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Chakrasamvara - Tantric Practice Support

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The Meaning and Use of a Mandala Print E-mail

by Alexander Berzin

The Meaning of a Mandala

The Tibetan word for "mandala," dkyil-‘khor , literally means "that which encircles a center." A "center," here is a meaning, and "that which encircles it" - a mandala - is a round symbol that represents the meaning. Not all mandalas, however, are round.

There are many types of mandalas, used for various purposes in both the sutra and tantra practices of Buddhism. Let us survey some of them.

NEW: Chakrasamvara Root Tantra Print E-mail

The folks at Dechen Ling Press who have brought us numerous wonderful and much needed practice texts for the Chakrasamvara practice have done it once again. In February they came out with David Gonsalez' new translation of the Chakrasamvara Root Tantra.

The Chakrasamvara Root Tantra
translated by David Gonsalez
Paperback, 152 pages, $15.00 (+$4.95 shipping)

Available now from Dechen Ling Press' Online Store

The Heruka Chakrasamvara Root Tantra was originally expounded directly by Buddha Chakrasamvara and passed from Vajravarahi and Vajrapani to the ancient Mahasiddhas of India such Saraha in visionary experience. This text provides that discourse in its original poetic meter. It is at once an object of devotion, a profound instruction, and a beautiful poem meant to inspire spiritual seekers.


NEW: Chakrasamvara Practice Texts in the Luipa Tradition Print E-mail

It is a great pleasure to announce that our friend Alexander Berzin ( has just completed his new translation of the Chakrasamvara practice text:

The Sadhana Method of Attainment for the Glorious Chakrasamvara According to the Luipa Tradition (dPal 'khor-lo sdom-pa lu-yi-pa lugs-kyi mngon-rtogs)
compiled by The First Panchen Lama Losang-chokyi-gyeltsen (Pan-chen Blo-bzang chos-kyi rgyal-msthan).

To make this text more accessible Alex added instructions from

The Generation Stage of the Mahasiddha Luipa Tradition of Chakrasamvara: Personal Instructions of Manjushri (Grub-chen Lu-i pa'i lugs-kyi dpal 'khor-lo sdom pa'i bskyed-rim he-ru-ka'i zhal-lung) by Akhuchin Sherab-gyatso (A-khu-chin Shes-rab rgya-mtsho)

as explained in a discourse by Tsenzhab Serkong Rinpoche, July 1981. 

In collaboration with Alex and based on H.E. Dagyab Rinpoche's instructions/texts we have also compiled a medium and a short version for this practice. All texts can be downloaded from our Download Section (for registered members only).

Chakrasamvara: Iconography Print E-mail

Main Deity

Although there is quite a diversity in the Chakrasamvara lineages and practices the iconographical differences of the main deity are minor. Essentially there is (1) the 2-armed (Sanskrit: sahaja, meaning 'natural', 'easy' ) form and (2) the 12-armed full form of Chakrasamvara; each with two major variants. The two variants are: (a) In the Gelug tradition the mother consort has both her legs tightly wrapped around Heruka's body; (b) in almost all other traditions the consort has only one leg (usually the right one) wrapped around her consort's body and with the other one stands on the ground (usually on red Kalarati).

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David Gonsalez

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