At times when practicing in retreat, the mind is pliable, there is progress in spiritual practice and the meditator bursts into long melodious song. At other times the mind is untamable, the spiritual practice wanes, the attention scatters, and the meditator feels acutely miserable.
A variety of high and low experiences arise at the time of separating samsara and nirvana. Rather than feeling discouraged or conceited, keep to the key point of letting things spontaneously happen without attachment; thus you will be able to bring them onto the path.
Perform your retreat practice unflaggingly and without straying into distraction; then everything will be an enhancement.
Second, for clearing the hindrance of bodily sickness and pain there are five points: the basis where the sickness abides, the cause for the sickness to occur, the circumstances that activate it, its matured results, and the way to cure it.
First, sickness abides latently in the all-ground, in the manner of the constitution of the channcels and as habitual tendencies. It occurs due to unwholesome karma accumulated through ignorance and ego-clinging. It is activated by means of the disturbing emotions, conceptual thinking, prana-winds, or gods and demons. Its matured result are the 404 types of disease, headed by heat and cold, phlegm, aches, and swelling. In short, the disease of coemergent ignorance is the chief cause and the disease of conceptual ignorance is the chief circumstance.
All sickness possesses these five factors: the latent basis, unwholesome karma as the cause, disturbing emotions as the circumstance, conceptual thinking as the connecting link, prana-wind as the concluding assembler, and gods and demons as the supportive factor.
For instance, if a ‘coldness’ disease manifests, it is caused by the habitual tendency for desire lying present in the all-ground, and is activated by the circumstance of intense desire. The connecting link is made by the conceptual thought, “I am sick! I am disabled! What shall I do if it gets worse?” This causes the ‘downward clearing wind’ to malfunction, opening you up to attack from the female class of evil influences.
Similarly, the seed of anger as the cause is activated through the circumstance of intense anger connected with the link of conceptual thinking. This causes the fire-equalizing wind to malfunction, opening you up to attack from the male class of evil influences, resulting in the heat diseases.
The seed of stupidity as the cause is activated by the circumstance of strong stupidity, connected with the link of conceptual thinking. This causes the ‘equal-abiding wind’ to malfunction, opening you up to attack from evil ’earth spirit’. It results in the phlegm diseases.
The seed of envy as the cause is activated by the circumstance of strong jealousy, connected with the link of conceptual thinking. It causes the ‘life upholding wind’ to malfunction, opening you up to attack from the tsen class of evil influences, and resulting in the aching diseases.
The seed of pride as the cause is activated by the circumstance of strong conceit, connected with the link of conceptual thinking. It causes the ‘pervading wind’ to malfunction, opening you up for attack by the gyalpo class of evil influences and resulting in the swelling diseases.
Since the cause is ignorance, you must recognize coemergent wisdom to cure these diseases. Since the condition is disturbing emotions, you must settle your attention in evenness. Since the connector is conceptual thinking, you must cut through the ties of thought. Since the gatherer of the conclusion is wind, you must focus on the key point of wind. The black-support is the gods and demons: you must abandon the notion of a demon. By doing this you will be freed from all kinds of disease.
To cure the essence of illness there are three points: best is to leave it to be self-liberated; next-best is to abandon reference-points concerning exorcism or meditation; last is to cure it by means of visualization.
For the first, don’t even take one single does of medicine. Don’t chant one syllable of a healing ceremony. Don’t regard the illness as a fault, or see it as a virtue. Leave your mind unfabricated and spontaneous. Totally let be in the natural thoughtfree state of simplicity. By doing so, the flow of conceptual thinking is cut; thoughtfree wakefulness dawns, and the illness is cleared away. The sickness and the thought are liberated simultaneously.
That is to say, during the preliminaries, don’t pursue the sickness. During the main part, don’t cultivate the sickness. During the conclusion, don’t dwell on feeling sick. Through that, you will untie old sickness and remain unharmed by new ones.
For the second, exorcising or meditating, there are three parts: transmuting adversity, cutting directly, and equalizing.
For the first, regard the sickness with gratitude, thinking again and again, “How wonderful that by means of you, sickness, I can cut through the conceptual demond!” Let your mind be jubilant; eat food that harms the illness and act in adverse ways towards it.
Next, eat some fresh ‘solid fragrance,’ still warm but not steaming. Drink some warm reeking ‘liquid fragrance.’ By meditating on the prana-wind, the disease in the upper part of the body is vomited out, and the disease in the lower part is purged out. This process of the illness vacating is the medicine of cutting through.
Second, for cutting directly, bring forth a radiant facial expression and stop whimpering. Mentally, directly cut through the worries, hopes and fears of thinking “When I am sick and weak, or if I die, what shall I do?” With total disregard, cast these worries far away.
Third, to equalize, you must utilize misfortune as your path as soon as it arises. Brighten your awareness and remind yourself of spiritual practice. Don’t meditate on a visualization to counteract the illness, and don’t apply any healing ritual or medical cure, but look into the identity of who feels sick! By resting in that continuouse state, when an experience occurs, it vanishes by itself, and when realization occurs, it dawns as empty cognizance. At least you will not have to suffer with the thought of feeling sick.
Lastly, for curing by means of visualization, generate bodhicitta, assume the cross-legged position and visualize as the yidam deity. Imagine a dark blue HUNG in you heart center, the size of a barley grain. If it is a heat discease, imagine that a white HUNG the size of a barley grain emerges from the HUNG in your heart center and circles throughout the upper part of your torso. It completely draws out all the sickness, just like a magnet collecting needles. Emerging from the top of your head it vanishes into space. Imagining this, draw the winds upward.
If it is a ‘coldness’ disease, imagine a red HUNG the size of a barley grain appearing from the HUNG in the heart center and circling throughout the lower part of your body. Emerging through the lower opening, imagine that it disappears into the center of the earth.
If you suffer sickness in your arms and legs such as boils or swelling, visualize a black HUNG at the location of the disease. Imagine that it gathers up the sickness and leaves through the boil or out through your fingertips.
For diseases that have not been diagnosed, imagine that a dark blue HUNG appears from the HUNG in your heart center. It gathers all the sickness throughout your body and vanishes into midair after emerging through whichever nostril the breath moves.
In general, when resting in equanimity your mind should completely become the essence of nonthought. You must cast all concerns far away and be free from doubt and hesitation about what is exorcised or visualized. The visualization and your mind should become unified. It is important to rely and concentrate upon these three points.
Here is how to dispel the hindrance of a mentality that harbors thoughts of gods and demons. When you have frequent experiences, due to the link between the structuring of your channels and the shifting of the thought flow, you will be attacked by the magical displays of so-called demonic forces and feel doubt. When thoughts of fear and dread arise, identify them quickly and bring them onto the path. If you let them run wild or fall under their power, they will become an obstacle for your practice.
Moreover, unless you put any kind of hindrance, high or low, to use as your path, it will return with developed force and become an obstacle to your practice. It is essential to use hindrances as the path.
Basically, to cross the dangerous defile of your own thinking is to bring hindrances onto the path. The experiences of evil forces and magical displays are experienced within your own mistraken mind. There are definitely no ‘gods’ or ‘demonds’ outside of yourself. The very moment you experience evil forces and magical displays, apply the vital point of understanding that they do not possess any true existence as they are devoid of arising, dwelling and ceasing. Whenenver a magical attack occurs, assume your yogi posture, keep the gaze and look into its identity. The thought then dawns as empty cognizance. As soon as your thinking turns into empty cognizance, you possess the confident courage that thoroughly cuts through fear and dead.
Even if the hordes of Mara surround you like an army, they will not be able to move one hair on your body; nor will they be able to create any obstacles. Keep the self-assurance of thinking, “I cannot be harmed by obstacles! To faintheartedly think “I wonder if I will meet with some obstacles!” merely creates a welcome for demonds.
All experiences of gods and demons are just your own conceptual thinking taking form. They do not possess even an atom of existence outside [your own mind]. Cut the stream of conceptual thinking! Offer your aggregates as a feast.