The place of emotion in Yoga and Zen in the form of questions and answers

Question: What is the place of emotion in Yoga and Zen TPL: In Zen they turn it into austerity, enquiry and will. Question: Are they happy that they found, is it a sort of fascination with enquiry?  Is it emotional satisfaction? TPL: In Zen, you have to produce an answer to the teacher twice a …

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The main distinctions between Vedanta and the Zen in the form of questions and answers

Question: Mr Leggett, could you just fairly briefly tell what you feel to be the main distinctions between Vedanta and  Zen training. TPL: All right, well, we have to remember two distinct things.  One, the methods of training and the other is the objective, and they are very distinct in methods of training.  Zen and …

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After a year practising on one line isn’t there a danger of getting stale?

Question: After a year practising on one line isn’t there a danger of getting stale? Surely it’s best to make a change in the practice and try on a different line so the mind gets some fresh stimulation. Answer: There was a training centre in mediaeval China near the top of a mountain that had …

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Why do I have to study Sanskrit words and Indian ideas?

Question: Why do I have to study Sanskrit words and Indian ideas in order to practice the traditional yoga? It claims to be an experimental science and method and experiments should not depend on any particular language. Answer: One answer is to look at the example of Western instrumental music. Music is something direct, which …

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A vulgar assumption is that if a man does not have money it is because he cannot get it

Question: Buddhism, and especially Zen Buddhism is against life. If we look at the recent English translation autobiography of the great 17th century Zen Master Hakuin we find that he was not often with other people. Nearly all his serious practice was done alone, on pilgrimages sometimes, but in the main in hermitages. He was …

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Is not Yoga unnatural? It tries to restrain instincts such as eating and sex

Question:  Is not Yoga unnatural?  It tries to restrain instincts such as eating and sex.  As contrary to human nature,  such enforced control will always be fragile, and in fact fruitless. Answer:  This question comes up again and again in slightly different forms, like the Chinese dragon which appears now as blue, now as red, …

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If there is a benevolent God why haven’t human beings been converted to good thinking and behaviour?

Question: If there is a benevolent God or a Vairochana Buddha endowed with compassion and skillful means, how is it that we human beings have not been simply converted to good thinking and behaviour? Answer: If these transcendent powers symbolised with the various titles were to bring this about by their omnipotence, it would convert …

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Sufferings are an opportunity for us to make good karma ourselves

Question: We are daily confronted with stories and pictures of horrific sufferings in various parts of the world. We can do little to help physically, and the karma doctrine that these who are now tortured and killed have themselves been torturers and killers in past lives does not bring much relief either. Has Yoga anything …

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Why are we expected to study philosophy of yoga?

Qustion: Why are we expected to study philosophy of yoga as well as doing the practices? Surely philosophy will be a distraction and it would be better just to practice without bothering about the theoretical background?    Answer: Experience over the centuries has shown that those who do not study the traditional philosophy which gives the basis …

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Why haven’t we been converted to good thinking and behaviour?

QUESTION:  If there is a benevolent God or a Vairochana Buddha endowed with compassion and skilful means, how is it that we human beings have not been simply converted to good thinking and behaviour? ANSWER:  If these transcendent powers symbolised with the various titles were to bring this about by their omnipotence, it would convert …

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Have texts to be interpreted to suit modern people and condition?

QUESTION:  Surely the old texts, and the comments of the later masters on them, have to be interpreted to suit modern people and condition? After all, instructions given to Indians or Chinese centuries ago are inevitably out of date; they were doubtless appropriate for the conditions of their times, but not now. For instance, the …

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Pride and Egoism are supposed to be the biggest obstacles in yoga

QUESTION:  Pride and Egoism are supposed to be the biggest obstacles in yoga, but then, directions are given for doing things that are right, and not doing things that are wrong. If these instructions are faithfully carried out, there is bound to be the feeling of self-satisfaction, leading to pride. So it is best not …

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Why don’t Avatars of God present a common message to mankind ?

Question Please explain this statement “ Not only Jesus Christ, but also Ramachandra, Krishna, Gautama Buddha and others have been Incarnations of God on earth . . .While allowing for the differing traditions, rituals and beliefs of different peoples in different parts of the world, is it not reasonable to suppose that the teachings of …

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Is the world a lunatic asylum because you attribute nescience to everybody?

The vast majority of mankind think it to be real and they don’t think they are in nescience. Are you not too presumptuous ? You misunderstand us, dear friend. According to the philosophy systematised by Shri Shankara, the world is a play of the intelligence of the Supreme Ruler and not a mad-house. The world …

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Can a man be a patriot and yet at the same time an aspirant to moksha?

Is it not that one should identify himself with his country, then with the earth, then with the solar system and eventually with all? No, a definite No. An aspirant to Brahmajnana (knowledge of God) must love each and every country in the world. He can have no speciality. Patriotism in the spiritual sense is …

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What is moksha?

Moksha is destruction of nescience. The result of moksha is cosmic consciousness. Ishvara (God) is never in bondage, so the word moksha does not apply to Him. He is the Lord of maya (the cosmic illusion); though conditioning Himself, He is unconditioned, because His conditioning is self-willed and not imposed by karma. Moksha is caused …

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Swami Rama Tirtha: his last writings in the form of question and answer

Just before Swami Rama Tirtha was drowned in the river Ganges he wrote a short work in the form of question and answer. The translation of the second and third of the three questions with their answers follows: Does a man become a real Sadhu by wearing flame-coloured robes? He is a Sadhu in whom …

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What is knowledge? What is the purpose of knowledge?

A pupil asks the questions: “What is knowledge? What is the purpose of knowledge?” Imagine an afternoon in the Himalayan valley five or six miles above Rishikesha; the sun has declined and is hidden behind the towering peaks, cool shadows and breezes are prevailing on the shady banks of the Ganges and the holy Teacher …

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I get dissatisfied when I’m told that at the beginning of the training one has to have faith

Question: I get dissatisfied when I’m told that at the beginning of the training one has to have faith. It seems to me that one is being asked to believe something at the beginning that they admit is only proved at the end. If indeed, it is going to be proved at all, I can’t …

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