Now we will turn to the East. And to the extent necessary for our journey, without insisting on unnecessary details. The issue of Yoga is very difficult to put on healthy ground. Yoga is not a Method. Yoga is an Attainment. It indicates the concept of Unity, or rather the Oneness. Most of Yoga practitioners define the highest state of consciousness as a unity of Aspirant with the object of work. In other words, when subject and object become one. This is mainly a brief definition of Samādhi, not to go further into the discussion of this theory because it is not our intention here. And because I like to think differently, I would be skeptical regarding this definition. Being one with another is quite inconvenient. Each of you at this moment feels unity with itself. Even in the absence of that feeling, oneness with yourself is undoubted. Why do you think that unity with another is different from unity with yourself, which you already feel right now? Man finds external reasons for natural urges which are within. He complicates his own life because he is unable to comprehend himself properly. This is the paradox of Yoga. You cannot practice Yoga. You cannot practice Achievement – it would mean that you have already achieved it. Yoga is not even Oneness – it only suggests the Attainment of Oneness, it cannot be practiced and therefore cannot be more or less achieved. Yoga is not a Method. Yoga is an Attainment. What moves you away from Yoga is your intention for the failure, nothing more. What moves you away from the Yoga is your practice of Yoga, as exercise is essence of every failure. Yoga is like the Sun on the Tree of Life. You are either there or you are not.
The confusion arises largely as Eastern languages have much more adjectives for spiritual states, than our Western languages have. Do not misread me, when I say West, I include you in that group. And when I say East, I mean most of the countries influenced by Buddhism, whether Hīnayāna or Mahāyāna sects. This is also reflected in Christianity, in divisions among the churches. I am talking of course about the two major branches, Orthodox and Catholic. It is interesting that Mahāyāna called itself Orthodox too, what means Right Belief – as opposed to Catholics which should be, then, Wrong Belief. Mahāyāna as a Great Vehicle, in the translation, glorifies itself in relation to Hīnayāna, which should by them to be understood as an Inferior Vehicle. This could be an interesting observation.
I would like to emphasize this point somehow, as a beginning of, perhaps the most beautiful story we will hear in our Art. For exposition on Yoga and Buddhism, I would like to reverse the order of these two, and begin with the presentation of the essence of Buddhism in the first place. We have already mentioned the difference between Magick and Thelema. The same relation and model of thinking makes difference between Yoga and Buddhism. How?
When Buddhism appeared in India, Siddhārtha Gautama Buddha managed to create a system by which a man could achieve the same results as he did for himself. In other words, if you abided by certain rules, for the first time until that moment in time, one could experience enlightenment, here and now; unlike the earlier spiritual movements where illumination was left to some other castes and some other lives. Remember, some of you might not ever experience the astral projection, some of you will never be able to sit in Āsana, but by the sheer fact that you were born, you are assured of two things, and two achievements: the Attainment of the Knowledge and Conversation of Your Holy Guardian Angel and the Attainment of the Abyss. These are guaranteed to every one of you, and this can be achieved at any point of your work. This is explained, especially to young people, not to think that enlightenment is left to someone else. It is indeed a sad worldview. Enlightenment is your only work that you have the right on, just by being born. Enlightenment is not even your work. Enlightenment is your birthright. Your Enlightenment is just a natural consequence of your birth. Consider this thought. Enlightenment is your birthright.
We will now return to Buddhism, there are three phases of it which are good to implement in our knowledge. Those are the birth of Buddhism, expansion of Buddhism and adaptation of Buddhism. So, a Japanese aspirant does not think about enlightenment in the same way that a Buddhist thinks of in Tibet. What is exceptionally interesting is how Buddhism began to spread and develop across the East and the Northeast. In that way, the realization of Enlightenment was becoming shorter and shorter. Why? And how? Here is what happened.
Long ago, Buddha made a terrible Oath that he will not move from the place he was sitting on until he experienced enlightenment. This is one of the first historical moments that someone gave this form of a vow, in fact – an Oath of Abyss. The more the task is difficult, the greater is the reward. The shortest tasks in our Order are those of Adeptus Minor and Magister Templi. They consist of a single sentence. Magister Templi to transcend Abyss, and Adeptus Minor to achieve Knowledge and Conversation of his Holy Guardian Angel. Consider if the length of a written task embodies their true weight.
To return to Lord Buddha. Buddha demonstrated for the first time that one life is sufficient for enlightenment, and that single intention is enough. As the teaching begun to move north, across Nepal and Tibet and to China, Boddhidharma, one of the greatest teachers who ever lived, did something remarkable. When separated from Hīnayāna, Mahāyāna suddenly began to shorten the time needed for aspirant’s enlightenment. Now, what Boddhidharma did? First thing, there were no solitary retreats anymore, and hiding of aspirants in caves; instead, he putted them all inside one room. Whenever an aspirant achieved enlightenment, it seemed that experience set off a chain effect that spread to other practitioners as well. In the beginning, all the participants were facing the wall, with their eyes closed. This detail is very important. Now, second thing which Boddhidharma did was far more brilliant, as he has turned people not to face the wall, but to look into each other’s eyes. Enlightenment have occurred even more frequently. And so the aspirants revealed specific and extraordinary experience of unique emptiness in their eyes, which until then could not be perceived. Sharpest and most severe type of Buddhism exists in Japan. What Chinese call Chou, in Japanese is known as Zen. There, the enlightenment is given as an Order, not as a Vow. Now I would like to convey to you these words, which Buddha addressed to his dearest student Śāriputra. This speech is very well-known as Prajñāpāramitā Hṛdaya Sūtra, somewhat like Thelemites understand Liber AL. In a similar way as the Book of the Law defines Reality, Lord Buddha did the following:
“Therefore, O Śāriputra, here in this emptiness there is no body, no feeling, no thought, no will, no consciousness. There are no eyes, no ears, no nose, no tongue, no body, no mind. There is no seeing, no hearing, no smelling, no tasting, no touching, no imagining. There is nothing seen, nor heard, nor smelled, nor tasted, nor touched, nor imagined. There is no ignorance, and no end to ignorance. There is no old age and death, and no end to old age and death. There is no suffering, no cause of suffering, no end to suffering, no path of ending to suffering. There is no attainment of Nirvāṇa, and no Nirvāṇa to attain.“
In this way, he showed to the world that the ultimate essence of his teaching was not nihilism, as defined by Western minds, but cosmic surrealism. Actually, this text can be understood as the Eastern Book of the Law. Crowley was quite attracted to Eastern philosophy, especially Taoism, in which he identified himself with Eastern teachers, like Lao Tzu and Chuan Chou. Today we can clearly see the influence of Chinese thought in what is now called Thelema. What should be of interest for us in Buddhism, are two supreme experiences – the experiences of Buddha and of Bodhisattva. In analogy with the Kabbalah, the entire Golden Dawn is defined as an optional program. In Ordo Thelema, we can find only three ranks. Man of the Earth, Lover, and Hermit. These three grades are actually the great Achievements along the Middle Pillar. It is never enough for a Superior to appeal to his Students not to give up from the Path, when they stray from the Middle Pillar.
There are two grades specially affected by this situation, the grade of Practicus and grade of Philosophus. These two extremes reflect two supreme opposites of Aziluth. Practicus as water and Philosophus as fire, in a similar manner as the relation of Chokmah and Great Binah. We will realize that each Sephira is just a result of the previous, and the cause of the next one. Tree of Life cannot be understood if we use it as a cover up, as a shade for retreat. Tree of Life is not for vacation, but for work. However, the ultimate truth is far from this claim. In all of our Art, as in Zen, there are two ways. The slow and the fast. It is up to you to decide which way to go. There is no doubt that you’ll get to your destination, because you surely will. The only question is how long you will bear your cross of suffering during the Path, once you find yourself on the wrong sideway. Once you took the Oath, once you spill your blood, the blood will evoke more blood. Yours or someone else. Remember this. That is why so many people wandered like shadows in our Art. This is not about the illusion of paths, but the illusion of people who walk upon them, think about it. We are prone to talk about it because none of us went so far, but ask yourself when you make a wrong decision, was it because of your will or your urge? Finally, is there a difference at all? Do what you want is not Do what thou Wilt. But as far as we know, someone who knows his Will is actually just 0.01 per cent of all people in humanity. Consider this.
Attainment of Knowledge and Conversation consists of two parts. One is the Knowledge, the other is Conversation. To be able to talk with your God, you must know what should be discussed at all. In case you have a minute of time with an Angel, what would you talk about? What questions would you ask, would you ask anything at all? So the construction of those elemental weapons is actually the preparation for this Grand Interview. It’s like preparing for a job interview. First you write your Curriculum Vitae, and after that if you receive a call, you prepare yourself for the interview, all with the aim to introduce yourself in the best light and to finally get a job. Complete Golden Dawn is a reminder of what you will discuss at the scheduled Grand Interview. Buddhism is also working in preparing an Aspirant’s mind to do what is needed at the moment when he enters the Chamber of Awareness, when he achieve the Great Work. Do not deceive yourself that in front of God you will be able to draw a pentagram, or a hexagram, or do any banishing or spirit testing. These are just stories, silly stories. The moment you experience the contact with Deity, or Angel, whatever its nature, you will be with him as required, not as you intended. You will be completely powerless to do anything limited by your plan. In practice, an upright red vertical and downward blue triangle in a hexagram simply do not exist. In reality, the blue hexagram is vertical; your aspiration is one that is passive. It is like your first meeting with a beloved one. No matter how you planned a surprise, the course of the evening will be completely independent from you, and you will often experience quite opposite from what you wanted. You are completely powerless. But in the end, you will remember that very first night as something beautiful and in this uncertainty laid all the magic of that night. You received what you have been given, it is as simple as that. The highest Invocation is neither a threat nor a treaty, but a curious expectation. Think about that.
So, if you read someone’s report that he drew pentagram on the astral plane in front of a God or Angel, and verified him through divine names, you do not have to listen to him anymore. Because he is probably lying. This is an old medieval way of thinking in which the man is the center of the world, where higher beings are subordinate to him. And where everyone else has a purpose for him as the supreme cause. Amazing fact that the Sun is the center of the world is still valid, but actually nobody told you that you are that Sun. So this form of Hexagram was made by existence of Thelema in Magick. How does it work in practice? Suppose you give an Oath of Adeptus Minor, after which you make preparation for your work, going from public life into retreat for six months, by the advice of Abramelin, so you can choose the perfect rite, starting with daily performance of it and striving to the Angel. And there is a problem: nothing happens. You can continue like that for years. That is why so many aspirants avoid the Oath of Adeptus Minor and remain Philosophus or Dominus Liminis forever. This is the worst curse that an aspirant can invoke on himself. So, what is the point of this instruction?
In the method of blue hexagram that brings you to Achievement, it is important that you do not really do anything. How does it look in practice? So far, you had the opportunity to make Change by means of concentration, visualization, vibration, and now the greatest Change that you need does not require work or action at all. It is as if I told you that you will receive a phone call from the Heaven exactly at 2:00 PM tomorrow. What would you do in minutes before 2:00 PM? You would await. But that awaiting would be more intense and more alert than an hour before the scheduled time. It seems that this passive awaiting puts your attention into active condition for Great Change. Consider this thought well. Your work is like children’s game of “red hands”. What you do is that you put your hands on top of the hands of your Angel, and wait for him to hit, so you can pull back, catching a moment of silence instead of a slap. The condition of your success is to allow him to start first, but to finish last. This method is essential in Japanese fencing; in concept of intercepting, not in opposing the swords. Unlike the European fencing which consists today of scattered waving and counting points, in certain schools of Japanese swordsmanship you prepare for a lifetime and when you finally stand in front of an opponent, you cannot achieve victory by assault, but by defense. Waiting for the opponent to start first by drawing his katana, and while he takes out his sword, you must take out yours and do your strike, which means that you must be at least twice as fast as him. The Will is not required here. Only Intuition. Will and Intuition, as Chokmah and Binah. Many analogies with our Craft can be found in Buddhism and in Japanese fencing.
Think about our example with the phone call. You could almost feel the condition of expectation before that call. With stretched eyes you fight to maintain alertness, and boot up the phone as soon as possible after the ringtone. But then what I do? I strive that those expected ring never rings. As one minute of waiting expands to one day, you go to bed angry and disappointed, and have a dream which is required, in a state of active passivity. When you analyze rituals, at one point comes the moment when aspirant extinguish his awareness and experience mental death, and you can find this approach especially in the system of Austin Spare. For those rare ones, that death is a spiritual birth. The essence of all our work are actually magic show tricks by which you bypass your reality censorship, to temporarily extinguish lights on the stage just long enough to successfully perform the replacement of artifacts, and instead of a rose, a dove appears. That brief and purposeful extinguishing of light on the stage is Veil of Paroketh, far from Abyss, and aspirant should not confuse those two ideas.
At this point, I will mention what is known as the Art of Evocation, which essence lies precisely in this. Remember when I said that you will have a phone call from Heaven tomorrow at 2:00 PM; you will stand frozen minutes before ringing, expecting the call. But remember well how it distorts your Attention. It is like a child eager to know what, but not when. By pure statistics, in those moments something will happen, something which will distract your attention. But your awareness was already Changed and drunken with phantasmagorical expectation, so that side event is being welcomed with trumpets and projected into what was needed. Often, the noise of thunder becomes the speech of a demon, or the light of street lamps becomes the raying of an Angel. In other words, your imagination becomes the link between two unrelated events, which influenced your attention like cold water affects you upon awaking. It is an effect used by illusionists – when they draw your attention to something irrelevant in order to achieve a desired change, which is seen as a miracle by those who are too fascinated by it to broaden their attention to both magician’s hands, not just on that one in which he holds an object to which your attention is fixed. In case of Evocation, it is an unconscious self trick that can grow into bouquet of the most beautiful vision. But, will you get something that you do not already know, by all this? Consider this thought.
When I mentioned two Veils, Veil of Paroketh and Veil of Abyss, behind both of them are concealed ultimate Achievements in a similar manner as I have said about the case of Buddhism – in the Attainments of Buddha and Bodhisattva. Achievements of Adeptus Minor and Magister Templi, in other words. Ipsissimus would not be attributed to the Buddha; that would be topic which would take too long to discuss.
This is basically a short overview of Buddhism and its interweaving and influence with the ways of Magick and Thelema. Beware yourself. And be very tactful toward the methods and views of Buddhism. Toward those fantastic new techniques which will allow you to experience the enlightenment for a price of a dollar. Always be careful about the choice of practice. Note that prior to specific practices of Buddhism always comes first the authentic Buddhist philosophy. Yoga is more abstract, more devastating for us. It is similar with Thelema. Beware of people who talk about True Will. Remember this carefully.
I really wish that you sense the relation between Buddhism and Yoga, as well as between Thelema and Magick. Buddhism and Thelema are philosophical systems, they have little practical implications. They may be referred to as social implications of a manner in which all souls are connected. I will tell you a story about a monk who spent years trying to get enlightened. He was the most learned and the most educated of all the monks, and yet sufficiently clever to know that he was furthest from the truth. Finally, he gathered courage to pay a visit to his teacher and ask him how to liberate himself. But the teacher asked him: “Who holds you imprisoned?” While Buddhism may have its own faults, you are all intelligent enough to extract what is useful for you. In a way, our seminar is a sort of spiritual Frankenstein. You take a little of everything to make a lot for you. And I cannot say what is good or wrong for you. I can only tell you a nice fairytale bedtime story.
Now I will reflect on Yoga. When I mention Yoga, I think exclusively on royal eightfold path, which is called Rāja Yoga. For the aspirant who is below Paroketh especially important are the first four steps of Rāja Yoga. And like a Mage who have four elemental Weapons, so Yoga has its four arms, which must be strong. Āsana, Prāṇāyāma, Pratyahara and Dhāraṇā. These four points do not have to be learned completely, but within Argentum Astrum you will not go further on until you master each to the extent you are asked for. You can have a PhD degree at Harvard, or to be born as Magister Templi, but if you cannot sit an hour in Āsana, you will not advance further from Zelator.
Āsana is the position, but not every position. Even though you think you are comfortable in your chairs now, after an hour, or maybe two, you will feel uncomfortable and tense. But when I am sitting in my Āsana, I can do that for hours, not moving an inch, without experiencing any physical discomfort, although at the beginning the Āsana can be anything but pleasant. Āsana is a position which removes the awareness of the existence of body, but not the existence of awareness. Consider that. Think about this, that success in Āsana is in the Change of consciousness, not of the body, although the change in the understanding of the body will be quite obvious.
Prāṇāyāma is the control of Prāṇa, but it is necessary to define what this concept means, as without that it would be only speculation. Prāṇa is what may be called force, but not like a fuel, but rather as nourishment for the spirit. It has many aspects and, what is called, rūpas, so it can be found in food as in the blood. But neither food nor the blood is Prāṇa, like the body is not the spirit. Prāṇa is enshrined by an abstract idea, and it is necessary to utilize a specific model of thinking in order to understand its true nature. Think about this, Prāṇa is the prime representative of the magical link. Ingenious Aspirant can see Prāṇa in each thing, and pour Prāṇa into any object. However, Prāṇa is usually associated with a link that is a living common factor for all things alive. It’s not blood, though it can be, because blood is limited by its color, warmth and confinement in blood vessels, but what is the magical link par excellence is the breath. Therefore, Prāṇāyāma is breath control, a full awareness of the entire apparatus which is used for breathing. The breath is constantly inhaled, in a measure in which it is exhaled. Its field of action is within, as much as without. Life breathes in, death breaths out. Everything inhales, Nothing exhale. That one sequence is everything about all, and all about everything, whole universe visible and invisible are just modification of that single one sequence. Sequence of inhale and exhale.
Of course, all this takes a lot of experience and preparation. But remember, as you climb up the Tree of Life, you use less time for preparation of work. In perfect circumstances, an aspirant needs 10 to 15 minutes for astral projection and 5 to 10 minutes for completely stable Āsana. But remember, the aspirant after 15 minutes of preparation and perhaps 15 minutes of astral journey may need hours to even superficially understand the experience he had. If Neophyte during the operation spontaneously achieves Knowledge and Conversation, what is not so rare, it may take years for him to Understand what he Heard. Think about it. Working with Āsana is not just sitting, but also preparing for that sitting beforehand and enjoying the feeling of unity with the body after the practice. Think about how to define your own work at all, how long it lasts, what is included in it and what is not.
So this is another advantage of this workshop. All symbols that we have on our working desk we will manage to connect to each other and thus be able to create our own dictionary which will help us to converse with the Grand Architect, inside the Golden Dawn.
Question: Do the Grand Architect and Grand Creator point to the same thing?
Answer: Grand Architect is that universal unit of measure of all things; he is the golden ratio between the number and the letters. Numbers are like letters, infinite, and are integral parts of all books of all the Worlds. It was said once that Angels, like books, are made of numbers and letters in the same way as man is made of flesh and blood. Grand Architect, who occupies such an important place in Masonry, is quite different from Grand Creator of all Worlds. Although these two terms are related to the same state of Being, in a similar way the Holy Guardian Angel is linked with two concepts which cannot exist without each other – Knowledge and Conversation. For us, the concept of Grand Architect is far more important than the Grand Creator, who made the Tree of Life. The emphasis is on the Architect who gave his draft and measure of our reality, for his observation of universe construct that same universe. Hence, the next time you read a document on Freemasonry, try to look at the Grand Architect from the point of view of our Art. This is a great mystery.
Question: Is it an allusion to the Demiurge?
Answer: I do not know. Nor did I meet the Grand Architect. But maybe you will and then you will tell me. We could talk further about this, but I really do not know. What you said makes a lot of sense, but is it true is another thing. All what is related to Demiurge, false creator; you must then first meet with true Creator to make a distinction between truth and falsehood. This is a very good topic to discuss. By the way, I want to refer to one important correction. Sephira denotes singular idea. The plural is Sephiroth, thus Keter, Chokmah and Binah are not Sephira but Sephiroth. This is just a grammatical correction that does not hurt to learn. I noticed this while listening when you use Kabbalistic terms, so I just wanted to draw your attention to that.
Demiurge. Now we will combine the ideas of Sephiroth and Demiurge. What we will get? Does anyone have a guess? Does anyone have an answer? It is Qliphoth, most difficult term for all aspirants. Tons of books were written about it, but nobody really gave an answer clear enough. Because Qliphoth is precisely the opposite from clarity. We have too little time to discuss Qliphoth from the standpoint of Kuṇḍalinī Yoga and Eastern thought. But we may approach it from Thelemic position and to give observation of Qliphoth from the point of Thelema. Each sphere has its day and night side, if we assume that light causes this. No one told you that these circles on Tree of Life were actually Spheres. No one really put the Tree of Life in three dimensions. Tree of Life currently does not have the concept of depth between Sephiroth, only the length and width. But it is an excellent opportunity for us to think about it.
It is like constellations. When looking from a limited point of view of the Earth, constellations assume form of mythic figures in two dimensions, but if the same stars are to be observed from the side, it would be a completely different picture. This does not mean that the constellations are changing, just as the Tree of Life cannot be changed. Our position is changing, our awareness changes, and thus our view of the very same Universe which we observed earlier. Think about that. Qliphoth is our inability to accept the constancy of Tree of Life with our Change, and I’ll be even more insolent to say that Qliphoth is nothing but immobility and retardation of Change. Therefore, each and every truth that exists for more than a moment is Qliphoth. Each of you individually here, including myself, is a Qliphoth. The only constant is the constant of Change. This is one of the essential symbols of Buddhism (Yin and Yang), as for us is the number 93. And what is actually the endless repetition of this number in your correspondence and emails? If just one percent of us, who write this number so devotedly all the time, actually knew their True Will, we would be surrounded by millions of Adepts. But we are not. This 93 means a change in accordance with True Will. But if we are not aware of the Will, how do we Change anything? Change. This Change is shown in the glyph of Yin and Yang. In the West we know this much better as Swastika, as one of the oldest forms of the cross. Actually, that is the cross which is moving and changing.
This was a short overview of interweaving of the western and eastern ways.
Question: Does the upright triangle in the hexagram must always be blue?
Answer: When Dominus Liminis took an Oath of Adeptus Minor, he may have Knowledge but he cannot have Conversation. To hear what is being told to you from distance, you need to calm the environment. To mute either the environment, or the attention that makes about the awareness of that environment. You will recognize that the first method is the way of Magick, and second is the way of Yoga. In fact, everything you wished or did previously passed behind you, now it is only on God to answer your prayers. It no longer has to do anything with you at all. You wait for response to the letter you recently sent. Paradoxically, the Achievement of Adeptus Minor is not for you. There are no aspirations which can lead to it. You can only uncover the Veil and see what’s behind. That is why Kabbalists conceived an idea about the parts of Tree which are not seen. And that is the idea of Qliphoth and idea of Veils. Of course, these are just words; the real truth is far simpler.
Question: What is the similarity between the Hīnayāna and the Middle Way?
Answer: The Middle Way is part of the system. Hīnayāna is the system itself. And it just may have an idea of Middle Way. Personally, I could not list important analogies. In definition of being and consciousness which is present in Hīnayāna, Hīnayāna is still a philosophical system. The Middle Way is more practical.
Question: And Zen?
Answer: I could speak until tomorrow on that, but I am afraid I could say nothing clever.
Question: Is there something you could tell us about Jungian model of Shadow in relation to the idea of Qliphoth?
Answer: Your observation is probably better than mine. Maybe it would be better if I started with that aspect. You must understand that when one teach, he has a great unknown before him. I had to talk about abstract topics, but still to be at least a little concrete at the same time. I see that you are all excited about Qliphoth. It might be better to have one additional day. A Qliphoth idea is much better understood with beer and in Copacabana. We’ll talk about this further and deeper later on. I will stop at this point so we can have a good break on the beach.
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