The Singapore Buddha Sasana Society (Sakya Tenphel Ling)

Maha Vairocana

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The Bhagavan Maha Vairocana is regarded as the Sambhogakaya or enjoyment body of the historic Lord Buddha Sakyamuni. In this subtle body of limitless form, the “Great one who comes from the sun” translated from Sanskrit resides in the highest pure realm of Akanistha.

He is hailed as the primordial Buddha of great purity and peace大日如來 (Dàrì Rúlái) or毘盧遮那佛 in the Chinese schools of Buddhism, and a universal Buddha of great merits – the source of all Buddha as explained in the Mahāvairocana-abhisaṃbodhi-tantra or more fully as the Mahāvairocana Abhisaṃbodhi Vikurvita Adhiṣṭhāna Tantra a member of the Yoga Tantra, class of Tantras. Many buddhas issue forth from his Usnisha, Bodhisattvas from various parts of his Body, Mahakala from his heart, pratyeka buddhas from his knees so on and so forth.

Here, the source of all Buddhas should not be taken as Godhead but as the pure naked awareness and the enlightened state that we all posses since beginningless time.

In this majestic form of the highest merits, the Bhagavan posses four faces and sits upon a moon cushion upheld by a million golden stamens in the heart of a thousand petal lotus of the purest white. He wears a crown with precious jewels and jeweled tassels with armlets, bracelets, anklets and girdle in filigree of the finest gold studded with enormous amount of precious stones emitting rays of 5 colours with his first pair of hands in equipoise holding a golden Dharma wheel.

This Buddha is described as the One who has no back no front and is of a panoramic vision simultaneously perceiving all directions, a symbolic expression of the openness of consciousness transcending even the aggregate of consciousness.

The residing place of this most holy and pure Bhagavan is an auspicious square palace adorned with beautiful jeweled streamers, august victory banners, rubies as huge as mandarin oranges, diamonds, gold, turquoise and topped with splendid dome; again similar to the Lord himself. This magnificent palace though it is within the shape described however one can see no end nor fringe nor sides. This opulent sight comes third only after the Lord and retinues who are also dripping with jewels and layers of finest white silk.

This magnificent grandeur and most subtle form of the Buddha can only be perceived directly by other Buddhas and highly realised Bodhisattvas of immense merit. Out of great compassion, the Bhagavan taught the tantra to Samanthabadra and the rest of the great 8 bodhisattvas such as Avalokitesvara, Ksitigarbha, Akarsagarbha and the like. In the tantra, the Bhagavan taught the preliminary, application, and accomplishment and the 3 mandalas corresponding to the body speech and mind of Maha Vairocana.

It is said to view this very auspicious and wondrous Mandala complete with residence such as the historic Buddha Shakyamuni the great 8 bodhisattvas along with consorts, attendants, servants and protectors, one would purify kalpas of bad karmic debts, all of one’s obstacles are removed, one will be endowed with wisdom, merits, beauty and faith.

The Mahāvairocana Tantra is the first true Buddhist tantra, the earliest comprehensive manual of tantric Buddhism. It was probably composed in the middle of the 7th century, in all probability in north-eastern India. The authenticity of the age is evident in that Tara regally bedecked with jewels of all kinds dressed in fresh white silk is placed on the right side slightly lower than the Lord Avalokistvara in the Mandala.

Unlike other sutra and tantra, this Mahāvairocana Abhisaṃbodhi Vikurvita Adhiṣṭhāna Tantra does not begin with ‘thus have I heard,’ which denotes the time and place traceable back to the historic Buddha Shakyamuni. The tantra begins with a dialogue between the Lord and Vajrasattva and largely the Bodhisattva Vajrapani who clarifies and request for further elucidation of the teachings.

The tantra is also written in a dissimilar fashion like other tantras which is coded and filled with double meaning or hidden meaning.

The Mahāvairocana Abhisaṃbodhi Vikurvita Adhiṣṭhāna Tantra is written in a very straight forward form though one reading must be familiar with the association of mudras and the various systems.

Finally, though one has realized the true emptiness of the individual and phenomena, one does not yet realize that the natural state of mind is the Tathagata’s inherent Awareness and that it is the all-pervasive Body of Vairocana with all the manifested Buddha realms. Therefore one must transcend even emptiness with the emptiness of emptiness, when it is seen that the mind is primordially unborn and unarisen, quoted from a scholarly resource of the Tantra. This much can be revealed of the tantra for now.

The Importance of the MahaVairocana Changchog for the deceased

Introduction: The MahaVairocana Changchog is a very profound ritual to perform. If it is conducted by a very qualified Lama, it bestows great benefit to the participants and the deceased. This Ritual has always been grand in our Centre. Yearly, a sizeable crowd is present to pay their respect to their loved ones who had passed away, as this is the best and effective way to continue our show of gratefulness and care for them.  We wish them to part from suffering and are liberated to the Buddha realm. This is the best gift we can offer to one who had loved and taken care of us for all their life.

Gathering of the like–minded for the Ritual: In such a large crowd that stay so focus with a sincere heart on the intention to care and love the deceased, wishing them a better rebirth, coupled with the effective ritualistic activities done by the qualified lamas , the conditions generated will result in great benefit for the deceased as well as all the participants. The extremely effective nature of this ritual was once mentioned by His Eminence the late Chogye Trichen Rinpoche who commented that just by looking at the hand gestures/mudras) during a Mahavairochana Ritual, oneself can purify countless aeons of impurities and bad karma.  Therefore, such pujas are of great benefit if performed for the public to view

Every year we will organize Mahavairocana Chang Chog program for the deceased during the 7th month Hungry Ghost Festival for 3 to 5 days (around the 15th  day of the 7th lunar month) Here we have a chance to view it 3 to 5 times. The elaborate Mahavairochana Chang Chog is 4 Hour long and  will be performed by monks from the Sakya Centre 7ith a qualified Dorjee Loppon.

Therefore do make yourself free to attend this coming ritual especially the final day where the mingjang purification papers are burnt to liberate the Deceased.
The Mahavairocana Changchog Ritual Procedure

The gist of the  Ritual Procedure: During this Chang Chog Puja, the Consecration Vase is transformed into a Celestial Mansion with Mahavairochana inside.  The ritual master then receives self empowerment (Those attending will be able to partake of the water in the Vase at the Self-empowerment section).  The Deceased Name’s consciousness will then be invoked and given the Mahavairocana Empowerment, and will be lead to the pure Buddha realm by the ritual master.  The ritual master must be a person who has performed many retreats, especially that of Hevajra and Mahavairochana, and the meditative concentration of the ritual master must be very developed.

The Sponsor ‘s Deceased Names will be put up with a special set of Tibetan style offerings (the five sense offerings – mirror for form, scented water for smell, musical instrument for hearing, food for taste and cloth for touch) during the rituals.

How it begins:  Historically the Fully Enlightened Buddha first taught the Maha- Vairocana Sarva Durgati  Parishoddhani  Tantra at the request of the Devas in the Thirty-Three Realm in order to rescue a certain Devaputra named Manivimala who was born in a lower rebirth. When the Buddha was giving teaching on this Tantra, light rays issued from the middle of His eye brows which liberated uncountable sentient beings including Devaputra Manivimala from their bondage of defilements and all were established into perfect happiness.

Though in reality there is no difference in the inconceivable activities of all the Buddhas regarding their effect, however this Tantra is exceptionally powerful in purifying misdeeds of the dead since all teachings are taught to fulfil the needs of individual sentient being in accordance to their intelligence and predisposition.

Brief Ritual Procedure for the Devotees:  In order to instil faith amongst the participating devotees a brief outline of the procedures of its ritual & its unsurpassable benefits are provided for them to follow.
  • Blessing of the materially-displayed-offerings into clouds of unsurpassable offerings.
  • Taking refuge and the Development of Enlightenment thought.
  • Self-Creation of the deity and all sounds as the nature of its Mantra, which is the root of the Secret Mantra Vajrayana Path.
  • Preparation of the initiation.
  • Process of generating deities in the victorious vase who are then dissolved and blessed into the nature of nectar to purify the misdeeds of the deceased.
  • Process of generating deities in the front Mandala to request to fulfil their enlightened activities and propitiating them through performing their hand gestures to honour their pledges so that all living beings including the pacific object of dedication, the deceased, to be freed from the suffering of lower rebirths.
  • Process of displaying material offerings and extensive offerings of mental creation which equal the offerings of Bodhisattva Samantabhadra in order to accumulate the Collection of Merits.
  • Chanting of versified eulogies of all the deities by performing their hand gestures.
  • Dedication of Torma offerings to the worldly deities asking them to assist to flourish the teaching of the Buddha, to bring peace and happiness in the world and to pacify all the obstacles of all Dharma practitioners.
  • Appeasing of the hosts of evil beings by dedicating Torma and expelling the- to the far distance.
  • Process of initiating the self from the mandala in preparation to bestow initiation to the deceased and to perform the ritual of water purification.
  • Invocation of the consciousness of the deceased into the symbol of the consciousness and the Name Purification Paper (Mingjang).
  • Expulsion of the hosts of evil beings in the far distance who shortened the lifespan of the deceased and those who may interfer the ritual of purifying the misdeeds of the deceased.
  • Invocation ofkthe misdeeds of the deceased which are first absorbed into sesame seeds and are then ceremoniously burnt into the ritual fire.
  • Performance of the water purification ritual to the symbol of the consciousness and to the Name Purification Paper (Mingjang) by casting the spell of the Truth of the Triple Gem.
  • Introduction of the Bardo, the Intermediate State, to the consciousness of the deceased.
  • Conferring the initiation to the deceased and transforming him or her into Vajrasattva.
  • Visualize, out of the state of emptiness, the deceased appear as Vajrasattva and followed by offerings and praises.
  • Ejecting the consciousness of the deceased into the space
  • The Name Purification Paper (Mingjang) and the symbol of the body of the deceased with the collection of the negative Karmas are then burnt into the ritual fire, which is the nature of the transcendental wisdom of emptiness.
  • The consciousness of the deceased which is the nature of Vajrasattva is sent off to the Sukhavati realm with fervent prayers for a happy and quick rebirth.
  • Thanksgiving offering to the deities of the Mandala followed by praises and invocation of auspicious conditions conclude the ritual.
  • If one performs the complete stages of Preparation, the Actual ritual and its concluding attributes, which is the unmistaken and unfabricated ritual for the purpose of purifying the misdeeds of the deceased according to the authentic tradition, it will benefit the deceased even if he or she has already found rebirth in any of the six realms of existence. It is said in the Tantra that even if the deceased has already attained Enlightenment, it will enh!nce His or Her Enlightened activities and will benefit other sentient beings.
  • Even if one thousand years has elapsed since the relative (or anyone) had died, whatever meritorious deeds that are dedicated for the dead, will benefit them in whatever way also.
(This was taught by His Eminence Luding Khenchen Rinpoche and was translated into English by Lama Choedak T. Yuthok at the Sakya Choephel Ling, Kuching on November 1991.)