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Conscious Living

The Elements in Life


These are the outer elements and the inner elements. The outer are the great elements assosciated
with the outer world. The lesser elements are associated with our bodies and mind. All experience
arises as a combination of the 5 elements or energies and consciousness.
What are they?
Western/Greek.

Earth, Water, Fire, Air, Ether.

Chinese.

Earth, Water, Fire, Wood, Metal.

Tibetan.

Earth, Water, Fire, Air, Space.

We'll work with the Tibetan System. As we now know, these are earth, water, fire, air and space or
void. The external physical world is composed of the five elements and their interaction. The body is
composed of the 5 elements and their interaction. The mind and it's qualities are composed of the
five elements and their interaction.
Which parts of the body do they relate to?
The muscles and bones are the earth element, the fluids in the body are water element, the warmth
in the body is fire element, the energy and breath are air element and the cavities in the lungs and
other organs are the space element.

Element

Body Part

Earth

The muscles/ bones/hair/nails

Water

Fluids/circulation/in, out & through the body

fire

Warmth or heat, sex hormones & adrenals

Air

Energy, electrical impulse/nervous system, the breath

Space or void

The cavities in the lungs and other organs

Their Characteristics and Qualities


The elements manifest their characteristics and qualities or energy in individual ways.
Earth's quality is solidity/heaviness, which has the characterised by structure. Water has the
character of being able to fluid and has the quality of being able to flow. Fire has the characteristic of
heat and the quality of intensity. Air has the characteristic of movement and the quality of increasing
activity. Space has the characteristic of being void and the quality of spaciousness.
Element

Characteristic

Quality

Earth

Structure

Solidity/stability/heaviness

Water

Fluid

Wetness/Flow /cohesion/

fire

Heat(warmth)/light (brightness)

Intensity/reactivity

Air/wind

Movement

Activity/increase,decrease

Space

Void/without beginning and end

Spaciousness/dimension

The elements in relation to the senses, body parts and Health Problems.
Each of the elements is associated with our senses, specific body parts and certain health problems.
The earth element is associated with smell, taste and touch or sensation and relates to the skin, solar
plexus and stomach. Health problems such as anorexia, bulimia or addictions arise in relation to the
earth element.
The water element is associated with sight and relates to the forehead and chest. Health Problems
such as headaches, a stiff and rigid body are common as are under nourishment and a lack of
appetite.
The fire element is associated with hearing and the neck, throat, eyes, hands and genitals. Health
problems such as high blood pressure and insomnia arise.
The air element is associated with touch, the arms and legs and high blood pressure.
The space element is associated with the mind, which processes the information form the five senses
and the head or back of the head. The health problems depend on what other factors are present.
Element

sense

body part

health problems

Earth

Smell

Skin ,stomach, plexus

Eating disorders

Water

Taste

Forehead, chest

Headaches

fire

Sight/perception/clarity

Neck, throat, eyes,

High blood pressure,

hands, genitals

Insomnia

Air/wind

touch/sensation

Limbs

High blood pressure

Space

hearing/sound/vibration

Head, back of the head

Depends on other

mind/consciousness

factors present
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How do Our Minds function in relation to the elements?


We experience the earth element as origin of everything that arises in the mind. The water element is
experienced as the flow of thoughts. We experience the fire element through passion or emotional
involvement. Ideas and insights are our experience of the air element. Processing information and a
sense of bringing to completion is our experience of the Space element. Our experience of life is
formed from these elements; they are the basic building blocks of our experience.
Element

Minds Experience of the Quality of the Elements.

Earth

Origin of everything that arises

Water

Flow of thoughts and emotions

fire

Emotional involvement.

Air

Thoughts, ideas and insights

Space

Processing of information and a bringing to completion

How does the balance of the elements affect our mental states?
Each of the elements can influence the state of our mind. The presence of each element can affect
our mind in two ways. It can create balance or imbalance. Imbalance can arise in two ways. There
can be too strong a presence of the element or a weak presence of the element. Each of these three,
a balanced presence, strong presence or a weak presence affects the state of our mind.
The Earth element
The earth element, when balanced, creates a stable mind from which arises, the qualities of reliability
and consistency. When there's a strong presence of the earth element, our mind is out of balance
and we become lethargic which is accompanied by stubbornness. When the presence of the earth
element is weak we feel ungrounded, a feeling of not connecting with reality.
The Water element
The balanced water element gives rise to a mind that's adaptable, creative and able for find solutions.
When it's too strong then we become subjective, introspective, we express ourselves based on our
mental state, our opinion, our taste, our reactionwe become self obsessed, we can't reason
objectively or impartially. When it's weak we become easily panicked, suffer from a lack confidence,
feel insecure and are afraid to experience our real feelings.
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The Fire element


When the fire element is balanced, we feel warm, loving and generous. Our minds are clear and we
are intuitive, we sense things, we're insightful aware and discerning. If too strong, we become
emotional, aggressive and excessively involved or obsessed with the focus of our interest. If we have
a weak presence of the fire element our mind state will be cold and spiritless, we'll be without
enthusiasm, we'll be unresponsive and indifferent to everything and our mental state will be dark and
gloomy.
The Air Element
The presence of the air element, when balanced, is related to our intelligence, mental brightness or
alertness, which reveals itself through appropriate action. If excessive, it can cause over activity, and
a tendency to be addicted to work. It can also lead to a worried state of mind and a mind which
becomes involved with it's imagination, recalling and dwelling on the past, usually trivial but appears
big ti them, and a flighty mind, a mind engaging in fantasy. A weak presence, results in a mind that is
fatigued, weary and listless, lacking in energy. The minds response is to be unwilling, reluctant, and
unenthusiastic or, to have an aversion to think things through, which is a result of this mental
weariness or lethargy.
The Space Element
We experience the presence of the space element through our open-mindedness, which is reflected
in a non-judgemental attitude, patience, tolerance and acceptance. Too strong a presence of the
space element leads to a tendency to space out. A weak presence promotes confusion in the mind
and a feeling of being closed in, claustrophobic.
Element

Excessive

Balanced

Weak

Earth

Stubborn

Stable mind

Ungrounded

Water

Very self centred

Creative, adaptable

Fear, no confidence

fire

Aggressive, emotional

Clear minded, warm

Cold, unresponsive

Air

Overactive, workaholic

Intelligentaction

Weary, tired of thinking

Space

Spacing out

Open minded

Confusion

How do we express the energies of the elements?


We express the elements through everything we think, say or do. This expression is based on a
combination of responses, based on our thoughts and emotions which are usually activated by what
happens outside, through what we experience through our senses. In other words, a combination of
our inner and outer worlds. We express ourselves through all the elements with tendencies towards
certain of them. We'll probably recognise a few of our particular leanings from the following!
As we go through this raise your hand every time you recognise something
We express water element through a continual wish or obsession to know everything. In its
neurotic or disturbed form there's a tendency to intellectualise and to over analyse. This type of
person focuses on the mental, and knowledge is all. This is expressed in two ways, through a general
or panoramic view of what's happening and or in a very detailed way. The conceptual, the theoretical,
and the abstract are their domain. They have the ability to have an overview of any situation, are
skilled in the use of logic and reasoning, are very critical and sharp minded.
These qualities enable this type of person to pacify situations and find solutions, which are agreeable,
to all.
They develop their security from knowing all the answers and being right.
When things go wrong they tend to ramble, their logic becomes long-winded, they complicate things
and make things difficult for themselves and others. They never feel that any thing is perfect, there's
always a sense of things not feeling right. There's a continual preoccupation with trying to make
things as they should be. When on the defensive they stick to their own ideas, become very rigid and
distance themselves from others. This distancing reveals itself in having a fear of emotional intimacy.
In relationships they are impersonal, understanding and aggressive. The water element is related to
intense anger. This can be expressed through confrontation (hot), fight or turning away (cold) flight.
So how many of you recognise any of these traits?
As we go through this raise your hand every time you recognise something
The earth element expresses itself through wanting everything, overindulgence and an interest in
the quality and texture of things. The earth person is overbearing and suffers from greed and pride
because of this continual wanting. When things go wrong they feel self-pity, neediness, always want
more, feel inadequate and inferior. To defend themselves they behave in a very arrogant way. They
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collect many things, both spiritual and the material because of their constant feeling of poverty. They
continually want to possess things because what they have is never enough, and what they do have
is insubstantial. In order to feel secure they are always expanding their personal territory, moving into
others territory. They love being the centre of attention, are extremely possessive and want to include
everything and everyone in their world. This type of person likes to gather and retain large amounts
of information and conduct lots of research. They are very comprehensive and thorough. At best
earth enriches every one and every thing and really appreciates all aspects of the world we live in.
So how many of you recognise any of these traits?
As we go through this raise your hand every time you recognise something
The fire element is expressed through the need to be able to feel things and in order to meet this
need they manipulate and fantasise about situations. This expresses itself through speech and
emotion Fire people like intimate relationships, they cling to things and compare themselves to
others. When things go wrong they are filled with obsession and suffer from a feeling of being unable
to fulfil their desires. When things go wrong they feel incomplete lonely and depressed. They have a
continual desire to please. They are preoccupied with insecurity regarding relationships and are
afraid of boredom mediocrity and rejection. To feel secure they continually build relationships and
make genuine contact with others and require confirmation that everything is okay. Their
relationships with others are intimate, can be over emotionally involved, and may even sometimes be
superficial.
So how many of you recognise any of these traits?
As we go through this raise your hand every time you recognise something
The air or wind element is concerned with action, which is related to being driven, manifesting as
driven busyness. Wind people relate directly and straightforwardly but can be intensely jealous which
is fed by paranoia and a need to compare themselves with others. Through over doing it they
become exhausted and suffer from a depletion of energy. They have a continual feeling of being
incompetent and worry about how they perform. To overcome this, they take control of everything,
are manipulative and are preoccupied with needing to get things done. Air people are afraid of failure
and ward off threats by getting ahead, amassing more and more qualifications or skills to negate the
feeling of incompetence. They are direct and straightforward in their relationships with others and are
able to bring thought into action without hesitation. There's an interest in seeing how things work and,
they learn by trial and error. They are quick thinking, practical and are continually engaged in making
sure things get done.
So how many of you recognise any of these traits?
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As we go through this raise your hand every time you recognise something
The space element expresses itself through wanting to just be. This element reveals itself through
the person being passive. They are receptive and imbued with a contemplative or meditative
presence. They don't get caught up in speed, ambition or petty concerns, have no agenda and don't
try to manipulate situations. They act through the characteristics of the other elements.
However when things go wrong they feel overwhelmed, they ignore, avoid and deny. They're afraid of
change. They're experts at playing deaf, dumb and blind although they know exactly what's going on.
All their energy goes into maintaining a routine in order to avoid uncertainty and change, to create a
safe and familiar environment. They're not sure who they are and keep their nose to the ground, are
completely absorbed in what they are doing, and keep things simple. There's a fear of intrusion of
any kind. They learn through repetition, basic concepts and osmosis. They use simple language,
think simply, slowly and like to reduce subjects to their basics.
So how did you do? Recognise or familiar with any of this?

How do we bring balance to these expressions or responses?


We can begin the process through using the power of our imagination, symbols, colour, breath and
posture. Throughout the course of human evolution, these have been developed within different
communities and appear in different guises. Images are used in mythology and religion, spirits and
deities are used, sound in the form of mantras is used, posture and ecstatic dance, the martial arts
Tai Chi and chi gong, yoga, oriental medicine, acupuncture, feng shhui, Psychology and body
centred therapies, cognitive science and the study of perception have all been used to relate to and
express the energy of the elements.
According to the Vajrayana Buddhism and oriental medical systems we have an energy body. It's
made up of channels or energy pathways and chackras. Chackras are like roundabouts where many
roads meet. The many roads are the channels. The main chackras are situated at different places in
the centre of the body. Each of the elements is associated with a chakra. Each element has a shape,
colour and place within the body related to it. .

Using the imagination and understanding visualisation.


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We all use our minds to imagine things.


Now look at the statue.
Now close your eyes.
Now imagine the statue.
Do they appear in the same way?
You now know the difference between seeing physically and seeing in the mind or imagining.
Deliberately imagining something is called visualisation.
Now lets close our eyes again.
Now imagine the statue again.
Now lets use the mind to look at the front of the statue
Now the side
Now the back
The other side
From above
From below.
Now open the eyes
What's the difference between physically seeing and mentally seeing?
We can see all side of the mental object or image.
Now lets close the eyes and imagine the statue again.
Now begin to turn the statue in your mind slowly. Clockwise all the way round.
Now anti clockwise.
Now up, above your head
Now down to your heart
now in front of you, facing you
Now behind you facing the front
Now back to the heart
Now lets imagine it white
Now lets imagine it's made of crystal and see through
Now lets imagine it's made of light and giving off a glow like moonlight
Now imagine you can see through it
Now lets dissolve itNow open the eyes.
So how was that? Now lets close our eyes.

Now we'll use a combination of posture, breathe, imagination, colour and symbols to help bring about
a sense of balance to our minds through balancing the elements and imagine them one after the
other..Insert the meditation on the elements.

Sleep or the Little Death


Lets look at the elements in sleep, another aspect of life which we never really look at or consider as
being important in being able to help us develop the balance we're looking for. In the process of sleep
we experience the same process as we do during dying except that we obviously don't die! This is
because the elements in relation to the mind dissolve into one another and not the elements of the
body. You can see this if you watch a film of someone sleeping, they move around during sleep. This
is because the energies in the body and our energy body within which these energies flow are still
intact. Our physical and mental bodies are still linked. So we're going through a kind of death
experience every night.
The Elements in relation to sleeping.
The inner elements dissolve or are absorbed into each other in order, from the most dense to the
least dense. So again what are they?.. and. what's the order they dissolve in?
They dissolve in the following order.
The earth element is absorbed into the water element
The water element is absorbed into the fire element.
The fire element is absorbed into the air element.
The air element is absorbed into the space element or consciousness
Now the inner energies are absorbed into each other.
The experience of the moonlike light
The experience of the sun like light
The experience of the bright darkness
The experience of the clear light of our enlightened nature.
According to Mahayana Buddhism we have eight types of consciousness. These consciousnesses
are the constituents of your mind. They register everything that happens externally or internally. Your
mind then discriminates or decides what it will pay attention to, what it considers important. We then
function according to what it decides. Any idea of what they are?
These eight consciousnesses are, the
eye consciousness
ear consciousness
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nose consciousness
tongue consciousness
body consciousness
mental consciousness the thinking mind
afflicted consciousness the emotional sense of self
alaya consciousness.the store of dominant conditioning or mental imprints.
As we go through the process of falling asleep the consciousnesses dissolve stage by stage into the
alaya or store consciousness. Each of the elements is related to a sense consciousness. As each
element is absorbed one of our senses ceases to function until the final element and the related
sense consciousness is absorbed into the mental consciousness. As each consciousness dissolves
or is absorbed a light appears. This process is shown below.

the dissolution

consciousness ceases

The earth element into the water element

eye consciousness

sight

The water element into the fire element.

ear consciousness

hearing

The fire element into the air element.

nose consciousness

smell

The air element into the space element

tongue consciousness

taste/body

Inner energies are absorbed into each other.


The moonlike light

mental consciousness the thinking mind

The sun like light

afflicted consciousness emotional sense of self

The experience of the bright darkness

alaya consciousness store of mental imprints

The clear light of enlightenment.

nature of mind

Each of these dissolutions is accompanied by signs and mental colour hues or sheens. These are the
things which a practitioner has to be able to recognise. In other words you have to remain conscious
as these events happen very quickly.

The dissolution

Coloured hue

sign

The earth element into the water element

yellow

shimmering mirage
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The water element into the fire element.

White

hazy smokey light

The fire element into the air element.

red

tiny sparkling lights

The air element into the space element

green

glowing ember

Space or consciousness

Rapid experience of four signs above

The moonlike light

Very bright moonlight

Very bright moonlight

The sun like light

Bright red sunset

Red sunset

The experience of the bright darkness

Bright darkness

Bright darkness

The clear light .

Intense white light

Intense white light

The above process is not recognised by most people. According to The Dalai Lama it is crucial to
become familiar with this eightfold process outlined above. So that's what we're going to do, with one
or two additions. when you become experienced at visualising this during daytime practice, then
when you fall asleep a similar eight fold process occurs naturally and quickly.
Insert the meditation.
Sitting
Tong-len practice
Breathing in the positive
Breathing out the negative
Breathing at the diaphragm
Holding the breath for slightly longer than normal for a few breaths to reduce thought flow/volume.
Then imagine the coloured hues from the table above
Then imagine from within the coloured hue .the sign from the table above.
For example
Imagine light with yellow hue from within this yellow hue ..
appears shimmering mirage like light
which slowly turns into white light.and so on..
Repeating this for each of the stages, in order, as in the tables above.

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A typical nights sleep.

REM while sleeping dreamtime

awake
5 mins
15 mins
20 mins
Drowsiness 1
while
going to sleep
images flow 2
background
less

conscious
Unconscious 4
50 minutes

Blackout

hours 1

Usually we become drowsy and experience the mixture of sporadic moments of being aware of
what's happening outside and the mental imagery within the mind. This is followed by the flow of
purely mental imagery within the mind as we move deeper into sleep, which we're aware of but not
necessarily paying much attention to. We then move more deeply into sleep as we become less
conscious and the mental images cease. We're not aware of what's happening externally or internally
at this point. Gradually and finally we move into deep sleep or unconsciousness and the stage called
black out.

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Falling asleep, the elements and consciousnesses.


REM while sleeping dreamtime
more active then waking mind

awake

Drowsiness 1
elements

images flow 2
background
mental
less

conscious
afflicted
underlying thot
Unconscious 4
Blackout
alaya

hours 1

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Up until the flow of mental imagery we're experiencing the dissolution of the elements into Space or
consciousness. We become aware of mental images flowing in mind. This is thinking mind or the
mental consciousness at work. The mental flow ceasing indicates the mental consciousness or
thinking mind dissolving into the emotional or afflicted consciousness, we're moving into deeper sleep
or deeper unconsciousness. Finally the emotional mind dissolves into the alaya or basis
consciousness resulting in unconsciousness or black out.
However most people will not recognise much of this, because our minds are not trained. We're also
unable to recognise the clear light or nature of mind because of the presence of the dormant mental
imprints within the alaya .
We become unconscious and experience black out.
A normal sleep is considered to last eight hours. During the first four hours we experience two
periods of the deepest sleep. For the untrained mind this is experienced as unconsciousness or black
out. After those two periods we gradually emerge from deep sleep to the lighter dream sleep where
we experience REM. During this period mind is more active than in daily life. At this point the process
of waking up begins. We progressively experience less deep levels of sleep during the next four
hours. We also continue to experience the dream sleep of REM two or three more times as we
gradually waken up. Again we're moving in and out of the different levels of consciousness as we go
through the process of waking up. We do experience other recognisable mental activity during other
periods of sleep but the REM dream sleep is the most vivid and recognisable. Most people know
they're dreaming at this point. We spend almost 25% of our sleep time in REM sleep. We spend a
great deal less in the deepest levels of sleep.

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Sleep and a trained mind or mind in training

REM while sleeping dreamtime


more active then waking mind

awake

Drowsiness 1
elements

images flow 2
background
mental
less

conscious
afflicted
thinking
4
50 minutes

Clear light

hours 1

According to the VajrayanaUnfortunately the true nature of mind can't recognise itself in deep sleep
because of a veil, a blockage formed by conditioning. That conditioning consists of the imprints left by
all former activities whether they are virtuous, non-virtuous or neutral. Although during very deep
sleep the six specific consciousnesses and their active form don't actually disturb deep sleep itself
the very presence of the dominant conditioning of the mental imprints prevents mind from recognising
itself.
In other words your mind has the capacity to know what's going on in it but due to the density of
these imprints we're unable to know, see or experience fully what's happening within it. It's this ability
we train in it's called awareness. This is the true meaning of ig - norance, the not knowing, and
that's what the practitioner works on as the basis for releasing the stored energy of these imprints.
If we train our minds it's possible to recognise the clear light at two points

during our sleep period.

These opportunities occur at the first period of deepest sleep and the second period of deepest sleep
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before we begin the process of waking. Training our minds reduces the affects of the conditioning
and enables us to be more aware of what's happening in the mind. As we continue the training, the
density of these imprints lessen, due to the release of the stored imprinted energy, which eventually
allows the possibility of the recognition to take place. We then cultivate this recognition in order to
remain in the clear light, an act of profound meditation. The practices of the Vajrayana are a complete
system of training which enables the person, under guidance, to bring this about and experience it for
themselves. This includes using the dream to bring this experience about.
The Dream as part of the Training
The dream state is considered to be an ideal opportunity to recognise this Clear Light and is used as
part of the Training. In fact it's considered to be distinct in itself, a complete area in which to train. You
have to learn to go to sleep consciously or enter the dream state consciously. If you are sufficiently
aware then you will be able to recognise the clear light as you are entering the deepest level of sleep.
For an experienced practitioner who experiences or has gained realisation of the clear light through
the training and experiences the clear light in their waking life, these lights merge and the practice
continues at a very deep and profound level. However, for almost every one this is not possible.
What is possible is to train ourselves to enter the sleep process consciously, without losing
consciousness. This process is called lucid dreaming. This is the process of being actively aware of
the fact that you are dreaming. This means that your awareness is separate form the content of the
dream. This awareness being separate, means that you can begin to consciously manipulate the
dream, the story line, the characters the moods and feelings. It means you can increase or decrease
your level of involvement in the action.
This can be done in two ways.
Falling asleep consciously through focusing on an image and remaining conscious while moving into
the dream state and remain conscious and aware of having entered the dream state.
The second method is to begin the training in an awakened state. Continually re affirm that you want
to remain conscious while your dreaming, that you'll have clear dreams and that you'll recognise the
dream. When you've become aware that you are dreaming try to influence the dream as outlined
above.
Once you become skilled you can practice visualisation and mantra recitation during the period of
lucid dreaming. Proper instruction is required.
Sleep and a trained mind or mind in training

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REM dreamtime
If lucid visualisation and
mantra recitation can be done.

awake

Drowsiness 1
elements

images flow 2
background
mental
less

conscious
afflicted
thinking
4
Clear light

The Dream or Subtle body


This is the energy body. It consists of the subtle energy mind. This is the body, which arises as a
result of lucid dreaming, through gaining realisation and recognition of the clear light through
meditation practice and at the period following death. This body is separate from the physical. We
experience this during astral travel. Other developed practitioners recognise the subtle body form of
other advanced practitioners. We all experience the subtle body at death as we pass from one form
to another.
The processes involved in going to sleep are not recognised by most people. We're now going to
look at that process, imagine that process in order that we get to know it. So that's what we're going
to do, with one or two additions.
Now let's Lie down.
We're gong to lie in a special way known as the lion Posture. This is the posture the Buddha adopted
when leaving this world. It is a preferred posture while going to sleep.
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Lie on your right side.


Place your right hand under your right cheek.
Each finger is used to close off a sense organ.
Your thumb is placed on your ear.
Your index finger over the eye.
Your middle finger on the nostril.
The third finger is left free
The little finger is placed on the mouth.
The left arm is placed along the left side.
Meditation on the signs at the time of going to sleep.
The dissolution

Coloured hue

sign

The earth element into the water element

yellow

shimmering mirage

The water element into the fire element.

White

hazy smokey light

The fire element into the air element.

red

tiny sparkling lights

The air element into the space element

green

glowing ember

Space or consciousness

Rapid experience of four signs above

The moonlike light

Very bright moonlight

Very bright moonlight

The sun like light

Bright red sunset

Red sunset

The experience of the bright darkness

Bright darkness

Bright darkness

The clear light .

Intense white light

Intense white light

Insert the meditation.


Sitting
Breathing out the negative
Breathing at the diaphragm
Holding the breath for slightly longer
Then coloured hue
Then the sign.
Now repeat for each.
Add the subtle/astral body leaving and wandering around then the subtle body returning and being
reabsorbed into your normal form.

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The Big Sleep


Now that we understand that our bodies and our life experience formed from these five elements, we
can look at what happens when they begin to disintegrate or dissolve back into the void of Space.
This is the experience of life coming to an end. Could be the life of a planet, the life of a thought or
the life of a being. It could be the life if a relationship, the life of our job or the shattering of an illusion.
This is the process of dying or death. It occurs regularly within our life experience. It's called change!
We have already seen this in relation to how we express ourselves. It's continually changing. Let's
look at this from the experience of our present life coming to an end. By looking at how we
experience this, we'll recognise that the same reactions arise when we encounter change at any time
in our life. The process of dying is no exception.
According to the Vajrayana and oriental medical systems we have an energy body. It's made up of
channels or energy pathways and chackras. Energy called winds flows through these channels. It's
given different names in different traditions. There are three main channels or energy pathways, the
left, right and central channels. The central channel goes form the crown of the head to below the
navel. The right channel branches out from the central channel up to the right nostril and the left
branches out from the central channel to the left nostril. The main chackras are situated at different
places on the central channel. We already know their location from before. Other smaller cackras
occur at all the joints in the body. This is our energy body or Vajra body.
What is the process of Dying?
It is basically the dissolution or absorbing of one element into the other, the consciousness
withdrawing into natural or original mind as these elements dissolve or are absorbed onto each other.
They dissolve from the most gross or dense to the most subtle. This involves the destruction of each
chakra and it's associated channels and winds. As each element dissolves the stored energy of that
element is released effecting how we experience things through the senses and consciousness. We
experience an intensification of the characteristics and qualities of that element due to the release of
the energy after which we experience the merging into the next less dense of the elements, briefly
releasing the enhanced energy the second elements qualities. At this point we experience a glimpse
of natural mind in different forms of light.
An outline of the process.
The earth element is absorbed into the water element
The water element is absorbed into the fire element.
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The fire element is absorbed into the air element.


The air element is absorbed into the space element or consciousness
Clinical death. Brian dead, no pulse, no breath.
Now the inner energies are absorbed into each other.
The experience of the moon like light.
The experience of the sun like light
The experience of the bright darkness
The experience of the clear light of our enlightened nature.
Separation of energy body form the physical body. Actual death.
Please note that the physical experiences have been seen by hospital staff to take a few days or
even weeks prior to death.

The process in more detail


Earth with the quality of solidity, begins to dissolve into water with the quality of fluidity.
Associated with the destruction of the navel chakra and related channels and winds.
Our experience of the earth element or solidity intensifies.
We feel trapped in our body, which feels like it's made of rock.
We feel overwhelmed by a sense of heavinesslike we're being crushed by a huge weight
particularly at the chest.
We hear the sound of great earthquakes. We experience yellow in our minds.
Mentally there's a sinking sensation, we feel depressed and bewildered, losing touch with reality.
We experience a yellow glowing luminosity.
As the intensity lessens, and the energy of earth merges with the energy of water, we're unable to
move our body we can't move our limbs, we feel weak and exhausted.
Our body shrinks into itself. Our complexion fades.
We feel like we've turned to jelly (water) the same sensation when we feel fear and anxiety.
Our sight begins to fail, becomes blurred; everything seems to swim before our eyes.
At the moment that the earth element has dissolved completely there's the brief, momentary release
from consciousness, We experience natural mind as a shimmering mirage in the form of light, the
21

form of the earth element merging with the fluidity of Water. This is a partial vision of minds
luminosity, partially obscured.
Next Water, with the quality of fluidity, dissolves into fire with the quality of heat.
Associated with the destruction of the heart chakra, channels and associated winds
Our experience of the water element intensifies.
We feel like we're carried away in a flood, like we're drowning,
We hear the sound of rushing water.
We experience a white glowing luminosity
As the intensity lessens, and the energy of water merges with the fire element,
The circulatory systems of blood and lymph slow down
Our mouth, tongue and nose dry out, our body begins to shrivel. We become thirsty.
Hearing degeneratesexternal sounds can't be distinguished clearly, the ringing in the ears stops
Sensations are dulled, we become indifferent and detached, we withdraw.
We experience this in life as feeling arid, barren, hopeless, dried up and unable to go with the flow.
At the moment that the water element dissolves into fire there's the brief, momentary release from
consciousness, We experience natural mind as hazy smokey light that seems to swirl all around us,
The wetness of the water element merging with the heat of fire producing smoke. This is a partial
vision of minds luminosity, it's partially obscured.
Fire with the quality of warmth then dissolves into air.
Associated with the destruction of the throat chakra related channels and winds.
    experience of the fire element or warmth intensifies.

We feel hot and feverish


Inwardly we experience intense heat, like an inferno.
We lose control of the fluids in our body
We urinate, we shit, there's tears and saliva leaking.
We experience red glowing luminosity.
As the intensity lessons, and the energy of fire merges with the air element,
Heat recedes from our limbs, our arms and legs become cold
Our perception span is extremely short,
We find it difficult to think.
We can't smell
We can't identify or distinguish people or things around us.
We become confused.
We're moving in and out of consciousness, in and out of clarity
22

At the moment that the fire element dissolves into air there's the brief, momentary release from
consciousness, We experience natural mind as tiny sparkling lights all around us, like sparks rising
from a fire or fireflies in our mind. The heat of the fire element merging with the movement of air
producing swirling sparks of light. This again is a partial vision of minds luminosity, it's partially
obscured.
The Air element with the quality of movement dissolves into consciousness( space).
Assosciated with the destruction of chakra at the secret place, channels and related winds
Our experience of the air element or movement intensifies.
It's more difficult to breathe; it rattles and rasps.
Our tongue thickens.
We can't swallow
We can't taste
We can't perform any actions
Our inner experience is of strong, roaring gusts of wind as surges of energy flow through the body.
We may experience the sensation of floating or being blown about
We experience a green glowing luminosity
We're approaching clinical death, it's near now
As the intensity lessons, and the energy of air merges with consciousness
We're barely aware of those around us.
We have extreme feelings of dissociation and being disembodied.
The same feelings experienced while on drugs or as we lose our sanity or gain spiritual realisation
Consciousness is like a glowing ember , a spluttering candle flame, burning low or blazing brightly.
At this point we can't see, hear, smell, taste or feel any more.
Finally there's no pulse, no brain activity, according to western medicine we're clinically dead.
Our Physical appearance changes, we begin to look like we're lifeless, we're dead. From a Western
medical perspective that's it, the process is finished.
However, according to Vajrayana or Tantric Buddhist Practice and oriental medicine this is not the
end of the story.
Our experience of consciousness then intensifieswe experience a series of rapid
hallucinations, which appear as a mirage, hazy smoke, flashes of light like the tails of a firefly and a
dim glow like an ember.
We then experience hallucinations of different types. Those with violent tendencies may experience
wrathful visions while those who have led good lives will be welcomed into a friendlier atmosphere.
Religious people may see their teachers, deities or angels.
23

Consciousness then dissolves into Space. The four stages of inner dissolution begin.
The four stages of inner dissolution.
According to the Vajrayana, another four stages occur with respect to the mind and minds
experience. The inner process begins. Our internal energies begin to dissolve or be reabsorbed,
which in turn give rise to the experiences of light. Traditionally its said there are 80 different types of
thoughts. During three of these stages these dissolve.
During the first two of these four stages it's possible for the person to return to life safely, for the
consciousness to re-emerge and all the organs to function again.
1. The experience of the white brilliance, which is likened to space filled with moonlight.
This is the first of the two white brilliance experiences. It is the one most people experience during a
near death experience. It's the reason that many people change their lives after such an experience.
They've encountered natural or enlightened mind in its moon like form.
We now sense a movement of energy, downward, and experience space filled with moonlight, the
experience of absolute clarity. It has no centre or boundary. We experience great bliss, stillness and
peace, all our capacity for anger vanishes, there's no aversion, it's completely gone, 33 of the 80
types of thought have dissolved. This is the dissolution of conceptual mind, the thinking sense of self
which separates us form everything, the sense of being unique, permanent and independent. It is
related to the male element when we were conceived. It's called the white drop and this drop moving
down the central channel to the heart centre causes the sense of downward movement.
2. The experience of the red brilliance, which is likened to the sun.
This is the second of the red brilliance experiences. It is the possible within the near death
experience to experience this very intense, brighter white light. At this point during the near death
experience we experience intense fear and turn away from the intensity of this light, return to life
safely, for the consciousness to re-emerge and all the organs to function again.
We now sense an experience of upward movement of energy. Again, we experience great bliss and
a brilliantly clear state of mind with no centre or boundary. This is the dissolution of the emotional
sense of self, the dissolution of wanting to possess everything of seeing everything as its possession
or object to be possessed, which forms the basis for desire and attraction, the 40 thoughts connected
with desire dissolve. As this happens we experience the intense brightness of the red brilliance. The
24

light has a reddish sheen This brilliance is named after the red drop, which arose from the mother's
ovum at the time of conception. The experience of the upward movement and the intense white
brilliance experience occurs when the red drop moves up the central channel towards the heart
centre.
Up to this point the process of dying is reversible because the mind and body have not separated.
This is the reason for the near death experience being able to occur up to this point.
3. The experience of the intense bright dark light.
When the white drop and the red drop meet in the heart centre we experience the intense bright dark
light. The life energy, which kept the two drops at either end of the central channel and bound the
mind to the body, dissolves. The mind is no longer bound to the body. There's no sense of direction
nothing for the mind to relate to. The blackness is likened to alight behind smoked glass. According to
the Vajrayana, you're now dead. The process cannot be reversed. Great bliss arises and ignorance
dissolves, the final 7 types of thoughts related to bewilderment dissolve and the storehouse of all
minds conditioning, its contents, dissolve. All karmic imprints dissolve. Our historical habits and the
remaining reinforced negativity dissolves.
4. The experience of the extremely intense white light.
As a result of the dissolution of the blackness we experience an infinite expanse of white light as if we
were at the centre of the sun. We experience total and utter emptiness inseparable from brilliant
clarity. This is it, natural mind, original mind, enlightened mind, the Dharmakaya. This is brighter,
more intense than anything experienced before. Every one experiences this. So thats the process of
life ebbing away.

25

The meditation for the untrained mind


lie down
Expel negativity
Diaphragm
Holding for slightly longer
Now Slowly build up this picture in your mind.
Now imagine that your lying down in your room in the bed.. Imagine the place..the smells, the
temperature, the sounds, the sights and how your body feels..is it quiet, sombre or is there a
buzz in the room..one ot two people sitting with youand your friends and relatives are
there with you.someone's holding your hand ..death begins to take hold..
your in the grip of death. you begin to feel trapped in our body..
it which feels like it's made of rock..You feel overwhelmed by a sense of heaviness.
Like we're being crushed by a huge weight particularly at the chest.
You hear the sound of great earthquakes.Mentally there's a sinking sensation,
You feel depressed and bewildered.Your losing touch with reality.
You experience a yellow glowing luminosityYour unable to move our body
You can't move our limbs.You feel weak and exhausted.
your body feels like it shrinks into itself.. Our complexion fades.
We feel like we've turned to jelly (water). you feel fear and anxiety.
Your sight begins to fail., everything becomes blurred. everything
seems to swim before our eyes
Now rest in any sensations you experienceany feeling you experienceany emotion you
experiencerest and relax into themrelax into them
..
Nowyou feel like your in water.this water is moving very fast.You feel like you're
being swept away in a flood.there's no control.your helpless..
being tossed around in this great torrent.your over whelmed by the roaring sound of the
water.it's deafiening.You fee like you're drowning..You experience a white sheen in
your mind.You can feel the heart slowing down.Your mouth begins to dry out
your tongue begins to dry outyour nose begins to dry out
You feel your body beginning to shrivel.You feel a great thirst.
Your hearing slowly degenerates external sounds can't be distinguished clearly,
The ringing in the ears stops..Your Sensations are dulled
You feel indifferenta sensation of not caring.you experience a feeling of
detachment..you become withdrawn.now rest in how you feel
26

Now rest in any sensations you experienceany feeling you experienceany emotion you
experiencerest and relax into themrelax into them
.
you feel hot and feverishInwardly we experience intense heat.
It's like an infernoyou begin lose control of the fluids in our bodyyou urinateand
feel the sensation . shit..and feel the sensation.., there's tears leaking
from our eyes. and saliva dribbles down the side of your faceyou experience a
red, glowing, luminosity in our minds..Heat recedes from our limbs. our arms
and legs become cold..your perception span is extremely short..it's difficult to
thinkYou can't smell anythingYou can't identify or distinguish people or things
around you.you become confused.You're moving in and out of
consciousness in and out of clarity.
Now rest in any sensations you experienceany feeling you experienceany emotion you
experiencerest and relax into themrelax into them

Now. you find it more difficult to breatheyour breathe rattles and rasps.as you
breathe in and outyour tongue thickensyou can't taste.you can't swallow
you can't do anythingin your minds you experience strong,..roaring.
gusts of wind. as surges of energy flow through the body..you experience the
sensation of floating or being blown about.We experience a green glowing luminosity
We're approaching clinical death..it's near now.you're barely aware of those around
you..We have extreme feelings of dissociation .like we've taken drugs.we feel like
we don't have a bodydisembodied.Finally there's no pulse.. no brain
activity.
Now you experience hallucinations of different types.. Those with violent tendencies may
experience wrathful visions while those who have led good lives will be welcomed into a friendlier
atmosphere. Religious people may see their teachers, deities or angels.others friend or
relatives..you experience light likened to space filled with moonlight.you sense a movement
of energy, downward, and experience space filled with moonlight, the experience of absolute clarity.
It has no centre or boundary. We experience great bliss.. stillnesspeace
all anger has..gone..this experience of the moon like light..gradually intensifies
Now you experience the red brilliancelike red sunlight ..you feel an upward
movement of energyyou experience great bliss brilliantly clear state
of mind with no centre or boundary..Now we black out for a while and experience the
extremely intense white light.for a few seconds..now dissolve the light and rest
27

relax..begin to move your fingers and toesnow your arms and legspreparig to sit up.
If you don't train then this is what will happen not only that but your energy body will depart form your
body, you'll see your friends and relatives, you'll even try to communicate because you won't know
your dead.you'll hang around and slowly you'll begin to realise that you're dead and move on to a
completely different set of circumstances which we won't go into here.
How a trained person experiences the Death process
The meditation on the signs and the physical at death.
Now imagine the same process with all the secret signs, this time in the knowledge that you're dying
and that you won't be overwhelmed by the experience. You recognise stage by stage what's
happening. You're not afraid of the emotions or the body sensations, you're experiencing them and
aware of them, your mind is watching itself going through the process and recognises what is going
on within the experience.
The dissolution

Coloured hue

sign

The earth element into the water element

yellow

shimmering mirage

The water element into the fire element.

White

hazy smokey light

The fire element into the air element.

red

tiny sparkling lights

The air element into the space element

green

glowing ember

Space or consciousness

Rapid experience of four signs above

The moonlike light

Very bright moonlight

Very bright moonlight

The sun like light

Bright red sunset

Red sunset

The experience of the bright darkness

Bright darkness

Bright darkness

The clear light .

Intense white light

Intense white light

Earth with the quality of solidity, begins to dissolve into water with the quality of fluidity.
Associated with the destruction of the navel chakra and related channels and winds.
Our experience of the earth element or solidity intensifies.
We feel trapped in our body, which feels like it's made of rock.
We feel overwhelmed by a sense of heavinesslike we're being crushed by a huge weight
particularly at the chest.
We hear the sound of great earthquakes. We experience yellow in our minds.
Mentally there's a sinking sensation, we feel depressed and bewildered, losing touch with reality.
We experience a yellow glowing luminosity.

28

As the intensity lessens, and the energy of earth merges with the energy of water, we're unable to
move our body we can't move our limbs, we feel weak and exhausted.
Our body shrinks into itself. Our complexion fades.
We feel like we've turned to jelly (water) the same sensation when we feel fear and anxiety.
Our sight begins to fail, becomes blurred; everything seems to swim before our eyes.
At the moment that the earth element has dissolved completely there's the brief, momentary release
from consciousness, We experience natural mind as a shimmering mirage in the form of light, the
form of the earth element merging with the fluidity of Water. This is a partial vision of minds
luminosity, partially obscured.
Next Water, with the quality of fluidity, dissolves into fire with the quality of heat.
Associated with the destruction of the heart chakra, channels and associated winds
Our experience of the water element intensifies.
We feel like we're carried away in a flood, like we're drowning,
We hear the sound of rushing water.
We experience a white glowing luminosity
As the intensity lessens, and the energy of water merges with the fire element,
The circulatory systems of blood and lymph slow down
Our mouth, tongue and nose dry out, our body begins to shrivel. We become thirsty.
Hearing degeneratesexternal sounds can't be distinguished clearly, the ringing in the ears stops
Sensations are dulled, we become indifferent and detached, we withdraw.
We experience this in life as feeling arid, barren, hopeless, dried up and unable to go with the flow.
At the moment that the water element dissolves into fire there's the brief, momentary release from
consciousness, We experience natural mind as hazy smokey light that seems to swirl all around us,
The wetness of the water element merging with the heat of fire producing smoke. This is a partial
vision of minds luminosity, it's partially obscured.
Fire with the quality of warmth then dissolves into air.
Associated with the destruction of the throat chakra related channels and winds.
Our experience of the fire element or warmth intensifies.
We feel hot and feverish
Inwardly we experience intense heat, like an inferno.
We lose control of the fluids in our body
We urinate, we shit, there's tears and saliva leaking.
We experience red glowing luminosity.
As the intensity lessons, and the energy of fire merges with the air element,
Heat recedes from our limbs, our arms and legs become cold
29

Our perception span is extremely short,


We find it difficult to think.
We can't smell
We can't identify or distinguish people or things around us.
We become confused.
We're moving in and out of consciousness, in and out of clarity
At the moment that the fire element dissolves into air there's the brief, momentary release from
consciousness, We experience natural mind as tiny sparkling lights all around us, like sparks rising
from a fire or fireflies in our mind. The heat of the fire element merging with the movement of air
producing swirling sparks of light. This again is a partial vision of minds luminosity, it's partially
obscured.
The Air element with the quality of movement dissolves into consciousness( space).
Assosciated with the destruction of chakra at the secret place, channels and related winds
Our experience of the air element or movement intensifies.
It's more difficult to breathe; it rattles and rasps.
Our tongue thickens.
We can't swallow
We can't taste
We can't perform any actions
Our inner experience is of strong, roaring gusts of wind as surges of energy flow through the body.
We may experience the sensation of floating or being blown about
We experience a green glowing luminosity
We're approaching clinical death, it's near now
As the intensity lessons, and the energy of air merges with consciousness
We're barely aware of those around us.
We have extreme feelings of dissociation and being disembodied.
The same feelings experienced while on drugs or as we lose our sanity or gain spiritual realisation
Consciousness is like a glowing ember , a spluttering candle flame, burning low or blazing brightly.
At this point we can't see, hear, smell, taste or feel any more.
Finally there's no pulse, no brain activity, according to western medicine we're clinically dead.
Our Physical appearance changes, we begin to look like we're lifeless, we're dead. From a Western
medical perspective that's it, the process is finished.
However, according to Vajrayana or Tantric Buddhist Practice and oriental medicine this is not the
end of the story.
30

Our experience of consciousness then intensifieswe experience a series of rapid


hallucinations, which appear as a mirage, hazy smoke, flashes of light like the tails of a firefly and a
dim glow like an ember.
We then experience hallucinations of different types. Those with violent tendencies may experience
wrathful visions while those who have led good lives will be welcomed into a friendlier atmosphere.
Religious people may see their teachers, deities or angels.
Consciousness then dissolves into Space. The four stages of inner dissolution begin.
The four stages of inner dissolution.
According to the Vajrayana, another four stages occur with respect to the mind and minds
experience. The inner process begins. Our internal energies begin to dissolve or be reabsorbed,
which in turn give rise to the experiences of light. Traditionally its said there are 80 different types of
thoughts. During three of these stages these dissolve.
During the first two of these four stages it's possible for the person to return to life safely, for the
consciousness to re-emerge and all the organs to function again.
1. The experience of the white brilliance, which is likened to space filled with moonlight.
This is the first of the two white brilliance experiences. It is the one most people experience during a
near death experience. It's the reason that many people change their lives after such an experience.
They've encountered natural or enlightened mind in its moon like form.
We now sense a movement of energy, downward, and experience space filled with moonlight, the
experience of absolute clarity. It has no centre or boundary. We experience great bliss, stillness and
peace, all our capacity for anger vanishes, there's no aversion, it's completely gone, 33 of the 80
types of thought have dissolved. This is the dissolution of conceptual mind, the thinking sense of self
which separates us form everything, the sense of being unique, permanent and independent. It is
related to the male element when we were conceived. It's called the white drop and this drop moving
down the central channel to the heart centre causes the sense of downward movement.
2. The experience of the red brilliance, which is likened to the sun.
This is the second of the red brilliance experiences. It is the possible within the near death
experience to experience this very intense, brighter white light. At this point during the near death
experience we experience intense fear and turn away from the intensity of this light, return to life
safely, for the consciousness to re-emerge and all the organs to function again.
31

We now sense an experience of upward movement of energy. Again, we experience great bliss and
a brilliantly clear state of mind with no centre or boundary. This is the dissolution of the emotional
sense of self, the dissolution of wanting to possess everything of seeing everything as its possession
or object to be possessed, which forms the basis for desire and attraction, the 40 thoughts connected
with desire dissolve. As this happens we experience the intense brightness of the red brilliance. The
light has a reddish sheen This brilliance is named after the red drop, which arose from the mother's
ovum at the time of conception. The experience of the upward movement and the intense white
brilliance experience occurs when the red drop moves up the central channel towards the heart
centre.
Up to this point the process of dying is reversible because the mind and body have not separated.
This is the reason for the near death experience being able to occur up to this point.
3. The experience of the intense bright dark light.
When the white drop and the red drop meet in the heart centre we experience the intense bright dark
light. The life energy, which kept the two drops at either end of the central channel and bound the
mind to the body, dissolves. The mind is no longer bound to the body. There's no sense of direction
nothing for the mind to relate to. The blackness is likened to a light behind smoked glass. According
to the Vajrayana, you're now dead. The process cannot be reversed. Great bliss arises and
ignorance dissolves, the final 7 types of thoughts related to bewilderment dissolve and the
storehouse of all minds conditioning, its contents, dissolve. All karmic imprints dissolve. Our historical
habits and the remaining reinforced negativity dissolves.
4. The experience of the extremely intense white light.
As a result of the dissolution of the blackness we experience an infinite expanse of white light as if we
were at the centre of the sun. We experience total and utter emptiness inseparable from brilliant
clarity. This is it, natural mind, original mind, enlightened mind, the Dharmakaya. This is brighter,
more intense than anything experienced before. Every one experiences this. So thats the process of
life ebbing away.
How long does all this take?
The time between clinical death and the re-absorption of the life wind can take from five minutes to
half an hour, or the length of time it takes to eat a meal or bowl (of ground roasted barley mixed with
32

butter tea, according to Vajrayana texts). However this will actually depend on how you die and the
amount of effort you've put in to preparing for the moments outlined above.
Accidental near death
If we die as a result of an accident we will not experience the dissolution of the elements. They will
happen in a flash. What we will experience is the thought processes dismantling, the thinking mind
dissolving and the appearance of the moon like clear light. This can last for quite a few minutes. At
that point we can return or continue the process and experience the sun like clear light followed by
fear caused by the intensity of the sun like clear light and again return.
Accidental Death.
This follows the same pattern as above but continues into the dark brightness and the final clear light
of Liberation.
What's the purpose of knowing all this?
We need to know all this in order to understand what needs to be done, how to prepare for these
moments and how our lives and what we do in them affects them. We need to understand how we
think act and speak has a continual affect on our mind. The affects of these actions build up in our
minds. We become enslaved and more and more involved in the resulting mind states. We're not
actually clear about what's going on. Through not being clear about what's going on we are unaware
of what's actually happening, we miss endless opportunities in life and we miss the opportunities at
death. We have no clarity or deep understanding of the processes involved in life never mind death.
The purpose of life is to recognise the nature of death or the impermanent nature of all things and to
live comfortably within that experience. To do this we need to look into our minds. That process is
called meditation.
The real purpose for meditation.
What's the real purpose of meditation?
To experience the clear light, or natural mind of the spiritual path and knowing the signs, which
accompany gaining the realisation of the Path. We experience a series of rapid appearances in the
mind, when approaching this realisation. They appear as a mirage, hazy smoke, flashes of light like
the tails of a firefly and a dim glow like an ember. These are the self same appearances as the
33

elements dissolve at the time of death. For the experienced practitioner they're the signposts or
secret signs that the time for partial or full enlightenment is possible. Each of these signs represents
a signpost if recognised. If you can recognise any or all of these signs then it's possible to become
enlightened to some degree or totally enlightened.
How do we eventually recognise these rather then imagine them?
We do this through a combination of modifying our behaviour and looking inwards. Through applying
appropriate ways of behaving, through releasing the energy of our accumulated actions or mental
imprints and developing our ability to meditate.
Modifying our behaviour.
Training the mind in learning how to engage in positive activity. This means training in positive
thought, positive speech and positive action. This reduces the build up of unwholesome tendencies in
the mind through imprinting the mind with positive tendencies, or changing our habits to the more
postive. We have to reduce negative activities as these are the cause for disturbance in the mind and
negative mental states and reinforcing negative habits.

Meditation.
Meditation is the name given to the process of looking into the mind. It is also the process of training
the mind to be calm, to be peaceful, and then looking directly at the mind to experience its true
nature, or natural mind. Through training the mind to be calm we need to undo all the build up of
negative tendencies in the mind.
As this happens our minds will become more calm and stable. We'll become less involved with what
happens in the mind and engage less in negative acts. It will then be possible to look directly at the
mind and discover its true nature. If this is not possible then our minds will become clearer which will
enable us to recognise what happens during our waking state, the little sleep or the big sleep and
recognise natural mind.
So the whole purpose is to develop the ability to be so aware that you recognise the clear light and
dissolve into it, regardless of which aspect of living or dying your experiencing. How you have acted,
spoken or thought during your life will affect the length of time you're able to experience all these
opportunities. If you've not trained then you won't know, or have the ability to recognise what's
34

happening. The more clear and stable the mind the longer time you'll have. The alternative is to
practice your ability your ability to focus and, through that become more aware then, through that
develop insight while living, using whatever means are at your disposal, dealing with the way you
experience your individual world which you inhabit.
So how can we do this?
We can learn, and then apply the different methods of meditation, especially the Vajrayana Yidam or
deity practices and the advanced completion Practices, and how to support the practice consciously
throughout our daily lives, in order that we can live consciously and die consciously.
In Vajrayana practice there are two stages of r any Sadhana or visualisation practice: the stage of
generation and the stage of completion. In the stage of generation, the more basic of these two, this
whole eightfold process of dissolution is experienced nly by using the power of our imagination: you
just visualise it. however, in the second stage of the practice, the stage of completion, by means of
prana yoga, including the vase meditation, you bring the vital energies into the central channel, and
you actually, really, bring about the dissolution.
What actually happens
The practitioner goes through the processes of dissolution described above, culminating in
the experience of luminosity, the actual process of completion itself, while alive. This is called gaining
realisation. The practitioner then rests in this luminosity and experiences the dissolution process in
reverse. This creates the subtle body. The subtle or energy body takes on the form of the
practitioner's yidam. This subtle or illusory body can only be seen by those who have reached the
same level of attainment. Finally the practitioner arises from the Samadhi having gone through the
process of dying while alive and re enters everyday life with a body that has been purified, called the
Nirmanakaya or form body. Rebirth in action! The process from then on involves developing and
increasing the depth of the experience of the clear light. If this experience is sufficiently strong, then
the physical elements can be reabsorbed into the energy body and disappear leaving only the hair
and fingernails. This is called the rainbow body. Practitioners still achieve this today.
We have looked at some aspects of life and the process of the cessation of physical life in the body.
We have not looked at what happens after wards. Perhaps another time.
Now lets look at what's possible with the small amount of experience we have now.
35

Helping ourselves.
There are several things that we can do to help our situation and begin the process of change.
1. Adopting the Lion Posture.
This is the posture the Buddha adopted when leaving this world.
It can be used before going to sleep or, if you can't sit up, at the moment of death.
Lie down on your right side.
Place your right hand under your right cheek.
Each finger is used to close off a sense organ.
Your thumb is placed on your ear.
Your index finger over the eye.
Your middle finger on the nostril.
The third finger is left free
The little finger is placed on the mouth.
The left arm is placed along the left side.
2.Praciticing sending and taking in our ordinary Form
Sending and taking ordinary form relation to our negative emotions and other suffering
While living and during the process of dying.
3.Sending and taking as a deity.
If we are able we should practice sending and taking while in the form of a deity. In our case, that
would be Chenresig. This is much more powerful as we are imagining ourselves in a pure form rather
than our ordinary form.
4. We can practice the creation stage Practices
In our case, at present, that would be Chenresig. We could also include sending and taking Practice.
5. The Seven Branch prayer
We could recite and imagine carrying out all the seven branches. They are a ritualised form of doing
positive deeds and antidotes for negative acts.
6. You could recite the confession to the 35 Buddhas with the accompanying visualisation. This will
help reduce the effects of your negative actions and help absolve you of those committed.
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7. You could learn about the mind training and apply this to your everyday life.
8. Practice until you realise the nature if mind, die while remaining in the nature of mind. This is the
superior way to die.
Helping others who are dying
1.Teach them the Lion Posture if they can't sit up or they're not a meditator and don't feel
uncomfortable lying like this.
2.Sending and taking.
Carry out Sending and taking on their behalf in your ordinary form in relation to their suffering.
If they have some experience I practice
3. Sending and taking as deity
Carry out sending and taking in the form of Chenresig.
Short form of the practice.no seven branch prayer
Long formwith the seven branch prayer thinking all the positive is to relieve their suffering
Refuge and bodhicitta..Imagine we're going to work for their benefit and free them form suffering.
Chenresig in front..radiating white light, touches deceased, purify negativity & free form suffering
Radiate the black and the white
above the headradiating white light, touches deceased, purify negativity & free from suffering
radiating the black and white
during mantra radiating white light, touches deceased, purify negativity & free from suffering
sending and taking radiate from the hrihabsorb into the hrih
Dedicating the positiveimagine giving all the benefit to the deceased.
You can do any or all of the above of you have the time
If you can't do the whole puja recite refuge, chenresig in front, do white light and or sending and
taking, then dedicate the benefit to the deceased.
4. Perform the Soor offering.
This is an offering for the deceased which was performed for the dead person for 49 days, the
traditional time that it takes to be reborn. Soor is a form of Chenresig offering Practice.
If you don't know the practice then offer a few pinches of roasted flour mixed with a little of your meal
at a mealtime, consecrate the food by reciting om ah hoong three times and then recite om mani pay
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may hoong 3,7,21 or as many times as you like.. For a more elaborate offering you can burn any food
except meat.
5. Recite mantras in the dying persons ear if they allow it.
6. If you must touch the body, touch the head first.
7. If requesting Practice to be done on a deceased behalf.
Provide,
The name of the person.
The date of death.
A photograph of the deceased.
8. Once dead place the mantras etc around the body as instructed.
9. Request the bardo prayers to be recited. Its best if it's the students teacher, next an experienced
practitioner finally by a friend with good intention.
10. Request a very high lama to guide the person through the after death stage from afar.

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