Padmasambhava: "Looks Like Me/' Padmasambhava, the "Precious Master/' "Guru Rinpoche," is the founder ofTibetan Buddhism and the Buddha of our time. It is believed that, on seeing this statue at Samye in Tibet, where it was made in the eighth century, he remarked, "It looks like me," and then blessed it, saying, "Now it is the same as me!"
BRINGING THE MIND HOME 71 One of his qualities is that he has the power to give his blessing instantly to whoever prays to him, and whatever we may pray for, he has the power to grant our wish immediately." Inspired by this, fix a copy of this picture at your eye level and lightly set your attention on his face, especially on the gaze of his eyes. There is a deep stillness in the immediacy of that gaze, which almost bursts out of the photograph to carry you into a state of awareness without clinging, the state of meditation. Then leave your mind quiedy, at peace, with Padmasambhava. 2. Reciting a Mantra A second technique, used a great deal in Tibetan Buddhism (and also in Sufism, Orthodox Christianity and Hinduism), is uniting the mind with the sound of a mantra. The definition of mantra is "that which protects the mind." That which protects the mind from negativity, or that which protects you from your own mind, is called mantra. When you are nervous, disoriented, or emotionally fragile, chanting or reciting a mantra inspiringly can change the state of your mind completely by transforming its energy and atmosphere. How is this possible? Mantra is the essence of sound, and the embodiment of the truth in the form of sound. Each syllable is impregnated with spiritual power, condenses a spiritual truth, and vibrates with the blessing of the speech of the buddhas. It is also said that the mind rides on the subtle energy of the breath, the prana, which moves through and purifies the subde channels of the body. So when you chant a mantra, you are charging your breath and energy with the energy of the mantra, and so working directly on your mind and subde body. The mantra I recommend to my students is OM AH HUM VAJRA GURU PADMA SIDDHI HUM (Tibetans say: Om Ah Hung Benza Guru Pema Siddhi Hung), which is the mantra of Padmasambhava, the mantra of all the buddhas, masters, and realized beings, and so uniquely powerful for peace, for healing, for transformation, and for protection in this violent, chaotic age. 7 Recite the mantra quietly, with deep attention, and let your breath, the mantra, and your awareness become slowly one. Or chant it in an inspiring way, and rest in the profound silence that sometimes follows. Even after a lifetime of being familiar with the practice, I am still sometimes astonished by the power of mantra. A few years ago, I was conducting a workshop for three hundred