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Temple Statue of the Bodhisattva Maitreya in Darjeeling, India

The Lost Sadhanas Project: Maitreya
Practice: The First Step - The Initiation

The new initiate should visualize the following:

In a sky of gold fading to purple, Maitreya is a white dove with golden eyes in flight. He is followed by a flock of white doves, flying behind him. A ray of blessings shines out from his heart.

Now he transforms into a great god statue, taller than the skies. He is standing, shining gold with his hand out to bless the earth. He moves his arm and a series of images echo through the skies. Each image becomes a stair in a staircase, leading to a paradise which is behind peach, mauve, and golden clouds. Behind the paradise, the sky is turquoise and royal blue.

The pictures are a stairway, and the meditator stands on the lowest stair. The stairs are pictures of a paradise in the sky, far away from the world. In it, the soul seeks its deepest desire.

Maitreya says, "Initiation begins with spiritual desire. The novice hopes to escape the chains of karma, and overcome the suffering of life and the fear of death. I fulfill this wish in the form of an initiating guru."

Maitreya takes the form of a man with a white beard and long white hair. He says.

Renounce the temptations of the flesh. From today, your actions will be pure following the example of the bodhisattva and his lives. You will avoid threats from other religions, and share Buddhist teachings with those you respect.

Here is a cup of pure water. It is deeper and better than wine.

Maitreya places his hand on the novice's forehead, and says, "Imagine a golden sun. The first image you will see after that will be your spiritual name."

The novice must vow to follow the virtues of Maitreya, to become a friend to all living things, to be compassionate towards the pain and suffering of the world, and to help others in many ways. There will be no joy or satisfaction in inflicting pain on others, even in situations of revenge and crime. The soul will not be overcome by passion and lose its ability to care for others. This new identity will be hidden and not proclaimed in the streets. A humble person does not boast of his or her humility.

The initiate will meditate each day for an hour upon Maitreya's name and his values. After a week, Maitreya will place his mantra within the novice's heart. From then on, the novice must meditate on him and not on other divine figures. Maitreya creates a bond between himself and the initiate, a special link, which is the most important aspect of initiation. This is a bond of the heart, where their feelings are shared.

When the bond has been created, the person is considered to be an initiate. Within that bond, Maitreya places a stream of water entwined with the spiritual name of the person. They grow together as a morning glory vine grows up the trunk of a tree.

Maitreya is the tree of spiritual friendship and love, which he shares with all his initiates. Maitreya gives his mandala, and the key to its gates so the initiate may enter. The first test is meditation for a week.

After receiving Maitreya's mantra, the initiate should sense the bond with Maitreya. It is like a great river of light between the person and Maitreya. The river is the true relationship, more important than name or form. It is the shining light that warms the heart.

The bond expands and makes the whole being shine. All initiates shine in the presence of Maitreya's love. Everything is charming through happiness and beautiful through tragedy.

The next image is the silhouette, a dark dancer on a dark fence, against a bright gold and white sky. The soul must learn to balance on the fence during the dance of life. Its individuality is dark against the brilliance of the supernatural world.

The perspective must switch from a bright individual within the dark world of matter, to a dark ego against the brilliance of universal light and love.

The person is not an individual making his or her way through the dark and terrible terrain of the world. Instead, he or she is a spark of light that has been splashed with mud, and can no longer see the true world around him. His or her sight is full of dust and mud.

But as the soul senses the powerful river of light between the heart of the person and Maitreya, the dirt is washed away. Though confused and abused, the person's true nature is love, and though the person has been disappointed and experienced sorrow time and again, truth and beauty wait to be discovered. In a world where all accomplishments fade away and die, this love lives forever.

Look at all sentient beings as friends to cherish and care for.

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