Pointing Principles

IMG_0238Shuddha Ayurveda relies on principles to inform its healing practice. However, these principles are not rigid dogmas, and thus are named ‘pointing principles’.

1. The Principle of Pointing

If we are unable to find the moon in the night sky, a kind friend may point out a tree in our immediate field of vision, and singling out a particular branch, guide us to see “the moon on the branch.”

Evidently, both our kind friend and we understand that the moon is not actually on the branch –the pointing process is only a skillful means to help us perceive the moon directly with our own eyes.

All Suddha principles are to be understood in this way. They are not the truth, fixed and immutable; they merely point to the truth. They are pointing principles.

2. The Principle of Right View (Wisdom)

Right view is vast and deep, allowing us to perceive individuals, objects, and situations in relation to their causes and effects, in the context of their inseparable connectedness with all other phenomena.

Right view is most suitably described as direct perception (sense contact and unmediated mental apprehension).

The expression of right view requires the formulation of valid concepts, which should always be understood as limited, provisional, and subject to situational exceptions.

3. The Principle of Subtle Precedence

Subtle causes precede, inform, and govern all gross effects.

Suddha practitioners identify and address subtle causes, rather than exerting superfluous effort attempting to reform their gross effects.

4. The Principle of Inherent Natural Perfection

All Suddha practices are informed by the intent to support the spontaneous manifestation of natural perfection (svabhava).

Perfection is the fundamental quality, true nature, or essential beingness of all living entities. It is described as unconditioned, boundless, nurturing, and sustaining: True Purity, True Self, True Happiness, and True Permanence. It is indiscernible to worldly vision as a result of conceptual obscurations, inappropriate mental and behavioral tendencies, and unclear perception.

Because natural perfection is inherent in every living entity, Suddha practices seek to remove obstructions, rectify function, and restore integrity, re-establishing harmony within the individual, as well as between the individual, the community, and the environment.

5. The Principle of Right Conduct (Compassion)

Right conduct is not a socially-defined, restrictive construct, but is rather the willingness and ability to accomplish one’s own purpose, the purpose of others, and great (universal) benefit.

These three purposes are accomplished by giving Dharma (right view), material aid, protection from fear, and love, through the spontaneous manifestation of the seven natural perfections:

Aligning with the Highest – the constant disposition to search for the truth and aspire to manifest the Union of Wisdom and Compassion.

Honoring the Wise – the cheerful acceptance of correction and guidance from our seniors.

Serving the Good – the uncontrived determination to contribute our talents, time, and treasure to further virtuous undertakings.

Loving the Beautiful – the outpouring of genuine appreciation for the attractive qualities of others.

Protecting the Weak – the capacity to extend shelter to those who are oppressed by others or by negative circumstances.

Nourishing the Young – the will to provide favorable conditions for the maturation of our juniors.

Healing the Sick – the desire to alleviate the suffering of all who experience pain, discomfort, and anxiety.

Right conduct is guarded from deterioration by refraining from harm, accumulating virtue, and dedicating all accrued merit to satisfying the needs of all living entities.

6. The Principle of Radical Individuation

Each individual is distinctively singular.

Singularity includes karmic accumulation, mental and vocational disposition, life-stage, social situation, physiology, disease tendency, physical composition, and environmental context.

Although singularity tells us much about the tendencies and predispositions of the current manifestation of a living entity, it does not define the ultimate perfect nature of the individual.

The living entity is not the physical body, the energy, or the mind, but rather the irreducible essence, known in various Dharma traditions as the sentient being, the awakened matrix, the true self, the luminous mind, the essence body, and other similar terms.

7. The Principle of Harmlessness

The living entity, not a temporary diseased condition, is the focus of all care.

We do not fight disease, as the battlefield in such a war is none other than the living entity, and battlefields are commonly destroyed, regardless of who conquers and who is vanquished.

In helping one individual living entity, we must simultaneously avoid harming other beings (of any species), society, and the environment.

–Tashi Nyima (Great Middle Way)

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