Thursday, June 29, 2006

Devotion to Prajnaparamita

I was reflecting this morning on how much devotion images of the deity Prajnaparamita bring forth from me.

Given that she is the deity who represents Wisdom, rather than Love, Compassion, Patience and so on .... how interesting that she inspires so much devotion in me.

Pretty much every image I've ever seen of her makes we want to rest the image on the top of my head, and offer gratitude to her. Maybe the fact that there are so few images and statues of her historically, compared to other deities, is something to do with this .. how wonderful it actually is to come across one :-)

Then again, I reflect that karma and connections seems such a strong factor here ... I can see images of Green Tara, say, and though I have a connection there, and even *wish* that I felt more towards her, I don't have anything of the same feeling. It's as if Prajnaparamita is 'plumbed into me' .. and goes right to my core. Like I recognise that she's part of me, no, inseparable from my mind.

Then again, Prajanaparamita is the textual basis of my practice, of Chod, so there's a close connection there, but this feel for her predated my contact with Chod by many years. Of course, that karmic connection was already there, awaiting awakening.

Once again, my orientation is always towards Wisdom, rather than other Enlightened qualities, so it would make sense that Prajnaparamita as a deity would appeal. Yet, there's more to it than that ... as it is fervent devotion and homage that is brought forth ... not intellectual appreciation, or anything more 'cold' or 'dispassionate'.

The more she represents Wisdom, the more she calls forth Devotion from me, it seems.

It reminds me of how in Guru Devotion, one is devoted to the Dharma through the Guru, not really the Guru himself, in his relative conditioned aspect. All this devotion to the Guru, which flows forth from the heart, is, in one sense, channeled towards wisdom, or reality itself .... or realities, perhaps I should say? In the face of what is, one feels Devotion ... why? Because there is a recognition and a yearning ... the recognition of a seed within, yet to come to fruition ... and the yearning for coming home, once that home has been recognised.

Her images seem so close to my innermost heart .. like she is the secret who resides within, who is my ultimate aspect, who is the mirror of both my aspirations and my actual nature.

Blessed Prajnaparamita .... goddess of Wisdom .... I supplicate you with my innermost Heart!

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Reflections on Gotsampa - Seven Delights: A Song About Taking Difficult Circumstances to the Path

by Tibetan siddha, Götsampa

Namo Ratna Guru !

When thoughts that there is something perceived and a perceiver
Lure my mind away and distract,
I don't close my senses’ gateways to meditate without them
But plunge straight into their essential point.
They're like clouds in the sky; there's this shimmer where they fly;
Thoughts that rise, for me sheer delight!

When kleshas get me going and their heat has got me burning,
I try no antidote to set them right;
Like an alchemistic potion turning metal into gold,
What lies in kleshas’ power to bestow
Is bliss without contagion, completely undefiled;
Kleshas coming up, sheer delight!

When I'm plagued by god-like forces or demonic interference,
I do not drive them out with rites and spells;
The thing to chase away is the egoistic thinking
Built up on the idea of a self.
This will turn those ranks of maras into your own special forces;
When obstacles arise, sheer delight!

When samsara with its anguish has me writhing in its torments,
Instead of wallowing in misery,
I take the greater burden down the greater path to travel
And let compassion set me up
To take upon myself the sufferings of others;
When karmic consequences bloom, delight!

When my body has succumbed to attacks of painful illness,
I do not count on medical relief
But take that very illness as a path and by its power
Remove the obscurations blocking me,
And use it to encourage the qualities worthwhile;
When illness rears its head, sheer delight!

When its time to leave this body, this illusionary tangle,
Don't cause yourself anxiety and grief;
The thing that you should train in and clear up for yourself is—
There's no such thing as dying to be done.
Its just clear light, the mother, and child clear light uniting;
When mind forsakes the body, sheer delight!

When the whole thing's just not working, everything's lined up against you,
Don't try to find some way to change it all;
Here the point to make your practice is reverse the way you see it,
Don't try to make it stop or to improve.
Adverse conditions happen, when they do its so delightful—
They make a little song of sheer delight!

(trans. Jim Scott/Anne Buchardi, Aug. 2, 1996, Karme Chöling, Barnet, Vermont.)

I came across this the other day .. what a delight! Taking everything onto the path ... nothing is outside of the path, nothing is essentially problematic .... all is the path, all is mind, all is same taste ....

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Reflections on Saraha, originator of Mahamudra

Space is designated as empty,
Yet its exact nature cannot be verbalized.
Similarly the mind is designated as luminously clear,
Yet its exact nature is empty, with no ground for definition.
Thus the self-nature of mind is and has been
From the very beginning like that of space.


... and how blessed I am to have the Mahamudra to practice!

It struck me yesterday how beautifully balanced my two practices are .... that of Chod and of Mahamudra. One involves complex visualisations, the presence of various deities, and the generation of all manner of thoughts and appearances, arranged to induce realisation.

The other involves nothing other than looking at the nature of my mind, directly and simply, with nothing fabricated, nothing altered.

It seems to be an extraordinary balance, to have times practicing Chod where I'm enveloped in sacred presence, invoking and supplicating, where my mind is deliberately directed towards utilising appearances in the most skillful of ways. And then at other times, when practicing Mahamudra, I simply let go of creating or striving in any way, and allow awareness to turn in on itself, and shine its light upon its source. So simple, so pure, so little to get caught up in .... simply allowing the mind to settle into its own nature, and revealing a little of it eternal secret.

What a supreme comfort it is to so readily be surrounded by the blessed ones, to have my guru in mind, and to be filled with radiant qualities, seeming without end. And yet how blessed it is to rest simply in nothing, to let go of doing, and to allow the still waters to settle and show their extraordinary nature, nothing and yet everything.

Either way though, the practice is the same - pointing to minds nature, via direct or indirect means. Either way I'm filled with gratitude, that such treasures should have fallen into my lap, so incomperably precious, yet seemingly so undeserved!

Either way the nature is revealed, that of some (no) thing so intangible, yet seemingly radiant and clear.

Strive as I can, there's nothing I can grasp, no nature to hold as an object or thing, and nothing to say 'I've found it'. It just melts away before my minds eye, insubstantial, groundless, spacious, indeterminate. Nothing to capture, nothing to hold, nothing that is 'it', nothing to be found. Wherever my mind turns, however it tries to sneakily angle itself, it cannot catch anything, cannot find anything, cannot finally encounter this hidden nature as a thing. For all my guile and striving, there's nothing to be found, and in moments of ease, mind lets go of the struggle, and senses the boundless and groundless, finding a strangely profound security in the seemingly insecure.

And yet at one and the same time, this nothing, this no-thing isn't exactly nothing, isn't a void without ... what?, I cannot say. There's seemingly a clarity, a luminosity, a magical display which is unceasing and unimpeded. Mind displays appearances, yet those appearances are empty of substance. And they seem one and the same, well ... not one, yet not two either ..... so intimately connected ... yet not connected, as they are not two things to be brought together in some way.

Inseparable ... Luminous Emptiness ..... where there is one, the other is to be found. Nowhere other than in the one is the other .... nowhere else can they be found. Not separate qualities, not separate and related.

Magical appearances, utterly void of any substance.

Saraha, Master of Mahamudra, who discovered the Golden Key, the direct method .... unquantifiable thanks ....