What (Who) is Chenrezig to me?

chenrezig_td26Last night a friend asked me to describe Chenrezig to him.

So I tried like this:

To me, Chenrezig represents the open path to Buddha Nature.

He said, ‘say more’:

He/she is the awareness of compassion, but also an intelligence.

He asked me what I thought Buddha Nature means… So I said this:

Buddha Nature to me is the persistent wisdom/compassion/awareness that everything is. Never born, never dying.

I admitted that I am likley only regurgitating something that I read from a Tulku or heard some Rinpoche say in a talk…

I recieved the Chenrezig empowerment in 2007 from a Karma Kagyu Rinpoche here in OKC while he was visiting a very small Buddhist group. I took my refuge that day, and in many ways I have danced around it. I almost entirely fell away from my Chenrezig practice by seeking what I thought I was missing, a teacher.

I found a friend who is a Naga Baba and soon I was deep into Shaivism, which I think might have helped me in some ways, but in truth I would have discovered that same non duality in my Chenrezig practice had I been paying any attention.

So now I am paying attention. Now I am devoting myself to Chenrezig, to compassion, to the knoweledge that wisdom has always been swirling around me and now I am ready.

Om Mani Padme Hung.

Do you already know?

In science we have learned that once we look at electrons they seem to behave quite nicely, a lot like children.  How do they know they are being observed? How do they know that an intelligence is watching them?

If tiny electrons can sense this, what more can you do?

Energy, Time and Understanding

Big Bang SupernovaIn that timeless moment when the multiverse erupted from a single point in non-space, when all that we see today was only pure energy; was there a remnant of thought and understanding there? Before the first neutrinos coalesced out of the flowing energy foam, before the first atoms began to bind together into first structures, and eons before the first differentiated points in this new space were formed; was there a compassionate Buddha-nature pervading that energy as it raced out to become all that there is?

The table that my laptop rests on as I write this, the mass that is the table, it was present there in that moment of the big bang. In fact, all that I am, was there in that moment too. The atoms, the elements that make my body, my skin, my hair and my heart, all of those atoms where nothing more than energy in that super-expanding ball of energy. This is a very hard idea to grasp. Of course the thing trying to grasp this idea was in the Big Bang too… my mind.

How is it that the electrical impulses that are the foundation of my consciousness were at one point rolling around the formless void of pre-space? In the moments before the multiverse became substantial, what was all of this energy? Was it really the size of a pin head? Super-compacted into this point of potentiality? Hard concepts to speak about without being mystical too.

I know that Hinduism teaches the universe is in an endless cycle of rebirth, even to the point that the universe itself collapses and is reborn anew. At the end of a Kali Yuga, the last stage of the universal timespan, the universe will chaotically devolve and then upon destruction be reborn, in effect restarting the clock. By the way, a Kali Yuga, which we are living in now, lasts 432,000 human years in traditional Vedic understanding and is known as the Iron Age. The qualities of this age are: the climate is one quarter virtue and three quarters sin and the human lifespan is 100 or 120 years. (Read more about the Hindu theory of time here: Hindu Theory of World Cycles)

But, getting back to my earlier thoughts about the nature of energy and mass again; it is believed in many schools of thoughts that intentions focus energy, that prayer is like focused laser of pure energy. So, and this is fun to think about, when we pray we are releasing actual energy back in to the universe. When I chant the Chenrezig practice with my friends I am sending out waves of energy into the universe. When my mother-in-law says the rosary she is doing the same. There is even a belief in Tibetan Buddhism that an entity can be generated by sheer meditation. I actually believe this could be so, given that we know that thought is the formalization of energy and that mass is energy at the basest level.

It is clear I am not a scientist, and if you have read my words before then you also know I am no monk, priest or philosopher; but that doesn’t keep me from day-dreaming.

Matt