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The Wesak Pilgrimage and the Journey Within

Joann S. Bakula
April 2010


The monthly meditation for world service in April celebrates the Wesak festival in honor of the Buddha, who is said to have been born, achieved enlightenment and died all on the return of the full moon of Taurus, which this year is in April in stead of May, on the 28th at 12:20pm UT/GMT and 8:20am EDT in NY. Many public meetings, therefore, will be held on Tuesday evening, the 27th, in order to meditate within the 12 hours preceding the time of the full moon, when the full light of the sun shines on planet Earth and the moon is out of the way causing no shadow, hence these meditations are often called Solar festivals. The Phayul Tibetan Buddhists in Seattle, will celebrate the 'Saga Dawa' day of Buddha's enlightenment on May 27th on the full moon of May. It is interesting to visit www: phayul.com and find the website is from Gangtok and Sikkim, with Kanchenjunga, the sacred 5-peaked mountain near Darjeeling, referred to. During our meditation we conclude by directing energy through this region where India, China, Tibet and other nations come together; it being one of the five planetary inlets for spiritual energy through which to flood all of the nations and all of the world.

The Wesak festival is named after the Vaisaka Valley near Mt. Kailas in Tibet, where, every spring, Buddhists gather to participate in the annual ritual of the return of the Buddha's presence to bless the world and all bodhisattvas, saints, disciples and pilgrims. Such events are older than Chaucer's tales of the April pilgrimage to Canterbury! The Wesak event is celebrated not as a commemoration of a past event in the life of a long gone enlightened one, but as a living event in the spiritual calendar during which the spirit of the Buddha returns each year. Now that this event has become better known in the Western world, many adventurous spiritual seekers have made this arduous journey across the 600 mountainous miles of the Tibetan Himalayans from Lhasa.

One such hearty soul was Albert Falzon, who made and photographed the journey in 1985 and has just released a short book with a beautiful video entitled, "Journey to the Weak Valley in Tibet," available at www.wesakfilm.com. Today similar journeys to the sacred places that H.P. Blavatsky and the Roerich family made are available with author and Tibetologist Glenn Mullin (www.glennmullin.com), who leads tours annually and now lives in UB, Mongolia, where he has recently had the Roerich home in Mongolia restored and turned into a museum (also available on DVD) to preserve the rich legacy of the work that Nicholas and Helena Roerich accomplished there.

For most of us, however, Wesak is an annual event on our calendars which takes the form of a meditation wherever we are at the time. It is an annual opportunity to find the "bright center", the Shamballa within, or the place of deepest being, the place of synthesis and purpose, the Will center. The place to find it is the center where mind and heart are fused, often the result of a lifetime of sustained spiritual effort. This center of deepest silent knowing, the pure life energy beyond time and space, is within every one, and accessible by inner pilgrimage and much necessary preparation and effort as the direction of spiritual enlightenment shapes a life. Many see the internal structure as the jewel in the lotus of the soul, or the spiritual triad of atma-buddhi-manas (will-intuition-intelligence) of theosophical tradition, as the super-conscious states and functions of the central life, Spirit or Monad. Some visualize the structure of the psyche as psychologist Carl Jung did, as a sphere with the ego on the surface in the center of a bright field of light, a spotlight of consciousness, and the Self or Soul as both the nucleus in the hidden center and the entire sphere, most of which the ego is not conscious of. The 'sphere' is composed of the collective unconscious, the mythic realm; the subconscious; and what his student, Roberto Assagioli, called the super conscious, or higher states of being.

In any case, the journey remains the same, to the 'bright center' above or to the deepest Self in the hidden center, the alignment opens out into a higher, deeper view in which the fusion of mind and heart meet in the transcendent will, and the microcosmic pattern becomes the macrocosmic whole where the Heart and Will are seen as planetary centers above and within humanity as the agent of developing intelligence and potential center of light. The esoteric philosophy of Alice Bailey predicts that the purpose and destiny of planet Earth is to become an outpost of God-consciousness, or consciousness of the Whole, in a solar system where other planets are centers of Beingness, or sacred planets; analogous, perhaps, to Jung's sphere of the microcosm composed of conscious and super conscious states. Such a philosophy brings "beauty into the world, thus glorifying that Intelligence to Whom we give the name 'God' for want of a better term." It is in the "two divine trends towards synthesis and vision" that permit a flash of the Reality to enter consciousness. "It is a flash of the divinity inherent in the Whole, as it works out a vaster scheme of evolutionary process" than the one we usually think of, that emerges. (Bailey, Esoteric Psychology, Vol. II, p. 741, 239)

In these times when trust of government, financial institutions, religion, and authorities of all kinds is at an all time low, where do we go to find firm ground? Whom do we rely upon who is trustworthy? Today the various authorities we have allowed to shape our perceptions via the media tell us what to see, as if we do not have enough information to see for ourselves and cannot trust our own perceptions and self-reliance.

If we develop intuition or direct perception, unmitigated by the five senses and truly understand what this means, then we have the means within us of seeing beyond the phenomenal appearance and limited view of the superficial outer appearance of things to the inner essence or the "thing-in-itself" as the philosopher Emmanuel Kant called it. The difference between the phenomenon of a thing and the thing-in-itself is the measurement of the journey, the distance between the sacred and profane. Schopenhauer called the thing-in-itself the will, and so do many esotericists. It is this essential will or purpose at the deepest and highest level of ourselves that opens out into a new perspective of the next higher holon of knowledge or integration into the whole, whether in the inner subjective life, or understanding the web of bio-diverse life the human race is a part of. The sense of synthesis underlying all subjective and phenomenal life flows like a river of wisdom from this high level of super-consciousness and beingness. Here is where meditation as world service takes place, long before the concrete mind should be entrusted with arriving at conclusions and formalizing plans. It is the space of the formless worlds where synthesis is more easily realized; here illumination leads to understanding and to love or compassion for what life in its totality is. Illumination, understanding and love are the Tibetan's/Bailey's definition of intuition (Bailey, Glamour: A World Problem, pp. 2-5). If we have not love, we cannot see things for themselves; we only see things as phenomena to be used by ourselves, unable to grasp anything of the will or purpose that some part of nature has to give to the web of life, or to develop that sense of proportion that leads to good judgment and decision making.

"It is not easy for the disciple in training to associate the sense of synthesis and the use of the will together and to realise that a cultivation of this first ray perception is a potent mode by which the highest aspect of the spiritual will (as yet embryonic within him) can be unfolded." (Bzailey, Discipleship in the New Age, Vol. II, p. 299) One wonders if the practice of developing the perception of-and not just studying--each of the seven rays isn't a method by which the sense of synthesis can find 7th ray expression in a new organization of perspective leading to a civilization based upon right human relationship both to the natural worlds and to the formless worlds of being, as well as within itself.

No natter how idealistic, visionary, and impossible of attainment right human relations seems, in a scheme infinitely larger than we know, it remains the universal hope of almost everyone that right human relations may prevail, from group and family life, to international relations, to the web of life. Sustained effort can be 'the seed of synthesis and the force that binds together that which has been separated.' Though no group or philosophy is perfect in achieving the highest vision, it is the sustained effort, endurance, and perpetual return to the underlying reality of the Whole that eventually brings something of the teaching into the mainstream where it can mold public opinion with the perennial ideas infusing all spiritual philosophies.

"Synthesis dictates the trend of all the evolutionary processes today; all is working towards larger unified blocs, towards amalgamations, international relationships, global planning, brotherhood, economic fusion, the free flow of commodities everywhere, interdependence, fellowship of faiths, movements based upon the welfare of humanity as a whole, and ideological concepts that deal with wholes and that militate against division, separation and isolation." (Bailey, The Rays and Initiations, p. 121) This trend and knowledge long outlasts the periods of fragmentation, division, distrust and betrayals that may cause widespread anger during any given time. The Tibetan enjoins us to cultivate a sense of humor to restore the sense of proportion and forgive the sincere attempts at communication that fall flat, or the strange interpretations of how to treat each other that result in impaired relationships, or the stories that feed the slander, scandal and propaganda occupying a permanent place nowadays in the 24/7 news cycle. It's the effort to proceed in the right direction, to endure and persist, to return to the vision of the whole, and not to take anything personal too seriously that make up the sustained effort of all individuals and spiritual groups. This effort is the result of deep meditative insights and integrations into higher spiritual states.

Wishing all of you who read this an enduring vision and sense of synthesis to sustain you and your spiritual work in the coming cycle.