My very dear Joanna,
I checked with Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche about your experiences, and he said that they are due to the blessings of the deity. Due to the strong experience of bliss and due to that method, superstitions and conceptualizations cease.
In the gradual completion path, the wind enters the central channel then abides and absorbs, and the mind becomes extremely subtle. Even if that doesn’t happen, then what I mentioned before will happen.
By increasing the bliss, the gross superstitions are stopped and the mind becomes more subtle. At that time, the gross sinking thought is stopped, even the middle one is stopped. So, there is clarity of the mind and abiding of both, but there is no intensive apprehending of the object. It is subtle sinking thought, but you may think, “I am concentrating”; this thought may arise. I think maybe during those experiences it could be subtle sinking thought.
Also, mistakes can arise, such as the view for which there is no cause and conditions, or the “Hashang view.”.1 When Lama Tsongkhapa went to Jonang Monastery for puja and the monks recited the four rounds of emptiness: “Form is emptiness, emptiness is form, etc,” Lama Tsongkhapa completely fell into concentration. Later, he asked Manjrushri about this experience. Manjrushri said it is neither the Madhyamaka or Cittamatrin view. Manjrushri advised Lama Tsongkhapa to collect merit and purify defilements. If you attain this, your concentration will develop.
Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche said that this experience you are having is due to having a stable mind and the blessings of the deity.
From the sutra path you gradually achieve shamatha and great insight. Later they are unified. According to tantra, if you can bring the understanding of realizing emptiness and with that mind focus on the deity’s holy body, through this you can accomplish calm abiding and great insight together. It says in Lama Tsongkhapa’s small lam-rim that particular, exceptional experiences like this can happen, so you need to understand that part of the instruction. In tantra, from the time of the initiation ripening the mind, the cause which ripens the mind, so you can have experiences similar to the completion path.
There are gradual stages—first, generation stage, then completion stage. During the Kalachakra practice, even without completing the gradual generation stage, which is similar to the duration of the gradual completion stage, the wind can enter, abide and absorb into the central channel. That is the realization of the gradual completion stage,2 due to the power of the chakras and drops, but it is not transferred into the gradual completion stage.3
If you can abide in concentration for a few hours or for one day as you have planned, the definition of the concentration is fulfilled. If the concentration can last according to how you motivated—for one day, two days, or one year, then you can attend the subtle generation stage. In the Clear Lamp of Five Gradual Completion Stages by Lama Tsongkhapa, it asks why there is experience of the completion stage during the generation stage. It is because people have different types of chakras and drops. Even during the initiation of the cause ripening the mind, the similar realization of the completion stage happens, but it is not that the realization is transferred into the gradual completion stage. The realization is not transferred from the gradual generation stage to the gradual completion stage.4
If your breath and heart stop while meditating, you can motivate to meditate like this for one hour or up to a certain amount of time, to experience this, but you also need to have someone to stop you, to remind you of the time and to check.
With much love and prayer...
1 Hashang was a Chinese monk who travelled to Tibet at the time of King Trisong Detsen and propounded a view that does not rely on cause and conditions. The view does not rely on a path and asserts that just as both white and black clouds obscure the sun, so both virtue and nonvirtue obscure the rise of wisdom. [Return to text]
2 Such experience belongs to the completion stage. This is confirmed by the Illuminating Lamp [see Principles of Buddhist Tantra p.136]. Kirti Tsenshab Rinpoche states: "One who is still on the generation stage may experience entry of the winds in the central channel, giving rise to the four joys, but such an experience is still considered part of the completion stage. This passage also indicates that such experience is rare; it may occur in some individuals, but it is certainly not common. The experience of the four joys may arise at the end of the generation stage due to the constitution of a practitioner who possesses a unique arrangement of channels or elements or who experiences the joys by relying on an external consort. Still, according to Illuminating Lamp, the practitioner belongs to the generation stage while his experience belongs to the completion stage. It is even possible that one who has not yet entered the path may experience the four joys through the winds dissolving in the central channel when receiving empowerment." [Return to text]
3 Though such experience belongs to the completion stage, it is not a completion stage experience that exists in the mindstream of one on the completion stage, since it does not arise due to causing the winds to enter, abide, and dissolve in the central channel due to the power of meditation. But when the four joys arise merely "due to the power of the chakras and drops" and not due to meditation, this cannot be posited as a completion stage experience in the mindstream of a completion stage practitioner. [Return to text]
4 The realization does not cause the practitioner to transfer or move from the generation stage to the completion stage. [Return to text]