There is such a need for bigger hearts, vast minds, for more tolerance, kindness and attitudes that includes everyone. We have enough racism and so many other way to exclude each other. We all know how painful it is to be the left out, to be the excluded or even the suppressed minority. Sometimes for absolutely no reason.
Living in a world focused on what is outside us, and not looking within, we are taught from a young age that we need to become something more than we are right now. We are encouraged to always be doing: we must learn; we must buy; we must acquire and achieve. And for absolute certain we must become better than we are right now just sitting here doing nothing. The Buddha taught the opposite. He said that by learning to let the mind be, just as it is right now, all our good qualities can unfold from within.
This story from one of the previous lives of His Holiness Rangjung Rikpé Dorjé, the XVIth Gyalwang Karmapa, was told in 1976, while his party drove through Jalandhara, a place in Himachal Pradesh. It was raining very slightly and peacocks were singing softly. His Holiness had the car stopped and said to his attendants, “I have come back to my motherland”. He then told the following wondrous story.
Where there is suffering, either in ourselves or in our world, it is because there has been a lack of attention, love, and understanding. Now, each breath, each look, each thought we direct towards ourselves can be brimming with love, Each step, and every attentive moment can be like a gentle caress.
At the onset of the after-death experience, phenomena have no structure and no recognizable features whatsoever, but are a tremendous display, the ultimate acid trip. It’s unlike wide open space on a cloudless day: something happens within that space, called sounds, colors and lights. The sounds are, Tulku Urgyen said, like 100.000 simultaneous thunder cracks, from all directions, above, below, everywhere. The colors are all colors of the rainbow, but much more intense than we normally see in this life. The rays of light are like sharp needles or swords, piercing through everything.
We have the incredibly great fortune to have encountered the precious teachings of the Buddha as well as living teachers who offer us the opportunity to study those teachings and assist us in training in them. Such a situation is a source of rejoicing that fills my heart with gratitude. It doesn’t matter that the path is long and difficult; it is the journey itself that is important.
Chadral Rinpoche encouraged us to recognize our ‘true nature,’ because absolutely nothing else will be of any use to us in the long run. This and this alone is the chief and crucial point. In recognizing and practicing, one brings into balance all other factors in one’s life.
A PLEA TO VAJRASATTVAView Post
When people visit me in my monastery in Nepal, they sometimes ask, “Please introduce me to the nature of my mind! My plane leaves tomorrow morning, so I’m in a bit of a hurry!” It almost sounds as if they think the nature of mind is a special thing, a bit like a tourist attraction, which they have to see before they’re off to the airport. On other occasions, people talk to me as if I were a gardener and the nature of mind were a rare flower that they want to see and smell.
–Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche
Once lucid dreaming is mastered, simply start meditating in your dreams. The first time I practiced in a dream, I simply sat in the lotus position and floated in the room where the dream was happening. When someone in the dream asked me what I was doing, I told them I was busy, that they shouldn’t bother me; and, so, I kept meditating.
Facing our own compulsive drives and finding the will force to gently let them go, we come to understand the unconscious compulsions that are at work in creating the anxiety-driven, stress-amplifying, vital-force-depleting social condition we see so prevalent the world over.
When we release the contracted sense of self, we will automatically have compassion flowing. It will be there without effort, that is the beauty and that is what we can trust. But we must first give it to ourselves. If we are doing this, the contracted sense of self can relax and expand. Giving love and compassion to oneself is a first and foremost requirement on our path.
Our geometric culture with its plethora of sensations but without deep experiences, with a fantastic accumulation of knowledge but with lack of wisdom, with too much vigor of bodybuilding, sexuality, the artifacts of destruction shown in serial killer but without tenderness, affection and the ability to care for each other, care about the Earth, care about our children and animals, for the common future of us all. Our invincible strength comes from the tenderness with which we surround, treat, love and respect all sentient beings without exception.
One of the simplest things we can do to decrease our level of stimulation and increase our sensitivity is to sit comfortably and gently in a quiet place and just relax for a few minutes. We may call it meditation, but really it’s just a simple, natural thing that makes a lot of sense.
In tantric Buddhism we find the principle of vibration or sound expressed in the inner practices of transformation where we imagine and develop a mandala, or a pure vision of the dimension of a particular deity or enlightened being. It’s a facsimile of the dimension of a deity, a spontaneous effulgent radiance of reality, in order to transform our limited dualistic vision of reality into the total vision of enlightenment and realize the qualities of enlightened wisdom through that particular deity.
These days, we wonder how we can be like Sujata. We strive to make a difference in the world. We reduce our carbon footprints and participate proactively in the democratic process. We educate ourselves and serve others. Yet despite our best efforts, as a whole our societies still seem to be starving for compassion, thirsty for equanimity, and emaciated by the onslaught of digital disconnections. We wonder, what is the bowl of rice and milk that we can give our world to help to bring it into balance?
Sit, lie or stand just like that, for a moment. Two or three breaths. Now imagine, and it doesn’t matter if this is a clear image or just a thought, that Mary is present right here, with a big heart that just loves you unconditionally and deeply wants all the best for you.
Preview of the forthcoming movie, Precious Guru, a film about Padmasambhava, sacred places connected to him and the culture the tantric master inspired throughout the Himalayas.
Just as we experience the fear, love, and humor of the characters in a movie, so do we experience the enlightened mind of the entities that we visualize. When we visualize an enlightened entity, we are able to recognize its enlightened mind because it is our own – it is inherent within us and it is the basis of our consciousness – so when we call upon it, we find it to be there.
Shariputra, form is emptiness and the very emptiness is form; emptiness does not differ from form, form does not differ from emptiness; whatever is form, that is emptiness, whatever is emptiness, that is form, the same is true of feelings, perceptions, impulses and consciousness.
The thought of extraordinary individuals has the power to shift what we conceive of as possible in this human realm. It also changes what we think of our teachers, ourselves, and our brothers and sisters. A saint, both in the East and in Western traditions, is something more than a good person, or someone of exemplary character. Moving past this mundane conception, we enter into a supernatural framework for understanding the lives and influence of a saintly person.