The Great Work

Vajrapani: The Protector and Guide of Gautama Buddha

I’ve taken to not really sharing my visions but after a recent talk with my guru he made the point about what Peter Kingsley says in his books, I’m paraphrasing here but it was along the lines of; well, something from another world has told/shown you something. It’s for you but you can tell people. Y’see, I guess it comes down to a confidence thing doesn’t it? I don’t want people thinking I’m doolally or have gone completely balubas. But, I haven’t so I shouldn’t be even thinking about that aspect. And if other people do think I am, ah sure, they can think it. And so, I guess talking more openly about them may help other people be more open about their experiences while mediating or dreaming. 

Vajrapani, Buddhist deity, Bodhisattva - Spud Murphy Down below I’ve copied the message from when I told two good friends about what had happened but first I want to talk a little about who I met/saw rather than giving you the text first. I’ve done this because this way when you read the message you’ll be able to see some of the coincidences in what he represents and the things I was shown/told.

Vajrapani is a Buddhist deity from the Mahayana tradition. Mahayana Buddhism is a wee bit different to Theravada and Vajrayana Buddhism in that they’re pretty big on the idea of the Bodhisattvas. Now, I’ve written plenty about these before and readers or listeners to the TaSTA pod will know I certainly have a grá for them too.

A Bodhisattva traditionally just means anyone who is on the path towards bodhi (awakening) or Buddhahood. In Mahayana Buddhism however, a Bodhisattva is anyone who has generated bodhicitta; this is the voluntary wish along with a compassionate mind to attain awakening/Buddhahood for the benefit of all sentient life. Vajrapani is one of the first three of the Bodhisattvas to be mentioned in Buddhism, alongside two others; Manjushri (who manifests all the Buddhas’ wisdom) and Avalokiteevara (who manifests Buddha’s compassion). What does Vajrapani do? He protects Buddha and manifests all the Buddhas’ power, including the the power of all Five tathagatas.

The Five Tathagatas then are five Buddhas who represent different elements of enlightenment; they are Akshobhya (consciousness), Ratnasambhava (equanimity), Vairocana (sunyata/emptiness), Amitābha (pure perception), and Amoghasiddhi (discernment). Now, let’s not get too list-y here, Buddhists do bloody love their lists and maps and paths and sub-lists within sub-lists. Let’s get back to our old mate, Vajrapani.


Vajrapani is a firece-looking Dharmapalas, this means, a wrathful deity. However, he’s not wrathful in the sense that he’d kill you for looking at his pint, he’s just extremely protective of the Buddhist Dharma, which is ‘cosmic law and order’. The etymology of his name is quite interesting, ‘vajra‘ means either diamond or thunderbolt while ‘pani‘ means in hand, so he’s both holding the diamond of Buddhist teaching, the Dharma, or he’s smacking you upside the noggin with the harsh realities of the Dharma with the speed of a thunderbolt. I’d be pretty sure that you’ve seen some images or paintings of him before, he’s usually blue and fierce scary-looking, usually holding a lightening bolt, tongue out and sometimes had a third eye in his forehead. There’s a bang of Kali off him it must be said.

The idea behind him looking so harsh is to strike fear into the individual so they loosen up on their hard-held beliefs/conditionings/prejudices etc. Basically, toVajrapani, Buddhist deity, Bodhisattva - Spud Murphy scare the bejaysus outta ya to ‘wake up’. To look at it without the fear of god however, he represents the viriya (energy) of the enlightened mind and the power or stamina to break through delusion(s). The lightening bolt is to show the power needed to cleave through the mire of delusion. 

Indeed, there’s another Buddhist sect called Vajrayana where followers believe that enlightenment is possible in one lifetime thanks to various tantric, meditation, mudra, chanting and ritualistic practices. They believe the teachings come from Vajrapani, the Buddha and Padmasambhava

We kind of have this false idea in the Western world that after his enlightenment, Siddhartha Gautama sat around under trees or on lotus flowers all blissed-out of his head, walking on air and farting butterflies for the rest of his days; until he was given a dodgy pork curry that killed him. That wasn’t so, he very much engaged in debate with other religious leaders and philosophers of his time, converting many, and even helping them towards realisation. And it wasn’t just intellectuals either. There’s one story in particular where he met a Jesse James-type bandit called Angulimala. He was so dastardly that he would lob off a finger of his victims after slaying them and wear his collection of digits in a fetching necklace. Siddhartha met him, ended up converting him and he eventually became enlightened. 

Another possible reason for Vajrapani looking so fierce is that he mirrors our long-held bad habits, cravings and behaviours. So, imagine what these bad aspects of ourselves would look like and image the fight they would put up if we wanted to overcome them and become enlightened. To them, enlightenment looks threatening and he reflects this back onto people. 

Anybody with an interest in mythology can see many similarities with the Hindu thunder god Indra, with the Greek god Zeus, the Roman god Jupiter, the Slavic god Perun, all four of which have their roots in the Proto-Indo-European god Dyeus Phter. But let’s just sum up and say that he portrays the power, the vitality and the fortitude of the Buddha.


While away last time at the ranch I woke up in the middle of the night, it was quite bright outside, it was around the time of the full moon. I settled back to try and go back asleep. What I’ve written in italics is what I’ve written today.

I was in this cave, at this huge cavern. There was an alter set into a wall and on it was one of, like the Tibetan baddie Buddhist godthings, (Vajrapani – I had no idea of their name for a few days after) but he was really a goodie, just a scary looking motherfucker; flames, tongues, big eyes, kept kinda revolving in form like a kaleidoscope.

And he gave me a lecture about Viriya (mentioned above) it’s a Buddhist thing about energy. (a Buddhist term translated as “energy”, “diligence”, “enthusiasm”, or “effort”)
And it told me all about the different types of energy, why the work as they do.
But it was a bit like Parmenides’ Forms but also that when we love or create or do something for others, or with love, we’re taking energy from the nonexistent form and giving it life and purpose.

And he starting going about my hero/victim thing and that when we’re lost in thought we’re victims of illusion/delusion and when we stop the thoughts and do the thing at hand we’re being heroic and sending shite energy back to where it had come from.

He fuckin stressed the need to do this, do the thing in hand because everything is a thought only, sensations are just thoughts even, never to forget it. It was basically a warning to be mindfull.

Oh and fear..he said something like fear not fear. Something like feeling shame means you see what you’ve done wrong or others have done to you. Look at it and learn but know these are also just thought forms. Not to obsess on my wrongs and the wrongs of others but see though them with love.

And the same goes for awakenings…doesn’t matter how high the rapture might even be. Still it’s temporary, basically attachment is the enemy and send that attachment back to where it came from.

And then…. the fucking bastard exploded like the Marshmallow Man but it was this fuckin rainbow gloop and I was just standing there laughing but feeling ten foot tall and all loved up.

I might have fuckin woke myself up laughing coz I woke up right then.

…a few days later

On my return then I got back into the swing of things with my mediation and so it would have been three to four days after I had the experience, I did my normal meditation and something that hasn’t happened in quite a while occurred. I’ve no idea how long for, and it’s difficult to put this into words now that I’m trying…I felt very, very deep in the meditation and then it just dropped off and everything was gone. There were no sensations, no feelings, no thoughts, nothing to react to; just emptiness. Total emptiness. Imagine turning off a computer, it’s still there, it’s just not on. Consciousness departed momentarily and I didn’t realise it until it came back as if the computer had been powered up again.

What was this? The Routledge Encylopedia of Philosophy explains it as: ‘‘Emptiness’ or ‘voidness’ is an expression used in Buddhist thought primarily to mark a distinction between the way things appear to be and the way they actually are’. While the recently departed Thich Nhat Hanh once wrote: ‘Emptiness is not something to be afraid of. Emptiness means empty of a separate self. It is full of everything’.

Gen Lamrimpa, a Tibantan monk, scholar and contemplative wrote ragarding experiencing emptiness: “if this practice is motivated by a spirit of awakening, one can further eradicate cognitive obscurations. In this way one can attain full awakening, the enlightenment of a buddha, which then provides the full capacity for utterly relieving the suffering of others and bringing them to a lasting state of well-being.” 

I had a similar experience quite a while ago now, regarding something called Transmission, from a stranger in a hospital waiting room while I was waiting for an important blood examination. Everything just seemed to stop and disappear. The world continued on around me but instead of witnessing it, I was with it. The word sunyata was mentioned above, it means that all things are ‘empty of intrinsic existence and nature‘. 

I can understand why that might be frightening, if nothing is real and everything is empty then why aren’t we all just pleasure-obsessed nihilists? But following the experience both times there was great peace, immense peace when I came back to myself. I’ve come to realise that while every living thing is unique we all, humans anyway, can share in this knowledge and experience.

Look at how our thoughts work, they come, stay a wee while and go again, our sensations and feelings and experiences are the same; all coming and lingering and leaving all the time. It’s nonstop, except when we’re in deep sleep (we think). They arise, they linger and they’re gone. But, if all things are essentially empty then there is no arising or departing, as said above, there’s no separate self. And in the cessation there is no arising and departing. There’s no wanting, no impressing, no hero, no victim, no pain and no suffering.  There is only nothing and this nothing is all there is behind all the wanting, the impressing, the pain and the suffering. And if we can truely experience the emptiness that lays behind these things that have such a powerful hold over our lives; we’re free.

Vajrapani: The Protector and Guide of Gautama Buddha

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