Goals of nirodha-yoga
Overall, chapter one of the YS – defining yoga as the mortification of the mind movements – is very Buddhist in its feel and character. For instance, the conceptual coupling of abhyasa (repeated practice) and vairagya (detaching) is very Buddhist in its presentation. This coupled combination – where the components mutually reinforce each other – forms a critical part of Buddhist discourse. The Buddhist discourse roots become even clearer when we investigate what the yogi is working on (overcoming) when using these two limbs of the nirodha-yoga.
Chapter 1 for instance warns us about the nine obstacles’, which must be overcome (a typical Buddhist theme), and from chapter 2 we understand, that through repetitive recitation’ (svadhyaya), the yogi has to overcome the 5 causes of suffering’ or afflictions (kleshas), again central to Buddhist discourse. The YS warns (1.14), that the yogi will only succeed by being disciplined and persistent over time, and he has to be properly motivated (the five drivers’ or attitudes’ (I.20)). It is all very Buddhist rhetoric.
In summary the yoga described in chapter 1 – which for pedagogic reasons I named nirodha-yoga – is overall very Buddhist in its nature. A Buddhist yoga! It therefore gives meaning to the conceptual coupling of the two limbs of abhyasa (repeated practice) and vairagya (detaching) – both central to nirodha-yoga – in Buddhist terms. Orientated by Buddhist discourse they are techniques or mind states leading to a quiet (nirodha) mind. 246
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