Three Vajras

Huineng

Dajian Huineng lived in China between approximately 638 and 713 AD. He was the sixth and last Patriarch of Chinese Ch’an Buddhism.  The most famous text about him and his teaching is the “Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch”[1]. Huineng was born in a family of a government official. His father died when he was a child and his family lived in poverty.  In order to provide for himself and his mother, Huineng sold firewood in a marketplace. Once, while he was helping his customer to carry firewood to an…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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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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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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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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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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Asanga

(4-5th century) Asanga’s name is translated as “Free from attachments”. Asanga and his brother Vasubandhu were born in India, to a Brahmin family. When the boys became old enough to choose their future occupation their mother dissuaded them from worldly occupations and directed them to the path of studying Dharma: “I gave birth to you not for wordly occupations. You have to purify your minds and to preach the Teaching.” Following his mother’s instructions, filled with unbreakable determination to meet Buddha Maytreya and to obtain his teaching, Asanga headed to…read more

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Hakuin

Hakuin Ekaku (1686-1768) was born to a family in charge of managing a postal station in a small village in Japan. His family was a respected.  There were samurais in his family, and his grandfather was a Zen priest. His family followed the local religious traditions. Hakuin himself was very an impressive child; keenly perceiving his surroundings. He was eleven when he first attended a sermon concerning the torments awaiting sinners in the hell realms. This overwhelmed him with fear. Searching for liberation from suffering, Hakuin decided to devote his…read more

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The Sun and Moon Sadhana

The problem we work with in this sadhana is the problem of directing and containing sexual energy. Sexual relationships are an acute problem for those who practice Dharma. When we consider the flow of sexual energy, we may say that a process of polarization is taking place resulting in tension between two poles: the left and the right, the female and the male. In order to compensate that which is not compensated between the left and the right, an individual seeks for an outer source, i.e. for a partner. An…read more

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Sadhana of the Clear Lights (Sadhana of Green Tara)

This sadhana is a practice focusing on the short central channel: a channel with its lowest point in the base of the spine and its highest point just below the heart (this point supports the physical heart). In this practice we work with four points of Clear Lights by both visualizing and praying to these Lights. These are Blue, Green, Yellow and Red lights. All the points, except the point of Red light, are visualized along a straight line in the center of our body (in the central channel); the…read more

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Drunken Style (Bear Style)

Performed by Nelli Pyatsky, 70 years old. Every word is violation of primordial silence. Every action is violation of primordial stillness. Every thought is violation of primordial wisdom. To understand this and nevertheless to produce activity (even a compassionate one) of body, mind and speech some kind of intoxication is needed. And we are to master a great skill – a skill of tuning of our intoxication. We are to choose whether our intoxication would be tuned in worldly scale or in divine scale. Ilona Erkin

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