“Equilibrium is the great law, and perfect equilibrium is crowned by identity with the great Tao.” – Aleister Crowley
The Yogacara Sutras of Patanjali states that the cultivation of the Spiritual Man is the man not bound by form, being in oneness of spirit with the overruling soul which brings with it bliss. There are 8 Limbs of Yoga, which in another form are the Eight Consciousnesses of Buddhism which evolved from the Yogacara school of thought, wherein the Eighth Consciousness itself is known as the Mind-Ground, the Alaya-vijnana which is “Emptiness”, and is “Buddha Nature”. Enlightenment in Zen being a transcendence of duality and a union with “Buddha-Nature”, Buddha’s… and of course, our inherent nature is pure as it is emptiness. The Buddhist Heart Sutra reads: “Form is emptiness; emptiness is form. Emptiness is not other than form; form is not other than emptiness“.
Crowley starts his essay on Mysticism in Book 4 with the line “EXISTENCE, as we know it, is full of sorrow. To mention only one minor point: every man is a condemned criminal, only he does not know the date of his execution.” It should come then to no surprise that the establishment of Tipharet (the Sun) in Qabalah which establishes truth and the trance of Beauty, is also known as the trance of Sorrow. In Liber B Vel Magi it is said, “Now the grade of a Magister teacheth the Mystery of Sorrow, and the grade of a Magus the Mystery of Change, and the grade of Ipsissimus the Mystery of Selflessness, which is called also the Mystery of Pan.”
Being confined to form, and the realization of this is the source of Dukkha (which means suffering), and is the basis for the Four Noble Truths of Buddhism. Those truths which are 1. Dukkha, 2. the arising of Dukkha, 3. the cessation of Dukka, and 4. the path which leads to the cessation of Dukkha. The source of Dukkha is form, and meditations on form are done via meditations upon the Four Elements (those four elements which make up Malkuth in Qabalah), these are called the Rupajhanas. The next four are meditations on formlessness, which are meditations on infinite space known as the Arupajhanas. The latter four, when cultivated, enable the body of enlightenment. These Eight meditations can be represented as the Buddhist Dharma Wheel (symbol of the Eightfold path, and the teachings of the Buddha).
The Fourth Truth of the Noble Truths, the path leading to the cessation of suffering, this Path is referring to the Yogacara concept of being one with Buddha Nature, or being one with the Dao. (That Eighth Consciousness which is emptiness). Zen, being a blend of Daoism and Buddhism often uses expressions for this unity being one with the Dao (or one with the Way) as a term indicating non-duality, or enlightenment. When in Sunyata (emptiness), one is observing their mind with one-pointedness. Patanjali says One-pointedness in soul is awakened being. From this state of meditation one ceases looking for external truths.
From Wikipedia: “A core teaching of Chan/Zen Buddhism describes the transformation of the Eight Consciousnesses into the Four Wisdoms. In this teaching, Buddhist practice is to turn the light of awareness around, from misconceptions regarding the nature of reality as being external, to kenshō, “directly see one’s own nature”. Thus the Eighth Consciousness is transformed into the Great Perfect Mirror Wisdom, the Seventh Consciousness into the Equality (Universal Nature) Wisdom, the Sixth Consciousness into the Profound Observing Wisdom, and First to Fifth Consciousnesses into the All Performing (Perfection of Action) Wisdom.”
Great Perfect Mirror Wisdom is the Wisdom of Self Reflection, and in the Five Dhyani Buddhas it is represented by the symbol of the Vajra (meaning cutting through obfuscation), and it represents humility, and non-dual mind. (Duality being suffering, non-dual being transcendent of Dukkha, of suffering, and instead experiencing the bliss of Samadhi). Non-duality is balance between for example fire and water, which this symbolism is encoded in the blue-skinned Wrath deities of Hinduism, showing they have pacified their fiery wrathful nature. (We can look at Khali to see this, for example).
In Chinese Alchemy there is a formula of the Wu Xing which enables the body of enlightenment and allows one to be “one with the Dao”. [Click here to see my post on a Thelemic Wu Xing]. When being one with the Dao, one is not at odds with their self-expression. The Daoist and Zen term for being with a mind at rest and not at odds with ones expression is called Wu Wei, or non-doing. I’ve compared Wu Wei in my Thelemic Wu Xing post to doing one’s “True Will” (as it is known in Thelema), which is doing one’s will with detachment and peace, being free from any internal or external conflict.
“The true man of genius deliberately subordinates himself, reduces himself to a negative, and allows his genius to play through him as It will. We all know how stupid we are when we try to do things. Seek to make any other muscle work as consistently as your heart does without your silly interference — you cannot keep it up for forty-eight hours.” – Aleister Crowley, from his fictional novel Moonchild.
The HGA, I have stated likely comes from the concept of the Fravashi in Zorostrianism, which represents the Genius of an individual. Yet people somehow seem to find the HGA an elusive concept, and even turn a blind eye to Crowley’s own remarks on Genius, so I’ll point to the Yogacara Sutras of Patanjali in one moment.
“By mastering this perfectly concentrated Meditation, there comes the illumination of perception. The meaning of this is illustrated by what has been said before. When the spiritual man is able to throw aside the trammels of emotional and mental limitation, and to open his eyes, he sees clearly, he attains to illumined perception. A poet once said that Occultism is the conscious cultivation of genius; and it is certain that the awakened spiritual man attains to the perceptions of genius. Genius is the vision, the power of the spiritual man, whether its possessor recognizes this or not. All true knowledge is of the spiritual man. The greatest in all ages have recognized this and put their testimony on record. The great in wisdom who have not consciously recognized it, have ever been full of the spirit of reverence, of selfless devotion to truth, of humility, as was Darwin; and reverence and humility are the unconscious recognition of the nearness of the Spirit, that Divinity which broods over us, a Master o’er a slave.”