Ushnisavijaya, also known as Namgyalma
Namgyalma bestows long life and grants rebirth in a Buddha paradise. She arose from the brilliant rays of light that crown Shakyamuni Buddha. The flame like crown of light (Usnisha) is a sign of spiritual mastery.
It is a result of the Buddha’s attainment of infinite knowledge, awareness, and vision. The topmost of the head is the seat of inner vision and cosmic consciousness. The divine eye perceives spiritual truths and subtle phenomena which are beyond the range of the physical senses.
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 defilement
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.
~Sakya ritual prayer
A yogic concentration of psychic energy in the crown endows Ushnisa with a supernal luminosity. Often it is compared to the blossoming of a thousand-petaled lotus of light.
This crown of glory after which Ushnisavijaya is named is invisible to ordinary sight and hence signaled in artistic representations by a diadem, turban, or topknot.
The Usnisa has broken the bonds of earthly existence and opened the doors of perception to the cosmos in its immensity and profundity.
As an emblem of the supreme spiritual state, she symbolizes the all-vanquishing power of omniscience, which grants victory even over death.
Ushnisavijaya personifies this victorious force.
The Origin of Ushnishavijaya:
The origins of Ushnisavijaya takes place in Trayastrimsa Heaven. It was wher
e Shakyamuni Buddha stayed to deliver a sermon to gods and goddesses. These heavenly gods enjoy a lengthy life span and are oblivious to the possibility of their eventual death.
During his visit to heaven, a carefree young god was distressed. He heard a voice from the sky that said he would die in seven days and undergo seven rebirths. Aghast, he consulted Indra, sovereign of the gods. Indra used his clairvoyant vision to confirm the news. He also confirmed that the young god would die soon and reborn as a dog, fox, monkey, snake, vulture, crow, and a blind man.
Indra was disturbed by this vision. He prostrated before Shakyamuni and spread the offerings at his feet. He requested Shakyamuni to release from this form of suffering. Buddha emanated brilliant rays from his crown of light. He purified the World throughout the billion-world universe, and reabsorbed the cleansing radiance. He then, commenced to teach the practice of Usnisavijaya. So, the name Ushnisavijaya literally means “Victorious Queen of the Crown of Light.”
Yama, the lord of death promised to protect those who do the practice of Ushnisavijaya. The young God practiced her Dharani (mantra). He enjoyed a long life, and never again took a lower rebirth.
Ushnishavijaya is known as Namgyalma in Tibet. She is one of the major long life deity amongst the Tibetan pantheons. Her practice falls within the Action Tantra class. The practice features the ritual invocation rather than contemplative and yogic disciplines.
She is among a popular triad of longevity divinities, the Long-Life Trinity. It includes her along with Amitayus and White Tara. The three deities share the role of bestowing long life, but each has a specialization.
Amitayus is practiced to attain rebirth in Sukhavati (Pureland of Amitabha Buddha). White Tara in a healing practice is for curing an array of physical and psychic ailments. Ushnishavijaya is an emergency reserve system. She is practiced when a person is seriously ill or approaching the end of life through old age. She is invoked to prevent rebirth in the three lower realms. And she assures rebirth as a human being and in the Buddha-land such as Sukhavati.
A person may recite the mantra of Usnishavijaya on their own behalf. A monastic or yogic specialist can also perform the recitation and the rituals for personal or the universal well-being.
A ceremony devoted to her, The Thousandfold Worship (rNam -rgyal sTong-m chod), invokes her protection swiftly than mantra recitation. Flowers, incense, banners, butter lamps, flour sculptures, mantras are offered to her. Circumbulations are also made in sets of one thousand.
Source: Buddhist Goddesses of India