Magnetize me: working with the magnetizing activity deities of the Padma Buddha family: Amitabha, Chenrezig, Hayagriva, Vajrayogini, Vajradharma

Many Buddhists are attracted (magnetized) to the charismatic emanations of Enlightenment of the Padma family: Amitabha, Chenrezig (Avalokiteshvara), Hayagriva, Vajrayogini or Vajravarahi, Kurukulla, Vajradharma and others. It seems natural and instinctive — the nature of the magnetic personas of these great beings. All of these can be thought of, as emanations of the compassion of the Padma family of Amitabha, and representative of “Discriminating Wisdom.” His family is also the “Speech” family, the emanations of Dharma or Buddha’s Speech, and, it is through speech and teachings that Buddha “attracted” the Sangha to the Enlightening Path. Compassion is another aspect of the tantalizing power of the enchanting Padma (Lotus) Buddhas:

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A Wangdu Prayer Thangka with the nine Magnetizing Yidams: Amitabha (top centre), Hayagriva (left of Amitabha, right of viewer), Red Chenrezig Padmapani (right of Amitabha, left of viewer), Vajradharma (immediately below Amitabha), Pema Gyalpo (central deity, one of the eight manifestations of Padmasambhava), Vajravarahi Vajrayogini Dakini (left of Pema Gyalpo, under Hayagriva), Guhyajnana Dakini (left of Pema Gyalpo), Kurukulla (bottom right of Pema Gyalpo), Dope Gyalpo (bottom left.)

Mirror-like Awareness of Amitabha

Ultimately, all Buddhas are of one essence, but the various emanations of Enlightenment represent a skillful means. In Vajrayana, the Five Wisdom Tathagatas “are emanations and representations of the five qualities of the Buddha.” [4] Amitabha Buddha’s Family represents the wisdom of Ādarśa-jñāna, the wisdom of “Mirror-like Awareness” or discernment, or “Discriminating Wisdom.” This wisdom helps us overcome selfishness, through various methods including compassion, meditation, and speech, or Dharma. [5]

The Magnetizing deities of Amitabha’s Padma Family are usually visualized with the colour red. They are alluring, attractive, seductive, enchanting — it is the nature of their charisma. Their speech is Enlightening Nectar. Even the Heruka wrathful emanation of Amitabha — great Hayagriva — is irresistible and mesmeric, despite an awe-inspiring wrathful appearance.

 

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A magnificent 1800-1899 Tangkha (Sakya lineage) of Hayagriva Sangdrup in the Rubin Museum of Art. Most of the deities on this priceless masterpiece are Magnetizing deities, as indicated by the red colour. On Hayagriva’s crown is Amitayus, the long-life aspect of Amitabha. To his top left is Maharaklta Ganapti (Enlightened Wrathful Gasesha), dancing atop a rat. On the right is the power goddess Kurukulla, red (see below), with one face and four hands holding a bow and arrow, hook and lasso. At the bottom center is Begtse Chen (Red Mahakala: see below), red in colour. On the left is Legden Mahakala (left, see below), blue in colour and right is Shri Devi Magzor Gyalmo (Palden Lhamo, the protector of the Dalai Lama). For a full story on HAYAGRIVA, see>>

 

Why are we attracted to the Magnetizing Buddhas?

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Amaitayus is a form of Amitabha. He is visualized in princely atire and crown (instead of a monk) and his practice is for “long life.” Amitayus translates as “Infinite Life.”

The Buddhas are the Padma family are probably the most popular in Mahayana Buddhism, especially Amitabha (Amita, Amitayus) and Avalokiteshvara (Chenrezig, Guanyin). Many Mahayana Buddhists aspire to be reborn in the Western Pure Land of the Padma Family, known as Sukhavati. But, since all Buddha’s are ultimately of one nature, and we all have Buddha Nature, why then, are the Padma family Buddhas so appealing and widely practiced?

Khenpo explains (see video):

“For people who are new to dharma practice, the practice of magnetizing would definitely be of benefit. In this degenerate age, people have difficulty truly absorbing the Dharma because they lack inner strength; their path in learning the Dharma is filled with obstacles. If you are one of these people, by practicing magnetizing you will develop inner strength, and be able to bring the Dharma into your mind more easily. Then, no matter what kind of obstacle you encounter, you will be capable of handling it.”

Red and sometimes naked: true nature of mind

Red, the color Magnetizing Padma family, is associated with both love and compassion. Avalokiteshvara (Guanyin) is literally the very face of compassion. Amitabha’s vast love for all sentient beings is all-embracing, and one of the reasons millions chant his name mantra daily. Kurukulle, a Magnetizing aspect of Tara, is often directly associated with love.

Khenpo Sodargye Rinpoche [3], in his commentary on Wangdu, explains:

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Robert Beer’s beautiful Vajrayogini mandala. (Low resolution: please visit http://www.tibetanart.com for information on high resolution images)

“Among the nine principal magnetizing deities, apart from Amitabha, a few of the dakinis appear naked as well. From this perspective, Vajrayana is indeed the practice of those with sharp natural capacities. If a person still holds on to the notion of shame, Buddhas and Bodhisattvas merely assume graceful and majestic forms. But if a person has realized the bare naked nature of the mind, where all conceptual thoughts and attachments have ceased to exist, then Buddhas and Bodhisattvas appear in another form.”

Amitabha and Avalokiteshvara (Guan-yin, Chenrezig) — arguably the most popular Buddhas, if we take into account the huge population of Mahayana Buddhists — are attractive. Their smiling faces attract us. Their peaceful gestures and meditative equipoise are the very pictures of Buddhist Metta and Karuna (love and compassion). Their speech, the Dharma, attracts us and teaches us, and their mantras are pleasing. The entire family is charismatic, even enthralling.

 

Wangdu — the Nine Yidams of the Great Cloud of Blessings

 

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Another Wang Du Thangka.

People familiar with the teachings of Mipham Rinpoche, Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche and Khenpo Namdrol Rinpoche will recall and, perhaps, practice the Wangdu prayer, composed by Mipham Rinpoche in 1879. At one point, at Lerab Ling, Khenpo Sodargye asked the Sangha to “accumulate 10 million recitations of the Wangdu prayer — which praises the Nine Great Yidams of the Magnetizing Family. [1] [Prayer, in full, below. See the tangkha inset.]

According to Khenpo Namdro [2]:

“This prayer is called “that which brings within one’s power all that appears and all that exists’. It goes by such a name because if you make this prayer fervently, you will be able to magnetize or bring within your power the phenomena of the entire universe. This comprises both the inanimate environment and its animated inhabitants, sentient beings.”

[For Khenpo’s full commentary on Wangdu, see>>]
Video: The Great Benefits of Wang Du, featuring Khenpo

 

Other traditions may not have the formal framing of Wangdu, but there is no doubt that these emanations, these precious Nine Yidams, are a major focus in all traditions of Tibetan Buddhism and Mahayana (the position from the point-of-view of the Deity, not the viewer):

  • Amitabha (top centre on Thangka)
  • Vajradharma (immediately below Amitabha on Thangka)
  • Hayagriva, Heruka aspect of Amitabha (left of Amitabha)
  • Red Chenrezig Padmapani (right of Amitabha)
  • Pema Gyalpo (central deity — one of the eight manifestations of Padmasambhava )
  • Vajravarahi (Vajrayogini) Dakini (left of Pema Gyalpo, under Hayagriva)
  • Guhyajnana Dakini left of Pema Gyalpo
  • Kurukulla (bottom right of Pema Gyalpo)
  • Dope Gyalpo (bottom left).

Full Wangdu Prayer

As indicated by Khenpo Sodargye (above video) the Wangdu Prayer is so widely practiced it can be recited without empowerment:

“When you chant and practice Wang Dü, you can follow the instructions of the common or advanced tantric practices. Of course, uninitiated practitioners, or practitioners who are foreign to tantric practice can practice Wang Dü using the Sutrayana method. Mipham Rinpoche did not require people to strictly practice this prayer in the way of the generation or perfection stages. As long as we pray to the magnetizing deities with devotion, all animate and inanimate worlds will resonate. This will allow the essence of samsara and nirvana to be gathered into oneself.”

༄༅། །སྣང་སྲིད་དབང་དུ་སྡུད་པའི་གསོལ་འདེབས་བྱིན་རླབས་སྤྲིན་ཆེན་བཞུགས་སོ། །

Wang Dü: ‘The Great Cloud of Blessings’—The Prayer which Magnetizes All that Appears and All that Exists

by Mipham Rinpoche

ཨོཾ་ཨཱཿཧཱུྂ་ཧྲཱིཿ བདེ་ཆེན་འབར་བ་དབང་གི་ཕོ་བྲང་དུ། །

om ah hung hrih, dechen barwa wang gi podrang du

Oṃ āḥ hūṃ hrīḥ! In the palace of power, the blazing of great bliss,

བདེ་སྟོང་སོ་སོར་རྟོག་པའི་ཡེ་ཤེས་སྐུ། །

detong sosor tokpé yeshe ku

Are the embodiments of the wisdom of discernment, union of bliss and emptiness:

མ་ཆགས་བདེ་ལྡན་པདྨའི་རང་བཞིན་ལས། །

machak deden pemé rangshyin lé

Each on a lotus, its nature bliss free from all attachment,

རྡོ་རྗེ་ཉི་མ་སྣང་བ་ཆེན་པོའི་དཔལ། །

dorjé nyima nangwa chenpö pal

And the splendour of a great, illuminating vajra sun—

ཆོས་སྐུ་སྣང་བ་མཐའ་ཡས་རྡོ་རྗེ་ཆོས། །

chöku nangwa tayé dorjé chö

Dharmakāya Amitābha and Vajradharma,

འཇིག་རྟེན་དབང་ཕྱུག་ཐུགས་རྗེས་རྗེས་ཆགས་གཟུགས། །

jikten wangchuk tukjé jechak zuk

Avalokiteśvara, Lord of the World, the very manifestation of compassion,

པདྨ་རྒྱལ་པོས་འཁོར་འདས་མངའ་དབང་བསྒྱུར། །

pema gyalpö khordé ngawang gyur

Padma Gyalpo, all of saṃsāra and nirvāṇa beneath your control,

སྣང་སྲིད་ཟིལ་གནོན་དབང་ཆེན་ཧེ་རུ་ཀ །

nangsi zilnön wangchen heruka

Powerful heruka, subjugator of all that appears and exists,

གསང་བ་ཡེ་ཤེས་བཛྲ་ཝཱ་ར་ཧི། །

sangwa yeshe benza varahi

‘Secret Wisdom’ (Guhyajñāna) and Vajravārāhī,

བདེ་མཆོག་འདོད་པའི་རྒྱལ་པོ་བདེ་ཆེན་གཏེར། །

demchok döpé gyalpo dechen ter

Döpé Gyalpo, King of Desire, ecstasy supreme, source of the wisdom of great bliss,

མ་ལུས་སྐྱེ་རྒུའི་ཡིད་འཕྲོག་རིག་བྱེད་མ། །

malü kyegü yitrok rikjema

Kurukullā, who captivates the mind of every living being without exception,

མཆོག་ཐུན་ཕྱག་རྒྱའི་དབང་ཕྱུག་བདེ་སྟོང་གར། །

choktün chakgyé wangchuk detong gar

Masters and mistresses of supreme and ordinary mudrās, dancing in bliss and emptiness,

དབང་མཛད་རྡོ་རྗེ་དཔའ་བོ་ཌཱཀྐིའི་ཚོགས། །

wangdzé dorjé pawo daki tsok

Hosts of vajra ḍākas and ḍākinīs attract and magnetize.

སྣང་སྟོང་མཉམ་པ་ཆེན་པོའི་ངང་ཉིད་དུ། །

nangtong nyampa chenpö ngang nyi du

Remaining always within the state of great equality of appearance and emptiness,

རྡོ་རྗེ་སྐུ་ཡི་གར་གྱིས་སྲིད་གསུམ་གཡོ། །

dorjé ku yi gar gyi si sum yo

With the dance of your vajra body, you cause the three planes of existence to tremble;

འགག་མེད་གསུང་གི་བཞད་སྒྲས་ཁམས་གསུམ་འགུགས། །

gakmé sung gi shyé dré kham sum guk

With the sound of your laughter, your unceasing enlightened speech, you draw in the three worlds;

འོད་ཟེར་དམར་པོས་འཁོར་འདས་ཡོངས་ལ་ཁྱབ། །

özer marpö khordé yong la khyab

Rays of red light burst out to fill all of saṃsāra and nirvāṇa

སྲིད་ཞིའི་དྭངས་བཅུད་གཡོ་ཞིང་སྡུད་པར་བྱེད། །

sishyi dangchü yo shying düparjé

And cause the vital essence of conditioned existence and ultimate peace to vibrate and be gathered in.

རྡོ་རྗེ་ཆགས་པ་ཆེན་པོའི་ཐུགས་ཀྱིས་ནི། །

dorjé chakpa chenpö tuk kyi ni

With your enlightened mind of great vajra passion,

རྣམ་གཉིས་དངོས་གྲུབ་འདོད་དགུའི་མཆོག་སྩོལ་ཞིང༌། །

nam nyi ngödrub dö gü chok tsol shying

You grant the supreme of all things desired—the two kinds of siddhis;

རྡོ་རྗེ་ལྕགས་ཀྱུ་ཞགས་པ་ཆེན་པོ་ཡིས། །

dorjé chakkyu shyakpa chenpo yi

And with your great vajra hooks and lassos

སྣང་སྲིད་བདེ་བ་ཆེན་པོར་སྡོམ་བྱེད་པ། །

nangsi dewa chenpor domjepa

You bind the world of appearance and existence in great bliss.

མཐའ་ཡས་སྒྱུ་འཕྲུལ་དྲྭ་བའི་རོལ་གར་ཅན། །

tayé gyutrul drawé rolgarchen

Dancers in the play of the limitless net of illusion,

ཏིལ་གྱི་གོང་བུ་ཕྱེ་བ་བཞིན་བཞུགས་པའི། །

til gyi gongbu chewa shyin shyukpé

Who fill space to overflowing, like a vast outpouring of sesame seeds,

རབ་འབྱམས་རྩ་གསུམ་དབང་གི་ལྷ་ཚོགས་ལ། །

rabjam tsa sum wang gi lhatsok la

Vast array of the Three Roots, hosts of magnetizing deities,

གུས་པས་གསོལ་བ་འདེབས་སོ་བྱིན་གྱིས་རློབས། །

güpé solwa deb so jingyi lob

In devotion we pray to you: inspire us with your blessings,

མཆོག་ཐུན་དངོས་གྲུབ་འདོད་དགུའི་དཔལ་མཐའ་དག །

choktün ngödrub dö gü pal tadak

Grant us attainments, ordinary and supreme, and so the siddhi

ཐོགས་མེད་དབང་དུ་བྱེད་པའི་དངོས་གྲུབ་སྩོལ། །

tokmé wang du jepé ngödrub tsol

Of magnetizing, without obstruction, whatever we desire!

ཅེས་པའང་རབ་ཚེས་ས་ཡོས་ཟླ་ ༧ ཚེས་ ༡ ལ་དྷཱིཿམིང་པས་སྤེལ་བ། གསོལ་བ་བཏབ་ན་གང་ཟག་སུ་ཡང་རུང་སྟེ་དབང་གི་ལས་ཀུན་ཇི་ལྟར་བསམ་པ་བཞིན་འགྲུབ་པར་གདོན་མི་ཟའོ། །དར་དམར་ལ་བྲིས་ཏེ་ཕྱར་བའམ། མེ་རླུང་ལ་འཁོར་ལོ་བྱས་ཀྱང་འགྲུབ་བོ། །མངྒ་ལཾ། །

NOTE: This was composed on the first day of the seventh month of the Earth Hare year (1879) by one named Dhīḥ. Anyone who prays in this way will, without any doubt, accomplish all magnetizing activities exactly according to their wishes. This prayer may be written on red flags and flown in the air, or used in prayer wheels powered by heat or wind. Mangalaṃ!

NOTES

[1] Wangdu: the Prayer Which Magnetizes all the Appears and all that Exists>>
http://all-otr.org/vajrayana/42-wangdu-the-prayer-which-magnetizes-all-that-appears-and-all-that-exists
[2] Khenpo Namdrol, Commentary on the Wang Dü prayer, 1998, Rigpa.
[3] Khenpo Sodargye “The Magnetizing Deities”
http://khenposodargye.org/teachings/khenpos-teachings/wang-du-great-cloud-blessings/
[4] Williams, Wynne, Tribe; Buddhist Thought: A Complete Introduction to the Indian Tradition, page 210.
[5] The Five Tathagatas https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Five_Tathagatas

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Lee Kane

Author | Buddha Weekly

Lee Kane is the editor of Buddha Weekly, since 2007. His main focuses as a writer are mindfulness techniques, meditation, Dharma and Sutra commentaries, Buddhist practices, international perspectives and traditions, Vajrayana, Mahayana, Zen. He also covers various events.
Lee also contributes as a writer to various other online magazines and blogs.

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