What Is The
The Four Phrases
What Exactly Are We Praying
If you haven't read through the
four phrases that constitute the invocation, you might wish to stop
here and do so first. It should make this more interesting and
When we speak of a lama as being glorious and precious,
we are indicating he has qualities of gloriousness and preciousness. He is
glorious because his gaze is like unending sunshine -- the warmth of his heart
like an indistinguishable fire. His gaze is full of loving kindness and
compassion. His unfailing, unconditional love like that of a mother for her
"only" son who watches constantly for his welfare. Like a wise elder, he guides
one with wisdom. In his presence our obscurations and associated habits fade
away. Eventually, he causes our mind's essence to blaze with it's full purity.
He is precious like a jewel, very rare and hard to come by. Rare jewels
take a long time to develop. Like this, he has worked diligently to reach a
state manifesting a true enlightened nature. His diligent efforts appear obvious
in his actions and thoughts. He is truly rare in a world like ours.
While beings pervade the universe, his compassion extends to all. His
words, actions and thoughts are for the benefit of all. When one visualizes with
this attitude, one naturally places him at the crown of one's head as he is a
very compassionate and pure being. He is someone with your welfare in mind and
thus the spot at the crown of your head places him in a position of respect and
honor. He is something you feel worthwhile and valuable. Someone you respect.
Someone you have reverence for. Someone you feel is very precious. Placing him
here is symbolic of what you feel when you think of him. His thoughts, words and
actions represent something you aspire to become.
Thousands of Buddhas
have attained enlightenment. Always, they have relied on a teacher. Their guru
is the one who was kind to them and helped them to understand and implement the
teachings into their lives. A root guru is someone very important. He is one who
can say one small thing or do one small action and due to that alone you might
get a glimpse of your own true nature. He is very instrumental in your
He is seated on a lotus-moon seat and glistens with a light
similar to that of sunshine glistening on water. His smile radiates warmth and
love. Like sunshine, his warm smile doesn't just shine on grass and not stone,
but it shines everywhere, on every situation. It shines in every direction and
on every being. His lotus seat is white because it symbolizes purity and an
all-pervasive tenderness to his loving kindness. It's a kindness that pervades
to all sentient beings. It's a pure loving kindness, a limitless loving
kindness, that is for all.
On the lotus is a flat moon mat. It is a full
moon which is perfect and flat. Once again it symbolizes all-pervasive
compassion. As this moon is perfectly and completely round, with nothing
protruding, it indicates there is only non-discriminating compassion. It is not
a lesser compassion for certain beings and a greater compassion for others. It
is an equal and immeasurable compassion for every type of being.
center of the moon mat is one's own guru. One's own personal guru. The one you
have been fortunate enough to meet in this life. The one that is best able to
inspire you and bring out your own wisdom and compassion. He is someone with
qualities you admire. The one who has impressed upon you as embodying all those
qualities you would like to instill in yourself.
But, more than that, he
is one with Vajradhara. He is inseparable from Vajradhara. You don't actually
visualize your spiritual friend and teacher here. You actually see the form of
Vajradhara sitting on this moon seat. If you are unfamiliar with the form of
Vajradhara his picture is at the top of the page. You know that your spiritual
friend is the one you can talk to and see and has all the qualities you admire
and is the one who personally helps you develop these qualities but here you
visualize the pure essence of the enlightened mind with Vajradhara. We visualize
the form of Vajradhara which is his Sanscrit name who in the Tibetan language is
called Dorje Chang. In the Tibetan language the term dorje means indestructible,
undefeatable, never ending. Simply put, nothing can obscure or defeat this
enlightened mind. It is a perfectly awakened state without flaw or stain. This
perfect awakened state is called Dharmakaya. All Buddhas have this enlightened
state of Dharmakaya, the nature of Vajradhara.
If you pray to Vajradhara
it is the same as praying to all Buddhas. While the purity we glimpse in our
spiritual friend and that we have come thus far to understand is one and the
same in essence with Vajradhara, it is Vajradhara's purity and essence which is
beyond what we can comprehend. It is beyond our understand thus far.
This is the end form we really seek. It is the form we visualize, the
one that is all-pervasive, manifesting all the qualities beyond limitations.
When we invoke this form, we are communicating with the purity of Buddha's
wisdom and we are opening ourself to such blessings.
On the gross level,
we have anger, jealousy, desire, ignorance, and greed. But if we are able to
visualize Vajradhara, a pure form without these poisons, we can identify with
this purity. We have 84,000 types of defilements, vast and different kinds of
afflictions, but when we look to a proper guru it can bring us some inner peace
and the beginnings of developing more profound understandings and wisdom.
Eventually, it can even bring us to unending inner joy and all-pervading wisdom.
When you do a visualization like this, you are such a mandala of purity and
completeness. Try to keep this in mind and visualize Vajradhara as clearly as
you can remembering to keep his form transparent and not solid. He is very
bright and brilliant. See him as you would a tent with a light inside, his body
transparent with light streaming out.
He symbolizes the enlightened
mind, the inseparability of relative and absolute Bodhichitta. He is the epitome
of the inseparability of loving kindness and wisdom. He represents transcending
all situations of ignorance and negative qualities.
From him emerges
brilliant radiating light -- beams extending in all directions. They don't just
go up or down, left or right, but they travel out in all ten directions
pervading to the ends of time and space. These rays radiate and permeate
throughout the entire universe. The rays as well fall upon one's own body
feeling like the warmth of the sun to permeate throughout one's pores. This
light washes away all wrong actions. It washes away all obscurations. It washes
away all suffering. It brings great happiness. One's stream of being is blessed.
If you can, you should try to focus on this visualization, until you can feel
moved in your stream of being.
At times of suffering, the first pure
teacher who helps you open to your own wisdom is the embodiment of Vajradhara.
For you, he is the important link. He is the helping hand. It's his kindness
that sets you right on the path, helps you to see things clearly or understand
A guru that can take you all the way to manifesting
completely your own Buddha Nature is called your root guru. He is the one who
actually benefits you the most. With him, you have good karma. He is the one who
can awaken within you the necessary wisdom and compassion. Through his symbol or
gesture--his activities of body, speech, and mind--you catch a glimpse of your
own true nature and know where to head.
The kind of body, speech and
mind that we pray to obtain is the body,speech and mind of a Buddha. Physical
positive actions that can benefit, action of speech that can benefit. And a mind
with enough wisdom to truly do that which is beneficial. We wish our body,
speech and mind to be inseparable from that of a Buddha. This is our goal. We
would like to see fully manifested within us this purity of the body, speech and
mind of all Buddhas.
This is what we as Tibetan Buddhists try to
contemplate on before we start any event or prayer. We consider ourselves
fortunate. We appreciate having an opportunity to study and practice and deepen
our spiritual growth and we say this prayer to position our mind in the proper
way before we begin. It is my hope that you will join us
with this tradition and read through the four-lined prayer of invocation
each time you come to visit my web site before reading any teachings.