May 15, 2011

Patanjali’s categorizing of the Pancha Kleshas, the five primal causes of suffering offers an elegant tool for deepening our awareness and through that deepening, getting out of our own way.  We talk a lot about dropping the narrative, practicing detachment, softening into the ground of Self. It’s all laid out in this handful of sutras. Here they are in Mukunda Stiles’ version:

II, 3
There are five primal causes of suffering:
ignorance of your True Self; [avidya]
egoism and its self-centeredness; [asmita]
attachment to pleasure; [raga]
aversion to pain; [dvesha]
and clinging to life out of fear of death. [abhinivesha]

II, 4
Ignorance is the fertile soil, and as a consequence, all other obstacles persist.They may exist in any state—dormant, feeble, intermittent, or fully operative.

II, 5
Ignorance is the view that the ephemeral, the impure, the pain of suffering—that which is not the Self—is permanent, pure, pleasurable, and the True Self.

My last post on this blog included an excerpt from the May 2 dharma talk. Here’s the rest of that rather free-wheeling talk:

Also, here is an excerpt of class learning the new Patanjali Chant which includes the first 3 sutras of Books One and Two. I’ll include the text below.

Atha  yogānushāsanam
Yogah  chitta  vritti  nirodhaha
Tadā  drashtu  svarupe  avasthānam

Tapah svadhyaya Ishvara-pranidhānāni kriyā yoga
Samādhi bhāvana artha kleśa tanu karana-artha ca
Avidyā asmitā rāga dvesa abhiniveśa pancha kleśā

Now we begin the teachings of Yoga. Yoga is the stilling of the thought waves in the mind.  Then we rest in our essential nature.

The practical means for attaining the state of Yoga consist of three components: self-discipline and purification, self-study, and devotion to the Lord.  These practices cultivate an attitude conducive to being absorbed in Spirit and minimize the power of the primal causes of suffering.  There are five primal causes of suffering: ignorance of our essential nature; egoism (the “I-maker”); attachment to pleasure; aversion to pain; and clinging to life out of fear of death.

May 9, 2011

Back in the days when we were working our way through Stephen Mitchell’s lovely translation of the Tao Te Ching, it seemed a good idea to gather the parallel readings I was bringing from other traditions and post them in one place. And so began this blog-collection of sacred text, poetry, and story. Now, as we slowly work our way through the Patanjali Yoga Sutra, I am, needless to say, posting much less than before. My thanks for your patience. I do continue recording each week. I’ll upload an 8-minute excerpt from last week’s class here. I was talking about how we might work with what Patanjali calls the “kleshas,” often translated as the five primal causes of suffering. Enjoy…

Click here to listen to excerpt from last week’s talk on working with the kleshas…

May 8, 2011 — Happy Mother’s Day

Happy Mother’s Day to the Creative Pulsation 
Power of Truth, Majesty, Insight, & Compassion
Inner Luminosity that is Ground and Core of your Being…

To Nature
Orphic Hymn

I call to Nature, the mother of all, the mother who makes,
Heavenly, honored, goddess of wealth, sovereign,
The one who wins, who is never tamed, the narrator, the Giver of Light,
Stronger than the strongest, who gives her breasts to all….
Born of the night, all wisdom, carrier of light….
We see your footprints that whirl silently when you are still….
Forerunner, she who gets things done, giver of breath, feeder of all….
Goddess of earth, sea, air,
Bitter to the picayune, sweet to the large-hearted,
Wholly wise, wholly generous, guardian Queen….
You are father, you are mother, you are nurturer, you are nurse….
Creator of the world, sculptor, spring of richness, diversity of the sea,
Everlasting one, she who gets things to move, wholly wise, one who cares,
And never fails, one whose strong energy goes whirling,
Always river-like, moving in circles, changer of shores….
Having no fear, champion over all, you are fate and destiny, fiery Mother,
Never born or dying, you are continuous life and know what comes.
You are the Great Plenum and you alone give birth.
Holy Mother, we pray you in this season lead us
On to peace and health and increase of good things.