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Lions Roar : July 2014
to connect with Avalokiteshvara’s energy, his great compassionate nature. Avalokiteshvara’s four arms are symbolic of the four immeasurable qualities of loving-kindness, compassion, joy, and equanimity. Generation stage practice is about trying to con- nect with Avalokiteshvara’s energy and using the mind’s focus and concentration to bring forth that energy in ourselves. When we visualize Avalok- iteshvara in front of us, we may also want to visual- ize ourselves as Avalokitesvara, cultivating that seed of great compassion in ourselves. If we want to take a break from focusing on the visualization, we can concentrate the mind by using a prayer to invoke the great, compassionate energy of the four immeasurable qualities: May all sentient beings have happiness and the cause of happiness! May all sentient beings be free of suffering and the cause of suffering! May all sentient beings not be separated from great happiness free of suffering! May all sentient beings dwell in great equanimity free from passion, aggression, and prejudice! Then we can return to visualizing when we are ready. one misconception we may have is that we should be able to main- tain a visualization for a long period of time. however, as with all practices of meditation, the experience of concentrated visu- alization will be momentary. In generation stage practice, we are also connecting with the energy of purity. our ordinary minds constantly see individuals and the world around us impurely. Working with visualization practice, we are connecting with something that is sacred and completely pure. Avalokiteshvara is not merely a cultural icon of Tibet. he is an embodiment of complete purity, of enlightened energy, and of compassion. his white color is symbolic of his perfectly pure nature. Generation stage practice awakens the mind to what is called “pure perception.” focusing on Avalokiteshvara’s pure nature can help us relate to the world in a less judgmental way. our ordinary way of doing this is to avoid or push aside judgmen- tal thoughts and ideas. however, when we engage in generation stage practice, the transformation of the mind is natural and very deep. We are not just superimposing some concept over our actual experience and saying, “everything around us is good.” Instead, we are training in pure vision, in order to see the world’s pure nature. We are doing this through the mind’s concentration on a sacred expression of compassion and purity. finally, we should not limit our practice of the generation stage to formal meditation practice. We should carry our con- nection to Avalokiteshvara out with us into the world. In the Vajrayana tradition, we say that when we finish practicing, we “carry the energy of the deity with us.” That means we carry Avalokiteshvara’s compassionate energy and pure vision with us into the world, and also try to see that nature in others. We can even try to see others as Avalokiteshvara. ultimately, the goal of generation stage practice is to awaken to the reality that all beings are indivisible from Avalokiteshvara’s own nature. Seeing ourselves, others, and the world around us through pure eyes thoroughly transforms our experience of life. And the benefit doesn’t stop there. Generation stage practice creates a chain reaction as we bring warmth, compassion, and openness to others, and into the environment around us. ♦ We are not superimposing some concept over our actual experience. We are training to see the world’s pure nature. PhoToBYChRISToPhSChöNheRR/CouRTeSYofRIGoNThuPTeNMINDRoLLINGMoNASTeRY,oRISSA,INDIA Avalokiteshvara mandala: the complete visualization of the deity and its environment. SHAMBHALA SUN JULy 2014 59