Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Extreme Ascetic Practices Today (BBC video)

Pfc. Sandoval, Dhr. Seven, Wisdom Quarterly; Cobwebs From An Empty Skull

A lotus's meaning (
(BBC Four) Anglican priest Pete Owen-Jones hosts the BBC’s “Extreme Pilgrim” program. Owen-Jones is the vicar of a parish in Sussex, England. This three-part documentary follows him on a search for meaning through extreme ascetic practices of several religions, including Zen Buddhism (Japanese), Kung Fu (an offshoot of Chinese Mahayana Buddhism), Hinduism, and Christianity. Although the Buddha realized that self-mortification was not the path to freedom and happiness, these practices have never fallen out of favor. Practitioners have yet to realize what finally dawned on the seeker Siddhartha under the Bodhi tree. The path to liberation, the path of purification, is more heart-centered and mental than physical. The body is not to blame for the sources of hidden motivation behind our actions (karma). The resolution is going inward rather than obsessing on punishing/tormenting the outward. The body may be brought into complete submission, yet a defiled heart/mind will soon move one again to the edge of ruin.
Conversely, while standing in the muck, one may rise above the din by attending to the defilements that spring within. Like a lotus shooting skyward toward the light while still rooted in fertilizer-mud and murky water, having found the actual source of our ills, one transcends suffering. Stop. Soften. Be still. Touch the bliss -- remembering that "there is no 'path to happiness'; happiness IS the path!" Develop liberating-insight based on this tranquility. Awaken.

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