Normally we empower our demons by believing they are real and strong in themselves and have the power to destroy us. As we fight against them, they get stronger. But when we acknowledge them by discovering what they really need, and nurture them, our demons release their hold, and we find that they actually do not have power over us. By nurturing the shadow elements of our being with infinite generosity, we can access the state of luminous awareness and undermine ego. By feeding the demons, we resolve conflict and duality, finding our way to unity.
Getting friendly with powerful instinctive forces is easier said than done. I took the photo above during the Lotus Lantern Parade during the festival of the Buddha’s birthday in Seoul. I haven’t found the exact story it corresponds to as there are numerous myths about befriending tigers in Korea. I trust its symbolic message is universally vital.
Lama Tsultrim’s quote speaks to befriending “demons”, those aspects of ourselves and our world that frighten us. The girl riding the tiger is at ease with a beast we normally consider terrifying. She has learned to work with powerful energies and align herself with natural forces as she moves in the world.
We can learn with the innocence of a child to trust our “wild” nature. I imagine the young girl represents feminine intuition – something available to both men and women. As an aspect of our Buddha-nature, it is something we are born with and can be revealed as we re-train in our natural goodness…demons and all!