Vajrasattva ngondro is one of the preliminary practices of ngondro, where one does a minimum of 100,000 repetitions of an item (a mantra, prayer, prostrations, etc). An extra 11% are added to account for mistakes. Vajrasattva ngondro has to be completed on consecutive days. If a day is skipped, someone has to start over.
Vajrsattva ngondro is part of a tantric sadhana based on the tantric deity Vajrsattva. In the ngondro, a person recites Vajrasattva’s 100 syllable mantra
OM BENDZA SATTO SAMAYA MANUPALAYA /
BENDZA SATTO TENOPA TISHTHA DRIDHO MEBHAWA /
SUTOKAYO MEBHAWA / SUPOKAYO MEBHAWA /
ANURAKTO MEBHAWA /
SARVA SIDDHI MEMPRAYATSHA /
SARVA KARMA SUTSAME TSITTAM SHRIYAM /
KURU HUNG HA HA HA HA HO BHAGAWAN /
SARVA TATHAGATA BENDZA MAME MUNTSA /
BENDZI BHAWA MAHA SAMAYA SATTO AH HUM PHET/
The Practice of Purification
The Vajrasattva mantra is very powerful for purifying countless eons of negative karma. Purification, however, depends on the 4 opponent powers.
The 4 Opponent Powers Are:
- Restoring the Relationship
- Determination Not to Repeat the Action Again
- Remedial Actions
Click here to read a commentary about the 4 opponent powers. When it comes to purification practices, the most important thing is actually recognizing any faults or misdeeds done, acknowledging them, and generating regret. Regret doesn’t mean generating guilt. It means acknowledging it and wanting to do something about it.
An example is if you ingested poison and you just found out, you wouldn’t have time to beat yourself up about ingesting poison. Your main concern would be to vomit it up or neutralize it as soon as possible.
Prepration for Vajrasattva Ngondro
Since Vajrasattva is a tantric practice, it is helpful to have some understanding of tantra. Click here to get an intro. To make this practice efficient, the best thing would be to get a highest yoga tantra initiation of Vajrasattva. If that is not possible, then a kriya or action yoga tantra initiation is good. If that is not possible, get an oral transmission of the mantra. If that is not possible, at least get instructions from a teacher. In general, someone begins a ngondro practice under the guidance of a teacher.
What I Learned From Vajrasattva Ngondro
Most of this practice was spent observing how angry I am.
Not the foaming from the mouth and shaking angry, or even the coldly silent variety. Even though that can happen too. I found that anger manifests in different varieties. It can manifest itself when I’m critical of others and I’m mentally dissecting their faults.
Anger seems to also be easily triggered by competitive and territorial tendencies. This type of anger can be habituated into staying for a couple of days, months, sometimes even years. I had been angry at the same person for over 8 years about something I didn’t really even care about anymore. I just needed someone to be angry at. At least I thought I did.
While intellectually this is easy to understand, I didn’t get a feeling of the impact of anger until I actually started doing this practice. I started finally getting a sense of how poisonous and insidious anger is. To a small I degree, I’ve noticed the importance of trying to developing “pure perception,” and an appreciation for how difficult it is to actually get to that point.
Those Considering Vajrasattva Ngondro
Definitely do this practice. If you can do it in a 3 month retreat environment, that would be great. If not, do it in daily life and don’t give up on it. Treat it as an opportunity to let go of things hiding in the closet. Maybe anger isn’t your issue, but it was mine through the first 70,000 recitations. Afterwards it shifted more towards attachment. So the experience probably varies with each individual. Once you’re done, you’ll actually consider doing it again.
Preparation for Vajrayana : Geshi Tashi
Explanation of the Vajrasattva Practice: Geshi Tashi