The view of tantra is a pure view, that’s why the practice of Vajrasattva is essential to tantra. Pure view is the opposite of impure view. Impure view is associated with negative perceptions and negative karma. Having negative karma means that in the past you did not have a pure view and you did negative things. Therefore, negative karma is an obstacle to you now as you are trying to develop pure view. You can do many different practices but only Vajrasattva meditation can clean and purify previous negative karma.
Before you start doing Vajrasattva practice, you need to receive transmission and empowerment for the practice. You also need to learn and understand what to do in Vajrasattva practice and what vows you are taking on with the practice of Vajrasattva.
There are Four Powers in the practice of Vajrasattva. These are: the power of support; the power of regretting what you have done wrong; the power of resolution and the power of action as an antidote.
The power of support is the visualization of Vajrasattva; taking Refuge in Vajrasattva; thinking of Vajrasattva and practicing the Sadhana of Vajrasattva.
The second power is the power of regretting what we have done wrong. We regret having done all the negative actions in past lives as well as this life. Doing negative actions is like drinking poison by accident. We did these actions in the past because we didn’t realize they were poison. Now you recognize that ‘drinking poison’ was wrong. You think and feel strongly: “I did wrong. I am very, very sorry and I regret this.’ You clearly recognize that you did negative things in past lives and this life. This is very important. When these are purified and there is no negative karma left we reach liberation.
The third power is the power of resolution. This is the power to say, ‘I will not do negative things again, even if I face death’. You develop a strong intention and resolve not to engage in negative thoughts and actions in the future. It would not be enough to just regret our negative thoughts and actions and then keep on engaging in them again. So it is important to resolve that we want to change.
The fourth power is the power of action as an antidote. You do actions with your body, speech and mind to purify the negative karma. With your body, you try practicing Tibetan Meditation Yoga of the Body and Vajrasattva posture. With your speech, you recite the Vajrasattva mantra. With your mind, you think of emptiness and wisdom.
Also think of the union of this great mind of Vajrasattva with your mind. Then you engage in the action of Vajrasattva meditation to clean and purify yourself.
An example might be helpful here. For instance, when your hands are dirty, you want to clean your hands and so you wash them with soap. When you are engaging in the Vajrasattva practice, you are doing purification at a deeper energetic and mental level with your body, speech and mind. Doing this will purify your three kayas – enlightened pure forms of your body, speech and mind.
I will give you the Vajrasattva empowerment this afternoon. This will give you the power to purify your negativity and karma while doing Vajrasattva meditation. It is also very important not to think that only you are clean and purified., you think of all sentient beings in your practice.
In this way, you think and feel that all sentient beings have been purified and liberated through this meditation. Specifically, in this meditation you are aware that all sentient beings in all 10 directions practicing together with you are being purified and liberated as you are doing this practice. This is great Vajrasattva meditation.
Together with the four powers and the practice of Vajrasattva, you also take on the five vows.
The first vow is that you will really respect the Tantra lineage. If you at some point change your mind or don’t show respect to the teachings, this means your vow is broken. If you really like Tantra, practice and believe in it, then you are keeping this first vow.
The second vow is that you respect your lineage Masters – you respect Vajrasattva, Samantahbadra, Garab Dorjee and your Master. You never break away from your lineage and with your Master. You do not argue with or break your connection with your Master.
The third vow says that you will do mantra and mudra every day, even if just for a short time, 10-20 minutes. When you do these every day, you don’t lose your practice.
The fourth vow is that you never fight with; do negative things toward or break away from your Vajra brothers and sisters.
The fifth and last vow is that you don’t talk about your practice in public, you keep your samaya. It is ok to talk about your practice with other Vajra brothers and sisters who are also doing the same practice. It is not good to talk with others who are not practitioners about your practice, because they may not be respectful to the practice. You keep your practices and teachings to yourself.
To review, in doing Vajrasattva practice, we begin with checking our motivation, with Refuge and Bodhicitta. Then we contemplate the Four Powers and practice Vajrasattva purification for ourselves and all sentient beings. When we are finished, we dedicate all virtue for the liberation of all sentient beings.
With this practice, our realization will gradually increase. Then we are happier; we have more joy; our mind has more freedom and we understand the nature of our mind more and more. You do this practice everyday.