Escape to reality

5.5 mins read

Happy Buddha’s Enlightenment Day!

Heruka and VajrayoginiThere were a thousand people at the recent Kadampa Buddhist Festival in Mexico, all receiving Highest Yoga Tantra empowerments and commentary. There will be several thousand more attending Heruka and Vajrayogini empowerments this Summer in England. This may be just the beginning. And, at the risk of sounding hyperbolic, I think this development might indicate a coming paradigm shift for much of modern humanity. 😁

In my defense …. there’s loads of hyperbole around these days anyway, only most of it is painting the picture of a dystopian future for us all. There are many articles around, such as this one, bemoaning the moral decay of civilization and politics, the rise of nationalism and “strong men”, the destruction of our planet, and more. And the more of this stuff I read, the more I feel that Buddhism can help in these times, that Tantra gives us mighty tools for helping.

Carrying on from this article.

Point is, there is no inherently existent world. There is no fixed future – the future doesn’t even exist, all we have is our thoughts and imaginations about the future. These can change. We need to choose what we focus on – so that we can bring that out of ourselves and others.

futureIn this article, a guest author talks about how wisdom and compassion are needed in modern society to bring about the real shift that is necessary to empower us all.

Tantra is the embodiment of that wisdom and compassion, it gives it vision and life. A paradigm shift is defined as:

An important change that happens when the usual way of thinking about or doing something is replaced by a new and different way.

If there are thousands, or even hundreds of thousands, of human beings practicing Buddhist Tantra, the world has no choice but to change for the better. And we seem to be heading in that direction.

I don’t think for a moment that 7 billion human beings are about to become Buddhist, let alone start practicing Tantra, in the next few years. But I do think that millions may, and, given that the wisdom of Tantra tears down the illusions of samsara and builds Pure Lands in the here and now, this will surely make the biggest impact not just on them but on everyone around them.

paradigm shift

There are good people everywhere with big hearts, in all faiths and walks of life — beautiful people making a difference. As Tantric practitioners, we can help them.

Escape to reality

Buddhist Tantra is far from escapist, far from make-believe. At the moment we are hallucinating ourselves, the world, and everything and everyone else – projecting a “real” world outside the mind and then reacting as if it was actually there. Samsara is the make-believe. Tantra sees through the hallucinations. It escapes TO reality, rather than from reality.

So, I’d like to continue sharing ways I make Tantra practical.

Let’s say we have now generated ourselves as Heruka or Vajrayogini in the way described in this article — using as our basis of imputation to begin with a positive mind that is not hard for us to generate. If we are in our meditation session, this is now our jumping off point for going deep.

Then what do we do?

Well, one thing I like to do after thinking “I am Vajrayogini” is to check what’s happening in my mind, like if there are any delusions coming up. Then I find it incredibly helpful to deal with those delusions in the space of bliss and emptiness.

In Sutra we are taught not to dwell on our faults nor identify with them, and in Tantra we take this to its logical conclusion and do it in a supercharged way. Check out this section from How to Solve Our Human Problems:

Normally our need to escape from unpleasant feelings is so urgent that we do not give ourself the time to discover where these feelings actually come from. …. In reality, the painful feelings that arise on such occasions are not intolerable. They are only feelings, a few moments of bad weather in the mind, with no power to cause us any lasting harm… Just as there is room in the sky for a thunderstorm, so there is room in the vast space of our mind for a few painful feelings.

That’s just from a Sutra point of view. If we apply this to Tantra and understand that the space or sky of the mind is bliss and emptiness, then our bad weather delusions become utterly manageable, even if they feel really painful.

clouds 3

So, for example, rather than grappling with attachment or anger like a dog with a bone, we self-generate first and then look at those unpleasant feelings that are arising like clouds. Is it possible to have some unhappy feelings and be happy at the same time?! Yes, providing we are not identifying “Me” with those cloud-like feelings but instead with the blissful, spacious sky.

Painful feelings can only arise and remain in our mind because of our present self-grasping … we strongly feel “I am hurt” or “MY feelings are hurt.” The intensity of our suffering is in direct proportion to the intensity of our self-grasping.

So, if we look at our delusions from our perspective of being bliss and emptiness, they can seem weirdly fascinating, but we are neither threatened nor scared by them. We are not bogged down by them. We are not them. We have the space to look at them and understand how to work with them, and then it is easy to apply any antidote of Sutra and Tantra — all within that context of being very light and free and confident.

light and free and confidentWhatever painful feelings arise, we can see that they’re not able to harm us in any way, any more than weather can destroy the sky; and, sooner or later we’ll see that they are just aspects of clear light.

Here is a profound paragraph in The New Guide to Dakini Land that will help us let it all go:

First we should know that in ultimate truth there are no impure things, no samsara, no suffering, and no mistaken appearance; everything is completely pure in the nature of definitive Heruka, emptiness inseparable from the clear light of bliss. Impure things are only the creation of the ignorance of self-grasping and therefore actually do not exist.

The next installment is here: Using Tantra to destroy everyday delusions.

Over to you for comments …

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Buddha’s Enlightenment Day 

Author: Luna Kadampa

Based on 40 years' experience, I write about applying meditation and modern Buddhism to improve and transform our everyday lives and societies. I try to make it accessible to everyone anywhere who wants more inner peace and profound tools to help our world, not just Buddhists. Do make comments any time and I'll write you back!

14 thoughts on “Escape to reality”

  1. Dear Luna, I know a person who is young and she is quite attached to earthly things. (I think, primarly because the age and lack of life experience). I really love her, like my child.
    Please tell me how to pray or what to do, that she find and accept Buddha’s teachings and to become enlightened.

    Thank you, Luna. (By the way, in my language, “Luna” means “Moon”) 😉

    P.S. I know the answer is somewhere in your multiple wonderful articles, but I don’t know in which one I will find the answer.

    1. Hi Gabriel. She is not alone, most people are attached to earthly things! How you approach this depends on how receptive she is to thinking about deeper issues. If her attachment is making her unhappy, you can perhaps skillfully steer a conversation towards the fact that there is an alternative; but you yourself cannot have attachment to the outcome 😏

      I think best of all is to show her the alternative, how to be peaceful, with your own example. And pray that she finds her way to wisdom, along with everyone else. Through your connection with her, your prayers will be effective sooner or later.

  2. Thank you once again and I am very much looking forward to summer festival and HYT empowerment’s, we need to prepare.

  3. ‘In the sleep of ignorance we dream the dream of suffering’. All we need to do is WAKE UP! Amazing!!!
    Happy Buddha’s Enlightenment day dear Luna and all of your readers!!

  4. L.K.,
    As usual your teachings are blissful and right on the mark!
    This one reminded me of a section from the book “The Religion of Tomorrow” by Ken Wilber. He is talking about the first of two types of spiritual experience.

    “1 st person states of consciousness—of spiritual realities … this type of spirituality is a direct psychotechnology of consciousness transformation , a set of actual practices, injunctions, exemplars, or paradigms (in the correct sense that Thomas Kuhn gave that word, which is not a “big theory” but an “exemplary social practice”—so many people kept misinterpreting “paradigm” as an overall big theory that Kuhn changed the name of paradigm to “exemplar,” that is, an exemplary injunction to be followed, not a big theory to be believed). Although relatively little of St. Paul’s teachings actually come from this first type of spiritual approach, when he says, “Let this consciousness be in you that was in Christ Jesus, that we all may be one,” he could have been saying, “Let this consciousness be in you that was in Gautama the Buddha, that we all may be Awakened as one,” and that would be right on the mark. The point is that this is an approach of direct spiritual experience 10 leading ultimately to a nondual or “unity” consciousness with the ultimate Divine and the universe at large—and refers to the Waking Up dimension of our spiritual possibilities, the first major type.”

    1. Hi Jack, Thank you for this comment. That’s an interesting point about the meaning of paradigm — did you or Ken Wilber write that bit in parenthesis? Buddhist and Tantric practitioners are showing an example of a different way of being, a spiritual but also a social practice, not something isolated from society at all but transforming it.

      I really like that quote from St. Paul.

      What is the second type of spiritual experience btw?

      (And what does that “10” mean!?)

      1. Luna,
        Everything between the quotes including the parenthesis is from Ken Wilber. Yes the parallels between St. Paul and Buddha are very helpful in understanding Christianity and Buddhism.
        The “10” was a footnote. It explains how “experience” is not the best word for these types of spiritual realizations. Experience implies a subject experiencing an object, with a beginning in time and many of the spiritual states have neither of those. He goes on to say it is more accurate to say, “this moksha (Freedom) realization is neither an idea nor experience but a direct and presently immediate recognition of a space or clearing in which both ideas and experiences arise, itself beyond both feelings and thoughts, though including them if the do arise”. He goes on to talk about how it is not a “unity” state either as “unity” is a dualistic notion. But he uses it in quotes. It is tricky to talk about the Ultimate and Emptiness.

        The second major type of spiritual engagements is a set of narratives, a series of stories and tales, often magic or mythic, purporting to explain the relation of humans and Divine. Not our direct experience of the divine but what we think and feel about the Divine.


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