Why Vajrakīlaya?

Vajrakīlaya is the most important "yidam" or tantric wisdom deity of the Nyingma tradition. The Vajrakīlaya scriptural tantras are vast and profound, and they have been continually refreshed by further Vajrakīlaya revelations with each new generation of meditation masters, and by the insights of the most learned scholars who have composed extensive commentaries. In the traditional histories, Vajrakīlaya has a preeminent place as the special deity of Guru Padmasambhava (Guru Rinpoche), the eighth century master and second Buddha who helped to establish Buddhism in Tibet. Moreover, Guru Padmasambhava's principal Tibetan disciple, the Lady Yeshe Tsogyal, is famed as attaining enlightenment through the Vajrakīlaya practice. As a wisdom deity, Vajrakīlaya covers everything necessary in a spiritual practice: the full path to Enlightenment and every temporary need for good conditions in the meantime. Vajrakīlaya is surrounded by a retinue of deities with special functions, including the gathering of auspiciousness, prosperity and longevity, and the expression of mastery and control. This retinue are all wisdom emanations of Vajrakīlaya himself, so even their apparently mundane activities work only for good and virtuous ends, and the deepening of spiritual practice.

Vajrakīlaya: for Inner Peace and World Peace

The special quality of Vajrakīlaya is the ability to clear away obstacles and to transform all the emotional afflictions, and especially the most destructive emotion of hatred, into enlightened wisdom and compassion. Vajrakīlaya's inner nature is peace (zhi-ba), and his wrathful outer guise should not be misunderstood. He is not a protective deity, but the wisdom deity who embodies and reveals the true nature of our minds. His fires of wisdom burn away our emotional afflictions, uncovering the calm and serene nature of mind, and opening up the possibilities for genuine communication with others and compassionate activities. Therefore, the Vajrakīlaya practice is particularly powerful for engendering inner peace, family and social harmony, political stability and world peace.

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