I didn’t have a name for the image I had created and posted in the last article which I titled Arrived In A Flash. So I decided to simply give it the name of “The Vajra Meditation”. The image wasn’t made to try to convince you of any idea, so take this as a fun read if you wish, and in it find information about various things. None of this is to be academically scrutinized, I’ve composed it for fun and for beneficial purpose in my own mind. So as reader of this post, all I ask is that you try giving it a read with an open mind, and at the end perhaps return to the image of the above hyperlinked article and try viewing it again with a bit more information to understand its composition.
The top of the image features a design that was built purely aesthetic-based. The decision was to balance the two most significant diamonds (in terms of design), which were the Blue and Red ones. The red was wrapped with a variety of colored diamonds around it and it appears as if balancing upon the tip of the blue one. Inspired by the art of Zen rock balancing. The red being significant for reasons I’ll be showing when I break it down later, the blue significant as it is representing the “Highest Universal Principle”. To me, this blue one being the base is symbolic that the structure is established upon a foundation of Change. (Then, I’m reminded of the words of Eliphas Levi from The History of Magic first published in 1860: “Let us now further certify, with the ancient sages, that the universal principle of life is a substantial movement or substance which is eternally and essentially moved and mover, invisible and impalpable, in a volatile state, and manifesting materially when it becomes fixed by the phenomena of polarisation. This substance is indetectable, incorruptible and consequently immortal; but its manifestations in the world of form are subject to eternal mutation by the perpetuity of movement. Thus all dies because all lives, and if it were possible to make any form eternal, then motion would be arrested and the only real death would be created.”) Of course, that only then brings to my mind the line from Crowley’s Book of Lies chapter Stag Beetle, which reads: “Death implies change and individuality; if thou be THAT which hath no person, which is beyond the changing, even beyond changelessness, what hast thou to do with death?”, and ends famously with the line “Die Daily” (which in his commentary he clarified is a suggestion to practice Samādhi everyday).
One doesn’t have to strain hard to connect the thoughts in the writings of Crowley, to those of Zen Masters like Bankei Yōtaku (1622-93). Yōtaku was a Japanese Zen Master who brought forth the concept of Unborn (the Unborn, also known as Fu-shō, Original Nature as unconditioned spiritual Reality). He was a proponent that all were capable of realization and that such human nature always wins out. He was widely popular to all, known for his large number of female disciples given his empowering teachings, here’s a great quote attributed to him: “Men are the Buddha-body [Dharmakāya] and women are the Buddha-body, too… In the Unborn, there’s no difference whether you’re a man or a woman. Everyone is the Buddha-body… Everyone intrinsically possesses the One Identical Buddha Mind.” Then, there is the quote I wanted to share as I had found it expressing a sentiment similar to the one found in Crowley’s Stag Beetle chapter encouraging the practice of Samadhi, which is “I just move along at my ease, letting the breath come and go. / Die—then live day and night within the world. Once you’ve done this, then you can hold the world right in your hand!”.
Though the Zen Master may be talking about Prajna possibly as well, tied to Zazen or breathing practice. I found this interesting from Hinduism, from Wikipedia: “In the state of deep sleep, the Atman [which means Soul, Self], limited by Prana, the vital breath, is called Prājña”. Though with regards to Buddhist context, “Paññā (Pāli) or prajñā (Sanskrit) “wisdom”, is insight in the true nature of reality, namely primarily anicca (impermanence), dukkha (dissatisfaction or suffering), anattā (non-self) and śūnyatā (emptiness).” For the sake of convenience and to wrap up with that Crowley quote, lastly here’s the definition of Samādhi courtesy of Wikipedia: “Samādhi (Sanskrit: समाधि), also called samāpatti, in Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism and yogic schools refers to a state of meditative consciousness. It is a meditative absorption or trance, attained by the practice of dhyāna. In samādhi the mind becomes still. It is a state of being totally aware of the present moment; a one-pointedness of mind.” To make that one more clear, dhyāna’s definition courtesy of Wikipedia in addition is: “Dhyāna (Sanskrit) or Jhāna (Pali), commonly translated as meditation, is a practice which alters the state of mind,” and continuing with it “in Buddhism, it is a series of cultivated states of mind, which lead to ‘state of perfect equanimity and awareness'”. (Dhyana being the profound meditation that is the penultimate stage of yoga; Aleister Crowley famously repeated “Yoga means Union” in his Eight Lectures On Yoga).
After reading about Samādhi, to me there’s something of significance to remark upon, and that is a quote snippet from a recent article about Hypnosis via the CNBC. The article featured a study which showed in brain scans that the brains of those who were being induced into hypnosis (by listening to audio) had reduced activity in the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex, which as described in the article is “a region known to be critical for evaluating contexts, which aids in deciding what to worry about and what to ignore in a particular situation. Reducing that activity shows hypnotized people are able to suspend judgement and immerse themselves in something, without thinking of what else they could or should be attending.” Now anyone familiar with hypnosis knows that all hypnosis is self-hypnosis, and there’s nothing groundbreaking in that study; but it does prove scientifically the focus capable… Which sounds an awful lot like one-pointedness of mind! Étienne Félix d’Henin de Cuvillers in 1820 was the first to coin the term hypnotism to mean something like “nervous sleep”; though the first to call the one-pointedness of mind activity Hypnotism was James Braid, who helped spread the popularity of the term, and who also defined it as a narrowing of the attention until the mind is in a state he called monoideism (or, single-idea-ism).
Now back to The Vajra Meditation, but first a slight detour! The 10 layers are my make-shift interpretations of an approach to the 10 directions (which are listed at the bottom of the image). I didn’t create any unique form as I was more trying to establish a structure to build upon to make learning easier. The information listed found its foundation from the Wikipedia page for the Guardians of the Directions. I embellished and blended them though, I guess I’ll simply say I took artistic license with it. Anyways…
The text within the blockquote below is a passage from Zen Buddhism and Its Relation to Art published in 1922 and written by Arthur Waley. You can find the full text at this link.
"There is another aspect of Zen which had an equally important effect on art. The Buddha-nature is immanent not in Man only, but in everything that exists, animate or inanimate. Stone, river and tree are alike parts of the great hidden Unity. Thus Man, through his Buddha-nature or universalised consciousness, possesses an intimate means of contact with Nature. The songs of birds, the noise of waterfalls, the rolling of thunder, the whispering of wind in the pine-trees—all these are utterances of the Absolute. Hence the connection of Zen with the passionate love of Nature which is so evident in Far Eastern poetry and art. Personally I believe that this passion for Nature worked more favourably on literature than on painting. The typical Zen picture, dashed off in a moment of exaltation—perhaps a moonlit river expressed in three blurs and a flourish—belongs rather to the art of calligraphy than to that of painting. In his more elaborate depictions of nature the Zen artist is led by his love of nature into that common pitfall of lovers—sentimentality. The forms of Nature tend with him to function not as forms but as symbols. Something resembling the mystic belief which Zen embraces is found in many countries and under many names. But Zen differs from other religions of the same kind in that it admits only one means by which the perception of Truth can be attained. Prayer, fasting, asceticism—all are dismissed as useless, giving place to one single resource, the method of self-hypnosis which I have here described."
The list at the top of the image weren’t intended to be preachy, but I’ll explain why I had assigned the attributes. I wanted to roughly mimic a Qabalah-like structure (as in designated containers; instead of the 10 Sephirot, it’s 10 Diamonds). There are no pathways, or further elaboration or expansion to the structure presented, which is why at the beginning I emphasized it’s simplicity, however it’s effective nonetheless I find in conveying some interesting things. I’ll continue with explanation of the listed attributes in part 2. (Coming soon).