by Rev. Koshin Schomberg

Chapter 6
Life with a Capital "L"

Science studies life with a small "l"; we study Life with a large "L".

Rev. Master Jiyu-Kennett

The Inner Mystery

It is a well-known fact that people who love baseball are often obsessed with the history of the game and the statistics that provide a general view of the performance of teams and players.

Imagine that you are someone who knows nothing at all about baseball. You have never played it or seen a game. (Maybe you haven't! If so, please bear with me--whether you know the game or not does not matter here.)

Now imagine that one day you are introduced to the game of baseball--but only through reading the rules of the game and the statistics that have been kept so scrupulously for decades. You still have not seen a game.

Suppose now that you see a game. All of a sudden the rules and statistics begin to come to life. Even so, how much are you understanding? To someone who has played baseball, your understanding of the game will still be woefully lacking.

Now imagine that you have a friend who is an expert baseball pitcher. He agrees to give you lessons in pitching. Your very first lesson is a revelation. You think, "It looked so simple! I can't believe that all that was going into pitching a baseball."

All of a sudden, a fundamental part of the game of baseball has come alive for you, and given you a respect for the game that can only be acquired through experience.

When we study the world just with the physical senses and brain, we are like the person who learns the rules of baseball and the statistics, and who has seen the game being played, but who has not played the game. We can know a very great deal about baseball, but something will always be missing until we play the game. Similarly, we can know a great deal about the mechanical functioning of nature, yet still fail to have any insight into the meaning of existence until we let go of external things and turn within in pure meditation.

A certain amount of the "how" of existence can be known with the brain; the "why" of existence must be found within the True Heart. We look outwards for the "how;" we must look within to find the "why."

When we look within, we look with the eyes of faith. Faith sees meaning where the intellect sees only a void. Faith hears the Song of Immaculacy where the intellect hears nothing at all.

The Niyamas

In its long history, Buddhism has produced its share of philosophical writings. One of the philosophical teachings is that of the niyamas--the "five types of natural process," or "five laws of the universe" (Rev. Master used the latter way of expressing the meaning of niyamas in English).

If I had read an explanation of the niyamas before hearing Rev. Master's explanation, I would have thought, "This is an interesting teaching, and obviously superior to the dominant Western scientific/materialistic dogma, because the niyamas acknowledge the law of karma and recognize the validity of certain mental and spiritual phenomena that Western science rigorously ignores. But does this teaching have practical value for daily spiritual training?"

Rev. Master brought to her examination of the niyamas a potent combination of careful study under good teachers, spiritual intuition and extensive personal experience of training/enlightenment. Her explanation illuminates the spiritual implications of each of the five laws of the universe. She is like the skilled baseball player who can show the willing neophyte that there is a whole world of meaning wrapped up in the abstractions.

The next Chapter in these Related Writings will be devoted to the five laws of the universe.


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