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Buddhadharma : Summer 2018
60 BUDDHADHARMA: THE PRACTITIONER’S QUARTERLY experience of these realms. Tradition- ally there is a threefold classification of these kinds of beings known as the three roots: the enlightened lineage gurus and vajra masters, awakened beings present in nirmanakaya in a human form; the yidams, forms of awakened beings in the sambhogakaya and dharmakaya realms; and embodiments of power and compas- sion called “protectors,” who remind us when we’re straying from the path of wakefulness or encourage us to go in cer- tain directions. There’s a question of how we should talk about this so we’re not reducing it or turning these beings into superhero cartoons but rather are paying proper respect to the sacredness of this realm. At the same time, for those of us who grew up with a worldview that says the ordinary senses define the limits of what’s real, we’re trying to bridge these dimen- sions and make them understandable. BUDDHADHARMA: Perhaps we can try to clarify where these beings exist. It’s hard not to want to imagine them as having a location in space. Could you speak to how we should envision that location or that realm? ROB PREECE: The presence of enlight- ened qualities, or activity of enlightened qualities, is pervasive, and when those mean by nonmaterial realized beings. How would you describe them? LAMA TSULTRIM ALLIONE: I think there are certain levels of them, and different kinds. I would describe them as beings in a dimension of luminosity, essentially the sambhogakaya, which is the dimension of light beings. In my experience, they’re not just made up; at the same time, I can’t prove they exist. And at a certain level, they are an aspect of our own buddhanature. ROB PREECE: The danger with the term “nonmaterial realized beings” is that it could suggest entities that have some kind of autonomy, like gods. I tend to orient toward a sense of these nonmate- rial beings as emanations of buddha activity rather than as autonomous enti- ties. Opening to those beings or qualities is part of my relationship to the presence of them. Even though to an ordinary mind they’re invisible, they can be there as a presence. There’s a very powerful energetic presence that is part of that emanation capacity, that buddha quality. ACHARYA GAYLON FERGUSON: I reso- nate with the sense of connection with radiance, the radiant field of awakened being. The key point is the practitioner’s PANELISTS LAMA TSULTRIM ALLIONE ROB PREECE ACHARYA GAYLON FERGUSON BUDDHADHARMA: First, let’s clarify what we