Teachings of Shri Mahayogi
Kyoto and Montana
Special Satsangha in Kyoto: Sunday, November 2, 2016
The Truth of the Mind and the World
Part 1: Karma and Reincarnation
Testimonies from Actual Practitioners
• Inspired Works
Design by Atman: Part 5
Original Apparel Design
March 2023, Kyoto, Japan
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Teachings of Shri Mahayogi
Translation of Satsangha
Special Satsangha in Kyoto: Sunday, November 2, 2016
For the occasion of Mahayogi Mission celebrating its 40th Anniversary this year, Shri Mahayogi has been inspiring and encouraging the many seekers of Truth, starting the year off by visiting Matsuyama and then Osaka for Satsangha. Today, a special Satsangha is being held in Kyoto, and 43 participants are gathered at the Mahayogi Ashrama, not only those from Kyoto, but those who commute to the Yoga classes in Kyoto from the area of Kobe, Wakayama prefecture, and the Tanba-Sasayama area. For many, it is their first time meeting Shri Mahayogi face-to-face, and everyone is slightly nervous, eagerly anticipating the appearance of Shri Mahayogi. After Madhuri gives the welcoming speech, Shri Mahayogi briskly comes up to the second floor, and everyone bows in reverence. Sananda’s son, Makoto, is introduced as visiting after a long absence, and as Makoto mentions that he remembers sitting on the lap of Shri Mahayogi as a child, everyone laughs and the atmosphere becomes relaxed.
Living in the State of Satori
(Ms. Maeda, who has been attending classes in Nagaokakyo-city, begins to ask a question, a bit nervously.)
Ms. Maeda: In the process of learning Yoga, I’ve found out that Yoga is not only about asana practice, but there are actually many other aspects within the content of Yoga, and in learning this I began to hear the word Satori. I’d always had an image of someone who had attained Satori living as a recluse who had withdrawn from society, or someone doing spiritual practice deep in the remote mountains, but I just began to vaguely wonder what kind of state realizing Satori indicates concretely, here in present-day Japan, in terms of compatibility with one’s social life, what kind of person that would be, and what kind of impact the increase of such people would have on the current Japanese society, or the society we live in. What are Shri Mahayogi’s thoughts on this?
MASTER: You have come straight to the point. (laughter from all) (Maeda: I’m sorry.) Yet, that truly is an important point. Since long ago, the word satori (realization), or its verb form, has been in common usage. Even for casual matters, such as an “aha!” moment, it can be used in the sense that we have “realized” something. Now, with regard to the word, Satori, or its verb form, which is the ultimate way it is used, which is what is conveyed through Buddhism, and especially taught in Zen, what is it that you Realize? It is the Truth. Even then, that is still ambiguous; what is the content of that Truth? It is the true Self; it is realizing the true Self, knowing the real Self, or realizing [and knowing] what the truth is of the origin of this Universe—Truth—which is what traditionally has been referred to vaguely as God or Heaven, or Its essence; indeed, to know what the truth of that is, the greatest mystery, which, though invisible, humankind has incessantly tried to seek—to know the truth of that, is Satori.
When that truth is realized, conversely, that which is not the Truth comes to be realized as well. That is to say, this world and the mind are constantly changing, and even if you think something is the Truth, that can change the next day; if something is deemed to be the Truth, then it will be a problem if it changes, and unless it is the same in the past, in the future, and even now in the present, it does not hold its value as the Truth; then, as you check various things such as the happiness you experience within your mind or in your life, you will find that there seems to be that which is real and that which is unreal—this is because the mind, just like this world, changes according to the situation and environment, and the consciousness that you believe to be your “self” often responds to these situations and gets entangled in them too, and you lose yourself. Being this way, this cannot possibly be referred to as the Truth, or rather, it follows that something so ambiguous and unreliable cannot be the Truth. As this exploration into the nature of the mind and of the world continues, the Existence of the Truth, that which is not changeable, that which is real, is found. That is to say, the Eternal Existence that is unrelated to change or becoming extinct, in other words, unrelated to being born or disappearing, undeniably exists; and that is precisely the Truth, and that Existence exists within oneself, too, and at the same time, the center or the origin of the entire universe and the truth of yourself are one and the same. Once this realization is born, all those changing experiences of happiness and sadness seem to be utterly insignificant. They’re like a dream, a transitory illusion—for there is no substance in them. Therefore, when the Truth is realized, at the same time, what is not the Truth is also correctly understood.
Then, what kind of way of life and way of being will there be after that? It can be anything. There is an image we have from long ago that practitioners must leave their homes and go to the mountains, but that is because the pattern of olden times was that if one lives in society, even if one does not want to, one can get caught up in all kinds of things in the world and one cannot train oneself—therefore, there was a sort of “greenhouse method” for spiritual training, so to speak—“devote yourself to spiritual practice in the mountains and distance yourself from obstructions.” However, nowadays, and in fact this was actually true back in the olden days as well, when the state of Satori is born, a simple and un-obsessed mindset is born, such that even if one is still involved in the world, one is not disturbed by it or confused by getting caught up in it, but instead one will simply process the situation, or one will simply live within that situation—therefore, even if one is doing tasks at a job or doing housework, even if one is a housewife, or even a child, and if the surrounding situations are the same and nothing seems to have changed, one will be able to live detached from the world without being entangled in it, yet one will be able to continue to live just the same way as any human being. And consequently, it would be rather unnatural to go live in the mountains. That is the content of Satori, and the external way of being. Therefore, because it is infallible that Satori exists within you and within everyone, it is possible for anyone to establish a state of tranquility.
Ms. Maeda: Thank you very much. My heart is overjoyed. (laughter from all)
To Learn Yoga is to Learn the Structure of the Mind
and Remove Its Clutter for the Mind’s Liberation
Ms. Tejima: I have been studying Yoga in the class led by Madhri-san. My name is Akiko Tejima. It is an honor to see you today. Thank you very much.
Perhaps this may be close to the state of tranquility that you have just mentioned—lately, I wish to live my daily life filled with tranquil joy and in a state of being free and flexible, without obsessing over anything, yet in my everyday life I’m in a hurry with my work and various other things, and I end up spending my days living in a hectic way. What do I need to do in order to get to such a state, even if only a little—I would like to make more effort in Yoga also—but please, I would like to receive some advice. Thank you very much.
MASTER: As I just mentioned now, the Existence of Truth, that which is certain, exists within everyone. It is called, by other names, the Soul, and in Buddhism it is called the Buddha Nature, and it is also called God-Consciousness or Pure Consciousness—there are many various ways of referring to It, though it doesn’t matter what it is called, because regardless, such Existence absolutely exists. Since it does not have a form, you cannot find it even if you dissect the body, but to use an analogy—imagine that there is that absolute Existence, and the mind is wrapped around It; then, outside of that it is equipped with this physical body—that creates the image of a single human being. This isn’t just limited to humans, but it can be understood that even with animals, even with plants—with all things in this universe, even though the forms are different, there is this invisible essence, and on the outside, there is the material with form that shapes it.
The question is, even though the Essence of everyone is the Existence of Truth, why isn’t anyone at peace? (laughs) If you unravel this, ultimately, you will come to understand that it is the mind, which is surrounding the Existence of Truth, that obstructs it; this stuff, the mind, is a thing that consists of several elements. If you look at the components that structure the mind, you can see that first of all there are thoughts, in other words, thinking, which is one part; there is also a part that makes intellectual judgements and then understands something, or memorizes it; and there is one more, the ego-consciousness, which refers to the consciousness that distinguishes oneself from others within this relative world—when this part intensifies, it asserts “Me, Me,” and changes itself in a way that becomes selfish. Due to having that kind of shading or due to the involvement of various other elements, the mind acts in a variety of complex ways.
As a result, karma is created. You may have heard about karma, but simply put, it is cause and effect, the repetition of causality. If a cause is created in the mind, then the mind becomes attached to its results, and as a consequence, the results become various joys or pains, and then the mind inevitably has to receive these feelings and impressions. As the saying goes, “As you sow, so shall you reap,” this is the truth of it.
Then, why was that karma created? (laughs) If you investigate its cause further, you see that it is the mind that attaches to something, and then the mind’s desires, wishes or various thoughts towards that object intensify the attachment toward it, and one ends up pursuing them as if one is being drowned by the objects of desire; regardless of the result, still, even if there is temporary pleasure, since it is not eternal, it eventually changes, and turns into pain—that’s how it is structured.
What are the causes that trigger these desires? They are what are called pain-bearing obstacles. That means having interest in incorrect things; there are various aspects of pain-bearing obstacles, but the most basic, central obstacle of the pain-bearing obstacles is to not know the Truth, and conversely, to grasp onto things that are not the Truth. What is the content of that? Believing what is not the true Self to be the Self, that is, one believes that the ego in the mind [is the Self], but actually it is not the true Self; so, to think that the ego, the self, is the Self, is an error. Or, believing that even though the world is not eternal, it is eternal; since the world and its conditions or situations change moment by moment, it can never be eternal—there are natural disasters and man-made disasters, and we also recognize major changes taking place on a medium scale, therefore, the entire universe was born one day and eventually will disappear; and it also means that the cycle of the activities of dying and being born again, which any living being goes through, in other words, the activity of disappearing, also applies to the entire universe; this, in modern science, is finally starting to be acknowledged, the only difference is the longevity among the species, though its mechanism is the same. And, to continue on the topic of ignorance, the mind naturally seeks happiness; it also seeks peace, and it seeks freedom. However, since inevitably it is impossible to have any material object or situation eternally, it comes down to whether the object of happiness that you seek is the Truth or not—if the object you seek is not the Truth, it will eventually betray your expectation, and as a result, you suffer.
If you objectively learn the way of the mind, in other words, its structure, and the activities of the mind, then what is not the Truth will emerge, and the attachments or obsessions toward those things will come to lessen and disappear. That is what it means to learn Yoga, and the more you lose the attachment towards incorrect things, the more liberated your mind becomes, actually. Because there is attachment to something, and you always drag it around, your mind is heavy, but if these attachments disappear, then you will be lighter, at ease, and more free. Therefore, if you wish your mind to be tranquil and be in the state of freedom, then learn the Truth that Yoga teaches and declutter your mind—in other words, get rid of the unnecessary parts of your mind, and by doing that, a comfortable, tranquil, free state of mind will be born.
Ms. Tejima: (gladly) Yes, thank you very much.
Ms. Ichikawa: May I? I have also been learning in the same class as Ms. Tejima. My name is Hiromi Ichikawa. It is an honor to see you today. Thank you very much.
Regarding the teaching, “[It] exists within everyone,” and the way of life to seek It, I think I am in an environment where I could live that way if I wished to do so, but one of my questions applies to the cases where one is in a difficult situation, for example, if one is suffering from illness, or is in grief, or is a victim of war, etc—is this [way of life of seeking the Truth] possible in such situations? Another one is, this could be something that I am attached to, but there is a sense in me that “I,” who am in this universe, am a part, and at the same time, there are people who are in extremely unreasonable conditions; and I sometimes feel a kind of pain in wondering why I am here [in comfort] and not there [in suffering]. Please teach me how I should face that, because I’m struggling with it.
MASTER: This, too, is a very important issue. For your first question, for anyone, regardless of any circumstance, the realization of Truth is possible; and the next question actually relates to the previous question—it is about the fact that even though the Truth is the same, why do we have to be in different environments, different situations? This too, we can only understand as karma.
Karma, as mentioned a bit earlier, is the law of causality, of cause and effect. This causality is not brought about after one is born, it was created even before one’s birth, that is to say, in past lives, of which everyone should have gone through a countless number, so many that they cannot even be counted. It is considered that among the total karma that you’ve accumulated through such cycles of reincarnation, the part that you’d fulfill in order to eliminate a certain amount of karma, or what you need to fulfill for that part to be eliminated in this lifetime, is what creates this life, that is, the reason for being born is karma. Considering that, you can understand that being born in a privileged family, or being born in a warzone, is a manifestation within the flow of past lives. However, karma is the material cause, and the efficient cause is taking the part of the mind, yet in the Existence, which is its Essence, there is nothing that changes, naturally. Whether you are born in a peaceful town or in a warzone, the Essence is, of course, the same. Yet, inevitably, due to karma, one is born under suitable stars, which actually means suitable parents and such; that is why it is said that the mind that reincarnates determines where the best place is to be born in order to fulfill its own karma. So, it can be considered that the mind choses the parents, or the child that will be born chooses the parents and the circumstances that come with them, that is, the circumstances, conditions and environment of the parents that will allow one to grow and spend one’s lifetime in the most suitable circumstances for the fruition of one’s karma, and then one is born, borrowing the mother’s womb. Therefore, as a current condition, whatever situation you are born into is inevitable. Nonetheless, as a human being, as a person, as a soul, we are all the same, when we see people suffering, our hearts ache; you should do something to help or do whatever you can.
First and foremost is yourself—heighten [the quality of] your own vessel, such as your mind, your body, and your circumstances; this is nothing but working on and eliminating attachments such as the incorrect desires that your own mind creates, and then, it would be good for you to cultivate universal love and compassion, or the heart that wishes for peace, and you can translate that into concrete actions. Anyway, what you must do first is to establish peace within your own self, to establish the Truth—through That, your actions toward the outside, toward areas of need, will be meaningfully carried out.
Ms. Ichikawa: Thank you very much.
Ms. Minemura: I have been learning at the place where Tahara-sensei organizes [the class]. My name is Minemura. Thank you very much.
I have been continuing to practice Yoga daily, seeking the true Self and wanting to cherish it. In the midst of that, I was reminded of a terrifying experience from the past, which, after all, I’m sure is something I’ve been attached to; however, the fear is so great that I’m unable to process it while practicing Yoga in the way I normally do, and just trying to seek the true Self while combatting that makes me feel like I’m going to have a fever, or I feel sick, and it’s emotionally taxing in my daily life. Please teach me how I should deal with this. First, fear comes, but it turns into anger, and I sense it gradually turning into the direction of something self-destructive. Your advice on this would be very helpful.
MASTER: The mind and the world, and the situations that arise, change from moment to moment. Yet, the mind has memories and has held onto big impressions from those experiences, and it is these impressions that keep welling up from within the mind, and what you just told us is an example of that. However, since even that mind will continue to change too, even though that memory of fear itself may be difficult to erase completely, it is possible to weaken the impression of it.
What is best for that is, again, faith. When it comes to faith, you may have an image of religiously depending on something, but actually it’s not that, it’s something much more independent and strong. Such feeble faith is not what you need. Rather, as I am speaking today, it is about having strong conviction to seek the Truth. If you maintain that conviction and feeling, which is like putting hope, or in other words, Truth, constantly in front of your eyes, then fear will eventually disappear. It will stop coming up.
Truth—even today, words like tranquility and freedom are being used to express the Truth, but that’s not all; Truth is richer, filled with Love, more like being saturated with Bliss—It is Joy, the essence of Joy is there. So, you should learn more about the Truth, and always, every day, constantly think of that aspect of it.
Ms. Minemura: (with a smile) Yes, thank you very much.
MASTER: You’ll be fine. You’ll eventually forget the fear. Really.
Ms. Minemura: (crying) Thank you so much.
MASTER: One more thing: concretely speaking, if there is a place in your home where you’re studying Yoga, practicing asana and meditation, then place a symbol there or something symbolic that you like, then that will become your sacred altar—you can practice this way.
Ms. Minemura: Does that mean that even with things like self-destructive tendencies, if I keep seeking the Truth, then I can overcome them?
MASTER: Yes, you can overcome them. If you’re truly unable to control them yourself, you should turn to your teacher, Tahara-sensei (Saranya), or spend time with your friends and fellow practitioners just like this; you should depend on them in such times. There are also the senior disciples.
Ms. Minemura: Yes. Thank you very much.
(It seems like Ms. Minemura is looking at Shri Mahayogi in a state of joy, as if her mind, which was confined within a little shell, has been released from it by rays of light shining upon it.)
Ms. Morofuji: Shri Mahayogi, it has been a while. I used to practice Yoga in Matsuyama-city, but now I am living in Takatsuki-city. My name is Morofuji.
MASTER: All right.
Ms. Morofuji: Right now, I have a son who is one year and four months old, and I heard from Shri Mahayogi that there is always a precious Existence within us, so I live every day thinking that way; but when raising a child, at times I can’t help but get confused about my child. For instance, when I try to give him breakfast, he doesn’t eat it, or he is wandering around in the middle of the night and messing up a stack of all kinds of things or hitting the corner of a picture book with a bang on his forehead—even though he is supposed to be a precious Existence, he starts to look like a demon to me; my mind gets shaken every day, the house is becoming a mess, and my daily life has been far from the life of Yoga. I’ve received such an important task of raising a child, yet things have gotten far away from that, so I am always wondering how I can make use of the teachings of Yoga in my daily life. Is there any advice on this?
MASTER: Huuuh… (Everyone laughs loudly.)
Ms. Morofuji: Please excuse me, it sounds like I’m complaining.
MASTER: Well, probably some senior disciples here can give you rather concrete advice from their own experiences on how to deal with your child. Say, does anyone have any advice? (laughs)
Ms. Fuuko: I understand very well. What I came to understand after some time passed was that children do things for a reason, and that if you focus only on the feeling that your child is troubling you, then it’s often easy to miss what that reason might be, so perhaps you can think about the reason your child does something, instead.
Ms. Morofuji: Even if I think there must be a reason, in the midst of observing, still, I often can’t figure it out.
MASTER: Well, understanding it from the perspective of how karma runs its course, it is said that at an early age, one still has memories of one’s past lives. In fact, several decades ago, when research was done in India with dozens of children aged three to five who retained memories of their past lives that could be tracked down, there was data that proved how they had each been living, what kinds of families they had and what villages they were from. That is, it also proved that they had reincarnated from their past lives to the next life. It is said that we naturally forget past lives simply because if we were to vividly remember many of them in this lifetime, it would be very confusing as to what to do with oneself, in other words, the mechanism of forgetting works so that you don’t become confused over them. There is no choice but to understand that this is the way things are.
However, while the child is still young, as you mentioned, the mind is not that different from that of an adult, it has memories, yet the body, in other words, [the ability to use] words and other such means of expression is not yet developed. The body doesn’t move like you want it to, and the words are still not understood; so, from the perspective of an adult, it seems like they are acting out. However, I think that a child might be trying to express something in any way possible, or the child is now in some growth phase that they must go through. So, it is inevitable (laughing) during this time. After a while, I think it will calm down eventually, therefore parents have to clean up after them until then. (laughter from all)
Ms. Morofuji: When I talk to him, he understands, and he puts things back for the time being, but I totally understand what you are saying. At times, I feel like he is an adult, and I think it’s just that he can’t talk, even if he understands.
MASTER: Yes, I think that’s how it is.
Ms. Morofuji: I’ll do my best. (laughter from all)
Ms. Minata: I also have six-year old twin sons, but due to the circumstances, they don’t live with me. I meet with them twice a month; I have my ideals within me about how I should behave towards them as a mother, yet I get pulled away and the ego comes out, and at times I yell at them—then I part from them feeling miserable [for having behaved the way I did even though] I only see them twice a month, though there are times that things go smoothly, too. But, due to the fact that I can’t spend time with them, to control myself, and be as a mother, how can I communicate to them that kind of motherly warmth? And, I was living together with them until they were three, and it seems that their memory of that time, up until they were three years old, remains in them, and I was told by them recently about the times there were arguments, they said that, “Actually we remember it”; truly, I regret that and have tried to reform myself, and I know the past can’t be redone, but still, every time I hear this from them, it breaks my heart, (Shri Mahayogi: I see.) then there is a sense of guilt that remains in me. So, I want to meet and be with them each time with a brand-new mind, and I’m seeing them again this week, so please advise me on how to stay calm and at peace.
MASTER: From the perspective of Satori, whether it is a parent and child, or siblings, it is all the same Existence. The Essence is the same. The only difference is that a child borrows the womb of the mother to be born. For what reason? As mentioned earlier, this is because a body is needed in order to fulfill one’s karma, that is, because there is a need to be born into this world, the power of the parents is borrowed to create a physical body. However, both the birth parents and the child who is born, are precisely the same in their Essence—no difference. The relationship of parent and child arises only in that aspect, birth, but that is all there is to it. So, although you are a mother, of course, if you interact with them without being attached to that aspect, and instead interact with them seeing the aspect of a human being, the aspect of sameness as their Essence, and if you are seeing the sacred, precious Existence within them, then I think it should go well.
Ms. Minata: (seemingly relieved) Thank you so much. So, I don’t need to strain myself with the idea of being a mother.
MASTER: (lightly) There is no need to have that prejudice. (laughter from Shri Mahayogi and everyone)
Ms. Minata: (joyfully) So just think they are the same human beings as me.
MASTER: Yes, that’s right. Think that they’re the same.
Ms. Minata: Like comrades.
MASTER: Yes, that is better.
Ms. Minata: (seemingly with relief) I feel so.
MASTER: That is the truth of it. (Ms. Minata: Yes, it’s true.) And of course, as the children live their lives, you wish them to live happy lives, so in this sense, I think it would be good if you can become a good example yourself. (Ms. Minata: I see, true.) If they can remember so many things they saw and heard when they were younger, I’m sure they’ll continue to remember [your good example] more and more.
Ms. Minata: I will make a diligent effort. (laughter from all)
MASTER: Truly, that is the best way. You just mentioned diligent effort, [or shojin in Japanese, which originated from Buddhism,] but this word doesn’t need to be an old-fashioned word or a rigid thing; in a way, if you get into a state of mind where you are only interested in the Truth, and not interested in things that are fake or lies, then you will naturally seek only the Truth. Then, there is nothing difficult about the teachings of Truth, so to speak, since they all state what is obvious, therefore they will all make sense to you.
Ms. Minata: (joyfully) Yes. Thank you so much.
(Ms. Minata, upon hearing the teaching of Truth from Shri Mahayogi, and having been freed from her mind’s thoughts, seems to be bubbling with joy.)
Stay With the Truth, Keep the Mind Empty,
and Continue to Respond in Good Faith,
With Integrity at Each Moment
Ms. Noda: I came to know about Yoga through the connection to “Dolphin Komorebi.” I have come from Wakayama prefecture. My name is Noda.
Here, today, we’ve been hearing about struggles in child-rearing, and due to my job, parents also ask me for advice about such issues on a daily basis. I am working on reforming my own mind, but it is not only about improving my mind, because when interacting with others to support them, each person’s thoughts and feelings vary, respectively, so I need to adjust myself accordingly, and it’s not easy…what would be the way to make it easier to face these situations? It’s quite difficult doing just what I’m doing now, so there are times when I’m not quite able to stay present with them, and I always have my own internal dilemmas, which I want to clear up; yet, I don’t have much opportunity to learn, because I have come to be part of the oldest group in the workplace, and since we don’t have a teacher, we are not able to receive advice, so I can become like a frog in a well at times, seeing only my own thoughts. Because there is no place where I can learn about this, I came today through an invitation. Please offer some advice. (laughs)
MASTER: I see. It is commonly said [in Japan], “ten people, ten colors”—if there are many people, there are many different minds. All of that is karma. And you can say that from the shades of those colors, which are karma, are formed the shades of each individual’s respective way of thinking, their ideas, and the way their minds are. So, there may be like-minded colleagues, yet there may also be those who are not like-minded—from the perspective of the way of karma, this is inevitable. So, if you interact with others from the place [of karma], things are difficult.
Now, what can you do? Stay present with the Truth, and keeping your mind in such a place is the best thing for being able to deal with any person with any karma. Having realized the Truth, or having learned It, means, since the errors of one’s mind, such as ignorance and pain-bearing obstacles, or karma, are dissolving more and more, the mind comes to be in a state of neutrality, and if we use the analogy of a hand, it is like an empty hand. Being stuffed full of karma is like grasping tightly onto many things (laughing); even if you want to deal with various things at that moment, if you are grasping onto things, new things are out of reach to you. If you want to pick up something new, then you must let go of what you’re grasping onto, and this is when suffering arises. Yet, if you are keeping yourself empty at all times, then you will grab what is necessary according to the need, then you will let go again. In this way, if you continue to respond in good faith, with integrity at each moment, then that alone is enough. Whether the outcome goes well or not, or even in the case of it not going well, if it doesn’t go well, you can try to do better again next time—what you can do is respond with integrity and sincerity at each moment. That’s enough. Don’t think beyond that anymore. In order to do that, you have to learn the Truth properly.
Ms. Noda: Yes. (laughter from all)
MASTER: Otherwise, you’ll be shaky.
Understand the Truth of Death, the Law of the Universe,
and the Aim of Yoga,
Then Meditate on That Which Symbolizes the Truth
(Ms. Fujiwara, who always attends the class at Tanba-Sasayama City with her child, begins to ask a question.)
Ms. Fujiwara: Shri Mahayogi, my thoughts are not gathered well, but first, we’d made a request to Tahara-sensei that we would like to practice asana. At the beginning, I only thought about making the forms of asana or making the body be a certain shape, but now, after going through continuous practice, I’ve started to feel that it is important to do each asana very carefully regardless; and after participating in the meditation camp—I was able to sit in meditation, but only the form—now, there are days when I can sit in the form and days when I cannot, but I’d like to practice meditation.
The reason for this is because, since childhood, there is something I’ve been attached to and not been able to let go of, no matter what, and through encountering Yoga, I now understand that this is my attachment, yet I am so afraid to let go of it that I haven’t been able to do so—and that is one object that I’d like to have when I sit for meditation; and one more thing that comes to my mind when I meditate is something that has to do with my father. (Crying) Because my father committed suicide, when I try to focus on the true Self, it doesn’t go well, but when I focus on my father, I can concentrate very well, but I cry just like now, my emotions come up before anything else, so I can’t even go any further; but I would like to know the way to tackle these two issues—I really would like to leave behind these obsessions of mine by myself, no matter what, because through encountering Yoga, I think this is surely a very important thing for me to do and this is absolutely necessary in order for me to live with my family and live alongside people who are dear to me. Please teach me how I should work on and live my daily life. I will be grateful if you offer me advice.
MASTER: That must have been quite a difficult experience you went through. Your father—please understand that your father walked his own life of karma, and that was how this life ended up. And now, your father is on his soul’s journey again, going towards his next life, and that issue is one that only your father can solve for himself, by himself. So, even if you are his child, you cannot do anything about it; this is a matter that nothing can be done about. So, it is enough to simply pray for your father to have a better life next time, and also for him to realize the Truth. You don’t need to meditate on this, but rather think this way, then there will be no need to think anything beyond that.
People’s deaths, including your own, are only a matter of time (smiling gently). Understand that death is merely the death of the physical body. The mind does not die; if the mind retains some thoughts, then it will continue to work towards getting the next physical body—that is what reincarnation is. And in life, “Everything is suffering”—since, as the saying goes, everything is suffering, it is extremely rare to live a life that is only filled with happiness. Surely, in karma, there is good karma, which results in good, pleasure, happiness, and such results are brought about. It may be very rare but possible for someone to spend such a fortunate lifetime. However, that doesn’t solve the issue, since one still has not reached the Truth.
Understand that law and these things correctly, and learn the Truth—then, since whatever symbolizes that Truth is God or the true Self and such, meditate on the essence of That; who the true Self is—It is neither the mind nor the body, It is the Consciousness Itself that is witnessing these, that knows these. This is so even now. Take a look at your own mind now. Isn’t something witnessing and recognizing the mind? The mind is known, right now. The mind is seen. By whom is the mind being seen? By something called Consciousness. The Consciousness that is seeing, or the Consciousness that is knowing, that is in the depths, further beyond where the mind exists, it is present there, even now. If you stop the breath a little and observe within, anyone can grasp it right away. It does not say anything. (laughs) It only witnesses, It only knows, and since It doesn’t say anything, it is the mind that can’t restrain itself and that says things; then, the true Self and the mind become mingled, and as its result, one loses sight of the true Self—that is what the psychology of Yoga teaches. Since returning to your true Self is the great goal of Yoga, for realizing this aim, as you practice asana, your body becomes comfortable, and it will be led to not become ill, as if the body does not exist; the mind will also let go of obsessions, and so when you must practice concentration and meditation, you will be able to exert tremendous power for that, right then and there. It is commonly said that asana and meditation can purify the mind, they clean up the mind, and at the same time they can help to realize the Truth; therefore, concentrate and meditate on the real Self, the true Self, or such Existence, like God as a symbolic Existence, or a divine Existence and so forth.
Ms. Fujiwara: Yes, I understand. Thank you very much.
The Truth of the Mind and the World
Part 1: Karma and Reincarnation
Saturday, July 23, 2006, Kyoto
MASTER: One of the important words found in Yoga is karma. Karma is the law of cause and effect, or action and reaction. When it comes to your own actions and thoughts in particular—since the thoughts of the mind are considered to be actions, your actions are gross actions and your thoughts are subtle actions—the actions based on good and bad, or based on ignorance and Truth, will eventually bring about results. If you do bad actions, then suffering will be the result, and if you do good actions, then comfort will be the result—this law is the predefined rule that you must reap what you have sown. This is the rule of the universe; not only human beings but all and everything that exists follows this principle.
Just as when you plant the seed, it bears fruit, and just as when the seed grows in a good environment, it bears good fruit, and if not, it bears bad fruit, if you understand the law of karma, it means, to put it bluntly, that in a sense, you have brought it upon yourself. [That is to say,] whether it be a good thing or a bad thing, all the causes are within your own self, and the results that will come in the future must be the seeds that are grown from what you have planted. Therefore, don’t allow blame to shift to somebody else. In any case, since everyone must be hoping to be better, to be happy and free, then there is no other way but to correct or improve your own actions. This makes sense, because it is in vain to think that you can continue to do nothing and in the meantime someone else will make you happy; happiness comes as a result, in proportion to your effort.
Saturday, March 2, 2013, Kyoto
MASTER: One dies—that is because one was born. So then, where will one go after one dies? One will go to the place before one will be born [again]. So then, where is the place before one will be born? In order to understand this, you must understand that people go through the cycle of reincarnation. Reincarnation—because the causes of being born have been created, one will be born. Then, one will go through life on this earth with a physical body for some decades, then the physical body dies. However, the soul and the thoughts of the mind within the physical body go on the journey of reincarnation after departing the physical body. Eventually, when the suitable time and situation arises to fulfill one’s own karma, one will be born by choosing specific parents. As long as the cause, that is, karma, exists, this cycle will continue without end. To use a simple analogy, the repetition of our day-to-day lives can be likened to our reincarnation.
Today is this life, yesterday was the last life, tomorrow is the next life, and the space in between is the world of dreams. And, the world of deep sleep. During sleep, the physical body is as if it was a corpse. Even so, the mind is in action, and the thoughts and feelings that were not able to be contented during the day—the hope, the anxiety and worry, the pain, the joy, all different things—create a particular story and the mind perceives it as a dream. However, as you wake up the next day, as long as there is karma, which is the cause, that results in being born in order to fulfill it. No one can escape from this cycle; for it is the order that can be called the law of the universe. However, if one remains in this cycle, that means that the repetition of life is always in suffering, and one will not able to solve that at all. In order to solve this situation, one has to eliminate one’s own karma. By awakening into the state of the Truth called Satori, a string of reincarnation will be solved. In other words, even though it is a seed that one has sown by oneself, everyone is destined to go through the suffering of reincarnation until one reaches this ultimate state, Satori.
Saturday, July 30, 2011, Whitefish, Montana
MASTER: For the occasion of having the next birth, after one life comes to end, there are three things that are decided: the span of one’s life, the circumstances of the place one will be born into and what kind of life one will spend there, and the experiencing of happiness and unhappiness within that. Therefore, it comes down to the fact that the timing of death is decided by one’s own karma.
Sunday, November 15, 2015, Kyoto
Q: Is it possible that one can increase one’s own karma while having been born to fulfill what one has created?
MASTER: Yes, it is possible; that is the case in general. It is impossible to know how many lives you have gone through, and how much karma you have created in those past lives, even so, if you acknowledge the fact of being born into this life, then it suggests that you must have been born into this life in order to fulfill a certain part of all the karma from the past lives. Most likely not a hundred percent, nobody knows, perhaps it can be thirty or ten percent of all the karma that you have created—the reason you were born into this life is for fulfilling that part, and therefore ending at least that much karma. Yet, it is possible that you are completing and ending that karma while at the same time making new karma. On the whole, it seems it is increasing rather than decreasing. That is quite a sad thing because if the incarnations are increasing in the future, it means that the suffering is getting bigger.
Yet, if you are fortunate enough to learn the Truth of Yoga and practice it, it can be said that you have good karma. Karma is not only bad karma, there is also good karma. [Having good karma means] you have the auspicious cause that you can learn the Truth. That is extremely good karma, because that karma is such good karma that there is nothing better than that, because through learning and applying the Truth [to your mind], the bad karma can decrease rapidly.
Therefore, if you can learn Yoga or the Truth, and if you can live a life in which you put it into practice pragmatically and seriously, then karma will be gone quickly no matter how much is left; that is because it can be said that karma is stored in the mind. Since the DNA of the mind has remained obscure, western medicine has still not been able to find it, yet, even so, one day, when the time comes that a sort of DNA of the invisible part is found, something astounding will be revealed. That will be like a personal history of karma—since it can be drawn out according to particular design specifications. Since the memories of the mind are there as a part of the mechanism of the mind itself, no matter what, if the mind itself transforms, then that storage device itself changes.
Sunday, February 20, 2011, Kyoto
(A woman who is a mother of a two-year-old child asks about disciplining her child. Shri Mahayogi responds to her in this way:)
MASTER: As it has been said from long ago, and many of the sayings are really on point: “The soul of the three-year-old child continues until it’s a hundred years old.” [In English, similar to, “The child is the father of the man.” As this saying points out, starting from the age of three is an important time [for teaching discipline].
The word “soul” is often understood in a spiritual sense as the pure spirit or the pure soul, and on the other hand it is also the word that can indicate the mind. Perhaps, since actual actions in this world are done with the mind, even though the soul is the main body, the core, the substance, is that one acts by way of that mind.
“The soul of the three-year-old child” in this context means that karma has started to manifest around the age of three. Karma is understood to be what you must taste as the result of the various actions in past lives. Even if you are born as twins, siblings who are born into the same circumstances, how each one of the twins develops their own life will not be the same. The difference is caused by the differences in the past lives; that is why a different result comes. Even though twins happen to be born to the same parents, the inner design specification is different; therefore, different karma will manifest around three years of age. Since you go through this life for the purpose of fulfilling this karma, “till one hundred years old” means “until one dies.”
Saturday, January 15, 2005, Kyoto
Q: Why are memories from one’s past lives forgotten as one reincarnates?
MASTER: Some decades ago, there was scientific research done and the stories of dozens of children became public. Scientists throughout the world investigated it, and there were cases that came to light such as someone who said that he or she was an incarnation of the person who had died a few months before, and said that his or her family members are still alive if you go to this specific village. And, there are dozens of reports that when they looked into these cases, they were correct without a doubt.
It seems that, even though most of the children who were reincarnated in this life clearly still have memories from the past life and they might be able to recall them, their minds are immediately stimulated by many different things in the environment of this world, and the ability to recall the past is blocked in most cases. The reasons for that are still not certain, however, one of the reasons can be that if you remember all the past lives even though you are born anew, it will cause confusion—because it is possible that your family who was close to you might still live nearby, or, you might have been an animal, and various scenes can be imagined in that case; so, in order to avoid such confusion, the memory is narrowed down to a specific point and operates as the underlying background of the revival of the mind.
That one point is karma. That is, for making a balance of the experience of happiness, unhappiness, suffering and joy from the past lives, that certain point is created for the next life, which is the efficient cause of that revival; and further, it is considered that the circumstances that are there for experiencing that happiness and unhappiness, and the life span, work as the main factors. Therefore, it can be said that the reason why one is not able to recall them is in order to prevent unnecessary confusion, yet it is also possible to recall them as well.
In the Yoga Sutra, it is mentioned about aparigraha,1 which is translated as non-greed or non-covetousness, that if one brings the mind of non-greed and thoroughly practices not receiving any gift from others, then one will be able to know one’s last three lives—you might be able to know more, but that is how it is stated.
Also, it has been conveyed that Buddha observed all of his lives very carefully.
Q: Is it necessary to know one’s past lives?
MASTER: Now, today, the present moment is the result of yesterday. Then, if you suppose today to be this life, yesterday is the last life; therefore, if you can know now, then you do not need to know yesterday any more, for today is the result of yesterday, and it is there where the culmination of everything until yesterday is. And, since what is necessary is to make tomorrow better, in order to achieve that, again, it boils down to making now better. Everything hinges on now, this life.
Q: Does that mean that Buddha was able to know his past lives not because he wanted to but because it happened while he was practicing?
MASTER: You can say so; and there is another way to interpret that; what it means to know the past lives or to observe the whole of one past life carefully is to release limitlessly the conditions of the mind that were bound by time and space, such that he was able to transcend time and space. That is to say, it is understood that he observed the beginning of the existence of the human being itself, or the beginning and the end of the mind, objectively and completely, then conquered it.
 When non-covetousness is firm, one thoroughly knows the how of one’s births. (Yoga Sutra 2:39)
Saturday, March 3, 2001, Kyoto
MASTER: I have no idea how much karma or pain-bearing obstacles are in the deeper places of the mind, but I always liken it to the tip of the iceberg floating on the ocean. The part that is the surface consciousness that our mind can recognize is merely the amount that is above the level of the ocean. The amount in the depths of the ocean that we can’t see is at least ten times more. Therefore, no matter how much you remove the part that is above the ocean, the rest will come up to the surface one after another. Unless you melt the whole iceberg, unless you destroy all of them, karma will follow you endlessly.
The causes that bring about the various ups and downs are pain-bearing obstacles, and they are ignorance; therefore, if you get rid of the ego, of “me” and “mine,” which is possessiveness, the iceberg will be gone; no matter how much karma remains, karma will be gone from the root.
* * *
Design by Atman: Part 5
Original Apparel Design
March 2023, Kyoto, Japan
Before Mahayogi Yoga Mission’s original T-shirts were produced, many people were dressed in orange Tibetan shirts or kurta (Indian-style shirts) with embroidery from India during Satsangha and classes. One of the reasons was because Shri Mahayogi wore orange, so everyone was simply admiring him and wanting to wear the same color, and since it is said that the color orange is that of the sannyasin, and it is also the color that symbolizes renunciation, many people may have come to wear that color out of some kind of determination. Whenever everyone gathered, the room would be dyed in orange, and it was awe-inspiring.
However, the Tibetan shirts and the kurta were a bit difficult to move in for practicing asana, and the appearance may have given some of the new attendees in the class an impression of being “so hard-core” and a hesitant feeling; so, I secretly thought about more casual, but cool-looking clothing for Yoga.
Meanwhile, in 2008, when the plan for the cover design of Paramahamsa using Shri Mahayogi’s artworks had begun, the production of the original clothing line began at last! The decision was made to create clothing using the illustration from Shri Mahayogi’s woodblock print, “Yogi”! It was a special specification that the design on the front of the clothing would have a Yogi sitting on a tiger pelt, and that the design on the back, wrapping around the left side of the waist, would have the hand-written signature [of Shri Mahayogi] “Yogi” and the seal [of Shri Mahayogi]; and the designs were gilded with gold powder (thanks to Dayamati’s handiwork on each piece)—everyone was overjoyed with this special original Yoga clothing with Shri Mahayogi’s touch and ideas. This led to a major change in our outfits, from long-sleeved Tibetan tops or kurta, to camisoles and T-shirts.
Since then, the production of original clothing continued, and although at first the number of colors was limited, the number of colors gradually increased, and by the time the T-shirt for the 40th Anniversary was made, there were variations in more than twenty colors.
With regard to the design, sometimes Shri Mahayogi proposed the motif for the items, but at other times, he would tell us, “think about it and suggest something.” I think there were definitely a great many cases where we would first think about it and try to make it, but then from there, Shri Mahayogi would breathe life into it, transforming it into something much more remarkable, much more tasteful, or rather, it would turn out to be a completely different thing. When we were making the first tote bag, though other members besides the design team joined in to bring their ideas to the table, our proposals were like the opening act before Shri Mahayogi’s brilliant design proposal would appear. Nothing could beat Shri Mahyogi’s radical, impactful ideas. All of these works, including the processes each design went through, were precious moments.
What is fresh in my memory, is the work we did for the 45th Anniversary T-shirt. Foreseeing the sale of a new product to begin the next Spring, the goal was to finish the design before Shri Mahayogi’s winter trip to the United States. Due to the large number of requests, at first, the direction at that time was almost decided to be a reprint of the design of the “Yogi” from back in 2008. However, even though we thought the design was finished, a few days later, Shri Mahayogi contacted us, “I’m still not quite convinced,” and further changes were made. After Shri Mahayogi graciously spent a lot of time working hard until late at night, the design, with an impressively unique typography was completed, the production process had reached the point where the shape and the color of the T-shirt would be decided after Shri Mahayogi’s return to Japan from the visit to New York.
At the beginning of the New Year, about a month after Shri Mahayogi left for the US, we received a contact from Shri Mahayogi that he was thinking of another idea, so he wanted us to do a layout for that and send options to him. Whaaat?! Change again?! Shri Mahayogi still keeps thinking about the design for the T-shirt—though I was reeling for a moment, at the same time, I felt excited for the fact that we could continue working on the design with Shri Mahayogi even while he was in New York.
However, choosing the font was a bit of a struggle. Shri Mahayogi must have had a very clear image for the font. We received the instructions: “Please use a font that is flowing and elegant,” “That’s a bit too formal. I want a smart, script font with a style that is not too much of a hand-written one,” however, even though we pored over countless font types, we were left adrift, [having no clue, and in the vast selections] we were still unable to find anything. When we started to think that there might be no other way but to ask Shri Mahayogi to actually handwrite it, he rescued us from this lack of clarity. He sent us a picture of a font that was close to what he had in mind, which allowed us to narrow down the options, and after much careful and close examination to select the font, we finally reached the point of finalizing the design. The font that Shri Mahayogi selected was a very refined font, that was unprecedented in its newness, and truly something we could agree was flowing and elegant!
After he returned to Japan, Shri Mahayogi continued to fine tune the design, and when deciding on the color lineup, he graciously came with us to the showroom in the central area of the city, and after laying out all the numerous samples on the table, he carefully examined closely the subtle differences in each color.
What became the motif for the design, in the end, was the sign with a Yogi silhouette that he made on the occasion of first opening the Ashrama. In the planned year, due to the spread of infectious diseases, we had to postpone sales for one year, but as a result, the T-shirt suitable for the 45th Anniversary came to be created. The T-shirt was enormously popular and so well received, not only by gurubai, but by class attendees! Many expressed that because the design was simple and chic, they would wear it to work as well.
With this design work, I was marveling once again at the awe-inspiring concentration of Shri Mahayogi, which is absolutely uninterrupted until reaching complete perfection, and at the same time, I felt how, unseen by us, Shri Mahayogi took so much care in even the smallest details, and generously and painstakingly put in his efforts for our sake, the ones who would be wearing the T-shirts.
Shri Mahayogi was very happy to see us wearing these T-shirts joyfully in various places, with Atman shining in gold on our chests. From these colorful T-shirts, I feel the divine power radiating into the world.
(to be continued)