100-Syllable Mantra of Vajrasattva
Monday 21 March 2016
100-Syllable Mantra of Vajrasattva
Nam Chö Version
by Lama Palzang, Umze (Chantmaster)
at Palyul Ling Retreat Center, NY
Om Benza Sato Samaya, Manu PalayaBenza Sato Tei No Pa, Tisthira Dridho Me BawaSuto Khayo Mei Ba Wa, Anu Rakto Me Ba Wa, Su Po Khayo Mei Ba WaSar Wa Siddhi Mei Pra Yatsa, Sarwa Karma Sutsa Me,Tsi Tam Shri Yam Kuru Hung, Ha Ha Ha Ha Ho BagawanSarwa Tathagata Hri Daya, Benza Ma Mei MuntsaBenzi Bhawa Maha Samaya Sato Ah
As with any mantra there are many levels to the meaning of the 100 Syllable Mantra.
As a result, one should not become fixated upon any one translation of the mantra.
each of the syllables in the 100-Syllable Mantra also represents the One Hundred Peaceful
and Wrathful Deities resident in one’s own body and encountered in the Bardo State after death.
By practicing with an open mind, the deeper levels of the mantra will be revealed.
The approximate meaning of the mantra: You, Vajrasattva, have generated the holy mind (bodhicitta) according to your pledge (samaya). Your holy mind is enriched with the simultaneous holy actions of releasing transmigratory beings from samsara (the circling, suffering aggregates). Whatever happens in my life-happiness or suffering, good or bad-with a pleased, holy mind, never give up but please guide me. Please stabilize all happiness, including the happiness of the upper realms, actualize all actions and sublime and common realizations, and please make the glory of the five wisdoms abide in my heart.
- Tibetan: Dorje Sempa
- Japanese: Kongōsatta
- Chinese: 金剛薩埵 Jīn gāng sà duǒ
Vajrasattva is a bodhisattva in the Mahayana and Vajrayana buddhist traditions. Vajrasattva’s name translates to Diamond Mind. In the Japanese Vajrayana school of Buddhism, Shingon, Vajrasattva is the esoteric aspect of the bodhisattva Samantabhadra and is commonly associated with the student practitioner who through the master’s teachings, attains higher and higher levels of esoteric practice.
Vajrasattva appears principally in two Buddhists texts: the Mahavairocana Sutra and the Vajrasekhara Sutra. In the Diamond Realm Mandala, Vajrasattva sits to the East near Akshobhya Buddha.
In some esoteric lineages, Nagarjuna was said to have met Vajrasattva in an iron tower in South India, and was taught tantra, thus transmitting the esoteric teachings to more historical figures.
Vajrasattva in Shingon Buddhism
- In the Shingon Buddhist lineage, Vajrasattva is traditionally viewed as the second patriarch, the first being Vairocana Buddha himself. According to Kukai’s writings in Record of the Dharma Transmission he relates a story based on Amoghavajra’s account that Nagarjuna met Vajrasattva in an iron tower in southern India. Vajrasattva initiated Nagarjuna into the abhiseka ritual and entrusted him with the esoteric he had learned from Vairocana Buddha, as depicted in the Mahavairocana Sutra. Kukai does not elaborate further on Vajrasattva or his origins.
- Elsewhere, Vajrasattva is an important figure in two esoteric Buddhist sutras, the Mahavairocana Sutra and the Vajrasekhara Sutra. In the first chapter of the Mahavairocana Sutra, Vajrasattva leads a host of beings who visit Vairocana Buddha to learn the Dharma. Vajrasattva inquires about the cause, goal and foundation of all-embracing wisdom, which leads to a philosophical discourse by the Buddha. The audience cannot comprehend the teaching, so the Buddha demonstrates through the use mandala. Vajrasattva then questions why rituals and objects are needed if the truth is beyond form. Vairocana Buddha replies to Vajrasattva that these are expedient means to bring practitioners to experience awakening more readily, and so on. In Shingon Buddhist rituals for initiation, the kechien kanjō, the initiate re-enacts the role of Vajrasattva and recites mantra and dialogue from the sutras above. The teacher enacts the role of Mahavairocana Buddha bestowing wisdom upon the student.
Vajrasattva in Tibetan Buddhism
- Tibetan Vajrasattva holds the vajra in his right hand and a bell in his left hand.
In Tibetan Buddhism the Vajrasattva root tantra is Dorje Gyan, or ’Vajra Ornament’. Vajrasattva practices are common to all of the four schools of Tibetan Buddhism and are used both to purify obscurations so that the Vajrayana student can progress beyond Ngondro practices to the various yoga practices of tantra and also to purify any broken samaya vows after initiation. As such, Vajrasattva practice is an essential element of Tibetan Buddhist practice.
- In Tibetan Vajrayana Buddhist practice, Vajrasattva is used in the Ngondro, or preliminary practices, in order to "purify" the mind’s defilements, prior to undertaking more advanced tantric techniques.