Critical Dharma for Thinking Minds /Milk Tea Alliance
Bhakti is the practice I use to turn ’emptiness’ into compassion.
When you realize everything is empty, then you realize that everything is buddhanature. In Hindu or theist terms, buddhanature is divine. However, buddhanature is never separate from so-called relative reality, because as relative phenomena arises, emptiness or buddhanature arises with it. Buddhanature, or divinity, is intrinsic to all phenomenon. Thus all phenomenon are divine. Thoughts are self-liberating because they are momentary; emotions are self-liberating because they arise and cease. Mind is devoid of mind, therefore mind is clear light, luminous dharmakaya; that is the true nature of mind. Mind is self-liberating, thus empty, thus budddakaya, thus divine. Everything is impermanent, so therefore everything is self-liberating, everything is empty, everything is buddhanature, everything is divine. Bhakti is love and devotion for the divine.
Then i realize that i am empty of self, so that i am self-liberating, i am empty, therefore i am buddhanature, and therefore i am divine. Everything is divine, including you, including me, and there is no me that is separate from you or anything else in the universe. We are all one together, you and me, the universe and i.
Through bhakti, or devotion, i connect with the buddhanature or divinity in everything, all phenomenon. When we practice tantra, we try to imagine that we are the deity. So when i imagine the deity, through bhakti, i imagine my own emptiness as divine. Instead of straining to imagine myself as deity, i use bhakti, the energy of devotion, of love, to connect with the divine in me. It becomes so easy to do, a child’s game. Then we can dance in divinity. We have realized our oneness with buddhanature.
Then i realize that i can have bhakti for everything, everywhere. i can have bhakti for my 12 step groups. i can have bhakti for my job. i can have bhakti for the homeless guy on the street. i can have bhakti for the angry lady in the checkout line. i can have bhakti for all these beings because they are all divine.
Bhakti is the practice that allows me to connect with buddhanature in everything. Buddhist bhakti, as opposed to Hindu bhakti, connects with all that IS as divine. It does not require a supreme creator deity or even a “lord” of any sort.” Buddhist bhakti connects the practitioner with the sacredness of ordinary reality.