A homily delivered by Master Asahara.
November 4, 1989, at Fuji main center

If someone asks you – whether you stay on a position of approving of passions or their negation – what would you answer? Those who do not studies the Doctrine will probably answer: “I don’t know”. Those who study the Doctrine a little probably will answer “Passions should be negated”. And those who study the Doctrine properly will answer: “Passions should be approved. Passions should be negated depending on conditions”. In other words, the important thing is what desires are aimed at but they have no meaning in and of themselves.
What is understood in the words “important thing is what desires are aimed at”? Let us imagine a hungry man who permanently thinks “I want ramen*, I want ramen, I want ramen”. He has such desire but is unable to eat ramen. And he has no other. One day passes, and next day, say, someone puts a plate filled with ramen in front of him. And he eats it with a great appetite.
What will you tell about this hungry man – will he rejoice at this fact or not? You are right – he will definitely rejoice “I took some food! I ate ramen! How tasty!” And if here is another hungry person but no work of mind regarding hungriness originates in him… One day passes, next day he is given by ramen and he eats it. Will joy originate in such person? So, it is possible to say that desire itself expresses a state of mind which will be when some action happens.
Now imagine a practitioner who thinks “I want to practice, I want to practice. Want to practice!” Or he thinks “I want to do bhakti**, want to do bhakti. Want to do bhakti” And he thinks also “I will accumulate merits! I will accumulate merits***!” Let us imagine such a person. Or he was loaded by work only for 3 – 4 hours. Or he had no time to meditate, no time for spiritual practice. But finally, as he wished, he obtained the possibility to meditate all day long. What do you think, will he rejoice in this case or not? And here is another practitioner who just lives little by little and he can be called “a practitioner” just nominally. He has no desires; following the stream of daily life he is spending time day by day somehow. Today he accomplished his work, tomorrow he will accomplish his work. If, being in such condition he is told, “OK. You are starting meditative practice” will desire or joy arise in his mind during practice (“I can practice meditation!”) ?
I have a question for you. Let us imagine that we have a fluvial stream in this Human world. Let us imagine that there are upward and downward streams in this world of the river’s flow. What do this streams represent? A direction of fluvial stream. May I continue? What do you think about direction of stream in this river – does it flow in the direction of Heavens or in direction of Hell? OK, than I will ask you another question. Let there be someone who tries to swim against this stream which flows in direction of Hell. If this man, going against this stream, swims with all his might – how do you think, where will he arrive? Naturally, he will surpass Heavens and arrive to Maha Nirvana. The point is that if stream is flowing downwards, will it be easy or not for someone - to swim against this stream with all his might? And another question: If someone does not do anything but gives himself up to the hands of circumstances – will the flow move him downward or upward? And finally, if someone moves against the stream with the speed approximately equal to the speed of river stream – what do you think, what will be? It will look like a person stands without making headway. And does he really stand without headway? Actually the river flows downwards and only this man swims against the stream. He just has low speed and it looks like he stands stock-still.
So, and that is the important point – there are three types in spiritual practice:
First – when a person is not fully able to stand the river stream but practices. For example, he reads mantra for 5 to 10 minutes per day. TM and similar things belong to this type: the person does not accumulate merits but simply chants mantras. He tries to oppose the river stream but it washes him away. The second type of spiritual practitioner is a person who swims against the stream keeping its speed. That’s why it seems that he stands stock-still. Such person is most “human”. It is possible to tell that such a person is filled with human senses to the greatest extent. So, what can be told about this person? While he swims with such a speed he will never reach Maha Nirvana. Finally, the third one is a person who swims with great effort, swims faster than the speed of the downward flow of the river. What can be said about this person? Depending on his speed he will attain Maha Nirvana in one life, or in ten lives, or in hundred lives, or in thousand lives.
And what is the “river stream” mentioned here? These are afflictive desires. Moreover, these are not the afflictive desires which you usually realize – like sexual desire or inclination for food. Someone may have a desire to sleep.
Someone may have a desire to attain glory. Someone may have a desire to attain high position. That may be a work of mind aimed at removal of someone. That may be greed. Or that may be a work of mind of a person who does not understand Truth at all and consequently agrees with worldly desires which satisfy us temporarily but in point of fact decreases our energy. All these are worldly desires. And it is necessary to realize that the stream of worldly desires flows directing from upper reaches to lower ones. If someone gives himself to the stream, he will definitely degrade, doubtless the destination point will be Hell. There could be someone among you who did not understand the above said. To understand this really the main factor is accumulation of merits and serious attitude to your daily meditative practice.
Let us consider the vow “I make my sufferings my joy, I make suffering of others my own sufferings” as example. It is necessary not only to chant it. The key point is whether you pronounce the mantra with true realization: “So, when something is hard for me, I will try to turn this into joy. And when some other person suffers, I will try to make this my own suffering in true meaning”. Or let us consider the vow “Ho all beings rise and fall in the endless Ocean of Samsara, lured by many illusions like shadowy images on the surface of glaccy lake; may they all abide safely in a blissful Mahayana of infinite freedom; with my Four Immesurable Gifts, I shall offer my Mahayana Vow” Do you simply chant it or try to put into the word “Ho”, into its vibration your Four Immeasurable Minds? And when you see the souls who are floundering, being carried away with the stream of afflictive desires which flows, as I told, from upper reaches downward – does the mood “I do pity them. Swim into direction of upper reaches, I will help you” appear in your mind? This is the key point. Generally, for instance, imagine that we are standing still and do not accumulate bad karma. It is necessary to realize that, despite it looks like we do not accumulate bad karma, we are swimming down the stream. And only when we are deliberately accumulating merits, when we deliberately practice meditation to purify the soul, only in this case we start swimming up the stream. And it is important to see purport in the work. For example: “I am responsible for the part of Mahayana vessel. If I relinquish this part, the vessel may sink. I will guard the place given to me where I can accumulate merits with all my might, with all my energy! And I will zealously accumulate merits!”
The ability to realize this daily or absence of this ability is the only point which defines whether you are heading up the stream, will be able to attain the far and distant upper reaches of the river – Maha Nirvana. This is the point for you to understand.
There is such a thing as Truth in this world. What is the Truth?
The Truth is that, having money, he has certain freedom of action. But such Truths are not essential. Why did I say “In this world”? The reason is the following: What is the essential Truth? Essential Truth is that all we are destined to die, or that we will necessarily become sick, and finally, that we are getting older. Only through the realization of impurities of the soul, than its deliberate extirpation, deliberate accumulation of merits is able to smash these three armies, or sufferings, grief, sorrow which arises in the soul. That is the Mahayana’s basic notion regarding way of accumulating merits. Here the essential point is the following: There is something which lies in the background of all kinds of practices. Here I consider “all practices” as Big Vehicle, Diamond Vehicle – i.e. Mahayana, Vajrayana and Tantrayana (a Vehicle of True Word) – background of these three practices is a work of mind directed to bringing use to others. To what extent is capable the person to cast himself aside and to save others – that is the main point in spiritual practice. On opposite to this, Hinayana implies personal quietness, personal pacification, personal freedom. That is why it is necessary for you to think about the following things. Above I preached Vajrayana. But the Doctrine itself or Dharma*** calls the highest, the noblest condition of mind of those who preserve the Absolute Truth, those who attains the Absolute Truth, those who heads for Absolute Truth a condition of mind striving to lead [beings] to Truth.
But even in this case it is improbable that that person who is plunged into his own sufferings would be able to understand other’s sufferings, to save others. This is reality. But if a person is capable to put other’s sorrow and sufferings into the basement of his own spiritual practice, even treating own sufferings as sufferings, it will be possible to tell that the seed of Big Vehicle is planted in him. A condition of the soul which strives to lead a person to the destination point as soon as possible is called mind of Buddha of Vajrayana or bodhisattva of Vajrayana, or Tantrayana’s Buddha or bodhisattva. A condition of soul who strives to move forward without dangers – together but safely – such condition of soul is called mind of Mahayana’s bodhisattva or Buddha. And the destination point is Maha Nirvana.
Subject of today’s speech was difficult. But those who mastered Teaching, those who mastered it properly, should understand things in the depth of Doctrine. But those who do not study the Teaching sufficiently, who are taken away by thinking filled with afflictive desires, those who cedes to the river stream will not understand anything.
And the last point. Let us imagine a spiritual practitioner. He had been trying to swim against the stream during three years but decided: “I am tired already, it will be better to give myself in to the river stream”. What do you think, what will be his next incarnation? What is your opinion? What will be with his connection to Truth in next life?
Once in India there lived a monk. He was captured by people from another religious community, the Muslims. And this monk kept on chanting mantra :
“I will be adhered to Buddha, Teaching, monks
I will be adhered to Buddha, Teaching, monks
I will be adhered to Buddha, Teaching, monks”
That was a mantra:
“Aum Nama Buddha Ya, Aum Nama Dhamma Ya, Aum Nama Sangha**** Ya;
Aum Nama Buddha Ya, Aum Nama Dhamma Ya, Aum Nama Sangha Ya;
Aum Nama Buddha Ya, Aum Nama Dhamma Ya, Aum Nama Sangha Ya”…
He was told: “If you stop chanting this mantra, we will not kill you. If not – we will kill you!” And he was killed. What do you think, in what world was he reborn? Do you think that having so much faith he should go to rather high Realm? It is written in Doctrine that he went to the Heavens of 33 Gods.
And this means that person who had been practicing for only three years – maybe he obtained certain spiritual experience but lost hold of it and re-entrusted himself with the river’s stream – especially in modern times when this world is impure – where will he be brought by the stream? What do you think?
Maybe, he will fall into Hell, maybe – into Realm of Insatiable Spirits, maybe – into Animal Realm. And I suppose that even those Aum’s lay practitioners who perform most austere practices will be unable to get to Heavens if they do not possess very significant Merits. Furthermore, if a lay practitioner performs some practice, he is destined to get to Human Realm. Here under “some” I understand rather intensive degree of practice. Finally, if someone, being a member of Aum does not perform any practice, he will definitely fall. After all such a person cannot be called “lay practitioner”. The person can be called “lay practitioner” only if he has faith in the Doctrine, in Guru, in friends in Doctrine and practices in all his might. If these conditions are not satisfied, such person can not be called “lay practitioner”. This is just a person who went through the procedure of becoming a member.
And you are swimming very strongly, even in my opinion. You try to swim against the stream with all your might. I would like to finish today’s lecture with a wish to you to attain the destination point – Maha Nirvana as soon as possible.

*ramen - noodles made from buckwheat flour
** bhakti - voluntary job for Guru’s (or Dharma’s, or Sangha’s) benefit
***Dharma - Teaching, or Doctrine
****Sangha - is a group of monks

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