The Vairocana-Zhunti Tathagata Tantra
Many people have asked me about a method for opening up the heart chakra and breaking through the five skandhas to attain the Tao. The method I used for my own cultivation progress was a large focus on merit making, study, the skeleton method, mantra practice, and the Vairocana-Zhunti tantra. Of special note, I practiced reciting the Zhunti and Vairocana and other Buddha mantras on selected chakra points, together with silver-white flame, moon or Buddha visualizations at those points. Tsong-khapa described a similar technique that I often point to.
You can find many Vairocana-Zhunti Tantra details on the blog post just highlighted..
How do you practice the Vairocana-Zhunti Tantra? It's a very clean tantra, which can be practiced by anyone without need of any special initiation. It technically belongs to Esoteric Buddhism because you are concentrating on a yogic feat as a means to enlightenment. It is more similar to Shingon than Tibetan Buddhism because of its simplicyt and basic purity.
To practice the tantra, I suggest you read about the Shingon master Kukai and look at regal Japanese pictures of Vairocana Tathagata and the heart chakra, with it's eight petals, which is symbolized/represented in the two mandalas he brought back to Japan from China.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Womb_Realm (see Vairocana surrounded by eight Buddhas, suymbolizing the 8 petals of the heart chakra)
http://www.onmarkproductions.com/html/godai-nyorai.shtml (look to find the pictures of Vairocana Tathagata and the representations of the chakras in various Mandalas)
To practice the Tantra, first understand that there are eight petals to the heart chakra as well as the chakra's center. You must visualize a silver flame at the heart chakra's center and recite the mantra of Zhunti Tathagata and Vairocana Tathagata going around the center with each chakra being the source of a sound syllable or word (AH, VIR, RAH, HUNG,CHIT, ....Namo, Sado, ...). In other words, you visualize the heart chakra center point, and recite the jouint mantras going round it in a circle, always keeping your focus on the central channel. You recite the mantras along these chakra petal points in a circle to help send the chi there and open them. That's one key point of the practice.
You can recite the mantras going clockwise around a chakra, counterclockwise, in a sphere on the point, or a circle traversing the zenith and nadir, and so on. Be creative. Someone will one day come along and say a particular direction is best or most efficient, but for now I'm saying try everything. You keep concentrating on the image of the flame so that it becomes stable, and you continue reciting the mantras on the chakra location, and on the bright points surrounding the chakra. That is the essence of the Tantra. Very simple, very easy, very quick, very clean, very effective.
Don't furrow your brow when concentrating. Creating a stable image means that it's always there in front of you in your mind without any effort. Think of an apple this moment - that's it! Now hold on to that picture without pressure. So focus on an auspicious, bright silveryimage at the location of the heart chakra behind the breastbone, and frecite mantras from that location, and you've got the gist of the practice. Do so for the third eye location as well. Which mantras? You can try many, but focus on the Vairocana mantra and Zhunti mantra.
It helps if you have a picture of Zhunti Buddha (and Vairocana) to venerate and use as motivation for success because if you open your third eye and look at his picture, at times Zhunti will shine a bright point from the brow or heart chakra in the picture to show you where you shold be concentrating your cultivation that day/session. Zhunti is actually quite good looking, and Vairocana is extremely awesome, majestic and regal in appearance as well. The shining of bright points on Buddha pictures only happens at very advanced stages of practice and you must have previously opened up your third eye somewhat to see it. Don't think you can cultivate for a single week or month and have this happen.
You must also learn to be constantly reciting the Vairocana Tathagata mantra "Ohm Ah Vi Ra Hung Chit" and the Zhunti mantra (see the website Zhunti sadhana for this) throughout the day, and of course especially during your concentrated hours of meditation practice for this Tantra. Always you must recite these two mantras on top of each other or one after the other — first the one and then the other … Om Ah Vir Rah Hung Chit Ohm Zhurlee Zhulee Zhunti Soha, and vica versa. You recite them at the location of the heart chakra and brow chakra, and visualize a diamond flame or shining Buddha at those points. This is key — use these two Great Buddhas, use their mantras, concentrate on the heart chakra and brow chakra, use a diamond-silver-bright point visualization at these chakra points — recite the mantra from theses locations and rotate the mantra along the chakra point petals. Be creative.
That's it in a nutshell. Simple. Not too fixed or particular. Quick. Clean.
You can find out how to recite the Zhunti mantra from the website, or if you want a computer CD then you can get one here from Kunaki:
Now you do NOT have to just stay focused on the heart chakra with this visualization-recitation technique. Sometimes you can make the mantra come from other chakra locations such as from the third eye (brow chakra) or throat or belly chakra. What I did is switch between two particular chakras -- the brow (third eye) and heart chakra because many past practitioners used them to succeed. You can also originate the mantra from all four great chakras as mentioned by Tsong Khapa, or you make it run up and down the zhong mai (sushumna) chi channel. The purpose of this is to first get the chi moving, and finally to help the chi channels become unplugged.
Don't be too exactly particular about it — that's falling into the great error of the Tibet School. You are actually just trying to open up the chi channels by doing this, which is why I always tell people to do the skeleton meditation, but only concentrated visualization focus on the heart chakra's center will actually cause it to open, at which time all sorts of dirty chi will come spilling out of it like toothpaste squeezed from a tube. I've described this on the blog.
When you attain progress with theis Tantra, stick with that method for awhile. Rely on your wisdom rather than the literal instructions. You're just trying to open up the brow (third eye) and heart chakras together, so you concentrate on using these two mantras at these (and other) chakra locations, and combine them together because you want to combine your yin and yang chi energies.
You can also add other mantras to this basic practice technique as well — Namo Amitofo, and for kundalini at the root chakra, the Lotus Buddha Mantra (Ohm Bei Mah, Sha Rah Ru Pei, Nai Bar She Naga Nai, Dai Ah Tai, Zahr Wa Ray Rudha Hana Hana, Bar Zhar Nah, Ruh Ka Ruh Ka, Soha), Kuan Yin's mantra Ohm Mani Padme Hung, etc. The Lotus Buddha mantra really gets the large root chakra chi moving and initiates the body's fire element, especially if you recite it going in a circle as well. There is also "Namo Amitofo" (Amitabha's mantra) for helping to open up the head and crown chakra.
There is no higher Tantric method I can think of than opening the body's chi channels and then combining the yin and yang energies using the Great Father and Mother Tathagata's methods. Combining the Vairocana and Zhunti methods, the Father and Mother Buddhas, can give you a tremendously large chance for success in this life IF YOU PRACTICE their tantra.
That's the reason I wanted you to have this Tantra, because I wanted the Blessings and Guidance and Protection of the two greatest "male" and "female" Buddhas (though Buddhas have no sex) and didn't want people to keep getting misled by the polluted byroads in Tibetan Esoteric Buddhism or devote themselves to practicing the clean Shingon school without making progress there either.
Both men and woman can practice it and follow it without restrictions. You don't need all sorts of extraneous garbage and definitions to succeed, but so much has been added over the years in Esoteric Buddhism that everyone seems lost or thinks the school contains great secerst where there are none. Go read the blog post on Anapana to see how easy cultivation really is. It just takes devoted, disciplined practice effort.
Definitely there are other cultivation methods higher than this and quicker - just cultivating emptiness is one such road and watching the breath is another - but this Tantra is quick and effective. You don't have to understand too much or undergo any lengthy apprenticeship or initiations or instructions. You already have everything. It's not expensive either like Tibetan Buddhism — it cost you nothing. You just visualize the chakra flames in their center, and recite mantras at those points or the bright points surrounding the chakras to bring lots of chi to the region to help open it up. After it opens up you're on your way. I actually wrote up over 200 pages of what happens in detail as you break through the skandhas when this happens, which happened over the course of 3-4 weeks in retreat, but I doubt I will ever publish it. My teacher is 90+ years old and still hasn't published the record of his own cultivation either. No one can understand these stages unless you get there, so no one ever writes about them because they just confuse people who make the mistake of modern day Tao school practitioner sin thinking that things HAVE to happen this or that way, and then imagine them to happen so in order to create them. Then they fall into realms of illusion and delusion. If you get to this stage, you should be able to guide yourself if you study the Surangama Sutra. That's the best advice.
If you really put in the effort after you've laid a strong cultivation foundation and somewhat opened up your chi channels, in less than one week you can open up the heart chakra, and then break through the skandhas and Triple Gate in another two weeks. From start to end about three weeks is needed for someone with the proper foundation and merits. That's how fast the method is, but it requires wisdom, merit and lots of previous cultivation work. Usually this is done in retreat so the world doesn't distract or bother you.
Eventually in using this Tantra, you will open up the heart chakra and can reach the Desire, Form and Formless Realm Mind Ground chakras of the sambhogakaya, and the Bodhisattva bhumis just as Buddha said. Past that , since this is just the start, there are many stages of purification which require rolling together the yin and yang chi energies at chakra locations or petals, which is why you use the idea of mental sex of karmamudra that is suggested by the word "tantra." That's why I wanted male and female Buddhas, even though this is really a male YANG chi Tantra, or you can say it is both.
If you're lucky, you might receive the help of Manjushri and Vairocana together who may teach you both sides of the great golden samadhi; the two chi channels (left and right) can be transformed at a very high stage using this high high samadhi with its yin and yang sides that is privy to these two Buddha Victors. Really I'm spilling out all sorts of secrets you cannot buy or learn at the feet of some guru or monk. Practice this, achieve it. Don't lose the chance, because there's no guarantee you'll once again be in touch with the dharma over your next several dozen or several hundred lives. It's that hard to get in contact with the dharma, let alone practice it. It requires lots of merit - look around you and see most people have no clue, and you'll gain a small inkling of what I just said, especially when you look at the number of animals, insects, even bacteria or fishes in the world. Don't lose your chance, don't lose your chance.
This Tantra has been created for you so you can succeed quickly. Just start practicing and ask Vairocana and Zhunti Buddha for help. If you don't study and make the practice effort, who's going to make progress for you? Death comes to everyone, and then you have to be born somewhere else all over again and must hope you can pick up teachings again in that life where you left off. What assurance do you have that you'll bump into cultivation teachings again ... or at least the proper ones?
Better get started.
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