Phowa (Consciousness Ejection)

through Tenabah, copyright 2009

Phowa (Consciousness Ejection) is an advanced meditation practice which empowers a person to leave his or her physical body at will.  It is different from astral projection, because the entire consciousness energy is completely released from the body.  In astral projection, usually only a portion of our sensitive energy is projected outwards and most of our energy stays within the body.  The other difference is the phowa is a one way ticket out, since the body is completely abandoned (though when practicing phowa there is an intermediate ejection which is possible and from which it is possible to return from).  Because it is an advanced method and because it has drastic and irreversible consequences, the practice is usually kept secret, requires initiation in order to practice, and requires the guidance of a qualified spiritual guide to oversee.  I am presenting one version of the practice in this essay which is relatively safe and which will be available for people who are ready to leave their bodies.  I would encourage people who are using this technique to connect with me or another qualified teacher of this method, but attempting to fully use this method.  Unlike some versions of this method, though, this method is a Pure Land version.  The other power of Amida Buddha regulates the process and makes it safe.  Other methods are more self willed and require the practitioner to have more knowledge and skill.

Before choosing to use this method to release the body, the person needs to check to see if it is wise to do so.  To leave because one is gripped by depression, extreme pain, or because of some emotional trauma, may not be wise.  Such powerful emotional motivations are sometimes temporary and will pass if we relax into the present moment and let ourselves do nothing.  Every human life is precious and gives us a chance to learn, to heal, to burn away negative karma, and to grow.  We should only leave when we feel very complete with this life, when our body has become too incapacitated to serve us any longer, or when otherwise inescapable torture awaits us.  It is wise to review your life and to check to see if there are any undelivered messages that are important to say to anyone, any making amends to anyone we may have wronged, any emotional closure about any issue with anyone, any project that we promised to complete that needs to be completed, any preparations for our departure that need to be made, and any transfer of possessions that need to be done.

STEP ONE: SEALING THE CHAKRAS

What ties us to the outside world are our attachments and aversions.  We need to renounce any attachment we have to anything in the outside world.  If we have relatives, lovers, and friends, we need to let them go and entrust them to the universe.  This is especially true of children that we have cared for.  We may have some trust issues with the universe itself.  We may not have trusted the universe to care for our children.  If we do not entrust those who were once under our care to the care of the universe, then our energy will still pour out of a chakra and try to control them for their own sake.  We need to renounce our connection with them.  They can still have our impersonal love, but not our attachment to them.  We visualize the HREEH symbol and place it over the root chakra, intentionally renounce our attachment to anyone there, then over the belly chakra, then over the solar plexus chakra, then over the heart chakra, then over the throat chakra, and then over the third eye chakra.  The crown chakra is not sealed, since this is the exit chakra.  It is important to not hurry this process, but to make sure that every chakra is clear of any attachments and aversions.

STEP TWO: VISUALIZATION OF AMIDA BUDDHA

We visualize Amida Buddha, a red buddha, in a bubble of white light, sitting on a lotus, about one foot in diameter, floating about 6 inches above our crown chakra.  A beam of white light penetrates the crown chakra and moves down the spine, aligning all the chakras with the dharma.  This may stir up some attachments to let go of.  We are meant to surrender to this blessing and let go of whatever gets stimulated within us.  We ask Amida Buddha to inhabit our visualization and bless us.  We chant OM NAMO AMIDA BUDDHA HREEH (1000x) to stabilize our connection with Amida Buddha and entrust ourselves to the process that we are activating.

STEP THREE: TRANSFERRING THE RADIANT POINT

We visualize a radiant point of light where the heart is beating (right ventricle).  We merge our sense of identity with this point.  We intentionally visualize and move this point through one of the two tubes connecting the heart with the spinal column.  We visualize the radiant point moving through the tube and into the beam of Amida Buddha that is flowing in the spine.  We feel that the beam is pulling us up.  We feel that, we as a radiant point, are caught by the hands of Amida Buddha.  If we are only practicing, then we stop here.  If we are not, then we ask Amida Buddha to take us to the Pure Land and from there to whatever spiritual journey is needed for us next.

NOTES

Chances are that the first time we do this that not much will happen.  It takes several repetitions before the process begins to work.  The most difficult part is merging our sense of identity with the radiant point of light at the heart and then moving it up the spine.  This is the core process.  We are used to looking at the point from where we think we are (inside the head), rather than merging the looker with this point.  For the first few attempts, it is okay to not fully merge with the point.  The visualization will lay down and open up the pathway that will be used.  This may be all that is needed, since death is a natural process.  It is not a necessary process, but it is also built in as a failsafe.  When it is activated, then we will automatically flow in the channel that we have opened.  The visualization is based on our actual etheric anatomy and will work.  However, when used this way, this means that we are dying through the usual method that humans do and helping this process go beyond any blocks.  This is very useful, since most humans are not trained in letting go and allowing a higher power to make something happen for them.  There is a way of breathing that helps us to release.  This is where we release controlling the breath at all and stay gently aware of the breath.  The breathing will get thinner and more subtle.  We will be tempted to gasp for air.  If we let go of wishing to breathe, then the breathing will zero out and we will eject.  This is not "holding the breath", but simply not controlling the breath and letting it quiet down if its own accord.  Holding the breath is still a form of control.

Green Tara visualizing Amida Buddha on top of her head.

The Hreeh symbol in stylized Tibetan script.

Amida Buddha in the form of Amitayus with White Tara and Unishavijaya.

A diagram showing some of the psychic nerves, the central channel, and the energy coming out of the soft spot at the top of the head.  The dieties are Vajrasattva and consort in Yab Yum asana, the merging of male (wisdom) and female (element) to produce enlightened energy.  The consort associated with Vajrasattva varies with each sect, but is sometimes the Dakini No Self Infinite Space.  Vajrasattva is associated with strong yang energy removing obstacles to feeling our true nature mainly through a remorse that burns away the obscuring karmas.  In this Phowa practice, Amida Buddha would take the place of the Yab Yum couple.
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