Nirvana, the moment it all becomes clear, the moment you and the universe
become a single entity.
It is said
that Prince Gautama Siddhartha, wandering through India sometime
during the sixth century A.D., decided to meditate at Bodh Gaya,
beneath the Bodhi tree. He sat beneath this tree for three days
and three nights, sat and meditated until, suddenly, without warning,
he achieved Enlightenment and became the Buddha, or the "Enlightened
One". What's interesting here is that when he gave his first
sermon near Benares, a sermon popularly known as "Setting in
Motion the Wheel of Truth", he emphasized the value of his
meditative practices as a way to escape suffering. One can only
guess what he went through during those three days and nights
Enlightenment isn't a sweet treat that can be purchased at a candy
store. Enlightenment must be earned, it must be paid for, and requires
a certain degree of spirituality, a certain degree of spiritual energy.
And how does
one accumulate sufficient spiritual energy? Through suffering, of
course, and the equation of suffering presented in an earlier lesson.
J. G. Bennett,
teacher and interpreter of such mystical luminaries as G. I. Gurdjieff,
P. D. Ouspensky, and the Nepalese Shivapuri Baba, emphasized the
need for conscious, intentional suffering as a way to Enlightenment,
and is noted for saying, "It is impossible to achieve the aim
without suffering." What's interesting is that he wishes to
avoid "unnecessary suffering" and instead seek a controlled,
more productive suffering..which is exactly what ascetics and monks
have done for hundreds, if not thousands, of years..
In a way, that's
what making a religious pilgrimage is all about: you climb a mountain,
perhaps barefoot, to reach a particular spirit shrine, as some Southwestern
Indian tribes do. In Islam, making the "hajj" involves
walking slowly for hours as you make seven revolutions around the
Ka'bah shrine, then hiking in the desert through the Mina Valley
for three days until you reach Arafat, at which point you are deemed
free of sin. In Japan, should you choose to undertake the pilgrimage
of Shikoku, you will spend from 40 to 75 days walking to 88 temples.
Is this the sort of suffering that will be converted into spiritual
energy? Yes, making a pilgrimage is in fact a conscious, intentional,
subtle, but entirely valid form of suffering.
As all great
spiritual teachers have pointed out, there are many roads to Enlightenment.
What's important to understand here is that Enlightenment requires
a progression of the soul, a development of the spiritual inner
Vanilla World View guide contains over 30 chapters...such as the following:
Take This Job and Sh---- It
Music and Dance
Crime and Punishment
Life After Death
Men of the Cloth