Vasuki: You’ve been aware of Naga-Gnosis for quite some time.
Vajragoni: How did I come to this Gnosis?
Vasuki: By continually shedding your old skin, so to speak. Coming out of your habits and associations into a transmuted being. You have to realize that although human in form, you are quite something other in spirit in your ongoing transformation.
Vajragoni: I’m intrigued.
Vasuki: The spirit of a Naga is its naked awareness—this is its naked truth, being empowered and ennobled to rise above mere human consciousness into the unbounded and deathless freedom of the Unborn. The key to do this is by crossing the threshold from the tempo of the Bardo-realms to final Dharmakayic Realization—the ultimate ecstasy. The Nagas are the guardians of this threshold; once they recognize you as a kindred spirit, the door to these transcendent treasures is opened.
Vajragoni: How does one maintain this intercourse with the Nagaic-Mind?
Vasuki: Your own inner Yin-Dragon is the agent that sustains this symbiosis.
Vajragoni: What do you mean by this “inner Yin-Dragon”?
Vasuki: Since the earliest origins of the human agency, the ancient Nagas have implanted the capacity of being nurtured by the Yin—THAT primordial Dark Energy that actually sustains the entire cosmos. Without the Yin to support and nurture it, the outer mechanism of the fiery Yang element eventually burns itself out. The inner Yin-Dragon factor provides the balance. It is the very lifeblood of the Primordials themselves.
Vajragoni: Are you saying, then, that this Dragon-Blood sustains my own spirit?
Vasuki: Without it you would surely shrivel-up in the face of outer adversity and inner-turmoil as stirred up by the evil one. In this sense the Nagas are protectors, not only of the Sacred Buddhadharma, but of the very integrity of your own mind and spirit.
Vajragoni: How does the Lanka-factor come into play with all this? I mean, does the sutra have elements that explain what you are portraying?
Vasuki: The Lankavatara Sutra was originally chronicled by the Nagas, i.e., the Nagan scribes recorded what transpired between the Buddha and his early discourse with Ravana as well as the later and more extended exchanges between the Blessed One and Mahamati the Bodhisattva-Mahasattva.
Vajragoni: Many scholars contend that the Lanka was a Yogacara creation.
Vasuki: They are only partially correct. The Yogacarins later refined many of the Mind-only principles, in particular with a nuance on the Alaya-receptacle, but the cittamatra constructions were originally entrusted to the Nagas by the Buddha for safe-keeping before they were finely articulated in the framework of the Lanka. For instance, the renowned “turn-about” in the deepest recesses of consciousness is a Nagan-technique of stretching Mind’s inner-reserves back upon Itself in order to refresh the inner-realization that IT must remain prior to IT’s phenomenal outflows.
Vajragoni: Fascinating! Curious, does the symbol of the Ouroboros in any way represent this primordial triggering effect?
Vasuki: Indeed it does. If you were to turn it-round you would see that it resembles the shape of a figure-eight on its side, which represents infinity:
In other words, Mind must continually turn-back upon Itself to keep the tail of phenomena in check. Recollect, Zen folk would describe it as the Hua-t’ou remaining prior (anteceding) to and consuming the Hua-Wei (the tail) and not the other way around.
Vajragoni: What other Lankavatarian principles did the Nagas disclose?
Vasuki: They can be aligned in the following formulation:
Mind Only: All of phenomenal-outflows are non-other than projections of Mind Itself.
The Tathagata-garbha: the very womb of Buddha-potential, housing the Dharma-seed that, with the right spiritual cultivation, matures into the full-blossoming of the Bodhi-Mind, or becoming as One with the mindstream of the Tathagatas.
Trikāya, or the three bodies of the Buddha: the Truth or Transcendent Body (Dharmakaya); the Enjoyment Body (Sambhogakaya) wherein Buddhas and their teachings are revealed in profound Mystical bodies and settings; and the concretized emanations of a Buddha’s formalized manifestation (Nirmanakaya) in order to directly attend to the state of sentient affairs.
The Sunyata Doctrine: all sensate substrata are Self-Empty, meaning that they are dependently originated and have no Absolute existence in and of themselves.
The subtle nature of the Unborn principle: “O Mahamati, it is taught by the Tathagatas of the past, future, and present that all things are unborn. Why? All things are unborn because they are the manifestations of our own mind and have no reality of their own.” Authentic Buddhahood is ultimately an imageless affair.
The Self-Stature of the Tathagatas: throughout the Lanka the Tathagatas are presented as perfected Bodhi-Beings that have mastered the art of Mind-Liberation and spontaneous Illumination, not only for themselves, but for all struggling sentitalia.
Vajragoni: I’m also reminded of the svastika that appears on the breast of the Tathagata having a dominant position in the opening chapter of the Lanka—is it also Naga-related?
Vasuki: It is a sign of the Naga itself—exhibiting the principle of harmonious cohesion or a balanced-interplay between the Body, Heart, Mind, and Spirit:
Vajragoni: Why is this sign so prominently placed on the breast of the Tathagata?
Vasuki: It indicates that the Buddha was once himself a Naga, taking rebirth in the Naga-realm before his last incarnation and gaining access to much secret wisdom. Not only that, but that Nagas (entrusted as they are to the Buddhadharma) can only be taught by Buddhas who were once Nagas themselves. Thus the Tathagata is always known as a Maha-Naga.
Also know that Maitreya himself currently sits in the Tushita Heaven beneath a Naga-tree and is earnestly attentive to his Naga instructors preparing him for his final Enlightenment when he shall descend into the saha realm and, like Shakyamuni before him, will sit below a Bodhi Tree that is always guarded by a Maha-Naga, like Muchilinda.
Vajragoni: (bowing) Thank-you! There is much to contemplate.
Vasuki: May the Blessings of the Maha Nagas remain with you always.