Monthly Archives: September 2012

A Book of Dreams: Bardo 2, Conclusion

I believe that the appearance of a “white-dragonfly” beating outside my window the other day is a most auspicious sign indeed; its dominate symbolization in many diverse cultures is one of transformation. Its “white coloration” could also be a signifier that the Clear Light of self-realization is trying to break through. It’s also an interesting synchronicity that this study of Bardo Realm Two began with another symbol of transformation, a butterfly—a cousin of sorts to the dragonfly. This particular Bardo is indeed heavy-laden with symbols of transformation occurring at many levels. Like characters in a dream-play our lives are livid with the changing-tides of emotion and reason—a mad soap-opera filled with love and hate; of fear and resolve; of ignorance and wisdom. Hopefully the pieces of this constantly shifting landscape can eventually come together and awaken one from the dream of samsara into that Clear-Light of self-transformation. One of the other illuminating insights that can be gleamed from all of our bardo-journeys is that we do not travel alone. One of the greatest conceits is that we can somehow procure our much-needed transformation alone, simply via the way of one’s stored merits and personalized efforts. On the Lankavatarian Path the realization dawns that one is not reliant upon the strength of a personal-self (a collection of mere aggregates), but rather upon the intervention and enduring Selfhood of the Tathagatas themselves. What awaits the developing pupa (gotra) once the skandhic-cocoon is dissolved? The following brief, yet poignant, Bodhi-Pearl from Tozen nicely sums-up our time in Bardo Realm Two and offers a glimpse of what this Noble Self-realization reveals. read more

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Folding-Space: Bardo 2, Part 6

Bardo 1 (part 6) highlighted how “intention” was the determining factor in the flow of Qi throughout the meridian (energetic) system. In like fashion, the proper focus of intention is the key behind how the Manomayakāya navigates through the Sambhogakayic-field in Bardo 2. Whenever and whatever type of phantasmagorical phenomena manifests itself, the trick is to be able to maneuver “all about” its bewitching parameters with a steady flow of bodhipower that enkindles the one-pointed Bodhisattvic-Recollective-Resolve to render it back to its original imageless and empty (Śūnyatā) stature; Vimalakirti would refer to this as opening the Dharma-door of non-duality. Indeed, all these phantasms are mere mental constructs of the dreaming Unborn Mind Itself and with focused intention the Manomayakāya can send them reeling back into the Mahaśūnyā, or Primordial Void Itself. What is even more miraculous, the Manomayakāya has the potential bodhipower to actually transmute and transfer the energy-field, say of a given particularly revolting and recurring obtuse mind-kleśa, into an inanimate object like a rock—one that lies at the darkest corner of the universe; it can also transmute an ugly poison, like anger, in similar fashion. It also has the bodipower to transport itself instantaneously to any given dimension within the whole fabric of quantum-space. This type of maneuver was marvelously portrayed in the “Dune” series, wherein the technique of “Folding-Space” (much like a wormhole effect) was done by the Spice Guild Navigators; indeed, “The Spice” in that excellent saga created by Frank Herbert, was the “substance” behind much transformational stuff happening throughout all the stories…whereas for our purposes, it is Bodhipower Itself. But for any of this to happen at all, proper and focused Intention (one-pointedness of mind) is essential. read more

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Womb of Darkness, Womb of Light: Bardo 2, Part 5

One of Mind’s Revelations, by virtue of its Wordless Transmission, as expounded in the Dharmakaya Sutra is that all six realms within the samsaric order of creation are mere skandhic-apparitions. For instance, gods and demi-gods “dream” just as much as humans do and even those lowly inhabitants of the hell and hungry-ghost realms dream of eventually transcending their hellish existence; all are linked through skandhic-apparati that perceive avenues of desire that left to themselves are never relinquished. It is by virtue, then, of Mind’s own ascendency to the Noble Wisdom of Self Realization that these dependent chains of origination can be broken. The route of discernment through these first two Bardo Realms is something of a twofold nature: intrinsic and extrinsic awareness power and it is the former alone that is unequivocally undivided whereas the latter is soiled through the camera obscura-like lens of the Five Skandhas. The first two Bardo Realms are essentially traversed through extrinsic channels of awareness that are hindered by a temporal continuum: the body consciousness. Although masked in the dream-realm of Bardo 2, it is this self-same consciousness that digs-deep into the Alaya-vault that is stuffed with all kinds of imaginable and fantastic imagery that flashes across the soiled screen of vexatious intoxications that can prevent Mind’s return to Bhutatathata. Yet, the Manomayakāya has the power to break the spell—provided it issues its commands with the resolute authority that emanates from the Unborn Will Itself. If the proper alignment of the Chakras has been procured with consistent practice of Primordial Qigong in Light of the Unborn Spirit as relayed during our expose of Bardo 1, then sufficient authority will be granted since the light of these highly-spiritually-charged chakras pierces through and dissipates these unruly spectacles of the defiled garbha of the Alaya. read more

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The Bad Seed

The dominate understanding today of Buddha-nature is that it’s innate and automatically operative in its human host. Nothing could be further from the truth. One of the early signs that this reverent seed of the Buddhas is taking root is that the host exhibits some lasting traits of civility, as enfleshed through the Six Paramitas; they are not something that is merely intellectually recognized and later disregarded and even discarded, but rather put into regular and consistent practice: by their fruits ye shall know them. Another naïve assumption is that the worldly notion of Buddha-nature is free-standing, somehow existent independent of any traits that something “other” may exist in close proximity to its development. These assumptions are dead-wrong. There is another. There is a Bad Seed; an evil-twin that, at a moment’s notice, can make its vile presence known. This Bad Seed makes a mockery out of the Six Paramitas and irreverently inverts them into an agent of Mara: Charity and love into selfishness and hate; discipline into a chaotic mind; alertness into careless stupidity; meditative and Recollective Resolve into ignorant sloth; patience into agitation and intolerance; wisdom into pure ignorance (avidya). None of us is automatically immune to the evil influence of this Bad Seed; if the Bodhi-seed is not nourished and fed daily with Recollective Resourcefulness (like through sutra-reading) and disciplined dhyana, then one will fall prey to the evil whims of the Bad Seed. There are many “triggers” extant in the cultural milieu that can jump-start the sharp decline into ethical and moral depravity; the most dominate trigger presently is the Radical-Islamic uprising. read more

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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. read more

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Dark Narcissus

Another splendid Greek myth is that of Narcissus. Renowned for his exquisite beauty and youthful charms, his was a mad quest of insatiable self-obsession—as exemplified by his just incessantly staring at himself in a reflective pool. He never allowed anyone to sway him from becoming totally immersed in the sordid mess that was his own “spoiled” reflection. Narcissus is not an alien figure in our own day and age. In fact, his face is everywhere—it is legion. He can even be found wandering around on the Noble Path leading to self-realization; yet, given his propensity of looking for himself (and not attuned to the Recollective Resolve to nurture the seed that would reveal his “true” face) literally in all things—passing it off as a “search” but in reality just meandering down a long maze that can only lead to the defiled-center of his own “image”. Within that maze there are indeed many twists and turns—epistemological, soteriological (like in Amidism), zenism, and even an intellectual curiosity into the deepest maze of them all, hermeneuticism…which is really just a nice cloaking term for cognitive, rational analysis that deconstructs everything under the sun and is linked to assorted disciplines like linguistic analysis, historical-critique methodologies, ethnocentric premises and other exclusively left-brained pedagogies. This is all poor Narcissus’ “head-trip” and like wandering through any maze it more often than not leads to a dead-end. He’s trying to find himself in all the wrong places. Yet, at each twist and turn Narcissus’ ol’ arrogance shines through; seeking to prove—above all to himself—that his latest “fad” must be the right turn that will finally break the mystique of the maze and land him at last—dead center. But as we know from the Greek Myth, Narcissus’ “image” finally does him in at the end. He just couldn’t get beyond himself; he was seeking a reflection in the illusory pool of Maya and not his True Self-Nature. He was truly an Icchantika—wherein the beloved bodhiseed never reaches potential but just withers away and dies; worse yet, incarnates again and again throughout eternity on the Wheel of Life and Death and, like a hungry-ghost, is never satisfied and cannot get enough of itself. A Dark Narcissus indeed. read more

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Prometheus Unbound: Bardo 2, Part 3

The ancient Greek myth about Prometheus depicts his decision to steal fire from the abodes of the Gods themselves and bestow its illuminative properties to mankind. Zeus then reprimands him for his sacrilegious “action” by chaining him to a huge bolder for all eternity; during the day Prometheus, once an Olympian Titan-Deity himself, has to endure the agony and humiliation of having his liver plucked-out by a rabid vulture. At night, his wounds heal; but when the garish light of day arrives he has to endure his agony all over again. Quite an apt symbolism relaying how sentient beings are entrapped on the Wheel of Life, held bound by the severe laws of Karma that incessantly gnaws away at their entrails. It is also symbolic of how the “body consciousness” weighs one down with heavy samsaric burdens, whilst simultaneously dealing out old karmic wounds that never heal. This particularly becomes oppressive on the plane of Bardo One, wherein one’s spirit can become incapacitated with the heavy weight of sensuous perceptions that hinder self-emancipation and Recollective Strength in the Unborn Resolve. Bardo Realm Two, or the Sambhogakayic-field, can offer some respite from the affairs of the “Day Consciousness” as it becomes a portal into what is commonly known as the Dream Realm, where “Night Consciousness”—or the very Awareness Vehicle of the Manomayakāya itself—helps to foster the Illuminative Recollective Resolve of proper Lucidity that is key to becoming free from the chains of the Alaya-consciousness with all its karmic host. Prometheus Unbound. read more

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Mario does Cairo

The explosive turn of events in the mid-east this past week serve as a reminder of the forces of materialism run amok; the catalyst this week for the ever-present and growing dysfunctional-divide between radical fundamentalism—in both East and West, is a cheaply made, bargain-basement type video that is stereotypically reminiscent of “The Life of Brian”—a spoof on the life of Christ made by the Monty-Python crew back in the late 70’s; although this recent flick is a truly sicko vehicle made with the intention of actually denigrating an entire segment of this world’s population. Yet, the extreme and violent reaction—not understandable from a general Western vantage-point—and growing ever more widespread and violent than in similar conflicts stemming from western insensitivity in the recent past, is indicative and symptomatic of something larger and cataclysmic in scope: Materialistic jihad’s/crusade’s. read more

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The Descent (I’m Only Sleeping): Bardo 2, Part 2

Making the descent through the Bardo-doors of sleep is oftentimes a disorientating phenomenon. The paramount point to keep in mind is that, in terms of the Trikayic formulation, this is a Sambhogakayic dimension—whereas in Bardo One the Mind-journey of the Awareness Principle (via the Awareness Mechanism) is Nirmanakayic in nature. The experience on this Sambhogakayic plane is multidimensional in stature. All former 3-dimensional rules of perception are now superseded by Unifyic-Explosions of infinitesimal and kaleidoscope-like connections that unfold energetic layers of inter-dimensional kinship that bespeak the atomic and subatomic quanticity of Mind while in pluralized-obstruction-mode of self-expression. This self-revealed pluralicity is a mirrored quantization of the Nirmanakayic-field whose actual structure is masked by the field blocking out roughly 98% of its perceptional abilities, thus the awareness mechanism in Bardo One perceives just 2% of what is actually there. It’s like living in an outer-Siberia—with extraverted extractions of coalesced fluids (the chemical compoundedness of Mind’s plurality) that come-together under the guise of skandhic-elements that actually set-into-motion the karmic crud that clogs the arteries of the primordial energetic bodhiflow that can alone reroute Mind from the wandering samsaric escapades since beginningless exposures to particularized patterns of fate within the alayaic-bubble of karmadhatu. It is within this “Field of Dreams”—the Sambhogakayic dimension—that the developing Awareness Principle (like on training-wheels) gets its first exposure to the manomayakāya, or its Diamond-Mind Body that will be more fully developed and brought to a perfected state of Samadhi in Bardo Realm Three—or in that Dharmakayic dimension where the primordial awakened resonances emanate from the dark and luminous bodies of the Tathagatas themselves, as they anoint the bodhichild with the diamond-like resilience of the Sugata-garbha, the Supreme Womb of Buddhaic and Dharmakayic Light. Indeed, it is the manomayakāyic body that the Tibetan Book of the Dead itself refers to in the later Bardo’s as it resiliently withstands even the full-onslaught of the Wrathful Deities and Demons. read more

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The Butterfly Effect: Bardo 2, Part 1

One of the better known anecdotes is Zhuangzi and the Butterfly. The great Daoist Zhuangzi one day awoke from sleep after dreaming that he was a butterfly. Later on, though, he was deeply absorbed and troubled with the thought, “Hmmm, I wonder…was it really “I who was dreaming” that I was that butterfly; or am I really now that “sleeping butterfly” dreaming that I am now this man?” Interesting koan-like predicament; of course there have been traditions that say one of his disciples came along and threw a bucket of cold water on his head and he suddenly came to the realization that “I have to be Zhunangzi, because if I truly am a butterfly, that cold water would have killed me!” That cold-water in the face satori-like moment is a great image of sudden-awakening from the mad dream of samsara, yet when ol’ Zhuangzi dreams again that the butterfly is now waterproof—out goes the satori with the bathwater! Of course, the true resolve of the matter is the self-realization that there is no Zhunangzi and no butterfly—for both are samsaric illusions of the dreaming-skandhic-mind—where both waking in the morning in the realm of samsara is the same as waking in the realm of the samsaric dream; yet, the door of sleep is itself the bardo-passage, or in-between junction that opens-up into the wider realms of self-discovery wherein the Awareness Principle comes into direct contact with the shady denizens who reside in the darkest corners of the alaya receptacle; denizens who, within the purported “waking state”, are well-hidden and who can wreck more havoc than in the dream realm because the awareness principle in the dream state can come to the sudden realization that it has the power to totally control and re-shape the dreamscape and its constant kaleidoscope activity and alaya-karmadhic characters and situations to its own liking—provided that it reaches the proper level of lucidity. Lucidity is key; it is the magic formula that unlocks the secrets of the dreamscape, and after much trial and effort, the secrets to the entire samsaric-spectrum. Mastering Lucidity is simply being aware that it’s all a dream. But mastering lucidity is not a simple matter. read more

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