A Morphic Desire-field: Bardo 2, Part 4

The Sambhogakayic-field of Bardo 2 with its dreamlike shifting shapes and images is a microcosm of the greater Sambhogakayic Continuum, or the Cosmic Spiritual Hall—a Supreme Visionary Realm wherein the Buddhadharma is revealed in many Sutras. The Dharmakaya Sutra conveys the nature of this “greater” Continuum, in particular the revelatory Buddha-field of Nisyanda Buddha—who within the Lankavatara Sutra is the Sambhogakaya Itself; he is also known as the Dharmata-Buddha, and for Lankavatarians is the Sacred Yidam—or protective guardian who plays a vital role during the Bardo of Dharmatā. Indeed, as will be revealed in the Bardo of Dharmatā he is the agency through which those with ample Buddha-gnosis will, with Total-Lucidity (Yathabhutam), embrace the Luminous Shore of the Dharmakaya Itself. As previously discussed in Part 3, the Grand-Voyager through this heightened mystic-fare of Bardo 2 is the Manomayakāya of a given sojourner; in writing the Dharmakaya Sutra, “Tozen’s own Manomayakāya” was graced to arise above all the bhumis into the mystic-chamber (Cosmic Spiritual Hall) of the greater Sambhogakayic Continuum. The Dharmata-Buddha led him, like Virgil leading Dante, to a greater Lucidity of the Buddhadharma; there, he joined ( like an honored guest of the Tathagatas, seated in the first row within the Spiritual Hall of Sambhogakaya) a great multitude of Mahabodhisattvas who were also present through their own Manomayakāic bodies, all profoundly engaged in deep samadhis.

Early on, the Dharmakaya Sutra reveals the nature of the microcosmic Sambhogakayic-field (which is the mirror-image of the Nirmanakaya-field) wherein the Clear-Light of the Tathagatas is obscured within the dream-like haze. Indeed, it is within Bardo 2 that the unconscious fears and desires rise to the surface—like an orgiastic frenzy climaxing within the alaya-receptacle. Unlike the Great Sambhogakayic Continuum, this Micro-Sambho-Field is the dominion of Mara’s inverted light. In a very real sense, he gets inside the head of all who are exposed to this Sambho-field within the confines of their own Night Consciousness (and Day Consciousness as well [both are aspects of the body consciousness]). With practice (as described in Part 3) the development of the Manomayakāic body can brave and withstand Mara’s invasion through the Lucidity of its own Night Consciousness (astute Awareness-Principle) and actually counteract and transmute (by erasing negative attributes) any karmic residue arising from the Alaya into positive qualities of the Sugata—something that the Tibetans describe as occurring through the Mahāmudrā or Great Sign of Liberation. What is more, with ever-growing and enhanced bodhipower, it is revealed to the Manomayakāya the exact nature of this morphic desire-field that is held within Mara’s grasp bearing the seeds of samsaric Dependent Origination; and this is not confined to just humans but “all” sentient reality that are part and parcel of the six realms of existence—from Gods right down to the lowest substrata of the hell-beings. The following portion from Tozen’s Dharmakaya Sutra portrays the nature of this revelation.

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