Does Vajrasattva exist?

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Re: Does Vajrasattva exist?

Postby asunthatneversets » Mon Jul 29, 2013 7:59 pm

There was a recent thread somewhere else where the same type of question was posed; which was the reality or validity of the deities/yidams etc. To me it seems like this is missing a fundamental point of the dharma, that everything is equally apparent yet unreal. So when it comes down to it, labels of real vs. unreal, existent vs. nonexistent etc. don't really apply beyond a conventional level, and with that being the case, Vajrasattva is just as real as anything else is.
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Re: Does Vajrasattva exist?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Mon Jul 29, 2013 8:03 pm

To questions like these one must consider whether those asking the question are concerned with an outer, inner, secret or ultimate level of explanation. One has to assess the needs of the person posing the question and answer according to those needs. Otherwise the only thing somebody will do is to cause more confusion.
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Re: Does Vajrasattva exist?

Postby Dronma » Mon Jul 29, 2013 8:28 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:To questions like these one must consider whether those asking the question are concerned with an outer, inner, secret or ultimate level of explanation. One has to assess the needs of the person posing the question and answer according to those needs. Otherwise the only thing somebody will do is to cause more confusion.

Very good point! :thumbsup:
And this makes the big difference in between the chatter of ordinary people, and the transmission of great masters.
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Re: Does Vajrasattva exist?

Postby Dronma » Mon Jul 29, 2013 8:34 pm

conebeckham wrote: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.

This is a really good answer! :smile:
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Re: Does Vajrasattva exist?

Postby dzogchungpa » Mon Jul 29, 2013 8:39 pm

Well, I'm specifically asking about what Tsoknyi Rinpoche is saying in this text. Here's a little more from it:
We find Vajrasattva mentioned in various contexts sometimes
as a bodhisattva, sometimes as a buddha. The Dzogchen tantras describe
Shri Vajrasattva as the single embodiment of the compassionate activity of
all buddhas. In the past, Vajrasattva took the pledge "May the emotional
and cognitive obscurations present in the mind-stream of any sentient be-
ing who utters my name be naturally cleared away and vanish!" This was
Vajrasattva's aspiration, his vow, and through this auspicious concurrence,
such purification does happen.

To me, this sounds like Vajrasattva is some kind of emblem or symbol. I find it a bit difficult to take the idea of Vajrasattva's vow literally, but as a kind of myth, in the good sense, it's fine. That's why, when later TR says what is quoted in the OP, I found it a bit surprising. I think I am basically in agreement with cone's answer.
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Re: Does Vajrasattva exist?

Postby Malcolm » Mon Jul 29, 2013 9:03 pm

smcj wrote:It's like asking, "who wrote the Uttaratantra"?


Not at all. There are texts attributed directly to Garab Dorje, and there are the tantras which are considered to have been revealed by him, which were taught by various past Buddhas such as Shonnu Pawo Tobdan, Vajrasattva and so on.

To answer the question, in the east there is the pure buddhafield of Nirmanakāya Vajrasattva.

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Re: Does Vajrasattva exist?

Postby heart » Tue Jul 30, 2013 5:18 am

dzogchungpa wrote:OK, so the Dzogchen POV is that the Vajrasattva of Ngondro is a real Buddha, not just a method?


Yes, and that is why using him as a method of purification works.

/magnus
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Re: Does Vajrasattva exist?

Postby muni » Wed Jul 31, 2013 8:52 am

Dronma wrote: the big difference in between the chatter of ordinary people, and the transmission of great masters. [/color]


Oh yes. While for sure these discriminations are very important, to recognize wisdom or not, I share this as well:

Once after a meeting with Sakya Trizin Rinpoche, I was so exited and pleased to tell my Master about. I told how peaceful Sakya Trizin Rinpoche was and how foolish exited the crowd of people was.

I got wise words about my grasping dividing mind in a compassionate way.

Devotion for the Masters and Compassion for All is not separate two things but one and the same: genuine love.

:namaste:

In accordance with my many sufferings' actions, is Vajrasattva very important purification. Exist or not exist? ......................................

*Om Vajra Sattva Hung*
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Re: Does Vajrasattva exist?

Postby Martin007 » Wed Jul 31, 2013 2:00 pm

dzogchungpa wrote:H
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.


When I was involved in Tibetan Buddhism quite a few people believed in Vajrasattva as an actual "being".
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Re: Does Vajrasattva exist?

Postby smcj » Wed Jul 31, 2013 6:44 pm

How about Padmasambhava? Is he real? Didn't be say that if people called on him that he'd be there?
(Sorry, no exact reference.)

And if so, what's the difference? This thread is in the Nyingma forum after all!
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Re: Does Vajrasattva exist?

Postby Sherab Dorje » Wed Jul 31, 2013 7:31 pm

smcj wrote:How about Padmasambhava? Is he real? Didn't be say that if people called on him that he'd be there?
(Sorry, no exact reference.)

And if so, what's the difference? This thread is in the Nyingma forum after all!
Which Padmasambhava are you talking about exactly? :smile:
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Re: Does Vajrasattva exist?

Postby dzogchungpa » Wed Jul 31, 2013 8:00 pm

smcj wrote:How about Padmasambhava? Is he real? Didn't be say that if people called on him that he'd be there?
(Sorry, no exact reference.)

And if so, what's the difference? This thread is in the Nyingma forum after all!

Speaking of Padmasambhava, here are some passages from Tulku Thondup's "Enlightened Journey",
from the section entitled "A Brief Meditation On Guru Rinpoche, Padmasambhava":
Relying on Guru Rinpoche is nothing but a skillful means for realizing and empowering ourselves with the phenomena of our own pure, joyful, and powerful perceptions and experiences, which arise from our own peaceful and open Buddha nature that we all have inherited.

If we believe, then Guru Rinpoche will always be with us. He is not an individual person of a particular time or place. He is (or represents) the Buddha, the Buddha nature and its expression. In other words, he is the true nature of the universe and the pure character or expression of that universe. Whenever we allow our mind to connect with our inner truth, that truth will always be there to be reached, and then the manifestations or expressions arisen from that truth will always arise as pure and divine manifestations or appearances. If we let ourselves be inspired and see that very ultimate peace and truth, which we all have, through the support of and/or as Guru Rinpoche, we will realize and become Guru Rinpoche and his qualities and expressions.
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Re: Does Vajrasattva exist?

Postby heart » Wed Jul 31, 2013 8:35 pm

porpoise wrote:
dzogchungpa wrote:H
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.


When I was involved in Tibetan Buddhism quite a few people believed in Vajrasattva as an actual "being".


Vajrasattva is an enlightened being, a Buddha, what is strange with that?

/magnus
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Re: Does Vajrasattva exist?

Postby tomamundsen » Wed Jul 31, 2013 9:17 pm

gregkavarnos wrote:To questions like these one must consider whether those asking the question are concerned with an outer, inner, secret or ultimate level of explanation. One has to assess the needs of the person posing the question and answer according to those needs. Otherwise the only thing somebody will do is to cause more confusion.

It seems like he is looking for an explanation on the "outer" level. Keeping that in mind, I agree with Magnus:

heart wrote:
dzogchungpa wrote:OK, so the Dzogchen POV is that the Vajrasattva of Ngondro is a real Buddha, not just a method?


Yes, and that is why using him as a method of purification works.

/magnus

I have been taught that Vajrasattva purification won't work unless you really believe that he exists and is purifying your karma when you do the practice. And well.... of course the effects are real when you have such a conviction. Vajrayana is in no way Buddhism-lite or simple insight meditation...
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Re: Does Vajrasattva exist?

Postby smcj » Wed Jul 31, 2013 9:24 pm

I have been taught that Vajrasattva purification won't work unless you really believe that he exists and is purifying your karma when you do the practice.

A very specific example of the advantage of having a real live teacher and not just books & the Internet.
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Re: Does Vajrasattva exist?

Postby dzogchungpa » Wed Jul 31, 2013 9:35 pm

tomamundsen wrote:I have been taught that Vajrasattva purification won't work unless you really believe that he exists and is purifying your karma when you do the practice. And well.... of course the effects are real when you have such a conviction. Vajrayana is in no way Buddhism-lite or simple insight meditation...

Yes, that is standard, but this "belief" could itself be a technique, no?
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Re: Does Vajrasattva exist?

Postby dzogchungpa » Wed Jul 31, 2013 9:37 pm

From Reginald Ray's "Secret of the Vajra World":
The yidams are known as lha (deva in Sanskrit), meaning "deity." This raises an important question: to what extent is the yidam an external deity like the deities of other religions? This is a particularly critical question in view of the avowed "nontheism" of Buddhism in Tibet as elsewhere. In one way, the yidam is very like our usual understanding of deity in the sense that it manifests to us as an external being coming from the "other world" who embodies reality itself. But in another, more basic sense, the yidam is clearly not a purely external being because, seen on a deeper level, it is a configuration of our own awareness. In other words, the yidam is finally not external but is a representation of who we most essentially are. This marks an important difference between the Vajrayana notion and a "deity" in the conventional sense: here, the deity cannot be said to "exist" in an objective way. As a reflex of our own awareness, the yidam is "apparent yet empty"-that is, the yidam appears in a most vivid fashion but is utterly ungraspable, without an objectifiable, solidified, conceptualizable nature.

So, is Ray mistaken here, at least as far as Vajrasattva is concerned?
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Re: Does Vajrasattva exist?

Postby smcj » Wed Jul 31, 2013 9:51 pm

Kalu R. "Secret Buddhism; Vajrayana Practice". Pg.22:

"The question of the degree of existence of the yidams is often asked. Yidams really exist, but in a way different than ours, because they are not conditioned by karma."

Kalu's answer does not conflict with Dr. Ray's answer, or Cone's answer, or any of the more detailed explanations offered so far. But it does conflict with the way most Westerners choose to hear it and the conclusions the come to about it. .
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Re: Does Vajrasattva exist?

Postby dzogchungpa » Wed Jul 31, 2013 11:03 pm

smcj wrote:Kalu R. "Secret Buddhism; Vajrayana Practice". Pg.22:

"The question of the degree of existence of the yidams is often asked. Yidams really exist, but in a way different than ours, because they are not conditioned by karma."

Kalu's answer does not conflict with Dr. Ray's answer, or Cone's answer, or any of the more detailed explanations offered so far. But it does conflict with the way most Westerners choose to hear it and the conclusions the come to about it. .

Well, I haven't come to any conclusions yet, but a certain real live teacher said, while discussing the kunjed gyalpo, that Sattvavajra does not exist and was basically just a literary device.
Last edited by dzogchungpa on Wed Jul 31, 2013 11:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Does Vajrasattva exist?

Postby tomamundsen » Wed Jul 31, 2013 11:05 pm

dzogchungpa wrote:
tomamundsen wrote:I have been taught that Vajrasattva purification won't work unless you really believe that he exists and is purifying your karma when you do the practice. And well.... of course the effects are real when you have such a conviction. Vajrayana is in no way Buddhism-lite or simple insight meditation...

Yes, that is standard, but this "belief" could itself be a technique, no?

Perhaps. But you can't ever get around the fact that if you think it's only a technique, then the technique doesn't work.
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