I've been listening to two series of lectures on Eastern Philosophy and Buddhism, and one of the things that came up was the subject of the Mandala. How the Mandala represents the whole of creation by the balance of the 4 points of its compass and the 'Akshobya' or Unshakable Buddha in the center. One of the Points I found particularly interesting is how a Buddhist might make an offering of a Mandala to a particular Buddha or Bodhisattva, and in doing so symbolically offer that "Deity" the whole of the Cosmos. So you see our first image.
Certainly it seems to me that Buddhist notions of interconnectedness and emptiness are important to us as Tarot readers. How is it that I can read for persons hundreds of miles away, or in the UK separated by an Ocean. Obviously that separation is not the ultimate reality, there is another deeper level of reality at which we are connected. So I thought this Tarot Mandala might make an interesting offering, or meditative device for some of you. I'm not recommending your print it out, simply that you lay out the appropriate cards from your deck.
Another Mediation, guide that the Mandala serves as is a map of the After Life. In the Buddhist Conception the departed soul again confronts Akshobya and if the soul does not recoil in fear, it can surrender to union with Akshobya and return to the source. If not the soul moves out to the Perimeter of the Mandala and begins to circle its course. As the soul meets each of the Buddha's at the corners, it can again surrender to union and return to the source. If not it continues its trek. First we meet the Benevolent Buddha, then the Wrathful Buddha, I believe we also meet the female and male Buddha's as well. Eventually however if we do not surrender to union we fall off the Mandala and back into the cycle of incarnation.
I thought that the last 5 trumps in a deck might make an interesting Mandala of this journey. Of course this is very reminiscent of the Summation of Whitely Striebers -The Path. Which I have mentioned before, For those who have not read the Path.
Star - The Soul Returns what comes from the Earth to the Earth.
Moon - The Soul meets its true feminine nature
Sun - The Soul meets its true masculine nature.
Judgment - The Soul has either freed itself of Attachments, or returns to the wheel.
The World - Freedom from the Wheel.
That's not exact, but its close enough for this essay. Anyhow Whitely at some point was show a much larger Mandala/Cross made up of the Trumps of the Tarot of Marseilles that strongly echo's the eastern Idea of the Pathless Path.
One thing I find myself very much at a disconnect with Buddhism is on the subject of compassion. Which I know will sound rather odd, and is likely because at the end of the day I am simply not all that enlightened.
If we are all temporary constellations of Chi, that have just happened to come together in our present form, but Ultimately Meaningless in the face of the larger reality. Then why is compassion an issue at all. Yes I stole my neighbors ride, and I'm Laying with his wife, and I sold his kid to a brothal in Thailand, but who cares. They are all just meaningless temporary manifestations of the Chi?
I do know that advanced practitioners of Buddhism are some of the most compassionate persons you will ever meet, but I honestly find the actual vision to be rather cold myself. If its all so meaningless, why not be a right B'stard.
Of course the Counter Argument is that well what your gaining for yourself is an illusion. By hurting others, you are ultimately hurting yourself, because we are all connected. But if Im Cruising in a Nice Ride, Laying with a Beautiful woman, and I have a wallet Fat with money, I dont feel like Im hurting. It may be an illusion that Im doing really damn well, but Its an illusion I can live with. (I've lived with the illusion that Im really quite poor and that one truly bites, I'ld welcome the change :)
Personally I think there is a basic flaw in Buddhist thought, that has to do with Permanence Vs Value. So my thought is like this,
Consider if you will a Snow Flake.
Softly drifting down from the sky in a brisk winters day.
It is beautiful, and it is unique. It lands in the Palm of your hand,
and for a brief moment you can appreciate its crystalline beauty. Then it melts,
and only you, and God, know just what a wonderful work of art it truly was for that instant.
I think its like that myself. In fact, I could draw you quite interesting parallels between natal charts and snow flakes. I can tell you truly I have yet to see the natal chart that was not beautiful. Not just in the lay of the Lines, some are not really all that beautiful in that way, but in the story they tell, they are always quite moving.
Yes we may all be little Chi snow flakes drifting towards the palm of gods hand, but that does not mean we are not each utterly valueable. I will invite you to consider one more thing:
Imagine you are a man.
You are laying beneath the woman you love in the after glow of loving
All urgency is gone, and you lazily caress her back and bottom,
She is smiling, her head is raised up just a little.
and her eyes shine with a beauty that makes diamonds seem pale.
Hug your snowflake close, and know she is utterly precious in this moment.
Ama tu ANKI, BB
Life is Sacred because it is Atman
Life is precious, precisely because each moment is a gift
and a gift is not guaranteed.
I could not sleep so I decided to take up my seat and do some mediation. AOL or a gift I wonder. BB.
--- In Goddess_Tarots@yahoogroups.com, Rachel Motes <voiceofthecards@...> wrote:
Re: [Goddess_Tarots] BBs_Blog -Snowflakes.
embrace each moment within your life.
each is unique and there will never be another like it.
each of use is a divine snowflake, beautiful in our own way, and all having a unique face that we show the world.
--- In Goddess_Tarots@yahoogroups.com, Gwyyll04 <gwyll04@...> wrote:
Re: [Goddess_Tarots] BBs_Blog - Mandala's and Snowflakes.
Thats all really interesting, i like meanings of the cards and their respective positions.
Reading the paragraph regarding Buddism and meaningless... im curious, but could the intent of meaningless be restrictive? or even misleading due to the fact we are all conditioned to conjure our imaginations with words and some of these words can be misconstrue'd?
I actually do understand how hurting someone else is hurting yourself and how the physical is an illusion.. that makes sense to me, the part that doesnt make sense is regarding fearing Akshobya... that to me feels very christian and that was one aspect of christianity i didnt agree with, is fearing God. I dont want to base my relationship with any deity on fear.
Re: BBs_Blog - Mandala's, Snowflakes, and the Gita.
Let me begin by answering your other question first. Atmon is the Hindu name for the fundamental stuff that makes up reality. In this way its not unlike Chi in China, and Buddha-nature in that tradition. Now in the Hindu is Atmon is the ultimate god. While in Daoism the Chi, (Represented by the Dragon) may be seen as an all pervading energy, but Im not so sure its seen as conscious in the way we see "God" as conscious in the west. The Buddha-nature I think is really more like the Chi, than Atmon, but I may be wrong. Anyhow I think we understand the Idea well enough to proceed from here.
"Reading the paragraph regarding Buddism and meaningless... im curious, but could the intent of meaningless be restrictive? or even misleading due to the fact we are all conditioned to conjure our imaginations with words and some of these words can be misconstrue'd?"
Although I think a Buddhist would agree with all you've said, its not quite the vision of meaninglessness that I was speaking of in my last. I think I can explain it better if I quote the Bhagavad Gita. Certainly the Buddha would have been well aware of the Gita, and I think was influenced by it. Now as you may know, the Drama of the Gita arises from the inner conflicts of one Arjuna who on the field of battle hesitates to unleash is army, and participate in the slaughter of his Cousins (on the other side), and the Great Teachers (as he sees them) who have taken up his cousins cause. Krishna however tells him that he is mistaken in his doubts and allowing them to interfere with his duty.
From the Bhagavad Gita.
The Presence that prevades the universe
is imperishable, unchanging.
Beyond both is and is not.
how could it ever vanish?
These bodies come to an end;
but that vast embodies Self
is ageless, fathomless, eternal.
Therefore you must fight. Arjuna
If you think that this Self can kill
or think that it can be killed.
you do not well understand
reality's subtle ways.
It never was born; coming
to be it will never not be.
Birthless, primordial, it does not
die when the body dies.
It seems to me that Krishna is clearly telling Arjuna the physical manifestations before him in the form of his cousins and former teachers are of no real consequence. What is of consequence is the performance of his duty, and he should rise to that challenge. He is a general and it is his Dharma to play out that role. It may not be the Dharma of a Monk, but "Better ones own path followed imperfectly, than the path of another followed perfectly." Krishna advises him that is not his choice or concern.
Death is certain for the born;
for the Dead, rebirth is certain.
Since both cannot be avoided.
You have no reason for your sorrow.
Krishna is telling Arjuna not to concern himself with deaths of his cousins. Now I mention this because I believe there are strong Parallels between the Atmon, and the Buddha-nature, and while Krishna is telling Arjuna that his duty lays in his role, which will certainly cause suffering. I rather doubt a Buddhist would see Arjuna acting out of compassion, and again Krishna is clearly telling us this is a false compassion.
So I return to my original point. Ok I do understand the Interconnectedness the Buddha is speaking to, but I don't see the Line between this position, and the position on compassion. The basic position leaves me pretty cold still. Understand I am not trying to dis an entire tradition, just hopefully engage in a little useful speculative criticism. I think we all value compassion, and believe it should be part of any great religion, but I don't see a forced line here myself.", the part that doesnt make sense is regarding fearing Akshobya... that to me feels very christian and that was one aspect of christianity i didnt agree with, is fearing God. I dont want to base my relationship with any deity on fear." Certainly I could have been more clear about this, its not so much that Akshobya is fear full that makes the self recoil. What makes the self recoil is the knowing that by embracing union with the Budda-nature, the Self as and Individuated self ceases to exist, and returns to the source. And of course one of the strongest instincts is the preservation of the self, and we assume here this instinct continues with us after death. So for me, this is not unlike the situation in some of the Tsulsala stories. If you know that through her kiss, you will know eternal bliss. "Dance in her dreams" but at the same time, you will cease to grow as a spirit, cease to be reborn, never return to the source. Do you accept her kiss? For me the moment that Sif gives herself to Tsulsala, so she can be with her Hrungnir, is an act of supreme love. She will never be reborn to the Mardii, never mother any other children herself. She is surrendering all her possible futures, to be with the one she loves in Tsulsala's dreams. Is it any wonder the Queen is well pleased? Your Thoughts, Ama tu ANKI, BB.