Thursday, October 2, 2014

Meditation: Is it the new YOGA?

Yogins Crystal Quintero, Amber Larson, Dhr. Seven, Wisdom QuarterlyLA Yoga: Ayurveda & Health (, Editor,, Oct. 2014)
Buddhist meditation or bhavana means "bringing into being" (
LA Yoga September, 2014
Now that Yoga Month is over, what have we learned? Yoga is an eightfold system born out of Vedic texts and rishis' visions. The Sage Patanjali tried to summarize the ancient knowledge using the framework of the Buddha's massively popular Noble Eightfold Path that was sweeping India at the time. Patanjali took the sacred eight and formulated his own version of an analogous path to moksha, "liberation." It does NOT lead to enlightenment (bodhi) or nirvana, as the Buddha envisioned it, but it is an attempt to proclaim Vedic Brahmanism/Hinduism's version of the ultimate: "union (yoga, yoking) with Brahman." Brahman (GOD, godhead, godhood) should never be confused with Brahma (creator-type Gods). Rebirth in the Brahma Planes of existence are not, in Buddhism, any kind of actual liberation. The heavens, even the super long lasting ones based on jhanic karma, are impermanent. The ultimate, nirvana, is the end of ALL rebirth and suffering, a transcendent state not amenable to language but able to be experienced here and now by the wise each one for oneself. The Buddha's Dharma invites all to "come and see," to investigate, for themselves. 
The Royal Path: Eight Limbs of Yoga
The Buddha's aphorisms
(WQ/WIKI) It differs from the Buddha's Way to enlightenment known as the Noble Eightfold Path. They both have eight limbs because Patanjali was going on the success of the Buddha's formulation for his massively successful and universal teaching. Patanjali's condensation of the yogic path is traditionally referred to as aṣhṭānga (eight-limbed) yoga because there are eight aspects to the path to which one must attend (The Yoga Sutras of Maharishi Patanjali, a translation with commentary by Yogacharya Shivaji Mizner):
  1. Yama – code of conduct, self-restraint
  2. Niyama – daily observances, commitments to practice, such as study and devotion
  3. Āsana – integration of mind and body through physical (poses, postures) activity
  4. Prāṇāyāma – regulation of breath leading to integration of mind and body
  5. Pratyāhāra – abstraction of the senses, withdrawal of the senses of perception from their objects
  6. Dhāraṇā – concentration, one-pointedness of mind
  7. Dhyāna – meditation (quiet activity that leads to absorbed samadhi)
  8. Samādhi – the quiet state of blissful awareness, superconscious states, attained when the yogi constantly sees Paramatma in the (jivaatma) heart.

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