The day started with two meditations, held within the silence of early morning - dawn rises quietly in front of the large shrine room windows at Taraloka.
At 11am, I focused on the teaching of the Absolute Bodhicitta. In Tonglen it is sometimes called the stage of ‘Flashing Bodhicitta’. It’s taken me a few years to relate to this aspect of the practice as I’m such a practical sort-of-girl and I need things to be concrete and tangible! But I’ve also come to understand how I lose perspective in my engagement with life, and how limiting that is for me. Contemplating Absolute Bodhicitta, is a way of establishing a ‘Big Mind’ approach and it can therefore free me from some of the ‘self-ing’ tendencies that can colour my actions. Sometimes this larger perspective comes from my connection with my yiddam, the Buddha Shakyamuni, and it takes place in the ‘cave of my heart’: in this way, it becomes a sense of being ‘resourced’ and I’m grateful to Prakasha for his teaching on this approach.
This stage of Tonglen can also be a stage of connecting with our heart-wish: our deeper values and vision, and I used the story ‘The Myth of the Return Journey’, from the White Lotus Sutra, to illustrate this process of ‘returning’ to ourselves
At 4pm, a led sessikon in Tonglen.
I’ll end with a quote from Sangharakshita that we had last night in the puja:
”We may say that the Bodhisattva himself is like a prism, like a glass prism, and the Bodhicitta is like pure white light shining through the prism. And the vows of the Bodhisattva are like the different coloured lights which emerge from the prism on the other side. So you’ve three things: you’ve the prism, representing the Bodhisattva; the pure white light, representing the Bodhicitta, shining in; and all the colours of the rainbow, as it were, shining out, representing the Bodhisattva’s Vows.