Seishi House. Why Seishi? The former coach house is being converted, largely for my use, so I can practise as a therapist whilst I'm in the UK, and also have a more settled place to live. An identity is useful to the extent that it communicates something about us but doesn't define who we are. I identify as a dharma therapist or Buddhist therapist trained in the Amida approach to Buddhist psychology. My original training in the field of therapy was as an art psychotherapist. Art therapy uses the medium of art as the main means of expression within a therapeutic relationship.Many years ago I went to art school and have identified with being an artist at various times in my life. To train to be an art therapist one should have a background as an artist and have substantial experience of working in a social or healthcare setting.
Back to the question, why Seishi. Seishi is another name for Tai Shi Chih, the least prominent - and rarely mentioned - Bodhisattva in the Amida triad. In Sanskrit the name given for the male transformation body of Seishi is Mahastamaprapta. In many artistic depictions of the trinity all three figures, Amida, Seishi and Kannon (Quan Yin) are somewhat androgynous - though Pure Land Buddhists often refer to Amida as male and Kannon female. One thing this does is invite us to reflect on the qualities of Buddha's and Bodhisattva's and their ability to transform into whatever form is necessary to transmit the Dharma to sentient beings. As such it is helpful that we can perceive some of the qualities that stand out or dominate in one Bodhisattva and the others in others. However it is also perhaps true to say that all the Buddha's and Bodhisattva's embody all of the qualities of the supreme perfect Dharma.
So what does Seishi bring into the world, into to our lives? What does s/he represent for us? Dharmavidya has this to say: "architect of Pure Lands, landscape gardener of heaven, sustaining power through adversity, master of transformations".
Tai Shi Chih is associated with creativity and transformative power, s/he reflects the creative potential that can be found in the world of matter as well as the realms of spirit. I would also say the power of compassion embodied in the creative arts.
My words can't put it any better than Susthama did in an earlier post quoted below. For me this provides a description of the spirit of a creative therapist whose heart is open to the dharma and who practices from the place of gratitude for the grace she is given. Namo Tai Shi Chih Bosat.
"Tai Shi Chi is known as the Bodhisattva of wisdom power, or creative energy. Lotus flowers that grow in polluted waters, peacocks with their beautiful plumage, the grit that turns into a pearl, the crisis that brings one onto the spiritual path, and so many more stories of transformation all belong to the realm of Tai Shi Chi.
There is a story of two vases and it goes something like this: There is a village at the top of a mountain where water is scarce. The chief of the village sends two of his people down the mountain to fetch water to bring back to the village. The two of them go and fetch water and when they come back only one of them is full of water. The other one had fallen and dropped the vase, resulting in a crack in the vase and so naturally half the water leaked out. But they continue and after some time the one with the broken vase goes to the chief and asks why he continues to send him for water when he knows that he'll lose half of it along the way. The chief is bewildered by the question and so says, 'have you not seen all the beautiful flowers and plants that have started growing where you have been?'
Tai Shi Chi is like that, accepting that we are broken, transforming what we know, sublimating the negative, and creating a different way of seeing the world."
Lovely story. It's great to watch Seishi house coming into existence - we've got front row seats : ) Looking forward to all that will happen there in the future.
Great story - was actually quite moved by it. Also, remember that Tai Shi Chi is equated with Vajrapani as well - representing power and determination.