1 Tantric Grounds and Paths 3 Khenrinpoche Oct 25 **For Highest Yoga Tantra Initiates Only Please cultivate the proper motivation that at this time I ve achieved the precious human rebirth, something that is difficult to find and once found is extremely valuable. Having achieved the precious human rebirth, I should strive to attain enlightenment for the sake of all sentient beings and for that purpose I shall receive the Mahayana teachings. The last class, we covered the explanation of the generation stage, the coarse and subtle generation stages and the criteria of having achieved stability in both stages. When one is practising the generation stage, by meditating on the different deities such Yamantaka, it is difficult for one to have a clear vision of the entire mandala and deities within. The whole process of clear visualisation is something we need to build up stage by stage. When we visualise the deity, first try to have the vision of the general appearance of the body. Once the image of the deity appears clearly, you can expand the visualisation to the hand implements held by the deity. Once the visualisation of the deity s body with implements is complete, you can then meditate on the celestial mansion and the mandala and so on. When we do the meditation, the whole appearance is at the level of mental perceptions ( as opposed seeing with the bare eye). The purpose of the practice of tantra is to overcome ordinary appearance and ordinary perceptions/clinging. The way by which we overcome these two objects of negation is by cultivating divine appearance and divine perceptions. Thus in the meditations, we put effort into thinking that everything we perceive through our visualisations are pure and not something ordinary e g. the body of the deity that one is visualising is not composed of mere flesh and bones but visualised as a rainbow body, which appears yet lacks inherent existence. One should visualise the deity as the Wisdom body. Likewise, the mandala should be seen as the wisdom of the deity, which shouldn t be seen as made up of ordinary material but is a reflection of the deity s own pure wisdom. If we are visualising oneself as Yamantaka, the deity that appears in you must be seen as the actual Yamantaka, without any doubt about whether one is Yamantaka or not. When one does the meditations, one should visualise from one s heart, infinite light rays going out to countless environments and inhabitants there. Due to this, they are all cleansed and become pure in nature and they slowly dissolve into light. The light is then withdrawn back into oneself, the practitioner. The light then dissolves into the blue syllable HUM at our heart, starting with the squiggle at the bottom of the syllable HUM. It dissolves from bottom of the syllable upwards until everything is purified into the state of emptiness. This is the meditation where one takes death as a path to actualise the Wisdom Body of the Buddha/Dharmakaya. One tries to visualise the process of death involving the dissolution of the 4 elements and the stages of consciousness up to the stage when one experiences the clear light of death, which is then transformed into the clear light of mind which is then used to realise emptiness = the absence of inherent existence. The appearance of the emptiness is then taken as the state of actual Dharmakaya.
2 Having reached that state, where one has arisen in the form of the Dharmakaya /Truth Body (without form), one has to altruistically think that if I remain in this state, I won t be able to benefit many beings, thus I need to arise in a form (perceptible to beings). Accordingly, one then arises from the Dharmakaya through visualising the dissolution process in reverseorder, from the clear light, to black near-attainment, red appearance, white apperance and so on. How does one arise in the form body? As stated above, the dissolution process is reversed from the subtle mind to the more gross levels of mind up to the 4 elements also in reverse order (wind into fire, fire into water and so on). From emptiness, comes the squiggle, up to the formation of the full syllable HUM at one s heart. From the blue syllable HUM at one s heart, infinite light rays radiate out and these invoke the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas of the 10 Directions, and the rays are withdrawn back into the syllable HUM, which then transforms into Manjushri. At this point, one should think that this is the resultant sambogakaya (Enjoyment Body) that I am going to achieve. In this way, one purifies the ordinary intermediate state and one should think I have totally overcome all negativities and obscurations and at the same time one has implanted a strong imprint to achieve the resultant sambogakaya, plus the imprints for the practice and achievement of the pure illusory body. In this way, one arises as the Enjoyment Body/sambogakaya. Again, one thinks that if I remain in this form, I won t be able to benefit sentient beings much and thus altruistically think that I must appear in the form of the nirmanakaya [Emanation Body that can be perceived by sentient beings such as the form of Shakyamuni Buddha], in order to benefit sentient beings. During the above sambogakaya meditation, one visualises in one s heart, a youthful Manjushri above a sun disc. When progressing to the nirmanakaya meditation, one then visualises youthful Manjushri dissolving into the sun disc, from which arises the blue syllable HUM and from that, infinite light rays radiate out to the 10 directions and gathers all the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas in the aspect of Manjushri and draws them back into the syllable HUM, which transforms into a dark blue vajra, radiant and brilliant with 9 spokes and in the middle of that is a blue syllable HUM. From this blue syllable HUM, infinite light rays go out to 10 directions to every part of the universe and whatever the light rays touch (environment and sentient beings), they are transformed into the state of Yamantaka. The light rays gather back into the blue syllable HUM. As the light rays dissolve back into the HUM, it transforms into Yamantaka, complete with 9 faces, 16 arms, 34 legs etc. This stage is called the resultant emanation body of the nirmanakaya. What has been explained so far is the way to do the (3-kayas) meditation which one carries out with regard to ordinary death, intermediate state and rebirth and transform them into the 3 bodies of the Buddha. The deities one is visualising on may be different but the 3-kayas meditation is similar. In this way one practices to stop or cease ordinary death, intermediate state and rebirth by transform them into the resultant state of the Dharmakaya, sambogakaya and nirmanakaya. If one does this meditation regularly, it will without any doubt leave a strong imprint in one s mind that will result in one being able to achieve the resultant bodies in the future. How does one transfer from the generation stage to the completion stage?
3 When one develops within one s mindstream, the spontaneous great bliss as a result of the winds entering, abiding and dissolving in the central channel, one has progressed from the generation stage to the completion stage. In this meditation, it involves meditating on the different channels (72,000 channels) with the main ones being the central channel, the left and right channels. The place where the central channel is located is described as being close to the spinal chord and it starts from the point between one s eyebrows, arches over the top of the head and follows the spinal chord till the end of the spinal chord. It is said that the left and right channels start at the same area (brow level) and arch over the crown till the end of the spine. However, in the meditation, one visualises the right channel starting from the right nostril, arching over the crown and downwards; and similarly with the left channel starting from the left nostril and so on. Within the 3 channels, there are channel knots (chakras) at the crown, throat, heart, navel, secret organ. Because these channel knots constrict the central channel, the inner winds cannot flow within the central channel. In our ordinary state, all the inner winds flow within the right and left channels only and they are in the nature of the winds of attachment, anger and ordinary conceptual thought. This is why we experience afflictions within us. If we are able to direct the winds to flow through the central channel, then the flowing of winds in the left and right channels will cease, which in turn will stop anger, attachment and conceptual afflicted thoughts from arising. One will be able to achieve this through the power of meditation and direct the inner winds to flow through the heart channel-knot within the central channel, which gives rise to a spontaneous bliss that is inseparable from bliss and emptiness. The completion stage is explained under 5 headings definitions, divisions, etymological explanation, the mode of transferring from the lower level to the higher level and the mode of actualising the result. Definition: The completion state is a yoga in the mindstream of a trainee which has arisen from the winds entering, abiding and dissolving in the central channel by meditation. It is said that in the previous generation stage, there are times when the winds can enter into the central channel but the entry of wind in that stage is not due to meditation but penetrate the vital points (chakras) of the body. There is the analysis being made whether the completion stage within the mind of the trainee is due to the wind entering, abiding and dissolving into the central channel? If we look at the definition of the completion stage (which refers to the mindstream of a trainee), it implies that there is no completion stage in the mindstream of a Buddha. In the generation stage a practitioner with sharp faculties will be able to experience realisations induced by winds entering, abiding and dissolving into the central action by relying on the seal 2 types - wisdom seal (consort) and action seal. Completion yoga is also called the unimputed stage, genuine yoga or yoga of the second stage. Genuine yoga for the yoga to be a genuine one, a clear appearance of the deities is not sufficient; there needs to be the state where the winds are directed to enter, abide and dissolve into the central channel through the power of meditation. Generally, before one can achieve the completion stage, one needs to have completed the generation stage. However, a practitioner who has reached the 10 th ground through following the Perfection Vehicle/3
4 lower tantras, when they enter HYT, they do not have to go through the generation stage practices and can move into the completion stage. Divisions of the completion stage: The completion stage is divided into 6 levels to be practiced Isolated Body, Isolated Speech, Isolated Mind, Illusory Body, Clear Light and the State of Union. In terms of how the levels of the completion stage are divided, different masters may group the levels differently but in terms of the principles, there is no difference at all. The etymological explanation of the completion stage: It is so called the completion state because it is a stage which doesn t depend on conceptual imputation. One meditates on the channels, winds and drops and penetrate the vital points of the body such as the channelknots (chakras). For e.g. one should visualise the different channels-knots and especially at the navel. One focuses on the navel where there is a small drop, the size of a mustard seed and within that drop, one visualises the syllable HUM which then transforms into Yamantaka. That Yamantaka at its navel has a HUM and light rays from there go out to all the universes and dissolve back into the syllable HUM and if one does this visualisation repeatedly, one will eventually be able to untie the channel knot at the heart. If one s mind is completely focused on the object (here the navel), the winds will gather at that spot and absorb there. Due to meditating repeatedly in this way, all the different channel-knots will start to loosen, making the central channel open, allowing the winds to flow through it un-hindered. At this time, one can then reflect on the 4 joys (as explained in the previous class). The mode of transference from a lower level to a higher level i.e. the practices in relation to the 6 divisions earlier mentioned above: It begins with the Isolated Body. The Isolated Body of the completion stage is a yoga such that while in meditative equipoise, one meditates on the wisdom of bliss and emptiness arising from the winds dissolving into the central channel. Waking up from that, all objects appear sealed with bliss and emptiness and arise in the aspect of the deities. How one achieves the isolated body, is through meditating on gradual dissolutions of the elements and all the way to the clear light mind and then meditating on that same process in reverse-order, where one arises from the clear light stage to the isolated body stage. It is said that the Isolated Body seals /isolates the body from ordinary appearance and grasping. From Isolated Body, one progresses onto achieving Isolated Speech. It is called isolated speech because it is a yoga which isolates the most subtle wind, the source of speech and combines it with mantra. This is done by relying on the vajra recitation (OM AH HUM) for the manifestation of the winds entering, abiding and emerging to naturally resonate alongside the 3 syllables OM AH HUM. With each exhalation resonates with the HUM; each inhalation resonates with OM and when winds abide within, it resonates with AH. This meditation renders exhalation, inhalation and abiding within as inseparable with the 3 syllables. Through this, the channel knots above and below the heart are loosened. When the yogi is able to develop this inseparability of breathing and the 3 syllables, he has attains isolated speech. The vajra recitation mantra is very beneficial in daily life. For example, when your mind is not happy or are feeling unwell, one can do the breathing meditating on the in-breath resonating
5 with OM, abiding breath as AH and exhalation as HUM. This will bring great benefit to oneself. Through relying on the vajra recitation (OM AH HUM) uniting with the 3 activities of breath inseparably, the channel knots above and below the heart are loosened and due to that, the wind can pass through the heart channel-knot and dissolves into the indestructible drop at the heart, which then produces the wisdom of appearance. At this point, one has progressed from the isolated speech to isolated mind. The mode of transference from isolated speech to isolated mind is done by relying upon an internal condition of the vajra (OM AH HUM) recitation of the pervasive wind and an external condition of Vitality and Exertion of a wisdom consort (visualised), whereby the channelknots at the heart (6x 3 at the top and 3 at the bottom) are completely untied. Due to this, a part of the pervasive wind along with the primary and secondary winds dissolves into the indestructible drop at the heart (where the extremely subtle mind abides) which produces the wisdom of appearance. When that happens, one is transferred from isolated speech to isolated mind. Q & A Q: Isolated body we visualise the drop at the navel and the Yamantaka the size of mustard seed is it Yamantaka with consort or in solitary form; and is the meditator in full form or in form of Yamantaka with two hands. Ans: Can visualise Yamantaka in either form. If one is meditating on the solitary form, then there is no consort; if visualising Yamantaka of the 13 deities, then visualise that with consort. All meditations are on the basis of the meditator as Yamantaka. Q: How long should we hold the breath during inhalation, exhalation and abiding meditation and if one gets loong (wind inbalance), how does one unlock this? Ans: The length of time to hold breath with the vajra recitation depends on the individual. It is quite alright to hold it/visualise for a short period to experience bliss for a while and move onto the next joy. While one is doing all these visualisations, one should also take into account how one s wind energy is going, to avoid loong. Q: The left and right channels are sometimes depicted differently sometimes the channels are described as being hooked into the central channel at the navel chakra; sometimes described as hooked into the chakra at the secret place. Ans: I feel there is no difference where one visualises the left and right channels hook as being hooked into whether at navel or secret place. The visualisation is done for the purpose of firstly cleansing all impurities of the channels (from left to right and so on) and when the passage of the channels are cleared, the left and right channels are visualised as
6 going inside the central channel and due to that, the wind flows in the central channel and likewise clears impurities and blockages in the central channel. Q: When one progresses from the Isolated Body to the Isolated Speech stage, reference is made to the channel-knots above and below the heart being loosed. Is this referring to all the chakras in the body being loosened. Ans: Channel-knots above and below refers to those at heart level (there are 6 of them 3 at the top and 3 at the bottom). Q: Should we complete the Yamantaka sadhana first before practising on the drops and is it better to do meditations in the morning or the evening. Ans: One should begin the meditation session by first going through meditation on Lam Rim, then do the Yamantaka sadhana. Upon arising as Yamantaka, one can then visualise the drops as per the sadhana. In terms of the time, dawn time is the best time to do meditation and gain realisations of the completion state, due to the nature of the elements. And when one attains enlightenment, it will also occur at dawn time. Q: What about Mother Tantra practices? Is there an ideal time. Ans: Whether Father tantra or Mother tantra practices, dawn time is best. Q: When one has successfully meditated on death process and the 3 bodies, and chakras are untied, does it mean that one has cheated death and death is under your control? Ans: If the meditation on the generation stage and realisation is a genuine one, yes, one will gain control over death. One can be said to have gained all the realisations if one fulfils the various criteria stated in the text. Q: If during retreat, practitioner experiences bliss for 1 month, not due to penetrating the vital points through meditation but this feeling of bliss just happens. Does this bliss confer added advantage to the practitioner to gain realisations? Ans: It is possible due to one s strong devotion to one s Masterto experience special joy in the Master s presence. However, as it is not due to meditation, it will not last long. Generally speaking, developing that kind of joy is not necessarily that beneficial to penetrating the central channel. In order for the winds to enter, abide and dissolve, one first has to do the meditations on the generation stage; when one has done all the pre requisite meditations, that will bring about the penetration of the winds into the channels.
7 Generally, one can meditate on the joy at being with Master as being the union of bliss and emptiness.