BUDDHA NATURE.COM Songs and Meditations of the Tibetan Dhyani Buddhas

The Vajra Dakini

On the Problem with Zen

Because Zen has been popular in the West longer than Tibetan Buddhism, Zen has come to influence Tibetan Buddhism. In some ways, this has been good. It means clean environments, care about health and food, and an emphasis on clear thinking. However, it has also been destructive in some ways. The primary problem is affirmation of the goals of Buddhism combined the negation of the best paths to reach the goal.

With Zen devaluing makyo or the mind's illusions, the sambhogakaya has been eliminated as a legitimate area of spiritual activity. It is rare that people can leap right over the spiritual realms to enter the Infinite, yet this is what they are commanded to do in Zen. There is no ladder that they may ascend, no paths that they may follow, and no inner guides to warn them of dangers or able to help them overcome problems.

In claiming to help spiritual novices, they have made the path more distant and difficult. They have made the goal nearly impossible.

The universe is not black and white, not simply a physical world and the Void. It contains a rainbow of intermediate worlds; each with lessons to teach and forms of experience to encounter that can add depth and meaning to the spirit. Even the highest Buddhas, whose minds are the Clear Light of the Void, echo in emanations through the intermediate worlds, through the jhanas (the worlds outside the six lokas or realms of rebirth), through the sambhogakaya levels, and down into the worlds of reincarnation. This means that there is no world without a doorway, even in the lowest worlds of ignorance and suffering. Yet those who seek to abolish suffering may end up extending it, for by taking away the roads to the spiritual worlds, there is no escape except by levitation, or the mercy of the bodhisattvas.

As dakinis, we are guides through these worlds, and there are those who suffer who we cannot help because they deny our existence, and are trapped in a fantasy of escape from their own minds which is ultimately impossible. By rejecting the help of guides, they become lost in their own ignorance and past pain. We can see these people when we help others, and there is nothing we can do to help them. We are guides and liberators, but these people all but guarantee their own entrapment.

We do not demand initiation from a formal source to help suffering beings. Sometimes we come in dreams to help people trapped by painful events from their past. Sometimes we appear spontaneously in meditation to guide creaky boats to the other shore. But the ocean is great, and those who succeed most easily in crossing stop at islands and countries along the way, learning of tides, and rapids, and dangerous currents, and the safest paths through the rocks during storms.

All people are seafarers, but only the proud will not accept help and directions from those along the way who know the maps and can navigate the pathways. There is such pride that it is believed that merely answering impossible questions gives enlightenment. It is seeing the moon in the sky and claiming that you are already there. A long road exists between the observer and the moon, and ignoring it does not make it go away.

As the Vajra Dakini, I am the crystal pathway to Truth. I say to those who meditate and seek enlightenment - there is help available to you.


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