Pat's Occasional Blog

The Eight Limbs of Yoga, Yama Niyama, 10 Commandments, 4 Noble Truths, Eightfold Path, Buddhism vs. Hinduism ... How do they Compare?                                                            Blog 4

Eight Limbs of Yoga 

(Ashtanga) (Ashta = eight, anga = limb) (approx. 5000 years ago)

1)Yama (restraints), 2)Niyama (observances), 3)Asana (postures), 4)Pranayama (regulation of breath), 5)Pratyahara (turning inward), 6)Dharana (concentration), 7)Dhyana (meditation), 8)Samadhi (meditative awareness, awakening, enlightenment).

Yama Niyama 


      Yama:   Precepts of Social Discipline
        Ahimsa -- Non-violence.   Not harming other people or other sentient beings.   Not harming onesself.   Not harming the environment.   Tolerance even for that which we dislike.   Not speaking that which, even though truthful, would injure others.
        Satya -- Truthfulness.   Note that sometimes we may know our words are literally true, but do not convey what we know to be truthful.   This is a child's game.   Satya means not intending to deceive others in our thoughts, as well as our words and actions.
        Asteya -- Non-stealing.   Not taking that which is not given.
        Brahmacarya -- Sexual responsibility.   Regarding others as human beings rather than as male and female bodies.   The spirit of this precept is conservation of energy for the purpose of spiritual practice.   This includes not only sexual restraint, but protecting our energy for instance by avoiding endless chattering with no clear purpose.
        Aparigraha -- Abstention from greed.     Not coveting that which is not ours.   Avoidance of unnecessary acquisition of objects not essential to maintaining life or spiritual study.
        Niyama:   Precepts of Individual Discipline
        Sauca -- Cleanliness.   Not only external cleanliness of the body, but attending to internal cleanliness such as avoiding the impurities of anger and egoism.   Moderation in diet.
        Santosa -- Contentment.   Not spiritual complacency, but acceptance of the external situation we are allotted in this life.
        Tapas -- Austerity.   Deep commitment to our yoga practice.   "Blazing practice with religious fervor."
        Svadhyaya -- Self-study.   Spiritual self-education.   Contemplation and application of the scriptures or sacred texts of our chosen path.
        Isvara pranidhana -- Surrender of the self to God.   Acknowledgement that there is a higher principle in the universe than one's own small self.   Modesty.   Humility.

    10 Commandments 

    (approx. 2000 years ago) 


     The Ten Commandments (Exodus 20:2-17 NKJV)
    1“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage. You shall have no other gods before Me.
    2“You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My Commandments.
    3“You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes His name in vain.
    4“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord your God. In it you shall do no work: you, nor your son, nor your daughter, nor your male servant, nor your female servant, nor your cattle, nor your stranger who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.
    5“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long upon the land which the Lord your God is giving you.
    6“You shall not murder.
    7“You shall not commit adultery.
    8“You shall not steal.
    9“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
    10“You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, nor his male servant, nor his female servant, nor his ox, nor his donkey, nor anything that is your neighbor's.”

    The Four Noble Truths 

    (from Gautama Buddha) approx. 2500 years ago

    1) Life has/is Dukka (pain).

    2) The origin of Dukka is craving/clinging to pleasure and aversion to what is not pleasurable.

    3) The cessation of Dukka is possible.

    4) The Noble Eightfold Path is the Path of Liberation from Dukka.

    The Noble Eightfold Path


    Gautama Buddha was very ambiguous about the existence of a Creator Deity Brahman and Eternal Self Atman and rejected them both. Various sources from the Pali Cannon and others suggest that the Buddha taught that belief in a Creator deity was not essential to attaining liberation from suffering, and perhaps chose to ignore theological questions because they were "fascinating to discuss," and frequently brought about more conflict and anger than peace. The Buddha did not deny the existence of the popular gods of the Vedic pantheon, but rather argued that these devas, who may be in a more exalted state as humans, are still nevertheless trapped in the same samsaric cycle of suffering as other beings and are not necessarily worthy of veneration and worship. The focus of the Noble Eightfold Path, while inheriting many practices and ideologies from the previous Hindu yogic tradition, deviates from the teachings of the Bhagavad Gita and earlier works of the Dharmic Religions in that liberation (Nirvana or Moksha) is not attained via unity with Brahman (the Godhead), Self-realization or worship. Rather, the Buddha's teaching centers around what Eknath Easwaran described as a "psychology of desire," that is attaining liberation from suffering by extermination of self-will, selfish desire and passions. This is not to say however, that such teachings are absent from the previous Hindu tradition, rather they are singled out and separated from Vedic Theology.


    The Path

    1. * Samma-Ditthi — Complete or Perfect Vision, also translated as right view or understanding. Vision of the nature of reality and the path of transformation.

    2. Samma-Sankappa — Perfected Emotion or Aspiration, also translated as right thought or attitude. Liberating emotional intelligence in your life and acting from love and compassion. An informed heart and feeling mind that are free to practice letting go.

    3. Samma-Vaca — Perfected or whole Speech. Also called right speech. Clear, truthful, uplifting and non-harmful communication.

    4. Samma-Kammanta — Integral Action. Also called right action. An ethical foundation for life based on the principle of non-exploitation of oneself and others. The five precepts.

    5. Samma-Ajiva — Proper Livelihood. Also called right livelihood. This is a livelihood based on correct action the ethical principal of non-exploitation. The basis of an Ideal society.

    6. Samma-Vayama — Complete or Full Effort, Energy or Vitality. Also called right effort or diligence. Consciously directing our life energy to the transformative path of creative and healing action that fosters wholeness. Conscious evolution.

    7. Samma-Sati — Complete or Thorough Awareness. Also called "right mindfulness". Developing awareness, "if you hold yourself dear watch yourself well". Levels of Awareness and mindfulness - of things, oneself, feelings, thought, people and Reality.

    8. Samma-Samadhi — Full, Integral or Holistic Samadhi. This is often translated as concentration, meditation, absorption or one-pointedness of mind. None of these translations is adequate. Samadhi literally means to be fixed, absorbed in or established at one point, thus the first level of meaning is concentration when the mind is fixed on a single object. The second level of meaning goes further and represents the establishment, not just of the mind, but also of the whole being in various levels or modes of consciousness and awareness. This is Samadhi in the sense of enlightenment or Buddhahood.

    * The word Samma means 'proper', 'whole', 'thorough', 'integral', 'complete', and 'perfect' - related to English 'summit' - It does not necessarily mean 'right', as opposed to 'wrong'. However it is often translated as "right" which can send a less than accurate message. For instance the opposite of 'Right Awareness' is not necessarily 'Wrong Awareness'. It may simply be incomplete. Use of the word 'right' may make for a neat or consistent list of qualities in translations. The down side is that it can give the impression that the Path is a narrow and moralistic approach to the spiritual life. I use variant interpretations so you consider the depth of meanings. What do these things mean in your life right now?

    - John Allan 

    Hinduism vs. Buddhism


    Hinduism and Buddhism are closely related. Buddha was a Hindu prince before founding his own path to enlightenment. The relationship between the two is like the relationship between Judaism and Christianity in some ways. Christianity was inspired by the life of a Jew and Buddhism was inspired by the life of a Hindu (though the Buddha rejected Hinduism and did not find it to be the right path for himself).

    One of the really stark differences is between Everything or Nothing.

    > Hinduism sees the ultimate reality as being all things united as one glorious divinity. Buddhism sees the ultimate reality as nothingness. While Hindus gain Moksha and become one with everything in the universe; Buddhists gain Nirvana by detaching from everything until nothingness remains.

    > Another big difference related to this is that one of Buddha’s fundamental principles is that life is suffering. When we accept that, we want to escape from the world, and so we dedicate ourselves to meditation and breaking the cycle to achieve the nothingness of Nirvana.

    Hinduism, on the other hand, believes that life is actually full of joy. Yes, as Buddhism says, suffering arises when we feel attachment to things and to people, but suffering is part of the physical body and the physical plane. There is a bigger reality into which we can step and in that True reality, the world is perfect and everything is bliss.

    > While Hindus turn to the Vedas, the Upanishads, the Gita, and the Ramayana to understand life, Buddhism does not accept any of the Hindu scriptures.

    > Buddhism does not worship or follow the Gods. Some don’t believe Gods exist and others believe they exist but are not beings worthy of worship, as they are also stuck in the illusion of the world and cannot guide anyone out. It could be said that Buddhism has no Gods while Hinduism has all the Gods!

    > In day to day practice the most noticeable difference is in ritual. Hinduism has a lot of ritual about it and proper ways to arrange an altar, proper offerings to make, proper compass directions to face. Buddhism’s original forms had none of that.

    It gets more complicated, though, as both religions have continued to grow. There are sects of Buddhism now that differ dramatically from the original stark teachings.

    The Golden Rule

    Do unto others as others would have you do unto them. (Oh but I don't know what someone else wants....) Ok then. Do unto others as you would have others do unto you.

    Do Be a Do Bee (approx. 50 years ago)

    Scooby Dooby Do (approx. 30 years ago =)

    Tell it to the Scale                                                       Blog 3

    So here's the thing about chubbiness. Zaftig-ness. Not thinness. It's just not in style these days. You may have noticed (cough).  Back when food was scarce a fat person was considered beautiful. But now that food is plenty it's “in” to be skinny. I say, what the who?  This is not logical IMHO.

    If one considers the possibility (or probability given the research - google it) of reincarnation, then until this life, we've all probably been pretty hungry. Hunger moon in winter. Nazi concentration camps. Famines. Wars. Burning of crops in villages. Crop failures. We've each possibly lived many lives of poverty and want and here we are in a time of plenty - of excess even - and the rule is be thin. Is this not craziness?

    My brother was given a bad shot at birth by a doctor and it killed him. It was an undiluted saline solution and he lived in a coma for ten years and then died. Unfortunate malpractice on the part of the poor resident who probably hadn't slept in a week.  I was born when he was two. At my five year checkup the good doc (he was a good doc) looked at my chubby toddler tum and said, “We're gonna take a knife and cut that belly off.” Blink. At five years old if I had had the words they would have been “oh did you really just fucking say that to me?” I think even at that tender age the thought was something like “nuhuh you must not realize....”

    When I was 10 years old a German family moved in across the street. I was good friends w/ the kids and one day the dad (Heinz was his name) grabbed my arm and said, “Now that is a healthy child.” One day around age 40 I realized, “holy shit he had been a German soldier in WW2 and apparently had seen some starving bodies.” At age 10 all I thought was, “am I fat?”

    At age 12 my Gramps (who had lived thru WW1 soldiering, the depression, and WW2) said, “Don't worry when you can eat; worry when you can't.”

    At age 13 visiting my other Grandpa in the hospital my skinny jeans and midrif baring shirt felt so right on my twiggy bod. In this last visit w/ him (he died unexpectedly before coming home) some of his last words to me were, “you're too thin.”

    At around 40 at the gym the weight flew off but the injuries flew on. I looked great but felt awful. Hypoglycemic. Aches and pains.

    Finally it hit me. When I weighed 115 in Jr high I was 10 lb overweight. When it was 130 in college it was 10 - 20 lb overweight. At work at 140 it was 10 - 20 lb overweight for my skirt and suit jacket. In preggers it was 10 - 30 lb overweight. As a mom I was overweight (10 + lb surprise!). It didn't really matter what I weighed, I was just always that one standard deviation or so overweight. Low fat was tried but that converted to high sugar - ack ack ack. Milk free worked well but lactaid helps digest yummy cheese so ok. Wheat belly is real but umm bread and butter yo.

    At almost 60 I'm like whatevs. Just live. Eat what you eat and die when you die. And, it is possible the obesity epidemic in our country stems from low fat b/c people are never sated.  They are hungry all the time.  And and and, is it possible the autism epidemic stems from low fat b/c fetuses and babies need fat to make nerve coverings.  Fat is an essential part of the body's structure and function.  Fat creates hormones.  Fat sequesters toxins.  Fat insulates cell walls.  I have seen a four year old toddler climb a bookshelf to get the stick of butter his mom hid on top and eat the whole thing with ravenous delight.  Fat is essential.  

    Oh well.  Chances are you'll reincarnate.   Maybe the next time the supplies are sparser or poisonous (cough Monsanto cough) or whatever variation on not plenty nature can arrange. So now for me it's just enjoy plenty. Appreciate the heck outa it.  I'm tryin' to go by Michael Pollen's advice: eat real food, mostly plants, not too much. Enough with the agonizing over weight already. Hshya tell it to the scale. I will try.

    And there's this =):

    You are Beautiful                                                       Blog 2

    You are so much more beautiful than you probably think.  You look in the mirror and see something different each day and compare that to the world around you and what you think the world sees as beauty.  You are probably wishing this or that would be different.  Your weight, your strength, your hair, your skin.  Your age.  

    Please know this:  there are people in your life who smile inside every time you walk into the room.  They see you as beautiful.  They are gladdened by your presence.  They are tender in the heart just like you and want community and sharing and understanding.  They are lifted by your smile.  They resonate with your life experience.  They would be lonely without you.  

    Do you know you give a gift just by being present with someone?     By listening to them?  By laughing and crying and sitting and sighing with them?  Your beauty is your being.  You. Are. A. Cherished. Being. 

    You. Are. Beautiful.    You are more beautiful than you think.

    And there's this:  Yeppers.  Thanks KevBo!


    Doing It Wrong

    posted May 21, 2012, 7:43 AM by P Lebau   [ updated Sep 16, 2013, 11:02 AM ]

    Doing it wrong                                                   Blog 1                 

    Stand in tadasana.  Feet below hips, legs and glutes firm, lift the sternum, tuck the ribs, relax the shoulders and reach up through energized fingertips. As you root down through your strong feet, connect with the mat.  In the mind is the strong and ever present need to do it right, to follow the instructions, to be a good student. 

    Being good students.  We are all superbly trained in school to be good students.  We are taught so much information: the “what” of school.  Country names, historical facts, how to construct a proper sentence, chemistry, biology, math. We are also taught very deeply – conditioned in-  the “how” of school.  The school process.  How to sit and watch ourselves learning and how to make sure we are in the mind frame of doing it right.  We are graded every single day.  And so we are taught to develop a constant inner dialogue about how we are doing. “Did I get an A on that?  If not, what did I do wrong?  Oh man, I keep getting C’s; there must be something wrong with me.”  “I’m going to fail this test; I am a failure.”  “I am getting an A on this test.  I am a success.” 

     We are trained very, very deeply and well to have a strong inner judge.   

    And so we are really good at grading ourselves in every aspect of life.  Sometimes this mind chatter is in the awareness, like when we do something really well: “wow nice,” and the little glow of success graces the whole of the body mind.  Sometimes this mind chatter is in the awareness as when we do something not so well: “oh man you did that?” Embarrassment.  What a chilling showstopper of an emotion.  The dense fear of being banished.

     What of doing it wrong?  What happens during a yoga pose taken mindfully but in odd alignment.  There is a lesson here.  The lesson might be, “Oh that is why we do it the other way.”  Or, the lesson might be, “gee, this way feels really different  – there’s another set of muscles engaging and relating to each other.  Interesting.” The lesson might even be, “this feels better.”  And then the inquiry becomes, “Why does this feel better for me like this.”  And, of course, “Am I doing it wrong?  What is wrong with me?”

    Recently I had the experience of doing Janusirsasana (head towards knee pose) wrong.  I embarked down the path into the posture.  This is sort of a long path for me, including rest stops at the seat, the spinal lift, the initial fold, the belly reach towards the knee, and then the sweet wandering way of head towards knee.  A very nice journey, with lots of mind stuff of “ahh that’s right” as alignment works in and the body melts into length.  Another way I metaphorically experience this pose is as an architectural experience.  Each body part is a room or passageway to the next space.  Seat is the entry.  Spine is the long elegant hallway.  Head is the kitchen, the room where such delicious concoctions are created.  Arms are the cooling system.  Nerves, the electrical system.  Sighs are the music filling the space.  And the full expression of the pose is the stable structure, creaking and settling over time.  So this day I opened the door and started into the sanctuary of this space.  Good intentions and blessings for all who enter, right?

    Well, this day I was sore and a bit tired and, frankly, PMSing.  So I just did it wrong.  I didn’t bother with the twist of belly towards knee.  I flopped rather curmudgeonly forward, surrendering to a somewhat cranky mindspace of “fuck alignment.  Fuck doing it right.  Let the structure slip into the mud.  Let  me just veer off the path like a kid following a bug in the woods. I’m just going to do what comes which seems to be this odd halfway version of the fucking fold.  Fuck.”  I suppose it was a day to have a confrontation with my inner judge, huh?  I had to basically tell it to shut up, perhaps because there was no family member around to perimenopausally tell to shut up.  Have you been there?  No?  Ahh, well have you ever had a two year old (or perhaps a 14 year old, lol) follow you from room to room just so they can once again fold their arms and turn their back on you and go “harrumph.”  Yeah.  Like that.  I followed my inner teacher all around the house of that pose turning my back in each room.

    Yeah so after having that (mostly sub-awareness) conversation with myself, I oozed down into that half posture.  One leg bent and the the other stretched out, but instead of folding toward the extending leg, just chucking away the twist and leaning forward.  Then ten minutes passed while each breath took me further and further from the “correct” alignment.  I just did it wrong.  So wrong.  Slowly my torso shifted from between the extended legs to over the bent knee.  The extended leg got a good tractioning.  Got a real good tractioning.  Got a – what? This was surprising - healing tractioning!  Felt really really really good!!!  Felt. Healing.

     It was healing to do it wrong.  It was healing to let go the judge for one brief respite.  It was new.  There was some moderate friction, some mental heat,  as I shoved the judge over in its seat a few times.  It felt. It felt.  New.

    I did it wrong and it was right.  I am more aware now of the power of the judge.  It is the octopus on my face covering eyes, ears and nose with its tentacles so familiar I hardly perceive they are there as I say, “judge?  What judge? I’m just trying to do it right.”

    Doing it wrong.  Letting go of the inner judge.  Unlearning.  Testing the learning.  Direct personal experience.  Unlearning to learn.  Becoming deeply aware of prior learning to see what has become so deeply ingrained that it is not in conscious awareness.  This.  Bringing into conscious awareness that which had been unnoticed.  Noticing.  Appreciating.  Refining.  Relearning.  A lifetime of learning.  Ommmmmmmm.

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