From Chapter 2. Chintamani and Intention
Vedic Jewel Net of Indra
In his introduction to the practice of the Jewel Tree of Tibet, Robert Thurman compares the Norse and Tibetan world trees. The world tree with its leaves and branches covers all of creation. In the Tibetan emphasis, the leaves are jewels, and the jewels are all the enlightened teachers that have ever transformed the illusory human condition into its highest expressions. The jewel tree is an image of all the individual connections to greater consciousness available to everyone. This reveals the chintamani not only as a great earth gem, but as a mind gem as well.
Throughout the ocean of time, we on earth’s shore can make out misty shapes from here to the horizon. Each of the shapes has a range of names, an underlying truth and multiple unfolding story lines twining about one another. There appear to be a number of timeless gems tangled in an endless knot in and out of time. This image evokes another view of the chintamani, fused from the Hindu and Buddhist traditions, the jewel net of Indra, or indrajala. The Atharva Veda depicts the palace of Indra, maharaja of the devas, atop Meru, the sacred mountain. Suspended above the palace is a vast net that extends in every direction covering all creation below. At every intersecting node on the net, there is a jewel. Each jewel reflects every other jewel on the net displaying limitless refracting brilliance and endless reflecting illusion. The chintamani in this scheme is not one great gem, but every gem that exists interconnected in every dimension.
The Hindu moral of the indrajala differs from the moral drawn in Buddhist teaching. The Hindu view expressed in the Atharva Veda, composed between 1200 and 1000 BCE, presents the jewel net in two aspects. It is an emblem of Indra’s splendor as king of the gods which reveals the vast extent of his power and wealth. The jewel net is also Indra’s weapon with which he can threaten, snare, and control his subjects and enemies alike. Emanating from his celestial palace, the net covers his dominion completely. It envelops his realm in a force field that embeds his will into the fabric of natural order.
Even though Indra is powerful within this realm, other realms exist below and above on the vast sacred mountain of existence. Even within his realm, Indra cannot exercise capricious power because the order of creation itself limits his rule. Just as much as the jewel net projects Indra’s intents, it also protects every being at every node on the net from disruption that may be contrary to natural order which is called dharma. The indrajala also represents: sham, illusion, delusion, magic, sorcery, the art of magic, juggler, and sorcerer.3 The entire universe appears as an illusion resting upon the base of ever-aware consciousness. The indrajala gem net is the connectedness of the universe, its protection, as well as its unreal projection. This is the deeply metaphysical symbol of how the chintamani is bound in the paradox of quests, for worldly power and dominance or spiritual realization and benefit.
With any chintamani, it always comes down to the wisdom of the wish. As children, we made many wishes intended to bring immediate delight and entertainment. For instance, when we overindulged the urge for chocolate ice cream, it was intended as a positive experience, but may have had the unintended result of causing us to feel badly afterwards. This stage is about acting on likes and dislikes which is barely an intention. There are five levels of true intention and motivation above this that were presented by Chan/Zen Master, Guifeng Zongmi. He referred to them as deep motivations to practice the Zen path, but it refers not to specifics, but to the root of any intention. As you will see, the intender must already have a particular perspective in order to intend actively on any of the five levels.
First, there is ordinary intention. This can be equated with concern to solve the challenges posed by everyday living. The sum of collective problems at some moments, like wave piling on wave, can overwhelm any of us. Having the decisiveness and power to master these challenges is intention of the first level. The next intention level arises from comparative competitiveness as we strive to excel at some skill, attribute, or accomplishment that raises us well above the rest of humanity like a sports heroine or super-hero. The super-skill can be cultivated and used to benefit self or others, but the motivation is not generosity, but arises from dominance. The third level of intention is to eradicate our most difficult challenges at their roots which means that in order to succeed at the intention, we have to understand the root problem. Is the root a problem we share with our family, community, nation; or, the entire all human race? This level means intending to resolve archetypal impasses. The next level of intention springs from the awareness that all beings are intimately interconnected in the ecology of life. To resolve our individual discontents, ultimately, we have to resolve collective difficulties of the matrix of all living beings. Finally, there is the intention of no intention which can only arise once all dualistic thinking collapses into integrated awareness. The mind of no intention arises from recognizing the perfection of everything as it is and everything as the same as self. A parallel thought from the seventh poem of the Dao De Jing states:
…thus the sage pulls himself back
but ends up in front
he lets himself go
but ends up safe
selflessness must be the reason
whatever he seeks he finds.4
SAMPLE PRACTICE 1
Practice 11.7: Creating Intention and Crystal Programming
Write down your intention on a piece of paper and put it aside. Write the intention using positive “I am” phrases. Hold the crystal in your hands until it feels warm or comfortable. You have activated the pyroelectricity when the crystal feels warm and comfortable in your hands. Center yourself through breathing and sensing each of your chakras and areas of your body. Release stress from your body including your shoulders, chest, abdomen, knees, then ground your legs and feet to the earth. Once centered, continue breathing deeply and begin to visualize your intention at the third eye point. Visualize your intention as though you can see it happening in your life now, a living, moving picture. Sit with the picture. Take a deep breath and slowly move the living, moving picture of your intention from your third eye point into your heart center. Convert the intention at your heart center from a vision to a feeling. Feel the intention in your heart as though it is in your life now. From your heart center, give your intention all the love and nurturing it needs to take root in your life and manifest. Feel love towards your intention deeply and feel the intention in your heart and your body. Take in a deep breath and expand your heart center so the intention can expand within you and sit with the feeling of intention at the heart center until you are comfortable to move it down slowly to your solar plexus or stomach center. The solar plexus is the seat of manifestation and the seat of emotion. At this point, spend time feeling the intention instinctively in your abdomen. Contemplate why this intention has not already manifested in your life. Ask yourself what blocks or fears have prevented you from manifesting the intention. In what way will this intention change your life? Be comfortable exploring your fears. If you are able, allow the fears to slowly dissipate, releasing their hold on you, and tell your instinctive self that change will be alright. If this stage of the process becomes uncomfortable and you cannot get past the blocks, it is useful to stop the process, do some clearing practices, and restart at a later time. It is also perfectly fine to adjust, fine tune, or change your intention.
As you explore your intention at a deeper level, the truth about your alignment with the intention will reveal itself. When you are at peace with your intention, digest the intention and absorb it into your body. Feed your body with the intention so it becomes one with you. Slowly move the intention to your throat center and let it sit there so the intention can form a “voice.” You can contemplate what you need to say to yourself or out loud to others to activate the intention. You can also convert the intention into a single “power” word encapsulating the essence of your intention and say that word out loud. That word now becomes a trigger word for you to activate the intention in yourself. During this active meditation, the crystal has been energizing your heart center. Now, slowly move the crystal to your throat. Bring together all the meditative work from the third eye, heart, solar plexus, and throat into a single breath and breathe or snort it sharply into the crystal followed by the audible sound of the intention “power” word. Repeat this process as you change the angle of the crystal in your hands. When you have finished breathing your intention into the crystal, return the crystal to your heart center.
Open your heart center to receive the programmed intention and breathe deeply as you enter a calm, receptive, and magnetic state with the programmed crystal. End the meditation by opening your eyes and thanking the crystal for helping you realize your intention. Record your intention and your power word, especially if the intention has changed from the point when you started the meditation. Turn the intention into a daily affirmation. The program will stay in the crystal for a period of time. Programming once is enough for a monthly or lunar cycle. It is recommended to program the crystal on or around the time of each new moon. Meditate with the crystal once a day in a receptive state over the heart. On the following new moon, cleanse and clear the crystal, and renew the program or reprogram the crystal with a new intention. Meditate with the same crystal and the same intention for a full lunar cycle. This meditation can create a new habit in 21 days. Meditate with the crystal every day to program yourself and receive and act on the intention. The crystal will radiate the program for a period of time which will subtly affect the unconscious. You can program a crystal for your own personal intentions, for a positive intention for the world, or in helping others by sending them healing, love, and support.
SAMPLE PRACTICE 2
Practice 11.11: Create Chintamani Water
For this alchemical practice, gather your materials first. Select a clean glass container, water pitcher, or bowl. Place a programmed quartz crystal (clean and polished) into the container. Pour purified drinking water into the container. Depending on how you want to program the water, stand in either moonlight, sunlight, or starlight and pray over the water with your intention. State the intention over the water several times while using your hands to send energy into the water. You can chant Aum over the water or another mantra such as Aum Mani Padme Hung, and you can use singing bowls to add vibrational energy. Place the container of water in sunlight, moonlight, or starlight for several hours (either overnight or for a full day). The time of the full moon is ideal for charging water overnight. If you want to charge the water with a particular planet (such as Venus) or star or star group (such as the Big Dipper or Orion), be sure to place the water container in a place where the planet or starlight is radiating on the water for a period of time. After the water is finished energizing, use the water in the same way as you would holy water such as sprinkling yourself and others with the water, sprinkling a space, or anointing an altar or crystal. When drinking the water, open yourself up to receive the intention of the programmed and blessed water and visualize yourself drinking the water of life. After drinking and sprinkling yourself with the water, meditate on your intention while absorbing the water into your body.