Indra takes part in a workshop based on Atisha’s meditations, run by Videha.
Atisha the Thrice Great (982-1052 AD) was a significant spiritual figure in spreading Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism in Asia. He was one of the greatest alchemists the world has ever known.
Osho devotes 28 discourses – spread over The Book of Wisdom volumes 1 and 2 – and some 46½ hours to discussing and expounding on Atisha’s ‘Seven points of mind training’. If you can consider the compression and distillation of a zip file of a zip file of a zip file of Buddhist teachings, then you’re getting close to the compactness of Atisha’s wisdom.
Last year in the middle of August, Osho Nisarga’s newsletter arrived by email and to my surprise and delight I saw that my favourite training was planned: Seven Points of Mind Training. At that moment I just knew I had to be there!
I’ve spent the last year or so listening regularly to The Book of Wisdom. The complexity of both the material and the language (I’m a native Dutch speaker) are a constant challenge to me. Besides, I’m very well aware of how I learn better from someone who guides me, so I was looking for a suitable training or workshop. Through my beloved Kaiyum, we searched hard in ‘the world of Osho’ but to no avail. Until… the newsletter arrived.
No coincidence, of course!
The very same evening I registered for the training.
With just a couple of weeks to go, we managed to get everything arranged. From the first moment a very warm contact was established with the Italian facilitator Videha, who took sannyas in 1980.
He is an experienced trainer who travels the globe expanding his learning of ancient traditions and offering training and workshops at numerous centres, as well as organising meditation retreats uniting the Path of Love and the Path of Meditation.
My adventure begins
With the necessary adventures and health challenges (damaged foot, strong reactions to air pollution in India) on my way, I arrived in Dharmsala well in time to participate in the group in nearby Osho Nisarga.
We started after White Robe on Saturday 15 October (my 65th birthday), with a get-together and the necessary instructions for the subsequent week.
Videha was immediately very specific about the importance – for both ourselves and the group – of committing to the whole of the programme including Dynamic Meditation each morning and Kundalini in the afternoon.
Because of the state of my health, I discussed with Videha the alternative of doing Gibberish during both meditations – and I even did Kundalini sitting in my chair!
At 6:10 (brrr… early!) the programme begins in Shunya Mandir with the Dynamic Meditation. Despite Videha’s clear instruction about commitment, many participants are absent. As the day progresses and we start the group sessions, it doesn’t take long before it is evident just how powerful and experienced a teacher he is, someone who knows how to guide a group through the intricacies of Atisha’s valuable insights.
The many concentrated sutras include these:
- First, learn the preliminaries (truth is, mind is the barrier, no mind is the door)
- Think that all phenomena are like dreams (the basic thing is: that which can be seen is a dream)
- Do this by riding the breath. Train in joining, sending and taking together (Atisha’s heart meditation: breathing in all the misery of the world and pouring out all the joy)
I find these meditations extremely useful, both for my own process and for helping to bond within the group. Throughout the day each session is filled with meditations, discourses and exercises. Osho’s discourses are the foundation of the training.
After Osho’s commentary and explanation, Videha focuses on the most significant points and stresses the importance of experimenting with them.
From theory to practise
I certainly agree with the empowering effect of such a training course when I am able to apply and integrate the key themes. This means, of course, taking responsibility for each and every experience, feeling and thought. And guess what? A daily conflict situation at Osho Nisarga soon arises which turns out to be my significant daily practice…!
The path of transformation
During White Robe on the very first evening, tears of gratitude flow and I feel so profoundly the words, “I am home!”
It’s truly a paradise here: the mountains, the climate, the beauty and the tidiness (so un-Indian!) of the surroundings, the fruits and vegetables they grow themselves, my apartment… everything fits perfectly.
Shortly after experiencing this ‘perfection’, my enjoyment of this ‘paradise’ and my deep-seated sense of harmony are disturbed by the ‘conflict situation’, a confrontation with one of the sannyasins. Luckily I am able to use it as a profound meditation, applying Atisha’s teachings to enrich my own awareness of truth.
The pain that is awakened is that of confusion and being excluded. The little girl that has a problem with being highly sensitive is wary. At the first meeting with this ‘senior’ sannyasin, I feel her aloofness. Shortly after that, she attacks me verbally: there is apparently a trivial issue about which I’d received conflicting information. She behaves as if I have done something wrong. I try to interrupt her, to ask her what exactly I had done wrong, but she just keeps ranting at me. In frustration I simply turn around and walk away. The next time our paths cross, she’s all smiles and friendly, and another time she just ignores me completely. There are other incidents with this woman, but the essence is that Atisha’s teachings support me in being able to observe what is happening and especially what I feel, and to accept all that, including how I behave. Despite my blossoming awareness, the experience of feeling so excluded is painful, while at the same time I am able to welcome it and be grateful for this ‘gift’.
More sutras that helped me
- The four bodies (the body of emptiness, of compassion, of bliss, and of the ultimate nature of being as it is/no duality)
- The four provisions (observe, analyse, choose what brings bliss, silence, serenity and discard all that brings tension, anxiety)
- The two precepts (awareness, compassion)
- The two witnesses (others’ opinions about me, watching myself, attention to myself, witness the witness itself)
Discovering the alchemist in myself
These seven points (and of course they are many more than just seven!) – the most compact teachings around – are incredibly precious, an indispensable ‘lamp’ that illuminates my inner path. Atisha provides a guidebook full of practical instructions about developing wisdom and supporting transformation. Osho’s explanations and commentary help enormously in breathing life into the otherwise so complex matter. He clarifies what can help me and what is just getting in my way. Each sutra is an inner inquiry into who I really am. I feel a strong invitation to explore the deepest depths of my heart and soul – my conditioning, pitfalls, fears, illusions, dreams, peeling off layer after layer – and to turn base metal into gold and poison into medicine. I rejoice in how self-empowering each and every experience is… if I commit to the exploration!
Polishing my mirror
This is the most rewarding training I’ve ever followed. It brings together all that I have experienced and done until now and shows me where my challenges lie.
During the training I became acutely aware of my need to consolidate the essential wisdom in my native language. It was abundantly clear that this would help me implement and integrate the sutras in my everyday life. So, even while I was at Osho Nisarga, I started summarising and translating the sutras and what I was learning from them into Dutch. It’s a lot of work, and, back in Holland, I’ve still a number to work on. But it is as clear as ever that this work on the summaries is proving to be a great way to polish my mirror as yet more layers of my ego are peeled off. The gift of Atisha’s wisdom feels like a warm shower of love and compassion…
Thank you, Videha!
Every day I feel Osho’s love in every cell and every fibre of my body… Thank you, thank you, Osho!
Indra lives a Mojud-like life ‘on the edge’, continually aware of her connection with Osho and the Divine. The last decades include the formal conclusion of a declining marriage and the start of an intensive period as trainer, therapist and coach. www.indravisser.com (only in Dutch) describes the broad range of approaches that she integrates in her practice.
Dropping the Mask – Deva Indra’s journey inside
I Am Responsible for Myself – Osho comments on Atisha’s sutra: Drive all blame into one
The Heart Transforms – Sadhana writes about Atisha’s Heart Meditation in The Asian Age