Pema Rigdzin wrote:
Thank you all.
I am familiar with the sounds described,in terms of mantras, seed syllables etc., but that's not really what I meant.
As an example, I was wondering why, for example, the charnel grounds are not described in terms of sound. It would normally be rare in a description to give only a visual description of such a rich sensory subject.
I have, of course, received the empowerments and commentaries, and read other texts widely , but none explains what appears to be a convention of providing no (or very little) information on sound, smell, etc. - which in the example I gave of the charnel grounds are very powerful aspects of the impression created on the mind. Any visitor to an Indian charnel ground would attest to the power of smell and sound if describing the nature of these places.
Quote deleted at author's request--edited by Laura
I agree with what you say, as this chimes with what I have been taught and experienced. In the case of the charnel grounds, I was mulling over how they are descibed as part of description of the HYT mandala of Vajrayogini, but trying to clumsily avoid going into detail.
I think there may be a need for a different vocabulary here. Even at the end of your post you use the words 'looking at them' and place the eye sense at the top of the heap again. It is difficult to avoid the terminology of the eye sense.
I would prefer, instead of 'visualisation' a word which would work for a 'mental observation or exercise', but not obviously 'imagination' as we are back to image again.
And where you use the words 'looking at' I would opt for 'examining' or 'exploring' or even, as you say, 'experiencing'.
In a a sense the sadhana is a 'revelation' which we receive and absorb, and react towards.
I'm no Sanskrit scholar, but I am assuming the word 'visualisation' was arrived at through a close translation. Perhaps there is an alternative translation of the Sanskrit original.
I see two possibilities:
If the vast majority of what is described is visual, then 'visualisation' is a fair way to describe it, and again I am still wondering how this became so, with other senses very much in the background.
If, however, there are many examples of sadhanas describing what we are to smell, touch and taste etc. then I welcome that, and would look to understand it as something quite different from a 'visual-isation'. In this case, I think your word 'experience' fits the bill very well, as it encompasses both observation and reaction to what is described.
If it is 'in front' generation, then we still observe and react, so it is still something for us to 'experience'; in self-generation it is more overtly so, as we are active within it. 'Experience' it is, then, in my current thinking.