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 Post subject: Does Vajrasattva exist?
PostPosted: Sun Jul 28, 2013 10:11 pm 
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Here's a passage from Tsoknyi Rinpoche's discussion of ngondro in his introduction to "Dzogchen Essentials":
Quote:
Please do not regard Vajrasattva as merely a trick to alleviate psychologi-
cal guilt. There is a real Buddha Vajrasattva presiding right now over his
own buddhafield. He is not nonexistent.

When I first read this, it sounded a bit "theistic", as Trungpa might say, so I was wondering if this is the standard Vajrayana POV.

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PostPosted: Sun Jul 28, 2013 10:19 pm 
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Vajrasattva represents realizing emptiness I'm pretty sure. When you realize emptiness you behold Vajrasattva. So the deity is primordially established, I'm fairly sure that's what he's getting at.


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 28, 2013 11:31 pm 
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"Emptiness is the natural state of mind.
It is the non-conceptual refuge, and the absolute bodhicitta.
It is the Vajrasattva who absolves evils.
It is the mandala of perfecting accumulations.
Emptiness is the guru yoga of dharmakāya."
- Nyoshul Khenpo Jamyang Dorje


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PostPosted: Sun Jul 28, 2013 11:40 pm 
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Such terms as 'emptiness' are what Western thinking would call 'metaphysical'. It is true that Buddhism doesn't encourage metaphysical speculation but nevertheless such things are beyond what you might call 'ordinary perception'. That is why they are subjects that require training and guidance by the guru, isn't it? They're not 'theistic' in the sense of presuming a 'creator deity' but they are also not atheist in the Western sense.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 29, 2013 1:19 am 
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Vajrayana is polytheistic--but with qualifiers. :shrug:

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 29, 2013 2:25 am 
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Vajrasattva does exist, and on many levels. Furthermore there are many Vajrasattvas.

There is Vajrasattva as a commitment being, this is just a visualization that symbolically represents the various qualities you are to generate.
Then there is Vajrasattva as wisdom beings, these are the beings that have taken on all Vajrasattvas qualities and attainments. They are enlightened practitioners that have attained the goal and there are many of them.

Then there are different versions of Vajrasattva. In the various HYTs there is usually, if not always, a special version of Vajrasattva. So when someone says Vajrasattva, it can mean a specific one or the general one.

Even though it is not in the purview of the thread, I'd like to say that Vajrasattva is very important and not just a confession practice. I just finished a liter of chocolate milk and lack the energy to put into words just how valuable and precious Vajrasattva is. I wish more people did the Vajrasattva ngondro to develop a strong relationship with Vajrasattva, it seems to me they are missing out by skipping it.


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 29, 2013 2:49 am 
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Quote:
Even though it is not in the purview of the thread, I'd like to say that Vajrasattva is very important and not just a confession practice.

Garab Dorje created Dzogchen from doing Vajrasattva practice. I guess innate purity=perfection.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 29, 2013 2:59 am 
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http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vajrasattva

http://www.keithdowman.net/dzogchen/zhal_thong.htm

http://www.keithdowman.net/dzogchen/namkha_che.htm

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Mirror_of_the_Heart_of_Vajrasattva

http://www.berzinarchives.com/web/en/archives/advanced/tantra/level1_getting_started/vajrasattva_purification_basics.html

Quote:
Vajrasattva is the manifestation of the purity of body, speech, and mind of all the Buddhas. As a meditational deity Vajrasattva is visualized as the expression of mind’s pure essence. In this way negativities and obscurations are cleansed allowing Buddha nature to manifest. As a Bodhisattva, Vajrasattva saw that all beings suffer because of their negative karma and made a vow to free all beings of this karma.


... and thanks for the warning about drinking chocolate milk... :twothumbsup:

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 29, 2013 4:26 am 
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smcj wrote:
Quote:
Even though it is not in the purview of the thread, I'd like to say that Vajrasattva is very important and not just a confession practice.

Garab Dorje created Dzogchen from doing Vajrasattva practice. I guess innate purity=perfection.


Garab Dorje in no sense "created" Dzogchen. Garab Dorje is the Nirmanakāya emanation of Vajrasattva (Sambhogakāya).

Dzogchen, according to its own texts and traditions is the original Dharma teaching from which all other so called "Buddhist" and "non-Buddhist" Dharma teachings arise.

M

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 29, 2013 7:05 am 
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dzogchungpa wrote:
Here's a passage from Tsoknyi Rinpoche's discussion of ngondro in his introduction to "Dzogchen Essentials":
Quote:
Please do not regard Vajrasattva as merely a trick to alleviate psychologi-
cal guilt. There is a real Buddha Vajrasattva presiding right now over his
own buddhafield. He is not nonexistent.

When I first read this, it sounded a bit "theistic", as Trungpa might say, so I was wondering if this is the standard Vajrayana POV.


Theism and Buddhism are different. Also, Buddhism and nihilism are different. It is often proposed that Buddhism goes beyond the two extremes of eternalism and nihilism. That said, you'll have to take some time to consider what it is in an eternalist view that Buddhists will not accept, and similarly what it is in a nihilist view that Buddhists will not accept. And from there it may be easier to understand why Mahayana Buddhists in particular can still accept that there are vastly realized Buddhas and Bodhisattvas who exist in the relative sense that we all do, but who are attuned to the truth of Dharma in such a way that they can go beyond the apparent limitations we take for granted, and benefit beings in countless ways and in countless forms.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 29, 2013 5:21 pm 
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Basically I think of yidams as methods or tools or whatever, but this passage seems to imply that there is an actual Vajrasattva somewhere who is going to do something for us, as the next sentence confirms:
Quote:
Someone who approaches him through the practice of Vajrasattva's body, speech, and mind does receive
the blessings for removing karmic, emotional, and cognitive obscurations and for realizing the vajra body, the vajra speech, and the vajra mind.

I guess what I'm trying to ask is if that idea is really the Vajrayana POV. I personally don't have any problem with it, although I would want to ask how the existence of such a Vajrasattva was established and so on.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 29, 2013 5:34 pm 
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if you are not clear about in what way you yourself exist, how could there be any clarity about the question of the existence of another?

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 29, 2013 5:43 pm 
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dzogchungpa wrote:
Basically I think of yidams as methods or tools or whatever, but this passage seems to imply that there is an actual Vajrasattva somewhere who is going to do something for us, as the next sentence confirms:
Quote:
Someone who approaches him through the practice of Vajrasattva's body, speech, and mind does receive
the blessings for removing karmic, emotional, and cognitive obscurations and for realizing the vajra body, the vajra speech, and the vajra mind.

I guess what I'm trying to ask is if that idea is really the Vajrayana POV. I personally don't have any problem with it, although I would want to ask how the existence of such a Vajrasattva was established and so on.


Vajrasattva exist in the same way as the lamas (Guru Rinpoche and Vimalamitra) deities and protectors that many famous tertons interact with. You can read about it in Dudljom Lingpa's Nanjang or Namthar and ChNNR Longsal teachings. Deities and protectors are not only methods, they are actual enlightened Buddhas.

/magnus

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 29, 2013 6:07 pm 
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OK, so the Dzogchen POV is that the Vajrasattva of Ngondro is a real Buddha, not just a method?

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 29, 2013 6:16 pm 
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dzogchungpa wrote:
Basically I think of yidams as methods or tools or whatever, but this passage seems to imply that there is an actual Vajrasattva somewhere who is going to do something for us, as the next sentence confirms:
Quote:
Someone who approaches him through the practice of Vajrasattva's body, speech, and mind does receive
the blessings for removing karmic, emotional, and cognitive obscurations and for realizing the vajra body, the vajra speech, and the vajra mind.

I guess what I'm trying to ask is if that idea is really the Vajrayana POV. I personally don't have any problem with it, although I would want to ask how the existence of such a Vajrasattva was established and so on.


:namaste:

:good: :good: :good:

:twothumbsup:

Many excellent posts.

My 2 cents.

Yes, no, maybe, can't say, it doesn't matter, and a singular truth.

The long and short of it - after two VS nundros (long and short). :smile:

Of course VS exists. and if you practice him (single or yab/yum), you will get benefits as described in the quotation, by a living Dzogchen Master, Ven. Tsoknyi Rinpoche.

Of course VS does not exist. Perhaps there is no place in the universe where a physical VS exists, at least we have no proof of his physical existence (though you may be able to go visit him in a non-physical dimension).

So really, you can't say if he exists or does not exist.

Well maybe VS exists as a "reified" creative visualization, perhaps first as a "promise" diety / concept and then as a "wisdom deity" concept / reification, that can have the physical effect of purifying your mind stream (body, speech and mind) as you do the purification practice or become the deity.

So maybe it really doesn't matter if VS exists, or does not exist, if you imagine that he does, and do the practice and get the benefit.

And then, as Heart wisely points out,

"Vajrasattva exist in the same way as the lamas (Guru Rinpoche and Vimalamitra) deities and protectors that many famous tertons interact with. You can read about it in Dudljom Lingpa's Nanjang or Namthar and ChNNR Longsal teachings. Deities and protectors are not only methods, they are actual enlightened Buddhas."

Now you understand the singular truth of it.

:smile:

ob


Last edited by oldbob on Mon Jul 29, 2013 6:34 pm, edited 3 times in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 29, 2013 6:18 pm 
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Malcolm wrote:
Dzogchen, according to its own texts and traditions is the original Dharma teaching from which all other so called "Buddhist" and "non-Buddhist" Dharma teachings arise.
And the relvance of this statement to the question "Does Vajrasattva exist?" is what exactly?

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 29, 2013 6:39 pm 
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Malcolm wrote:
smcj wrote:
Quote:
Even though it is not in the purview of the thread, I'd like to say that Vajrasattva is very important and not just a confession practice.

Garab Dorje created Dzogchen from doing Vajrasattva practice. I guess innate purity=perfection.


Garab Dorje in no sense "created" Dzogchen. Garab Dorje is the Nirmanakāya emanation of Vajrasattva (Sambhogakāya).

Dzogchen, according to its own texts and traditions is the original Dharma teaching from which all other so called "Buddhist" and "non-Buddhist" Dharma teachings arise.

M

It's like asking, "who wrote the Uttaratantra"? An academic or historian would say Asanga. The faithful would say Maitreya. It depends on you paradigm.

Interestingly I've seen modern translations that have Maitreya listed as the author.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 29, 2013 7:24 pm 
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gregkavarnos wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
Dzogchen, according to its own texts and traditions is the original Dharma teaching from which all other so called "Buddhist" and "non-Buddhist" Dharma teachings arise.
And the relvance of this statement to the question "Does Vajrasattva exist?" is what exactly?


Greg, Malcolm was replying to the poster who implied that Garab Dorje "developed" Dzogchen due to his practice of Vajrasattva.

Instead, it may be better to say that Garab Dorje, and indeed Vajrasattva, EXIST as the manifestations of the Perfected State, or the Natural State.

Of course, for someone inclined to the Madhyamika view, one would call that "existence" into question...and quite appropriately, I feel.

I will answer the question this way: For some sentient beings, Vajrasattva exists. For some sentient beings, Vajrasattva is a tool, or a symbol. For some sentient beings, Vajrasattva is just a notion....Or a pretty picture on a Thangka. And for Enlightened beings, Buddhas, there is no difference between themselves and Vajrasattva.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 29, 2013 7:44 pm 
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conebeckham wrote:
gregkavarnos wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
Dzogchen, according to its own texts and traditions is the original Dharma teaching from which all other so called "Buddhist" and "non-Buddhist" Dharma teachings arise.
And the relvance of this statement to the question "Does Vajrasattva exist?" is what exactly?


Greg, Malcolm was replying to the poster who implied that Garab Dorje "developed" Dzogchen due to his practice of Vajrasattva.

Instead, it may be better to say that Garab Dorje, and indeed Vajrasattva, EXIST as the manifestations of the Perfected State, or the Natural State.

Of course, for someone inclined to the Madhyamika view, one would call that "existence" into question...and quite appropriately, I feel.

I will answer the question this way: For some sentient beings, Vajrasattva exists. For some sentient beings, Vajrasattva is a tool, or a symbol. For some sentient beings, Vajrasattva is just a notion....Or a pretty picture on a Thangka. And for Enlightened beings, Buddhas, there is no difference between themselves and Vajrasattva.



, and [perhaps, since I have no idea of such things,] the question never arises. :smile:

but it is very good to ask questions - so practice, and ask, until there are no more questions. :smile:


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PostPosted: Mon Jul 29, 2013 7:50 pm 
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I think that what Dharma means by "to exist" in English gets quite confusing. If the question is rephrased instead as "valid phenomena" or perhaps "uncontrived awareness" the answer is more clearly an unqualified yes, with the caveat that his mode of existence is inconceivable.

I saw a YouTube video (sorry, no link) where Tsogy R. Says he doesn't have direct experience of the deity, but can fell the effects on his mind.

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Last edited by smcj on Mon Jul 29, 2013 8:00 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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