Understanding the structure of the pure land

The elements and main ideas of the pure land are as follows:

  1. Dharmakaya – both inside the nada and the ultimate nature of everything in the pure land, like the ocean of my mind in the aspect of the pure land.  The Dharmakaya is the entity of my mind mixed as inseparably one with that of the guru
  2. The nada.  This is the principle object of completion stage meditation – all of the rest of the mandala gathers and dissolves into this nada.  It is the synthesis of everything else, the meaning of everything else is all there, but it is in the apsect of the nada.
  3. The seed letters.  Like the nada, but for each of the deities of the body mandala.
  4. Heruka Father/Mother.  All of the winds gathered and dissolved into the indestructible drop, again a key object of completion stage meditation.  It is both the drop and the principle deity of the body mandala.
  5. The Body Mandala deities.  These function to heal the subtle bodies of all living beings.
  6. The Celestial mansion.  I have gathered all beings into a Kadampa Buddhist temple where I can heal their subtle bodies and teach them all of the stages of sutra and tantra.
  7. Mount Meru.  Each level is a different pure land from other deities leading up to the top where the HBM is.
  8. The continents.  This is a completely purified version of the three thousand worlds.
  9. The protection circle.  Within this protection circle, only the completely pure may enter.  Everything inside this protection circle is completely pure.
  10. The charnel grounds.  This is like a half-way realm between the realms of samsara and the pure land.  It appears in an aspect that resembles some of the worst of samsara, but it is understood to be by nature Heruka and it functions to reveal all of the stages of the path and provide tantric bodhisattvas with opportunities to train and practice in the stages of the path.
  11. The realms of ‘samsara’.  These are outside the charnel grounds and the beings of samsara inhabit them.  From their perspective, they are in samsara, but from my perspective as Heruka, these realms are also part of my pure land, by nature my pure mind, like extensions of the charnel grounds.  It is samsara for them, but part of my pure land for me.  I am emanating myself in their realms according to their karmic dispositions.  In reality, it has the same function as the charnel grounds, it is just the beings do not realize it.
  12. Dorje Shugden’s protection circle.  This surrounds everything, ensuring that everything that takes place inside is perfect for the swiftest possible enlightenment of each and every living being within the pure land.

These different elements of the pure land can accurately be understood as really different versions of the same thing at different levels of karmic purity.  They are not discreet or different things/places, rather they are different versions of each other all existing simultaneously on many different levels of karmic purity.  For example, the continents, the charnel grounds and the realms of samsara are each all worlds that contain all beings.  THey are different versions of all worlds and all beings existing simultaneously on many different levels (again, like the glass of water appearing as water, pus or nectar depending on one’s karmic view).  The same can be said for all of these different elements – they are all different levels of reality organized by degree of karmic purity in which all beings and all worlds exist simultaneously, like parallel universes.  We are not just on one of these levels and not the others, but are on all levels simultaneously.  From the perspective of Heruka, I am emanating myself on each of these different levels as each of these different levels so as to gather and dissolve all beings into me, the Dharmakaya (Chakrasambara). 

These levels can be understood in three different ways, each with a slightly different meaning.

  1. Organized like a funnel, with the Dharmakaya and the nada at the bottom center, then working upwards and outwards until the 6 realms of samsara.  This is also a shape like how a black hole warps space-time.  Anything put into a funnel is gradually drawn down into the center, and anything that comes withn the orbit of a black hole is also drawn inwards.  This is, in some ways, the perspective of Heruka.  The feeling is of having made oneself the lowest in service of others.  It is the feeling that all of the different levels are like different degrees of wave on the ocean of our mind, and the Dharmakaya is the complete settling of all of these waves, the gradual making perfectly still of all of these waves.
  2. Like a mountain.  This is more the perspective of a practitioner striving to higher and higher levels, from the deepest hell to the highest enlightenment. 
  3. Like a mult-layered onion, burgeoning outwards to be able to help different beings at different karmic levels or gathering inwards like in the yoga of inconveivability. 

Any individual being will likely experience themselves on any one level, but Heruka emanates different karmic versions of that being on each of the different levels to provide them with a pathway or a series of way stations on the way to enlightenment.  By concentrating on a being at any one of these levels, we help draw them into that level and we gain the wisdom of being able to explain the world to them from the perspective of that level.  As a practitioner, if we imagine ourselves on a different level or we try to maintain the view of a given level, we move ourselves into that level.  Each time we train in such concentrations, we create the karma to actually move into that level in the future. 

Ultimately, the structure of the pure land is not one or the other of these, but all three simultaneously and without contradiction.

2 thoughts on “Understanding the structure of the pure land

  1. I wish i understood all of that! The explanations are clear and simple.

    However, I think i’ll come back to this when my mind is concentrated. Then, i think i will appreciate more what you are saying. I can’t really see it unless i exchange self and let go of what my own limiting experience is showing me. This seems to be moving your mind a lot at the moment, so thanks for your insights!

  2. Ok, so i have re-read it: Incredible. Pure nectar!

    Apparently, it is said that all minds contain all objects of knowledge. That is some statement! This would correspond with your theory about being on all levels simultaneously.

    Different levels are ‘hidden’ dependant on karmic viewpoint and levels of grasping or as you say, karmic purity.

    This is what makes emanations possible. Even the laws of physics cannot understand correctly quantum leaps, like how one tiny particle can ‘jump’ from one place to another which on a bigger scale would equate to you or me moving from Belgium to Edinburgh in no blink of an eye with no movement or time involved whatsoever!

    If we perceive our self as a human on a planet yet understand our mind to be creator of all things within the expanse of the Dharmakaya, i guess once we stop grasping our mind can really travel anywhere it wants, just like we do when we imagine ourselves for example on the moon.

    I find it fascinating that Awakened beings can take on form yet not be bound by it whatseover. They are like master physicists defying all the forces that hold form together by not imploding inward on the object or from it’s atoms floating away into space. Remarkable!

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