Cultivating Compassion With Cundi
Cundi has many names in Chinese, Vietnamese, & Sanskrit. For the sake of this program; we will be using Cundi as the way to describe her. She is known as the Mother of all the deities of the Lotus Clan.
The Lotus Clan is in the western paradise where Quan Yin also resides. So it is no surprise that Cundi is often described as the esoteric or another tantric form of Quan Yin.
Cundi can possibly mean ‘purity’ or ‘clarity’ and she was ablatives into the East-Asian pantheon as a compassionate mother that devotees who preferred the style of spell-work we’re drawn to.
She is hailed as the Mother of 7 billion Buddhas because her practises are both cleansing and uplifting, thereby 7 billion Buddhas and Bodhisattvas have relied on her ritual practises to attain awakening.
Anyone can practise Cundi rituals. Although some would argue that empowerments are necessary, in East-Asia, Cundi is revered as a compassionate Mother Goddess who grants wishes and fulfils prayers to anyone who is willing to recite her mantra.
Cundi is depicted in a female form, sitting on a lotus (symbolising her advancement of the path) with 18 arms, each one holding a different implement.
On a practical level, each hand holding a unique tool is capable of helping humanity attain the 18 characteristics of a Bodhisattva:
His perfection of speech.
His perfection of the body.
His perfection of memory.
His perfection of impartiality to all.
His unfailing thought to salvage sentient beings.
His unflagging zeal to salvage sentient beings.
His unceasing desire to salvage sentient beings.
The unceasing wisdom to salvage sentient beings.
Revealing perfect wisdom in the deed.
The principle of the powers of deliverance.
The powers of deliverance.
Perfect knowledge of the future.
Revealing perfect wisdom in thought.
Perfect knowledge of the past.
Revealing perfect wisdom in word.
Perfect knowledge of the present.
Now I don’t always like to use the word ‘perfect’ because it can mean that we are not. But please remember that it is always a feat to translate literally and deliver the essence of practises that were created at a time when language was very different to what it is now.
I encourage you to think along the lines of ‘alignment’ more so than perfection. As we align with these traits, we can align with the path of a Bodhisattva, it’s not more perfect than anything else that is going on in the universe. It’s just what we are aligning to.
Following is a list of arrivistes from each tool she carries in each hand. I recommend if you decide to embark on the journey with Cundi to gather these tools within your means, continue working with Cundi and she will (eventually) show you how to use these tools. There will be further classes on how to use these tools in spell work.
The Symbolism and Meaning of the Eighteen Arms of Cundi
Cundi is depicted seated with eighteen arms, all wielding implements that symbolize skilful means of the Dharma or Tantra. The symbolism of each arm is as follows:
1. The original 2 hands forming the root Mudra of Expounding the Dharma represents the fluency of elucidating all Dharma.
2. The hand holding the wondrous precious banner represents the ability to build a most magnificent, great monastery.
3. The hand forming the Fearless Mudra represents the ability to deliver sentient beings away from all terror and fears.
4. The hand holding a lotus flower represents the purification of the six senses which, untainted, are as pure as the lotus flower.
5. The hand holding a sword of wisdom represents the severing of the entanglements of afflictions and the three poisons of greed, anger and ignorance.
6. The hand holding an empowerment vase represents the flowing of nectar to nurture all sentient beings so that they may receive the empowerment of the buddhas.
7. The hand holding a wonderful jewelled headdress represents the wish to be linked to wonderful dharma art.
8. The hand holding a vajra lasso represents the ability to attract all into the yoga tantra.
9. The hand holding a wonderful celestial fruit represents the accomplishment of the fruition of enlightenment, and the extensive cultivation of good karma.
10. The hand holding an eight-spoke wheel represents the constant turning of the great dharma wheel, radiating its magnificent lights over the three lower realms.
11. The hand holding a battle axe represents the elimination of all evil practices and the severing of attachment to oneself and others.
12. The hand holding a large dharma shell represents the expounding of pure Dharma which shakes the universe.
13. The hand holding a vajra hook represents the skill to magnetize and attract all phenomena within one’s view.
14. The hand holding a wish-fulfilling vase represents the function of manifesting all treasures and scriptures at will.
15. The hand holding a vajra represents the collective convergence of support given by the eight classes of celestial beings and dragons. It also represents the subjugation of stubborn sentient beings.
16. The hand holding a wisdom sutra represents the self-cognition of knowing the profound and wonderful truth without any guidance from a teacher.
17. The hand holding a mani or wish-fulfilling pearl represents the vibrant and luminous state of mind which is flawless, pure and perfect.
18. The two original hands, beginning with the first hand, are held in the Dharma Expounding Mudra. Hence, the eighteen arms.
Some images of Cundi Bodhisattva depict different gestures, such as forming the root mudra or holding mala beads. The meaning remains the same, regardless. Her eighteen arms also represent the eighteen merits of attaining Buddhahood, as described in an appendix to the Cundī Dhāraṇī Sūtra or that of Cundi Bodhisattva.
Working with Cundi in daily life
Cundi has got to be one of the deities that I find has the least demanding practise, the Sadhana and mantra practise are relatively simple and straight forward.
To start with let’s build a space where you would like to connect to Cundi. If you have some space in your home you can set up a shrine space to Cundi. Cundi doesn’t mind sharing a spot with Quan Yin!
I often see Quan Yin as the compassionate mother, whereas I see Cundi as the aunt that loves to spoil me. Quan Yin can of course grant wishes and help to fulfil dreams by means of guidance, reassurance and re-designing our karmic webbing so that we can have a better chance at attaining the things desired.
As mentioned before, Cundi’s approach is more in line with spell work.
I recommend using Cundi’s mantras first thing to bring in wealth of prosperity, illumination and blessings. She is often called in for fertility, health and abundance.
Cundi’s practise is naturally cleansing. What I mean by that is that we don’t need to specifically focus on using the practise to get ‘pure’ rather by engaging in the practise itself is enough to bestow a purification process.
Many practitioners have claimed to dream of vomiting white or dark matter. As per her Sadhana suggests, after several hundred thousand recitations, people dream of purging white stuff as a representation of their karmic afflictions. It is also mentioned that when those practitioners by-pass a certain number of recitations, they don’t dream of this, in which case it means that the karma afflictions are greater and more practises are needed. Those same practitioners eventually dream of purging a darker matter.
So you can use this practise to attain your wishes while at the same time getting a karmic cleanse, what’s not to like?
The most auspicious days to work with Cundi is the 16th day of the lunar month. This is easy to remember because it’s the day right after full
Moon! Her birthday this year of 2023 is May 5th on the gregarious calendar. Otherwise that can be calculated by working out the 16th day of the 3rd lunar month each year.
What to offer Cundi?
As she is a Bodhisattva I recommend making offerings that are at least vegetarian and relatively harmless to the environment. Her colours are silver and gold or yellow and white. I have heard of prior offering milk with pineapples or some other form of yellow fruit to align with her colours.
We could use any form of milk with a dose of honey in it, or maybe use yellow flowers. In Tibetan traditions the three whites are known as milk, butter and curd. But please use offerings that align with you as what is most important is that it comes from your heart.
The journey of studying a Buddhist goddess through meditation and mantras is one that requires dedication and commitment. It is a powerful experience that brings about spiritual transformation and provides personal insight. Through spending time in communion with the goddess and gaining insight from her, one can cultivate inner peace, serenity, and connection to higher powers. This training course has served as an introduction to this path and has helped to empower those that have taken part in it. With practice, we can all continue to seek deeper understanding of the goddess and benefit from her teachings for many years to come.