108

108 meaning

The Mystic Meaning of the Number 108

Throughout history, the number 108 has held a multi-dimensional meaning.  In geometric terms it is a natural division of circle (108=36+72=9 X 12). In the Eastern part of the world, different traditions talk about the108 navamsas.  The Shiva malas, or rosaries, both Tantric and Tibetan are composed by 108 beads. The number 108 is also one of great significance inside of the Rosicrucian order, since it exemplifies the time frame of some of their cycles. Interestingly enough, a leap year displays 366 days and 3 x 6 x 6 gives 108.

The number 108 is considered sacred in many Eastern religions and traditions, such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, Sikhism and connected yoga and dharma based practices. Even the pre-historic monument Stonehenge is 108 feet in diameter.  108 is a number known to be referring to spiritual completion, and it is no surprise that the early Vedic sages were renowned mathematicians and in fact invented our number system. 108 is a Harshad Number, an integer divisible by the sum of its digits. Harshad in Sanskrit means “joy-giver”. 108 was the number of choice for this simple reason: 108 represent the whole of existence. There are said to be 108 types of meditation. Some say there are 108 paths to God. Indian traditions have 108 dance forms.

Another interesting example, Hindu deities have 108 names, whilst in Gaudiya Vaishnavism, there are 108 gopis of Vrindavan. Recital of these names, often accompanied by the counting of the 108-beaded Mala, is considered sacred and often done during religious ceremonies. The recital is called namajapa. Accordingly, a mala usually has beads for 108 repetitions of a mantra.

In some schools of Buddhism, it is believed that there are 108 defilements. In Japan, at the end of the year, a bell is chimed 108 times in Buddhist temples to finish the old year and welcome the new one. Each ring represents one of 108 earthly temptations a person must overcome to achieve nirvana. Likewise, Zen priests wear juzu, a ring of prayer beads, around their wrists, which consists of 108 beads. The Lankavatara Sutra has a section where the Bodhisattva Mahamati asks Buddha 108 questions.

In modern Gnosticism, through the teachings of Samael Aun Weor, it is believed that  an individual has 108 chances, or lifetimes, to eliminate his egos and transcend the material world before “devolving” and having the egos forcefully removed in the infradimensions. In other words, each one of us carries the reminiscent memory cells of at least 108 previous incarnations, which constitutes the body of our incarnational selves. Inside of this essentially holographic template is stored the repository of the emotional and spiritual involvements that your Soul may have experienced and have retained the impression of, but that needed to be cleansed and  integrated in order to continue the spiritual evolution.

The Buddhism tradition talks about the 108 earthly desires in mortals, 108 lies humans tell and 108 human delusions.

The esoteric presence of the number 108 can be seen in various spiritual practices and theories: In Kriya Yoga, the maximum number of repetitions allowed to be practiced in one sitting is 108. Also, 108 Sun Salutations in yoga practice is often used to honor change, for example the change of seasons, or at a time of tragedy to bring peace, respect and understanding. It is said that if one can be so calm in meditation practicing pranayama to have only 108 breaths a day that enlightenment will come.

Energy Point

There are said to be 108 energy lines, or nadis, converging to form the heart chakra. Marma points are like Chakras, or intersection of energy, with fewer converging energy lines. On Sri Yantra, the Marmas have 54 intersecting energy lines where three lines intersect. Each has feminine, or shakti, and masculine, or shiva, qualities. 54 X 2 = 108. Therefore there are 108 points that define the human body and the Sri Yantra or the Yantra of Creation. The same rule is observed in the Sanskrit language, with its 54 letters, both representing the two genders and they are also called Shiva and Shakti respectively; again, 54 X 2= 108.

Importance in Astronomy and Astrology

The earth cycle is supposed to be of 2160 years = 20 x 108. The distance between the Earth and Sun is 108 times the diameter of the Sun. The diameter of the Sun is 108 times the diameter of the Earth. The distance between the Earth and Moon is 108 times the diameter of the Moon. The universe is made up of 108 elements according to ancient texts. The current periodic table claims a few more than 108.

There are 12 constellation and 9 arc segments. 9 times 12 equal 108. The 9 planets travelling through the 12 signs constitute the whole of existence. 9 x 12 = 108. The 27 nakshatras or lunar constellations spread over the 4 elements – fire, earth, air, water or the 4 directions – north, south, east, and west. This also constitutes the whole of existence. 27 x 4 = 108.

 

Keep reading the rest of the article here:

Source of article: http://humanityhealing.net/2011/08/the-mystic-meaning-of-the-number-108/

 

 

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Yantra Meditation

Yandra meditation

I came across this and wanted to share it with you…

 

Yantra Meditation

As you look at the yantra, allow your eyes to focus on its center. This dot in the center is called the Bindu, which represents the unity that underlies all the diversity of the physical world.

Now allow your eyes to see the triangle that encloses the bindu. The downward pointing triangle represents the feminine creative power, while the upward facing triangle represents male energy.

Allow your vision to expand to include the circles outside of the triangles. They represent the cycles of cosmic rhythms. The image of the circle embodies the notion that time has no beginning and no end. The farthest region of space and the innermost nucleus of an atom both pulsate with the same rhythmic energy of creation. That rhythm is within you and without you.
Bring your awareness to lotus petals outside the circle. Notice that they are pointing outwards, as if opening. They illustrate the unfolding of our understanding. The lotus also represents the heart, the seat of the Self. When the heart opens, understanding comes.

The square at the outside of the yantra represents the world of form, the material world that our senses show us, the illusion of separateness, of well defined edges and boundaries. At the periphery of the figure are four T-shaped portals, or gateways. Notice that they point toward the interior of the yantra, the inner spaces of life. They represent our earthly passage from the external and material to the internal and sacred.

Now take a moment to gaze into the yantra, letting the different shapes and patterns emerge naturally, allowing your eyes to be held loosely in focus. Gaze at the center of the yantra on the page. Without moving your eyes, gradually begin to expand your field of vision. Continue expanding your vision until you are taking in information from greater than 180 degrees. Notice that all this information was there all along, you just became aware of it. Now slowly reverse the process by re-focusing back to the center of the yantra. Now gently close your eyes. You may still see the yantra in your mind’s eye. The patterns of creativity represented by these primordial shapes express the fundamental forces of nature. They govern the world and they govern you.

 

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Bhavana

Bhavana mindfulness

In different religions, there are different concepts of how to be closer to the divine power or look into yourself to find your soul and comfort your heart. In Buddhism, the concept of Bhavana is very common. If literally translated, it means development or producing. The aim of Bhavana is to clear your mind and induce calmness inside the body, which reflects in your words, thoughts and actions.

Understanding Bhavana

Most of the times, Bhavana is not used alone but in conjunction with another concept. There is citta-Bhawana which refers to the development of mind. This concept deals with the cultivation of thoughts, positive attitude and ideas in your mind. On the other hand, metta-bhavana is the development of kindness. This concept deals with cultivating love and kindness in your heart. Different parts of your body are doing different things and they can all be developed in the right way to produce positivity and goodness. Panna-bhavana refers to the development of wisdom, which is very important throughout your whole life. Samadhi-bhavana is the development of concentration. You will not be able to excel at anything or understand anything until you develop a certain level of concentration. Kaya-bhavana is the development of the body, which is inevitable and very important. There are different compounds made by different Theravada teachers. Bhavana is the name of spiritual cultivation, whether it is of the heart, mind or the body.

Etymology of Bhavana

Bhavana comes from Bhava which means ‘becoming’. To understand it better, you can think of it as the arousal of the state of mind. According to Glen Wallis, a farmer does Bhavana when he prepares his field for planting seeds. He says that Buddha chose this specific word because of its connection with the earth. While other words like meditation are devoid of a connection, Bhavana is connected to the Earth. It is ordinary and natural, yet serene and earthly in its own way. Bhavana also represents hope. It cultivates a sense of hope in people that no matter how damaged a field is, it is not barren. This means that no matter how damaged your heart or mind is, there is still hope that it can be cultivated and developed. As a result, the end of the season will see a nourishing harvest. One might think of Bhavana as meditation but it is much more than that. It brings attention to detail and makes meditation a calming activity rather than a mechanical one. Claude Marechal explains it perfectly in the article ‘Teachings’.

From the article ‘Teachings’ by CLAUDE MARECHAL.

I thought this was an eloquent way to describe Bhavana.

“Bhavana is a mental attitude, the intention that allows the student to maintain his/her attention during the execution of postures and of pranayama. This psychological orientation stops the practice from becoming mechanical, it amplifies its effects and improves self-knowledge.

Bhavana aims to make the mind very clear, very calm, to improve physical and mental health and to induce a state of meditation or of prayer.”

 

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Meditation

Meditation

While there are many treatments for physical treating your body, you need to meditate to train your mind. Just like you do exercise for your body’s wellness, you have to meditate to keep your brain healthy and well. According to Buddhist traditions, meditation is as important as sports are in the US. Meditation is not just one thing. It is a collection of different activities that are done to train the mind. As a beginner, it would be very difficult for you to sit in one place and keep your mind empty. This is very hard to do since we always have something on our mind, even if it is not relevant. There are a lot of tools for beginners such as beginner meditation DVDs that beginners can use to focus on their breathing and empty their minds.

Concentration is one of the most important aspects of meditation. In this kind of meditation, you have to focus on one point. It could be a single word, image or your own breath. Some people focus on a candle flame while others listen to one song on repeat. No matter what you are doing, your whole focus has to be on one thing. As a beginner, this could be challenging as your brain would drift from that one focal point but this gets better with time. Meditation is a great way to improve your concentration as you let go of any random thoughts and fixate your mind on one thing.

Mindfulness Meditation

Mindfulness meditation makes you more aware of yourself and your thoughts. Instead of getting involved with every thought that comes to your mind, you just have to acknowledge its presence. The aim of this technique is to see the pattern of your thoughts. With time, you will notice how you perceive thoughts and what kind of thoughts commonly drift through your brain. If you continue doing this, you will reach a point where you will be able to balance your thoughts.

Sometimes, different meditation techniques are joint together to have a full-blown effect. For example, concentration and mindfulness can be joined together to create a stillness of mind for scanning through one’s thoughts.

Aim of Meditation

The aim of meditation has been very precisely explained by Chogyan Trungpa who says that meditation is for attaining blissfulness of mind and soul. It is a method for you to become a better person and be more aware of who you are.

‘Meditation is not a matter of trying to achieve ecstasy, spiritual bliss or tranquility, nor is it attempting to become a better person. It is simply the creation of a space in which we are able to expose and undo our neurotic games, our self-deceptions, our hidden fears and hopes. We provide space through the simple discipline of doing nothing…The basic practice is to be present, right here. The goal is also the technique. Precisely being in this moment, neither suppressing nor wildly letting go, but being precisely aware of what you are. Breath, like bodily existence, is a neutral process that has no ‘spiritual’ connotations’.

Chogyam Trungpa, The Myth of Freedom

 

 

Bhastrika

Clara Roberts Oss yoga retreats

Bhastrika

One of my favorite pranayams to help wake up the senses, focus the mind and anyone can do it.

It’s a cross between deep Ujayi breathing and cat cow.

As you inhale deeply, lift your sternum. As you exhale, knit the front ribs towards the back body and engage Mula Bandha (lift the pelvic floor). You inhale and exhale evenly and very deeply. Find a rhythm and stay with it. I’ve been taught to do it in 3 rounds, first one for 9, second for 7, third for 5. After your last exhale in each round, retain the breath on the exhale and engage Maha Bandha (All 3 bandhas-mula, uddiyana and jalandhara) for as long as it feels comfortable in your own body.

If you are on the first three days of your moon/pregnant, do Bhastrika slower. Do not retain kumbacha for too long with pregnancy without engaging the bandhas). If on your moon,  you can retain but do not engage uddiyana bandha as it draws the energy up and you’re flow is trying to move downwards.

What are Bandhas?

I found this to be a great explanation….

 

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