The Buddha’s eightfold path leading to the cessation of suffering and Patañjali’s classical eightfold yoga were taking shape simultaneously. The Buddha expounded his path in several discourses in a wider context of his teachings preserved in the Pali Canon, but it was never given a fully systematic shape comparable to the text of Patañjali’s Yoga Sutra which was codified several centuries after the Buddha’s discourses on the basis of previous practices of homeless ascetics and hermits with whom the Buddha himself mingled as a wanderer for six years before his enlightenment. Both systems contain elements of bodily awareness as important bases for spiritual practice, although not fully spelled out. The talk will explore this aspect as it may have been evolving from early time until it was given textual expression in specialised treatises in medieval times. It will be compared with the speaker’s discovery of both Buddhism and yoga while living in isolation under the communist regime behind the iron curtain.
Buddhist religion, philosophy, literature and culture.