[Buddha-l] Abhidharma vindicated once again

Dan Lusthaus vasubandhu at earthlink.net
Mon Mar 7 08:33:23 MST 2011

Well, Herman, let's clear up just a few things.

> AFTER death, you say.

Not me. I pasted in three descriptions purporting to provide official 
understandings of the term. Also, if I remember correctly, your initial post 
on tukdam characterized it as post-death. So this little rhetorical strategy 
of trying to avoid that consequence by pretending I invented it won't wash, 
I find it disappointing that you would stoop to such transparent sophistries 
when I've tried to take your inquiry seriously.

Fact is, those who enter tukdam do not wake up and eat breakfast, unlike 
those in nirodha-samapatti. Take a deep breath, resign yourself to that not 
insignicant difference, and accept it. It's major.

>When an ex Ganden Tripa died,
> or "died", in 2008 and entered tukdam, the Dalai Lama ordered his body
> to be wired up - surely the first time such an experiment was carried
> out - and after a few days some faint brain activity was registered.

So his eeg flatlined for days and then something fluttered on the eeg? Or 
there was constant eeg activity the whole time?

The accepted medical definition of death is a flat eeg for 24 hours. So if 
the above case actually happened (or is the source for this the same group 
that Erik's swami uses for PR?), and the eeg was flat for more than 24 
hours, he was technically dead, and then rescusitated. Dead is dead.

>nirodha-samapatti still
> retains life-force (jivatendriya) and body heat, while a corpse does not."
> That would fit the many descriptions of bodies of people in tukdam.

Not according to the descriptions I posted.

> You also explained earlier that "[n]irodha-samapatti [...] is
> soterically effective, leads to anuttara-samyak-sambodhi [and] makes
> high level meditations and rebirths possible".
> Wouldn't that make 'nirodha-samapatti' the ideal final pre-death
> meditation for serious practitioners ?

Recommend it to all your friends. However, that's not how it's touted in the 

> I think I will leave it there. I hardly know what I am talking about
> anyway. I'm sure that some Tibetan scholars and some Tibetologists would
> be able to tell us whether 'nirodha-samapatti' could be equated to
> 'tukdam', but I don't know where they are hiding.

Their eeg-s go flat thinking about this stuff.

> Regretfully,I haven't found much useful references to the case of the
> Ganden Tripa's tukdam. I first heard of it while viewing a lecture by
> the Dalai Lama on the 'Nature of Mind' at the University of California
> Santa Barbara Events Center on April 24th, 2009. :
> http://www.youtube.com/user/gyalwarinpoche#p/c/B99B861CCA727058/4/gO7RQi55asY
> , at about min. 31:30 .

Note HHDL says these measurements were taken "after he passed away... 
clinically dead..." and so on. The physical signs he points to are (1) body 
doesn't immediately decay, and (2) he requested that they put a machine on, 
but this apparently happened sometime after this fellow was already dead for 
sometime. "The results are not yet in but" it preliminarily it seems some 
"faint..electrical" activity was detected. "We believe this is the subtle 
mind" influencing "the body." He then switches to Tibetan and cites the 
Abhidharmakosa and Abhidharmasamuccaya re: their descriptions of the dying 
process. Then, to vajrayana and the Guhyasamaja Tantra... (which he 
struggles to recite)

> Later I found one tantalizingly vague article :
> http://www.phayul.com/news/article.aspx?article=Former+Ganden+Tripa+Stays+on+%27Thukdam%27+for+18+Days&id=22935

Last line: "Under guidance of Dalai Lama, Trisur Rinpoche's body will be 
mummified so that people can have his audience and be blessed by his 
presence, Dr. Namdul said."

Key word is "vague." Seems to be written by the same sort of folks that 
tested the swami. It says: "The doctors measured the effect of Thukdham on 
Rinpoche's body through EEG, ECG and body temperature using latest 
scientific equipment." But it doesn't say anything about any of the 
readings, except that they witnessed a scientific breakthrough. If it's just 
a momentary flicker on one of the machines, given the state of electric 
service in India, that could have lots of explanations not connected with 
tukdam. That the report is neither finalized nor available suggests that on 
second viewing what they found is not so spectacular after all. I'll wait 
for the report... In the meantime I hear there's a Ganesha statue drinking 
milk shakes further up the road, Virgin Marys appearing on walls and in 
english muffins, and sundry other stuff that would amaze me if I found even 
a shred of credibility in any of them.

> Thank you, Dan, for bringing up an interesting topic, and for your
> encyclopedic reply ; I wonder : where do you find the time.

I'm not dead yet. What else is there but time (none of which I have, but 
which I am).


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