“Ananda, you should know that as a cultivator sits in the Bodhimanda, he is doing away with all thoughts. When his thoughts come to an end, there will be nothing on his mind. This state of pure clarity will stay the same whether in movement or stillness, in remembrance or forgetfulness.
“When he dwells in this place and enters samadhi, he is like a person with clear vision who finds himself in total darkness. Although his nature is wonderfully pure, his mind is not yet illuminated. This is the region of the form skandha.
“If his eyes become clear, he will then experience the ten directions as an open expanse, and the darkness will be gone. This is the end of the form skandha. He will then be able to transcend the turbidity of kalpas. Contemplating the cause of the form skandha, one sees that false thoughts of solidity are its source.”
The Bodhimanda: this in essence is a highly concentrated Dhyana and spiritually means sitting in the same Bodhi-seat of all Buddhas; herein the Spirit of Bodhi animates the adept’s every resolve. Although beginning to see the clear Tathatic-Light, one suddenly finds oneself in “total darkness of the former sensate realm”, i.e., one can no longer use one’s former sensate mind because the Clear Light of the Unborn is like darkness to it: the senses cannot penetrate IT. Since the mind is not yet illumined with Unborn Light, it is still in the form-region and is regulated by it. When one’s Dharma-Eye is freed from all formal skandhic restrictions, then it can cast-off and transcend all former karmic-outflows and the turbidity of past kalpas, being free to soar like nuclear birds in all ten directions. If, however, memories of prior formal sensations and associations once again become initiated, then one is pulled down into solidified samsaric-realms, much like having a “solid-anchor” tied-round one’s ankles.
What follows next are ten contemplations that reveal how demons of form take root when one fool-heartedly believes that sagehood is automatically won when form-base-transcendent-images take root in the mind of one entering into deep stages of Samadhis.
 “Ananda, at this point, as the person intently investigates that wondrous brightness, the four elements will no longer function together, and soon the body will be able to transcend obstructions. This state is called `the pure brightness merging into the environment.’ It is a temporary state in the course of cultivation and does not indicate sagehood. If he does not think he has become a sage, then this will be a good state. But if he considers himself a sage, then he will be vulnerable to the demons’ influence.
When the form-skandha begins to dissolve the spirit commences its ascent on waves of luminosity, producing the sensation of being able to transcend all formal-obstructions. In reality this is just a temporary state, much like being able to astral-project oneself outside the body. If one thinks, “gee this is great—this is ultimate, I’m now free and totally enlightened,” then one becomes vulnerable to the demons influence and even risks the danger of being entrapped in these astral-realms indefinitely.
 “Further, Ananda, as the person uses his mind to intently investigate that wondrous light, the light will pervade his body. Suddenly he will be able extract intestinal worms from his own body, yet his body will remain intact and unharmed. This state is called `the pure light surging through one’s physical body.’ It is a temporary state in the course of intense practice, and does not indicate sagehood. If he does not think he has become a sage, then this will be a good state. But if he considers himself a sage, then he will be vulnerable to the demons’ influence.
When not properly being able to discern the Luminous Hue enveloping the Mind-field, one can become enraptured with the apparent ability to reach right inside the body itself; the Sutra uses the example of being able to pluck-out intestinal-parasites without harming the body. This is merely another temporary state of sensing how the Pure Light of Luminosity surges through one’s mortal carcass, being able to incur many forms of self-healing. Some Reiki practitioners oftentimes become spellbound with this ability, claiming themselves to be first-rate healers. What can happen, though, is that the “demon’s-hands” begin to guide the energy and the result can be quite detrimental. In an earlier blog from last year, I wrote about my own experience when someone tried to affect a Reiki cure on me—the result was unending and excruciating pain.
 “Further, in the midst of his mental darkness, this person’s intense scrutiny may be directed both inward and outward. Then his will and the vital energies of his individual spirit may merge or become dissociated or exchange roles. They will take turns as host and guests. Then he may suddenly hear the Dharma being spoken in space, or perhaps he will hear esoteric truths being pronounced simultaneously throughout the ten directions. This state is called `the essence and souls alternately separating and uniting, and the planting of good seeds.’ It is a temporary state and does not indicate sagehood. If he does not think he has become a sage, then this will be a good state. But if he considers himself a sage, then he will be vulnerable to the demons’ influence.
Divorced from the true-hearing of the Buddhadharma—associated exclusively through Dhammasota (hearing through the Deathless Sound of the Tathagatas), one’s spirit can become dissociated while in deep samadhis and actually seemingly “hear through sensate sound” some Dharma being spoken in time and space. This is all karmically-associated as one seemingly hears the Dharma actually being spoken as in some former semblance of time and location. This is a temporary state. What is actually occurring is a “cleansing” of all former modes of Dharmatic-associations in former incarnations that never reached the stages of Bodhisattvic advancement; thus they are not some kind of divine epiphany in and of themselves. One is foolhardy indeed to believe that sagehood has occurred through hearing these mere ghosts and images of past dharmatas. One can actually be entertaining karmic-demons unaware.
 “Further, when the person’s mind becomes clear, unveiled, bright, and penetrating, an internal light will shine forth and turn everything in the ten directions into the color of the river Jambu’s golden hue. All the various species of beings will be transformed into Tathagatas. Suddenly he will see Vairochana Buddha seated upon a platform of celestial light, surrounded by a thousand Buddhas, who simultaneously appear upon lotus blossoms in a hundred million lands. This state is called `the mind and soul being instilled with spiritual awareness.’ When he has investigated to the point of clarity, the light of his mind will shine upon all worlds. This is a temporary state and does not indicate sagehood. If he does not think he has become a sage, then this will be a good state. But if he considers himself a sage, then he will be vulnerable to the demons’ influence.
This is actually witnessing a euphoric transcendent exposure, wherein all sentient beings—from wiggling worms to great Cosmic Beings—become transformed into Tathagatas. Even Vairochana Buddha can appear, resplendently transmuting all avidya into pure awareness-power (bodhipower) as one’s Tathatic-Eye opens and miraculously espies a billion Dharma-fields as One. The Clear-Light of Mind’s Purity is espoused to one’s own spirit. But this, too, is only a temporary state and can be used to the demon’s advantage if one thinks for one moment that they have somehow achieved the ultimate ecstasy.
 “Further, as the person uses his mind to intently investigate that wondrous light, he will contemplate without pause, restraining and subduing his mind so that it does not go to extremes. Suddenly the space in the ten directions may take on the colors of the seven precious things or the colors of a hundred precious things, which simultaneously pervade everywhere without hindering one another. The blues, yellows, reds, and whites will each be clearly apparent. This state is called `excessively subduing the mind.’ It is a temporary state and does not indicate sagehood. If he does not think he has become a sage, then this will be a good state. But if he considers himself a sage, then he will be vulnerable to the demons’ influence.
One enters into a profound one-pointedness of Mind. All is subdued, all those random thought-sequences exploding like a vast array of colors. There is neither here nor there, but Mind’s Essence Expanding everywhere and nowhere simultaneously. But this subjugation of all mind-forms is not somehow the ultimate peak-experience that lingers on and on into infinity. One-pointedness of Mind is not the end all of everything; indeed, equating this experience in such a fashion one becomes bound to the demon emptying out space upon space—like falling into a demonic black hole from which there is no escape.
 “Further, as the person uses his mind to investigate with clear discernment until the pure light no longer disperses, he will suddenly be able to see various things appear in a dark room at night, just as if it were daytime, while the objects that were already in the room do not disappear. This state is called `refining the mind and purifying the vision until one is able to see in the dark.’ It is a temporary state and does not indicate sagehood. If he does not think he has become a sage, then this will be a good state. But if he considers himself a sage, then he will be vulnerable to the demons’ influence.
Certain Siddhis will be procured after continually cultivating Deep-Samadhis. Such a one, like being able to see in the dark, is alluded to here. Many more remarkable forms of siddhis are yet to come, but the important point to keep in mind for all of these is that they are just that: formal feats, i.e., being able to control and influence formal phenomena. Being stuck in siddhis-mode is like being one of the fakirs—who can induce many miraculous feats, yet at heart remain mere magicians of the mind and nothing more. One needs to be careful here lest the Siddhis-Demon take hold and damn one’s spirit to the darkest regions of Avichi Hell.
 “Further, when his mind completely merges with emptiness, his four limbs will suddenly become like grass or wood, devoid of sensation even when burned by fire or cut with a knife. The burning of fire will not make his limbs hot and even when his flesh is cut, it will be like wood being whittled. This state is called `the merging of external states and the blending of the four elements into a uniform substance.’ It is a temporary state and does not indicate sagehood. If he does not think he has become a sage, then this will be a good state. But if he considers himself a sage, then he will be vulnerable to the demons’ influence.
Further revealed states of a remarkable siddhis-nature, but once again advising caution lest one succumb to the magical wand of the Elemental and Perceptional Demon, whose enchanting-wand can woo-you into a false sense of superiority, yet in actuality enslaving you to the elemental forces themselves.
 “Further, when his mind accomplishes such purity that his skill in purifying the mind has reached its ultimate, he will suddenly see the earth, the mountains, and the rivers in the ten directions turn into Buddhalands replete with the seven precious things, their light shining everywhere. He will also see Buddhas, Tathagatas, as many as the sands of the Ganges, filling all of space. He will also see pavilions and palaces that are resplendent and beautiful. He will see the hells below and the celestial palaces above, all without obstruction. This state is called `the gradual transformation of concentrated thoughts of fondness and loathing.’ It does not indicate sagehood. If he does not think he has become a sage, then this will be a good state. But if he considers himself a sage, then he will be vulnerable to the demons’ influence.
There will come a miraculous moment when the gateless gate opens and one, within the rapture of deep-samadhis, begins to perceive Reality as the Tathagatas themselves. The Diamond Sutra heralds such an occurrence. But even being able to see the Absolute Purity of the Dharmadhatu is not equivalent to sagehood. Indeed, one can become attached to the demon of pride in such a state, as the demon itself begins to alter the fabric of Reality after its own defiled fashion.
 “Further, as the person uses his mind to investigate what is profound and far away, he will suddenly be able to see distant places in the middle of the night. He will see city markets and community wells, streets and alleys, and relatives and friends, and he may hear their conversations. This state is called `having been suppressed to the utmost, the mind flies out and sees much that had been blocked from view.’ It does not indicate sagehood. If he does not think he has become a sage, then this will be a good state. But if he considers himself a sage, then he will be vulnerable to the demons’ influence.
A further example of an Astral-Projection type of ability, but it comes nowhere close to a manomakayic adeptness. One can even become entrapped in Astral-Realms, wherein resides the nefarious Astral Demons themselves; it’s like being entrapped in an airy-fairy realm for all eternity. Caution is once again advised here to not rely upon and continually partake in such a phenomenon.
 “Further, as the person uses his mind to investigate to the utmost point, he may see a Good and Wise Advisor whose body undergoes changes. Within a brief interval, various transformations will occur which cannot be explained. This state is called `having an improper mind which is possessed by a lighost, a mei-ghost, or a celestial demon, and without reason speaking Dharma that fathoms wondrous truths.’ It does not indicate sagehood. If he does not think he has become a sage, then the demonic formations will subside. But if he considers himself a sage, then he will be vulnerable to the demons’ influence.
This is representative of a false-spiritual vision. It’s like following some self-proclaimed avatar (Guru) who can project his image at will, but the image and all it represents is truly demonic and does not constitute something wholeheartedly Dharmatic and True. Just a lot of dark and negative energy designed to suck-out the lifeforce from a misguided and confused adept.
“Ananda, these ten states may occur in Dhyana as one’s mental effort interacts with the form skandha.
“Dull and confused living beings do not evaluate themselves. Encountering such situations, in their confusion they fail to recognize them and say that they have become sages, thereby uttering a great lie. They will fall into the Relentless Hells.
“In the Dharma-ending Age, after the Tathagata enters Nirvana, all of you should rely on and proclaim this teaching. Do not let the demons of the heavens have their way. Offer protection so all can realize the unsurpassed Way.
The Tathagata advises that Authentic Sagehood represents continually seeking guidance and confirmation for one’s spiritual experiences in the Sutras. In doing so, one will cultivate the gift of Unobstructed and Undivided Pure Light from the Unborn Mind; thus one will be on the path of the Shining Ones.