Iridescent Self in the Womb of the Wholly M(O)ther: A Vajrayani Meditation
In the Indic perspective, the notion of the self operates very differently from the understanding of individuality that exoteric monotheisms and modernist ideologies propose. The shortest of the Upanishads, Isha, contains a proclamation known as a mahavakya, or great saying: “So ham asmi.” Other such Upanishadic sayings include “I am that” or “I am Brahman.” In these formulations the “I” expands into cosmic consciousness reaching a non-dual or advaitic awareness. When even this expanded “I” dissolves into the womb of Adyashakti, then the music of the spheres as the inner vibration or spanda can be heard in the human heart. It is the Buddha’s articulation of advaya that brings one into this profound voidness or shunyata of the Mother Ground. Examining the self/other dynamic within various philosophical debates, one recognizes how an encounter with a radical alterity saves us from an inflated ego leading to mahakaruna or great compassion. Then we dance with the other in profound maitri or friendliness in a world that is itself nirvana. This chapter examines these utterances from a broadly tantric Buddhist perspective so that the self as an imperial being can be overcome.
- Buber, M. (1970). I and Thou: A New Translation, with a Prologue and Notes by Walter Kaufman. New York: Touchstone.Google Scholar