What convergence is there between the journey of the ascetic Tibetan yogi Milarepa and that of the little-known great French mystic of the Seventeenth Century, Madame Guyon ? between Ramana Maharshi and the famous sufi Al-Hallaj ? What is the common denominator between these extraordinary beings who, in such apparently dissimilar ways, climbed the rungs leading to the ultimate realization ? Is it not a question of the greatest importance, to conjecture about what is essential and what is of incidental value, about what is truly the core of a practice and what relates to a cultural context and epoch ?
A puzzled seeker asked the Buddha : “I have heard that some of your disciples meditate with expectations, others meditate with no expectations, and yet others are indifferent to the result. What is the best ?
The Buddha answered : Whether they meditate with or without expectations, if they have the wrong ideas and the wrong methods, they will not get any fruits from their meditations. Think about it. Suppose some people want to have some oil and put sand into a bowl, then sprinkle it with salt. However much they press it they will not get oil, for that is not the method. Others are in need of milk. They start pulling the horn of a young cow. Whether they have any expectations or not, they will not get any milk out of the horn for that’s not the method. Or if some people fill a jar with water and churn it in order to get butter, they will be left only with water.
But if seekers meditate with a wholesome attitude, with right intention and mindfulness, then whether they have expectations of not, they will gain insight. It’s like filling a bowl with oil seeds and pressing them or milking a cow by pulling the udder or filling a jar with cream and churning it. It’s the right method.
The religion of the future will be a cosmic religion. It should transcend personal God and avoid dogma and theology. Covering both the natural and the spiritual, it should be based on a religious sense arising from the experience of all things natural and spiritual as a meaningful unity. Buddhism answers this description. If there is any religion that could cope with modern scientific needs it would be Buddhism.
« Time is what keeps the light from reaching us. There is no greater obstacle to God than time. And not only time, but temporalities, not only temporal things, but temporal affections, not only temporal affections but the very taint and smell of time. »
“To enter deeply into meditation is to enter into the mystery of suffering love. It is to encounter the woundedness of our human nature. We are all deeply wounded from our infancy and bear these wounds in the unconscious. The repetition of the mantra is a way of opening these depths of the unconsciousness and exposing them to light. It is first of all to accept our woundedness and thus to realize that this is part of the wound of humanity. All the weaknesses we find in ourselves and all the things that upset us, we tend to try to push aside and get rid of. But we cannot do this. We have to accept that “this is me” and allow grace to come and heal it all. That is the great secret of suffering, not to push it back but to open the depths of the unconscious and to realize that we are not isolated individuals when we meditate, but are entering into the whole inheritance of the human family.”
Bede Griffith Beyond the Darkness (by Shirley du Boulay)
As the past and the future converge at every instant in the present, the seriousness with which a motivated aspirant accomplishes his spiritual practice in the present (meditation or other exercises) is not only tracing the future for him, but in the most mysterious and ordinarily incomprehensible manner, it is also changing the past, so that it will no longer be able to repeat itself in the same way. (…)
It is only “now” that one can escape the tyranny of Time, because it is “now” that liberates us from the flow of Time and of becoming, and connects us to Eternity. And, being conscious of oneself in the present in a very particular manner constitutes the key that opens the gate to Eternity.
Because of the tremendous terror, physical pain, and moral agony dumb creatures must inevitably go through when faced with their bewilderingly precipitate and harsh death at the hands of humans—an agony they cannot even give voice to in their total helplessness to plead with those who are cutting short their lives—it is better, if possible, to refrain altogether from eating animal flesh. For every piece of meat less that is consumed means in time one animal less will go to the slaughterhouse.
The suffering and unhappiness these dumb beings sustain when being slaughtered can never be easily borne by any sensitive being endowed with a certain capacity for thinking and the power of physical movement, and in whose veins red blood also flows. This, the symbol of passion, indicates a degree of intelligence in animals comparatively greater than in the vegetable kingdom (which has white sap) and relatively nearer to the human one.
Furthermore, as these animals are put to death coldly and often under cruel conditions, their moral agony is all the greater. Every cell in their bodies becomes infused with the sensations of utter hopelessness and anguish of their premature and brutal death.
At such an atrocious moment, these unfortunate creatures become intensely alert and concentrated. The feelings of terror, helplessness, and despair that they go through during these fearful instants—not to mention also the anger and hatred that they bear toward the humans who are slaughtering them—are, in keeping with the violence of these moments, extremely powerful. These final terrible emotions that they take with them when dying inevitably infect their flesh and remain highly active in it, and when consumed by people—especially in the heedless manner in which they generally do so—it is bound to influence their inner state adversely and gradually fill them with sentiments corresponding to those that these ill-fated beings had in them at the time of their death.
Edward Salim Michael – The Law of Attention chap 46
Einstein’s speech ‘My Credo’ to the German League of Human Rights, Berlin, autumn 1932,
”The most beautiful and deepest experience a man can have is the sense of the mysterious. It is the underlying principle of religion…. He who never had this experience seems to me, if not dead, then at least blind. To sense that behind anything that can be experienced there is a something that our mind cannot grasp and whose beauty and sublimity reaches us only indirectly and as a feeble reflection, this is religiousness….one cannot help but be in awe when (one) contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality.