The 8th International Conference Buddhism & Australia
Chinese Buddhist Encyclopedia Illustrations
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Subtle Body System of energy (prana) channels and focal points within the human organism around which PRANA circulates.
A subtle body is one of a series of psycho-spiritual constituents of living beings, according to various esoteric, occult, and mystical teachings.
Each subtle body corresponds to a subtle plane of existence, in a hierarchy or great chain of being that culminates in the physical form.
==Chakras, energy vortexes, meridians and more....==
==The Philosophy of the subtle body.==
"the most sacred body" (wujud al-aqdas) and "supracelestial body" (jism asli haqiqi) in Sufism, "the diamond body" in Taoism and Vajrayana, "the light body" or "rainbow body" in Tibetan Buddhism, "the body of bliss" (anandamaya kosha*) in Kriya Yoga, and "the immortal body" (soma athanaton) in Hermeticism.
The various attributes of the subtle body are frequently described in terms of often obscure symbolism:
Tantra features references to the sun and moon as well as various Indian rivers and deities, while Taoist alchemy speaks of cauldrons and cinnabar fields.
Clairvoyants sometimes say that they can see the subtle bodies as an aura.
The practice of astral projection, as described in various literature, is supposed to involve the separation of the subtle body from the physical.
The theosophical movement was important in spreading such ideas throughout the West in the late 19th century. The existence of subtle bodies is unconfirmed by the mainstream scientific community.
- anandamaya kosha, one of the 5 koshas or "sheaths", which according to Vedanta (Hindu mystical philosophy), exist around our body much like Russian nesting dolls.
These sheaths are a largely considered through practices within the age-old system of Ayurveda or "Life-wisdom", which is catching on quickly in our present Western world.
"the light body" or "rainbow body" in Tibetan Buddhism, "the body of bliss" in Kriya Yoga, and "the immortal body" (soma athanaton) in Hermeticism.
The various attributes of the subtle body are frequently described in terms of often obscure symbolism: Tantra features references to the sun and moon as well as various Indian rivers and deities, while Taoist alchemy speaks of cauldrons and cinnabar fields.
The Yogic, Tantric and other systems of India, the Buddhist psychology of Tibet,
as well as Chinese (Taoist alchemy) and Japanese (Shingon) esoterism are examples of doctrines that describe a subtle physiology having a number of focal points (chakras,
acupuncture points) connected by a series of channels (nadis, Acupuncture meridians) that convey life-force (prana, vayu, ch'i, ki, lung).
These invisible channels and points are understood to determine the characteristics of the visible physical form.
By understanding and mastering the subtlest levels of reality one gains mastery over the physical realm.
Through practice of various breathing and visualisation exercises one is able to manipulate and direct the flow of vital force, to achieve superhuman (e.g. in martial arts) or miraculous powers ("siddhis") and attain higher states of consciousness, immortality, or liberation.
The subtle body (Sukshma sarira)] or Sukshma sharira) in Vedantic philosophy is composed of three Kosas or "sheaths" (Pranamaya, Manomaya and Vignanamaya kosas are related to Subtle body,
Annamaya is related to ]]Gross body)], Anandamaya is related to Causal body).
The subtle body is the vehicle of consciousness with which one passes from life to life.
The Liṅga Śarīra is the vehicle of consciousness in later Samkhya, Vedanta, and Yoga, and is propelled by past-life tendencies, or bhavas.
Linga can be translated as "characteristic mark" or "impermanence" and the term Sarira (Vedanta) as "form" or "mold".
Karana or "instrument" is a synonymous term.
In the Classical Samkhya system of Isvarakrsna (ca. 4th century CE), the Lińga is the characteristic mark of the transmigrating entity.
It consists of twenty-five tattvas from eternal consciousness down to the five organs of sense, five of activity (buddindriya or
jñānendriya, and karmendriya respectively) and the five subtle elements that are the objects of sense (tanmatras).
The Samkhyakarika says:
"The subtle body (linga), previously arisen, unconfined, constant, inclusive of the great one (mahat) etc , through the subtle elements, not having enjoyment, transmigrates, (because of) being endowed with bhavas ("conditions" or "dispositions")
As a picture (does) not (exist) without a support, or as a shadow (does) not (exist) without a post and so forth; so too the instrument (linga or karana) does not exist without that which is specific (i.e. a subtle body)."
The idea was adopted by Vedanta and Yoga philosophy, and from there, in the 19th century, the terminology was adopted by the Theosophy of Madame Blavatsky.
==Subtility-The State Of Being Subtile To Will.==
H. P. Blavatsky's Theosophical teaching represented the convergence of 19th century Western occultism, Eastern philosophy, religion, science, and mysticism.
The Secret Doctrine, and The Key to Theosophy combined the Vedantic concept of five koshas with Western esoteric traditions (particularly Neoplatonism).
She refers to three subtle bodies:
Linga Sharira - the Double or Astral body
Mayavi-rupa - the "Illusion-body."
Causal Body - the vehicle of the higher Mind.
The Linga Sharira is the invisible double of the human body, elsewhere referred to as the etheric body, doppelgänger or bioplasmic body and serves as a model or matrix of the physical body, which conforms to the shape, appearance and condition of his "double". The linga sarira can be separated or projected a limited distance from the body.
The mayavi-rupa is dual in its functions, being: "...the vehicle both of thought and of the animal passions and desires, drawing at one and the same time from the lowest terrestrial manas (mind) and Kama, the element of desire."
The higher part of this body, containing the spiritual elements gathered during life, merges after death entirely into the causal body; while the lower part, containing the animal elements, forms the Kama-rupa, the source of "spooks" or apparitions of the dead.
They also redefined some terms.
The Human Spirit aspect has emanated from itself the desire body to be transmuted into the Emotional Soul; the Life Spirit aspect has emanated from itself the vital body to be transmuted into the Intellectual Soul;
The common person only contains the lunar vehicles of emotion (astral body), thought (mental body), and will (causal body), concentrations of the collective animalistic intelligence, the evolution of the Essence through the mineral, plant and animal kingdoms.
An interesting variant on the concept of subtle bodies is found in both Alchemical Taoism and the "Fourth Way" teachings of Gurdjieff and Ouspensky, where it is said that one can create a subtle body, and hence achieve post-mortem immortality, through spiritual or yogic exercises.
The work of the Body of Light was part of English author and occultist Aleister Crowley's system of magick, saying in his Magick (Book 4) that it must be developed by rigid discipline, including rituals and the "assumption of god-forms", as well as by practice and experience.
One passes through the veil of the exterior world (which, as in Yoga, but in another sense, becomes "unreal" by comparison as one passes beyond) one creates a subtle body (instrument is a better term) called the body of Light;