VCTR: No, the split is at the level of dharmata. When you reach the bardo of dharmata, you have a chance of either splitting downward or not. That is where coemergent ignorance and coemergent wisdom arise.
RK: If you wake up from the bardo of dharmata and go in the direction of coemergent ignorance, are you then presented with the lights?
VCTR: Yes. But that point is slightly hopeless, because you are already in duality.
RK: But if you go in the direction of coemergent wisdom, are you enlightened?
VCTR: Well, you at least glimpse it.
LM: In the past, we have discussed two types of alaya: one that is a sense of very primordial egolike consciousness and the other that is much more kosher. What is the third one?
JL: At that point, there is not even luminosity.
VCTR: There are two kinds of luminosity: that of coemergent wisdom and that of the basic alaya.
JL: Does the luminosity of coemergent wisdom take place after the split?
JL: Are there two kinds of brilliance, coemergent-wisdom brilliance and a coemergent-ignorance light that continues down into the basic alaya?
VCTR: No. The separation takes place at the level of dharmata, which is dull.
RK: By "separation," do you mean coemergent wisdom?
VCTR: Or ignorance.
RK: Is the lower alaya at the post-split level on the side of samsara?
RK: Is the higher alaya also post-split?
VCTR: No, the higher alaya is neutral.
LM: Is that the alaya referred to in the slogan, "Rest in the nature of alaya"?
LM: What is the term for the higher alaya?
VCTR: It is the "ultimate alaya" (Tib. tön-gyi künshi) or "perfectly pure ultimate alaya" (yangdak pe tön-gyi künshi). Out of that ultimate alaya, you could have a split. Finally, ultimate alaya is the atmosphere where the split can occur.
RK: When you have coemergent wisdom, there is both a sacred side and a samsaric side.
RK: Where does the sense of enlightenment or sacredness come from? Is it sacred because it comes out of the ultimate alaya?
VCTR: You could say that. Ultimate alaya at least holds the potentialities of the whole thing. We could say that samsara came out of some kind of freedom. That is the basic logic of why anyone can attain enlightenment.
RK: In meditation, is our approach to identify with the ultimate alaya?
VCTR: New practitioners try to meditate with the self-aware, self-luminous aspect.
RK: When meditators practice coemergent wisdom, is the sense of the ground what makes it coemergent wisdom instead of coemergent ignorance?
VCTR: Yes. You try to tune yourself into the ultimate alaya, and from there you try to flash.
RK: You flash on phenomena evolving?
RK: You drop back to the point before thought arises, then you let the thought arise, but you flash on it as it arises.
VCTR: Not quite. You do not flash "on course." You just flash.
LM: It is like saturating yourself first, then you let go of that.
VCTR: Yes. When you create pressure, then you can pop the balloon.
JL: Are you popping the balloon of your thoughts?
VCTR: You are popping your alaya.
JR: Then quite anything could come out [laughter].
SW: Does it come out as sacred?
VCTR: Absolutely, yes. You have sacred outlook.
RK: It is like you have a balloon full of water and a swimming pool. You drop the balloon into the swimming pool and then pop it.
LM: Or you swell up your balloon with whatever, then pop it by going out.
LM: And what you pop into would be sacred, the ultimate alaya.
VCTR: Then you could go a little beyond the ultimate alaya.
JR: Does this relate to "First thought, best thought"?
VCTR: Yes, very much so.
RK: So it is like you hold it, pop it, and then drop into ultimate alaya, or a little bit before.
VCTR: You hold it in the ultimate alaya. You pass beyond the luminous mind, or lower level. You hold it in the ultimate alaya, and then you pop it there.
LM: Then that is what you are left with.
VCTR: That is the level where you can actually transcend karmic force. Once you slowly go downward toward the luminous mind, you are bound by karma. So you are helpless in some sense; you have been forced. That is where the seventh consciousness comes from.
JL: Once it is popped, you start coming back down again. You expand back in through phenomena.
VCTR: Sometimes you just pop and then come back, because you cannot sustain it. But if you pop it many times, you are able to sustain it more. The idea is to flash as much as you can so that you will finally be able to sustain it.
JL: Then you just dwell there.
VCTR: "Dwell" is not exactly the right word.
JL: How would you describe it?
VCTR: There is some level of awake and space, I suppose.
JL: No subject and no object.
VCTR: No. You come down from the dharmakaya level to the sambhogakaya level.
LM: So are we talking about the dharmakaya principle?
VCTR: We are talking about the "first buddha," which we usually refer to as Samantabhadra and which is higher than Vajradhara.
LM: So this is the dharmakaya of dharmakaya.
VCTR: Right, which is a very early stage, even beyond the ultimate alaya.
LM: Would the ultimate alaya have more sense of dharmakaya or sambhogakaya?
VCTR: There is not very much there. It is just the atmosphere where the split can occur, a sort of neutral ground. It is not related to the kayas at all.
SW: It is like dharmadhatu?
VCTR: Dharmadhatu is beyond that. Dharmadhatu is before the first buddha. That is why we describe it with such terms as "simplicity," "unchanging," and "fresh."
RK: When you hold yourself back in the ultimate alaya, is there a sense of holding discursive thoughts still?
VCTR: You have to retreat back to the origin. It is holding discursive thoughts and also going beyond the luminous aspect.
RK: You cannot possibly hold it, so you drop it.
VCTR: You pop it.
RK: And you do not entertain any doubts about this process.
VCTR: That is why it is called the "fourth moment beyond the three." It is so minute. It is subtle and vajra, like the middle of space.
JL: Therefore it is outside of time.
JL: Therefore there is no karma.
LM: Since coemergence occurs before the luminous alaya, could the result or footprint of coemergence tie into the experience of that alaya? It comes after you have coemerged, but you notice it somewhat after the fact. There is some dropping of fixation, but it is not complete, since there is still some samsaric mind.
VCTR: You poke your head up, but it goes back because you are still pulled back by your karma.
RK: So you keep on poking your head up.
VCTR: That is right.
RK: The more pokes, the better.
© 2007 Nalanda Translation Committee