Agni and the Brahman

cosbrah

Masefield’s final chapter, The New Brahmin, reinforces the truth that the Buddha did not condemn Brahmanism per-se, but that rather it was brought to fulfillment in the new Atman—the arahant:

The Buddhists’ criticism of the brahmin was a spiritual rather than a social criticism and in claiming that the arahant* was the true brahmin*, on a par with the ṛṣis of olden times, they were advocating a reform, a return to the conservatism of the past, rather than an innovation. (Masefield, pg. 160)

This would be on par with the following assessment of the Brahman-factor:

One other prevailing misconception is that traditional Indian religion was Brahminical and that Buddha was anti-Brahmanistic. Buddha actually praised the Brahmins of old who knew and followed the Ancient Way that leads to Brahman. He did point critically to the fallen Brahmins of his day. But so did the good and honored Brahmins of ancient times hit out at those Brahmins who had fallen from the high standards of knowledge, wisdom and personal spiritual achievement that pertained to their pure and selfless ancestors. (Buddhism: It’s Various Manifestations, Gurmukh Ram Maden pg. 99)

The actual term, Brahman, concerns the nature of the Pre-Mordial Reality from which the Cosmos emanated. Unborn Mind Zen would translate Brahman as the Unborn Absolute. The Dhammapada sang the praises of those who were in-tune with this Reality. One of the most underrated translations of The Dhammapada was published in 2001 entitled, The Authentic Dhammapada of the Buddha, The Law of Illumination, by Ven. Shakya Aryanatta. I recollect first receiving my copy of this magnificent yellow spiral-bound 117-page booklet in July of 2001, a few months before 9/11, yet its significance—in the annals of spirituality—is just as significant. Unfortunately it’s been long out-of-print but the following verses from The Brahman chapter are here reproduced in full; yea, they represent the Total-Import of Brahmanhood:

XXVI THE BRAHMAN

383. He has cut-off the outflowings of desire’s streams!
He has in Wisdom transcended all desires!
That most excellent Brahman in vigilance has driven away desires upwellings!
Great man among men!
He sees indeed the decay and misery of all phenomenon!
He is Supreme Knower of that unmade bliss fulfillment O’ His Essence, that Very Brahman!

384. Having perfected the two-fold Dharma (Bliss Immersion, and Antecedent Recollection by Wisdom), That very Brahman is in the unfolding of the Great Becoming in Transcendence of vile Rebecoming* He rightly so is at every corner of his Being that Utmost One, He has left the darkness for the Light O’ the Source! Great of Knowing, He has gone to the utmost sweet Deathlessness!
*(Literally: Gone from the Taurus)

385. Him! Who is a Supreme Knower of the hereafter, of past existences and of futures future lives. He does so by mighty Wisdom, never again befall rebirth into them!
Great fearless One!
He has conjoined utmost fulfillment Nirvana!
That One!
Indeed I call him Great Brahman!

386. Great Burning One in Vigilance of Wisdom who is free from passions, He is at peaceful rest.
Having done what must be done, he is free from wretched outflowings.
He is That Utmost North Gone One to Perfection.
No more will His Spirit be born into this world!
He is free!
That One!
Indeed I call Him Great Brahman!

387. The Sun shines by day, just so the Moon shines by night.
The Warrior in his battle armor shines.
But Him who burns in Wisdom’s unfolding is that Supreme Brahman!
By day and night both, does that Gloriously Awake Holy One Shine forth by the Blinding Illumination of His Wisdom!

388. He is the Great Destroyer of wickedness, That Holy Brahman!
He abides in Tranquilities Perfection.
Such as Him I call Beloved Ascetic Monk!
His True Self has gone forth from sin.
Hence He is called “Forth gone Perfect One!”

389. Woe upon that man who strikes a Holy Brahman!
Worse upon him who would vent his wickedness on a Great Brahman.
Greater still, woe and vileness indeed is him who is evil, that would smite a Holy Brahman with deadly blow!
Most wretched, woefully evil is that man who would do so!

390. It is of Greatest Benefit for Pious Brahman, that He should prevent His Mind’s Essence from focusing only on the sweet pleasures of this world.
He should return to that Utmost Perfection of His True Self, such That His Essence befalls no more harm!
In Perfection of His Wisdom’s Recollective Penetration, He shall be forever free from all sufferings!

391. Behold! There are no pains or sufferings for Him!
He Is True Self-Same Centered in That Unshakable Station of Mind’s Essence, Deeds, and Speech!
That One!
Indeed I call Him Great Brahman!

392. That Most Excellent Teacher in the Sweet Law Dharma of Utmost Wisdom.
That Perfectly Enlightened Lord Buddha!
By Great Reverence and Honor should you attend to Such as Him!
Just as the Brahman attends to Sacrificial Flame!

393. Not by the matted hair of an ascetic, or by lineage, and not by birth is one a Holy Brahman!
But Him!
Whoso abides in the Utmost Truth of the Law and Shines by Wisdom’s Illumination, He is indeed a Holy Brahman!

394. What pray tell, are matted hair and filthiness in the Great Matter O’ Fools?
What usefulness unto your Wisdom’s Perfection is the wearing of animal skins?
You foolishly consider outside appearances, but within you are a mess, you are like an entwined thicket of befuddlement!

395. That One who wears rags from the trash heap, who is lean with veins showing through his skin.
He burns in Powerful Wisdom’s Vigilance Alone in the forest grove.
That One!
Indeed I call him Great Brahman!

396. I do not call him Brahman, such as that he is of that clan or from the womb of Brahman mother born.
He is simply called “Dear Sir”, of name alone such that he has wealth and is of their clan.
But Him!
Who is free of desires, and is attached to nothing of this world.
That One!
Indeed I call Him Great Brahman!

397. That Great One Who has forever cut all attachments to this world, He is unshakable in Wisdom’s Recollective Penetration.
Transcended, He has attained escape from of all chains of rebecoming.
He has gone into fulfillment and conjoined with The Source!
That One!
Indeed I call Him Great Brahman!

398. He has cut every bond!
The straps that bind him are destroyed.
Bit and bridle have been cast off!
Unlocked is the door of all hindrances for that Supremely Awakened!
That One!
Indeed I call Him Great Brahman!

399. He is at Peace!
Even as He bears great beatings upon His body, and faces prison.
He is that Mighty Long Suffering One who is incorruptible!
Powerful Forbearance, and with the Might of an Army.
That One!
Indeed I call Him Great Brahman!

400. He is at Peace!
That Pious One of Supreme Virtue, He is completely fulfilled, being in Wisdom Prior to all wicked outflowings.
Powerfully Controlled, this is His last body!
That One!
Indeed I call Him Great Brahman!

401. Him!
Who is like a water drop off the tip of an elephant’s trunk not clinging.
Who is like a tiny mustard seed off the tip of an awl, not clinging.
That very same Man does not cling to lusts and desires.
That One!
Indeed I call Him Great Brahman!

402. Whoso thoroughly Knows the nature of all pain and sufferings, and their arising in this world.
He does so joyously in this very world make an abode for His True Self Deathlessness!
Forever gone are all burdens and he has gone into fulfillment conjoined with the Source!
That One!
Indeed I call Him Great Brahman!

403. Behold Him!
He is Highest of Supreme Wisdom!
In Wisdom’s Perfection He sees all that is Right and True and all that is false and wicked.
That Utmost Wise of Men.
He is That Supreme Utmost North Gone One to Perfection, and no more will His Spirit be borne into this world.
He is Free!
That One!
Indeed I call Him Great Brahman!

404. Whoso does not associate with commoners, nor with homeless ones, or with both.
Going on with no need or desire for home life, being free of all desires for such matters.
That One!
Indeed I call him Great Brahman!

405. Whoso has laid down violence against other entities, both fierce ones and those that hide in fright.
He has no reason to slay them or have them killed.
That One!
Indeed I call Him Great Brahman!

406. He who is at Great Peace among the wicked haters.
Who abides in Bliss among those using weapons.
Among attached commoners, lustful for worldly desires He is Forever Free of desires!
That One!
Indeed, I call Him Great Brahman!

407. That Man, whose hate, pride, and hypocrisy have Forever Fallen Away.
Like a tiny mustard seed at the tip of an awl He Is.
That One!
Indeed I call Him Great Brahman!

408. He Teaches the Core Center of the Deathless Law in Illumination of the Awake and His utterances are the Sweet Words of the True Law.
He has returned to His kinsmen at That very Center Realm Deathlessness.
That One!
Indeed I call Him Great Brahman!

409. Whoso in this very world takes nothing, either long or short, great nor small, good or bad.
Taking none of these to cling to.
That One!
Indeed I call Him Great Brahman!

410. Behold!
This is His Last Body!
He has Transcended by Wisdom, vile rebecoming into this world or in future rebirths as such.
Free of desires focus that binds Him, He goes into That Source of Utmost Highest Unchanging Deathlessness!
That One!
Indeed I call Him Great Brahman!

411. Behold Him!
This is His Last Body!
All outflowings for wicked rebirth are utterly destroyed!
Supremely possessed of Wisdom, He Is That Mighty One.
Completely without doubts, He no more asks how this and how that arises as such, He Is Exquisitely Wise!
Ambrosia of the Gods, Utmost of the Utmost Sweet Bliss He partakes, His True Self no longer shall be reborn into the vile womb of pain!
That One!
Indeed I call Him Great Brahman!

412. Whoso has Transcended by Wisdom, the passing over both of merit and evil.
Whoso is free of sorrow, desireless of fain for this world, and Supremely Pure.
That One!
Indeed I call Him Great Brahman!

413. Behold Him!
He Shines Brilliantly in Wisdom, flawless like the Moon Itself!
He goes upwards in beforeness of all things and Before Breath itself.
His Essence is Antecedent of all rebecoming, no longer is He disturbed by the mundane.
See Him!
He Rejoices in the Great Unfolding Becoming Begotten unto His Being, having Transcended all further rebirths!
That One!
Indeed I call Him Great Brahman!

414. He has Gone Beyond, free of that befouled dungeon fortress this very world.
He has Forever Gone Beyond, free of the befuddlement of aggregated existence, Samsara.
He has Utterly Transcended beyond vile rebecoming* in that He burns in Recollective Penetration by Wisdom’s Vigilance.
Forever Free of both desire’s upwellings and doubts, as to how things truly are and how they arise.
He has given up all rebirths into the womb in that He has Ascended to Sweet Bliss Deathlessness Nirvana!
That One!
Indeed I call Him Great Brahman!
*(Literally: Gone Beyond the Taurus)

415. Him!
He has Gone Beyond, Forever Free of the wicked arising of sense desires.
He shall never again return since He has Utterly Gone Beyond all chains that bind Him to this world.
Desires crushed, He is Fulfilled in the Great Becoming, having Ascended to Bliss Beyond all vile rebirth!
That One!
Indeed I call Him Great Brahman!

416. Him!
He has Gone Beyond, Forever Free of the wicked arising of sense cravings.
He shall Never Again Return, for He has Utterly Gone Beyond all chains that bind Him to this world.
Cravings crushed, He is Fulfilled in the Great Becoming, having Ascended to Bliss Beyond all vile rebirth!
That One!
Indeed I call Him Great Brahman!

417. That Man! He has Conjoined Utmost Fulfillment Nirvana! He is One with the Deathless Supreme Awake Ones, Utmost of Utmost.
Forever passed over is rebirth for Him.
He is at every corner of His Being Conjoined with Supreme Bliss, That Highest Existence Realm O’ The Source!
That One!
Indeed I call Him Great Brahman!

418. Him!
Who has Dispassionately Transcended lusts for sex, disdain of aversions, and no longer pleasingly beholds the ephemeral forms of this world.
That Same Who has by His Great Power of Wisdom Overcome all desires for this wicked world!
That One!
Indeed I call Him Great Brahman!

419. That Supreme Man!
At all corners of the world He knows of the death that befalls all the afflicted and attached beings.
By Wisdom’s Insight That Supreme of Wise Men sees evil rebirth in its viciousness from before all beginning to past its end!
His True Self Deathless Essence is Forever Free!
Supreme Utmost Awake Lord He Is!
He just so Ascends to that very abode Eternal Bliss, Highest of the Utmost!
That One!
Indeed I call Him Great Brahman!

420. That Exquisite One Who has Transcended to Utmost Highest of Abodes.
The Gods themselves do not know whence He has Ascended, nor devas, or celestial spirits, nor any manner of ghost.
In Him are Forever extinct the wicked outflowings of rebecoming into the womb, That Supremely Noble Awake Arahant!
That One!
Indeed I call Him Great Brahman!

421. That Magnificent One!
He does so by Wisdom Know The Source!
He sees what was, what is to befall the hereafter, and what is the now.
All of these He Knows!
There exists no bond to any of these sinister corners of rebirth for Him, having nothing that binds Him, He is Free of all outflowings of desires!
That One!
Indeed I call Him Great Brahman!

422. That Great Northern Bull!
Utmost Hyperborean and Mighty!
He is the Great Sage Victorious in the battle over rebirth, That Splendid One Who Shines!
He has Forever left desires and outflows by Fulfillment.
He is That Supremely Awake by Wisdom’s Illumination.
That One!
Indeed I call Him Great Brahman!

423. Here!
Know you all!
Behold from whence you sprang, your Utmost Abode That Sweet Source Deathlessness!
By Wisdom see IT from all four corners.
By Vigilance in the Recollective Penetration O’ The Source, know all that is both in the heavens and in the hells, see it all deeply!
Perfect your True Self and Forever Ascend vile rebirth into the womb.
Be That Chief of Sages, Utmost of the Highest Accomplished Transcendental Supreme Essence Become!
All forms and phenomenon have come to utmost end for you in this world by Supreme Wisdom’s Awakening!
Highest of High Indivisible Utmost Excellent Supreme Fulfillment!
That One!
Indeed I call Him Great Brahman!

One of the most salient primordial-elements is known as Agni, or the Fiery-Energizing-Principle; it is best symbolized as a sacrificial-fire:

agni

It was an early-Brahman’s task to tend this sacrificial-flame; in so doing they were opening-up a portal to the supermundane (Ariyan, pertaining to the Deathless—Masefield) plane:

Agni, as the sacrificial fire, was, moreover, seen as the earthly counterpart of his heavenly aspect, the sun – the door to the Deathless*, or amṛtaṁ, and connected with the sun by means of the deva-yana, the channel or canal along which Agni brought the devas, the divine power, down to ensure the efficacy of the sacrifice and along which Agni also transported to the fathers the sacrificial offerings that had been consumed in his flames. (ibid, pg.157)

In Brahman parlance this mystical process is known as Agni vidya, or the holy science of the inner-fire. By the age of the Buddha, however, it was largely forgotten and was replaced by a meaningless worship of just burning fuel (Gurmukh Ram Maden). In essence, Agni is not just mere “fuel”, but an energizing and driving “Force” that breathes life into the very fabric of the Cosmos itself.  Hence, to an authentic Brahman who set about the Agnihotra, or divine-fire ritual, the inner-flame of Brahmanhood, one was, as aforementioned, opening up a portal to the supermundane.

Another pivotal reference to Agni is Panchagni vidyā, which means a meditation on the Doctrine of the Five Fires. What actually occurs here is a transmutation of the fiery elements into a spiritualized essence that is internalized by the adept, thus strengthening and empowering one (in a real sense becoming a divine vessel, dhātugarbha, of Absolute Reality) to absorb the primordial energies of the Absolute. Within Unborn Mind Zen this is portrayed through a ritual that is part of the larger Divine Liturgy of Vajrasattva. What is occurring here is that the Five Primordial Elements are represented by the Five Dhyanī Buddhas:

Akshobhya: Water (Symbol, Vajra + Bell)

Ratnasambhava: Earth (Symbol, Triratna)

Amitabha: Fire (Symbol, Lotus)

Amoghasiddhi: Air (Symbol, Adamantine Scepter)

Vairocana: Infinite Space (Symbol, Dharmachakra)

This is in reference, in the Divine Liturgy, to a Purification Rite as the sacred utensils are placed on the altar, symbolic of Agni’s burning-away all lingering traces of avidya. The ministers of this Rite are attending the perpetual Flame of the Unborn. This is representative of a High Gnosis of Illumination (Bodhi) which empowers (sambodhi) an enlightened consciousness of the gathered assembly, in essence their spirit being united with the Primordial Qi of the Five Dhyanī Buddhas. The following video is a depiction of this Sacred Action; the music, “Dance of the Siddhars” by Turiya Nada, invokes the Spirit of Agni:

In closing this series, Masefield’s Divine Revelation in Pali Buddhism reads like a spiritual flowchart:

  1. The Difference between ariyasāvaka and puthujjana doesn’t concern a bifurcation between monk and lay people, but rather a more refined spiritual nuance of those Noble Ariyans who clearly “hear” the spiritual-call of the Dhamma and therefore discern Right View and become spiritually mature through Right Knowledge and Right Release; whereas those who do not discern (spiritually immature) the Ariyan Path to Noble Self-realization are held perpetually bound to the samsaric-cycle.
  2. Those who traverse the Noble Ten-fold path develop the Dhammacakkhu, or the Dhamma-eye and vision that opens the Dhamma-gate to the dustless, Deathless Sanctuary that is the very essence of the Ariyan Path.
  3. Soon afterwards one’s inner Dhamma-ear, or hearing the Sound of Deathlessness, Dhammasota, guarantees that Right View is sealed and heightens the Buddha gnosis (Parato ghosa, or the *Deathless Sound*) of deathlessness.
  4. One is still not a bonafide Sotāpanna until one properly “hears” and digests the Dhamma as conferred by a Buddha. Originally (for Masefield) this was reserved for the Sāvaka but in later Buddhism the full nature of the term, Ariyasāvaka, encompassed Bodhisattvas as well—yea, any Bodhi-Being who develops the full vivifying nature of the Ariyan Mind and Spirit.
  5. The most crowning spiritual advance occurs when the Ariyasāvaka fully encapsulates Brahmanhood, or when one has been Conjoined in Utmost Fulfillment with the Nirvanic-Mind—truly a blissful Divine Revelation.
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2 Responses to Agni and the Brahman

  1. n. yeti says:

    Inspiring and powerful. Sadhu, Vajragoni, Sadhu!!

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