The 9th International Conference Buddhism & Australia
Chinese Buddhist Encyclopedia Illustrations
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- ... religious sādhanā, which both prevents an excess of worldliness and molds the mind and disposition (bhāva) into a form which develops the knowledge of dispassion and non-attachment.
- Sādhanā is a discipline undertaken in the pursuit of a goal. Abhyāsa is repeated practice performed with observation and reflection.
The goal of sādhanā is to attain some level of spiritual realization, which can be either enlightenment, pure love of God (prema), liberation (moksha) from the cycle of birth and death (saṃsāra), or a particular goal such as the blessings of a deity as in the Bhakti traditions.
Sādhanā can involve meditation, chanting of mantra (sometimes with the help of a japa mala), puja to a deity, yajna, and in very rare cases mortification of the flesh or tantric practices such as performing one's particular sādhanā within a cremation ground.
Sādhanā or spiritual practice need not be directed towards a higher cause like enlightenment or moksha. Sādhanā can be done by individuals for lower aims like obtaining worldly pleasures. Sādhanā is also done by a group for the society at large.
In Ramayana it was mentioned that though Ravana and Kumbhakarna were great devotees of Shiva and performed various tapas, they were performing sakām sādhanā as their main aim was to become powerful and rule the world.
Examples of vyaṣṭi sādhanā
Benefits of vyaṣṭi sādhanā
- Spiritual Progress
- Increase in Sātvikta
- Increases Bhaava (Faith)
- Increases the talmal (desire for God)
- Lower level Anubhuti (spiritual experiences)
Pitfalls of vyaṣṭi sādhanā
- Ego can increase
- Needs a lot of time for little spiritual progress
- One can lose motivation as fast progress is not achieved
Examples of samaṣṭi sādhanā
- Taking satsangs
- Helping in organising satsangs, meditation camps, etc.
- Telling others about spirituality.
- Helping others overcome ego by telling them their mistakes from the point of view of spirituality.
Benefits of samaṣṭi sādhanā
- We become closer to God
- Faster Spiritual progress
- Love for all living beings (prīti) increases
- Superior level spiritual experiences (anubhutis)
- After death we go to higher planes of existence (svarga or heaven and beyond)
- Ego and Personality Defects can be easily removed
- Movement from saguna to nirguna
Pitfalls of samaṣṭi sādhanā
- More energy is required (physical, mental and spiritual)
- Attitude is important
- More chances of ego increasing
- Very important to do samaṣṭi sādhanā under correct guru.
- One mistake in samaṣṭi sādhanā has a cascading effect and many are affected. This increases the sin of the person who made the mistake.
- śāva sādhanā (sādhanā done sitting on a corpse).
- śmaśāna sādhanā (sādhanā done in the cremation ground).
- pañca-muṇḍa sādhanā (sādhanā done sitting on a seat of five skulls).
1. Śūraṅgama Sitātapatrā, 2. Nīlakaṇṭha, 3. Tārā, 4. Mahākāla, 5. Hayagrīva, 6. Amitābha Amitāyus, 7. Bhaiṣajyaguru Akṣobhya, 8. Guhyasamaja, 9. Vajrayoginī Vajravarāhi, 10. Heruka Cakrasaṃvara, 11. Yamāntaka Vajrabhairava, 12. Kālacakra, 13. Hevajra 14. Chod, 15. Vajrapāṇi.
- ...external ritual and internal sadhana form an indistinguishable whole, and this unity finds its most pregnant expression in the form of the mandala, the sacred enclosure consisting of concentric squares and circles drawn on the ground and representing that adamantine plane of being on which the aspirant to Buddhahood wishes to establish himself.
Islam itself could be understood as a "sadhana". Some more specialized practices include dhikr and chilla-nashini as well as the way of self chosen poverty as a derwish or mendicant as well as the Sama (Sufism) of the various Sufi orders.
Meher Baba's teachings
The spiritual teacher Meher Baba stated that one participates in part of the goal of sadhana in the spiritual practice itself: "In the spiritual field it is not possible to maintain an unbridgeable gulf between Sadhana and the end sought through it.
This gives rise to the fundamental paradox that, in the spiritual field, the practicing of a Sadhana in itself amounts to a partial participation in the goal." According to Baba, the goal of sadhana is God-realization:
"It aims at bringing about a radical change in the quality of life so that it permanently becomes an expression of the Truth in the eternal NOW. Sadhana is spiritually fruitful if it succeeds in bringing the life of the individual in tune with the divine purpose, which is to enable everyone to enjoy consciously the God-state."
- See also: Sādhaka