Dharma - Merit - Meditation - Nectar - Liberation - Emptiness - Process - Awakening


in Buddhadharma

On Nectar : Life, Strength, Health !

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"Amitâyus, Protector and Bhagavân, (...) bless me by pacifying conditions, leading to untimely death arising from humans or non-humans, and from degeneration of lifespan and merit by the power of previously accumulated sins. Please confer the siddhi of immortality now, when I have brought together all that is good in samsâra and nirvâna and when my mental stream and depleted life force are about to blossom with merit and life."
Seventh Dalai Lama : Amitâyus Longevity Yoga.

In Hinduism, the water of life or nectar of immortality is called "amrita" ("immortal"). It is frequently employed in the Vedas (cf. "soma"), but is also part of Śivaite Tantra, where it is coupled with "rakta" ("blood") and its associated sacrificial practices.

In the Sâdhana of Amitâyus (the Buddha of Boundless Life, a manifestation of Amitâbha, the Buddha of Boundless Light), the long-life vase containing the nectar of immortality ("amrita") appears. It is employed in longevity rituals, aimed to increase the lifespan of practitioners with the intention to benefit sentient beings longer.

In the iconography of Padmasambhava, the long-life vase returns, but rests in the skull-cup ("kapila"), representing the polarity symbols of white & red "drops" essential in all Highest Yoga Tantras.

In Tantras of the Father (method) class, method is represented by the white drops situated in the crown wheel, and wisdom by the red drops in the navel wheel. The Lunar white drop (from the father) is linked with "amrita" and the "method" of the long-life vase, whereas the Solar red drop (from the mother) is "rakta" ("blood") and the "wisdom" of the skull-cup (in Mother tantras, stressing wisdom, these polarities may be reversed). The white drops sustain the solid white organs of bone, brain, marrow & spinal cord, whereas the red drops gives rise to the soft red organs of viscera, blood & muscle tissue. These equivalences are not direct, but indirect by way of hylic-pluralistic multicorporality, in particular the subtle anatomy of the "Vajra body" with its "wheels" ("ćakra"), "channels" ("nadî") & "winds" ("prâna" or "ch'i").

These two drops may also be depicted in two separate skull-cups, placed as offerings in front and to the left & right of one's meditational deity ("yidam"). Between these two cups, a third one represents the offering of the five sense organs. The white drop represents the "white" male semen ("kunda"), the red drop the fertile "red" uterine blood ("rakta"), and the five sense organs symbolize the consciousness seeking rebirth. The latter is not the mortal gross & subtle minds, but the immortal very subtle mind of Clear Light.

Uniting white (long-life vase) and red (skull-cup) drop is the tantric equivalent of merging method (cf. form-bodies or "Rûpakâya" = "Sambhogakâya" + "Nirmânakâya") and wisdom (cf. "Dharmakâya"), the state of an Awakened One. This fusion into "one taste" ("ekârasa") or "unio mystica", is represented by the tantric manifestation of Buddha Śâkyamuni, i.e. Vajradhara, who holds the Vajra (method) in his right hand and the Bell (wisdom) in his left.

The Vajrayâna knows long life rituals to give teachers the opportunity to stay in their bodies longer, continuing their spiritual practices benefitting sentient beings. Increasing the drops, in particular the white immortality nectar, lengthens one's lifespan. Although Great Perfection practices, like Calm Abiding on the Six Perfections, resulting in a good heart & a calm mind, automatically increases the number of drops, specific tantric "sâdhanas" (like those of Amitâyus or the White Tara) introduce a "turbo-effect", allowing -so tradition has it- a dramatically increase of one's lifespan (myth has it Nâgârjuna lived for centuries, while Padmasambhava is deemed to still walk the Earth today) ...

To understand these drops better, please consult my study on Tantra.


© Wim van den Dungen, Antwerp - 2017
philo@sofiatopia.org l Acknowledgments l SiteMap l Bibliography

Mistakes are due to my own ignorance and not to the Buddhadharma.
May all who encounter the Dharma accumulate compassion & wisdom.
May sentient beings recognize their Buddha-nature and find true peace.


initiated : 29 XI 2008 - last update : 17 VII 2013 - version n°1