Teachings of Shri Mahayogi
Satsangha, Kyoto, 2000
• Truth and the Way the World Manifests
• What it Means to Purify the Mind
• The Content of Pain-Bearing Obstacles and Their Cause
& The One Who Knows
• The Concrete Method to Transform the Mind through Discrimination and Discernment:
By Being Unattached, Compassion and Love Grow Anew
• Regarding Sanskara and the Fear of Death
• How Can We Face That Which is Behind the Mind
• Conversation with a Beginner:
On Karma & On Kundalini
• How to Bring All Your Time to Bear on Yoga
• Simply Respond to the Constantly Changing World and
Aim for the State of Mind Not Bound by Anything
• Shri Mahayogi Speaks on the Universality of Buddha and Yoga
Through His Own Experience
Testimonies from Actual Practitioners
• The New Message of Buddha
August 7th, 2014, Kyoto (from Mahayogi Mission Blog, Kyoto)
• Buddha’s View of Coexistence
July 6th, 2022, Kyoto (from Mahayogi Mission Blog, Kyoto)
* * * * * * * * * *
Teachings of Shri Mahayogi
Translation of Satsangha
Saturday, January 15, 2000, Mahayogi Ashrama, Kyoto
Today, along with the usual participants, there are visitors from New York: Anandamali, Anandabhairava, Gerry (Pratibha), and from Moscow, Shanta. Mr. Mohl (Vishoka) is with Karina, originally from Switzerland, who attends the Thursday class and this is her first time participating in Satsangha. Karina is researching Shugen-do at Kyoto University. The Ashrama is completely filled.
Truth and the Way the World Manifests
Gerry (Pratibha): We learn that it is important for us to know that we are something that is neither body nor mind, which Shri Mahayogi refers to as something that is much simpler, as “Reality,” or the “true Self.” On the other hand, we read many books and talk about various mechanisms, laws and the order of things, for a long time. How is that related to Reality? Is that also a path?
MASTER: It is completely irrelevant to the Reality of the Truth. Yet, in actuality, because the mind does not know Truth and non-truth, various teachings are needed in order to learn it correctly.
Gerry (Pratibha): Because the Truth should not have any limitation, it’s not like the Truth is here but not there. That suggests that It must exist everywhere. If so, then even if we make various mistakes, aren’t those also the Truth? How can it be considered to be the case that only this is the Truth and that that is not the Truth?
MASTER: When it comes to the Truth, the Truth and the appearance of this world are like the ocean and the waves; the shapes of waves are constantly changing, yet what is there is only the ocean. If the mind is never troubled by the various, multiple factors in the world such as good and evil, success and failure, then that would be fine as is; however, through experience, we know that the mind gets entangled in various things—it is just like getting caught in the waves. Indeed, the Truth is eternal, and there is only That, yet, the world is constantly changing like the waves. If you can restrain the mind and only see the ocean, then that is Satori.
Gerry (Pratibha): But aren’t the waves and the ocean made from the same water?
MASTER: Exactly. (laughs) That is why you only need to not be caught up in them. The waves belong to the ocean but the ocean does not belong to the waves.
Gerry (Pratibha): (whispering in a small voice) …The waves belong to the ocean but the ocean does not belong to the waves… (Shri Mahayogi laughs.)
Gerry (Pratibha): Why does the ocean make the waves?
MASTER: If you look at it pessimistically, then it is ignorance, and if you are looking at it optimistically, then it is lila, [divine] sport.
Gerry (Pratibha): I prefer the latter. (Shri Mahayogi laughs.)
(after a while) Is Reality something that exists? Or is it something that is created by human beings?
MASTER: Reality is realized when the mind perishes in samadhi; Reality is beyond time and space. Since the time when the world came into being, time, space and various conditions inevitably manifested with it already. Therefore, physical existences within this world are not eternal existences. That is the difference between the Reality of Truth and phenomenal existence. Of course, that Reality is not a product of the mind.
Gerry (Pratibha): Then, is the mind created from Reality, or….well, forget about it. (Everyone laughs.)
What it Means to Purify the Mind
Gerry (Pratibha): What does it mean to purify the mind? Purifying the body means to wash it and clean it up, but what is the difference between the mind that has been purified and the mind that has not been purified?
MASTER: Things that disturb or defile the mind are called ignorance and pain-bearing obstacles. They originate from ego, and they are the wisdom or knowledge that mistake what is not the Truth as the Truth. What obstructs you from seeing the Truth as the Truth—are what are called defilements—and you work on purifying them, and then eliminating them.
The Content of Pain-Bearing Obstacles and Their Cause
& The One Who Knows
Gerry (Pratibha): I can think of three ways of thinking about how the thoughts are processed during meditation. The first is to negate or deny them. The second is to enter into them and follow them by getting entangled in them. The third is to leave them alone, letting them go naturally, and I sense that that is the best way. Therefore, I think that that is the best way to deal with emotions and pain-bearing obstacles as well, so I have some doubts about controlling them or denying them as being the best way.
MASTER: Pain-bearing obstacles arise countlessly from the mind, yet the causes can be narrowed down to a few. The biggest cause, which causes the other pain-bearing obstacles, is ignorance; then, there is the power to seek out joys and pleasures experienced in the past, having gotten attached to them; the power to try avoiding what one hated or what was unpleasant that was experienced in the past; the power to be continuously obsessed by the subjectivity of the experience called the mind—that is like egoism; and the fifth one is to be attached to the life of the physical body.
Having these as causes, various desires are born from the mind. The content of the first one, ignorance, is especially important; that is the erroneous, incorrect understanding towards the Truth: to see what is not eternal as eternal—for example, this world and its experiences are neither eternal nor unchanging; to see purity in what is impure; to see pleasure or happiness in what may even end up turning into suffering or struggle; to be deluded into thinking that which is not the Self is the Self. Regardless of what thoughts or struggles occur in the mind, the causes can always be found in the categories of pain-bearing obstacles just mentioned. Therefore, on one hand, since the mind consists of such things as egoism, various [aspects of] intellect, thoughts, and memories, by learning the Truth that was just mentioned, one must eliminate ignorance. That is what is referred to as the purification of the mind.
Gerry (Pratibha): For example, whilst acknowledging that something is impermanent, and understanding that ultimately it will result in suffering, deciding to choose it is still a possibility. Is that a complete illusion?
MASTER: Everything has a cause and a resulting effect. Therefore, one must receive the result, that inevitably has to happen. Upon that, one learns the true nature of the world. Furthermore, one must learn about the mind. Regarding the ways of meditating that you mentioned earlier, (smiling) you mentioned there were three ways. Who is it who knows this?
(Gerry thinks about it for a while)
Gerry (Pratibha): I don’t have an answer. I don’t know.
MASTER: That can’t be (laughing), since you had a total grasp of them (laughing).
Gerry (Pratibha): That was just the image that appeared in my mind, and I simply put that into words, and that was that.
MASTER: Who is the one who said it? (laughing joyfully)
(After Gerry thinks for a long time)
Gerry (Pratibha): Your question is like a wind blowing on the ocean, causing waves to arise. (roaring laughter from everyone)
MASTER: Well, since you came all the way to Japan, why don’t I create bigger winds, a typhoon? (laughs)
Let’s change the setting to now. Right now. You know that your mind is thinking various thoughts right now, don’t you?
(Gerry is thinking seriously, trying to come up with his own answer. Shri Mahayogi is quietly waiting for a long time to hear from him.)
Gerry (Pratibha): The mind is thinking about various things, but the mind cannot sense what the motivations are behind these thoughts. That is, the thing is that, who is thinking, and why is it causing thoughts to arise in the mind?
MASTER: Exactly, the mind is thinking about that right now. Then who is the one that knows the activities of the mind? (laughing a little mischievously)
Gerry (Pratibha): It is the mind.
MASTER: (seemingly with enjoyment) No, the mind is being witnessed like that.
Gerry (Pratibha): That’s right.
MASTER: Right, that’s exactly the point—that is what you must know; that the mind is being seen. What is seeing is the simple consciousness; normally, it is called the “I.”
Gerry (Pratibha): The simple consciousness [that I must know]?
MASTER: That’s right. Confusion arises when the “I” is entangled in the mind. Indeed, that is why your true Self is not the various experiences of the mind. When one is no longer entangled in any disturbance of the mind whatsoever, then the true Self awakens.
Just like in the morning, when you wake up from the dream, you will awaken to Reality.
(For a long while, Gerry is receiving Shri Mahayogi’s darshan with a powerful gaze.)
The Concrete Method to Transform the Mind through Discrimination and Discernment:
By Being Unattached, Compassion and Love Grow Anew
Sanatana: The discrimination of whether something is the Truth or not, and the discrimination of “Who am I?”—how should we approach these in meditation?
MASTER: There is no one who does not know the Self. However, when you ask who that “I” is, most of the time, the answers are incorrect. In short, one identifies the experience created by the mind or the thoughts of the mind with “I.” In order to correct this, discrimination is necessary.
Sanatana: The concrete way of practicing discrimination is simply taught as discerning what is the Truth and what is non-truth—is it about thinking further about each individual’s experiences and occurrences in life?
MASTER: Yes. General discrimination is usually done based on each individual’s experience. Discrimination in Yoga brings the Truth as a foundation to be the basis of discrimination. Even if the mind does not grasp the Truth, think about it from all aspects of the Truth, and discriminate. What becomes very useful at that time are the teachings of the Yoga Sutra or the teachings that various Holy Beings have left behind. The aim and the result of meditation is that you can know the essence of various things. If you continue to discriminate, then the mind will eventually conform to the correct knowledge. Concretely, it will become unattached towards various things. Compassion and love will be born anew in that mind. That is not realized theoretically or based on logic, but it is realized through diligently putting practice into action. Please validate it, each and every one of you.
Saturday, January 22, 2000, Mahayogi Ashrama, Kyoto
(Gerry and Shanta are leaving Kyoto tomorrow.)
Regarding Sanskara and the Fear of Death
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): I think that Shri Mahayogi has said before that Yoga multiplies the impressions accumulated in the mind up to this point by zero, so if we create the mind that does not react to these subjects, then will the prior sanskara that have been accumulated until that point really disappear?
MASTER: Some kinds of new experiences will leave an impression in the mind through the five senses. Whether that impression is weak or strong depends on the latent sanskara. Sanskara is the cause that works as the power that ties the mind and the outside world closely together. Therefore, the sanskara that have accumulated in the past have various colorings, respectively, and these create the world according to each individual. Sanskara are formed with their origin in the causes represented by the five pain-bearing obstacles.
Last week, I explained the relationship between pain-bearing obstacles and ignorance, so I’ll skip that today. (Towards Gerry) Do you remember? (Gerry nods.)
MASTER: The learning and practice of Yoga [which is to put into practice actions for mastering Satori] is the task of eliminating the pain-bearing obstacles, which are erroneous causes. Simply put, by eliminating the impressions based on ego and ignorance, one brings in something new that originates from the universal Atman, the true Self and the wisdom of the Truth.
In the scriptures, it says, “Future pain is that which is to be avoided.”1 Because the cause of pain is these impressions, to practice not internalizing these impressions is crucial for this discipline. By becoming disciplined in this way, future impressions and pain will start to not enter the mind. However, there may be causes in subtle forms that remain latent in the mind, and that is in the form that is likened to seeds in the soil. In order to eliminate these, there is nothing you can do other than meditate.
In meditation, one enters deeper and deeper into the mind to uncover how formless the desires and attachments of the mind are and what their causes are, then works to eliminate them using the Truth. Truth is eternal and universal wisdom, and That is everyone’s true Self.
Through practicing asana, we make the body immobile; through pranayama, we make the breath immobile; and through meditation, we make the mind immobile. That is the realization of the Truth within, or the realization of the true Self.
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): I read this in a book, but is it true that the fear of death arises because of remnants within oneself of pain that was experienced when dying in past lives?
MASTER: In addition to that, as long as you think you’re the body, then there is the fear of losing the physical body, or there is attachment towards the physical body—that is the cause. Ultimately, it is attachment. Are you reading any scriptures right now?
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): Chika gave me back the book, Integral Yoga: The Yoga Sutras of Patanjali that I lent her, so I happened to have been reading it in the mornings. Before, I did not quite understand what Shri Mahayogi meant by “Yoga multiplies the impressions accumulated in the mind up to this point by zero,” but this time as I began to read the book in the morning, I feel like I get it, not with my head, but through my senses, though only a little. And I feel that how I understand now is a bit different than before I heard it.
MASTER: Zero can be said to be egoless-ness (smiling) or non-ego.
 Yoga Sutra 2:16
How Can We Face That Which is Behind the Mind
(Gerry, who is visiting from New York for two weeks in order to meet Shri Mahayogi, asks a question. He will be leaving Kyoto tomorrow with Shanta, who is visiting from Moscow to do the same.)
Gerry (Pratibha): The most important thing I learned from Shri Mahayogi in these two weeks—which has become very apparent and clear to me—is to deeply contemplate about what is behind the world and the mind. Yet, if I try to look at this carefully, it is clear that I am only looking at my own eyes and I am only looking at this world, and I am not seeing anything else. If I contemplate thoroughly about that, then I am thinking about thoughts, and I am not able to realize it.
So what is clear to me is that I must spend the rest of my life seeing it, contemplating on it, and then further, experiencing it. I understand that what I must do in order to achieve that is to shift the direction of my consciousness to what is behind all of that. But I am not clear on how I should approach this.
MASTER: Right now, Gerry is walking in the middle of that journey.
Realizing the Self is not external, it is like seeing your own eyes with your own eyes, as it were. The mind and the five senses are always active toward the outside world, the outside world being its object. Even memory is the same. It is a subtle object. This activity of the mind and the outside world become conscious through the unwavering light.
That light is your own Self. Just as eyes cannot see themselves, light cannot see the light itself. However, eyes become aware through awakening. When all the activities of the mind and the outside world disappear, then light becomes aware of it being light, by itself. There, only Eternal Consciousness exists. All of our learning and the disciplines we practice to attain Satori are all for the sake of nothing other than making the mind immobile.
Gerry (Pratibha): Can such a thing as not being moved at all by emotions be possible? In other words, just as there is a time when one can relax physically and mentally, is there a complete form of relaxation that is possible?
MASTER: Four differences are found in our normal consciousness: consciousness when we’re awake, when we’re dreaming, when we’re in deep sleep, and the consciousness that knows the other three. The world felt by the mind is different to each individual, respectively.
Only the fourth consciousness is the same for all people. That is the Consciousness that only knows, or simply witnesses. As for all other thoughts, they are all the creations of the mind. This fourth consciousness is the true Self, and it exists always.
(Silence ensues. Then Shri Mahayogi grants Gerry darshan.)
Saturday, January 29, 2000, Mahayogi Ashrama, Kyoto
Conversation with a Beginner:
On Karma & On Kundalini
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): Shri Mahayogi, recently I was hit by droppings from a big flock of birds. Is that considered to be karma as well? I was glad they weren’t crows at least. I heard that crow guano is stinky.
MASTER: What’s wrong with droppings, even if stinky? What did you think in that moment?
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): Of being saved.
MASTER: What was saved?
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): [I was saved from] it being the stinky kind.
MASTER: That is karma. It is about how you take things.
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): For example, things that normally we clearly take as displeasing—for instance, losing something, or someone says something bad about me—is the way I take these things karma also? Does it mean it depends on how we take it?
MASTER: Right. As long as we are alive and active in this world, we come into contact with various things. Some come as [apparent] karma, but there are also cases that are not karma, that are not that big of a cause. If you react, then that past karma snowballs and drags on in a different form. Therefore, it all boils down to being dependent on the mind’s movement, how the mind reacts.
Therefore, progressing in Yoga means disciplining oneself to be able to calmly take in everything, whatever it may be, whether good or bad. In that sense, what happened to you might be, perhaps, a test of karma (laughing).
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): Then, for example, taking my own failure too, it is better to take it in such a way…
MASTER: Right, it applies in the same way. And of course, it is important to endeavor not to repeat that mistake again for the next time.
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): To endeavor doesn’t mean I keep on thinking about it obsessively, but rather, to think about what to do next time so as not to repeat but to rather improve, or should I renounce even that, or rather, should I not think about it anymore and surrender…?
MASTER: Well, if you investigate the cause of failure for things, you’ll always find a cause. Once you understand its cause, reflect on it and regret it, and then practice putting an end to the same mistake, then I’m sure the next time will go well, at least a bit better.
Shibasaki (Yukti): In what condition does kundalini come to rise?
MASTER: In the physiology of Yoga, kundalini is considered to be within the muladhara chakra, the lowest chakra. Originating from there are pathways called nadi, the pathways through which prana flows, going around throughout the body. As the nadi get cleaned up and readied for the optimum flow of kundalini, then kundalini begins to move.
On the other hand, the psychological condition must have been prepared to be ready as well; that means purification. Well, by having cleaned the obstructions in the mind, such as various pain-bearing obstacles, ignorance, and even karma, too, concentration is heightened and kundalini begins to awaken.
You need both.
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): So does it mean that the more pure you become, the easier it rises?
…Was yesterday a day for group meditation?
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): Yes.
There are probably various stimuli, or effects from everyone there, working on me. (MASTER: Yes.) When I practice together on Fridays with everyone, I do work harder than when I practice alone, and I can also meditate longer; but, I feel more ups and downs than usual.
MASTER: That’s fine, it’s a natural thing.
As you repeat it again and again, the mind transforms, or rather, it is as if a new territory opens up. That is the best way for purification.
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): Shri Mahayogi often says that meditation is not just about sitting. Is it okay to consider sitting meditation as a part of daily training? Is it the training for aiming towards one’s daily life becoming meditation?
MASTER: Right. It is like an intensive training.
How to Bring All Your Time to Bear on Yoga
Ms. Matsubara (Medha): I just started to take classes not long ago, and there is a disconnect between the time of the group meditation, the time of the asana class that is designated as the “time of Yoga,” and other activities designated as “other time,” so I get very perplexed after meditation, and the body is stiff afterwards. Is there anything I need to pay attention to during daily life or with regard to my frame of mind?
MASTER: In Yoga, what is asked of you throughout the entire journey, from beginning to end, is to seek the Truth and realize It. Normally, the mind is often unintentionally engrossed in things that we experience through our interactions in various realms, and we lose ourselves in them, so the task in Yoga is to correct one’s own self to conform to the Truth instead, and to bring back the true Self, to find the true Self.
Therefore, regarding the various actions in daily life, reflect to see whether they have True Existence in them or not; then, eliminate the attachment to that which is not eternal, that which is not the Truth, and sever all of your ties with it—having such a mind of steel, well, that is, to tell the mind and to make the mind realize that, is what is required.
Learning and studying the scriptures is beneficial for this, and if you deeply think about them while sitting and concentrating on them, you will then enter into the realm of meditation. Once you enter the realm of meditation, as its result, the true essence of that object, its true nature, can be grasped. Thoroughly discriminating between what is Truth and what is not, that is the chief content of meditation.
Therefore when you meditate while sitting, particularly concentrate extra on that, seriously and intensely, and when you’re not sitting, focus on the issues that are troubling your mind, or unresolved issues—these are the tasks you can do.
Ms. Matsubara (Medha): So that means I should not renounce thinking itself, is that right?
MASTER: Rather, if there are no issues you’re bothered by much, then you can consider that it has already been renounced. There is no need to create new issues. There’s never been a better state than the one in which you remain not thinking about anything whatsoever.
On the other hand, there is the aspect of daily living that inevitably comes with this physical body. You don’t have to make the mind suffer so much around these things, in other words, you can just perform and complete tasks without attaching to them. Simply eat, sleep and work—by practicing this way, the time for Yoga will not be limited to a particular time, such as two or three hours a day, but it will come to expand entirely into the realm of Yoga.
MASTER: Everyone knows the “I,” and is also aware that one is living, yet, when asking about the sense of the actual existence of it, or in other words, Existence, it is not very clear. You see, that is why seeking the Truth means seeking one’s true Self and awakening to It, since it is only there that Existence exists.
What the mind can do is eliminate the fictitious self that is created by the mind itself, the self-consciousness, ego, the erroneous self that believes that it is the protagonist who is experiencing—because that first person pronoun of the mind is always formed through contact with this world. [The thing is that,] experiences continuously change, and they are not absolute; they are not Reality. However, the mind constantly tries to adhere to what is impermanent, which is the fundamental cause of ignorance and pain-bearing obstacles, and the mind struggles to find Existence, Eternity, or Truth, there. Bringing the mind to confront the Truth is, at the same time, to correctly understand the true nature of the mind itself, or the true nature of the world.
Simply Respond to the Constantly Changing World and
Aim for the State of Mind Not Bound by Anything
Dayamati: When focusing on the Truth or Existence, the more I try to make the mind conform to that, the more my mind moves—and I am so annoyed by these thoughts, whether they’re good or bad has nothing to do with it, because I feel that’s not good if the mind moves. (Dayamati seems to be struggling with something, and she is holding back tears, barely eking out her voice.)
Well, for the sake of simplifying everything…I feel that I shouldn’t get rid of things like good intentions, yet I can’t tolerate them either. May I ask, what should I really do about it?
MASTER: Being detached or having renounced does not at all mean you become indifferent to the matters of this world and become cold-hearted. Rather it is the opposite, positive good deeds will be done naturally.
Dayamati: So I just let myself be natural…
MASTER: No, rather, if the mind has a reaction, feeling something toward it, then it is fine; since normally, good and bad arise from the ideas of each respective individual’s mind, like as a basis for assessing value, as the ego-consciousness begins to fade through the discipline of practicing Yoga, then the basis of good and bad will also come to be governed by a universal scale. Therefore you need to eliminate the various thoughts that are based in ego, indeed, and at the same time, the sensibility of the mind that is detached from ego, free from delusion, is acceptable.
Dayamati: Is it something that I can distinguish by myself?
MASTER: Yes, you can. If you consider for whom the good deed would be, this action is completely irrelevant to your own mind, but the action is done for the good of others. Also, to act proactively so that your actions become those that are done for the good of others, is precisely what karma yoga teaches.
Dayamati: I am not the mind, but am what is witnessing.
MASTER: Yes, that’s right.
Dayamati: I try to practice keeping that in mind at all times when speaking, but I am thinking that even if I do that while speaking, I’m not able to know the substance of that which witnesses. Right now, I am allocating time, so while I am performing the normal daily tasks, I try to make the ego separate because I feel that there is no other practice I can try, then when I practice meditation or when there is time, I focus on the Witness. Somehow, no matter what, I want to completely clarify within me about that Self who witnesses it. (laughs) Somehow, it feels a little like floating in mid-air, in limbo, feeling like it is neither this nor that.
MASTER: I see, well, I suppose that the mind will not get entangled so much in the trivial matters of daily life, so in that sense, the sense or the feeling of hanging in midair [that you mentioned] is right. (smiles) Yes.
Dayamati: It feels to me that someone is speaking.
MASTER: Right, it might feel like that.
Well, if you give it some time, then you might be able to understand and grasp that mid-air condition, and it’s not a bad state to be in at all. That is because in the view of Yoga it can be understood rather as the state in which the power of the mind that inevitably attaches to various things is weakening—the mind of non-attachment is being born.
(After a few other attendees ask questions)
Dayamati: Is it better to clarify this as soon as possible, or should I rather say, is it better to pursue that and to realize the Self?
MASTER: You see, as I mention often, you should do your tasks and deal with various things dispassionately, without attachment. Eventually, you will start to not be bothered by them anymore either.
Indeed, day by day, month by month, year by year, this scenery changes along with the seasons. Even with the occurrences that span over a few decades of time and space from memories, there must have been countless, various things that have occurred as changes. If you look back, the changes in the world, the changes in the mind, you can just put it all in one word—“changes” (laughs); yet, there was something dignified that existed there, which exists even here now, which will continue to be, changelessly—It neither has form nor can It be named, but it is Existence…well even that word is just a placeholder, but Existence is the only thing that exists.
As I often make an analogy using the ocean, there is the ocean. Everything else is waves. Anything that changes is a wave. That Existence is the Only One, it is not only your own but it is everything. It is indivisible and indistinguishable. Our forms and the world, and everything, are just like waves floating on that Existence.
Therefore, the waves are the natural order of things in the world. And the waves can be high or low, intense or calm; they are shaped by various changes, yet they’re not eternal. Therefore, respond to change accordingly. You should respond to it flexibly, adapting to circumstances case by case, (smiling) and simply without being attached. Make sure that you do not get attached beyond that.
Ms. Matsubara (Medha): Will I too be able to do that?
MASTER: Yes. You can. Everyone seeks that and wishes for that. And the answer is within everyone. It’s not correct because it says so in the scriptures, but I would like you to think and feel for yourself once again about what the scriptures say, and what I say. That means that at the same time, put the ideas or thoughts cultivated through your own experiences all together on a table, and let them sink in deeply together; that is, if you enter deep into the issue through meditation, that Truth will naturally emerge from within you. It is often said that God or buddha is within one’s own self, truly, you yourself are God or buddha. It is a given, really. Therefore, no matter what it is, believe in your Self, and actualize your true Self more and more.
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): In regards to “doing your own tasks and dealing with various things dispassionately, without attachment”—I am not quite sure if I grasp what it means or not, but should I consider it to mean that I simply do and deal with whatever comes and whatever is in front of me?
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): Shri Mahayogi says that seriousness and passion are important to have, but when I look at myself nowadays, I feel like I was more intent and working hard on practicing every day when I started to practice Yoga. I feel like in fact that I have become healthy and “me” goes out more, then I end up making my ego expand. I think that when there is a challenging situation, my mind strongly goes towards Yoga, but at my stage, is it no less important to direct the mind towards Yoga even during times when there are no difficult situations or conditions?
MASTER: The physical body, when it’s young, can rely on its health, however, it will eventually age and break. The mind too can at times be disturbed and in pain, but at other times it can also taste a state of tranquility. But, if you think about whether they are truly eternal or not, you might become consumed with worry. Even if you want it to be eternal, life has a limit, even if you want to be happy, there are always limits. People may find half-baked complacency, and give [the mind] a sense of happiness, (smiling) calling it contentment, occasionally; yet they will then get new baggage, and end up having troubles. No matter how many times they go through such repetitions, nothing gets resolved at all and only time passes.
Therefore, very clearly stop dreaming about happiness and various other things in this world. Get rid of both expectations and disappointments. Because, the world has as its nature to constantly change, so what we must do is simply respond to its changes—(emphasis) and that is all we can do. Even if this is the Truth, if you try to possess it in the name of happiness, suffering comes along with it at the same time. Therefore, don’t possess it—that is non-attachment. Practice aiming to create such a state of mind where it is not bound by anything. And also, in that process, the real Truth will come to be realized.
Therefore, just like when you are sick you wish for health, once healthy, you forget about that, the mind too, when in pain, wants and wishes to be released, and it may not notice anything when it is tasting freedom. But the thing is, did the issue get resolved? Looking at this earth, throughout history, if thinking about who the person is who actually came up with the ultimate answer, it is Buddha. And I think that there were several other Awakened Ones who realized a similar Satori. Only by reaching that state, only then, one will finally no longer suffer, and there exists the state where you will be unaffected by anything.
Indeed, this is something that may be difficult to see with physical eyes, but there is an issue and its object. More than anything it is about your true Self, so it doesn’t hurt to heighten your enthusiasm and seriousness.
As for the physical body, you should maintain it in a healthy state, as for the mind, you should maintain it in a peaceful state. The rest is, just know your true Self.
Saturday, February 12, 2000, Mahayogi Ashrama, Kyoto
Shri Mahayogi Speaks on the Universality of Buddha and Yoga
Through His Own Experience
Sanatana: May I ask, were you able to read my thesis for my Master’s degree program?
MASTER: I felt that in Chapter One, segueing from Part 1, the way in which the problem was introduced seemed a little rough, and needed a little more explanation.
Sanatana: Is that the introductory section?
MASTER: Not the introductory section, but Chapter One. Towards the latter half, the flow of development was well done, and if there were more pages, the volume of the content would have improved. Overall, the structural pillar was easy to follow. However, it would be better if there were parts dedicated to more fleshed-out elaboration.
Sanatana: Even with that, I went way over the page limit. (MASTER: Really?) I wrote about one and half times the limit. The professor of logic, for feedback, said that it feels like its entire focus throughout is on ideals, that what is written throughout is an ideal, so it was suggested to include more actual, concrete problem-solving for the modern world.
MASTER: But, you do mention these from time to time. Rather, I thought that you presented that format [of focusing on ideals] instead, rather than focusing so much on [the practical problem-solving], as the pillar.
Sanatana: That is the case, because if I focus on concrete problem-solving, then it would become about that.
MASTER: One of the most intriguing of Buddha’s teachings to me, or rather, what I sense to be closest, is the procedure or the steps of the discrimination done in meditation, or I should say, that process itself feels very much familiar to the actual meditation I have done. This is one way of looking at it, but it is often said that the content of Buddha’s Satori, or the teachings, are very similar to the process of medicine. That is, a symptom appears, which is compared to a disease, and at first that symptom is recognized as a current condition; then some kind of cause must be present for that condition to exist; so the cause is sought. Then, the next exploration is about how to improve the condition—to improve indicates that there is a pre-existing [opposite] condition. There is a state of illness and a state of health. Once it is diagnosed as being ill, then the cause of it is found, and the way of regaining health is considered, then next, a prescription is given. In more specialized terms, it is [the Fourfold Noble Truth of Buddhism]—“Suffering, Cause, Cessation, and Path,” these four pillars are considered to be very similar to medicine, or the standpoint from which doctors [work], and indeed, it might be quite true. That way, or that way of viewing, is quite scientific and material-based in some sense. That is, in other words, regardless of whether it’s maya or anything else, first you begin by facing your current condition and finding out what is happening, what is being done in this current real-life situation, and what it originates from—well, that is the part summed up as “Cause,” or that is where the Twelve Dependent Originations are explained. Another thing to add is that these pillars have words, have content, that applies to everyone—they are scientific.
Perhaps, in a way, this might be quite a severe process of discrimination, however, regardless of whether religions, cultures or ethnicities are different, or languages are different, the mind is the same, and you can also understand that the factors that make up the mind, as well as the various psychological structures derived from them are something that is basically all the same. So, this part of what Buddha preached—“Seeing the self in what is not the true Self, seeing the eternal in what is not eternal—this ignorance as the biggest cause, from which all suffering arises”—could have been more emphasized. In sum, the suffering of the world and the human mind ultimately boils down to that. It is exactly the same as Yoga, of course (laughs), it is the same because it might be particularly perceived due to the same or similar words that are being used to understand it. I feel that [this ignorance, as the biggest cause from which all suffering arises,] should have been a little more emphasized.
Sanatana: There is a lot more weight in Part 2, both in the number of pages and in content… It’s true, it all depends on how it’s written, but I think I became too careful about not getting too deeply into psychological material.
MASTER: Philosophy, thought, psychology, even physics, or general sciences—you can’t separate them. Because [depending on which angle you look at them from,] something can be psychology from one side, and from another side, it can be philosophy, yet it can be said that only because of having that psychological structure, philosophy can be established. That is why they are inseparable. That too may be a characteristic of the teachings of Buddha or of Yoga. It appears philosophical when looking at it philosophically, but when looking at it psychologically, it appears psychological. What I’m talking about now may be completely different, completely incompatible with how universities think.
Sanatana: Probably, people who study philosophy or research Zen are especially interested in these things, so I don’t think it’s a problem at my university. Well, rather, that may have been my own sense, but I really wanted to point out that people only say things, and there is a huge gap between what people say and what people actually do, and that’s why I wrote about Vivekananda at length, and perhaps, I could add more content about the actual application of practice.
MASTER: Actually, there is one thing I was concerned about. There is a sentence in Chapter One: “If you can live your life in pleasure and enjoyment without any suffering, then that’s fine.” It’s a bit of a problem to leave it at that. Because, perhaps there might be a case [where there is no suffering] and that is the karma of this lifetime, yet nonetheless, you must always look at reincarnation, the long cycle of many lifetimes. And, there is the story in the Upanishads about going on a search for Atman; there is the story about the two divine families, about Indra and Vairochana going on an expedition, and there is the story about Nachiketas. The kind of essence [contained in these stories], I wish you had at the beginning of the thesis. The reason why is that I felt that there was a bit of a challenge—from the very beginning you used the words of Buddha, and it was about blaming others, and I felt that it’s not quite strong enough in its appeal.
Sanatana: [I see,] because the question itself was a challenging one to begin with.
MASTER: It’s a bit too hasty to bring up that [quote]. That is why I felt the connection of the context around it was a bit rough; and if you could have had this essence just mentioned now, it would have become stronger.
Well, this time, you passed the thesis, so that’s fine; from now on, in the future, I would hope you expand on it further.
The Law of Karma
Chetaka: This is about karma. I myself, before starting Yoga, was constantly playing catch with karma; for example, if I had desire, I put myself in contact with others through that desire, and if that was betrayed, then I took revenge on it with anger—so there was an adversarial relationship. But I think that after starting to practice Yoga, and as you keep disciplining yourself to practice [the teachings of Yoga], tapas, or a condition arises in which you try to stop throwing it back, even if others throw something at you and even if you catch it. Now, the closer you get to perfection, the more you stop the act of receiving, or rather, you pay no attention, or even further, I should say, you don’t even defend yourself—it’s a complete neutrality. For example, someone verbally attacks Shri Mahayogi, but there is no effect on Shri Mahayogi at all whatsoever—in such an ultimate condition where someone throws you something and it came to you, but you don’t throw it back, what happens to the karma, the act of throwing, of the person who threw something? Another question is that, even if I’m ignoring it completely, would it incur karma if the other person still has hostility or a thought of violence towards me?
MASTER: Well, karma is very physical, as you just mentioned; it is action and reaction. So one person is acting upon another, throwing karma, then the side that was thrown karma also throws it back—that becomes reaction to the latter side. When it goes back and forth, new forms of karma are born right there. This karma changes shape once and as a result turns into a new cause. It is the repetition of this. So when you get some kind of an attack and then if you react in the way of karma, that in turn bears karma right there, and just as you mentioned, it is like playing catch, it becomes a cyclical chain reaction. If you don’t react, for example, as you mentioned, “pay no attention or ignore it,” or even if someone throws you various karma but nothing hits, the Earth is round and there is gravity, so it’ll just go full circle and come back to the person who threw it (laughing), just as it is, all of it, regardless of what was thrown.
Chetaka: In my own experiences too, more often than not, there were times when I was in a condition where I was really frustrated, upset and wanted to blow off the steam of my anger but tried to refrain from doing it, and tried to be patient. In these cases, it still remains as sanskara to a certain extent in me, inevitably?
Chetaka: Then, if it actually hits me, I must resolve it in meditation?
MASTER: Yes, that is the only way considered to be effective against removing it.
Chetaka: Even in a different form, for example, if I get hit here and that becomes a source of stress, will I then eventually unleash this when conditions are ripe?
MASTER: You will unleash it.
That is why through meditation, you must have made yourself ready by preparing the condition in yourself in which you have already weakened or eliminated sanskara beforehand. In any case, every behavior, action, even simple actions, are karma. Therefore, just like these are recorded as karma onto what is, so to speak, a limitless film, those that especially have particularly strong thoughts along with them are more heavily tinged and thus strongly exposed onto the film, whereas those that don’t are exposed lightly on the film. Either way, they remain as memories in the depths of the mind. And one day, these sanskara, when the opportunity arises for them to appear as karma or to come into action again, will come out externally just as they were [recorded on the film]. You see, the translation used for the word sanskara is in Chinese characters, which I think is an excellent interpretation of it that has as one of its meanings “to go.” [That means,] it’s already prepared, and the rest is simply for you to go there. [That means,] it only has to appear. That is precisely why what’s needed is to master it, [or the sanskara, or the action]; in other words, the meaning of practicing to master action,1 or to master sanskara, is to get rid of sanskara, to put it to an end.
Sanatana: For example, someone comes to see Shri Mahayogi or comes to class. There are things here that this person needs, but the person leaves without getting anything. It is not that we exclude them or get angry about it. In that case, is it considered to be that, as a result, the person received the karma that he or she missed this wonderful opportunity?
When you mentioned that things go all the way around the Earth and come back to the person, I wondered what that’s like concretely.
MASTER: It will be different depending on what actions he or she takes later on, but if taking just that aspect, naturally, it all returns to them. However, there is another way of thinking about this, which has something to do with what happens after that, and that is that perhaps they didn’t have any connection to Yoga, however, if that event caused them to find another path, it would become a plus, working as good karma—in that way, it may become a key. We cannot know that. So what can be said is, regardless, make the fate or the future of being better up to that person, up to your own self. It does not matter whether it is through learning Yoga, or if it’s something else, since what is best for a person doesn’t necessarily have to be Yoga, so it could be something else, but what’s important is to make yourself better, and that is what it ultimately means to go towards Satori; if that is the case, then, that would be good, looking at it from the results then.
Sanatana: So, even if it’s indirect, if the result arising from it is good, then it means that karma is good, but from the earlier conversation, if it is the case where someone throws bad intentions and bad deeds without having anything grow from it and only receives the results of bad karma, then actually the act of throwing and getting hit indicates that perhaps it was because these things have to be encountered at some point, yet in a way the part in between the cause and the effect, where the conditions are met, that seems mysterious.
MASTER: Rather than being mysterious, actions are performed through such an internal process or working. Yet, that is inevitable. A necessity. It means that karma is normally something that is manifested as a result, being expressed through external means, which are physical actions or words, however, the cause is, after all, nowhere but within the mind, within notions and thoughts. Then, if you take this internal object, the mind, and go deeper still, only into the mind, you will be able to find that there will be sanskara, memories, and pain-bearing obstacles—these things exist in a person’s mind as causes. Therefore, the fundamental cause boils down to ignorance, called avidya, and pain-bearing obstacles; and viewing from these fundamental causes, next come the thoughts that manifest as concrete desires, which are the resulting gross objects thereof; and then next, these become vasana and sanskara, and then having these as causes, they appear in more gross things as actions. That is the process.
Sanatana: Then, if someone did something towards others with malicious intent, then that would remain within the body of that person naturally; so it means that sooner or later, that returns to that person, in the sense of something coming to fruition in some way.
MASTER: Obviously, that is the case, because that malicious intent is working as the vasana of that mind. So then, what created the vasana? It is sanskara from the experiences further in the past, pain-bearing obstacles, and ignorance, which are the biggest causes.
Sanatana: In that case, it’s not as if something like karma shoots out of the body, travels somewhere and then returns (laughter from Shri Mahayogi and everyone), because often times, the law of karma seems to be understood in such a way.
MASTER: Right, that is because, often, it refers to the most external, the performed actions, or the manifestation of the results of actions that are already done. However, in actuality, you can find that the invisible, internal causes of karma create numerous layers. That—the cause and effect as just mentioned, and the going deeper and deeper to seek out the cause and effect—is psychology; it’s also physical, as a process of action and reaction. In order to thoroughly grasp it, meditation is crucial.
Sanatana: In this age, there are many people who say that regarding the laws of karma, “the reason why something bad happened to me is because I did something bad in my childhood,” or “because my parents were this way or that way,” or “it could be the spirits of ancestors in retribution,” which I think are very mundane or worldly understandings.
MASTER: That is so, these kinds of superstitious sayings have existed since long ago, even from when we were children, they are very normal. Maybe “superstition” is an exaggeration, but it is important to investigate these mundane sayings to see what scientific basis they have, or their authenticity. Indeed, children are born from parents and there are physical, genetic traits they inherit, and psychological characteristics may also be affected more or less. Yet, whether these are karma, or whether they are affected by karma itself, must be considered separately. From the understanding of Yoga, its answer is that there are the workings and structures of the physical body and the mind, such as genetic inheritance in physiology, which are acknowledged, though karma is not necessarily completely affected by them. As for the reason that it is not necessarily completely affected, remember the line in the Yoga Sutra that refers to how your own karma determines your next life’s lifespan, situation, and the life of happiness or unhappiness.2 That means, so to speak, the soul chooses to be born to parents suited to fulfill the specific karma that soul has. Therefore, there is some affinity in one’s relationship to one’s own parents to some extent.
For example, you studied enthusiastically because you really wanted to learn. If you die with the wish to still continue to study more, then you will be born into a family of wonderful scholars, for example, where the environment and circumstances allow you to continue to pursue that further. It can be deemed that every thought in the mind will continue to transfer as is. In that sense, you will receive some degree of influence from your parents. Yet, it is not genetically so, nor is it that you inherit everything from your parents, such as genetic things, that is, with regard to karma, it is an entirely different issue. The circumstances and the environment [according to your karma], as the base for that, will be provided.
Sanatana: Then, that means that if I look at my current hopes and ideals, then I can roughly understand what I came here to do and why I was born here.
MASTER: Roughly, yes. In general, that is how it is. Yet, what’s special, or rather, shifting to the part of jumping over the whole of everything, that is Yoga or the path of Satori, therefore, regardless of what circumstances you’re in, you can always jump there. It is not necessarily like the modern educational system, (laughs) where you always have to go up one step at a time, just as how there are many stories of people becoming saints throughout history, regardless of their circumstances. Therefore, the laws of karma should be understood based on the order within this relative universe, and a scientific rational base. Yoga is aiming beyond karma, or in other words, its aim is to transcend karma, and since the escape from it is promised, it does not fit within that general category. That is why it is said that “the karma of Yoga practitioners is neither black nor white.”3
Sanatana: In this case, do these Yoga practitioners include people who are still in the process of practicing?
MASTER: No, this only includes the ones who have reached a relatively advanced level.
Sanatana: Earlier, there was a mention of good karma, but even progress toward liberation is caused by “en” (“en” in Japanese refers to the cause and the conditions that result in auspicious connections), and probably until you get there, you go through en—that would mean you have good en.
MASTER: Right, it is the en of recognition; simply put, it is the en of such recognition. Minor incidents are supposed to be teaching you things, but it is about whether recognition can occur or not, in which you can suddenly recognize something and shift the course from looking only outside of yourself, as you have up until now, and make yourself see within—that is what en is in this case.
Sanatana: Then, it’s not about the incidents that matter, but about what we can learn from them.
MASTER: That is exactly so. It is recognition. In Bhagavad Gita, Arjuna asks, what if he dies before completing Yoga, what happens in his next life. Then, Krishna answers that all the good deeds that he has gained will not be lost, and will be transferred to the next life, where he will be born to a Yoga practitioner, that is, he is promised a life where he can continue to practice Yoga. That is obvious from considering the law of karma. This can tell how the thoughts in your mind are more important than anything else. What we can control is the surface of the thought. That can control external actions, and at the same time, you will eventually come to be able to control even what is further in the depths of the thoughts, what is unreachable, such as sanskara, pain-bearing obstacles and ignorance; that is because sanskara was created exactly in such a way. It is the same with pain-bearing obstacles; as we get thrown into this world and through the accumulation of experience, we end up constructing pain-bearing obstacles from attachments towards things that the mind was captivated by, such as liking and hating. That is fundamentally called ignorance—losing sight of one’s true Self, and seeing eternity in a constantly changing, impermanent world—that is monomania based on such mistakes, such erroneous understandings.
(After some silence)
Ms. Matsubara (Medha): In the earlier conversation about having things thrown at us, and getting stuck by them—the issue is about the malicious intent of the thrower, not about whether I get hurt or not, correct? Since even if I didn’t get hurt, it will eventually get returned [to the thrower].
MASTER: That’s right.
Ms. Matsubara (Medha): If there was no malicious intent, but involuntary action, is it just as bad as malicious intent…?
MASTER: No, it doesn’t work that way. If that was a mistake, or an error, even if such results occur, as an accident, a force majeure, it will be resolved after a thought of apology or other feeling arises.
Ms. Matsubara (Medha): Can we always become self-aware of malicious intent?
MASTER: It depends on the degree. Since it is considered that everyone acts based on selfish thought, whether large or small, they are all considered to be of malicious intent in general (smiles)—most of the time, it’s every man for himself. But depending on whether that thought enters a degree of a realm of actually hurting others or not, that malicious intent becomes stronger or weaker. So it changes depending on the balance of ratio between sticking to your ego and considering others.
Ms. Matsubara (Medha): The first yama is non-killing. It’s rephrased that a Yoga practitioner must not hurt anyone, not only humans, but all beings. What is another way to say not hurting others?
MASTER: “To hurt” includes giving physical, mental and psychological pain. We can consider that the worst one is to take someone’s life. Therefore, it is not taking a life of any living being. And to not hurt any living being, includes mentally, physically and materially as well.
Ms. Matsubara (Medha): I should not cause pain to others, no matter what I do.
MASTER: Yes, you shouldn’t give pain. Yet, inevitably we are within the conditions of an ecosystem where in order for us to live, we take away the lives of others to lengthen our own, and it can be understood that plants, animals, humans, all living things, even this universe itself, have such an ecosystem as well. And you can say that humans, once realizing this, as much as possible, must consider life to be sacred, which means it goes without saying that they should not take a life or harm it. That being said, it is not a matter that can be resolved by just eliminating this human existence, or eliminating material existence itself. That is, even if one person disappears, that does not resolve the issue of the entire universe. So then, in order to get closer to Satori, or become Satori itself, we must maintain this physical body too for now; then there comes a need for food. Then you would think not to eat animals, which requires you take their life away, and just live on milk, water, or vegetables and such—some vegetables can be taken as just a [smaller] part of the life [of a larger organism], that is why it is considered that it is not taking its life away. Well, regardless, life is life, whether it’s partial or whole. But [the idea is that] one can minimize taking from others by the intake of such foods.
Ms. Matsubara (Medha): How should we think about humans hurting other humans?
MASTER: That must be completely refrained from and absolutely kept under control.
That must be controlled. Even if you are hurt, you yourself can endure it. However, you must avoid hurting others.
One more thing, it’s impossible to correctly judge how much people are hurt psychologically or not. Therefore, it’s better not to assume anything unnecessarily. As long as you are always acting cordially and are confident about the various things that were mentioned, and act trusting your own self, unless you don’t sense that you hurt others, then the rest is the other person’s problem. Therefore, there is no need to unnecessarily worry about other people’s minds. But that is only when you are thoroughly in control as a Yoga practitioner. Generally, the world is in a state of hellish disaster, indeed. (laughs)
Chetaka: Does that mean that not having any harm or offensiveness whatsoever is the true nature of a Yoga practitioner, and with that being a given, or having that as the base of how a Yoga practitioner should be with others, there is no need to worry thinking about the thoughts of others?
MASTER: Right. It is really an unnecessary thing. It’s endless. Even if one has not [yet reached the category of being at that level], if you nevertheless continue to practice Yoga, then there will soon be much less useless conduct and action caused by pain-bearing obstacles.
You will also speak less, in a way, like mauna, (laughs) of course, when speaking is necessary, you will speak, but there will no longer be idle talk or things of that nature. You will think that you will only talk about what benefits others, and that can apply also to various actions; the same applies to various relationships.
(Ms. Matsubara who began to live at Seva Kutira, and has been witnessing how everyone behaves there, begins to speak.)
Ms. Matsubara (Medha): Every day I see them seriously working on Yoga, and I have the privilege of seeing them transform…
MASTER: That’s right. Yoga is truly not something extraordinary. It’s about becoming truly more simple, more naked, and that is everyone’s Truth. It is nothing unusual.
(Chetaka explains to Shri Mahayogi that, lately, daily life at Seva Kutira since Ms. Matsubara (Medha) joined, has been very quiet upstairs. At night, Shaci, Shiho (Dakshina), and Ms. Matsubara practice asana and meditation, and there is a very Yoga-like, tranquil atmosphere.)
 This is the word that often translates in English as “practice” or “discipline,” but it actually does not have an equivalent meaning in English. In the Chinese characters, or kanji in Japanese, two words are combined to express the meaning as “the practice or action that aims to master action.”
 Yoga Sutra 2:13. As long as the root exists, there will be its fruition, that is, birth, life span, and experience.
 Yoga Sutra 4:7.
* * *
Testimonies from a Practitioner
The New Message of Buddha
August 7th, 2014, Kyoto (from Mahayogi Mission Blog, Kyoto)
Freedom is an issue of each individual’s mind, and it is also an issue of society and the world.
Freedom (liberation), sought after for a very long time in India, was quite an individual issue in ancient times. Buddha was the one who brought an element of community to it.
Previously, individual practitioners lived away from society in mountains and forests, practicing ascetism and self-discipline, but Buddha introduced a form of practice where disciples gathered in a community as sangha (monastic community, assembly), to inspire and polish one another. This sangha is the origin of the modern word for “monk.” Nowadays, such self-discipline within a community is very common, but in the age of Buddha, that was not the case, and it was a groundbreaking change that he brought.
Yet, the freedom or Satori that must be aimed for is ultimately very personal, up to each individual to resolve. It’s impossible for a community to realize Satori all at the same time. Even so, the reason why Buddha introduced a system of sangha, I think, includes insights and intuition that are quite essential and new even to this day.
Issues that have increasingly become even bigger problems more recently are climate change and ecological problems at the global scale, the boom and bust in the actualization of international peace, and the fluctuations of the global economy. These are global issues, yet at the same time, these are issues of each individual’s mind, each company, and each country. While the environmental destruction is a global scale issue, unless each individual’s mind, way of thinking and way of living change, it will never be solved; the same goes for the issues of politics and of the economy too, they cannot be resolved by resolving them in just one single country. Rather, we can say that the desires of each respective individual, and the ego of respective countries and of corporations are causing these problems.
Towards these issues, we have yet to find effective solutions. Yet, when we consider that the individual problems are also problems of the community and of the world, it seems to me that the path towards Awakening through community, that groundbreaking way that Buddha introduced, is pointing us to solutions, which are still new, for the future.
It means that the problems of the world can only be resolved through each and every one of us becoming free from desire, and it also shows us that through the world learning together as sangha, the Awakening of each individual can occur. That means, with the Awakening of an individual, there is an Awakening of sangha (community), which in a modern context, might mean that the Awakening of the world can also happen.
Here, what is important, is that the community can’t just be a collection of individuals, but it must be a sangha. It is not simply a horizontal relationship, where there’s an understanding of mutual interests and adjustments made accordingly [as give-and-take between one another], but rather, it is a vertical relationship where actions are made from the place where the deep essence of each respective individual and the deep essence of the entire world are united into one. That is the freedom that has departed from the individual ego, that is the devoted service of giving up the ego, and that becomes service to the world, to others and to the true Self.
What can we do, if anything at all? Our physical and mental existence is limited, both physically and temporally. However, if we can transcend the self, the ego, then, can devoted service beyond these limits become possible? And isn’t that true Freedom? Even from when he formed the small community of his disciples, Buddha must have seen through to the essence of human beings. I feel that that is the message for humanity again, a new consciousness and a new way of living, emanating now in order for humanity to take one step forward.
Buddha’s View of Coexistence
July 6th, 2022, Kyoto (from Mahayogi Mission Blog, Kyoto)
After the Jetavana-vihara and Venuvana-vihara were donated to Buddha, he preached to the masses, and with these as a foothold, he also formed a sangha (group or community of practitioners) and trained the disciples. During the rainy season or during the cruel heat of India, we can imagine that these Buddhist monasteries (vihara) must have been a great shelter for the disciples and devotees, enabling them to devote themselves to the spiritual discipline of practicing the teachings in order to master them, alongside the Master and other fellow comrades.
Now, this article will contain the preaching of Buddha around “the disciplining [of oneself to gain mastery over one’s actions],” “sangha,” and “coexistence.”
Just as Buddha preached, “Walk alone like the horn of a rhinoceros,” the spiritual discipline [of practicing to gain mastery over one’s actions] has its basis in practicing alone and silently, with intense internal concentration. However, Buddha established not only the discipline of the practice which one does alone, but he also formed a new concept, that is, sangha, and established a style of working hard together on spiritual discipline with one’s comrades, inspiring and refining one another.
Related to this concept of sangha is the view of coexistence preached by Buddha: “All things live by supporting one another.” Once, I asked Shri Mahayogi, “The teaching of Buddha about coexistence—was that a new way of thinking?” and the Master answered as follows:
The coexistence taught by Buddha was a new concept…or rather… In the social climate of India until then, the solitary practice of discipline was recommended, which in a way was the life of a hermit, viewing that since the world is full of suffering, one must be freed, and for attaining this end, individually living in solitude in the mountain forest, practicing ascetism or whatever the spiritual discipline of practice could be to achieve liberation, [was what was deemed necessary]. Especially during the time of Buddha, this is what was probably advocated most prevalently; therefore there was no need to coexist with others. The imperative directive given was to not be distracted by anything but to simply aim solely for one’s own Satori, and that was what they practiced.
However, the teachings given to the disciples of Buddha, the practitioners, were not about living in solitude in a forest in a mountain, but actually were about living in between the village and the forest; and for one’s own self, devoting everything to disciplining oneself in the practice, yet at the same time, surviving by receiving offerings of foods and other things from the laypeople in the village, although this would not be reciprocation, it would rather be that the more one’s own discipline had deepened, the more being in contact with the villagers would surely become a blessing and bring joy to them—which comes from the view that, there would be a blessing and joy that would also extend to people who were not direct disciples, but who would be able to assuage their suffering even a little. That was [a part of] coexistence, that was the locational environment for the discipline of practicing mastery [over one’s actions]—this too was a revolution.
Having a group of practitioners called sangha is also a sort of coexistence. Changing from [practicing] while living in solitude in the mountain forest up until that point, to then forming sangha, [practicing] among a group of practitioners, would enable the practitioners to encourage each other and continue on with their disciplines of practice, for there would be much that one could learn in such an environment—whether it be kindness, or eliminating ego… Even if a practitioner was still imperfect, and even if there was a lot of ego and pain-bearing obstacles, by coexisting, these imperfections would stand out more visibly and prominently, then, one would start to think about eliminating them, one would think of putting oneself lower than everyone else, or one would think that one has to be humble, or has to be kind, and so on and so forth.
In that sense, with this new departure taken by Buddha or with what Buddha initiated, you can see that things dramatically changed at once.
From these words of the Master, I sense that Buddha, whilst having this new departure, coexistence, and working effectively [by giving them practical teachings] and devoting the best he could, guided not only the practitioners but the general masses, freeing them from suffering and steering them toward tranquility of the mind. As it is implied even by the statement of Vivekananda, who was considered to be another advent of Buddha—“He (Buddha) was the first being in the world who brought missionarising into practice itself,”1 (Address at the Parliament of Religions in Chicago)—the existence and the action of Buddha were dynamic and revolutionary themselves.
As for the coexistence preached and acted upon by Buddha, I feel and sense from the bottom of my heart that the reason I myself am able to continue disciplining myself in the practice today, despite the 2,500 years that have passed since then, is because of the existence of the three treasures, “Buddha (the Awakened One), Dharma (the teachings of Truth) and Sangha (the comrades or fellow practitioners).” Again, I renew my vow to devote myself to the three treasures, and to continue to apply the discipline [of practicing the teachings to gain mastery over my actions], while keeping the “coexistence” of Buddha in my heart. And from my heart, I sincerely wish everyone in this world to be at peace.
 Buddhism, the Fulfillment of Hinduism. Delivered on September 26th, 1893.