Thursday, February 9, 2012

Bardo Clear Light Tenabah c2012

Parallel posted on Facebook and replicated here:

When a sentient being ejects his or her consciousness from the body, whether the ejection is through skilled clear intention (phowa) or through passive allowance, he or she meets a radiant clear light. This radiant energy permeates the universe of form, everything arises from this energy, abides in this energy, returns to this energy, and is an expression of this energy. It appears for three days after ejection. If a sentient being recognizes this radiant energy as his or her home, her true identity, and abides there, then such a being can rest there and integrate this state. If the being tries to grasp and hold on to the bliss, then he or she spirals downward vibrationally, entering the realm of the peaceful guides, who try to help the being return back home. Failing this, the sentient being spirals downward to the wrathful guides who confront the being with his or her issues, reflecting them back so that he or she can return back home. Failing this, the sentient being enters the realm of the "fifty two peaceful and forty eight wrathful guides" (the realm of the psychotherapists who navigate the complexities of the ego to unravel the knots of confusion) in order to help this being back home. Failing this, the sentient being enters the "subbardo of seeking rebirth", sees a landscape appear with spinning vortexes of light where lovers are in deep communion with each other and are creating a place of entry into a world. The being is propelled by a vibrational karma that is essentially "like attracts like", pulling him or her into a rebirth situation. Intermediate beings are admonished to "turn toward the light" to halt the karmaic momentum that is propelling him or her to rebirth. Failing this, the being is admonished to seek rebirth in a family where the dharma is strong, then failing this to seek rebirth in a family that is healthy and prosperous, and then failing this to seek a birth in the human realm...

"So each of us in this human form failed all the way to the human realm?"

Most humans are not really trying to go for the highest rebirth possible in the bardo and just go where ever their karma leads them. It usually does lead back to the human realm in a rebirth much like the last one that they had. Karma is mainly repetition. If a person improves a little each lifetime, it gets better and better with each rebirth. A person can also "work hard" to get an inferior rebirth by not listening to the voice of conscience. Usually a person does not get a worse rebirth unless they ignore their conscience when it is screaming at them. But sometimes people do dull this voice and it cannot warn them. Unfortunately, a lot of addictions function in this manner.

In the Bardo Thodol, whose title translates as "Liberation through Hearing", there is the intention of supporting a "conscious crossing" to use the bardo to reach the highest state possible by the opportunity that presents itself at the time of death (ejection). From this viewpoint, a person can "fail" to reach and sustain those highest levels. But according to the teaching, every effort that one makes has a positive effect. Even if you reach and touch those states for some moments it creates some good karma that helps the human rebirth be better, happier, more loving, clearer, more creative, and wiser. Those moments become resources stored in the subconscious mind (the alaya vijnana) that can still pull a person upwards through the choices and challenges of "the bardo of ordinary life".

According to one of the Ksitigarba Sutras, there is more than one power that determines rebirth, there is "majestic power" and "karmaic power". The latter feels like an undertow that pulls one into and through experiences. The former feels like a conscious choice, motivated by compassion, viewed by the wisdom of knowing the consequences the choice will make, and with the support of skillful means (creativity) manifesting as "dharma power". It is a power that grows through practice and effort. It feels like free choice, a concentration on a pure loving thought which has the faith and confidence to naturally manifest itself, because no opposing thought rises from the subconscious mind to block it or bend it. Many higher beings choose to incarnate out of compassion for this world, to help elevate humankind and the animal worlds, to feed hungry ghosts, and give peace to the tormented souls of demons. These beings do not fail to be reborn in the human realm, but succeed in coming here.

In practice, even if one is choosing to return to the human realm, it is better to still aim for the highest rebirth possible in the bardo. It burns away the most karma, and once one is reborn in those higher realms to then choose to be reborn in the human realm on Earth. This way one will know that one is not here by the force of karma alone.

There is a third path besides aiming, willing, and practicing to attain the highest rebirth possible, or consciously choosing rebirth on Earth to perform loving service. This is to let the blessing power of a gracious Buddha or Dakini simply carry you into the Clear Light and allow you to make your home there. It involves a loving, trustful surrender into their care, especially as the grace fire burns away all the karma that blocks this from manifesting. You "chant through" this process in the faith that these beings will bring you there. It usually involves resolving some trust and control issues to be able to do, hence multiple chants are needed to establish this sincerity. The "sign of accomplishment" is seeing Suhkavati in some lucid dreams, with its beautiful pools of water, the meditators floating in the sky on lotuses, the buildings with no roofs on them because the weather is pleasant there, and where even the birds sing songs about the dharma ("all is transitory, let go, let go"). There are parts of Earth that are like this also, every world of sorrow as some islands of higher consciousness in them. Native Americans often go to these places during vision quests (going to those places is like taking a bardo voyage if approached with the right consciousness).

I am posting this partly as a kind of prep for the Chod Rite, to name the basic environment of practice, since the bardo is not merely something that exists after death, but operates in the background of daily human life, shaping events by synchronicity. During death, one veil is removed, and what is possible to see now is easier to see.

Saturday, February 4, 2012

Chod Rite Doha

Chod Rite Doha
through Tenabah c2012

buddham saranam gacchami
dharmam saranam gacchami
sangham saranam gacchami

bowing and taking refuge
in the Buddha
the living energy of the path
the enlightened mind in all of us
a sentient being like us
who became enlightened
and thereby proved
that we too can realize
the unborn, the unchanging, the undying,
the peace of supreme nirvana

bowing and taking refuge
in the Dharma
the order of the universe
and the teachings that reveal
this order
the living understanding
of the this order
within us when
we hear and see the truth
of the teachings

bowing and taking refuge
in the Sangha
the living community
of those who seek enlightenment
who keep alive the understanding
of the teaching
who practice the precepts
who work through what arises
within them until no obstacle remains

mastering samatha
producing calm mind

mastering vipassana
watching without tampering with experience
no resistance and no clinging
to what arises
watching without analysis and interpretation
alert, open, curious, just watching
until insight dawns

studying the abhidharma
seeing the chain reaction of sorrow
knowing where to stop the reaction
and cut sorrow at the root

studying the madhyamika
understanding emptiness
and how everything is fundamentally
ungraspable, nonsubstantial, and not knowable
dissolving the mental imposition of duality
collapsing the subject object duality
entering the peace of samadhi

storehouse opens
ancient thought impressions
surface from the past
of many many lifetimes
imprints of craving, negativity, and delusion
anger, fear, and sadness arising
choosing to move through and empty
this storehouse
swimming across
the great ocean of sorrow
purifying the mind

actively inviting the fears
to be fulfilled
serious determined intention
to cut through each one
and reach the other side

going to the dark haunted places
the domain of pain and death
beating the drums
sounding the bone trumpet
shouting and hearing voice echo
in the dark canyon
offering this transitory body
as food for the demons
surrendering to all the fears
no resistance to anything left

ego self clinging
revealed, exposed, and naked
in the dharma light
rising above the thought of "I"
no self to lose
no self to gain
releasing here
and offering this illusory self
to the illusory demons
resistance collapses
and fear ends

body chopped into pieces
to make a life force soup
to feed the demons
giving them what they need
behind each craving

limb by limb chopped
into pieces
chopped into fine bits
no self found anywhere
not in the arms,
not in the legs,
torso, heart, liver,
or brain

not in thought, emotions,
sensation, cognitions
or body
not in the past, present,
or future

demon fed
satisfied and disappears
next one arises
until the storehouse is empty

vibration of fear
transmuted into radiant liberating wisdom
ripples of fear waving through the void
mere sensation dissolving a phantom "I"

vibration of anger
imploding into the karma mirror seeing
imploding deeper into no self reflection
silent mind only having wakefulness and clarity

vibration of sadness
mourning the loss
of something never possessed
hand clinging to water
and not succeeding
even for a single moment
letting go of shadows
to enter radiant heart
demons become loyal allies

judge not
love your enemies
resist not evil
pray for those who persecute you
bless those who curse you
turn the other cheek
forgive those who crucify you
thank those who utterly kill you
and then
let the holy breath
resurrect you
in order that you may be
sons and daughters
of a vast living universe