Dear Yogis,

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I live in a world where I teach yoga with an emphasis on the the “why” not so much on the “how”, on the philosophy rather than the asana. My son reads physics for fun, read the table of elements to his unborn children, and physics to his grown children.  My friends read physics for “fun” no matter what their jobs are, and “enlighten” me with their current enthusiasms and discoveries.  I love thinking – it is a whole lot better than sudoku to keep the brain engaged.  Physics and Yoga/Buddhism are one understanding of the universe, expressed differently.  The Dalai Lama has for many years worked to bring these two disciplines closer.

To Paraphrase an old Chinese saying: “Mystics understand the roots of the Tao but not its branches, Scientists understand its branches but not its roots”.  Science does not need mysticism and mysticism does not need science, but man needs both.  Mystical experience is needed to understand the deepest nature of things, and science is needed in modern life.  What we are looking for is not one to be absorbed into the other but a dynamic flow between them, between intuition and analysis.

As yogis we are beginning to understand the “oneness” of the universe which includes not only the world around us, the environment, what we think of as matter, but also our fellow human beings.  Our job as yogis is to show the way that life can be lived in harmony with nature. A balance between yin and yang.

In the words of Sri Aurobindo “nothing to the supra-mental sense is really finite: it is founded on a feeling of all in each and each in all”

In Buddhist Philosophy, the idea of all in each and each in all is believed to be based on a text called AVATAMSAKA SUTRA which is believed to have been delivered by the Buddha whilst he was in deep meditation after his awakening.  This sutra which has thus far not been fully translated into english describes how the world is viewed by an enlightened state of consciousness, when we finally understand that everything is one.  When all the outlines dissolve and we understand all that is.

In the last part called the “GANDAVYUHA”  it tells the story of Sudhana a young pilgrim who gives a clear and vivid account of the universe as he saw it during his mystical experience.  I shall give a paraphrase of this sutra by D.T.Suzuki, who uses a magnificent tower to describe Sudhana’s experience.

The Tower is as wide and spacious as the sky itself.  The ground is paved with precious stones of all kinds and there are within the tower (innumerable) palaces, porches, windows, staircases, railings, and passages, all of which are made of precious gems…
And within the tower, spacious and exquisitely ornamented, there are also hundreds of thousands… of towers, each one of which is as exquisitely ornamented as the main Tower itself, and as spacious as the sky.  And all these towers, beyond calculation in number, stand not at all in one-another’s way: each preserves its individual existence in perfect harmony with the rest; there is nothing here that bars one tower being fused which all the others individually or collectively; there is a state of perfect intermingling yet of perfect orderliness.  Sudhana the young pilgrim, sees himself in all the towers, as well as in each single tower, where all is contained in one and each contains all.

The passage of course is a metaphor for the universe itself and the perfect fusion of its parts known in Mahayana Buddhism as “interpenetration”.  This understanding is why we meditate.  Not just to lock ourselves away in silence, but to understand where we are in the matrix.   To transform. To experience the wholeness of nature and to live in it in harmony.