Synopsis of Shr’i-Chakra-Sambhara Tantra
Lecture VIII 13th January, 1939
You will remember that we left off before Christmas in the middle of a Tantrik text, the Shri-Chakra-Sambhara Tantra.
It is a very important exposition of Buddhist Yoga but exceedingly difficult.
We know very little about it but it is probably an instrument used only by Lamas who are specifically engaged in such exercises and who perhaps spend their whole lives in studying them.
As it is so difficult I have made a synopsis of it.
It falls into three phases, thesis, anti-thesis and synthesis.
We completed the first phase, the thesis, in our last lecture.
Synopsis of Shr’i-Chakra-Sambhiira Tantra.
Phase I. Analysis. (Thesis.)
A . 1. Identification with Buddha.
2 . Surroundings as components of the Vajra personality.
( Corpus incorruptibile, corpus glorificationis.)
- Identity with Demchog (Mahasukha) and Yogin!.
Shri Heruka Aham. (4 = Self)
Shri : Advaita.
He: primal cause .
Ka: omni – and nulli – presence.
- Analysis of Knowledge.
a) from A: 1. Shilnyata – Jnana. Void.
- Vishaya – Jnana. Doubt.
b) from Hum: 1. Perfected Knowledge. Synthetic.
- Differentiating Knowledge. Discriminating. Analysis.
Equalising Knowledge. Analogous.
Mirror-like Knowledge. Empirical.
Bindu 5. Dharma-Dhatu-Jnana. Changeless knowledge.
B. 1. Light Rays of 4 Colours from Hum.
- 10 Directions with Apotropaic Clicking. Magic Circle.
Assimilation of all Beings into the Mandala.
Rays of Light absorbed in Self.
Analysis of Functions.
Personification of t h e Functions as 4 Buddhas.
a. Rup a-skandha = Thinking.
b. Vedana-skandha = Sensation.
c. Samjna-skandha = Feeling.
d. Sangskara-skandha = Intuition.
e. Vijnanaskandha = Buddha Vajra-sattva . Knowledge.
Phase II. Menace and Defence. (Anti-thesis.)
A. 1. 5 Senses: Delusion, anger, greed, miserliness, jealousy ( = b o dy.)
2. She who causes fall. (Net of Lotus es.)
3. Purification of the Senses and Vision of the Gurus and Devatas.
4. Sacrifice and Worship .
5. Invocation. All-Knowing one com e forward, be round and round.
B.1. Prayer for Absolution.
2. Good Resolutions. (8 vows.)
3. Answer of the Devatas .
4. Emanation of the 1 0 Female Devatas (personifying the 10 directions).
5. Creation of Square Room and of Circle.
C.1. Threat towards the 10 Directions and Creation of a Protective Circle.
2. Creation of t h e Diamond Weapons.
3. Destruction of the Wicked and of Avidya.
4. Absolution of Sins.
5. I am the true nature of all things and of the nature of the Void
( = Shunyata).
Phase III. Synthesis
A. There arises from Shunyata :
1. Yam = sustain. To carry, to maintain, to support from underneath.
5. Earth == square.
B. Mandala of Dharma Dhatu [see 1-9 Below]
- Meru. 4 Fences, 4 Colours, Quadrangular, 8 Turrets and 3 Tiers.
- Meru. 4 Headed Vajra, 4 Colours.
- Meru. 8 Petalled Lotus, containing the Vowels .
- Meru. Moon, containing the Consonants.
- Meru. Sun, with Om A Hum = Essence of Body.
- Meru. Lotus = Yoni.
- Meru. Moon with Lingam.
- Meru. Vihara, with 8 Cremation Grounds outside.
- Meru. A Magic Circle within the Vihara and an 8 petalled Lotus, with Lama himself as Mahasukha, 4 Faces, 4 Elements , 4 Colours, 12 Hands. ( = Nidana chain) 3 Eyes
I will give a short resume of the thesis before continuing.
The text begins with the Lama declaring his identification with Buddha.
He is speaking of his corpus incorruptibile, of his Vaj ra (diamond) body.
Vajra is not only hard and durable but it is als o penetrating, for it is the thunderbolt of the gods.
The Christian analogy is the incorruptible, glorified body, spoken of by St. Paul, which is to be put on a t the Last Judgement.
It was this body which the alchemists tried to produce, they looked for it in matter, because they thought of it as having substance, a subtle substance.
The incorruptible essence as such can draw in the whole surroundings and this is done by the Yogin through the Yoga exercise as Buddha,
just as if I should draw you all in as part of my mandala.
The text goes on to declare the identity of the Yogin with Mahi’isukh a (great bliss) and his Yogin.
The Yogin declares that he is himself the god of highest bliss and his female companion, his Shakti.
The god appears as man-woman, eternally yoked together.
We find this also in Greece and Babylonia, the Greek word syzygia means a god yoked with a goddess.
The male and female always being together is a very important motif in psychology.
Then we come to Shr’i Heruka Aham.
Heruka is a Tibetan Devati, Lord of this Mandala.
Heruka is much the same as Mahasukha, psychologically they are both expressions of the Self, the totality, consciousness plus the unconscious.
We find the god of this mandala expressed in many forms.
The Shri Heruka Aham mantra is so holy that it should not only be murmured and sung, but divided into syllables and each syllable should be
It is through this operation that identification with its essence is brought about.
Shr’i = I am “non-dual”, only one; He = I am the primal cause; ru = I am uncompounded ; ka = I am omnipresent, all pervading, nowhere and
In other words: I am the Buddha essence and can thus spread myself through the whole of space.
The four are there so the fifth is bound to be present also, my Self, the god of this mandala.
This is not logical western thinking, we think in series, 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5 would just be the next number.
But the East thinks in circles, and then 5 is not just the next figure but the centre, it is the quinta essentia, the essence of all.
We used to think like this in the Middle Ages also, but scientific thinking put a stop to it.
The East thinks clockwise, pradakshina, as a rule; as far as one can tell most stupas are circled by the path of the right hand,
which belongs to Shiva; and Shakti temples are circled to te left, apradakshina, the path of the left hand, and, where both are concerned,
half the circle is pradakshina and half apradakshina (see diagram] , and the same method seems to be adhered to when the barques of
Shiva and Shakti sail on the Temple pool.
The text continues with the analysis of the knowledge.
The meditation on the syllables of the mantra leads to identification with the highest Self.
This condition, sometimes reaching ecstasy, is dangerous to the Yogin, for if the human being believes that he is the absolute he may explode.
So as a precautionary measure he analyses his knowledge, he uses reason to safeguard himself, as though he were using the critique of
Kant himself emphasises that God, the Highest Being, is in no way affected by what we know about him.
So the Yogin analyses what he knows about Buddha and takes the last word in the Mantra: “Aham ” for this purpose.
A is divided into two kinds of knowledge.
The first is Shunyata (Void) and the second is Vishaya (doubtful) knowledge.
The first consists of the knowledge which knows that the true nature of forms is the Void, and the second is world knowledge of objects, doubtful
knowledge, knowledge that is as questionable as the moon, as if things were seen dimly in the moonlight, everything might be something else.
This is why “world-experience” is connected with the symbol of the “clear Lunar disc “.
The second syllable Hum is meditated on in four stages.
The first stage is the perfecting knowledge, synthetic ; the text calls it ” the knowledge which accomplishes all works”.
The second stage is the knowledge which distinguishes and discriminates.
The third is the equalising knowledge, the sameness of all, showing everything as analogous.
The fourth is the “mirror-like” knowledge, that is empirical knowledge.
Then comes the fifth, the quinta essentia, in the form of a sentence, “Dharma-dhatu-]nana”, the changeless knowledge.
This states that I have recognised the highest knowledge, so the Self is insured.
Then the light of consciousness shoots forth from the “Hum “, the humming is dissolved into four colours.
These symbolise the four functions, the truth of the four ways of knowing, the four different qualities of light and the four points of
The apotropaic snapping of the fingers in the ten directions follows, the Yogin is in the centre of the world system and says: I am the
centre, the eight directions of space, zenith and nadir.
Then he assimilates all beings into the mandala.
One could say that the Yogin hangs like a spider in its web, and draws all beings through the rays of light into the mandala of his
He establishes himself as the centre of the world. The light, which emanated from the “Hum”, is withdrawn and absorbed by the Self.
The fifth, or quinta essentia, follows in the form of an analysis of the functions.
These are personified as four Buddhas and differentiate d as the Vedana-skandha, the element of the senses which is the Vajra Suryya,
(the Diamond Sun,) and is certainly the function of sensation.
The Samjna-skandha is translated in a note by the Editor as the feeling aggregate.
It is the Padma-nateshvara, (the Lotus Lord of the Dances).
I do not feel quite sure that feeling is the right translation, it is more harmony, agreeing with.
The Rupa-skandha is the form element so as a hypothesis we will call it thinking.
It is Vairochana (Bodhisattva) .
The Sangskara-skandha, which the Editor calls the aggregata of instinct, would be the function of intuition, that is perception via the unconscious.
The western psychological equivalent of the eastern Sangskara is the idea of heredity.
As we have already seen that Karma is the sum-total of what we bring over from former lives, our debit and credit account, merits and losses.
Sangskara is the sum-total of the mind that we have created in former existences.
This eastern point of view would explain many mysterious fates and why certain things have to be lived.
Everyone in the East takes this point of view.
Very highly developed people can remember their former lives, even back into animal lives.
Buddha remembered innumerable lives and spoke freely of them.
There are curious cases of this kind to be found even now.
An Indian doctor reported two cases of children who distinctly remembered where they had lived in a previous existence and the names of
their parents; he investigated the facts and found every detail corresponded to actually real people and places.
How are we to explain this?
The East is absolutely convinced that we actually lived former lives but such assertions are open to doubt.
We call the same thing hereditary tendencies, our disposition, certain things run in the family, etc.
The function which helps us to discover these things is intuition, it perceives via the unconscious.
In the West we are always using our intuition on outward things, but the East turns their Sangskara-skandha inwards.
The terms are not synonymous but intuition is our best analogy.
We have now established the four functions and must add the fifth, the Vijniina-skandha, the Buddha Vajra-sattva.
This is the quinta essentia, the highest essence, the eternal being, the enlightened diamond body.
The Yogin realises that he knows all his four functions which are Buddha, so his existence as Buddha is insured.
The text then says:
“Meditate thus up on all the principles constituting the self as having become each a Tathagata: the whole constituting the revered and
The conclusion here is that the Yogin is the glorious Heruka, that is the Buddha essence.
We now enter the second phase, the anti-thesis, which is quite different.
It begins with the Five Senses.
“[Then meditate on the five senses as five male Devas.)
Heruka’s eyes are Vaj ra-delusion (Moha); ears Vajra-anger; mouth Varagre ed; nose Vajra-miserliness; body Vajra-jealousy; and all the senses
Vajra means diamond or eternal, so we could say eternal delusion, eternal anger and so on.
These are the typical vices of Buddhism, the Lama realises here that the divine essence contains all the bad qualities and vices.
When people are foolish enough to imitate the East their bodies rise up against them and teach them better.
If we say “I am the Eternal Being” we are put in the asylum, or rather we should hurry to shut ourselves up if we found ourselves possessed by
such an idea.
But there is nothing crazy in such an assertion in the East, for they do not mean: “I am Buddha ” but “I as the eternal Being am Buddha”, a
totally different thing.
There must be a long preparation to be Buddha, if we do not realise this we are taking part in a holy ceremony with dirty hands.
Primitives are very much aware of such truths, they never undertake a ritual dance, for instance, without careful preparation to reach the right
state of mind.
When a Pueblo Indian is going to take p art in a Buffalo dance, he prepares himself by going on to the roof of the highest house in the village.
The Pueblo Indian village is the original pattern for the modern American town, its outline is similar to that of the sky-scrapers on a small scale.
The Indian goes on to the highest “sky-scraper ” in his village and fills himself with the sun.
Then he goes down into the underground Temple, the Kiva where the ceremony takes place, for it is only as the son of the father, (when he
is identified with the sun,) that he can dance, and then the dance is filled with magic effect.
The Central Australian natives have a very clear conception of this idea.
They know that they cannot perform their ritual dances in their civil condition but only when they are transformed into their ancestors, “les eternels increes” who lived in the Alchera, the time when there was no time and when no one had been created.
As such and as such alone are they the eternal being and can dance.
The Lama in our text, through the critique of reason, through analysing his knowledge, realises that he is identical with the giver of all thoughts.
When he is this he can really meditate.
But it is only through such a realisation that we can in a sense become one with the highest being.
And there the Lama meets the negative side.
The eastern gods all have two aspects, Kwannon, the well-known goddess of kindness, is also the goddess of hell.
They appear in their benevolent and malevolent aspects and here the Lama meets all the vices which as a man he is forbidden to have. ~Carl Jung, ETH Lecture 13Jan1939, Pages 52-57