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Celebrate the Light of Your Buddha Nature

BY Parvati

Within the bud of the ego, it is dark and narrow. When the bud gives way and the flower emerges, everything becomes beautiful and pervaded by the most glorious light. You come out of the dark into radiant light, from imprisonment to freedom, from ignorance to true knowledge. This world of diversity is transformed into perfect oneness. It happens within you, not externally.
– Amma
YOU ARE LIGHT
This coming week marks the holiday of Vesak in many Asian countries. Vesak, also known as Waisak or Wisakha or Phật Đản, celebrates the incarnation of the Buddha. On this day people remember his birth, enlightenment and death. I wish all those who commemorate the Buddha a deep and meaningful holiday. May everyone swiftly attain enlightenment!
I feel deep awe and gratitude for luminaries such as the Buddha who point the way to freedom from suffering through enlightenment, awakening to the reality that we are light. That moment of awakening is what my song “I Am Light” is all about! (Have you got your copy yet? iTunes: http://apple.co/1LW0cMe Google Play: https://goo.gl/NbSBQR Amazon: http://amzn.to/1PCdOH8).
“I Am Light” was inspired by an ancient Buddhist mantra within the Prajñaparamita (perfection of Wisdom) Sutras. “Gate gate pāragate pārasamgate bodhi svāhā!” is said to be the words spoken by a monk the moment he attained enlightenment. “Gate” means gone – from suffering to freedom of suffering; from forgetfulness to mindfulness; from duality into Oneness. “Paragate” means gone all the way to the other shore – all the way over into a new understanding of reality. “Parasamgate” refers to everyone, all beings. “Bodhi” is the light inside, referring to enlightenment or awakening. When we see this light, the vision itself liberates us. “Svaha” is an expression of joy, like “Hallelujah!” The mantra literally translates to “gone, gone, gone beyond, gone utterly beyond, Oh what awakening! Hail!”.
The mantra reminds us that by letting go of our preconceived notions, opinions, and attachments, we open to the wonders of life. By not being attached to our perceptions and ideas, we see what clearly is and realize our inherent unity with all. I find it so inspiring to consider the moment of enlightenment as the realization of oneness, the moment we realize everything is interconnected light. Light is who and what we truly are. Light is our essential nature.
YOU ARE NEVER ALONE
Despite what our five senses may indicate, we are never alone. Though we think of ourselves as separate, we are continually held within the whole. Even when we experience the sense of “me” or “mine”, we exist within something much greater than ourselves, even if we don’t see it. No matter how deep our habit of feeling disconnected may be, we are never apart from the One.
We tend to believe that everything we see in our material world as solid. But modern physics, and ancient spiritual texts, tell us that our physical reality is in fact vibrating molecules that give us the illusion of solidity. We are part of that illusion of solidity, our sense of self a projection of our thoughts and accumulation of previous tendencies.
We like to think of our self as solid and fixed, but in essence, the notion of “I” does not exist. It is sustained by the choices we make, that for the most part are ignorant of the reality of our oneness within the whole.
Our ego is the main driver in this self-sustained delusion. Its only job is to keep us feeling divided and important. The idea of unity threatens the ego’s dominion over our sense of self that is like a castle built in the air. In every moment throughout every day, our mind actively works in conjunction with the ego to help divide, categorize and sort the information we take in through our senses, so that we may hold onto the fantasy of our i-dentity.
Yet, within the whole, our separate sense of self is literally no-thing. It is an illusion we sustain that perpetuates suffering.
AWAKENING TO WHO YOU ARE
Awakening to the full reality of who we are is part of every human being’s destiny. Beyond the veil of our limited perceptions, which are sustained through our attachments to ego, we are one with pure consciousness. The process of our soul’s evolution involves a purification of our distorted perceptions so that we may realize our true, divine nature.
From my understanding, there are various stages of enlightenment. In the early stages, we begin to awaken and realize that there is more to life than wanting, a feeling of “mine” and our limited perceptions. We start to question the nature of the mind and the grip of the ego. Then we go through a purification of the mind as the ego dissolves and we feel more interconnection.
As we evolve, the ego holds less power. The energy we have held captive within it slowly merges back to the One. Finally, we reside in a permanent state of oneness with pure, divine consciousness and feel a unity with all that is. We abide in the equanimous state of pure compassion. We are no longer identified with the body or the mind. We have transcended even death itself.
Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi (Amma), a realized master from South India, describes enlightenment in this way:
By extinguishing the smaller flame of ego, you will lose your identity as a small, limited individual. Nevertheless, this is absolutely nothing compared to what you gain from that apparent loss – the sun of pure knowledge, the inextinguishable light. Also, when you lose your identity as a small, limited self, you become one with the bigger than the biggest, the universe, the unconditional consciousness.
This final stage is a very sophisticated state of being, one very few know because it is true mastery. This state is not about being OK with whatever is, as expressed in the common phrase “it’s all good”. Nor is it a place where we are absorbed in a perception of our self as being God, feeling above it all.
Enlightenment involves the absolute dissolution of the ego, of any notion of duality or separation, and the complete merging into the flow of pure consciousness. When we are in the One, it is my understanding that we are in a permanent state of unity with the world, with the universe and with all of creation.
The transformation we embody in the process of enlightenment is one that dissolves the grip of the mind and opens us to the infinite field of possibility that lies as a substratum beyond it. This, in essence, is at the root of meditation practice: merging with the luminous space through which pure consciousness arises. This is the ultimate fulfilment.
As the realization that everything is pervaded with Divine Consciousness dawns within you, you also see that every human being, everything in creation, is already Divine. The only difference is that you know that you and they are one with Divinity, but they do not. It is only a question of uncovering the truth.
Great teachers tell us that our state of unity with the One already exists, but for the most part, we cannot see it because we are so caught up with our mind. We are used to identifying with our mind, to feeling that our ego is in control. We do not allow ourselves to trust and to let go. It is as though we are so focused on a tiny speck of cloud, thinking that it is the entire world, that we miss the vastness of the sky, the light of the sun and the infinite expanse of the universe.
We are an evolving species. So we know that change is part of the process of moving towards enlightenment. However, the great teachers tell us that enlightenment does not involve a moving away from, or moving towards, something other than who you truly are. They tell us that what we seek does not exist “out there”, but is in the infinite expanse of the now. That which we seek is already here. All we have to do is soften and open.
This week, may the Buddha’s example, and the guidance from great masters, inspire you to let go of your ego’s grip and discover your vast and luminous interconnection with all that is.
Love yourself.
Love others.
Love our world.
We are one Earth family.
Namaste,
Parvati