Of Babies and Bodhicitta

Following my recent article on Trolls, Terrorists and Petty Tyrants I received more that the usual level of positive feedback (thanks guys 🙂 ). I even had the opportunity to dialogue with one person who said they had recognised their own petty tyrannical behaviour, in part as a result of reading this post. Wonderfully they had used this insight as an opportunity to seek advice from others and to apologise to people they felt they had mistreated. Now that really is a win, for all concerned!

In my post I mentioned the Tonglen practice of meditation and with this in mind I’d like to give a small variation on the technique. Tonglen itself is a Tibetan word which literally means ‘giving and receiving’. The technique is attributed to Atiśa Dīpaṃkara Śrījñāna, an 11th century Buddhist teacher who was an important figure in the spread of Vajrayana Buddhism. The technique contains a range of benefits for the individual but more than this it is about demonstrating our compassion for others. In essence, one breaths in the suffering of others and seeks to transform it, emitting feelings of compassion and care for others in our shared humanity (and beyond this to include all forms of mind and self in the universe).

My variation of the technique was one I happened upon while recently holding my infant God/dess Son in my arms. This method, which I discovered while rocking him during a sleepless night (while looking after him so his folks could take a break) was to strongly bring my attention to the compassion and care I feel for him. This can then be extended to imagining all those other children, cradled in the arms of their loving caregivers, of which we are being the exemplar. This could include imagining ourselves as infants, and members of our ancestral lines as babes-in-arms, including of course those people with whom we may have had difficulties. Bodhicitta arising in this practice, intent on realising the swift liberation from suffering of all beings, is rooted in the actual act of caring for another life.

living star dust

living star dust

While practices like the above don’t apparently fit into the spooky hardcore image of chaos magick, in fact they are deeply congruent with it. Techniques such as this weave our magic into the very fabric of our worlds, rather than only being something that happens when we’re surrounded by candles, circles and esoteric bling. Moreover, as well as being results oriented (albeit a ‘result’ which is concerned with the grand project of collective illumination), this technique also serves to ‘intensify the normal‘ as Austin Spare puts it. Cultivating an awareness of the beauty and power of the fact the child I hold in my arms, like everything on this earth, is the product of aeons old exploded stars, fashioned by the awesome powers of chemistry and biology. That I am honoured to support and care for a new human consciousness coming on-line. That I am but one moment in this story of how – whether our own parents and care-givers were good, bad or indifferent – we humans reproduce and go on our own miraculous, unsteady way, into the future – how could one fail to notice the magic in that?

JV

2 thoughts on “Of Babies and Bodhicitta

  1. Charles B says:

    beautiful post. Thank you 🙂

  2. As a initiated and trained Shamanic practitoner from the celtic lineage I have enjoyed your work for some time. The Tibetan technique is solid and I am pleased to hear of your interpretation.
    Bradley Mckenzie

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