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Buddha is in the Room with us
In the Sadhana, the words are phrased as if we are addressing someone. Why is this?
In Prayers for Meditation, the Sadhana reads:
“In the space before me, is the living Buddha Shakyamuni, surrounded by all the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, like the full moon surrounded by stars.”
What does this mean?
Imagine you are sitting with your eyes closed and you hear someone come into the room. You know they are there. You have not seen them, but you KNOW they are there. This is the feeling we should have during the Sadhana. We should KNOW that Buddha Shakyamuni is there in front of us. To the extent that when we open our eyes we should be slightly surprised that we don’t see him.
We can’t see him with our normal eyes, but we can understand that he is actually there by using our wisdom. We should remember that the true nature of all things is their emptiness of inherent existence. Buddha Shakyamuni is empty of inherent existence, and although our normal conception of him is as a historical figure from 2,500 years ago, his true nature is formless and timeless. Therefore if we imagine with faith that he is before us as we meditate, there is no obstruction to him actually being there. He hears our prayers and requests, and he instantly comes to be with us.
In the same way as we are certain that the sun is there even though it is obscured on a cloudy day, we should be certain that Buddha is before us despite his appearance being obscured by the impurities in our mind.
This recognition will have a dramatic effect on the effectiveness of our meditations.
The next level of practise is to regard Buddha Shakyamuni as being inseparable from our Spiritual Guide. When we see the words ‘Guru Buddha’ (as in the Nine Line Migtsema Prayer) we are recognising that our Spiritual Guide, or Guru, is inseparable from Buddha Shakyamuni.
Whenever we see ‘Guru’ in front of a Buddha’s name, we are recognising that the Buddha and our Spiritual Guide are inseparably mixed. Therefore when we visualise Buddha Shakyamuni in front of us, we should imagine that his nature is that of our Spiritual Guide. Remember, as our Spiritual Guide and all the Buddhas are all empty of inherent existence, there is no logical reason why this cannot happen.
There is a very powerful reason why we should have this recognition. When we visualise our Spiritual Guide before us, all the Buddhas come into his or her body, so that when we make offerings, it is the karmic equivalent of making offerings to every one of the countless Buddhas. Furthermore, when we make requests for blessings, we receive the blessings of all the Buddhas.
Now that we understand that our Spiritual Guide, Buddha Shakyamuni and all the other countless Buddhas are present during our Sadhanas, we should focus on making as much progress as possible during each session. That is what I will be blogging about next.
Coming next: Making Progress Every Time
The purpose of this meditation is to practise generating a very stable concentrated mind.
I chose Bodhichitta as my object of Tranquil Abiding because in the example 7-day Lamrim retreat described by Geshe-la in Appendix IV of The New Meditation Handbook, Bodhichitta is suggested as the object for the Tranquil Abiding meditation. (How wonderful it would be to have the opportunity to practice four sessions of this meditation on the same day!).
I generated Bodhichitta in the same way that I did yesterday in my meditation, then I focused on mixing my mind with the feeling completely. I became Bodhichitta. Bodhichitta was all I could see and feel. I was completely mixed with Bodhichitta – I was Bodhichitta.
I kept this recognition for the whole of the meditation, and when I detected that my mind was losing this feeling, I renewed it by reminding myself of the feeling. I let it fill me again and again. It was superb. Joy after Joy.
May all living beings practice Tranquil Abiding and generate completely stable and pure minds, filled with love, compassion and Bodhichitta. May they all become Enlightened Beings.
Practice in the meditation break
I will try to keep my mind mixed with Bodhichitta, and everything I see, touch and think about will be mixed with this precious mind.