Achieving and escaping the Brahmaloka - Samyutta Nikaya 46.54

The Buddha Gotama answered the question, what is the purpose of love, kindness and friendship?

The cultivation of mindfulness as a condition for enlightenment may be undertaken with love, kindness and friendship, for they share the following conditions: curiosity, energy, enjoyment, peace, concentration and equanimity result in detachment and dispassion. Detachment and dispassion results in logical, non-instinctual behavior, a freedom from distress. This permits a person to master their perception: they can see something as beautiful or repulsive, or not beautiful or not repulsive, or somewhat beautiful and repulsive and somewhat not beautiful and not repulsive. Equanimous, mindfully and clearly aware, a person may understand that freedom from distress is truly beautiful, worthy of love, kindness and friendship. Such excellence represents the perfection of this freedom from distress: such a person, having achieved this mastery, can no longer become distressed by what is repulsive or beautiful.

Yet if a person does not achieve this excellence and proceed toward arahantship, they shall wake from this world into the Brahma world, as if from a dream. How does a person escape the distress of the Brahmaloka? How, then, does a person perfect their arahantship, having perfected their freedom from distress, and avoid the Brahmaloka (to achieve the purpose of practice directly)?

The person must apply their enlightenment to the resentment of all forms, their resentment of all sensory reactions to those forms, their disregarding of perceptions of diversity through monoism. Consider the infinitude of space, the limitations of perception, the limitations of knowledge. Achieve the perfection of the jhanas, and entering the loka of infinite space through love, kindness and friendship for the infinitude, for the limitations of knowledge, abandon sensory reactions to form, abandon all form. Formless, embody joy through enjoyment of joy; love by loving Love.

This state of love, this state of joy, is none other than the contentment that arises from the perfection of wisdom after enlightenment. Yet the work is not yet done: having embodied love and joy, pass utterly beyond consciousness. Think upon the thought of thinking, thinking upon thinking, think: "there (in this thought of thinking), there is nothing." This is the achievement of wisdom which permits the final attainment of contentment: for one who truly understands this, there can be no longer any discontentment.

Isaac Newton Day!

The Dharma on this page is usually the result of a combination of effort by the various Teachers of Loka Hatha Yoga, but because of the significance of today's holiday, we specially recognize the efforts of Gary TwoHorse Green, a Teacher of Bhakti Yoga who first instructed in the importance of venerating Sir Newton, and is the reason we celebrate this holiday. He said that the best way to venerate Sir Newton was by remembering that Sir Newton invented the doggy door.  We have also consulted with local mathematician and historian, Professor Doctor Edward Bonan Hamada of Colorado Mesa University - and encourage everyone to spend some time learning mathematics and history today from your own instructors, in honor of Isaac Newton Day.

Sir Isaac Newton began developing the method of Calculus (calculation) in 1664 when he read recent work on optics and light by Robert Boyle and Robert Hooke. In repeating their observations, Newton became curious at the refraction of light by a glass prism. Inspired by the mathematical reasoning of René Descartes, he investigated – and through a series of increasingly elaborate and exact experiments, saw mathematical patterns in the phenomenon of color.

Newton discovered that white light could be “broken” into numerous colors (a “rainbow”), and then recombined into white light by the use of prisms and lenses. Measuring the composition of white light’s elemental colors, Newton understood the properties of each color were different: the same white light, being bent and slowed more or less depending on whether it went through the thick or thin part of the triangular prism, resulted in a continuous pattern of color. Continuous patterns can only be understood mathematically through calculation.

Newton realized the size of each color band in the rainbow could be algebraically predicted through a continual calculation – if the angle through which it was refracted on entering or leaving the prism was known. Soon, no matter the angle of refraction, he could anticipate the result. This concept, of holding a factor constant, and calculating the effects of variables, led to the scientific method.

Newton kept his method of mathematics (known as Calculus) hidden from all but his closest friends until 1704, when he published a book on it he titled “Opticks.” Today, we spell the word “Optics” (no “k”): over time, written English language has changed, but the words are still spoken the same way. What do you think Newton would make of our modern use of emojis and emoticons? :)

Calculation is different than simple counting: calculation is undertaken through algorithms which anticipate the outcome, rather than measure it. Series of additions and subtractions can be systematically organized through algebra. These systems contain elements (the series, and their required additions and subtractions). Understanding how each system’s elements interact permits the result to be calculated, or anticipated.

“Calculation,” or “calculus,” is the process of mathematics which enables continuous computation. “Computation” is a system of logic which permits the truthfulness of assumptions to be tested by comparing the relationship of known facts to uncertain facts under varying (variable) conditions. Computation was invented by Muḥammad ibn Musa al-Khwarizmi, and forms the foundation of modern philosophical reasoning - an achievement which Loka Hatha Yoga also celebrates as a holiday. Continuous computation through calculation permits an observation of the interactions of elemental components which formulate the computations, even as they varied (in algebra, these elements are known as “variables” and “constants”). In short, Newton’s method of calculus permitted modern scientific method, which relies on experimentation to control the variation and constancy of these algebraic elements.

Newton was the first scientist. Though his predecessors and teachers studied natural phenomenon through al-Khwarizmi’s algebraic philosophy, Newtonian Calculation permitted people to understand how these things worked.

Newton is known not only for understanding light, but for discovering gravity – and the laws which govern force in the Universe, creating the science of Physics. He also created the science of History, beginning by publishing an edition of Geographia Generalis by the German geographer Varenius in 1672, and, after he died, his friends published his work on The Chronology of Ancient Kingdoms Amended (1728). He also tried applying the scientific method to theology - Observations upon the Prophecies of Daniel and the Apocalypse of St John (1733) was also published after he died, and is famous for his many other achievements in science and mathematics, and his numerous inventions, one of his greatest achievements is often overlooked... the doggy door!

Newton couldn't have made such an impact on the world of mathematics through advances in optics if he hadn't been experimenting. Coincidentally, it was his experiments in optics which led to him having an impact on the pet world as well.

The story goes that during these experiments, Newton's cats kept bothering him, wanting to come in and out - as felines are apt to do. At some point, he became irritated sufficiently and altered his door so the cats could come and go as they pleased. The invention of the cat door quickly led to the invention of the doggy door.

Yet there remains no direct evidence that Newton actually invented the pet door – only stories. Did he, or didn’t he? Newton’s method of science can help us understand not only whether this story is true, but if it is false, the reason why it came to be understood as true. But this mystery will not be solved by numbers: we require a different form of science, “History.”

Newton created history as a kind of non-mathematical science. But even though no mathematics is required, history uses the same method as mathematical sciences do. To practice historical investigation requires we compare the unknown fact to known facts, just as in any scientific investigation.

In practice, a historian will take facts which were known to have happened and attempt to understand whether a third fact did happen. For example, if it is known that there were cookies in a jar, and now they are gone, and it is also known that cookies cannot leave the jar without someone taking them from that jar, a historian would acquire the knowledge that the cookies were taken from the jar. Further investigation could result in the discovery of who took the cookies.

The following statement is true – but is this proof that Newton invented the pet door? "No mention is made by Newton in any of his correspondences of any pets"

By analyzing this, we see it is not evidence that Newton either had cats or did not have cats: while it is true, not everyone writes about their pets. Maybe he just didn’t write about his pets! We need proof – one way or another – that Newton either had cats or did not. The following is also true – is it a fact? "At a meeting of the Royal Society on 24th December 1719, Newton mentioned his dog in passing: she had recently gone blind with cataracts"

This is indeed a fact – one which proves Newton had dogs. But it is not a fact which proves Newton had cats. We do know Newton kept a dog, but nothing certain about whether he kept a cat: we need additional information. Let’s continue our investigations...

What about these facts? Do they prove Newton had cats? "A biographer of Newton, Richard S. Westfall, in his book “Never at Rest” said Newton was a vegetarian because he loved animals, and could not tolerate the necessary cruelty required to kill them." "Voltaire, a contemporary of Newton, said Newton had cultivated this sentiment of humanity, and he extended it to lower animals. With Locke he was strongly convinced that God has given to them a proportion of ideas, and the same feelings which he has to us. He could not believe that God, who has made nothing in vain, would have given to them organs of feeling in order that they might have no feeling. He thought it a very frightful inconsistency to believe that animals feel and at the same time to cause them to suffer. On this point his morality was in accord with is philosophy. He yielded but only with repugnance to the barbarous custom of supporting ourselves upon the blood and flesh of beings like ourselves, whom we caress, and he never permitted in his own house the putting them to death by slow and exquisite modes of killing for the sake of making the food more delicious. This compassion, which he felt for no other animals, culminated in true charity for men. In truth, without humanity, a virtue which comprehends all virtues, the name of scientist would be little deserved."

No, while it demonstrates Newton liked animals, and had a dog, all we know is if he had cats, he would have loved them. What about this? "Newton was known to have disliked pets in the home, believing them to be dirty and troublesome."

This seems to contradict what we understood so far and may actually be not true: Newton certainly kept a dog! Who says this, and why? Do they have proof of this statement? It contradicts all the facts we have so far, and there is no reason to believe this statement: We still need proof that Newton had cats.

Is this fact evidence that Newton had cats? "John Maynard Keynes, the influential economist, who bought a large number of Newton's non-scientific papers, especially on alchemy, said in his memoirs that Newton remarked his cats were growing fat on Newton’s uneaten food (Newton worked so hard that he ignored the meals brought to him by friends concerned he was not eating)." This fact requires we take Mr. Keynes word for what those letters say – and whether we agree or disagree with his conclusions of economics, he is a scientist who is trustworthy in reporting facts truthfully. This would be proof Newton had a cat. We can compare this truth to the unknown truthfulness of the story of the cat door, and conclude:

1. Newton had cats
2. Newton liked animals enough to be responsive to their needs
3. It is likely that Newton would have damaged his door to permit his cats to come and go as they liked

However, other scientists practicing history, specifically the historians S. Brodetsky, Louis Trenchard More, and Alfred Rupert Hall say that people who knew Newton said “Newton kept neither dog nor cat in his chamber” (chamber is a fancy word for “room”). But maybe Newton simply didn’t own pets during that time? Some people will own a dog or cat, and then not own a dog or cat. So, what do you think?

Did the inventor of calculus, the first scientist, the man who discovered gravity and the fundamental laws of physics, and accomplished so many other great things, also invent the doggy door?

Science teaches us that sometimes, we don’t know for sure whether something is true or not. Newton saw this in mathematics, where the idea that the calculation of 1/x may come close to equaling zero – but never equal zero – seems to counter every day experiences. We are unused to either mathematical or practical limits to our understanding. Newton also saw this in history, and non-mathematical science. We like to think things are very certain – true or false. Yet we have seen this in trying to understand if Newton invented the doggy door. We cannot say Newton invented the doggy door, but we also cannot say that he did not invent the doggy door. We may only say it seems very likely he did. This “theory” is as reliable as Newton’s theory of gravity.

Other theories form the foundation of our modern understanding: we must function upon premises of belief, whether those beliefs are in a theory of gravity, a theory of subatomic particles, Darwin’s theory of evolution, or our own theory that Newton invented the doggy door. And sometimes, as technology improves, we are able to get definite proof: the theory of bacteria was confirmed when technology improved so that Antonie van Leeuwenhoek could actually see microscopic organisms. Newton recognized some calculations can never be computed, and that some things cannot ever be known for sure. The “limit” of understanding requires a reasonable scientist to develop confidence in their beliefs: even when we do not have positive proof and all the facts, it is possible to still make a logical conclusion - that he invented the doggy door.

An Example of Brahmacharya

Isaac Newton was engaged to be married during his teens, but never married. Instead, he took a vow of chastity – a Christian oath of virginity, to abstain from sex. Isaac Newton also practiced the Christian ritual of confession – by writing his sins in a journal, addressed to God. One of these journals remains, from his childhood: he confesses to working on the Sabbath, by washing and “making pies on Sunday night.” He also confesses to “idle discourse on Thy day and at other times”, “Peevishness at Master Clarks for a piece of bread and butter” and other childhood misdeeds, like fighting with his sister and wishing some people might die.

Newton did not continue his journal throughout his life. With time, he would adopt increasingly Humanist – and subsequently Atheist – beliefs and discontinue confession and other Christian practices. When he died, he refused the last rites of a Christian.

Indeed, with time, as he left his childhood faith behind, he learned to play cards, go bowling, and do other things Christians should not do. But he never did break his vow of chastity – and always tried to keep his word.

In recognition for his important work, Isaac Newton was Knighted by Queen Ann of England on April 16, 1705, in a ceremony conducted at Trinity College, Cambridge. At the time, that honor was usually granted to military officers and senior figures in the national and local governments, as well as to rich merchants and others with political connections. Newton made this coat of arms for himself.

Alejandro Jenkins of the University of Costa Rica (2014: Isaac Newton’s sinister heraldry, published by Cornell University: studied the origins and meaning of this unusual choice and, investigating Newton’s personal writings, discovered Newton was secretly a Humanist (which is a kind of non-dogmatic practice of theism which aims to improve human affairs as a form of worship). Humanism arose in reaction to the English Christian Theocracy of the 16th Century, a period of time when religious law was used to justify genocide, enslavement, despotism – and even the execution of the King and Parliament.

The left-dominance chosen by Newton suggest through symbolic signs that he was a bastard (though “bastard” means without a father, for knights like Newton, it means without inheritance, or suggesting a new lineage – only men were able to own property in ancient England).

This may speak to his belief that his scientific revolution would begin a new era. But perhaps it is also more personal: Jenkins discovered Newton’s father died before he was born, and Newton, having been born on Christmas Day without a father, was quickly abandoned by his mother to be raised an orphan before later being re-adopted by her. The choice of bones is also an important symbol. Newton looked into his family history and found a distant ancestor carried the symbol of bones during the Crusades. But Newton, may have also intended them to represent a central belief in humanism: that all humans are equal in death.

Professor Doctor Edward Bonan Hamada

I'm not so sure that Isaac Newton is someone who meets a standard of humility. It was actually Leibniz that made the calculus accessible to students.

Since you are a Hatha Yoga practitioner it might be of interest to you that the numbering system we use today originates in India and makes its way to Western Europe via the Muslim world. What is brilliant in the Hindu numbering system is the use of '0'. While some other cultures had a notion of a place holder it was the use of the symbol '0' that allowed the Hindu mathematicians to symbolize 'emptiness' and think about really large numbers like a 'palya' or 'radju'. The Greeks had long debates about whether or not one could talk about 'nothing' but little did they know that 2000 years later there could be an entire television series about 'nothing' (Seinfeld).

I suggest that you watch the series The Story of Maths with Oxford mathematician Marcus du Sautoy. It is on Netflix and the first three episodes are well worth the time. The Story of 1 is a great starting place.

0 and 1. Yin and Yang. In Daoist energy work the higher levels of practice are looking for naturalness, emptiness and compassion. The idea of emptiness like the idea of '0' is not about nothing rather it is more closely related to the idea of space. In Zermelo - Frankel set theory the entire mathematical universe is created from the empty set (or at least we think so).

Take care. Aloha, Ed

Further resources:

Green, Gary TwoHorse: Inventor of the Doggy Door, Sir Isaac Newton 
Aczel, Amir: Finding Zero

Story of 1: PBS Home Video
Story of Maths: Athena Home Video.

Successful begging

Gifts, or donations, must be given, freely and for the right reasons. The purpose of begging, then, is not merely to raise the material requirements of food, medicine, money, or other necessities. The beggar who would become a conduit of donations (simply conveying the donations to a receiver) fails.

No matter how wholesome and healthy the food is that may be donated, it will soon be turned into excrement and urine. No matter how potent the medicine donated, the patient will eventually die. What is the worth of such food and medicine, except the use it is put to by the recipient - and the giver? The successful beggar provokes the conditions by which begging is no longer required: both giver and recipient are trained and strengthened in mind, body and heart, so they develop friendship and goodwill. Consequently, even the beggar who passively receives gifts or donations is also imperfectly practicing.

The fire sacrifice begins by asking, by begging. Yet the manner of the asking matters quite as much as the manner of the giving. Asking, if accomplished correctly, provides an opportunity for a disinterested stranger to give selflessly, and possibly to cease being disinterested. Receiving, if accomplished correctly, provides an opportunity as well: to understand the purpose of sacrifice. For what purpose did the numerous beings sacrifice themselves and die to become food for the giver? For what purpose was this food sacrificed and given to another? Merely to become excrement and urine? For what purpose is the recipient in requirement of the strength and health this food provides?

It is not difficult to observe there are many people in our community in need of health and strength, in need of food. Or medicine. Or other help. There are very many people in our community in need of food who cannot access our food banks, or our healthcare, or our various social services. There are very many people in our community in need of friendship. We should not lose sight of the importance of friendship; it is easy to forget when someone is hungry, or sick, that friendship is even more important - friendship is the whole of holy life.

Why then do we socially contemn those who resource to the food banks, who take advantage of our hospitals, who require our social services - when they have done nothing regrettable? Should a poor person feel shame for wanting a piece of candy as much as a solid meal? When a person begs for the benefit of their family, they are providing for their family - and dutifully, honorably discharging their obligations. Why do we feel contempt for the abjectly poor, the homeless? If we saw the homeless enjoying candy, would we think their ability to enjoy such a treat makes them unworthy of further gifts, of proper sustenance and support? Is the beggar who eats only bread and water more worthy than one who might enjoy a candy?

There is an uncanny antagonism against such beggars. Our City has invested in numerous signs to dissuade giving to beggars, suggesting that giving will not bring an end to their poverty. As if this is the reason a person should give to beggar - to end their poverty? There is antagonism against beggars, the expense and difficulty our City has gone through to prevent them from sleeping on public benches or other rest areas, in the public parks, or other places of resort is worth considering against the resistance we have in providing the homeless with proper places of resort, with adequate sanitation and police service. We regret giving them police service, and sanitation - we regret giving them subsidized healthcare, and food. We infringe upon their rights to vote, as if they were not our equal citizens.

There is nothing shameful in begging or poverty, even if these spiritual practices are undertaken involuntarily. Indeed, they are beneficial, whether undertaken voluntarily or involuntarily. Poverty is not a failure, or a weakness - or anything shameful. Not any more than wealth and strength is a source of pride or a sign of success.

That we have permitted our poor to become a public health hazard is without a doubt a fact. They fester in disease, and foment crime. Yet this is certainly our own fault - for they lack healthcare, sanitation and protection we are able to give. But perhaps there is some blame to bestow upon these beggars - for they have not succeeded in obtaining their needs.

A successful beggar must not permit themselves to become passive recipients of donations, nor may they permit themselves to lose sight of the purpose of their begging. Or permit us from losing sight of the purpose of our giving. If we have become selfish and greedy, if we have lost our ability to perform such a small sacrifice, it is perhaps their fault. Indeed, when undertaken as a spiritual practice, beggars present an asset to the community we presently lack.

The debt owed to parents by children

There are few ways that a person can repay the debts they owe to their parents, who protected, carried and fed their child. Even should a person carry their parents on their own back, protecting and feeding them for as long or longer than their parents had done for them, this would be insufficient consideration: for a parent does much more than protect, carry and feed their child. To adequately repay the kindness of their parents, a person must become the same sort of friend any good parent is to their child. A child must ensure that their parent is comforted against doubt and the other fears of old age, that their history, obligations and traditions are conveyed, and that their mind and heart remain as nurtured as their body.

How, then, a person repays the debt to their parents speaks considerably to their character. Do they know that, despite whatever failings of their parents, they must repay this debt? Understanding that the debt must be repaid, do they know the proper way to repay their parents is not by heartless provision, but by whole-hearted loving friendship? Understanding the proper way to repay their parents, are they willing to perform the necessary sacrifices for their parents? Willing, are they able to? Able to, are they practiced in the performance, having learned the skills required through years of selfless service to the community or similar training? A person who fulfills all these is a likely person indeed, honorable and reliable, and may be counted to perform satisfactory service in whatever capacity that is required of them.

The importance of marital devotion - Shiva Mahapurana, Rudra Samhita 2.42-45

Shiva instructed Brahma in the importance of marital devotion and against breaking marriage vows - those which one makes, or encouraging another to break their vows. The practice of keeping marital vows, whether celibate, monogamous or polygamous, is necessary in the Kaliyuga: Shiva instructed Sati that the value of knowledge (gyan) and asceticism (vairagya) diminish - almost to the point of extinction. But that the value of devotion remains as constant as the constancy it requires. Shiva explained, when Shiva burnt Kama, Shiva ended Time (Vishnu) - for the benefit of those devotees of Shiva, specifically his wife: Shiva could no longer practice his strict religious devotion to Vishnu, for he had a greater obligation to the marital devotions required of him. For the sake of Shiva's devotees, Shiva abandoned Ravana - without partiality - because he discouraged marital devotion between Ram and Sita. For the welfare of Shiva's devotees, Shiva instructed his vehicle Nandi to instruct Vyas, who had attempted to discourage Vishnu's religious worship of Shiva: as two spouses are individual and equal, both Vishnu and Shiva are greatest - because of the devotion to love between them.

Shiva and Sati practiced the union of devotion for 25 deva years before Sati instructed Shiva in the establishment of a home for practicing marital devotion: the home should be in a place that is safe and secure, where devoted union may be practiced without disturbance or interruption. Shiva instantly understood the subtle teaching of Sati, and said to Sati "so long as you are by My side, even the weather will not disturb us, even if we lived at the top of the Himalayas." To demonstrate, the two lived upon the Himalayas for 10,000 deva years, while Brahma instructed the Brahmans in the practice of marital devotion so perfectly demonstrated by Shiva and Sati.

Brahma taught the practice of marital devotion is training which is superior to training in knowledge or asceticism, and requires constancy. The types of practice required for constancy are: bhakti yoga, yantra, mantra, study of shastras, etc.

Rig Veda 1.174

Water gives food, food gives strength, strength gives victory. Give us rain, Indra, and protect us. Rain falls with your own victory, because of your strength - the rain falls upon our fields, swelling our rivers - without destroying our cities or fortresses. Your water guards the sacrificial fire, permitting us to enjoy its light and heat within our fields and homes without fear. Maghavan, you are the giver of Heroes, giver of wealth, the giver of victory when you give us food. Protect and preserve us, save us.

Tools and weapons of deception, illusion and delusion

Deception, illusion and delusion (Maya) are broken by a process of analysis which categorizes the phenomenon or form of Maya into its elemental components and conditional components.  This may be compared to a rainbow, which is an illusion: however, when it is analyzed, the rainbow is seen to be the result of many droplets of water prismatically reflecting, refracting and dispersing sunlight.  When the cause and components of the illusion are known, the illusionary rainbow ceases to deceive the eye into delusion.  Similar rainbows, formed by the prismatic nature of glass or diamonds, can even be reconstructed into integral white light by returning, de-refracting, focusing the light.

The rainbow is associated with Indra, a god-being whose tools include a diamond - symbolizing this ability to break deception, illusion and delusion.  This diamond takes the form of a weapon, specifically a lightning bolt, instantaneously and violently breaking Maya.  It is interesting to notice, as well, that the process of breaking Maya is identical to the process of weaving it: this is further symbolized in the other tool of Indra, the rainbow (depicted as a kind of net that both ensnares, as a typical net would, and propels missiles, as a typical bow would) itself - and how Indra fights both with weaponized Maya and against weaponized Maya.

In one particularly dramatized battle, Indra is depicted as fighting an enemy whose weapons were Maya, with his own weapons of Maya.  Equally matched, the two were consumed by the other's weapons and it took Saraswati to discern the victor: she was able to understand the intention of the deception, illusion and delusion cast by each magician by comprehending not only its ultimate (final) result, but also its ultimate (first or primordial) cause.  When she revealed these ultimate conditional causes and conditions, she broke the spells of Maya cast by both combatants, and a truce was agreed upon: though nuanced and complex, it may be summarized to say that Indra's enemy fought for hatred and revenge, both of which are self-defeating cause - whereas Indra fought for mercy and self-preservation.  Though Indra had done a great wrong, his enemy did a greater wrong through acts of hatred and revenge which harmed not only his enemy, but the entire world as well.  After the truce, the two combatants ended up fighting again, but because Indra had kept the terms of the truce, Saraswati used Maya to appear like Indra, and defending Indra, destroyed Indra's enemy.

The Arthaveda describes how to create and use these tools and use them, as well as how to weaponize Maya, to protect against fraud, deceit and criminals.  These tools (and weapons) are also described in special application within the Kamashastra. And in every Ashramic practice, it is necessary to understand not only how to break deception, illusion and delusion - but how to use them, as well, for the purpose of bringing an end to distress, the dangers of using them wrongly - and training rules for how to avoid wrong use.

Illusion is absolutely necessary for constructing abstractions which represent real phenomenon in ways more suitable to analysis, delusion is often helpful in understanding different perspectives, even deception is sometimes necessary to save a life.  Would you use Maya as a defensive weapon and lie, saying you do not know where someone is, to save their life - or even conceal them from their enemies? Would you pretend to a different identity to "walk a mile in their shoes" act as a more loyal agent in a business deal?  Would you construct elaborate illustrations and diagrams to understand geography, or astronomy?  There is good reason to rightly do these things, to rightly use Maya.  But for the purposes of fraud, to perpetrate acts of hatred and harm, Maya (whether a tool or a weapon) becomes self-destructive, and self-defeating - and cannot obtain the goal for which it is purposed.

Proper performance of Mudra

A mudra is a technique of Hatha Yoga.  A mudra is essentially a ritualized gesture during an asana. It is highly advanced yoga. The skills required to perform a mudra are: proper breathing, competence in the asana in which the mudra is to be performed, and finally competence in the mudra itself.  Because of this, training in mudras is undertaken while sitting: the lotus, the comfortable seat, and the kneeling positions are preferred for mastering a mudra.  When a mudra is perfected, it may be easily applied to other asanas.

Natyasastra (the performance and passive arts) are typically relied upon for training in mudra, but training may also be achieved through other sastras may be utilized with success.  The theory upon which all mudra function is that communication, if properly accomplished, can dynamically link two or more individual minds, can perfectly convey concepts and information, can transport a being to and from various lokas (worlds, or states of being), facilitate abstract logic and reasoning, accomplish all four jhanas, permit temporary or permanent enlightenment instantaneously - and thereby permit a person to realize the goal of practice more easily.

Such communication is accomplished both inwardly and outwardly, with other beings and with non-beings, in the same or different timeframe, in the same or different space, and/or in the same or different loka.  Because of this facility, if perfectly performed, it can restore every being, and every loka, across space and time.

This is accomplished by action of agency representation: the actor represents the intended recipient of communication, becoming the vehicle, or vahana, of the recipient.  This transformation of the communicator is accomplished through a sacrifice ceremony: they become the servant of the recipient by sacrificing their own distinct identity - and assuming another, as required by the recipient.

The mudra requires mastery of Maya, of delusion and illusion.  For this, the skills of drama, music, dancing, drawing, writing, composition, and similar arts are studied: just as an actor might don a costume and the mannerisms of another, just as an artist would deceive the senses with illusions, the communicator must actually become a limb of the one they would serve, the recipient.  In mastering Maya, the communicator begins to understand other perspectives: what is is like to be a man or a woman, to be a child or an old person, to be a non-human - and becomes capable of understanding what it is like to be the recipient.  In order to prevent the likely self-injury of self-delusion, the communicator must also study and master the warlike defensive arts, the arts of debate and argument, and especially logic.  

To guide another to moksha (the goal of mudra), the yogi need not have accomplished the journey themselves if they perfectly perform the sacrifice of self to the service of one who has: becoming the instrument of another, becoming the paint of another. Therefore, special attention must be placed on studying the rituals of sacrifice.

The yogi, having perfected their training in a murda, then applies it.  The first step in application is to inspire love, friendship, wonder or curiosity - this creates a link between the communicator and the recipient.  Then, the recipient is suspended from their loka through the enchantment of Maya: teasing apart the binds of mind, body and heart, so that each may function freely of the others.  This then permits guided analysis of each component: mind, body and heart; and eventually guided analysis of each component of the mind, each component of the body, each component of the heart, with the effect of total disassociation and dehabitualization.  When this is accomplished, the recipient is prepared to be transported to every space in each and every world, across every time; when thus delocalized, beyond space and time, beyond identity and self, the communicator may perform a transmission of Dharma: the recipient is guided into the first jhana, the second jhana, the third, the fourth.  The recipient realizes Buddhi, Siddhi and Riddhi.  At last, the connection must be broken: the connection between communicator and recipient must be done equally carefully.  The bonds of Maya, now functioning like an umbilical cord, must be cut by the recipient - however, this may be encouraged and guided by the communicator.

The most basic mudras are accomplished by practicing finger movements, but more advanced mudras are accomplished by practicing coordinated movements in all the body.  The most advanced practice involves control of autonomic functions: this typically begins with swallowing, breathing and blinking practice.

If you can understand how to communicate to others, how to communicate to yourself, how others understand things, how you understand things, you can begin to carefully perfect a mudra.  Words remain the easiest and best form of communication: combine them with gestures, as a beginning.  Say "thank you," say thank you and smile, say thank you and smile and gesture with your hand openly in welcome, and so forth.  Learn to laugh, to sing, and make a person feel welcome.  Learn to say "I love you," "you are a good friend."  This is enough of a start.

Finger, Back and Leg positions while sitting meditation

Meditation is undertaken through various Asanas, one of which is "sitting." There are numerous variants to this pose. The principle behind variations in all Asanas - including sitting - is to affect the mind, body and heart, the connections between the mind, body and heart, and to direct the mind, body and heart.

To present all variants in sitting would be counter-productive to instructing in the principles of sitting techniques.

Instead, examples will be presented, hopefully resulting in sufficient understanding of when and how to utilize not only these specific examples, but all variants in sitting - and improve other Asana practices as well.  Discussed will be examples of:

1. Variants in back positions
2. Variants in finger positions
3. Variants in leg positions

We hope you will explore the millions of positions and combinations of positions to discover the full potential of your mind, body and heart.

For example of how posture affects body: variations in posture can easily affect the ease or rate of blood flow, or, variations in neck posture especially can affect air flow, which affects the oxygen level of the blood - or it can even affect the strength of various organs, or tissues, etc. which have other effects on the body.  For example of how posture affects mind: these physical changes can result in different mental states of emotion, awareness, attention, control, cognition, etc. For example of how posture affects heart: these postures require greater or lesser willpower, can direct attention, ritualize the puranas and vedas through re-enactment or recital, etc.  The connections between body, mind and heart are affected by the conditions in body, mind and heart that each posture results in.

But these conditions affect not only internal but external identities as well: as a form of communication, these positions can be used to facilitate silent Kirtan and Sankirtan. What does your posture communicate to yourself - and others?  Let your body become your vehicle, your Vahana.

In sitting, the most typical position is to straighten the back: aligning the base of the skull in a vertical line above the center of the hip cavity.  However, there are variants to this: sometimes, the spine is inclined backward, forward, to one side or the other, rested against a wall or other prop, or even inversed so that the head is below the hips.  Sometimes, the position is rotated, so that while laying on the back, the legs are elevated.  The most common variant is made in the position of the neck: inclining it forward or backward alters air flow and constricts or eases breathing - as well as blood flow to the brain.

One reason that the position is rotated or inversed is to improve attention to the body: these positions are much more difficult to hold, and therefore require greater attention - and physical strength.  One reason that the position is propped or inclined is to reduce the demands of attention and physical strength, permitting intensive concentration of mind.  If you attempt meditation in these several variants, the advantages and disadvantages for particular mental exertions become apparent.  The Buddha Gotama, who was an expert in sitting, would sometimes prop himself against a tree, the wall of a building or room, or against other props.  He would also sometimes sit erect, sometimes lay down.  Sometimes on one side or the other, sometimes on his full back.  Sometimes twisted over one shoulder, or the other.  Gotama practiced many back positions.

Just as you would learn to drink water easiest by raising your mouth above your stomach, you can learn to modify your back position to ease or strain your natural autonomic functions of emotion, attention, concentration, awareness, thought, consciousness and other functions as well.  Ultimately, practicing and perfecting many back positions provides this very essential sitting training: learning when to rest the back, when to exert it, and how allows understanding of how to utilize other parts of the body, mind and heart to result in desired and necessary conditions.  This training in back postures, permits understanding that there is an application to the training: learning why each back position is used is the purpose of learning the back postures.

But there is another reason to learn many back postures: some people, due to back injury, illness or deformity are unable to sit erect; some, by injury, deformity or illness cannot balance while studying other Asanas.  This should not stop the practice of sitting or Asanas: whether using a prop like a chair, or a wall, or any of the leaning positions, it is possible to discover the effect of the injury and deformity on the mind, heart and body - and by this awareness overcome the distress of the injury or deformity.

Hand positions are another point of practice which is complex.  Human beings use their hands not only as the principle instrument for interacting with their world, but for communication, social bonding, and self-care. The same fingers which are used to count are the same ones used to pick up food, grasp the fingers of a loved one, signal hatred, signal welcome and friendship, operate a machine - or clean the anus.  Similarly, fingers have many uses in sitting.

The Buddha Gotama, who perfected sitting, utilized many finger positions.

Communication is made not only with fellow students, but with the self. Especially in the practice of sitting, which is typically a solitary practice.

Hands held comfortably on the knees, or upon the ground, palms downward, communicates strength and fearlessness.  As does the open palm, extended forward, as if waving friendly greetings to the world.

Touching the two palms together, as if after a clap, is anticipatory, and conducive to awareness.  Hands may face the same direction (up, down, forward, back), or different directions. Becoming aware of other beings, of the self, of the interactions between beings, is the beginning of Metta Bhavana, of goodwill, compassion and loving friendship.  This position naturally evolves into outstretched hands, palms upward, a gesture of giving and receiving - whether rested on the legs or held aloft.

Sometimes, fingers do not touch the fingers of another hand.  Touching other fingers of the same hand, these "seals" or "murdas" improve concentration and effort.  There are very many variations in which fingers touch and do not touch each other: there exist more than 933,120 potential combinations, including variations in whether the fingers are bent or held straight, but not counting directionality.  These therefore communicate a particular lesson, and are sometimes used to assist in instruction, recall, and study.  The "OK" sign (index touching thumb, remaining fingers extended), is typically indicative of argument or logic, as it not only symbolizes the exactitude of a point, the exactitude of holding something delicately, but also is a natural human expression when attempting to explain something.  The "hole" formed indicates a feminine aspect: in this same way, the index finger extended and the remaining fingers curled present a masculine aspect of the same gesture.  Cradling the thumb, or the thumb cradling the other fingers in the masculine aspect present further variants, of restraint or guidance (respectively).

Sometimes, each hand will form a different posture, but sometimes they present the same posture. Sometimes, these same or different postures interact: the closed fist indicates grasping, and force - placing your fist against your fist in front of your gut encourages and communicates considerable striving against the self.  Releasing these fists a little, into a feminine open position, thumb supported above the middle and ring fingers, symbolizes the wheel of dharma set into motion when the Buddha Gotama presented his first teaching.

Hands can be crossed over the heart, as if embracing or hugging an unseen friend - or the self.  The self-embrace is peaceful and soothing - just as the self-embrace of the foot, or the other hand, or the head, etc.  Such self-touch has many of the same benefits as the social embraces of others in friendship: humans are social animals, and require touch - even as infants - for proper mental functioning.  The way that men and women touch is instinctually different, but may be learned: thus, embracing postures may have feminine or masculine aspects - each which may be used for distinct purposes, or in combination.

Hands forming a triangle in front of the lower gut, as if signifying a vagina, is an open gesture; if the thumbs form the lateral line of the triangle at the top, there is an effort made to concentrate in holding this unnatural pose that is beneficial for samadhi practice - but if the thumbs, crossed and cradled by the fingers, are rested instead, the self-holding self-soothing self-cradling gesture becomes somewhat more emotionally calming. The feminine aspect is paired with a masculine variant, hands forming a line in front of the lower gut, as if signifying a penis.  And there are variants which combine both masculine and feminine aspects: threading or lacing the fingers together, with thumbs crossed facing outward or the index fingers facing outward is a union of male and female, an expression of enlightenment and achievement of Riddhi, contentment and satisfaction, and implication of Siddhi, wisdom. But there are also variants which are neither male nor female: threading the fingers and cradling the thumbs and/or index fingers is has this same symbolism, but also connotes an internalization, a compassion, a self-care, a unionization.  It is more restful, and peaceful.

In a more overt expression of union, a particular finger may be fully held by another. As a baby would suck their own thumb, or a child would hold the thumb of their parent to avoid becoming separated, these expressions contain not only symbolic but intrinsic communication.

Like with the back posture, choosing which variation to use depends on the purpose of the meditation: reaching out to touch the earth, as the Buddha did at the moment of his victory against Mara, is an act of Bhakti Yoga - if the story of the victory is studied by this re-enactment.  As is the re-enactment of the Buddha's lessons to people, to the gods, to the demons, the animals, the plants, and all other beings.  As is the Buddha's last minutes on earth.

In the practice of Jnana Yoga, it is possible to understand the source of your own distress, and by adjusting posture, bring mind to bear down upon mind, and combining the force of body and mind, bring about the conditions required for ending that distress.

By now, the principles should be clear enough to understand that the leg positions are also designed for purpose.  The Buddha Gotama is associated with the Lotus: crossed legs. Full lotus, half lotus, inverted lotus, rotated lotus, broken lotus - each has their place.  Stretch out a single leg, be ready to stand and act.  Sit knotted and unable to stand up except with difficulty, stubborn in the pursuit of your freedom from distress.  Embrace any of the other poses the Buddha Gotama practiced, kneeling like a friend, sitting on a throne like an universal conqueror, etc.  Use the positions of your legs to improve your meditation, and you will be practicing the leg positioning correctly.

Muhammad Ibin Musa Al-Khwarizimi Day

Gotama taught that in self-examination, we come to understand that our perspective is always changing, and the world is always changing as well. He further taught that change is itself subject to change.  This is a profound hypothesis: if all that is subject to change must have begun, and must end, then the conditions of beginning and ending are themselves subject to change; the implication is that we have tremendous control over our own self, our nature, our world.  It is this control which necessitates our compassion for every being and non-being, including ourselves - that teaches all beings are truly equal.  However, mathematically proving the logic of this hypothesis required an advanced system of logic not yet available to Gotama - one which Muhammad Ibin Musa Al-Khwarizimi helped to innovate.

Today we celebrate the achievements of Muhammad Ibin Musa Al-Khwarizimi, who invented both digital mathematics and the logical concept of the "equation," expressed through his sublime method of "al-gebra."  Perfectly conceptualizing the understanding of variable truth, co-dependence and co-arising and co-termination, algebraic equations permit us to understand not only the limitations of our knowledge, but provide the tools by which we can infinitely expand our knowledge.  Digitalization advanced fractional and rational thought into realms of imagination and abstraction, permitting the multidimensional analysis required to accurately understand the dimensional boundaries of relevancy. Al-Khwarizimi independently proved the system of conscience based upon logic hypothesized by the Buddha Gotama.

Al-Khwarizimi's success was built upon previous innovations made by others: integral numbers, negatory and quaternary logic, and numerous other concepts and methods.  Integral numbers, especially though, were required to understand that quantities could be divisible and atomistic in nature, and negatory quaternary logic was especially required the potential for known quantities to be dependent upon numerous interacting factors.  With algorithmic mathematics, the factors affecting such variables could now be understood as constant truths.  His "algorithms" laid the foundation for "calculation" and modern "computing."

He introduced the world to hindu numbers (0,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9), and the hindu decimal point (.). But then he discovered how to use them in new, advanced ways. "When I consider what people generally want in mathematics, I found that it always is an unknown number. I also observed that every number is composed of units, and that any number may be divided into units. Moreover, I found that every number which may be expressed from one to ten, surpasses the preceding by one unit: afterwards the ten is doubled or tripled just as before the units were: thus arise twenty, thirty, etc. until a hundred: then the hundred is doubled and tripled in the same manner as the units and the tens, up to a thousand; ... so forth to the utmost limit of numeration."

His revolutionary method permitted the understanding of trigonometry, spherical geometry and geography required to better navigate our globe for the purposes of exploration and trade, bringing numerous and different people together: now, trade routes could be charted that were faster, more reliable and more profitable.  Applying his new logic to geography, he discerned that the continents of land were surrounded by oceans - and was not afraid to leave blank those places on a map he did not have enough information to know certainly: there is a confidence that comes with algorithmic calculation that sooner or later, all unknowns will be discovered.

His work in commercial science did not end with improving the speed of long-distance transportation through trigonometry. He also developed the method of "accounting," demonstrating that all commerce and industry can be understood through numerical analysis by algebra. "Commercial and industrial activities involve only two ideas and four numbers: the ideas are quantity and cost; the four numbers are unit of measure, price per unit, quantity desired and cost of the same."

From such analysis, long-term profit trends could be observed, and he developed a logical basis for business ethics: since all quantities can be divided, and the effects of unfair trading practices can be seen to result in diminished long-term profits, they should be divided fairly.  But more importantly, there were implications for short-term profits as well.

This had a tremendous effect on law and contracts, and an increase in Justice.  One question which was posed to him was, "if a man is hired to work in a vineyard 30 days for 10 dollars and he works six days, how much of the agreed price should he receive?"  Al-Khwarizimi demonstrated an application of his new commercial and industrial mathematics: "It is evident that since days are one-fifth of the whole time; and it is also evident that the man should receive pay having the same relation to the agreed price that the time he works bears to the whole time, 30 days. The month, i.e., 30 days, represents the measure, and ten represents the price. Six days represents the quantity, and in asking what part of the agreed price is due to the worker you ask the cost. Therefore multiply the price 10 by the quantity 6, which is inversely proportional to it. Divide the product 60 by the measure 30, giving 2 Dollars. This will be the cost, and will represent the amount due to the worker."

Though a Muslim, he was convinced that the science of mathematics and ethics was independent of any religious or cultural norm and convinced his people to seek rational, objective truths and a logical basis for conscience. However, because he was a Muslim, Christian Europe did not adopt his methods of arithmetic, accounting, or the ethical standards these implied, or even the Hindu numbers these methods used: there was fear that it was a Muslim system using Hindu numbers, and would be heretical to their moral beliefs. It took a cultural revolution in Europe before the foundation of mathematics, the concept that quantities and truth exist independent of any religious or cultural context, permitted AL-Khwarizimi's algebra and accounting methods to be employed.

This revolution first occurred in Italy. The Italian nations (Italy at the time was not a unified country) had the greatest commercial trade with the several Muslim nations which had adopted the system of numbers, mathematics and accounting developed by Al-Khwarizimi. It was through such trade that partnerships were developed between men of very different cultures: these partnerships required a mercantile code independent of either Christian Europe or Muslim Arabia: Christians would not be subjected to Muslim commercial codes, and Muslims would not be subjected to Christian commercial codes.  What they needed was something that was non-thesitic, and fair. They soon discovered Al-Khwarizimi's very logical and very fair system for accounting, division of profits, and coordination wasn't Muslim or Christian, or Hindu, or tainted with any religious practice - it doesn't matter if you are Christian or Muslim or Hindu: the shortest distance between two points is a straight line, and the fairest distribution of profits requires digital and algebraic arithmetic.

Such a partnership resulted in the adoption of a non-theistic mercantile code, but also quickly resulted in the adoption of a non-theistic culture as well: This revolution in culture was not based on religion or ethnicity, but upon fairness, cooperation and conscience - through logical conscience. In the same way, the Arabian traders brought this system to all their other trading partners around the world. Logic - and the conscience it both precipitates and requires - is truly the world's human culture.

The use of drama and theater in ritual

Modernizing Nandi, the vehicle, with a motorbike
allows insight into the identity of Nandi
Rituals may seem dramatic and theatrical, illogical and useless - and if improperly employed, they do inspire mysticism, superstition and habits (all of which augment rather than reduce distress). But the same may be said of any Yoga: if improperly practiced, even the most basic Asana in Hatha Yoga will cause terrible physical injury and distress; even meditation, if improperly practiced, results in agitation, doubt and aggression - and numerous other causes for distress. Karma Yoga, if improperly practiced will result in strengthening the ego, weakening the connection between mind, body and heart - and increase the consequences of Karma rather than ending it. The rituals of Bhakti Yoga are no different.

The rituals of Bhakti Yoga have their heart in the Puranas and Vedas. But the "characters" of the Puranas are sometimes difficult to understand - while some are simple, some are very complex, manifesting as different kinds of beings at different times to alter their interaction with reality (imagine how differently you'd interact with the same world as a human man versus a human female versus a human transsexual, verses even as an animal, or a god, or a demon, or a ghost, or...). Adding to this complexity, some will manifest in the same place and time as different beings, interacting with themselves. Or in different places at the same time, or at different times at the same place, or at different times and places. But there is a purpose to these stories.

The purpose of presenting the Dharma in dramatic or even theatrical formats is to allow insight into the more subtle concepts of the Dharma: just as a good teacher will present "laboratories" to permit their students to examine and play with the complex concepts expounded on in their lectures, drama and theater allow those listening to or participating in the drama or theater to better understand the Dharma through play.

For example, examine a very difficult and complex exposition in the Linga Purana. It is difficult to understand the Linga Purana when it describes energy as potential, and that these lack form - yet without form it such energy or potential remains expressionless. It is clearly explained that this expression, this potential, this energy, is self-creative upon numerous conditions. And just so, there are many aspects of energy, of potential. And this means there are many conditions which affect the expression of that potential, that energy: force through water is expressed in a different wave than force through vapor, than force through ice, than force through other matter, and other states. The state and nature of matter dictates its subjectivity to energy.

Yet it is one step simpler to understand the conditions of expression are described as a goddess, Uma (Parvati). It is a little easier to understand Uma as a reflective aspect of Vishnu - Vishnu representing other concepts, in turn. Understanding this "relationship" between Uma and Vishnu as similar to that between a brother and sister allows understanding of the Linga Purana when it explains why it is said the capacity for creation is "Uma." Consider, then, the conditions by which form becomes subject to the expression of energy are described as Gauri - for Gauri is a reflective aspect Brahma. This is why it is said the power of creation is Gauri (the sister-brother relationship between Gauri and Brahma indicates similarity: one possessing power, the other nature). And when, through other stories, we learn that Gauri and Uma are merely different manifestations of the same entity, and that this same entity is the female aspect of the transsexual Shiva, we better understand that the form all force acts upon is Shiva. This is why Shiva is said to be both united and distinct from his Consort, Uma Gauri. Why Uma Gauri is said to be united and distinct from her Consort, Shiva. Why Shiva is described as both united male and female, and disunited male and female, and neither male nor female. To return to the example above, "wave" describes not water, not the force in the water, but the expression of force-water.

When performing the theater of ritual, we are even better able to explore these "characters," understanding the Dharma. The Vedas explain that saying "OM!" allows us to examine the concept of conditional co-arising, and explore its implications to our own life: if we can create conditions of distress, we can also create conditions leading to the ending of that distress. We can understand the true nature of sacrifice. And in this act of creation through sacrifice, we come to understand Shiva-Uma-Gauri.

By going to war we can understand the truest nature of Hanuman, another manifestation of Shiva - if we permit our duty in war to become a theatrical re-enactment. By manifesting a family with a spouse, we can understand the truest nature of Gauri-Shiva-Kali-Durga-Uma. By undertaking industry or business, we learn the subtle lessons of the Arthashastra, and come to better understand the duties instructed by Vishnu.

We can even become capable of studying the lives of those around us - of all the beings around us - to understand the the Dharma. The world becomes a theater, through the practice of theater and drama. And upon mastering this, we may even provide by our own example important lessons to those who most depend upon us for guidance - by ritualizing our dramatic theater.

When you run into a concept or "character" that is difficult to understand, try enacting it. What better way to discover compounded force-form, Shiva, than by experiencing united love and friendship? Kama can be understood by loving Love, like Rati. The limitations of hatred are soon discovered - and abandoned - by a person who would embrace playing the role of a demon. For some, it is necessary to learn by direct experience, and the safest and best way to gain this experience (without risking the many personal disasters these characters experience) is through telling their stories, either by enactment or recital - by the theatrical drama of "kirtan."

The conditions of Samadhi - Samyutta Nikaya 46.53

The Buddha described the preparation made for fire, saying,

Suppose you want to make a small fire into a large fire: if you put wet fuel on it, expose it to wind and rain, or sprinkle it with dust, will that make the small fire grow? Just so, the mind requires proper fuel and conditions for enlightenment: tranquility, peace and equanimity. These three conditions can wake a sluggish mind. How are these conditions achieved? Through curiosity, will and energetic exertion, and playful love or friendship.

And what are the conditions for tranquility, curiosity, will and energetic exertion, and playful love or friendship? These are the conditions of enlightenment (bojjihanga - limbs of enlightenment, so-called because they lead to enlightenment): mindfulness (sati-sambojjangha), understanding of mental and physical natures (dhamma-vicaya-s, connoting "science"), exertion or energy (viriya-s), playful love or friendship (piiti-s, different than Sukha - happiness, contentment), tranquility (passaddhi-s), peace (samaadhi-s), equanimity (upekkhaa-s).

Suppose you want to start a fire: if you have only wet fuel, if it is windy and rainy, if you sprinkle it with dust, will you be able to start a fire? Those are the wrong conditions to start a fire. Just so, when a mind is agitated it is the wrong time to wake it to enlightenment. A new fire is easily extinguished, but a large fire is not. It is difficult to wake, it is more difficult to wake to enlightenment, but it is even more difficult to extinguish the flame of enlightenment.

And what is the condition for extinguishing agitation, to permit sluggishness to be roused into wakefulness? Mindfulness. Mindfulness is always useful, in every circumstance, whereas the other conditions are only sometimes appropriate.

This fire, producing the light of wakefulness, of Bodhi, is Agni

The purpose of the training - Anguttara Nikaya 11.1

Ananda asked Gotama, what is the purpose of developing skill and strength? What is the purpose of the practice?

The Buddha said, freedom from remorse becomes possible to attain with skill and strength. Joy is possible with freedom from remorse. Peace and love is possible with joy. Serenity is possible with peace and love. Pleasure is possible with serenity. Concentration is possible with pleasure. Understanding - of the Dharma, of things as they actually are, of duty - is possible with pleasure. Disenchantment - freedom from maya - is possible with understanding. Dispassion and rational behavior is possible with disenchantment. Renunciation and release - Sannyasa - is possible with dispassion and rational behavior. This in turn permits freedom from distress, nirvana - the consummation of this arahantship is the achievement of the purpose of Brahmacharya.

Ceasing aggression - the practice of Metta Bhavana

When it is understood that our distress is partially conditioned on external factors, it may be understood that we cause distress to others, as well - and that, partially, the distress we experience from external factors is a result of how we interact with our external world. And how we interact with our external world is partially conditioned on how we interact internally with our self.

It becomes quickly apparent that between the two, it is easier to alter our internal relationship with our self. Yet it simultaneously evident that our relationships have become aggressive in nature. Our aggression with our self, mirrored in our aggression to our world, reflects in the distress we feel from the world, and from ourselves. Altering this basic aggression is a logical first step in relieving our distress.

Cultivating a love, a friendship, with and for our world and ourselves must begin with a cessation of hostility, and a gesture of peace. The cultivation of such benevolence, a practice of metta bhavana, is initiated through cultivating tolerance, which requires skills in patience. This tolerance permits an exercise of permissiveness, a release of the intent to control - a renunciation of the possessiveness, the attachments, which have been injured through the aggression of our self and our world. This, in turn, permits compassion for the former adversary. Compassion permits empathy, and this permits love. Love naturally arises between the self and the world, and by simply not hindering its natural evolution we may come to enjoy the benefits of ceasing aggression, of peace. This is the surest and quickest means to the Brahmaloka.

If you do not sleep easily, if you do not wake easily, if you have evil dreams, if you have enemies (whether human or otherwise), if you desire protection, or have reason to fear injury (whether from fire, poison, weapons or any other means), if you cannot concentrate quickly, if you are confused, then bring an end to your distress, and seek Brahma by such Brahmacharya.

Vishnu Purana 1 - only fools remain angry

When the Sage Parashar's father, Sakti Maharsi, was murdered and eaten by a Rakshasa (demon) named Rudhir. Rudhir had been a human King, but had been transformed into a demon by Vishwamitra. Yet Sage Parashar grew angry at the demons. In his anger, he began to systematically destroy every demon, seeking to rid every world of demons. He lit a great sacrificial fire, and presented as an offering every demon he captured or killed. Soon, the demons feared extinction. The demons asked the help of Sage Parashar's grandfather, Vasishtha, and he agreed he would talk to his grandson.

Grandfather told grandson that too much anger was not good. Not all demons could be blamed for his father's death. He instructed his grandson in the nature of Demons, their place and necessity to the world, and the good things they sometimes did. He explained that in fact, no demon was responsible for his father's death: his father had earned an untimely death by his war with Vishwamitra. His war with Vishwamitra was perpetuated through every world, across all of time, because each combatant sustained their anger against the other. Grandfather told grandson, "a human being naturally gets angry, but only fools remain angry. Sannyasis should not hold on to anything, but should renounce everything. Sannyasis should not hold onto anger. Shun your anger, Sannyasi. Stop your war against innocent demons. Forgive them, and let go of your anger."

Thus convinced by his grandfather's instruction, Sage Parashar extinguished the flame of revenge, stopped his war, and propagated his grandfather's Dharma, teaching anyone the same lesson he himself learned. "A human being always bears the consequences their actions, good and bad. Anger destroys all the results of a Sannyasi's renunciation. This is why Sannyasis shun anger." When he began to teach this, Brahma's son Pulastya arrived on the spot and, presenting him with a copy of the Puranas, and being able to trust him with the knowledge therein, instructed him in it.