CHINTAMANI, CHINTAMANI, CHINTAMANI, CHIN, CHIN…THERE IS A LIGHT BEING LIVING WITHIN…
Clare and I hosted our recent Ascension : Nashville conference here in Music City on April 1-2, 2017. We are thankful to all who attended and for the interest of so many more.
In our “Sacred Art of Ascension” workshops, we aim to connect our earthly self with our celestial or higher self via engaging sacred art. This is a spiritual practice known to Buddhists and Christians alike. We document the cross-over between Buddhist images of gurus like Padmasambahva in the Rainbow Body with Christian images of the resurrected Jesus in His light body surrounded by a rainbow. Focusing on this sacred art changes our DNA. It alters our consciousness. It attunes us to our future selves. Our higher selves.
As good fortune (or karma), would have it, the “Secrets of Buddhist Art” exhibit has been at the Frist Center for the Visual Arts in Nashville since February 10. We have made a bee line over to the Art Deco museum turned spectacular Tibetan sacred space numerous times. We are grateful to the Frist Center and the Newark Museum (who loaned the collection) for this offering.
In February, monks from the Drepung Loseling Monastery were here to create a mandala sand painting, emphasizing the transformation of the Frist Center into a temporary sacred space. Mandalas are elaborate circular designs that are intended to represent the universe or a cosmic order. They function as powerful portals between worlds, drawing in spiritual blessings.
Experiencing this collection of Tibetan art has been a truly humbling and healing experience (literally for Clare, who was in the midst of a serious health challenge at the time and received a powerful blessing from one of the Tibetan monks while visiting the temple in February).
We found what we came for and what he hoped to find, but were surprised by what we didn’t know was going to be there waiting for us.
Hidden like Easter eggs and sprinkled like manna from heaven amidst the ancient statues, spirit-emitting thankgas and breathtaking paintings was the symbol of one of our favorite subjects, the Chintamani Stone or “wish fulfilling gem” of Tibetan Buddhism.
The Tibetan symbol for the Chintamani is the pyramid of triple dots, circles or rings.
Here, a Bodhisattva holds the Chintamani, surrounded by curls of smoke and flame. (For more on this beautiful image please see my article “Flip Side“.)
Buddhas and Bodhisattvas meditate on this symbol that floats in their halo or crowns.
Clare and I introduced some of our research on the Chintamani in our hit Gaia TV show, “Arcanum”.
We pronounce the word Chinta-mun-eye, with the emphasis on the ‘i’ at the end.
Others pronounce Chintamani with an emphasis on tom, as in Chin-TOM-uh-knee.
To me, pronouncing it this way rings of “Chim Chim Cher-ee,” the song Dick VanDyke sang as Bert the London chimney sweep in Disney’s “Mary Poppins.”
“Chim chiminey, chim chimeny
Chim chim cheree!
A sweep is as lucky, as lucky can be.”
The song is based on an old Yiddish tune. It gets in my head and drives me nuts!
So, I came up with my own words for the tune.
“Chintamani, Chintamani, Chintamani, chin, chin
…there is a light being living within.”
In British tradition, good luck rubs off when one shakes hands with a chimney sweep. The song continues:
“Now, as the ladder of life ‘as been strung
You might think a sweep’s on the bottommost rung
Though I spends me time in the ashes and smoke
In this ‘ole wide world there’s no ‘appier bloke
Chim chiminey, chim chiminey
Chim chim cheree!”
In Buddhist tradition, contemplating the Chintamani brings more than just good luck, it brings enlightenment. Or, as the next verse in my tune says:
“Chintomuhknee, Chintomuhknee, Chintomuhknee cheroo
…finding this stone within enlightens u.”
It doesn’t matter so how you sing it, what counts is that this word, Chintamani, and this symbolism, is now in your awareness at all. We are paying attention to one of the most profound concepts in Buddhism and all mystical inquiry. Once ‘made’ we will see it everywhere!
My Chintamani-chimney thing had a strange pay off recently.
On a visit to the Victoria and Albert Museum in London in March, Clare and I chanced upon a beautiful Turkish chimney piece. It has the Chintamani symbol all over it!
Made in Istanbul in 1731, this “Chintamani Chimney” tells the story of the Seven Sleepers mentioned in the Qur’an. These Christian men were persecuted under the Roman emperor Decius and took refuge in a cave. They fell asleep, waking centuries later under Christian rule.
The Seven Sleepers are mentioned in the Qur’an as an example of God’s protection of the righteous. Their names were therefore used to invoke that protection.
The presence of the Chintamani that covers the chimney make me wonder if the artist is connecting this symbol to God’s protection…and to the ability to time travel.
CONNECTING THE TRIPLE DOTS
Clare and I had a blast playing ‘find the Chintamani’ hidden in all the beautiful pieces in the “Secrets of Tibet” collection. We found dozens…and probably missed as many more.
Clare’s favorite piece is this “Welcoming Descent” painting in which the Amitabha Buddha (“The Buddha of Infinite Light”) descends from the celestial realms to escort a soul to heaven.
He is surrounded by Compassionate Ones who play instruments and meditate on the Chintamani.
Often, the Chintamani is seen on the cloaks of these celestial travelers. The Chintamani were believed to protect the wearer and to imbue him with physical and spiritual strength.
Incredibly, this (S)tone produces the Rainbow Light Body.
It goes hand in hand with the garment of light.
Here, the Buddha glows in his Rainbow Light Body. The Chintamani grows from the tree above him. The shape of his light body matches the shape of the Chintamani because they are of similar substance.
One of my favorite pieces from the Secrets of Tibet exhibit is a 17th century ‘cosmic cartoon’ that features scenes of the actions of the historical Buddha, Shakyamuni, which generated positive karma and led to his enlightenment and his receiving the Stone.
In the upper right, multicolored (green, red and blue) Chintamani gems rain from clouds upon a monastery.
The heavenly palaces are said to be made of this gem.
Monks collect and process the celestial substance.
Another scene depicts Buddha’s search for this magical wish-fulfilling gemstone. We note the triple dots on his cloak.
In the lower left is another monastery, another ‘processing plant’.
He reaches the island where the Naga (Snake Kings) guard the gem.
Buddha receives the jewel. Again, note the Chintamani symbol on his cloak.
After receiving the jewel, Buddha is shipwrecked but saved from drowning,
and the Chintamani is returned to him.
This crystal blue stone is the same, both in form and function, as the pure and wondrous Grail Stone that fell from the sky in Wolfram’s telling of the tale. During a war in heaven between Lucifer and his rebel angels and the angels of God, a group of neutral angels brought the Stone to earth and formed it into a container in which Joseph of Arimathea received the transmuted blood of Christ on the Cross.
THE ATOMIC CHRIST
Can we find the Chintamani? If so, how? Where?
For me, my quest for the wish-fulfilling gem began in 1998 with my book, “The A-Tomic Christ”, in which I documented Nicholas Roerich’s search for this mysterious Stone in Mongolia on behalf of Franklin Delano Roosevelt and Henry A. Wallace in 1933.
Roerich was a world famous guru, highly erudite painter and once-in-a-generation spiritual being. The New Deal sent him to Shambhala, the portal of the gods, to retrieve the Stone. He was also to look for signs of the second coming of Christ.
FDR, Wallace and Roerich were a wild trio; sort of like the Three Wise Men seeking the Grail and the Christ child.
Even wilder is the fact that my research led me to my home, Nashville, as the place where a letter written by Roerich to Henry Wallace indicated the gem was to be taken once retrieved from Shambhala! Find our more about “why Nashville?” here and here.
One night in Memphis, long ago, on January 25, 1999 to be exact, after a lecture about FDR, Wallace and Roerich’s quest for the Stone, I joined a group of attendees for a late night snack at a local IHOP. A woman sitting across the table kept staring at me like she was looking through me or past me. She was crouched over a drawing she was making, but concealing it from me with her elbow. It was kind of weird.
Finally, she produced the drawing and said, “this is your higher self!”
Wow! I didn’t expect that!
She said his name was aetoleus. He has a young face with old knowledge/wisdom. He wears a cloth very sheer; appears if woven from strands of light, she said. Around his silver/white tunic is a gold rope.
Beside his ear are 3 sacred nuts?
I had a laugh with the artist and my fellow diners. I was intrigued enough to have kept it for over 18 years.
In 1999, most everything in the drawing made no sense to me. I got the double helix or DNA strands, but that was about it.
Little did I know that my research specialty and paradigm would soon shift into human transformation and the Gnostic teachings about the higher self.
The true self is our immortal self. A part of our spirit/soul incarnates (or reincarnates) on earth. It is transcendental, ethereal and eternal. Our earthly body is temporary, corporeal and ephemeral. Our earthly body is limited. Our true body is limitless.
Every now and then I would retrieve it from my files and return with a smile. “I’m getting it!” I would think to myself.
So, (could) the three sacred nuts symbolize the Chintamani? I qualify this as I fear I would sound nuts if I outright proclaimed I have a higher self that has manifested the sacred Chintamani.
What if this is true?
What if my true self has already attained the Light that I so clearly seek?
As Francis of Assisi once said, “what we are looking or is what is looking.”
More importantly, what if EVERYONE has a light being living within us that is capable of far more than we can comprehend with our human consciousness and attention span?
Is this too big of a what if?
Of course not!
Today, I understand nearly all the symbols in the drawing.
In 2006 (or so), I finally realized what these three nuts could be when I began studying the Rainbow Body of Light teaching. That is when I learned the triple dots symbolize the attainment of the light body via the Chintamani!
This is why, in Tibetan art, the Buddha is shown with the Chintamani in his halo. They float beside him like the 3 sacred nuts of my drawing.
This teaching is the seed essence that has taken root, grown and branched into several spiritual traditions.
In fact, this higher self is our True Self our True Nature. According to Buddhism, our True Nature is the Rainbow Light Body.
In Christianity, it is the Born Again or Resurrection Body.
There are many references to Christ and the Stone and images of Christ holding the Stone dressed in His garment of light. Jan Van Eyck came closest to portraying Christ with the Chintamani.
In Christian symbolism, the Triple Dots symbolize the Holy Spirit, but retains its connection to the Chintamani.
Jesus wears it on his cloak, just like Buddha.
In both Buddhism and Christianity the triple dot symbolizes the Resurrection Body.
When we couple these images with various boddhisattvas holding the Chintamani and Jesus holding/wearing the (S)tone an astounding marriage emerges.
Manifesting the powers of this (S)tone is what the Sacred Art of Ascension is all about. Buddhists teach that just seeing sacred images of Buddha in the Rainbow Light Body awakens our own light body.
How can this be? The answer is, as an ascended avatar, Buddha (like Christ) can manifest in his energy body. Even through a painting.
Remember, like light itself, the Chintamani stone that produces the light body is both a wave, a (s)tone or vibration, and a particle or a dot (or three) of paint.
This means the stone is in the art, or rather, the art is the stone.
Clare and I look forward to seeing you at one of our upcoming “Sacred Art of Ascension” workshops!