According to Modern Buddhism, Tantra is a special method to purify our world, our self, our enjoyment and our activities. Generation stage Tantra is an inner realization of a creative yoga that is attained through training in divine pride and clear appearance of being an enlightened Deity. What is this special method? It is by engaging in believing faith of a correct imagination we karmically reconstruct our mind of bliss and emptiness into what we imagine. How does this work? We can only understand precisely when we examine the question from the perspective of the union of the laws of karma and emptiness.
We can understand this by considering how the five contaminated aggregates (the basis of imputation for a samsaric being) interact with one another. We see some appearance (aggregate of form). We then categorize each appearance into a category of good, bad or neutral (aggregate of discrimination). From this discrimination between objects we feel them as either pleasant, unpleasant or neutral (aggregate of feeling). We then generate delusions, such as attachment, aversion or indifference, with respect to these feelings (aggregate of compositional factors). These delusions are themselves mental actions which create contaminated karma. This karma then gets planted onto our consciousness, making it contaminated (aggregate of consciousness). Put another way, whenever we see something, we conceive of it as being inherently good, bad or neutral, we then experience it that way, generate delusion which then plants a karmic seed onto our mind which will later ripen in the form of a contaminated appearance.
But here is the amazing thing about the creative yoga of Generation Stage. We take this same karmic logic which explains the relationship between karma and emptiness and we use it for transforming ourselves into a Buddha by bringing the future result into the path. Because we will one day become a Buddha, our future Buddhahood is already in our mental continuum as a future object. By imagining we are that and identifying with that final result we engage in what only can be called the “warp dirve” of travelling the path. In Star Trek the space ships have warp drive, which takes them across space at phenomenal speeds. In the same way, by identifying with the final result of the path, we race down the narrow path to enlightenment like a warp-powered mind.
How specifically does this work? We mentally choose to construct within our mind the clear appearance of ourself, our world, our environments and our activities as those of the Tantric Deity (a created appearance). We then train in a believing faith that the deity is really there and that this deity is the nature of our own mind (pure mental discrimination). We then experience the appearance as blissful and pure (pure feeling). Pure experiences, such as drinking nectar in our inner offering practice, function to give rise to the wisdom realizing the union of bliss and emptiness (pure compositional factors). These wisdom minds function to create pure karmic causes, which we then plant on our consciousness, making it pure (pure mental consciousness). Put simply, be believing the appearance we have created in our mind we create the karmic seeds which will later ripen in the form of our living experience being that which we imagined. So if we train in believing in this correct imagination now, we create the karma for that imagination to be our actual reality in the future. This is extremely profound reveals the wisdom that is the union of the laws of karma, emptiness, pure worlds, and the emptiness of the three times. If we understand this clearly, we will be extremely motivated to dedicating our every moment to training in Generation Stage Tantra.
When we engage in generation stage what do we actually do? We purify ordinary death, intermediate state and rebirth into the Truth Body, Enjoyment Body and Emanation Body of a Buddha. More practically, what we train in doing is learning how to die in a controlled way where we take rebirth as a Highest Yoga Tantra deity. So we engage in a variety of different meditations designed to purify death, intermediate state and rebirth. Each series of meditations work for the reasons described above. Our main meditation, though, is on the Emanation Body, or the self-generation. The reason for this is simple: with generation stage we attain the gross deity body, and in completion stage we attain the subtle deity body. So first we must attain the gross deity body (generation stage) before we can attain the subtle body (completion stage). In the self-generation, we have an extremely elaborate correct imagination of ourselves, the body mandala deities, temples, Mount Meru, the completely purified three thousand worlds, protection circles, the charnel grounds, etc. We use a correct imagination of not only the future result of ourself as a Buddha, but rather the future result of all living beings having already attained enlightenment with all abiding in the pure land. This functions to karmically reconstruct the fabric of our mind to assume the aspect of an actually appearing pure land!
To generate a qualified divine price believing we are a Buddha, we can reason as follows: for an imputation to be valid the basis of imputation must have a valid aspect, nature and function. In terms of the self-generation, we are trying to validly impute our “I” onto what we have generated in our mind. Does it have a valid aspect? Yes, it appears as the pure land. Does it have a pure nature? Yes, I generated this out of emptiness and it is infused with the living guru deity so its nature is completely pure. Does it have a pure function? What are the activities of the self-generation? They are to guide all beings from the deepest hell to the highest enlightenment. So you generate within your mind of feeling like you are actually doing this. On the basis of looking like Heruka, being the nature of Heruka and engaging in the activities of Heruka, what are you other than Heruka? Divine pride becomes easy. In particular, I focus on the activities of the pure self-generation. When I engage in the actions of a father, I feel like I am a father. The fact that I have kids doesn’t really make me one. In the same way, when I engage n the actions of a Buddha, I feel like I am a Buddha. This feeling makes it very easy to identify with being one.
One thought on “Ultimate stages of the path: Generation stage”
In FP, we are just nearing the part of Joyful Path on Vajrayana Paths and I am studying Mahamudhra at home. I hope to be soon granted the Heruka Empowerment. Your articles have helped me to formulate what I need to do once I enter these Paths and what to meditate upon until I start Generation Stage. Thank you so very much Kadampa Ryan. Jon, studying the map and information guide!