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Sed Gyued Monastery

Guyhasamaja Thangka

Guyhasamaja Thangka

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Guyhasamaja Thangka

The name Guhyasamaja (gsang-ba ’dus-pa) means “the assembly of hidden or secret factors.” Guhya (gsang-ba) means “secret,” and samaja (’dus pa) means an “assembly.”

Guhyasamaja is one of the most important tantric deity of esoteric practice in Gelug tradition. The practice of Guhyasamaja is of significance for the Gelugpa school of Tibetan Buddhism and to the Lineage of the Dalai Lamas.

In its fullest form, it consists of seventeen chapters, though a separate "explanatory tantra" known as the Later Tantra is sometimes considered to be its eighteenth chapter.

Guhyasamaja is considered one of the oldest, if not the oldest, tantra systems to surface in written form in India. And within the classification of tantra, the way that it’s classified in the so-called New Translation period (gSar-ma) is anuttarayoga tantra, which means that it’s dealing with the systems of the subtle body – chakras, channels, winds, these sorts of things – in order to gain access to the subtlest level of mental activity, so-called clear-light mind, and using that level of mental activity as the immediate cause for the Four Bodies of a Buddha.So Guhyasamaja is the main system in father tantra. It has tremendous detail about how to work with the energy-winds within the chakras and channels, and so on, in order to get down to the subtlest level, and it has great detail about how you transform or get the subtlest level of wind or energy that is the mount of the clear-light mind – how you get that to appear in the form of illusory body, which will eventually then become a Form Body of a Buddha. So if you divide the systems in general between method and wisdom, so-called method and wisdom, Guhyasamaja puts more emphasis on the method side.

In the major system of Guhyasamaja that’s practiced in the Gelugpa tradition, we have thirty-two deities. And just as an example of the emphasis on the method side: Within the sadhana, the method that’s done on the first stage of practice, the generation stage (bskyed-rim), in which you work with imagination, as a Buddha-figure you imagine that you are emanating each of these thirty-two figures and each of them is helping others to eliminate one or another type of disturbing emotion or one or another type of interference.

So it’s a wonderful system for developing an appreciation within yourself of the fact that you need to manifest in many, many different ways to help different people with their own individual problems. And being such an extensive system with such an extensive literature, it provides what’s known as the template for anuttarayoga tantra practice, both the generation (bskyed-rim) and complete stage (rdzogs-rim). In other words, it gives the structure that is then followed in all the other tantra systems.



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