#1990 - Tuesday, August 24, 2004
Nondual Highlights Issue #1990 Tuesday, August 24, 2004 Editor: Mark
There's a reality beyond the material world
Which is uncreated.
No words can describe it
No example can point to it
Samsara does not make it worse
Nirvana does not make it better
It has never been born
It has never ceased
It has never been liberated
It has never been deluded
It has never existed
It has never been nonexistent
It has no limits at all
It does not fall into any kind of category
Studying the dharma can be compared to learning how to drive. There is a driving manual that explains what things are, how they work, the rules of the road and so on. Similarly, the sutras and shastras contain the basic knowledge you need in order to practice the dharma. When you actually learn how to drive, you receive personalized instructions based on your individual skills, your driving teachers style and the various practical situations you encounter. These are not necessarily presented in the same order as the information in the manual. Instructions can come in most unexpected ways.
Lets suppose you have devotion, trust and the merit of having met a qualified master. For you, a mere instruction from your master can potentially lead you somewhere, even without elaborate explanations on the theoretical aspects of the tantras. Your practice could be as ridiculous as being told to have a cup of tea every hour, but it could still untie your knot of delusion and take you to a state where you are released from all kinds of grasping and fixation.
The whole purpose of dharma practice, whether ngöndro or the main practice, is to understand the great purity and equality. This is the great vastness, longchen - the vast space where everything fits. The different schools of Buddhism variously call it nonduality, the realization of emptiness, the union of samsara and nirvana, and so on. The fact that everything is nondual is not a recent invention nor a Buddhist one; it is the actual nature of phenomena from the beginning.
What does this mean in practical terms? Devotion is integral to being a Vajrayana practitioner. Wanting to be free of delusion implies accepting that we are deluded. Within our deluded state, we have to learn and believe that we need to create a pure reality. So, when taking refuge you must not think that the setting is ordinary, but rather that it is a pure realm. Then visualize the object of refuge in front of you. It is crucial in Vajrayana to understand that the object of refuge - the guru - is the embodiment of all the buddhas as well as of the dharma, the sangha, and the devas, dakinis and dharmapalas. Basically, all objects of refuge are embodied in the guru.
If you have a high aim such as enlightenment, you have to change your attitude. Believing your guru to be a shravaka or an arhat is much better than thinking that he or she is just an ordinary, decent human being. If you think of your guru as an arhat, then you will receive the blessing of individual liberation. If you think your guru is a mahabodhisattva on the tenth bhumi, you will receive an equivalent blessing. If you think your guru is the Buddha himself - that is, you dont imagine it but actually see him as the Buddha in person - then definitely you will receive the Buddhas blessings. And in Dzogchen and Mahamudra, if you realize that it is actually your own buddhanature that is manifest in the form of the Buddha or the guru, you will receive the blessing of seeing everything as the Buddha, everything as the guru.
- excerpt from "The Guru and the Great Vastness," by Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche. Buddhadharma: The Practitioners Quarterly, Fall 2004.
Poetry reveals that there is no empty space.
When your truth forsakes its shyness,
When your fears surrender to your strengths,
You will begin to experience
That all existence
Is a teeming sea of infinite life.
In a handful of ocean water
You could not count all the finely tuned
Who are acting stoned
For very intelligent and sane reasons
And of course are becoming extremely sweet
In a handful of the sky and earth,
In a handful of God,
We cannot count
All the ecstatic lovers who are dancing there
Behind the mysterious veil.
True art reveals there is no void
There is no loneliness to the clear-eyed mystic
In this luminous, brimming
- Hafiz The Subject Tonight Is Love Daniel Ladinsky, submitted to SufiMysic by Patricia
If the world is only a dream, how should it be harmonized with the Eternal Reality?
Maharshi: the harmony consists in the realization of its inseparateness from the Self.
D. But a dream is fleeting and unreal. It is also contradicted by the waking state.
M. The waking experiences are similar.
D. One lives fifty years and finds a continuity in the waking experience, which is absent in dreams.
M. You go to sleep and dream a dream in which the experiences of fifty years are condensed within the duration of the dream, say five minutes. There is also a continuity in the dream. Which is real now? Is the period covering fifty years of your waking state real, or the short duration of five minutes of your dream? The standards of time differ in the two states. That is all. That is no other difference between the experiences.
D. The spirit remains unaffected by the passing phenomena and by the successive bodies of repeated births. How does each body get the life to set it acting?
M. The spirit is differentiated from matter and is full of life. The body is animated by it.
D. The realized being is then the spirit and unaware of the world.
M. He sees the world but not as separate from the Self.
D. If the world is full of pain, why should he continue the world idea?
M. Does the realized being tell you that the world is full of pain? It is the other one who feels the pain and seeks the help of the wise saying that the world is painful. Then the wise one explains from his experience that if one withdraws within the Self, there is an end of pain. The pain is felt as long as the object is different from oneself. But when the Self is found to be an undivided whole, who and what is there to feel? The realized mind is the Holy Spirit and the other mind is the home of the devil. For the realized being this is the Kingdom of Heaven: " The Kingdom of Heaven is within you." That kingdom is here and now.
excerpt from Talks with Ramana Maharshi On Realizing Abiding Peace and Happiness, posted to MillionPaths by Viorica Weissman
the new day
a baby bird
a great egret flies
across the sky
the morning pond
for water birds
the blind grub
the heron's beak
is not the poet
like the heron
eating the day?
arrives & reading
we drink the blood
of bush berries
ripened & ground
than our minds
I look back
to the dawn
a lost lover
I still taste
there's a coolness
at dawn like
drowning a sigh
© Zen Oleary, submitted to SufiMystic
deep sombre brightness
not even that
for it is all gone now
no nothing whatever ever
is it numbness? or...
not even not not
- Bill Rishel on AdyashantiSatsang
- Robert O'Hearn on AdyashantiSatsang
Weve been so conditioned to think that the point of questions is to get answers, that we overlook that the point of answers is that they get us to more questions. The questions are as valid and rich as any answer because every answer is full of questions. You can even begin to enjoy the questions, even trust the questions, as much as any answer that comes. When you value the questions themselves, you just naturally hold the answers more lightly because they arent the goal. If the question is just as rich as the answer, then its fine if the answer comes and goes. Have you ever noticed that youve forgotten everything you once understood? Every insight youve ever had has faded, and thats great because then youre back in the question. Youre back in this really alive place where youre getting to find out what you know now, whats happening now, whats moving, whats changing, what its like now. What is it like now? Youll never be done with that question. Whats happening now? You could say that answers are just a temporary side effect of having questions.
This is a gentler, more respectful way of being with your experience. Its a more intimate way of being with your experience every moment to ask what its like instead of How can I fix it? How can I get more? How can I get less? How can I improve it? How can I change it? How can I avoid it? How can I hang onto it? Do you see how all of these questions have an effort to them? They have a sense of violence to them - a sense of being in battle with or in opposition to your life. Its hard to be intimate with someone when youre pushing them out the door or trying to keep them from leaving. Theres no intimacy in that kind of interaction. How much possibility is there for real, deep contact? The same thing is true for other dimensions of our Being. The opportunity is to intimately experience the expansions and contractions, the openings and the closings, the freedom and the stuckness, the wonder and the confusion, the understanding and the lack of understanding.
- NIrmala from his book Living Life as a Question