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Jivamukti Focus of the Month

Buddhism and Yoga

Bhuddism and Yoga

The root word buddh means to wake up, to know, to understand; and he or she who wakes up and understands is called a Buddha. It is as simple as that. The capacity to wake up, to understand, and to love is called Buddha nature. When Buddhists say “I take refuge in the Buddha in me,” they are expressing trust in their own capacity of understanding, of becoming awake… “in me” makes it very clear that you yourself are the Buddha.

-Being Peace, Thich Nhat Hanh


A buddha is the butterfly that finally emerges from the cocoon of the human life-form. Buddha is not just one perfected person who lived once in history. You and I will become buddhas. At least we should experiment in that direction to see what happens. We are actually incredibly close to a decisive triumph over suffering. The supreme value we give to freedom comes from our sense that the true reality is total freedom, and our knowledge of that is the doorway to our highest destiny, our supreme fulfillment…

What Jews, Christians, Muslims, and Hindus call “God” is a force of reality much like the infinite ocean-body of living joy that great Buddhist meditators experience. When a believer asserts unshakable faith in the face of the worst experience or apparent reality, she or he is reaching for connection to the deepest awareness of infinite living energy. Enlightened people do not see this boundlessness as something other than themselves. They experience themselves as one with all gods and all other beings.

– Inner Revolution, Robert Thurman


The primary exercise, or yoga, is a way to begin to transform the self-preoccupation that causes chronic suffering into the insightful, gradual opening and letting go of the self…

– Inner Revolution, Robert Thurman


The Buddha’s teaching has sometimes been looked upon as a pragmatic version of Yoga…The Buddha emphasized practical discipline? his noble eightfold path to liberation… The yogic nature of the Buddha’s path is obvious from the use of such techniques as postures (asana) and breath control (pranayama). The contribution of Buddhism to the development of the Yoga tradition has been considerable, just as the authorities of Yoga have contributed greatly to the unfolding of the Buddhist teachings.

-The Shambala Encyclopedia of Yoga


If we are not happy, if we are not peaceful, we can not share peace and happiness with others, even those we love, those who live under the same roof. If we are peaceful, if we are happy, we can smile and blossom like a flower, and everyone in our family, our entire society, will benefit from our peace… Smiling means that we are ourselves, that we have sovereignty over ourselves, that we are not drowned into forgetfulness. This kind of smile can be seen on the faces of Buddhas and Bodhisattvas.

-Being Peace, Thich Nhat Hanh


This capacity of waking up, of being aware of what is going on in your feelings, in your body, in your perceptions, in the world, is called buddha nature, the capacity of uderstanding and loving… Do not maintain anger or hatred. As soon as anger and hatred arise, practice the meditation on compassion in order to deeply understand the persons who have caused anger and hatred. Learn to look at other beings with the eyes of compassion…

-Being Peace, Thich Nhat Hanh


It is impossible to overemphasize the enhancement of life brought about by the conception of this soul of enlightenment. It is a conscious act of making one’s own life purposeful and, by experiencing unconditional love and compassion, of easing the suffering of others everywhere. From the moment one attains this grand conception, one has an inexhaustible well of hope and optimism. One must become open to the prospect of boundless future existences. Then the horizon is vast and open-ended enough that the bodhisattva does not feel excessive pressure and the messianic orientation indeed becomes reasonable, natural, and even immediately rewarding. This is the yoga of the greatest contentment, wherein we turn away from the self to find the doorway to happiness and the most powerful form of inner revolution.

-Inner Revolution, Robert Thurman


This is the messianic drive of the bodhisattva, the spirit of love and compassion called the enlightening soul. It is not merely the wish that all be well with all beings – it is the determination that you yourself will assume responsibility for others. Acting on the insight that yourself and others actually are one single body of life and that your sense of having a self apart is a tragic illusion, you joyfully wish to give yourself away totally, on every level, to enrich the lives of all. You systematically resolve to attain buddhahood, which is the ultimate form of evolution, the state from which you really can accomplish the benefit of living beings.

-Inner Revolution, Robert Thurman

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