Chakras and the Elements

Bhuta Shuddhi is an ancient Chakra Meditation of Yoga and Tantra practice through which the five elements (bhutas) are purified (shuddhi). Bhuta refers to the past, and shuddhi refers to purifying the samskaras that operate in conjunction with the five elements.

The five elements relate to the five skandhas as follows. Earth - Form, Water - Sensation, Fire - Perceptions, Air - Intention and Ether - Consciousness.

The Chakra Meditation of Bhuta Shuddhi, it is also necessary to understand how the five elements relate to the chakras. The five bhutas are the five elements of earth, water, fire, air, and space. Muladhara - Earth - Form, Svadisthana - Water - Sensation, Manipura - Fire - Perception, Anahata - Air - Intention, Vishudda - Space - Consciousness, Ajna - Sun/Moon - Mind.

Alignment of the Five Elements with Five Buddha Families
The five elements align with, and operate from the five lower chakras and can be activated and awakened by the associated seed sounds or Bijas. In this Chakra Meditation, you will progressively move your attention through the chakras using the Bijas and breath. Combined with this will be an awareness of the nature of each chakra. Learning the nature of each chakra is a very in depth study. In this meditation we have provided the basic nature for each of the chakras as related to the Five Buddha Families.

Method of practicing Chakra Meditation - Bhuta Shuddhi
The Chakra Meditation method presented below (Bhuta Shuddhi) works directly with attention on the chakras, while balancing the subtle forces of the five elements through the use of the Bijas (seed) mantras and meditation on the Five Buddha Families which are related to each of the chakras.

Beginning Stretches
Bhuta Shuddhi practice itself, it is useful to do some some stretches or hatha asanas or some form of physical relaxation exercise which produces relaxation. This helps relax the thoughts allowing your attention to be able to focus on the chakras.

In this meditation we begin with the Svadisthana chakra. It is the water chakra from which we are all born. It is also from water that all life on the planet emerged.


Svadisthana Chakra Meditation - Akshobhya Buddha - Water Element
Allow your attention to naturally find the location of the Svadisthana chakra located in your pelvic girdle. It is important to note that the energy of the chakra system extends from the spine in the back and branches out to fill the entire pelvic area about hip level. Allow the attention to rest where it naturally falls, most of your attention maybe in the front. Imagine this chakra as a sphere that fills the entire pelvic area front to back, left hip to right hip.

Gradually attention will find this central stream or sushumna channel running up through all of the chakras (sushumna or central channel is a little smaller than a drinking stray). Allow the mantra Vam to arise in the center of the sphere. Make the sound VAM and naturally allow it to repeat itself, at its own speed, naturally coming and going. Hold your attention to the VAM in the center of the spherical space.

As you read the following script make the sound VAM and focus on the vibrations of that sound resonating in your pelvic area.

Allow the awareness of the element water to arise in your consciousness. Imagine a river, pure and crystal clear. See how the water flows and is fluid moving around rocks and obstacles in the river. Imagine a great ocean. Within this ocean are thousands of life forms, from Jelly Fish to Whales.

All life as we know it on our planet emerged from the oceans. Evolutionary science is very clear that physical life began as single cells beings in the great oceans. It is this commonality with all living beings that we can find the great accomplishment of Equanimity. Many times we suffer from thoughts of separation, of not belonging, of not being present. Equanimity is the even mindedness that is found flowing motion in the element water. Another shared characteristic of all human beings is that we were carried in our mother's watery womb prior to our emergence to the outer world.

Akshobhya - Mirror Like Wisdom is used to over come the negative emotion of anger. Water is related to sensation. When we have placed ourselves in a state of pure presence, where all things are as one taste, we can overcome attachments to our sensations. Desire is based on having an experience of sensation. When we do not get the sensation that we want from the outer world we often get angry. This anger is either directed at ourselves or at others, or sometimes even at inanimate objects. If you are experiencing anger and investigate you will find that you were looking for a particular sensation or feeling experience from an external object, event or person.

It is in the realization that the nature of reality is like a mirror, that we can begin to free ourselves from the chains of anger. The wisdom of the mirror is that the mirror, or what appears to us, is empty of any inherent nature (sensation) by itself. This is the case with external objects and our attachment to them. The objects that appear in our daily experience are empty of any sense qualities. They only have the sensation experience that we impute upon them. Understanding this we can begin to relax a little about our constant seeking of sensation and begin to develop an inner sense of being. It is this inner sense of being we will eventually discover to be a calm state, like a calm body of water reflecting all that appears in it. Being present in this inner calm state we can then allow what ever appears in the mirror of experience to simply be. We can enjoy the sensations that experiences bring us, however we are not dependent upon them for our happiness. This process of becoming an equanimity inertly located being takes some time and effort. We can not expect to develop this state tomorrow. However by understanding and contemplating a little Mirror Like Wisdom we can begin heading in the right direction, within.

As you contemplate the issue of anger and attachment to sensations that external objects, begin to tune into the liquid characteristics of your own physical body. We are 90% water. Our blood and essential fluids are mostly water. Begin feel this sensation of the water element in your body. Your blood is traveling from your heart through out your entire body. It carries nutrients from your digestive organs to the cells of organs and muscle tissue. It travels through all of your bones, into the center of your bones where blood cells are made. Develop a sensation of the rivers of blood flowing within your body from the ocean of your heart. As you develop a sense of this know that all beings on our planet are dependent on water for their survival. That all beings have this inner sensation of their watery nature.

Muladhara Chakra Meditation - Ratanasambhava Buddha - Earth
Bring your attention to the perineum, the flat space between the anus and the genital area. Allow the mantra LAM to arise repeatedly in your mind field, make the sound verbally out loud. Allow it to repeat at its own natural speed. You may find that it comes 5-10 times and wants to pause, or you might find it wants to come continuously. If it pauses, allow it to return in its own time. Imagine the color as a Crimson red. Keep your attention on that space; you will begin to feel a vibrating sensation. That space might be small, about the size of a dime, or it might be several inches across.

Allow your mind to naturally be aware of earth, solidity, or form. That awareness may come a little or a lot; either way is okay. This is your connection to the Earth to the realm of forms. We explored a bit how we have away of connecting sensations to forms. This is the very root of our conditioning, of our suffering. Begin to allow images or forms to come to mind that bring you a positive sensation. See how these forms arise with an associated sensation. Some forms may have a positive sensation associated with them others may have a negative sensation.

We often believe that this is the way that things typically are. Forms giving rise to sensations. However it is the other way around. We have desired or preferred sensations and then we associate them with forms. As the need for a particular sensation arises then we look for an associated form to experience that sensation. It is the understanding of this relationship of sensation and form which will allow us to move further in the correct direction.

When we have sensations that are associated to forms we have attachment, this causes us to suffer. Mistakenly we believe that our attachment is to the form or that form and sensation arise together, or are one in the same. This is a fundamental confusion that we have. Upon closer examination we will find that our attachment is to the sensation and not the form we have associated with the sensation. Realizing this we are able to begin the process of freeing ourselves from the endless cycle of sensation seeking in the objects that appear in the mirror.

This is the wisdom of the Buddha Ratanasambhava. It is called Jewel Like Wisdom. When we are free of desiring a particular sensation from other living beings we can begin to see the world as it really it. All beings have a jewel like quality to them. The Earth manifest before us as a sparkling jewel. The manner in which we begin to further our experience is to take refuge in the Three Jewels. This is the body, speech and mind of the Buddha.

Jewel Like Wisdom awareness assist us in overcoming Pride. When we have solid inner sensation of refuge we can experience of the beauty of the world directly. It is in beginning to understand that we need some assistance to break the sensation / form cyclic matrix. When our sense of being, or presence, is not based on utterly appearing objects or events we are free to see things as they really are. This is why it is called taking refuge. We are taking refuge of sensation within our own inner Buddha nature. This is the mind of the Buddha. In order to get to this inner dwelling of refuge we require instructions. This is the dharma of the Buddha. And along the way we will find friends and teachers that support our inward journey. These are the sangha of the Buddha. Once we have taken the steps inward we have begun the refuge process. This process is simply begun by feeling the sensations of our own body, speech and mind in the moment.

Finding our bones and blood as a sensation, the flow of life force within ourselves can liberate us from the constant cycle of sensation seeking an object in order to manifest as an experience. It is in this sound LAM and the watery energies from the Svadisthana chakra that we can begin to connect deeply on a inner level. As you continue to make the sound LAM see if you can connect with the flow of your blood through your bones. The liquid flows through all of your organs and blood vessels into your bones and out again. If there is no form there is no sensation and if there is no sensation then there is no form. It is like this with our blood and bones. In the early stages of life, embryonic, they arise in union. The blood gives rise to the bone formation.

As you begin to sense this presence of your blood and bones think of all the humans that you know, all the animals that you can think of. Each of them at their core has this same basic primordial sensation of the heart pumping blood through and around their bones. We are all inner connected through this primordial inner sense of being. Removing our imputed sensation projections from others and relying on our inner sense of Buddha nature is the ultimate generosity.

Manipura Chakra Meditation - Amitabha Buddha - Fire
Be aware of the transition as you move to the third chakra, at the navel center, which is also actually along the sushumna channel. Allow the mantra RAM to arise and repeat itself, at its natural speed. Keep attention in the space, whatever size at which it is experienced. Be aware of the element of fire, and the many ways in which it operates throughout the gross and subtle body from this center. While focusing on the sound bring to mind a golden yellow color. Like the color of the Sun.

It is from the union of the blood and bones that the central nervous system begins to develop. As the bone tissues form the nerves begin to emerge and the process of tissue building begins. It is the fire nature of our nervous system. If we were to see our body as a dwelling, we could see the blood as plumbing, walls as the bones and the electricity as the wiring. As you sense your bones, begin to feel the tissue that depends upon them for support. Within this tissue you will find that sensation is connected to your sense of being in the moment. Take a moment and put a little pressure on your finger. If you are paying close attention you can feel this sensation in your finger travel up your arm. Maybe you can even feel it travel to your central spinal cord. Now with that awareness see if you can tune into a sense of your entire bodies electrical circuit. See if you can sense the electrical fire that is taking place in your body right now.

From our interaction of sensation and form arises perceptions, or conceptualizations. We have the belief that certain forms bring us certain sensations. However we are beginning to investigate that it may be the other way around. That is that we have imputed sensation on to form. This is our basic issue that causes problems with our seeing the world as it is. When we have desire for a sensation we begin to conceptualize the form that will provide us this sensation. In effect this is the essence of how we create beliefs.

If our attachment of sensation to form is the web that we weave, then our conceptualizations are the walls of selfhood that imprison us and obscure the Buddha nature of self and other.

This brings us to the Buddha of Discriminating - Awareness Wisdom or Amitabha, often called the Buddha of Infinite Light. This Buddha nature transforms grasping or passion. Often our desire to experience a sensation based on a experience with a form turns into passion or grasping at an external appearance. We might call this a lust. This is especially true when it comes to sexual or romantic passions. After we have an intense encounter with some one we might find ourselves have great passion to experience this sensation again. Amitabha's wisdom reminds us that the intense sensation that we desire is within ourselves.

Our participation in experience has left an imprint on our light like electric matrix that we call a nervous system. Often times this natural experience of the nervous system can be blocked by intense experiences, positive or negative. In such cases we may find ourselves chasing after a form by which to unblock the system. However within the very system is the capacity for the experience. The sensation is only block by the imputation of the experience of the sensation to a particular form. If the form is not appearing then we believe that the sensation is not available. The manner in which to unblock these obstacles is too tune into the entire system at it's depth just as it is. This way of moving deeper into our inner being, pure presence, is the path to our Buddha nature. Finding that we liberate ourselves and others at the same time.

Amitabha can assist us in know that this inner light which is within ourselves is also the inner light in other beings. In fact all sentient beings have this inner light - electric like matrix. It is an inner sensation matrix that we all share together. The ability to make the discriminating awareness of inner self while recognizing the inner self of others is Amitabha's offering of Wisdom.

Anahata Chakra Meditation - Amogasiddha Buddha - Air
Move your attention to the fourth chakra, the space in the center of your chest. Allow your attention to become well seated there, and make the seed sound YAM. Allow it to repeat at its own speed, being mindful of the vibration that it generates in your chest. Be aware of the element of air, it has a nice forest green color. Colors may come and go, just stay with the sound YAM.

We have followed the journey from sensation, form and concept and now we have come to the place of action. If we reflect on our desire for sensation we maybe can begin to see that we attach sensation to form and then conceptualize the form as being good or bad. Once we have made the determination then we typically will take some kind of action to receive the sensation. This is the genetic translation, in general we can see that it is this way.

All the while however we are doing something very important. We are breathing in our life's breath, prana. Now bring your attention to the in and out movement of your breath. As you make the YAM sound feel the vibrations of the prana as it enters your blood stream and flows through out your entire body. Moving through your bones, tissues and electric like nerve matrix. Use the breath entering the blood stream to complete the journey. Inhale and exhale.

Our body consists of 72,000 pranic channels by which life giving oxygen is delivered to 72 Billion cells. Inhale and feel the connection to your being. Cells are like spheres. They are transparent like crystals, they are all interconnected. They are simply have a sensation. Can you feel the sensation of your cells receiving the life force pranic energies.

This is the wisdom of the Buddha Amogasiddha. The green Buddha of Air. He has All-accomplishing Wisdom which overcomes jealousy or paranoia. Why? When we a deep connection to our inner Buddha nature we know that we have something that is so precious. Our sensation of our inner presence is so great that we know that there is no outer form that can replace this sensation. This is inner bliss. This is the sensation that we have been looking for our entire lives. This is why it is called All - Accomplishing Wisdom. It is simply the path of our pranic spirit through the cycle of our blood which gives rise to this sensation of bliss, pure presence. We may touch it for a moment at first and this in it's self is a major step for many of us. At least now we know where that which we are truly looking for is. Simple breathing being.

Vishudda Chakra Meditation - Vairocana Buddha - Sky
Bring your attention to the space at the throat, the fifth chakra, which is the point of emergence of space or sky. It is the idea of the open blue sky that we want to tune into in this chakra. Become aware of the nature of key itself, while allowing the mantra HAM to arise and repeat itself. Be sensitive to the sky blue color while making the sound HAM repeatedly.

Where does this body exist. Begin to get a sends of the space surrounding you. When we look out we see vast space between objects. We can also find this vast space within ourselves. As we begin to see our inner space and touch it we can get a sense of the vast spaciousness which surrounds all things. In this vast spaciousness there are many things. There is our body which consists of blood, liquids, bones, tissue, electric currents and prana. Where does our awareness live? It is the space of being, our consciousness. Within it we have thoughts and emotions. When we can begin to sense that our thoughts and emotions live in this vastness of space we can begin to get a sense of our inner freedom which is natural. It is like the sky, vast and spacious.

The Buddha for the Vishudda chakra is Vairocana, or space. From out of space all things manifest. Just like our consciousness contains our blood, bones, tissues, electric current and breath, vast space gives birth to all things. When we think of the earth we can see that it is a sphere floating in vast space. It is said that all of the elements are born from or emerge from space. When we investigate gravity we can see that physical forms are really atoms floating in space closely brought together by gravity. Vairocana is the Buddha that teaches to over come ignorance through the recognition that all things including our bodies are really vast space brought together for a moment in time. There is nothing which is permanent. The experience of having a body means that our cells change every seven years. Getting in touch with this vastness of being assist us in overcoming the ignorance of our true nature. Getting a sensation of the spacious nature of being is the path of self liberation. While resting in this spacious presence thoughts and emotions can come and go. They arise in the spaciousness and disappear in the spacious.

Now imagine that you are surrounded by a blue sphere of spacious presence. See if you can begin to get a sense of the spacious energies that are surrounding you. Relax in to this expanded sense of self.

Ajna Chakra Meditation - Vajrasattva Buddha - Union
Gently, with full awareness, transition awareness to the seat of mind at the space between the eyebrows, ajna chakra. Allow the mantra OM and repeat it over and over.

Be aware of how mind has no elements, but is the source out of which space, air, fire, water, and earth emerge. Be aware of how this space, this mind, itself. Be aware of how this chakra, this mind, has no senses, but is the recipient of all of the information coming from hearing, touching, seeing, tasting, and smelling, whether the source of this input is the sensations from the external world, or coming from the inner world of memories or subtle experience. It is the the mental screen upon which the inner senses and outer senses are join. Many senses, images, or impressions may come and go. This is the screen upon which inner and outer information are processed. Begin to tune into its nature as OM, as a blank canvas. As this subtle inner awareness increase you may begin to feel a sense of great peace and well being.

Vajrasattva is the Buddha of Union. It is also the purification Buddha. When we have purified our habitual tendencies to seek outer sensation experiences we will have come to a place of clarity. In this clarity we can see that the world as it is arises from the emptiness of space as the elements. In other words we can begin to see the light. Many people claim that when our third eye is opened we can begin to see things as they are. Light coming into form, manifesting in the moment. Heaven and Earth eternally joined together as one. Everywhere in the Universe this is the same experience. Purification of our habitual vision to real vision is what the process of enlightenment is all about. The union of the Body, Speech and Mind are found in the three syllables of OM as AUM.

Sahasrara Chakra Meditation - Primordial Buddha - Lotus
Allow attention to move to the crown chakra is the doorway to pure consciousness itself. Experience how this is the source out of which mind (OM) emerges, after which emerge the five elements, the five cognitive senses, and the five means of expression. It is experienced as the pure silence of a meditating Buddha. Imagine a brilliant thousand petal ed shimmering white lotus on top of your head. Sitting on this Lotus is a Buddha. The energies from the Buddha are light rays spreading out into the Universe and collecting energies of million upon millions of other Buddhas. These energies enter into the crown chakra from the lotus above your head. Allow these energies to now travel down the chakra system.

Ajna Chakra Meditation: Briefly bring your attention back to the sixth chakra, making the sound of OM, which starts the journey of attention back into the body and world. A few seconds, 30 seconds, or maybe a minute should be comfortable, though it may be longer if you wish.

Vishudda Chakra Meditation: Bring your attention down to the fifth chakra, the throat, remembering Ham, as you enter into the realm of space, hearing, and speaking. Again, a few seconds or a minute is good.

Anahata Chakra Meditation: Transition to the fourth chakra, the heart, as you allow the mantra Yam to arise, remembering the element of air. Awareness of holding and touching may or may not arise.

Manipura Chakra Meditation: Be aware of the third chakra, the navel center, and the vibration of Ram, along with the element of fire, with awareness of motion and seeing coming or not coming.

Svadisthana Chakra Meditation: Bring your attention to the second chakra, and allow the vibration of the mantra Vam to arise and repeat itself, remembering the element of water, with awareness of procreation and tasting coming or not coming.

Muladhara Chakra Meditation: Transition attention back to the first chakra, at the perineum, allowing the mantra Lam to come.

When first practicing Chakra Meditation of Bhuta Shuddhi, it can seem confusing to keep track of mantras, elements, senses, and actions. To make this Chakra Meditation easy, the two keys to emphasize initially are: 1) keeping attention in the space, and 2) remembering the vibration in the mantra (it won't take very long to memorize which mantra goes with which chakra). Then allow the rest to gradually come in time. Both the balancing of the elements (and chakras) and the many insights will come over time, with practice.


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