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Rainbow Body

topic posted Tue, February 7, 2006 - 8:55 AM by  Justin
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Hi,

OK, so I've come across the concept of Rainbow body too many times, and now just want an exact answer as to what it is. Does it share anything in common with the Energy body, or is it the same thing? I think it differs, but am not sure how!
posted by:
Justin
New York City
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  • Re: Rainbow Body

    Tue, February 7, 2006 - 12:13 PM
    Absolutely nothing at all in common with "Energy Body."

    Very concisely: A dzogchen yogi (or presumably also
    a mahamurda yogi) can, as a result of the type of practice
    in which they are engaged or have practiced, choose
    the method and purpose of dying. One option, if she
    or he has the ability, is to dissolve the five elements
    into the light colors that underly the elements.

    In the dzogchen tradition this is accessible only to
    people accomplished in Thogal who have done a
    lot of dark retreat (completely light proof environment).
    At the end of such a person's life, they ask to be sewn
    into a meditation tent and left undisturbed for seven days.
    During this time rainbows are seen emanating from the tent
    at all times of day, night and regardless of weather.
    At the end of this time, the tent is cut open and what remains
    is hair and finger and toe nails.

    In some cases this process is incomplete. In such a scenario,
    the body shrinks, condences and takes on a youthful appearance.
    Recent examples of this the corpse was "like an 8 year old."
    • Re: Rainbow Body

      Wed, February 8, 2006 - 2:13 PM
      As far as I know Padmasambhava (Guru Rimpoche) is the classic example of this.
      Mark, maybe you can tell us why this transference seems to be a bit secret. I know some few teachers speak openly of it (I've even heard it mentioned by a Taoist teacher) but in general it and the practices surrounding it (as in Atiyoga) seem to have been traditionally kept guarded and somewhat secret. Was this because of hostile authorities (I know in modern times one master attained this sewn up in a tent with Chinese authorities staying outside it to make sure he didn't escape!), because the practices were dangerous if not completed (I've heard that once one has tasted the Ati teachings nothing else satisfies and without commitment one can become quite lost ), because making them too commonly known makes them somehow defiled and less pure, all of the above, or what?
      • Re: Rainbow Body

        Wed, February 8, 2006 - 2:27 PM
        Maybe I should mention to avoid confusion that Padmasambhava is considered a saint by some Hindus as well as the '2nd Buddha' to Tantric Buddhists. His story differs with them in that when people of his day tried to burn him and his princess consort Mandrava alive they actually burned (according to some Hindus), while in the Buddhist version a lake miraculously appears around their would-be pyre putting out the fire, they survive and he goes on to eventually attain a state like Mark mentioned.
      • Re: Rainbow Body

        Wed, February 8, 2006 - 3:35 PM
        Well, you raise some interesting questions.

        In short, accomplishing the rainbow body is a result, not a practice.
        The practice in question, as far as I know, is Thogal.
        Thogal belongs to the Mengagde (most subtle) system of Dzogchen,
        and is practiced subsequent to a fair realization of Trekchod.
        I've heard it said that thogal doesn't happen without trekchod realization.

        Conversely, a simplified thogal is sometimes practiced as final phase of
        tantric Ngondro as a very strong de-stablizer of worldly perception. Which
        is great as a prep for tantric practice, but risky from a psychological point
        of view. So again relating to a qualified Lama is very wise. So secrecy
        makes a lot of sense.

        I'd add that this is in fact a kind of Phowa. In one form of realization, it is a
        complete dissolution (no remainder) but in rainbow body it is said that
        the body of light is "permanent"-- so one takes it with one. That stream
        of consciousness-- with form-- then functions like a deity infinitely for the
        benefit of beings.

        Alas, so much dharma gossip spoken by people (like me) with no personal
        experience in the matter. I only repeat what I've heard from my teachers.
        • Re: Rainbow Body

          Wed, February 8, 2006 - 4:09 PM
          Of course, there are some persons highly interested in Tibetan Buddhism like myself, who take the Rainbow Body as belonging to the mytho-poetric aspect of the tradition, and not describing a literal phenomenon.
          • Re: Rainbow Body

            Wed, February 8, 2006 - 5:08 PM
            Heretic. :-)

            On a more serious note. Barnaby, do you discount
            verifyable (i.e. direct sensory data) phenomena?
            I have seen ringsel with my own eyes, and frankly
            cannot dispute credible eye-witnesses of modern
            incidents of rainow body. I agree that there many
            things of a magical sort that are hard for our logical
            minds to swallow such as chulen, etc. Yet, why
            would honorable direct eye witnesses lie?

            And why do the bodies of some extraordinary beings
            (Christian saints included) fail to decompose without
            the benefit any embalming procedure?

            Faith... This may be the dividing point between a
            religious Buddhist and a philosopher.
            • Re: Rainbow Body

              Wed, February 8, 2006 - 10:29 PM
              > Yet, why would honorable direct eye witnesses lie?

              I've heard Christians make precisely the same argument about their belief in the ressurrection of Christ. At a certain point, one has to rely on one's understanding about the nature of miraculous religious experience in general. I think there's good reason not to take all the claims of Tibetan Buddhism at face value.

              Vasubandhu tells us in the Abhidharmakosha, based on Buddha's word, that the world is flat. He tells us that the world has four continents and a central mountain, and that the Hell of No Respite is located 20,000 yojanas below the Bodhi Tree. And he was quite mistaken about the distance between the Earth and the Moon.

              It's true, it could be the case that everything we know about biology, physics, and medicine is completely wrong, and these beings really do transform their bodies into rainbow lights and live forever. It could be that the Tibetan people really were spawned by a union between Avalokiteshvara and a rock ogre.

              Or it could be that these assertions were first made a thousand years ago when people knew a lot less about the universe, when people around the world were saying all kinds of similar things that we now know to be false. The Taoist alchemists and the Aztec high priests and the Christian Crusaders all report the miracles they have witnessed. How are we to know when to suspend our rational and empirical faculties and simply accept these things on testimony?

              These claims about the world were made in traditional teachings that no one is free to question. In Drepung Gomang, the master philosopher Gendun Choephel bested his opponents in debate, holding the position that Buddhahood is impossible. His defeated opponents caught him and beat him until he recanted. If you look at the life of this very interesting freethinker, you'll see he fared little better at the hands of the Ganden Podrang, and ended up in the Potala dungeons for reasons that are rather vague.

              Tibetan Buddhism is not exactly a flexible set of doctrines. Why, exactly, do they continue to debate philosophical perspectives that no one has actually held for 1400 years?

              The benefit I draw from Tibetan Buddhism has to do with cultiavating insight and compassion, and does not require me to believe in gods or demons, or any other supernatural phenomenon.
              • Unsu...
                 

                Re: Rainbow Body

                Thu, February 9, 2006 - 3:20 AM
                <---- never says never



                limits the possibilities too far

                (the world *can be* stranger than one could ever imagine)
                • Unsu...
                   
                  Doubts demand from us a real skillfulness in dealing with them, and I notice how few people have any idea how to pursue doubts or to use them. It seems ironic that in a civilization that so worships the power of deflation and doubt, hardly anyone has the courage to deflate the claims of doubt itself—to do as one Hindu master said: turn the dogs of doubt on doubt itself, to unmask cynicism, and to uncover what fear, despair, hopelessness, and tired conditioning it springs from. Then doubt would no longer be an obstacle, but a door to realization, and whenever doubt appeared in the mind, a seeker would welcome it as a means of going deeper into the truth.

                  www.rigpaus.org/Glimpse/Glimpse.php
                  • This is the maximum depth. Additional responses will not be threaded.

                    non-decomposing bodies

                    Thu, February 9, 2006 - 9:08 AM
                    there is a possibility which I would like to mention.

                    <<And why do the bodies of some extraordinary beings
                    (Christian saints included) fail to decompose without
                    the benefit any embalming procedure? >>

                    I saw this report by a mummie expert. He studied several "meditating masters" mummies. They all contained a lot of salt. Salt was also used by the ancients to preserve bodies. In the Investigators opinion there was no doubt, that the preservation had taken place because the monk had drunk salt water, and eaten nothing, over around a period of a week. and then deceaced.
                    The report was very thorough and scientific, examining all organs by scraping tissue samples and telescopic camera., eventually explaining all the bodily processes involved.

                    I do not want to argue a point one way or the other..

                    But it does seem perfeclty plausible that the ancients used a little science to woo the population. A practice used everywhere around the globe, within all known religions from time to time. Especially, since in those days religion and politics were one.

                    In a recent interview with the dalai lama, he also seemed evading such subjects, a little uncomfortable, clearly aware of our western scepticism concerning such topics.
              • Re: Rainbow Body

                Thu, February 9, 2006 - 3:10 PM
                well now, this is a worthy debate.

                I'm not saying that everything in the literature is to be taken at face value.
                Dialectic begins with what is acceptable to the partner... so of course
                there's comonly heald mythology in Buddhism.

                You say: I've heard Christians make precisely the same argument about
                their belief in the ressurrection of Christ. At a certain point, one has to rely
                on one's understanding about the nature of miraculous religious experience
                in general.

                And I say: we're talking about two different things. I can easily question an
                event where I do not know the eyewitness-- especially ones that were trying
                to start a movement 2000 years ago. Its another thing when close friends
                were direct eyewinesses. Especially when that person is otherwise credible,
                and their temperment precludes dishonesty, inauthentic motivations, etc.
                Some things are clearly optical illusions, halucinations, etc. Other things
                don't fit so easily into any category.

                For example, did everybody present experience the rain of nectar when
                Adzom Rinpoche was leading a tsok in Tibet in 2001? Did many collect
                this dutsi? Does it still smell fragent? How many Westerners winessed
                the leaving of hand prints in rocks at Tara Mandala in Colorado? I can
                personally vouch for certain other events that I've witnessed, that don't
                match with my western scientific mind. So I just say "odd things happen
                in the presence of Lamas." Does that mean that we rely on faith, no.
                We just accept that some things don't fit into our narrow mentality, and
                that's ok.

                As much as I appreciate Gendun Choephel. I have to assume that his
                views fall into the non-buddhist camp. And its sad what happened to
                him in Tibet. It is for things like this that the Rime movement got started.
                Remember, that even "The Great" Pabongkapa, whose doctrine was
                honored by many, personally lead the "forced conversions" (nowadays
                we'd call it a jihad) of Kagyu and Nyingma gompas to Gelug in Eastern Tibet.
              • Re: Rainbow Body

                Sat, March 17, 2007 - 10:05 AM
                As I have been taught, Buddhism is method - therefore there is no contradiction between the various schools and yanas - if one understands the 'priniple and function' of the yana one can understand everything in Buddhism.
          • Re: Rainbow Body

            Fri, June 7, 2013 - 3:06 PM
            It is a "literal phenomenon".

            An advanced practice, one dissolves the bodies elements into light.
            I won't go into the details, you need transmissions and a qualified lama.

            I can tell you, it's related to Clear Light practice.

            A friend once showed me a picture, she took, of her lama in the 1/2 light state.
            I still remember it.

            Wishing you the joy of the day.
    • C.
      C.
      offline 0

      Re: Rainbow Body

      Sat, December 26, 2009 - 1:22 AM
      Hi Mark. I've really appreciated your posts on this thread, which show your scholarship, openness and excellent sense of humor. ;)
      However, I would like to offer for Justin that there is some continuity between energy body and rainbow body, at least on the Vajrayana understanding of energy body.
      The difference is significant, as it does involve the dissolution you describe, and accomplishing thogal to perform it, but there is continuity: the standard conventional form of the energy body, with chakras and channels and winds and particles, also gets merged and dissolved, as it does when the physical body ceases to function and a sentient human being enters the bardo. In the case of rainbow body, this dissolution is intentional and performed by an accomplished person - who, as you say, must have accomplished thogal, and so as to be able to rest in ground awareness, or rigpa or the dharmakaya. The five light colors are, as you say, associated with the elements, but are also displays of the ground awareness, as the completely purified constituents of any manifestation body. In a sense, the process of attaining the rainbow body is a process of reducing the manifestation body to its ultimately purified constituents, displays of ground awareness.
      In a basic sense, the standard conventional form of energy body is never actually separated from the energetic quality of the ground awareness, but it's perceived as such by a person who is not accomplished. It's this very continuity that supports the possibility of dissolution into rainbow body. In this sense, the energy of the rainbow body is the same energy as the "energy body", but in a liberated, open, radiant form.
      There are many stories of this happening in Tibet, and it being witnessed by many people, including ordinary people. I've heard stories of people whose grandmothers or grandfathers were yoginis or yogins who practiced a lot in their later lives, and attained rainbow body e.g. in their retreat cabins (even without a tent), with emanating lights witnessed by visitors or passersby, and with nothing but hair and nails left.
      • C.
        C.
        offline 0

        Re: Rainbow Body

        Sat, December 26, 2009 - 2:04 AM
        Oh, and also - the energy winds of the "energy body" (or subtle body on the Vajrayana understanding) actually correspond to the elements, and those to the lights.
  • Unsu...
     

    Re: Rainbow Body

    Thu, February 9, 2006 - 9:23 AM
    Doesn't "Energy Body" have a couple of roots?

    Castaneda and Yogis?

    (just to address the other side of the question)
    • Re: Rainbow Body

      Thu, February 9, 2006 - 9:34 AM
      Given that it's widely believed that Castaneda made up the 'teachings' of Don Juan, I don't know that that's really the best evidence.

      I'm not talking about 'doubt', or some kind of dreary, existential skepticism that is making life flat and gray. I'm simply saying that one should have reasons for one's beliefs that make sense, and one should try to have the best reasons one can. If that is some kind of epistemological prison, then warden, sign me up.

      If you put the principle of 'defeating doubt' into practice, then again, how do you distinguish between which set of miracles to believe? Shall I just choose to believe whatever I would 'like' to believe, whatever strikes me as profound, interesting, or beautiful? Or shall I believe whatever I am told by persons whom I respect and like?

      My personal view is that this would be antithetical to Buddhism, which requires the courage to confront the unpleasant nature of suffering and transcience. Buddha taught that it is knowing the true nature of things that liberates one from suffering.
      • Unsu...
         

        Re: Rainbow Body

        Thu, February 9, 2006 - 9:42 AM
        Huh!

        And all this time I thought Buddhism was mainly about one's experience(s) with lessons available to help understand it...

        and doesn't your statement "Given that it's widely believed that Castaneda made up the 'teachings' of Don Juan, I don't know that that's really the best evidence." fall into the category believing whatever you are told by persons whom you respect and like?
        • Re: Rainbow Body

          Thu, February 9, 2006 - 5:12 PM
          > For example, did everybody present experience the rain of nectar when
          Adzom Rinpoche was leading a tsok in Tibet in 2001? Did many collect
          this dutsi?

          I can see how an experience like that would definitely make an impact! I myself have not had the benefit of such experience, so until I do, I'll have to rely on my reasoning and the experiences that I have had. If you say you have witnessed these things, then I can certainly respect your conclusions, without having the benefit of that experience myself.

          > As much as I appreciate Gendun Choephel. I have to assume that his
          views fall into the non-buddhist camp.

          I wouldn't say so myself - he was just defending an unpopular debate position. I'm sure you know monks often hold debate positions they don't really believe, like defending Vaibashika tenets, or what have you.

          > "The Great" Pabongkapa, whose doctrine was honored by many, personally lead the "forced conversions"

          Yes, I think this is a very unfortunate business, and its negative repurcussions continue to unfold to this day. The schism surrounding the proptiation of Dorje Shugden, for example, ultimately seems rooted in Phabongka's sectarian legacy. I am, of course, completely opposed to forced conversions under any circumstances.
          • Re: Rainbow Body

            Thu, February 9, 2006 - 5:25 PM
            Hey Lion-with-symbols-for-a-name

            > And all this time I thought Buddhism was mainly about one's experience(s) with lessons available to help understand it...

            Yes, I agree with this.

            > and doesn't your statement "Given that it's widely believed that Castaneda made up the 'teachings' of Don Juan, I don't know that that's really the best evidence." fall into the category believing whatever you are told by persons whom you respect and like?

            Um, no. Stephen Hawking can tell me about String Theory, and even though I do not myself know the necessary math to know if he's true, I do have very good reasons for believing that Hawking DOES know the math, and can give a qualified opinion. That is different from, say, believing my charming uncle knows a lot about String Theory, because I love my uncle, and I believe what he tells me.

            Here's a nice bit on Don Juan:

            Jane Holden Kelley, the author and co-author of a number of books related to the Yaqui Indians of the Sonoran Desert and desert southwest writes the following in her book YAQUI WOMEN: Contemporary Life Histories (1978):

            "Deliberate falsification is always a possiblity, whether for monetary gain, amusement, or sheer cussedness. A peripheral story serves to illustrate this point. As everyone knows, Carlos Castaneda's books have had a tremendous impact on a wide audience, and Castaneda's don Juan is a Yaqui. I would assume that every anthropologist who has worked with the Yaquis has been bombarded with inquires about Yaqui drug use, sorcery, and what have you. I have received letters from people wanting an introduction to a Yaqui brujo (witch or sorcerer, also Diablero), and the subject of my Yaqui research is never mentioned without someone asking me if there really is a don Juan. Do I know him or people like him? Or are all Yaquis like don Juan? To such inquiries, I can only say that I have not encountered don Juan or anyone like him, an admission guaranteed to lower my social value on the spot.

            "The Yaquis themselves are now approached by outsiders in search of don Juan. A Pascua Nueva Yaqui leader related that no few Volkswagen buses, usually with California license plates, find their way to Pascua Nueva. The inhabitants of the VW buses are described as "long-haired hippies," for the word hippie has deeply penetrated Yaqui consciousness with strong negative connotations. The Pascua Nueva leader explained with some delight his tactics for dealing with these unwelcome intrusions. When inquiries begin, he says he has never heard of don Juan. Slowly he shifts to admitting cautiously that there is a don Juan but he must be protected. Finally, he weakens and tells the inquirers where don Juan lives. There actually is an old man named don Juan who lives in Pascua Nueva, one said to have considerable ingenuity in spinning tales. Everyone is vastly amused and the hippies are usually good for a little money, cigarettes, beer, and other things before they have been had."
            • Unsu...
               

              Hahahahaaa!!!

              Thu, February 9, 2006 - 6:57 PM
              You're funny.
              • Unsu...
                 

                Re: Hahahahaaa!!!

                Thu, February 9, 2006 - 7:05 PM
                (eat more fiber)
                • Unsu...
                   

                  Done laughing now...

                  Thu, February 9, 2006 - 7:21 PM
                  and my experience has been that when ever anyone (myself included) gets too deeply entrenched in ANY idea, concept, paradigm, philosophy and so forth - the only result is defensiveness when confronted by alternate possibilities, which is itself a form of clinging to and grasping samsara....

                  but I might be confused.

                  Thanks for the practicum reminder.

                  BTW while I sympathize with the Yaqui nation, the character of Castaneda's works was never purported to have ever lived amoungst them; so going to a member of the Yaqui tribe seeking similar imformation as Castaneda purported to have been shown is just silly.
                  • This is the maximum depth. Additional responses will not be threaded.

                    Re: Done laughing now...

                    Thu, February 9, 2006 - 9:57 PM
                    > and my experience has been that when ever anyone (myself included) gets too deeply entrenched in ANY idea, concept, paradigm, philosophy and so forth - the only result is defensiveness when confronted by alternate possibilities

                    That's always a danger, I agree. However, my personal view is that most people are so irrational, and so completely uncritical of their own beliefs, that it is very hard to err on the side of too rational, or wanting too much evidence. Many people, for example, seem to require no evidence or reason whatsoever to believe in miracles, but will simply accept it as truth if it agrees with their prejudices.
                    • Re: Done laughing now...

                      Fri, February 10, 2006 - 12:34 PM
                      I agree completely with this point.
                      That is why contemporary incidents are
                      so compelling to me. And I'm not talking
                      about what we see on TV done by televangelists.
                      Rather, I'm talking about things either I or someone
                      close to me has witnessd up close and personal.--
                      Especially when those people are not typically
                      soft minded, airy-fairy, etc.
  • Re: Rainbow Body

    Mon, February 13, 2006 - 9:21 AM
    There's some good examples in "Graceful Exits: How Great Beings Die" and Bokar Rinpoche has an example of a westerner achieving the rainbow body in "Tara: the Feminine Divine"

    My question is: are those folks off the wheel, or are they coming back to help all us slobs out?
    • Unsu...
       

      Re: Rainbow Body

      Mon, February 13, 2006 - 9:29 AM
      *snicker*
      • Re: Rainbow Body

        Mon, February 13, 2006 - 10:32 AM
        Buddha knows I need all the help I can get!

        Seriously, though, my impression is that in the Tibetan tradition you're never really all the way gone. These beings are like the light of the sun. Sometimes, when a cloud passes between us and them just right, we get a rainbow (Samboghakaya) for a little while.
    • Re: Rainbow Body

      Mon, February 13, 2006 - 12:57 PM
      >My question is: are those folks off the wheel, or are they coming back to help all us slobs out?

      Here's the technical answer. Yes-no. :-) Those who attain the rainbow body have no
      karma which could produce a return, yet they had the intention to take a "body of light"
      with them Hence, they do no incarnate. They appear from time to time as "Emananations"
      normally as Samhogakaya Beings such as Deities -- like when Barnaby takes a rainbow body that he doesn't believe in, he becomes a deity named Barnaby who appears in many forms with his own mantras that appear to worldly beings having capacity and the kind of karma to see him... Buddha Barnaby then is a yidam that benefits "slobs like us."

      Sometimes, I'm told beings who have accomplished Ja-Lu can take Nirmanakaya
      aspects such as when a teacher is an emanation of say Longchenpa, but not an incarnation (as in being a tulku lineage).
      • Re: Rainbow Body

        Tue, February 14, 2006 - 3:04 PM
        The Sutric Prajnaparamita literature of India tells a similar story about the Buddha. Asanga teaches that the karma of a Buddha is exhausted, and their continued existence is empowered by their infinite wisdom and compassion. This seems like a good fit with Vasubandhu's Thirty. That classic text tells us that the mind-basis-of-all, which serves as the basis for karma, is transformed by an Arhat into a mirror-wisdom consciousness that has a similar function, but lacks stain or defilement.

        My personal view (as the Omniscient All-Good Samboghakaya Pandit that I am) is that we can see the evolution of a core Mahayana doctrine, passing through various interpretive frameworks, but remaining essentially intact. Namely, the basis for reincarnation from life to life, ordinarily defiled and driven by our karma, becomes transformed in an enlightened being.

        Maybe that's a good next question for you, Mark - what is the difference between a being who has achieved a rainbow body and a Buddha? Is a being who achieves a rainbow body fully enlightened, omniscienct, et cetera?
        • Re: Rainbow Body

          Tue, February 14, 2006 - 3:29 PM
          >Maybe that's a good next question for you, Mark - what is the difference between a being who has achieved a rainbow body and a Buddha? Is a being who achieves a rainbow body fully enlightened, omniscienct, et cetera?

          Seems to be the case. I cannot distinguish anything beyond that.
          Maybe I'll get a chance to ask one of my teachers in the next few weeks.
          I'll get beack to you on that.

          Question, B:
          The Mind -basis-of-all you are referencing, that would be the alaya according to the Cittamatra (Mind Only) school? If so, it is not equated with this ja-lu phenomenon,
          because Dzogchen is predicated on Madhyamaka perception of reality (not necessarily philosophically arived at, but same view.) But I do think they are similar. I've heard it said
          that Mind only realization, forms a very good basis for Middle Way realization and either functions well for direct perception via meditative method.
          • Re: Rainbow Body

            Tue, February 14, 2006 - 6:53 PM
            Hey Mark

            It seems to me that the only way you can definitively provide an answer regarding the rainbow body is, of course, for you to achieve one. Please begin work on it, and report back to the Tribe once you have attained it.

            It is true that Vasubandhu is considered a Yogacarin, and the Dzogchenpas claim the Madhaymaka view. However, the doctrine of the Alaya is remarkably similar in Dzogchen and Yogacara, and both resemble the Clear Light Mind of the Sarma traditions.

            It's a tricky business, because the Tantra teachings are clearly strongly-influenced by the Third Turning of the Wheel of the Dharma. There are a number of teachers of 'Emptiness-of-Other' (Shentong) who assert that the Third Turning is, in fact, preeminent, above the Madhyamaka teachings. This includes the Jonangpas, and many of the Karma Kagyupas and Rime figures. Jamgon Kongtrul Rimpoche and Mipham Rimpoche seem to have advocated this position. Thrangu Rimpoche is an advocate of this view in modern times, and has written of this issue frequently.

            The point of contention is whether or not Buddha asserted that the Alaya is truly-existent in the Third Turning. It is the position of many Tibetans, and all Gelukpas, that the Budda did say the Alaya inherently exists in the Third Turning Sutras. On this basis, they claim that the Yogacara school does not represent the definitive view of the Buddha.

            Longchenpa appears to have held this view, and takes pains to distinguish between the Alaya of Yogacara from the Alaya of Dzogchen. Tulku Thundup writes in The Practice of Dzogchen: "In Dzogpa Chenpo the Intrinsic Awareness is designated as self-awareness and self-clarity. But it is free from elaborations and non-existence. So it is superior to the thoroughly established self-awareness and self-clarity of consciousness of the Yogacara school." He gives a lengthy quotation from the master Longchenpa to support his interpretation.

            That seems clear enough, but there does not seem to be consistency on this point among the masters. Many great Dzogchenpas make extensive use of Shantirakshita and Kamilashila's presentation of Madhyamaka, for example, which is usually considered a Yogacara-Svantantrika-Madhyamaka synthesis. One of Mipham Rimpoche's most important works is his long commentary on Shatirakshita's "Ornament of the Middle Way".

            In my analysis, there is not a strong agreement on what the Third Turning position actually advocates, and whether or not the Alaya was held to be truly existent. Of course, even this isn't a problems for the Shentongpas, who argue that emptiness itself truly exists. The important thing is that all of these traditions may direct the yogi to primordial awareness in the service of liberation and compassion. The rest is of limited importance, although I find it interesting. This is surely the most thorny, difficult, and controversial argument within all of Tibetan Buddhist doctrine, and many of the most profound works have been written to clarify these issues. Tsong Khapa's magnum opus, the Legs Shed Nying Po, for example, is dedicated to clarifying the difference between the Three Yanas.
            • Re: Rainbow Body

              Wed, February 15, 2006 - 2:07 PM
              It is true what you say that Nyinmapas in particular are not
              consistently aligned with prasangika view and that a great many
              of us are of Svantantrika-Madhyamaka thought. This is particularly
              complex because the analysis is sutric method in nature and
              being an exploration of the prajnaparamita. Whereas the Tantric
              and Dzogchen vehicles are predicated upon the realizations of
              the sutric vehicles (hinayana/mahayana), we do not hold that
              tantra is a subset of mahayana vehicle nor that dzogchen is a
              subset of tantra. Rather, we say that for a vehicle to function as
              a vehicle it must have its own base path and fruit. If one is at the
              experiential base one could enter the path directly, without preliminary.
              To this way of thinking, using "lower vehicle" dialectic complicates
              things immensely. If you have access to the writings of Mahapandita
              Rangzompa (in Tibetan), these points are clearly explained.

              You have me laughing about proving the ja lu and reporting back.
              I am working on it though.
              • Re: Rainbow Body

                Wed, February 15, 2006 - 2:50 PM
                >You have me laughing about proving the ja lu and reporting back.
                I am working on it though.

                Keep up the good work, Mark. At least leave your mantra with a student to post here so we can keep in touch when you shine up/out/in, OK?
                • Re: Rainbow Body

                  Wed, February 15, 2006 - 3:26 PM
                  Very funny D. I'm laughing out loud.
                  and that's a good thing.
                  • This is the maximum depth. Additional responses will not be threaded.

                    Re: Rainbow Body

                    Wed, February 15, 2006 - 3:39 PM
                    > If one is at the experiential base one could enter the path directly, without preliminary.
                    > To this way of thinking, using "lower vehicle" dialectic complicates things immensely.

                    In my view, the essential thing is the yoga. As for understanding practice in terms of tenets and so forth, well, it may ultimately prove to be a kind of a hobby - one that is perhaps slightly more useful than waterskiing, but probably in the same ballpark. It's fun to talk about.

                    That said, I see two benefits to struggling with the ideas. First, one's mind can swim in the Ocean of Dharma, and while the swimming itself may not be so helpful, the constant contact with the water is good. Secondly, study can itself be a form of insight meditation.

                    As Drukpa Kunley said, "I bow to professors who are in love with their words."
                    • Re: Rainbow Body

                      Wed, February 15, 2006 - 4:34 PM
                      I love Drukpa Kunleg!

                      Yes indeed, the dialectic is useful.
                      And it does potentially obscure one's yoga.
                      What a paradox.
                      • Re: Rainbow Body

                        Wed, February 15, 2006 - 9:02 PM
                        I've met both types... the practitioner who has little grasp on Buddhist philosophy and just chants along with the group, and the student of Buddhism who doesn't practice at all. I lean toward the latter - but I can blame my lack of cushion time on my kid.

                        I loved reading both your views on the 3rd turning.... I'm a Nyingma type myself, but not by choice. I didn't read up on it - a teacher just appeared.
                        • Re: Rainbow Body

                          Thu, February 16, 2006 - 3:28 AM
                          >As Drukpa Kunley said, "I bow to professors who are in love with their words."

                          I'm more partial to some of the other things he bowed to ....
                        • Re: Rainbow Body

                          Thu, February 16, 2006 - 12:17 PM
                          I'm not sure how one becomes Nyingma against
                          their own will... but I understand how it is that one
                          becomes what one's teacher is.

                          I'm certain that it was only karma that landed me
                          where I find myself, since I never planned of becoming
                          Buddhist in the first place!

                          Now I have protectors I wasn't expecting ! :-)
                          • Re: Rainbow Body

                            Thu, February 16, 2006 - 11:19 PM
                            it's a long story... let's just say that I got my teacher by accident... I'll tell you sometime, it's pretty funny.

                            I used to listen to Alan Watts lectures with my dad when I was 4... and he took me to see the 16th Karmapa when I was 11 or 12 ... I was born to be a Buddhist.

                            No offence on the guy thing - my wrathful Dakini nature didn't even raise an eyebrow.

                            Speaking of protectors... anyone doing Vajrakilaya for Losar?
                  • This is the maximum depth. Additional responses will not be threaded.

                    Re: Rainbow Body

                    Thu, February 16, 2006 - 3:43 AM
                    >Very funny D. I'm laughing out loud.
                    and that's a good thing.

                    I agree. It's a VERY good thing (for me, at least). I wouldn't want to get you mad. I've heard about what kind of protectors hang around you guys ...
                    • Re: Rainbow Body

                      Thu, February 16, 2006 - 11:29 AM
                      >... I've heard about what kind of protectors hang around you guys ...

                      Oop's my apologies to the dakinis and goddesses out there. I should have said "you people ..." instead of "you guys ...". It sounds gender specific but wasn't meant to be (maybe you can tell I'm as scared if not moreso of wrath of the female deities and protectors)
                      • Re: Rainbow Body

                        Thu, February 16, 2006 - 2:53 PM
                        My opinion is that 'guys' may refer to casual, mixed company.
                        • Re: Rainbow Body

                          Fri, February 17, 2006 - 4:17 AM
                          >My opinion is that 'guys' may refer to casual, mixed company.

                          I certainly use it like that but I suppose I 've spent so much time in PC country
                          that I know how some people can take things in an unintended fashion.
            • Re: Rainbow Body : notes on turning wheels

              Tue, March 13, 2007 - 11:36 PM
              I thought the controversy was about whether or not the Buddha Nature or Deshek Nyinpo was truly existent and not the Alaya.

              A Geshe told me: That the point is that the Buddha Nature is not truly existent but exists relatively from a Prasangika point of view.

              A Kargyupa: If you fall toward Nihilism meditate on the Buddha Nature as truly existing if you fall toward Eternalism meditate on the lack of inherant existence of any ultimate

              A Nyingma Lama told me: Shentongpas believe the Buddha Nature truly exists as well as the characteristics of that nature whereas other exponants of the third turning don't assert that the characteristics truly exist but only the essence, so to speak.

              The Dalai Lama seemed to say that: Prasangika's apprehend the view with a gross consciousness whereas the mind of clear light is apprehended with a most subtle consciousness. Therefor from the point of view of this most subtle consciousness the mind of clear light truly exists from the dzogchen perspective. But I probably misunderstood.


              A Sakya Lama told me: If there's grasping, that's not the view.
        • Re: Rainbow Body

          Fri, June 7, 2013 - 5:27 PM
          That classic text tells us that the mind-basis-of-all, which serves as the basis for karma, is transformed by an Arhat into a mirror-wisdom consciousness that has a similar function, but lacks stain or defilement.

          No.

          There is no mirror
          There is no dust
          What is there to clean?

          This was close (as it's English) to the Chinese reply to the above statement.
          The first is a partial correct view.
          The second view is the fully correct view.

          Check the early history of Buddhism in China, for a more details.
          Your looking for the successor to an early abbot monk of an important lineage.
          The monk who had the most understanding of Buddhism, would be the successor.
          The one most of the monks thought would be chosen, said something close to the quote at the top.
          We strive to keep our mind mirror bright.
          We remove the dust each day.
          ... something I don't remember.

          It's been awhile, possibly it was Bodhidharma.

          The successor was a Chinese man, who had been there for 6 months cleaning the stables, he couldn't read or write, but got a boy who could, to write his response, agreeing to take the boy as a student if he was chosen.

          I guess he had to put up with a lot of resentment.
          Still, a great Buddhist story.
    • Ah, I may be adding fuel to the fire, but in "The Lankavatara Sutra", Buddha talks about this.

      * I'm just going to give you a bit of this. *

      This will probably start you thinking, followed by a long conversation, it did for me.
      It's so different from what one normally hears or is taught.

      *******************************************************************
      The Lankavatara Sutra (Near the end of it).
      **********************************************************************
      Then said Mahamati to the Blessed One: Pray tell us about Nirvana?

      The Blessed one replied: the term, Nirvana, is used with many different
      meanings, by different people, but these people may be divided into four
      groups.
      There are people who are suffering, or who are afraid of suffering,
      and who think of Nirvana.
      There are philosophers who try to discriminate Nirvana.
      There are the class of disciples who think of Nirvana in relation to
      themselves.
      Finally there is the Nirvana of the Buddhas.

      ... cut out some here ...

      As to the notion of Nirvana as held by disciples and masters who still cling to the notion of an ego-self, and who try to find it by going off by themselves into solitude: their notion of Nirvana is an eternity of bliss like the bliss of the Samadhis-for themselves.
      They recognize that the world is only a manifestation of mind and that all discriminations are of the mind, and so they forsake social relations and practice various spiritual disciplines and in solitude seek self-realization of Noble Wisdom by self-effort.
      They fallow the stages to the sixth and attain the bliss of the Samadhis, but as they are still clinging to egoism they do not attain the "turning-about" at the deepest seat of consciousness and, therefore, they are not free from the thinking-mind and the accumulation of its habit-energy.
      Clinging to the bliss of the Samadhis, they pass to their Nirvana, but it is not the Nirvana of the Tathagatas.
      They are of those who have "entered the stream"; they must return to this world of life and death.

      There are Bodhisattvas here and in other Buddha-lands, who are sincerely devoted to the Bodhisattva's mission and yet who cannot wholly forget the bliss of the Samadhis and the peace of Nirvana for themselves.
      The teaching of Nirvana, in which there is no substrate left behind, is revealed according to a hidden meaning for the sake of these disciples who still cling to thoughts of Nirvana for themselves, that they may be inspired to exert themselves in the Bodhisattva's mission of emancipation for all beings.
      The Transformation-Buddhas teach a doctrine of Nirvana to meet conditions as they find them, and to give encouragement to the timid and selfish.
      In order to turn their thoughts away from themselves and to encourage them to a deeper compassion and more earnest zeal for others, they are given assurance as to the future by the sustaining power of the Buddhas of Transformation, but not by the Dharmata-Buddha.

      The Dharma which establishes the Truth of Noble Wisdom belongs to the realm of the Dharmata-Buddha.
      To the Bodhisattvas to the seventh and eighth stages, transcendental Intelligence is revealed by the Dharmata-Buddha and the Path is pointed out to them which they are to follow.
      In the perfect self-realization of Noble Wisdom that fallows the inconceivable transformation death of the Bodhisattva's individualized will-control, he no longer lives unto himself, but the life that he lives thereafter is the Tathagata's universalized life as manifested in its transformations.
      In this perfect self-realization of Noble Wisdom, the Bodhisattva realizes that for the Buddhas there is no Nirvana.
      The death of a Buddha, the great Parinirvana, is neither destruction nor death, else would it be birth and continuation.
      If it were destruction, it would be an effect-producing deed, which is not.
      Neither is it a vanishing nor an abandonment.
      Neither is it attainment, nor is it of no attainment.
      Neither is it of one significance nor of no significance, for there is no Nirvana for the Buddhas.

      * Note: fallow is the correct word, it is NOT follow.*


      This may shock and confuse some people, but this is the truest way to say this.
      It isn't easy to understand.

      This is a small part of this sutra, but I encourage those who are doing Tibetan Buddhist practice(s), to download it, and study it.
      Maybe we can compare notes in a new thread, on this forum.

      Wishing you all the joy of the day.
      • K
        K
        offline 225
        Re Justin:
        'Hi, OK, so I've come across the concept of Rainbow body too many times, and now just want an exact answer as to what it is. Does it share anything in common with the Energy body, or is it the same thing? I think it differs, but am not sure how!'

        Re Mark:
        'Absolutely nothing at all in common with "Energy Body." '

        Re Castaneda

        Re Dionysus:
        "As far as I know Padmasambhava (Guru Rimpoche) is the classic example of this. "

        Re Barnby:
        "Of course, there are some persons highly interested in Tibetan Buddhism like myself, who take the Rainbow Body as belonging to the mytho-poetric aspect of the tradition, and not describing a literal phenomenon. "

        Re Kunga:
        'It is a "literal phenomenon".
        An advanced practice, one dissolves the bodies elements into light.
        I won't go into the details, you need transmissions and a qualified lama.'

        KT answers and gets things in the right track:

        Well, I had to read through all this.
        It is extraordinarily important for us western gurus to try and figure out what the dharma kiddies know. Or not.
        I see some of you are trying.

        There are some signs of hope here.
        The initial question from Justin was good.
        Mark's answer was disastrous.
        Barnaby doesn't have to believe anything he doesn't find or yet find to be demonstrated.
        Kunga in Philadelphia is right.

        And Castaneda has nothing to do with the matter for several reasons.
        Castaneda was an almost shaman, who 'borrowed' the work of some other people.
        Castaneda clearly never connected with any real shaman tradition, of the Southwest nor of any othe rlocale.
        Castaneda never had one tenth the knowledge or experience I have in his claimed field of expertise.
        All the main points and principles of shamanism - any shamanism - are missing from his, ah, novels.
        Not that it matters.

        So, back to business.
        Yes, there are stories and PROOFS of the dematerialization ( or partial dematerialization ) known as the "rainbow body", or "jalus", which is a Tibetan word.
        There is actual physical proof of this process completing, or mostly completing.
        This has been published repeatedly in English.

        Rainbow Body accomplishment is known in different traditions, including the Tibetan Nyingma and the pre-Buddhist Bonpo.
        A Chinese PhD / Taoist master claims he actually saw a Taoist adept ( his teacher ) dissolve into light.

        I wasn't there for any of these events, but I do experience the energy body of great masters.
        For example during empowerments.

        One time I experienced, in a few minutes, two Chinese Buddhist masters throwing thunderbolts into a bunch of people, one by one, as a kind of healing empowerment.
        I was kneeling on the ground in front of a temple, and these two brothers were walking behind us, throwing hand gestures and so forth.
        I didn't know what was going to happen, but I got The Hit.
        The Hit was my whole body filling with strong red energy. My eyes were closed, but I felt and saw a lot of red energy.

        And the Togal / Crossing Over teaching is real.
        I have a direct, one on one Thogal empowerment from the late Rimay Kyabgon Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche.
        In Prapoutel France, August of 1990.
        Don't know if anyone else ever got that from the personal blessings, as no one ever talked about it.

        That's how Buddhists are when it comes to tantra and yoga and experience: they never talk about it and there is no point trying to talk to them, at least not in person.
        "We're Buddhist. We don't believe in talking with sangha members of the same or other mandalas!"
        Yeah I know, I got that.

        I have been doing highest yoga tantra since 1979, and have about 44 trekcho empowerments and 37 full Vajrakilayas and 105 or more Padmasambhava mantras, but basically I never talk to Buddhists.

        I just write my Dalai Lama articles on 70+ tribes, and teach people how to understand and get practice manuals for kundalini yoga, Taoist chi kung, and Buddhatantra.
        On a bunch of tribes.

        About 95% of the tantric and yogic and Taoist and pagan teaching on tribe.net is by my hand these past few years.
        As well as most of the environmentalist and feminist stuff.
        Not that anyone here has demonstrated any knowledge of this global teaching work.

        Anyway, let's back to the topic at hand.

        There is an energy body. If you have it, then you're alive.
        If you don't, then you're literally dead.
        There are different methodologies and systems for describing this energy body, one of which is trekcho / togal.

        But actually, ALL of the esoteric Taoist, Bonpo, and Buddhist systems are ways of working with the energy body, and the energy body and the rainbow body are two sides of the same coin.
        No energy body, no rainbow body.
        No rainbow body, no energy body.
        Got it?

        The Buddhists, Taoists, Bonpo and Hindus all use a Five Element system, each in their own way.
        ( And yes, the Hindus ALSO use a 3 element system in conjunction with their 5 element system.)
        The simplest. most straightforward way to talk about this is to say that The *living* Five Element System is the Energy Body, and is the basis for the Rainbow Body.

        You don't have to believe in it.
        You don't have to believe in Ayurveda nor in Traditional Chinese Medicine.
        Still, they work. These are functional and useful systems. We see the results and we can read the methodologies in English.
        As in, you know, Amazon.com. I go there a lot.

        I am perfectly willing to believe that there are some Taoists who realize the Rainbow Body, or something very similar. And some Bonpo, and some Buddhists as well.
        There are reliable witnesses still living, and in different traditions.

        Guru Padmasambhava - my direct teacher - attained the Rainbow Body.

        Goddess Tara is an approachable Rainbow Body. She is my inner lineage of teaching authorization.

        So I have actually seen a Rainbow Body, just once, a little under 30 years ago.
        For some minutes. And she speaks Sanskrit and English.
        So that's the real answer.
        I have many many tantric vows from about 62 major gurus.
        So I can't afford to lie to you.

        But this is a real experience, and so is a trekcho empowerment or a togal empowerment.

        Now that I have some idea where you all are, I am interested to knwo if any of this clear and simple English makes sense to you. It is mystical, and far from conventional muggle consciousness.

        But tantra was never about muggle ways, any more than it had to do with Judaism, Islam, or Voodoo or Mormonism, or the Republican Party for that matter. Or Castaneda, the almost shaman referenced above.

        Tantra is about yoga, and energy, and nadi / prana / bindu, and ayurveda and so forth.
        Tantra is about human energy systems.
        I have been providing references to this type of work for years on Tribe, and sometimes been treated very poorly for it.
        By Shambalanth the Sham, for instance, who attacked me on the basis of "Judaism" and Middle Eastern History.
        So Shammy turns out to be as clueless as most of the arrogant and aggressive typists I come across on Tribe.
        Now he's changed his Tribe name to "Bub". Still clueless, though.

        I have already referenced the book
        "Healing with Form, Energy, and Light: The Five Elements in Tibetan Shamanism, Tantra, and Dzogchen" by Rinpoche, Tenzin Wangyal and Mark Dahlby.

        That's a good place to start.

        See also:
        "The Crystal and the Way of Light", by Namkhai Norbu.

        See also my major Nyingma teaching article
        "UPDATED comprehensive teaching article: Tantric Buddhist Empowerments and Teachings and Retreats - Nationwide USA and India ( Winter 2012 - Spring 2013 ) "

        at
        sanfrancisco.tribe.net/listin...830ef8b

        I have already connected the Buddhist tribes to the pagan tribes, the shamanic tribes, the yogic tribes and the healing tribes and the meditation tribes. And indeed to many regional tribes on different continents.
        You can see this for yourselves in my tribe listings.

        So like I said, I rarely talk to Buddhists, but 32,000 people have read my tribe listings, the most powerful dharmas on Tribe.net. By Far.
        Someone has to know how this stuff works.
        All is not lost.

        And this *is* a teaching article. If you read it several times in several days, you will see a whole new approach, indeed a whole new world.
        And yes, it is very much a dialogue.
        I have to listen to and study with many teachers, and listen to and study the words of many students as well.
        It's a deep and broad dialogue.

        And you can always study
        "Dakini Teachings", by Padmasambhava, and available at Amazon. It's worth a whole mahayana library.
        That is my core teaching reference.

        At this point, we have gotten to square one. Hurrah.
        Good thing I dropped by. Hope you get something out of it. If so, you're not alone!
        Sarva mangalam.

        KT,
        inner medical tantrika

        "This is for everyone."
        Dr. Tim Berners-Lee, London Olympics
        • K
          K
          offline 225

          See
          "Kundalini Yoga, Theory and Practice ( Hindu, Budddhist, 3H0 Sikh, etc. )"

          "Kundalini Yoga, Theory and Practice ( Hindu, Budddhist, 3H0 Sikh, etc. )
          Keywords: kundalini yoga, hatha yoga, Ayurveda, tantra, psychic heat practice, comparative yogic practice, Bon, Hindu, Sikh, Taoist, Buddhist Mahamudra and Atiyoga practice.

          "Summary: basic cross-cultural introduction to kundalini yoga, with book references. I give examples of Hindu, Sikh, Bonpo and Buddhist practices of kundalini yoga. "

          at
          tantra.tribe.net/thread/74...6d74374f4d

          . . .
          "Kundalini yoga is an energetic process.

          Kundalini yoga is an evolutionary process.

          Kundalini yoga is a whole person process, involving the physical system and metabolism and sexual energy, the emotions, consciousness, and the human aura, or bioenergetic field. . . ."

          The original post from early 2010 provides a sound basis.
          Later in a response at the end of 2012 I provide more background, resources, and references.
          All are directly relevant here.

          And by the way, some people here need to learn how to use a syllogism, and evidence based reasoning.

          I am a theologian and a yogi. Clearly I use evidence based reasoning, and I back up my teaching articles.

          This is different than just dismissing out of hand a whole and major field of practice, such as internal energy yoga or meridian systems in Traditional Chinese Medicine.

          TCM meridian systems are studied at Harvard Medical School.
          This system of medicine is licensed in the State of California, and in many countries.

          Yes Virginia, There Is An Energy Body.

          Welcome to the New World.

          KT