Another beautiful, clear day here in Toronto. “It’s not always like this,” I’m reliably told by a Canadian, but for us out-of towner festival goers our Toronto seems like a beautiful appearance that is quite easy to integrate with Keajra, Vajrayogini’s pure land. And as we learn today it this integration and transformation that is the very essence of Highest Yoga Tantra.
It is the first day of the commentary, and Gen-la Khyenrab explains the 11 Yogas, or main practices, of Vajrayogini. He says in Highest Yoga Tantra we “harness what we do in samsara in such a way as to take us out of samsara”. Case in point, enjoying things. Gen-la explains how normally when we enjoy things, the pleasure give rise to attachment which in turn creates suffering. But with the yoga of experiencing nectar we learn to ‘hijack the process of pleasure by recalling emptiness.’ In this way our pleasure is conjoined with wisdom and becomes a path to attaining the clear light of bliss. We ‘are not transforming attachment, but preventing it. It’s contraception for attachment!’
With great skill, Gen-la takes us through the essential points of the practice. Even though the practice is extensive, Gen-la leaves us feeling encouraged and wanting to practice. As he says, ‘in the Guru’s pure land, he sees us all as enlightened beings, so why would we have a problem practicing’. If we connect our mind with our Spiritual Guide’s mind, we receive blessings and then anything is possible, even our own enlightenment.
That sense of possibility and meaningful enjoyment pervades the whole festival environment. Everywhere you go in between the sessions you see Sangha friends enjoying themselves in our ‘pure land’ version of Toronto. We are enjoying the water front, the cafes and restaurants, maybe even a ride up the Space Needle, but really what we enjoying are the blessings of listening to and talking about and practicing Dharma, connecting to the Buddhas, and relying upon Sangha. At the Festival we feel ourselves changing. And it’s that sense of possibility we want to bring home with us to share with everyone else.