Practice English Speaking&Listening with: Transformation

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"New birth" depends as much upon sex energy as do physical birth and the propagation of

species. George Gurdjieff

In the tutorial on Deviation, we followed

Siddhartha's early development until his bold departure from his father's kingdom, having

rejected Mara's temptation to stay in comfortable luxury.

In search of liberation, Siddhartha now chooses the opposite extreme to his former life. He

will travel the path of asceticism. However, after six years of ascetic life,

and although his body becomes as thin as a skeleton, he still does not attain enlightenment.

On the verge of starvation, he witnesses a music teacher instructing his student how

to tune a lute. "Too loose and the string won't sound," says the teacher; "too tight

and it will snap. You must find the middle way."

Siddhartha realizes that he has erred in swinging to the extreme of asceticism. He, too, must

find a middle way. Inspired by this new revelation, he sits under a Bodhi tree facing east and

resolves never to move till he attains liberation.

Mara said, "While he yet stands within my reach and while his spiritual eyesight is

not yet attained, I will assail him to break his vow..." He announced the news to his army

and drew out to battle... In that army no two persons carried the same weapon; they

were all different in their appearance..." The tutorial on Deviation taught us to expect

our habits to strengthen as a result of our efforts to control them. It also taught us

to expect them to approach with subtlety. Mara and his army embody these two principles.

Siddhartha's resolution elicits their resistance unlike ever before. They crowd upon him in

various shapes and forms, to deviate him from his purpose.

Siddhartha responds with the only reasonable response to imaginary assault: he disregards

it. The more he keeps aim, the more fiercely Mara opposes his aim.

Siddhartha has now fashioned his cosmos in the image of the Hindu Churning myth, the

parts affirming his aim pulling on one end, and those denying it pulling on the other.

Despite Mara's assault, the determined Siddhartha remains untroubled, like a lion seated in

the midst of oxen. This picture of serenity amidst chaos has become a hallmark in Buddhist

imagery, illustrating the effort and price that precede liberation.

"The less the saint feared the frightful hosts of that multitude, the more did Mara continue

his attacks in grief and anger. One rained down from the sky a great shower of live embers...

But that shower scattered at the foot of the Bodhi tree and became a shower of red lotus-petals...

Others poured a shower of stones upon that tree, but it turned to a pleasant shower of

flowers." The legends of the Assault of Mara and the

Churning of the Milky Ocean draw from natural principles. Friction generates energy. But

the process of generating energy through friction doesn't last indefinitely. Churning reaches

a point of combustion, which fundamentally alters the nature of the entire process.

Once churned matter combusts, the resulting flame bears its own momentum. The "I"s that

formerly threatened our effort now augment its flame, as water and wind only strengthen

an established fire. Thus, at a certain point in Siddhartha's meditation,

Mara's interruptions are no longer experienced as assaults, but as fuel. Embers hurled at

him turn into lotus petals; stones turn into flowers. What was previously a negative influence

now turns positive. This marks the point of Transformation.

The many "I"s remain, but their sense of "I" is lost. Our persistent efforts have transformed

our identity from the many "I"s to real "I." We are what observes, not what we observe.

"If it uses its own energy, the sex center stands on a level with the higher emotional

center. And all the other centers are subordinate to it." George Gurdjieff

Sex energy now fuels consciousness rather than habit, which means that our efforts are

driven by a new surge. Our chaotic functions fall into subordination. Our internal churning

has reestablished order in our Micro-cosmos. We have achieved inner liberation.

True identity is neither in Buddha's discipline nor in Mara's army; neither in the gods nor

the demons; neither in affirmation nor in negation. True identity resides in the part

that witnesses the struggle. We are what observes, not what we observe - the "Middle Way" alluded

to by the music instructor. Which brings us to this week's exercise:

To verify the principle of transformation. Aim to tug against a difficult group of "I"s

to the point of transformation. If it is a particular form of negativity, then aim to

avoid its expression. If it is a particular physical habit, then aim to avoid its manifestation.

Within a limited period of time, focus all your resources on this struggle, just as Siddhartha

focuses his. Aim to witness a shift in identity. Once you

verify that the struggle with the many "I"s doesn't last indefinitely, that your persistence

brings you to a point of combustion, then you have verified the principle of Transformation.

Assault of Mara, 450 525 AD Ajanta Caves, India


The Description of Transformation