Marici Drowsiness Dispelling Practice
Many disciples tell me that a problem they face in meditation is a tendency to doze off. Every time they sit still, they experience overwhelming drowsiness. The symptoms include dullness, eyes closing up, exhaustion, and yawning. Although they try to snap out of it, they can only recover for a few seconds and are soon drowsy again.
I taught them to come to attention by lifting up their chests and sitting straight. However, after a short while drowsiness comes back while the body weakens and curls up.
I have also advised them to take a short nap prior to meditating. For some disciples, however, even a nap is not effective. They wake up and begin to meditate but end up falling asleep again. It's just like the saying ''a perfect nap on a sweltering summer day,'' as if one could never get enough sleep.
Drowsiness during meditation is actually a major issue.
I once taught a person how to meditate. After sitting for quite a long time, he gave me the impression that he was highly accomplished in meditation. When he finished I asked him, ''How was it?'' Red faced and embarrassed, he replied, ''Actually, I fell asleep.''
I am now teaching a practice to overcome lethargy called the Marici Drowsiness Dispelling Practice.
Practitioners of this dharma must first enshrine and make offerings to Marici who may have two, six, or eight arms.
Two-armed Marici is depicted as a celestial maiden, either standing or sitting on a lotus seat, and in a very upright posture. She looks solemn and dignified. Her left hand holds a celestial fan. Her right arm is hanging downward while the hand forms the Wish-fulfilling mudra with the palm facing outward.
Three-faced, eight-armed Marici is the color of Jambunada gold and as radiant as the sun. Within a pagoda crown she wears is Vairocana Buddha. Clothed in a red celestial garment, she is adorned with necklaces, bracelets, earrings, and a belt, which give her an extremely pristine and solemn appearance. The bodhisattva has three faces with three eyes on each face, and eight arms. Her left hands hold a lasso, a bow, an ashoka branch, and a thread while her right hands hold a vajra sceptre, a needle, a hook, and an arrow.
The kindly and dark yellow front face of the three faces is smiling, with the eyes open and the lips as red as vermilion. This face represents courage and non-hindrance. The left face is an ugly, wrathful, and dark blue boar face with frowning eyebrows, protruding fangs and a lolling-out tongue. This face is so wrathful that it terrifies whoever sees it. The right face is dark red in color. The bodhisattva is either sitting or standing on a war chariot drawn by golden pigs.
I have written about Marici Bodhisattva numerous times in my books. I believe this bodhisattva has great affinity with the Ling Shen True Buddha School. One of her supernatural powers is self-mastery of invisibility. She is part of the retinue of Indra and always accompanies Surya, riding in front of him at great speed. She patrols the whole world and is a protector of all Buddhist disciples.
Marici is also worshipped in Brahmanism where she is called Maricidevi. Her heart mantra is ''Namo-san-man-duo。mu-tuo-nan Om。Ma-li-zhi-yu。so-ha.''
Marici is a deity of war. Those who cultivate the Marici Practice will be indomitable in battle, will have the awe-inspiring power of an invincible lion king, and will be courageous and unrivaled. Therefore, a minor problem such as drowsiness should be easy to overcome. As praise for the bodhisattva, I have conferred on her the title Courageously Battling Vajra.
When cultivating the Marici Practice, the practitioner should form the Marici mudra by putting the palms together and bending the two thumbs inwards. One then recite the Marici heart mantra seven times and touch the forehead, throat, heart, left shoulder, right shoulder, and finally back to the forehead with the mudra. Do not release the mudra.
At this moment, one clearly visualizes Marici. When her image is clear, visualize it fading away and transforming into the brilliance of the sun. This radiant light shines on one's forehead. As the light shines, one feels its brilliance and transforms into a mighty warrior who is about to enter battle. This transformation is light merging into Courageously Battling Vajra. Release the mudra and recite the Marici Drowsiness Dispelling Mantra 108 times: ''Da-zhi-ta。yi-di-mi-di。zhi-di-bi-jia-na shan-di-bo-tuo-chi。so-ha。''
After one has cultivated the Marici Drowsiness Dispelling Practice seven times, the tendency to feel drowsy during meditation will gradually lessen. Eventually, one will completely dispel drowsiness. This is the Marici Drowsiness Dispelling Practice.
By borrowing Vairocana Tathagata's light that shines on one's crown, one possesses the brilliance and might of the Tathagata. One transforms into Courageously Battling Vajra and drowsiness is completely dispelled.
The Marici Practice not only dispels drowsiness, it also dispels and renders powerless all black magic and evil spells used by those who seek to harm one.
Through this practice one will escape harm and never be deceived. Enemies who seek to harm one will never succeed. These are the benefits of cultivating the Marici Practice.
Furthermore, many Ling Shen True Buddha School disciples have cultivated the Marici Invisibility Practice. Although they are different practices, the Drowsiness Dispelling Practice and the Invisibility Practice lead to the same attainment. The tantric power of Marici is evident in both these practices.
I am partial to Marici because I feel she has a strong affinity with the True Buddha School. Practitioners who abide by the Ten Meritorious Deeds, cultivate the Marici Drowsiness Dispelling Practice, and pray to be reborn in the celestial realms will ascend to the celestial realms of Marici.
Marici should not be underestimated. Her celestial realm is indestructible. This realm evolved from the Ten Vajra Minds entering the holy region of perseverance.
I would like to dedicate this verse:
Wholeheartedly pray for rebirth in the celestial realms of Marici
Formidable with boundless brilliant light
Entering mystic serenity through tantric dharma
Auspicious smoke appears before dharma eyes
Translated by True Buddha Translation Teams
Translator: Lynn Ang
Editors: DJ Chang, Ky Ly
Proofreader: Henry Wolf