In the last two posts we have been discussing how to set a good example. First we looked at the need to rely on the Spiritual Guide for all of our actions and why we need to completely respect others’ freedom. Then, we examined what it means to be a good outer and inner example. In this post we will explore what it means to be a good secret example.
The secret example of a Kadampa is a Tantric yogi. There are several different ways we can do this. First, in Essence of Vajrayana Geshe-la explains that when others interact with a qualified tantric practitioner it is the same as if they are interacting with the living deity. Why is this when we are not actually a deity yet? The reason is wherever you imagine a Buddha, a Buddha actually goes, so when we recall that Heruka’s mandala abides within our body, when others interact with us, they are also interacting with the living Heruka, even if they don’t see him.
Second, mentally we should send emanations of Buddhas to the hearts of all living beings, and indeed generate them as emanations. This is an incredibly powerful way of helping others. By sending an emanation to their heart, an emanation actually goes there and blesses their mind. By generating them as the deity, it functions to ripen their pure potential. For ourselves, generating others as deities plants very special karma on our mind which will ripen in the future in the form of us being actually able to see the emanations of Buddhas who are around us helping us.
Third, we can imagine that both ourselves and others are actually abiding in the pure land. While what appears may seem like samsara, we should see everything as the charnel grounds of the pure land. In the charnel grounds, what appears is horrific and awful, but we understand all of these appearances to be by nature Guru Heruka (or Vajrayogini) teaching us the stages of the path. Or, if we prefer, we can mentally generate a beautiful pure land or the celestial mansion, and we can imagine that when anybody comes in our proximity, they are actually entering Heruka’s celestial mansion. Heruka’s mansion is a very special place. Within it, all of the sounds teach the Dharma and the mandala deities heal the subtle body like spiritual doctors.
Fourth, we can imagine that everything ourself or others consume is actually nectar or offering goddesses. This nectar functions to heal all physical sickness, heal their minds of all delusions, infuse their mind with inexhaustible merit and bestow upon them the immortality that comes from realizing directly the clear light mind. So when we see somebody drinking water, eating spaghetti or listening to music, mentally we imagine they are consuming this medicinal nectar which helps them in these ways.
Another very powerful way we can set a good secret example is to imagine that the entire universe is actually contained within our indestructible drop. We imagine we are on retreat inside our indestructible drop, and everything that arises is taking place within it. Every appearance is like a ripple on the ocean of our very subtle mind, emanated by our guru protector to guide us along on our retreat. Such a recognition may sound outlandish, but that is only because our experience of emptiness is not sufficiently deep. Geshe-la tells the story of how a particular guru went into the horn of a dead yak, without the horn getting any bigger or the guru getting any smaller. If this is possible with a yak horn, then surely it is possible with the indestructible drop.
As a tantric practitioner, we can easily transform all experiences into the quick path. If we experience unpleasant feelings, we practice patient acceptance. If we practice patience, we accept everything. What enables us to accept everything is we see how we can use everything for our spiritual training. Even though we may experience unpleasant feelings, we won’t experience them as suffering and they won’t be a problem for us. If our practice of patience is well developed, it can be exactly as if we are already in the pure land. In the pure land there is no manifest suffering and everything functions for us as a teaching. The mind of patience acceptance is exactly this. We experience no manifest suffering because nothing is a problem for us because we can use it all. Likewise, everything functions for us as a teaching. It becomes as if instead of our suffering pushing us deeper into samsara, our unpleasant feelings actually push us out! We can literally reprogram our reaction to suffering where for us it functions as an empowerment. When we experience pleasant feelings, we can offer them our guru at our heart and use it as an opportunity to train in bliss and emptiness. Either way, it fuels us along the path.