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Buddhadharma : Summer 2018
64 BUDDHADHARMA: THE PRACTITIONER’S QUARTERLY vibration in my nervous system that begins to wake up or is activated. It can be quite extraordinary, blissful, and inspiring. It’s an energetic process, and for me it’s often accompanied by some kind of vision. Would I say that vision is through my eyes? No, I don’t think so. For me, it’s more like an inner vision. It may not always be clear, but there’s a real sense of light manifesting. I tune into it and I receive something from that, and often it fills me with a sense of devotion and awe. When I open to that, I find myself being a vehicle for it in some way—often this happens when I’m teaching. That alignment feels important to me. If I can open to that, then I receive some kind of communication, and the relationship is opening, the bridge is opening, the gate- way is opening. The more I can get out of the way—get out of my ordinary sense of identity and ego—the more that seems to happen. ACHARYA GAYLON FERGUSON: I think it’s important to make the link between what we’re discussing in terms of our experiences of these beings within the Tibetan Vajrayana tradition—the tantric Buddhist lineages—and other Buddhist traditions. Whether or not it’s formally taught as a set of practices and sadha- nas, I would guess that the experience of these aspects of being is also found in many other traditions. When we take refuge, we sometimes say “I take refuge in the dharma, what’s been told and what’s been realized,” lung and tok in Tibetan. Lung refers to authoritative words—in some cases, the words of the Buddha—handed down to us for generations and generations. In Tibetan Vajrayana, these experiences that we’re talking about would in many cases be based on devotion to one’s teacher. My teacher introduced me to a particular sadhana, or my teacher was at Taksang, and so members of the sangha make pilgrimage to Taksang. It’s part of the authentic lineage transmission in a way. On the realization side, tok means experiences. In many traditions we practice lovingkindness, metta or mai- tri. When you walk into a room with someone who has actually realized lov- ingkindness, you feel a radiance. There’s a felt sense that this person is actually being lovingkindness. Similarly, to give an example from the Zen tradition, when one is with a roshi who has practiced shikantaza, formless zazen, for many My experiences with yidams, or dieties, have led me to believe that they do have an independent existence, as much as anything else does from a Buddhist point of view.— L AM A TSULTRIM ALLIONE