sunnuntai 26. syyskuuta 2021

Living Buddhas in Pemako Sangha (updated 11/2021)

 

Living Buddhas in Pemako Sangha (updated 11/2021)



Dear Pemako Sangha and Friends,



Today I have the pleasure to tell you that seven (number updated 30th of November 2021) of my students has finished their purification process (bhumis 1-10). In other words, these people have reached what in buddhism is known as ”exhaustion of all phenomena”. In other words, they have attained buddhahood*.


*buddhahood and mahasiddhahood are used synonymously in this text. This refers of realising the emptiness of all phenomena, i.e. attaining perfect wakefulness for the sake of all beings.


I keep this message intentionally short just to tell you the rough sketch of what has transpired in our sangha during the past few months, and save the details for the second edition of my What's Next-book that I plan to publish in early 2022.


Saying that someone has attained buddhahood can sound weird, outrageous or highly suspicious in the ears of many, especially if one is not used to discussing attainments publicly but we practice pragmatic dharma and discuss attainments and practices openly. I understand that for those who are unfamiliar with our practices and path map, called the 13 Bhumi Model, these news might appear strange. However, to those who are familiar with the efficacy our method, and the regular reports of our sangha members and teachers, these are news received with joy. That our sangha members have attained buddhahood, is a sign that Pemako method does indeed deliver the ultimate result, along with results that preceed it that we have documented and reported extensively for many years.


To me personally, as the founder and head teacher of Pemako, these are awesome news. I have waited this for a long time, but I was sure that one day when the way has been paved, the day would come. And it did! I think that even if we are just a small group doing our own thing somewhere in the periphery of the world of yoga and dharma, the fact that our sangha members have begun to arrive at the end stop of mahayana buddhist practice, has some historical significance.


To have attained mahasiddhas anywhere in the world is very rare (for various reasons which I have often discussed) but to have Western-born mahasiddhas on the Western hemisphere, you could say, is something completely new and different in the modern history. Apart from ancient orthodox christian tradition, I don't think there has been mahasiddhas outside Asia during the past few thousand years and this is why I think we are witnessing a significant historical event. That we have fully enlightened members in our sangha, also gives a very different vibe and feel to our whole community and our activities in the form of courses and retreats.


I will keep the names and photographs of the mentioned persons within our sangha for the time being but will publish photos and extensive accounts next year in my book.


Thank you for reading.


Ton of blessings of clarity and love to all,



-Kim, 26.9.2021

 

See also: 

 

 

keskiviikko 22. syyskuuta 2021

Contemplating A Shift

 

Contemplating A Shift



Kim: If your deceased relative was a religious person, you should ask the founder or highest ideal of that religion to take the deceased person. In the case of baptised christians, for example, practicing or non-practicing, you should say a sincere prayer to Jesus, Holy Spirit or God. Then observe what happens or doesn't happen. As yogis we should make sure that the prayers work. Lip service is never good enough.


As buddhists, we are often given the advice to ask Amitabha, the buddha of light, to bless and help deceased people, and it is a good advice. However, I recently made an observation that it is best to pray and ask blessings from the figures of the religion that the person in question is familiar with. As christians, for example, are familiar with the face of Jesus their subconscious mind accepts and receives the blessings of Jesus easily, without any problems, while the face and energy of Guru Rinpoche or any other guru or archetype, such as Amitabha, that the person is not familiar with is rejected. This happens simply because the face is foreign, in other words, there is no karmic connection. We can speculate about this and say that Amitabha is not an archetype but our own true nature but this isn't exactly true because Amitabha is both an archetype and the nature of our minds. When we talk how we can help people who are dead or who are ill, for example, we need to understand that it matters who we pray to even if all gurus and deities are expressions of the same nature of mind. Meditators know this but non-meditators don't.


Recently I was in the following situation after I moved to a new building. The building where I live is mostly for senior citizens and as one might imagine there is lots of illness and even the energy of death in the building. I sensed this during the first couple of days after my move and like I always do to clarify stale energy, I chanted some Guru Rinpoche mantras into the building and the habitants to do some cleaning. I could sense that the building was affected by my prayers but the habitants weren't so I took a moment to observe why that was the case and I realised that the subconscious minds of the habitants are unfamiliar with who GR is. Once I realised that I turned to Jesus and asked his blessings which worked instantly. It blew through the house and everyone in it like a fresh Autumn breeze. This made me realise how precious the christian baptism actually is because it creates a fortunate karmic connection between the one who is baptized and Jesus, who is a fully attained mahasiddha. As I've long contemplated the suitability of tantric buddhism or the lack of it for the Western audience, this experience again spoke in favour for presenting yogic teachings in the West with Jesus as the head figure, rather than any foreign figure who the vast majority of locals have never heard of. Anyway.


I wish much love, light and blessings to your deceased relative and pray that his journey continues lightly and pleasantly in the guidance of great masters who he knows. Much blessings to him.


Karl: Lately I’ve been thinking about whether the establishing of Budehism or a Christian renaissance would be the most effective answer to the general degeneration of the West.

I used to think that Buddhism would gain a solid foothold here, but I’ve come to doubt that. Perhaps secular Buddhist practices, but they don’t seem to work very well in realising the actual purpose of Buddhism, to say it the least.


Also, if the law of action and reaction holds true in a conventional manner in society, we should soon see a mass reaction to the secularisation and subsequent deconstruction of traditional Western values. I’ve come to believe over the past few weeks that a revitilisation of a living Christian faith will be at the centre of that.


Anyways, just sharing recent thoughts regarding this topic, as your post was well timed with my own musings.



Ben K: Very interested in this conversation. My question is, though, ok pretend we want a new revitalized Christianity: how do you fit all of these effective tantric practices into that system? I just don't see how to do it without the rich lineage of mahasiddhas that all contribute to buddhist tantra being so effective. I mean look at how weak hindu tantra is today, because most of the lineages are dead now, even though they had all the same techniques (and more probably) that the buddhists have. But they lack the living lineage...


Karl: I guess it must be possible seeing that there are (seeming) accounts of rainbow body attainments in Christianity too (as well as in Hinduism and Daoism).

Also, a tantric system essentially only needs one mahasiddha to bring the juice into the practices, whatever form they would take.

And if, hypothetically, a Christian tantric lineage would manifest , I don’t see why other mahasiddhas wouldn’t support it, as long as it works.

That being said, I have no idea how it would look other than having Jesus at its centre, so I am just thinking out loud here.


Ben E: My own two cents is that anything too rooted in religions of the past will bring too much associated baggage into the future.

Something that avoids being boxed in as a religion would be ideal. The way a martial art is not a religion but a way of living.


Robert: Would you say a secular, more "sciency" approach to end our existential suffering could serve that rebound in the future too? What I mean is that I'm seeing a general belief in scientific methods to solve all our problems as rising in the collective mind. Which for all intents and purposes I think is a good development, but I'm curious whether those methodologies could ever serve for our existential liberation as well. I know the positivistic discipline of modern psychology already hosts terms for Atiyoga, Open Monitoring and Shamatha, Focused Attention (perhaps there are more), and studies are made upon these; what are their effects and so on. There's nothing to say tantra couldn't be observed and documented in a similar fashion, not to say the entire path through the bhumis could be studied scientifically. So the question is if repackaged ancient methods, stripped of their history and cultural context, if the data is significant, could gain momentum as a vehicle for mental health in the modern world, or are we also thirsting for the air of mystery that classical spirituality and religion offers when push comes to shove? So this post turned out way more complex than when I thunk it, but I hope the thought comes across


Karl: Perhaps, but I don’t necessarily see cultural baggage as all bad. It can, as illustrated in the OP, also bring familiarity into the picture.

Christianity is, whether we like it or not, very much a part of the Western psyche. In most descripitions I’ve come across of near-death experiences of Western people, for example, some form of Christian narrative is presented. Though, not in a dogmatic or narrow-minded way. And these are not from people who perceived themselves as Christian prior to the NDE, but mostly atheist.

While that is anecdotal of course, it does suggest (to me atleast) the importance of tradition and familiarity with regards to spirituality.


Ben E: I see your point. Although there are plenty of religions in the US besides christianity, such as judaism (where I come from), islam, and hinduism. I think the people who will take up spiritual practice in earnest don’t necessarily need something familiar to appeal to them.


Karl: Yes, I am overgeneralising when using the term «the West», but still, according to The 2020 Census of American Religion, 70 % of Americans identify as Christians. The numbers are very similar in Europe.

As for the latter point, I’m not so sure if categories sparking karmic affinitity are not necessary. Perhaps for some some people it is not so important. For myself, however, the familiarity with (originally Machig Labdron, and later) Guru Rinpoche and Yeshe Tsogyal, definitely helped propel my practice forward and past the initial doubts.

I’m not rejecting the idea that a non-traditional, non-religious approach would work well, I just don’t presently see how it would deal with these issues.



Kim: Here's my further thoughts about this.

First of all, Jesus was not and is not a christian, i.e. a follower of christian religion. If I think about a method leading to full enlightenment, centered around Jesus as the master, (like I've done countless times by now) I don't associate it with christianity at all and therefore would not present this method as a revitalised form of christianity. My personal experience of Jesus is what matters the most and this I would like to give to all those who know about Jesus but don't know him due to various reasons. The biggest one of those reasons is christian dogma and lack of contemplative know-how within that tradition.

Having said that even the most basic christian practice of prayer is in the style of call and response. If you call for Jesus's blessings, it is there instantly to be felt and received. This is what in yoga and tantra is known as tantric guru yoga. Contemplative christians, who are a minority among christians, practice tantric guru yoga with Jesus and other saints, and have done for ages.

It is true that there has been many christian contemplatives from the desert and orthodox traditions who attained what in tantric buddhism is called rainbow body. This is known as resurrection in christianity. View and practices to attain what Jesus is said to have attained has been kept secret but what I'd like to do is to explain Jesus as a master yogi and his attainment, and his example that all us can follow, to others.

Many years ago I was asked by my master to collect bits and pieces of wisdom practices and put them together in a system that people could practice. Now, we have it all figured out, the whole path from unawakened state to full enlightenment, but the problem is like I stated above that this teaching, now known under the buddhist banner of Pemako Buddhism, doesn't reach people effectively enough, and it is yet to be seen who any type of buddhism takes foothold in the West. I took this rebirth voluntarily to try to make a difference but even after 13 years of teaching full time, I spend most of my time alone when I would want to connect with many people and instruct them how they can become free. That is really the only thing I want to do but it is clear that if I remain under the banner of tantric buddhism, completely foreign to the vast majority of Westerners, this will keep imposing limits on my work and consequentially at the end of the day benefits will also be limited, when they needn't and shouldn't be. It actually feels against me to stay in this situation. I feel that it is my own true nature that is pushing me for change.

Secular teaching is not my thing but I think that the spirit of pragmatic dharma would go a long way with a method where Jesus was the main master. There is so much misinformation and sheer absence of knowledge of views and practices, results and attainments in christianity that it is a mess, so many people don't have even basic view and knowledge that something could be done about our sense of being lost or having no purpose in the world. In Pemako method we have pragmatised both the view and the practices, results and attainments and the effectiveness speaks for itself. It would not be much different with Jesus as the captain.

Jesus was a yogi who practiced with masters, received many transmissions and as a result had great compassion (bodhicitta) and attained full rainbow body. It is not possible to attain rainbow body without (tantric) transmissions, including atiyoga, which is why he must have had (tantric) masters. There you have it. Explaining this in pragmatic way and offering a method that would empower one to achieve the same as Jesus would have great potential in this world. There is not a single person here who doesn't know who Jesus is.

torstai 2. syyskuuta 2021

Freedom to Explore: Explanation of the Underlying Principles

 

Freedom to Explore: Explanation of the Underlying Principles


What is lovely about the natural state that it is natural at all times and conditions. In physical exercise, we tense muscles and relax muscles, we breath heavily and lightly, our heart rate goes up and down, and yet the natural state is the same. The reason why I mentioned Vajra Body exercise is because, when properly practiced, it makes the body very strong and very soft. The whole body, made of hundreds of muscles, becomes like a unified plate that is tensed all at the same time and relaxed all at the same time. We learn this "unified plate" as we do Vajra Bodies for some time. Embodiment, as I understand it, means that the mind state which here means the nature of mind (dharmakaya+sambhogakaya) is unified, or made one with the physical mind, oops, the physical body (nirmanakaya). I'll focus on the physical aspect of this as I have often written about it's yogic benefits, i.e. about the recognition of one's buddhanature.


What I mean by the unified plate of all muscles is that at some point in practice, both the strength of the muscles and the ability to contract them all at once feels like you are contracting one muscle, rather than separate muscle groups or parts of the body that are isolated from each other. Just like anyone can squeeze one's fist and have all muscles of the hand and fingers contract and relax at once, the same happens with the whole body. That is a signpost of having learned well Physical Dynamic Concentration, or Vajra Body like we call it in Pemako group.


At this point of the unified plate one's physical body has become very strong. You feel strong, healthy and vibrant throughout your days and whenever you feel the need to recharge yourself, you do some reps and instantly feel refreshed. With the tantric version, Vajra Body that uses empowerment mantras, your mind also becomes fresh and clear like the sky.


I always want to help my students understand what underlying principles of the practices we do so that they don't get caught up by technical formulas. Technical formulas are for beginners but once one advances and makes the practices one's own, i.e. gaines familiarity with them, the formulas can and should be broken down. Many don't understand this and remain caught up in rigid forms without ever understanding the level of principle.


There are countless types of physical exercise in the world. There is slow and fast movement, small and big movements, light and heavy movements (in terms of muscle contraction) and there are combinations of all these. Imagine how many kinds of physical movements there are... and all this is there for you to explore.


When we first learn PDC/VB, we learn to do it in the most simple form, in a stationery posture where you contract and relax the muscles as an isometric exercise. You both contract and relax in the same posture. I tell my students to try simple variations of postures, for example by changing the width and depth of the stance (wider or lower) or by placing the arms in different ways. That's were you have to begin with because you need to learn the basic form and get the foundational insights of the unified plate, to then be able to shatter the form. From there one is entirely free to bring movement into the exercise. Slow, fast, light, heavy, small, big and any combination of these. From the physical perspective, we are just squeezing and relaxing the muscles. There is zero mysticality in this.


What we also do in PDC/VB is to hold the breath and this also one needs to learn from doing the basic version but when you've done your ground work, you (should) already understand what the breath retention does from your experience. You know how it works and what it does. You know that holding the breath together with muscle contraction unifies your vital energy or prana. Vital energy is evenly spread around the body and this makes you feel balanced and energized.


So again to break the form, you don't need to do the breath retention always and you don't need to do it always the same way. If you know the principle already, me saying this will set you free. If you don't know the principle, stick to the basic form until your intuition leads you out from it.


With the breath part of the exercise we are simply bringing more vital energy into our subtle body and balancing it. That's all. Those in advanced stage can play and explore with this all they want. This is not a mystical experience either.


The same goes for the tantric element, or mantras. The mantras are used to establish the basic state through the deities received through the empowerment. If we use RBY mantras, there will be emphasis on purification of the ten bhumis. If we use Guru mantras, guru's blessing will be emphasized and consequentially our own basic state (dharmakaya and sambhogakaya) is revealed. If we use the seed syllables of the mahasiddha bhumis, A BA HU, the same happens. If we use mantras of wrathful, peaceful, passionate or healing buddhas, the effect will be accordingly but again new students should do the basic form until the basic discoveries are made. Oh yeah, don't forget that yogic practice in whatever form is all about making discoveries, finding new things that keep you motivated.


If you plateau, and samsaric mind cannot avoid this, things get boring and dull, your motivation suffers and maybe you don't feel like practicing for few months or years until you realise that the suffering is still there. One of the reasons why I teach dynamic practices is that they completely pierce through the ten karmic bhumis, like a space ship takes off with enormous power to make it past Earth's gravitational pull. The gravitational pull of samsaric tendencies is there all the time, from morning til night, which is why I tell y students to keep punching it, whether they do DC or PDC, aloud or silently. You need to keep pushing through the atmosphere to have your buddhanature recognised, so that you can practice vipashyana in the most effective manner. It's all about the two modes but if you loose the first mode, your practice becomes a pancake. Sit as much as you can and study these things through your own experience. Don't rely on anyone elses sayings or experience. It is you and not others whose mind your purifying, and it is entirely up to you whether or not you see this to an end or not. We have buddhas in our sangha, so the method is now tested.


So, anyway, I was talking about mantras in PDC/VB. As long as you have recognition of empty and joyful buddhanature, you already have mantras. If you loose recognition and get distracted or tangled up in emotional reactions, you use mantras to re-establish. That's it, nothing mystical. So, when you understand this, you can take liberties with mantras as well.


Here, I have described the practice of PDC and VB from the perspective of the three bodies: physical, energetic and mind.


May all beings be free, happy, healthy and prosperous,


- Kim, 2.9.2021