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Bardo Thödol

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by BODO BALSYS



Āḥ!


Homage to the Lord of Shambhalla. Inconceivable, inconceivable, beyond thought Is the bejewelled crown of this most excelled Jina. He whose Eye has taught many Buddhas. And who will anoint the myriad, that in the future lives will come. As I bow to His Feet my Heart’s afire. Oh, this bliss, this love for my Lord can barely be borne on my part. It takes flight as the might of the Dove. The flight of serene nirvāṇic embrace. The flight of Light so bright. The flight of Love so active tonight. The flight of enlightenment for all to come to their mind’s Heart’s attire.


Obeisance to the Gurus! To the Buddhas of the three times. To the Council of Bodhisattvas, mahāsattvas. To them I pledge allegiance.


Oṁ Hūṁ! Hūṁ! Hūṁ!


Dedication

Thanks to my students, past, present and future, and in particular to those that have helped in the production of this Treatise.


Oṁ


Acknowledgments Special thanks to Angie O’Sullivan, Kylie Smith, and Ruth Fitzpatrick for their tireless efforts in making this series possible.


Oṁ



Preface

1. The Bardo Thödol and the Natural State of Mind

The Centres above the Diaphragm 1 Synonyms for Mind 1 Attributes of Mind and the Throat centre 19 The four major petals of the Throat centre 31 Attributes of Mind and the Heart centre 39 The forty-two Peaceful Deities 46 The cycles of ‘seven days’ of experience 55 2. The Bardo Thödol and the Natural State of Mind

Major Influences below the Diaphragm 62 Mind and the seven Rays 62 The phenomena of Mind and the Jinas 67 The Mind and the Diaphragm centre 70 Mind and the tathāgatagarbha 76 Mind and Splenic centre I 86 The three times in one 98

3. Mind and the Īśvarī 103 Mind and the twenty-eight theriomorphic female deities 103 Mind and the Solar Plexus centre 113 Mind and the Sacral centre 121 The seven Rays and the centres below the diaphragm 129 Mind and the left Gonad centre 138 Mind and the right Gonad centre 147 4. Culmination of the Awakening of Mind 154 The natural liberation of mind. 154 The twelve petals of the Head lotus 157 Summary of the petals of the Throat centre 171 Summary of the petals of the Heart centre 177 Conclusion 183 Bibliography 193 Index 194 Figures


This treatise investigates Buddhist ideas concerning what mind is and how it relates to a concept of a ‘self’. It is principally a study of the complex interrelationship between mind and phenomena, from the gross to the subtle—the physical, psychic, supersensory and supernal. This entails an explanation of how mind incorporates all phenomena in its modus operandi, and how eventually that mind is liberated from it, thereby becoming awakened. Thus the treatise explores the manner in which the corporeally orientated, concretised, intellectual mind eventually becomes transformed into the Clear Light of the abstracted Mind; a super-mind, a Buddha-Mind.


A Treatise on Mind is arranged in seven volumes, divided into three subsections. These are as follows:


The I Concept Volume 1. The `Self’ or `Non-self’ in Buddhism. Volume 2. Considerations of Mind—A Buddhist Enquiry. Volume 3. The Buddha-Womb and the Way to Liberation.


Cellular Consciousness Volume

4. Maṇḍalas - Their Nature and Development. Volume

5. An Esoteric Exposition of the Bardo Thödol. (This volume is published in two parts)

Maṇḍalas: Their Nature and Development

The Way to Shambhala Volume

6. Meditation and the Initiation Process. Volume

7. The Constitution of Shambhala

The I Concept represents a necessary extensive revision of a large work formerly published in one volume. Together the three volumes investigate the question of what a `self’ is and is not. This involves an analysis of the nature of consciousness, and the consciousness-stream of a human unit developing

as a continuum through time. It will illustrate exactly what directs such a stream and how its karma is arranged so that enlightenment is the eventual outcome. The first volume analyses Prāsaṅgika lines of reasoning, such as the `Refutation of Partless Particles’, and `The Sevenfold Reasoning’ in order to

derive a clear deduction as to whether a `selfexists, and if so what its limitations are, and if not, then what the alternative may be. The analysis resolves the historically vexing question of how—if there is no `self’—can there be a continuity of mind that is coherently connected in an evolutionary manner through multiple rebirths.1 In order to arrive at this explanation, many of the basic assumptions of Mahāyāna Buddhism, such as Dependent Origination and the Two Truths are critically analysed. The second volume provides an in-depth analysis of what mind is, how it relates to the concept of

the Void (śūnyatā) and the evolution of consciousness. The analysis utilises Yogācāra-Vijñānavādin philosophy in order to comprehend the major attributes of mind, the saṃskāras that condition it, and the laws by means of which it operates. The enquiry into the nature of what an `I’ is requires comprehension

of the properties of the dual nature of mind, which consists of an empirical and abstract, enlightened part. As a means of doing this, the ālayavijñāna (the store of consciousness-attributes) is explored, alongside the entire philosophy of the `eight consciousnesses’ of this School. Volume three focuses on the I-Consciousness and the subtle body, by first utilising a minor Tantra, The Great Gates of Diamond Liberation, to investigate the nature of the Heart centre and its functions, then the


1 My earlier work Karma and the Rebirth of Consciousness (Munshiram Manoharlal, Delhi, 2006) lays the background for this basic question.



chakras below the diaphragm. This is necessary to lay the foundation for the topics that will be the subject of the later volumes of this treatise concerning the nature of meditation, the construction of maṇḍalas, and the yoga of the Bardo Thödol. The focus then shifts to investigate where the idea of

a self sustaining I-concept or `Soul-form’ may be found in Buddhist philosophy, given the denial of substantial self-existence prioritised in the philosophy of Emptiness. Following this, the pertinent chapters of the Ratnagotravibhāga Śastra are examined in detail so that a proper conclusion to the investigation can be obtained via the buddhadharma. This concerns an analysis of how the ālayavijñāna is organised, such that the rebirth process is

possible for each human consciousness stream, taking into account the karma that will eventually make each human unit a Buddha. In relation to this the ontological nature of the tathāgatagarbha (the Buddha-Womb) must be carefully analysed, as well as the organising principle of consciousness represented by the chakras. I thus establish that there is a form that appears upon the domain of the abstract Mind. I call this the Sambhogakāya Flower. The final two

chapters of this volume principally define its characteristics. The second subsection, Cellular Consciousness is divided into two parts. Volume four deals with the question of what exactly constitutes a `cell’ metaphysically. The cell is viewed as a unit of consciousness that interrelates with other cells to form maṇḍalas of expression. Each such cell can be considered a form of `self’ that has a limited, though valid, body of expression. It is born, sustains a

form of activity, and consequently dies when it outlives its usefulness. This mode of analysis is extended to include the myriad forms manifest in the world of phenomena known as saṃsāra including the existence and functioning of chakras. Volume five deals with the formative forces and evolutionary processes governing the prime cells (that is, maṇḍalas of expression), and the phenomenon that governs an entire world-sphere of evolutionary attainment.

This is explored via an in-depth exposition of the Bardo Thödol and its 42 Peaceful and 58 Wrathful Deities. The text also incorporates a detailed exposition concerning the transformation of saṃskāras (consciousness-attributes developed through all past forms of activity) into enlightenment. The entire path of liberation enacted by a yogin via the principles of meditation, forms of concentration,


Maṇḍalas: Their Nature and Development

and related techniques (tapas, dhāraṇīs) is explained. In doing so, the soteriological purpose of the various wrathful and theriomorphic deities is revealed. This volume is published in two parts. Part A explores chapter 5 of the Bardo Thödol concerning the transfomation of saṃskāras via meditating

upon the Peaceful and Wrathful Deities. This necessitates sound knowledge of the force centres (chakras) and the way their powers (siddhis) awaken. Part B deals with the gain of such transformations and the consequence of conversion of the attributes of the empirical mind into the liberated abstract Mind. The third subsection, The Way to Shambhala, is also in two parts. They present an eclectic revelation of esoteric information integrating the main Eastern and

Western religions. Volume six is a treatise on meditation and the Initiation process.2 The meditation practice is directed towards the needs of individuals living within the context of our modern societies. Volume six also includes a discussion of the path of Initiation as the means of gaining liberation from saṃsāra. The teaching in Volume five concerning the conversion of saṃskāras is supplementary to this path. The path of Initiation is the way to Shambhala. As many will choose to consciously undergo the precepts needed to undertake Initiation in the future, this invokes the necessity of providing much more revelatory information concerning this kingdom than has been provided hitherto. How Shambhala is organised is the subject of volume seven, which details the constitution of the Hierarchy of enlightened being3 (the Council of Bodhisattvas). It illustrates how the presiding Lords who govern planetary

evolution manifest. This detailed philosophy rests on the foundation of the information provided in all of the previous volumes, and necessitates a proper comprehension of the nature of the five Dhyāni Buddhas. To do so the awakening of the meditation-Mind, which is the objective of A Treatise on Mind, is essential.


2 The word Initiation is capitalised throughout the series of books to add emphasis to the fact that it is the process that makes one divine, liberated. It is the expression of divinity manifesting upon the planetary and cosmic landscape. 3 The word `being’ here is not pluralised because though this Hierarchy is constituted of a multiplicity of beings, together they represent one `Being’, one integral awakened Entity.


How to engage with this text

In this investigation many new ways of viewing conventional Buddhist arguments and rhetoric shall be pursued to develop the pure logic of the reader’s mind, and to awaken revelations from their abstract Mind. New insights into the far-reaching light of the dharma will be revealed, which will form a basis

for the illustration of an esoteric view that supersedes the bounds of conventionally accepted views. Readers should therefore analyse all arguments for themselves to discern the validity of what is presented. Such enquiry allows one to ascertain for oneself, what is logical and truthful, thus overcoming the blind acceptance of a certain dogma or line of reasoning that is otherwise universally accepted as correct. Only that which is discovered within each

inquiring mind should be accepted. The remainder should however not be automatically discarded, but rather kept aside for later analysis when more data is available—unless the logic is obviously flawed, in which case it should be abandoned. There is no claim to infallibility in the information and arguments presented in this treatise, however, they are designed to offer scope for further meditation and enquiry by the earnest reader. If errors are found through

impeccable logic, then the dialectical process may proceed. We can then accept or reject the new thesis and move forward, such that the evolution of human thought progresses, until we all stand enlightened. This treatise hopes to assist that dialectical evolution by analysing major aspects of the buddhadharma as it exists and is taught today, to try to examine where errors may lie, or where the present modes of interpretation fall short of the true intended

meaning. The aim is also to elaborate aspects of the dharma that could only be hinted at or cursorily explained by the wise ones of the past, because the basis for proper elaboration had not then been established. This analysis of buddhadharma will try to rectify some of the past inadequacies in order to explore and extend the dharma into arenas rarely investigated. There will always be obstinate and dogmatic ones that staunchly cling to established views.

This produces a reactive malaise in current Buddhist ontological and metaphysical thought. However, amongst the many practitioners of the dharma there are also those who have


Maṇḍalas: Their Nature and Development

clarified their minds sufficiently to verify truth in whatever form it is presented, and will follow it at all costs to enlightenment. The Council of Bodhisattvas heartily seek such worthy ones. The signposts or guides upon the way to enlightenment have changed through the centuries, and contemporary

practitioners of the dharma have yet to learn to clearly interpret the new directions. The guide books are now being written and many must come forth to understand and practice correctly. If full comprehension of such guide books is achieved those dharma practitioners yearning to become Bodhisattvas would rapidly become spiritually enlightened. Here is a rhyme and reason for Buddhism. The actual present dearth of enlightened beings informs us that little

that is read is properly understood. The esoteric view presented in this treatise hopes to rectify this problem, so as to create better thinkers along the Bodhisattva way. The numbers of Buddhists are growing in the world, thus Buddhism needs a true restorative flowering to rival that of the renaissance of debate and innovative thinkers of the early post-Nāgārjunian era. In order to achieve this it must synthesise the present wealth of scientific knowledge,

alongside the best of the Western world’s philosophical output. Currently the buddhadharma is presented as an external body of knowledge held by the Buddha, Rinpoches, monks and lay teachers. This encourages practitioners to hero worship these figures and to heed many unenlightened utterances from such teachers, based on a belief system that encourages people to uncritically listen to them and adopt their views. When enlightened teachers do appear and

find consolidated reasons for firing spiritual bullets for the cause of the enlightenment of humanity, then all truth can and will be known. The present lack of inwardly perceived knowledge from the fount of the dharmakāya on the part of many teachers blocks the production of an arsenal of weapons for solving the problems of suffering in the world. Few see little beyond the scope of vision in what they have been indoctrinated to believe, allowing for

only rudimentary truths to be understood. While for the great majority this suffices, it is woefully inadequate for those genuinely seeking Bodhisattvahood and enlightenment. The cost to humanity in not being given an enlightened answer as to the nature of awakening, is profound.


We must go to the awakening of the Head lotus to find the most established reasoning powers. Without the 1,000 petals of the sahasrāra padma ablaze then there is little substance for proper understanding, little ability to hold the mind steady in the dynamic field of revelation that the dharmakāya

represents. How can the unenlightened properly understand Buddhist scriptures, when there is little (revelation) coming from the Head centres of such beings? Much still needs to be taught concerning the way of awakening this lotus, and to help fill the lack is a major purpose of A Treatise on Mind. Those who intend to reach enlightenment must go beyond the narrow sectarian allegiances promoted by many strands of contemporary Buddhism. Buddhism itself

unfolded in a dialectical context with other heterodox Indian (and Chinese etc) traditions, and prospered on account of those engagements. When one sees the unfolding of enlightened wisdom in such a fashion, the particular information from specific schools of thought may be synthesised into a greater whole. Each school has various qualities and types of argument to resolve weaknesses in the opposing stream of thought. This highlights that there are particular

aspects in each that may be right or wrong, or neither wholly right or wrong. Through this process we can find better answers, or if need be, create a new lineage or religion which is expressive of a synthesis of the various schools of thought. The Buddha did not categorically reject the orthodox Indian religiophilosophical ideas of his time, nor did he simply accept them—he reformed them. He preserved the elements that he found to be true, and rejected those ‘wrong views’ which lead to moral and spiritual impairment. If the existing system needs reformation it becomes part of a Bodhisattva’s meditation. The way a reforming Buddha incarnates is dependent on how he must fit into such a system. Thus he is essentially an outsider incarnating into it to demonstrate the new type of ideas he chooses to elaborate. If there is a lot of dogmatic resistance to the presented doctrine of truth, then a new religion

is founded. If there is some acceptance then we see reformation. There is always room for improvement, to march forward closer to enlightenment’s goal, be it for an individual or for a wisdom-religion as a whole. There is a need for reform throughout the religious world today.


Maṇḍalas: Their Nature and Development

By way of a hermeneutical strategy fit for this task, we ought look no further than the Buddha himself. The Buddha proposed that all students of the dharma should make their investigations through the Four Points of Refuge. These are:


1. The doctrine is one’s point of refuge, not a person.

2. The meaning is one’s point of refuge, not the letter.

3. The sacred texts whose meaning is defined are one’s point of refuge, to those whose meaning needs definition.

4. Direct awareness is one’s point of refuge, not discursive awareness.


These four points can be summarised or rephrased as: the doctrine (dharma), true or esoteric meaning, right definition, and direct awareness are one’s point of refuge, not adherence to sectarian bias, semantics, the dialectics of non-fully enlightened commentaries, or to illogical assertions. What may be long held to be truthful, but is not, upon proper analytical dissection, needs rectifying. Also, in other cases, a doctrine or teaching may indeed be

correct, but the current interpretation leaves much to be desired, and hence should be reinterpreted from the position of a more embracive or esoteric view. Hopefully this presentation finds welcoming minds that will carefully analyse it in line with their own understandings of the issues, and as a consequence build up a better understanding of the nature of what constitutes the path to enlightenment. Their way of walking as Bodhisattvas should be enriched as a consequence.

For a guide to understanding the pronunciation of Sanskrit words, please visit our website http://universaldharma.com/resources-2/pronounce-sanskrit/ Our online esoteric glossary also provides definitions for most of the terms used in this treatise. http://universaldharma.com/resources-2/esoteric-glossary/ 4 Griffith, P.J., On Being Buddha, The Classical Doctrine of Buddhahood, (Sri Satguru Publications, New Delhi, 1995), 52.


My eyes do weep as I stare into this troubled world, For I dare not place my Heart in my brother’s keep. He would grapple that Heart with hands so rough So as to destroy the fabric of its delicate stuff. Oh to give, to give, my Heart does yearn, But humanity must its embracive, Humbling, pervasive scene yet to learn. To destroy and tear with avarice they know, But little care to sensitive rapture they show. How to give its blood is my constant fare, For that Love to bestow upon their Hearts I bemoan. But they hide their Hearts behind mental-emotional walls. No matter how one prods these walls won’t fall, So much belittling emotional self-concern prop their bastions. Oh, how my eyes do weep as I stare. I stare at their fearsome malls and halls. That lock Love out from all their abodes And do keep them trapped in realms of woe.


Oṁ Maṇi Padme Hūṁ


Guru Rinpoche as the King of Sahor

Synonyms for Mind

The fourth chapter of the Bardo Thödol provides an integral component to the teachings regarding the Peaceful and Wrathful Deities, allowing practitioners to comprehend the natural state of Mind, of which these deities are an expression. Full quotations from the relevant texts shall be provided, allowing a proper hermeneutic elucidation. The version of The Book of the Dead translated by Gyurme Dorje entitled ‘The Introduction to Awareness: Natural Liberation

through Naked Perception’1 shall be correlated when necessary with the translation from W. Y. EvansWentz’s memorial pioneering work from a section entitled: ‘Here follows the [[[yoga]]] of knowing the mind, the seeing of Reality, from “The Profound Doctrine of Self-Liberation by Meditating upon the Peaceful and Wrathful Deities”’.2 Being a yoga, the objective of the teaching is to develop the ‘naked perception’ of Mind, of which its comprehension is the first step. It should be noted that this text is part of the Nyingma tradition that is said to be originally written by Padmasambhava, and as such falls under the auspices of the Yogācāra-Mādhyamika philosophy. The text in Gyurme’s translation starts with:

1 Gyurme Dorje, Trans., The Tibetan Book of the Dead: The Great Liberation by Hearing in the Intermediate States, (Penguin Books, London, 2005), 35. 2 Evans-Wentz, W.Y. The Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation, (Oxford University Press, London, 1954), 193-240.


An Esoteric Exposition of the Bardo Thödol

Homage to the deities [[[embodying]]] the three buddha-bodies, who are the natural radiance of awareness.

[Here], I shall present the teaching [known as] The Introduction to Awareness: Natural Liberation through Naked Perception, [which is an extract] from the Peaceful and Wrathful Deities: A Profound Sacred Teaching, [entitled] Natural Liberation through [[[Wikipedia:Recognition|Recognition]] of] Enlightened Intention. Thus, shall I

introduce [to you the nature of] intrinsic awareness. So contemplate it well, O Fortunate Child of Buddha nature. SAMAYA rgya rgya rgya3 We begin with a homage to the victorious Ones that manifest via a dharmakāya, sambhogakāya and nirmāṇakāya of a Buddha. Such Ones embody the one all-pervasive Mind, which is the objective of this text to explain. In referring to the nirmāṇakāya there is a veiled reference for the serious practitioner to

seek out such a One (the incarnation of a qualified enlightened teacher) for instruction. The complete maṇḍala of Peaceful and Wrathful deities can then be revealed in consciousness. The ‘profound sacred teaching’ shall henceforth follow. The Buddha nature referred to is the tathāgatagarbha, which I have explained in terms of the Sambhogakāya Flower in volume 3 of this treatise. The implication therefore is that these teachings are principally for Initiates

who are yet to gain Buddhahood by mastering the attributes rayed down into the meditating one by this Flower. (As explained in volume 5, part A of this treatise.) The meaning of the concluding mantra is explained by Evans-Wentz: This mantra indicates that the teachings about to be given are too profound and esoteric to be taught to, or comprehended by, any save yogically purified and disciplined disciples. The reference to the disciples as being blessed, or karmically fortunate, confirms this. The treatise before us may, therefore, be regarded as appertaining to the Secret Lore of the Gurus. In the eyes of initiated Tibetans of this School, the mantra itself is equivalent to a seal of secrecy placed upon these teachings. Sometimes, in some of the esoteric manuscripts, the seal of secrecy takes the form of a carefully drawn double dorje, perhaps in colour, such as appears on the cover of this volume…The 3 Gyurme, 38.

Sanskrit Samayā of our text corresponds to the Tibetan form Tog-pa (Rtogs-pa), meaning ‘thorough perception’, ‘infallible knowledge’, ‘complete realization of Truth’. It also means ‘self-realization’, or ‘self-knowledge’. Tog-pa cannot be thoroughly comprehended without practice of yoga. The first step consists in comprehending Tog-pa intellectually; the second, in deepening or expanding this comprehension by study; the third, in meditating upon Tog-pa;

and the fourth, in fully comprehending it, such complete comprehension being equivalent to the realization of Buddhahood, or Nirvāṇa. The thrice-repeated gya (rgya) is a Tibetan expression literally translated as ‘vast’. The mantra may, therefore, be rendered as ‘Vast, vast, vast is Divine Wisdom’.4


The term samaya (Tib. dam tshig) is also a sacred commitment or pledge in Tantricism. It means literally, ‘coming together’, thus samaya pledges the coming together of the divinity with the (traditional) representative image, the sacrificial offering embodying the divinity, or with the yogin or faithful

worshipper one-pointedly focussed upon him. We begin with the section entitled ‘The Importance of the Introduction to Awareness’. The associated text is:


EMAHO!


1. Though the single [[[nature]] of] mind, which completely pervades both cyclic existence and nirvāṇa, Has been naturally present from the beginning, you have not recognised it.

2. Even though its radiance and awareness have never been interrupted, You have not yet encountered its true face.

3. Even though it arises unimpededly in every facet [of existence], You have not as yet recognised [this single nature of mind].

4. In order that this [single] nature might be recognised by you, The Conquerors of the three times have taught an inconceivably [vast number of practices], Including the eighty-four thousand aspects of the [[[sacred]]] teachings.

4 Evans-Wentz, footnote, 202-203.


An Esoteric Exposition of the Bardo Thödol

5. Yet, [despite this diversity], not even one of these [teachings] has been given by the Conquerors, Outside the context of an understanding of this nature! 6. [And even] though there are inestimable volumes of sacred writings, equally vast as the limits of space, Actually, [these teachings can be succinctly expressed in] a few words, which are the introduction to awareness. 7. Here [is] the direct [face to face] introduction To the enlightened intention of the Conquerors. 8. Here is the method for entering [into actual reality], [In this very moment], without reference to past or future [events].5


These general introductory statements concerning the single nature of Mind have a direct reference to the eight arms of the cross of direction in space. They present an overview of the mode of deliverance of this teaching of Mind via these directions, presenting the past, present and future methods as

outlined below. We start with the mantra e-ma-ho, which Evans-Wentz states is an ‘interjection, commonly occurring in the religious literature of Tibet, expressive of compassion for all living creatures. In this context, it is to be regarded as being the guru’s invocation addressed to the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas in super-human realms that They may telepathically bestow upon the disciples Their divine grace and guidance’.6 All serious well-endowed

practitioners receive such ear-whispered instructions to guide them esoterically upon the meditation path to liberation. 1. The northeast direction is that of ‘unity’. It integrates the incoming factors which are to play a role in the maṇḍalic expression. In this case it is the dharmakāyic Mind that pervades all of space, incorporating the śūnyatā-saṃsāra integration. The first phrase also refers to the beginning of things, thus of the establishment of

universal karma, as was explained in volume 4, chapter 3 of this series (‘Examination of Chaos and the Void’). We are told that this Mind has always existed, it only needs to be recognised.


5 Gyurme, 38-39.

I have added the numbers to facilitate explanation. 6 Evans-Wentz, 203, footnote 5.


2. The eastern direction refers to the way inwards to the Heart of life. It therefore refers to when the Heart centre is established and that which can be considered the life’s blood of the maṇḍala can circulate. Such would normally be interpreted in terms of the prāṇas that produce liberation. Here they

signify the natural emanation of this Mind, viewed in terms of its luminosity or radiance and lucid awareness as expressed throughout the maṇḍala. The reference to the ‘true face’ is not just a figure of speech, but literally refers to the seven facial orifices: two eyes, two ears, two nostrils and a mouth. They signify the septenaric nature of the conveyance of Mind into manifestation. This is signified also by the cycles of seven days of the Bardo Thödol, the seven main chakras, and the seven planes of perception. Quite an extensive philosophy could be elaborated here if one wished. 3. Next we have the southeast direction of ‘expression’, where the needed characteristics are seeded into the matrix of the maṇḍala (saṃsāra). It thus arises ‘unimpededly in every facet [of existence]’. The entire gamut of evolutionary development of mind and its eventual conversion into Mind must now be accomplished

(associated with the rest of the arms of this cross) so that this single nature of Mind can be recognised. 4. The direction that now confronts us is south, wherein the deepest immersion into saṃsāra is manifest. We thus have the sum of the interrelations that incarnation brings. Here is found the activity of the Buddhas of ‘the three times’, of the past (Dīpaṅkara), present (Gautama) and future (Maitreya). They are the conquerors of saṃsāra, the Buddhas that come to educate us all with the symbolic ‘eighty-four thousand’ doctrines, thereby guiding us away from bondage. When analysing a large number such as eighty-four thousand, the zeros simply imply a vast proportion, literally that which awakens the 1,000 petalled lotus. The real implication is veiled in the number 84 = 7 x 12. Here (again) we have the septenaries of life implied, ordered according to the way the twelve petals of the Heart centre (with their zodiacal implications) unfold. These seven Ray attributes are multiplied by the way of activity of the


An Esoteric Exposition of the Bardo Thödol

Heart centre, so that inevitably the twelve major petals of the Head centre are awakened. Literally this is the ‘Door of the Dharma’.7 Within this unfoldment is veiled the development of the sum of the saṃskāras and attributes of mind; and the way they are transformed into enlightenment-attributes. 5.

We now move to the southwest arm of this cross, entitled ‘understanding’. This relates to what is gained through experiencing saṃsāra. The text simply informs us that no matter what these Buddhas have taught, all such teachings are within the context of the transformation of the attributes developed by mind into those of Mind. The understanding then concerns what constitutes the naturalness of Mind. 6. In the western direction the understanding gained is utilised in the outward field of service that is humanity. This has produced many volumes of sacred writings generated by wise philosophers and the enlightened. Effectively these teachings fill all directions of space. Nevertheless the esoteric doctrine, though existentially vast can be simplified in a few symbols, or mantric utterances. Literally it needs but a few words to explain the essence of what is implicated. This vast output of wisdom, and its distilled essence, is but the introductory background to the revelations attainable through knowing the Mind. 7. We proceed to the crux of the matter in the final two statements. The northwest direction constitutes the outward expression of the emanatory will-of-love (bodhicitta), projecting thereby the gain of the entire evolutionary procession. This allows the liberated ones to meet ‘face to face’ with the Buddhas. Esoterically this statement refers to

attaining the same level or dimension of perception where the Jinas can be found. From Eye to Eye can information now be directly transmitted. No veils (of substance or ignorance) exist between the victors. The luminous expression of all seven chakras ablaze speak volumes to them. Enlightened purpose can then be projected to where needed. 8. The northern direction of upwards to the Divine refers to the


complete attainment of the dharmakāyic Mind, and the lucid pristine awareness of its Clear Light. One then resides in the eternal Now, with no need to revert to past habits or to anxiously anticipate the future. All is comprehended in one timeless flash of Revelation.


We now proceed to ‘The Actual Introduction to Awareness’. This section shall only be dealt with cursorily because it mainly concerns the differences between various philosophical systems. These differences have been provided by many authors to which I could add but little of a substantive nature. The first part of this section according to Gyurme:


KYE HO! O fortunate children, listen to these words! The term ‘mind’ is commonplace and widely used, Yet there are those who do not understand [its meaning], Those who falsely understand it, those who partially understand it, And those who have not quite understood its genuine reality, Thus there has arisen an inconceivably vast number of assertions [as to the nature of mind], Posited by [the various] philosophical systems. Further, since ordinary persons do not understand [the meaning of the term ‘mind’], And do not intuitively recognise its nature, They continue to roam through the six classes of sentient [[[rebirth]]] within the three world-systems, And consequently experience suffering. This is the fault of not understanding this intrinsic nature of mind.8


The section begins with the mantra kye ho, which is simply an invocation exhorting one to be attentive. ‘Fortunate children’ are the disciples, students of the great Ones, who consequently have auspicious karma, thus are fortunate indeed to be in a position to learn these teachings. They are yet at the beginning of their path to liberation, hence ‘children’. The remaining statements are clear enough for ordinary intellects to comprehend. There are two groups of five statements. They relate to the nature and progress of the five Jina wisdoms in each group. One


list is for the philosophers developing a critical analysis of mind/Mind. The second list concerns the development of mind in ordinary people. Paraphrasing therefore, the first list is: a. Those who are plainly ignorant. b. Those who speculate falsely, hence making ignorant assertions, because of the vicissitudes of the desire-mind utilised. Because they come from an emotional bias they do not understand the nature of the mind. c. Those who have

partially comprehended the nature of mind, as theirs is a fundamentally intellectual approach. However the subtleties of the dual nature of mind/Mind eludes them d. Those who ‘have not quite understood its genuine reality’. They have awakened meditative abilities, and gained certain keen insights through the yoga methods of the various Buddhist schools of thought, but are not yet fully awakened. e. The consequence of all the above is that there are a vast number of philosophical systems and texts that abound via which various avenues of truth can be found.


With respect to ordinary people we have: a. It is taken for granted that the average person is ignorant of the nature of mind. b. The next step concerns the intelligentsia, who are strongly intellectual but have not yet developed the intuition to listen to the voice of the Heart, which can speak in a timeless flash of revelation. c. Consequently they need to continuously incarnate until such ability is developed. d. This produces the educative process of suffering that saṃsāra provides. Inevitably comprehension of the Four Noble Truths is developed that necessitates following the Eightfold Path. e. They

can then gain comprehension of the intrinsic nature of Mind and become liberated from suffering. The ‘six classes of sentient beings’ that seek rebirth are the denizens of the Six Realms. (Gods, asuras, humans, animals, pretas, and those


suffering in the hell states.) They are all aspects of human consciousness undergoing experiences in various Bardo realms. ‘The three world systems’ are viewed in terms of the attributes of consciousness. They refer to the world governed by desire (kāmadhātu), which produces all of the urges and karma causing one to perpetually seek rebirth in the Six Realms. Next is the world of form (rūpadhātu), which refers to the concreted thought-forms generated by

the empirical mind. Finally we have the formless realms (arūpadhātu) associated with the subplanes of the higher Mind. The next section deals with the differences between the various yoga systems of attainment in Buddhism. 1. Even though pious attendants and hermit buddhas claim that they understand [this single nature of mind] as the partial absence of self, They do not understand it exactly as it is. 2. Furthermore, being fettered by opinions held in accordance with their respective literatures and philosophical systems, There are those who do not perceive the inner radiance [directly]: 3. The pious

attendants and hermit buddhas are obscured [in this respect] by their attachment to the subject-object dichotomy. 4. The adherents of Madhyamaka are obscured by their attachment to the extremes of the two truths. 5. The practitioners of Kriyātantra and Yogatantra are obscured by their attachment to the extremes of ritual service and attainment. 6. The practitioners of Mahāyoga and Anuyoga are obscured by their attachment to [the extremes of] space and

awareness. 7. All these [practitioners] stray from the point because they polarise the non-dual reality, 8. And since they fail to unify [these extremes] in non-duality, they do not attain buddhahood. 9. Thus, all of those beings continue to roam in cyclic existence, 10. Because they persistently engage in [[[forms]] of] renunciation, 11. And in acts of rejection and acceptance with regard to their own minds, 12. Where [in reality] cyclic existence and nirvāṇa are inseparable.9


I shall not explain here the attributes of the various schools of Buddhist thought and yoga traditions. Nor shall I further elucidate the associated shortcomings of the various forms of yoga. Gyurme’s footnotes to them provide adequate background and point the reader to the texts wherein the arguments

are supplied. Dudjom Rinpoche provides an excellent analysis.10 One should note that there are twelve main statements, which I have numbered, each dealing with a topic. This implies the general turning of the wheel of the Heart centre of the buddhadharma from its foundations in the pious attendants of the Buddha to the development of the subtle teachings of the supreme Ati yoga. Also implied is the development of the three types of enlightenment via the

process of the evolution of these schools of thought. Concerning Ati yoga, which is by deduction the doctrine espoused in the Bardo Thödol,11 Dudjom Rinpoche states:


As to the verbal definition of Atiyoga: [The Sanskrit] ati [Tib. shin-tu] means utmost, and also conveys the sense of supreme, best, perfect, climax and quintessence. [The Sanskrit] yoga [Tib. rnal-‘byor] means union. Since it is the culmination of all yogas, it is the utmost or highest yoga, and since it

is the nucleus of all aspects of the perfection stage, there is nothing else to be reached higher than Atiyoga. It is qualified by the word “great” [Tib. chen-po] because through it the reality unborn like the sky, which is most profound and difficult to analyse, is directly revealed12…with reference to the ultimate truth, objects of ideas, scrutiny and inference are utterly contradictory because it is a quiescence of conceptual elaboration, and an absence of symbolic doctrines. It does not abide in the path of verbalisation and conventions and it is not felt to pursue the imagination. For these reasons, if the

occasions when meditative absorption in this pristine cognition or abiding mode of reality occurs are not recognised to be this same absorption in the spiritual and philosophical goal [of Atiyoga], which is effortless with respect to fundamental reality, then all that is studied 10 See Gyurme, 409. Dudjom Rinpoche in The Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism, 295-7, quotes from the Tantra of the All-Accomplishing King, in his explanation of the differences between these schools of thought. 11 I have modernised the concepts of Ati yoga in this series under the rubric of the Dharmakāya Way. 12 Dudjom Rinpoche, The Nyingma School of Tibetan Buddhism, 312.


pertaining to ideas and scrutiny becomes verbal chaff; thought and understanding become waves of conceptualisation; meditation becomes apprehension of that; and experience the appraisal of it. It becomes extremely difficult even to approach the profound meaning of the abiding nature no matter how correctly it seems to arise in the face of the intellect13…in the general path of the Great Perfection, all conceptual elaborations become quiescent in

the intrinsic expanse through meditative equipoise, without wavering from this disposition in which the presence of fundamental reality, the abiding nature without bondage or liberation is established. Other than that, nothing is contrived save that one abides constantly and naturally in the disposition of the supreme transcendence of intellect, which is free from all activities. All the suddenly arisen stains which appear through expressive power just become naturally pure, naturally clear and naturally liberated, without renunciation or antidote being applied, in the unchanging space of intrinsic awareness,

the primal emptiness, in the manner of water and waves. Other than that, “meditation” and “meditative equipoise” are the labels conventionally applied to simple absorption in the intrinsic nature, just as it naturally occurs, without looking elsewhere, without purposefully meditating, without being fixed on one [point], without intellectualising, without conceptualising, without apprehending faults, without external clarifications and without internal attainment. Therefore the essence is emptiness, in that it is without thought or expression; signlessness, in that it is without conceptualisation; and

aspirationlessness, in that it is without acceptance, rejection, hope or doubt. The three spheres naturally abide therein in an utterly pure character because there is no objective reference to the three times.14

This long quote has been provided because it elucidates the meaning of the natural state of Mind and its intrinsic awareness found in the text of the Bardo Thödol. The ‘three spheres’ of the quote refer to kāmadhātu, rūpadhātu, and arūpadhātu (the desire, form, and formless realms). With conception of the fundamentals of the Great Perfection (rDzogs-Chen) in one’s mind we can proceed with the further analysis of the text.


The remaining portion of this section:

Therefore, one should abandon all constructed teachings, And all [unnatural] states free from activity, And, by virtue of this [Introduction to] Awareness: Natural Liberation through Naked Perception, which is presented here, One should realise all things in the context of this great natural liberation. So it is that all [[[enlightened]] attributes] are brought to completion within the Great Perfection. SAMAYA rgya rgya rgya15


These five statements hint at the attributes of the five Dhyāni Buddhas that summarise the qualities of Ati yoga. First we have Amoghasiddhi’s All-accomplishing wisdom, which is developed by abandoning ‘all constructed teachings’. The hint here is that these teachings are representative of the above mentioned philosophies and yogas, leaving one to solely focus upon developing the Great Perfection (Ati yoga). Along this line is found the expression of

Ratnasambhava’s Equalising wisdom, wherein all unnatural states (desire-mind saṃskāras) are to be ‘freed from activity’. Evans-Wentz’s rendering here is: ‘Therefore, practising the Dharma, freed from every attachment, grasp the whole essence of these teachings expounded in this Yoga of Self-Liberation by Knowing the Mind in its Real Nature’.16 The desire-emotions that produce attachments to phenomena must be mastered and completely stilled to generate the harmonising qualities that equalise all attributes of mind into one universal flux of Mind. We come now to the development of the discriminative abilities of the mind, and of the process of its transformation, so that the ‘naked perception’ of the one Mind can be gained. Amitābha’s Discriminative Inner wisdom thereby unfolds to produce its corresponding enlightenment. The attributes of Akṣobhya’s Mirror-like wisdom follow in the development of ‘this great natural liberation’. Here Mind is reflected into mind via the śūnyatā mirror.


Finally we have the Great Perfection wherein everything is ‘brought to completion’ in Vairocana’s Dharmadhātu wisdom. The entire process and vastness (rgya) of this ocean of virtuous Mind is then sealed by the Tantric pledge to master the demonstration of this wisdom, thus the use of the mantra samaya rgya rgya rgya. The analysis proper starts with the section entitled ‘Synonyms for Mind’. The text begins:

As for this apparent and distinct [[[phenomenon]]] which is called ‘mind’: In terms of existence, it has no [[[inherent]]] existence whatsoever. In terms of origination, it is the source of the diverse joys and sorrows of cyclic existence and nirvāṇa, In terms of [[[philosophical]]] opinion, it is subject to

opinions in accordance with the eleven vehicles, In terms of designation, it has an inconceivable number of distinct names: Some call it ‘the nature of mind’, the ‘nature of mind itself’, Some eternalists give it the nameself’, Pious attendants call it ‘selflessness of the individual’,17 Cittamātrins call it ‘mind’, Some call it the ‘Perfection of Discriminative Awareness’, Some call it the ‘Nucleus of the Sugata’, Some call it the ‘Great Seal’, Some call it the ‘Unique Seminal point’, Some call it the ‘Expanse of Reality’, Some call it the ‘Ground-of-all’, And some call it ‘ordinary [unfabricated consciousness]’18


The structure of this entire passage must be analysed to derive proper meaning. First there is the opening passage plus four sentences that start with the phrase ‘In terms of’. This is of significance because the five phrases refer to the originating sources of all that can be considered Mind in Nature, namely the five Dhyāni Buddhas. The first statement presented is ‘As for this apparent and distinct [[[phenomenon]]] which is called “mind”’. Evans-Wentz provides here ‘That which is commonly called mind is of intuitive Wisdom. (Literally “quick knowing”, prajña.)’19 As this analysis concerns the sum total 17 Evans-Wentz calls it ‘The Essentiality of Doctrines’, 209. 18 Gyurme, 41. 19 Evans-Wentz, The Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation, 208.


of the phenomena called ‘mind’, our focus is upon the emanational quality (wisdom) of the Jina that embodies this totality. This is ‘the One Mind that embraces the whole of Sangsāra and Nirvāṇa’,20 namely Vairocana (and the Dharmadhātu Wisdom) who sits at the centre of the maṇḍala of the Jinas. Those who can emulate Vairocana therefore, also come to embody this ‘quick knowing’ (thus instantaneous) prajña. The term prajña (Tib. shes rab) means enlightened

knowledge, analytical wisdom, and discriminative awareness. This wisdom is an expression of the universal Mind (ālayavijñāna). A liberated one, who resides in the dharmadhātu, utilises this wisdom to organise the ālayavijñāna via which those ensnared in saṃsāra can be awakened. The second statement presented is: ‘In terms of existence, it has no [[[inherent]]] existence whatsoever’. This perspective is from the eastern direction of the maṇḍala of the Dhyāni Buddhas, where we find Akṣobhya’s Mirror-like Wisdom. Existence and non-existence are thereby reflections that mirror each other. The meditative insight gained by comprehending the true nature of phenomena derives from the mind everything considered ‘existence’ by those ensnared by the whiles of saṃsāra. Because everything in saṃsāra is transient, fleeting, therefore things have no inherent existence or lasting permanence that such an existence would

convey. From this statement then would be derived the doctrine of the two Truths, which was analysed in the chapter on the two Truths in volume 1 of this Treatise on Mind. There is the relative truth concerning the nature of phenomena, and also the absolute truth of the ultimate reality of śūnyatā. Here the focus is upon the absolute truth, gained through meditative insight by the Mind’s Eye resting in the Void that is the Heart’s embrace. The egoistic pursuit

of mindful endeavours is extinguished in the Void that is the Truth of all that is and is not. All permutations of mind have no existence here. This is the goal of the generalised Buddhist meditation system. Next we have the phrase ‘In terms of origination’, referring thus to the northern direction of Amoghasiddhi’s All-Accomplishing Wisdom. Here (in dharmakāya) we have ‘the source of the diverse joys and sorrows of cyclic existence and nirvāṇa’, of all things associated with Mind and of its relation to mind. All of the related cycles, of the zodiac, karma, and 20 See Evans-Wentz, The Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation, 203.


of cosmic journeying, are mastered by means of the methodology of Amoghasiddhi’s Wisdom. The term ‘origination’ refers to the philosophy of Dependent Origination (pratītyasamutpāda); the establishment of the twelve-fold cycle of interdependence stemming from ignorance. Saṃsāra and śūnyatā are integrated

by means of the expression of this Wisdom in terms of the nexus that incorporates both. The two truths are straddled by means of a third truth of relativity; that all things persist relative to something else. Even śūnyatā is relative with respect to dharmakāya and saṃsāra. Saṃsāra is an important part of this triad, and must persist so that enlightenment can evolve. The resultant saṃsāra-śūnyatā nexus is the bridge between phenomena and the

universality of the dharmakāya. The phrase ‘In terms of [[[philosophic]]] opinion, it is subject to opinions in accordance with the eleven vehicles’ relates to the Discriminating Inner Vision of Amitābha, and the western direction of outwards of service to humanity. The doctrines (opinions) of these ‘eleven vehicles’ include soteriological considerations, the methods of service for these Buddhist Schools. Their basic philosophic context (‘discriminations’) are

explained in volume 1 of this treatise, and involves the entire development of the corpus of Buddhism from the time of the Buddha to the present epoch. Specifically a deep analysis of the nature of mind and its relation to śūnyatā is emphasised, via the development of meditation techniques that allow one to overcome the factors of suffering. Liberation can thereby be gained from saṃsāra. Amitābha’s Inner Vision involves a lucid methodical enquiry into the

full spectrum of mind and its transformation into Mind. In the Mahāyāna stream the concourse of this development involved mainly the distinction between the Mādhyamika and the Yogācāra doctrines. The phrase ‘In terms of designation, it has an inconceivable number of distinct names’ refers to the southern direction, of people’s immersion in saṃsāra, to their proclivity to mentally name things they designate as ‘real’. Thus there are all the categorisations

of mind, which must become refined and integrated into unity by means of aspiration to the unifying attributes of Mind. This is effected by means of Ratnasambhava’s Equalising Wisdom. The text now observes the three categories or classes of philosophers,


the Schools of reasoning, (nyāya, rigs pa) that were historically concerned with analysing the attributes of mind. The term ‘Eternalists’ refers to the various Brahmaṇical philosophers. Evans-Wentz uses the term ‘heretics’ here.21 They have a concept of eternal ‘self’ or Soul (ātman). Though errors may exist, the analysis of each school have something positive to contribute to the philosophical debate as to the nature of mind/Mind. For example, The Yoga Sūtras of Patañjali are concerned with the control of the vicissitudes of mind, which is very similar to the Yogācāra doctrines. In such a list one could also add the atheistic concepts of materialistic thinkers. The phrase ‘Pious attendants’ refers to the adherents of the Theravādin Schools. Their outcome of the analysis of mind produces the arhat’s contemplative absorption. The next phrase (‘Cittamātrins call it ‘mind’’) refers to the YogācāraCittamātrin School, who describe it as it actually is, without philosophic distortion. This is the major teaching of the Mahayāna schools, and the foundation to the

higher Tantric validation of Mind. Instead of ‘mindEvans-Wentz uses the term ‘Wisdom’22 (Tib. sems), to depict what the outcome of the evolution of mind is. He thus keeps the discourse in line with this dissertation, which is concerned with enlightenment-attributes. Including the Cittamātrin view, we then have a list of eight qualifications associated with the Buddhist viewpoint, mostly beginning with the phrase ‘Some call it’. This presentation also

involves the higher correspondences of the eight consciousnesses of the Yogācāra philosophy. They can then be placed in the correct sequence upon the arms of the eight-spoked wheel (aṣṭadiśas) of direction in space. The seven phrases containing the phrase ‘some call it’, after the reference to the Cittamātrins, can also refer to the seven Rays of Mind, whose qualities the serious student can integrate here. Also the next chapter provides further

detail, as this list is represented therein under the heading ‘Synonyms for Awareness’. 1. For the northern direction we have the Cittamātrin view of ‘the nature of mind itself’ (Tib. sems-nyid). In its totality this is the ālayavijñāna, the vast expanse and store of manasic substance, contacted and 21 Evans-Wentz, The Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation, 208. 22 Ibid., 209.


experienced as the first level of gaining enlightenment.23 It is the basis for the arhat form of absorption. 2. The ‘Perfection of Discriminative Awareness’, or what EvansWentz calls ‘The Means of Attaining the Other Shore of Wisdom’24 (prajñāpāramitā), relates to the northeast spoke of the wheel of direction in space, which has been designated ‘unity’ (of all companions in the dharma). The higher correspondence of the sense of hearing comes into play

via this direction, for what is heard is the discourse of all the Buddhas—which emanates via the unity disseminated by enlightened beings. These teachings express the compendium of all wisdom (prajñāpāramita), and become the basis for attaining the śūnyatā enlightenment. 3. The ‘Nucleus of the Sugata’ (the

tathāgatagarbha) refers to the eastern direction that produces the awakening of the innermost perceptions found at the Heart of life. The potency of this Heart is the Buddha-Mind that is seeded into the qualities of the tathāgatagarbha-Sambhogakāya Flower. How it is the foundation of Buddhahood was explained

in detail in volume 3. Here exists the subtle correspondence of the sense of taste, which elevates consciousness with the highly refined experiences of the intrinsic nature of being/non-being. This then provides the background for the Initiation process that is the foundation for eventual liberation from

saṃsāra. 4. The Great Seal is the mahāmudrā that comes as a consequence of the outward expression of one’s perceptions (the southeast direction) of the myriad experiences saṃsāra offers. Inevitably this allows integration of all forms of dualities into unities. Eventually the attributes of saṃsāra can be

fused with the Heart’s perception of Buddhahood. Here the higher correspondence of the sense of touch is implicated, allowing the expression of the sense-perceptions to contact and thus experience the natural state of Mind that is the mahāmudrā. All aspects and attributes of enlightenment can then be gained through the incremental integrations of the various little iḍā 23 Earlier explained as the ālayavijñāna enlightenment. 24 Evans-Wentz, The Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation, 209.


piṇgalā dualities in the nāḍīs. The highest interpretation concerns the great fusion between members of the deva and human kingdoms at certain stages of the path to enlightenment. The mahāmudrā is the heart of the dharmakāya enlightenment. 5. The ‘Unique Seminal point’, or as Evans-Wentz describes it ‘The

Sole Seed’25 (Thig-le, bindu), refers to the southern direction of this wheel of orientation in space, wherein the attributes of consciousness are expressed in the mind of the person. From this perspective the seminal point refers to the juncture between the Sambhogakāya Flower and the Head centre. The bījas that seed all attributes of consciousness can then flower. Another perspective relates to the anchoring of the Life-stream (sūtrātmā) in the

Heart centre, which then becomes the basis for the generation of bodhicitta. Next we have the extension of this ‘seed’ as the jewel that is the heart of any chakra. From the relation between the chakras and the external environment the saṃskāras are generated. The defiled mind (kliṣṭamanas) then manifests as a natural outcome of the fusion of mind with the normal Watery environment of the individual. This southern direction is also a turning point in

consciousness, where the Bodhisattva path awakens the need to master the Waters. A yogin emerges and consequently discovers a ‘unique seminal point’ at the juncture between the Base of Spine and Sacral centres (exoterically the tip of the penis). It allows the rising of the Fires that dry up the Waters and liberate consciousness. 6. The ‘Expanse of Reality’, or ‘The Potentiality of Truth (dharmadhātu)’,26 relates to the northwest direction of (blissful)

outward expression of the gain of one’s experiences in the realms of being/non-being, the liberation of consciousness. The dharmadhātu then becomes the mantric expression of the awakened Bodhisattva engaged in his/her chosen field of service. Inevitably it will denote the Sound of a new Jina travelling upon his newly found path in cosmos. The abstracted sense of smell, the subtlest of all perceptions, elevates mind into Mind via its highest possible state of intensity and expansiveness of perception.


7. The ‘Ground of all’ refers to the expansion of the sixth sense, the intellectual propensity of people relegated to the western direction of outwards towards human society. This propensity is the ground of all that later transpires in the field of consciousness, its many permutations and transformations as the sum of the ālayavijñāna. Here all of the ordinary Fires of mind are assimilated, integrated, directed into new enlightening arenas, and brought

eventually to a natural conclusion. It thereby is the ‘ground’ of enlightenment. 8. We are all familiar with ordinary fabricated consciousness, wherein people speak to friends and others in society without properly structuring their thoughts. All elements of desire, glamour, emotions, and egoistical

pursuits are thereby unthinkingly generated. This refers to the southwest direction of understanding in the field of application of manasic input. The sense developed and transformed is sight, which directly awakens the mind, and helps people to gauge their perspectives in life.


Attributes of Mind and the Throat centre

Having established the way that the sources of mind are directed and transformed in human consciousness, the nature of the manasic prāṇas as expressed by the various petals of the chakras and other considerations can now be analysed. This and the following chapters are a companion treatise to that previously presented on the Peaceful and Wrathful Deities. There our concern was with the processes of transformation from the normal states of emotional-mental interplay into enlightened attributes. All happens in the mind. In this present section we shall observe that all prāṇas are streams of manasic propensity, as they convey attributes of mind. These streams are processed by the various chakras that exist for this purpose. The Peaceful and Wrathful Deities are but force fields in the Clear Light of Mind. Next follows a section entitled ‘The Three Considerations’;


The following is the introduction [to the means of experiencing] this [single] nature [of mind] Through the application of three considerations: [First, recognise that] past thoughts are traceless, clear, and empty,


[Second, recognise that] future thoughts are unproduced and fresh, And [third, recognise that] the present moment abides naturally and unconstructed. When this ordinary, momentary consciousness is examined nakedly [and directly] by oneself,


1. Upon examination, it is a radiant awareness,

2. Which is free from the presence of an observer,

3. Manifestly stark and clear,

4. Completely empty and uncreated in all respects,

5. Lucid, without duality of radiance and emptiness,

6. Not permanent, for it is lacking inherent existence in all respects,

7. Not a mere nothingness, for it is radiant and clear,

8. Not a single entity, for it is clearly perceptible as a multiplicity,

9. Yet not existing inherently as a multiplicity, for it is indivisible and of a single savour.

10. This intrinsic awareness, which is not extraneously derived,

11. Is itself the genuine introduction to the abiding nature of [all] things.

12. For in this [[[intrinsic awareness]]], the three buddha-bodies are inseparable, and fully present as one:

13. Its emptiness and utter lack of inherent existence is the Buddhabody of Reality;

14. The natural resonance and radiance of this emptiness is the Buddha-body of Perfect Resource;

15. And its unimpeded arising in any form whatsoever is the Buddhabody of Emanation. 16. These three, fully present as one, are the very essence [of awareness] itself.27


These statements refer to the natural expression and unfoldment of the petals of the Throat centre (viśuddha chakra). This is the prime organ responsible for the conveyance of manasic prāṇas. All saṃskāras concerning mental propensity are thus controlled and directed from here. It is a sixteen-petalled lotus, with four major petals (conveying the prāṇas originally derived from the Base of Spine centre), plus twelve 27 Gyurme, 41-42. As usual I have added the numbers to each paragraph.

supporting petals (and twenty-four minor ones), which absorb the prāṇas from the Heart centre and from below the diaphragm coming via the twelve-petalled Splenic centre I. Because it is a direct expression of the emanation of mind, so also it is the organ of speech, esoterically therefore of mantric sound,

which demonstrates the potency of mind/Mind. With respect to recognising past thoughts as ‘traceless, clear, and empty’, Evans-Wentz’s version is ‘If one

knows how to apply in a threefold manner this knowing of the mind, all past knowledge lost to memory becomes perfectly clear, and also knowledge of the

future, thought of as unborn and unconceived’.28 This yogic method of knowing Mind allows one to know ‘how to apply in a threefold manner’ a perception of the three times in one. The past therefore is not ‘traceless’, in the sense that one cannot find pathways to memory, as clearly we can all do so. Rather,

the term ‘traceless’ refers to the fact that at this stage the associated saṃskāras have been cleansed of defilements that can leave karmic imprints traceable as future actions. In this natural state they are empty of saṃsāric affiliations. There are however future actions that will be made by the

person, which have purpose, and residing in the ālayavijñāna or dharmakāya environment ‘remain fresh’. With respect to the present one needs not to work to construct thoughts, but rather they will appear when needed and be instantaneously and appropriately utilised. The prāṇas of the three times also flow in

the form of the three major nāḍīs, where the iḍā stream technically represents the past qualities developed. The piṇgalā stream (regulating the expression of bodhicitta) then represents the present flow of conscious expression, and the suśumṇā continuously brings forth the future expression of being/non-being

of such a one (who is actually liberated from mundane considerations of time). These prāṇas then vivify the three major tiers of the chakra concerned, becoming the purifying and directing reservoir of energies for the activity of all its petals. Having understood the nature of the three times from the

perspective of Mind, we are now in a position to analyse the nature of prāṇic flow processed by the Throat centre of an accomplished one who has mastered the life process.


In the analysis of these petals I shall provide the main points without delving into excessive detail. For each major lobe of this chakra there are 7 + 3 supporting petals, related to processing the seven Ray attributes and synthesised by the three major Rays. The decade of energies is then projected by a

major petal either upwards towards the Ājñā centre, or downwards to the major centres below the diaphragm. The 7 + 3 petals can also be viewed in terms of the progress towards evolutionary perfection. When the major synthesising petal is counted and integrated with a major lobe of the Ājñā centre, then we essentially have the 7 + 5 combination of the sacred and non-sacred petals of a Heart centre. The emphasis of this combination is the development and projection of the five non-sacred prāṇas of mind. Eventually Mind is developed, which is sacred and divine. The main focus of the 7 + 3 petals can be

towards the ten petalled Solar Plexus centre to control the emotions, or upon the combined Sacral/Base of Spine centres to control desire and the lower creative forces, as well as the four Elements associated with the four petals of the Base centre. (Thus there are four main petals to each lobe of the Throat centre.) Also there are three minor petals supporting one of the twelve numbered larger petals. When integrated by one major petal this combination allows the prāṇas of any of the five sense-consciousnesses to be projected via the associated direction that consciousness is focussed upon at any time. The four main petals organise the prāṇas into the attributes of the four Elements as associated with the maṇḍala of the


five Dhyāni Buddhas, with Vairocana in the centre, Amoghasiddhi to the north, Akṣobhya to the east, Ratnasmabhava to the south and Amitābha to the west. The fifth Element is conveyed through the centre of the maṇḍala. The twelve main petals of the Throat are also affiliated to the twelve main petals of the

Heart and Head centres, and are organised according to the conditioning influences of the signs of the zodiac. The four main lobes of the Throat centre make it a prime directing or focussing agent. When viewing a north-south, east-west axis then there are eight major petals to consider, which allow the

inception of the the prāṇas of the eight consciousnesses, or to empower any of the eight petalled chakras. Altogether there are 40 petals, but when working in conjunction with the two lobes of the Ājñā centre they make a symbiotic 42 petals capable of conveying all of the prāṇas of the 42 Peaceful Deities. The

Ājñā centre is the directive Eye that projects the creative potencies of the mind/Mind in any of their combinations to empower the thoughts of the thinker. To do so the Ājñā and Throat centres must work with integrated purpose. When therefore we count the combined number of petals to the Ājñā and Throat

centres then there are 96 + 12 + 40 petals, plus we can add a virtual two petals (of the symbiotic relationship) making 150 (3 x 50) all told. They signify the complete mastery of all attributes of mind/Mind. Without the ability of the Eye to appropriately focus the mental attributes as signified by any of the

combinations of these petals dhāraṇīs and mantra would be ineffectual. Much is hinted at here for all true students of meditation, especially when correlations between groups of petals are analysed. The meditative analysis of the natural state of Mind (the Clear Light) follows the pattern of the

progression of the signs of the zodiac, which therefore condition this enquiry. Accordingly, these sixteen statements are found to be in the correct order for zodiacal analysis (as numbered in the figure) when applied to the maṇḍala of the Throat centre. At this stage of our analysis the Wrathful Deities are

no longer a concern as all saṃskāras have been converted to their enlightened attributes. However, each of the sixteen statements hint at the processes that have produced enlightenment. Though the description is presented in terms of fixed orientations one must note that the wheels of petals turn, allowing the prāṇas of each of the petals associated with the zodiac to integrate with any of the four major petals. The statements presented are:


1. Upon examination, it is a radiant awareness. One starts with the process of self-examination to comprehend what the true state of mind is by utilising one’s own mind-structure to do so. Having found only radiant awareness the fundamental nature or the natural state of the Mind implies that the analyser is enlightened. He/she has already transmuted the base saṃskāras of mind into the Clear Light. The beginning of procuring such enlightenment always


necessitates travelling inwards to the Heart of life (the eastern direction). This direction implicates the Arian petal, the start of the wheel of the inner twelve-petalled lotus of the Throat centre. It signifies the initial abstracted mental beginnings (upon the enlightenment-path).29 Aries provides the instigating impetus to direct the entire course of this enquiry through to conclusion. Here the radiant awareness of the abstract Mind is awakened and utilised to observe and develop all of the other characteristics. The deep inner workings of the mind can then be comprehended from foundational attributes

(first principles), and by extending the process of mental formations to enlightenment. This eastern petal of the Throat centre therefore clarifies all

manasic prāṇas. It strips bare the multifarious saṃskāras from complexities, leaving only the radiant lucidity of the Mind. The overall expression of the attributes of an enlightened Mind is specifically incorporated through processing and transmuting the iḍā nāḍī stream of the entire life process. Consciousness then resides at the nexus between saṃsāra and śūnyatā. This petal of the Throat centre therefore conveys the attributes of the prāṇas remaining after being purified from their defilements. These attributes (radiant awareness) also set the tone for the remainder of the petals.


29 The basic meanings of the signs of the zodiac with respect to the petals of the Heart lotus were explained in volume 3 of this treatise, to which the reader must refer for detail. It is necessary to understand the properties of these signs if one wishes a sound comprehension of the nature of any twelve-petalled lotus, upon which the inner twelve petals of the Throat centre are based. The astrology utilised is that found in A.A. Bailey’s Esoteric Astrology, (Lucis Press, London, 1968.)


2. Which is free from the presence of an observer. The purpose of examining the nature of mind is to try to determine who or what is actually observing it. The next (Taurean) petal of the lotus rules the home environment, the evolution of the principle of desire focussed around the central concept of an ‘I’ or doer. It clothes the thought-form of whatever is to be. Therefore upon the upward way it eliminates the comforting conscious environment of the thought of

a ‘self’, an ‘I’ that is the actual observer. Wisdom is consequently wrought and the All-seeing Eye awakened. The central ego is found to be a thought construct conveniently expressed for any particular life around which thoughts can be attached allowing a personal-I to manifest.30 However the reality is that there is a continuous series of such ‘personal-I’s’ manifesting throughout time as each personality life comes and goes. Even within the context of

one life there can be a series of personality shifts, signifying a new personal-I being constructed. (This is generally the effect of saṃskāras called forth from a past life when a similar happening occurs in the present life. They then pass through consciousness after being modified by the new life’s considerations.) What is considered an ‘I’ is continuously ‘coming and going’, changing with each passing thought. It is a chimera of mind, attachment to which is therefore resolved properly via the expression of this second petal of the Throat centre.


3. Manifestly stark and clear. Once the established concept of the ‘I’ as a construct of the mind is eliminated, the centre of one’s existence then remains as ‘manifestly stark and clear’. This ‘remainder’ thereby becomes the temple of Mind within which one continuously resides. These are the mysteries of which one is Initiated into as one travels through the wheel of the twelve petals of the Throat centre. The role of such a temple of Initiation into the mysteries of being/non-being is the function of the third petal to produce, as governed by Gemini the twins. Consequently it is the first of the triad supporting the downwards focussed major petal, from whence upwards aspirarional prāṇas proceed to the Heart centre. 30 The ability to vision the happenings of various past lives is a function of the Taurean petal, as it controls the opening of the Eye of vision.


Esoterically this temple represents the entire nāḍī system, where the two pillars standing at its portals signify the iḍā and piṇgalā nāḍīs. The ‘twins’, symbolise the empirical mind (the mortal brother) and the abstract Mind (the immortal brother), who have learnt to join hands and together administer at the inner sanctum of the temple (suśumṇā). Its outer court is the expression of the normal sense-consciousness. All of the associated saṃskāras have to be

purified and consecrated to enlightenment’s quest before the individual can gain access to that which is revealed by Mind. Ritualistic oblations, devotion to concepts of deity, and finally yogic austerities, are all practiced in this temple before the natural state of Mind is revealed. Awareness then manifests ‘stark and clear’ within the rarefied energy field of the suśumṇā nāḍī that can flow unimpeded and vitalise the central jewel of each chakra.


4. Completely empty and uncreated in all respects. The Cancerian petal concerns the process of the incarnation of all thought constructs. It is the place of massed emotional consciousness, as it is the prime Watery sign of the zodiac. Emotions are the main karma-producing propensities of individuals because they produce all forms of attachments to phenomena. By now however all attributes of such thoughts have been thoroughly cleansed of defilements through the


yogic process that has completely dried up the Waters with the Fiery Element. Once properly processed all kāma-manasic saṃskāras (emotional defilements) cannot form thus are ‘uncreated in all aspects’. As the empirical mind no longer creates new karmic propensities, all that remains are enlightenment-attributes that are the natural state of Mind. Whatever manasic formations may manifest are energy patterns spontaneously forming and dissolving again in

the Mind. Instead of karma-forming volitions (incarnations of thought) being created the processes that set one (and all others) free from attachment to saṃsāra manifest. Consequently emptiness awakens and the clear luminosity of the Void is experienced as the natural foundation of Mind. Thus upon the material domain, the sphere of destiny, that which produces liberation, not enthrallment manifests.


5. Lucid, without duality of radiance and emptiness. In this Leonine petal the nexus between saṃsāra and śūnyatā is found, wherein these two natural expressions of Mind are unified as one non dual expression. Leo the lion is the sign of the self-conscious individual, where the lion contentedly basks in the sunshine of its prowess. The sun represents the radiance of Mind in its complete glory. The transmuted correspondence of this ‘self-ness’ is here instigated in terms of the product that is the integration of all extremes. Residing here the enlightened Mind

produces oneness, the lucid unity of all refined thoughts into One expressed maṇḍala. In this saṃsāra-śūnyatā bridge the Mind rests in its own natural state. It can however manifest the radiant aura of wisdom when needed, or else be abstracted into śūnyatā, if deep meditation is necessary.


Not permanent, for it is lacking inherent existence in all respects

Here the designations of mind that analyse and control all attributes of saṃsāra, of natural phenomena (conventionally viewed as ‘existences’) are established. These existences are embodied and governed by the feminine, deva kingdom, as consistent with the symbolism of Virgo the virgin. Virgo governs the entire material domain embodied by Nature (saṃsāra). All forms therein are organised


by mind, but the vicissitudes of mind are impermanent. There is no inherent existence found there.31 To find such an existence one must control all attributes of mind and to strip from them the transience to reveal the real, which manifests a natural radiant luminosity. Such radiance is the essence of

Mind, which in itself veils the Void. Śūnyatā exists inherently, but is not an ‘existence’. It mirrors the Real that is the dharmakāya, which manifests as the Mind when saṃsāra is to be contacted. That which is inherently existing is the dharmakāya reflected into Mind via śūnyatā. The saṃskāras utilised by Mind to process phenomena are not permanent, they lack inherent existence, nevertheless they do have a relative permanency, according to the length of duration the ‘thing’ persists. This sixth petal of the Throat centre thus regulates the projection of the cittavṛtti (modifications of mind) producing the actions

31 This statement refers to the rhetoric concerning the nature of the two Truths. The philosophy concerning the existence of the feminine deva kingdom could be analysed in terms of the concept of ‘existence’ (Life), but to do so one needs to incorporate consideration of the dharmakāya as Mind and the relation between Buddhas and their Consorts, as explained in part A of this volume.


whereby one must interrelate with phenomena. The dual aspects of mind must here be considered. The mental vicissitudes are impermanent, illusory, however Mind is a natural extension of the dharmakāya at the śūnyatā-saṃsāra nexus. From this perspective Mind is real, but when relegated to saṃsāra the product lacks inherent existence.


7. Not a mere nothingness, for it is radiant and clear. We now proceed to the judgement of all attributes of the great Wheel of Life (Libra the balances), the disseminator of the law (the dharma). The way the Mind works to express dharma is not a ‘mere nothingness’, its articulation is ‘radiant and clear’, no matter which direction the petals of the wheel manifest. This produces the absorption of the prāṇas from the Heart centre via the inner twelve petals of

the Throat centre. Only this absorption can produce the Clear Light of the Mind. Thus is the nature of wisdom born of right contemplation. (Being the judge, the mediator between extremes, Libra governs the art of meditation.) The focus therefore of the dual aspect of mind of this verse is upon the Mind, whereas that of the previous statement was upon the mind. Libra arbitrates between the two, thus is able to discern between that which is ‘not a mere nothingness’ and that which is manifest.


8. Not a single entity, for it is clearly perceptible as a multiplicity. Next we have the Scorpionic petal, which concerns the sum of testings preceding Initiation. The focus is upon transforming the major emotional-mental saṃskāras into their enlightened attributes. The process of transformation produces all major battlefields upon the path, as effected by the work of the Wrathful Deities. This is the major sign that governs the general gist of such


activity. Dhāraṇīs, every thought, mantras, verbal instructions to be given during this process of transformation of saṃskāras are ‘not a single entity’, but must be ‘clearly perceptible’ in the minds of the receptive audience. This betokens the effects of the wisdom needing expression to assist the

unenlightened to gain liberation. Words must be used to assist them cross the bridge to ‘the other shore’ and they are ‘clearly a multiplicity’. Taking all factors into account this particular petal of the Throat centre generally possesses residual karma needing further refinement, as it is the main petal directing prāṇic transformation. Such karma


manifests to instruct those still learning to convert saṃskāras. The development of correct enlightened speech (the effect of right organisation of mind, so that it emulates Mind) is the keynote here.


9. Yet not existing inherently as a multiplicity, for it is indivisible and of a single savour. The Sagittarian petal of the archer fires the arrows of single-minded purpose outwards towards its target: enlightenment, the liberation of others, the development of the Bodhisattva bhūmis. All thoughts and attributes in the Mind of an enlightened one are parts of a maṇḍala of unified purpose. Enlightening all sentient beings is its goal. The way of thinking

of the entire Council of Bodhisattvas is implied here. This Council, consisting of all enlightened beings, can be considered to exist ‘inherently as a multiplicity’, however their collective Mind ‘is indivisible and of a single savour’. To become enlightened therefore means to become an integrated part of the maṇḍala of the hierarchy of enlightened ones. The Sagittarian petal fires the arrows of mind thereto, to play its role as part of the collective meditation to benefit the all. The disciple in this sign and petal of the Throat centre must therefore onepointedly focus all thoughts towards the

singularly minded purpose of enlightenment. Thus is developed the weaponry to defeat the multiplicity of foes seen specifically in the previous sign. In this petal the battle against unruly saṃskāras is won, and the gain directed to its right goal. 10. This intrinsic awareness, which is not extraneously derived. The Capricornian petal (of the goat) governs the sum of the attributes of mind/Mind. Having mastered all previous tests to the summit of achievement, as symbolised by this sign, one’s goal-fitted purpose has been achieved, thus this is the

sign wherein Initiation finally takes place. This goal-fittedness is symbolised by the sure-footed goat climbing up the ragged crags of the mountain of mind to its summit. The Mind of the liberated one rightly organises all of the properties of the maṇḍala of activity derived from aeons of experiential observation and deduction from both saṃsāra and what śūnyatā veils. Once stripped of defilements the leftover is the awareness that is ‘intrinsic’, because when fused with love and wisdom it manifests as the bodhicitta that cannot be taught to one (‘extraneously derived’) but must be experienced. Bodhicitta is


completed maṇḍala of liberating power and is no longer an extraneous revelation, but comes from within. Nor is it interpolated into a person by a deity. The ‘intrinsic awareness’, the collective wisdom of what is contained in the Head lotus or of the entire Council of Bodhisattvas, is then completely known.


11. Is itself the genuine introduction to the abiding nature of [all] things. Aquarius the water bearer, who pours out the Waters of Life to rightly succour all beings, governs the next petal. In this case the ‘Waters’ are analogous to the Airy or Aetheric Fires of the enlightened Mind. (An awakened consciousness-stream.) All things are sustained by Fire and directed by it’s energy. Therefore the outpouring of wisdom from this petal presents ‘the


genuine introduction to the abiding nature of [all] things’. Aquarius governs the way of the Bodhisattva path, of the outpouring from the various stages of such a development by an individual. Once the maṇḍala of the collective Mind of the Hierarchy of enlightened being has been awakened in the meditating one then the ‘nature of all things’ is abided in. This relates to the various views of Bodhisattvas meditating via their respective Ray lines and how it is all incorporated into one unified meditation. The goal is to enlighten everyone, to reveal their inherent Buddha-nature. Divinity abides in all beings because

it is the original emanation of the primordial Ray from the Ādi Buddha at the beginning of things, via his Consort. That which abides is symbolised by the two wavy lines of the glyph of this sign, denoting mutable streams of energy.


12. For in this [[[intrinsic awareness]]], the three buddha-bodies are inseparable, and fully present as one. We come to the end of the wheel of Mind (in Pisces the fishes), thus to the nature of the abstraction into dharmakāya. Pisces terminates each cycle of activity in the Waters of saṃsāra, wherein the

bonded fishes of the tathāgatagarbha (the sambhogakāya aspect) yoked to the personal-I (the nirmaṇakāya) swim. (The next sign, Aries the ram, begins the renewal process of a fresh maṇḍala of activity.) We therefore have one integral line of revelation from the dharmakāya to the Head lotus of the yogin. All lines (petals) of integration have been awakened and


the complete maṇḍala spins in fourth dimensional motion to produce the svabhāvikakāya of fully awakened naked radiance of Mind. Here at the ending of the cycles of life the intrinsic awareness obtained is the primordial Mind of all the Buddhas, the svabhāvikakāya, the self-born body (the controversial ‘fourth body of a Buddha’32). It is that self-existing fundamental expression from which all that is/is not emanated and is sustained by. The ineffable nature and organisation of the Mind that is cosmos is then experienced. The focussed liberating purpose from the highest revelatory source is directed via the Clear Light through this petal of the Throat centre (signifying the unity of all the petals taken together) to the enthralled lives in saṃsāra. The purpose is to abstract all into the true fount or source of the intrinsic awareness known as dharmakāya. To do so the bonds of their links to saṃsāra must be broken.


The four major petals of the Throat centre

The four major petals of this chakra can be viewed to express attributes of the Buddha-body projected to the four directions of space. Effectively they embody the functions and attributes of the Dhyāni Buddhas, viewed also as a manifest vajra, the adamantinediamond sceptre’ wielded by the conquerors of the prāṇas of Mind in all of its permutations. With respect to prāṇic circulation, the four major petals of the Throat centre allow receptivity to

kuṇḍalinī from the Base of Spine centre. The twelve subsidiary petals can then experience all Fires capable of being expressed by the wheel of Life (the zodiac). The Throat centre thus becomes the organ of regulation of concreted as well as liberated Fires in their totality. Undue concretion, especially of the kāma-manasic saṃskāras, contributes to the many sicknesses associated with the Throat centre.33 When the Waters are brought to the Throat it produces the powers of the orator that can sway the (emotional) masses. It can

32 Svabhāvikakāya (Tib. ngo bo nyid sku): nature body, body of absolute existence. The underlying indivisible essence of the three kāyas, (nirmaṇakāya, sambhogakāya, and dharmakāya) the active and passive distinction of dharmakāya. Svabhāvikakāya can be considered the ocean of cosmic Mind to which the liberated one goes once earth ties have been severed. 33 Coughs, flus, speech impediments, thyroid problems.





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