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Buddhadharma : Fall 2011
Translation Both your lama spiritual mentor and your com- panion vajra brothers and sisters are like guides to the land of omniscient freedom. You must rely on them with love and affection. Among vajra brothers and sisters, there are four categories, but in this case I write of our companion vajra brethren with whom we share an inner blended connection, who are like our twins. At all times and circumstances, live without hypocrisy in your tantric bonds and control your own body, speech, and mind with love and affection toward them. As you would toward your lama, meditate on pure vision toward your spiritual compan- ions, and with respect and devotion take what- ever they say as authentic and see their acts as symbolic teachings. Like the heart in your chest, you must have affection for them with consis- tency and high regard. Awe-Inspiring Lightning states: With affection toward your vajra brethren, Always reject even the thought of disdain Toward any brother or sister Who has entered the correct path And with whom you have a blended or unblended connection. Bring forth the strength of your love and affection And cherish them as you do your own eyes. As said here, you will accompany your com- panion vajra brothers and sisters until you attain freedom and the manifest, exalted state of omni- scient, perfect enlightenment. Therefore, it is very important to not allow your affection and tan- tric bonds with them to deteriorate. If they do, you and others will wander in misery. Therefore, keep your tantric bonds as they should be kept: you must strive to love and have affection for your vajra brothers and sisters. Commentary Simple advice from a simply wonderful teacher, Sera Khandro, a treasure revealer, meditation master, and writer who lived during the twentieth century. Her principal spiritual heir, Chatral Rinpoche (born 1913), is a teacher to many of us. He was my teacher Kalu Rinpoche’s best friend, and still lives among us. It was he who asked me to translate some of her work. This passage comes from a short piece she wrote to prepare us to receive instruction in tantra and great perfection. I chose this because most of us who embrace tantric Buddhist practice have, by now, accepted the vertical relationship with our chosen spiri- tual master, wisdom deities, dakinis, and protectors. Sooner or later, we get it—the stronger that bond, the better our experience. Yet it seems we often ignore at our peril the crucial horizontal relationship with the random borderline lunatics, pushy over-achievers, and professional annoyers who just happened to be there when we met our beloved guru, and who persist in hanging on despite their obvious unworthiness. Yes, those people. Sheesh. What’s their problem? How can they even consider themselves Buddhist? They don’t need Buddhism, they need therapy, lots of therapy. Sound familiar? As tantric Buddhists, our bonding begins with our teacher, and con- tinues to include our vajra brothers and sisters, and all sentient beings. Elsewhere, Sera Khandro defines the four sibling relationships thus: “Our siblings in general are those pervaded by buddhanature, all sen- tient beings. Those who have entered the Buddhist doctrine are distant siblings; those who have entered the gateway to the vajra way, close siblings. Those who have gathered around the same spiritual master are like children of the same father; those who have gathered in the same sacred circle, the same mother. Those who rely on the same spiritual master and sacred circle are brothers and sisters, like twins.” We can, we must, choose to focus on a person’s one positive quality, to the exclusion of their ninety-nine faults. We know what guileless love with no expectation of reward feels like; to extend and sustain that nonjudgmental love and deep appreciation toward our spiritual companions through thick and thin smoothes out so many unnecessary bumps on our path. Parting Words Kalu Rinpoche’s advice for translators: “If you want your work to have a lasting positive effect, you must foster a completely pure motivation and have practiced thoroughly the texts you translate.” 87 fall 2 01 1 buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly