This is Post 28 in the ‘Meditation Guidance’ series. Summaries of the articles in this series can be found by clicking here.
Each of the four Quadrants of the mandala can be a point of entry into the experience of embodied Consciousness. Each is distinctive, and each is as powerful and as important, as all the others. The Western Quadrant, which we have been examining in the last few posts, takes us into the mystery through the experience of the evaluative and discriminative psychological function of Feeling, which the Buddhist tradition calls the samjñā skandha. The distinctive red male Buddha of the Western Quadrant, who is always seen with his hands resting together in meditation posture, is Amitābha – the Buddha of love, or mettā, or Loving Kindness. The invitation of Amitābha is that we rest as Consciousness and evaluate our experience from that place – to relate to others and evaluate our experience not from egoic Feeling, but from the Feeling aspect of Consciousness, which the Buddhist tradition speaks of in terms of the Discriminating Wisdom, and in terms of mettā.
Pandaravārsini, the female Buddha partner of Amitābha is an archetypal figure of enormous spiritual importance. While we can say that Amitābha personifies the extraverted aspect of love – love poured out towards others – Pandaravārsini personifies the subtle introverted counterpart of that, which is love received. So, Pandaravārsini is a personification of that in us, which is able to rest as Consciousness so completely that our emotional life (the somatic energies of our Emotional Body) are taken over by mettā. She could therefore associated with what may be called our ability to ‘love ourselves’, but this a crude conceptualisation. More accurately, she is that in us which recognises the source of love within with instinctive confidence – and who, through absolute Faith and devotional receptivity rests always in a state of uncaused happiness. Pandaravārsini represents ‘the confidence that we are loved’ in the most absolute and impersonal sense of that notion. The principle that Pandaravārsini embodies is so absolutely foundational for the meditator (and for humanity), that I have chosen in these articles to give this Dharmic principle of primordial contentment, this introverted dimension of Loving Kindness, its own name – Uncaused Happiness.
Consciousness does not evaluate like the egoic mind does – it does not simply distinguish between that which it ‘likes’ and that which it ‘does not like’; or between that which it values and that which it de-values. It might seem, at least at first, that Consciousness makes no evaluation at all. When we allow ourselves to rest as Consciousness however, and familiarise ourselves with Consciousness and with the experience of the Emotional Body through meditative enquiry, we notice that Consciousness is indeed evaluative – but it evaluates unconditionally. It seems that Consciousness unconditionally values everything in our experience. We might say that, paradoxically without lacking discrimination, it feels everything, values everything, accepts everything, embraces everything, loves everything – and even perhaps, is happy with everything. This attitude, and this transformative state of alignment of the Emotional Body layer of our somatic anatomy with the great love that is inherent in Consciousness and inherent in the universe, is what the Buddhist tradition calls mettā, or Loving Kindness.