The final preliminary practice is actually two practices: meditation practice on Vajrasattva, the Buddha of purification, and the undertaking guru yoga practice. These practices are unique to tantric Vajrayana Buddhism and are therefore called the unique preliminary practices.
In the practice of guru yoga, all phenomena outer as well as inner should be perceived as the playfulness of our lama. We visualise that our spiritual master takes on the appearance of Padmasambhava in the sky in front of ourselves. In Tibet, Padmasambhava is known as Guru Rinpoche. We feel the deep presence of Padmasambhava and request him to bestow us the four empowerments. We combine the practice of Vajrasattva with guru yoga practice, visualising Vajrasattva as being inseparable with our guru.
Some individuals claim that it is not necessary to perform the outer, special, and unique preliminary practices, but Longchen Rabjam states very clearly in his writings that this is the wrong approach. By relying on the practice of meditation on Vajrasattva, we are able to purifythe obscuration of our body, speech, and mind. By relying on the practice of guru yoga, we are able to achieve the common and supreme spiritual accomplishments or siddhis Ordinarily, we generate negative vibrations by perceiving things with a negative outlook.These negative vibrations distribute into space. By practicing Vajrasattva meditation and guru yoga, we counteract this, instead spreading positive vibrations by cultivating a pure perception of the outer environment as the energy field of the buddhas with the sentient beings transformed into the meditational deity.
In the practice of the Buddha Vajrasattva, we visualise the environment transforming into the pure land of the Buddha Vajrasattva and ourselves transforming into the body, speech, and mind of the Buddha Vajrasattva. We imagine that no separation exists between ourselves and the Buddha Vajrasattva. Other sentient beings in this energy field of the Buddha Vajrasattvaare visualised to assume various aspects of the fivefold Vajrasattva family.
To begin, we assume our ordinary form sitting on the floor in meditation posture. On the crown of our head, we visualise a white, fully blossomed lotus with one thousand petals. On top of the lotus, we visualise a full moon lying flat. On the top of the moon stands the seed syllable ‘HUNG’, white in colour, clean and clear, brightly illuminating and transparent, shining like the sun. We imagine that the syllable ‘HUNG’ contains all the blessings and compassion from all the buddhas and bodhisattvas.
We then offer a supplication prayer to this syllable by uttering, “Since time without beginning I have been wandering from realm to realm, experiencing all kinds of suffering and limitations. My mind has been dark with discursive thoughts, emotions and defilements, but throughout this time you have not been there for me to take refuge.” If we happen to be tormented by specific suffering or illness, we can bring these to mind as we focus on the seed syllable. This supplication reaches the Buddha Vajrasattva. He cannot bear our suffering and responds by transforming the seed syllable into a fully fledged Vajrasattva with consort. The figures of Vajrasattva and consort are dazzling white, like a snow mountain illuminated by the sun. We feel that we have never een something like this before and that we are truly in the presence of the Buddha Vajrasattva. At this point, note that our visualisation should not be too solid. Vajrasattva and consort are vividly apparent, but are simultaneously intangible like a rainbow like the union of emptiness and appearance.
We now visualise moon discs in the heart region of Vajrasattva and his consort, lying flat with a white seed syllable ‘HUNG’ on top. The syllables are tiny, as if written with the finest of brushes. Around the syllables circles the 100-syllable mantra. Initially the mantra is still, but as we start to recite the mantra, the syllables circle faster and faster. The recitation of the mantra fulfils the offering of the supplication prayer and activates the spiritual mind of
Vajrasattva. When the syllables are rotating very fast, they start to give away nectar—which
we visualise as vividly as possible. While visualising, we shift our focus to the face of
Vajrasattva or the vajra and bell that he holds in his hands. Like rain falling from the sky, the
100-syllable mantra drips nectar down through the bodies of the male and female deity. From
the point of the sexual union, the nectar enters the central channel at the crown of our head.
The nectar then passes down through the crown chakra, filling up the body throughout the
many channels going out from the throat chakra, heart chakra, and naval chakra, cleansing
illnesses and evil influences from non-humans as well as negative karma and obscurations.
The current of the nectar pushes out all negative influences and suffering, and our bodies become completely cleansed and purified. When the nectar pushes out all negativities, diseases, obscurations, and defilements, we visualise this as scary animals such as frogs, spiders, and snakes leaving our body and falling to the ground. The ground then cracks open and swallows the creatures, without any chance for them to return. At this moment, our whole being thoroughly cleansed and transparent becomes as if made of light, with the three channels, chakras, and subsidiary channels. At this moment, we should feel extremely blissful. We should strongly believe that we have attained a profound level of physical and mental blissfulness through this process of purification. This visualisation has proved to be very effective even for people suffering from severe illnesses like cancer who visualise the tumours being washed away by the nectar.
Vajrasattva now becomes very delighted and says, “Fortunate child, from this moment and onwards, all your defilements and negativities are completely purified,” before melting into light. This light dissolves into us, and we become Vajrasattva with consort. In our heart, we visualise a moon disc with a blue seed syllable ‘HUNG’ as if written with a single hair, encircled by the mantra OM BENZA SATTVA HUNG, with a white ‘OM’ at the front (facing east), a yellow ‘BENZA’ to the right (facing south), a red ‘SA’ behind, and a green ‘TVA’ to the left.
As we start to recite OM BENZA SATTVA HUNG, clear light radiates from the seed syllable and the surrounding mantra in all directions as an offering to all buddhas and bodhisattvas residing in the ten directions throughout the universe. Having made this offering, the light returns to our hearts with blessings from the buddhas and bodhisattvas. Another light now radiates out in all directions towards all sentient beings and the environment, transforming everything into the pure land of the buddha families.
By meditating in this manner, we are actually properly relating to the outside world as well as the sentient beings inhabiting it. Form is in union with emptiness, sound is in union with emptiness, and our thoughts as awarenessare in union with emptiness. If we feel inspired, we can sing the 100-syllable mantra and the six-syllable mantra with a melody.
Having now spent some time visualising Vajrasattva, we enter into the dissolving stage. In this phase, the outer environment—previously transfigured into the energy field of the five Buddha families—now melts into light and dissolves into the sentient beings. The sentient beings also melt into light, which again dissolves into us as Vajrasattva. We, as Vajrasattva, then melt into light, starting from the fingers and toes and gradually reaching the ‘HUNG’ syllable in our heart surrounded by the six-syllable mantra. First, the mantra dissolves into light beginning with the ‘OM’, then ‘BENZA’, then ‘SA’, and then ‘TVA’. Finally, the ‘HUNG’ syllable dissolves into light from the lower part up until only the very top part is left.
Eventually this also vanishes into the expanse of space. We now rest our minds in the non-referential expanse of space as long as we can. If conceptual thoughts start to stir, we alternatively rest in the expanse of emptiness and do visualisation of Vajrasattva. This time, we do not have to create Vajrasattva in a very elaborate manner, but can visualise the deity in a single instant.At the end, we make a brief dedication of the merit we have gained by doing this practice and then take a rest.