Three Vajras

Mulapariyaya Sutta – The Root of All Things, Majjhima Nikaya 1

The Buddha’s Sermon In aconversation with his disciples, the Buddha states that an untrained person, an advanced disciple, an Arhat and a Tathagata, perceive phenomena in different ways. They perceive the elements of form (earth, water, fire and air), bodily beings, gods, Prajapati, Brahma, the gods of Radiance, the Beautiful gods, the gods of the Perfect Fruit, the ruling gods, infinite space, infinite consciousness, emptiness, nonduality, activity of senses and mind, unity and division, the totality of all phenomena and nibbana – differently. Worlds listed by the Buddha First, the…read more

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16. Mahaparinibbana Sutta

Introduction The Mahaparinibbana Sutta tells us about the last period of the Buddha’s life, about how He gave the last instructions, left his body, and how His disciples behaved, being left without the Teacher. The content of the sutta is imbued with Ananda’s confusion (based on his impressions, the basis of the sutta is recorded). In general, it can be said that this sutta is written not so much about the Buddha as about the Sangha. Advice for Brahman Vassakara Already known from Samaññaphala sutta (Digha Nikaya 2), King Ajatasattu…read more

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15. Mahanidana Sutta

Buddha and Ananda talk about the Interdependent Origin of Suffering One day, Ananda said to the Buddha that although the doctrine of the Nidanas (the links in the chain of the interdependent origin of suffering) is deep and difficult, but he, Ananda, understands it as clearly as possible. In response, the Buddha warns Ananda: you should not say that, because misunderstanding of this doctrine makes the minds of people entangled and restless (one should not become flattered by the understanding he has reached, he must strive to penetrate the thought…read more

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14. Mahapadana Sutta

The Buddhas of the Past The disciples of the Buddha are talking about past lives. Hearing about their conversation, Buddha narrates about the Buddhas of the past. Buddha lists the six Buddhas who were born before him. The first of these Buddhas, Vipassi (“attentive”) lived in an age when a lifespan reached 80,000 years, the next Buddha – in an era with a lifetime of 70,000, then – 60,000, 40,000, 30,000, 20,000, until in the Shakyamuni era, life became brief, rarely reaching 100 years. With all the Buddhas described by…read more

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13. Tevijja Sutta – The Three Knowledges

Introduction At a time when the Buddha was in the village Manasakata, He stopped in a mango grove by the river Acharavati. At that time, many noble and wealthy Brahmins lived in Manasakata. They, each in their own way, preached the teachings of the Three Vedas. (The Vedas are ancient scriptures, consisting mainly of hymns accompanying ritual actions. The study and singing of the Vedic texts was practiced in among Brahmans). The two young Brahmans Vasettha and Bharadwaja had a dispute about which one of the known Brahmans’ paths leads…read more

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Nagarjuna and the Prajnaparamita Teaching

Nagarjuna was presumably born between 150-250 AD in the south of India. There are several versions of his birth and early years. According to one of them Nagarjuna was a sick child, so he was sent to a mountain monastery in order to improve his health. There, near a mountain lake, he experienced a vision of the Nagas’ king and his underwater palace. He had a vision of a Stupa, surrounded by Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. Nagarjuna opened this stupa and saw inside it another one, which was just identical to…read more

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12. Lohicca Sutta

Lohicca and his doubt Brahman Lohicca is in doubt that a person who has attained liberation from suffering can help another being. After all, he cannot convey to someone else the good qualities of his mind. And if it is so, when someone claims to be able to help another, is not this statement caused by greed (the desire to get this or that kind of personal gain)? Experiencing this doubt, the Brahmana decides to see the Buddha. Lohicca sends the barber Bhesika to consult about the state of Buddha’s…read more

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11. Kevaddha Sutta (Kevatta Sutta)

Kevaddha’s Request Once, when the Blessed one was in the village of Nalanda, he was approached by a layman Kevaddha. Kevaddha asked the Buddha if He himself or one of His disciples could reveal some miracle to Nalanda’s laymen. Kevaddha says that in Nalanda – a large village abundant with forest, water, cattle and grain – there are many followers of the Buddha. If the Buddha or one of His disciples could reveal a miracle, then the people of Nalanda would believe even more in the Teachings of the Blessed….read more

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Machig Labdron

Machig Labdron lived in Tibet in the 11th century. Legend says that Padmasambhava predicted that she would be born as a reincarnation of Yeshe Tsogyal. When she was a child she used to read the Prajnaparamita sutra for wealthy patrons. It was thought that repetitively reading the sutra brought merit, and as she was able to read very fast, her services were highly valued (merits’ size was determined by the number of readings). Machig used to walk from house to house until she met the teacher named Lama Sonam Drapa…read more

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Niguma

Niguma, a yogini, bodhisattva, and dakini, lived presumably in the eleventh century. There is not much information about Niguma’s life nor about her birth. Information about her is rather controversial and is wrapped in mystery. According to one legend Niguma was born in Kashmir, in a region called the Country of the Great Magic. During the lifetime of the previous Buddha this land was cowered with water and belonged to the King of Nagas. More recently, this region has become the birthplace of many mahasiddhas, among whom was also Naropa….read more

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Five types (families) of practitioners

Ratna family (the Yellow Buddha and Tara family) Representatives of the Ratna family are more prone to creativity. It is sufficient for them to obtain common principles of the Teaching and let the very creative process supplement and remake it in their own way. “Ratnas” preserve the basics of the Teaching but bring in their originality. If “ratnas” would be demanded to follow instructions precisely – then their creative potential diminish, because such an approach leads to a conflict with their nature of mind. So, while teaching the ratna family,…read more

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9. Potthapada Sutta

A wandering ascetic Potthapada, in a group of other ascetics, rests in a cloister intended for disputes. The ascetics talk about a variety of insignificant topics: politics, food, jewelry and amenities, behavior of men and women, dangers, trade, places they visited, etc. At this time, the Buddha approaches the cloister. Potthapada, who is familiar with the Tathagata, knows that the Buddha does not like noise and idle chatter. Therefore, he asks the ascetics to be quiet, and invites the Buddha to enter the meeting. The Buddha asks Potthapada about the…read more

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Ananda

Ananda was Buddha’s cousin as well as one of his closest disciples. Though Buddha had different assistants, they were not always around. When Buddha was 55 years old he felt that he was getting older and needed an assistant to help him with his affairs. When the sangha gathered to discuss the matter many suggested themselves; only Ananda remained silent. Buddha made his choice of Ananda for his modesty, devotion and purity of intentions. Buddha and Ananda were of approximately the same age. For the following 25 years, until Buddha’s…read more

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8. Kassapa Sihanada Sutta (The Lion’s Roar to Kassapa)

Kassapa’s Question The naked ascetic Kassapa asks the Buddha a question: Is it true that the Buddha condemns all kinds of asceticism (austerity)? The Buddha’s Answer It is not so, – the Buddha answers. By divine vision, the Buddha sees the following: there are hermits who subject themselves to severe trials (of asceticism), and some of them are reborn in the lower worlds after their death, and a part – in the higher. There are also hermits living only with insignificant burdens (without serious restrictions), and some of them are…read more

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7. Jaliya Sutta

The Question of Mandissa and Jaliya Once, two wanderers approached the Buddha – the ascetics Mandissa and Jaliya. They exchanged friendly words and a respectful with the Blessed One greeting and stood aside. Then they turned to the Blessed with the question: is the living being the same as its body or the living being is one, and its body is another? The Buddha’s Answer The Buddha’s answer is presented in the sutta in the form of a coherent and consistent preaching of the path, word for word repeating the…read more

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6. Mahali Sutta

Introduction The action of the Mahali Sutta takes place in Vesali, where the Buddha dwells in an abode with a pointed roof. This detail indicates that in this place the Teaching got constant support of the lay followers who gave the monks a cloister. The pointed roof is a sign that emphasizes the significance and peculiarity of the place. It is also understandable why visitors patiently wait for an audience with the Buddha, settling near the monastery. Among them, Brahmans from Magadha and the Licchavi Mahali Ottaddha, surrounded by a…read more

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Sadhana of the Two Parts of the Body (Sadhana of Black Tara)

Give yourself some time to feel the inner left part of your body and imagine that it is tuned to wise perception. Next imagine that the inner right side of your body is tuned to auspicious and benevolent activity. The spleen and stomach (“absorbing” organs) are located on the left side of the body; and the liver and gall bladder (“excreting” organs) are located on the right side. You are invited to create two images of yourself: one which is happy, blissful, and enlightened with higher knowledge and abilities. Place…read more

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5. Kutadanta Sutta

Kutadanta’s Question Brahman Kutadanta is prepaing to perform an abundant sacrifice. A lot of bulls, cows, goats and rams are brought to the sacrificial pillar. However, the Brahman wants to know from the Buddha what sacrifice will be the most successful. Therefore, accompanied by other Brahmans, he goes to the Blessed. Approaching the Buddha and sitting beside, Kutadanta asks him his question. The Buddha’s story about the King and the wise Brahman priest The Buddha tells him that in ancient times there was a rich and powerful king Maha Vijita…read more

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The White Tara Sadhana (Practice of contraction and expansion)

In the beginning of the practice we learn to distance and diminish those objects and phenomena which cause suffering and to enlarge and bring closer those objects and phenomena which are desirable for us. By enlarging and bringing phenomena closer we increase the clarity of their perception. We then learn to contract objects to the size of a point and to expand them to the size of universe. Exercise: In our heart we visualize a star-like spot of bright white-and-pale-blue light. It has a size of the tip of a…read more

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4. Sonadanda Sutta

Introduction From the top terrace of his house, Brahman Sonadanda sees a group of Brahmans heading to the Buddha and he wishes to join them. Other Brahmans who did not intend to go to the hermit Gotama, try to discourage him. They say that if Sonadanda approaches Gotama, the glory of Gotama will increase, and the glory of Sonadanda will diminish. This question will somehow disturb Sonadanda throughout the whole Sutta, because, as he says, the one whose fame diminishes – his wealth diminishes too, because wealth is achieved with…read more

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