Chapter 09: The Light of Tien Qiao
|09. The Light of Tien Qiao
Written by Sheng-yen Lu
Translated and edited by True Buddha Foundation Translation Team
Regarding rebirth in the Pure Land, I personally feel that when a person dies, it would be very important and helpful if a vajra master is around to guide the deceased, instructing the bardo spirit of the dead to find the best outlet to move out of the body.
A human being has eleven openings:
* Tien Qiao - an opening measuring the distance of the width of eight fingers from the anterior hairline to the center of the head [translator`s note: Tien Qiao, which literally means the Heavenly Cavity, is another name for the crown chakra]
* Openings of the two ears.
* Openings of the two eyes.
* Openings of the two nostrils.
* Opening of the mouth.
* Opening of the navel.
* Opening of the genital.
* Opening of the anus.
I (Living Buddha Lian-sheng, Sheng-yen Lu) have long cultivated and accomplished the Phowa Yoga, which is one of the Six Yogas of Naropa. The opening on top of my head is clearly visible to everyone, which is proof of my accomplishment. This opening is situated right in the center of the brain, which is the Tien Qiao, the center of the thousand-petalled lotus. In Tantric Buddhism, This chakra (Sahasrara) is located above the brow chakra, where all functions of consciousness are most distinctive. It is the main chakra governing pure awareness.
When artists draw the paintings of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas, it is natural that their bodies emit a halo of light, like all capillaries are radiating light. But why is it that the halo around the head, which is the light emitted from the Tien Qiao, so vitally important?
Everyone shares the thinking, which is aligned with this principle, that the path of ascension to the Pure Land is through the Tien Qiao. In Tantric Buddhism, the head is the governing center of consciousness and awareness. Therefore, all other chakras are governed and regulated by the head. As the bardo spirit moves out of the central channel, if the channel is transformed into the light wind channel, the bardo spirit will eventually leave through the crown chakra and enter into the central channel of the principal deity, merging as one with the wisdom being, thereby becoming the principal deity itself. In this way, one enters into the Pure Land of the principal deity.
A superior vajra master can instruct the deceased`s spirit to continuously pray and recite the holy names, so that the spirit of the dying may attain the state of `well departed` and be reborn in the Buddha`s Pure Land. This pathway takes the bardo spirit through the crown chakra.
If a person meets a superior vajra master, he should know that it is made possible by the culmination of his past and present karmic affinities, the ripened fruition of his extremely good karma. Only the great affinity from past lives will allow a mundane mortal to meet an enlightened vajra master and receive his help.
The vajra master must understand that a mundane mortal consists of the six consciousness, which are: the eye-consciousness, the ear-consciousness, the nose-consciousness, the tongue-consciousness, the body-consciousness and the thought-consciousness. It also includes the manas-consciousness, alaya-consciousness, vipaka-consciousness and the stainless or amala-consciousness.
The vajra master must also understand that: the eighth consciousness is the nature of the Tathagata; the ninth consciousness is beyond the stages of life and death; the tenth consciousness is absolute purity; and `consciousness` is `the function of distinguishing.`
The vajra master, when giving instructions to the spirit of the deceased, must know the mental state of the deceased, and understand and discern the spirit`s current state of consciousness. He must be able to distinguish the mental activities of the deceased spirit`s first seven states of consciousness, and understand that he [the vajra master] is not to attach to these states of consciousness. Only then can he instruct the deceased on how to leave the ocean of suffering in this very moment. An enlightened vajra master is able to understand and distinguish between the states of consciousness. He must be able to discern the mental activities expressed by the minds of the sentient beings and guide them to attain initial enlightenment, transforming the first seven states of consciousness into the eighth consciousness, completely gaining all functions of the mind.
The vajra master then must seal the openings of the ears, the eyes, the nostrils, the mouth, the navel, the genital, and the anus, leaving only the Tien Qiao open. This sealing is done through the Yoga of Light Constituent Consciousness Transference. This is done by sealing the ten openings with the light radiated from the Guru, Principal Deity, and Dharma Protector of the vajra master, follow by consciousness transference.
This is exercised through the eighth consciousness, the nature of the Tathagata, the storehouse of all seed wisdom, the true mind which had long existed before the defiled perception and deluded awareness. The nature of the Tathagata has no thoughts of greed, anger and ignorance in the three realms, whose state of mind is detached from the three realms. Abiding in this state, the vajra master is thus able to use the Yoga of Light Constituent Consciousness Transference.
This is a very important and major form of the supreme practice, which allows the deceased, whose consciousness remains at the mundane mortal level, to attain, within a short span of time in the bardo state, the very enlightenment of all the seed wisdom attained by a bodhisattva, gaining the transcendental faculty of the eighth consciousness.
For example: I was around when my mother Lu Yunu passed away in Seattle. I used the Yoga of Light Constituent Consciousness Transference to open the Heavenly Gate, seal the Earthly Doorway, block the Human Pathway, and block the Ghost Road. Only a vajra master who has achieved yogic union with his Guru, Principal Deity, and Dharma Protector is able to make use of the constituent of light. In the field of consciousness transference, especially where it corresponds with the nature of consciousness above the eighth state, most mundane monks and mortals are unable to reach and understand it. Therefore, only a vajra master who attains the true reality and realizes the eighth consciousness of the nature of the Tathagata, can perform consciousness transference.
Since the spirit of the deceased, residing in the bardo realm, will encounter all kinds of negative visions and illusions manifested by the actions of the sixth and seventh consciousness, the vajra master would need to guide the spirit through the use of such minds as `beyond mind,` `no thinking,` `non-abiding,` `mindlessness,` and `formlessness` to break the attachment.
The deceased must be made aware that he should forgo the defiled perception and awareness derived from the six organs, six senses and six places, and recognize the great seed wisdom of the self-nature. The spirit must therefore exercise the transcendental faculty to enter the Pure Land of Ultimate Bliss through the Tien Qiao, gaining rebirth in the Pure Land, so that he may return to realize the self-nature of Amitabha Buddha.
At the time of my mother`s passing, my disciples and my younger sister, a total of about twenty people, were present. We recited the holy epithet of `Homage to Guan Yin Bodhisattva` continuously, as my mother`s Principal Deity was Guan Yin Bodhisattva. While my mother was resting peacefully, we witnessed her head gradually lifting, as a stream of true chi (the real mind) shot out of her crown chakra and left. This was evidence of my mother being liberated from the six realms of reincarnation and the three planes (after her cremation, relics, relics of the teeth and relic clusters were found in her ashes).
My mother had attained initial enlightenment through consciousness transference, and through this initial enlightenment came the transcendental faculty, which helps the growth of great wisdom. Today, she has become a great Bodhisattva.
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