All for the sake of Spiritual Life

Aloha from SRV Hawaii:

Babaji in SeattleWhere spiritual life is concerned, as rare as it is in this world, the teachings are paramount.  Basically, the seeker, aspirant – even the intermediate and advanced level of devotee – needs two important aspects in order to both have and live a spiritual life.  Those two are 1) An awareness that “All is Brahman” and 2) teachings of the Dharma given to him/her by an illumined preceptor.

Milarepa, the great Tibetan Buddhist luminary, sings: “When I contemplate the experiences of samsara, I cannot help but practice dharma – the teachings on Enlightenment.  When I think of the way to Enlightenment, I cannot help but offer these teachings to others.  Thus, when samsaric death comes, I will have no regrets.”

The instruction of the dharma reads, that “….all errant thoughts are liberated in the dharmakaya,” the body of wisdom teachings.  “Errant thoughts” are to be interpreted not just as evil, negative, and contrary thoughts, but as wistful, wayward, misdirected, inadvertent, and lazy ones as well.  Thoughts lacking in focus, careful attention, clarity, and balance, may seem at first to be harmless, but detrimental habits form in the wake of such muddy streams of dull and inattentive consciousness.  The obscuring silt stirred up by the passing of these hazy currents across the surface of the mind will dictate all that is to rise in the mind thereafter.  Memory loses its resilience as a result of entertaining such thoughts, and the thought process itself becomes labored – like breathing does during an illness.  Mental illness is then a certain outcome….and not just the clinical kind, but the type which “normal” people suffer from in everyday life.  How can spirituality even appear, what to speak of thrive, in such a compromised atmosphere?

The salubrious effects of the wisdom teachings both avoid and dissolve such unwanted manifestations.  But it takes vigilance.  Forming a daily habit of reading and studying the scriptures of one’s tradition, even of other traditions, waylays such negative tendencies.  In other words, keeping the mind on wisdom turns the mind wise, just as placing the mind on mundane matters all the time turns it worldly.  Thus, what Thakur Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa has advised us is true: “The ordinary mind is like a crystal placed in front of different colored flowers, taking on the hue of each in turn.”  Place the mind on the world, then, it assumes the color of matter, thus materialism.  But place the mind on God and Wisdom, its original nature – unadulterated Clarity – emerges.

To take the teachings of the dharma, then, let us all meet, with friends and family, for classes and worship at the San Francisco and Oregon centers in late June and July.  The summer retreat in Foresthill, California, over the 4th of July, is a perfect place to absorb a host of clarifying teachings, transmitted amidst the forest greenery near the flowing waters of the American River, all under the bright California sunshine.  Thereafter, up in Portland, classes and worship will commence at our new ashram location in  Portland, signaling new beginnings allowing for the long life of the dharma.  It is all for the sake of spiritual life, conducive to spiritual life, and productive of the realization of Eternal Enlightenment.

Babaji Bob Kindler
Spiritual Director
SRV Associations