Thursday, November 1, 2012

Feminine energy rising

Here in the U.S. before the superstorm blew through and still in places that have electricity, the public conversation focused on women and "women's issues" as a result of their importance in Tuesday's presidential election.

While I'm not delighted by the separationist rhetoric, I am pleased that these things are being talked about. 

Meanwhile, in the ancient realm  of TIbetan Buddhism, with its strong tradition of male-dominated hierarchy, an auspicious event took place.

In what was described as "an unprecedented three-day event," His Holiness the 17thKarmapa, Ogyen Trinley Dorje, granted initiation and teachings on Chöd for the first time in response to a supplication made by a western Buddhist woman, Lama Tsultrim Allione, on behalf of all women practitioners.  Approximately 1,000 people from across the Himalayan region and around the world attended, many of them Buddhist nuns.

Chod is a spiritual practice developed by Machig Labdron, a 11th century Tibetan yogini -- a rare female figure.  Of the eight practice lineages of the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, Chöd is the only lineage established by a woman.  Lama Tsultrim, was ordained in 1970 as a Buddhist nun by the 16th Karmapa, and later pursued the path as a lay practitioner. Her Tara Mandala, a Vajrayana Buddhist organization that focuses on the Chöd lineage, based in Colorado, sponsored numerous delegations of nuns from across the Himalayas to attend this event. 

The Karmapa said he feels "a deep bond with these teachings coming from Machig Labdrön. She is the perfect embodiment of wisdom and compassion and has inspired Buddhist practitioners for many centuries.  I am especially pleased that I can offer this encouragement and support to female practitioners from around the Himalayan region and the world, and pray that the good merit from this event generates peace.”

The Gyalwang Karmapas are the historical holders of the direct lineage of Chöd, which is based on the Indian Buddhist deity Prajnaparamita, the Mother of all the Buddhas, embodiment of wisdom.

"Prajnaparamita, the mother of all the Buddhas, is the personification of transcendent wisdom. She represents the feminine principle in Buddhist tradition, and is the basis of Machig Labdrön’s teachings. The Chöd practice, which seeks to feed rather than fight what appears to be the 'enemy,' offers a much needed new paradigm for today's world that promotes compassion and integration instead of polarization.
The world is desperately in need of an increase in compassion and integration rather than polarization. Setting people against each other, falling back on binary, self-other, us-them thinking will not shift us from the path of greed and destruction that we're on.

May all beings everywhere benefit from this empowerment. 

May all beings everywhere be on the receiving end of compassionate action.

May all beings everywhere see the world with the eyes of compassion and act from that view.

May bodhicitta, precious and sublime,
Arise where it has not yet come to be.
And where it has arisen,
May it not decline.
But grow and flourish everymore.
--Shantideva, The Way of the Bodhisattva 

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