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Mantra Meditation

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Vajrasattva mantra of 100 syllables

This is the text of the 100-syllable mantra of Vajrasattva. You’ll find a link to an audio version of the mantra at the foot of this article. If you want to see the script for this mantra, visit the excellent article at Visible Mantra.

oṃ vajrasattva samayam
anupālaya
vajrasattva tvenopatiṣṭha
dṛḍho me bhava
sutoṣyo me bhava
supoṣyo me bhava
anurakto me bhava
sarva siddhiṃ me prayaccha
sarva karma su ca me
cittaṃ śreyaḥ kuru hūṃ
ha ha ha ha hoḥ
bhagavan sarva tathāgatavajra
mā me muñca
vajrī bhava mahā samaya sattva
aḥ (hūṃ phaṭ)

A symbol of the mind’s inherent purity

Vajrasattva’s name (Tib. dorje sempa) means “diamond being.” He represents the innate purity of the mind.

You can imagine your mind as being like a sky through which clouds pass. The clouds come and they go, but the sky remains untouched. The sky is inherently blue and clear, and although its blueness and clarity can be obscured it can never be destroyed. The clouds are like the greed, hatred, and delusion that pollute the mind. Because of the transient nature of these mental states, they cannot be said to be an inherent part of the mind. They may obscure the mind’s inherent awareness and compassion, but those qualities are never absent.

The meaning of the mantra

The mantra means:

Oṃ Vajrasattva! Preserve the bond!
As Vajrasattva stand before me.
Be firm for me.
Be greatly pleased for me.
Deeply nourish me.
Love me passionately.
Grant me siddhi in all things,
And in all actions make my mind most excellent. hūṃ!
ha ha ha ha ho!
Blessed One! Vajra of all the Tathāgatas! Do not abandon me.
Be the Vajra-bearer, Being of the Great Bond!
āḥ (hūṃ phaṭ)

Explanation of the mantra

  • Vessantara, in Meeting the Buddhas, suggests that in the first line (“Oṃ Vajrasattva! Preserve the bond!”) we are acknowledging our alienation from our true nature by calling upon Vajrasattva to preserve the bond, or samaya, whereby we do the Vajrasattva invocation regularly and Vajrasattva for his part responds by bestowing upon us the fruits of the practice. This “bond” represents a mutual commitment on the part of the practitioner and Vajrasattva. In psycho-spiritual terms, if you strive to realize your own innate purity, your innate purity will strive to manifest itself from the depths of the unconscious.
  • We then (“As Vajrasattva stand before me”) call upon Vajrasattva as a spiritual friend (kalyanamitra), to manifest in our meditation and in our lives.
  • We entreat Vajrasattva (“Be firm for me”) to be with us constantly. We are endeavoring to constantly come back to recognizing the mind’s true nature.
  • “Be greatly pleased for me. Deeply nourish me. Love me passionately.” Vajrasattva becomes more like an intimate friend or even a lover, and is no longer just a protector. He’s someone who knows us deeply and cares passionately for us. He is our own deepest nature, so at this stage in the mantra we’re experiencing a reunion with ourselves. In the words of the poet Derek Walcott, “You will love again the stranger who was your self.”
  • “Grant me siddhi in all things, And in all actions make my mind most excellent.” We now embody the qualities of Vajrasattva himself, and so to some extent we have become him. Siddhi is a Sanskrit word that literally means “perfection,” “accomplishment,” “attainment,” or “success,” and it refers to spiritual power attained through practice.
  • “Ha ha ha ha ho!” This is the joyful sound of liberation. These five syllables are also said to represent the five Buddha families, which are all emanations of Vajrasattva.
  • “Blessed One! Vajra of all the Tathāgatas! Do not abandon me.” Having experienced the innate purity of the mind, we aspire always to stay in touch with it. The “Tathāgatas” are the Buddhas, and the “Vajra of all the Tathāgatas” is the innately pure nature of the Awakened mind.
  • “Be the Vajra-bearer, Being of the Great Bond!” This suggests that we are imploring Vajrasattva to be means for and path to Enlightenment for all beings. He is the vajra-bearer (the representation of Awakening” for all sentient beings.
  • According to Vessantara, the syllable “hūṃ” is added to the mantra when someone has died, and the syllable “phaṭ” is added in order to subdue demons. Without the hūṃ and the phat the mantra has exatly 100 syllables.

About Vajrasattva

Vajrasattva

Vajrasattva sits above the Mandala of the Five Buddhas, which includes Akshobya, Ratnasambhava, Amitabha, Amoghasiddhi, and Vairocana. In some traditions he’s regarded as being the ādi-buddha, or the primordial Buddha from whom all other Buddhas emanate. If Vajrasattva is seen as being the mind’s innate purity, then his primordiality and his being the origin of the other Buddhas makes sense — all manifestations of Awakening are nothing more than a revealing of the mind’s innate awareness and compassion.

The most distinctive symbols associated with Vajrasattva are his bell and vajra (or thunderbolt). The bell represents wisdom, and the vajra represents the Bodhisattva’s upaya, or his skill in liberating beings by means of compassion.

Vajrasattva is generally white in color, representing his purity. He is dressed in the Bodhisattva robes of a prince, adorned with jewels, and with long flowing hair. He is eternally young, existing outside of time and space.

MP3 version of the Vajrasattva mantra, chanted by Bodhipaksa

You can listen to the 100 Syllable Mantra of Vajrasattva below, chanted by Bodhipaksa.

And here’s another version, this time chanted by Choden Rinpoche, a Tibetan teaching who was born in 1933 in eastern Tibet, and who teaches in the centers of the Gelug FPMT (Foundation for the Preservation of the Mahayana Tradition). You’ll hear that it’s the same basic mantra, chanted in a different style.

MP3 version of the mantra, chanted by Choden Rinpoche

Note

Needless to say there are many variants and corruptions of this mantra. The version at the start of this article is a “corrected” version of the mantra that was originally given to Sangharakshita by his teacher, Dudjom Rinpoche. The Sanskrit in that version had become slightly corrupted, and so the original Sanskrit was restored by Sanskrit scholar Sthiramati.

The text of the version chanted by Choden Rinpoche, above, is as follows:

Om vajrasatta samaya
Manupalaya
Vajrasattva denopa titha
Dido me bhava
Suto kayo me bhava
Supo kayo me bhava,
Anurakto me bhava
Sarva siddhi me prayatsa
Sarva karma su tsame
Tsittam shriyam kuru hum
Ha ha ha ha ho
Bhagavan sarva tathagata
Vajra mame muntsa
Vajra bhava
Maha samaya sattva
Ah hum phet

If you compare this with the corrected version above you’ll see that a lot of distortions have crept into the Tibetan version because of the transliteration from Sanskrit, to Tibetan, back to English.

Comments

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Comment from jayarava
Time: April 22, 2009, 1:56 am

Hi Bodhipaksa

The explanation in Vessantara’s book also come from Sthiramati’s corrected text and translation. It was in an article in the old Order Journal which became the Western Buddhist Review. Padmaloka have a copy of the journal.

Cheers
Jayarava

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Comment from Mar
Time: April 29, 2009, 11:43 am

I actually have one question. I follow the Diamond-Way tradition and have been taught that the bell represents the feminine energy (wisdom) and the dorje or vajra represents the masculine energy (compassion), however in this article, it is described the other way around.

Could you please clarify this? Thank you! I really have enjoyed this article!

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Comment from Bodhipaksa
Time: April 29, 2009, 2:27 pm

I’m glad you enjoyed the article. Yesterday I used my daughter’s name to address my iguana. Sometimes the mind means to say or write one thing, but something totally different comes out. You are of course correct, and I’ve amended the article. Thanks for spotting that, Yoda. I mean Maia. I mean Mar.

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Comment from Maria Elena Guevara
Time: July 26, 2009, 11:22 am

I think that before the line “anurakto me ….bhava” and after “sutokayo….bhava”, there is a missing line.
I love this space.
Thx
Maria

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Comment from Bodhipaksa
Time: July 26, 2009, 11:34 am

Thanks, Maria. Yes, there was an editing error, which I’ve now fixed.

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Comment from Paul W. Jones
Time: September 6, 2010, 4:32 pm

Hello:
I there a rule of thumb on how long it shold take a repetition of the 100 syllable mantra (108:1 rosary) When I began 108 reps would take almost an hout.. after about 10,000 I found i was completeing the same in about half an hour.. I seem to get great effect and am surprised at the quickening pace.. Has anyone else had this experience.. Should i make an effort to slow down?
Tanks for the article and comments.

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Comment from sunrose maskey
Time: December 4, 2010, 1:45 am

i suggest you to add more mantras like namo ratna traya ya for purification of deeds n karma

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Comment from Chandra Cheung
Time: January 12, 2011, 9:55 pm

Dear Mr. Jones…. thanks for sharing the experience….
that information would be great….

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Comment from Rayno
Time: February 5, 2011, 10:48 pm

Is that true this mantra can purify my bad karma? How is the process?

thanks

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Comment from Bodhipaksa
Time: February 6, 2011, 3:13 pm

Hi, Rayno,

“Purifying bad karma” isn’t anything magical. It’s just another way of saying “cultivate positive states of mind (and insight), and get rid of greed, hatred, and delusion.”

All spiritual practice purifies bad karma. I’ve explained elsewhere how mantras work as a spiritual practice, but in essence when you’re chanting a mantra you’re developing mindfulness and faith, and preventing the mind from indulging in negative mental states.

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Comment from Cherie
Time: October 16, 2011, 2:02 pm

I have gone back to this page many a time and am so grateful to you for this. The MP3 you chant used to loop … can you loop it again? Please :)

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Comment from Bodhipaksa
Time: October 16, 2011, 3:53 pm

Thanks for your kind comments.

To be honest I don’t know which MP3 file that would be. I didn’t know we ever had any files looped.

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Comment from Cherie
Time: October 17, 2011, 2:20 pm

It’s the one above: “MP3 version of the mantra, chanted by Bodhipaksa
You can listen to the 100 Syllable Mantra of Vajrasattva below, chanted by Bodhipaksa.” … when I used to click the play button it would loop over and over, and that was how I learned the mantra. I guess that means I’ll just have to chant it myself now ;)

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Comment from Bodhipaksa
Time: October 17, 2011, 2:38 pm

All I can say is that it wasn’t supposed to do that, so I guess you just lucked out :)

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Comment from Cherie
Time: October 17, 2011, 2:50 pm

I certainly did … it would play for hours on end :).

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Comment from Mar
Time: October 17, 2011, 3:26 pm

Hahaha!!! Maia is actually MY daughter’s name, and I often call her Nala, which is actually our dog ;) Happily she does have a sense of humour!

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Comment from Bodhipaksa
Time: October 17, 2011, 3:32 pm

Oh, those names are confusingly similar!

It’s not as bad as my sister, though, who had (first) a cat she called Douglas, and (second) a fiance who happened to be called Douglas.

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Comment from amanda armita
Time: April 29, 2012, 10:15 pm

I was wondering if you know any mantras that will help succeed in an obstacle or help you basically over come an obstacle grant a specific wish something like that..Sometime’s the mind it self is not strong enough and you need the help of something bigger
?
thank’s

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Comment from Bodhipaksa
Time: April 29, 2012, 10:55 pm

Hi, Amanda.

I don’t think about mantras granting wishes, or anything like that, but they can help us overcome our perceived limitations and thus our obstacles. Any mantra that you’re drawn to can help you in this regard. I think it’s simply best to find a mantra that resonates with you, or a figure who resonates with you.

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Comment from Wijaya
Time: October 14, 2012, 3:01 am

Dear Bodhipaksa,
is it possible we can download the Audio of your recording, so we can save the audio in our mobile and chant it while we free. Appreciate your help..
i really enjoying reading this article.. may all who reading your article and listening to the audio, shall soon be free from Samsara and attain Budhahood for the benefit of all sentient Beings. :)

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Comment from cultivator
Time: February 20, 2013, 1:41 am

I chanted 10,000 times so far. It used to take me 1 hour for 108times, now it takes me 30mins. I think you get used to it and it gets faster each time. It gets easier for me each time. I have 90,000 more to go

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Comment from Amanda Fig
Time: June 11, 2013, 11:56 pm

Thank you for the article. I find it very helpful as I am a beginner. I am unable to open the mantra mp3. Could you please send me the link? Thanks again

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Comment from Tejaswinii Shende
Time: January 8, 2014, 3:15 am

Excellent , I am happy to visit your webside and reading and hering vajrasattava mantra,
Thanks

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Comment from Robbie
Time: February 3, 2014, 3:32 am

For repeating mantras right click on the mantra and then select ‘loop’

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Comment from samaya
Time: April 21, 2014, 5:09 am

i love mantras..thank you

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Comment from Aly
Time: October 10, 2014, 8:40 pm

I’m unclear on something. Which of the two Vajrasattvas mantras is the “corrected” version? Or, is one of the two versions “wrong”?

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Comment from Bodhipaksa
Time: October 11, 2014, 9:53 am

Ah, right. Apologies. The article had been edited, making it less clear what was being referred to as the “corrected” version. The one with the accurate Sanskrit is the one at the very start of the article. The version that’s below the two audio mantras is the corrupted Sanskrit version.

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Comment from Patty Johnson
Time: November 16, 2014, 12:05 am

Thank you so much. This has really deepened my practice. Beautifully expressed and inspiring!

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Comment from Eko
Time: December 16, 2014, 9:10 am

hi, i like to chant this mantra.
but someone said that it has to be transmitted or have an initiation first with the tantrayana guru
is it true ?

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Comment from Bodhipaksa
Time: December 16, 2014, 12:13 pm

“Vajrasattva mantra recitation and visualization may be undertaken merely within the context of sutra practice, before beginning any practice of tantra.” [Source]

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