 pages includes 37 line illustrations
Language: English (UK)
ISBN: 9780948006401
Size: 21.6 x 13.8 x 3.3cm
Price:

Regular Price: $30.95

Special Price: $14.95

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