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Psychology of Yoga and Meditation

27 JANUARY 1939 Psychology and Yoga Meditation Lecture 10

I already introduced Phase II in the last lecture.

The text continues:

Then after the last Mantra having offered music let the worshipper think of every possible object worthy of offering which is not anyone’s private property. [SCST, p.9]

This is the offering of music, of sound, which I already mentioned to you.

Instead of drumming, instrumental music can, of course, be offered.

And furthermore, objects are imagined that are no one’s personal property.

So, for example, private houses may not be imagined, but only public buildings such as temples, pictures of gods, objects from nature in general, but not the neighbor’s bull.

The text goes on:

Let his mind create for itself every imaginable article of worship and worship with them. [SCST, p. 9]

So, this is not only about natural objects of thought, but also about creatively produced fantasy objects.

The lord of the mandala is worshipped with these things, i.e., one also offers up their creative fantasy.

Then making the Mudrȃ of the heavenly treasury, he should say:—[SCST, p. 9]

I do not know which mudrȃ this is—there is an infinity of mudrȃs.

Obeisance by the grace of the Dharma-Dhâtu, … [SCST, p. 9]

Dharma-Dhâtu is the essence of the truth. … the Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, Mantras and the power of Mudrâ; … [SCST, p. 9]

The special hand gesture has a magical significance.

What it points to is to be made reality.

A symbolic act, magical in character, in which it is always assumed that this is the beginning of a particular creation through which the object denoted by the mudrȃ is formed. …; by the grace of my own faith … [SCST, p. 9]

An extremely interesting idea if you also think of Christian psychology.

A Christian cannot speak of the “grace of my own faith.”  He hopes for grace through faith.

For him, grace always comes from God, the Lord. … and Samâdhi and by the power of all my good wishes; let every kind of offering for worship existing in this world, not held in possession by any one, which is as inconceivably grand and magnificent as the cloud of offering that was offered by the Bodhisattva Samanta Bhadra (Kuntu-Zangpo), appear before my Guru and the Buddhas of the Mandala Chakra and let them be on the grandest scale. [SCST, p. 9]

“Samanta” means likeness and “Bhadra” means blessed.

The bodhisattva literally means “the one blessed with likeness.”

Having uttered this wish he should snap with his fingers and thumb. [SCST, p. 10]

This has both an attractive and a defensive meaning.

Here it is probably a simple gesture of enticement in order to attract the gods’ attention.

Of course, these things do not originate in Tibetan Buddhism, but in the Bön religion, the Bön-pa, the ancient folk religion.

(A5) Invocation: “All-knowing one come forth, be round and round”

Again making the Mudrâ on the heart, he should repeat this Mantra:—Om, all-knowing

one, fulfill (my desire), fulfill (my desire); come forward, come forward; be round, and

round (the Mandala); Salutation to Thee; I remember the Samanta Buddha; Let this upper space be clear (of obstacles); Let Dharmadhâtu the unchanging be every-where; May the Tathâgata be in the petalled Mandala which is opposite to, and made by, me. Svâhâ to all Tathâgatas who are holy, knowledge and power, who are the fuel of strength (strong as fire issuing from fuel), who are the Power of this Mandala, and who are all mighty. [SCST, p. 10]

After these magical procedures comes the invocation, calling upon that being who is to be formed by the lamâ.

This is an utterly remarkable psychological situation.

He himself is this Samanta Bhadra Buddha, this Buddha of likeness.

Due to the likeness, he is in fact already identical with him.

Actually, it is absurd that he calls upon the all-knowing one to become round and round. He already is, but on the other hand he is not yet. This paradox is almost irresolvable.

When someone from the West encounters such points in the text, he can do nothing but be logically horrified.

Recently I read an introduction to such a text written by an English scholar who got incredibly worked up about it and found it terribly stupid.

As if the living person were not full of paradoxes. We are full of internal contradictions.

After all, everyone is a mixture of pairs of opposites, and anyone who believes otherwise is only one-sided, they live only one half-side, and they don’t want to know anything about the other side.

This is the disease of the West; it arises from the person as such, with all contradictions, not from logic.

So, inevitably at this point it quite clearly comes out that he both is the Buddha but then again not.

In a certain sense, the Buddha is only a subjective construct.

It is in his hands whether he wishes to create him or not, and yet he is objective.

This is linked to a psychic particularity that the whole Occident constantly fights against, namely the conviction that their entire psychology is a subjective matter.

That our psychic being is identical with subjective consciousness. Subjective, yes, but only to a certain degree.

It carries a vast number of objective matters. 2 × 2 = 4 is after all something affecting the whole of humanity, and everyone possesses this truth.

So, there are infinitely many things, perceptions, that are conveyed to us through language and which we accept at the drop of a hat.

We read books, newspapers; we are informed. And so these are not subjective but objective contents.

Yet we can juggle these to a certain extent, play chess with them, and due to certain given options for moving these figures around, we believe that these contents are our subjective wish and desire, which in fact is not always quite true.

For on the other hand we are confronted with certain psychic circumstances that we cannot control, by way of example, when someone, believing the psyche is completely his own affair, convinces himself that no cherries would grow on the branch of a tree if he had not conceived of the branch.

But he will have a dream, and then he will not say that he thought up the dream himself; rather the dream happened to him and is not a product of his own thoughts.

No one can convince me that they have created their dream; dreams emerge from the psychic underground.

We find ourselves in the realities of the dream, completely irrespective of pathological symptoms.

If one mentions matters of pathology, the argument is made that this is simply a question of illness, as if being ill had no place in the psyche.

There are no completely healthy people.

In humanity there is always a certain degree of illness present. In our psyche it is clear that there is an objectivity and, within this, a quite limited quantity of subjective facts.

Only to a limited degree do we have control over them or can manipulate them.

But we are not master over the decisive factors.

Oh yes, we can undertake extensive training so that what we can achieve with our will is available to us.

This is the intention in both West and East.

Yoga is not only used to transform oneself into a Buddha, but extensively as a training of the will in which the whole of the actual world is largely removed.

One becomes an actor of oneself; one can actually put on such a show.

For example, one can dramatize a complete repertoire of feeling such that everyone thinks it’s the authentic one, while it’s not. It’s all simply acting.

Such a person can play a role life-long, sweetly ever so happy, so that everyone believes them to be in a blessed state with all their smiles.

But they aren’t at all.

One can train oneself to this, this is an artificial achievement, and one cannot say it’s a lie, it depends on the intention.

One can claim that if I’m always nice and friendly then I’m doing it for the good of society.

But this is how the most appalling crimes come about, for it can lead people to despair if someone demonstrates unnatural virtue day and night.

Everyone who is unable to do that gets into a state of inferiority.

This causes a blood-thirsty revolution.

That is why the children of those with the best intentions are so often the most irritating rascals.

There is a Swiss saying: “Pfarrers Söhn’ und Müllers Küh’ koste viel und grote nie.” [“Parson’s son and miller’s cow cost a lot and never turn out well.”]

Now this invocation of the divine figure is a dreadful contradiction, but then again it is also an accurate depiction of our psychology: on the one hand we are completely subjective, only I exist, while on the other hand there is a psychic opposite, which we cannot master and which alarms us when we become aware of it.

Yet by no means are we always aware of it.

We live mostly with the opinion that it is other people who live on the far side of that limit.

It’s always a matter of the evil ones living “over there,” on “the far side of the Rhine.”

It is simply a question of which side one is on. It’s the same in every small town, in every family.

Everyone has their bête noir, after all.

“Lord, I thank you that I am not like that one there who commits all the immoral acts that I would like to commit.”

As long as one is making these projections, one is of course not conscious that one has another side, an objective psyche that can have a different will from the one we have.

That is why most people with a compulsive neurosis are so incredibly amazed that things no longer go as they would like them to.

Like a horse that has a different idea from the rider.

Most people, if they get peculiar ideas, think they are crazy.

Then some poor chicken comes into my office and says they have had such a weird idea and that is crazy.

People get into a panic, sometimes rightly so, sometimes incorrectly.

It is simply the case that one has certain internal experiences that cannot be accommodated within the known framework.

I’d like to believe that in the West we had this objectivity, so that one could acknowledge that what might appear under normal circumstances to be subjective can also, under other circumstances, be an objective matter.

All this emerges from the whole exercise.

It is not only the sensory functions, but also the functions of consciousness that are personified, objectified, taking on form so that they can be worshipped.

This is the point of this entire exercise. I hope it has become clear to you.

It is an absolutely typical process in the East: that is, their tendency to allow something to seem objective which for us is purely subjective, while also acknowledging the fact that indeed, in fact, it is objective too.

For example, what we call an intrusive thought.

Or a tune gets stuck in the head. It simply becomes unpleasant, it is rejected.

One doesn’t give it another thought.

Or maybe one wonders what sort of song it might be, and then a lyric comes to mind, and then perhaps someone else happens to ask: “Yes, couldn’t it refer to this or that?”

As a young doctor I once went for a walk with my friend. We hardly spoke.

But he was incessantly whistling the tune:

When in the gloomy midnight deep

My solitary watch I keep,

I think on her I left behind,

And ask is she still true and kind.

Then I asked: “So she has she dumped you?” “Yes, how on earth do you know that?” That is how the unconscious speaks.

But then we manipulate the situation in such a way as to suggest that we always had the intention of whistling that tune.

There is no discussing this business.

He experiences the fact that this thing won’t go out of his head, as if it had a will of its own.

Yet that is how all complexes work.

When you have a worry caused by some sort of difficulty, you can’t get it out of your head because it doesn’t want to disappear.

I want it to, but it does not. So, one is not master in one’s own house.

It is much better to acknowledge this. Then one has a chance of creating order.

But while you might think you are the master, in fact you are just avoiding the

issue in a very unscientific way.

One has botched the fact with impure logic.

(B1) Plea for Absolution

We come to part B of this second phase, the antithetical phase concerning threat and defense.

The yogi must make this gesture once again: Snap the fingers and thumb again, and worship with the above Mantra.

Then let the worshipper say:—

(i) I seek absolution for the sins which I have committed, or attempted to commit, or in which I have taken pleasure when committed (by others) by body, speech, mind;

proceeding from motives of lust, anger, sloth, stupidity during all the states of my previous existences time without beginning. [SCST, pp. 10–11]

Thus, he seeks absolution for all karmic residues, for all of those leftovers from earlier actions in former existences.

The psychology here is quite clear, that doubt exists that the transformation might not happen due to contamination from sin.

Therefore he must purify himself.

I seek absolution for each and every sin so committed in the presence of my Guru and the Devatâs of this holy Mandala: (2) I will not commit them again (and then he should further say): …

(3) I (naming himself) do hereby seek refuge in the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha …

[SCST, p. 11].

Dharma is the truth, the law.

Sangha is the community, the original Buddhist community, later the enclosure of the monastery.

[…] from this moment until I attain the glorious state of Shrî-Chakra-Mahâsukha. [SCST, p. 11]

Shrî-Chakra-Mahâsukha is the lord of the mandala.

(B2) Good precepts through eight vows

Then come the eight vows. They read:

(4) I vow to continue in the practice and observance of the rules and conditions imposed by Shrî-Chakra-Sambhâra:

(5) I will feel satisfaction and take delight in the merits acquired by laymen, noble Shrâvakas, Pratyeka Buddhas […] [SCST, p. 11]

Shrâvakas are pupils of the Buddha; Pratyeka Buddhas are mavericks.

These are Buddhas who did not come to earth for humanity but who achieved perfection for themselves.

They do not preach, they do not belong to any community, but they are ones who have stepped clear of the turning of the wheel in their cycle of existence, who have left the world of suffering, of appearance, completely.

…, Bodhisattvas, and by all the highest perfect Buddhas:

(6) I will free those persons who yet remain unfreed:

(7) I will give courage to those who are dispirited:

(8) I will help those who have not attained complete Nirvana to gain the same:

(9) I will entreat those Buddhas of the ten directions who do not set the wheel of truth in motion to do so:

(10) I will pray and entreat such of the Tathagatas who intend passing away into Nirvana not to pass away into Nirvana: … [SCST, p. 11].

So, in fact the idea is that there are Buddhas who, because they have achieved perfection, have either left the movement of the world or are in the process of leaving it.

One must now ask them not to do so but, for humanity’s sake, out of mercy, to remain in relationship with the world of appearance so that the possibility of liberation for other people does not disappear.

(11) I will remain sincerely and earnestly in the two-fold path of Shrî-chakra-Sambhâra. [SCST, p. 12]

Why is the path twofold? Wouldn’t one rather push on toward unity?

It is twofold of necessity, that is, the subjectively entrapped I on the one hand and the objective nature of the Buddha on the other:

  1. I am the Buddha, this being the thesis;

  2. The setback follows in antithesis, which casts him back upon his subjectivity, since

he must remember his sins, which are the reason that he has not already become the Buddha.

Thus, he must traverse a twofold path.

And by the merits of my practice of these resolutions may I and all sentient beings speedily attain the state of Shrî-chakra-Sambhâra. [SCST, p. 12]

The yogi has not yet achieved this state.

We now come to the end of the pleas for redemption and for the good precepts.

The worshipper should repeat this clearly and distinctly three times, remembering each time the deep meaning of the words that he is repeating.

Then he should think that the Divine Beings whom he has invoked are addressing him in reply, thus: … [SCST, p. 12]

(B3) Response of the devatâs O, son of noble descent, well have you adopted your abode. If you abide therein of a surety you will attain the highest stage.

Then again worship the Devatâs with the brief form of worship already given. [SCST, p. 12]

In this section a dialogue with the devatâs is anticipated.

It is often the case that when such ecstatic states are created through active imagination that the generated form achieves so much activity and spontaneity that it responds with a reply, occasionally in a very shocking way.

In order to prevent this—because if something like this happens it would be dangerous for the dogma,—what the devatâs would have had to say is now uttered, i.e., they must respond in accord with the dogma.

Yet even before they can do so, he must imagine that they say such-and such, namely something concurrent with the demands of the dogma.

That is how the spontaneous expressions by figures from the unconscious are anticipated and intercepted.

This point is of capital importance in such an exercise—that it incapacitates the spontaneity of unconscious creative powers by harnessing them, yoking them.

The very intention of the exercise is to yoke the kleshas, the unconscious drives.

If such an unconscious figure should dare to declare something on its own, the yoking would be interrupted, and the protective power of the dogma would be broken.

That rupture then would conceivably make it feasible for that figure to utter something alien to the dogma.

Hence it’s the abiding intention of humanity’s dogma-creating spiritual activity to articulate such dogmas with unceasing refinements and a finesse that is never conscious, gradually grasping that particular form that expresses as precisely as possible the nature of the unconscious and thereby inviting the unconscious to enter these forms of its own will.

In the text at hand, the lâma informs his psyche about its own nature and how it ought to behave.

Provided that it also befits the psyche, the unconscious willingly flows into these forms.

This has been going on for centuries, over millennia, along the lines of assuming that the objective psyche actually possesses these qualities.

But if the dogma takes on such a form, through further differentiation of consciousness, that it no longer corresponds to the nature of the objective psyche, then the unconscious can no longer flow into it.

Then it’s not the dogma that breaks down, but the psyche.

So very many lives are broken because the living unconscious can no longer enter into the sacred form.

Or else, over the course of the centuries something unconscious has been constellated that leaves the dogma unable to express the state of the unconscious.

As long as a dogma expresses the actual state of the unconscious, no one can

escape this effect, for it is expressed, like it or not, in this particular way; this is the form takes.

That is why Tertullian was able to say: Anima naturaliter christiana—the soul is naturally Christian.

Conversely, one may just as well claim that Christian dogma truly expresses the nature of the soul.

Indians too could just as well say: my soul is Buddha, for in the nature of the Buddha my soul is perfectly expressed, or at least nearly so.

This gave rise to the early diffusion of Buddhism, which, as is well known, had spread through the whole of India but has now disappeared, apart from a few traces in Nepal on the border with Tibet, and then in Tibet—which does not belong to India—and then Ceylon, which also no longer belongs to India.

But in India it has been wrapped in the mantle of Hinduism again.

The Buddha is now the ninth recognized incarnation of Vishnu. The tenth is on the way, that is the white horse.

But it comes only after the Buddha.

Buddhism and its doctrine are now recognizable under the cloak of Hinduism.

That is why you will encounter traces of this sacred image everywhere in India.

But its achievements, its supreme integration, its clarity of consciousness, are not known any longer even in India, where it is now a private affair for individual enlightened ones.

You almost dare not speak its name because so much chicanery is perpetrated in India.

Today in India, the yoga thing is a business, and woe betide us if this flummery is set loose in Europe.

In Ceylon the faith still has a dogmatic form.

As to why India was not able to sustain Buddhism as the ultimate expression of the religious creative will, I have no idea.

But the fact is that polytheism, this unending richness in the form of the divine essence, is somehow a more exact expression of the Indian soul  than that of the perfected Buddha.

I’d prefer to say that it is altogether a great grace for mankind when it has a form in which it can express its unconscious, and quite an unfortunate state when man no longer has that.

For then he must save himself on his island of consciousness, and has absolutely no possibility any longer of demonstrating what that other is.

Thus the other becomes either nothing or pathological.

That is why we are in the situation today where all those who no longer express their unconscious in this imaginal way demonstrate the highest number of neuroses.

That absolutely certain fact stems from the perpetual disquiet caused by things that one cannot, rather than will not, reveal.

They all become subjective moods and crazy fantasies or conflicts.

Whereas if the unconscious can be contained in a dogmatic form, then we have those forms of life, ceremonies, and rituals in which the soul’s activity can find expression.

For example, the central Australians spend two-thirds of their time in ceremonies of a symbolic nature.

How much do we invest in this kind of thing?

Although we experience this through our dreams, we think we have far more important things to do during our conscious waking hours.

We say: Well, those are just primitives, we do more useful things.

But such things are less meaningful, they are always only about doing business.

Whereas those people take care of the business of the world.

A native Pueblo-Indian wrote to me once that Americans should stop getting involved in tribal religious ceremonies.

Otherwise in ten years the sun would no longer rise, since they make that happen with their prayers.

Therefore one dare not stop them from doing that.

There is something in this. ~Carl Jung, Psychology and Yoga Meditation, Page 103-113