Indian Scholar: Abhayakaragupta (Abhayadatta, Vajrasana)

Abhayakaragupta | Vajravali Main Page

Database Search: All Images

Abhayakaragupta is known by several names including Abhayadatta and Vajrasana. He composed many texts principally on Tantra and systems explaining the rituals and practices of meditational systems: Vajravali, Nispannayogavali, Jyotirmanjari, etc. The biographies of the Eighty-four Mahasiddhas are also attributed to him either under his common name or as Abhayadatta. In painting Abhayakaragupta is counted as one of the previous incarnations of the Panchen Lamas and included in the Incarnation Lineage painting sets.

Jeff Watt 9-2015



Blue Annals Contents | Blue Annals Outline

The Origin of the Vajravali

Extracted from the Blue Annals (part 14, chapter 10, pages 669-670) of Go Lotsawa Zhonnu Pal (1392-1481) using the digitized text of THDL.

14.10 Origin of the Vajravali [Adamantine Garland] (Skt. Vajravali) and other (cycles) (rdo rje phreng ba sogs ji ltar byung ba'i skabs). {Chandra 928; Chengdu 1217; Roerich 1046}.

The acarya Abhaya who was endowed with a mind free of illusions in regard to any of the systems of the Prajnaparamita or Tantra, from the Lesser sciences (rig gnas phra mo) to the Anuttara yoga Tantra. Because he had recited the mantra of Vajrayogini in his former life, in this life Vajrayogini in the form of an ordinary woman appeared before the acarya Abhaya.

Because of his steadfast attitude of a strict monk, he did not admit this woman. (His) great teachers, such at Kasoripa and others, told him that he had acted wrongly by not availing himself of the method through which one could realize the sahaja jnana.

On many occasions he prayed to Vajrayogini. The goddess appeared to him in a dream, and said: Now, in this life you will not be united with me. But, if you were to compose many commentaries on profound Tantras and many rites of Ma??alas, you would soon become {(18b)} a fortunate one. Following her instructions, he composed the srisa?pu?atantra-raja?ikamnaya-manjarinama, the Sri Buddha-kapalamahatantra-raja?ika abhayapa?hati nama, and the Vajravali nama ma??alasadhana (dkyil 'khor gyi cho ga rdo rje phren ba).

Now, it is said {R1047} that when the maha pannddita from Kashmira (Sakyasribhadra) bestowed on three occasions the initiation of the Vajravali (rdo rje phren ba), on the first two occasions he performed all (the mannddala rites) accompanied by rites of the Anuttara Tantra (only), and on the last occasion he said: The Tibetans are very suspicious! Had I not divided (these mannddalas) according to the different classes of Tantras, they would not accept the initiations (through their suspicious nature). Therefore he divided them according to the classes of Tantras and thus
bestowed the initiations.

Chag lo tsa ba chos rje dpal heard it from Ravindra. He maintained the point of view, that by being initiated into the twenty eight mandalas one could obtain (the initiations) of all the others. The lo tsa ba Grags pa rgyal mtshan obtained it from Bhumisri, the mahapannddita of Kashmira. He used to bestow initiations, having arranged them into 45 mannddalas. His Holiness Sri Vanaratna, the maha pannddita of Eastern India, bestowed on two occasions the initiation of Vajravali at the royal palace of sne'u gdong. He used to bestow all these initiations according to the system of the Anuttara Tantra. Some remarked that it was not proper to initiate according to different classes of Tantras, but he replied : It would be good to divide them. They again inquired: Well then why did you not perform them in accordance with this method? He replied: Did I not bestow on you the initiation according to the method of Abhaya? Abhaya did not divide the initiations according to the different classes of the (Tantras), why should I do so?.

The Vajravali having been translated by many lo tsa bas, there exist many {R1048} different versions (of it). Nowadays most people favour the translation by chag (lo tsa ba).

Now, the acarya Abhaya composed a mannddala rite belonging to the Sampannakrama yoga, basing himself on the Tantric text which said: One should know the three classes of Yoga, that of blessing, that of imagination (yons brtags) and that of the complete manifestation of form. There were many who used to think: If one would not propitiate according to the methods of different sadhanas, preached by various teachers, and (expounded) in different Tantras, the propitiations would not be complete. If so, a fully enlightened (Buddha) cannot propitiate even a single mannddala, because he is free of constructive thought. Can you avoid this contradiction! Such people should be initiated according to different rites, and not according to the Vajravali belonging to the system of Abhaya.

Similarly also one should not speak slightingly of those who bestowed initiations according to the Ocean of Sadhanas (sgrub thabs rgya mtsho), transmitted through Abhayakaragupta, Pu?yakaragupta (dgeba'i 'byung gnas sbas pa), the siddha glon zhabs, the pannddita Kirticandra, and the lo tsa ba grags pa rgyal mtshan, because one is unable to establish whether one is fit or not to enter into this great mystic sphere (dkyil 'khor chen po). One should class similarly the sgrub thabs brgya rtsa (Hundred Sadhanas) and other texts transmitted by rdo rje gdan pa to ba ri lo tsa ba.

The Chapter on the origin of Vajravali (rdo rje phren ba) and other texts.