Annihilate my suffering and
Bestow the sublime fruit of bliss, I pray.
Pacify all karmic and emotional impurities
With the samadhi of supreme, stainless bliss.
Cleanse and pacify all the defilements
That cause a short life, which I have accumulated
During my previous wanderings in samsara
By taking the lives and property of others…
May you wash away and purify all that
With a stream of immortal nectar.

~ Prayer to Ushnishaviijaya

Ushnishavijaya, “Victorious Queen of Crowning Light” is an effulgent white goddess who bestows long life and grants rebirth in a Buddha paradise. She arose from the brilliant rays of light that crown Buddha Shakyamuni. The flamelike crown of light (ushnisha) is a sign of spiritual mastery, a result of the Buddha’s attainment of infinite knowledge, awareness, and vision.

According to Buddhist belief, a person’s life span comes to an end when the causal conditions sustaining that life are exausted. However, Ushnishavijaya has the power both to prevent untimely death and to extend a life that has reached its natural end. As one text promises, “one who has short life will live for seven years; one who has seven years to live will live for seventy or even one hundred years, with a sharp memory and freedom from disease.” The goddess’s powers extend into the afterlife. The incantation of her mantra seals the gates to the lower realms of rebirth (as an animal, hungry ghost, or denizen of hell) and opens the door of Sukhavati, the “Realm of Bliss”, a Buddha paradise whose inhabitants attain enlightenment without descending again into the realms of suffering.

Ushnishavijaya prolongs life through karmic purification rather than divine intervention. Her mantra extends life by cleansing thelife stream of karmic factors that bring about death, namely, the residue of lifetimes of nonvirtuous behavior and delusion.

In the process of purifying the life stream, the goddess pacifies the emotional and mental impediments that cause every inner and outer affliction of body and mind and establishes the meditator in supreme, stainless bliss. Other benefits include relief from bad dreams, enhanced ability to meditate, and a fortunate rebirth. The ultimate fruition of this purification process is literally a deathless state. According to Buddhist soteriology, ordinary being die through the fource of karma, fueled by misdeeds and ignorance, but it is possible to attain an advanced spiritual state in which one is no longer bound by karma and can choose the time and manner of one’s death, as well as the bodies and realms one will inhabit. The practice of Ushnishavijaya is a favored method of progressing toward this goal.

Source: Miranda Shaw, Buddhist Goddesses of India.

Image: Tara di Gesu.