The Teachings of Padmasambhava – Part 2 of 5

Presented to the members of the Buddha Center on Saturday, November 24, 2018.

CHAPTER 1

A THREEFOLD COSMOS

[39]Padmasambhava’s unique visionary world is divided into three planes, which may also be conceptualized as worlds, realms, or dimensions. The planes of reality incorporate many different images, ideas, and contexts. The top plane is divine. The middle plane is an “in between” (bardo) human world. The bottom plane is demonic. Padmasambhava’s world has no creator God or demiurge. Padmsambhava’s world is, moreover, psychological and experiential, ranging from the instinctual or demonic (what we would call today the unconscious) to the ethereal or divine (superconscious?). It is the reflexive self-expression or self-presentation of the psyche. Elemental female psychic forces or spirits (dakini), psychic images, symbols, or archetypes, transmit Padmasambhava’s account of this lived experience to the reader. One may compare them with Jung’s anima concept, the feminine unconscious of the male, which is peculiarly sensitive to the archetypes.

The Top Plane

[40]The top plane of this threefold world is transcendent and dynamic. Padmasambhava refers to the “vortex-like swirling immensity of the sky.” The quotation describes a mental state that is intensely kinetic and intensive (vortical) and extensive (spatial). The vortex is of the sky; therefore, space is inherently dynamic. Space is utterly pure and translucent to the experiencer and is a symbol. Space is brilliant, radiant, superconscious, and ecstatic. The vortex is the energy of the totality within and out of which arise the semantic distinctions of thoughts and meanings. Thus, arise the errors of mistaken identifications and misplaced concretizations that is the story of our existential being. This is what is meant by the title, “The Purity-Translucency of the Vortex-like swirling immensity of the Sky.” This phrase further implies a pre-existing forestructure, architecture, or infrastructure that underlies and patterns our organic experiencing, which is therefore universal. Thus, the universe is inherently prolific but essentially ignorant.

The top plane becomes structural, territorial, visual, etc. This is symbolized as a vast palace. Jung recognizes the symbol of the palace, castle, mansion, etc. as an archetype of the psyche and especially of the unconscious. The vastness of the palace is likened to non-local consciousness, manifested in some specific locality, subject to karma. Nevertheless, the palace is a symbol of the primordial nature of the experiencer; male and female archetypes coexist in a continually blissful union (yabyum). The male archetype is “He Whose Crown Jewel Is Firmly Planted on His Head.” The female archetype is called the “Sovereign Mistress of the Phenomenal World.” These images are both psychological and ontological.

The crown jewel is the precious jewel of dharma. It is “firmly planted” on the head. This is the site of the “energy centre of bliss supreme,” the sahasrara-chakra located at the “crown” of the head. This bliss or ecstasy is the natural superconscious state of mind. It is symbolically identified with the light of the sun (“thousand-spoked”). Guenther also sees the Gnostic idea of the Father in the male archetype. He is perfectly stable and a myriarch (an ancient Greek commander of ten thousand men). He identifies him ultimately with the Gnostic demiurge.

The female archetype is the principle of impermanence, the realization of which is emancipation. In a phrase eerily reminiscent of quantum physics, Padmasambhava describes the samsaric world of phenomenality as “that which lights up and is interpreted probabilistically.” This refers to the energetic network of possibilities that manifest as patterns of consciousness, meaning, and thought in and through samsara. If reality is probabilistic, it is characterized by meaningful patterns continually changing and shifting including the act of observation that gives meaning to experience. This is prajna (wisdom). It is non-rational (or “irrational” in Jung’s terminology). It includes morality. Wisdom is not something that can be manipulated or which seeks to manipulate. It is out of that sphere altogether. Padmasambhava symbolically refers to meanings as the children of the female archetype. The corollary of wisdom is upaya (praxis). This is identified with the male archetype. The intensive non-duality of wisdom and praxis means that any change in the energy of one affects the energy of the other in like measure. This non-dual binary is most effectively represented by eros. Padmasambhava focuses on the inner or psychological dimension of sexual union, which he identifies with “empowering energy.”

[45]The essence of this union is the dakini. She is a female psychic force that expresses the interaction of the polarities and the transformation that triggers the free flow of energy, symbolized as two mixed streams of red and white nectar. This description recalls the Twin Miracle (Yamaka-pātihāriya). This is attested in the Pali Vinaya and the Dhammapada; the Buddha emits fire and water in the four directions, while his body emanates six colours of light. As in Dzogchen, it is considered the paradigmatic Buddhist miracle. It is comparable in its own way to the Transfiguration of Christ. However, there is no need to take it literally in order to understand its meaning. Only the Buddha can perform this miracle. The Twin Miracle expresses the inner or secret meaning of the attainment of Buddhahood. It is clearly related to the binary and the quaternary. It is also associated in the canon with the teaching of the Abhidhamma and the realization of dharma.

Guenther implicitly acknowledges that these symbols correspond to the male and female energies. Their union is the amrita or soma, the divine draft of immortality. Red is the colour of instinct, white of spirit. Together they produce a divine child that is both physical and spiritual, and by uniting them transcends the binary. This structure is also found in Hebrew Cabala, where it is called the Tetragrammaton.  However, this is another talk. The divine child as the synthesis of the binary gives meaning and value to “suchness,” being-in-itself. Duality is resolved in unity, which is intrinsically dynamic and energetic. The spiritual and the instinctual polarities express themselves through language, symbolism, or speech, centred on the throat (vishuddhi or throat chakra).

[49]This dialectic is resolved in the proto-spiritual dimension of the heart, whence it manifests as compassion (maitriya). Similarly, we associate feelings with the heart. Throat and heart, speech and spirituality, articulate man’s pre-egological being in the context of the sense of our bodily being in the world. The body is the crown jewel of the head (in the Tibetan Buddhist tradition, the body is associated with the head and the mind with the heart). This body is not the ordinary body, but a body of light, ecstatic, charismatic, enlightened, and full of infinite potentials.  Paul refers to the glorious body (1 Cor. 15:35-58). Thus, we have body, speech, and mind, called the Three Vajras (diamond-thunderbolts), corresponding to the three functional or dynamic aspects of the divine person. They are also translated as the Three Secrets, Mysteries, Seats, Doors, or Gateways. As doors or gateways, they clearly signify the way or path by which Buddhahood or Tathagatahood is attained.

[50]The the top plane, as space, symbolizes the mind in its pure intensity as “thinking’s thinking.” It neither originates nor ceases. It is the energy of the arising of thoughts and meanings as a vortex or a whirlpool. Thus, it is extensive, but only as a function of its intensity, just as the moon is a function of the sun. The physical and spiritual forces, experienced as a downpour of purifying nectar, are transformed into existential and psychological energy, just as the churning of the ocean of samsara by the devas and asuras generates the amrita, the divine draft of immortality, in Indian mythology.

[51]Thus, Padmasambhava has the Dakini say in The Splendour of the Sun and the Moon (Nyi-zla ‘od-‘bar):

The radiant light of the moon purifies the mental darkness of ignorance;
The radiant light of the sun increases wisdom.

[52]Guenther identifies the sun with praxis and the moon with wisdom. The unity of wisdom and praxis is the Clear Light of Buddha nature. In a remarkable prophecy of Einstein’s theory of space-time, in which physical objects are  curvatures (and thus vortices) in space, Padmasambhava describes the sun and the moon as the “quintessence of the sky … in its field-like dimension [Buddha field].” Since they are the essential dynamic energies of this dimension, they illuminate the entire universe. The phrase I have rendered as “mental darkness of ignorance” (ma-rig gti-‘ug) includes emotional implications and implies intellectual and spiritual blindness.

The Middle Plane

The human world is called the “in-between plane.” Just as on the top plane there are no gods as commonly understood, so there are no humans (as commonly understood) on the human plane. The next part is spoken by the male Mahaguru and a Wisdom Dakini whose name means “The Mother who Reveals the Wisdom of Space” (ye-shes-kyi mkha’-‘gro-ma). [54]Like the top plane, the in-between plane is an imaginal energetic world with extensive existential implications. A palace is hidden deep within this plane as a symbol of the exquisite mystery of life. It replicates the citadel of the top plane in miniature. Macrocosm becomes microcosm. Immeasurability is reduced to measurability by its self-geometrization in a mandala structured as a palace. In fact, mandalas are 2D representations of 3D constructions, which resemble blueprints. Padmasambhava compares the universe to an amulet box. Inside is a Precious Jewel as the lived experience of the noble individual, as an expression of human potential. Thus, the universe is both closed or enclosed by structure and open in its degrees of freedom.

The palace is not static but dynamic. It is a live process structure that Guenther expresses as “lighting up.” This process of universal illumination refers to the inherently dynamic principle of the “in between” plane of praxis. The paradigmatic character of the palace refers to wisdom as meaning. Thus, the unity of praxis and wisdom may be conceptualized as a gigantic thought experiment. This corresponds to modern scientific speculations concerning a “virtual” universe. [56]The system described is fundamentally hierarchical. The top plane is the highest and most abstract concept of a pure land or buddha-field (‘og-min). It forms a kind of spatial extensity that remains fundamentally human. The only ultimate explanation of the human phenomenon is that reality is essentially human. Thus, the sheer intensity of “thinking’s thinking” is the polarity that allows the top plane to manifest in the dimension of space. This binary must be understood as a process of discovering what it is to be human as a thought experiment that originates in an imaginal “above” that manifests “below.”

The palace is inhabited by the archetypal Father, the Anthropos (the Tibetan kye’u is literally “child” or “children”), and the Mother or “consort” (lcam). The palace and its inhabitants are purely energetic/informational beings. Guenther identifies the Anthropos, the Child, or “Man of Light” as he prefers it with the individual, at its most abstract level. This is the mind stream, and is therefore fundamentally differentiated and kinetic. Thus, the dynamics of the individual psyche reflect far more abstract archetypal structures like the palace with its divine triad. We also find the “man of light” in Sufism, described by Henry Corbin as “the hidden spiritual man,” “the individual par excellence,” “the spiritual hero,” the guide, “the Perfect Nature,” “the divine light … within you,” “the precious gem.”[1] This is of course the Tathagatagarbha or “Buddha nature” in Buddhist diction.

[57]The palace is nothing other than the psyche, as described in the psychology of Carl Gustav Jung, a pure energy/information system that is embodied in the body as lived. It is characterized by innate clarity (ngang-dangs) and awareness (kun-rig). This “body as lived” or flesh is neither matter nor mind but a fusion of the two and more. It is not merely substance but a fundamental element of Being. Its essential tendency becomes alight and radiates beyond itself. This luminous quality is intervolved with a quality of agitation, excitation, or excitability. Thus one “lights up with pleasure,” “shines with joy,” or “glows with ecstasy.” Therefore, excitation/excitability is a fundamental quality of being. In the thinking of Padmasambhava the totality is cognitive. The “all excitation/excitability” is the cosmic human’s growth into its superconscious ecstatic intensity. Thus Padmasambhava refers to the Anthropos as “the Lord of phantasms” or illusions.

[58]The consort of the Man of Light is called “Brilliancy’s Blaze.” She is described as beautiful and clear-minded. Like the Man of Light, she fuses materiality and immateriality, visibility and invisibility, and physicality and spirituality in a single symbol. The trans-binary union of the Man of Light and Brilliancy’s Blaze generates a fire that is both cosmic and psychic, that leaps up and consumes the entire universe. The anthropic universe as we understand it is annihilated. Padmasambhava refers to the ashes that are blown away by the wind (prana) of the void.[2] The fire that leaps up from the in-between plane is related to the water or rain of nectar that pours down from above. Water is nourishing and life-giving, fire life-destroying. The descending rain of nectar as water divides into two red and white streams. They are envisioned and felt by the experiencer in physical emotions associated with the male and female energies.

[59]The upward leap of fire is not only experienced as destructive of samsara but also as purifying so that samsara may be experienced in its original purity. Similarly, the descent of the rain of nectar materialized in the binary of red and white streams may be experienced as a closure. The upward leap of fire may be experienced as a process of dematerialization and opening up into the very being of the totality. Thus, water and fire constitute the twin dynamics of life itself. What is the relationship between this all-consuming fire as an “opening up” and the “utter void” referred to by the Mahaguru and his consort? Guenther addresses this question in the context of modern physics, in which he identifies the void with the vacuum’s zero-point energy that is essentially ineffable. The void is the real formative matrix that patterns itself both in its unobservable substructure as well as in its subatomic structure, which finally constitute our ordinary sensory experience.

[60]Thus, the in between plane of the threefold cosmos “lights up” and comes to presence as the radiance of the void. This coming to presence is experienced as an authentic interior vision that moves from within out, not without in. The primary image is that of the throne, which has the highest existential significance as the seat of authority traditionally associated with kingship. The outward-directed perspective is limiting, whereas the inward-directed perspective is expanding. Ontologically the throne is the centre of the universe. Psychologically it is the centre of the self (not to be confused with the empty bubble of the ego). Either way, as a centre, orientational points are implied. Thus, the throne assumes the character of a quaternary or a mandala, the second image. The third image, a numinous moon, symbolizing spiritual gnosis or realization arises from the centre of the mandala, dissipating all darkness. Its light grows out of the emptiness of the void, like the waxing moon in the darkness of night. Guenther recasts Padmasambhava’s poetic diction and imagination in the language of phenomenology: Human spirituality is based on the body, itself based on the light or energy of Being.

[61]These three symbols – throne, mandala, and moon – present a unifying experience that cannot be expressed in ordinary language. It is normally obscured by the spiritual darkness of ignorance, in which the emotional veils and blindfolds predominate as the sedimentations of karma. This programs subsequent experience within the framework of one’s being in the world. The  rational/intellectual obsession that denies what it cannot analyze cannot see this, however. These layers, consumed by the fire of spirituality, reveal the preciousness that we are by virtue of our non-locality. This shines forth as the five lights that are the inherent clear light of the buddha-nature that is our own unique essence. Through this, we experience ourselves as pure energetic beings. Padmasambhava distinguishes between the inherently energetic nature of being human and its luminous projection. This is also the source of the experiencer’s going astray; we chase after the semblance of light in illusory objects rather than the light itself. To understand human potential without misinterpreting its unfolding is the ultimate value of a physical life lived authentically.

The Bottom Plane

[62]This description of the threefold cosmos ends with a description of the subterranean lower plane. This is the demonic world of beings that consume flesh and blood. In this domain the archetypal Father is the demon called Dzala-raksa, the literal meaning of which is unknown, and the archetypal Mother is a black demoness of Death called the All-Liberating Mother (Kun-sgrol-ma). Like an astronomical black hole, together they generate an enormous cosmic storm that sucks into itself everything in the phenomenal world, including all the labels and ideas (i.e., information), removing the dirt and dust of all of one’s notions and emotions, intellectual postulates and constructions. This leaves a space that is devoid even of the notion of a void.

[63]The description of the bottom plane exemplifies life on the in-between plane before the self-renewal of the human-centred universe began. That is, everything on the “in between plane” is consumed by fire and the ashes dispersed by a strong wind, as before. Indeed this shattering experience explains the fearsomeness of the lower plane. We tend to cling to our habits, believing them to have universal validity. Instead, all of this has been annihilated, leaving only fearsome and malevolent demons. These are not evil in themselves but warn us to abandon desirous attachment. Their blackness and death is just us reflected in their eyes. Thus, we must face and indeed transcend death in order to experience the freedom, openness, and radiance of Being. Thus, the archetypal mother is described as “the black demoness of death who frees us completely.” This view of the demonic is in stark contrast to the Christian/Islamic conception derived from Zoroastrianism, in which evil is hypostasized as an external agency to be objectified, repressed, and ultimately destroyed. We see this dynamic playing itself out in the history of the world today.

(61) The threefold cosmos is an imaginal or symbolic world. It is both process and structure. By “structure” we mean nothing static, but intervolved dynamic dimensions that are only accessible through an understanding that is an “inner standing” that makes humanity central to the anthropocosmic process. Being in the middle, without beginning or ending, birth or death, does not contradict the apparent vertical or temporally coherent hierarchy of the process-structure of the dualistic interaction of the male and female principles in space. Together they constitute the horizontal plane. It is from the middle or centre that humanity spreads out into and connects with all of the dimensions of reality.

[64]Padmasambhava’s account shows that the threefold character of the cosmos is only nominal, to accommodate those who still believe in a static world. What has already happened on the in-between plane, the extinction of everything consumed by its fire and turned into ash by a strong wind, becomes its own plane. The events on this third plane are not narrated by a dakini because the dakini is an elemental-spiritual force that expresses a vitality that is both spiritual and material. This is intimated by the symbols of water (the rain with its spiritual and physical streams) and fire, in which our cognitive programs are consumed. Both water and fire are visible. Water is the luminous source of possibilities. In fire, these possibilities are differentiated while retaining their numinosity. To be intelligible the visible must posit the invisible. This corresponds to the wind or prana that is the driving force of our humanity. This force may even be frightening because it kills all complacency.

Wherever we look, we find the binary principle at work. This includes the duality of visible and invisible, divine and demonic, light and dark. Is not being human the embodied play of opposites? These complementarities represent the interplay of external forces. Experiencers share another binary deep inside themselves. This only has meaning with us. That is the binary of the archetypal Father and the archetypal Mother, and their archetypal Son, the infant Anthropos, the Child or Little Man of Light.

[65]In his presentation of these three archetypes, Guenther infers the influence of Valentinian Gnosticism. The archetypal Father is the primordial Forefather and myriarch, which Guenther identifies with the perfect aeon of Ptolemy, a Valentinian philosopher.  According to Padmasambhava, the Forefather Pre-beginning is the myriarch who wears space as his garment. He is seated on the earth as his throne. He tied the stars and planets together as a belt. the fog is a cap on his head. The rainbow is his royal banner. He holds the sun in his right hand and the moon in his left. He eats the phenomenal and interpreted world, and swallows the oceans. He rips out and devours the hearts of all living beings, filling their bodies with bliss. Thus, they become spiritually awakened and immortal. The archetypal Mother is majestic and powerful. She is the archetypal image of nature as created and creating.

[67]She is the sovereign lady and queen of the whole phenomenal and interpreted world. She is the source of life, the all-ground, the great powerful one of the multiverse. Living beings are born from her and die within her, but they do not increase or decrease in numbers. Nothing ceases, nothing is filled, and nothing is voided.

[68]Finally, the Man of Light or Anthropos occupies a temple that is nothingness radiating into the dimension of space. He wears a luminous garment, with a five-coloured rainbow as his belt, the clouds a cap on his head, and the wind as his horse,[3] with ripples of water as a bridle. In his right hand, he holds a sword, which he uses to cut down and eradicate all erroneous thoughts. He holds the sun and moon as a lamp in his left hand, which he uses to dispel ignorance. Having drunk the amrita, the elixir of immortality or deathlessness, he harmonizes the actual and the potential. [69]He has a wish-fulfilling jewel tied to his heart. He sees the dimension of space, sleeps in the vortex of the ocean, and sits between the sun and the moon. [70]He enters into the fivefold light and is carried away by a black sandstorm. There is nothing static about Padmasambhava’s threefold cosmos. It is a process or process structure in which the three planes are higher dimensional orientation points.

[71]This cosmos closes in on itself as the totality of Being. Each progressive closure is symbolized as a citadel, a palace, and a temple. The symbolism induces feelings of awe, reverence, and the sacred. Thus, the observer as experiencer becomes an essential part of this process. He is the Son. He is the offspring of the Infinite that is the intensity of Being as the archetypal Father, and of the infinite possibilities of extensity that are the archetypal Mother. This vision is intensely luminous. One might call this Gnostic threefold unity of Father, Mother, and Son the pleromatic family, referring to the Gnostic pleroma, the spiritual universe as the abode of God and the “fullness” or totality of divine powers and their emanations. However, whereas Gnosticism is reductionist, Padmasambhava’s evolutionary thinking is based on the binary principle. The Son descends into the world, not as a saviour (which Guenther dismisses as “dominance psychology”), but as the one who has to live and realize themselves as fully human. The symbolic allegory perpetuates itself simply because it enlivens the mystery of life.

CHAPTER 2

INTO THE WORLD, TRANSCENDING THE WORLD

 Introductory Remarks

[72] The archetypal Son, Anthropos, or Man of Light is the intermediary between Infinity, Being, the totality and the finite that we are. The Son implies a Father and a Mother. The Archetypal Father, a.k.a. a king, is a symbol of the intensity of Being, a.k.a. Buddha nature, which Guenther renders as “thinking’s thinking.” This is the intrinsic character of mind. [73]The archetypal Mother symbolizes the extensive character of Being. She manifests as the infinite possibility of the suchness of experience, which is emptiness or void. Together archetypal Father and archetypal Mother constitute the yab-yum. This icon represents the union of the male and female polarities. The Archetypal Father is also skilled means (upaya). The Archetypal Mother is wisdom (prajna). The male and the female principles precede the ego as inherent dynamics of the psyche. The Son indicates the potential for new possibilities and thus, growth and development, as in the Cabalistic formula of the Tetragrammaton. The Son incorporates the parents and yet is more than the parents. The ecstasy that arises between the Father and the Mother is also the Son’s experience of the totality. He is the human universe’s centre or middle that stands between the beginning that is not a beginning and the ending that is not an ending.

This non-being that is also transcendent being (med-pa) is the No at the centre of the universe, as well as the essence of the psyche. Living in the world raises the world and humanity to a higher level of being which language cannot penetrate. As in the Cabalistic Tree of Life, this “is-not” is threefold, a pure potential that is the pre-actual, pre-ontological, and pre-egological reality of what we are as ontological, experiential, and imaginal beings.

 [74] In the philosophy of Padmasambhava, there are no absolutes, only processes. Even the Archetypal Father and Mother are the result of more fundamental processes within the non-analytical levels of Being. Padmasambhava presents the character of the archetypal Father as a subtle vibration. The Mother is a pervasive and expanding vibration. The Son is a tremor-like, eruptive vibration. The movement of Being’s or the totality’s closing into itself is an evolutionary process that becomes ever more human. The basis of all is our humanity. It includes everything and is not terminated by anything. Hence it is open and [76] expands the binary of Father and Mother into a triplicity that adds the Son. Guenther calls Padmasambhava’s philosophy an “experiential ontology.” Padmasambhava describes the Archetypal Father as the human potential of the totality. The Archetypal Mother is the omnipresent matrix of the vast expanse of knowledge or being (klong-chen), which Guenther translates as “an immense vortex.” Their union produces the Son as an unbroken, unoriginated, and unceasing totality.

The human drama begins with the archetypal Son’s leaving the spiritual universe (pleroma), and consists of two movements: (1) a movement away from the world of light into a world of darkness, represented as a devolution, in which the totality closes into itself in ever-increasing finitude. The infinity of the totality moves into us finite experiencers in whom the original infinity persists as a precious, though mostly forgotten, reality; (2) an opposite or upward movement in which the experiencing self returns to its source, beginning with “pointing out” or “pointing to” the true value and superhuman/super-divine origin of the self. Once reunited with the Mother, he returns to his “natural state” (rang sa). This movement is experienced as a qualitative liberation (yar grol) from restriction.

[77] These two movements, which are timeless and primordial, correspond to the realization (rtogs) and non-realization (ma-rtogs) of the self. Ignorance is a radical mistake, as in the doctrine of interdependent origination (pratityasamutpada). This error also involves two movements of the same process, corresponding to collective and individual development. The first movement is the non-realization of what one is. The second movement consists of dualistic objectification based on radical ignorance and desirous attachment. This results in the errors of dualistic thinking, language, dogmatism, attraction and revulsion, desirous attachment, and rationalism. Thus, reality is turned into an intellectual model that obscures rather than reveals the real nature of being. These errors engender human suffering throughout past, present, and future, collectively referred to as samsara.

[80] Guenther makes quite clear that this dual process of devolution/degeneration/entropy and evolution/generation/negentropy do not constitute an enantiodromia. This is a technical term referring to the balanced tendency of things to change into their opposites. It is represented for example in the Chinese diagram of the taijitu. This shows how yin and yang continually change into each other. Evolution does not begin when devolution reaches its nadir. Rather, evolution is already implicit in devolution. In a Gnostic context we would say that Satan is already implicit in the idea of God – Deus Est Demon Inversus. This is  somewhat disconcerting to the theistic mentality. Devolution and evolution have the same origin and essence. Thus, devolution points to evolution presented to us by the totality of Being as a choice or intention. The totality invites us, as it were, to immerse ourselves in its life-enhancing vitality, the sea of the elixir of immortality. This refers to the ecstatic amrita. This is the goal of nirvana in the Pali Canon. It also refers to the soma of the Vedic rishis and the drink of the gods that confers immortality.

Notes

[1] See Henry Corbin, The Man of Light in Iranian Sufism, trans. Nancy Pearson (New Lebanon, NY: Omega Publications, 1978).

[2] “In order not to leave any traces, when you do something, you should do it with your whole body and mind; you should be concentrated on what you do. You should do it completely, like a good bonfire. You should not be a smoky fire. You should burn yourself completely. If you do not burn yourself completely, a trace of yourself will be left in what you do. You will have something remaining which is not completely burned out., with nothing remaining but ashes. This is the goal of our practice. That is what Dogen meant when he said, ‘Ashes do not come back to firewood.’ Ash is ash.” Shunryu Suzuki, Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind (Boston: Shambhala, 2011), pp. 48f. Cf. the Lotus Sutra. Padmasambhava’s and Suzuki’s description strongly resembles Aleister Crowley’s description of the attainment of mastery in the ninth vision in his collection of Enochian visions, The Vision and the Voice.

[3] Hence the familiar Tibetan wind horse, shamanic symbol of the human soul.

THIS TALK INCLUDES TEXTUAL CONTENT THAT IS COPYRIGHT © E.J. BRILL, LEIDEN, THE NETHERLANDS AND IS NOT THE PROPERTY OF THE AUTHOR.
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