Friday, November 8, 2013

Chuck Surface - Unconditional Love

Having had several teachers in my long life,
I have only ever known one Sat Guru...
My own Heart,
And the Unbearable Longing that Shone there,

It was into and as that Sat Guru,
That "i" eventually Vanished,
And in that Vanishing,
Both Sat Guru and chela Disappeared,
Leaving only Causeless, Unconditional Love.

Joan Tollifson - Complication and Simplicity

Not that long ago, people lived in a world where there was no social media, no internet, no computers, no YouTube, no printing presses, no airplanes, no trains, no cars, no highways, no telephones, no televisions, no radios, no streaming media. Zen students in those days might walk on foot for months across miles of dangerous terrain to meet once with a teacher. The Advaita sage Nisargadatta Maharaj met his guru only a few times. Today an astronomical number of teachers and their videos, talks and writings are available at our fingertips on-line. We can spend days surfing the net, going from website to website, trying to reconcile one person’s expression of this with that of another. We can jet all over the world going from satsang to satsang and from one teacher to the next, following still others on our hand-held devices as we travel.

This is wonderful in many ways. But it can easily turn into a kind of feeding frenzy that can feel overwhelming, confusing and even addictive. We have so much to consume that it's easy to never really digest anything. The very nature of the delivery system tends in many ways to reinforce the restlessness and discontent that prompts the seeking and grasping, rather than helping us to actually see through this discontent and relax into the simplicity of what is, right here, right now.

Of course, all of this about the good old days and the frenzy of modern life is a story -- it requires thought, memory and imagination to conjure it up -- so don't take it too seriously. Nothing is really an obstruction, and there is actually nothing to obstruct. But in order to realize that, it may help to stop racing around for a moment. So I invite you, after you finish reading this article, to turn away from your computer or put down whatever device you are using to read this, and take a pause.

For at least a few minutes, simply be present as thoughtless awareness, doing nothing, simply being. This is what you cannot not be, the effortless and unavoidable happening that you always already are, the happening Here / Now that includes everything as one seamless and undivided whole. Let whatever shows up be just as it is, without trying to do (or not do) anything special. Breathing, hearing the sounds of traffic or birds singing, feeling sensations in the body, allowing it all to be just as it is. Whenever you notice you are absorbed in a train of thought, if you can, simply let the thoughts go and return to this simple, bare, naked experiencing of the present moment. You’re not trying to accomplish anything or figure anything out. You’re simply being present as this all-inclusive Here / Now, awake to whatever shows up. You may notice the spaciousness, the relief, the effortless ease of simply being. And if you don't feel spaciousness and ease, if instead you feel a bodily sense of restlessness, anxiety or unease -- that's okay, too. Whatever shows up, simply let it be part of the dance. Nothing needs to be any different from how it is.

It's not that thoughtless awareness or naked sensory experiencing is "better" or "more nondual" or more "spiritually correct" than thinking and trying to figure everything out and racing from one website to the next in search of something that will finally allow us to relax and feel that we have arrived. It's simply that all our suffering and confusion is in the attempt to grasp and formulate what is literally inconceivable. We're making ourselves miserable by searching outside of ourselves for what is already fully present Here / Now. The freedom and relief we are seeking is not "out there" somewhere. It is right here in the falling away of the search.

And if that sounds unbelievable, just pause.

Can you feel the relief in simply being here, not trying to figure anything out, not seeking any special experience other than the one that is happening right now, not searching for answers, but simply being? Just this, exactly as it is.


Thursday, November 7, 2013

from the AṬṬHAKAVAGGA - The cave


1. Holding fast in a cave, much obscured,
A man stays plunged in confused stupidity.
He, being of such a type, is far from detachment.
Objects of desire in this world are indeed not easy to abandon.

2. Founded in desire, bound to the pleasures of existence,
People are released with difficulty and indeed cannot get release
from another.
Hoping for what is after or before,
Longing for these desirable objects or former ones,

3. Greedy, engrossed, confounded over objects of desire,
Miserly, they are entrenched in the way of inequality.
And brought to an uneasy end they lament,
“What will become of us when we have passed away from here?”

4. Therefore a person should train himself right here and now;
Whatever he would know in the world to be a way of inequality
Not because of that should he go along the unequal way.
The wise say this life is but a little thing indeed.

5. I see in the world this race of men
Thrashing about with craving for existences.
Inferior men cry out in the jaws of Death
With craving not gone for this or that existence.

6. See them thrashing in the midst of what they call “mine”
Like fishes in a dried-up stream with little water.
And having seen that, one should go the way of “not mine,”
Not working up attachment for existences.

7. Having dismissed preference for either extreme,
Having thoroughly understood stimulation, not greedy for
Not doing that which would lead to self-reproach,
A wise man is not stuck to by the seen or the heard.

8. Having truly understood perception he would cross over the flood.
A sage is not mired with possessions.
With the spike pulled out, going with mind uncloude

He does not wish for this world or another.

Pdf  Here

Lao Tzu - Holding to the Constant

Break into the peace within,
Hold attention in stillness,
And in the world outside
You will ably master the ten thousand things.

All things rise and flourish
Then go back to their roots.
Seeing this return brings true rest,
Where you discover who you really are.
Knowing who you are, you will find the constant.
Those who lack harmony with the constant court danger,
But those who have it gain new vision.

They act with compassion;
within themselves, they can find room for everything.
Having room, they rule themselves and lead others wisely.
Being wise, they live in accordance
with the nature of things.
Emptied of self, and at one with nature,
They become one with the Tao.
The Tao endures forever.
For those who have attained harmony with the Tao
will never lose it,
Even if their bodies die.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Saint Augustine - Entering into Joy

Peter Paul Rubens - St Augustine

Entering into Joy

Imagine if all the tumult of the body were to quiet down, along with all our busy thoughts about earth, sea, and air;

if the very world should stop, and the mind cease thinking about itself, go beyond itself, and be quite still;

if all the fantasies that appear in dreams and imagination should cease, and there be no speech, no sign:

Imagine if all things that are perishable grew still – for if we listen they are saying, We did not make ourselves; he made us who abides forever – imagine, then, that they should say this and fall silent, listening to the very voice of him who made them and not to that of his creation;

so that we should hear not his word through the tongues of men, nor the voice of angels, nor the clouds' thunder, nor any symbol, but the very Self which in these things we love, and go beyond ourselves to attain a flash of that eternal wisdom which abides above all things:

And imagine if that moment were to go on and on, leaving behind all other sights and sounds but this one vision which ravishes and absorbs and fixes the beholder in joy; so that the rest of eternal life were like that moment of illumination which leaves us breathless:

Would this not be what is bidden in scripture, Enter thou into the joy of thy Lord?


Saint Augustine was born in North Africa in 354 and lived into the last stages of collapse of the Roman Empire. His Confessions, one of the world's great pieces of autobiographical literature, tells the story of a brilliant, passionate young man who learned to channel all his passions toward God. This translation from book 9, chapter 10, is by Michael N. Nagler.

Isha Upanishad

The Inner Ruler

The Lord is enshrined in the hearts of all.
The Lord is the supreme reality.
Rejoice in him through renunciation.
Covet nothing. All belongs to the Lord.
Thus working may you live a hundred years.
Thus alone can you work in full freedom.

Those who deny the Self are born again
Blind to the Self, enveloped in darkness,
Utterly devoid of love for the Lord.

The Self is one. Ever still, the Self is
Swifter than thought, swifter than the senses.
Though motionless, he outruns all pursuit.
Without the Self, never could life exist.

The Self seems to move, but is ever still.
He seems far away, but is ever near.
He is within all, and he transcends all.

Those who see all creatures in themselves
And themselves in all creatures know no fear.
Those who see all creatures in themselves
And themselves in all creatures know no grief.
How can the multiplicity of life
Delude the one who sees its unity?

The Self is everywhere. Bright is the Self,
Indivisible, untouched by sin, wise,
Immanent and transcendent. He it is
Who holds the cosmos together.

In dark night live those
For whom the world without alone is real;
In night darker still, for whom the world within
Alone is real. The first leads to a life
Of action, the second of meditation.
But those who combine action with meditation
Go across the sea of death through action
And enter into immortality
Through the practice of meditation.
So have we heard from the wise.

In dark night live those for whom the Lord
Is transcendent only; in night darker still,
For whom he is immanent only.
But those for whom he is transcendent
And immanent cross the sea of death
With the immanent and enter into
Immortality with the transcendent.
So have we heard from the wise.

The face of truth is hidden by your orb
Of gold, O sun. May you remove the orb
So that I, who adore the true, may see
The glory of truth. O nourishing sun,
Solitary traveler, controller,
Source of life for all creatures, spread your light,
And subdue your dazzling splendor
So that I may see your blessed Self.
Even that very Self am I!

May my life merge in the Immortal
When my body is reduced to ashes!
O mind, meditate on the eternal
Brahman. Remember the deeds of the past.
Remember, O mind, remember.

O God of fire, lead us by the good path
To eternal joy. You know all our deeds.
Deliver us from evil, we that bow
And pray again and again.

OM Shanti Shanti Shanti

This is the whole of the Isha Upanishad which Mahatma Gandhi said contains the summit of human wisdom. Translated by Eknath Easwaran in The Upanishads (Petaluma, California: Nilgiri Press, 1987).

Pdf  Here

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The Vasistha's Yoga

Art  Peggy Kane - Vasistha to Rama

The Play of Infinite Consciousness
In Three Acts


        The Invocation:

        You (Self) dwell in 'me' in a state of equilibrium as pure witness consciousness, without form and without the divisions of time and space.

        Act One:    Creation

        The energy of infinite consciousness (without abandoning its true nature) manifests this creation. First. . .the notion of creation, then light and the division of the universe. As a particle of consciousness moves in space, it does 'there' what it did 'here' earlier; thus the sequence of time arises, as well as spatial distinctions. Then, one after the other, the diverse beings are created.

        Act Two:    Existence

        Seeker (played by infinite consciousness who has 'forgotten' his true nature)

        "Who am I who speaks, walks, stands and functions on this elaborate stage known as the world? I should find this out."

        Sage (played by infinite consciousness)

        "What is is as it is. All this is the wonderful play of the mysterious power of consciousness. Experience this in utter tranquility."   

        Act Three:    Dissolution

        The Seeker (played by infinite consciousness) of its own accord awakens itself to its own true nature. Realizing that all this is nothing but infinite consciousness, it attains equilibrium. Realizing itself as a non-entity, it is reabsorbed in the consciousness of which it is but a thought-emanation.

        Running Time:  One moment

        During that moment itself the illusory notion that it is of very long duration arises


Pdf download  Yoga Vasistha

Sunday, November 3, 2013

D.T. Suzuki - Satori

Art  Aum ega

The following six points on Satori are from D.T. Suzuki's An Introduction to Zen Buddhism


        1. People often imagine that the discipline of Zen is to produce
        a state of self-suggestion through meditation. This entirely
        misses the mark, as can be seen from the various instances cites
        above. Satori does not consist in producing a certain
        premeditated condition by intensely thinking of it. It is
        acquiring a new point of view for looking at things. Ever since
        the unfoldment of consciousness we have been led to respond to
        the inner and outer conditions in a certain conceptual and
        analytical manner. The discipline of Zen consists in upsetting
        this groundwork once for all and reconstructing the old frame on
        an entirely new basis. It is evident, therefore, that meditating
        on metaphysical and symbolic statements, which are products of the
        relative consciousness, play no part in Zen.

        2. Without the attainment of Satori no one can enter into the
        truth of Zen. Satori is the sudden flashing into consciousness of
        a new truth hitherto undreamed of. It is a sort of mental
        catastrophe taking place all at once, after much piling up of
        matters intellectual and demonstrative. The piling has reached a
        limit of stability and the whole edifice has come tumbling to the
        ground, when, behold, a new heaven is open to full survey. When
        the freezing point is reached, water suddenly turns into ice;
        the liquid has suddenly turned into a solid body and no
        more flows freely. Satori comes upon a man unawares, when he
        feels that he has exhausted his whole being. Religiously, it is a
        new birth; intellectually, it is the acquiring of a new viewpoint.
        The world now appears as if dressed in a new garment, which seems
        to cover up all the unsightliness of dualism, which is called
        delusion in Buddhist phraseology.

        3. Satori is the raison d'etre of Zen without which Zen is no
        Zen. Therefore every contrivance, disciplinary and doctrinal,
        is directed towards Satori. Zen masters could not remain patient
        for Satori to come by itself; that is, to come sporadically or at
        its own pleasure. In their earnestness to aid their disciples in
        the search after the truth of Zen their manifestly enigmatical
        presentations were designed to create in their disciples a state
        of mind which would more systematically open the way to
        enlightenment. All the intellectual demonstrations and
        exhortatory persuasions so far carried out by most religious and
        philosophical leaders had failed to produce the desired effect,
        and their disciples thereby had been father and father led
        astray. Especially was this the case when Buddhism was first
        introduced into China, with all its Indian heritage of highly
        metaphysical abstractions and most complicated systems of Yoga
        discipline, which left the more practical Chinese at the loss as
        to how to grasp the central point of the doctrine of Sakyamuni.
        Bodhidharma, the Sixth Patriarch Hui-neng, Baso, and other Chinese
        masters noticed the fact, and the proclamation and development of
        Zen was the natural outcome. By them Satori was placed above
        sutra-learning and scholarly discussions of the shastras and was
        identified with Zen itself. Zen, therefore, without Satori is
        like pepper without its pungency. But there is also such a
        thing as too much attachment to the experience of Satori, which
        is to be detested.

        4. This emphasizing of Satori in Zen makes the fact quite
        significant that Zen in not a system of Dhyana as practiced in
        India and by other Buddhist schools in China. By Dhyana is
        generally understood a kind of meditation or contemplation
        directed toward some fixed thought; in Hinayana Buddhism it was a
        thought of transiency, while in the Mahayana it was more often
        the doctrine of emptiness. When the mind has been so trained as
        to be able to realize a state of perfect void in which there is
        not a trace of consciousness left, even the sense of being
        unconscious having departed; in other words, when all forms of
        mental activity are swept away clean from the field of
        consciousness, leaving the mind like the sky devoid of every
        speck of cloud, a mere broad expense of blue, Dhyana is said to
        have reached its perfection. This may be called ecstasy or
        trance, or the First Jhana, but it is not Zen. In Zen there must be not just
        Kensho, but Satori. There must be a general mental upheaval which destroys
        the old accumulations of intellection and lays down the foundation for new
        life; there must be the awakening of a new sense which will
        review the old things from a hitherto undreamed-of angle of
        observation. In Dhyana there are none of these things, for it is
        merely a quieting exercise of mind. As such Dhyana doubtless has
        its own merit, but Zen must be not identified with it.

        5. Satori is not seeing God as he is, as might be contended by
        some Christian mystics. Zen has from the beginning made clear and
        insisted upon the main thesis, which is to see into the work of
        creation; the creator may be found busy moulding his universe, or
        he may be absent from his workshop, but Zen goes on with its own
        work. It is not dependent upon the support of a creator; when it
        grasps the reason for living a life, it is satisfied. Hoyen
        (died 1104) of Go-so-san used to produce his own hand and ask his
        disciples why it was called a hand. When we know the reason,
        there is Satori and we have Zen. Whereas with the God of mysticism
        there is the grasping of a definite object; when you have God,
        what is no-God is excluded. This is self-limiting. Zen wants
        absolute freedom, even from God. "No abiding place" means that
        very thing; "Cleanse your mouth when you utter the word Buddha"
        amounts to the same thing. It is not that Zen wants to be
        morbidly unholy and godless, but that it recognizes the
        incompleteness of mere name. Therefore, when Yakusan
        (aka Yaoshan Weiyan, Yueh-shan Wei-jen, 751-834)
        was asked to give a lecture, he did not say a word, but instead
        come down from the pulpit and went off to his own room. Hyakujo
        merely walked forward a few steps, stood still, and then opened
        his arms, which was his exposition of the great principle.
        See #5 below as well as Turiyatita.

        6. Satori is not a morbid state of mind, a fit subject for the
        study of abnormal psychology. If anything, it is a perfectly
        normal state of mind. When I speak of mental upheaval, one may be
        led to consider Zen as something to be shunned by ordinary
        people. This is a most mistaken view of Zen, but one
        unfortunately often held by prejudiced critics. As Joshu
        declared, "Zen is your everyday thought"; it all depends on the
        adjustment of the hinge whether the door opens in or opens out.
        Even in the twinkling of an eye the whole affair is changed and
        you have Zen, and you are as perfect and as normal as ever. More
        than that, you have acquired in the meantime something altogether
        new. All your mental activities will now be working to a
        different key, which will be more satisfying, more peaceful, and
        fuller of joy than anything you ever experienced before. The tone
        of life will be altered. There is something rejuvenating in the
        possession of Zen. The spring flowers look prettier, and the
        mountain stream runs cooler and more transparent. The subjective
        revolution that brings about this state of things cannot be
        called abnormal. When life becomes more enjoyable and its expense
        broadens to include the universe itself, there must be something
        in Satori that is quite precious and well worth one's striving

Bankei Yōtaku - Song of Original Mind

Song of Original Mind - by Bankei Yōtaku
translation Peter Haskel


Unborn and imperishable
Is the original mind
Earth, water, fire and wind
A temporary lodging for the night

Attached to this
Ephemeral burning house
You yourselves light the fire, kindle the flames
In which you're consumed

Keep your mind as it was
When you came into the world
And instantly this very self
Is a living "thus-come" one

Ideas of
What's good, what's bad
All due to
This self of yours

In winter, a bonfire
Spells delight
But when summertime arrives
What a nuisance it becomes!

And the breezes
You loved in summer
Even before the autumn's gone
Already have become a bother

Throwing your whole life away
Sacrificed to the thirst for gold
But when you saw your life was through
All your money was no use

Clinging, craving and the like
I don't have them on my mind
That's why nowadays I can say
The whole world is truly mine!

Since, after all this floating world
Is unreal
Instead of holding onto things in
Your mind, go and sing!

Only original mind exists
In the past and in the future too
Instead of holding onto things in
Your mind, let them go!

Having created
the demon mind yourself
When it torments you mercilessly
You're to blame and no one else

When you do wrong
our mind's the demon
There's no hell
To be found outside

Abominating hell
Longing for heaven
You make yourself suffer
In a joyful world

You think that good
Means hating what is bad
What's bad is
The hating mind itself

Fame, wealth, eating and
drinking, sleep and sensual delight —
Once you've leaned the Five Desires
They become
Your guide in life

Notions of what one should do
Never existed from the start
Fighting about what's right, what's wrong
That's the doing of the "I"

When your study
Of Buddhism is through
You find
You haven't anything new

If you think the mind
That attains enlightenment
Is "mine"
Your thoughts will wrestle, one with the other

These days I'm not bothering about
Getting enlightenment all the time
And the result is
I wake up in the morning feeling fine!

Praying for salvation in the world to come
Praying for your own selfish ends
Is only piling on more and more
Self-centeredness and arrogance

Die — then live
Day and night within the world
Once you've done this, then you can
Hold the world right in your hand!

If you search for the Pure Land
Bent upon your own reward
You'll only find yourself
By the Buddha after all!

People have no enemies
None at all right from the start
You create them all yourself
Fighting over right and wrong

Clear are the workings of cause
and effect
You become deluded, but
don't know
It's something that you've done yourself
That's what's called self-centeredness

Though the years may creep ahead
Mind itself can never age
This mind that's
Always just the same

Wonderful! Marvelous!
When you've searched
and found at last
The one who never will grow old
— "I alone!"

The Pure Land
Where one communes at peace
Is here and now, it's not remote
Millions and millions of leagues away

When someone tosses you a tea bowl
— Catch it!
Catch it nimbly with soft cotton
With the cotton of your skillful mind!