Monday, April 28, 2014



Amitabha is one of the Five Family Buddhas.  

His pure land is Sukhavati, the Land of Great Bliss, representing the great joy experienced when all conditions are met as opportunities for practice and realization in the quest for complete awakening.  His color is red, representing the activity of magnetizing or attracting.  His hands are in the mudra of meditative equipoise symbolizing stability, the right 'skillful method' hand supported by the left 'wisdom' hand.  In his hands he holds a lotus flower, a symbol of purity and renunciation.  The lotus is a powerful symbol associated with all Buddhas, symbolizing their appearance in the world and yet that they are unstained by defilements, hindrances and cognitive obscurations.  A blossoming lotus represents the natural unfolding of activity free from the faults of the eight worldly concerns

Amitabha is the Buddha that represents completely purified attachment or passion.  All of us have strong desires and passions and our fixation on these leads to a very narrow view and limited understanding.  We become fixated on our version of the truth, what we think is the right way, what we want.  Attachment is not flexible, it is rigid and stiff and produces poor decision making and cloud upon cloud of negative thoughts and emotions.  Amitabha represents the transformation of that attachment into the wisdom of discernment.  Discernment is free from bias and distortion.  You see and understand.  You get the big picture.  A discerning mind is open, flexible and precise.  It is able to perceive its own condition and the condition of the surrounding world. 

Amitabha rides a peacock possessed with all the major and minor marks.  The peacock is able to transmute poison into healing nectar.  Its call announces dawn or awakening.  The eyes of its feathers represent wisdom, the quill feathers represent the myriad skillful methods that are employed to bring about fruition.  Like the lotus, the peacock is able to transform the mundane and poisonous aspects of our daily life and world in order to bring forth great benefit.

In regard to our own mind and self, Amitabha represents the aggregate of perception.  Perception is like a lens through which we see the world.  That lens is obscured by negative emotions, bias, ignorance and fear.  As it becomes distorted, our thoughts and actions become distorted.  Attachment and aversion are constantly effecting the opaqueness of our lens, closing off access to insight and wisdom.

When we deeply contemplate and integrate the wisdom and symbolism of Amitabha, we can learn to transmute attachment and distorted vision into the wisdom of discernment.  We become skilled at transforming problems and the negative aspects of our life and world into the path.  Our practice becomes one of transformation.  We don't need to escape, turn away or reject.  We can work with what is coming up.  Because we are not fixated on our own position, we can see the opportunity available to us.  We can see the opportunity available to others. 

Everything becomes the practice.  Your life is your spiritual practice, the result is the path.  Sukhavati is not some destination in which we arrive, it is the path on which we walk. 

Start walking. And bring a peacock.

No comments:

Post a Comment