According to Modern Buddhism, “Generation stage is like drawing the basic outline of a picture and completion stage is like completing the picture.” Completion stage itself is “defined as an inner realization of learning developed in dependence upon the inner winds entering, abiding and dissolving within the central channel through the force of meditation. The objects of these meditations are the central channel, the indestructible drop, and the indestructible wind and mind.”
So how does this work? By using exactly the same logic of generation stage, but with respect to the deities subtle and very subtle bodies. What makes completion stage particularly powerful is we use our own subtle body (channels, drops and winds) as the basis of our completion stage meditations. We do so as follows: first we realize the emptiness of the subtle body that we normally see. This is a true cessation, and our completely purified subtle body. We then imagine that this cessation, or the emptiness of the mind realizing the true cessation, appears in the aspect of the deity’s completely purified subtle body. So first we generate the subtle body of the deity and then we identify with it as our own understanding it is arising from the cessation of the subtle body that we normally see.
In completion stage as defined here, the main objects of these meditations are the central channel, the indestructible drop and the indestructible wind and mind. Through the above meditations, we feel as if we are inside our central channel, inside our indestructible drop, and inside our indestructible wind and mind. One of the amazing things about the power of the mind is the mind is located at the object. So if the object is in the pure land, the mind actually goes there. If the object of mind is the inside of our central channel, indestructible drop and indestructible wind and mind, then our mind actually goes there. And wherever our mind goes, our winds inextricably go as well.
Since the entire universe is nothing more than a projection of our root mind, by centering our mind entirely within our root mind we cause all of our inner winds to gather, dissolve and abide inside our root mind (represented by these three objects). When this happens, all of the appearances that all of our gross minds support likwise begin to dissolve into increasingly subtle levels of appearance. This is where the eight dissolutions come in – each appearance is what the universe looks like when the previous wind had been gathered inside our central channel. When no winds are dissolved, we see samsara. When the earth element dissolves, we get the mirage like appearance. When the water element wind we get the smoke-like appearance. When the fire element wind dissolves we get the sparkling fireflies like appearance. When the wind element wind dissolves we get the candle flame like appearance. When that dissolves, we get the mind of white appearance. When that dissolves, we get the mind of red increase. When that dissolves, we get the mind of black near attainment. And when that dissolves, we get the mind of clear light. This is our very subtle mind of great bliss. All appearances have naturally been dissolved and it is very easy for us to realize the emptiness of all phenomena, including the emptiness of the mind of great bliss realizing the emptiness of all phenomena. There is no deeper mind than this. This is the definitive deity, the Dharmakaya. Milarepa said everything is the nature of mind and the mind is the nature of emptiness. So we recognize everyhing is the nature of our very subtle mind of great bliss, and we realize the emptiness of this very subtle mind. When we say my mind of bliss and emptiness in the aspect of something, what we really mean is the emptiness of my mind of great bliss in the aspect of something.
This realization of clear light functions to purify our consciousness of all contaminated karma and their imprints. When all of these have been purified, we become a Buddha.
Taken all together, the tantric path proceeds as follows. First we generate the intention to train in our tantric vows and commitments. Then we establish ourselves inside the gross deity body through generation stage. We then train in the body mandala meditations, which is in effect a self-generation of our subtle body. We then train in the completion stage meditations of the central channel, indestructible drop and indestructible wind and mind. This then causes our inner winds to gather. We continue to realize the emptiness of the entire universe in the aspect of the eight appearances of the eight dissolutions until finally we realize the clear light, first through a generic image and then directly. This final direct realization of clear light vaporizes countless aeons worth of contaminated karma in an instant. We continue meditating on this meaning clear light again and again until we have finally, once and for all, purified our mind completely of all delusions and their imprints. We will have become a Buddha!
Through this series of posts, I have tried to clarify (and share) my own understanding of how to practice each of the stages of the path from the point of view of emptiness. We looked at how emptiness is the definitive reason establishing the validity of each of the stages of the path and how by combining these stages with an understanding of emptiness we can engage in the practice at an extremely profound level. We did this for the lamrim, the training in the six perfections, and the practices of vows and commitments, generation stage and completion stage. The final result being our full enlightenment.
All of the above posts should be understood as nothing more than my own ramblings about the Dharma. None of it should be considered definitive Dharma. For that, only Venerable Geshe-la’s books can suffice. I have written these posts to help clarify my own understandings of these subjects. Different people have different learning styles, and for me putting things in writing forces me to make very clear my own understanding (especially when I know I have such an enlightened audience as all of you!). For me, this project has proven to be extremely beneficial for me. I feel like I understand things much better. If others reading through these posts also gain some insights or benefit, then all the better!
I dedicate all of the merit I have gained from doing this project so that Dorje Shugden will bless the minds of all those who read these posts (including myself) and reveal to all a correct understanding of the Dharma (be it through my words being a similitude of correct or through realizing that my words are totally wrong). In this way, no matter whether what I have written is correct or not, anybody who reads this will gain correct understandings. Such is the power of prayer! Don’t get me started on the emptiness of prayer!!! hee hee
4 thoughts on “Ultimate stages of the path: Completion Stage”
I just want to say thank you for all your posts ,they had been very helpful to clarify my understandings too.
Thank you so much for your personal insights into profound Dharma. I am, I hope, nearing the stage where I can be empowered into Tantra so, I do not yet engage in these practices. Your posts help me to contemplate and build a map of where I will soon go, I hope, with the “disclaimer” you put at the end of this blog (not necessary by how your writings “feel” in accordance with Geshs-La’s teachings). Thank you so much for these treasures!
Dear Ryan, I just wanted to thank you so much for your precious posts. There are like an emanation scripture from my spiritual guide to me. I contemplate them, meditate them and I feel they have a strong power on my heart. I will try to repay your great kindness by my sincere practice for the benefits of all. Thank you again. Sabrina
Thank you for your kind words. 🙂