Monday, July 12, 2010

Tantric lessons from Miss Tatsy "Rinpoche"

I have had weird dreams last night. Dreamt of going to a big but very old house… and very spooky too. It’s very dilapidated and dirty. I had a terrible time trying to find a decent toilet that I could use. I think in that dream I went into some kind of trouble and someone had to help me. Then I had to climb over a barbed wired wall and again somebody helped me. Along the way, somebody will appear and help me. That dream was really not a very good dream but appreciate the helps that I got along the way.

In the light of that troubling dream, and still thinking of it after I woke up, when I heard on the radio a dharma lesson from the local radio. No, it was not a Buddhist radio channel. But I could connect to it because there was one dharma speaker who said almost the same thing few weeks ago. The “Light and Easy” hosts had invited a lady, I think her name was “Tatsy” ( I remember hearing clearly the “T” sound and not “P” as in “Patsy”). She was from a peak performance school or something and was invited to talk on “Personal excellence” on the radio. She talked on the technique of doing visualizations to enhance our personal performance in every aspect of our lives. She said that with visualisation, it will be easier to actualize the goal that we have visualised. This was something many motivational gurus are using and the fees for their workshops or seminars are very high. Upon hearing that, I thought to myself that the technique of visualizations is something taught a long time ago by the Buddha and it is especially prevalent in Vajrayana tradition. We have been teaching and doing it for thousands of years! And to hear that on the radio, it just enhances my connection to this technique. But there is something Miss Tatsy said that reminded me that visualization alone is inadequate. It was akin to a direct dharma teaching from a Lama or Rinpoche. What else do we need besides visualization?

So Tatsy “Rinpoche” said that there is a two-step process to visualization. Visualisation will only create a clear mental picture of what you want. It is still practice that makes something perfect. Just a mental picture does not make anything perfect. From that mental picture in the mind, we then need to transfer it into our bodily actions, she said. An example was given. Visualising scoring goals in our mind will set the goal in our mind, but you still need to actually practice scoring with the ball. You cannot expect immediately able to score by just doing visualizations and then going into the match without any practicing. As the proverb goes, practice makes perfect. That proverb is still very much valid.

Connecting that with the practice of visualizing ourselves as yidams (deities) or on top of our head, will not in a thousand or million years transform us into any Buddha. It's only a simulation. We need to follow-up that visualisation with actually transforming our mind, speech and actions into those of the enlightened Buddhas. I am just thinking, what sort of practices do we do to transform these? How do we follow-up after doing those yidam visualizations?

I can think of a few: -

- doing calm-abiding (Samatha) meditation
- doing insight (vipasyana) meditation
- doing mind training such as lojong practice
- doing Lam Rim contemplations
- thinking kind thoughts

- doing purification practices such as prostrations, nyung-nays, and other preliminary practices
- doing guru yoga
- doing pujas
- making offerings
- blood donations and donating other parts of our body
- doing something physical to help others
- stop doing bad habits

- doing mantra repetitions
- reciting sutras
- reciting names of Buddhas/Bodhisattvas
- saying kind or compassionate words
- not saying harsh or angry words
- being pleasant in our daily conversations

And there are many others you can add to the above list. Some of the above practices could be affecting combinations of body, speech and mind or all three together. Masters have also advised that some of the above should be done prior to doing visualisation practices.

In essence, what I learn from the radio talk is that mechanically doing visualizations or engaging in cakras and bindus do not turn one into Buddhas by themselves. These are just techniques and tools and are just “mechanical devices”. For instance, mechanical devices do not make one kinder or more compassionate. Compassion has to come from our change of heart or attitude and a transformation of our mind. Also to become a real Buddha, and to develop real compassion, we need to involve ourselves with sentient beings and not just sit in meditation and expect to become a Buddha. While meditation can open our cakras, it is still getting involved with sentient beings that our compassion can truly develop to its full potential. But these “devices” could come in handy and perhaps speech up things a little. What do you think?

So, thank you to Miss Tatsy “Rinpoche” for giving us some tantric lessons through the radio.


s said...

i wld interpret your dream this way: you are slowly getting out of an impure state of mind, a stagnant point in your life, and there will be help at difficult points. Finding a toilet is like you are trying to try many ways to progress while retaining this impure state of mind but unable to do so, it is somewhat frustrating. In the end, you must get out of this state of mind completely. There has to be a big change. Barbed fence sounds like you will have some inner resistance / obstacle to making the big change, but there'd be help to get out. i feel that it is a good sign for the future.

Mahabodhiyana said...

Oh... there's a meaning?? thanks.

s said...

just my interpretation... others may interpret differently. this is a fun interest of mine. nothing serious.