This article is the fifth of fifteen articles inspired by the central five verses of the ‘Inspiration-Prayer for Deliverance from the Dangerous Pathway of the Bardo’, in which I shall be aiming to show meditators how each one of the ten deities of the Dharmadhātu Mandala can be felt in the fields of the body as profound suprapersonal sources of somatic healing and wisdom. Those who read the whole series of articles – and it is intended that these articles should be read in sequence – will be able to incorporate these reflections into their meditation practice in a systematic way. The first article in the series can be found here; brief summaries of all the articles can be found here; you can read the previous article in the series here; and you can read the five verses here.
The Mandala of ‘Receptive’ Deities Continued
This series of articles is essentially a systematic description of the ten deities of the Dharmadhātu mandala, and in this article I shall be going one step deeper into what I have chosen to call the mandala of the five ‘receptive’ deities. This division of the ten deities into two groups – five ‘yin’, or ‘receptive’, deities, and five ‘yang’, or ‘expansive’ ones – is not a traditional formulation as far as I know, though it has several parallels in the traditional teachings. I feel very motivated to share it however, because I have found it to be such a powerful framework in my own meditation practice. It is my hope that readers will wish to experiment with meditating systematically on the somatic resonance of each of these deities as I have done. While you may wish to simply meditate on the deities as a ‘meditation cycle’, as I initially did, I hope to be able to demonstrate that these deities are best approached in pairs – since the pairs of Dharmic principles that are behind the west-east and south-north pairs of deities, represent profound spiritual oppositions that must be reconciled and integrated if we are to fully embody the energies of the Five Wisdoms.
The two-stage model that I have adopted (meditating on the ‘receptive’ Dharmic principles first, followed by the ‘expansive’ ones) correspond to the two initial stages – ‘Integration’ and ‘Positive Emotion’ – in the ‘System of Meditation Practice’ that was first proposed by Sangharakshita in the 1970s. The five deities in the first group, which we are currently investigating, are ‘receptive’ in that they are associated with ‘yin’ ,or ‘receptive’, energies in the somatic anatomy of the body, and because of this can serve to create a foundation of psychological integration in the early stages of meditation practice. They represent five key Dharmic principles, in the necessarily more introverted and self-empathetic process of our initial self-healing, and of gaining familiarity with the experience of ‘resting as’ embodied Consciousness.