Learn about Hinduism and Buddhism
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One sacrifice ends, and another begins; one Asana is held, only to be followed by another. Standing, we sit, then sitting we stand. We go to the shrine, and return home, and go to work, and return, and go play. There is perpetuity, and cyclicality in all things. Such perpetuity is a means by which to understand what is beyond eternal, and permanent: the nature of change itself subtly changes as time begins and ends - and we understand that the time has not yet begun, nor ended. Beyond time, beyond space, beyond duty, beyond the conditioned and co-conditioned, there is that which is non-conditioned and un-conditioned. There we find true Dharma.
This understanding was applied by Rama to the development of Ashramic practice: there are stages, or rest stops, in every pilgrimage. And life itself is such a journey through time. When we have traveled far enough, we must rest: rest, Asana, is the means by which we "occupy" the path which has been conquered, and prepare to begin another stage. Parashurama showed that even varna may be taken up and laid down as our nature evolves cyclically. Krishna showed that the conscious growth in a moment of pause is valuable. The Buddha and Kalki advanced ashramic practice further.
There are at present understood to be at least four major stages to any journey: Brahmacharya, Grihastha, Vanaprastha and Sannyasa. There are many minor stages. These stage are typically sequential, but the Buddha taught a training by which one may free one's self of the sequentiality of these stages - and all of time. One may, through this Yoga, choose the time and place for a particular duty, or perform a particular duty at any time and place. Such self-control is achieved through a combination of Jnana, Hatha, Bhakti and Karma Yoga. Kalki instructed in the means by which the Yogi may release control of time and place. To briefly summarize, at any given Asana, rest, between stages, the self, identity (often mistranslated as soul, or god), is wielded as a tool using Maya to shape our basic instincts and nature, to consciously alter our Dharma. This Dharma is then itself placed on the altar for sacrifice and utterly given up in the self-sacrifice.
One of these most basic instincts which is shaped is that of belief and believing, and the religiosity and other insanity which results from belief. When it is understood that we need not remain without gods, but may create them as our need requires, or even become such a supreme being, there is no limit to our ability. But this requires understanding the very nature of our gods, and a firm grounding in Vedic theory. The practice when performed by experts has in the past resulted in dramatic revolutions in the practice of Yoga, most recently the development of Ganesh during the expulsion of the British from India. In America, it has and will continue to be used to manifest Shambhala, and bring a successful end to the Buddhist Yoga of Gotama.
We must journey beyond theism, beyond atheism, beyond non-theism, far beyond what is beyond these if we are to truly understand the nature and purpose of our practice. The means of this journey is sacrifice: it is only by giving up, using up, sharing and other acts of sacrifice that we will find the limits of belief, and probing it, discover how to break through. Through sacrifice, the purpose, the end, of sacrifices is found. Sacrificing is sacrificed. We must sacrifice our sacrificing.
We must not be afraid to leave our refuge, our island in the flood, our little area of light in the darkness. Give up all you hold onto and bravely enter the water: you have rested long enough to continue your journey, and the path resumes on the far shore. Far beyond your religiosity and gods. Far beyond your atheism. Far beyond your non-theism. We cannot remain where we are in any case, for that refuge is impermanent, and whether we choose to let go or not, we will be forced from it. The only safety is in growing strong enough to not require it. All our monastic practices, our dogma and religion, our doubts and faith - these are unnecessary and heavy baggage. Beyond the far shore the path is not easy to follow, and even disappears from time to time. What will you do in that unfamiliar wilderness with no path to guide you - if you do not know where it is you are going?
Look for the Sangha, and if you have lost your companions, look for your teachers and heroes; if you have lost their banners too, then remember the Dharma: know the purpose of your training. You will accomplish your goal: even if you are lost, and remember the direction you are travelling, you may yet find your way.
Understand the five skandhas as empty, and this emptiness as the form of form, if you would cross beyond your present difficulty. Form does not differ from the void and the void does not differ from form. Form is void and void is form. The same is true for feelings, perceptions, imagination and consciousness. Understand delusion, the characteristics of the void. See all Dharmas are non-arising, non-ceasing, non-defiled, non-pure, non-increasing, non-decreasing. In the void there are no forms, no feelings, perceptions, imagination or consciousness. There is no eye, no ear, no nose, no tongue, no body or mind, there is no form, no sound, no smell, no taste, no touch or even imagination. There is no realm the eye can see until we come to the non-realm of consciousness. There is no ignorance, also no ending of ignorance until we come to the end of old age and the end of death. Until we come to eternal old age and eternal death. There is no truth in suffering – truly we do not suffer! Because there is no beginning of suffering, there is no end of suffering, nor a path, because there is no path, there is no knowledge, there is no gaining of enlightenment, only the destruction of obstructions.
Om gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi svaha.