Wayism holds the satsang dear. Satsang is community, that is all community that one creates and friends whom one keep.
This article is about how devotional communities develop. Some satsang are schools mostly for children, some are schools for pneumaptherapists, some are schools for yogis primarily. We believe in community and we have a vinaya satsang system, based on standard rules. Wayist sanyasi do not take lifelong vows, they renew their vows regularly. One can become a sanyasin(ini) for short periods of time. Some people do it every year for a few weeks.
Sanyasin(ini), monks and nuns, occasionally reconsider whether they should change direction and seek greater soul-growth elsewhere—maybe outside of Wayism. This is like reconsidering your marriage every two years or so, then renewing your vows.
People of all genders have equal access and equal rights to all aspects of Wayists life. The average satsang is poor and make use of dorms and communal ablution. Some have the financial means to offer different accommodation for genders. This creates a bit of an imbalance in Wayism because in many poorer countries young females are in greater need, and Wayist’s reaction is generally to provide to that need first. Adults do not share with young people. Some satsang have facilities to accommodate adult laypersons but not all have separate ablution and sleeping facilities for different genders.
There is a propensity for spiritual pride and self-importance associated with the shorn heads and coloured robes of Theravada and Mahayana monastics. Wayist satsang have an advantage in that they do not obligate shaving of the head and eyebrows, they wear mostly white, the colour of novices in other traditions. Additionally, monks and nuns do not always wear robes but use dhoti, sampot or kurta as well. Satsang management in different areas decide on presenting a united front to the secular community (also to differentiate themselves from other monastic traditions) by choosing a practical, affordable dress code for their area. Wayists do not go on alms rounds like Buddhist monks and nuns, and do not receive gifts in their personal capacity; everything belongs to the satsang and can be shared with the community at large. Wayist monks and nuns are not regarded as altogether different from secular society; rather as an integral aspect of secular society. They share accommodation, rules and resources for the sake of practicality – not for the sake of being holier than anyone else. Wayist monks and nuns may be utilized, called upon, by their secular communities for their particular skills and knowledge about certain things, which is just the way in which the satsang forms part of the community at large.
Wayist satsang do not require, as do several other monastic traditions, that female applicants be virgins or ‘innocent’ of sexual experience. Information about a person’s sexual experiences is no more informative than information of a person’s dietary experiences and habits. It is when a person aims to perpetuate an unhealthy or potentially damaging habit (for self and others) that a sangha should take note and advise accordingly.
Mari Magadha, who became enlightened and reborn as bodhisattva Tara was/is the Lord’s foremost disciple and is presently a very important aspect of the growing worldwide consciousness of women’s rights, and she was a child prostitute when the Lord met her in North India in the 1st century CE.
Explanation of the Five Precepts
- Do not take life lightly
- Do not take what is not given
- Do not distort facts
- Refrain from misuse of the senses
- Refrain from delusion and self-intoxication
This obviously includes killing, both people and animals. Humans are in the top tiers of the food chain, and it creates huge responsibilities. In the extreme we would be forbidden to kill plants and insects. In practice every act of breathing, moving and eating makes us co-responsible for killing living beings. Antibiotics, germicides, insecticides and weed killers are all weapons of mass destruction of life. We kill things every moment that we move, breathe, sleep, eat and walk. This can’t be avoided. Still, this rule is the basis of the vegetarianism of many Wayists. Even though those who eat meat don’t kill the animals themselves, their diet create an economic demand, the very reason why those animals were bred to be raised to be killed in the first place. Should there be any cruelty associated with breeding and slaughtering of animals for one’s diet, obviously then one is party to those crimes. Many Wayists (even meat eaters) feel that we are party to the crimes committed against animals and that it is our duty to work towards a more humane way of doing things lest we all inherit that karma.
Humans must, of necessity, take life and commit murder in order to exist. The least that we can do is to thank our neighbours for their sacrifices, honour them for it, and repay them by not annihilating their species and allowing the right to exist authentically. We humans do not have the right to “own” all land on this planet. We have to share. We cannot go about committing genocide and drive out other species because we want to own all the land. It is time for dialogue in this crucial matter. Wayists communicate as best we can with our neighbours and try to be good neighbours.
You have to live your life fully. You have to experience as much as possible, engage as many senses as possible, and invest your self in this human experience. It is a great privilidge to have been granted this human birth.
To not take what is not given, really means only taking that which somebody said, “This is yours”. Taking money from a wallet that somebody left on the train is clearly not acceptable if you read this rule of conduct. Thereagain, satsang rules forbid acceptance of personal gifts. We can only accept a gift if it is given to the community and will be shared in the community. Therefore, the gift giver must be made to understand that the gift is given to the satsang and will be made available to the commune.
Sometimes the way we use words can make something seem acceptable, when it could also have been said differently and be totally unacceptable. This would not be a lie, but it would be a distortion of fact. The intent is to deceive and be less than honest.
Do not lie to yourself.
The senses in Wayist philosophy include not only the ones generally thought of: touch, hearing, seeing, smelling and tasting, thinking, space-time senses, etc. Here we are talking about all our senses; there are more than thirty that we often talk about.
This means overindulgence in touching (for instance excessive masturbation or excessive rubbing of the eyeball), hearing (overindulging in listening to music, or being entertained by stupid people talk negative things, for instance), seeing (too much focus on beauty or ugliness around us, or looking into the sun, for instance), smelling (numbing the sense of smell with perfumes and chemicals so that the divine beauty of natural smelling people, animals, nature, rain, plants, etc. cannot be appreciated) and tasting (overindulgence in tasty foods, candy, etc.).
Outside of the satsang, lay people aren’t expected to be restrained in sexuality, yet they are expected to refrain from practicing it in ways unprofitable for their spiritual growth. Moderation in this respect has become highly unpopular, with kids having sex at earlier ages every year and sexual crime becoming almost usual. Wayist morality may not make anyone popular.
As an example of another sense that can be overindulged is thinking or thought, or use of the rational faculty of body-mind. One often meets people who think so much, they forget to practice. Or they out-think any morality one can come up with. The mind is a highly deceptive tool because rational thinking is not the only way to truth, it is just a start. Overuse may be equated overvaluing the results of rational thinking. When thoughts start seeming real, and control one’s life beyond what is reasonable, it is perhaps time to consider whether one has overindulged in thinking. Wayists learn to think with body-mind as phase 1 to solving a problem and use of soul-mind in phase 2.
This rule has to do with the previous one in the sense that people use things like alcohol as a body-mind altering chemical to relax that mind and not be governed by its usual overbearance. Because some people are controlled by their body-mind, and don’t own their own minds (because of culturally conditioned thinking patterns) they feel that they “relax” or it is easier to “be themselves” when they intoxicate that mind. The problem with this approach is that the lessons learned, and the experiences experienced during that time are of hardly any value to the soul. It is of course better to learn to take charge, be in control of body-mind rather than be debilitated and limited by it. To have an authentic experience as a multi-faceted human being, to explore the amazing sensuousness and deep exotic experiences of the human condition, we simply have to take charge and be able to switch that mundane mind on and off as needed, and to use it for its sensory faculties as and when required, and to not allow it to hinder us so that we cannot “relax” or “be ourselves” when it is present. Body-mind is after all the duller tool in the mind toolbox. We have two greater minds to add to the mix of authentic life but few people have the skill to get out of the body-mind trap.
Self-intoxication includes any use of substance to change how body-mind works. Mind altering “medications” and coffee, chocolate, etc. all fall into that category of things we have to use with great caution, if at all.
Master of a satsang makes decisions on behalf of the community regarding how far to stretch the reasonableness of the rules.
Some Wayists eat meat; others feel that it should be avoided. In some areas of the world there is inadequate vegetation and cultivation possibilities (deserts, arid lands, arctic and anarchic, etc) to the extent that human rely on animal food sources. Many people smoke tobacco or drink coffee, even though it could be construed to change consciousness and therefore fall under the heading of self-intoxication.
Some satsang (not Wayists) take their monastic rules so far that the rules of dress code, written millennia ago in a hot climate context, are adhered to even if the monastery is located in Canada where the temperatures go down to -40°C. They stick to open sandals, a parasol and a single cotton wrap as clothing in these circumstances, because the Pali rules of 400BCE say so.
Every honest Wayist will try to live by the rules of their satsang to the best of their understanding and ability. Living by the rules is not so much something to be proud of, as it is a reminder of what hasn’t yet been accomplished. The mere fact that we need rules to help us reminds of how otherwise incapable we are of helping ourselves. Then there is spiritual pride often associated with robes and adherence to lifestyle constraints. Self-righteousness exists in any religious group, but should be guarded against and rooted out. Most people will realize the fact that these rules of conduct are only outward, and though important in their own way, don’t signify inner wisdom or enlightenment. Since becoming wise is the only object of Wayism - anything else ought to be merely a stepping stone. Nevertheless, one cannot bow out of logic and simply ignore the truth and ‘get away with it’ without heaping more and more karmic lessons on top of the next life’s challenges.
First, satsang (sangha in the Bhuddist tradition) is a type of “residential school system of spiritual learning”. It is a monastic system that all devotees may visit for brief periods or they may take vows of spiritual disciple and stay for longer periods.
The Satsang does not aim to replace secular schooling for young people. One is required to meet certain standards of education in order to benefit from and partake in a satsang program. Satsang does transfer life skills, English language skills, and soft skills while learning Wayist lifestyle and philosophy, but it does not teach basic skills that children should receive from secular schools. Individual satsang may allow for young and mature people alike to take Observer vows for a short period of time (often during school breaks or holidays).
Second, Satsang is a lifestyle dedicated to development of spirituality. Again, some people choose to partake in the lifestyle for short periods of a year or two, while others pursue full ordination. Ordination may lead to a lifelong career and may take several different paths, all equally available to all genders.
Sometimes the satsang lifestyle offers an ideal spiritual retreat for observer devotees. However, the satsang program is busy, and requires many scheduled tasks to be performed that seekers with busy lifestyles and little holiday time may find mundane. A satsang may specialize in providing retreat services for the aforementioned group, and typically would involve less daily mundane activities like cleaning, preparing places of worship, cooking, etc.
All satsang rely on donations for funding and rarely engage in commerce or paid services. That is the reason why satsang are involved in charitable works in their local communities; to provide an honest service in exchange for the funding received. A satsang may be involved in charitable works like feeding, medical, material aid, shelter and teaching schemes while other may even produce goods. Some monks and nuns are teachers, agricultural consultants, authors, bookkeepers, civil activists and advocates for different causes.
Satsang use the model of English language immersion. This makes it particularly hard for non-English speaking people from developing countries to enter and benefit from the system, mainly because it takes time for them to come up to speed with the language skill before other benefits can be had. Wayism knows that the purpose of life can best be pursued in association with the community at large, and not in isolation as an ascetic. The new “global village” provides immense growth and development opportunities that can only be had when one has international language skills.
Sexual orientation is a matter of body-mind, it does not define you. You are a soul, unlimited by gender. So-called sexual orientation is not unlike food preferences and we know that upon entering satsang one will conform to the dietary and other norms of that society. Satsang is all about soul and spiritual development. Satsang is not the place for body hobbies like sexual games. Those belong to the realms of secular life and must be put on hold while attending at satsang.
The urges of body-mind are both distractions and learning opportunities. We learn how to repurpose body-mind and body energies for soul and spiritual development. That is the purpose of satsang—to learn these skills. Body chemistry and body-mind reactions to it are acknowledged as a sort of “necessary evil”, likened to having to fill up one’s vehicle or aeroplane with questionable fuels that are really not good for our precious planet and our neighbours. Soul-mind learns to take charge of body-mind and disciplines it, giving in to its (often incessant, sometimes childish) demands only when it is required to maintain the body and its mind in good health. That is what we learn at satsang.
“If sexual orientation (gay, bi, hetero) does not matter at all, according to Wayist wisdom and logic, the immediate follow-up questions must be,
“Why do you separate genders for young people?”
The answer is that young people, generally speaking, have a long way to go to learn how powerful body urges can be and how body chemistry can convince body-mind of things and lead one to make mistakes. We know that this is true, but what then about the next logical question,
“Why don’t you put girls with a lesbian orientation together with boys of a heterosexual orientation?”
OK, see, this is why body-mind reasoning is good for a while but it gets tied in knots after a time. There are very few answers that body-mind is capable of in life. To attempt a defence of the aforementioned; perhaps the girls need protection from the boys because the boys don’t care about the lesbian’s sexual orientation and are physically stronger (perhaps). Nice, but that does not explain why we don’t put homosexual boys together with heterosexual girls. Body-mind cannot stop itself and Wayist logic dictates that it asks,
“Where do we put bisexual people if we don’t want to tempt them with sexual distraction?”
I guess this is about where we will stop because the case in point has been proved. Sexual orientation is fluid, it is a body-mind distraction and its energy can be repurposed once you know how. But really, we have to just take life day by day and do what we can to make sense of it for every day brings its own challenges and opportunities. Very few things about so-called moral rules make any logical sense at all, but we have to try.
True. Some communities do not have communal living quarters but offer workshops, healing clinics and so on. One would have to rent accommodation in town to attend. Long-term devotees may find shared accommodation by own arrangement.
Can married people in secular life be ordained sanyasin? Can a person with a secular career be ordained?
Yes. It happens. It depends on one’s sangha Master teacher. The general rule of thumb is that it requires both partners to commit even if only one partner is ordained, and the yogi must know that the spiritual career comes first, and consumes a great % his/her time and effort and the secular career is secondary.
Some married couples are equally committed to the satsang and both are ordained.
You don’t have to be an ordained sanyasin to study to become a teacher.
We have rules that aim to protect all people in a satsang from abuse and from malicious allegations of abuse. One such rule is that you never go anywhere alone, always take a (designated) peer with you. This follows that you are never alone with someone that is not a peer whom you regard as a chaperone. Additionally, you are never behind closed doors with anyone who is not a trusted peer. Slanderous allegations against devotees may happen but the innocent devotee will always have a witness.
The word pervert, on the other hand is dangerous because it is based on the particular moral values adopted by the accuser at that time. Sometimes it relies on the norms of the accuser’s culture. Therefore, a so-called pervert in one person’s book can be a normal person in another person’s book. One example: while it is a right protected by the Constitution of Canada for women to go about in public bare breasted, nobody does it because Canadians think it is perverted, therefore regarded as abnormal and unacceptable. The result is that bare breasts are eroticised in Canada and even a little bit of cleavage or a “nipple slip” (wardrobe malfunction) is cause for media attention and apparently warrants masturbatory indulgence among some men. In many other countries around the world, bare breasts of male and female alike are regarded as normal, beautiful and natural. In those communities the idea of eroticizing bare breasts is perverted. Therefore, Canadians would be called perverts in those countries because they eroticize bare breasts, while in Canada those breast friendly cultures would be called perverts because they consider breasts to be natural, beautiful, and not eroticized. Cultures with more balanced views on this aspect tend to regard (some) bare breasts as erotically beautiful in the same way as they would look upon a sexy movie star, without the body-mind flipping out of gear and making a big sexual guwaff about it; like appreciating beautiful art or nature. Another culture, unfortunately, will react by stoning a bare breasted woman because she “caused the onlooker man to sin in his filthy thoughts”, thus acknowledging that the men in that society have no control over their body-mind and are not expected to ever have such control. Who then are perverts in these various cases?
The word “pervert” says more about the accuser than the person it is said about. Wayist have a really hard time with ethics because we are obliged to consider other angles before we judge. In the end, however, we all have to live in a community according to its particular values and standards—and, advises our Primary Text, “if you don’t like it, then either you change it or leave but while there, follow their rules.” In short, we have to make sure that all people attending a satsang know the rules of the community at large and adapt to it, or go elsewhere.
How does a non-Wayist (actually, everyone is a Wayists, some are not yet aware of it) or a lay person conduct him/herself in the presence of a Wayist monk or nun?
The same way that one would conduct oneself in the presence of people who are known to hold to different values in life, perhaps like one’s grandparents for example. Treat them like they treat you, and all will be well.
Bear in mind that they are generally regarded as vulnerable people (for various reasons, right or wrong) and for their own protection (safety, reputation, satsang reputation, etc) they usually do not move about alone. You will do them a favour to not conduct associations with them that could be construed by onlookers as disrespectful, sexual or frivolous. People have many different expectations of how monks and nuns “should” conduct themselves. Even though your encounter may have been totally innocent, someone else may just run to the satsang and lay a complaint against the devotee. That will be the start of retraining, investigations and possible disciplinary actions—not something one would want to inflict on someone else for no good reason. An elder in secular community will do a young monk/nun a favour to warn him/her of conduct that may perhaps be committed in innocence but may be construed as unseemly by some critical onlookers.
Sometimes, a monk or nun may feel secure in temporarily moving the rules of conduct closer to that of secular society. Typically, this may happen when they want to meet students at their level, or break the ice to indicate their comfort at that level, making themselves more approachable. After a while, the monk/nun will have to move back to his/her usual space to continue their career at that level. Keep in mind that they are not holier than thou and they don’t think they are. If anything, they are more aware of their own struggles with the human condition than most people. If you find them aloof, it is not because they ‘look down on you’ but because they are working at holding on to that mind space they require to work on their spirituality.
Some men think that they ‘fall in love’ with nuns. It is unfortunately a very base animal instinctive reaction to the idea of a submissive, seemingly pristine female. Some women think they fall in love with monks and spiritual teachers. Often, this is because they project them to be great husbands who listen very well, are not overbearing, are sensitive to their needs, knows them inside out, and with whom they can share their innermost secrets. The easy cure for this affliction is to bring into the equation the fact that the person, the object of devotion, is already devoted to another, the Lord. If you really like the person so much, you will respect that.
You can learn a lot from them. Some may be shy but under the proper circumstances they can be a source of amazing energy, wisdom and insight.
- Morning shrine communal bhakti
- Morning ablutions and living quarter maintenance.
- Morning meditation, yoga and jnana
- Community meal preparation and breakfast
- Gardens and exterior maintenance and cultivation, community work, etc.
- Midday meal preparation and lunch
- Culture & secular skills, life skills, soft skills, social advocating
- Evening spirituality sessions (yoga/dance/ritual/prayers for the community at large/etc)
- Evening snack/meal
- Night time shrine communal bhakti
There are always designated wash days, town days, excursion days, commerce days, etc. but differ from one satsang to another. In SE Asia and other warm countries the day starts very early in the morning, with a break when the heat is at its worst, and life gets busy in the evening.
The interpretation of seemingly common ancient terms (like karma, dharma, samsara, deva, satsang, etc) is different from one school of thought to another. It is a widespread mistake of casual readers to assume that they know how each particular tradition defines its terms. For clarification, we offer the following definitions of Wayists terms relevant to this article.
- Vinaya – Monastic rules, originally from a Pali source several ages BCE. However, these rules were adapted over the years. Wayist rules differ from those of Theravada, Mahayana and Saivist rules in that it does not require hair removal or begging, and obligates interaction with the community at large. Unlike Buddhism where there is no soul, Wayism values soul as it differentiates between the temporal, loaned, physical vehicle and the real self, soul. It keeps an eye on the prize, the purpose of life; being spiritual development.
- Satsang – The word “sang” denotes community or company and is the foundation of the Buddhist usage sangha (monastery). The prefix sat (high, pure, truth) is added to qualify that we are specifically speaking of our bhakti enclave where true teaching and lifestyle is imparted, meaning truth-community. Therefore Satsang is the preferred usage for a Wayist monastic enclave. In Wayism the term is reserved for the larger monastic order when written with the capital Satsang, and for a local monastic commune the word is without the capital as in satsang. It is not wrong to use the word sangha but it may cause confusion when in a predominantly Theravada Buddhist society where their male-only sangha for monks is a central aspect of society. Such confusion may also spill over to misidentification of Wayist monks/nuns in those communities where Bhuddists kneel in front of monks and give their alms in exchange for good merit and blessings—something that Wayists neither encourage nor teach.
- Master – Serves a similar purpose as the academic designation MA or MSc. The designation is conferred on qualifying individuals typically after 10-years of full time study in the monastic setting. Masters are qualified to operate independently, ordain others, start and manage satsang, publish under their own name and teach independently.
- Yogi – Another word for devotee or Wayist. Some Wayist writers use the word to denote devotees attending satsanga while another writer in a predominantly Bhuddist context will use the words bhikkhuni (nun), bhikkhu (monk), or even samaneri (f) samaneris (m) for beginners in satsangha. The word Yogi is used for male and female devotees today and even in Sanskrit. In Sanskrit the word yogini, a feminine word, was more often used for apsara and other female celestial beings. Yogi comes from the root yug (yoke), like yoga, and speaks of someone yoked to the Lord, as if pulling the ox-cart of life yoked to the Lord as one’s team member.
- Observer – the 1st stage of monastic life. A devotee who is aware of the Sangha, learns from it, and occasionally visits it for short periods of time (ranging from hours to months). For the privilege to live in the satsang a devotee shares in the community’s daily chores and routines, and observes the vinaya. Devotees who make use of this privilege are often young people on break from or mature devotees who need to attend a spiritual retreat and prefer to spend their time as working members of a satsang. Some centers offer training facilities specifically tailored for devotees on retreat.
- Neophyte or novice yogi, the 2nd stage of monastic life. This stage may last more or less two years, depending on the individual and his/her teacher.
- Srotāpanna – In Wayism this Sanskrit term describes those individuals who have acquired the skills required to apply for full initiation to the mysteries of the monastic order. The word describes a devotee who has ‘stepped into the flow of the Way, and is flowing well’. Some regard this phase, which may last anywhere from a few weeks to a lifetime, as the 3rd phase of monastic life. One starts out on the road to becoming Srotāpanna first as an Observer, then Samaneri(as) until one is deemed qualified for full ordination as a Nun or Monk. Full ordination is not for everyone, an individual may choose to remain in the Srotāpanna for a long time, or forever, depending on one’s satsang and teacher.
- Nun or Monk In Bhuddist oriented societies, bhikkhuni (nun) or bhikkhu (monk). In Hindu oriented societies, sannyasin (male) or sannyasini (female). The 4th and final stage of monastic life. These individuals have been in the monastic system for at least two years, often longer, before they are ordained. They are charged with responsibilities to manage sanga and its affairs, and to counsel lay people and represent the satsang in the community at large. Fully ordained monks/nuns take vows of Devadasi as being betrothed/married to Avalokitesvara/Tara. They may leave the satsang but never their office. Some nuns and monks choose a path to become Masters in order to fulfill duties and responsibilities of monastic management, ambassadors, or teaching esoteric doctrines.
Below are some extracts of rules for novices. The reader will notice that the rules and vows are simplified versions of deeper Wayist teaching. These rules form the basis of many months of study in Wayism. Seniors in satsang revisit the rules and continually refer to them in classes and further teaching. It takes considerable effort for some novices (especially ESL students) to master an understanding of, and commitment to memory of the rules. The deeper meaning of the rules and vows, and their philosophical implications on life in general become clearer to students with the passing of time.
It is important for the casual observer and uninitiated readers to reserve judgement on the rules because the simple sentences may seem final and complete but are only mnemonic devices for the extrapolated contextual meaning thereof.
- I put behind me the old way of life.
- I put behind me the old way of thinking about things.
- I seek freedom from culturally conditioned thinking.
- I seek renewal of mind.
- I embrace the flow of the Way to take me on a journey into the mysteries and secrets of true Reality.
- I accept the embrace of Lord Avalokitesvara and trust that he will hold me close.
- I accept the embrace of the satsang and vow to serve it with all my might and I pray that should I stray that I be disciplined and showed the right way.
- I renounce pride and self-importance
- I renounce self-interest
- I renounce arrogance
- I renounce culturally conditioned thinking
- I renounce desires and demand of body-mind and endeavour to put that under control of soul-mind
- I renounce individualism
- I renounce taking anything that does not belong to me
- I renounce ownership of material things
- I renounce receiving personal gifts
- I renounce idle talk
- I renounce harmful talk
- I renounce deceitful talk
- I renounce physical contact of a sexual nature
- I renounce soliciting sexual attention
- I renounce eating outside of the regulated times
- I renounce eating in secret
- I renounce eating when not necessary
- I renounce keeping anything for private use except for reasons of personal hygiene and the welfare of the community
- I renounce moving about alone, without accompaniment of a designated peer for whatever reason
- I renounce sloth and laziness
- I renounce unseemliness
- I renounce vulgarity
- I renounce loud behaviour
- I renounce uncleanliness of mind, body and soul
- I renounce hurtful conduct and hurtful words
- I renounce any actions and thoughts that would cause the satsang to be in discord
- I renounce contaminated company
- I renounce contaminated food
- I renounce contaminated thoughts
- I embrace the Lord Avalokitesvara and his bodhisattva close to my heart
- I embrace the Way and I step into the stream that flows to Heaven
- I embrace the presence of Dakini, Apsara, Shakini, Kakini, Kamini and angels all around me
- I embrace my neighbours, the plants and bugs, animals and people, creatures seen and unseen.
- I embrace the satsang and vow obedience to the directives
- I embrace the teaching
- I embrace humility
- I embrace simplicity
- I embrace compassion
- I embrace owning the void (nothingness)
- I embrace Wayist wisdom
- I embrace training of this body-mind to be inquisitive and questioning
- I embrace talk that is uplifting and healing
- I embrace company that is healing and spiritually uplifting
- I embrace communal possessions
- I embrace impeccable conduct at all time
- I embrace sharing with those less fortunate than I
- I embrace using only as little of anything as I need for that moment, keeping in mind that others may be in need as well
- I embrace contact with people that may never be looked upon in a sexual manner
- I embrace gifts to the satsang
- I embrace sharing everything with the satsang
- I embrace positive thoughts for thoughts are create energy
- I embrace healthful food and environment for this body
- I embrace healthful food and environment for this body-mind
- I embrace healthful food and environment for the real me, the soul
- I embrace healthful food and environment for the real mind, the soul-mind
- I embrace healthful nurture and environment for my spirit
- I embrace healthful food and environment for my spiritual-mind
- I appreciate the loan of this body to be a vehicle for me to learn. I will take care of it as it is a gift from the Divine. I will keep it clean, healthy and in good working condition to best serve my schooling in this life. When this body has served its purpose I will return it to the Way to be recycled for nurture of many living beings.
- I will exhibit this body as an outward token of the Divine spirit inside. I will care for its healing, feed it healthy foods and irrigate it well with clean water, I will make it look neat and tidy and presentable at all times.
- I will embrace this body as an aging and dying being that has but a short time on Earth. I will cherish it in youth, in old age, in strength and weakness and be a good companion to it even in sickness.
- I will keep the hair of this body cropped neat or tied in a neat bun on its head.
- I will not spoil the senses of this body vehicle for my soul with perfumed washes and lotions, detergents and chemicals.
- I embrace the sensuality and beauty of this body that is a gift from the Divine to serve me, the soul, and I vow to not neglect it and not let it go to waste, and not put it to use for spiritually unprofitable things.
- I learn to repurpose the energies and desire demands of this body for soul growth and spiritual food.
- I embrace the inner spirit held dearly in my soul and put this body to use for its growth and learning.
- I vow to feed my spirit with wisdom, for it to grow to a glorious rebirth in heaven where I will live forever with our Lord, the bodhisattvas and saints and family who await me.
“I wear these robes to care for this body that I borrowed from the Divine, to avoid cold, to avoid heat, to prevent the bites of insects, to shelter from wind and sun. If ever these robes become a source of envy or arrogance, and an impediment to my soul, better I must discard it and go naked than my soul burn in”.
Esoteric teaching is imparted in the oral tradition, from master to disciple, only in a satsang context. Esoteric teaching is not available to students in written form. Not unlike the relationship between psychoanalyst and patient, the counsellor in this care must also manage a relationship between herself, the trainee and the particular aspect of training appropriate for that stage of development. The Acharya relies on feedback and his/her obsevations of the devotee’s advances. It cannot be done by reading a book or watching a DVD.
It takes a skilled teacher and a very good teacher-master relationship to get it right. Esoterics are what they are because the subject matter goes beyond what body-mind can comprehend, beyond what language can illustrate. It has to be learned in an existential experience and cannot be learned by reading about it or in a classroom setting. Most people are on a path that does not require esoteric teaching to move ahead. Some authors postulate that less than one in every ten thousand devotees will benefit from esoteric teaching.
Yes, there is a vow of secrecy involved. The reason for that is not by any means an elitist one, it is profoundly practical. To illustrate, I will mention one example that may or may not be something you will encounter in training…it may be fictional. Lets assume that you have reached that level of training where the Acharya must introduce you to the concept that you should, and can, take any physical experience (such as pain), or emotional experience (such as rage), or chemistry experience (such as sexual desire) and turn it into energy which you master and channel into the higher chakras to achieve levels of spiritual insight that you have not yet seen. The acharya knows the devotee well and manages technique and skill level. Acharya knows that the devotee has already mastered other techniques, without which this new phase can be dangerous. Now, lets assume that this information is written in a course and a devotee follows it. The reader, seeking that elusive quick-fix pill, or holy grail, the speedway to enlightenment is not ready for the technique and the candle actually burns a blister on her hand, she flies into a rage and kicks over the table and sets the cat alight—and the doctors in emerge go “tsk tsk, yet another tantra casualty, that stuff should be banned.”
One way of describing the goal of Tantra is that one learns, the fast way (one lifetime rather than many) to master the body and body-mind and get them to work for your spiritual development rather against it.