B. Alan Wallace, 09 Apr 2020
Mediation on Rare and Precious Human Rebirth
Meditation: Rare and Precious Human Rebirth
So we begin with the four line verse of taking refuge and arousing bodhichitta:
In the Buddha, Dharma, and Supreme Community, I take refuge until my enlightenment. With the collections gathered through my cultivation of generosity and so on May I achieve Buddhahood for the benefit of all beings.
And then we’ll recite just once the Seven-Line Prayer to Padmasambhava.
Hūṃ In the northwest frontier of Oḍḍiyāna, in the heart of a lotus sits the one renowned as Padmasambhava, who achieved the wondrous supreme siddhi, and is surrounded by a host of many dākiṇīs. Following in your footsteps, I devote myself to practice. Please come forth and bestow your blessings. Guru Padma siddhi hūṃ
So with this verse of invocation, calling upon Padmasambhava to be present with us, attend to us and grant his blessings that we may find the path and swiftly proceed along the path to its culmination.
I invite you now to imagine Padmasambhava in the space in front of you. Imagine him having heard, attended to your request. And imagine at your request receiving the four empowerments from the white OM at the crown of his head, rays of light and nectar flowing from that seed syllable to the OM at the point between your eyebrows. Imagine the stream, this luminous fluid stream of nectar and light flowing into the chakra there between the eyebrows and then permeating your entire body. An incandescent white light purifying all obscurations, illnesses, harmful influences, obscurations so that your whole body appears as a field of light, translucent, immaterial, radiant, utterly pure. Imagine all negative imprints from actions by way of the body being purified. Imagine sowing the seeds for your own eventual actualization, realization of nirmanakaya.
And then from the red A, the ruby red A at the throat of Padmasambhava. Again, light and nectar ruby red flowing in a stream to the red syllable A at your own throat, the throat chakra. Again filling your whole being with this beautiful red light and nectar purifying all negative karma accrued by way of speech, all obscurations, all impurities. And sowing the seeds for your realization of sambhogakaya.
And then from the indigo syllable HUM at the Guru’s heart, again rays of light, deep sapphire blue flowing, in the stream of nectar to the HUM at your heart purifying this time all imprints, all obscurations pertaining to the mind, filling your entire being, purifying your entire being. Sowing the seeds for your realization of the dharmakaya.
And then following the teachings of Padmasambhava in Natural Liberation, again red light, this time, emitted from the seed syllable of the lotus family of Amitabha, Avalokiteshvara, Tara, Padmasambhava, the red syllable HRI at the navel chakra of the guru, again red light, a flow of red nectar flowing to your navel chakra four finger wits beneath your navel. This red light again permeating your entire being, purifying body, speech and mind simultaneously, all obscurations, all imprints. And sowing the seeds for the realization of the svabhavakaya, the indivisibility of the nirmanakaya, sambhogakaya and dharmakaya.
And upon the conclusion of receiving these four empowerments, then imagine Padmasambhava coming to the crown of your head at your invitation, diminishing in size, facing the same direction as you well and blissfully dissolving down through the central channel, reforming at your heart. Sets of your own body, speech and mind become indivisible from the body, speech and mind Vajras of the Guru Padmasambhava, Vajradhara, Samantabhadra, and rest there for a moment.
And then as we’ve read in the sacred text, this pure vision, there are indeed many entrances of skillful means and wisdom to lead sentient beings to the path, the path to their own perfect awakening. It is wondrous that there are so many entrances. And I would suggest that we can identify an entrance to the path across a multitude of religious traditions, philosophies, worldviews, and so on. But what I believe they all have in common, inside and outside of religion, is each of these paths, entrances to the path, points out and highlights the distinction between the pursuit of mundane pleasures — wealth, power, prestige, and all that you can get from them, sensual pleasures and so on —, the distinction between these worldly pleasures or hedonia, the whole bandwidth of hedonia, and in Buddhism called authentic well-being, sublime well-being. Different names of course in different languages — in Greek eudaimonia. That is the cultivation of eudaimonia, of genuine well-being that is the very meaning of life. Whoever you are, wherever you are, whatever kind of sentient being you are, to prioritize above hedonia, the cultivation of genuine well-being rooted in ethics, rooted in the meaningful transformative cultivation of the mind, and finally, rooted into deep insight in the nature of reality. There are many entrances and we have found such an entrance in the Buddhadharma as a whole and in this sublime path of the Great Perfection.
So as we imagine the sentient beings with whom we share this world, the 7.8 billion human beings, the 20 billion billion animals with which we share, or with whom we share this world. How many have actually encountered an entrance to the path, who recognize the distinction between genuine well-being and the ways to cultivate it, in contrast to scurrying around and around and around endlessly in the pursuit of mundane pleasures, false security, fleeting instances of joy and always returning to dissatisfaction, birth, aging, sickness and death? How many have found an entrance to cultivating genuine well-being? Are they a minority, especially if we consider non-human beings our fellow creatures, but even among the 7.8 billion human beings, how many have actually found the entrance to cultivating genuine well-being rooted in reality as opposed to a mere response to circumstances we find pleasurable? A path to a meaningful life. Is it not rare? Are we not extraordinarily privileged to found an authentic path leading to greater and greater genuine well-being? Is it not rare? And is it not precious? Should we not prize this, this knowledge, cherish it and shape our lives around it as our highest priority?
In the Buddhist tradition, it is this priority that will lead us to liberation and awakening. In the Christian context, it is this priority that will lead you to knowledge of God, to salvation. And for the Taoists, the Hindus and so forth, start here. It is what unites us all, religious and non-religious, it’s what can save this planet if we prioritize genuine well-being over mere consumption, acquisition and the exhaustion of the natural resources of this blessed planet. The great sages of the past have said repeatedly over the centuries that happiness, the cultivation or pursuit of happiness is the meaning of life. But we must know what they’re referring to: not just pleasure that is fleeting, becomes a memory and then not even that. How precious is this life, how rare to have this opportunity.
But then more specifically, we turn to the splendor of this Buddhist path, the Buddha’s own teachings on the Four Noble Truths, identifying with certain radiant clarity what are the true causes of suffering, such that when they are banished, when we eradicate these inner poisons of the mind, immutable bliss is what remains, we don’t have to cultivate that separately. Nirvana is what remains, it is waiting for us once we cut through the roots of delusion and craving and hostility. How extraordinary! The great physician showing us the way to the ultimate cure from all suffering. We have found this path. It is common to all schools of Buddhism and it lies right before us, we just need to step forward. Is it not rare to find such a path so direct to liberation from suffering and the causes of suffering, leading to the immutable bliss of liberation? So transparent, so clear, so sensible, so profound. But there’s more.
Within this broad spectrum of the Buddhist teachings we have encountered, the path is right in front of us. It is within reach, this path of all the bodhisattvas of the past, present and future, setting out with the arousal of bodhichitta, the most sublime of all aspirations and resolves, setting out and finding the path, the entrance to the path of all the bodhisattvas. That is, we ascend along the five paths to its culmination, it is the perfect awakening of a Buddha that awaits us. And it’s crystal clear. It’s been revealed to us. It invites us: realize your own Buddha nature. We have found such a path. Is that not rare? Is it not inexpressibly precious? However long it may take to achieve such perfect awakening, to set out on such a path with confidence and knowing you’re on the path. In this world of samsara, this ocean of samsara permeated by so much suffering and delusion and the darkness of ignorance. It’s right here. It’s been shown to us.
But there’s more. The path of Vajrayana, the secret mantra, the ever so swift paths, which their many methods, skillful means, many modes of wisdom to hasten quickly along that path, to realize perfect awakening in one or just a few lifetimes. So rare, so inconceivably precious and it is a living tradition, there are masters living today who can share with us their insights and their experiences, they extend the right hand, “Come if you wish to be guided, we will guide you”. You sound the Vajrayana path, how extremely rare.
And then the pinnacle of Vajrayana, this Great Perfection. How could the Lake-Born Vajra present this any more clearly than he has in these pure visions of Dudjom Lingpa? So concise, so clear, so radiant, so inviting, so accessible. In this very lifetime the possibility of achieving rainbow body, even the great transference rainbow body, everything we need to know in order to realize this great transference rainbow body in this lifetime, everything we need to know is found in this one text, so declare the Lake-Born Vajra when we come to the end of the text. It’s in the palm of your hand.
There are guides living today who can guide us, lead us confidently. Is this not rare? And isn’t this more precious than words can express, to have this opportunity? It doesn’t make us elite, it doesn’t make us superior or special. It is a jewel that has fallen into our hands. To be sure we bring merit, our prayers and aspiration from past lives, but in this lifetime, it is simply as a gift. This most precious of all jewels, the jewel of the Dharma, the opportunity, the potential is inconceivably great. The rarity, inconceivably rare. Does that not come, then, with an inconceivable responsibility to take full advantage of the opportunities that we have, that virtually no one else has? And if we do take full advantage, what might we bring to this world that is so in such desperate need, urgent need of wisdom, to set us on a new course, human civilization, to preserve and cherish our environment for countless generations to come? We must reset our course.
And with this path we have the potential to help shift the course of human civilization. Not only the hundred who are prophesied to manifest the great transference rainbow body, but how many more realizing the state of vidyadhara? Thousands, could it be 10s of thousands. He said 1000 of Dudjom Lingpa’s disciples during his lifetime achieved the state of vidyadhara and this is the wild out, outback of Tibet, the nomadic country of the wilds of Tibet, 1000. How many following these teachings might realize and manifest the wisdom, the compassion, the extraordinary powers that emerged from becoming a vidyadhara with direct realization of pristine awareness and dwelling in the flow of such divine consciousness? Could we not reshape the whole world and save us all? We have tremendous opportunity. So rare, so precious. But I think we must not overlook the fact this comes with tremendous responsibility. Let’s embrace it joyfully and gratefully, and dedicate our lives to this path.
Transcribed by Ana Carolina Boero
Revised by Rafael Carlos Giusti
Final edition by Rafael Carlos Giusti