“Infinite Powers and Benefits” of the Vajra Guru Mantra: A Buddhist Practitioner’s Insight into the Teachings of Guru Rinpoche Padmasambhava

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    From the Texts to the Heart: Understanding Guru Rinpoche Padmasambhava’s Teachings

    Guru Rinpoche’s life-message is the essence of Vajrayana Buddhist philosophy and methodology, preserved through the centuries in texts and terma, biographies, lineage teachings, and oral transmissions that continue to illuminate the lives of millions across the globe.

    To appreciate the depth of Guru Rinpoche’s teachings, we only need to explore the rich library of treasure texts or ‘termas’. These were teachings and practices concealed by Guru Rinpoche himself and later discovered by ‘tertons’ or treasure revealers[1]. In these texts, Guru Rinpoche’s teachings often focus on three central themes: the importance of the mind’s perception, Yidam,  and the mantra practice. Mantra itself, a Sanskrit word, is translated as “mind protection.”




    Mantra can be a Complete Practice with “Infinite Powers and Benefits”

    The great Guru Rinpoche Padmasmbhava, Lotus Born, the second Buddha, taught many deep and profound teachings. Although he gave us some of our deepest and profound teachings and practices, he also foresaw the degeneration of times, the lack of time to practice that afflicts so many people in modern times.

    Lady Yeshe Tsogyal, Wisdom Dakini, asked for and recorded his answer to an important question for modern times. As recorded in the Treasure Text of Tulku Karma Lingpa, Lady Yeshe asked the Compassionate Buddha about the practice of the Vajra Mantra as a practice for busy times. She asked him:

    “You have spoken of many ways to remedy these afflictions, but beings in the future will have no time to practice. Those who do have a slight inclination towards practice will be beset by powerful obstacles. Beings will not get along with one other; supplies and materials will be insufficient. Such terrible times as these will be extremely difficult to avert. In such times, Guru, what are the benefits of relying solely upon the practice of the Vajra Guru mantra?”

    The Master Lotus Born spoke thus:

    “O, Lady of Faith, what you say is absolutely true. In such future times, that practice will definitely be of short and long term benefit for sentient beings. Although I have concealed many earth treasures, water treasures, rock treasures, sky treasures and so on which contain unfathomable pith instructions and methods of practice, in the degenerate times it will be terribly difficult for fortunate beings to find the conditions and circumstances to meet with the teachings; this is a sign that beings’ merit is running out.

    “However, in such times as those, this essential Vajra Guru mantra—if recited with vast bodhicitta aspiration in great sacred places, in monasteries, on the peaks of high mountains and the shores of vast rivers, in places inhabited by gods, demons and evil spirits, at the heads of valleys, geophysical junctions and so on—by ngakpas with unbroken samaya, vow-holding monastics, faithful men, women of fine qualities, and the like, however many times—one hundred, one thousand, ten thousand, one hundred thousand, ten million, one hundred million, etc.—will bring inconceivable benefits and powers. Countries everywhere will be protected from all plague, famine, warfare, armed violence, poor harvests, bad omens and evil spells. Rain will fall on time, harvests and livestock will be excellent, and lands will prosper. In this life, future lives, and on the pathways of the bardo, fortunate practitioners will meet me again and again—at best in actuality, or else in visions, and at the very least in dreams. Having gradually perfected the levels and paths, there is no doubt that they will join the ranks of male and female Awareness Holders in Ngayab Ling.

    “Even one hundred recitations per day without interruption will make you attractive to others, and food, wealth and enjoyments will appear effortlessly. If you recite the mantra one thousand, ten thousand, or more times per day, you will bring others under your influence with your brilliance, and blessings and powers will be continuously and unobstructedly obtained. If you perform one hundred thousand, ten million or more recitations, the three worlds will come under your power, the three levels of existence will fall under your glorious sway, gods and spirits will be at your bidding, the four modes of enlightened activity will be accomplished without hindrance, and you will be able to bring immeasurable benefit to all sentient beings in whatever ways are needed. If you can do thirty million, seventy million or more recitations, you will never be separate from the Buddhas of the three times nor ever apart from me; thus, the eight classes of gods and spirits will obey your orders, praise your words, and accomplish whatever tasks you entrust to them.

    “At best, practitioners will attain the rainbow body; failing that, at the time of death, mother and child luminosities will meet; and at the very least, they will see me in the bardo and all their perceptions having been liberated into their essential nature, they will be reborn in Ngayab Ling and accomplish immeasurable benefit for sentient beings.”

    Thus he spoke.



    The Benefits of the Vajra Guru Mantra in Guru Rinpoche’s Own Words

    the Great Master spoke thus:

    “O, Noble Daughter, the Vajra Guru mantra is not only my essential mantra, it is the life-essence of the deities of the four classes of tantra, the nine vehicles, the 84,000 aspects of the Dharma, and so on. The heart essence of all the Buddhas of the three times, the lamas, deities, ḍākinīs, Dharma protectors, and the like is encompassed by this mantra. The reason for this is as follows. Listen well and hold this in your heart. Recite the mantra. Write it. Tell it to sentient beings in the future.


    OṂ ĀḤ HŪṂ is the supreme essence of enlightened body, speech and mind.
    VAJRA is the supreme essence of the Vajra Family.
    GURU is the supreme essence of the Ratna Family.
    PADMA is the supreme essence of the Padma Family.
    SIDDHI is the supreme essence of the Karma Family.

    HŪṂ is the supreme essence of the Buddha Family.


    OṂ is the complete Sambhogakāya of the Five Buddha Families.
    ĀḤ is the complete unchanging Dharmakāya.
    HŪṂ is the complete Nirmāṇakāya—Guru Rinpoche.
    VAJRA is the complete assembly of Heruka deities.
    GURU is the complete assembly of Lama Awareness Holder deities.
    PADMA is the complete assembly of Ḍākinīs and powerful female deities.
    SIDDHI is the heart of all the wealth deities and protectors of hidden treasures.
    HŪṂ is the heart of each and every Dharma protector.


    OṂ ĀḤ HŪṂ is the heart of the three classes of tantra.
    VAJRA is the heart of the Vinaya and Sūtra.
    GURU is the heart of the Abhidharma and the Kriyā Yoga.
    PADMA is the heart of the Upā and Yoga Tantras.
    SIDDHI is the heart of the Mahā and Anu Yogas.
    HŪṂ is the heart of the Dzogchen Ati Yoga.


    OṂ ĀḤ HŪṂ purifies obscurations of the three mental poisons.
    VAJRA purifies obscurations of hatred and aversion.
    GURU purifies obscurations of pride.
    PADMA purifies obscurations of craving and attachment.
    SIDDHI purifies obscurations of jealousy.
    HŪṂ purifies obscurations of delusion and disturbing emotions.


    OṂ ĀḤ HŪṂ grants the attainment of the three kāyas.
    VAJRA grants the attainment of mirror-like wisdom.
    GURU grants the attainment of the wisdom of equanimity.
    PADMA grants the attainment of the wisdom of discernment.
    SIDDHI grants the attainment of all-accomplishing wisdom.
    HŪṂ grants the attainment of all that stems from primordial wisdom.


    OṂ ĀḤ HŪṂ subdues gods, spirits, and human beings.
    VAJRA conquers the gandharvas and fire spirits.
    GURU conquers the lord of death and demonic spirits.
    PADMA conquers the harmful water gods and spirits who reign over the mind.
    SIDDHI conquers the powerful demons who haunt mountain ranges and passes.
    HŪṂ conquers the planetary demons and gods of localities.


    By OṂ ĀḤ HŪṂ, the six transcendent perfections are accomplished.
    By VAJRA, all peaceful activities are accomplished.
    By GURU, all enriching activities are accomplished.
    By PADMA, all magnetizing activities are accomplished.
    By SIDDHI, all enlightened activities are accomplished.
    By HŪṂ, all wrathful activities are accomplished.


    OṂ ĀḤ HŪṂ averts the dagger sorcery of Buddhists and Bönpos.
    VAJRA averts the harmful powers of the wisdom deities.
    GURU averts the harmful powers of the eight classes of gods and demons.
    PADMA averts the harmful powers of the worldly gods and spirits.
    SIDDHI averts the harmful powers of nāgas and gods of localities.
    HŪṂ averts the harmful powers of all three: gods, demons and human beings.


    OṂ ĀḤ HŪṂ crushes the forces of the five poisons.
    VAJRA crushes the forces of hatred and aversion.
    GURU crushes the forces of pride.
    PADMA crushes the forces of craving and attachment.
    SIDDHI crushes the forces of jealousy.
    HŪṂ crushes the forces of gods, demons and humans.


    By OṂ ĀḤ HŪṂ, the accomplishments of enlightened body, speech and mind are attained.
    By VAJRA, the accomplishments of the peaceful and wrathful deities are attained.
    By GURU, the accomplishments of the Awareness-Holder Lamas are attained.
    By PADMA, the accomplishments of the ḍākinīs and Dharma protectors are attained.
    By SIDDHI, the supreme and common accomplishments are attained.
    By HŪṂ, whatever accomplishment you wish for is attained.


    OṂ ĀḤ HŪṂ transfers one to the primordial pure realm.
    VAJRA transfers one to the Eastern Buddhafield of Manifest Joy.
    GURU transfers one to the Southern Buddhafield of Glory.
    PADMA transfers one to the Western Buddhafield of Bliss.
    SIDDHI transfers one to the Northern Buddhafield of All-Accomplishing Action.
    HŪṂ transfers one to the Central Buddhafield of Immutability.


    By OṂ ĀḤ HŪṂ, the level of the Three-Kāyas Awareness Holder is attained.
    By VAJRA, the level of Level-Dwelling Awareness Holder is attained.
    By GURU, the level of Immortal-Life Awareness Holder is attained.
    By PADMA, the level of the Great-Seal Awareness Holder is attained.
    By SIDDHI, the level of the Spontaneous-Presence Awareness Holder is attained.
    By HŪṂ, the level of Fully-Ripened Awareness Holder is attained.


    One recitation of the Vajra Guru mantra will grant a physical body and entry into this world. Any sentient being who sees, hears, or thinks of the mantra will definitely be established among the ranks of the male and female Awareness Holders. The infallible Vajra Guru mantra is the word of truth; if what you wish for does not happen as I have promised, I, Padma, have deceived sentient beings—absurd! I have not deceived you—it will happen just as I’ve promised.

    If you are unable to recite the mantra, use it to adorn the tops of victory banners and prayer flags; there is no doubt that sentient beings touched by the same wind will be liberated. Otherwise, carve it on hillsides, trees, and stones; after they are consecrated, anyone who merely passes by and sees them will be purified of illness, spirit possession, and obscurations. Spirits and demons dwelling in the area will offer wealth and riches. Write it in gold on pieces of indigo paper and hang them up; demons, obstacle-makers, and evil spirits will be unable to harm you. If you place the mantra upon a corpse immediately upon death and do not remove it, during cremation rainbow colors will flash out and the consciousness will definitely be transferred to the Blissful Realm of Amitābha. The benefits of writing, reading and reciting the Vajra Guru mantra are immeasurable. For the benefit of sentient beings in the future, write tåhis down and conceal it. May it meet with those of fortune and merit. Samaya Gya Gya Gya”

    Exemplifying the former, in one of his termas, Guru Rinpoche says, “Though appearances appear to be solid, they are like reflections in a mirror”. He advocated the contemplation on this intrinsic emptiness of all phenomena as a way to dispel attachments and consequently sufferings, as cited in “The Lotus Born: The Life Story of Padmasambhava” by Yeshe Tsogyal (1993). He also taught the method to help us accomplish this noble aspiration. Yidam practice, is the method he taught to accomplish systemized practice. He explained, “Yidam is a systemized practice, not just a deity.” [source]

    We have the great Dakini, Lady Yeshe Tsogyal, to thank for many of Guru Rinpoche’s precious teachings, carefully recorded, and translated to many languages today. In the past we’ve covered many of these recorded teachings, including:


    [1] “Masters of Meditation and Miracles: Lives of the Great Buddhist Masters of India and Tibet” by Tulku Thondup Rinpoche (1996)

    [2]  Treasure Text of Tulku Karma Lingpa  https://www.lotsawahouse.org/tibetan-masters/karma-lingpa/benefits-vajra-guru-mantra

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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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