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Lions Roar : March 2015
LET THE MIND settle, resting in natural open awareness. Then take refuge in the awakened ones and generate the supreme motivation to awaken yourself for the benefit of all sentient beings. Recite “Until awakening I take refuge in Buddha, dharma, and noble sangha / By the merit of my acts of generosity and other awakening qualities / May I attain full awakening for the benefit of all beings.” THINK THAT EVERYTHING dissolves into emptiness/openness. Then visualize that in the sky in front of you, from her seed syllable TAM, Green Tara instantly appears, sitting on a full open lotus and moon seat. She is blue-green, the color of a mountain lake. She is arrayed in silks and jewels, symbolizing the six transcen- dent perfections and full awakening. RADIATE LIGHT from your heart center. Imagine that it purifies the phenomenal world, makes offerings to the enlight- ened ones, and invites Tara’s actual wis- dom awareness to be present with you. Visualize that this happens by numerous small forms of Tara raining down into the form you have visualized. Think that the Tara you have imagined becomes inseparable from her actual wisdom awareness. WHILE YOU ARE REPEATING her mantra, Om Tare Tu Tare Ture So Ha, visualize that from her outstretched right hand comes a river of wisdom elixir, turquoise- green in color. This removes all fear, gives protection, removes obstacles and obscurations, and transmits enlightened awareness to you. Make prayers to Tara, and receive her blessing. THEN TARA DISSOLVES into light and that light dissolves into you. Think that your mind is inseparable from Tara’s enlight- ened mind. See yourself in the form of Tara, appearing as a body made of light, emptiness and form inseparable. In your heart area is a blue-green TAM. From it, light radiates out joy, compassion, loving- kindness, strength, and equanimity to all beings. Keep repeating her mantra. WHEN YOU HAVE FINISHED repeating the mantra, gradually dissolve the visualiz- ation until there is just a drop of tur- quoise light left in your heart area, the essence of your buddhanature. Then this dissolves into space, like a rainbow disap- pearing into the sky. REST YOUR MIND naturally for a few min- utes or longer. Dedicate the merit of the practice to all beings: “Through this goodness may awakening spontaneously arise in our streams of being / May all obscurations and distortions fall away / May all beings be liberated from suffer- ing, and the stormy waves of birth, sick- ness, old age, and death.” CREATIVE IMAGINATION MOST BUDDHIST MEDITATION focuses on the breath, on the mind itself, or sometimes on very simple geometrical designs. Vajrayana meditation depends on a faculty called “creative imagination,” or visualization. This is what makes it differ- ent from other forms of Buddhist practice. When we are doing these meditations, it is very important for us to believe them. One of the problems Westerners face is that we are simply not accustomed to such imagery. Many of us find it very dif- ficult, at least in the beginning, although people who are visually oriented may find it easier. But even more important than the very detailed visualization is the belief that this is real. You see, these forms, which might seem quite alien, are actually emanations of our inherent buddhanature, as they have appeared to realized masters throughout the ages. They arose in minds that had access to their wisdom nature. Therefore, they are an extremely skillful conduit back to very profound realms of our psyche that we cannot access by means of logical, linear thinking. People are often startled because there is a part of us that doesn’t believe it, that thinks we’re just playing games. To gain the benefits, we must become absorbed in the practice and cease this duality of “I” doing the practice. Just become the practice. —Lama Tenzin Palmo Adapted from Reflections From a Mountain Lake (Snow Lion). ©ISTOCK.COM/ERIKKHALITOV SHAMBHALA SUN MARCH 2015 34 CULTURE • LIFE • PRACTICE