In days past, every alchemist searched for the philosopher’s stone, the “touchstone” or catalyst for transmuting metals … vibration, danging our consciousness and repositioning us in the direction of the golden light of spiritual transformation. The great being, the true Guru, is a philosopher’s Stone.
The Philosopher’s Stone may, on one level of resonance, be the complete integration of these two centers of consciousness into a single whole—brain/mind and heart—the human and Divine as one. In the Gnostic Gospel of Thomas, Jesus says, “When you make the two one, and you make the inner as the outer and the outer as the inner and the above as the below … then shall you enter the Kingdom.”
When the mind, or our Prodigal Self, turns toward the heart in appreciation—in recognition, for there can be no real appreciation without recognition—the conscious activity of bless-ing can begin. We could say that the Moon at last reflects what the Sun has always offered. Within us, the Heart/Sun feels the return of its love and is filled with joy, enlivened, nourished. Instantly it shines back, and the mind is illumined. When the flow is not interrupted, this continues ceaselessly, in an ever-increasing looping intensity, until there is no more separation between call and answer, between love given and love received. All is one. It is Conjunction, and the formation of the Philosopher’s Stone, the marriage of Heaven and Earth. Within the individual, it is coming into true wholeness. In an interior alchemy, our leaden, fragmented self is transmuted into gold, its true nature and highest expression. Whether we then are immortal, as the alchemists predicted, is a mystery beyond my knowing. But in the Gospel of Thomas, Jesus did say, “Whoever finds the explanation of these words will not taste death”
The arousing of bodhicitta is a conversion experience, an awakening—the aspiration for enlightenment for the sake of all life. It is a spiritual catalyst for total personal transfor-mation and is thus said to turn one’s life upside down. Like the philosopher’s stone, that substance believed by alche-mists to have the capacity to transform base metals into gold, bodhicitta transforms the base metal of our human karma of defiled thought into the pure gold of perfect wisdom. Govinda explains that bodhicitta “converts all the elements of consciousness into means or tools of Enlightenment” and says this transformation occurs when we first become conscious of our capacity for enlightenment. He writes, “He who has found the Philosopher’s Stone, the radiant jewel (matzi) of the enlightened mind (bodhi-citta) within his own heart, transforms his mortal consciousness into that of immortality, perceives the infinite in the finite and turns Sarlisdra into Nirvdna.”
A WORLD-ENGULFING CONFLAGRATION
Bhikshu Sangharakshita, a Buddhist priest and scholar, speaks of bodhicitta as a profound spiritual experience that reorients a devotee’s complete existence, being and nature. He writes:
[The] attainment of Supreme Buddhahood apart, the Rising of the Thought of Enlightenment… is the most important event that can occur in the life of a human being. As by the discovery of a priceless jewel a poor man becomes immensely rich, so with the Rising of the Thought of Enlightenment the devotee is transformed into a Bodhisattva….’
We set aside the thoughts and involvement with the external world and we go into the essence of ourselves and we touch that light which is present. This is the core of spiritual training, the core of meditation. It is the ability — as an act of attention — to separate our attention from the external expression of the entanglement of our senses, which are a subtle expression of our mind, our desires and our conditioning, and touch the Great Light. We raise the Bodhicitta, the enlightened mind.
We’ve also discussed that the enlightened mind, the Bodhicitta, assembles with great force at the crown of the head. At the crown of the head it turns into the White Bodhicitta. This is the place where the atmosphere of the enlightened mind and the individual mind form what is spoken of as a drop of pure consciousness. It is where the ocean of consciousness churns and becomes the individual person. In the human being, life infuses into the body at the crown of the head. It is also the doorway of the exit of life out of the body. It’s very important to understand that, as it is the most auspicious gate of exit.
The red energies are stored in the lower spine in the region of the navel, the seat of the fire element, the force of the Creation. One of the aspects of the meditation called Raising Bodhicitta is the arousal of the Bodhicitta at the crown of the head – the White Bodhicitta at the crown of the head and the Red Bodhicitta at the navel and causing the White Bodhicitta to drop down to the crown of the head, down through the center of the brain, along the track of the sushumna and into the heart where it is held. At the same time arouse the energy of the MahaKundalini, which exists in the form of the coiled serpent in the position at the base of the spine beneath the root chakra. The birth of the Kundalini gives the presence of what is called the tigle, the fire of life, the fire of the Creation that is stored at the navel.
One of the most mystical aspects of the Bodhicitta is the ability to isolate with one’s attention the White Bodhicitta and cause it to move from its seat at the crown of the head down into the seat of the heart. At the same time giving rise to the Red Bodhicitta, raising it up, causing it to join at the heart region. This can be done while still in the body, while still in the body.
We understand that the heart region is said to be the seat of the Bodhicitta. It is the one point inside the structure of the human form where all four bodies intersect at the base of the breast bone— physical, subtle physical, causal and supra causal. If you feel the base of your breastbone and go down about the width of one finger and back towards the center of the body, there’s a subtle space there. This is the seat of the Bodhicitta.
One of the most powerful meditations of enlightenment is the bringing of the drop of the White Bodhicitta and the drop of the Red Bodhicitta to the seat of the Bodhicitta at the region of the heart. The energy of the enlightened white and red energies will pervade the four bodies and produce a direct connection with the Great Light, the ocean of consciousness, while in the body. At the moment of truth when the mind and the body are separated, if you have raised Bodhicitta everyday in your life, in the drama, confusion, fear and emotion of the last moment of life, you will be able to raise Bodhicitta in exactly the same way and gain complete liberation, gain complete enlightenment.
If the person is an advanced yogi, they go into Samadhi. They can enter the condition of death, sheer the body off, and enter into the awakened condition with pretty much the totality of the relative body, the mental body, and the universal body.
You maintain all of the fluidity of the body of light which is infinitely variable and can produce from a thousand to ten thousand different incarnations simultaneously. When that kind of incarnation is operating at full bore it can actually manifest and operate ten thousand physical bodies throughout a world system, or multiple world systems.
The word Bodhicina means enlightened mind. It also has a meaning of heart-mind. It is a position of balance between the seat of the brain and the seat of the heart. This part of the subtle body is very important in that the hundred fibers that arise from the six seats all come through the bean, and move up into the brain. The Bodhicitta should be perceived as a singular structure between the architecture of the seat in the heart, the brain and the crown of the head.
The consciousness at the crown of the head is called the white Bodhicitta. It is the form of a drop, which is the essence of consciousness. It sits just above the crown of the head in the place of the udana prana, where the life force merges and blends with the physical body, subtle body, causal body and supra-causal body.
There is a direct channel from the crown of the head down into the heart. The Bodhicitta is found at the base of the breastbone and back just a little bit. When you breathe into the space, you’ll experience a very powerful and resonant vibration. It’s important to understand that the seat at the crown of the head and the seat at the heart are not two separate points, as in an relationships. They should be conceived of as a singularity. The Bodhicitta is found in the space at the base of the heart region, and it holds the entire heart chakra. The Bodhicitta is one of the anchors of the great descending and ascending light of the prana/apana, which is in the upper heart. The seat of the Bodhicitta is exactly at the center of the body; in other words, there are three higher chakras, and three lower.
In this retreat, we have been under the duress of a very intense induction of kundalini moving between the crown of the head and the base of the spine. The Bodhicitta is a point of equilibrium, where the energy gathers at the heart, and swells and fills to the space at the base of the spine. It also fills and rises to include the brain and the seat at the crown of the head. As the Bodhicitta develops, you’ll find a very beautiful and powerful build-up of warmth and radiant light begins to appear in the heart, spreading in all directions, moving down to include the three lower chakras, and up to the three higher chakras. This will cool the system, and bring it into balance.
In this morning session, we will be passing beyond the fire of the first day: the generation of the mandala, the entering of the mandala as a child, and the intense induction of light. Today, you’ll find that by meditating on the Bodhicitta, the entire system cools and comes into balance. You will still be engaging the SoHam and the ajapa/japa, the descending and ascending energy. Those energies will be gathering here at the center, at the heart, and building and culminating at the crown of the head, and building and culminating at the base of the spine.
THE DIFFERENT ASPECTS OF BODHICITTA
There are two kinds of Bodhicitta: Bodhicitta as an aspiration, and Bodhicitta put into practice. The difference is like that between someone who wants to go travelling, and someone who actually goes.
Bodhicitta, the mind of enlightenment, has two levels: ultimate and relative. The realization of the fundamentally empty nature of all things is ultimate bodhicitta; the attitude of loving-kindness and compassion toward all sentient beings is relative bodhicitta. At the ultimate level, bodhicitta is the experience of the pure nature of mind; it is the realization of selflessness, or emptiness. At the relative level, bodhicitta has two aspects: wishing bodhicitta and engaged bodhicitta. Wishing bodhicitta is the wish to reach enlightenment for the benefit of all beings. On the basis of this motivation, it is necessary to proceed to actual practice. The aspiration to help others is not enough, just as it is not enough to want to go to a place in order to get there: it is necessary to travel the path. Engaged bodhicitta consists of practicing the six perfections, or transcendent virtues.
Even to aspire for the Bodhicitta brings great benefits, but nothing like those that come once we begin to act on our aspiration.
From the moment we definitely decide to live and practise for the benefit of all, a continuous stream of merit rains down on us, even when we are asleep or distracted.
To awaken the mind of enlightenment, or bodhicitta, allows for rapid progress toward the state of buddhahood. In fact, practicing bodhicitta accumulates enormous positive karma. And, if being loving, compassionate, and benevolent toward one single being is extremely beneficial, then extending those attitudes to all sentient beings is infinitely more so! Buddha akyamuni taught that if the positive karma of practicing bodhicitta were visible, it would be so vast that all of space could not contain it. Thanks to the power of cultivating bodhicitta, it is possible to realize buddhahood in a single lifetime.
This benevolent and altruistic attitude of love and compassion is often called the philosopher’s stone. Just as this stone transforms ordinary metals into gold, bodhicitta transforms all activities of ordinary life, whatever they may be, into activities that lead to enlightenment.
The bodhisattva vow is like a golden pot, the others like earthen pots. When an ordinary commitment or earthen pot is broken, it has no more value; however, the bodhisattva vow, like a golden pot, can be remodeled and refashioned—its material remains precious. The Bodhicitta is the philosopher’s stone that transmutes the base metal of this body into the gold of the Buddha Jewel.
Understand well how this bodhicitta is the supreme elixir that, [like the philosopher’s stone], reacts with this impure body and transforms it into the priceless jewel body of a Victor.
The Jewel , is here the prima materia , the Philosophers ‘ Stone , the spark of enlightenment potentially present in every consciousness (bodhicitta).
By being inspired with bodhicitta our whole nature changes.
Firmly grasp this most powerful philosophers ‘ stone Named bodhicitta , since Applied to this impure semblance (that is our finitude as an approximate displacement symmetry) It turns it into the priceless likeness of the jewel that philosopher´s Stone.
The thought of awakening (bodhicitta) is the philosopher ‘ s stone , which transforms the base metal of defiled thought into the gold of perfect gnosis
Luke 12:15 says; “And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.”
It is said, If a person seeks for the philosopher’s stone, (which turns all metals into gold,) with a covetous desire to be rich, he may be sure not to find it.” We are sure that precious jewel content is not to be found in a covetous heart. Let philosophers and moralists reason ever so persuasively against the evil of covetousness, yet the love of money will rise superior to all. What mighty charms are there in gold I But the voice of our Beloved here speaks, his words are spirit and life ; hear then, O disciple ; Take heed, and beware.” Consider, l. This admonition of thy Lord’s ; it is redoubled: Take heed-—Beware.”
Whatever the truth might be in itself , the Hermetic writers intended to indicate that a pure heart, or what the Psalmist calls a ” right spirit , ” is the way to the philosopher’s stone , if it is not the stone itself , —the pearl of great price; for this pearl is not a mere hope, no, not even the hope of heaven, but it is heaven itself.
The salvation of man , his transformation from evil to good , or his passage from a state of nature to a state of grace.
We cannot aim too high. It is well to have some object in view greater than we can attain. Though we never attain that, we may attain something very valuable. In studying for ” the elixir of life”—” the philosopher’s stone”— ” the power of transmuting common metals into gold”—and in pursuit of the still uncaught perpetual motion”—men have made great advances in mechanical and chemical discovery and invention. Should a man throw aside everything that will not enable him to create gold at pleasure out of minerals that are abundant and valueless ? 0, no, for then our greatest chemists would have lived in vain. If the holy character, nor enter fully into the designs ” of our Father which is in heaven.” But if we use a high standard of moral mea-surement, we shall see how far we fall short of what God is, and what we ought to be, and so shall better understand what infinite worth there is in the work of Christ, what thought must have been bestowed on the scheme of redemption, what insult it is to heaven, after all that has been done for our deliverance and justification, to reject its overtures of love and mercy, as believing that we can do without them, and without Christ. The true conclusion, then, is, that we are vile ; but we are to come to God by Jesus Christ; and having come to him, and living upon him, by daily and hourly faith and prayer, we are constantly to aim at conformity to him ; to set ourselves the highest rules to walk by—then, he knows we shall fail—and failing we shall flee to Christ—and seeing, as we then shall, all in him that is needful for us, we shall admire and adore the infinitely suitable and sufficient provision made in covenant, and in Christ, for ” all them that come unto God by him.”
In the eyes of the Hennetists of the early modern period, great dan-gers were entailed in the possibility of having the forces of nature at one’s disposal, in making use of the invisible powers and forces that rule the world. And when it came to the power of the Philosophers’ Stone. the dangers of taking control of the world seemed especially clear. The Stone had far-reaching effects in conferring health and prosperity: it could act against all manifestations of mortality: it could aid in the preparation of gold and precious stones: and, as a medium of universal salvation, it could bestow all temporal Misr, corporal health, and earthly luck.'” It seemed to open a path to redemption that was no longer tied to the crucifixion of Christ and to divine autonomy in the act of salvation. The unbelieving, selfish person was to be kept. at all costs, far away from this powerful re-source. Since it was immanent in the world, the medium of redemption. the Stone, had to be hidden:
And when the philosophers found it by dint of great labor and industrious-ness, they obscured it with strange speech and mystery, lest it be resealed to the unworthy and the precious pearls be cast to swine, for if just anyone knew it. all indundousness and labor would cease, and man would devote himwlf to nothing but this one thing, and people would not live rightly, and the world would perish. for out of their miserliness and because of abun-dance. they would anger God?’
Maintaining the secret of the Stone was necessary to prevent the egoistic man from obtaining a this-worldly salvation that would leave him unfet-tered by labor and need and thus unable to lead a life that was pleasing to God. The authors of many Hermetic texts believed that a kind of initiation was needed so that the mystery regarding the Philosophers’ Stone could only be comm nn hated to the faithful and the understanding and would remain hidden front fools and unbelieseis. A prupaedeutic phase would prepare man and make him receptive to a second phase. when a revelation would be imparted.
Those who wished to understand the Hermetic doctrines, so it was often stated, had to avoid all independent efforts to acquire the neces-sary understanding through their own intellect. Instead, they had to remain largely passive, for it (is) impossible to discover this secret by means of one’s own nitpicking; rather we must go to school with the wise and learn from them, so that this mystery will be known.”Only by purification can the intellect be prepared for revelation, and the mind must allow itself to be led. “For our intellect, which is in itself dark, must be lit by the sun of the living knowledge that God alone grants in the art of the secret wisdom.”
If the adept in alchemy takes this path of enlightenment to arrive at knowledge of the Philosopher’s Stone, which brings health and happiness, then God will maintain his redemptive autonomy. Because the Stone could not simply be found but had to be imparted to man through divine inspiration, the decision over salvation or damnation remained God’s. Enigma, symbol, and allegory were thus considered suitable means of making knowledge public but at the same time keeping it secret. This form of published secret ensured that the text would be understood by those to whom God had granted the necessary gifts.
Through their comprehension of the texts, the worthy could be distinguished from the un-worthy, who lacked comprehension. Thus the salutary properties of the Philosophers’ Stone would not be accessible to those who should not have access, but those who were wise would be able to grasp the deeper mean-ing of the text: “The metaphors, similes, and allegories with which the wise have hidden the mystery of our secret philosophy will be obvious to us and no longer hidden.”4 Those who attained understanding by studying the Hermetic writings would acquire a hermeneutic key to the allegorical meanings of the texts.
“The Sulphur and the Salt, or ‘ metallic soul and body ‘ of the spiritual chemistry are the body and the ‘ rational ‘ soul or mind of man—Sulphur his earthly nature, seasoned with intellectual salt. The Mercury is Spirit in its most mystic sense, the Synteresis or holy Dweller in the Innermost, the immanent spark or Divine Principle of his life. Only the ‘ wise,’ the mystically awakened, can know this Mercury, the agent of man’s transmutation : and until it has been brought out of the hiddenness, nothing can be done.”
” Sulphur ” stands for the desire nature with its appetites and passions, and ” Salt ” for the reasoning faculty of the lower mind. ” Mercury of the Wise ” is the indwelling Spirit without which no transmutation of lower qualities into higher can be effected. The Higher Self must be born in the soul in order that its dross may be turned into pure gold.
The first stage represents the present state of human nature, full of imper-fections, and undergoing ethical and spiritual discipline and purification in conditions of conflict and suffering. The lower nature is gradually dis-solved away by the Spirit (Mercury). In the second stage the personality (Luna) is perfected in goodness and truth, and transmuted to the higher mental plane. The third stage cul-minates in the union of the Lower Self (Luna) with the Higher Self (Sol) on the buddhic plane, when the soul enters into the joy of its Lord at the cycle’s end.”
‘This,’ says the author of A Sug-gestive Enquiry, ‘ is the union super-sentient, the nuptials sublime, Mentia et Univerai. . . . Lo ! behold I will open to thee a mystery, cries the Adept, the Bridegroom crowneth the Bride of the north [i.e., she who comes out of the cold and darkness of the lower nature]. In the darkness of the north, out of the crucifixion of the cerebral life, when the sensual dominant is occultated in the Divine Fiat, and subdued, there arises a Light.’ “—Ibid., p. 174. The Higher Self (Bridegroom) per-fects (crowns) the Soul (Bride) which has come forth from the lower nature (north) wherein it was crucified men-tally and emotionally. When the self-will of the desire nature is obliterated in the Divine Will, and overcome, then there arises in the Soul the light of Truth.
There is also figurative use of the philosopher’s stone , which transforms the base metals into gold . The Guru is like the philosopher’s stone , who transforms the iron – like ego centrics into gold – like Enlightened persons.
As iron becometh gold by touching the philosopher’s stone , so do the virtues of the Guru , who is the philosopher’s stone , enter his disciples . The great being , the true Guru , is a philosopher’s Stone.
Touching philosopher’s stone, they become philosopher’s stone; they become the same in God’s the guru’s company.
The company of Saints transforms ordinary human beings into angels and Gods; and therefore we can say that Saints and Guru are the real philosopher’s Stone