(Originally published in June 2010)
In a recent post it was mentioned that in both the Hermetic and Tibetan literature it is stated that the teachings of spirituality in general, and these unique forms in particular, would eventually all but disappear, save for special locals. However, the process whereby this loss of traditional and proven methods was not elaborated, as it was not at my disposal at the time of writing the previous post. Quite by accident I came across the following, and am including to further elaborate on what has already been stated. In their work, Opening the Wisdom Door of the Outer Tantras: Refining Awareness Through Ascetic Ritual and Purification Practice (Dharma Samudra, 2008) Khenchen Paldren Sherab Rinpoche and his brother, Khenpo Tsewang Dongyal Rinpoche, state that the universe, our world, and all universes and worlds, known and unknown to us go through various stages. Of the four stages we are currently in the fourth stage, or that of the Kali Yuga. It is known as the “degenerate age” and is characterized by quarreling, fighting, and contention of all sorts. Strong emotions and territorial divisions are pervasive. Everything is very rough and difficult as people see themselves as superior and more important than others. The authors state that we are in the middle of the age, from which things will get worse, as we have reached the height of negative emotions on the planet. Through the practice of Supreme Yoga Tantra, individual and to some degree collective suffering can be eased. Supreme Yoga Tantra is composed of the highest tantras known as Father, Mother, and Non-Dual, wherein generation of the deity and manipulation of the inner energies, are used to cleanse our mental obscuration and perceptions. They also involve the use of sexual energies to fuel the path of liberation, as in this time and place, physical contact is so important to people, and is the means whereby they experience satisfaction of the senses. It is important to note that these teaching are not just for humans, but for other beings as well, many whom we consider non-corporeal.
According to the teachings of Guru Padmasambhava, who successfully brought Buddhism to Tibet, when the time of degeneration is strongest, the emotions will also be strongest, and this will give the greatest power to the practices of these yogas, or paths of union. However, Buddha Shakyamuni is said to have stated that these teachings would begin to vanish as the degeneration goes on. The first set of teachings to disappear will be Vinaya, which deal with ethical codes, morality, and monastic conduct. The second set of teaching to vanish would be the Abhidharma teachings, which deal with psychology, cosmology, the various steps on the path to enlightenment, or in summary, wisdom. The third set of teachings to vanish is Vajrayana, however, they would last until the end of the age. It is the vajrayana teachings that most appropriate for our time, and require the greatest amount of disciple, morality, ethics, and wisdom to practice, thereby in many ways limiting the number of people who could potentially practice them – yet in theory, be of the greatest help to the greatest number. Then, at the end of the Age of Kali, they too will disappear.
If we look even superficially at the state of human affairs these days it is easy to see that for many, their emotions run strong, so much so that regardless of their position in life, emotional force dominates their thinking process. Clergy of all types have broken their vows and the trust of their congregations and lineages. Priests molest young children, celibate swamis have affairs with students, Muslim clerics advocate mass death and destruction and the elimination of entire nations, Buddhist monks buy their degrees, and the list goes on. Esotericism is no better off, with scandals and infighting; and the New Age Movement is rife with corruption, with pseudo-shamans selling overpriced seminars and retreats. In the end, each has forgotten the most basic tenants of their practice, and failing to rectify their broken vows, they lead others down the path of delusion and destruction. In mundane circles, the discussion of morals and ethics to often is met with the appropriate sneer of being old fashioned, or embraced as a means of pushing a particular political agenda.
Wisdom is rarely sought or recognized when present. While many claim to be on a spiritual journey, they are in fact on a sensation finding expedition. Various phenomena, experiences, and adrenaline rushes of all sorts are sought out, embraced, consumed, and regurgitated but the hard and difficult path of finding and integrating wisdom is rare, even among those who have access to qualified and experienced teachers.
Yet, beneath all of this, there is of course the very energies that can liberate us from our ignorance and delusions, if we act, and act NOW. Time is short, running out in fact, for no matter what, if the Kali Yuga ends in 2012, or 400 years from now, it does not matter, for there is no guarantee that anyone of us will see tomorrow. That is the reality of life, therefore, let each of us make the best of it, and not in some sullen and nihilistic fashion, but with the joy that being alive, walking on the Path of Return, and helping other on their journey as well brings. No matter what the future brings, it brings death, and for each of us, that is the time in which each “worker receives their wages” as Masons say. What we have made of ourselves, helped others make of themselves, and left behind for those who come after us (as well as give to ourselves in the future if you believe in reincarnation) is all that matters. Let each of us make the best of what we have that we may make a better tomorrow for ourselves, no matter what the Kali Yuga may bring.