Selections from the Agni Yoga Series

Presented before the Agni Yoga Society, February 24, 2004

      M. and the understanding of Buddha's Teaching lead one to the vital understanding of law, conceived upon the Mount of Light. His Law will be of much help on the way to knowledge. His Teaching is My joy. My Hand leads to knowledge. Illumination, I:XII:2

      Let us speak about Lord Buddha. People do not realize the foundation of the Teaching of the Blessed One. The foundation is discipline. Spiritually and bodily the monk of the community was striving to hold on to the path. In the first years he endured a heavy probation. He was forbidden to kill himself with ascetic practices, but he was enjoined to conduct the battle under sole command of the spirit. Thus austerely did Buddha instruct His disciples. Verily, they knew joy only in spiritual battle; that is why the thorns of the path are spoken of. Only when the will of the disciple had become leonine, and a silver bridle of the spirit gleamed upon the feelings of the pupil, only then did the Lord lift the veil slightly and assign a task. And then gradually the pupil was initiated into the mysteries of knowledge. Illumination, II:XII:1

      I shall remind you how Buddha selected disciples for an achievement. During work, when fatigue already possessed the disciples, Buddha would ask the most unexpected question and await the promptest reply. Or, placing the simplest object before them, He would suggest that they describe it in not more than three words or not less than one hundred pages. Or, placing a pupil before a locked door, He would ask: “How will you open it?” Or, summoning musicians beneath the window, He would have them sing hymns of entirely dissimilar contents. Or, noting the presence of an annoying fly, He would ask the pupil to repeat some words unexpectedly pronounced. Or, passing in front of the pupils, He would ask them how many times He had done so. Or noticing a fear of animals or of natural phenomena, He would give them the task of mastering it. Thus did the Mighty Lion temper the blade of the spirit. Remember and apply! Illumination, III:II:15

      Likewise, there must not be forgotten the favorite game of Buddha with His disciples in moments of relaxation, wherein the Teacher threw into space a single word upon which the disciples constructed an entire thought. There is no wiser test of the state of consciousness. Illumination, III:VI:17

      The Blessed Buddha once said to His pupils, “Let us sit in silence and let our eyes behold.” After a while the Teacher asked, “How many times did I change my position?” One noticed ten changes, another only three, and another insisted that the Teacher had remained still. The Lord of Wisdom smiled, “I changed my position and the folds of my garment seventy-seven times. As long as we do not learn to see clearly we shall not become Arhats.” Agni Yoga, 551

      I wish to recall to you how the Blessed One showed consideration even for the adversaries. This book is read at the entrance to the community. The newcomer must be forewarned about many perplexities. It often appears that contradictions are insoluble. But, wayfarer, where are the contradictions when we see only an abundance of road signs? The abyss is barred by the mountain, and the mountain is bounded by the sea. Shoes for the mountains are not suitable for the sea. But those who enter are obliged to change hourly their armor. Not only mobility, not only quickness of thought, but the habit of changing weapons is needed. It is not so easy to become accustomed to change of weapons. Beside the feeling of ownership stands habit, and it is difficult to replace addiction to objects by adaptability of consciousness. For superficial thinking it may seem mere playing upon words, but how necessary it becomes for the leaders guiding the destinies of nations to understand this distinction of concepts! New Era Community, 98

      Verily, Lord Buddha could manifest Himself. The Lord appeared to many, but He wished to make His Teaching the only source, and therefore He ceased personal manifestations. Worship had no place in the Teaching of the Lord; its essence was knowledge and personal achievement. Just this was the characteristic trait of the Teaching of the Lord. Precisely because of this, His symbol was the lion. We often call the Lord, “King of Thought.” You have understood correctly about the unreality of the surrounding world. When I told you to proceed by the upper path of life, I was repeating the words of the Lord. As you see, the Lord recognized the reality of the surrounding world for the present cycle and taught duty to His disciples. Illumination, III:I:3

      “Cosmic transformation in contact with the psychic energy creates the condition of a current of good fortune.” Thus spoke Buddha. He pointed out the distinction between evidence and reality. His likening of evidence to a mirage is applicable for any contemporary discourse whatever. New Era Community, 225

      You have already heard about the saturation of rhythm of labor as a particular quality possessed but rarely by people. Its beneficial influence has a far deeper significance than it may appear to have. Yet the ancient mysteries used these two expressions: “to labor in the wave of Sublime Nature” and “to work with the heartbeat of the Mother of the World.” Those who have studied profound subjects must have known this labor of saturated rhythm, so that nothing could hinder them. The Teacher Buddha took much care that His disciples should know about changes of rhythm. Before great attainments He advised not repose but labor of saturated rhythm. Keep this in mind. Illumination, III:VI:9

      Does it not seem strange that I speak so often about patience, about obstacles, about vigor, about the endlessness of struggle? Precisely, at different times and on different sides do I forge the armor of fearlessness. Remember, this tempering cannot be completed in a single hour. In different temperatures is the sword tempered; even Buddha affirmed that at the happiest hour one should recall the misfortunes, but without diminishing joy. But tempered joy knows no fears. Joy is a special wisdom. New Era Community, 163

      The Blessed One pointed out to His disciples a fakir who was throwing a ball with great skill. He hit the target every time, and two boys then hurried to pick up the ball and bring it back. The Blessed One said, “This man has attained perfection in passing on the ball; each ball that he throws is at once returned to him. So it is with each act of giving, but only when it is perfect. Therefore learn to sacrifice perfectly, for art should be present in every sacrifice.” The Blessed One also pointed to a silent man, saying, “Who can define the boundary of silence? A right word is difficult to find, but it is even more difficult to find the beauty of silence.” Thus did the Blessed One teach silent sacrifice. Agni Yoga, 385

      Long ago I mentioned that a garden of offenses is unfit. One must show an understanding of the complete unworthiness of offenses. An offense is the most impeding state. It is like a hidden abscess. Buddha Himself when noticing some kind of offense immediately sent away the disciple, saying, “Go and bathe in cold water.” Fiery World I, 534

      The Blessed One said: “Truth is the sole source of courage.” The truth correctly understood is the most beautiful chapter of wisdom in the book of Cosmos.Illumination, II:XII:2 Nirvana is the quality of assimilation of all actions. The saturation of all-inclusiveness brings you true knowledge, flowing from the tremor of illumination. Languages have no more precise definition of this process. Quietude is only an external aspect, and quietude does not express the essential nature of the condition. Buddha mentioned quietude, but only this external aspect was assimilated by his listeners. For to the people who heard him the idea of rest was very attractive. Action as something meritorious is too little understood. Illumination, III:V:7

      You are right in asserting that the Lord Buddha had to give the concept of Nirvana to the world because there are few who are willing to labor eternally for the creation of new forms. Nirvana is only a step in the endless cosmic periods. Our disciples, accumulating the earthly inheritance, can rejoice, transporting themselves with striving consciousness toward the higher worlds. Is it not better to serve the manifestation of the great eternal re-working and transformation from the lower to the higher than to be slave to stagnation? Infinity I, 28

      Since it was the Lord Buddha who defined the essence of the human Ego as a process, we can accept this formula of “The Lion.” In your daily life accustom yourselves to the thought of eternal motion and do not tarry in the recesses of darkness. Creativeness attracts the creative power. Therefore, observe the sparks of Cosmos. Infinity I, 15

      It is quite understandable that Buddha, Who directed humanity toward evolution, taught the nature of that which changes, whereas Vedanta expounded the unchanging foundation. You can add any chemical ingredient to a flame and thereby change its color and size, but the essential nature of the fire will remain unchanged. I do not see any contradiction between the basic principles of Vedanta and Buddhism. Agni Yoga, 275

      Mahayana is to Hinayana as Buddhism is to Vedanta. Mahayana knows and reveals the nature of the world of the elements. Hinayana emphasizes karmic causes and effects without concerning itself with the immediate consequences of causes. The Teaching strikes sparks from the chaos of the elements. One may study these images, but it is equally correct to concentrate on cause and effect. If we call Buddha the Cause, then Maitreya is the Effect. Agni Yoga, 287

      Once a woman stopped between images of the Blessed Buddha and Maitreya, not knowing to Whom to offer her reverence. And the image of the Blessed Buddha uttered these words “According to My Covenant, revere the future. Standing in defense of the past, direct your gaze toward the dawn.” Remember how We labor for the future, and direct all your being into the future! In rays of knowledge We bring a Teaching strange to the world, for the light of the world is covered by darkness. Community, 95