"rDzogs-chen in China"

[rDzogs-chen is Bon; and so are the peculiarities of these descriptions, even though "Bon" is mentioned by name only on pp. 649-50. Fa-hai was apparently a crypto-Bon.]

p. 496 instantaneous breakthrough

"According to the Dayuanman guanding (13b), Fahai Lama explains:

The meaning of qieque [khregs chod] is "instantaneous cut-off" (dunduan ...) also called "desire for enlightenment." For those who have realized it, the body returns to emptiness, becoming invisible. ...

For Fahai Lama the abyssal space of the body-mind characterizes khregs chod while

the experience of the transformation of the flesh-body into rainbow light as described in the same text (13b) refers to thod rgal :

The meaning of tuoga ... [thod rgal] is "instantaneous transcending" (dunchao ...). For those who have realized it, the flesh body is transformed into rainbow light, becoming an indestructible diamond body."

p. 501 the 3 skies

"The three skies are:

1. the secret sky (Ch. mi xukong ..., Tib. gsang ba’i nam mkha’), i.e., the mind;

2. the internal sky (Ch. nei xukong ..., Tib. nang gi nam mkha’), i.e., the Crystal Duct (see below pp. 509-511);

3. the external sky".

p. 507 "crippled genuine mind"

"Breath-vital energy (qi) originally dwells in the lungs;

the deluded mind is like a crippled man, and

the breath-vital energy is like a blind horse.

From the heart to the lungs there is a connecting vessel (maiguan), t h i n l i ke a

wheat stalk. In its empty center resides breath-vital energy."

pp. 509-10 visionary anatomy : crystal duct

p. 509

"Quoting from the Jinzhu jing .. or Tantra of the Golden Pearls (Tib. gSer phreng), Fahai on the basis of the Dayuanman guanding (82a) explains thus :

From the Jewel Palace of the Heart (xin baogong) to the Ocean of the Eyes [yanhai, i.e., the pupils] there is a connecting vessel which is called in Tibetan "Kati." It is opalescent, transparent, and soft. Empty in its interior (neikong), it is not engendered by the mother’s red blood and the father’s white semen (fumu hongbai jingxue), which "some people call sun and moon." ...


Fahai Lama then explains this passage as follows (Dayuanman guanding, 83a):

From the heart to the eyes there is a connecting vessel-path (maidao). It is the most secret duct (ji mimi guan) like crystal whose name is Kati. ...

p. 510

This Crystal Duct is a vessel-path linking the heart to the eyes and is qualified as li ..., "a principle absolutely free from any error"".

pp. 510-5 visionary anatomy : lamps




"From the point of view of the incorporation of this dynamic, the Far-reaching Water Lamp is

a vessel that from the navel wheel passes through the heart and opens into the eyes. From the back of the brain it divides into two branches which look like wild ox horns (below the brain it becomes a single root). ...


The smooth and luminous tip of this horn-like branch is the pupil; it is "like the light on the surface of clear water allowing light to move and reflecting objects; this is why it is called Vessel of the Far-reaching Water Lamp ... ." It is at the same time a synonym of the Crystal Duct, the "principle" which links the four following vessels (Ch. qimai ...) :

(1) Kati—The Great Golden Vessel (Ch. gadi/jiadi da jinmai ..., Tib. ka ti gser gyi rtsa chen) located inside the central channel and linking this channel to the center of the heart;

(2) The White Silk Thread Vessel (Ch. baisixian mai ..., Tib. dar dkar skud pa) enclosed in the Kati Vessel and going through the Brahmå Cavity (Ch. fanxue ..., Tib. tshang bu). This is the path for the practice of transferring consciousness (Ch. powa ..., kaiding fa ..., Tib. ’pho ba);

(3) The Subtly Coiled Vessel (Ch. xixuan mai ..., Tib. phra la ’dril ba) located inside the four wheels of navel, heart, throat, and sinciput;

(4) The Crystal Duct Vessel (Ch. jingguan mai ..., Tib. shel sbug can), a synonym of the Vessel of the Far-reaching Water Lamp, is the channel which links the heart to the eyes and supports the manifestations of countless luminous spheres and bright strands (Ch. wushu mingdian lianxi guangming ...).


... Following the Dayuanman guanding, Fahai Lama explains that while the ordinary view coming from the element water is unable to see the realm of the Three Bodies, the view released by the Vessel of the Far-reaching Water Lamp can see it. "This realm appears in the form of four kinds of auspicious lamps" which, according to their order of manifestation in the front of the practitioner’s eyes, are :

(1) The Far-reaching Water Lamp (Ch. yuantong shuiguang ..., Tib. rgyang zhangs chu’i sgron ma) :

(it is in the center of the eyes, i.e., the pupils, where the all-pervading four elements are born); it is the door through which one can see far into empty space by joining the Lamp of the White and Soft Vessel [Ch. bairuo maiguang, Tib. dkar ’jam rtsa’i sgron ma] with the Vessel of Wisdom. ...


(2) The "Lamp of the Absolute Space of the non-duality of s`amatha and vipas`yana" (ding hui wuer zhi faxing guang ...), also called the Lamp of Pure Space (Ch. jie qingjing guang ..., Tib. dag pa dyings kyi sgron ma or dbyings rnam dag gi sgron ma). ...


(3) The Lamp of Empty Spheres (Ch. yuankong guang ...) which appears like the eye of a peacock feather (ru kongqueling yan ...) is also called the Lamp of Luminous Empty Spheres (Ch. mingdian kongguang ..., Tib. thig le stong pa’i sgron ma). It represents the luminous manifestation of wisdom in its spherical and


five-colored form. In fact, Fahai Lama on the basis of the Dayuanman guan ding (81b) explains that this lamp "is the Lamp of originally awakened Wisdom which appears inside the Lamp of Pure Space ... ." It is also said that it appears "like the concentric ripples arising from casting a stone into water".

(4) The Lamp of originally awakened Wisdom (Ch. benjue zhiguang ... or benjue zhihui zhi guang ..., Tib. shes rab rang byung gi sgron ma), represents the luminous essence, i.e., rig pa (mingti ...). It is regarded as "the original essence (yuanti ...) of the Lamp of the Empty Luminous Spheres, which is hidden in the flesh-heart and endowed with the three qualities of emptiness, brightness, and energy." Thanks to the support of the Lamp of the Empty Luminous Spheres, the Lamp of originally awakened Wisdom progressively manifests itself in four stages of visions. ...


Thanks to these four lamps, reality appears in its visionary aspect as a circular or mandalic form which is the realm of the Three Bodies. In fact, these lamps are said to "produce visions of mandalas and the forms of divinities.""

pp. 516, 518-9 the 4 visions




(1) The Vision of Self-Manifesting Reality (Ch. xianjian faxing xianxian ..., Tib. chos nyid mngon sum gyi snang ba). This vision appears in the blue halo of the Lamp of Pure Space like a rainbow light or like the eye of a peacock feather (i.e., the Lamp of Empty Luminous Spheres of five colors). At the beginning it is as small as a fish eye, but with practice it increases to the size of a thumb or an index finger. Its form resembles the concentric ripples arising when one casts a pebble into a pool, small and large. They are often composed of three circles that merge into one. They tend to exhibit the pattern of threads, fine-meshed nets (xianwen ...), luminous spheres or sparkles (Ch. mingdian ..., Tib. thig le), and adamantine strands (Ch. jingang lian ..., Tib. rdo rje lu gu rgyud). The latter are the most important because they represent the direct experience of the nature of mind in terms of luminous essence (Ch. mingti, Tib. rig pa), "strands which link to the manifested appearance of the nature of mind" (cilian ji xi zixin zhi xianxiang ...). They are like two or four knots tied into a horse’s tail (mawei jiejie ...), like a string of pearls, like a garland of flowers, etc. . The vision of adamantine strands characterizes this first vision, the first manifestation of Reality.

(2) The Vision of Increased Experiences (Ch. jueshou zengchang xianxian ..., Tib. nyams snang gong ’phel gyi snang ba). It appears under the form of five-colored luminous spheres which are horizontally and vertically distributed, every one containing different forms like lotus flowers, tassel-shaped ornaments (yingluo ...), precious pagodas (baota ...), conches, spear-points, and so on. Their form undergoes infinite changes and progressively increases to the size of a bowl or a mirror, wheel or shield. These visions "shoot straight upward from the eyebrow" within luminous spheres (Ch. mingdian, Tib. thig le) or outside them and also "go to the side, and sometimes even appear as a triangle." ...


As one practices, the visions take on certain structures, and at the center of the luminous spheres various images of divinities may appear. At first, only a headdress or bust may appear, or only a hand or a foot; but later, the whole figure manifests . While at the outset a certain divinity may appear without consort and without ornaments, with practice it will become more elaborate and appear with a consort. The manifestation of forms of deities characterizes this second vision.

(3) The Vision of Reaching Culmination of the Luminous Essence [i.e., rig pa; awareness] (Ch. mingti jinyi xianxian ..., Tib. rig pa tshad phebs kyi snang ba). In this stage everything that appears is luminous and pervaded with rainbow light. The luminous spheres merge into a single sphere at whose center five luminous spheres appear. Inside them, the five Buddha families (wufang fo ...) appear in complete form and in union with their consorts. At this stage one also sees pure lands, Buddha’s palaces, nets of adamantine strands, precious and encircled mandalas, etc. The manifestation of the Buddha’s palaces, pure lands, and the five families with their consort characterize this third vision. ... All that is seen is of rainbow light color. It is also stressed that at this stage the practitioner develops extraordinary powers or siddhi. As Fahai Lama explains, the manifestation of these powers ... is comparable to the thaumaturgical powers of Daoist immortals and Buddhas ... .


(4) The Vision of Exhausting Reality (Ch. qiongjin faxing xianxian ..., Tib. chos nyid zad pa’i snang ba). The preceding visions of the luminous dynamism of wisdom come to an end. The luminous spheres of Buddhas, their palaces, pure lands and so on merge down into the nature of mind. This absorption is compared with the image of the black moon which, though it does not appear in the sky, still is there."

p. 519 thod-rgal attainments by means of qi-gon

"the irreversible secret manifestations (buzhuan mimi xianxiang ...) of thod rgal practice are put in relation with the attainments described in Daoist texts dealing with the search for immortality. According to the Chinese translation of the Ye shes bla ma (Dayuanman shenghui, 56), Fahai Lama presents these attainments as follows :

The body is light like cotton, its skin color is replenished, the face is without wrinkles, the hair is not white or getting longer, and the finger and toe nails do not grow anymore. In the body there appears the image of the five Buddha families, some in form of their emblems (samaya) or mantra-syllables. The appe[a]rance of some becomes youthful, their white hairs return to black color, their missing teeth grow again, and so on, and the body is light and calm without any disease. […] As the mind is constantly in a state of meditative concentration (chanding), clothing and food are not necessary anymore, every séance of meditative concentration will last months or years and the flow of breath-vital energy (qi) will be under your control."

Monica Esposito : "rDzogs-chen in China : from Chan to "Tibetan Tantrism"". In :- E’COLE FRANC,AISE D’EXTRE^ME-ORIENT, E’TUDES THE’MATIQUES 22 = Monica Esposito (editrix) : Images of Tibet in the 19th and 20th Centuries. 2 Voll., continuously paginated. Paris, 2008. pp. 473-548 (in 2nd Vol.).