In my post Genius in Thelema with Elaboration From Yogacara, I had provided information about the Five Dhyani Buddhas, and the Four Noble Truths of Buddhism, which were 1. Dukkha, 2. the arising of Dukkha, 3. the cessation of Dukka, and 4. the path which leads to the cessation of Dukkha.
What is Dukkha? Dukkha means “suffering”, though the etymology reveals a lot that is interesting, which will be important for this meditation (I’m calling these type of posts meditations from now on!)
The following description of Dukkha is from its Wikipedia page: “The ancient Aryans who brought the Sanskrit language to India were a nomadic, horse- and cattle-breeding people who travelled in horse- or ox-drawn vehicles. Su and dus are prefixes indicating good or bad. The word kha, in later Sanskrit meaning “sky,” “ether,” or “space,” was originally the word for “hole,” particularly an axle hole of one of the Aryan’s vehicles. Thus sukha … meant, originally, “having a good axle hole,” while duhkha meant “having a poor axle hole,” leading to discomfort”
This is quite an easy metaphor to understand, the wheel when having a proper axle hole would turn smoothly, the ride for the person on the cart would be one of peace and a lack of difficulty in maneuvering. Of course, Dunkha, a poor axle hole, would mean that the wheel has difficulty in turning, that the road one is on will be bumpy and the travel is excruciating… one suffers! The center of the wheel being “Sky”, or “Space” is symbolic of the Fifth Element which adds another layer to this one.
The center of the Five Dhyani Buddhas is Vairocana, who represents Space and Emptiness, and Turning the Wheel of Dharma. According to Wikipedia’s summary, “Vairocana (also Vairochana or Mahāvairocana, Sanskrit: वैरोचन) is a celestial buddha who is often interpreted, in texts like the Flower Garland Sutra, as the Dharma Body of the historical Buddha (Siddhartha Gautama). In Chinese, Korean, and Japanese Buddhism, Vairocana is also seen as the embodiment of the Buddhist concept of Emptiness. In the conception of the Five Wisdom Buddhas of Mahayana and Vajrayana Buddhism, Vairocana is at the centre and is considered a Primordial Buddha.”
If you look at the Five Dhyani Buddhas, they represent the Four Elements plus the fifth, the Space Element, which takes up the center. (The Space element is the equivalent of the Western element of Spirit, if you’re into Western Occultism). I made the following graphic of the Five Dhyani Buddhas (in a very basic form), wherein Red is Fire, Yellow is Wind/Air, Blue is Water, Green is Earth, and White is Space.
The Four Wisdoms are placed outside of the squares, though sharing the same color, except the center where I had to use black text due to the white square the text was upon. The Four Wisdoms are: Great Perfect Mirror Wisdom (the Wisdom of Self-Reflection), the Equality (Universal Nature) Wisdom, the Profound Observing Wisdom, and the All Performing (Perfection of Action) Wisdom.” The last of which, Perfection of Action, according to the Five Dhyani Buddhas page, is given the attribute of Karma (karma literally means work).
Marian Mountain in The Zen Environment – The Impact of Zen Meditation said: “In Buddhism, a wheel is sometimes used to symbolize the Buddhist teachings. Buddha’s first sermon is said to have turned the wheel of the dharma. When Buddha realized enlightenment under the Bodhi Tree, he was a dharma wheel at rest. When the dharma wheel is at rest, it is possible to examine intellectually each separate spoke of the wheel, or each one of its complex meanings. But a dharma wheel isn’t fully functioning unless it is turning. When Buddha was moved by his inmost request to go to Dear Park near Benares and try to express his enlightenment to the five ascetics who had been his spiritual companions for many years, he set the dharma wheel in motion.”
There’s a koan titled Zizhong Makes a Cart in which there’s an ode which reads: “The function of the wheel is to turn in place. Those who attain are still confused. Four dimensions, above, below, South, north, east, and west.”
When experiencing all eight consciousnesses (represented in the eight-spoke wheel used symbolically as the Dharma Wheel), the eighth is symbolic for non-duality, Emptiness (enlightenment), the Space/Sky element, so when the wheel of the dharma is turning smoothly, one can be experiencing themselves free of suffering (dukkha) and outside of the form (four elements), and instead experience the cessation of dukkha, and experience emptiness (sunyata) of formlessness (the four wisdoms). Experiencing this emptiness is known as “Samadhi”. (There’s detail about this in the post I linked to at the top of this post, and I’ll be touching on Samadhi in future posts a lot!).
When in Samadhi, one is non-dual, and one is not in conflict with their actions. This is when one’s doing becomes non-doing, and their actions become aligned with the tao, and is called “Wu Wei”.
Never forgetting even while busy
Zen teacher Mu-an Fazhong [1084-1149] at first studied the Tiantai Buddhist philosophy. Later he became intent on the Zen school, and visited Longmen Yan.
Even when he was busy, he never forgot to keep his attention [on his meditation]. Once as he was working the treadmill on the water wheel, he happened to look at the temple signboard, which said, “The wheel of the Dharma is always turning.” Suddenly he was greatly enlightened.