- The Gandharva’s air-castle, Maya, a hair-circle, and a fata morgana, they’re non-entities yet they appear as if they were entities; the nature of an objective existence is thus to be regarded.
Yet another reinforcement of the Lanka’s favorite metaphors of illusionary reality. My favorite are the Gandharvas. They have quite the allegorical background:
gandharva. (P. gandhabba; T. dri za; C. gantapo/ zhongyun youqing; J. kendatsuba/ chūun’ujō; K. kŏndalba/ chungon yujŏng 乾 闥 婆/ 中 蘊 有 情). A Sanskrit term whose folk etymology is “fragrance eaters”; in Buddhist cosmology it is most often translated as “celestial musicians”; in the context of the cycle of rebirth, gandharva refers to a “transitional being” that bridges the current and future existence. (The CJK uses a transcription for the former denotation, and the translation “intermediary being” for the latter.) In the Buddhist cosmological schema, gandharvas are a sort of demigod and one of the eight classes of beings (AṢṬASENĀ); they fly through space and serve as musicians in the heavenly court of INDRA or ŚAKRA, the king of the gods, who presides over the heaven of the thirty-three (TRĀYASTRIṂŚA) in the sensuous realm of existence (KĀMADHĀTU). According to Indian mythology, they are married to the celestial nymphs (APSARAS). The gandharvas get their name from the presumption that they subsist on fragrance (GANDHA). The term gandharva is also the designation given to the transitional being in the intermediate state (ANTARĀBHAVA; see also BAR DO), the forty-nine-day period between rebirths in the five or six destinies (GATI) of SAṂSĀRA. Since the transitional being does not take solid food but subsists only on scent, it is also referred to as a gandharva. During this transitional period, the gandharva is searching for the appropriate place and parents for its next existence and takes the form of the beings in the realm where it is destined to be reborn.
Buswell Jr., Robert E.; Donald S., Jr. Lopez. The Princeton Dictionary of Buddhism (Kindle Locations 24127-24145). Princeton University Press. Kindle Edition.
Interesting how the etymology of the name refers to them being “fragrance-eaters.” There are numerous Sutras that speak of sundry “fragrance-bearing worlds”, and beings who communicate and subsist solely on scents. Also fascinating on how the term is utilized for those entering into the 49 days of the Bardo. If one finds themselves in these latter stages of the bardo, then it is indeed quite like one who goes “sniffing-around” for yet another existence.
- Nothing has ever been brought into existence, all that is seen before us is delusion; it is due to delusion that things are imagined to have come into existence, the ignorant are delighted with the dualism of discrimination.
In added reference to the previous observation, those who find themselves another birth-womb in the bardo once again dive into a dualistic situation which is born of discrimination—discriminating which parents to choose, who will in turn, usher them into another imagined world of samsaric-incarceration.
- As memory [or habit-energy, vasana] grows in various forms of the Mind is evolved like the waves; when memory is cut off, there is no evolving of the Mind.
Vasana: Suzuki describes this in his Studies in the Lanka as “energy-forms” that are stored up in the Alaya-receptacle. Hence, it is not only an endless array of images that are stored there, but also the deepened and ingrained habit-energy that accompanies each image.
- The Mind is evolved dependent upon a variety of conditions, just as a painting depends upon the wall [on which it is painted]; if otherwise why is not the painting produced in the air?
That’s all we are really, just fleshy paintings hung on the wall of Samsara. We are dependent upon the wall for our continued imagined existence. If the wall were to crumble and disappear, so also would our skandhic-apparatus. Our true nature is that of Undivided Spiritual Self-hood, highlighted by the brush-strokes of the Unborn with imageless-paint.
- If Mind evolves at all depending on individual forms as conditions, then Mind is condition-born, and the doctrine of Mind-only will not be held true.
Discrimination cannot evolve when the self-realization of Mind-only prevails. Focus exclusively on Mind-only and all contingent-forms will be called-out for what they truly are—other-dependent and thus lacking in substance.
- Mind is grasped by mind, it is not a something produced by a cause; Mind is by nature pure, memory (habit-energy) has no existence in [mind which is like] the sky.
Within Mind Itself there is no agency that is grasped by discursive thought. Left to Itself, It is unbounded as the open-sky.
- [Cleary]: Thought comes from immersion in subjective mentation; there is no external object, so it is only thought.
External-agencies come-about only through mentations born of subjective thought immersions; in truth, there are no objective forms to be grasped; there is Mind-only and outside of this Mind there is no thought, thus no formal obstructions.