Hail to the Buddhas and Bodhisattvas!
We are witnessing and living in a complete experiment and psychological operation. It is a reverse and insidious alchemy, of destroying and breaking down the old in a malicious and intentional infliction of chaos, suffering and inhumane torture. This is just the beginning in the complete assault of reality, on normal, on Tradition, on biology and consciousness. They will distort reality to degrees unimaginable to the mundane and ordinary person. Weaponizing every aspect of culture to augment and fracture reality, to obliterate any core principles or truth, and to cast everyone adrift into a nihilistic horror of which they will cling to statism for comfort, the new religion.
One cannot become a true human being enslaved, barraged in a complete warfare of poison, disinformation, propaganda, pollutions, injections, destruction of right of independent livelihood, to meet with family, to gather in worship or religion or congregate, to live in fear of being ‘canceled’ for holding universal truths of nature, biology, or Tradition.
The Agenda is pushed by what the CCP calls, the Baizuo, a degenerate elite liberal class that feigns moral outrage and safety to impose their will. They use social and racial issues, medical tyranny, banning, censorship, etc. to create the chaos to usher in a deeper control. So many of the Asian communities from communist countries see this plainly, but many of the Buddhist groups remain silent. Why? Because they are calculating the majority of their patrons are unwittingly supporting the Baizuo worldview, of a toxic, false tolerance that is used to destroy society, family, and culture guised as progressive great leaps forward. It was the same tactics used to demoralize and subjugate the traditional Chinese farmer class, the laobixing, old hundred names, that are some of the most oppressed, tortured, imprisoned, organ-harvested, slave labor victims on the planet. These are truly deep karmic vampiric systems that few want to discuss decoupling from and presenting alternatives and solutions.
But it is this same model that is being introduced worldwide, and it needs to crush every family, every sentiment of Tradition, every notion of self-reliance, of autonomy. It requires full-spectrum domination, and that is only achieved through complete dependency. Extended family units, communities of shared worldview and accountability, personal responsibility are obstacles to complete control. This complete subjugation through dependency is reified into existence through destroying small business, economies, communities, or creating impossible circumstances to secure intergenerational wealth, abundance, to obtain land and skills. It is a technocratic neo-feudalism, in which most will own nothing, and automation and other technologies make human labor not only superfluous but an impediment to progress. Just as in the last century, the problems will be solved by unspeakable events.
This is why we have set out to articulate every exoteric and esoteric method to wash this red dust filth from one’s life. To withdraw and create sustainable, insulated, rural communities as independent as possible from a truly predatory system. The hermit, the ascetic and spiritual training are also the psychological preparations to withdraw to remote regions, cut off from all and everything, with minimal supplies and to carve out a mode of life. It does not matter if our efforts are futile in the demonic hordes that seek complete destruction. We face destiny and fate with complete engagement in Dharma, presencing the best of our ancestors and the deep living of engaging in the Great Work. There is no alternative but to create dynamic systems that are as insulated as possible from such pernicious agendas.
The skills needed to create such situations start with the smallest details. These are the same as in learning to sit for meditation, in the stance in martial arts, in basic culinary skills, how to read music or a language, plant identification, etc. Below, we use the metaphor of woodworking in the Way of Craft that we advise all to use as a lifelong method of cultivation, training, right livelihood, etc.
Mastery is complete self-control, of being able to control the mind, the words and actions. Those that are mostly victims lack impulse control, self-awareness, they choose emotion over fact and live a childlike existence that both ignores the danger and crisis of being, and the innate glory of the human potential. Many want to Master great things, the highest esoteric arts and think that the secret paths neglect the foundations. No path can ignore complete ability to concentrate and mastery of mentation and consciousness. If one cannot focus even for the length of time of cutting a board with the mantra and keeping to the kerf, one has to truly assess how much training they really do in life and have they really invested in the type of training that engages every aspect of Being into a refined, skilled mastery and knowledge of self.
From the struggle for concentration of zazen to the historical Buddha’s meditation where the demons attempt to swarm, attack, seduce, frighten, it is the ability to keep from distraction that is the threshold to deep realization. The attacks on Lord Buddha are the same mechanisms employed against the population. It is a bombardment of trauma, the theatre of fear, of crisis politics, one disaster, threat, doom scenario, terror, mass casualty sickness, climate apocalypse, some petty dictator all ignoring the true problems, the real ecological and humane disaster that the very same elites create. It is the same weaponized shock and awe, like the MKultra mind control experiments unleashed upon the world, to shatter core principles and personality and to become fragmented, malleable, off kilter, imbalanced and afraid. We have to assert the center, control breath, Mind, sexual and vital energy, to fix the volatile, and light the cauldron within.
The sitting meditations draw in and center the energy, packing and concentrating in the core. The walking and working meditations circulate the energy to keep from stagnation. We must engage in both, in all methods of cultivation that are expedient to our circumstances. Can one keep the mantra in the menial tasks of the day? In supreme physical exertion and training? In anger? In despair and demoralization? In exaltation and the highest erotic delights? In frigid waters on the mountain? In the visionary rites? Even within sleep? In sickness and death? This is the level of Mind training, of one pointed focus and singularity that facilitates profound Mastery.
We must do grounding practices, human, authentic modes of regaining connections with Nature, preserving Tradition, away from plastic, screens, the laced toxins of media and the flicker of entertainment. Return the flicker of the sacred hearth and ritual fires, the old lamps, and to carve and work wood, or wool, or cloth. To practice with the brush, the pen, the chisel, to create something useful, beautiful and organic, from nothing or a raw state to something, practical and genuine. Learn to craft your own altar to replace the screens that dominate most modern homes. Replace the source of toxic mental and spiritual poison and replace it with the images of the Buddha, one’s ancestors in a shrine to the Great Work and one’s esoteric quest.
Many want to build a house or fine furniture but have to learn the basic skills of woodcraft. We insist on able-bodied disciples to engage in some artisan craft, from knitting, sewing, papermaking, glassblowing, metalsmithing, woodcraft, pottery, tool restoration, traditional cooking, etc. Ideally one would have a mastery in a few, and proficiency in or most, with their community making up any deficiencies. Such artisans crafts, skills, and means of cultivation are infinite. Each of these skills has higher applications in the creation of medicines, of the highest elixirs and the exoteric skills to build self-reliance and create the hermitages and shrines, farms and huts.
The metaphors gleaned by the focus, the dedication, the training and discipline to learn a craft is fundamental for building integrity, will power, steadfastness and patience. It is learning from errors, thinking spatially, being able to apply geometry, to create useful things, and beautiful ritual objects. To make things yourself is decoupling from the negative corporate throwaway culture. It is especially good to repurpose and recycle wasted items, fallen trees, invasive species, discarded wood to transmute into a new creation.
Craft is a common element of the Mahasiddhas, the Daoist masters, the literati hermit masters. It combines hand and Mind, coordinated action. For those doing sitting meditation and are harvesting qi to the dantian or hara, it is essential to circulate in the walking meditations. The mediation between the stillness of zazen and the walking meditations is the balance of craft. One is both still and moving, both contemplative and active. There is a training in thinking in logical steps, in procedure, time management, commitment to a project, allowable tolerances, in heuristic learning, in training to be adaptive, self-starting, becoming visionary and imagining. There are sacred geometric proportions, ratios, harmony, the sigils of the heavens and earth and the microcosm, the glyphs of the Great Work that can be encoded in every aspect of the craft in fractal detail as the Japanese masters have truly perfected. Even the folding of the paper napkins, the selection of threads, textiles, woods, clay, all to combine the five elements in expressions of the Way. It is part of the living artistic lifestyle, to find and nurture hidden talents and skills that become useful for much more vital future aspirations.
The sharpening, maintaining tools, polishing and honing, planing are all visualized as acts of removing karma obstacles, stains and residues, as are all tasks such as washing laundry or kitchens, in bathing, find the esoteric meaning of all tasks and engaging it with ritualistic mindfulness and mantra. Even eliminating waste or moving bowels is the visualization of deep toxic filth and karma being eliminated and purged from the body. Every bite of food is envisioned as pure ambrosial nectar, sweeping or cleaning is purifying the mandala and temple, the Pure Land that one immanentizes with complete visionary Mindfulness as we presence the “embryonic tathāgata”, the incipient Buddha with the elevation and refinement of our subtle energy.
We use the simple Pure Land Mantra when doing these humble tasks, of chopping wood, of feeding the animals, of sawing joints for projects or to chisel out mortises. To retain focus and mantra on a long cross or rip cut is itself a training. To keep to the kerf with absolute focus and not drift is a struggle for many, even after a lifetime. Even with mechanical saws they have trouble. There are mitres and guides and jigs, and every type of way to measure and calibrate the line, to create and mark the kerf. These would amount to skillful means, the ways to see the entire process, the straight and narrow path or line of the saw. It is interesting to note Western saws mostly are pushing in action, as are their planes, and Japanese are pulling. Each has their use, and their limitations, as there is a maximum of strength exerted from one position to the other. The further into one’s stretch the less power and control, and the closer one is into the work, the less power one is able to extend.
Another central aspect is to be able to stabilize the wood. The vice is like the asana, the foundation, the vows and commitments. It holds the work in place. Even the steadiest hand is useless if the material to be cut is shifting, moving, and is jerked around by the movement of the saw. Once essential practices are mastered, then one can get the blueprints for higher practices and they are initiated into the way of craft. Inscrutable plans, designs, intricacies, are slowly rendered less obscure.
But there are the subtle secrets of the wood, the grain, the moisture, the seasoning, the species, knots, cracks, checking, density,etc. There are the aspects of joinery from brute force of nails or modern screws, to the perfected mastery of elaborated dovetails and as one master tasks on found or scavenged wood with modest tools, one graduates to refinement, being worth exquisite specimens of fine lumber and the highest grade tools of the trade. To obtain the finest tools and raw materials with no skill is a waste of money and a sin to the trees and craft itself. But one who labors and whose hands become rough with callouses, practiced with the tools that they become an extension of their arms and hands, they earn higher levels of mastery from Carving the Divine.
There are esoteric nembutsu, the way of craft as cultivation. But not all that master a craft are complete, esoteric Masters. It is but an aspect of cultivation and training in right thinking to right livelihood and a means of entry into our guild. One becomes a bodger in the forest, knowing the trees, the seasons of sap and finding dead fall or downed from wind and lightning. One creates and maintains holy forests and mountains, sacred groves foraging for materials. In the silence, there is the honing of skills, the process of removing waste wood, the karma, revealing the art or item, the bowl, the spoon, the Buddha within the block of wood.
Our adepts are those that take to the mountains literally, and that amass the skills, tools, and methods to survive and thrive. We would rather slave to earn the land for years than camp on weekends or do the type of mountain ascetic retreats of tourists. While the adepts train to endure this life, they gather the income streams, the techniques and tools to carve a bit of life into the rocks or hidden in the forest. We articulate the training and the processes to consider in the forthcoming publication of Tiger’s Nest.
Many focus on multitasking, which is necessary but often fragments finishing anything. The noetic aspect of their esoteric goals are not specific, they are not stable, not articulated with contract-like precision. It is like a single skill that must be practiced to complete proficiency. To habituate and hone practices and skills that fulfill healing, meditation, ritual devotion, strength training, skill refinement, income right livelihood, all through one essential practice is a superior means of cultivation. It is from carving spoons on rented farmland to building farms and temples on mountains that one can evolve and stack the skills, gather the tools and bring all the efforts together in pursuit of the Way.
We appreciate all that support our work and allow our adepts and hermits to withdraw and practice. This is the essence of the Sangha. We give value for value, mutual beneficial support, never begging and parasitic one sided. We operate on reciprocity and work to create an abundance that allows for a true independence and autonomy, Through autonomy there is integrity. Beyond desperation or need, bribery, seduction, hunger. This is how we find the True Master teachers, away in the remote regions. Hidden, secluded, perhaps as humble herbalists or country doctor, or some quiet teacher of a simple craft or martial art. It is through whispers and connections, away from the crowds, the fancy robes, that one can find the meetings with the authentic Human Beings. They delight in some gifts of rare herbs and tea, there is nothing else in the world that interests them to become the Gods of the mountain, the rocks and waterfalls their thrones.