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Grand Master's Books > Grand Master Lu's Book > 54_Vajrayana Karma Practices

Buddha Shakyamuni is the Principal Deity for Purification

Translated by Janny Chow

Buddha Shakyamuni, the founder of Buddhism, was born on the eighth day of the fourth month under the Asoka tree in the Lumbini Grove. ''Shakyamuni'' means the sage born into the Shakya clan.

Buddha Shakyamuni's name was Siddharta. He was thirty five years old when he reached Enlightenment. Among the Buddha's first converts were the five ascetics headed by Ajnata-Kaundinya and the three Kasyapa brothers. Buddha Shakyamuni later went on to teach many other students, some of whom were kings. He often travelled to and fro and taught at the ancient kingdoms of Magadha, Kosala, and Vaishali. At about the age of eighty, the Buddha entered nirvana under the twin Sal trees by the river Vati.

From the book of Karma Yoga written in Pali, I learned that Buddha Shakyamuni was a Bhagavan Samyak-sambodhi Merit King and also a founder of religion in samsara, and that within the esoteric school of practice, he is regarded as the Principal Deity for repentance and purification. This is a secret unknown to many Buddhists.

Many monks and students of Buddhism are aware of the numerous methods that can purify karmic hindrances, but they do not know that the mantra of Buddha Shakyamuni holds a great secret power to purify karmic hindrances of the most severe kind. Most students know that teachings given by the Buddha when he was alive have been collected and formulated into the Hinayana and Mahayana scriptures, a cultural treasure of eastern civilization, but they do not know of this great esoteric secret.

According to the esoteric school's cosmic scheme, which consists of the static ''womb mandala'' and active ''vajra mandala, '' Buddha Shakyamuni is a chief Deity in the womb mandala and shares the same position with Amoghasiddi in the realm of vajra mandala. There is this passage in the Vairocana Sutra, ''Shakyamuni's entire body displays a true golden hue and manifests in full glory the thirty-two marks of Buddhahood. With a yellow cassock wrapped around him, he sits atop a white lotus, expounding the Dharma accordingly.''

From the Pali book of Karma Yoga, I learned that Buddha Shakyamuni taught many secret practices, and among them the purification practice was the greatest. Many people have asked me which purification method is the best. Although there are numerous purifying practices and it is hard to choose one, I have often told people to pick the Shakyamuni Merit King Practice!

This is the practice in detail:

Form the Buddha Shakyamuni Mudra by joining the two palms in a prayer position, then bending the index and ring fingers inside the palms while the thumbs, middle, and small fingers remain upright.

After entering the shrine, sit quietly, maintaining the above mudra and perform the following visualization. Buddha Shakyamuni appears right in the center in front of one. He is sitting atop a white lotus, in a meditative state, and is enveloped by a peaceful light. His body is of a pure golden hue. While his right hand touches the earth, his left hand forms a meditation mudra that holds a bowl filled with nectar. Wearing a monk's three pieces robe, his face and crystal-like body display a full, majestic, and sparkling radiance.

Next visualize the nectar in the nectar bowl transform into a beam of white light, soaring up to the sky and arching over to descend to the spot where one is sitting. The white light enters one's crown and fills up the body. One then sits amid a field of white light.

As a result of the empowerment of the white light, black colored karmic hindrances ooze out of one's body and dissipate into the atmosphere. Such a visualization can eradicate sins and transgressions committed in numerous previous lifetimes.

After completion of the visualization, chant the ''Buddha Shakyamuni Great Purification Mantra'' 108 times:
Na-mo-he-la-dan-na-zhi-ga-ni,
dan-ta-go-do-ye,
ah-la-ge-di-sam-myak-sam-mo-to-ye,
dan-ning-ta,
om-la-dan-ni-la-dan-ni,
su-la-dan-ni,
la-dan-nu-na-po-wei-mo-ho,
la-dan-na-zhi-la-ni,
la-dan-na-sam-po-wei-so-ha.

Chant this mantra 49 or 108 times in each practice. Practicing this way removes karmic hindrances amassed over thousands of eons.

Many people also ask me to give them ''past-life readings.'' I would like these people to know that practitioners of the ''Shakyamuni Merit King Practice'' will very soon develop the power to read into their own past lives, which appear in front of their eyes as if on a movie screen. By doing this practice, clear readings into karmic causes and consequences can be obtained.

As Buddhists, we know this about Buddha Shakyamuni. ''He is also known as Gautama, born as a prince of the ancient Indian kingdom Kapilavastu. His father was Suddhodana, and his mother was Mayadevi. He took up the life of a renunciant in order to seek the Truth. Born in 623 B.C.E, he left his home at the age of 29, attained Enlightenment at 35, spent the next 45 years in teaching, delivered more than 300 discourses, and helped innumerable humans and devas [gods] to reach Enlightenment. At around 543 B.C.E, he entered nirvana at the age of 80.''

When today's Buddhists give up their household life and enter into the monastic lifestream of the Dharma, they also give up their birth names and adopt the last name of Shakya. The origin of this custom may be traced to the Dharma Master Tao An of the Chin Dynasty who advocated such a changeover. As explained in the Agamas, ''When rivers from the four directions flow into the ocean, they lose their names. When people of various names take up the vow of renunciation, they become the seeds of Buddha Shakyamuni.'' This is the reason why ordained disciples of Buddha Shakyamuni change their last names to Shakya.

The key to the Shakyamuni Merit King Practice is the visualization of the white light of the nectar. Doing this practice is tantamount to receiving an empowerment from Buddha Shakyamuni, who is instilling the Buddha's supreme wisdom through one's crown into the body, bringing all virtues to great perfection. Such a practice is, of course, the greatest method to purify karmic hindrances.

Here is a verse I have written for this practice:

How many lives are withering due to karmic hindrances?
Such an appalling human condition sends shivers to my heart.
By teaching the Great Esoteric Shakyamuni Practice,
May all reach perfection on the road of transmigration.
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