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Lions Roar : January 2003
26 SHAMBHALA SUN JANUARY 2003 meditation—is the practice of the inner yogas, sometimes known as the Six Yogas of Naropa. These involve using breathing exer- cises and yogic practices to explore more and more subtle levels of the body. The more refined one’s knowledge of the body, the more the body reveals itself as transparent to the fundamental essence of its being. This essence is nothing other than the basic nature of mind itself. The more deeply you probe the body, the more you come to understand it as the energy and awareness of the awakened state itself. This is, in the evocative language of early Buddhism, to “touch enlightenment with the body.” But in order to do this, we have to take our bodies seriously as spiritual reality. The great Buddhist saint Saraha remarked, “In my wan- derings, I have visited shrines and other places of pilgrimage, but I have not seen another shrine as blissful as my body.” We need to realize that our body is not a begin- ning point, not a jumping off point to some- thing else. Rather, the body is itself the path- way to realization, and, at its deepest level, the embodiment of enlightenment itself. To know the body is to meet the awakened state. This is why Trungpa Rinpoche said, “There is no division between the spirituality of the mind and the spirituality of the body; they are both the same.” He commented further that the definition of samsara is a mind that parts company with the body. The definition of an awakened person is one for whom there is no separation of mind and body. To know the body is to know awareness. To know aware- ness in its pure state is to know the awakened state. ♦ REGINALD A. RAY, PH .D . , isprofessor of Buddhist studies at Naropa University and teacher-in-residence at Shambhala Mountain Center. His most recent book is Secret of the Vajra World: The Tantric Buddhism of Tibet.