#1813 - Sunday, May 30, 2004
Nondual Highlights Issue #18123 Sunday, May 30, 2004 Editor: Mark
Editors note: I transcribed this excerpt from a tape of a satsang with Pamela Wilson. While I deleted a few bits for the sake of clarity, I've tried my best to remain true to the spirit of the dialogue. I take full responsibility for any errors I may have made.
Q. Sometimes I experience feelings of deep peace and calm. It seems to be outside the mind. At other times, I experience the mind, the thoughts, the feelings, the fears. And then in-between that, I occasionally experience - its almost like a sort of voice that sometimes says stay with the fears, you know, be with them, dont let them overcome you and sometimes its not there and then the fears and what have you come. Where does that part actually come from?
P: Ah! Yeah... You could say its the sat guru; the teacher within? And one cannot develop it or control it. Luckily. So if you developed it more, what would be the end result?
Q. Well, it would be a calmer me.
P. How about absence of you? Then it wouldnt vacillate between calm and agitation. You really wouldnt want a calm "you". It would still give you trouble.
P. Effortlessly! (laughter) So sometimes Advaita appears to be very mystical. Its actually very practical. You know, it permeates every area of what we call life, and so the key is in finding what keeps agitating the system. We usually have our list of villains, right? So what if your emotional body didnt reference to you? What if the emotions that passed through werent yours?
Q. Sometimes, not very often, but... I do experience that.
P. Thats right. So in order to apparently become identified, we need some tools of identification, right? So that would be - were given an emotional body, or a bundle of emotions and a bundle of thoughts. So practical thought isnt really identified. It doesnt try to craft a "me" out of nothing. Its more just the little noodler. So its nice to just come to peace with the mechanism of identification, rather than oppose it. Because its job is to create identification out of nothing, yeah? And yet we keep telling it "you should fire yourself." So - thinking thought - is it alright with you that thinking thought is identified? Yeah, very good. And is it alright that the emotions are identified? Thats it, okay. So for you to even perceive that, you must be something thats prior to it; thats untouched by identification, to be aware of it showing up, right? Thats it. So the fun trick here is to not mind when identification arises. Because youve seen how everything just arises and falls, right? Thats it. So identification has really nothing to do with you. Its part of these things (pats body), yeah? Its one of the bodys talents. But you dont need to exercise it or oppose it. So we can just set the whole question of identification or non-identification aside for a moment. Would that be alright.?
P. Yeah. So whats left then?
Q. Just what is.
P. Just what is, yeah. (pause) And what is has a life of its own, right? Yeah. So what is - its a bit like a river. It has a life of its own. When we put our hand in to tinker with it, thats when it just starts flaring up and spilling out and - chaos. Yes? So the fun thing is just to watch what is and know that theres a natural intelligence thats directing what is. So then we dont have to put our hand in to fix it or alter it or change it. So in the absence of concern over identification or non-identification; in the absence of concern over fixing the play, theres just deep rest. Its kind of like all your hobbies are taken away; the ones that fill the time, yeah? And then youre just left with wonder, peace, gardening (laughter), a few good meals .
Q. Thank you.
P. Mmmmm... thank you...
- Excerpt from Satsang with Pamela Wilson Oct 11, 2001
Self-Knowledge in which both relative knowledge and phenomena fall off, is alone True Knowledge, because the Self is the Source of all. To know all except the Knower is but ignorance. The Self being Absolute Knowledge, it is neither knowing nor not knowing. It can never be nescience. The Self being one and universal, knowledge of diversity is but ignorance which too is not apart from the Self.
- Ramana Maharshi from Thus Spake Ramana submitted to MillionPaths by Viorica Weissman
Bursting Into Flame
Wood that is fed to the Fire
eventually becomes the Fire
even Moses' staff
Hermes' caduceus and
The Tree of Life
is totally devoured
The same Fire that radiates in the splendor of heaven
rages in the pits of hell
The only difference is:
those in hell refuse to be consumed by the Light.
a rush of
and the Silence
of the monastery
would be shattered.
This would upset
not the Master,
just as content
with the noise
as with the Silence.
To his protesting disciples
he said one day,
"Silence is not
the absence of sound,
but the absence
Yoga of Synthesis is suitable for the vast majority of persons. It is a unique Yoga.
Man is a strange complex mixture of will, feeling and thought. He is a triune being. He is like a tricycle or a three-wheeled chariot. He wills to possess the objects of his desires. He has emotion; and so he feels. He has reason and so he thinks and ratiocinates. In some the emotional element may preponderate, while in some others the rational element may dominate. Just as will, feelings and thought are not distinct and separate, so also, work, devotion and knowledge are not exclusive of one another. He must, therefore develop his heart, intellect and hand. Then alone can he attain perfection. Many aspirants have lop-sided development. They do not possess an integral development, as they neglect one or the other of these aspects of their personality.
One-sided development is not commendable. Religion and Yoga must educate and develop the whole man - his heart, intellect and hand. Then only he will have integral development. In the mind there are three defects, viz., Mala or impurity, Vikshepa or tossing, and Avarana or veil. The impurities of the mind should be removed by the practice of Karma Yoga, by selfless service. The tossing should be removed by worship or Upasana, by Japa and devotion. The veil should be torn down by the practice of Jnana Yoga, i.e., by study of Vedantic literature, enquiry, self-analysis, service to the Guru, and deep meditation. Only then Self-realization is possible.
If you want to see your face clearly in a mirror, you must remove the dirt in the mirror, keep it steady, and remove the covering also. You can see your face clearly in the bottom of a lake only if the turbidity is removed, if the water that is agitated by the wind is rendered still, and if the moss that is lying on the surface is removed. Even so is the case with Self-realization.
Action, emotion and intelligence are the three horses that are linked to this body-chariot. They should work in perfect harmony or unison. Then only the chariot will run smoothly. There must be integral development. You must have the head of Sankara, the heart of Buddha, and the hand of Janaka.
The Yoga of Synthesis alone will develop the head, heart and hand, and lead one to perfection. To become harmoniously balanced in all directions is the ideal of religion and of Yoga. This can be achieved by the practice of the Yoga of Synthesis. To behold the one Self in all beings is Jnana, wisdom; to love the Self is Bhakti, devotion; to serve the Self is Karma, action. When the Jnana Yogi attains wisdom, he is endowed with devotion and self less activity. Karma Yoga is for him a spontaneous expression of his spiritual nature, as he sees the one Self in all. When the devotee attains perfection in devotion, he is possessed of wisdom and activity. For him also, Karma Yoga is a spontaneous expression of his divine nature, as he beholds the one Lord everywhere. The Karma Yogi attains wisdom and devotion when his actions are wholly selfless. The three paths are, in fact, one in which the three different temperaments emphasize one or the other of its inseparable constituents. Yoga supplies the method by which the Self can be seen, loved and served.
Hence everyone should have one Yoga as the basic Yoga and combine other Yogas. You can combine Nishkama Karma Yoga, Hatha Yoga, Raja Yoga, Bhakti Yoga, Sankirtan Yoga, etc., with Jnana Yoga as the basis. This is my Yoga of Synthesis, which will ensure rapid spiritual progress.
A little practice of Hatha Yoga (Asanas and Pranayamas) will give you good health. Raja Yoga will steady your mind. Upasana and Karma Yoga will purify your heart and prepare you for the practice of Vedanta. Sankirtan will relax your mind and inspire you. Meditation will take you to liberation.
Such a Yogi has all-round development. The Yoga of Synthesis will help you to attain God-realization quickly. Upanishads, Gita and all other scriptures speak of this Yoga. Therefore, O Mokshapriya, practice this unique Yoga of Synthesis and attain Self-realization quickly.
Here is my little song of the Yoga of Synthesis, for your daily practice:
Eat a little, drink a little
Talk a little, sleep a little
Mix a little, move a little
Serve a little, rest a little
Work a little, relax a little
Study a little, worship a little
Do Asana a little, Pranayama a little
Reflect a little, meditate a little
Do Japa a little, do Kirtan a little
Write Mantra a little, have Satsang a little
Serve, Love, Give, Purify, Meditate, Realize
Be good, Do good; Be kind, Be compassionate
Enquire 'Who am I ?', Know the Self and be Free
- Swami Sivananda, submitted to meditationsocietyofamerica by Bob Rose
The Practice of Compassion
The attainment of enlightenment in Buddhism is often characterized as a flying bird. In order to fly the bird must have two wings; so it is for the achievement of full enlightenment: one must have perfected both wisdom and compassion. Often we think of these two characteristics as being different. But in actuality, they are merely two aspects of the same attainment.
Compassion is the active form of wisdom. For if one has attained wisdom, one sees the innate unsatisfactoriness of things. One sees how suffering and unhappiness arise and how sentient beings are caught in this web of samsara, the continuous round of the arising, maturing and ceasing of existence. And when one sees others caught in duhkha, in suffering, in unsatisfactory conditions, one's compassion arises, for one has experienced this duhkha also, and knows the source of it. The understanding of the existence of suffering causes the arising of compassion, and the understanding of its source is the wisdom that must underlie compassionate action.
Wisdom is cultivated through the practice of meditation and ethical conduct. Compassion is cultivated with the practice of the six perfections: dana, selfless giving; ksanti, patience; and virya, spiritual effort; as well as sila, ethical conduct; dhyana, meditation; and prajna, intuitive wisdom. The cultivation of wisdom is the cultivation of compassion, and the cultivation of compassion is the cultivation of wisdom.
Dana, selfless giving, is the base of all Buddhist practice and the base of compassion. One can give material goods. One can give time and energy. One can give security, emotional refuge, or spiritual guidance. But one must give from a place of no self, as easily and as naturally as a mother gives milk to her infant. If the giver thinks, "I am giving to this poor wretch," that is poor giving. If one thinks, "I will attain merit from this giving," that is no giving at all. Dana is giving which has no giver, no given and no receiver. It is an action that arises with no separation of subject and object. This non-separation of giver and receiver is not a metaphor. It is reality, for Buddhism does not see separate, innate beings of any kind. Rather, all beings are one and ultimately cannot be separated into individual personalities or separate existences.
Compassion is all embracing and non-discriminatory. It is given freely to all beings, just as the rain does not discriminate as to which plants and beings deserve its benefits. It just falls and nourishes all life. So, too, compassion arises without any ego thoughts, without any concepts, to all beings: human, animal, vegetable. All life forms benefit from it.
Compassion is not sentimental, nor particularly emotional. Since compassion necessitates an understanding of the source of suffering and the relief of suffering, wisdom must underlie and give impetus to any compassionate act. If compassion does not grow from wisdom, then the action taken may cause much harm. Since compassion must help to end suffering, the compassionate being cannot be swayed by pity or by emotional appeals to give the sufferer something that does not ultimately help to relieve suffering. A compassionate act does not enable the sufferer to continue behavior which will only brings more suffering. Therefore, the wise person sees where the suffering arises, does what he can to help alleviate the suffering, and does not become morose or feel guilty when he cannot help.
In Mahayana Buddhism, compassion became idealized and embodied in the great spiritual heroes: the Bodhisattvas. These Bodhisattvas are greatly revered, for they exemplify total compassion. Although fully enlightened, and able to enter into the final Paranirvana, they remain in the world of samsara, in the realms of suffering, to help all beings, until all beings attain Nirvana. At the same time, while the Bodhisattvas work to liberate all living beings, they do not perceive of themselves as saviours. Their compassionate acts flow freely from them, without reservation, without discrimination, for their very nature is compassion. It is this compassion that the sincere Buddhist tries to cultivate.
- Karuna Dharma
- image Huichol yarn painting
Meditation teacher Larry Rosenberg went to Korea to practice with Zen Master Seung Sahn. During the journey, he undertook a pilgrimage to other teachers and temples, and while traveling on a remote road, he came across a particularly elegant Buddhist shrine at the base of a mountain. Next to it was a sign, "Way To The Most Beautiful Buddha In All Of Korea," with an arrow pointing to the thousand-step path up the mountain.
Larry decided to climb, hiking up the steps until he reached the top, The view was breathtaking in every direction. The simple Zen shrine matched the elegance of the one below. But in place of the Buddha on the altar there was nothing, only empty space and the gorgeous green-hilled vista beyond. When he went closer, at the empty altar was a plaque that read, "If you can't see the Buddha here, you had better go down and practice some more.
- Jack Kornfield from After The Ecstasy, The Laundry published by Bantam, posted to DailyDharma
I may think I feel love
but it is love that feels me
constantly testing the woven fibers
that enclose and protect my heart
with a searing flame
that allows no illusion of separation
and as the insubstantial fabric of my inner fortress
is peeled away by the persistent fire
I desperately try to save some charred remains
by escaping into one more dream of passion
I may think I can find love
but it is love that finds me
meanwhile, love becomes patient and lies in wait
its undying embers gently glowing
and even if I now turn and grasp after the source of warmth
I end up cold and empty-handed
I may think I cam possess love
but it is love that possesses me
and finally, I am consumed
for love has flared into an engulfing flame
that takes everything
and gives nothing in return
I may think love destroys me
but it is love that sets me free
- nirmala from nothing personal: seeing beyond the illusion of a separate self