«Explanation of the Kalachakra initiation. By Alexander Berzin at Maitreya Institute, Maasbommel, Netherlands on 26 - 28th of April 1985 Why ...»
Whereas, in tantra, what you're dealing with is something that is appearing only in your mind's eye – this body of the deity;
it's not something that you see directly with your eyes. You could see it with "ESP" like that when you get very advanced, but here we're thinking about something that only appears in my mind's eye. Because it only appears in my mind's eye, it's much easier to understand that it doesn't exist as something concrete and solid and real out there. If we are thinking in terms of our gross body that is something gross, so it really does appear to us that it's existing as something solid and fine with a
22Explanation of the Kalachakra Initiationblack line around it.
The body of a deity is only in our mind's eye. It's quite easy to see that it's just made up of parts and things and isn't something concrete, solid and real. So that's the third advantage of focusing on the form of a deity. Likewise because it's so subtle it's going to be much easier for it to appear at the same time as we understand the voidness of it. Because again it's something appearing in the mind's eye.
To think in terms of the body of a deity as the object of voidness is something which has many many advantages:
1 We're dealing with something which is closer to the result of what we want to attain.
2 We're dealing with method and wisdom in the same package; it's something much easier that we can get the two together.
3 The body of a deity is something, if we think of the voidness of it, it's already pure, because we're generating it out of voidness – it's not going to be so confusing to us; it's something which always remains the same so our understanding of it's voidness will be more stable and likewise it's something very subtle, only appearing in our mind's eye, so it's much easier to realize it's voidness. For that reason, in general, tantra is going to be much more quick, more effective.
4 In terms of the consciousness that understands voidness:
In general we talk about different levels of consciousness:
A gross consciousness B more subtle consciousness C the subtlest consciousness
• our senses; in terms of our conceptual awareness of things- with our mind;
• our bare awareness of things; the bare awareness and clarity of the mind.
These are things that we're going to get into in the higher classes of tantra. The point here in the three lower classes of tantra is that we're still dealing with the rough level of consciousness. So there's no special feature about it here on that point.
We're dealing with imagining that we have the body of a deity, but we're using a rougher level of consciousness so that it's at the same level as, lets say, all the disturbing attitudes and all the mental wandering and things that we could have, so that, even though we maybe focused on that, still, our mind could go off into these other directions which are in the same level with it. So, here, we don't have any special feature with relation to that, but we will get more special features as we go into the higher classes of tantra. It's just to introduce what the variables are.
Review In general tantra is faster. The thing that takes so long is really to be able to see reality clearly and effectively and pierce through the different obscurations that we have. In general we need to have the force and energy of an expanding heart to all others and to want to achieve enlightenment to help all others to give that seeing of reality more force so it will actually see through everything in general. So, in order to get it much more quick, because it's going to take 3 zillions eons for this, well, let's practice a method that's much closer to the result, so we think we're a deity, we use our imagination; let's practice method and wisdom together in one package, because what we want to achieve has a body and mind in one package. The actual method that will be able to help others is not only an expanding heart of "Bodhicitta" but it's also: "Well let's get the body of a Buddha; let's go to really help everybody". So if we think of that body and the voidness of that body at the same time then we have our method and wisdom together in one package.
Then there are a lot of advantages of thinking of the voidness of a deity. The deity is something which is pure already, being generated out of voidness, so there's nothing confusing about it. It's something which lasts forever and it doesn't change. So our understanding of its voidness likewise will be much more stable, we can always focus on it. And also it's something that only appears in our mind's eyes, so it is much more subtle and it is a little bit more obvious then our body is that it only exists in terms of mental labelling and concepts and all these things. But, still, we're dealing just with our rougher level of consciousness for doing all this process.
Special features of Anuttarayoga Yoga Tantra What makes Anuttarayoga tantra so special, because going to Kalachakra we're getting involved not only in tantra, but we're getting involved in the highest class of tantra and not only that, but Kalachakra itself. So everything that I've said so far is going to be true about Anuttarayoga – the highest class and it's going to be true about Kalachakra. But we are going to get more, we're going to get more special features that make it even more effective and more speedy.
We have been talking about the Kalachakra initiation that will be coming up in July (1985), in Switzerland what might be 23 Explanation of the Kalachakra Initiation some helpful things to be aware of before going, that will make it a much more meaningful experience. As we were saying that first of all, if you go to this with the idea of wanting to apply the various methods and techniques that are being explained here to your own lives as a way of dealing with your own problems and overcoming your shortcomings because you have a strong determination to be free from your problems, that makes it more meaningful for you; And also, if you do it in terms of wishing to reach the state where you can best benefit everybody, not just yourself, then again it becomes much stronger and if you go with some idea of reality beforehand then likewise you won't make it into some sort of strange thing, but will actually be able to derive more benefit from it, seeing that it's something that you can actually approach and use.
Then, to get really into it, it's necessary to have some general idea of what tantra is about, what all these deities are about and why we want to actually use this type of method.
Tantra in general is much more speedy than the sutra methods, because, here, we're dealing with: we want to achieve the body and the mind of a Buddha and so we're going to use a method, which is going to be much closer to what we actually want to achieve. The actual method is going to be in terms of generating out of our energy systems etc. the actual forms of the deities, of an enlightened being and, out of our energy systems, actually being able to do the different types of activities that a Buddha does. But these types of things don't come from nowhere or for no reason at all and the way that we're actually be able to tap into our energy systems and able to actually generate all these things for real is to first do it with our imagination, because if we use our imagination – that's something which is a very very powerful tool – and then we can actually do it for real, based on having rehearsed and practiced doing it in our imagination. It's like if you're rehearsing for a play in a theatre. First you go over it in imagination and do rehearsals and so on. But then, based on having rehearsed so well then you're able to actually do the performance with no problems.
The same is true here, with using our imagination in order to be able to tap into the systems in our body from which we actually are able to generate the body of a Buddha, and the mind of a Buddha. So, we think in terms of how already we imagine that – we have the body of a Buddha and that everything around us is pure like what a fully evolved being experiences and we're able to enjoy and interact with things without any confusion like a Buddha does and we're able to exert an enlightening influence, a positive influence on everybody and everything around us.
Then, we are also following a method in which we are going to get method and wisdom much closer together in one package, by actually thinking in terms of the body of the deity (the method) by which we are going to help everybody and be focused on the voidness of that body so that the two come together in one mind so we can practice both the method and wisdom together at the same time. In this way it comes much more in one package and will bring us closer to the result, which is a body and mind in one package.
We are also thinking in terms of the basis for voidness and that, here, we're dealing with something which is very special, because we're dealing with the body of a deity. And the body of a deity is already pure, because we're generating it within the context of voidness within the context of understanding its reality. So by focusing on its reality like that, the whole mind is dealing with something pure already and also this object – the body of a deity – is not going to be changing all the time – so our understanding of the reality of it is going to remain more stable and likewise it's something which is very subtle, we are generating it into our mind's eye and so it's something which is easier to see that it is not something which is concrete and solid. So we'll be able to understand its reality more easily.
Although there are different levels of mind that we can use, here in general we're still dealing with the rougher levels of mind. You can see that really these methods of sutra and tantra are two things which are not contradictory, but it makes like a graded path. You see the whole sutra approach is one of how first you put certain positive and safe and sound direction in our life, then you follow the laws of cause and effect in terms of how to improve the quality of your life and you look at the various problems that you have, and you develop a strong determination to get rid of them and then you look at the various causes that are making your problems and then you want to get rid of the causes and causes basically are that we're out of control, we have all sorts of disturbing attitudes, we act impulsively and so all that is based on not being aware of reality.
So we have to try to see reality and in order to see reality the strongest we have to think not just in terms of our own problems, but think in terms of everybody else. We can't just work to get rid of our own limitations, because everybody is interdependent and we have to take everybody seriously the way that we want to take ourselves seriously and work and expand our hearts out to everybody and on the basis of that expand our hearts out to achieving enlightenment in order to benefit everybody and with that as the force behind our seeing, reality, we'll be able to cut through the root of all our problems. So this is your sort of foundation and tantra is just going the next step further.
There are ways of doing this, just following the ordinary sutra methods, but they take too long and because they take too long we want to follow these more speedy methods so that we can reach the goal quicker. Because everybody can't wait for us to become enlightened over such a long period of time. So, there is no contradiction, it is just the next step further, to go into these deity practices. These being the general characteristics of tantra in general, then what about the highest class of 24 Explanation of the Kalachakra Initiation tantra – Anuttarayoga – the peerlessly integrated deity practices? What makes that so special, that through it's methods we can achieve enlightenment in our one lifetime, not just in terms of having a very long lifetime and within that achieving enlightenment?
We can look at the same points we were looking at in general. So the first point is in terms of analogies: in general tantra, we're using a method which is analogous to the result of what we want to achieve. Remember, we were talking about an everlasting stream of practice. That "everlasting stream" is what tantra means and you have an everlasting basis – a stream of a basis – that you want to purify and, above, you have an everlasting stream of result, in other words "Buddhahood" that we want to achieve.
So, in general tantra, the practices are analogous upwards towards the result the results that we want to achieve. But in Anuttarayoga Tantra it is also analogous to the basis that we want purify. Now analogies are working both ways; upwards towards the result and downwards towards the basis of what we're working with.
What are we working with?
We're working basically with this everlasting stream of the cycles that we go through and the main thing that we go through is: we die and we go through an intermediate state or the Bardo in between and then we're reborn. This is something we have no control over and it's something which is based on the various types of actions we do. Then we have all sorts of impulses that come up and we just are thrown into various rebirth situations which just perpetuate our different problems.
So this is the basis that we want to work with.
If we gain some control over that whole process of how we die and how we're reborn, then in fact we'll be able to appear in any type of form that will be the most helpful for helping everybody. So that's something which is a very positive type of thing to attain. It's what the incarnated lamas have achieved – they are able to control how they die and how they are reborn, so that they continue all the different types of good work that they were doing, from one lifetime to the next. So if we could do that then we wouldn't be involved in these uncontrollably recurring situations in life, but we'd actually be able to be in control. So, this is what we want to work with, and it's analogous to what we want to achieve.