Teachings of Shri Mahayogi:
Satsangha in Taipei, Taiwan
Testimonies from Actual Practitioners
Teachings of Shri Mahayogi:
Satsangha in Taipei, Taiwan
Translation of Satsangha
March 22, 2018
Space Yoga, Taipei
It is March 2018, and Shri Mahayogi is visiting Taipei again. It has been less than one year since his first visit to Taiwan, but the flame of passion within the seekers of Taiwan has been burning more intensely, and everyone has been yearning from the depths of their hearts to see Shri Mahayogi again.
The Path of Yoga and the Path of Karma
(After Prasadini’s opening remarks, Satsangha begins immediately.)
Ms. Ayano: During one Satsangha last October, Shri Mahayogi spoke about the path of Yoga and the path of karma, and I was so inspired by that. There are many new people here today, so I’d like to ask for that explanation again. And I would like to ask you about how I can confirm whether I am truly walking on the path of Yoga or not.
MASTER: First of all, what everyone who has been born and lived through life inevitably experiences is that life is filled with suffering. There may be small moments of happiness, but suffering comes immediately afterwards. Why is that? It is said to be due to karma. Karma indicates attachment brought forth from the past. If you investigate its causes further, you find that it is because of attachment to wrong things. It is said that the causes are not only from experiences you’ve had since you were born, but it is said that the causes can be dragged on since past lives. On the other hand, from the perspective of the eyes of Truth, [from one who is] accomplished in Yoga, there is no such thing as this ignorance. So, to eliminate the errors and live in the correct Truth is Yoga.
There are many teachings in Yoga. First, learn the Truth. If you do so, you will be able to work towards eliminating the errors within your mind, and you will be able to eliminate them. Indeed, learning the Truth is not just about [remaining in the place where you are just reading or hearing] the teachings, but it is something that is actually practiced by using your body; that is where asana and meditation come in. As the mind is purified through these practices, there exists the joy of Truth, that has originally been there since the beginning.
In a Satsangha like today, if you, each individual person, have various questions while walking on that path, I will answer those questions. Truly, living life means taking one of two paths—following the wrong path of karma, or living the path of Yoga, which works to eliminate those errors. So that way we can go into a more specific and concrete question and answer session.
Mr. Sou: Recently, there was a story in the news in Taiwan. There was a situation where in a house where an older brother, his wife, and his younger sister lived together, friction arose, they began fighting, and the wife murdered her sister-in-law. How does a yogi view this type of incident?
MASTER: It is exactly the same error as I mentioned just now, but it is the extreme that happened there. The cause of it is ego, and the hatred that enhances the selfishness. One of the most important tenets of Yoga is non-violence, or non-killing. Whether it be humans, flowers, or a small bug, you cannot hurt anything that has life. But even beyond that, it is an especially and extremely sad occurrence for such violence to happen between humans, between family, or siblings. The incident you mentioned is the worst case scenario of what can happen on the path of karma. I feel that if more people learn Yoga, then less incidents like this will happen.
Ms. Ya Ling: (with excitement) Thank you so much for coming to Taiwan. I am so glad to be able to participate today. It’s my first time. I’d like to ask, does the seeking of Truth ever end?
MASTER: When you realize the Truth, [seeking] it ends.
Ms. Ya Ling: I am a beginner. How do I know that something is the Truth?
MASTER: Well, it is said that first the Truth is heard from an external source. It is heard in a setting like this today, or from books like scriptures. Next, you must think about it. If it agrees with what you think, then there are no issues with your thoughts. However, if there are discrepancies, then ponder them more deeply and more carefully. This turns into meditation gradually. Then, the result of meditation is that the Truth becomes internalized—the mind has understood it thoroughly. An actual example would be, if you participate in Prasadini’s class you will practice something called asana. This practice regulates the body, as well as the breath, then the mind. Realizing Truth is not about acquiring knowledge or technique at all. Let’s say that you have a splinter, you take another splinter-like object to take it out. The first splinter is painful, it is the suffering from karma so to speak. The second splinter is the teaching of Truth and the method of Yoga sadhana (the practice of training). Through that, you can remove the first splinter. In this way, if there is something that is incorrect in the mind, it will be removed, and suffering will be gone. Then, the happiness and joy which is inherently there within will be realized.
The Truth is bliss that is indestructible, and That is your true Self.
(Shri Mahayogi looks at her with a beautiful smile, as if to show peerless Joy.)
Julie: Earlier, you spoke about the path of karma and the path of Yoga. How should I prepare my mind so that I can confront the path of Yoga?
MASTER: Learn the Truth thoroughly. Then, act in accordance with that teaching. That would be enough.
(While listening to the answer, Julie nods as if convinced.)
Ms. Yu Ru: I think that amongst imperfections or errors, the right things stand out. Within the Truth, are there both absolute rights and wrongs?
MASTER: Yes, there are. To not know the Truth is called ignorance. There is a big cause that brings about ignorance. It is to think that this world is eternal. Our physical bodies, minds, and this world are constantly changing; and they eventually disappear. However, the mind believes that the world is everlasting. It is also a mistake for the mind to think that the ego is the true Self. The mind is something that is witnessed by the true Consciousness. The mind’s ego is not your true Self. The true Self is the Consciousness that is witnessing the mind. Since the mind mistakenly believes the ego and the world are eternal, it tries to seek out happiness in the world. However, the mind and the world are constantly changing, so even if happiness is acquired, it is temporary and never lasting. Regardless, the mind gets attached to that happiness, or the acquisition of happiness. Nevertheless, realistically, the world is not at the mind’s disposal, so the mind suffers as a result. This is the result of seeking something incorrect due to such error to begin with. This creates karma. As long as karma is the protagonist, suffering always follows. To understand this Truth, and eliminate error is the path of Yoga.
Ms. Panpan: We are learning Yoga and walking the path of Yoga right now, so we know that we must eliminate ignorance; however, my family is not studying Yoga, so they’re pressuring me to accept the seeking of happiness that is not eternal. What shall I do?
MASTER: Indeed, this is something that everyone experiences. Physically there is a connection between a parent and a child, yet from the perspective of being human beings, they are equal, as respective humans. You can’t expect a parent and a child to have completely identical dreams. Therefore, you should continue to walk on the path of Truth with your belief. I think it’s fine to ignore the opinions of your parents. (Shri Mahayogi and everyone laugh.)
Ms. Ayano: What should we do if our parents keep going down the path of karma, which is suffering?
MASTER: If there is something you can do to help, do help them of course. The best help is for your parents to learn the Truth.
Ms. Ayano: I told my parent about the Truth, but it fell on deaf ears.
MASTER: You cannot help that. The path of karma is “As you sow, so shall you reap”—the causes of the results are within you. If you want to get better, you have to create better causes—that is to say, you must have a good mind and perform good actions. That applies to you as well as your parent; if they don’t want to suffer, then there is no other way but to eliminate that which created the suffering. If the parent is suffering because his or her child doesn’t do things the way they would like them to, then the cause is in their thoughts, so they themselves have to solve their own issues [within the mind].
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The Only One Reality
(A woman who is participating in the Satsangha for the first time begins asking questions in a loud voice filled with excitement.)
Ms. Xie Fang: In Taiwan, there are so many people studying, for example, Buddhism, Christianity and New Age types of things. Are these the same as seeking the Truth in Yoga?
MASTER: They do not contradict one another. They are the same.
Ms. Xie Fang: Earlier, you spoke about learning the Truth, meditating and practicing, but I am sure I have attachments and ignorance that I’m unable to see. If I have ignorance that is not visible to me, it clashes with others’ ignorance; I think that pain is born out of this ignorance. I think I am right in the middle of this kind of situation and can neither see nor recognize my ignorance. How should I resolve this? Please advise concretely.
(Something must be bothering her greatly. She cannot even wait for the translator to catch up, and is speaking her thoughts as if to plead to Shri Mahayogi.)
MASTER: (with slight sternness) You have stated exactly what goes on in real life in this world. If you have noticed it, then each one of you must improve your thoughts, ideas and actions to become better.
Ms. Xie Fang: Then what can I do to make them better?
MASTER: (speaking even more sternly) If you change, others will change.
Ms. Xie Fang: But I’m suffering and the others are suffering too. What can I do in that case?
MASTER: (sternly) Eliminate your own suffering first.
Ms. Xie Fang: My mind has sunk into the depths of suffering.
MASTER: That is why you must eliminate it.
Ms. Xie Fang: I’ve been suffering for a long time and I’ve gotten used to it. I must believe it’s a comfortable place to be, and perhaps I no longer feel like removing myself from it. In a way, that is why we can’t separate ourselves from suffering and realize happiness. Nevertheless, it is a big problem in our lives. Since the Master has told us that we can live better by learning the Truth, please advise us.
MASTER: Regardless of what you have experienced in the past, the past no longer exists. What is important is Now.
Ms. Xie Fang: (almost interrupting Shri Mahayogi) To the people suffering, their experience was real to them, so that is why they suffer.
MASTER: Yes, of course, that must be so. That is why you yourself must change. Forget about others.
Ms. Xie Fang: It is difficult for me to separate from this situation on my own. Since I don’t know what to do, I am asking for the Master’s instruction.
MASTER: If you yourself learn the Truth and take actions based upon the Truth, then things will get better.
Ms. Xie Fang: What are those things? What do I get from learning the Truth, and how can I change myself? The Truth you have mentioned now is an abstract thing, isn’t it? What must I learn concretely in order to make myself better? I’d like to know.
(Shri Mahayogi becomes even more stern, and makes a strong declaration, as if to cut off her confusion.)
MASTER: Truth is not abstract! Only Truth is the Reality! You are under an illusion! It is as if you’re in an illusory dream. Open your eyes and Awaken to the Truth!
Ms. Xie Fang: I don’t understand. (Everyone laughs.)
MASTER: (laughing) Right! It is good to be honest. That is why you must learn. Even if you take it only one step at a time, your perception will change.
Ms. Xie Fang: What and how do I learn? What is the most effective way to do this?
(She seems to not be convinced. With the repetition of questions and answers, Shri Mahayogi begins to laugh aloud.)
MASTER: How long has it taken to create your ignorance? Probably your ignorance was created over an astronomical period of time. Even so, by learning the Truth, you will be able to drastically shorten that time [of being in ignorance]. Furthermore, you can realize That in this lifetime! If your passion is pure and earnest and your effort is utmost, then you can realize It even in one day.
Ms. Xie Fang: But everyone is suffering and wants to eliminate it to feel at ease, so everyone must have that passion.
MASTER: Yes, they do. But what I am referring to is thousands of times more.
Ms. Xie Fang: I don’t understand.
MASTER: (in a gentle tone) Come to class for some time and listen to the teachings of the Truth like this ardently. By doing so you will definitely become able to understand.
Ms. Xie Fang: Regarding an earlier topic, I would like to ask you, what is the Consciousness that is witnessing the mind?
MASTER: It can be likened to light. Because of light, the object in front of it becomes visible. The mind is also in front of this light. The mind thinks various thoughts due to stimuli from the external world. If the mind is transparent, then it will perceive everything as is, but if the mind has any thoughts, such as likes and dislikes, or the notion of beauty and ugliness, the mind puts on various filters. As I mentioned earlier, the mind forgets the true Self, the light, and emphasizes the protagonist “I”, so to speak. That is the error.
Ms. Xie Fang: So then is that light the same as the soul?
MASTER: It is the same—also referred to as God.
Ms. Xie Fang: So that light must be awakened.
MASTER: Yes, that is correct. In Buddhism, it is taught by Buddha as Nirvana. In Christianity, it is becoming one with God.
Ms. Xie Fang: In Christianity, it is taught that God and the soul become one. So that light is within ourselves? Do we have to also seek the Truth outside even though it exists within ourselves, then match them up in order to awaken?
MASTER: If you realize the Truth, then you will understand that everything is only That. Only That exists. It is not abstract, but the utmost reality. There is nothing other than that Reality. Only That exists.
Ms. Xie Fang: What is explained by this Existence?
MASTER: There is no need to explain. Only That exists. Your mind is what is seeking the explanation. More than anything else, you must realize That! If you do so, you will stop talking in your sleep. (Everyone laughs.)
Ms. Xie Fang: Laugh all you want, but so many people are similar to me, in a similar situation as the one I am in. I think that talking in your sleep is important too.
MASTER: Don’t you understand that your talking in your sleep is not Reality, you do don’t you (laughing)?
Ms. Xie Fang: Yes, I am aware of that. But, for example, in Taoism there is a saying to practice through the fake and realize the authentic. Doesn’t it mean that this daily, real life is fake, but we are training ourselves internally through it, no?
MASTER: If you have spare time to quibble like that, then make an effort to practice even if it is a little. Everyone is in a similar situation to yours: living a life, working, and having a family. Within that, you should discern what is most important and center your actions around the most important things.
Ms. Xie Fang: Why do you say I’m quibbling?
MASTER: On one hand, you think that you understand the importance of the Truth. Yet on the other hand, you are drenched in the confusion of the world. What you must do first is to organize and clarify this. That is, what does your mind want? If it truly seeks the Truth, then the mind should not be attracted to irrelevant things. To still obsess about unimportant things, even while hearing the teaching of the Truth like this now—is called quibbling.
Ms. Xie Fang: I don’t understand.
(This back and forth question and answer has been going on for about half an hour. The questioner has continued to assert her own thoughts. However, Shri Mahayogi is unfazed, unchanging, and continues to answer her with great patience.)
MASTER: If you don’t understand, then you must learn humbly. It is the same whether it is Taoism, Buddhism or Christianity. Jesus has always said to his disciples, “Be humble.”
Ms. Xie Fang: May I learn through debate, rather than becoming humble?
MASTER: If you want to master something in the world, you go to a teacher. There, your various questions will be resolved. This is not a debate.
Ms. Xie Fang: But the Truth that has been passed down from the past may no longer be applicable to the present world, shouldn’t I be able to express different opinions or state my objections?
MASTER: It is incorrect for you to assume that the Truth no longer applies to the present. Whether it is in ancient times or modern times, or even in the future, the Truth never changes. If it changes, then that’s not worthy of being called the Truth.
(Shri Mahayogi teaches powerfully and sternly. Even throughout the harsh words, Shri Mahayogi smiles towards her from time to time, so that her mind will soften up and understand the teachings. Participants may have become hesitant, after sensing Shri Mahayogi’s spiritedness, and a short period of silence ensues.)
Ms. Shu Shu: I have an issue within myself, which I also know how to fix, yet I can’t quite get around to fixing it. How can I approach it with faith?
MASTER: You should not be attached to results. Even if you act following the Truth, the result may not come out the way you would hope. But pay no mind to it. And, even if things go well, do not become overjoyed. All you need to do is to be in action, simply without any attachments. If you practice this way, you will find a bigger happiness than the happiness you gain from producing results.
Ms. Qian Yu: In modern society, there are so many pressures, and people who are unable to bear them may choose the path of suicide. I have such friends around me. Sometimes they say they want to kill themselves, but I think I want them to stay in this world, and don’t want to be separated from them. But perhaps my thought may be my own expectation. The friends seem to be thinking that since they can’t get away from suffering, if they commit suicide, they will find ease. How do I find a balance between their wishes and my expectations?
MASTER: Talk to them again and again about the preciousness of everyone’s life. According to the notion of karma, everyone is born with karma. If you commit suicide because you can’t bear suffering, then you will continue to taste even worse suffering in the next lives.
Ms. Qian Yu: But if I have an expectation to want them to live, isn’t it that I’ve labeled them as being not good for wanting to commit suicide, when my friends might think that committing suicide can bring them ease?
MASTER: That is so. But what you should say is not about your expectation, as I mentioned just now, you should talk to them about the importance of living.
Ms. Qian Yu: (nodding to express her conviction) I’ll try. Thank you very much.
MASTER: Please do so.
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The Objects of Meditation
Ms. Qian Yu: May I ask one more question. In this world, there are various methods of meditation. What is real meditation? I experienced one time a deep meditation that was a bit similar to sleep. I wanted to observe my emotions but I couldn’t even do that. Was that meditation?
MASTER: What you experienced was indeed sleep. (Everyone laughs.)
Ms. Qian Yu: But I am able to awaken from it right away.
MASTER: Yes, that happens often in sleep. In meditation, there is always definitely a step of concentration. In order to concentrate, you need an object of concentration. (indicating the flowers next to him) For example, if you were to meditate on this flower, bring the mind to concentrate on this flower. Then, the concentrating mind will flow towards the flower. The condition in which you even forget that you were concentrating and immerse yourself in the flower is called meditation. Then there is a step further than meditation. The destination beyond meditation is where you are at one with the flower. Then you may wake up from that meditation, however at that time you will return with a memory that you were a flower.
Now, I’ve used a flower as an example, but there are three objects for meditation. The first is “Who is the true Self?” The second is to concentrate and meditate on God, then the true Self is realized, or you will know the Truth of God. And one more, the third is to concentrate and meditate on the teaching of the Truth. Through practicing this, at times, the elimination of the errors within the mind can happen, which is called discrimination. Therefore, it is important to constantly familiarize yourself with and learn the teaching of the Truth. These aforementioned three are the most important.
Ms. Qian Yu: Does it feel like I’m not only existing here but I’m within everything?
MASTER: One may experience something like that at times.
Ms. Qian Yu: So I can meditate anytime, in any situation, right?
MASTER: Yes, exactly. You can do it anywhere and at any time.
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Aim for the World of Truth
Ms. Yu An: I heard the word Truth for the first time today. I would like to ask you two questions. First, what is the meaning of people being born into this world? The second is regarding Shri Mahayogi’s experience: please tell us how Shri Mahayogi became how he is now, what kind of suffering did he experience?
MASTER: People have been born again and again from many past lives. The reason why you were born in this lifetime is due to the karma of past lives. Karma is the rule that you must reap what you have sown. The good or bad karma from the past determines the fortune or misfortune of this life. Learning from experience and making improvements reduces and improves karma. This is the general meaning of why people are born and why they live. However, if left up to their own devices, future lives are inevitable, which means that they will repeat endlessly. And since the happiness that the mind envisions cannot be acquired, the result is suffering. Now, there is a way to understand karma correctly and aim for the way of living in the world without karma, that is the world of Truth. By practicing to aim towards that, karma is eliminated. The true meaning of why we’re born and why we live lies here. This is the answer to your first question.
Let me answer your second question. When I was eight years old, in elementary school, my eyes of Truth were opened. Therefore I personally don’t know too much suffering (laughing). If everything were to stay as it was then, the world would be truly beautiful and filled with happiness. However, by the time I became a junior high or high school student, I gradually began to understand the world a little more. The world is supposed to be happy like the world of God, but why then are there many people who are suffering? Around that time, I was immersed in Yoga and found many answers. At the time, Yoga was not known in Japan at all. Of course, Japan is the country of Buddhism where the majority religion is Buddhism, and there is also Shinto and Christianity. The place where I live is an old town called Kyoto. There are many Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines there. But since the Buddhist temples are where funerals are performed when someone dies and shrines are more of the place for celebration of the New Year, I had no interest in them at all. So I thought through many things by myself, and naturally that became meditation—and I found the answers. Until later in life, I did not find out that this process was Yoga, the teaching of Truth that has been passed down in India for over five thousand years. When I came across an old scripture, it was filled with things I’d already realized. Therefore I don’t have knowledge from studying at all. I’m an experientialist (laughing). That is why I can proclaim that anyone can realize this Truth.
The time has passed well beyond the ending time. The hall has been filled with blessings from Shri Mahayogi from beginning to end, and there hasn’t been a single interruption in the concentration and joy of the participants.)
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Testimonies from Actual Practitioners:
Satsangha with a Disciple of Shri Mahayogi
2018 Yoga Circle in Matsuyama
Sananda, one of the senior disciples from Kyoto, has been going to Matsuyama, Ehime in Japan on a regular basis (roughly 6 times per year) for a few years now and leads a Special Meditation Class and Satsangha there to support the sangha and the new attendees in preparation for when Shri Mahayogi visits. For this month’s Testimony, we would like to introduce a glimpse of these Satsangha with a disciple—a long-time practitioner—of Shri Mahayogi, and how we can learn from such a Satsangha and put the teaching into action in our daily lives.
Sunday February 18, 2018: Yoga Circle in Matsuyama
An attendee asks a question about a concern she has been having about rearing her child.
Q: When my son is feeling down, I myself get dragged down along with him. It seems that he has a weakness when communicating with others, and I become worried about that. My son is thinking about what kind of education and career path to take, and I am concerned about his choice of career. I am so beside myself that I can’t even practice asana or meditation. I want to do something about this. Please advise me, what should I do?
SANANDA: Parents, at times, get anxiety from thinking too much about our children, don’t we? I myself have sons and there were times that I worried about them … There may be times when your child is doing fine with communication, so I would like you to not judge or label him. Yoga teaches that there is no superiority in any occupation over another and it does not matter what occupation one chooses, as long as it’s not a crime. Even though you are his parent, your child is an individual human being, and he has to make his own decision about his occupation, so please ask him and listen to what caused him to choose it and why. I think that through you trusting your son and warmly watching over him with a flexible and open mind, your child will also be at ease. In order for him to move forward with self-confidence, it would be good for you to help him when necessary. If one is not good at communicating with others, there is a cause for that inside of one’s own self, such as being shy and worrying about what others think. It would be good to give advice to him in a way that could help him work on removing the cause of that. Your anxiety will calm down through practicing asana and meditation, so you should practice them [daily], even for a short time.
Ms. Hirokawa’s Learning
Sananda-san answered this attendee from his own experience, with kindness and integrity. When I heard this answer, I myself saw that I push my own value system onto those around me and I am taking turns being happy and sad based merely on looking at the aspects that are temporary and on the surface, and I realized that this actually makes me suffer. I am determined not to judge or label others, and to instead interact with people by trusting the person with an attitude that is flexible and open. I understand now that to make my mind and my actions improve as well, daily asana and meditation are indispensable.
Sunday March 18, 2018: Yoga Circle in Matsuyama
Q: How can I stop getting agitated?
SANANDA: It is said that the mind, prana, and karma form a triad. Prana is the life energy, and just like the TV that will only show a picture after electricity flows through it, the mind is also activated by prana. So, we try to find the cause of the disturbance from within the mind, and correct it, and on the other hand, it would be good to condition the activity of the mind through [conditioning] the prana. Through regulating the sitting position (asana) and breath, the mind’s activity itself calms down. You may find it easier to see the cause [of the agitation] in someone else because you can calmly and objectively perceive other people’s issues. Similarly, when your breath calms down, you’ll be able to see your own issues more calmly and see them more clearly. When I myself meditate, there are times when I approach from the physical first. First I make an effort to remove any tension from the body. Then the tension from the mind goes away, and it becomes easier to breathe. In this way, by starting meditation after loosening the tension of the body and bringing it back to a neutral state, the mind gradually calms down and you’ll be able to see very well the various thoughts within the mind.
Sunday June 24, 2018: Yoga Circle in Matsuyama
Q: When I try to put into action what I’ve learned in Yoga, I get influenced by others’ opinions. What should I do to practice?
SANANDA: People have various opinions, but it’s important to have your own opinions. However, you are not perfect yet, and you’re still on the way to Satori, the perfect state. Value your own opinion, while respecting others’ opinions at the same time.
If you make the teachings of Yoga the most important priority, then deepen and master them through experiencing them with your entire being, then your own opinions will also grow and mature, which then leads to self-confidence. It’s useless to clash opinions against one another. It’s important to proceed while maintaining harmony. If disharmony in human relationships is caused by your asserting your own opinion, then that’s putting the cart before the horse. It’s also wrong to allow yourself to not practice in order to play along with and align with others too much. Balance is important.
I encounter similar situations in my own life. In communication with my family and colleagues at work, my mind at times becomes noisy. Why am I getting noisy? When I ask my own mind carefully, I have noticed that it’s because I make myself believe that “I think I’m right.” Because that belief becomes an obstacle, I become unable to listen straightforwardly to what others are saying to me. I think that the teachings of Yoga are about correcting one’s own mind and it’s not about criticizing others’ divergence. I want to deepen Yoga more and more, make my mind become purified, and make myself a person who is able to perform righteous actions!
Yoga is not something entirely removed from our daily lives, it is something that anyone can practice right now, wherever we are. By resolving the various conflicts within our own minds, the heavy load that is in the mind is lifted and we can become lighter.
Sunday July 22, 2018: Yoga Circle in Matsuyama
Ms. S, who is making a serious effort to improve her own mind, asks the following question:
Q: In my daily life, I am very often dragged towards the minds’ habitual attachments, and then I experience a sense of guilt because of that. How should I handle this?
SANANDA: The mind has a very strong habitual power. It comes from the subconscious, and even if you want to correct it, there might be things that are not so easy to do. But, there is no need to feel guilty. Instead of correcting these things, you’ll end up going back to them with an even stronger craving.
It’s even better to forget about such things, [rather than feel guilty]. That means, have the intention to make your next steps be an improvement—you must shift yourself each time to instead practice asana (Yoga poses) or read a sacred scripture—that is, from that very next moment, practice to create a good habit. Through doing this, the old habits eventually lose their grip.
We may think that old habits are gone, but at times they may raise their heads and tower over us. Even if you recognize that a habit is still there, you cannot give it power. The more you struggle, the more power it gets, and the bigger it gets. So we should lightly let it go, with a positive attitude. As long as we’re alive, various troubles come up. If we react to them, then the mind becomes very noisy. Do not give in to the mind’s waves, and stay light in your actions.
I recall that I very often used to think, “I am a failure,” “I haven’t been able to make practice a habit…” and would brood over my own incompetence. But I recognize that lately, it hasn’t happened. When I notice that that kind of thought is still there, after I confirm it in my mind, I now forget about it and move on. At first, it took practice, but I think that eventually it seems to have become a habit to shift immediately and forget the attachments. I can tell you that the mind does indeed change! Looking back, I fully and deeply realize how effective the power of Yoga is.
Sunday September 16, 2018: Yoga Circle in Matsuyama
Q: When I see others, I tend to compare them to myself, or have a critical view about the habits, words and actions of my friends and family. But I would like to associate with others, while treasuring their Existence more. To treasure Existence, does that mean to see a person’s Life or Soul?
SANANDA: This body is a very ephemeral existence, which eventually will disappear. However, there is something, an Eternal Life, which is supporting that. Each one of us is that Eternal Life, manifesting with a physical body. So that means we ought to treasure that Life.
Naturally, each and every one is different. However, if we focus too much on that, then we lose the ability to recognize that precious Life.
A precious Life is appearing, manifesting, and taking on various forms in this world. Accept that there are differences in how things appear, and do not be bound by [the thought of] superiority or inferiority towards others who you might feel different from.
And if you can get a sense of even a single flash of that precious Life, then feel sympathy for the physical body that supports that Life as also being a precious existence, and respect it.
Until you recognize this, you may feel unsteady, as if not having any firm ground, but you need to practice to not be fettered by that either. Until you get a real, solid sense of it, this may feel like a torturous practice. But if you continue, the time will come when you will surely understand it through actually sensing it!
Ms. Hirokawa’s Learning
When I heard this answer, I was thinking about the Eternal, One Existence that is within everyone.
“Everything is One precious Existence”—intellectually I know that. If we know that everything is all the same precious Existence, then I am sure that we are bound to cherish others just as we treasure our own selves. But because we haven’t really felt it yet, at times thoughts and words that hurt others, or thoughts of superiority or inferiority well up within us instead. And we have noticed that those exact thoughts themselves make us ourselves suffer. I suppose that we all have a sense of aspiration for how wonderful it would be to be able to feel from the depth of our own heart that there is only one and the same precious Existence. When I heard the words of strength from Sananda-san, I too felt a ray of light shine forth and felt, “Even if I can’t yet feel the precious Existence at the moment, if I continue to remember repeatedly the unchanging Existence within my chest, then I’ll truly experience it one day!”
Sunday October 21, 2018: Yoga Circle in Matsuyama
Q: For the things that I think I understand intellectually, actually I am not understanding them in reality. What is in between these two states?
SANANDA: That is indeed the point of the realm of meditation—it’s about mastering through actual experience of it throughout your being.
For example, craftsmen continue to perform the same tasks again and again. At first, they may have to think about every step they learned, and mimic the actions of the master and the senior craftsmen. But after time goes by…5 years, 10 years…they become capable of performing the tasks unconsciously, without thinking.
To truly understand the teaching of Yoga—this is not just at the surface level of awareness, but it is the condition in which, more deeply within the mind, the realm of the subconscious is imbued with the teaching, in which the mind itself is in the state of what the teaching indicates. By having that state, we will be able to know the true meaning of the teaching.
You should think deeply on what you have learned. Think critically with your own mind. Meditation occurs at the end of thinking exhaustively, after going through exhaustive thinking.
The basics are to listen to the teachings, think deeply, meditate, and put them into action. By practicing this way, you will master Yoga through experiencing the teachings.
Q: I have a sense of impatience, feeling like I need to hurry up.
SANANDA: You must not let yourself be impatient, as it will create the opposite effect. It is the exact opposite of passion.
What we must do is simply think of what the reason is that we can’t do something, and think about how to resolve it, and then do so. That is all we do, simply and dispassionately.
There is a logic to this, as you can’t accomplish something unless you do things that are required of you in order to accomplish something. Rather than feeling impatient, humbly think of the cause as to why you cannot do something, and perform the actions steadfastly.
The reason why there is impatience is because there is arrogance that you think you can accomplish something without taking the necessary actions. The point here is to become humble.
In the process of practicing what we have learned, there are things that don’t go well or there are times when doubts arise. But I think that by resolving these one by one like this, we can proceed forward to the next. We learned and recognized that the cause of the emotion of “impatience” arising in practice is arrogance, one of the workings of the ego, and to not let the mind get caught up by it is also the practice of Yoga.