If you awaken fully, do you disappear?

A Student writes:

If you ‘Awaken’ fully do you disappear?

Lama Shenpen replies:

This is a very interesting question. I think the answer is maybe but not necessarily – and I believe there is an element of choice involved in this too.  I am reading a book called ‘Rainbow Body and Resurrection – Spiritual Attainment, the Dissolution of the Material Body and the Case of Khenpo A Cho‘ written by Francis V. Tiso a Roman Catholic priest I met at Karma Ling in France at an inter-faith discussion group.  The phenomena of the whole body disappearing is recorded in the Pali scriptures and there is a category of attaining nirvana with remainder and without. Without remainder means no body is left remaining.

Rigdzin Shikpo talks about this from the point of view of physics and what holds the body and atoms together – and once you have let go of the idea that mind is separate from matter – then the energy that holds so-called physical matter together becomes of the same nature as ‘mind’ – neither what we usually think of as matter nor what we usually think of as mind. 

Added to this it all has to do with what we usually think of as heart – not quite what we usually mean by heart because it is open to the whole of the reality – it interpenetrates the whole of reality – which is all beings including all Enlightened beings.  So the body disappearing is about Bodhichitta pervading all beings.

What a thing to be thinking about! What a way of practising!

Lama Shenpen Hookham

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One thought on “If you awaken fully, do you disappear?

  1. Extraordinary, though I’ve read of similar examples, such as monks who tried to live on pine-needles and were hardly ‘there’ when they died…

    Is Father Tiso’s interest perhaps in the possibility of Jesus too leaving without a body somehow?

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