Vajrakilaya is the most “cutting” of wrathful meditational deities — a wrathful Heruka (‘hero’) emanation of wonderful Vajrasattva. At the identical time, he’s the final expression of Bodhichitta and compassion and love. He is the Heruka of exercise and represents the Enlightened exercise of ALL of the Buddhas. This facet of the Buddha is the “sharp weapon” in opposition to the large three enemies, the “demons” of craving and greed, hate and hostility, and ignorance and misapprehension.
Vajrakilaya’s follow is especially efficacious in overcoming obstacles and slicing by damaging psychological states and conceptual pondering. Vajrakilaya is often known as “Vajrakumara” or “Diamond Son”. He is the most wrathful and highly effective type of the obstacle-remover Vajrasattva, with Vajrapani as his Bodhisattva kind (the Bodhisattva of Power) and Vajrakilaya as the supreme “angry” kind. He was certainly one of the chief Yidams of the nice and wonderful Guru Rinpoche Padmasambhava — and it was by this follow that he attained realizations.
A Vajrakilaya Drupchen carried out by monks from Ugyen Phuntshog Choeling Nyingmapa Monastery:
At the identical time, ferociousness however, he’s a totally Enlightened Buddha, with limitless love, compassion, and Bodhichitta. Kyabje Garchen Rinpoche explains :
“In this regard, in the Vajrakīla literature, there is a very meaningful prayer of blessing that says, “All the buddhas regard beings with a mind of great love.” When its which means has been understood, every phrase of this line has the energy and skill to calm one’s thoughts. The deity’s coronary heart essence is love and affection. The very nature of his or her previous pledge to sentient ones is loving-kindness. Each time one offers rise to it—even when one is just centered on a tiny insect—it turns into a trigger for conducting the supreme siddhi. When one repeatedly cultivates an precise feeling of affection and affection, that itself is the deity’s thoughts. That is the accomplishment of the yidam. On this foundation, immeasurable nice love can come up. This important level should be understood.”
The sharp weapon of anger
The wrath or anger, in the case of all Herukas — and particularly right here with the most wrathful of all the Herukas, Vajrakilaya — is directed powerfully at the three poisons in service of all sentient beings.) It is, as Kyabje Garchen Rinpoche defined, a power of affection.
The metaphorical idea is that energy and centered wrath is required to beat the horrible greedy poisons of greed, hostility, and ignorance. In most circumstances, rational, peaceable contemplative strategies are likely to fail in opposition to the irresistible forces of those attachments and needs in Samsara, not less than in the brief time period (and definitely in our trendy age stuffed with temptations and greed.) Forceful “enlightened activity” can extra shortly overcome these forces.
The sharpest and most forceful of those “enlightened activity forces” is Vajrakilaya (Skt. Vajrakīlaya; Tib. རྡོ་རྗེ་ཕུར་པ་, Dorje Phurba, Wyl. rdo rje phur pa) or Vajrakumara (Skt. Vajrakumāra; Tib. རྡོ་རྗེ་གཞོན་ནུ་, Dorje Shönnu; Wyl. rdo rje gzhon nu).
A single thrust with his three-pointed Phurba (Kila) cuts all the illusions, hatred, and greedy.
Kyabje Garchen Rinpoche briefly introduces Vajrakilaya follow and describes his new e-book:
His different attributes additionally “visually inform” the meditator of his powers to beat the delusions: Heruka wings, knowledge flames, three faces — blue representing enlightened thoughts, crimson representing enlightened speech, and white representing the enlightened physique of the Buddha — six arms representing the six paramitas, with ft stomping on the demons of obstacles to our realizations. (How highly effective is that!) Yet, most iconic is the Kila (Phurba) — the sharp weapon that cuts all the demons of anger (hate), delusion (ignorance) and attachment (greed.)
Why Vajrakilaya versus one other Yidam
Only you, your personal explicit afflictions, and your instructor’s steerage can be the information in selecting a explicit Yidam (just one is usually really helpful) — however chances are high, in these troublesome, trendy instances, a Yidam like Vajrakilaya will be strongest and helpful. Ultimately, all Yidams are expressions of 1 Buddha thoughts, physique, speech. The attainments are the identical — solely the strategies fluctuate. Kyabje Garchen Rinpoche explains this in his superb follow handbook on Vajrakilaya :
“Whichever deity one practices, his or her power derives exclusively from bodhicitta. So it is with the deity Vajrakīla. If one practices this yidam from among all the other yidams, one can attain buddhahood in a single lifetime. Those who wish to accomplish this deity must give rise to the mind set on supreme enlightenment and must sustain it until the rank of manifest, complete buddhahood has been attained.”
One motive for Vajrakilaya’s reputation is he represents the exercise of all the Buddhas: peace, energy, wrath, and prosperity.
Another motive is many miracles are related with his follow in the early histories of Buddhism. Kyabje Garchen Rinpoche describes certainly one of many :
“Yeshe Tsogyal attained the common and supreme siddhis and became the principal transmitter of the Vajrakīla tantras and sadhanas. Her liberation story documents numerous miracles attributed to her, such as reviving the corpse of a young man and having a spring emerge from the spot where she had thrust her kīla (phurba) into stone.”
Who teaches and practices Vajrakilaya?
His Holiness the Dalai Lama obtained empowerment and accomplished a retreat in Vajrakilaya and considers it an essential follow. The Dalai Lama defined :
“I received the Vajrakilaya empowerment for the first time from Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche and subsequently undertook the retreat.”
Historically, the most well-known instructor of Vajrakilaya in Tibet was the nice and wonderful Buddha Guru Rinpoche Padmasambhava. Kyabje Garchen Rinpoche explains :
“It is said that when Guru Rinpoche left India for Tibet, two men were needed to bear the load of the palm-leaf volumes of Vajrakīla literature alone. Those writings came to symbolize Guru Rinpoche’s subjugation of all obstructive forces. The Vajrakīla literature is like the wish-granting tree, as it allows one to accomplish the common and supreme—whatever one could desire. Guru Rinpoche himself arranged in Tibetan language each of the Vajrakīla sections of tantra—thirty-six different subdivisions in all.”
Robert Beer, in his superb e-book on Buddhist symbols  writes:
“In the biography of Padmasambhava, it is recorded that he travelled to the northern land of Kashakamala, where the cult of the kīla prevailed. Later, whilst meditating on the deity Yangdak Heruka (Skt. Vishuddha Heruka) in the ‘Asura Cave’ at Parping in the Kathmandu valley, he experienced many obstructions from the maras, and in order to subjugate them he request the Kīla Vitotama Tantras to be brought from India. Having established the first Tibetan monastery at Samye, the first transmission that Padmasambhava gave to his 25 ‘heart disciples’, in order to eliminate the hindrances to the propagation of the buddhadharma in Tibet, were the teachings of the Vajrakilaya Tantra. From its early Nyingma origins the practice of Vajrakilaya as a yidam deity with the power to cut through any obstructions was absorbed into all schools of Tibetan Buddhism.”
Most lineages have Vajrakilaya as a follow, and as a important Heruka. It is typical increased yoga follow. Notable lecturers of the Kagyu, Nyingma and Sakya traditions supply Vajrakilaya as a primary Yidam follow selection. His Holiness the Dalai Lama of the Gelugpa custom typically recommends and encourages the follow of Vajrakilaya. Kyabje Garchen Rinpoche typically affords teachings and recommends Vajrakilaya follow in these trendy, anxious instances.
His Holiness Sakya Trichen, (the earlier Sakya Trizen) has frequently supplied massive empowerment occasions for Vajrakilaya over many years. Vajrakilaya is certainly one of the main Yidams of the Sakaya lineage. Jamyang Khyentse Wangpo, Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche, Dudjom Rinpoche, and many lamas in the Kagyu and Nyingma lineages are very lively in instructing Vajrakilaya.
One Yidam to rule all of them
To misquote a line from Lord of the Rings, most of us want “one Yidam to rule them all.” That isn’t essentially Vajrakilaya — you and your instructor resolve that. But, you usually decide on one, primary coronary heart follow, centered in your explicit afflictions and obstacles.
There’s a distinction between “enlightened deities” and “yidams.” We would possibly follow many Buddhas or enlightened deities frequently — for example Green Tara, Medicine Buddha, Avalokiteshvara — however most of us solely want (or ought to have) a single Yidam as our coronary heart follow. Garchen Rinpoche once more explains this greatest :
“Although we often use the terms deity and yidam interchangeably, one should understand that the yidam is whichever deity to whom one has committed one’s body, speech, and mind. That is to say, in the practice of deity yoga, one commits or binds (dam) one’s mind (yi) to an ongoing cultivation of the practice. This term for “commitment” is etymologically associated to the phrase samaya (damtsig).”
Other individuals would possibly discover themselves interested in the Heruka of the magnetizing household, Amitabha’s Heruka emanation Hayagriva [For a feature on Hayagriva, see>>] Still others would possibly discover profound realizations from the practices of Green Tara — who additionally represents all the actions of all the Buddhas, however in a extra peaceable kind. [For a full section of features on Green Tara, see>>] For individuals struggling particularly with “anger” and hate points, they could gravitate to the superior energy of Yamantaka, the Foe Destroyer. [For a feature on Yamantaka, see>>] For these struggling with passions, jealousy and emotion, you would possibly discover Vajrayogini. [For a feature on Vajrayogini, see>>]
Ultimately, all Yidams are one essence. Practicing one as a core follow is all that’s often really helpful. (Multiple Yidams will be very complicated and distracting and even stop progress.) Choosing a Yidam based mostly in your afflictions and obstacles, with the assist of a certified lineage guru, is often greatest.
Vajrakilaya mantra chanted by Kyabje Garchen Rinpoche:
Kyabje Garchen Rinpoche:
“Although every deity accomplishes all enlightened activities, it is good to consider a deity’s primary activities. Some, like Vajrasattva, mainly display peaceful actions. Others, like Ratnasambhava, manifest enriching activity. According to the scriptures, Vajrakīla is principal among deities who dispel hindrances and obstructive forces. In particular, he is the great antidote to the afflictions of aversion and jealousy, the causes of all the sufferings of this worldly realm.”
But — Yidams will not be “ordinary” concrete personalities
Kyabje Garchen Rinpoche goes on to warning :
“It is claimed in the frequent development-stage texts that the root of each samsara and nirvana is the thoughts. If one acknowledges the precise situation of the thoughts simply as it is, whichever deity one practices, one will know that deity to be thoughts itself. The yidam is the guardian and protector of the thoughts.
When one understands the qualities of the deity’s data, love, and functionality, one will know her or him to be a changeless companion. It is thru the yidam’s steadfast friendship that one will change into capable of accomplish all the frequent and unusual siddhis from now till the state of Buddhahood is attained. Conversely, although one could also be diligent in deity yoga if this level shouldn’t be understood, one will find yourself practising an independently existent, atypical deity. This implies that one will regard the deity as actual and concrete, perceiving the yidam as no completely different from an atypical being.”
If you have an interest in Vajrakilaya follow, the e-book by Garchen Rinpoche we’ve been referencing is certainly one of the most informative and useful in trendy phrases. [Garchen Rinpoche, Kyabje (2022). Vajrakilaya: A Complete Guide with Experiential Instructions. Translated by Ari Kiev. Shambhala Publications. ISBN 978-1-61180-905-3] It is on the market on Amazon right here (that is an Amazon Associates hyperlink, Buddha Weekly might earn a small fee which is used to help our Dharma publications) (or search with the ISBN: https://amzn.to/3bXPhFa
- Kyabje Garchen Rinpoche could be very lively instructing on-line immediately. He introduced he would restrict touring in the future — however he continues to provide empowerment and teachings on-line. For extra go to the Garchen Institute primary web site>>
The sharp weapon — Phurba or Kila
Most iconic of his follow is the symbolic weapon Phurba (Kila in Sanskrit). This shouldn’t be solely a part of his identify — Vajra Kila actually means Diamond Peg (or knife) — it additionally represents all of his actions. In most representations and visualizations of this nice deity, two of his palms maintain a Phurba weapon between them.
We name it a “peg” as a result of it has it’s origins as launched by the wonderful Lotus Born Guru Rinpoche from the tent peg. This humble peg, with a three-sided blade, is ready to maintain a tent, gompa or shelter in opposition to gales when positioned accurately. This presents it’s initially metaphorical energy of “protection.” In India, the sages would drive pegs round a allow to guard. Later, it turned the “sharp weapon” in opposition to the three poisons that lure in Samsara, with the three-sided blade representing the skill to chop all three collectively in one highly effective “thrust.” The tent peg turned the Vajra Peg, and the symbolism is carried ahead in tantric literature.
The Kila has three prongs, every representing certainly one of the poisons to be minimize: hatred/anger (Tib. dosa), attachment/greed (Tib. lobha), and ignorance/delusion (Tib. moha).
The three edges of the Phurba symbolize:
- the Three Worlds (Trailokya or Tiloka, the three planes of existence) united by the “world axis” (deal with of the Phurba) (which unites the three worlds)
- the Three Poisons: every edge represents certainly one of the three: Moha (delusions and confusion), Raga (greed and attachment) and Dvesha (aversion or ill-will)
- the Three Remedies (Wholesome Qualities) that cures the three Poisons: Amoha or Prajna (nondelusion or knowledge), Alobha or Dana (non-attachment or generosity) and metta and advesa (loving-kindness and non-hatred)
- changing the Thee Poisons with the Three Remedies
- purification of the Body, Speech, and Mind.
For extra info on Phurbas:
The energy of Vajrakilaya’s follow
Vajrakilaya might be the most wrathful type of all meditational deities, but in addition certainly one of the most essential. In tantric Buddhism, we see that peaceable practices like these of Chenrezig or Tara might not be sufficient to pacify some circumstances. There are instances when rather more forceful measures are needed. This is the place Vajrakilaya comes in.
Vajrakilaya’s follow is especially efficacious in overcoming obstacles and slicing by damaging psychological states and conceptual pondering. He is named the ‘obstacle remover par excellence’, and is certainly one of the hottest meditational deities in the Tibetan Buddhist custom. There are many alternative sadhanas, rituals and practices related with Vajrakilaya, and he’s typically invoked in instances of problem or when in search of to beat obstacles on the non secular path.
Many of the nice masters of Tibet — equivalent to Guru Rinpoche, Milarepa, Longchenpa, Je Tsongkhapa, and Dudjom Rinpoche — have composed texts on the follow of Vajrakilaya.
His follow will be as simple as single-pointed focus and mantra focus, or as elaborate as prolonged multi-day rituals.
An elaborate Vajrakilaya Drupchen:
Vajrakilaya (Skt. Vajrakīlaya; Tib. རྡོ་རྗེ་ཕུར་པ་, Dorje Phurba, Wyl. rdo rje phur pa) or Vajrakumara (Skt. Vajrakumāra; Tib. རྡོ་རྗེ་གཞོན་ནུ་, Dorje Shönnu; Wyl. rdo rje gzhon nu) is the most slicing of wrathful meditational deities.
This facet of the Buddha is the sharp weapon in opposition to the large three enemies: the demons of craving and greed, hate and hostility and ignorance and misapprehension. They flee earlier than his flower and the slicing energy of his Phurba. With his Phurba or Kila dagger, he cuts by these obstacles that lure us in Samsara.
The Four Kilas of Vajrakilaya
Central to the follow of Vajrakilaya is the Kila, or Phurba, which kinds a part of his identify. One motive for Vajrakilaya’s enduring reputation is that he — like Green Tara — represents the exercise of “all of the Buddhas.” Garchen Rinpoche explains that whenever you follow and visualize Vajrakilaya, you’re practising all the Buddhas.
In the precise practices, though he’s visualized usually holding one Kila or Phurba, there’s truly a mandala of Phurbas — one for every of the actions: peace, enhance, energy and wrath.
Each of those is often related with certainly one of the Buddha households (with some variations by lineage):
- Power and magnetizing with the Padma household (crimson) of Amitabha
- Increase and prosperity/auspiciousness with the Ratna household (yellow or gold) of Ratnasambhava
- Peace with the Buddha household (white) of Vairochana
- Wrath with the Vajra household (blue) of Akshobya.
In the precise follow, there are sometimes 4 exercise Phurbas corresponding to those actions, though many practitioners simply use one exercise Phurba. Acitivity Phurbas usually wouldn’t have the deity faces on the deal with.
The symbolism of the “Terrible Beauty” of Vajrakumara
The ferocious Heruka Vajrakumara or Vajrakilaya is “terribly beautiful.” His faces are wrathful to display his energy over the most horrible of opponents. Ferocious faces and “large stomachs” are symbols of energy — and he has the epitome of each. The massive abdomen is a image of tummo and inside energy, and the “demonic” options present he’s extra highly effective than any affliction, demon or poison. At the identical time, he’s lovely in his wrath. The third eye on every face demonstrates he’s enlightened. His sweeping and grand wings present his heroic energy. His deep blue-black colour reveals him as a being of final knowledge. The knowledge flames erupting behind him present that his knowledge can overcome all. His dancing pose exhibits his unflagging energy and irresistible power in his Dharma actions on behalf of sentient beings.
The commonest emanation facet of Vajrakilaya practiced immediately is the three-faced Heruka facet with six arms, 4 legs, and consort.
Most prominently, the decrease two palms (left and proper) maintain the superior Phurba or Kila dagger. He is adorned with the 5 bone ornaments and stands in the charnel grounds trampling on his enemies. With him is his knowledge consort Diptachakra. In Vajrayana, the deity and consort symbolize compassion and knowledge respectively, and are regarded as one being or one mixed, an inseparable illustration of Enlightenment — the wings of Enlightenment. Compassion with out Wisdom and vice versa shouldn’t be full.
The symbolism might change from lineage to lineage, however the commonest would come with two vajras in the remaining two proper palms (the decrease right-hand holds the Phurba clasped with the decrease left hand). The prime Vajra is often nine-pronged (representing the 9 paths of Buddhism) and the different proper hand holds a five-pronged Vajra (representing the 5 Buddha Families: Amoghasiddhi and consort, Amitabha and consort, Akshobya and consort, Vairochana and consort, and Ratnasambhava and consort). Over his head, we frequently visualize a Garuda — who’s the highly effective protector of the “northern” Pureland of Amoghasiddhi, and the head of the Vajrakilaya household is Amoghasiddhi (throughout the empowerment, it is Amoghasiddhi who manifests above the head of Vajrakilaya.)
In the left palms are a flaming triple wish-fulfilling jewel, known as a Triratna in one, plus a trident. The remaining decrease left hand clasps the phurba (Kila).
Some “gruesome” imagery
The extra grotesque symbols are supposed to convey profound ideas and are intentionally consultant or wrath and seemingly horrible pictures. On a rope round his neck are the severed heads — a garland of bija (in Sanskrit Varnamala) — which has very intensive symbolism referring to the fifty Sanskrit syllables, impermanence, and struggling. As is typical of almost all wrathful ones, he has a tiger-skin loincloth, full with claws and head. Extensive naga symbols adorn his physique as jewellery (naga girdle, hairpiece, ornaments) — exhibiting that he may help us overcome nagas, illnesses, and poisons.
Together, he and consort stand on the demons of our affliction, exhibiting that we will suppress them.
Who can follow Vajrakilaya?
Honoring Vajrakilay with praises, choices and prayers will be achieved by anybody, no matter their stage of non secular improvement. However, it is essential to obtain the correct empowerment from a certified instructor earlier than trying any of the Vajrakilaya sadhanas. Generally, the mantras are extensively distributed all over the place, however the primary prohibition is in opposition to self-generation (visualizing the self as the deity) or practising the Sadhanas. There are sometimes public Vajrakilaya Pujas which anybody can attend.
When we consider Vajrakilaya, it is essential to recollect that he’s not a wrathful deity that we must be afraid of; somewhat, he’s a highly effective being who may help us to chop by our personal damaging psychological states and obtain enlightenment.
Many lecturers do supply his empowerment and teachings on-line, together with Kyabje Garchen Rinpoche who believes that in this degenerate age Vajrakilaya follow is vitally essential.
What about this secret mantra?
This is usually misunderstood, with individuals in boards speaking about Vajra hells and so on for revealing secret mantras. That isn’t a trendy method to understanding Tantra, nonetheless. Secret doesn’t imply some secret punishable by X,Y or Z.
Kyabje Garchen Rinpoche explains extra totally :
“The fast path—the Secret Mantric Vajra Vehicle—is known as secret not as a result of it is one thing to be hid or lined up however as a result of its which means can’t be fathomed. This is the case for atypical beings of the six lessons, who expertise the sufferings of the three decrease realms attributable to the afflictions of the three poisons. This is like when water, which is inherently crystal clear, by accident turns into tainted by impure substances. However, when the water is purified and returned to its pure state, it is appropriate for consuming and bathing. Similarly, the basic buddha nature is pure at the very foundation.
This high quality of the thoughts is referred to in the dzogchen custom as “pure from the beginning.” In the context of mahāmudrā, it is named “primordial purity.” These two phrases have the identical which means. Whenever the afflictive poisons meet with bodhicitta, they’re reworked into the 5 wisdoms, simply as wooden adjustments into flame when gasoline meets with hearth. In this manner, sentient ones can remodel into buddhas. The undeniable fact that struggling beings can attain the standing of the buddhas shouldn’t be one thing that must be stored hidden; it merely shouldn’t be readily comprehensible.”
In different phrases we want a instructor and profound follow to grasp the secret — however this isn’t a secret punishable by “Vajra” hells and different “spiritual” scare ways.
Having written that, though it’s nice to reward and honor Vajrakilaya, and possible even aspirationally useful to chant his mantra, self-generation and the Sadhanas require instruction to follow.
 Beer, Robert (1999). The Encyclopedia of Tibetan Symbols and Motifs. Shambhala. ISBN 978-1-57062-416-2.
 Garchen Rinpoche, Okay. (2022). Vajrakilaya: A Complete Guide with Experiential Instructions. Translated by Ari Kiev. Shambhala Publications. ISBN 978-1-61180-905-3
 Garchen Rinpoche, Kyabje. Vajrakilaya (pp. 5-6). Shambhala. Kindle Edition.
 Garchen Rinpoche, Kyabje. Vajrakilaya (pp. 7-8). Shambhala. Kindle Edition.
 Garchen Rinpoche, Kyabje. Vajrakilaya (p. 8). Shambhala. Kindle Edition.
 Garchen Rinpoche, Kyabje. Vajrakilaya (p. 10). Shambhala. Kindle Edition.
 Garchen Rinpoche, Kyabje. Vajrakilaya (p. 11). Shambhala. Kindle Edition.
 “Lam rim teachings at Sera Jey” Dalailama.com website>> https://www.dalailama.com/information/2013/third-day-of-lam-rim-teachings-at-sera-jey
 Garchen Rinpoche, Kyabje. Vajrakilaya (pp. 20-21). Shambhala. Kindle Edition.
 Garchen Rinpoche, Kyabje. Vajrakilaya (p. 20). Shambhala. Kindle Edition.
 Garchen Rinpoche, Kyabje. Vajrakilaya (pp. 39-40). Shambhala. Kindle Edition.