Loka Hatha Yoga receives the donation of two statues

We wish to thank K.H. for the donation of Sun Revealer Buddha and Moon Revealer Buddha for the entrance of our shrine.

A statue is used very similarly to a book, or picture: it is a tool of study, practice and teaching.  On a basic level, a statue's yoga pose may be learned by its "demonstration."  On a more subtle level, the symbolism in the art can help a person learn or remember the sutras, lilas, or other shastras associated with the moment depicted - and by reflection, whether undertaken by emulation or by meditation, understand them better.  On an even subtler level, statues can be connected with other statues or drawings, and help demonstrate connections between them.

This art of connection is a form of "temple architecture," the same theory applies to how people, or even different beings, live and work together.

Sun Revealer Buddha and Moon Revealer Buddha are portrayed as "brothers," though both are the Buddha Gotama.  They typically greet someone to a shrine or temple: however, this role of "greeter" is not limited to just these two statues.  Kamadeva and Rati, and numerous other images will sometimes greet someone to a shrine or temple; and sometimes a shrine or temple may not even have Sun Revealer Buddha or Moon Revealer Buddha.  Just as a workman may have a lot of tools, but no two workmen have all the same tools, some statues (tools) are important to particular study, practice or meditation - and there is considerable difference in the individual tools (consider the workman example again - how two hammers may be the same, but also unique).

The study of Temple Architecture indicates which direction to place a statue, or image, within a shrine, and the proper location for every shrine in a Temple, and the location for every being coming together in the Temple at the shrine.  Like an Asana, the perfection of this architecture is difficult, and often requires some modification to the existing situation, structures, landscape, and circumstances.

Samyutta Nikaya 2.10: The Buddha Gotama, seeing Surya (Sun) captured by the Asura Rahu, asked Rahu to free Surya. Gotama said, "Because the Sun desires freedom, Rahu will see the light" Rahu was terrified, and released Surya. Rahu fled to the refuge of Vepacitta, the King of Asuras. Vepacitta asked why Rahu was afraid and let free Surya? Rahu said, if I had not, I would have had no happiness or contentment so long as I lived - and I will live forever.  The truth cannot be hidden.

Samyutta Nikaya 2.09: The Buddha Gotama, seeing Candima (Moon) captured by the Asura Rahu, asked Rahu to free Candima. Gotama said, "Because the Moon desires freedom, Rahu will see the light" Rahu was terrified, and released Candima. Rahu fled to the refuge of Vepacitta, the King of Asuras. Vepacitta asked why Rahu was afraid and let free Candima? Rahu said, if I had not, I would have had no happiness or contentment so long as I lived - and I will live forever.  The truth cannot be hidden.

There was a time when Gotama "revealed" the moon and sun: after an eclipse, these two are "revealed" after being "hidden."  Reflecting on this helps with the understanding that, in fact, these two objects were there all along - just as our own Buddhi is revealed, just as our own Siddhi is revealed, just as our own Riddhi is revealed. We are all already free.  The process of our liberation is an internal one - rather than anything even a Buddha can do for us.  It is the same understanding of how "hidden" or "obscured" or "secret" knowledge is "revealed."  By growing stronger and smarter, we are able to understand more, explore further.

Rahu, too, "sees the light."  By our own actions, we come to understand that we have an interconnectedness to our world.  Our world can strengthen us, or weaken us.  But we can also, by our own interaction with our world, transform our relationship with it - we can help our world strengthen us, or weaken us.  We have the ability to ensure we are happy and content, or prevent our own happiness or contentment.  Truth, by its nature, cannot be hidden - as our own nature cannot be hidden.

Rahu subsequently became the Buddha Gotama's son (you may know him as "Rahula").  The name means "hinderance," or "obscurance" in the sense that an eclipse "hinders" the object that is "obscured."  It expresses, too, a process by which truth is revealed, despite the hindrance or obscurance of our ability to accurately perceive with our senses, or interpret those perceptions, or understand those interpretations.  By logic, we can reveal the truth.

Rahula hindered his father - that was his purpose.  His grandfather, Gotama's father, thought that by encouraging this grandchild, the Buddha would remain in a secular life.  But in reality, seeing Rahula was the catalyst for Gotama's practice which led to enlightenment, and his teaching of this practice.  The challenges we face are often the catalyst for our growth: an eclipse reveals to us the true nature of the sun and moon, and teaches us to trust in the impermanence of things - not only as a cause for distress, but as a reason to hope. For if we can come to understand not only that all things which begin mature and then end, we can come to understand the conditions for that beginning, nurturing and ending, and gain control over them.

A person undertakes Tirtha, a practice of pilgrimage, for such self-growth, self-transformation; it is appropriate they are greeted by Sun Revealer and Moon Revealer.  Ultimately, such a pilgrim may come to understand the true nature of Temple practice, the truest nature of space: space is no different than time, or action.  It is how we practice that matters as much as where, or when.

Before these two statues were donated to our Shrine, Sun Revealer was placed on a kitchen countertop to greet anyone who came to visit, revealing the Buddhist practices of the proud owner; Moon Revealer similarly welcomed people at the door.  This was appropriate, as the former owner did not undertake a temple practice, or make a shrine.  However, because we maintain a shrine, we have placed them facing the entry of the shrine, to greet anyone who visits it.

K.H. cannot physically carry these statues where he is going.  His laying down of this - and other - burdens exemplifies the perfection of his practice.  When a person is able to know when to take up rules of practice and know when let them go, they have gained mastery over the practice.  It is not necessary to carry sunlight or moonlight on a distant journey - and the Dharma, even if forgotten, can be re-learned.  We wish him well on his journey.