relative effectiveness of different purification practices

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relative effectiveness of different purification practices

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Thu Sep 26, 2013 12:01 am

I've had alot of recommendations to do Vajrasattva, and I am attracted to the practice, but need empowerment. At a retreat I was taught a Five Colors/Five Buddhas practice, and some breath work and there was some discussion about it being a purification practice.

I am wondering generally if Vajrasattva is thought to be THE effective purification practice, or is it more relative than that?

Right now I do mostly Shamatha/Vipassana on my own, prostrations of course, and then what I do at my center (queue obnoxious comment about Dharma centers here, or rather - don't;)) which consists of Green Tara and Chenrezig. I am wondering, is there a real standard for what counts as "purifying" and what does not, and if so..a brief explanation of why certain things are more effective would be appreciated.

I have no idea if that's inappropriate material for public consumption or to ask the question..if it is, i'd appreciate a PM from anyone willing to set me straight.
"Just as a lotus does not grow out of a well-levelled soil but from the mire, in the same way the awakening mind
is not born in the hearts of disciples in whom the moisture of attachment has dried up. It grows instead in the hearts of ordinary sentient beings who possess in full the fetters of bondage." -Se Chilbu Choki Gyaltsen
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Re: relative effectiveness of different purification practic

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Thu Sep 26, 2013 3:15 am

Wanted to add this is not so much a "what do I do" question, I can figure that out I think.. so much as it is to inquire about the larger view of what constitutes purification, in the short conversation that was at the retreat it was said that many different practices could be purifying.
"Just as a lotus does not grow out of a well-levelled soil but from the mire, in the same way the awakening mind
is not born in the hearts of disciples in whom the moisture of attachment has dried up. It grows instead in the hearts of ordinary sentient beings who possess in full the fetters of bondage." -Se Chilbu Choki Gyaltsen
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Re: relative effectiveness of different purification practic

Postby passel » Thu Sep 26, 2013 4:26 am

I'm sure there are official views on the matter but my opinion (not advice) is that groping in the dark is tremendously purifying if done intelligently, learning as much as we can about whatever practices are available to us at a given time. Samatha/ Vipasyana, hour after hour, is a huge purification as you are no doubt finding out, and when one does have the karma to stumble into practices more explicitly considered purification practices, they will be more effective for one's having done the "simple" work on the cushion. Sitting is what speaks to me, but others will say the same thing about ngondro, or study, or being lost in the woods or raising a child.
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Re: relative effectiveness of different purification practic

Postby winstonsalem » Thu Sep 26, 2013 6:49 am

Pick the one that seems the most appealing, do it. Then judge for yourself the relative effectiveness.
Might turn out you find it silly, or you might become part of the ngnodro fanclub. Fun to find out either way.
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Re: relative effectiveness of different purification practic

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Thu Sep 26, 2013 6:09 pm

That's just it though, minus the obvious "work with your teacher" answers, how does one know when something is more purifying than something else, what does it feel like to be "purified"?

I know I have had experiences where I have really bad stuff crop up, and eventually it gets kind of 'exorcised' like a thorn has been pulled out, physical shuddering that seems be a kind of relief etc. but I often wonder how/if one can trust one's own experiences of this stuff.
"Just as a lotus does not grow out of a well-levelled soil but from the mire, in the same way the awakening mind
is not born in the hearts of disciples in whom the moisture of attachment has dried up. It grows instead in the hearts of ordinary sentient beings who possess in full the fetters of bondage." -Se Chilbu Choki Gyaltsen
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Re: relative effectiveness of different purification practic

Postby pemachophel » Thu Sep 26, 2013 8:00 pm

With the Vajrasattva sadhana, there are specific experiences, both in waking life and dream, that confirm purification is taking/has taken place. These are the signs of accomplishment of that practice.

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Re: relative effectiveness of different purification practic

Postby Johnny Dangerous » Fri Sep 27, 2013 5:42 am

Makes sense, thanks.
"Just as a lotus does not grow out of a well-levelled soil but from the mire, in the same way the awakening mind
is not born in the hearts of disciples in whom the moisture of attachment has dried up. It grows instead in the hearts of ordinary sentient beings who possess in full the fetters of bondage." -Se Chilbu Choki Gyaltsen
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Re: relative effectiveness of different purification practic

Postby Konchog1 » Fri Sep 27, 2013 6:26 am

Bodhichitta and Emptiness are the best purifiers.

Neither are very specific so generate Bodhichitta and practice Vajrasattva. Or the Three Heaps Sutra with them.

For full purification, you need the Four Powers: Regret, the Purification practice itself, Turning Away from the Fault, and Reliance on the Three Jewels. Phabongkha Rinpoche said that all four are explicitly in the Three Heaps Sutra.
Equanimity is the ground. Love is the moisture. Compassion is the seed. Bodhicitta is the result.

-Paraphrase of Khensur Rinpoche Lobsang Tsephel citing the Guhyasamaja Tantra

"All memories and thoughts are the union of emptiness and knowing, the Mind.
Without attachment, self-liberating, like a snake in a knot.
Through the qualities of meditating in that way,
Mental obscurations are purified and the dharmakaya is attained."

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