Is there a point in talking about Vajrasattva? by Vladimir Montlevich
Here are seven points from the letter about Vajrasattva by V. Kovalyov and the answers to those by V. Montlevich.
1. “I am not a Buddhist! – V.M(ontlevich)”, 1990-92
A.: Dandaron is an outstanding Buddhist in the classic sense of the word; the evidence to that is his canonic articles.
Dandaron is a yogi, as the mastership of his dhyāna blazed with results of his vipaśyanā.
Furthermore, and this is the main point, he is a Bodhisattva-Mahasattva, as he preached in Russia.
Dandaron is a hero, Vira, Dak, as he tore the horizon not being burdened by the Canon dogma, but he always guessed all the intuitions of the contemporary time, and in this, as he exactly put it himself, he was a Neo-Buddhist.
The longing for perception, not obstructed by any dogma borders, using any possible ideas from all the spheres of knowledge and from one’s own preconceptions, lets a Buddhist exclaim: “I am not a Buddhist!” That is what was done.
2. Garab Dorje did not have any Buddhist-teacher, as there was none whatsoever.
This is a direct arrival of Vajrasattva in the Buddhist land.
A.: The land of Garab Dorje could hardly be Buddhist. According to the legend, his teachers were the Daikini Dakini ? (we would call them ‘local witches’). The sermon was conducted by Vajrasattva; that means that the name had already been known, not as the name proper, but as a principle of fire dedication, or much calmly and more exact, as a principle of ‘indestructibility of the living’ (indestructibility of consciousness).
I repeat, and this is important: Vajrasattva had been known before Garab. He emerged in the enlightenment and was recognized; and later incarnated in him as if in the first one who had realized the principle of vajra sattva.
The peculiarity of Garab is not that he was the first to understand vajra sattva (an innumerable host of people had understood that long before he did), and is not that he identified himself with this principle, i.e., personified Vajrasattva in himself; but that he understood that it could be done instantaneously. Garab is not the first Vajrasattva, but the first dzogchen according to its underlying principle.
Vajrasattva does not have the beginning, as he is the Primodial Buddha who is usually referred to as Samantabhadra when wanting to emphasize the permanence of Vajrasattva.
As soon as akasha has run into the metric, in its smoothness, one can feel ratnas, or hollow bindus, i.e. life seeds. This is Samantabhadra in the form of Samantabhadra-Samantabhadri (emerged as a feeling in the abyss of Śūnyatā, inseparable from Vairocana and Vajrasattva) who showed himself as his own child – hypersphere, binda, ratna, etc., according to Padmasambhava. He himself personifies both Father and Mother, and Son, all in one. This is Trikāya.
And just here, on the equator of ratna, on the advent of events, which is the spot for a topological catastrophy in the Vajrasattva matra (there, where /SU TO shYO ME BHa BA/ shifts into /SU PO shYO ME BHa BA/, Hayagriva fluttered his wings – the world started its flight.
Space, thigle, Śūnyatā, Trikāya, Damdin, and his Majesty tactile sense in any of its form – thinking, seeing, hearing, smelling, tasting, and, finally, the most important and generalizing – TOUCHING, becoming familiar, being honoured – are screaming about the Body. And therefore, not the principle of vajra sattva (Thought), not the name of Vajrasattva (Speech-Word), but the Body of his in the beginning was anonymous and unreflecting.
This primordial feeling in the abyss of Śūnyatā, or a flash of Samantabhadra, is the body of Vajrasattva, or the forefather of all Buddhas.
A divine membrane, the Mirror on the border of ratna, is Vajrasattva’s Speech or Vairocana.
The primordial thought I am – the Thought of Vajrasattva, or, as the Nyingma masters put it, an Only Son of All Buddhas.
All together makes Vajrasattva – ZHIV PROSTOJ/ALIVE, SIMPLE. Everything began like that, in case there was a beginning; as a beginning happens every moment, just now, definitely. Thereat, as known, it is split into eternal past, inviting future and escaping present. He who runs along the wave of present, whose nature is Speech, who does not re-check the thought by another thought, but he who risks and enjoys the edge of Cognition directly in the Word, he pulls Trikāya into the Present.
He is red, made white-hot! Inviting and not burning, acquiring the Body, in the patterned clothes of the Thought.
There are no contradictions anywhere. Everything is gleaming like the live Body of Reality. The same is for OM A HUM. Where is the Thought, where is the Body, where is the Speech?
Samantabhadra’s seeds (the only Son of all the Buddhas), the bindu of Vajrasattva’s heart, consist of the upper semi-sphere: the Sun, Central Rosette, Stupa and the lower semi-sphere – the Moon (Prajñā), Outer Rosette, kapala. Together, they form the third, that is binda. This is like a lentil of a Tibetan amulet; everywhere is the central channel, where the membrane of the Thinking Reed is found. It is important that the Bright Light of Bodhicitta’s akasha, the explosive dynamics of Vajra’s Space, can easily penetrate the membrane. So these symbols were mounted by Radja Sobak. But, perhaps,Vajrasattva himself told him that. It does not matter.
3. A possibility of Buddhist teaching not being based on Śākyamuni.
A.: Everything which does not go back to Śākyamuni may be called anyhow and does not have to be called Buddhism. But everything emerged spontaneously without Buddhist roots, explained by the Buddhist language, does definitely transform into a Buddhist teaching tracable to Śākyamuni. There is no more perfect language than the language of Dharma.
4. This may lead to an increase in creative Erethism
A.: It has always been like that in Russia. When the State and the Church exist, which also includes Buddhist temples, this will not lead to Erethism, which can damage the Russian ethnic genotype of perception. It is the strongest of all.
If you understand the four seals of Buddhism -
Anitya, or impermanence
Anatta, or an absence of an independent essence of phenomena
Dukkha, or dissatisfaction of existence
Nirodkha, or the intercrossing of sufferings –
then you are a Buddhist. If you accept them, you adhere to a certain school. But if you do not accept the four seals, you are out of Dharma.
5. Vajrasattvayana is the fifth (first) Buddhist school.
A.: It is neither first nor fifth, but eternal, permanent, as it is life itself. Therefore, no one speaks about it. People just live. “In the West, cows are grazing; in the East, the Khudun is flowing; in the South, a stream of cars is moving; a cold wind is blowing from the North. But I am standing in the centre and p(eeing). This is mandala.” These words were once said by Alexander Zheleznov to Batodalai Dugarov. Should one then look for Akhanishtha anywhere else? Here they are, Sukhavati and Tushita; they are here in Strugah (any place of being at the very moment).
6. Any Yidam is just a method. But Vajrasattva is not!
A.: Yes, this is true. But what or who is Vajrasattva?
Vajrasattva is the deep-set essence of consciousness; a mystery of personal existence.
Vairocana can say about himself – “am”. Vajrasattva definitely says – “I am!” This ‘I’ of Vajrasattva is not the ‘I’ of an individual. It is a proud ‘I’of a teacher, and if necessary, of Yidam.
Vajrasattva can become any Yidam and this way represent himself as a method.
Vajrasattva is the brightest seal of Existence this time. Therefore he is an personification of Mahāmudrā.
Vajrasattva is a matrix, a form of the highest form of life in this very akasha phantom. Here and now, akasha can be seen as life, exceptionally in the form of and likeVajrasattva.
There is no point, although it is very fascinating, in searching for data about Vajrasattva’s origins in texts or in searching for his historical origins. Vajrasattva is rather a principle than a name. Vajrasattva’s origins are hidden behind the word ‘guhya’ (secret).
Vajrasattva is a word which became the name; a word, which became sattva, a live conscious creature.
Having a conversation with V. Ushakov
Vajrasattva is not indigenous to India. Neither its temperament, emotional charge nor calm world outlook of Vajrasattva correspond to passionate, sensual nature of Indian tantra or its assertive or maximalist views. Vajrasattva intruded Indian Buddhism at the brink of eras. He reached India from the territories closer to the Pamir, Tangshan and Hindu Kush, from the oases of the Great Silk Road. He matured, for instance, in East Turkestan (Kucha, Turpan, Yarkant County, Kashgar), inhabited among others by emigrants from India; or in the monasteries of Central Asia during the long centuries without wars, which came after the withdrawal of tired super activists of the Great Macedonian. The influence of this ‘northern’ Buddhist Mahasamayasattva was so enormous that he was implicitly incorporated into Buddhism of pre-Tantric India. With the development of Buddhist Tantra, the dual faith of the Naths, ‘hinduism’ of the Siddhis, Vajrasattva as an outsider was displaced from the leading position and got an honourable place in Tantras as a deity of purification practices. But all contemplators either from Tibet or China until very recently acknowledged Vajrasattva’s key and foundational role in the Buddhist tantra, its most accurate correspondence to Mahāyāna Buddhism in its Shunyavada and Cittamatra forms by body, speech, and thought. India still soaked in sensuality of matriarchal Devi-Kali and in the rage of a patriarchy despot Shiva-Bhairava is having fun and enjoying the passion of the hot ethnic mosaic.
7. Padmasambhava about Vajrasattva:
This non-meditation cannot be conceived.
This non-distraction is the clarity of essence.
The emptiness of manifistation is self-liberation.
The emptiness of clarity is Dharmakāya.
When it becomes apparent
That you cannot find these on Buddha’s Way,
You will see Vajrasattva at the very moment.
A.: a) Nothing external can help manifest until it is perceived as external. Dharma, perceived as teaching, will not help until it is understood that Dharma is the Reality itself. Then it will be clear that it is not just about following the recipes by the certain personality called Shakyamuni, but about the law inside every one of us – Buddha is you! Such Buddha, of course, is called not Shakyamuni, his name is Vajrasattva. But it does not annihilate Shakyamuni’s Buddhism. Historic Buddha showed the estuary of Dharma’s funnel. And Vajrasattva is not at the side of it, but there, deep inside, behind the surgy rapids, where is a smooth surface of samadhi of Seeing Vajrasattva’s complete tranquility. This is the Eye of the World.
b) Padma, apparently, wrote this text right after his leaving Tibet, when his memories not only about Bon sabotage but also Indian pandits’ stubborn dogmatism were still fresh. But this is just an ironic supposition.
The order of Body-Speech-Thought should be understood. What can be called a Body and what a Thought is just of a methodological pattern. Trikaya doctrine sets the three body principle – the Body exists only if there is a Word and a Thought. So, it means that in the beginning there was Trikaya!
“Tantra is humour, sex, and danger”, said Y. Alexeyev in the 1970s. Tantra is a mixture of a strong and sophisticated sensuality and a calm analytical mind; the harmony between them is a game. This combination is a real pearl of individuality, and it can be encountered quite rarely, as can the pearl. Everything here is set in a Karmic way and very-very few are fit for this dangerous and sophisticated Way.
St Petersbourg, 2001