So Near But So Far
Don’t miss the complete picture.
You do not have to keep on meditating – you know!
Just recognise being aware.
We have a choice about what we believe; that’s if we know we have a choice.
Let’s take the mantra of Avalokiteshvara/Chenrezig, the lord of compassion: OM MANI PADME HUM. We chant this mantra to remind us to engender compassionate activity, as it is said to be the path to enlightenment. How is this the path to actual enlightenment?
Tibetan Buddhism is exotic and, if not properly understood, can lead to sentimentality and wishful thinking. Wishful thinking isn’t bad per se – it is a good wish after all – but we need more than wishful thinking: we need evidence so we can trust whatever is being explained by the teaching.
The syllables OM MANI PADME HUM symbolise generosity, discipline, patience, energy, concentration and transcendent knowledge, which are known as the six perfections.
Any tradition (or sane person) would agree that generosity, discipline, patience, energy and concentration are important as they apply to being a decent, responsive human being. It is transcendent knowledge that makes the difference, as it turns the other five into ‘perfections’, beyond everyday usage.
Transcendent knowledge is wisdom beyond concepts. What’s that? Transcendent knowledge is the wisdom of understanding pure consciousness – or emptiness – that is naturally present before conceptual embellishments. The manifestation of pure consciousness is compassion for all, and therefore Chenrezig embodies compassion and emptiness.
Transcendent knowledge is natural, pure knowingness, pure awareness, pure consciousness. That is what we are. We naturally care!
If we have to remember the six perfections, then we are making effort; we are practising.
Once transcendent knowledge is realised, the other five are automatically and effortlessly present. In transcendent knowledge (pure consciousness or emptiness), there is no self to hold on to, and so the other five perfections are upgraded and automatically present.
Here is the most important point.
We pray to Chenrezig, the lord of compassion, never to forsake us. As we are already Buddha nature, we are also Chenrezig nature! We are transcendent knowledge. That is why the lord of compassion can never forsake us, as we are whom we seek. That is non-duality.
If we merely pray to Chenrezig, we remain in a duality – me and the great being in the sky. This is the same as a theistic approach. Being realistic is being impartial. We are first and foremost pure consciousness; that is the complete picture.
The mantra is also said to purify the six negative emotions and the six realms as, when resting in non-dual awareness, these negative emotions and realms are spontaneously purified.
“There is not a single aspect of the eighty-four thousand sections
of the Buddha’s teachings which is not contained in Avalokiteshvara’s
six syllable mantra “Om Mani Padme Hum” (known as the “mani”)
and, as such, the qualities of the “mani”are praised again and again
in the Sutras and Tantras.
Whether happy or sad, if we take the “mani” as our refuge,
Chenrezig will never forsake us, spontaneous devotion will
arise in our minds and the Great Vehicle will be effortlessly realised.”
Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche
Do you get the point? 🙂 The lord of compassion is pure consciousness which can never forsake us because it is what we already are. It is the psychological magic to realising reality. Always remember we are applying teachings, rather than adopting another’s culture.
Once we are open to whatever appears,
we don’t have to meditate.
Meditation is only needed when we forget.