Vajrayogini practice

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Vajrayogini practice

Postby Nirveda » Wed Dec 15, 2010 5:51 am

What would be required to become an initiate to undertake Vajrayogini practice? Are there prerequisites?

How would I find a teacher?

Thanks very much.
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Re: Vajrayogini practice

Postby Tilopa » Wed Dec 15, 2010 7:30 am

Nirveda wrote:What would be required to become an initiate to undertake Vajrayogini practice? Are there prerequisites?

How would I find a teacher?

Thanks very much.


Yes there are prerequisites. First study Dharma as presented in the Tibetan tradition for a couple of years and get a very good understanding of the basics. Although there are many excellent resourses available online also take oral instructions from well educated teachers. When you have unshakeable faith in the 3 Jewels take refuge. At that point you will formally become a buddhist and can then take the bodhisattva vows. Find a qualified tantric master - this is an organic process and will unfold according to your interest, disposition and karma. The old adage when the disciple is ready the Guru appears is very accurate. Following that Lamas advice and probably after some familiarity with lower tantra practices such as Chenrezig and Tara you could take initiation into the practice of Vajrayogini. In the Gelug system this means first taking one of the 'great' initiations such as Yamantaka, Heruka, Hevajra or Guhusamaja. You can't just jump into the practice of Vajrayogini without first preparing yourself with proper sutra studies and some teachers will also insist you complete the preliminary practices.
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Re: Vajrayogini practice

Postby narraboth » Wed Dec 15, 2010 12:18 pm

Nirveda wrote:What would be required to become an initiate to undertake Vajrayogini practice? Are there prerequisites?

How would I find a teacher?

Thanks very much.


If you are in the US, HH Sakya Trichin will go there next year. And HE Sakya Jigdral Dachen is always in Seattle. Two highest Sakya masters you can get now.

Sakya is the origin of vajrayogini teaching and it's still kept pure and vivid in Sakya tradition. I would suggest you go to meet any of them, and ask how you should start etc.

And I think there will be chance for you to recieve empowerment and so on next year if you are in the US.
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Re: Vajrayogini practice

Postby Mr. G » Wed Dec 15, 2010 1:02 pm

I don't think it's been confirmed that H.H. Sakya Trizin will be giving Vajrayogini teachings in the U.S. next year. However, not all the sanghas have fully confirmed their schedules of what teachings or empowerments will be given. Next year the big teaching in the U.S. is Lam Dre. However, if Yogini is not given this year, it will definitely be given next year (either in the U.S. or Europe, Asia)...so save up that vacation time! :smile:

I'm biased of course since H.H. Sakya Trizin is my Root Guru, but I would also second receiving Yogini from either him or Jetsun Kushok-La. :smile:

The prerequisites are usually given during a full Yogini program that can take anywhere from 1 - 2 weeks. You'll receive refuge and bodhisattva vows before the ususal Chakrasamvara or Hevajra empowerment and Yogini blessings. Then you'll receive the Yogini teachings consisting of the 11 Yogas and the option of the so called Body Mandala and Meditation Beyond Thought. It has only been recent that in Sakya requirements have been tightened up with a daily commitment of the Long Sadhana and a 400K mantra recitiation retreat for the so called Body Mandala and a little over 1,000,000 mantra recitation retreat for the so called Meditation Beyond Thought. This tightening up of requirements is something I'm happy to see...perhaps I've met too many people who "collect" teachings without practicing them.

From Namdrol's blog:


Sachen said of the Naropa's Khechari cycle:

In general though there are many profound and important dharmas, the Guru yoga and the intimate instructions of this are more profound.


Loppon Rinpoche said:

This alone is the extracted essence of all my Dharma cycles. Since that great Guru did not propagate this intimate instruction, he did not allow me to. It is very important that you emphasize this, practice it secretly, and you will obtain the supreme siddhi of mahāmudrā in this life, and also there is no doubt that whatever ordinary things you wish can be accomplished with the intimate instructions.


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Re: Vajrayogini practice

Postby Mr. G » Wed Dec 15, 2010 2:33 pm

Also of course I agree with Tilopa that one should have at least a foundational understanding of Buddhism and it's major tenets. Of course one should also be absolutely certain that Vajrayana is the path one wants to follow.

As a minor note, for Sakya's, Ngondro is started after receiving initiation in a practice. One can't do Guru Yoga in Ngondro unless one has received empowerment to do Guru Yoga.

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Re: Vajrayogini practice

Postby Nirveda » Wed Dec 15, 2010 6:11 pm

Thank you all for your help. This is very helpful.

If I may ask further, for the sake of understanding:

1. Does starting Vajrayogini require a retreat setting?

2. When working with a teacher on this practice, is there some kind of regular contact? (in person, phone, email, etc.) In other words, if I work with a teacher who is geographically far away, would that be a problem?

Thanks for your patience. I've not formally practiced in the Tibetan tradition, although I regularly read a lot of Lama Zopa, Lama Yeshe, HHDL, and various other teachers on emptiness & vipashyana.
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Re: Vajrayogini practice

Postby Mr. G » Wed Dec 15, 2010 6:52 pm

1. Does starting Vajrayogini require a retreat setting?


I'm not sure what you mean. If you go to a VY teaching/retreat, you usually practice the sadhana daily at home. A retreat is usually undertaken if one has taken the so called Body Mandala or Meditation Beyond Thought. However, there are those that haven't taken either of those and do a retreat regardless.

2. When working with a teacher on this practice, is there some kind of regular contact? (in person, phone, email, etc.) In other words, if I work with a teacher who is geographically far away, would that be a problem?


I know people that contact their local center by email/phone or contact their fellow retreatants or senior practitioners with questions.
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Re: Vajrayogini practice

Postby kirtu » Wed Dec 15, 2010 7:01 pm

Nirveda wrote:Thank you all for your help. This is very helpful.

If I may ask further, for the sake of understanding:

1. Does starting Vajrayogini require a retreat setting?


Not per se although as mentioned at least in Sakya taking the empowerments and then going over the entire practice typically is done in a kind of retreat setting (or half-retreat setting during the teaching).

Then in Sakya there is a commitment to daily practice. And it is good if you could meet one a month with other VY practitioners to do what is essentially an slightly extended meditation.

VY does definitely in Sakya entail the commitment at some point to an extended retreat but this is treated as an aspiration for most people.

2. When working with a teacher on this practice, is there some kind of regular contact? (in person, phone, email, etc.) In other words, if I work with a teacher who is geographically far away, would that be a problem?


Hopefully you would have a local lama you could work with. Seeing one of the lineages heads is possible but of course they only come around every 1-2 years although you could go to them if they have time in their schedule.

VY is considered a very easy practice on the one hand but on the other hand entails a significant commitment. This is from the Sakya and Gelug view a very "high" practice one that properly understood (in fact it can in some sense be understood on a very rudimentary level) and practiced will without question lead one to enlightenment at death or in a few lifetimes and it is a practice that will sort of "teather" one to Vajrayana from life to life. It is a direct wisdom practice.

VY is treated somewhat differently in a way in Nyingma (basically VY is not practiced directly in Nyingma as VY practice is sort of mostly New Translation [Sarma] school tantra). She is practiced directly in Gelug. She is apparently not practiced directly in the Kagyu schools although there is variation there and other forms may well be practiced.

Beyond this people can't say much. This is supposed to be really a secret practice kept close to one's heart transmitted directly from guru to disciple.

Kirt
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Re: Vajrayogini practice

Postby Blue Garuda » Wed Dec 15, 2010 9:56 pm

In the Gelugpa the empowerment and practice is Highest Yoga Tantra.

As mentioned, it is usual to receive, for example, Heruka empowerment and Vajrayogini empowerment afterwards.

Practice without full transmission would be very unwise.

There are soooo many prerequisites I could list, but if you have not practised Vajrayana before I would explore several gurus and lineages and choose carefully. Then spend as long a period as they advise in developing attainments which they eventually identify as your readiness to take the empowerment and begin the practice.

Preliminaries for a retreat after the empowerment are also very extensive and take considerable time.

You have received some excellent pointers to authentic masters from the members. I also feel it may be necessary to warn you not to seek an empowerment from anyone outside the traditional Tibetan lineages. There are well-publicised Vajrayogini empowerments available from others who are not properly trained to give them.

Take it slowly, and be guided by your guru with regard to the best time to receive the empowerment.

maitri


Yeshe :)
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Re: Vajrayogini practice

Postby conebeckham » Thu Dec 16, 2010 12:03 am

Well, you've gotten the Sakya and Geluk POV's, so here's the (Karma and Shangpa) Kagyu POV.

In general, one needs to prepare oneself--via study of sutra and tantra, to a degree,as others have mentioned--and to practice ngondro, from the Kamtsang point of view. We do not say one needs a full Wangkur to practice Vajrayogini, but you do need the Kamtsang "wang" for Vajrayogini/Varahi, which is a "blessing" or "Jinlab" in Tibetan, and which we say is appropriate. And it's actually "normal" to have received full Chakrasamvara Wangkur as well. There are different ways to practice. The most complete way is to engage in the sadhana by Tongwa Donden, along with the special instructions and additional liturgies from Pawo Rinpoche, and to thus do the outer, inner, and secret practices in sequence, for Nyenpa, or "Approach," then to engage in the Druppa, or "Accomplishment," and conclude with the Jinsek.
There's also a way to practice utlizing just the main sadhana by Tongwa Donden. This is what is done in monastic assemblies and monthly tsoks.
Then there's a very short "Daily Practice for carrying on the Path" which is in fact a section of the Kamtsang Ngondro text.

There are other Vajrayogini practices that Kamtsang do, as well, but these are usually engaged in only after the above practices are completed.

The Shangpa Kagyu dakini practices--the red and white Khacharis, as well as the Five Dakinis of the Shangpa Tradition-- are actually advanced practices that are only engaged in, traditionally, after completion of the "main" Shangpa Yidam practices and the Completion Stage practices of the Six Yogas of Niguma. All of these require a bunch of empowerments, etc.
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Re: Vajrayogini practice

Postby Nirveda » Thu Dec 16, 2010 2:14 am

Thank you all again for being generous with your help. It gives me a better idea of how to go about this. Daily practice is not a problem for me. I already do that and commit a significant amount of time to it. The main thing for me will be finding a teacher and then going through the necessary steps.

:namaste:
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Re: Vajrayogini practice

Postby narraboth » Thu Dec 16, 2010 5:23 pm

Nirveda wrote:Thank you all again for being generous with your help. It gives me a better idea of how to go about this. Daily practice is not a problem for me. I already do that and commit a significant amount of time to it. The main thing for me will be finding a teacher and then going through the necessary steps.

:namaste:


I don't know where you are, if you are in west US, visit HE Sakya Jigdral Dachen in Seattle. He is a master you can't miss, even you can't receive vajrayogini from him or can't take him as your main teacher.

It's very lucky of American that he lives there.
I personally haven't met him yet, but I always pray that I can meet him soon.
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Re: Vajrayogini practice

Postby kirtu » Thu Dec 16, 2010 5:53 pm

narraboth wrote:
Nirveda wrote:Thank you all again for being generous with your help. It gives me a better idea of how to go about this. Daily practice is not a problem for me. I already do that and commit a significant amount of time to it. The main thing for me will be finding a teacher and then going through the necessary steps.

:namaste:


I don't know where you are, if you are in west US, visit HE Sakya Jigdral Dachen in Seattle. He is a master you can't miss, even you can't receive vajrayogini from him or can't take him as your main teacher.

It's very lucky of American that he lives there.
I personally haven't met him yet, but I always pray that I can meet him soon.


He's a very compassionate and powerful master. I was able to take teaching from him in 2001 in Vancouver. Unfortunately he doesn't travel much and one must basically go to Seattle. Last year or so he gave Lam Dre in Nepal.

Kirt
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"Only you can make your mind beautiful."
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Re: Vajrayogini practice

Postby Nirveda » Thu Dec 16, 2010 7:44 pm

I'm in New Jersey, near Atlantic City, which places me about 1 hour from Philadelphia and 2.5 hours from New York City. I'm also about 2.5 hours from the Tibetan Buddhist Learning Center in Washington NJ, founded by Geshe Wangyal (where Robert Thurman and Jeffrey Hopkins graduated from).

There is also this Kalmyk Mongolian Buddhist temple (http://www.olnagazur.org/) also founded by Geshe Wangyal.

I haven't yet inquired if anyone in these areas can teach Vajrayogini practice.
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Re: Vajrayogini practice

Postby narraboth » Thu Dec 16, 2010 8:08 pm

kirtu wrote:
narraboth wrote:
Nirveda wrote:Thank you all again for being generous with your help. It gives me a better idea of how to go about this. Daily practice is not a problem for me. I already do that and commit a significant amount of time to it. The main thing for me will be finding a teacher and then going through the necessary steps.

:namaste:


I don't know where you are, if you are in west US, visit HE Sakya Jigdral Dachen in Seattle. He is a master you can't miss, even you can't receive vajrayogini from him or can't take him as your main teacher.

It's very lucky of American that he lives there.
I personally haven't met him yet, but I always pray that I can meet him soon.


He's a very compassionate and powerful master. I was able to take teaching from him in 2001 in Vancouver. Unfortunately he doesn't travel much and one must basically go to Seattle. Last year or so he gave Lam Dre in Nepal.

Kirt


I got an old photo, in which HE was in a seat, Dilgo Khyenste Rinpoche and Dzongsar Khyentse Chokgyi Lodro standed beside. If these two names mean anything to you, you won't need anymore explanation.
I am not saying HE got higher enlightenment then two great great khyentse rinpoche (sure, how could an ant compare three sky-high mountains?), but you can see how Tibetan masters respect him.
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Re: Vajrayogini practice

Postby kirtu » Thu Dec 16, 2010 8:09 pm

Nirveda wrote:I'm in New Jersey, near Atlantic City, which places me about 1 hour from Philadelphia and 2.5 hours from New York City. I'm also about 2.5 hours from the Tibetan Buddhist Learning Center in Washington NJ, founded by Geshe Wangyal (where Robert Thurman and Jeffrey Hopkins graduated from).

There is also this Kalmyk Mongolian Buddhist temple (http://www.olnagazur.org/) also founded by Geshe Wangyal.

I haven't yet inquired if anyone in these areas can teach Vajrayogini practice.


Why, if I might ask, are you interested in VY? Any of the tantric practices can lead one to full enlightenment and any of the Highest Yoga Tantra tantras can lead you to enlightenment in this life (including, and for most people who attain enlightenment in one lifetime, primarily during death). VY is in a sense very difficult (actually all highest yoga tantras are in a sense very difficult). The paradox is that it is also considered a very easy path to enlightenment (well - compared to wandering through samsara on the Mahayana Bodhisattva path for 3 eons it is).

The Kalmyk Temple is a Gelug temple so VY will not usually be given as a matter of course. To my knowledge this is only done in Sakya although in Nyingma there are similar female Buddha practices that are pretty commonly given.

But why the interest at all? Please forgive me if this is too personal.

Another thing to bear in mind is that the deity practice by itself is not completely relevant to accomplishment (meaning some little to medium or total spiritual progress in your daily life). But the blessings of the guru, the blessings of the lama, they are in fact totally relevant to accomplishment. Deity practice is not a magical means for accomplishment. Just by itself it is kind of just a waste of time (i.e. it is not like pushing a button and then presto everything is accomplished).

Kirt
Last edited by kirtu on Thu Dec 16, 2010 11:27 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Vajrayogini practice

Postby kirtu » Thu Dec 16, 2010 8:12 pm

narraboth wrote:I got an old photo, in which HE was in a seat, Dilgo Khyenste Rinpoche and Dzongsar Khyentse Chokgyi Lodro standed beside. If these two names mean anything to you, you won't need anymore explanation.
I am not saying HE got higher enlightenment then two great great khyentse rinpoche (sure, how could an ant compare three sky-high mountains?), but you can see how Tibetan masters respect him.

:rolling: :namaste:

That's a photo I'd like to see for sure.

Thanks!

Kirt
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Re: Vajrayogini practice

Postby conebeckham » Thu Dec 16, 2010 11:15 pm

Kirtu makes some very good points, and asks some great questions.

First, you should decide on a teacher.....a crucial point of yidam practice is that the yidam is inseperable from one's teacher.
In a sense, the guru is more important...it would be better, perhaps to find a guru, and then to practice whatever yidam that guru gives to you as a practice.

This is not to say that your attraction to a particular yidam, in this case Vajrayogini, is meaningless. By the way, which form of "Vajrayogini" are you drawn to?

This one?

http://www.kagyu.org/ktd/fundraising/giftPackages/imgs/Thangkas/vajrayoginiThSm.jpg

Or this one?
http://www.wisdom-books.com/Covers/9517.jpg


Do you know the story of the student who prostrated to the deity instead of the teacher?



(Oh, and HE Jigdral Dagchen is a great lama...I have a small connection with him, and great respect.....)
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Re: Vajrayogini practice

Postby narraboth » Fri Dec 17, 2010 12:25 pm

kirtu wrote: :rolling: :namaste:

That's a photo I'd like to see for sure.

Thanks!

Kirt


Oh, guys, if he's really into Vajrayogini, why not? If this passion can lead him to a real teacher, it's not a bad thing.

and the photo:
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Re: Vajrayogini practice

Postby Nirveda » Fri Dec 17, 2010 5:20 pm

conebeckham wrote:Kirtu makes some very good points, and asks some great questions.

First, you should decide on a teacher.....a crucial point of yidam practice is that the yidam is inseperable from one's teacher.
In a sense, the guru is more important...it would be better, perhaps to find a guru, and then to practice whatever yidam that guru gives to you as a practice.

This is not to say that your attraction to a particular yidam, in this case Vajrayogini, is meaningless. By the way, which form of "Vajrayogini" are you drawn to?

This one?

http://www.kagyu.org/ktd/fundraising/giftPackages/imgs/Thangkas/vajrayoginiThSm.jpg

Or this one?
http://www.wisdom-books.com/Covers/9517.jpg


Do you know the story of the student who prostrated to the deity instead of the teacher?



(Oh, and HE Jigdral Dagchen is a great lama...I have a small connection with him, and great respect.....)


I'm happy to answer, especially if it can clarify the appropriateness of this method for me. I can't really explain why. I like the idea of deity yoga as a way to transcend the self and embody the qualities of th deity. I've also read from Jeffrey Hopkins that that can be a danger because one can replace one's sense of self with that of the deity and get an inflated ego, so there must be checks and balances.

Why Vajrayogini? I just feel drawn to it. If another deity yoga is more appropriate, then that's fine. Whatever is best. Undoubtedly, I'm drawn to this one, of the two posted:

http://www.wisdom-books.com/Covers/9517.jpg

Of what significance is that? I'm curious.

Thanks.
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