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Five Buddha Families

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The essential nature of a Bodhisattva or a Buddha is that he or she embodies the Enlightened qualities of the five Buddha families, which pervade every living being without exception, including ourselves.

To achieve the realization of these five Buddha families or the Five Dhyani Buddhas, it is necessary to abandon the five disturbing emotions (Skt. Kleshas) of Attachment,


Anger or aggression, Ignorance or bewilderment, pride and envy.


When these disturbing emotions are purified, The Five Wisdoms shine forth. Realization of The Five Wisdoms is realization of the five dhyani Buddha's.

To begin with, we have to understand what the five disturbing emotions are. The first, which seems to be most powerful, is Anger.

Anger is an emotion which arises and develops against someone or something we dislike. If examined carefully it can be seen that in the short term Anger creates pain and in the long term it brings about serious harm.

The immediate pain and future harm to us as well as to others, is due to the Power of our own aggression. We therefore need to understand the first negative emotion.

Anger not only causes Suffering and pain in this lifetime, but also the Karma accumulated by wishing harm to others causes us to take birth in the lower realms, where even more intense Suffering ensues as a result.

To be free of the experience of Suffering and pain in this lifetime and to be free of the experience of taking birth in a lower realm, it is necessary to employ methods to overcome and eliminate Anger and hatred.


When Anger is purified, we come to develop and to gradually realize mirror-like Wisdom. 'With mirror-like Wisdom, there is no distinction or separation between self and other Phenomena, so everything is experienced in unity and Harmony.

It is called ]]mirror-like Wisdom]] because Phenomena appear to the Mind in the same way that things appear in a clean mirror, completely accurate with no distortion.

Understanding and realizing mirror-like Wisdom takes place in the absence of the negative emotion of Anger. Realization of mirror-like Wisdom is the realization of Buddha Akshobhya, who is blue in colour.

He holds a Vajra in his left hand. His activity is pacifying the emotions, in particular, Suffering, illness, frustration, and sorrow.


The second dhyani Buddha is The Buddha Ratnasambhava who is realized when the disturbing emotion of pride or ego is purified. Ego is the belief in a self which all Sentient beings have and is further developed from birth as soon as our Mind thinks of itself as separate from others.

The next three types of pride evolve in this process of self-centeredness: We feel that we are better than others who are in a less fortunate situation, we feel that we are superior to others because we fail to see the equality of ourself and others and we feel we are either spiritually or materially better than others.


What causes us to embark upon the journey of ego? When the self believes that it is separate from others, the negative emotion of pride arises in which we believe ourself in some way better than others.

From this arises the belief that there are 'good' things, which we believe in and do, and 'bad' things that others believe in and do.

As long as we believe ourselves to be superior to others, it is impossible to learn from them.

So we must give up ego clinging in order to develop Enlightened qualities.

A purified Mind does not distinguish between pure and impure, Good and bad, I and others; rather it experiences all things in equality.

Karmamothertara.jpg

When we are free from pride, realization of the Wisdom of equality dawns and we experience and become Buddha Ratnasambhava. Buddha Ratnasambhava's activity is enriching and as a Symbol of this activity of enrichment, he is gold or yellow in colour. As a Symbol of his ability to enrich all living beings, he holds the precious wish-fulfilling jewel in his hands.


The third dhyani Buddha represents the Purification and transformation of the disturbing emotion of Attachment or desire. Desire causes much Suffering by being quite distracting and keeping the Mind restless and busy.

When we are attached to things, we are never satisfied and always crave for more and better things. We are continuously engaged in achieving and acquiring the Mind's desires which inevitably leads to experiences of dissatisfaction and loss in our lives.

By understanding this negative emotion and by purifying it, discriminating Wisdom shines forth. By realizing discriminating Wisdom, the Enlightened Mind is experienced and we become one with The Buddha Amitabha.

It is with this Wisdom that we understand and have empathy with each living being and appreciate others' qualities.

The Buddha Amitabha's nature is the absence of Attachment and desire and his activity is magnetizing.

Attachment and desire lead to the Suffering of dissatisfaction, a state in which we always want and strive for more and better things. Desire determines our behavior, and not attaining what we desire leads to frustration and dissatisfaction.

With discriminating Wisdom and the realization of Buddha Amitabha, there is no Attachment and desire and thus no dissatisfaction, or Craving for more and better things.

This realization is so powerful that all things are naturally magnetized as one's own and there is no energy or force involved as with a state of desire.



The fourth dhyani Buddha is Amoghasiddhi.


This state is realized in the absence of the negative emotion of jealousy, which includes being jealous of others' Wealth, success and good Fortune.

With jealousy, negativity is accumulated and by overcoming jealousy, the all accomplishing Wisdom of Amoghasiddhi is realised.

Jealousy prevents and impedes an individual from accomplishing their own well being and as a result they experience more Suffering and continue developing fbrther jealousy towards those who have more.

This is the reason all-accomplishing Wisdom is experienced in the absence of jealousy: when jealousy is purified, all wishes are naturally and effortlessly accomplished.

As long as jealousy determines our attitude, we are bound to experience more obstacles in achieving personal success and accomplishing positive goals.


This is why Amoghasiddhi's activity is wrathful.


It is with wrath that he removes all obstacles and hindrances preventing spiritual maturation and success.

He is green in colour, the same colour as growing plants, symbolizing the numerous activities he employs to remove hindrances.

The fifth dhyani Buddha is Vairochana, who is realized when the negative emotion of Ignorance is overcome.

Ignorance is failing to recognize what is wholesome and unwholesome; failing to know the ultimate Truth and Convention Truth and failing to realize the highest state of Dharmata.

Ignorance is the root of the negative emotions.

For example, we only act aggressively towards others because we are ignorant of the fact that Anger will bring pain and sorrow to ourselves and others. Likewise, it is only due to Ignorance that one has pride, desire and jealousy.


The elimination of the darkness of Ignorance is the realization of Buddha Vairochana.


The Wisdom which shines forth when Ignorance is overcome is the Wisdom of Dharmata; the realization of the highest state.

We have failed to realize the true nature of things up until now due to Ignorance, and this Ignorance causes all our Mental confusion and misleading actions.

Purification of Ignorance engenders realization of the Wisdom which sees all things as they really are.

The natural Body of the Wisdom of Dharmata is Buddha Vairochana, and since the darkness of Ignorance is eliminated, he is the clear colour of white.

Source

Thrangu Rinpoche, Khenchen : Five Buddha Families and the Eight Consciousnesses (Zhyisil Chokyi Ghatsal Trust : 2001)

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