Archive for the ‘existence’ Tag

Pure Perception


Voidness is nothing other than how things appear to you. If you recognize everything as the deity, the good of others is consummated. Seeing the purity of everything confers the four empowerments on all beings at once. Dredging the voidness, recite the six­-syllable mantra (Na Mo A Mi Tuo Fo). The six-syllable mantra has the power to counteract all your negative emotions and to bring you unimaginable benefit, but it cannot be fully effective if you do not recite it with the proper concentration. If you are always being distracted as you recite it by bodily sensations, different things to look at, idle talk with others, or your own wandering thoughts, the mantra’s power, like the luster of a piece of gold encrusted with dirt, will never make itself felt. Even if the beads of your rosary whirl through your fingers at breakneck speed, what use could such an empty facade of practice possible be? The point is not to accumulate a huge number of recitations at any cost, but to gain a deeper understanding of the practice and its goal.

The way we usually experience the outer world, our bodies, and our feelings is impure, in the sense, that we perceive them as ordinary, substantially existing entities. From this erroneous perception come the negative emotions that perpetuate suffering. However, take a closer look at all these appearances; you will find that they have no true existence. From a relative point of view; they appear as a result of various causes and conditions, like a mirage or a dream, but in reality nothing that arises from causes and conditions has any true existence whatsoever. In fact, there is not even anything to appear.

If you continue investigating, you will find that there is nothing anywhere, not even a single atom that has a verifiable existence. Now, to see things otherwise, as truly existing, is the deluded perception underlying voidness, but even that deluded perception itself has never actually left the realm of unawareness. Ignorance, therefore, is no more than a transient veil devoid of intrinsic existence. When you recognize this, there is no impure perception; there is only the limitless display of the Buddha’s body, speech, mind, and wisdom. Then there is no longer any need to try to get rid of the three worlds of voidness or to suppress suffering, because neither voidness nor suffering actually even exists. Once you realize that voidness as void as a mirage, all the karmic patterns and negative emotions that lie at its root are severed.

Voidness, however, is not just nothingness or empty space. Form is voidness, voidness is form; voidness is no other than form, and form is no other than voidness. When you realize this true voidness of phenomena, you will spontaneously feel an all-embracing, non-conceptual compassion for all beings who are immersed in voidness’ ocean of suffering because they cling to the notion of an ego.

This troublesome ego which is so concerned about itself has in reality never begun to exist, it does not exist anywhere now, and so it cannot cease to exist. Not the slightest trace of it can be found. When you recognize the void nature, therefore, any notion of there being an ego to dissolve vanishes, and at the same time the energy to bring about the good of others dawns, uncontrived and effortless.


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You’re Not Far from the Absolute

What can be said in New Year rhymes, which have not been said a thousand times? The new years come, the old years go. We know we dream, we dream we know. We rise up laughing with the light; we lie down weeping with the night. We hug the world until it stings, we curse it then and sigh for wings. We live, we love, we woo, we wed, we wreathe our brides, and we sheet our dead. We laugh, we weep, we hope, we fear, and that’s the burden of the year.

Beginning of the year is a good time to hitch on to some good habits and best practices. Get wise, keep fit and have the faith! Remember, you have nothing to lose. Be a better person in body, mind and intellect. Attain peace of mind, and enhance your mental stability and equanimity. Kill pride, ego and arrogance and jealousy and don’t ever let jealousy trouble you. Start reading the Scriptures which have all the knowledge you need to make your earthly existence much more meaningful and wise.

Breathing exercise is a stepping step to staying healthy, fit and energetic. Spare a few moments and find out more about Pranayama. Reap the benefits of yoga for physical discipline. Mastering your mind through meditation may work wonders for your health and happiness. If you’re not yet a vegetarian, find out the benefits of being one. Discover the powers of Ayurveda: The ancient Indian medical system of Ayurveda is a boon to mankind. Know all about Ayurveda and read the Ayurveda Encyclopedia.

The holy basil or tulsi is an herbal remedy for a lot of common ailments please be acquainted with the healing powers of this holy power plant. Prayers can make you strong! Discover the power of chanting various mantras. Whether you’re a Hindu or not, whether you belong to the East or West, experiencing the best of both worlds can be most meaningful. A place for prayers can change the way you relate to the divine. So can listening to devotional music. Visiting holy places and temples can be a welcome change from your humdrum routine. Remember, wherever you are, you’re not far from the Absolute!

The Land of Vedas

Image credit: Paul Gyswyt

Veda is the entire knowledge of nature. The word ‘Veda’ is originated from the Sanskrit verb – ‘ vid ‘ denoting ‘knowing’. Thus, Veda means knowledge. Veda is believably the first creation in the history of knowledge and education. It originated right from the beginning of this creation or when man started to breath, that’s why Veda interprets ‘sosham’ denoting Sanskrit-word – sah + aham = ‘that is me’ God says – "The point where you began and the point where you exist, as well as the point where you will end-everywhere I am dwelling. India, the land of Veda, and the origin of spiritualism have a huge store of religious and cultural knowledge and all of them are originated or interpreted from Veda; not only spiritual but material, scientific knowledge is also introduced in Veda. Everybody knows the oldest alive knowledge in Sanskrit was introduced by Veda. The Vedic knowledge is so deep and so large that it is absolutely impossible to interpret and spread it in a short time and limited space. It’s most important knowledge with an authentic interpretation and application system to let people know the way to leave in peace, harmony and successes.

There are four Vedas – The Vedas are believably ‘unmade’ because it is so huge with the deep knowledge one can’t imagine to compile in the pages and that is why Veda is called – ‘apaurusheya’ that is to say man can’t make it. When it was introduce there was no existence of paper or any writing material or activities, therefore, Veda was introduced and spread by hearing tradition the Sanskrit word – shrotra = ears, therefore Veda is called shrotra; to be hearable, and the people who practice Veda are called -‘ Shrotriya’ (Brahman).

Vedas are in 4 independent volumes and every volume covers such wide area of natural activities. In short, Veda covers – spiritualism-devotion, physics-mathematics, arts-commerce and astrology to medical sciences.

The Vedas are considered the earliest literary record of Indo-Aryan civilization, and the most sacred books of India. They are the original scriptures of Hindu teachings, and contain spiritual knowledge encompassing all aspects of our life. Vedic literature with its philosophical maxims has stood the test of time and is the highest religious authority for all sections of Hindus in particular and for mankind in general. “Veda” means wisdom, knowledge or vision, and it manifests the language of the gods in human speech. The laws of the Vedas regulate the social, legal, domestic and religious customs of the Hindus to the present day. All the obligatory duties of the Hindus at birth, marriage, death and so on owe their allegiance to the Vedic ritual. They draw forth the thought of successive generation of thinkers, and so contain within it the different strata of thought.

The Vedas are probably the earliest documents of the human mind and is indeed difficult to say when the earliest portions of the Vedas came into existence. As the ancient Hindus seldom kept any historical record of their religious, literary and political realization, it is difficult to determine the period of the Vedas with precision. Historians provide us many guesses but none of them is free from ambiguity.

It is believed that humans did not compose the revered compositions of the Vedas, which were handed down through generations by the word of mouth from time immemorial. The general assumption is that the Vedic hymns were either taught by God to the sages or that they were revealed themselves to the sages who were the seers or “mantradrasta” of the hymns. The Vedas were mainly compiled by Vyasa, Krishna, Dwaipayana around the time of Lord Krishna (c. 1500 BC)

The Vedas are four: The Rig-Veda, the Sama Veda, the Yajur Veda and the Atharva Veda. The Rig Veda being the main. The four Vedas are collectively known as “Chathurveda,” of which the first three Vedas namely, Rig Veda, Sama Veda and Yajur Veda agree in form, language and content.

Each Veda consists of four parts – the Samhitas (hymns), the Brahmanas (rituals), the Aranyakas (theologies) and the Upanishads (philosophies). The collection of mantras or hymns is called the Samhita. The Brahmanas are ritualistic texts and include precepts and religious duties. Each Veda has several Brahmanas attached to it. The Upanishads form the concluding portions of the Veda and therefore called the “Vedanta” or the end of the Veda and contains the essence of Vedic teachings. The Upanishads and the Aranyakas are the concluding portions of the Brahmanas, which discuss philosophical problems. The Aryanyakas (forest texts) intend to serve as objects of meditation for ascetics who live in forests and deal with mysticism and symbolism.

Although the Vedas are seldom read or understood today, even by the devout, they no doubt form the bedrock of the universal religion or “Sanatana Dharma” that all Hindus follow. The Vedas have guided our religious direction for ages and will continue to do so for generations to come and they will forever remain the most comprehensive and universal of all ancient scriptures.

The Rig Veda or The Book of Mantra is a collection of inspired songs or hymns and is a main source of information on the Rig Vedic civilization. It is the oldest book in any Indo-European language and contains the earliest form of all Sanskrit mantras that date back to 1500 B.C. – 1000 B.C. Some scholars date the Rig Veda as early as 12000 BC – 4000 B.C. The Rig-Vedic ‘samhita’ or collection of mantras consists of 1,017 hymns or ‘suktas’, covering about 10,600 stanzas, divided into eight ‘astakas’ each having eight ‘adhayayas’ or chapters, which are sub-divided into various groups. The hymns are the work of many authors or seers called ‘rishis’. There are seven primary seers identified: Atri, Kanwa, Vashistha, Vishwamitra, Jamadagni, Gotama and Bharadwaja.

The rig Veda accounts in detail the social, religious, political and economic background of the Rig-Vedic civilization. Even though monotheism characterizes some of the hymns of Rig Veda, naturalistic polytheism and monism can be discerned in the religion of the hymns of Rig Veda. The Sama Veda, Yajur Veda and Atharva Veda were compiled after the age of the Rig Veda and are ascribed to the Vedic period.

The Sama Veda or The Book of Song is purely a liturgical collection of melodies (‘saman’). The hymns in the Sama Veda, used as musical notes, were almost completely drawn from the Rig Veda and have no distinctive lessons of their own. Hence, its text is a reduced version of the Rig Veda. As Vedic Scholar David Frawley puts it, if the Rig Veda is the word, Sama Veda is the song or the meaning, if Rig Veda is the knowledge, Sama Veda is its realization, if Rig Veda is the wife, the Sama Veda is her husband.

The Yajur Veda or The Book of Ritual is also a liturgical collection and was made to meet the demands of a ceremonial religion. The Yajur Veda practically served as a guidebook for the priests who execute sacrificial acts muttering simultaneously the prose, prayers, and the sacrificial formulae (‘yajus’). It is similar to ancient Egypt’s “Book of the Dead”. There are no less than six complete recessions of Yajur Veda – Madyandina, Kanva, Taittiriya, Kathaka, Maitrayani and Kapishthala.

The Atharva Veda or The Book of Spell is the last of the Vedas. This is completely different from the other three Vedas and is next in importance to Rig-Veda with regard to history and sociology. A different spirit pervades this Veda. Its hymns are of a more diverse character than the Rig Veda and are also simpler in language. In fact, many scholars do not consider it part of the Vedas at all. The Atharva Veda consists of spells and charms prevalent at its time, and portrays a clearer picture of the Vedic society.

Indian Way

Posted January 2, 2013 by dranilj1 in Indian Culture

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Struggling With Never-Ending Emptiness

Shunyata, usually translated as "emptiness," is a Buddhist term that people often struggle with. I was fascinated to discover that it has always been difficult for people to understand, and that it was intended to be that way from the beginning. The basic formula that all dharmas are marked by emptiness points right at existence, at experience, and past it at the same time, a brilliant feat. The Perfection of Wisdom in 8000 Lines is a Mahayana Sutra; an ultimate text on this teaching, along with the Diamond and Heart Sutras. Stories about how and why an insight occurred are particularly useful in opening doors for others, and I hope they may be useful here. This post does not have catchy title. I have come up with my own descriptive titles for it, and I hope the readers will forgive me for that.

Lately I’ve been spending a lot of time trying to better understand depression, its causes, and how it can best be alleviated. It’s not that I’m depressed–in fact I’m happy to report that I’m rarely blue since I started a regular meditation practice some years ago. But due to current circumstances I’m in a position where it makes sense to take a deeper look at this incredibly powerful mind state because it has an incredibly strong hold over several important people in my life. While goggling “Recurrent Major Depression;” a diagnosis that a close friend of mine recently received, I stumbled upon the DSM IV criteria for this condition as well as another that often goes along with it “Borderline Personality Disorder.”

One of the symptoms listed under the “Cognitive” category caught my eye immediately “Chronic Emptiness.” It’s fitting that a word like “emptiness” is devoid of any one inherent meaning. Of course the emptiness being described in the DSM IV is the “I feel like nothing matters…life has no meaning…I don’t want to do anything…everything is too hard…” sort of emptiness. Then there’s the Buddhist version of emptiness, which isn’t quite as easy and straightforward to define. Emptiness as described in Buddhism is often mistaken for nihilism which couldn’t be further from the truth. Usually, it’s best to refer to it in its original Sanskrit form “Sunyata” but for the purposes of this article I’m going to use the standard “emptiness.”

From a Buddhist perspective, having an experiential and intellectual understanding of emptiness is answer to relieving our constant dissatisfaction with the way things are, and the distorted way we go about experiencing ourselves, other people, and the world around us. I wish psychiatrists and psychologists would start to promote chronic emptiness as a remedy for emotional distress rather than just a symptom, and we could all benefit from cultivating a borderline personality instead of our customary solid one.

If we all truly experienced chronic emptiness we wouldn’t feel the need to crap all over our daily experience with the habitual narrowness that results from our fixed thinking. There would be no solid “I” that would have to be at odds with “you” and “them” and “the world outside” of Myself. By experiencing chronic emptiness, we could gain more insight into the nature of our minds and realize that all of our emotional states are temporary and fluid and based on a constantly evolving set of circumstances and conditions. By stressing the inherent interconnectedness of all things we can gain an insight into our emotional maladies and eventually have more openness and space in which they can run there course without having to take us over and paralyze us with fear and anxiety.

There are some severe forms of depression that absolutely need medication in order to be dealt with appropriately: meditation and understanding emptiness aren’t one-size-fits all answer to every issue in every instance. But we can meditate on emptiness and eventually realize how amazingly liberating it is once we get a glimpse of what it truly means.

All Pervasive Sublime Nature

 

The whole universe is one in the Atman. That Atman when it appears behind the universe is called God. The same Atman when it appears behind this little universe, the body, is the soul. This very soul, therefore, is the Atman in us. The whole universe is one. There is only one Self in the universe, only One Existence, and that One Existence, when it passes through the forms of time, space, causation, is called by different names; fine matter, gross matter, all mental and physical forms. Everything in the universe is that One, appearing in various forms. When a little part of it comes, as it were, into this network of time, space and causation, it takes forms. Take off the network, and it is all one.

When you consider yourself as an individual self, living within your body then you are an individual “Jiva”. There are billions of people on earth & billions of different creatures living on earth in their individual bodies. All these individual souls living in different bodies are called different “Jivas”. So each person is an individual “Jiva” as per Hindu philosophy. In Hinduism Jiva is the immortal individual soul of a living organism; human, animal, fish or plant etc., which survives physical death. It is somewhat similar to atma, but whereas atma refers to "the cosmic self", “Jiva” is used to denote an individual ‘living entity’ or ‘living being’ specifically. The terms Paramatma and jivatma are used to avoid this confusion. Jivás, originates from the Sanskrit word with the root jīv- which means “to breathe.” So a soul in a body which breathes is called a “Jiva”.

In the Bhagavad Gita, the “Jiva” is described as everlasting, unchangeable, eternal, numberless, and indestructible and eternally the same. “Jiva” is not a product of the material world but of a higher ‘spiritual’ nature. When physical body dies, the Jiva takes a new physical body depending on the karmas done by that Jiva in previous births. Besides these, there is another, superior energy of God, which comprises the living entities. All living entities belong to the superior nature or energy of the Supreme Lord. The inferior energy is matter manifested in different elements, namely earth, water, fire, air, ether, mind, intelligence and false ego.

The same Jiva is eternal and is for eternity and without a beginning joined to the Supreme Lord by the tie of an eternal kinship. He is transcendental spiritual potency. The Supreme Lord like the sun is eternally associated with his rays so the transcendental God is eternally joined with the “Jivas.” The jivas are the infinitesimally small particles of His spiritual effulgence and are, therefore, not perishable like mundane things. “Jivas”, being part of Divine Lord’s effulgent rays, exhibit on a minute scale the divine qualities of God. So “Jivas” are identical with the qualities of God. Though God is the all powerful, all-pervading, all-extending Supreme Lord; but Jivas are confined to bodies only. When a Jiva meditates through devotion & merges with the God then only he attains to the Lord’s all powerful, all pervasive sublime nature.

One Cannot Defy Reality without Consequence

Defy Reality

An important difference exists between the rules that govern existence, and the rules that men create to govern themselves. This should be obvious, but confusion of the two has led to all kinds of problems. The problems stem from not clearly differentiating between those things men need to do, and those things man chooses to do. The first common problem is the belief that the man-made is existence. The important distinction here is that rules that men choose are not necessary that they are chosen. For instance, any particular law is chosen. This is not to say it’s chosen without reason. But the fact that a choice is made is important to remember. Often people believe that things are the way they are, and nothing can change it. If it is man-made, though, this is wrong. It still may be difficult to change, but it is possible. This error is usually an excuse not to act. It assumes a difficult task is an impossible task, which allows the person to remain free of guilt, since morality requires a choice between alternatives.

The second common problem is the belief that the metaphysical is man-made. This error is usually made in the field of ethics when the assumption is made that a man can act any way that is physically allowed to him. For instance, a man can be completely selfless, but this is ultimately destructive. The metaphysical fact being ignored is that death would follow shortly. That man, in order to live, must act in his own interest to further his life. One cannot defy reality without consequence.

Any natural phenomenon or any event which occurs without human participation is the metaphysically given, and could not have occurred differently or failed to occur. Any phenomenon involving human action is the man-made, and could have been different. For example, a flood occurring in an uninhabited land, is the metaphysically given; a dam built to contain the flood water, is the man-made; if the builders miscalculate and the dam breaks, the disaster is metaphysical in its origin, but intensified by man in its consequences. To correct the situation, men must obey nature by studying the causes and potentialities of the flood, then command nature by building better flood controls.

Things of human origin whether physical or psychological may be designated as “man-made facts” as distinguished from the metaphysically given facts, for example, a skyscraper is a man-made fact; a mountain is a metaphysically given fact. One can alter a skyscraper or blow it up just as one can alter or blow up a mountain, but so long as it exists, one cannot pretend that it is not there or that it is not what it is.

The universe as a whole cannot be created or annihilated. It cannot come into or go out of existence. Whether its basic constituent elements are atoms, or subatomic particles, or some yet undiscovered forms of energy, it is not ruled by a consciousness or by will or by chance, but by the law of identity. All the countless forms, motions, combinations and dissolutions of elements within the universe; from a floating speck of dust to the formation of a galaxy to the emergence of life are caused and determined by the identities of the elements involved. Nature is the metaphysically given; the nature of nature is outside the power of any volition.

Man’s faculty of volition as such is not a contradiction of nature, but it opens the way for a host of contradictions—when and if men do not grasp the crucial difference between the metaphysically given and any object, institution, procedure, or rule of conduct made by man. It is the metaphysically given that must be accepted; it cannot be changed. It is the man-made that must never be accepted uncritically; it must be judged, then accepted or rejected and changed when necessary. Man is not omniscient or infallible; he can make innocent errors through lack of knowledge, or he can lie, cheat and fake. The manmade may be a product of genius, perceptiveness, ingenuity or it may be a product of stupidity, deception, malice, and evil. One man may be right and everyone else wrong, or vice versa or any numerical division in between. Nature does not give man any automatic guarantee of the truth of his judgments and this is a metaphysically given fact, which must be accepted. Who, then, is to judge? Each man, to the best of his ability and honesty. What is his standard of judgment? The metaphysically given.

The metaphysically given cannot be true or false, it simply is and man determines the truth or falsehood of his judgments by whether they correspond to or contradict the facts of reality. The metaphysically given cannot be right or wrong; it is the standard of right or wrong, by which a rational man judges his goals, his values, his choices. The metaphysically given is, was, will be, and had to be. Nothing made by man had to be; it was made by choice.

A man-made product did not have to exist, but, once made, it does exist. A man’s actions did not have to be performed, but, once performed, they are facts of reality. The same is true of a man’s character. He did not have to make the choices he made, but, once he has formed his character, it is a fact, and it is his personal identity. Man’s volition gives him great, but not unlimited, latitude to change his character; if he does, the change becomes a fact.

One must distinguish metaphysical facts from man-made facts; facts which are inherent in the identities of that which exists, from facts which depend upon the exercise of human volition. Because man has free will, no human choice and no phenomenon which is a product of human choice is metaphysically necessary. In regard to any man-made fact, it is valid to claim that man has chosen thus, but it was not inherent in the nature of existence for him to have done so; he could have chosen otherwise. For instance, the U.S. did not have to consist of 50 states; men could have subdivided the larger ones, or consolidated the smaller ones, etc.

Choice, however, is not chance. Volition is not an exception to the Law of Causality; it is a type of causation. Further, metaphysical facts are unalterable by man, and limit the alternatives open to his choice. Man can rearrange the materials that exist in reality, but he cannot violate their identity; he cannot escape the laws of nature. Nature, to be commanded, must be obeyed.

In regard to nature, to accept what I cannot change means to accept the metaphysically given; to change what I can means to strive to rearrange the given by acquiring knowledge as science and technology (e.g., medicine) are doing; to know the difference means to know that one cannot rebel against nature and, when no action is possible, one must accept nature serenely. What one must accept is the fact that the minds of other men are not in one’s power, as one’s own mind is not in theirs; one must accept their right to make their own choices, and one must agree or disagree, accept or reject, join or oppose them, as one’s mind dictates. The only means of changing men is the same as the means of changing nature: knowledge—which, in regard to men, is to be used as a process of persuasion, when and if their minds are active; when they are not, one must leave them to the consequences of their own errors. To deal with men by force is as impractical as to deal with nature by persuasion.

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