Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Flowing in Prajna Parmita

At the heart of the Mahayana Buddhist revolution is the Heart Sutra, otherwise known as the Mahaprajnamita Sutra (Great Intuitive Wisdom Sutra). It seems that, like much of the Theravadin canon, this, too, was an oral tradition before being formalized and written down. There are many versions of the Heart Sutra. The largest version seems to be the Heart Sutra of 100,000 verses. The next most important version seems to be the Heart Sutra of 1,000 verses. There is a two page version of the Heart Sutra which seems to have spread around world and is chanted by many different sects of Buddhism to this very day. In some Zen Monasteries and Convents, it is chanted every day. It is considered by many Buddhists to be the supreme essence of the loving teachings of the Buddha. The two page version has the Great Dharani, an alchemical chant that is empowered to alleviate all pain ("Let go, let go, Really let go, Totally let go, Awake, Rejoice."). The shortest version of this sutra is the seed syllable "Ah", the primordial vibration of luminous emptiness. According to one tradition, it is said that the Buddha only chanted the sound "ah" for the entire 40 years of his teaching walk and the people who listened heard what they needed to hear in that moment.

Common to all the versions is a kind of dialectic designed to push the mind beyond logical and verbal reasoning. The Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path are negated and transcended. They are not needed when we are "flowing in intuitive wisdom". This living understanding is beyond every literal formulation of the Buddha Dharma. It is an affirmation that behind all the teachings of Buddhism is a knowing that is based on direct experience and which is beyond words. The realization of this knowing is why meditation practice is important. The process of meditation allows us to flow within intuitive wisdom and dissolve the three roots of pain (addictive craving, condemning negativity, and obscuring delusion).

Also common to all the versions is the principle of emptiness. This is the assertion that no experienced phenomena has any substantial existence, but arises interdependently, subject to cause and effect, is ungraspable, and cannot produce enduring happiness. This emptiness is vibratory and luminous. Everything arises from this energy field, always abides in this field, is a manifestation of this field, and dissolves back into this field when it disappears. Directly experiencing the empty aspect of everything allows us to relax into intuitive wisdom and flow with intuitive wisdom. Many of the negations of the sutras have to do with seeing that even the all the nouns of Buddhism do not represent things that can be grasped and are also therefore empty. In terms of Gestalt Psychology, the sutra is designed so that nothing is "reified". This means the processes are not made into solid rigid things which do not change in time and which are considered isolated from other things. The Heart Sutra negates them to shake us free of the mental lock any idea can have on our mind. Many of the Zen Koans are designed to deepen the understanding of emptiness by paradoxical negations. These "skillful means" are meant to have us at least taste the 10th consciousness.

There is a feeling of nonclinging, nonresistance, and nondelusion within this flow of intuitive wisdom. The analytical fever has gone from the mind. It is no longer driven by craving, no longer tempted to condemn, resist, and fight anything, and everything is directly seen without the dullness of the interpretive mind spraying words all over everything. Every thing is "bright and clear from the beginning". Life is felt within a great affirmation. This makes the negations different from a kind of atheistic existentialist nihilism. Life is profoundly meaningful when flowing within intuitive wisdom. I did get a sense that many atheistic existentialist nihilists did eventually cut through the sorrow mind and did find what one of them described as an "eternal sunrise". The methodology is similar, but its seems many of them got stuck in samsara, stuck in the sorrowful, purposeless, and meaningless feeling that arises along the way. This sorrow cleanses a lot of conditioning, but in its turn needs also to be released. The very rigorous Madhyamika Buddhist philosophers negated everything through this dialectical process, including theism and atheism, karma and chaos, objective and subjective, believing and not believing, being and nonbeing, self and nonself, heaven and hell, goodness and evil, separation and oneness, and even Buddhism and emptiness itself ("the emptiness of emptiness"). This philosophical negation process is parallel to the meditative process of negating everything. The danger of this process is that it may stop short of the Great Affirmation which is Reality in all its luminous radiance, manifesting all the worlds of experience, deeply wise, unconditionally loving, intrinsically beautiful, ecstatically joyful, and inexhaustibly creative.

The Bodhisattva Subhuti, one of the earliest disciples of the Buddha, is considered to have been the disciple who most deeply understood the principle of emptiness. In one story, when the very last trace of subtle mind holding was released from his seventh consciousness, the Cosmic Dakinis sprinkled flower petals from the sky upon him. Subhuti asked them why they were doing this and they said, "You have realized supreme enlightenment." Subhuti then said, "There is no one who has realized supreme enlightenment and there is no supreme enlightenment to be realized." The Dakinis then said, "Nothing is given, nothing is received, no one to realize it. This is supreme enlightenment thoroughly realized."

A lucid silent clarity dawns inside the mind. It feels like walls are blown away into infinity and the night sky, serenely silent, is inside the head. Even when thought waves arise inside the mind, they feel like they emerge from this silence and do not obscure it, and are always a part of this silence, like crickets chirping in the quietude of the night. The mind is no longer caught up in the illusory density of seemingly solid things and solid selves. Everything feels transparent, interconnected, and radiant.

After this awakening, then there is no meditation practice as practice. The yoga is simply to flow in intuitive wisdom, to stay in the mood of allowing and nongrasping, and let life unfold, spontaneously responding to life from compassion, creativity, and wisdom.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Process Doha I

A doha is a spontaneous song or poem about the nature of enlightenment. Dohas can sometimes say something that more analytical essays cannot. They are not quite like a poem or a song in the sense that they are not crafted and reworked. They simply arise in the moment something is felt. The Itanami call these dohas by the word "senka". This word literally means "choosing to experience the sacred space of wisdom". This word is also their word for "mantra". It is a larger and less specific word, though, because it could also be translated as "prophecy" in the ecstatic sense, in the sense of saying the words that the divine puts in our mouth to share. Senkas are any communication that is alive in the moment and brings a person back to themselves, back to their true nature. Although mantras originally were all senkas, if they are spoken merely out of obligation or duty, or become a dull repetitive habit, then they lose their potency some and cease to be senkas.


awareness resting in itself
i am able to allow
thoughts to flow
without clinging or resistance
staying naturally alert and sensitive

tapestries of interwoven experience
gently flowing by
warm rivers pouring
into a vast ocean
of luminous silence
deeply healing
as all sense of separation
fully dissolves

ancient songs of sorrow
dissolving into the hum
of deep overtone bija mantras
which in their turn
dissolve into a radiant silence

gently inhaling and exhaling
the soft whisper of natural breathing
being a subtle vibrational mantra
echoing the primordial sound "ah"
containing all sounds inside itself
and all the noble qualities of compassion
within the ripples of its vibration

slowly waking up from being lost
in the dramas of space, time, and matter
yet still feeling wonder
at the vast beauty of creation
and still feeling the ongoing celebration
of life enjoying itself
in the vast multiplicity
of endless experiences

no longer shrinking from
the natural flow of emotions
willing to fully savor each emotion
and let it go once exhausted and complete
not clinging to the bliss of any emotion
nor resisting the pain of any emotion

feeling the subtle sweetness of each emotion
as a nectar that allows my being to deeply grow
into a maturity of a buddha and dakini

the sweetness of sadness is medicine
for the pain of sorrow

in the embrace of awareness
anger becomes
clarity, creativity, boundaries, and ethical idealism
reaching understanding, agreements, and respect
sadness becomes
compassion, appreciation, sensitivity,
and gratitude,
a stready love caring for all sentient beings,
jealousy becomes
evolution, celebration, concentration, and sharing,
joyfully feeling others rather than being envious
of what they have,
arrogance becomes
humility, patience, devotion, and endurance,
feeling true nature in oneself and others,
fear becomes
wisdom, initiation, responsiveness, and telepathy,
calm knowingness resting in deep trust of life,
through them
the dull colors of our world
become a rainbow of transmuted energy
the innate virtues behind them shining forth
their confusion manifests a wisdom aspect
and this sensitivity
touches, blesses, and transforms
our world
making it into a pure land
a buddha dakini dream manifesting
which wishes deep happiness for all

the medicine of no self
dissolving the fever of ego
returning us to primordial presence
a joyful community of waves arising
from the same ocean of knowing
feeling oneness with each other
and codreaming the adventure of life together
even karma itself is transmuted
into conscious cocreation of life

triple energies
of love, creativity, and wisdom
playing upon the landscape
of luminous emptiness
birthing worlds of experience
free indeed

primordial presence
returning to having a body and mind
walking upon a dusty world
with high tech lights and manicured parks
asphalt cities surrounded by wild plants,
plundered mountains, stale air and polluted rivers
yet still loving life and finding beauty even in this
being part of the patient life force
of Dakini Gaia which wishes
to regenerate her domain

i embrace my fragile physical body
as a manifestation of my enlightenment
my hands are able to touch others
my voice to share with others
my legs to walk upon the surface of a goddess
who loving holds me in her embrace
and causes flowers to bloom around me
my eyes seeing the beauty of her wild form
and my ears listening to the natural mantras
of her gurgling springs, stormy oceans,
whispering winds, gentle rains,
rustling trees, and wandering rivers

closing my eyes at night
i feel her larger dreams
and wishes that those upon her back be healed
and i become an agent of peace
towards whatever beings i meet
and freely wander across the dakini worlds
living in wonder within
the great expanse of the dharmakaya
i am at home everywhere

Telepathic Link Yoga III

The visualization of a vibrant neon red Hreeh symbol takes the place of visualizing a Red Buddha in a lotus posture, sitting on a lotus, surrounded by a bubble of white light. The visualization of a Red Buddha is part of Tibetan Buddhist meditation practice. There are reasons for their sequence of visualizations with their practice systems. I was guided to share a more symbolic version, because it would be easier to transmit and receive this form of connection with the Padma energy family. Just as we can connect to each other through the use of our names, we can connect to the Padma energy family through the seed syllable "hreeh".

The after doing the visualization to the point where you feel the heat moving through you, then you practice enlivening this feeling throughout the day by chanting "Om Namo Amida Buddha Hreeh". You want to chant this mantra at least 100,000 times before moving to the next phase. This chanting can be done verbally or mentally. It can be done anytime during the day or night. It is good to take some time to do blocks of 1,000 repetitions, making sure that each repetition counts, that each one carries an emotional feeling and presence with it. You do not want to merely repeat the mantra mechanically like a tired drone done out of duty or obligation. You do not want to hurry through the repetitions just to complete this assignment. Even if you just pause and concentrate on ten repetitions, it will be useful. You want to do at least this many every day and at least one round of 1,000 per a week. This kind of schedule should not strain anyone.

When doing the mantra mentally and inwardly, you want to inhale while mentally intoning "Om" and exhale while mentally intoning "Namo Amida Buddha Hreeh". You want to have the exhale be long enough to intone the whole phrase. This natural lengthening of the exhale will help soft and release the energy of fear. When we are afraid, we shorten or stop our exhale. It has to do with a previous evolutionary phase where saber tooth tigers and other predators were hunting us down. These predators had keen senses and could hear our breathing. We learned to freeze and hold our breath when they were near by. We also learned to withdraw our body heat into our core, away from all our limbs, in order for these predators to not feel our body heat when nearby. When we could no longer hold our breath, then we would make our breathing very thin and shallow instead. We would go into a kind of near death state so as to be less detectable. By inhaling deeply and fully, without straining, and then exhaling softly, smoothly, and for as long as we can without strain, we return to a more natural and fearless breathing. This helps us to let go and enter the energy stream of tariki.

At one point in this practice, you should feel certain signs of accomplishment. One is finding yourself repeating the mantra spontaneously in your dreams. Two is feeling tingling sensations or heat arise in your body. Three is feeling a luminous empty silence which is free from thought traffic. The third sign is feeling a taste of enlightenment and feeling something of our true nature. Inside the luminous emptiness many paranormal abilities may arise. You may find you can send loving energy to your evolutionary friends and have them benefit from this. The fourth sign is your conscience will awaken. The seed syllable "hreeh" is related to a Sanskrit word for conscience. This awakened conscience is the sensitivity of unconditional love arising inside us. It appears to purge our minds of all our unloving thoughts and cut a deep root of karma from within us.

In terms of the development of telepathy, there are two supports. One is to be aware of our own thoughts and what they mean. This will allow us to be aware of the thoughts of others and what they mean. Two is to learn to have thoughts worth sending. Right speech helps the second support to develop. The question, "What thoughts are worth sending?" is an interesting one. This thought, of itself, can purify our mind and release much of our habitual thought stream. There is a mass of collective thought that is not supporting our evolution into a higher and more mature state of being. Some of the thoughts are retro and will pull us back temporarily into lesser states of consciousness. Some thoughts will create adverse karma of us to get entangled in. Becoming sensitive to what thoughts are worth sending and releasing thoughts that are not worth sending will help us to evolve telepathically.

There is a kind of telepathic ethics that appears simultaneously with the ability to read the thoughts of others. We are not meant to invasively probe the mind of another person. We will still pick up the thoughts that people will unconsciously emanate to us. Most of the time it will appear like the traffic on an interstate and isolated thoughts will usually be hard to pick up. Some core repeated thoughts will get picked up. Some thoughts charged with intense emotional energy will get picked up. Paradoxically, telepathic humanity will have less thoughts flowing through their minds, but they will be more relevant. The thoughts will arise from the silence of consciousness and gently dissolve back when their usefulness is done.

You may also have vivid dreams of Sukhavati, the home world of Amida Buddha. It is a world that arose from within the meditation of a pure being. The planet Earth is a karma world. The causes of the creation of the Earth emerged from the past events that are still playing out. When a mind has transcended karma, there are no past events adversely affecting creation. This mind can then create events from a kind of purity of consciousness and these creations will have no adverse side effects. In some sense, Sukhavati and similar worlds are the future of the Earth. At some point we will emerge from our evolutionary infancy and become cosmic adults.

After the 100,000 repetitions is done, you simplify the practice down to one sound, the bija mantra or seed syllable, "hreeh". You mentally intone this one sound until it cleanses the entire subconscious mind of all adverse karmaic patterns. You let it ride the exhale. When you feel the energy moving through your body and notice it is blocked, you can visualize "hreeh" at the block and keep mentally intoning until the block opens up and energy flows.

When no block is present, you place the hreeh symbol at the third eye and just continue to breathe, letting the energy of tariki go to where it is needed by its own intelligence, compassion, and creativity. Placing the symbol at the third eye is the main telepathic link. It is the core telepathic yoga. We then live in guidance to what is received from this link and generally just allow the energy to heal and transform us. This energy will never control us. It needs our permission every step of the way. It will withdraw if we resist the guidance. This energy, too, will never ask us to do anything unethical. It will simply further our healing process and the healing process of our evolutionary friends.

The last phase is to "merge with hreeh" and become this energy presence, with the form of the Red Buddha becoming our form or if female the form of Pandara. The visualization of the form is (1) bija mantra, (2) energy geometry, and (3) appearance. When a picture of Amida Buddha is drawn, the bija mantra is drawn first, then the geometry of a tetrahedron, and then the appearance is drawn within the geometry. The energy geometry can also be visualized as a spiral vortex core and the tetrahedron elaborated to the star tetrahedron. This last phase is a little further down the road of this meditation process. I am including this here for the sake of thoroughness. The guidance on how to do this stage can come in through the third eye. If a person needs some outer help, he or she can contact me too.

There is one further stage and this is to dissolve the visualization and let it go back into the empty radiant luminousity that is the source of everything. This is the dharmakaya which the manifest universe is an aspect of. Plato one time said, "Time is the changing image of eternity". This roughly describes the relationship of the Dharmakaya with the manifest universe. The verse in the Heart Sutra that goes, "Form is emptiness and emptiness is form" also describes this. Feeling oneself awake and aware while dissolving everything back to this can activate a deep sense of enlightenment.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Tanran Reiki Breathing Community Symbol

The above is one of the Tanran Reiki symbols. Tanran Reiki is an gentle energy healing system that involves laying hands on someone and channeling universal loving energy to them from the source of all that is. A person becomes a Reiki practitioner through a ritual called "receiving an attunement". This is where the energy field of a person is aligned with a transmission of healing energy. It is parallel to how we dial in an FM radion station. A series of symbols are given in the attunement process and are implanted into the aura. They act like FM radio station presets, where by visualizing them the connection to the universal loving energy is activated. Just as the one light of the Sun can be broken down into a many colored rainbow, each color and vibration having a different purpose, Reiki has many symbols that focus the healing intent on different levels of healing. Cho Ku Rei is good for emotional issues where we need to become more assertive and set boundaries to claim our rightful space in the world. Sei He Ki is good for inner child healing and inflows into us the needs that we have had unfulfilled since childhood. As the ritual of the attunement is given, the energies flow into the person and start to work on all these things, to the degree that the person is willing, ready, and able to receive the healing.

The above symbol is part of the advanced levels of Tanran Reiki initiation. It seems, though, that, as we move toward the 2012 date, where the Mayan Calendar ends, and a galactic alignment happens between our solar system, the Sirian star system, and the Galactic Center (the middle of the spiral of this galaxy), new energies are impinging on humankind, inspiring it to evolve in new ways, and these energies are wanting to anchor into this Earth and into the growth processes of humans.

This symbol is being released so in order to assist in this activation at this time. The name of the symbol is "Seganah" (say-gah-nah). Its literal meaning is "choosing immerse in the wholeness of wisdom that comes naturally through direct experience". It is related to another word "Saganah" (sah-gah-nah) which is a synonym for enlightenment. Seganah has the meaning of "breathing community" and relates to feeling the "mahasangha". This is the living energy community of all the enlightened beings who have taught on Earth and who have helped uplift humanity to newer levels of compassion, wisdom, and creativity. If we visualize this symbol at our 3rd eye, ask the mahasangha or reiki guides to bless and energize this symbol, to use the symbol as a telepathic communion point to connect with us, and breathe as we are guided to breathe, then we are linked with this mahasangha and are able to be guided by them in our service of this world. After linking, we can imagine that we are being guided to breathe in a gentle, deep, and flowing manner and feel the connection from within us to the mahasangha.

In this essay, I can only give the broad brush strokes related to this energy initiation. In terms of Mahayana Buddhism, it is a taste of the 10th bhumi called "Dharma Megha Samadhi" which is the merging with the great truth cloud of wisdom which includes all the Cosmic Bodhisattvas and Dakinis (roughly equivalent of Angels). In Reiki, this linking allows all the Reiki practitioners to begin to function as a unified whole. The word "conspiracy" means "to breathe together" and originally refered to this kind of linking and unity (being "one in the breath" the word "pneuma" is usually translated as "spirit" rather than "breath", but there is a verse where it cannot be translated as spirit in the second to the last chapter of the Gospel according to Saint John, where Jesus breathes on his disciples and says, "Receive you the Holy Breath". With this he gives them the power to "forgive sin" (aka heal people by dissolving their root karmas on an energetic level). Real spirituality, which has always been about compassion and unconditional love, has been the oldest and most positive conspiracy. Somewhere in later history it got associated with more nefarious hidden organizations which seem based on greed for power, control, and wealth.

Detail of a Mandala

I tried to post this on my profile, but for some reason it did not come out large enough to see all the details. There are passages from the Anthem to Primordial Consciousness (which is on my Youtube Channel under Raku777) and from the Heart Sutra (Anthem to Intuitive Wisdom). Several mantras are written down and other key phrases, plus the two first sets of Tanran Reiki symbols, a ring of protection (Doh Yah Noh), and an invocation of energy (Cho Ku Rei), and three key Tibetan bija mantras that align with the chant: Om Namo Amida Buddha Hreeh. The mandala touches upon many things already discussed in the blog and just presents them in another more nonlinear way. If you click it, the picture expands to a larger and probably readable size (depending on your screen size). I suspect you can also print it out and duplicate in reverse my uploading process.

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.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Letting Go Of Letting Go

There was a title to an Awareness Through Movement workshop called "Falling Awake". This title emphasized the effortlessness of being aware. It is as transforming as the effortlessness in which we often fall in love with someone. When we fall in love with someone, there is a joy, attraction, positivity, and acceptance that naturally arise. We are simply happy in the sensory presence of someone and flow with this happiness. In a similar way, we fall into enlightenment. Some effort is required in the beginning, but no effort is required in the end. If there is some effort, then we have not yet relaxed into our true nature and have not yet simply learned to abide there. In terms of the Prajna Parmita formula, it might be worth modifying it slightly to include this insight:

let go, let go
really let go,
totally let go,
even letting go
of letting go,

What this means is that unconsciousness is ultimately an effort we are making against simply and naturally being aware. In the beginning, it seems that we are trying to make a positive effort to get something that we do not have, that we need to do something to go from "unconsciousness" to "enlightenment". It seems, too, that it must be some kind of supereffort, because the consensus reality is that very few become enlightened. It seems that enlightenment only happens to a heroic Buddha who spends 7 years going through all the yogas of Hinduism and then concentrating on meditation for 40 days for 24 hours per a day. Zen Buddhism, arising out of a fusion between Taoism and Buddhism, has asserted that enlightenment can happen instantly, effortlessly, and easily, if something is simply seen and understood. In Dzogchen Buddhism, there are four barriers to overcome in order to become enlightened: (1) It is so close to us that we will search too far away (2) it is so effortless that we will strain too much to get it, (3) it is so obvious that we will overlook it, and (4) it is so simple that we will make it too complicated. Bankei asserted and taught that enlightenment was simple and easy. He likened the early enlightenment heros like Buddha to be explorers who hunted through a deep forest, travelled a long time, endured many hardships, and went a long distance, and through this search found an elixir in a lake. They then took this elixir drank it and experienced something wonderful. They then put the elixir in their canteens, came back home, and offered it to others. When the others drank it, even though they had not made the same effort, they experienced the same wonderful effect.

This simple story has many meanings. The wisdom of the story is that it separates the process of getting enlightened that people have undergone in the past from what enlightenment is. When the Buddha became enlightened, his first discovery was that all sentient beings had the same enlightenment nature within them, that they were naturally endowed with "wisdom and virtue". This enlightenment nature was somehow obscured within a sentient being, but it was already there.

In the Pure Land tradition, the Buddhist sects that chant to Amida Buddha and allow the blessing energy of Amida Buddha to liberate them and enlighten them, this understanding has also matured. Many spiritual traditions teach liberation through "joriki" (self power). In these traditions, you embrace the ethical precepts, live a pure life, and practice meditation every day until you get enlightened. In Kriya Yoga, Babaji taught that it takes 8.5 hours a day for 3.5 years (which translates to 1 hour a day for 25 years). In another Kundalini Yoga system, they simplified this down to 2.5 hours a day for 40 days, after you are able to sit in a Lotus posture and do a specific neck lock (to avoid energy getting stuck there). They taught chanting "Eck Ong Kar Siri Wha He Guru" (eight bija mantras to activate 8 inner centers and raise kundalini from root to crown). During this time, a person is meant to be celibate so as to contain and not dissipate the energy. There are some challenges with these kinds of paths, because you do have to be ready to do them and to move through the "kriyas" (the karma cleansings) that arise. These can be intense waves of emotions that can be so overwhelming that we can forget to practice through them or so intense that we will start unconsciously changing the practice so that it does not work as well.

The time difference between the Kriya Yoga tradition of Babaji and the Kundalini Yoga system, by the way, is related to what level of enlightenment is awakened to. I have shared that there are different kinds and degrees of enlightenment. The Kriya Yoga of Babaji moves all the way to the light body level, while the other one only opens up the crown chakra into deep fullness.

Honen, who rediscovered the chant to Amida Buddha, was a monk who was struggling with the precepts and failing miserably to live by them. He felt he was not going to be able to realize enlightenment by his own efforts and was almost giving up on the process. Then he found the Amitayus Buddha Sutra and realized that there was another power that he called "tariki" (other power). He devoted himself to this chant and to trusting tariki to liberate him. He very quickly attained a deep enlightenment and for the first in the history of Buddhism talked about the spiritual path being easy. His eyes were so radiant with joy that ordinary people believed his teachings and started chanting with him. One of the gifts of this path is that we can chant for each other and carry each other to enlightenment. We can join purpose by chanting together and moving together towards enlightenment. When I was helping a person who was dying of a mental disease, he was flashing into the bardo, the place between death and rebirth. To others, he was speaking in a kind of code that those around him could not understand. But I concentrated energy to him in a way that helped him speak a little better. I could feel some wires in his brain were not working well and he could not get his thoughts out so easily. I asked him where he was, and he said, "on a boat." I asked him what kind of boat, and he said, "made of music." I got from his few answers that he was on a boat, that had luminous rainbow colors, and that was made by the people in the boat chanting some mantra, and that he was not alone in the bardo, and that he was coming "home". In front of this boat, in the distance, was a kind of luminous radiant energy core shining in the vastness of space. This person was not a meditator, but a ordinary person who had gotten Parkinson's, and had painful trembles in his body. It had already affected him so deeply that he was in the choking phase and was barely able to speak. Internally, he was going through some deep process and already experiencing the bardo between death and rebirth. Conventional wisdom is that the bardo happens after we die, but the line between death and the bardo is not a rigid one, but a fluid borderland. Many people are having neardeath experiences and are experiencing the bardo before they "irreversibly die". People can go back and forth near the threshold of death. Some of them reach a place in the bardo that is called "the point of no return" and cross over, while others return and report what they had seen. More and more people are experiencing this threshold, because conventional medicine is evolving rapidly and is able to save more people with emergency medical intervention. In a paradoxical way, conventional science is supporting people having deep spiritual experiences.

After Honen teaches the easy path of chanting to Amida Buddha, Shinran, who also despaired by being liberated by joriki, finds that even the effort of chanting might be too much for people. He discovered that the blessing energy of Amida Buddha is so great that one single deeply sincere chant, even without faith that it will work, but just being open to whatever enlightenment might be, is enough to be liberated. Shinran taught that the first chant liberates and all other chants are merely gratitude.

At the apex of many spiritual paths is the idea that effort has a limit and that the final realization is effortless. In the beginning, some effort is needed. This is because the ordinary mind is very effort oriented and translates everything into a doing. It will even try to do "not doing" and think about "not thinking". It will try to be aware, rather than simply resume awareness. Even when flashes of enightenment happen, the mind will try to capture them through effort, rather than allow enlightenment to simply. When it tries to capture enlightenment, it loses the feeling of it. When the mind gets to this place, then it struggles not to struggle and produces a lot of tension trying to relax. The moment "really letting go" happens in Zen meditation if we are able to sit long enough and experience just how much tension our mind produces. At some point, we just get it and let go. Then we have a flash of enlightenment (kensho). When this happens, we have a direct taste of the fruits of the path. We are no longer running our spiritual life on the brilliant intellectual guesses of our thinking mind and having partial belief in our theories.

There are 12 Bodhisattva and Dakini phases that we pass through in Mahayana Buddhist evolution. They are (1) dana parmita (openness, generosity, curiousity), (2) ksanti parmita (patience, humility, and endurance), (3) virya parmita (energy, devotion, enthusiasm), (4) sila parmita (discipline, focus, ethical idealism), (5) dhyana parmita (meditation, concentration, relaxation), (6) prajna parmita (intuitive wisdom, telepathic sensitivity, direct seeing), (7) upaya parmita (skillful means, intuitive methods, higher psychological knowing), (8) pranidhana (surrender, deep letting go, completely giving up efforting), (9) bali parmita (trusting life completely, having miracle working faith, channeling energy), (10) dharma megasamadhi (communion with the mahasangha, feeling wisdom from the continuum, deep third eye awakening), (11) anutarra samyak samadhi (supreme perfect enlightenment, deep integration, pure being in peace), and (12) siddha samadhi (light body, quantum integration, resting in perfection, physical immortality). An 8th stage Bodhisattva or Dakini, is really beyond all the religions of the world, including Buddhism, because he or she sees that it is all about surrender, even the surrender of religion itself ("The raft is not the shore, when you reach the other shore, then throw away the raft."). Christians talk about surrendering to Jesus, Moslems about surrendering to Allah (Islam means "the surrender" and moslem means "one who has surrendered"), Judaism talks about "walking humbly with your god", Taoism about going with the flow, Hinduism about letting go of ego effort (ahamkar), and Buddhism in the Heart Sutra talks about "not clinging to anything at all, not even wisdom". Even an atheist can surrender to life or to evolution. The object of surrender matters less than the act of surrender.

When I understood this, I found it interesting that there were still phases 9, 10, 11, and 12 yet to go after this! Any parmita can move one from unenlightenment to enlightenment. The word parmita can be translated as "crossing over virtues". These are the attitudes that immediately move one from the sorrow unenlightenment into wisdom of enlightenment. Yet each eventually grows into the next one and then the next one, and then the next one. Every time we choose to meditate, we are choosing to surrender. One Tibetan Lama talked about conventional meditation practice, which is an attempt to get something, and is therefore still a subtle ego grasping effort, and the meditation (vipassana) that pleases the Bodhisattvas and Dakinis (surrender in and through practice). This surrender eventually happens in meditation, but it seems that the longer we meditate, the quicker we reach a place where we feel meditation is not really working and that we are tempted to give up. There is a kind of ego giving up and a deep giving up which is surrender. When the ego gives up, it is still a frustration of its grasping strategy, and even meditation can be and usually is just another strategy that the ego is trying. But if ego grasping is felt in all its horrible glory, seen to be the source of all sorrow, and let go of, then meditation has cut deep enough to transform us.

This seeing does not require any effort besides a willingness to see, a direction of attention to what needs to be seen, noticing how we cause our sorrow, and then letting go of doing sorrow to ourselves. This could take a long time for us to see, years and years of sitting and watching our mind, or it can take place in a single flash of intuitive wisdom. This is why one of the stanzas in the Heart Sutra is, "There is no sorrow, no cause of sorrow, no end of sorrow, and no noble path that leads beyond sorrow". This is the negation of the Eightfold Path stanza. It is the one that when Buddha chanted this stanza during the transmission of the Heart Sutra that caused many of the devoted Arhats (the worthy ones who earned inner peace through discipline and practice on the path) to get heart attacks. Taken the wrong way, this stanza can be an excuse for not starting to meditate. Taken the right way and at the right time, it can shift one into natural enlightenment. My feeling is that this teaching transmission first started about half way through the teaching cycle of the Buddha. He went from town to town speaking what needed to be heard in each town. He usually taught the four noble truths, but in the towns who early on received the four noble truths and devotedly practiced them, some of them were ready to hear this higher teaching. All these separate transmissions in each different town were considered one teaching transmission or one event.

The phase of letting go of letting go happens when we have passed through some experience of (1) practice letting go, (2) really letting go, and (3) totally letting go. We become subtly attached to letting go itself. We see it is the solution to everything, then we need to let go of the solution. This is because letting go is still seen as something we can do. In some sense it is. But letting go leads to a noneffort state that is the real healer, liberator, and awakener. There is a reversal that happens. Before we thought we needed a monumental effort to awaken, later on we see that we are making a monumental effort to be unconscious and that we simply need to end all this efforting and "fall awake". We simply need to resume awareness and let the momentum of unconsciousness dissolve within this radiance. We can, as Krishnamurti taught, "be attentive to our inattention" or "be sensitive to our insensitivity". In the beginning, it may require a "remembrance" to stay in awareness, a gentle returning back, and later on it will be a "faith" or abiding in awareness (bali parmita). I found when I had first merely resumed awareness that the kundalini rapidly and easily launched up the spine. What took a lot of concentration, intention, and effort to sustain as a rising of energy happened almost effortlessly in a single moment. I saw that the kundalini paths reached "resuming awareness" through an effort that ended effort, but the reverse was also true, that by ending effort, kundalini would easily, quickly, and spontaneously launch up the spine, through the deep central thread within the spine. The second path was easier, but it required a very deep and clear understanding and a unification of intention, attention, and radiant awareness (faith or bali parmita).

In this space, you have let go of letting go, you can notice all the grasping that is arising inside and simply notice it. This very act of noticing allows all the grasping to spontaneously calm down without having to even intend to let go of it. You simply stay in awareness and notice the selfless play of phenomena, both internally and externally, and simply do not get caught in it, or even notice "getting caught in it" as another selfless play. When you resume awareness in the right way, then this solves everything instantly and forever. We develop "faith" in our true nature and rest in this place, letting every solution merely happen.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Right Use of Sexual Energy

This is a yabyum mudra picture, though it is hard to see the female in front.

"Divine Co-Creation: A Transmission of Love" 3ft x 4ft.... watercolor by Sarah Collins

The above picture was reposted from the Sarah Collins Facebook page with her permission.

This picture was taken recently. The original statue was a gift given by a good friend named Julia Papps a few years ago. The statue is only about two inches tall. Unlike some of the other yab-yum statues, it is very simple and bare bones, more true to how it could be in actual life. The third eye in this case is radiating the multi-colored rainbow light which usually arises during Dzogchen level realization of our primordial state. The magenta-red color is radiating from the sacrum of the Mahadakini. I call this the "Hreeh engine". Hreeh is the seed syllable of the Padma family of Amida Buddha which includes Amitayus Buddha and the Mahadakini Pandaravasini. Mandarava, one of the two Tantric partners of Padmasambhava, is considered to be an emanation of this Mahadakinis energy. Pandaravasini translates to "Queen of Fire". The seed syllable "Hreeh" is visualized at the sacrum, in neon red, pulsating in rhythm and in sync with the exhale, with the intention of generating actual feel-able heat. This is part of Tumo Meditation, but in a form tuned to the Padma family and Amida Buddha (who is the yab-yum of Amitayus and Pandaravasini). It is an advanced practice, so there is a need to know what you are doing and have mastered certain preliminaries. If I were to name some of them here: (1) mastering Rebirthing breathing to the point where you can generate a wave of tingling sensations in your body in about 15 minutes, (2) understand how to "abide in awareness as awareness" beyond thought and subject/object duality, (3) being able to ride an emotional wave without clinging or resistance until it dissolves into primordial presence, and (4) being able to visualize a red dot at the sacrum, synchronize the pulsation of light with the exhale, and generate actual feel-able heat, (5) mixing the two bindus (the hreed fire and the om white light liquid from the 3rd eye pituitary/pineal gland) at the heart to produce the silvery blue energy that charges up the red blood cells with orgone/prana, understand in life the 12 nidanas, and (6) ideally having established a daily meditaiton practice.

The above picture was graciously allowed to be posted here by Krystal Powers (Scotthuckabay.com). It gives a feeling how the YabYum position actually looks in practice. The picture even shows a polarity mudra similar to the one described below. The picture shows male with left hand at sacrum and right hand at occiput (polarizing the spine downward) and the female with right hand at sacrum and left hand at occiput (polarizing the spine upward). This is allows an energy circulation between the bodies. What is described below is where both male and female have right hand at sacrum and left hand at occiput which is "double ascension" (energy flowing up both spines simultaneously).

The fourth subprecept of the Eightfold Path reads roughly like this, "Not to misuse sexual energy, but contain to sexual energy within a celibacy or within a faithful loving relationship". The deeper side of this precept has to do with understanding that sexual energy is cosmic creative energy and learning how to honor its sacredness. The same energy that births stars also births human children and also can rebirth ourselves. Sila Parmita, ethical idealism and healthy self discipline, is considered one of the "crossing over virtues" of the Mahayana Buddhist path. What this means is that we can base our life on this virtue and reach the depths of enlightenment. When Sila Parmita is taught, the mechanics of karma and the ten worlds of sorrow are taught. Through Sila Parmita we can raise our life condition and transcend the afflicted karmaic patterns that bind our lives. I have chosen to translate Sila Parmita as "ethical idealism". Sometimes it has been translated as "Creative Altruism". The issue I have with this is the altruism implies an element of self sacrifice. While this is sometimes what is needed and what is noble to do, there is a sermon of the Buddha that I call "be the fourth" that goes:

Buddha: There are some who know how to be good to themselves but not good to others. There are some who know how to be good to others but not good to themselves. There are some who are not good to themselves or to others. There are some who know how to be good to themselves and to others. Be the fourth.

The biological classification of this orientation towards goodness is "mutualism". This is where we learn to serve each other within community. It is the reason why the Sangha emerged. We are meant to help each other and build a life together. Ethical Idealism is not merely about how we treat others, but also how we treat ourselves. This is why Ethical Idealism also includes how to eat, how to meditate, how to exercise, how to work at our jobs, how to earn money, how to speak, and even how to think. There is a danger of emotional repression in practicing this parmita. This is why it is important to know how to be good to ourselves and to let ourselves feel whatever emotions that we have. Our ethical idealism needs to become psychologically and emotionally mature. There is a natural kind of care and attention that Sila Parmita cultivates where we learn to gently correct our behavior and our thoughts in order to manifest our ideal. This attitude leads to the "four inexaustible states" which are (1) friendship and kindness, (2) sympathetic compassion, (3) sympathetic joy, and (4) unconditional acceptance. These are four aspects of love that are cultivated in Buddhism. They are innate to our Buddha nature and shine forth when we are enlightened. They still need to grow and develop within us. They need to become skillful when interacting with all sentient beings. It takes some time and growth to understand how to do this.

I meditated on the fourth subprecept of the Eightfold Path a lot, because I was wondering what it meant. It seemed that "right use of sexual energy" simply meant to follow all the other precepts around it. For instance, being faithful to our loving partner means to not lie to them, but to speak kind and truthful words, not to kill them but to nourish the roots of goodness within them, and not to put pressure on them or take anything from them that is not freely given. If we did this much with our loving partners, many problems would simply go away. Yet I found that the Buddha did not waste words. He illuminated sexual relationships, because he wanted people to end sorrow in their lives. Sexual relationships can be the place where our deepest sorrows are played out. It is strange, because the energy of the first contact seems to promise heaven and sometimes later on offers our most agonizing pains. People forget that Buddha was a married man, the son of a king, and had a lot of experience with sexual relationships. He was only celibate for 7 years before his enlightenment. One of the experiences that lead him to renounce the world and seek enlightenment was waking up from a drunken party and seeing all the people sprawled all over floor, some of them drooling. The beauntiful, handsome, and sexy beings that seemed to flirt with sexual energy the night before now had wrinkles shown, tension on their faces, and had lost their elegance and charm. The Buddha had a moment of consciousness that transcended the sexual dance and even some mild horror at how much was an illusion.

Part of why the Buddha included the precept about right use of sexual energy is because this is a place where much sorrow can arise. Sexual pleasure can become biochemically addictive, too, and people can exhaust their sexual energy, rather than raise it up the spine and use it for their evolution. Sexual repression, too, can harm our bodies, lock up our backs at the L4-L5 vertebral junction, and even cause a cancer that starts with the sexual organs. As an energy healer, I have seen a lot of cases where emotional repression has caused very intense psychosomatic illnesses and have sometimes witnessed cures that would be considered miraculous to conventional science. The key in each of these cures was to breathe, energize, and refeel the neglected emotions locked within the body. Emotions are too powerful an energy to repress without severe psychosomatic consequences. I consider emotional repression to be both endemic and a major cause of aging and death. Emotional acceptance and emotional honesty are necessary in order to be psychologically and spiritually healthy. Most cultures on this planet have taught a kind of "emotional morality" where certain emotions are considered unworthy of being felt and have unwittingly taught emotional repression. A certain kind of nonjudgmental acceptance is needed to explore our emotional life so that it can evolve to emotional maturity, into deep wisdom and loving compassion toward all sentient beings. We need to be okay with being angry, afraid, and sad, let them have their time to be felt and explored, and then transmuted into their wisdom aspect, where they actually become part of our clarity and kindness.

My concern about the Buddhist and Hindu teaching about celibacy is that it might not lead to this emotional maturity. I feel that there is something that can be learned within loving partnership that is difficult to learn when we are merely meditating into serenity on some mountaintop. I consider a loving relationship to be a superior vehicle to evolve into supreme perfect enlightenment than merely being celibate. I consider that lack of valuing of a loving partnership as a spiritual and evolutionary vehicle to be a vestage of the Patriarchal Era that started to end around the 1800s. During this time, the feminine was devalued and considered inferior to the masculine. The wife was to be subserviant to the husband. The ethical ideal of this relationship is that it is meant to be a relationship among equals who can exist in mutual respect. When one is subserviant to another, there is no depth of intimacy possible and a certain kind of emotional growth cannot happen. A certain kind of emotional maturity has only rarely flowered among human beings.

One of the prophecies in Buddhism is that the Maitreya Buddha would only appear when the lifespan of human beings was only 12 years. I feel that this prophecy is not about a literal 12 year lifespan, but about the emotional lifespan of human beings. When I have had people consciously breathe, infuse their bodies with prana, relax their chronic muscle tension, and refeel the emotions that were locked in bodies, the emotions that surface are about their childhood. It seems that our mental abilities have been evolving at the expense of our emotional growth. So people are mental adults and emotional children. The highest emotional age that I find among the people I have worked with is about 14 years. Oddly enough, this higher age is usually due to having emotional traumas so strong in childhood that they could not repress them and therefore had to explore those emotions and grow from them. If you take the developmental models of Margaret Mahler, Piaget, Erik Erickson, and Kolberg, and use them as a map of determing the emotional ages of people. This is what you get. Oddly enough, there is no direct emotional map, but you can get a sense of it by the parallel growth of sensory motor abilities, moral reasoning, and life challenges. If you get some sense of what emotional growth would match these phases, you can get a full map of where people are. In reverse, one temporal indicator is the sensory motor patterns and speech patterns that the emotional subselves that emerge with also allow time indexing of when the repressions happened. Very often, an adult parent is teaching the children to repress. Sometimes by telling them they have a bad attitude and that they should not feel what they are feeling. The ability to choose your emotions at will is an ability I have not seen even in most adults and yet adults are telling the kids to have this! Emotions can change, but through acceptance, exploration, and awareness. If an adult has done this homework, then they can help his or her children grow emotionally.

When an emotion is repressed, there is a corresponding sensation in the body part that is feeling it. When we do not want to feel an emotion, we tighten the muscles surrounding the sensation until the sensation is not felt. The muscle usually remains chronicly tight. I also feel that addictions are related to emotional repression. When a person does not want to feel an emotion, they can choose some substances the overwhelms the sensation. In a oversimplified sense, alcohol represses fear, nicotine represses anger, marijuana represses sadness, and overeating represses anxiety. Emotions are interconnected, and sometimes there is anger in the sadness or sadness in the anger, or fear in both. So sometimes marijuana can repress a very deep anger, but when this anger is willingly felt, it can become a deep grief and anger at life for taking away someone we had loved. Allowing one to fully feel these emotions and moving them to completion, closure, or resolution is how we grow emotionally. Telling ourselves that we should not feel the emotion and stuffing it in our bodies keeps us emotionally stunted and blocks a certain kind of growth from happening.

When people fall in love with each other and become sexual with each other, the sexual experience can move through an elemental wave. These are "earth into water" where the muscles start to relax, "water into fire" where tingling sensations appear in the body, "fire into air" where orgasms happen, and "air into space" where we rest in the airglow. There is a need to have a meditational balance through the experience, learning to not resist what wishes to happen and not rush to orgasm, but to let the experiences arise, abide, change, and pass away without pressure. For the male, it is wise to "sacrifice orgasm," to let go of trying to get there, of trying to push toward this goal. It is learning to be present and to let it unfold. You surrender to the movement of sexual kundalini energy and do not force it to go faster than it wants to go. Sexual energy is actually very fast and responsive. It responds to our thoughts quicker than we sometimes even notice our thoughts. If there is a thought wave with an attachment to orgasm, then sexual energy will mobilize towards this goal. It takes the mind being very silent and present centered inside to stay with the process. Some restraint is needed to slow down the tendency to rush the experience. The recommendation is to have the intention to prolong the foreplay as long as possible. At some point the energies will feel right to shift to the next phase and then to prolong this phase as long as possible, and so on. Another intention that helps the experience to go as long as needed, it is to let go of trying to get anything from sex and to focus instead on loving the other person. One Tibetan Master said, "The happiness of other people is my happiness." This is mudita, the sympathetic joy aspect of love. In sexual communion, we can feel this.

The main point I wish to make here is that, as the muscles relax in "earth into water" and "water into fire", the repressed emotions will surface. They can project on to the partner and starting causing problems to appear in the relationship. Power struggles can appear. This emotional undercurrent is below the entire Patriarchal Era. It can and will arise in sexual communion with a loving partner. If the couple can create a safe container for this process, they can use the surfacing of the emotions as an advantage and move through them, deepening their love for each other, and evolving further within the dual vehicle. The surfacing of the emotions can also arise and destroy the relationship as well. Every emotional issue that a person has repressed inside his or her body will surface during sexual communion. Premature ejaculation is in some sense a defense against letting the process be long enough and deep enough to allow the emotions to surface. It is settling for a local orgasm, or genital orgasm, rather than a full body orgasm. In Tantric Buddhism, one of the names for enlightenment is "Mahamudra" which could be translated as "Great Orgasm". This is because the ego gets totally obliterated in deep orgasm. This is a mechanism of biological evolution that children are birthed from a nonegoic energy. In a sense, everyone has a natural small enlightenment in sexual communion. It may last for a few seconds, but these few seconds keep the species birthing itself into existence. The key is to consciously ride this process to the very end without short circuiting it or resisting it.

There is a level of sexual indulgence that exhausts our sexual energy and does not make it available for our evolution. Right use of sexual energy requires that we conserve our energy and not merely indulge in it because it is pleasurable. This kind of indulgence has sometimes been called "masturbating in the womb". It is sexual communion without loving the other person being a relevant factor. It where the intention is to "have sex", rather than "make love". When we are involved this way, then orgasm becomes energy discharge, rather than "air into space".

In terms of evolution, the higher levels of sexual communion are deeply telepathic. The link made with a lover is something we feel even when they are not within the range of our physical senses. Many lovers feel this during part of the relationship unfoldment, as least for a while. It can only be sustained by someone who is oriented to meditation, who has committed to the evolutionary process, and is willing to mutate into the next species that is meant to appear on Earth. Otherwise sex collapses to robotic repetition of an energy losing pleasurable ritual or becoming a family formation survival and security bond where jealousy, territoriality, and possessiveness will arise to maintain the attachment. Sexual communion is meant to be generally pleasurable and meant to create a family matrix, but it is also meant to move beyond these two orientations. It is an evolutionary energy.

The sexual renunciation that was taught in early Buddhism was about letting go of sexual addiction to pleasurable robotic sex and security addiction to social bonding sex. The third possibiity, sex as an evolutionary force and how to work with this energy, was not yet discovered and still is not taught much except in Tantric Buddhism, Tantric Hinduism, Sufism, and Taoism. Even to this day, it is still somewhat of an revolutionary orientation. Almost all human cultures are a little afraid of sex, because deep down the ego knows it gets annihilated by deep orgasm. It clings to itself and resists this deep death and rebirth experience. This self clinging is at the root of all sorrow. Almost every culture has many rules and taboos about what sex is appropriate and what is not. Many of the rules about sex have to do with when a person is of age to have sex and making sure that sex is consentual. In Buddhism, you are not meant to have sex with anyone who is still under guardianship. This would include children and mentally handicapped people who cannot really consent to having sex and know what this means. Many cultures have rules against premarital sex and against having sexual affairs outside the marriage. My own sense is that we are meant to keep the agreements that we make with a partner about this. It is possible to have multiple loving partners and still use sexual energy rightly. I think eventually we are meant to have just one partner and learn to love them fully. Whatever agreements and boundaries we have consciously decided with another person we are meant to keep. What makes most sexual affairs a misuse of sexual energy is the lying and violation of trust when an agreement is broken. If one has reached a point where one does not feel able to keep an agreement to limit sex to just one partner, then this agreement must be consciously dissolved before going to someone else. Beyond this level of sexual ethics, however, there is a deeper sexual yoga. It is implied in the original formulation of "right use of sexual energy". The earliest teachings are about seeing sex as energy and not merely as a pleasurable act or bonding act. There is an energy ethic involved.

My sense of this is that sexual energy is sacred and is meant to be yielded to. In Tantric Buddhism, there are three geometries to define three phases of relationship, the square, the triangle, and the circle. In the square, there are four elements meeting, the higher self and ego of the male and the higher self and ego of the female. There four interactions going on and sometimes a subtle power struggle. This kind of relating is conventional and not evolutionary. Then when both people understand that sexual energy is sacred and a higher power invoked in the relationship, then both the male and female surrender to this higher power and the energy moves up their spines toward the omega point above their crown chakras. In Tantric Buddhism, this is done in the Yab-Yum Asana with certain hand mudras and breathings being done. If it is not possible anatomically to do the Yab-Yum asana, then there are alternatives to explore until the right one is found. When "valley orgasm" happens (versus explosive orgasm), a circle eventually forms where the energy is circulated within the dual alchemical factory which is the male and female conjoined. The male and female glandular system usually produces hormonal chemicals that the other gender does not do as much or as well. This dual vehicle is alchemical biological transformation unit. Together, the male and female have the "32 marks" of an enlightened Buddha, a perfect balance of male and female hormonal energies. It follows the alchemical formula that Jesus gives in the Gospel according to Saint Thomas (which did not make it into the New Testament Nicene Canon):

I will make the female into male,
I will make the male into female,
and the two into one,
and then the kingdom of god
shall appear.

The Patriarchal Era was so horrified, by the way, at this alchemical formula that it may have been the reason why this gospel did not appear in the Nicene Canon. In some versions of this gospel, the second line, "I will make the male into female" is often omitted. Biochemically, however, this is what is happening in Tantric sexual union. Each is flooded with hormones of the opposite gender and each becomes the other and then arrives at balance and unity. Each eventually is both male and female biochemically and then is enlightened.

Understanding this sexual yoga, I do feel that multiple partnerships are less servicable than just one partner. There is a Taoist saying that goes: "It takes seven years to understand the body of your partner, another seven years to understand their mind, and then another seven years to understand their heart." In other words, through living with each other and loving each other, it takes about 21 years to fully understand the heart of just one person. There is also a need to understand, from living experience, how to work with the sexual kundalini energy and how to allow it to totally transform one.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

The 12 Levels of Consciousness

The traditional Theravadin Buddhist teachings have 8 levels of consciousness, though the other four are implied in their teachings. I prefer to name 12 levels of consciousness in order make a few points clear, like the difference between basic enlightenment (satori) and supreme perfect enlightenment (anuttara samyak samadhi). My personal feeling is that basic enlightenment is not hard to attain and should take at the most 3 years of dedicated daily meditation practice. Supreme perfect enlightenment, which involves complete cleansing of all afflicted samskaras from the subconscious mind, has been rare and may take even lifetimes of practice to fully attain. I feel that there are different degrees and kinds of enlightenment that are possible. The achievement of physical immortality and the attainment of the light body are higher than basic enlightenment and supreme perfect enlightenment. I have some hesitation, though, when I talk about enlightenment in terms of attainment. They are more "growths" that our natural mind moves into and through. They do require our free choice and intentionality to make happen. Life brings us to a certain point where we have a sense of our free choice. Further growth then needs our freely given consent to go further. The element of real freedom is part of our Buddha nature and it is part of what grows within us. There is a triad within our core identity that is understanding, awareness, and intentionality. When these three are in alignment with each other, then a basic enlightenment appears. This may be called "entering the stream". When we learn how stay in the evolutionary process and are never tempted to quit, then we become a "nonreturner". When the process evolves to the third eye level, then we are in the "last necessary lifetime" (if we return back to incarnation, then it is because of choice and not karma). When the process reaches self recognition, then we have the full maturity of our awakening.

The first five levels of consciousness are really on the same level. They are the sense consciousnesses involves with seeing, hearing, tasting, touching, and smelling. Traditional Buddhism also talks about the sixth consciousness. This is a kind of sensory mind. I call this sensory mind "the summarizer". This mind takes the five channels of sensory information and synthesizes their input into one unified experience. If you take time, right now, to focus on each channel, you can get a feeling for this mind. Focus, for instance, on what you are seeing, notice how it feels to read these words, notice that you are reading these words. Now notice what you are hearing right now. Now notice what you are feeling or touching. Notice, for instance, how your body contacts the chair you are sitting in or whatever ground that is supporting your body. Notice what your tongue is tasting right now, even if it is only the wetness inside the mouth. Notice whatever smells that are in the air. We can focus on each "sense gate" separately. The other senses fall into the background, but are still available. This background is inside the summarizer. This also means that there is a subtle set of five senses inside the summarizer that allows input from the five consciousnesses. There is a mode of training where the summarizer can disconnect from the five consciousnesses and tune into the world through these subtle senses. When a person learns how to do this, then he or she develops his or her "psychic abilities". There is a case, mentioned in THE WAY OF THE PILGRIM, where a blind person was able to learn how to see through developing the suble eye consciousness within the summarizer. It was partly accidental for this person, who was doing the Christian mantra, "Kyrie Eleieson" and most likely focusing attention on the third eye. This part is not mentioned in the book, but it is part of Hesychasm to use attention on the third eye and heart chakra as part of their practice.

Beyond the summarizer is what I can the "interpreter" (seventh). This is our usual thinking mind and is the home of the ego or ordinary sense of self. We tend to identify with our thinking mind and we form what Krishnamurti called "the me put together by thought". He also said that "the thinker is the thought". We imagine there is a me separate from our thinking that does the thinking, but the thinker is really its thoughts. When we have a deep aware moment without any thinking, then the sense of self that we usually identify with ends completely and another sense of being appears, as if waking up from a sleepy trance. When this happens, then we have become enlightened. We wake up from what Buddha called "the illusion of self". I sometimes call this, "the clearing of the conscious mind". The interpretive function of this mind continues to be usable to our being. It actually functions more sanely after this awakening, because its thought process no longer functions under an illusion or a hypnotic trance.

Beyond the interpreter is the subconscious mind (eighth). It is called "storehouse consciousness", because it stores all the samskaras that cause us sorrow. We can get a feeling for this mind by noticing when we get triggered or activated by something. Let us say a person says something to us and it activates a feeling of being hurt. A sensory experience (the person saying something to us) activated a samskara (potential conditioned reaction) manifested as a felt experience of feeling hurt. We might continue the reaction by saying something back to the person or we might, especially if we are trained in meditation, "remain with the sensation" and notice that we have been activated. If we are able to do this, then the samskara can dissolve and we can be released from its grip. We can also get caught in a chain reaction, where one samskara can activate another and then another. For instance, the feeling of hurt may activate a self pity thought process inside us and this, in turn, may activate anger about how life constantly treats us. The chain reaction can end at any point where we introduce a "moment of consciousness" and remain with the sensation.

What happens when a samskara gets activated is that a conditioned reaction appears in the interpreter. In a sense it gets downloaded to the interpreter from the subconscious mind. We often upload and make samskaras too. How we behave in the present moment becomes our mental conditioning. We can learn how to react to certain things and when they happen without clear conscious choice, then those behaviors become samskaras, ready to be triggered by the right sensory input. The uploading and downloading shows how the conscious and subconscious mind have a fluid barrier. They evolve out of each other. The game "Simon says" that children play illustrates how easily it happens. The rules of the game are simple. One child is the leader who says, "Simon says," and names some behavior, like "touch your nose". The leader then demonstrates this behavior by touching his or her nose. The other children are supposed to do the same thing, but only when the leader says, "Simon says". After doing a few, the leader says something like, "Clap your hands" (without saying "Simon says") and sees if any of the other children get caught clapping their hands. Any child who claps has made the instruction into an automatic conditioning. The game shows that if we maintain a certain level of alertness that we do not become conditioned.

The next level beyond the subconscious mind is the "silent witness" (ninth). This is roughly equivalent the atman of Hinduism. It is sometimes called "the root of attention". When we transcend the thought self inside the interpreter, we temporarily become this witness consciousness. This is when we are able to see all internal and external phenomena as transitory and selfless. The witness is usually hypnotized into believing that it is whatever thoughts, emotions, and sensations that are arising. It gets caught up in them and is taken away by them or resists them and reacts to them. When we are able to watch thoughts, emotions, and sensations like clouds floating in the sky, then we are relaxing into simply being this witness. When we are caught up in phenomena, then we have fallen into a kind of trance or dreaming sleep, called ordinary life. It is similar to sleep walking.

There is still a subtle thought holding the witness. This is the subject/object duality. There is a kind of basic structure to thought. It organizes experience into a subject, verb, and object, and then builds up this with adverbs, adjectives, and other modifiers. This dualistic mechanism creates a feeling of isolation from the life process and a subtle sadness. This sense of separateness sometimes dissolves, because the separate ego is ultimately an illusion and it cannot be maintained indefinately. The Sufis have found, if we are aware and sensitive, that 2 out of every 12 seconds we are are free from the sense of isolation. These are called "moments of [natural] freedom." If we become sensitive to them, we can use this microtime as a kind of gate and expand into unity from there. Interestingly, when a person practices always abiding in the witness and lets go of all attachment to everything, when the last attachment is released, then the witness explodes into infinity. The sense of separateness dissolves. This is because it needed something to attach to in order to maintain the tension of duality. So sacred aloneness becomes unity.

The next consciousness is oneness (tenth). This is where the subject and object tension ends. There is a feeling of oneness and kinship with everything. This is sometimes felt between sexual and loving partners. There is a natural deep concentration where two lovers drop into a deep feeling silence with each other and all sense of isolation ends. There is a warm feeling of oneness. There are three levels of this. There is karma mudra when the connection is physical and energetic. There is jnana mudra when visualized dream bodies are involved. There is mahamudra when this feeling of oneness is with the whole cosmos and with the dharmakaya (the invisible energy that permeates all life). The loving partnership can be the focus or seed for all three of these levels. In the Gospel according to Saint John, chapter 17, Jesus prays and wishes his disciples discover this level of unity. The kind of knowing he wants them to enter is gnosis. He uses the verb form of this word in this chapter. This word represents the knowing that arises between two lovers in sexual intimacy. It is not intellectual and academic knowledge. It is direct immediate experience where the thinking mind is no longer analyzing.

The next consciousness is called "returning to body and mind" (eleventh). This is where Buddha, having directly experienced the deepest nirvana, sees the planet Venus in the morning sky. The plant Venus is a beautiful symbol, being the goddess of love. We go into a love affair with normal life. This is the Zen level of "chopping wood, carrying water." The feeling of unity is in the background and our ordinary lives are in the foreground. This is the level of "ordinary mind is enlightenment" of Zen and "Earthly desires are enlightenment" of Nicherin Buddhism. The skandhas, factors of ordinary consciousness, which caused us sorrow are transformed into factors of enlightenment and are simply lived. They become the five Buddha mandala. The Buddha returns to simply having a mind and body. It is also related to when Jesus says, "Unless you become converted and become like little children, you will not enter the Kingdom of God." A Buddha is like a wise child. We regain our ability to be simply spontaneous and alive. What we do, instead of coming out of a mental chatter and adult worries, comes out of the luminous creative void. Words come out of silence. Actions come out of stillness. Love emerges from oneness.

The last level is the light body (twelfth). This is where the miraculous powers appear. This is a little greater than the psychic powers of the detached summarizer. There is a feeling of faith in life, in the One Power that is all, and the ability to command it through thought. There is a strange verse in the Old Testament, in Isaiah, where Yahweh says to Isaiah, "Command me." In reverses the sense of us needing to obey, surrender, and follow what is higher than us. This is because we are taking our place in the unity and living from this. We are already deeply surrendered into this energy and now we can also guide this energy. We can guide the energy because we are part of this energy. This is also behind, "Love and do what you will." Miracles are not a violation of universal law, but its highest expression. On this level, the mechanism of karma which operated unconsciously become the mechanism of conscious creation.

Kobodashi, who brought Shingon Buddhism to Japan, when asked about how many levels of consciousness there were, said, "One, Eight, Ten, Infinite." I like his answer. Because he acknowledges the traditional Eight levels, but points beyond this framework too. He prefered naming ten levels. I prefer naming twelve. But when we go deep within, then we feel like there is just one consciousness that we are living from. When we think of growth, it seems that there are infinite levels. There is always more to learn. I do gather that once we are grounded in the light body that there is still growth that can happen. But the growth that happens is without strain, without fear and anger, and without sorrow. There is a feeling of always floating and being weightless. The body is experienced differently, as a hologram, and as being "hollow". Transitional is learning to not age and kill our physical body.

The levels of consciousness, too, are not airtight compartments. There unfold out of each other. We sometimes have "flash forwards" into states we will eventually grow into and integrate. Basic enlightenment happens when we transcend the thinking mind and experience "radiant awareness". Although this basic enlightenment is not hard to attain, it gives us a feeling understanding of all the other levels. We are no longer running our spiritual lives on an intellectual guess or mental belief.