Obstacles to Enlightenment and the Six Extreme Disciplines

The Cause for Sufferings and Pleasure Are a Condition

Today I will talk about fixed ideas. I want to focus our discussion on how they hinder enlightenment, and how we can get rid of them.
Suppose there is a house with three bedrooms, and a family who lived in a house with a single bedroom moves to that house.
They may be excited and say, "what a roomy house we can move to!" (Since housing land is badly short in metropolitan areas in Japan, a house with three bedrooms is generally considered to be roomy.)
Next suppose that a family lives in the house that is twice or three times bigger than the three-bedroom house. What do they think, if they have to move to the three-bedroom house? They may think, ''How unlucky we are! Because of bad luck we have to move to such a small house." O.K.?
Now just stop and think about these two cases. The houses to which we suppose the two families move are the same: the house with three bedrooms. So, there is no difference in space.
However, it looks roomy to one who moved from a house with one bedroom, while it looks small to one who moved trom a much more spacious house. What do you think makes this difference?
I used a house as an example. What about a car? For the poor person who could barely get a driver's licence, it will be his great joy to obtain a used car which costs $2,000. He may say, "At last I managed to become an owner driver."
On the contrary, to the person who is used to drive a $20,000-$30,000 car, the $2,000 second-hand car may not be called a car. However, this is the same second-hand car as one which was the reason for excitement for the poor man.
The next example is the opposite sex. Since AUM has more male members than female ones now, let me discuss this from the viewpoint of a man. Suppose that a man who has never been popular with girls mets an ordinary girl. They come to love each other. As a result they go out together. Then, he would be fulfilled.
Conversely, let us suppose there is a man who is so popular that he has been fed up with girls. What does he feel, if the same ordinary girl confesses her love? I think you can guess the result easily.
In all the examples, the same condition is given (to the two families or the two persons): a three-bedroom house, a $2,000 used car and an ordinary girl. However, different people value them differently. You will also value a three-bedroom house differently between when you have been in a one-bedroom house and when you have been in a roomy house. You will also value a $2,000 used car differently between when you are poor and when you are used to a luxurious car. The same is true of the opposite sex.
This is why Shakyamuni Buddha said, "All pleasures and sufferings come from conditions." So, as long as we are influenced by conditions, we can not be happy.
You might say, "That is strange. One becomes happy when one moves from a one-bedroom house to a three-bedroom house. " That is right. One feels happiness in that case.
However,this world is transient. As you know, everything is changing constantly. They may have to move back into a one-bedroom house from a three-bedroom house. He may have to sell the $2,000 car which he could barely obtain. At this point he will feel unhappiness. The girl may love another boy. If she says, "Good-by," he will feel sufferings alike.

Erase out Fixed Ideas

In this way, you feel pleasure and pain according to external circumstances and conditions. Since the beginless past you have been suffering or feeling temporary pleasure. As I told you, this is because you are swayed by fixed ideas formed by a previous circumstance and condi-tion in a particular way. As long as we are deluded by fixed ideas, we can not see the truth. So, fixed ideas are also an obstacle to enlightenment.

The State of Enlightenment

Then, how do enlightened persons feel and think? If you attain enlightenment, that is, if you step into the stage of self-realization you are free from any influence.
You see a three-bedroom house as a three-bedroom house. Whether you move from a wide space to a narrow one, or from a narrow space to a wide one, it gives no influence on you. A one-bedroom house looks nothing but a one-bedroom house. You don't feel either sufferings or pleasure. The same is true of a three-bedroom house.
Whether you drive a $2,000 car, a $20,000 car or a $30,000 car, you don't have any different feelings. Even if the woman who is very beautiful in appearance turns up before you, you are not attracted any more. Instead you sense the beauty and purity of people's minds alone. You lose interests in those who can say, "Good-by" for their own interest for such a short period of time as 50 to 60 years. Through your Intuitive Knowledge you can see ones who have a pure heart and love you in a true sense. This is how an enlightened person is.

Look at Things as They Are

A practitioner should have an eye to judge people properly. Be careful of people, because they usually try to make themselves look good. For example, women's make-up, I believe, is a nneans to make them look better than they are, though I heard that there are also men's make-up goods recently.
I had a friend, Mr. 0. He had a marriage for love. He was shocked when his wife took off her make-up. Such a relation between a husband and wife can break down easily.
Look at women of the AUM staff. They don't make themselves up a lot. However, I believe that the beauty of their minds is shining around them. It's much better to clean the mind and express its purity than to put on make-up. You will realize this, as you keep practicing. If you were to go on the path of enlightenment, express everything as it is. Make-up is one of many examples. Not only beauty, but express everything as it is. It brings you the best luck and leads you to a happy world after death. For to express a thing as it is means to get rid of your desires. Those who stick to desires try to make themselves look better or bigger than they are. You should leave such a low stage as soon as possible and you should go much further.

Live as You Are

The reason that enlightened people can see everything as it is without being influenced by any condition and circumstance is not only because they have no fixed ideas, but also because they have no desire. Even if a condition turns for the worse, if you don't have any desire, you feel nothing. For example, you feel pain when you move into a smaller house from a bigger one) because you feel, "0h, I hate such a small house. I like a bigger one." If you don't desire anything, there is no problem. You can accept a thing as it is without feeling any pain. You can also see a thing more precisely.
That's why the scriptures of Yoga and Buddhism say, "See the world as it is and live naturally." To live naturally means that you should not want more than given conditions. Given conditions are karma given to you. A man lives according to his karma.
Karma does change, however. It changes as long as we try the Six Extreme Disciplines. So, let me explain the practices which make good karma and lead us towards happiness.

The Secret Practices to Change Your Destiny

Ropparamitsu or the Six Extreme Disciplines is the path to enlightenment in Mahayana Buddhism. It is to practice six kinds of practices to the utmost limit: Fu-se or offering, Jikai or observance of commandments, Nin-ni-ku or patience, Shojin or devotion, Zenjo or meditation, and Chie or supreme wisdom.

Fu-se (Offering) Brings Good Fortune

The basis of the Six Extreme Disciplines is extreme Fu-se, or offering. Since about three quarters of participants today experienced seminars more than twice, I think, you understand there are three kinds of extreme offerings: Zai-se or offering of money and goods, Anshin-se or offering of peace of mind, and Ho-se or offering of the true dharma.
Offering of money and goods means, "We need only food and cloths to survive, and we will offer the rest for the sake of the world or the truth."
Offering of peace of mind means, "We are in touch with the law of the truth, and so we have a peaceful mind. Since we have not attained perfection, a little pain may be in our mind. However, there are many people who have more pain than we do. Why not relieve them? Why not help them free their minds?" To carry this out is offering of peace of mind.
Lastly, what is offering of the true dharma like? It means, "We understand the dharma of the truth and the law of the universe. Let us tell them to everybody. Let's try to gather all under the truth." This is offering of the true dharma.
Jikai (Observance of Commandments) Overcomes the Devil State When you pass extreme discipline of offering, a guru, that's probably me in your case, gives each of you commandments. For example, "Do this practice intently," or "Don't do this in your ordinary life." The practitioner has to observe given commandments to the utmost limit. This is extreme discipline of Jikai or observance of commandments.
Virtue of offering brings good things to you. Your environment will change. Virtue of the observance of commandments will prevent bad things from happening to you. You can get out of Devil State if you are in it. In this way, though offering and the observance of commandments seem hard to practice, they are certainly worth practicing.

A Strong Will Is Cultivated through Nin-niku (Patience)

Next you should do extreme discipline of Nin-niku, or patience. It means to endure to the utmost limit. In other words, you should constantly challenge your limit.
For example, meditative practice is very hard. When I started meditation, it was hard to meditate even for three niumtes. However, I did endure it. By so doing, I increased the time of meditation little by little. Now I can sit m meditation easily for even 15 or 16 hours. It is the fruit of the extreme discipline of patience.
Through such extreme discipline of patience as T told just now, we can cultivate very strong will and strong concentration. These form the basis to focus your mind on one point. This one-pointed concentration is necessary for Raja Yoga and Jnana Yoga.
This practice has good effects on your ordinary life. You can easily endure the environment which ordinary people feel is painful. In other words it expands your limit of patience with suffering. I believe that is quite beneficial.
The First Three Extreme Disciplines Support Sho-jin (Devotion, or tenacious efforts)

I spoke about offerings, the observance of commandments and patience. Then what is next? I think you all know it. That is Shojin or devotion. It is devotion to the practice and devotion to go on the true path. We start to practice devotion, making the previous three extreme disciplines as its basis: offering, the observance of commandments and patience. In short, all kinds of virtue you have made become the basis for devotion.
Based on the three practices, what should we devote ourselves to? For example, you read the scriptures and spread the teachings of the truth. This is different from Ho-se (offering of the true dharma) in the extreme discipline of offering. Ho-se is merely to tell the truth to people around you, however, it is not enough for extreme discipline of devotion. You have to go out to many places and tell the truth. You say, "Everybody, you are wrong. This is the true dharma." This is extreme discipline of devotion. If you practice devotion through meditation, you have to absorb yourself in meditation, placing it above everything. Otherwise it can not be devotion.
For example, there is a man in a cooking group who is washing dishes intently while others (participants of the AUM seminar) have a meal.
What he is doing is extreme discipline of devotion as well as that of patience, isn't it? He washes dishes to serve you clean ones at a meal time so that you can practice pleasantly after that. He's doing it with all his might. Every day he only washes dishes.
He is no more than a man. While he does such a thing every day, I think that he comes to feel like quitting it halfway. However, he continues it patiently. This is how practice of patience should be. He has realized that this was also part of his training and is working harder than before to help others in their practice. This is praise-worthy devotion. I believe this is beautiful.
In this way, you can practice anything. The point is to recognize, "This is part of your training," and practice it to your limit every day. Then It gets certainly connected with the true dharma. This is how extreme discipline of devotion is. The point here is whether or not your practice is connected with the true dharma.

What Is Zenjo?

Only after completing this stage (the practice of devotion), you can get into Zenjo, a real meditative practice. I told you this in the March (AUM) seminar. There are two paths you can choose from when you start meditative practice. One is the way to become a Mahayana Buddha the other is the way to become a Tantra Buddha. So, there are two kinds of Buddhas, as you know.
A Mahayana Buddha only realizes the truth and preach the dharma of the truth. A Tantra Buddha not only realizes the truth and preaches its dharma, but also he shows super-siddhi (superhuman power) and gain faith of people. Thus there are two types of Buddhas.
First, speaking of how to become an ordinary Buddha, namely a Mahayana Buddha, you should practice Zenjo first. Zenjo is a Chinese word which means meditation. Meditation here does not mean only to sit still on the floor. The most important point of this meditation or the assignment for this meditation is to solve the questions: "Who am I?" and "What am I?" Well, I am Shoko Asahara. However, it does not show its real nature. Shoko Asahara is no more than the idea of a name exchanged between you and me. There would be no difference if Shoko Asahara were Superman or Mr. X.

Who Am I?

Now, let me talk a little bit about the meditation of "Who am I?" Who am I? I am a human being. No, we need to take this out, because "a human being" is also a fixed idea. The word "a human being" does not express anything substantial. We should not leave its substance unclear, using the word "a human being."
I am a living being. What about this? This is right. At least I am a living being. Even if I become a vegetable, I am at least a living being.
If I die, however, I can no longer say that I am a living being. At this point the definition of "I" was changed so easily. Then I am not a living being, am I? Now I want you to remember that this is an example of meditative process for those who believe that a soul stays alive even after death. Emancipated men clearly recognize permanency of a soul through "experience of death" and the like.
Now let's continue meditation. Am I sense organs? Am I something which I feel with the sense of touch? Is that me? Well, Am I not existing if I lose senses? Yes I'm still existing. If so, I'm not sense organs. I'm living even if I become blind. I'm living even if I go deaf. I'm living even if I lose a taste organ. I'm living even if I lose my sense of touch. So I am not a sense. Then what am I?
Now I guess you have realized that what I am doing now is meditation of Shinenjo (the Four Points for Consideration). This meditation makes us realize that I am neither a mind nor ideas. Then what on earth am I? I wrote only this much in the Shambala Newsletter (Editor's note: the newsletter for AUM members).

< Today I will explain more.
Am I a will which makes a decision? Or what I believe lamina dream or what I believe I am in the Astral World? No, I am not so. Am I the consciousness in the Causal World which is projected in the Astral World? No, I am not so, either.
At this point a Bodhisattva who has passed the four extreme disciplines (the first four of the Six Extreme Disciplines) suffers from a deadlock. He suffers much with the question of "Who am I?"
While pursuing the answer hard, the idea comes across his mind.
"I got it. I am just like lucid water." You can understand this only when you yourself experience it by the practice. For it is impossible to express this state of mind. Now if you reach this stage, you can know everything intuitively. The man in this state is called the awakened one or a Buddha. This is a Mahayana Buddha.
Well, it might sound strange. We (Japanese) call the great Buddha statue of Nara (a Japanese city in Kansai districts) a Buddha or Tathagata. But it is not a Buddha but a statue of Buddha. The same is true of the great Buddha statue of Kamakura (a Japanese city in Kanto districts). The true Buddha is, as I told you, the awakened one. He can persuade everyone logically and can understand every movement of the world. Do you understand? I think this is enough. This is how a Mahayana Buddha is.

The Mastery of the Basics Opens the Path to a Tantra Buddha.

However, some Buddhists thought, "It is far from being satisfactory. If only one is a little bit sharp, he can become a Buddha." Therefore the practice of Tantra was born. Tan means initiation and ira means a mantra. That ig some sect of Buddhism started to make a secret practice and chant a mantra for attainment of emancipation. A Buddha who attained emancipation with this practice has superhuman power.
At AUM we are doing this practice of Tantra. We are aiming at emancipation as a Buddha with superhuman power. O.K.? I told much about this practice at the time of Guru Yoga Initiation and in Chundali Initiation done from March to April. So I won't tell you any more now. However, remember what you are practicing is the technique to become a supreme Buddha: a Tantra Buddha. (See the Seventh Speech for the practice to become a Tantra Buddha) I can give you the most advanced technique during this seminar. However, the technique is useless unless you have mastered the basics. For example if you can't sit in meditation for a long time, if you can't do pranayamas well or if you can't do the four extreme disciplines that I told you before, it's hard to master the advanced technique. It's like scooping water with a zaru, a bamboo basket with so many holes. So you should approach me or my best disciples positively and absorb much from us. Think what you should do now and learn much from us. Decrease your weaknesses. Practice Chundali meditation and Guru Yoga meditation. Then you will be able to become Guyasamaja for sure. Guyasamaja is Shakyamuni Buddha in Tantra'. incarnation of the Buddha.

Resolve Your Questions

The seminar is very short. It is only six days long. So, I can teach you only a little. You must want to make rapid progress in practice. So I'm teaching you a supreme technique. Therefore I'd like to stress this once again. You should master the basics by yourself. If you have a problem, consult our instructors. When your instructors can not answer your questions, they come to me to solve them, so don't worry. Solve your questions and assimilate answers. By so doing you will certainly become a Buddha in this life.


1. The beginless past: there is, in fact, no beginning and end of time. So the author uses the terms of the beginless past".
2. Self-realization: the final and supreme enlightenment. (There are many stages in enlightenment.)
3. Mahayana Buddha: a Buddha means an awakened or enlightened man. Mahayana means the activity to save all beings (to take them lo the true. world). So, Mahayana Buddhas do salvation. On the other hand Hinayana Buddhas cut their relation with others and reach the state of enlightenment hy themselves.
4. Causal World: the world in another dimension made up of only data. Data there are lights.
5. Guru Yoga initiation: initiation of one of Highest meditations in Yoga which are supreme meditative techniques.
6. Chundali initiation: initiation of one of the Highest meditations in Yoga.

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