By D. Sandy, Guest Contributor
A few months ago, I finally took the step I had been contemplating over the past few years as a practicing Buddhist. One of my elderly relatives who has constantly been my guide advised me to undergo the empowerment ritual saying it would lend more depth to my spiritual practice. Fortunately, I took this advice very seriously and went through this initiation and today, I can truly say that it has helped in my spiritual development.
During the empowerment ritual, my teacher explained that this is an initiation into deity practice. I won’t go into which deity or who my teacher is. I just wanted to share my experience and why I think it is worthwhile to those who are ready.
Mantra Practice and Empowerment
My teacher said an important part of empowerment is to plant the seeds and encourage nurturing through the sadhana and mantra practice. In my experience, the moment of transmission, instantly trained my mind to concentrate, develop and practice.
Although at the time of empowerment I did not fully comprehend all the words spoken—I don’t know many of the words delivered in Tibetan—in hindsight I can say that today, after months of practicing since empowerment, there have been many tangible benefits.
Before, my mind used to be filled with too many thoughts of things happening at office and at home and I used to find myself worrying over several things. Although I realized that was not possible to do anything about certain things beyond my control, it used to be difficult to refrain from thinking about them. This interfered with practice and concentration. Empowerment helped me through that somehow. Now, when I sit or do mantra, I can concentrate fully.
Deity Practice Changed Me
As I began deity practice at this new, deeper level, I could feel these unnecessary thoughts simply going away. It was as if my mind, constantly engaged, was slowly transforming from a conflicted me to a mind willed with deity. As the burden of all these thoughts reduced, I began noticing a slow change in my personality and attitude, too. My friends say I’m more relaxed and smile more.
Previously, whenever I had a small illness or physical discomfort, I used to keep on stressing about the pain and discomfort I was going through. Since, I began empowered practice, I can truly say that I’m now more of an interested observer in that pain, detached enough to see it as healing rather than sickness.
Empowerment Improved My Attitude to Other People
Another important change, perhaps the most important one, my attitude towards other people has changed for the better. All my life, I have always been quick to observe the flaws of other people around me and on quite a few occasions, even got into intense arguments with many people. Sometimes, I would not say anything openly, but would carry an ill feeling in my heart that did not allow me to interact well with certain people, or just ate away at me.
Now, I find myself mellowing in my response to people. This didn’t happen consciously. I wasn’t trying to change my way of dealing with people. But, I have stopped finding fault with others. During any interaction, I now concentrate on doing the best possible from my side and if at all things don’t go exactly the expected way, I am able to look for the mistakes I made rather than blindly assuming it was all the other person’s fault.
In other words, it is as if during the ritual of empowerment, my reacher planted the seed of clarity and today, with my spiritual practice, I am watering the sapling that has grown from that seed.