A Course of Meditation


Watch Your Personality

Tibetan Chant

Attuning to Glorification

Pie Jesu

Fugue in F major

Gregorian Chant

Jewish Wailing Women


St. John's Passion, Lamentation

Turkish Call to Prayer

Partita No. 1 in B minor

Watch Your Consciousness


Everlastingness and Eternity

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Comparisons Between Sufism and Buddhism

Watching Our Personality

Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan
Inspired by the vision of
Hazrat Inayat Khan

Watch your personality.

Observe your personality without identification,

…as though it could be the personality of another person.  Julius Evola: The Doctrine of Awakening

As in a mirror, he looks at himself again and again…

It will now appear to you as a compound of idiosyncrasies inherited from the whole universe, albeit limited by being transmitted by dint of your ancestral heredity. You limit your identity to being the observer, while ultimately God is the witness. This composition of idiosyncrasies appears as a transient formation fortuitously offered to you by the universe, irrespective of your "I," as are your body and your mind. Your personality also is obviously conditioned.

However the personal dimension of our identity can trigger off the unfurling of resources latent in the transpersonal dimensions of our identity. To undergo transformation one needs to make three steps:

  1. free oneself from one’s self image;
  2. dis-assemble the construct of the idiosyncrasies of one’s personality;
  3. restructure a totally new configuration of one’s qualities by calling upon one’s transpersonal resourcefulness.

Stage One: Who We Think We Are

It is one’s self image that constrains one in the personal dimension of one’s identity. It is deceptive.

"Ya Khada! Ya Khada!” Hoax, hoax! “Ya Muakhir!” Deceiver! O deceiver! O leader astray! When God reveals Himself to the sages, in an initial stage, he shows them a market in which only effigies of men and women are on sale; and those who venture in this market will never visit God. Oh God beguiles thee not only in this market, but also in that of the next world.

Notice that normally you assume, perfunctorily, that you are what you think you are: your self-image. Take heed of the fact that the representation that you make of yourself is only an incomplete, incomprehensive portrayal of who you are.

Musical Attunement
Choying Drolma - Tibetan Chant

For Buddha, our personality, in most cases, is defiled by our craving, our covetousness. This is due to our slipping into a state of ignorance (avvidya), in the samsaric “vicious circle.”

The ascetic has given up worldly craving.

This is the way of the ascetic alienated from the world.

Sufis concede that the divine emotion is constrained, defiled and distorted at the scale of the individual.

Reconnoiter your desires. Discriminate amongst them and dismiss those that are demeaning in your estimation.

Honoring and actuating one's real being requires a catharsis.

‘Ayn ul-Qudat Hamadhani:
When the subtle nature owing to man’s inclinations has become pure, he contemplates within himself whatever is of the same nature in the cosmos.

Musical Attunement
Andrew Lloyd Webber - Pie Jesu

You might ask yourself: since one could never countenance that one is without faults, is there any hope to attain a transformed personality?

The Sufis counter one’s scruples.


Do you not see that the Absolute appears in the attributes of contingent beings and thus gives knowledge about Himself, and that He even appears in the attributes of imperfection and blame?  William C. Chittick: The Sufi Path of Knowledge p.43

Hazrat Inayat Khan:
What a great treasure it is when a man has realized that in him are to be found all the merits and all the faults which exist in the world, and that he can cultivate all that he wishes to cultivate, and cut away all that should be removed! It is like rooting out the weeds and sowing the seed of flowers and fruits. Philosophy, Psychology, Mysticism

Behold the world is entirely comprised in yourself. The world is man and man is a world. Behold the world mingled together: angels with demons, Satan with the archangel; all mingled like unto seed and fruit…together and gathered in the point of the present.

Hazrat Inayat Khan:
Man does not know that there is nothing that is not in him. A person who says to himself: “I do not possess that faculty” shows his lack of understanding what he is. Most men can only see the limitations of his human life, and can never probe the heights of his divinity; comparatively few can do this. The Unity of Religious Ideals

The flaw here is that when one says, “I do not possess that faculty,” one is identifying with one’s personal identity.

Surveying the links in the causal the chain (pattica samupadha) leading to the suffering attendant upon existential conditions, Buddha infers that it is due to craving (asava) normally rendered by desire ignorance is begotten, whereas liberation from attachment to "contact" of the world sparks realization and enlightenment. He considered suffering as due to involvement in the vicious circle of becoming – identifying with our body or thinking or psyche by succumbing to conditioning – and searched for freedom from conditioning which leads to the detachment and aloofness of the ascetic.

Suffering is triggered off by contact.

Watch over the door of the senses.

Julius Evola:
Contacts wound – the primitive anguish which lies at the base of samsaric existence and which produces attachment. The Doctrine of Awakening p.173

You will be able to ascertain that in many instances one’s desires, including noble ones, are frustrated, resulting in suffering.

Attachment is an intoxication. Buddha finds that the cure from the wounds in our psyche calls for disintoxication. That is: freedom from attachment.

Upon perceiving a form the ascetic conceives no inclination.

The ascetic causes the awakening of mindfulness derived from detachment.

I presume that you will, as I do, judge this disinterest in the miracle of life whereby thoughts, emotions and the intention behind the divine programming are manifested by means of forms in the existential world, as nihilism. Of course, no doubt, to eschew being inveigled in the rat race, one is protected by the imperturbability furnished by detachment.

Recalling thoughts from the previous lesson:

Hazrat Inayat Khan:
The real proof of one’s progress in the spiritual path can be realized by testing in every situation in life how indifferent one is. Sangithas

However Hazrat Inayat Khan cautions:

He who arrives at the state of indifference without experiencing interest in life is incomplete and apt to be tempted by interest at any moment; but he who arrives at the state of indifference by going through interest really attains the blessed state. Spiritual Liberty

How can one reconcile these two objectives pulling one in opposite directions?

Indifference gives great power; but the whole manifestation is a phenomenon of interest. All this world that man has made, where has it come from? It has come from the power of interest. The whole creation and all that is in it are the products of the Creator's interest. But at the same time the power of indifference is a greater one still, because, although motive has a power, yet at the same time motive limits power. Yet it is motive that gives man the power to accomplish things. The Alchemy of Happiness

So long as a man has a longing to obtain any particular object, he cannot go further than that object. The Bowl of Saki

The soul reaches a stage of realization where the whole of life becomes to him one sublime vision of the immanence of God. Sufi Teachings

The fulfillment of this whole creation is to be found in man. Supplementary Papers

Manifestation is the self of God; but a self that is limited - a self that makes His perfection known when He compares Himself with the limited self we call nature. The Unity of Religious Ideals

Let us once more compare the craving regarding which Buddha warns us which inevitably leads to frustration of one’s desires and consequently suffering.

Recalling thoughts from the previous lesson:

Buddha is seeking freedom – awakening beyond life, while the Sufis enlist our nostalgia to awaken in life and see what is enacted in the human drama.

Sufism distinguishes between craving (which is personal) and nostalgia whereby one is giving an, albeit personal, expression to the cosmic emotion sparking the whole process of existence – according to the Sufis Ishq Allah. The very foundation of Sufism, based upon the famous Hadith Qudsi, earmarks ishq (variously translated by desire, love, nostalgia) as the motivation behind the great achievements of our civilizations.

The existential state must have a purpose other than just offering a leg-up for awakening beyond it. What a loss of an opportunity to escape from it and thereby neglect all the enrichment that it offers!

Musical Attunement
Johann Sebastian Bach - Fugue in F major

Can you earmark in yourself an enthusiasm, an appreciation for the bounty that the whole of life offers you: the flowers, the crystals, a sunrise seen from mountains, the stars, music, beautiful moments, beautiful monuments, lovely people, ingenious technological inventions, research into meaningfulness. For the Sufis the existential world is the fulfillment of the divine desire to manifest and actuate the potentialities latent as principles or archetypes in the cosmic code.

For the Sufis, realization in life is attained by fulfilling the purpose of life which is actuating the splendor behind the existential level in "building a beautiful world of beautiful people."

In the course of accomplishment new horizons of meaningfulness reveal themselves.

Stage Two: Disintegrating the Aggregates of Our Personality

Now for the next step: before constructing one’s personality, one needs to first dissociate the aggregates that make up the individual dimension of one’s being,

…overcome the bond of personality…  Julius Evola: The Doctrine of Awakening

According to Buddha it is identification with our personal ‘I’ that is the cement holding the fortuitous configuration of the aggregates of our commonplace personality together. Hence he enjoins upon us to liberate ourselves from the notion of ‘I’ (ajjhatam vimoka).

This is corroborated by Hazrat Inayat:

The highest perception of freedom comes when a person has freed himself from the false ego. In an Eastern Rose Garden

Question yourself whether your usual sense of who you are, based on your idiosyncrasies, is really you. Now try to reconnoiter your real being which lurks as a potentiality behind that commonplace projection which we slip into surreptitiously.

The Breakdown That Must Lead to a Breakthrough

For a radical metamorphosis to occur in one’s personality, one needs to submit to a breakdown of one’s personality structure, which is the condition for a miraculous breakthrough.

Hazrat Inayat Khan:
To some persons it comes in a moment's time—by a blow, by a disappointment, or because their heart has broken.

First comes the dark night of understanding:

He finds that all he has hitherto known is useless… everything appears the opposite to its previous appearance. Supplementary Papers

Musical Attunement
Rustavi Choir - Gregorian Chant

Saint John of the Cross found that it was in the obliteration of our equivocal understanding, as though the mind were blindfolded in total obscurity, that one finds freedom in one’s thinking. He illustrated this by the fact that it was thanks to the darkness that he was able to flee from prison.

Hazrat Inayat Khan:
The outlook becomes quite different. Volume X: The Path of Initiation

As one teeters into still deeper darkness, the deepest phase in the dark night, Saint John points out that one’s sense of identity breaks down – one’s personality breaks down. This is what he called the dark night of the soul.

Musical Attunement
Jewish Wailing Women

This is a dangerous condition which could (and does in some cases) lead to a psychopathic collapse unless countered right away by a shift in one’s identity, by identifying with the transpersonal dimension of one’s identity. It is this light at the end of the tunnel that is luring Saint John out of the darkness, that rescues one from dangerous collapse. It is that which does not change, maintaining itself in the midst of that impermanency that Buddha keeps referring to, which keeps one afloat. This is the impersonal sense of identity that Buddha prescribes. It is, indeed, precisely corroborated by Hazrat Inayat Khan.

One needs to be cautious before engaging oneself in this hazardous drastic psychological operation. However we all to a larger or lesser extent struggle with the impending breakdown of our most basic sense of whom we are which always lurks threateningly when we confront, cross- examine, evaluate, judge and censure ourselves eschewing justifications. It could lead, in the extreme, to self-hate or demoting oneself in one’s personal self-esteem. When caught in this perspective, one easily forgets that one is assessing a sliver of who one is. Therefore the answer is to remember:

i) the peri-personal; ii) the potential, subliminal; iii) and the transpersonal, extra-samsaric dimensions included in our being.

Stage Three: Reconstructing the Self

Having dismissed your perfunctory notion of yourself, the sense of your real being will start announcing itself.

Hazrat Inayat Khan:
a dim sense of ‘me’…

When the false self is gone from before us then all other selves can come, then illumination comes; then, when the individual self disappears, the spiritual self appears. Only the illusion is lost; the self is not lost, but the beginning is annihilation. Sufi Teachings

It is the annihilation of the false self, which gives rise to the true self. Annihilation (fana) is equivalent to 'losing the false self (nafs)' which again culminates in what is called Eternal Life (baqa). The Unity of Religious Ideals

For Hazrat Inayat Khan, it is not the ego that is annihilated, but the notion of ‘me’ alienated from its cosmic ground.

This is what Hazrat Inayat Khan calls ‘God-consciousness’ (on condition that we do not consider God as ‘other’). This cosmic dimension of your identity is what Hazrat Inayat Khan calls your real ego – I am – of which your being is a unique expression. If one is oblivious of this (as one generally is) one identifies with what Hazrat Inayat Khan calls: “what one has wrongly conceived as being one’s real being – one’s false ego.” One fails to actualize all the resourcefulness incorporated in one’s personality.

Ibn 'Arabi:
Most of those who seek to know God make a ceasing of existence and a ceasing of that ceasing as a condition of attaining the knowledge of God, and that is an error and a clear oversight. It is not thy existence that ceases but thy ignorance. The Treatise on Being pp.5,9

If there is any possibility for the soul to attain perfection, that perfection lies in realizing the universe in us. Hazrat Inayat Khan:
Realize the self by unveiling it from its numberless covers which make the false ego. The Soul, Whence and Whither

When his soul is awakened, he becomes in one moment a different person. Volume X: The Path of Initiation

According to Buddhism, having removed the obstacle to realization, owing to one’s ignorance, avjja , inveigled in the vicious circle of the samsaric hoax, that is thanks to awakening,

…there might arise in the samsaric consciousness an extra-samsaric force and vocation a will that overcomes the normal will and arrests the flux; a vision that can now discern what is noble and what is common.  Julius Evola: The Doctrine of Awakening p.230

…the extra samsaric element appearing in the personality is gradually integrated.  Julius Evola: The Doctrine of Awakening p.147

Musical Attunement
Allegri - Miserere

Monks, there is an unborn, a non-become, non compounded , non perishable. And if it were not for this non-become, there would be no escape from all of this.

It would be like identifying oneself with the stump of a tree. If the trunk is sawn off it may grow again. It looks similar yet not exactly as it was. Is it the same tree or another tree?

This surprising notion of an extra-samsaric dimension of our being (called in Buddhism panna and in Sanskrit prajna) that may permeate our commonplace samsaric personality does parallel the Sufi call upon one’s divine inheritance. You will notice that it is God who inherits that which showed forth in man of His attributes. They are two poles of the same reality.

Hazrat Inayat Khan:
He remains totally unaware of the spark which continually shines in his heart and which may be called his divine inheritance.

This is paralleled with the Buddhist’s highlight of our trans-personal identity.

One who has entered the current has transformed the root from which he sprang into life: in the current of which he is made, we now find the element ‘bodhi,’ something that is extra-samsaric, which is destined to determine a new line of heredity. We can now think of a super-individual matrix or root, no more exclusively samsaric, of existences, which tends towards liberation.  Julius Evola: The Doctrine of Awakening p.247

This could be illustrated by the difference between the forward march of evolution (the samsaric wheel is not just rotating around its hub, but advancing) and escaping the rotation of the wheel (on a tangent which nevertheless acts as an attractor upon the wheel).

Hazrat Inayat Khan:
There is a time in life when a passion is awakened in the soul which gives the soul a longing for the unattainable, and if the soul does not take that direction, then it certainly misses something in life for which is its innate longing and in which lies its ultimate satisfaction. This craving for the attainment of what is unattainable, gives the soul a longing to reach life's utmost heights. It is the nature of the soul to try and discover what is behind the veil; it is the soul's constant longing to climb heights which are beyond his power; it is the desire of the soul to see something that it has never seen; it is the constant longing of the soul to know something it has never known. But the most wonderful thing about it is that the soul already knows there is something behind this veil, the veil of perplexity.

Musical Attunement

i) Can you spot a quality that, although latent in the seed-bed of your personality, has at some point in your life actualized itself in your personality in a positive way? It was always there but latent. At some point as you advanced in your developmental stages, it became manifest for having been actualized in the existential dimension of your identity and is now there for good.

ii) Can you see that it affects the entire programming of your life? If you had actualized this quality before, you would have dealt with challenges in your life differently consequently what happened would not have taken place. Now, having consolidated this quality, circumstances are going to change.

iii) Can you now espy a level of your identity which is not subject to change?

This is not the same as trying to improve one’s personality. If you try to improve your personality, while identifying with your personal identity, your self-image, you will notice that your habit of identifying with your self-image resists change. Whereas, if you identify with your transpersonal identity, which is eternal and therefore not subject to change (“this becoming does not lead to the non-become”), it transfigures your personality dramatically.

Hazrat Inayat Khan:
The ego itself is never destroyed. It is the one thing that lives, and this is the sign of eternal life. In the knowledge of the ego there is the secret of immortality. The Mysticism of Sound and Music

The highest ideal of man is to realize the unlimited, the immortal self within. …when man holds this ideal in his vision, he expands and becomes all he wants to be. Spiritual Liberty

The life one recognizes is only the mortal aspect of life. Very few have ever seen or been conscious of the immortal aspect at all. Once one has realized life, that which one has hitherto called life is found to be only a glimpse or shadow of the real life that is beyond comprehension. To understand it one will have to raise one's light high from under the cover that is hiding it like a bushel. This cover is man's identification with his mind and body; it is a cover that keeps the light active on the world of things and beings. In an Eastern Rose Garden

Julius Evola:
Bodhi, the wisdom that liberates, is illustrated by Buddha as lightning, vajra, because of its extra-temporal character . The Doctrine of Awakening

Illumination is the flash in which, beyond all time, the eternally present without a past is apprehended.  Julius Evola: The Doctrine of Awakening p.241

Consequently it could be attributed to a so-to-speak vertical rather than horizontal vector of time.

Musical Attunement
Johann Sebastian Bach - St. John's Passion, Lamentation

As in Buddhism Hazrat Inayat Khan highlights our transpersonal identity over our personal identity. Here lies the secret.

However the Sufis still are aware of our personal identity provided that it is apprehended as a function of the transpersonal. Hazrat Inayat Khan suggests interpolating those two poles of the same reality.
Buddha does not say the ‘I’ does not exist; but rather that nothing belonging to samsaric existence and personality has the nature of the ‘I.’  Julius Evola: The Doctrine of Awakening

The Sufis concur that, optimally, the fashioning of our personality is intrinsically linked with the whole formative process of the universe.

Hazrat Inayat Khan:
In reality in the making of the personality it is God who completes His divine art. The Art of Personality

Therefore in reconstructing oneself, one needs to link the idiosyncrasies of one’s personality with their archetypes, which the Sufis consider as the divine attributes, earmarking the traces of God’s being in yourself.

The key to doing this is to give vent to your validation for the miracle of life—of your being in the universe! This arouses one to engage in an act of glorification (which is actually the most gratifying meditation). To glorify, one imagines God by projecting upon Him/Her qualities known to one, particularly one’s idiosyncrasies predicating one’s personality, but representing them as perfect as one possibly can.

Ibn 'Arabi:
Since all that we know of Him is through ourselves, we attribute to Him all that we know of ourselves.

A Hadith of Prophet Mohammed:

Man arafa nafsahu faqad ‘arafa rabahu: whomsoever knows himself knows his lord.

Musical Attunement
Turkish Call to Prayer

Hazrat Inayat Khan:
So far there has only been a belief in God. God exists in people’s imagination as an ideal. Believing is the first step. By this process the God within is awakened and made living. It is in those who are God- conscious that God becomes a reality so that He is no longer an imagination…If there is any sign of God to be seen, it is in the God-conscious… Make God as great and as perfect as your imagination can. By making God great we ourselves arrive at a certain greatness. The Unity of Religious Ideals

The consequence is that the qualities of your personality are thereby upgraded.

How can we know these attributes that we are supposed to model ourselves upon?

God shows His signs in nature and in yourself.

Al Jili:
From all eternity, the Beloved unveiled His beauty in the solitude of the unseen; He held up the mirror to His own Face, He displayed His loveliness to Himself, He was both the Spectator and the spectacle…although He beheld His attributes and qualities as a perfect whole in His Essence….Yet He desired that they should be displayed to Him in another mirror, and that each of His eternal Attributes should become manifest accordingly in a diverse form. Therefore He created the verdant fields of time and space, and the life-giving garden of the world, that every branch and leaf and fruit might show forth His various perfections.

Musical Attunement
Johann Sebastian Bach - Partita No. 1 in B minor

Hazrat Inayat Khan:
When we consider the whole manifestation as a plant and God as the seed we find that the final thing was the bringing out of man. Man in the flowering of his personality expresses the personality of God. People ask: ”If all is God, then God is not a person.” The answer: though the seed does not show the flower in it, yet the seed culminates in the flower, and therefore the flower already existed in the seed. No doubt it would be a great mistake to call God a personality, but it is a still greater mistake when man denies the personality of God…. It is not wrong to make God in one’s imagination the God of all beauty, for by that imagination he is drawn nearer and nearer every moment of his life to that Divine Ideal which is the seeking of his soul….Man in the flowering of his personality expresses the personality of God. The Unity of Religious Ideals

Werner von Braun:
O God, do away with my human idiosyncrasies (Nasutiyat) so that they may be replaced by Thy divine attributes (Lahutiyat).

I emanated upon you a force of love that you may be fashioned by my glance.

Werner von Braun:
God, the most high wished to see this attribute which expressed the desire. He entertained in the solitude of trans‑eternity, manifested as a form. He therefore drew out of the trans‑eternal state a form in which he manifested the bounty of His attributes and within it He spirited the human person.

Then God elected the human person as the chosen One. "Dhu’l-Jalal wa’l-Ikram! Thou becomest in man at the end of time, in infinite regress: the Lord of majesty and splendor! Ya Malik ul-Mulk.”

Thereupon, God glorified Himself. He glorified His attributes, and magnified His names, for these were forms within His Essence!!!

Continuing, Hallaj says:

And God saluted this effigy of Himself: man.

Imagine that, having earmarked something magnificent in your essence, you rejoice in this discovery.

My attributes were annihilated in His. And He invested me with His own attributes. And God said: “Go forth with My attributes to My creatures that I may see My selfhood in thy selfhood so that whosoever sees thee sees Me.”

Then Bastami responded:

May I not be there, only Thee.

Musical Attunement
Johann Sebastian Bach - Magnificat

© 2002 Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan