Does one need initiation to recite Vajrasattva mantra?

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SeekerNo1000003
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Does one need initiation to recite Vajrasattva mantra?

Post by SeekerNo1000003 »

Does one need initiation for the recitation of long (and short) Vajrasattva mantra?

I came across this mantra years ago, just about the time I started exploring Buddhism. I was very enthusiastic and naive (a bad combination :)). I don't believe I even knew about initiations yet.

When I came across the long Vajrasattva mantra for the first time, I don't believe there was any clear information about whether or not initiation is required. (and of course I tried it out only to learn later that I may need initiation....Ooops. That made me very worried at the time.). I don't remember the details though... I would like to clarify this here, if you don't mind. I noticed an invitation to accumulate Vajrasattva mantras....I just think information about initiation would be nice/appreciated whenever mantra recitation is involved. Just an opinion. Thanks.
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Re: Does one need initiation to recite Vajrasattva mantra?

Post by kirtu »

No but you will get different views on this. Vajrasattva mantra is commonly recited during empowerment everywhere. However most people will in fact have had an empowerment before. Also many people will have had their lineage emporment or at least lung for the ngondro practices. So some linages will definitely respond yes on this. IMO best to recite the Vajrasattva six syllable mantra and leave the 100 syllable mantra until after you have whatever preliminary your lineage requires (this is not the same for each lineage BTW - I do not remember a Vajrasattva empowerment of any kind in Sakya but there definitely is in Palyul [Nyingma] and Gelug).

In English you could sum it up as yes and no, it depends (German: neijein - yes and no, it depends but more brief and elegant)

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Re: Does one need initiation to recite Vajrasattva mantra?

Post by Berry »

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Re: Does one need initiation to recite Vajrasattva mantra?

Post by Malcolm »

kirtu wrote: I do not remember a Vajrasattva empowerment of any kind in Sakya...
Yes, it does not exist.
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Re: Does one need initiation to recite Vajrasattva mantra?

Post by srivijaya »

SeekerNo1000003 wrote:Does one need initiation for the recitation of long (and short) Vajrasattva mantra?

I came across this mantra years ago, just about the time I started exploring Buddhism. I was very enthusiastic and naive (a bad combination :)). I don't believe I even knew about initiations yet.

When I came across the long Vajrasattva mantra for the first time, I don't believe there was any clear information about whether or not initiation is required. (and of course I tried it out only to learn later that I may need initiation....Ooops. That made me very worried at the time.). I don't remember the details though... I would like to clarify this here, if you don't mind. I noticed an invitation to accumulate Vajrasattva mantras....I just think information about initiation would be nice/appreciated whenever mantra recitation is involved. Just an opinion. Thanks.
I don't think so. The long mantra can be found in basic Buddhist material available to anyone. Like you, I was very enthusiastic about it, so I set about learning it. Nice mantra. :thumbsup:
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Challenge23
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Re: Does one need initiation to recite Vajrasattva mantra?

Post by Challenge23 »

Malcolm wrote:
kirtu wrote: I do not remember a Vajrasattva empowerment of any kind in Sakya...
Yes, it does not exist.
Interesting. Are you comfortable with speculating with why that is? I was under the impression that all of the schools had the same basic empowerments(such as Medicine Buddha and Vajrasattva) and ceremonies and differed mostly in regards to some of the more advanced concepts and how the basics are presented. For example, all of the schools have a Ngondro but the number of repetitions and exact wording differ from school to school.
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Re: Does one need initiation to recite Vajrasattva mantra?

Post by Malcolm »

Challenge23 wrote:
Malcolm wrote:
kirtu wrote: I do not remember a Vajrasattva empowerment of any kind in Sakya...
Yes, it does not exist.
Interesting. Are you comfortable with speculating with why that is? I was under the impression that all of the schools had the same basic empowerments(such as Medicine Buddha and Vajrasattva) and ceremonies and differed mostly in regards to some of the more advanced concepts and how the basics are presented. For example, all of the schools have a Ngondro but the number of repetitions and exact wording differ from school to school.
Because there is no initiation for Vajrasattva outside of Nyingma texts that come from India.
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Re: Does one need initiation to recite Vajrasattva mantra?

Post by Johnny Dangerous »

It was my understanding that HYT empowerment in Sakya confers the 'empowerment' for the Vajrasattva ngondro..however, we do the mantra itself without having that empowerment circumstantially it seems (like in some sadhana, or in the beginning of initiations i've had).

My understanding is that it was ok to do the mantra, but for the specific ngondro practice the HYT was needed. Even this i've heard different things on, TBH.

I remember having a talk with one of my teachers not that long ago about something seemingly unrelated - basically how to get the answers you need for a given thing in a bureaucracy, or simply in a large scale project where you have many different, possibly contradictory sources of information. Basically his advice was to find one qualified person whose advice you really trust, and stick with what that person says as a 'contact' for these questions. He wasn't specifically talking about this issue, but I think his advice makes sense in the context of this question as well.

Hate to give the "ask your teacher(s)" default answer for the OP..but really, it seems like the most definitive thing to me, in this kind of circumstance.
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Re: Does one need initiation to recite Vajrasattva mantra?

Post by Punya »

Because there is no initiation for Vajrasattva outside of Nyingma texts that come from India.
I'm curious what you mean by this Malcolm.

I'm aware of a number of Vajrasattva sadhana in Nyingma which I understand are derived from terma. I'm having trouble framing the question but what is the relationship between the initiation itself and the particular sadhana that a student is then expected to practice.

Is there some umbrella (for want of a better word) initiation for Vajrasattva, Vajrayogini or whatever and then the empowerment to practice a particular sadhana is derived from that?
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Re: Does one need initiation to recite Vajrasattva mantra?

Post by Malcolm »

Punya wrote:
Because there is no initiation for Vajrasattva outside of Nyingma texts that come from India.
I'm curious what you mean by this Malcolm.

I'm aware of a number of Vajrasattva sadhana in Nyingma which I understand are derived from terma. I'm having trouble framing the question but what is the relationship between the initiation itself and the particular sadhana that a student is then expected to practice.

Guhyagarbha is that ultimate source of Vajrasattva initiations in Nyingma.
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Re: Does one need initiation to recite Vajrasattva mantra?

Post by mire »

So do you mean that guyagharba tantra (magical net of vajrasattva) is a dorje sempa empowerment even though it is linked to shitro?
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Re: Does one need initiation to recite Vajrasattva mantra?

Post by Schrödinger’s Yidam »

My understanding is that, although there are a number of Vajrasattva empowerments in the Karma Kagyu, you do not need one to do that section of the NgonDro (which is on the level of Yoga Tantra). What you do need is Refuge and a tantric empowerment of some kind (HYT maybe?). Of course having the specific empowerment would only be of benefit.
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Re: Does one need initiation to recite Vajrasattva mantra?

Post by Fortyeightvows »

I am wondering what is the textual source of the mantra?
it is used both in tibetan and chinese buddhism. is it the mahavairocana sutra? I'm not sure
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Re: Does one need initiation to recite Vajrasattva mantra?

Post by Crazywisdom »

In Guhyagarbha Vajrasattva is the alt name of all the main deities.
Vajra fangs deliver vajra venom to your Mara body.
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Re: Does one need initiation to recite Vajrasattva mantra?

Post by ratna »

Fortyeightvows wrote:I am wondering what is the textual source of the mantra?
it is used both in tibetan and chinese buddhism. is it the mahavairocana sutra? I'm not sure
The Sarvatathāgatatattvasaṃgraha, for one.
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Re: Does one need initiation to recite Vajrasattva mantra?

Post by Fortyeightvows »

ratna wrote:
Fortyeightvows wrote:I am wondering what is the textual source of the mantra?
it is used both in tibetan and chinese buddhism. is it the mahavairocana sutra? I'm not sure
The Sarvatathāgatatattvasaṃgraha, for one.
Thank you very much friend.
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