The Stream-enterer: Bardo 3, Mahabodhicitta

As our study of these Bardo Stages progresses, certain parallels can be drawn with Dante’s Divina Commedia: The Inferno, Purgatorio and Paradiso. His momentous and Epic Poem is indeed like a journey through bardo stages that hopefully will culminate in ultimate union with the Absolute. Along the road to the summit atop Mount Paradiso, though, one is in need of much purgation—a thorough cleansing of the karmic kleśas that prevent perfect clarity of the Lucid moment when Luminous Union occurs with the Dharmakaya in the Bardo of Dhamatā. Put quite simply, the seeds of the Alaya-receptacle need to be allayed. Otherwise rebirth in the karmadhatu of Samsara is inevitable. For instance, Dante’s Inferno describes what it’s like when residual karmic-actions are allowed to flow unchecked within the stream of the Body Consciousness. It vividly portrays what a spirit goes through when consigned to the foul and darkened bowels of the Hell Regions—the lowest of the six realms of samsaric existence. These unhappy denizens are suffering the consequences of their diseased and much aggrieved karmic misdeeds. They have to endure the seeds of retribution. Their painful and karmically-allotted punishments are heavy-material ones—as weighed through the residual actions accumulated through untold Alayic-connections that permeate their own polluted stream of consciousness. Consequently, they are tormented by demons actually created from the residual-material pool of this damnable stream. The only way to transcend this hellish position is to thoroughly transcend this polluted mind stream of the alayavijñāna. A Purer-Stream of Consciousness is the only salvation.

This present Bardo Realm of Deep Samadhis is analogous to Dante’s Purgatorio. The Dhyani Buddhas have helped to purge the actions of the Skandhic receptors. The Mahabodhisattva is now becoming ripened with Noble Self-Realization on the Sambhokayaic Plane of Dharmadhatu. Mahabodhicitta is the great and Enlightened Mind Stream of the Tathagatas; in this sense the Mahabodhisattva becomes a True-Stream-Enterer by becoming perfumed with this very essence of the Tathagatas. In this vein, through that prior-Dhammasota Stage they become impregnated with this Mahabodhicitta of the Tathagatas—thus the conception and early-development of an enlightened being, the Bodhichild, or the Noble Seed (gotra) gestating in the Dharma-womb (Tathagata-garbha) that uproots and supplants all the karmic seeds (agotra) of its defiled twin, the Alayavijñāna. It is the Bodhichild who resiliently initiates the Recollective Resolve of its True Primordial Stature, or what is also referred to as smŗti. As was written in an earlier blog post on Bodhisattvahood:

“Smŗti is indeed that essential element within the developing gotra (bodhi-seed) as it continually gestates within the Tathagata-garbha (dharma-womb). Usually, this most singular display of mindfulness is misconstrued as one being “mindful in the moment”—as if this is some substratum of Mind that generates stillness when, in effect, it does just the opposite: it keeps one perpetually fixated on the Moving Principle as manifested within phenomena, i.e., the present-moment being just that—some “thing” to keep one’s mind engrossed upon and hence entrapped in that diurnal wheel of samsara. Smŗti is that inner Resolve that “turns about” from the Moving Principle and Recollects That Animating Impetus within the Sacred Heart of Suchness…thus being Bodhi-minded and not moving an inch to the allures of samsara. Smŗti is the Right Entrance into the Light of the Unborn and the “mindful” Bodhisattva no longer pays any attention to anything that is adverse to It. If the adept keeps faithful to Smŗti then one will never become distracted or riddled with the anxious confusion of the meandering monkey mind. This is known as cultivating self-possession in light of the Buddhadharma. Without cultivating Smŗti then one will forever be held hostage to the raging vijñānas, forever entangled in the serpentine-grip of avidyā. It’s been said that whoever loses Smŗti loses Deathlessness; but whoever rightfully employs Smŗti will have the Deathless as one’s constant companion.”

In light of this, the stage is now set for the Noble Stream-Enterer bearing the perfumed-essence of Mahabodhicitta to begin to ingest the proper bodhi-food that will nourish the developing dharma-child thus assuring Right Reliance in the Way of Deathlessness; in doing so all former karmic seeds are allayed. The following video segment from the Dharmakaya Sutra further expounds on this development.

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