Bardo – a Buddha-atom Awakes

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What is Bardo?

My understanding of this word, in the Tibetan Book of Living and Dying is:  a state of becoming:  the passage of a change upon the unchanging, as in the I Ching.  Bardos are moments of consciousness.  The dead pass through portals which are bardos, towards the full unveiling of their heart in the moment of their lifetime.  The essence of that life  – like a bubble – is extracted as consciousness, whose quality seeds a future birth.   It is considered helpful for the living to “companion” them in this process.  I believe many of us do so without realising it, in strange moments of awareness.

My favourite photo of Mount Kailas, the sacred home of Siva and Parvati.  Kailas is in Tibet, just north of the Gharwal Himalayan whence the Ganges flows.   The photo in the frame is Marisa at about five years old.

My favourite photo of Mount Kailas, the sacred home of Siva and Parvati. Kailas is in Tibet, just north of the Gharwal Himalayan whence the Ganges flows. The photo in the frame is Marisa at about five years old.  In her teens, she expressed a desire to go to Kailas, but I think this will remain for us a dream!

In this post I would like to share extracts from a Buddha awakening in my journal, early 1988.   I didn’t open it for many years, but the Sacred India Tarot archive work directed me to it.  I had planned to quote just a few images from it, to go in my previous post, SITA 8,9,10 of Pentacles;  but as usual, there is rather more to it than I thought.   Additionally – it happened over my birthday:  I had forgotten this.  

Although pruned right down, I regret it is still a long post, a small book in itself – the anatomy of an awakening – but make of it what you will.

I publish it also, to “companion” in my soul, the recent death – at nearly 94 – of my childhood hero.   I didn’t meet him in this lifetime, but he was interested in Buddhism and the Himalayas, and so this awareness is my Bardo for him, as it turns, as he passes on.   He had to keep still for an extraordinary period of time, and he lived through his death when he was young.  A fellow sun-goat, moon-crab, he was born on 15 January 1919, and passed away in his sleep on 13.12.12.   He will go into the ground for this week’s Solstice.  He was a public figure, and many consider that he “invented” at least a part of his remarkable story.  For me however, his inner life and its expression – like snow “burned off” a mountain peak – was authentic, and felt like myself. It deeply influenced my path when I was 12 years old.  

The drama, and how we manipulate our version of it is –  for us all – a question mark:  life’s carousel, a thread in the overall design;  a way of the Will.  May you pass in peace, through the veils undoing, to the weighing of the heart.   Go well.



The Honeycomb Cells of Karma

In January 1988, I did some chanting with a nichiren soshu buddhist neighbour.  I heard her in the early mornings upstairs, and at first I thought it was something in the water pipes.  I went up to see what was going on, and joined in with her.  It felt great, to make this deep voice together, to let it vibrate up my spine-stem.  It was very much needed.

bees j&d6 

I discovered through it, the Lotus sutra teachings.  I soon left the nichiren practice, whose militancy I didn’t agree with.   I had studied a little Hermetic philosophy, but not yet come upon Kabbalah/the Tree of Life.  

The vision was experiential, a “catch-up” with other lifetimes in the practice.   I was being led to awaken soul memories.  I find in it a clarity of how the mind works as a Karmic microcosm.  For me the understanding was a turning point.  Afterwards, I noticed that negative responses from life and people to me had dropped dramatically.

First, here is a gallery – a set of 12 drawings done all at once.  Afterwards I read the Buddha’s teaching on the Twelve Causes – Ignorance, Action, Consciousness, Name & Form, the Six Entrances (sense organs), Contact, Sensation, Desire, Clinging, Existence and Old age/Grief/Death/Suffering.  They fitted pretty well with my drawing sequence.  The sequence follows the natural order of any thought or incarnation. The first two were done with my eyes closed, and the rest are with my left hand.

To enter the gallery, click on the first image, and wait for it to upload.



11 January 1988 – Karma and The Honeycomb

“To draw is to travel in line an act of faith, which releases Reality.”

It is odd – and delightful – how self’s vantage can change.  Know thyself as a grouping or receptacle for that of life which flows in.  If I’m bad or frightened, I’m a room for that which is bad or frightening, and which reproduces those waves in the life cycle.  So when the bad and the fright have been seen – through analysis, insight or practice – well, that is how self moves into another receptive aggregate.  This means I am not an ego, lighthouse or mast, but a vessel for different kinds of weather.  I attract different Karmas to breed, according to the nature of my magnetic “iron-filings” (mars).  This is a glimpse of the awake consciousness factor in last week’s 12-fold causal chain of life.

Life is attracted through the phenomenon of “cosmic” desire, to those imprinted forces of Karma which require existence, sentience and voice.  There are many such different rooms in each sentient human being.  “Re-birth” is the activating of these rooms whose “iron-filings” attract the energies of light, joy and response.  This happens through the transforming of those rooms which attract the dark and the panic.  If they are not transformed, the dark clouds will stick to them and to the light, like a bat to a window.  Dark is attracted to light, it wraps and conceals it.  The light doesn’t go out.  It is hidden in the cells of the honeycomb.

So my principle is to first explore the nature of the dark, and its sensations, and teach those sensations to cease re-acting.

It is a vessel for all kinds of weather.  Weather is closely bonded to areas of the earth, in the ecological ‘society’ cycle.  To change the earth-body – to garden it differently – is to bring about a different climate in this area.  That is what is meant by Jung’s movement of the seat of self … (and Casteneda’s movement of the assemblage-point.)

Line dance 4.1.88

Line dance 4.1.88


A little more Lotus Sutra last night.  Shakyamuni Buddha is still widening his listeners’ ears, and hasn’t really started to preach yet.  But I began the chapter on the Treasure Tower.  Tao Buddha has arrived in it to listen to the sutra – Consciousess has arrived, not mere life – so I guess Shakyamuni will start talking now.  You cannot receive the Lotus sutra unless you are a conscious receptacle, wanting it.  Shakyamuni already said, Don’t make offerings to him, make them to the teachings.  So I suppose he’s prepared his ground, what next?  In the allegory of the participation of all the thousands of worlds, all the rooms of his listeners are activated, all the implanted jewels are bursting into flower.

Line dance 2

Line dance 2

Light while it reacts – as in birth-to-life or creative higgledy piggledy – is still dark.  Light which responds and allows information to rest in it, is of quite a different nature – not anxious.  … To understand more of the Law of Life, new senses – or buried senses – have to be awakened and developed.

I see a tree as a tree, but I do not know what else I see.  The forces of attraction and generation antecede birth and sentience.  Soul looks at the room;  Karma is attracted to the vessel – the eternal aggregate glimpses its depository.   I am only at theoretical level, yet just able to catch sight.   This is very wonderful.  Keep asking.”

line dance 3 - 4.1.88

line dance 3 – 4.1.88


A Lopped Tree

My room changed when the tree’s head was cut off.  A tree is a tree.
This tree’s stumps claw the sky, and new life grows within them.
The sky falls into the space which the foliage once filled.
Wait for the Spring.

Wait for the season of growth.
All answers in its due time.
To see a tree without a head
and know that in this is life, sap and shoots;

to take this into my body and see my soul rise in joy –
I know not why –
from the shadow impression of pain
is to know in that moment the Law of Life;  Cause and Effect are concurrent.

Effect is cause
and fall.

Nature opens.  Who art thou?
The shepherdess tells me
it’s not time yet.
Love not sufficiently grown from sex.

Seeker & Sheperdess

Seeker & Sheperdess


The Underbeing is perceived these days in terms of the entity looking for a way in to the dream which is Life, and the study of its causal chain or grouping.  My eternal-life is a creature who is groping and not quite awake among the doors and cubes.  It is through the slow enlightenment of this passage between lives, that I will come to find the eye into my history;  principle of faith, not intellect.  Intellect is but a cooperative muscle among many.  I am looking for a way in to the Dream which is me.  Life as known is but garlands of Dreams.  Who is it then, who wanders from shore into that land or sea, and begins to string those garlands together?  Who wanders across the darkness, lit by desire?  Desire and love is the first opening into life.  Food, then people and trees.  Loyalty.


Sacred India Tarot

Sacred India Tarot

I’m not interested in my physical environment until my inner garden begins through its tendrils, to connect to it.  I do an active meditation into my inner, that she may begin to alter the outer.

The outer is not yet housework but people, my friends.  Moira in Waitrose coffee-shop – talking about problems in the top flat.  The tenant there treats it as a warehouse and flits in and out of the barn.  The result is vermin and problems with overflowing water and decreasing house value when he’s away.

I no longer have to tell people about my faith and my journey.  The principle – its purpose is to provide a vessel for peoples’ positives to fall into;  this cheers them up.  Happiness (relative) is expression – the time of day, the imprint of their own moment of integrity, their smile across the table, they move on this.

They illuminate mine too.  Listen to the world, and the trans-forming goes on.  Elicit strength, not catastrophe.  I do not reject another’s catastrophe, but I seek it less.
(However, I have not quite learnt to talk to my daughter about her father in broad and non-catastrophic terms.  The pain still billows and makes me tense.)

To wish other people happiness, health and connection isn’t much good while there are shadows in my Karma.  These shadows might transfer to them and give them a difficult time towards happiness and straightness.  Physic, heal thyself!


Drawer 1987

Open room, open door, open drawer for good Karma and Life Law to manifest, open this drawer in my middle, let it resonate and catch the growing things, that is how it Does.

Ask the Law of Life for a little clarification as to this honeycomb room, the cells of Karma, and the process of activating some and not others.   The Law of Life embodies all the laws of dark and light.   It unifies them, so that the dark laws, the negative being an intrinsic part of the high-relief landscape, are transformed, converted, activated to the overall cause.  They become recognised differently.

I do not understand these dark laws very well, except that they are there.  The choice following analysis is to transform them so they are not re-active, but responsive to the over-all.  A hypnotic incantation takes root.   Law of Life, why not?   Invest strength in this.

It is true, that as my father says, life doesn’t want Consciousness.  They collide at a right-angle.  Consciousness wants to sing the law of life.  Life wants to stop – is aware of time – and write about it, or do things.  Life’s ways on top, are very strong.  Life finds Consciousness a bit boring – needs to get on with conditioned-responses across the dark voids, and holding the fabric of green reality together.   But life gradually incorporates BITS of Consciousness … not overnight.

Consciousness to receive the Lotus into Life.  The teaching of the Lotus is the spreading of a great wide space or stillness in the mind;  something comes in which is not grasped by the mind.  Intellect-chatter flourishes – I am not silent – but under it, these things have room to happen.

Room for thee, thou vast flower.  Buddha nature arrives unseen, and makes the garden.


Law of Life 2 with dharma wheel

January 14 1988 – Age 39 today.

Slight nadir state, because of failure-to-communicate-to-life.   Marion Milner rang up very early, and said she felt we had not managed to exchange something yesterday which was of importance to me in my drawings …

(I imploded at that point.  I had just visited and met for the first time, my mentor Marion Milner then in her 90s, whose books on exploring the inner fact, guided and helped me.  When she invited me to tea, I was overwhelmed by her creativity and bold ways with scissors and paste, to cut up all her hundreds of drawings and paintings, her children, and make them into new pictures.  It was a Karmic shock, and I felt very insecure.  And she was too old to take my wares and needs on board.   She was trying to tidy up “before she pops orff.”)

Solstice Ring-a-Rosies

Solstice Ring-a-Rosies


I had a problem in the prayer for the dead.  I don’t know many dead people:  Mam, Auntie Appelonia, the Adamses, Mrs Higgins – all of a ripe old age and ready … to what purpose?  And persons in accident or war.  I was told that great benefit comes from influencing the latency of dead souls.

So I prayed and chanted for those I have loved in previous lives, who died – whoever they may be.

Yesterday the feeling began to come – of looking down into this dark, pregnant, cared-for ocean of the Dead.

Today I have it.  The need is to pray for a lost, dead and much-loved child of mine – to give him life, strength and good Karma.   Marion gave me this prayer-bead.   Marion’s litter of paintings and collages are her children, piled all over the house like autumn leaves.

Grief 18.1.88

Grief 18.1.88

I dreamed I took two shopping trolleys to Father Alan Cheales’s mass for the children.  One of these contained Christianity.  The other contained Buddhism.  Alan’s mass or mess was a scatter of people.  I sat down.  There was a woman with white hair, who I thought was Mrs Higgins, knowing she was dead, but then I saw she was someone else.  F. Alan comes to supper next week.  Was this place in my dream the place of the dead?   Who is Miss Tree?  MISTER E?  Mystery!

… My birthday.  7.30pm nearly, that is when my soul Karma is born.  Out to tea with Tara, very drunk, chanted with her, she’s got a sun on her butsudan, grapefruit surrounded by oranges.  Only he who sees takes off his shoes, the rest sit around and pick blackberries –  (Jesuit in 1976). Saw Eduardo the shrink outside coffee-shop in West End Lane, made hi kiss my birthday – sweet swine, so interested in The Creative Process … Tara said maybe I should tell Eduardo to get himself some therapy.

Malo Malo, my sweet astral child from between the stars, THOU ART DOING!  and consciousness is buddha nature coming unseen to read hear the Sutra.

Well I don’t think I shall try to read the Sutra just yet.

My mother rang.


Incarnations - cosmic fishes

Incarnations – cosmic fishes

There are many, many worlds and lives everywhere all round, like all those shreds and floats of sketches I saw yesterday at Marion Milner’s.  Like leaves in a pool – like an explosion.

There is also the Goodness! A Tishoo! feeling of an enormous uplifting current which displaces moments of time, so there is a sensuously perceived space between and around each tick of the clock, and space around each word.  This is, I believe, the body’s primitive perception of when the conditioned world fragments for a few seconds – it blasts apart – into an intimation of Reality below it.  Each tick of time is a planet or world, and stops.   This sensation came at moments, over the years.

I think now it is something to do with the 3,000 worlds in a moment’s coexistence, the mutually interwoven Stories of Life.

There’s a bed with a dark man with a hat looking down on it.  I can’t sleep tonight because my top-mind is busy throwing out wine – Tara poured me two huge glasses – and with the setting of the Lotus Sutra Law, and the ever expanding Ganges sands of bodhisattvas.  Nearly to chapter 16 – the actual teaching.


the Law

15 January 1988

I read it.  The Law of Life in chapter 16 – the Life of the Tathagata – is this:  it is not told.  It is the activated Cause for its implantation in the listener:  single mindedly yearning to see Buddha … (in the 12-fold causal chain.)  It is DESIRE – the nature of all Nature being pulled in unison to the vessel of its fulfillment.  This process is awakened within the voice, within the body.

Shakyamuni Buddha’s device is to reveal the impossibility of calculating the time of his own beginning as Buddha.  A Kalpa is the out and in breath of the Tathagatha – from big bang to reabsorbtion.  Inconceivable aeons, billions of kalpa groups, are ground to single particles of dust, which are then dropped one by one at temporally incomprehensible intervals into eternity, to pave the path of history.

This infinite revelation seems to have an effect on sentient cells – to cause them to recognise their own participation in the otherwise indescribable Law of Life.  It causes goodess in the way the river flows, and wisdom, gentleness and reverence in human beings, towards their fellows in life, in the animal and in the awakened kingdoms.

First he shook the earth, and all those ancient and uncountable legions of bodisattvas sprang out of it.  How, if he’d been enlightened for just forty years, did these infinite multitudes emanate from him, how were they led by him?   This he then revealed.

I don’t know why Inifinity activates goodness.  It just does:  awe and reverence and most importantly, faith in the food of being alive.

To glimpse this only starts the change.  It isn’t enlightenment itself.  Enlightenment is when these things become second nature in the vessel, and are apparent to others.  When they are not apparent, they are not yet.  The intellectual activity is not of these.  Not coercion, but obeisance to the slow Law of growth and fruit.

Life is made of laws on top of laws which are not what they seem:  the pregnant void.  But this concept is an intellectualism.  It is not something which I know.  It is a nature which acts on me.  I still conceptualize it, I the bird in its lap.   Last night when I nearly managed to sleep, I found the inner voice of its own accord recited bits of the Lotus Sutra chant by heart.  My life-state doesn’t know any of it by heart yet – hasn’t the nerve.

In Buddha’s parable of the good physician, he uses his own death or Nirvana as an expedient to inspire healing through grief and loss.  If my loved-one had come last year, I don’t think I would have valued him nearly as much as I valued him because he was absent.  It pushed me to grow.

Snowdrops, fox and owl_2


Latency feel today – tired and lazy.  Began to doze – I am in fall – I became again some long slender stem on a cliff, a stem growing at both ends at a tremendous rate both up and down – root and shoot – heaven and earth, strange purity;  and a fat flower somewhere near.  Also a bit of A Tishoo.  A Tishoo is stop the world.  Then mind gets busy again with its usual phenomena.

Three “Draws”:

The crumbs of the universe its extinction will dissolve ...

The crumbs of the universe its extinction will dissolve …

Crumbs of the Universe.  The baby bird mouth is life.  In the lap, space becomes I which cannot see.  No eyes anywhere – don’t want to draw.  Mind underneath, is the moon and three stars – the Sun to the left:  a most extraordinary energy, apparently without beginning.   Void are the fragments, the crumbs which come to the bird.  Each crumb is an existence, experience of I-world.

Death's bed

Next:  the bed and the dark stranger – a Chinaman I think, because of his hat – beside it.  The bed is a four poster and looks like it is walking.  Curtain and three different symbols, one on top of each post – circle, corinthian and triangle.  This one is about Death.

Sunflower above below

Next:  the long stem with flower growing at both ends, roots in the middle, on top of Karma cliff.  Misty sea and boat, different wave patterns, further down they are wider.  Fragments of what? in the air.  A dark eye-pull flower-explode, bottom left corner.  Life AND death I suppose.  There’s a person curled up in Karma cliff and a sort of volcanic uprush.  Stop-world.


Alchemy is “grind, sift and mix.”  To grind is to reduce the herbs to insubstantiality.  To sift is to separate and differentiate.  To mix together is the integrating of the first two stages, and thus the Great Middle Way.

Apple is Fruit of knowledge, or love without any core.  Star is infinity, and an owl is wisdom and watch-it.  Oh yes, and “Lovers Knot” – see 12-fold Cause drawings, the one called “Birth”) – is “Lovers Not”, because they are choosing Consciousness, not just the life cycle.  Oh dear, does this mean my sex life really and truly has come to an end?

… Sacrifices to the gods in Homer’s Iliad – I love to read of the sheeps thighs wrapped in fat and burnt, the lovely savour – are feasts which the celebrants share with the gods and enjoy the food.  So when they are burning a good fragrance to Apollo and Athena, they activate their own good cells and life-channels, as the community eats, so as to attract the life-currents.  Cause is alignment of sensation.

Ros Bieber came with a birthday card of a drunken Elephant and a book of Chinese short stories, and threw me into confusion with the Freudian view …  … I am writing to my song, my soul, my afterlife, my between-life, all this community of the hidden history … the rhythms of my life within their (your) great dark dwelling, my Malo-child (astral-creative shadow) was born alive.

soul berthing - 6.1.88

soul berthing – 6.1.88


Loyalty to life and to a shared reality, comes out from somewhere between the worlds.  When I glimpse something of what lies between worlds – as for instance when I am depressed, disconnected and non-functioning, like yesterday – it makes this planet a little more dear to me.  Welcome home:  unity of spirit embodied.  As do glimpses of eternity.  This is how one becomes a buddhist and learns to value life, no longer wishing to quarrel.  Life is the leaves of the Underbeing, and welcomes me back.  I can’t see why people should disagree if they have the faith which grows on this tree.

Break Ice – 17 January 1988

It seems that hands start to touch which were implanted in last fall’s drawings.  Things join, as coats of Karma are shed.  To share is life;  not to share is death, enclosed by destiny’s garment.  My drawing for Ros last night, started last night as a don’t-know, and isn’t turning out as expected.  I didn’t have a plan, except not to use my private code symbols in it.

Hades and Chinaman

Hades and Chinaman

It is about breaking the ice and thus a shared reality.  The Chinaman is in it, as a wisdom-man or death.  Death as advisor has a shepherd’s crook.  One part of his coat is dark with the grain of the river or sands, and the other part is Light, this opening.  The drawing is branched by left and right hands touching across it.  The left, as if out of ice or through broken glass, has a consciousness-kraken in it – a deformed man or blind baby gropes up through the glass case to release.  The right has a person in it, and is a lifting force.  The Chinaman death-life is the transformer;  our connection.  To the left is a bird with lifted wings, and the sun.   Ros has a lot of heavy Karma and repetitive-strain injury, so I don’t know what she will see in it;  but her own home begins to implant peace and her victory.

A time comes when I activate my darker suffering-world or container, in order to transform it – when the light-principle is strong.   The important thing this weekend is to touch and share with others, to leave go my foot-holds, knowing at last they are there, and will receive me again.  My helpers gave me life.  So does death.

Break ice.  In a Chinese story, the water under ice is Yin or the feminine unconscious, and the world above ice is Yang, or male conscious.  I found this later, after beginning the drawing for Ros, and thinking it was about glass.  So … I’ll stick a few bits of newsprint on it for a change…   Breaking glass or window is a desire for life through the pane.

Tenancy  – 21 January 1988

I dreamed I was moving back into the flat in Greencroft Gardens where Marisa was born.  The neighbouring flat was neglected and needed care and occupancy – the thrill of new space and how to live in it.  I’m a tenant of a block of flats.  Am I a tenant of someone’s body?   How large rooms are when they are empty.  This one was enlarged or widened since I was last here.  The previous tenant left something on the stove – a large wide container with a little jar inside it, containing an inch of something that looks like bovril or date syrup.  The flame is on underneath:  I turn it off.  Gas taps.  A door behind, leads into a whole extension or scullery of the kitchen;  in this room is what used to be, in my dreams, the sealed room.  It is now sealed no more.  The wall’s been knocked down.   But it isn’t liveable in;  it is full of useless structure, like old airing cupboards or a water tank, and there are clusters of timber-and-wattle along the walls, raw substance within plaster, like nerve or muscle groups – or the multiple wiring clusters inside an airplane’s cockpit.  They are all disused.  The roof over it is naked;  no ceiling.  I see gaps in the tiles, the rain will come through.  There’s no room for life in this part which used to be sealed.  All it gives is space for cosmic lumber.  Am I to be responsible for the roof?    How can Marisa and myself fit in here?   Indignation, I want to hold on to my home with four rooms, the present one!

Later on, I was asked by a buddhist woman with long hair and a big nose, to participate in and commit myself in some Activity (communal).  “No, no!” I wailed, rather hysterical.  “I’ve got to get where I live sorted out first!”  Where do I belong?   Panicking, no money.

Karma-frame:  am I going into a confined mess again?  But to dream about occupying new or occupied flats, is the self-knowledge of Karma entering life-form – the reactive containers of life – and not knowing if I shall fit into this body which has been vacated for me;  trying to plan my occupancy, knowing I’ve come down on the scale, nostalgic for what I’ve left.   For I am hovering in the realm of the causal chain of existence, hovering over the many boxes of life, wondering which one is me.  Settling gradually like an insect, looking for the scent of sweet.

At source-point are Karmic responsibilities.  If the pattern is recognised and responded to here, upstream (like from higher up the hill), it does not merely react to the “flats”.  It changes them.  No longer am I a victim in destiny, but a rowing partner (boat).  To affect these energies at source, is to affect them NOW;  so they do not need or have cause to proliferate their repetitive dismay in terms of body-life and the wings and falls of fortune.

All phenomena of life and consciousness being inter-related, each moment or problem/position is a potential birth of my soul.

Buddha and Osmosis

Buddha and Osmosis

The soul is that which awakens within the nerve-structure of Karma, and recognises the continuity of this sentence to Earth.  The soul cherishes the vessels of life as they rise to perception, recognising how these are imprinted by the dark and light of consciousness.

I have no wish to persuade people to become buddhists.  Whatever they recognise and awake, is sufficient to them.

What is my need today?  To pray to Jesus.  Jesus is what was given of God to humanity – (and damaged.)  To pray to and within the Law of Life is an incredible blessing, but it appears to me just now, as so vast and “inhuman” a concept, like a wilderness of aeons, I begin to see what it implies, and would like a friendly human-form god to relate to, to praise, thank and confide my fears.


Alan Cheales O.P. 1985

Father Alan’s Visit

Father Alan came last night.

We chatted a lot but not “much”, because he’s not on my wavelength with the new drawings, he doesn’t like them.   But he called me “single-minded” and himself a priest who cannot be “single-minded”, much as he’d like to, because he’s got all these duties in life.  However, we “saw” each other and exchanged something.  We are fond of each other, and Alan isn’t a proselytizer.  I did eventually inform him that I was practicing Buddhism, and he said I’d chosen a good moment for my announcement, because this week is the Church’s Ecumenical week, and how does Buddhism relate to Christianity?  I said for me it developed from it and is the same thing – Buddha even told the same parables – because wherever in history people awake, it is to the same bedrock truth.    I said I found my faith easier to practice on a day-long basis in Buddhism than in Christianity, because in Christianity there is a feeling of remoteness or separateness, even with him, Alan, getting us all to join in.

Alan knows a little about Hermetic philosophy.  He says he knows nothing, but I suspect he knows more than I do.  He said the Hermetic writings discovered in AD 400 were absolutely authenticated.  I’ve always thought of Alan as a scholar, but he does have to spread his mind over a lot of people.  He is still enjoying Speakers Corner, said he might use a thing or two I’d said when he’s there next week.  I said I learn from everyone I meet.  We had a super bolognese which I cooked, Alan said it was the best he’d ever tasted.  He went up to see Marisa, who was rather busy. He told me again he saw Mr V (her father) outside his house cleaning his car, and Mr V stared at him.  Alan dislikes Mr V because he “lives on an island” and Alan has no room for his brilliant mind, he sees Mr V as destructive, marooned and a manufacturer of grief, and he has no time for people who waste their lives in this way.

Alan has forgotten that he himself received me into the church.  “Did I instruct you?”  Being received (just before Marisa’s birth) I said, was being received into the family, and a very wonderful thing for me.     I meant – being received into Life.  That is what it was – life and my baby girl.  Catholicism awakened in due course my depth reality.  It is still a “father”!  Hello, Alan Cheales.

He says in his sermons, no amount of darkness can put out a candle.  To begin with, we discussed manic depression and homosexuality a lot, because Alan had been watching TV, and has a gay nephew.  “Hermetic” later, made Alan talk about the Gnostics, and a programme about them which covered too much ground to be more than superficial – the media can barely outline the matter – but was interesting.  We ended the evening by agreeing that many atheists have more faith than believers, because it is faith in oneself, in life, which is the fundamental principle “and too many catholics,” said Alan “don’t put life into their faith.”

A religious habit or security doesn’t “cross the gap”.  God’s house is often full of empty routines.   Christianity is really an enormous challenge;  Buddhism practices within the gap.  My faith needed a lot of strong branches to hold.  Alan recommended Monica Furlong on Thomas Merton for me to read, “but Thomas Merton is more of an Ascetic than you are!”

The Sermon on the Mount was the Buddha’s cause-and-effect Law of Life.

Priest and Oak 2000


23 January 1988I Hear The Buddha Sound

Dreams are active vacuum-beds or “tea-cups”.  They attract questions, energies, and whatever strata of life is of key interest at the moment.  It depends on the eye which sees and lets them exist.  I dreamt I was returning to my house, and found to my great annoyance, that the builders had been and lowered the level of the outside stairway so that to walk under it to the alleyways you had to crouch.  I moved aside the zig zag screens around their work, and went into the changed space.  I hated it.  I couldn’t move or walk properly.  The enclosure was menacing, difficult and claustrophobic, like the passages I have to crawl through to be born – even though it was only a couple of yards, with daylight at both ends.  My centre of gravity was disarrayed and immobilized.  I didn’t progress, but complained – like Alice when she grew too tall.

(I was stuck at birth – deep transverse arrest.)

born to be free - lotus root

born to be free – lotus root

I suppose this is how soul feels when it gets into a body, are there going to be forceps next?   What a drag!   Perhaps … the work of alignment – easing into the new shape I must spread into.

Climbing out - second birth

Climbing out – second birth

The value, I think, of relating to Karma at its “source” or historic point, rather than to its present-day life-event form of repetition, is that it gives it energy and sentience at an earlier level.  Thus it doesn’t need to feel itself by repeating its difficulties in the present day phenomena.  To let them resonate in the subtle-creative spectrum, catalyzes them there in consciousness.  They don’t then have to reverberate into obstacles or horrible anxiety-creating problems now.   My studies help me to remove anxieties from my daily life, by allowing them to express and map themselves further back – at a sort of source-point.

When the knot is seen and interpreted from my true level of Reality, it doesn’t have to reflect into my life situation.  It is allowed growth and change, at the root.

In the dream about L’s wife with black curly hair, there is a feel of space having been cleared, as on a windy day – in relation to him, as to everyone else.  My bad Karma always expressed itself in terms of jealousy, isolation and the discomfort of ego’s performances.  Ego-problem there is in the dream, but not jealousy.  Not any more.  The freedom is implied, to move around and be real.

Splendid dream, at some time before or after these … which I cannot describe, as it was in another level altogether, but was in terms of being the actual Law of Life in the line-movement and shade of a drawing.  As I half woke, I heard a most extraordinary and wonderful note or cosmic tone, of the Universal Eternity.  It was outside time.  It rested and passed and faded like the long-resonating song of a bell.

This turned out to be a passing lorry – every sound in all the worlds is the primordial atomic OM, and liberates for ever.

Another vehicle or two gave a remnant of this Voice, as did long tides of bliss in my being-body, but I was rapidly surfacing, so it was for an unending moment only.  How good.  Surely I will find it for ever.


Sacred India Tarot - Siva tests Parvati with a Mask

Sacred India Tarot:  Siva tests Parvati with a mask.  They are very near Kailas.



In the Buddha teaching, no individual awakes, becomes enlightened, dies or is reborn.  The event occurs through a confluence of “aggregates” – clusters of Karmic potential – which flower.  The event is one of many, and it happens all the time as Life – but we mostly don’t notice it.

The “I” for working purposes, is the tendency of life to become coherent – an apparent individual –  and to adopt congenial memories as its own.   Sometimes the memory thread stretches back in vivid recall through many a birth, identifying with many a period in history.  The Buddha is said to have recalled all the aeons of Consciousness since the big bang kalpa and inconceivable aeons before … as NOW.   But it is still a creation of the mind.   Whose mind?

A Buddha-nature enlightenment is a subatomic interaction – a disintegration in an energy-field whence several new particles – the sacrament released – are born.

It is sacred. Every expansion of Consciousness is the sacrament.

I thought at the time I was enlightened, but of course “I” wasn’t!  The particles are still approaching mutual harmony.  

What I call the God-cosm, prevails.   The enlightenment itself is a constant.  It is Reality.




My adventure invites fellow travellers.  I am a poet, an artist and a seer.  I welcome conversation among the PHILO SOFIA, the lovers of wisdom.

This blog is  a vehicle to promote also my published work – The Sacred India Tarot (with Rohit Arya, Yogi Impressions Books) and The Dreamer in the Dream – a collection of short stories (0 Books). Watch this space.

All art and creative writing in this blog is copyright © Janeadamsart 2012. May not be used for commercial purposes. May be used and shared for non-commercial means with credit to Jane Adams and a link to the web address


Sacred India Tarot Archive: 8,9,10 of Pentacles – Buddha’s Teaching & Mahanirvana

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Continuing the series following the creative process of The Sacred India Tarot Archive by Rohit Arya and Jane Adams –

water falls in arizona


Rohit’s Notes 2003 on SITA 8 of Disks – the Angulimala episode.  

“… A forest path with the calm and smiling upright Buddha being threatened by a wild looking bandit who is wearing a garland of human fingers.  He brandishes a sword, and he wants Buddha’s finger to complete his collection. Angulimala is physically exhausted from chasing after the Buddha and somehow never managing to catch up with him.  Buddha converts him and even leads him to enlightenment, but that lies some time after our scene!

“… We would like to see the Buddha as he is always shown, the long sari like robe he is depicted in. Angulimala –  the finger necklace he wears round his neck, is core; and a sort of wild desperation, a recklessness that only comes upon those who were once good and respectable. The two figures are likely to take up all the space, so compositionally I don’t think we can squeeze in any background details. The entire drama plays out in a forest….”


Jane’s Notes – Angulimala was an unhinged sadhu who collected the fingers of celebrated sages and wore them in a mala around his neck.   Naturally he sought the ultimate trophy.  The Buddha however, smiling like the Mona Lisa, contrived to walk always just ahead of the violent sadhu’s effort and out of reach.

We have a saying here:  “to walk just one mile an hour quicker than the incoming tide, is to be in the world but not of it;  to carry the Great Work;  to remain awake.”

When Angulimala’s consumerist greed for enlightenment was all played out, he surrendered and became a devotee of the Great Middle Way.   This story is a vivid example of the accelerated Karmas in the vicinity of a Perfected One.  The noble Buddha Nature is Tathagatha of the cosmic aeons.   No “individual” dream can grasp this, until it starts to dissolve into Individuation of the Whole.

Sacred India Tarot - the story of Buddha and Angulimala

Sacred India Tarot – the story of Buddha and Angulimala


Correspondence:  Rohit to Gautam Sachdeva, 2003

“The Eight card should have been a very difficult card to draw, but Jane has solved all compositional problems by completely eliminating all background clutter, and just keeping the two principals before us.  The contrast between the man of violence lost in his rage, and the calm of the One who is Awake, is remarkable.

“The turban by the way, is very accurate for the time period.  I especially love the touch of the orange robe that Angulimala is wearing, presaging his conversion and salvation as a monk.

“I said it before, and I will say it again, I am not going to get between Jane and her stream of inspiration with the clutter of irrelevant instruction. She is doing a great job with what I am telling her, and this pack is going to be an all time classic, not just in Tarot, but also in the field of Indian mythology.”

Visual reference for the teaching of "Sangha"

A visual reference for the teaching of “Sangha” – also for the original conception of Knight of Disks, a picture of Boddhisattva, the Buddha in the Making.  However, Rohit later substituted the Face of Glory, Indian mythology’s Green Man, for Knight of Disks.  The Green Man accorded better with Buddha’s temperament, well earthed in the nature kingdom.  See the next post, in this series.


Correspondence:  Jane to Gautam – May 2003 

“Dear Gautam, we just seen Nikki (Gautam’s sister) for tea, and thank you very much for the beautiful copper Sri Chakra in its protective case, and the leaflet with it.  For me this is a most serendipitous gift, connecting directly with some work I’ve been doing.  I am very touched.  Nikki told me also how these Sri Chakras are “charged”, and gave us news of Yogi Impressions’ spiritual portal.  Thank you also for the bank draft of 100 …

“I have done two more pentacles, and will try to send them to you tomorrow, or at least over the weekend.  I am pleased with them. 

“The four court cards will soon be done.  Please send illustrations and notes for the next Suit as soon as you can.  God willing, the minor arcana will be complete at the end of this year.  With warm regards to yourself and Rohit, and to your mother – Jane.”

Copper Sri Yantra Chakra.  An auspicious gift, as its energy field is particularly earthing or the cosmic lattice.  Copper is the non-resistant metal of Venus and of electricity.

Copper Sri Yantra Chakra. An auspicious gift, as its energy field is particularly earthing of the cosmic lattice. Copper is the non-resistant metal of Venus and of electricity.   It is another version of the Wheel which symbolizes the Buddha’s noble teaching.



Suit of Pentacles/Disks: Creating Card 9 – Sangha and the Flower Sermon

Wildflower at Nether Stowey

Wildflower in my mother’s garden at Nether Stowey

The story of the Buddha’s Flower sermon is well known.  Here are Rohit’s Notes for Card Nine: 

“Nine – the silent transmission to Kashyapa of Zen, and the firm foundation of the Sangha. The Buddha is on the left of the card, a body of monks facing him, with one particularly intelligent face being Kashyapa.  He smiles, as he has just understood Buddha’s transmission of Zen by holding up a single flower in his right hand.”

snowdrop buddha


And here is the card:

The Sacred India Tarot - the Sermon of the Flower

The Sacred India Tarot – the Sermon of the Flower

Jane’s Notes: – Sangha is “the community of the wise.”  Rohit and Gautam asked me to put Ramesh Balsekar’s features on “Kashyapa who had the understanding”.  They both knew Ramesh well, and admired his teaching.  The object was for The Sacred India Tarot to touch upon and honour the teaching in all its forms, in the universal field.   As it is not a good portrait of Ramesh, I include here, two of my drawings of him in bhakti mode:  his Buddha nature.


Ramesh Balsekar, bhakti

Ramesh Balsekar, bhakti

Ramesh used to say that there is no Guru, until a devotee recognises him as such.  The Guru – dispeller of darkness – is created in a special spark of recognition:  the understanding, which passes between the two.  Wisdom is in dialogue:  wisdom is the relationship.


Ramesh at Rest

Ramesh at Rest

I remember when I drew this one, that Ramesh’s facial features flowered like a mandala.  The penciled lines and folds below his eyes, radiate as rivers and the ripples do.



Suit of Pentacles/Disks:  Creating Card Ten – the Buddha’s Maha-Nirvana

Rohit’s Notes in 2003: – “The Great Nirvana.  The texts mention again and again that the Buddha lay on his right side like a lion, and taught his disciples before breathing his last.  A somewhat crowded composition, as all his monks were crowding around him.  The picture is a stylistic rendering of the great moment.”

Disks buddha 10, ref


Sacred India Tarot - Buddha's Maha-Nirvana

Sacred India Tarot – Buddha’s Maha-Nirvana

This was in some ways, my favourite of the suit.  Drawing this, brought me a feeling of great serenity.  I understood that the troublous “10” of each Suit, is in fact its full manifestation during a moment of transition:  the transformation we often dread.  Transformation is the movement of eternal Life.

Transformation is BARDO in the Tibetan book of the dead.

Sacred India Tarot 10 of Arrows

For a quick preview on this topic, the SITA Ten of Arrows/Swords – sometimes considered the most destructive of the deck – shows the dying Bhishma transmitting the Laws of wise Kingship to his heir, Yudhishtara.  He achieves his true Dharma at last.   It is a point of change.  The whole of his chakra spine, pierced by ten arrows as he lies dying in his BARDO, awakes.

Wisdom is a conversation, never a monolog.

This story is from the Mahabharath.


Correspondence: Rohit to Gautam – July 2003

“Feedback for Jane on Pentacles last cards … I really have nothing much to add about any of the cards as they are exactly what we need for the packs.  They are excellent work in no uncertain terms.  The Nine card may need to be flipped transversally, so that the Buddha is handing over the flower with his right hand instead of the left one, as that is regarded as culturally suspect.  But the composition itself is perfect, and any imaging system on any computer can easily do what we requre, so there is no problem there.”

(Jane: I seem to have managed to change his hands with the flower, myself.  I don’t recall doing this.)

“In the Ten card, I particularly like the addition of the turbaned man, as the death of the Buddha was a great loss to the common people as well as the monastic community too.  The serene withdrawal on the face, is remarkable.” 


Tree tao


Thus far, the creative process of those three Pentacles.

Wisdom is a conversation, as revealed in cards 9 and 10.  Awakened conversation is pragmatic and down-to-earth, never a mere “blissing out”.   Awakening participates in the universal Transmission … which never began, never ends, and is all ways.

In my next post after this one, I would like to share extracts from a Buddha awakening in my journal, early 1988.  There are sometimes glimpses into the transpersonal.   I had planned to attach it to 8,9,10 of Pentacles, but there is more of it than I thought, and even after editing and pruning, it is a bit long.

Here is something from it, experientially, which stays in my memory:

The Cosmic Note, February 1988  … a feel of space having been cleared as on a windy day, in relation to him as to everyone else.  My bad Karma has always expressed itself in terms of jealousy, isolation and the discomfort of ego’s performances.  Ego there is, but not jealousy.  The freedom is implied, to move around and be real. 

Splendid dream … which I cannot describe, as it was in another level altogether, but was in terms of being the actual Law of Life in the line-movement and shade of a drawing.  As I half woke, I heard a most extraordinary and wonderful note or cosmic tone, of the Universal Eternity.  It was outside time.  It rested and passed and faded like the long-resonating song of a bell.  

This turned out to be a passing lorry – every sound in all the worlds is the primordial atomic OM, and liberates for ever.  

Another vehicle or two gave a remnant of this imprint, or Voice, as did long tides of bliss in my being-body, but I was rapidly surfacing, so it was for an unending moment only.  How good.  Surely I will find it for ever.


Do readers sometimes hear music of this kind, in their dreams?  Is this a common occurrence?  Please comment below, if you have.   The music or tonal integrity seems to arrive fully formed, from a spectrum far beyond my capacity.

21 musical j&d6..



For other Sacred India Tarot posts, look under Recent Posts, or Archive of All Posts in the title bar.

Rohit Arya

Rohit Arya is an Author, Yogi and Polymath. He has written the first book on Vaastu to be published in the West, {translated into five languages} the first book on tarot to be published in India, co-authored a book on fire sacrifice, and is the creator of The Sacred India Tarot {82 card deck and book}. He has also written A Gathering of Gods. He is  a corporate trainer, a mythologist and vibrant speaker as well as an arts critic and cultural commentator. Rohit is also a Lineage Master in the Eight Spiritual Breaths system of Yoga. 

Earlier posts about the deck, including the first 15 Major Arcana archives are in   The deck is copyrighted (c) 2011 to the publishers, Yogi Impressions Books pvt, and available also on Amazon and internationally.


Jane Adams

My adventure invites fellow travellers.  I am a poet, an artist and a seer.  I welcome conversation among the PHILO SOFIA, the lovers of wisdom.

This blog is  a vehicle to promote also my published work – The Sacred India Tarot (with Rohit Arya, Yogi Impressions Books) and The Dreamer in the Dream – a collection of short stories (0 Books). Watch this space.

All art and creative writing in this blog is copyright © Janeadamsart 2012. May not be used for commercial purposes. May be used and shared for non-commercial means with credit to Jane Adams and a link to the web address