All passages about the same exercise, taken from the same tradition, will now appear together in a single post. This will make it much easier to tap into the ancient wisdom of each tradition on any given exercise, as all the insights and teachings we’ve gathered from its texts will be presented together for a practice, rather than fragmented across different posts.
The old practice posts containing extracts from ancient texts have been taken offline while the revised material is prepared. However, the first practice by type page, being in the present moment, is now ready.
It now lists a single post per tradition, where all material we’ve compiled from a tradition on the topic is found. There’s three traditions in the category so far:
- Taoist teachings on being in the present moment
- Hindu teachings on being in the present moment
- Ancient Greek (Pythagorean) descriptions of being in the present moment
Similarly, all practice by tradition pages will eventually show one post for each exercise type, containing all related material drawn from that tradition. However, it will take some time to get all the revised material online.
By grouping a tradition’s insights on a given topic together in one post, it allows the breadth of its ancient knowledge to shine through in a more comprehensive, clearer way. The Taoist excerpts from the Hua Hu Ching, for example, together provide a very clear and practical description of how to be in the present moment.
Additional material may be incorporated with these changes. The Hindu page on being in the present moment contains a newly-added passage drawn from the ancient Katha Upanishad, thought to have been first written down in the late Vedic Era around 800 BC. This may be among the oldest textual reference to the being in the present moment we’ve gathered so far, although more may be uncovered over time.
The text uses an analogy of a person riding a chariot,1 directing his driver who holds the reins of five horses. The chariot, the one riding the chariot, the driver, and horses, are all symbolic. They’re used to teach the reader about how to be “mindful,” and the consequences that derive from either being mindful or not.
‘Know the Self to be sitting in the chariot, the body to be the chariot, the intellect (buddhi) the charioteer, and the mind the reins.’
‘The senses they call the horses, the objects of the senses their roads. When he (the Highest Self) is in union with the body, the senses, and the mind, then wise people call him the Enjoyer.’
‘He who has no understanding and whose mind (the reins) is never firmly held, his senses (horses) are unmanageable, like vicious horses of a charioteer.’
‘But he who has understanding and whose mind is always firmly held, his senses are under control, like good horses of a charioteer.’
‘He who has no understanding, who is unmindful and always impure, never reaches that place, but enters into the round of births.’
‘But he who has understanding, who is mindful and always pure, reaches indeed that place, from whence he is not born again.’
‘But he who has understanding for his charioteer, and who holds the reins of the mind, he reaches the end of his journey, and that is the highest place of Vishnu.’
‘Beyond the senses there are the objects, beyond the objects there is the mind, beyond the mind there is the intellect, the Great Self is beyond the intellect.’
~ The Katha Upanishad, translated by Max Müller 2
There’s also newly-added passages from the Bhagavad Gita, a text relating the profound counsel given to the warrior prince Arjuna by the divine prince Krishna, who drives his chariot into battle. The dialogue happens as they are poised between two armies on a battlefield before the onset of a great war between good and evil.
As the page explains, some see the Bhagavad Gita as an expanded version of the chariot analogy found in the Katha Upanishad, in which Krishna can be understood to represent the enlightened intellect under the influence of the spirit, guiding Arjuna’s chariot, and Arjuna himself, towards salvation, amidst the struggle between the forces of light and darkness that exist in the world and within oneself.
This chariot analogy is known as Ratha Kalpana, and is said to have appeared in later textual references too, See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ratha_Kalpana
F. Max Müller (Translator) From The Upunishads, Part II, F. , 1879. Available at sacred-texts.com: http://www.sacred-texts.com/hin/sbe15/sbe15012.htm