I offer you a way .......
Part of a letter to a friend, written by Traktung Rinpoche 5:00 AM, March 1, 2004
I offer you the way; whether you walk it or not is up to you. To live in the wonderment of beauty, truth, compassion and to live dedicated to love is the deep of every true spiritual path. To relinquish unlove, to dissolve fear, to open into the vast mystery of Being – this is the journey, the quest of being human. To die to an old way and awaken in a new life… Nothing less will satisfy the heart.
If you will unshackle the heart and listen to the voice of love that speaks like a living flame within every being, then you will be drawn to take up the way. These teachings of Vajrayana, the mystical and most profound path of the Buddha’s teachings, are for those whose hearts, minds, bodies are awake to this calling. Those who are drawn beyond the shallows and into the deep of life’s ocean… Nothing less will satisfy the heart.
This call to new life, this call to a new way of being has been sung, and danced, and written of in the poetry of mystics, lived for, died for, been a source of beauty, truth, compassion, wisdom. This is the blood and bone, heart and blood of the spiritual path. This longing matured through the methods of meditation, prayer, and celebration… This longing worked and forged within the crucible of your moment to moment experience like gold purified in the heat of the furnace, like iron shaped under the smith’s hammer, like the flower blooming under the warming rays of the sun… Nothing less will satisfy.
This is the import and meaning of the ancient Tantric path, the utter purity and spontaneous luminosity of Dzogchen, the mystery and beauty of Tantra, the heartbreaking love and compassion of the Buddha’s awakening. A fire of love, a whirlwind of exaltation lived moment after moment in and with and through each meeting and parting, each day and night. Such a longing is the greatest quest, it is the demand of the Heart and it is a demand that consumes the whole of our being until we die to who we were and awaken within a new dimension and mystery… Nothing less will satisfy.
In the beginning of every Tantric sadhana, one passes through the gateway of the three samadhis – the three meditative states that open out into the powerful transformative action of the Tantric path. These three are nothing short of dying and being born again in a new way, born into “the way” which leads even beyond the seeming fact of birth and death. “Unless you die and are born again you can never enter the kingdom of heaven.” This statement of Jesus would have been perfectly understandable to a Tantrica for it is the core of his every action and moment of life… to die again and again in each moment and be “reborn” in the wonderment of new appearance. The Tantric Buddhist path of Vajrayana is the answer to the question “How?”
Everyone feels the longing and calling of the mystery and love. Everyone, in moments, intuits that somehow there is something far deeper than the shallow consolations of materialism and nihilism can offer. Everyone, every single human being, has felt the stirring, the calling, the longing within their body, their mind, their feelings… but “How?” How do we turn this intuition of the mystery of Being into something that can be lived and explored day-to-day and lead to an awakening as deep as the ocean and as high as the sky? Every spiritual path is an attempt to answer that question and the Buddhist path of Vajrayana, Tantric Buddhism, offers an answer so profound and beautiful, so dynamic in its methods and precise in its technology that it is nothing short of an art and a science which addresses the fullness of what it means to be a human being.
The quality of a spiritual path is determined by its ability to offer methods that allow us to discover, first hand for ourselves, the truths spoken of on the path. Step by step methods that can be explained fully, taught, and duplicated in the laboratory of our own personal human experience. This is exactly what the Tantric Buddhist path does. From the very first step to the most esoteric awakenings, it has the potential to guide one along the way. It is not a path for the childish as there is no one else to do the work for you. As the Buddha said, “ I have shown you the way, now it is up to you whether you walk it or not.” It is not for those who demand to be independent of all instruction. If you were wishing to become a great pianist, it is very doubtful that sitting down in front of the piano by yourself and banging away would ever produce much result. It is a path forged in the union of fierce independence and profound ability for relationship – a somewhat rare union.
To die and be born again. To die to the old and wake up within a new love, a love so profound, so luminous and pure that all of life is recognized, re cognized or known again, in the light of its creativity, beauty and playfulness. This is what we are called to. We who would be Tantricas, who would walk the path of mystery and exaltation… to die and be born anew… nothing less will satisfy. This is what we are offered, each one of us. This is what the Buddha offered, Padmasambhava offered, Yeshé Tsogyel offered, what every child of their teachings grows into, what I offer to you with open hands and open heart. This path which has been walked, tested again and again by women and men of differing abilities, in different countries, different centuries. This path whose ability to lead to liberation has been duplicated in the laboratory of human experience over and over is the offering. I offer you the way; whether you walk it or not is up to you.