Tantric Meditation and Vajrayogini (Bajrayogini)

by

Grandmaster Saroj Joshi

(Classical Bjarayogini dance from Nepal and Kungchido move “Bodhisi” performed by Saroj Joshi dedicated to Siddhartha Gautaum found some similarity accidentally)

Shankhu, or Sakwa, is a small and charming town located 16km to the east of Kathmandu. It is the oldest urban center in the valley. Shankhu once bustled as a terminal to an old trade route to Tibet. The sacred forests above the Shankhu village have hidden temple dedicated to the Tantric goddess, Bajrayogini.  

Shankhu was established in 1299 B.C. We know very little about the Shankhu.

Bajrayogini is also considered the form of Bajrabarahi female yidma, the highest level of yoga Tantra. Bajrayogini also represents the feminine form of Buddhism with highest level of the tantric value.

Dr. John K. Locke S. J.  writes in his article “Vajrayogini Temple of Samkhu:

“Vajrayogini is not so terrifying and she is not blue but red, which is the proper color of Vajrayogini. Yet she has been called Ugratara-Vajrayoginiat least since 1775 when King Pratap Malla of Kathmandu put up that inscription after he built the present temple. Perhaps the most that can be said is the she is a peculiarly Nepalese form of the terrifying Blue Tara, possibly based on an iconographic source that has been lost. There is a story that this Ugratara was brought to Nepal by Bengali priests about A. D. 1350. Whatever the truth of this story, the site is far more ancient. If the pilgrims turn from the main shrine to the smaller two-roofed temple to the right he begins a journey into the past and a much earlier tradition of Buddhism. The gilt torana over the main doorway depicts a late figure: the tantric form of Amitabha with three faces and twelve arms sitting in vajrasana on the peacock throne. He is flanked on his right by a four-armed female figure, Prajnaparamita and on his left by the Bodhisattva Avalokiteshvara. Together they symbolize the Three Jewels: the Buddha, the Dharma and the Sangha. Inside the temple, instead of an image, is a caitya over a thousand years old. This caitya points to the long history of this site and its other name: Gum Baha or Gum Vihara, “The Forest Monastery. An inscription of A. D. 608 put up by King Amsuvarma mentions a grant for Gum Vihara, one among many such institutions so favored by the king. The oldest and most reliable of the Nepalese chronicles, tells us that King Manadeva (A. D. 464-505) retired to Gum Vihara at one time to do penance. Later chronicles add that because of his penance a caitya arose there spontaneously, clearly a reference to this caitya which the people still call “a swayambhu catya” a self-existent caitya. A fragment of an inscription found at Sankhu. And from this same early period, refers to the “mahasanghika bhiksu sangha”, the community of Buddhist monks who follow the Mahasanghika tradition, the only reference from this period to a specific Buddhist school or sect.

 

 Scholars speculate that the monastery is probably even older than this period. Many     Buddhist monasteries were founded in this early period when kings calling themselves “Licchavi” ruled Nepal. But the culture of the Licchavis was highly Sanskritised, and the monasteries founded in their day bear Sanskrit names. “Gum” is not a Sanskrit word, but a Tibeto-Burman would word meaning a “forest”. Chronicles tell us that the Valley was ruled earlier by Kirata kings. Perhaps it was in their time that this “Forest Monastery” was founded. If the pilgrim moves round the rest of the complex he will see tantalizing bit and pieces of the intervening history. North of the enshrined caitya are four small caityas datedfrom the fifth to the eight centuries. A short stairway leads up to another level and an enclosed, paved courtyard with a sunken fountain in the center and surrounded by rest houses and residential quarters. Here the current custodian of the shrine stays when he tends the shrine. He belongs to a still extant sangha of four lineages of Vajracaryas and Sakyas who since medieval times have lived here. They form the sangha of this monastery and still tend its shrines by turn. Today they live in the village below but must stay here in the traditional monastery during their period of service. On the ground floor of the building where this priest stays is a small room. To the left as one enters is a large gilt copper caitya about five feet tall. To the left of this is a colossal cast copper or bronze head of the Buddha. The image is partially buried and it is impossible to see how much more than the head there is. This has been dated to the fifth century A. D. On the floor above this is another shrine which contains a duplicate image of Vajrayogini and two other astonishing pieces. “

In some articles the above mentioned image is dated 4th century A.D.

 

Anyway it is no doubt that Vajrayogini is valuable treasure of Nepal, which is not only explain about the mastery of Nepalese in Tantric Mediattion but as a unique treasure of the world that links Buddhism. So it can also be consider as source of tantric mediation that went to Tibet and China.

 

We can classify classical and modern tantrice meditations. We are not claiming that it is the beginning of Tantra. Tantra was mentioned long time back even before the Buddhas’ period but we can surely tell to the whole world more scientific tantra started right here at Vajrayogini and reached the highest peak and then it went to Tibet and China and other parts of the world. No doubt about it! However more research on this issue will bring all the missing links and will help.

It is great to know that peak of tantric mediation reached in 4th century right here in Nepal and it was practiced in Nepal by Bajracharya.

 

Tantric Meditation and Martial Arts:

Tantric meditation has been used in martial arts and now it makes clear that there is strong bond between tantric meditation, Vajrayogini and martial arts. Basically Nepal, India, China, Japan, Korea and other countries where tantric mediataions starting from 4th century A.D.

Today we find almost all over the world that has some knowledge of tantric meditation.

Another interesting thing is Vajrayogini dance uses tantric meditation.  The Bajrayogini dance is an ancient classical dance of Nepal, which is based on the Tantric Buddhism. The Bajrayogini dance depicts a blend of emotion, which contract with each other. This dance has a classical base. "Yogini" is the name of a particular Tantrik deity. Some moves found similar to present martial arts. That tell us missing link of modern martial arts history. It tells us the strong Newar/Nepalese connection in modern martial arts history as well as transformation of tantric mediation to India, China

China, Korea, Japan, Tibet deserve(Shaolin Temple) and then other countries such as Korea, Japan. great credit who not only mastered in martial arts but also successfully used Zen, tantric meditation in life. They did great work, improved and preserved these cultures till today. They had heavily suffered but survived to preserve that culture from several crises.

To revive the tantric meditation, use of Zen and prove its application in martial arts. I have put the modern concept for generating internal energy and transfer of this energy within the body and transformation externally with the help of meditation and breathing exercises, which I had explained in my books:” Kungchido Modern use of Chi and the new method of self-defense volume I and II” and successfully demonstrated in recent demonstration (October 9th, 2004) in Ajax, Canada.

Seminar was sponsored by Grandmaster Rich Buchan of the Kosho Ryu International, Canada and it was total success!

 

Bajrayogini and Shankhu village are great treasures of Nepal, they need full governmental & and public attention. We as well as department of Archeology have lot to do with it. It can be center of Tantric Mediation for whole world, where we can promote tantric meditation, Bajrayogini Dance teaching center, Retreat center, Tantric Mediatation in Martial arts (Kunchido as a part of the system) and many more. That will generate not only in the interest of whole world but will also be number one tourist center that generates revenue and create jobs in surrounding area.

 

Visit http://www.kungchido.com for more about the martial arts (Kungchido), Bajrayogini, Lion Roar connection and Tibet and many more.