Earlier this month I had the opportunity to attend a brief presentation by a Tibetan lama on the fundamental practices of Tibetan Buddhism. Having arrived early to the event I had the good fortune to spend a few minutes with the lama discussing some areas of Tibetan medicine (alchemy) and astrology that I had questions about. Fortunately for me he was able to give me some insights and point me in a useful direction and gave me some interesting traditional perspectives on how this information traveled back and forth across India, Tibet and China.
The actual lecture started with the usual meditation, and to my surprise, out of all thirty or more attendees present, I was the only one taking any notes on the teachings being given. This is typical of so many lectures that it is hardly worth noting, if it were not for the fact that here, in the Kali Yuga, the rarity of being able to listen to a respected and qualified Tibetan lama – or even Western alchemist, magician, or qabalists – is taken for granted. The notion that this is a study, like school, and something one will return to for the test – the test of life – is lost on ninety percent or more of attendees. But I digress….
After a brief discussion of the Indian and Tibetan views on the ages, or yugas, the shortening of human life in each one, and the final arrival at the present age – the Kali Yuga – the Age of Iron, the Age of Destruction. Herein human life is reduced to 100 years or less and suffering abounds with war, famine and disease being the main causes for the loss of life.
To assist in attaining full enlightenment so that individual suffering can be ended and one can assist in aiding others on the path, the basic practice presented consists of using the cycles of the moon to attune to the various manifestations of the Buddha – the Awakened One – so that we ourselves will awaken to the inner light of Illumination – and to create conditions wherein we may reincarnate in a location favorable to this Awakening.
The take advantage of this, the New, Half and Full moon phases are utilized. Here, the new moon is utilized to mediate on one’s particular deity with the intention to achieve enlightenment, aid others in their unfolding, and if one is to be reborn, that it is in a place free from war. The half moon is utilized in an identical fashion, but one aspires to be born in a place free from disease. The full moon is utilized like the preceding two, but one aspires to be born in a place free from hunger or famine.
It was mentioned, as was also pointed out in Kabbalah for Health and Wellness, that we must constantly keep our mind upon the idea of Illumination whether we are meditating, walking, or even sleeping. This has an immediate effect upon our subconscious and aids us incrementally on our journey. To aid this we should surround ourselves with images that constantly remind us of this aspiration and thereby strengthen our innate desire for happiness, freedom from suffering, altruism and enlightenment. Keeping our moral precepts, being patient, and constantly seeking to balance Wisdom and Compassion are the day to day actions that move us forward.
Similar advice has been given by saints and sages of Christian Orthodoxy, “You know that our breathing is the inhaling and exhaling of air. The organ that serves for this is the lungs that lie round the heart, so that the air passing through them thereby envelops the heart. Thus breathing is a natural way to the heart. And so, having collected your mind within you, lead it into the channel of breathing through which air reaches the heart and, together with this inhaled air, force your mind to descend into the heart and to remain there.” – Nikephorus the Solitary
The lama also stated, as was done in Kabbalah for Health and Wellness, the sense of distance we have from our relationship with divine beings is not a real distance – one of either time or space – but one of our own consciousness. Simply by praying to them, out of their limitless compassion they must attend to our call – but it is our own ignorance that keeps us from experiencing their immediate presence. To overcome this, we must remind ourselves of their real presence, place ourselves before their image, be it physical or imagined often, and to develop a strong yearning and compassion, knowing, that simply by thinking of an enlightened being, they are there with you, and you are generating an inexhaustible supply of positive karma (habituation) for your path.
Similar things were said by Agrippa in relation to the Saints as points of veneration and prayer as compared to deities and other forces. Saints, having once been human like us are in sympathy with our state and are eager and willing to assist us.
(Originally written 27 February 2009)
Kabbalah for Health and Wellness
Unfolding the Rose – Illumination and Western Esotericism