Afterwards, Satya, Aruna and I spent three days talking, walking, and doing practice together at Dakini Mountain. Being in a time of increased uncertainty, all we can do is put one foot in front of another and take one step at a time. Yet even flying blind, we still have bodhichitta to guide us, so we are taking steps forward.
With that aspiration, we offered a special Vajrayogini practice, Calling 100,000 Dakinis prayer and afterwards dismantled the Vajrayogini shrine to make room for the next phase, whatever that will be. Currently the Panchakarma clinic there is still up and running but we are no longer planning retreats there (unless the circumstances drastically change). So the Vajrayogini practice was our pivotal moment. We recited the prayer sitting in front of the blessed statue and then packed her up in her case and opened up to what is next.
Then it started pouring and pouring rain. There was so much rain, rain that was difficult to walk in and dangerous to drive in, like a flood from the sky. This rain was auspicious on numerous counts, first because it was the end of a puja and rain signals its success. But secondly, because this is California, rain means protection from wildfires, so on a primal level, it was received as a relief. And because we are in a period of uncertainty, anything that happens in the environment is gratefully received as a present moment event that is other than uncertainty, and therefore an event to be relished.
That rain reminded me of the line in Mipham’s “Shower of Blessings,” in which we pray to the dakinis and devas to shower down their compassion, “pour down your blessings like a rain of compassion! …shower down a great rain of dharma profound and vast!” Here is an excerpt from it for you to enjoy, may a rain of benevolence shower down upon all of us!
All sources of refuge in one, a great treasure of wisdom and love,
In this dark age, the dregs of time, precious, greatest protector
When I call on you, suffering, tormented and drained by the five afflictions,
Look upon your praying child with the love of your exalted mind,
From your vast expanse of realization, let the power of your compassion burst out
And flood my devoted heart with your blessing.
Quickly show the signs and symbols
And grant me accomplishments ordinary and supreme
Of course, that is what came to mind because that is what Buddhism trains us to do. In Vajrayana the view we train in links us to re-interpret our world, to re-appraise it in terms of its benevolent possibilities, a language of elements and dakinis that is a link to present moment appreciations. This is so often done by rewiring the senses and the environment so that rain, wind, thunder, sky… our world becomes a cue for contemplative experience. Rivers that become prayers. Space that becomes mind. Even without much instruction, we can meditate like this sometimes in the most simple, intuitive ways, this is the brilliance of Dzogchen, and a message from an afternoon rain at Dakini Mountain. Just listening to the rain. Just feeling the wind. The environment can be a cue to be simple and present, and therefore rest our minds. Just those few moments of having a native peace. This is not even about eventual liberation, or what will happen in the future. Just a small island of peace and quiet that is for its own sake.
My very best to you always,