Vajragoni: Closely allied with Dharmasota Ho is Dhyana Technique #9, Mahasunya Ho, where the Unborn will continue to unfold IT’s dominance over those unruly vexations of the discriminatory mind; hence this technique will assist you in overcoming your anxiety in relinquishing control of your personal will.
Question: Doesn’t Mahasunya Ho mean “great nothingness”?
Vajragoni: It means the Great Deathless Void of the Unborn Mind.
Question: Well, still, the very term creates anxiety for me…I mean it’s like staring into the Void, which is nothingness…
Vajragoni: That’s a common misconception of the term; Huang Po would state it in this fashion, “Many people are afraid of emptying their mind lest they may plunge into the Void. They do not know that their own Mind IS the void…the Void to where no attachments are left…when subjectivity and objectivity are forgotten—that is the highest form of relinquishment.” The Mahasunya of the Unborn Mind, my friend, is so called because IT is VOID of all sensory phenomena of the discriminatory mind; yet, from the point of view of Reality (Dharmadhatu) IT is FULL of ITS own perfect and most dynamic creative suchness. Within this Great Deathless Void there is no-thing to see, no-thing to perceive, no-thing to grasp or to cling to…its TOTAL UNEQUIVOCAL RELINQUISHMENT.
Question: I see that the Bodhi-child has a major part to play in this technique.
Vajragoni: Liberation means to free the Bodhi-child to fully Recollect Tathagatahood within the Deathless Center of Dharmadhatu; through Mahasunya Ho the Bodhi-child radiates the sambodhi in the vibrant ecstasy of the Primordial Vibration (samanyaspanda) within the very womb of Suchness Itself. So, the Bodhi-child is directly attuned with this center whose “gap” (meaning between one created thought and another) is the actual Undifferentiated Unity of the Unborn Mind. Thus, all sense of “otherness” is dispelled as the unfolding Unborn Will effortlessly attunes with the Bodhi-child with Marvelously Luminous Vidyaa, or the “awareness power” that radiates the Superessential Stature of the Unborn.
Question: Does this indicate, then, that those little “gaps” between thoughts reflect the presence of the Unborn within us?
Vajragoni: Yes, and more…because this presence is “undifferentiated” and needs no-thing outside Itself as IT’s already “complete” within IT’s Superessential Stature; in this sense it’s VOID of all the stuff that the personal will considers to be important, like the array of differentiated sensate phenomena.
Question: So being mindful of those “gaps” shuts out all outside interference that emanates from the personal will?
Vajragoni: In a manner of speaking, yes, although there’s the self-realization occurring within the gaps that there really is nothing that needs to be shut out since all outside sensate activity is sunya (empty) in Light of the Unborn. What is actually occurring within those gaps is that the Bodhi-child is effortlessly attuned with the Unborn Will thus initiating the “full” self-realization of Noble Wisdom as well as deathless illumination and ultimate peace in the Unborn.
Question: It’s too bad that those gaps don’t last long enough in order to experience the fullness of what you speak.
Vajragoni: In good time, my dear friend, all in good time…or should I say when you practice this technique long enough to experience the “timeless” wonder of it all…as the gaps slowly increase with ever strengthening regularity.
Question: It also seems that with this technique the Bodhi-child is doing all the work for you…
Vajragoni: Yes, you are not alone in abdicating your personal will as you have a constant inner-companion whose gentle presence will never abandon you but is always there for you to assure success. Now then, let’s walk through the process of Mahasunya Ho:
Firstly, you initiate the same antecedent breathing technique within the Dantian that you learned in Bodhi-Ho; this strengthens the Bodhi-child’s Recollection of the Dharmakaya (absolute Buddha body of perfect suchness) and this energy is thus expanded to encompass the surrounding area and one continues with this expantion for 5 minutes; this helps to serve as a reminder that one is now resting in the repose of the Great Deathless Void of the Unborn Mind (Mahasunya).
Secondly, one places the dominant hand on top of the Dharmamegha Chakra (crown) and the other hand rests on the Self-Chakra or heart; this position serves to strengthen the Bodhi-child’s direct connection to the Unborn Spirit in the Dharmamegha Chakra that is the location of transcendent peace and focused Recollective Resolve in relationship with the Unborn Will; this is closely allied with the Self-Chakra where the non-dominant hand represents the innate ability of the Unborn Spirit to remain free from the defiled sensate phenomena; thus the Unborn Spirit is One with the Unborn Will as witnessed through the Recollective Action of the Bodhi-child. It’s essential to remain in this position for at least 15 minutes in order to antecede passing phenomena by resting in the “gaps” between them, and the longer you remain in the gap the radiating power of sambodhi will grow stronger, thus empowering the unfolding of the Unborn Will in the Unborn Spirit.
Lastly, one lowers the dominant hand from the Dharmamegha Chakra and places it beneath the other hand that is resting on the Self-Chakra; this is symbolic that the Unborn Spirit now enforces through ACTION its Union with the Unborn Will. As the antecedent breathing continues one will notice that the antecedent action is now “merging” with the gaps between the passing phenomena, thus sealing the Recollective Resolve of the Bodhi-child in attunement with the Unborn Will as the Unborn Spirit celebrates the full Supraessential Wonder of Tathata; the time frame involved with this position is at least 15 minutes or until one intuitively experiences effortless repose…a repose that is symbolic of the Deathless Center of Suchness. All is now AS SUCH in the Recollective Eye of Self-Same Essence.
Question: Most enlightening, thank-you!
Shoden Session #9: Mahasunya Ho
Entering the sanctum sanctorum of the Unborn Mind: Penetrating into the primordial vibration (samanyaspanda) of the Unborn the Bodhi-child fully Recollects ITs Supraessential Stature; thus all sense of “otherness” is eradicated as the unfolding Unborn Will effortlessly attunes the Dharma-child with Marvelously Luminous Vidyaa.
Dhyana Technique: In order to unite within the Deathless Center, Dharmadhatu, with Its ever watchful and Reflective Eye of Self-Same Essence practice the following:
Mahasunya Ho: The Great Deathless Void (Mahasunya) of the Unborn Mind is so called because IT is void of all sensations of the discriminatory mind; but from the point of view of Reality (Dharmadhatu) IT is FULL of ITs own perfect and most dynamic creative suchness thereby empowering and liberating the Bodhi-child to fully Recollect Tathagatahood within ITs deathless center. Radiating sambodhi in the ecstasy of this Primordial Vibration (samanyaspanda) within the very Womb of Suchness ITself, the Bodhi-child directly sees the center whose “gap” (between one created thought and another) is the undifferentiated unity of the Unborn Mind. From within the Self-Chakra, the Unborn Spirit is thus freed to contemplate the Supraessential Wonder of Tathata through a direct connection with the Dharmamegha Chakra where the Recollective Vigilance of the Bodhi-child is effortlessly attuned to the Unborn Will thus affecting full self-realization of Noble Wisdom as well as deathless illumination and ultimate peace in the Unborn.
- Sit and gassho. This helps to quieten the mind and awaken the Recollective Resolve. Gently close your eyes.
- With your hands in lap and palms facing upwards, begin to initiate your antecedent breathing within the Dantian: breathe-in, thus filling the rupakaya (body form) with Unborn Light Reiki. After you’ve developed an easy rhythm, begin to antecede (be before) the in-breath thus recollecting and empowering the dharmakaya (absolute Buddha-body of perfect suchness). Continue to expand this primordial essence out into your surrounding area.
- While breathing-out, continue this expansion outwards to your surrounding area. Now continue this along with step 2 until you develop an expanding rhythm, thus flooding your surrounding area with UBLR. This should last for 5 minutes.
- Place your dominant hand on top of the Dharmamegha Chakra (crown) and the other hand on top of your Self-Chakra. When thoughts come and go try to antecede them by remaining centered in the “gap” between them. The longer you rest in the gap the radiating power of sambodhi will become stronger. Remain in this position and proceed for 15 minutes.
- Now gently move your dominant hand down and exchange positions with the other hand that is resting on the Self-Chakra, non-dominant hand on top of the dominant. Resume your antecedent breathing and continue to rest in the gaps between passing thoughts. After a while, you will notice that the antecedent breathing is merging with the gaps thus sealing the Recollection process. The time frame involved here is approximately 15 minutes, or as long as you need in order to intuitively experience effortless repose.
- Gassho. Give thanks to your Unborn Spirit.
My appreciations for the marvellous spiritual quality of your on-going work, which clearly emanates from a mind ground charged with a power of inspiration that could only be due to living contact with the Bodhidhatu. This force is lacking in the communcations of most visible contemporary western Buddhists, whose output is either coloured by superficial sentimentality or dry as dust intellectuality etc.
One who WAS powerfully inspired by the luminosity of reality, however, is the omniscient Dolpopa of the Tibetan Jonang lineage, whose understanding of Śūnyāta very much reminds me of your own; have you read his work?
By the way, how would you say that this ‘Primordial Vibration’ relates to the energy of Love and Compassion, as well as the ‘Great Bliss’ which is particularly emphasized in Tantrayana? I’d like to hear your own undertanding of how these various principles connect in the Absolute.
Many thanks for your comments. Am not familiar with Dolpopa; will have to read-up on the lineage. Am most familiar with the Tantrayana and the Adamantine Vehicle. Would encourage you to read and study the series here entitled, The Tathāgatagarbhatārā Tantra which is an exercise in Mahayoga. This is the second in a trilogy series that includes The Lankavatarian Book of the Dead (based on Atiyoga Principles) and Notes from the Iron Stupa., which constitutes an exercise in Anuyoga. The Primordial Vibration of which you speak is of the mystical union between Primordial Wisdom (Prajñā), and skillful means (Upāya).
Thanks. I really recommend reading up on him and the Jonangpas in general; Dolpopa is a shining beacon in the history of Tibetan Buddhism, and his teachings on zhentong (‘other-emptiness’) is a precious pearl born from the union of profound yogic experiences and scholarly expertise surpassed by none of his contemporaries. He was a superstar in Tibet in the fourteenth century, but due to unfortunate historical circumstances with power politics, the Jonang lineage shrank into obscurity and only survived in remote Eastern Tibet. The universally renowned Taranatha is the other most famous historical member of this lineage, which is most respected for its superior and most complete knowledge of the Kalachakra Tantra including the rare completion stage practice of the sixfold Vajrayogas—this being what led Dolpopa to his extraordinary realizations in the first place, in part due to contacts with the realm of Shambhala which is connected with this Tantra. Dolpopa’s main treatise is available in English translation as ‘Mountain Doctrine’ (which is worth having if only for the lavish amount of scriptural quotations showing his view). There is also a smaller biographical work including a translation of a more minor treatise of his, ‘The Buddha from Dolpo’. If you decide to research this, maybe you will gift us with a series of blog posts commenting upon the matter. 🙂
Some links to Jonang-related sites:
http://rimebuddhism.com/khentrul-rinpoche/the-jonang-tradition/ (etc… This Jonang and Rimé lama comes to the USA this year btw.)
http://jonang.org/about-2/ (A couple of US centers…)
The Zhentong philosophical view is not limited to the Jonangpas throughout Tibetan history. Various prominent Kagyupas and Nyingmapas have shared this basic view of the Middle Way.