The Rat of the Vital Wind

The end of 2020 was just as momentous of the end of 2019 with the death of my parents. My much beloved male Tonkinese Cat died from cancer. I was devastated. He is dearly missed by me and his surviving 11 year-old sister. They both were raised by me as kittens. She cries-out for him on a daily basis, searching around the house in vain for his departed presence. You have to realize that for me as a celibate these beloved creatures are more than just pets—pets are what you call goldfish perhaps but these are my daily companions. It’s been hard for me to begin anew with my monthly regimen of writing here on the Unborn Mind Zen blog. Recently, though, I was curled up with a good book in my gas-heated outside hermitage which bars the door to the frigid winter climate. The book’s title is Obscure Religious Cults, by S.D. Gupta. My volume is a heavy leather-bound edition. I began taking up the text earlier last year with the intention of one day offering a blog series on this marvelous work. The first passage I turned to while sitting in my hermitage read,

“ My Citta,’’ says the poet, ‘‘is perfect in vacuity; don’t be sorry at the disappearance of the skhandhas or the five elements. Say, how it can be that Kanha is no more,—for he is throbbing for ever pervading the whole universe. Only foolish people are sad at the sight of the decay of the perceivable; —can the flow of waves dry up the whole sea? Foolish people do not see people who are existent (in their subtle Sahaja form), as they do not find the cream that remains pervading the milk. Here, in this world, entities neither come nor go, yogin Kanha revels in these thoughts.” (Ibid, pg. 36, leather-bound edition.)

Reading and absorbing this reignited my ascetic fervor. It’s from the second chapter entitled, The General Philosophic standpoint of the Caryā– padas. The Caryācaryāviniścaya are Buddhaic realized texts concerning “lines on proper practice.” It would do you well to read the hyperlink for a full assessment. What struck me concerning these religious sects is that they actually created “hymns”, chanting the given philosophic texts. I’ve actually tried chanting these given lines and it’s been fantastic. Just a realization that other texts, the sutras themselves can be chanted while studying them.  Staying now with the given chapter other lines are of great import:

The dominating philosophical note of the Caryā songs is, however, of an inherent idealistic vein as associated with the various theories of illusion. As this idealism, associated with the theories of illusion, is common to the Mādhyamika and Vijñāna-vāda Buddhism as well as to Vedānta, we shall find a mixture of the philosophical views of these schools in the songs of the Buddhist Sahajiyā poets…

The first song of the Caryā-padas begins with the assertion that our mind (citta) is solely responsible for the creation of the illusory world. “In the unsteady mind” — says Lui-pā in one of his songs,—“enters Time,” i.e., the disturbed mind is the cause of all our spatio-temporal experiences and the disturbance of the mind is due to the defiling principle of nature. The notion of difference proceeds from the notion of existence (bhava). It is said, “They are three, —the three are held different;—Kānhu says,—all (differences) are limitations due to the notion of existence.”  The world of our experiences is only provisional (saṃvṛti-satya) and the provisional nature of the world is revealed to us when we see that every thing that comes also invariably goes,—there is nothing permanent; all is an eternal flux of coming and going. It is said,—“Whatever came also went away; in this (rotation of) coming and going Kānhu has become convinced (of the insubstantial nature of the fleeting world).” But everything is pure in the ultimate nature. Neither existence nor non-existence is impure in the least; all beings, produced in the six ways (ṣaḍ-gatikā), are pure by their ultimate nature. (ibid, pg. 36-37)

How much akin this all is with our beloved Lanka, which states unequivocally that we live in a playhouse of our own mind. The accompanying unruly emotions  can at times be like ravenous rats gnawing away at the entrails of the spirit.

It is said,—“Dark is the night and the play of the rat begins.” The dark night is the darkness of ignorance in which the function of constructive imagination goes on. It is further said,—“Kill, O Yogin, this rat of the vital wind, whereby you will escape coming and going.

This rat is Time or death itself (i.e., the fickle mind constructs all temporal existence),—but in it there is no colour. When it rises to the void it moves there and drinks nectar. The rat remains restless (as long as it is not pacified by the instructions of the preceptor); pacify it through the instructions of the wise preceptor. Bhusuka says,—when the activities of the rat will be destroyed, all bondage will also be destroyed.” (ibid, pg.37)

A little twist on the notion of the dark night as we know it in these many blogs as taught by John of the Cross—purging the emotions beneath the dark night of the senses, in this instance ignorance itself is referred to as a form of darkness. My own “preceptor” in these many blogs has been the unparalleled aid of the Tathagatas, or the Primordial Mentors. Something to bear in mind. I am merely the messenger, the Primordials themselves are the teachers.

Bhāde-pāda says in one of his songs,—“Until now I was absorbed in self-illusion,—but now I realise the truth through the instruction of my good preceptor. Now my great citta is not,—it has fallen down into the ocean of the void. I behold the ten quarters all void,—without the citta there is neither any merit nor any demerit. The wise preceptor has explained to me all the illusions and I have destroyed them all in the void. (ibid, pg. 41)

The following song of Kānha-pāda best sums up this chapter and the heart of today’s blog:

“On the arm of the void I strike with the ‘thatness’ and plunder the whole storage of attachment and take away (all it contains)”. (Ibid, pg. 48

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6 Responses to The Rat of the Vital Wind

  1. Emaho says:

    Dear Teacher

    I am truly saddened to hear of your losses this past year of great planetary and multitudinous sorrows. It has been a very difficult year for so many in so many ways.

    Know your pain is recognized and is shared.

    Thank you for sharing your personal story and struggles here. Your faith means a great deal.

    I understand the feeling of world weariness as well. These times certainly are challenging in terms of accepting the limitations of our fragile and temporary bodies we animate with our finite breath.

    It is not easy to let everything we love go.

    I do not have the answers either my dear comrade.

    Just another filthy beggar guessing what happens to the heart.

    Some men want to leave their mark upon this Earth.

    I will side with the few who wish to leave it without a trace.

    I would rather be a small droplet of morning dew than a vast mountain.

    Or is there really any difference in the final analysis?

    In metta.

    • Vajragoni says:

      Thank-you for the share, it does help to know that there are fellow companions who can sympathize with that fragility of which you speak.

      May you be strengthened in your path.

  2. Emaho says:


    Gate Gate Paragate Parasamgate Bodhi Svaha!


  3. n. yeti says:


    This news reached me late. Having recently experienced the same thing, please know I understand and empathize with your grief. We train to be able to face our own deaths fearlessly, but when other beings suffer and die it can still be very difficult. Having had such a strong and positive connection with you in this life, they have certainly come into contact with the Buddhadharma, and this can only be auspicious for their future births.

    In metta, my friend.

    n. yeti

    I think this can only be auspicious for a higher birth and the opportunity to

    • Vajragoni says:

      n. yeti

      Saddened to learn of your own loss; so much of what you said is so true, although I think I learned more about the Buddhadharma from Earl than he did from me.

      Wishing you well

  4. n. yeti says:

    No loss, no gain, only boundless light!


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