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Vol. 41

Teachings of Shri Mahayogi:

The Meaning of Establishing Sanatana Dharma

Discriminating the Conditions That Create Suffering

The Transformation of the Mind by
Understanding Its Mechanism

The Most Critical Issue is “Who am I?”

Testimonies from Actual Practitioners

The Words of Buddha:
When He was Born, Did Buddha Really Say,
“Between the Heavens Above and Below,
I Alone am the World-Honored One”?
By Sanatana

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Teachings of Shri Mahayogi:

The Meaning of Establishing Sanatana Dharma

Translation of Satsangha
May 16, 2009
The Mahayogi Ashrama, Kyoto

Mr. Imai heard about last week’s Satsangha from Mr. Takahashi. He heard that whoever aims to establish Sanatana Dharma is more concerned about the tasks at hand, rather than worrying about one’s own death. He asked to be taught more about this.

MASTER: Everyone has various experiences in this so-called life. Whether they are good or bad, whether things go well or don’t go well, all kinds of experiences come your way. And I suppose that you repeat these experiences while you clearly, or even vaguely, think about how you should live your life, or what the purpose of life is. You experience that even the things you believed to be certain also fleetingly disappear as time passes. In this condition where everything is so unsure, as if in a labyrinth, you must be seeking something that is absolute and sure, deep down in the depths of your heart. Death is inevitable to whoever is born, and even if you try to avoid or mask over the suffering of thinking about death, it will eventually arrive.

Sanatana Dharma literally means, “Eternal Law,” with the word dharma having the meaning of Truth, or the foundation upon which this world ought to be based. So, this suggests that one is required to clearly understand what Existence is, as that is definite, as well as what it is not. More than anything, it is required that one realizes the purpose of life and the existence of the protagonist, “I”—it is required that one realizes this Truth. Since the cause of all suffering and unhappiness arises from mistaken views and attachments, this indicates that if you eliminate these things, you will no longer suffer or become unhappy. If that is understood, then you can conclude that realizing the Truth is more important than anything else. That is what is described as the “Establishment of Sanatana Dharma.”

We each live in various environments, we work, and we gain experience, yet living is not just about eating and dying, like animals. Living is about realizing your true Self, realizing your Soul. And making this state of “being alive,” which is the way you live your life, be in accordance with the Truth. That is the only path by which to move away from all unhappiness and suffering. If you deeply grasp this, then not even death will be worth fearing.

Then, even though things are constantly changing and stimulating us, whether they are good or bad, no matter what happens you will be able to stay in a state of independent, crisp, dignified stillness without being affected by any of these things. So, you can see that establishing Sanatana Dharma—that is, Satori—is truly important, so use your efforts only for that. In the end, you will help yourself through this, and not only that, this is bound to become the greatest gift to the people around you, your family, your friends, society, and the world. Just thinking about it doesn’t do anything. You’ll have to demonstrate it constantly in your daily, mundane actions. Perform your daily life and work tasks simply and steadily as they come, without being affected. And continue to do so without attachment. Always be kind to others. Since violence, especially, is the most harmful, restrain yourselves from violent thoughts or actions. And make an effort to deepen Sanatana Dharma, that is, Satori.

[Time can go so fast that,] all of a sudden, you may notice it’s been decades—so you must cherish each day, each and every second.

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Discriminating the Conditions That Create Suffering

Translation of Satsangha
April 1, 2006
The Mahayogi Ashrama, Kyoto

Ms. Endo (Mirabai): What is the mechanism happening within the mind when one feels suffering?

MASTER: That means that the mind is occupied by the colorings that are appearing upon being triggered by an experience similar to an attachment toward pain or toward things you don’t like coming from something you have experienced in the past, or toward memories of something you’ve rejected or refused—all of these occupy the mind.

Ms. Endo (Mirabai): In order to overcome this…

MASTER: Indeed, that is un-free and that is bondage, so the mind wishes to be freed from these things.

Ms. Endo (Mirabai): So then we must study correctly and thoroughly.

MASTER: Yes. Regardless of what it is, you can definitely find some factor which was the condition that caused it to form. Once you are able to discriminate these factors, then [you will see that] none of these conditions are absolute, that is to say, they are not based on the Truth. They are merely memories of the mind’s recognition, as gained through an experience. You will find that these are biased, or based on incorrect judgements. Then, as I just mentioned, through discriminatory wisdom you discipline yourself so that your actions will not be based on these mistakes.

Ms. Endo (Mirabai): (nodding slightly) By “based on” it means that instead of directing ourselves towards incorrect things…

MASTER: Right, like that.

Ms. Keiko Takahashi: Is the mind that wants freedom from un-freedom different from the mind that seeks the Truth?

MASTER: Well, one leads to the other.

Ms. Keiko Takahashi: (with a quiet voice) One leads to the other…

MASTER: Yes. Of course, that mind that seeks Freedom may apply another form of [what the mind thinks is] freedom in order to escape from one form of bondage, but if that freedom is still imperfect, then the mind will gradually become aware that such freedom still has the potential to create bondage up until it reaches perfect Freedom. Perfect Freedom is none other than the Truth.

(Ms. Keiko nods slightly. Then Shri Mahayogi starts to speak slowly and quietly.)

If you ask where it is, it is already within everyone. (With a gentle tone) It exists…but it’s just that (in a clear tone) it will [only] emerge when the mind stops its activity.

Ms. Okunishi (Jayadevi): There is a saying, “Everything is suffering.” Does that mean that as long as the mind is active, it all ends in suffering?

(Shri Mahayogi speaks quietly.)

MASTER: Yes… As everything in the world of duality is woven through the intertwining of light and shadow…it will surely end that way.

Ms. Endo (Mirabai): I was reading a little bit of a record of Satsangha earlier. The way I have interpreted Buddha’s teaching regarding “birth-sickness-aging-death” is that being born itself is suffering. But it was written that “what Buddha himself thought was not that, but rather, this was about not knowing the true Self, in other words, what he meant was that suffering is about existence itself.” Did I understand that correctly?

MASTER: Yes, that is correct.

Ms. Endo (Mirabai): So then did Buddha approach it from “Existence” itself?

(Shri Mahayogi begins to speak quietly.)

MASTER: At that time, the law of karma must have been common knowledge, and accepted by all.

The law of karma is the nature of this world, and it is based on cause and effect. Regardless of what it is, if there is a cause, then it involves a result, and a result inevitably involves a cause. If you apply that to thinking about this “existence,” a physical existence, then it can be concluded that everything is suffering. This “existence,” whether it gets sick, ages, or dies, all of this comes about from having an “existence” in this world, that is, having been born. In order to be born, there is an accumulation of karma that causes one to be born into this world. Therefore, you can find a prior cause for it. If you continue to pursue this, you can find there is sanskara, and also the root cause, ignorance. In a word, “Existence” [is what he approached it from].

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The Transformation of the Mind by
Understanding Its Mechanism

Translation of Satsangha
June 24, 2006
The Mahayogi Ashrama, Kyoto

Vishoka: About suffering, I would like to ask how it is positioned in Yoga, as well as its meaning. In Buddhism, the Four Noble Truths start with the recognition of suffering. For example, it is often said that “growth comes with pain.” Is the original meaning of suffering that it is a cause to provide a springboard for one to overcome it?

MASTER: “Suffering,” that is, the starting point in the perspective of Yoga, has exactly the same origin as in Buddhism. Needless to say, there are four sufferings that are inevitable in human life (birth, aging, sickness and death), and there are four additional sufferings, which [together] constitute the content of Buddha’s teaching of suffering. One of these additional sufferings is the suffering of “not being able to get what you want.” The fact is that you can’t necessarily always get what you wish for, so as a result you experience suffering: the world is not at your mind’s beck and call. Knowledge is included in this suffering too, for example. Not only not being able to get intellectual knowledge, but even not being able to get wisdom, that is, Enlightenment—this too is also another form of suffering. Inevitably, the physical body will eventually die. No matter how much you train your body, there is a limit. Then, is human existence really [based on] this physical body or this mind, or is it [based on] some concept? The great thirst for knowing this, for the Truth, the intense desire to know the Truth, is the starting point which led both Yoga and Buddha to Satori. This is exactly the same as what everyone senses. The only difference between Buddha or the Yogi and others is that for them, it became the biggest, most crucial issue, to the point where everything else didn’t matter at all in comparison. No matter how much you succeed in this world, regardless of whether you eat delicious foods, wear wonderful clothing, or live in a huge house and think that this is happiness, none of these things are eternal. Conversely, even if you live simply and humbly, and even if your mind becomes satisfied by living that way, that still isn’t enough either.

So they dove deeper and deeper into the invisible world of meditation. Then, they discovered true Existence.

You can see from this that the starting point for Buddha and for the Yogi is the recognition of suffering. However, what makes them different is that they recognized suffering, yet they were not being swallowed by it, or rather that is to say, they did not start from a negative place of wanting to be saved from suffering; they were already at a base of zero, in which they were equipped with the wisdom and ability to correctly and objectively discern it. From this standpoint, they inquired into and revealed the truth of suffering: the karma, which is created by the mind, the pain-bearing obstacles from which that karma is created, and the fundamental ignorance—ignorance meaning having a way of thinking that is different from the Truth, such as seeing eternity in this world even though this world has no such eternity.

Kinkara: Was Shri Mahayogi’s starting point for meditation suffering as well?

MASTER: Yes. It was, as I mentioned now, just the same as Buddha or the other Yogi.

Kinkara: Because suffering is the biggest issue in the illusion of maya—is that why you started from suffering?

MASTER: (in a quiet tone) Because the state of Satori is absolute, as I mentioned earlier, even the entire universe, which is dualistic by nature, does not exist. Nothing at all. There is only Reality. However, the world is a dualistic world. And everyone and everything is struggling through this world in the same manner. Even though I declare that Satori (Awakening) is the Truth, where I alone am awake (laughs), it is like all of you are still sleeping in a dreamland. (laughs) So in order for you to awaken as soon as possible, I need to enter into the dreamland so that I can teach or let you know the mechanism of the dream so that you can awaken quickly. For this, I need to correctly analyze this dream state. It’s not for my own sake, but for the sake of those who are dreaming. It feels just like that.

Sananda: So, then does that mean that at some point, one begins to perceive suffering objectively, and then analyzes and discriminates it?

MASTER: Yes, it does. Of course, the suffering from your own desperate experience of suffering is what triggers your first encounter with Yoga. But then, as these predicaments soften and even though you may heal a little from that suffering, you should not stop there; since the attack may potentially happen again, if you do not want to receive such suffering any longer, then you must deepen your state by practicing further. For that, you will need to completely conquer suffering itself. In order to conquer it, you must firmly understand the mechanism of suffering so that you will have prepared yourself already, preventing yourself from getting tangled up in that mechanism of suffering. That will serve you well and it will also serve others.

The way in which those things manifest differ according to the individual differences of people’s minds; however, their mechanism, or the principles, are the same. Everyone has ego, everyone has attachment and desire—the objects of desire may be different, but desire is desire, and the mind’s process of getting attached to that desire or of being caught up within it is something that is common to all. So once you realize this—on the one hand, the modern world may call this psychology or philosophy—but instead of remaining at the level of intellectual or academic knowledge, and by actually verifying them using your own mind and going beyond, only then does the transformation of the mind, which is then conquering itself, happen at last. The mind will transform; it truly will.

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The Most Critical Issue is “Who am I?”

Translation of Satsangha
July 1, 2006
The Mahayogi Ashrama, Kyoto

(Yogadanda speaks about some conversations that happened amongst his family. His uncle has the mindset that young people must work to support the system by paying taxes and social insurance, so that they can pay back society by supporting at-risk populations who are not able to support themselves. So he asked Yogadanda, “Why don’t you proactively work in the world?” Thinking back, Yogadanda mentions that he should have read Buddha’s teaching, “The Plower’s Poem” to his uncle, but he couldn’t think to do so at the time.) 

Yogadanda: Shri Mahayogi was meditating on the Buddha when he was young, and then had a vision of that time when a farmer asked the Buddha [about why he’s not plowing and working to cultivate his food]. From that vision, Shri Mahayogi mentioned, “I got the answer to what I was meditating about.” What realization did you get from that particular meditation?

MASTER: When you look at these social insurances and various other things in society and consider how long they’ve been around, it’s only been a few decades. Indeed, it could be based on the principle that that system can save or be helpful to the weak. But I feel that it would be even better if society would not produce at-risk populations to begin with.

Regardless of the logic, the fundamental issue is “Who am I?” and how you should live the life you have been given, and nothing else. The world is constantly changing. Leave these problems to your uncle. (laughs) It is rather wiser to get to work on the task of the Truth. And, regarding saving the weak, realistically (powerfully) there are various ways to do so: there is material help, and there is heart to heart support.

Yoga and [your uncle’s] pragmatic, utilitarian ideology may be diametrically opposed and mutually exclusive.

Yogadanda: That is what you have realized in the meditation.

MASTER: Yes. However, I was not caught up in or fettered by these issues. I simply meditated to correctly understand them.

Yogadanda: In that story [about the “Plower”], Buddha responded to the question with a poem. And then when the farmer offered him some food, which was porridge, he refused it. Part of it was because Buddha was critical of the brahmin [who received a tremendous contribution for performing rituals and reciting mantra] at the time, yet this story shows that it is important for the ones who are making the offering to understand these matters, [meaning that contributors should not expect anything in return] as well?

MASTER: You could say that.

Yogadanda: When you saw that vision, was Buddha answering in a poem as well?

MASTER: I didn’t know that particular detail at the time since I was focusing more on the fundamental mindset of Buddha, such as what he thought and how he felt.

Yogadanda: And so the content of the answer was, of course, just like what you mentioned earlier.


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Testimonies from Actual Practitioners:


The Words of Buddha:
When He was Born, Did Buddha Really Say,
“Between the Heavens Above and Below,
I Alone am the World-Honored One”?

by Sanatana
April 8, 2016, Tokyo

“I am the One who has overcome everything, who has known everything, who remains untainted from all defilements. The One who has renounced everything, whose desires are extinguished, the One who is Free. Since I realized this by myself, who did I aim to become?

I do not have a Master and cannot find my equal. Across the entire universe including the divine realms, none can match me. Because I alone am the World-Honored One, and the unsurpassable, supreme Master. I am the only One who has attained complete Awakening, the Pure, the One whose [pain-bearing obstacles] have been extinguished.

Those who have extinguished their karma based upon the pain-bearing obstacles [of the external world], become victors who are equal to me. I have vanquished all evil, therefore, I am a victor.”

—“Mahavagga, Vinaya Pitaka” Buddhist Scripture
Chapter 1, Verse 6:8-9

The Attempt to Understand the Words of Buddha:
Contemplate the True Confidence That Comes From Self-Realization of the Truth

Today, April 8th, is the day of the festival celebrating the incarnation of Buddha. It is also known as the “Flower Festival” or the “Celebration of Pouring for Buddha.” We pour sweet green tea on top of a statue of a young child Buddha, pointing to the heavens with his right hand, and pointing to the earth with his left. This image comes from the legend that immediately after Buddha was born, he walked seven steps and pointed to the heavens and to the earth, saying, “Between the Heavens, Above and Below, I Alone am the World-Honored One.” (The reason why we shower the statue with sweet green tea, is because another legend says that at this time, two heavenly dragons poured cold and hot water from their mouths to bathe the newborn Buddha.)

Now, did Buddha really say, “I Alone am the World-Honored One”? Even as a newborn…? Actually, this legend has been thought to have been based on the first words that Buddha uttered after he attained Enlightenment. And the words introduced at the beginning of this article come from that.

As Buddha stood up from the Bodhi tree, he began to head towards a holy place, Varanasi (Benares), in order to do his first preaching. On the way, he met a naked renunciant. Seeing such a pristine atmosphere radiating from Buddha, he couldn’t help but ask him, “Who did you aim to become when you renounced everything? Who is your master?” Then Buddha answered, and these became his first words after attaining Enlightenment.

Indeed, Buddha says, “Only I am the Honored One.” However, please go deeper and see that this is different in that it is not coming from a normal form of arrogance or bragging, but it is coming from his unshakable confidence. Someone who is in the state of Enlightenment does not look at oneself or another as anything special. They just state the facts as they are. Therefore, they do not unnaturally put themselves down nor are they subservient. They are free from societal obligations that are formalized based on differences such as superficial humility and respect. Because of this, it is unshakable confidence. Indeed, this confidence comes directly from Enlightenment. Many people say they lack self-confidence. But true self-confidence is not about pretending to be strong, or to debate who is better or worse. It is the awareness of the Self. It is the elimination of pain-bearing obstacles. As Buddha said, if we can achieve that, we become an existence that is equal to Buddha. To have overcome all pain-bearing obstacles, attachments and desires is the true victory, and that itself is what brings unshakable confidence.

Translation from Mahayogi Mission Blog in Tokyo

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