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Buddha's Trellis: Buddhism and the Tree of Life
"An action will not be right unless the will be right; for from thence is the action derived. Again, the will will not be right unless the disposition of the mind be right; for from thence comes the will."
Position 1: Kether: Crown, Where Creation Begins, Limitless Possibilities, Infinite Reality. To wait, to surround.
Traditional Kaballah: Keter, radiance of the Divine Presence. Will surrounds the conscious powers of the soul (the Sephiroth or Divine Emanations) and forces them to manifest themselves according to its directions. It represents the superconscious realm of experience. The image of a crown represents the aura surrounding our consciousness.
Christian Cabala: Divine Will Dignatory: Voluntas (Will)
Hermetic Kaballah: Body Position: Crown; Astrological Correspondence: God (later Saturn)
Buddhist Principle: The extremely subtle indestructible drop, extremely subtle body-mind complex; the deepest state of pure soul, the deepest seat of life and awareness. The state of extremely subtle mind corresponds to the intuition of clear light. Being is a state of intelligent light, constant but changing, infinitely aware to the interconnectivity of all things, beyond duality and instinctual patterns, at one with reality and truth in a state of peace, translucent, untroubled and uncreated. The first of the Three Jewels: The Buddha: Awareness and Understanding.
The First Mysterious Gate: All things are co-existent, corresponding to one another.
Position 2: Chokmah: The Origin of Vital Force and polarity.
What brings us together or holds us apart. Dynamic male energy.
Traditional Kaballah : Hokhmah, Wisdom; the first power of conscious intellect within Creation. It corresponds to the right hemisphere of the brain. Its inner and outer aspects are referred to jointly as "Abba", the Father. It represents the power of intuitive insight and the ability to extract information from the superconscious level - acuity of perception to pull the seeds of truth in reality. Hokhmah is the beginning force in the creative process and the power of selflessness. The palate of selflessness that allows the soul to taste Divinity - an inner spiritual sense that comes before and stimulates the sense of sight.
Christian Cabala: Wisdom Dignatory: Sapienta (Wisdom)
Hermetic Kaballah: Body Position: Left side of face; Astrological Correspondence: Fixed stars (later Uranus)
Buddhist Principle: Urgency and impermanence. The transmutation of the ordinary between, dreams and the waking magic body. Beatific-Body, bright with freedom's natural energy. The Beatific Body represents the ultimate, subtle and detached sastisfaction of being a Buddha who has realized perfect union with the infinite freedom of ultimate reality. It is like an ethereal body formed from sheer joy at being liberated from suffering and the awareness of the absolute nature of reality. Speech becomes the Beatific Body when Buddhahood is obtained. The second of the Three Jewels: The Dharma: Right Understanding and Views.
The Second Mysterious Gate: The intention and extension of one thing involve those of others without any obstacle.
Position 3: Binah: The Origin of Form and Structure. Female energy.
Traditional Kaballah: Binah: Understanding, Compassion; the second conscious power of intellect in Creation. It corresponds to the left hemisphere of the brain and is associated with the sense of hearing. Its inner and outer aspects are jointly called "Imma", the Mother. It represents the power of conceptual analysis and reasoning, both inductive and deductive, and the ability to comprehend insights. The Wide River which gives the ability to explain and expand on concepts for yourself and others. It also represents the ability to distinguish and differentiate between ideas. Its root word "bein" means "between". Hokhmah and Binah are two companions that never separate.
Christian Cabala: Intelligence. Dignatory: Veritas (Truth)
Hermetic Kaballah: Body Position: Right side of face; Astrological Correspondence: Saturn
Buddhist Principle: The transmutation of death, sleep and trance. Truth-Body, voidness free of intrinsic status. This is the highest fruit of wisdom and perfect freedom with the fulfillment of all selfish concerns. Body and speech are interactive. The body reaches out from self-centredness to touch other people and situations with speech to express the content of the mind to others thereby linking one mind to another. Speech is the joy of the mind attaining infinite oneness. Mind becomes the Truth Body when Buddhahood is achieved. The third of the Three Jewels: Sanga: Purity and Harmony.
The Third Mysterious Gate: The One and the Many are mutually inclusive.
Position 11: Daath: The bridge in between infinite and finite reality. (Usually this Sephiroth is not numbered but for clarity and ease of use I have numbered it.)
Traditional Kaballah: Da'at, Higher and Hidden Knowledge. Da'at is the reflection of Keter in the realm of consciousness as well as the attitude and emotions of the soul. It corresponds to the cerebellum or posterior brain. Da'at represents the powers of memory and concentration which are based on our ability for recognition and sensitivity. It is a bridge between the higher powers of the intellect (Hokhmah and Binah) and the lower levels of intellect, Lower and Extending Knowledge. It is also the bridge between the intellect and the realm of emotion which creates Unification - the ultimate spiritual purpose of Da'at.
Hermetic Kaballah: Body Position: Third-Eye or Throat; Astrological Correspondence: None (later Pluto)
Buddhist Principle: Walking a tightrope across an abyss. The In-Betweens: Life is between birth and death; Dreams are between sleep and waking; Trance is between dualistic consciousness and enlightened awareness; Death Point is between life and reality; Reality is between death point and existence; Existence is between reality and birth. The end of birth is death. All meetings end in separation. All accumulation ends in dispersal.
Position 4: Chesed: Stabilized and nurtured forms and structures.
Traditional Kaballah: Hesed, Lovingkindness; the first of the emotive aspects in Creation and the first day of Creation. The first day accompanies and radiates all other days of Creation. Hesed also inspires and accompanies all of the other emotions of the soul. It corresponds to the right arm which draws us near. Hesed is the desire to embrace all of Creation and cover it in good and the force which impels the soul to connect to outer reality and leads us to love.
Hermetic Kaballah: Body Position: Left Arm; Astrological Correspondence: Jupiter
Christian Cabala: Mercy and Love Dignatory: Bonitas (Goodness)
Buddhist Principle: Waking the Magic Body. The Magic Body is created in the third perfection stage, self-consecration. It is the highest, spiritual, consciously created form of subtle mind for a dreamer in mundane life. Vows, promises or committments that can't be kept completely but that can be constantly repaired.
The Fourth Mysterious Gate: All things are identical with one another.
Position 5: Geburah: Forms and Structures challenged or affirmed.
Traditional Kaballah: Gevurah, the second of the emotive aspects of Creation. It corresponds with the left arm which repels. Gevurah is the power to restrain yourself from doing good or giving goodness to someone who is not worthy or likely to misuse it and is the force which assesses the worthiness of Creation. It also gives us the strength to overcome our inner and outer enemies. Hesed and Gevurah together balance our soul's view of the outside world and are two hands acting together to form reality. It also represents fear of God as the beginning of Wisdom and the arms of God embracing the world. The Hebrew letter Aleph, the pause before speaking, is a silent letter and is made up of three more letters. Yod, Vav (Waw) and Yod. The word Yod means pointing hand and Vav is the conjunction and. Aleph is two pointing hands joining, one reaching up and one reaching down.
Hermetic Kaballah: Body Position: Right Arm; Astrological Correspondence: Mars
Christian Cabala: Strength Dignatory: Potestas (Power)
Buddhist Principle: Waking the Gross Body. Making and keeping committments in constantly changing circumstances. Infinite mind and speech create the gross body manifestations necessary for a Buddha to relate to those of us who cannot perceive our oneness with beauty and who misunderstand suffering and alienation. This is necessary in order to liberate and inspire us towards enlightenment.
The Fifth Mysterious Gate:The hidden and the manifested mutually perfect each other.
Position 6: Tiphareth: Illumination and clarity as harmonizing focal point.
Traditional Kaballah: Tifaret, Beauty; the third emotive aspect of Creation and corresponding to the heart and upper torso. Tifaret represents the reconciliation of the opposing aspects of Hesed and Gevurah allowing focused compassion and mercy to blend with right action and appropriate expression. It is the union of the three emotions of the soul which are fear, love and mercy.
Hermetic Kaballah: Body Position: Heart, Breast; Astrological Correspondence: Sun
Christian Cabala: Beauty Dignatory: Virtus (Virtue)
Buddhist Principle: Morality is the true beauty of a person. Restraint and spontaniety. Once enlightened the ordinary mind achieves the experience of oneness with infinite reality which becomes permanent awareness. Buddhist ethics has ten laws which are divided into three groups. There are three that relate to the body: don't kill, steal or commit sexual misconduct. There are four which relate to speech: don't lie, slander, gossip or revile. The other three relate to the mind: don't covet, hate or hold distorted beliefs.
The Sixth Mysterious Gate: All minute and abstruse things mutually penetrate one another.
Position 7: Netzach: Emotion, Inspiration, Imagination
Traditional Kaballah: Netzah, Victory; the fourth emotive aspect of Creation and associated with the right leg, the first limb of the supernal body to touch the ground. It is the power to overcome those obstacles which prevent us from giving good to the world and its ultimate victory is in overcoming death itself. Netzah is the union of our emotions (heart) and our expression (mouth) giving the sense of timelessness and eternal life within the barriers of chronological time through which we can achieve confidence.
Hermetic Kaballah: Body Position: Loins, left hip and leg; Astrological Correspondence: Venus
Christian Cabala: Endurance Dignatory: Eternitas (Eternity)
Buddhist Principle: Waking Trance. Taking care of your own happiness. The isolation of speech from the ordinary by the unification of energy-wind and mantra. The mantra is a sound which expresses the deepest essence of a thing. This practice assists in the transcendence of the ordinariness of time. The root of time is in respiration and the wind energies are united with the mantras, the vajras of body, speech and mind. This requires advanced meditation techniques which turns the seeker into living mantra alone in the centre of an empty universe. It takes three years of daily pracatice to complete the full cycle of recitations necessary to achieve renunciation and clarity; 100,000 prostrations while reciting the Refuge Prayer; 100,000 recitations of the Confession Mantra (100 syllables); 100,000 offerings of the Sacred Word Mandala and 1,000,000 recitations of the Guru Yoga Prayer.
The Seventh Mysterious Gate: All things reflect one another.
Position 8: Hod: Reason, Analysis and Communication.
Traditional Kaballah: Hod, Splendour, Acknowledgment, Reverberation; the fifth emotive aspect of Creation and associated with the left leg. Hod and Netzah are two halves of a single body, they must work together in order to walk. They are the scales of justice, Netzah weighs merits and Hod concedes, acknowledges or confesses. Hod is the ability to advance towards realizing your goals with perseverance and determination based on true committment. Committment is a vision you embrace from the inside and choose to walk in your day to day life. We are a society dictated by paralysing overanalysis which prevents us from making true committments or even assessing if we know what committment means to us. Hod gives us the ability to express our thanks and to confess allowing us to achieve sincerity.
Hermetic Kaballah: Body Position: Loins, right hip and leg. Astrological Correspondence: Mercury
Christian Cabala: Majesty Dignatory: Gloria (Glory)
Buddhist Principle: Waking State. Depth and accuracy, committment to ethical conduct. Karmas are the mental, verbal and physical actions we may take which affect and constitute the consequences of our lives and are accumulated as a result of actions by the body, mouth, and mind. Buddhists believe that we carry a spiritual gene which informs the structures of our present lifetime with the experiences of millions of previous lifetimes and when combined with the physical genes we receive from our parents begins the process of spiritual and biological evolution.
In Buddhism the Four Noble Truths state that all delusion driven life is suffering, the suffering is caused by misknowledge and evolution, there is freedom from this suffering and the pathway to it is spiritual education in morality, meditation and scientific wisdom. There are eight sufferings: birth, old age, disease, death, separation from loved ones, meeting uncongenial persons, unfulfilled wishes, and the suffering associated with the five raging skandas (the components that make up the body and the mind). Only by internalizing the truth of emptiness (reality) can we escape suffering. There are also four debts: to one's parents, to the Three Jewels (Buddha, Dharma, Sangha), to the founders of the nation/enlightened temporal leaders and to all sentient beings. In past lives all men were our fathers, all women our mothers.
The Eighth Mysterious Gate: Truth is manifested in facts and facts are the source of enlightenment.
Position 9: Yesod: Treasure House of Images and emerging patterns which may manifest.
Traditional Kaballah: Yesod; Foundation; the sixth of the emotive aspects of Creation and associated with the womb and the male procreative organ. It is the power of the soul to reach, connect and effectively communicate with outer reality. Yesod is considered to be both the beginning - the foundation of procreation - and the conclusion of the body. It is our ability to bring and act to a conclusion in truth, and to confirm our emotions and ethics through right action thereby achieving self-fulfillment in our lives - grounding us and solidifying our union with earth.
Hermetic Kaballah: Body Position: Genitals; Astrological Correspondence: Moon
Christian Cabala: Foundation Dignatory: Magnitudo (Greatness)
Buddhist Principle: The Dharma of experience - ethical, meditational and intellectual- and the higher educations of justice, concentration and wisdom. Enlightenment is the perfect knowledge and awareness of the state of things. Our possibility of liberating ourselves from suffering is based on the truth of the condition of Enlightenment and the untruth of our mundane condition of suffering. The ultimate reality is in the teachings, the path we take to realization and the qualities which are derived from the journey. The task of the Buddhist is to actualize deep moral sensitivity, powerful mental intensity and acute intellectual insights.
The Ninth Mysterious Gate: The past, present and future are inter-penetrating.
Position 10: Malkuth: Action, physicality and outer reality.
Traditional Kaballah: Malkut, Kingdom, The World of Speech, The Gate to God; the last of the emotive aspects of Creation which gives us the power to express our thoughts and emotions to others. It is associated with the corona of the penis, the labia and the mouth. Malkut represents the soul's power for self-expression. The soul wears three garments: Thought, which reveals the soul inwardly and Speech and Deed which reveal the soul outwardly. Proper speech allows us to use authority and Kingship which, when balanced with sensitivity to the needs of others, will lead us to humility. Malkut forces all other agents of Creation to accept one Divine authority thereby assuring the ultimate good of the mundane realm.
Hermetic Kaballah: Body Position: Feet, anus; Astrological Correspondence: Earth
Christian Cabala: Kingdom, Creation itself.
Buddhist Principle: Transmutation of ordinary life, waking state and integrated gross body. Emanation body, ceaselessly arising everywhere. Ordinary body becomes the Emanation body when Buddhahood is achieved. You are responsible for yourself in all three areas of body, speech and mind. This triad becomes the Three Buddha Bodies. As the Emanation Body rises from the energy of the Beatific Body, speech is experienced as fulfilling and joyful experience and a limitless amount of appropriate manifestations are available to assist the Buddha in expanding the enlightenment of others.
The Tenth Mysterious Gate: All things are manifestations and transformations of the mind.
Buddhism is one beggar telling another beggar where to find refuge. Judaism is one beggar telling another beggar where to find water. Christianity is one beggar telling another beggar where to find food. Islam is one beggar telling another beggar where to find fire. You cannot separate shelter from refuge, wet from water, sustenance from food or heat from fire. We sit alone at our tables wondering where to seek knowledge to find enlightenment, and God sits alone at His table waiting for us to seek understanding to find humility.
It is my hope that you enjoy this piece and glean some new insights both into Buddhism and into the Tree of Life. I am long overdue in writing this but it has been percolating for a long time - my thanks to those who have waited patiently and encouraged my efforts. I completed this on my birthday and it is my pleasure to have shared the creative endeavour of my day with people of fine quality and understanding. Peace be with you all and always remember that when you ask God to help you, however you may conceive God to be, you had best be putting on a seatbelt.
by Norman Fischer, Joseph Goldstein,
Judith Simmer-Brown, Yifa
Edited by Patrick Henry
(c) Riverhead Books 2001
Guide to Tarot of the Sephiroth
by Josephine Mori and Jill Stockwell
Deck by Dan Staroff
(c) U.S. Games Systems, Inc.
See U.S. Games Sytems - Item #SPH78 and #SKUBK207 for convenient on-line ordering. The book and deck set is available at bookstores nationwide or by contacting U. S. Games Systems Inc. directly at (800) 544-2637.
The Essential Kabbalah
(c) 1995 Daniel C. Matt
Quality Paperback Book Club
by arrangement with HarperSanFrancisco
Harper Collins Publishers
The Path of Blessing
(c) 1998 by Marcia Prager
New York, New York
Crown Publishing Group
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Cette page a été mise à jour 2010-04-17 Updated