using the arrow buttons.
by clicking on the page.
the page around when zoomed in by dragging it.
the zoom using the slider when zoomed-in.
by clicking on the zoomed-in page.
by entering text in the search field, and select "This Issue" or "All Issues"
by clicking on thumbnails to select pages, and then press the print button.
displays sections with thumbnails and descriptions.
displays a slider of thumbnails. Click on a page to jump.
allows you to browse the full archive.
about your subscription?
Buddhadharma : Summer 2006
buddhadharma| 29 |summer 2006 The elephant of ignorance: The metaphor for ignorance is the elephant – not an ordinary elephant but a wild, drunken one. This elephant will not hesitate to trample anyone who gets in his way. That is what ignorance does to us. The fire of anger: The fire of anger is fanned by the wind of wrongdoing. Wrongdoing is caused by the elephant of igno- rance, which gives strength to the fire. The snake of jealousy: Like a snake in the shadows, jealousy hides in the darkness of ignorance. When we see others doing better than us, the snake strikes and poisons us. Then we spread that poison to others as soon as we are able. The thief of wrong view: What does a thief do? He steals our valuables. Likewise, wrong view steals our opportunity to make any progress on the spiritual path. The shackles of stinginess: Everyone views generosity as some- thing positive. Stinginess is just the opposite. It binds us so that we are incapable of acting positively. It keeps us hopelessly trapped in samsara. The waters of attachment: Attachment functions like a violent, rushing river. It keeps us trapped in the current of samsara, car- rying us further and further from the shores of liberation. The ghost of doubt: Ghosts usually function at night. Likewise, doubt functions in the darkness of ignorance. It frightens and confuses us, preventing us from making our way to the light of freedom. Using the power of Tara’s mantra, we meditate on each of these fears and its antidote. We counter pride with the humble recognition that we don’t know everything – just trying to name all the bones of one’s own body is proof of that. Ignorance is ultimately conquered by the wisdom that recog- nizes emptiness. Until then, we can apply mindfulness to grow more aware of the consequences of our actions. The antidote to anger is patience. We can use patience to help us trace our anger back to its source to help us see the folly that is generally its cause. Jealousy can be countered by compassion. Through insight- ful analysis, we come to recognize that all beings share the desire for happiness. Rather than resenting another’s good fortune, we can begin to rejoice in their happiness. Wrong view can be countered by understanding that our actions have consequences. Our negative actions will ultimately result in suffering for ourselves. Our positive actions will ulti- mately bring us peace and joy. Stinginess is countered by the practice of generosity. That may seem obvious, but it requires recognizing that generosity begins with generosity toward ourselves. When we meditate on how miserliness is actually stealing all our joy and appreciation of life, we will begin to practice generosity. Attachment can be conquered through understanding the impermanent nature of reality. And doubt is subdued by intelligent faith. This is the kind of faith in the teachings that we develop through personally examining and testing what we have learned. As Buddha put it, we should examine each of his teachings as thoroughly as we would if we were buying a piece of gold. Finding reliable instruction It is important to incorporate the feminine principle into our practice, because we cannot achieve the ultimate attainment of enlightenment without perfecting both the male and female aspects. The ultimate development of the feminine within the individual is called clear light, which might be described as the direct perception of emptiness. The ultimate development of the masculine is the illusion body. The combination of the two is what we call union. As I said, this is the union of enlightened mind and enlightened body. It is the union of relative and abso- lute truth. It is the ultimate development we can achieve. If we develop one aspect without the other, we will never be able to achieve this union. At the moment, ultimate enlightenment may seem like an impossible task. But the opportunity to help ourselves by devel- oping the principles represented by Tara practice is available to us right now. Of course there is more to these practices than the simple descriptions I have provided here. My main goal was to show the importance of the feminine principle in Buddhism and the possibilities for making it an important part of our spiritual journey. If you are interested in pursuing this feminine aspect further, I urge you to find a reliable source of instruction. Fortunately, these days we have many resources in the form of qualified teachers and also books that offer detailed explanations of what is possible with Tara practice. FURTHER READING: · Tara: The Feminine Divine, by Bokar Rinpoche (ClearPoint Press). · Female Buddhas: Women of Enlightenment in Tibetan Mystical Art, by Glenn H. Mullin and Jeff J. Watt (Clear Light Books). · In Praise of Tara, by Martin Willson (Wisdom Publications). · The Tara Box: Rituals for Protection and Healing from the Female Buddha, by Gehlek Rinpoche, with Brenda Rosen (New World Library).