2023, July, Issue 52
It should not come as a surprise to anyone who is familiar with my written work or talks that I am part of a movement that is very interested in bringing the Dharma to the West. I’m certainly not the first and I won’t be the last. My focus with Timeless Luminosity is to inspire people to discover who they really are. My focus with The Frog: A Spiritual Autobiography, Spanning Many Lifetimes is to give people the courage to face anything, no matter what, in this Spiritual Journey of discovering who we really are.
We might call discovering who we really are Buddhism; however, I simply call that Dharma, because it encompasses more than Buddhism, or any religion or philosophy, or anything invented by the human mind. By having awakening as its goal, Buddhism is all about discovering who we really are. It seems to me that it provides the best avenues for this; however, it is not the only way to awaken. If we wish to know who we really are, we need to be ready to go beyond constraints created by our human condition, not limit ourselves in any way.
I recently picked up a book called The Shape of Ancient Thought: Comparative Studies in Greek and Indian Philosophies, by Thomas McEvilley. In this brilliant cross-cultural analysis, it connects ancient Greek thought to Buddhism. This should not be a surprise to any students of Buddhism in the West, because the obvious connection is openly discussed among students of the Dharma. There’s also an obvious connection between the teachings of Yeshua and Buddhism, as well as many of the visual aspects of the early church, which have been carried to this day. The Dharma started coming to the West with Alexander the Great and Yeshua. Our history books have simply failed to mention this fact, due to various political and religious reasons.
In the 8th century, Padmasambhava, also known as Guru Rinpoche, prophesied that the Americas will experience a major cultural shift, one that involves people discovering Dharma. People in the West will become very inspired by the teachings of Buddha Shakyamuni; and, they will adopt these teachings in a new way. The Dharma will be illuminated in Western cultures, ushering in significant cultural changes. This will help people to begin to flourish in amazing ways. People haven’t really understood this prophesy until recently, because it didn’t make sense for a very long time.
The amazing part of this is not that Padmasambhava made a prophesy about the Americas, centuries before Columbus sailed the ocean blue. He knew that a Spiritual Revolution would be taking place at a time when metal machines filled the sky, among people who had not yet encountered the Dharma. He was talking about a place that would experience much heartache and violence. He could see clearly where the Dharma would flourish. He spoke about a land where there are red men, and where iron birds fly. In the 8th century, that sounded more than a little bit crazy.
A Spiritual Revolution is taking place in the West as we speak. People want to awaken. They’re disillusioned by a culture that has failed them, institutions that provide only abuse or steer them wrong, cultural norms that are quite harmful. People want to discover their own Spiritual Path, as well as a way to see with clarity. People want something genuine that brings them closer to the light of who we really are, they’re looking for transformation, wanting to evolve from this miserable existence.
Simultaneously, the opposite of this is also true, as many people prefer to remain very closed-minded and oblivious of our real condition, taking pride in their own ignorance. This is astonishing; however, it should not be surprising, because this world perpetuates its own suffering and confusion. In my own Spiritual Practice, every epiphany coincides with many distractions and trauma. Buddha Shakyamuni, upon his enlightenment, met with multitudes of demons, gnashing their teeth, ready to kill him; however, he remained at ease. Upon his awakening, these demons dispersed.
When a Spiritual Revolution is underway, some people are happy about it and others become very upset. We see turmoil. And, this turmoil is happening now. Some want to regress, some want to evolve, and others want to become fully illuminated by their own awakening.
It happens at every stage of the Path. Expect your own sense of reality to be shaken quite a bit, as you begin to awaken. It’s not what you would expect, it’s beyond that.
This is a big reason why we need to protect our mind, as the Dharma becomes integrated with our culture. At certain times on the Spiritual Path, we are fragile, not ready to take on the wrath of this insane asylum we call samsaric existence, culture or societal norms. We’re not able to withstand a brutal onslaught of a compassionless world, at least not at first. Protect your mind. Quietly sit in meditation, find some isolation to contemplate the ineffable realities of life and death.
Reality that seems apparent is in crisis, it’s being shaken on a cultural level, as people discover what has been hidden from view. People are discovering teachings that can lead to their own awakening. You will awaken.
Blessings in Light,