Saturday, November 30, 2013

Miriam Louisa - words from my treasured teacher 1

I wanted to write, “words from my perfect master” – recalling the film by that title.  But Krishnamurti would have balked at the “master” moniker, and thrown out the notion of perfection as well.  Still, there’s no arguing that K was a hugely significant mindshifter for me, and that the years spent working at the schools he founded around the world were the highlight of my career as an educator in art and design.  They are also remembered as incomparably rich, in terms of inquiry into the mechanism of thought and the construct of the “self”, in the company of some of the most brilliant minds on the planet.
We have, if we are lucky, more than one great teacher as we dance along the days of our lives.  Krishnamurti was what Buddhists would call my “root” teacher; he meticulously prepared the ground for the understanding that would come later – the eye-popping brain-bending Knowing that would revisit his words, and smile.  Yes.  Just so.

August 4, 1961

Woke up very early in the morning; it was still dark but dawn would soon come; towards the east there was in the distance a pale light.  The sky was very clear and the shape of the mountains and hills were just visible.  It was very quiet.
Out of this vast silence suddenly, as one sat up in bed, when thought was quiet and far away, when there wasn’t even a whisper of feeling, there came that which was now the solid inexhaustible being.  It was solid, without weight, without measure; it was there and besides it, there existed nothing.  It was there without another.  The words solid, immovable, imperishable do not in any way convey that quality of timeless stability.  None of these or any other word could communicate that which was there.  It was totally itself and nothing else; it was the totality of all things, the essence.
The purity remained, leaving one without thought, without action.  It’s not possible to be one with it; it is not possible to be one with a swiftly flowing river.  You can never be one with that which has no form, no measure, no quality.  It is; that is all.

- Jiddu Krishnamurti 

Krishnamurti's notebook  PDF

Friday, November 29, 2013

Mundaka Upanishad - The one Self of all

Ten Mahavidyas and Ten Incarnations of Vishnu
Artist Dhirendra Jha

...rituals are unsafe rafts for crossing
the sea of samsara, of birth and death.
Doomed to shipwreck are those who try to cross
the sea of samsara on these poor rafts.
Ignorant of their ignorance, yet wise 
in their own esteem, these deluded ones
proud of their learning go round and round
like the blind led by the blind.

Living in darkness, immature, unaware
of any higher good or goal, they fall
again and again into the sea.

The eye cannot see it; mind cannot grasp it.
The deathless Self has neither caste nor race,
neither eyes nor ears nor hands nor feet.

As the web issues out of the spider
and is withdrawn, as plants sprout from the earth.
as hair grows from the body, even so,
the sages say, this universe springs from
the deathless Self, the source of life.

The deathless Self meditated upon 
Himself and projected the universe
As evolutionary energy.
From this energy developed life, mind,
the elements, and the world of karma,
which is enchained by cause and effect.

The lord of Love is the one Self of all.
He is detached work, spiritual wisdom,
and immortality.  Realize the Self
hidden in the heart, and cut asunder
the knot of ignorance here and now.

~ the Mundaka Upanishad
translated by Eknath Easwaran

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Rumi - If we love

If we love,
our hearts and souls
receive wings,
it blooms a summery happiness in us.

We are walking like
on a soft carpet of moss,
and it seems like
all doors are open.

From our smile,
we built bridges and
our heart is sleeping
under the open sky.

We are entirely without fear.
It rains dreams, and
on the trees are growing
more and more….


John Welwood - Open your heart to who you are

  "Forget about enlightenment.
Sit down wherever you are and listen to the wind that is singing in your veins.
Feel the love, the longing, and the fear in your bones.
Open your heart to who you are,
right now,
not who you would like to be.
Not the saint you’re striving to become.
But the being right here before you,
inside you, around you.
All of you is holy.
You’re already more and less than whatever you can know.
Breathe out, look in, let go."

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Pablo Neruda - Lucky man

"I have been a lucky man. To feel the intimacy of brothers is a marvelous thing in life. To feel the love of people whom we love is a fire that feeds our life. But to feel the affection that comes from those whom we do not know, from those unknown to us, who are watching over our sleep and solitude, over our dangers and our weaknesses – that is something still greater and more beautiful because it widens out the boundaries of our being, and unites all living things."


Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Sri Aurobindo - Nirvana

 All is abolished but the mute Alone.
The mind from thought released, the heart from grief,
Grow inexistent now beyond belief;
There is no I, no Nature, known-unknown.
The city, a shadow picture without tone,
Floats, quivers unreal; forms without relief
Flow, a cinema’s vacant shapes; like a reef
Foundering in shoreless gulfs the world is done.
Only the illimitable Permanent
Is here. A Peace stupendous, featureless, still.
Replaces all, – what once was I, in It
A silent unnamed emptiness content
Either to fade in the Unknowable
Or thrill with the luminous seas of the Infinite.

Rumi - Intoxicated

The town’s ruler, Mo’in al-Din Parvaneh, once said: “I love Mawlana Rumi, but his followers have terrible manners.” Word of this ultimate insult got back to Rumi and his circle. Mawlana, surrounded by his disciples, marched into the ruler’s court, and said: “Did you say of my followers that they have bad manners?”

The ruler, embarrassed before the saint, put his head down and confessed that he had indeed called them that. The followers rejoiced, for they expected Rumi to call out the ruler. Instead, Mawlana said: “Everything you say about them is true. They do have terrible manners. I took them on as my disciples on the path to God because they have terrible manners. If they already had beautiful manners, I myself would have become their disciple.

Rumi - The cure is in the pain

The Cure in the Pain

The grief you cry out from
draws you towards union.
Your pure sadness
that wants help
is the secret cup.
Listen to the moan of a dog
for its master.
That whining is the connection.
There are love dogs
no one knows the names of.
Give your life to be one of them.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Randall Friend - The Mandala is Only Sand

We had been discussing the Vedanta concept of Mithya.  Mithya is that which has no independent reality, that which is just appearance.  Mithya really is easy to understand.  

The wave is Mithya.  The wave forms, it rises up and goes on for a while.  It crashes to the shore and dissipates.  It has a clear beginning, a life of it's own, and a clear ending.  Wave can be discussed, pointed to, and even enjoyed (just ask a surfer).  Yet Wave is nothing but Ocean.  It is something ocean is doing, it is an expression of ocean.  Wave has no independent reality, no independent existence.  Although it began, went for a while, then ended, it really was nothing but Ocean, or water.  Wave is a form OF water.  Yet we talk of wave, wave has particular attributes by which we can identify it.  We can differentiate a wave from a grilled cheese sandwich.  Yet wave has no real independence or existence.

This is mithya.  It is the truth that these "things", although they are describable and undeniable, have no actual existence of their own.  We talk of birth and death - the wave was born and it dies.  But nothing new came into existence.  Ocean simply expressed in that particular, identifiable way for a while, then it stopped.  That's what is meant by mithya.  If you're a Buddhist, we might say - the mandala, although very intricate and beautiful, is really nothing but a pile of sand.

So birth might be said to be the new expression of something that actually DOES exist.  But we are fooled by it.  We give wave it's own existence.  We say it exists independently of ocean, as some "thing".  But was that ever true?  Do you see that, although that's really the way you think of "things" - that's the way you give reality and independence to the world, it really was never true?

No matter what we look at, the tree, the cloud, the bird, the thought - these "things" are expressions or "waves" OF something that exists.  They don't come into existence anew, as new "things", as independent, separate existences.  They are OF something - OF something that exists.

So what IS IT, that exists?  The tree is there, the cloud is there, the thought is there.  If we boil those things down, we find molecules, atoms, quarks, energy...  we always come down to something which is undefinable, something which IS, yet we can't put our finger on it.  We might call that Life or Intelligence or something like that - but it's pretty easy to recognize that whatever that "thing" is, it's ultimately just a pattern or expression of that "something", that IS-ness, that which exists, even though we can't ever define it.

Something exists - that "something" IS - and that IS-ness is appearing - right now.  There is a tree, a cloud, a  bird, a thought...  these are like the wave - coming and going.  But what IS can't come and go - only those patterns OF it.  What-IS remains while the wave comes and goes, the thought pops up and dissipates, the tree sprouts, lives for a while, then dies.  Those "things" are really just that Essence, that Which-IS- call it Life or Brahman or Intelligence.  

You know you exist.  You can't ever deny that you exist.  You are here.  You are aware.  You are present.  YOU are THAT existence, THAT IS-ness, that which IS.  Right now THAT is aware, THAT is what is knowing, what is manifesting in a million-trillion ways, aware of itself due to this mechanism we call Consciousness.  That IS-ness is aware of itself - yet it takes itself as some "thing" - the mind has this habit of applying "thingness" to these appearances and never realizes that they are not independent and separate.  So that IS-ness or Life is aware of this confusion - the identification is with the appearance - the identity is with the story of it all.

In reality, aren't you just that ultimate essence, that which IS, that which EXISTS?  When you boil down the wave, the tree, the cloud, the bird, the thought, the story of ME, can you ever really find a multitude of existences?

And isn't that existence, right now, what is really reading this?
 Randall's blog

Sunday, November 24, 2013

James Swartz - Commentary on Mandukya (part 5)

An ancient Sanskrit text on the nature of Reality
James Swartz © 1996

The question of what illumines the blissful, silent, peaceful Presence needs to be answered. How is this Self, which is routinely ignored in the waking, dream, and deep sleep states suddenly available for experience? It can’t be known through the senses, or through the mind in its normal thought and emotion-dominated state, so how is it known? Is there someone other than It illumining It or is It illumining Itself? What is the nature of the Self and how does it relate to the “me” I think I am? Meditation, all the little tricks, working with the breath and mind, simply creates an inner environment conducive to the exploration of the Self.

As mentioned, most seekers have an exaggerated and fantastic notion of enlightenment. Because their views are so unrealistic they’re not going to get it even when it’s staring them straight in the face. The best source of knowledge on the nature of the Self is scripture, particularly very old texts, the Mandukya and other Upanishads, for example. These sources, representing purified, factual, collective knowledge can be trusted because no specific ego is responsible for them. For example, the following verses from an Eighth Century text, Atma Bodh, by Shankaracharya, a reformulation of Upanishadic ideas written in the first person, presents the Self as pure knowledge.

“By negating conditionings [32] with the knowledge “I am not this” realize your identity as the Self as indicated in scripture.

"The three bodies [33] are perceived objects and as perishable as bubbles. Realize through pure discrimination I am not them.

"I am infinite non-dual pure Consciousness.

"Because I am other than the body I don’t suffer its changes. I am not born nor do I die. I have no sense organs so I am uninvolved in the world.

"Because I am other than the mind, I am free from sorrow, attachment, malice and fear. Scripture says I am pure, without thought and desire and so I am.

"I have no attributes. I live without breathing. I am eternal, formless and ever-free. I am the same in all, filling all things with being. I am infinite non-dual pure Consciousness."

The seventh of the Mandukya’s twelve mantras describes the Self like this: “It is neither conscious of the external or internal worlds (because from its standpoint there are no worlds), nor is it a mass of consciousness (because it is uniform throughout, like space).” This description is designed to negate the waker, dreamer, and sleeper.

The text continues: “It is not simple (as opposed to complex, made of parts) consciousness. Nor is it unconscious (inert, insentient). It cannot be seen by the senses, is incomprehensible to the mind, uninferable, unthinkable, and indescribable. [34] Its nature is pure consciousness, negating all phenomena, non-dual, blissful, and peaceful.”


While we can’t avoid it, using the language of experience to describe the Self or enlightenment can be potentially misleading. People customarily talk from the point of view of a subject looking out at an object. The objects, one’s experiences, are invariably the points of interest to them and others, not the subject, the one reporting them. If someone says they saw a blazing light without limit, the ‘blazing limitless light’ captures one’s attention and will be assumed to be the content of the experience. However, the Consciousness, referred to as “knowledge” in Vedantic literature, witnessing the light is the essential ingredient, and the light is nonessential because without Consciousness nothing is experienced. Were the light the Self, it would be conscious that it was being witnessed, but subtle objects of experience, like dreams and visions, are never conscious.

Seeing a light or lights is a common experience which should stimulate inquiry. What ‘light’ is illumining the light? Who saw the light? That ‘who’ is you, the Self, whose existence is in no way validated by a particular experience. In fact, without knowledge of what we’re seeking the meditator can easily become addicted, living from experience to experience, craving more and more, building a grotesque spiritual ego. Aside from an irrefutable proof that one is not who one thinks one is, which should pique curiosity about one’s real nature, the Mandukya’s three-state analysis might be profitably employed in meditation to discriminate the three egos and their states from the Self. After the detailed analysis of the three states, Gaudapada says that waking and dream are really dream states, because both the waker and the dreamer, who are merely egos experiencing thoughts and feelings as their primary realities, are Self ignorant, the only difference being that the physical body is active in the waking and not in the dream.

Still, thought and feeling is Consciousness in form, just like waves are the ocean. By tracing the thoughts to their source, the waker/dreamer entity, the thinker/feeler can be separated [35] from the Illuminator and negated. Occasionally in meditation, the mind empties sufficiently and the waker/dreamer becomes a sleeper. Extreme vigilance is required to allow the waker/dreamer to become the sleeper without losing contact with the basis of the discrimination, the limitless I. However, the experience of watching the sleeper allows the meditator to understand the sleeper as an object, not-self.

The following is an English translation of the Mandukya Upanishad.

(1) Om, the Word, is all this, [36] a clear explanation of which follows: all that is past, present, and future is Om. Whatever is before the past and after the future is Om.
(2) All this is the Limitless I. [37] This Self [38] is the limitless I.
(3) The first quarter (of the Self) is the waker whose field is the waking state, who is conscious of the external world of objects, who has seven limbs and nineteen mouths, and who enjoys the world’s gross objects.
(4) The second quarter is the dreamer whose field of experience is the dream state, who is conscious of the internal world of objects, who has seven limbs and nineteen mouths and who enjoys the subtle objects of the dream world.
(5) The third quarter is the sleeper in whom all experiences become undifferentiated into a mass of consciousness, and who is the gateway to the waking and dream states. In the deep sleep state the sleeper neither sees or desires subtle or gross objects.
(6) The sleeper is the Lord of all manifest existence. It is the knower of all, the inner controller, and the source of all. The sleep state is that from which all things originate and into which they all dissolve.
(7) The Self is known as “the forth” and is to be realized. It is neither conscious of the external or internal worlds, nor is it a mass of consciousness. It is not simple consciousness, nor is it unconscious. It cannot be seen by the senses, is unrelated to anything, incomprehensible to the mind, uninferable, unthinkable, and indescribable. It’s nature is pure consciousness, the negation of all phenomena, non-dual, blissful, and peaceful.
(8) Viewed as sounds the Self is A, U, M.
(9) The one who meditates on the waking state as “A,” the first and most pervasive, fulfills all desires and becomes a leader.
(10) The one who meditates on the dream state as “U” because it is between and superior, attains superior knowledge and is treated fairly by all. In his line of descendants everyone attains Self knowledge.
(11) The one who meditates on the sleep state as “M”, as the measure and that wherein all things become one, is able to realize the nature of things and beings and understand all things within himself.
(12) That which is partless, soundless, incomprehensible, beyond the senses, blissful, non-dual and that wherein all phenomena are resolved is the “fourth,” the Self. The one who knows It dissolves the self in It


32 The three egos and their states.
33 Refers to the gross, subtle, and causal bodies which correspond to the waking, dream, and deep sleep state.
34 All descriptions are not to be thought of as capturing the Self in words. The words might be profitably thought of as tracks leading toward the Self, down which the mind may travel. Or signs pointing in It’s direction.
35 The separation is not physical, but a discrimination of the mind.
36 All existence.
37 Om is the Limitless I
38 Atman, the Limitless I associated with the individual “soul.”.
39 Though all-pervasive, the Self, for the purposes of meditation, is assigned these three locations.
40 The Self.