How to Get Real Freedom
The Buddhist Yogi C. M. Chen
But there is also the situation of a prisoner who sees the door of his dungeon open, he dashes for it without stopping to think where he shall get his dinner outside. Hence, the problem is where can real freedom be found, and if there is real freedom, how can we get it?
First we must talk about the common person's conception of freedom. Clearly we know that most people think freedom comes from a government. Can a government actually give you freedom? The answer is negative. Earlier today we were talking about smoking and whether smoking should be forbidden. Many people want to be free from the smoke of others but still they cannot pass such legislation. Why? The government cannot really give you this freedom. People are disappointed with the government because they can't really get such a reasonable freedom. Regarding the three American principles--of the people, by the people, and for the people--have Americans really achieved these three ideals? I don't think so. Even though I have not been an American for very long, I have read about the 200 years of American history and I know it is not realistic to think that the government can do everything for the people, of the people, and by the people.
In China many people have died in this century fighting for what they considered "their freedom" and in the end, did not get it. Such persons take the word "people" as a positive term and utilize this name to actually use the people, to take people's land, money, and taxes, even to take people's lives. So the people always suffer. We cannot get real freedom from any government.
The governor himself may be good and really want to give his people freedom, but throughout history the very good governors have been very few while all the generals want to fight with other countries and even fight with their own people. Thus, from a government you cannot get complete freedom.
From one's family can you get freedom? Mothers and fathers love their children and wish them to be free and have everything good. But parents have parents' habits and children have children's habits and often they are not in agreement. So in America many youths have left their parents and their families. From one's family one also cannot get real freedom.
What about from the University? Our happiest time is youth. When you are a student you can get entertainment, amusement, and other good things through your school. But from any university or college can you really get freedom? No. You are given very hard exams you must pass to get your degree and if you do not pass, you do not get freedom. Even though you may be good students, sometimes you cannot pass and cannot get this kind of freedom.
From society can you get freedom? Society is very complex; you have your habit, he has his habit, you have your freedom, he has his own idea of freedom. One freedom conflicts with another freedom and results in trouble. In society some people agree with one party, some with another party, so you cannot get complete freedom from society. It is just like the shepherd who drives the wolf from the sheep's throat for which the sheep thanks the shepherd as the benefactor of his freedom, while at the same time the wolf denounces the shepherd for depriving him of his freedom by the same act.
From the modern commune can you get freedom? Alas, no. I have been disappointed and tell this story. Some rich person gave his house as a communal center so that anyone could live there freely. Someone asked me whether I would like to also live in this commune. I told him the truth. The commune is a place where you exchange one bad habit for another bad habit. If parents forbid their offspring to smoke, he escapes from his parent's house and comes to the commune. So in the commune some smoke cigarettes, some smoke cigars, some smoke marijuana, some take LSD. When someone with a bad habit comes to your commune, he exchanges his habit with the many habits of others who live there. They think they are very free. Oh, this commune needs no leader, needs no rules. Everything is free. I read many reports about modern communes and their community life style. The commune is just a place where you go from one bad habit to many bad habits. This is not freedom.
The term real freedom means whatever you do you are free. For freedom means that we get good results, not bad results which further trap us. When truly free, you will be in a good condition and will always be happy. If freedom is just obtaining many bad habits, what is the use of it if you just harm yourself? The result is that you also have the freedom to kill yourself. Many people think of freedom just as winning vainglory and flattering their vanity. Actually, such a person cannot really get good things. Once I heard a newspaper story about a lady who wanted to kill President Ford. The next day she was seized and put in jail and the newspaper photographed her which made her very glad. Why was she glad? Because she thought, "My photo is in the paper and my name is known to every American. To live in jail is very comfortable, so never mind, I need not work, I can live in jail and eat for free." She was just interested in vainglory, I am very disappointed to say. What does this kind of freedom mean and what is its purpose? The more you get such freedom of vainglory the more you just get trouble. It is painful and you are not really happy.
We think that when we leave this human world God will give us freedom. There is a phrase that goes, "Where the Lord is, there is the Freedom." Is this really true? Then you must ask yourself whether even God himself has freedom. If so, then why does the Old Testament say, "I sometimes also have anger, I sometimes also cause war." God puts in his rules, "You must believe in me and then you can get help, otherwise you will fall." This is a kind of pride. God is not free from pride and anger--so how is your God free? If your God is not free how can you say, "Where the Lord is, there is the Freedom?" As God progresses to be finally free of anger, free of pride, and free of ego, then he can be said to be really free.
There are three kinds of heavens. Heavens of Form, Heavens of Non-form, and Heavens of Desire. Those in the Heaven of Desire cannot be free because he who has desire also has sorrow, love, anger, pride, and even fights with the Asuras. The Asuras are in the second state just below Heaven. The Asuras always have anger toward Heaven and the Gods have to fight with them. Of the three types of Heavens, the Heavens of Form and those of Non-form have freedom because the Heavens of Form have only a little form and no desire so there is no fighting, and the Heavens of Non-form are also very pure. Nevertheless, they are still not free from form or non-form, they are only free from very heavy desires and that is why they do not have much trouble. They are still not completely free and do not have the real and ultimate freedom--the freedom from "Spiritual birth and death."
So where is this final freedom and how can we get it? A being having real freedom actually must meet the standard of being always happy and making others happy. He must never have anger, never fight with others, never struggle with others, and he must love others completely. We must attain this standard to be really free.
If one gets freedom and no happiness, why seek freedom? We don't have freedom because we are filled with desires, with war, so we have sorrow and pain, and never happiness. To be free we must be happy, not only under good conditions, but even under a bad government, even when surrounded by a bad society. This happiness is one which nobody can take from you, nobody can fight about with you, and no one can rob from you. Having this Happiness, you can easily give happiness to others. This is the good and final freedom.
So from where does it come and how to get it? First of all, you must forget yourself and do many things out of goodness to help others. Do not fight with others, do not interfere with others. Do not try to control others. You must only help others, agree with others. By doing goodness you can get real freedom. Being free is not just having freedom from others' control while you yourself still control others; this is not real freedom. Even if you are the most powerful person and everyone is under your control, you will not be free.
Freedom is from your goodness, not from your power. This is the superficial and not-so-deep basis of freedom. The first step is that you must try to be good. There is no freedom without merits, so try to always live in goodness. There is a saying that when the snow falls, man can be free, but while the orange blossoms, man is the foe of other men. Such a kind of man who does not do good but only has the evil of lust cannot find freedom. One should try to do many good things for others and do not try to control or quarrel with them. This is the first condition. From goodness you can get a little freedom but not the real and final freedom.
Why do we always ask for freedom from outside? Actually bondage comes from ourselves. So to get freedom you must first be free from selfishness, free from your own ego, then you can really get freedom. People think, "I must be free from all hindering conditions, I must be independent, I must be the best, I must control everybody but not be controlled by anyone." This kind of ambition is based upon the ego. If one has no ego, then such bondage is finished. This is real freedom. If you do not establish an ego, then you will be free from selfishness. If you are free from selfishness, then you can really get happiness. You will find there is no foe from outside, that the only foe is yourself. Once you are liberated from the enemy, then you can find real freedom.
Every individual should learn before he dies what he is running from and why, and get the answer as to where and how to get real freedom for himself. Don't point your index finger toward anyone else as the cause of your loss of freedom, but let your other four fingers bend toward yourself and know that you have lost your freedom through your own evils and sins. Every horse thinks his own load is the heaviest among all other horses. Shall a man go and hang himself because he belongs to the race of pygmies and is not the biggest pygmy? If he really knows how to be humble, he might be very glad to be the smallest pygmy. As George Chapman says:
Who to himself is law, no law does need;
One never reflects on how pleasant it is not to have to ask for freedom from the government or from society. If one enjoys one's non-selfishness as one's own palace, he will find that nowhere in the whole world is there a jail for him. The great man is he who in the midst of a crowd keeps, with perfect happiness and sweetness, his independence without wanting freedom. If one is all into himself, he carries all freedom with him as he carries himself.
I have noticed that when chickens quit quarreling over their food they often find that there is actually enough and even more than enough for all of them. In our modern age, the young American are asking for freedom just like those chickens. Since I came here, and now that I am a citizen, I have felt that there is too much freedom in America for all the selfish persons.
No man is free who is not the master of himself. Freedom which deserves the name is to pursue our own good in our own way as long as we do not attempt to deprive others of theirs, or impede their efforts to obtain it. If a man's passions are controlled, his freedom can be found within himself. He lives a religious life, he is doing his duty and is always satisfied; there is nothing more for him and he needs no additional freedom. He will not wish for anything or avoid anything that others are dependent on. Hence, an excess of freedom just becomes an excess of slavery if he asks for more freedom from the government or society. The highest self-bondage to detachment is identical with true freedom. One just loses his freedom by asking for it from others. The person who always asks for freedom is the person who prepares to be a slave of others.
Many religions which are based upon God still hold God as the highest ego, the high self. So they are still not free. You must learn Buddhism and learn how to develop your Bodhicitta to help others, forget yourself and always try to destroy your ego; whenever you stop your ego by an inch, then you get an inch of freedom. If you completely destroy your ego, then you get complete freedom. This is the real final and ultimate freedom. It is from non-egoism that you can get real freedom.
Not only from non-egoism but also from great compassion is freedom obtained. Our non-egoism is just a negative philosophy of mind so you have to work actively to help others. You must develop great compassion toward everybody, even to animals, to ghosts, to all beings everywhere; and even though you meet some troubles and obstacles you are willing to bear them. That is why a Bodhisattva will take out his eye for you if you want it, or will cut his head off for you. He can die, and die, and die again for all sentient beings. This is great compassion. He never feels he is bound by anybody. He just willingly helps others so he is quite free. Thus from great compassion you can get real freedom.
As the purpose of freedom is to create it for others, it is one thing you can't have unless you give it to others. Before you enjoy freedom you have to first control yourself. You should not make yourself a nuisance to others. It is well described by James Russell in his work "Stanzas on Freedom":
True freedom is to share,
This is from where freedom comes. But how to get it? There are many practices. You have to practice the ten deeds of goodness, the five Bodhicittas, deep breathing, and deep Samadhi to get the real voidness. In your Samadhi you become the light, you become the Dharmakaya, you become more vast than everything, you can include everything, you can forgive everything, you can even admit many enemies to come to you. You find there is no boundary to yourself, so you need no freedom. You find you are so big, so vast, so great, including everything, never feeling any enemy is outside, just like the ocean. There are many kinds of rivers and many kinds of water that come to the ocean. Sweet water, salt water, hard water, unsalted water, even blood, dirt, and pollution--everything comes to the ocean and the ocean just bears all of them. Why would you need any more freedom than this?
Right now we have no supernatural power, we are just human. Among all of mankind we are perhaps not the worst ones and are maybe a little better than most. The question is: In our stage, with our ability, how can we get, perhaps not the final or ultimate but more or less, some freedom? We have spoken of goodness, great compassion and non-egoism, but why from these can we really get freedom? First of all Buddhists always speak of three things: the Vinaya (rules of conduct), the Samadhi (meditation), and Wisdom. How these connect with our consideration of freedom is that they make one a little better than the person who is always bound by Samsara.
First I will talk about the Vinaya, why we keep the Vinaya and try to do something good. We are not bad people; we always try to do good. We come here to the mountain for a fire sacrifice, this is a kind of good deed. How do you get any freedom from this? Even though a person who keeps the Vinaya and who does something good cannot get the real and final freedom, but he can get a God to protect him. A God means an example of goodness. He likes people to do good. Whenever you do good you seem to do good alone but actually God is there, God remembers you. There are many bad things you might want to be free from. Let us say you want to be free from poison. Actually, in the air there are so many small germs and you do not have freedom to choose among them. They always come to your nose, come through your breathing. This is taken care of by God. I have a story: Once a person came to a party and somebody gave poison to that person in a brandy drink. He took the cup to his lips to drink, but he found somebody pulling on his sleeve to stop him. He looked for a man or animal but saw nothing and thought, "What is not allowing me to drink? Why?" He couldn't believe it. So he took the cup up again and found he was stopped again. Again he put it down; and again he tried to drink and felt someone pulling on his sleeve. He immediately took leave from his host and later learned that the drink had been poisoned. So he was saved. Who did this? It might be through help from the higher position of a God, or Dragon King, or the lower position of a ghost. That is why we always practice in a cemetery to give the ghosts Amitabha's incantation and pray for their good rebirth. Those ghosts get more freedom than us. We cannot read other's minds but ghosts sometimes can read ours. So, when the ghosts like you they can protect you and follow you wherever you may go. Thus, when they know there is a poison they will stop you from taking it to save you. Then you can get freedom from poison, which you cannot do by yourself. When you do something good, God likes you, the Dragon King and ghosts like you, and so they always follow you. We cannot see them but they can see us. On the contrary, if you do bad to others, these beings just come to your mind, occupy your mind, and ask you to kill yourself by telling you that you will thus get to heaven. They speak like this. This is why those nine hundred people killed themselves in the People's Church.
I can give you some examples of this. One is of my friend who was a Buddhist. She took an opium pipe and cheated many other Buddhists. She said, "I can cure your disease, you do not need to take medicine, I will cure you." Thus she got some money. She often said, "I feel myself that I want to go, I want to leave this world. I always think to myself that I should commit suicide." I said, "No, you help others to cure their disease, why would you want to do this?" "I don't know, it seems somebody forces me to think like this. I will do it. If I do this and die, please pray for me." I said, "No, you should not do this. My prayers cannot save you." One week later she killed herself. Her husband also told me that she often said she wanted to kill herself but that he advised her not to do so. Actually her condition was not of poverty and was not very difficult, so she could live nicely, nevertheless, she still wanted to die. This was just the God or Dragon King or ghosts who forced her to think like this and act like this, and so she died. Just like the People's Church followers in Guyana. Their leader Jim Jones had so much money, so much power, so many disciples, there was no reason for him not to live. Why did he force himself and others to die? It was not by his own decision, freely. He just lost his own freedom. If you do not do good, do not have goodness, and do not keep the Vinaya, you will be punished by God. You may think that suicide is your own idea, but actually it is God's. When we do good and keep the Vinaya we will have enough freedom to protect ourselves. So this is the first basic, the Vinaya.
The second is Samadhi or Meditation. If you meditate well, you will have enough power to control yourself and guide yourself in a right way. Most people do something to lose their freedom. Suppose your mind is not so clear, you always drink when you drive, then you have no freedom to be safe. Why? Because such people do not meditate, they have no mental power to control themselves, they are controlled by wine. Just as those people who take LSD are excited by the drug and controlled by it. If one has a good and clear mind, he can distinguish between what is safe and what is not safe, what is good and what is bad. Then he will always be free from dangerous situations. Also, the meditator is always loved by God. God does not like the violent person, he likes the person who is very peaceful. He will always be a protector. If you meditate well, God will follow you. And you also will have the ability to distinguish what is good from what is bad, the safe from the unsafe, then your choice for your freedom is very right.
The People's Church Members also could choose by themselves, but they did not have the mind to distinguish right from wrong; that is why one member said he went once to visit but after one visit he could not leave the group. So if you are a person whose mind is very clear and always quiet and you are not always guided, lured, and cheated by others, you will choose very nicely. Why need even visit? Do you know any person who goes to visit Hell? If you know there is Hell, you should not visit it; if you know there is a very dangerous place, you should not go there.
That is why if one always meditates and always tries to make one's mind quiet, your mind will be very wise and very clear and can distinguish all conditions. Then you will always be free, you will have no danger, you can get the freedom of safety. This is through only a little practice of meditation, not through supernatural power. To get supernatural powers is very difficult, but for this level of achievement of freedom you only need to practice a little meditation and you will always be clear and will not be excited either by drugs, wine, or spirits.
The third essence of Buddhism is Wisdom. How can wisdom help us get freedom? Wisdom is not just as that recognized by the West, where they think of wisdom as a concept, like being wise or clever. What Buddhists call wisdom is the ability to recognize yourself or to recognize another person. In this way you will get much freedom. You will always try to think that your freedom is here, you will recognize that you are always free and that you have the power to keep your freedom. You have no need to be favored by the law, no need to be favored by any condition. For example, I forbid myself to smoke but the law says I can smoke if I wish in certain places. But even if you are forbidden to smoke, if you have wisdom, you do not hold the illusion of non-smoking. This means you can keep your freedom not to smoke to yourself and do not forbid everybody to smoke.
You have to take an airplane and on the airplane someone smokes; you have to walk on the street and somebody smokes on the street; you go to a theater and somebody smokes in the theater. It is very difficult to avoid all smokers. Even nowadays in the BART subway where it is forbidden to smoke, there is smoking. I even saw the driver himself smoking. I even saw a Santa Claus smoke--how can you forbid everybody? You can forbid only yourself, for you have enough freedom to control yourself not to smoke. You have to keep the wisdom to purify the volition of non-smoking. This is a little difficult to understand. This means you smoke but I do not smoke, so I do not get much nicotine poisoning. When I accidently meet other people who smoke, I do not forbid them to smoke; this is my manner.
Somebody drove me to the mountain and asked if I minded his smoking. I said, "No, it is very good. I like the smell." In this way he will be happy, there is no need to quarrel with him. How can you forbid him? His parents cannot forbid him, his government cannot forbid him, his wife cannot forbid him. He himself likes to smoke, so how can he stop it by meeting you? It is impossible to forbid him, so you must have your own wisdom to smoke or not to smoke--but never mind about the others, don't worry too much. You have the wisdom to control yourself, you really have this freedom, so a little smell for a few minutes from others will not kill you. And if it is in your power when someone comes to your room and you say, "Oh, I do not smoke, please do not smoke." It may be that you become unhappy. At that time you may get some poison, the poison of mind; not poison from nicotine but poison of the mind. So you bind yourself rather than free yourself.
Wisdom is always connected with another two F's--one is to Float, like a bubble or ball does on the water, just float and not sink, not fly up and away. We must have true wisdom to float. Don't rely on your own wisdom too much. You will get wisdom everywhere. If you keep your own wisdom too much then you will be in bondage by your own mind. The other "F" is Flexible. This means you can do this or do that, always keeping an easygoing manner. If you have wisdom you are always like this. So if we do not seriously attach to our own wisdom, then we can get more wisdom. These two F's--to Float and be Flexible--allow us to gain wisdom and freedom. Always keep oneself like a ball, round and perfect. To make yourself happy do not hold things too seriously. You will then always be happy. So you will always be free. Thus I have explained a little more about these three Buddhist points.
I would like to point out that when we do have freedom, we often lose it. We have many freedoms but nobody treats them as freedoms. There are many freedoms which we are able to get but we do not treat them as such. We are able to get up early in our daily life. I get up at 1 A.M. and meditate until 3 o'clock and then I sleep a little while until 5 o'clock. At 5 o'clock I get up and go out to the woods at the University to get some fresh air. I sit there and think, oh, so wide, so vast, so great a University, but the University President is asleep, the students are asleep, everyone sleeps, and I am alone here, I have enough freedom to get the whole University's air. Is this not freedom? Nobody forbids me. Even if the President passes here he will say, "Oh, there is a good man." He won't say, "This is my place, you should not sit here. This air belongs to me, you should not breath it." Nobody forbids me. Is this not freedom? It is quite free. Many persons have let go of this freedom. We read many histories and records about the long-lived persons which say that the secret of long life is to just get up early and go to sleep early. There is a book with a list of the ten conditions of long life. Among them is to go to sleep early and to get up early. Longevity is a freedom which you may have if you want it. But many do not utilize it.
When we pass along the street, there are many bars selling alcoholic drinks. There are some people quarreling inside, some are drinking inside, some are making trouble inside. We just pass by there. Nobody asks us to come in, nobody forces us to go inside to drink. We pass by cigarette machines and people giving out free samples of cigarettes. They do not force us to buy. So many bad shops selling so many bad things, so many people secretly selling LSD and other drugs, but they do not force us to buy them. This is a freedom. I can do this myself, nobody forces me.
I published a booklet called "The Yoga of Daily Life" in which I mentioned which incantations to say when getting up, when going to bed, and throughout the day. For example, in daily life we must urinate or pass stool. There is an incantation to say to change this waste matter to nectar for the ghosts. In this way you can transform urine to nectar and give it as alms to the ghosts. There is no need to buy urine for it is free from your own body and to repeat an incantation once or twice is not difficult. If we utilize all these things we can help the ghosts. The ghost always comes to the toilet room to seek some food, but if you do not repeat the incantation he cannot take it. They see things like excrement, blood, and pus which he cannot take but if you repeat this incantation then he can take it and be saved. After he is saved he can protect you. There are many, many daily life yogas you can do. If you really want to help yourself and get more freedom with the help of a ghost, God, or Dragon King, there are many inexpensive everyday practices you can do by yourself. They protect you although you don't know it, but you might notice later that some things just happen very nicely. Why? We receive some help from God and Dragon King but we don't know it. So there are many things you can do yourself freely, but when you do not utilize all these good things, you just misuse this freedom.
Every religion says God helps those who help themselves. To help yourself means you must first be good, then God will help you. If you do not do good, how can he help you? We have enough time to do it, we have enough freedom to do it, nobody forbids you to do it. Many of my booklets point out many good practices. I have more than 800 readers but I don't know how many actually practice and really get help. And this is also your freedom. I send the booklets to you freely, I do not ask for money or stamps, whether you read them or not is your freedom of choice. After you read them whether you practice or not is your freedom. I do not forbid it. So many people have asked me to accept them as students. I say I do not forbid you to take my education, but I do not want to occupy the name of Guru; this is for my freedom.
So many freedoms you do not recognize. The person who is wise and has no ego will find that everything is very free. But the person who holds his ego too much for himself finds bondage everywhere and that he is controlled by this and controlled by that. If you really have a good mind you can have happiness and have yourself by losing yourself. You can utilize yourself to get many kinds of freedom. Freedom is always there. The person who is a pessimist finds that everything is bondage. The person who is an optimist finds that everywhere is freedom. Actually, they both live in the same surroundings with the same customs, the same society, in the same nation. I have been asked by many people, "How is Berkeley?" I say I feel that everywhere is very good, very happy. I don't think Berkeley is a place bad for me or especially good for me. I really cannot find an answer for them. Of course some people say they like Berkeley better than New York. Some say they like Oregon much better than California. Actually, this is all foolish talk. The real freedom is just according to yourself. You must try to be an optimist, don't be a pessimist. Then you will always find freedom. There is no need for supernatural power, no need for deep wisdom, just change your manner, change your attitude. A baby is naturally happy--why? As is man's nature, a baby doesn't mind feeling everyone is controlling him. Whenever he likes to cry, he cries. Why isn't everyone like a baby! That is why the Taoists always said that a baby is very pure. Every religion also emphasizes this. Christianity also said a baby can go to heaven very easily and quickly. We think if we have a lot of money we can get more freedom because if I buy this, I'm free, if I buy that, I'm free. But the Bible said it is very difficult for the rich person to go to heaven.
So the most important thing is our attitude. We must have a good attitude to try always to be an optimist, not to be a pessimist. This is what we all can do so that we will always be happy.
If I'm compelled to point out the real source of freedom, I have to say it is the supernatural power. There are many good examples in Buddhist history and biographies which are real and true facts, not just myths.
Padmasambhava flies with an emanation of red, white, and blue light rays. He landed in the garden where the Nepali Princess Mandarava lived. They practiced Vajra Love in spite of her King father's objections. He also inspired the queen of the Tibetan King to kneel down before him, asking to be his consort when the Tibetan King commanded his queen and all his concubines to circle around Padmasambhava and begged him to choose one for his Dharma Consort of Vajra Love.
Many saints and sages of India, China, and Tibet either in the Ch'an School or in the Tantric School can fly over all kinds of heavens. I have already talked about some of these. Please read Milarepa's biography. Milarepa could fly through the air, sit in the sky, and pass through a large rock. He could transverse the universe in every direction unimpededly--from the summit of Mount Meru to its base.
Milarepa could also multiply himself into hundreds of personalities each of which could transverse space and go to some of the Buddha's purelands or his many disciples' homes to receive their offerings at the same time.
Majilonma was forced by her disciple to have sexual intercourse. She sent the baby into her disciple's belly which gave him a lot of trouble for nine months. When the time of delivery came, she brought the baby back into her own womb and gave birth to the baby on that day. Nowadays, modern girls always ask for freedom but keep silent about the freedom of conceiving and they secretly use some medicines or instruments to abort the baby but they are not always effective.
In our age there are man-made calamities from people under whom many died. But a sage of the Chinese Ch'an School named Hsu Yun was struck by bandits until they thought he was dead and this happened four times but he still lived for more than ten years after such a cruel striking.
When Padmasambhava was seized by the King father of Mandarava, it was commanded that the soldiers strip him naked, assault him, spit upon him, and stone him. His hands were placed behind his back, a rope was placed around his neck, and he was bound to a stake at the junction of three roads. 1,700 people were ordered to each fetch a small bundle of wood and a small measure of oil. A long roll of black cloth was soaked in the oil and then wrapped around Padmasambhava. Then they heaped over him leaves of the Tara tree and palmyra leaves. Upon these the wood was placed and the seed oil poured over it. The pyre was as high as a mountain, and when fire was put into it from the four cardinal directions, the smoke hid the sun and sky. The multitude was satisfied and dispersed to their homes. A great sound was heard as if an earthquake had erupted and all the deities, dragon kings, and Buddhas came to Padmasambhava's aid. Some created a lake, some cast aside the wood, some unrolled the oil soaked cloth. Some fanned him. A rainbow appeared around the lake in which Padmasambhava sat still upon a lotus just like a beautiful child with an aura, and circled by eight maidens of the same appearance as Mandarava.
Once the Nepali Sage Dropakula was asked to give a prayer for rain. The tsampa (barley flour) of many different families was gathered together into a small hillock there for him. He stood himself upside down and widely opened his anus, asking those patrons to put all the tsampa into his belly through his anus. Suddenly he broke wind and with a great puff, all the tsampa came out to form clouds which immediately became rain and on whatever land the rain fell, there immediately grew the grain of tsampa.
Once Tibet was troubled by too much rain and there were floods everywhere. A sage who was known to be a practitioner of Bodhi-citta was asked to help stop the rain. He immediately filled his mouth with air and blew it up to the sky, then he wrote the two words "Bodhi Citta" on a paper, and put it into the flood. The land received freedom from wetness everywhere.
Ch'an monk Chin-Hwo wore cloth made of paper. The Ch'an monk Chih-Peng ate only the fruit of wild vegetation and drank river water and never used fire to cook his food. The Ch'an monk Hui-Man lived in open graves and never lived in a home or temple. Ch'an monk Tsuan Tai never received a patron or a disciple. When he was going to Nirvana, he burned himself while singing a song:
Without either shave
Buddha has the real Freedom of Livelihood which is written in the Maha-Sihanada Sutra:
"To such a pitch of asceticism have I gone that naked was I flouting lip's decencies, licking my hand after meals, never heeding when folk called to me or to stop, never accepting food brought to me before my rounds or cooked expressly for me, never accepting an invitation, never receiving food direct from pot or pan or without the threshold or among the faggots or pestles, never from two people messing together...my raiment has been of hemp or hemp mixtures, or remnants of rags from the dust heap, of bark, of the black antelopes pelt either whole or split down the middle, of grass, of strips of bark or wood, a hair of man or animals woven into blanket or of owl's wing...My abode was in the depths of forest, the mere glimpse of a cowherd or grasscutter or of a man gathering firewood or edible roots in the forest."
In his biography Milarepa also said, "By denying myself the trivial pleasure to be derived from food, clothing and fame, I am subduing the enemy in this very lifetime and to be a truly free man. Among the worlds entire human population, I am one with the most freedom and highest aspiration."
Chinese monks of Ch'an have their wonderful freedom shown through their death.
Those who have bondage of knowledge, have limited their wisdom, and many real freedoms shown by the ancient sages are unknown to them. Actually, the supernatural power of common meditation may even be found in religions other than Buddhism. In Hinduism there are some examples as follows:
In Hindu Kundalini Yoga there are 26 minor Siddhis mentioned as follow:
It is only the scientists who still keep the bondage of knowledge are treating supernatural powers as superstitions. Those who have faith in the New Science, or as they have called it Para-Science, have endeavored to research the following knowledge which was formally treated as superstitions:
They also treat the old science as a knowledge of ignorance. Dr. Duncan, Dr. Weston-Smith, Sir Hermann Bondi, R. A. Lyttleton, I. W. Roxburg, Dr. D. Gough, Dr. P. C. W. Davies, Dr. Bertatti, Dr. T. Gold, Dr. A. Salamn and Dr. H. Halberstam have co-operatively written a book in which they have pointed out all the mistakes of the Old Science. They purposely entitled this book as "Encyclopedia of Ignorance-Physics." They try to find the superstitions in the old sciences and find the science in superstitions. They have really started to open their minds to receive for themselves the freedom of knowledge. Most of them do have some faith in Buddhism.
In conclusion, I would like to summarize this article in a few words.
One who wants freedom from a government sometimes may get bondage in jail; from society, sometimes may get trouble; from a community or a family, sometimes may commit suicide. One who wants freedom from oneself will surely get the real one through losing one's egoism by practicing the renunciation and meditation on Sunyata of Buddhism, and thereby achieving the realization of Full Enlightenment. It has been my purpose to let you know where to find the real freedom and how to get it.
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