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 : Fall 2010
buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly fall 2 0 10 52 we can see how acculturating people to tantra is necessarily a long process. Buddhadharma: Practicing tantra requires a strong community context and careful train ing. How are we doing in creating Vajrayana communities in a context that’s pretty differ ent from the one in which Vajrayana flour ished for a thousand years? anne Klein: People become attracted to Vajra yana largely because of its teachers—because of their charisma, and their palpable compas sion. The sparkling presentations of the great teachers are like beacons drawing people to them. You want to just be with the teacher, to hang out with them and hear what they teach, and ultimately to practice what they advise once the honeymoon has passed. There’s a process, which is not always so easy, of actu ally understanding and appreciating and ben efiting from the practices. One of the first obstacles is that ritual is not prevalent in many parts of the modern West. So a core challenge for many people is to be able to work with ritual—to be able to experience it as way to hold realization that one can gradually enter into and allow to seep into oneself, rather than experiencing it as a superficial traditional requirement. Often people see ritual as a whole bunch of rules and forms. The obsessive mind kicks in and it becomes a pursuit: How do you do this? How do you do that? Certainly one tries to do things correctly, but when that domi nates, the quality of the ritual as a means of teaching can fade away. larry mermelstein: Yes, this has been a diffi culty for many people. I’d say we’re doing the best we can, and one of the things we can ben efit from is how many translator–practitioners we have to support that process. In time, many if not most people find a good relationship with ritual, but we should always be attuned to helping them along. anne Klein: Another challenge in the West is that steps have to be taken to really include the body in practice. It’s possible to be reciting a mantra and imagining you are a deity but your body is completely checked out and not resonating with what’s going on. It’s all in the head. A certain amount of training is neces sary just to help people be in their body. larry mermelstein: I agree. I now appreciate (Facing page) Machig Labdron (detail) Eastern Tibet 19th century Karma Kagyu lineage ColleCtionofRubinMuseuMofaRt,iteMno.619(aCC.#f1998.4.11) enjoy youRself Tantra emphasizes the enjoyment of pleasure rather than living an ascetic life, explains Lama Thubten Yeshe. That makes it a good fit for modern-day practitioners. The practice of tantra is well suited to life in the twentieth century. Life today is full of pleasure, but we also have a tendency to be easily confused and dissatisfied. Therefore we need a method whereby we can transform the energy of all our everyday life experiences into the path to enlightenment; we desperately need that kind of skill. That’s what tantra offers us. Tantra doesn’t emphasize renunciation and a negative view of life. In fact, in tantra we vow not to look at life negatively or to criticize our body. Tantra also doesn’t allow us to place a higher value on men than women. Both men and women have an equal right to practice tantra in order to reach enlighten ment, and both men and women can reach the enlightenment of Shakyamuni Buddha in a single lifetime. The tantric viewpoint is that we should not criticize twentiethcentury life. Normally we complain about bigcity life: “It’s so crowded, it’s so dif ficult, people are so angry and aggressive.” That’s our interpretation, but from the tantric point of view big cities are beautiful; tantra sees all the men and women of the city as Maitreya. Tantra leaves things as they are; city life as it is. Tantra says that everything, even worldly life, can be beautiful because it can all be experienced transcendentally by the human consciousness, unified by great universal love and nonduality. After all, it’s through the relative world that we discover absolute, ultimate reality, in the way that clouds are the source of good weather. If there are no clouds there’s no good weather because good weather is what we get when the clouds disappear. In the way that the space of the sky allows the clouds to come and go, the space of nonduality allows the materiality of worldly life to function. In a way, tantra reflects life in modern society because it emphasizes the enjoyment of as much pleasure as possible and discourages neglect of the body and living an ascetic life. In line with this, tantric meditations contain methods of exploding the pleasure centers in our nadis. For example, many tantric meditators practice techniques in which they concentrate at the heart center. You might think, “I don’t think so! My heart hurts enough already.” You have the preconception that meditating at your heart will increase the pain you already feel. But that’s not the way yogis med itate. The purpose of meditating at the heart center is to generate an explosion of blissful pleasure there that satisfies the nervous system and eliminates crav ing for the outside world. Then you might ask, “Why do we need physical transformation? Isn’t it enough that we meditate with our mind?” From the tantric point of view the answer is “no.” We need physical transformation because we are physically dissatisfied, physically ignorant, physically angry. We are not only mentally disturbed but physically disturbed as well, and this kind of meditation is very powerful in knocking out both our physical and our mental negativity. From Universal Love: The Yoga Method of Buddha Maitreya, by Lama Thubten Yeshe; published by Lama Yeshe Wisdom Archive and excerpted in the April/May 2010 issue of Mandala.