Upayana Ceremony 2016 - recognizing Teachers

The Buddha Gotama is honored by numerous mantras, but himself practiced and encouraged the Gayatri Mantra.

The Gayatri Mantra was at the time (and remains) used primarily in the Upayana, a ritual marking the beginning or initiation of the Ashrama of Brahmacharya, the point at which a Brahman first begins study of the Vedas. The mantra itself is from the Rig Veda (Mandala 3.62.10), dedicated to Savitr, the Sun deity. The name Gayatri refers to the meter in which the mantra is composed. But at Gotama's time, the ritual was limited only to males, and those borne into the Brahman caste.

Gotama taught that it is not by birth that one joins the Brahman caste. In the Theragatha 12.2, it is remembered Gotama taught "it is not by birth that one is a high caste, a supreme man, a Brahman, praised by Indra and Brahma. Through self-control and righteousness one becomes a better person." Gotama also taught the equality of women, and promoted them to the leadership of his sangha. In teaching the Gayatri Mantra, the Buddha Gotama was encouraging everyone to initiate their Ashramic practice of Brahmacharya.

The ordination of Gotama's stepmother, Gotami is recalled in the Anguttara Nikaya 8.53. Shortly after Gotama's enlightenment, his stepmother was encouraged by his teachings on female equality and sought ordination as the first nun. To her surprise, Gotama refused, and then left for Vesali. Nevertheless, her convictions led her to adopt the practices of training prescribed for monks, cut off her hair - and she led many women to do the same. En masse, they followed the Buddha Gotama to Vesali, and together again asked ordination. They were all refused.

Ananada, together with all the other monks and householders gathered there were disturbed at this apparent contradiction in the Buddha's teachings and actions. Ananda asked, "Sir, are women capable of attaining enlightenment?" "They are, Ananda," said the Buddha. "If that is so, Sir, it would be good if women could be allowed to join the Sangha, and even ordained as nuns. It would be good if Gotami would be allowed to join the Sangha and become ordained as a nun."

Gotama again refused, but explained himself: "Ananda, I cannot allow Mahapajapati Gotami to join the Sangha or become a nun, for she already has joined the Sangha and became a nun. She only must now only perfect her training." Gotami had joined the Sangha as a nun even before she cut off her hair.

When Gotami heard this, she was encouraged. Gotami she asked her stepson to teach her the Dharma in brief.

Gotama again refused her. He said to her, “but Gotami, you already know the Dharma, the Vinaya, my instructions? You know some things lead to the cessation of suffering, you know to seek dispassion, disattachment, modesty, contentment, disentaglement, seclusion, persistence, unburdening ..."

We must recognize not only that it is not by birth that a person becomes a Brahman, but must also recognize when a person has understood what the training teaches and entered into the Ashramic practice. Such a person has not completed the purpose of their training, but has become capable of attaining the goals of training: ending their suffering, gaining enlightenment, and perfection; such a person will one day manifest Buddhi, Siddhi - and Riddhi. Such a person is capable of Teaching what they have learned - and learning what others would teach.

Today, it is our very great honor at Loka Hatha Yoga to recognize and honor these teachers: Gary "TwoHorse" Green, Deepak Morris and Eloy Oliveira.  Their teachings are already available through Loka Hatha Yoga Publications, in book and youtube formats.

DEEPAK MORRIS

Let it be known that the Teacher of Yoga Deepak Morris is specially commended for his efforts in the Publications Division and on Facebook. The anonymous, selfless service which is so important to the perfection of Yoga and to Deepak Morris has revealed – beyond his ability to disguise – his true nature. His continued leadership in Loka Hatha Yoga, especially the Publications Division, is invaluable.

He has by remarkable strength of heart broken the distress arising from materialism and addiction – and has helped others similarly liberate themselves. He has bravely defended the civil and human rights of women, and those of religious minorities – and all those who face unfair disadvantage in opposition. His courage in the face of fear is inspirational, and has resulted in preventing distress. It is remarkable that he is almost entirely without fear. He has admirably and selflessly devoted himself to the care of his family, the worship of his God, the empowerment of children, and the support of his community. His nature is motivated toward friendship and harmony – and loyalty. The easy success he obtains demonstrates a profound mastery of Jnana, Bhakti and Karma Yoga. He understands of the origin, nature and cessation of suffering – and has been able to translate this understanding so everyone might similarly comprehend the importance of enjoying life and loving each other. His numerous victories inspire faith in the belief that suffering can be ended, and in the Dharma required to end that suffering.

Deepak Morris’s unceasing selfless work is an example of perfected Karma Yoga. His acts of love inspire true love in others. He has inspired joy in work and duty. His lessons on how to enjoy life have permitted greater awareness. He has excelled in the written and performance arts by understanding the arts through devotion to them. He is a modern Rishi of uncommon eloquence and urgent necessity.

Therefore, honor is bestowed upon Deepak Morris: he is an exemplary student of Yoga. There is reason to believe Deepak Morris will eventually fulfill his highest vows and perfect his practice of Loka Hatha Yoga.

GARY "TWO HORSE" GREEN

Let it be known that the Teacher of Yoga Gary Green is specially commended for his efforts in the Publications Division, on his blog and on Facebook. The selfless and anonymous service which is so important to the perfection of Yoga and to Gary Green has revealed – beyond his ability to disguise – his true nature. His continued leadership in Loka Hatha Yoga, especially the Publications Division, is invaluable.

He effectively demonstrated his ability to teach that distress and suffering arises from karma, unskillful acts of body, mind and heart, desire and aversion, aggression and ignorance – and the means of bringing cessation to that suffering so as to inspire confidence in the Dharma. He has revealed the goodness in every being through Pujas of loving devotions of Bhakti Yoga. He has pioneered a means to teach trust in a Sangha of Teachers through exemplary performance of his Lower Vows. He is motivated by his compassion for ignorance, and has already diligently worked to perform his vow to end all prejudices, preconceptions and unconscious habits. He has similarly demonstrated a vigorous effort to accomplish his higher vows by developing friendship between enemies, respect of opponents, a sense of fellowship in the struggle against ignorance. By remarkable strength of will, he has broken the distress of addiction and has by this victory inspired others toward sobriety.

His numerous anonymous compassionate acts of Karma Yoga, in his community and online on Facebook, especially for animals, vastly extends the compassion of the Sangha’s harmony and unity to those in distress and protected numerous beings from distress. He has inspired compassion for animals, and awareness of their sentience. His demonstration of logic in understanding the co-arising nature of culture through nursery rhyme and his demonstration of how fear results in anger especially demonstrated excellence in Jnana Yoga. He has broken down anger, and conquered insobriety. His continual anonymous efforts to ensure respect for all venerated objects, especially the flags of opponents, has been an uncommonly courageous act of Yoga.

Therefore, honor is bestowed upon Gary Green: he is an exemplary student of Yoga. There is reason to believe Gary Green will eventually fulfill his highest vows and perfect his practice of Loka Hatha Yoga.

ELOY OLIVEIRA

Let it be known that the Yogi Eloy Oliveira is specially commended for his efforts on Youtube and on Facebook. The anonymous, selfless service which is so important to the perfection of Yoga and to Eloy Oliveira has revealed – beyond his ability to disguise – his true nature. His continued leadership in Loka Hatha Yoga is invaluable. He has by a remarkable strength of heart broken the distress of isolation, powerlessness and ignorance, and has by his music helped others similarly liberate themselves. By developing profound understanding of his art, he has bravely asserted the human rights to love and joy through music, developing through music an understanding of the past, present and future, and by such a connection through time to ancestral melodies hope and vision for the future. He has utterly broken the distress of materialism, and his advocacy for the arts and artists is inspirational. By profound acts of Bhakti Yoga and Sraddha, he has awakened others to the sentience of animals, and advocated for their humane treatment. He has lovingly devoted himself to his family and ancestors, and in doing so laid foundation for a better future in all the world. The well intentioned goals of loving kindness, and easy success he obtains for his goals through music demonstrates a profound mastery of Jnana, Bhakti and Karma Yoga. He understands of the origin, nature and cessation of suffering – and has been able to translate this understanding so everyone might similarly comprehend the importance of enjoying life and loving each other. His numerous victories inspire faith in the belief that suffering can be ended, and in the Dharma required to end that suffering; he is the very embodiment of friendship and goodwill. His council and assistance in the promotion of charity, selfless work, and Loka Hatha Yoga has been invaluable.

Eloy Oliveira’s tireless selfless and often anonymous work is an example of perfected Karma Yoga. His acts of love inspire true love in others. He has inspired joy in work and duty. His lessons on how to enjoy life have permitted greater awareness. He has excelled in the performance arts by understanding the arts through devotion to them. We recognize him as a Rishi.

Therefore, honor is bestowed upon Eloy Oliviera: he is an exemplary Teacher of Yoga. There is reason to believe Eloy Oliveira will eventually perfect Loka Hatha Yoga.