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Buddhadharma : Summer 2018
FORUM | UNSEEN REALIZED BEINGS 73 relating to something like a nonmaterial realized being? How does someone take up this kind of practice if they’re still holding on to some kind of doubt? LAMA TSULTRIM ALLIONE: Generally, faith implies a sort of theistic faith in something, but the way I understand faith is that it is simply openness. What I suggest to people who are new and entering into this kind of practice is that they be open—that they open their field of energy, their field of awareness, to the possibility of this connection. I ’m not saying you have to believe in it. If we go back to that analogy of turning on the TV, if you don’t turn it on, there’s no way you’ll ever receive that channel. So I would describe that openness as turning on the TV. You open to the possibility of attuning to these nonmaterial realized beings or energies. The other piece that I think is impor- tant is transmission. These practices don’t exist in isolation. You wouldn’t go get a book and just start doing it. You could be introduced to it in that way, but a very important part of Vajrayana is transmission through the lama, the vajra master. That means you have that link with another human being who’s had that link with another human being. At some point, the original human being had the link with the sambhogakaya and transmitted that down through lineage. ACHARYA GAYLON FERGUSON: Doubt is part of the path. These practices are transmitted within the context of a human relationship to a teacher, a Vajrayana guru or tantric master. Another word that should be mentioned in talking about these things is danger. There’s a dangerous aspect in not being properly authorized or going into the deep end of the pool before undertak- ing the preliminary practices to prepare oneself. We need to develop that human relationship of trust and bring up all of our questions and doubts and use those to come to some kind of clarity about commitment. Like any human relation- ship, there are stages of questioning, like, “Will I marry this person or not?” And, “Is it a good idea to go forward with this?” Then at a certain point, there is that formal commitment that allows transmission to take place. BUDDHADHARMA: What if you have doubts about the very existence of non- material realized beings? The mandala of these presences—what surrounds them, the sense of openness to sacredness in our everyday life— is compassionate activity.—ACHARYA GAYLON FERGUSON