BHAIRAVA (or SPIRITUAL GUIDE)
An Emanation of the Adi-Buddha Vajradhara
Vajradhara - The Source
of the Jivamala Practice
It is through the compassion of Vajradhara, a primordial Buddha of indestructible blue light, that the Jivamala practice came to be known. Vajradhara, who is a celestial Buddha in the Vajrayana Buddhist tradition, assigns one of his emanations to direct the Jivamala practice for the individual who has been initiated.
The Bhairava Introduces
the Jivamala PracticeI have been assigned by Vajradhara to direct your progress. My role as bhairava is both guardian and guide. As guardians, we accompany Buddhas on their adventures, make straight the path, clarify the winds, and create the backgrounds. We make the mountains where the Buddhas sit.
As guides, we also accompany those blessed by the Buddhas. We work with their karma, opening cramped passageways causing the seeds of karma (bijas), which contain past frustrations and anxieties, to blossom. We try to motivate these individuals and direct their minds. We put on terrifying forms to frighten them into obedience.
There are many bhairavas, and Vajradhara is our lord. We spread out in concentric circles around him. Some circles have yoginis and dakinis in human form. These circles retreat far back into space. They move inward and outward at the same time. The meditator must jump from one spinning wheel to another to pass from the guardians who surround the Buddha, to the Buddha.
As bhairavas, we are dedicated to Vajradhara, who is the Adi-Bhairava, the primordial Buddha form and bhairava form in one. As Adi-Buddha, he is the origin of [moral or karmic] order and stability. As Adi-Bhairava, he acts to maintain this order in a continually shifting universe. We are his emanations, and we work in the more manifest worlds.
We are linked with practitioners through initiation. This ritual creates a karmic link, which allows us to interact in the practitioner's life. It also creates mutual obligations and responsibilities. It is the Buddhist practitioner's obligation to show respect, and to listen to the guide's words. It is the guide's obligation to help the practitioner in meditation, if he or she is distracted, of weak concentration or endangered.
Bhairavas who act as guides normally specialize in one of three areas. These are karma, purification, and performance of ritual. Karma bhairavas can see the webs of karma in which people are bound, and work with past lives in order to cleanse the mind. Purification bhairavas work primarily with mantras to rid the body of impurities by vibrating each region or aspect of it. Ritual bhairavas oversee both temple and private ritual.
I am a karma bhairava. As karma bhairavas, we look at the karma of the practitioner, analyze the information, and draw conclusions. We act without generating karma ourselves. We do our duty. This is the best way to act in order not to create karma. Figure out your duty and your goals in life, and act without passion to perform your duty and attain those goals.
Most bhairavas are described in the literature as wrathful. This is only one form that we take. Like bodhisattavas, we may appear in both peaceful and frightening forms. But our deeper forms are light.
On the Conclusion page at this site, there is a link to the Bodhi-Tree or wisdom-tree practice web site. This site contains a page that describes some methods that can be used to contact an inner Buddhist spiritual guide or Yidam.
Here is a metaphor provided by the Bhairava to help in understanding the importance of the Jivamala practice.
The Rosebush - The Bhairava Explains the
Function of the Jivamala Practice Using a Metaphor
During spiritual evolution, individuals are like rose bushes, and each blossom is a life. Sometimes, as in the case of difficult and painful lives, the roses are eaten by insects, or harmed by chemicals or disease, but they still stay on the bush, taking nutrients. They need to be taken from the bush, placed in new earth and cured of pests, or scattered on the ground if the harm is too great.
The individual's past personalities have been damaged, but not destroyed. They need to be separated from the stem of the individual's spirit, where they have been taking vital energy with their rage and fury at imprisonment. They need to be replanted, put in vases, and taken away from the stem, so that the bush can grow new roses.
The Jivamala brings about this liberation from spiritual death by freeing these past personalities, in order to recapture the bright force of spirit that runs through the individual.
Overview Of Past Life Biographies
The past life biographies at this site can be divided into two general categories: the lives of spiritual weakness, and the lives of spiritual awakening. The biographies of weakness come first, and recounting them is a process of purification.
The lives of spiritual awakening give insight into the direction of the practitioner's spiritual evolution, and remind the practicioner of spiritual skills learned in previous lives. They also show the ways in which spirituality and mysticism are practiced by individuals in different cultures and religious traditions.
Many of the biographies of spiritual weakness contain dramatic magical and religious elements. They are populated with priests and magicians, as well as ancestors and demonic influences. The dramas involve curses and hatreds played out in the physical and psychic arenas. One of the reasons that these particular past lives had to be re-examined (as opposed to many possible others) is that they involved the misuse of power in which the practitioner was either a perpetrator or a victim. Misuse of power and the passions it engenders tend to trap the individual personalities after death, which is why the Jivamala practice is needed to liberate these personalities.
The religious elements in some of these biographies show an openness to the flight of the individual into the inner regions of the mind - the realm of Buddhas, inner gurus, and ancestors. They also show access to the six Buddhist worlds of rebirth. These ideas and the ability to access these inner realms have been largely lost. However, they are still active parts of some schools of Vajrayana Buddhism which emphasize deity yoga, which is the practice of working with inner gurus and Bodhisattvas as an important part of spiritual discipline.
We ask that the reader approach the material presented here with an open mind, in the hope that something unique can be learned about how karma and reincarnation affect our spiritual evolution, and about the structure of the universe where each of us lives our many lives.
We will now go on to examine the Lives of Spiritual Weakness
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