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Six Dharmas of Nāropa - 03 Arising and Perfecting Yoga



Type of Spiritual Experience


A description of the experience


In the second part, the actual practice of the Path, there are two divisions—the Arising Yoga and the Perfecting Yoga......Many great teachers of the past said that to practice both the Arising Yoga and Perfecting Yoga is necessary. ...The Holy Nagarjuna says:

"First one should master the Arising Yoga,
 Then one should aspire to the Perfecting Yoga,
 This is the teaching given by the Perfect Buddha,
 It is like a ladder with rungs."

If the disciple has attained a stable Samadhi of Arising Yoga, he can then begin practicing the Perfecting Yoga.  

Arising Yoga

At first, (the yogi) should visualize the tutelary deity through the gradual steps till the whole body of the tutelary is completed. If the tutelary deity visualized has many faces and arms, the yogi may disregard the others and concentrate on visualizing the two main arms and the main face. There are two ways of visualizing the tutelary one's body: the upward process from the feet to the head, and the downward process from the head to the feet.

The tutelary-body should be envisioned as a whole, clearly and vividly. At first, however, the yogi should visualize the body not in specific detail but the body at once complete; then softly and loosely hold onto the visualization without any distraction. If any disturbing or diversified thought arises liable to cause the meditator to follow it, the meditator should beware, and bring his mind back to the object of meditation. If the visualization (mind-picture) becomes unclear, the yogi should freshen it by seeing it vividly until it becomes clear again. In the process of his meditation, the yogi will have the following experiences; that part of the tutelary-body he intensifies will appear clearly and vividly, the part to which he pays no attention will never appear in his mind-picture. Finally, the mind-picture will become so clear that he will think that not even the actual eye could see it better.

If the yogi wants to rest his mind stably on the clear picture, he must overcome drowsiness and distraction. Throughout the whole period of meditation he must possess the power of concentration.

Having mastered the above-mentioned "sketchy visualization", the yogi should then visualize the other faces, arms, adornments etc., until all the details are complete and perfect. Thereafter the Mother tutelary deity should be visualized, then the other deities. Eventually the yogi is able to picture clearly and vividly all the deities (in the Mandala) and the objects in the complete Beyond-Measure Palace, general and specific, all at once in perfect concentration. The yogi is required to reach this stage.

Now the teaching of the Tutelary Pride:

The yogi should raise the Tutelary Pride and think to himself, "I am the Buddha so-and-so," and concentrate on this. If the vision becomes unclear, the yogi should freshen it again. In the beginning, this meditation-with-effort-and-stress is needed. Later on, the yogi will be able to maintain a stable feeling of the Tutelary Pride after the meditation period in his daily activities. When he reaches this stage, his mental power of retaining the visualization will be strong enough to withstand the fluctuating circumstances, and he will maintain the Tutelary Pride in between meditation periods. The Visualization Practice and Tutelary Pride Practice should be exercised alternately. Working on this superb meditation, consisting of both deities and their dwellings, will eventually prevent the arising of the Samsaric visions; only the Superb Visions will appear in the yogi's mind. The spontaneous Tutelary Pride—capable of maintaining itself in all fluctuating circumstances—is the cure which purifies the vulgar (or Saṃsaric) attachments in the yogi's mind.

When the yogi arises from his meditation, whatever he sees—living beings or the material world—he should think of as Buddhas and Buddhas' dwelling-places. If he can stabilize this feeling, he can attain the steadfast Samadhi. When he reaches this stage, he is admitted to have purified the Common Visions through the practice of the Arising Yoga.

The main objective and function of the Arising Yoga—the practice of visualizing the Mandala—is to bring his consciousness forth to the realization of the identity of Buddha and sentient beings. 

Perfecting Yoga

The instruction of the Practice of Perfecting Yoga is given in three parts: the basic principles, the step-by-step path, and the realization of the fruit or accomplishment.

In the first part there are two divisions:

1. The basic principle or real-nature of the mind.

2. The basic principle or real-nature of the body.

For the sake of exposing the principles behind the complete practices, the first exposition is introduced. For the sake of explaining the points in the body with respect to which the visualization should be carried out, the second exposition is introduced.

1. The basic principle of the mind.

The Tantra of Two Forms says:

"The mind, the perceiver, is formless in its essence.
 There is no sound and no hearer, no smell and no smeller,
 no taste and no taster, no touch and no feeler.
 Likewise there are no mind and mind-functions."

"One should understand that the organs, the outer-objects,
 and the consciousnesses of the organs
 Are all the Goddesses.
 Thus, the eighteen dhatus are preached.
 From the very beginning, their essence is uncreated—never did they come into being.

They are neither false nor real;
 Therefore, they are like the moon's reflection in the water.
 Thus should you understand the Dakinis

The [visual] form, sound, smell, taste, and [touch] stimuli are the five outer objects, from the seer to the feeler are the five senses, from the eye to the body are the five organs. In the terms of Skandhas, they all belong to the Aggregation of Form… The above stanza explains the Non-self-nature of sense-data or the Ayatana of Dharma.

Sentient beings and materials are all produced through respective causes and conditions; they are consolidated through conceptualization; therefore, they are not real, nor have they any substantiality. In other words, all beings are void in their self-nature in the sense of the actual existence of self-essence. If there were an independently-solid self-nature in beings there would be no need for depending on any cause or conditions (to form the beings themselves). Thus there never existed even an atom of sense-data (outer-object) upon which the Clinging of Existence arises.

This very truth does not impair the order and functions of the causation-bound events, all the transpiring events manifest.

2. The basic principles or nature of the Body.

In the center of the Transformation-Wheel (Chakra) at the navel and the other main Wheels in the body is pivoted the Central Channel; the upper end and the lower end of it, together with other points of the Wheels, are the most important centers. These centers are viewed as vital points and are emphasized in the Skill-in-Yoga-Teachings of Tantra.

According to the instructions of Marpa, one should put emphasis on the Heart and Throat Centers during sleeping, and should know the critical teachings on the Navel and Forehead Centers during the practice of Heat Yoga and Karma Yoga in the awakening stage.

This is because during these different times the Thig-le * upon which the consciousness relies concentrates at these four different centers. According to the teaching of Dus-akor (Kalachakra)

  • the Head Center and Navel Center produce the Thig-le in the awakening stage;
  • the Throat and the Secret Center produce the Thig-le in dreaming stage;
  • the Heart and the Precious Center produce the Thig-le in the deep-dreaming stage.

This agrees approximately with the saying that at the end of the navel and genital center, the Thig-le is produced in the four different times.

At the time of falling into sleep, the pranas will gather at the Heart Center and the Precious Center. When they are heavily concentrated, one will fall into sleep; thereafter, the pranas in these two parts gradually become thinner and thinner. When (most of) the pranas come to the Secret Center and Throat Center the fleeting dreams will appear; when the pranas have gathered in these two parts for some time the actual dreams (or steady dreams) will arise. When the pranas rise up to the Center Head and Navel Centers, one will awake. From the Head Center the Thig-le drops to the end of the precious organ; as it reaches the different  centers as mentioned above it will produce the various blisses (or so-called Four Blisses).

This is the meaning of the four times:

Through the power of the prana the Yogi manipulates in exercise, the Downward-Bliss produces the Dim Innate when it reaches the center of the navel; when it reaches the end of the precious organ the Bright Innate is produced.

That these four centers are very important in the meritorious exercises of dream and sleep by no means implies that they are not essential points upon which the exercises of mental concentration should be carried out during the daytime. Among all the centers in the body, the Navel Center is the one upon which the Yogi should begin. One should also know that to concentrate upon the different centers will produce different effects and specific advantages.


Thig-le is equivalent to the Sanskrit bindu and signifies a seed and source of life-power.—Ed.


The source of the experience

Six Dharmas of Nāropa

Concepts, symbols and science items


Science Items

Activities and commonsteps



Love with visualisation