Cosmology - Buddha Fields
Having thus related the biography (hagiography) of the teacher-subduer (the buddha), I will now explain the site of that teacher’s subduing (of errant beings). But first, I will explain the levels of buddhafields and galaxies.
The Lightning Platform becomes awakened through the natural perfection of qualities. The founding stratum creates the resourceful stratum. The stratum of the five (buddha) lineages are arranged as the incredible buddhafields. From uncountable buddhafields that rest upon the adorned center of Vairocana’s heart, on top of a jeweled lotus, on the thirteenth tier of the twenty-five that appear, rests this indestructible galaxy. In the directions above and below this galaxy are thirteen buddhafields adorned by the jeweled clear light. As Vibration Transformed into Matter (sgra thal ‘gyur) says,
“Below the thirteenth buddhafield
Is the very beautiful, enormous
Buddhafield called Stardust Song.
Causation <30>, conditioning, and intrinsic nature
Are taught there.
Above, below, and in the center
It is petite, beautifully arranged and well adorned.
The sixth galaxy below that
Is called Holding Stardust.
It is circular and transparent.
Truth itself is taught there.
It is bedecked and well arranged.
The third galaxy to the right of that
Is called Star-Dust Protector.
Completely decorated with emeralds
Of colored and clear lights.
The sphere of discipline is taught there
And also individual’s karma and signs.
The sixth galaxy above that
Is called Spreading Stardust.
It is shaped like a huge lotus, quite flat.
With various colored lights shining throughout.
Flashing red and white.
And without coarse forms.
The wheel of life is taught there
During the perfect eon called Stardust.
The galaxy above this,
Which is also the nineteenth beyond (?)
Is called Stardust Scepter
A very nice providence,
Various pieces of jewels
Piled up adorn it.
The two perfections are taught,
Arranged as a garland of skulls.
The galaxy to the south of this
Is called Stardust Ornament.
Beautifully tiered like a stupa and
Fully bedecked by five arrays (of lights?).
Various harmonic melodies arise from the ground. >31>
The arising of time is taught there.
The twenty-first galaxy above that
Is called immersed in Stardust.
Like a pure vision,
It is transparent, without inside or outside.
There one learns how things arise,
The causes and conditions of creation.
To the left, southwest from here,
Is the galaxy called Sound of Stardust.
Decorated with a protection banner,
Flags, umbrellas, and such, are flown there.
Flower pedals fall and perfume that place.
The teacher and teaching there
Are surrounded by a host of beautiful images.
It is also called the Play of Bliss Arising.
To the right, southwest of here, is a galaxy
Six galaxies away called Stardust Wind.
In that trembling, turbulent space,
Gloating, waving back and forth,
The agitation produces sounds.
The teachings, carries by the wind,
Explains the five qualities* and three gates.*
On the thirteenth tier above that
Is the galaxy called Jewel Stardust.
It is adorned by auspicious suns,
Ornamented by desirous traits.
Magical letters are beautifully painted everywhere.
There one learns the perfection of reflections,*
Beautified by a wreath of lotus eyes. *
To the northeast of here, six galaxies away,
Is the one called Stardust Discipline. <32>
It is full of offerings to the goddess,
Full of lights and the scent of sandalwood.
Balance is taught there to the assembly
Of youthful, attractive sixteen-year olds.
The ninth galaxy below that
Conch-shaped, is called Stardust Nebula.
Faithful, experiencing the scent of protection,
Its light is very violent and radiant.
Lit up ike a gas nebula
Are the teacher with his retinue and resources.
The sixth galaxy from that
Is called Stardust,
Where everything is arranged in spiral levels,
In fives and nines.
Ornamented by the stars ‘char-ka (?dha’) and (m)chu-‘phyangs* (horse-head nebula),
Thunder, and red lightning.
The teacher is surrounded by precepts.
Lightning circulates and illuminates all directions and spaces.
Furthermore, even though the twenty-five tiers of Buddhafields remain as lotus levels above, below, and in between, countless other buddhafields permeate the directions of space above, below, and in between, like the stars scattered everywhere. Similarly, the incredible buddhafields are what accounts for the tiers of this indestructible galaxy. As the same text (Vibration Transformed into Matter, sgra thal ‘gyur) says,
Although the external elements come from air,
They adhere to the sky.
In the midst of that is formed water.
And in that, earth.
One million ? huge
Four numberless and one million ? <33>.
One part in four is empty.
Islands and mountains are arranged;
Jungles and jewels;
Individual sun and moon gods
Surrounded by a great ocean;
Little mountains and small seas,
Definitely surrounded by seven jewels.
Inside, from initial formlessness,
Come the form realm and the clear light.
Far from the desire realm,
From the stainless moon and
Very radiant sun
The galaxy is spread out.
The gzhan ‘phrul and other (god’s realms) are established in stages.
Below that are the titans
And the levels of the men of the four continents.
Due to attachment to a self
The lower realms are established in stages.
And the Pearl Necklace says,
Wind (motility) is situated in space and water (fluidity) in wind.
The 1,100,000 solid bodies (bodies = stars and planets ?)
Come forth very round and smooth
Like cream arising from milk
Are the 1,200,000 solid (bodies).
The winds number 1,000,000.
It establishes (coarse matter in space ?), unites,
Blows and carries (other matter).
Water spreads, maintains, and matures.
Earth solidifies, is atomic, and coarse.
Like churned (cream) becoming butter.
The king of mountains, the axial mountain,
With its four levels and huge pinnacle,
The pure oceans and <34> seven mountain ranges.
The islands and attendants (‘khor yug ?) arise.
The 3,000 worlds (solar systems ?) and associated environments,
The three realms: desire, form, and formless,
The realms of neither existence nor non-existence.
No consciousness and formlessness arise from those (three realms).
Those (beings) of the pure realms and others who have bodies
Trickle down from top to bottom
(Creating) Ganavyuha and the other (realms).
Gods, titans, and humans, the three higher realms,
Animals, Hungry ghosts, hell beings,
All these sentient beings areborn in four ways.*
Moreover, humans, during the first eon,
Are fair and handsome.
Their bodies suffused by self-radiant light.
They eat merit food, whatever they wish,
For nine lives of 80,000 years each.
They have no male or female sexual organs.
Then, from the two causes of error, desire and delusion,
Slowly (their bodies) become coarse
And their sex organs develop.
Their merit exhausted, their light dims.
Then, gradually, they eat
Fats, grains, and so forth.
The lesser meanings here pointed out are commonly known from the threaded dialogue (sutras) and scientific treatise (shastras) sources and the many measurement explanations mentioned in the extraordinary mystical texts (tantra) section of the canon. <35> This has also been explained according to the Vajrasekara Tantra of the unexcelled vehicle.
According to the ati bkod pa (tantra), this actual universe is unmistakenly established to be truly existent within the space of Mahabrahma’s (god’s) field of being n the middle of the pistil of a lotus in the resourceful stratum’s hand. Therein are the buddhafields that are situated on 25 levels (throughout) the 3,000 worlds.* They are called the buddhafields adorned by grounds and flower essences.
Now, to explain this universe’s buddhafield wherein the secret mantra adamantine vehicle abides in the vicinity of a jewel box near the heart of the thirteenth level therein. You should understand the first eon as that of formation, the intermediate eon as that of stability, and the last eon of that of destruction, and the final eon as empty.
Also, within the first eon, the first of the two stages, environment (formation), and inhabitant (evolution), (evolves as follows): (going) forward (in time), after the previously arisen universe (world) has been emptied (and) after 20 intermediate eons (between destruction and formation) have passed, the empty space field, the opaque particles that are the seeds of the five elements can build the five colors.
In the upper part, the place that maintains consciousness, called the formless realm, having arisen together with the seed particles of the elements, congeals above the nectar (= inhabitants) in the form of drops. Just as the top is like that, the bottom congeals the environment like the steps of a stupa, established from the bottom up.
At the time of that establishment of the environment and its living beings from above, on the lower foundation, the sky, which is called the pure mind, has a white colored light. In the intermediate space, which is extremely white, this 3,000 world system (the milky way galaxy) is established inn pure space on a triangle with the seed syllable E as its basis. From that space, the seed syllable Aum, called the Vishnuraksa wind, is heard three times.
Then a breathing just mouse-sized arises, called the mixed wind. Having expanded in space like fog or clouds, in the center of the shape like a crossed Vajra is the syllable Yam. The four wind goddesses wave flags in the wind. Various colored lights shine in the sapphire-blue wind. (Cosmic) immensity and thickness are thus established.
The intermediate eon is stable. It bears four iron peaks from the top of a Vajra cross. That wind is 10,008,000 dpag tsads thick and 46,000 dpag tsads wide. From that, the very stable waters arise. In the upper sky, clouds that are of the essence of gold congeal and it rains<37> continuously for seven years. The waters are clear, undisturbed, and without dust; round in shape, like the full moon. The water goddesses dance in infinite patterns.
The size is (now) 1,120,000 dpag tsads thick and 30,005,000 dpag tsads wide. Then during the first intermediate eon, from above the wind mandala, the so-called ‘churning wind,’ which has a crazy sound, comes forth and the sound ‘Ur’ comes from the sky above, and all the agitations of the winds, waters, and so forth mix together as one, like cream being produced on top of water.
Thus is established a golden ground 5,000 dpag tsads thick. On that is established the so-called earth’s soil, which diffuses innumerable atoms 5,000 dpag tsads thick. On top of that is established the co-called earth’s fire, which spreads innumerable atoms 200,000 dpag tsads thick. Then the so-called ‘separating wind’ arise, like waves from the ocean and innumerable wind atoms fall from the upper sky, just like snow falling through the atmosphere (to a height of) 100,000dpag tsads.
Above that <38>, the bright turquoise blue, so-called open earth sky (?) rains down uncountable space atoms from the sky that al mix together. By their natural actions, they spread like ice forms on the ocean. They have smooth surfaces with four edges.
The four corners are held aloft by the four earth goddesses, like a golden vase. The four sides are held by four strong naga’s sons. This one is 410,000 dpag tsads high. That mystique (mandala) of the elemental forces is alike the levels of a stupa whose stages are built on each other. The sutras explain that the space between each of those (elements) is the same as the top one (element). The Vajrasekara says,
Between earth and water is the so-called sky protector of mind,
Which measures 5,000 dpag tsads.
The fire mystique measures 1,000 dpag tsads in depth and 500,000 dpag tsads in width.
It has a red colored light and
Is said to exist as the activity that ripens ordinary elements.
Furthermore, the earth’s activity of being covered by water shows beings’ individual bodies. The earth’s activity of maturing by fire clarifies the colors of beings’ bodies. <39> The earth’s activity through wind forces perfects beings’ sense faculties. The earth’s activity of opening space stabilizes beings’ minds. The earth’s activity of compressing earth shows beings’ actions and merit. These are known as the earth’s environment that benefits beings.
It is also called the “wind of maturing action from above,” The color and shape are like a 1,000-spoked golden wheel that arises with automotive power. Like butter coming from milk or cream, through the churning of the entire mystique (mandala) of earth and water, the atomic impurities become gold, the heavy atoms sink to the bottom, establishing the earth as a foundation. The pure presence rises to the top (becoming) the Axial Mountain, ascending in the middle to a height of 160,000 dpag tsads and downwards as a golden foundation (?). But one tantra also explains “It extends downwards 14,000 dpag tsads.”
The eastern side of the Axial Mountain is formed of silver, the southern of lapis lazuli, the western of ruby, and the northern of gold. The corresponding skys are also of the same hues. Furthermore, the Axial Mountain extends below the waters (sea level) 80,000 dpag tsads, <40> the other half rising above the golden ground. Below the top half, four levels are built up.
Above that, filled with turquoise blue diamonds, are the wind levels called ‘having turquoise blue diamonds (vajras).’ Furthermore, 80,000 dpag tsads in length ? on the water/ocean, the Axial Mountain’s outer part (wall ?) rises 16,000 dpag tsads; each wall extends 10,000 dpag tsads upwards.
The second stage on top of that is called ‘heaped up lotus stage made from water.’ It shines like a crystal, extending 8,000 dpag tsads above the Axial Mountain. Above that is the third stage called ‘piled up fire wheel made from gold.’ It extends 8,000 dpag tsads above the Axial Mountain. Above that is the fourth stage called ‘shining jewel light made from coral.’ Shining like red coral, it indicates rain or lack of rain according to the karma of beings. It extends 2,000 dpag tsads above the Axial Mountain.
Around the Axial Mountain are seven playful seas and seven golden mountain ranges that surround all found sides. The seven ranges, (called) oxen’s yoke, plough handle, acacia (*Acacia catechu), beautiful, horse’s ear, <41> bent crest, and outer rim, rise above the water’s surface (sea level).
Their heights are, 40,000, 20,000, 50,000, 2,500, 1,800, and 625 dpag tsads, respectively, above sea level. Between them are the eight encircling seas. During an eon, the eight great sea serpents play in those external seas. The first playful sea is 80,000 dpag tsads (wide), the second and each succeeding one is half the width of the former. The walls go into the water. The huge outer wall, made of iron, is the same height as the oxen’s yoke range. The width of each of the four sides of the outer ocean is 322,000 dpag tsads.
The eastern continent (Purvavideha) is half-moon shaped. The round part is 350 dpag tsads wide. The other part is 32,000 + 2,000 (dpag tsads wide). The half-sized slands, Deha and Videha, are to the right and left. The southern continent (Jambudvipa), in the shape of a scapula (trapazoid ?), is 3,000 x 2,000 x 2,000 dpag tsads on its sides. The short side is 4 dpag tsads. <42> The two half-sized islands are Carama on the right and Avacarma on the left. The Western continent (ac=varagodaniya) is round shaped and 7,500 dpag tsads in diameter. The half-sized islands are Satha to the right and Uttaramantrina to the left. The northern continent (Uttarakut) is square, 2,000 dpag tsads on each side with half-sized islands Kuruva to the right and Kaurava to the left.
Although I cannot explain in detail the beings who live in those places, briefly explained, there are two main kinds: those of low and those of high status. The lowest are the hells, which are 20,000 dpag tsads below the Axial Mountain (Kailash): the eight hot hells, yang-gsas, and so forth, and the eight cold hells, chu-bur-can, and so forth, which are side by side. The temporary hells exist in the various elemental forces, their duration being uncertain. The surrounding hells are the second to the eighth. Ghosts live 500 dpag tsads under the victor’s house (Bodhgaya) or in other colonies near gods and men. Animals live in the depths of the oceans like swollen barley seeds when making beer and are also spread throughout the worlds of gods and men. Titans live under the shores of the Axial Mountain. Gods live on or above the stages of the Axial Mountain. <43>
Furthermore, the numerous towns and parks of the god clans of the four continents throughout the seven mountain ranges have special big and golden footed cannibals, powerful men, ghosts (?), mountain sustainers (?), and idealists (?) , each with their own capital cities of multi-storied houses. They all send human and animal plagues (diseases), wars, and famines and turn good into evil (thus controlling this world). Surrounding them live seven demons who control each activity.
In the eight oceans are the palaces of the eight serpent (naga) kings: dga’-bo (nanda), nye-dga’ (upanada), rta’i-gzhi (asvalaya ?), btang-bzung (mucilinda), gzi-can (?), yul-‘khor-srung (?), nag-po chen-po (mahakala), and ela’i-dab (?). They create rains, monsoons, and such in the lands of India.
On the four sides of the Axial Mountain are the four palaces of the very powerful cannibals who can control the seasons. They arrange time into the individual seasons, making rain in summer, producing seeds and ripening flowers in autumn, making cold and chills in winter, and maturing warmth in spring.
Furthermore, these beings, the four goddesses of the winds and others, <44> who are superior to the inner (?) beings, have been achieved through the karma of outer (beings?), thus they are called beings of existent karma. Furthermore, because the first (?) is the same as the start of the world and the last is the same as the destruction (of the world), they are known to live for an eon. Although the titans live in ravines on the Axial Mountain, they strive to be like the gods who have pleasures and good times.
Furthermore, below the golden foundation (of the Axial Mountain) in the middle of the golden city of the titans, which is made from various jewels, is the leader’s mansion, the luxurious capital hall, the wonderful garden, the glorious garden, the beautiful park,, and the marvelous garden. The palaces’ names are thus. There are also excellent Tsitri trees, very good marble, good elephants (white like ?) the snow on Mt. Kailash, ‘hard to be patient’ (?), and very fast horses. The fine resources, such as trees, gardens, horses, elephants, clothes, gems, refreshing drinks, and such, are measureless. Though there are six gods’ spheres in the desire realm, they are joined with the four great kings’ seven mountain ranges and eight walls, the nine (celestial bodies) the sun, moon, and planets, and the stars, the snow mountain in the middle of the found continents, gardens, ten villages <45> and various other places.
Also, on the four sides are, on the first, the god who holds a cup (Virudaka), on the second, the god who wears a flower necklace (Virupaksa), on the third, the god who always drinks honey (Vaisravana), and on the fourth, the god who rules over the four directions (Dhritrastra). Surrounding their palaces are beautiful fine gardens, smooth golden grounds sprinkled with sandalwood water, fields covered by heavenly flowers, ponds filled with floating flowers, and so forth.
The mansion of the sun is 10.2 miles wide and made of fire crystal. The moon is self-generated out of water crystals (ice?). They are surrounded above by a fence of gold and silver, ornamented by four turrets of jewels and villages, divine villages. The moon is 10 miles wide. In the gods’ villages, the largest stars are 18.25 rgyangs-grag wide, the medium sized one are from 2 to 17 rgyangs-grag wide. Each day they magically circle the Axial Mountain and the four continents making gold, copper, water crystals, and brass <46> emit light rays and quiver in space for 40,000 dpag tsads.
On top of the central peak of the Axial Mountain is the site of the thirty-three (gods), with their cities, gardens, grounds, trees, and capital halls. The cities surround Indra’s palace. The outlying town is called “pleasing to Look At.” The central (of the three border towns) is called “Victorious.” Its sides are each 250 dpag tsads wide, 5.5 dpag tsads wider (higher?) than (those of?) “Please to Look At,” eight buttresses each having seven supports ornamenting them (?). On its four sides are four parks called “Having Various Chariots.” Each has jewels, trees, birds, many ponds, heavenly textiles, music, nectar, and networks of jewels. These (parks) are filled with the god’ sons and daughters playing cymbals and tunes. The ordinary city “Please to Look At,” which is outside the palace, is surrounded by various beautifully adorned jewel houses. It is 4,500 dpag tsads on each side and 3.5 dpag tsads higher (than “Please to Look At”?).
Inside the towns streets and grounds are pretty and during the four different seasons, flowers fall. Outside the city are seven circles of jewel <47> fences and streams filled with floating lotuses and other flowers, cookoo birds signing and boats floating.
The border towns on the four side of the Axial Mountain’s peak are surrounded by 500 villages with 5 dpag tsads between each (?) four brothers of Yaksa’s place (?)/. The (four) parks are 20 dpag tsads from “Pleasing to Look At” in each of the four directions. IN the east the “Park of Various Chariots” is adorned by ponds, textiles, chariots, and so forth.. In the south, the “Park of Changing Wrath” generates various stone weapons for fighting wars. In the west, the “Park of Mixed Resources” has uncountable useful resources. In the west the “Park of Eternal Joy” is beautified by a gorgeous ambiance free of all anxiety. Those lovely parks are 250 dpag tsads wide. Under the surface of those parks, golden sands flow. They adorned by ponds, lakes, and such interspersed with wishing trees of various jewels. When the grounds outside those parks are decorated <48> with many ponds and flowers with the same names.
The tree in the northeast, which is called the “Wish Granter (?)”, goes under grounfd5 dpag tsads and foes 100 dpag tsads above ground. Its branches form a canopy 50 dpag tsads wide. Nets of jewels and heavenly textiles hang from it. Nearby is a slab of white marble 50 dpag tsads across, upon which is Indra’s throne and whereon fall flowers. Four and one half dpag tsads to the southwest from “Pleasing to Look At” is the lavish, circular assembly grove of gods, completely surrounded by a fence of jewel trees. In the center of the circle, whose diameter is 300 dpag tsads and circumference is 900 dpag tsads, are Indra’s throne and the other gods’ cushions. This palace of the desire and form realms is found in the sky like the stars and planets that are found at different distances. The (?) Is the same as from India. (?). It is 80,000 dpag tsads (?) 33 dpag tsads from India. You should know that the same distance as the intermediate sky without strife (?).
Although it is like that, this world, which is contained in a single <49> intermediate eon, is naturally empty and pacific. On the mountains and hills are trees, grasses, and many kinds of flowers. In each country are jungles and fragrant grasses. Rain falling from the sky makes the jewel trees and other things grow.
At that time, rains of nectar create fog over the earth. Various jewel trees ripen like lotuses and sentient beings who existed in previous worlds enter the minds of the four wind goddesses, the many dancing water goddesses, and the four powerful sea serpents’ sons. When signaled by the lotus speech that spreads in all directions, those (beings) who were previously formless, who are capable of maturing, who exist apprehending (?) consciousness, and have habit seeds manifesting, their consciousnesses take on a concentrated, magical, physical body. This is called the sphere of beings who neither exist nor do they not exist; because arising in self-illuminated freedom they are without a physical part, yet have (?) a subtle mind, coarse and fresh blood, and a body of pure light. It is known as existing and not existing because that magical concentration body appears to exist sometimes and not other times. These beings live in the sky of heaped-up lotuses on top of this world. They increase (expand) without measure. Just being in their own joyful, peaceful trance-light, they live in the trance caller “heroic being.” Above that a great golden diamond scepter called “having a playful wheel mind” rises up in the sky. It is extremely beautiful because it spreads countless rays. The beings in the sky with the magical concentration physical bodies, those beings whose former karma was mistaken to be that of a true hero, see the diamond scepter. Since it looks beautiful, it is called “heroic being trance.” [a sutra by this name (dpa’ bar ‘gro ba’i ting nge ‘dzin gyi mdo) exists in the ‘bka ‘gyur]. Then, because that magical diamond rockstar greatly disturbs their minds, some of those beings, who were born from an aspect of those beings, fall down like drops. Their heroic being trance having decreased, they are called “nothing left,” yet they do have motivation from former times. Except for the others who stay in “nothing left.” Countless beings increase called “nothing exists” or “little exists.” Furthermore, if a good appearance of trance is necessarily produced from a positive trance, a lower (appearance) comes from a lesser trance. <51>
Not having the actual cause of delusions, they still have subtle habits. They live in the trance called “Jewel Box.” This philosophical explanation is superior to that of the ordinary vehicles. If made to correspond with sentient beings increasing from entering the minds of beings who exist, even now it disturbs that neutral awareness of the field such that sentient beings produce sudden error. As the Matrix of Mystery (Guhyagarba) says,
E ma ho! (Hearken) Out of the matrix of suchness,
The conception of the self is manufactured by karma.
And the Jewel-Quality Verse Summary says,
When the proper conditions have gathered,
The cycle of errant karma does arise.
Sentient beings look like they are newly born, but they are not newly born. The lack of awareness that is similar to true intrinsic awareness, in being born (?) together (with that awareness), is confused about itself in relation to its part in the psychedelic reality field. The immediate conditioning, apart from actually becoming luminous, is not later mistaken about initial purity, because what is called the reality field speaks the sounds of the four elements.
Thirty thousand dpag tsads below that is the space called playful, open mind (?) immeasurable <52> wheels (?) spread, self-arisen sounds approach each other one by one. The beings who live in the upper part of that (place) move away from their peaceful trance in one direction. Having fallen down a little, many beings proliferate from the consciousness one by one (?) limitless consciousness. Objective (?) form enters the wheel (?) and thinks that only consciousness is the self, unable to measure knowing. No limits are gathered. The limitless proliferation of the forms of beings that are born from that is called the birth and increase of limitless consciousness.
Similarly, those at the summit of existence can live for 80,000 great eons. Thos os the realm nothing whatsoever can live for 60,000 great eons. Those of the realm of consciousness can live for 40,000 great eons. Those of the realm of limitless space can live for 20,000 great eons. <53> You may think that physical appearance contradicts, but there is no contradiction. Those who appear like gods in concentration without light forms exist as consciousness only. Unlike the gods of the desire realm, those who are without a flesh and blood body live without really thinking in terms of a consciousness and a physical body. Like a hungry ghost, those who are without a form yet can move, have inner clarity of consciousness. Like hell beings, they do not have a body that suffers, feels, and experiences. Their consciousness lives in a dimension of blissful trance.
And the Short Version (in 8,000 verses) says,
Now, the way the pure form realm proliferates. Twenty thousand dpag tsads beyond Endless Space, at the space called Jewel-Piece Array, the five lights that are neither internal nor external freely appear and spread above (?) the consciousness of (beings). They spread without measure, freely, ao all <54> mouth, eyes, and so forth. (?) Under the wind’s power they spread and flow with beings (?). Furthermore, it is higher than looking to the formless realm (?). It is called “None Higher” (Akanistha) because it is above all the desire and form realms, because nothing is higher than it, and because it is the peak of the form realm. Furthermore, it is distinguished from (the other heaven realms) because it is not like ordinary body and eye consciousness that manifests consciousness, trance, four types (of both?), and the sense bases. Because this is made of physical form, of external light within clear consciousness, it is like the form of a painting or a rainbow. Each body is 16,000 dpag tsads (tall) and they can live for 16,000 intermediate eons. Below that realm, as explained before, you should know the arrangement of realms from Akanistha to India, the earth’s surface.
If explained starting from Akanistha to the earth’s surface, in the space called “Decorated by Pale Blue Jewels” the habits of former beings (make them) fall. Countless beings proliferate who are called “Extreme Seeing” (Sudarsana) because if one sees them, they are happy. Their bodies are 8,000 dpag tsads tall and can live for 8,000 intermediate eons.
Below them, in the space <55> called “beautiful jewel” appear countless beings who proliferate from above and who are called “Appearing Satisfied” (Sudarsa) because mead Their bodies are 4,000 dpag tsads tall and they can live for 4,000 intermediate eons.
Below them, in the space called “Purple Jewel,” many beings spread, having proliferated from the joyous consciousness above. They are known as “Feeling No Pain” (Atapa). They always appear happy because they have no pain. Their bodies are 2,000dpag tsads tall and they can live for 2,000 intermediate eons.
Below them, in the space called “Stacked Palace of Jewel Crystal,” beings called No Big Deal” (Aurha) arise. They are thus known because they do not have a big attraction to phenomenal appearances. They can live for 1,000 intermediate eons and their bodies are 1,000 dpag tsads tall. Likewise, because those five divine heaven realms do not have any of the bad smells of frustration, they are known as the five pure divine heavens. These places are superior to the other five.
In the place of ordinary beings (gods), which is above the other three (?), in the sky on top of that is the (space) called “Spread Out Very Beautiful Jewel,” the lesser gods being cut off, having fallen (from above). They are called “Big Fruit” (Brhatphala) because they are produced from the big fruit of virtue that is similar to merit. Their bodies are 500 dpag tsads tall and they can live for <56> 500 intermediate eons.
Below them is the space called “Decorated by Beautiful Ivory-Colored Jewels.” Some of the Big-Fruit gods multiply, having fallen like drops. They are known as “Merit-Produced” (Punysprasava) because they arise from much former accumulation of merit (spiritual capital). Their bodies are 250 dpag tsads tall and they can live for about 250 intermediate eons.
Below them is the space called ‘Intense Jewel Cloud.” (Some of0 the Merit-Produced beings, having fallen (from above) multiply immeasurably as beings called “Cloudless Light’ (Anabhraka). Furthermore, that realm is smooth, soft, and warm. They are so named because they are like the sun without clouds. Their bodies are 125 dpag tsads tall and they can live the same number (125) of intermediate eons.
Below them, in the space called “Emitting Jewel Light” are beings called “Abundant Virtue” (Subhakrtsna) who have separate from the Cloudless Lights (beings). (They are so named because) they have arisen from abundant virtuous roots. Their bodies are 64 dpag-tsads tall and they can live for the same number (64) of intermediate eons.
Below them, in the space called “Decorated Blue Jewels,” are beings who have fallen from above, who are called “Immeasurable Virtue” (Apramanubha), known thusly because they are produced from immeasurable roots of virtue. Their bodies are 32 dpag-tsads tall and they can live for the same number (32) of intermediate eons. <57> Some texts say that “Immeasurable Virtue” is above “Abundant Virtue” (but this is merely a disagreement regarding nomenclature).
Below them, in the space called “Decorated with pa tang ka ting Jewels” are the gods called “Little Virtue” (Parittasabha) who have spread from above, so called because they have less merit than those above. Their bodies are 16 dpag-tsads tall and they can live for the same number (16) of intermediate eons.
Below the in the space called “Decorated with Kekeru Jewels” are the “Clear Light (Abhasuara) beings who spread from above, so called due to their clear light bodies. Their bodies are 8 dpag-tsads tall and they can live for 8 intermediate eons.
Below them, in the space called “Majestic Jewel Cache,” are the “Immense Light” (Apramanabha) beings who devolve from above, so called due to the immeasurable light of their bodies. Their bodies are 4 dpag-tsads tall and they can live for 4 intermediate eons.
Below them, in the space called “Heroic Jewel Light.” Are (the beings) called “Little Light” (Praittabha) who devolve from above, spoken of thus because their bodily light is less than those above. Their bodies are 2 dpag-tsads tall and they can live for 2 intermediate eons.
Below them, in the space called “Jewel Keruja” exists the great Brahma beings (Mahabrahamana) who devolved from above. Furthermore, they are thus known because of being pure and free of the faults of lust and desire. Their bodies are 1.5 <58> dpag-tsads tall and they can live for the same number (1.5) of intermediate eons.
Below them, in the space called “Samika Jewel” are (the beings) “Chanting to Brahmana’s Face” (Brahmapurchita), a few of whom have fallen from above. They are so named because they chant facing him (Brahmana’s face). Their bodies are one dpag-tsad tall and then can live for one intermediate eon.
Below (Chanting to Brahman’s Face) in the space called “Wishing Tree, Expansive Jewel,” a few Brahmana beings (attendants) have devolved. Having fallen through the power of former accumulations (of karma), they multiply into innumerable beings who are called “Making Other Emanations” (Paranirmitavasavartina). They are called that because they have the power to make bodies and enjoyable resources appear to emanate form other. If you ask ”Which others?” the emanations that appear to come from others seem to come from the divine wishing tree and from himself. Their bodies are 1.5 rgyang-grags (= 1.5 x 2,000 feet) tall and they can live for 16,000 of their own years where one (of their) day and night equals 6,100 human years.
Below that, in the space called “Wishing Tree, <59> Beautiful Sight,” having separated from above, are (the beings called) “Magic Delight” (Nirmanaratnaya). They are called that because, having magically emanated 100 or 1,000 or countless sons from their bodies of light, they create a peak experience of delight. Their bodies are 1.25 rgyang-grags tall of 625 gzhu-‘dom (4 x 625 ft) tall. They can live for 8,000 of their own years where one of their day and night equals 800 human years.
Below them, in the space called “Wishing Tree, Beautiful Vision,” is the “Joyful Mansion” (Tushita), devolved from Magic Delight, so called because they ractice the holy dharma joyfully, happily. Their bodies are one rgyang-grags tall or 500 gzhu-‘dom (4 x 500 feet) tall. They can live for 4,000 of their own years where one of their day and night equals 400 human years.
Below them, in the space called “Wishing Tree, Changing Mind,” are those “Who Do Not Fight” (Yama), who have fallen from above, so called because they are not gods and are not free from contention. Their bodies are ¾ of a rgyang-grags tall or 375 gzhu-‘dom tall. They can live for 2,000 of their own years where one of their day and night equals 200 human years.
Below them, on the ground that is ornamented by the “Wishing Tree, yongs-‘du so brtol,” are the Gods of the Thirty-Three Mansions (Trayastrimsa) who devolved by falling from “Who Do Not Fight.” A very strong elephant with 33 heads, 32 of gold and <60> one of turquoise, controls (?) Indra and Vishnu. In the Heaven of the Thirty-Three (gods) are (the cities) “Not Mixed,” “Burned Jewels,” and so forth. Indra is named because of being made (?) by the 33 (?). His body is 2.25 rgyangs-grags or 250 gzhun-‘dom tall. They can live for 1,000 of their own years where one of their day and night equals 100 human years.
Below them, where the sun, moon, and stars arise, at the base of the Axial Mountain’s peak and of gnya’ shing-‘dzin (Yugadhara) are the beings who have fallen from the Thirty-Three Mansions called “Gods Belonging to the Four Great Kings” (Caturmaharajakayika). They are born as the individual protectors of the four islands because they protect (? dbang-bsgyur). Their bodies are 1.25 rgyang-grags or 125 gzhu-‘dom tall and they can live for 500 of their own years where one of their day and night equals 50 human years. These are the six families of the gods of the desire realm.
The long-lived family (of Yaksas) has the same body size and life span as the gods of the Thirty-Three Mansions. The powerful family of Yaksas have body size, life span, and resources similar to the four protectors. The evil water serpents’ family is similar to the regular water serpents. The Killer Cannibal (Raksa) family is like hungry the ghosts. The Wrathful Demon family, the Fine Web (Vemacitra, Vyutpatti #3393) family and others are like <61> the gods who can make bodies and resources appear to emanate from others (Paranirmitavasarvartina). Their lifespan is like that of the Gods of the Thirty-Three Mansions. The Demon family is included within the god families, so there are only four titan (anti-god) families.
First I will explain the evolution of the two god’s children who are spontaneously born out of the clear light on a lotus in India, the ground of special merit. After the four great kings and the other beings above have been established (in their respective places as just explained) the two god’s children, Very Brilliant and Stainless Moon, fall from the clear light onto the land of India. Several spontaneously born god’s children proliferate upon (?) all appearances, which are incredible, very beautiful lotus lights, having arisen through love (lit. the condition that manifests the some ? sex seed in space) from the wavering of the minds of those (first) two (beings).
All of them, when they see each other, are happy and cavort in luminosity (?). Then those beings travel, they travel in the sky; when they rest, they also rest in the sky. For food they are satiated by meditation. Countless bundles of light rays are emitted from their bodies and they can (easily) go wherever they wish. Their life span is not measurable. They do not even have any cause for delusion.
Some tantra explains that (these beings) have proliferated from Tusita (heaven); another text says they have fallen from the (realms) of the four guardian kings. The intention (of these explanation) is that these first two (humans) have fallen from the <62> clear light and though they may have fallen here (onto the earth’s surface) from either Tusita or the realm of the four guardian kings or from some other higher place, you should understand that there is no contradiction among these texts as to their being born (here). At that time, that land is called Tusita Stack (built up). If someone should ask “Why is that?” It is because what appears is an
immeasurably joyous, happy (spiritual) affair (ting nge ‘dzin). At that time, the six-fold teacher (? Vajrasattva and 5 dhyani buddhas?) who trains those beings, Vajradhara himself, is magically born on a very beautiful, wide and vast lotus (fashioned) out of light with 1,000 unfolded petals. Furthermore, because (Vajradhara) sees (human) (beings)
with three ways of seeing, the emergence from above of the god’s children, Brilliant Sun and Stainless Moon, is the sign of (his) emergence as the teacher who trains beings using skillful means and insight. Then on top of each lotus petal the arrival of a buddha who is identical to the Buddha Vajradhara himself is the sign of the emergence of the 1,000 Buddhas during this eon. Then, Vajradhara, watching the lotus with the look what subdues appearance, emerging from the sky, becomes famous as the self-resonance of hot and cold (?). From the resonance that is known as “the appearance of humans” which arises three times, those beings are held forth as “human beings.”
At that time, their bodies are not yet material, being without flesh and blood. They are present as an open, free space, sustained through the former light <63> Though their five sense organs, limbs, coloration, sense fields, and so forth, they are beautiful, the male and female distinctions are, as yet, non-existent. At that time, the 6,400,000 stars that appear and light up the sky presage the arising of the 6,400,000 varieties of Great Perfection teachings.
Among these, seventeen (stars) are particularly beauteous and bright, a sign of the seventeen top secret, supreme tantras. Then that teacher (Vajradhara), having looked upon the teachings and those to be instructed with the look that knows all the facets (of teaching), spoke the foremost of all the teachings, the great root tantra, the Resonance of Sound (sgra thal ‘gyur). At this time, the life span of humans is immeasurable and their bodies are 32 cubits (= 18 inches x 32 = 48 feet) tall.
These (life spans and height) then gradually decrease. The population increases, lifespan decreases by degrees and even the body’s light disappears and merit becomes less. Delusion and habit patterns come forth through the power of former karma. (Those beings’) majesty and brilliance wanes.
At this time also, on the eastern continent (Tall Bodied), humans proliferate from the god (realms) and more spread through spontaneous generation. Humans also proliferate on the northern continent (Cattle Feeding). Therefore, the human species is known as “the world of work” because they arise first in India (the continent of the Jambu tree). <64> then,
because those beings become crazed with ecstatic, joyous play and because their life span lasts up to one million years, their country is called “world where nothing’s free.” At that time, those beings are hatched from eggs (composed) of light. Their aura extend for seven ‘dom (= ~14 meters) and they can travel in the sky. For nourishment, they eat the nectar of the elemental forces. Being naked, without clothes, when they get dirty, they swim in nice bathing ponds. They all act naturally according to the ten virtues.
Then their life span slowly decreases through the power of former karma and their aura and merit also diminish. This land is called “Accumulated by the light that gathers heat and moisture.” At that time, the elemental forces have become causes and conditions due to temperature differentials and (?) all beings produce bacteria from the dew of trees. At this time, their life span can last up to 100,000 years.
For nourishment, they eat the fruits of the wishing tree. For rainment they wear nice leaves. For each human born, an individual tree arises (grows). Mae and female se organs have not yet appeared. Seeing one another, they are happy; touching is pure joy.
Then their merit slowly decreases. When their lifespan approaches 80,000 years, the land is called “Desire aroused, wombs appear.” The delusions of those beings come into existence. Through the force of karma <65> male and female sex organs begin to appear. Looking at one another, touching and laughing (flirting), desire arises, babies are conceived in the womb, and the population increases. At this time, their auras are restricted to their own bodies (lit. just appear to themselves). For food and clothes, they use their own tree and also have a wishing cow and a smart horse.
Then their merit decreases. With the emergence of the delusion of hatred, their former good qualities disappear through the karma of individuals killing each other. (Having) increased (the population) through looking, flirting, and touching, everyone (now) travels by skimming the earth without touching (the surface of the earth). For nourishment they eat the nice fat (manna) of the earth (= protein), which tastes like honey.
For clothes they wear cotton cloth. At this time, their auras, having darkened, are very opaque and their physical bodies and age, being evident, are not beautiful (any more). Then, after a while, some of the people take that manna, even though they do not need it, and hoard a day’s, month’s, or year’s (supply). Everyone says, “That’s a good idea” and follows the example until it all disappears. Meanwhile a period of famine and darkness occurs for many years.
Then, through the common merit of beings, the sun arises, shining in the sky. Because it is not (ma) too close (nye) or too far away (ring) it is known as the sun (nyi ma), that which benefits equally. Then its setting is called <66> night.
(Because people) wish to banish the darkness, the moon, which is like that (sun) rises. Being like a friend (mistress) (zlo bo) of that sun, it is called the moon (zla ba). At that time, the moon also radiates heat all night. Since most of the common (?) people pray that it (the moon) become cool, it becomes cool, losing its warmth. But some (people), being too cold, could not bear the discomfort. Therefore, because they said “do not become cold,” the moon began changing phases, waxing and waning.
At that time, (those people have as) a food resource fields of wild rice whose grain matures on its own, wherein what is reaped in the morning grows (back) in the evening. Thus their bodies being strong and fit (healthy), they engage in sexual passion.
When some of the (other) people throw sticks, clods of dirt, and stones, (the lovers) feeling ashamed, create an enclosure (fence) out of wood, stone, and such and when the rain of nectar falls, they make a thatch roof.
This first house they created was called a cottage. Then the (wild) rice fields diminished because of hoarding and did not grow (back). One proud man, saying, “I own up to here” divided (the land) into parcels. Then, because everyone else did likewise, those of less merit who had poor fields, could not feed (themselves). Thus they stole from others and thereby accumulated all the delusions: passion, hatred, stupidity, pride, and envy.
Through the force of karma that (natural food supply) disappeared. <67> At this time, a man from a good family, having divided his extra rice into portions, gave it away. When he did not have enough for himself, everyone was delighted (by his surprising generosity) and appointed him king. He was known as “the king who is respected by many.” Then (the people) cultivated the hills with wooden plows, planted tine seeds, and harvested the first grain, barley.
Then (the people) labored hard in the fields and countless towns, villages, and cities arose. Throughout India, cities spread everywhere, (each encompassing) an area about which a bird can fly. In the good years (the land) was filled with children and adults.
Now, the way the evil realms of rebirth came about was through the power of people’s accumulation of the three types of sinful karma. A being who was born as the master of hell, who had especially accumulated anger karma, was the first n=born as the king Yama in Naraka’s realm (avici).
Surrounding him arose also many sentient beings who were working out their karmic debts in hell’s misery, many birds, dogs, and hell protectors. Then all the eight hot hells and next to them the eight cold hells also emerged near (?) the hell of one day’s duration.
Those who exist in the first of the hot hells, the Reviving (Sanjiva), can live for 500 of their own years where one day in the Reviving Hell equals 500 years of the four great kings, these years consisting of twelve months of 30 days each, where one day equals 50 human years. [50 human yrs/day 30 days/mo x 12 mo/yr x 500 yrs/day x 365 days/yr x 500 yrs = 1.6425 x 10 to the 12th power years: 1,642,500,000,000 years.
Compare with the scientific calculation of the age of the universe, ~15 billion years] Similarily, those who exit in the Black Line Hell (Kalasutra) survive for 1,000 of their own years, where one day equals 1,000 years of the heaven of the 33 mansions; those of the Multitude Destroyer Hell (Samghata) survive for 2,000 of their own years, where one day equals 2,000 years of the Twins (= Yama ?);
those of the Weeping & Shouting Hell (Raurava) survive for 4,000 of their own years, where one day equals 4,000 years of the Joyful Mansion (Tusita); those of the Great Weeping and Shouting Hell (Maharaurava) survive for 8,000 of their own years, where one day equals 8,000 years of Magic Delight (Nirmanarataya); those of the Burning Hell (Tapana) survive for 16,000 of their own years, where one day equals 16000 years of Making Others Emanations (Paranirmitavasavartina);
those of the Scorching Hell (Pratapana) survive for half of an intermediate eon; and those of the Intolerable Hell (Avici) survive for one intermediate eon. The cold hells are: Chattering Hell (Atata), Screaming Hell (Hahava), Wimpering Hell (Hahuva), Cleft Like a Lilly Hell ( Utpala), Cleft Like Lotus Hell (Padma), and Cleft Like a Big Lotus (Mahapadma). Those of the Blistering Hell can survive for as long as it would take to exhaust a mass of sesame seeds covering central India (Maghada) to a depth of 100 feet if one seed were taken away each 100 human years. You should know that <69> those in each successive hell survive 20 times longer than the previous one.
Hungry ghosts can live for 500 of their own years where one day equals 100 human years. Animals’ lifespans vary. The eight Great Nagas and others can live for one intermediate eon. Flies and other insects live for anywhere from an instant to a day (or more), but in any case not for a long time.
Thus from the start of the first creation eon until one beings experiencing misery in the intolerable hell is known as the creation eon. This 3,000 world system with its levels of environments and inhabitants develops at the same time.
Furthermore, 1,000 world systems with their four continents and the Axial Mountain up to the brahma are taken as 1,000 worlds; 1,000 of those world systems are taken as the 2,000 world systems; and 1,000 of those are taken as the 3,000 great thousand world systems. There are one billion world systems consisting of an Axial Mountain and such. These develop during 20 intermediate eons. Then, there are 20 intermediate eons of stability, one (intermediate eon) of decline, 18 of fluctuation (increase and decrease), and one of increase.
During the first period of decline, lifespans decrease from being measureless to lasting 80,000 years, (in increments of ) 200 years ear 200 years (?). From lasting 80,000 years, it decreases to lasting 10 years (in increments of) one year each 100 years. During the second periods (of fluctuation), (lifespan) having reached 10 years, when someone gives up killing, their lifespan increase to 20 years. <70>
Similarly, by giving up stealing, lifespan increases to 40 years; by giving up promiscuity, it increases to 100 years; by giving up slander, it increases to 200 years; by giving up gossip, it increases to 500 years; by giving up cursing, it increases to 1,000 years; by giving up envy, it increase to 2,000 years; by giving up malice, it increases to 10,000 years; by giving up perverted views, it increases to 20,000 years; by giving up attraction to ignorance, it increases to 40,000 years; by giving up perverted actions, it increases to 80,000 years.
During the period when lifespans increase, (beings) forms and resces increase and fortune spreads. Then, the eighteen alternating periods of decrease and increase are known as the 18 intermediate spikes. (In this) third period, after the fluctuations (?) are finished, the first upward increase is calculated the same way (as just described). Having reached the uncountable (level), the decreasing geometric (?) progression is called arithmetic (?) progression.
During that time, due to the merit of beings, an immeasurable variety of pure, white spiritual teachings exist: virtue, happiness, awakened ones, spiritual guidance, and a spiritual community; when there is no merit, present are: misery, perverted people, destructive teachings, numerous philosophies, various karmic delusions, the six types of beings, the four types of birth, nationalistic distinctions, resource (depletion), and various (un)virtuous and sinful things.
Then (come) the twenty intermediate eons of destruction, bringing an end to stability, ushering in change. Furthermore, it takes nineteen intermediate eons for the inhabitants to be destroyed and one intermediate eon for the environment to be destroyed, thus making twenty.
(First the hells) begin emptying when there are no new rebirths in the hell realms. The life forces of the old hell beings, hungry ghosts, and animals of this field migrate; since there are no new rebirths, the field becomes empty. Furthermore, because they have committed sins, those who were here must be newly reborn into the lower realms. They go to the lower realms of other buddhafields because they cannot be born here (anymore). (Thus this universe/buddhafield) is emptied.
Then the humans are destroyed. Their lifespan lessens by degrees, until it lasts 10 years, an era when people die by disease. Then after three small violent (?) eons (when people die) by war and famine (?), one person in India achieves the second concentration without having learned from anyone.
Having thereby woken up, he says, “This happiness that is born from quiet (meditation) is very joyous.” Without difficulty, everyone heard and achieved equanimity, being reborn as Clear Light Gods (of the form realm, Abhasvara).
As India has been emptied, the eastern and western continents are also the same. Those of the northern continent <72> are reborn in the heaven of the 33 mansions. Then from the realm of the four great kings to the great Brahma, likewise (the beings are reborn in higher realms).
The sun in the sky gets very hot and burns the grasses and trees. Two (suns) rise (or perhaps the sun doubles in size?) and dry up rivers and streams. Three (suns) rise and dry up the large rivers. Four (suns) rise and dry up the lakes. Five (suns) rise and dry up the great oceans.
Six (suns) rise and dry up the great earth with its snow mountains. Seven (suns) rise and burn up the seven mountain ranges and all the 100million things (everything else). A flaming tornado ignites the world system from the hell’s golden fountain up to Brahma’s realm. Everything ignited, it burns seven times until there in not even any ash left. The seven suns and seven burnings are the seven fire destructions.
Then the wind vajra cross arises. Because everything is destroyed (always), it disappears up to the third concentrations and is changed into one space. Thus after the world formation is destroyed, it becomes empty in the single nature of space. Furthermore, as in the <73> ordinary vehicle (systems) 80 intermediate eons equals one great eon. Purity (?), birth, sickness, old age, and death occur within (correspond to?) the creation, growth, destruction, and empty (stages). This corresponds to where the Resonance of Sound says,
Furthermore, from the beginning (when life) is immeasurable until the end (when it lasts) 10 years, there are 20 reverses (from arithmetic to geometric). During the last decline to 10 years (lifespan), merely one of the increases and decreases, there is in each (?) a small eon of disease, war, and famine.
During the last, the whole environment and all its beings are destroyed. Furthermore, according to this extraordinary vehicle (explanation), the 60 eons of stability destruction, and emptiness are equal to 180 so-called first huge eons; 180 huge eons equal a so-called second intermediate eon; 180 intermediate eons are said to equal a so-called great eon. As well, about this the Resonance of Sound says,
The transformations of time are as follows:
From the beginning when lifespans are immeasurable
To the end when they last 10 years,
Rising creation and sinking decline,
Disease, famine, and war
Last for three small eons.
Sixty <74> passing (eons?)
(Are destroyed) seven (times) by fire, seven by water.
It is completed fourteen times.
What is left over is destroyed by wind.
Then, up to sixty, it remains empty.
180 of those is the first, huge eon.
180 of those is the second, an intermediate eon.
The same (180) counted is a great eon.
Originally translated in 1985 from the Tibetan by Horoshi Sonami (aka Ngor Thartse Khenpo Sonam Gyatso Rinpoche (1930-1988), a disciple of Jamyang Khyentse Chokyi Lodro, and the reincarnate khenpo of Ngor Thartse Monastery of the Sakya school in Tibet) and Merrill Peterson (student of the great master Tarthang Tulku Rinpoche and numerous other famous masters and scholars), in Oakland, California. Revised slightly at The Zone on Triumph Hills, in North Las Vegas (Synsiddhi), Nevada (the Silver State) in the girl’s Firebird Year, 2017. Dedicated to the long life and prosperity of Tarthang Tulku Rinpoche and all the great lamas of Tibet, past, present, and future. May their work flourish. May all beings without a single exception discover confidence in the clear, unobstructed, radiant light of their own being, a treasure, still, ever-present within.