The Magnificent Sarvanivarana-Viskambhin Bodhisattva

Just now Sarvanivarana-Viskambhin Bodhisattva appeared within the homa fire many times. If you took pictures of the homa, you may have gotten a picture of Sarvanivarana-Viskambhin Bodhisattva within the homa fire. Sarvanivarana-Viskambhin Bodhisattva is one of the Eight Great Bodhisattvas. When we recite the High King Sutra we recite the names of the Eight Great Bodhisattvas: Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva, Manjusri Bodhisattva, Samantabhadra Bodhisattva, Ksitigharba Bodhisattva, Maitreya Bodhisattva, Akasagharba Bodhisattva, Sarvanivarana-Viskambhin Bodhisattva, and Vajrapani Bodhisattva.

While Shakyamuni was alive these eight bodhisattvas were his followers and always helped spread the dharma. For this reason they are called the Eight Great Bodhisattvas. Sarvanivarana-Viskambhin Bodhisattva is one of the Eight Great Bodhisattvas, and he has a really tremendous background. In Vajrayana there are the two divisions of Vajradhatu and Garbhadhatu. The Vajradhatu means that the fruit of buddhahood has been accomplished. It is the realm of attainment. Whereas Vajradhatu refers to the realm of attainment, Garbhadhatu refers to the realm of cause. In the Garbhadhatu Mandala, there is a court specially dedicated to Sarvanivarana-Viskambhin called the Court of Sarvanivarana-Viskambhin.

Sarvanivarana-Viskambhin has three different images. The first is the white Sarvanivarana-Viskambhin Bodhisattva which we we see today, and there is also a yellow Sarvanivarana-Viskambhin Bodhisattva. Grand Master is wearing yellow today, yellow Sarvanivarana-Viskambhin Bodhisattva. There is also a blue Sarvanivarana-Viskambhin Bodhisattva. There are altogether three different colors of Sarvanivarana-Viskambhin Bodhisattva. The white Sarvanivarana-Viskambhin Bodhisattva is for relief of calamities, the yellow Sarvanivarana-Viskambhin Bodhisattva is for sufficient provisions, and the blue Sarvanivarana-Viskambhin Bodhisattva is for subjugation of enemies. We can see from these three colors that Sarvanivarana-Viskambhin Bodhisattva's dharma power is truly far-reaching and illustrious.

This deity, Sarvanivarana-Viskambhin Bodhisattva, can subjugate all of one's troubles and worries and eliminate obstacles faced by sentient beings. That is why he is called ''Hindrance Removing Bodhisattva.'' In his left hand he holds a buddha banner, also namely dharma banner. There is a lotus atop his crown and atop the lotus there is a small point of sunlight which shines brightly. He is depicted wearing a Five Buddha Crown and his appearance is extremely dignified. His right hand is raised and forms the Fearless Mudra although some images may depict him showing the Bestowing Mudra. In other words, he may show either the Fearless Mudra or the Bestowing Mudra.

The primary importance of Sarvanivarana-Viskambhin Bodhisattva is that he can overcome all of one's worries and troubles and eliminate one's karmic obstacles. His seed syllable is the ''Ah'' syllable. The ''Ah'' syllable also has three colors: white, yellow, and blue. His mudra is like this (Grand Master demonstrates the mudra). It is difficult to see the mudra clearly. Without interlocking them, just bend the little and ring fingers and keep them touching. Press the thumbs against the ring fingers. Straighten the index and middle fingers and touch them together. This is the Sarvanivarana-Viskambhin mudra. His mantra is: ''Om。na-sa-la-ya。so-ha。'' ''Om。na-sa-la-ya。so-ha。'' ''Om。na-sa-la-ya。so-ha。'' This is the deity's heart mantra. With the mantra, mudra, and image, we have the three primary elements needed for tantric cultivation. A sadhana can be established for cultivation by following the Vajrayana practice of visualizing the image, forming the mudra, and chanting the mantra.

You have asked me what Sarvanivarana-Viskambhin Bodhisattva looks like and I can tell you, his appearance is quite similar to that of all other bodhisattvas. All bodhisattvas have the same face. Whether it is the Seven Buddhas or the trillion buddhas, they all have the same face. So when visualizing, visualize the face of a bodhisattva. As for this ''quite similar'' it is difficult to explain. The face is exactly the same but what is held in the hands is different, the mudra is different, and the mantra is different. In all other aspects the bodhisattvas look alike.

Translated by TBTTs (Sections relavent to Sarvanivarana-Viskambhin only)
Translator: Henry Wolf
Editor: DJ Chang

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