The 8th International Conference Buddhism & Australia
Chinese Buddhist Encyclopedia Illustrations
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Developing The Meditation Dakini Practices
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We have said that there are four Wisdom Dakinis and that they are used in mediation advances upon the gradual path.
But they are not in themselves Yiddam Dakinis.
All are essentially components of the awareness of the feminine principle of the life force, and as such they are aspects (emanations is not a correct word) of Dharmakaya.
These Dakinis are never to be considered as simply five consorts of the five Buddhas, which gives them the tawdry image of simply being an personified appendage of those Buddhas, but are reflections of the aspects of the Buddha Nature itself, as expressions of the all pervading Adi Buddha Force (the central Buddha), Gladness, Compassion, Benevolent Affect and Ecuanimity.
The Karma-Dakini Samayatara Samaya Tara) (not the same as the legendary Green Tara). She represents the Wisdom of Action & Accomplishment.
North)]) It eliminates Aversion by opening the way for BENEVOLENT AFFECT and Correct Actions though drawing the hostile clouds away from a natural intelligence.
She is sometimes called the Queen of Knowledge, Vidyarajni, or Vishvapani, for she gradually became the personification of compassion (karuna)) and also benevolent affect (maitri).
She was then elevated to the status of Mother of all the Buddhas being shown with the royal vajra in her hand and a crown on her head.
The Padma-Dakini Pandaravasini Pandara represents the Wisdom of Distinction & Discernment. (West).
It opens the way to a true JOY or GLADNESS which arises from clear discernment of Sensitivity unstained by desire for lifes conforts and the resulting sloth.
The Ratna-Dakini Mamaki represents the Wisdom of Equality or Equanimity, which requires little explanation. (South).
In psychological terms EQUANIMITY opens the mind and permits its flexibility eliminating the stains of narrow minded and closed knowledge.
The Vajra-Dakini (not the same as the Yidam Dakini) Locana represents Mirror Wisdom.
(East). We can consider Mirror Wisdom as the awareness of the eighth consciousness (Alaya) which is pure consciousness without the presence of the inhibitions of any of the six senses nor the stained consciousness of identity.
It is then effectively the dissolution of Identity symptoms and allows the arising of COMPASSION related to correct Intentions.
The fifth Buddha naturally has its Dakin which represents the amalgamation of all the Dakinis.
So the the Buddha-Dakini Akashadhatvishvari who represents the Life Force aspect of the Dharma Wisdom of the Eternal and Absolute Dharma.
The concept of eternal suggests that there is neither limit to this Dharma nor can it be destroyed.
The concept of Absolute means that it requires no support and cannot be stained.
It remains therefore pure. As a consequence. It represents the Buddha Wisdom.
It can be seen that the Five Dakinis together represent both EXPERIENCE and PHYSIOLOGICAL PROCESS:
Sensation – Attitude – Joy or Gladness (Padma Dakini) (mind consciousness)
Discrimination – Intention – Compassion (Vajra Dakini), (Alaya)
Perception - Preparation for Action - Benevolent Affect (Karma Dakini), (five senses)
Volition-Action-Equanimity (Ratna Dakini), (equality)
Consciousness – All Pervading Buddha Nature-Well Being (Buddha Dakini)
You will no doubt recognize these as the five Skandhas.
It is evident that those upon this Vajrayana Chen Yen path with great Identity impediments of Confusion would use Locana-dakini while those who suffer with grasping and co related insecurity with debilitating emotions would choose Pandaravasini Dakini. Samayatara is the perfect choice for those with Aversion which is accompanied always with pride and negative criticism.
Mamaka is reserved for those whose views are almost impossible to change fundamentally no matter what Dharma is presented.
The internal battle of the Identities is such that a resolution of that problem may be almost impossible without generating from the mind the help of this representative Dakini of Equanimity.
It must always be remembered, however, that any Meditation Dakini chosen is jut one aspect of the Yiddam Dakini and that all,the impediments of the four directions need to be dissolved so the that the Central Dakini state can be realized for the task of opening the door to the Yiddam Dakini.
Clearly there is no rule which says that a certain Dakina must be used as the Yidam base for the Wisdom Dakinis and any of the Bodhisattva Dakinis, Fearsome Phramenma Dakinis or even the Kerima Awareness Dakinis may be allocated or accepted. But it is essential that the Dakini be selected which is most adequate for the temperament of the meditator.
This means that the aid of a Master is essential.
The task then really in using the Wisdom or Awareness Dakinis is to actually generate the essence of the Dakini to be used.
While the important factor is essence there are some who are aided in encountering that essence by a facility for generating visualizations as a first step.
What is an essence? It is the vital and most important part of the Dakini Experience.
THE MEDITATION DAKINI SAMAYA-TARA representing the Wisdom of Correct Action & Accomplishment.
How does one touch the essence?
First one has to understand the essence Life Force as a whole and then the cognitive description of the attribute which is to be released and perceived as essence.
Let us use as an example the Meditation Dakini Samaya-tara as most are pretty familiar with Green Tara, the Mother Tara, which generates in her generated mundane state, the correct and natural Intention to perform all of the other twenty correct and natural intentions.
You will remember that the Transcendental deities of meditation are archetypes that can be used to transform Confusion, Grasping.
Aversion or Fixed Mindedness, well Samaya-Tara is particularly generated in this case as Meditation Dakini to transform the Intention into Natural and Intelligent Action.
You must be very clear what the function is. Within each person there is a pure and natural impulse to with regard to every intention that it is harmony and balance with the Life Force of the Bodhisattva State.
That impulse is hidden in this case by the person’s Aversion. Normal Dharma talks and the sutras avail little, because the habit strength of Identity aversion is strong.
The solution is to generate outside the mind a Dakini representation of that correct and natural impulse.
If the person performing correctly the meditation is able to absorb the essence of the Dakini externally and enter that essence into the subconscious through the basic senses in a manner which is free of words or conceptualization, then that will be a strong enough
stimulus to overcome the habit strength of Aversion and reinforce the hidden positive impulse so that it emerges. With concentrated practice eventually the Dakini will no longer be needed and Aversion will have been dissolved temporarily.
Why do we declare temporarily? It is because until the Identity itself is completely annihilated by the elimination of the duality controlled mind, then that Aversion may once more emerge.
Thus there must be constant vigilance and practice until Awakening.
Every practice requires certain preliminaries such as the three refuges performed in accord with the concepts that the Buddha is the life force itself, the Dharma the application of the sublime states among other attributes and the Sangha the universal and common nature of the Life force in all human creatures and a short affirmation of the four Sublime States and others as the situation demands.
THE DAKINIS IN THE BARDO PRACTICE
We can better understand the eventual Mandala practice if we view one small part of the ancient Bardol Thardol Practice.
In this practice at one point the Samaya-tara Dakini is generated within the conciousness of the Deceased by pre- conditioning and external energy cues.
This is a perfect example of dakini use. The Bardo text is read and learned. One part reads as follows:
“ (a) Listen without wavering! … the green light that is the purity of the element of wind dawns.
At this time, from the green northern Buddha-land of Prakuta, the green Lord Amoghasiddhi appears seated on an eagle throne, carrying a Vishvavajra (double vajra.
symbol of the absolute which is present in all actions), in union with his consort Samaya-tara, attended by the male Bodhisattvas Vajrapani and Sarvani-varana-viskambhin and the female Bodhisattvas Gandha and Nartya - a group of six Buddha Deities in a background of rainbows and lights.
(b) Using the green light of the All-accomplishing wisdom,
(The practitioner must learn to recognize the different descriptions) learn to purity of the creation mosaic, green, piercing, dazzling and clear, adorned with glistening drops and droplets, shines from the heart of the Amoghasiddhi couple, precisely penetrating your heart center (pure mind), unbearable to see with your eyes.
(c) Not fearing it, recognize it as the natural force of the wisdom of your own awareness, enter the experience of the great, unoccupied equanimity, free of attraction to the familiar and aversion to the alien!
(d) At the same time a soft, envy-made red light of the titan realm shines upon you together with the wisdom light ray. Meditate upon it with attraction and aversion in balance.
(e) If you (sense that you) are of inferior mind, do not abandon her! Now, under the influence of fierce jealousy, you may great fear and may be terrified by that brilliant, piercing green light, and you may flee it in alarm.
You enjoy and are attracted to that soft red light of the titan realm and you approach it.
But now is the time that you must fearlessly recognize that brilliant green, piercing, dazzling clear light as wisdom.
(f) Upon it relax your awareness in the experience of transcendence with nothing to do. Or again generate internal resolve and increase your love for it, thinking,
"It is the light ray of the compassion of Lord Amoghasiddhi! I take refuge in it!" It is the All-accomplishing wisdom, the light ray of the yoking-beam of the compassion of Lord Amoghasiddhi - have faith in it! Do not flee it! If you flee it, it still will not leave you! Do not fear it!
(g) Do not be seduced by that soft red light of the titan realms!
It is the path of destruction from the negative evolutionary actions you have committed through your powerful jealously!
If you cling to it, you will fall into the titan realms; you will experience the intolerable suffering of interminable fighting, and it will be an obstacle blocking the path of liberation.
Without clinging to it, abandon your instinct for it! Do not long for it!
(h) Have confidence in that dazzling bright green light! Aim your one-pointed willpower toward the Lord Amoghasiddhi couple and make the following oration:
(i) "Hey! When I roam the life cycle driven by strong envy, may the Lord Amoghasiddhi lead me on the path of the clear light of the all-encompassing wisdom! May his consort Buddha Samayatara back me on the way, deliver me from the dangerous straits of the spiritual between, and carry me to perfect Buddhahood!”
If one removes the theatrical support one can capture the essential trajectory of the practice.
(a) OBSERVE THE ABSOLUTE FOUNT
(b) RECEIVE THE LIGHT
(c) REJECT IDENTITY FEAR AND RECOGNIZE ONE’S OWN NATURAL AWARENESS
(d) OPEN ONESELF TO EQUANIMITY
(e) REFRAIN FROM AVOIDANCE OF THE CORRECT AND ATTRACTION TO THE INCORRECT
(f) INCREASE RESOLVE AND COMPASSION
(g) REJECT NEGATIVE ENERGY AND THE DELUSION OF SUFFERING
(h) GENERATE CONFIDENCE IN THE TRUE BUDDHA NATURE INTENTIONS
(i) REINFORCE WITH AN ORATION
If a practice is not a Bardol Thodal practice which requires a conditioned visualization process any media can accomplish the same end. That is evident upon examination, because there is within the practice a clear operational progression.
Nevertheless the practice must be well understood, directed and accomplished.
Iin the normal Wisdom Dakini meditations in Chen Yen, the methods, (mandala, mudra, mantra ) do not require visual personifications, but use essence.
As a result they are actually less likely to produce, in grasping temperaments, the romantic grasping or craving which can lead to faulty practice, empty ritual and wasteful ceremony.
These nine path points (a) through (i) observed in the bardo practice, form the base for Dakini meditation in all three Chen Yen forms.
Present, together with a full awareness of the central Dakini theme , of course, there must be a conscious subtle aspiration to attain the eight awareness's at a level that does not interfere with the concentration required:
1. Cessation (nirodha), the ending of mind control and the release of natural processes.
2. Wholesomeness (subha), the quality of being naturally beneficial in the terms of the life force.
3. Truth (satya), understanding of the true state of mental and material phenomenon.
4. Reality (tattva), direct experience or encounter with the primordial life force state.
5. Eternity (nitya), understanding of the truth of timelessness.
6. Bliss (sukha), understanding of the motivating force.
7. The truth of “neither self nor no self”.
8. Complete purity (parisuddhi), freedom from stained consciousness.
The meditation of the Meditation Dakinis is CONCENTRATION (Samatha) no matter whether it is a mandala, mudra or mantra practice.
That means that the practice must begin with there having been a clear pre programming of the task and a full understanding of the nature of the chosen dakini and all the symbolism involved.
The meditator then enters the practice at the process of attention which we call the “Becoming of consciousness” and then, without directing consciousness to the Mandala , permits natural “one pointedness” of the fourth attention stage to carry the focus to the Mandala (or other selected target) without effort.
DIAGRAM OF THE MANDALA MEDITATION PRACTICE
GENERATED FROM THE BECOMING OF CONSCIOUSNESS WITHIN ATTENTION
If there has been a full previous understanding of the internal symbolism of the Mandala then one does not have to “do” anything and it is particularly important to attain a presence in which there is neither meditator or target of meditation.
There must just be “absorption in and of itself” which automatically arises from the energy of the mind/body complex and union with the essence of the Mandala.
The cognitive mind cannot understand so it must be allowed to fall away and the visual journey through the mandala will be quite automatic.
Correctly performed there will be little interference from either sensation, emotions or thoughts generated from Volition.
If they do arise they must be treated as strangers calling at the door of your mind.
They may be seen but must remain unattended to.
The details and technique for this representative Wisdom Dakini Meditation are not presented here as we have a more complex objective, the understanding of the Yiddam Vajra Dakini.