Foundations of Tibetan Mysticism

  • Title: Summaries, Foundations of Tibetan Mysticism.
  • Author: Arvindus.
  • Publisher: Arvindus.
  • Copyright: © 2020, Arvindus, all rights reserved.
  • Index: 202003281.
  • Edition: html, first edition.
  • Source: Lama Anagarika Govinda (Anangavajra Khamsum-Wangchuk), Foundations of Tibetan Mysticism, According to the Esoteric Teachings of the Great Mantra Oṁ Maṇi Padme Hūṁ, Martino Publishing, Mansfield Centre, 2012.

In memory of the venerable guru Tomo Géshé Rimpoché Ngawang Kalzang.


Thanks to the guru, Tomo Géshé Rimpoché.

Honour to Him, the Enlightened One [Sakyamuni]!

Part One, Oṁ, The Path of Universality

1. The Magic of Words and the Power of Speech

Words have beyond their profane values also sacral values. These values are expressed by poets, singers and saints in mantra's.

2. The Origin and the Universal Character of the Sacred Syllable Oṁ

The oṁ represents the transcendental, the infinite.

3. The Idea of Creative Sound and the Theory of Vibration

It is the spiritual consciousness that makes a mantra powerful, not its pronunciation. The mantra serves only as a magnifying glass, concentrating the spiritual consciousness as the latter concentrates sunlight.

4. The Decadence of Mantric Tradition

Brahmins dogmatized the oṁ. Instead of using their bow-mind for shooting the oṁ-arrow to penetrate the darkness, they unbent the bow, worshipping the oṁ-arrow instead. Buddhism undogmatized the oṁ and bent the bow again.

5. Mantric Tendencies of Early Buddhism

Although the spiritual consciousness of the reciter of the mantra is de main source of power, the form of the mantra is not irrelevant. After the Buddha cleared mantra's of their dogmatism, over time, a non-dogmatic formal use of mantra's evolved in Buddhism.

6. Buddhism as Living Experience

The teachings of the Buddha were adapted to the understanding of His audience and to the time in which He was placed. And Buddhism too should always adapt its teachings to its specific audience and placement in time.

7. The Universal Attitude of the Mahāyāna and the Bodhisattva Ideal

Where the Arahan has achieved freedom from passions and the ego without attaining spiritual knowledge, being the ideal of the Hīnayāna school, and where the Paccekabuddha attained also spiritual knowledge without being able to communicate it, there the Sammāsambuddha is also able to communicate this knowledge for the benefit of all. This is the perfect enlightenment of the Bodhisattva, being the ideal of the Mahāyāna school.

8. The Universal Path and the Revaluation of the Sacred Syllable Oṁ

The oṁ in the Mahāyāna school represents the universal path and the Bodhisattva ideal, emphasizing individual responsibility, beyond historical schisms in Buddhism, caused by interpretation differences of the ordered rules. As such it is both the beginning of the mantra as of the path.

Part Two, Maṇi, The Path of Unification and of Inner Equality

1. 'The Philosopher's Stone' and 'The Elixir of Life'

The primary substance from which originated everything has been sought out in matter by alchemists as 'the philosopher's stone' and in man by yogi's as 'the elixir of life'. Reports of this search have been written down in symbolical or 'twilight' language in the Tibetan Eighty-four Siddhas.

2. Guru Nāgārjuna and the Mystic Alchemy of the Siddhas

Stories of, or connected to, Nāgārjuna indicate that the elixir of life should be sought out for the benefit of all and not out of greed.

3. Maṇi, The Jewel of the Mind, as 'The Philosopher's Stone' and Prima Materia

Maṇi represents the pure mind or consciousness without qualities, which is symbolized by concepts and objects such as mercury, the prima materia, the philosopher's stone, the jewel, cintamaṇi, and the vajra or diamond sceptre.

4. Maṇi as the Diamond Sceptre

The vajra consists of; a) a dot (or bindu), symbolizing the seed of the universe, with within itself a spiral, symbolizing its potency, b) two opposed lotus blossoms, symbolizing the polarity of conscious existence, and c) five or nine spokes on each side originating from the lotus leafs and coming together at their crown, symbolizing differentiation of forces coming together in one pointed meditation. Although the initial motives to gain the philosopher's stone or the elixir of life may be worldly, at their gaining the worldly motives fall away because at that moment desirelessness and deathlessness have been reached.

5. Mind and Matter

Instead of considering the material world as objective physical, Buddhism considers it as subjective sensuous or psychic. This conception of materiality is called 'rūpa'. The sensuous physical body is considered as originating from the psyche reacting to sensuous impressions. The reaction as deed is called 'karma' and the bodily conceived result 'vipāka'. This rūpa-body adapts slowly to newly reached spiritual heights but must eventually be transmuted.

6. The Five Skandhas and the Doctrine of Consciousness

The individual personality consists of five skandas: rūpa (contact), vedanā (feelings), saṁjñā (perception), saṁskāra (volition) and vijñāna (awareness). This personality is continuously changing, and this gives it its continuity. The continuity of change gives rise to self-consciousness as a function of manas.

7. The Double Role of the Mind (Manas)

Manas regards the overlap of individual empirical consciousness (mano- vijñāna) and universal consciousness (ālaya- vijñāna). Directed to the world it may lead to binding, directed to the universe it may lead to liberation.

8. The 'Turning-About in the Deepest Seat of Consciousness'

Manas must from intellectual perception of the world be turned around towards intuitive perception of the pure universe in order to escape the cycle of rebirth (saṁsāra) and to realize enlightenment.

9. Transformation and the Realization of Completeness

The turning of manas towards the pure universe is not a merging of an individual with an outside universe but the inner realisation of a non-dualistic completeness. The coming to knowledge of this law is symbolized by Vairocana Buddha and His emblem, the dharma-cakra. The consciousness then becomes like a pure mirror, being able to reflect everything while staying pure itself, symbolized by Akṣobhya Buddha and the symbols of water and the vajra. Then one feels for all living beings, symbolized by Ratnasambhava Buddha and His emblem of the jewel. The inner vision of things as they really are then emerges, symbolized by Amitābha Buddha and His emblem of the fully opened lotus-blossom. Then the vow of the Bodhisattva is made, symbolized by Amoghasiddhi Buddha with His emblem of the double-vajra.

Part Three, Padma, The Path of Creative Vision

1. The Lotus as Symbol of Spiritual Unfoldment

The lotus-seed in the mud at the bottom of the water already has the incentive to grow out of the mud through the water up to the surface for the opening of its blossom and the giving of its nectar. Similarly does the human being in the world already have the incentive to grow out of his body through the passions towards an unattained mind, which when blossoming will give the dharma teachings. It is therefore that Buddhas are depicted as sitting on a lotus flower. These buddhas should not be considered as abstract symbols of spiritual faculties but as prototypes for all humans.

2. The Anthropomorphic Symbolism of the Tantras

The anthropomorphic symbols of the tantras are archetypal realities with the power to transform the mind, for which they are embued with yantras (maṇḍalas), mantras and mudrās (positions, those of the hand in particular).

3. Knowledge and Power: Prajña versus Śakti

Buddhist tantra antedates Hinduistic tantra and differs from it. In contradiction to Hinduistic tantra, where the male aspect Śiva represents the unmanifested and the female aspect Śakti represents the manifested, in Buddhist tantra the female aspect prajña represents the highest knowledge and the male aspect upāya represents the means to attain the highest knowledge.

4. The Polarity of Male and Female Principles in the Symbolic Language of the Vajrayāna

The language of the vajrayāna must not be taken literally but as symbolizing the inner faculties.

5. Vision as Creative Reality

Inner truths are in meditation crystalized in images of worship. This makes them conscious for the meditator. After the worship they are liquefied again. In this process the aim of perfect enlightenment of emptiness is maintained so that the meditator doesn't get lost in idolatry Dhyāni-Buddhas.

6. The Five Dhyāni-Buddhas and the Five Wisdoms

The five skandhas of rūpa (form), vedanā (feelings), saṁjñā (perception), saṁskāra (volition) and vijñāna (awareness) are transformed into their corresponding qualities of enlightenment, which are represented by the Dhyāni-Buddhas and their prajñas, which are represented by their consorts. Akṣobhya represents formation as transformation of rūpa, and His consort is Locanā, representing the great void. Ratnasambhava represents compassion as the transformation of vedanā, and His consort is Māmakī, representing universal motherhood. Amitābha represents infinite light as transformation of saṁjñā, and His consort is Pāṇḍaravāsinī, representing pure discrimination. Amoghasiddhi represents non-karmic action as transformation of karmic action, and His consort is Tārā, representing salvation. And Vairocana represents universal consciousness as transformation of individual consciousness.

7. Tārā, Akṣobhya, and Vairocana in the Tibetan System of Meditation

Tārā is considered as the embodiment of devotion and love. The five Dhyāni-Buddhas are placed in a maṇḍala, one in the centre (Vairocana), and four crosswise around the centre (Akṣobhya against Amitābha and Amoghasiddhi against Ratnasambhava). Vairocana represents the void from whence formation came and to which formations return. Akṣobhya represents the first step towards enlightenment. The positions may vary in different schools.

8. The Symbolism of Space, Colours, Elements, Gestures, and Spiritual Qualities

Archetypal space is the void that contains everything in existence and is therefore also the root thereof.

Vairocana in the centre is white, radiates blue (space), gestures the wheel (dharma), holds a wheel, is embraced by Ākāśadhātīś (the wisdom of dharmadhātu or pure consciousness), is seated on a lion, and His sound is 'oṁ'. Akṣobhya in the East is blue (space), radiates white (mirror-like wisdom), gestures earth-touching, holds a vajra, is embraced by Locanā (mirror-like wisdom), is seated on an elephant (steadfastness), and His sound is 'hūṁ'. Ratnasambhava in the South is yellow, radiates yellow (equality of all beings), gestures giving, holds a jewel (the three jewels of the Buddha, the teaching and the community), is embraced by Māmakī (wisdom of equality), is seated on a horse, and His sound is 'traṁ'. Amitābha in the West is red, radiates deep red (discriminating inner vision), gestures meditation, holds a lotus (unfolded meditation), is embraced by Pāṇḍaravāsinī (discriminative wisdom), is seated on a peacock (vision), and His sound is 'hrīḥ'. Amoghasiddhi in the North is green (yellow inner light with blue unfathomable space), radiates green (accomplishment), gestures fearlessness, holds a viśvavajra (spiritual power), is embraced by Tārā (all-accomplishing wisdom), is seated on birdmen, and His sound is 'āḥ'.

9. The Importance of the Bardo Thödol as a Guide in the Realm of Creative Vision

The descriptions in the Bardo Thödol regard experiences of both deep meditation and death. Learning to experience these descriptions means becoming familiar with the processes of death.

Part Four, Hūṁ, The Path of Integration

1. Oṁ and Hūṁ as Complementary Values of Experience and as Metaphysical Symbols

Oṁ is the ascend from the finite individual to the infinite universal, but hūṁ is the descent back from the infinite universal in the finite individual. It is compassion. 'H' stands for life force, 'ū' for the state beyond duality, and 'ṁ' is the after-sound.

2. The Doctrine of the Psychic Centres in Hinduism and Buddhism

Buddhist tantra is not an adaption of Hindu tantra and differs from it in that it does not only thematise the elementary features of the centres, but rather the spiritual potencies that are connected to them. Every centre is connected to a plane of consciousness. Logic is only one of such planes and falls short in presenting the fullness of other planes.

3. The Principles of Space and of Movement

Ākāśa regards (archetypal) space and the cakras. Prāṇa regards (archetypal) movement [and the nāḍīs]. The elements of earth, water, fire and air are modifications of ākāśa and are represented by the lowest four cakras. In the lowest, mūlādhāra-cakra, resides kuṇḍalini. Hindu tantra focusses on this natural potency as śakti. Buddhist tantra focusses on ḍākinī, the knowing-principle in its intuitive form and the unifying force of inspiration. This to protect the ignorant from self-destruction. For only with perfect self-control and clear knowledge can kuṇḍalini be safely awakened.

4. The Psychic Centres of the Kuṇḍalini-Yoga and their Physiological Counterparts

The centres are psycho-physical and related to universal qualities, and their nature is symbolized by their depiction. In the Tibetan system the lowest two and the highest two are taken together.

5. The Doctrine of the Psychic Energies and of the 'Five Sheaths'

There are five sheaths from gross to subtle; the physical body (anna-maya-kośa), the ethereal or vital body (prāṇa-maya-kośa), the thought body (mano-maya-kośa), the potential or depth consciousness body (vijñāna-maya-kośa), and the universal consciousness or bliss body (ānanda-maya-kośa). Every subtler body penetrates the grosser body. Thus the bliss body penetrates all other bodies while the physical body is penetrated by all the other bodies, hence their importance.

6. Physical and Psychic Functions of Prāṇa and the Principle of Motion (Vāyu) as Starting-Point of Meditation

Mindful breathing connects the non-volatile with the volatile and the gross physical body with the subtle bodies. It is a medium for spiritual forces. Prāṇa has a gross counterpart in vāyu. Together they are one psycho-physical principle. This principle can be divided into five functions. Prāṇa-vāyu rules the breath and inhalation. Udāna-vāyu rules speech and exhalation. Apāna-vāyu rules the secretion functions. Samāna-vāyu rules digestion and assimilating functions. Vyāna-vāyu rules the circulation functions.

7. The Three Currents of Force and Their Channels in the Human Body

There are three main channels of vital-psychic force. Iḍā-nāḍī is located left of or in the spine and represents the centripetal lunar force. Piṅgalā-nāḍī is located right of or in the spine and represents the centrifugal solar force. And suṣumṇā-nāḍī is located in the middle. The three meet in the mūlādhāra-cakra at the base of the spine. Normally the suṣumṇā-nāḍī is closed at that spot, however when opened the kuṇḍalinī force, latent in the mūlādhāra-cakra, can rise and awaken all cakras. To prepare for that breathing exercises and visualisation of the nāḍīs and sounds are applied.

8. The Yoga of the Inner Fire in the Tibetan System of Meditation (Tapas and Gtum-Mo)

Tapas is the fire of inspiration which is aroused in meditation. This results in tejas, which is spiritual radiation. Meditation on tapas is started with identification with Vajra-Yoginī in the solar plexus centre, where the 'ram' sound is placed, with 'ma' above it. Then 'a' is placed in the centre at the base of the spine and 'ham' in the crown centre, after which the red fire of 'a' is given rise to the crown lotus, which spills its white nectar in turn to the centre at the base of the spine. This process of spiritual integration leads to 'hūṁ' (in the heart).

9. Psycho-Physical Processes in the Yoga of the Inner Fire

The life of Milarepa is a testimony of the effectiveness of the practise of tapas. The descent of spirit into matter must be reversed in untying the knots of the cakra's from below to above. The 'a' is the sunlike, female, wisdom. The 'ha' is the moonlike, male, love. The 'ṁ' is the uniting bindu-dot. United they are 'ahaṁ', meaning 'I', which must be dissolved in and become the vehicle of the higher knowledge. By breathing exercises the fire in the centre at the base of the spine rises in stages until it reaches the crown centre where the white nectar is melted, which in turn flows down in stages.

10. The Centres of Psychic Force in the Yoga of the Inner Fire (Gtum-Mo)

The five centres of Tibetan Buddhism are divided in three groups. The centre at the base of the spine and the solar plexus centre constitute the lower group, the crown and throat centre the upper group and the heart the middle group. These groups correspond to iḍā-nāḍī, piṅgalā-nāḍī and suṣumṇā-nāḍī and represent the earth plane, the universal plane and the human plane. This representation is however not static. Because the true nature of things seems terrible to the unprepared mind. The deities of the brain centre are terrible while in the heart centre the peaceful Dhyāni-Buddhas are depicted. At the rise of the fiery 'a' the centres are made conscious and at the descent of the liquid 'haṁ' they are enlightened, leading to the 'hūṁ' integration of wisdom and love.

11. Dhyāni-Buddhas, Seed-Syllables and Elements in the Buddhist Cakra-System

The centres and the elements in Buddhism have different relations and symbolisms. Instead of upon static qualities they are dependent upon the goal of realization of a centre. Putting one symbol in one centre will then determine the places of all the other symbols (such as the Dhyāni-Buddhas). Their arrangement is called a 'maṇḍala', of which the first chosen centre becomes the centre. In fact the meditator himself becomes the centre of the divine maṇḍala of his body and surroundings, all sounds become mantras and all thoughts become manifestations of the great wisdom.

The five centres in Buddhism are symbolized by a squire (centre at the base of the spine), symbolizing earth, a circle (solar plexus centre), symbolizing water, a triangle (heart centre), symbolizing fire, half circle which has its opening above (throat centre), symbolizing air, and a drop (crown centre), symbolizing ether. These geometrical figures we see also in the build-up of the Buddhist stūpa temples.

12. Symbolism of the Seed-Syllable Hūṁ as Synthesis of the Five Wisdoms

In the first stage the forces of the lower regions are sublimated. Then in the second stage oneness with spirit, 'oṁ' is realized. In the third stage however is returned to the human plane. This is the compassion of the heart, 'hūṁ', Vajrasattva, the diamond being, who is the active aspect of Akṣobhya. 'Hūṁ' is the integration of the five wisdoms. This is reflected in the way 'hūṁ' is written in Sanskrit and Pali. The 'ū' represents the all accomplishing wisdom of Amoghasiddhi. The 'h' represents the discriminating wisdom of Amitābha. The horizontal line represents the equalizing wisdom of Ratnasambhava. The crescent represents the mirror-like wisdom of Akṣobhya. And the 'm' dot represents the dharmadhātu wisdom of Vairocana.

13. The Seed-Syllable Hūṁ and the Importance of the Dākinī in the Process of Meditation (Dākinī versus Kuṇḍalinī)

The dākinīs can have both peaceful and fearful forms. They can be fearful because higher knowledge destroys the mundane orientations, which destruction is feared by ordinary humans. The dākinīs are not outside the meditator but are inner inspirations for taking the spiritual leap. They represent the channels for the forces of nature, in contrast with kuṇḍalinī yoga which concentrates on the more static concept of śakti. The highest dākinī (or 'khadoma' in Tibetan) is Vajra-Yoginī, an aspect of Vajra- Dākinī, embodying the synthesis of all Buddha wisdoms in the sphere of śũnyatā.

14. Padmasambhava's Initiation

Padmasambhava went to see a dākinī in a sandal-wood in the midst of a cemetery. The sandal-wood within the cemetery symbolizes saṁsāra, the cycle of birth and death, which looks pleasant but is surrounded by death and decay. The dākinī lived in a palace of human skulls, symbolizing the human body, composed of countless past lives. Arriving there the door was closed, symbolizing his ignorance regarding corporeality. Then a maidservant, carrying water, appeared, who was stopped by Padmasambhava's meditation. This, with water symbolizing prāṇa, symbolizes him controlling his prāṇa through prāṇayāma. The maidservant then produced a crystal knife (symbolizing clear knowledge) and cut open her breast, symbolizing the revealing of the inner nature of corporeality. Padmasambhava sees the peaceful and fearful forms of the Dhyāni-Buddhas, symbolizing that he now realized that the body is the temple of the highest forces. He bows down and is allowed to enter the palace, symbolizing that humility and clear perception open the doors to the secret forces of the body. There he sees the chief dākinī seated on a sun and moon throne, symbolizing that iḍā and piṅgalā are under control of the dākinī. The dākinī wears a double drum (symbolizing the universal rhythm, and a skull-bowl filled with blood, symbolizing knowledge gained through death. The thirty-two lesser dākinīs symbolize the thirty-two marks of physical perfection of an enlightened one. The by the maidservant shown Dhyāni-Buddhas are absorbed in the dākinī, making her the embodiment of all the Buddhas. Padmasambhava then is transformed into the syllable 'hūṁ', symbolizing his unity with the object of his devotion. 'Hūṁ' came to rest on the dākinī's lips, after which it is swallowed, coming to rest in the stomach, after which it reaches the centre at the base of the spine. This symbolizes Padmasambhava's initiation into body, speech and mind. The body (kaya) is the body of all the Buddhas, speech (vāk) is the speech of all Buddhas, and mind (citta) is the mind of all Buddhas.

15. The Ecstasy of Breaking-Through in the Experience of Meditation and the Maṇḍala of the Knowledge-Holding Deities

As the dākinīs represent the inspirational impulse of consciousness do the herukas represent the active aspect of compassion. The peaceful Dhyāni-Buddhas represent completed enlightenment while the terrifying deities represent the process or dynamic aspects thereof. Śūnyatā (emptiness) and tathatā (suchness) are the same, whereby the first is the negative and the latter the positive side of the same reality. The leap over the gap between intellect and intuition is represented by the blood-drinking deities. They belong to the brain centre while the Dhyāni-Buddhas belong to the heart centre. The knowledge-holding deities are standing in between and belong to the throat centre.

16. 'The Mystery of Body, Speech, and Mind' and 'the Inner Path of Vajrasattva' in the Seed-Syllable Hūṁ

The higher centres of crown (body, 'oṁ'), throat (speech, 'āḥ') and heart (mind, 'hūṁ') integrate in the spiritual seeker the lower centres. This is a frightful leap to take. The syllables and their corresponding centres can thus be understood in their statuses of non-integration and integration. The integration of all Dhyāni-Buddhas is represented by the form of an Ādibuddha. After this leap towards unification in the 'oṁ' of the crown centre is returned to the human plane of action in the 'hūṁ' of the heart centre.

Part Five, Oṁ Maṇi Padme Hūṁ, The Path of the Great Mantra

1. The Doctrine of the 'Three Bodies' and the Three Planes of Reality

'Oṁ' represents the experience of universality, 'maṇi' the luminosity of the immortal mind, 'padme' the aforementioned unfoldment in the lotus-centres, and 'hūṁ' its integration and realization.

There are three bodies. Dharmakāya is the universal body. Sambhogakāya is the bliss body. Nirmāṇakāya is the transformation body. There are two types of sambhogakāya; svāsambhogakāya and parasambhogakāya. The first is by the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas experienced and demonstrated in the practise of the highest virtues (pāramitā). The second is experienced by those contemplating the significance of the aforementioned. The physical nirmāṇakāya is not illusory but is transformed and perfected.

2. Māyā as the Creative Principle and the Dimensions of Consciousness

Māyā is the creative aspect of śūnyatā. To see one of its created forms on itself is what limits one's perception of reality.

3. The Nirmāṇakāya as the Highest Form of Realization

Objectified by the Mahāyāna the nirmāṇakāya and sambhogakāya are contained in the dharmakāya. However subjectified by the Vajrayāna the dharmakāya and sambhogakāya are cointained in the nirmāṇakāya. As such the nirmāṇakāya is also called the vajrakāya. The eventual goal is to experience the emptiness of śūnyatā and the form of rūpa at the same time. To experience the emptiness of forms and the form of emptiness.

4. The Dharmakāya and the Mystery of the Body

The vajrakāya is the integration of the dharmakāya with the nirmāṇakāya. In the enlightened one the universe manifests itself through the body. One needs to see through this body to see the universal.

5. The Multi-Dimensionality of the Great Mantra

The mantra, the yantra and the state of consciousness are inseparably one. 'Oṁ' corresponds with Amitābha, the dharmakāya and the crown centre, 'maṇi' with Amitāyus, the sambhogakāya and the throat centre, 'padme' with Avalokiteśvara, the nirmāṇakāya and the heart centre, and 'hūṁ' with the vajrakāya in the entire body. With Amitābha's seal 'hrīḥ' added to the mantra, representing the intuitional voice, the service of the Bodhisattva ideal is offered. This ideal is symbolized by the thousand arms of Avalokiteśvara, eight in the dharmakāya, forty in the sambhogakāya and the rest in the nirmāṇakāya.

6. Avalokiteśvara's Descent into the Six Realms of the World

The wheel of life with its six realms is driven from its axis by the red cock of greed (raga), the green snake of hatred (dveṣa) and the black hog of delusion (moha), biting each other's tails. The six realms consist of the opposites of the divine realm where gods (devas) enjoy themselves and the hellish realm of suffering (nirāya), the realm of warring titans (asuras) and the realm of persecuted animals, and the realm of desiring humans and the realm of unsatisfiable ghosts (pretas). Avalokiteśvara appears in the divine realm with a lute to rouse the gods with dharma. In the hellish realm He appears as the god of death (Yama) holding a mirror with the seed-syllable 'hrīḥ' (the inner voice) in the middle, and also as a Bodhisattva with a purifying flame emerging from His hand. In the realm of titans He appears with the flaming sword of discriminating knowledge, and in the realm of animals with the book of speech and throught, which animals lack. In the realm of humans He appears as Śākyamuni with the alms-bowl and the staff of asceticism and in the realm of unsatisfiable ghosts He appears with spiritual treasures of true satisfaction.

7. The Formula of Dependent Origination

The outer rim of the wheel of life shows symbols of the twelve principles of dependent origination. A blind woman at twelve o'clock represents ignorance. This ignorance causes formation through karma, symbolized by a potter at one o'clock. Karma formation causes consciousness, symbolized by a monkey at two o'clock. Consciousness causes psychology and body, symbolized at three o'clock by two men in a boat. This psycho-physical unit creates the six senses (thought, sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch), symbolized at four o'clock by a house with six windows. The senses cause contact, symbolized at five o'clock by two lovers. Contact causes feeling, symbolized at six o'clock by an arrow piercing a person's eye. Feeling causes thirst, symbolized at seven o'clock by a drinker being served by a woman. Thirst causes clinging, symbolized at eight o'clock by a man gathering fruits. This clinging leads to a new becoming, symbolized at nine o'clock by a couple having sexual intercourse. This becoming leads to birth, symbolized at ten o'clock by a woman giving birth. And birth then leads to death, symbolized at eleven o'clock by a man carrying a corpse on his back. All these phases belong to the one and same illusion of egohood.

8. The Principle of Polarity in the Symbolism of the Six Realms and of the Five Dhyāni-Buddhas

The dull white light of the deva realm with its ignorance is opposed to the dull smoke coloured hellish realm with its hatred and is countered by the clear deep blue light of Vairocana with His Dharmadhātu wisdom, symbolized as a white Buddha with a lute. The dull smoke coloured light of the hellish realm with its hatred is opposed to the dull white light of the deva realm with its ignorance and is countered by the clear white light of Vajrasattva-Akṣobhya with His mirror-like wisdom, symbolized as an indigo coloured Buddha with flame. The dull blue light of the human realm with its pride is opposed to the dull yellow light of the preta (hungry ghost) realm with its passion and is countered by the clear yellow light of Ratnasambhava with His equality wisdom, symbolized as a yellow coloured Buddha with alms bowl. The dull yellow light of the preta realm with its passion is opposed to the dull blue light of the human realm and is countered by the clear red light of Amitābha with His discrimination wisdom, symbolized by a red coloured Buddha with a receptacle. The dull red light of the asura (titan) realm with its envy is opposed to the dull green light of the animal realm and is countered by the clear green light of Amoghasiddhi, symbolized as a green coloured Buddha with sword. The dull green light of the animal realm with its ignorance is opposed to the dull red light of the asura realm and is countered by the clear five-coloured light of the five Buddhas with Their all accomplishing wisdom, symbolized by a blue coloured Buddha with a book.

9. The Relationship of the Six Sacred Syllables to the Six Realms

The six syllables of 'oṁ maṇi padme hūṁ' are related to the six realms of existence. The repeating of the mantra is a prayer for all beings in all realms, making the repeater also aware of the undesirability to be born in these realms. 'Oṁ' is related to the deva realm, 'ma' to the asura realm, 'ṇi' to the human realm, 'pa' to the animal realm, 'dme' to the preta realm, and 'hūṁ' to the hellish realm.

Epilogue and Synthesis, Āḥ, The Path of Action

1. Amoghasiddhi: The Lord of the All-Accomplishing Wisdom

Where 'oṁ' represents universality, 'maṇi' unity and equality, 'padme' unfolding vision and 'hūṁ' integration, there does the realization stand behind the whole of them. Amoghasiddhi represents that realization.

2. Amoghasiddhi's All-Accomplishing Wisdom as Liberation from the Law of Karma

Amoghasiddhi embodies the highest freedom wherein an enlightened one acts in the world without making new karma that would bind him to saṁsāra. In that freedom universal law and individual freedom are one. It is the unity in diversity where creativity takes place.

3. The Fearlessness of the Bodhisattva-Path

The fearlessness of the Bodhisattva-path is espressed by Amoghasiddhi's gesture (abhaya mudra) and embodied by Maitreya, the Buddha to come, Who will reflect the qualities of Amoghasiddhi. This fearlessness does not shun suffering but vows from the liberated perspective to liberate all suffering beings in the world.


Blessings to all!