Path to full emptiness realisation & lightbody: Pragmatic Tantra resources

Path to full emptiness realisation & lightbody: Pragmatic Tantra resources Chris Protheroe 12/6/23 8:42 AM
RE: Path to full emptiness realisation & lightbody: Pragmatic Tantra resour Ni Nurta 12/6/23 8:42 AM
RE: Path to full emptiness realisation & lightbody: Pragmatic Tantra resour Chris M 12/6/23 8:43 AM
RE: Path to full emptiness realisation & lightbody: Pragmatic Tantra resour Jim Smith 12/6/23 4:08 PM
RE: Path to full emptiness realisation & lightbody: Pragmatic Tantra resour Chris Protheroe 12/6/23 5:41 PM
RE: Path to full emptiness realisation & lightbody: Pragmatic Tantra resour J W 12/6/23 5:05 PM
RE: Path to full emptiness realisation & lightbody: Pragmatic Tantra resour Chris Protheroe 12/6/23 6:28 PM
RE: Path to full emptiness realisation & lightbody: Pragmatic Tantra resour J W 12/6/23 5:11 PM
RE: Path to full emptiness realisation & lightbody: Pragmatic Tantra resour J W 12/6/23 5:37 PM
RE: Path to full emptiness realisation & lightbody: Pragmatic Tantra resour Jim Smith 12/6/23 6:29 PM
RE: Path to full emptiness realisation & lightbody: Pragmatic Tantra resour Chris Protheroe 12/6/23 6:54 PM
RE: Path to full emptiness realisation & lightbody: Pragmatic Tantra resour Jim Smith 12/6/23 10:17 PM
RE: Path to full emptiness realisation & lightbody: Pragmatic Tantra resour Chris Protheroe 12/7/23 7:29 AM
RE: Path to full emptiness realisation & lightbody: Pragmatic Tantra resour J W 12/6/23 6:56 PM
RE: Path to full emptiness realisation & lightbody: Pragmatic Tantra resour J W 12/6/23 10:56 PM
RE: Path to full emptiness realisation & lightbody: Pragmatic Tantra resour Jim Smith 12/6/23 10:02 PM
RE: Path to full emptiness realisation & lightbody: Pragmatic Tantra resour Adi Vader 12/7/23 8:11 AM
RE: Path to full emptiness realisation & lightbody: Pragmatic Tantra resour Chris M 12/7/23 8:16 AM
RE: Path to full emptiness realisation & lightbody: Pragmatic Tantra resour Chris Protheroe 12/7/23 11:17 AM
RE: Path to full emptiness realisation & lightbody: Pragmatic Tantra resour Ni Nurta 12/7/23 12:47 PM
RE: Path to full emptiness realisation & lightbody: Pragmatic Tantra resour Chris Protheroe 12/7/23 6:23 PM
RE: Path to full emptiness realisation & lightbody: Pragmatic Tantra resour Ni Nurta 12/7/23 10:41 AM
RE: Path to full emptiness realisation & lightbody: Pragmatic Tantra resour Jim Smith 12/7/23 2:44 PM
RE: Path to full emptiness realisation & lightbody: Pragmatic Tantra resour Chris Protheroe 12/7/23 6:21 PM
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Chris Protheroe, modified 4 Months ago at 12/6/23 8:42 AM
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Path to full emptiness realisation & lightbody: Pragmatic Tantra resources

Posts: 9 Join Date: 12/16/22 Recent Posts
Here I want to lay out the whole path, in brief, with a list of some [free to access] resources and also some interviews I’ve done with members of Amrita Mandala Sangha who’ve attained full emptiness realisation (first stage of Buddhahood). I will list these first, then describe the path, and follow this with a personal account of why I believe this to be a valid path.

Resources:

Book: ‘Buddhas Among Us’ - Accounts from Westerners who Attained Full Enlightenment

The following are interviews on the Lion-Faced Guru Podcast with Sangha members who have attained full emptiness realisation. All report being ‘done’, not a trace of self confusion remaining, and being completely stable in this recognition, all at the time of this writing for at least 1.5+ years. I have even contacted former sangha members (not interviewed here) who supposedly attained this recognition of their true nature, who reported to me they remain fully stable in this recognition. The interviews are not meant as anything other than down-to-earth discussions with ordinary people who have jobs and family life…

Shane

Ugi
Amrita Simha
Helena
Silvia
Robert
Amrita Baba Part 1
Amrita Baba Part 2
Discussion of the Lightbody

THE PATH…


Amrita Mandala
is a pragmatic path of Tantric Yoga founded by Amrita Baba, a Tertön (Tibetan. ‘treasure revealer’) who has revealed and synthesised teachings from past life memories and through communication with non-physical past masters (such as Guru Rinpoche, Babaji, etc.).

The path begins with the initial awakening using a very effective Vipashyana insight practise known as 'The Two-Part Formula'. It is a Sutric (non-Tantric) method, but it still creates an energetic charge of the “I-thought” meaning that one is much more able to observe ‘subject self’ (the “me” who I think I am) as opposed to most Vipashyana practises which simply look at 'object self’ (thoughts, emotions, feelings, etc.) Or if they do look back at 'subject self’, there is not much to see because the ‘subject self’ is so subtle and the master at hiding in plain sight. See the link above for written instructions.

According to the ‘13 Bhumi Model’ this initial awakening is the opening of the first bhumi (translated as ‘ground of being’) equivalent to stream entry. When the 13 bhumi chakras (subtle energy centres) are opened (13 stages of ‘awakening’) and perfected (10 stages of ‘purification’ and 3 stages of ‘activation’), one realises first stage of Buddahood - full emptiness realisation. Please see link above for further understanding.

The point of the 13 bhumi model is that these 13 subtle energy centres reside in the subtle energy body, and therefore we can look into these subtle energy centres by tuning into their frequency to see where we are (or where someone else is) on the path and see what remains, and so becomes a very useful tool to understand whether our practise is progressing or not.

The main tantric practise for opening and perfecting the 13 bhumis is known as ‘Rainbow Body Yoga’. It represents the path of ‘wisdom and clarity’ which leads to perfect clarity of mind, i.e. emptiness realisation: the purification of the whole of the nadi system (the subtle energy body that contains karmas of the mind).

However the ultimate realisation of full Rainbow Body, or Body of Immortality, has not yet been achieved. This is because there is a second subtle energy system known as the meridian system which is much more closely related to the physical tissues of the body. Most traumas get stored within this system. One may realise the emptiness of all phenomena, and yet karmic ‘echos’ are still experienced from the physical body. The main practise for purifying the meridian system is ‘Amrita Kriya Yoga’.

There are many supplementary practises and techniques, but ‘Rainbow Body Yoga’ and ‘Amrita Kriya Yoga’ are the main two sets of methods that lead to full emptiness realisation and full Rainbow Body. As of writing 20 sangha members have attained full emptiness realisation, but full Rainbow Body remains a hypothesis for us.

Personal account and opinion…


I realise there is some history between this forum and Amrita Mandala Sangha (formerly known as Pemako Sangha, and before that Open Heart Sangha). There was some necessary critical discussion, and plenty of cynicism, and I read through many of the comments at the time I joined in 2019, and the reaction was all understandable because the path sounds outrageous. If something sounds outrageous, then it might mean that it’s unlikely to be true, but it doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s not true. I saw lots of fancy theories, but no reasonable argument as to why it couldn’t possibly be true, so I figured I would investigate for myself.

The Two-Part Formula seemed to wake me up, but I certainly wasn’t convinced. Post-awakening terrain was nothing like I thought it would be. It was like a volcano of emotions erupted, like a suppression valve was released. I will say that Daniel Ingram’s MCTB has been invaluable to my path, in navigating and understanding the cycles, stages, and dark nights.

Four years later and I am much more convinced, but admittedly this path remains a hypothesis to me, as I have yet to reach full emptiness realisation. However, I am quite certain I am in the stage of “one taste”…clearly no observer or witness remains; thoughts, emotions, feelings cease to be objectified in anyway. All simply remains as an ever unfolding sensate experience with nothing tangible to grasp on to. Clarity is vastly different to how it was.

(When I say ‘one taste’ I am mainly referring to Tsele Natsok Rangdrol’s description of the 13 Bhumi model and Mahamudra five path, which relates to perfection of 6th bhumi onwards. Currently I believe I’ve perfected 8 bhumis. Once we have purified (perfected) the 10 karmic bhumis, we have reached full emptiness realisation, first stage of Buddhahood. 11-13th bhumis are karmic free, and represent different qualities of Sambhogakaya which require ‘activating’.)

When I read Daniel Ingram’s description of fourth path, this is [almost] exactly how it is. Except that there is still this nagging sense of not being ‘done'. So you could liken this to ‘3rd path’ in Ingram’s description. Except in general I would say that everything IS immediately experienced, unless I’m in a really thick dark night. There are still plenty of cycles and intense emotions continuing. I attribute this not being done-ness to the effect of the Tantric charge on the aura, it kind of feels like being in a pressurised bubble. Before the Tantric charge, it is like the mist is so fine and evenly distributed it remains unnoticeable. The Tantric pressure ‘distorts’ the charge making it recognisable as this thin veil of illusion that remains. I still experience strong energetic tensions behind and around the eyes and head. One notices, particularly during the dark night cycles which still happen, that something is still ‘off’, doesn’t feel right. My experience of this is rather existential [dread]. So I am definitely not ‘done’ yet.

One of the reasons often not considered of why Tantra is so effective is because the illusion of the ‘selfing mechanism’ (that which convinces us we are a solid, separate, substantially self-existing entity) is mainly created by an energetic charge that distorts our view, and gives the appearance of solidity and separateness. It warps our view of reality, separating subject and object, giving the impression that there is a ‘me’ at the centre of our awareness.
Tantra charges the 'selfing mechanism’, shaking it up as it were, making it much more viscerally visible - the gross and subtle energies within the space of the body, and the subtlest sense of self in the alaya vijñana (substrate consciousness / aura), the latter of which seems to go unnoticed with Sutric (non-Tantric) methods (just my opinion).

Most Vipashyana practises are looking at ‘object' self: thoughts, emotions, energetics, etc. However ‘subject’ self is the root of our delusion. When we say “I am angry”, the anger exists because of the belief in “I” - the subject self. Even if regular Vipashyana tries to look back at ‘subject’ self, there is nothing much to see. Tantra creates an energetic charge of the ‘selfing mechanism’, usually felt as dense energetic charge around the head or behind the eyes for example, or a sense of ‘pressure’ throughout the whole system, which means that it becomes much more obvious, and the illusion of ‘self’ unravels itself much more easily, in the light of awareness.

Tantra also helps reveal clarity of mind, revealing our Buddhanature, along with practises such as ‘dynamic concentration’ practises (such as short, sharp shouts, or physically contracting the body) that ‘punch’ a hole in the subtle layers of self-confusion in the alaya vijñana (the ‘fogginess’ of the mind) to reveal clarity.

From this place of clarity, by contrast, we are able to ‘see’ the ‘selfing mechanism’ easily (relatively speaking), and thus in the light of clear awareness the knots and layers of selfing unravel themselves.

Of course these are just partial explanations to instigate thought.

As a final note,
 I understand why people would outright reject the claims that this is a genuine path, and wish to criticise it. I also understand that people would want to protect others from following false paths or Gurus. Critique is absolutely essential on the path. But from my point of view it is also necessary to be open to the extraordinary, because just occasionally the extraordinary, that which is outside our current paradigm of thinking, does happen. Whilst I have yet to make a final conclusion myself of this path, I am being truthful when I say the change in clarity with which I see reality has shifted radically, and so there is not much reason left for me to consider that it isn’t all true.

So you must understand my motivation for this post: if this path is true, which to me it seems to be, then there is great benefit to it and people should know about it and consider investigating for themselves.

For the sake of all beings!
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Ni Nurta, modified 4 Months ago at 12/6/23 8:42 AM
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RE: Path to full emptiness realisation & lightbody: Pragmatic Tantra resour

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Oh no, spam bots attacked DhO again emoticon
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Chris M, modified 4 Months ago at 12/6/23 8:43 AM
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I've moved this thread to the appropriate message board category.
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Jim Smith, modified 4 Months ago at 12/6/23 4:08 PM
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RE: Path to full emptiness realisation & lightbody: Pragmatic Tantra resour

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Chris Protheroe
Here I want to lay out the whole path, in brief, with a list of some [free to access] resources and also some interviews I’ve done with members of Amrita Mandala Sangha who’ve attained full emptiness realisation (first stage of Buddhahood). I will list these first, then describe the path, and follow this with a personal account of why I believe this to be a valid path.

...


Thanks for posting this. I started reading The Buddhas Among US and found the Introduction very interesting. I practice qigong as well as Buddhist meditation and mindfulness and am very interested in exploring the connection between the subtle body and awakening. It is changing my understanding of both.
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J W, modified 4 Months ago at 12/6/23 5:05 PM
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RE: Path to full emptiness realisation & lightbody: Pragmatic Tantra resour

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i don't think anyone here is questioning (or ever has) the validity and effectiveness of the various Tibetan models (5 path, bhumi, etc). And there are plenty of resources available already for those who wish to learn about those paths.

personally, I do have many friends who follow devotional, or guru based practices and it sometimes seems to work well for them according to their karma (though for me, it definitely is not within mine).

I will probably not be engaging after this, at least for a while, as I'm on retreat and need to get back to practice.

but, let's just take a look at this 'lineage tree' for a moment:



A little bit weird to claim lineage directly from Jesus Christ and the entire 'mahasiddhi family' don't you think?

why would someone follow this when they can take a less risky approach of just follow more normal Tibetan teachings?

also, a bit weird to continue to hawk your teacher every few months, even that teacher changes names etc?

sorry to drop a grenade here, that is kind of the point though.

best wishes to your continued practice

John
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J W, modified 4 Months ago at 12/6/23 5:11 PM
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RE: Path to full emptiness realisation & lightbody: Pragmatic Tantra resour

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To add:

I truly hope it works out for you and you find the realization you are looking for.

​​​​​​​be careful. Please.
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J W, modified 4 Months ago at 12/6/23 5:37 PM
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RE: Path to full emptiness realisation & lightbody: Pragmatic Tantra resour

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And may you open to the reality that there are practitioners of many flavors, paths, and traditions here on the DhO, many who have achieved tremendous and lasting realizations.

This is not Mahayana vs. Theravada. That argument is over, it has been had many times before, here and throughout time.

​​​​​​​ It is time to move on, with humility and with gratitude.

peace 
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Chris Protheroe, modified 4 Months ago at 12/6/23 5:41 PM
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RE: Path to full emptiness realisation & lightbody: Pragmatic Tantra resour

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Jim Smith:
Thanks for posting this. I started reading The Buddhas Among US and found the Introduction very interesting. I practice qigong as well as Buddhist meditation and mindfulness and am very interested in exploring the connection between the subtle body and awakening. It is changing my understanding of both.
<br /><br />Glad! In my early days beginning the path I began with qi gong, but I gave it up as it didn't make much sense to me at the time in terms of awakening. Now I recognise how it affects the subtle energy bodies and aura, makes a big difference.
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Jim Smith, modified 4 Months ago at 12/6/23 6:29 PM
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From Buddhas Among US
This makes the cessations grow in duration.
Increase in duration directly relates to the above mentioned treshold wearing off, finally
entirely. It becomes less and less. This happens because one's normal mode becomes more
and more like the natural state.

Seconds grow into minutes, minutes grow into an hour, an hour grows into hours, hours
grow into half a day, half a day grows into a full day, a full day grows into couple of days, a
couple of days grows into a week, a week grows into couple of weeks. In the perfection
stage of bhumis, cessations keep growing up to days and weeks before finally the selfing
mechanism gives in completely to leave nothing else except the mind in a state of
cessation, i.e. in its natural state. The self; in gross, subtle and very subtle forms, has been
blown out.

There is a state I experience that is like that, it lasts various amounts of time (minutes, hours, days, weeks). When life gets stressful or complicated or distracting I slip out of it and I get back into it by meditating. It's not just a quiet mind from a lot of meditation. I can transition into it in a few minutes. It's something, I don't know what, and I don't like to make claims. If I had to describe it I would say nothing bothers me when I'm in that state. I would call it nirvana except doing that sounds like a claim and would be controversial so I am not going to do that.

I have heard so many warnings about not confusing this or that with awakening, that I assumed it is not really something that I should try to perfect. And I don't like to be attached to this or that pleasant state so I focus more on different aspects of the practice. Maybe I should try to perfect it?

Now that I think about it Daniel describes something similar before he attained 4th path - slipping in and out of a type of perceptual shift, if I am describing it correctly.
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Chris Protheroe, modified 4 Months ago at 12/6/23 6:28 PM
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RE: Path to full emptiness realisation & lightbody: Pragmatic Tantra resour

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J W, grenades understandable and welcome.

For me personally it didn't seem like such a risk at the time of beginning with Amrita Mandala. I had been contemplating leaving my previous Sangha in the UK, and contemplating what Tibetan lineages I could find and go to. The issue is where are the ones that lead Westerners to full enlightenment? They seem few and far between to me. The late Daniel Brown from Pointing Out the Great Way had good success with his students, seemingly two attained Buddhahood, or Garchen Rinpoche has finished the path, so maybe he could guide. But there seems great frustration amongst Westerners attempting to find a true Vajrayana path (one that goes all the way). For me, it was the beginning of lockdown, so I had a couple of years to try the teachings out before meeting anyone. They clearly worked, so this was my answer. I'm very glad I've taken the 'risk'.

The Lineage Tree... well I'm not sure what the limits are of someone who can communicate with non-physical masters. The idea of communicating with non-physical masters has seemed strange to me from the beginning. The idea that it is possible to receive blessings from past enlightened masters through Tantra practise seems strange to me, but this is what seems to happen, and the practises work, so I've had to open my mind to the possibility that this is what happens.

Yes I understand this is an age old debate (Theravada Vajrayana), and it will probably never end. It is not my view that 4th path is the same as full emptiness realisation, from how I understand the bhumi model. Also, there is Rainbow Body, the dissolution of the body into light after death. Arahants seem to shrink after death, so they are clearly close, but not reach full dissolution. So there is more to do! I see on this forum you are also discussing 'what next after 4th path'.

In terms of 'hawking' my teacher, if I see this as an effective and valid path, then it is important to me to make people aware of the practises. That you are skeptical, is why you perceive this a problem.

I understand we will continue to have different opinions on these things, and this is fine. Thanks for wishing me well. And you too, enjoy your retreat.
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Chris Protheroe, modified 4 Months ago at 12/6/23 6:54 PM
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Jim Smith - I think of it like the illusion of a magician performing a trick. Once the whole trick has been revealed, that's it, the illusion can no longer fool you, it's gone. That's why it's possible to 'perfect', because the whole 'selfing' is an illusion. This illusion happens to come in several 'layers'. I think this slipping in and out of, or I kind of experience it as an ebb and flow into and out of [the natural state that isn't a state], is kind of like when the brain is trying to make sense of one of those optical illusions that flips from one image to another. Eventually the brain just 'gets' it. Eventually we just 'get' that there is no 'me', and then the job is done. It is the 'me' that tries to grasp hold of phenomena and call them 'states'. So it is kind of a strange word, because there is no 'perfecting' anything, it is simply that the illusion is gone, seen through. So yeh, keep going with it until it is done.
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J W, modified 4 Months ago at 12/6/23 6:56 PM
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It is more simple than that:

the vibes are off.

why did Kim feel like music and music production was not a valid path? To me it is the entirety of the path, a complete and valid vehicle that will take you everywhere you need to go and beyond.

why do you feel like it's hard to find a vajra path that works? Seems to me there are many of them that work. 

westerner vs. "non-westerner", doesn't matter.
i personally hate the use of that term, to me it is the embodiment of dualistic thought. though one must acknowledge the historical and cultural reasons behind its usage.

i flew West from California, and I'm here now in the Far East.

best wishes
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J W, modified 4 Months ago at 12/6/23 10:56 PM
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"Yes I understand this is an age old debate (Theravada Vajrayana), and it will probably never end."

Imagine these words written on a piece of paper (which they are, in my retreat journal):

"I know <-> you don't
im right <-> you're wrong
Im better <-> you're worse
Im higher <-> you're lower

Compare this to:

WISDOM // COMPASSION
(2 sides of the same coin)"

now take that piece of paper, read it, understand it, then crumple it into a ball, throw it into the fire, watch it burn as the smoke rises up into infinite heaven.
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Jim Smith, modified 4 Months ago at 12/6/23 10:02 PM
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Chris ProtheroeThe path begins with the initial awakening using a very effective Vipashyana insight practise known as 'The Two-Part Formula'. It is a Sutric (non-Tantric) method, but it still creates an energetic charge of the “I-thought” meaning that one is much more able to observe ‘subject self’ (the “me” who I think I am) as opposed to most Vipashyana practises which simply look at 'object self’ (thoughts, emotions, feelings, etc.) Or if they do look back at 'subject self’, there is not much to see because the ‘subject self’ is so subtle and the master at hiding in plain sight. 


I don't know sutric vs tantric but the practice in that link has a lot of similarities to how I practice including, relaxing, body scanning, observing sense of self. In my experience I find relaxation to be so important I think it is a flaw in those practices that don't include it. So to me the technique the article describes seems like a very good way to practice. I agree the subject self can be subtle and learning to recognize it is helpful in learning to recognize when it is absent. So while observing anatta can be helpful, observing the sense of self is also helpful and really a part observing anatta, a part of studying the three characteristics and it helps you see how clinging to the aggregates produces dukkha and the image of a self (dependent origination).
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Jim Smith, modified 4 Months ago at 12/6/23 10:17 PM
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Chris Protheroe Jim Smith - I think of it like the illusion of a magician performing a trick. Once the whole trick has been revealed, that's it, the illusion can no longer fool you, it's gone. That's why it's possible to 'perfect', because the whole 'selfing' is an illusion. This illusion happens to come in several 'layers'. I think this slipping in and out of, or I kind of experience it as an ebb and flow into and out of [the natural state that isn't a state], is kind of like when the brain is trying to make sense of one of those optical illusions that flips from one image to another. Eventually the brain just 'gets' it. Eventually we just 'get' that there is no 'me', and then the job is done. It is the 'me' that tries to grasp hold of phenomena and call them 'states'. So it is kind of a strange word, because there is no 'perfecting' anything, it is simply that the illusion is gone, seen through. So yeh, keep going with it until it is done.


What confuses me is that with an optical illusion, after you see through it once, you can usually switch back and forth at will, you can see it which ever way you want any time you choose, and I assume that's why some people say once you awaken "you can't unsee it" it is a realization not a state, but then there is this other experience of slipping in and of something so you can have it and lose it which seems to contradict the assertion that awakening is a realization.
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Chris Protheroe, modified 4 Months ago at 12/7/23 7:29 AM
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Jim Smith
What confuses me is that with an optical illusion, after you see through it once, you can usually switch back and forth at will, you can see it which ever way you want any time you choose, and I assume that's why some people say once you awaken "you can't unsee it" it is a realization not a state, but then there is this other experience of slipping in and of something so you can have it and lose it which seems to contradict the assertion that awakening is a realization.

​​​​​​​Yeh this is interesting to contemplate...I guess after lifetimes of habitually clinging to the illusion, it takes a few goes before the ego finally gives up the habit of reaching out for something to cling to. In Mahamudra they talk about the recognition has to be 'stable'. So somehow brief recognition, even of a day or two, remains unstable. I think that is just how stubborn the ego is, it doesn't want to give up without a fight. The habit is die-hard. Shane and Ugi talked of a 'knowing' when the final recognition came, so maybe there is some subtle difference between the stable and unstable recognition. Not everyone said this though, others said they didn't experience a difference, just that now it remains, where as before it didn't.
Adi Vader, modified 4 Months ago at 12/7/23 8:11 AM
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There's a fella out there that says, send me your photograph, give me a hundred dollars, I will do a 'reading' of how enlightened you are.
Is this the same fella?

Oh hang on, yes it is! Fun times! emoticon emoticon

I wish you the very best in your practice Mr. Protheroe. The weirdest and whackiest people are sometimes very very wise in some specific ways. May your association with this system of practice and this teacher lead you to the end of suffering. And if it doesnt then may you find the path that does take you there.
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Chris M, modified 4 Months ago at 12/7/23 8:16 AM
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The weirdest and whackiest people are sometimes very very wise in some specific ways.

Like a stopped clock?  emoticon
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Ni Nurta, modified 4 Months ago at 12/7/23 10:41 AM
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Does anyone know or care how much money does it costs to get to state of fully awakened buddhahood?
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Chris Protheroe, modified 4 Months ago at 12/7/23 11:17 AM
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Adi Vader
The weirdest and whackiest people are sometimes very very wise in some specific ways.
- like specifically emptiness realisation emoticon
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​​​​​​​May your association with this system of practice and this teacher lead you to the end of suffering. And if it doesnt then may you find the path that does take you there.
- Appreciate the sentiments. If I am wrong may I find out sooner rather than later, and be humble enough to come back here and admit so. If the path is valid, may others swiftly benefit from its whackiness. Either way, may we all find a means to liberation, and help others do the same.
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Ni Nurta, modified 4 Months ago at 12/7/23 12:47 PM
Created 4 Months ago at 12/7/23 12:47 PM

RE: Path to full emptiness realisation & lightbody: Pragmatic Tantra resour

Posts: 1073 Join Date: 2/22/20 Recent Posts
If the path is valid, may others swiftly benefit from its whackiness.

And if the path is invalid?
​​​​​​​What then?
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Jim Smith, modified 4 Months ago at 12/7/23 2:44 PM
Created 4 Months ago at 12/7/23 2:23 PM

RE: Path to full emptiness realisation & lightbody: Pragmatic Tantra resour

Posts: 1647 Join Date: 1/17/15 Recent Posts
I don't have any experiences with the teachers of this system or of the specific bhumis described in "What's Next? On Post-Awakening Practice"

But I would like to point out a couple of things. I have noticed that human beings are very good at amassing practical knowledge from empirical observations, but not quite as good at coming up with theoretical explanations. This is as true of a modern scientist interpreting scientific data as it is with a shaman in the rain forest telling you which herbs are good for treating constipation and why. So if someone tells me a system of practice works and can provide testimony from experiencers that support their claims (as the books by Amrita Baba do) I am open to consider that the system works even if the explanation is different from what I am accustomed to. And with respect to traditional knowledge, that scientist, if left alone in the rainforest, would be dead in a few days unless he met an inhabitant such as the shaman to show him how to survive.

In the case of the particular type of Buddhist practice under discussion in this thread, one should also consider that the human mind and brain do not always work in what would seem to be "logical ways". If you are a materialist and doubt the existence of the subtle body and bhumis, just consider for a moment that the placebo effect is a real effect and it depends on how the brain works.

I don't have experience with the specific bhumis in this type of practice however I do have experience with "energy" healing and I know it works. Materialists can say it's a placebo effect and I don't care to argue with them. However just reading the introduction to "Buddhas Among Us" I tried meditating and noticed some familiar types of tension that I have found hard to relax. In yoga I have see these referred to as a knot in a chakra. (Chakras are often at places we feel sensations caused by emotions - tension headache, lump in the throat, sinking feeling in the pit of the stomach, shortness of breath, soiling oneself when frightened etc). So I took the view (new to me) that these could be tension in the subtle body (the "spirit body" according to the Spiritualist tradition under which I was trained in healing) and focused my attention on them under that assumption and they dissolved rapidly and I quickly slipped into that on again off a gain state mentioned in my previous comments that I am familiar with and is known to this system of practice. So I believe I have found a new method to add to the various techniques I use to good effect. I have my own opinions on how it works but that is not as important as the fact that it does work even if my theoretical model is not exactly right.

And for those open to spiritual explanations, if karma from a past life is influencing us, where else would it be stored if not in the subtle body, just as emotional trauma from a current life influences our physical body through muscle tension that effects our posture, tone of voice, and breathing etc?
(For materialists, consider that past life hypnotic regression has been discovered independently by multiple unsuspecting psychologists (you hypnotize a patient, tell them to go back in time to the origin of their problem, and they find themselves in a past life) and that it is beneficial to patients regardless of whether the psychologist believes the past lives are real or not.)

I haven't mentioned disembodied guru's and I will leave discussing my experience with that phenomenon for another day.
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Chris Protheroe, modified 4 Months ago at 12/7/23 6:23 PM
Created 4 Months ago at 12/7/23 6:10 PM

RE: Path to full emptiness realisation & lightbody: Pragmatic Tantra resour

Posts: 9 Join Date: 12/16/22 Recent Posts
Ni Nurta
​​​​​​​And if the path is invalid?
What then?

As this is a thread of pragmatic Tantra resources, I guess this is a good time to contemplate other paths that might ‘work’.

J W was asking me why I don’t choose a less ‘risky’ path, and that surely there are many Vajrayana paths that work. It was something I was just beginning to look into before Amrita Mandala appeared. As I said, the path hasn’t seemed ‘risky’ to me because I was able to practise the techniques by myself for 2 years whilst Covid was going on, and I could see that they work. So it is not a question on my mind to contemplate other paths for myself or consider a back up.

At the same time it is obvious that Amrita Mandala won’t be for everyone. I’ve been in a Sangha where the path clearly wasn’t solving my existential questions, and for a genuine seeker this is truly painful. Then what options are there to suggest? I am genuinely curious about this question, of where are the effective paths?

I’ve recommended MCTB many times to people, that’s a great place for anyone to begin understanding the pragmatic path.

Of course I am swayed by Tantra, and have been curious as to where all the enlightened masters in Tantra are? And what is the most likely path to enlightenment? If no one in the present lineage is enlightened, then this puts doubt about its effectiveness. Not that it would be impossible, but that an enlightened master is far more likely to lead others to freedom, because they have seen through the illusion of samsara themselves (stating the obvious here).  If there was an enlightened master in the previous generation, then this is at least a sign the lineage is still 'alive'. If there are no signs of enlightened masters for a generation or two, then this path is probably unlikely to lead to enlightenment.

The Dharmaoverground is refreshing in that people talk openly about attainments. The two paths I mentioned in a previous post are the only one’s I know where the teachers have acknowledged claims of attainment in present day Vajrayana:

The late Daniel Brown talked of two of his students attaining Buddhahood in Pointing out the Great Way. I’m not sure what is of his lineage since he passed.

Garchen Rinpoche has mentioned he has finished his bhumi purification, and teaches at the Garchen Buddhist Institute in USA. I'm a big fan of Garchen Rinpoche.

I would also mention Rana Rinpoche who is clearly finished (path of emptiness), it is widely considered he has but I’m not sure if he has stated this. He teaches in Nepal at Byoma Kusuma Buddhadharma Sangha. There are also centres in UK and USA.

In terms of Rainbow Body, Francis Tiso wrote of the case of Khenpo A Chö who attainbed Rainbow body and dissolved into light in 1998, and his student Lama A Chö shrunk to the size of “your fingers” and was displayed in a relic for people to see. Francis Tiso has begun himself to look into the practises, it would be very interesting to find out, and who remains to teach those practises. I haven’t looked into this yet myself.

As for other present day Vajrayana masters, I’m sure there are many Bodhisattvas (6th-9th perfected) but I know of few who’ve reached the full thing. This is the issue with so much secrecy. Of course maybe they are out there, I haven’t done that much research, and I would love to know. I’m sure there are many lineages that would be highly beneficial. Maybe if one has the fortunate karma one could travel to India and Nepal to search.

In terms of Hindu tantra, Hugging saint Amma and Mother Meera are without doubt enlightened, but they both seem to have chosen a path to help the masses, as opposed to a path guiding dedicated students to enlightenment.

However one Tantric path that is very accessible and I would highly recommend is Trika Mahasiddha Yoga. The teacher Dharma Bodhi is quite against making claims of attainments, but I have no doubt he is an excellent teacher, he has worked with enlightened masters, highly knowledgeable and experienced having received direct transmissions and teachings from Dzogchen, Kashmir Shavism and Daoism, and is at least near done himself, and teaches a 12 stage path map to full Rainbow Body. The main reason I’d recommend him is his down-to-earth pragmatism.

I'm sure there are huge gaps in my knowledge, so suggestions that point to other Tantric lineages that potentially lead to enlightenment, most welcome.
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Chris Protheroe, modified 4 Months ago at 12/7/23 6:21 PM
Created 4 Months ago at 12/7/23 6:21 PM

RE: Path to full emptiness realisation & lightbody: Pragmatic Tantra resour

Posts: 9 Join Date: 12/16/22 Recent Posts
Jim Smith
- Thanks, some interesting observations.

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