Saturday, February 1, 2014

Hafiz - When your soul Begins to awaken

What happens when your soul
Begins to awaken
Your eyes and your heart
And the cells of your body
To the great Journey of Love?

First there is wonderful laughter
And probably precious tears
And a hundred sweet promises
And those heroic vows no one can ever keep.

But still God is delighted and amused
You once tried to be a saint.

What happens when your soul
Begins to awaken
To our deep need to love
And serve the Friend?
O the Beloved will send you
One of His wonderful, wild companions -
Like Hafiz.

Only that Illumined One
Who keeps
Seducing the formless into form
Had the charm to win my heart.
Only a Perfect One
Who is always
Laughing at the word Two
Can make you know of love.

The Truth has opened so many mysteries
that I can no longer call myself
a Christian, Hindu, Muslim, or Jew.
I have learned
so much from God
that I can no longer call myself
a man, a woman, angel, or even a pure soul.
Love has befriended Hafiz so completely
It has freed me
from every concept and image
my mind has ever known.

* translated by Daniel Ladinsky

The Katha Upanishad - The Razor's Edge

Yama, Kalighat painting

The Razor's Edge

In the secret cave of the heart, two are
Seated by life's fountain. The separate ego
Drinks of the sweet and bitter stuff,
Liking the sweet, disliking the bitter,
While the supreme Self drinks sweet and bitter
Neither liking this nor disliking that.
The ego gropes in darkness, while the Self
Lives in light. So declare the illumined sages,
And the householders who worship
The sacred fire in the name of the Lord.

May we light the fire of Nachiketa
That burns out the ego, and enables us
To pass from fearful fragmentation
To fearless fullness in the changeless Whole.

Know the Self as lord of the chariot,
The body as the chariot itself,
The discriminating intellect as
The charioteer, and the mind as the reins.
The senses, say the wise, are the horses;
Selfish desires are the roads they travel.
When the Self is confused with the body,
Mind, and senses, they point out, he seems
To enjoy pleasure and suffer sorrow.

When a person lacks discrimination
And his mind is undisciplined, his senses
Run hither and thither like wild horses.
But they obey the rein like trained horses
When a person has discrimination
And the mind is one-pointed. Those who lack
Discrimination, with little control
Over their thoughts and far from pure,
Reach not the pure state of immortality
But wander from death to death; while those
Who have discrimination, with a still mind
And a pure heart, reach journey's end,
Never again to fall into the jaws of death.
With a discriminating intellect
As charioteer, a well-trained mind as reins,
They attain the supreme goal of life
To be united with the Lord of Love.

The senses derive from objects of sense-perception,
Sense-objects from mind, mind from intellect,
And intellect from ego; ego from undifferentiated
Consciousness, and consciousness from Brahman.
Brahman is the first Cause and last refuge.
Brahman, the hidden Self in everyone,
Does not shine forth. He is revealed only
To those who keep their minds one-pointed
On the Lord of Love and thus develop
A superconscious manner of knowing.
Meditation empowers them to go
Deeper and deeper into consciousness,
From the world of words to the world of thought,
Then beyond thoughts to wisdom in the Self.

Get up! Wake up! Seek the guidance of an
Illumined teacher and realize the Self.
Sharp like a razor's edge is the path,
The sages say, difficult to traverse.

The supreme Self is beyond name and form,
Beyond the senses, inexhaustible,
Without beginning, without end,
Beyond time, space, and causality, eternal,
Immutable. Those who realize the Self
Are forever free from the jaws of death.

The wise, who gain experiential knowledge
Of this timeless tale of Nachiketa
Narrated by Death, attain the glory
Of living in spiritual awareness.
Those who, full of devotion, recite this
Supreme mystery at a spiritual
Gathering, are fit for eternal life.
They are indeed fit for eternal life.

The Katha Upanishad, part 1, canto 3. The Katha begins with the story of Nachiketa, a daring teenager who goes to the King of Death, Yama, to get the secret of life. The rest of the Upanishad gives Yama's teaching. This translation is by Eknath Easwaran, adapted for meditation from the version in his Dialogue with Death: The Spiritual Psychology of the Katha Upanishad (Petaluma: Nilgiri Press, 1981)

Who is a Buddha?

"The Lotus Sutra explains that Buddhahood is already present in all life. It teaches absolute equality and emphasizes that even within the life of a person apparently dominated by evil, there exists the unpolished jewel of the Buddha nature. No one else gives it to us or judges whether we 'deserve' it."

Who is a Buddha?To many, the image conjured up by the word Buddha is of an otherwordly being, calmly remote from the matters of this world. Through meditation he has attained state of "nirvana" which will enable him to escape this world and its constant sufferings--the fruit of human delusion and desire.

However, this image does not reflect the truth about the life of Shakyamuni, the founder of Buddhism who lived in India around 2,500 years ago. He was a deeply compassionate man who rejected the extremes of both asceticism and attachment, who was constantly interacting with others and wanted all people to share the truth he had discovered.

The literal meaning of Buddha is "enlightened one." Enlightenment is a fully awakened state of vast wisdom through which reality in all its complexity can be fully understood and enjoyed. Any human being who is awakened to the fundamental truth about life can be called a Buddha.

However, many schools of Buddhism have taught that enlightenment is only accessible after an arduous process undertaken over unimaginably long periods of time--over many lifetimes, in fact. In dramatic contrast, what is considered Shakyamuni's ultimate teaching, the Lotus Sutra, explains that Buddhahood is already present in all life. It teaches absolute equality and emphasizes that even within the life of a person apparently dominated by evil, there exists the unpolished jewel of the Buddha nature. No one else gives it to us or judges whether we "deserve" it.

As with gold hidden in a dirty bag, or lotus flowers emerging from a muddy pond, we have first to believe our Buddha nature is there, then awaken and develop or "polish" it. In Nichiren Buddhism this can be done through devotion to the law contained in the Lotus Sutra and the chanting of the phrase "Nam-myoho-renge-kyo."

But Buddhahood is not a static condition or a state in which one can rest complacently. Rather, it is a dynamic experience and a journey of continual development and discovery.

When we continually reinforce the Buddhahood in our lives, we come to be ruled less and less by selfishness (or greed), anger and foolishness--what Buddhism terms the three poisons. As we fuse our lives with the enlightened life-state of the Buddha, we can tap the potential within us and change ourselves in a fundamental way.

As this inner state of Buddhahood is strengthened, we also develop a fortitude which enables us to ride even the wildest storms. If we are enlightened to the true, unchanging nature of life, we can joyfully surf the waves of difficulty which wash against us in life, creating something of value out of any situation. In this way our "true self" blossoms, and we find vast reserves of courage, compassion, wisdom and energy or life-force inside us. We find ourselves becoming more active and feeling deep inner freedom. And as we experience a growing sense of oneness with the universe, the isolation and alienation that cause so much suffering evaporate. We lessen our attachment to our smaller egotistical self, to difference, and become aware instead of the interconnectedness of all life. Gradually we find our lives opening up to those of others, desiring their happiness as much as our own.

However, while it is easy to believe that we all possess the lower life-states outlined in Buddhist teachings (hell, hunger, animality, anger and so on), believing that we possess Buddhahood is much more difficult. But the struggle to develop and constantly strengthen this state within our lives is well worthwhile.

For, in the words of SGI President Daisaku Ikeda, "[Buddhahood] is the joy of joys. Birth, old age, illness and death are no longer suffering, but part of the joy of living. The light of wisdom illuminates the entire universe, casting back the innate darkness of life. The life-space of the Buddha becomes united and fused with the universe. The self becomes the cosmos, and in a single instant the life-flow stretches out to encompass all that is past and all that is future. In each moment of the present, the eternal life-force of the cosmos pours forth as a gigantic fountain of energy."

[Courtesy July 1998 SGI Quarterly]

reblogged from

Friday, January 31, 2014

Chuang Tzu - Tao

To name Tao is to name no-thing.
Tao is not the name of (something created).
“Cause” and “chance” have no bearing on the Tao.
Tao is a name that indicates without defining.
Tao is beyond words and beyond things.
It is not expressed either in word or in silence.
Where there is no longer word or silence
Tao is apprehended.

Chuang Tzu (Thomas Merton, trans.)

Jiddu Krishnamurti - A true revolutionary

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Tilopa's Mahamudra

I bow to Vajra Dakini.
Mahamudra cannot be taught, Naropa,
But your devotion to your teacher and the hardships you’ve met
Have made you patient in suffering and also wise:
Take this to heart, my worthy student.
For instance, consider space: what depends on what?
Likewise, mahamudra: it doesn’t depend on anything.
Don’t control. Let go and rest naturally.
Let what binds you let go and freedom is not in doubt.
When you look into space, seeing stops.
Likewise, when mind looks at mind,
The flow of thinking stops and you come to the deepest awakening.
Mists rise from the earth and vanish into space.
They go nowhere, nor do they stay.
Likewise, though thoughts arise,
Whenever you see your mind, the clouds of thinking clear.
Space is beyond color or shape.
It doesn’t take on color, black or white: it doesn’t change.
Likewise, your mind, in essence, is beyond color or shape.
It does not change because you do good or evil.
The darkness of a thousand eons cannot dim
The brilliant radiance that is the essence of the sun.
Likewise, eons of samsara cannot dim
The sheer clarity that is the essence of your mind.
Although you say space is empty,
You can’t say that space is "like this".
Likewise, although mind is said to be sheer clarity,
There is nothing there: you can’t say "it’s like this".
Thus, the nature of mind is inherently like space:
It includes everything you experience.
Stop all physical activity: sit naturally at ease.
Do not talk or speak: let sound be empty, like an echo.
Do not think about anything: look at experience beyond thought.
Your body has no core, hollow like bamboo.
Your mind goes beyond thought, open like space.
Let go of control and rest right there.
Mind without projection is mahamudra.
Train and develop this and you will come to the deepest awakening.
You don’t see mahamudra’s sheer clarity
By means of classical texts or philosophical systems,
Whether of the mantras, paramitas,
Vinaya, sutras or other collections.
Ambition clouds sheer clarity and you don’t see it.
Thinking about precepts undermines the point of commitment.
Do not think about anything; let all ambition drop.
Let what arises settle by itself, like patterns in water.
No place, no focus, no missing the point —
Do not break this commitment: it is the light in the dark.
When you are free from ambition and don’t hold any position,
You will see all that the scriptures teach.
When you open to this, you are free from samsara’s prison.
When you settle in this, all evil and distortion burn up.
This is called "The Light of the Teaching".
The foolish are not interested in this.
The currents of samsara constantly carry them away.
Oh, how pitiable, the foolish — their struggles never end.
Don’t accept these struggles, long for freedom, and rely on a skilled teacher.
When his (her) energy enters your heart, your mind is freed.
What joy!
Samsaric ways are senseless: they are the seeds of suffering.
Conventional ways are pointless. Focus on what is sound and true.
Majestic outlook is beyond all fixation.
Majestic practice is no distraction.
Majestic behavior is no action or effort.
The fruition is there when you are free from hope and fear.
Beyond any frame of reference mind is naturally clear.
Where there is no path you begin the path of awakening.
Where there is nothing to work on you come to the deepest awakening.
Alas! Look carefully at this experience of the world.
Nothing lasts. It’s like a dream, like magic.
The dream, the magic, makes no sense.
Experience this grief and forget the affairs of the world.
Cut all ties of involvement with country or kin,
Practice alone in forest or mountain retreats.
Rest, not practicing anything.
When you come to nothing to come to, you come to mahamudra.
A tree spreads its branches and leaves.
Cut the root and ten thousand branches wither.
Likewise, cut the root of mind and the leaves of samsara wither.
Though darkness gathers for a thousand eons.
A single light dispels it all.
Likewise, one moment of sheer clarity
Dispels the ignorance, evil and confusion of a thousand eons.
What joy!
With the ways of the intellect you won’t see beyond intellect.
With the ways of action you won’t know non-action.
If you want to know what is beyond intellect and action,
Cut your mind at its root and rest in naked awareness.
Let the cloudy waters of thinking settle and clear.
Let appearances come and go on their own.
With nothing to change, the world you experience becomes mahamudra.
Because the basis of experience has no beginning, patterns and distortions fall away.
Rest in no beginning, with no self-interest or expectation.
Let what appears appear on its own and let conceptual ways subside.
The most majestic of outlooks is free of all reference.
The most majestic of practices is vast and deep without limit.
The most majestic of behaviors is open-minded and impartial.
The most majestic of fruitions is natural being, free of concern.
At first, practice is a river rushing through a gorge.
In the middle, it’s the river Ganges, smooth and flowing.
In the end, it’s where all rivers meet, mother and child.
When your mind is less acute and does not truly rest,
Work the essentials of energy and bring out the vitality of awareness.
Using gazes and techniques to take hold of mind
Train awareness until it does truly rest.
When you practice with a sexual partner, empty bliss awareness arises.
The balancing of method and wisdom transforms energy.
Let it descend gently, collect it, draw it back up,
Return it to its place, and let it saturate your body.
When you are free from longing and desire, empty bliss awareness arises.
You will have a long life, you will not gray, and you will shine like the moon.
You will radiate health and well-being and be as strong as a lion.
You will quickly attain the ordinary abilities and open to the supreme one.

May these pith instructions, the essentials of mahamudra,
Abide in the hearts of all worthy beings.

Mahamudra Instruction to Naropa in twenty Eight Verses was transmitted by the Great Guru and Mahasiddha Tilopa to the Kashmiri Pandit, Sage and Siddha, Naropa, near the banks of the River Ganga upon the completion of his Twelve Austerities. Naropa transmitted the teaching in Sanskrit in the form of twenty eight verses to the great Tibetan translator Mar pa Chos kyi blos gros, who made a free translation of it at his village of Pulahari on the Tibet - Bhutan border.
This text is contained in the collection of Mahamudra instruction called the Do ha mdzod brgyad ces bya ba Phyag rgya chen po'i man ngag gsal bar ston pa'i gzhung, which is printed at the Gyalwa Karmapa's monastery at Rumtek, Sikkim. The Tibetan title is Phyag rgya chen po'i man ngag, or Phyag rgya chen po rdo rje'i tsig rkang nyi shu rtsa brgyad pa.

This translation into English has been done by Kunzang Tenzin in 1977, after transmission of the oral teaching by Khamtrul Rinpoche in Tashi Jong, Kangra Valle

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Jami - Who is man?

All that exists in the created universe is illusion, fantasy, reflections in mirrors, or shadows.
But the Sun of Guidance has dawned in the shadow of "Other than God", 
so be not perplexed in the desert of error!
Who is man? The reflection of the Eternal Light. 
What is the world? A wave on the Everlasting Sea.
How could the reflection be cut off from the Light? 
How could the wave be separate from the Sea?
Know that this reflection and this wave are that very Light and Sea, 
for here duality is impossible, impossible.
Look at the travelers on the Path of Love, how each has a different spiritual state.
The one sees in each atom of the world a Sun radiant and imperishable,
Another directly witnesses in the mirror of existence the beauty of the hidden archetypes,
And a third sees each one in the other, without veiling or defect.

Adyashanti - Today I Awoke

Today I awoke, finally I see the Self has re-turned to the Self.
The Self is none other than the Self.
I am deathless. I am endless. I am free.
The birds outside sing...
The birds outside sing and there am I.
The seeing of leaves on the trees, that seeing am I.
The body breathes, breathing am I.
I am awake and I know that I am awake.
Seen from the old eyes, everything is asleep, a game, a delusion.
But now I am awake. I am the play. I am the game. I am the delusion.
I am the enlightenment I sought, looking everywhere.
Nothing is separate, nothing is alone.
I am all that I see. All that I smell, taste, touch, feel, think and know.
I am awake and this awakeness is the same as Shyakyamuni Buddha's.
Today the leaf has returned to the root.
I am all name and form and beyond all name and form.
I am Spirit, no longer trapped in a body.
I am free. I am free because I am awake.
So ordinary. Who would have thought ? Who could have guessed?
I am home. I am really home. Ten thousand life times.
Ten thousand life times but today I am home.
Ten thousand life times but today I am home.
This is not an experience. This is me.
I am awake. Finally, I am awake.
Nothing has changed, but I am awake.
Before I tasted the root many times and felt, how delicious.
Today I became the root. How ordinary.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Ryokan - Don't waste your precious time

The ancient Buddhas taught the Dharma 
Not for its own sake but to assist us. 
If we really knew ourselves 
We would not have to rely on old teachers. 
The wise go right to the core 
And leap beyond appearances; 
The foolish cleave to details 
And get ensnared by words and letters. 
Such people envy the accomplishments of others 
And work feverishly to attain the same things. 
Cling to truth and it becomes falsehood; 
Understand falsehood and it becomes truth. 
Truth and falsehood are two sides of a coin: 
Neither accept nor reject either one. 
Don't waste your precious time fruitlessly 
Trying to gauge the depths of life's ups and downs.
translated by John Stevens