As mentioned in the article What is Tantra, another reason Tantra is the quick path to enlightenment is because it harnesses the creative power of our imagination. We are always using our imagination to create our reality — reality is just a product of our thoughts, or imaginations, or imputations. For example, where did the building you are sitting in right now come from? If you had to trace it back, where would you say it started? Was it not merely a thought in someone’s mind? For example, the large house I’m sitting in has several floors (I am currently sweltering in the attic), and a stone lion on the front porch. An architect came up with the idea for this fine looking building, and from that imagination it became an object of various sense consciousnesses over many decades.
There is no real, objective building “out there” that anyone can find. Everyone who comes here has their own experience of it depending on their own mind and karma, and you can’t point to a building outside of those experiences of the building (try, see if you can). This attic, for example, appears very differently to Ringo the tiny kitten sitting next to me, and his siblings George and Jigger, who see it as a giant adventure playground, which may or may not be what the architect had in mind.
Denver Botanical Gardens is currently showcasing the glass artwork of Chihuly — it is quite the Pure Land there at the moment, and an example of how we can show the beauty of our imagination to others.
Everything starts in our thoughts, mind, or imagination, including us! Especially us.
Creativity and emptiness
Tantra harnesses that extraordinary creative power of the mind, which seems to me to be just the other side of the coin from emptiness, the mere absence of inherent existence. Nothing is fixed, everything is changeable, because nothing exists solidly or from its own side. There is no world outside the mind. There is no real world. The world is actually more dreamlike than we think. So we can recreate reality, and we do, every moment, with our thoughts and projections.
We can combine the understanding of the extraordinary creative power of the mind with the fact that nothing is fixed and everything is dependent on our mind, our thoughts, our conceptual imputations or labels. If we change our mind, we change our world, and we can also quickly change our self because we are no longer holding onto a tight and limited sense of who we are, what our world is, who other people are. This graspy mind of ignorance that fixes us, others, and the world in a limited way can be scrapped when we have wisdom and use our imagination.
Bliss and imagination
Tantra uses these two things, bliss and imagination, to go straight for the result we seek in our spiritual practice–our quest for improvement and the ability to help others—by our imagining that we are already enlightened. And why not? We make it up all the time anyway, who we are. Who were you today? Some neurotic stressed out person perhaps? Or perhaps you felt heroic today, felt great inside, made someone’s day. And perhaps tomorrow it’ll be the other way around. Depressed loser or hero — this depends on the day, for every day we think something about ourselves and sometimes it’s really good and sometimes it’s really bad, but in fact none of it is real, it is all mental fictions, it is just stories we tell ourselves about ourselves. But of course whenever we are doing it we are thinking this is really me, I’m really a depressed loser, I’m really stressed out, I can’t relax!! We say things like I AM stressed out and sad, we hold onto it for dear life, that is who I am. At other times we think, “I’m great, I’m wonderful, I’m really together.”
Our problem at the moment is that whatever we think about ourselves, we think it’s real. We think it’s solid, permanent, unchanging, and nothing to do with the way we’re thinking about ourselves. Ignorance is holding onto a very limited sense of who we are as opposed to who we could be. Which is Buddha, if we want, because everyone has that potential, which is why Buddha gave his 84,000 teachings — to show us that we could become like him, like all the countless others who have become Buddhas. We all have the potential for limitless love, compassion, patience, joy, and wisdom. The whole path to enlightenment is about realizing that potential, and in Tantra we speed things up. Otherwise, it can take a long time. If we are slowly and laboriously trying to become more patient, loving, and so on, it is good of course, but it is also good to speed it up, and the way to do that is through bliss and imagination.
Bringing the result into the path
“Bringing the result in the path” is what it is called in Tantra. The result we seek is to be joyful, blissful, light, free, wise, heroic, kind, patient, wonderful – would you not like to be like that, always happy, always helping others? To have an epic life? That is what I want, and in Tantra we identify with already being someone who has all those qualities, to wit, a Buddha. We think, “I am an enlightened being, a Buddha.”
That is just as real as saying “I’m a stressed out neurotic anxious person.” It is just as real or unreal, whichever way you want to look at it.
More in this next article, Bringing the result into the path.
This is such a beautiful message. Simplifies and makes it so attainable.
Wow! There is a lot to think about in your reply. 🤯☺️
I love Dharma!
Thanks for helping us to understand it all x
Thanks again for your post! By chance I am tonight listening to the recordings of the teachings from fall festival where Gen-la said multiple times that all living beings are imputed by mind. I like the idea that I can impute a pure universe and pure enjoyments but does she mean that I am the only living being? I find it a bit confusing 😳x
No, you are interconnected to all other living beings — not an atom of you exists without them. You are them!
And you are imputing your self 😁
So clear Luna,beautiful,thank you 😊
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that’s great 🙂
I’m a beginner Buddhist, very keen to learn but often struggling with ideas that are so profoundly different to the beliefs instilled by my upbringing. I always love this blog, but these posts on tantra are awesome! Thank you for writing for us, your words are deeply appreciated.
Hi Jude, I’m really glad you like them 🙂
When i was an adolescent,i read philosophy and spiritual books.Some of them were on the study of ”Objectivity and subjectivity.I tried to be most objective and find out that is was dangerous to believe,biess.We are subjective,life is subject not object,this way we are with others,not objects,just subjects of beautifulness,Bless,thank’s again 🙂
Hi Yves, my pleasure! Thank you for always sharing my posts 🙂
Can you explain a bit more what you mean about subjects and objects?
objectiveness gives of wrong sense,we are always interpreters of all that is.We create cause and effect in what ever we do or make.Every steps are subjective,we are part of the happenings,our integrity. Bodhichitta is part of our integrity.We have the objectivity in a sense of our integrity,our subjectivity is always part of every thing.Hope this is not to confusing,I am more learned in French.My tender thoughts goes to you,thank’s again for your precious posts!Just a question,have we met in the past?Kelsang Drenpa wanted to tell me your name,but at that time,i loved the mystery.
Thanks for writing this in an easy to understand way, so informative and true.
Thank you for reading, Jill.