Training in the Channels and Winds, and Purifying Through the Descent of Nectar
Advice by Garchen Rinpoche
Due to the pandemic, lockdowns have been mandated throughout the world, and travelers must undergo quarantines. As a result, since many people are frustrated and may become idle spending their time on aimless activities, I would like to explain for them a method of practicing the meditation and recitation of Vajrasattva.
In general, the way the meditation and recitation of Vajrasattva is practiced in the context of the Ngöndro preliminary practice is from an external perspective. What I will share with you is the internal way of practicing the meditation and recitation of Vajrasattva from the perspective of my own experience.
Inside your naked body, first visualize the central channel and the four chakras connected to it. From the chakras, many smaller channels radiate throughout the rest of the body. Thus, think of your body containing a system of channels. This is also how it actually is.
Then hold the winds below the navel. This is how to do it: First, inhale through both nostrils and let the winds descend through the right and left channels. When pressing the winds downward, the belly does not expand. But this alone will not cause the winds to enter into the central channel. At the same time, draw the lower winds upward. In this way, the upper and lower winds come together to form a spherical reliquary below the navel. This is when the winds enter into the central channel. Then the winds have to enter all of the other channels. In addition to filling all of the coarse and subtle channels, imagine the winds reaching each and every one of your pores and exiting as a cool current of wind. You will actually feel a slight, cool current of wind flowing out from your pores. The essential key is to have a conscious experience of practice. Then, when you exhale, think that the winds have left all the channels. It is important to train in the winds in this way for a day or a session.
After that, visualize a large lotus flower at about the width of four fingers above your crown. On top of it sits Vajrasattva with consort about the size of a person. They are unadorned and naked like Samantabhadra with consort. Think that the empty lotus stem runs into the central channel through your crown. Recite the mantra while visualizing a white hūṁ̆ at Vajrasattva’s heart on a moon disk surrounded by the four syllables oṁ̆ vajrasattva (om̆̇-vajra-sa-tva) arranged in a clockwise manner, and the mantra garland also circles in a clockwise direction. As the mantra garland revolves increasingly faster, it emits a stream of white nectar which flows through their place of union and leaves through their pores. The nectar fills the lotus seat, flows through its stem, enters your central channel, and completely fills the four chakras and all of the finer channels. From every pore of your body, rainbow-like nectar flows outward to where it satisfies and appeases the many billions of suffering sentient beings; mainly the male and female karmic creditors. Finally, think that their egoistic grasping at “I” is pacified and they are absorbed into the vast expanse of nectar. Practice the visualization and recitation in this way from within a state of great compassion.
That referred to as the ‘negativities and obscurations’ that are to be purified, are nothing else but self-grasping. The Buddha has said, “Sentient beings themselves are buddhas. However, they are obscured by adventitious stains.” The adventitious stain is self-grasping. In order to purify it, you need love and compassion and a mind that cherishes others more than yourself. It is taught that shedding even a single teardrop out of compassion for others purifies the negativities and obscurations accumulated in eons. If you have compassion, you will gradually be able to realize the meaning of selflessness. Therefore, it is extremely important to train your mind in the four immeasurables of which you should principally practice immeasurable love. If you do not give rise to a mind of love, then your recitations of the four immeasurables are only empty words. If you do give rise to a mind of love, all four immeasurables are essentially included in it.
Thubten Nyima acted as the scribe of these words.
Translated by Ina Bieler and edited by Amber Moore in September 2021