(11b) The dakinis render homage and sing praises to Amitabha, first to his Vajra Body, which is compared to Indra's body. In Indra's palace of 'Complete Victory,' in the 'Heaven of 33', the roof, ceilings, walls, and floors are all made of precious, reflecting jewels. Although Indra has only one body, his reflected image can be seen in every direction. Sometimes he's known as 'Indra of 100 bodies', as his body is like space, pervading everywhere by means of the reflections. That is the reason this example of 'a body like space' is given in the sadhana, as Amitabha is able to permeate all phenomena with his blessing.
Anyone who has faith and trust in Amitabha is seen by him at all times, and if one speaks to him, he hears what is said. If one imagines that he is present in front of one, he is actually there, due to his compassion. With strong devotion, one will receive his blessing quickly. In spite of animals and fish having no faith in Amitabha, he still regards them all with his compassion, but they receive his blessing only gradually. Due to the nature of interdependence, if faith is present, blessing is received quickly, but if there is little or no faith, blessing is received gradually.
In the Mahayana Uttara Tantra Shastra (translated as 'The Changeless Nature'), it is explained that even though there is only one moon in the sky, it is reflected many times in pools and oceans, in clear or dirty water. Just like that example, Amitabha's activity permeates everywhere. The dharmakaya appears everywhere, dependent on the clarity of one's mind. If the water is agitated, the moon will still reflect in it, but unclearly. It is the same with one's mind: if the mind is agitated, the dharmakaya is not clearly revealed. That concludes the praise and homage to the dharmakaya.
Amitabha's speech is called Vajra Speech as it is unceasing. In terms of the quality of his speech, it is unequalled even by the sound of thunder, and also it is very beautiful, like melodious song or music. When the Buddha teaches, to those nearby his speech does not sound loud, but pleasant and clear, yet those listening far away can also hear it clearly. If one is listening to Amitabha's speech, it never sounds unpleasant, and it possesses 60 special qualities unmatched by melodious song. Rinpoché thinks that this is why the 2 examples, of his voice being unmatched by thunder and melodious song, are given in the sadhana. Out of compassion for all beings, Amitabha continually gives Dharma teachings. That is the praise and homage to the sambhogakaya.
There follows a praise to Amitabha's Vajra Mind, which is endowed with the 2 qualities of knowing the nature of things just as they are, and the many things that are to be known. It is a mind that cares for the welfare of all beings continually with great compassion and impartiality. Even though Brahma is a lord of a thousand million worlds, and Indra is powerful and has great merit, their minds cannot equal the mind of a buddha. One pays homage to Amitabha's mind, residing in a nirmanakaya form. In the text, it describes Amitabha as nirmanakaya, sambhogakaya or dharmakaya. These 3 are simply different aspects of forms. Each kaya has 3 different facets. For example,
the dharmakaya of dharmakaya
is Buddha Samantabhadra;
the sambhogakaya of dharmakaya is Vajradhara;
the nirmanakayas of dharmakaya are the 5 lords of the buddha-families.
So, Amitabha, as head of the Lotus family, is classified here as nirmanakaya.
The dharmakaya of sambhogakaya is Vajradhara;
the sambhogakaya of sambhogakaya is Vairochana Gangchentso;
the nirmanakaya of sambhogakaya is Sakyamuni Buddha.
The dharmakaya of nirmanakaya is Amitabha;
the sambhogakaya of nirmanakaya is Chenrezig;
the nirmanakaya of nirmanakaya is Guru Rinpoche.
So, here, Amitabha is the dharmakaya.
CONFESSION AND PURIFICATION
One imagines the offering goddesses prostrating, and confessing any of the 10 unvirtuous actions that one has carried out physically, verbally or mentally. They merge back into the heart of oneself as Chenrezig. When confessing one's breakages of samaya, one needs to generate the 4 remedial powers:
1) feeling regret at former negative actions,
realising they were harmful and should not have been done;
2) resolving not to commit such actions in the future;
3) the power of reliance or support: in this case,
imagining Amitabha, Chenrezig, and Vajrapani in space before one,
and, with them as a basis, one makes the confession;
4) the power of remedy: here it means reciting the mantra OM AMI DEWA HRIH.
If all these 4 powers are complete, then even though the extent of one's negative actions might be comparable to the size of Mount Meru, they will be purified.
There follows a prayer addressing Amitabha and his entourage. It says that with body, speech and mind one is devotedly praying for the supreme and ordinary accomplishments, and through receiving the blessing may one attain the level of Amitabha.
VISUALISATIONS FOR THE MANTRA
Having concluded the visualisations for gathering the accumulations, the second part of the development stage involves reciting the mantra and visualising the deity. There are many different ways of developing the visualisation of Amitabha and his entourage: the deity can be complete in an instant of thought, or complete in 3 or 5 stages. From amongst these, here one adopts the visualisation that is complete in an instant. Generally, there are 3 aspects to the development stage:
- clear appearance of the deity;
- stable or strong pride;
- mindfulness of purity.
With regard to the clear appearance
of the deity, one imagines Amitabha in front, and one focuses one-pointedly
on him: first, his head mound, then his eyes, nose, mouth, ears and so on. Focus
successively on all the bodily parts of the deity within the visualisation.
If one is looking at the eyes or mouth, then one cannot, at the same time, imagine
the head-mound, but that does not matter, as long as one is visualising one
part. Imagine the upper part of his body, the lower part, his hands, the begging
bowl. Direct the mind to his legs in vajra-posture, and his 3 Dharma-robes,
the moon-disc, the lotus, the throne supported by peacocks, the bodhi tree.
'Stable pride' or 'confidence' is to think: "This is truly Amitabha present in space before me."
With regard to 'mindfulness of purity', the form taken by an ordinary being in this life is a result of karma accumulated in a former life. A deity's form, however, appears due to the qualities of buddhahood, from ultimate wisdom. One thinks that the appearances of the deities are not due to former karma.
(13b) Imagine that one transforms
oneself from being 2-arm Chenrezig to his 4-arm aspect. In one's heart is the
whole of Déwachen, with Amitabha, the 2 Bodhisattvas, and millions of
bodhisattvas and arhats. One imagines all this complete in one's heart. Within
the heart of this Amitabha is a moon-disc, on which is a red HRIH, encircled
by his mantra, OM AMI DEWA HRIH. The mantra faces outwards and turns clockwise,
emitting 5-coloured lights that go upwards and come out from his urna hair,
between the eyebrows, and then out through one's own urna hair into space, to
all the buddha-realms.
From the tips of these light-rays countless offerings appear, and are presented to the buddhas and bodhisattvas in the 10 directions. One thinks that all their power, compassion, and wisdom return in the form of light-rays that enter through one's urna hair, and through the urna hair of Amitabha in one's heart, back into his mantra. Think that one has received all the blessings of the buddhas.
Again these light-rays go out,
this time to all the 6 realms of beings, purifying all their bad karma and obscurations,
which are the causes for their suffering. In this way, every being gains the
good fortune to be born in Déwachen, in the future. Imagine that the
whole outer world is transformed into Déwachen, and sentient beings become
either Amitabha, or another of the dhyani buddhas, or one of their consorts,
or a bodhisattva. From their mouths come the sounds of the mantra, which shake
all the lower realms to their very depths, thus completely eliminating them.
One thinks that all beings who have form, and also those who are formless (spirits
and non-humans) attain the state of Amitabha.
The mantra recited is "OM AMI DEWA HRIH". "AMI" means "limitless light" and "DEWA" means "deity". So the mantra means "deity of limitless light".
In pujas, the visualisation normally practised is this one. It says in the abhidharma teachings, concerning group practice, that if people recite a mantra together with a mutual intention, as they are doing here every evening in Samye-Ling, then even though one person may recite only 1000 mantras, through everyone together completing 100 million mantras, each person who participates will gain the benefit of reciting the whole number of mantras.
(15a) This visualisation is practised
after reciting Amitabha's 6-syllable mantra. First, from the HRIH in Amitabha's
heart (within oneself as Chenrezig with 4 arms), a chain of red HRIH syllables
emerges and exits from his mouth, going upwards to come out of one's own mouth.
It enters the mouth of Amitabha in front, and descends to his heart, where it
merges into the mantra circle, invoking his compassionate activity to accomplish
the benefit of beings. From the mantra comes a chain of red HRIH syllables,
which descends to go out through his navel, enters the navel of oneself as Chenrezig,
and enters Amitabha's navel at one's heart. One thinks one has gained all the
blessings and siddhis from Amitabha. This is called the visualisation 'like
a circle of fire'.
Secondly, in the space between one's mouth and Amitabha's mouth in the front visualisation, light-rays of 5 different colours radiate out from the chain of red HRIH syllables to go to the Amitabha residing in Déwachen. They merge into him, and please him as an offering to his body, speech and mind. From his body emanate countless large and small bodies of Amitabha; from his speech, countless mantras and HRIH syllables; from his mind emanate large and small 5-pronged red vajras. They all come like a swirling snowstorm, and merge into oneself as Chenrezig, into Amitabha in one's heart, and into the Amitabha visualised in front. For this visualisation, recite "HRIH" for the time one has available.
(16a) In the vase in front, imagine the whole of Déwachen, with Amitabha, Chenrezig, Vajrapani and their entourage. In the heart of the front-visualisation Amitabha and in the heart of the Amitabha in the vase is a moon-disc, on which stands a red HRIH encircled by the long 'dharani-mantra' of Amitabha, turning clockwise. Light-rays go out from this dharani, purifying all the bad karma and obscurations of every sentient being. From Amitabha's body in the vase, amrita flows and fills the vase completely. For this visualisation, recite the long dharani, which was taught by the Buddha in the sutras.
(16b) After the mantra recitation, one recites the 'Alphabet Prayer' and the 'Epitome of Interdependence' 3 times, followed by the 'Offering and Confession Prayer'.
THE CONCLUDING PRACTICE
PRAYER OF GOOD WISHES
(17b) One recites a short prayer beginning: "OM DRUP-PAR JYURCHIK...", wishing to accomplish the vajra-body, speech, and mind of Amitabha. This is followed by a prayer of confession and the 100-syllable mantra. One confesses one's impure samadhi, incorrect recitation and any omissions.
DISSOLVING THE VISUALISATION
(19a) The whole front-visualisation of Amitabha and Déwachen dissolves into light, which subsequently merges into oneself as Chenrezig. One transforms into Amitabha. In the heart of oneself, as Amitabha, in an open lotus blossom is the whole of Déwachen, with Amitabha, Chenrezig and Vajrapani. Meditate that one is the union of clarity and emptiness.
4) PRAYER FOR REBIRTH IN DÉWACHEN
(19b) The 4th cause that prepares one for rebirth in Déwachen is the recitation of the Déwachen prayer. There are 3 versions: a long prayer, written by Karma Chagmé; a medium version called the "Shéja-ma" by the 5th Karmapa, Deshin Shekpa, and this short one from the "Nam Chö" by Minjur Dorjé:
"E MA HO" - this expresses wonder and amazement at the realm of Déwachen and its inhabitants. Amitabha has wonderful, amazing qualities, and through the power of his prayers this realm has appeared. It has qualities superior to those of other buddha-realms. For example, even though there are buddha-realms in each of the 10 directions and also buddha-realms for every deity, in order to be born in any of these realms all one's bad karma and kleshas must have been purified. Once this has been done, then with the appropriate aspiration one can be reborn in the buddha-realm of one's wishes. In Déwachen, however, even if one's bad karma and obscurations have not been purified, but one wishes and prays to be born there, then one's wishes will be fulfilled. Déwachen has this quality because when Amitabha practised on the spiritual path he made the commitment that he would not achieve buddhahood unless it was possible that every being who wished to be born in his buddha-realm could be born there merely due to their wishes and prayers.
Amitabha himself has wonderful
qualities, such as, physically, the 32 major and 80 minor signs of a buddha.
Light-rays radiate from his body to all buddha-realms. This is why he has the
name "Öpamé", meaning "Immeasurable Light".
The special quality of his speech is that he continually 'turns the wheel of
Dharma' for all beings. His mind has 32 distinctive qualities, i.e. the 10 powers,
4 kinds of fearlessness and 18 distinctive qualities.
On Amitabha's right is Chenrezig, the embodiment of the compassion of all buddhas. He acts to benefit all sentient beings until samsara is totally emptied. The manifestation of his body is the 1000-arm Chenrezig; the emanation of his speech is the 6-syllable mantra; the emanation of his mind is the 6-arm Mahakala; the emanations of his qualities are the yellow and white Dzambala; the emanations of his activity are the white and green Taras. Through these aspects, which make him superior to other bodhisattvas, he accomplishes the benefit of beings.
On Amitabha's left is Vajrapani,
who is the embodiment of the strength and power of all the buddhas. If one prays
to him, he has the power to eliminate all one's 'maras' and hindrances. At the
time of Sakyamuni, Vajrapani requested the tantric teachings, so he is the master
of the tantras. His qualities and activity make him also superior to other bodhisattvas.
Around Amitabha, Chenrezig and Vajrapani is an entourage of buddhas and bodhisattvas: those who have accomplished the levels of realisation (skt. bhumis) and have eliminated what needs to be eliminated, as well as those who are still practising on the spiritual path.
The Déwachen prayer continues with "...as soon as I and others have departed from this life, may we be born directly in Déwachen, with none of the delay caused by another birth". To enter other buddha-realms, one needs to have complete purification. For those on the sravaka path, it may take thousands of kalpas of practice, and for pratyekabuddhas, hundreds of kalpas. If one practises the 4 classes of tantras, the path is much swifter, with correct application of the development and completion stages. The anuttara tantra is the most profound, and buddhahood can be attained in one lifetime.
By praying to Amitabha for rebirth
in Déwachen as soon as one dies, Amitabha will come to meet one in the
bardo and one will go straight to the realm of Déwachen, with no obstacle
such as taking another birth. As soon as one is reborn there, one will see Amitabha
and receive teachings from him.
"DÉGÉ DAGI MÖNLAM TAPADI..." - whatsoever good action is accomplished, one needs to make a wishing-prayer for rebirth in Déwachen, and to gather the 2 accumulations of virtue and insight. Through virtuous actions of body, speech and mind one gathers merit (dualistic merit) and through practising shamatta and vipassana, one gathers insight (non-dualistic wisdom). By means of these accumulations one will gain rebirth in Déwachen. With one's body and speech one can practise prostrations and circumambulations, giving generously to others and so forth, accomplishing whatever benefit one can for other beings. These are all ways of gathering good actions.
These instructions on the Amitabha practice of Terton Minjur Dorje's "Space Dharma Heart Treasure" were given by Ven. Tenga Tulku to the community of Samye-Ling, with Peter Roberts translating, Easter 1986. The instructions are edited for general use. A more elaborate version, with instructions for Shrine Layout, Vase Visualisation, Long Life Practice, Guardian Practice, Ganachakra and Powa, is available on request.
Summerlaw, Linton Bankhead,
Kelso TD5 8AF, SCOTLAND
Tel: (UK) 01573 - 440558