Intuition defined by Bucky, St. Fuller.

Meditations on the Nature of Reality both Real and Virtual; Technological and Neurological. Exploring the Synergetic Union of Science, Geometry, Spirit and Art. This is the Interface where Digital meets Analog; Rationality meets Intuition.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Untie the Knots of False Knowledge to Release the Infinite Energy of the Void

In this post I will talk about how to untie knots of false knowledge and the benefits that this will bring us.
An explosion is the sudden release of energy. This is similar to Satori, or sudden Enlightenment. Explosives development consists of discovering how to untie a myriad of complex knots of ever decreasing size with ever increasing rapidity. Tie a knot to bind energy. Untie a knot to release energy.
Discover a molecular (chemical) knot that can be unravelled in a flash and you have a powerful explosive. Invent a way to untie the knot that binds the nucleus of atoms in a split second and an explosion millions of times greater results. In this post I explore how to untie the knot that forms the very fabric of energy-mass to in order to free the binds of false knowledge and gain Enlightenment.It is interesting to note that the “Auspicious Knot” is one of the eight traditional symbols of Buddhism. Also called Shrivatsa, or the endless knot. It represents the Buddha’s heart, the essence of which is bodhicitta, (“awakened mind” or, universal compassion).
Auspicious Knot

From Buckminster Fuller’s Synergetics (section 505 Pattern), Bucky uses the knot metaphor to help us understand how atoms are held together:

505.21 Each of the chemical elements is a uniquely complex pattern of energy event interrelatednesses which interact inter-interferingly to continually relocalize the involved quantity of energy. These self-interference patterns of atomic element components are in many ways similar to the family of knots that are tied with rope by sailors to produce various local behaviors, all of which, however, result in further contraction of the knot as the two ends of the rope immediately outside the knot are pulled away from one another by forces external to the knot__and thus all the attractive forces of Universe operating upon the atoms may result precessionally in keeping the atomic knots pulled together. (See Sec.506.14.)
Synergetics Fig. 505.41 Involution and Evolution
Copyright © 1997 Estate of R. Buckminster Fuller

In Synergetics section 506 Knot, Bucky further explains how the energy-mass pattern knot is self-tightening, or self-interfering. Bucky explains that the Yin-Yang diagram is actually the minimum tetrahedron knot.

506.14 Pulling on the two ends of the knotted rope causes the knot to contract. This is a form of interference wave where the wave comes back on itself, and as a consequence of any tension in it, the knot gets tighter. This is one of the ways in which the energy-mass patterns begin to tighten up. It is self-tightening. This is the essence of “matter” as a consequence of two circles of 720 degrees tending to annihilate or lose one’s self. Tetrahedron creates an insideness. Knot attempts to annihilate it. The knot is a tetrahedron or a complex of tetrahedra. Yin-Yang is a picture of a minimum tetrahedron knot interference tying. (See Sec. 505.21.)

In the Shurangama Sutra, Volume 5, Part One the Buddha uses the knot metaphor. He provides instruction to his disciple Ananda on how to gain Enlightenment by removing the knots of the six sense-organs which are the root cause of defiling appearance (illusory existence). Following are some selected excerpts from the Sutra. The reader is highly encouraged to read the entire Sutra to gain immeasurable insight on how to obtain liberation.

Ananda, consider someone who wants to untie a knot. If he can’t see where the knot is, how can he untie it? But I have never heard of anyone unbinding empty space. Why not? Because emptiness has no form of appearance; and so there are no knots to untie. But now your visible eyes, ears, nose, and tongue, as well as your body and mind are like six thieving matchmakers who plunder the jewels of your own household. And, thus, from beginningless time, because beings and the temporal and spatial world, have been bound up together, beings are unable to transcend the material world.

Therefore, Ananda, you can select whichever one of the six sense-organs you wish. If the knots of the sense-organs are removed, then the defiling appearance disappear of themselves. All falseness ceases to be.

Ananda, consider someone who wants to untie a knot. If he can’t see where the knot is, how can he untie it? But I have never heard of anyone unbinding empty space. Why not? Because emptiness has no form of appearance; and so there are no knots to untie. But now your visible eyes, ears, nose, and tongue, as well as your body and mind are like six thieving matchmakers who plunder the jewels of your own household. And, thus, from beginningless time, because beings and the temporal and spatial world, have been bound up together, beings are unable to transcend the material world.

Ananda said to the Buddha, “World Honored One, although the Tathagata has explained this second absolute, as I now regard someone who wants to untie a knot, if he cannot find its center, he will never get the knot undone. World Honored One, I and all other Hearers in the great assembly who are not beyond study are the same way. From time without beginning we have been accompanied in birth and death by ignorance. We have obtained these good roots of erudition and are said to have left the home life, yet in fact we act like someone with recurrent malaria. I only hope, Greatly Compassionate One, that you will take pity on us who are sinking and drowning. What are the knots in our body and mind and how do we untie them? Your explanation will also enable future beings who are in suffering and difficulty to avoid the cycle of rebirth and keep them from falling into the three realms of existence.”

Good indeed, Ananda! You wish to recognize your innate ignorance that causes you to turn on the wheel. The origin of the knot of birth and death is simply your six sense-organs and nothing else. You also want to understand unsurpassed Bodhi, so that you can quickly realize bliss, liberation, tranquility, and wonderful permanence. It, too, is your six sense-organs and nothing else.

Here is a little poem I wrote to summarize this teaching:
Cut the Root of the Tree of False Knowledge
By Karma Lodro Gyaltsen
Infinite energy of the Void tied in knots by limited perception,
False knowledge derived from finite, bounded definitions.
We may argue and dispute the facts, I pull
At the definition from one end, you pull
From the other end, however, the knot
Of conceptuality grows ever tighter.
Apply wisdom to untie the knots
Cut the root of the false tree
of knowledge.
Infinite energy
From within.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Emotion Versus Intuition

In my previous post I talk about how the 120 LCD Spherical Triangle diagram of Synergetics was intuitively derived by the mind of the great architect Buckminster Fuller through a study of the geometric relationships of icosahedron spin properties. I also examine how the Becker-Hagens Grid puts a pseudoscientific “spin” on these very same diagrams. I said that the 120 LCD Spherical Triangle model of Synergetics was intuitively derived, but the Becker-Hagens UVG 120 sphere was emotionally derived.
In this post I would like to elaborate on the difference between “emotionally derived” and “intuitively derived.” Let us begin by reviewing the Synergetics definition of intuition in section 500.00 Conceptuality:
529.32   Intuition derives from the approximate instantaneity of intellect, which is much faster than any physical phenomenon like the brain lags. Intuition is the absolute- velocity insistence of the intellect upon the laggingly reflexed brain to call its attention to significance of various special-case, brain-registered, experience relationships. Intuition is intellect coming instantly in at highest speed into dominance over lower-speed, lagging brain reflexing.

The benefit of LEARNING is that once a teaching becomes a brain reflex, this allows an entirely new level of INTUITION to occur instantly. The rational route is through the lower-speed travel across the rough terrain of the thinking process. After this terrain is crossed repeatedly, bridges are constructed. Intuition crosses the bridge over the rough terrain to travel with high-speed connectivity between previous landmarks of our mapped experience. By broadening our consideration set across a wide range of special case experiences, we enable the absolute-velocity intellect to find patterns of connectivity within the map. Intuition will use the map to empower intellect to discover new generalized principles of Universe.

Triacon 3D Visualization
Copyright by Thomas J. Greenbaum

Rotation and spin is how the Universe creates seemingly complex systems from very simple relationships. I created an online Triacon program using the Processing language that uses spin relationships to create a 3D rhombic triacontahedron on screen.  The programming code actually takes a single golden rhombus and spins it and rotates it 30 times to create the entire model. See:

Create experience maps based only on rational, intellectually-derived truthful relationships, then all your INTUITIONS will be inspired revelations of Universal Law.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Spin and the 120 LCD Spherical Triangle of Synergetics

In my previous post “Planetary Energetic Grid Theory” I talk about how various New Age philosophers have used the mathematically proven geometries from Buckminster Fuller’s Synergetics to further their own pseudoscientific theories. I would like to delve a little deeper into this issue and point out the difference between New Age pseudoscience and real science.
I encourage the reader to review Synergetics section 901.00 Basic Disequilibrium LCD Triangle for an explanation of the relevance of the 120 LCD spherical triangle geometry to the modelability of nature’s structures. Buckminster Fuller discovered these geometries as being generalized operational principles of Universe evident in natural structures. These structures appear on all scales from the micro-cosmic icosahedral protein capsid of a virus to the macro-cosmic spiral arm of a galaxy.

901.02 The Basic Disequilibrium 120 LCD Spherical Triangle of synergetics is derived from the 15-great-circle, symmetric, three-way grid of the spherical icosahedron. It is the lowest common denominator of a sphere’s surface, being precisely 1/120th of that surface as described by the icosahedron’s 15 great circles. The trigonometric data for the Basic Disequilibrium LCD Triangle includes the data for the entire sphere and is the basis of all geodesic dome calculations. (See Sec.612.00.)

See the website of R.W. Gray Projects on Great Circle and LCD Triangle Info for a very complete explanation of Bucky’s concept of how the great circles are defined by spinning the polyhedron about an axis. He explains in great detail the derivation of the LCD Spherical Triangles and provides corrected tables of angles.

Image with Becker-Hagens copyright but contains diagrams from Synergetics

Note how the completely rational and mathematically derived 120 LCD Spherical Triangle model of Synergetics is compared in stark contrast to the plagiarized and emotionally derived UVG 120 Sphere by Becker-Hagens. It is interesting to see how Becker-Hagens copied exactly the drawings from Bucky straight out of Synergetics and added their own copyright to them. See “Illustration 17 – Planetary Grid Projection” compare with “Fig. 986.405 Respective Subdivision of Rhombic Dodecahedron (A) and Rhombic Triacontahedron

Synergetics Fig. 986.405 Copyright © 1997 Estate of R. Buckminster Fuller
We all realize that the images of geometric forms discovered by Bucky’s brilliant and extraordinarily disciplined mind are potent in their beauty and resonate on many levels of the psyche due to their intuitive connection to the coordinate system of Universe. The lesson here is that we need to be careful that these images do not become symbols and signs of a new religion which removes the images from their rightful place at the heart of the Design Science Revolution.Geometry is a true science that can lead humanity to innovations which use less resources to accomplish more benefit for Humanity. The magic and mystery resides in the ability of the Human mind to derive the generalized operating principles of Universe from experience and observation. However, the geometric images in of themselves do not possess magical properties to divine the source of etheric energies beyond that of inspiring within the seer the motivation to use their own internal creative energies for the betterment of the planet.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Planetary Energetic Grid Theory

The concept of etheric energy lines or “ley lines” encircling the Earth is attributed to New Age beliefs. The Wikipedia article on ley lines says:

The believers in ley lines think that the lines and their intersection points resonate a special psychic or mystical energy. Ascribing such characteristics to ley lines has led to the term being classified as pseudoscience.

I bring up this idea of ley lines because I find it fascinating that there are websites devoted to a “serious” examination of various Planetary Energetic Grid Theories and almost all of them have used the spherical geometric constructions invented by Buckminster Fuller as the basis of their grids. Many websites have used Bucky’s images without attribution which is not ethical. However, some New Age writers do give Bucky credit for their application of a spherical coordinate system to their grid system.
For example, search the web for “Becker-Hagens Grid” and you will find that there are many websites which mention this New Age theory. A website by Bethe Hagens writes extensively on this theory. She says on the website:

“This is the same form that was used by R. Buckminster Fuller for his domes and in our research, we have called it the Unified Vector Geometry (UVG) 120 Sphere. We consider it the key component in our proposed “new synthesis” of planetary grid research.”
Synergetics Color Plate # 30.
Copyright © 1997 Estate of R. Buckminster Fuller

See Synergetics Fig. 987.132E Composite of Primary and Secondary Icosahedron Great Circle Sets and the beautiful color version of this diagram in Color Plate 30. Also, the Becker-Hagens BASIC TRIANGLE Unified Vector Geometry (UVG) is identical to Bucky’s Synergetics Fig. 987.132F Net Diagram of Angles and Edges for Basic Disequilibrium 120 LCD Triangle

Also, on this web page is a discussion of the rhombic triacontahedron used as the basis for an “EarthStar” map.

“The geometry of EarthStar is the rhombic triacontahedron projection method developed by R. Buckminster Fuller.”

The Vortex Maps website offers the unique triacontahedron “EarthStar” map of the Earth.

The rhombic triacontahedron is exactly the same geometry for which I have created the Triacon visualization application and upon which I use as an aid in creating some of my fused glass art pieces.

30 Transcendent Virtues
Fused glass art by Thomas J. Greebaum
Based on rhombic triacontahedron

At the Crystal Links website there is a drawing of the Earth with a superimposed spherical icosahedron and the multitude of spin lines identical to what Bucky published in Synergetics. The Crystal Worlds website has a very similar image of the Earth Globe with superimposed icosahedron lines.

It is a small world after all, why not cover it in a spherical icosahedron grid?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

GRUNCH of Giants

I wanted to share with you some words from Buckminster Fuller which I feel are extremely pertinent to today’s world financial crisis. The words are from the book Grunch of Giants by Buckminster Fuller. The book is a ‘sequel’ to Bucky’s Critical Path. The title of the book includes the word GRUNCH which is Fuller’s acronym for:
GRoss Universal Cash Heist
Written in the 1980’s in allegorical form, this serious satire about the rise of multi-national corporations, capitalistic selfishness and the technological revolution emphasizes that our present economic system, and the theories on which it is based are no longer useful because of its false assumption of scarcity.
Following is the quote from the book,

Buckminster Fuller on economic turmoil and social revolution

An excerpt from Grunch of Giants by R. Buckminster Fuller:

Greater justice and economic improvement for the many is not always the result of social revolution. The Europeans’ guns overwhelming of the American Indian bow-and-arrow weapons was in most ways a retrogressive social revolution implemented by design-science revolution. It is always the design revolution that tips the social scales one way or the other. However, sum totally the combined design and social revolutions ultimately favor the many. Between 1900 and today, 60 percent of humans in the U.S.A. have attained a standard of living far in advance of those of the greatest potentates of 1900 while concurrently doubling the life-span of that fortunate 60 percent.Never before in all history have the inequities and the momentums of unthinking money-power been more glaringly evident to so vastly large a number of now literate, competent, and constructively thinking all-around-the-world humans. There’s a soon-to-occur critical-mass moment when the intuition of the responsibly inspired majority of humanity, in contradistinction to the angered Luddites and avenging Robin Hoods, faced with comprehensive functional discontinuity of nationally contained techno-economic system, will call for and accomplish a world-around reorientation of our planetary affairs. At this critical moment will occur a realization by the responsibly inspired majority that the adequate capacity of the invisible technology to sustainingly support all humanity depends on all the resources, physical and metaphysical, being always and only employed for all of world-around humanity as a completely integrated techno-economic system operating entirely on its daily income principally of Sun-emanating energy.
You can read Grunch of Giants on the website or purchase it from the Buckminster Fuller Institute online store.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Language of Emptiness

In my previous post “The Deliberately Non-Straight Path” I mentioned the teaching of Progressive Stages of Meditation on Emptiness because that is the most profound teaching of the Buddhist idea of Emptiness (Shunyata) that I know of. The Teaching utilizes the approach of leading the student through a review of the different schools of Buddhism. It leads us on a journey to go beyond our illusion and false views of reality. We realize that over time, scholars of Buddhist philosophy have progressively evolved and refined their understanding of Emptiness. In this way, the student can themselves evolve their own understanding.

The Teaching is at the same time profound and straightforward. Because the subject is so incredibly difficult to put into words, the method of the teaching utilizes a variety of metaphors comparing our experience of reality to dreams. However, this teaching is not for everyone.
When I received the empowerment from the Venerable Khenpo Tsultrum Gyamtso Rinpoche for the Teaching of Progressive Stages of Meditation on Emptiness it was up in Woodstock at the Karma Triyana Dharmachakra Monastery. I remember Rinpoche holding up a flower, declaring to the students sitting on cushions in the main shrine room, “This flower is an illusion, it is empty of self.”
A woman student was visibly shaken by this declaration that the flower is an illusion. She objected. She got up and started arguing with Rinpoche. “How can you say it is an illusion?” she said defiantly. “I can see you holding it in your hand. We can all see it in your hand. It is REAL.”
Obviously, she was not ready for the teaching. She was confused and upset. She got up and left the shrine room and did not return.
In the Heart Sūtra also referred to as the Prajñāpāramitā, or “Perfection of Wisdom,” the Buddha teaches:

All conditioned phenomena

Are like dreams, illusions, bubbles, or shadows;

Like drops of dew, or flashes of lightning;

Thusly should they be contemplated.

The mantra given in the Prajñāpāramitā is:

gate gate pāragate pārasamgate bodhi svāhā

“gone gone, gone beyond, gone altogether beyond, O what an awakening, all hail!”

What do you think “gone beyond” means? Here are some of my thoughts about going beyond.
I have been a student of the physical sciences my entire life. By the time I graduated High School I had exhausted all of the High School math, science, chemistry and physics courses including the Advanced Placement courses and had moved on to Independent Study courses at a college level. My first two years in college I was a physics major and took some pretty serious math, science and engineering courses. I completed 4 semesters of calculus.
I mention this because this because all of this academic experience has all been Grist for the Mill. I can tell you with utmost confidence in my experience that science has discovered no physical objects.The little swirling whirlpool on the downstream side of a boulder in a stream appears to be a thing. It seems to have an identity; an existence. We might describe it as a system. It has insideness and outsideness. It has structure. However, it does not exist separately from the stream of water. It is empty of self.
Whirlpool Galaxy (M51), image from Hubble Space Telescope

Science has powerful instruments that extend our senses into realms of the incredibly small and highly energetic. We have poked and prodded matter and energy and have found no particle, no system, no energy, no fabric of time and space that is indivisible, eternal, unchanging, substantive, or objective. All observed scientific phenomena are empty of self.

Science has “gone beyond,” way beyond, and can find no objective reality. So-called solid matter has been found to be composed of molecules. Molecules are composed of atoms. Atoms are broken down into sub-atomic particles. Sub-atomic particles decomposed into quarks. Quarks are made of strings …. ad infinitum. There is no theoretical limit to this reductio ad absurdum search for a fundamental “thing” that makes up physical reality.
What the heck is a string? No one really knows. A string is mathematical object, it is not an object that can be directly observed, and yet science says this is the stuff that all of reality is made of. Strings are a set of mathematical theories and constructs understood by a handful of people on the planet and they cannot even agree on the mathematics.
Physical reality is now ruled by mathematicians. Mathematics is imaginary, it exists completely in the realm of abstract mental phenomena. The most fundamental description of physical experience is mathematical, abstract, non-substantive, existing only in the minds of an elite few.
Every time that science has poked and prodded what appears to be a physically solid “thing” it comes apart into ethereal sub-components. As science continues its journey trying to understand and define what matter and energy is, it keeps “going beyond” and discovering that there are no things that independently exist. What appeared to be a thing is an illusion, a temporary holding pattern of yet finer things in orbit about each other, which themselves are holding patterns of even finer things, etc., etc. Science has discovered no-thingness.
Science has sensed and mathematically described trajectories and orbits, spins and vibration. But science has found no things that move, orbit, spin and vibrate. Because every time that science has tried to describe the things that move, orbit, spin and vibrate, it discovers only more movement, orbits, spins and vibration existing on a smaller, micro-cosmic scale of experience.
Experience is based on information gathered via the senses. Patterns arise in from these experiences and form is perceived, along with other concepts such as symmetry, order and beauty. Abstract thought and language together structure experience. This structuring of experience is a mental activity.
Reality is a mental projection, similar to a movie projection. Individual experiences are projected onto a mental image of what appears to be a continuity of experience. This is similar to the rapidly displayed frames of a movie which the visual sense assembles into the illusion of continuous movement. However, continuity of experience is an illusion. The flow of time is an illusion.
All that is known about reality is what is sensed and conceived and felt and remembered at this very moment. Memories presents the illusion of the past, but the past does not exist “beyond” our memory. The past is an illusion.
The future is a mental construct of imagined events and experience based on projected patterns of memories and feelings and thought. The sun is imagined to rise tomorrow. All sorts of events and activities are projected to occur in the future based on memories and thoughts and concepts that occur only in this moment. However, tomorrow never comes. It is always today. It is always this moment. There is nothing “beyond” this moment that is not an illusion; an imaginary mental construct.

Even though I talk of God, I actually do not believe in God as most people do. I do not differentiate between the Mind of God and a Personal Mind.

The idea that all experience is mental phenomena (consciousness-only) is the position of the Yogācāra school of Buddhism. This is talked about extensively in Progressive Stages of Meditation on Emptiness. There is no experience that is not a mental event.
In my view (not necessarily any Buddhist teaching). There is no differentiation between mental realms, other selves, gods, deities, etc. The Mind of God is an illusion; a projection. The minds of deities, gods, and other selves are imaginary as well. All these projections of separately existing minds exist within the discontinuous experience of mind. There is not one mind, there are not many minds, there is only mind.
There is experience. Experience is experience, there is no “going beyond” that. I am that which I am. YHVH. Suchness. Tathagata.
The realization of this simple truth has brought me “beyond” the false belief in imaginary projections. Reality is like a dream that is realized to be a dream only after we wake up. While in the dream, the experience of the dream is very real. However, when we awake from the dream we review the memory of the dream and know it to be an illusion; only existing as a mental phenomena.
Perhaps some day in the future I will awake from this dream. But, there is no future, so I should be awake at this moment.
Beyond, beyond, beyond that beyond, the great beyond, awaken, rejoice!

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Spiral Tetrahedron and Tetrahelix

Bucky wrote extensively on the significance of the tetrahelix. He described how the tetrahedron is the union of a left-handed and right-handed spiral triangle.
Bucky thought that the backbone of DNA is a tetrahelix. I created several images based on the tetrahelix in which I placed human figures.

See Synergetics section 930.00 Tetrahelix. A wonderful photo of a model of the tetrahix from Synergetics illustrates the geometry.

The marvelous web page of R.W. Gray Projects on TETRAHELIX DATA contains beautiful spinning tetrahelix animations and perhaps the best explanation of the properties of the tetrahelix.

Six Short Points on Mahamudra

Mahamudra is a powerful teaching called the Great Seal. It is instruction on Emptiness.
Tilopa was a great Tibetan Buddhist saint of the Kagyu lineage. He gave six short points of advice to his disciple Naropa (another great Tibetan Buddhist saint) regarding Mahamudra:
  1. Don’t recall (Let go of what has passed)
  2. Don’t imagine (Let go of what may come)
  3. Don’t think (Let go of what is happening now)
  4. Don’t examine (Don’t try to figure anything out)
  5. Don’t control (Don’t try to make anything happen)
  6. Rest (Relax, right now, and rest)
Buddha’s White Hat (12-27-2010)

Friday, January 07, 2011

The Deliberately Non-Straight Path

Buddhism consists of a vast number of lineages branching outward like an enormous fractal. It is a dynamic, constantly changing landscape of teachers, students and philosophies that have grown and changed over time. Every new student and teacher adds their experience and understanding to the path. Numerous cultures have contributed to the color and form of the practices. This is the strength and merit of Sangha. This is the evolving nature of Dharma.

Buddhism is not a static dogma written in stone at some ancient point in time by a single teacher and then passed on in memorized, route fashion from teacher to student down the ages. Students are not taught to blindly follow a predetermined map to travel from our land of confusion to the Pure Land. We travel together towards of goal of mutual fulfillment and benefit.
As I stated previously, everyone has their own dream that they must awake from. Our dream is our personal mythology filled with our own metaphors, signs and symbols. We can utilize the metaphors, signs and symbols from other person’s mythologies and from shared religious mythologies, but ultimately, we must awaken ourselves. This is the nature of Buddha within.
The very profound point of the teaching Progressive Stages of Meditation on Emptiness as instructed by the Venerable Khenpo Tsultrim Gyamtso Rinpoche is that the Buddhist understanding of Emptiness has progressed through several stages over time. Buddhist thought regarding Emptiness was not the same at the time of the historic Buddha Shakyamuni as it is today. In addition, today there exist numerous Buddhist schools with differing views all over the world. All these different schools and lineages offer a huge diversity of approaches. None of these schools are static, they are all in a constant state of change. This is the precision of the deliberately non-straight line.

From Synergetics Fig. 522.09

We do not have the option of blindly following predetermined paths mapped by any particular lineage. The idea of an external path is an illusion. Path is only a word, a metaphor, for something that happens inside us. How can there be an external path leading to a Pure Land located in some distant realm, if we accept the statement by the Buddha that samsara and nirvana are one?

Geshe Kelsang Gyatso says about the Fourth Noble Truth, the Truth of the Path:

In this context, ‘path’ does not mean an external path that leads from one place to another, but an inner path, a spiritual path that leads to the pure happiness of liberation and enlightenment

Can you see the possibility of the Pure Realm existing here, in this very moment?

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Mantra for Rebirth in the Pure Land

In my previous post “How To Reach a Pure Land” I mentioned that I received the empowerment and training for the Tibetan Buddhist Pure Land practices or Phowa.  In this post I would like to provide a high-level overview of the practice of reciting mantra in order to attain rebirth in the Pure Land. I strongly encourage anyone seeking to practice the mantra to obtain instruction and direct transmission (empowerment) from a qualified teacher before proceeding.
At the time of my training, I was taught:
Om ami dewa hri
However, I am very fond of the Indic form:
Om amitabha hrih
Amitabha, the Buddha of Immeasurable Light, is the center of a number of mantras in Tibetan Buddhist Vajrayana practices.
The Indic form of the mantra of Amitābha is o amitābha hrī, which is pronounced in its Tibetan version as om ami dewa hri, while the Sanskrit form is o amideva hrī
Buddha Amithaba in TibetanBuddhism, traditional Thanka painting
Very similar to one that I have hanging in my meditation room
The specific Tibetan Practice that I received the empowerment for is called Phowa 
Phowa (also spelled Powa or Poa phonetically) is a Tibetan term for a Buddhist meditation practice that may be translated as the “practice of conscious dying”, “transference of consciousness at the time of death” or “mindstream transference”.
The method of mind-transference, or “enlightenment without meditation” as it is often called, can be applied at the moment of one’s death with the objective of taking birth in the buddha-field of one’s choice, i.e., Sukhāvatī, Abhirati, Ghanavyūha, Aṭakāvatī, Mount Potala, the Copper-Colored Mountain, Tuṣita, etc.
I was taught the mantra and visualization for rebirth in the Pure Land of the Buddha Amitabha, called Sukhāvatī.
A wonderful Phowa teaching available on the web is Teachings on Phowa, by H.E. Lingtrul Rinpoche
There is an entire category of Buddhism called Pure Land Buddhism. In Southeast Asia and Japan, recitation of the mantra, also referred to as praises to the Buddha Amitabha, are believed to be all that is necessary to attain the Pure Land after death. These praises are called Nembutsu or Nianfo.
Nianfo (Chinese: nianfo; Japanese: nembutsu; Korean: yeombul; Vietnamese: niệm Phật), literally “mindfulness of the Buddha” is a term commonly seen in the Pure Land school of Mahayāna Buddhism. It refers to praise offered to Amitabha Buddha as a devotional act. The original Sanskrit phrase would have been Namo Amitabhaya Buddhaya, which can mean either “I trust in the Buddha of Immeasurable Light” or simply “Homage to the Buddha of Immeasurable Light”.
The reason that we rely on devotion to Amitābha Buddha to obtain rebirth in the Pure Land is mentioned in the Pure Land Buddhism Wikipedia article:
One basic Mahayana Pure Land concept is that Nirvana (liberation, awakening, salvation) has become increasingly difficult to attain, and that only through devotion to Amitābha Buddha and looking towards Amida Buddha for guidance can one be reborn in the Pure Land, a perfect realm in which enlightenment is guaranteed.

How To Reach A Pure Land

If you have read my previous post “In What I Can Trust” you will appreciate that for me, lineage is important. Also, in previous posts I talk about the importance of “Discontinuity.” In this post I talk about the importance of “Continuity.”
I entered into the path of the Karma Kagyu lineage of Tibetan Buddhism in the early 1980’s when I took as my teacher the great vajrayana master, Khenpo Kharthar Rinpoche, Abbot of Karma Triyana Dharmachakra Monastery in Woodstock, New York. In my early years as a student I was very active in the Buddhist community; I co-founded the Karma Thegsum Choling mediation center in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Today, I am not active in the community but I still practice meditation and study regularly. Although I have not seen Rinpoche in many years I still consider myself his student.
Lineage is important to me because I find great value in the teacher-student relationship. I have always striven to be a good student, and a good student requires a good teacher. One outcome of this relationship is that the student eventually takes over the position of his/her teacher. This cycle repeats itself and develops into a lineage. A simple concept really.
Of course, there are many different cultures, lineages, teachings and paths. You might ask, “Why dedicate yourself to one?” Or, perhaps you might ask, “What is the ultimate goal of a lineage?” Does following the practices of a lineage lead one to a certain state of attainment?
In Buddhism, the idea of “states of attainment” also touches on the concept of Pure Lands and Pure Realms.
I have taken the empowerment for Phowa and took part in a meditation retreat to gain in-depth instruction and practice in Phowa. The Phowa practice is the transference of one’s mindstream to a Pure Land. It is usually performed at the moment of death. It allows one to skip the Bardo realm after death and pass directly into a Pure Land. I was instructed in the particular meditation of transference of mindstream to Buddha Amitabha’s Pure Land called Sukhavati. That is why I have a tangkha painting of Buddha Amitabha positioned prominently in front of me when I meditate. Therefore, I definitely have a specific goal of going to Sukhavati at the end of this life. After that, who knows? LOL
The core practice is however, to envision the Pure Realm in every moment and situation. This is the enlightened mind shining through into our everyday existence. The Buddha Shakyamuni said, “Nirvana and samsara are one.” Ultimately, there is no difference between pure and impure.
The illusory existence that Buddhism speaks of is the illusion that there is a difference between mundane and supra-mundane, between reality and Pure Realm, between obscuration and enlightenment. If we can break through this illusion we would realize that the Pure Realm is here and now; that there is no reality other than the Pure Realm.
Short of this ultimate awakening of realizing that the Pure Realm is the true reality of here and now, we dream about some day in the future traveling to a destination that is an imagined Pure Realm. We project the possibility of this awakening to another place and time. The paradox is that the enlightened mind realizes that there is no other place and no other time that is more pure than here and now.
Therefore the future attainment of a Pure Realm is an illusion. Breaking through this illusion is one of the challenges to Awakening.
Obviously we have not attained the Pure Realm completely at this moment. We have not dispelled all illusion and we have not attained ultimate awakening and enlightenment. So we might ask, “Then what do we do in the meantime as we work our way toward this ultimate state?” The answer is that we dream.
Joseph Campbell says that our dream is our personal myth. Each of us have developed our own personal myth and together, we have developed shared cultural myths. Significant personages throughout the ages have shared personal myths that were so highly developed and powerful in their metaphors and symbols that they have become world religions. Thus lineages have been formed.
Therefore, we come full circle back to the original discussion about lineages. My understanding is that a lineage is a mythology, a dream of a destination, shared by individuals seeking to awaken from the dream.
Until that moment when we fully awaken, we live in a dream of dreams, dreaming about a time and place when we awaken from our dream.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

In What Can I Trust

I have asked the same question over and over.
This has been my quest
Ever since I can remember,
I have asked, “In what can we trust?”
The Universe has responded with one answer.
Over and over and over again
The answer has always been Emptiness.
Although I did not have a word for it
Until I took Refuge in the Three Jewels
The answer has always been
I can trust the Clear Light of Emptiness and Bliss.
And because it was the Three Jewels
That taught me to see the Clear Light
Directly with my Wisdom Eye and
To achieve on rare occaisions the
Sambhogakāya – Body of Bliss,
I also trust in the Three Jewels.
And because it was my Guru,
The learned Vajra Master, Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche,
Abbot of Karma Triyana Dharmachakra Monastery,
My great and completely worthy spiritual friend,
That granted me refuge in the Three Jewels,
And bestowed upon me the name
Karma Lodrö Gyaltsen —
Victorious Banner of Intellect,
I also trust in my Guru.
And because it was the Karma Kagyu lineage
Of Tibetan Buddhism,
Which traces its origins to
Shakyamuni Buddha through Marpa the Great Translator,
An unbroken lineage headed by a succession of reincarnations
Of the incomparable Gyalwa Karmapa,
That brought to me the great Kagyu teacher,
My Guru, Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche,
I also trust in the Kagyu lineage.
And because it was Avolokiteshvara,
The Maha Boddhisattva,
Known in Tibet as Chenrezig,
That proclaimed the ultimate Dharma teaching,
The Prajna Paramita Sutra,
Which cleared my mindstream of any doubt
Of the truth of the Natural Great Perfection,
The Naked Awareness of Emptiness,
I also trust in Avolokiteshvara.
And because it was my Mentor,
The learned Vajra Master, Khenpo Tsultrum Gyamtso Rinpoche,
Who empowered me in an unbroken line of transmission,
From the Maha Yogi Padmasambhava,
With the unmatched teaching of
The Progressive Stages of Emptiness,
I also trust in my Mentor.
And because it was Shakyamuni Buddha
That turned the Wheel of Dharma three times,
Establishing the foundation of the path
To enlightenment in the current age,
With ultimate skillful teachings such as
The Four Noble Truths, and
The Eightfold Path,
Without which foundation,
The Clear Light of Emptiness
Would surely burn a hole in my meager consciousness,
I also trust in Shakyamuni Buddha.
And because it was the Yoga Sūtras of Patañjali
That has guided me in the ways of meditation,
The Eight-Limb Path,
Culminating in my attainment of Samadhi,
Including concentration on the Kurma Nadi,
Sustaining me in equanimity in the midst
Of this Dark Age of turmoil, and false gurus,
I also trust in the Yoga Sūtras of Patañjali.
And because it was the Dakini Vajrayogini,
The Highest Yoga Tantra Yidam,
The Dakini who is the Essence of all Buddhas,
That has protected me and
Saved me from death numerous times,
She knocks on doors and walls to guide my actions,
She directs my thoughts to create with sacred geometry,
She carries a curved drigug knife in her right hand
Displaying her power to cut the delusions and
Obstacles of her followers,
She drinks the nectar of blood from a skull cup in her left hand
Symbolizing her experience of the Clear Light of Emptiness and Bliss,
I also trust in the Dakini.
And because it was R. Buckminster Fuller
The Great Architect and Inventor,
Who discovered the coordinate system of Universe and
Shared his deep insight into the generalized principles of
Nature’s geometric systems in his book Synergetics, and
Who once heard a voice speak to him from the Void,
“You no longer require temporal attestation for your thoughts,”
I also trust in Bucky.

2 Triad Unities Coincide

Sunday, 9/19/2010

I wanted to share with you my revelation during Yom Kippur meditation. After a lengthy sitting meditation, in the style of Buddhist vipassana meditation, I got up from my pillow feeling very much at peace and having a great bliss buzz on. I ascended the stairs from my meditation room. On the way up a thought came to me, “The Jewish path is not my thing, I need to stick with Buddhism.” At that very moment I tripped a little and caught myself, but also bit my tongue a little. Very prophetic.So, I immediately repented that thought. I was sent a message to bite my tongue on that thought. I laughed inside; the Jewish path is as much a part of me as the Buddhist path. I am truly a JUBU (Jewish-Buddhist).The next thing that happened to me is that I had a revelation of how the two paths are joined. The topmost triangle of the Tree of Life in Kabbalah is the triad unity of God-Torah-Israel. The Three Jewels in Buddhism is the triad unity of Buddha-Dharma-Sangha. These two triangles overlap or coincide; they  describe a single being. This was a very profound moment for me.Perhaps it is my fascination with triangles that brought me to this revelation. But I am not the only one who had this revelation of a triad during Yom Kippur meditation. This evening I researched the God-Torah-Israel triad and discovered that the philosopher Franz Rosenzweig first wrote of this unity in a book “The Star of Redemption.” The book was inspired by a revelation he had while fighting in the trenches during World War I. He stumbled upon a synagogue in Berlin on Yom Kippur in 1913 and had the revelation of a triangle of unity; that God-Torah-Israel are a single being.Is it a coincidence that I had the same revelation on Yom Kippur? Is it coincidence that I saw the two triangles of God-Torah-Israel and Buddha-Dharma-Sangha overlapping to form an even greater unity on Yom Kippur? Are the two overlapping triangles the Star of David, or are they the double tetrahedron of the Dakini Vajrayogini?A JUBU in the Great Mystery
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