Saturday, March 20, 2010
Telepathic Link Yoga II
The above picture is a relatively simple mandala of the Yab-Yum version of Amida Buddha. The two interlocking triangles at the core of the symbol are common to many spiritual traditions. In Judaism, it is called the "Star of David". When it is expanded to a 3 dimensional form, it becomes the Star Tetrahedron and is part of several advanced meditation methods. The two interlocking triangles, in Tantric Buddhism, represent the male yang and the female yin energies joined in purpose together and forming a functional unity. In the Five Buddha Mandala, Amida Buddha represents the "wisdom aspect" and Pandara represents the "fire element". This union of Buddha with Dakini, the wisdom aspect and the elemental aspect, corresponds to the Prajna Parmita Sutra talking about "form is emptiness and emptiness is form". In other words, the wisdom aspect is a subtle fire and the subtle fire is a manifestation of wisdom. In this case, the wisdom aspect is called "pure perception", the ability to see things as they really are. When we do not see things as they are, it is because some thought interpretation is intervening between the seeing aspect and what is seen. Even if the thought interpretation is relatively accurate, there is still a subtle distortion. This is because, even at its best, thought limits what is seen or isolates some aspects of what is seen and separates it from the others. For instance, if I look out my window and notice a tree and think "this is a tree", this perception is relatively accurate, but I have isolated myself to the tree. The clouds, the sky, the ground, the grass growing from the ground, and even the window I am looking from are "overlooked" or fall into the background. Thought also structures what I experience, making the tree an object that is seemingly separate from the landscape from which it arises and this isolation is an illusion. It leads to a feeling of abandonment and sorrow inside us. It does not allow us to feel the unity of everything with everything else that is behind all life. When we are conscious in the 10th level of consciousness, everything is vibrant, transparent, holographic, colorful, and alive, we do feel that "the Earth on which we stand is the Pure Lotus land, this very body is the body of the Buddha". In the 10th consciousness, we are always at home, within the oneness of life, and have returned to the Garden of Eden and its karmaic innocence. It is interesting that the first question that god asks the Adam and Eve, after the fall from innocence, into moral responsibility and shame, is "where are you?". Just as Ramana Maharshi used the question "who are you" to return to enlightenment, some Sufis have used the question "where are you" to return to enlightenment. Both these questions are driven by the fire of pure perception which wants to directly see reality as it is. The question that drives the inquiry needs the fire of pure perception, looking at life without no thoughts intervening, without mental interpreter doing the observing, in order to arrive at the answer. This is because any mental answer, including the right ones, is not the same as direct seeing, just as labeling a bottle correctly is not the same as drinking its contents.
The fire of pure perception is also what "burns away our karmaic accumulation". This is done of the level of the samskaras that are held within our subconscious mind. They are like little vortices of whirling energy which when fed sensory stimulation activate a conditioned thought, emotion, and reactive doing response. If we act upon this "activation of karma" then the karmaic pattern is repeated and gets reloaded with more habit energy. The Buddha recommended to "remain with the sensation" and "do nothing" in order to end the karmaic pattern and to dissolve the karmaic seed. It may take some time for the habit force to wind down to zero. If we watch without adding any thoughts to what is happening, then the force will eventually dissipate. The poet, T. S. Elliot, the Four Quartets, which is a beautiful mystical poem, talked about this process as "to be saved from fire [of sorrow] by fire [of meditation practice]".
In many people, the initial sensory stimulation activates a thought, emotion, and doing reaction which in turn becomes an internal sensory stimulation for other samskaras to activate. This becomes a massive chain reaction that is always going on. It becomes what is called "the spreading out of thought". It is like a ripple effect until we get so overwhelmed that we shut down. In Buddhism, in Samatha practice, we learn to "chop down thought", to focus attention on the breathing, to keep thoughts flowing in the background. We remain sensitive to the thoughts in an approximate 70 to 30 ratio. 70 percent of our attention goes to our breath and 30 percent goes into our internal contents. We are not meant to dwell on them or we will start doing what is called, "thinking, thinking, thinking". When we notice that we are thinking, we gently and simply acknowledge this, and then return to breathing. We watch out that we do not clock time with the inner critic or a self pity story. This is the voice that says, "Yes, you have blown it again, why are you even bothering to try?" When you notice this kind of thought, then you label it "thinking" and just return to the breath. We all have a habit of thinking and we are all a little insane because we have trouble stopping thinking. Thinking is natural and walking is natural, but if you cannot stop walking, end up walking in your sleep, then something is a little off. The same is true for thinking, which some people never really stop doing. In the beginning, you might notice that you are lost in thinking again and again and have to return 1,000 times back to the breathing. Every time you do this, the force of your habitual karma softens and you will have accomplished a small liberation from sorrow. You are also evolving into a higher being through a very fast path. It may take a while to notice that you are changing and the growth may not be pleasant, but what I have observed is that the moment we set up meditation practice properly and clock in time meditating is when we start to grow.
In writing the above words, I am describing a very pure path to meditation. But it is not always so easy to do this in real life. We can be thinking without noticing that we are thinking. We could be confusing thinking about awareness with being aware of thought. We could be simply going unconscious and falling asleep in meditation (this is okay to have happen, apparently when the body feels our mind not thinking it is such a relief that it wants to fall into regenerative sleep and renew itself, but in the long run we do want to starting noticing our true nature and abiding in our true nature). We may get so wrapped up on the chain reaction of spreading out of thought, emotion, sensations, and impulses to do that we might not find the way out so easily. Or the activations are so painful that we are simply feeling overwhelmed. If we stay with the process long enough, we can cut through all this. But the later methods of Buddhism were designed to make this process easier to enter into, more pleasant to experience, more efficient and rapid, and easier to stay with. This is a function of Upaya Parmita or "skillful means". It is using a creative psychology to dissolve the ego construction easily, rapidly, and peacefully by adapting the process to the needs of the individual in present time. Having a good teacher of meditation can help this process a lot. However, many meditation teachers have the belief that the path must be hard, difficult, and stressful and may not be able to teach the ease that is possible for the process to unfold within. The student, too, may need to look at why he or she is making the process hard, difficult, and stressful.
The key to meditation is the ability to look at whatever is arising without clinging to anything, without dwelling and analyzing anything, without resisting anything, without pushing anything away, without holding anything in our attention, but just letting experience unfold without pressure to change. In terms of the Amida Buddha meditation activation, this means looking at everything with loving acceptance. You accept everything as it is. If you find a part of yourself that is resisting what is, then you do not try to accept what is, but simply accept this part too. You do not set up struggle with anything, including struggle itself. You accept that parts of yourself are struggling inside and lovingly accept them as they are.
Buddhism started out as a path of renunciation, where you renounce the world and become a wandering monk or nun, giving up wealth and ambition, and just living day to day with a begging bowl in hand. This radical simplicity allows us to wander the world unentangled and free. We do not have to get caught up with the dramas of ordinary life. Part of this renunciation was also to renounce sexual desire, because sexual desire can deeply entangle us in a thousand complications and issues. You could say that human society, with all its complex emotional dramas, arose from sexual desire. All the social rituals that involve looking for a romantic partner, dating, making a commitment, birthing children, forming a family, educating the young, and working to provide for those we care about arise from sexual desire. This is the function of evolutionary biological energy. Every cell in our bodies is a sex cell, having half our genetic code from a male and half from a female. Early Buddhism is meant for us to meditate to find the "unborn, unchanging, and undying" within us, beyond all those social processes, and beyond the sexual desire that links us to those social processes.
Saharaj was a monk whose Buddhist meditation teacher validated that he had attained enlightenment. Saharaj replied to his teacher and said "no". His teacher laughed and said, "I have had many students who thought they were enlightened when they were not, but you are the first who thinks he is unenlightened when he is enlightened." But Saharaj felt something was missing. This story already validates that my belief that there are different kinds and degrees of enlightenment. Saharaj decides to wander around the world and do a walkabout. He meets a woman whose name is Dakini Arrow. He is fascinated with her, because she does not renounce the world, but instead lives her life in the world with great concentration and attention. They eventually fall in love with each other and form a "dual vehicle" to move into the depths of enlightenment together. Saharaj formulates to himself what is called "the tantric principle". This is that "you can only transcend the things you first accept". He discovered that the path of renunciation is a long hard path full of struggle, because it is repressive. In the effort, for instance, to renounce sexual desire so that you do not get entangled in the world, one becomes entangled with struggling with sexual desire and actually makes this into a problem. It is really still being enmeshed with the world. Saharaj also found that sexual desire does not need to be renounced, that sexual desire in some sense transcends itself. When we flow with this energy with great attention, love, and concentration, which is easy to do, because sexual desire itself is a kind of concentration and naturally brings up a cherishing of our partner, we naturally reach a point in the process where the ego disappears and we are free.
Inside the psychological wisdom of the Padma or Lotus family, represented by Amida Buddha (the Buddha of Love and Light) conjoined with Pandara (Queen of Fire), is the understanding that loving acceptance of what is and pure perception are the same thing. Since pure perception always transcends what it sees, is never entangled in what it sees, and sees everything as naturally nonbinding, there is nothing left to renounce. The very seeing liberates us. Our past storehouse of karma, our accumulation of karma, dissolves in this present centered seeing.
On the outer ring, the mantra "Om Namo Amida Buddha Hreeh" is inscribed four times. It creates consecrated space and a generates a field of protection around our practice. When we are not in the time we set aside for practice, then we can mentally chant this mantra to reconnect with the energy of enlightenment throughout the day. We are meant to invoke this energy often in our day until it becomes a fragrance that fills our whole life.
The two triangles have the syllables "Ah Mee Da" for Amida Buddha on one triangle, for cosmic yang energy as the wisdom of pure perception, and the syllables "Pan Dah Rah" for cosmic yin energy as the element of purifying fire. In Itanamic language, the root syllables have this meaning: "Ah" is the vibration of the primordial space, emptiness itself, which always already transcends all possible entanglements, is always free, and is always happy. This is the vibration of our true nature and has all good qualities within itself. "Mee" is concentration on essential the purpose of life. It is about evolving into the fullness of what we potentially are and bringing this into our lives. "Dah" is letting go of all clinging, resistance, and attachments. "Pan" is the experience of innocence. It is returning to sexual innocence again on a conscious level, being able to be with this energy for the first time, without any artificial judgments or conditioning, being neither for nor against this energy (with mental judgments), and lovingly accepting this energy as part of life itself, and all other energies in the same way. "Dah" is again the energy of letting go, surrender, and nonclinging. "Rah" is blessing energy, grace, and power. It is Divine Grace as a living force that can change us. It is infused in life and is the creative power that makes everything happen. It is the pure energy of nonegoic desire. It is peace, purpose, and passion.
The overlap area of the triangles, the hexagon, has the symbol "hreeh". This is the core seed syllable of the Padma family and carries the vibration of the whole family. It is the essence of the compassion of all the Buddhas and Dakinis of past, present, and future. Anyone who is loving is ultimately part of this family, though those who consciously work with this family associate themselves with this energy and become totally one with its energy. It is an overtone chant. The "h" modifies and softens the "rr" and the "ee". Trying to produce a combined "rr" and "ee" makes the overtone happen. It is a vibrato. When intoned properly into goes deep into the subconscious mind and undoes all the samskaras. It can and should be vibrated first with the voice until all the cells of our bodies feel it. Then it should be done with and through the visualization of the symbol shown. When it is a mental vibration it starts to burn away the ego interpreter from our consciousness and open us up to pure perception. This electric (ee) fire (rr) burns away all the thoughts that obscure pure perception and raises the energy of kundalini up the spine. When it appears and functions in our dreams, then it is deeply cleansing the subconscious mind of all the samkaras. When it does so, it moves beyond basic enlightenment (cutting through the 7th consciousness) and heals the 8th consciousness to produce the 9th and 10th consciousness (and beyond).
You visualize this symbol as linking you with the energy and vibration of the Padma family. You see it as a sphere above your head with a beam of white light penetrating the soft spot at the top of the head. You can start to do this while you are reading these words. You visualize the blessing energy pouring down from this symbol (about one foot in diameter) and relaxing energizing, and renewing all the cells of your brain, then moving down to the throat chakra, then the lung heart area, then the upper belly solar plexus tip area, then the lower belly, then the sacrum, and then down to the soles of the feet, and then pouring into the Earth. When you practice this, take your time and enjoy each part of the visualization. Feel like you do not have to get anywhere fast, but stay with each present moment and enjoy the process of visualization and invoking that you are now involved in. Have the intention of hooking into and feeling the energy of the Padma family as fire, energy, light, joy, and love. Feel the passion and wish to want to see everything as it is. Feel the loving acceptance of what is arise to meet the seeing of what is. Feel gratitude that you are in a process that is healing you of everything right now.
Then visualize the "hreeh" symbol in each chakra going upward, surrounded by fire, feel like your soft exhale is igniting the fire, like blowing on a hot coal to get it hotter and brighter, see the symbol in neon red. Visualize the "hreeh" symbol in the sacrum first. Feel like you are drawing in the energy from the Padma symbol above your head into the "hreeh" symbol in the sacrum and then gently igniting it on the exhale. Take more time with this first "hreeh" symbol, even some days of practice, until you actually feel heat. You can generate heat that is measurable in the body. The key is (1) "anchoring" the visualization of "hreeh" (with its fire) in the actual body at the sacrum, (2) holding attention on this symbol and in the sacrum, (3) inhale receiving blessing energy and wisdom guidance, (4) entrusting ourselves to this tariki energy with each exhale (other power, it is not up to us, we merely do our part which is to allow and flow with this energy), and (5) being patient with the siddhi appearing (the actual feeling of heat). It is a small matter/energy conversion we are doing. Feeling that we can do this is a step in our consciousness evolution. I have been measured to do this, raising my external body temperature, by about 30 degrees. I am not a master of this Tumo Yoga. There are some who have melted snow through this meditation in a Tibetan winter that would freeze a normal person to death. There are biofeedback instruments that can measure a one degree rise in temperature and give a signal that we have done this through meditation. For the purposes of this meditation, the feedback you wish to get is a subjective tingling sensation, a warm current, or a wave of spontaneous relaxation. I have observed this a lot when doing energy work with people, but sometimes a person has gone a little unconscious or asleep and have not noticed a small miracle matter/energy conversion happening inside him or her.
Once you have done this, you go up to the lower belly and do the same, then the tip of the sternum, then the center of the lung area, then the throat, and then the 3rd eye. Then you feel this red fire mix with the liquid white energy to produce a silvery blue energy throughout the whole body. You can imagine a second pouring of liquid white light from the Padma symbol and hold the intention of mixing the two together. This is Amida Buddha and Pandara in Jnana Mudra inside you. It is a dreamtime sexual alchemy that will transmute and complete your sexual energies. If you are in a celibate phase of your life, this will produce a kind of natural celibacy so that there is a feeling of satisfaction of this desire and an inward completion. This is far healthier than merely warding off the tempation to not indulge outwardly or mentally in sexual desire. It can produce a deep feeling of Mahamudra, orgasm with all of life, and entry into unity. This is what happens even in external physical sex when love arises inside our "practice". It just happens on a larger scale. I mention this, because this meditation is, in some sense, a higher aspect of sexual desire. It is not a substitute for "real sex", but is a higher kind of real sex. Nor is it masturbation. It is not a mechanical stimulation of a local orgasmic sensation and release. It is a mixing of the sexual hormonal chemistry to produce the alchemical shift into a feeling of enlightenment and oneness. If and when a person engages with a loving physical partner in loving sexual union, the circuits that have been activated and awakened through this meditation will naturally channel the energy through them accordingly and deepen the experience. One footnote: Your body might become so literally hot that your partner may want to sleep above the bed covers afterwards.
There are a few more stages to this meditation process and some need for further commentary on what has been covered. I am choosing to save them for another essay and another time.