Two Paths

Mahayana literally means “great vehicle,” and Hinayana “lesser vehicle,” but in practice one vehicle naturally leads to another. Through the process of awakening you come to feel compassion for your fellow sentient beings, and this compels you to teach and thereby enter into the greater vehicle. Seeking liberation from cyclic existence necessarily motivates one to seek liberation for all — eventually. With nonattachment we overcome our lower selves. This also tempers our resolve for the supreme maneuver of nonattachment to godlike realms. Still, liberation is ultimate or total freedom, and there is no freedom in attachment, which also includes attachment to the well-being and liberation of others.

True love and compassion are not human emotions. They run deeper than that. They are practical movements of naturally reciprocating energy, and when we align ourselves with those currents there is perfect balance and unspeakable bliss.

Sacrifice of self is not giving up our individuality. Rather, it is shattering the mirror of self-reflection. When we stop interpreting ourself, constantly explaining ourselves to ourself with an inner dialogue, we find oneness and silent knowledge that transcends words and duality. — Laurence Sunderland, Texas

(From Sunrise magazine, Spring 2007; copyright © 2007 Theosophical University Press)

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