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August 09, 2017

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zennist: the breath, prana, and doing prana yoga to achieve transcendence through realization of kundalini awakening - have you ever tried prana yoga and or experienced kundalini awakening within yourself? I agree that the breath as you say is part of the pschophysical body, but doing prna yoga properly to relaize kundalini awakening is not to be attached to the breath or regard it as atman, but rather a tool to be used to realize transcendence. But, of course, just as realizing transcendent truth through meditation, to realize buddha mind, is as elusive as you have said many times, and there is no specific menu or directions which one can simply prescribe and then if followed yields enlightenment, so to prana yoga and kundalini awakening and transcendence through the crown shakra opening to the infinite mind is only a means, a path, to an end. So, yes, the breath isnt atman, but so to is not atman all and anything of the body(anatman), yet we within the anatman must and do use the anatman to transcend, even if it may be and can be argued true that the anatman isnt what liberates us. Its just that right now its where we are at - before enlightenment. What i am saying respecting the breath(prana) is that it can be used as a focal point for single pointed mind to awaken. Which it has been used for for eons in india and within what is broadly understood as Hinduism today. Not attaching wrongly or associating the object of anatman as the atman is the 'trick'. Like all paths or practices to realize awakening, its easier said than done.

Clyde:

Some context that might interest you about your choice of scripture. It is easy to read this single line of the Pali scriptures and deduce from this a kind of formula that by being kind one wins nirvana. However, it is not so simple.

First, the actual Pali of your verse is:
Mettāvihārī yo bhikkhū pasanno buddhasāsane
Adhigacche padaṃ santaṃ saṅkhārūpasamaṃ sukhaṃ
Which means that the monk who, dwelling in kindness, and trusting in the Buddha’s teachings will “find/attain foot (padam)” in the peaceful/blissful state of quieting unconditioned things. But I think the “setting foot” here is really more illustrative of a step on the path rather than its conclusion.

It must also be recognized that this verse is part of a longer discourse on instructions to monks in which cultivating kindness is but ONE of various attributes ascribed to the monk, following first and foremost restraint over the sense doors (i.e. detaching from the habits of identifying the self with illusory sensory consciousness).

The Bikkhuvagga begins with the following lines (360-361):
“Good is restraint over the eye; good is restraint over the ear; good is restraint over the nose; good is restraint over the tongue.
Good is restraint in the body; good is restraint in speech; good is restraint in thought. Restraint everywhere is good. The monk restrained in every way is freed from all suffering.”

Why do you think the Buddha begins his discourse to monks urging restraint over the senses? To me it is because the attachment to the skandhas (the “aggregates” of physical existence) results in a continued cycle of rebirth.

This is reinforced in subsequent verses, especially line 374, which links the abandonment of the body as not characterizing a self to the attainment of nirvana (nibbana):

“Whenever he sees with insight the rise and fall of the aggregates, he is full of joy and happiness. To the discerning one this reflects the Deathless.”

It should be noted that these instructions are a kind of primer in what the Buddha expected of his monks in terms of how they should practice; but these practices (i.e. being kind) are not the soteriological goal of Buddhism which is to end the cycle of birth and death and the suffering that is inherent to it.

One would do well to contemplate what is meant by the Deathless.

So, while an advisable part of practice, being kind is not a ticket to nirvana but it might lead to a better birth next time. When the merit is exhausted, however, there are no guarantees.

Dhammapada 368. “The monk who dwells in kindness, with faith in the Buddha's teaching, may attain the peaceful state, the blissful cessation of conditioning.”

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