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Thursday, February 27, 2003

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  • Gloria Lee
    ================================================ Issue #1362 - Thursday, February 27, 2003 - Editor: Gloria ================================================
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 1, 2003
      Issue #1362 - Thursday, February 27, 2003 - Editor: Gloria
      Dear Amigo readers,

      It's almost spring and Amigo 5 hopes to serve you a fresh tasty edition,
      with as main course: Teachers and teaching.

      On the menu this time,
      interviews with Wayne Liquorman, Jan van Delden,
      Jan Kersschot and Hans Laurentius.
      Peter Vos tells about his years with John Levy.
      Articles chosen from the work of Alexander Smit and Tony Parsons.
      Wolter Keers tells about his own discipleship, meeting Ramana Maharshi.
      And lots of other tasty morsels.
      You can find Amigo 5 via:  http://www.ods.nl/am1gos
      In closing an invitation to wonderment.
      'I went searching with only one idea:
      the most satisfactory answer will never be able to compete
      with the most fascinating question.'
      {Wim Kayzer]
      The Amigo Editors
      Mazie Lane on HarshaSatsangh

      "In December of that year Tassahara was bought by Zen Center. Because
      I was already a Zen student and had more than two months of
      experience cooking, I was offered the postion of head cook for the
      new center. I made it up as I went along, and everybody knew that the
      kitchen proceedures were not very well worked out. But I took refuge
      in what I was doing: "When you wash the rice, wash the rice; when you
      stir the soup, stir the soup...."

      I realized pretty early on what every cook realizes: The food more or
      less takes care of itself; the people are what's hard. They don't do
      what you want. they don't behave the way you would like them to. They
      don't treat you the way you want to be treated. They point out your
      faults...over and over again. They won't put up with you and the
      repertoire of coping behaviors you've worked out. They don't applaud
      your every move. (For goodness sake, they aren't Mom and Dad.) They
      don't read your mind. Good grief, you have to talk with them.

      The women with whom I worked were especially likely to object to my
      style of management:

      "Why are you talking to me like that?"

      "Like what?"

      "Like you were angry with me about something. What have I done?"

      "Look, I'm under a lot of pressure, okay? Can we just concentrate on
      getting the work done and not analyze every word?"

      People sometimes came late to work, took long breaks, and often when
      I watched them working, didn't seem to be very present in their
      activity. I couldn't tell what they were doing, but the rice would
      take a long time to get washed. Finally, one day I complained to
      Suzuki Roshi. I told him all the problems I had with people not
      behaving the way I thought they ought to behave (if they were really
      practicing Zen): arriving late, taking long bathroom breaks,
      gossiping, being absent-minded or inattentive. Then I asked him for
      advice on how to get everyone to work with more concentration and

      He seemed to listen quite carefully, as though he understood my
      difficulty and was entirely sympathetic. (Yes, you just can't get
      good help anymore, can you?) When I finally ran out of complaints he
      looked at me briefly, and then responded, "If you want to see
      virtue," he said, "you have to have a calm mind." "That isn't what I
      asked you," I thought to myself, but I kept quiet. I gave it some
      time to turn me around. Was I going to spend my time finding fault or
      seeing virtue? It had never occurred to me that I could spend my time
      seeing virtue, but my teacher's mentioning it made it seem obvious.

      Later in our conversations he said, "When you are cooking, you're not
      just working on food. You're working on yourself. You're working on
      other people." Well, of course, I thought, that makes sense.

      Without really having any idea how to actually do it, I began to
      try "to see virtue." Whenever I found fault with someone, I would
      remind myself to look again, more carefully and more calmly. I began
      to reconize peoples' basic good intention, to sense people's effort,
      the effort it took to stand on-the-spot and be exposed for all the
      world to see. I would catch glimpses of our shared vulnerability.

      It got to be quite laughable at times. Once I asked someone to get 18
      cups of black beans from the storeroom. About twenty minutes later I
      realized he hadn't come back. "How difficult can it be to get 18 cups
      of beans?" I righteously raged to myself as I headed for the
      storeroom. Yet before arriving I cautioned myself to look for virtue:
      What's going on? Sure enough, there he was, sorting through the
      beans, pretty much one by one, making sure that each was not a stone.
      I felt a surge of impatience, and then I thought, "Well, he is being
      thorough! He is being conscientious!" I don't remember what I said,
      but my response was at least somewhat softened from what it would
      have been. Something more articulate than "You idiot!!" emerged from
      my lips, and then I explained he could cover a white plate with beans
      and easily scan through to check for small stones. Perhaps the
      sorting would go a bit more quickly that way.

      Ironically, seeing virtue cultivates virtue. If we want to bring out
      the best in others, it helps to see the best in them. After awhile we
      might even acknowledge the best in ourselves. A lot of struggles were
      still ahead of me, but over the years I have continued to cultivate
      my capacity to see virtue. While it's an ongoing challenge, by seeing
      virtue we can transform ourselves and the world."

      ~Edward Espe Brown from:
      Tomato Blessings and Radish Teachings -
      Recipes and Reflections
      Viorica Weissman  MillionPaths
        One evening while he was there , the Maharaja invited Vivekananda
        to attend a musical performance by a dancing girl , but the Swami 
        sent word in return that , as he was a monk, he was not permitted
        to enjoy secular pleasures. The girl was hurt when she heard the
        message and sang this plaintive song ,which reached the Swami's
        ears :  
           Look not , O Lord , upon my sins !
           Is not Same-sightedness Thy name ?
           One piece of iron is in the image in the temple,
           And another , the knife in the hand of the butcher;
           Yet both of these are turned to gold
           When touched by the philosopher's stone.
           So , Lord, look not upon my evil qualities....
         Vivekananda was deeply moved. This dancing girl , whom society
       condemned as impure , had taught him a great lesson:
      Brahman,the ever-pure, ever-free,ever-illumined, is the essence of 
      all beings. He immediately understood his mistake and came out
      of his room and joined the party. He later said:
      "That incident removed the scales from my eyes. Seeing that all
      are indeed the manifestation of the One , I could no longer
      condemn anybody."
       I wearied myself searching for the Friend
        with efforts beyond my strength.

        I came to the door and saw how
        powerfully the locks were bolted.

        And the longing in me became that strong ,
        and then I saw that I was gazing
        from within the presence.

        With that waiting , and in giving up all trying ,
        only then did Lalla flow out
        from where I knelt.

      ___   Lalla , Naked Song
              tr - Coleman Barks

      Hur Guler  NDS
      The new David Godman site:


      I found the article on "Somerset Maugham and The Razor's Edge"
      particularly interesting. 


      David Godman is the editor of ten books about Ramana Maharshi.  
      David is best known for his book, "Be As You Are."

      Joseph Riley  Panhala
      I said to God, “Let me love you.”
      And He replied, “Which part?”
      “All of you, all of you,” I said.
      “Dear,” God spoke, “you are as a mouse wanting to impregnate
      a tiger who is not even in heat.  It is a feat way
      beyond your courage and strength.
      You would run from me
      if I removed my
      I said to God again,
      “Beloved I need to love you – every aspect, every pore.”
      And this time God said,
      “There is a hideous blemish on my body,
      though it is such an infinitesimal part of my Being –
      could you kiss that if it were revealed?”
      “I will try, Lord, I will try.”
      And then God said,
      “That blemish is all the hatred and
      cruelty in this

      -- St. Thomas Aquinas
      (Love Poems From God: Twelve Sacred Voices from the East and West by Daniel Ladinsky)

      Web version at

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