Monday, September 8, 2014

Process of Self Illumination

“A lighted-lamp does not need another lamp to illumine its light.
So too, Atman which is Knowledge itself needs no other knowledge to know it.” ………Atma Bodha, v.29

“Out of compassion I destroy the darkness of their ignorance.
From within them I light the lamp of wisdom
 and dispel all darkness from their lives …” ……………Bhagavad Gita Chapter 10: verse 11

A visiting monk: I have been practicing to achieve enlightenment. What about that?
Bankei: Enlightenment is something that stands in contrast to illusion. As each person is a Buddha-body just as he is, he hasn't a speck of illusion in him. What is it, then, that you want to enlighten?
Monk: But master, that would mean living life as an utter fool. Look at Bodhidharma. Look at all the Zen masters after him. They realised the great Dharma by attaining enlightenment.
Bankei: It is as just such a fool that the Tathagata saves people from suffering. Neither coming nor going, being just as you are at the time when you were born, without obscuring your mind - that's the very meaning of Tathagata! All the patriarchs of the past were exactly the same as that.
…………………….. From 'The Unborn: The life and teachings of Zen master Bankei 1622-1693'

The source of Self-illumination is not from the outer world through intellectual pursuit. Both the text of Atma Bodha and the Bhagavad Gita clearly indicates that the nature of illumination. As a lighted lamp needs no further light to illumine it so also the Atma or the soul is enshrined in the body in its purest form and itself forms the source of providing all necessary knowledge to purify the Self or dispel any ignorance in this life journey. The Divine we speak of is the very essence of the soul and hence seeking an external Divine intervention is fraught with failure and illusion unless through the Self this external worship leads to the destruction of ignorance. This is the reason that Lord Krishna says the words that are quoted in the beginning of this article.

This concept of self-illumination has been explained in the dialogues of the Zen masters.
The words of the Japanese Zen master Bankei Yōtaku, very clearly illustrates as to what you are trying to enlighten. Every human is the Buddha-body which means he or she has no illusion from which to be enlightened.
The Zen master uses the word “Tathagata” and this term is often thought to mean either "one who has thus gone" (tathā-gata) or "one who has thus come" (tathā-āgata). This is interpreted as signifying that the Tathagata is beyond all coming and going – beyond all transitory phenomena.
All transitory phenomenon is the creation of the mind which is the attenuated projection of the illumined soul. This is the reason why the mind is termed as a modification or conditioned projection of pure consciousness. When the soul experiences something in the sensory realm then it projects an image which is shaped and stored as a conditioned reality in the mental realm.

All suffering results from this conditioned image projection. The process of removal of this suffering or delusion is to allow the light of the soul to shine through. In our weakened condition of existence we require a deep realization of our true makeup. This could be done through various spiritual practices or through deeper wisdom under the guidance of a Guru or Master.
The words of Bankei captures in a nutshell the concept of enlightenment.
“………..Neither coming nor going, being just as you are at the time when you were born, without obscuring your mind - that's the very meaning of Tathagata!”
Which means to be in the present moment like very little children with purity of consciousness unconditioned by the world.

This is what was achieved by all great spiritual masters.

Love to you all.

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