It was around this period that I was reading the Tibetan Book of Living and Dying and seemed to then engage with Buddhist deities through trance meditation, such as the previous entry on the White Tara from February last year and also with Quan Yin, which I haven't written about as yet.
The meditation began on top of a cloudy mountain, so cloudy that I had to float down through the air cross-legged in order to move into the realm. I floated above a rocky pathway, down past a Chinese man carrying two pitchers of water across his back and around to the precipice of the mountain leading to many sets of stairs. From the top of the stairs you had an incredible view of the bay below where three waterfalls came into the crescent-shaped bay and fell gracefully from a great height into the ocean. I continued to float down to the bay as a Chinese soldier with long hair in a ponytail crouched on the sand facing out to the horizon as though he was paying homage. He wasn't wearing a helmet nor was he wearing anything around his torso at all, as though as a warrior he had removed them for he knew we would not fight and also to relax in his own worship as he meditated on the beach. He had sharp lines for eyebrows, acne scars on his lower cheeks and had very beautiful long eyes. He wore the lower half of his warrior suit along with his boots.
"Who are you?" I asked, bowing to him.
"Guan Yu," he replied.
I hadn't heard of this diety before and wasn't sure what to expect from him, but from what I could tell his intentions were pure. He crouched down again, extending one hand out so that large red playing cards formed a walkway above the ocean, which he invited me to walk over. I walked over the pathway which lead to a large whirlpool in the ocean which danced above in circles on one of the cards for a time, then I jumped into it. I danced within the whirlpool and looking up I could see many moons racing above my head as though time was speeding up intensely, hundreds of years passing by. Then the walls of the whirlpool caved in and I surrendered to its dance, being spun around, accepting a death for a new beginning. After some time the whirlpool formed again and I came above the surface to see a modern Chinese city where the bay used to be without the hills and its waterfalls.
Three waterfalls: Guan Yu's was a prominent general of the Shu Kingdom in the Three Kingdoms Period, thus the three waterfalls may have symbolised each kingdom coming in to one point. It may also be symbolic of the three phenomenon truths from the Tientai school which was founded after a disciple met Guan Yin a:
- Dependent reality: A phenomenon is produced by various causes, its essence is devoid of any permanent existence.
- Phenomenal existence: This existence is temporary, and has its limitation.
- Middle: This truth of the middle is equated with true suchness, and it can not be found elsewhere than in phenomena. According to this truth, Dependent reality and Phenomenal existence are one.
And the only way to obtain the full awareness of the above truths is the Three views (or three insights):
- Emptiness: Phenomena posses no independent reality and they can not exist without other factors, therefore nothing is eternal.
- Unreality: Although a phenomenon has the apparent existence of phenomena and can be perceived by the senses, because its nature of emptiness, this phenomenon is temporary and unreal.
- Middle Way: Since a phenomenon is blended of emptiness and unreality, it is incorrect to view the truth in any of the above two poles. The proper action is to view a phenomenon and its parts as a whole, all phenomena are merged and contain one another.
Red Playing Cards: "A well known story of Guan Yu is how he got a poisoned arrowed to the arm and had to get surgery. Guan Yu calmly played a game of solitaire while receiving the needed treatment on his arm (1)."
A VERY SHORT HISTORY OF GUAN YU, CHINESE SOLDIER, 160 to 219AD
Called upon in China to protect social order, Guan Yu was deified as a saint for policemen and I adore one of his many titles "General who rocks the bandits"! I saw Guan Yu at about the age of 23, which apparently was the age when he ran away from his home town having slain a man who was harassing a woman. After this age he became a great warrior. Read more about the life of Guan Yu here.
According to the Buddhist account, in 592, Guan Yu manifested himself one night before the Tripitaka Master Zhiyi, founder of the Tientai school of Buddhism, with a retinue of spiritual beings. Zhiyi was then in deep meditation on Yuquan Hill when he was distracted by Guan Yu's presence. After receiving Buddhist teachings from the master, Guan Yu acquired the Five Precepts. Henceforth he became the guardian of temples and the Dharma. Legends also claim that Guan Yu assisted Zhiyi in the construction of the Yuquan Temple, which still stands today. (2)
Dharma: that which upholds, supports or maintains the regulatory order of the universe means Law or Natural Law and is a concept of central importance in Indian philosophy and religion. As well as referring to Law in the universal or abstract sense dharma designates those behaviours considered necessary for the maintenance of the natural order of things
The five precepts: to abstain from harming living beings, stealing, sexual misconduct, lying and intoxication.
WHAT DID I TAKE FROM THIS?
Well, having only just looked up what the five precepts are, I believe the journey taught me to take better care of myself: by not submitting myself to sexual misconduct by putting myself into dangerous and precarious sexual situations as I have in the past, to not harm others in any way - including in thought, to not steal even the smallest thing - even food, to never lie and be transparent in how I express myself and to not get intoxicated - and thankfully I don't drink! I have met with him in meditations since with he and I practising sword fighting which I believe suggests the discipline and clarity of mind required for and a result of the five precepts. Now that I have finally looked up the five precepts I intend to stick with them - and have been very good with those ever since having met this diety anyway, so I certainly hope that was his influence!
(1) The Young Polytheistic
(2) And other information on Tientai