Last tune we left off with the construction of the symbols that I’ve written up for you once again here. We spoke of that form with the many attributes, of the three eyes that every face bears, which belong to this figure with four faces who appears at the top.
You may recall that these three eyes correspond to the three worlds:
- Kamaloka, i.e., the world of the senses, sensual and visible, the world of love (Kama is the love god);
Rupaloka, i.e., the world of forms or ideas, corresponding to the Platonic world of ideas. According to Plato there is “a place beyond the skies” when the soul lifts above heaven and leaves behind the outer surface of the world, thus arriving at that place where one sees the forms, the eternal ideas; so, that is the world of the manifold ideas, or forms;
Arupa, i.e., the world in which there are no more forms, where everything becomes Maya, passing away into nothing.
However, the three eyes also point to the three-way division of time.
One sees not only the different worlds, but also the three times: past, present, and future.
To show that He knows the process of the evolution and involution of the twelve Nidanas …. [SCST, pp. 22]
An annotation in the text indicates this as:
4.) name and form,
5.) the six senses,
8.) desire and attachment or craving,
11.) birth, and
12.) old age and death
… and that He knows the twelve Projections thoroughly, He is represented as with twelve hands. [SCST, pp. 22-23]
So, this figure has twelve arms and hands. As a rule, both the Tibetan and Indian gods have several arms. Vishnu with four faces, as well as Brahman, are represented with four arms and four heads.
In Western iconography we have a similar representation of the Trinity: a three-headed divine being in the Christian church.
Although this vivid representation has been banned by the pope, in the monastery at Stein am Rhein such a tricephalous Trinity can still be seen.
But in India this is still quite common.
These twelve hands represent the so-called twelve projections.
According to the Tibetan definition these are twelve ways in which one can transfer oneself into the consciousness of another human being.
It is a migration of one’s own consciousness into that of another person.
So, a projection of one’s own consciousness.
This is also thought to be spatial in that one can move through space as a consequence of this exercise after summoning magical powers, and there capture the consciousness of another person and recognize its contents.
The twelve nidanas point to one of the basic teachings of Buddhism: this is the so-called nidana chain.
This is a doctrine that goes back directly to the Buddha.
The classic representation can be found in Nidana Samyutta, one of the collections of the Buddha’s talks.
I will read you the so-called proclamation of the nidana doctrine. It goes:
Thus, I have heard. On one occasion the Blessed One was dwelling at Savatthi in Jeta’s Grove, Anathapindika’s Parle There the Blessed
One addressed the bhikkhus thus: “Bhikkhus!”
“Venerable sir” those bhikkhus replied.
The Blessed One said this:
“Bhikkhus, I will teach you dependent origination. Listen to that and attend closely, I will speak.”-“Yes, venerable sir,” those bhikkhus
The Blessed One said this: “And what, bhikkhus, is dependent origination?
With ignorance as condition, volitional formations [come to be]; with volitional formations as condition, consciousness; with consciousness as condition, name-and-form; with name-and-form as condition, the six sense bases; with the six sense bases as condition, contact; with contact as condition, feeling; with feeling as condition, craving; with craving as condition, clinging; with clinging as condition, existence; with existence as condition, birth; with birth as condition, aging-and-death, sorrow, lamentation, pain, displeasure, and despair come to be.
Such is the origin of this whole mass of suffering. This, bhikkhus, is called dependent origination.”
Here you see how the entire world-form is derived from the inner realm, from the unknowing or ignorance about the cause of things (avidya).
Out of this arise the forms (rupa).
Out of these forms arises consciousness that perceives the world.
Then in this world sensation arises (kamaloka) and out of that comes thirst. “Kam” means thirst; “kamaloka” is what arises out of thirst.
There you have the entire nidana chain, which is unbroken wherever one link tugs on the next, its successor pulling another along after that, and so on.
“But the complete disappearance and coming to an end of not knowing brings about the abolition of impression; the abolition of impression ~rings about the abolition of name and form; the abolition of name and form brings about the abolition of the six senses; the
abolition of the six senses brings about the abolition of touch; the abolition of touch brings about the abolition of sensation; the
abolition of sensation brings about the abolition of thirst; the abolition of thirst brings about the abolition of desire; the abolition of
desire brings about the abolition of existence; the abolition of existence brings about the abolition of birth; the abolition of birth
brings about the abolition of old age and death, pain, sorrow, misfortune, disappointment and despair.
This is the way in which the abolition of the whole sum of suffering is brought about.”
Thus spake the Blessed One. Deeply touched in their hearts the Bhikhus rejoiced over the sermon of the Blessed One. ~Carl Jung, Psychology Yoga Meditation. Page 137-139