Category Archives: Buddhism

Tilopa’s Mahamudra

This song of pith instructions was transmitted from master to disciple through the ages, and as I was watching I felt quite inspired and excited so I thought I would share it. I hope you enjoy – I listened to it with my own soundtrack though!

If you would like to read more translations of this song I found this website which seems to have a wonderful selection. The joys and good fortune of the internet age!

A Flash of Inspiration

Every now and again, you turn inwards, and see that mind can be free from its usual patterns, of its cravings and selfing and delusions, delusions like separation, fixity and permanence.

When it happens, it is like becoming aware of a great sun, and you feel as though you know that this is how mind can be, this is your potential. There is the sense that no object is to be found or craved, no subject to find or do the craving, and that this beautiful light is the light in and of all beings, in and of all life.

Never again would there be the sense that I can be seen as separate to you, or to other, or to all. It can be less like seeing a sun and more like becoming sunshine, boundless, edgeless, free, and bright.

Experience surrounded by echoes of bliss and beauty and excitement, and the deepest peace. You wonder if you will ever be the same again, and of course, knowing you are not fixed, you know you won’t!

Beyond any kind of thought or feeling, perception dies away, and you know that if you could just stay in touch with this dimension of being then all craving and suffering would simply fall away.

You also know that if you could show others how to find it, suffering would cease in them too, and perhaps you might just hope that with the dawning of this light, any conflict or harm, any greed or pollution or power becomes obsolete, not sought, its true nature seen and understood.

How can you fight or use another if you know you are not separate, and understand that like you, they seek happiness and an end to suffering. How can you possibly destroy the environment which holds this field of life, how can you possibly not act for the benefit of all life?

The Fault in our Vision which Might End Human Existence

There is a fulcrum in the process of perception which is a delusion, and from that delusion follow craving, attachment and aversion, and therefore suffering. This fulcrum is an assumption under which we labour, which is a false assumption, and if we can manage to turn that fulcrum upside down, or rather, set it back up the right way, then the way in which we relate to the world, things, people, events, the senses and the emotions is changed and gone is the majority of our suffering.

The delusion is this. We are brought up to think that we are a separate and independent being, and as a result of that, everything that is not a part of that being is other, and is a threat or something to be desired. We have consciousness, in which are various arisings, and because we see we assume a see-er, because we think we assume a thinker, because we feel we assume a self that feels. It is a catastrophic fault of vision, to assume this self. We see this self as being evident as a separate body, an independent mind, perhaps even a soul. Continue reading The Fault in our Vision which Might End Human Existence

Ratnasambhava – The Golden Buddha of the South

To understand the significance of the Buddhas, it may be worth reading the introduction to the mandala of the five Buddhas, which explains a little more about what they really are and how they evolved in the archetypal Vajrayana Buddhist imagination. Effectively how real they are, and in what way they are real, is left to you. They are not like Gods, they represent aspects of the enlightened mind, and as such, are both real and unreal, both archetype and other power.

Ratnasambhava is the gorgeous bright Buddha of the southern realm, made of golden light, made of the summer, of generosity and abundance, giving and equanimity. He is the sunshine at its bright zenith, the reworking of the mind and heart to include all life in one’s outlook rather than the limited one self. Continue reading Ratnasambhava – The Golden Buddha of the South

Verses from ‘The Confounder of Hell’ – Vajrasattva Sadhana

Eh Ma Oh !

Dharma Wondrous Strange !

Profoundest Mystery of the Perfect Ones.

Within the Birthless, all things take their birth,

Yet in that birth, nothing is borne.

Continue reading Verses from ‘The Confounder of Hell’ – Vajrasattva Sadhana

The Five Buddha Mandala – A Brief Introduction

I have been writing a series about the mandala of the five buddhas, or jinas, or conquerors. This is because I recently gave a talk about the Buddha Amoghasiddhi, and found the writing of it very inspiring. I published articles about Amoghasiddhi and Akshobya late last year, and have articles coming up on the other three Buddha figures; Ratnasambhava, Amitabha and Vairocana.

Buddha, means one who is awake, and this represents the pinnacle of human potential, the teacher of gods and men. What this means is beyond the scope of either our minds or our words to understand. We are however treated to glimpses of spiritual qualities, of higher states of consciousness, and of true reality as we walk our path through life.

Perhaps we might notice the dance of the leaves in the breeze, or the amazement of a beautiful sunrise, or experience stillness, expansion, compassion, or are struck by a feeling of awe, of beauty, of something that is beyond. Continue reading The Five Buddha Mandala – A Brief Introduction

The Buddha’s Activity is as Sunlight Dancing on the Waters of Time

If you had been out walking one night, two and a half millennia across time, you might have seen, framed against the moonlight shining on the river, a meditating figure. There would have been something deeply compelling about this sight, about the enigmatic smile and peaceful countenance.

Had you been out again the next morning, the same sight would have greeted you, except this time he would be framed by golden light of the sparkling sunshine, dancing on the surface of the gently flowing stream.

What you would not know, what you could not know, is that in the sparkling stream of consciousness connecting the two sights, the most profound event for life in this aeon had arisen. A Buddha had come to be.
Continue reading The Buddha’s Activity is as Sunlight Dancing on the Waters of Time

Full of Emptiness Like Sky, Nowhere the Mind’s I


When the sun of prajna shines, all notions, all ideas, all perceptions of how things are vanish like the stars at dawn.

Vasubandhu 

(Prajna – Wisdom, insight into the nature of reality)

Sometimes if you read dharma books, you can be struck by insight, a penny drops, and a teaching becomes clearer. It may be particularly well-written, or from a perspective you hadn’t come across before. This happened to me over the holidays,and it was the teaching of emptiness, or voidness,  in this case through the lens of anatta or selflessness.

Anatta is one of the three portals to insight, or lakshanas, the lack of any lasting true self is a window looking out onto enlightenment. Indeed, this selflessness is one way to the end of selfishness, the end of duality, a way of approaching the great voidness, the great light.

It is so clear that the assumption of the self, in everything we do or think, is the fundamental root of all craving, all suffering, and all the other defilements such as greed, hatred and delusion. Without a self desiring, where can be desire? Continue reading Full of Emptiness Like Sky, Nowhere the Mind’s I

Four Mind-Turning Reflections and the Threefold Way

Another year has passed, and we are reminded of the passing of time. The numbers change, the years of our lives pass. To recollect the preciousness of our time is not depressing, but a reminder that it is to be cherished, this gift of life. Yesterday I wrote about setting goals and deciding to achieve them, and also about the joy of giving, and ways we might better serve our communities and our world.

However, I want to suggest that whatever your faith, however you define or label yourself in religious or non-religious terms, that one of the best and healthiest resolutions you could make are to turn your mind to its patterns and conditioning, and begin to know freedom from the processes with which the mind decides that things are not right, and that you need x or y to make you happy. I want to offer the possibility of freedom from craving and grasping and clinging, I want to suggest you learn to meditate. Continue reading Four Mind-Turning Reflections and the Threefold Way

Akshobya – The Deep Blue Buddha of the East

Once upon a time, in a world far away, a monk made a vow. The world was called Abhirati, the world of intense delight. Here there lived a Buddha called Visalaksa, and one day the monk told him that he wished to gain Enlightenment for the sake of all beings. The Buddha warned him that this would be an immense task, but determined and fearless, the monk took a series of vows. He would never again give way to anger, or hatred or malice, and never engage in unethical conduct, among other vows.

As he took the vow, he touched the earth, which shook, which trembled in response. So for a very long time, and over many lifetimes, he was unshakeable (Akshobya) and held to these vows. Eventually he achieved Buddhahood and created a pure land called Abhirati. Continue reading Akshobya – The Deep Blue Buddha of the East