Spirituality

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Short stories, conversations and some words of wisdom by wise men..... and of course, snippets of my spiritual journey :)

Impermanence

Sabbe sankhara anicca'ti;
yada pannaya passati,
atha nibbindati dukkhe,
esa maggo vissuddhiya.

- Dhammapada - 277.

Impermanent are all compounded things. (conditionings)
When one perceives this with true insight,
one becomes detached from suffering;
this is the path of purification.

Prayer

How should one pray? What is the right kind of prayer? These are very interesting questions.

Well, whom do we pray to is a question I would not delve into. You may call it god or creator or nature or earth or whatever you like. By nature's law, it becomes clearer that each one of us are in the situation we are due to our own deeds. Which means that the creation is perfect. Its flawless! One might ask how can this creation be perfect when there is war, hunger, killing, poverty and a whole list of unfortunate things happening around the world? The answer still lies in Nature's law. The situation anyone is in or gets in is due to his/her past actions. The discomfort we may have caused someone is the same discomfort coming back to us in some other form. Ok, but what relation does this have with prayer ? Yes, its related which we will get to shortly.

I think the majority of people pray for well being. Well being may be material, physical or mental or all the 3. In all these forms of prayer all we are doing is just asking. The sole purpose is to gain something. Its like saying "I will pray to you everyday but you gimme good health". The relationship is purely give-and-take which is no different than doing business. "You gimme money, I will give you this". Notice that the prayer is just business.

Sila, sila, sila

Sila means Morality. The 8 precepts of Sila are

  • to abstain from killing any being
  • to abstain from stealing
  • to abstain from all sexual activity
  • to abstain from telling lies
  • to abstain from all intoxicants
  • to abstain from eating after midday
  • to abstain from sensual entertainment and bodily decorations
  • to abstain from using high or luxurious beds

Nature's Law

Of late, I have been having strong feelings which I thought I should write. This whole cycle of existence is just the law of nature in motion. So what is this law of nature?
What you sow is what you reap
Ok, so how does that become the law of nature? Well, because we are seeing it happen all the time. For eg, if I plant a seed of mango, I can stay assured that the fruits coming from that seed will definitely be a mango. Going a little further, if the fruit is bitter and the seed from such a bitter fruit is sown then the fruits from the fully developed tree will also be bitter. This is not a philosophy but a truth whose manifestations we see all the time. In case one does not believe it, one can confirm it by actually sowing a seed and wait for it to fully grow and develop into a tree and then check the fruits.

So we see that bitter input produces bitter output, sweet input produces sweet output, mangoes will always produce mangoes and not oranges and so on. Applying the same principle to our existence, a good deed will produce a good deed, a bad deed will produce a bad one. Now, I dont want to get into whats good and what bad, as its very subjective and no one has a right to judge good and bad. We can rather look at it as something that will help you and something that will cause you discomfort. So now, if we look at it from the perspective of nature's law, if we help someone, someone else will help us. Similarly, if we cause pain to someone, someone else will cause pain to us.

Oh Anichya!

I have come to realize that Satipatthana is something special and I consider myself very fortunate to have done this course. In terms of practice, it is no different from the regular Vippassana course, but my regular sadhana post Satipatthana seems to have become so much deeper and intense as compared to earlier. Well strictly speaking, it should not matter as we should observe it as just another sensation and continue being equanimous. True, no doubt about that, but this whole change is such a pleasant experience that I cant help but mention it.

Earlier, the 1 hour Adhithana sittings itself was quite a task to accomplish, now with the help of Bunty and Abu, we have been successfully sitting for 2 hour Adhithanas on weekends. If you are getting used to the 1 hour sittings and are able to experience anichya, its time to push your limits by sitting for 2 hours and break loads of karma. Not only will the wisdom of anichya get permanently established into your psyche, your will power too will increase many fold. Also, one will find that quite naturally the equanimity which was earlier restricted to just sadhana periods will start manifesting into your daily life almost unknowingly :).

Atapi Sampejano Satima
Thats the goal!

Maha Satipatthana Sutta

I am back from Igatpuri after attending the 8 day Satipatthana. Well, it goes without saying that the course was brilliant. Again nothing new in terms of practice but the discourse is different. It explains teachings of the Buddha himself. Maha Satipatthana is the first discourse given by Gotama, the Buddha in a place called Kuru. He explains the path for getting free from the whole process of becoming( birth after birth). Of course the path is Vipassana or to put it simply its just a process of observing objectively. To observe objectively is to maintain equanimity because it is impossible to observe anything objectively without remaining equanimous. Again, don't believe me, find it experientially. Thats the beauty of this technique, you experientially discover the truth. If we can just sit doing nothing but observe what ever sensations are cropping up on the body, nature will start revealing the whole of existence to us. It is in this context, that the Upanishads talk about non-doing.

Satipatthana is a course only for old students, hence the people are much lesser and also quite serious about the course. Indeed, its much more intensive and fulfilling as compared to the normal 10 day courses probably because the seriousness of the others rubs on to you which in midst of new students tends to be lesser. An important change that I consciously incorporated in myself was straightening my posture. I had realized that my back used to bend automatically when sitting for longer hours. Hence, I made a conscious effort to keep a straight back during Adhithana period. Of course, it was quite painful the first 3 days but the wisdom of anichya saw me through it quite peacefully. I found that for almost more than 80% of the time, I am able to observe pain as just pain and not identify myself with it. But this is only during times of meditation. The Buddha says

Guruji

I am done with Isha Yoga and back to good old Vipassana. I had been to Igatpuri again for the 10 day course. It was very painful as I fell and sprained my leg and could hardly walk. But at such a place, all this hardly matters and if one has the will then there is no stopping you. Meditation wise, each Vipassana course is so different and tends to get deeper and deeper( subtler and subtler ) even though there is nothing new thats taught. In spite of the pain, there were so many wonderful moments that I can never forget. But after this trip, a huge change that seems to have come is my acceptance of Guruji.

Might seem weird, but till now I never ever happened to call Goenkaji as Guruji. It might not even seem to be a big deal, but only I know what a HUGE change this is. Intellectually, I am so egoistic that its almost impossible for me to address anyone with high respect and words like Guruji is something that I can only ridicule about. But during this course, some change happened. A chunk of my ego happened to take the beating and wow how wonderful it is to dissolve some ego now I realize. Also, there seems to be a strong urge to do some Seva. I am dead sure that my next visit is going to be for Dhamma Seva.

I also happened to meet some real dedicated Vipassi's like Alex from Russia, Manut from Germany and a lot of other people whose names I do not remember. Talking to them has been very inspirational and I am trying hard to get myself to practice both morning and evening as suggested by Guruji. Currently, I do Adhithana only in the mornings. But its all changing...... changing...... changing......

Mystic Musings

I have been reading Sadhguru's book Mystic Musings and am absolutely shocked!! The book is a series of question/answer sessions dealing in topics ranging from the body and mind to the so called paranormal. The content has made me look at life with a completely new perspective. Also, one will get an idea of what Sadhguru is capable of, probably just a glimpse of it.

I have been very attracted to Isha Yoga ever since my first course. With Sadhguru and his carefully picked lot of ever increasing teachers, one is in safe hands and headed in the right direction. But after reading Mystic Musings, I have realized that my volition is not correct. Deep within, the attraction has been more due to greed. The sudden feeling of becoming powerful and gaining control of your energies and that too in a super fast way seems to be luring me to join further courses of Isha yoga. Practices done with such volition will not get anyone anywhere. In Vipassana, I expected no magic, no mystic, no power... the goal was just to purify the mind.

Isha yoga is a quick and highly effective path but with my expectations will only make me power crazy. Vipassana seems to be the right thing for me. I am still thinking if I should continue with the practices or leave it..... probably I should....

Isha Yoga

Well, well, well.... its been a loooong time. Lots of stuff to write about but just couldn't get myself to write. I did a second round of vipassana and it definitely was a much better experience than the first time. The fact that old students get to be in the Pagoda most of the times makes a huge difference. Well its been about 6 months since i did it.

But, recently something that I thought will never happen just happened. Swapnil has been and is a strong, dedicated follower of Isha Yoga for quite some years now. He had been telling me to join the Isha Yoga courses and check it out but I kept avoiding it as I had decided that Vipassana would be the only path that I would follow. I was quite sure I would not take up any Isha Yoga course.

The main character is what I call the mind....

This is a quote from the movie Waking life. Its absolutely true!! Its now a year since I have started meditating and even now my mind is not completely free of thoughts. But of course, there has been a marked improvement from what it was a year back. One thing I have come to realize is that persistence is extremely important. The goal of meditation is to take control of ones own mind. Now, one might think that it is easy or simple or whatever but an experiment to testify it is to concentrate on ones breath for 15 minutes. Just observe the breath coming in and going out through the nostril. If one can sit for 15 minutes without any thoughts and without losing focus of the breath then you are an excellent meditator.

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