True Buddha Dharma-character Treasury – Vajrapani Bodhisattva
【Vajrapani Bodhisattva Mudra :】
Put the palms together. Interlace the ring fingers inward while the little fingers are still touching each other. Point the two index fingers outward while continuing to keep the thumbs extended and touching side by side. Keep the tips of the middle fingers together.
【Vajrapani Bodhisattva Seed Syllable :】
【Vajrapani Bodhisattva Mantra :】
「Om。 bie-zha。 ba-ni 。hum-pei。」
【Vajrapania Bodhisattva Dharmalakṣaṇa Brief Introduction】
Dark blue Vajrapani has one head and two arms. His right hand holds a vajra scepter up high with a Wrathful Fist Mudra while his left hand is held in front of his chest either forming a Wrathful Fist Mudra or holding a lasso.
He is adorned with jewels, snakes and a tiger-skin skirt. He stands in magnificent fire prajna light with his right leg bent and his left leg extended.
【Living Buddha Lian-sheng Sheng-yen Lu Dharma Talk – Vajrapani Bodhisattva Background and Magnificence】
Today, if anyone were to ask me ”Who, exactly, is Vajrapani?” I would pose the same question back to them and ask, ”Who really is Vajrapani?”
Someone told me that Vajrapani Bodhisattva is Vajra Heart Bodhisattva (Mahasthamaprapta Bodhisattva).
Someone told me that Vajrapani is Vairocana Buddha.
Someone told me that Vajrapani is Samantabhadra Bodhisattva.
Someone told me that Vajrapani is Trailokyavijaya.
Someone told me that Vajrapani is Vajrasattva.
Today, let me tell you who Vajrapani really is.
As described in the scriptures, it is stated that while dwelling in the Diamond Mandala, Vairocana manifested and merged into the Samadhi Absorption of Samantabhadra. He then manifested a great and round moon-like light which became the body of Vajrapani. This light is the perfect bodhi heart seal.
Amidst the moonlight there is a glowing vajra. Vajrapani is the combined entity of Samantabhadra Bodhisattva and Vajrasattva.
Vajrapani is the supreme dharma prince of all tathagatas, the very bodhicitta of all tathagatas. He is thus the supreme secret master of all tathagatas. Hence he is given the title ”Vajra Holder, Lord of Secrets.”
Just look at my (Grandmaster Lu) dharma form. I wear a five-buddha crown, which represents the five buddhas. My left hand holds a vajra bell and my right hand holds a vajra scepter. I wear a dharma robe and sit on a lotus throne.
Now consider the dharma form of the Vajra Holder, Lord of Secrets. His right hand holds a vajra and his left hand holds a bell. His head is adorned with a vajra crown. Vairocana Buddha is in the center. The buddhas of the north, east, south and west also appear.
So who is this ”Vajrapani?” Let me say this: all enlightened vajra masters are Vajrapani himself.
Vajrapani Bodhisattva is the bodhicitta of all buddhas whereas Mahasthamaprapta Bodhisattva is the ”wisdom mind.”
Because Vajrapani Bodhisattva is the secret held in the heart of all Tantric practitioners, Vajrapani Bodhisattva is ”Vajra Heart Bodhisattva.” It is with the ”heart” that sentient beings attain spiritual union with all the buddhas and bodhisattvas.
Vajrasattva is known as ”Vajra Heart.” He is also known as ”Vajrapani,” ”Lord of Secrets,” and ”Vajra Holder.”
Vajrapani, Vajra Heart Bodhisattva, and Vajrasattva are the ”Trinity of Vajrayana.” These three bodhisattvas are the greatest, most significant Vajrayana bodhisattvas. ”Vajrasattva” is the combination of these three bodhisattvas.
The image of Vajrasattva depicts Vajrasattva’s sambhogakaya form. ”Vajrapani” is Vajrasattva in the form of a dharma protector. ”Vajra Heart Bodhisattva” is a bodhisattva of the dharma realm and is the dharmakaya of Vajrasattva.
In other words, the combination of a bodhisattva’s Truth Body, Bliss Body, and Emanation Body is referred to as ”Vajrasattva.” Therefore, in Vajrayana the greatest and most significant bodhisattva is Vajrasattva Bodhisattva.
The ”Three Fundamental Masters” of Vajrayana are Avalokiteshvara, who represents compassion, Manjusri, who represents wisdom, and Vajrapani, who represents dharma power. This means that to extensively nurture one’s Bodhicitta one must take refuge in Avalokiteshvara. One takes refuge in Manjusri to strengthen and increase one’s wisdom, that is, the wisdom of the Tathagata. Vajrapani, on the other hand, represents all the dharma power one needs to accomplish worldly activities. In Vajrayana we call these three deities the ”Three Fundamental Masters.”
The Great Perfection has two lineages. One lineage is the ”heaven” lineage which was passed down as follows: Samantabhadra Tathagata – the Five Dhyani Buddhas – Vajrasattva – Vajrapani – Emperor Shengxin.
The other lineage is the human lineage: Prahevajra – Manjusrimitra – Shri Singha – Vairotsana – Padmasambhava – King Trisong Detsen -Yeshe Tsogyal
”Tang” Vajrayana began with the oral transmission from Vairocana Buddha to Vajrapani, who, after attaining supreme realization, transmitted the teachings to Nagarjuna. Nagarjuna transmitted the teachings to Nagajnana, who transmitted them to Vajrabodhi. Because Vajrabodhi came to China during the Tang Dynasty, it is called ”Tang” Vajrayana. Vajrabodhi then transmitted the teachings to Amoghavajra who in turn transmitted them to Huiguo. By the time of the Yuan Dynasty, Vajrayana in China was in decline.
In the highest dharma practice of ”Vajrapani Bodhisattva” the practitioner can see the actual manifestation of ”Vajrapani Bodhisattva.” At that moment Vajrapani’s buddha light will illuminate so brilliantly that the mudra-forming practitioner will become completely invisible within this light. The practitioner will attain utmost, perfect, and complete mastery, which is an extraordinary accomplishment.