Chetaka: I always thought that asana was totally ineffective if not practiced daily, but I feel the effects even if it is only practiced occasionally! (smiling)
MASTER: Are you speaking from your experience? (laughs)
Chetaka: I did it after a long break. Then, the next day, I woke up and I was wide awake. Is asana practice effective even if it is not practiced regularly? (smiling)
Sananda: Because you practice it occasionally, the effects are noticeable; however, those effects must be different from the effects brought about by daily practice.
Shri Mahayogi, I understand that by practicing meditation, bhakti or karma yoga, [the quality of] the prana itself is transformed. Therefore, I understand that when the prana is transformed, asana practice is probably no longer needed. So, will [the quality of] the asana themselves then be transformed as well? In other words, there is actually a progression of practice, starting with asana, pranayama, then meditation, but can the transformation occur in reverse order?
MASTER: The timing of the progression is a very difficult issue to pinpoint; however, during the introductory phase of Yoga, in which one is predominantly practicing asana, asana still carries more of the quality of sattva compared to various other mundane events and activities. That is why, [by practicing asana,] what is normally the quality of tamas or rajas is being transformed into the quality of sattva little by little. However, as karma yoga, bhakti yoga or meditation gradually deepen, the result is that, relatively speaking, asana comparatively comes to be more the quality of rajas. In that sense, asana “may” at times disturb the prana instead.
The aim of asana is to bring about psychological effects by transforming the breath, mainly through controlling the body. Meditation has as its direct result the psychological transformation [of the mind] into the quality of sattva. Therefore, in contrast, the level of the physical body, the flesh, is the quality of tamas, and moving it will be the quality of rajas [once your meditation deepens]. [As we move from practicing asana to meditation,] these qualities are being transformed.
Sananda: So, then this would suggest that if one becomes adept at meditation, practicing asana itself may at times potentially be detrimental...
MASTER: It will be detrimental. To be precise, it can at times be detrimental.
Sananda: Then is it better to no longer practice it?
MASTER: It is better to not practice [asana when that condition is reached]. Ramakrishna clearly asserted that, “Hatha yoga is not necessary.” Of course, he only concluded that after he had experienced it on his own, and surely his statement was made with reference to the condition of [para-]bhakti and the true realization of Yoga—and he has a point.
Currently, we take on the practice of asana as preparation, or as a step to reach up to that level of intense, genuine bhakti that Ramakrishna teaches. So, you can say that just as a ladder [is used only until it has served its purpose], once the preliminary steps have served their purpose, they are no longer necessary.
Ramakrishna was like that and I, too, did not begin Yoga due to some disease or illness. I was healthy, and the body and the mind were extremely light and full of vitality to begin with. I began and continued practicing asana [not in order to gain or maintain health, but] for something beyond that. However, the current state of what is called Yoga in the modern world is that people often begin practicing Yoga because they are sick, and I often see cases in which, because they are healed, they become attached to asana so much so that they continue it for the rest of their lives. To me, that seems like losing sight of [the real aim of] Yoga.
If I may say more, even the study of scriptures and meditation, they are all only means to an end. It may sound blunt, but the pure spirit, Satori itself, exists right now; It already dwells within everyone, and that is the Truth. So the mere means that we use should be finished with as soon as possible.
Sananda: At times, for example, by reading Vivekananda’s books, the mind interprets them intellectually, and also, by thinking about what he said the mind is disturbed. These days, I am no longer deepened by reading. At times like that, is it unnecessary to force myself to read? Or should I meditate on the readings to dig deeper?
MASTER: From that point on, what [you have intuited] will gradually come to be digested and assimilated through meditation and through your actions.
Indeed, the talks and teachings of Vivekananda are full of intensely powerful energy, and the heat that reverberates within them and inspires us is extremely high. So, at times this can become a great stimulation. Such is the nature of the intellect. The intellect is stirred by such passion and energy. It is through abandoning the intellect and turning it into the intuition gained through meditation and action that the path is forged.
You have already understood Vivekananda’s teachings intellectually. When you read his books or familiarize yourself with his words, you must try to sense his heart, something that dwells deeper within the soul. As I always say, feel his body temperature, feel his breath. It is a very physiological expression, but that is the key to penetrating into his essence. Words lose their body temperature once they leave the mouth, whether they become printed words or not. Therefore, familiarize yourself with them in such a way. There is no need to feel that you must force yourself to read.
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Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): Shri Mahayogi, I’ve heard that it is the nature of the mind to be constantly moving. For example, even if I tried to live life in a tranquil, simple way, if the mind is disturbed, it would be impossible. Is it best to be in action in light of the fact that the mind is active, or should I make an effort to not let the mind be disturbed?
MASTER: Both are necessary. The most important point is that it is necessary to recognize once and for all that you are not your mind. Since the nature of the mind is to move, as you’ve just mentioned, without practicing Yoga you easily become entangled in it and move to and fro. It becomes elated during the good times and despondent when things are unpleasant; you are being dragged around by the conditions of the mind. But what is the true Self? You get to experience the taste of various situations, but is that really the Self? We use words like Atman and true Self, but the true Self, the true “I,” is the Existence and the Consciousness that knows, that simply sees the experiences in this world. The current conditions, whether they are good or bad, are results created out of a combination of various conditions, and as long as you think, “I am the subject of these experiences,” or as long as you are assimilated with the mind, then it is as if you are lost in a labyrinth.
If one can manage to sever the Self from the mind’s experiences and maintain that state, even if the mind deals with situations in the world, it will not be entangled in them. That is the state of immovability—it is the emergence of the immovable mind. The immovable mind does not mean that the mind becomes like a stone, numb and lifeless. It means that the mind is no longer disturbed or affected by anything.
In practical terms, it is impossible to deal with various petty matters on a daily basis unless the mind is immovable. If that is practiced, then, while you let the mind deal with those matters, it can maintain that steadfastness as its core.
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): So that means that it is fine to be involved, but not to be attached.
MASTER: Yes. Don’t get entangled in them.
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): That is rather difficult for me right now. So, for example, if I know that something makes my mind greatly disturbed, is it necessary not to go near it, or to be physically distant from it?
MASTER: There are cases in which you can distance yourself physically, and cases in which you can’t. If you think about which is the more radical way to solve the issue, you will conclude that it is not really related to distance. The issue is the problem that occurred internally, within your own mind. So you ought to be able to find the cause that created the problem within you. You will recognize that the thoughts created by your own mind and your way of thinking—“It must be this way or that way”—become the causes, that is, they become the conditions, and they invite the result, which is your judgment of them—“this is not acceptable...this is a problem.”
Therefore, regardless of how severe or how difficult the situation may be, the answer is always within, inside the mind. If the mind does not react or become activated—the Yogasutra uses the word “activities”—then nothing can be a problem.
This may have been in the earlier version of Paramahaṃsa1—the body expresses something wrong or abnormal, and [that means that] it asserts its existence. That can often be fatigue or disease. But when the body is truly healthy, the body does not complain. That is almost like the state of emptiness, in which the mind forgets about the body’s existence. It is the same with the mind. When the state of mind is truly healthy and at ease, it is as if the mind does not exist. If it is complaining, it is expressing some kind of abnormality. [But by practicing Yoga,] you can begin to understand that abnormality is the disease of being in a state in which one is separated from the Essence. Therefore, when you change the way you think and look within the mind, you ought to be able to find that the cause of the problem being created is within you, and that some kind of clinging to some misconception, so to speak, is present.
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): Yes.
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Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): Shri Mahayogi says that it is fine to do what we want to do but without being attached. I am not sure yet what the standard is in this case. Isn’t that motivation itself an aspect of attachment?
MASTER: Yes, it is included in attachment.
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): Hmm (laughs). If I do something I want to do, I get so tangled up in my emotions. This is usually the case for me. I always end up being confused about where the line is drawn regarding attachment. “Doing what I want to do.” Can we do what we want to do—it’s a strange question, but are we allowed to do what we want to do?
MASTER: [You can], without attachment.
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): Is non-attachment about not even having something that you want to begin with?
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): So, is it inevitable that I get tangled up in emotions the moment I do things I want to do?
MASTER: But when doing what you think you want to do, [if it falls] within the realm of Yoga, the power of attachment eventually comes under control. In that case, even though you may do [what you think you want to do], the power of attachment becomes weaker internally. And you need to practice that way. In other words, there is a saying, “Do not do what you want to do, then you will be able to do what you want to do.” It is saying the same thing.
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): Their meaning is the same...
MASTER: They are saying the same thing.
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): Then, if I want to do something but do not actually do it, or in other words, if I am not putting it into action, yet continuing to think about it, that is still attachment, isn’t it?
MASTER: Yes. You see, the word “then” [in the saying], implies the passage of time, “then you will be able to do what you want.” At that point in time, there is no longer the power of attachment, because if you get the hang of it, if you understand it, then you can perform it without attachment. And if the faith and the power of Yoga are grown and cultivated, then you can do what you want or what you wanted to do when you were attached. [Because even if you do so], you will be able to do it at once, without attachment.
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): So, at my level it seems that it is better to not do the things that I want to do...?
MASTER: If you cannot perform them without attachment, then refrain from doing them. Then you’ll [eventually] be able to do them. (laughs)
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): I understand.
I see and hear the words “self-sacrifice” in Yoga. Please teach me more about that.
MASTER: Well, as long as there is ego and ignorance while we live in this world, we sacrifice others [for ourselves]. It is common to sacrifice others while only thinking about your own benefit, or for your own sake you sacrifice others. As I said now, ego and ignorance make you act that way, and ignorance means that you do not care if others get hurt or if you force others to sacrifice themselves. However, when Yoga deepens, you will be able to serve others by sacrificing your own body and mind. Actually, you may not be able to perform true self-sacrifice as long as you say, “I’m sacrificing myself, let me sacrifice myself.” That seems to be the preparatory stage. Once one is perfected in Yoga, one will come to act solely for others, without any prior intent to do so and quite naturally. This is not based on logical reasoning, but on the fact that the one who is doing so has already given up ego and ignorance, and at the same time, even though the characteristics and forms might appear to be different in all beings and all things, that person sees them as One and sees that there is only That, and therefore naturally acts upon whatever needs to be done with respect to those forms.
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): Do these feelings arise naturally when Yoga deepens?
MASTER: Yes. Yoga teaches that quite straightforwardly as karma yoga. And that is also the realization in bhakti yoga of seeing everything as God, “Every being and every thing is the manifestation of God himself,” even if the word “love” is not mentioned very often, as it is in Christianity. [In Christianity,] there is the famous saying, “Love thy neighbor.” One will become That, as a personified existence of That.
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): You become love...
MASTER: (smiling) You become love itself.
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): Right now, I don’t think I am being useful in any particular way for others. I just work, eat, sleep, and do asana, and I am enjoying life. Even if I’m like this now, will that come to arise naturally?
MASTER: Yes, it will arise naturally. Rather than arising, it is more correct to say that it is already within you, and it will become more apparent than anything else.
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): In [the book] Karma Yoga, serving the poorest people is mentioned. Does “poor” mean financially poor? I think that in places like India, there are many who live in abject poverty, but in the case of Japan, are we referring to the homeless, or are we referring to the sick, or the mentally ill? What does it mean to be the “poorest” people?
MASTER: Well, the state of poverty varies according to the situation. It is true that Japan may be comparatively more prosperous than India, and it does appear to be the case that at first glance physical starvation is non-existent in Japan. However, there is much pain from disease and many are suffering. There are also cases of suffering from various [types of] discrimination and prejudices towards those who are poor in many different senses. On a slightly different level, there is poverty in intellect, or poverty in mentality and spirituality. [The practice of] karma yoga teaches us to give according to the needs of the various types of poverty, but in concrete terms, rather than mental suffering, how many people in Japan are suffering from disease, poverty, starvation, or prejudice? It is perhaps not so obvious as in India, so it is hard to know, but those are the kinds of suffering people that we are required to serve.
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): Some people are happy even when they are more or less poor...
MASTER: That might be so. The type of poverty in India borders on death; it is a life and death situation. We grew up and live on an island called Japan, but our work does not have to be limited to Japan—our work will be valid in India, Africa or the Americas; and we must proceed in that direction.
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): This is related to what I asked you earlier about emotions, for example, when anger arises, sometimes I have no idea what that emotion is. For instance, when it happens, tears come a lot, yet I am not sure if I am crying from sadness or if it is from anger or jealousy. Is it necessary to analyze and identify that emotion?
MASTER: It is necessary.
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): How do I know that?
MASTER: Tears are a result [of something]. Results must always have their causes. So introspect within your mind, which will eventually become meditation, and as you examine them, inquire within your mind as to what you are sad about, or what caused you to get irritated, or what caused you to feel joy.
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): I can see what the reactions are connected to, for example, this is connected to anger, sadness, or other negative emotions. Do I need to know what they are connected to more concretely as well?
MASTER: The fact that you think that they themselves are negative emotions indicates that they need to be removed. In order to do that, you must teach your mind and make it understand more precisely [that there is] a concrete cause of that anger, which means that when anger arises, ego or some [pain-bearing obstacles] are very strongly affecting it.
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): Teach your mind and make it understand?
MASTER: Teach your mind and make it understand. It means you educate the mind and teach it: “There’s that cause. There is a power deep within the mind that causes negative things. So let’s prevent these foolish thoughts from ever arising again.” Train the mind in such a way.
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): So if I train it continuously, even though at first I may not be able to control it, will the negative emotions be gradually reduced?
MASTER: Yes, they will be reduced. As you just said now, you already understand that it is negative, and everyone must want to be good. So it is very important to familiarize yourself with the scriptures and interact with holy company. Because through doing so, these negative things will rapidly diminish.
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): If I can [remove the causes of my reactions], I will be able to do things in an unattached way when dealing with people...
MASTER: Yes, indeed. You’ll be able to establish better communication.
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(After a meeting about Paramahaṃsa, the 1999 Mahayogi Yoga Mission Original Calendar was finally completed and introduced.)
(Shri Mahayogi looked carefully at each page, one at a time, and then spoke to Ms. Shibasaki who was captivated by the calendar.)
MASTER: Are any of the words on the calendar difficult to understand?
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): Um, difficult words? I don’t understand much, but on the page with Christ it says, “Whoever wants to preserve his life shall destroy it.” What is being destroyed?
(The page of the calendar for March and April has a portrait of Christ, which has the following teaching below it:
If you wish to follow me,
Deny yourself and follow me with your own cross.
Verily, if you desire to save your own life, you will destroy it.
However, if you destroy your life for me and my Gospel, you will save it.1)
MASTER: That is “life.”
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): Life? You mean this living body?
MASTER: Let me see... (looks at the words on the calendar) Yes, that is so. This indicates the physical body, or life in the material world. Therefore, it symbolizes the mind.
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): Mind... Before that sentence, “deny yourself” means to negate your own self?
MASTER: Yes. This [kanji] character “hi” is used in both “deny” and “negate.” So this too has the same meaning. That is, to reject the ego-based world of the mind.
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): In order to seek God, one must negate oneself?
MASTER: The “self” mentioned here—what is actually the self? (pointing to the 1998 calendar with Ramana Maharishi’s words) Like it says over there, the point is “Who am I?” Everyone thinks that the self is the world within the mind, or the mind itself. That is why everyone tries to preserve it. If one thinks that [the mind’s world] is the only reality and wants to enrich it, then one will [actually] destroy it or lose it instead. Therefore, if you truly have faith and want to follow the Truth, you need to reject the false mind, or ego, and then “follow me”—this is his message or, more precisely, his teaching. (The part) at the end, “If you destroy your life for me and my gospel, then you will save it,” implies the “True Life,” “Eternal Life,” or “True Self.”
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): Does this “me and my gospel” indicate that Christ is God?
MASTER: Yes. Here, “I” does not mean a relative, human individual, but rather, God as the universal consciousness is what is being expressed as “I.”
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): The “Gospel” is the teaching of Christ. If the word “Gospel” is used in Yoga, does it then apply to the teachings of Yoga?
MASTER: Yes. And the teachings of Yoga, and this teaching of Truth taught by Jesus, or the teachings of Buddha—they do not contradict one another at all. It can be said that they are truly the same, exactly the same. However, both Buddha and Jesus taught using “taikiseppo”—the method of teaching according to each individual—so their teachings for each individual in each situation can also be wrapped up within this one word, “Gospel.”
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): Yes. Can all these beings in the calendar be considered to be God?
MASTER: Yes. (looking at Mr. Hotta, who will later be named Sanatana, and who chose the words for the calendar) Wasn’t that the concept? (smiling)
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): Is the reason why God manifests as a human being to save seekers?
MASTER: Yes, not only seekers, but it can be said more broadly to include all things in the universe.
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): It is for all things in the universe. By all things (pointing to things in the room) you mean, like these normal objects...?
MASTER: Including nature, tiny animals, even plants.
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): Even plants are seeking the path [to Truth]?
MASTER: This idea can be affirmed in one manner of thinking about it. Plants reincarnate into animals, animals reincarnate into humans, and humans reincarnate into celestial beings or beings one step before God... this is the path [by which creatures seek for Truth in the course of reincarnation]. Another way to think about it is [that they seek for Truth] as God Itself.
Simply put, the fact that every being and thing in the universe exists as the universe itself, salvation is already activated. Humans especially have struggled and suffered around this, and, at the same time, humans are the beings who can awaken to the consciousness called “God.” The salvation of humanity occupies the greatest part of it.
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): I cannot see God dwelling in all beings at this point in time, but will I inevitably see them if I attain Satori?
MASTER: God does not have a form and you cannot see God, but you can know or perceive that it is God.
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): What do you mean “know or perceive”? Does it mean I feel it with my senses?
MASTER: You can intellectually “know” something, and at the same time, you can “know” something through the senses, recognizing it without even having to reason it out. Those are still part of the activities of the mind. When going beyond these [activities of the mind,] and when there is no longer any judgment or any argument about whether “God is this or that,” then at that moment, perhaps you truly “know or perceive” God. Therefore, “the knower,” “the known,” and “the act of knowing,” [as well as] the activities or methods [that separate those three], like the intellect, the senses or the intuition that I just mentioned, all become one, or rather, they come to no longer be separated, so there is only the One that exists. So, words can no longer come out after that. The real Satori is when you become empty, nothing. But until then, through the intellect, through the senses, and through intuition, you must learn the Truth and come to realize it. Because your true nature and essence is that Satori, the Truth.
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): So it emerges when one’s mind is completely destroyed.
MASTER: Yes. That which is already inherent in you emerges.
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): That is something inherent since I was born...
MASTER: Yes, [it is inherent] in everyone. It exists as everyone’s essence, and as the essence of all things. It is just that something is covering it up just a little, (pointing to a desk lamp) like a lampshade.
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): Maya is that which “covers it up”... is maya the mind?
MASTER: Yes. It means the mind and [the mind’s] activities themselves, as well as nature. The mind is the one that perceives all of it, so maya can be said to be the mind.
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): For example, if there was a pile of money, does wanting the money become maya?
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): It is not the money itself.
MASTER: Originally so.
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): So if that mind is destroyed, does it mean that maya disappears along with it?
MASTER: Yes. That is why you should understand maya as a mechanism that hides the Truth. That is why you practice restraining the activities of your own mind, [in order to prevent it from hiding the Truth]. Because internal and external stimulation simultaneously working together create this maya [and make it] larger and more powerful, all the various spiritual disciplines, or all of the study and the practices leading towards Satori are for the purpose [of restraining the mind’s activities].
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): Regarding stimulation, if possible, is it best to maintain physical distance from stimulation?
MASTER: If the mind is strong, or rather, if it has been disciplined, then it may not experience stimulation as stimulation even when it comes, but if the mind perceives it as stimulation, then it will come to be less affected if it is distanced as much as possible from the stimulus.
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): For example, when I am with people I get a lot of stimulation. In regular daily life, is it better if I increase the amount of time in which I am alone?
MASTER: That would be good. On the other hand, for instance, if you were to spend time alone on an uninhabited island or in the middle of the forest, would that solve the issue or not? That logic is also a bit extreme. It can be understood that regardless of where one goes, that person and the world are in the mind, inside one’s very own chest. So, indeed, it is better to reduce the stimulus as much as possible by having time alone, at the same time it is also important to create the kind of mind that is not overwhelmed by it. It is like a magnet, if you lose interest in something, [that something will not come]. Because you have the cause to attract that something within you, the stimulus is attracted. If you heighten the power, the magnetic power of repulsion, the opposite power to repel, then, even if the stimulus comes right in front of you, it will not attach itself to you, rather it will be repelled and go away. That magnetic power is the product that is cultivated by the practice that you are now undertaking, and it also arises from faith.
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Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): I don’t understand what faith is. How does faith begin to grow?
MASTER: The lowest level of faith is praying to God in time of need. It is just one of the various forms of faith, but the true meaning of faith is not like that at all. It is unconditional and beyond logic, as faith [in Japanese] is written with the characters “belief” and “look up to,” it is having that kind of mental attitude towards the Truth, as well as loving respect towards the Truth or God. Yearning for It is important, and the longing to be more intimate, to get closer and to become one with God is there, and all of your aspirations are part of [that faith]. It will manifest naturally.
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): Is that something that one is able to know by oneself?
MASTER: Yes. There will be a time when you yourself will know. Even if you don’t know why, a pleasant sensation will arise from the word “God,” the word “Truth,” or even from having the mind think about these Awakened Beings on the calendar. That is the beginning of faith.
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): I should think about these Awakened Beings?
MASTER: Yes. They are symbolic existences. They are concrete and tangible, yet, at the same time, they are symbolic existences; because we are all manifestations of God. They were self-aware of It. “Self-aware” means that they knew what the Truth was as well as what the non-truth was. Most humans do not yet know clearly what that is. That’s the only difference. You see yourself as different from them only during the time when you say you don’t understand. Once you understand, you see that everyone is the manifestation of One, God itself. In [the realization of] Oneness, there is no difference whatsoever: He, I, you, everyone. That is Eternal Life, your true Life, as mentioned in Christ’s sacred quote in the calendar.
(Silence ensues. Everyone is meditating with closed eyes, except Ms. Shibasaki, who is asking questions. Concentrating upon the gentle, slow voice of Shri Mahayogi... )
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Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): Does the attachment follow one even after dying?
MASTER: Yes. If the mind is thinking about something that you are attached to before death, then it will follow. That attachment will determine the next life.
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): Regardless of the degree of attachment right before you die, even tiny attachments will follow you?
MASTER: Yes, they will follow you. (silence)
Our true Self has many names, such as God-Consciousness and the Soul; however, there is no way to name it. We are saying these words only for our own convenience, but It is pure and It does not have any desires. So there is no mechanism by which to create attachment. It is not That, but rather the mind that is wrapped around this pure Existence; that is what creates attachment. If one desires something, one will want certain results, and by attaching to various things, the mind experiences life and tastes various emotions. The point is whether, with respect to these emotions, the mind, the taster of these emotions, is real. If you investigate whether that mind is eternal, absolute, and perfect, you will realize that it is not. That is called Satori.
In the calendar, Buddha says, “Constantly learn to control the internal thirst by paying the utmost attention. Know every aspect of the dharma, internally and externally.” “Dharma” here means to realize that Truth. If you do that, the mind, which is the false protagonist, will disappear like a mist, since it is imaginary to begin with.
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): There are so many impressions that I have stored within myself up to this point. So, as for examining whether they are Truth or not, or knowing the truth of them, I feel that that requires enormous amounts of time and energy if I have to go through each and every one of them.
MASTER: The attachments and impressions that have risen to the mind’s surface can be eliminated through meditation. As I said just now, [that can be done] by discriminating whether they are the Truth or not. However, there may still be unfathomable amounts [of impressions] in the subconscious. It is very hard to dig them up. A good way to do that is this: they are imprinted on a film, that is, the mind, so rather than eliminating what is printed there, the impressions, every single one of them, you can eliminate their base, the mind itself; that is the foundation of all these impressions. In order to do that, you must learn how the mind is constructed and what the mind is. At the same time, you need to learn about what the mind is not—the Truth. By doing that, you will then understand that the mind itself, which seems as if it shapes such things as individual personality, characteristics, and temperaments, is merely formed by ego and past desires, attachments, and these kinds of cause-and-effect relationships. The hint for [understanding] this point is [to identify] the driving force behind all of that: the big factors such as ignorance and the pain-bearing obstacles. If you can understand that, and fully realize that through meditation, then ego, ignorance, and the pain-bearing obstacles become weaker and disappear, along with the past impressions.
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): They become totally “zero”?
MASTER: Yes, they do.
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): Even if I see an object that relates to the past impressions, I will not react at all...
MASTER: You will not [react]. The mind normally has that kind of nature. For example, the mind might not be interested at all in the things that you liked and were strongly attached to ten years ago, even if they were right in front of your eyes at this moment. And in this way, the mind reveals by itself that it is constantly changing, and that it is uncertain and completely unreliable (laughing)—it is not eternal and it is not the Truth. However, as long as you think that you are the mind, or as long as you are entangled, the mind gets interested and curious about one thing after another, so it just looks like it is constant. The important power that lies there is that the mind is constantly desiring pleasant sensations and feelings of pleasure, and it is that feeling that is its motivating power. That is why ten years ago, you, or your mind at that time, may have gotten pleasure from some particular thing, but now, other things give you more pleasure so you have lost interest in that thing from ten years ago. However, the pleasant sensations in this realm of experience have their opposite, suffering, just as if a shadow were following a light. So then, is there such a thing as perfect pleasure, absent of suffering? Or can it be sought? If you experience life even a little bit, everyone comes to know that such a thing is impossible. Even then, you continue to seek and tirelessly toil after it. That is what ignorance is—seeking the Eternal in that which is not the Truth, losing sight of the true Self, pretending that the self is in the non-self, [for example,] making yourself believe that the pleasurable sensations from these experiences are actually yourself. You must eliminate all these errors. Ignorance, which is an utter mistake about everything, must be eliminated. So, know whether or not happiness or anything else in this world is the Truth. Truth means that it is never changing and never disappears. In such a way, through the realm of experience, thoroughly introspecting into your own mind is important. It is by doing this that your true Self will awaken in the end. There are words such as “the mind disappears or is eliminated,” “the mind is controlled,” or “the mind is restrained,” but the mind may be resistant or it may even reject these expressions. The mind does not know the Truth, so it fears it.
Ms. Shibasaki (Yukti): For instance, it is the mind that thinks, “If I practice Yoga, I may eventually understand the Truth,” correct?
MASTER: Yes, but that is in the positive direction, it is a powerful strength to confront the fear, so to speak. You should strengthen that and make it greater and greater. Telling the mind, “You must disappear right now,” is like a death sentence; the mind will not accept it easily. So it may take time for the mind to accept it. That is accomplished by nothing other than the mind learning the Truth, and then disciplining yourself with what the mind is learning. Then the mind will no longer receive various impressions and their results, and the mind will be liberated to boot. The mind will become free.
(Shri Mahayogi picks up the calendar and looks at it happily.)
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Food—it is indispensable for sustaining our lives and cultivating our minds and bodies. Everyday, we take food for granted. Yet, for what purpose do we eat and maintain our bodies?
In Yoga, the purpose of life is to realize the true Self—Satori; therefore, our physical body is essential as a vehicle for moving toward this destination. If we take in foods that are fresh and of pure quality, the physical body, which is sustained by them, is purified and becomes light and vital. Since the mind and the body are closely related, keeping the body in light and vital condition leads to the state of mind that is pure and light. When the mind becomes completely purified, the original true nature of the Self, which dwells within everyone, will emerge.
When we are filled with happiness and the mind is satisfied, we tend to take in smaller meals and prefer more mellow tastes. However, when we accumulate discontent and frustration, or when we are in the state of excitement or after intense exercise, we tend to eat a lot and prefer saltier foods. Many of us may have experienced over-seasoning or making too much food when cooking while irritated.
Our minds’ habits show up in the various scenes of daily life, and one’s diet epitomizes that. For instance, if you love sweets, and eating sweets has become habitual, you may reach for those sweets without being aware of it, and you may even feel that sweets are essential. Another concern is that if you pursue gourmet foods, you may end up in a never-ending cycle of going to this restaurant or that one in order to chase after delicacies. If you eat food based on your habits and desires like that, the body will become imbalanced and the dependencies in the mind will become stronger.
The tongue (taste and word) and the mind (thought) are very closely linked. If one disciplines and controls the tongue—food and word—one will come to gain the power to control the mind—thought—and eventually, one's actions. In other words, if you endeavor to maintain a restrained dietary style, it will come to be reflected in your actions and way of thinking.
Recommendations for a Yogic Diet
Practice moderation in diet:
- Eat a good quality meal two or three times a day that has been prepared carefully and mindfully, with consideration given to how each is balanced.
- Eat with full attention and gratitude.
- The portion of each meal should amount to about eighty percent of a full stomach.
When one eats meals that are consciously and carefully prepared, the mind will be fulfilled, and the habitual overeating or snacking will come to a stop as a result.
- Light tastes or seasonings allow the original tastes of the ingredients to come through as the blessings of nature.
- Excessive seasoning results in an unnatural flavor, which can upset one’s health.
Light Taste - the most original flavor of the ingredients is intact
Bland Taste - it lacks taste or is not savory
Strong Taste - overpowers the original flavor of the ingredients
Regulating one’s dietary lifestyle becomes an important part of the daily discipline needed to further one’s self in Yoga.
In order to change existing habits that have been created [in the past], replace them with correct habits.
Our body is sustained by various things, such as food, air and water. As long as one has a physical body, there is no one who can sustain life by oneself. We purchase food using the money gained through work and then we cook. However, before these ingredients make it to our mouths, the work and processes of many people such as farmers, delivery workers, store clerks and so on has been involved. Not only that, but without the blessings of nature, the crops could not have grown in the first place. All things in nature co-exist and support each other.
Furthermore, if we look at the essence underlying all things, there exists One Existence that works as the great power and consciousness. It is through that power that the sun rises, the moon shines, and everything breathes. Every one of us, even down to the tiniest form of life, food, and everything else, is a manifestation of that One Existence, everything is that Existence, filled with holy blessedness, which is why each and every life is equally precious and sacred, and that is why they must all be loved. If one can feel this readily and genuinely, then naturally, gratitude towards these blessings of nature will arise.
So how are we, who are supported by and maintain our lives through taking their lives, supposed to act? This “contentment”—knowing that our essence is that sacred and precious existence which is filled with bliss, and [knowing] that we are already fulfilled as we are—this is the most appropriate way to honor the blessings of nature.
If we can really feel this contentment, our endless desires, discontent and complaints will disappear, and we will realize that the bare minimum of clothing, food, and dwelling will suffice. And naturally, when it comes to food, only pure quality and appropriate amounts will be consumed; and rather than taking the lives of animals, plants, from which we take only their parts, will suffice.
“Eating” is directly related to “Living.” What we choose to eat and how much we eat—by reconsidering these aspects of our diets, our dietary lifestyle becomes an opportunity for us to inquire into the essence of our lives and how we ought to live.
1Samarasa is a yogic term, and another word for samadhi, (the state of complete absorption). It can be translated as “same taste,” which indicates “tasting ultimate bliss.” (sama = equal/same, rasa = taste)
2 Published by MAHAYOGI YOGA MISSION KYOTO on May 2, 2015.
The title embodies the meaning that both the one who eats and the one who prepares the food can together taste the Joy that arises from loving equally our own lives as well as the lives of the ingredients that we take in, which have come to us through the great care of those who produced them.
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