West, Red Wisdom
Red—Appreciating Our World
This wisdom is associated with the color red, the season of spring, the direction West, and the element of Fire. The Buddha that represents all these in human-like form is known as Amitabha, a title that means Limitless Light. He is sitting in lotus posture with his hands in a gesture of appreciation, palms up, right on left. The wisdom he is portraying is called Discriminating Awareness, suggesting that having made contact, and holding all things as valuable in some way, we can appreciate the fine details of the world as it unfolds before us. When we do our practice, we appreciate all there is.
For more, see pages 144, 148 and 160-162 of GBTW
PADMA FAMILY: Lotus Family Padma: lotus
Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche Heart of The Buddha –pg 144
“In the west is the Padma family, which is associated with the color red. The symbol of Padma is lotus, a beautiful, delicate flower which blooms in the mud. Padma is the basic energy of passion, or seduction. Its neurotic aspect is grasping or clinging, which is the confused aspect of passion. When passion is freed from fixation on the object of its desire, it becomes discriminating-awareness wisdom – the appreciation of every aspect and detail of experience. Padma is associated with the element of fire. In the confused state passion, like fire, does not distinguish among the things that it grasps, burns, and destroys. In its enlightened expression, the heat of passion becomes the warmth of compassion. “
Amithabha: “Infinite Light” or “Immeasurable Radiance” The lotus grows with its roots in the mud, its stalk rising through the water, the bud and then flower emerging above the water. Our potential is like the lotus: beginning with the ground of the earth, growing through practice with samsara surrounding us, emerging above the choppy water as a bud and then opening to a blossoming lotus representing our full potential of enlightenment. The Padma family is in the human realm, there is choice and potential.
Dhanyi Buddha of the West. Emanation/reflection of our own innate qualities of magnetizing. Consort: Pandaravasini
Proector Emantation: Kurukulla (T-5)
Symbol/tool: He holds a lotus blossom representing the purity of body, speech and mind Element: Fire Sense: Speech Activity: Magnetizing
Aspect of Reality: Perception Color: Red
Wisdom: “The third dhayni Buddha, Amitabha, represents the purification and elimination of the negative emotion of attachment or desire. The disturbing emotion of desire causes much suffering, because desire distracts us and keeps our minds restless and busy. When we are attached to things, we are never satisfied and always crave more and better things. Desire causes us to continually engage in work and activities to achieve and to acquire our mind’s desires. Since we continually want more and often lose what we desire, this desire leads only to dissatisfaction in life. When the disturbing emotions of attachment or desire is purified, discerning wisdom shines forth. By realizing discerning wisdom, the enlightened mind is experienced and we become one with the Buddha Amitabha. It is with this wisdom that we understand and have empathy for each and every living being and appreciate the qualities of others.
The Buddha Amitabha’s nature is the absence of attachment and desire, and his activity is magnetizing. As already described, attachment or desire lead to the suffering of dissatisfaction, a state in which one always wants and strives for more and better things. Desire determines our behavior, and not attaining what we desire leads to frustration and dissatisfaction. With discerning wisdom, and the realization of Buddha Amintabha, there is no attachment and desire and thus no dissatisfaction or craving for more and better things. The realization is so powerful
that all things are naturally magnetized as our own. There is no energy or force involved as in the state of desire.”. “Kenchen Thrangu Rinpoche The Five Buddha Families and the Eight Consciousnesses pg 5
Qualities: An absence of attachment and craving / no dissatisfaction/exhibit wholesomeness/ rely on intuition
Challenges: If Padma loses touch with their inherent joy and wholesome goodness, they can plunge into depression. Padma energy loves people and to be without relationships can be devastating. Their energy can incinerate everything in one moment or mesmerize like a comforting flame in another. Therefore, they can both be warming and dangerously hot. The need for passion can become intense clinging to objects, beings, or even concepts. Padmas want excitement and therefore can become bored easily. With that boredom, they begin magnetizing the next desired situation for better or for worst and at all costs.
“If we doubt that genuine warmth exists in our being, then we yearn even more for warmth and seduce ourselves into believing that in order to relate, we must seduce others, or even our self, into relationships. Illness focuses our mind and opens it at the same time. If the intensity of yearning scares us, we grasp at this energy in an attempt to control it. We maneuver and manipulate relationships into caricatures of natural connectedness, becoming upset when others won’t play roles in our script. Fearfulness makes seduction a form of defense. Our wisdom is twisted into fear and our internal distortions tend to see similar distortions and defensiveness in those around us, making for a world that reflects back to us our own yearning. This self-fulfilling cycle only reinforces our relentless sense of loneliness.
In the bonfire of compulsive seduction and manipulation, our fearful mind of red energy tries to dance around the fire and get others to dance – not so much with us, but for us. The good news is that the discomfort and anxiety of this restless and unnatural heat can wake us up.” Dr. James Sacamano Getting Back to Wholeness pg 173
~ Each energy is neutral, and we shouldn’t feel that we are only a representation of just one of the energies nor should we feel that represent only the wisdom aspects or the challenged aspects of the wisdom family. Nor should we believe that we represent only the wisdom aspects or the challenged aspects.
With Padma energy the possibility to transform challenging and negative behaviors exists because of the discriminating awareness, which comes very naturally in an intuitive way. When we practice and are present, we have a greater clarity about our world, our self and environment. Letting things be as they are, opens us in profound ways.
Relation to Medicine Buddha
– Amitabha is an example, a reference tool, symbol of being free of desire, one of the 3 poisons. Visualizing and connecting with Amitabha helps us see our own potential. Imagine being without craving, dissatisfaction, not just for small things like foods, clothes, experiences but having no craving for anything. If there is no craving, there is complete contentment. When we are
content, we are in the present moment. Present moment is a relaxing experience because it is
free from anxiety, discomfort and want.
- – These practices are meant to help us recognize and understand the three poisons with the root
being our own ignorance. From ignorance, craving develops and with it we lose our contentment. We literally leave the present moment and start craving either for future things or things based on our past experiences. A frenzy in our mind starts, there can be no satisfaction until the desire is obtained. In this frenzied state, craving and desire can never be fulfilled because the excitement of the next moment is unending. Once something is accomplished or conquered, we want the next thing. The rush becomes an addiction. We can all relate. We may start out thinking, “I would like to learn a new hobby.” Let’s say, sewing. We get a piece of cloth, a needle, thread, and a person to show us the steps. We work on it or awhile until the newness of the experience wears off. From there, we decide we need better cloth, more beautiful. We desire the perfect colored threads, maybe even silk. We start searching online, nothing satisfies. We might even start putting things in our online sales basket, loading it up with our hopes and desires. We want more patterns, we think we need to learn fancier stitches, maybe if we spend a little more money, it will be worth it in the end. We don’t actually engage in doing the work, it’s all mental. We may start the project but become bored after the mundaneness comes and the excitement wears down. Voila, the simple intention to learn to sew, has suddenly become a whole production filled with craving and desire, where nothing satisfies. Then the suffering continues and since Padma energy is intuitive, that suffering becomes very painful and can be expressed in very dramatic ways.
- – Amitabha helps us to recognize that our situation is workable. We can see our habits for what they are and let go of them. Start fresh. Give up the need to possess and control. Amitabha holds a lotus, the symbol of purity that is open to receiving.
- – Introduce: GREAT CLOUDS OF BLESSINGS Link: https://www.lotsawahouse.org/tibetan- masters/mipham/great-cloud-blessings Anyone can use the Great Clouds of Blessings if they need to magnetize something. It can be anything really. One would light incense, or have a sang. Then do the Great Clouds of Blessings and at least one mala of the Guru Mantra. Before beginning the Great Clouds of Blessings, one would bring to mind what their request was. As humans, we have the tendency to register our negative thoughts, feelings and experiences as solid. This “ritual” can help us to see that there is a bigger view and feel worthy of receiving. The Nalanda Translation Committee has a description on their site, but I could not find the text itself. It also shows a wonderful depiction of the visualization: https://www.nalandatranslation.org/offerings/notes-on-the-daily-chants/commentaries/great- clouds-of-blessings/
- – You might wonder, “Isn’t visualizing medicine Buddha enough? Why do I need to complicate things?” From an ultimate perspective, absolutely, Medicine Buddha is enough to visualize. From a relative perspective, each Buddha represents different appearances which reflect the different activities that we engage in. In the case of Amitabha, the red energy reminds us of the potentials of magnetizing and having the confidence to receive what is offered. What are we trying to magnetize? Compassion, loving kindness, joy, equanimity. Since Padma energy can recognize things as they are and how they manifest, storylines, habits and the desire to possess and control can be freed. That freedom leads to contentedness, meaning, without struggle. Being content means we are in the present moment, we accept what is before us as it is. Like
Medicine Buddha’s offering bowl, we accept whatever is given. We already have the wisdom energy of Amitabha. We just need to let go of the struggle, to let ourselves, float leisurely on the muddy waters of samsara- not trying to change samsara, not struggling to control it or possess it. Instead, resting in being above the mess and chaos, completely open to whatever arises in the moment.
– Medicine Buddha practice, helps us to extend beyond what we are used to. By practicing, we gain experience and knowledge. That knowledge gathers positive qualities and heals us from our own ignorance. It extends our heart to the possibility of including others, magnetizing them in a positive sense to rest. By becoming familiar and including Amitabha in our Medicine Buddha mandala, we experience the splendor of freedom from attachment or desire.