Vajrakilaya constitutes one of the major and central traditions of Vajrayāna practice, integrating all the nine vehicles of practice, and especially the three inner vehicles yanas of Mahayoga, Anuyoga and Atiyoga. The generation of Vajrakilaya comes from the Mahāyoga teachings for transforming all experiences into an enlightened expression, and the conduct is in accordance with Mahāyoga. Vajrakilaya is meditated on as the natural qualities of the nature of mind's illusory display, in accordance with the Anuyoga path. The View in Vajrakilaya practice is the Atiyoga realisation, perfected as the unborn, unceasing, and unfabricated fruition.
Padmasambhava received the transmission from the Indian master, Prabhahasti, together with Vimalamitra and the Newari Silamanju. Each of the three then gained their own understanding which they combined into one authoritative cycle of Vajrakīlaya. Not only are Guru Rinpoche and the Indian and Newari masters especially connected with Vajrakilaya. Khandro Yeshe Tsogyal, famed in all the traditional accounts as the principal Tibetan student and consort of Guru Rinpoche, took Vajrakilaya as her main yidam and attained enlightenment through this practice in Kurteo, Senge Dzong, Bhutan. Several of the other close students of Guru Rinpoche are similarly renowned for focusing on Vajrakilaya and demonstrating the signs of meditative success as a result.
Vajrakilaya is a wrathful form of Vajrasattva, the pure vajra nature of Enlightenment. In this imagery, the Compassion of the Buddhas is expressed forcefully, to eradicate in a powerful way the entrenched ignorance and emotional afflictions which cause obstacles, interfering with auspicious circumstances and preventing the dawning of realisation. Thus, the symbol of compassion is the phurpa or phurbu, the ritual dagger which stabs the obstacles and hostile forces of embodied ignorance, and transmits their consciousness to the Buddha fields. In the often repeated words of the root Kilaya verses, "the Vajra Wrath cuts off hatred" . The most negative and destructive emotional poison of hatred and aggression is utterly vanquished and transformed by the compassionate enlightened wrath of the deity, who is our own pure inner nature, unsullied by the turmoil of the emotional afflictions. Thus, this practice is similarly powerful in overcoming all the afflictions, of anger, delusion, jealousy, pride, passion, and so on. As well as being a supreme path for spiritual development, the practice of Vajrakilaya is effective in pacifying social conflicts and disturbances, and also in mending breaches of the tantric samaya, such as the bonds between the community of Dharma practitioners.
Out of the many wonderful traditions of Vajrakilaya, the Dudjom Namchak Putri (The Meteoric Iron Razor which Vanquishes Māra) is one of the most extensive and profound. It carries the full consecration of the practice lineage. It is a spiritually direct revelation of special potency today. It integrates sacred words from the root Vajrakilaya tantras with key components of the principal Vajrakilaya lineages, and enlightened scholarship of the Vajrakīlaya commentarial traditions.
The Dudjom Namchak Putri contains especially elaborate teachings on the Four Phurbu Transfixions , which are the condensed essence of all Vajrakīlaya transmissions.
The "Purely Aware Primordial Wisdom Phurbu" is particularly developed in the Dzogchen section of the collection.
The "Compassion Emanation Phurbu" is enlarged upon in the Ritual Manual and its long Commentary. Kyabje Dudjom Rinpoche is exceptionally renowned for his expansive treatment of the Generation Stage in this practice.
The "Secret Bodhicitta Phurbu" is addressed at length in the section on the yoga of the subtle channels and energies . These three Phurbu Transfixions are all focused on the Primary Ritual for attaining Enlightenment.
The final Phurbu Transfixion of the "Symbolic Material Phurbu" is directed towards the liberation of hostile forces and obstacles, and is found in great detail in the Subsidiary Ritual section of the collection.