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Long Life in the tibetan tradition

In the Tibetan tradition, teachings related to practices of long-life are varied


and widespread. Many Tibetan people attend long-life initiations simply to
receive a blessing which can help to reduce their everyday problems, improve
their health and reinforce their energy. Others, instead, actively practice the
rite connected to a specific initiation, such as that of White Tara or Amitayus.
Those who decide to dedicate their life to practice buddhism, often begin with
a retreat for promoting longevity prosperity and fertility. However, the real or
most profound reason to seek to extend ones life span is to gain more time to
attain enlightment.
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In the Tibetan tradition, human life is connected to three aspects: vital energy,
length and protective force. All these three aspects of an individuals energy
can be damaged or weakened in the natural course of life, or may be attacked
by evil entities. According to ancient Tibetan beliefs, for example, it is possible
for the protective force to be stolen or lost, with the consequnce that a person
cannot survive very long. In this case, only an experienced Lama may be able
to find and retrieve the protective force and reconnect to the sick person with
a ritual.
Through long-life practice, such dangers can be averted and overcome. In
one especially powerful practice, the vital essence of the five elements is
recalled and reabsorbed into oneself in the form of a five coloured sphere for
each primordial wisdom, symbolizing the unlimited potentiality of the
individual. In this way, the three principles of vitality are re-stabilized and their
energy is reinforced.

The Long Life of Immortal Dakini Mandarava


Mandarava was a ninth century Indian princess, daughter of the king of Zahor
(in Himachal Pradesh). In the cave of Maratika , situated in a remote part of
Eastern Nepal, Guru Padmasambhava and Dakini Mandarava obtained the
accomplishment of longevity. Maratika cave apart from being one of the
principal sacred place of pilgrimage connected with Guru Padmasambhava is
also associated with Shiva therefore local people devout Hindus bring their
animals to thrive and multiply, ensuring plentiful harvests and food, and
blessing women with fecundity. In general, it is a place associated with
fertility, prosperity and long life.
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Mandarava was the consort of Guru Padmasambhava, the great Tibetan
Tantric master. They practiced together and both, at the same moment,
realized immortality. Mandarava is the Nirmanakaya emanation of the Jana
Dakini (Wisdom), the goddess of immortality. She appears in the text in the
Sambhogakaya form as Chandali, goddess of internal heat. In the
Dharmakaya form, she is known as Samantabhadri, a manifestation beyond
form or name.

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The Thigle of Vajra Life or The Long-life Practice of the Immortal Dakini is a
text belonging to both the category of Mind Treasure, a teaching transmitted
from the mind of an enlightened being and hidden in the consciousness of a
tertn, or treasure discoverer. It is subsequently revealed at an appropriate
time and place with visions and dreams. In the colophon of the above text one
reads:
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Thispracticeoflong-life,TheThigleofVajraLife,
OfVajraMandarava,MotherofLife,
HeartessenceofhundredsofthousandsofDakinis,
WasgivenintothecustodyoftheMaroonColouredQueen.
Whenthepropitioustimearrives,theOneEyedQueen
WillentrustthisteachingtoaMaster.
ShewillthenallowthedoorofthisMindTreasuretobe
opened.
Thushundredsofthousandsoffortunateindividuals,
Bothmaleandfemale,
WillobtaintheimmortalVajrabody,
Andasmanysentientbeingsasgrainsofsandwillbecon-
ductedto
ThepuredimensionKhachd.

The Maroon Queen, Munag Gyalmo, is a form of Ekajati, one of the principal
guardians of the Dzogchen teachings. She appeared in a dream to Chgyal
Namkhai Norbu R. at Maratika, exhorting him to put into writing the long-life
text of the Dakini of immortality that had been revealed to him. Before writing
down the text of long life, Chgyal Namkhai Norbu composed also a brief
invocation to Ekajati.
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Initiation
To introduce this important long life practice a formal act is required, this is the
initiation that consist of explanation and transmission of caracteristc
empowering energy. The ritual is meant to be effective and pleasant also for

who is only looking for a blessing, for this reason there is no special
commitment; however, for whom might be interested, several book are
available with detailed descriptions and explanations.