Can The Buddha Hear Me?
This is such a delicate question:
Is it true, is it psychological,
or is it something more?
When we look at a cartoon, we don’t immediately consider how well it’s been drawn; we just identify with the message. We don’t take it literally; the drawing is just expedient to get the information across.
When we watch a film, it may be beautifully shot, with stunning colours and authentic sets and costumes, enhanced with clever CGI, but if the script is poor, it’s all pointless and will never be satisfying.
The same applies to music, art, the media, and the way in which we conduct ourselves in life. A person may dress well and speak eloquently, but have nothing to say.
In Vajrayana practice, we supplicate the ancient masters of the lineage as part of the practice. To be honest, I haven’t a clue who these Tibetan and Indian teachers are, or whether they are listening. If we adopt a culture that has a belief system, this may be beneficial; if walking around a stupa saying prayers (stupa: a huge concrete monument representing the Buddha, which is said to contain relics) works for us, that’s fine, but a day may come when we may find that we have doubts about it all. We may doubt about prostrating to the shrine and the teacher when entering a shrine room, while for others, this may work well and engender devotion. Where is this devotion taking place?
To counter our negative actions, we chant the hundred syllable manta. Does it work? It just reminds us not to do harm and – for me – to avoid being too confrontational. It does not purify me or make me perfect, but it’s a good reminder. If we repeat this mantra mechanically, it is just nonsense.
When we look at such activities, they are psychological events. They are meant to inspire, and thus sustain our practice.
It is said that, when we chant the names of the lineage, we receive blessings. But aren’t we really just opening our hearts and minds to possibilities and potentials? Is that not psychological?
Can the Buddha hear me? The answer is yes – because the Buddha is within, and not outside. We are Buddha nature. The Buddha’s message is that we understand this. It is the same message as Christ, although his teachings could be taken literally or expediently, and explained in many ways to suit the individual’s capacity.
On a personal note: four years ago, my wife and I stopped going to teachings and retreats and, to be honest, my insight has gone sky high since then. I’ve let go of ‘literalism’. This is not to say that teachings and retreats have no value. They have a huge benefit in forming a firm foundation for practice, and for conduct in life. I just found that too many people around me were being religious, taking everything literally, which creates fear…from constantly trying to be perfect – and more perfect than others!
When receiving the pointing out instruction – the direct pointing out of the nature of mind – many incantations and lineage names may be chanted by the teacher, creating a weighty atmosphere. There may be a ‘warm up’ first, explaining awareness and pure awareness, and then there’s a click of the fingers, and that’s it!
My reaction to the event was, “Is that all? … I knew that when I was four years old! … What a relief there is nothing more. … So what’s all that other stuff about?”
As human beings, we doubt ourselves, and anything that comes with confidence and splendour might cause us to have greater belief because it seems more special than something more ordinary – when that which is being realised is the most ordinary thing in the universe. Merely being aware. Mere consciousness.
Can the Buddha hear me?
Pure, conscious awareness
hears everything and sees everything we do.
It is the same reason God knows everything we do… 😀
How do you feel about that?
You don’t have to believe everything you hear.
Know your own knowingness.
We are that pure, conscious awareness.