I watched Avatar with the kids recently, and was struck by the relationship between Ehwa, the divine entity of Pandora, and the Dharmakaya.
The idea of Ehwa is that all life on Pandora is actually part of a larger living entity called Ehwa, like different cells in one fully integrated, seamless organism. Physically, each being may appear separate, but spiritually they are all different aspects of the same single entity. A being arises from Ehwa, returns to Ehwa when they die, and can even pass from one body to another through Ehwa. Bliss arose when the consciousness of two different beings ‘bonded’, or realized their non-duality, such as when they went on the horses or the birds. They ceased to function as two separate entities, but became and functioned like one. The more the Navi realized the non-duality between themselves and Ehwa, the more they became one with Ehwa. In dependence upon Jake’s prayer, he was able to invoke all of Ehwa, in other words the whole planet and all of its aspects (the different beings) towards the end of ridding the planet of those who would destroy it. The planet functioned and acted as one entity. Jake’s evolution as a character was his moving from viewing himself as separate from Ehwa to becoming one with Ehwa, and as he did so he grew in capacity and understanding.
In the same way, all beings are in reality different aspects or different parts of one seamless entity, the Dharmakaya. It is only due to our ignorance that we conceive of and relate to ourselves as a separate entity. Due to this ignorance, we grossly limit ourselves and isolate ourselves experientially from what we really are. Due to our ignorance, different aspects of ourselves enter into conflict each other. But when we realize our non-duality with all beings and all things, then we naturally come to live in harmony with all of reality. The more we realize this non-duality, the more our experience becomes bliss and wisdom instead of the pain and suffering of delusion and ignorance. In reality, we are everything. All of life, all of the universe, is in reality one single, fully integrated, seamless entity. This is our true nature. This is who we really are. We are not this small, isolated, individual self we think we are. We ignorantly conceive of ourselves as a wave that is somehow independent from its ocean. We somehow grasp at a universe of independent waves and deny the ocean entirely. Because we conceive of things this way, this is how we experience them, and as a result we experientially cut ourselves off from the underlying splendor of it all.
But just because we conceive and experience things this way doesn’t make it true. No matter what we think, we are, in fact, the ocean. Our task as a completion stage practitioner is to experientially make the transition from conceiving ourselves as an independent wave to becoming the ocean itself, to experience ourselves as the ocean itself. To experience ourselves as one single entity which is all things. To experience ourselves as the one entity which is all things.
Knowing that we are the one entity which is all things, in our present state we have two problems:
- We are in conflict with ourselves. Different aspects of ourselves (the different beings of this world) are in conflict with each other.
- We are in the wrong shape. The cummulative effects of our delusions and ignorance since beginningless time have completely disfigured and distorted the shape of ourselves. We are currently in the aspect of a samsara, a distorted contaminated world at war with itself.
If we realized we were one entity, we would come to live in harmony with all the other aspects of ourselves. Delusion leads to conflict, wisdom leads to harmony. We need to completely reconfigure ourselves into the shape or aspect of a pure land with all beings living in harmony as different aspects of the one entity of the Dharmakaya. We would then all share in the bliss of all beings experiencing themselves as one. Ultimately we exist and function as one, conventionally we have many different aspects or waves of the single entity. We are not one and not different but both simultaneously. In our tantric practice, we first realize ourselves and the whole universe as being the ocean of the Dharmakaya. Then, out of compassion and an effort to undo all of the harm and disfigurement we have done to ourselves, the one entity, we reconfigure ourselves in the aspect of a universal pure land with all beings in harmony as the one entity of the Dharmakaya, partaking of its shared blissful wisdom – one single consciousness and many different consciosnesses simultaneously. This mental action functions to slowly and gradually reconfigure ourselves, the one entity, as the pure land itself and all of its inhabitants. Once this is our living experience, we have reached the outer pure land. We then turn our attention to the Dharmakaya itself, and gradually gather, aborb and purify all phenomena into the complete purity of the ocean of the clear light Dharmakaya. Until we are a Buddha, any conventional appearance comes mixed with contaminated appearance (even if we know better), so even the pure land appears contaminated by ignorance. But when we aborb completely into the Dharmakaya, all duality dissolves away into clear light. Only once we have fully realized that state can we then appear ourselves as conventional appearance without ever leaving the ocean of bliss and emptiness. We shape ourselves as the pure land and as countless emanations in the ordinary conventional world so as to gradually draw all beings back into the bosom of ourselves completely gathered and purified in the Dharmakaya.