Who is Dharmavajra?
Twenty five years ago the founder of the New Kadampa Tradition, Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso, named the new Kadampa Buddhist Centre in Swansea, “Dhamavajra Kadampa Buddhist Centre, after the great sixteenth century meditator, Mahasiddha Dharmavajra. Although we are now called Kadampa Meditation Centre Wales, we still feel a special connection with this great being. As Kelsang Ringyal, the Secretary of the General Spiritual Director of our tradition said, “Mahasiddha Dharmavajra will never leave you”. We continue to feel his protection and guiding inspiration.
Mahasiddha Dharmavajra spent his entire life in retreat in mountain caves and attained full enlightenment within that lifetime. Dharmavajra is one of the principal lineage Gurus of the most profound meditation practices of our tradition.
“At one time Mahasiddha Dharmavajra was in retreat in a cave high up on a mountain called Chumo Lhari, which is near Tashi Lhunpo Monastery in western Tibet. During one of his sessions Je Tsongkhapa appeared to him as a unification of three holy beings. His outer aspect was as Je Tsongkhapa wearing the three robes of a monk and a yellow Pandit’s hat, with his right hand in the mudra of expounding Dharma and his left hand in the mudra of meditative equipoise holding a jewelled bowl filled with nectars. At his heart was Buddha Shakyamuni, and at his heart was Conqueror Vajradhara. This aspect of Je Tsongkhapa is known in Tibetan as ‘je sempa sum tseg’, which means ‘Je Tsongkhapa, the Unification of Three Holy Beings’. He is also known as ‘Lama Losang Tubwang Dorjechang’. Here, ‘Lama’ means ‘Guru’, indicating that Je Tsongkhapa is our Spiritual Guide, ‘Losang is short for ‘Losang Dragpa’, which is Je Tsongkhapa’s ordained name, ‘Tubwang is short for ‘Shakya Tubwang’, which is the Tibetan name for Buddha Shakyamuni, and ‘Dorjechang’ is Tibetan for Vajradhara.
While appearing in this form, Je Tsongkhapa transmitted to Mahasiddha Dharmavajra the instructions on Offering to the Spiritual Guide, together with the instructions on Vajrayana Mahamudra and all the other essential instructions from the Emanation Scripture. By relying upon these precious instructions, Mahasiddha Dharmavajra attained enlightenment in three years. Later, when Mahasiddha Dharmavajra’s ordinary form had passed away, many local people saw five-coloured rainbow lights pouring out of his cave and illuminating the whole mountain. When they went to his cave it was completely empty. Mahasiddha Dharmavajra had attained a rainbow body and his ordinary form had totally disappeared.
Since the time when Manjushri transmitted the Emanation Scripture to Je Tsongkhapa, thousands of practitioners within the Gelugpa Tradition have attained enlightenment by practicing these instructions. Moreover, because these instructions have the uncommon close lineage they are extremely blessed, and those that practice them are able to attain enlightenment in three years with considerable ease, without having to undergo the kinds of hardship experienced by Milarepa.”
From the book Great Treasury of Merit, by Venerable Geshe Kelsang Gyatso