10: The Same Pathway

breathe life into

This is the last article in the present series which looks at the Cathars, a mysterious Christian sect at their peak in the Middle Ages in Europe, from a Buddhist perspective, and attempts to express my direct experience of living in Cathar territory while practicing as a lone Buddhist. I have had a good response to these articles and plan to turn them into a book as soon as I can. There is a need in this age for written accounts of spiritual experiences, and for authentic ‘voices’ as opposed to academic tracts. I would like to be able to breathe life into spiritual traditions in this plural and secular epoch, or as Buddhists refer to it as, ‘The Last Days of the Law of Dharma.’

As mentioned earlier, I had many dreams and spiritual experiences in the Lands of the Cathar, high in the Pyrenean Mountains forming the frontier between Spain and France. I will attempt to describe them here so that you can read a more abstract portrait and superimpose them upon some of the historical facts, as far as they go, I have provided. In this way, I hope your experience of these two traditions is more than cerebral and reaches deep into your unconscious mind. It is no accident that you are reading this article. Everything is pre-destined if we listen to the guides.

unconscious mind

Following are several extracts from a novel I will soon publish as an ebook entitled ‘The Veil.’ Some of it was written in situation there among the secret pathways and crag-top fortresses where Cathar martyrs were finally thrown on the fires, some later when I had assimilated the incredible experience and become more spiritually evolved. I believe it is impossible to see the greater spiritual multi-dimensional design as it is happening. It is only later and with training that we can see all implications.

emptiness

This first passage describes logging in a tree graveyard island, bisected by fierce mountain streams of snow melt from the peaks, close to the village where I lived.

This had become our island, a flippant possessive notion, although it was certain that we were beings closely watched by more legitimate ‘owners. It took us some time to be able to see our audience on the mainland as we worked, because our eyelids had become veils to protect our eyes from pollution and urban chaos. They must be lifted now. And the thundering of torrents from the high peaks drowned out the shallow breathing of the invisible spectators as they stared at their enemy.

By the river, green lizards stood transfixed on rocks, posing as fallen mimosa leaves. Male red deer concealed their spindly legs in a nearby birch copse. Their eyes were undistinguishable from tree bark, and their antlers like miniature trees. Only the flicking of their tails revealed them to us fleetingly. Gaily dressed Hoopees, their chestnut, grey and white plumage, their black combs, cocked their disbelieving heads at us. Then one day, we suddenly noticed a tall monk in a rough black habit, a simple rope around his narrow waist. He was kneeling on a rock drinking icy water from the cup of his dark hands. These wandering religious were known by the villagers as ‘les Parfaits,’ the good.

Later, I, for ‘The Veil’ is of course autobiographical, go to bed and sense the ancient atmosphere of the silent village.

The shutters have been closed earlier to try to keep in some of the latent heat created during the day by the sun. When the high winds blow, it is this tall exposed bedroom, which resembles a lighthouse. It is completely exposed to the silent unlit mountains without moon. I sit back and let my mind slow down, smiling until it ceases completely. Then I turn to listen out here. There is nothing to distract me from the silence inside despite the roaring of the rogue winds. I am merely a little bundle of energy deposited on this wild hillside, but I am certain that I am meant to be here. My mind had long ceased to fret and chew at problems of doubt and the unknown future, or the spoiled past; it no longer dwelled in a souse of fear either.

As I only listened, the devil wind played with the openings of the room as if they were drums, and I could feel the energy of the stars on the baked clay of roof tiles. I had tossed aside my scant knowledge of the power of the heavens, and instead vowed to have only direct experience of them out here where comets and shooting stars were wallpaper. They seeped in under the carefully overlapped edges of the terra cotta tiles. Then tumbled around the elderly cobwebs and warm corners borrowed by scorpion families and squirrels during this indoors period of cold. As I drifted into sleep, stars caught in the attic slipped quietly through the lath and plaster of the ancient ceiling and soft-landed on the down quilt. They were not completely silent, but gently fizzed and fingered in the sky.

I reveled in the hot smolder of a planet on my cheek, a comet flying between my toes, the eternal vibrating of the universe singing out in every pore of my skin. I was part of the Cosmos, the whole universe fitted inside me.’

And later, a Cathar convert called Fabrisse de Caramany, tells of her conversion to the Parfait to a large Rock called Ram Rock, which she can crawl inside the huge curled horn of. She must not divulge to anyone what miracles have come into her life for fear of being imprisoned and tortured by the Fat Cardinals from the valley who hound the Cathars and mean to wipe them out.

Ram rock

‘Oh Rock. The floor of the threshing yard was strewn with perfectly winnowed barley that day. The first harvest. Its creamy grains gathered in the thick flounces of sunshine. Mmmmmm. You know that dry earthy scent which comes off it. Father August went on squatting, the wet-earth brown of his robes perfectly at home in the enclosed courtyard full of our crop. He could not resist playing with the grains, watching them intensely as if a thousand rosaries had been broken there. And in the silence between us, as I brushed aside a strand of hair which had blown into my eyes, and he ran his lengthy olive fingers over an arc pattern of grains he was busy with, he said, “Each grain has an original blessing,” and looked at me full, his head slightly bowed, “like you.” He trained his rustling eyes down again on the grains saying, “and me.”

Behind him a pair of grey and white wagtails boldly pecked, and I shoed them away by a sharp intake of breath which unnerved him. ‘Those wagtails are real scavengers,’ I said, irritated by them. You know Rock, I was irritated by their opportunism, always ready to rush in and thieve, and I felt my cheeks hotter than usual.

He said smiling, “You have done the work of removing the husks for them. Look! They are pleased!” And at that moment a single hen wagtail moved towards him and pecked at a grain he offered her in the palm of his hand. He looked for many moments deep into the eyes of this twitchy silvery bird, in a kind of trance like soothsayers lapse into. The he said, without removing his eyes, “God is here in this flapping feathery spirit.”

He continued in silence to pour his being into this creature, and then turned to look at me sideways again with the same deluge of love. And I knew him to be Love in flesh, a divine being. That grain-filled yard, once a commonplace, had become a heart place into which I could step whenever I wanted. It had become my own courtyard chapel filled with the grains of God, with an irritating winged thief transformed into a blessed creature, and with a child of the invisible world.

We sat and talked on and on in the hot sun, and he said, ‘We in the mountains find different routes to God, in the way we find pathways over the mountain passes. We are quiet here. Each of us like a mountain.”

His eyes were no longer dried leaves tossed in my direction on a chance breeze, but moist mossy lights looking deliberately behind my heart and searching my soul.’

There is no single doubt in my mind that the past is a construct of the mind! The heart lives now. But outside the intellectual mind, we can contact the invisible world. During my time in the country of the Perfect, I myself experienced persecution as they had. I was surrounded by Catholics, but in fact I was persecuted by my partner, a lapsed Jew agnostic. As my Buddhist beliefs surged deeper through both passionate practice and study, my partner was unable to comprehend what I was experiencing, and so we parted ways. There was great antagonism and endless interrogations to find why I had “deserted.” I wrote the following poem at this time when my sutras were defiled and my shrine destroyed, my Buddhist images hurled around!

calling meCalling

Sipping Rhone wine under the flounces

of the massive Lime-flower tree

aroma and scent trouble me.

The wine at its best, the flowers at their peak

and yet my habitual absorption in the sensory

is being tugged at

its tension overstretched like used muslin

its once overwhelming newness wearing thin.

The perfection of sky balanced on untouched forests

almost eludes me at this time

but the gist of your abstract words has already dropped

in the fine covering of flowers at my feet.

For someone is calling me from the white marble of Montpellier.

A dream in our shuttered salon

the logs in the stove like alpine witness wands

compels me to descend our mountain hairpins

on the weekly bus alive with grape-pickers

my suitcases slotted between their stained baskets

to the other North African haven of Montpellier.

You demand why and who and how I must go

down from this ultimate haven of Cathars

Catholics, shepherds, but the gist of your question

disappears in the evening sizzle of biftek

buried in an armful of bay leaves and vine twigs.

For someone is calling me from the vivid painted timbers of Montpellier.

The fierce row on the boards at bedtime

your coarse tears extinguishing the candles and

unbalancing the stable slab of incense

propel me out of your faithless fleshy cloisters.

You hurl bells, burn sutras in your ashtray

demand and denounce my path to this ‘borrowed’ deity

making last-ditch interrogations under a strong light.

But the gist of your spite is sucked into the Lama’s Himalayan eyes

dredged over the ample of his saffron robes

as he welcomes me to the wooden temple in an orchard

its specifications exact, my mission specific.

He has been waiting with his butter lamps and words.

‘‘You heard my calling. I knew you would come soon.’’

I left the high mountains as described and soon took up my place as a temple keeper in a tropical Montpellier Garden. The Tibetan Lineage of Kagyupa was my refuge for the next year, but I longed to go back to the Cathars, and realize now that my Buddhist persuasion is a perfect match with my Cathar inheritance. It has been confirmed that I am descended from Cathars, and I am now certain they were deeply connected to the Buddha’s path.

the sala grove

The next series of articles on NIrvana Linden will be about the final teachings of the Buddha, the Mahaparinirvana Sutra. Perhaps you have never knowingly read a Buddhist sutra or felt the urge to, but the final teachings of Gautama Buddha offer remarkable insight into a bright future for all living beings. Please explore the systems of genius made to perfectly fit human existence with me over the next weeks.

7: Making Bonds with the Universe

 

universe

The Buddha made it clear that we should create and maintain bonds with the universe even though we have been born into human life. The Cathars also were constantly connected to the spiritual or invisible world, regarding death, the ending of human life, as a simple veil that could be easily removed. The halo (a circle of light around the head of a holy being depicted in Christianity) and the aureole (a circle of light around the head and/or body of a deity in Buddhism), were and still are used as reminders of the spiritual origin of all things manifest in the material plane. In both systems of living out the lessons and struggles of human life (Christianity) or samsara (Buddhism), we aspire to make the transition back into the spiritual, formless world, taking all sentient beings with us.

reclining Buddha aureolehaloed beings

 

 

 

 

 

Cathars, who were vegetarians apart from eating fish occasionally, prescribed the endura, a form of ritual suicide, as a practitioner approached death, preceded by the administering of the consolamentum. (see post Consolamentum https://lindenthorp.wordpress.com/2013/11/17/consolamentum/  in this series on the Cathars)  In Buddhism, the diet is always important as it is important to allow the subtle inner winds (vayu– in Sanskrit) to blow naturally through the channels of the body, the body and mind being unable to function at subtle levels without these winds being balanced. So, in both cases, the awareness of what substances from the earth we put inside our bodies is central to the way we use them. These rules about living allow us to connect with mystical knowledge, to be able to be a channel for such energy, to fine tune in order to receive the countless messages and signs from invisible sources.

teachers

The mystical has always drawn me personally since being a young child. I could never accept that worldly achievements were the pinnacle of all existence, always being certain there was much more than that.  Of course, children are usually not yet conditioned as adults are: they are pure and still close to the universe before their intellectual capacities develop. I always dreamed of touching the mystical and my dream came steadily true through the Buddhist pathway and gnostic traditions such as Catharism and Sufism. Indeed, in my present practice, the Nirvana Teachings of Shinnyo-en, it is possible to become a spiritual medium so that through intense training and empowerment, one can channel messages from the Buddha and other deities, which will touch the hearts of those receiving them. I am almost at the end of such a training now, and so looking forward to devoting myself to being that empty pure channel to help guide people to true and lasting happiness in Nirvana.

mandala 1 Mandala 2

In Esoteric Buddhism, the mandala is the traditional way of mapping out the Dharma Lineage passed down through the ages from Buddha Shyakyamuni. It represents the whole universe, and if you are correctly connected to the Dharma Stream, there is nothing and no-one outside you, no ‘us’ and ‘them,’ you are actually in the centre of that universe.

Buddhists strive to release themselves from attachment to objects and people because attachment means separation: attachment requires the attached and the attacher. Once we are truly one with the universe and all sentient beings, then we have realized emptiness and the native silence and stillness of the heart. All cravings are extinguished, and it is said that we have crossed the great Ocean of Nirvana to the other shore.

waterfall training waterfall training

In Japan, there is a strong tradition of mountain asceticism, shugendo in Japanese.  Yamabushi  in Japanese (one who likes mountains) follow a special doctrine, which combines esoteric Buddhism, Taoism and Shinto. They are usually solitary and today mostly lay practitioners. Emphasis is placed on physical feats of endurance in the open air where the aspirants live in the primeval forests of rural Japan, and their goal is to find supernatural powers through such practices.

Shingon Buddhism, which my own practice is connected to, emphasizes enlightenment through isolation, the study and contemplation of oneself and nature, and of mandalas.  Yamabushi can often be seen engaged in waterfall training – standing under waterfalls in freezing winter, ridding themselves of their ego so that they can receive the esoteric. My own masters did this practice regularly, as did many other key teachers in my lineage of Shinnyo Buddhism.

The Cathars also had a strong reverence for and involvement with nature. The sacred caves of Sabarthes in Languedoc are known as the ‘doors to Catharism.’ Part of initiation as a Parfait was to climb a steep path leading up to these caves (a practice common in shungendo) to the cave of Bethlehem. There were four important elements inside the caves involved in this initiation before receiving the consolamentum, or making the final vow: first, a square niche in the wall which could have conceivably contained a mandala or manual of some kind; second, a rough granite altar; third, a pentagram carved into the wall, possibly symbolizing the 5 elements of the universe (a common symbol in Esoteric Buddhism); and finally, the telluric currents emitted from the rock walls and cave floor. The atmosphere in these caves fills one with awe. I was particularly sensitive while inside, and after visiting had a series of Cathar dreams which have recurred since that time.

The Sacred Caves of Sabarthes.

The Sacred Caves of Sabarthes.

Buddhists work to achieve emptiness and liberation from all attachments. If you step out of the enclosure of your mind, the view of the world you construct with your intellect, then you step into the Buddhafield or mandala where you are protected and qualified to receive by oral transmission the wisdom of the Dharma stream. At this moment, you become unified with the universe, and this is reality. You can take refuge in this powerful mandala whilst struggling in samsara to liberate all sentient beings and bring them to enlightenment with you.

Buddhafield

It could be said that the notion of making ‘bonds with the universe’ began with the young Prince Siddartha’s first experience of meditation. He was 7 years of age and already showing promise in his training to succeed his father and become King of the Shyakya clan. One day, he accompanied his father and entourage to an agricultural festival dedicated to the earth deity. While there, the young prince noticed a small bird pecking at a worm that had been turned up by a plough. He felt such compassion for the worm that he was inspired to sit in a nearby grove under a jambu (roseapple) tree and soon entered into an advanced meditative state. The sun was high in the sky, but the shade provided by the surrounding trees stood still, keeping the young child cool and sheltered from the hot sun. This first meditation inspired by nature demonstrated the highest respect and reverence for the treasures of the universe.

In my own meditations, I often use the image that everything inside me, beneath the thin membrane of my skin, can amalgamate with everything outside. That my heart can beat in unison with all the hearts in the universe, that I can breathe as one with all in the universe. It is easy to transcend the thin membrane of skin and realize deeply that this is all that makes me a physical individual being, acting in the world, fulfilling my own unique mission.

The Universe is the Spiritual Source. The Moon and Sun are our protectors. We climb the mountains, flow into the oceans down wide rivers, swing from stars and planets. It is only the mundane mind that sequesters us in its synthetic reality, away from the glory of the great Universe.

deep meditation

The Dharma Protectors

Makhala

Mahakala (Tibetan Dharma Protector)

Achala

Achala (Japanese Dharma Protector)

In posts on this theme so far, the term ‘The Dharma’ has been used frequently. We now need to introduce the idea of Nirvana too. If ‘the Dharma’ is the laws of the universe, the absolute truth, the essence of everything, then Nirvana is the state that sentient beings can aspire to which matches the Dharma. If you have not yet attained Nirvana, then there are bound to be struggles about accepting or processing the Dharma, which in all religions we call spiritual training. For us to reach such a state, as we have said, we need guidance form a qualified guru or master, and we need to tame our wild minds and open up our hearts completely.

During this training, we need help not only from our Masters, but also from the Dharma Protectors. They are celestial beings which protect the Dharma from damage or corruption, so that it can continue on having its wheel turned and benefiting all beings. They need to be quite fierce in order to do this, and so we should practice in awe of them. The Dharma Protectors are completely intolerant of impure behavior, unwholesome ways of thinking, etc. like guard dogs at the gate to the Buddha’s world.

At a basic level they are Buddha emanations or versions of various aspects of the Buddhas, but their purpose is to protect the Dharma and so liberate all beings. It is such a good feeling to have such protections, and to know that the Dharma will always be safe, and so our hurrying to the revered state of Nirvana assisted! If we keep them close in our devotions, they will ensure we are on track, awaken our hearts when they slumber, and show us clearly the differences between the human mind and the Bodhi mind, or the lower self and the higher self. Let me give you an example.

In my daily chanting, which consists of a mixture of Japanese and Pali, the spoken language of the Buddha Shyakyamuni, certain Dharma Protectors are named and so given homage or Namu. (Skt. which will be discussed in later posts). Of course, as all devout Buddhists do we should aspire to concentrating fully on the mantras we chant so they will reach the Buddha world. But being human, the mind sometimes wanders unconsciously, tempted away by the mundane mind to waste time thinking about trivial or perhaps even negative things. These are traces which surface from time to time and are difficult to wipe away completely.

When this happens to me outside my control, quite often I am suddenly nudged or woken quite fiercely. In a flash I realize what’s happened and deepen my focus on my chanting. Invariably I am jolted exactly at the moment of Namu to the Dharma protectors! In the nick of time, I can chant their names! To me, this personifies the function of the Dharma Protectors. They purify our negative karma, and protect us from further transgression.

At the temple, the Dharma Protectors are always positioned outside the main sanctified areas designed for ceremonies, precious rituals and devotions so that they can ensure that all attendees are pure and prepared to enter such a space. They are Buddha and Bhodisattva emanations of the Wisdom Buddha, in Sanskrit, Manjushri., so they have all-seeing wisdom. They are also totally non-sectarian and universal so they will protect us from evil forces even if we are not pracitising or have no faith.

Once I took a Christian to the temple and as I explained about the Dharma Protectors to him, he said, “I’m not very keen on praying to deities I don’t know.’ I told him he did know them, and they him, as they know and watch over all sentient beings. They have their counterparts in all religions because religions are by their nature concerned with the subjugation of evil forces, which prevent goodness from flourishing. He apologized to me for saying such an insular thing. I attributed it to the workings of the mundane reactive and often insular human mind.

I know it’s hard to imagine, but because Buddhism is a way of being that encourages each practitioner’s individual nature to shine out – ‘the true self’ – the Dharma Protectors work with our karmic burdens individually. They may not be able to protect us completely from harm or calamity, because karma must run its course, but if we allow ourselves to listen to the kindness behind their often fierce exterior, then we can accept our misfortunes and learn from them. This acceptance is a key in our spiritual elevation.

Of course they have the power to promote our material prosperity and health, but more importantly, they protect the inner Dharma – our Bodhichitta (desire to bring all to enlightenment with us), the endless compassion we’ve received, the varying states of shunyata (emptiness) we have reached, and our experiences of faith in general, and so on.

They are completely intolerant of impurities and defilements of body, mouth or mind, so they keep our levels of moral discipline high. They can be wrathful if mistakes are made, but their wrath is the reverse side of great loving-kindness (Skt: maha meta), so they chide us and then allow us to repent. ‘Wrath’ as opposed to anger will be the theme of a future series of posts. But briefly, anger is negative, potentially damaging to others and to yourself; whereas wrath is positive, constructive, creative in that it produces the conditions for transformation.

On the other hand, the Dharma Protectors applaud our successes and talents, and wish all our dreams to come true. They joyfully encourage us to step forward and fully realize our true nature, allowing the light of our Buddha Nature to dazzle all around us. They want us to be rid of the gremlin that sits inside our head emphasizing our limitations, our plainness, our stupidity, being overly-influenced by what others say to us. We can hear those negative voices in our heads, the threatening voices of the envious, the greedy, the possessive. But the more we polish our Buddha natures, the more the Dharma Protectors will work with us to reach enlightenment.The protectors carry sharp weapons and tools so that they can sever the root of ignorance and wake us up to our spiritual training. Let me give you an example.

I was sitting in meditation working towards elevating surrounded by many other practitioners when I suddenly felt strongly that the people all around me were much worthier of elevation than I was. So I started to withdraw, to shrink away. The mundane voice in my head was telling me I was not good enough, not ready. Then in a flash of light, the Dharma Protectors stepped in and lifted me into my higher self, and I immediately elevated! My higher self had complete confidence and belief in my purity and my enduring practice.

My Nirvana guru is emphasizing the harmonization of the Dharma Protectors that protect our order – The Earthly Protectors and the Heavenly Protectors are becoming one so that we can build up our protections and intensify our practice. This means that we will reach Nirvana more quickly because they are watching over our minds to make certain they are pure. Their role is similar to the protections we get from our parents when we are dependent children.

In the invisible world, the world of prayer and meditation, of emptiness of the human ego, in the same way that it is possible to accrue virtue/merit to dedicate to others in need, it is possible to get protections. In the interface between karma manifestation and the wild roaming of the egocentric mind like a stampeding elephant, conditions can become dangerous and frightening, so we need the strong calm backing of these Protectors.

In my Tibetan practices, Mahakala was the most revered of Dharma Protectors. Mahakala is a wrathful emanation of Avoloketishvara, the Lord Buddha of compassion, known as Chenrezig in Tibetan. Chenrezig is said to be reincarnated in the modern world as the present Dalai Lama exactly because the world needs great compassion at this time. This reincarnation was engineered by the Dharma Protectors so that the suffering can receive as much compassion as possible.

In Japan, Achala is a fierce protector with his sword to cut through human delusions and his lasso to lead stubborn beings to spiritual awakening. It was the warrior-like Achala Buddha emanation that inspired Nirvana Buddhism in Japan. I am truly a devotee of the massive determination this figure generates, the same determination that Shyakyamuni Buddha had 2,600 years ago as he got closer and closer to Enlightenment. So, we can see that all forms of Buddhism have their protectors, and they are all utterly compassionate beings with fierce determination to keep the Dharma inside each of us safe.

The mantras of these strict Buddhas are often rousing and rhythmic to express the incredible determination we need to overcome samsara (the suffering finite human world) and reach Nirvana (the state of blissful and eternal emptiness). In Tibetan Buddhism, my Kagyupa Master, Lama Seunam, was a virtuoso musician and ritual expert. His rich deep Bhutanese voice came into its own when conducting the ritual of Mahakala. He was able to extemporize and produce breath-taking vocal feats which evoked the incredible wrath and strength of this protector. He also played huge cymbals and massive drums to really bring the deity to life. It was awe-inspiring to participate in such a ritual with such a master.I am certain that my Mahayana determination to liberate all sentient beings was set in stone during this period of my practice.

On a human level, in our interactions with each other, we ideally want to behave in the best possible way – fair, considerate, compassionate, patient – which entails listening to others closely and sincerely before acting or commenting. It is the Dharma Protectors who allow us, no urge us, to listen carefully, to really hear the Buddha nature in the voices of those we interact with. All of these virtuous qualities revered by human beings in general, are within our range because we have a Buddha within. So the Guardians or Protectors, deeply cognizant of that fact, and tenderly helping to nurture us until our Buddha can float to the surface and our delusions drain away, accompany us, never leaving our sides until every last delusion is flushed away! This pristine state, this state empty of our human ego, is Nirvana, but without the Protectors nudging us away from our ignorance and delusions, we could never reach it.

Really, it’s a simple as that. It is only your deluded ego-centric mind which separates you from your own Buddha, your incredible potential. If we clean away our delusions – negative emotions like anger, envy, drunkenness, greed, lust – we will reach Nirvana and take up our rightful positions in the universe. Just think therefore that there are millions upon millions of potential Buddhas around you every day, as well as millions already in the celestial realms and Buddha Worlds. You have the potential to behave like a wise and compassionate Buddha in your daily life, but only by enlisting and appreciating the close surveillance of the Dharma Protectors.

The human behavior of a true Buddha is exemplified in the Nirvana Sutra. Chunda, a local blacksmith, had heard that the Buddha Shyakyamuni lay on his deathbed in a forest grove. The congregation of those coming to pay their last respects was huge, its members enlightened disciples, Kings, other nobles. They were competing in offering opulent gifts such as herds of oxen, treasure chests full of priceless gems, and so on, each in the hope that the Buddha would accept their offerings to liberate the multitude from suffering.

Chunda however had come to pay his respects bringing with him his 15 friends and a modest offering of home-cooked food. His motivation was completely pure. He was not seeking fame or fortune or favour, not interested in wielding power or influencing anyone, but instead genuinely seeking the final blessings of the Buddha in his final teaching. Chunda’s offerings were the only ones the Buddha accepted, and he was rewarded with instant enlightenment and entrance into Nirvana.

What are the qualities of a Buddha? A Buddha is simply a reflection of our pure potential.

‘A human life, a Dharma Body, power, a tranquil and immovable state, and unhindered eloquence to convey the Dharma to anyone, and all of these gifts will be ever-present.’

This is what the Buddha bestowed upon Chunda, and by so choosing this lay man (householder) above all the dignitaries present, he disclosed his intention that all sentient beings should achieve enlightenment in their human lives, not only the ordained monastic practitioners.

Some people around me say that I am an idealist trying to become a Buddha, to live like a Buddha. But this way of being is simply the pinnacle of goodness and purity and sincerity, which we all have the potential to be; we all, secretly or not secretly, strive for. I do not hide my desire to become the epitome of human goodness and purity and sincerity. Why should I? After all, we only have one human life in which to reach this pinnacle.

Think of those we admire: great musicians and writers, in whatever tradition, miracle workers like Mother Theresa, Princes and Princesses, Heroes and Heroines, etc. We all have the potential to be these things if we simply get some guidance from qualified gurus, and gradually learn to believe in ourselves totally: in other words, to let our Buddha Nature shine through all the delusions and ignorance like a massive uncut diamond. So with the Dharma Protector’s constant vigilance and compassion, we can all become Chunda.

Post 6: The Dharma Crisis and the Last Days of the Law is next in this Dharma theme.