Psychology of Yoga and Meditation

13 JANUARY 1939 Psychology and Yoga Meditation Lecture 8

You will recall that before Christmas we paused in the middle of a Tantric text, the Shrîchakra-sambhâra Tantra.

Comprehending it is difficult.

But it contains absolutely vital representations of Buddhist yoga.

This text is probably an instrument of the lâmas who concern themselves specifically with the higher development of their personality and perhaps spend their entire life engaged in this.

In order to facilitate your understanding of the text somewhat I have written an overview here.

The text breaks down into three phases.

We discussed the first phase, the thesis, last time:


A 1. Identification with Buddha

  1. Incorporation of the environment into the corpus incorruptibile
  2. Identity with the Demchog (Mahâsukha) and yoginî
  3. Shrî Heruka Aham

shrî = two-less

he = first cause

ru = uncompounded

ka = omnipresent (and nulli present) self

  1. Analysis of Knowledge
  2. a) from “A” 1. Shûnyatâ-Jnâna (Void)
  3. Vishaya-Jnâna (Doubt)
  4. b) from “Hûm”
  5. consummative knowledge—synthetic
  6. differentiating knowledge—discriminating, critical, analytic
  7. analogous knowledge—equating
  8. reflective knowledge—empirical

Bindu: e. Dharma-Dhâtu-Jnâna—principal truth

B 1. Light of four colors

  1. Ten directions
  2. Assimilation of all beings
  3. Emanation, absorbed in the self
  4. Analysis of the Functions

Rûpa-skandha = thinking

Vedanâ-skandha = sensation

Samjnâ-skandha = feeling

Sangskâra-skandha = intuition

A1) The text begins with the declaration that the yogi or lâma who submits to the exercise is identical with the Buddha.

Therefore, when he goes to bed and wants to go to sleep, he must imagine that he is the Buddha and that when he awakes the next morning, he will be the Buddha.

(A2)282 Then comes an incorporation of the environment into the corpus incorruptibile.

I am translating what is described in the East as vajra-sattva (from the root vay, i.e., hard), as diamond being or also as the subtle body.

It is also a thunderbolt, a missile that the gods send out, hard as a diamond and penetrating.

This plays a particular role in the later course of this Yoga exercise.

This corpus incorruptibile is what we know from Paul in the New Testament as the incorruptible body.

In the Middle Ages it was called the corpus glorificationis, i.e., the body that one will put on at the Last Judgment.

Alchemy set itself the task of creating this body by chemical means.

One assumed that it must be a kind of subtle substance.

The yogi or lâma thus experiences that, as Buddha, he is simply vajra-sattva, i.e., the diamond being, and as such he can now incorporate the entire environment into himself, rather as if I would incorporate you as a part of my own personality.

So, he extends his personality over his entire environment.

(A3) The identification with Mahâsukha and yoginî.

This is a declaration that the yogi or lâma delivers to his own address: I am the god of ultimate happiness and at the same time its feminine counterpart, i.e., Shakti, who is also paired with the god.

The god always appears as masculine and feminine simultaneously, in particular also in

Tibetan. In Greece, it is the same.

To a particularly high degree this is the case with the gods of Babylon who are always paired with the nameless feminine.

This is the yoking together, in Greek: the syzygy, a permanent union of the masculine and the feminine.

This is an important psychological motif, which we also encounter in the psychology of the unconscious.

(A4) The declaration “Shrî Heruka Aham”: “I am the divine being who is the lord of this mandala.”

Psychologically Mahâsukha or Heruka would correspond to what one describes as the Self, namely the whole that one assembles through ego consciousness and the totality of the unconscious.

The I consciousness and the unconscious yield the totality of the Self.

So, this is the definitive declaration that he is this god of the mandala, as Buddha.

It is actually all more or less identical but expressed in different forms.

Now comes that meditation about the syllables.

In this respect, these texts are highly idiosyncratic, for these words are so sacrosanct that each and every syllable can be given a meaning.

They are chanted or sort of sung, with the mantra sound “Om” and then the corresponding syllable.

While this is happening, they reflect on the meaning.

Through this process, identification with this being is promoted.

(A4a) shrî = with shrî you must consider: “I am two-less”

(A4b) he = with he: “I am the first cause”

(A4c) ru = with ru: “I am uncompounded”

(A5d) ka = with ka: “I am omnipresent,” i.e., a being that is nowhere and consequently everywhere.

The spreading of the Buddha essence throughout space.

(A5e) The key sentence is thus: “I am” or “Myself is this lord, this god of the mandala.”

This four-part meditation climaxes in a fifth. This scheme occurs frequently.

There are four points, but they are not arranged sequentially in Eastern psychology as we would order them.

The East thinks in a circular way, not in rows.

This mode of perception was lost to us at the moment when actual scientific thinking began.

In the Middle Ages we too thought in a circular way.

Quinta essentia, that is the ultimate, not simply number 5.

To our contemporary way of thinking, the following sentences are illogical: “I am the twoless, therefore I am the Buddha, and consequently my self is the Buddha.”

Or: “Therefore, I am the cause, I am uncompounded, I am nowhere and everywhere.”

We think in rows—1, 2, 3, 4—such that 5 would simply be the next number.

But in the East it goes like this:

When the gods are perambulated around the temple pool, Shiva is taken in the boat pradakshina, while Shakti travels in the boat apradakshina.

This type of spiritual functioning is carried out everywhere.

The meditation breaks into four parts and then comes the summary assertion, the Quinta Essentia: thus, my Self is the Buddha; or: thus, the Buddha is myself.

So, these are the four parts of the meditation (A1–A4) upon which the fifth follows: the analysis of knowledge.

Likewise, in the second part B there are four individual functions and then comes, fifth, the analysis of the functions.

(A5) How does the text approach the analysis of knowledge or of the functions?

What is created here is abundant identification with the ultimate being.

Through this the yogi is moved in faith or into an ecstatic state in which he feels one with the highest being.

In this state of course, he is at huge risk.

For it is impossible for [an] individual human being in a body to be an absolute being.

This thought should blow him completely apart.

Then follows the analysis of knowledge.

That, if you like, is a protective process, namely, precisely how can I perceive this?

He sort of makes his assumption visible through the analysis of knowledge.

In fact, this is the critique of pure reason by means of which, apparently, Kant affirmed his religious conviction.

He proved that one can assert nothing about an ultimate being because all of this is only thoughts.

For this reason the question of the ultimate being cannot be touched by philosophy.

Hence comes the analysis of perception from the same psychological basis with two explanations:

(A5a1) To recognize the void, ‘all is void’—this is the being of the world.

(A5a2) Vishaya jnâna: knowledge of doubt—everything is doubt, or doubtful.

For this reason, there is there the symbol of the moon.

One recognizes everything rather as if through moonlight.

This emerges from the meditation upon the letter ‘A’.

A5b) Then comes that second mantra “hûm.” This is meditated upon in four stages.

Out of this arises the awareness that perception has four forms: it is (A5b1) consummating, which we could describe as synthetic (A5b2) differentiating (A5b3) analogous (A5b4) reflective, which we could describe as empirical thought.

In this way, four types of knowledge are ascertained.

Consequently the being of this knowledge is somehow ascertained. “I perceive that I am the Buddha.”

(A5b5) After these four comes the Quinta essentia, the final sentence: Dharma-Dhâtu-Jnâna.

Dharma means truth or law; Dhâtu is the element; hence: the perception of principal truth.

Within this, my assertion that I am myself the being of Buddha or the diamond being is assured.

Now comes part two, which we have already begun.

The meditation, the “hûm,” continues.

(B1) The light of four colors emerges from the “hûm.”

That knowledge is first dissolved into four colors.

These correspond in the Tibetan mandala to the points of the compass.

At the same time, it is four psychological functions, four ways of knowledge, four ways to truth, etc.; i.e., this light has four different qualities.

(B2) Then ten directions are determined: thus that peculiar finger clicking movement after the eight horizontal and the two vertical directions for nadir and zenith.

In this way the lâma or the yogi is situated in the world system.

“I am the center, above and below and within the eight spatial directions.”

(B3) The assimilation of all beings.

The ten directions are imagined radiating out from ten beams of multicolored light into space, and they seize all beings in space and place them in relationship to their own mandala of personality, drawing them into the personal magic circle, so that the yogi is suspended in there like a spider in the web, installed there in an axial system—thus he is sort of stationed in the central point of the world system.

(B4) In the fourth phase he takes into himself, and also receives, the emanation of the light that he had created through the “hûm” and then radiated.

Thus arises the Self. All emanation is absorbed back into the Self.

Then comes the quinta essentia.

That is the analysis of the four functions:

(B5a) Rûpa-skandha: Thinking; the so-called form function, the individual function par excellence

(B5b) Vedanâ-skandha: Sensation; the Tibetan translator explains vedanâ as the sensing faculty: perception through sensation, the sensing function

(B5c) Samjnâ-skandha: Feeling; the translator says “agreement, harmony” (B5d) Sangskâra-skandha: Intuition; creation of mind

A preparation for something, at the same time the technical expression for those traces of earlier existence that are still within and present.

A concept that psychologizes the metaphysical notion of karma.

Karma means that I have lived in such and such a way in earlier existences, have earned such and such rewards, or even have lived bad karma and then have recovered it again in being born.

This karma gives off what we have described as sangskâra: the traces that explain precisely why my life has taken such a course.

Very prevalent in the East.

A simple man will say: well, it is clear that this is my karma.

When he suffers, he says: in an earlier life I must have lived in such and such a way. People who have achieved a higher state of consciousness will even recall earlier lives.

The Buddha has testified to reaching back into early aeons before the foundation of the world.

The hundreds of thousands of lives he has lived, as an animal, an ape, a frog, and many other forms.

All this has gradually developed into consciousness.

The ability to recall these traces of earlier lives signals a higher consciousness.

A doctor has observed two cases of children who recalled their previous lives, who could give details about the house and family names of earlier parents, such as a four-year-old child who recalled a town she had never visited.

Research was done, the parents were found, and all the details were accurate.

How do you explain that?

Such things happen in the East. It is intuitive. Thee is little or no debate about it.

One is convinced it is so. In this child the sangskâra were especially vivid.

It is an eminently psychological concept. These are ancestral rituals, in effect.

We often say: “Oh it just runs in the family.”

He takes after his grandfather, that’s in the family.—Such are the sangskâras.

Psychologically such things happen. Whether they were actually previous lives—that is another question.

This concept corresponds to what we would describe as an unconscious disposition.

Someone who seems to be a thoroughly sensible person in view of their life style suddenly begins to drink, and we tie it to something we know about his father and grandfather, it’s in all of them.

That’s an unconscious function in us—intuition—a perception through the unconscious.

But the East has not applied intuition to the external as much as we have.


everything goes inwards.

An actual perception of sangskâra is intuition; such would be the

essential correspondence that we have in the West.

So now we have the four antecedents and must now add a fifth function—which does in fact exist.

(B5e) Vijnâna-skandha: Buddha Vjara-sattva (perception). This is once again the quinta essentia.

So, in conclusion: “I perceive all my psychic functions, the eternal being of Buddha is the same as their quintessence.”

With this, the cirucmambulatio is again completed, and it is certain that he is the Buddha.

The text then says:

Meditate thus upon all the principles constituting the self as having become each a Tathâgata: the whole constituting the revered and glorious Heruka. [SCST, p. 7]

And now the meditation goes further, as the second phase begins:


This begins quite differently:

(A1)289 Defense through the five senses:

(Then meditate on the five senses as five male Devatas.)

Heruka’s eyes are Vajra-delusion (Moha); ears Vajra-anger; mouth Vajra-greed; nose

Vajra-miserliness; body Vajra-jealousy; and all the senses (Ayatana) Vajra-Ishvara. [SCST, p. 7]

Now these vices listed here are typical vices in Buddhism.

This would mean therefore: Here the lâma or yogi realizes that this divine being that he is has thoroughly negative qualities, namely, that all these vices are united within him and that this profligacy manifests in his body.

In other words: if we were to make an attempt—and unfortunately it often happens in the West that very badly advised Europeans attempt to imitate yoga—then our physical limitation would soon teach us a lesson.

For yes indeed, Mr. so-and-so would dispatch the fellow who is the Buddha quick as a flash to the Burghölzli.

We’d even pack ourselves off to the Burghölzli, quite simply because it is impossible for us to establish such a claim.

When the East declares this to itself, it’s not in the least bit crazy, absolutely not, because it does not proclaim “I am,” but rather, “I, as an eternal being, am the Buddha, for if I move into this state of being, then I am the ultimate being.”

This, of course, is completely different.

We, however, would only declare, “I am,” and that would be a holy ceremony undertaken with unclean hands.

One must prepare to be the Buddha.

This is a thoroughly primitive process.

One has long believed that primitives get up to dance simply when the mood takes them or when the moon shines.

Not a word of it! They must first get into the state that lets them perform the dance.

I observed this with the Pueblos.

When they want to do their dances, they go onto the roofs of their high houses, the famous model for the architecture of the American metropolis.

The men mount to their highest vantage point, turn their faces towards the sun, and stand there for seven or eight hours, following the sun’s course.

From time to time one of them disappears.

That’s the one who is filled with the power of the sun, of the father, who goes down

and disappears into the kiva, i.e., a semi-underground round temple where the transformation is enacted.

If he is sufficiently prepared, i.e., if he has become a son of the father, then he can step up to the dance.

He may dance only then, only then does the dance have a magical effect.

Among the Australians there are even clearer concepts.

They must transform themselves into their ancestors who lived in altjira, the time of the ancestors, the time before time.

Les éternels incréés, the eternally uncreated things, as Lévy-Bruhl says.

They must identify with these, and only they can perform the dance for them.

When therefore the Buddhist proves to himself firstly through the claim and the critique of his perception that he himself is the eternal being with complete awareness of his spiritual being, then he is somehow made one with the giver of all thoughts and as a result is one with him in fact.

He is the onefold being, and as such he can now enter into the meditation, and there he encounters his negative side.

One must say, then, that all these Tibetan and Indian gods have both a positive and a negative aspect, a benevolent and a vengeful aspect.

The goddess of goodness is also a goddess of hell.

In the vengeful aspect, they have all the vices that humans may not have. This text is not well known.

You must not think that this sort of writing is generally available in India.

I would like to discuss this with you here because it offers much of great interest; for it

seems likely that it’s an instrument of the lâmas who are engaged in the higher development of the personality and perhaps dedicate their entire lives to it. ~Carl Jung, Psychology and Yoga Meditations, Page