Who is Vajrasattva?
Vajrasattva, who takes us away from delusion and purifies our Karma, is a part of both Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhist traditions. In Tibetan, he is known as Dorje Sempa.
Described in different ways by different writers and scriptures, the core value of Vajrasattva practice, however lies in the power it holds to transform sentient beings. In Tibetan Buddhism, where tantras play a dominant role, he is also considered as one among 16 samadhi deities. He's also associated with Manjushree and referred to as a force that is free of all worldly illusions and thus is totally above duality.
Vajrasattvatmika is his female counterpart who's believed to be his Shakti or power. He's called by different other names including Yab-yum. Yab-yum is actually associated with the female part and many texts claim that this part is secret in general.
In some texts, the female counterpart is called Mahavirya from Kulata. She's believed to be a Dakini and came in existence to compliment Vajrasattva.
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The powerful mantra of Vajrasattva
Vajrasattva is found to be elaborated basically in Vajrasekhara and Mahavairocana Sutra of Buddhist texts. Over the years it got translated in several other languages.
The mantra Om Vajrasattva Hum is the main mantra of Vajrasattva and the texts guide one to the accurate chanting and effects of the stanzas. Thanks to the music industry, people can have easier and delightful access to the mantra these days. Apart from this, various Buddhist gurus are seen shedding light on the mantra and the clips can be found in the internet. While chanting the mantra, as already discussed above, visualization is a powerful tool to take one to the core. The feelings of purity and gratitude shall rule one's mind as they get aligned with the mantra and seek blessings of Vajrasattva.
The 100 syllabus Vajrasattva mantra is considered an asset not just for Buddhists but for all humankind.
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Vajrasattva Mantra Practice:
In Buddhist tradition, the mantra is chanted at least 21 times daily for purification of mind. It is said that the practice will free one of all negative karma and impure thoughts that keep passing our mind. The texts also emphasizes on pronunciation. Just like in the case of any other mantra, the right pronunciation of the Vajrasattva mantra is necessary for expected results.
There's a longer form of the same mantra, which is actually much more recommended, however amid the busy lifestyle of the modern people the short one is gaining popularity. Even though there are some guidelines or ways to follow while chanting those mantras, some gurus these days allow disciples to make it handier. They say that a person will be benefitted in any case if he or she chants the mantra with a pure mind. Not just the reciter but the mantra is supposed to purify the surrounding as well. As they benefit others, the good return comes to the chanters ultimately.
Thus, meditating on Vajrasattva is highly recommended for those who want to enhance their spiritual height. Because it is believed that our present and future life is largely shaped by our past and present Karma, 'purifying the same is inevitable for happier days ahead'.
How Vajrasattva looks like?
Generally, he is shown in the white color signifying purity. He's adorned with crowns in his head that reflects peace and light.
In the right and left hands of the deity, we can see Vajra and a bell, respectively. As about his attire, he looks quite lavish. The garments are colorful and rich. Hi crosses his leg and sits firmly in one of the yogic postures called Vajrasana. One can see a moon disk and a white lotus under his weight. But in some other images, he's seen even standing or stretching out his right leg.
Vajrasattva is celebrated in different countries differently. In India, Nepal, Tibet, Japan and many other parts of the world, we can see slight differences in his images as well as his stories and hearsay.
His image as carved in a cave in Afghanistan is quite famous too. This dates back to 6th century. According to some books, a bronze sculpture of Vajrasattva found in Bangladesh is remarkable as well. It is believed many other such signs of Vajrasattva 'travelled and stayed' in different part of the world in the past.
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The Newars of Kathmandu and Vajrasattva Practice:
There's a term in Hindu called Adiguru, which means the ultimate master or teacher. We find the word Adiguru used for Vajrasattva, too. Newars in Nepal, basically those from the Shakya community, follow Vajrasattva quite reverently.
If one talks to them, a myriad of stories related to Vajrasattva comes to surface. In the Newar traditions, mantras and meditation related to Vajrasattva quite enjoys space. There are many rituals that connect the Newars to the deity.
The Kathmandu Valley of Newars is like a museum of Vajrasattva itself. From Thangka paintings to statues and sculptures of different metals in the nooks and corners of the city display their great art skills. The valley, which is also a home to dozens of ancient Bihars and Gumba, offer 'encounter' with Vajrasattva and other deities related to Buddism to any passerby.
This precious art of Newars, safely inherited by younger generations of the families, has only bettered with time. The extremely time consuming and painstaking work has received some respite during the age of technology. Apart from paper art and Thangka, the images are found in bronze, silver, copper or brass. Most of them are gold quoted for a greater look. Serious followers of quite rely on those arts to enhance their spiritual progress. The powerful images help one concentrate and follow the guideless of meditation for expected results. And in the Valley, one can also meet Vajrasattva priests who can mesmerize listeners with several stories related to the deity.
Vajrasattva is generally depicted with some consorts. Vakragarvo, who's called Vajrasatvatmika in Sanskrit and Dorje Nyema in Tibetan language, is one of his consorts. The others are Ghantapani or the bell bearer, Diptacakra or the wrathful one and so on. The concept of consorts has emerged from the union practice in Vajrayana Buddhism.