"But the ship [of life the disciples rode in] was now in the midst of the sea, tossed with waves [difficulties]: for the [karmic] wind was contrary [to their desires].
"And in the fourth watch of the night [the darkest hours, before dawn] Jesus [Christ] went unto them, walking on the sea [demonstrating mastery over internal and external circumstances].
"And when the disciples saw him walking on the sea, they were troubled, saying, It is a spirit; and they cried out for fear [even disciples do not recognize the Christ].
"But straightway Jesus spake unto them, saying, Be of good cheer; it is I; be not afraid.
"And Peter [Patar, the stone] answered him and said, Lord, if it be thou, bid me come unto thee on the water.
"And he said, Come. And when Peter was come down out of the ship, he walked on the water, to go to Jesus.
"But when he saw the wind boisterous, he was afraid; and beginning to sink, he cried, saying, Lord, save me.
"And immediately Jesus stretched forth his hand, and caught him, and said unto him, O thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt?
"And when they were come into the ship, the wind ceased." - Matthew 14
To continue our series of lectures about spiritual experience, we will learn a new word. I know that we all love that; in this school we are always learning new words, complicated words.
I think in my experience as a teacher — which is limited — that this is probably the most difficult word to explain, because we already think we know what it is. The word in English is faith.
For the last few hundred years, this word faith has been mistreated. Beginning in the thirteenth and fourteenth century, the monks of Christianity — who were also the primary teachers throughout Europe and then elsewhere — began to change this word and began to use it in a way that does not correspond to its actual meaning. Now, seven hundred years later, after many generations of this effort to change the meaning of faith, we all have a mistaken understanding of the word. It is very difficult for us to break that and really understand practically what faith actually means, what it actually is.
In simple terms, faith is not belief.
If you ask most people what is faith, they say "It is what I believe. I have faith in God so I believe in God.” This is wrong. Faith is not belief. This is the change that was made by Christian monks and priests over many centuries. In an effort to spread their teaching, to spread their doctrine, they corrupted the use of this term. This is a very important understanding that we need in Gnosis. In reality, faith is the same as how we use the Greek word Gnosis. It means truth, knowledge from experience, something that we have confirmed through our experience that is true. That is what faith means.
In ancient times when someone gave their pledge or their oath, they gave their word, they would say, “I give faith that this is true.” In other words, they can be trusted, because of their faithfulness. This is also why nowadays we still have one shred of the original meaning of faith in the English language: that is when we say an adulterer is unfaithful. It means they have been “untrue,” dishonest, disloyal, and broken their word. They have lied. They have gone against what they said was true. They cannot be trusted. To be unfaithful does not mean you do not believe! Immediately, that shows us that faith does not mean belief. Faith relates with trust, experience, conviction, honesty, fidelity, and truth.
This is a very important term to understand, especially when we are trying to study spirituality. Without faith, there is no spirituality. Without faith, you cannot have Gnosis. It is impossible. Faith and Gnosis are synonymous. They are the same thing. To have faith is to have experience, to trust, to have conviction, and to have knowledge. Therefore, when a Gnostic says “I have faith,” they are not saying “I believe.” They are saying “I know.” In this way, faith means knowledge.
To understand this a little better, we can look at what Samael Aun Weor said.
“Those who have true faith do not need to believe. This is because genuine faith is living knowledge, exact cognition, and direct experience.” - Samael Aun Weor, The Great Rebellion
This statement is very profound like many of the statements that Samael Aun Weor has made. You cannot read it superficially. You have to go deep into the words to understand precisely what he is expressing.
Those who have true faith do not need to believe. This is exactly the conflict that people have now. People think belief and faith are the same thing. When we read this first sentence it causes an immediate contradiction in our mind. “What do you mean if I have faith I do not need to believe? What?” That contradiction causes us to do one of two things: we either do not believe what he is saying — do you see that? It is because we do not know what he is saying. Or, we skip it and ignore it because we do not understand it. That would be a mistake.
Faith is Living Knowledge
This phrase “living knowledge” is also very important. Knowledge in Hebrew is Daath, which is the hidden sphere in the Tree of Life. It contains all of the mysteries of self-realization. It is the science to create the soul, the science to experience the nature of what is. That science and that knowledge is not in letters, it is not in books or in any school or any group. It is not acquired by following any person. It makes no difference what school you believe in or disbelieve.
Real knowledge, Daath, Gnosis, is alive, it is a living intelligence that resides within every living thing, but it cannot be known by the superficial mind, or by any belief. It is not a theory. It is not a topic to discuss or something to accept or reject. It is something to one lives. That is why it is faith. It is something living. It is something you need to know and experience, taste and touch yourself. Exact cognition. Meaning, true faith is a way of mind. The way mind functions. The way the soul works through the vehicle of mind.
Faith is Exact Cognition
Exact cognition is faith. Not the kind of cognition that we have; which is diluted by a false sense of self. Exact cognition is the objective reasoning of the Being. It is the cognition of God.
Real faith is how God thinks, not how we as an animal mind think. Real cognition is related with the inner mind, the abstract mind. Not the concrete mind, not this mind that always says “I, me, myself.” That always says, “I have faith.” You notice that “I” have faith; the emphasis there is on “me.” Have you noticed that those who claim to be very religious or are very devoted to spirituality say, “I” have faith in God. What is the emphasis in their sentence? “I, me, myself.” The emphasis is not on God. The energy of that sentence is not moving towards God. That energy in that sentence is building up a sense of “me” as a “religious” person. Or so called “saved” or “born again,” or so called “better then others” because “I” have this great teacher, teaching, movement, or church. That is not faith. The word faith is used, but that is belief.
Faith is Direct Experience
Direct experience is the third part. Direct experience of what? If we are one that claims to have faith, we have to test that faith. Faith in what, what have we experienced? What is it that gives us faith? Upon what is our faith founded? This is what we need to know.
Many believe in God and religion, but how many have experienced God? How many have experienced the heavenly realms? In the Gnostic tradition, you learn how to experience such things so that you do not need to believe. Instead, you come to know. That is how you develop real faith.
Three Types of Mind
We can better understand this when we know about the three types of mind.
1. Sensual Mind
"...develops its basic concepts via external sensory perceptions. Under these conditions, the Sensual Mind is terribly crude and materialistic. It cannot accept anything which has not been physically demonstrated. Since the fundamental concepts of the Sensual Mind are based on external sensory data, undoubtedly, it can know nothing about what is real, about the truth, about the mysteries of life and death, about the Soul and the Spirit, etc. For the rogues of the intellect, totally trapped by their external senses and incarcerated within the basic concepts of the Sensual Mind, our esoteric studies are lunacy. In the reasoning of the unreasonable, in an insane world, they are right, due to the conditioning by the external sensory world. How could the Sensual Mind accept what is not sensory? If information from the senses serves as a secret means for all functions of the Sensual Mind, then it is obvious that the latter generates sensory concepts." - Samael Aun Weor, The Great Rebellion
2. Intermediate Mind
The Intermediate Mind only knows what it has been told, or what it theorizes. It is that mind that holds beliefs, dogmas, theories, etc. whether they are religious, scientific, political, etc. This mind only believes what it has been taught at church, temple, and school.
3. Inner Mind
"The Inner Mind is fundamental for the direct experience of the truth. Undoubtedly, the Inner Mind creates its basic concepts with information contributed by the superlative consciousness of the Being. Unquestionably, the consciousness can live and experience reality. Without a doubt, the consciousness knows the truth. To manifest itself however, the consciousness needs a mediator, an instrument of action, and this in itself is the Inner Mind. Consciousness knows directly the reality of each natural phenomenon and can manifest it through the Inner Mind. To open the Inner Mind would be the appropriate thing to do in order to remove ourselves from the world of doubt and ignorance. This means that only by opening the Inner Mind will genuine faith be born within the human being... One who has opened the Inner Mind recalls one’s previous existences, knows the mysteries of life and death; not because of what one has or has not read, not because of what someone has or has not said, not because of what one has or has not believed, but because of terribly real and vivid direct experi- ence." - Samael Aun Weor, The Great Rebellion
In these lectures we have been talking about tantra as the third level of instruction in any religion. Tantra is Sanskrit and it means continuum, and continuous movement. This image that we have been studying in this course is of a lhu, a naga, an elemental intelligence depicted as a serpent-being rising from the waters. Those waters are tantra, “continuum, flow.” Those waters are a continuous flow of energy. Those waters are our very life force, prana. In the hands of the lhu, the naga, is the cintanami, the wish fulfilling jewel, the norbu. This naga represents our potential as a human being, what we ultimately can accomplish, which is to become a Vajrasattva, a diamond soul, a perfected soul. That potential depends one hundred percent on one thing: faith. That is it.
“And he said unto her, Daughter, thy faith [πίστις pistis] hath made thee whole; go in peace, and be whole of thy plague.” - Mark 5:34
“And Jesus said unto him, Go thy way; thy faith hath made thee whole. And immediately he received his sight, and followed Jesus in the way.” - Mark 10:52
“And when he saw their faith, he said unto him, Man, thy sins are forgiven thee.” - Luke 5:20
The Greek word pistis is usually translated as faith, conviction of the truth. This conviction comes from experiential knowledge, Gnosis. When you know how to use a medicine to cure an illness, you do not believe in it, but you have faith in it because you have knowledge from experience.
“And Jesus rebuked the devil; and he departed out of him: and the child was cured from that very hour. Then came the disciples to Jesus apart, and said, Why could not we cast him out?
“And Jesus said unto them, Because of your lack of faith [ἀπιστία apistia]: for verily I say unto you, If ye have faith [πίστις pistis] as a grain of mustard seed, ye shall say unto this mountain, Remove hence to yonder place; and it shall remove; and nothing shall be impossible unto you. - Matthew 17
In one of the ancient scriptures of Buddhism, it states:
"We say that unsurpassed bodhi [wisdom, Chokmah] has faith as its cause. The causes of awakening are innumerable, but if stated as faith, this covers everything. O Śāriputra, the ultimate truth is really approachable only by faith." - Uttara-tantra-shastra / Ratnagotravibhāga by Buddha Maitreya
All of the causes of awakening can be summarized as simply faith. That is why this wish-fulfilling gem only emerges in the hands of the naga, in us, because of faith.
Again, that faith is not belief. When we look at the roots of this word faith in English, we find some very interesting meanings.
Over the centuries this word faith has changed a lot. When we dive into the etymology of the word faith, we find its most profound root in the Greek language related with the word Πειθώ peithô. There is even a sort of similarity in the pronunciation.
In the Bible, the word faith is only found once in the old testament, but occurs many times in the new testament. Most of those appearances are from the Greek word pistis. yet pistis originated from the word peithô.
Peithô from the ancient Greek means “to persuade,” not merely persuasion as a function of speech, but something more subtle then that. We tend to think of persuasion as as someone trying to convince us of something. This is not the whole meaning of peithô. Peithô means “to grow in conviction in oneself.” It also means “to have confidence.” That is the meaning of faith. To be come more convinced of truth and reality. Real faith is rooted in experience.
Through our experience we learn. This is how we become convinced through experience. Not through theories. Not through beliefs. Those are very superficial. The conviction that we feel from a theory or belief is very weak. Look back at your own life and examine how you have gone from one belief to another. Maybe in politics, religion, or maybe in your philosophy of life. Look back at the phases of your life and see how your own convictions have overturned every few years. You may have been a Christian, you may have been a Muslim, you may have been a Buddhist, and you may have been very ardent and enthusiastic about those religions, yet eventually they fizzled out. What happened to your faith? What happened to your conviction? This happens in politics, also. People change their political allegiances all the time.
Faith is drawn from experience.
Where do we have our faith now? We have a lot of faith in television, the internet, and in movies because we invest a lot of time into them. We have faith from our experience that we will get a certain experience out of movies, television and the Internet. Thus we feel a need or a longing for comfort, for escape, to feel something emotional. We go to where our faith is. We watch a dramatic movie or a sentimental movie or we read a certain kind of book in order to feel what we want to feel. We may say with our mouth that we put our faith in God, but in reality if you observe your behaviors what we have faith in is caffeine, sugar, television, the internet, going to movies, going to bars and hanging out with friends that have bad habits.
You see, our faith is proven in our works, in our actions, including our thoughts and feelings.
Faith is living experience, not belief. We prove our faith daily by how we act. We demonstrate our faith by what we do with our time and our energy.
Where is our faith? Many of us have our faith in playing video games, or in playing with a rock band, or in chasing fashion or in making money.
Many of us have our faith tied up in money. We have conviction and faith that money will solve our problems and give us happiness. If that is our faith and our conviction, then we are destined to suffer.
Many of us have our faith invested in schools, churches, groups, or following a certain teacher, master or guru.
In all of these cases, we are destined to suffer, because all of these things are impure, temporary, and illusions that cannot solve the problem of suffering. They may give us a temporary escape, or a temporary sensation of security, or a momentary feeling or glimpse of something that we feel is real,, but in the end we are left with the problems unsolved, and we remain empty, damaged, disappointed, discouraged, and we go looking for something else to replace what we once had faith in.
Real faith does not suffer this problem.
When we look back to the etymological roots of faith, we see that it is related to the old French word feid, which means to trust. Where are we placing our trust now? In what do we trust? We trust our ego, unfortunately.
Ultimately, when we look into the roots we find that this word faith in reality relates with confidence, trust, and with truth. Most interesting of all is this Greek word Peithô, because it is the name of a goddess. Our modern term faith comes from the name of a Greek goddess.
Peithô is a very mysterious figure in the Greek pantheon. Very little is known about this goddess. What little is known is depicted in these images.
"O sovereign Peitho (faith), herald of Aphrodite (love)." - Pindar, Nemean Ode 8, Greek lyric C5th B.C.
Peithô is an attendant of Aphrodite. Aphrodite is the Greek goddess of love, the heart, and beauty. Peithô always attends Aphrodite, and in many cases they almost seem to be the same figure. Sometimes Aphrodite is called Peithô, because Peithô represents an aspect of consciousness; in the same way, Aphrodite can represent consciousness or an aspect of the Being.
The name Aphrodite means “born from the foam.” She emerged out of the sea. That sea is the waters that the naga rises from, our own inner waters, the Hebrew letter Mem. This is why in the book Tarot and Kabbalah Samael stated that there are three mysterious letters in the Hebrew alphabet, and the letter Mem is one of them, and it represents faith. If you have studied the Hebrew letter Mem, you will immediately see why. It is related with the waters.
Aphrodite the Goddess of love has this attendant, Peithô. The name Peithô is usually intended to mean persuasion. Again, this is not merely persuasion through speech. It is persuasion through the power of the goddess. It is the persuasive power of the Divine Mother.
"[Aphrodite] source of Peitho [faith], secret, favouring queen, illustrious born, apparent and unseen." - Orphic Hymn 55 to Aphrodite, Greek hymn C3rd B.C. to 2nd A.D.
This in itself is a very beautiful and profound teaching. Faith as experienced, as cognition, emerges through the power of the Divine Mother.
"Great Phoibos [Apollon], the keys of wise Peitho [faith] to love's [Aphrodite's] true sanctities are secret." - Pindar, Pythian Ode 9
How to Create Faith
You see, faith is not merely a concept or a belief. Faith is not something intangible. We have this idea in western society that trust, faith, and confidence are just concepts, mental ideas. This is wrong. Faith is not just an idea or a word. It is a substance. It is matter and energy. We are talking about faith at the tantric level. Faith is not just an idea or something to aspire towards or label. Faith is a substance that has to be created. It is created through Bodhichitta, through our sexual waters, and the creation of faith is the power of our Divine Mother. That is why faith, Peithô, is represented as a woman who accompanies Aphrodite.
Do not think just because you read a book and you liked it that now you have faith. This is wrong thinking. Do not think just because you attended a school for ten years or fifteen, twenty, thirty, or forty years that now you have faith. This is wrong. Faith is not something that you get just by reading a book or attaching a label to yourself saying “now I am a Buddhist, so I have faith in Buddha.” This is wrong. What you have is belief. Belief is fine. Belief is not faith. Faith is a substance. It is matter, it is energy. Faith is the soul itself.
If we wonder why we have been such butterflies fluttering from school to school, from religion to religion, and political party from political party, or from teacher to teacher, it is because we do not have faith. What we have is belief. We call it faith, but it is really belief. We go into a new group or a new school and we become very enthusiastic and we say we have faith. It is not faith, it is belief. Faith has to be made, and you need to know how to make it.
Faith is made through the power of the Divine Mother. The problem is that the potential to create faith, which is in our waters, is the very same potential to create suffering. That is why Peithô can also be manifested negatively, as seduction, temptation, etc.
In our sexual waters is the power of creation. This is why in the basis of all religions it is always expressly required for beginners to restrain the sexual force and learn how to use it for spiritual development, rather than lust. In all cases. In all religions. Unfortunately nowadays most religions have lost that science, the exact knowledge of how to take that sexual matter and make it into pure faith. Instead, they take it and they make it into fanaticism, pride. This is why we see monks, nuns, lamas, imams, all the different types of spiritual leaders that know how to restrain their sexual energy but do not know how to make it faith. Instead, they make it fanaticism. They turn it into pride. Everywhere in the world this is happening.
Yet, that is not the only way. Every great angel, buddha, master, was created through the power of the sexual waters. Observe Jesus walking on water, Moses separating the waters (the pure from the impure), Padmasambhava being born from the waters, etc.
Eros and Himeros
We see Peithô with two of her companions in the Greek Pantheon: Eros and Himeros.
Eros and Himeros are both Greek symbols.
Eros relates with sex. This is where we get the word erotic. Eros is not lust. The equivalent of Eros in Christianity is Christ. Eros is the creative power of God, the sexual power of God, which is pure, which has no lust. It is pure love. The word Eros means love. It is not desire, it is not attachment, or desire for sensation. It is not desire to conquer, to want, or to be wanted. It is Bodhichitta. It is awakening mind. It is cognizance of the Divine.
Himeros is the power of Eros. It is sexual power. It is when that desire longing, that engagement of sexual energy, is put into motion. Himeros is the active agent of Eros.
Here we see a beautiful trinity of forces. Peithô represents the power of conviction related to Aphrodite the goddess of love. Eros represents the sexual power of God. Himeros is the active energy of that sexual power. These three divinities represent very high aspects of our own inner God.
When we understand the path and know the path, these are the forces that create faith in us. We learn how to take that sexual power of God, Eros, we learn to harness it and direct it which is Himeros, and by that we empower Peithô, faith, the power of conviction. We gain experience of reality. We open our spiritual eyes. We see the truth. We experience what spirituality really is. That is how faith is born. This is why in all the religions around the world those who do not learn to harness, transform the sexual energy in harmony with divine laws can never have faith, because they can never experience the nature of God, the nature of the self. As long as our sexual energy is trapped in desire, in the false sense of self, in the aggregates of I, our perception will always be clouded and wrong. Thus our experience will be on a false foundation. We will not have faith. We will have fanaticism. We will have pride. This is why we have so much pride. This is why all of us are fanatics. We are not faithful.
The Greek goddess Peithô is illustrated in the Arcanum 11 of Tarot. The Arcanum 11 demonstrates the goddess very serenely opening the jaws of the lion. What is that lion? That lion is your karma. This image represents for us the entirety of the path. It is by opening the jaws of lion. The lion is our own karma. It is the consequences of all the mistaken actions that we performed in all of our previous existences for millennia.
If you reflect for a moment on the mistakes you made in this life, multiply that by hundreds of previous existences. I know we all like to believe that we were great saints in our previous existences, but there is absolutely no evidence for that. If you want to know who you were in your previous existence, look at who you are right now. What you were before made what you are now. What you are now is a result of what you were. If you are suffering and in pain, if you have doubt, anger, pride, lust, gluttony, greed, fear, you made them in all of your previous lives. You were not a saint, and you were not a master. You were lost in some sorrow, just like the rest of us. Let us not have any pride here. Let us be realistic.
If we want to change, we need this goddess to open the jaws of the lion. That lion is poised to eat us. Does anyone here have nightmares or have had them anytime during your life? Nightmares of being chased or persuade by powerful monsters or demons and being pulled into a pit and being consumed eaten or killed? Those are not just fantasies. Those are the reflection of your karma. That is what is waiting for us.
This lion represents all of the forces that we have put into motion in our previous existences. Those forces are reaching a point that is unsustainable, a point at which we become such a danger to nature, ourselves, and others and that out of compassion our own Innermost will precipitate us in the inner worlds to be purged of that karma. This is not because of vengeance or punishment from a cruel tyrant god. It is the only way that God sees that we can be redeemed, because we are so stubborn and ignorant that we will not redeem ourselves from our mistakes. Redemption has two possible paths: self-originated redemption through our own actions, or redemption that nature can provide to us through hell. It is up to us to choose. We choose every day, by how we use our matter and energy from moment to moment.
The Arcanum 11 represents what happens to us if we choose to redeem ourselves, to do the work. If we make that choice, it is a choice of faith. That is why Peithô is opening the jaws of the lion. She is that essence, that material or matter of the Divine Mother in us that can do it. She cannot do it through pride, through fanaticism, through belief, because those are all egotistical. She can only do it through awakened consciousness, free of the I.
Then the question becomes, how much of our ego have we destroyed? How much of our consciousness have we awakened? How much of our soul have we redeemed? If we claim to be great Gnostics, great spiritual people, what is our faith based on? Mere belief? Or have we experienced the death of the ego? Have we confirmed through our exact precise cognition and perception that our ego is dying, or do we just believe it is?
It is not a difficult question, but I suspect most students of Gnosis would not be able to answer it. That means we need to work harder. We need to revise our way of practice. We need to be serious.
We do not have time to be believers. We have been believers for centuries already. Anyone that is in Gnosis has been in religions before. It does not make you special. Being in a religion or following a spiritual group is really pointless if it is going to keep us in the same situation that we are in now.
What we need is change. Real change. Fundamental change in our lives. Not just in our way of thinking or showing how we act to others, but in the way mind functions.
It is good for us to study the levels of faith. Remember, faith is not belief. Faith is a substance. It emerges in us from our own waters. If we are a fornicator, meaning we are having the orgasm, we can never have faith. It is impossible, because we are depleting the very forces that faith comes from. If you are constantly projecting out of your body the sexual energy through the orgasm, faith is out of the question. It is impossible. It cannot happen. Faith begins to emerge when we begin to conserve energy and transform it.
The birth of faith in us happens in levels; eventually, it is the birth of Christ, the birth of our own Innermost in us, the birth of our Divine Mother in us. That energy, that substance of the sexual waters, is how that norbu rises from the water, that wish fulfilling gem.
The Four Types of Faith
1. Clear Faith
When we first hear teachings like this, and we see all the beautiful correspondences and the beautiful truths, and our mind is shaken and our heart is shaken, this is the first sign that faith is a potential reality for us, that we might be able to make faith. When we become inspired by the teachings. I do not mean inspired by a theory or an idea. The way we can get inspired or enthusiastic about a political idea or a new religious concept. What we are talking about here is clear vivid faith, the first type of faith; it is an energy in your body, heart, and mind. It is something that shakes you and moves you deeply.
Reflect on the moment when you first were shaken by Gnosis. Really, when your eyeballs were spinning around in your head. When you were really comprehending and seeing this is something profound and real. That is clear faith. That is the first type of faith, the first moment the gems shines in your consciousness. It is a beautiful experience.
Unfortunately, it usually does not last long. As you know, we soon become discouraged, if we do not take this faith to the next level. If we deal with this first faith in the way that we have habitually dealt with other things in our life, we will take that clear faith and convert it into fanaticism. We convert it into pride. We think in our mind “now I am a Gnostic. I am good. I am safe. Now I am better then others because I deserve to find this great teaching and now I am following Samael Aun Weor or such and such a person.” This is the birth of fanaticism. This is the birth of suffering.
This clear faith — while beautiful — is also a moment of incredible danger, if we do not have a good teacher who will guide us to not become another fanatic. Sadly, most teachers want their students to be followers, believers, fanatics. They want the student to be dependent, worshipful, attached.
Do not make Gnosis into a belief or a social club, or just another habit of personality. The reality of Gnosis is not a belief. In fact, the reality of Gnosis cannot be found if we are a believer. Do you grasp that? When you are a believer, you limit your perception.
Let me give you an example. Any day of the week if you watch the news some famous person is in trouble. Half of the population more or less thinks the person is innocent and the other half believes they are guilty. We immediately want to align ourselves with one side of the pendulum or the other. “I believe they are innocent; we should support them.” “I believe they are guilty and they are bad and we should denounce them.” Do you see that? We demonize and sanctify in our mind. We have no knowledge. We have no faith, no experience, no direct perception of their actions. We only have the illusions cast by the media and the illusions created by our own mind. Why do we always talk about celebrities and other spiritual groups, other people when we do not know them, we never met them? We do not know their mind, their soul, and their karma. We do not know what they have done or not done. We do not know, but still we talk as though we know because we are foolish. Because we believe and we disbelieve because we think it is real. None of it is real.
This is the essential point of view a true Gnostic must develop: always question perception. Always ask oneself what can be confirmed as true. “In my experience, what can be confirmed as true? I cannot even confirm if my name is true, if my memories are true, if my experience in this moment is true because I am asleep. Because I have pride and laziness. How can I confirm that such and such a person on the other side of the planet is a good or bad person? How can I get into an argument with people about people I do not know?” Yet we do it.
This represents the danger of the initial faith we develop in anything. When we get enthusiastic with something, we quickly convert that faith into belief. We convert it into fanaticism. We make it into lies.
The antidote is to constantly watch oneself, constantly question perception and thoughts. In this way, we keep studying the teaching without attachment to anyone or anything.
2. Longing, Eager Faith
As we study the doctrine or religion we are following, we start to see the qualities that the religion describes. For example, the Master Samael Aun Weor gave innumerable beautiful examples of the power of Gnosis. He described many experiences, such as in the astral plane, in the mental plane, in the causal plane. These cause us great inspiration. This is why he wrote about it: to inspire our souls to follow his example. This is how our clear faith becomes a longing eager faith. It is the kind of faith that wants that for ourselves, to experience God, to see the truth, to know our own Being, to talk to Jesus —not merely to hear about Jesus or read about Jesus, but to see him, talk to him, ask him questions and get answers.
When we hear about these experiences from Samael Aun Weor, we naturally feel longing, eager faith to have that experience for ourselves. It is beautiful and necessary to inspire the soul. Yet, again there is danger, because of pride. People who study the teachings easily convert their longing, eager faith into pride. We all assume that we deserve those experiences right now. “If Samael had that experience, I want it today, too.” We assume that we are at the same level and that we should be able to acquire the same experience right now. If we do not get it, we lie and say we got it. If we do not get it, we get angry and our faith becomes fanaticism against Gnosis, against that religion because we feel betrayed, all the while not realizing that the betrayal was from our own mind and our pride. Do you see how subtle these dangers are? How easily our mind tricks us again and again, and again!
We need faith. The greatest danger to faith is pride. If we take this longing, eager faith and with humility recognize our true level, which is very low, and we practice even though we are low and insignificant, we can grow that longing, eager faith, and we can have experience, but we will have experience at our level. This is the important fact.
Over the years we have heard many students complain, “I have been studying these teachings and trying these practices, but I am not having the experiences that you guys describe in these books, so this teaching must be a lie.” That statement is 100% pride. What we need to look for is the experiences that we deserve, experiences related to our level.
At our level, what we need the most is to work on our ego and to change. I promise you — and I have never promised a student anything that they will get anything from Gnosis, but I can promise you one thing — if you work on yourself as Gnosis teaches, your face will be put in the stinkiness of your ego, in the same way you train a dog. When you get a puppy and he goes to the bathroom on your nice floor, you go and put his face in it and say “no, no, no, do not go to the bathroom there, go on the paper.” Well, when you want to change and redeem yourself from your sins, your inner Being does that to you, so you will learn. God will put your face in your pride, lust, envy, and say, “no, no, no.” Those are experiences that we need to value. That is how we learn what are the primary obstacles to us having the beautiful experiences that Samael talks about. People always ask, “Why can’t I have those beautiful experiences? Why can’t I awaken in the astral plane? Why can’t I awaken in the mental plane? Why can’t I awaken in the causal plane? How come I cannot experience the Absolute?” The answer is obvious: because you have too much pride. That is it. Work on pride. You see, in each question the problem is found: “I.”
3. Confident Faith
When we work to change and become a better person, that faith grows and it becomes confident. Why? This is actually the critical juncture.
Most students of Gnosis have clear faith or the eager longing faith, but very rare does a a person develop confident faith. Confident faith is real faith. To have confident faith means to have had experience, to have actually experienced something. This does not necessarily mean that you awakened consciousness in the temple of Alden and interviewed all the masters of medicine. I do not know how you would benefit spiritually or consciously from that, maybe somehow, but they are busy helping those who are suffering, and have a lot of important things to do. We probably should not bother them unless we really need help.
Instead, the experience in Gnosis that gives you confident faith is the kind of experience that genuinely shows you something about yourself that you need to change, and you change it, and you see the benefit.
By real experience we do not mean “spiritual experiences,” like having powers, like to get out of your body. Any black magician can get out of their body. So what?
By real experience we also do not mean just to have a Samadhi in meditation. Anyone can learn to have Samadhi. That alone does not mean anything. I personally have had many students over the years that could easily access Samadhi. I had one student who could not stay in her body. The rest of the students were drooling over that, saying, “I wish I had that.” She could not stay in her body. As soon as she would close her eyes to meditate, she would be out of her body. She did not like it. I see the same faces every time I tell that story, because everyone becomes so envious. Envy is an ego.
Experiences out of the body do not give you confident faith. This girl who had this experience did not build any faith from that, because she did not use those experiences to learn about her ego. She was not interested. She did not care. She thought she was fine the way she was, even though her Being was making a lot of effort to teach her who she was, but she did not want to learn. She was not building confident faith, so eventually she left the teachings.
I know other students who do not have experiences out of the body, ever, but they have a lot of confident faith, because they are having the experiences that they need, which is they are learning how to change and learning to transform themselves into a good person. That is what makes confident faith.
When you see the practical truth and purpose of this teaching, it is not to just have fantastic experiences, rather it is to become a Vajrasattva, a perfected soul.
4. Irreversible Faith
From that confident faith, the more experiences that you have of the true basis of the teaching, that faith becomes irreversible. That is the fourth type. Irreversible faith means no matter how bad our circumstances or how bad our ordeals, there is no doubt or loss of purpose. 100 percent: we can never go back. This means that even when the whole world turns against us and everyone is talking bad about us, spreading gossip and rumors, criticizing, they hate us, we still do not let go of the path. That is a sign of irreversible faith. That is very, very rare. Truly, it is a sign of mastery. Most of us are much to concerned about pleasing and impressing others, or concerned about our comfort.
"Whosoever has eliminated those undesirable elements 100 percent from within, will also have obviously opened up the Inner Mind 100 percent. Such a person will possess absolute faith." - Samael Aun Weor, The Great Rebellion
The cultivation and development of faith is the entire work. It is the same thing that is creating and making the soul, or creating that perfect Vajrasattva.
Faith is a Substance
Faith is a substance, it is not an idea or a concept or that we contemplate. It is something that has to be in our physical, vital, astral, mental, and causal bodies. It is a substance, an energy, a force.
For us who are just beginners, we need to understand how that substance is created. How is it made and what does it mean? It is not made merely by meaning well or having good intentions. It is not made by reading a book. It is not made when we go to a certain school or wear the right clothes. It is made through our every action in every moment.
Faith is a consequence of our actions. Swami Sivananda said very, very clearly:
“No faith, no knowledge.”
Simple as that. The knowledge we need is Daath (Hebrew: knowledge), which is the knowledge of the Ultimate, the knowledge to create the soul, the knowledge of the Divine. To get that or to acquire that knowledge requires that we have faith.
As I mentioned, we need to examine where that faith is now, and what we put our faith in. Not just theoretically. Not just in our intentions, but in our actions.
Like a filmstrip, review the course of your life. See where you put your faith. We may have put it into a spouse, a church, into a job, an education, a political party, a country, a place that we live or a culture that we love. In other words, we put our future into these things. We believe that these things will give us the future that we need or want. It is all mistaken.
We invest our hearts and minds into groups, school, education, jobs and marriages without realizing that every one of those things is impermanent. Today or tomorrow or next week those things will cease to exist. What will we be left with? Where will our soul be? We have been putting all of our energy and time into things that are unreliable, unsustainable, and in truth cannot be trusted. We say we put our faith in God, but we do not know God. By knowing God I mean Gnosis, conscious experience.
In Buddhism they provide a beautiful formula that Samael Aun Weor talked about. It is the formula to create faith and perfect it. In Buddhism they call it taking refuge. To take refuge in something is to find protection, security, comfort there. For all of us, we take refuge in relationships, families, careers, money, jobs, in our investments, in our education, thinking these things will give us security. They cannot. They may give us temporary security, but they cannot give lasting security. They cannot save us from suffering.
If we want truly to transform our situation and become a perfected soul, we need the help of someone who has done it. It makes sense, doesn’t it? Why would you put your trust in someone that has not done what you want to learn? When the very stake at hand is the fate of your soul, why would you put your faith, your confidence and trust, into human beings that are full of ego, who only know how to suffer and create suffering? That would be foolish, but we all do it. If we really want redemption from our suffering, we need to put our trust and faith and confidence into someone who has escaped suffering and can show us how to get out of our situation. That is why it is very foolish to put our faith into schools or groups, in physical people, in books and theories, it is foolish. It will only result in suffering.
Ultimately, we seek to take refuge in the divinity within us.
"The Intimate God ["Buddha"] of each one of us is our succour and our place of refuge. We must always trust our Internal God." - Samael Aun Weor, The Pistis Sophia Unveiled
The Three Jewels
We need to understand the three jewels, which in Sanskrit is called Triratna. The three jewels are the most fundamental teaching of all religions, including all levels of Buddhism. In the foundational level, Shravakayana level, Mahayana level, and the Tantrayana level the three jewels have their own meaning.
The three jewels are quite simple: The Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha. The triple gem. Really, they are one. They are the same way that we talk about the trinity in the Kabbalah. They are three as one. One as three.
I am not going discuss in detail the foundational level or Mahayana level interpretations of these symbols; these are easily available. We only have time to talk about its true deepest meaning, which is the tantric level.
On a superficial level we say that “the Buddha” is the teacher. In Gnosis, at the foundational level people say it is Samael Aun Weor. For Christians, the jewel of the Buddha is Jesus. The second jewel, the dharma, is the teaching the teacher gave. The third jewel, Sangha, is the community of people that have accomplished what was taught. Sangha does not mean believers. It does not mean followers. It does not mean admirers. It means those who have accomplished it. Arhats. People who have become initiated at different degrees. Not physically initiated, but internal. The outer meaning of the three jewels is good for the foundational and mahayana levels of teaching. That is not our purpose of gathering for these studies.
What we need to understand is the Tantrayana level. That is, what is the Triratna in ourselves. The inner meaning, the more important meaning for us, is that Buddha, the first jewel, is our own Innermost. It is the Being of our Being. The Buddha of our Buddha. The deepest part of our soul, our essence; which is Ain Soph. It is called Adhi Buddha.
The second jewel, the teaching, is what that inner Being teaches us through experience.
The third jewel, the sangha, is all the parts of the Being that awaken in us through the work. Each of us is a reflection of the universe outside, but we are unrealized. As we develop, that inner universe becomes awakened. We discover that inside of us is more life and knowledge than we ever could imagine. That is the sangha on the tantric level.
So the first jewel on the tantric level of meaning is the unmanifested Buddha in potentiality. It is the uncreated light. It is the beyond of the beyond. This is where we need to put our faith. This is where we need to have experience. This is what we need in order to accomplish the path.
You see, where we place our faith in the physical world makes no difference for the development of our soul. From the ultimate point of view, really God does not care what group you belong to. From the point of view of the Absolute, from the point of view from the Buddha, it makes no difference if our body is Columbian, North American, Indian, African. It makes no difference what religion we follow, or what flags we wave or language we speak. These are all completely and 100 percent irrelevant. From the point of view of our Adhi Buddha, what matters are the qualities of our mind. That determines how well the Adhi Buddha can project his light through our mind. That is what matters. One speck of pride corrupts that light. If we have an atom of pride in our country, pride in religion, pride in history, pride in culture, pride in education, pride in language, way of dressing, taste in music or fashion, these all corrupt that light. They distort it.
Likewise that Buddha has his Dharma. That means that our inner Buddha does not care what type of religion we study in the physical world. All religions in the physical world — including Gnosis — without exception are just the antechamber, the kindergarten for the real Dharma. The real Gnosis can only be acquired from your inner Buddha. That means that the real Gnosis that you need, I can never give you. Samael Aun Weor cannot give it to you. No master can give it to you. They can help you to see it, but the one that has to give it to you is your own inner Guru, your own inner Buddha. That is the real Dharma. It is unique to your soul and your mind stream.
The Sangha is not the external group that you belong to, the spiritual movement you like. The Sangha is internal. What is the Sangha in its secret level it is all of the beautiful parts of your own inner Being. The Being is Elohim Sabaoth. The Being, the Inner Buddha, is like an army of different parts, different aspects. Our own Being is a pantheon. We tend to think of God as an old man on a throne with a beard. This is wrong. Have you ever seen a flame with a lot of sparks, or a flame with a lot of tendrils? That is the Being. Have you ever observed the ocean that seems to be one substance? It is not; it is a hugely diverse collection of substances. That is the Being. The Buddha is one in many. The Being is a multiplicity in unity. That is Sangha on the ultimate level.
This is where we have to place our faith: in the three jewels that are within us.
This painting shows the three jewels in its many levels of meaning. It is very deeply rich in symbolism. For our purposes today we do not have time to go through all the meanings in this painting. We will try to address some of the important ones so you will have understanding of it. The three jewels are illustrated here and the most important is the Buddha.
In the very center of the painting we see Buddha Amitabha, one of the five Dhyani Buddhas. Amitabha means limitless light. Does anyone know that word that word in Hebrew? Ain Soph Aur. Those who have studied this type of painting have therefore studied Kabbalah, even if they do not realize it.
Amitabha is the Ain Soph Aur when it first enters into manifestation and becomes the sephirah Kether. The sephirah Kether is the root of the Tree of Life. Kether is the first manifested Sephiroth. That is Buddha Amitabha who is pictured here.
His hands rest in equanimity, one hand resting in the other with the thumbs touching. This is a mudra related with equipoise: related to the balance of method and wisdom, which I mentioned in this course already.
In his hands is a blue vase. That vase represents his mind. You see his hands are in perfect equanimity supporting his mind, and his mind is empty. The vase has nothing in it. This is because in the fundamental basis of all things is the Emptiness, the Ain Soph, the limitless, the Absolute. This is why it is so foolish to attach ourselves to anything as if it was real. In its essence, everything is empty like this vase. Attachment is the cause of suffering. That is the teaching of Amitabha: discriminative perception. In Sanskrit terms it is Prajna.
Prajna is the highest of the Paramitas [“perfections.” Conscious attitudes]. If you have ever heard of the sutra Prajna-paramita this is the famous sutra that states:
Form is emptiness and emptiness is form.”
From that sutra comes the famous mantra:
Gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi svaha
“Go, go, go beyond, go totally beyond, be rooted in the ground of enlightenment.”
That is the teaching of Amitabha.
In that, Amitabha is teaching us the true nature of the three jewels, the true nature of the path, which is to develop discriminative perception, to see through experiences.
In synthesis, that teaching guides one to learn to see the inherent emptiness of all things in order for you to not form attachment. When you form attachment, you form pride. When you form attachment, you form lust. You form envy, greed, gluttony, fear— all of the discursive sources of suffering within ourselves comes from the mistaken perception of an “I” and a thing, and a longing to unite them. That longing is an lie. That sense of I is a lie, and our perception of that thing is a lie.
Real discriminative perception is the vision of prajnaparmita that Master Samael talked about many times: the ability to perceive the emptiness of phenomena and not form attachment. To see things for what they are, with wisdom and with love. That is faith.
Discriminative perception is where real faith is born. That is in many paintings below the Buddha Amitabha you see the wheel of Dharma, the eight-spoked wheel, which demonstrates the eightfold path. Harmonious view, harmonious action, etc. That is the Dharma and the teaching of Buddha Amitabha.
Buddha Amitabha is not outside of us. It is not some god in heaven looking down on us. It is your own inner Buddha.
Do not look at this thangka as if it is separate from you. This image reflects you, and what you can see in yourself if you open your eyes. Buddha is not something separate from us. Dharma is not something separate from us. Sangha is not separate. At the tantric level, this is what we learn: Buddha, Dharma, Sangha are our true nature. We suffer because we do not see that. We do not experience it. We only experience our delusions.
This wheel of Dharma, the teaching that our Buddha can give us, emerges from a lotus. That lotus flower is emerging from the waters. What is in those waters? That is Mahakala.
Mahakala is a Sanskrit name that means “great time.” It does not mean you are going to have a great time. It means the great wheel of time. This is a symbolic figure. It is not representing cyclical time or samsaric time or the way we think of time like on a clock. It does not mean that. Mahakala represents tantra, a flow of energy. He is surrounded by flames or fire. That fire is the letter Shin in Hebrew. That fire is Candali, Kundalini, Dummo in Tibetan.
In synthesis, in our waters is the Tantric power Mahakala, the wrathful aspect of our inner divinity who works through the Divine Mother (Durga, Peithô) who eliminates the ego: lust, pride, greed, gluttony etc. by means of Amitabha’s power, which is discriminative perception, Prajna: that is the power of Bodhichitta. Through discriminative perception of the truth the waters create a new growth. A lotus emerges from the water and on that lotus appears the teaching of the Dharma, knowledge. That is how we have faith. Did you follow that? The previous four lectures are right there, compressed, synthesized.
The lotus throne comes out of that knowledge, which comes from faith. If you want to know your Buddha Amitabha, work with your waters. Work with your Mahakala, the wrathful aspect of your divinity, to conquer and destroy obscuration to perception what we call ego, aggregates, what in synthesis the Buddha Shakyamuni taught as desire in the four noble truths. Desire is the cause of suffering. If you eliminate the desire, suffering ends, and wisdom emerges. That is Buddhi. Wisdom. When that wisdom saturates your mind, that is Bodhichitta. Wisdom Mind. When that happens, Amitabha is fully manifested. That is why behind Amitabha we see a great temple. That temple is your Sangha. That temple is your mind, what Samael called the cathedral of the soul. That is why Samael repeated again and again that we are not interested in making cathedrals or churches out of stone, metal or wood. The only thing we are interested in building is the cathedral of the soul. That cathedral is the Trikaya: Dharmakaya, Sambhogakaya, Nirmanakaya. That is what these three levels of the temple represent. Those three kayas are the trinity of the logos. Kether, Chokmah, Binah. Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. That is why this whole painting is synthesized right at the top of the temple with three jewels that are on fire. Do you see that? Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha in flamed with faith. The fire there is the fire of faith.
Incidentally, Amitabha is said to have two primary disciples. You may be surprised to hear their names: Avalokiteshvara and Vajrapani. We have told you many times that Avalokiteshvara is the Sanskrit name for Christ. His Tibetan name is Chenresig. Vajrapani is a Sanskrit name that means “thunderbolt in the hand.” Vajra in the hand. Remember in Greek mythology, Zeus is the one that has the thunderbolt. So, this is a beautiful Kabbalistic description of the upper reaches of the Tree of Life. Amitabha is the Ain Soph Aur. His disciples are Vajrapani (Kether), who works through Avalokiteshvara (Christ), whose full and perfect expansion into working in the lower realms is through Mahakala (Binah). That is the Kabbalistic examination of this beautiful painting.
Stated simply, we need to put our faith in our own three jewels. Not outside, but inside. That faith means put our confidence and our trust into our own Innermost. All of these things are inside of us, not outside. If we really want self-realization, it is not going to come from any outside group. It is not going to come from any outside teacher, no matter how great they may be. It is not going to come from any spiritual movement or any book. Liberation comes from inside. Let me quote something very significant that Samael Aun Weor said,
“Self realization is only possible in isolated individuals...” - Samael Aun Weor, The Spiritual Power of Sound
He did not say that self-realization is only for members who belong to my group or that belong to the official Gnostic Movement. He did not say that. He said that it is only possible for isolated individuals. People working in themselves Their external circumstances are irrelevant. What matters is what is happening inside the mind and in the heart.
To create faith we need to know the science. It is not sufficient to have good intentions. We need to know how to save energy all of the time. Not just sexual energy, but emotional energy, vital energy, physical energy and especially the energy of will, the energy of the heart related with the sephirah Tiphereth. This energy is extremely important. It is the energy of Tiphereth, which is the human soul, which is the most significant in the development of Bodhichitta and the development of Vajrasattva. It is that energy of Tiphereth, the human soul, that modifies our every action. That is our will. We express our will physically through our physical actions, and through our energetic actions, and emotionally through our heart and astral body. Mentally through our mind and our mental body, and of course through the causal body. All of our actions are an expression of will, Tiphereth.
The birth of a master happens when our will is merged with the will of our inner Buddha. When that merger happens is when we really become something. When we actually have a life. Our existence before that? We are just shadows. There is nothing for us to be proud of, being mere shadows. We have no good cause to boast.
Along that way to develop faith, we need to put our faith into our own inner three jewels. What that means is this:
1. The Inner Buddha
First, we need to stop using our will to put faith into false gods. When we do that, we go against our inner Buddha. We need to stop making false gods, idols. This does not have anything to do with making physical statues. It has to do with making statues in our mind. Worshiping others. Putting others ahead of our inner Buddha. Not just people, but concepts, beliefs, and theories. When we put our education, our scholarly aspirations or our job, career, financial aspirations before our inner Buddha, we commit a crime. When we have more faith and confidence in getting things physically and investing our time and energy into physical things that are ultimately illusionary and harmful, instead of investing our time and energy into getting to know our inner Buddha, we have made a mistake and we are perpetuating our suffering. We make idols in many ways. We make idols of ourselves. When we boast, whether mentally or physically. When we think we are a big shot and we deserve something. Also when we make our selves out to be worse; when we are a martyr in our minds. Thinking always that “no one understands me, I have been wronged.” That is also idol worship.
In the book Tarot and Kabbalah, Samael Aun Weor pointed out seven virtues related with the seven planets. Related with the sun, the solar force, when that solar force is misrepresented, mishandled in our psyche, pride is the defect that occurs. When we eliminate pride and we free that energy from that aggregate, do you know what emerges from that? Yes, it is humility, but it is also faith. That is why in his book he states that solar pride must be transformed into solar faith. When is solar, it is not faith in the ego, it is not faith in men or women, in humanity, schools, governments, or money. It is faith in our inner Amitabha.
2. The Inner Dharma
We also have to renounce all of the actions that go against our own Dharma, which is the first law. The first law is the direct instruction of the Being. The second law is that which is written in scriptures.
To have faith, conviction, or trust in our own inner dharma, we have to first know what that is. Most of us do not. We have to make the effort to know what that is. That inner dharma is the will of the Innermost. I know many Gnostics think they are doing the will of God, but they are not. The evidence is clear in their suffering. The evidence is clear in the mistakes we make and harm we cause ourselves and others. The will of God does not create suffering. The will of God creates equanimity, understanding, wisdom. The will of God — when it is expressed through the human soul — penetrates, opens up, and reveals. It cultivates and spreads the virtues of that inner Buddha.
When a person is really expressing the will of their own inner dharma, the consequences of that expression is the full flowering of an inner Buddha. Do you understand what I am trying to say? When the will of Buddha is expressed through the human soul, the virtues of this Buddha are seen.
If we see a person who says they are a great master and, “I am following the will of my inner God” yet all around them is suffering, confusion, pain, then they are a liar. If all around them is pride, anger, jealousy, in themselves and in others, then there is a problem. When the will of the Buddha is expressed through its human soul, what comes out is the wisdom of that Buddha. The knowledge that penetrates and cuts through discursive elements. That is the power of Amitabha.
3. The Inner Sangha
Thirdly, we have to stop going against our own inner Sangha, which are all the parts of our inner Being. As we behave now, we are creating a great amount of harm to our inner Sangha. We are constantly abusing our energy in all of the levels of our psyche. Each time that you indulge in an egotistical experience, you harm your inner Sangha. Every time you allow anger to flourish in your heart, to express through your heart or your hands, you harm your inner Sangha. You convert the energy into discursive energy that produces suffering. That harms your inner Sangha.
It is stated in the Tantric level that the inner Sangha are all the dakas and dakini that exists in our body. Those daka and dakini are all the energies and intelligences in us at an atomic level. In other words, this thangka represents your mind stream. Through the course of your existence, you have been eating food, drinking water, breathing air, and taking in impressions; these are all forms of matter and energy that are transformed and simulated and made as you. They become you. All of those constituent elements came from other monads, which are “daka and dakini.” In other words, all of the processes that are unfolding in you vitally, astrally, mentally, and causally are guided by intelligence. Those intelligences are daka and dakini.
The terms Daka and Dakini on the external level refer to beings who exist in another realm. On a Tantric level, they refer to beings that exist in us.
When you indulge in an explosion of anger, there is an atomic explosion of energy that emerges in your heart and radiates out and saturates your whole body, not just physically, but vitally, astrally, mentally, and causally. That energy is toxic. Anger is poison. It is not just a concept, it is an energy that relates to matter. Anger is a poison. That anger flows through out your entire system and destroys. This is why angry people have a dull heart, a numb heart, because so much anger has destroyed the subtle filaments of the heart. They do not feel. This is why an angry person has a dull mind, a mind that is not sharp because the explosion of anger dulls the brain.
Likewise, for a very envious person. Envy is a poison, a toxin that destroys the functions of the glands in the body. That same toxin works in the vital body to disfigure the vital body thus the perceptions and the energies of the luminous and ethereal currents are distorted and everything they see, they see through their envy. That means their perception is deluded, and those energies create harm and suffering for themselves and they in turn act and create suffering.
That means that those energies — pride, anger, lust, gluttony, greed, jealousy and all of those energies — harm our inner Sangha.
The inner Sangha is a collection of atomic energies in us that are trying to fulfill the will of God, trying to prepare us to become a Vajrasattva. When we indulge in lust, anger, and pride, we go directly against the work they are trying to do on our behalf.
The same happens when we eat and drink garbage. If you want to know what is happening to your internal bodies when you drink alcohol, pour alcohol onto a plant. Watch what happens. (Do not really do it, you will get bad karma, because the plant will die. I will just tell you: the plant will die.) That is what happens to your astral body, your mental body, and causal body. Alcohol destroys. Doctors now know that it destroys your liver and your brain. It kills the cells. It just does not interfere with them, it kills them. They do not come back. Let me tell you: anger, pride, lust, envy, gluttony, greed are worse then alcohol. They are more addictive, they are toxic, and harder to conquer than alcoholism.
Now, this all can sound very bleak, because we do not have faith. Many students that come to Gnosis may experience the first levels of faith (clear faith and longing faith) and be inspired and want those experiences for themselves. They may even try the practices for a while. Yet, many students stop practicing sincerely because they lose that initial impulse of faith from the clear faith and longing faith that pushes them to work. Even in the beginning when the Being gives us some experiences in the internal worlds, that gives us inspiration and that inspires us to act and practice, eventually those experiences stop coming because our Being wants us to develop our muscles and work. Many students stop practicing with the same sincerity. They lose the inspiration and they start to practice mechanically, meaning they are not practicing with faith.
The reality is that spiritual experiences are not difficult to acquire; they are quite easy to acquire if you have faith. What is difficult is to acquire faith, because the ego does not want us to get it. Faith spells the doom of the ego. True faith, real faith, is unstoppable. That is why the ego is desperate to interfere with its development. It will pull out every trick in order to dissuade you from practice. It will use defeatism, a very common tool to make you feel like you are not capable, to make you feel like God is not listening to you, that God does not care about you, to make you think that these teachings do not work.
If your mind is closed to the possibility of experiencing the reality of God, then you will never experience that reality. This is the definition of a fanatic: someone with a closed mind. There are many Gnostic fanatics who have very closed minds. They see Gnosis as something extremely dogmatic, fixed, and rigid. For them, it is not alive. It is not living. It is something to be repeated mechanically, in the same way, again and again. That is not Gnosis, that is a dogma. That is fanaticism. Real Gnosis is alive. It is life. You cannot put it into a book or a bottle. It is only known by the living experience.
To have experience, to have spiritual growth, the mind has to be open. That is why the master said that real faith only begins when the inner mind is open. The inner mind is an abstract mind. It is not a concrete mind. It is capable of abstract thought. It is open to possibility.
An Exercise to Create Faith
Examine yourself when you practice. Examine your motivation, examine your mood. If you have a mood of defeatism, you need to work on that. If you have a mood of feeling “I am not capable,” that has to change. I will give you one piece of evidence that proves you are wrong: your Innermost gave you Gnosis. Who is showing confidence in you? Who is showing you that you can do it? Your own inner Buddha, Amitabha! Are you going to listen to him or your ego? If your own Buddha Amitabha has given you the keys of Gnosis, he has given you the biggest vote of confidence that you can ever get! No teacher can give you that. No book, no school, no certificate on your wall, no title for your name can ever mean more than that! If you need to build faith, meditate on that. Show these facts to your ego!
Your Buddha gave you the key. You have it. If you are not using it, you need to meditate on that, too.
Having received the key, you have a responsibility. Firstly, to him. Fulfill it. Secondly, to others who need help.
If you meditate on these facts, you can create enormous faith, beautiful faith, unshakable faith.
Questions and Answers
Audience: It could be my misunderstanding here, but the Being in itself; our monad has many parts, right? But you also talked about the monads that you assimilate that I would assume are distinct from that, that are not necessarily part of my own Being, is that true? If so, which of these sets is the Sangha. The set of things that make it my monad because you seem to refer both of them?
Instructor: The question is when we assimilate energies that are in turn related to monads, how do we differentiate between our monad and other monads? Let me ask you a question. When you look at your hand what is it?
Audience: It is the collection of many things.
Instructor: Exactly: it is a collection of many things. It is not any one of them, it is many things, and yet it is not any of them at the same time. Our own constitution is similar to that example. The Being, ultimately, is the Ain Soph, which is the limitless. When that limitless expresses, it because limitless light. That is Amitabha. When that Amitabha expresses further and becomes manifested in all the different forms of the Being, that expression is through assimilating and absorbing elements. That whole expression down the Tree of Life. What is your body now? You are what you eat. How much have you eaten in your lifetime? Where is the boundary between what you are now and what you ate? The boundary is only philosophical. There really is not a boundary. All of the fruit, meat, grains that you have eaten have become what you are now. Right? Where is the boundary between what you are what you breathed, drank, ate?
This is part of that discriminative expression, that when you follow that line, when you question deeper, you start to realize that what we think is “I” is completely fake. There is no “I.” What I? Especially when you investigate this in meditation.
The lower sephiroth show the appearance of divisibility. We talk about the sephiroth Malkuth, Yesod, Hod, and Netzach as separate or divisible. In reality, they are not. They are interdependent. None of them can exist independently of the others; their existence depends upon the others. Just so, all manifested things are like that: none of them have independent existence.
The further you go into that investigation, when you reach the sephirah Chokmah — which is Christ, which is Avalokiteshvara in the painting here — at that level you see the unity of all things. There is no division at that level between you and me. Yet, that level is still not the most fundamental level of Amitabha.
The question is good, and you should investigate that, but not with the intellect. That investigation has to be through perception. Start looking at: what is this thing that I think is separate? Is it really separate? Is there really a boundary between myself and the other? The more you investigate, the more you find that there is not. It is part of the fallacy of the ego that thinks that “I” is separate from “you.” It is not.
We have become so consumed with that false sense of “I” that we do not feel each other anymore. Ultimately, we should feel each other. That is what Bodhichitta provides: the ability to feel the reality of each other, not just feeling emotionally, but consciously.
Let me make a note about that. People have many false ideas about masters, like masters have spiritual powers and we wish we were like them, and yet, we have the absolute stupidity to think that we can lie to the masters. We think we can fool them. We have this idea in our mind that we can hide certain areas of our mind, like our lust, jealousy, and pride; we think, “I am only doing that in my mind. No one is going to know that I am looking at pornography or dreaming about this person lustfully. I feel bad about it, but it is just in my mind.” Then, we are praying to our masters, saying, “Please I need your help.” Do you see the contradiction? A master sees everything in you, because a master feels you.
"Faith is direct experience of the real, the magnificent vivifi- cation of the Inner Human Being, authentic divine cognition. The Inner Human being, by knowing his own internal world through direct mystical experience, will obviously also know the internal worlds of all the people who populate the face of the Earth." - Samael Aun Weor, The Great Rebellion
A master has Bodhichitta — that is the awakening mind that sees through deluded perception. When you go to a master asking for help, or go to your Innermost in prayer asking for help, your Innermost does not see only that face that you are trying to show them, that humble face trying to say, “I am such a good student, please help me.” No! The Innermost or the master sees you for what you are, all of you, and feels all of you, and smells you. Nothing is hidden from them. Nothing! It is absurd to go to our Innermost, our Buddha, or any master for help, while carrying with us an atmosphere of pride. It is absurd, but we all do it. We pray with pride. We practice with pride, like we deserve something, like the master owes us, like God owes us. We even pray that way. It is wrong. A real master sees everything that we are. We cannot hide anything. We should be humble.
Audience: You mentioned steps of faith; can you briefly explain what the steps and different levels of faith are?
Instructor: The steps and levels of faith are:
- Clear faith or vivid faith, which is that first inspiration we get when we study the teachings, and we feel genuinely inspired from the virtues and qualities or that teaching, the Buddha.
- Longing or eager faith that wants the virtues and pure qualities for ourselves, that wants to be free of suffering, and wants to be truly humble and truly loving and a good person, to really know God and have experiences of the truth. That is longing faith.
- Confident faith comes from actually having experience of the dharma, the teaching. To have experience, you need to have that longing faith, which gives you the inspiration to practice. When you have repeated experience — not just in the astral or mental plane, but experiences confirming the reality of the teachings of the day-to-day life — that is what develops the strongest faith of all. We have experience, “When I indulge in my anger, it produces suffering. When I indulge in my lust, it produces suffering. When I indulge in my envy, it produces suffering.” You see that and you experience that and you know that, “I have to end my pride, my anger, gluttony, and greed.” And you start to see the fruit and benefit of eliminating those problems in your life. That builds true, confident faith. The repetition and the continual development of that becomes the fourth type, which is unshakable faith.
- Unshakeable faith. Unshakeable faith is the faith that you need in order to succeed in an initiation. If you do not have unshakeable faith, you will fail. Unshakeable faith is absolutely necessary to go through the Second Mountain.
Audience: Since faith is based on experience and not lectures, can you give exercises so that we who are listening can build our own faith with practices related to the lectures? Moreover, faith without works is dead.
Instructor: Indeed, faith without works is dead.
The best way to develop faith is to study the teachings and put them into practice. The way to do that is to listen to your heart. Each of us has our own idiosyncrasy and our own needs. We have our own dharma. That is, our Inner Buddha needs us to do our own work in our own way in accordance to our own karma. There is no single set of steps that everyone has to follow. That would be foolish. All of us are in different places with different needs. A doctor does not give the same medicine to every patient.
In general, what we need the most is to develop faith through our own experience. Study the teachings, question yourself, and put them into practice. Work with the three factors: Birth, Death, and Sacrifice. Everyday. Look into yourself everyday. “How am I initiating birth in my life today? What did I do to die as an ego? What did I do today to sacrifice for others?” Those three factors — when you really pay attention and put them into motion — they create faith. We start to have experience of their benefits.
In my own experience, speaking for myself and perhaps this is my own idiosyncrasy — the most transformative way that I have found faith is when I have seen the difference between when I have acted through an ego and when I have not. That is just me. Some people will comprehend more through charity or through birth. My personal opinion is that the factor of death is the most transformative power of the three factors. The reason for that — from my experience — is that when an ego dies, the energy is reclaimed by the Being. The Being will grant you a gift in return. That could come through experiences or through other ways that the Being can give you, to encourage you and inspire you.
As for the factor of birth, we all need to create the soul, but that is not the urgent need. In fact the Master Samael stated quite clearly in his books that we could work and get a lot accomplished on the path without creating the soul (birth), without that factor of birth being strongly enforced. That tells me that birth is not the most important part. Secondly, we learn that sacrifice is important. Helping others is important, but if you do not kill your ego, that sacrifice can be converted to pride or attachment, when we start giving to others in order to feed our own sense of self and importance, and we start to take advantage of people being grateful to you. Again, that shows that sacrifice is not the main thing. To me, it is death. To me, everything that comes from death is beneficial. Anytime an ego dies, it is beneficial.
Audience: Can you explain why some instructors explain that Bodhichitta is only expressed by Avatars?
Instructor: I have never heard that Bodhichitta is only possessed by avatars. I have never heard that. Definitely, that is not a part of Buddhism or Gnosis. The Buddha did not teach that, nor did Samael Aun Weor. The very foundation of Buddhism is the development of Bodhichitta, which begins day one. As for the full development of Bodhichitta? Yes, only an avatar or a resurrected master has that.
In fact, the Master Samael stated something very interesting about Bodhichitta. He said that not all masters have it, but all Bodhisattvas must have it. If you study the book The Pistis Sophia Unveiled, he says that the person can become a Buddha and not have Bodhichitta. Yet, in order to become a Bodhisattva, you must have Bodhichitta, because that is the environment in which the bodhisattva is formed. Moreover, you can have bodhichitta and not have the solar bodies. This itself shows that one can have bodhivhitta and not be an avatar. Stated in that way, we can see that it would be absurd to believe that only avatars have Bodhichitta. That would not make any sense, especially when you understand what Bodhichitta means.
Audience: What can one do if one feels one does not get something or things becomes complicated at the level of the mind. That seems it can become an obstacle of acquiring things.
Instructor: What can one do when things seem to become to complicated in the mind? Take a break from studying, relax, stop thinking, and practice. This is actually a big problem we have in this age. The mission that we have is very clear. Samael Aun Weor and the other masters of the white lodge are engaged in an extensive, difficult program to spread this teaching world wide, rapidly. All of us are trying to aid in that effort. The problem is it is very easy for students to just read and study and listen and do no more than that.
The simple fact is you will get nothing out of this teaching unless you practice a lot. In the traditional presentation of these types of teachings, you would have 100 hours of meditation practice to one hour of theory. More or less. Nowadays, I suspect that most students have hundreds and hundreds of hours of theory, and no meditation. Right? Very little, which sets us up for a huge problem. That is why we host retreats, to encourage people to meditate.
The simple fact is if you really want faith and really want to comprehend this teaching you need to practice a lot. You need to practice more than you study. Analyze yourself. If you listen to a two-hour lecture, and you meditate for ten minutes, then you are not going to get much. However, if you listen to the lecture and meditate through it, and meditate on the lecture for hours, you will get a lot. That is in addition to the time you meditate on your ego, and on your karma, and on your Bodhichitta, and prayer and devotion. You see, we need a lot of time to practice.
Master Samael stated very clearly that a serious Gnostic meditates 4-6 hours a day. Every day. I am not going to ask those who are doing that to raise their hands, because I do not think the others will be very happy about it. I do not want to create any problems here.
Audience: Meditation is not just sitting down and meditating, or meditating is going through the day?
Instructor: If you are not paying attention to yourself all day long, then you are not practicing. However, when I am talking about meditation, I am talking about sitting down and not doing anything else but reflecting, contemplating, analyzing. Withdrawing from the exterior world. Investigating your own inner Buddha, the Dharma, and the Sangha. Analyzing yourself. Analyzing what you have studied. Analyzing what you have done.
Self-observation and self-remembering during the day are good and necessary. Yet, from that alone you will not get much comprehension. You will get a little bit, but because you have all of these other distractions coming at you from your senses, you cannot go deep. To go deep, you have to put all distractions aside, everything, and be one hundred percent only consciousness, analyzing. No running around, no washing dishes, not being on the phone, computer or internet, not listening to music. Silence. Meditating. Perfectly still, perfectly withdrawn from the external. No interference from anything inside or outside. That is what I am talking about. That is what Master Samael was stating we need 4-6 hours a day.
Do not think we need to start doing 4-6 hours of meditation today. We are all beginners, so we have to be realistic. But that should be our goal. Start where we are. Start with the practices at the level you are in now. Do not bite off more then you can chew, because you will burn yourself. That would be a big mistake. People hear this and they say starting today they are going to meditate two hours everyday. They may do it for two or three days, and get burned out, and then say “oh this teaching does not work, it is not good,” or “I am not good.” That is wrong.
Start where you are. Be realistic, but serious. If you are a beginner, meditate 10-15 minutes at a time, and do it several times a day, not once. Whatever you can fit in by that time to be isolated and not disturbed by anything, especially the clock. When you have to be at work at 5, do not start meditating at 4:45. You are not going to get anything done. You are only going to be agitated and anxious that you are going to miss the clock. Meditate after your duties are finished, when you can forget everything else, and can be 100 percent relaxed. We have given many lectures about this.
When I am talking about meditation, I am talking about actual meditation practice: taking a posture, shutting your senses down, relaxing all three brains, and leaving this plane. Abandon all of your concerns terrestrially, and focus on the issues you need to comprehend. If you have only 10 minutes, then start there. If you do that practice sincerely, you will start to have benefits, and then you will naturally want to extend the time, not by force or because I said so, or some teacher said. It is because you want or need it. That is how your practice should grow.