Because I’m lazy. And all-or-nothing.
I like vows because they force me to be disciplined and structured, so I’m doing it again, and started day one yesterday, November 17, 2010. This time for 40 days, 30 minutes each day of practice. During this time I will be working with four different deities as understood and practiced in the Shingon tradition and instructed by my teacher, Hokai Sobol. I’ll finish these 40 days with a week-long solitary retreat. Well, semi-solitary because I’ll be doing the retreat with my dharma brother, Vincent Horn, but we’ll each be doing our own thing, kicking it buddha-licious style in a cabin up in Crestone, Colorado.
My motivation for all of this is raising the intensity and quality of my practice. The 100-day vow I did over the summer had more to do with “just doing the practice” and creating momentum. Now, I’m raising the stakes by sitting for longer periods and doing a retreat (this isn’t the first time either. I’ve done a month long solitary before, it’s just been a while. A long while:P).
I want to take this momentum that I have generated and plunge into insight. As for the specific practice, I have done some deity practices, but this will be the first time I am practicing as the deity, embodying the deity, four deities total. I will be following a fairly traditional order with the four deities, practicing each for 10 days, and in each phase I’ll share at least one post going into more detail about each deity, and following it with my experience in the 10 days.
1. Vajrasattva. In the Shingon tradition, Vajrasattva relates to our innate ability to practice, non-self confidence, purification, and is foundational.
2. Cintamani Cakra Avalokiteshvara. As usual, Avalokiteshvara is used for developing compassion.
3. Mahavairochana. Giving rise to wisdom, embodiment of Buddhahood, the totality of all aspects of awakened reality, the primordial buddha(hood).
4. Acalanatha, Immovable Mantra King. This is uniquely a Shingon deity, as far as I can tell, and as such is very new to me, unlike the first three. I’m extremely curious to practice with/as this deity. Acalanatha has to do with service, immovable in fierce compassion, ready to serve the practitioner, as if the practitioner was Buddha.
In my understanding, each deity is an embodiment and representations of different qualities and facets of reality and enlightenment, and the practice that I will do with each deity will help me to become the embodiment as well. I will be sharing more experiential posts as I practice with each deity and as the forty days unfold.