Hello all. I have been walking around the edges of the Dharma for years now, only recently stepping in and testing the waters out. My reiki/shamanism teacher practices Tibetan Buddhism and goes to India to receive empowerments and such, so I feel she is fairly "legit". I am forever the spiritual experimentalist,flitting about finding what fits for me and leaving behind the parts that don't. My experiences with Buddhism have been mostly extremely positive.
I recently did a Vipassana retreat, and while the technique was absolutely glorious and I definitely plan on sitting again, I enjoy a bit more "play" in my practice. I walk the shamanic path as well, and one of my most potent healing tools has been the Tonglen practice that my teacher taught me while we were working together on a friend undergoing a serious spiritual crisis. I enjoy chanting the mantras very much and the little bit of visualization that I have done utilizing Quan Yin and Tara and Vajrayogini has been very powerful to me. The last few days I seem to have been developing a direct relationship with Buddha as a spirit guide! This has been very interesting and manifested especially strong in two connected instances today.
Earlier today I was in the backyard hanging out for a spell while the dogs did their potty thing, and I noticed the acorns all over the ground. I was immediately hit with a strong sense of Buddha's presence in a joking, comforting way, along the lines of "Got your back, kid. See my hats all over the ground in front of you?"
A few hours later I was in the exact same spot, in a foul mood because I was having major difficulties in my yard work. I am at my mothers house for the holidays and was trying to help her out by blowing all of the leaves in the yard into a pile. There was so many of them and they were rather damp, and the blower seemed to be barely doing anything. I was getting rather angry and the thought came into my mind " Would I be this angry if I were doing this for God himself? For Buddha?" and once again I noticed the acorns. I cynically thought "Maybe this Buddha consciousness is just comforting me, preparing me for the experience of emptiness/ the void, and just taking it easy on me because I am so afraid of the no-self concept" and as I pondered this I felt for a split second the vastness between my thoughts, a glimpse of the clear- mind, Rigpa I believe it is called in TB? This experience rather than being frightening was deeply comforting, and I truly felt the presence of Buddha in my consciousness, loving me and holding me like a baby.
Long story short, I am very intrigued now. I admit I do have immense difficulty with authority and tradition, but I am very curious about any classical Buddhist thought in regards to more shamanic pathways of experience. Are there any great masters I could read who speak of developing direct relationships with the Bodhisattvas as spirit guides in a traditional shamanic sense? I did chant and partially learn a short Medicine Buddha mantra this morning, learning it to chant it in a distance healing for a friends father who was in a coma, and I am wondering if these techniques are that powerful to bring me into this state. Sorry for my scattered post, my brain does not always work in a linear fashion.