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Buddhadharma : Fall 2017
66 buddhadharma: the practitioner’s quarterly fall 2017 enlightenment Enlightenment in Female Form by Gelek Rimpoche In Tibetan Buddhism, we recognize that enlightenment comprises both feminine and masculine aspects. We say that enlightenment is not possible without both wisdom and compassion, which we sometimes refer to as wisdom and method. Wisdom, or the recognition of emptiness, is connected with the feminine, because the empty nature of reality is the basis, or mother, of all. As the Heart Sutra says, form is emptiness, emptiness is form. In other words, there is no form or reality apart from emptiness. In that sense, emptiness is the mother of all. Accordingly, when we speak about the wisdom aspect of enlightenment, we associate this with the feminine principle. The feminine aspect of enlightenment is represented by female deities. We see female images at every level of Tibetan art. There are peaceful forms like Tara, semi-wrathful forms like Vajrayogini, and wrathful forms such as the female protector Palden Lhamo. Each of these has a male counterpart, because male and female aspects are both necessary for enlightenment. In fact, both are nec- essary throughout the spiritual path. The ultimate development of the feminine within the individual is called clear light, which might be described as the direct perception of empti- ness. The ultimate development of the masculine is the illusion body. The com- bination of the two is what we call union. This is the union of enlightened mind and enlightened body. It is the union of relative and absolute truth. It is the ulti- mate development we can achieve. If we develop one aspect without the other, we will never be able to achieve this union. Summer 2006 forum: How Tantra Works Lama Palden Drolma: Awakening is not just a mental experience; it’s also a transformation of what we call the energy body. The channels of the energy body are like pathways that, when meditated upon, begin to transform our experience from the inside out. Prana is what flows through these channels. Prana and mind are closely connected to each other. When our discursive mind jumps all over the place, so does our prana and vice versa. In addition, the pat- terns of unprocessed emotions and psychological issues get lodged in the subtle body, and prana gets blocked up; it flows in the wrong way, sometimes to the point that we get sick. So in tantric practice, we grab hold of the energy that’s moving through the body with our mind and bring the two together to stabilize them, which helps bring about shamatha, or calm abiding. In this way, we work toward repatterning our energy closer to that of an awakened being. Fall 2015 (Opposite) Machinery Yamala Vairocana, 2011 by Wang Zi-Won