«Explanation of the Kalachakra initiation. By Alexander Berzin at Maitreya Institute, Maasbommel, Netherlands on 26 - 28th of April 1985 Why ...»
27 Explanation of the Kalachakra Initiation Question: Why are the subtlest energy and the subtlest mind together in one package?
Answer: Because the consciousness is the function to be clear about things and that can't exist without some sort of basis, which is the energy that is involved with it. Western science thinks in terms of, there is a certain energy that goes through our nerves and we think of mind we tend to think only on the physical level of that energy. Now, Buddhism isn't denying that. It's not saying that that's wrong. But it is making more of a distinction. It's saying; "Yes, that's the physical basis of it and let's look at its function. Its function is to be aware of things and make things be clear. That's what we're calling "mind" in Buddhism. So, there is no contradiction with science on that. Where we get into trouble is, as I said, when we think of mind as this noun, so we tend to think it has to be either the energy or it has to be our brain or whatever. It's not denying the brain – that's just talking about the physical basis of what is going on. What we're talking about in Buddhism is what the brain does, not the brain itself.
This is not only by generating the deity out of the subtlest energy and the awareness of its voidness out of the subtlest consciousness, but also it's much more similar to the actual result, because likewise the body of a Buddha is going to come from the energies and the mind of a Buddha is going to come from the subtlest awareness. We're dealing now much more with what we have to work with when we're going to become enlightened. The body of a Buddha is just one method, one aspect of the method that's used in tantra.
The other aspect of the method is what's called "great bliss". "Bliss", I think we have to add a few more syllables here: I think more of a blissful awareness. It's not just feeling bliss, you know "well I'm happy", but it's a blissful awareness, which is a certain quality of awareness of things. And a "blissful awareness" is something which has a lot of good aspects to it, which make it very powerful thing to develop. Out of our wish to help everybody and our wish to be able to actually achieve enlightenment we're going to need a body – A body is going to be the way that we're going to actually help everybody, so you see that a body of a Buddha is something that's brought on by this wish to help everybody. Likewise, this blissful awareness is going to be something which is going to help us be more effective in achieving enlightenment more quickly. Why is this? It's because a blissful awareness is something which is much more intense. Because it's a much more intense. Because it's a much more intense type of awareness then naturally it will draw our energies together, so that we will be able to get to more and more subtle levels of mind and energy, because it's so intense. It's one of the more intense experiences that we can have.
Also it helps us to get us more and more subtle as I said, and also more and more deep in to not being just involved with all sorts of scattered thoughts and concepts, because as our mind becomes more and more Intense with the blissful awareness, we tend to naturally just focus on that at the moment, and not be involved with all sorts of other thoughts at the same time.
So method + wisdom, are coming together in one package on many different levels. It's coming together not only a deity and focusing on the voidness of the deity; it's coming out of using the subtle energy and the subtlest consciousness in one package and it's also in terms of that subtle consciousness of voidness is also a blissful consciousness, so, that's one package. We're using our blissful awareness to be what's going to understand voidness.
When they talk about inseparable voidness and bliss, they talk about you have your awareness of voidness. This awareness of voidness is being aware of the voidness of, let's say, your body of a deity. It's illuminating its reality. It's like having a deity her and a flash light over there, which is aimed as it, understanding its voidness, making it clear. Now, you can use a flashlight, or, you can use instead of that something which is much more intense. Let's use a laser beam. The laser beam is like blissful awareness, because it's more intense. So, if what we want is to understand voidness, we can use a laser beam.
Let's use our blissful awareness to understand the voidness of the deity. That's what it means when it says, inseparable voidness and bliss. It is one package, because it is the blissful awareness that you are using to understand the voidness of the deity.
This blissful awareness you hear talk about in the 4 different classes of tantra, you hear it in terms of there's the bliss from actually seeing a partner and the bliss of smiling at a partner and the bliss of holding hands or hugging and the bliss of union or peak experience with the partner. First of all, these are more and more intense experiences of a blissful awareness, but you shouldn't think that in fact these blissful awareness are used in the 3 lower classes of tantra as an actual path. They are not just described in terms of the 3 lower tantras just to give you an example of how they would compare if you wanted to use the dimension of comparison of blissful awarenesses. But they don't actually come, in the lower tantras you don't actually use them there.
So it's just giving us an example for how the 4 would compare with each other, although they are not actually used, in the 3 lower ones; it's only in Anuttarayoga that you use as a method “blissful awareness", because it's so intense and because it will act to get the energies in your body more and more subtle, and more and more concentrated.
28 Explanation of the Kalachakra Initiation Review We were talking about how Anuttarayoga is very special. Because in fact it's analogous, not only our practice of imagining that we're a deity is not only similar to what we want to achieve, but it's also similar to what we're working with to purify.
We're working with the death process and being reborn. So that's one factor of it. Another factor of it is that our method + wisdom are going to come together in one package, much more closely because we want to achieve a body and a mind of a Buddha, which are in one package; so we're going to use a method + wisdom that are going to be in one package also and it is in one package not only in terms of focusing on a deity and the voidness of that deity, but we're using, to make that, two things which are already in one package – the subtlest energy and the subtlest mind; and also we are going to use as a method a blissful awareness – because we want to get something really intense and sharp and the way that that's going to come in one package is that we're going to use that blissful awareness as the awareness that understands voidness.
Our next point that we were talking about is the feature of the basis of voidness and in general we are using as a basis of void-ness the body of a deity and the body of the deity has a lot of advantages to it, because first of all it's something that's pure already, it's coming out of voidness, well that's still the case, and it's something which is not changing and it is something which is subtle, which we can only see in our mind's eye. Here, what we're doing in Anuttarayoga tantra is making the body of the deity out of our subtlest energy – this is a process called "Illusory body", it's made out of the subtlest energy – and this illusory body is something which even more than just let's say a figure that we can call up in our imagination it's something which is always there, all the time whether we're awake, asleep, dead, enlightened, whatever and so by making the body of the deity and the basis of voidness out of that it's something which is even more stable.
But the most outstanding feature that you have in Anuttarayoga Tantra is the fact that you're dealing here with the subtlest consciousness and the subtlest consciousness is what we're working with to gain the understanding of voidness and this is where a real quality of Anuttarayoga Tantra comes in. This subtlest consciousness is first of all closer to the result that we want to achieve, because it's out of that subtle awareness that we make an omniscient mind. We don't make an omniscient mind out of rough consciousness in our eyes or ears and we don't make it out of the little bit more subtle consciousness which still is pretty gross of the conceptual mind which is dealing with the subtlest mind just that bare clarity and awareness. This is something which automatically is non-conceptual.
In other words here is our rough consciousness: our eyes, ears, etc. our subtle consciousness is the level at which we're dealing with all sorts of ideas and concepts. Our subtlest level is more subtle than that, it's beyond that, it's more fine than that. If you want to get a non-conceptual understanding of reality or voidness which takes us one zillion eons to get in sutra, if you use the subtlest consciousness, which is already non-conceptual, then automatically, you don't need zillions eons for that. If you can get your understanding of voidness with that subtlest level of consciousness, your already home, you already have it non-conceptual not one zillion eons.
It's very easy. If you want to get a non-conceptual understanding if you stay on the same level as your concepts (of consciousness) then you constantly have to be on guard, because your mind is at the same level as the danger that you want to avoid. So it could very easily slip into mental wandering and concepts and all these other things. A very clever method, just go on a different level! If you are on a more subtle level than the concepts there's no way that that can affect your meditation. It is automatically non-conceptual. That's very profound. So this is the first zillion eons taken rare of.
Likewise this subtlest level of consciousness doesn't illuminate things or make things appear in a discordant way – a way that's different from reality. It's just basically making things appear; being clear about things.
Our 2nd zillion eons was dealing with overcoming these automatically arising disturbing attitudes. These automatically arising ones are coming up in terms of things appear to be different from the way they actually are and so these automatically arising disturbing-attitudes come up. Instinctively they come up. If we are dealing with a level of consciousness that doesn't make things appear in some strange way, then it doesn't take our second zillion eons to get rid of this second problem of automatically arising disturbing attitudes.
This subtlest consciousness we were talking about is something which is a very powerful tool for being able to see reality, because it doesn't see things in a conceptual way, so automatically we can see things non-conceptually if we use it, so it's the first zillion eons taken care of. It doesn't illuminate things in a gross incorrect way, so that gets rid of our second zillions eons and third of all it's something which is so subtle that it will allow the 2 levels of truth: relative level and ultimate level to appear simultaneously on it or to it and because of that it doesn't take our 3rd zillion eons. So this subtlest consciousness, if we can actually tap in to it and use it then it's going to be our really speedy tool for being able to achieve the mind of a Buddha. So then you have all the methods within Anuttarayoga Tantra to actually get into that system, of the subtlest mind and the subtlest energy.
29 Explanation of the Kalachakra Initiation Now what about KALACHAKRA.
That's even something more outstanding. First of all, the first point is in terms of analogies that not only are we doing a practice that's analogous to what we want to achieve – the mind and body of a Buddha; not only is it analogous to what we're working with in terms of the whole process of death and rebirth. Here by the way in Kalachakra you're dealing only with the process and death and rebirth.
We don't have a separate treatment of the process of bardo, because it's explained that if you purify and work with just death and rebirth that that takes care of the bardo automatically. So it's slightly different, but we're dealing with the same general idea. So not only is it analogous to that process that we go through of dying and being reborn, but also we have a whole system of meditation that's analogous to what I was explaining before: the external cycles of time, in other words all the things that go on around us in terms of the motion of the planets, the passage of the years and days and hours etc. It's analogous to that as well and it's also analogous to the internal thing in terms of how the energies flow through our body and the breaths and all the cycles, that goes with as well.
So we're going to meditate on a system that is going to bring in even more of all the aspects of our life. This is something that really makes Kalachakra special in that it covers just about everything and anything that you can think of in our lives.
So it deals not only with this fundamental thing of death and rebirth, but also it deals with the changes that the universe goes through on an internal level and makes this also then into a way of practice that will bring us an enlightened state. That is our first point.
I will give some examples of these analogies. You have for example the way that the moon grows full. The moon will grow full in a process of 16 days – the 15 days of the waxing and then the 16th day we are talking of the part when it's actually full. Likewise on an internal level then you can speak in terms of how for example for a male that the process of the seminal force and energy in the male to reach its full maturity likewise takes a process of 16 years. Again we have this 16 stages process of something growing full. Now on a practice level you can also talk about things like how in order to get' a full type of blissful awareness, this also is something which grows in 16 stages, in order to get as a result the full level of blissful awareness, related to all the different types of voidness. So what you're dealing with is a process of meditation that's similar to, let's say the external thing of the moon growing full and the internal thing of the seminal energy of a male growing full and then using a system of meditation that's similar to that for getting the full blissful awareness which will also go through a process of growing in 16 parts to then use that as your awareness of voidness and get enlightened.