Dharma Tools for Silencing the Skandhic Demons


Of course the most meritorious means for dispelling the effects of the Skandhic Demons is The Heart Sutra. Chanted daily by millions in the Buddhist milieu it serves as a mantra that diurnally reminds one of the efficaciousness of the very heart of Noble Wisdom:

Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva,
when deeply practicing prajna-paramita,
clearly saw that the five skandas are all empty,
and was saved from all suffering and distress.

form is no different to emptiness,
emptiness no different to form.
That which is form is emptiness,
that which is emptiness, form.

Sensations, perceptions, impressions, and consciousness
are also like this.

all things and phenomena are marked by emptiness;
they are neither appearing nor disappearing,
neither impure nor pure,
neither increasing nor decreasing.

Therefore, in emptiness,
no forms, no sensations, perceptions, impressions, or
no eyes, ears, nose, tongue, body, mind;

no sights, sounds, odors, tastes, objects of touch, objects of
no realm of sight and so on up to no realm of consciousness;

no ignorance and no end of ignorance,
and so on up to no aging and death,
and no end of aging and death;

no suffering, accumulation, cessation, or path;
no wisdom and no attainment.
With nothing to attain,
rely on prajna-paramita,
and their minds are without hindrance.

They are without hindrance,
and therefore without fear.

Far apart from all confused dreams,
they dwell in nirvana.

All buddhas of the past, present and future
rely on prajna-paramita,
and attain full, complete realization.

Therefore, know that prajna-paramita
is the great transcendent mantra,
the great bright mantra,
the supreme mantra,
the unequalled balanced mantra,
that can eliminate all suffering,
and is real, not false.

So proclaim the prajna-paramita mantra,
proclaim the mantra that says:

gate, gate,
bodhi, svaha!

The Heart Sutra in its entirety is a whole other blog in the making, but for our recent study on the Surangama Sutra, the following may be discerned:

Prajna-paramita is the Noble Wisdom directly from the Other Shore of Deathless Suchness. As expounded in the Heart Sutra by Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva—the very mouthpiece for Bodhicittapada Itself—the skandhas are truly devoid (empty) of substance in their absolute sense, but they are also made manifest in the relative-sense; but still the underlying nature of both is emptiness (Shunyata). The sutra also unequivocally states that the skandhas are disbanded through the gateless gate of Noble Wisdom; Noble Wisdom heralds from the Deathless Other Shore with no-thing arising nor cessating. The concluding mantra can be referenced as: The Undivided Awareness of Noble Wisdom from the Other Shore that is far removed (gone) from the shore of defiled aggregated existence…so may it be. Awakening therefore to the Bodhi-Mind one is far-removed from any skandhic interference; as Tozen wrote in a recent blog reply, “…if you truly know thyself, your own true Mind, such matters (skandhic demonic influences) are of no concern.” Another way of expressing this is by keeping before the Mind’s Eye at all times Tozen’s admonition: Know Thyself before the arisal and cessation of all things. Also from Tozen, his blog on The Unborn Mind Dharani is another marvelous tool to effectively counteract the effects of the Skandhas:


Another Dharma-tool for dismantling the skandhas is what we covered a while back during the Lankavatarian Book of the Dead series: the Transformational Mandala of the Five Dhyani Buddhas. Each Dhyani Buddha counteracts the effects of the corresponding skandha. Here once again is the extracted snapshot (from the aforementioned blog series) of their significance:




Perhaps the most radiant of the five since this Buddha is the Total Revealed Wisdom-Truth of the Dharmadhatu. He essentially overcomes the poison of ignorance (avidya) and illusion and is associated with the corresponding Skandha of Form; his all-pervasive Wisdom Plane transmutes this Skandha into the Absolute Buddha Body—Buddhakaya. He resides in the Center of the Transformation-Mandala; his color is White—symbolizing Pure Unadulterated Consciousness. His centralized-Tathagatahood position within the Transformation-Mandala also signifies his family=Buddha. Vairocana’s Symbol is the Dharmachakra—or the Turning Eight-Spoked Wheel of the Buddhadharma; his mudra is the gesture of teaching, or Dharmachakra Mudra. The Mantra associated with Buddha Vairocana is Om Vairochana Om.


The name means the “Immovable” or “Unshakable” One. He is forever known as having a Mirrorlike Wisdom that can transmute the darkest of images into the Clear Light of the Dharmakaya Itself. He essentially overcomes the poisons of hatred and anger and is associated with the corresponding Skandha of Consciousness (vijnana); indeed, his mirror-like Wisdom transmutes any volatile and misshapen imagery of the Alaya-receptacle into Translucent Unborn Light. He resides in the Eastern quadrant of the Transformation-Mandala; his color is blue, reflective of the Luminosity of the Dharmakaya Itself. Akshobhya is the Ruler of the Vajra Family and his corresponding symbol is that of the Vajra itself—signifying its indestructible diamond-like resiliency in the face of all evils. His mudra is the Bhumisparsa Mudra, or the earth-touching gesture that bespeaks the resilient groundedness of the Amala Consciousness. The Mantra associated with Buddha Akshobhya is Om Akshobhya Hūm.


Ratnasambhava’s name means “the jewel-born, wish-fulfilling one” or the Source of all precious-things. Ratnasambhava is especially known for transmuting the poison of all forms (spiritual, intellectual, and material) of hatred into the Absolute Wisdom of equality and equanimity; in this sense his corresponding Skandha is that of feeling or sensation—wherein the rabidness of hatred can be transmuted and quelled into a semblance of quietude and Absolute Peacefulness. He resides in the Southern Hemisphere of the Transformational-Mandala and his symbol of course is the radiant jewel; his color is that of a Golden-Yellow, signifying the shining sun of Absolute Satisfaction in the Sugata-garbha, or the Supreme Womb of Buddhaic Light. Ratnasambhava is the ruler of the Ratna Family and his corresponding symbol is the Chintamani—or the Shining Jewel manifesting the Liberated Mind. His mudra is the Varada Mudra, or the palm-opening gesture that reflects an open and Self-giving display of equanimous compassion. The Mantra associated with Buddha Ratnasambhava is Om Ratnasambhava Tram.


Amitabha is known as the Buddha of Infinite Light. His Discriminating Wisdom is said to overcome and transmute the poisons that accompanies all forms of passions and inordinate desires; his corresponding Skandha is Perception (all cognitive associations that result in “conceptualizations” about perceived phenomena). His wisdom hence pierces through all phenomena and renders it null and void in the Clear Light of the Dharmakaya. He resides in the Western-half of the Transformation Mandala, a location that bears special significance as the “Western Paradise” for followers of Amidism. His color is a beautiful rose—reflective of a magnificent setting-sun. Amitabha is the ruler of the Padma family—or the wondrous unfolding Lotus, which is his symbol. His mudra is the classic Dhyana Mudra, or the palms-up, right hand on top of left meditation pose. The Mantra associated with Buddha Amitabha is Om Amitabha Hrih—although there are numerous variables associated with Amida followers, such as Namu Amida Butsu.


The name bespeaks the “Almighty Conqueror” and also the Lord of Karma. His is an All-Accomplishing Wisdom that transmutes the poisons of envy and jealousy into the perseverance of the Recollective Resolve. His corresponding Skandha is Volition, or Motion—signifying that Karmic “Action”. Amosghasiddhi bears salient significance in the bardo of the later stages as future-karma becomes solidified and determines the wayfarer’s next incarnation. His color is a radiant Turquoise Green. He resides in the Northern Hemisphere of the Transformation Mandala—which takes on special significance as the departing awareness principle exits the head via the crown, or Dharmamegha Chakra at death. His Symbol is the Dorje, or Double (thunderbolt) Vajra. His mudra is the Abhaya Mudra, or the raised gesture of Fearless-Protection. The Mantra associated with Buddha Amoghasiddhi is Om Amoghasiddhi āh hūm.

A more complete breakdown of their significance begins with the following blog:


When turned-to and properly invoked while in Deep Samadhis, these transformational Tathagatas will prove to be mighty fine company in transfiguring the face of the skandhas.

Another Dharma-method is meditating upon the following video from the Dragon Mind of Zen series. It points directly to the transcending gateless gate that antecedes the relentless pounding of the skandhas, thereby calming them into submission:

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