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Buddhadharma : Summer 2009
17 summer 2 00 9 buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly ANABENAROyA back to this world. One must cut, pshooo! Then truth-world appears. Truth and you become one. But only the truth-world is not enough. You must go one more step. Then the function-world appears. Only help all be- ings. Not only in this life, but life after life after life...Continue to help all beings. That is bodhisattva-world. Bodhisattva-world is number one. That is Buddha’s teaching, OK? Try that. Good. Wonderful. FRoM the eastern gate, WINTER 2009, THE NEWSLETTER oF THE CAMBRIDGE ZEN CENTER, A MEMBER oF THE KWAN UM SCHooL oF ZEN fast traCk to enlightenment Christi Cox talks with Buddhist scholar and translator Jeffrey Hopkins about the Vajrayana practice of deity yoga. Christi Cox: Let’s say you’re a regular Joe and you are trying to imagine that you’re a divine figure. Why does it make sense to do a practice such as deity yoga? Jeffrey Hopkins: Deity yoga combines the practice of realizing emptiness and develop- ing compassion in one practice. It is said to be a speedier practice because not only are you in some sense mimicking the mind of a bud- dha, you’re mimicking the body of a buddha also. So by imagining both a buddha’s mind and a buddha’s body—to some extent—you are progressing faster toward actually having both buddha mind and body. What are the mechanics? In doing such a prac- tice are you actually creating a subtle-level deity form for yourself, or are you tapping into an existent deity form that exists under its own steam? I think it’s both. In Gelug, the emphasis is on creating a buddha’s mind and body based on elements that already exist within us. Those elements—in highest yoga tantra—are the fundamental innate mind of clear light, and the wind on which that mind rides. Eventu- ally a buddha’s body will be created from that energy, and the buddha’s mind from the fun- damental mind of clear light that we have. In Nyingma, it’s more like exposing what’s already there. So by mimicking the state of buddhahood, you are helping to uncover buddha mind and body that are already there. Having “divine pride” as a deity is an integral part of tantra. But holding this correctly can be a bit of a razor’s edge. It’s interesting that tantra uses the term “pride,” because pride is ordinarily consid- ered an afflictive emotion. Some translators will translate it differently—as “divine dig- nity,” for example. I think the reason for using “pride” is that meditators have to be willing to think themselves, and assert themselves, and feel themselves as having pure mind and body in the face of the analytical unfindability that they have understood through the prac- tice of realizing emptiness. The term “pride” suggests go ahead and have the willingness to see yourself as pure. As His Holiness the Dalai Lama says, pride here is not afflictive—it is quite the opposite— because you are a pure being that is merely designated in dependence upon a purely ap- pearing mind and body. FRoM snow lIon, WINTER 2009 the gentle rays of dharma The inherent goodness of our original nature, says Shambhala acharya Gaylon Ferguson, enables us to be gentle in our practice. For us as practitioners—that is, as people interested in the experience-based practice of meditation—the fundamental teaching of joining original nature and mind training is of much more than theoretical interest. The practical importance of this approach, this view of meditation, is that because we are going with the grain of our being, we can af- ford to be gentle in all aspects of our train- ing. Particularly, our approach to training ourselves through meditation can be infused with gentleness. This way of awakening is gentle in the beginning, gentle in the middle, and gentle in the end. Gentleness expresses confidence in the inherent goodness of our original nature. We don’t need to aggressively grasp after higher states of consciousness—the light touch of awareness is all that is needed. We don’t need to force the rays of the sun to radiate—radiating warmth and light is the spontaneous practice of the sun. FRoM natural wakefulness, PUBLISHED By SHAMBHALA PUBLICATIoNS, APRIL 2009