Sunday, August 3, 2014

Niyamas a higher cultivation of the psychic energy


image taken from here
Shaucha Purification
The purification in Buddhist terms refers to a clean clear mind, free from the 2 obscurations:
The afflictive obscuration covers our mental activity with disturbing emotions that cannot perceive reality without one of the 84.000 afflicted emotions and their attitudes and so prevent us from the samsaric liberation.
The cognitive obscuration  covers our mental activity with wrong views of cognizing all phenomena as true existent and therefore prevents us from the state of full awakening , the Omniscient state.
In the yoga world purification mainly refers to the purity of the body and of the subtle inner winds ( prana ) and channels ( nadis ) which results to the awaking of inner sacred energy which leads to a clear state of mind where you can find a higher level of awareness.  

Santosha - Contentment, satisfaction.
In our lives we suffer from covetousness, we are never satisfy with our body, our qualities, our education, our wealth and our social status. Therefore that pattern follows and gives rise to distorted expectations towards our practices in meditation and/or in our asana practice. The counter action to this unbalance is the practice of equanimity. Seeing everything as they are, and seeing that everyone, exactly as we do, try to find happiness and avoid suffering. So we have nothing to fear, nothing to feel that we need more or less as we all are in the same cyclic existence and we want to be free.

Tapas - fire, heat.
This for me can be translated to two aspects.
The fire that is cultivated through great enthusiastic perseverance, to keep cultivating great aspiration for the purpose of our practices and secondly is the process of transmutation, an inner alchemy that burns away our ignorance. In Buddhism that secret practice in the higher Tantra called Tummo and in Sanskrit called Caṇḍālī
 

Svadhyaya – A study conducive to self knowledge.
Refers specifically to the study of ancient scriptures or sutras. Why? What is the meaning of studying the scriptures ? To contemplate on the meaning of ancient and transcendental wisdom only enhance virtue into our mind stream. This positive and elevating influence is the true attitude we need to have, the root of a successful spiritual practice. 

Ishvarapranidhana – Surrender to a higher power.
The strong concept of devotion to our Spiritual Master, in Buddhist terms is the foundation of the Path that can bring us to the cessation of suffering. Faith and devotion doesn’t mean that is a blind faith, but to respect and to abide to the spiritual master’s instructions as long as they are wholesome ones and according to the Dharma. As our master is the medium for our training in ethics, meditation and wisdom we need to overcome the huge obstacle of seeing faults in our teacher and to let go of that negativity is by understanding that our impure body-speech-and mind cannot see the Buddha itself and receive direct teachings from him, even t the quality of all the Buddhas is everywhere. We are bound in this body and its limitations and with a cloudy mind by delusions; we cannot see that in fact our master is the Buddha for our level. Is the one who impart his knowledge and teach us what we need to adopt and what to abandon in our practice, and with great love and compassion teach us the path of illumination. The wisdom of course comes from personal experience and a long effort but how to learn to listen and respect our teacher is only in our hands. 

Check the post about Yamas on an older post : Ethics - Vinaya the basis of every spiritual practice