El·e·na [el-uh-nuh, uh-ley-nuh; It. e-le-nah] /ˈɛlənə, əˈleɪnə; It. ɛˈlɛnɑ/ –noun a female given name, form of Helen // A proud student of His Eminence Tsem Rinpoche // Personal assistant with a BSc (Hons) Psych from Uni of Warwick // These are snapshots of my life, in words and pictures

Stairway to Vajrayogini

June 23, 2011 0

(Taken with my iPhone)

“What are you doing tonight?”

“Nothing urgent. Is there anything I can do for Rinpoche?”

“Come to Batu Caves in 30-45mins. Carpool.”

And just like that, off we went, ‘we’ being myself, Jamie, James and Jean Mei (yes, four J’s).

Standing at the bottom of the 270-odd steps, Rinpoche proceeded to give us a short teaching on emptiness. He said it was no point just climbing a bunch of stairs without having any purpose to it. He asked us to visualise everything dissolving into emptiness, and to visualise our climb up the stairs as our climb to Kechara, Vajrayogini’s paradise.

The journey would be long, tough and arduous but, Rinpoche said, when we get to the top, the feeling is that we would be at the top.

And just like that, stair-climbing became an act of merit.

Later in the evening, we went to a lake just outside of the city. The lake is beautiful, it’s gorgeous and I really really REALLY want to go back there again this weekend…but the best bit of the evening was when Rinpoche expanded on the earlier visualisation.

Rinpoche said that to better understand and visualise emptiness, we should meditate on the lake. He asked us to think about what made up our surroundings. It was nothing more than a sum of its parts – remove the trees, and the feeling / setting would change. Remove the lake, and the feeling would change again. Remove the grass and…so on and so forth.

In this way, dissolving everything into emptiness, where nothing that we can call a lake setting exists independently, Rinpoche said that a BAM (the seed syllable of Vajrayogini) arises. From the BAM, light rays go out and touch all beings, blessing them and removing their obstacles. Then from the BAM, light rays again go out and touch all of the Buddhas in the three times and 10 directions, making offerings to them.

From the Buddhas, light rays go back to the BAM and it transforms into Vajrayogini. Red and resplendent, and surrounded by wisdom flames (but there is no heat and it is not hot), she stands astride on the two crossed triangles that form her mandala.

Rinpoche asked us to visualise that she was floating like this in the centre of the lake, so that as we circumambulated the lake, we were circumambulating her. Thus in this way, Rinpoche said that our body, speech and mind would be engaged in a meritorious act – our body from the circumambulating, our mind from the visualisation and our speech from any mantras we chose to recite.

And just like that, walking around the lake became an act of merit.

, , , , Reflections and Teachings, Vajrayogini, Tsem Rinpoche

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