We focus so much on the body and all sorts of different ways to achieve happiness. We often take our herbs, vitamins, protein shakes, and b12 shots to enhance and strengthen us that we forget what is truly essential.
Once we have achieved some mastery over the body, in terms of health and nutrition, it would be wise to heed the Buddha’s advice. To achieve a lasting and permanent salvation we need to know what works and what doesn’t.
Hopefully this teaching will steer us back on proper course. The following is from The Shurangama Sutra:
The Ten Categories in the Realm of Seers (Rishis)
Ananda, there are men who, instead of cultivating the Samadhi of right Bodhi, practice (immortality) wrongly according to their false thoughts, thus preserving their thinking and bodies; they are fond of living in mountains, groves and uninhabitable places.
There are ten classes of them.
- Ananda, those men who diet (specially) to preserve their bodies and thereby live long through dieting, are called earthbound seers.
- Those who take herbs and fruits to preserve their bodies and thereby live long through taking medicine, are called flying seers.
- Those who take mineral products to preserve their bodies and thereby live long by means of alchemy, are called unhindered roaming seers.
- Those who regulate their (organic) functions to preserve their bodies and thereby live long by means of proper breathing, are called immaterial seers.
- Those who make good use of controlling their saliva to preserve their bodies and thereby live long by means of their glowing spirituality, are called heavenly seers.
- Those who feed on the vital principle of nature to preserve the essence of form, and thereby live long by absorbing natural purity, are called all-entering seers.
- Those who use incantations to preserve their bodies and thereby live long by means of occultism, are called seers of the (lesser) Tao.
- Those who concentrate on their thoughts to preserve their bodies and thereby live long by means of mental concentration are called illuminating seers.
- Those who practice the integration of (the positive and negative) principles to preserve their bodies and thereby live long by means of the spiritual harnessing power (of yoga) are called spiritual seers.
- Those who practice sublimation of their bodies and thereby live long by means of spiritual awareness are seers of the highest order.
Ananda, these men regulate their minds but do not practice the right Bodhi, and live for perhaps a thousand and ten thousand years; they live on high mountains or (desert) islands and cut off all worldly connections.
Their states still belong to the samsaric stream of wrong thoughts, and since they do not practice Samadhi, when they have enjoyed their conditioned blessing, they will have to return to the (lower) planes of existence.
As the gathering drew to a close, the Buddha grasped the teapoy and made a move to rise from His lion seat when suddenly he changed his mind, leant back and said to Ananda and the assembly:
You sravakas and pratyeka-buddhas need to study more in your quest of Supreme Bodhi: I have taught you the method of correct cultivation but you still do not know the subtle states of Mara which appear when you practice shamatha-vipasyana.
When they manifest, if you fail to distinguish them and if your minds are not in a right state, you will fall into the evil ways of either the demons or your five aggregates, of the heavenly Maras, of ghosts and spirits, or of mischievous sprites. If you are not clear about them, you will mistake thieves for your own sons.
The Buddha said: Ananda, the words of Buddhas are not deceitful.
If another man, after committing the fours and ten sins (parajikas) and after falling into the avici hells, can, in a flash, think of teaching this Dharma door to living beings in the Dharma ending age, his evil sins will vanish and his hells of suffering will change into happy places for his merit surpasses that of the giver of treasures, because the latter’s cannot be even a hundredth, a thousandth, a hundred thousandth of the former’s, in fact no comparison can be made between the two.
Ananda, if someone reads (and practices) this sutra, the whole aeon will pass long before his merits can be enumerated in full. He who follows and practices my teaching will be free from all the obstructions of Mara and will realize Bodhi.
To read the entire sutra please click here: The Surangama Sutra