UOCA Australia Ashram Rules and Regulations Part One: ASCENSION Unification Organisation of Collective Ascension (UOCA) Ashram is centered on the practice of discipline necessary for ascension by self and collective transformation that unifies many paths, including all the Eastern and Western traditions of spirituality with Modern Science. An integral human perfection calls for perfection on two levels : the individual and the collective. The Ashram to be created will maintain a clean, hi-tech modern and environmentally conscious state devoted to setting an example to the planet as a prototype Utopia. It is essential that you read these suggested rules for the ashram and familiarize yourself with UOCA’s aims and objectives and the history of its founder. All information on the founder is to be found at http://www.uocah.blogspot.com/. The residents who help found the ashram will determine the fixed form of the rules before the ashram premises are rented. There will be flexibility in this depending on the needs of the residents. Rules themselves must be an evolving mechanism to meet the current needs of humanity. A mechanism to alter the rules will be included. The ashram premises will be rented with the agreement of all the founding long term residents however not all of them will be required to sign the leasehold which will be for approximately six months and will cost each resident approximately $100-200 per week for rent only; this can vary depending on financial circumstances and work given to the ashram. The premises will be modern, clean and unfurnished. The following is a useful quote from the founder of another ashram in India at Pondicherry. 'This Ashram has been created with another object than that ordinarily common to such institutions, not for the renunciation of the world but as a centre and a field of practice for the evolution of another kind and form of life which would in the final end be moved by a higher spiritual consciousness and embody a greater life of the spirit'. - Sri Aurobindo The Ashram is also the realisation of an intention that had long been cherished by the Mother. She once remarked: "At the beginning of my present earthly existence I was put into touch with many people who said they had a great inner aspiration, an urge towards something deeper and truer, but were tied down, subjected, slaves of that brutal necessity of earning their living, and that this weighed down upon them so much, took way so much of their time and energy that they could not engage in any other activity, inner or outer. I heard that very often." "I was very young at that time, and always I used to tell myself that if ever I could do it, I would try to create a little world - Oh! quite a small one, but still - a small world where people would be able to live without having to be preoccupied by problems of food and lodging and clothing and the imperious necessities of life, to see if all the energies freed by this certainty of an assured material living would spontaneously be turned towards the divine life and inner realisation." See http://auroun.blogspot.com/ for the importance of Aurobindo's vision to UOCA. The following suggested rules and regulations are designed to create a suitable atmosphere for seekers to enjoy the eternal bliss. They have been taken almost 'word for word' from the rules of a number of ashrams in India. It will be mandatory to abide by them or else you might be asked to leave the premises. Part Two: DONATIONS Traditionally no payment is enforced for Yogic teachings. The Ashram will be run on a charitable, nonprofit basis. However due to the nature of the Western mind and the system we operate in donations will be suggested to give residents a guide as to what is acceptable. As soon as the ashram has sufficient funding this rule will be diminished so that trust in the abundance of providence prevails. The rates are generally minimum donations, to meet the ashram expenses and allow some development. Contact us for the rates. However, those working in the ashram will be entitled to a share in any donations to cover their costs. Those working outside are encouraged to donate their income to the ashram (however this is to be their choice) and this should at least cover the costs above (if it does not arrangements can be made to work in the ashram to supplement the donation). Long term residents will be required to pay one month in advance and a one month bond. Short term a week in advance and a deposit of one week. People are encouraged to give more than this as the rate is the minimum amount to cover costs, however they should consider their income and savings as to what is honest and fair and what they can afford without causing themselves financial hardship. We attempt to accommodate all sincere yoga aspirants. If you cannot donate the suggested minimum because of financial hardship and would like to participate in the programs please contact the Director for special consideration. Donations cover the cost of all tuition, food, accommodation and in due course manuals. They do not include travel to and from the Ashram. Suggested donations are subject to change without notice. For accommodation, guests are subject to the suggested donation in effect at the time the full amount is paid. Part Three: Rules and Regulations Throughout history, all spiritual communities have been structured through adherence to a rule. These rules are not ends in themselves, but simply a means to a goal. Their purpose is to provide for the structuring and smooth functioning of the community. A strong spiritual community, in turn, promotes individual spiritual growth.Because of the importance of the community to the spiritual development of its members, all efforts are made towards reinforcing the common purpose. By following the common rules, members are channeling their personal preferences toward the success of the community as a whole. In this light, an individual's time and energy are not to be looked as his or her own while living as a Resident. Rather, they are counted as resources of the spiritual community. The rules are not an attempt to stifle the individual. Instead, rules are the necessary basis of any strong spiritual community. Such a community will inevitably benefit each of its members. Personal Conduct 1. ASHRAM SUPERVISOR and Schedule Members must be willing to cooperate with the directives of the Ashram Supervisor. The Ashram policy is determined by UOCA. The Ashram Supervisor is directly responsible to UOCA for the maintenance of every aspect of ashram life. Members should, therefore, follow the instructions of the Ashram Supervisor and help life in the ashram to flow smoothly. Members are also obliged to follow these rules when they leave the ashram and are outside its precincts. Ashram Identity Card: This will be issued and dealt with once the ashram has reached a much larger size. Daily Schedule: In the early stages whilst many residents are working or studying outside this rule will not strictly apply apart from the early morning yoga and meditation and the silence at night. Members must follow the daily schedule without exception i.e you must attend daily yoga sitting, meditation sessions, and take meals on time. If this is not possible a written request must be made to the Ashram Supervisor. For those working or studying outside the ashram, see point 4. Sadhana. 5.30 am hatha yoga strong 6.30 am meditation 7.00 am breakfast 7.45 am karma yoga 11.00 am morning tea 11.30 am relaxation 12.00 am lunch 2.00 pm afternoon tea 2.15 pm karma yoga 4.00 pm hatha yoga strong 5.30 pm meditation 6.00 pm evening meal very light 7.00 pm evening program 8.30 pm silence Karma yoga is work and chores / or fitness program Hatha yoga is asanas or postures
2. ASHRAM HOURS Members must ask permission from the Ashram Supervisor to leave the ashram for any length of time and whenever they feel it is necessary to be out past 8:00 p.m. Members must always keep the Ashram Supervisor well informed as to their whereabouts. Visitor Times: If you are coming to visit or stay in the Ashram, kindly come within the visiting hours 8.30 am – 8.30 pm. 3. MORALITY Members must refrain from the use of alcohol, tobacco, and any illegal or immoral activity whether within or outside of the ashram. No drugs whatsoever and no exceptions (immediate expulsion and loss of deposit) including outside of the ashram precincts. Members must abstain from non-marital sexual relations. Complete celibacy is required both in and outside of the ashram for residents who are not married. An exception to this may be agreed to by the residents for the purposes of Tantric practices. 4. SADHANA Members must uphold a keen enthusiasm and set a good example to others - avoiding complacency or apathy, and must agree to do any work that is asked and attempt to be economically and ecologically responsible in all service. Members will be trained and involved in training in yoga and meditation techniques to be developed by UOCA and will assist in generating income for the ashram by teaching laypeople these methods. A summary of a possible UOCA course is at http://8power.blogspot.com/ and http://depreco.blogspot.com/.
STUDY OR WORK OUTSIDE THE ASHRAM Members working or studying outside the ashram ultimately do so not just for the benefit of themselves but for the greater benefit of the collective within the ashram. All income earned is encouraged to be shared with the ashram and if you decide to do this it is to be paid to the Ashram Treasurer. If you do not wish to do this you must speak to the Supervisor about donations for course costs and training. Members must obtain written consent from the Supervisor to work outside the ashram. Members must not work directly or indirectly for the weapons, meat, dairy, livestock, alcohol, coffee, tobacco or pharmaceutical industries (unless proven that for life threatening illnesses where no reasonable natural alternative is available and no animal testing is involved, or the good - beyond reasonable doubt - outweighs the harm in the drug measured by an objective ethical standard approved by UOCA) or any other industry or service deemed unethical by UOCA unless written permission is obtained from UOCA. Initially it is accepted that outside work will be necessary to support the ashram, however within a short time the ashram should generate its own income and residents will be encouraged to work only within the ashram itself. 5. HYGIENE and DRESS Members must maintain a neat and clean appearance at all times. Dress and behavior in the general community must be within the standards of leading portions of that community and appropriate to the service being performed. In the initial stages of the ashram residents may wear normal casual clothing worn in Australia. Traditionally in an ashram members wear completely white clothing, that is loose fitting – this includes robes and pajama style clothes. Modest dress is generally required in an ashram with both sexes covering shoulders, knees and midriff at all times, including during asana class. However this requirement will not be necessary given Australia's relaxed attitude to dress and in the initial stages this rule will be relaxed completely. Clothing however will not be permitted that has logos or messages or any negative pictures or designs on them unless approved by UOCA. It is preferable if you only bring clothing that is plain so as to avoid distraction to others.
The ashram in Nimbin will allow nudity. This must be done in such a way that neighbouring residents are not offended. This means that nudity will not be permitted if visible to the public or neighbours. During certain times when guests are visiting nudity may also be prohibited or during retreats or programs or workshops. It is up to the residents to use their discretion as to when it is appropriate to be nude. Nudity is there to elevate the soul and purify it and not to descend it into lust. While naked you must carry a towel and sit on this for hygeine reasons. Nudity in yoga classes may be permitted. · Cleanliness: UOCA Ashram will be a beautiful sanctuary, cleaned and maintained by the resident seekers. So you are requested to keep your room neat and clean during your stay and help in keeping the beauty intact. · Meditation Mat: It is compulsory to carry your own meditation mat. Meditation mat prevents an individual’s vibrations from draining to the earth and around 6. a) COMMUNICATION AND SILENCE
It is important that members speak positively to each other avoiding negative statements or questions. Keeping the ashram vibration pure is very important. Foul, abusive, swearing language is prohibited and will be considered a breach of conduct. Criticism, gossip, and idle chatter not related to spirituality or work is to be avoided.
If a member has a dispute with another, then they should use non-violent communication techniques (see supervisor for handbook). If this does not work then see the supervisor. If the other member does not wish to engage in this technique then the member must desist and either member may see the supervisor to mediate the dispute.
Conversation should be in furtherance of the Ashram service or satsang for spiritual development or propagating the UOCA Knowledge.
The same rules apply for any writing you do at the ashram. · Observe Silence: Complete silence at the set times (8.30pm-7.30am; during meals and meditation times) should be observed once you enter the Ashram premises. Silence helps to imbibe the vibrations of the living Buddhafield at the UOCA Ashram.
· Mobile Phones: Mobile phones are required to be switched off as it disrupts the serenity of the surroundings unless permitted by the Supervisor or relate to Ashram business. If used for personal matters the calls should be limited to practical matters and be brief in keeping with the policy of avoiding defilement. This includes text messaging. If you have problems with this hand your mobile into the office.
Internet: Is to be limited to work related matters or practical matters if personal and kept brief. It is preferred if members do not use the internet during their stay; including wireless netbooks and laptops.
6. b) BOOKS, MOVIES and GAMES
All of these items brought to the ashram must be of a spiritual nature. Do not bring fiction material into the ashram unless it has been approved by the ashram supervisor - it disrupts the vibration. Check with the Ashram supervisor if you are unsure before you arrive at the ashram. For example the Celestine Prophecy is not considered appropriate as it is largely fiction and contains violence.
Members should avoid the use of internet, television, motion pictures and theater both in and outside the ashram. The negative subliminal effects of these media are extremely harmful to the psychic body. The Ashram Supervisor shall determine the use of these media with respect to the spiritual development or practical ability of the members to fulfill their service; including outside of the ashram.
- no violent or immoral sexual material - erotic spiritual art is permitted but see the ashram supervisor first for approval.
- no computer games
These items will be confiscated if found and will be considered a breach of the code of conduct. Any disputation of this and the member will be asked to leave the ashram.
The only exception to the above rule is if the material is for legitimate use in political activism UOCA is currently involved with and the resident is specifically working on an approved project by WNA or UOCA or TMMAG or Enligtenart.
c) MUSIC - Do not bring non-meditational music to the ashram. Consult with the ashram supervisor before you bring any music that may possibly be non-meditational. Only meditational music (initially this will be given a broad interpretation) is permitted to be listened to in the ashram and residents should avoid non-meditational music even when they are outside of the ashram due to the harmful vibrations these can cause.
No rock, punk, reggae, trance, hip hop, pop, country music is considered meditational even if it claims to be such.
Classical music is permitted but not if it is dischordant or marching band music or similar.
Live music: at agreed times residents may practice instruments or sing quietly in their room or elsewhere as long as there is no disturbance caused to another person. Practice is to be restricted to not include the above types of music considered to be non-meditational - in other words soft music - flexibility will be given in determining this. At Satsangs or programs live music is encouraged. 7. FOOD Members should observe a silent atmosphere while eating and maintain a vegan diet, (abstaining from dairy, meat, fish and eggs) and should be eating a high percentage rawfood and organic. Members should consume moderately small quantities of food and only at regular meal times and eat in meditation. They should maintain this policy out of the ashram as well. Members should only have a very light meal or juices in the evening. Members should also practice regular juice or water fasting as per the directions of the Ashram Supervisor. Group fasts will be organised at auspicious astrological times. Any member wishing to fast must inform the Supervisor. 8. POSSESSIONS Members must observe a vow of collective unification to ascend, and have the attitude of personally possessing no things (even thoughts, ideas), and should utilize everything given to them communally, responsibly, respecting privacy, habitual use, and good sense making certain that all that they use is treated with love, kindness and returned or replaced in the same or better condition than received. As a condition of this vow of collective unification, ideally members should give all their possessions to UOCA, however this is only a requirement of a full life member who has decided to commit him or herself completely to the goals and mission of UOCA; certain rights and obligations will come with this status. However all other members should still act in a manner of not owning or possessing anything and that all their possessions that they bring into the ashram are collectively owned and to be shared (though the member still may maintain responsibility for their objects). Income earned outside the ashram should be donated to the ashram; if you do not wish to do this then please consult with the ashram supervisor. Income earned within the Ashram is to be given to the Ashram treasurer while the member is resident on the day it is earned or collected. Income earned outside the ashram is encouraged to be donated and residents working outside must discuss what arrangement they make in regard to this with the Supervisor. If the member leaves the ashram they may take their personal possessions with them. Other possessions are to be considered donated unless specifically discussed with the Supervisor and confirmed in writing as belonging to them when they are first brought to the Ashram - within 7 days.
The reason for this is that maintaining ownership of material objects even outside of the ashram is a symptom of the individual ego's incapability to ascend to a state of non-separation from the unity or unified collective that is represented by the cosmic self, the supreme personality, or in simple terms God. This inability to surrender material possessions has resulted in capitalism and most of the poverty, conflicts and cruelty on this planet. It is one of the greatest stumbling blocks to spiritual evolution. As most of us are far from this state UOCA allows for a transition process for members to by their own free will release their material attachments represented by objects in this Universe. 9. DISCIPLINE Members should lead a disciplined life of service, satsang, and meditation, and must adhere to six principles of UOCA Ashram life:
- Organise thoroughly all your plans and actions. Be diligent by not putting off what you can do today, unless it would be significantly more beneficial to postpone the task and a specified time is allocated to do it in.
- Keep the mind clear and empty of all thought, if this proves too difficult then constantly meditate and remember the mantra ‘UOCA’ or 'YOGA'.
- Leave room for doubt in your mind after sufficient careful analysis - the universe is imperfect.
- Be punctual and tidy. Keeping commitments is a sign of trust and honesty. Never delay in attending practices, sadhana, or meetings. Always inform others concerned in advance if a greater need arises in conflict with your commitments.
- Act with love and compassion in all that you do knowing that the highest love is respect. When tested with negative emotions know that this is a divine gift to improve all.
- Always maintain a faith in UOCA and its evolution for mankind. Understand that it is an evolving system and that is its strength, to be able to change in differing circumstances, therefore contribute actively to improving and evolving UOCA's system. If ever UOCA becomes convinced it is absolutely right it will be setting its own seeds for stagnation and destruction. 10. CO-OPERATION Members must cultivate cooperation, brother and sisterhood, understanding, heartfelt love, and devotion for UOCA and its work. 11. ENFORCEMENT A member who disputes the requests of the Ashram Supervisor may make a written objection to the Ashram Board. The member is still obliged to carry out the requests made of them until the Board has heard and determined the objection. Initially the Board will be made up of the long term ashram residents or members. At a later stage it will be elected by the long term residents. A member must leave if asked to do so by the Ashram Supervisor for any action or lack of action that the Ashram Supervisor may deem detrimental to the purposes of Unification Organisation of Collective Ascension’s Divine Mission and its stated Codes. An appeal may be made by any member who is asked to leave by submitting a written request for consideration to the Ashram Board of Directors. If any member is still dissatisfied, a written request for further consideration can be made to UOCA Appeals Committee. Any member asked to leave for breach of this code will not be refunded their deposit bond. Depending on the seriousness of the breach they will be asked to leave within one hour to seven days. They must leave even if the appeal has not been heard. If their appeal is successful then they may return and/or will receive their bond back. 12. Spiritual alternative health therapies Any alternative health therapies including massage must be discussed with the supervisor before practicing them either at the ashram or outside. 13. Eco-conscious The ashram is to be run in an environmentally friendly and sustainable manner. Members must act in such a manner in the ashram and outside. Any ideas for improvements must be discussed with the Supervisor before implementing. 14. Location Members will respect neighbors to the ashram in being courteous, polite, quiet and humble. It is the intention to form a much larger ashram in a remote country/park location. Ultimately with the goal of creating the HQ for UOCA at Project Eden in tropical Australia. Members will do all they can to bring about this plan. 15. Departure · Departure: Ensure to hand over the keys of your room (along with the Ashram identity card issued at the time of the arrival). Removal of your possessions that are not personal must be done with the co-operation of the Ashram Supervisor.
16. Yoga Practices
These will follow in general classical yoga but will be modified as UOCA evolves its own system of Yoga and Science: -
"The eight limbs (yoganga) of Raja Yoga
The eight "limbs" or steps prescribed in the second pada of the Yoga Sutras are: Yama, Niyama, Asana, Pranayama, Pratyahara, Dharana, Dhyana and Samadhi. Ashtanga yoga consists of the following steps: The first five are called external aids to Yoga (bahiranga sadhana) 1. Yama refers to the five abstentions. These are the same as the five vows of Jainism.
- Ahimsa: non-violence, inflicting no injury or harm to others or even to one's ownself, it goes as far as nonviolence in thought, word and deed.
- Satya: truth in word & thought.
- Asteya: non-covetousness, to the extent that one should not even desire something that is not his own.
- Brahmacharya: abstain from sexual intercourse; celibacy in case of unmarried people and monogamy in case of married people. Even this to the extent that one should not possess any unholy thoughts towards any other man or woman except one's own spouse.
- Aparigraha: abstain from attachment to possessions.
2. Niyama refers to the five observances
- Shaucha: cleanliness of body & mind.
- Santosha: satisfaction; satisfied with what one has
- Tapas: austerity and associated observances for body discipline & thereby mental control.
- Svadhyaya: introspection
- Ishvarapranidhana: surrender to (or worship of) God.
3. Asana: Discipline of the body: rules and postures to keep it disease-free and for preserving vital energy. Correct postures are a physical aid to meditation, for they control the limbs and nervous system and prevent them from producing disturbances. 4. Pranayama: control of breath. Beneficial to health, steadies the body and is highly conductive to the concentration of the mind. 5. Pratyahara: withdrawal of senses from their external objects. The last three levels are called internal aids to Yoga (antaranga sadhana) 6. Dharana: concentration of the citta upon a physical object, such as a flame of a lamp, the mid point of the eyebrows, or the image of a deity. 7. Dhyana: steadfast meditation. Undisturbed flow of thought around the object of meditation (pratyayaikatanata). The act of meditation and the object of meditation remain distinct and separate. 8. Samadhi: oneness with the object of meditation. There is no distinction between act of meditation and the object of meditation. Samadhi is of two kinds: 1. Samprajnata Samadhi conscious samadhi. The mind remains concentrated (ekagra) on the object of meditation, therefore the consciousness of the object of meditation persists. Mental modifications arise only in respect of this object of meditation.This state is of four kinds:
- Savitarka: the Citta is concentrated upon a gross object of meditation such as a flame of a lamp, the tip of the nose, or the image of a deity.
- Savichara: the Citta is concentrated upon a subtle object of meditation , such as the tanmatras
- Sananda: the Citta is concentrated upon a still subtler object of meditation, like the senses.
- Sasmita: the Citta is concentrated upon the ego-substance with which the self is generally identified.
2. Asamprajnata Samadhi supraconscious. The citta and the object of meditation are fused together. The consciousness of the object of meditation is transcended. All mental modifications are checked (niruddha), although latent impressions may continue."
[courtesy of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yoga_Sutras] Yoga Sutras of Patanjali 17. Alterations to the rules This will be done by consensus of all resident members initially and with the approval of the UOCA board. Once the ashram has expanded a two thirds majority of residents will be required.
Any resident wishing to alter the rules must submit a written request with reasons to the Supervisor. The Supervisor must bring this to the attention of the other residents within 7 days and to the UOCA board within 7 days of approval by the residents. Residents and board members may suggest ammendments. The board's approval must be in writing and signed by all residents and board members and must clearly state the alteration to the rules.
Supervisor must notify all residents of the changes made to the rules within 7 days of final board approval.