19 January 2017
Starting at the bottom, everyone knows what the Gross Body is. It's the thing we normally think of when we think of the body. Sometimes it is gross, but here it's referred to as gross because it is the most dense form of matter.
At the top of the Gross Body is the Brain. Everyone knows what the brain is. It's a vital organ and most people only use the stem. The brain is the seat of consciousness, most likely the microtubules.
Right below the brain is something called the Red Bodhicitta, located at the navel. It's part of the subtle anatomy, but it's more tied to the gross anatomy than it is to the subtle bodymind. It's located here in relation to the brain because it's relative location is important. The red bodhicitta represents perfect insight. It is one of two anchors that hold keep the soul attached to the body, and is the power source of the body. It provides the energy for meditation. We get the red bodhicitta from our mother.
Atop the brain is a series of elliptical forms.
I'll start with the white circle. It is the White Bodhicitta, and it is skillful means. It is said to be the mind of enlightenment. At the moment of death the white bochicitta descends from the crown of the head and presents us with the perfect opportunity to attain enlightenment. If not, we'll get several other chances later on, but that's a topic for another day. We get the white bodhicitta from our father.
The next biggest ellipse, with the pretty clouds, is the Gross Mind. That's what we think of when we think of the mind. The gross mind is almost constantly full of thoughts that arise and cease, represented here as clouds that obscure the clear blue sky. The gross mind contains two parts, the Ego, which is the frontal personality that we associate with, and the Gross Shadow (the darker part), which is all the stuff we have disidentified with and have repressed. The shadow is almost always unconscious, and it is much larger than the conscious ego. It is the seat of projection. Any bit of the shadow we do not reintegrate into the ego during this lifetime we must deal with either in the between life state or the next life. There is no getting around it.
Inside the gross mind is the Subtle Bodymind (a combination of the subtle body and the subtle mind). It is full of golden light, often encountered in the early stages of meditation. The subtle bodymind is what reincarnates. Any it of the gross shadow that we failed to deal with in life will accumulate in the Subtle Shadow, the darker part of the subtle bodymind. Sometimes it's called Karma, but that word has a lot of baggage associated with it. It's the aspects of our self that we do not want to deal with. It is all the unconscious tendencies that pull us through life, and pull us to the next life. It doesn't seem to be a sort of accountant that balances good deeds and bad deeds, it seems to be more like a magnet that draws us to a life we are most attune with. Fears, addictions, unresolved issues, all of that pulls us in certain directions. Usually directions the ego does not want.
Inside that, at the very center of the self, is the Individual Soul (sometimes called the Atman or the Indestructible Drop), represented here as a sphere of blue light (often encountered in deeper stages of meditation). The soul is the original self-contraction that started manifestation. It is made of two things: wisdom (absolute bodhicitta) and compassion (relative bodhicitta). Wisdom is our capacity to recognise emptiness, and compassion is our capacity to be moral. The soul is said to be absolutely indestructible. It is the very subtlest mind of enlightenment that anchors all other structures. The soul is indestructible even for perfectly enlightened buddhas. It is not an unchanging substance, or a thing, it is the very heart of the mind. If the soul never changed then enlightenment would be impossible!
At the very outside, the biggest ellipse, is the Absolute Soul (God or Brahman). It is Absolute Existence and Absolute Truth. It is clear light (clear meaning transparent, like pre-dawn twilight). Absolute freedom and fulfillment; the source and goal of all existence. The gross body is projected out from the Absolute and appears to us to be something outside and apart from it, but you can see from the overlap that the gross bodymind, like everything else, exists within the Absolute. At the moment of enlightenment the individual soul identifies with and abides as the Absolute Soul without any loss of individuality.