The Meaning of The Dharma and The Three Buddhist Lineages
In the great ocean of suffering in the six realms three worlds, karma and suffering are the main forces for rebirth in samsara. Therefore sentient beings’ three poison: ignorance must be eliminated. However even in our dreams, we selfishly wished only happiness for ourselves. We do not know, neglect or delays the method for the cause of good karma and happiness.
Though all sentient beings wishes to avoid suffering, however due to undesired influences, habits and not being able to choose the right from the wrong, causes us not to be able to break free from the bondage of suffering. Therefore in ignorance we committed immeasurable negativities, which are the main cause for our uncountable rebirths within samsara. The only hope for liberation from the sufferings of samsara is the Buddha and the path that He personally treads. Other than these, there are no other ways.
The Dharma can be simply said to have 84,000 means, categorized into the individual liberation of oneself, the Hinayana and on the other hand, the generation of greater aspiration, the Mahayana. The Mahayana is then sub-categorized into the Prajnaparamita and the Vajrayana vehicle, the lineage that is capable even in the degeneration age to forcefully liberate sinful beings (in one life time). Other than the differences in the level of wisdom between the practitioners of these three lineages, the fruitation of each lineage is the same. Therefore the three lineages differ only in terms of practice, aspiration and speed.
If one were to discriminate the three lineages with hatred, one will not only breaks the refuge vows and become a non-Buddhist but also takes rebirth in the hells. Within the three lineages, there are practices as well as the preliminaries. As Buddha had said: the three lineages are like steps, they complement each other and will not be complete without either one of them. Therefore Vajrayana is the combination of the essences of the three lineages.
Vajrayana’s Four Types of Yoga and The Yamantaka Lineage
The swiftest method for the degenerated age, the wish-fulfilling gem for destined disciples is the secret Vajrayana vehicle. The Vajrayana Vehicle consists of four yogas: kriya, charya, yoga, and anuttara yoga. Anuttara yoga is further classified into three: father, mother and non-dual. Within the father tantra, there are the greed, anger and ignorance means. The tantra of wrathful Manjushri (Yamari) belongs to the anger means.
There are three Yamari lineage: Rakta, Krishna and Vajrabhairava. There is several practice of Rakta Yamari: solitary, nine deities and thirteen deities. The Yidam for this puja is: The wrathful Manjushri that engulfs the three realms’ demon~ Rakta Yamari.
Why did Manjushri Bodhisattva assume such a wrathful form? That’s because the Bodhisattva is using the skill in means (i.e. wrathful means) to benefit beings that are unable to be tame through peaceful means, those who like practicing wrathful deities as well as those who have connections with wrathful deities.
The power of Rakta Yamari is that He can devour the three realms in an instance. When wrathful beings see Rakta Yamari, the weapons that they held will lose their functions and are dropped onto the floor.
The compassion of Rakta Yamari encompasses all sentient beings impartially, like a mother who will holds her child as dearer than herself.
The wisdom of Rakta Yamari is the consolidation of all the Buddha and Bodhisattvas condensed in a single form, Manjushri Bodhisattva. Therefore practicing Rakta Yamari will subsequently accomplish Manjushri practices.
What Practitioners Should Know With Regards To Rakta Yamari
Generally, a practitioner must know the structure of Buddhism as well as the tantra. Faith will comes with understanding.
Did the Buddha teach this method?
The Yamari tantra are recorded and mentioned in many texts such as the great practitioner Rindu ‘s “Yamari generation and completion commentaries”, “History of Bharawa” etc. Below are some origins of the Yamari practice:
In the charnel ground known as Palden Drepung, Shakyamuni Buddha manifests as Vajradhara to tame an arrogant god of the desire realm and taught the Yamari tantra.
In Amaravati, Bodhisattva Vajrapani request Shakyamuni Buddha to teach the Yamari tantra. He received the ten thousand volume, three hundred volume and three thousand volume teachings of Yamari.
In the dakini pure realm, Shakyamuni Buddha taught the Yamari tantra to the dakinis as well as fortunate disciples.
In order to subdue Yamaraja, who lived in the metal skull palace seven grounds below our world, Shakyamuni Buddha manifest as the form of Yamari and taught the Yamari tantra there.
After practicing asceticism for six years, during dusk in Bodhigaya where Shakyamuni Buddha was about to attain enlightenment, an army of three million demons attempts to cause obstacles and Buddha using the Rakta Yamari tantra to defeated the demons. At that time, he gave teachings of Yamari tantra.
Therefore, there are no conflicts as to where the Yamari tantra was taught, as this is an example of Shakyamuni Buddha’s many inconceivable deeds. According to texts, the Dakini Vetali gathered and consolidates the Yamari tantra taught by Shakyamuni Buddha and conceals it in Orgyen’s Dharmaganda, the treasury of the secret tantras.
Is the lineage unbroken and did the disciples uphold the practice?
After Shakyamuni entered into parinirvana, there was a high practitioner by the name Lalitavajra. Everyday he recites the Arya Manjushri Namosamgita and when he reached the stanza: “Vajrabhairava can give fear, the subduer of Yamaraja”, he would remembered that Shakyamuni Buddha had taught the Yamari tantra before. He thought to himself that if he could find this tantra, it would benefit many sentient beings. He asked well-known panditas and practitioners in Nalanda for the whereabouts of this tantra but to no avail.
When his karma ripens, he met a master who told him that this tantra could be found in Orgyen. When asked how he could reach Orgyen, the master told him that only those with connection and had accomplished the deity practice could reached there. Therefore Lalitavajra make supplications to his yidam Manjushri and perform dakini tsog offerings. His yidam gave him a vision and accordingly construct a mandala and traveled to Orgyen. According to His Holiness the Dalai Lama, the guardian of Orgyen’s Dharmaganda, the treasury of the secret tantras is no other than Simhamukha, the lion faced dakini.
After reaching Orgyen, he met Dakini Vetali who compassionately accepts Lalitavajra as her disciple. She gave the entire Yamari tantra transmissions and initiation to him. Lalitavajra stayed in Orgyen, practicing the Yamari tantra for three months. Thereafter, he requests the dakini to allow him to transmit the entire Yamari tantra to the human realm. Dakini Vetali instructed him to check independent arising and he receive signs that the Yamari tantra will not completely benefit sentient beings, thus the entire Yamari tantra was not completely transmitted in the human realm.
Accordingly, Dakini Vetali used a stick to determine the chapters of Yamari tantra allowed for transmission to the human realm. In the end only seven chapters are allowed for transmission. According to another source, the number of volumes Lalitavajra can memorize within a short period are allowed for transmission to the human realm.
The main lineages for Red Yamari are as follows:
Lalitavajra ~ Zurchen Banzin ~ Chal Lotsawa ~ Tibet lineage
Lalitavajra ~ Danasila ~ Yadey Sonam Sengge ~ Tibet lineage
Lalitavajra ~ Woahzaya ~ Sera Rinchen Lotsawa
The main lineage of the Yamari tantra comes from Dipamkara Rakshita ~ Rwa Lotsawa and the most famous lineage is that of Rwa Lotsawa ~ Lama Tsongkhapa. As Yamari is one of the four major yidams, it is therefore practiced within the four schools of Tibetan Buddhist. For example Manjushrimitra of the eight pronouncement Herukas in Nyingma tradition, termas of Yamari practices. These showed that there are Yamari practitioners, both in India and Tibet. In the Gelug Tradition, the Yamari tantra is classified into the whispering lineage, Se lineage and the direct lineage.
Did the disciples obtain realization after the practice?
Lalitavajra ~ Dipamkara Rakshita, practitioners who accomplished Yamari tantra within one lifetime is uncountable from India
Rwa Lotsawa ~ Tibet lineage, accomplishment of common and supreme siddhis like flying from Tibet to Nepal, reverse the flow of the river while repairing the Samye monastery, reviving the dead as well as transferring the conscious of a flock of sheep to pure realm by Rwa Lotsawa.
In the past, many Tibetan practitioners rely on Yamari for accomplishment and this will be the case for the present as well as in the future. This is due to the inconceivable blessings of the yidam. There is a saying that in the degenerating age, those who do not rely on Yamari will not achieve full accomplishment.
Rakta Yamari and The Outer, Inner and Secret Yama
The yidam is the consolidation of the wisdom of all the Buddha and Bodhisattvas in a single form, Manjushri Bodhisattva.
Reincarnation’s main cause is ignorance, and wisdom is the special cause for accomplishment. Wisdom is manifest in the form of Yamari. Before Shakyamuni Buddha manifest enlightenment, He used Yamari practice to defeat an army of three million demons that cause obstacles. This demonstrates the inconceivable blessings of the yidam and that Yamari is the subduer of Yamaraja.
Outer Yama consist of the blacks (bad influences, environment, conditions etc), obstacles to practice. The subduer of these is Karma Yamaraja
Secret Yama ignites the karmic wind in the left and right channel. The subduer is the wisdom wind that dissolves into the central channel, completion stage. The dissolving of wisdom wind into the central channel is the result of accomplishing Yamari; hence without a doubt that Yamari is the subduer of Yamaraja.
The Conditions of Receiving The Rakta Yamari Initiation
To receive the secret, inconceivable tantra of Rakta Yamari, one must:
Sees the benefits of the Buddha dharma and have an interest for more knowledge
Have the intent of abandoning this life. If not, at least one must held future life as more important than this life.
Sees the inconceivable benefits of tantra and this faith will not degenerate.
Having done research and have a good understanding of the Yidam and the vajra master.
Understands that tantric activities such as reading and reciting of texts are not tantric unless one’s practice becomes tantric. One’s practice must be dharma, e.g. taking refuge.
In order for one’s practice to be Mahayanist, one must have compassion and great aspiration. If these two qualities are absent, one’s practice might not be the cause of accomplishment.
The cause for siddhi is to view the vows as more important than one’s life and have unwavering faith. It’s best that these two qualities are present now, if not, one must at least aspire to posses them.
Even if one is not a high vessel (with high wisdom and drive), but have strong faith in the vajra master and yidam. Even when the vajra master and yidam manifest in the form of demons, one’s faith will not waver.
Because of previous lives’ habitual tendency and aspirations, good disciples naturally possess compassion and a good heart, perseverance, which are the cause for supreme siddhi. Shakyamuni Buddha said that one with high capacity and wisdom as well as those with inferior capacity but with strong faith, only these two types of disciples possess the cause for siddhi.
On the other hand, those lacking a strong foundation, Buddhist scholars (dry knowledge without practice), inexperience practitioners, unable to see the vajra master as a Buddha, proud beings, trouble makers, nosey beings, those with bad karma (one that see, feel, touch, hear and think of everything as negative). These types of practitioners even if they practice for many eons will not have the cause of siddhi, not even having good dream. All these are recorded in the tantra. These types of practitioners will be deviate further from accomplishing siddhi. Therefore one must possess the qualities of being a good disciple, if not one must aspire to become a fortunate disciple and make sure that one does not become an undesirable disciple.
Rakta Yamari Long Life Puja (19 May 2007, 3pm to 5 pm)
This puja is a method of retrieving our lost spirit and life force using the Rakta Yamari practice. Our life span is determined by our karma but the position of the spirit within our body moves and circulates constantly. If one encounters sudden obstacles such as demonic obstacles, evil curses, injuries to the soul (e.g. operations), unluckiness, prolong sickness, being weak, external contamination (e.g. making contact with an evil man’s clothing), these will cause our spirit to decrease, dissipated, robbed, burnt etc. If one encounter such harms, one may die if it’s serious, if not one will be full of obstacles, inauspicious, full of sickness, cannot focus one’s attention, being unhappy, experiencing insomnia, drowsiness, bad dreams, inauspicious signs etc. Some may even go insane, experiencing great changes in one’s character, become unattractive, easily alarmed etc. At this moment, using the potency of Rakta Yamari’s power to retrieve our lost spirit will surely rid us of these obstacles, as Rakta Yamari is the subduer of Yamaraja.
Using a human mould and many other tormas, these will represent oneself (the afflicted) as well as whatever the demon retinue desired. With this practice as well as the vajra master’s blessing, these are transformed as whatever the obstructers wanted.
There is another dough, which is used for rubbing the affected parts on our body (other than the forehead). This dough is then made into a torma. If one desire, one can include some hair and nails. This represents one’s sickness and all obstacles, which will be blessed by the vajra master and offered to the retinue of demons. When these tormas are brought out of the premise, visualize that all of one’s obstacles and karmic debtors follow suit, never to be return to oneself. One also receives the yidam guru’s blessing and we must have faith that this practice has the power to liberate, change and purify.
As for the spirit, the spirit basin is filled with water. Within it, there is a goat-like torma. The vajra master will move the goat-like torma, which is in the water. At that moment, all our lost spirits will be gathered. The vajra master will then check the position of the goat-like torma to ensure that all our lost spirits have returned. Once confirmed, the vajra master will bless us.
Rakta Yamari Wealth Magnetizing Puja (19 May 2007, 8 pm to 10pm)
Rakta Yamari is a yidam that magnetizes inconceivably the three realms devas, asura, human and wealth. He not only magnetizes the worldly siddhi, but also the supreme siddhi. One’s suffering can be subdued and one’s entourage, life span, wealth, fame, power of practice, ability (bodhichitta mind, samadhi) will increase like the waxing moon.
Rakta Yamari Chang Chod Puja (20 May 2007, 3 pm to 5 pm)
Rebirth within samsara is suffering, especially the beings in the hell realm and the hungry ghost realm. In the fearful realm of hell, the ruler is Yamaraja and the subduer of him is no other than Yamari. Therefore using the Rakta Yamari chang chod to liberate the deceased and karmic debtors will ensure that they will not take rebirth in the hells.
Those already taken rebirth in hell will be swiftly liberated. Therefore the Rakta Yamari is the supreme method of chang chod.
If the time of death is inauspicious, his/her descendants will be faced with unfavorable situations. This puja can eliminate the obstacles of untimely deaths, family problems etc caused. The two swiftest methods of liberations are phowa (transferring of one’s conscious) and the chang chod of Rakta Yamari. For instance, the act of transferring the conscious of the whole flock of goats by Rwa Lotsawa proved its potency.
For the living, our obstacles and negativities are eliminated. Our karmic debtors are satisfied and we received the protection against all obstacles. Auspiciousness will increase and the 8000 demonic obstacles and 360 evil demons will be eliminated. Rakta Yamari will subdue all these obstacles; therefore this practice is known as the shield of blessing.
Rakta Yamari Preliminary and Actual Fire Puja (20 May 2007, 8 pm to 10 pm)
The materials for the preliminary fire puja consist of more than 30 herbs and 12 major offerings, secret offering and many others. The preliminary fire puja includes offering to the yidam, wisdom deities and the worldly fire deity.
The actual fire puja is prepared with the Rakta Yamari practice: the method of eliminating obstacles and creating merits. Physically, the qualified vajra master will bless the offerings, burnt offerings for the guests and visualize the wisdom fire burning away our obstacles.
The merits of fire puja are as follows:
1) Eliminates obstacles to accomplishment
2) Repairs and purifies our three types of vows
3) Eliminate our two negativities, obstacles, inauspicious activities and sign, unclear visualization, mistakes to meditation (e.g. reciting too much or too little) etc.
4) Eliminate obstacles to perfect glory
5) Eliminate obstacles to wealth
6) Eliminate obstacles to longevity
7) Eliminate obstacles to merits
8) Eliminate obstacles to happiness
9) Eliminate obstacles to peace
10) Eliminate stroke, contamination (unfavorable environment, evil curses etc)
11) Eliminate people and objects that are obstacles to us
12) Eliminate obstacles to energy exhaustion
13) Eliminate all shortcomings
14) Favorable weather conditions
15) Eliminate famine, plague, war and confusion
16) Buddha dharma will propagate and prosper
17) Increase of luck
18) Attracts siddhi
19) Be inseparable from the yidam, accomplishment and inconceivable merits
The meaning of the substance used in the fire puja:
Offering of melted butter is to increase life span, merit and prosperity. Sesame seeds are for removing non virtues, couch grass for increasing life span, rice to increase merit, rice with curb to increase happiness, kusha grass for protecting from impurities, mustard seeds to clear obstacles, coarse un-husked barley to increase wealth, barley to gain rapid accomplishment, soya beans to increase strength, and wheat to overcome sickness. The wood removes obstacles to one’s well being and high status.
There are also many special mixed substances to increase wisdom. The highest accomplishment, which is the aims of these offerings, is enlightenment.
The Three Deities Naga Puja (26 May 2007)
Nagas have upper body of human and a lower body of serpent. They are in charge of the earth’s wealth and lived in extremely clean environment such as deep oceans and mountainous area. However humans pollute the environment in which they lived in such as dumping of chemical waste, blood and flesh from slaughtered animals, war weapons etc. These actions cause the nagas to fall sick and as a result suffer tremendously.
On the other hand, humans create lots of negativity such as capturing of marine life, war, killing of sentient beings, breaches of vows, abortion etc. These actions cause nagas’s displeasure towards human.
In order to express their displeasure, they create obstacles such as tsunami, earthquakes, droughts etc. They also inflicted on human incurable and persistent illness such as leprosy, AIDS, joint ailment etc.
It is because of the above factors that there is a need to offer naga vases. With the offering of these vases, we hope that they will be free from their present suffering. This will in turn minimize the resentment that they had towards us and thus one’s obstacle with the nagas will be eliminated.
Blessed substances in the vase
1) 25 types of herbs for activity vases
2) 52 types of medicine for liberating nagas
3) Essence of earth and water from the holy lands from India, Nepal and China.
4) 5 types of relics from various Buddhas and Bodhisattvas as well as eminent masters.
5) More than 100 types of Dharma pills
6) Essential mantras
7) Naga’s photo
8) Lama Tsongkhapa’s photo
Merits of offering naga vases
The merits of offering naga vases are countless, below are some of the benefits:
Rain and sunshine will come at the right time, thus ensures a good harvest
One will be full of auspicious energy and will have abundant opportunities to increase wealth
One will enjoy a healthy human life, free from sickness.
One will be free from the harms of war and the place in which one is residing will be peaceful.
Blessing of the naga vases
The vajra master will bless the vases according to the practice of Lama Tsongkhapa vase consecration sadhana.
Lama Tsongkhapa is the embodiment of the 3 Protectors, namely Manjushri, Chenrezig and Vajrapani.
Manjushri is the embodiment of the Buddhas’ wisdom. Practice of which will eliminate suffering and the causes of suffering, eliminate all obstacles and fully actualized the perfect wisdom of a Buddha.
Chenrezig is the embodiment of the Buddhas’ compassion. The practice of which will elevate the understanding of the essence of dharma, bodhichitta and compassion, resulting in the perfect accumulation of merits, thus one attain true happiness.
Vajrapani is the embodiment of the Buddhas’ power. The practice of which will eliminate the harm of form and formless demons and spirits, thus perfectly realizing the relative and ultimate truths, thus obtain liberation without any obstacles.
In conclusion, the blessing of the vase using Lama Tsongkhapa sadhana will actualize all the inconceivable merits mentioned above.
The conditions to be observe when participating in the naga puja
Must be vegetarian for the day
Must not consume the 5 pungent plants, namely garlic, onion, shallot, leek and Chinese chive
Abstain from smoking and liquor
Maintain body cleanliness
Try not to wear animal products
Try to wear light colored clothes, white being the most preferred
Must not bring any dharma pills that will harm the nagas (e.g. Black Hayagriva and other wrathful deities)
Must not wear ornaments and perfume
Must not throw any rubbish into the sea