The principle of Drala appeals to the elemental presence of the world, available through different perceptions.
There are moments in our lives when the most insignificant things remind us of reality’s extravagant nature. We can walk and feel a gust of wind, as it goes through the leaves of a tree; in that magical moment—the product of the simplest event—we remain enchanted (as if under a spell). We understand it as if it were something that lies in the tree, the wind and ourselves, everything at the same time. These simple and witch-like events are known as Dralas within the Tibetan tradition of Shambhala. Dralas name something that is so impalpable that perhaps we would never have considered they have a term (like everything that is lacking a name is destined to remain in the world of dreams). It was Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche, who in Shambhala: The Sacred Path of the Warrior, recovered the principle of Dralas, which precede the introduction of Tibetan Buddhism as part of the country’s indigenous traditions, and put them at the service of the entire world as a magical realm. Thanks to Trungpa, we can include Dralas in our metaphysical phenomena archive and pay them the attention they deserve. When water reminds us of water, fire of fire or earth of earth, we feel something like a universal gust, and we become acquainted with Dralas of reality. Trungpa says:
Dralas are elements of reality-water of water, fire of fire, earth of earth. Anything that connects you with the elemental quality of reality, anything that reminds you of the depth of perception. Dralas [are] in the rocks… trees… mountains… a snowflake or a clod of dirt. Whatever is there… those are the Dralas of reality. When you make that connection… you are meeting the Dralas on the spot.
In other words, Drala is the unveiling of the world which is at our disposal through the perception of the things that comprise it. When we feel the trees, rivers, cracks, clouds, as they are, we are finding a wisdom that is not separated from our own. It is an intimate connection with reality. It reconciles us with everything in a sudden moment. Perhaps to understand them better we can think of Dralas as if they were ghosts that peek out from behind things that we do not pay attention to. What they require from us to make themselves visible, is a type of silence or openness. They are present in each one of the elements of nature (where perhaps it is easier to find them), but they could also inhabit a chair, a rock, or a face. Simply by remembering that we have felt them is enough to know that they exist, but naming them grants them the ability to transcend time.
The principle of Drala is not only applicable to the practitioners of Buddhism, but to all. Viktor Shklovski once stated that the principle of art is to make stone more “stoney,” summoning Drala. Re-enchanting the world.
Getting to know the Dralas
Connecting with the elemental quality of reality though perception