Saturday, March 26, 2016

What is Sufism?

By Dr. Stewart Bitkoff
& David Paquoit

Traveler: When friends ask me what I study, and I try to explain, I find it hard to put into words, what is Sufism? Help me understand so I can give a clearer answer?

Master: One of the great teachers offered, ‘long before there was a name (Sufism) there was a reality. Now there is a name without a reality.’ What is meant by this is that there has always been a way to connect with and experience ultimate Truth; this spiritual path of learning existed long before travelers, in the late 1800’s, gave this way of learning its present name- Sufism. At the time, local ascetics wore a distinctive woolen (Soof) robe and became known for this. Now this name, or spiritual form, for many followers exists without a corresponding inner reality. Often today, what you see in the world represented as Sufism is an empty shell of its former self.

Fools gold exists because there is real gold.

This ancient Path of spiritual development is based upon connection with and experience of the Divine. It involves study with a teacher and the awakening, through direct contact with Truth of latent spiritual capacity; this is done so the traveler can help others. This Truth or universal essence, the spiritual traveler seeks and experiences, is the underlying energy or fabric of created forms.

If I had known of any science greater than Sufism
I would have gone to it, even on my hands and knees.

The Sufi’s task is to recognize the end at the Beginning.
He has gone beyond. He has rolled up the cosmos
In its turn and obliterated it.
He has reduced and then eliminated the marks
Of selfhood to allow a clear view of Cosmic Reality.

This Path, existed long before there were religions; this way of learning is at the heart of the great religions; it is the underlying spiritual energy that gives everything in the universe its form and substance. Inside each of us is an aspect of this wondrous element. Through preparation, practice developing our inner spiritual awareness, and Grace we unite with and serve Ultimate Reality every day.

For so long did the Beloved
Face my open heart
That except for His Attributes and Nature
Nothing remained of that heart.

My teacher called this Path – the Superhighway to God. For those who wish to connect with Truth and use their inner spiritual capacity to help others; this form of learning is available in every town and city.

Worshiping God is not done with
Rosary beads, prayer carpet, or robe.
Worshiping God is serving others.

Sufism is not something talked about or described in written words; it is a universal essence that is experienced and known through inner spiritual contact. Much like love; no matter how many words you use- the description is not the same as the actual experience. And like love which ebbs and flows, Sufism changes to fit the learner, time and place.

Sufism is a school of spiritual state, not discourse, and a Sufi is something to become, not something to merely read about. Since spiritual states cannot be expressed in words, Sufi sheikhs have declared, “Whatever can be expressed in words isn’t Sufism.” As Rumi has stated, “When I came to love, I was ashamed of all I have ever said about love.”

Whatever great Sufis have said in explanation of Sufism was the result of and appropriate to their particular situation and states. Such explanation, therefore do not constitute general definitions of Sufism. Rather they refer to some of its characteristics.
Javad Nurbakhsh

Traveler: This helps a little. Sufism is difficult to put into words because it is a spiritual experience and changes with each person. Yet, I have been in love and know there are different forms of love with many peaks and valleys that are impossible to describe; and no matter how pretty a poem or love song, I know it is not the experience of love itself.

Master: Remember, everyone is a spiritual traveler and in their long journey through this universe, experiences many wondrous things. Countless experiences go beyond words and cannot be written down- changing with each moment and person. This dimension is one of the elements that make life multi-level and beautiful. If this is too difficult for those who ask about us to grasp, ask them to define love or even life itself. As they ponder all the possibilities, then, they will begin to understand.

Although Sufis live outwardly among people, inwardly they are constantly occupied with God. Their bodies and mind exist with others, whereas their hearts are far from them. Externally, they are congenial with everyone. Inwardly, however, they themselves are strangers to all. They are at peace with all people, yet within them selves tranquility is to be found only in Divine Love. Though they live among people they are truly alone.
Javad Nurbakhsh

source text: the non dual frame


Thursday, March 24, 2016

Bĥaratī Tīrtha - An Inquiry Into The Nature of the Seer and the Seen

Belur, Karnataka – photo by Vikram Zutshi
Belur, Karnataka – photo by Vikram Zutshi

 An Inquiry Into The Nature of the Seer and the Seen,
the Way of Inquiry and the Nature of Truth

Attributed to Bâratī Tīrtha (ca. 1350 ce)

Translation by Richard Miller, PhD

Editor’s note:

The Dŗg-Dŗśya-Viveka contains 46 slokas performing an inquiry into the distinction between the “seer” (Dŗg) and the “seen” (Dŗśya),an overview of samadhi, centering on savikalpa and nirvikalpa, and the identity of Atman and Brahman. Although also attributed to Shankara, the text is most commonly attributed to Bĥaratī Tīrtha (ca. 1350 ce.)

1. All objects are perceived by the senses. The senses are, in turn, perceived by the mind. The mind, in turn, is a movement that unfolds in Awareness. Awareness is not perceived by any other structure. It is its own perceiving.

2. The objects perceived by the senses appear to be constantly changing, while the senses, which perceive them, appear to be stable and unchanging.

3. On close inspection, however, the senses are realized to be constantly changing, while the mind, which perceives these changes, appears to be stable and unchanging.

4. Upon close inspection, however, the mind is seen to be constantly changing. The constantly changing mind can be seen due to the unchanging nature of Awareness.

5. Awareness is unchanging and ever-present, while all changing phenomena arise within unchanging awareness.

6. The sense of ‘I’, which arises within the mind, takes itself to be conscious.

7. The sense of ‘I’ appears to be conscious because it has identified itself with Awareness, within which it arises.

8. The sense of ‘I’ identifies itself with Awareness, as a result of three factors: 1) the movement of the mind within Awareness; 2) the movement of thought within the mind; and 3) ignorance of Awareness as the underlying essence.

9. The misperception of the sense of ‘I’ as conscious ceases upon the realization of the existence of Awareness.

10. During waking and sleeping, the I-thought believes in the notion of being a separate self. But during deep sleep, the belief in being a separate self disappears.

11. The I-thought is but a modification that arises within the mind. The mind, identified with its own movement of I-ness, imagines an externalized world because of its association with the sensory organs, which, like the mind, are but modifications that arise within Awareness.

12. “Who am I”, “What am I”, “Where am I”, “When am I”, “How am I”, “How is this world created”, and “Who is its creator?” This is the way of inquiry as to what is the ultimate truth.

13. “I have a body but I am more than this body”, “The body is comprised of the five elements but I am more than these five elements”, “I have these five senses and mind, but I am more than these five senses and mind.” This is the way of inquiry as to what is the ultimate truth.

14. The misperception of separation dissolves when, through inquiry, separation is discovered to be only the product of the mind’s identification with its own thoughts, especially the thought ‘I’.

15. Identification with the belief of separation gives rise to limited understanding. Limited understanding creates a veil wherein the mind splits unitive Awareness into two: an internal perceiver that believes itself to be separate, and a perceived separate external world.

16. The mind splits unitive Awareness into perceiver and perceived. The perceiver, which is only a thought, then identifies with the belief that it is an empirical self, separate from a perceived external world, which again, is only a projection of the mind.

17. Misperception arises when the mind identifies with its own movement of thought and projects the belief that it is a separate self. The mind believes itself to be a perceiver who is separate from what it perceives. When the mind awakens to this misperception, the belief in being a separate self disappears. What was all along non-existent is re-cognized to be non-existent.

18. Awareness is conceptually divided by the mind into perceiver and perceived, subject and object. The division of subject and object is misperceived by the mind to be real.

19. When essential nature, Awareness, is realized, all division is understood to be only the product of the mind as thought.

20. Every object is composed of five elements. These elements appear to exist as separate phenomenal aspects, but in reality are not separate from their homeground, which is Awareness. The first three – space, air and fire – resemble Awareness, while the latter two – water and earth – appear more solid.

21. The five elements make things appear as separate and different. Yet everything – earth, water, fire, air and space – which come together to form everything animate and inanimate – nature, animals, humans and even the Gods – arise in and are not separate from Awareness.

22. Name and form are merely concepts, thoughts. But, they can serve as pointers back to Awareness in which they arise. When Awareness re-cognized and awakens to Itself, there is uninterrupted abiding as Awareness even as name and form continue to arise.

23. There are two types of concentration, which may be practiced in order to realize the ultimate truth of nondual Awareness: 1) object-centered concentration; and 2) objectless concentration. The former may be divided into two types: 1) concentration that is associated with thought, and 2) concentration associated with sound.

24. All movements that arise in the mind are to be treated as objects.

25. “I am Being-Awareness-Bliss, unattached, self-luminous and free of separation.” This understanding is known as inquiry in which ideas are present (sâvikalpa samâdhi).

Inquiry in which the mind is free of distractions and attachment to objects of the senses and mind is known as freedom from thoughts ( nirvikalapa samâdhi). A mind that is free of thoughts is steady like the unflickering flame of a lamp that resides in a place free from the wind. Here, there is indifference to all changing objects on account of the complete absorption in the Being-Awareness-Bliss that accompanies Awareness awakening to Itself.

 27. All objects, whether perceived as external or internal, arise in unconditioned Awareness. All objects are pointers to Awareness, which is revealed when the mind’s fascination with objects is relinquished.

28. True nature is unconditioned, unchanging and unlimited by space, time, name or form. Uninterrupted inquiry upon Awareness, in which every object arises, reveals the unconditioned, unchanging and unlimited nature of Awareness.

29. The mind remains undistracted by arising objects when the unconditioned, unchanging, and unlimited nature of Awareness is recognized. Then one awakens to the pure being, bliss, and equanimity of Awareness. When absorption in Awareness is steady and uninterrupted for a long time (nirvikalpa samâdhi), establishment in non-separate Awareness is close at hand. Inquire through the six stages of absorption (samâdhi), which give rise to awakening to the truth of non-separate Awareness.

30. All external and internal objects are changing: world, body, senses and mind. All changing objects appear and disappear in unchanging Awareness. When the understanding of essential nature as unchanging Awareness arises, identification with changing objects ceases. Through meditative inquiry all objects are realized to be expressions of, and therefore not separate from, unchanging Awareness. Constant abiding in this realization of the truth of Oneness reveals that everything is only an expression of unchanging Awareness.

31. Constant abiding as Awareness dissolves all misperceptions. Then, the heart opens, all doubts are resolved, suffering ceases and there is liberation from the notion of being a separate self.

32. “What is the nature of the separate self?” When Awareness is realized to be all that there is – that Awareness is ultimate Reality – the separate self is realized to be only a mental concept. The individual sense of self only appears to be separate and limited because of the way the mind categorizes and conceptualizes perceptions. This misperception of the I-self as a separate and limited individual occurs both in the waking and dream state.

33. The belief of separation, which engenders the notions of confusion, imperfection and limitation, is based on the mental misperception of the mind, which takes itself to be a separate self. But Awareness is ever free of division. It is always whole and undivided, being devoid of parts or separation. Ultimate reality is omnipresent, unlimited, complete, timeless and all pervasive under all circumstances and at all times.

The notion of separation and limitation are merely thoughts produced by the mind that arise in Awareness. The notion of being a separate, limited and finite self arises as a mental-emotional perception because of the mind’s projection of, and identification with the felt-sense of limitation. When the projections of the mind are traced back to their origin, the notion of separation is healed, misperception ceases, and separation dissolves as the unreal notion that it is.

34. Awareness is whole and without parts. Statements such as “Thou are That”, “That thou art”, “I am pure Awareness”, “This Self is pure Awareness”, “Pure Awareness is what everything is”, Pure Awareness is unknowable”, and “I am That unknowable”, reflect the truth of nondual Awareness. The notion of being separate, finite and limited is not found in either the descriptions or realization of essential nature.

35. The illusion of separation, which is brought about by the two aspects of projection and concealment, arise within and are not separate from Awareness. The experience of separation appears to divide and limit the indivisible and unlimited nature of Awareness and makes it appear as the world of separate objects and embodied separate I-selves.

36. The mind fallaciously appears to perform various actions as well as enjoys their results in the erroneous form of a separate individual. The mind divides what is not-two into a universe of separate objects of enjoyment, which consist of various combinations of the five elements.

37. The sense of being a separate I-self who experiences a separate universe has existed since the beginning of time. Time is a creation of the dividing mind that splits what is timeless into the notion of past, present and future. The notion of being a separate self who is aware of a separate universe has only empirical existence, is only conceptual and remains true only until awakening as Awareness. Both self and world are not separate from Awareness and are cognized to be real only as long as the mind projects, identifies with, and believes in the notion of separation.

38. As long as the belief in separation exists, the notion of causality exists. The mind projects the existence of the individual in the waking state and then imagines it afresh in the sleep and dream states.

39. The individual and world that are cognized in the dream state are illusory. When dreaming ends the dream self and all dream objects are realized to be merely products of the dreaming mind.

40. While the dream self believes that the dream world is real, the waking self believes that the dream world is unreal and the waking world is real. But both these selves are only passing projections of the mind, ephemeral concepts that come and go in Awareness, which is the underlying reality, devoid of separate selves.

41. The self believes that the world is real. But this empirical world is unreal, as it disappears during deep sleep. The three worlds of waking, dreaming and dreamless sleep are ephemeral appearances. The real Self, Awareness, underlies, and therefore transcends the three states of waking, dreaming and deep sleep.

42. When Awareness is realized to be the underling Reality behind all states, the world of objects are realized to be merely reflections of Awareness.

43-44. The qualities of water such as wetness, fluidity, coldness, sweetness, wave and foam are inherent in water and are not separate from water except as conceptual names and forms. So also Being, Consciousness, Peace and Bliss, which are the natural characteristics of Awareness, appear to be inherent in the so-called separate selves that reside in the waking and dream states.

From the relative standpoint wetness, foam, waves, fluidity, coldness and sweetness appear as separate qualities of water; so, too, do I-selves and objects appear to be separate qualities of Awareness. From the standpoint of Awareness there are no waking or dream selves that are separate from Awareness. The characteristics of a separate self and a separate world are merely superimpositions upon undifferentiated Awareness.

45. All differences like, wetness, foam, wave, coldness, fluidity and sweetness are non-separate characteristics of the underlying essence of water. The characteristics of water have no existence separate from the water from which they arise. All these characteristics appear and disappear in water. All characteristics of water are only aspects of their essential nature, water.

46. Upon waking up from the dream state, all characteristics of the dreamer, such as existence and consciousness, dissolve and are realized to be only projections of the dreaming mind. Just so, upon awakening, all separate characteristics of the self dissolve, and are realized to be only projections of nondual Awareness. As foam and wave have no existence separate from water, so also the entire universe consisting of the separate self and the objective world have no existence separate from nondual Awareness. In truth, all that exists is nondual Awareness.

Dr. Richard C. Miller

source text:

Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Jami - Soul of your soul

the Beauty of your countenance no palaces can contain
but this ruin of a heart
You have blessed with your Love.

do not deny me the Glory of your face
because of my earthly existence
I have become the veil between us
be generous Love, do away with this veil

this mind is nothing but rust on the mirror of my heart
be generous o Saqhi
let the Wine You bestow
do away with this rust

the Beloved is the Soul of your soul, Jami
no need to traverse the world in search
the Source is within, no need to step outside of your Self.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016


May your attention
dwell on itself.
May your awareness
dwell on itself
May your energy
dwell on itself.

Thus, may the river of silence
flow steadily and powerfully
through your open heart and
your open hands.

And should the need arise,
may the appropriate action
also arise spontaneously.

May Grace prevail.


source :


Monday, March 21, 2016

Karl Renz - What can I decide?

Question: Can I decide to be aware?
Karl: It’s not a decision. It’s simply an awakening, just like that which happens each morning in your bed. You cannot decide whether you wake or not. In the moment of awakening, it’s decided, spontaneously, naturally, without thought. You know it well: first … deep sleep, then … bang, into awareness! This is exactly how the entirety of existence comes about. Before it there is neither the idea, nor the desire, to wake. It simply happens, and from this awakening comes the big bang. It’s nobody’s decision. Nothing has ever been decided.
Q: Doesn’t the ‘I’ decide where and when to direct its attention?
K: This too is not decided. If anything, it is grace. If awareness becomes aware of itself it’s not because of an ‘I’ which decides to pay a bit more attention. You can sit there for a thousand years deciding for awareness and nothing will happen. Perhaps you’ve done this already.
Q: I hope so.
K: Or maybe it’s ahead of you. In either case it’s not in your hands. Nothing depends on you, on this ‘I’, which thinks it’s decisive. Every idea is spontaneous. Every apparent decision comes out of nothing, out of the blue: out of the blue into the great beyond. It has no direction. There’s nothing that has a direction.
Q: This sounds hopeless.
K: It’s neither hopeless nor does it create hope. Either state would mean that one could exist, who needs, or could have hope. There is only a hopeless one and a hopeful one as long as you believe in this idea. Only then do these questions come up. The root is the idea that you exist as an ‘I’. You need to get to the stillness, in which all these ideas have disappeared.
Q: Yes, that’s what I want. I’ve made my decision.
K: Did you ever contribute anything to anything?
Q: I think I did.
K: Simply see that it always happened on its own. It operated on its own and didn’t need your decision. The fear, that without your decision it would cease to happen, is just an idea.
Q: What about the fear that if I make the wrong decision, I will cease to exist?
K: That’s the fear of death. It comes when you see that your free will does not exist and you cannot control anything. Then the ‘I’ defends itself, because it thinks it has something to lose: not just its power to decide, but its very life. Of course this fear will be there. The desire for a rôle in life struggles to survive. The ball keeps rolling, afraid to stop. It rolls without control, but it’s still afraid. After all, it mightn’t be a ball, any more, if the rolling ended.
Q: Am I still there when the rolling ends?
K: When the rôle is played to the end, the ‘I’ ends. The ‘I’ is put together from a personal history of doing things. The idea that this history could end, awakens fear.
Q: So what happens when history stops?
K: It continues just as before, but without your idea of doing something: without any notion of desire, will, control, freedom, or the possibility of making decisions: without any thought of a personal history.
Q: It continues without the person, me?
K: Yes, just like now. Is there a history now? Look at what is really happening. Just see. Does anything actually change as a result of your decision? Do you make a decision at all? Can you ever grab a desire and change it? Has there ever been anything you could control?
Q: I want to lift my hand. There, you see, I lift my hand.
K: A nerve is stimulated, the hand rises, and immediately the ‘I’ comes rushing in and claims: “I have decided this!” Look carefully at your thoughts: the ‘I’ always comes afterwards. Every action occurs on its own; every idea appears on its own; every thought. But then there is a super-idea called ‘I’ which reinterprets every event as part of its own history. That’s all. Nothing more. A thought by the name of ‘I’ leaps in a moment later, claiming the action as its own and commenting: “MY will, MY mistake, MY body, MY life, MY death.”
Q: Perhaps I begin to understand.
K: YOU understand? Then watch YOUR understanding! See when it occurs: this “YOUR”!
Q: Do you mean that my decision is not my decision and my desire is not my desire?
K: Simply be aware. See where the desire comes from. Can you desire to desire? Or does desire emerge from itself, as energy unfolding, like a flower that blooms, without reason or meaning? Desire comes and goes by itself.
Q: At least, when it’s fulfilled, it goes.
K: Not through fulfilment. The primordial desire, that lies behind all others, is the desire for self-realisation. And this desire will never be fulfilled.
Q: So should I forget about this desire too?
K: There is no hope that you ever can know your-Self. The desire for self-realisation only appears, after all other desires have come and gone, without giving you anything. It is then, the desire for self-realisation arises, because only then can you accept the idea that your happiness and peace depend on finding the Self.
Q: Is that wrong?
K: There is simply nothing to find: nothing to realise. The desire for self-realisation appears, and has to disappear, in giving up all searching. When searching ceases, this desire ends.
Q: So, I only have to stop searching?
K: Sure, if that’s all. But you cannot decide to do it, or not. And what is so beautiful is that you do not have to decide. The searching (i.e. the desiring), cannot disappear through a desire. The last desire can only disappear if desirelessness becomes aware of itself. It seems that you desire and want and decide: that you control your own progress and work like Hell , but then: ‘pfft’ or bang! Through some kind of accident, all this is gone.
Q: And then, am I no more?
K: Yes. It’s almost a pity, because you had built up such an interesting relationship with yourself