Echo from The Cave: 77

Wednesday May 9, 2018 NYC

Editor’s Note: Pranavadipa Volume 42 

Satsangha at Joyful Living, Taipei March 2018

Hunger for the Truth along with simple and sincere practice most assuredly advance the true seeker on the path of Yoga!!!

In this month’s issue of Pranavadipa (Vol. 42), from the Satsangha through to the Testimony, the concretization of this is woven like a thread throughout. The Satsangha is the fourth of four special Satsangha that took place in Taiwan in May of 2017, when Shri Mahayogi first visited Taiwan at the invitation of Prasadini (the leader of the sangha in Taiwan) and other practitioners who had been gathering together to regularly practice asana and meditation, and to study the teachings of Shri Mahayogi and the teachings of Yoga. This particular Satsangha is filled with the crisp and powerful teaching of Shri Mahayogi as he generously offers guidance on establishing yama and niyama (the precepts of Yoga), eliminating sanskara, the applications of meditation, the meaning of Jesus’ teaching from the Bible, and as he dispels, with utmost grace and compassion, the doubts of a mother who is most concerned about her daughter’s choice to follow the path of Yoga. This is the same daughter who asked Shri Mahayogi just one month prior when she first met with Shri Mahayogi during a visit to Kyoto, about how to view familial relationships from the point of view of Yoga (Pranavadipa Vol. 33).

Since Shri Mahayogi’s first visit to Taiwan, he has returned two more times within the year. The group of practitioners in Taiwan was started by Prasadini, whose Testimony is in Pranavadipa Vol. 34. When Prasadini was first in New York, she mentioned that the only person she knew who would be truly interested to meet Shri Mahayogi was her cousin. Indeed, as she guessed, Prasadini’s cousin, Priya, whose Testimony is in Pranavadipa Vol. 33 & 37, was also gradually drawn to Shri Mahayogi and the Mission. Now she serves as a translator of Chinese and Japanese when Shri Mahayogi visits Taiwan. After Priya, two more practitioners joined the sangha, and now they have more than 10 staff members who have been dedicating themselves to inviting Shri Mahayogi and participating the work of the sangha in Taiwan.

In preparation for Shri Mahayogi’s third visit to Taiwan, Anandamali (director of the New York Mahayogi Yoga Mission) arrived one night beforehand in order to join His stay. The first night she stayed at the house where Prasadini, Priya and Lilly live together in an apartment in the central area of Taipei. Radha and Marula, who are two of the central staff members also stayed there that night. The next morning, before Radha went to the flower market to prepare the flowers for Shri Mahayogi’s visit, there was a moment when she was alone with Anandamali, sitting in front of her. Then Radha spontaneously and straightforwardly spoke about how much she anticipates the 8th of every month so that she can read the new issue of Pranavadipa, which she always reads beginning with the Testimony, since it is easier to relate to and therefore understand. Because the teachings are in a more relatable format, she first learns from them that way, then moves on to the Satsangha, which she reads and studies again and again. It was a quiet moment, and her sincerity was moving.  After that, suddenly her face flushed with redness and tears came streaming down her cheeks as she said, “My thoughts and actions still do not match.”  It is obvious that she keeps thinking about the Truth, the teaching of Yoga, and of course, our beloved Shri Mahayogi… Unless we keep thinking about the teachings constantly such words and emotion cannot appear. Indeed, it was a great moment to tangibly witness how a disciple and how sangha are working in Taipei.  What’s more, many of Taiwan staff members commented that the Satsangha that took place during Shri Mahayogi’s third visit to Taiwan went much deeper than the first two. Of course, the more we deepen our practice, the more we can receive answers that delve further and further into the Truth. They were amazed, again, by the Master, Shri Mahayogi.

Flower arrangement for the Satsangha

 

In the Testimony, there are 4 articles, 3 of which are the direct messages from sangha members in Taiwan written for and shared at the occasion of Sanatana Dharma Avatara Mela (the Ceremony of Divine Manifestations), in April 2018, which was a few weeks after Shri Mahayogi’s third visit to Taiwan. Radha’s message is included, in addition to a writing by Gopala, in which he mentions an episode with Radha. Two testimonies are from Zhao Yuan. From them we can see how they have concretely deepened their practice of Yoga, just less than one

Radha

year since that first visit. From these messages and their experiences shared within, it is tangibly revealed that it is out of practice and sincerely yearning to understand the teaching that one is led to concrete growth along the path of Yoga. The heartfelt sincerity and yearning for real practice that drives the steps of the seeker to walk along the path of Yoga have the power to inspire us all in our own journey and propel us forward. May we feel the inspiration of our Taiwan brother and sister gurubhai!!

***

 

Prasadini leading Kirtan at home where she lives together with Priya and Lilly

Indeed, the rapid development in Taiwan of passion for Yoga and for the teachings of Shri Mahayogi is really quite remarkable. Prasadini first met Shri Mahayogi when she was visiting New York in 2013. That first meeting left her questioning what she had come to understand about Yoga up until that point. After she returned to Taiwan, she traveled to Kyoto to meet Shri Mahayogi and the sangha in Kyoto, and it was then that she gave up the idea of trying to stay in New York, and instead decided to remain in Taipei.  Little by little, she continued to practice what she had learned from Shri Mahayogi, all the while gathering the people alongside her to practice together with the hope of inviting Shri Mahayogi to Taiwan one day. As time went on, she would come to question what would be a truly worthy cause for her to dedicate her life to, and in the end her passion toward the Truth became the center of her dedication. Here we would like to share an article written by Prasadini that relates her experience of meeting her Master and transforming her life to truly dedicate to Yoga.

But first, we would like to announce some GREAT NEWS.

The other day Shri Mahayogi bestowed a name upon the apartment where Prasadini lives alongside two other disciples.

From now on, it will be called Ananda Ashrama!!!

 


Namo Maha Prabho Namo Mahayogin te Om………………………………………..

Beloved Master, may we express or deepest gratitude for your grace and blessings that shine infinitely upon us, filling us with the light of Truth. May this new Ashram be the gem of true Yoga in Taiwan and may that light of your Truth shine forth through our everyday actions.

 

*

Kirtan practice at the place that is now called Ananda Ashrama.

The following is an essay by Prasdini who lives in Taiwan and has been striving to practice and participate in the activities of Yoga. It recounts her meeting with her Master in New York, as well as the trials and tribulations in life while progressing on the path of Truth.

 

Meeting My Master and the Mind of Awakening into Seeking the Truth

For seven years during the time before I met Shri Mahayogi, I was travelling to many countries, participating in various yoga retreats and teacher trainings. I don’t know what I was seeking, but I felt that I was able to get away from my busy life for some time and get closer to the teachings of Yoga, so I was always planning the next trip. However, every time a “fantastic” yoga vacation ended, I had to go back to a crazy, packed schedule in order to earn and save enough to go on the next trip. Looking back now, it was as if I was a hamster, blindly continuing to run inside the wheel without any purpose. I learned many teachings of Yoga from yoga classes and from scriptures, yet nevertheless I could not put an end to the confusion in my own life, and I couldn’t see the contradictions between my thoughts and my actions. What is most frightening about this was that I thought that this kind of life was normal.

In 2013, I spent an unforgettable summer and autumn in New York. The friend whom I was staying with was a disciple of Shri Mahayogi, and he kept talking about love for the Guru (Master) all throughout our conversations. These conversations reminded me of a book, Autobiography of a Yogi, which had been a big influence on me. I wanted to improve my English because I wanted to learn more about Yoga, so in 2008 I went to England and stayed there for a few months. At that time, the book, Autobiography of a Yogi, always supported my soul, which continued its wish to search further into the spiritual realm. Yogananda was seeking his Guru since childhood, and always praying in his heart and crying out for it. I sympathized with Yogananda’s prayers. When I asked myself, “Will I ever be able to meet my Guru in this lifetime?” and meditated, tears flowed uncontrollably. Afterwards, my yearning for a Guru was swallowed up by various other activities. I even thought that such a pure relationship between Guru and disciple might no longer exist in modern society. However, when I was allowed for the first time to attend the Satsangha at the Cave (the name of the space where the Mission in New York is based,) and from seeing the exchange of gazes between Shri Mahayogi and his disciples, I felt very much the deep love and trust between them. It reawakened my thirst for finding my Guru. Yet, at the time, I was not sure whether Shri Mahayogi was my Guru or not, and I thought that I had to carefully think about this. In one Satsangha I asked him, “What is the Truth?” and “What is the relationship between Guru and disciple?” Shri Mahayogi answered me with a compassion-filled gaze and in an unshakable tone. His words were very difficult for me to comprehend at that time, as if he were speaking in an alien language, but I was so drawn to his pure smile. Such affection brought me joy and I felt my consciousness expand.

I was very happy to be able to participate in the Satsangha each time, but as I began to participate more, I got more anxious. I asked myself, “Will I be able to actually practice the teachings of Yoga?” “Do I really want to seek the Truth?” “Isn’t my current lifestyle enough?” “The status and wealth I have created as a yoga teacher took me pretty far, even to this point.” —I was conflicted in my mind. Then, I noticed a flyer from the Mahayogi Yoga Mission and I realized that my pursuit of the material world came from ignorance. The flyer said:

“Student: How does one increase one’s passion to know the true Self?

MASTER: You need to confront the most pressing questions directly: Who am I? What is Existence? What is God? Then conversely, What is this world? What is pleasure? What is pain? What is happiness? What is unhappiness? You must pursue the answers to these questions exhaustively. If you do so, then your aspiration to seek the Truth will surely increase. That is true passion. These are universal questions.”

I looked at the flyer for a long time, but I could not answer these questions. Yet, at the same time, the world and the values I used to believe in began to crumble.

This transformation was tangibly felt the year after, in 2014 when I visited Kyoto. It was cold in March, and at the home of my fellow gurubhai (brother and sister disciples), for the first time I got involved in the task of cleaning the bathroom, for the first time I got involved in helping out with the preparation of meals, and for the first time I heard the senior disciples’ life stories, the challenges they faced and the faith they had on the path of Yoga—I was deeply moved seeing the way in which they lived their lives so seriously. Nevertheless, I could not understand in the least how they were able to take that first step towards staking their lives on the path of the Truth. So in Satsangha, I asked Shri Mahayogi this question, “Eventually, everything in the world repeats the cycle of life and death, so the world will vanish one day and then will be born again. If that’s the case, what is the meaning of the existence of this world?” Shri Mahayogi answered that “It exists in order to serve all people in realizing that everything in this world is a dream, and for people to wake up from the dream and serve others.” His words resounded in my heart. He gently smiled and looked into my soul deeply with an unshakeable gaze. Indeed, the past troubles, pleasures, pains, times of happiness, they were all like a dream. Everyone (including myself) is working hard, spending their entire lives chasing after a dreamy success. When I thought about that, I was overcome with a sense of emptiness, that everything in the end will vanish. If both are required to make efforts as much to stake my life on it either way, then I thought, wouldn’t it be more worthy of the effort, to realize the Eternal, Unchangeable true Self? Such thoughts began to grow quietly in my mind.

I would like to express my gratitude towards the senior disciples who always helped as much as they possibly could while I stayed in Kyoto. The friendship especially from Anandamali-san, Takashi-san (Ramdas), and Yohei-san (Gopala), nurtured my yearning towards the true Self. The senior disciples’ demonstrations of walking on the path of Yoga always encouraged me. Buddha said, “My disciples are not the ones who merely see my flesh, but the ones who know my teachings.” But then, how do we actually apply the practice into our action? As I saw the disciples in Kyoto and New York always spend time together, live and practice together, I recognized the importance of sangha (like-minded peers). Sangha not only encourages and enlightens one another, but at times, can clash and break apart the ego to eliminate it. I felt the necessity for sangha in Taiwan too. But then I thought, “Will I be able to transmit Shri Mahayogi’s teachings to people in Taiwan, and create and establish a sangha little by little? I am so grateful that Shri Mahayogi blessed this thought, and told me that he is always with me. The words of Shri Mahayogi gave me courage and power, and I began to lead asana and meditation classes once a week when I returned to Taiwan.

Nonetheless, things don’t go that easily. Shri Mahayogi told us that the visible sanskara (potential impressions from past experiences) are like the tip of an iceberg. As soon as I went back to Taiwan, the stubborn desire and ego appeared, and I was tested in my determination. I had an offer from another place to teach Yoga abroad. Then I’m afraid I thought that I could perhaps take this job for a year or two, teaching Yoga in Beijing and India, and then afterwards I could begin applying Shri Mahayogi’s teachings into practice seriously. Even so, I felt—“I can’t bring myself to teach the methods I don’t believe in anymore, nor can I disseminate the teachings of Yoga which my heart can’t even actually put into action for myself!” “Can I really teach the Yoga of Truth?” In my second visit to Kyoto, I received the answer to that.

A student asked me after class, “Lynn,* I know that you have studied Yoga for a long time, and sought and met many yoga teachers. But why did you choose this current teacher?” Well, why did I choose Shri Mahayogi? While I stayed in New York, I often heard in Satsangha, “Put the Truth into actual practice.” A senior disciple who has studied under Shri Mahaoygi for 15 years told me, “For the past 15 years, the teachings that I have received from Shri Mahayogi are always simple, and the Guru always encouraged us to put them into action.” There is no one but a Guru who is truly in the state of Truth that can demand that disciples practice the Truth! There are many teachers in this world who teach only through words, but there is no one else but the only Existence who can truly guide students towards that true Existence!

* Prasadini’s birth name. She received the spiritual name, Prasadini, by Shri Mahayogi in 2017.

That thought was verified in a Satsangha when I went to Kyoto for the second time. At that time, Shri Mahayogi answered to Takashi-san (Ramdas), “At first, you seek to attain the state of Bliss, but afterwards, you become Bliss itself,” and then looked at me with a smile. In that gaze, I felt a Pure Existence. Shri Mahaoygi was permeated with Joy, and I sensed that Shri Mahayogi himself is none other than Joy itself. I laughed and tears came out of my eyes. I found out that that was darshan (the divine gaze) from a Guru. I felt that the darshan I received from Shri Mahayogi filled me with uncontainable blessings and love. In that moment, it became clear to me. I cannot teach Yoga. Going abroad for a year will only fill my ego, and all the efforts I would make for that will vanish like a dream once again—it will be nothing but a waste of time. If I would continue with these plans exactly as they were, then I would ultimately be defeated by the fraud and emptiness within them.

No matter what words I use, I cannot express the gratitude I have towards Shri Mahayogi. After returning to Taiwan from Kyoto, we have worked hard proactively and made efforts to grow the sangha in Taiwan. Even if we cannot do everything right from the beginning, I believe that the secret is within action. We have two Asana & Meditation classes per week, once a month we have a reading group, and we also have other occasional gatherings. Every action is for seeking the Truth, and sangha and these activities give meaning to my life. I could not recognize my Guru at first glance like Yogananda could, but the sincere, earnest exchange between Guru and disciple is beginning to arise within me. I have come to know that I am receiving Shri Mahayogi’s love and guidance. More importantly, I felt the blessing of God. And that blessing is not only given to me, I felt clearly that it is to the sangha in Taiwan!

I will continue to cherish and nurture that sangha from now on, and tirelessly put the teachings of Shri Mahayogi into action.

Prasadini   January 25, 2018.  Taipei
(From the Blog of Mahayogi Mission Kyoto)

Prasadini                  On the board, it is written “Birth, Old age, Sickness, Death. Birth=Karma”

Study Group

Kirtan Practice: Prasadini – lead; Priya – drum, and this must be the occasion that Priya wrote about in the Testimony of Vol.37; and Zhao Yuan – guitar

Taiwan Sangha in Kyoto 2017. On the way to attend Shri Mahayogi’s Jayanti!!!  9 members from Taiwan visited Shri Mahayogi and Sangha in Kyoto, Japan.

Radha, Marula, Prasadini and Priya on the way to go to the activities, Taiwan

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And here are the three ladies who now live in Ananda Ashrama, Taipei!

Lilly, Prasadini and Priya

Om Tat Sat, Om!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Pranam to our Most Beloved Shri Mahayogi.

Echo from The Cave: 76

Sunday April 8, 2018    NYC

Celebration:
Sanatana Dharma Avatara Mela 2018
—The Second Ceremony of the Divine Manifestations—

 

On April 8th, the auspicious holy birthday of the Awakened Being, Buddha, we celebrate the joyous occasion of Sanatana Dharma Avatara Mela (the Ceremony of Divine Manifestations), in which we think of both the Eternal Truth—Sanatana Dharma—which is beyond time and space, and the incarnations of God—Avatara—who have expressed the realization of this through their physical manifestation, with the conviction that their true Existence and grace saturate the entire universe and fill the essence of all living beings.

According to the needs of every era, Avatara have provided various teachings and brought salvation to the people. Shakyamuni Buddha, the most familiar existence among them, established the path of meditation through Yoga and provided the universal teaching to this world that makes the realization of Satori possible for anyone. At this year’s festival, we would like to make this celebration into a wonderful opportunity for us to focus particularly on the divine existence of Buddha out of all the Aavatara, to let our small minds melt away into His essence, the Truth Itself, and to see all the different existences and the entire universe through Buddha’s mind and through Buddha’s eyes.

Buddha said, “I have found an ancient path, a straight and ancient road that has been traveled upon by past Awakened Beings.” Without having been taught by anyone, Buddha was convinced of the existence of Avatara in the past. He also felt that this blessed path left behind by such awakened predecessors was connected to his path. Through the existence of Buddha, may we, those of us who live in the current time, see the path—which has been shown by the Avatara, the god-incarnate, that is, the path toward universal Truth, Sanatana Dharma, which may not be visible to our physical eyes, yet is tangibly clear to the eyes of Truth—from a universal point of view, and tangibly feel that it is connected to us too.

 

 

Echo from The Cave: 75

Friday March 23, 2018    NYC

BUDDHA AND MODERN TIMES:

The Essence of the Words of Buddha:
People Aren’t Saved Merely
By Getting Comfort From Hearing His Words

“Brahma Urges Buddha to Teach”

 

How the Words of Buddha are Consumed 

Buddha’s words are very popular, even to this day. There are many books available, and every once in a while they become trendy again. Perhaps people who buy these books or search for them on the internet are trying to get answers or hints about how to deal with the concrete personal problems they are facing, their vague or general anxiety, or the various doubts they have in life.

This may not be limited to Buddha, but it may be the primary motivation in general as to why people seek words from Holy or Great Beings from the past, or from successful people and celebrities of modern times (i.e. the famous words from Nietzsche, Dale Carnegie, Steve Jobs, etc.)

Especially when people look for words from people who are considered to be Holy Beings or saints, such as Buddha, I suppose that they are looking for salvation in the form of an immediate remedy or some relief from an emotional problem, such as an answer to their anger, sadness, or their pain.

Looking at books with titles that have words like, “The Words and Teachings of Buddha,” etc, they are often edited in such a way as to meet the above needs. The fact that these books sell so well implies that those needs exist, and that Buddha’s words are consumed based on those needs.

 

The Attitude of Buddha Himself 

However, when you read Buddha’s words (i.e. the most ancient Buddhist scriptures) just as they are, we can see that Buddha never uttered words based on a temporary remedy or for comfort or relief, nor did he just answer with something that the questioners expected to hear.

Take as an example the famous story of Kisa Gotami.[1] We can see in this story that even to this mother, who had lost her child and gone mad, even towards the person who most needed such an immediate remedy, he did not simply tell her words of consolation, but rather guided her in such a way that she could think for herself and recognize the truth of the world.

Footnote [1]: Buddha told her to bring a mustard seed from a family that had not had any deaths. She searched for it but could not find any such house. When she returned to Buddha, Buddha then taught her the Truth. And she became his disciple.

Even when it comes to thinking and translating his words into action, to those who came to him with an attitude of, “I can’t get into action unless I understand the meaning of that action fully,” Buddha did not give the immediate answer that was expected. The famous example of this is the analogy of the “Poison Arrow.”[2] To a disciple who asked, “Is the world eternal or not?” “Is the world limited or limitless”—he did not give an answer that the mind of his disciple wanted to hear.

 Footnote [2]: This is the teaching that one should first remove the arrow, rather than over-analyzing where the arrow comes from and the details of the arrow.

 

Our False Expectations of the Words of Buddha 

Naturally, if Buddha were to be living here now in this modern world, he would not answer questions like, “How do I succeed in business?” or “What is the trick to maintaining health and beauty?” And even if you were to make requests such as, “I’m sad, please give me some words of comfort,” or “Please teach me how to calm down my anger immediately,” or “Please teach me how to get myself motivated,” or “Is there a magical mantra that gets rid of my depression?” he would not answer in the way people would expect. (Just like he brought the realization to the mother who asked him to revive her child in the story of Kisa Gotami, “death is inevitable to all.”)

Indeed, we are expecting the “magic mantra” that gives comfort and relief from the words of Buddha. We want that instant comfort, as if we could be healed immediately from being hugged by a saint. That is why once our minds feel comfort, we forget about Buddha. Then we fall into the same suffering and sadness again.

I think that we are all used to getting an immediate answer. On TV, we see the conclusion within 30 minutes to an hour of a show. If we search for anything on the internet, some kind of answer-like things are found. We don’t have the endurance to continue to seek something that is “difficult or perplexing,” something that doesn’t have an immediate answer.

Another cause of this may also stem from the education we have received. That education rewards the rote memorization of difficult questions, where you can just find the answers first and memorize them as soon as you get stumped, rather than thinking tenaciously about a difficult question. (Oftentimes, [in Japan,] victory or defeat when taking the school tests and entrance exams depends on how many correct answers you were able to memorize.)

However, the issues we face in life are nothing like workbooks from school, where the answers are written at the back of the book. Rather, it is required to face any unanswered questions head-on, and come up with our own answers by thinking them through for ourselves. It’s not as simple as being able to solve the problem because you were taught the right answer. It’s not as simple as just asking Buddha or the saints for an answer, and then thinking as if everything is fine once you get the answer from them, without going through the process of examining this within ourselves. It doesn’t work this way.

 

The Words of Buddha are not Merely for Healing and Comfort 

This is all the more true considering the way Buddha taught and guided people was correct.

Because the way he answers is different from that of merely satisfying people’s minds at once, though his words might have been hard to understand, and they may not have been so popular. (In fact, in some of the old writings of Jainism, there was a point when Buddha was not recognized as the founder of Buddhism.) It is said that Buddha himself thought, “This Truth is too subtle for anyone to understand,” and hesitated to preach it. Back in his time, it seems that many practitioners were insisting on their own way, “This is the only Truth. And only through this teaching and these precepts, can you become pure.” So it seems that Buddha had a hard time with people who came to him to seek such teachings and precepts. (Sutta Nipata, Ch. 4)

The salvation that Buddha performed was not by means of just giving words of comfort or healing to the mind, or of some method that was immediately useful. Considering this, I suspect that the type of books entitled something like, “Heal Your Mind Just by Reading Buddha’s Words or Sayings” are different from what Buddha intended. I suspect that the words of Buddha are not like something you would expect to have the result from the feeling of “I really got a lift from reading this book, which we often hear these days, even though this was not Buddha’s intention.

Temporary comfort may provide an effect just like that of pain-killers, which suppress suffering, or like anesthesia, but it does not have the lasting effect that completely eradicates the confusion of the mind. Even if Buddha’s words contained continuous guidance, if we just take his words for the part that is convenient for us, against his original intentions, then we are merely projecting our own minds’ hopes onto it. To just remain satisfied with oneself only by reading a book, or not thinking further about the teaching after hearing it, is the same as taking a pain-killer only for the temporary relief and then never going back to the doctor again to get the fundamental approach for treatment.

 

Don’t Let Yourself Become Complacent By Just “Listening”;
Confront Your Own Mind With the Words of Buddha By Applying Your “Thinking” Against Them

Then what should we do? In Buddhism and in Yoga, we are taught that “the Truth must be heard, thought about, and meditated upon.” It is a problem if we just stop at the level of “heard.”

Originally, the teachings of Buddha or of Yoga were devised to prevent us from just being satisfied by listening to them. (For example, Buddha never answered “what he realized” or used any particular name for God.) However, if we stop once we are satisfied with only the part that we have selectively and conveniently taken from his words, then it is quite possible that the continuity of the process in which we shift and transition into the step of “thinking” is cut off.

So instead, we must think about the question, “What was it that Buddha meant?” and, “If I am to transfer that into my own action, how should I do it?” Or we must confront whatever incongruity we have within ourselves, or any fear we feel, or ego that arises from within us when we hear these words. And with utmost seriousness, as if we are in a real duel with a “real sword,” we must challenge our mind in a showdown between the mind and Buddha.

No matter how gentle the words of Buddha are, if we really try to grasp their true intention, to approach the state of Buddha who uttered these words, and to actually put them into action, then we will need an appropriate, or rather, an incredible depth of contemplation and inner struggle.

For example, can we really understand Buddha’s state of mind when he said, “It is better to live one day seeing the state of Deathlessness, than to live a hundred years without seeing it” (Dhammapada, Verse 114)? Even if it’s not the state of Deathlessness, do we even have something that we can stake our lives on?

We say that family is important, we say that work is important, but can we really say that we’d rather see our family’s face one day than live for a hundred years? Or can we say that we don’t care if we are demoted or unpaid if we accomplish one important project at work? When we consider these things seriously, that’s when various things arise within the mind and a serious battle occurs as the mind is dissected and laid bare.

We must not stop at just being complacent with hearing the words and teachings. Then there would be no point as to why Buddha uttered these words. Buddha’s words will only become effective when we transition from “hearing” his words to “thinking about” his words. Buddha’s words are words that have that intention underlying them.

 

The Essential Value of the Words of Buddha 

The salvation that comes through Buddha is not just a temporary relief. It is not a pain-relieving anesthesia that allows us to turn away from reality. It is not about remembering the right answers. It is about acquiring methods for resolving problems. As Buddha explained at the end of the analogy of the “Poison Arrow,” it is to acquire the teachings of the Four Noble Truths—Suffering, its Cause, the Elimination of its Cause, and the Path for eliminating that—so that we can apply them to every problem that arises, be it in meditation or in daily life.

Then, by being able to cultivate the power to solve these problems by ourselves, we are able to acquire sustainable help and salvation.

 

From Temporary Help to Sustainable, Continuous Help 

Swami Vivekananda, a Yogi who understood Buddha best, in my opinion, said that there are three types of help that we can give to others: material, intellectual, and spiritual.

To feed the hungry is a type of material help that is needed immediately. However, the effect of that help is short lived. It will only relieve their suffering for a moment. 

Intellectual help does have more continuity. By receiving specialized knowledge or techniques, a person can find a job and sustain his or her own livelihood.

And I think that this “intellectual help” itself is equivalent to the “think” part of the “hear, think, and meditate.” It is the ability to continuously resolve issues by oneself without having to depend on others.

If we just stop at the level of “hearing” and do not proceed to “thinking,” then it is like we keep lining up at the soup kitchen, but we never go get a job. In that moment, the stomach fills up. But the next day, we get hungry again. Buddha can give us help to even go beyond the intellectual level, to the spiritual level, yet if we continue to return to the soup kitchen for bread, it feels so sad.

 

What We Ought to Seek From the Words of Buddha 

Then, beyond the step of “thinking,” there is “meditating,” just like there is spiritual help beyond the intellectual help. We can say that out of the three types of help, material-intellectual-spiritual, the spiritual help can further be divided into temporary help by “listening,” continuous help by “thinking,” and everlasting help by “meditating.”

Vivekananda was a saint who appeared in the 19th century in India under British colonization. In order to tackle the issue of poverty and discrimination, he had to put all of his energy into providing material and intellectual help (through welfare aid for the poor and through helping in the plagued areas, building hospitals and schools.)

In comparison, as we live in modern Japan, I think that we are getting to the point where we do not really need material or intellectual help as the first and foremost thing from Buddha or from Yoga. If that is so, then we should really seek help from Buddha as he originally intended it to be. Not only remaining at “hearing,” but continuing on to “thinking” and further leading to meditation—that is the salvation that is continuous and everlasting. The time is now. Now is the time to truly know Buddha.

Sanatana
Translation of the Mahayogi Mission blog in Tokyo, October, 2015

Echo from The Cave: 74

Thursday March 15, 2018    NYC

ANNOUNCEMENT:
Today, we celebrate our newest publication,
the English translation of
Seeking Truth: Memoirs of a Yogini


written by one of Shri Mahayogi’s disciples in Kyoto,
Mirabai

A non-fiction account of a seeker who embarked on a quest to find the purpose of life,
then met a Yogi,
and came to experience the Truth firsthand.

Part I contains her memoir and Part II contains the teachings of Yoga.

*

The book is available to purchase online
Softcover: 240 pages
Size: 4.25″ x 6.75″
©2018 MAHAYOGI YOGA MISSION
ISBN 978-0-9663555-4-3

Echo from The Cave: 73

Saturday March 10, 2018    NYC

Announcement:
SHRI MAHAYOGI WILL VISIT TAIPEI,
TAIWAN IN MARCH!

Schedule of Satsangha:

● 3/22(Thu)19:30 @SPACE YOGA
● 3/24  (Sat)    14:30 @JOYFUL LIVING
● 3/25(Sun)14:30 @JOYFUL LIVING
● 3/27(Tue)19:30 @JOYFUL LIVING

May this coming visit to Taiwan awaken in the hearts of the people their inherent yearning for Truth, for Yoga, and may those who have had the great blessing of meeting Shri Mahayogi already carry that seed of Truth in their own hearts and spread it far and wide, to the people of Taiwan and beyond!

For more informationt: taiwan.yoga.sangha@gmail.com
http://taiwanyogasangha.blogspot.com

 

Editor’s Note: Pranavadipa Volume 40 

Satsangha at Joyful Living, Taipei 2017

Graciously responding to the request of disciples and seekers in Taiwan, Shri Mahayogi will soon visit Taipei. The first time he visited Taiwan was in May 2017, so this will mark his third visit within one year! Surely the people of Taiwan must truly hunger for the Truth in order for the yearning of their hearts to draw the Master back once more this year.

This month’s issue of Pranavadipa (Volume 40) contains the third of four Satsangha that were held during Shri Mahayogi’s first visit to Taiwan. We believe that for our subscribers in Taiwan this translation will be especially good to read as a reminder in preparation of the Satsangha before Shri Mahayogi’s arrival! And of course, for all of our subscribers, this Satsangha serves as an inspiration for all who thirst for answers.

The questions contained within seem so simple and straightforward, yet they come from a profound place of true seeking. Within the interactions between attendees and Shri Mahayogi, there is no pretense and it feels as though attendees are really looking for practical guidance of how to apply the practice of Yoga in their everyday situations. And all attendees seemed to be intensely drawn to Shri Mahayogi, simply because of his existence, taking very seriously the opportunity to meet a living Master of Yoga, not knowing whether the opportunity would ever arise again. During that first visit Shri Mahayogi planted the seed of Truth, and as it begins to sprout, he is carefully watching over it.

Satsangha at Space Yoga, Taipei 2017

Shri Mahayogi visited Taiwan for the second time last year for nine days, from October 19th to 27th. Three Satsangha were held and over one hundred people participated. Many had eagerly anticipated meeting Shri Mahayogi again, while others met him for the first time, after having missed the last opportunity. From beginning to end, Shri Mahayogi expounded upon the Truth gently and in detail. Every Satsangha was wonderful and fulfilling.

Besides Satsangha, Shri Mahayogi also allowed opportunities for gurubhai in Taiwan to interact with him on several occasions. In each situation, Shri Mahayogi answered various questions from them, and gave blessings and sincere words that helped propel everyone further along on the path. Every situation spontaneously became a Satsangha.

*

Now, the testimony in this issue is a translation of an article that was contributed to Paramahamsa (a bi-monthly publication in Japan) and is written by a new staff member in Taiwan, Zhao Yuan, after Shri Mahayogi’s second visit in October.

Zhao Yuan, a graphic designer, had already become involved with making the flyer for Shri Mahayogi’s first visit, before even meeting Shri Mahayogi. And after meeting him and being inspired by the Master’s presence, he has spontaneously started to participate and support the activities of our sangha in Taiwan more and more, and is now walking the path along with us. With depth in his simple and straightforward, yet beautifully expressed writing, Zhao Yuan gives testimony to what he has recognized through practice about the true significance of having had the opportunity to learn from Shri Mahayogi.

And in addition to Zhao Yuan’s article, we would like to share here the translation of another article that appeared in Paramahamsa, which is written by Prasadini, who has been central to the activities in Taiwan. Although it may not be that long ago that the sangha in Taiwan began, she herself, along with the new sangha, strive to keep walking on the path itself. And Prasadini’s candid and sincere writing, reflecting exactly that, also brings us fresh energy and much inspiration.

 

 

After Shri Mahayogi’s Second Visit to Taiwan:
To Learn Yoga is to Transform the Mind

After Shri Mahayogi’s visit in May, Taiwan entered a period of scorching weather. In Taipei, we continued to have Asana and Meditation Class twice a week, and Meditation Group every other week. Both events at times had many attendees, while at other times, there would be very few. After having received the joy of our hearts being suddenly opened, we all went back to the routine of our busy daily lives. Perhaps everyone may have noticed that even if you meet Shri Mahayogi a few times, your original life does not change that much. The relationships you must face, various issues with family, and personal financial situations, continue to exist. At the same time, I suppose that having been given so much encouragement and having the fire of passion lit by Shri Mahayogi, many of us have felt that there is something that is different than before.

During class or meditation, we have continued to ponder further and debate Shri Mahayogi’s teachings, and also to discuss how we can check the challenges that occur in our daily lives against the Truth. In fact, we have begun to realize that in actuality that is the difficult part. How can we live in conformity with Truth? Even if we know the right thing to do, why do we resist? Why can’t we do it? We have all struggled in the past five months, following Shri Mahayogi’s first visit. However, we are very blessed. Shri Mahayogi, deeply merciful and compassionate, visited Taiwan again after five months. Shri Mahayogi must have heard the cries within our hearts.

Three Satsangha were held during Shri Mahayogi’s visit in October. In the last visit, for almost everyone, it was the first time to meet Shri Mahayogi, but this time, over half of the participants met him for the second time. Participants deepened their trust towards Shri Mahayogi, and became more honest and willing to open up when they asked him questions.

“Shri Mahayogi, will I be able to become vegetarian as I practice Yoga? I enjoy eating meat.”

“Shri Mahayogi, how can I make my mind transparent?”

“Shri Mahayogi, I am afraid of the unknown and of death. What can I do?”

A variety of questions were addressed to Shri Mahayogi. At times, we kept asking questions about the same topic, until our minds could understand the answers. Observing this, suddenly, a thought came to my mind—people are bound by their own thoughts and beliefs, and that is how suffering and pain-bearing obstacles are created…

However, in Satsangha, Shri Mahayogi taught:

“The mind must be completely transformed. The mind has reincarnated countless times [in the past]. And it is obscured by the accumulated pain-bearing obstacles and ignorance. So it is required that the mind become clean and transparent. It’s not easy to do in just two years—truly it requires as much as spending one’s entire life in order to do it. So do not hurry, but you must practice earnestly and seriously. Then, positive changes are sure to happen one after another. And then realize the Truth some day in this lifetime.”

Upon hearing this, I saw that some people had tears in their eyes, perhaps they finally understood the purpose of the efforts they had been making, or perhaps they were finally able to let go of anxiety or self-loathing.

Fear, hate, attachment, sadness—whatever we pick, what we are facing is actually our own minds. However, the mind’s habits are much more stubborn than we can even imagine. Even if it hears the words of Truth once, the mind may make excuses and take the path of least resistance. But, at that moment when we all thought it was very difficult to transform the mind, Shri Mahayogi did not mention whether it was difficult or easy, but instead he encouraged us again to just keep practicing. Indeed, there is no need to feel down by the preconceived notion that it is difficult to make a change in the mind: we just have to continue to discipline ourselves to apply the teachings and put them into action.

After the third Satsangha ended, I thought about it again. What amazing work Shri Mahayogi is doing! Our stubborn heads bind us with dark doubts and suffering, but Shri Mahayogi shines rays of light onto them from many different directions, with his humorous words, filled with compassion and wisdom. We cannot solve these difficult queries with our own intellect but only Shri Mahayogi’s existence can bring about absolute transformation. For this one week, we were so fortunate to be able to receive this gentle, direct instruction from Shri Mahayogi.

We will continue to learn and make an effort to apply the teachings and put them into action. Shri Mahayogi, please visit us again in Taiwan to continue to guide us!

Prasadini

 

Echo from The Cave: 72

Monday March 5, 2018    NYC

Asana by a Seeker of Truth


Editor’s Note: Pranavadipa Volume 39 


When the sleeping
Kundalini is awakened by the grace of the Guru,
then all the lotuses (the
chakra) and the knots (granthis) are pierced.
—Hatha Yoga Pradipika, Ch.3, V.2

 The great Goddess (Kundalini) sleeps closing with her mouth
the entrance to the way (the
sushumna)
by which the seat of Brahman (
Brahmarandhra),
where there is no pain, is to be reached.
The
Kundalini-shakti,
who sleeps above the
kanda (muladhara),
gives liberation to the
Yogi
He who knows her knows Yoga.
The
Kundalini is described as being coiled like a serpent.
He who causes the
Shakti to move (from the muladhara upwards)
becomes free, without doubt.
—Hatha Yoga Pradipika, Ch3. V106-108

 

Kundalini…perhaps you have heard of it? It is the great force of prana that lies dormant at the base of sushumna nadi, the base of the spine. Although it is referenced a number of times in the Hatha Yoga Pradipika, one of the classic Yoga scriptures, most likely the majority of people nowadays have heard about it in reference to some kind of fantastical spiritual experience, or at the very least, in relation to the opening or activation of the chakra, the various energetic centers that fall along the path of the spine.

But even though talk of “spiritual experiences” is now often intertwined with talk of “kundalini” or “chakra,” how much do we really understand about what it all really is? And how often do we encounter a teacher who can truly guide us based on his or her own intimate experience of it?

This month’s Pranavadipa (Vol. 39) gives us a unique glimpse into this very topic. Shri Mahayogi graciously responds to the inquiries of a seeker as she strives to make sense of her own experience of changing prana and understanding of the rise of kundalini.  Shri Mahayogi not only expounds on the more technical aspects of prana, kundalini and the chakra, but he also speaks about the actual likelihood of the true occurrence of kundalini rising, what blocks it from rising and then guides her to practice looking beyond this phenomenon towards the ultimate aim of Yoga.

Again and again, Shri Mahayogi guides seekers to the most practical methods of true application of practice that lead towards the attainment of Satori, beyond all phenomena that are mentioned in various scriptures. This month’s issue is centered on two such practical methods: the practice of humbleness and the practice of pure faith.

***

As we walk the path of Yoga, there are many opportunities for us to receive guidance. And one of the most important ways is through our fellow gurubhai. If we look to the practice of our fellow gurubhai, we can often find clues for how to concretely further our own practice, as well as fresh inspiration. And there is no doubt this is one of the three treasures described by Buddha: Buddha, Dharma and Sangha. In this month’s Testimony (Vol. 39), which touches on the key to the breath in asana, Sadhya, a disciple from New York, writes about the inspiration she received from watching Yogadanda, a gurubhai who was visiting from Japan, practice asana in the class. Five years later she would go to Japan, and interestingly enough, having advanced in her asana practice, she was then asked to demonstrate during the class for the gurubhai there, including Yogadanda. Seeing her awe-striking demonstration took everyone’s breath away. As a result, the gurubhai in Kyoto have become inspired by her practice, of course.

The content of this month’s Testimony reveals a glimpse of Sadhya’s journey through the practice of asana and what she has recognized as the result of the depth of her practice as a true seeker. This also reveals what the asana practice taught by Shri Mahayogi is. She is definitely on the way to discover, with her understanding going deeper and deeper, what the true asana is that Shri Mahayogi is bestowing upon us.

Sadhya’s Asana in Kyoto, April 2017

After the demonstration, she answered questions from the attendees.
Everybody was surprised to hear that she works as a high school teacher, no different from anyone else. There were new students in the class that day, and they too were inspired to continue to practice.

Sadhya’s Asana Demonstration in Kyoto, April 2017

Jai Satguru Shri Mahayogi Paramahansa Ki, jai!!!

Echo from The Cave: 71

Thu Feb 8th, 2018    NYC

EXPERIENCE: Validation of the Scriptures

Lately I started to notice that whenever I spend several hours in a day engaged with something that involves looking at pictures, like researching something online for example, the images I see tend to flash back into my mind for the rest of that day. This seems to be even more powerful if I have a strong emotion associated with the thing I’m looking at, or if I desire it strongly. Not only that, but if the object from those images is somewhat familiar, like in the case of a piece of clothing, if I know how the material feels, then the images that I’m seeing in my mind bring with them the feeling or sensation of that material, even though I’ve never before touched the exact item in the picture.

These images are most vivid, and come back most powerfully, at the end of the day when I sit for meditation, making the process of calming the mind and trying to bring its focus to the subject of meditation more difficult. And, at the same time, the period of time that my mind can stay focused is shorter, as it more frequently fluctuates from being somewhat concentrated to being involved with those images.

But, on the contrary, if I spend a long period of the day, or almost all of the day being involved with the work of the Mission, or reading and studying sacred scriptures, this never happens. My mind seems to be light and, in a way, fresh, with more energy to bring towards concentration and without any images or sensations that distract it.

After speaking to our senior disciple Anandamali about the above experiences, she commented that interestingly this was one of the topics that was recently spoken about in relation to the Yoga Sutra during the meditation class led by our brother disciple Sananda in Kyoto. So she suggested I look in the Yoga Sutra to find the sutra that refers to this topic. In the back of my mind I remembered that when I was in my teens I read several books on Yoga and also tried to read the Yoga Sutra, but not too long after I began reading it I had to stop completely—the sutra was so hard to understand! My mind just couldn’t register what I was reading at all, therefore I couldn’t grasp the meaning or the practical value they have. This was probably because I was trying to understand them using my intellect alone.

So when I got home that evening I started to search for that sutra in Swami Vivekananda’s Raja Yoga. After reading for a while I found a couple of sutra that were related to what I was experiencing, but sutra 1.4 revealed the exact phenomena that my mind was going through. While reading it I felt a deep sense of excitement building within me, and an intimate childlike curiosity to continue to try to experience more of the teachings by applying them in my daily life was immediately sparked.

This experience made me believe that we should apply the teachings using our bodies and minds, and honestly look at the relationship between the mind and the world. And I also believe now that by practicing in this way, little by little, the secrets behind the teachings will be revealed, taking on a life of their own in our very own experiences.

This gives me confidence that under the guidance of Shri Mahayogi, and through dedicated practice, the final realization is actually attainable and within our reach, and that one day we will come to the realization, through our own experience, that:

     “the mind; when it is calm, we see what our own nature is;
we do not mix ourselves but remain our own selves.”
Yoga Sutra 1.3

        “At other times (other than that of concentration)
the seer is identified with the modifications.”
Yoga Sutra 1.4

Ekanta

Echo from The Cave: 70

Mon January 15, 2018    NYC

Lord Shiva

Editor’s Note: Pranavadipa Volume 38

Mysticism is something that is intertwined throughout all of the world’s major religions. Upon first impression, mysticism may seem like something magical or something that is only experienced by religious fanatics who adhere to rituals and little understood practices. Or perhaps mysticism is shrouded with an intangible atmosphere. What does it mean? What do the mystics know? What do they do? Such things may pique our curiosity, but seem to stay in a realm that is seemingly unseen, and therefore unknown.

Many practitioners of Yoga have probably at some point had the opportunity to read the famous book by Paramahansa Yogananda, Autobiography of a Yogi, and for many of us, this book may be one of our first introductions to the real Yoga of India. And as many of you may have found, it is full of things that could seem quite mystical, yet quite fascinating! Indeed, mysticism exists among the yogi too. And to take a step even further back into the mystic history of India, for those who have had the good fortune to come across the accounts of Shri Ramakrishna from the 19th century, it is easy to feel struck with awe at his practice, his devotion, and his experience of God.

But both the world of Paramahansa Yogananda and that of Shri Ramakrishna seem to exist in the past and it is only through books that we have been introduced, not through seeing such things with our own eyes or experiencing them for ourselves. So it can be easy to feel that such strange and mystical experiences of these mysterious unseen realms remain covered in mystery, out of reach, a thing of the past, or at least something that perhaps only happens in India.

But as we practice Yoga under the guidance of a true Master, such as Shri Mahayogi, we can increasingly understand that mysticism is far from a mystery or some imaginary thing. Rather, what may be deemed as mysticism by some, is actually incredibly concrete. Through the actual application of the practice of Yoga, it is truly possible and guaranteed that one increasingly comes to experience firsthand that which at first seems unseen. In fact, it is as if the unseen comes to be seen with crystal clarity. And the mystery around mysticism fades away.

The practice of Yoga is truly both concrete and mystical!

In this month’s issue of Pranavadipa (Vol. 38), one of the topics we have the opportunity to learn about is the similarity of the paths of raja yoga and bhakti yoga as well as the mystical union of the two. Love of God, practice of asana transforming into mudra, mudra leading to Samadhi—Shri Mahayogi concretely delves into the subtleties of these topics at the inquiry of attendees and provides us with the tools to pull the veil of mystery from around some of the more mystical aspects of Yoga and concretely experience them for ourselves.

In the Testimony, we have the opportunity to read two messages that were delivered to Shri Mahayogi during the occasion of Jayanti (celebration of the Holy Birth), which took place this past November, 2017. (Echo from The Cave 63) Interestingly, these two messages from Sharmini (who lives in Tokyo) and Sadhya (who lives in New York), written from their own personal experience on the path, are filled with bhakti (devotion) and gratitude toward Shri Mahayogi, as well as their firm resolution to continue on, and are a testimony to the very content that is contained within the Satsangha of this issue.

Echo from The Cave: 69

Fri January 5, 2018    NYC

2018 New Year’s Card “Truth is 汪” received from the Sangha in Taiwan!

NEW YEAR’S GREETING: Truth is ワン-汪-ONE!

Today we received a New Year’s Greeting from the Sangha in Taiwan!
So thoughtful of you!
Thank you very much to the Sangha in Taiwan!!!
It seems like this is an original postcard and has a clever sense of humor,
so we would like to share it with you all.

*

Woof, woof, woof!” “Bow-wow” “Arf-arf
bark the dogs in America.
But when they cross the ocean,
they speak a different language.
Wan-wan!” “ワンワン” in Japan and
Wang-wang!” “汪汪” in Taiwan.

But no matter how their bark may sound,
in 2018, the year of the dog according to the Chinese Zodiac,

Tavia is thinking…

Tavia’s message is:

Truth is wan.. wang,.. ONE!

Tavia, a neighbor’s dog who is adored by Shri Mahayogi, at Washington Square Park yesterday in NYC’s latest snow storm

The temperature in NYC right now is 12°F°/ -11℃  (and feels like -7F°/ -22℃),
but later it can go down to 6°F°/ -14℃  (and feel like -25°F°/ -32℃) !!!

And tomorrow will be even colder….

 

 

 

Echo from The Cave: 68

Mon January 1, 2018    NYC

GREETINGS: Our Beloved Shri Mahaogi and Everyone,
HAPPY NEW YEAR from New York!!!  

 

 


The very first day of the year 2018 begins frosty and crisp.
May you find fulfillment and joy in the year 2018.


OM TAT SAT, OM!!!