by Rev. Koshin Schomberg

Chapter 5
The Mystic City

The original Lord sits in true lotus position in the mystic city.
His threefold, all-embracing sacred womb embraces the eight corners of the universe
And transforms them into the purely bright harmony of Heaven and Earth.
Eternal Life is indeed a wonderful work!

The Mystic City

There is with‌in every being That which sits in Eternal Meditation. There is within every being the "Absolute Upright" which knows no confusion.

Our body and mind are the "mystic city," the rightful and utterly benevolent Ruler of which is the Eternal.

The "sacred womb" is the hara--the place in the body within which meditation is centered. Yet, while the hara is this physical place, it is simultaneously the spiritual "sacred womb" within which our potential for enlightenment is nourished, protected and actualized.


The Buddha taught that existence has three characteristics: impermanence; suffering; and anatman, which means "no atman", and which is often translated as "no-soul" or "no-self."

The fact that existence is characterized by impermanence and suffering is more obvious than the fact that there is no "atman." What was the Buddha trying to point out by saying that anatman is a fundamental feature of our life?

There is a context. Before His enlightenment, the Buddha believed a particular religious teaching and followed a practice based on that teaching. The teaching held that there is a "World-Soul" (Brahma) and that each sentient being possesses an individual soul (the atman) that is separated from the World-Soul by being imprisoned in the realm of material things--by being stuck in a material body. The atman is imprisoned in this realm through life after life until all desire is extinguished. Then it is liberated from the body and can reunite with the World-Soul.

The purpose of ascetic practice was to conquer desire, even if it meant destroying the body in the process. And the body, being merely material, was inherently expendable. The Buddha nearly starved Himself to death pursuing the goal of freeing the atman from its prison in the body. But one day He realized that He was about to kill Himself and that He still had not realized His goal. Therefore He took nourishment and made a new beginning on the basis of a new premise.

Here is that new premise:--Body and mind are worthy of, and should be treated with, respect. He called this new premise "The Middle Way."--The Middle Way does not deny that the body is impermanent and subject to pain, but neither does It despise the body and view it as unclean.

In propounding the teaching of anatman, the Buddha was not philosophizing about the existence or non-existence of a soul. He was saying, "There is nothing that is apart from, or outside, the Great Immaculacy." The Buddha learned this--as others who have followed in His footsteps have learned it--by experiencing the Great Immaculacy. Inherent in this experience is the experience of body and mind as being entirely of the Great Immaculacy: the five skandhas (the "aggregates" of body and mind) are "void, unstained and pure."

Taken together, the three characteristic features of existence say the following: "Body and mind are transitory and subject to suffering; therefore do not cling to them. There is nothing within body and mind that is separate from the Eternal, therefore do not despise and abuse body and mind."

The Lord Enthroned

To whom does this body and mind belong?--Where within this body and mind is there a "me" that owns body and mind?

Certainly I am responsible for my actions. And the consequences of my actions will be experienced in body and mind. Yet this responsibility does not constitute ownership.

That which is of the Eternal belongs to the Eternal. The Eternal is its rightful Lord. "My" volition can be used in service of the rightful Lord of body and mind, or it can be used to attempt to steal that which is of the Eternal. The latter use of volition is utterly self-defeating.

When the rightful Lord sits enthroned within the hara, the little realm of body and mind experiences the many benefits of a rule that is utterly beneficent and compassionate.



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