Psychology of Yoga and Meditation

20 JANUARY 1939 Psychology and Yoga Meditation Lecture 9


A1. through the five senses





Jealousy—whole body

  1. through the one who causes the fall (Lotus net), Shakti Mâyâ
  2. Earth
  3. Water
  4. Fire
  5. Air
  6. Ether
  7. Purification of the senses
  8. Sacrifice and worship
  9. Invocation: “All-knowing one come forward, be round and round.”
  10. 1. Request for absolution
  11. Good intentions through eight vows
  12. Response of the devatâs
  13. Emanation of the ten female devatâs (personification of the ten directions)
  14. Creation of the rectangular chamber and of the circle
  15. 1. Threat against the ten directions and the protective circle
  16. Creation of the diamond weapon
  17. Destruction of evil and of ávidyâ
  18. Absolution of sins
  19. “I am the true nature of all things and the nature of the void.” (shûnyatâ)

Last time we began with the second phase.

You will recall that the first phase was characterized by the fact that the yogi or the lâma engaged with this yoga must arrive at the conviction that he himself is the Buddha as such and then must support this through active imagination.

And then, to reinforce this conviction, a careful analysis of the psychic functions is


So, it is asserted that the yogi is the eternal Buddha. It is a proposition.

This is called the thesis.

And now, as you will see from the titles, in the second phase we collide with something

negative, and this is evidently the antithesis, the opposite, which now rears its head and, for this reason, here the text suddenly changes.

It is not broken down into sections by any sort of subtitles, but is rather a continuous manuscript that does not allow any sort of disposition to be recognized.

But here, there is a completely radical change in the whole mode of reflection.

Previously there was simply talk of this Heruka, the lord of the mandala, as a positive being, identical with vajra sattva, the diamond being.

And now here, all of a sudden it says that his eye means eternal delusion, his ears eternal rage, his nose eternal avarice, his mouth eternal greed, and the whole body is riddled with jealousy.

Again, we encounter the rhythm of four with the quinta essentia.

And at the end it says: the body is eternal jealousy and all senses are vajra ishvara, the eternal lord.

The sense organs are precisely what bind man to the world, through the so-called nidâna chain.

This is a technical term in Buddhist psychology, the chain of causation.

This is the chain of causes through which a person gets entangled in life, through participation in the world, and this leads to birth, death, and all suffering.

This conclusion repeatedly marks the Buddha’s discourses.

We will have opportunity later to say more about this nidâna chain.

So, we encounter here this element that is thoroughly negative.

One can simply say that the claim “I am the Buddha” collides with the experience of the body.

I draw your attention to the fact that this claim is outrageous if one realizes it.

And one can do nothing but collide with the reality of physical limitation in the individual.

One can then expect that, with such a collision, the whole chain and with it every fine conviction will miserably collapse.

That is why the antithesis begins with this explanation: the body arises with temporal and spatial limitation and rages against the claim that it is the eternal Buddha.

(A2) Defense through the five elements, or Shakti Mâyâ:

The text continues. The physical elements follow on from the senses:

The Earth element is Tung-bar-byed-ma [She who causes fall]; the water element is Sodpar-jed-ma [She who kills]; the fire element Gug-par-jed-ma [She who summons]; the airelement Padma gargyi-wang-chug [The lady of the dances] and the ether element is Padmai-dra-wa-Chan [net of Lotuses]. [SCST, pp. 7–8]

Now, here we encounter the four elements which represent physical reality in that sensory world.

In the Middle Ages even here, these were still the four elements of physical reality, and

the whole of existence, with everything that lived and moved, consisted of these four elements.

Therefore, they describe the physical reality of a thing.

Here we see that this is a fourfold feminine thing, with the quinta essentia that always stands as the ultimate, encapsulating everything.

The ether was still a metaphysical quinta essentia in the newer physics.

When I was a student, everything was explained by ether.

One believed that it was a scientific term.

But that was not the case, for it was rather metaphysical, having precisely all the qualities that matter does not have.

In mediaeval alchemy too, the quinta essentia is described as blue ether.

Indeed, the philosopher’s stone is described as lapis aetherius.

In our text here, this is a feminine being, she who has the Lotus net.

This term is not easy to flesh out.

However, one can assume that it is a net in which something is trapped.

For Buddhist psychology absolutely sees the world of the senses as a trap into which man falls and in which he is trapped.

A very good example of this is the psychology of Bardo Thödol where, after the forty-nine days of intermediary life, the yogi is suddenly snapped back into a uterus via sensual sexual fantasies, and then he’s right in it again.

Mme. David-Néel describes a very interesting legend about a girl who came to a well.

While she is drawing water suddenly a man leaps upon her from out of the bushes and attempts to rape her.

She manages to break free and runs back into the village with her clothes all torn.

Her mother is horrified and asks what has happened.

When she gives her mother a description of this person, she is alarmed and says that this is the great holy man and that the daughter should put on her best clothes immediately, go back, and offer herself to him.

The girl obeys the mother, but when she offered herself to the man, he said that it was now too late, for now the misfortune had already happened.

“Do you see those two donkeys in that meadow?

Not long ago a rich lâma died in total darkness.

I wanted to provide him with a better karma and meant to sire him with you.

But you ran away from me.

His soul then fled into the donkey mare who was just being mounted by the jack donkey.”

This is typical of the Eastern mind-set.

Souls are flying around and seeking places where sexual intercourse is happening and then they are caught.

The Bardo Thödol considers souls in the same way.

When they fall into erotic fantasies, they are suddenly snapped up by the uterus.

One is in the prison of the sensual world of Mâyâ, the dancing Shakti.

It is the goddess Mâyâ who creates the visible realm.

For the Buddhist, the visible is illusory. Mâyâ comes from the root Ma, i.e., to build. Mâyâ is the built world, and it is created out of the stuff of thoughts.

It is not an actual world in our sense, but rather it is an actual world of illusion, actual but all the same an illusion because it is built of the forms of thoughts.

This is why Tantric yoga, which has many connections with Mahâyâna Buddhism, also says that mâyâ is nothing other than the form of divine thoughts—also a very interesting way of thinking.

(A3) Purification of the senses:

As one desires a precious object by exclusive means of which one can acquire merits the

purification and mental transmutation of all the aggregates the elements, and the functions of the various organs of the senses into Devata furnish such an object. [SCST, p. 8]

When one succeeds through active imagination in making the various intellectual and sensory functions autonomous by saying: seeing is not my function but rather it is a devatâ, i.e., an autonomous being, then this is a great gain.

Now what is the psychological benefit of such a way of behaving?

That is hard to discern.

We have already encountered the idea that one should imagine the four basic functions of our consciousness as Buddha, and thus as a being in our consciousness, as if the various functions were beings in their own right.

If you imagine this, then it boils down to the idea that through this imagination, every psychic action is transformed into a distinct entity: the process of imagination, of thinking, feeling, etc., this is a distinct entity.

In this way the entire character of the psychic process is somehow objectified, it takes on a life of its own.

With it, the activity is sort of distanced from consciousness.

If you imagine that the thinking of the I is no longer your own activity but an autonomous being, then the entire psychic process is completely cumbersome as if I were to dissolve myself into separate parts.

I delegate the parts.

I must sort of call upon the gentleman who represents thinking: Please say this and

that, or upon the young woman who represents feeling: Please smile now.

In this way, one empties oneself of these functions.

One no longer has them. One pushes them away.

Instead of being a personality one is now an entire theater represented by a troupe of

actors who are these distinct functions.

The whole personality, all my functions, are paraded before me as autonomous figures. Through this I have become completely empty.

One achieves that with this meditation, and that is also the purpose, that emptiness, shûnyatâ is created and one finally owns nothing any longer.

Everything is external, it is “the others.” We also perform this trick.

If a function is very unpleasant to us, we say: of course, he is the one doing this, not me. Everything that we do not wish to be true of ourselves, represents our bête noire,300 our best enemy.

Everyone has one of these and this is a great advantage.

He acts out some theatre before us and we get to be annoyed with him every day.

This happens to neurotics. And let’s say it out loud: even to normal people.

We do this completely instinctively. It is always there. It happens unconsciously. Everything that we do not wish to be true of ourselves, we always see in a dear neighbor.

If someone thinks that he is a generous person, he must have one who is greedy about whom he can get upset, in order to curse greed in the other, in order not to see that he too is greedy.

It is well-known that the great spendthrifts are stingy when it comes to sharing a cigarette match, or they take them from others.

One can observe these

small things that in markedly one-sided people.

This simply happens unconsciously within us, and then it’s as if this side of our being had

completely disappeared from view. Instead we are then bound to the one who represents it.

In our families this is frequently the case: “He said she did, and she says he did …” Even between mother and child or father and child.

That’s why we need our dear relations.

They are also simply stand-ins that we like to use unconsciously to mirror everything that one hates to see in oneself.

In Buddhism, no projections are cast onto human figures.

One does not burden others.

However, one sort of arrays them around oneself.

For it is not always bright and good things that we have to embody, since they also include evil things—so in Tibet and elsewhere they have corresponding gods whose names and purposes are designed to express such negative qualities.

Even the Heruka, the lord of the mandala, is absolutely not only a purely positive apparition, for he also reflects every evil leading into birth, death, illness, and the totality of life.

This personification has been undertaken here for the senses.

If that personification is successful, the same effect is achieved, I place my sensory functions as it were all around me.

They become figures, devatâs, divine beings.

My sight is autonomous; this one hears and that one sees and a third one tastes, etc.

I can do nothing about it, I am completely prevented from creating a direct relationship to objects because something always intervenes.

That’s also the purpose of the exercise.

For the yogi wishes to cut himself off from reality with the finest means and techniques. This is carried out with the greatest vigilance.

It achieves a habitual attitude whose aim is to stay utterly removed from immediate contact.

This attains complete other worldliness, an infinite peace arises.

One has the feeling that in all eternity one cannot measure up to them because one is cut off from them.

They look right through us. In a certain sense, this amounts to resignation.

But at the same time they have completely separated themselves from

suffering resignation by personifying all the psychic functions. That process creates these images

of the Buddha sitting in infinite peace in the turmoil of the world: it is all an illusion, none of it is present.

That’s how all this works.

Here it means that such personification of the functions is highly beneficial, and to acquire this benefit one must carry out this purification and personification.

(A4) Sacrifice and worship

Again, with the beams of light shooting forth from the “Hum” in the heart, let the

worshipper invoke his Vajra-guru surrounded by the line of Gurus in the upper Heavens before him.

Below them is the principal Devata (Khorlo-Demchog) surrounded by the sixty-two Devatas of the Khorlo-Demchog Mandala (Chakra-sambhâra). [SCST, p. 8]

This is a multitude of devatâs.

The state now at hand is the one I introduced to you as theatre, as a troupe of actors.

Then having imagined that the above Divinities are seated on the fronting Heavens let the

worshipper think that he is himself multiplied innumerably. [SCST, p. 8]

Thus, precisely what I told you previously.

Each of his counterparts should repeat salutation to the Gurus (namogurubhyah) and

salutation to the Mandala of Shrî-chakra-sambhâra (Namah Shrî-chakra-sambhâramandalebhyah) in honor of the Guru and the Devatas respectively and let each bow down to them. [SCST, p. 8]

He has dispersed himself into countless personified functions and elements of functions. He is every figure, and the various parts as it were form an entire chorus.

And now through active imagination he is to manage it so that when he greets his spiritual guru, all these figures must repeat this greeting at the same time along with him.

This multiple repetition is typical for the Tibetan.

You know of the prayer mills and banners that flutter in the wind.

All embossed with the classic saying: ‘Om Mani padme hûm’, millions of times embossed with this saying.

This moment is depicted in the image shown here. It is a Tibetan original.

It shows the yogi in contemplation, as Buddha, in meditation, in the lotus position.

This is the lotus. He sits on this white padding, which is luminous.

The entire form is composed of radiant matter.

And here it is multiplied countless times as if reflected in a hundred mirrors.

When he bows down before his guru, all figures also bow down at the same time, as if he were reflected one hundred times.

Then it is as if I myself were to be represented in every possible form: always identical with myself and yet an empty one.

So then one must ask oneself: what of me remains of myself?

Indeed, nothing. One is empty, completely emptied out.

If one tries to approach such a person somehow, one has to move just a little, and then one notices that there is much more to him that is not speaking to me.

Schizophrenia is constructed along these lines.

Only there it is an illness, involuntary.

For when one leaves this process simply to the unconscious, it just goes on

operating, and for people with this disposition a multiplication occurs.

Then it is called splitting, disintegration, the fragmentation of the personality.

But here it is an intentional disintegration, with the aim of completely emptying the central consciousness.

After which nothing is left inside it.

This process is undertaken here by the yogi because the body problem manifests, and the body problem naturally means that I am simply here, I am simply this one being, I am temporally and physically limited and so I cannot be the universal being.

However, if I succeed in dissolving my psychic limitation into so and so many personalities, then it is as if I disperse my entire spiritual possession into so and so many beings throughout the universe and I sit in the midst of many gods.

That is how the Buddha state comes into being.

The text now continues:

Then let him offer the offerings in their order.

They are Arghya, Padya, Pushpa, Dhgpa, Aloka, Gandha, Naivedya, and Shabda; saying the following Mantra “Om Sarva-Tathâgata-Shrî-Chakra-Sambhâra-Mandala-Chakra-Sarva-Vîra-Yoginî.” [SCST, pp. 8–9]

This is the invocation of the tathâgata.

“All perfecting holy wheel concentrating Mandala” is the title of the text, but it is also a state.

Then: “The wheel is every man and woman,” which means: Invocation of the Buddha who is at the same time this wheel, this mandala, man and woman, i.e., the feminine belonging to him.

This concept already appears in the Indian in the form of the Ardhanarîshvara.

This is an hermaphrodite, masculine on the right and feminine on the left.

It corresponds to the medieval personified representation of the lapis philosophorum,

born from the sun and the moon.

The idea of Shiva is also in fact implied here.

The concept of the hermaphrodite is not used here, but such a close connection between the masculine and feminine that it amounts to the same thing, i.e., that this is the universal Buddha, who at the same time is the great wheel, the great circle, such that he also unifies the ultimate human opposites in himself, i.e., has overcome them within himself.

This should be repeated before each of the offerings.… [SCST, p. 9]

The offerings alluded to here are not known.

I would like to mention only that the offerings are also of an especially psychological nature.

The usual Vedic sacrifices offered to a god or saint in a ritual are element sacrifices.

Even today, flowers are first offered in sacrifice and laid before the image of the gods.

Then water is poured from a silver bowl and likewise offered.

Then comes the fan that creates the wind, i.e., the sacrifice of the air.

Then fire is kindled, that is the fire offering. Or the senses are offered.

A light is lit, i.e., this is seeing. I dedicate my sight to you, the act of seeing.

Then a sound is offered.  This is hearing: drumming or music. Then smell is offered.

Fragrances are created through incense or other fragrant things.

In the East the familiar sandalwood that spreads the particular smell everywhere there.

For taste, food is offered.

Then for touch, i.e., the handling of the holy object, of the holy images.

Mostly smeared with ghee or clarified butter, or basted in coconut milk, as if felt or rubbed.

This rubbing can be well observed, e.g., at the grave of St. Anthony in Padua.

There pilgrims rub their hands or backs on the back wall of the sarcophagus so that they will be permeated by the mana of the saint through emanation.

This is a devotion, an offering of the body to the saint.

This offering of the body takes place in the form of prostration by believers, stretching themselves out on the floor, meaning that here is my body also.

You can see that this list contains all the sacrifices that we can observe in the various religious liturgies.

In a way, this is a reversal of personification.

It is as if all these personified figures are handed over to the gods: take them, these figures all belong to you.

Herewith they are ruled by gods, they no longer belong to me.

I no longer have any power over these functions.

One gives over everything, this is the emptying out that receives particular emphasis here.

Something of this peculiar idea still remains with us: we see it in astrology, which is utilized today more than ever.

In the Middle Ages one was completely convinced that every part of the body was

allocated to a sign of the zodiac and through this the various parts of the body would be

influenced, rather like the blood-letting with outstretched arms and legs.

There, every part is allocated a sign of the zodiac. The body is a sort of zodiac.

It is not I who influences the parts of my body, but the signs of the zodiac.

So, when someone believes today that the stars have an influence on their body, they are not properly integrated but dispersed into the universe.

Not because they have greatly exerted themselves as this lâma has, but for primitive reasons.

In the case of the yogi it is a product artificially achieved through great effort, unlike astrological belief which is a piece of primeval nature.

One must not condemn the Indian as this is the highest culture for him.

A fantastic psychic acrobatics, which nothing in the West can match. ~Carl Jung, Psychology Yoga Meditation, Page 92-102