From a Talk Given at Wutai Mountain Retreat Center by Do Khyentse Hungkar Dorje, Tenth Abbot of the Golok Lung-Ngon Monastery Qinghai, China
"Manjushri, the deity of wisdom, is one of the eight great Bodhisattvas. Individuals can pray to Manjushri to receive confidence,understanding and wisdom. He is someone who developed bodhicitta and became a Bodhisattva of the tenth Bhumi, on the edge of achieving Buddhahood. It is his intention not to achieve Buddhahood until all beings are liberated so he does not go onto to achieve Buddhahood.
There are many different ways of describing Manjushri. He is called the Father of All the Buddhas since many great practitioners have prayed and trained in the accomplishments of Manjushri and are like his children. Originally he dwelt in India, later he manifested at Wutai Mountain in China to benefit beings there. In the Dzogchen mantrayana teachings we say that Manjushri is inseparable from the true nature of one’s own mind. The meaning of this is difficult to understand properly. Lama Mipham says that all Tathagatas and Buddhas of the ten times, that all of their concentrated wisdom is inseparable from Manjushri.
Another name for Manjushri is Manjughosa. Manju means gentle or smooth, without roughness or obscuration and ghosa means voice or sound, so Manjughosa means one whose speech is free of all obscurations. In a deeper way we could say that all sound, all voice arises from Manjushri – the sixty qualities of speech of Brahma arise from Manjushri. We say that the sounds of the vowels are the source of all sounds, so here we could say that from the vowels, that are pure sound of Manjushri, arise the consonants, that is, all of speech. In the Tibetan language, we say the four basic vowels are included in AH. Just like the same notes in music can be played high or low, all notes are included in the melodious sound of AH, the sound of emptiness. Out of the sound of emptiness all other sounds appear, so the great mind of emptiness of Manjushri is the source of all meaning.
Free from all obscurations, Lord of all sounds, the Lord and King of all sounds, that is Manjughosa. The Third Dzogchen Rinpoche, highest of Siddhas, wrote thick texts just on the name of Manjushri. One of the meanings he gave to the name Manjushri was the “glory of the benefit for oneself and the complete benefit for others”.
In pure mind, in pure perception we can see that everything that can be known in the world is a manifestation of Manjughosa. The two supreme masters, Nargarjuna and Asanga, and the six ornaments, Chandrakirti, and so on, are considered emanations of Manjushri. In Tibet, many masters and accomplished practitioners were devotees of Manjushri. The three great scholars of Tibet– Sakya Pandita, Longchenpa and Tsongkhapa were known as the three Manjushris. Mipham is also considered a manifestation of Manjushri, and one who attained accomplishment through the practice of Manjughosa. In all the lineages there were many great teachers and translators who were considered manifestations of Manjushri. By remaining in the tenth bhumi, Manjushri is able to generate countless emanations and still connect with beings even now.
In the Dzogchen teachings, primordial awareness, rigpa, is Manjushri. Thus there is no difference between Manjushri and knowing rigpa,the true nature of mind. So as practitioners of Dzogchen, we are practicing Manjushri; practicing Manjushri,we are practicing Dzogchen. Manjushri appears in the Net of Illusion and other Mahayana teachings as well as in the Manjushri-nama-samgiti, which praises the many qualities of Manjushri. The qualities of Manjushri are of course infinite, limitless and indescribable. But through practice of Manjushri, we can develop understanding and realization of true nature of mind and of compassion. So this is a practice of great importance."