Vows, commitments and modern life:  Why we rely upon an action mudra

Never to forsake the two kinds of mudra.

When we are qualified we should accept an action mudra.  Until then we should rely upon a visualized wisdom mudra to help us to develop great bliss.

Once again, as explained in earlier posts, we are qualified to accept an action mudra once we have attained isolated speech of completion stage.  Once we have attained this state, unless we are ordained, we should accept an action mudra.  Our motivation for doing so is not attachment, but rather through the practice of relying upon an action mudra we loosen completely the knots of our central channel at our heart.  We want to do this so that all of our inner winds may gather, dissolve and absorb into the indestructible drop at our heart.  When this happens, we will naturally experience the eight signs of dissolution culminating in the full experience of the clear light of Mahamudra.  Once we have attained this supremely blissful mind, we then meditate on the emptiness of our mind of great bliss.  When the duality between our subject mind of great bliss and our object emptiness dissolves, like water mixing with water, we will have attained the realization of meaning clear light. With this powerful mind, we can quickly purify our mind of all of our delusions and their past imprints.  It is said we can even attain enlightenment in as little as three years, or even three months.  When you consider we have been accumulated deluded karmic imprints since beginningless time, this is attaining enlightenment in nearly an instant.  In one powerful blast, all of our past misdeeds are evaporated and we become a Buddha.  There is no more powerful realization than this.

The eight dissolutions are different appearances that arise as our inner winds gradually gather and dissolve into our indestructible drop.  They are explained in detail in all of our Tantric texts, such as Tantric Grounds and Paths and Mahamudra Tantra.  Normally, when our winds dissolve we lose consciousness or awareness of what is appearing to our mind.  But with training, we can learn to maintain our mindfulness and alertness as the winds absorb.  When we do so, we are, for all practical purposes, clearing away an escape route out of the dark storm clouds of samsara and into the clear light skies beyond.  Even though at present our inner winds are not actually gathering and absorbing into our indestructible drop at our heart, we can nonetheless begin imagining that they are and that we are experiencing each of the eight signs of dissolution.  When we do so, our main task is to keep our mind single pointedly on our realization of the emptiness of our mind to which the signs are appearing.  By training in this way in our imagination, we plant powerful karmic seeds which will one day ripen in our actually being able to maintain our mindfulness of emptiness as our winds actually dissolve, either at the time of death or during our future completion stage meditations.

As explained before, when we engage in union we should mentally generate our partner as a fully qualified action mudra, and while our body consciousness may be aware of one thing, our mental consciousness is aware of the two deity bodies engaging in Tantric union.

If we are ordained, we should not take an action mudra, even if we are ready.  The reason for this is simple:  doing so would bring the Sangha and the tantric teachings into disrepute, because conventionally speaking ordained monks and nuns do not engage in union.  While it is true not taking an action mudra may delay our eventual attainment of enlightenment by a few years, the price is small compared to the harm we would do to the tradition if we engaged in union despite being ordained.  Likewise, if we have a committed partner who is not his or herself a qualified action mudra, we should similarly refrain from taking an action mudra because doing so would also bring the tradition into disrepute by creating the impression that it justifies engaging in sexual misconduct.  Remember, our practice of Secret Mantra should not contradict our Pratimoksha vows.  In reality, however, this is a false concern because engaging in union with an imagined action mudra creates the karma for a fully qualified action mudra to appear when we are ready to take one.  It may seem like magic, but in reality it is just karma.

One thought on “Vows, commitments and modern life:  Why we rely upon an action mudra

  1. Very insightful post, thank you. I particularly like your helpful explanation of the channels and drops. I have always had difficulty with this concept ever since I started practicing. I work in the medical field and have studied human anatomy extensively, and when I would read about the various channels, chakras, etc. I couldn’t help but think, “this is ridiculous, there’s no such thing.” It’s always been a huge obstacle for me. It never occurred to me to think of these as part of the anatomy of the mind itself – “a system of veins and arteries of the mind,” as you so put it so well. Thanks so much, this has helped me a lot!

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