- Some comments about
NATURE of MIND & ALEX GREY
"Because there are no phenomena which are not dependent arisings, there are no phenomena which are not void." (Nagarjuna)
Alex Grey 1998 in Amsterdam- Thomas and I met Alex (*29.11.1953, 9:45 a.m. EST, Columbus/Ohio/USA) and his wife Allyson (-also an artist) at a psychoactivity congress in Amsterdam in autumn 98. There we had a short but intensive talk exchanging some of our experiences in the field of psychedelic mind expansion and trying to put into his heart to test a special method invoking the world of the Skyblue Manjushri. We really found a brother in mind and fellow seeker. Shortly before we've met him in person we had discovered his outstanding art in the American MAPS magazine and -oops-, there he was in person. Alex and his wife really have an amazing biography. We highly recommend to study them going to their website or reading about them in Alex' book 'Sacred Mirrors' or the new released 'The Mission of Art'.
(Click here for book descriptions and order links.)
   - In his painting 'Nature of Mind' (part of a series of paintings) Alex tries to present the essence of some of his psychedelic enlightenment peaks and experiences (-stand 1996) mirroring his profound understanding of Buddhist tantra and deep insights into the secret nature of the vajra mind. Even though his picture is on enlightenment (-following the Buddhist views) one should keep in mind, that enlightenment (-of what stage or nature whatsoever) is always 'just' a starting point a basic initiation, not an end-result. It's a precious seed, which, if cultivated carefully, can grow into a realization, meaning that you can keep a certain view on a daily basis and act accordingly without forcing it. This process could take hundreds of lives. In Buddhist terms it makes you a Bodhi-Sattva, somebody, who carries the spirit of enlightenment, but is not completely realized yet. Having this in mind our feelings told us  that we've met a Bodhisattva who takes art as his main vehicle and follows in this the tradition of Tibetan thangka painters and artists. We are sure that Alex doesn't pretend and that he is a real spiritual searcher and psychedelic explorer.
   - Since nobody is able to fix even a second of all those millions of vibrant mystical visions, self-empowerments and all this phantastic craziness of psychedelic or meditative enforced enlightenment stages by simply using brush, paint, sound or words as a kind of camera one has to choose the language of symbolism, can 'try' to roughly describe or paint some of the more important mystical visions (archetypal deities or mandalas of one's mind), using metaphorism (lyrics, Koan's) or a mixture of everything, to present a taste or vague feeling of the nature of our inner potential as good as possible. A well known proceedure in most major esoteric traditions (including astrology) as well as in literature art and music!
   - In 'Nature of Mind' Alex created his very own way of visual collage to illustrate his philosophical and esoteric knowledge as well as some of his mystical insights. Doing so he also acts as a teacher or guru (-sagittarian sun), wanting to inspire others, make them curious and interested by pointing towards the transpersonal goals of our life. But like other good and selfless motivated educators in this field he makes it difficult to decode his messages in a quick go, so that 'learning by seeing' becomes an adventure and allows the follower all those refreshing aha-experiences which are also part of Alex' own driving force, being teacher and student in one.-
   - In this he can be compared with Ernst Fuchs (Vienna School of Phantastic Realism) whom I met several times in the late sixties and with whom I had some witty, inspiring and crazy talks and experiences. In the psychedelic collages of his early phase Fuchs combined symbolic and abstract elements of the Kabbala (prayers, seed syllables) with some self-experienced visions of Jewish mysticism. Like Alex he acted also as a student and teacher in one and was honored as an authority and guru by the hippie scene of those days. It's a pitty that being 'en vogue' and under the influence of the jet set, the money and cultivating his famous and eccentric desire for women (- not being aware of Maya's checkings) his spiritual drive almost came to a stillstand. In this he made a similar career like Dali. Could be 'Crazy Wisdom', but, Alex, keep your eyes open :)
   - Maybe once in the near future the electronic arts with their growing spectrum of possibilities like animations, 3-dimensional effects and multimedia presentation will be a first option to illustrate the nature of psychedelic and tantric reality. But this can't be realized by an individual. It would need a good functioning team of dedicated spiritual and technical experts. I'm sure Alex would be enthusiastic about such a possibility (-us too!). But it's science fiction for the present.-
   - In his sensitive warm-heartedness and using his bright and open intelligence Alex wants to share his experiences and understanding of ultimate beauty, wisdom, power and ecstasy to fulfill the obligations of a 20th century Bodhisattva, having his roots in America and trying to build bridges between East and West.

   - In the centre of  'Nature of Mind', standing for the heart chakra of  the Buddha resp. the meditator, you find a vibrant light-mandala, symbolizing the interconnection of the highest wisdom aspects of the 5 elements, senses or aggregates, the universe is formed of: water (blue, bottom or East), earth (yellow,left or South), fire (red, top or West), air (green, right or North), ether (white, centre resp. zenith). (-Putting your mind in the centre of the mandala and facing towards East, the earth element is to your right and the air element to your left). Each of the surrounding lotus petals wear the vajra-symbol which stands for the indestructible nature of the ultimate mind. From the mandala many light rays emerge into all directions of the inner and outer universe, envoking several deities or part-aspects of the Buddha mind like Mahakala, Rahula, Vajrapani, Sihavaktra Dakini, Yamantaka and Vajrasadhu or Dorleg. Additional miniature deities and Budddhas are mixed into the 5-circled  bluish background (= 5 levels of the mountain of enlightment). Why Alex choose those particular deities we don't know. Maybe he feels a special affection towards them. Up at the top, in the middle of the Buddha face and protected by the mythological Garuda-bird (-grasping with his claws for the floating Naga- or Kundalini energy) thrones the Buddha of the primordial nature of the universe, the naked Adi Buddha or Vajradhara, embraced by by his white female consort or Prajna (= wisdom). His color is black or blackblue. This just symbolically embodied state of mind stands for the overcoming of all dualistic concepts and for the fundamental emptiness or void nature of existance. Just above the mandala Alex' face is enthusiastically directed towards this highest state of mind (Mahamudra). In the upper third of this vision Alex painted some white seed-syllables representing the magical sound OM (pronounced AUM), which activate the inner ether element at the crown chakra and stands for the pure enlightened mind. To illustrate the importance and power of sound (- the source of light) Alex gave the upper Buddha face two OM's as earrings, showing some psychedelic humour. The middle area of the painting shows the red seed syllable AH activating the inner fire element, centred in the throat chakra and standing for enlightened speech. In the lower section he put's some darkblue seed syllables, representing the magical sound HUNG (water element, heart chakra), standing for the indestructible vajra mind, the body of the Buddha and the immense magical potential coming from the Buddhas heart. The HUNG is seen as the 'father-sound' of all existance. OM AH HUNG represent body, speech and mind of enlightment (Buddhaship) and plays an essential part in all tantric meditations of Tibetan Buddhism.- The rainbow body of the meditator, sitting on a high plateau of a Tibetan mountain (symbolizing Mount Meru) shows the pattern of the Buddhist knot of good luck. Good luck, Alex!
-
Under his painting (oil on wood, 32" x  48") Alex gave following statement:

'The three worlds are united, -From lesser to greater Being. -Visions spontaneously liberate -As vastness nakedly seeing. -Awareness supreme and central, -Voidness radiant and clear, -Inner sun, outer sun, non-dual, -In the heart no desire or fear. -Guardians cut loose my empty husk, -A human skin pelt of turquoise sky. -Reveal the mandala of Great Perfection, -A resplendent Buddha, I.'

- Written on the 29th of November 98, at Alex' 45th birthday, in respect of his encouraging work.  © Hans-Hinrich Taeger (Champa Legshe) -

Alex Grey: Dedication to Hans and Thomas, 1998 Hans Taeger: Psychedelic Self Portait, 1974
- This is what Alex gave us on our way    - See this similar sketch done by Hans in 1974

'You don't see any contradiction in being a Buddhist and exploring psychedelics? No, I would almost say, "how can you be a serious Buddhist if you're not exploring psychedelics?" Then you're sort of an armchair Buddhist, a Buddhist from theory. a Buddhist from practice, but it's sort of training wheels practice. I mean, the real thing is, take the old boat out and give it a spin.'
(- Interview with Terence McKenna)

Visit also Fractal Art by Tamrof Back to 'Nature of Mind' Painting
More Pages on Tibetan Buddhism
Biographical Notes on Ven. Kalu Rinpoche
Kalu Rinpoche: The 6 Bardos and the Nature of Mind
Tenga Tulku (Biographical Notes)
Lama Yeshe: Buddhist Way of Thought
Lama Yeshe, A Milestone in My Life
Gangchen Tulku, The Healing Lama
Tibetan Art (Thangka Gallery # 1)
Shine Meditation
Taeger's Buddhist Teachers
Mentor (White Manjushri Thangka)
Book Recommendations (Tibetan Buddhism)
For a more detailed listing & new added pages click:
Sub-Menu Buddhism
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Geshe Rabten, Kalu Rinpoche, Zong Rinpoche,
Gangchen Tulku & Panchen Ötrul Rinpoche,
Tenga Tulku,(small page), Panchen Ötrul R.
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Gangchen Tulku (Photo Impressions)
Lama Yeshe & Lama Zopa (Photo),
Vajrapani Painting, Golden Nagaradja,
Nagaradja (Detail)
Green Tara Painting (by Andy Weber),
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Updated June 2000

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