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Mark Foote

The Clear Light Dharmakaya Experience

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(A recent post on my own site, that I thought might provoke comment here.)

I wrote in a recent correspondence:
 

My practice is getting more interesting.  I think I mentioned that I took up meditation in the first place because I was unhappy with my mind—I didn’t seem to be able to avoid a tendency to carry on thinking, past when the thoughts were fresh.  Now I see that I can turn my attention to my location, to that singularity in the location of awareness that acts in the movement of breath without the exercise of will, and from there find relaxation and calm until the thoughts come fresh again.

 

The weird thing is, friends now mention to me that they experience some of the same dissatisfaction with their minds.

 

I feel at a total loss to help these friends, who don’t sit.  Just thinking doesn’t touch it, so even my best explanation is not likely to be helpful, but maybe I can be a better example of my own medicine.

 

A friend sent me the last part of this:

 

Normally consciousness relies on all the bodily elements as its basis. During the death process, however, the elements as bases progressively fail and consciousness relies on less and less of them. This is what experiences the Clear Light of death and passes into the in-between or “bardo” state and on into your next rebirth. Thus meditation on the mind with no object is similar to the tantric ones of taking the Dharmakaya as a pathway for death, in which you simulate in meditation the dissolution process of death and focus finally on the space-like mind itself in the Dharmakaya Clear Light experience.

 

Meditation on no object should not be confused with blank-mindedness in which you are completely dull as if in a stupor or a faint. It is extremely alert, mindful and clear, but as in the Clear Light death meditations, without any object or thoughts. (1)

 

In the dissolution process of the bodily elements as outlined previously, consciousness progressively relies on less elements [dissolution of the elements and three subsequent stages of creative energies are described].  After this comes the Clear Light Dharmakaya experience which can be had at death, falling asleep, fainting or in advanced tantric meditations. (2)

 

The Clear Light Dharmakaya experience, which can be had at falling asleep.  My friend sent this to me because he remembered I had written something about falling asleep.

 

I wrote in Waking Up and Falling Asleep about the way awareness moves in the body at the moment of falling asleep.  That may or may not be the same thing as experience of “the space-like mind itself”, though I suspect from the description that it is.

 



1) “The Mahamudra:  Eliminating the Darkness of Ignorance”, Wang Chug Dor-je, Alexander Berzin, Beru Khyentze Rinpoche; p. 51-52; commentary by Beru Khyentze Rinpoche on a 16th century C.E. text by the head of the largest sub-school of the four major Tibetan schools of Buddhism.
2) Ibid, p. 142

Edited by Mark Foote

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