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vam
Vajrayogini Seed Syllable

Vajrayogini Seed Syllable (Bija Mantra) is VAM. Also pronounced BAM.

Translator’s Note:

In most old Sanskrit texts, VAM is written the same as BAM. Since the Tibetan language lacks the character VA, both VA and BA are written in Tibetan with the same character and pronounced as BA, for example with the Sanskrit word “Vajra,” pronounced “Bendza” in Tibetan. Throughout all Vajrayogini practice, the Tibetans write Vajrayogini Seed Syllable as BAM / VAM, but when pronouncing it, they say “BAM.” Since most translations of Vajrayogini materials are based on oral explanations by Tibetan Masters, translators have written the syllable in accord with the transcription of how these Masters pronounce it: “BAM.”

Despite this precedent, it would be far clearer to transliterate the way the syllable is written – VAM – rather than how the Tibetans pronounce it – BAM. The reason is that in many verses and aspects of her practice, Vajrayogini Seed Syllable goes together with E, the Seed Syllable for her Reality Source (Dharmaodaya). Taking her Seed Syllable to be VAM and not BAM, we find that together the two syllables form EVAM, the Sanskrit word for “thus.”

EVAM is a technical term explained extensively in numerous commentaries (Shastras) of many Anuttarayoga Tantra systems in the context of it being the first word in innumerable Sutras: “Evam Maya ShrutamThus I have heard.” In these Tantra commentaries, E is explained, for instance, as Ultimate Truth and Emptiness, while VAM is Conventional Truth and simultaneously arising Blissful Awareness. Taken together, then, EVAM represents the Two Truths as well as simultaneously arising Bliss and Emptiness. Because of these reasons, I have transliterated the syllable here as VAM.

vam.txt · Last modified: 2018/02/26 18:13 (external edit)