A wise person is one who, having accurately analyzed all actions of body, speech, and mind, always acts for the benefit of self and others. - Nagarjuna, Ratnavali 1:7
This is a quote from a very important scripture in Buddhism called Ratnavali, or The Precious Garland. The full Sanskrit title is Rajaparikatharatnamala. and it comes from the Madhyamaka (माध्यमक) School, which was founded many centuries ago by Nagarjuna in India, although he said it was actually founded by the Buddha Shakyamuni.
Nagarjuna was a great master in Indian Buddhism, primarily known for his mastery explaining the doctrine of the Buddha, specifically related to the most profound aspect of Buddhism, which is Sunyata, or the emptiness, what we incall the Absolute. His school was called Madhyamaka, which means "middle way," because his philosophy focuses on conscious comprehension of the Absolute or Emptiness, the primordial state of everything, which is neither existence nor non-existence, it is, rather, "in the middle." Conscious comprehension of the Absolute does not fall into extreme views to one side or the other, that is, that there is existence (eternalism) or there is no existence (nihilism); thus, Nagarjuna's philosophy is the "middle way."
The name Nagarjuna is very interesting. It means, “King of Nagas.” A naga is a serpent. All the great masters from all traditions have always called themselves serpents, such as Quetzalcoatl, Wotan. Even Jesus said,
...be ye therefore wise as serpents... - Matthew 10:16
Nagarjuna was a "king of serpents."
This famous scripture was written as a letter to a student, who happened to be a king.
A wise person is one who, having accurately analyzed all actions of body, speech, and mind, always acts for the benefit of self and others.
This passage summarizes Buddhism, Bodhichitta (Tibetan jang chub sem)., and any genuine religion, any true path to the Divine. To return back to our divine root, we have to embody that divinity; we have to become a perfect vessel of that divine force, which in different religions is known by different names. The Christians call it . The Aztecs called it Quetzalcoatl. The Buddhists have many names for that essential force of divinity that lies at the basis of all existence. The most fundamental name that they have is Sunyata, or the emptiness. All of these names refer to a very deep and profound energy of nature, whose manifested element, or active force, in Sanskrit is called
can be translated many ways. Usually it is translated as “Awakened Mind,” but equally accurate would be “cognizant heart,” “intelligent heart,” or “awakened heart.” is a very profound word. is the central tenant of Mahayana and Tantrayana Buddhism—the highest aspects of Buddhism—and without understanding you cannot understand those aspects of Buddhism. In fact, without understanding , you cannot understand . The Gnostic tradition is a Mahayana and Tantrayana tradition, and you have to have a clear, comprehensive understanding of in order to understand why exists, and what it is for, otherwise you will not understand it and you will waste your time.
—the root of all true religions and mystical traditions—is the elaboration of wisdom, the embodiment of wisdom, the way for us to embody wisdom, to incarnate wisdom—not wisdom as a concept, or wisdom as a theory, or as a nice attribute, but wisdom as a living, vibrating, radiating energy that in Sanskrit is called .
In Hebrew, wisdom is. is the second Sephirah on the Tree of Life. is the radiation of ( of , the Ancient of Days). is the perfect light, the wisdom of God. It is a kind of divine intelligence that is beyond intellect. It is a divine intelligence that is abstract, beyond conception, and its central, chief characteristic is love as sacrifice. We see this virtue—love as sacrifice—very rarely on this planet. We can see a glimmer of it in the sacrifices that a parent makes for a child. This is a terrestrial reflection of love as sacrifice—the vibration or the force of .
, wisdom, is . , that type of knowledge, that type of compassion, is not blind. It is not indifferent. It is not foolish. It is the love of God. It is a demanding love. It is a rigorous expression of a divine energy, a divine force, a divine intelligence.
, Mahayana Buddhism, Tantrayana, have as their very purpose of existence to guide the to become a perfect vessel of that Light. Now, to be a vessel, one must first be empty. In order to receive something, there has to be a space for that something to enter. When we look inside of ourselves, do we have room? Do we have space in our mind and heart to bring that energy and to transmit that energy to others? This is the central question that we have to ask ourselves. Are we a fit vessel for , for ? Are we prepared? The answer is, very clearly, a resounding, “No, we are not.” The reason is because we have filled our vessel with “I,” “me,” “myself.” We, as a vessel, at this moment, exist to sustain and feed our desires. This is why we are not yet fit vessels for .
, which is a Mahayana tradition, provides a science, a method, to become a fit vessel, to become empty, so that we can be filled with light to help others. I know many of us like to think that we have light, and that we are good people, and we like to adorn ourselves with virtues and dress ourselves and show ourselves to others as being spiritual people, but we have to be honest with ourselves. We have to be sincere. We have to be extremely clear. What do we see when we look into our mind? We see : pride, envy, jealousy, resentment, fear. A true vessel of God looks within and sees the Light, sees God. So until we reach that stage, we have to work very hard to remove all the obscurations that are in our mind.
Refraining from violence and from theft,
not engaging in adultery,
restraining from lying, divisive speech,
harsh words, and idle talk,
abandoning miserliness, maliciousness,
and nihilistic views -
These are the ten bright paths of action.
The ten dark ones are the opposite. - Nagarjuna, Ratnavali 1:8-10
Nagarjuna states unequivocally that a wise person is someone who has accurately analyzed all their actions. Speaking for myself, I would say that I am not such a person, because I see in myself many actions of my body, my speech, and my mind that do not benefit myself, truly speaking, and do not benefit others. And thus, it is beholden upon me to comprehend this statement well and to actualize it in my daily life, to do my best to fulfill it. That is a long and difficult work.
So, in today’s lecture, in order to prepare the students who are attending the retreat, and in order to help all of us put our feet on the ground and know how to walk in this tradition, we will talk about how we actually eliminate the . How do we actually do it? Not just to talk about it and theorize it, not just to have the good intentions, but to actually do it.
If you have read the books of Samael Aun Weor, if you have studied the Gnostic lectures and teachings, if you have attended any school, you have heard again and again that we have to eliminate the , the “I." you have heard that the defects that we have in our psyche have to be removed so that our can be free and awakened. We know this.
If you have not heard these concepts and teachings before, this might seem odd, this idea of eliminating the “I.” And the question often arises, if you eliminate the “I,” what is left? Isn’t it just emptiness, nothingness, death, non-existence? Well, the answer is actually yes and no. But the answer comes in levels, because we have levels of understanding.
If we were going to speak from the highest philosophical level of Mahayana and Tantrayana, we would say that there is no self such as we see it. This concept of self is a lie; it is false. There is neither self nor non-self. This is basically what Nagarjuna taught, brilliantly.
Just as when a banana tree
With all its parts is torn apart, there is nothing,
So when a person having the [six] constituents [skandhas]
Is divided, it is the same.
Therefore the Conquerors said,
"All phenomena are selfless."
Since this is so, all six constituents
Have been delineated as selfless for you.
Thus neither self nor non-self
Are perceived just as they are.
Therefore the Great Subduer rejected
Both the belief in self and in non-self. - Nagarjuna, Ratnavali 2:1-3
This is the whole basis of Madhyamaka Buddhism. It is the doctrine of the Buddha, anatman, the doctrine of no-self, which teaches that there is no-self, but there is a self. The intellect cannot comprehend this. The intellect wants a definitive answer, a concrete result, but reality is not like that. To get into the details of how that philosophy works and what it means truly requires many years of. Reading books will never explain it to you. Listening to lectures and discourses will never help you understand it, fully. You may be able to get the concept to some degree, but to really understand the doctrine of emptiness and what it means, you have to meditate, you have to experience the Void, the Emptiness, Sunyata. This is the only way you can fully grasp what it means when the Buddha says, “There is no ; there is no ; this is no self.” But then he is saying that you (self) have to work on your self. This contradiction, to our intellect, and to our very low-level mind, makes no sense. Nonetheless it is a reality. It is a reality that only the can grasp, and this is the essential point.
On a more basic level, the answer to the question of what remains after we eliminate the "I" is:, the Buddha, Allah, God, or whatever name you want to use.
This quote says, “accurately analyzed all actions of body, speech, and mind.” That is relatively easy to understand, intellectually. Many people have read quotes like this and said, “Okay, I understand he is talking about analyzing body, speech, and mind.” But have you thought about: if you are analyzing body, speech, and mind, who is analyzing them? Have you thought about that? Can your mind really analyze your mind? Can your body analyze your body? Can your speech analyze your speech? I dare say not. This is the essential point. We are not body. We are not speech. We are not mind. We are something else, and we never realize it.
We read quotes like this, we study mysticism, we study spirituality, we study theand the spirit and the body, we study the , we study the astral body and the mental body, and we never realize that we are not any of those things. Right here, right now, in this instant, you are not the body, you are not the mind. You are the capacity to perceive, pure perception. That is the root of being. That pure perception is not “I.” Look into that. How do you see? Not through your eyes, but further back. Not through your ears. Further back than that. Not through sensations in your body; not through taste, not through touch. Further back. Not through thought, not through emotion. What in you is perceiving? Have you ever once turned that perception back into itself? There is a great secret hidden here. Look back into that which is looking. This is the greatest clue of you will ever hear. It is the core secret of Mahamudra, of Dzogchen, of all the highest teachings of . It is the methodless method. It is extremely difficult, and also the most simple.
Look back into that which is looking. Can you find a self? When you extractfrom every sense, what remains? When you extract attention from the flow of thought, from the flow of emotion, from the flow of sensation, what remains? Perception is still occurring, but what perceives, and how? What I am pointing at for you is our , what in we call the Essence.
It takes a lot of willpower for us to develop awareness of our, because our is asleep, and it may feel exhausting to bring the to present awareness and to direct it, to consciously observe. In the beginning, it is a very rigorous, strong, tiring effort, and it should be such. If your spirituality is very flaccid, very weak, very ephemeral, you just sort of float along, then you are working in the wrong way. Real spiritual development does not occur by just being on autopilot. Awakening the requires enormous effort. It takes all of your energy, because the that we have is trapped; it is asleep. That is why all the myths that describe this path emphasize the unbelievable heroic efforts that the heroes have to make to save the maiden, to dominate the monster—so much sacrifice, so much work, so much danger, so much risk. Those are not just pretty fairy tales; they reflect a living, vibrating truth: our essence, our , is asleep, and to awaken it requires every ounce of strength we have.
That awakening does not come through the mind. It does not come through the body. It does not come through speech. It does not come through intentions, or the way we dress, or the way we talk, or the books we read. It comes through, right now, paying attention, but most of all being awake and aware of theitself.
It is one thing to pay attention to what is going on outside of us. This is good. We need that. We have to pay attention to our environment. It is another thing to pay attention to what is happening in the mind. This is also important—to watch our thoughts, to watch our feelings, to observe sensation and how we react to them. But really, we need to be aware of the— how we perceive. How—not just the fact of perception, but how we are perceiving. This is a super-critical fact for us to observe, and this is because every action of body, speech, and mind requires .
But is ourmodified or is it free? This is what we usually do not know, because we are not paying attention. We are usually so overwhelmed with the surging chaos of thoughts, worries, concerns, fears, and desires that we have no self-cognizance in the midst of it. We are like a log tossed on a stormy sea. That stormy sea is our mind, and we are tossed about by all the surging wills in our mind: “I have to get to work on time,” “I have to turn this paper in,” “I have to make this phone call,” “I have to send these e-mails,” “What about this person, what is he saying about me,”—a surging chaos.
To just go along with that, to just be tossed around by that, is to allow oneself to go down the drain, because really, everything on this planet—all of the energy, all of the forces—are going down the drain. It is not hard to see it. To go against that current, you cannot just sit back and relax. You cannot just lie back on your log and let the current take you. If you want to do that, it is your will, but are you sure of where the current is going, this current of life, this current of humanity?
To incarnate wisdom, to become truly wise, we have to change, and change does not come by sitting back. Change comes through work, and not merely a little bit of effort, not just a few minutes a day, but a continual effort. Think about this example: you are shipwrecked, holding on to your log — your life, your circumstances in life, that which keeps you afloat, your family, your job, your situation. All of us, at any instant, right now, could lose everything, because nothing is stable right now. At any instant, everything we have could be taken away. If you do not believe me, ask somebody in the Gulf of Mexico; ask somebody in Israel; ask somebody in Palestine; ask somebody in Tibet; El Salvador; Guatemala. They will you. It happens like that. (Snaps fingers). Everything is gone. None of us have any assurance that what we have now will be here tomorrow. Thus, we need to be serious.
We are on the little raft of our life, and the current is taking us; how are you going to swim out of the whirlpool that is sucking the world into chaos? With all of that energy that is pulling all of us, how will you get out of it? Are you really going to sit on your log and read a book and think that you are going to get out? Or sit on your log and put on a religious t-shirt that says, “I believe in this and that”? Or, because you see someone on another log nearby that believes the same thing and you guys feel good that you have found each other, you think that will save you? It will not. None of these actions will save you. You have to swim with all of your might, with every ounce of energy that you have. You have to fight the current of life. That current is outside and it is inside. The way to fight it is to analyze yourself, to analyze your mind, to analyze your heart, to change. It sounds desperate because it is. Our situation truly is desperate.
As painful as it is to look at our life and feel the uncertainty and fear of losing what we have, it really is not a Mahayana perspective. It really is not a Gnostic point of view, because it is very selfish. Let us all open our eyes. Instead of looking at the little log that we are clutching onto with so much attachment and fear, open your eyes and look around, and you will see that you are surrounded by millions upon millions of people in the same situation. This is what is truly terrifying, horrifying. If you are really sincere, you will burst into tears, because all of those other people are the people you have loved, and who have loved you. They are your mothers and fathers, your sons and daughters, your brothers and sisters, your wives and husbands. They are all dying. They are all dying. This is whatexists for: as a way to change that. We put it into stark terms because that is our reality. We put it into stark terms not to encourage fear, not to make us feel desperate and afraid and worried, but because it is the facts, and we need to see the facts to have a chance to change them.
One of the most fundamentals facts of the Law of Cause and Effect is that any effect is greater than the cause that produced it. This is an extremely profound law. When we take an action, any action, the effect of that action will be greater than the cause. If you speak a word into someone’s ear, if you speak a word in a room, the energy that it took to say that word is very small, but the ripple of that vibration through all of those who hear it is immeasurable.
The same is true when we seriously take the reins of our spiritual life and work seriously in our spiritual life. It seems as though all that energy that is cascading down into the whirlpool, sucking the entire planet into the underworld, is too much. There are many who give up, precisely because they become identified with fear, shame, terror. They become overwhelmed; they defeat themselves; they feel, “It is too much for me; I can’t handle it. It’s too hard; I can’t do it.” This is all the, convincing them to give up, taking them out of the work.
That does not need to happen. When you really understand the Law of Karma, then you should have great faith. The Law of Karma is a law. It is not a belief. It is a law you can demonstrate at any time. Test it. Work with it. When you seriously work in your spiritual life, you will prove to yourself that it is possible to reach complete liberation. It is possible. It can be done, but you have to invest energy into it. It cannot be a temporary or part-time job. It has to be full time. That is how much it takes.
Each little investment of energy we make is greater than that energy. Each time that we meditate, each time that we restrain a harmful action and we turn it into something beneficial, we create a huge impact, not just for ourselves, but for others. If we do not realize it, it is because we have not observed it. Do it.
Just try one thing: give sincerely, something needed. The power of giving is one of the greatest powers in the universe, the power of generosity. That power is unimaginable, how much it can do. And that is why all the great masters exemplify that—the power of sacrifice. That is the power of: love as sacrifice, the power of giving, the power of generosity. It is a generosity of spirit, a generosity of heart. That generosity is most accurately summarized in thinking of others before yourself. That is the essence of . That is why generosity is the first paramita, the first perfection. It is the most fundamental basis of real spirituality—to think of others. That is to have a generous spirit.
Just as you pay attention to
whatever you think will benefit you,
so too pay attention to
what you think will benefit others. - Nagarjuna, Ratnavali 3:56
Because the "I" is alive in us, we only think of ourselves, and when it is convenient to us, we might think of somebody else—if it is convenient to us. That is not sacrifice. The true spirit of generosity is to constantly think of others first, especially in regard to our psychological work, our spiritual work. We talk a lot about eliminating the, but we usually think about eliminating the in an egotistical way. We think I want to eliminate my egos so I can reach liberation for me. It is very egotistical. That is why it is part of the Shravakayana (foundational) path. That way of thinking is transcended in Mahayana and Tantrayana. It is not compatible with the higher schools. You cannot get into those teachings in the internal worlds until that way of thinking is gone from you.
To receive the higher teachings, you spontaneously have to be at that stage where you think of others first, where you start to realize: “You know what, I really need to eliminate my pride because it is hurting other people; I really need to eliminate mybecause it is hurting other people; this anger in me is hurting other people.” When that is your first, spontaneous impulse, you are entering into the Mahayana level. That is the true Mahayana attitude. Mahayana means “greater vehicle.” It is a higher level of spiritual training.
The one that thinks that way is Essence. Your mind cannot think like that, because your mind is selfish. Even when the mind does charity and is generous, it is always, in the end, acting for itself. We give donations and we do volunteer work, and on the outside we look like we are great saints and helping humanity, but really we are fattening up our pride. That is not real generosity. It is. True generosity does not concern itself with itself. True generosity is love as sacrifice, giving because it must be given, at any cost—that is generosity, that is true compassion.
The Gnostic method, the Gnostic teaching, helps us to take this quote and put it into action. The way we do that is quite simple in concept. It has three aspects. We usually talk about them as birth, death, and sacrifice. These are the three factors you find in any religion. But I want to expand on those to make them more experienceable, make them something that we can taste and touch in our day to day life, because that is how they must be understood: through continual moment to moment action.
Avoid any act of negativity;
Develop pure and perfect virtue;
Completely transform your mind.
This is the teaching of the Buddha.
The first step, the most important, is to stop any action of negativity. That is the first. When we are intending to accurately analyze our actions of body, speech, and mind, to act for the benefit of self and others, the first, most important way for us to do that is to stop performing negative actions. That means negative actions towards ourselves or other people.
To understand what negative actions are, we have to study the teachings; we have to study our religion. You can really study any religion to grasp this concept. This is the fundamental basis of any religion. It is that first, foundational level the Buddhists call Shravakayana. It is the level where we learn ethics—what we should do, what we should not do. In general, they are pretty simple: do not kill, do not steal, do not lie, do not abuse your sexual energy, eliminate pride, eliminate anger, stop these behaviors that are selfish.
In brief, Dharma consists of not ingesting intoxicants,
maintaining a proper occupation,
abandoning harm, being respectfully generous,
honoring the worthy, and [cultivating] love. - Nagarjuna, Ratnavali 1:10
We have the Ten Commandments in the western traditions. We have the Vinaya and Pratimoksha in the eastern traditions. There are many lists and analyses of the different actions that are harmful or beneficial. You can study any of those, and they will all help. Most importantly, you have to study your heart.
We all have our own idiosyncrasies. We all have qualities that we think are virtues, that we think are our good qualities, that are actually completely egotistical, and no book is going to teach you that. You will only see that in yourself, in action, in your daily life. If you take this teaching seriously, you will see it, you will learn about it, because yourwill show you.
If you think you are in situations in your life that are painful, that are hard for you, it is because youris putting you there to teach you about yourself. We train a puppy dog to not go to the bathroom in the wrong place, and we put its nose and say, “Don’t go here.” Well, your Being is doing that with you—putting you in situations and saying, “You made this mess. You made this mess on the floor. Do not do that. See how unpleasant it is? See how painful it is? See how much you suffer? Do not do that.”
But we always curse God. We blame everything on others. We are unwilling to ourselves. “Why is this always happening to me? Why do I have to suffer? Why these problems? Why is he doing that? Why is she doing that?” We do not realize the reason why is because we made it. We do not want to see our own culpability. To be a serious spiritual practitioner, that is the first thing you look for in any situation: How did I make this? How did I get myself in this position? What in me is suffering? That is the best question of all. Turn your perspective back. Instead of looking out—"he is making me suffer; work is making me suffer; my wife is making me suffer"—look back and say, “What in me is suffering?” Because really, it is not your spouse that is making you suffer. It is your anger that is making you suffer; it is your pride that is making you suffer. If you did not have that pride, if you did not have that anger, their words would not have meant anything; they would not have affected you. Their actions would not have bothered you. But because you have pride and envy and anger, you get bothered a lot. So that is the shift that has to happen in us. You see, it is continual: to look back at ourselves.
Due to committing murder, one has a short life.
due to committing violence, one has much suffering.
due to stealing, one becomes impoverished. Poor resources, through stealing.
due to committing adultery, one has enemies.
By telling lies, one becomes reviled by others.
From speaking divisively, one loses friends.
From speaking harshly, one hears the unpleasant.
From gossip and senseless speech, one's words are not respected.
Covetousness destroys one's wishes,
Harmful intent brings fear,
Wrong views lead to bad views,
And intoxicants to confusion of the mind.
Through not giving comes poverty,
Through wrong livelihood, one is deceived,
Through arrogance, a bad station in life,
Through jealousy, homeliness.
A bad complexion comes through anger,
Stupidity, from not questioning the wise.
These are effects for humans,
But prior to all is a bad rebirth.
Opposite to the well-known
Fruits of these non-virtues
Is the arising of effects
Caused by all the virtues.
Desire, hatred, ignorance, and
The actions they generate are non-virtues.
Non-desire, non-hatred, non-ignorance,
And the actions they generate are virtues.
From non-virtues come all sufferings
And likewise all bad transmigrations,
From virtues, all happy transmigrations
And the pleasures of all lives.
Desisting from all non-virtues
And always engaging in virtues
With body, speech, and mind-
These are called the three forms of practice. - Nagarjuna, Ratnavali 1:14-22
We have to stop harmful action, to restrain ourselves from any act of negativity. This alone can take many years, many years. I know a lot of people like to think as soon as they enter into a religion and they read the list, “Number one, two, three, four, five. Okay. I can do all these. Cool. I’m done. I don’t drink. I don’t smoke. I don’t sleep around. So I must be on my way to heaven.” It does not work like that. Even if you are not doing something physically, you are probably doing it in your mind. That is the hardest part. Jesus said,
...whosoever looketh on a woman to adultery with her already in his heart. - Matthew 5:28after her hath committed
In the state we are in, we break the commandments, we break the Vinaya, we break the rules. In other words, we produce causes that create harmful effects, continually, because thatin us is acting. So as part of this accurate analysis, we have to continually watch our behaviors and stop ourselves from doing harmful things, not just physically, but in the mind, in the heart, through our words, through our thoughts. This requires continual observance. We call it .
is absolutely essential, critical—not just for a few minutes, but all the time. Some traditions call it mindfulness or watchfulness. There are many names, but the basic idea is: never stop paying attention to your psychology. Do not get sucked into daydreaming, into being distracted by the outside world, by fantasizing on the inside world. Watch your mind, because at any instant, something in you is contemplating something negative.
Ninety-seven percent of human thoughts are negative and harmful. - The Revolution of the Dialectic,
So, are we watching ourselves ninety percent of the time, or one hundred percent of the time? No. We are watching ourselves—if we have heard of— maybe two percent. If we are honest, how much do we really watch our mind during the day? Very small. What about all those other thoughts and feelings that have been surging throughout the day that we did not pay attention to? Those are all streams of energy that are creating effects. That should scare us into acting. That should be of great concern to us.
The instant we realize we have lost our mindfulness of our action, we should feel as if we have just discovered a serpent in our lap. We should be that astonished. (Gasp!) “I am not paying attention!” Because truly, to lose attention is a life or death matter. When we cease paying attention, when we lose our cognizant awareness of the moment, we slip into sleep, and then all those psychological stimuli that are processing in our subconscious, unconscious, and infraconscious levels are creating effects. That is why our life is going down. That is why our society is sinking: because nobody is paying attention to themselves.
Instead of being cognizant of ourselves, we act mechanically, we react and respond automatically, withoutof how or why. We are always dreaming about what someone meant, and what they "really" said. We project all kinds of interpretations of our daily lives. “When he looked at me like that, he must have felt that I was doing something bad.” “When he looked at me like that, he must have been lusting after me, so maybe he likes me.” We project so much garbage, continually, replaying events and scenes in our minds, trying to interpret them, trying to analyze them, trying to change them. It is all garbage, and we let it happen, and it has consequences. That is why we are asleep. To awaken is to watch that, to stop that, to be here and now, to be in conscious dominion of our kingdom, to control our mind, to be awake. That is the prerequisite. So we have to stop harmful action, not just physically, but psychologically.
The second step is to develop full and perfect virtue. To us, this sounds easy. To understand virtue, we have to study our religion, we have to study our tradition. If we come from a Christian background, we should study the teachings of Jesus. What does virtue mean, from His words? If we come from a Buddhist background, we should study the teachings of the Buddha; we should study what Buddhist virtue means. There are many ways of studying virtue in each tradition, many scriptures, many references that talk about the different virtues. And there are a lot of similarities: patience, tolerance, conscious love, humility,, charity. These are all virtues; we have heard all the names. But what does it mean to develop full and perfect virtue? It is not just to have a concept. It is not just to respect virtues, to say, “Yeah. I’ve heard patience is a virtue, and I respect that, but get out of my way. I’m in a hurry.” To really develop full and perfect virtue is to be it, to actualize it. This is not to force it on yourself; it is not to force yourself into a rigid behavior because you have to do it. It is to do it spontaneously, without force, because you realize you need to, that it is important, that it is beneficial for you and for others. That is the way to cultivate and develop virtue. True virtue is natural and spontaneous. It cannot be imitated, faked, or forced.
If you are angry with someone, and they are angry with you, and you are thinking “I have to be loving and forgiving,” and you go to them and say, “Humph. I forgive you.” That does not work; that is not honest. It is good as an action. That takes courage. You know, I respect that. That does take courage. I give you credit for having courage. But to apologize sincerely, to be honest, to say, “You know, I was wrong,” sincerely—that is to develop and perfect virtue. You can only reach that when you have comprehended your anger.
So let us talk about that. I know I am putting a lot of elements on the table, but it really is not that complicated. What I am talking about now is comprehension, but I am talking about comprehension in two ways: stopping negative action, and adopting virtuous action.
You see, liberation from suffering has three stages. The first stage is comprehension. The second stage is judgment. The third stage is elimination.
All the Gnostics love to talk about elimination, and they all love to do different practices to eliminate their egos. Some even say that at any moment you can pray, “Please,, eliminate this for me.” But you rarely hear them talk about judgment and comprehension, which have to happen first, before you can reach elimination.
You cannot eliminate something that still has yourin it, so comprehension is first. In this quote from Nagarjuna, that is what he is talking about.
A wise person is one who has accurately analyzed all their actions and always acts for the benefit of self and others.
Comprehension comes from analysis of oneself. Studying the scriptures, studying religion, is very important because it gives us a foundation, but comprehension, wisdom, comes from inside. That is why the Oracle of Delphi said, “Man, know thyself.” This is the prerequisite. That is— self-knowledge.
Self-knowledge is comprehension. Comprehension is not making a list of your defects. It would be great if the work to self-realize were that easy. It might take us a while to write them all down, but that is not comprehension.
Comprehension is very simple: it is when you know something, not in your intellect, but in your heart—when you know it. If you have ever said something and seen the person who heard it react with pain, and then you felt pain and regret for saying it, that is comprehension. If you have ever given a gift, and saw how much gratitude that person had who received it, and you felt in your heart so much gratitude for the opportunity to give, that is comprehension.
Comprehension is not intellectual; it is emotional; it is intuitive; it is in your heart. Comprehension is not something that you develop by making lists and by making complicated explanations of, “Well, pride has this and that aspect, and these attributes, and it can manifest here and here.” That is fine; we need to understand it in the intellect, but that is not comprehension. Comprehension is spontaneous and it is in the heart. It is when you feel it, know it.
Most of us here comprehend—it is a silly example—if we put our hand in fire, we will get burned, and it will hurt. That is a silly example, but that is comprehension. A child does not know that yet. A child goes and puts their hand in it. (Gasp!) And then they get burned, and they cry, and they are upset, but then they understand. That is comprehension. But the same thing has to happen with all of our emotions, with our thoughts, with our actions. We have to realize, “You know what, when I do that, it hurts me, and it hurts other people. I should stop doing that.” That is comprehension.
Our teachertold us, “Every day we have to comprehend .” What does that mean? Well, first it means we have to be observing ourselves, watching for how manifests in our : in our thoughts, in our feelings, and in our impulses in our body. It is good if we catch ourselves at the moment we are looking at someone or thinking about someone, remembering something or imagining something lustful, sexual. It is good to be aware in that moment, and realize what we are doing. That is the first thing. We have to observe it; we have to see it in order to understand it.
Many people say, “I cannot understand my,” and that is probably because they are not looking at it. If you really look deeply at —how it emerges, what it does, what it wants, and the consequences of that—comprehension is not hard. Comprehension is spontaneous, when the is awake, aware, and connected to our conscience, our sense of what is right and what is wrong. All it requires is that look you deeply at what you are experiencing.
When you have seen how yourhas brought you into a relationship, and you felt so much desire for that person, and you got involved in a relationship with that person—driven by all that desire—but then that relationship becomes a complete hell, and you suffer in every way that you can. We all have had that experience, but none of us have comprehended it, because we keep repeating it again and again. Look sincerely at that —at that quality, that vice that drew you into it—that desire, how it stimulates your senses, how it inflames your heart, how it spins your mind around so that you are driven, as if by another will. And then you get in that situation, and you get into a big mess where everybody is suffering. If you are very sincere, if you are very observant, and you look carefully at those qualities in your body, speech, and mind, you will comprehend the danger of , the harm that is causes for yourself and others. You will comprehend it, and you will not repeat that mistake, because it will be conscious knowledge. Be aware that I am talking about , not love. We always confuse them. Love is something else.
What about pride? Any moment that we feel better than another person—we like that—that is pride. It hurts us and it hurts the other person, but we have not comprehended it.
What about envy? When we want something that someone else has, we see that guy with the really nice car, and we want that. We see that girl with the rich husband, really handsome guy, and we want that. Or we see that billionaire that everybody loves and respects, and we want that respect. We have all seen those envious qualities in ourselves, but we have not comprehended them, because we continue to let them control our lives, harming ourselves and those around us.
If we sincerely analyze these egos, we will understand those are harmful desires. They are harmful because they push us to want something that is not rightfully ours. They are harmful because they cause us to act in ways that are not in accordance with what ourwants for us. So if we want that husband, we go and try to get him. If we want the money or the car, we go and try to get it. We are not listening to what God wants for us, what our needs us to do; we are listening to desire. Or if we want that social status, that job or that title or that position, we start to pursue that; we spend our life’s blood to get that thing that we envy.
Comprehension is to observe and analyze and to spontaneously and intuitively understand: “This is harmful, not only to me, but to others!” That is all comprehension is. It is not complicated; it is not hard. All it takes is sincerity and the effort to look.
That effort is not always easy, because there is somebody who really does not want us to acquire comprehension, and that somebody is the “I,” the Me, the Myself. It will do everything it can to prevent you from comprehending it. Really, in comprehension, we are comprehending the “I.”
All "beings" arise from fixation on self
such that they thereby are fixated on "mine";
this is what has been stated
by the one who speaks solely for the sake of beings.
Ultimately, the notions "I exist" and
"What is mine exists" are false, because
from the persepective of knowing [things]
as they truly are, there is neither ["I" nor "mine"].
The aggregates arise from fixation on "I";
the fixation on "I" is ultimately unreal. - Nagarjuna, Ratnavali 1:27-29
Nagarjuna says we have to accurately analyze actions of body, speech, and mind. But who does the analysis? Most of the time we do not make the differentiation psychologically in ourselves. So when we try to comprehend, when we start to analyze our pride, we are observing our pride with pride. Usually when we are doing our Gnostic work, we are still enmeshed in the. We start to look at that situation and feel like, “You know what, I was justified. I should have done that. I was right.” That is pride; that is pride with anger. Or maybe we look at that situation and feel like, “I am such a terrible person. I am so bad. How could I do that?” And we start to punish ourselves. That is also pride, but the inverse polarity; it is shame, defeatism, self-deprecation. That is pride.
You see Nagarjuna said, “accurately analyze.” Thecannot be accurate, because the is only interested in preserving itself. If you want accurate comprehension, you have to get out of the —that is not easy or automatic. This is the biggest mistake students make; they do not recognize the presence of the . We are ninety-seven percent trapped in . Most of our , most of our , is trapped in the . So then, when we hear this or see the truth of it, once again we feel hopeless. “How do I get out of this situation?” A lot of students who try to meditate and learn these practices reach this stage and feel like, “I can’t do it. It is hopeless. I try, and try to observe myself, and I feel worse. And I try to meditate on my , and I see worse. And I’m getting worse and worse. I’m not getting better.” This is good. You should feel like that, because it shows, firstly, that are you are actually starting to see the reality of your situation. People come and they say, “Well I’m trying this technique, and I’m watching my mind, and my mind is getting worse. It is getting more and more out of control. I’m losing hope.” This is good. You are seeing the actual state of your mind. But do not lose hope. Get back in touch with that which sees.
Without depending on the mirror,
the reflection of one's face is not seen.
Likewise, without depending upon the aggregates,
there is no [notion of an] "I." - Nagarjuna, Ratnavali 1:33
To accurately analyze, you have to make a discrimination, a distinction in yourself. Observe yourself, not through your eyes, not through your ears, not through your touch, not through taste, not though thoughts, not through feelings—but through pure perception, unmodified. That pure perception does not have your name. It does not have your family. It does not even have this body. It is beyond all of that. That pure perception is Essence,, our true nature. In Sanskrit it is called Buddha-dhatu or Tathagatagarbha. It is pure perception, Buddha nature. There is no “I” there.
Again, to experience that, to understand that, it cannot happen with the intellect; it has to happen through experience. It happens when you make it happen through your efforts. It sounds contradictory, but it happens without effort; it arises on its own, just like comprehension—it arises on its own, but you have to put yourself in the right position. If you are in your mind, thinking, thinking, thinking, you are doing it the wrong way. If you are analyzing your, and you are thinking and thinking and thinking about it, you are doing it the wrong way. If you are in your heart, and you are feeling it, and feeling it, and feeling it, and trying to reach out with your feelings, you are doing it the wrong way. If you are in your body, centered in sensation, and thinking that you will comprehend when you reach a certain kind of sensation—like a Samadhi, or like a complete absence of sensation—you are in the wrong position; you are thinking about it, you are doing it, in the wrong way. These are just habits in the .
Some people try to comprehend theonly through the intellect, through analyzing and thinking. Some try through the heart, by reaching out with their feelings and saying, “Does this feel right, or does it feel wrong?” some try to comprehend through the body, by feeling like, “If I reach a certain kind of sensation”—they call them Samadhis, or Jhanas, or concentrative states. They think, “If I reach this concentrative state, then I will enter Samadhi and I can comprehend my .” Each of these approaches is wrong. They are basing their efforts on sensations.
Comprehension occurs in levels. Observation can bring basic comprehension. But to get at the roots of our suffering, we have to comprehend the causes which lie very deep in the mind, far beyond the reach of our terrestrial senses. For this, we need to enter into the depths of, through . The state of pure, awakened , free if all and impure psychological elements, is called Samadhi.
Samadhi is beyond sensations; it has nothing to do with sensations, feelings, or thoughts. Samadhi is a state of bright, active, awake, that sees clearly and vibrantly, that which is beyond the five senses.
We train inin order to enter Samadhi at will. Usually, this is out of the body. It is possible to have a Samadhi in your body, while you are walking around, if you are trained to do it; generally, this is only possible for a Master. Samadhi does not have anything to do with a particular posture, a particular ; it has to do with a state of . Real masters are in a continual state of awakened , and can be talking to you and doing a few things at a time, and be in a state of Samadhi. Samadhi simply means an active, awake state of , free of . That is all it is.
We have all experienced Samadhi, but we have forgotten how to access it. Most of the time when we experience Samadhi, we are babies. Babies are pretty much in a continual state of Samadhi, until thestarts to come and the starts to be developed. Then they start suffering. But that beauty of their smile, that beautiful expression that they have of wonderment, that is Samadhi at the level of a baby. We have all tasted that. But that is only a kindergarten level of Samadhi. There are many levels.
Nonetheless, comprehension does not come through thein the ways I mentioned. Comprehension comes when the Essence is freed from the . Having said that, you can comprehend your right now. If your is awake, active, and then you see in yourself the emergence of a desire, and you see that desire, and you know that that desire is harmful and wrong, that is comprehension. That is all. It is simple. When you have a moment of being fully aware of yourself, and you realize, “You know what, I shouldn’t do that; I shouldn’t think that.” That is comprehension.
To go deeper in comprehension, we have to meditate. The comprehensions we can reach while we are in the physical body are limited to what we can perceive in that state. We cannot perceive the depths of thewhile we are here in the physical body, unless we are a very great master and have a lot of awakened. But none of us are like that; we are all beginners. That is why we learn to meditate.
We learn to meditate to comprehend. We do not learn to meditate to make ourselves look spiritual, or to develop powers, or for people to respect us. We do not meditate because it is fun, or because it makes us seem cool or mystical or mysterious. We meditate to get information.
is not spacing out. It is not daydreaming. It is not just sitting there and watching the paint dry. It is not sitting there and watching the dust particles float around the room. It is, truly, to get information, to acquire knowledge, to comprehend. That is what real is. Real is not concentration practices or . It is not any particular posture. It is not a breathing exercise. Those are all preliminary. All of those are preparation for . Real is a state of in which we comprehend, we understand, we get it—intuitively, emotionally, consciously.
That is whatis for, and that is why we have to learn and practice every day. Because—be honest—every day we are a surging chaos of conflicting desires that are making a mess out of our lives and other lives. You are not going to change that meditating once a week. It will not happen. You are not going to change that if you just observe yourself a few minutes a week or a few minutes a day. It will not happen. There is a lot of energy at play in your mindstream, and to change the course of that mindstream takes incredible effort and a lot of discipline, but it can be done.
It does not take years and years and years and years to start seeing the benefits of this effort. You can start getting the benefits today, because the instant you stop harmful actions, you stop those flows of negative energy. The instant you adopt a virtuous action, you start setting in motion new energy. The consequences of those actions are greater than the cause. The course of your life can change dramatically if you are serious, if you work hard. Working hard does not mean going to a school or obeying a teacher, it means working every day on yourself.
Comprehension is the prerequisite for anything else spiritually. If you want to unite with God, you have to become like God; you have to be a fit vessel for God. If you want powers, God will give it to the one that deserves it. If you want to get out of your body and go to other planets, if you want to go talk to the angels and masters, if you want to go and have an interview with your own, if you want to speak with Jesus, with Buddha, with Krishna, you can, but you have to earn it. You earn it through comprehension, through change, through setting in motion energy. If you want , if you want to develop the , if you want to become a Master, an Angel, a Buddha, you can, but those things are earned. If you want to awaken the , you can. It has to be earned.
Theis the pure intelligence of the . You cannot trick it; you cannot fool it; you cannot get it just because you did a hundred thousand , or a million . is the very intelligence of God. You cannot fool it. It is not going to come into somebody who is indulging in their all the time—forget about it. That energy is the power of God. It is the power to manipulate nature. It has a tremendous effect, not only on yourself, but on others. So if day to day, we are going around acting like a complete fool, with our chest puffed out with pride, and we are flashing with anger and all the time, and we are raging with envy, why would God give more energy to that? It is not going to happen. We have to earn .
That is what the Minor Mysteries are about. The Minor Mysteries are the probationary path where we prove we are serious about changing, we are serious about eliminating our defects, we are serious about helping others. When we go through that process, then the Divinities say, “Okay. You passed through these nine arcades. Let’s see what you can do. We will give you a little bit.” And so they give you a little bit and see what you do with it. So be aware. Be aware. We are always being tested.
Real comprehension is not just to say, “Okay. Yeah. I saw that I have pride. Yeah, I get it. Pride. Okay.” That is not comprehension; that is intellect. Real comprehension is a feeling inside that says, “Yeah. I’ve really got pride, and that’s bad. I need to learn humility, meekness.” That is sincere. If we have that, then we can move to the second stage towards liberation, and that stage is called judgment.
Judgment is the second stage on the way to liberation of. Judgment is quite simple. When you have consciously and fully understood that a certain aspect of yourself is not only harmful to you, but is harmful to others, you can put it onto the defendant’s bench in the court, and you can say, “This one deserves to die.” But that finger is pointing at yourself. Very few of us have that ability—to point at ourselves and say, “This one deserves to die.” That self is the “I,” the Me, the Myself.
If we want to know the plurality of the “I” and our perennial contradictions, we must then not deceive ourselves. People deceive themselves so as not to see their internal contradictions.
With just reason, everyone who discovers his intimate contradictions feels ashamed of himself. He comprehends that he is a nobody, that he is a wretched person, a miserable worm of the earth.
To discover our own intimate contradictions is a success because then our inner judgment is liberated spontaneously, thus permitting us to see with clarity the path of individuality and that of super-individuality. - The Revolution of the Dialectic,
We all want to make ourselves feel great. We want to take this self to heaven and be admired. But you do not enter heaven that way. You enter heaven the way John the Baptist entered, the way Jesus entered, the way Joan of Arc entered, the way all the masters entered—through death, through decapitation, where that self, that “I,” thatthat we love so much, is judged. That judgment begins with us.
Now this is an interesting phenomenon, because when we talk about the judgment of the “I,” we usually think about judging others. “Well, he’s got too much pride, and she’s got too much.” We are very good at judging others. We think we are good at it. “Did you see how that guy was behaving? So much gluttony. Can you believe him?” This is wrong. That is why the Bible says, “Judge not.” That judgment should be devoted exclusively to our own mind. Any instant where we catch ourselves judging another person is an instant when we should quickly look back within and say, “Wow. Look at my pride. Look at how proud I am to be judging this other person.” But how many of us do that? Instead we say, “Oh, he’s really bad, and I’m clearly better than him. Ha ha.” That is what we do. It is wrong.
It is sad, because unfortunately, we see—especially in spiritual movements—that this has become a terrible infection, a disease, with this group of students accusing this other group of students, and this instructor accusing these other instructors. Poison. It is all poison. And they all feel so justified in their behaviors, and it is all wrong.
Let me tell you what the true Mahayana practitioner does. The true Mahayana practitioner only utters criticism about themselves, and when discussing others only praises them—never criticizes. That is a true Mahayana practitioner. It is very hard to find such a person. I wish we could find more, truly, but theis so alive in us it is hard to find that.
And what if we are the person who is receiving the criticism? What if we are the person who is always being judged? We have all faced that situation. People are judging us; they are saying this and that; there is gossip; everybody is talking about us because of something we did or did not do. How do we respond to that? Most of us respond in the same way: “Oh yeah, well you did this and that. What about that time when I saw you…” and we have a list of things which justify ourselves and bring everybody else down. This is also wrong. This is pride.
The true response, the right response, is if you have enemies or people are criticizing you—you know the best way to respond to them?—perfect your virtues. Speak of your critics with love, because the reality is, your enemies are doing you a great favor. We have a hard time seeing that. We want everybody to love us. But the reality is, when you have an enemy and everybody is gossiping about you and criticizing you, and you feel that pain, they have just given you the most amazing gift, because they have shown you your defects. It may not be in the words they are saying; it is that feeling in your heart. It is that pride that is offended. It is that anger that is inflamed. They have just given you that gift. They have said, “Here, brother, look at what I have shown you in your heart.” We should have gratitude for that, not return with fire and thunder, blaming them and attacking them.
I had an experience recently where someone very close to me for many years, for some reason that is unknown to me, suddenly began calling me terrible names, publicly. And of course I had that first reaction of “Argh”—the pain in my heart, and anger and pride, and all that. And then I realized, “You know what? That person is right. I am all those things.” I felt grateful. I do not feel any resentment towards that person, I feel grateful, because really, I had not seen that precise quality in myself before that happened. And when that happened, I saw it, and I was so thankful for something that I had not seen. I would not have seen it otherwise. I needed that to see it. So that person did me a favor.
So based on that, we can understand what judgment really is. Judgment is not what a lot of us have in the mind, where we, with our chest puffed out, stroll into the courts of Anubis in the Temple of the Law and we say, “This pride deserves to die,” because we are doing that in a proud way. The judgment happens in us first. When we feel that emerge in our heart, in our mind, that quality—be it envy or jealousy or fear—and we say, “You know what, that thing deserves to die. That thing is no good.” That judgment can only come when we have already comprehended that it is harmful. Right? It is obvious. Only then can we move to the third stage, which is elimination.
Elimination is when our energy is freed from that pride,, anger, envy, gluttony, or greed that previously was manipulating our energies and forces through our , that previously had such a grip on us. We understood it. We comprehended it. We stopped feeding it. We grasped that it was harmful. We broke its ties over us, its grip. And then we judged it, and we were able to say every time that thing shows its face, “No. You are not allowed in my temple. You, pride, you, fear, you, envy, get out. You deserve to die.”
Then, and only then, when we have complete control over our psyche, when no matter what the test is that comes to us, whether physically or psychologically in the internal worlds, we always reject, we always judge that “I” and do not allow it to control us, then we can ask for that "I" to be eliminated. Do you see how hard that is, to reach that level of comprehension where judgment actually happens?
Physically, we might get tested. If it is anof pride, for example, if we are a very boastful, proud person, we may have someone come along and give us a lot of praise, and we feel good, “Yeah. You’re right. I’m good. I deserve it.” We may not think it or say it, but we feel it. That is pride. But if we have comprehended how that works, then the person comes and praises us, and it does not affect us, and we hear the words for what they are—empty boasting—and we do not feel the pride; it does not bother us. That is a level of comprehension. But then, if we can pass that same ordeal in our dreams—even in our dreams, we do not fall into the trap, into the temptation of that pride—then we have reached the level of judgment.
What about? Let’s say you have a particular person who is drawing your . Physically you might cut the ties. You might stop talking to them; you might stop looking at them. That could all just be repression of the . But if you have comprehended it, then you can talk to them and you do not feel . The is not there. That is comprehension on that level. But then if you have a dream with that person and you still do not feel , you have gone deeper; you have really comprehended it. Then you can judge it. Then that can be completely eliminated because you have taken your away from that .
Egos have power over us because part of ouris inside of them, and we feel it is us. That is why we feel that. When we feel our anger, we feel it is me. When we feel our pride we feel it is me, because is trapped in there. But when full comprehension is active, when that full comprehension is there, then that pride comes and we do not feel ourselves in it. Do you grasp that? That pride is there and we do not feel that it is our identity; it is just garbage. That is the judgment. And then the can eliminate it. That is how elimination happens.
She can only eliminate it when her child is not in it. We are her child. Theis symbolized by Athena or Durga, with her weapons, who will kill the demon, the Medusa. She cannot kill it when her child is still inside of it. The child is her .
I had an experience many years ago. I was dealing with a very painful conflict with a close friend, meditating a lot to try to understand why I was in conflict with this person, and suffering a lot from it. And it was my pride, and meditated and meditated and kept trying to understand, and eventually I grasped that it was just my pride, and I needed to just relax and not be so identified with it. A lot ofover many months, and finally, I was still dealing with this person, and I did not feel the charge that I was feeling before—the conflict in my heart, the pain. Finally, I felt love for my friend again. It was good.
And it was then that I had an experience in the internal worlds. And I saw myself, and I saw my friend in a small room, and he was very agitated and upset. And I felt pain, because I knew his upset feelings and his agitation were partly because of me, because I was involved in this karmic problem. But I did not feel that in my experience. And then I turned and I looked to my right and I saw me, but I was on a pier out into the water. And I was astonished that I saw above that, Athena, the, coming from the sky with a big lance, and she killed that me, and it became nothing.
That experience showed me very clearly how the process of comprehension, judgment, and elimination works. That elimination only was able to happen because I reached a state of equanimity and a state of peace, and I was restored once again to feeling the natural feeling, the natural friendship, that should have been there between my friend and myself. He had not reached that stage yet. He was still in conflict, and that is why he was in that little room, which was his mind. He was still trapped in that, but I was outside. And I give thanks for that, because I had a lot of help from myto reach that comprehension.
This was a little; it was a little thing. It is nothing to boast of. I am not proud of it. I am grateful because it showed me something, so that I can explain how this process works.
Quite simply, comprehension, judgment, and elimination all come from sincerity. You cannot fake it. If you are boasting, if you are going about proud of being a student, proud of knowing, you are on the wrong feet; you are on the wrong foundation. True advancement, true understanding of yourself, true liberation from suffering, comes from sincerity. And that is being sincere with others, but also being sincere with yourself.
The System for the Transformation of the Impressions of the Day
1. Absolute relaxation.
2. Reach the state of.
3. Relive the scene just as it occurred.
4. Seek within oneself the “I” which caused the problem.
5. By observing serenely, one places thein the defendant’s chair and one then proceeds with the judgment.
6. Ask thefor the disintegration of the “I” - problem.
Audience: As I observe many of my egos, I find them rooted in fear, or fear being the basis for most of them. And I also see fear as being very instinctual, for survival almost, but survival of what? So could you address that?
Instructor: Fear is a very powerful and difficultto work on, and in my experience, I put fear next to in terms of the difficulty there is to deal with fear. And the reason is that you can experience fear even in states of where you have moved beyond the realm of the . And that is partly why fear is so difficult to work with, to conquer.
As an example:explained his experience in the Illuminating Void. And the only way to enter that experience is if you have accessed a state of Samadhi free of . Then you go into that level of experiencing the Void. But once there, he felt fear. So that fear is something beyond , something very deep. That is partly why, in my experience, fear is so hard to work on.
And I agree with you, I think in every egotistical situation that I have observed and analyzed in myself, I have always found fear as a component. And that is partly why I, in my personal experience, reject the notion of putting labels on egos, like saying, “Well thatis pride.” We talk that way, but I think in practical experience, you cannot do that, because every is an entity that has various characteristics, and a lot of the time, fear is a component.
As an example, you state pride or envy. These egos, clearly, usually have a component of fear, partly because, when we are disconnected from God, we lose that faith, that connection with God. We feel exposed and open, vulnerable. That is fear, and that stimulates the motor-instinctive-sexual brain with preservation of life. We feel afraid and want to preserve our life, but it is through the.
And I think it is also true in. I think a lot of is driven by fear, and its longing for connection, because we are so afraid we are not connected with God, we want to connect with somebody, and it is fear that is pushing us in . I think that is common in men and women.
To conquer fear, the surest antidote that I have found is. is an amazing magical feat. I mean real , not just recitation. where, with your heart, you call your God, your Being, until that connection is established. And really that connection is up to you, because your , your Being, is always with you. And if you feel disconnected, it is because of you. God is always there, especially when you are serious about your spiritual work, you are serious because God is pushing you with a spiritual inquietude. That impulse to awaken is your Being pushing you. So if you do not feel connected to God, it is because something in you is not connected; it is not God. I know I have heard so many times, “Well God doesn’t listen to me,” or “God doesn’t talk to me.” It is not that God is not talking to you, it is that you are not listening.
So, especially the Lord’s — there is amazing power in that — or the Gayatri , different prayers depending on your background. If you have a relationship with a religion, any religion, there will be a in that religion that will bring you close to that sense, that feeling, of connection. And that can evaporate fear. There is great power in that.
So that would be my recommendation when fear is strong. Remember your Being. Pray. And this especially happens out of the body, in the astral plane. Fear is a huge obstacle, and the surest antidote is. As soon as you feel that fear, you pray to God, “Please my Mother, my Father,”—whatever you want to use, even if it is just intuitive—“be with me, guide me, help me, show me.” And when it is sincere, the fear evaporates.
Audience: Well, I realize that I need to meditate on fear—
Instructor: For sure.
Audience: —but right now, the way we talk about fear, but then it seems way deeper than that.
Instructor: There are egos of fear.
Audience: Do the egos bring fear up in order to survive, for their survival?
Instructor: Fear, at its base—to my level of comprehension, which is very shallow—is a disconnection from the, from God. And that is partly why the Master felt that fear entering the Absolute, because in that state there is another level of connection that is beyond the connection you get in a regular Samadhi. It is something different. And that fear was that change, because you enter into a state of selflessness, the ultimate level, which is a complete level of Prajna. It is hard to put in words.
So anyhas a reflection of that, in the sense that we are disconnected from Being. When we are totally enveloped in our pride, running around with our pride, we are boasting and feeding that pride because, at the base of it, we are disconnected from God, and that is a fear. We have that lack of faith, that lack of connection. So we feel exposed and alone, and the way we want to feel strong and secure is with pride. The real way to do it is to feel God in our heart. Then we do not need pride. When we really have a connection with God, with our , with our , when that is vibrating and living in our heart, pride is completely useless; in fact, it is harmful.
That is why the truest masters are completely humble and absolutely sincere, and they do not care if somebody tries to beef up their pride or tries to bring their pride down. Someone who is really centered in God does not respond at all to criticism or praise, because they have connected with God in their heart. Likewise, they do not respond to envy, or to, because all of those are a kind of fear seeking connection, because we do not have a connection with the .
It is sort of logical and makes sense, right? It is simple. But we forget. So that is why in the course of this process of analyzing body, speech, and mind, and acting for the benefit of self and others, we need to remember ourselves; we need to remember our; we need to pray. That is why we have so many aspects of this science that we have to learn. They are all important. They are all pointing us towards that state of in which we are awake, we are observant, we are watching ourselves, but we are connected inside our heart. So then, when any ordeal or temptation comes at us, we are connected with our . We do not need to fulfill that , because we have fulfillment in our heart already. We do not need to fulfill that envy. We do not need to listen to that fear. We do not need to follow along with that shame or that gluttony, because the fulfillment that we need is already their in our heart, with our . We fall into temptation because we have lost that connection.
And that connection can be established quickly in us. It is a matter of our work and sincerity. That connection is built and made very strong through transmutation and through conscious work, through being awake. When we transmute, we are taking those forces, the matter and energy of the sexual matter, and we are creating something. That creation is the connection to God. So if we are not transmuting, if we are not working with our sexual energy, we cannot build a strong connection; we will be very weak, as a weak.
But someone who has created, inside, the astral bodies, awakened the Kundalinis, that is a very potent, powerful, direct connection to God. And that is why those people are very strong psychologically, and are able to help others in a very strong degree, because they have that connection naturally. It is interesting, right?
Audience: When you were talking about the state of pure perception, which has no body, would you say there is a sense of indifference in that?
Instructor: I would not say it was necessarily indifference, because indifference could imply lethargy or laziness, right? But I think you are on the right track. I would say indifference is not the right word. I would say it is more like equanimity.
Audience: I was wondering how you would then bring the state of compassion or love into it.
Instructor: Yeah, because it is not indifference. Some people develop it that way and it is harmful. Specifically in the Shravakayana paths—in the beginning, foundational level paths of some traditions—they develop a kind of equanimity that is self-enclosed. And you could call it indifference because they develop the ability—which is a foundational ability—that no matter what arises, they are indifferent.
But that is not a Mahayana manifestation of that conscious state. The full development of that conscious state would be an active engagement that does not get identified. And the difference is subtle. It is a state of engagement, really. It is an equanimity that is active and observant, but it does not get identified. It is a flowing of love. You could say it like that. It is a force of love, an engagement.
I do not really have the words for it, but I would not use the word indifference. I think equanimity is a little more accurate, even though some people could interpret equanimity as also indifference, and it is not that. Like, in someschools, they talk about developing in equanimity, but they are really talking about indifference, so that anything that arises, you just do not care. This is wrong. You should care. It is important. cares, really. itself is a reflection of . It is a reflection of God flowing through the Sephiroth. God cares. God is love. So that conscious state should be a state of caring, a state of engagement, a state in which there is an active observation, but no identification. It is hard to put it in words, but I think through practice and you will get to the point where you say, “Oh yeah, I get that.” But English does not have the terms to explain all these states of , which is one of the sad facts of English.
Going for refuge with all forms of respect
To the Buddhas, excellent Doctrine,
Supreme Community, and Bodhisattvas,
I bow down to all that are worthy of honor.
I will turn away from all ill deeds
And thoroughly take up all meritorious actions.
I will admire all the merits
Of all embodied beings.
With bowed head and joined palms
I petition the perfect Buddhas
To turn the wheel of doctrine and remain
As long as transmigrating beings remain.
Through the merit of having done thus
And through the merit that I did earlier and will do
May all sentient beings be endowed
With unsurpassed .
May all sentient beings have all the stainless faculties,
Release from all conditions of non-leisure,
Freedom of action,
And endowment with good livelihood.
Also may all embodied beings
Have jewels in their hands,
And may all the limitless necessities of life remain
Unconsumed as long as there is cyclic existence.
May all women at all times
Become supreme persons.
May all embodied beings have
The intelligence [of wisdom] and the legs [of ethics].
May embodied beings have a pleasant complexion,
Good physique, great splendor,
A pleasing appearance, freedom from disease,
Strength, and long life.
May all be skilled in the means [to extinguish suffering]
And have liberation from all suffering,
Inclination to the Three Jewels,
And the great wealth of Buddha's doctrine.
May they be adorned with love, compassion, joy,
Even-mindedness [devoid of] the afflictive emotions,
Giving, ethics, patience, effort,
Concentration, and wisdom [the paramitas].
Completing the two collections [of merit and wisdom],
May they have the brilliant marks and beautiful features [even while on the path],
And may they cross without interruption
The ten inconceivable stages [of development].
May I also be adorned completely
With those and all other good qualities,
Be freed from all defects,
And have superior love for all sentient beings.
May I perfect all the virtues
For which all sentient beings hope,
And may I always relieve
The sufferings of all embodied beings.
May those beings in all worlds
Who are distressed through fear
Become entirely fearless
Even through merely hearing my name.
Through seeing or thinking of me or only hearing my name
May beings attain great joy,
Naturalness free from error,
Definiteness toward complete enlightenment,
And the five clairvoyances a
Throughout their continuum of lives.
May I always in all ways bring
Help and happiness to all sentient beings.
May I always without harm
All beings in all worlds
Who wish to commit ill deeds.
May I always be an object of enjoyment
For all sentient beings according to their wish
And without interference, as are the earth,
Water, fire, wind, herbs, and wild forests.
May I be as dear to sentient beings as their own life,
And may they be even more dear to me.
May I bear the results of their ill deeds,
And may they have the results of all my virtue.
As long as any sentient being
Anywhere has not been liberated,
May I remain [in the world] for the sake of that being
Even if I have attained highest enlightenment. - Nagarjuna, Ratnavali 5:66-85
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