Tribute to Goenka ji who brought the art of Vipasanna back to India from Burma where it was nourished for 2000 years: Gautama Buddha
The following dislodge article is an enlightened dialogue between the Master Ananda and his shishya or disciple named Yogi and is adhered at the onset of the biography (I aborted writing further since it became an autobiography as I did research…this is the first 3 pages…gave up after 38 pages since Mahonamaya happened then & I came back to reality after 3 years… Hehe!) since a trailer speaks volumes of the trail that the Buddha set ablaze. Just to let the heaviness sink in, it has to be mentioned that Ananda was the only escort during the whole spiritual sojourn of the Gautama.
Yogi: Guruji, today, I would like to learn about Buddha.
Aanandha: Sure. Buddha is called the enlightened one.
Yogi: But, how did he achieve enlightenment?
Aanandha: In Buddha’s case, we can say that he did not consider spirituality as separate from life. For him the path of spiritual life is a means to assimilate the changing reality into a solid foundation. He considered Nirvana as a means and not the goal. It’s an assimilation process where All is for ONE and One is for all and ONE stands for-Only Nothing Exists.
Yogi: But isn’t this a paradox? Buddha did not have enlightenment as his goal?
Aanandha: No. Buddha set out his spiritual journey to find the cause of pain and suffering in humanity.
Yogi: So, the start point was curiosity?
Aanandha: No, not idle curiosities as you have. It was a sincere lack of comprehension at the loss of life due to sickness, aging & death since he had witnessed it for the first time. He was genuinely pained, in fact more pained than the victims since they had accepted their ill-fate as their reality. But, Siddharth was alien to this pain and hence couldn’t reconcile with his acceptance of life as was his illusion till then. He understood that there should be a solution to human suffering. And, that this solution is within oneself and not outside. Hence, he set out to find an answer to human pain and suffering.
Yogi: But, how did he find the answer?
Aanandha: He stilled his mind. And, in the process he went in a no mind state where the individual and the universal mind are one and the same thus synchronized with the Earth and became an enlightened individual to be as beautiful as the Moon or intellect.
Yogi: How long did he sit in meditation?
Aanandha: He sat in meditation for years together and decided not to come out till he attains Nirvana or truth. BTW, Nir means without and Van means vehicle or the body. Thus nirvan can translate to mean freedom from bondage to the body. In simple terms, realize that the universe of which I am a miniscule part is an illusion including me.
Yogi: He was so steadfast.
Aanandha: For his final journey down the rabbit hole he sat under a Pipal tree which bore flowers & small red cherries which have high concentration of serotonin levels.
Yogi: So what does serotinin do?
Aanandha: During meditation, one reaches the no mind state. In the no mind state his breath swallowed the serotonin given freely by the tree. This disconnects the neurons causing all sensory inputs to close down (all 5 senses shut down), the neurotransmitters which are the chemicals that link the neurons stop functioning leading to a breakdown of the logical mind. With no logic, time stands still or becomes an illusion since it is a product of the logical mind itself. Thus in the no mind state the Gautama could delimit his being from the body completely and achieve a universal illusion state and thus became a universal being from a mere human being.
Yogi: What happened next?
Aanandha: On the full moon day, his mind was synchronized with the moon which rules the organic life on earth like the Bodhisatva tree. What happened next is history a week after that.
Yogi: Why did he have to wait for one week?
Aanandha: Buddha had reached a bliss. At this point he had dropped even his basic bodily functions.
Yogi: So, should we pain our body to achieve bliss?
Aanandha: No. He dropped his bodily functions to lose his body consciousness so that ultimately he drops the urge to reach bliss. In other words, he understood that that he was holding on to bliss and he has to drop that last thing too, only then there is bliss for humanity because he was the epitome of humanity.
Yogi: But, Guruji, What is dropping bliss?
Aanandha: He understood that he was holding onto to a goal instead of eliminating the basic urge to have goals. Since his motive was to get bliss for one and all he understood that he has to give up his last reservation to get bliss for himself. In a way, he sacrificed his goal to achieve a planetary/universal goal which was Sath – Chith- Aanand.
Yogi: What does Sath, Chit Anand mean?
Aanandha: Sath is the truth, reality or existence, Chit is awareness of this reality or love and Anand is when it dawns that the bliss is me or I am the universe.
Yogi: Guruji, please elucidate the above golden words.
Aanandha: Sath is the conscious mind that we encounter in our daily life (Vedanta-Future), Chit is the awareness of one’s identity(Dwaita-Present) and Anand is when we realize that one is all and all is one (Advaita-Past).
Gautama Siddharth (c. 563 BCE – c. 483 BCE), as Buddha was christened at birth is like no mortal that inhabited this planet since he raised the planetary consciousness to unprecedented levels… Gautama Buddha was a radiant being flush with the truth that life is the illusion that needs to be conquered for ushering a new dawn for mankind. Going by the obsession of the present age with the Gautama, it is but natural to enquire as to how he reached where he reached, the other side, beyond life and death.
The implication is profound. It intrinsically accepts the impermanence of Self, Reality and ultimately Time itself. The following idiom comes to mind, “I reside in all but all dont reside in me, they reside in themselves –Earth”. Welcome to the grounds of Buddha.
The times of the Siddhartha or Gautama Buddha were exciting. All were progressively working towards realizing the only undreamt dream that ever was: to play with the illusion called reality in one’s one lifetime. The Jain Arihants made a solar grid for earth of 24 hours thus establishing uniform time globally. 24 Jain tirthanks culminating in Mahavir Jain delimited the imaginative stellar mind & paid homage to the best creation, we ourselves, and at the same time enhanced the creativity aspect. In fact the time gap between Mahavir and Gautama is a span of a century. In reality it looks like parallel processing by creation to me.
The 28 Buddhas ending with Gautama paid homage to the moon or Logical mind construct and brought reality as vast the universe in simple ways like an exemplary being living and talking the walk of life. While it is real and terrifying to the Jains, in converse, life is a mere illusion to the Buddhist.
Siddharth was born as the only gifted prince of a small kingdom in the erstwhile Nepal, close to India. His mother Mayawati dies within the first week of Siddharth’s birth hence the great princely comfort that was lavished on him was to hide the truth that he was a motherless child. There is a tale in the ancient scrolls that, on the night Siddhartha was conceived, Queen Maya dreamt that a white elephant with six white tusks entered her right side, and ten months later Siddhartha was born. As was the Shakya tradition-the father’s linage that he imbibed, when his mother Queen Maya became pregnant, she left Kapilvastu for her father’s kingdom to give birth. However, her son is said to have been born on the way, at Lumbini, in a garden beneath a Sal tree. There is a tale in the ancient scrolls which narrate how the future Buddha starting taking baby steps the moment he was conceived.
It is stated that he took seven steps to the North to acknowledge the prevailing planetary consciousness and also completed his life cycle by forming an equilateral triangle with his tiny feet representing the balance of the Tamasic-inertia, Rajas-action & sattva-goodness to be incorporated in every moment of the life he got as a gift and a mission… to lift the planetary consciousness which was the same as the universal consciousness at the time of his birth. It is stated he gave a Lion’s roar to proclaim his victory over life.
He was brought up by his mother’s younger sister, Maha Pajapat. He had 3 Mahals or palaces for the three seasons so as to not let him seek anything outside since the world outside the palaces was a reality with no illusions of joy, comfort and leisure. Out in the kingdom life was as usual for men not born in royal homes. He was married with a son whose name was Rahula before he set out on his search to find the root cause of pain and suffering when reality in the form of illness, death, and an ascetic shook him on his first royal entourage.
Buddha broke away from the princely freedom in bondage for bondage in freedom. In his case the bondage being, to find the root cause of pain and suffering in an otherwise wonderful world. In the process he not only relinquished his material possessions, social labels as a prince, his personal tie-ups with family but also the FUTURE.
He began his spiritual journey with his trusted serving friend Ananda without much ado by slipping out of the palace bedroom in the stealth of the night since he didn’t know how to explain the great vacuum in his heart wanting to be filled with TRUTH.
Just as anyone he too experienced being in the here & now by addressing the conscious mind in the waking state, the underlying sub-conscious in dreams or R.E.M: rapid eye movement, and the deep sleep state wherein without any awareness one enters nothingness (dreamless) or the modern Theta state in the sleep state neuro-signals analysis.
An hour before sunset called Brahmamuhurta he would just sit still to imbibe the neutrinos rushing from the SUN (at sunrise they are destroyed by the sunbeams). Neutrinos have a very special quality in particle physics-they can travel unobtrusively though out the universal matter. But when it comes to us the various life energy centers or chakras trap them in the body and depending on the mental state at that moment the appropriate body AURA is formed for the rest of the 24 hours. It is this aura that keeps us going in the day.
The initial tryst with reality gave the Buddha three aspect of consciousness to rest his later work on, diseased man as the conscious layer, a decaying corpse as the subconscious layer (anima or mother fixation for unearthing our origin) and an ascetic as the unconscious layer.
This marriage with reality gave the Buddha three aspects of consciousness to rest his later work on:
Disease as the conscious bodily layer,
Death as the subconscious mental layer and
Renunciation as the unconscious unconditional layer.
The Buddha believed in the potential that anyone and everyone capable of transcending reality or Maya (apparent illusionary reality) by using the greatest tool provided by life to control or explore the mind-the Body. As the Buddha often quoted, “Do not dwell in the past; do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment. We are shaped by our thoughts; we become what we think. When the mind is pure, joy follows like a shadow that never leaves”.
One only gets what one deserves, good, bad &/or ugly depending on the temperament his lifetime’s moods had on his persona due to his individual adventure with life from the instant of birth to the moment of introspection. This is true for afterlife too according to Buddhist schools of thought.
The body is the reservoir of the past, present and the future thoughts. It is the physical manifestation of the conscious, subconscious and unconscious mind. Thus Buddha found a practical answer to the eternal quest– HOW to conquer the mind. He realized that the cunning, clever and baffling mind can only be approached in the here & now thru its mirror the BODY and the guru being the breath since both mental and physical states affect breath.
Working backwards Buddha did re-engineering by witnessing the breath and mapping the source of the agitation which is the mind. Using a witness Bhava or feeling one can watch one’s own thoughts in a dispassionate way and not generate more ripples of thought leading to more thoughts causing emotional imbalance leading to uneven breath. Just watching the thoughts arise and subside without playing with them is the essence of meditation.
Thoughts may come, thoughts may go but remaining in the stillness of breath one can transcend body consciousness to register bodily transformations or sensations and thus layer by layer transcend the limitations we have on over own inflicted on ourselves. It is over belief system or mental construct of ourselves that limits us from reaching our full potential. It is who we believe we are that is dropped to gain anonymity or Diksha into becoming a Buddha and not entering Buddhism as the master always contended, “The way is not the sky; The way is the heart”.
The goal of the technique of Vipasana or easy non-conscious breathing that the Gautama gave was a method to pin the cloud to the ground. He proved it thru millions of lives over the ages that just witnessing the breath without regulating it can clear ones subconscious and this brings clarity to consciousness.
The technique does a triple role:
Occupies the mental framework to a witness state of arising thoughts
Watches the breath without consciously altering it, just natural breathing
Thus having engaged the mind and the body, the emotions start healing
Buddha showed that if the canvas called reality is approached with humility and compassion, then it is possible to tear away the veil called maya or the illusionary state of reality. When people saw him after he attained Nirvana, they were agape at the divinity that formed before their eyes. They were mesmerized into listening pearls of wisdom going out of the Bodhisattva. When they enquired if he is a god, he replied in the negative, when asked if he was the 9th avatar or savior, he said no and simply stated that he is–awake.
In his own words, he proclaimed, “I killed the one who was building houses”. Simply put he destroyed the source of ego the witness or conscience or soul. Thus he had entered without support in the construct of his own dream which is the reality that is common to all and starting from an arising consciousness state he became a completely conscious entity.
If Mahavir inflamed the senses, Buddha lights a fire to the breath and presented the torch of heaven for one and all to comprehend and practice. The sound inflames the intellect which torches reason which in turn ignites the mind and the body breath just follows suit like an underdog. The Buddhist chants are aimed towards this purpose.
There is an oft quoted remark of Buddha, “If you meet the Buddha kill him”. It reminds one to be an independent enquirer in to nature of life, the self and the universe. Hence Gautama always maintained that, “No one saves us but ourselves. No one can and no one may. We ourselves must walk the path”. One is cautioned to be aware that the means is to be relinquished on reaching a goal just as a raft is let loose on reaching the other side instead of carrying it all along. In simple terms it is to be understood that any means of tools used for the experiment has to relinquish after it has served its purpose.