Reflections on generation stage

Samsara is my mind in the mental position of samsara.  The pure land is a mental yoga.  I put my mind in this position and hold it there.  This functions to heal my mind and build my pure land.  
I need to build up clearly and strongly within my mind the compassion that wishes to go to the pure land so that I can come back to free these beings.  I am not abandoning them by leaving.  I am leaving so that I can get the training necessary and come back again and again without fear of myself falling back in.  If I fall back in, then I am useless and the help I can provide is limited and temporary.  It is because I want to help permanently that I need to get to the pure land.  Intellectually, I understand this, but I need to make it heart felt.   
My job is to make manifest within my mind only my guru in his various aspects (GSBH and Father Heruka in his mandala).  It is not I transform myself into them, it is I cease manifesting my ordinary self entirely and I generate in its place my guru in his various aspects.  There is no value and no usefulness of my ordinary self.  I need to cease all activity of my ordinary self and make my mind completely still.  This stillness is the ocean of my mind completely stilled.  When it stills, all the waves of ordinary appearances cease.  Within this stillness, I make manifest my guru in his various aspects depending on the function I am trying to accomplish.  When he arises, it is not me (the me I normally conceive).  The feeling is it is only him, but with my faith and pure motivation I have the power to invoke his function, invoke the functions of each aspect of the mandala.  It is on the basis of having the power to invoke the functioning of deities of the mandala that I can validly impute ‘I am father Heruka.’  A father Heruka can do these things, and I generate the mind that wants to be a Father Heruka.  Just as some people want to be a doctor or a lawyer or a diplomat so they can accomplish certain functions, I generate the want to be a Father Heruka so that I can accomplish certain functions.  So I work and strive to become one, building up my qualifications to be able to become one.
Part of this is completely abandoning any wish to do anything whatsoever with my ordinary self.  My ordinary self just creates problems and leads me down wrong roads.    It grows more powerful within my mind when I turn to it, listen to it, follow it, and do what it says.  Usually it is an issue of it just sweeps me away.  I get wrapped up in what it has to say and I start spinning senselessly with its ramblings.  Every moment that I am caught up in the spinnings of my ordinary mind and self is a moment wasted of my precious opportunity to make manifest guru Heruka within me.  There can be no greater loss, no greater folly.  
The bottom line is this:  it is just too dangerous to remain in samsara because there is too high of a probability of being swept away by delusions, losing the path, following negativity and ultimately falling into the lower realms where all is lost for both myself and those who I can help.  My first and overriding priority has to be to get to the pure land, from where I can send countless emanations into the realms of samsara to help people, but then there is no risk of me falling back in.  From one perspective, if I die, I go right back to the pure land.  From another perspective, I never actually leave the pure land.  I send emanations, like Avatars, that go into the realms of samsara, but I myself, the one controlling the emanations, never leave the pure land.  It is like my command center.  From another perspective, it is both I go into the realms of samsara and I never leave the pure land simultaneously.  The real nature of myself never leaves, but I go don the disguise of a samsaric form and life.  My disguise will eventually decay and die, but I do not.
To get to the pure land, the most important thing is to die with a compassionate wish to get there.  I want to get there because it is only from there that I can safely help all living beings from now until the task is complete.  Otherwise there is too much danger of being swept away and then lose everything.  VGL says in numerous locations that if we die with a pure mind of compassion, we will definitely go to the pure land.  My main task now is to improve my love for others, and make this love my real motivation for all that I do.  
The most important moment of my life that I need to train for is the moment of my death.  It is clear that I must get to the safety of the pure land.  It is only from there that I will be safe, and more importantly that I will be in a position to then rescue all other living beings one by one and bring them to my pure land where I can then help them complete their training (and I can complete my own).  
I cannot get to the pure land on my own.  I need to be taken there by my guru.  He wants nothing more than to take me there, but I need to be qualified and ready and capable of allowing him to take me there without screwing it up and falling off the cart.  I lack the power to get there on my own, but with his blessings it is possible.  As a side note, it is for this reason that Christians say there is no getting to heaven except through Christ.  It is not, as is commonly misunderstood, an extortion or an issue of kissing up to him before he decides to take you.  He wants to take everyone.  But only those who have met certain qualifications are capable of making the journey.  It is not he judges you, it is whether you are ready or not.
So what qualifications are necessary?
1.  You need to have a deep and close connection with the GSBH who will take you.  It is for this reason that during our lives we need to train in surrendering ourselves completely to him so that we know how to let him take control.  If we know how to do this during our live, we will know how to do this at the time of our death.  We dissolve him into our heart and surrender to him.
2.  We need to want to go for all the right reasons.  Our motivation for going has to be genuine and heartfelt.  It cannot be some abstract, philosophical or artificially dramatic wish to go, but something quite grounded, quite clear, quite sure.  Very practical, pragmatic, clear, believed, understood, felt wish to go with a very clear understanding of what it takes to be able to go.  For our motivation to be genuine, it needs to be understood to be actually doable.  We need to understand and see clearly how it is something that is doable if we do certain things.  If we do not think it is doable and do not actually believe in the pure land, GSBH, that it is possible to get there or in our ability to get there then the wish to go will lack power.  The reason for wanting to go there is simple:  it is only from there that I will be able to safely be in a position to then rescue all other beings, invite them to my pure land and help them complete their training (and complete my own).  Anything short of this is just too dangerous.  It is not safe to stay in samsara without having the security equipment of having come here from the pure land.  A very important part of generating such a motivation is to really realize what my alternative is.  The choice really is between the pure land and hell.  There really is no middle ground.  Again, the Christians are right.  Yes, technically, there is a wide variety of middle ground with all six realms, but the final destination of all six realms is the deepest hell.  It is a technical detail that there are the other realms.  They are like different stations on the slide to hell, but their final destination is the same.  So to be in samsara is to be en route for hell.  There is no middle ground.  McKenzie is genuinely scared of going to hell.  I envy him.  I need to have the same fear.  This is what awaits me if I do not do what it takes to get to the pure land.  This is the reality of my experience, whether I realize it or not.  But if I do realize it, then I will have a burning, overriding desire to do what needs to be done.  
3.  I need a mountain of merit that has been dedicated/invested towards this end.  Just as I am pouring a tremendous amount of focused effort into studying for the foreign service exam, I need to do the same towards being able to get to the pure land at the time of my death.  I need to apply focused effort to accumulate virtue and merit, which I mentally dedicate and direct towards being able to get to the pure land.  To invest my merit in anything else is extremely short-sighted.  Any and every virtue can be used towards this end, and I cannot afford to let even the slightest virtue I engage in slip by without being dedicated towards this goal.  But I cannot wait for random virtues that I do, I have to intentionally apply focused effort to create virtues, to engage in virtues.  I have to take time to go out of my way to engage in them and to create them just like I am taking time to study.  I need to apply effort towards this end. I need to move beyond just “responding” to whatever arises with virtue (a necessary starting point), to actively and intentionally accumulating and building virtues.
4.  The most powerful and most important virtue I need to accumulate is the mental actions of the three bringing and self-generation.  These are the mental virtues which actually “build” my pure land within my mind, “construct” it within my mind.  Again and again, during the meditation session and during the meditation break, I need to apply effort to create this karma.  Yes, our final goal is enlightenment and the liberation of all beings, but the indispensable way station we must first reach is getting to the pure land of Keajra.  There is no enlightenment without passing through this step.  It is my next major stop and my focus needs to be entirely on getting there.  Once there, I will then be able to plan and focus on getting to the next station (presumably meaning clear light).  
5.  I cannot do this alone, but I need the protection of a trusted guide and trainer and protector who can watch my back.  Dorje Shugden really is our most important companion on the journey.  We need to make the journey ourselves, but he is our companion, he is our Sangha.  He protects us from anything that might knock us off our path.  He supports us when we feel we can’t make it.  He pushes us by charging ahead when we get lazy.  He arranges for us what we need to do next.  He trains us along the way.  He makes the journey a series of completing different training exercises, one after the other, which will gradually take us to where we want to go.  Our spiritual guide will take us wherever we want to go, but he does so as Dorje Shugden.  JTK is in our heart from where we derive strength and wisdom, GSBH is our final destination and DS is our companion.  Without the protection and support he provides, in these degenerate times, the journey is quite simply impossible.  
It really doesn’t matter what we do with our live, but it really matters who we live our life as.  Do we live our life as our ordinary self or do we live our life as our guru.  
James said the other day in a question, ‘I go with my Avatar to do something’, recognizing his ordinary body as his Avatar, and conceptually thinking of himself as VY, the one in control of the Avatar.  Of course this is exactly correct, we should consider ourselves to be VY and our ordinary body as our Avatar in this world.  But, in order to do this in a qualified way, we must first gain real and deep experience of having surrendered our ordinary body and mind completely as a tool to the deity without any sense of ownership of it still being ours.  The danger is we intellectually say ‘I am VY, and this is my Avatar’, but at the innate level we still have a sense of our ordinary selves and when we assert ownership over our ordinary body and mind, it is still an ignorant self-grasping cloaked in a merely intellectual idea that it is VY.  If instead we train in a feeling of complete surrender of our ordinary aggregates to the deity, without any sense of independent self-control over them, and we train in the actual experience of allowing the deity to take over with a feeling that it is hers, not ours, then it will actually be the deity in control.  Only once this experience is stabilized do we reintroduce the divine pride imputing only our mere I onto the basis of it being 100% the deity.  Then we are imputing ourselves on the deity, not imputing the deity onto ourselves.

7 thoughts on “Reflections on generation stage

  1. I loved this post by Kadam Ryan, a great teaching! I had a joy in my heart from reading it.

    As for Generation stage, i just love it. But i know that it is made so much more powerful from using Action Tantra. Everyone goes on about HYT but Action Tantra is where it’s really at.

    We have both ‘talked’ much about this subject over the last decade and practiced it but we both agree it takes a long time. It takes a great deal of effort to experience it. Even after all of this we both keep making mistakes and revert back to ordinary mind. Unfortunately, that is the reality. However, as we make these mistakes, we ourselves and others can learn from them. That is after all what we are all here to do, learn from each other. This is very positive and a mature approach to one’s Dharma practice and helping others. And if we all have faith in each other, this is a perfect, collective experience.

    • I totally agree. I once did a week long retreat with Venerable Tharchin on Action Tantra and it absolutely revolutionized my HYT practice. I guess the trick is to gain some experience of the lower tantras and then to incorporate that into my HYT practice.

  2. can i just say, wow. the way you articulated giving up on the ordinary self just blew my self cherishing mind! loved it, thankyou for sharing your wisdom its stunning and profound, cheers! 🙂

    • Thanks. When I did my close retreat, what is above were some of my main conclusions. I have always had a lot of deluded pride in my ordinary mind, so when I realized how it is by nature always unreliable and even at its best only a miniscule fraction of the splendor of the guru’s mind, it was not only humbling it opened up the possibility of learning what it means at a profound level to rely.

      • yes so true! ive been trying to reflect on how I’m not making progress in certain areas that i want but what you’ve said totally summed it up- here i am thinking my ordinary self will become better- my ordinary self will become enlightened- leaving no room for the guru or DS to actually help me progress because the ordinary self is always getting in the way, thinking it knows best. I rejoyce in your apparent reliance and dedication its been very helpful to me to read your blog so cheers! and if you have the time to share what you find most helpful in removing/ reducing this pride in the ordinary self id love to hear.

      • On reducing pride, I once did a two week Heruka retreat. For about the first week, I was humming along, everything was good. But then I hit an absolute brick wall. It was like I had been cruising along on the highway at 70 mph and then all of a sudden all four wheels came off and I came crashing down. Nothing was working. I started trembling uncontrollably and had to call my teacher at the time for help. I explained to her what happened. And she just started laughing at me! I was quite shocked by this because of course what I wanted to do is curl up in a little ball and be comforted. She then asked me, “so you have no idea what to do, do you?” I said, “no.” She laughed again and said “good, now you can learn how to rely.” It then hit me clearly that I had reached the limits of what was possible through relying upon my ordinary mind. I was like an airplane trying to go into space, which no matter how hard one tries, is an impossible feat. I then asked her, “so how, what should I do?” She said, “why are you asking me? You need to sit down and internally rebuild your entire practice through internal reliance. Ask Geshe-la in your heart and he will reveal to you what you need to do.” These words changed my life. I then sat down and started my entire spiritual path over from scratch, but this time through relying upon the guru’s mind alone – not my own ideas or my own mind. I came to realize that it is possible to have the guru be the source of all of our actions of body, speech and mind and it became as clear as day to me: “why rely upon a limited, contaminated mind when you can rely upon an omnisient pure mind.” To use our ordinary self and our ordinary mind for anything is nothing short of foolhardy. To think our ordinary mind is anything other than completely deceptive is pride. To see any good in our ordinary self is pride. Any good that emerges from us is actually the little bits of light of our Spiritual Guide that make their way through the layers of obscurity we put in the way. The only thing to do on the path is to completely abandon relying upon our ordinary self and to learn to accomplish all deeds through reliance.

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