What is the Process of the Spiritual Path? – Drukama RadioTM Episode 18
Today Daishi talks to Kevin about the process of moving through the spiritual path. What does the authentic path involve? How do mind and energy practices work together on the path? Why is it important to have a genuine teacher?
Episode 18 Extract
The Process of the Spiritual Path
“The human being is the height of evolution in terms of this reality, or let’s just say this universe or our earth even.
So we have minerals, rocks and then we have vegetables and plants and so on and then we have animals.
And then we come to the human realm where we become conscious or self-aware, that would become the pinnacle of our awareness development in terms of nature progressiveness.
So when we get to this point, we pretty much have gone to where we can go; we are aware that we are aware. And from here, if we want to continue to evolve at least in terms of what the past teachers and masters have told us, we have to do that through our own volition.
We have to move forward on that path on our own, through our own intention…”
Drukama™ podcast extract – EP18
Full Transcript of this Episode
Kevin: Hello everyone, and welcome to Drukama Radio. I am your co-host today, my name is Kevin. We are very grateful to have Daishi with us today. How are you Daishi?
Daishi: I am doing very good, thank you for having me on again, I am really excited to talk to you and I hope we can jump right into what should be an interesting discussion.
Kevin: Great. Today we are going to be talking about the process of the spiritual path. So, let’s jump right in. What is the process of the spiritual path?
Daishi: That is such a huge question because there is so many ideas of what the path is based on tradition, culture. So, if we look at the spiritual path, we first have to understand, I think, what… what spirituality actually means and why would there be a path associated to it. I think if we can understand some principle ideas before we go into the discussion will help us. So, basic terms, like spirituality and human evolution and so forth.
So let’s just say, for the sake of this discussion, that the human being is the height of evolution in terms of this reality, or let’s just say this Universe or our Earth even. So, we have minerals, rocks and… then we have vegetables and plants and so on, and then we have animals, and then we come to the human realm where we become conscious or self-aware. That would become the pinnacle of our awareness development in terms of nature progressing us. So, when we get to this point, we pretty much have gone to where we can go. We are aware that we are aware, and from here, if we want to continue to evolve, at least in terms of what the past teachers and masters have told us, we have to do that through our own volition. We have to move forward on that path on our own, through our own intention.
And so, because of that, we have been told in the past there is a particular kind of intention or aspiration that needs to be used and it needs to be used in practical sense so that we can evolve past our current point. And so that encompasses what we would say the spiritual path is.
Now the problem is we have that word, and we have the idea that we have to evolve somehow, but now we have a million different definitions of what the spiritual path actually entails. And we get into a lot of trouble depending on what text we are reading or what culture we are coming from.
So, we understand there is a human evolutionary need, we have to overcome ourselves to some extent because there is suffering inherent in life, and now it has to be done by our own volition so we go toward a spiritual process. But now we have ten thousand spiritual processes depending on what culture, tradition we go to. And on top of that, the problem becomes even more complicated because we have some cultures that have very sacred and spiritually concealed writings that seem to be talking about one thing, and we know they are talking about something else, something concealed and something sacred.
So, on top of the variables of culture and tradition, all these, you know, myriad of paths, there is ten thousand different kinds of paths, we have a lot of them that are concealed and hidden and can only be explained from teacher to student. So, unfortunately, for the aspiring spiritual person, the seeker, they are faced with this entirely complex and overwhelming dilemma that it seems that the spiritual teachers of the past have not seemingly come together and worked together well on this. They sort of just put up walls and barriers and locked doors and canyons for anyone to try to get anywhere spiritually speaking.
So, because of that problem, as the generations in the centuries have moved on, and the trouble people have had trying to figure out what are you talking about, what does this mean, how do I get help, and because of the lack of any kind of substantial teaching, teachers I should say, out of just self-preservation, we have come up with paths that are sort of half this and half that, splintered and commingled mixes of what we believe this might be or that might be and we went into a whole, what I like to call, “experiential mode” for centuries where we were just trying things. As a generation of people, as a human race, just doing the best we could with what we had. And today we can see that that has become a bunch of paths that are sort of little bits and pieces of what could have been figured out, like a path of mindfulness, which is a basic Theravadean teaching, or basic Samatha or Vipassana practices, which are just insight meditations or concentration type meditations.
And we know inherently, or we can see, anybody who has spent any real time, can see that there is a tremendously deeper wisdom, a tremendously more vast knowledge underneath that is not being revealed very easily. That tells us about a much deeper path of inner insemination, that there has to be two practical points and it seems to be obvious that there needs to be wisdom connected with bliss or what they call the knowledge base, the wisdom base, or the insight, the clear mindedness, and the compassionate heart or the joyful heart, etc. So these two things, this mother and father side of the path, which seem to be distinctly different, and splintered and fractured from each other, need to actually unite together.
So somehow I have to become utterly cleaned in my mental capacity, the karmic seeds that cause this erratic thinking and this undulating of mindstream has to be cleaned out, the karmic storehouse has to be cleaned out; and on the other side I must also generate, within the energies and spiritualness of my body, that essential joyful blissful compassion nature has to be cultivated and driven up so that both these things attach to each other. And this ultimately was the union of the Mother and Father sides of the path, the Mother and Father energies that come together to create the ultimate enlightened mind.
And so, the trouble there is that we have a little bit of one path, and we have a little bit of another path that seems to be generally understood, but the underlying secrets of those paths are not out. They are not open, they are not being revealed. And purposely I think, to a certain extent, they were hidden, because of the times we were in. But I feel that now those teachings are becoming more available to the general population, they are becoming more available to people as we move forward.
And we can see that it is a very natural and organic process, but both need to be there. It is not enough to be mindful, it is not enough to just be blissful, it is not enough to be compassionate, it is not enough to be cleaned from the egoic side. Both have to be joined, and there is a process for that.
Kevin: Wow, great. There is a lot there, thank you Daishi. With the way the world is now, there is a lot of information coming in through various forms in media, the internet. And I think a lot of people take that in and go on their own. Would you talk about the solo path? Is a teacher required? Is it absolutely necessary to get a new practitioner toward the goal?
Daishi: It is a… again, I do not blame anybody at all for trying to seek on their own because what is out there is so confusing and overwhelming that it sort of forces you into that position. On the one hand we have gurus and teachers who have not upheld the standards, and that is unfortunate. So, you have people who are supposed to be the pinnacle of the human embodiment; so they are supposed to cherish and love and care, and they are supposed to represent that enlightened mindset, and instead we find in several instances troubled minds and conflicts and issues that are coming out, and that is not right. So when a seeker sees that happening, then how can they trust the teachers?
That is a problem that cannot be there, it should not be there. And it is a sign of our degenerated times. The teacher has to be the utmost. He has to be the standard; he has to show the highest absolute compassion and the cleanest, clearest wisdom in terms of selfing, right? That term we use where the ego is not really the driving force anymore, though, wisdom clear light is the driving force.
So, we do not see that much. So, the seeker looks out into the world and says I cannot trust these people; there are holes and errors here. So unfortunately that drives someone to be solitary. The problem with that is that the path is not set up to be something that you just fall into. You cannot just kind of guess it. Because there is not enough information out there for you to understand what is really required.
So you end up having these very earnest and strong seekers that spend 10 or 20 or 30 years “on the floor” I like to say, sitting, but they never accomplish the truth of the matter. There are still questions, there is still confusion, there is still struggle, there is still some suffering and attachments and entanglements they just cannot seem to get rid of. And because of that there becomes a frustration and over enough time, when that happens, the path becomes either something that happened in history that we have lost, or just a fraud or a farce.
And unfortunately that is terrible because it is not the case. It is just a lack of proper knowledge. So, to answer the question in a short way – you need a teacher. You got to have somebody to help you along. If you do not, you are going to be in trouble because trying to mitigate out into a space you have never been before is very difficult. Is it impossible? No. We have heard about people doing this on their own. But certainly at some point they have had teachings and teachers, it is just that at some point they broke through on their own. But it is the exception and not the rule.
Kevin: Right. So, that would lend to the idea then that when the student is ready the teacher appears, perhaps?
Daishi: The student needs to be at a certain place of readiness for sure. Once the seeker has come to the place where they understand intrinsically within themselves that they are not going to accomplish this on their own, they are ready to be taught. Prior to that they still have an idea that I can figure this out, I just need a little bit of help but I can steal some ideas here and there and then run off and do it myself. They have to burn that out, that has to be exhausted. Once that is exhausted and they figure out – ok this is not happening from my perspective and my skewed perceptions I am not able to directly mitigate the way in which I move through this path – then they are really ready for everything, they are ready to receive it all.
But in our times of heightened egoic drive, we have to burn that out first so there is some time when the student needs to spend thinking that they can do this and being full of the idea that I have all the answers, I can figure this out and I do not need anybody. So at some point when that is exhausted, then they are primed and ready and they are perfectly receptive enough to accept the actual secrets of the path.
Kevin: Are there measures of advancement on the spiritual path? What determines someone’s progress or their degrees of graduation?
Daishi: Absolutely. There are attainments along the way that signify where we are and how we are doing. The hardest part of the path, if we look at it in stages, is the beginning part of the path where we are scrubbing clean the karmic seeds, the undulating mind, the agitations of mind. When that becomes freed, to a certain extent, or we are cleared of that, we are releasing the entanglements to those mental aggregates, that is the most difficult part of the path because there is not a lot of reward there.
Yes, you might be sharper, you might be clear thinking, you might be more focused, those are some things that happen with a meditator that has been spending time clearing the house, cleaning the house a little bit. But there are not major rewards like there are on the second part of the path where we actually build the bodies that we occupy. Because understand, the whole path in a nutshell is basically – I have been born, in this world, through a mother and father coming together and their energies creating a vehicle which I then occupied. Now I am going to learn how to create, inside, the Mother and Father energies to unite so that I can jump into the new upper higher spiritual vehicle, which I then occupy.
In the same way Christ said “You must be born again” – he is saying that that process that brought you here is now done within and is done to go up. We came down through the external mother and father, we go up through the internal energies of the Mother and Father. And that is part of learning the winds and the dews, and the channels, within; but that cannot happen until the mind is cleared of the egoic nonsense, the undulations, derivations that are happening within the mind.
The perception has to be cleaned first so that I have the concentrated and intended values high enough to create that higher body. So those stages are exploring the higher realms in that body that I have created through the Mother and Father energies within. And there are attainments along the way that tell me I am having success. So, prior, the foundation stages – very difficult, we try to get through them very quickly. But once that is established, there are firm, definitive attainment markers along the way that let us know I am reaching each goal as I go.
Kevin: Well, ok, does that lend then to the idea that there would be maybe a point of completion to the spiritual path?
Daishi: The Buddha says the only real vessel, the only real vehicle is the Dharmakaya, the Ultimate Vehicle. Which is interesting, because, if we look at the Buddhist perspective – essentially people believe that the teaching is we dissolve into oneness. But if the Buddha held a vehicle it means that he occupied that vehicle or something did, and that vehicle was the ultimate liberating vehicle. So on one hand the teaching is there is no self, let go of the self idea, scrub the self idea clean, it is hindering the way you perceive reality. But, once that is cleared, we can then occupy with a fresh higher mental aggregate another vehicle.
That higher vehicle is something entirely different, so we might see that as the Jiva Atman, the highest vehicle we will occupy to leave this structure of creation behind and move on in some new vehicle. But to be really clear, it does not mean we take the egoic self, the lower human selfing idea that is illusory with us. That has to first be cleaned away. And the entanglements to that has to be cleaned, has to be released away so that we can occupy the higher vehicle. So, it is a difficult teaching because the dualistic binary mind has to be released and the higher mind has to be attained only if and when that lower mind is released. And then we can occupy a different vehicle and move on.
So we are not born to dissolve, we are born to evolve. And there is a big difference there. But the evolutionary path cannot be understood by the binary mind, so the binary mind must be released to a certain extent; not destroyed – the ego is not destroyed, the mental aggregates are not destroyed, it is just the entanglements to them are released so that we can occupy a higher vehicle and that is a different idea than just becoming one with all and dissolving away.
So, it is a little bit of a different concept when we are talking about creating a higher vehicle and then occupying that vehicle to liberate from the system. That would be the ultimate in the case of our evolution. What happens beyond that is for our adventure, right?
Kevin: Wow, thank you, yeah. Does previous work maybe in past lives or good deeds in this life, do those count towards the practitioner’s current level or status on the spiritual path?
Daishi: A term called “merit” or merit itself is so important because we sort of accumulate this really high good merit with our aspiration, so our aspiration is to attain and it becomes so strong that we are willing to do whatever we need to do to modify and change the thing we do not want to be.
So, if we notice that I do not want to be this dualistically controlled egoic driven machine anymore, I want to be more than that, I want to try to connect to people, I want to try to be loving and caring and compassionate and impartial and all of these things.
So, with my aspiration toward that, and there are specific practices that go along with this too, but toward my aspiration for that I accumulate what is called merit. And that merit is so essential to attainment because merit is the thing that is sort of like the rocket fuel – so you can have a rocket, but without the fuel it is not going anywhere. So this is really high powered fuel, the more merit you attain in that way.
So, of course I am making a larger practice into a 2 minute overview kind of description here, but really merit is the thing that drives us and allows us to reach the attainments along the way and it is really important. So that has to do with this life, the work that I do here, the aspirations I have here, and subsequently the lives prior, and as they accumulate together, gives me the opportunity to actually have attainment. And we talk about that more at the site, but this is something that is very important to the path and the practice.
Kevin: Awesome. I would like to circle back to last week’s topic regarding the illusory self. Would you say that a good portion of the process of the spiritual path entails identifying the illusory self by engaging in progressive practices that separate the elements and aggregates to eventually find that “I Am” entity?
Daishi: In truth it seems that most of the path is disengaging from the illusory thing, the thing that is transient and temporal. So, to a practitioner that seems like it is the heavy lifting because, again, there is no real reward in that part of the foundational path, or the foundational building process of the path.
But in actuality it represents only a small portion, maybe 20% of the path, the rest of the path is me building and understanding the energies in the body and me coming to understand how I bring those energies together to unite and to create and to conceive, to have conception of a new body which I then move into and explore with and so on.
That is really the fundamental deep parts of the path, is having that exploration and that direct experiential enjoyment experiences. All of that learning is really the majority of the path, and not the foundational part of removing ourselves from illusory identity which is really just the way we set the tone for the rest of it, although it feels like that is the majority of the path because it is the hardest part, the rest is sort of more fun and enjoyable in terms of experience.
Kevin: Perfect. Do you have any final ideas or thoughts to wrap up today’s episode?
Daishi: I would just say that I think the path is intrinsically organic to every human being. And so as we learn it, it sort of becomes an “aha, of course” and that makes total sense. It becomes natural once we go within and we understand how the winds of the body work, and how the channels work, and we understand that wisdom and compassion or bliss and joy, and the clean state of mind, come together and unite ultimately to create a pristine condition.
If we remove self, the desire for self is gone. So that desire turns toward another, it turns toward the outside, so when I do not need anything, when I am in a good condition physically, mentally, spiritually here, I can then direct my attention toward the rest of the Universe. I can then look at everyone else and say – “hey I am fine here, let me tend to you now”. This is the natural progression of coming together as human souls. It is how we turn from going, needing, needing and wanting within, to coming without and connecting to everyone else. And it is a beautiful progressive path that allows us to turn from within to without, and then connect to everyone else around us and unite together in that way.
It does not necessarily mean we all blur away and become nothing, but at the same time we remember and connect to our intrinsic connections to each other again. We have kind of pulled and densified into a small little container that seems to revolve just around a me-ism kind of process; when we let that go we go back out and start touching everyone else again and connecting with everyone else again. And that is really where the enjoyment and the blissfulness of the path comes. That is where we actually get to say – oh this is so much better for me to direct my light outward than to try and greedily take my light inward. It makes so much more sense and it is so organic.
However, there is a process of undoing there that has to be followed along, a specific set of practices traditionally, and we do not like that. You know, I do not want to do anything, I just want it to happen to me and unfortunately it is not quite like that.
So there is some learning there, there is some process there, there is some need for teachings there, and we have to kind of come to grips with that, and I think that is the hardest part of the path at this moment in time for human beings who kind of want to just be able to go on to Facebook and press a button and, you know, retweet an idea and it is done.
Kevin: Yeah, there is that for sure. Beautiful, thank you Daishi. I understand there is a new website up and running soon? Can you tell us a bit more about that?
Daishi: It is just about ready – drukama.com – D-R-U-K-A-M-A is a website where we are going to have the teachings explained through tutors and other teachers, and we will be able to help people along this path step by step by step. It is just around the corner, it is getting ready to be launched but we do not have a firm date yet, I am hoping by the end of the week. There is so much to it, so we keep getting closer and closer but we do not have a firm date yet. But it will be there soon, and if anyone is interested in getting more information about the path they can get it there.
And like I always say if you do not find the answers with us, or you do not have affinity toward our group – which is several hundred students worldwide and a very tight-knit family – it does not feel good there, go where it does feel good. But find somebody that can help you understand how this path works because it is something that will help everyone evolve. We actually have to – it is a closing statement – we have to evolve as human beings. And we have to have volition to evolve. In other words, if we are going to make the world a better place here, we have to understand that we need to get better. And it does not just mean that I coerce myself into doing things better, it means that I have intrinsic changes within.
That is not going to happen intellectually, it is not going to happen because I decided mentally I want it to happen. It has to happen through changing of energies, it has to happen through changing of perception. And those are things that need to be changed deeply within us, and we need to get access to those areas. And it just does not happen because we think about it happening.
So, that is where you need to get the teachings and the proper instruction. And so, with that said, if you cannot find it here, find it somewhere, please, because that is really where we are going to change the world and come together, and that is going to stop us from the greed, and the need, and the lack, and so on. And those are the things that causes violence and destruction and problems between people inherently.
Kevin: Yeah. Thank you Daishi. Thank you so much for joining us today.
Daishi: Thank you for having me.
Kevin: There are so many things to uncover still there but, you know, we can continue at another time. If you have any questions or comments about the show, please send us an email at email@example.com . That’s radio@D-R-U-K-A-M-A.com. Thank you for joining us for today’s show. We look forward to seeing you again next time.