The Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation

Despite the fact that we neither know nor pretend to know what ‘psyche’ is, we can deal with the phenomenon of ‘mind’. ~Carl Jung, Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation, Page 48

Man himself has ceased to be the microcosm and eidolon of the cosmos, and his ‘anima’ is no longer the consubstantial scintilla, or spark of the Anima Mundi, the World Soul. ~Carl Jung, Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation, Page 48

If the mind asserts the existence of a Universal Mind, we hold that it is merely making an assertion. We do not assume that by such an assertion the existence of a Universal Mind has been established. ~Carl Jung, Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation, Page 49

The theory of knowledge is only the last step out of humanity’s childhood, out of a world where mind-created figures populated a metaphysical heaven and hell. ~Carl Jung, Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation, Page 49

Despite this inevitable epistemological criticism, however, we have held fast to the religious belief that the organ of faith enables man to know God. The West thus developed a new disease: the conflict between science and religion. ~Carl Jung, Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation, Page 49

Matter is an hypothesis. When you say ‘matter’, you are really creating a symbol for something unknown, which may just as well be ‘spirit’ or anything else; it may even be God. ~Carl Jung, Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation, Page 49

The conflict between science and religion is in reality a misunderstanding of both. Scientific materialism has merely introduced a new hypostasis, and that is an intellectual sin.  ~Carl Jung, Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation, Page 49

The materialist is a metaphysician malgré lui. ~Carl Jung, Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation, Page 50

Faith may include a sacrificium Intellectus (provided there is an intellect to sacrifice), but certainly not a sacrifice of feeling. ~Carl Jung, Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation, Page 50

He [Man] has only to realize that he is shut up inside his mind and cannot step beyond it, even in insanity; and that the appearance of his world or of his gods very much depends upon his own mental condition. ~Carl Jung, Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation, Page 50

We have also begun to understand that the intellect is not an ens per se, or an independent mental faculty, but a psychic function dependent upon the conditions of the psyche as a whole. ~Carl Jung, Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation, Page 50

We are so deeply impressed with the truth of our imprisonment in, and limitation by, the psyche that we are ready to admit the existence in it even of things we do not know: we call them ‘the unconscious’. ~Carl Jung, Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation, Page 51

Many scientifically-minded persons have even sacrificed their religious and philosophical leanings for fear of uncontrolled subjectivism.  ~Carl Jung, Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation, Page 51

In the East, mind is a cosmic factor, the very essence of existence; while in the West we have just begun to understand that it is the essential condition of cognition, and hence of the cognitive existence of the world.  ~Carl Jung, Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation, Page 51

With us, man is incommensurably small and the grace of God is everything; but in the East man is God and he redeems himself.  ~Carl Jung, Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation, Page 52

The gods of Tibetan Buddhism belong to the sphere of illusory separateness and mind-created projections, and yet they exist; but so far as we are concerned an illusion remains an illusion, and thus is nothing at all. ~Carl Jung, Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation, Page 52

The Eastern attitude stultifies the Western, and vice versa. You cannot be a good Christian and redeem yourself, nor can you be a Buddha and worship God.  ~Carl Jung, Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation, Page 54

It is safe to assume that what the East calls ‘mind’ has more to do with our’ unconscious’ than with mind as we understand it, which is more or less identical with consciousness. ~Carl Jung, Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation, Page 55

I cannot imagine a conscious mental state that does not refer to a subject, that is, to an ego. The ego may be depotentiated—divested, for instance, of its awareness of the body—but so long as there is awareness of something, there must be somebody who is aware.  ~Carl Jung, Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation, Page 55

But there is no evidence that the unconscious contents are related to an unconscious centre analogous to the ego; in fact there are good reasons why such a centre is not even probable.  ~Carl Jung, Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation, Page 55

Thus our concept of the ‘collective unconscious’ would be the European equivalent of buddhi, the enlightened mind. ~Carl Jung, Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation, Page 56

The psyche is not a nonentity devoid of all quality; it is a definite system made up of definite conditions and it reacts in a specific way. ~Carl Jung, Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation, Page 56

On a primitive level people are afraid of witches; on the modern level we are apprehensively aware of microbes. There everybody believes in ghosts, here everybody believes in vitamins. ~Carl Jung, Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation, Page 57

But what we have to show in the way of spiritual insight and psychological technique must seem, when compared with yoga, just as backward as Eastern astrology and medicine when compared with Western science.  ~Carl Jung, Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation, Page 57

As the unscious is the matrix mind, the quality of creativeness attaches to it. It is the birthplace of thought-forms such as our text considers the Universal Mind to be. ~Carl Jung, Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation, Page 59

By means of the transcendent function we not only gain access to the ‘One Mind’ but also come to understand why the East believes in the possibility of self-liberation. ~Carl Jung, Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation, Page 60

Formerly, men called the gods unfavourable; now we prefer to call it a neurosis, and we seek the cause in lack of vitamins, in endocrine disturbances, overwork, or sex. ~Carl Jung, Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation, Page 61

The one underrates the world of consciousness, the other the world of the One Mind. The result is that, in their extremism, both lose one half of the universe; their life is shut off from total reality, and is apt to become artificial and inhuman. ~Carl Jung, Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation, Page 61-62

No wonder that onesidedness produces very similar forms of monasticism in both cases, guaranteeing to the hermit, the holy man, the monk or the scientist unswerving singleness of purpose. ~Carl Jung, Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation, Page 62

I have nothing against onesidedness as such. Man, the great experiment of nature, or his own great experiment, is evidently entitled to all such undertakings—if he can endure them.  ~Carl Jung, Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation, Page 62

Without one-sidedness the spirit of man could not unfold in all its diversity. But I do not think there is any harm in trying to understand both sides. ~Carl Jung, Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation, Page 62

The extraverted tendency of the West and the introverted tendency of the East have one important purpose in common: both make desperate efforts to conquer the mere naturalness of life. ~Carl Jung, Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation, Page 62

A scientist forgets all too easily that the impartial handling of a subject may violate its emotional values, often to an unpardonable degree. ~Carl Jung, Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation, Page 62

The scientific intellect is inhuman and cannot afford to be anything else; it cannot avoid being ruthless in effect, though it may be well-intentioned in motive. ~Carl Jung, Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation, Page 62

In dealing with a sacred text, therefore, the psychologist ought at least to be aware that his subject represents an inestimable religious and philosophical value which should not be desecrated by profane hands.  ~Carl Jung, Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation, Page 62

Put into psychological language, the above sentence could be paraphrased thus: The unconscious is the root of all experience of oneness (dharma-kāya), the matrix of all archetypes or structural patterns (sambhoga-kāya), and the conditio sine qua non of the phenomenal world (nirmā a-kāya). ~Carl Jung, Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation, Page 63

The gods are archetypal thought-forms belonging to the sambhogakāya. ~Carl Jung, Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation, Page 63

Their peaceful and wrathful aspects, which play a great role in the meditations of The Tibetan Book of the Dead, symbolize the opposites. ~Carl Jung, Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation, Page 63

In the nirmā a-kāya these opposites are no more than human conflicts, but in the sambhoga-kāya they are the positive and negative principles united in one and the same figure. ~Carl Jung, Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation, Page 63

I have called the method ‘active imagination’. Ignatius Loyola also made use of active imagination in his Exercitia. There is evidence that something similar was used in the meditations of alchemical philosophy.  ~Carl Jung, Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation, Page 64

‘Knowledge of that which is vulgarly called mind is wide-spread.’ This clearly refers to the conscious mind of everybody, in contrast to the One Mind which is unknown, i.e. unconscious.  ~Carl Jung, Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation, Page 65

Those ‘fettered by desires cannot perceive the Clear Light’. The ‘Clear Light’ again refers to the One Mind. Desires crave for external fulfilment. They forge the chain that fetters man to the world of consciousness.  ~Carl Jung, Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation, Page 65

But the statement entirely ignores the possible transcendent reality of the physical world as such, a problem not unknown to Sakhya philosophy, where prakti and purusha—so far as they are a polarization of Universal Being—form a cosmic dualism that can hardly be circumvented. ~Carl Jung, Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation, Page 66

One has to close one’s eyes to dualism and pluralism alike, and forget all about the existence of a world, as soon as one tries to identify oneself with the monistic origin of life. ~Carl Jung, Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation, Page 66

What is the cause of pluralism, or of the illusion of pluralism? If the One is pleased with itself, why should it mirror itself in the Many? Which after all is the more real, the one that mirrors itself, or the mirror it uses?’ Probably we should not ask such questions, seeing that there is no answer to them.  ~Carl Jung, Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation, Page 66

It is psychologically correct to say that ‘At-one-ment’ is attained by withdrawal from the world of consciousness. In the stratosphere of the unconscious there are no more thunderstorms, because nothing is differentiated enough to produce tensions and conflicts. These belong to the surface of our reality.  ~Carl Jung, Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation, Page 66

Our natural science is the epitome of primitive man’s astonishing powers of observation. We have added only a moderate amount of abstraction, for fear of being contradicted by the facts. ~Carl Jung, Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation, Page 67

The East, on the other hand, cultivates the psychic aspect of primitivity together with an inordinate amount of abstraction. Facts make excellent stories but not much more. ~Carl Jung, Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation, Page 67

That, indeed, is precisely what happens with most Western practitioners of yoga. They are very apt to ‘do’ it in an extraverted fashion, oblivious of the inturning of the mind which is the essence of such teachings. ~Carl Jung, Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation, Page 68

The trouble is that Western man cannot get rid of his history as easily as his short-legged memory can. History, one might say, is written in the blood. I would not advise anyone to touch yoga without a careful analysis of his unconscious reactions. ~Carl Jung, Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation, Page 68

If you can afford to seat yourself on a gazelle skin under a Bo-tree or in the cell of a gompa for the rest of your life without being troubled by politics or the collapse of your securities, I will look favourably upon your case. But yoga in Mayfair or Fifth Avenue, or in any other place which is on the telephone, is a spiritual fake.  ~Carl Jung, Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation, Page 68

The statement that ‘the various names given to it (the Mind) are innumerable’ proves that the Mind must be something as vague and indefinite as the philosopher’s stone. ~Carl Jung, Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation, Page 69

It is also remarkable that our text recognizes the ‘potentiality’ of the unconscious, as formulated above, by calling the Mind the ‘Sole Seed’ and the ‘Potentiality of Truth’.  ~Carl Jung, Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation, Page 70

I have already explained this ‘timelessness’ as a quality inherent in the experience of the collective unconscious. The application of the ‘yoga of self-liberation’ is said to reinte-grate all forgotten knowledge of the past with consciousness. ~Carl Jung, Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation, Page 70

The unconscious certainly has its ‘own time’ inasmuch as past, present, and future are blended together in it. Dreams of the type experienced by J. W. Dunne,1 where he dreamed the night before what he ought logically to have dreamed the night after, are not infrequent.  ~Carl Jung, Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation, Page 70

The statement’ Nor is one’s own mind separable from other minds’ is another way of expressing the fact of’ all-contamination’. Since all distinctions vanish in the unconscious condition, it is only logical that the distinction between separate minds should also disappear. ~Carl Jung, Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation, Page 71

The realization of the One Mind is, as our text says, the ‘at-one-ment of the Tri-Kāya’; in fact it creates the at-one-ment. But we are unable to imagine how such a realization could ever be complete in any human individual. There must always be somebody or something left over to experience the realization, to say ‘I know at-one-ment, I know there is no distinction’. ~Carl Jung, Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation, Page 71

This section emphasizes that as the Mind is without characteristics, one cannot assert that it is created. But then, it would be illogical to assert that it is non-created, for such a qualification would amount to a ‘characteristic’.  ~Carl Jung, Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation, Page 71

Dharma, law, truth, guidance, is said to be ‘nowhere save in the mind’. Thus the unconscious is credited with all those faculties which the West attributes to God. The transcendent function, however, shows how right the East is in assuming that the complex experience of dharma comes from ‘within’, i.e. from the unconscious. ~Carl Jung, Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation, Page 72

If introspection were something morbid, as certain people in the West opine, we should have to send practically the whole East, or such parts of it as are not yet infected with the blessings of the West, to the lunatic asylum. ~Carl Jung, Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation, Page 72

I called them ‘natural symbols’.1 I chose the term before I had any knowledge of this text. I mention this fact simply because it illustrates the close parallelism between the findings of Eastern and Western psychology. ~Carl Jung, Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation, Page 72

But I suspect every European attempt at detachment of being mere liberation from moral considerations. Anybody who tries his hand at yoga ought therefore to be conscious of its far-reaching consequences, or else his so-called quest will remain a futile pastime. ~Carl Jung, Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation, Page 73

We think we know what concentration means, but it is very difficult to arrive at a real understanding of Eastern concentration. Our sort may well be just the opposite of the Eastern, as a study of Zen Buddhism will show. ~Carl Jung, Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation, Page 73

To jump straight from that level into Eastern yoga is no more advisable than the sudden transformation of Asian peoples into half-baked Europeans.  ~Carl Jung, Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation, Page 57

In spite of everything, the West is thoroughly Christian as far as its psychology is concerned. Tertullian’s anima naturaliter Christiana holds true throughout the West—not, as he thought, in the religious sense, but in the psychological one. Grace comes from elsewhere; at all events from outside. ~Carl Jung, Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation, Page 53

The East, on the other hand, compassionately tolerates those’ lower’ spiritual stages where man, in his blind ignorance of karma, still bothers about sin and tortures his imagination with a belief in absolute gods, who, if he only looked deeper, are nothing but the veil of illusion woven by his own unenlightened mind. ~Carl Jung, Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation, Page 53

Despite its introverted attitude, however, the East knows very well how to deal with the external world. And despite its extraversions the West, too, has a way of dealing with the psyche and its demands; it has an institution called the Church, which gives expression to the unknown psyche of man through its rites and dogmas.  ~Carl Jung, Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation, Page 57

Instead of learning the spiritual techniques of the East by heart and imitating them in a thoroughly Christian way—imitatio Christi!—with a correspondingly forced attitude, it would be far more to the point to find out whether there exists in the unconscious an introverted tendency similar to that which has become the guiding spiritual principle of the East. ~Carl Jung, Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation, Page 54

We do not assume that the mind is a metaphysical entity or that there is any connexion between an individual mind and a hypothetical Universal Mind. Our psychology is, therefore, a science of mere phenomena without any metaphysical implications. The result is that, in their extremism, both lose one half of the universe; their life is shut off from total reality, and is apt to become artificial and inhuman. ~Carl Jung, Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation, Page 48

The experience of ‘at-one-ment’ is one example of those ‘quick-knowing’ realizations of the East, an intuition of what it would be like if one could exist and not exist at the same time. If I were a Moslem, I should maintain that the power of the All-Compassionate is infinite, and that He alone can make a man to be and not to be at the same time. But for my part I cannot conceive of such a possibility. I therefore assume that, in this point, Eastern intuition has overreached itself. ~Carl Jung, Tibetan Book of the Great Liberation, Page 71