Tibetan Buddhism (Vajrayana or tantric Buddhism):
The Four Types of Bliss (ānanda) are part of the Sixteen Aspects (ṣoḍaśākārā) of Gnosis (jñāna) in terms of conventional reality.
- the bliss of the mind (cittānanda),
- the bliss of the body (kāyānanda),
- the bliss of speech (vāg-ānanda),
- the bliss of gnosis (jāñānanda).
Google Books: The Inner Kalacakratantra: A Buddhist Tantric View of the Individual
Ananda is a Sanskrit word I learned about back in the day when studied with my teacher, Gail, for my initial yoga teacher training. I understood the word to mean Pure Joy or Bliss or Absolute Happiness.
The word, Ananda, was first introduced to me in the context of Sat Chit Ananda (Truth, Consciousness, Bliss), a Sanskrit expression of the Absolute state of Being – or even the word God could be fitting.
When my friend, Nancy, shared this photo with me this morning, it was this word, Ananda, that I decided was the perfect description for the expression the dogs were exuding in the moment.
How serendipitous to receive this photo today, a very trying day, a day that called upon all of my yogic awareness to recall Ananda’s absolute presence through all of life’s challenges.
I awoke to a new and unusual pain in my chest, upon each breath, a pressure behind my right chest wall. I thought, Oh, this is interesting. What could this be now?
Today being chemo treatment #5 day, I would ready myself for the long drive. Although the pain lessened with each hour, my husband reaffirmed the importance of telling my oncologist about this new pain development.
Unfortunately, the Oncologist said a CAT scan would be necessary to rule out a potential blood clot, only as a precautionary measure.
Off we went to the hospital, for a STAT scan reading, a CAT scan with Contrast.
Yikes, Contrast? Although I was warned by the technician exactly what I would “feel” with the contrast, I was not prepared for the actual experience.
“Okay, it’s going to go fast” she warned, “you’ll feel hot, taste metal in your mouth, and feel like you’re urinating, but you’re not. You may get nauseous or vomit.”
Oh, how delightful, I thought, as I tensed every muscle in my body awaiting the surge. (This was after she stabbed me several times before finding a vein).
Now comes the hot surge. My imagination went haywire. Hot lava is being pushed into my heart, I’m going to explode from the inside out, this is going to fucking kill me, I thought. I winced at the foul metallic taste in my mouth, and panicked as the imaginary hot piss poured down my legs.
Fuck, calm down, I’m going to be okay. I’m going to be okay, I’m going to be okay. I’m okay, I’m okay, I’m okay. I tried to convince myself.
Then, the picture. I imagined the picture. I conjured the image of those dog expressions in my mind. I remembered the idea, Ananda. Quite remarkably, my awareness shifted. I knew I would be okay. I said the words, “I AM OKAY“.
And, of course, I was okay. But it could have gone so much worse had I let my imagination take me down the path of doom.
Later, the technician gave me the news, “It’s negative.”
Thank you, Nancy and Gary. You and your beloved dogs carried me through the day.
Photo Credit: Nancy and Gary Mahon