Tag Archives: Bardo 3

Review of Bardo Realm Three

For a Lankavatarian, of all the Bardo (in-between stages of transition from one stage of awareness to another) Stages we’ve encountered in this series, Bardo Three—the realm of meditation and Deep Samadhis—holds the highest significance. The longest of our investigation, it needs to be turned to again and again and its components need to be studied and practiced with the utmost faith and diligence. Why? Because all these Bardo stages are really a Mind Voyage—Mind coming to the full self-realization of Recollecting and returning to its true, Unborn home. There is no other alternative. Trying to maneuver through these dense samsaric planes in any other way is really just a fool’s attempt of running through the mad maze of sentient being-ness that never, ever escapes the karmic wheel. Bardo Realm Three thus strengthens the awareness principle to be able to make the transcendent leap into Dharmakayic ecstasy (at the end of Bardo stage 4) that marks the final end of the long and weary samsaric journeying through lesser mind-fields. As we have seen, it is a full transition from the samsaric-human family to the transcendent Tathatic Family. It is not a game of chance or a lame attempt to “hope one’s way through” the long and dark tunnel that leads to the other side of Deathless Suchness. Such an opportunity may not come again for millions of existences. It is a hard won battle of conquering Mara and his evil henchman, the body consciousness; indeed, this evil Lord of all the six samsaric realms of transitory existence is VERY REAL and he will stop at nothing to keep the awareness principle perpetually entrapped and away from its True and rightful inheritance. read more

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The Great Samādhis: Bardo 3, Yogadhatu & Dharmamegha

Now resting in the Amala-megha (Primal Consciousness) the will is no longer one’s own but Self-Will—yoked with the Great Unborn Tathatic Spirit-Mind, and as such, with the Element of Truth-Realm: Yogadhatu. The Ariyan Mind is now within the Direct-Sphere of Consecration (abhișekāvasthā). It’s like being cloaked in an Omniscient Sphere of Translucent Unborn Light. What is forthcoming is very grand indeed…the entrance and consecration into the ultimate stage, or Dharmamegha (dharma cloud). The Lankavatara Sutra describes this most marvelous mystical transformation: read more

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A Beatific Wonder: Bardo 3, Cittapada; Cittidhatu; Amala vijnana

Trying to find something analogous for these latter stages of Mind Development would prove to be a most audacious undertaking: It’s All indicative of the heart of Suchness …it just IS AT IT IS—with No-thing arising nor cessating. Thomas Aquinas said on his deathbed that all his former prolific theological formulations were as mere “straw” in the face of the Beatific Vision. Mystical language (as procured from Deep Samadhis) is all that can be employed that barely scratches the surface of what Primordial Consciousness IS in ITSELF. read more

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The Mystical Body: Bardo 3, Bodhikaya

The implications of these excursions into the Dhyāna of Deep Samadhis should give a clear and lucid realization as to their True-Import in terms of transcending any form of phenomena that arises within the Bardos—whatever the given Bardo Stage. Being Yoked (Eternally-bonded) with the Tathata-Family through the very seed-base of the Buddhas themselves, neither life nor death has any further significance for those who have crossed (parinirvana) to the other shore of Suchness. The sting of death no longer has any consequence for such a Mind. It’s all a matter now of training the Mind to gradually let-go (through the High-Gnosis of these Dhyāna techniques) of the Rūpakaya. Yet, there is still much Self-Revelatory work to be done until receiving Anuttara Samyak Sambodhi. The Ariyan Mind is far from complete in itself. It does not make this transformative journey alone on its own power. There are still higher stages that need to be met, like becoming fully-initiated into this Buddhaic-Mind-Family, before final severance with the Karmadhatu can occur. read more

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Noble Wisdom’s Child: Bardo 3, Bodhidhatu

The 12th century Saint and Rhineland Mystic, Hildegard von Bingen—also known as Sybil of the Rhine, once reflected on the nature of Noble Wisdom: read more

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The Stream-enterer: Bardo 3, Mahabodhicitta

As our study of these Bardo Stages progresses, certain parallels can be drawn with Dante’s Divina Commedia: The Inferno, Purgatorio and Paradiso. His momentous and Epic Poem is indeed like a journey through bardo stages that hopefully will culminate in ultimate union with the Absolute. Along the road to the summit atop Mount Paradiso, though, one is in need of much purgation—a thorough cleansing of the karmic kleśas that prevent perfect clarity of the Lucid moment when Luminous Union occurs with the Dharmakaya in the Bardo of Dhamatā. Put quite simply, the seeds of the Alaya-receptacle need to be allayed. Otherwise rebirth in the karmadhatu of Samsara is inevitable. For instance, Dante’s Inferno describes what it’s like when residual karmic-actions are allowed to flow unchecked within the stream of the Body Consciousness. It vividly portrays what a spirit goes through when consigned to the foul and darkened bowels of the Hell Regions—the lowest of the six realms of samsaric existence. These unhappy denizens are suffering the consequences of their diseased and much aggrieved karmic misdeeds. They have to endure the seeds of retribution. Their painful and karmically-allotted punishments are heavy-material ones—as weighed through the residual actions accumulated through untold Alayic-connections that permeate their own polluted stream of consciousness. Consequently, they are tormented by demons actually created from the residual-material pool of this damnable stream. The only way to transcend this hellish position is to thoroughly transcend this polluted mind stream of the alayavijñāna. A Purer-Stream of Consciousness is the only salvation. read more

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Sans Sound: Bardo 3, Dhammasota

One of the most moving stories in the Bible is found in the Book of 1 Kings. It revolves around the time when Elijah the prophet was feeling down and out. He begged that the Lord’s strength would come and help him to regain his religious fervor. Naturally, he imagined that this would be manifested to him in some strong and extroverted fashion—some earth-shattering portrayal on the part of God. Yet what was revealed to him was something totally unexpected. First there came along a strong wind—like a tornado bearing down on him; but God was not in the wind. Next there came a terrifying earthquake and Elijah was rattled in his bones; but God was not in the earthquake. Then he was suddenly engulfed in a vast ring of scorching-fire; but God was not in the fire. Lastly there came upon him a gentle and soothing breeze; inwardly he sensed the deathless voice of God himself comforting his weariness. This lovely pericope describes what is considered, through many Spiritual-Contemplative disciplines, as experiencing the Absolute Godhead AS IT IS—devoid of any overbearing anthropocentric or naturally (within nature herself) based attributes that feebly attempt to describe and/or define this completely Transcendent Exposure. This is truly reflective of the Parato ghosa, or the great and magnificent deathless sound not seen nor heard through conventional apparati, but truly experienced as emanating from the Very Sacred Heart of Suchness Itself. read more

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The Undiscovered Country: Bardo 3, Yathabhutam

One of my favorite short stories is HG Wells’ “The Country of the Blind”, first published circa 1904. In a nutshell, an explorer discovers a hidden “mystical” valley wherein all the inhabitants lack the faculty of sight. Sensing that in the land of the blind the “one-eyed man is king”, he tries to convert them into the ways of cognitive “seeing”; they just scoff at him although later he falls in love with a lovely blind young woman, yet when he also tries to encourage her to understand what it means to be able to “see”, she tells him that he’s just using a very vivid imagination. Later, he agrees to become blinded so that he can marry her, but decides to flee the Country of the Blind (in the original 1904 version) becoming lost in a mountainous terrain and eventually succumbing to the elements. Quite a striking metaphor for assessing one’s journey through all the “Bardo” stages, as one naturally succumbs at the end of the journey to the skandhic elements. One thinks one sees and knows what the journey is all about but is actually quite “blind” to the True Reality (Paramartha) behind what animates the volatile journey in the first place. The Lanka states that Mind simply becomes lost and blinded to the apparent reality behind its own animations; like the man in Wells’ short story, the faculty of the imagination rules the roost in samsara. He trusted exclusively in his Skandhic faculty of proper cognition yet his young blind lover saw right through this fallacy. Like the aging and blind poet, John Milton, the young woman saw and realized more behind apparent reality with the supramundane eyes of spiritual and transcendent awareness and insight—an “inner” faculty of which *Milton wrote in “Paradise Lost”, “There Plant Eyes”. He was referring to seeing Reality AS IT IS—Yathabhutam. If one goes groping around in the Country of the Blind (Samsara) one will never see the light of day at the end of the tunnel. Success in navigating the turbulent waters of the Bardo and transcending avidya (blinding ignorance) depends on utilizing the proper Buddhagnosis—or the right compass that leads one to the Luminous Other Shore of the Dharmakaya. The Word is the compass. Under this Right Direction the country of the blind becomes supplanted with the Undiscovered Country of the Unborn. The Country of Yathabhutam. read more

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The Choicest Wine: Bardo 3, The Ariyan Mind

Before undertaking a breakdown of the Ten Stages of Mind Development it is best to posit their impact in Light of the Unborn. Above all, of course, the Lankavatarian Book of the Dead is a Lankavatarian interpretation; all references to the Bardo and Mind Development throughout this singular-series are indicative of this position. As was highlighted in our series on the Lanka, the Lankavatara Sutra was primarily written for advanced, or MahaBodhisattvas. This does not diminish its impact on general readership; yet its underlying structure and import is intended for those who have tasted the choicest wine of the Mahayana and are thereby referred to as arya-jnana—or those whose spiritual thirst has been assuaged through Noble Wisdom and Gnosis. The lesser-able, or those still developing spiritually in the lower bhumis are traditionally referred to as the prthagjana—or those enraptured with ordinariness. The Lankavatarian’s sole occupation is the development of this Ariyan Mind—or that Mind instilled with the self-realization of Noble Wisdom; it is this Ariyan Mind that is referenced in the forthcoming Ten Stages of Mind Development. It cannot be overemphasized enough that these Stages are of the choicest vintage and are developed As Such. read more

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An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge: Bardo 3, Prelude to the Ten Stages of Mind Development

An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge is a famous story by Ambrose Bierce. It was wonderfully adapted for film in the early 1960’s by Robert Enrico as part of a trilogy of short films. It appeared as an episode for the Twilight Zone series by Rod Serling. This story is a vivid and apt image for the samsaric journey. The skandhic-mind is forever groping, running, trying in vain to escape from the final outcome of what awaits all sentient beings in samsaric realms—but the end is always the same. Along the way there are momentary glimpses of freedom, yet viewed exclusively through skandhic-lens these efforts will always be in vain. Quite a fool’s paradise indeed; a marvelous metaphor here as we begin to explore quite a different avenue of transcending the mind games that plague us all. It is a masterful film; the brilliant black and white cinematography lends itself wonderfully for this particular season of the year and serves our purposes well. Unfortunately, the video of the film is no longer available on YouTube. read more

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