Published: 27 March 2021 | Written by Swami Veda Bharati
Swami Veda Bharati gave a series of lectures on Yoga and Buddhism in Bangkok, Thailand in 2012. Transcript provided by Shi Hong.
namo tassa bhagavato arahato sammāsamBuddhassa namo tassa bhagavato arahato sammāsamBuddhassa namo tassa bhagavato arahato sammāsamBuddhassa
Sit comfortably as you would like to sit. Keep the mind at rest. Keep silence of the mind. Keep all the limbs and organs of your body relaxed. Sit comfortably. Be aware of the position in which you are sitting. With that relaxed mind listen.
Meditation is a path of silence which is a path of what we call in Pāli upasama, pacification. In the Bhagavad Gītā we read:
one attains peace the highest peace which is nirvāṇa or nibbān.
We keep that goal in mind when breathing — we remember that goal; when sitting — we remember that goal; when walking — we remember that goal; when eating — we remember that goal — through all āhāras, the 4 kinds of āhāras described by the Buddha, 4 kinds of intakes. We remain aware. That awareness is called anusati. In the Yoga Sūtras of Patañjali it is called anusmṛti. The Sanskrit and Pāli words mean mindfulness, awareness, remembrance.
What is the path to that, that is described in the Bhagavad Gītā, śāntiṁ nirvāṇa-paramām? What is the path to that deep inner peace, the highest peace which is nirvāṇa? There are many paths but these paths are not in conflict with each other. All the paths unite in majjhimā paṭipadā, the middle path. In this middle path all the paths are included. No path is denied. No path is rejected.
When the great masters appeared on this earth, they do not come to destroy the teachings that were given by preceding preceptors; they come to fulfill. Jesus Christ said, “I have come to fulfill the law.” The Buddha did not contradict the path of the ancients. What these great masters do is that they are not followers They question the truths of what had been taught in the past and then they take to the path of deep inner spiritual exploration. And by that exploration they experienced it personally. And by that experience they know what was taught by the ancients was the truth, which truth also has come through deep inner experience This was what were taught in the Vedas, what was taught in the Upanishads, what was taught in the Bhagavad Gītā, what the ṛṣis had been teaching. The Buddha experienced that. When you speak from your experience it becomes original teaching; it is not a copy.
Jesus spoke from his inner experience of being. The Buddha spoke from his inner experience of being; and he taught others to experience it for ourselves. He said, attadīpo bhava, be thou candle to yourself. When you go on the path of being a light to yourself someday you become the Buddha yourself. You become one with Christ. Christ consciousness comes in you. The path of meditation is the path of discovering that — that consciousness is all the time within you. You go to that path to seek that santi, śānti in Sanskrit, a quietness of silence and peace within.
Many people ask us, what path is it that we are teaching. It is the path of all the Vedas, path of the Yoga Sūtras, path of the ṛṣis, path of all the Buddhas. The Buddha referred to 24 Buddhas before his time and he was teaching the same things that those Buddhas had taught. The place where the Buddha gave his first sermon is called Isipatana in Pāli or Ṛṣipatana in Sanskrit, meaning the town of the ṛṣis. He chose to teach at the same place where ṛṣis had been teaching. Here in Thailand you have a very strong tradition of veneration to the ṛṣis. In places like Sukhothai, in the area like Sukhothai, I was told of the places where the ṛṣis sat to do their spiritual practices. In teaching the path of yoga meditation we are teaching the path of those ṛṣis.
The Buddha spoke of the ṛṣis. He spoke of the 24 Buddhas before his time. From the birth of a Brahmin called Sumedha to prince Siddhartha who became the Buddha there were 500 incarnations. Many times he spoke of the teachings he had given when he was a ṛṣi. Many times he spoke of the teachings that the previous 24 Buddhas had given. Many times he spoke of the teachings he had given during the 500 incarnations since he took the vow that someday he will become the Buddha.
Here in a country of very open hearts, the country of Thailand, people are very open. Some follow Christian path. Many, many follow the path of the Buddha. Even those who follow the path of the Buddha go and pay homage in the temples to Śiva and Umā. This is the beauty of the tradition of the ṛṣis — that it does not contradict the paths; that it supports all the paths and still stays to the middle path. So walk on the middle path and not saying this path is right that path is wrong.
When you go to countries like Bali and Nepal, you hear Śiva is Buddha, Buddha is Śiva. When you go to the path of Mahāyāna Buddhism there Śiva and Buddha become combined and they become Avalokiteśvara, the divine being looking down on us in deep compassion. In the path of yoga and meditation we gave the spiritual meaning of the words like Śiva and Umā.Śiva is the supreme divine consciousness in you. Umā is the kuṇḍalinī śakti in you. And you perform the worship to this Umā when you practice the yoga of kuṇḍalinī on the path of meditation.
So in the mind of a yogi there is never a question as to which method is right which method is wrong. Śiva is Buddha. Buddha is Śiva. Umā is kuṇḍalinī. Śiva is the supreme divine consciousness within us.
Many times people ask, when you are teaching the yoga meditation, are you teaching the path of samatha or vipassana? We are combining both. It is not that we are combining them – they are always combined.
natthi jhānaṃ apaññassa paññā natthi ajhāyato yamhi jhānaṃ ca paññā ca sa ve nibbāṇasantike
This verse in Pāli is from Khuddaka Nikāya, one of the Tipiṭakas, in the Dhammapada section. I do not know how many of you have read the Dhammapada. You should read it every day. And the verse I have recited for you in Pāli which means: one cannot have jhāna, meditation, without the awakening of wisdom that is paññā; and paññānatthi ajhāyato, there is no awakening of wisdom without meditation; yamhi jhānaṃ ca paññā ca, the one in whom meditation and wisdom are combined; sa ve nibbāṇasantike, he is very close to nibbāṇa. This is the teaching.
If you read the teachings of the Buddha closely you will find that many places he quotes from the Vedas. He recites the same verses that we read in the Mahābhārata. In the Ṛg Veda there is a prayer:
mo ṣu varuṇa mṛnmayaṃ ghṛhaṃ rājannahaṃ ghamam mṛḷā sukṣatra mṛḷaya
Oh king of the universe may I never again enter this house of clay
Soothe me and lead me to that state where I no longer enter this house of clay
The house of clay is the body. So remembering this prayer of the ṛṣi from the Veda when the Buddha sat under the bodhi tree for 7 times 7 days and nights absolutely still. And finally the perfect saṃbodhi came to him, enlightenment came to him then he opened his eyes. The first two verses he uttered:
gahakāraka diṭṭhosi puna gehaṃ na kāhasi
I spent many lifetimes searching for the one who makes this house for me
Ah, maker of the house! I have seen you now
You will never again make me this house
So the prayer from the Vedas “May I not enter this house of clay” — that prayer is fulfilled. “Oh housemaker I have now seen you. Never again will you make me a house.”
So the Buddha by not contradicting the ṛṣi of the Vedas he was supporting and he was fulfilling.
When we teach the Yoga Sūtras of Patañjali we teach there is a Sanskrit verse:
When one has reached the top of the palace of clarity of prajñā, paññā, then there is no grief in him no sorrow;
and he looks at the grieving people in the world as someone on the mountain top, looks as those who are still walking in the plains below
This verse is from the commentary on the Yoga Sūtras of Patañjali. Now we read the words of the Buddha. The verse was prajñā-prāsādam-āruhyā. Now we read in the Pāli language:
When one has reached the clarity height, the clarity of prajñā, paññā, that he is free of grief, free of sorrow he looks at all the sorrowful people in compassion; pabbataṭṭho’va bhummaṭṭhe, like someone standing on the mountain top and looking down so does he look at the childish people wandering around who need to be guided
When Jesus Christ rose from his grave he came to the disciples, and the Bible says, “he breathed into them.” We experience that with our master Swami Rama of the Himalayas. Someone is sitting by the river, facing the river — we have the river Gaṅga in Rishkesh — and this person does not know Swami Rama is coming behind her. Swami Rama comes and stands quietly behind her. Such a sweet subtle flow of breath begins and she is surprised where does this come from. Then you understand the meaning of the Bible. You want to understand the meaning of Buddha’s experience, you want to experience the meaning of the Bible you have to go inside to the path of yoga meditation. And all those statements they have made, they will become real to you. I will tell you more tomorrow.
Now you cannot sit for 49 days and 49 nights under the bodhi tree. If you can sit for 49 minutes you will have made great accomplishment. If you can sit for 49 seconds you still have made great accomplishments. The Buddha said — if you make this sound (snapping of the fingers) —within this much time, your mind is absolutely still you have great accomplishments. The Buddha said if you made this sound ten times, if you can sit in silence with full breath awareness without any disturbance of the mind, you have come closer to nirvāṇa. This “time” in Pāli and Sanskrit is called choṭikā. For ten choṭikās, for ten seconds.
Make a sankappa — Pāli sankappa, Sankskrit saṅkalpa — make a sankappa:
for those 49 seconds, no forms no rūpa
for those 49 seconds, no sensations no vedanā
for those 49 seconds, no other imprint of consciousness no sañña
for those 49 seconds,no processes no saṅkhāra
for those 49 seconds, no other consciousness no viññāna
You rise above rūpa — you know those? — vedanā, sañña, saṅkhāra, viññāna.
For 49 seconds can you do that? You will do that with your breath awareness
Do it now, 49 seconds only, just feel the breath in your nostrils. I will tell you more about it tomorrow.
Do the sankappa, do the resolve, “for this 49 seconds I will not have any of those thoughts and sensations; I will only feel my breath.”
And now begin.
Continue with the same awareness and slowly open your eyes. Many, many times in the day drink this cool water of upasama, of total inner pacification.
Om namo buddhebhyaḥ Om namo gurubhyaḥ
namo tassa bhagavato arahato sammāsambuddhassa namo tassa bhagavato arahato sammāsambuddhassa namo tassa bhagavato arahato sammāsambuddhassa
Founders of religions did not come in the world to create conflicts. They came to create harmony. They came to unite the different parts. Jesus Christ did not come to create conflict. The Buddha did not come to create conflict. The founder of yoga did not come to create conflict. These founders had giant consciousness, vast consciousness. Consciousness of the whole universe and beyond are their consciousness. Everything that happens in that universe is part of their understanding. Therefore, all the paths are their paths. They taught us how to combine the paths. They knew what the previous buddhas, prophets, masters, ṛṣis had taught. They did not contradict that teaching.
As I said yesterday, they inquired inside themselves, verified the ancient, perennial eternal truths. And those truths became their own personal experience. We study and practice from the experience of all founders. They passed on the teachings from their own personal realization. And they always taught their disciples and followers not to come into conflict. In the Tipiṭakas, the Three Baskets of Buddhist teaching, there is one Brahmajāla Sutta in which the Buddha listed 63 topics of conflict in detail because he knew the different views that people hold. And in that teaching in Brahmajāla Sutta he taught his disciples never to discuss those 63 topics of conflicts.
We have conflicts because our minds are small. When our minds begin to expand to Christ consciousness and Buddha consciousness then those points and views that seemed to be in contradiction become part of our understanding. That is why the Buddha taught many of disciples in many different ways. And all of these paths he called Majjhima-paṭipadā, the Middle Path. When we teach Kuṇḍalinī yoga we teach also the middle path, the central channel, the central nadī and of which the Buddha also have said some things in his secret teaching.
So this question of where yoga fits in the Thai tradition is not a question. It is a very ancient tradition of Thailand taught by the ṛṣis to whom you all pay respect. In Wat Pho, in the temple of the reclining Buddha there were 84 sculptures of yoga āsanas, but there are about 30 there now. And they said they are sculptures of the ṛṣis. When I came to Bangkok for the first time many, many years ago I was alone. I stayed at a hotel and I looked at the literature they had for the tourists, the literature for the tourists. And it said that the Thai alphabets, the forms of Thai alphabets were based on yoga āsanas. So there’s no question of where yoga fits in the Thai tradition. The yoga will enrich the Thai tradition as it has enriched for two thousand years.
As I said, Jesus Christ and the Buddha did not contradict the teachings from the fore. Many disciples asked Jesus Christ, “Are you the prophet Messiah?” because he was supporting their work but explaining it in the light of his own divine experience. You may not know that many of sentences in the Sermon on the Mount in the Bible
are found in the Sanskrit scripture called the Mahābhārata in which we read:
ātmanaḥ pratikūlāni pareśāṁ na samācaret
And we read in the teachings of Jesus:
“Do not do unto others the act you do not wish them to do unto you”
Exactly the same sentences.
Same thing with the teachings of the Buddha for when he spoke of the mind [in Dhammapada] he said:
In our ashram in Rishikesh in India every night we recite a hymn to the mind and there we recite:
dūraṅgamaṁ jyotiṣāṁ jyotir ekaṁ
This mind goes, travels very far
This was a recitation — dūraṅgamaṁ, in the Vedas. And the Buddha said about the mind — dūraṅgamaṁ, this mind travels very far. Those who limit themselves to only one religion will not know of the unity and harmony of all these religions.
The Buddha said [in Dhammapada inPāli]:
akkodhena jine kodhaṃ asādhuṃ sādhunā jine
Conquer anger with non-anger;
conquer evil with the good.
Now listen to the Sanskrit words of the Mahābhārata:
akrodhena jayet krodham asādhum sādhumnā jayet
Same words. Slight difference of language.
And the Brahmavihāras — you know the word Brahmavihāra, the four paths? Is it the path from Patañjali or is it the path from the Buddha? Now I will quote for you the sūtra from the Yoga Sūtras of Patañjali:
That the mind is made pleasant and clear, citta-prasādanam, by the practice of maitrī, infinite love; karuṇā, compassion; muditā, joyfulness; upekṣā (Sanskrit), upekkhā (Pāli), neutrality.
The Buddhists must have taken it from Patañjali — or Patañjali took it from the Buddha! What is this? It is the same truth that come from spiritual realization. Before the Buddha decided to sit under the bodhi tree, one after the other he went to 6 teachers. His last teacher was someone named Ārāḍa Kālāma who was a master of Sāṅkhya philosophy, Sāṅkhya Yoga. Now what is the four parts of the Four Noble Truth —
Duḥkha, pain. Duḥkha-hetu, the cause of that pain — what is the cause of pain? — avijjā (Pāli) avidyā (Sanskrit). Duḥkha-hāna, removal of that pain. Duḥkha-hāna-upāya, the method for removing that pain, removing of our ignorance, our avijjā, our avidyā.
There are out of nearly 200 sūtras of the Yoga Sūtras of Patañjali, 27 sūtras are on this subject. And the Buddha learned this from Ārāḍa Kālāma. He was not willing to accept what somebody else was saying. Sometimes when I gave my lectures I tell people, if you want to be my student don’t believe a single word of what I say. Practice and experience. Find out inside if it is true. That is the path of the Buddha. So he listened to the teaching of Ārāḍa Kālāma about the Four Truth but then he sat to experience. And then from that experience he found it and then explained it in his own words, in the kind of language people were speaking.
Today we are speaking in English. I wish I could speak Thai. Half the words in Thai are from Sanskrit and Pāli. But in this life there is no time. I am 79 years old and I have other things to do. If I had a few more years I would learn Thai and I would speak to you in that language. Because teaching in translation can never have the same meaning
So the Buddha realized for himself the truth of what the master of Sāṅkhya Yoga Ārāḍa Kālāma had told him and that became the Buddha’s teaching. Now it is not the teaching of Ārāḍa Kālāma. It is Buddha’s teaching. But it is also there in the Yoga Sūtras of Patañjali.
People are asking, “Your yoga meditation, are you teaching the path of samatha or are you teaching the path of paññā?” Now ask the Buddha, “Gautama Buddha, are you teaching the path of samatha or are you teaching the path of paññā?” Which one do you think he is teaching？The two are combined.
sīla, samādhi, paññā — the three go together.
Sīla (Pāli), śīla (Sanskrit), conduct, your behavior. In the Yoga Sūtras of Patañjali that teaching is in the form of 5 yamas and 5 niyamas. What is the first yama in Patañjali’s yoga system? Ahiṁsā, non-violence, not hurting, not causing pain. When you go to the Buddhist temple what they will recite —
pāṇātipātā veramaṇī sikkhāpadaṃ samādiyāmi adinnādānā veramaṇī sikkhāpadaṃ samādiyāmi … and so on
The very first statement is the statement of ahiṁsā. Is it Yoga teaching or is it Buddha teaching？So have no fear in your mind. Same thing with samādhi and paññ. In the ariya-aṭṭhāṅgika-sacco[magga] — you know the ariya-aṭṭhāṅgika-sacco[magga]? — āryaṣṭaṅgika-satya[mārga], the eight-fold noble path. The last two are sammāsati and sammāsamādhi, right-mindfulness and right-meditation. And in the Bhagavad Gītā when Kṛṣṇa is teaching Arjuna：
By your grace, my Lord, my confusion is gone and I regained my mindfulness.
That is sammāsati, the 7th of the eight-fold path. And then comes sammāsamādhi, the 8th one, correct proper meditation. Yesterday I quoted to you:
natthi jhānaṃ apaññassa paññā natthi ajhāyato yamhi jhānaṃ ca paññā ca sa ve nibbāṇasantike
said the Buddha. “natthi jhānaṃ apaññassa,” one who has no pañña cannot have meditation. “paññā natthi ajhāyato, ” and there can be no pañña (no wisdom) with someone who is not meditating. Very clear. “yamhi jhānaṃ ca paññā ca sa ve nibbāṇasantike,” the one in whom meditation and wisdom are combined, he is very close to nibbāṇa. So it is clear that there is no conflict. The two have to go together.
In the Samyutta Nikāya section of the Tipiṭakas — are you familiar with the word Tipiṭakas？You know the word. Many people don’t. In India many people don’t know the name of their scriptures now. In the Samyutta Nikāya section of the Tipiṭakas there is a short story. Devaputta, a young god, in the middle of the night came to the Buddha— because I tell you a secret, with the yogis all good things happen at night when the whole world is sleeping they are awake. Even the Muhammad, founder of Islam, he said, “All night Allah feeds me”, He gave me a feast. I can give you more examples.
So in the night a devaputta, a young god, came to the Buddha. Buddha looked at him and said, “Yes, what do you want?” These devas, they all attend upon the Enlightened Ones. They come to ask him questions. The devaputta said:
He says, “I am tired of this world, a net full of knots in which everybody is caught.” The word used there is jaṭā, a complex net full of knots in which everybody is caught. He said, “antojaṭā,” jaṭā inside, “bahijaṭā,” jaṭā outside. Jaṭā inside, jaṭā outside. jaṭā is a net full of knots in which everybody is caught. The word for that is jaṭā. So devaputta says, inside jaṭā, outside jaṭā. “You go inside yourself is the net full of all kinds of knots; bahijaṭā, you go outside the world is a net full of all kinds of knots.” “jaṭāya jaṭitā pajā, every being is caught in this net full of knots.” “So Gotama, I am asking you, who is it who can master this complex net full of knots? Who can free himself from being caught in this net?”
“Mastering the practice of sīla, the right conduct, and cittaṃ paññañca, mastering the concentrations of the mind, and mastering pañña, wisdom, at the same time, not separate; full of effort of concentration a wise man, monk, a wise monk can free himself from this complex net that’s full of knots.”
So cittaṃ paññañca, concentration and wisdom.
In the Bhagavad Gītā, one who has mastered this concentration and this wisdom is called sthita-prajña, a person whose pañña, whose prajñā, whose wisdom is stabilized. In the Holy Bible there are five Books that are called the “Books of Wisdom.” You should read those. Most people, most Christians only sing the few songs from the Psalms of David. They do not read the Book of Job, Book of Ecclesiastes and so on. I am not going to go to those now.
So concentration, wisdom and conduct all come together
I have a lot more to say but this year is my last year for traveling and teaching. From next year  I go to 5 or 7 years of silence. These advanced teachers will teach you and you will come to me for sitting in silence. So no more lectures. But I have recorded 5000 hours of lectures. You can use those. I have 45,000 pages of transcripts of lectures waiting to be published.
I have been traveling and teaching for the last 65 years. The Buddha was 80 years old, and he said, “My body is now weak and my back is bending and I want to put my foot on one side my foot goes the other side.” Four years ago when I was 75 that was happening with me. So I say I was 4 years ahead of the Buddha. It happened to him at age of 80. It happened to me at age of 75. So for the last 65 years I have been traveling and teaching non-stop. It is time to go inside. But I tell you one thing. The teaching in silence is far greater than teaching in words.
Gather much good karma and keep it secret. And practice your meditation. And practice your path of wisdom at the same time. Because as I have shown you from the quotations, from the Tipiṭakas, one without the other is not complete. I want you to have a complete path.
Relax your forehead.
Feel the breath in the nostrils.
No other awareness but the awareness of how your breath is flowing.
If you have a personal mantra, use that mantra with your breath.
If you believe in God, use the name of God in your language.
Or use the word Buddho breathing out and
Buddho breathing in.
No break between the breaths.
No break in the thought of Buddho or the divine name.
Without breaking this awareness gently open your eyes.
Let the flow continue even with your eyes open.
Always go into this peace, many times in the day
May God bless you.
May all the buddhas bless you.
May all the ṛṣis bless you.
May my guru and all the gurus bless you.