In my meditation this morning, I realized the generation stage mandala is actually like a phase transition progression. I imagine Dorje Shugden’s protection circle around the Charnel Grounds of the self-generation, so that the entire mandala is inside his protection circle, and everything that happens within it is perfect for the enlightenment of all beings. Outside his protection circle, I normally imagine the completely still, radiant Dharmakaya, which I understand to be Chakrasambara – all of samsara gathered and purified into the clear light emptiness. I imagine I have purified all of samsara for each and every being within it. But let’s assume I haven’t done so and samsara as we normally see it appears. This sets up a progression:
- Samsara for all living beings, the things we normally see as the outermost ring. This is reality 1.0.
- Once we enter Dorje Shugden’s mandala, we phase into the charnel grounds. What was before seen as samsara is now seen as the charnel grounds. What appears may still be whatever normally appears, but we understand it to be the charnel grounds where everything is teaching us the profound truth of Dharma. This is reality 2.0.
- After having spent some time in Dorje Shugden’s mandala, we are gradually led into the paths of Highest Yoga Tantra. This is symbolized by Heruka’s wisdom protection circle which is in between the charnel grounds and his mandala. When we bring our mind into that, it is impossible for negative karma and delusion to arise because they have no basis for doing so. We are in the pure land. Just inside Heruka’s wisdom protection circle, we have the completely pure three thousand worlds in the aspect of the different continents of the mandala offering. Beings who live here are in the pure land, but they are still part of the three thousand worlds – just a purified version of them. These worlds are like a city surrounding the central castle, but inside the protection of the city walls. This is reality 3.0.
- In the center of these worlds is Mount Meru. Mount Meru itself is layered with all of the different pure lands of the four classes of Tantra, and I would say other religions as well. Beings who live in these worlds are firmly centered in the spiritual progression aspects of the pure land. This is reality 4.0.
- On the top of Mount Meru is Heruka’s celestial mansion. From Heruka’s perspective, this is the highest of all the pure lands. This is like the castle on the top of the hill in the center of the city of enlightenment. All of the different Kadampa temples sprouting up around the world are actually emanations of Heruka’s mansion, and serve the same function. Within his celestial mansion, all beings are gathered where they are taught the Kadam Dharma and their subtle bodies are completely purified by the body mandala deities. Entering this mansion temple is reality 5.0.
- We then receive highest yoga tantra empowerments and learn how to impute our I onto the body mandala. We enter into and become one with the Guru Deity and his retinue. But it is not just us as an individual doing this, we long ago exchanged self with others and we experience the body mandala as us “as all living beings” identifying with the self-generation. It feels as if we are directly purifying the channels, drops and winds of all living beings who have been gathered into the body mandala with us. This is reality 6.0.
- We then enter into Heruka Father and Mother and center ourselves (again, as the synthesis of all living beings) within the deity. Heruka Father and Mother are experienced as the completely purified indestructible drop not only at our heart, but at the heart of all living beings. All beings are experienced directly as being connected at the heart, where we have gathered all impure winds. Within this drop, all impure winds of all living beings are completely purified in the aspect of Heruka Father and Mother of the body mandala. This is reality 7.0.
- At Heruka’s heart is the seed letter HUM and the nada. This is our indestructible wind, our Enjoyment Body, our vajra body. All living beings have been completely purified into the nada. This is our life raft we want to be in when we die so that death has no hold on us. We attain the immortal body. This is reality 8.0.
- Inside the nada is the clear light emptiness. This is our indestructible mind, our Truth Body, our vajra mind. All living beings and all impure worlds have been dissolved into Chakrasambara. When we mix our mind with this Dharmakaya, it functions to purify the contaminated karma of all empty beings. This is reality 9.0.
- As we delve deeper through the layers of the clear light, our mind becomes purer and purer until eventually it is so pure the union of the two truths of a Buddha appear directly to our mind. The entire mandala, from the samsaras that beings normally see through to inside the nada are all seen as inseparable from our Truth Body. The duality between pure body and pure mind are completely dissolved away and we experience ourselves and all living beings as having been always enlightened. This is reality 10.0, or full enlightenment.
In my meditation, I sit with this awareness, strongly believing it all to be true. In many of our meditations, Geshe-la says, “and then strongly believe“ something that is (conventionally) objectively not true, such as believing we have taken on the suffering of others, believing in our divine pride etc. There is always then this part of our mind that doesn’t believe what we are imagining, and our meditation lacks power. How can we overcome this doubt? We do not believe these things are true in the sense that they are objectively, inherently true, because nothing is. Rather, “believing something to be true” is a mental action which functions to complete the karma of our meditation. This karmic seed will ripen at a later date in the form of others appearing to be freed from their suffering or ourselves appearing as the guru deity. Why do beings appear to us now to be suffering sentient beings? Because in the past we assented to contaminated appearances, believing them to be truth, and that karma is now ripening in the form of our present appearances. If we start to believe our generated pure appearances, we will create karma which will ripen in the future where things appear to us directly as being pure. This is how samsara is created, and it is how the pure land is created. This is why generation stage is called a creative yoga.