Vajrasattva Purification Practice

The Vajrasattva Purification Practice & The 4 Opponent Powers

Here is a guide of the Vajrasattva practice. May you begin the wonderful practice of purification for the benefit of your immediate as well as your future lives.

Prostrate three times then sit on your cushion. Bring your mind to a quiet state. 

Visualize about four inches above your head an open white lotus upon which is a moon disc. Vajrasattva is seated upon this. He is white, translucent and adorned with beautiful ornaments and clothes of celestial silk. His two hands are crossed at his heart; the right holds a vajra, symbolic of great bliss; his left holds a bell, symbolic of the wisdom of emptiness. The vajra and bell together signify his attainment of the enlightened state, the inseparable unity of the wisdom and form bodies. At his heart is a moon disc with the seed-syllable HUM at its center and the letters of Vajrasattva's hundred-syllable mantra standing clockwise around its edge.

Start the purification with the first of the Four Opponent Powers.

1. The Power of Regret
Sincerely regret, from the depths of your heart, anything you have done to harm any living being, on this day, in this life, in all past lives. It is good to contemplate the various  actions that you remember having done, and then to regret all the things as well that you don’t remember. The reason to regret is based on the understanding of karma: we cannot  bear the thought of the future suffering that we ourselves will experience due to the harm we have done to others. We experience everything due to our past karma, our past actions; so having harmed others we ourselves will necessarily experience suffering in the future. And who wants that? We know from the present suffering that we do not want it, so the logic is, therefore, to clean up our act before the present seeds ripen as future suffering.

2. The Power of Reliance
There are two parts to this step: one, we rely upon the doctor whose medicine we will take to purify our deluded actions, in this case the Buddha. It’s not that we need Buddha to forgive us; rather, we rely upon him by using his methods to purify ourselves.

Two, we also rely upon others beings, the very beings we have harmed, by developing compassion for them. We make the wish to purify for their sakes: all those we have harmed in this life and in the past. Make a strong aspiration to do this practice of purification so that from now on we can only benefit others, not harm them.

Visualize Vajrasattva above the crown of your head. He is your guru manifesting in this aspect for your benefit: this is important. He is made of radiant, blissful white light. He’s sitting cross-legged on a white lotus, which although born out of mud is untainted by mud, just like our enlightened potential, which is born out of our delusions but is untained by them. His face is radiant and beautiful. His eyes are long (horizontally) and peaceful and full of love and compassion for us. His mouth is red and very sweet. His hair is black and held up in a top knot. His arms are crossed at his heart, left underneath the right; the left is holding a bell, which represents wisdom, the right is holding a vajra, which represents the indestructibility of compassion; their being crossed represents the union of these two, which symbolizes enlightenment itself: the development of infinite wisdom and infinite compassion. The main thing is to really feel the presence of this enlightened energy above your head, and to imagine that it is a mirror image of your own potential.

Refuge and Generating Bodhicitta (3 times)
I take refuge in the Three Jewels.
I will liberate all sentient beings and lead them to enlightenment.
Thus, I will perfectly generate the mind dedicated to 
attaining enlightenment for the benefit of all sentient beings. 

Now visualize that light goes out of Vajrasattva’s heart to all the ten directions and hooks the energy of the body, speech and mind of all the enlightened beings of the universe. This light comes back and dissolves into the heart of Vajrasattva, who now embodies all their energy. He is even more brilliant and blissful than before.

3. The Power of the Antidote
This is the actual medicine, the doing of the actual practice of purification. There are three stages to the meditation, and it consists of visualization and recitation of mantra.

Purification of body:  Vajrasattva very compassionately sends powerful white nectar, like coming out of a hose very forcefully, from his heart. It enters your crown chakra and pours into your entire body, filling you completely. It keeps coming and it forces out of your lower orifices all the harm you have ever done to any living being with your body in the form of inky liquid, which pours out of you and disappears into space, not one atom left. Feel completely purified. Recite the mantra the whole time. (Until you learn it, just say it 3 times; when you know it easily, recite at least 7)

om vajrasattva samaya manu palaya
vajrasattva deno patita, dido may bhawa  
suto kayo may bhawa, supo kayo may bhawa, 
anu rakto may bhawa, sarwa siddhi mepar yatsa,
sarwa karma su tsa may,
tsitam shriyam kuru hum - ha ha ha ha ho - bhagawan - 
sarwa tatagata - vajra ma may mu tsa - 
vajra bhawa maha samaya sattva - ah hum pey

If you have not yet memorized the long mantra, or if you are pressed for time, you may recite the short mantra at least 28 times.
om vajrasattva hum

While reciting either of the mantras, continue to visualize the flow of light and nectar and perform the following four visualizations alternately. Then feel so happy that your negativity of body is purified. Really imagine now that it is not possible that your body could do anything but benefit others; no way can it harm. Really want that.

Purification of speech: During the second stage of the visualization, Guru Vajrasattva very happily sends powerful nectar from his heart chakra again. It pours forcefully into your crown, filling your entire body, this time forcing up to the top of your body – like when water filling a dirty glass forces the junk to come to the top and to overflow – all the negativity of your speech: all the gossip and malicious speech and useless speech and lying and whatever. All is purified by this powerful nectar, leaving your body through the top orifices in the form of inky liquid, disappearing into space, not one atom left. Recite the mantra as you visualize this. Again, feel so happy that your speech is now completely purified and that no way could you do anything but say something beneficial or useful or appropriate or kind to others. Really want that.

Purification of mind: Third, Vajrasattva very compassionately sends this time light from his heart chakra. This powerful white light enters your crown chakra and fills your entire being, and just like when you turn on a light in a room the darkness is instantly dispelled, so too, just as the light hits your heart chakra, the darkness of the negativity of your mind, all the anger and violence and depression and resentment and jealousy and bitterness, etc., are all instantly dispelled, not one atom left. Recite the mantra as you visualize this.  Again, feel happy that all your delusions, which are the cause of the harm we do with our body and speech, are totally purified, gone, finished, and that no way is there any space in your heart now for anything but love and kindness and forgiveness and wisdom and bliss and compassion.

Purification of even the imprints of negativity of body, speech and mind: This time imagine that Vajrasattva sends light again and it fills you completely and eradicates even the subtlest imprint of negative energy from your mind. (It’s like once you removed the garlic from a jar, you still need to remove the smell.) Again recite the mantra. Now feel you are completely purified, and feel very happy. Vajrasattva is happy too.

4. The Power of the Promise: The fourth step in the purification process, and such an important one, is the determination not to harm with our body, speech and mind again. Without this, we keep doing the same old things; determination to not harm again is like a beacon that guides our body, speech and mind in new directions. If you can actually vow to not do certain actions again for the rest of your life, fantastic. But be realistic. If you can vow not to do them again for a year, a month, a day, even a minute – whatever is realistic. Then in general vow to make the effort to avoid the others. This determination  not to do again is what gives us the strength to turn ourselves around.

Then, very happy, Vajrasattva – your own guru manifesting as the Buddha Vajrasattva solely for your benefit – melts into white light and absorbs into your through your crown chakra. This energy of white light comes to your heart chakra and merges with your own very subtle consciousness, becoming oneness with you. Meditate on this union.

At the end of the meditation session dedicate all the merit, the positive energy, you have created by doing this purification to all living beings (say whichever prayers below you would like to say):

Due to this merit may I soon
Attain the enlightened state of Vajrasattva,
That I may be able to liberate
All sentient beings from their suffering. 
May the precious bodhi mind
Not yet born arise and grow.
May that born have no decline,
But increase forever more.

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