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The Spiritual Practice entitled Natural Liberation of Habitual Tendencies



CONTEXT
This is the concise ‘generation stage’ practice associated with this cycle of teachings. Normally, after completing the preparatory philosophical studies and meditational practices over many years, the full generation stage practice entitled The Natural Liberation of Feelings would be done four times a day while in an extended solitary retreat. Following this retreat, the full generation stage practice should be done at least monthly. As a method for enhancing and sustaining an unbroken purity of perception, this concise practice, The Natural Liberation of Habitual Tendencies, should be done three times a day, in the morning, at midday and in the evening, throughout the practitioner’s life. If this is not practical, then the concise practice should be done twice a day, in the morning and evening, or at least once a day in the morning, following the Preliminary Practice (Chapter 1).
The aim is to provide a means by which the practitioner can cultivate an unwavering recognition of the nature of the Peaceful and Wrathful Deities within his or her own mind and body. Thereby recognition of the natural purity of the practitioner’s impure habitual tendencies is continuously developed. The measure of successful training is: the location and nature of the deities will be remembered even in the practitioner’s dreams, and, the arising of a sustained recognition that all phenomena, sounds and thoughts are, in their essence, the body, speech and mind of the deities.
Herein is contained The Spiritual Practice entitled Natural Liberation of Habitual Tendencies,1 [which is an extract] from the Peaceful and Wrathful Deities: A Profound Sacred Teaching, [entitled] Natural Liberation through [Recognition of] Enlightened Intention.2
I respectfully bow down to Samantabhadra and Mahottara,3
To the assembly of the Peaceful and Wrathful deities,
And to the assembly of the Hundred Sacred Enlightened Families!
Having been liberated in the intermediate states,
May all beings abide in the reality of the three buddha-bodies.
O You who are fortunate and auspiciously blessed,
Apply [yourself to] the meditations and recitations of this most lucid Spiritual Practice,
Which is a coalescence of the [full means of accomplishment] of the Peaceful and Wrathful Deities!
Never forget [to practise this] throughout the three times.
THE TEN-BRANCHED PRAYER FOR THE ACCUMULATION [OF MERIT]
[First], visualise in the space before you the Three Precious Jewels and the deities of the hundred enlightened families, and then recite as follows:
The Branch of Taking Refuge
OM AH HUM
I respectfully take refuge, inseparably, from now until enlightenment,
In the infinitude of Peaceful and Wrathful Deities, the Conquerors Gone to Bliss,
The Three Precious Jewels, the meditational deities,
The ocean of dakinls, and assembly of oath-bound protectors,
Within the infinite [buddha] fields, reaching to the limits of space.
The Branch of Invitation
I request the infinite Peaceful and Wrathful Deities
Of the ten directions and four times,
Compassionate emanations embodying discriminative awareness and skilful means,
Pervading the vast infinite space of reality’s expanse,
To come to this place for the sake of [all] living beings.
The Branch of Requesting [the Deities] to be Seated
I request that [the meditational deities] be seated,
Here on sun, moon, and lotus cushions,
[Symbolising] skilful means, discriminative awareness, and their stainless [union],
Upon their bejewelled thrones [fashioned] in the form of lions and so forth,
In [an attitude of] unblemished supreme delight,
Within this mandala of pristine cognition,
Which is the [natural] purity of phenomenal existence!
The Branch of Faying Homage
I bow down to the assembly of the Peaceful and Wrathful Conquerors,
To the father and mother deities, and [all] their offspring,
[Whose essence is] the pristine cognition of Samantabhadra,
Displayed as uncorrupted bliss in the secret womb of Samantabhadrl.
The Branch of Making Offerings
I request the Peaceful and Wrathful Conquerors, the oceans of Those Gone to Bliss,
To partake of these inestimable outer, inner, and secret offerings,
Both those actually arrayed and those mentally emanated,
Which are offered for the benefit of all living beings.
The Branch of the Confession of Negativity
I acknowledge and remorsefully confess all my negative obscurations
And all my habitual tendencies of body, speech and mind,
Beginninglessly influenced by the three poisons
Which are the accumulating causes for [rebirth]
Among the lower states [of suffering] in cyclic existence.
The Branch of Sympathetic Rejoicing
I rejoice with great delight in the [buddha] fields of supreme bliss,
Where all phenomenal existence is [recognised as] the pervasion of reality’s expanse.
I rejoice in [all] compassionate acts, in their merits, and in their altruistic intention,
And in all [deeds that are] the source of merit and pristine cognition.
The Branch of Turning the Wheel of the [Sacred] Teachings
I exhort the teachers throughout the fields of the ten directions,
Who are as numerous as atoms,
To stir from their meditative commitments for the sake of all sentient beings,
And to turn the Wheel of the Sacred Teachings,
Thus [entirely] pervading the reaches of space.
The Branch of Requesting [the Buddhas] Not to Enter Nirvana
I beseech you all, O teachers, infinite buddhas without exception,
To remain [present] and not to pass into nirvana,
And to continue to enact deeds of extensive benefit for the sake of beings,
Until the world-systems of cyclic existence have been emptied!
The Branch of the Dedication [of Merit] to the Unsurpassed Greater Vehicle
[By the power of] whatever past, present and future virtues I accumulate,
May all sentient beings, throughout the furthest reaches of space,
Mature into worthy recipients of the unsurpassed Greater Vehicle,
And then swiftly attain the status of the infinite Peaceful and Wrathful Deities!
PURIFICATION
OM AH HOM BODHICITTA MAHASUKHAJNANA DHATU AH OM RULU RULU HUM BHYOH HUM4
From the field of reality’s expanse, uncreated and pure,
Within a celestial palace, which is a seminal point [of light], pure, unceasing, and radiant,
Through the natural expressive power of one’s own mind, uncontrived and empty,
Intrinsic awareness, radiant and empty, arises in the form of Vajrasattva,
[Seated] upon a bejewelled throne adorned with lotus, sun and moon [cushions].
[Vajrasattva is] white, radiant, with one face, two arms, and a smiling countenance;
The right hand holds a vajra at the heart,
[Symbolising the union] of awareness and emptiness,
The left hand supports a bell [resting] on the hip,
[Symbolising the union] of appearances and emptiness;
And the head [is adorned with a garland of] perfect buddhas,
[Representing] the five enlightened families of Those Gone to Bliss.
Thus, [Vajrasattva] manifests in the form of the Buddha-body of Perfect Resource,
[Exquisitely] adorned with silks and jewels,
Seated in the posture of royal ease,
With the right leg extended, and the left drawn in.5
[Radiating] at the heart is the seed-syllable hum,
Surrounded by the Hundred-syllable Mantra:
OM VAJRASATTVA SAMAYAMANUPALAYA VAJRASATTVA TVENOPATISTHA DRDHO ME BHAVA SUPOSYO ME BHAVA SUTOSYO ME BHAVA ANURAKTO ME BHAVA SARVASIDDHIM ME PRAYACCHA SARVAKARMASU CA ME CITTAM SREYAH KURU HUM HAHAHAHA HO BHAGAVAN SARVA TATHAGATA VAJRA MA ME MUNCA VAJRABHAVA MAHASAMAYASATTVA Ah6
Having performed the twofold act of benefiting [self and others] through the emanation and reabsorption [of light from these syl-lables], the obscurations of conceptual thought are purified. Do not be distracted! Recite this quintessential [mantra] of the hundred sacred enlightened families as much as possible, so that the two obscurations may be cleansed.
MAIN PRACTICE
Having thus purified the [two] obscurations, one should visualise the assembled Peaceful and Wrathful Deities of the hundred sacred enlightened families as a mandala [of deities] within one’s body, and pray. It is in this context that the aspirational prayers of the intermediate states are recited. [The combined practice] is as follows:
Then, [maintaining the recognition of] oneself as Vajrasattva,
In the celestial palace of one’s own precious heart,
One clearly discerns a seminal point [formed of] the five lights,
Whose nature is the five pure essences [of the five elements],
[And from this], the thirty-six peaceful buddhas7 radiantly manifest,
Amidst a radiant and vibrant mandala suffused by the five pristine cognitions,
Their bodies composed of five lights, the unimpeded [union of] emptiness and radiance,
[Seated] upon a tier of lotus, sun and moon [cushions],
Supported by lion, elephant, horse, peacock and clvamclvaka [thrones].
OM AH HUM
Within the expanse of a seminal point located at the centre of one’s heart,
The primordial lord, the unchanging buddha-body of light,
Samantabhadra, the Buddha-body of Reality, blue in colour,
And Samantabhadrl, the expanse of reality, white in colour,
Are indivisibly united, both in the posture of meditative equipoise,
Seated upon lotus, sun and moon cushions,
[Symbolising the union of] radiance and emptiness.
To you, the supreme ancestors of the buddhas of past, present and future,
I bow down, make offerings, take refuge and pray:
As soon as we die and begin to transmigrate,8
At that very moment, when the pure inner radiance of reality dawns,
May we be welcomed by the father Samantabhadra before us,
May we be supported by the mother Samantabhadrl behind us;
And thus [encircled] may we be guided to the indivisible level of Samantabhadra?
OM AH HUM
[In the channel centre of one’s heart] is Vairocana in blissful union with Dhatvlsvarl,
White and radiant, holding a wheel and a bell,
Seated cross-legged, [symbolising the union of] radiance and emptiness,
[Amidst a mass of light, radiating the pristine cognition of reality’s expanse].
To you, the principal [deities] of the central Buddha Family,
I bow down, make offerings, take refuge and pray:
As soon as we die and begin to transmigrate,
At that very moment, when the visions of the intermediate state of reality dawn,
And we roam [alone] in cyclic existence [driven] by deep-seated delusion,
May the Transcendent Lord Vairocana draw us forward,
Leading us on the path of radiant light,
Which is the pristine cognition of reality’s9 expanse.
May the supreme consort [Akdsa] Dhdtvlsvarl support us from behind,
And thus [encircled] may we be rescued
From the fearsome passageway of the intermediate state,
And be escorted to the level of an utterly perfected buddha.10
OM AH HUM
In the eastern channel branch of one’s heart,
Is Vajrasattva, in blissful [union] with Buddhalocana,
Blue and radiant, holding a vajra and a bell,
Seated cross-legged, [symbolising the union of] radiance and emptiness,
Amidst a mass of light radiating the mirror-like pristine cognition.
To the right is white Ksitigarbha, holding a seedling and a bell,
To the left is white Maitreya, holding a blossoming orange bush and a bell,
To the front is white Lasya, holding a mirror and a bell,
And to the rear is white Puspa, holding a flower and seated with one leg extended and the other drawn in.
To you, the sixfold principal and encircling [deities] of the Vajra Family,
I bow down, make offerings, take refuge and pray:
As soon as we die and begin to transmigrate,
At that very moment, when the visions of the intermediate state of reality dawn,
And we roam [alone] in cyclic existence [driven] by deep-seated aversion,
May the Transcendent Lord Vajrasattva draw us forward,
Leading us on the path of radiant light,
Which is the mirror-like pristine cognition.
May the supreme consort Buddhalocand support us from behind,
And thus [encircled] may we be rescued
From the fearsome passageway of the intermediate state,
And be escorted to the level of an utterly perfected buddha.
om Ah hum
In the southern channel branch of one’s heart,
Is Ratnasambhava, in [blissful] union with Mamakl,
Yellow [and radiant], holding a jewel and a bell,
Seated cross-legged, [symbolising the union] of radiance and emptiness,
Amidst a mass of light, radiating the pristine cognition of sameness.
To the right is yellow Samantabhadra, holding a grain-sheath and a bell,
To the left is yellow Akasagarbha, holding a sword and a bell,
To the front is yellow Malya, holding a garland and seated with one leg extended and the other drawn in,
And to the rear is yellow Dhupa, holding incense and [also] seated with one leg extended and the other drawn in.
To you, the sixfold principal and encircling [deities] of the Ratna Family,
I bow down, make offerings, take refuge, and pray:
As soon as we die and begin to transmigrate,
At that very moment, when the visions of the intermediate state of reality dawn,
And we roam [alone] in cyclic existence [driven] by deep-seated pride,
May the Transcendent Lord Ratnasambhava draw us forward,
Leading us on the path of radiant light,
Which is the pristine cognition of sameness.
May the supreme consort Mamakl support us from behind,
And thus [encircled] may we be rescued
From the fearsome passageway of the intermediate state,
And be escorted to the level of an utterly perfected buddha.
om Ah hum
In the western channel branch of one’s heart,
Is Amitabha, in blissful union with Pandaravasini,
Red and radiant, holding a lotus and a bell,
Seated cross-legged, [symbolising the union of] radiance and emptiness,
Amidst a mass of light, radiating the pristine cognition of discernment.
To the right is red Avalokitesvara, holding a lotus and a bell,
To the left is red Manjusri, holding a sword and a bell,
To the front is red Glta, holding a gong and seated with one leg extended and the other drawn in,
And to the rear is red Aloka, holding a butter lamp, and [also] seated with one leg extended and the other drawn in.
To you, the sixfold principal and encircling [deities] of the Padma Family,
I bow down, make offerings, take refuge, and pray:
As soon as we die and begin to transmigrate,
At that very moment, when the visions of the intermediate state of reality dawn,
And we roam [alone] in cyclic existence [driven] by deep-seated attachment,
May the Lord Transcendent Lord Amitabha draw us forward,
Leading us on the path of radiant light,
Which is the pristine cognition of discernment.
May the supreme consort Pandaravasini support us from behind,
And thus [encircled] may we be rescued
From the fearsome passageway of the intermediate state,
And be escorted to the level of an utterly perfected buddha.
OM AH HOM
In the northern channel branch of one’s heart,
Is Amoghasiddhi, in blissful union with Samayatlra,
Green and radiant, holding a crossed-vajra and a bell,
Seated cross-legged, [symbolising the union of] radiance and emptiness,
Amidst a mass of light, radiating the pristine cognition of accomplishment.
To the right is green Sarvanivaranaviskambhin, holding a book and a bell,
To the left is green Vajrapani, holding a vajra and a bell,
To the front is green Gandha, holding a conch and seated with one leg extended and the other drawn in,
And to the rear is green Narti, holding a food-offering, and
[also] seated with one leg extended and the other drawn in.
To you, the sixfold principal and encircling [deities] of the Karma Family,
I bow down, make offerings, take refuge, and pray:
As soon as we [die and] begin to transmigrate,
At that very moment, when the visions of the intermediate state of reality dawn,
And we roam [alone] in cyclic existence [driven] by deep-seated envy,
May the Transcendent Lord Amoghasiddhi draw us forward,
Leading us on the path of radiant light,
Which is the pristine cognition of accomplishment.
May the supreme consort Samayatdrd support us from behind,
And thus [encircled] may we be rescued
From the fearsome passageway of the intermediate state,
And be escorted to the level of an utterly perfected buddha.
OM AH HUM
In the channel branch at the eastern gate of one’s heart,
Are white [Trailokya]vijaya and Ankusa,
In [blissful] union, and dancing.
In the channel branch at the southern gate of one’s heart,
Are yellow Yamantaka and Pasa,
In [blissful] union, and dancing.
In the channel branch at the western gate of one’s heart,
Are red Hayagrlva and Spotha,
In [blissful] union, and dancing.
In the channel branch at the northern gate of one’s heart,
Are green Amrtakundalin and Ghanta,
In [blissful] union, and dancing.
To you, the eight emanational gatekeepers, male and female,
I bow down, make offerings, take refuge, and pray:
As soon as we die and begin to transmigrate,
At that very moment, when the visions of the intermediate state of reality dawn,
And we roam [alone] in cyclic existence [driven] by deep-seated habitual tendencies,
May the four Mahakrodha male gatekeepers draw us forward,
Leading us on the path of radiant light,
Which is the four pristine cognitions combined}11
May the supreme consorts, the four female gatekeepers, support us from behind,
And thus [encircled] may we be rescued
From the fearsome passageway of the intermediate state,
And be escorted to the level of an utterly perfected buddha.
OM AH HUM
Amidst an expanse of light in the channel branch of the energy centre of great bliss at one’s crown,
Within a radiant and vibrant mandala, that is a lustrous white seminal point,
[Stands] Sakra, sage of the god realms, white in colour, and playing a lute.
May he obstruct pride, which is the entrance to rebirth in the god realms!
Amidst an expanse of light in one’s occipital channel, which resembles the horn of an ox,12
Within a radiant and vibrant mandala, that is a lustrous green seminal point,
[Stands] Vemacitra, sage of the antigods, green in colour, bearing armour and a weapon,
May he obstruct envy, which is the entrance to rebirth in the antigod realms!
Amidst an expanse of light in one’s ‘life-force’ channel, which resembles a crystal tube,13
Within a radiant and vibrant mandala, that is a lustrous yellow seminal point,
[Stands] Sakyamuni, sage of human beings, yellow in colour, and carrying a mendicant’s staff.
May he obstruct attachment, which is the entrance to rebirth in the human realms!
Amidst an expanse of light in the energy centre of one’s navel,
Within a radiant and vibrant mandala, that is a lustrous blue seminal point,
[Stands] Sthirasimha, sage of animals, blue in colour, and carrying a book.
May he obstruct delusion, which is the entrance to rebirth in the animal realms!
Amidst an expanse of light in the channel branch at one’s bliss-sustaining secret place,14
Within a radiant and vibrant mandala, that is a lustrous red seminal point,
[Stands] Jvalamukha, sage of the anguished spirits, red in colour, carrying a [wish-granting] casket.
May he obstruct miserliness, which is the entrance to rebirth among the anguished-spirit realms!
Amidst an expanse of light in the energy centre at the soles of one’s feet,
Within a radiant and vibrant mandala, that is a lustrous black seminal point,
[Stands] Yama Dharmaraja, sage of the hell beings, black in colour, and carrying a flame and water.
May he obstruct aversion, which is the entrance to rebirth among the hell realms!
To you, the six sages, the Buddha-bodies of Emanation,
Who act for the benefit of living beings,
I bow down, make offerings, take refuge, and pray:
As soon as we die and begin to transmigrate,
At that very moment, when the visions of the intermediate state of rebirth dawn,
And we roam [alone] in cyclic existence [driven] by deep-seated habitual tendencies,
May the three sages of the higher realms draw us forward,
Leading us on the path of radiant light,
Which is the four pristine cognitions combined.
May the three sages of the lower realms support us from behind,
And thus [encircled] may we be rescued
From the light paths of the six impure states [of existence],
And be escorted to the level of an utterly perfected buddha.
om Ah hum
The forty-two deities of the peaceful assembly blaze with rays of light:
Radiant, vibrant, resplendent, and naturally beautiful.
Their bodies are supple, slender, handsome, upright, and youthful,
Exquisitely ornamented and [splendidly] endowed with the major and minor marks.
To you, the assembled peaceful deities of the indestructible expanse,
I bow down, make offerings, take refuge, and pray:
As soon as we die and begin to transmigrate,
At that very moment, when the visions of the intermediate state of reality dawn,
And we roam [alone] in cyclic existence [driven] by the five deep-seated poisons,
May all the peaceful male deities draw us forward,
Leading us on the path of radiant light,
Which is the five pristine cognitions combined.
May the supreme female consorts, Queens of the Expanse, support us from behind,
And may the male and female gatekeepers support us from the perimeter,
And thus [encircled] may we be rescued
From the fearsome passageway of the intermediate state,
And be escorted to the level of an utterly perfected buddha.
OM AH HUM
At this time when we dwell within the intermediate state of living,
The forty-two assembled peaceful deities,
Are radiantly present within the celestial palace of our own hearts,
Embodied in the form of a cluster of five-coloured lights.
Yet, as soon as we die and begin to transmigrate,
This assembly of peaceful deities will emerge from our hearts,
And fill the space before us.
Each of the innumerable central and peripheral forms
Will be [fully endowed with] the ornaments and attire [of the peaceful deities],15
Each composed of the five-coloured lights [indicative of the union] of radiance and emptiness,
And [encircled] by an expanse of rainbow light.
Vibrant beaming shafts of light, indicative of the five pristine cognitions,
Emanating five [-coloured] seminal points, sounds, lights and rays,
Radiant, vibrant, resplendent, clear, and naturally resonant,
Will beam out, as if piercing our hearts.
Concomitant with these lights of the five pristine cognitions,
The six light paths indicative of the six classes of deluded impure beings will also dawn before us.
At this moment, O compassionate assembly of peaceful deities,
Blessed Transcendent Ones, Beings of Compassion,
Do not withhold your compassion,
But draw us forward on the path [of radiant light],
Which is the four pristine cognitions combined,
And draw us back from the paths [of the dull lights],
Which are [the doors to] the six states of impure [existence]!
OM AH HUM
In the celestial palace of perfect resource, within one’s own throat,
Amidst an expanse permeated with rainbows and lights,
In the central channel branch of the energy centre of perfect resource,
Is Padmanatesvara, the great Awareness Holder of Maturation,
Red and radiant, glowing in [an array of] five [-coloured] lights,
And embraced by the Dakinl of Pristine Cognition,
[Their union symbolising the coalescence of] bliss and emptiness.
[She holds] a blood-filled skull and a curved knife,
Raised in the gesture of pointing to the sky.
May the awareness holders of buddha-body protect all living beings!
OM AH HUM
In the eastern channel branch of the energy centre of perfect resource, within one’s throat,
Is the great Awareness Holder who Abides on the Levels,
White, radiant, smiling, and embraced by the White Dakinl.
[She holds] a blood-filled skull and a curved knife,
Raised in the gesture of pointing to the sky.
May the awareness holders of buddha-mind protect all living beings!
OM AH HUM
In the southern channel branch of the energy centre of perfect resource, within one’s throat,
Is the great Awareness Holder with Power over the Lifespan,
Yellow, radiant, smiling, and embraced by the Yellow Dakinl.
[She holds] a blood-filled skull and a curved knife,
Raised in the gesture of pointing to the sky.
May the awareness holders of buddha-attributes protect all living beings!
om Ah hum
In the western channel branch of the energy centre of perfect resource, within one’s throat,
Is the great Awareness Holder of the Great Seal,
Red, radiant, smiling, and embraced by the Red Dakinl.
[She holds] a blood-filled skull and a curved knife,
Raised in the gesture of pointing to the sky.
May the awareness holders of buddha-speech protect all living beings!
OM AH HUM
In the northern channel branch of the energy centre of perfect resource, within one’s throat,
Is the great Awareness Holder of Spontaneous Presence,
Green, radiant, wrathful, smiling, and embraced by the Green Dakinl.
[She holds] a blood-filled skull and a curved knife,
Raised in the gesture of pointing to the sky.
May the awareness holders of buddha-activity protect all living beings!
OM AH HUM
To you, the assembly of awareness holders, the heroes and dakinls,
I bow down, make offerings, take refuge and pray:
As soon as we die and begin to transmigrate,
At that very moment, when the visions of the intermediate state of reality dawn,
And we roam [alone] in cyclic existence [driven] by deep-seated habitual tendencies,
May the heroic awareness holders draw us forward,
Leading us on the path of radiant light,
Which is the [luminance of] spontaneously arising pristine cognition.16
May the supreme female consorts, the assembly of dakinls, support us from behind,
And thus [encircled] may we be rescued
From the fearsome passageway of the intermediate state,
And be escorted to the pure fields of the sky-farers.
om Ah hum
At this time when we dwell within the intermediate state of living,
The assemblies of awareness holders, both heroes and dakinls,
Are radiantly present within the celestial palace of the energy centre of perfect resource within our own throats,
Embodied in the form of a cluster of five-coloured lights.
Yet, as soon as we die and begin to transmigrate,
This divine assembly of the awareness holders will emerge from the throat [centre],
And fill the space before us.
Amidst a plethora of musical sounds they will manifest in myriad dancing postures,
Pounding and vibrating throughout all world-systems,
[And generating] a vibrant beaming path of light,
Indicative of spontaneously arising pristine cognition.
Simultaneously, the [light] path of the animal realms, indicative of delusion,
Will [also] dawn before us.
O divine assembly of awareness holders, at that moment,
Do not withhold your compassion,
But draw us back from the [dull-light] path,
Which is the gateway to the deluded animal-realms,
And draw all beings along the path [of light],
Which is [the luminance of] spontaneously arising pristine cognition!
Seize us with your compassion,
[Ensuring] that we recognise [the characteristics of] the intermediate state!
Empower us so that we may become awareness holders, children of the Conquerors.
OM AH HUM
At the crown-centre of onself, [visualised] as Vajrasattva,
In the celestial palace of the blazing skull, within one’s brain,
Amidst an expanse of light composed of flaming seminal points of rainbow-light,
Is the assembly of blood-drinking deities,17 standing in clusters.
OM AH HUM
In the central channel branch of the skull, within one’s brain,
Amidst an expanse of light, composed of naming seminal points of rainbow-light,
[Stands] Samantabhadra in the form of Mahottara Heruka.
He has three faces: brown, white and red; and six arms:
The three right arms brandish a vajra, a khatvariga, and a small drum,
And the left hold a bell, a blood-filled skull, and a noose of entrails.
Mahottara Heruka is joyously and indivisibly embraced by Krodhesvari.
May these two, the central male and female consorts, guide all beings [to liberation]!
OM AH HOM
On a throne in the central channel branch of one’s skull,
Amidst an expanse of light, composed of flaming seminal points of rainbow-light,
[Stands] Vairocana in the form of Buddha Heruka.
He has three faces: reddish brown, white and red; and six arms:
The three right arms brandish a wheel, an axe, and a sword,
And the left hold a bell, a ploughshare, and a blood-filled skull.
Buddha Heruka is joyously and indivisibly embraced by Buddhakrodhesvari.
May these two, the blood-drinking deities of the Sugata Family, guide all beings [to liberation]!
OM AH HUM
On [a throne in] the eastern channel branch of the skull, within one’s brain,
Amidst an expanse of light, composed of flaming seminal points of rainbow-light,
[Stands] Vajrasattva in the form of Vajra Heruka.
He has three faces: dark blue, white and red; and six arms:
The three right arms brandish a vajra, a skull, and an axe,
And the left hold a bell, a blood-filled skull, and a ploughshare.
Vajra Heruka is joyously and indivisibly embraced by Va j rakrodhes varl.
May these two, the blood-drinking deities of the Vajra Family, guide all beings [to liberation]!
OM AH HUM
On [a throne in] the southern channel branch of the skull, within one’s brain,
Amidst an expanse of light, composed of flaming seminal points of rainbow-light,
[Stands] Ratnasambhava in the form of Ratna Heruka.
He has three faces: dark yellow, white and red; and six arms:
The three right arms brandish a jewel, a khatvariga, and a club,
And the left hold a bell, a blood-filled skull, and a trident.
Ratna Heruka is joyously and indivisibly embraced by Ratnakrodhesvarl.
May these two, the blood-drinking deities of the Ratna Family, guide all beings [to liberation]!
OM AH HUM
On [a throne in] the western channel branch of the skull, within one’s brain,
Amidst an expanse of light, composed of flaming seminal points of rainbow-light,
[Stands] Amitabha in the form of Padma Heruka.
He has three faces: dark red, white and blue; and six arms:
The three right arms brandish a lotus, a khatvariga, and a mace,
And the left hold a bell, a blood-filled skull, and a small drum.
Padma Heruka is joyously and indivisibly embraced by Padmakrodhesvarl.
May these two, the blood-drinking deities of the Padma family, guide all beings [to liberation]!
OM AH HUM
On [a throne in] the northern channel branch of the skull, within one’s brain,
Amidst an expanse of light, composed of flaming seminal points of rainbow-light,
[Stands] Amoghasiddhi in the form of Karma Heruka.
He has three faces: dark green, white and red; and six arms:
The three right arms brandish a sword, a khatvariga, and a mace,
And the left hold a bell, a blood-filled skull, and a ploughshare.
Karma Heruka is joyously and indivisibly embraced by Karmakrodhesvarl.
May these two, the blood-drinking deities of the Karma Family, guide all beings [to liberation]!
OM AH HUM
To you, the twelve central, male and female, blood-drinking deities,
I bow down, make offerings, take refuge, and pray:
As soon as we die and begin to transmigrate,
At that very moment, when the visions of the intermediate state of reality dawn,
And we roam [alone] in cyclic existence [driven] by deep-seated confused perceptions,
May the conquerors, the male wrathful blood-drinking deities, draw us forward,
Leading us on the path of radiant light,
Which is the five fully perfect pristine cognitions.
May the assembly of wrathful female deities, Queens of the Expanse, support us from behind,
And thus [encircled] may we be rescued
From the fearsome passageway of the intermediate state,
And be escorted to the level of an utterly perfected buddha.
OM AH HUM
Amidst an expanse of light in the eastern channel branch of one’s skull,
[Stands] Gaurl, white in colour, holding a human-corpse cudgel and a skull;
Amidst an expanse of light in the southern channel branch of one’s skull,
[Stands] Caurl, yellow in colour, shooting an arrow from a bow;
Amidst an expanse of light in the western channel branch of one’s skull,
[Stands] Pramoha, red in colour, holding a crocodile victory-banner;
Amidst an expanse of light in the northern channel branch of one’s skull,
[Stands] Vetall, black in colour, holding a vajra and a blood-filled skull;
Amidst an expanse of light in the south-eastern channel branch of one’s skull,
[Stands] Pukkast, red-yellow in colour, clutching and devouring entrails;
Amidst an expanse of light in the south-western channel branch of one’s skull,
[Stands] Ghasmarl, green-black in colour, stirring a blood-filled skull with a vajra;
Amidst an expanse of light in the north-western channel branch of one’s skull,
[Stands] Candall, pale-yellow in colour, [clutching] a human corpse and eating its heart;
Amidst an expanse of light in the north-eastern channel branch of one’s skull,
[Stands] Smasani, blue-black in colour, tearing apart the head and body of a bloated corpse.
OM AH HUM
To you, the Eight Matarah, beginning with Gaurl,
[Who are embodiments] of the [eight] classes [of consciousness],18
I bow down, make offerings, take refuge, and pray:
As soon as we die and begin to transmigrate,
At that very moment, when the visions of the intermediate state of reality dawn,
And we roam [alone] in cyclic existence [driven] by deep-seated confused perceptions,
May the four Matarah, beginning with Gaurl, draw us forward,
heading us on the path of light,
Which is [the vibrance of] the sounds, lights and rays [of the eight classes of consciousness],
May the four Matarah, beginning with Pukkasi, support us from behind,
And thus [encircled] may we be rescued
From the fearsome passageway of the intermediate state,
And be escorted to the level of an utterly perfected buddha.
OM AH HUM
Amidst an expanse of light in the outer eastern channel branch of one’s skull,
[Stands] lion-headed Simhamukhl, brown-black in colour, carrying a corpse in her mouth;
Amidst an expanse of light in the outer southern channel branch of one’s skull,
[Stands] tiger-headed Vyaghrimukhl, red in colour, with her two arms crossed;
Amidst an expanse of light in the outer western channel branch of one’s skull,
[Stands] fox-headed Srgalamukhl, black in colour, eating entrails;
Amidst an expanse of light in the outer northern channel branch of one’s skull,
[Stands] wolf-headed Svanamukhl, blue-black in colour, tearing apart a bloated corpse;
Amidst an expanse of light in the outer south-eastern channel branch of one’s skull,
[Stands] vulture-headed Grdhramukhl, white-yellow in colour, carrying a human corpse draped over her shoulder;
Amidst an expanse of light in the outer south-western channel branch of one’s skull,
[Stands] kite-headed Kankamukhl, red-black in colour, carrying a large human corpse;
Amidst an expanse of light in the outer north-western channel branch of one’s skull,
[Stands] crow-headed Kakamukhl, black in colour, brandishing a skull and a sword;
Amidst an expanse of light in the outer north-eastern channel branch of one’s skull,
[Stands] owl-headed Ulukamukhl, dark blue in colour,19holding a vajra.
[OM AH HUM]
To you, the Eight Pisaci, beginning with Simhamukhl,
[Who are embodiments] of the [eight] sensory objects,20
I bow down, make offerings, take refuge, and pray:
As soon as we die and begin to transmigrate,
At that very moment, when the visions of the intermediate state of reality dawn,
And we roam [alone] in cyclic existence [driven] by deep-seated confused perceptions,
May the four Pisaci, starting with Simhamukhl, draw us forward,
Leading us on the path of pure [radiant] light, Which is the purity of the naturally manifesting eight objects [of consciousness],
May the four Pisacl, starting with Grdhramukhi, support us from behind,
And thus [encircled] may we be rescued
From the fearsome passageway of the intermediate state,
And be escorted to the level of an utterly perfected buddha.
OM AH HUM
In the channel branch at the eastern gate of the skull, within one’s brain,
Is horse-headed [Ankusa], white in colour, carrying an iron hook and a skull.
In the channel branch at the southern gate of the skull, within one’s brain,
Is sow-headed [Pasa], yellow in colour, holding a noose and a skull.
In the channel branch at the western gate of the skull, within one’s brain,
Is lion-headed [Sphota], red in colour, holding an iron chain and a skull.
In the channel branch of the northern gate of the skull, within one’s brain,
Is snake-headed [Ghanta], green in colour, holding a bell and a skull.21
To you, the Four Female Gatekeepers, who are pristine cognition in emanational form,
I bow down, make offerings, take refuge, and pray:
As soon as we die and begin to transmigrate,
At that very moment, when the visions of the intermediate state of reality dawn,
And we roam [alone] in cyclic existence [driven] by deep-seated confused perceptions,
May Ankusa and Pasa draw us forward,
Obstructing the entrances to confusion through the four types of birth,
And opening the doors to the four rites of pure enlightened activity.
May Sphota and Ghanta support us from behind,
And thus [encircled] may we be rescued
From the fearsome passageway of the intermediate state,
And be escorted to the level of an utterly perfected buddha.
OM AH HUM
In the minor channels of the eastern outer courtyard of one’s skull,
[Stand] the six Queens of Yoga who enact the rites of pacification:
Yak-headed Manuraksasi, brownish white, and holding a vajra;
Snake-headed Brahmani, yellowish white, and holding a lotus;
Leopard-headed Raudrl, greenish white, and holding a trident;
Weasel-headed Vaisnavl, bluish white, and holding a wheel;
Brown bear-headed Kaumarl, reddish white, and holding a short pike;
And black bear-headed Indrani, white, and holding a noose of entrails.
O you, the six yoginl from the east, who enact the rites of pacification,
Perform the rites which pacify our fears of the intermediate state!22
om Ah hum
In the minor channels of the southern outer courtyard of one’s skull,
[Stand] the six Queens of Yoga who enact the rites of enrichment:
Bat-headed Vajra,23 yellow, and holding a razor;
Crocodile-headed Santi, reddish yellow, and holding a vase;
Scorpion-headed Amrta, reddish yellow, and holding a lotus;
Hawk-headed Saumi, whitish yellow, and holding a vajra;
Fox-headed Dandl, greenish yellow, and holding a cudgel;
And tiger-headed Raksasi, blackish yellow, and drinking from a blood-filled skull.
O you, the six yoginl from the south, who enact the rites of enrichment,
Perform the rites which enrich pristine cognition during the intermediate state!24
OM AH HUM
In the minor channels of the western outer courtyard of one’s skull,
[Stand] the six Queens of Yoga who enact the rites of subjugation:
Vulture-headed Bhaksasi, greenish red, and holding a club;
Horse-headed Rati, red, and holding a human torso;
Garuda-headed Rudhiramadl, pale red, and holding a cudgel;
Dog-headed Ekacarini Raksasi, red, and holding a vajra;
Hoopoe-headed Manoharika, red, and firing an arrow from a bow;
And deer-headed Siddhikarl, greenish red, and holding a vase.
O you, the six yoginl from the west, who enact the rites of subjugation,
Perform the rites which assure our independence during the intermediate state!25
om Ah hum
In the minor channels of the northern outer courtyard of one’s skull,
[Stand] the six Queens of Yoga who enact the rites of wrath:
Wolf-headed Vayudevi, bluish green, and brandishing an ensign;
Ibex-headed Agnayl, reddish green, and holding a firebrand;
Sow-headed Varahl, blackish green, and holding a noose of fangs;
Crow-headed Camundl, reddish green, and holding an infant human corpse;
Elephant-headed Bhujana, blackish green, and holding a bloated corpse;
And snake-headed Varunan I, bluish green, and holding a noose of snakes.
O you, the six yoginl from the north, who enact the rites of wrath,
Perform the rites which utterly destroy the confused perceptions of the intermediate state!26
om Ah hum
At the [outer] eastern gate of one’s skull is Vajra [Mahakall],
White, cuckoo-headed, and holding an iron hook;
At the [outer] southern gate of one’s skull is Vajra [Mahachagala],
Yellow, goat-headed, and holding a noose;
At the [outer] western gate of one’s skull is Vajra [Mahakumbhakarni],
Red, lion-headed, and holding an iron chain;
And at the [outer] northern gate of one’s skull is Vajra [Lambodara],
Dark green, snake-headed, and holding a bell.
o you, the four female gatekeepers, Queens [of Yoga] who enact the emanational rites,
Perform the rites which obstruct the doors [leading] to [mundane] rebirth from the intermediate state!27
om ah MOM
To you, the Twenty-eight Isvarl, Queens of Yoga,
1 bow down, make offerings, take refuge, and pray: As soon as we die and begin to transmigrate,
At that very moment, when the visions of the intermediate state of reality dawn,
And we roam [alone] in cyclic existence [driven] by deep-seated confused perceptions,
May the seven Isvarl of the east draw us forward,
Leading us on the path of radiant light,
Which is [a vibrance of] sounds, lights and rays.
May the seven Isvarl of the south support us from behind,
May the seven Isvarl of the west support us from the perimeter,
And may the seven Isvarl of the north destroy [and liberate] our enemies,
And thus [encircled] may we be rescued
From the fearsome passageway of the intermediate state,
And be escorted to the level of an utterly perfected buddha.
OM AH HUM
At this time when we dwell within the intermediate state of living,
The assembly of the sixty blood-drinking deities28
Is radiantly present within the celestial palace of the skull, at the crown-centre, within one’s brain –
Embodied in the form of a cluster of five-coloured lights.
Yet, as soon as we die and begin to transmigrate,
This assembly of blood-drinking deities will emerge from the brain,
And appear [before us], filling the entire trichiliocosm.
[Each of] the central and peripheral [forms]
Will be endowed with fearsome ornaments and attire.
[Resounding] within an immense space,
Vibrant with sounds, lights and rays,
The bodily demeanour of these wrathful deities
Will be elegant, heroic and terrifying,
Their roar wild, murderous and awesome,
Each blazing with compassion, wrath and fierce aversion,
Adorned by face markings of human ash, blood, and grease;29
Dressed in skirts of moist hide and flayed tiger skin;
Decorated with skull garlands and wreaths of snakes;
Resplendent in a blazing mass of fire which pounds
With the cries of ‘ha ha hum phat strike! Slay!’,
Reverberating like a thousand peals of thunder.
Fully arrayed with hand-emblems and multifarious faces,
Displaying the arts of transformation,
They will pulverise and rock the infinite trichiliocosm.
At that very moment when the fierce sounds, lights and rays
Dawn before us in terrifying manifestation,
O you, the compassionate assembly of wrathful blood-drinking deities,
O Beings of Compassion, do not withhold your compassion at that [time]!
As we roam [alone] in cyclic existence [driven] by deep-seated habitual tendencies,
May the assembly of wrathful blood-drinking [deities] draw us forward,
Leading us on the path of [radiant] light,
Which is free of fear and terrifying perceptions!
May the assembly of wrathful female deities, Queens of the Expanse, support us from behind!
May the assembly of the Matarah, Pisaci, and Female Gatekeepers support us from the perimeter!
May the Eight Great Projectresses [who propel beings to exalted rebirths],
Propel us from our [mundane] states [into higher rebirth]!
May the diverse animal-headed Isvarl eliminate all obstacles!
May the four supreme Female Gatekeepers obstruct the entrance to [mundane] births;
And thus [encircled], may we be rescued
From the fearsome passageway of the intermediate state, And be escorted to the level of an utterly perfected buddha.
OM AH HUM
When we roam alone, separated from our loved ones,
And [myriad] images of emptiness arise, naturally manifesting,
May the buddhas [quickly] release the power of their compassion,
And may the fear of the awesome and terrifying intermediate state be annulled.
When the radiant light path of pristine cognition dawns,
May we recognise [its nature], without awe and without terror,
And as the [manifold] forms of the Peaceful and Wrathful Deities arise,
May we be fearlessly confident, and recognise [the characteristics of] the intermediate state.
When we experience suffering, as the result of negative past actions,
May our meditational deities utterly dispel all such misery,
And as the natural sound of reality reverberates like a thousand peals of thunder,
May [all sounds] be heard as the sacred resonance of the Greater Vehicle.
When we are driven on by past actions, without a refuge,
May the Great Compassionate One, Mahakarunika, protect us,
And as we experience suffering generated by habitual tendencies and past actions,
May the meditative stabilities of inner radiance and bliss [naturally] arise.
May the fields30 of the five elements not rise up as a hostile force,
But may we see these as the buddha fields of the five enlightened families?31
By the blessing of the spiritual teachers of the oral lineage, By the compassion of the assembly of Peaceful and Wrathful Deities, And by the force of the purity of my altruistic aspiration, May all the aspirational prayers, here expressed, Be immediately realised.
CONCLUSION
If one consistently perseveres in this Spiritual Practice of the Peaceful and Wrathful Deities, together with the recitation of the aspirational prayers, even the negativity and obscurations caused by past actions which involve the five inexpiable crimes will be purified. Even the very hell realms themselves [can] be stirred [by the power of this practice]. If this practice is followed, there is no doubt that one will be born as an awareness holder amongst the fields of the Conquerors. For it is said in the transmitted precepts of the Transcendent One Samantabhadra himself:
‘One who respectfully pays homage to the mandala
Of the Peaceful and Wrathful Deities of the Magical Net,
Will purify each and every transgression [of the commitments].
Even the negativity of the five inexpiable crimes will be purified.
Even the hell realms themselves may be stirred [by the force of this practice],
And one will become recognised as an awareness holder,
Among the fields of the Conquerors.’
The advantages which accrue from engaging in the Spiritual Practice as here set down, are extremely great. It is said that just by simply hearing, once, the names of the deities of this mandala, one will avoid rebirth in the lower existences, and buddhahood will eventually be attained. Samantabhadra himself has said:
‘If anyone hears, only once, the names of these deities of the mandala, he or she will be saved from falling into the great hells.’
And:
‘Anyone who respectfully pays homage
To the natural mandala of the Magical Net,
Will purify each and every transgression [of the commitments].
The commitments will be repaired, and accomplishments attained.’
Therefore, since the advantages of following this practice are beyond expression, one should persevere with this Spiritual Practice and [consistently] visualise one’s own body as the assembly of the Peaceful and Wrathful Deities. Thus, the supreme and common accomplishments will be attained in this very life; and after one has died, when the visions of the Peaceful and Wrathful Deities dawn during the intermediate state of reality, one will dissolve indivisibly with the meditational deities, and buddhahood will be attained.32 Experientially cultivate this [Spiritual Practice]] Do not forget its words and meanings even if you were to be pursued by a hundred assassins. Embrace it! Hold it [to your heart]! Read it aloud! Comprehend it in its entirety! Keep it in mind, fully and accurately!
This most lucid Spiritual Practice, which is a coalescence of the [full means of accomplishment of the] Peaceful and Wrathful Deities is the experiential cultivation associated with the Liberation by Hearing in the Intermediate States.33 It is the essence of the Peaceful and Wrathful Deities: The Ritual Purification entitled Natural Liberation of Feelings.34 It is a supporting text to the Natural Liberation of Awareness: Secret Empowerment of the Intermediate States,35 and it is the main practice associated with the Reparation [of Commitments] and Confession: Natural Liberation of Transgressions.36 It is the path of liberation followed by fortunate beings. May [the influence of] this Spiritual Practice: Natural Liberation of Habitual Tendencies not be exhausted until cyclic existence has been emptied.
SAMAYA rgya rgya rgya dge’o