Chapter Fifteen

Peak Experiences

THE ANCIENT MONASTERY WAS BUILT into the side of a mountain cliff on the edge of the rhododendron forest. It housed fifteen Buddhist monks, although, Master Fwap confided to me, it had once housed more than a hundred.

It was made of stone, wood and plaster. Dozens of brightly colored prayer flags, and stones carved with ‘Om Mani Padme Hum,’ decorated its front courtyard. The meditation hall was large: I estimated that well over one hundred monks could simultaneously meditate there. Behind and above the meditation hall were a kitchen and study rooms.

We had arrived at sunset, just as the monastery lamps were being lit. As the two of us stood surveying the monastery, a pair of monks came out into the front courtyard and blew through two musical instruments that looked like seven-foot-long oboes. I can’t say that the sounds they made were pleasing to me, but judging from the bright and happy expression on Master Fwap’s face, he seemed to enjoy their music.

Shortly after our arrival, all the monks came out to the courtyard to greet us. They smiled at me and several of the younger monks came over directly to me and bowed.

I observed, from their attentiveness to him, that the monks who lived in the monastery seemed to know, like and have a deep respect for Master Fwap. I also noticed that he acted differently around them than he did with me. He seemed more at ease.

We were led to the kitchen, where we were seated at a long table with a number of the monks. They all laughed and chatted with Master Fwap in Nepali, while two of the younger monks served us both tea.

After tea, Master Fwap and I were conducted into the north wing, and ushered into the room belonging to the head Lama of the monastery.

He was very old. He sat on a meditation couch in the large room that served as both his bedroom and office. He greeted me with a warm, broad smile.

I liked him immediately. Despite his advanced years, there was something very youthful about him; he seemed to me to be very innocent and vulnerable. Master Fwap said something to him in a different language, and then the two of them started giggling like children.

Later Master Fwap explained to me that the head Lama, like himself, was Tibetan. They had been conversing and making jokes about me in their native language, so that only the two of them would understand!

After a few minutes, one of the younger monks appeared noiselessly at the head Lama’s door, and conducted me to a different section of the monastery, where I would be staying.

I WAS GIVEN A SMALL room to stay in at the end of the south wing. It was sparsely furnished and smelled perpetually of incense.

In the center of the room was a cot. Built into one of the room’s walls were two small chests of drawers made of a dark wood that resembled teak. In the front of the room, opposite the entryway door, hung a brightly colored thangka, depicting scenes from the life of the Buddha.

I DON’T RE MEMBER DREAMING DURING the nights I slept in the monastery. My days were spent taking walks with the younger monks and helping around the kitchen.

One of the younger monks who was about my age had undertaken the task of teaching me Nepali. In return, he asked me to teach him English. He and I spent our mornings and afternoons together, when I wasn’t working in the kitchen, walking around the monastery grounds pointing at anything we could find to teach each other words in Nepali and in English.

His name was Ananda. In the little English that he spoke, he told me he was born in southwestern Nepal in a small village. He told me that he had lived in several other monasteries before coming here. He referred to the monastery we were in as the “cliff monastery.” He said he was seventeen years old.

I liked the routine of the monastery. Every morning we would get up with the sun. We bathed in a freezing cold waterfall that came roaring down the mountainside, and then after returning to the kitchen for hot buttered tea, we all would go to the meditation hall for morning meditation.

The meditation hall was windowless. It was lit with dozens of small candles. The walls were covered with brightly colored thangkas that depicted Buddhas, gods, goddesses and otherworldly scenes in fantastically complicated paintings.

Each morning I would sit next to Master Fwap, facing the front of the hall in a cross-legged position, on a meditation cushion. At the front of the room, next to a statue of the Buddha, the head Lama stood motionless until all of the other monks were present and seated. Then he would ring a small bell. Immediately everyone would close their eyes and enter into meditation.

Trying to follow Master Fwap’s instructions, I meditated as best I could. At the beginning of each session, I mostly thought. But partway through the morning meditation my thoughts would begin to slow, and occasionally—for very short periods of time—they would completely stop.

During these times I felt similar to the way that I had when I had been sitting next to Master Fwap in the cave of seeing. I could feel a perfect stillness within me. The universe seemed to melt into me and I into it; I felt like I was a part of everything and I had no fear.

I noticed that each morning, about fifteen minutes after the meditation session had ended, everything became very shiny. My physical vision seemed to clear, and everything I saw became brighter and more precise. One morning after meditation, I asked Master Fwap about this phenomenon. He told me that things were always this bright, but that I needed my morning meditation to clear my mind enough to see just how beautiful life really was.


ONE DAY, AFTER WE HAD been staying at the cliff monastery for about a week, Master Fwap and I spent an afternoon in the monastery garden. It was a sunny day, and I felt lazy and warm sitting in the garden with a cup of steaming buttered tea in my hand.

Master Fwap was all smiles that day. He told me we would have to leave in a few days, and that I should enjoy the time we had left at the monastery. He remarked that this particular monastery was his favorite in all of the Himalayas. He said that he came here whenever he needed to clear his mind and rejuvenate his spirit.

“Normally when I come here,” he began, “I spend most of my time meditating in this garden. The luminous energy lines of this particular valley all converge right here in this garden. These energy lines are particularly conducive to samadhi.”

“Why is that?” I inquired.

“Because they emanate from a dimension of perfect light!” he replied with a bright and happy laugh. “As I told you in the cave of seeing, different physical locations are hooked to different dimensions. Buddhist monasteries are built on locations that interphase with dimensions that are of the brightest and most perfect light,” he replied.

“Look around you,” he continued. “We are in a valley that is surrounded by the Himalayas on all sides. There is nothing else here except snow-covered mountains, and the rhododendron forest. The only people who live here are Buddhist monks who constantly meditate on the dharma—on the happiest thoughts and feelings in the universe. There is no selfishness here. All the energies of the monks are directed toward merging their minds with the ocean of pure nirvanic enlightenment.”

“But Master Fwap, is all of the higher energy here because of the luminous energy lines, or is the high energy here emanating from the meditating monks?”

“Originally there were no monks and there was no monastery here,” he responded. “There were only the Himalayas and the rhododendron forest. The dimensional planes that correspond to this valley we are in were then, and still are, made up of pure intelligent light.

“The Himalayas are filled with places like this,” he continued. “And since there are few, if any, people around these locations, these places of power and enlightenment have remained relatively unpolluted by the aura of worldly human beings.”

“Master Fwap, are there other places like this outside of the Himalayas?”

“Yes, there are quite a few on each continent, and also on some islands,” he replied with a smile. “But most of them have become so polluted by the cities that have been built near or on them that they cannot be used for achieving samadhi any more.”

“Why do you need a special place to experience samadhi?” I asked. “I thought that if you were enlightened you could go into samadhi in any location. If samadhi is a deep meditative state of mind, what does physical location have to do with achieving it?”

Master Fwap laughed delightedly at my question. I could tell he was amused by the fact that I had finally decided to ask him something about meditation, instead of my perpetual topic, snowboarding.

“There are really two issues involved here,” Master Fwap began, “and I want you to see them as complementary, not as being opposed or unrelated to each other. They are both equally important.

“The first issue is understanding what the samadhis are, and how they are attained: this is purely a technical understanding of meditation techniques and methods. The second issue is how the higher energies of parallel dimensions and power spots can be used to heighten overall spiritual awareness, and how they can make it easier for a person to experience the samadhis.”

“Master Fwap, I thought you said that samadhi was the absence of thought? I’ve experienced that several times since we’ve been here, during my morning meditations. Does that mean I have been entering into samadhi already?”

Master Fwap laughed heartily! His eyes twinkled with delight as he said: “No, I’m afraid that what you have experienced so far, in your early morning meditations, is a few good minutes of meditation, but not samadhi.”

“Well, how can you tell what samadhi is?” I asked, frustrated.

“Samadhi,” Master Fwap replied, “is, of course, the absence of thought. Let us say that the absence of thought is one of the indications that you have entered into a deep state of meditation. But there are several other aspects to the experience of samadhi that must also be present, if what you are experiencing is really samadhi.

“Let me begin by saying that the experience in meditation of samadhi is not a great achievement. In this world it is, however, a very rare achievement. Of all of the hundreds of thousands of Buddhist monks who meditate every day, only a handful of them are able to experience samadhi every time they meditate.

“According to our yogic traditions, samadhi means complete awareness of God, or to put it in less religious terms, samadhi means that your mind and the mind of the universe are, for a time, merged in an absolute ecstatic union.

“There are said to be three stages of samadhi—Salvikalpa samadhi, Nirvikalpa samadhi, and Sahaja samadhi. Salvikalpa samadhi is like accidentally falling into a beautiful and pure lake of absolute bliss. You did not fall in intentionally, but you found it refreshing nevertheless.

“Nirvikalpa samadhi is like intentionally diving into the same lake, and swimming and playing in it for a time. Sahaja samadhi is like living on a houseboat in the middle of the lake of bliss, and occasionally coming ashore for supplies.

“The mind of infinity is everywhere!” Master Fwap shouted in a jubilant outburst. “It is all around us, inside of us, and beyond us: it is everywhere and nowhere at the same time.

“To an extent, we experience the mind of God in all things. We experience it in the world that we see and feel every day, the people we know, the thoughts we think and in the emotions that we feel. The physical universes, astral dimensions and causal dimensions are simply different aspects of the mind of God.

“But when we experience life through our senses and with our thoughts, we don’t experience its essential nature, its most pure and radiant form. Instead we only experience the external veneer of life’s ecstasy.

“Most of the water in a lake lies hidden beneath its surface,” Master Fwap continued. “In much the same way, only a small portion of life can be seen. The vast majority of life is nonphysical; it exists beyond the physical surface of life, in other dimensions.

“If you want to experience life in its totality, it is necessary to enter into samadhi. Stopping your thoughts for a few minutes during meditation—which you have experienced several times in the meditation hall over the past few mornings—will give you a glimpse of the inner depths of infinity. But in samadhi, you gain more than a glimpse, you will experience the infinite, eternal and perfect depths of existence.

“The experience of samadhi is never the same twice,” he continued. “In some ways it is like climbing one of our Himalayan mountains. The weather conditions around a Himalayan mountain, and the amount of snow covering it, are constantly changing. Even though you may climb the same mountain again and again, you will never have exactly the same experience twice, because of the mountain’s ever-changing climatic conditions.

“Because nirvana is endless, ever-new, changeless yet ever-changing, and since your ability to experience it—to climb higher up the mountain of meditation, so to speak—also increases as your life becomes more fluid and powerful, your experiences in samadhi—your ecstatic journeys into nirvana—are never exactly the same.

“Samadhi is ecstasy beyond comprehension,” Master Fwap continued. “During deep meditation, as you start to enter into samadhi, at first every cell in your body will be filled with a fiery ecstasy. This ecstasy starts at the base of your spine, and rises as the kundalini energy ascends up your sushumna.

“Your sushumna is the primary conduit of the kundalini energy in your nonphysical body. It is an astral nerve tube that runs between and connects all of your major chakras. It begins at the base of your spine, where your first chakra is located, and then runs up through your spleen chakra, navel chakra, heart chakra, throat chakra and ends in your sixth chakra, the third eye, which is located in the center of your forehead. It runs in the astral plane next to and along your spinal column.

“To go into samadhi you must pull the kundalini energy up from your root chakra, the first chakra at the base of your spine, all the way up to your third eye! Then you must move all the kundalini energy you have amassed at your sixth chakra, the third eye, up and into your seventh chakra—which we in Buddhist Yoga refer to as the crown chakra.

“This is the difficult part, because the crown chakra is not directly connected to the third eye by the sushumna. It takes a great deal of willpower, and total vibratory purity, to move the kundalini energy all of the way up to the crown chakra from your third eye.

“When the kundalini energy enters your crown chakra, you experience samadhi. As I mentioned before, samadhi is the direct experience of nirvana.

“The crown chakra is the nexus of one thousand dimensional planes. That is why, in Buddhist Yoga, it is often referred to as the thousand-petaled lotus of light.

“The amount of kundalini you are able to bring into your crown chakra,” Master Fwap said, “will determine how many of those dimensions—the petals of the crown chakra—become simultaneously active. The different samadhis are simply measurements of how many of the thousand petals of the crown chakra you are able to simultaneously access. The more dimensions in your crown chakra you can simultaneously access, the more ecstatic your samadhi is, and the more complete your experience of nirvana will be.

“Please remember,” Master Fwap said in a strong and formal tone, “that what I have just described to you is only a verbal blueprint of how the experience of samadhi is achieved. It is, at best, a flowchart of how the kundalini moves.

“There is much, much more to achieving samadhi, enlightenment, and experiencing nirvana than I have expressed to you in this simple verbal description! You learn the subtleties of the samadhis, and how to become enlightened and merge with nirvana, from being personally initiated by, and directly studying with an enlightened Buddhist master.”

“Master Fwap, how does the movement of all of that energy through your chakras affect you?”

“As the kundalini energy moves up your sushumna and passes through your chakras—which it does when you are capable of stopping all your thoughts for protracted periods of time—it burns away all the impurities that exist within your physical body, your mind and your subtle body. When all of those impurities have been completely burned away, your mind turns into pure light.

“Then, as light,” Master Fwap continued, “the essence of your spirit body perfectly enters nirvana. At first there is a slight sense of differentiation. It is like slipping your feet into a pair of shoes that fit perfectly; you can feel your feet slipping into them for a moment, but then, after a few minutes, you don’t feel that your shoes are separate from your feet anymore.

“After going into samadhi for many lifetimes,” Master Fwap explained, “there is no sense of individuality. You are absorbed into the heart of light without motion. You rest there unknowingly. All awareness of this, or of any other plane or world, comes to an end. There is only light, the pure and perfect awareness of nirvana.

“Both the depth of your entrance into nirvana, and the amount of time you spend in that perfect absorption, will depend upon the strength of your mind, body and spirit, the amount of energy you have at your disposal, and also, to a certain degree, upon your physical location.”

“Why is that, Master Fwap?”

“All places are not the same! They may look similar to the unenlightened eye, but they are connected to different dimensions, and possess different levels and types of pranic energy.

“One of the tricks to entering into samadhi,” Master Fwap continued, “after you have experienced the proper training and learned the secret techniques from an enlightened master, is to be in the right place at the right time.”

“Master Fwap,” I asked, “what do you mean by training, and what are the secret techniques?”

He laughed heartily in response to my question. “You do want to know everything all at once,” he smiled. “I suppose that is the American way.

“Well,” he continued, “you can’t expect to experience samadhi without the proper training, can you? Entering into samadhi is a little like flying an airplane. Without any instruction at all, you probably won’t know how to start the plane. With a little instruction, you may be able to take off, but you won’t know how to fly. With a fair amount of instruction you will be able to fly in normal situations. If you want to fly at higher altitudes, where the weather is more problematic but the view is also more breathtaking, you will need a great deal of instruction.”

“But Master Fwap, I thought you said that a person simply had to raise the kundalini energy up their spine and get it to light up their crown chakra? Why would anyone need instruction beyond the techniques necessary to do that?”

“Once again, please be patient. I know that my explanations are, at times, quite long. But you are learning a very complicated subject, Buddhist Yoga, and it is essential that you grasp the fundamentals before we venture out together into interdimensional space.

“Having an enlightened master,” he continued, “is an absolute necessity for the serious student of Buddhist Yoga.”

“Why, Master Fwap? I’m sure it makes it easier and faster to learn any subject if you have a good teacher, but why can’t you just learn Buddhist Yoga from a book, the way you can any other subject?”

“Buddhist Yoga is the study of power, balance, and knowledge,” Master Fwap responded. “These three steps lead to enlightened awareness. None of them can be skipped, or you will fail to enter into samadhi.

“A certain amount of the basic teachings of Buddhist Yoga can be learned from a book,” he said with a concerned smile. “For example, you can read about the types of things that you and I discuss together. But in order to really practice higher yoga, you need the energy, vibrational purity, example, humor, patience and wisdom of a living master.

“The first and most basic thing you gain from studying with a master is pure power,” Master Fwap explained. “When you are with your master, he transfers high-grade kundalini energy into your subtle body.

“The empowerments from your master energize and activate your chakras, allowing you to do things that you could not possibly do with the amount of energy you normally have at your disposal.

“Think of it this way,” he continued. “If you are a student at college, and you have very little money in your checking account, the scope of your activities will be limited. But if you have a scholarship and you get money deposited into your checking account on a regular basis, then you will be able to do much more.

“Your master’s auric empowerment awakens your past-life abilities and talents, and can even boost your IQ.

“When you study directly with an enlightened master,” he continued to explain, “you also gain vibrational purity. Just being in your master’s aura on a regular basis will detoxify your aura, and even help you to remove many of the negative karmic patterns that you have acquired over the course of your incarnations.

“Another important thing you gain by studying with a master is example. By watching your master in different situations, you will get to personally see how a Buddhist master displays grace under pressure, in all situations. Life is never easy, not even for the enlightened. As a matter of fact, enlightened masters are often persecuted by the society they live in.”

“Why is that Master Fwap?”

“An enlightened master is cuttingly honest with people. Human beings are so used to lying to each other, and to themselves, that they have come to call a great deal of their lying the truth. But enlightened masters always tell the real truth. This tends to make them unpopular with lots of people, including their own students.

“But if what you really seek is enlightenment,” Master Fwap continued in a strong and emphatic tone of voice, “then you will want and need your master’s honesty, even if it bruises your big ego on a regular basis.”

“So what does all of this have to do with going into samadhi, and how physical locations like this valley can enhance that?” I inquired.

“It is because of the pranic currents here,” he replied coyly.

“Exactly what is a pranic current?” I asked, in a frustrated tone of voice.

“It is the invisible current of energy that flows from one dimension to another. If the pranic current is highly charged, which occurs when the energy comes from a dimension that vibrates very rapidly, then the physical area where that dimension crosses over becomes highly charged too. The valley we are in is such a place.

“If the pranic currents come from a dimension that vibrates more slowly than the energy in our own dimension, then the physical area of pranic crossover becomes negatively charged.”

“What does that do?”

“If you spend time in such a place, it will slow down the vibratory rate of your subtle body. You will feel tired and drained. If you stay there too long you can become physically sick. In addition, being in a negatively charged area will make it difficult, if not impossible, for you to perceive things psychically.

“On the other hand, a valley such as the one we are in right now is filled with positive pranic energy: this energy speeds up the vibratory rate of your subtle body. When you enter into meditation here, whether it is a basic level of meditation or samadhi, the added boost that you receive from the positively charged prana that is available in this location will make it much easier for you to achieve a higher state of meditation.

“When the wind moves in the same direction that an airplane does, it significantly speeds up the airplane,” Master Fwap stated factually. “If the airplane flies against the wind, it slows down. Pranic currents act in much the same way: they can assist you in your meditation practice, or make it more difficult, according to the type and intensity of the pranic energy present.

“That’s enough talking for now,” he said with a gentle laugh. “Let us meditate here for a while and then go and find the Lama.”

Master Fwap closed his eyes and entered into meditation. In a few moments he was surrounded by golden light. After a few more minutes, the golden light emanating from him became so thick that I could hardly see him even though we were sitting outdoors and it was broad daylight!

After watching the golden light flow around Master Fwap for several minutes, I closed my eyes and let my mind relax. The next thing I knew, Master Fwap was tapping me on the shoulder. I opened my eyes and, much to my surprise, it was almost dark. I had been sitting in meditation for several hours, even though it had only seemed like seconds to me.

Master Fwap was definitely right. The higher pranic currents in the valley made it much easier for me to meditate.

Master Fwap stood up and stretched. Then the two of us started walking in silence back to the monastery. The only noise that could be heard in the valley was the sound of our feet echoing against the ancient courtyard steps.