Mandala of Vajrakilaya
The Vajrakilaya Tantric system is a Yoga Tantra of the Nyingmapa tradition of Tibetan Buddhism.
All Buddhist teachings can be traced back to the historical Buddha, Siddhartha Gautama, who lived in India for two and half thousand years ago. All the teachings are based on the Four Noble Truths the Buddha taught in his first sermon following his Enlightenment: the recognition that every living being experiences suffering; the understanding of the causes of this suffering; the recognition that if the causes are removed there will be an end to the suffering; and the path or methods by which to achieve liberation from suffering, or full enlightenment.
The Buddhist Tantric teachings include methods for the purification of the psycho-physical within a pure environment or mandala. The deities who inhabit a mandala are not external gods; rather, they symbolize the Enlightened State, which everyone has the potential to realize.
Description of the Vajrakilaya mandala
The mandala, usually constructed from coloured sand particles on a horizontal base, depicts the residence of the 93 deities, the principal figure being Vajrakilaya. Although depicted here on a flat surface, like an architect’s plan, the mandala is actually a three-dimensional divine mansion.
Every aspect of the mandala has meaning; nothing is arbitrary or superfluous. The surface mansion can be seen to have an inner and an outer part, it is surrounded by four walls, each wall having a doorway in the middle. The entire mandala rests upon a lotus, around which can be seen a border of coloured petals. Eight great cemeteries, representing impermanence, then a fence of protective vajras, surrounded by a Ring of Fire surround this border. The outer-most rings are comprised of all the colours of the mandala mixed together, symbolizing the infinite, limitless nature of the mandala.
Vajrakilaya is a wrathful, fierce deity, symbolizing the energy needed to overcome and purify negative states of mind. All the deities residing in the outer part of the mandala are fierce protector deities who ward off the interferences or distractions which might hinder the meditator.
As a meditator practising the Tantra of Vajrakilaya, one would familiarize oneself with every detail of the mandala and the deities within it, engaging in repeated exercises based upon visualizing the pure beings and pure environment which symbolize one’s own being and environment in purified, sublime form. Such exercises, carried out within the basic Buddhist from work of developing wisdom and compassion, bring about a profound transformation of the psyche.
Just to glimpse the mandala, however, will create a positive impression on the mind stream of the observer, who for a moment is in touch with the profound potential for perfect Enlightenment which exists within the mind of all beings.