Teachings of Shri Mahayogi:
For Those Who Seek Satori,
Each Action of Every Moment Should Be Taken as Practice
For the Purification That Leads to Satori
Testimonials from Actual Practitioners
• Jayanti Message 2016:
* * * * * * *
Teachings of Shri Mahayogi:
Translation of Satsangha
January 15, 2000
The Ashrama, Kyoto
Today, along with the regular participants, there are several visitors: Anandamali, Anandabhairava, Gerry [Gerald/Pratibha] from New York and Shanta from Milano. Carina (from Switzerland), who has been attending the Thursday classes, is here with Mr. Mohr (Vishoka) and participating in satsangha for the first-time. She is researching Shugendo (the Japanese mountain asceticism-shamanism which incorporates Shinto and Buddhist concepts) at Kyoto University. The Ashrama is filled all the way down to the first floor with attendees.
The Attitude of a Real Practitioner
Sanatana: I think that people in ancient times were not so different in this regard, but in modern times, most people eventually come to understand, whether they learn it through life experiences or by having been taught by someone, that desire is to be gotten rid of, or that the nature of the world is ever-changing, which they can feel through the sense of impermanence in the world. Nevertheless, people are still not able to shift their will and direct it toward seeking the essence of Yoga or Buddhism—I think that this was and continues to be a huge challenge, both in ancient and in modern times. What is the most important, or the best thing that we or I can do for people in such a situation?
MASTER: (rather sternly) This issue has existed since ancient times and remains the same today: [The point is that] each individual who realizes the importance [of seeking the Truth] begin to put the practice into action.
Eventually, people will come to be guided by the way in which those individuals live, which becomes a teaching in and of itself.
back to top
True Reality: The Ocean and the Waves
(Shri Mahayogi is gazing at Gerald, who speaks after a while as if to respond to the gaze.)
Gerald (Pratibha): I have a question. It’s important for us to know that we are something that is neither this body nor this mind. Shri Mahayogi refers to that even more simply as “Reality” or the “true Self”. On the other hand, we read many books, and have talked about the various mechanisms and methods for a long time. How is that related to Reality? Is that a part of the path?
MASTER: They have nothing to do with True Reality. However, in actuality, because the mind does not know what the Truth is or what the non-Truth is, various teachings are necessary in order to study them correctly.
Gerald (Pratibha): Truth must be limitless, so it cannot be that Truth does or does not exist here. So then that means that it must exist everywhere. So even various mistakes, must be the Truth too. It can’t be that only some things are the Truth and other things are not the Truth.
MASTER: Well, when it comes to the Truth, Truth and the appearance of the world are like the ocean and its waves. The shapes of the waves change constantly, yet there is only the ocean. If the mind is unaffected by the good and bad, the success and failure in this world, then that’s fine; however, we know that the mind is entangled in many different things through experience. That is just like being caught in the waves. Certainly, the Truth is eternal and only That exists; however, like the waves, the world is constantly changing. Therefore, if one can stop the mind and see only the ocean, then that is Satori.
Gerald (Pratibha): But, aren’t both the waves and the ocean made from the same water?
MASTER: Exactly. (laughs) That is why you should make an effort not to get caught up in the waves. The waves belong to the ocean, but the ocean does not belong to the waves.
Gerald (Pratibha): (in a whisper)…The waves belong to the ocean, but the ocean does not belong to the waves…(Shri Mahayogi laughs).
(Breaking the silence after a while…)
Why does the ocean make waves?
MASTER: From a pessimistic perspective, that is ignorance, and from an optimistic perspective, that is the [divine] play, called lila.
Gerald (Pratibha): I prefer the latter. (Shri Mahayogi laughs.)
(After a while)
Does Reality exist or is It created by humans?
MASTER: Reality is something that is realized within samadhi, when the mind is extinguished, and It transcends time and space. As soon as the world appears, time and space, and various conditions, have inevitably appeared already. Therefore, the material existence in this world is not Eternal Existence. That is the difference between True Reality and the phenomenal existence. Of course, that Reality is not a product of the mind.
Gerald (Pratibha): So then, is the mind made from Reality, or…never mind… please ignore this. (Everyone laughs.)
back to top
Raja Yoga: Bramacharya
Mr. Mohr (Vishoka): My question is related to the commonalities and differences between Yoga and Buddhism. On the one hand, brahmacharya (continence) is included among the five forms of yama (abstinence) emphasized in Yoga. On the other hand, there is the Buddhist precept forbidding sexual misconduct (Ch. bùxiéyín jiè ; Jp. fujain kai 不邪淫戒). It seems that the Buddhist instruction—at least in its Chinese version—underlines the need to avoid “distorted” forms of sexuality, as implied in the second character, pronounced yokoshima-na in Japanese (literally “unhealthy” or “wicked”), whereas brahmacharya appears to proscribe any form of sexuality and to stress the need for “purity.” Especially for laypeople, it would be very helpful if you could clarify whether they point in the same direction or whether they reflect different understandings.
MASTER: Well, do you know the origin of the word fuja-inkai in Buddhism? Etymologically, brahmacharya means “actions of Brahman.” So then, what is indicated by “Brahman,” is something that is without defilement, something that is pure. Therefore, this is the requirement for pure action through body (deed), mouth (word), and mind (thought). Since there are other parts in yama and niyama [that require various other aspects of purity], such as non-violence, non-stealing, etc., brahmacharya, in its narrowest meaning, is particularly the teaching to abstain from sexuality. In other words, it is the renunciation of sexuality. However, what is required of a single Yoga practitioner and of married householders is different. For [single] practitioners who are strict [in observing the precepts], all sexual relations must be abstained from. However, this prohibition is less severe for secular practitioners who are married, in order for them to procreate and exchange love.
Sexual energy is very important because it is the greatest power within the physiological human body. If both men and women can retain their sexual fluids, they will crystallize within the invisible body of prana. This is called ojas. As ojas accumulates more and more, it further transforms into a more subtle essence called tejas. Tejas means light or brilliance. This becomes the great power with which to purify the mind, and to speed up the actualization of samadhi. That is why one must be careful not to waste sexual fluid. (Towards Gerald, who is married) If you are married, you should control it.
From the viewpoint of one Buddhist tantra [practitioner], even the semen is considered to be Bodhisattva. In that case, men and women are placed as the images of the male god and the female god. However, it is not such a safe method because it won’t work unless one’s whole, entire practice has been perfected.
However, if there is pure faith and passion for Satori, there is not a problem.
Gerald (Pratibha): Not a problem, meaning you’ll no longer have sex, or…
MASTER: Whether you have sex or not. Satori is not limited to single practitioners, it is possible for a married person, too. In truth, Satori is already here. It is not some wisdom or power that is to be acquired.
back to top
Hatha Yoga: The Ideal Time for Daily Asana and Meditation
Shachi: People who come to class often ask these questions: Why do we have to practice asana every day? Why are meditation and asana more effective at night? Could you please talk about that again?
MASTER: Everything that exists in the world, the body, the mind—everything is moving in the direction of aging. On the other hand, all experiences create [certain kinds of] conditions [as a result], which can either be good or bad. Yoga asana prevents aging and works in a positive direction. Furthermore, it activates our capability to self-heal. That is why asana must be practiced every day.
As for the other question regarding meditation, the intent is, first, to concentrate, and then to enter into a state of silent tranquility in meditation. The ideal and pre-requisite condition for that is for the mind to quiet down. Likewise, it’s easier if the environment is quiet. During the daytime, the streets are active, and so the surroundings are very noisy. At night, on the other hand, a relatively quieter state, in which the activities of the day have been finished, will arise. That is why nighttime meditation is easier. For some people, the early morning, before such activities begin, may be preferable.
Shachi: That means dawn?
MASTER: Yes. Simply put, because the mind has to be quiet, it’s easier to practice [meditation] when the surroundings are quiet.
back to top
For Those Who Seek Satori,
Each Action of Every Moment Should Be Taken as Practice
For the Purification That Leads to Satori
Sanatana: I think it’s sufficient if one practices asana, pranayama, and meditation once a day, but is it not a problem if one practices two or three times, or even hours at a time? Or does it not make any difference?
MASTER: There is no need [to overextend], because what’s important is Satori. What prevents you from attaining It are the various thoughts and impressions in the mind. Therefore, concentration on Satori must be practiced twenty-four hours a day. If one is seriously and continuously seeking Satori, then his or her time spent on meditation goes beyond just sitting, and expands to include all of the day and all of the night. Even the most routine actions, such as daily cooking and cleaning, become very important practices to bring one’s attention to each moment—every action in every moment is performed for purification. As a result, actions that do not require any intention or any effort will arise. At that time, the mind will have been purified, and one’s thoughts and actions will manifest as an act of love for others or as selfless service.
back to top
What it Means to Practice for
the Purification of the Mind
Gerald (Pratibha): What does it mean to purify the mind? Purifying the body means to wash the body, but what is the difference between a purified mind and a mind that has not been purified?
MASTER: The things that disturb or defile the mind are called ignorance, or pain-bearing obstacles. This is the intellect or the knowledge that is based on ego, which mistakenly thinks that the non-truth is the Truth. They are called obstacles or defilements, and a practitioner purifies them [through practice].
back to top
Genuine Consciousness Exists Beyond
the Pain-Bearing Obstacles and the Mind
Gerald (Pratibha): I think that there are three ways to process thoughts during meditation. One is to completely deny them. The second is to get drawn into them, to follow them and then become entangled in them. The third is to abandon them, to let go of them naturally. I feel like the third option is the best, personally. So because I feel that letting go of emotions and pain-bearing obstacles is best, I am doubtful as to why it is better to control or deny them.
MASTER: Countless pain-bearing obstacles arise from the mind; however, they are gathered up under only a few causes. [They are:] firstly, the root cause that causes the other big pain-bearing obstacles, which is ignorance; the power that attaches to joys and pleasures experienced in the past and seeks them out; the power that tries to avoid things that you experienced in the past that you hate or dislike; the power that keeps one bound by subjective experiences, or the mind, which is like egoism; and fifth, to be attached to one’s physical life.
With these [obstacles] being the causes, various desires seem to arise from the mind. What is especially important is the content of that initial ignorance. That is the mistaken and erroneous understanding of the Truth. To see the eternal in something that is non-eternal. For example, neither this world nor your experiences are unchanging and everlasting. To see purity in something unclean and impure, to see joy and happiness in something that will end in suffering and anxiety, to mistakenly see the self in what is not the self—regardless of the type of thought, all of these thoughts or anxieties are surely caused by one of these categories of pain-bearing obstacles. At the same time, the mind is constituted of egoism, various forms of intellect, thoughts, memories, and so on, therefore one must eliminate ignorance through learning the aforementioned Truth. That is the purification of the mind.
Gerald (Pratibha): Even if one accepts this impermanence and understands that it will create suffering in the end, one can also decide to choose it. Is that completely delusional?
MASTER: Every phenomenon has a cause and a result. Therefore, one cannot but accept whatever results inevitably arise. Through that, one learns the truth of the world; and furthermore, one learns the mind itself. Earlier, when you mentioned the method of meditation, (smiling) you mentioned that there are three ways. Who knows these three ways?
(Gerald thinks for a little while.)
Gerald (Pratibha): I don’t have an answer. I do not know.
MASTER: That can’t be. (laughs) You had a solid grasp of it, didn’t you? (laughs)
Gerald (Pratibha): It was an image that came up in my mind, and I just turned it into words.
MASTER: Who said these words? (laughs joyfully)
(Gerald thinks for a long while.)
Gerald (Pratibha): Your question is like the wind blowing upon the ocean and causing waves.
(Everyone breaks out into loud laughter.)
MASTER: Well then, since you’ve come all the way to Japan, may I cause stronger winds? A typhoon perhaps? (laughs)
Let’s change the situation to now. You know that your mind is thinking about a number of things right now, right?
(Gerald thinks, trying to arrive at an answer by himself. Silence ensues and Shri Mahayogi waits for a long time.)
Gerald (Pratibha): The mind thinks about many things. But the mind cannot feel what the motivations are at the root. I mean, the question is who then is thinking, and what is causing these thoughts to arise in the mind?
MASTER: Exactly. Your mind must be thinking about them right now. But then [the question is] who knows this process of the mind? (laughs a little mischievously)
Gerald (Pratibha): The mind.
MASTER: (Joyfully) No, in that way the mind is only seen.
Gerald (Pratibha): Exactly.
MASTER: Yes, right there, [that is the point]. That is what you must know—the mind is something to be witnessed. What is witnessing the mind is the genuine Consciousness. Normally, we call this the “I.”
Gerald (Pratibha): That is the genuine consciousness?
MASTER: Yes. The confusion arises when the “I” is caught up with the mind. So the real you is not equal to the mind’s various experiences. Once you are no longer entangled in the mind’s turbulence, your true Self awakens.
Just as you arise in the morning from a dream, you will awaken to Reality.
(With an intense gaze, Gerald receives Shri Mahayogi’s darshan for a long time.)
back to top
Connection With the Practice of Tapas and Meditation
Chetaka: Yesterday, in meditation, I think I had my eyes open, but I felt like there was a disconnect from the outside world. It felt like the mind was under my control. I could feel that the emotions that normally tend to go outward, and at which point then become entangled with external conditions, didn’t wander away this time, but came right back at once. There wasn’t even a feeling of shanti, it just simply felt very serene. Because the mind was so under control, I thought I would concentrate on the heart, but even that movement did not arise, and it felt like it was as if I were completely in mid-air, in limbo. I even stood up and moved my body, but it was the same condition, and even when I sat back down again, it was completely the same. What should I do next from this state?
MASTER: It is very subtle, but duality still remains slightly. All the things you have mentioned have objective aspects, so when this happens, you must return to the Consciousness, which is its subject, the Consciousness that knows it.
Chetaka: So it’s fine to let myself drift with this sense of levitation?
MASTER: No. [Bring it back to] the Consciousness that knows it. The Consciousness that witnesses, the “I” consciousness. To liken it to an equation, there normally exists an oppositional relationship between the mind and the outside world. But as the world fades, the mind and the outside no longer have a correlation—I think this situation is what you have mentioned. However, the mind is still slightly retaining its dualistic relationship with the world. That is why you must try to return more and more to its subject, the first person, “I” consciousness. So then from there, that deep meditation goes into samadhi, and the Pure Consciousness itself emerges. “I” consciousness is the closest entrance to Reality. Reality does not have any opposition at all.
Chetaka: I sensed in Shri Mahayogi’s words [the seriousness of the necessity to practice] the tapas of not blaming all of our emotions or outward actions on anybody or anything external, no matter what, and instead throwing them right back to ourselves, so I have continued to make the utmost effort to practice that by sheer force. As a result of that, this experience happened all of a sudden.
MASTER: That is good. Remember not to give too much consciousness to the mind, I mean, don’t tense it up. Whatever it is, whatever the mind thinks can become an obstacle again.
Chetaka: Does tapas mean to hold your ground, even in the face of suffering or fear, without giving into one’s emotions of suffering or fear?
MASTER: Right. It is to accept all situations, especially difficult situations, and to conquer them.
back to top
The Practice of Discrimination in Yoga
the Common Practice of Discrimination
Sanatana: In meditation, how should we understand and proceed with the discrimination between Truth and non-truth, as well as with “Who am I”?
MASTER: There is no one who does not know the “I.” However, many often misunderstand when it comes to questioning who they are. That is, one identifies the experiences created by the mind or the thoughts in the mind as the “I.” In order to correct this, the practice of discrimination is necessary.
Sanatana: The concrete method of discrimination is simply taught as distinguishing whether something is Truth or not. Does it mean that this is about our own personal experiences and events?
MASTER: Yes. Normally, discrimination is performed based on one’s own individual experiences. [However] in Yoga, discrimination is applied using the origin of that discrimination, the foundation, or Truth, which is brought into the picture. Even if the mind does not understand the Truth, think of those issues as they compare to the Truth, and discriminate. In such moments, the Yoga Sutra and the teachings that the holy beings have graciously left will be extremely helpful. The purpose of meditation or its result is to be able to know the essence of all things and phenomena. As you repeatedly practice discrimination, the mind will come to be in accordance with true wisdom and knowledge. Concretely, this will result in non-attachment to various things. At the same time, immense compassion and love will arise anew within that mind. It is not based on logical intellectualization. It is realized through actual practice. Each one of you must prove this please.
It is a different topic, but “Shugendo” means the path of practice and experience.
Mr. Mohr (Vishoka): Is bhakta something that is a quality with which one is born, or something that one chooses as a practice?
MASTER: It can be both. You could say that everyone can be a bhakta. This is because only God exists. God is another name for Truth.
Ms. Matsubara: Is it possible to find light even if one is hidden within the waves?
MASTER: Yes… Of course. From there, the light of bhakti appears.
back to top
* * *
Testimonies from Actual Practitioners:
Jayanti Message 2016:
Dear Shri Mahayogi,
Today is the holiest day of the year, Jayanti. Alongside my brothers and sisters, I bow down in honor and celebration at the holy feet of my beloved Master.
Since I first met Shri Mahayogi, I have little by little been introduced to the idea of “sangha”, one of the three jewels mentioned by Buddha. As a precious gift from Shri Mahayogi that grounds me, sustains me, and cushions me from the tumult of the world, increasingly I have taken refuge in Shri Mahayogi’s sangha, finding within my brothers and sisters a source of inspiration, a source of hints on how to practically apply the teachings in daily life, a mirror to see myself, and perhaps most importantly—You.
Salutations to the holy Guru,
who pervades the moveable and immoveable with flawless perfection and
who reveals the truth of the word Tat.
Your presence is a precious gift that continuously illuminates the farthest reaches of our hearts, knowing no bounds. Again and again I come to the realization that it is You who is working through everything and everyone around me…even though, in the moment, I may not realize it, … but it is You, always guiding me towards Truth. Perhaps it has been in sangha that I have felt this most readily, as I have felt you nourishing me and caring for me through sangha itself. And perhaps because of this, I have come to see the moments I spend with sangha as great opportunities, in which I always end up receiving so much.
Recently, however, my understanding of sangha has started to make a shift. Up until now I feel that the way in which I have viewed sangha has been rather simplistic and “me”-focused. What I mean is that I have been focused on what I receive, while at the same time I developed some sort of impression that sangha was something that kind of just magically happened. That because, to whatever degree, we are bound by our love or devotion to Shri Mahayogi, or even simply our recognition that Shri Mahayogi can show us the way to what we are seeking, that that is sufficient for a sangha to exist. But I am beginning to see that this is really not the case. That even my understanding of what sangha is, and what its purpose is, has been at a very basic, surface level.
During our work in putting together the 20th anniversary celebration and since I have begun to regularly take care of the asana and meditation class, I am beginning to understand that sangha is not at all something that just happens because we are graced with Shri Mahayogi’s existence. That may be the foundation and the seed, but without cultivation, and careful tending, sangha cannot grow. But who will water, pull back the weeds, ensure the soil is rich and the sun is warm but not too hot?—we cannot expect Shri Mahayogi alone to do all of this. As your disciples, we are the ones who are responsible for this. At the same time, we cannot expect ourselves to be able to tend to and care for such a delicate seedling if we are not firmly established in practice for ourselves and burning with the passion to continue digging deeper and deeper towards the true realization of Yoga, no matter the cost.
As we honor and celebrate your holy birth and the 40th anniversary of the Mahayogi Yoga Mission, I am drawn to consider deeply the significance of your presence in this world and your mission to re-establish true Yoga. If I can consider myself to be your disciple, then, I know I must have a role to play in this mission and with this comes great responsibility. And it is time for me to step more fully into that responsibility.
As I observe Anandamali and how she takes care of each sangha-member and the needs of everyone when we are working together, I can see that she is continuously putting aside her own needs and tasks at hand in order to make sure that our needs are taken care of, that we are nourished and given what we need in order to grow and deepen in our practice and understanding of Shri Mahayogi and the Truth. In New York, sangha is being carefully cultivated by Anandamali, as she tirelessly pulls the weeds away from us while nourishing us through various means, including by involving us in the work of the Mission. Knowing that if we are really dedicated to the establishment of true Yoga, then it is essential that we strengthen sangha to a such a degree, that through each individual, and as a group, your teachings will be sustained for the generations to come, my feeling is that we each need to take on this responsibility of cultivating sangha, both within ourselves and as a whole, no matter where in the world we may be. Just like with many aspects of practicing yoga, we often need to create the conditions that will push us, rather than allow ourselves to become complacent, I am starting to see that with sangha too we have to create the conditions that will allow us the opportunity to grow and deepen together, even internationally.
When I look closely at myself, I can admit that even though I may live with and regularly work with sangha members, internally I have not yet made a clear shift from feeling a certain amount of contentment with “all that I receive” from sangha, to focusing on “what others need” and tailoring my words and actions to match. This is the difference between acting based on what is most convenient for me, or what I think I need, to acting based on what will be best for those around me. On the outside my actions may not look that much different, but internally I know that this is like the difference of night and day.
When I sat with you, alongside my brother and two sisters, speaking about some of the specific activities we would like to do in New York to build sangha and make your teachings available to others, I remember thinking, “this is it, if I do not take action, I cannot expect sangha to grow, or the words of Shri Mahayogi to reach the hearts of true seekers.” Since then, as the moments go by, I am filled with a sense of urgency to truly step into my role as your disciple, to pull my own weight rather than quietly expect to receive your blessing; to take on the responsibility of cultivating the sangha through my own thought, word and action; and to shift internally again and again away from “me” and instead, only towards “You“.
May the fire of Truth burn within my heart. May my faith in Shri Mahayogi and devotion to your great mission only grow stronger. May more and more brothers and sisters find true Yoga through the strengthening, union and establishment of Sangha. And, may the purity and light of your divine existence be known for generations to come!!
Jai Satguru Shri Mahayogi Paramahansa-ki, JAI!
I bow down at your beautiful lotus feet…
1 Her message was read aloud on her behalf by a disciple during Shri Mahayogi’s Jayanti on Nov 23, 2016 at the Ashrama in Kyoto. She is a member of the sangha in New York.
back to top