Appearance, Increase and Attainment

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Three experiences of appearance, increase and attainment. (snang mched thob pa'i snang ba gsum) Please see 'Teaching' below. [RY]

Appearance (snang ba). 1) A sense impression or mental occurrence; anything that is experienced by a conscious mind. A normal person always feels that appearances are 'out there' and separate from the perceiver, while in the Buddhist philosophy of Mahayana appearances are understood first to be only mental events, then empty of inherent existence, and finally beyond constructs such as arising, dwelling and ceasing. In Vajrayana, i.e. from the viewpoint of self-existing wakefulness, appearance(s) is/are primordially indivisible from emptiness and therefore a pure expression of the male buddhas and the female buddhas and bodhisattvas; this is called 'all-encompassing purity of appearance and existence.' 2) The first of the three subtle dissolution stages. 3) Luminosity of appearance. The first of the three stages of appearance, increase and attainment. (snang ba'i 'od gsal) [RY]

Increase (mched pa) - 1) The second of the three experience of appearance, increase and attainment. 2) Experience of increase (mched pa'i nyams) - The second of the stages of appearance, increase and attainment {snang mched thob gsum}. 3) Redness. The second stage of the subtle dissolution stages of appearance, increase and attainment. (dmar lam) [RY]

Attainment (thob pa) - The third of the three experiences of appearance, increase and attainment. Experience of attainment (thob pa'i nyams) - The third of the three stages of appearance, increase and attainment. Blackness (nag lam) - An experience of utter blackness which is the third stage of appearance, increase and attainment [RY]

(snang mched thob gsum) - The three stages in the process of dissolution either at the moment of dying or when falling asleep. [RY]

(snang mched thob gsum) - appearance, increase and attainment, dawning, widening and achieving, the three subtle cognitions [RY]

(snang mched thob gsum) - soft light, intense spread of light, inner glow, appearance, increase and attainment (whiteness, redness, blackness when dying) [JV]


Teaching: (from "Vajra Speech", by Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche. Courtesy of Rangjung Yeshe)

Appearance, Increase and Attainment

Tulku Urgyen Rinpoche

When someone dies, the subtle dissolution stage is comprised of the three experiences of appearance, increase and attainment. These occur when the outer breath has stopped, but the inner breath -- the inner circulation of energy-currents -- has not yet ceased. For most people these three experiences do not last very long ---just one, two, three. The redness experience is like the red light of the setting sun spreading across one's vision. The whiteness is like moonlight, and the blackness is like everything going completely dark. At the moment the white and red elements converge at the heart center, one experiences the unity of bliss and emptiness and either falls unconscious, or, if one is a practitioner having familiarity with the state of rigpa, one experiences the ground luminosity of full attainment, the basic state of primordial purity.

The first of these four phases, appearance, is called the experience of whiteness, in which the white element obtained from our father descends from the crown of the head down towards the heart center. This is accompanied by the dissolution of the thirty-three types of aggressive thought states. The next experience is increase or, the experience of redness, which takes place when the red element obtained from our mother ascends from below the navel up to the heart center. It is accompanied by the dissolution of the forty types of thought sattes linked to desire. The meeting of the red and white elements is called attainment or the experience of blackness, and is accompanied by the dissolution of the seven thought states of stupifity. All the eighty inherent thought states cease when the red and white elements meet at the heart center. Ordinary people who have not recognized rigpa have no experience of or familiarity with a state which is awake, yet free from conceptual thought. These experience a blackout at this moment, becoming blank and unconscious. [TUR] [RY]