BUDDHA NATURE.COM Songs and Meditations of the Tibetan Dhyani Buddhas

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Bodhisattvas | Shaktis | Adi-Buddhas | Dhyani Buddhas | Dakinis and Yoginis | Vajra Maidens | Meditations | Commentaries

The Historical Buddha Songs of the Shaktis of the Dhyani Buddhas, and their Bodhisattvas

This site focuses on the Tibetan Vajrayana Buddhist pantheon. Each of the beings named here represents a unique spiritual personality or essence. The principal beings are the five Dhyani Buddhas- the esoteric meditation Buddhas of the five colors found in The Tibetan Book of the Dead, Tibetan Buddhist iconography (temple statues and thangkas), and other sources.

These works may be seen as part of a long tradition of experiential poetry or vajra songs which arise from the meditation of practitioners of Tibetan Buddhism. Milarepa and other lineage holders used contemplative writings or "songs" to convey their message and inspire their followers.

The contemplative poetry presented here evokes the thoughts and images of the beings of Vajrayana tradition often using the metaphor of music. Each poem can be looked at as a meditative exercise or visualization designed to tune the reader to the state of mind or spiritual environment of the being that is speaking.

The point of view of each being is:

First, of a spiritual personality describing his or her essential nature

Second, of an actor describing his or her role in the Vajrayana tradition, and the spiritual environment in which action takes place

Third, of a spiritual guide giving advice to the seeker

The purpose is to introduce the spiritual seeker to elements of the Vajrayana Buddhist tradition outside the bounds of a particular lineage or school. When a Tibetan monk or nun is initiated into one of the older Vajrayana lineages, he or she is sometimes given a Yidam who serves as a spiritual guide, protector, and a focus of meditation. The practitioner does meditation to forge a strong link with this inner guide and teacher. One of the beings listed below is often chosen as a Yidam or guide for the initiate. This process is usually called guru yoga or deity yoga.

The Buddhist scholar Reginald Ray notes that most western Buddhists are basically "scientific materialists" and therefore cannot accept the concept of Yidams and other non-material beings as being of any special value on the path to enlightenment. However, Ray argues against this western view. We summarize his views in a discussion on the Value of Unseen Beings in Buddhist Ritual and Meditation page.

One function of Yidams or Buddhist guides is to inspire creativity, for they can serve as muses. However their traditional role is guide to the spiritual traveler who seeks knowledge of and access to the many inner worlds one may encounter during meditation. This kind of visionary experience is a stepping stone to the ultimate Buddhist goal of liberation from suffering (enlightenment).

The contemplative images here can serve as maps describing the geography of the inner spiritual worlds. They can also familiarize the reader with the values and ideals of Buddhism and the Tibetan tradition.

We hope that the material presented here will encourage an interest in Tantric Buddhist meditation and visualization, and make the infinite realms of Spirit more accessible to the seeker.

Enjoy the journey!

The Adi (Primordial) Buddhas

Vajrasattva - The Adi-Buddha of Diamond-light
Vajrasattva is the Buddha of diamond-wisdom, and is the chief Buddha of the five Dhyani Buddhas.

Vajradhara - The Adi-Buddha of Indestructible Blue Light
Vajradhara is the Adi-Buddha for both the Red-cap and Yellow-cap Vajrayana schools, as well as the lord of all mysteries and master of all secrets. Vajradhara, or he who holds the thunderbolt is said to conquer and subdue all evil spirits who are the enemies of Buddhism. He presides over the eight Dharmapalas who are the ferocious defenders of the dharma.

The Bodhisattvas (Emanations or Spiritual Sons) of the Dhyani Buddhas

Avalokiteshvara - The Spiritual Emanation of Amitabha
Amitabha's color is red. He is known as the Buddha of discriminating wisdom as well as the Buddha of infinite light. His bodhisattva or spiritual emanation is Avalokiteshvara, the bodhisattva of compassion or he who looks on the universe with the eyes of compassion.

Ratnapani - The Spiritual Emanation of Ratnasambhava
Ratnasambhava's color is yellow. He is the Buddha of the wisdom of harmony and equality. His bodhisattva is Ratnapani - the jewel-bearer who holds the cintamani (wish-fulfilling gem).

Vajrapani - The Spiritual Emanation of Aksobhya
Aksobhya's color is blue. He is the Buddha of mirror-like wisdom and is known as the Immovable One. His bodhisattva is Vajrapani- the bearer of the thunderbolt (vajra).

Samantabhadra - The Spiritual Emanation of Vairocana
Vairocana's color is white. He is called the maker of perfect light. His spiritual emanation is Samantabhadra, the bodhisattva of universal kindness.

Visvapani - The Spiritual Emanation of Amoghasiddhi
Amoghasiddhi's color is green. He is the Buddha of all-accomplishing or all-perfecting wisdom. His bodhisattva is Visvapani, the double thunderbolt bearer.

The Spiritual Shaktis (Female Partners and Powers of Manifestation) of the Dhyani Buddhas

Mamaki -              The Spiritual Shakti of Aksobhya

Locana -                The Spiritual Shakti of Vairocana

Vajradhatvisvari - The Spiritual Shakti of Ratnasambhava

Pandara -               The Spiritual Shakti of Amitabha

Maha Arya Tara - The Spiritual Shakti of Amoghasiddhi

The Dhyani (Esoteric or Meditation) Buddhas

The Dhyani Buddhas are distant and often require much ritual purification to contact. They are therefore difficult to communiate with during meditation. As a result, only one (Akshobya) currently has a writing associated with him.

Akshobya -            The Dhyani Buddha of Mirror-like Blue Light

Vairocana -            The Dhyani Buddha of Brilliant White Light

Amoghasiddhi -     The Dhyani Buddha of All-accomplishing Green Light

Ratnasambhva -     The Dhyani Buddha of Harmonious Golden Light

Amitabha -             The Dhyani Buddha of the Red Light of Discriminating Wisdom

The Dakinis and Yoginis

Green Tara and a dancing Dakini- 
two female Buddhist figures

Red Dakini -         The Crimson Rose Skydancer

Black Dakini -      The Dark Face of the Void

Blue Dakini -        The Dancer on Ocean and Sky

White Dakini -      The Snowflake of Shining Radiance

Golden Dakini -    The Golden Waterfall of Peace and Blessings

Emerald Dakini -   The Shining Green Star of Power

Vajrayogini -         The Trauma Goddess

The Vajra Maidens

Vajramrita -          The Essence of Flowing Nectar

Vajralasi -             The Essence of Laughter and Wonder

Vajradhupa -         The Essence of Clear Sweetness Amidst Clouds

Vajragiti -              The Essence of Crystalline Song

The Bhairavas and Protectors

Vajra Bhairava -     The Protector and Defender of Those on the Path

Mahabhairava -      The Voice of the Silent Buddhas

Other Vajra Bodhisattvas

Vajragarbha -        The Bodhisattva whose Fierce Essence is the Destruction of Illusion

Vajravarahi -         The Essence of Abundance and Fertility

Manjusri -              The Bodhisattva with the Sword of Discriminating Wisdom

Maitreya -              The Coming Buddha

Sagaramati -          The Bodhisattva whose Mind is like the Ocean

Blue Maitreya -     On Friendship

Meditations on the Many Worlds of the Vajrayana Tradition

Prajnaparamita -              A Meditation on the Goddess Of Transcendental Wisdom

The Vajra Dakini -          A Meditation on the Paradise of Vajrabodhi Dakini

The Vajra Dakini -          A Visit to the Dakini's World

Ritual Empowerment -    A Meditation on Empowering a Statue of the Bodhisattva Maitreya

White Tara -                    A Meditation on Visiting the Land of the Yoginis

Maitreya -                       The Paradise Rider Meditation

The Vajrayogini -           The Three Thrones Meditation

Green Tara -                   The Emerald Garden Paradise Meditation


The Vajra Dakini -          Vajradhara and the Process of Emanation of the Dakini

The Vajra Dakini -          On the Problem With Zen

The Vajra Dakini -          The Geography of Death

The Vajra Dakini -          Yidams or Spiritual Guides in Meditation and Dream Yoga

The Vajra Dakini -          The Windows of the Mind

The Vajra Dakini -          The Memory of Origins

The Vajra Dakini -          Dakini Language

The Vajra Dakini -          Institutional and Personal Roles

Vajrayogini -                  The Door of the Soul

Vajrayogini -                  The Millions of Bardo Worlds

Vajrayogini -                  The River of Pain

Vajrayogini -                  The Buddhist Soul

Vajrayogini -                  The Ladders of Hell

Vajrayogini -                  Dealing with PTSD and Trauma

Vajrayogini -                  The Sambhogakaya

Vajrasattva -                  The Magnifying Glass of Purification

Maitreya -                      Shedding the Pain of One's Past

Maitreya -                      Beauty and Humor

Maitreya -                      The Sun Child

Maitreya -                      The Phoenix

Maitreya -                      The Road to Shangri-La

Maitreya -                      Maitreya's Colors

Maitreya -                      The Buddhist Paths of Fullness and Emptiness

Amida -                          Amida of the Ancestors

Ratnapani -                     Institutional Versus Shamanistic Buddhism

Ratnapani -                     The Stairway to Heaven

Ratnapani -                     The Difficult Path to the Diamond Worlds

Ratnapani -                     The Path to the Summit

Ratnapani -                     The Basecamps of the Buddhas

Additional Information:

For a more theoretical approach to this information which also contains additional meditations or sadhanas, visit the LostSadhanas.org website. It provides a more comprehensive view of Yidams and how the capacity to communicate with Yidams and obtain the sadhanas and guidance they provide has been lost in many modern forms of Tibetan Buddhism.

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Author: Karma Gyurme Chodron

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