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Author Topic: A few initial questions....  (Read 821 times)
Zenji
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« on: February 09, 2011, 08:49:17 PM »

I'm about 200 pages into Liberation In The Palm of Your Hand, and have come up with a couple questions.  These questions pertain to Section 45, on page 121 titled "Adopting the eight featured sitting posture.... on a comfortable seat, and then taking refuge, developing bodhicitta..."

The first is, it says to start you should "draw a swastika under the mat in white chalk powder."  Is this on the reverse side of the mat, or on the ground beneath the mat?   In my meditation area, it is carpeted, and thus, putting white chalk down would be not well received by my landlord.  Is this absolutely necessary for laypersons, or is this purely higher tantra?

The second question is along the same theme.  Further in the passage it says that one should place durva grass and kusha grass at the front tip of the swastika.  I'm not entirely sure if that is obtainable on this side of the world.  What can be done about this?

A question concerning both of the above questions:  can I ever hope to gain attainments without doing those two abovementioned practices?
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SharpPudding
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« Reply #1 on: February 10, 2011, 01:46:52 AM »

 The swastika can be drawn on the floor or on a piece of paper laid underneath your seat. You can instead draw a crossed double vajra if you must. It's applicable to lay people but I'm not entirely sure where that tradition comes from, it fits in with some practices though.

 I don't know if there is a alternative to kusha grass, you should be able to buy it online somewhere. Kusha grass has a few uses, all of them symbolic as far as I know.

 You can definitely get attainments, likewise you probably do not meditate in a place free from any noise, on a mountain, isolated from people but with ease getting supplies, but you can still get attainments.

 If I remember right, this section is on the development of calm abiding, which applies to every Buddhist.
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wmw111
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« Reply #2 on: February 10, 2011, 04:27:37 AM »

In a retreat I know about someone made a symbol of a reversed swastika using paper and placed it under their seat.
The reversed  swastika represents indestructibility or double vajra.
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« Reply #3 on: February 10, 2011, 06:30:48 AM »

Hi Zenji,

Durva and Kusha grass are easier to find than you think.  Both grasses are used for Hindu Puja and can be found in East Indian Puja stores or even East Indian grocery stores.  Just make sure the quality is good as some people will try and sell older grass that looks not so good.  In some cases they may not charge you for the items if you let them what your going to use it.  Remember that Buddhism was once very large in India and made use of plant items common to Hindu rituals.

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Zenji
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« Reply #4 on: February 10, 2011, 07:25:08 AM »

Wonderful, thank you for your kind words everyone.  Another question, should a new swastika be drawn every day?  or is it permissible to use the same one over and over (my heart tells me to use a new one, as a meditation on impermanence, but my brain tells me to reuse, as a matter of practicality)?

I offer up this, upon retrospection:  in my part of the world, the native american people burn several types of grasses and armoatic plants to purify a space.  This practice is known as "smudging".  (I suppose I should inform you that I am a native american person)  One of the main things that is used is called sweet grass.  This grass is believed by my people for thousands of years to be the hair of the mother Earth itself, and that it's extremely purifying.  By that extension, would it be permissible to use sweet grass, assuming after a search, I am unable to find these grasses?  Is it possible for you, Wai Meng, to ask a liaison to ask Rinpoche about this?
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Joey
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« Reply #5 on: February 10, 2011, 05:41:15 PM »

These instructions are for serious retreat practices if i am not mistaken. Also keep in mind that Liberation in the Palm of Your Hand was intended for monks, and what is described here is in short, to be attentive and particular about the place you will do the retreat in.

Alternatively you could visualize a swastika or draw the swastika on a piece of paper and place it under your mat.

kusha grass is actually vertiver. It's widely used in perfumery and it can be bought widely (the dried roots)

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