This practice is known by many names in the different traditions in which it is or was used. I have chosen not to use any of the existing names because in almost every case, I have found that the original practice has been misunderstood and conflated with a similar technique using external sound. Thus, Nada Yoga is today thought of by many as the yoga of using external sounds and music to meditate. Primordial Sound Meditation which would seem to be related to the self-sounds of our true nature, is instead a practice using a secret personal mantra that is repeated to oneself.
The practice of The Four Elements has apparently been confused with a practice of listening to the sounds of earth, wind, fire, and water in the external environment, rather than the one that focuses on the self-arising sounds associated with the primary chakras of our subtle energy bodies.
Instead, I have chosen to name the practice after its fruit, rather than its support. Until someone hears these sounds, and even after many have heard these sounds, referring to them is meaningless, so I’ve chosen not to.
There is a tremendous difference in effect between meditating upon, in, and as these sounds, and the more mundane use of external sounds or music, or even internally repeated mantras and the utterance of chakra sounds as found in some yoga practices. It is like the difference between making love and reading about it. It is like the different effect derived from eating natural living foods and eating the chemical powdered concoctions known as supplements. It is like the difference between a healthy body and one cosmetically made to look like one, covering over the rot within and on the skin.
There is a tremendous difference in effect between meditating upon, in, and as these sounds, and the more mundane use of external sounds or music, or even internally repeated mantras and the utterance of chakra sounds as found in some yoga practices. It is like the difference between making love and reading about it.
So, I have chosen to call this practice Mahākaruṇā Bhavana Dhyana. This name is composed of Sanskrit words, honoring the origin of the practice, not in an attempt to garner some cultural allure. In English, I would have called this simply: Manifestation of Selfless Loving Compassion Meditation; but I did not want anyone to think that I had originated this technique because that would undermine its importance.
The Sanskrit Mahākaruṇā Bhāvanā Dhyāna means a meditative absorption producing great compassion. Karuna is the desire to remove harm and suffering from others, contrast this with the more familiar mettā, which is the desire to bring about the well-being and happiness of others. And this is Mahā, great compassion, which is the compassion of all the Buddhas, which is selfless love. Bhāvanā simply means to manifest; but this aspect of the name is of the utmost importance, this practice transforms you into a different kind of being, one might say, from Homo Sapiens to Homo Entheogen, from wise man to man manifesting the divine within.
You might be wondering why, as you will see, I don’t suggest that this technique will lead you to full enlightenment. The first reason is that I do not claim to have reached full enlightenment, so I don’t have personal knowledge of its ability to bring one to this level. However, as I will explain, this practice is universally claimed to be the only practice that can independently bring one to full enlightenment. It has no need of any Dharma to overcome the evanescent nature of all other meditation supports.
When meditating with any natural phenomenon, such as your breath, you will find yourself stymied by the discontinuous nature of all these supports, which is only overcome through Dharma teachings, in two ways:
1) being discontinuous — example: the breath starts and stops, we are unable to dissolve into the support
2) being compounded — created or struck phenomena, we are not led to our true nature directly by the support, but must rely on Dharma teachings to lead us there.
That last is a huge difference and a major difficulty for all other supports. The support used in this technique are the reverberations of the naturing of all things, including your body, interpreted by the mind initially as sound. These sounds vary in kind, but in all cases they are uncompounded, uncreated, unstruck, continuous reverberations of your true nature. As such you are directly meditating already upon your true nature. The difference shows in the results. Thus, this method has no need of a lama to train you in complex visualizations, or mantras, whether secret or otherwise. It stands on its own. But until I can speak authoritatively on that point, I will defer to the assertions of others.
The support used in this technique are the reverberations of the naturing of all things, including your body, interpreted by the mind initially as sound.
There is a second, more fundamental reason for my not suggesting that this practice leads to oneness with the object of meditation. It’s a simple thing, but of immense importance: this practice uses the self-sound of your true nature. There is no separation, even apparent separation, between you and the support of this practice. To suggest otherwise, even implicitly, would be to undermine the importance of this particular type of meditation.
Yet, there is another, more important point that I am trying to make at this time, that is reflected in the name I have chosen. I will more fully explain it later; but in simple terms, I believe that humanity is on a self-imposed destructive course that is nearing its seemingly inevitable end; that is bringing about suffering on a scale that has never been seen in human history, and that history has set a very high bar for the kinds of suffering and at times the berserk nature of the imposition of suffering, that has filled human history. I see only one way out, and that is through the widespread transformation of we humans ourselves.
As I once said in the introduction in an earlier book, that came into being because of the transformation that I was experiencing, “Our science and technology, once tools to extend our reach, are becoming impotent to serve us, as the scale of our needs has inflated beyond our powers to respond: we are faced with problems that are too complex, too costly, and too painful to solve. And we no longer believe in magic.”
Featured image and photo Alan 9187, England. Share this Post
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