Practicing with power: Practice during the meditation break

In the last post, we left off absorbed in the clear light Dharmakaya.  But if we are to help living beings we must manifest ourselves in forms they can connect with and relate to.  So out of compassion for the beings of our karmic dream, we arise from the Dharmakaya. 

We should recall that all living beings are the beings of our mind, they abide within our mind and their conventional nature is being of our karmic dream and their ultimate nature is the emptiness of our own mind.  Out of compassion wishing that these beings are able to inhabit a pure world, we then imagine that from our Dharmakaya we appear all living beings in the aspect of the guru deity in the Pure Land.  We see each being as an aspect of our own mind of bliss and emptiness, like a kaleidoscope of complete purity in the vajra palace of the indestructible drop at our heart.

In the post on the bodhisattva vows, we talked about the rotating mirror, and how once we get the mirror stable, we still need to purify the mirror of its distortions through the meditation on emptiness.  This is primarily accomplished through Mahamudra meditation.  A Hinayanist does not need as elaborate a meditation on emptiness, because it suffices to absorb into space-like emptiness and stay there.  But for a Mahayanist, it is not enough to just absorb into emptiness because they wish to free all other living beings.

We need to look deeper into the mirror of emptiness so that we may likewise purify all conventional appearances and see them as “not other than emptiness.”  We see the world of conventional appearances as our own mind reflected in the mirror of our own mind.  It is my world, my dream.  What I do with my mind determines what appears and happens in my dream.  When I look at others, I see them as reflections of aspects of my own mind.  Conventional appearances arise within the space of emptiness, like a dream, or hologram, as reflections of my own mind.

Looking even deeper, we find the union of the two truths.  Namely, that others’ minds are the same entity as our own mind of great bliss and emptiness.  My mind is the collection of others’ minds, and the collection of others’ minds is my mind.  Looking even deeper still, we find that the conventional and the ultimate are nominally distinct.  When I look at my mind, I understand I am looking at a reflection of all others’ minds.  When I look at others’ minds, I understand I am looking at a reflection of my own mind. We train in both of these views, until these two collapse into one.  They are just two different angles on the same thing.  The conclusion of this for the meditation break is, with this understanding, we should purify our own mind by working on it from both angles of viewing others as ourself and our self as others.

Through this view, the entire great scope collapses into one.  Bodhichitta is an obvious – we need to become a Buddha for the benefit of all living beings because we are all living beings.  Renunciation and great compassion become one  – our wish to free ourself from all suffering is our great compassion because we see no difference between ourself and all others.  Conventional and ultimate bodhichitta collapse into one – all living beings are projections of our own mind, and our mind is a reflection of all living beings.   During the meditation break, we then naturally take responsibility for removing the faults we perceive in others because we correctly see them as the faults of our own mind.  We view others as completely pure emanations of our spiritual guide.  Pure View is the essence of tantric moral discipline.

In the very first post of this series, I encouraged those who are reading to consider all of this in the context of overcoming whatever is their biggest delusion.  According to conventional appearance there may be 100 people reading this each applying it to whatever is their own biggest delusion.  On the surface, it may seem we are each working on a different delusion, so it would seem as if we are all separate.  But actually the biggest delusion in my mind may show up as pride, whereas it will show up as attachment in somebody elses’ mind, and jealousy in somebody elses’ still, etc.  By us each working on overcoming our biggest delusion in our own mind, we are, in effect, all working on each others’ biggest delusions in their mind.  Together we are doing a systematic assault on the same delusion, just from different angles – just like the fish tank described in the post on mantra recitation.  By weakening our biggest delusion from one angle, we are weakening everybody elses’ biggest delusion from their angle.

With this, we can make everything we do a ‘just as’ practice according to ultimate bodhichitta.  The normal ‘just as’ practice is when we take the things we normally do and make it an analogy for something related to your bodhichitta training.  For example, when we give somebody a glass or orange juice, we can mentally think, “just as I give this person a glass or orange juice, may I one day give all living beings the nectar of Kadam Dharma.”  The ‘just as’ practice according to ultimate bodhichitta is we imagine that everything we do reflects into the minds of all living beings in a particular way.  For example, when we open the door to the gompa in the morning, we can think this action is reflecting in my mind as opening a door to the gompa, but it is reflecting in everybody elses’ mind as the door of Dharma opening for them, etc.  This mental action creates the karma which will later appear as this actually happening for them.  We can transform all of our daily activities in exactly this way, making them all infinitely powerful.

I would be remiss in doing a series of posts on spiritual power without talking about Vajrapani.  Vajrapaini is the synthesis of the spiritual power of all of the Buddhas.  Most Kadampas will not practice daily the sadhana of Vajrapani, even if they have received the empowerment.  But this does not mean we cannot practice Vajrapani every day.  In practice, how should we engage in the practice of Vajrapani?

When we recite the Migtsema prayer as part of our Heart Jewel practice, we can invoke Vajrapani to accomplish his function.  When we are having trouble with our biggest delusion, we can make faithful requests to him that he help us dislodge it.  The Vajrapani at our heart will adapt to whatever our biggest delusion is, so if we overcome our current biggest delusion, we can then employ him to help us overcome our next biggest delusion, and so forth until we have eliminated all our delusions.  Whenever we are having difficulty with a particular delusion, we can recall Vajrapani at our heart and request him to help us.  We can also do the same with others when we see them suffering from a given delusion.

For those readers who have already received the highest yoga tantra empowerments we can primarily engage in our Heruka or Vajrayogini practice, but we view them them as the same nature as Vajrapani.  So it is as if you add the function of Vajrapani into our self-generation object.  This is like adding an ‘add-in’ to a software, or adding a new feature or function to a car.

I dedicate all of the merit I have accumulated by doing this series of posts so that all living beings may be infused with infinite spiritual power which enables them to cease their samsara immediately.  May all beings realize the inter-relationship between the delusions that arise in their mind and the delusions of all other living beings, understanding that they are by nature the same delusions just viewed from different angles.  May all beings realize that by overcoming the delusions in their own mind they are freeing all living beings from the delusions in their mind, and thereby we each diligently strive to free everyone else.  Through our collective efforts doing this, may samsara quickly end and we then all abide in the eternal bliss of full enlightenment.

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