Monday, November 10, 2008

Tek-Gnostics & the wheel of Dharma – Pt 1

The wheel is turning and you can't slow down
You can't let go and you can't hold on
You can't go back and you can't stand still
If the thunder don't get ya… then the lightning will!
- R Hunter

Tek-Gnostic teachings arise from the premise that the best way to understand universe and our place in it, is through direct experience. Tek-Gnostics utilizes a variety of systems and artifacts (ie: Tek) needed to assist the traveler in her/his direct experience (ie: gnosis) of the unbroken thread of human knowledge and wisdom. One of the pursuits of Tek-Gnostics is to identify potential purpose in individual existence.

A basic Tek-Gnostic premise is that each human, while traveling on Earth, has a job to do. This job’s function is to in some way contribute to the benefit and betterment of humanity and the world. That is, to be part of the solution rather than being part of the problem. In illuminating this premise, Tek-Gnostics selects from the rich history of teaching from many schools of thought. In this instance, we incorporate the ancient Hindu/Buddhist tradition of “The Wheel of Dharma” to illustrate our teaching.

Simply put, Dharma may be defined as “The way things are”. That is, the law of nature, or that which sustains universe. For the Tek-Gnostic, Dharma is the compassionate work to be done while traveling through life on Earth. It is the path that each human follows in the performance of his/her work. The wheel of Dharma is defined by the Tek-Gnostic school as the vehicle/teaching which advances or promotes the work of the individual.

Small wheel turn by the fire and rod
Big wheel turn by the grace of God
Every time that wheel turn round…
bound to cover just a little more ground!
- R Hunter

At this point, it would be helpful to provide a little theological (if not historical) perspective. The following is taken from the Kyegu Buddhist Institute …

Brahma, the great sovereign of the universe, and Indra, the lord of the gods and angels, knew that the great enlightened wisdom of a Buddha was now manifest in this world. Brahma appeared and offered to the Buddha a thousand-spoked golden wheel and Indra offered the most rare clockwise spiraling conch shell. These supremely auspicious tokens of veneration they offered to the Buddha, beseeching him to turn the wheel of Dharma for the benefit of all sentient beings. In response to this majestic supplication made by the lord of the universe, Brahma, and Indra, king of the gods, Buddha consented to turn the wheel of the teachings.

Over the course of the rest of his life, Buddha set in motion what are known as the three great turnings of the wheel of Dharma, the wheel of the teachings.

In the third turning of the Dharma wheel, Buddha made the distinction between the ultimate meaning of the Dharma and the commonly held, interpretive meaning. He pondered how people would interpret the teachings, and tailored his message to suit the minds of his listeners. In this way, there came to be what are known as the commonly understood teachings that follow the provisional meaning, and then also what are known as the teachings that reveal the definitive or ultimate meaning.

It is in the third turning of the wheel that the concept of Dharma becomes a tool or artifact to be used by humanity, and more importantly, a concept to be interpreted by humanity. We will explore more of this concept and consider the difference between provisional versus definitive meaning, in part two of this monograph.
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