A couple of years ago, an eclipse occurred on my birthday, or should I say that the other way around? Anyway, all my carefully laid plans for the evening went up in smoke. Nothing really changed though. The eclipse went through its cycle just as it was intended. It was my cycle that went through a turn I didn’t expect.
Anyway, while thinking of that, I recall another birthday, my 30th.
That day, I was in charge and the day cycled the way I had planned it. During that time, we had a major drought in the San Francisco Bay area. I don’t remember how long it lasted, but, especailly in Marin County, it was felt. Marin has a reservoir, and unlike other communities, it did not have other water piped in.
So, on that day, we did a rain dance on Mount Tam (and it rained), and we also got off the wheel of life and death — Werner Erhard had brought Karmapa to San Francisco. (that’s not the site of the present two Karmapas, both who do have sites, but rather of the Present 12th Kenting Tai Situpa, who is the main guru of Orgyen Trinlay Dorje, one of the two Karmapas, and whatever you do, don’t skip the intros, they are the best parts! but I’m getting ahead of myself)
Doing some research on all that now, so many years later, was kind of amazing. The 16th Karmapa, Rangjung Rigpel Dorye that I remember, blessed my kids and me that day and we also watched the Black Crown ceremony.
I see, now, that there are two Karmapas – some say that’s ok, a Karmapa should easily be able to be in two places at the same time, but others, are dedicated to their chosen champion, and so even in the higher realms, among the enlightened ones, there are dualities!
But, that there is also trouble in heaven, does not make me feel better for my own sorry existence…
Anyway, seems like the black crown has been put away for a while.
I remember paying such close attention that day, not sure what I was expecting — Karmapa was said to be Buddha — probably a sign, although I can’t remember thinking that. Most likely, I thought getting off the wheel of life and death would make me feel better or different.
Surely, something. Something would happen when I was released from the cycle of life and death.
Anyway, all of my concentration was focused, in a totally attached kind of way.
And the only momentous thing that happened that I can remember, is that the Karmapa made this weird snuffing sound. Like he was clearing his nose big time – mostly something that’s not done in polite social settings.
And that was so unexpected and so sudden that my entire concentration was broken. I remember being startled and jumping out of my skin a bit. I guess that’s a good thing? the sign I was looking for?
Here, child, is your sign. A mucous filled snort to wake you up and send you on your way…
Here’s the meditation that goes with the drawing above.
So now dissolve everything to emptiness. So from emptiness, then your visualization manifests. You visualize your father on one side and your mother on another side. So all sentient beings, friends and enemies, and all sentient being, all mother sentient beings right and left and behind you like ocean of sentient beings, endless, countless. All facing same direction as you. So in front of all of you, beautiful meadow, green, flat, green. In the middle of meadow, beautiful lake filled with most sacred water we call. Something likes ‘Kan Lu’ (nectar). In the middle of that lake, wish fulfilling tree. And huge tree with four branches; one coming this way, one growing that way, one growing that way, one growing behind and one trunk in the middle. You can call it the four branches or you can call it five branches, because the middle one is trunk, you know. And the central trunk, the central branch, is the Guru; all the gurus of the lineage. So top is Buddha Vajradhara. Buddha manifests in the form of Buddha Vajradhara. In the middle is Guru Vajradhara. Your guru manifests in the form of Buddha Vajradhara. In between, all the lineage masters until your guru. So in this lineage guru then Marpa’s Guru is actually Maitripa. Because Marpa had many great masters during his three trips to India and spending twenty-one years in India , out of which sixteen years and seven months with his gurus receiving transmissions. He has many masters. And his main masters are Naropa and Maitripa. From Naropa he received the transmission of the Kagyu, that means the oral transmission which is known as Ka Shi Gyu Pa. The four mainstreams of Ka oral transmission and one of them is named as Maha Mudra. And from Maitripa he received many transmissions but he considered Maitripa particularly his Maha Mudra Ji-Kan-Sun-Shi (Vajra Guru). Okay. So now, but Tilopa and Naropa are also part of the lineage. So they are in the space. Here and there. Tilopa here and Naropa here; not in the Buddha Vajradhara to Guru Vajradhara kind of line, but it is in the space here and there, Tilopa and Naropa. And out of many great masters, one of his master is known as Khadroma Miru Key Gyen Chen that means Dakini who is adorned with ornament of human bones. And she is also his Maha Mudra master. But not in the. Not here. Not in the, you know. Not there. Not under refuge tree. And of course, the Maha Mudra teaching is the teaching of Buddha which is transmitted by great masters like Tilopa, Naropa, Maitripa etc. And the Maitripa’s teaching is known as golden rosary. Now the visualization of the masters all the orders this thangka is the most updated accurate thangka and I think it have sixteenth Gaylwa Karmapa also here. For that way it is most updated and complete thangka. And here the front branch is for the deity. So in this thangka the Khorlo Demchog and Dorje Pagmo, the Vajravarahi and Chakrasamvara in union, is practiced here. And surrounded by field of the our main Yidams. Actually our main Yidam of the lineage is Vajravarahi. The reason is although the Chakrasamvara is the king and Vajravarahi is the queen But Vajravarahi represents the wisdom and Chakrasamvara represents the method; So in our lineage Vajravarahi is which represents the wisdom is main deity because method is for what, method is to acquire wisdom; method is to awaken the primordial wisdom. Essence of all sentient being is primordial wisdom. Enlightenment is the full realization of the primordial wisdom; because of that, Vajravarahi is our main Yidam. Now the tree on the right, the branch on the right, that means the right of the refuge, not right of you. Right of the refuge is over here. Right of you over there. So right of the refuge tree which is facing you that is the Buddha, the Nirmanakaya Buddha. The Buddha, Dharmakaya, Sambhogakaya, Nirmanakaya, Svabhavikakaya is right on top on the lineage. But the Nirmanakaya Buddha, the Buddha Sakyamuni, is over there in the center. And who is surrounded by all the Buddha which is represented by Buddha of ten directions. So the branch which is behind, that is the Dharma, so all the teaching of Buddha the text. The Vinaya, Abhidharma Sutra and Tantra and all of the teachings of Buddha is in form of texts on the branch which is behind; grows behind. And in thangka you cannot draw. Therefore just symbolically, right side here and left side here few books shelves, you know, are shown. And we call it text style are shown here and that is just to symbolize; otherwise we don’t know how to draw behind it, you know. Now the left of the refuge tree which is over there, which is your right but left of the refuge tree. On that all the Sangha and holy Sangha on top and ordinary Sangha underneath. But of course holy Sangha, ordinary Sangha the difference is the Bodhisattvas like Avalokitesvara and Manjushri they are considered holy Sangha, And then all the Arhats considered second to them. They are holy Sangha too. Very very holy. So center is Avalokitesvara Bodhisattvas surrounded by other seven Bodhisattvas which are altogether known as eight Bodhisattvas. So three main Arhants are depicted here in the middle Kungawo (Ananda). And then Ananda’s right is Sariputra. And Ananda’s left is Mongalputra. So they represent the eight Bodhisattvas represent all the Bodhisattvas. And these three Arhants represent all the Arhants. So now that is the refuge tree. And now the underneath the branches, below the branches facing toward you are all the Protectors. And two-arm Mahakala is in the middle, and then surrounded by all the other Protectors of the lineage. So two-arm Mahakala is our main protector. And then in the space above, then all the masters of all the lineages. Theravada, Mahayana, Vajrayana all the great masters. Like clouds. Space filled with them.