I am doing Vajrasatva purification practice, and wonder whether this is a training in Ultimate Bodhicitta?

As stated in the Scriptures related to Mind Training: one should first train in Ultimate Bodhicitta.

So is purification through Vajrasatva Practice the kind of training to be used to get accustomed to the view of emptiness?

Also, is it the best antidote for attachment?

Many thanks!

1 Answer 1


When you say "Vajrasatva purification practice" do you mean an appropriate visualization plus the hundred-syllable mantra followed by a dissolution?

If so then the answer is: no, this is not training in the Ultimate Bodhicitta, this is a preliminary practice.

If by "Vajrasatva purification practice" you don't mean the above mentioned sadhana but instead you mean the cultivation of the view that "In the absolute sense there is nothing to be purified, no one purifying, and no act of purification" - then that's training in Ultimate Bodhicitta.

There's nothing to be purified etc, - means you no longer regard yourself as a problem. Things don't require fixing because nothing is broken. In the ultimate sense everything is exactly as it should have been. All judgments like "dirty" and "pure" are mind-made categories, defined relatively to one another. That's the view of Emptiness.

When you cultivate the view of Emptiness, you get used to the idea that to let go and to open up is okay. You stop being driven by your hopes and fears and come out as authentic being. Instead of pretending to be perfect, you figure things out as you go, and that creates a sense of kindness and openness. Now you can actually relate with people.

This is why they say, first cultivate the Ultimate Bodhicitta and only then the Relative Bodhicitta. Because the view of Emptiness is what gives that authenticity and relaxed attitude, that sense of not forcing your preexisting agenda on people that makes it possible to meet the real them. Only then saving others from samsara, the point of Relative Bodhicitta, is possible.

  • "Some bodhicitta practices emphasize the absolute (e.g. vipaśyanā), while others emphasize the relative (e.g. metta), but both aspects are seen in all Mahāyāna practice as essential to enlightenment, especially in the Tibetan practices of tonglen and lojong. Without the absolute, the relative can degenerate into pity and sentimentality, whereas the absolute without the relative can lead to nihilism and lack of desire to engage other sentient beings for their benefit." -from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bodhicitta#Levels I think you only value the absolute.
    – CriglCragl
    Apr 14, 2021 at 21:54
  • Not at all, I'm just answering the question. Both are important, of course.
    – Andriy Volkov
    Apr 14, 2021 at 22:12
  • Thank you very much for your answer. But this makes me wonder: "If so then the answer is: no, this is not training in the Ultimate Bodhicitta, this is a preliminary practice." Is it misleading, to do Vajrasattva preliminary practice with Absolute Bodhicitta in mind? Maybe because one (I am) is with one feet trapped by nihilism, like: My wrongdoings are empty. (And therefore everything is okay). So is it better to imagine ones afflictions as substantial (smoke or "oil", dirt) and the nectar as substantial too – with no sense or idea of emptiness?
    – S.H
    Apr 21, 2021 at 21:09
  • Right, it's a question of picking appropriate medicine for your condition. In a traditional context this is something a lineage guru would decide based on their knowledge of you and your problems. If in doubt I'd say stick with preliminary practice and don't worry about emptiness etc. until you are confident you are done with the purification. But as they say, "consult your doctor" - in this case whoever initiated you into this practice.
    – Andriy Volkov
    Apr 21, 2021 at 21:28

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .