"[In Tibetan Buddhism] Mahamudra is a way of bringing together the notion of the immense emptiness of space - shunyata - and the manifestation of all phenomena within shunyata. From the shunyata experience of emptiness, we are led to mahamudra. Having had all illusions removed by the experience of shunyata or emptiness, there is a sense of extraordinary clarity. That clarity is called mahamudra. So the mahamudra experience is one of vividness.
The eternally youthful quality of the mahamudra experience is one of its outstanding qualities. It is eternally youthful because there is no sense of repetition, no sense of wearing out of interest because of familiarity. Every experience is a new, fresh experience. So it is childlike, innocent and childlike. The energies around you - textures, colors, different states of mind, relationships - are very vivid and precise.
Shunyata fullness [the experience of the spaciousness of awareness out of which all phenomena emerge] is rather gray and transparent and dull, like London fog. But the mahamudra experience of fullness is of little particles dancing with each other within the fullness of emptiness or spaciousness. It's like a sky full of stars and shooting stars and all the rest - so many activities are taking place."
Chogyam Trungpa, Tibetan Buddhist Rinpoche
As you can see from this passage, the imagery used to describe meditation experience in Tibetan Buddhism is quite amenable to a Wilderness Mysticism. This passage describes the exciting process by which all of our perceptions, thoughts and emotions arise out of spacious awareness during sitting meditation practice.
Photos: Aspens, Ponderosa Pine, and The Great Stupa of Dharmakaya, Shambhala Mountain Center, Red Feather, CO, October 12, 2015
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Stephen Hatch, M.A. is a spiritual teacher and photographer from Fort Collins, Colorado. His approach is contemplative, inter-spiritual, and Earth-based.