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.
The culture we live in is dominated by these ideas, that we are just this human body, and when it ends we are no more. There is however an entirely different perspective, presented by the buddhas in the tantric texts: This present mind that knows and feels lives in the body, but is not of the body. It is unlike any other thing we know in life, because mind is neither something nor nothing. Think about it!
The single vehicle is the understanding that all teachings are personal advice on how to soften rigid mind-habits, letting go of pointless aims, and then settling into a gentle presence that is both calm and kind. Our attention simply remains for a while in this way, at ease in itself with nothing that needs to be held or cast away. This aware steadiness is often called shamatha, being calm, and it is the basis for all higher or deeper states of authentic insight.
To sever attachment to home, family, and friends, chödpas moved from valley to valley, village to village, sacred place to sacred place, charnel ground to charnel ground, staying only for brief periods in small tents and under trees before moving on. They would camp in groups, but only as close as the sound of a kangling could reach.
A profound praise of Mother Nature and the benefits of facing the mind in solitude, by Longchenpa – the mystic poet of Tibet.
Imagine the moment when all beings realize their true nature, and burst out laughing together.
Michael Ash, artist and visionary, presenting a photo exhibition and poetry from his journey to White Skull Mountain Hermitage, Gangri Tokar, the spectacular retreat where Tibet’s greatest mystic-philosopher Longchenpa, wrote the wonderful Seven Treasuries about the deepest topics in human civilization.