Yoga of the Manomayakāya


Lankavatarian Foundations

All beings are likened to forms originated in an illusion or a dream; since there is no self, others, or both, there is no arising of them. When practitioners penetrate “nothing but self-mind,” and thus realize the non-being of external beings, they therefore realize the non-arising of discriminatory faculties…

The above passage, from Gishin Tokiwa’s (uploaded in Library) excellent article: The Manomayākaya of the Lankāvatāra Mahāyānasūtra, provides the best preliminary-foundation for our exploration of the Yoga of the Manomayakāya. It is in and through the Manomayakāya that the Mind-Yogin best encounters the Ḍākiṇī as an agent of transformation and transfiguration in the superior Mind-Stream of the Tathāgatas. The synchronization of body and mind in Ḍākiṇī-praxis consists of the following:

The essential link here is what is called the subtle body, sometimes called the mind-body or “body made of mind” (manomaya-kāya) in Vajrayana Buddhism.
As the linking factor between the gross physical body and the mind, it is a major vehicle in meditation practice…
The subtle body is not really a body; it is much more like the mind. Its fluidity is seen in the way one clings to concepts and emotions and the way one can let them go. Unlike the usual conventions of language, the subtle-body vocabulary expresses a unified understanding of the body-mind complex. The dynamics of the subtle body are liquid, in constantly flowing patterns, impossible to conceptualize. Views of the physical body are transformed by creation-phase practice, leading the practitioner to an experience of the subtle body in completion-phase practice. That subtle body, made of mind, links with an actual state of mind. (Dakini’s Warm Breath, ibid, pg. 169)

Why is it essential to initiate any mind/spiritual journey’s through the manomayākaya? This mind-made, or “subtle” body is so transcendentally constructed as to avoid any outer or inner obstacles from realizing the Self-Superior ascendancy of the primordial mindstream of all Buddhas. This is the unobstructed mind-made-meditation body that is innate to all the Awakened Ones:

These are what we know about the body made of thought from the LK. We learn it has its origin in the practice of self-concentration, that it helps clarifying the meaning of the term “dharmakaya”, and that it refers to the Awakened one’s original vow which is innate to all the other Awakened ones…
The obstacles from which the body made of thought is free are the mind as the source of delusion, the ego-self, and the thought-discriminatory faculty. They are compared to walls and other things. Walls, in this sense, can mean our unawakened way of being as the existential obstacles whereas the body made of thought stands for freedom from such obstacles. (Tokiwa)

All of this links quite nicely with the Self-realized awakening by the Dark-Feminine Principle that is highlighted through the Ḍākiṇī-agency:

It means this: Through the Awakened one’s teachings one understands their core, gets deeply confident that all living beings, no matter whether they are unawakened or awakened, are of one and the same true nature which, because of accidental dusts, is falsely covered and cannot be manifest as it is, and that for abandoning what is false and returning to what is true one concentrates upon the wall-contemplation that one and others as well as the unawakened and the awakened are equally one, wherein one firmly abides without shifting from it, and, what is more, one does not follow literal teachings. This will promptly have one accord deeply with the principle, have no discrimination, and be calm and free from being artificial…
The term “wall” usually means something that obstructs our movement because it exists outside of us and we look at it from outside. When it is taken to mean something internal, it means our existential obstruction, that is, our ordinary manner of being, which does not realize that it is based on our discriminatory faculty due to our respective ego consciousness.
When we stop looking at a wall outside and begin looking at it as
ourselves, we realize that what has been outside cease to be outside, and that what has been inside may cease to be just inside. Likewise, when we realize that our ordinary manner of life is based on our discriminatory faculty which works by following our respective ego consciousness, we realize that the ordinary life itself has been absolutely negative. At the same time we cease to regard other beings and things just as external and stop considering ourselves as internal. This immediately turns out to be in accord with the principle. I think this is what is meant by the wall-contemplation (biguan).  It is quite a concrete naming of the contemplation, typically characteristic of Chinese Chan expressions. The term “wall-contemplation,” can be said to represent the LK term, the “body made of thought.” (Tokiwa)

As we shall see, it is only through the Manomayakāya that we can successfully breakthrough all of these “walls” that hinder our union with the Unborn Mindstream.

Yoga of the Manomayakāya

If you stay alone, you will tame your emotions.
If you stay alone, renunciation will dawn.
If you stay alone, you will be diligent.
If you stay alone, you will develop bodhicitta.
If you stay alone, the Ḍākiṇīs will gather near you.
If you stay alone, the dharmapālas will surround you.
If you stay alone, meditation experiences and realization will arise.
If you stay alone, you will reach Buddhahood.
If you stay alone, a time will come when you are capable of benefiting
There is no way fully to describe
The benefits of solitude. (Shabkar)

The following Mind-Meditation nicely illustrates the inner-workings of the Principle as activated by the Manomayakāya through the mindship of the Ḍākiṇī. One is required to enter-into the meditation utilizing headphones and being quite alone in a dark-environment (Lights-out!) that is free from all outside distractions. Yea, the inner- phenomenalizations yet to come are quite enough to confront without the added hindrance from outside interference. It needs to be emphasized from the outset that IT IS NOT an exercise to be entered into lightly. Anyone suffering from any excessive anxiety, depression, or any other mind-disorders SHOULD NOT participate in it. That’s why this exercise is also listed in the Mystagoia category—it is an ADVANCED PRACTICE and not meant for those who have not yet been initiated into a finely-tuned spirituality, like Unborn Mind Zen. The Mind-Meditation is meant to empower one to die to the stench of Ego-consciousness and to awaken to the Primordial-Nature of THAT which you really are.

1. Preparing the Ground

The opening music-selection by “Drwa” is entitled Lhasa; it prepares the Mind-ground from all unsettling distractions that attempt to inhibit proper biguan. Allowing oneself to be totally present to the track counteracts and disables the usual mind chatter. Envision oneself seated comfortably and being slowly surrounded by the chanting monks who empower you to dissipate all the mind-manure that clings to the Self like rotting-dung. Eventually one becomes [as one] with the ambience as the mind is steadied to allow the coming spiritual onslaught. One is also encouraged to prepare oneself beforehand by wearing appropriate spiritual-garb. In my own preparation I wear my brown-habit with scapular (brown rectangular piece of fabric that hangs down from the front and back) and also a black cloak with white lining—which I refer to as “Tara’s Mantle”. Also, my Sacred-Mystical Staff—the Khatvanga—is held in the crook of the left arm. It serves as a source of spiritual-protection and a mystical portal for the coming transfiguration:


2. The Rite of Chöd

The selection by “Chonyid”, Chonyid 5 (Part 1), serves as an excellent resource that creates the ambience for the spiritual practice of Chöd—meaning a thorough cutting-through of the body consciousness and its dark lords: the five skhandhas. It’s essential that one enters into this Rite with Right Intention: in this instance opening oneself to a spiritual onslaught of spirits of the dead (the Rite historically took place in a cemetery or charnel-grounds; I use, for instance, use my own room), but also the accompanying Unborn Spirit of the Five Dhyani Buddhas, their cohorts, as well as the main spiritual- interlocutor: the inner- Ḍākiṇī. One can actually hear the approach of the Ḍākiṇī—arriving as if on buzzing-wings, like the amplified-sound of a mosquito. What transpires in this Rite is much akin to what occurred to the character of Ernst Schäfer in the Notes from the Iron Stupa series when he underwent “Ratnasambhava’s Vase-Empowerment”—a Chöd-like encounter wherein his skhandhic-frame is devoured by demons, but afterwards his own manomayakāya is being refashioned into the Real Body of the Tathagata by Lochana, Ratnasambhava’s spiritual cohort or Yin-Self. In similar fashion, one’s false-self is allowed to be totally consumed, in Lankavatarian terms the total subjugation of the Ego-consciousness. Envision your body-consciousness being consumed in such a fashion; while it can appear to be a most terrifying encounter—sitting alone in the dark while all of this dark spiritual-ambience is spinning about you—if you succeed in following through with this Rite the Manomayakāya will be freed from its shackles, like breaking-through that “wall” that was discussed earlier. Remember, you are never really alone as the Unborn Spirit is with you always. Also, if you persevere, you will hear the [very sound of Self-Realization] piercing through at the end of the Mind Meditation.

3. Freeing the Manomayakāya

In Chonyid 5 (Part 2), the very process of Self-realization is ushered-in as it was the Manomayakāya that survived the spiritual onslaught—that there is never really [anything] but Self-Mind, all the rest just phenomenal outflows of the discriminatory faculties—noisy false horrors that have no substance in and of themselves. This is also akin to what transpires in the final Bardo processes after death. For myself, the Khatvanga serves as the Manomayakāya—as IT IS the portal of transfiguration from all fear and inadequate representations of the false-self. One now YOKES with IT as one’s True and Best-Self.

4. Final Phase

The concluding musical selection from “Alone in the Hollow Garden”, Su-Meru, serves as a “sound-cleansing” as all the previous phenomenalizations fade-away in Dharmameghic-Ecstasy. The Mind-Meditation now dissolves itself and one is brought back to familiarity. The entire exercise lasts approximately 87 minutes.

All my hopes,




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One Response to Yoga of the Manomayakāya

  1. Vajragoni says:

    I entered into the Yoga of the Manomayakāya last evening in my outside hermitage. The hermitage is more conducive, both in ambiance and spiritual placement for the meditation to commence and conclude successfully. I have been away from such meditations the past few years due to my parents declining health and recent deaths. Many are not aware of it, but those afflicted with severe illness actually “cling” to their loved ones in a form of energy transfer—by that I mean they pull-on your own energy stream which afterwards leaves you feeling quite drained of that energy. This oftentimes happens when visiting nursing homes where there are a legion of sick people who do indeed latch onto and drain your energy. I can attest to that after many years in ministry visiting those homes and in particular over the past years with my parents. I mention this because afterwards meditation itself can oftentimes prove unfruitful and uneventful after such encounters.
    So, last evening was a good opportunity for me to revisit those meditation sessions, in particular with the Yoga of the Manomayakāya. Anyone coming to this particular blog post is invited to read the blog first before even vaguely understanding my experience.
    Halfway through the meditation (which takes place alone in the dark with the aid of a music-track made especially for this yoga) after the Ḍākiṇī’s have made their presence known through that singular buzzing-sound, I drifted-off into spacelessness. Dressed in my Brown-Habit, I was holding my mystical-staff, known as the Khatvanga, which serves as a portal of transfiguration into the Manomayakāya, when I suddenly became one with my own Manomayakāya as it arose from my carnal frame. I have two Khatvangas—one made of out yak-bone that I utilize inside my house, and the other made out of iron, which is housed in my hermitage. All the energy in my body shifted to the Manomayakāya as I grasped unto the iron-Khatanga and became [as one] with the tool; in a very real sense it “propelled me” into the Manomayakāya. Many describe the Manomayakāya as the purported “Bardo-Body”—encountered during initial stages of the Bardo of Re-becoming, but is in in actuality one’s own Manomayakāya. This was explained in the Lankavatarian Book of the Dead series. It’s interesting how different schools and traditions have different definitions and experiences of this mystic-marvel.
    Nearing the conclusion of the musical portion of this exercise, I could feel my Khatvanga once again pull me back into my familiar carnal frame. That’s the transition—at first being propelled as if forward into the Manomayakāya and then, then pulled backwards into the body once again. The actual time in Manomayakāya-mode was a “timeless affair”, as if rising above the highest ceiling of this universe and its physical laws.

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