October 3, 2010 by Chögyal Namkhai Norbu
Then there is another way of seeing energy, for example when we do Vajrayana practice. We close our eyes, think everything is emptiness and gradually the elements develop and our dimension becomes like the pure dimension of the mandala. Everything develops with the five colours of the elements. Then our manifestation of the deity develops at the centre of the mandala and we have a very precise idea of what it looks like.
We do this visualisation with our mind but when we open our eyes, we cannot see the mandala or elements like lights, we can see ordinary vision because we are only doing that visualisation in our dimension. When we develop it, we use channels, chakras, aspects related to our physical body, and with prana energy, with kundalini energy we gradually coordinate this transformation with our existence and integrate it at the end with the mantra of the practice. This is called the Accomplishment Stage. When we do the visualisation with closed eyes this is called the Development Stage, which is developed internally.
Finally we can have the realisation of being in the state of Mahamudra, that means no longer remaining in the dualistic state with these two stages. In Vajrayana, that is called realisation. So you see how we develop everything with symbols, such as mandalas, deities etc., which are developed internally, within our dimension.
An example of this is a mirror: if there is a small mirror, reflections of gigantic mountains can manifest in it and we can even see the size and colour of the reflections very precisely. This breaks our limitations. In general we have the limitations of the material world, so that if there is a small box, we cannot put a gigantic thing inside it because it is small. We live in this type of dualistic vision and we have these kinds of strict limitations. But when we have a small mirror and we can see a gigantic mountain in it, this is an example of how we can break these kinds of limitations. Infinite kinds of manifestations always manifest inside the mirror, not outside, just as all Vajrayana transformations manifest inside us, not outside. This way of manifesting energy is called rolpa, and this is the characteristic of this type of energy. We cannot translate these kinds of [words to describe] energy so we use and learn the Tibetan words, otherwise if we use a translation, the meaning is limited and doesn’t correspond. Rolpa is more related to our energy level and when we speak about our three existences we say ‘voice’.
Then there is the energy of the aspect of the material level, which is called tsal. How does it manifest and what is its characteristic? We have infinite potentiality, and when it manifests like subject and object, we do not know that it is our real potentiality manifesting and immediately fall into dualistic vision and think that we are seeing something very nice. Many people say that when they were very young they often had fantastic visions like lights etc., but later on they didn’t manifest any more. Some people have even asked me for methods in order to have those visions again. I understand very well what it means because everybody has infinite potentiality from the beginning. That is our real nature. Our potentiality can manifest when there are secondary causes, however secondary causes do not always exist or manifest. Sometimes in our lifetime some secondary causes manifest and in that moment we can have something like fantastic visions. But we immediately fall into dualistic vision – “Oh, how nice! I can see this light, this form” – that blocks [the visions] and they no longer repeat. This is the reason why we have these kinds of visions.
What should we do in order to have these kinds of visions again? We should understand the way I explained chönyi ngön sum visions. We know that these kinds of visions are manifestations of our real nature. Our potentiality manifests like subject and object and we do not fall into dualistic vision. We know that it is a manifestation of ourselves and then there is no reason to block that. When there are secondary causes, it can always manifest. But when we are using practice methods, like Dzogchen thögal or yangti, we don’t need to wait for secondary causes. We can create them with our position, our way of breathing, etc., and in that way everything can manifest like visions and we become more and more familiar and also have more possibility to integrate.