Monday, March 30, 2009

The Medicine Buddha and the Nagas


A few weeks ago I began to meditate with a beautiful image of the Blue Medicine Buddha. I would stare at the Medicine Buddha image, but this image also had above the head of the Buddha, Naga Queens and Dragons surrounding the mythic bird Garuda. When I stared at this image of the Buddha it was like walking through a portal of inner worlds and visionary experiences. I would sit before the image and chant the Medicine Buddha’s name of Sanjay Menla. It is said in Tibetan text that just hearing the name of the Medicine Buddha will bring liberation from the three lower worlds. I have found in my own experiences this is to be true.

The Naga Queens and the Dragons have a certain symbolic significance in this mandala image. The Naga/Dragons are placed above the Medicine Buddha’s head, indicating that the lower negative emotions that cause dis-ease in the body have been purified. Their higher placement in the mandala says that he lower emotions have been raised up though the central channel and transformed. The Blue Medicine Buddha color is symbolic of the element of space. The Medicine Buddha heals through dissolving diseases into space.

This particular image also has many hundreds of little Medicine Buddhas behind the central image. One day when I was glancing across the room I had an instant insight of what this meant. The main image was the Medicine Buddha in a golden mandala, which looked just like a cell. The hundreds of Medicine Buddhas behind the image were putting the Medicine Buddha into the very cells of the body if you took the time to meditate with this picture.

The Naga offerings we do are both inner and outer. The outer offering is the mantra, mudra, milk and honey we offer every new moon. We have made a vow to do this for life: to offer to the water to pacify the nagas. This blessing benefits the fertility of the earth and all those who live in or use the element of water.

The inner offering we are making is a commitment to be responsible for the cleansing of our emotional bodies. This is what naturally takes place in our lives as we are commited to any kind of water offerings. Why do we make offerings on the dark of the new moon? It is the parts of our negative emotions that are not illuminated yet in our consciousness. The more I do this work, the more I realize what we really are being asked to do. In the beginning we do this because we may have a connection with nature or feel the need to bring some type of healing to our natural enviroment. But as I continue this work I realize what is inside is outside and what is outside is inside.

I would like to share the following meditation that came from my inner inspiration and my own emotional healing process. The following meditation may be something you would like to use:

The Medicine Buddha’s Heart Treasure Technique
Sanjay Menla Anahata Terma
Conceived by Raylene Abbott, March 2009

The name of the Medicine Buddha of Healing is Sanjay Menla. I meditate on the name of Sanjay Menla, using the inhalation for one syllable and the exhalation for the second syllable. The entire name is used with two breathing cycles and is silently repeated in my mind with my eyes closed. Therefore, it becomes a meditation of 4 stages.
I first connect with my emotional pattern I am working on. This usually comes as an uncomfortable feeling in my belly. It can be a difficult to bring your awareness to the belly because it is usually an issue that causes us pain. But allow yourself to stay with the feeling.

1 Now I inhale and I think the syllable San and I bring the feeling from the belly into the heart chakra, located in the middle of your chest. The idea here is not to resist your suffering or the uncomfortable feelings but to allow yourself to embrace whatever is there. This is the hardest part, since we usually push down or ignore how we feel.

2 Now on the exhalation, I think the syllable Jay and I drive the sound deep into my heart center. I allow the feeling to go very deep into my heart center, without resisting the emotional pain I may be feeling.

3 Now I inhale again and I think the syllable Men. At this point of the meditation I allow my heart to expand the core beyond my emotional pain. Negative emotions and feelings make our bodies and heart contract - this breath goes beyond the barriers of contraction.

4 The next exhalation I think Lah and allow the emotional pain and pattern to dissolve into space. The breath goes beyond the emotional thought form in the pain body in your aura and it begins to dissolve.
Karma is just crystalized patterns waiting to be released through the breath that is then dissolved into space.

I began to use this technique in the beginning with only the breath. But I have now added the use of the Medicine Buddhas name. I use the spaciousness of the inner heart and the breath to dissolve the pattern. One has to really keep the attention on the breath. Utilizing the Sanjay Menla name helps to focus your mind. I call this “steaming off the emotions into space.”

I feel that the practice compares to the distilling process of essential oils that they do here in Southern France. The copper still has a big vat, which is where they place the plant material, such as lavender flowers, mixed with water. The water represents your emotions. The vat represents your belly and the plant material could be compared to the different experiences that have happened in your life that are now harvested and ready to become essence.

The fire under the vat brings the water to the boiling point. This could compare to our difficult life experiences that bring our emotions to the boiling point. Now to make essential oils, the boiling water creates stream that is carried though a copper tubing. This steam also carries with it the delicate aromatic oil of the plant. We could compare this to bringing the emotion though the central channel with the help of the breath. Our emotions and breath create what I call in this part of the meditation “the process steam off the emotions.”

Then in the distilling process there is a point that the steam goes though this very small tube and evaporates. When the evaporation process happens what you have left is essential oil.

This part of the meditation you are actually releasing the emotional patterns to the point that only the essence of yourself remains. Old beliefs systems about yourself can fall away. Projections you have carried since childhood can be liberated in the natural essence of who you truly are.

The heart chakra has a very small point at its center. I compare this to the very small opening of the distilling tube that separates the steam from the essential oils.

As you travel into the heart chakra you will meet up with all kinds of personal hurts, and fears. But keep traveling into the heart's very center. It can be compared to going though the eye of a needle with your consciousness. Once you have touched the point in the deeper heart center, the opening of the vast spaciousness begins. Once you hit that spaciousness all that is left is your essence and all other emotional belief systems dissolve.

The challenging part of this process is getting past your fears and embracing the suffering you may be feeling.

Enjoy your journey.

I want to thank Neil Cohen for taking me into the journey to the still small point in my heart.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Naga Initiation at Castle Lake


Nickki Hill is a woman and very talented photographer from Mount Shasta. I met her a few years ago when I was moving out of the area. It was very important for me to find a person that could keep feeding the nagas since I was leaving. Nickki is who I found and she has been feeding the nagas every New Moon ever since. These images are from Castle Lake where Nickki said she was initiated to the Spirit of the Nagas. This is interesting because the first time Susan taught me how to feed the Nagas was at Castle Lake also in the year 2000. So I am proud to share these beautiful images with you.


Nickki Hill *studiopsyche*

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Sunlight on Water

We travel a lot and Menton is where I am able to place my hat at the end of the road. During the afternoons in Menton we enjoy walking to Italy and sit on a rock that meets the sea.

It was during this time that I began to practice the mantra of Varuna. Varuna is an ancient God of the Vedas. He was the chief brother of the solar sons of the Sun Goddess Aditya. These twelve Gods as one form and are expressed though the Gayatri Mantra. But each God has his own unique gifts which are expressed though the Twelve Solar Gifts of the Sun Mantras. The twelve Gods were Amsa, Aryaman, Bhaga, Daksa, Dhatr, Indra, Mitra, Ravi, Savitri, Surya, Varuna and Yama.

Varuna was the deity that brought the sunlight to the atmosphere of earth through the elements of wind and water. He was the King of the Nagas. He often depicted as a Blue Being accompanied by a court of Nagas or with a chariot drawn by seven white swans.
It was said that the swans use to be black but though the blessing of Varuna he transformed their color into white as milk. Later on in history he became just the God of the Sea and all the rivers and that is why he is recognized as the Naga King.
Varuna is the deity of the sunsets. The sun that sinks into the horizon and travels to the other side of the world that we do not see.

The outer symbolism of the Hindu archetype system can be very complicated to understand and may take years to study. But I find when I do a spiritual discipline through mantra many inner secrets can be revealed to me.

Varuna mantra can help to purify the emotional body and bring to the surface emotional patterns hidden in the sea of the unconsciousness. I began to do this practice during our meditations as we were sitting at the sea. One day as I was repeating the mantra the inner realities of this practice was revealed to me.

Sunlight was reflecting on the water and the wind was blowing as I repeated Varuna’s mantra:

Om Jala Bimbaya Vidmahe
Nila Purushaya Dhee Mahe
Thanno Varuna Prachodayath

The simple form is Om Vam Varunaya Namaha

I saw the whole sea as the body of Varuna. The sunlight reflections on the waters were shining the light into the unconscious depths of my emotional body. Varuna was shedding light in the areas of myself that I could not see, like the sun that sets in the West.

As I got in touch with the emotional pattern that needed my attention for transformation I took a breath. The emotional pattern was like uncoiling a naga hidden in my belly. I breathed deeper. I allowed the element of wind into my body as the emotional energy began to uncoil and be freed with each passing breath. The wind of Varuna was moving though my body. I allowed this feeling of unconscious pain to be viewed and embraced and taken in deeper at the temple door of my heart. Each breath allowed me to go deeper into my heart - past my fears, past my opinions of right and wrong. I allowed it to be transformed in the center of my heart chakra where the central sun always shines, the throne of the infinite. With each deeper breath the pain began to dissolve like clouds into the clarity of the sky of my mind.

I realized that the very process of sea water evaporating into the sunlight was the transformation of Varuna. The breath of Varuna is the wind. The Sunset aspect of Varuna is the light of consciousness shining on the hidden depths in the water of our emotional body. The coiled nagas represent the negative emotional patterns that are asking for transformation. The air of Varuna’s is our breath and the objective becomes to allow our breath and breathing patterns to move though our body without resisting the uncoiling process of our hidden suffering. The breath brings us to the door of our heart, the great transformer. With each breath we embrace our issues without judgment and without resisting. With each breath our mind becomes clear like clouds parting in the sky. There is an infinite Sun within our heart which is the seat of our True Self. Each breath sent into the heart center dissolves the pain into the spaciousness of the Central Sun in the Heart. Our minds become like cloudless blue skies, no thought, just pure consciousness.

The truth of nature is always teaching us. Varuna’s mantra opens my breath like winds on the water. It opens my heart like sunlight bursting out from a cloudy day. The seven swans of his chariot transformed my soul allowing the freedom of flight.

The Pearl of France

We live five minutes from the Mediterranean Sea in Menton, France. Menton is located at the border where France meets Italy. Menton is known as the Pearl of France. It is surrounded by rock ridges, which are shaped like Dragons. These Dragons are actually ley-lines or magnetic energies that travel through the earth. You could compare the ley-lines to the meridian system of the human body. Menton is like living on a major meridian of the Earth. This particular ley-line system extends from the French Italian Alps to the foothills of Menton where it meets the sea. We can observe lava rock that has taken the shape of dragons reaching into the clear-blue Mediterranean Sea.

This area here is a place of pre-historic caves where clay Goddess figurines were found, dating back to the Neolithic Man. Here the Romans had built temples used to worship the Moon Goddess Diana, Selene and Isis. The temple priestesses watched the full moon rise on the waters of the Sea. The moon’s reflection shining on the water at this special moment created visionary images of moonlight and water where the Moon Goddess would reveal her mystical secrets. Even today at the right time of the year and during the full moon the Moonlight Visions are revealed to those who have the eyes to see.

This is where I live. The Naga Dragon energies of this land are powerful but are dormant and almost forgotton. The Catholic Church of medieval Europe created a dark veil between the spirit of the land and the people.

In the East there exists an image of the Dragon that carries a Pearl. One evening, when I first arrived in Menton I looked up at the full moon to see a Dragon in the form of a cloud. He was holding the moon like a pearl in his mouth.

Every day in the morning I offer a copper bowl of water with small lavender flowers to the elementals. As I do this, I can smell the salt from the sea on my terrace. The sunlight reflects in the water of the copper bowl. The mixture of sunlight, salted air and the faint fragrance of lavender creates the ambience for my communion of prayer and mantra. Subtle signs of nature respond to the Tibetan mantra that I sing:

E ho shuddhey shuddhey: May all karmas past, present and future, created by our misuse of the Element of Space, be purified. I visualize blue light streaming from my heart into infinity.

Yam ho shuddhey shuddhey: May all karmas past, present and future, created by our misuse of the Element of Air, be purified. I visualize green light streaming from my heart into infinity.

Bam ho shuddhey shuddhey: May all karmas past, present and future, created by our misuse of the Element of Water, be purified. I visualize white light stream from my heart into infinity.

Ram ho shuddhey shuddhey: May all karmas past, present and future, created by our misuse of the Element of Fire, be purified. I visualize red light stream from my heart into infinity.

Lam ho shuddhey shuddhey: May all karmas past, present and future, created by our misuse of the Element of Earth, be purified. I visualize golden light stream from my heart into infinity.

E, Yam, Bam, Ram, Lham, shuddhey shanaya swaha
May all the elements of nature also be purified.

A pigeon takes wings into the air and circles around me as I quietly chant. The subtlest winds begin to move the plants that sway mystically to my song. Every morning I greet the day in this way. I am thankful for my friend Rigzin who introduced me to this mantra. My heart is thankful for Lama Kunga who sang this chant with me over the Springs of the Sacramento River. We sang the chant over and over then with our breath we blew into our water bottles and poured the energized water back into the river. I could imagine in my mind the chant traveling down the river out to sea. This is a reality that is unseen or unnoticed by human eyes but it is felt and received in the subtle planes of nature.

I have seen the tangible blessings of making offerings. My girlfriend Susan has made offerings for many more years then myself. When she moved to Portland she began to make Naga Offerings at one of Oregon’s most polluted rivers. A few years later in the place she made her offerings a Water Purification Plant was built and a movement to clean up the river began. Never underestimate what your pure intentions and prayer can do, even when the outer world says otherwise.

I have witnessed the blessings of rains and a balancing of the elements of the enviroment take place after I have made pure offerings in an area. What is a pure offering? A pure offering is one that you does not ask anything for yourself but asks only for the blessing of all sentient beings to be healed and given to the Buddhas. I never ask for rain or snow or weather changes. It not about what I think should be done. I just make my offering and give my gratitude to those beings in nature that are behind the scenes. I ask for their enlightenment and their own evolution. I believe there are even Elemental Buddhas and Wise Ones in these Nature Kingdoms who can guide the course of Nature with compassion.

Do not look for signs or wonders when you are offering - just offer with a pure heart. Do not expect anything in return. But through the course of time you will see changes in how you offer and what happen when you offer. This practice takes time and dedication and non-attachment to results. I have been so blessed with the inner knowledge of this work. I can never express the gratitude to the ones who taught me and the invisible ones who guide me. We make offerings to bless this world. Continue your offerings to continue the blessings!

The Blessings of the Nagas


My friend Susan introduced the Naga Practice to me in the year 2000. I remember one of the experiences that happened at the source waters of the Sacramento River in Mt. Shasta. We performed the practice of using mudra, mantra and offering but we also included offering the Naga Beings to the Buddhas and the Bodisattvas.

This is an important part of working with the Naga energies or any beings of nature because the Enlightened Ones have the compassion and the power to remove the suffering of the sentient beings. The invisible spirits of nature absorb not only the negativity of human thoughts and emotions but also the toxins of our enviroment. One needs the proctection of the Enlightened Ones as we do this work and it is an important part to remember when doing offerings of any kind.

This particular day of offering milk and honey into the river I had a vision of Kuan Yin with her vase as she was pouring the water of compassion onto all those who come into her Presence. But there was another feature of this vision, which was different from the way she is usually portrayed. Salmon were swimming upstream, returning into Kuan Yins vase as she was pouring the healing waters.

This vision had a deeper meaning. We are all being asked at this time on Earth to return to our own Source; this was symbolic for returning to the source of the river of life. The salmon make their way back to their breeding grounds, going against the very currents of the river. This image perfectly represents the reality of the soul that is being asked to go against the many, outer currents of this world to return to our Inner Source, where the stillness of the inner heart of compassion can be cultivated. These worldly currents are the currents of glamour and illusion.

When we practice this outer offering that we have commited to do each New Moon, we do this for more than ourselves. The outer offering is our prayer, our mudra and mantra. But our inner offering is the commitment of cleansing the emotional waters of our own life, our negative patterns that create toxic emotions that we need to purifie to live healthy and happy lives and as we do this it effects the world around us --- first like a ripple, then like a wave. It has taken years of offerings to the Nagas to give me this deeper understanding. I have traveled the World and offered in many places, both in the Far East and the Sacred Places of Europe. I realize this work is not for everyone: it is an ancient tradition almost forgotton. But I thank each one of you for holding this practice every new moon and for your commitment to do this work. May your efforts be blessed and may our waters be purifed.

Thank you

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Hina Nagashi

I have had a great interest in the Hina Doll tradition of Japan. The day of March 3 each year the Japanese girls celebrate Hina-matsun, the Doll Festival. When I visited Japan a few years ago it was during Hina-matsun. I was impressed by the beautiful Hina doll displays of the Emperor and Empress. I saw different styles of dolls - some very simply made of paper and more elaborate dolls complete with their stately court, food and flower offerings.

Andreas wanted to gift me with my own Hina Dolls that I later on packed carefully and brought to France. A few days ago I set up my dolls; I arranged flowers, cooked rice and sake around my doll display. But I decided to research what were the roots of the Doll Festival of Japan. What I found lead me into familiar territory.

The tradition began in the Heian period of Japan. It grew out of a tradition called Hina-nagashi that translates into Doll Floating. Small dolls would be fashioned of straw and placed in a little boat. The dolls would absorb the bad spirits that the person might carry. The boat would then be placed in a river to carry the dolls out to sea and free the person of all their bad luck.

The Shrine Shimogamo in Kyoto still celebrates this day, which is called Nagashibina. They float the dolls on the two rivers Takano and Kamo. But rather then leaving the dolls in the water they collect them and burn the dolls back at their temple because so many Hina boats were caught in the fisherman’s nets.

There are also foods that are cooked and served on this special day such as small crackers seasoned with soy sauce, amasake, a rice drink and clam soup. The clam soup is a symbolic food to peacefully unite a couple. Clamshells fit together very closely. But also only the original two shells fit together, which make a perfect match so the drink of this soup was used a blessing for couples.

What I found interesting in this tradition is that both the words Nagashibina and Hina-nagashi contain the word Naga. The origins of this tradition utilized the use of rivers and the sea, the kingdom of the Nagas. Nagashibina was a cleansing ritual of one’s negativity. They used the element of water that is symbolic of cleansing the emotions. The straw dolls acted as an offering to the Nagas. The ancient shamanic traditions often fashioned dolls or offerings formed of barley flour to transfer evil spirits out of the body of a person. My research of the Hina-nagashi tradition confirmed for me the emotional cleansing that can be brought about by making Naga offerings. This is an ancient tradition that has roots in many different cultures around the world.

(research source Wikipedia)