Practice questions regarding pride and compassion, the three classes of deities: peaceful, semi-wrathful, wrathful, review of Tsulak Trengwa’s poem How I Live The Practice (text available on website) which describes the flavor of deity practice, questions regarding deity practice.
Let’s begin with any questions about the practice. No questions?
Student: A case of clear directions.
Student: A case of clear directions.
Ken: Oh dear, I’ll have to muddy it up next time. John?
John: Is pride an attribute?
Ken: Pride isn’t. Pride is usually regarded as an emotion. Why?
John: I’m just trying to figure it in a more positive way, it’s almost like arrogance.
Ken: Yeah pride, arrogance.
John: But you’re not really suffering from it. [Laughter]
Ken: Most of the people I know who are proud aren’t suffering from it at all.
John: That’s what I’m saying.
Ken: Most of the people I know who get angry don’t suffer from it. Everybody else does. That’s the characteristic of a reactive emotion. You’re discharging the energy so that you don’t get to feel it—everybody else does. That’s why you’re expressing it, so you don’t have to feel it. So what’s the question behind all this?
John: Well, I got totally thrown off this morning when I came in for an interview…
Ken: Well who, who did that? [Laughter]
John: That’s because you turned it around a bit.
John: Something that was more…
Ken: No, keep going: this is important.
John: I’m trying to think of how I started out because you ended up saying you wouldn’t deem to even consider that those people were affecting you.
Ken: That’s right.
John: And deem that your own self-interest that’s provoking it or your own self-betteration.
Ken: Yeah, if you’re going to be…if you’re proud and some little pip-squeak takes issue with something that you’ve done, does this affect you?
Ken: I mean if you’re really, really proud and even if someone has the temerity to speak to you, which they shouldn’t, of course.
John: Yeah, I get that.
Ken: What’s the awakened quality here?
Student 1: Vajra pride.
Ken: Yes, but what’s the specific quality?
Student 2: Equanimity.
Ken: Yes. You’re not disturbed by anything. Good. Bad. You sail through it all. Everything’s the same. So live proud.
You have to go all the way here. You know Nasrudin; some of you have heard me talk about him before. He was a magistrate on one occasion. Somebody, a visitor to the town, came into the court in his underwear and said, “I’ve been robbed by somebody in your village. I want you to find the culprit and have my belongings returned. They took everything.” And Nasrudin looked down from the bench, “You’re wearing your underwear aren’t you?” “Yes.” “Well, he wasn’t from our village. We do everything thoroughly around here.” [Laughter].
So, in yidam meditation, you’ve got to be thorough about this, you know. No half-measures. Judith?
Judith: I was inspired by Anita’s question about Red Tara, about compassion and power.
Judith: And yet when I was doing my meditation, I kept feeling like if I exerted my power I wasn’t being compassionate. So I wonder if you can give some advice on…
Ken: What’s your hang-up?
Judith: I want to be nice.
Ken: Ah, there you are.
Judith: I want to be kind.
Ken: Not the same thing at all.
Judith: All right.
Ken: I had a group in Orange County many years ago and we were doing the Four Immeasurables. There was a psychotherapist in the group who was a bit of a feisty character. In the middle of [a talk on] compassion at one of the meetings I said, “Okay so, what does this look like in your life?” And she said, “Well, I just ended the relationship I’m in.” And everybody else went, “Ooh”. And she looked at everybody and said, “Oh, don’t be so stupid. I was suffering; he was suffering. It was the compassionate thing to do.” Okay, not about being nice. Remember, compassion is the manifestation of the clarity of mind. We’ll get a bit more into that tomorrow. Anita?
Anita: If it turns out that Red Tara is full of seduction…
Anita: So what’s the vajra expression?
Ken: That’s for you to explore. [Laughter].
Anita: I was thinking about it.
Ken: Yes. You’re going to seduce the whole world. Everybody in it. That’s what Red Tara can do.
Anita: Seems like we would use a non-sexual word.
Ken: You have another word?
Anita: I can’t think of…persuade or convince.
Ken: Doesn’t have the same juice, does it? [Laughter]
Anita: Well, magnetize maybe.
Ken: Seduce. It gets all of that stuff that we’re uncomfortable with, right, why? What—
Anita: It sounds negative, it sounds polaristic.
Ken: Don’t you like being seduced?
Ken: So it’s not necessarily negative is it?
Ken: Do you like seducing people?
Ken: Sometimes. [Laughter] Okay.
Page 21. How I Live the Practice. This is largely about deity practice. You’ll notice on the opposite page there’s a picture. The picture is a representation of a particular practice in the Shangpa tradition called the five tantric deities. Then the two skeleton figures are a form of protector. We’re not going to touch on those. The red figure at the bottom is another Shangpa deity, that’s Tam Drin or Horse-head. who’s an A-1 demon basher if any of you want to. It’s great, just totally about bashing demons.
The figure in the center is Chakrasamvara and his consort Vajrayogini or Vajravahari. The figure in the top-left is the Lord of Mysteries, Guhyasamaja. The figure to the top-right is Mahamaya, Lord of Illusion, Great Illusion or the Master Magician, if you wish. The figure in the bottom right is Hevajra also known as Vajra Anger, zhe dang do rje (pron. Zhedang Dorje) and the figure on the bottom-left is Do rje ’jigs byed (pron. Dorje Jigye) or the Vajra Destroyer.
Now, you have here what are basically the three classes of yidams: peaceful, wrathful…or peaceful, semi-wrathful and wrathful. Guhyasamaja, or the Lord of Mysteries, on the top-left is peaceful. And I’ve said before they’re clothed as prince and princess of the Gandharvan period of India.
The next three, that is Chakrasamvara, Mahamaya and Hevajra are semi-wrathful. They’re vampires. That’s what they are. Now some of you have already experienced a bit of this even though you’ve only been doing this practice for a short time. Feeling how the deity bites into you and drinks the blood of your pattern-based experience. Anybody have that experience?
Then the wrathful, Do rje ’jigs byed and Tam Drin are working very explicitly with our reactive mind. It’s our reaction in full-flower so to speak. Emotional reaction in full-flower, experienced in complete awareness. And that’s what you’re practicing with.
Initially, many people are drawn to the wrathful deities because they have this very energetic quality about them. But most people find that the energy of the peaceful deities is actually a lot heavier. There is no room for escape.
This poem that I’ve translated here, it’s from the autobiography of one of the great Kagyu scholars, a person called Tsulak Trengwa, who I think lived around the sixteenth-seventeenth century, somewhere around there. I’m not totally sure about those dates. But he wrote very, very extensive commentaries on Vajrayogini and a lot of other stuff.
Sometime during the three year retreat, I came across his autobiography. Most autobiographies are long lists of empowerments they’ve received and teachers they’ve gone to and teachings they’ve studied etc., etc. They really make for [Ken uses an ironic tone] very interesting reading. But every now and then, in one of these biographies, you’ll come across a real gem which is actually when the teacher talks about their own experience or their way of relating to practice. And this is Tsulak Trengwa:
Always I worked hard at pure actions
So as not to waste the pith instructions.
Although I haven’t visited frightening burial grounds,
I haven’t seen any place more frightening than
Attitudes based on the poisons of the five reactive emotions
And the eight concerns about conventional success.
Student: Is that a typo Ken? Though I haven’t visited?
Ken: Yes. I haven’t seen anyplace more frightening. What’s the typo?
Student: Shouldn’t it be although I have visited?
Ken: No, no. What he’s describing is that he’s always stayed in a monastery. He hasn’t done the yogi trip, going out and hanging out in charnel grounds.
Ken: He says even though I haven’t gone there, I know what terror, I know what a frightening place is. This is a frightening place. It’s a way of emphasizing that when you really understand the reactive emotions or emotional reactions and how powerful those eight worldly concerns are, you know gain and loss and happiness and unhappiness and fame and obscurity and respect and disdain. These are the monsters that haunt you. Yes, Robert?
Robert: What happened to the sixth emotion?
Ken: Oh. They have different lists. There are the six realms and the six reactive emotions and then other times people prefer five so they just drop one—it’s usually greed or pride or something.
To these, I applied practice the way rock meets bone:
The eight concerns dissolved like a rainbow,
The poisons of reactive emotions became a friend, and
Thinking that attached to reactive emotions released itself into its own nature.
That’s his experience in practice. Not bad.
Wherever I am, I engage secret actions. And secret actions has a wide range of meaning, but its primary meaning is working internally.
Student: Working internal…?
Ken: Internally. In the secret points of the Kagyu teachings, these are the epitome of the instructions. And one of the things about training in a tradition such as the Kagyu, any of the Tibetan traditions, is you have practices which have been worked and reworked by people over centuries. So formulations can be very, very precise and very, very concise. And that’s what he’s referring to. So, [you] might just get a four line verse from a teacher which you can use in practice for several years.
When I was with Nyishol Khenpo in Santa Fe in ’93, on one occasion I was talking with him. And it was approaching dinner time and his wife was sort of stomping around the room in which we were having this interview and banging pots saying it’s time for supper. Nyishol Khenpo said, “Shut up, I’m trying to give him something useful.” And then he said, and I put this in the tenth chapter in the book, but it’s an example of really concise instruction: Break the egg of ignorance. Cut the web of existence. Open awareness like the sky. And then he gave me a brief explanation, but that was my instruction. And it’s very, very concise. And something you can just unravel, unravel, open up, open up.
I practice [and mix]
The secret points of the Kagyu teachings
With everything that arises through the gates of the six sensory consciousnesses.
And that’s what he’s going to describe in the rest of this poem.
I know that everything, good and bad, is a friend of the natural. This refers to actually the point John was raising earlier—equanimity. Where you have that level of equanimity, everything that arises illuminates understanding. It doesn’t matter whether it’s good or bad.
Everything I do completes a short or medium power assembly. Power assembly is a particular form of ritual, the purpose of which was to develop power. Nourishing the power of the body. Nourishing it with food. Nourishing the senses with dance and song and poetry. And nourishing the mind with direct experience.
Student: Is this tsok?
Ken: Yeah—power assembly. Tsok kyi khorlo. Now the reason I’ve translated as power assembly is because khorlo here refers to the symbol of the universal monarch. The wheel, that’s a symbol of power. So a lot of them use an allusion which no one knows anything about. Just translated them directly.
In the burial grounds of terrifying pattern-based existence, Why are they burial grounds? Because everything is dead there. Pattern based existence, patterns have no awareness. They are completely mechanical processes. They’re dead. So we live in that charnel ground. And it’s terrifying. Does anybody have any questions about terrifying then? Moving on.
The cities of enchanting sensory pleasures, Well, we live in Los Angeles: need more be said? You know LA’s a great place to live for this. It’s the only city…well, there’s actually two now—there’s Las Vegas. It’s the two cities where illusion is reality.
Student: I think there’s more than two cities really…
Ken: I know, but they do it so well, you know.
The seclusion of transcending misery in the lesser ways, This is referring to withdrawal from the world as a way of creating the conditions for being present.
The forests of appearances that have no independent existence, You ever get lost in the world of appearances? Okay, so that’s the setting, the ground; that’s the context or the environment in which practice takes place. Chris?
Chris: I think I got the forest of appearances, but when you went to what said have no independent existence, I’m getting fuzzy.
Ken: What…do you want me to hit you instead…[Ken rings bell]…does the sound exist by itself? In and of its own right?
Ken: It does?
Chris: Based on my experience.
Ken: Okay, now we go to [philosopher George] Berkeley. If there’s nobody in this room would anybody have heard a sound?
Ken: Would the sound have existed?
Ken: No. See, Berkeley was wrong. You know why Berkeley was wrong? Because he was using that as a way of proving the existence of God. But since God doesn’t exist, the argument falls apart. It’s very simple. Everything that you experience, because things don’t exist apart from what you experience. There is nothing except what you experience.
Ken: Okay. That’s the appearances that, “have no independent existence.” We impute independent existence on them.
Chris: I see. Okay. Thank you.
Ken: Okay, The practitioner who knows the nature of things Now what I want you to feel here, rather than think about, is how Tsulak Trengwa is taking every aspect of practice and just immersing himself in it completely.
Wears the topknot of respect and devotion for the teacher, Okay. Now if you look at the central figure, Chakrasamvara, in the painting you’ll see how he’s got his hair tied up. Okay. They always wear their hair that way—it’s always like that. That’s your respect and devotion for the teacher, it’s always there. It’s always right with you. And that’s what’s being expressed here. This is the process of deity meditation. These qualities are just right with you. You’re living them all the time. It’s not a case of visualizing them or understanding this symbology. Those are the steps into it. What the meaning is that you’re living this—really living it.
The wheel of stable awakening mind, Now on top of Chakrasamvara, right at the top of the top knot, there’s a bone wheel through which the hair is pulled and pulled down over the side. That’s that. And that symbolizes stable awakening mind: bodhichitta.
The earrings of knowing sound as empty,
The necklace of the vajra recitation of spells, [mantras]
The bracelets of the three vows,
The ashes of self-arising understanding, and
The belt of compassion and modesty.
So this is a way of talking about things. This is how you go out in the world. This is how you dress. Right? Put on the belt of compassion and modesty. You know, rub on the ashes, this is from the old sadhu tradition, of self-arising understanding and so forth. This is how you go out in the world.
Now. What would it be like if you went out into the world like this?
Ken: How? How different?
Student: You would be very public with your practice.
Ken: Would you be public with your practice?
Student: You’d be knowing of the nature of things.
Ken: All the time, yeah. It’s not about being public, pardon, yeah.
Student: You would know sound as empty, self-arising understanding.
Ken: Now let’s just take that knowing sound as emptiness, knowing that everything that you heard had no intrinsic existence or meaning. And what difference might that make?
Student: You don’t react to.
Ken: Yeah, cut through an awful lot of reactivity right there, wouldn’t it?
Ken: On the next page, by the way somebody tell me a quarter-past will you, what time is it now?
Student: It’s five o’clock.
Ken: Okay, I hold the staff that is the union of method and understanding, Method and understanding, this is Buddha’s short-hand for being able to see how things are. That’s the understanding or the wisdom aspect. And doing what’s appropriate, that’s the method part.
As the former Canadian High Commissioner to India who’s [a] serious student of Buddhism said, “Skillful means: whatever works.” You have that with you, just like walking with a staff helps you. You have that quality of understanding and clarity and effectiveness always right there. Don’t have to reach for it.
And sound the hand drum of indestructible original sound. Now you see that—oh, you can’t quite see it on this. But a skull cup, you know, cut off the top of the head, empty it out, that’s a cup. Popular image. skull cup that preserves the bliss of retention and the bliss of retention is from transforming sexual energy so that it’s transformed directly into attention and awareness.
I eat the ambrosia of whatever arises in the six sensory consciousnesses, Which is all sensory experience. And as we know from the sensory deprivation experiments which were done at McGill University in the late fifties, early sixties, we actually need sensory experience, otherwise we go nuts. It is a form of food.
And one of the things that some of you are probably doing this afternoon is just sitting out there, and you do nothing. Well, I told you to do nothing but what you are actually doing, at least part of what you’re doing, is just soaking up sensory experience—it’s nourishing. And one time when we were up here we did a whole afternoon of ecstatic practice. Nobody ate anything for dinner. Everybody was full.
Quench my thirst with the poison of attachment to duality, You know one of my favorite teachers is Lama Karma Thinley in Toronto. Wonderful person, a little eccentric, maybe why I like him. But he was in California once and a friend of Dan and mine, Michael Conklin was driving him to give a talk in Grass Valley, which at that time was a hippie hangout, with lots of people in ultra-pure Hindu trips and so forth. They already had a considerable discomfort because they knew Lama Karma Thinley was Tibetan and they had had to prepare some meat, so they cooked a meat-pie or something like that.
So Lama Karma Thinley gets up there and everybody is sort-of tip-toeing around trying to be respectful. And we’ve got all of this stuff going on and something had gone wrong, there was only a little bit of food available, meat anyway. And Lama Thinley looked up and said “I want more.”
Then he gave this totally nonsensical and incomprehensible talk on astrology. And proceeded to make some rather pointed comments about a number of people’s hangups in relationships. He was a very perceptive guy. Everybody was just incensed and they left.
On the way back Michael said, “Lama Karma Thinley, what on earth were you doing there? I thought Dharma was about promoting peace and understanding.” He said, “Lama Karma took the microphone and said, ’Oh you Americans you want everything to be nice. Sometimes it’s just better to stir it all up and drink it.’”
So Quench my thirst with the poison of attachment to duality, Okay, everybody wants to move beyond experiencing things with duality right? That’s why you’re all here. How do you do it? Well here’s a method: accentuate the sense of duality. Make it as vivid as possible. How does it feel? I’m here and you’re there. There’s this big gulf between us; it’s never going to be bridged. You are totally on the other side of that. How does it feel? Keep going.
Student: Well, to me, it’s abandonment.
Ken: Yeah and so you go right into it—and you can try that. See where you’ll end up. That’s drinking the poison.
[And] extract nourishment from the aconite of reactive emotions.
Student: Does it really say aconite?
Student: It really says aconite?
Ken: Yeah, it’s duchen: It’s aconite. It’s a poison.
Student: Well I know it’s a poison…
Ken: Yeah I know I’m sure you do.
Student: That’s why I’m asking.
Ken: Yeah, but no it’s a very well-known poison in the Tibetan. It is actually aconite. It’s a very powerful herbal poison. It’s a plant right?
Student: Yeah. Monkshood.
Ken: Monkshood, okay. Now it’s the same thing. And many of you know this practice. When you’re angry what do you do?
Student: You move into it.
Ken: Yeah, move right into it. You eat it, you drink it, you really experience it. It’s a Vajrayana approach. The fact that they do it in the Theravadan tradition doesn’t make any difference—it’s a Vajrayana approach.
Okay. I wander in the state of no coming or going. Well there are a few of you hanging out there these days.
The zombies of appearances of the eight concerns, You know the waking dead: gain, loss, happiness, unhappiness, fame, obscurity, respect, disdain. You base your life on these it’s like Night of the Living Dead.
The cannibal demons of compliance with social convention, How many of you have been eaten by these demons. All those who value nice, hold up your hands.
The sirens of meaningful projects to undertake,
Student: Oh, I don’t know about that one. [Laughter]
Student: Siren is actually a Tibetan word?
Ken: It has the same meaning. I chose siren because it is a form of demon that seduces you with beautiful song. So it’s a siren. The whole…Yes?
Student: When was this written?
Ken: This was written, I think in the sixteenth, seventeenth century. Maybe a little earlier than that. Why?
Student: I was just curious.
Ken: The whole crowd of emotional reactions to anything that arises, Yes, well we all know about that. When you wander in the state of no coming and going All of these become your servants and are swept away in the vast ocean of pure being.
The inner heat of the single stroke that arises spontaneously. That’s a reference to the practice of tummo which is energy transformation which produces an internal sensation of warmth and a few other things.
I rely on as the self-arising seal of commitment. There’s a whole body of teaching in this tradition on the four seals, which are degrees of engagement with what is ultimately true. I’m not going to go into it any further in this.
The freshness of any appearance that arises
I rely on without clinging as the seal of experience.
Now he goes into how earlier he said, with everything that arises through the gates of the six senses—applying the practice everything arises through the six gates of sensory consciousnesses. This is how it’s done in yidam practice.
The sense of sight, Kshitagharba, which is one of the six bodhisattvas. Meets Vajra Form, whatever appears as form. So you have the faculty of sight and you have the object of sight and they meet. What happens when they meet?
Student: Perception experience?
Ken: Yeah. You experience. Okay. This is represented by the union of the bodhisattva and the consort Vajra Form. In union, there’s no duality. Ordinarily we think, you know, here’s the object; here’s the consciousness. And we think of them as separate. You know, “I’m experiencing that.” But that’s not actually the case. There is just the experience which arises and because of our dualistic framework, we split it into consciousness and object. What we’re doing through this form of practice is dissolving that projected duality.
Then he goes through the other,
This meeting in which form and emptiness are inseparable
I rely on as the supreme seal of activity.
So he’s actually going through the various seals. Then he goes through the rest of the senses,
The sense of hearing, Vajrapani,
Plays with Vajra Sound, sounds of every kind.
The faculty of smell, originally pure, Akasagharba,
Embraces Vajra Aroma.
The sense of taste, Avalokiteshvara,
Joyfully embraces Vajra Flavor.
The sense of thought, Manjushri, joins with Vajra Experience.
The sense of touch, Samanthabhadra, is one with Vajra Touch.
In the elaborate forms of these practices you actually visualize deities in sexual union in each of the senses. In the eyes, in the nose, in the tongue—can’t remember where they’re situated in the body—and in the ears. Yes?
Student: Ken, sorry to be so basic here. When you say sexual union it means one is masculine and one’s feminine?
Student: Which is masculine and which is feminine?
Ken: The bodhisattvas are masculine and those are the consciousnesses and the sense objects are the feminine. And so you have Vajra Form, Vajra Sound, Vajra Aroma, Vajra Flavor, Vajra Experience and Vajra Touch are all the feminine.
Pride is Buddha Locana, angry thinking is Mamaki,
Desire is Pandaravasini, jealousy is original Tara, and
Instinct is Dhatvishvari.
Now these are the names of the five buddha consorts. These are the reactive emotions.
All these I enjoy without taking or pushing them away: So again, he’s using the symbol of sexual union. But this is exactly what we’ve already talked about. You embrace the emotions, you join with them. Not letting them take you over, not pushing them away, but actually experiencing them completely. That transforms the experience. That transforms the reactive emotion. And that’s why the reactive emotions are given the names of the Buddha consorts. That they’re transformed into the experience of direct awareness and presence.
This, I think, is the highest seal of activity. You know that’s the best thing you can be doing because then you’re transforming all your reactivity into pristine awareness. Nobody else has to experience it.
In non-referential great compassion,
Emptiness supreme in all aspects
Is naturally present, arising on its own, neither joined nor separate.
I rely on the totality of experience as the supreme seal, mahamudra.
The rest of it is pretty straight-forward. You can see how, through this, the whole labor of deity practice is a way of entering completely into whatever’s arising in experience. We started off this morning asking you to pick an identity because we have all of these different ways of relating to the things, and the consequence of that is we don’t experience things completely. So we bring it all together in one identity and use that one identity, the yidam, to really engage experience completely.
Now is this frightening? Absolutely, it’s terrifying, because it’s the death of the reactive patterns. They can’t function in this environment, not the way they’re used to functioning, at all. And we are heavily invested in many of the behaviors and personalities of that and so and many, this is what has come up already in interviews. So go out and relate that way. People go, “Can’t do that. Not allowed to do that.” Well, there’s your conditioning coming. In all the literature, it says you become the yidam. It’s not true. The yidam becomes you. You know, it takes you over. You don’t survive. That’s why they’re vampires.
Student: Is this why you said when you start a certain way, there’s no going back.
Ken: That’s right. Very true. Once you start on this path you can’t go back. Because you come back as the half-dead. And that’s not a very good way to go about your life. Okay, lets take a few questions. Darren? There’s a shuttle service for anybody who wants to leave. [Laughter] Susan?
Susan: So basically tonight just keep going deeper?
Ken: Yep. That okay? Yeah, I mean just keep working with the identity, the form of the yidam you’ve chosen and really experience it. In addition to that, we’re going to have supper now. You’re that yidam eating. You’re walking around. You’re that yidam walking around. You are that all the time. Not just when you’re practicing. All the time. When you go to sleep, when you get up, when you brush your teeth, when you wash your face, everything. You are that. Any questions?
Student: Well, now I’m a bit confused because I feel like I’ve been doing the wrong thing. I’ve kind of chosen this body-mentor-symbol and I was actually getting a lot of benefit from thinking of myself as being red.
Ken: Yeah, red.
Student: But I wasn’t working with seduction, I was working with compassion and power.
Ken: That’s fine.
Student: I can still be red?
Ken: Of course, yeah. You know seductresses don’t have a monopoly on red. Kurukulla, who’s the top seductress, she’s red. Amitabha, he’s red. You know, there’s a great deal of similarity, just different manifestation. So, that’s fine. Tam Drin, he doesn’t exactly do much seducing, but he’s red.
Student: This is a pretty remedial question, bear with me. So the vampire just completely sucks this reactivity out of you. You just totally burn it out by doing it to the point where you see how destructive it is…and you’re not there anymore.
Ken: That’s right. When we were first introduced to this, we would hear all these words. But I mean, I think a lot of us didn’t have any idea of the meaning. Right, Dan?
Dan: Absolutely true. [Laughter]
Student: You can’t say that strongly enough.
Ken: Thank you. And as I’ve said several times, my intention here is for you to get the feeling, and I don’t want you to get the concept, “Oh, something is sucking all the stuff.” That’s a way of stepping back from it. You do this by letting yourself be the symbol you’ve chosen. Whatever it is. You just be it completely and you will experience the blood draining out of the patterns. Now, is blood draining out of the patterns a pleasant experience? Caroline.
Caroline: No. I don’t know, those vampire movies—they always kind of get into it.
Ken: The vampires get into it. You’re the victim.
Caroline: I know, the victim. But when they drink, [the victms] kind of swoon…
Ken: I know, but it’s Hollywood What do you expect?
Deborah: So in what sense is the vampire—I mean, the instruction was that we are the awakened form of this reactive emotion?
Ken: Right, yeah.
Deborah: I’m disconnecting in here.
Ken: No, you can work out of that side. I just want you to be…I don’t want you to conceptualize it. I just want you to be in it and just feel what happens and just feel the whole thing. Don’t think about it too much. That takes you out of it. Be this awakened form and feel what happens. For instance, which one are you working with, if you’re comfortable saying so, Deborah?
Deborah: Not by my choice. I would like to say that first.
Ken: Oh, this is going to come back on you so hard, go ahead..
Deborah: It already has, believe me. Eros.
Ken: Oh that’s right. Yes, okay.
Deborah: Oh, duh! You forgot.
Ken: Yeah, well there’s a few people in here, okay. So be her right now. Right now, completely. Changes a few things doesn’t it? Right? How does it feel? You’re going to make everyone in this room do exactly what you want. That is, you’re a master seductress. You have that capability every moment. How do you feel?
Deborah: That wasn’t my take on it.
Ken: I know. How do you feel right now?
Deborah: It feels different…
Ken: But how do you feel?
Deborah: Not very good.
Ken: That’s the blood draining out of the reactive patterns. Okay, you follow? What was your take on it? It has many dimensions of course.
Deborah: Well, I was taking it as the awakened form in that. And finding, you know, where is the gift in this quality. Where there is the awareness and presence and empowerment.
Ken: Yeah, much too much in your head. Much too much in your head. You’ve go to get right into it. You follow?
Ken: Yeah. Because you’re not going to find what is awake there by thinking about it. It will only be an idea. And ideas have no power in this world. Dan?
Dan: What other dimension in this practice—I mean, as you said, we learn that we don’t know much, but one thing that in the beginning you go through in this process of the yidam of the month and quite…
Ken: Well, we were trained in about a dozen different yidams, so just a month here, a month there. Pretty soon you didn’t know who you were.
Dan: But you said one thing that, I’ve forgotten most things now, but one thing that did stick was that just by doing it you will build up a relationship.
Dan: And I was going, “Yeah right.” You know I was not encouraging, but that actually did happen.
Ken: It does. Absolutely.
Dan: That actually did happen. You know a relationship, you know, not for all of them but—
Ken: Many of them.
Chris: When you say relationship, I’m sorry…ask.
Ken: Go ahead.
Chris: When you say a relationship, what do you mean, because to some degree I would think it’s, you’re inseparable—so what’s the relationship?
Dan: Well, I suppose it would be on a relative level of being inseparable. You have a feeling, it’s a feeling.
Ken: Well it’s a bit more than that. I mean at first, it’s like meeting a person. Chris this is Dan. Dan this is Chris. Now you get a certain impression of Dan, right?
Chris: Oh I see.
Ken: But then you and Dan sit down and talk. Now you begin to get a feeling of Dan. But yidam goes much further. After a while you think, “I wonder what it’s like to be Dan?” Now you got to get to know Dan a lot better. Then much to your consternation, Dan’s taken you over. [Laughter] Last question.
Student: Well, this does sound to me a lot like an archetype, you know, because you know the archetypical energy, if it’s really pure, and I’ve dealt with the seductive energy, and it is yidam, not me but…
Ken: No of course not, I’m not going to buy that one.
Student: But yes, it’s really, really when it’s really crystallized, just sounds like what we are working..
Ken: Yeah okay, were going to do the prayers now. Great Vajradhara…