Wednesday, March 31, 2010
Monday, March 29, 2010
Sunday, March 28, 2010
UPDATED: Rinpoche's last minute decision to give the Vajrakilaya empowerment required the cooperation and efforts of several different Tibetan Buddhist organizations and sponsors in Southern California, including those from the Vietnamese and Chinese communities. It was truly gratifying to see everyone working together, to common purpose, in a genuine atmosphere of friendship -- the poly-cultural sixties vibe that is in many ways unique to the City of Angels.
All of the above notwithstanding....
Oh oh.... here it comes...
I have been planning to publish a diatribe concerning empowerments for some time now. This is a general, shotgun style, Sunday afternoon rant that has nothing specific to do with the aforementioned empowerment by Sungtrul Rinpoche. I want to make that clear.
Is it just me, or have the rules relaxed?
Since when is it appropriate to continually take flash photographs of the Vajra Master at every single juncture, flash photographs of the attendees, and indeed, flash photographs of everything that strikes one's fancy? There have been recent moments when I did not know if it was an empowerment or a press conference!
Since when has it been appropriate to make a continual show of filling the Vajra Master's cup, and attending to small items on his throne? The lama takes a sip from his cup and up pops somebody to pour in more tea or water. The lama looks around for a moment and here comes jack-in-the-box, being overly solicitous, and calling attention to his or her person as someone "close."
Utterly ridiculous. I call this the "I'm with the band" syndrome. In the old days, this sort of thing earned a smack on the head.
Since when has it been appropriate to sit with one's feet outstretched, pointed toward the Vajra Master or the altar -- or to lounge around like you were on your living room floor playing with your train set on Christmas morning?
Since when has it been appropriate to wear hats during an empowerment, or to arrange one's hair "up?" How about excessive use of fragrances, or extreme forms of dress?
Since when has it been appropriate to engage in banter, particularly while in line to receive sacred substances? How about texting during an empowerment, or taking and sending cell phone pictures?
Finally, since when has it been appropriate to put texts or images on the floor, and to step over them?
I have seen all of this mischief and more at recent events. It seems that people are forgetting the fundamentals. I cannot believe that the lamas are not teaching the right way to conduct one's self at empowerments, but maybe it is time for a refresher course?
Friday, March 26, 2010
It is not disrespectful to suggest that such lamas have absolutely no idea what it means to be born and raised in a nation that fancies itself a stronghold of monotheistic eternalism -- particularly in the era, now thankfully passed, when you were forced to say monotheistic prayers in school, and accept eternalism as the norm. Our red-robed sojourners have been spared monotheistic eternalism's mischief, and in consequence feel entitled to tsk tsk any notion monotheistic eternalism and Buddhism are at odds. These are the ones who happily tell you that Jesus was the bomb, missing the point entirely that Jesus was no Christian.
People also forget that Christian saints embrace suffering for its supposed soteriological value, whereas Buddhist saints end suffering by coming to know the nature of their own mind. But, that is another argument for another day.
So, then, why the fusillade?
All above notwithstanding, I find myself increasingly disappointed by the general failure to (a) recognize, and (b) cure the covert adulteration of Vajrayana Buddhism with thinly disguised monotheistic eternalist ideological norms and foibles.
Take "confession and purification" as an example. In the context of Vajrayana Buddhism, confession and purification simply means recognizing the obscurations of afflicted emotions, and correcting the matter. The idea of "penance" doesn't enter in there at all. You don't hop in a phone booth with a lama, whisper through a screen that you cheated on your spouse, get ordered to say Hail Vajrasattva twenty-five times, and sin no more, go out smiling in the sunshine, then turn around and cheat all over again. That smiling in the sunshine part is what Rongzompa called, "the self-promoting confines of artificial conduct." You can not cure one beclouded perception with another beclouded perception.
In the first place, if you set out to confess something, you are off to a bad start, because one must of needs confess everything. Since time immemorial, there is not a single screw-up each and every one of us has not managed -- or, to the extent that all fictitious sentient beings are our own projection -- there is not a single screw-up we are not managing right this minute. Whatever it is you are confessing -- believe this -- you've done much, much worse.
So what is confession? Confession is the cold realization of what does not work, coupled with regret that one has wasted time on what does not work, which transforms itself into resolutely albeit effortlessly refraining from what does not work.
If you smack yourself in the ankle with a sledge hammer enough times, you lose all sense of nostalgia for smacking yourself in the ankle with a sledge hammer. Time does not dim the experience. No rosy glow mists over, to the extent that you say to yourself, "Oh, what the hell... give me that sledge hammer, just for old time's sake."
To the contrary, you vow to never again smack yourself in the ankle with a sledge hammer, no matter the circumstances, and that vow turns out to be downright easy to maintain. Even if you merely glance at a sledge hammer, you get a twinge in the ankle. You say to yourself, "I was a damn fool to smack myself in the ankle with that sledge hammer," and that confession can be as elaborate as need be, to encompass stealing sledge hammers to whack ankles over many lifetimes, encouraging others to smack their ankles, ad nauseam, because there is no end upon the obscurations of afflicted emotions.
Of course, there is an even better way, which is to come to some sort of realization about dualistic thinking. One could confess falling prey to dualistic thinking over many lifetimes, realize what all that dualistic thinking has earned, and forswear dualistic thinking from a complete understanding of its uselessness. That might not be confession and purification the way you learned it down at Our Lady of the Bleeding Sores, but it will certainly hold you over until confession and purification come riding along.
If you doubt any of this, or find fault with any of this, then consider The Inexpressible Absolute Confession.
OMUsually, at this point, you would repeat the Hundred Syllable Mantra, and I would encourage you to do so. As you do so, I would likewise encourage you to keep the concluding four verses above firmly in mind.
The supreme embodiment of primordial wisdom, the natural mandala,
although without elaboration, just like the full moon,
appears as the display of compassion, without bias, equally, like the clear light of the sun,
please come here, listen to me, and be seated.
Inexpressible wisdom, the immovable dharmakaya,
the great bliss sambhogakaya, the five Buddhas and their families,
the deities of the play of the vast display of the skillful method of loving kindness,
to the peaceful and wrathful nirmanakaya buddhas I bow down.
Actual material endowments and those mentally manifest,
like limitless clouds of Samantabhadra's offerings,
are perfectly arranged throughout the reaches of the pure sphere of space.
I offer this ocean of outer, inner, and secret offerings.
In the secret womb of Kuntuzangmo
dwell the vast multitudes of the mandalas of the buddhas without exception.
Within the one taste of changelessness,
take pleasure in the indivisible awakened mind.
The mind's nature is the great space of the dharmadhatu.
All phenomena are perfectly pure as the primordial realm of clear light.
The nature of this practice is the sphere beyond thought and speech.
I bow down constantly to this awakened mind of the nature of equality.
Within the great perfection of Kuntuzangpo, which has prevailed from the very beginning,
are the great arrangements of outer, inner, and secret mandalas.
In the pure display of phenomenal existence as the sphere of male and female deities,
all that appears and transforms is the spontaneous expression of male-female.
Great Mistress, who possesses the form of the ultimate great secret,
in the center of your lotus, the vast expanse of the sphere of space,
is the clear light realm of the bindu of non-duality,
the embodiment of the essence of the awakened mind, uncontrived without complexity.
All appearances are the deities of infinite great bliss.
This secret mandala devoid of gathering and dispersing,
is the great self-nature as the five Buddha families, male and female,
the family of bodhisattvas, the hosts of male and female wrathful deities,
the assembly of vajra goddesses and the lords, masters of the assemblies,
the five glorious herukas of the five Buddha families, the ten wrathful deities and their consorts,
the four gate keepers of the sacred places and countries,
the many assemblies of primordial wisdom emanation deities,
who are as loving as mothers and as affectionate as sisters,
the dakinis who weigh good and evil and pronounce the judgments of samaya, and
hosts of outer and inner dakinis and yoginis.
All of you who uphold the vajra commitment, please bear witness to me.
Descendants of the vajra lineage pure-awareness holders, myself and others,
who generate the awakened mind for the purpose of all beings,
in order to reach the unsurpassed state of awakening,
we practice the various individual disciplines of the ocean of teachings,
maintain the supreme vow of the union of body, speech, and mind, and
the vajra samaya, not lightly transgressed and necessary to maintain.
All general and extraordinary samaya,
that I successively received and swore to preserve,
were never intended to be lost or transgressed.
With no intention to deviate or abandon them, yet
due to laziness, I have postponed the practices.
Without achieving accomplishment, my meditation potential is feeble.
Lacking mindfulness and overpowered by carelessness,
I have not persevered in meditation, and have been distracted during mantra recitation.
Concerning the root samaya of body, speech, and mind,
overpowered by my lack of awareness, both knowingly and unknowingly,
I have transgressed my teacher's words and contradicted the vows.
Any practitioner who has allowed samaya to deteriorate
should not be associated with, even for an instant.
Although stated in the scriptures, this is difficult to adhere to.
The secret path is difficult to define, and so hard to understand clearly.
Lacking omniscience, it is difficult to discern who is at fault.
I have associated with transgressors in feast and fulfillment restoration ceremonies.
I have spoke about Dharma to transgressors and improper vessels, and
I have failed to be conscientious about deteriorations, their faults and so forth.
I have befriended transgressors. And due to all of this,
these faults of the obscuration of defilement, whatever they may be,
are the cause of obstructing conditions in this life and will obscure the future.
With a mind of overwhelming regret and remorse I completely confess.
Please pay heed to me with your loving compassion and
place me firmly in the sphere of non-duality.
Although you abide in the state of equanimity free of conceptualizations,
please bestow perfectly the blessings of absolute non-duality.
If non-conceptual absolute truth is free from elaboration,
whatever thought formations exist, become non-conceptual.
Due to the power of conventional truth, which is merely illusory,
for the faults committed, with personal remorse I request forgiveness.
I don't see any language about penance in there, do you? What I do see is language correcting one's perceptions -- reminding one's self about what one already knows. This is not a children's game. Karma is inflexible. Karma doesn't care how sorry you are. Karma doesn't care how sincerely you apologize and promise not to do this or that. The only thing that stops the craziness is when you stop the craziness, and you stop the craziness when you come to some sort of realization about what produces the craziness. Cosmic bargaining is no substitute, and anyway, it does not work.
Or, what is infinitely more egregious, instead of grabbing a pitchfork, there are some "Buddhists" who grab a mala and start counting out Vajrakilaya mantras. That is a particularly dangerous brand of closet Christianity. That triple-edged phurba is a double-edged sword....
The sharp edges of imprecations hurled by others by means of mantraA very great lama -- the one who discovered that which I just quoted from -- once explained that wrathful deities cannot be deceived. He described the result of attempting to deceive wrathful deities by abusively using wrathful mantras to no good purpose. He stated there would be the sudden death of loved ones; that death and illness would arise among one's retinue. There would be accidents and suicides. Medical procedures would bring no lasting benefit, and even one's doctors or other helpful persons would experience accidents and misfortunes. The weather in one's immediate environment would become punishing, and creatures of the land and air would begin to act in strange ways.
And the bad signs and omens that result from disharmony –
Drive back all of these, removing their power!
Mother Tara, protect us, now and at the time of our death.
--from an "American Buddhist" prayer of recent vintage
Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our death, amen
--from an old, established Christian operation
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
By the way -- that is a stock photo of a Chinese sand storm. A huge one is making life miserable in China right now -- so huge, in fact, that it is even impacting the Pacific Coast of the United States.
The technoshamans at Google are no slouch. Timing the censorship lift to coincide with the sandstorm at the astrologically precise moment.... think that was deliberate?
Monday, March 22, 2010
March 22, 2010 - Chinese 7th, M-T-K 7th. Tiger, Kham, White 1. Today is zin phung. Today is also baden, so no prayer flags. Despite the superficially positive aspects of today, the earth energies are in an uproar. Fire and ice? On the Spring Equinox no less? Remember when we told you to beware volcanoes this year? The volcano in Iceland two days ago signals the beginning of the Tiger year's "special" qualities, as we have outlined elsewhere, so don't be surprised if this week turns out to be extremely challenging -- particularly in the area of man's relationship with earth, nature, environment... and also man's relationship with his fellows. There is a danger of becoming overconfident this week, which could lead to disaster. Unusual events may take place this week, and if they do, should be carefully noted. There is now an extremely powerful gyalpo on the loose. Today is good for naga offerings.
Saturday, March 20, 2010
Love and emptiness. Done gracefully. Done joyfully. Easier said than done. We are not talking about business as usual. We are talking about the actual cessation of malfunctioning emotions. Loving kindness does not successfully linger in the absence of wisdom. "Romantic" love only lasts for the second it takes to burn.
I'm just a whisper of smoke.
I'm all that's left of two hearts on fire,
That once burned out of control:
You took my body and soul,
I'm just a ghost in this house.
Look at the absolutely incredible display of your mind, shining with your light.
E MA HO
Jigme Lingpa wrote, "... those who take devoted training as their path also need to have a clear objective for the teachings they engage in."
So, what have you been doing?
You can sit on your seat and visualize the deity but who is to say that the deity is not visualizing you? Generally speaking, I have this idea that if the deity has spontaneously revealed itself to you in perfect lucidity -- even just once -- that should be sufficient to get you sustained. Why do I say this? Maybe that takes some explanation, yes?
Well... at least that is what I would wish for you.
Temporarily relieved of your temporary bewilderment, you are effortlessly showing yourself to yourself. You are showing yourself what has always been available, and at the same time, you are showing yourself what is to come.
Of course, if this approach isn't working for you, there are more laborious methods. Some people say these are, in essence, replacing one sort of habit with another sort of habit. If you want to always think in terms of purification then I suppose this is purification. Lately, I have been tinkering that concept because I think it layers unwarranted cultural assumption. In Buddhism, purification proceeds from clarifying one's view, not by scourging one's backside with a cat-o-nine. Since we have all these closeted Christians running around interpreting things, we have to be very careful. In place of "purification," which subsumes breaking the deity and you into two, I have been experimenting with "refinement," or sometimes "distillation," in the sense that we refine gold or distill essences.
If you and the deity are ever-presently non-dual, perfect from the beginning, innately pure, and inherently in need of nothing, you might want to ask yourself about mind's condition or nature. If mind itself is dharmakaya, sambhogakaya, and nirmanakaya, you might want to ask yourself about the deity's condition or nature. You might want to ask yourself what, in fact, is going on. What are you waiting for?
Jigme Lingpa also wrote, "... with transformative rituals, it is simply impossible not to attain the level of a knowledge holder within six months."
Hello, all you Vidyadharas!
Friday, March 19, 2010
Monday, March 15, 2010
Thursday, March 11, 2010
The form of Guru Sengé Dradok is especially helpful in subduing the irrational energies of black magic as well as at dispelling bad omens and nightmares. If unexpected obstacles suddenly arise, he has the power to neutralize both visible and invisible beings, and to avert natural disasters. Guru Sengé Dradok can pacify all such threats. He is also a strong Buddha for overcoming jealousy. When you stop being jealous, your attitude becomes one of love and compassion. There is nothing obstructing the free radiation of beautiful qualities. Sengé Dradok is a wrathful emanation but his wrath is basically directed toward the destruction of jealousy and greed. It is not accompanied by attachment and clinging; there is nothing to win or lose. Rather, this wrath actively dispels lust and envy. There are many wrathful deities in the Vajrayana, but none of them are angry or emotionally negative. These forms express the intensity of true love and the fierceness of genuine compassion involved in dispelling attachment, ignorance and anger.
Monday, March 08, 2010
"These are originally present, and sticky, and even if you try to throw them away, or overcome them, they will not be discarded or overcome."
The point is to get out of the way.
Vajrsattva practice is commonly explained as a method to clear one's karma and purify obstacles. I think the choice of English words "clear" and "purify" is unfortunate. I think the ways that the practice, the visualizations, and the concepts have been presented to Westerners are unfortunate. Vajrsattva -- this external deity, like a god or something -- drips honey on the top of your head and all the black lizards go flying out your ass. As Westerners, we make cultural assumptions about that sort of imagery. Also, I want to mention that Vajrasattva practice has many levels, but we really only see one of them, i.e. this whole purification aspect. There are practices that go way beyond this, but they are only rarely presented.
"If bound by iron wire, even this can be untied. However, if bound by religion, it is difficult to be free."
--9th Ogyen Tulku
All the closet Christians who have taken up Buddhism because they think they need a preferentially arranged, organized religion to frame their innate spirituality, think they are praying "to" something external that "does" something in response to an inner agenda that they, themselves direct, or is prescribed for them by a teacher. For such people, Vajrasattva is a big, shiny, white laxative that makes them crap out something tangible, like "sin," or "bad karma," or "impurities." These are people who feel they need to be "cleansed," or to "purify" something that has been done wrong, gone wrong, or is wrong. If you leave that sort of belief alone long enough, it becomes like Falun Gong, where karma is thought to be an actual, material substance: something like atomic particles. However, in a framework where there is nothing "wrong" beyond the confused imputations of convoluted thinking, none of this foolishness goes very far.
Not one single syllable of the Hundred Syllable Mantra says "Oh Lordy! Help us sinners purify our sins."
So, the point of Vajrasattva practice, to the extent that it may be said to have a point, is getting out of the way long enough for an affirmation of that which is already fundamentally present. There is no original sin. There is only original wisdom.
If you hear a sound in the next few moments, it is the trap we always seem to set for ourselves springing shut.
In Padmasambhava's Instruction for Women on Attaining Enlightenment Without Abandoning Daily Activities, there is an beautiful passage wherein one of the ladies asks the Guru, "For a woman like me, whose five poisonous emotions are strong, please bestow an instruction for awakening to enlightenment without having to reject these five poisons." Please take very careful notice of Guru Rinpoche's reply:
"The five poisonous emotions are a natural possession within you since the beginning and therefore cannot be discarded by rejecting them. They are not transformed by transforming or purified by purification. Since these five poisons are of the nature of dharmata, they must be liberated where they are by dissolving naturally."Gee... equating women with the five poisonous emotions. Think Guru Rinpoche was a misogynist? Somehow, I sort of doubt we should be looking at things in such terms, but apparently some of our readers are so caught up in gender roles they can't see anything else. We also find a lot of the same confusion in one particular misandrynistic attempt to emulate sangha, and this even prompted Gyaltrul Rinpoche to comment:
"Maybe some of you women might prefer to focus on a female lama, but you needn't worry because a primordial wisdom being, such as Guru Rinpoche, is of both sexes. There's absolutely no distinction: he is lama, yidam, and dakini."Answering echoes is fruitless and doesn't get anybody anywhere. I want to show you this, but you make up your own mind.
March 8, 2010 - Chinese 24th, M-T-K 23rd. Ox, Zon, White 6. A successful day during which fulfillment is entirely possible.
Saturday, March 06, 2010
It is ironic to note, that proximate to this empowerment being bestowed, the temple in Bhutan that is perhaps most closely associated with the people and events involved with the terma -- the venerable Konchosum Lhakang -- burned to the ground. The empowerment was given on February 24th in the United States, and the temple was destroyed on February 24th in Bhutan. The caretaker left a butter lamp burning while he went away to Tamshing, and everybody learned -- yet again -- that butter lamps are more dangerous to Buddhist temples than a bus load of Red Guards. What a loss! This temple was built by Trisong Detsen on the orders of Padmasambhava himself, who performed the original consecration. In the 15th century, care of the temple fell to Pema Lingpa, and it is now one of the temples under Sungtrul Rinpoche's administration.
Sometimes, it is useful to pause and remember that very precious things have come to us from very miserable circumstances. These teachings did not come into being because days were sunny, birds were singing, and things were going right.
Six types of person are given authority to reveal treasures:The above is from the Padma Kathang, as quoted by Karma Chagme, in his life of the terton Migyur Dorje, and is noted here by way of example. To take a more recent example, you can look at Kyabje Dudjom Rinpoche, who indeed suffered from money problems all of his life, and was once even physically beaten by a creditor. Actually, you can apply these statements to any terton who comes to mind, because all of them have, at one time or another, suffered from terrible slanders and obstacles arising from --
One who is harmed by enemies will have authority over concealed treasures;
One whose loved ones all die will have authority over concealed treasures;
One who is in danger of being afflicted by leprosy will have authority over concealed treasures;
One who lives a life of poverty will have authority over concealed treasures;
One who always falls into debt will have authority over concealed treasures;
One who lacks power will have authority over concealed treasures.
Female spirits born out of desire,--and that, also from the Padma Kathang, is to name but a few. Indeed, the entire history of Tibetan Buddhism is absolutely strewn with accounts of vile slanders. To take just a few examples, King Indrabodhi was slandered, Padmasambhava was slandered, Vairotsana was slandered, and King Trisong Detsen was slandered. In our own time, Tarthang Rinpoche was slandered, Trungpa Rinpoche was slandered, Kalu Rinpoche was slandered, Lamasang was slandered, Sogyal Rinpoche was slandered, Sakya Trizin was slandered, and the Dalai Lama is slandered on a daily basis.
Spirits assuming the form of monks who have transgressed their vows and are born out of anger, and
Spirits assuming the form of ngagpas who are samaya violators and are born out of ignorance
Indeed, slander is serious business. There are several works on the subject, inclusive of Mi Kha Tojur, and the terma text Mi Kha Drajur. According to the latter, slander has the figurative power to dismember humans, cause landslides, and dry up lakes. In consequence, numerous rituals and protections have evolved. We gave a translation of one such ritual here at Digital Tibetan Buddhist Altar, for Chotrul Duchen. As an example of protections, one may consider the phallus seen painted on houses or in wooden effigy, all over Bhutan, although the practice is reportedly in decline. The people who engage in such slanders are said to have a particularly bright and colorful future in store, emulating the King of Slander, Mi Kha Gyalpo Ja Chuma.
They chose the monastery.
Tibet's royal geonamcer, Birjie, was given the task of siting the monastery. He performed various calculations, and stated that Haspori was, "a pink snow lion bounding up to the sky." After further calculations, foundations were laid at Samye, in the Tamarisk Grove, on the Red Rock, whereupon, "...the evil genies of Tibet all together attacked them, destroying by night what had been built by day."
So, plainly, the situation was a mess, and nobody was getting any good news. Devas, ogres, mamos, and genies were on the loose. Even the king brought the saintly Santaraksita in from Zahor, matters were not going well. Nagas were fighting over rose bushes, and called in yakshas and three gaynyen to help them. Do you understand how bad it was? Forget your planning commission or your neighborhood association. Forget zoning variances and building inspectors. The whole Samye monastery construction project of four great temples and twelve smaller temples was thwarted while a supernatural battle was waged over a rose bush.
It is at this point that Santaraksita throws up his hands and tells Trisong Detsen to invite Padmasambhava, and as we now all know and thoroughly appreciate, this was not a bad thing.
This, his final instruction,That is a quote from Treasure of the Lotus Crystal Cave. You see that even Padmasambhava had a teacher, studied, practiced, and worked with whatever happened to arise. You might want to keep this in mind, next time you hear from somebody who believes themselves above effort because of some lofty title or abstract status. When an elephant gets drunk enough, she thinks herself a queen.
Liberated me, Padma.
Though not liberated by the Tripitaka or Secret Mantra,
I was liberated by this secret teaching.
Be this as it may, the messengers sent to issue the invitation remembered what they remembered, and Padmasambhava understood what he understood. He understood that the eight classes of gods and demons were causing trouble in Tibet, and when he told them it was not good to make obstacles, they replied, "Oh yeah? Why don't you just come to Tibet and try stopping us?"
So Padmasambhava went to Tibet, overthrew and bound the evil genies, male and female, and arranged Trisong Detsen's perspective on things. Having accomplished all of this, on the first moon of autumn in the year of the Tiger, he went to Haspori, ascended to the peak, and called out his instructions to the spirits.
So, in five years the monastery was done, a bell was hung, and a consecration performed, attended by miraculous signs. That was all done under the best possible circumstances, with a king, sixty thousand men, all the gold that the nagas could muster, and Padmasambhava himself. In any other circumstances, it might take a bit more time.
As an example, it took Tarthang Rinpoche forty years to do the same thing in the United States, under the worst possible circumstances, with no royal support, only about thirty men, and precious little gold. If you ask me who has the greater achievement, Trisong Detsen or Tarthang Rinpoche, I would have to say the latter. Trisong Detsen only had to wrestle with demons. Tarthang Rinpoche had to contend with Western dharma students.
Nevertheless, in a manner of speaking, we are all trying to build our own Samye, and we are all meeting with our own crew of demons. We are all tasking geomancers, consulting kindly abbots, and calling on Guru Rinpoche for reinforcement.
So, another friend of mine with a historic connection to Samye has now visited me, just after the holidays. He reminded me that all of the tools and materials to achieve great things are always with us, wherever we go. Every place we find ourselves is Haspori in one form or another.
As anyone who has ever been in politics will tell you, when you come to think this way, you actually take a certain grim satisfaction when drunken elephants and demons begin howling their slanders. Chaos can be good news. It lets you know that great things are struggling to take form.
However, you have to be cautious. I used to approach such things with a murderous attitude, thinking, "I don't care what obstacles arise. I'll do this anyway." I have since learned that while this might seem correct, and might even be superficially correct, serious matters demand a good deal more finesse. Not a crudely sly manipulation born of fear, mind you, but rather the delicate touch that comes from thinking things through.
We do what we can do about getting past hope and fear. That is really all we have to do, while the rest proceeds as it will.
So then, what of the very tumultuous and seemingly troublesome --
Female spirits born out of desire,---mentioned earlier?
Spirits assuming the form of monks who have transgressed their vows and are born out of anger, and
Spirits assuming the form of ngagpas who are samaya violators and are born out of ignorance
Stripping away the personifications, we immediately recognize desire, anger, and delusion. These are originally present, and sticky, and even if you try to throw them away, or overcome them, they will not be discarded or overcome. There are no solutions, external mechanisms, or stratagems. You cannot transform them, nor can you purify them. We are not Christians, and we do not sing psalms of retribution, begging God to smite the sinners with his terrible swift sword. We are Buddhists, and we simply do not have such political ideas of acceptance or rejection. Indeed, any attitude we might take would be incorrect. These three are as they are, and will liberate themselves.
Thus, when we think of foundations, be these the foundations of temples or the foundations of philosophy, we do not think in ordinary terms of solutions or protections, simply because there is nothing to solve and nothing to protect.
Since we are all Buddhas from the very beginning, the fundamentally meritorious virtue of spontaneous correct action dedicates itself into borderless space.
This, itself, is a foundation.
I neglected to mention that Sungtrul Rinpoche is traveling with a collection of twenty-seven sacred relics of Vajrayana Buddhism. That is Longchenpa's personal seal in the above photograph. The collection also includes relics from Vairotsana, Yeshe Tsogyal, and Guru Rinpoche himself. These relics have never been out of Tibet and Bhutan, so this is quite a rare thing.