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When a person or Buddha is shown with the curved cintamani light surrounding him or her, this means that their body is arbitrarily taken on as a mask. When the person has fully identified with the diamond light, they are properly shown with that light surrounding them.
Buddhas radiate many forms. The statues that show seated Buddhas radiating beams of light, which end in smaller Buddha figures reflect this. This is the pathway outward.
One pathway inwards is to reverse this movement. The novice identifies with each radiated Buddha form, moving from the periphery to the center. The awareness must not cling to any of these bodies or forms. Each body is like a step, and the novice must fully perceive and understand each body before he enters it. Then he must experience life in that form, looking out through the eyes and hearing through the ears. Only when the embodied form has become familiar can it be left behind.
As each body is entered step by step, the light around it becomes brighter and more intense. Entering the bodies closer to the Buddha is like flying into the sun. The surrounding worlds have both crystalline and organic elements. They too must be perceived, not just visualized.
Images of buddhist paradises tend to have gardens, pools, fountains, and surrounding mountains. They are often full of past practitioners, understood by a lineage to be enlightened. This seems inconsistent when lineages claim there are no souls.
Each of the higher Buddha emanations has its own paradise. So there are millions upon millions of them. They are pure light and thus pure potential.
Each novice creates his own paradise, at level after level. Each has walls and gates and a peaceful world of nature. But the higher lineage holders are not Buddha figures. They are personifications of the Buddha's light emanations.
The path upwards may be organic or crystalline. The organic path has flora and fauna, and light that becomes persons. In the crystalline path, the light is faceted, and does not contain creatures but rather jewels of light to explore. The radiant jewels of Vajrayana are climbed facet by facet, like a mountain climber moving upwards. At the summit is the brilliant sky of pure consciousness.
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