Sangharakshita shares a story from Kalimpong about being woken up in the middle of the night to a very strange occurrence – he saw a dear friend who had passed several years earlier standing in a deep pit next to his bed. His response was to chant the Vajrasattva Mantra.
Sangharakshita describes in all its wealth of detail, the Wheel of Life. It’s really a painting but a mirror, giving one successively more profound insights into oneself, and revealing the next step in escaping the endless round.
We can find mandalas everywhere – in the East, in the West, in art, literature, even in dreams. Mandalas represent a resolution, or the beginnings of a resolution, of a conflict between the conscious and the unconscious.
Sangharakshita explores the symbolism of the mandala, circles of symbolic forms, found in the The Tantras (special scriptures of Vajrayana Buddhism) as a symbol of psychological and spiritual integration.
Here Sangharakshita recounts one of the stories from the Mahaparinibbana Sutta, that of The Episode of Untimely Flowers. Reflections based around the Buddha’s Parinirvana (‘death’), stress the importance of impermanence.
The Maha Parinirvana Sutra contains a fairly detailed account of the Buddha’s last months of his earthly life. It follows him step by step – where he went, who he met, how he discoursed, what teaching he gave. By the time he embarked on his last journey he knew he was going to pass away. Being the Enlightened One, he remained calm, reflecting on his last words, his last teaching.
A well read poem can help us deepen our understanding of Buddhist principles. Achala shares his practice of reflecting on impermanence through poetry. In this Dharmabyte we hear two poems. The first is entitled “Life” by Sangharakshita, the second entitled “Letter to a Nobleman in Kyoto” by Kukai, (774-835 CE), Japanese poet, scholar, painter, engineer, and great Buddhist teacher.
Translated into Marathi by Amitayush. Excerpted from the talk entitled Poems On...