Hinduism, Buddhism and the Schools of Eastern Thought

Figure 1.1 Kalachakra and Visvamata in Ecstatic Union

Hinduism, the “eternal tradition,” is one of the oldest religions on Earth. It is a fusion of the various traditions, histories and primal religions of India. The religion itself contains more than 33 million gods, with three central deities: Brahma, Shiva and Vishnu, otherwise known as the Hindu Trimurti. Each of these deities are emanations of the Atman (the life-breath of the Divine), or the true SELF, which is manifest in all life forms of inherent phenomena (the central tenant of Advaita Vedanta). Each of us are manifestations of the Divine Self and this realization is central to our life as the main purpose of our incarnation. And although many Westerners and followers of monotheistic religions view these many deities and the Atman as blasphemous or fantastical, the truth of these teachings match their beliefs exactly in their essence, as everything in this world/universe/inherent phenomena is a manifestation of the Creator, the Source, and the ONE TRUE GOD, to which one must keep in mind, that source is infinitely beyond our thoughts, words, conceptions and beliefs.

In one of the central Hindu texts, the Shiva Samhita, Shiva himself instructs us of the infinite possibilities available to us through this realization and the practices of tantra and yoga.  In this section of the Temple of the Archinox, a Shiva Temple will be the root structure from which the rest of the traditions of Eastern wisdom grow. Daily satsang will be held within this temple, in which the Self will be approached through self-inquiry. Raj Yoga, Hatha Yoga and the Tantras will be practiced and taught, not by Western “Yoga Instructors” that you find in anytown USA, but actual Yogis and Tantrikas.

In the fifth century B.C.E., a radical change to these systems took place, when Prince Siddartha Gautama accelerated the conscious development of all humanity through his realization of the Middle Way. Being raised in a palace with his every need accounted for, the Buddha (as he would one day be known) indulged lavishly in the comforts of his life for 29 years ( a form of tantra). During this time, he was prohibited from leaving his royal grounds and palace. One day, Siddartha broke this rule. He left the grounds and for the first time in his life, witnessed a phenomena to which he was previously unaware of: old age. He questioned his charioteer towards this newfound knowledge and his driver explained to him that all people age. This excited the Prince’s curiosity. He sojourned from his palace more and more. Each time witnessing new and unsettling phenomena: a diseased man, a decaying corpse and an ascetic. He had never realized the inherent suffering of existence before this point, but now it was crystal clear. Reality was not as he conceived, and Siddartha renounced his kingdom and took to the streets as an ascetic beggar.

Siddartha began studying yoga under the instruction of hermits. He mastered their teachings and achieved high meditative states, yet remained unsatisfied. The Buddha made the decision to confine himself to a cave and push his practice to greater extremes. He starved himself for years. Eventually, his asceticism reached a breaking point and the Buddha decided to leave his cave.

Figure 1.2 The Path of the Buddha, Bodhgaya, India

As the Buddha journeyed from his cave, he came to rest several miles away beneath the Bodhi Tree. There, a woman named Sujata, saw the Buddha and horrified from the state of his body, she rushed to his side. She offered him milk and rice pudding. The Buddha refused. But she insisted and the Buddha broke his oath of asceticism and gave in to eat. As the new strength rushed into his body, the Buddha’s mind was released (through violation of his rules), and he awakened to the true reality of the Universe and the SELF. There, he vowed to never leave the base of this tree until he had realized the full truth. And it was there, following 49 days of meditation, facing all demons and temptations, the Buddha attained Enlightenment.

He realized that the path of ascetic extremes (yoga) or excessive material consumption (tantra) could not lead to his realization. It was the balance of these extremes in the middle path that led to his discovery.

The long reaching and potent effects of Gautama Buddha’s life and ministry are difficult to conceive, largely due to his teachings’ subtlety and grace. Within 500 years, his disciples spread across the known world, instilling his words upon the ears and into the hearts of the Greek, Roman and Egyptian empires. The Pyrrhonian Skeptics of Greece, which were first father’s of the modern scientific revolution, originally formed after their interaction with Buddhist monks in the East during Alexander’s conquests. Nearly a thousand years after his death, Bodhidharma travelled to China and fused the Buddha’s doctrine with the Tao, creating “Chan” or Zen. According to Tibetan and Indian legend, King Succundra, the King of Shambhala, asked the Buddha for a way to practice without renunciation of the world. The Buddha complied and conducted the first initiation into the Kalachakra Tantra, a practice which through its utilization, the entire Kingdom of Shambhala obtained enlightenment.

The core of the Buddha’s doctrine begins with a dialectic concerning the Four Noble Truths: the truth of suffering, the truth of the origin of suffering, which is desire, the truth of the cessation of suffering, which is the relinquishing of desire, and the truth of the way leading to cessation of suffering, which is the eightfold noble path and the confidence that a being can liberate themselves from suffering. This dialectic continues spiraling upward and outward, finding its ecstatic culmination in the achievement of the Rainbow State of Kalachakra and the sudden illumination of Zen.

The Kalachakra Tantra is of immense importance to the Temple of the Archinox. Broken down etymologically, Kala refers to time and space, a chakra is a continuum and tantra means to weave. Therefore, Kalachakra Tantra literally means “the weaving of the space/time continuum.”  This is the most complex and highest form of Tibetan Yoga and Buddhism, and is personally overseen by the Dalai Lama, himself, who is responsible for all initiations into this wisdom path. The Kalachakra Tantra is largely based upon the development of the subtle energies of the body in relation to the cosmos according to cycle of time. This system, as expressed in its iconography of the wrathful deity with weapons of war, strikes out against the ultimate root of evil: self-cherishing identity. In this regard, the system is identical in purpose to Thelema, Advaita Vedanta, Shamanism, Qabalah, the Tarot, and the deeper tenants of all esoteric traditions.

A Kalachakra Temple will be built in this section as well, with a path leading to highest realization in the Rainbow Room, shared with those devotees of the Path of the Lovers.

Zen is a representation of the Buddha’s teachings in a polar manner to the complexity of the Kalachakra system. Being heavily influenced by the teachings and traditions of the Taoist sage Lao Tzu, who gained enlightenment while observing the falling of a leaf, Zen focuses upon the attainment of instant realization and enlightenment, a state called satori. This comes through meticulous practice, meditation (zazen), strict obedience, and routine. The teachings and doctrines are almost disregarded completely. In addition, the use of Koans (paradoxical riddles) are utilized to bind the mind into complex knots, thus providing the no-mind mental state necessary to provoking enlightenment.

These anti-intellectual practices are unique in their effectiveness in defeating the egoist tendencies and personal identifications which separate us from our Divine/Buddha nature. For this purpose, a Zendo (Zen Temple) will be constructed in this section as well with daily practice, zazen and ritual available to all. In order to pass through the Gate of Time in this section, one must face the two elders, one being a Zen master, who will engage the individual in Koan battle, and the second, a Tibetan Lama, who will examine the candidate through testing their attainments through Kalachakra Union. However, the key of the Guru of Advaita, will override these tests.

More details to come.

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