Medicine Buddha Today

Menla and The Five Wisdom Families

Many ways have been offered to work with the five wisdoms in the west. All of these depended on some sense of container for the practice, such as relationship with a teacher, or sense of community. Here we use the benevolence and stability of our Menla practice as a way to hold the saga of our quest to realize these wisdoms in our ordinary daily life. Just as Menla always wants to help us, the wisdoms are always present in every situation, just waiting for us to see and take to heart. We may catch glimpse of the wisdom energies in any mind-opening situation, or we may see the wisdom as a sense of relief, joy or brightness after we untangle from some klesha attack. 

We see that our kleshas (or emotional uprisings) are really a search for connecting with one or more of the five wisdoms that Menla has confirmed are already within. If not recognized as such, kleshas can seem problematic. But with the background of an ever aware, tolerant and available self-identity as Menla, we can see that kleshas are not the brave protectors they try but ultimately fail to be, but are really just flights into a fearful struggle to recognize our own true nature. No matter how intense they become, or how much damage they seem to do, there is always, lurking in their background, a wish to find the brilliant jewel of wisdom hidden at the bottom of what seems to be a threat. As Suzuki Roshi said in Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind, “It is wisdom which is seeking for wisdom.”

Thus, wisdoms are hidden in all of life, and we might find them in at least three ways. 

  1. just catching any moment of awareness that arises in any normal day. 
  2. waking up to the empty nature of stress. We accept our situation with full gratitude as a gift, and we let the light of that wisdom jewel meet our eye, even if the light arises long after the moment has passed
  3. a moment of awareness arising in any health-oriented encounter.

So, for Vajra, in the case of # 2 in the list above—klesha-resolution—first, study and contemplate the description of Vajra energy. See if it resonates with some part of your ordinary experience so that you can recognize it when it does. Then, if you find you have gotten angry, or simply felt some irritation difficult to handle, relax your grip on the war with yourself and let the Akshobya that Menla practice has confirmed is always within congratulate you on finding clarity in the midst of struggle. Rest with that wisdom in your heart and bring that congratulation out, perhaps in the form of a note that you as the Akshobhya within writes to the you that lives in the samsaric mess of ordinary life. The congratulation can also be any form that works for you—recalling a poem you like, finding a flower, a rock, or anything that reminds you that you are not as stuck as might seem to be at times. Record the transaction and repeat as needed. Meet obstacles with gratitude. Celebrate how while obstacles can be difficult, they also show a path to the clarity you seek and already have. Later we will discuss equanimity, discrimination, action and spaciousness. 

We do this practice noting our small victories over doubt that wisdom is within, no matter how they occur, no matter how minor they seem, and no matter how long it takes to get an appreciation that the wisdom we are studying really is within. Then we will share our learning experience with others in our group. 

This practice is about finding inspiration in ordinary life and is not intended to replace psychotherapy. We start by working with small issues. If something more intense appears, remember, Menla is happy to help you in the form of your health care provider and even let that person collect the fees. 

To Print the above: Menla and the 5 Wisdoms

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