Sunyata Saraswati (T'ien-Tao Lung)
September 5, 1941 - May 21, 2014
Sunyata Saraswati (Goswami, Sifu, affectionately called "Master", Grandmaster, SiGung, Lao Sui, T'ien-Tao Lung) was born on September 5, 1941, in Chicago, Illinois, United States, and his energy passed from the body on May 21, 2014. He had devoted over 60 years to the study and practicing of, and eventually teaching of, various systems including Yoga, Chi Gung, meditation, and healing arts.
Master Sunyata was born into a spiritually advanced family, and lived for many years in the multi-generational home of his grandparents. His grandmother was practicing Tibetan yoga in the 1930s, and she was a friend of Paramahansa Yogananda. When Yogananda came to his grandmother's house in Chicago one day, the young Master Sunyata was given the grace: the transmission. "Transmission" refers to a yogic belief that spiritual information can be passed on without words.
Yogananda told Master Sunyata's grandmother that they could not allow him to be just a person with a devotional nature, so as a youth Master Sunyata was sent by Yogananda to India to study all the aspects of Kriya Yoga, where he also learned Hatha Yoga. For more than a decade, Master Sunyata went to India almost every summer.
As a young adult, Master Sunyata started studying Dakshini Marga Cobra Breath, Kriya philosophy, and Tibetan studies with Goswami Kriyananda and his top student at the Temple of Kriya Yoga in Chicago. Sri Shelliji, Goswami Kriyananda's guru, recommended that Master Sunyata study with Swami Satyananda Saraswati in Bihar, India.
Swami Sivananda Saraswati had received the tantric aspect of Kriya Yoga and transmitted it to his student, Swami Satyananda, a consummate yogic scholar who modernized Tantra. In Bihar, in Swami Satyananda's tantric teacher's training, Master Sunyata learned the Vama Marga path of Tantric Kriya Yoga, the Tantric Cobra Breath, and proper etiquette and conducting of Puja ceremonies.
Swami Satyananda initiated Sunyata, gave him the name "Sunyata" and the title of Goswami, and appointed him lineage holder of "Babaji's Tantric Kriya Yoga". Master Sunyata was fully infused with Shakti to permit him to pass on Tantric Kriya Yoga Cobra Breath Initiations.
Swami Satyananda then instructed Master Sunyata to go out and learn from everybody, and then take it back to the West and share it.
Because of the experiences Master Sunyata was having in meditation, Swami Satyananda felt that Master Sunyata was not grounded to the earth. To remedy this, Swami Satyananda sent Master Sunyata to the Wu Chi Tao temple in Hong Kong, where Master Sunyata began his training in the healing arts, Chi Gung, and Tai Chi. Many of the practices taught at the temple were for longevity and focused on the crane, turtle, and deer.
Master Sunyata continued to travel and learn, studying with masters in countries including India, Nepal, Tibet, Egypt, Peru, Europe, and the United States. Being a half-caste (his father was from India, and his mother was of Native American, European, and African descent), he was permitted access to teachings not normally available to Americans.
Master Sunyata was also told by Swami Satyananda that each longer practice he synthesized together should combine Indian, Taoist, and Tibetan techniques. With his photographic memory, knowledge, and sensations of energy, Master Sunyata was able to see and feel a common ground in the various disciplines he studied, and fulfilled the mandate by putting practices together that kept the integrity and purity of the energy of the various combined systems to achieve the goal he established for each of the longer practices.
For the rest of his life, Master Sunyata spent his time mostly practicing and teaching. He moved frequently and in that way was accessible to different groups of students. His last stay was in south Florida, where he focused primarily on women's classes and healing arts.
A yogi until the last breath, Master Sunyata spent the last two years of his life doing practices known only to him, and visualizations, in preparation for his death and whatever he felt would be next. His health started declining somewhat at that time, and in the last year took a definite turn towards the end, with recurrent hospital visits and breathing complications.
Master Sunyata was confined to bed for six days before he passed, and a few nights before he did, he sat up and gave his last advice. He said to study and learn to better ourselves, that's our responsibility. Practice was mentioned as the most important thing, to let nothing stand in the way of practice, and to practice practice practice. The spiritual teachers never stop caring about the students; the students and their spiritual progress are always a top concern.
On his last day, May 21, 2014, Master Sunyata spent from approximately 5 am to after noon practicing, as he lay on the bed, almost unable to move, with death approaching. However, with his mind fully intact, his eyes were both open staring upwards, he was mouthing mantras, and he was very slowly moving his hands and feet into mudras. First the soles of feet together, the hands in Yin-Yang Mudra, then the thumb and index fingertips touching and pointing up (Jnana Mudra), then hands on knees, then let go of all.
Watching him was like looking at a river in winter, the top of the river frozen, with the water still moving underneath. His body giving out, but underneath there was life in his intact mind. Master Sunyata took his last breath at 10:33 pm, passing from natural causes. In tradition, his crown was facing north and he had turned his head to the west side. His energy was expanding and various people felt it through lights, sound, or vibration. We honor his contributions through the assistance of the practices. May he continue to guide us from wherever his energy is.
Sunyata Saraswati passed away of natural causes, in sleep, in south Florida, Wednesday, May 21, 2014, 10:33 pm.
Sunyata Saraswati held the following titles:
Goswami - Lineage Holder of Babaji's Tantric Kriya Yoga (Bihar, India)
Sifu - Wu Chi Tao Temple (Hong Kong), Esoteric Tibetan Taoist Chi Gung, Nui Gung and the Taoist 8 Animals internal Gung Fu
SiGung - Grandmaster 7th degree Black Sash from Larry Sanders (Nei Wai Chia Gung Fu) for the development of Chi Lung Tao (Way of the Spirit Dragon) internal Gung Fu
Lao Sui - 10th degree Black Sash
7th degree Tibetan Vajra Reiki Initiator - Empowered by Tsampa Yeshe Norbu Rimpoche (Trishu Shambhala Tibetan Raku Lingka)
His teachers include:
Swami Satyananda Saraswati - India (Tantra)
Sri Goswami Kriyananda - The Temple of Kriya Yoga in Chicago, IL (Jyoti path of Kriya Yoga)
Janardan (Ajapa Japa - Cosmic Sound Current)
Master Waysun Liao (Temple Tai Ch'i)
Taoist Monk Grandmaster Share K. Lew (Wong Lung Temple Monastery)
Tsampa Yeshe Norbu Rimpoche (Trishu Shambhala Tibetan Raku Lingka)
On Saturday, May 24, 2014, 7-9 pm and Sunday, May 25, 2014, 8-10 am, silence was observed for his passing, and students came to sit in his living room near his personal altar.
On Sunday, July 6, 2014, the Drolma Kadampa Buddhist Meditation Center in Fort Lauderdale happened to be holding a Phowa ceremony, which students attended to wish him a rebirth in his highest elevation.
Wednesday, July 9, 2014, was the 49th day after his passing. Honoring, elevating, and purification ceremonies were held as he continued his journey in another dimension.
A memorial was held in his honor on Thursday, September 4, 2014, in south Florida. All who came participated in rites.
According to his wishes, on Tuesday, January 13, 2015, his cremated ashes merged with the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.
At sunrise, on Thursday, May 21, 2015, a remembrance memorial was held in Fort Lauderdale, FL.