A painting and a photograph, by Gloria Lee
I'd like to hear from those of you who are raising
teenagers....or have raised teenagers....*inside* a nondual
I am facing a conflict presently concerning expectations I
am holding as a parent, and how that appears to conflict
with the nondual perspective.
I am facing just how many expectations I hold for my boy,
and the suffering that results for both of us if/when he
does not meet those expectations.
I'm considering letting go of any 'desire for the future',
and not even set any performance expectations, but can't
seem to get beyond the feeling that to do so would be to
I'm wondering, since he seems to be 'in reaction to' my
expectations.....if I could simply drop them all.....and
leave it to him to set his course, if he wouldn't feel
'free' to fail or succeed....whatever he chooses.
Letting go of expectations, as a parent, seems like it might
be the solution to the 'divisiveness' between my child and
I, but I can't seem to give myself permission to.
It seems I can apply nondual priniples anywhere else except
when it comes to my own child. Is there a middle road?
(responses will appear in tomorrow's 'Highlights'!)
Beautiful note received through Paula Walker:
A message to pass on...
We heard recently from someone who returned from India. Her
group met With the Dalai Lama for several days. The
meetings focused on dialoguing what they believed were the 5
most important questions to be considered moving Into the
new millennium. The group were asked to come up with five
questions before meeting with the Dalai Lama.
1. How do we address the widening gap between rich and
2. How do we protect the earth * How do we educate our
3. How do we help Tibet and other oppressed
4. How do we bring spirituality - deep caring for each
other - through all disciplines?
The Dalai Lama said all the questions fall under the last
one. If we have true compassion, our children will be
educated, we will care for the earth, and for those who
He asked the group: Do you think loving on the planet is
increasing or staying the same?
His own response was, "My experience leads me to believe
that love IS increasing."
He shared a practice with the group that will increase
loving and compassion in the world, and asked everyone
attending to go home and share it with as many people as
1. Spend 5 minutes at the beginning of each day remembering
we all want the same thing (to be happy and loved) and we
are all connected.
2. Spend 5 minutes cherishing yourself and others. Let go
Breathe in cherishing yourself, and breathe out cherishing
others. If the faces of people you are having difficulty
with appear, cherish them as well.
3. During the day extend that attitude to everyone you meet
- we are all the same, and I cherish myself and you [do it
with the grocery store clerk, the client, your family,
4. Stay in the practice, no matter what happens.
I will share a short question and answer excerpt from
Hui-Hua 8th Century Chan master. I am putting this in
because if someone is not familiar with nonabiding, it is
possible to get confused by this discussion, namely me :o)
Monk: What should the mind dwell upon?
Hui-Hua: It should dwell upon not dwelling.
M: What is nondwelling?
H: It means not allowing the mind to dwell on anything
M: What does that mean?
H: Dwelling upon nothing means that the mind does not remain
with good or evil, being or nonbeing, inside or outside,
emptiness or nonemptiness, concentration, or distraction.
This dwelling upon nothing is the state in which it should
dwell; those who attain it are said to have nondwelling
minds-in other words they have Buddha minds.
M: When the mind reaches the state of not dwelling upon
anything, and continues in that state, won't there be some
attachment to its not dwelling upon anything?
H: If you are fully aware of a nondwelling mind-a mind that
remains in the state of nondwelling. If you are fully aware
of a nondwelling mind in yourself, you will just discover
that there is the fact of dwelling, with nothing to dwell
upon or not dwell upon. This full awareness in yourself of
a mind that dwells upon nothing is known as having a clear
perception of your own mind or your own true nature. A mind
that dwells upon nothing is the Buddha mind, enlightenment
mind, uncreated mind. It is what the sutras call "patient
realization of the uncreated."
When you finally understand, your mind will be free from
both delusion and reality. A mind that is truly free has
reached the state in which opposites are seen as empty.
This is the only freedom.
What I find attractive about Hui-Hua is that he is helpful.
He explains what he means clearly and simply without being
obtuse. He is not for everyone, but I am moved by his
kindness. It is easy for me to get caught up in someone
else's mental machinations, and make all sorts of
assumptions about where I think they are coming from, and
find out that I am completely wrong.
This is for everyone's reading, consideration, and hopefully
enjoyment. My comments were about me and no one else...
All seeing, witnessing is in the present moment.
Anything else is just thought.
For instance, you see that you have a feeling of confusion,
that you have questions (doesn't matter what they are
about), that you are trying/struggling with yourself, or
whatever arises in the moment Just be with this 'whatever'
without doing anything about the thought or feeling. It may
take a slowing down to just be present with the occurences.
(I use noticing my breath to slow and be present.)
Some people will tell you it takes years of sadhana, but why
wait simply to be aware that you are the silent awareness
within which everything takes place.
Awareness itself is effortless.
Many interpreters of Nagarjuna mistake his verses about
existence to mean that there is a transcendent Reality
behind samsara. Other interpreters mistake the verses about
non-existence to mean that nothing exists in any way
Thanks for summing up the key teaching of Nagarjuna and the
Buddha in a couple of sentences. This is exactly what makes
the Middle Way so difficult to grasp. It's not a Way that
can be followed, it's not a something that can be
understood. Essentialism and nihilism aren't simply
philosophical positions that occur over and over in various
ways, they are emotional tendencies that effect everyone's
lives. For me, the important thing is to notice these
emotional tendencies that might be termed "search" and
"escape" or "desire" and "fear".
Yes, good point about the emotions. The two extremes of
essentialism (inherent existence of things) and nihilism
(inherent non-existence) very well might be linked to
extreme differences in temperament (maybe in the same person
at different times), and tend to show up in other areas of
life as well. On one side there is an urgent grasping,
clinging to something positive that will save us, grasping
out of fear. On the other side there is rejection,
depression, bitterness, perhaps out of anger. And whichever
way the emotions manifest themselves in a particular person,
both extremes are linked to the belief that for things to
exist, they must exist inherently. They do appear to exist
this way. Then the Middle Way Buddhist teaching comes in to
show that things don't exist in the way they appear. (The
way they are said to exist in Middle Way teachings is
conventionally, where each thing depends on a network of
everything else, like Indra's Net of Jewels.) This includes
"I" and "other."
An additional challenge of Buddhism is its assertion of
compassion. How can "compassion"
(or love in Christianity) be asserted if there is no
This certainly is a challenge. Nagarjuna's teaching is that
compassion would be impossible *with* essentialism.
Suffering can only be eradicated if it is *not* inherently
existent. Same with relief from suffering. To not be
inherently existent means that suffering and relief from
suffering are dependent on conditions. The Buddhist
teachings are there to be part of the conditioned network
for the relief of suffering. The compassionate desire to
help other beings need not be based on the belief that there
are really inherently existent beings out there, or that
there's a real "I"
helping them. In Madhyamika, everything is seen as empty of
inherent existence, including beings, suffering, the 4 Noble
Truths, samsara, nirvana, even emptiness.
I note that my 'experience' with Buddhism prior to my
immersion in the culture, was that Buddhism was 'exotic',
IE, rare and special. That is how it seemed prior to my
immersion. It gradually dawned on me that like
Christianity, Buddhism has two distinct faces, the
exoteric/outer face and the esoteric/inner face.
The outer face of Buddhism is seen as the temples, public
rituals, and formal behaviours of the adherents. On this
outer level, there is great resistance to going deep into
oneself. This pervasive attitude has gained momentum,
creating the opportunity for Buddhists to escape deep
contact with themselves, and to interpret the Buddhist
scriptures superficially, exactly as has happened with
The inner face of Buddhism seems to be preserved mainly in
Vajrayana (Tibetan Buddhism). The inner approach has always
been the essence of Vajrayana, and it remains so. Vajrayana
is mainly free of the doctrinal squabbles which create the
loopholes which become the 'refuge' of recalcitrant
Here is an unusual resource for those who wish to challenge
the exoteric/outer face of Buddhism:
This site is unusually rich in significant links.
My personal recommendation for those wanting 'direct
contact' with the essential kernal of Buddhism via the form
of a book:
_Magic Dance_ (The Display of the Self-Nature of the Five
By Thinley Norbu
Jewel Publishing/ISBN 0-9607000-0-5
"In the beginning was the Word, And the Word was with God,
And the Word was God."
- Holy Bible, John 1:1
"Inthebeginning" was the word (and still is).
The only difference 'being' is in one's distinction of
'self-righteousness' and 'righteousness' its self.
I look at the Bible and specifically the beginning of
Genesis as a description of the dual mind unfolding. First
nothing, void, Advaita then, the 'word' (In the beginning)
which is the unfolding of a story that is the
'consciousness' anchored in the void as the 'orginal'
>From there, and this is personal interpretation, God did
'not' create anything...rather he separated void 'from'
matter, light 'from' dark, heavens 'from' earth...
.. as soon as we make the distinction of 'beginning' is
means middle and end. This is why we must anchor in 'this'
moment as all there is and can be, nothing is moving but the
dual mind making distinctions between this 'and' that then;
as a way of 'purification' and/or 'emancipation' it then
separates this 'from' that, developing a 'Way'.
All that has happened is gone as 'if' it were void.
Consider this. All that will come, will come due to
distinction and separating this 'from' that. Consider
this. All that is, is this single point of creation that,
if we look back, is the 'same' void that is mentioned in the
beginning of Genesis. If we look forward what is, is the
'word' of (in the beginning).
If we are here/now centered (which is all we can be)
we are the void 'with' pure and absolute potentiality of
'beginning' in any direction.
Thus from 'this' point/moment where the void and the
beginning stand back to back looking away from each other,
here/now, you are being/becoming and the 'path' or the 'way'
is directly under your feet.
Righteousness is ancored in 'void' thus you gain freedom of
mobility. Self-righteousness is ancored in 'self' thus you
are 'restricted' by your distintion from the point of 'in
It is not a question of an enlightened mind. You are aware
that you exist therefore you are enlightened. It is a
matter of 'deeping' that awareness and seeking the path that
liberates one from suffering.
The path that liberates one from suffering is a path of
'distinctions' from 'in the beginning'... however, the
difference being is whether your righteous action is
centered in the void or centered in the self.
If it is centered in the void then: Good destroys evil.
Evil destroys evil. Neither good nor evil destroy good.
The 'void' is that good. Thus, non-harm is the only
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