Wonderful video introduction to White Mahakala and his mantra for prosperity and generosity practices:
Om Guru Mahakala Hari Ni Sa Siddhi Dza
Compassion comes in many forms. Sometimes we need a friend. Sometimes we need a protective warrior. Sometimes, a fierce kick in the rear (metaphorically). And sometimes we need to reduce our obstacles to Dharma practice. Chenrezig or Avalokiteshvara, the Buddha of Compassion, emanates in countless forms to help all sentient beings, including an aspect focused on prosperity and good fortune. In this Buddha Weekly documentary, we explore his prosperity form, as White Mahakala — the Lord who inspires our generosity by bringing us auspicious circumstances.
Mahakala literally translates as Great Time Foe — meaning “beyond time and death.” Maha is Sanskrit meaning “great” and Kala means time.
Mahakala emanates from Avalokiteshvara — to remove all our obstacles to practice — and may appear in different forms and colors which symbolize his functions. The most famous of these is six-armed black Mahakala, the ferocious remover of obstacles to our practice. There are also two-armed and four-armed forms in different meditation lineages. Most Mahakalas are enlightened protectors, and most, but not all emanate from Chenrezig.
The white six-armed form of Mahakala is famous for removing obstacles to our practice involving lack of support, resources or prosperity, which limit our ability to help other beings. He is the Mahakala who relieves poverty and brings us prosperity.
Does it seem counter-intuitive, that Buddhist practices include “good fortune” practices — especially when Buddha taught renunciation? Does it seem selfish to ask for Enlightened help with our obstacles such as poverty, stress, or resources? It shouldn’t. Imagine if fully renounced monks are starving, unable to find a bowl of rice. How can they meditate? How can they practice Bodhichitta when they can’t even find food for themselves? And how can the lay community support the monks when they can’t feed themselves.
Meditating on Generosity and Prosperity
In Mahayana teachings, Shakyamuni Buddha gave us methods for meditating on prosperity and attracting “good fortune” to help us on the path.
For we laypeople, we do have to work and earn salaries and raise families — but the more stress we have in just “making a living” the less likely we’ll find any time for mindfulness practice or any serious meditations. Or, for those of us advancing along towards retirement, looking forward to our first multi-week retreat, will we have the resources to undertake our aspiration? Then, there are those generous people who tirelessly help people less fortunate — donating either time or money. These generous people need “resources” to help others.
It is for all of these reasons that Chenrezig — none other than the Bodhisattva of Compassion Avalokiteshvara — emanated as White Mahakala.
Don’t expect White Mahakala to make you a millionaire — or to help you win the lottery. His compassion is for serious Dharma practitioners. His practice helps us to help ourselves. His practice ensures we work harder. His practice is about setting the intention for prosperity — sufficient resources to allow us to practice both Bodhichitta and Wisdom practices.
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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.