Samadhi Abhishekha

Samadhi empowerments that precede practices like that of Cakrasamvara are well-known. The name “samadhi empowerment” seems to suggest either that one’e ability to practice samadhi is empowered by this practice, or that these empowerments—instead of being bestowed by a teacher who is actually present—occur “only” within the space of one’s samadhi. Many benefits are mentioned in the texts, the most extraordinary one would be that in the best case the blessing from this samadhi is indistinguishable from an actual fourfold empowerment. Other benefits are that breaches of the pledges and corruptions of vows are healed and one’s virtuous practice increases. An important aspect of samadhi empowerment also seems to be that it enhances the perception of the guru as the Buddha.

In the “profound dharma” section of Jigten Sumgön’s teachings (zab chos), I found a brief text with instructions:♦ 1

Instructions on the samādhi empowerment

Again, the precious guru said: This samadhi empowerment is very profound! Take your yogic position on a comfortable seat, cultivate the resolve, and vividly visualize your body as the cherished deity. Imagine in that way that your principle guru dwells on a four-layered seat in the space in front of the area of the spot between the eyebrows of [the deity you] visualize. The form of his body is that of the exalted great Vajradhara. He and Vajrayogini are inseparable and enter into the union.♦ 2 They are endowed with the ornaments and garb such as the six bone ornaments. In brief, visualize vividly the guru as the body of Heruka. Then, offer once the seven limbs such as the outer, inner, secret, and true reality offerings.

After that, you supplicate three times: “Guru Mahavajradhara, grant me the empowerment!” White rays of light come forth and dissolve into the spot between your eyebrows. Imagine that thereby all veils of the body are cleared. You have received the vase empowerment. You are the essence of the body of all buddhas. Your body has the leisure of a deity. Overjoyed, think: “I have realized that.”♦ 3 Again, the guru and the consort enter into the union. From the spot between their eyebrows, bright and redish-white rays of light come forth and dissolve into your throat. Thereby the veils of speech are cleared and you have received the secret empowerment. You are the essence of the speech of all buddhas and your speech has the nature of mantra—audible and empty. Overjoyed, think: “I have realized that.”

Blue rays of light come forth from the hearts of the guru and his consort. They dissolve into your heart. Thereby the veils of the mind are cleared and you have revceived the empowerment of discriminating knowledge and primordial wisdom. You are the nature of the mind of all buddhas, the nature of mind, unarisen from the beginning, free from arising, abiding, and ceasing. Overjoyed, think: “I have realized that.”

Then, the guru Heruka with the consort turn into many-colored rays of light that dissolve into your body through the crown of your head. Thereby the impurity of holding body, speech, and mind as something different is purified. You have received the precious forth empowerment of the word. You are the essence of the primordial wisdom of the nonduality of the body, speech, and mind of all the buddhas of the three times—spontaneous sameness. Overjoyed, think: “I have realized that.”

Then, remain within that state equanimously in mahamudra. Afterwards, within that, you have to dedicate the root of virtue.

Practicing like that this samadhi empowerment as much as you can, up to 108 times a day, if the samadhi is luminous, the attainment of the [actual] four empowerments and the blessing [of this samadhi empowerment] are indistinguishable. Breaches of the pledges are automatically cleared, all corruptions are repaired, one is well, and the virtuous practice increases. Therefore, please keep this in mind and practice it!
<<end of translation – the Tibetan text is documented below the notes>>

These instructions are in the tradition of Ga Lotsawa, who is also in the transmission lineage of the Cakrasamvara empowerment that Jigten Sumgön transmitted. Ga’s method is preserved in the works of Gyalwa Yanggönpa (1213‒1258).♦ 4 Here the guru is in the form of Sahaja Cakrasamvara with Vajravarahi. The visualization of the seat and the guru is much more detailed. They are surrounded by numerous tantric deities of the father and mother tantras and of the Nyingma tantras. The offerings are also much more detailed. Before the actual empowerment, one sends out rays of light that fall upon the numerous mandalas visualized in the space. The white drop of bliss of all the male deities of these mandalas melts and dissolves into the guru as Cakrasamvara. The rays of light also fall upon the consorts of these mandalas and their red drops of bliss melt and dissolve into the guru and his consort. The essence of all mandalas is now present as this Cakrasamvara with consort.

There are not only one, but two rounds of empowerments. With the first round, one is purified through the light rays coming from the guru and the consort. With the second round, one’s body is gradually filled with nectar via the spot between the eyebrows, etc. Through that nectar one receives the actual empowerment. Finally, the guru and consort melt and dissolve into oneself and one is inseparable from the body, speech, and mind of the guru.

Through this empowerment, the text says, all transgressions and loss of pledges are healed and all veils, obstructions, and unfortunate conditions are removed. A good samadhi will arise. Even if one dwells at the dangerous places of non-humans, one cannot be harmed. All the qualities of mantra arise and increase. This practice is praised a lot in the Buddhakapala Tantra. The glorious Ga Lotsawa practiced it every night. The precios Nyö (gNyos rGyal ba lha nang pa, 1164‒1224) never broke his habbit of practicing it seven times a day. Lama Zhang (Zhang g.yu brag pa, 1123‒1193) practiced it three times at night. The disciple of Yanggönpa, who recorded this teaching, says: “I practice it every time I go to sleep and every morning. Since this is extremely important, please practice it without interruption!”

The samadhi empowerment that one finds in the works of Phagmodrupa♦ 5 is connected to the tradition of the Guhyasamaja Tantra. His teacher—here probably Sachen Künga Nyingpo—told him that it is important for great meditators (sgom chen) to have the samadhi empowerment. He tells the story of the famous translator Gö Lotsawa (‘Gos Khug-pa Lhas-btsas, 11th c.), who went to India to become a translator. He had 108 teachers, and two of them were his root gurus.  One was known for his supernatural perception and the other was very venerable. Under them, Gö Lotsawa became very learned, in particular in the Guhyasamaja Tantra. Once, he thought that there is no one as learned in the Guhyasamaja as he was. A yogi apeared, who said: “You still don’t know the meaning of the Guhyasamaja.” Gö asked him, where he could learn more. The Yogi told him to go to Nagseb and study with a very venerable teacher there. Gö went there and found in a grass hut a woman who had the color of a dove with a very beautiful body and countenance. “Who are you?” he asked. “I am the venerable lady.” He offered her a mandala with some gold and requested Guhyasamaja instructions from her. However, she said that he had a problem with previous pledges and that he, therefore, did not understand the Guhyasamaja. She said: “If you practice this samadhi empowerment, you will primordially understand the Guhyasamaja.” She gave him a brief samadhi empowerment.

The visualization is very similar to that of Jigten Sumgön’s instructions. The text mentions that Gö Lotsawa practiced the samadhi empowerment for a month. He thereby mastered the meaning of the Guhyasamaja Tantra. But the text states also that “it is very important that the nature of the guru is unchangeable [in your mind]. You will not find a guru superior to him.”

At the end, it is mentioned that Gö “bestowed it on lama Sakyapa and he bestowed it on me.” The Sakyapa lama mentioned here should be Khön Könchog Gyalpo (1034-1102), the founding father of the Sakya tradition, who was known to have been a disciple of Gö Lotsawa. But it is impossible that Khön bestowed it directly on Phagmodrupa, as the latter was only just born when Khön died. As mentioned above, it is more likely that he received it from Khön’s son, Sachen Künga Nyingpo, with whom Phagmodrupa had studied intensively before he met Gampopa.

I think that it is noteworthy in all of these texts that they deal with the way of seing the guru. In Ga Lotsawa’s text, the guru receives the white and red drops of bliss of the deities of all mandalas, and he is then understood to be the essence of entirely all mandalas. In Gö’s text, it is very important to think “that the nature of the guru is unchangeable. You will not find a guru superior to him.” His female guru, who told him to practice the samadhi empowerment, had also told him that his problem with understanding the Guhyasamaja teachings was a breach of the pledges. Could it be that this breach had been that he did not see his guru as the Buddha?

In an instruction for those of highest capacity concerning the practices of luminosity and the transference of the consciousness,♦ 6 Jigten Sumgön talks about the practice of the samadhi empowerment when he says:

“Put your mind one-pointedly and without distraction on the guru being the Buddha. As long as that has not become clear, practice with much effort! When it has become clear, the dependent origination of the guru’s blessing and one’s devotion come together and thereby it is impossible that it is not clear. The mahamudra with which one has familiarized earlier becomes sevenfold and arises automatically. Like water ist poured into water and butter into butter, one proceeds in a state of mahamudra, and the primordial wisdom that is nondual with the guru’s mind and one’s own consciousness mix inseparably in mahamudra.”

1. []Khams gsum chos kyi rgyal po thub dbang ratna shrI’i nang gi zab chos no bu’i phreng ba, Dehra Dun: International Drikung Kagyu Council, 1217, vol. 6, no. 763.

2. []This is most probably intentionally ambiguous. The Tibeta term snyoms par ʼjug means both to enter into a mental equilibrium, which is a “union,” and to join in sexual union.

3. []This reminds us of an important aspect of meditative visualization, namely that one should not only visualize the forms and activities of the deities, but also be convinced that a result is produced thereby.

4. []’Bri gung chos mdzod chen mo, TBRC W00JW501203, vol. 48, pp. 321‒327.

5. []gSung ‘bum, TBRC W23891, vol. 7, pp. 676‒682.

6. []’Bri gung chos mdzod chen mo, vol. 10, no. 814.

Tibetan text of Jigten Sumgön’s instructions on the samadhi empowerment

༄།།ཏིང་ངེ་འཛིན་གྱི་དབང་བསྐུར་གྱི་གདམས་པ༎ ཡང་བླ་མ་རིན་པོ་

ཆེའི་ཞལ་ནས། ཏིང་ངེ་འཛིན་གྱི་དབང་བསྐུར་འདི་ཤིན་ཏུ་ཟབ་པ་ཡིན།

དེ་ཡང་སྟན་བདེ་བའི་སྟེང་དུ་འཁྲུལ་འཁོར་ལེགས་པར་བཅའ། སེམས་

བསྐྱེད་ལུས་ཡི་དམ་གྱི་ལྷར་ཝལ་གྱིས་བསྒོམ། དེ་ལྟར་སྒོམ་པའི་སྨིན་མཚམས་

ཀྱི་ཐད་སོའི་མདུན་གྱི་ནམ་མཁའ་ལ་གདན་བཞི་བརྩེགས་ཀྱི་སྟེང་དུ། རང་

གི་རྩ་བའི་བླ་མ་བཞུགས་པར་བསམ། སྐུའི་རྣམ་པ་ནི་བཅོམ་ལྡན་འདས་རྡོ་

རྗེ་འཆང་ཆེན་པོ། ཡུམ་རྡོ་རྗེ་རྣལ་འབྱོར་མ་དང་གཉིས་སུ་མེད་ཅིང་སྙོམས་

པར་ཞུགས་པ། རུས་པའི་རྒྱན་དྲུག་ལ་སོགས་པའི་རྒྱན་ཆ་ལུགས་དང་ལྡན་པ།

མདོར་ན་བླ་མ་ཧེ་རུ་ཀའི་སྐུར་ཝལ་གྱིས་བསྒོམ། དེ་ནས་ཕྱི་ནང་གསང་གསུམ་


དེའི་རྗེས་ལ་བླ་མ་རྡོ་རྗེ་འཛིན་པ་ཆེན་པོས། བདག་ལ་དབང་བསྐུར་བར་མཛད་

དུ་གསོལ། ཞེས་གསོལ་བ་ལན་གསུམ་གདབ། དེ་ནས་བླ་མ་ཡབ་ཡུམ་གྱི་སྨིན་

མཚམས་ནས། འོད་ཟེར་དཀར་པོ་བྱོན་ནས་རང་ཉིད་ཀྱི་སྨིན་མཚམས་སུ་ཐིམ་

པས་ལུས་ཀྱི་སྒྲིབ་པ་ཐམས་ཅད་སངས་ཀྱིས་དག་པར་བསམ། བུམ་པའི་དབང་

ཐོབ། བདག་ཉིད་སངས་རྒྱས་ཐམས་ཅད་ཀྱི་སྐུའི་ངོ་བོ། ལུས་ལྷའི་དལ་ཡིན་པ་

ལ། དེ་ལྟར་རྟོགས་པ་རེ་དགའ་སྙམ་དུ་བསམ། ཡང་བླ་མ་ཡབ་ཡུམ་སྙོམས་པར་

ཞུགས། སྦྱོར་མཚམས་ནས་འོད་ཟེར་དཀར་ལ་དམར་བའི་མདངས་ཆགས་པའི་

རྣམ་པར་བྱོན་ནས་རང་ཉིད་ཀྱི་མགྲིན་པར་ཐིམ་པས། ངག་གི་སྒྲིབ་པ་དག་

གསང་བའི་དབང་ཐོབ། བདག་ཉིད་སངས་རྒྱས་ཐམས་ཅད་ཀྱི་གསུང་གི་ངོ་བོ་

ངག་གྲགས་སྟོང་སྔགས་ཀྱི་རང་བཞིན་ཡིན་པ་ལ། དེ་ལྟར་རྟོགས་པ་དེ་རེ་

དགའ་སྙམ་དུ་བསམ། བླ་མ་ཡབ་ཡུམ་གྱི་ཐུགས་ཀ་ནས་འོད་ཟེར་སྔོན་པོ་བྱོན་

ནས་རང་ཉིད་ཀྱི་སྙིང་གར་ཐིམ་པས། ཡིད་ཀྱི་སྒྲིབ་པ་དག་ཤེས་རབ་ཡེ་ཤེས་ཀྱི་

དབང་ཐོབ། བདག་ཉིད་སངས་རྒྱས་ཐམས་ཅད་ཀྱི་ཐུགས་ཀྱི་རང་བཞིན་སེམས་

ཉིད་གདོད་མ་ནས་མ་སྐྱེས་པ། སྐྱེ་འགག་གནས་གསུམ་དང་བྲལ་བ་ཡིན་པ་ལ།

དེ་ལྟར་རྟོགས་པ་རེ་དགའ་སྙམ་དུ་བསམ། དེ་ནས་བླ་མ་ཧེ་རུ་ཀ་ཡབ་ཡུམ་འོད་

ཟེར་ཁ་དོག་སྣ་ཚོགས་སུ་གྱུར་ནས། རང་ཉིད་ཀྱི་སྤྱི་བོ་ནས་ལུས་ལ་ཐིམ་པས། ལུས་


ཐོབ། བདག་ཉིད་དུས་གསུམ་གྱི་སངས་རྒྱས་ཐམས་ཅད་ཀྱི་སྐུ་གསུང་ཐུགས་གཉིས་

སུ་མེད་པའི་ཡེ་ཤེས་ཀྱི་ངོ་བོ་མཉམ་པ་ཉིད་ལྷུན་གྱིས་གྲུབ་པ་ཡིན་པ་ལ། དེ་ལྟར་

རྟོགས་པ་རེ་དགའ་སྙམ་དུ་བསམ། དེ་ནས་དེ་ཉིད་ཀྱི་ངང་དུ་ཕྱག་རྒྱ་ཆེན་པོ་ལྷན་

གྱིས་མཉམ་པར་བཞག་རྗེས་དེར་དགེ་བའི་རྩ་བ་བསྔོ་བ་བྱ། དེ་ལྟར་ཏིང་ངེ་འཛིན་


བླངས་ན། ཏིང་ངེ་འཛིན་གསལ་ན་དབང་བཞི་ཐོབ་པ་དང་བྱིན་རླབས་ཁྱད་མེད།

དམ་ཚིག་གི་འགལ་འཁྲུལ་ཆགས་ཉམས་ཐམས་ཅད་སོར་ཆུད་ནས། ཁམས་བཟང་

ཞིང་དགེ་སྦྱོར་འཕེལ་བ་ལགས་པས། དེ་ལྟར་ཐུགས་ལ་བཞག་ནས་ཉམས་སུ་ལེན་

པར་ཞུ་གསུངས༎ ༎


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