Signatures on flowing waters
One of the common and wide-spread issues debated and discussed in the spiritual circles
whether it is in physical satsanghs or in cyber based forums........
....... is the issue of whether practice is absolutely a must for spiritual enlightenment .....
.....there being nothing else but the Self (or Bozo)..........who is to do what and for what purpose, to what end.
The debate goes on and on with disciples of either schools absolutely convinced about their own position
and the absurdity/foolishness of the other's position.
Arguments go to and fro and supporting quotes from scriptures are hurled by both sides
in order to clinch the debate.
The school of practice have even coined phrases like "neo-Advaita" and the "Advaita-shuffle"
to disparage the "All-is-Self-anyway" proponents.
The debate is very interesting and reveals nuances in both the positions.
First of all the very debate is ambrosia for the "me-entity".
For the "me"........the very debate is it's existence and the continuance of the debate............the perpetuation of it's identity.
The debate lends the spiritual halo, the religious glow to the "me".
For the school of practice (whether the specific practice is of Self-Enquiry, aka Ramana or Nisargadatta,
or meditation aka the various schools of Zen,
prayer aka Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, or charity work to earn merits useful for salvation,
it makes no difference).....
....fundamentally the issue is the belief that an effect, any effect needs a cause, separate from the effect.
The "me" having seen evidence where apparently without effort there is no success in the material world,.....
...... this belief gets reinforced by Teachers, Gurus hollering from the rooftops that the path of salvation,
is only through the practice of X, Y.Z,
which of course only the specific hollering teacher can show, teach, transmit, deeksha-it.
The "me" which is essentially the sense of insecurity....
.....having sought security in the temporal icons like relationship, career, money, social position, acquisitions knowledge power etc...
....realizes the hollowness, the transitory nature of these temporal icons
and now seeks security in the eternal.
The same equation is brought in with only a conceptualization of a new icon to be sought.
The equation being there is a problem, for which there exists a solution, if only the seeking
for the solution can diverted to the right direction
and the necessary cost be paid.
And there are enough characters who are skillful in utilizing the innate sense of insecurity
to create "to-be-chased-solutions",
in the process augmenting Bank balances and disciple numbers
with some good old sexual romps thrown in.
Why does the "me" not see through this charade?
It does but does not acknowledge............because now the claim of ownership of the meditation,
of the Pranayam, of the Self-Enquiry,
of the number of charities supported, worked for....
.......is it's identity.
It is I who is meditating, doing Pranayam/Self enquiry 16 hours a day,......
......the sense of the "I" as the sense of the "me" is intact.
I have saved so many heathens by getting them to accept the Bible....
....surely I am ensured my rightful place in Dad's pad in the hereafter.
No matter what practice is happening in the moment............the claim of ownership of that practice....
......lo behold the lurking sense of entitification.
The specific technique, the specific activity.............is not all an issue.
The same is the case for the Guru/Teacher.
Without the practice and the disciples swearing by that practice....
....how can I the Guru remain a Guru?
How can I be a saint, unless there are sinners around to be saved?
If Pranayam is happening......if zazen is happening.......if massive charity work is getting effected through oneself....
...if there descends moments of quietude where the heart is filled with am immensity of gratitude..
....then that can only be a nuance of the movement of the moment.
Moment to moment to moment.
.......anything and everything becomes a practice.
In the gestalt of such an existing.......cleaning the accumulated dried shreds of shit on the sides of a toilet......
...... no less....... no more....
... than that of feeding the poor.
Thus real meditation is not the technique per se......not the practice per se.......but that....
..... in which there is the end of the meditator.
And thus the end of meditation.
Meditation as conceived to be a means to an end.
As believed to be a cause for a desired effect.
Rather than time specific, condition specific meditation sessions.............there is a meditative existing......
.....in which may happen........a specific series of acts labeled as zazen .......or KapalBhati...
....followed by maybe some lusty love making next to the altar......
.....followed by maybe some expressing of a haiku in the midst of a noisy brothel.
In that meditative existing........ can happen the honed activities as required in running a global corporation.....
......existing side by side with agenda free compassion.
There is no sense of an agenda, there is no sense of an intention and there is no sense of an expectation.
It is no longer a cause-effect plea bargaining.
There is a flowing..........a synchronousness........there is just the enacting of living.
Which is all powerful, all creative......and .....indivisive .
In the school of All-is-Self-hence-nothing-must-be-done....
......is also the prevailing sense of the "me".
If All is the Self................if All-that-is-is that-which-IS..................if this is apperceived....
.....then it is apperceived that the very biological sentient object engaged in praying to a self-conceived symbol,
whether that is a deity, a principle or a Guru-known as zazen ....
....such a conditioned object.....
....the activity happening through such a conditioned object
can only be an expression of that-which-is.
How can it be otherwise?
And thus what is it in phenomenality, ...........which is wrong and has to be condemned
or is to be negated?
What appears to be happening............could not have been otherwise....
..... in that very moment of happening.....
...for all the stars in the Andromeda galaxy.
There is nothing which needs to be done....
.... AND....... whatever is to be done.......
The very opposition to practice, the very need to deny.......
........is the sense of the "me" at play.
For in the opposition, in the denial.......... is the identity and perpetuation of the identity.
Ramana was once asked........."Since you are enlightened...why don't you just wave your hand
and enlighten everybody else?
The dude in the diaper replied "When you wake up from a dream,
where are the dream-people who have to be woken up?"
And yet the dude while adjusting his diaper, used to be moved to copious tears on hearing the narrations
of the grief-stricken seekers, visiting him.
He even suggested the practice of Self-enquiry to those
who had no existential reality.
At other times, the communion was in silence.
At all times..........it remained the Duet of One.
The arising of practice..........it's run and finally it's end or cessation, whether temporarily or permanently......
.....are all nuances of the movement, known as the moment.
These set of squiggly signs getting transmitted through routers and servers and modems and satellite systems
over cyber-space and finally appearing as pixels on a PC screen...
.....are not the doings by somebody, for somebody else to read and apperceive.
They are like signatures on flowing waters.
Sketched by the same flowing waters.
And being viewed......
...... RIGHT NOW......
.... by the same flowing waters.
Dooooo Beeee Dooooo Beeeee Dooooooo
- Well now here I was, not knowing where to start, signed on this list and first post, right off the bat, got the kind of orientation-overview I'd been vainly searching the web over for. Thank you.
- If you continually look to the empirical data to identify yourself or
your environment, you are no doubt to any school of buddhism looking
at conceptions - and as the Tibetan texts say Nangtsul dang gNes Tsul
mi thun pa (the way things are and the way they appear are not the
same). Sitting and doing zazen, giving something to someone, any
event that one thinks I have done this, is conceptual. And conceptual
things are part of Kundzob Denpa, Samvritisatya, or "conventional"
truth. But can there be TWO truths? Can this truth be true when there
is another skin to the onion? The ultimate truth? What is that
ultimate truth? Even this "I" or "ME" is conventional, it is only
That is the essence of emptiness as Nagarjuna has taught, not that
emptiness is some other inherently existent thing, but that it is the
other quality onto conventional phenomena. Things do not simply "not
exist" when we analize them down to their parts, and those parts'
parts...we don't find that emptiness is itself the inherenly existent
thing behind things. We find that the things that we analized work
exactly as they did before we started to analize them. Emptiness is
that they don't exist in some other fashion: one that Suzy says is
this, but Tommy experiences as that! If you're depressed, try eating
your favorite food and see if that blissful meal changes the fact
that someone you love dearly has passed away and left you feeling sad
and lonely. Don't think cookies and ice cream have that kind of power!
Now, so what, right? So what about this "word play". How does that
change your life or make you free...or create Buddhas? There must be
something to that that Nagarjuna, Shantideva, Je Tsongkhapa and our
own Precious Lord Buddha understood - no, experienced to have such a
profound effect on their teaching.
Today, there are many religions that experience through faith or
logic levels of spirituality that bring them to grasp at selfish
actions less and less and "give up" to others more than before. They
may have a moment of focus that gives them a broadening of the
landscape of their mind. Now, their mind has not been broadened, but
maybe their "cross-hairs" aren't as focused in that moment. Parts of
the brain that are normally active become less active, and latent
areas awaken and begin to render new function that has yet to be
experienced. This may be a physical indication of what is happening
on the inside, but nonetheless something is happening, something to
which all these religious experiences have in commmon. Where is the
difference? Is it God? Shiva? A saint? That would mostly depend on
the "path" to get to that level. Surely one seeking Shiva doesn't
have a "higher experience" seeing Jesus, and likewise a Christian
isn't going to believe that their experience was the Powerful Kali
coming to them in a vision. And Buddhists can experience the same
thing and label it with their vernacular.
However, mediation on emptiness is not (something as other schools
would say is "taboo" and shouldn't be discussed)just another
conceptualization. It is the coming to see directly that the images
and experiences you are having are nothing more than a product of
your own mind! Yes, like an angel sitting on the holodeck of the Star
Ship Enterprise or somewhere wearing virtual-reality glasses and
believing the experience they are having to be Reality! Emptiness is
withdrawing from those projections...but those projections-where are
They are from your past deeds! From your karma! Karma has taken root
in the mindstream and must render its results when all the conditions
for its ripening come about. You will be forced to see yourself
experiencing the feelings of your fingers hitting the keys of this
keyboard, or tasting the coffee that you had finished before you
began to type or read this, and you will most certainly be forced to
believe that the one who is reading this (you) is inherently real,
though analytically not stable, always changing.
That's what makes everything that you experience seem so real! The
word Tib: Kundzob Denpa or Snskt: Samvritisattya don't
mean "Conventional Truth" or "Conventional Reality". They mean fake
truth. That's an oxymoron! Fake or Artificial. Why we say
conventional in our language is simply to show that humans call these
boxes that these words are being displayed upon "computers", but it
is deceptive because the idea of "computer" is a concept. This thing
infront of me has the characteristics of what the quality
of "computerness" is in my mind. Therefore, I see this thing that
seems to function in a way in which that quality dictates and label
the thing "computer". Now, go further with that idea- for there is
liberation in them thar hills! What about the idea of "box"? Or
screen? or glass? or cords and wires? or black? or square? You come
to the same ends - nothing! All of these labels are your own
construction! We have all participated in labeling things and then
sharing the "recipe" with others. Conventionally speaking, if I asked
you to show me the computer, you don't hand me a shoe - no matter
what philosophical teacher tells you you can! The shoe doesn't have
the bases of information that we would see as befitting those of
the "computerness" thingy.
If you can see that the phenomenal thing that you are examining is
nothing more than a series of shapes and colors and understand, no
SEE that the process of "creation" thereof takes place within your
mind, your getting very close! This is where the Zen school may have
a lot to offer. I have talked to so many students of the Zen school
that seem to know as much about emptiness as they did when they
begin: zilch! Sure, you cannot replace an experience with a name, but
we are humans and need to use the conventional world in some way. For
instance, a monk says to his student, "go to the airport and pick up
my uncle." The student says, "what does he look like?" The monk
replies, "Go to the airport and pick up my uncle." The student asks
with confusion "is he tall, short? fat or thin? Is he old or young?"
Certainly we cannot replace the experience of the uncle with simple
labels and language, but they become sign posts to let you know if
your anywhere close so as not to grab that asian woman by the arm and
drag her towards your taxi! When you fall down, you use the same
ground upon which you fell to get back up! We have fallen onto the
ground of samsara and must use it to stand back up into Nirvana.
This is all deceptive because it appears as truly real. Emptiness
shows that things do not exist in a manner from their own side. The
cookie you ate when you were depressed did not change your mood
because it had a power that was being sent AT you. If it did, your
mood would have changed. That shows that the cookie is empty! Empty
does not mean non-existent, it means non-permanent in a sense. It is
the other side of the coin that you need to see about the things that
If we can see the UNFOLDED universe around us, emptiness would show
us the ENFOLDED universe within. Nothing around us is permanent, and
nothing is causing itself...for then it wouldn't cease. As Nagarjuna
liked to say "if it was selfpowered, why would it have a cause? It
wouldn't need that cause and the two could exist apart from each
Now, the path of seeing...what does that mean? The path of seeing is
a direct perception of emptiness- the actual witnessing that the
whole phenomenal perceptual process is a projection from YOU. Yet, it
cannot be done with a conception of "I", or "ME" or even "That". You
ain't having it if you can say "I am experiencing emptiness", because
you just created more conceptions - what's behind the curtain Toto?
Not another curtain! You must be able to study intensely what this
thing "inherent existence" is to understand what its ABSENCE is!
Emptiness is a negative, not another positive conceptual phenomenon
to analyze. It is not something that just hangs out there. Emptiness
is not a quality that exists apart from "form". You have emptiness,
this computer has emptiness, the tast of coffee has emptiness. When
any one of those things ceases in the world, its emptiness is gone! A
lively girl isn't so lively when she dies. Her "life force", a
characteristic which made her seem lively when she was overcome with
it, is gone...and so is her ADJECTIVE! Now, the corpse has its
emptiness. and when the corpse has sufficiently decomposed and on all
points of decomposition through to its final disintegration has
emptiness. But the absence of the corpse, no physical thing there,
does it have emptiness? If its a concept, you have a terrific tango
to dance. Think about that one.
Now, on all those different spiritual experiences, those different
focusings-of-the-mind onto concepts...seem to be incredibly valid
underneath the label. I mean, if all these people are experiencing
something, surely there is something about that thing that has a
reality of its own. What is the owner of that thing? Who is
that "light" or that "warmth" that seems to take away my experience
of time and space, or that i seem to connect to and become "one"
with? (pardon the dangling preposition) This is karma, too! You have
to put into the mechanism what you want to get out of it. This level
is a blessing. But your blessings increase and your are on your way
out of Samsara if you see behind THAT curtain. And your little dog
With love and blessings to all and may this explanation be of benefit
to countless beings; may those that understand this precious "thing"
directly experience it in their meditations, see for themselves and
then teach it to others that are ready for it, and all be free from
the binds of Samsara forever.
Marc Preston Moss
- Any path that does not treat the ultimate continues a perpetual
regress and will never find the path out...like five people standing
in a room looking for the keys to a car. Are they under the cushions
of the couch? Are they under a book on the cocktail table? Are they
on the bookshelf? In a jar or container? The quest is still in the
room, and yet the keys may be outside the house altogether! The
thought has not yet occured to look elsewhere, in this analogy behind
conceptual theories and into the nonconceptual.
Here's the catch, you can go behind those conceptual theories only to
produce more conceptual theories. The point is that its ALL going to
be conceptual theory. Flowing waters are empirical data that we can
see and experience. And yet, all these conceptual ideologies are just
signposts to lead us to make the right decisions and avoid the wrong
ones to create the ripening of the karma we will need to experience
this EMPTINESS directly in our meditation. In that moment, you won't
need to have a validation from any GURU or MASTER because you know
that you have experienced the Dharmakaya wisdom of the Buddha
yourself. You know you have put the bobby-pin in the right place on
the mechanism and are rendering it functionless as it slowly breaks
up and falls apart. The negative deeds that the "fight or flight"
part of the brain have projected as "out there" are now failing to
produce a negative consequence "from them." They are not that way
from their side, they require the organization of the data YOU THINK
YOU SEE WHEN YOU LOOK AT THEM to label them, this or that.
You simply are inseparable from the ripening of your karma now. In
fact, as Geshe Michael Roach said so well "you are simply the total
sum of the ripening of your karma now". If you aren't separate from
your past deeds, who are you? Mr. or Mrs. TEFLON? Stainless from
these happenings? Or you are a Buddha. A Buddha has seen how the
mechanism works and knows that only the MIND that grasps to things
and the self as REAL can render things to become manifest realities
to the perceiver. Once one has seen emptiness directly, without the
conceptions that veil the experience, one has seen that the mechanism
will soon be out of order. You come out of that experienced and are
still seeing things as inherently real - the virtual reality glasses
are still working dear angel, but they will cease to work because you
know that the plug has been pulled!
All the other religious experiences, even the Buddhist ones, simply
give us a scratching post upon which we sharpen our spiritual claws.
We do the right deeds and say the right things to bring us to a point
where our spiritual IQ is heightened...and then the conditions are
ripe to experience this emptiness directly. There has never been a
buddha statue to get up and eat the orange or smell the flowers that
you have placed before it. However, who is really getting? You have
seen yourself give to someone, and the knowledge of emptiness is that
that statue is NOT OTHER THAN A BUDDHA. This becomes powerful karma.
The direct perception of emptiness has a "combination", like a lock.
If you do the right things and cultivate the right understandings,
you will find the combination and Voila! You'll experience the elixir
yourself! This is not something that is unique to Mahayana...and I
believe not just to Buddhism as a whole. But, the language that
Buddhism uses tries to convey a more neutral position than to say
that it is a loving God and then condemn or destroy others that don't
get it! It becomes confusing living in a world made up of labels and
words when you know that the labels and words can never describe that
experience that you have had.
If the senses (eye, ear, nose...etc) are simply channels for
awareness, then they render information from coming into contact with
the objects they detect. Without the interpretations of the data into
labels and placing those labels back out there, we find
simply "awareness data". Just shapes and colors. This is much like a
mirror. Since a mirror cannot place labels onto things, it simply
reflects the data that is before it. The nonconceptual aspect of
perception and the mirror - things appear before them and they simply
reflect. Something not appearing before your mind will not render an
awareness; nothing triggers the "fight or flight" response, and no
sensation of it arises. The mirror MUST reflect objects that pass by
its surface. An object that doesn't pass by renders no reflection.
Next time you are looking into a mirror, try to see the
surface...past the reflection, or through it. Can you see it? Can you
see the shiny surface without the images in it? Doubtful. Then, try
to meditate on the mind, the subtle-most awareness...and look past
the images that are within your sense fields as though they were
images in the mirror. Tell yourself "I refuse to succumb to seeing
mere reflections," and then drop the projections. This takes sooooo
much time and practice. Eventually, you will find that even the "I"
is a reflection in that mirror and is not inherently real. It is the
arising of karma that beleives the self to be "existen". Sure, it
exists: common experience shows us that we can eat and we can run and
type and all sorts of things.
Surely, the flowing waters analogy is beautiful. Someone treading
water that can't swim well will create ripples and bubbles and all
sorts of commotion. But where do all those ripples go to? The SHORE!!
If the person stops fighting and just simply floats, in time he/she
too will float to the shore!
Marc Preston Moss
Please don't get caught up in my words...or anyone's words. They're