The daily sadhana provided a focus exactly at a time when I was adrift with my own attempts at dharma practice. The word ‘sadhana’ is Sanskrit and has been variously translated into English as, ‘practice, effort, discipline, effective means of accomplishment’ and several other terms. A sadhana is essentially a spiritual practice. One who performs sadhana is sometimes referred to as a ‘sadhaka’.
The Vajrasattva sadhana I received an empowerment for includes a series of meditations and visualizations, the chanting of a specific mantra and various aspiration prayers. The yidam (aka deity – which has a technical meaning that I will explain in a future post) is Vajrasattva (called Dorje Sempa in Tibetan). Vajrasattva is a Buddha of Purification. The name Vajrasattva can be translated into English as something like ‘Indestructible Reality’ (‘Vajra’ meaning indestructible, adamantine, diamond-like and other similar terms. ‘Sattva’ meaning reality, being, essence, purity and other similar terms).
After about two months of – more or less – a daily practice of Vajrasattva I decided to visit Drepung Loseling again for teachings on meditation. I discovered that Geshe Lobsang Tenzin was offering instruction on shamatha (‘calm abiding’) meditation . I attended an introductory session which I found to be very helpful. I began to do a short session of shamatha meditation both before and after my Vajrasattva sadhana. Overtime I also memorized the 100 syllable mantra associated with the Vajrasattva sadhana and began to chant this throughout the day even outside of the context of the sadhana (i.e. while driving to and from work, on breaks, whenever I had a moment and remembered to do so, etc)
Through Drepung Loseling I found out that His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama was coming to visit Atlanta that October (2007). I attended the public talk given by His Holiness at Centennial Olympic Park. The title of his talk was, ‘Educating the Heart and Mind: A Path to Universal Responsibility.’ You can watch the videos of this event here.
The talk was very inspiring and this was the first time I had the good fortune to see the Dalai Lama speak in person. May His Holiness have a long life and continue to benefit all beings.
OM MANI PADME HUM
Continued in part 8…