maanantai 10. helmikuuta 2020

Pemako Buddhism: Western Vajrayana Pioneers

Pemako Buddhism:
Western Vajrayana Pioneers

Q: I again come to expectations and concepts, how a buddha should be and behave. Like it would be an automation that fully realized buddha would be teaching, doing charity and so on.

Kim: We, Pemako buddhists, are pioneers and the West is the ground where we have arrived to our pioneering work. There has been mahasiddhas before but not outside the cultures of the East (not known at least). Honestly, I think that, we are the first ones on this hemisphere getting close to buddhahood and eventually becoming mahasiddhas in this life, the first ones within just few years from now, based on divinations and the present stage of a handful of our practitioners.

Already for couple of years, half of our sangha members have achieved stability of rigpa or knowledge of oneself as a buddha. I've spoken about statistics and details on many occasion before so I won't get into that here but people new to this should read What's Next? On Post-Awakening Practice, which gives you a clear and practical sense of this, what to newcomers and outsiders might seem like an outrageous claim. So anyway, it's a completely new thing what we do here in the modern West. Also, Pemako Buddhism is the only non-Eastern lineage of vajrayana to exist. There simply are no others, as all existing lineages of tantra have come from Tibet, in most cases. So we are doing groundbreaking work, like pioneers who roam to new lands, build roads and villages for others to come. In the wider perspective of history this has been done many times before but in our time and culture, it hasn't been done.

There is not a single person existing who grew up in the West and became a mahasiddha. I think we might have to go back 2000 years to find such a person in Jesus Christ but since then there has been nobody, although there has been many monks, nuns and hermits in the Christian tradition.

Looking at the present Western world, there is no one out there who had life experiences like ours because no mahasiddha ever grew up and practiced in the modern West. All available accounts and biographies of yogis and masters are all Eastern and if you start reading them, I at least, always found something to relate to but mostly something I couldn't relate to. I didn't grow up in buddhist culture riding yaks, cooking food on fire, living in tents. I grew up in a modern secular society, watching Sylvester Stallone movies, getting drunk in bars as a teenager, experienced depression, anxiety attacks, wasn't married (twice) by my parents and so on and so on.

To live in 21st century wealthy Western society is very very little like the past cultures of the East. Pretty much the only similarity to Eastern people of the past, is existential confusion, dukkha. So, we just have to do the work ourselves and trailblaze, come up with our own stories of authentic seeking, practice and attainment. It would be nice and supportive for us to already have accounts from perfectly enlightened Western buddhas - people who look, speak and are like us - but as that is not the case we just have to do it ourselves. It's been done before in history many many times so in one sense we are not actually doing something entirely new, it's just new in our present time.

One thing is for sure: Buddhas are not gods, angels, high beings or saints. Buddhas are fully liberated of all form and types of selfing, in other words, they have the insight of emptiness of all phenomena. All texts say this but to me at least it is not so obvious to understand this because at the same time buddhism comes with a lot of cultural baggage and mushroom effect from previous generations of the East that is not helping us Westerners to understand what exactly it is that changes or is transformed with practice, and what isn't.

Our personalities will not change due to attaining perfect enlightenent or mahasiddhahood. We still remain, in my case for example, a heavy metal and electronic dance music loving goof, who plays the blues on guitar. I never was a shiny happy person, smiling that etheric smile of a buddha, so I doubt I will become one when I achieve mahasiddhahood. Actually, that sounds creepy to me and in fact, it looks like the exact opposite.

When the recent layers of self/bhumis have cleaned up for me, I find that I swear as much as I used to prior to dharma practice, when I was around 20 years of age. That's when I think I had the best sense of humour as well, and it's all coming back... I started changing myself, put a lid on my personality when meeting the dharma, like everyone does. So yeah, in my understanding, already quite close to the full attainment, it looks like I am just becoming me, completely and entirely again, except that most of the self-made bs is gone... I certainly have no problem of remaining a fan of 80's heavy metal or whatever cultural traits I have. In fact, that sounds awesome to me. I can be me, without the slightest imposition of a ”spiritual person”, a teacher, bodhisattva, buddha or whatever. Just me! Yay! And you, and we all.

Q: I love this stuff... I have come to this conclusion, too, that it's just about being myself fully. As it can't be any other way. I hate all the hypocrisy and built up "me's".

Kim: You know all these masters have said it that you, me and everything is already liberated and perfect. That we don't need to alter anything is what they mean. And actually changing oneself or imposing a new whatever spiritual-practitioner-bodhisattva-persona on oneself is not only entirely needless but also makes it worse in terms of increasing self-based confusion. But that's how the samsaric mind works and we all can't help reifying it. Also, it doesn't help that a lot of schools and lineages start by having the beginners become followers by carrying external marks and assuming certain ideas, even though they'd have very little or no authentic experience, i.e. insight into nature of mind. This is where our style of practice is different because the first thing we do is to get awakened and then keep going until all 13 bhumis are open and rigpa is stabilised. It is a very different kind of paradigm that the whole world is used to. I personally feel that to do it in any other way is a disservice but that's what people in most walks of life do. Cults of different shapes and forms are everywhere around us, some good, some bad, some harmless, most samsaric.