Scientifically satisfactory evidence for the rainbow body[?]

Moderator: Tibetan Buddhism moderators

Scientifically satisfactory evidence for the rainbow body[?]

Postby Guty » Thu Jan 02, 2014 8:48 pm

Dear friends,
my question to anyone who may know more about this topic and answer would be highly appreciated. I'm fairly familiar with the whole concept, process and the thogal practice relation to materialisation (or rather dematerialisation) of physical body, all seems to perfectly fit within the context of the highest of all vehicles. What occupies me somewhat and hangs somewhere at the back of the head is that no one ever so far produced some reliable, convincing, testable evidence that would satisfy rigorous demands of scientific credibility. I am aware this is not a thing that would occur that often, although, there has to be some quantifiable piece of evidence available so we can avoid reliance on faith. However, even that is not a problem, we can switch from rational to mythological regime and simply ignore the absence of real data, should not be an obstackle for the practice. Often works even better to not rationalize, indeed.. But something else comes and interferes with this peaceful absence of reasoning and abidance in contemplation - there are isues and situations when the mythological meets the rationalistic paradigm and needs defending within the frame of sanity as viewed from the perspective of secular, mundane or perhaps materialist community. For this very reason and for some others I would like to set forth this humble and entirely legitimate question whether or not is this phenomena to be treated as mythological or factual.

Thank you with gratitude for possible answers. Hope you will understand the place my question arises from. (I am seeking to deconstruct the last remaining belief-based structure that remains and the possitive or the negative outcome of this survey would help me to find the final closure.)

P.S. we do not need to discuss the plethora of indirect pieces of s.c. evidence based on verbal statements of whoever, regardless how credible in the dzogchen or broader vajrayana community. Also, this may apply to any other related phenomena which happens to demonstrate itself through dematerialization of the physical body, regardless whether from tibetan, or indian or any other environment. The phenomenon seems to be pretty archetypal and known to many traditions, which can be viewed as supportive and at the same time dismissive circumstance, bearing in mind that mythological stories are never properly investigated and taken for granted, based on the authority of the storyteller. So.. if there is ANY, I would be very pleased to see it.
- La Esperanza es para la gente que vive sin Gracia -
- Hope is for people, who do not yet live in Grace -
Guty
 
Posts: 51
Joined: Thu Jan 02, 2014 5:13 pm

Re: Scientifically satisfactory evidence for the rainbow bod

Postby wisdom » Thu Jan 02, 2014 10:44 pm

Most recently when Nelson Mandela died, rainbows appeared over his bodies resting place. Its interesting because he is considered a Bodhisattva by many and was close to the Dalai Lama.

Many others have reported, even sometimes entire villages, similar phenomena at the passing of a great master. None of this is "evidence" but if its a real phenomena, interestingly enough Im sure government agencies have well documented info on it. I wonder what they think of it, if they do know its real...

It doesn't really matter if its real or not. In general if you don't believe in it you should keep that lack of belief to yourself so that you dont harm the faith of others. At the same time, even if you do believe in it, clinging to it as an idea or goal will actually prevent such a manifestation from happening since one must learn to be beyond fear of not attaining and hope of attaining realization in order to achieve the ultimate transformation.

The main goal is to simply recognize and then remain in the true nature of mind. From that all accomplishment will come forth naturally. Thats how you attain the deathless state, the citadel of unchanging awareness. That is how you are of most benefit to yourself and others. If there is a rainbow body to be attained, thats how it will be attained.
User avatar
wisdom
 
Posts: 473
Joined: Mon Oct 31, 2011 4:33 am

Re: Scientifically satisfactory evidence for the rainbow bod

Postby smcj » Thu Jan 02, 2014 10:53 pm

Well sure, the next time an enlightened master feels like passing away in a laboratory there will be plenty of evidence. However I'm not holding my breath.
...bearing in mind that mythological stories are never properly investigated and taken for granted, based on the authority of the storyteller.

The same would be true if it happened in a lab. You just want a storyteller with a different kind of authority!
A human being has his limits. And thus, in every conceivable way, with every possible means, he tries to make the teaching enter into his own limits. ChNN
smcj
 
Posts: 2088
Joined: Wed May 29, 2013 6:13 am

Re: Scientifically satisfactory evidence for the rainbow bod

Postby Guty » Thu Jan 02, 2014 11:12 pm

smcj wrote:Well sure, the next time an enlightened master feels like passing away in a laboratory there will be plenty of evidence. However I'm not holding my breath.
...bearing in mind that mythological stories are never properly investigated and taken for granted, based on the authority of the storyteller.

The same would be true if it happened in a lab. You just want a storyteller with a different kind of authority!


Nope. Peer-reviewed article concerning the nature of the phenomena IF ever investigated by reliable persons with established and proven credibility in the scientific community would be quite satisfactory. I am all open to possibility that this phenomenon is real and indeed happens, but so far only hersay was produced. An, I am very aware how rare a thing it is we are talking about and that is the point. I want to know if it has any substance or it is a story originating somewhere in the mountains where people never question religious and similar authorities...
- La Esperanza es para la gente que vive sin Gracia -
- Hope is for people, who do not yet live in Grace -
Guty
 
Posts: 51
Joined: Thu Jan 02, 2014 5:13 pm

Re: Scientifically satisfactory evidence for the rainbow bod

Postby smcj » Thu Jan 02, 2014 11:24 pm

by reliable persons with established and proven credibility in the scientific community would be quite satisfactory.
(formatting mine)
That's what I said. You want a different kind of authority.
A human being has his limits. And thus, in every conceivable way, with every possible means, he tries to make the teaching enter into his own limits. ChNN
smcj
 
Posts: 2088
Joined: Wed May 29, 2013 6:13 am

Re: Scientifically satisfactory evidence for the rainbow bod

Postby Guty » Thu Jan 02, 2014 11:37 pm

Most recently when Nelson Mandela died, rainbows appeared over his bodies resting place. Its interesting because he is considered a Bodhisattva by many and was close to the Dalai Lama.


Raibow is a weather condition related appearance that has to do with the light spectrum. Not sure how you can connect this phenomenon with an actual physical body transubstantiation and/or how the rainbow proves anything. What I am up to is eliminating all possibility we are dealing with an illusory and not a factual, but rather mythical circumstantiality. And I have long time been taking it all for granted, but I have some reasons to believe the whole thing is a fable

Many others have reported, even sometimes entire villages, similar phenomena at the passing of a great master. None of this is "evidence" but if its a real phenomena, interestingly enough
Im sure government agencies have well documented info on it. I wonder what they think of it, if they do know its real...


Yes, that kind of something would also be of benefit. I was looking for something similar over the whole internet, but so far, nothing of a real value. We're still dealing with smoke and mirrors here, whatever you may think. So many tibetans allegedly passed away into rainbow body but the maximum we are shown is the piece of shroud in which something is wrapped into. Forgive me, I am quite inquisitive and very skeptical person and have very good reasons for it.

It doesn't really matter if its real or not.
In general if you don't believe in it you should keep that lack of belief to yourself so that you dont harm the faith of others.


Totally missing the point, dear friend. Removing the bias and fraud, should be an obligation for any dharma follower. There is no compensation for lack of honesty - IF that is the case and the phenomenon of rainbow body is nothing but a fabrication. Make no mistake, I AM NOT CLAIMING THAT IT IS, but I want to find out. There is probably equal amount of clues that it may be a real thing as there are clues that it is a fabrication. Therefore, I am humbly posing the question and am not interested in hearing about rainbows, Nelson Mandelas and "someone said something once upon a time somewhere, maybe, I heard, or my firend..."

At the same time, even if you do believe in it, clinging to it as an idea or goal will actually prevent such a manifestation from happening since one must learn to be beyond fear of not attaining and hope of attaining realization in order to achieve the ultimate transformation.


I base nothing on any kind of belief system and in this case I wish to demand a factual observation.

The main goal is to simply recognize and then remain in the true nature of mind. From that all accomplishment will come forth naturally. Thats how you attain the deathless state, the citadel of unchanging awareness. That is how you are of most benefit to yourself and others. If there is a rainbow body to be attained, thats how it will be attained.


:smile: I am sure you must know there is a litlle more to it, since so many persons lived in the natural state but haven't gone into the thin air just because of that. And I am well familiar how it is allegedly attained and understand the modus operandi and in fact, do not see any conceptual problem with it. The circle is completed when there is a first direct observation that it ever takes place at all so I may take thodgal a bit more seriously. Until then it is a belief system of its kind, regarding the possibility of the end result. Even despite so many great authorities mention it.

Thanks kindly for your reply, anyway.
- La Esperanza es para la gente que vive sin Gracia -
- Hope is for people, who do not yet live in Grace -
Guty
 
Posts: 51
Joined: Thu Jan 02, 2014 5:13 pm

Re: Scientifically satisfactory evidence for the rainbow bod

Postby smcj » Thu Jan 02, 2014 11:45 pm

In order for you to gain conviction, some master that was nearing death would have to, in effect, announce his level of realization and intent to die soon. That would be seen an supremely arrogant, and is completely frowned upon. Then he'd have to actually go to wherever a credentialed researcher (with what kind of credentials?) would have the facility to make measurements of the process and die there. That's not likely to happen anytime soon.

However the 16th Karmapa did die in a Chicago hospital, and the hospital was persuaded to not disturb the body for 3 days because they showed the staff that the heart center was still warm. That's not rainbow body, just a yogi's normal death process. Close enough?

In any case the likelihood of you having your demands met anytime soon are slim. Or actually I think preconditions is a better word than demands. Because what you're actually talking about is the precondition to know for certain that it is safe to open your mind to the possibility that Dharma is valid and can be relied on. But it is only rarely that such a precondition is met. It depends totally on your individual karma. The way the teachings are constructed is to turn that question around; it is not 'safe' for you to continue on as you have been doing--and that goes not just for you but for everybody. That's why they call it "Taking Refuge".
A human being has his limits. And thus, in every conceivable way, with every possible means, he tries to make the teaching enter into his own limits. ChNN
smcj
 
Posts: 2088
Joined: Wed May 29, 2013 6:13 am

Re: Scientifically satisfactory evidence for the rainbow bod

Postby Guty » Thu Jan 02, 2014 11:57 pm

smcj wrote:In order for you to gain conviction, some master that was nearing death would have to, in effect, announce his level of realization and intent to die soon. That would be seen an supremely arrogant, and is completely frowned upon. Then he'd have to actually go to wherever a credentialed researcher (with what kind of credentials?) would have the facility to make measurements of the process and die there. That's not likely to happen anytime soon.

However the 16th Karmapa did die in a Chicago hospital, and the hospital was persuaded to not disturb the body for 3 days because they showed the staff that the heart center was still warm. That's not rainbow body, just a yogi's normal death process. Close enough?


Is it documented somewhere? What exactly happened IN ABSENCE of the hospital's personel and how do we know about it? I am asking, I do not know the background of this particular story. But, I hope my appropriate skepticism isn't viewd as very dramatic or insulting, that is not my intention. If I did insult, my appologies, I just seriously demand some serious answer, that could give me the final closure. Having resolved this one, the whole great chapter of my life will evaporate for good with no more residual inquiry.
- La Esperanza es para la gente que vive sin Gracia -
- Hope is for people, who do not yet live in Grace -
Guty
 
Posts: 51
Joined: Thu Jan 02, 2014 5:13 pm

Re: Scientifically satisfactory evidence for the rainbow bod

Postby smcj » Fri Jan 03, 2014 12:04 am

The account I'm talking about is from "Secret of the Vajra World". (That's a bad title, no 'secrets' there at all.) The account is from Dr. Mitchell Levy, HH Karmapa's physician, and yes he's a Buddhist. It starts on p. 467 if you end up buying the book. I have no idea if Dr. Levy answers e-mails with questions about the events surrounding HHK's death, but you might try, but only after you read the interview. There may be staff at the hospital still there from 1981 too.

I should say that in a different account (I forget where, maybe Shamar's account?), that after the 3 days when they went to move the body finally, that there was some nasty odor from the bottom side of the body. That's not in the book I mentioned.
A human being has his limits. And thus, in every conceivable way, with every possible means, he tries to make the teaching enter into his own limits. ChNN
smcj
 
Posts: 2088
Joined: Wed May 29, 2013 6:13 am

Re: Scientifically satisfactory evidence for the rainbow bod

Postby justsit » Fri Jan 03, 2014 1:30 am

In this age of photoshop and other technological marvels, exactly what proof will you find acceptable?
User avatar
justsit
 
Posts: 641
Joined: Wed Oct 21, 2009 9:24 pm
Location: Delaware

Re: Scientifically satisfactory evidence for the rainbow bod

Postby duckfiasco » Fri Jan 03, 2014 1:44 am

I base nothing on any kind of belief system and in this case I wish to demand a factual observation.

Don't underestimate the mind's ability to have a point of view.
The Perfect Way knows no difficulties
Except that it refuses to make preferences;
Only when freed from hate and love,
It reveals itself fully and without disguise.
- Sengcan (tr. Suzuki)
User avatar
duckfiasco
 
Posts: 591
Joined: Thu Feb 09, 2012 7:11 am
Location: Oregon

Re: Scientifically satisfactory evidence for the rainbow bod

Postby smcj » Fri Jan 03, 2014 2:28 am

Funny, I just realized Guty has the exact same attitude towards 'miraculous' occurrences as I do to alien spacecraft. The two threads were next to each other when I hit 'see my posts'. That's what made me think of it.

The difference is that somebody can actually practice Dharma with an open mind and get results. They don't have to buy into an idea, just be open to it. No conclusion need be reached. One of the signs of a successful NgonDro practice is beginning to see karma at work, on a crude level of course. And in terms of keeping an open mind, it is sort of axiomatic that any conclusions you make are going to be invalidated if you go far enough along the Dharma path. So an open mind keeps you going. Conclusions can become a boat anchor, unless they are seen as temporary stopping places and subject to revision.

With spaceships there's nothing to do, but wait for one to land. And then what? Maybe something good. Maybe something bad. Maybe a bit of both. And what if they keep dancing around the edges for another century or two before they land, that is if they exist at all? We will all be dead by then. So fixating on U.F.O.s is a waste of emotional investment and time. Dharma is not.
A human being has his limits. And thus, in every conceivable way, with every possible means, he tries to make the teaching enter into his own limits. ChNN
smcj
 
Posts: 2088
Joined: Wed May 29, 2013 6:13 am

Re: Scientifically satisfactory evidence for the rainbow bod

Postby Guty » Fri Jan 03, 2014 3:11 am

smcj wrote:Funny, I just realized Guty has the exact same attitude towards 'miraculous' occurrences as I do to alien spacecraft. The two threads were next to each other when I hit 'see my posts'. That's what made me think of it.

The difference is that somebody can actually practice Dharma with an open mind and get results. They don't have to buy into an idea, just be open to it. No conclusion need be reached. One of the signs of a successful NgonDro practice is beginning to see karma at work, on a crude level of course. And in terms of keeping an open mind, it is sort of axiomatic that any conclusions you make are going to be invalidated if you go far enough along the Dharma path. So an open mind keeps you going. Conclusions can become a boat anchor, unless they are seen as temporary stopping places and subject to revision.

With spaceships there's nothing to do, but wait for one to land. And then what? Maybe something good. Maybe something bad. Maybe a bit of both. And what if they keep dancing around the edges for another century or two before they land, that is if they exist at all? We will all be dead by then. So fixating on U.F.O.s is a waste of emotional investment and time. Dharma is not.


Well, "miraculous occurences".. it is said, that extraordinary claims need extraordinary evidence, otherwise, we are dealing with something that may be pretty unsubstantial. I do not, btw, belong to unbelieving people, just need to find out whether there is something tangible about this specific issue with the Rainbow Body phenomenon. Liberation is possible even without having the whole body exhausted and transusbstantiated into the nature of elements. According to doctrine, in its own light and right the whole thing has a genuine standing, there's no doubt about that. But we are taught to perceive it that way. I am intending to make sure this is not a mere reliance without a substantial basis, passed on to us only by some traditions. You may as well believe that Jesus turned water into wine, or that Guru Rinpoche was indeed born from the lotus. One thing is actualisations of visions generated with your mind, the other is to believe that some being indeed come to this world from a physical lotus. One thing is to symbolically admit that the body is karma therefore exhaustion of karma simultanously means disappearance of the physical body. But for this to be an act of actual physical manifestation, we really need to see the actual demonstration. And it doesn't need to be in the laboratory, just to involve some people who will document the event conclusively and in somewhat controlled environment, so that manipulation will be suspended. Otherwise, I have to ask each time I see those brocades that hide alleged shrunk or evaporating bodies of lamas inside, whether it is not just a deliberate act of some cover-up under whatever conceivable and thinkable reasons the monastic people or leaders can come up with? We are taught mahasiddhas only lived in the PAST. There is always some ornamented excuse why they do not live in this day and age. And if some individual if indeed after all achieves mahasiddha capacity and performs some unheard miracles, all is you'll get is the "blurry dots and lights on the sky", so to speak.. Even Buddha Sakyamuni demands from disciples of dharma to investigate on their own and not to take things for granted because some authority say so, even if that authority was himself Tathagata. Not without verification, though.
- La Esperanza es para la gente que vive sin Gracia -
- Hope is for people, who do not yet live in Grace -
Guty
 
Posts: 51
Joined: Thu Jan 02, 2014 5:13 pm

Re: Scientifically satisfactory evidence for the rainbow bod

Postby justsit » Fri Jan 03, 2014 3:23 am

Guty wrote:
smcj wrote: Even Buddha Sakyamuni demands from disciples of dharma to investigate on their own and not to take things for granted because some authority say so, even if that authority was himself Tathagata. Not without verification, though.


Then you better pack your bags for Tibet - and take your camera.

Seriously, whose evidence would you accept? What photo would you find convincing?
User avatar
justsit
 
Posts: 641
Joined: Wed Oct 21, 2009 9:24 pm
Location: Delaware

Re: Scientifically satisfactory evidence for the rainbow bod

Postby Guty » Fri Jan 03, 2014 3:36 am

Photos, sometimes, can be useful, but not really crucial in this matter. But a peer-reviewed article about this phenomenon being proven existing beyond any doubt, would sure do it. My intention to post here is based on assumption, that members visiting and participating on this forum know a lot and many of them are quite knowledgeable so I was hoping someone may point me to right direction if any paper of that kind has ever been in existence; thing is the whole thing is so unknown in the academic world that is not even debated. One really doesn't know what kind of substantiality does it realy have. I can blindly follow multitude of authors, gurus and unknown witnesses and take their referencing as something reliable, but then, I will be no better than anyone who believes in Santa Claus or something of that sort. Please, understand, I am not overly skeptical, just have my reasons and this is a key element in the belief structure that I am working on to deconstruct entirely. It is just a matter of a very subtle doubt this whole structure hangs on. I firmly believe someone will eventually come up with something even my level of cautiousness will admit as evident and satisfactory.
- La Esperanza es para la gente que vive sin Gracia -
- Hope is for people, who do not yet live in Grace -
Guty
 
Posts: 51
Joined: Thu Jan 02, 2014 5:13 pm

Re: Scientifically satisfactory evidence for the rainbow bod

Postby pensum » Fri Jan 03, 2014 3:54 am

I personally don't know of any satisfactory evidence of rainbow body, typically second-hand accounts at best. Tukdam however has been documented. Most recently Bechen Monastery released photos and video of Tenga Rinpoche in this state. And a few years ago Lama Putse passed away at Ka-Nying Shedrup Ling in Bodha, Nepal. The monastery released the following account:
On Tuesday 31st March, 1998, our cherished Umdze (Chant Leader), Lama Putse, died suddenly of a chronic respiratory ailment. Despite poor health, Lama Putse remained active and was an extremely valuable member of our monastery. Apart from his formal distinction as senior chant-leader during pujas, Lama Putse was expert in all aspects of ritual and was uniquely qualified to proofread and correct the most profound Buddhist scriptural texts and treatises.
To our amazement, Lama Putse remained for 11 days in the after-death meditative state of ‘tuk-dam’. During that time, there were none of the usual signs of the decay after death. His body remained fresh and completely odor-free, the flesh soft and supple with no sign of rigor mortis. His face was composed and life-like.
On the evening of 8th April, at our request, Dr. David R. Shlim, respected chief physician of CIWEC Clinic, came to the monastery to view Lama Putse. Dr. Shlim was astonished at the extraordinary condition of the body and remarked that he could think of no explanation, from either a medical or scientific standpoint, for such an occurrence. On 9th April, Dr. Prativa Pandey, also a senior physician of CIWEC Clinic, examined the body declaring that, after death, Lama Putse appeared to be demonstrating very rare supramundane qualities that defied scientific explanation.
During the 11 days of ‘tuk-dam’, several monks remained in Lama Putse’s room to perform puja 24-hours a day. The room had a very mild pleasant fragrance and a noticeable freshness. Two times the monastery officials had to cancel tentative plans for cremation because Lama Putse was still in meditation and, thus, connected with the body.
Lama Putse concluded his ‘tuk-dam’ meditation on Saturday, 11th April. When ‘tuk-dam’ is finished, the person’s mind deliberately separates from the physical body and the body begins to decompose rapidly. Cremation took place on Wednesday morning, 15th April, 1998, and was presided over by Chokyi Nyima Rinpoche, Chokling Rinpoche, and Tsangsar Tulku.


Dr. Shlim is a friend of mine, and i once asked him about the signs of tukdam. As mentioned in the above account, he said he couldn't explain it. However, he did acknowledge that death and any after states are not really studied by Western medical science, except for forensic pathology which studies rates of decay etc. in order to determine the time and cause of death. Hence many "signs" may occur irregardless of levels of realization, they simply aren't noticed or acknowledged unless one is looking for them which typically only occurs when a lama or admired yogi passes away. So even the scant evidence we have may not actually indicate what it is claimed to. For example, decay rates at elevation in the mountains are much slower, also the corpse is usually prepared to a certain degree including cleaning the bowels, which further retards decay. So there is much to be considered and studied before any definitive conclusions can be made.
pensum
 
Posts: 354
Joined: Sun Oct 30, 2011 9:12 pm

Re: Scientifically satisfactory evidence for the rainbow bod

Postby duckfiasco » Fri Jan 03, 2014 3:57 am

I appreciate what you're saying, Guty.

Some food for thought :)
If something is relegated to metaphor, i.e. a symbolic meaning but ultimately "not real" then the danger is twofold: the implication that since it's not real, it's inferior to things that are real. Second, that since it's inferior to things that are real, it needn't be taken equally seriously.
Meantime, the assumptions that define these two categories remain transparent instead of being vigorously scrutinized.
It may be more fruitful to investigate what leads you to qualify particular phenomena as real and others as imaginary, and especially the subtle motivations behind this.
The Perfect Way knows no difficulties
Except that it refuses to make preferences;
Only when freed from hate and love,
It reveals itself fully and without disguise.
- Sengcan (tr. Suzuki)
User avatar
duckfiasco
 
Posts: 591
Joined: Thu Feb 09, 2012 7:11 am
Location: Oregon

Re: Scientifically satisfactory evidence for the rainbow bod

Postby pensum » Fri Jan 03, 2014 3:59 am

Also, there was an organization that sought to conduct research into the phenomenon of rainbow body. You can read about it here http://www.sbinstitute.com/sites/default/files/The%20Rainbow%20Body.pdf, however i don't believe anything ever came of the project.
pensum
 
Posts: 354
Joined: Sun Oct 30, 2011 9:12 pm

Re: Scientifically satisfactory evidence for the rainbow bod

Postby Nighthawk » Fri Jan 03, 2014 4:55 am

Don't think you'll ever come across any solid evidence. It's all a matter of blind faith.
Nighthawk
 
Posts: 786
Joined: Tue Jan 12, 2010 8:04 am

Re: Scientifically satisfactory evidence for the rainbow bod

Postby duckfiasco » Fri Jan 03, 2014 5:05 am

Nighthawk wrote:Don't think you'll ever come across any solid evidence. It's all a matter of blind faith.

Someone could think the same thing about sitting still for an hour a day as a means to get out of depression or improve your physical health.
Or any realization experience.
Or really just anything we have no personal experience with.
Attachment to views is nefarious in how well it hides.
Others ultimately continue to suffer through our own inability to escape an ego that has the world all figured out.
The Perfect Way knows no difficulties
Except that it refuses to make preferences;
Only when freed from hate and love,
It reveals itself fully and without disguise.
- Sengcan (tr. Suzuki)
User avatar
duckfiasco
 
Posts: 591
Joined: Thu Feb 09, 2012 7:11 am
Location: Oregon

Next

Return to Dzogchen

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Google [Bot], Jinzang and 22 guests

>