Ratnasambhava Rising

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Today’s accompanying image reveals Ratnasambhava at the center of the action so to speak, where Vairocana or Akṣhobhya are usually depicted. They are still present here, yet in the background, as Ratnasambhava is now dominant and holding the ritual bell that is usually reserved for Akṣhobhya. He sits still, like a contented jewel; he is after all the bearer of the Trikayic Jewels of Buddhism.

Ratnasambhava is usually associated with the season of autumn. The yellowish tinge in his coloration is reminiscent of the changing yellow leaves, that in transmutation-mode indicate that a wonderful transformation is about to unfold. Transformation in the yogic sense where today’s ashes become tomorrow’s gold. The base-waste materiality of samsara transmutes into the resplendent Spiritual Gold of the Tathagatas. This is the mystic alchemical process wherein the sarcophagus of the skandhic-body is cast-off thus empowering the adamantine Diamond Body to emerge unscathed. What are left are the dross ashes, which like a phoenix, rises into a golden-body of the Shining Ones. In this sense Ratnasambhava is rendered as the Lord of the Ashes of Passion, as the feeling skandha dies-off, like a rotting husk to be discarded as the shedding skin of a snake.

All comes to pass during the generation of the yogic heat. Ratnasambhava plays a dominant role in this as he is the Sugata-garbha Chakra. The location of this chakra, in the abdominal cavity, is the boiling pot that burns off excessive emotions and renders all void into the warm belly of the Sugata; all rests contently in the three jewels of Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha. This is why Ratnasambhava is the Enveloper of Equanimity. This yogic-process is known as prānāgnihotra: the breath (Prana/Qi) and the inner fire (Agni) as an alchemical sacrifice (hotra). In this vein Ratnasambhava is also the Buddha of mercurial repose: the resultant Diamond Body is likened unto mercury; you can break it down, even attempt to kill it, but it cannot be made to die. What burns-off and dies of course is the gross material elements of the skandhic body.

This is akin to passing through the fiery breakdown of the elements in death and the rising of the Nirvanic-Unborn Spirit. The yogic renouncer lays aside the mundane walking corpse and lets it succumb to the sacrificial fires (yogāgni). That’s why certain Yogic-sects smear themselves with ashes from the charnel-house—a clear sign of renouncing the mundane modus-operandi.  As Lord of the Ash, Ratnasambhava reminds us of cyclic reality, that the material universe itself will one day be reduced to dross after the Animating Principle has run its course.

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