Daily Chenrezig Meditation In Suburbia

By Jingpa Lodu

Chenrezig, four armed Avalokiteshvara

It’s noisy in here, my son is playing the Xbox with his friends, my daughters are all screaming and laughing while they run around the house, Barbie’s in hand.  My wife is sitting close to me, a book in her hands, and Brian Eno is providing some ambient sounds from my laptop.  This is not the ideal environment that most people would seek for meditation, but this is my reality.

To me, meditation is not just sitting still, focusing on my breath and lifting my consciousness; but rather meditation is a breath to breath occurrence that can take place in every situation.  I have no cave to disappear into, no retreat cabin on a secluded lake in the high hills.  What I do have is a suburban backyard and a house full of exuberant life, and that is okay with me.

My meditation practice is a simple one: I focus upon my breath, I murmur Chenrezig’s mantra, and I become all compassion as the form of Chenrezig slowly becomes real, one atom at a time, until he is fully formed before me in my mind’s eye, and then I assume his form.  In the end, if I retain the effortless focus needed, I am Chenrezig, the Buddha of Compassion.

I do this practice while sitting beside my friends and family, and most are never aware.  I wear a small wrist mala on my left arm, while on my right arm there is a 9 inch tattoo of his mantra, Om Mani Padme Hum.  The mala is seldom touched while I chant the mantra in my head, but it is there as a reminder for me, a touchstone that I can reach out to if necessary.  I had the tattoo done last summer, I wanted something that was an outward reminder to me that in all things I can observe my practice.  I love it when people ask me what it means, as I get to mention the mantra to them, and I know that most have never heard the mantra spoken before in this incarnation.

Some ask me why I chose to focus upon Chenrezig, I answer with an old proverb: Practice one deity, find all, practice all, find none.  I was drawn to Chenrezig, perhaps by karma, through my lineage, Karma Kagyu.  Chenrezig may well be the most widely known Buddhist deity, second only to Gautama Buddha himself.  Chenrezig is his Tibetan name, while in India he is known as Avalokiteshvara, in China he is the female emanation known as Kuan-yin, and in Japan she is known as Kannon.  Chenrezig’s name in Tibetan means ‘One Who Looks with an Unwavering Eye’ demonstrating that he, no matter in which emanation, is always watching over all sentient beings.

In the end, that is what I strive to be, a compassionate soul, seeking to aid all I encounter while living within the tenants of Buddhism; The Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path.

7 Responses so far

I practice active meditation as well … folding laundry, washing dishes, mowing the yard … these are the times when both sides of my brain talk in unison, and I hear the most. Great post. Thanks for sharing.

Hi Chad, I was mowing the lawn a few days ago and I was meditating while I drove the tractor around the lawn, and I wondered to myself how much better we would all be if each of us was in meditation all day long…

Beautiful, my Brother. And know that every time the blood courses through your veins and arteries, as it passes under the tattoo, every cell murmurs that mantra, so that your life becomes a living Prayer Wheel.

khenpo gurudas sunyatananda

My meditation is sleep or any time I close my eyes.

This is lovely and thank you. For so many of us active meditation is not only the only chance we get but veryvery obtainable. It is I think the most peace-bringing state when you realize you can be absolutely present and aware at every moment of your life.

I love this. I wish that more people could see mediation in their daily lifes. Mine is sometimes doing the dishes, mopping the floor(which I hate) or folding the laundry. I try to tell my friends to do this when they say they ‘hate’ to do something. Some of them dont get it. I can see that you do my friend.


Wonderful 😉

Our yoga teacher once commented on how I usually completely ignore my husband and daughter who are constantly being silly and goofing off during class. I bring them with me not just to share, but to improve my focus. If I can focus with them goofing off next to me in class, I can focus at home and anywhere else. 😉

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