Thursday, November 20, 2008

This Only

English version by Robert Hass

A valley and above it forests in autumn colors.
A voyager arrives, a map leads him there.
Or perhaps memory. Once long ago in the sun,
When snow first fell, riding this way
He felt joy, strong, without reason,
Joy of the eyes. Everything was the rhythm
Of shifting trees, of a bird in flight,
Of a train on the viaduct, a feast in motion.
He returns years later, has no demands.
He wants only one, most precious thing:
To see, purely and simply, without name,
Without expectations, fears, or hopes,
At the edge where there is no I or not-I.

Czeslaw Milosz: Poems and Biography

from The Collected Poems, by Czeslaw Milosz

Near Enemies

The near enemies are qualities that arise in the mind and masquerade as genuine spiritual realization, when in fact they are only an imitation, serving to separate us from true feeling rather than connecting us to it. . . .

The near enemy of loving-kindness is attachment. . . . At first, attachment may feel like love, but as it grows it becomes more clearly the opposite, characterized by clinging, controlling and fear.

The near enemy of compassion is pity, and this also separates us. Pity feels sorry for "that poor person over here," as if he were somehow different from us. . . .

The near enemy of sympathetic joy (the joy in the happiness of others) is comparison, which looks to see if we have more of, the same as, or less than another. . . .

The near enemy of equanimity is indifference. True equanimity is balance in the midst of experience, whereas indifference is withdrawal and not caring, based on fear. . . .

If we do not recognize and understand the near enemies, they will deaden our spiritual practice. The compartments they make cannot shield us for long from the pain and unpredictability of life, but they will surely stifle the joy and open connectedness of true relationships.

- Jack Kornfield, A Path with Heart

The Buddha Mind contains the universe.

In this universe there is only one pure substance,
One absolute and indivisible Truth.
The notion of duality does not exist.
The small mind contains only illusions of separateness, of division.
It imagines myriad objects and defines truth in terms of relative opposites.
Big is defined by small, good by evil, pure by defiled,
Hidden by revealed, full by empty.
What is opposition?
It is the arena of hostility, of conflict and turmoil.
Where duality is transcended peace reigns.
This is the Dharma's ultimate truth.

- Maxims of Master Han Shan Te'Ch'ing, # 76, 1600
Journey to Dreamland
Translated by Grandmaster Jy Din Shakya

You didn't come into this world.
You came out of it,
like a wave from the ocean.
You are not a stranger here.

- Alan Watts
from Along The Way

Friday, November 07, 2008

Anything that you do out of fear and greed is bound to be wrong because fear and greed are unconscious states. Out of fear you have dreamed about hell, out of fear you have dreamed about heaven. There is no hell, no heaven. These are all your dreams. When you are not dreaming at all, when the sleep has disappeared and you are awake, there is no heaven, no hell. That state Buddha calls "liberation " — liberation from greed, liberation from fear.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

The Universal Prayer

Father of All! in every Age,
In every Clime ador'd,
By Saint, by Savage, and by Sage,
Jehovah, Jove, or Lord!

Thou Great First Cause, least Understood!
Who all my Sense confin'd
To know but this, -- that Thou art Good,
And that my self am blind:

Yet gave me, in this dark Estate,
To see the Good from Ill;
And binding Nature fast in Fate,
Left free the Human Will.

What Conscience dictates to be done,
Or warns me not to doe,
This, teach me more than Hell to shun,
That, more than Heav'n pursue.

What Blessings thy free Bounty gives,
Let me not cast away;
For God is pay'd when Man receives,
T' enjoy, is to obey.

Yet not to Earth's contracted Span,
Thy Goodness let me bound;
Or think Thee Lord alone of Man,
When thousand Worlds are round.

Let not this weak, unknowing hand
Presume Thy Bolts to throw,
And deal Damnation round the land,
On each I judge thy Foe.

If I am right, oh teach my heart
Still in the right to say;
If I am wrong, Thy Grace impart
To find that better Way.

Save me alike from foolish Pride,
Or impious Discontent,
At ought thy Wisdom has deny'd,
Or ought thy Goodness lent.
Teach me to feel another's Woe;
To hide the Fault I see;
That Mercy I to others show,
That Mercy show to me.

Mean tho' I am, not wholly so
Since quicken'd by thy Breath,
O lead me wheresoe'er I go,
Thro' this day's Life, or Death:

This day, be Bread and Peace my Lot;
All else beneath the Sun,
Thou know'st if best bestow'd, or not;
And let Thy Will be done.

To Thee, whose Temple is all Space,
Whose Altar, Earth, Sea, Skies:
One Chorus let all Being raise!
All Nature's Incense rise!

~Alexander Pope (1688-1744)

Monday, November 03, 2008

Inexplicably it comes. When you least expect it. For a reason you can never know. One moment you are striving, figuring, imagining, and then, in the blink of an eye, it all disappears. The struggle disappears. The striving disappears. The person disappears. The world disappears. Everything disappears, and the person is like a pinpoint of light, just receding until it disappears. And there's nobody there to witness it. The person is gone. Only, only awareness remains. Nothing else. No one to be aware. Nothing to be aware of. Only that remains itself. Then it's understood, finally and simply.

Then everything - all the struggle, all the striving, all the thinking, all the figuring, all the surrendering, all the letting go, all the grabbing hold of, all the praying, all the begging, all the cursing, too - was just a distraction. And only then is it seen that the person was, is, and ever will be no more than a thought. With a single thought, the person seems to reemerge. With more thoughts, the world seems to reemerge right out of nothing. But now you know.The incarnation is nothing more than a thought. A thousand incarnations are but a thousand thoughts. And this amazing miracle of a mirage we call the world reappears as it was before, but now you know.

The incarnation is nothing more than a thought. A thousand incarnations are but a thousand thoughts. And this amazing miracle of a mirage we call the world reappears as it was before, but now you know. That's why you usually have a good laugh, because you realize that all your struggles were made up. You conjured them up out of nothing - with a thought that was linked to another thought, that was then believed, that linked to another thought that was then believed. But never could it have been true, not for a second could it have actually existed. Not ever could you have actually suffered for a reason that was true - only through an imagination, good, bad, indifferent. The intricacies of spiritual philosophy and theologies are just a thought within Emptiness.

And so at times we talk, and I pretend to take your struggles seriously, just as I pretended to take my own seriously. You may pretend to take your own struggles seriously from time to time, and although we pretend, we really shouldn't forget that we are pretending, that we are making up the content of our experience; we are making up the little dramas of our lives. We are making up whether we need to hold on or surrender or figure it out or pray to God or be purified or have karma cleansed - it's all a thought. We just collude in this ridiculous charade of an illusion pretending that it's real, only to reveal that it's not. There is no karma. There is nothing really to purify. There's no problem. There is only what you create and believe to be so. And if you like it that way, have at it!

But we cannot continue this absolute farce indefinitely. We cannot continue to pretend this game we play, indefinitely. It's impossible. Everything comes back to nothing. And then it's a bit harder to hold a straight face consistently for the rest of your life.

Adyashanti, transcribed from a talk in Pacific Grove, CA, June 9, 2006.

Sunday, November 02, 2008

The Simplicity of It All

"There is no other practice to be done,
except to understand (that is,telling
yourself with conviction) that it is this
knowledge that You Are which is itself
the knowledge, and not the way you
are using this knowledge at the individual
level. So the knowledge itself is the one
thing that exists and must remain pure in
and as that knowledge; and you must
remain apart from it. That knowledge that
you are has mistakenly identified itself with
the body and so you are thinking of yourself
as the body. But you are the "knowledge."
Strengthen your conviction that you are
the knowledge that you are, this Beingness,
and not the body."
~Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj