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5d. The Dalai Lama’s Teachings of
On the Indestructible Drop within the Heart,
Consciousness as the Mind of Clear Light & the Empty Space Particles
In Buddhism, since the definition of “living” refers to sentient beings,
consciousness is the primary characteristic of “life.” (2005, p. 106)
The Dalai Lama explains Tibetan Buddhist views of the nature of human consciousness and describes some of the subtle anatomic processes which underlie life and death. The following notes draw from the Dalai Lama’s book Advice on Dying, and Living a Better Life (2002) his dialogues with Renee Weber and David Bohm in Dialogues with Scientists and Sages (1986) and The Universe in a Single Atom (2005). We will explore the Dalai Lama’s teaching as most pertain to the investigation of the heart doctrine, the nature of human consciousness as light and the concept of zero point origins.
Lama states that after conception the psyche and
body grow from
that which forms into the heart. He
three major channels interconnecting seven major “channel-wheels” or
within the subtle anatomy as the basis for consciousness and mind
body—supported by various ‘winds,’ as the medium for mind. He also describes various ‘knots’ or
constrictions established at the heart centre, as well as at the other
In the body there are at least seventy-two thousand channels—arteries, veins, ducts, nerves, and manifest and unmanifest pathways—which start growing at what will be the heart soon after conception. … (There are) three most important channels … At vital places in these three channels are seven channel-wheels, with differing numbers of spokes, or channel-petals. … The wheel of phenomena is found at the heart … the residence of the very subtle wind and mind that are themselves the root of all phenomena. At the heart, the left and right channels wrap around the central channel three times (each channel also looping over itself), and then proceed downwards. This results in a six-fold constriction at the heart, which prevents the passage of wind in the central channel. At each of the (other six) centres … the right and left channels wrap around the central channel once each (each channel also looping over itself), thereby making two constrictions. The right and left channels are inflated with wind and constrict the central channel such that the wind cannot move in it; these constrictions are called “knots.” (pp. 138-9)
The Seed of Life at the centre of the Flower of Life
All the channels, arteries and such, grow out from that which forms into the heart. The inner circulation of the ‘winds’ which support consciousness and mind, is then distributed through three major channels and seven centres—in the pattern of 1-3-7 as befits the description of light. Just as white light divided by a prism yields a spectrum of seven colours, so also there is an inner circulation of consciousness and vitality through the inner human being—through the subtle ‘winds’ which are the basis for mind and conscious experience. The ‘knots’ within the heart restrict the winds in the central channel, as do the knots at other centres. At death, these knots are loosened and the winds move again within the side channels and then withdraw into the central channel and finally return to the heart. Although the ‘winds’ do not ordinarily move in the central channel, yogic techniques can enable this, which leads to the “more profound states of mind….”
The Dalai Lama explains some of the dynamics of death and dying:
During the last four phases of dying, the winds that serve as the foundations of consciousness enter into the right and left channels and dissolve there. In turn, the winds in the right and left channels enter into and dissolve in the central channel. The deflation of the right and left channels loosens the constrictions at the channel knots: When the right and left channels become deflated, the central channel is freed, thereby allowing movement of wind inside it. This movement induces the manifestation of subtle minds, which yogis of Highest Yoga Tantra seek to use in the spiritual path; the winds on which a deeply blissful mind rides are intensely withdrawn from moving to objects, and such a mind is particularly powerful in realizing reality. (p. 143)
At the center of the channel-wheels are drops, white on the top and red on the bottom, upon which physical and mental health are based. At the top of the head, the white element predominates, whereas at the solar plexus the red element predominates. These drops originate from the most basic drop at the heart, which is the size of a large mustard seed or small pea, and, like the others, has a white top and red bottom. Since it lasts until death, this drop at the heart is called the “indestructible drop.” The very subtle life-bearing wind dwells inside this drop; at death, all winds ultimately dissolve into it, at which point the clear light of death dawns. (p. 145)
The indestructible drop within the Heart is the origin of life and consciousness within the body. As a person dies, the vital energies and consciousness withdraw through the channels and gather at the heart before the soul leaves the body. As this happens, as the life principles resolve back into the underlying metaphysical realms of being, the heart essentially functions as a black-hole computer. All of the information of a persons’ life is available as consciousness resolves back to zero point levels and the patterns of life are illuminated by a consciousness reflecting the Mind of Clear Light.
The Dalai Lama offers profound teachings on the nature of the human subtle anatomy and the physiology of life and death. Such concepts represent a coherent proposal and model of the psyche, a worthy hypothesis for scientific inquiry. Such a view of an indestructible drop within the heart provides an alternative perspective to “the head doctrine” of modern science—the belief or assumption that material-energetic processes of the brain produce consciousness.
In The Universe in a Single Atom (2005), the Dalai Lama discusses the issues of consciousness and provides a valuable critique of the head doctrine and its assumptive basis:
Despite the tremendous success in observing close correlations between parts of the brain and mental states, I do not think current neuroscience has any real explanation of consciousness itself. (p.130)
Whereas modern psychology and science have considered
consciousness to be non-substantive, nothing in itself, the Dalai Lama
clearly equates consciousness with light. He describes consciousness as
illumination or light which reflects the deeper Mind of Clear Light. :
Consciousness is defined as that which is luminous and knowing. It is luminous in the double sense that its nature is clear and that it illuminates, or reveals, like a lamp that dispels darkness so that objects may be seen. … Consciousness is composed of moments, instead of cells, atoms, or particles. In this way consciousness and matter have different natures, and therefore, they have different substantive causes. (2002, p. 129)
Consciousness is light which illuminates the objects of human experience—the material side of nature. Again, we find the distinction between the ‘I’ and the ‘me,’ the Purusa and Prakriti. Consciousness is considered as separate from the objects of awareness, yet illuminates them as an inner The Dalai Lama states simply: “Matter cannot make consciousness.” (1986, p. 236)
The Dalai Lama explains that to understand human consciousness, we have to distinguish between matter and consciousness. “Space particles” (space quanta) are the basis for matter, while the “mind of clear light” is the basis for consciousness:
In Buddhism, there are levels of coarseness and subtlety of particles, and the most subtle of all particles would be the particles of space. These serve as the basis for all of the particles ... The particles of space remain forever. ... When you go back and back, researching what the substantial causes are, you will eventually get back to the particles of space. ... new worlds will form physically on the basis of the empty space-particles. (In Weber, 1986, pp. 235-6)
… prior to its formation, any particular universe remains in the state of emptiness, where all its material elements exist in the form of potentiality as “space particles.” (2005, p. 89)
This is a remarkable teaching and concept and is consistent with Blavatsky’s Secret Doctrine and the teachings of Kabbalah. H. P. Blavatsky describes the Gods and other invisible powers clothing themselves in bodies based such zero point foundations—like empty space particles. Further, she described the ‘laya state’ or ‘laya centre’ where an element is in a state of unmanifest potentiality. So also, Kabbalah describes the supernal infinitesimal point origination of a Cosmos and the Zimzum contraction creating an empty space within the Plenum—as an empty space particle at the heart of being and of ourselves.
The Dalai Lama explains that the conjunction of Light and the empty Space Particles is the basis for human experience:
The Dalai Lama explains that there is a close association between the consciousness/mind and the ‘winds,’ which support it. He states:
“… the wind on which consciousness is mounted, like a rider on a horse, is a physical entity that supports consciousness. Although consciousness can separate from the physical body, as it does when we pass from one lifetime to another, consciousness can never separate from the subtlest level of mind.” (p. 132)
The Tibetan Buddhist description of the life review process which occurs at death is also consistent with the idea of the heart functioning as a black hole computer: As the vital winds withdraw into the heart at death, all the quantum information of one’s life may become available within the subtle dimensions of being. Indeed, the Universe is a Hologram, illuminated by the mind of clear light and all new worlds are established on minute, empty space particles. Modern science has brought us to the time where we can actually relate such concepts as the Dalai Lama proposes to the hard sciences in the areas of physics, information theory, cosmology and medicine.
Meanwhile, the dogma of the head doctrine
most serious impediment to the progress of psychology and science, the
awakening of humanity to the mysteries of the Heart, and the next step
evolution or unfoldment of human consciousness. And
who is really so enlightened as to the nature of Self
consciousness—the head brain theorists of modern psychology and science
Dalai Lama and the other mystic explorers of consciousness?
Illustration of David Bohm and the Dalai Lama
|Footnote 1. The ‘indestructible drop’ within the
as described by the Dalai Lama, is similarly described by Swami
Saraswati, in his text Science of Soul: A treatise on Higher Yoga
This is the 'bliss sheath':
Book I I I - Triune Monads in Seven Dimensional Hyper-Space
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