The Ubiquitous Dharma-Cult

The so called Dharma-cult of Western Bengal is ubiquitous in that it incorporates heterogeneous religious strains from many diverse traditions, Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim and assorted indigenous deities. Its main Deity is recognized as the Lord Dharma, or its more popular title, Dharma-ṭhākura. This Lord Supreme resembles more general Indian beliefs than representations of the Buddha. If it is in any way crypto-Buddhist, it would be so only directly related to later Buddhism, such as the Vajrayāna. Read more [...]
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The Nātha Lords

One of the most popular cults of Bengal lore are the Nāthas. It originally developed in Bengal out of a curious mixture of a once mighty Vajrayāna Buddhism and the subsequent Sāivism. Its main impetus is that of a yogic-dimension that utilized sundry Siddhis powers. They were briefly relayed in a former series but is worth repeating at this junction: Eight supernatural faculties, viz., Animā (the power of becoming as small as an atom), Mahimā (the power of becoming big), Laghimā (the power Read more [...]
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The Rat of the Vital Wind

The end of 2020 was just as momentous of the end of 2019 with the death of my parents. My much beloved male Tonkinese Cat died from cancer. I was devastated. He is dearly missed by me and his surviving 11 year-old sister. They both were raised by me as kittens. She cries-out for him on a daily basis, searching around the house in vain for his departed presence. You have to realize that for me as a celibate these beloved creatures are more than just pets—pets are what you call goldfish perhaps Read more [...]
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New Book on Ch’an

A new book on Ch’an was released back in September: China Root: Taoism, Ch’an, and Original Zen, by David Hinton. A reader’s note from the book states: The primary project of this book is a direct and philosophical one: to describe the native conceptual framework of Ch’an in ancient China, to make it available to contemporary philosophical understanding and spiritual practice. This native understanding and practice of Ch’an is largely missing in contemporary American Zen because that Read more [...]
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Letter from reader

Have posted this letter from one of our readers that may bear great interest to others. From: M. Martin Subject: Bankei Message Body: I greatly enjoy your blog. I'm a Rinzai practitioner who lives in Tokyo. I have lived here for almost 25 years, practicing on and off in various lineages,  studying different sects, before settling down under the tutelage of my current Rinzai teacher. Recently I have been pondering the shift away from the spirit of Bankei as possibly one of the sect's Read more [...]
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Nestled in Quietude

Contemplative Quietude is the best catalyst for growth in the Recollective Resolve of the spiritual life in the Unborn. Indeed, it is that Recollection itself, fully awake and aware of its vibrant Self-expression. It is the very pinnacle of illuminative wonderment and ecstatic-joy. It is the very vivifying realization that every breath we take ensues as a direct and prior and abundantly imageless and transcendent Sourcehood. Contemplative Quietude is therefore the Absolute Awareness of the Reality Read more [...]
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Heroic Asceticism

We have discussed in these many blogs that measured asceticism is a prerequisite for mystic life, indeed it is needed to develop a singular association with the Spirit of life itself. Mircea Eliade defines asceticism in the following manner:  …a voluntary, sustained, and at least partially systematic program of self-discipline and self-denial in which immediate, sensual, or profane gratifications are renounced in order to attain a higher spiritual state or a more thorough absorption in the Read more [...]
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Pseudo Mysticism

Truth be told, there is no mysticism in politics. Todays in vogue catch phrases have ushered in a new elitism, a political class that values “identity” above all else; within this so-called identity only some lives matter, even within their own closed circles certain types matter while others are relegated to the back of the bus. This tendency is also viciously anti-intellectual. It only induces quick satisfaction that immolates intelligence. The outcome is sacrificing one’s spirit and Read more [...]
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The Light in the Darkness

The authentic Spiritual Life can best be portrayed as a journey from the darkness encased in phenomena to Light, and then from that light to darkness. It's a major alteration from a light which is darkness to a Luminous Light which is hidden in darkness. The mind needs to shut itself off and turn to that Luminous Wonder that is a host to invisible realities that the Mystic Mind alone can discharge. The universality of [authentic, inclusion mine] experience is regained only when, as a result Read more [...]
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The School of the Spirit

All mundane desires are shadows in the diseased fancies of man. The crazed rush after these illusive mad dreams of false happiness only leads to the awaiting charnel house of unfulfillment. Why do these carnal worldlings linger in this substanceless affair? Because the quest itself has become the substitute for quiescence in the Unborn. Unable to rest in IT, endless discontent reigns supreme at the expense of the only True Reality. According to Vijñānavāda, the sphere of human experience Read more [...]
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