Vajrasattva mantra

By David Reigle on April 12, 2024 at 11:48 pm

The Book of Dzyan is said to be “the first volume of the Commentaries upon the seven secret folios of Kiu-te, and a Glossary of the public works of the same name” (Blavatsky Collected Writings, vol. 14, p. 422). As is now known, the Books of Kiu-te (rgyud sde) are the Tibetan Buddhist tantras. A standard part of their practice is the Vajrasattva mantra. I have now completed a long-promised article on “The Vajrasattva Mantra: Sanskrit Edition and English Translation.” It is 38 pages. Only the beginning part of it is likely to be of interest to most readers. The rest provides extensive sources.

Category: Uncategorized | 6 comments

  • David Reigle says:

    Thank you, Dewald, for the two links showing that there are indeed standalone Vajrasattva meditations in which you visualize yourself as Vajrasattva. Vajrasattva meditation is usually done as a preliminary part of longer meditations such as the Guhyasamaja sadhana or the Kalachakra sadhana. Here Vajrasattva is visualized above one’s head. The full Guhysamaja sadhana that was arranged by Tsongkhapa, and that has been the standard Gelugpa tantric practice ever since, is now available in English translation: Guhyasamaja Practice in the Arya Nagarjuna System, Volume One, The Generation Stage. See p. 545. Vajrasattva meditation is also commonly done as part of the ngondro, the preliminary practices that are done separately, as preparation for receiving initiation into the higher tantric practices such as Guhyasamaja or Kalachakra. Here, too, Vajrasattva is visualized above one’s head. Even after receiving initiation and undertaking the higher tantric practices, the included Vajrasattva meditation is still done by visualizing Vajrasattva above one’s head. So it is not a preliminary to visualizing oneself as Vajrasattva; it is a preliminary to visualizing oneself as Guhyasamaja or Kalachakra, etc.

    I do not see Buddhism and Theosophy as mutually contradictory. As you know, Blavatsky famously took refuge in the early days of the Theosophical Society. Her Mahatma teachers made statements indicating that they were Buddhists, both exoteric and esoteric. So it seems possible to be a Buddhist without accepting all that makes up orthodox Buddhism.

  • Dewald Bester says:

    here are 2 links to online articles making seeming distinction between yoga tantra and highest yoga tantra vajrasattva visualisation practice. The latter involving meditation on oneself as the deity and requiring initiation. Its academic in one sense. I am not a highest yoga tantra initiate. But i would like to have some sense of where one is going when one adopts a practice. I dont think it would sit well for me to know beforehand that i can only qualify for the beginner practice(however wonderful) and must go for refuge etc for the full thing.(I think this is a basic psychological fact) If i go for Refuge, my time in the TS would be done. I am not quite there.
    If HPB wanted us all to become tibetan buddhist she should have just said so and saved us the angst of sorting through the link between Theosophy and Buddhism. She could easily have done so.

    when i first saw David’s initial article on the vajrasattva meditation i was very excited. But how exactly this fits into a full Theosophical, let alone a full Buddhist practice, is likely a topic for a different forum.

  • Robert Hütwohl says:


    I hope to be clear regarding your question. You do not need to be a Buddhist or Theosophist or anything else, for that matter, in order to visualize and pronounce the Vajrasattva Mantra. Neither is an initiation required in order to pronounce it. My below mentioned article explains why this is so.

    But having a theosophical understanding will help make the importance of the mantra extremely important.

    It is helpful to get the Sanskrit pronunciation correct. Gradually, the verbal becomes mental.

    In my yet to be published short article, “Mantras of Supplication—Ancient and Modern for Present and Future Races,” I have given the reason why this is one of the most important of mantras available to the general public. Knowing the reason why should assist in bringing all of humanity together.

    The proper understanding and use of this mantra will become even more necessary in the coming years as most of humanity will suffer through the pushing onto them of a very great distortion regarding the false and distorted connection between digital AI and the AI  of the materialists  promoting their interpretation of the  human being in the coming age, that human beings are hackable animals.

    If all goes well, the article will be available in 2025 on my website,

  • Pablo Sender says:

    In connection with the Theosophical practice of these types of meditations, there were never requirements of initiations. Mahatma KH advised members of the Esoteric Section (or perhaps the Inner Group of the ES, it’s not clear) to visualize the Master within one’s heart ( It is true that these members had taken a pledge, but the technique was later taught to the general public.
    The practice of visualizing oneself as a deity is not common in Theosophical literature, although visualizing oneself as the higher Ego (which HPB says is our personal Deity) has been recommended by several Theosophists without the need for initiation.

  • David Reigle says:

    You are no doubt referring to the standard Vajrasattva meditation, in which Vajrasattva is visualized above the head. For Theosophists, this may relate what is said in Mahatma Letter 127, about the sixth and seventh principles, that the Greek nous, “always remained without the body; that it floated and overshadowed so to say the extreme part of the man’s head, it is only the vulgar who think it is within them.” I do not know of Vajrasattva meditations, as such, in which you visualize yourself as Vajrasattva.

    In meditations of other deities, it is possible to identify that deity with Vajrasattva, and in that sense visualize oneself as Vajrasattva. For these meditations, taking refuge, i.e., becoming a Buddhist, is required. This is now easily enough done, with so many Buddhist teachers around the world. For Kalachakra, as an example, the Dalai Lama says that you can take the Kalachakra Initiation as an observer, for the blessings. But to do the Kalachakra practice, one must take refuge, become a Buddhist.

    We may recall that Mahatma Morya wrote to Franz Hartmann, after he had become a Buddhist, that “the path of knowledge will open itself before you, and this so much the easier as you have made a contact with the Light-ray of the Blessed one, whose name you have now taken as your spiritual lode-star.” (Blavatsky Collected Writings, vol. 8, p. 446)

  • Dewald Bester says:

    This raises a question for me. I understand you can visualize the deity in front of you or above your head without initiation. But you need initiation to visualize yourself as the deity. I presume this latter is the logical development of the practice. I think this is a concern/obstacle, albeit a philosophical one at the moment, to solve. How do Theosophists obtain initiation into all these practices without joining Hindu or Buddhist Traditions?

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