GARLAND OF PLAY: PRAISES TO VAJRAYOGINI BY LORD ATISHA AND FIRST KARMAPA

INTRODUCTION

Today for Dākinī Day, I publish two new translations of  Praises to Vajrayoginī (with Tibetan and phonetics) [i] by the Kadamapa master, Atisha (Atiśa Dīpaṃkara Śrījñāna (982-1055)) and my translation of Garland of Playful Display: Praises to Vajravārāhı[ii] by 1st Karmapa, Dusum Khyenpa (1110 – 1193).  Both are downloadable as pdf files (see end of post).   Both Praises demonstrate how each aspect of Vajrayoginī’s form conveys a deeper, spiritual meaning. 

  • Nāropa’s Vajrayoginī lineage, which was transmitted from Vajrayoginī to Mahasiddha Nāropa;
  • Maitripa’s Vajrayoginī lineage, which was transmitted from Vajrayoginī to Mahasiddha Maitripa; and
  • Indrabhuti’s Vajrayoginī lineage, which was transmitted from Vajrayoginī to Mahasiddha Indrabhuti.

These three Vajrayoginī practices are known as The Three Red Goddesses (mar mo skor gsum) in the Sakya tradition of Tibetan Buddhism.

Atiśa’s Praises to Vajrayoginī

11th century Tibetan thangka image of Vajrayoginī

“In 1040 Atiśa and Naktso set out for Tibet, accompanied by Gya Lotsāwa, who had aided them at Vikramaśila, serving as translator. Gya Lotsāwa did not survive the journey, passing away en route to Nepal. There, according to some, Atiśa met Marpa, whom he asked to become his translator. Marpa declined. After two years of travel they reached Tolung (stod lung), the capital of the Purang Kingdom.  Atiśa resided in Tolung for three years, giving teachings that gave birth to his masterpiece, the Bodhipathapradīpa, or Lamp for the Path to Enlightenment. The short text, in sixty-seven verses, lays out the entire Buddhist path in terms of the three vehicles: Hīnayāna, Mahāyāna, and Vajrayāna, and became the model for subsequent texts in the genre of Lamrim (lam rim), the Stages of the Path. There he also met the man who would become his closest disciple, Dromton Gyelwa Jungne (‘brom ston rgyal ba ‘byung gnas).”

This 12th Century portrait of Atiśa originated from a Kadam monastery in Tibet, and was gifted to New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art in 1993.  https://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/38006

Vajrayoginī, also called the two-faced Vārāhī from the tradition of Mahasiddha Indrabhuti. See HAR here.

In this stunning thangka of Vajravārāhī from the Sakya lineage (above) it depicts both Indrabhuti and Virupa. The lineage being: Vajradhara, Vajrayoginī, Mahasiddha Lawapa, King Indrabhuti, Lakshmikara, Brahman Virupa, Mahasiddha Shavaripa, Lord Maitripa, Acharya Vajrapani, the Nepali Varendraruchi, the Nepali Jnana Vajra, the Five Superior Lords of Sakya, etc.

1st Karmapa’s Garland of Playful Display: Praises to Vajravārāhı
Vajravārāhī in the Karma Kagyu tradition. Source HAR.

The Praises by 1st Karmapa are a poetic description of the visualization of two-faced Vajravārāhı and what each aspect of her symbolizes. It stands alone as a praise and visualization. For more on the 1st Karmapa’s connection and writings on Vajrayoginī, please see here.

Interestingly, the Praises contain a reference to Virupa (Sanskrit: Virūpa; bi ru pa or bir wa pa, lit. ’ugly one’) a 7-8th century Indian mahasiddha and yogi who was born in Bengal) having seen the face of Vajrayoginī amidst a feast gathering, and then composing ten verses of Praise spontaneously during that vision. Virupa got the lineage of Vārāhī from Indrabhuti, for more on the lineages of Vajrayoginī, see here. To read and download the text, see below:

May these new Praises bring us closer to the goddess deity, Vajrayoginī and may we attain her divine, blissful state!

Written and compiled by Adele Tomlin, 3rd August 2021.

Praises to Vajrayoginī by Shri Atisa

རྡོ་རྗེ་རྣལ་འབྱོར་མའི་བསྟོད་པ།

རྒྱ་གར་སྐད་དུ། བཛྲ་ཡོ་གི་ནཱི་སྟ་བ། བོད་སྐད་དུ། རྡོ་རྗེ་རྣལ་འབྱོར་མ་ལ་བསྟོད་པ།

In Sanskrit: Vajrayogini Ta Wa. In Tibetan: Dorje Naljorma Töpa.

 

དཔལ་རྡོ་རྗེ་རྣལ་འབྱོར་མ་ལ་ཕྱག་འཚལ་ལོ། །

pel dor jé neljor ma la chak tsel lo

 བཅོམ་ལྡན་འདས་མ་རྡོ་རྗེ་རྣལ་འབྱོར་མ། །                          སྟོང་ཉིད་རྡོ་རྗེ་ལྡན་པའི་བདག་ཉིད་ཅན། །

chom den dé ma dor jé neljor ma/           tong nyi dor jé den pé dak nyi chen/

kel pé mé bar jik pé hum dra drok/          dor jé tum mo dé la chak tsel tö/

I prostrate to glorious Vajrayoginī!
Bhagavāti Vajrayoginī: The embodiment of vajra emptiness.
In an eon-destroying blaze, you roar with the terrifying sound of HUM!
Praise and prostrations to that vajra inner heat!

 

ཕག་གདོང་རྟོག་མེད་ཆོས་སྐུ་འགྱུར་མེད་སྟོན། །       ཁྲོ་མོ་ཐུགས་རྗེས་འགྲོ་བའི་དོན་མཛད་མ། །

pak dong tok mé chö ku gyur mé tön/    tro mo tuk jé drowé dön dzé ma/

འགྲོ་དོན་རྫོགས་མཛད་མཛེས་པའི་ཆ་ལུགས་ཅན། །   རྟོག་མེད་འགྲོ་དོན་མཛད་ལ་ཕྱག་འཚལ་བསྟོད། །

dro dön dzok dzé dzé pé cha luk chen/  tok mé dro dön dzé la chak tsel tö/

Sow’s face symbolizing the non-conceptual, unchanging dharmakāya,
Beauty as wrathful compassion benefiting wanderers,
Perfection of benefit for beings, adorned with stunning ornaments.
Praise and prostrations to the one who benefits beings non-conceptually!

 

 རབ་འཇིགས་དཔའ་མོ་མ་རུང་ཚར་གཅོད་མ། །        སྤྱན་གསུམ་མཆེ་གཙིགས་སྐུ་གསུམ་དོན་དང་ལྡན། །

rab jik pamo ma rung tsarchö ma/            chen sum chetsik ku sum dön dangden

ཉོན་མོངས་གཅོད་མཛད་འཇིགས་པའི་ང་རོ་ཅན། །    བདུད་འདུལ་འཇོམས་པའི་སྐུ་ལ་ཕྱག་འཚལ་བསྟོད། །

nyönmong chö dzé jikpé ngaro chen/    düdul jompé ku la chaktsal tö

Utterly terrifying heroine, subjugator of the unworthy.

With three eyes and fangs bared, the three kāyas endowed with purpose.

Severing the afflictions, endowed with a terrifying roar!

Praise and prostrations to the enlightened form that vanquishes and tames demons!

 

སྐྲ་གྲོལ་གཅེར་བུ་སྐྱོན་བྲལ་འཇིགས་པའི་གཟུགས།།      ཉོན་མོངས་སྐྱོན་བྲལ་སེམས་ཅན་དོན་མཛད་མ། །

tra drol cherbu kyöndral jikpé zuk/         nyönmong kyöndral semchen dön dzé ma/

ཐུགས་རྗེའི་ལྕགས་ཀྱུས་འགྲོ་དྲུག་གནས་ནས་འདྲེན། ། འཕྲིན་ལས་རྫོགས་མཛད་དེ་ལ་ཕྱག་འཚལ་བསྟོད། །

tukjé chakkyü dro druk né né dren/        trinlé dzok dzé dé la chaktsal tö/

Terrifying form; hair flowing, naked, free of faults,

Female benefiting beings free from afflictions’ flaws.

Your hook of great compassion reels in beings of six realms.

Praise and prostrations to that perfected enlightened activity!

 

དུར་ཁྲོད་གནས་བཞུགས་རུ་དྲ་ཕོ་མོ་འདུལ། །           དྲག་མོ་འཇིགས་ཚུལ་ཕཊ་ཀྱི་སྒྲ་སྒྲོགས་ཤིང་། །

durtrö né shyuk ru dra pomo dul/            drakmo jik tsul pét kyi dra drok shing

ཐབས་མཁས་ཐུགས་རྗེས་འགྲོ་བའི་དོན་མཛད་མ། །        བདུད་འདུལ་དྲག་མོའི་སྐུ་ལ་ཕྱག་འཚལ་བསྟོད།

tabkhé tukjé drowé dön dzé ma/             düdul drakmö ku la chaktsal tö

Abiding in the charnel grounds taming male and female rudras.

Roaring wrathfully with terrifying expression, the sound of PHAT!

Knowing all methods with great compassion benefiting wanderers.

Praise and prostrations to the wrathful, demon-tamer’s form!

 

ཆོས་ཉིད་དོན་རྟོགས་འཆི་བའི་ཚུལ་སྤངས་ཀྱང།  །      རོ་དང་ཉི་ཟླ་པདྨ་གདམ་གྱི་ཡུམ། །

chönyi dön tok chiwé tsul pang kyang/ ro dang nyida pema dam gyi yum/

བརྒྱན་རྣམས་ཀུན་གྱིས་རབ་མཛེས་ཁྲོ་མོའི་སྐུ། །         ཡོན་ཏན་རྫོགས་མཛད་དེ་ལ་ཕྱག་འཚལ་བསྟོད། །

gyen nam kün gyi rab dzé tromö ku/       yönten dzok dzé dé la chaktsal tö/

Having realised the meaning of dharmata, the ‘way of dying’ is abandoned.

Mother, upon a corpse, sun, and moon and lotus seat.

With all the ornaments, a totally wrathful, stunning form.

Praise and prostrations to that perfection of qualities!

 

གྲི་གུག་ཐོད་པ་ཁ་ཊྭཱཾ་ཕྱག་ན་བསྣམས། །                  ཉོན་མོངས་གཅོད་མཛད་ཡེ་ཤེས་དོན་དང་ལྡན། །

driguk töpa khatam chak na nam/     nyönmong chö dzé yeshe dön dangden/

དུག་གསུམ་གཅོད་མཛད་སྐུ་གསུམ་ལྷུན་གྱིས་གྲུབ། །        འགྲོ་བའི་དོན་མཛད་དེ་ལ་ཕྱག་འཚལ་བསྟོད། །

duk sum chö dzé ku sum lhün gyi drub/        drowé dön dzé dé la chaktsal tö/

Holding a curved knife, skull cup, and khatvanga

Cut off afflictions and endowed with primordial wisdom’s meaning.

By severing the three poisons, the three kāyas are spontaneously accomplished.

Praise and prostrations to the one who benefits migrating beings!

 

བདེ་ཆེན་རང་བྱུང་རྡོ་རྗེ་མཁའ་འགྲོ་མ། །               མི་འགྱུར་ཡེ་ཤེས་རྡོ་རྗེ་ཆོས་ཀྱི་སྐུ། །

dechen rangjung dorjé khandroma/       mingyur yeshe dorjé chö kyi ku/

རྟོག་མེད་སྤྲོས་བྲལ་ཡེ་ཤེས་ཆོས་དབྱིངས་དོན། །         ཡང་དག་གཉིས་མེད་སྐུ་ལ་ཕྱག་འཚལ་བསྟོད། །

tokmé trödral yeshe chöying dön/          yangdak nyimé ku la chaktsal tö/

Great bliss, self- arisen vajra ḍākinī,

Unchanging, primordial wisdom vajra of the dharmakāya,

You are the meaning of dharmadhātu; unelaborated primordial wisdom, free of concepts.

Praise and prostrations to the form of pure, non-duality.

 

ལྷ་མོ་དྲུག་གི་རང་བཞིན་རྡོ་རྗེའི་རིགས་།་             པལ་འབར་འཇིགས་མཛད་ཁྲོ་ཚུལ་འགྱིང་བག་ཅན། །

lhamo druk gi rangshyin dorjé rik/           palbar jik dzé tro tsul gying bakchen/

བདེ་ཆེན་རང་བྱུང་ཕྱག་རྒྱ་ཆེན་པོའི་དོན། །             ཉོན་མོངས་སྒྲོལ་མཛད་དེ་ལ་ཕྱག་འཚལ་བསྟོད། །

dechen rangjung chakgya chenpö dön/     nyönmong drol dzé dé la chaktsal tö/

Lineage of the vajra-nature six goddesses;

Assuming a wrathful pose, fearsome and gloriously blazing.

The meaning of self-arisen, great bliss mahāmudrā.

Praise and prostrations to that liberator from afflictions!

 

ཀུན་རྫོབ་དོན་དམ་རང་བཞིན་ཕག་མོ་སྟེ། །             སྐུ་མདོག་དམར་བ་ཐུགས་རྗེའི་རང་བཞིན་ཅན། །

kündzob döndam rangzhin pakmo té/      kudok marwa tukjé rangshyin chen/

འདོད་དགུ་ཕུན་ཚོགས་རྡོ་རྗེ་མཁའ་འགྲོ་མ། །           བདེ་ཆེན་རང་བྱུང་སྐུ་ལ་ཕྱག་འཚལ་བསྟོད། །

dögu püntsok dorjé khandroma/              dechen rangjung ku la chaktsal tö/

 Sow’s (face): nature of conventional and ultimate.

Red form: nature of great compassion,

Abundance of everything desirable, vajra ḍākinī.

Praise and prostrations to the form of self-arisen great bliss.

 

དུར་ཁྲོད་རྒྱན་རྣམས་སྐུ་ལ་རྫོགས་པ་སྟེ། །               གྲི་གུག་ཁ་ཊྭཱཾ་ཕྱག་མཚན་སོ་སོར་བསྣམས། །

durtrö gyen nam ku la dzokpa té/            driguk khatam chaktsen sosor nam/

ཐུགས་རྗེའི་རང་བཞིན་སྐྲ་གྲོལ་ཐུར་དུ་སྤུངས། །         སྤྱན་དམར་འཛུམ་ཞལ་དེ་ལ་ཕྱག་འཚལ་བསྟོད། །

tukjé rangshyin tra drol turdu pung/       chen mar dzum shyal dé la chaktsal tö/

The charnel ground ornaments on your form are complete.

Carrying each of the symbolic implements such as curved knife and trident.

Nature of great compassion, hair is free and flowing down.

Praise and prostrations to that smiling face and crimson eyes!

 

 འཕྲིན་ལས་གྲུབ་པའི་རྡོ་རྗེ་མཁའ་འགྲོ་མ། །                   བདེ་འགྲོའི་གནས་སུ་འདྲེན་པའི་ཐུགས་རྗེ་ཅན། །

trinlé drubpé dorjé khandroma/              dendrö né su drenpé tukjé chen/

སྐྱོན་བྲལ་ཡང་དག་ལྷ་ཡི་ལྷར་གྱུར་པ། །                      རྡོ་རྗེ་འཕྲུལ་མོ་ཆེ་ལ་ཕྱག་འཚལ་བསྟོད།

kyöndral yangdak lha yi lhar gyurpa/      dorjé trulmo che la chag tsal tö/

One who accomplishes enlightened activities, vajraḍākinī.

Great compassionate one who guides to the blissful realms.

Free of fault, pure deity among those who become deities.

Praise and prostrations to great vajra emanations!

 

དཔལ་རྡོ་རྗེ་རྣལ་འབྱོར་མ་ལ་བསྟོད། ། སྔགས་ཕྱེགས་བླེ་སྦྱོང་གེ་སྐོར་བཞུགས་སེ། ། པ་པཎྜི་ཏ་ཆེན་པོ་དཱི་པཾ་ཀ་ར་ཤྲཱི་ཛྙཱ་ནས་མཛད་པ་རྫོགས་སོ། ། པཎྜི་ཏ་དེ་ཉིད་དང་། ལོ་ཙཱ་བ་ཁུ་ནེ་བཅོས་བསྒྱུར་བའོ་། །

This praise to the glorious Vajrayoginī, composed by the glorious Dīpaṃkara Śrījñāna is completed. The corrections were made by that Pandita himself and the translator Khune.

Translated , compiled and edited by Adele Tomlin, August 2021.

 


ENDNOTES

[i] rdo rje rnal ‘byor ma la bstod pa/. In Collected Works of Atisha (gsung ‘bum/_ a ti sha/.) TBRC W1GS66286. 1: 1122 – 1123. pe cin/: krung go’i bod rig pa dpe skrun khang /, 2006.

[ii] rDo rje phag mo’i bstod pa rol ba’i phreng ba zhes bya ba/. found in The Collected Works of the Garland of Karmapas[iv] (published in Lhasa, Tibet in 2013) In Karma pa sku phreng rim byon gyi gsung ‘bum phyogs bsgrigs/. TBRC W3PD1288. 1: 341 – 341. lha sa/: dpal brtsegs bod yig dpe rnying zhib ‘jug khang /, 2013?.

Also contained in an edition of the 1st Karmapa’s collected works published by Dzongsar Khyentse Labrang, India. In The Collected Works of Dusum Khyenpa (gsung ‘bum/_dus gsum mkhyen pa/. TBRC W23651. 1: 389 – 402. gangtok: dzongsar chhentse labrang, 1980.)

[iii] Scholars have suggested that there was more than one author named Indrabhuti. In this respect, the most common proposition is that there were three:

  • Indrabhuti the Great or Elder ( i n+dra b+hu ti chen po)
  • Indrabhuti the Intermediate or Second ( i n+dra b+hu ti bar pa)
  • Indrabhuti the Younger ( Wyl. i n+dra b+hu ti chung ba or  i n+dra b+hu ti chen po’i sras), aka Lawapa, Kambalapāda, or Shakraputra — the son of Indrabhuti the Great
  • Indrabhuti, the King of Oddiyana, who was the adoptive father of Padmasambhava. 

The second Karmapa, Karma Pakshi was said to be in favour of this “three Indrabhuti” model and used it as a skillful way to explain the origin and spread of the Vajrayana teachings. In his works he relates the three Indrabhutis to the dharmakaya, sambhogakaya and nirmanakaya manifestations of Vajradhara and Vajrapani. 

[iv] Interestingly, the 8th Karmapa, Mikyo Dorje (Mi bskyod Rdo rje 1507–54), (who also wrote a Praises to Vajrayoginī) in his Chariot of Accomplished Ones commmentary on the Madhyamakāvatāra, described Khu ston Mdo sde ’bar’s work as the “unsurpassable writing on Consequentialist Madhyamaka.” See APPLE (2018: 949):  “Khu lo tsā ba’s Treatise: Distinguishing the Svātantrika/*Prāsaṅgika Difference in Early Twelfth Century Tibet” November 2018, Journal of Indian Philosophy 46(4).

4 thoughts on “GARLAND OF PLAY: PRAISES TO VAJRAYOGINI BY LORD ATISHA AND FIRST KARMAPA

  1. Hello Adele . Thank for post . 1) Concerning Naro Dakini ,always was wandering why Naropa Red Dakini is not practiced in Karma Kagyu but revered in Drukpa and others. 2) concerning Atisha , he is last great Dharma practictioner who visited Oddiyana . Late Kalu Rinpoche and others said that people of  Oddiyana disappeared because of initiation given by enlightened king ( something like that ,dont remember exact words of Kalu Rinpoche ) . In reality ( did see yt  vlog about wars of that times and places ) muslims invaded and slaughtered Oddiyana . Bloodbath , not instant enlightenment.  Seems sometimes things need be taken with pinch of salt. Concerning Red Dakini and XVI Karmapa one story ( after Jigme Rinpoche ) goes like this that few westerns visited XVI Karmapa in Rumtek and among westerns was one woman with psychic abilities . After visit that woman was suprised / shocked?  because she said that during visit she was seeing red , naked woman . Jigme Rinpoche commentary was that XVI Karmapa functioned on different level. All best, nice day.   W dniu 2021-08-03 06:42:58 użytkownik Dakini Translations and Publications མཁའ་འགྲོ་མའི་ལོ་ཙཱ་བའི་འགྱུར་དང་འགྲེམས་སྤེལ། napisał: Dakini Translations posted: ” I prostrate to glorious Vajrayoginī!Bhagavāti Vajrayoginī, embodiment of vajra emptiness.In an eon-destroying blaze, roaring with the terrifying sound of HUM!Praise and prostrations to that vajra inner heat! Sow’s face symbolizing non-conceptual, unc”

  2. Atisa visited Oddiyana as young yogi. After become monk. Luckily Atisa was not in Oddiyana during muslim invasion. Interesting that Marpa visited many siddhas in India ( Naropa sent him ) but never visited Oddiyana. Atisa and Marpa met at occasion of Marpa  dramatic attempt to find  Naropa who ,, entered action,, .     W dniu 2021-08-03 06:42:58 użytkownik Dakini Translations and Publications མཁའ་འགྲོ་མའི་ལོ་ཙཱ་བའི་འགྱུར་དང་འགྲེམས་སྤེལ། napisał: Dakini Translations posted: ” I prostrate to glorious Vajrayoginī!Bhagavāti Vajrayoginī, embodiment of vajra emptiness.In an eon-destroying blaze, roaring with the terrifying sound of HUM!Praise and prostrations to that vajra inner heat! Sow’s face symbolizing non-conceptual, unc”

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