Saturday, December 12, 2009

All Things Bright and Beautiful

A postscript excerpt from Richard Dawkins latest book, The Greatest Show on Earth.

I have been warned that 'All things bright and beautiful' will not necessarily strike my readers as nostalgically as it does me. It is an Anglican hymn for children written by Mrs. C. F. Alexander in 1848, comfortably extolling the beauties of nature (and, in one verse, the political status quo) with the refrain, 'The Lord Gog made them all'. It is the subject of a splendid parody written by Eric Idle and sung by the Monty Python team:

All things dull and ugly
All creatures short and squat
All things rude and nasty
The Lord God made the lot.

Each little snake that poisons
Each little wasp that stings
He made their brutish venom
He made their horrid Wings.

All things sick and cancerous
All evil great and small
All things foul and dangerous
The Lord God made them all.

Each nasty little hornet
Each beastly little squid
Who made the spiky urchin?
Who made the sharks? He did!

All Thing scabbed and ulcerous
All pox both great and small
Putrid, foul and gangrenous
The Lord God made them all.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Joseph Campbell, 26 Mar1904 - 31 Oct 1987

"All the old bindings are broken. Cosmological centers
now are anywhere
and everywhere. The earth is a heavenly
body, most beautiful of all, and
all poetry now is archaic
that fails to match the wonder of this view."

- Joseph Campbell, *Myths to Live By*

Saturday, October 10, 2009

And everything comes to One,

As we dance on, dance on, dance on.
- Theodore Roethke

Saturday, October 03, 2009

A human being is part of the whole called by us universe, a part
limited in time and space. We experience ourselves, our thoughts
and feelings as something separate from the rest. A kind of optical
delusion of consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for
us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few
persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from
the prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all
living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. The true
value of a human being is determined primarily by the measure
and the sense in which they have obtained liberation from the self.
We shall require a substantially new manner of thinking if humanity
is to survive.

-Albert Einstein

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Ramesh S. Balsekar 29 May 1917 - 27 Sept 2009

Dear God, This is my record of eternal gratitude to You.

You gave me birth in a most respected Hindu family,
but not high enough in social status to make me proud.

You gave me a physical form well-admired for its perfection,
but it was small enough to keep me humble.

You gave me education high enough to be most useful in life,
but not high enough to make me proud.

You gave me success in sports high enough to be satisfied,
but not proud.

You gave me a career in which You took me high enough to be
admired, but not high enough to make me arrogant.

You gave me a wife and family for which I have always been
eternally grateful, but You did not spare me some grief to remind me not to forget what life is all about, and to be always grateful for what I do have.

You did not forget to place an adequate number of temptations in
my way so that I may not be too critical of others who have to face their own temptations.

I am now 84, and perhaps the only wish that remains is that the
long life You have given me will not carry a burden at the end. But in that case, I know You will also give me the necessary courage to go with it.

You gave me a lot to show me how little is needed to be content
and how much could be given away.

And, undoubtedly, the most important of all - as if the bounty
You have showered on me were not enough - You crowned Your achievement by using this psychosomatic apparatus to convey to the world the most important message of Advaita. Truly I am blessed. Or, indeed, my Beloved, have You not blessed Yourself?!

Finally, it occurs to me, if You were to design for Yourself a life in
phenomenality, could it have been much different from this one?

And, for this thought, no tears are enough to wash Your
Noumenal feet.

Ramesh S. Balsekar

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Balsekar Is Ill

We are neither different nor separate from Consciousness, and for that very reason we cannot 'apprehend' it. Nor can we 'integrate' with it because we have never been other than it. Consciousness can never be understood in relative terms. Therefore, there is nothing to be 'done' about it. All is Consciousness and we are That.

Ramesh S. Balsekar

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Neither Out Far Nor In Deep

The people along the sand

All turn and look one way.

They turn their back on the land.

They look at the sea all day.

As long as it takes to pass

A ship keeps raising its hull;

The wetter ground like glass

Reflects a standing gull.

The land may vary more;

But wherever the truth may be---

The water comes ashore,

And the people look at the sea.

They cannot look out far.

They cannot look in deep.

But when was that ever a bar

To any watch they keep?

~Robert Frost
Thanks to Andrew Sullivan


"If you seek reality
you must set yourself free
of all backgrounds, of all cultures,
of all patterns of thinking and feeling.
Even the idea of being man or woman,
or even human should be discarded.
The ocean of life contains all,
not only humans.
So, first of all abandon all self-identification,
stop thinking of yourself as such-and-such
or so-and-so, this or that.
Abandon all self-concern,
worry not about your welfare,
material or spiritual.
Abandon every desire, gross or subtle,
stop thinking of achievement of any kind.
You are complete here and now,
you need absolutely nothing."

--Shri Nisargadatta Maharaj

Tuesday, August 25, 2009


"If the universe is alive, if solar systems are alive, if galaxies are alive, if
planets are alive, are they conscious? Or are they alive but unconscious, in the same way that perhaps a worm or a bacterium might be alive but unconscious? And is the kind of life that may exist in the cosmos more conscious than ourselves, or do we have to assume it's a great deal less conscious than ourselves? Are we the smartest beings in the universe? Now the usual answer of science is yes. I think that's a very improbable assumption."
Rupert Sheldrake "Physics of Angels"

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Ribhu Gita 10 -33

10. Then, addressing Nidagha, Ribhu said: I shall tell you
about the definition of the Self, which is not available in
all the triad of time--past, present, and future--

11. ever the most secret of the secret, by summarizing
what has been expounded by Siva. There is nothing that
can be talked of as non-Self, neither the mind as the
non-Self, nor the world as the non-Self. Be of the certitude
that there is nothing that is non-Self.

12. By the absence of all sankalpas, by the elimination
of all forms, by the conviction of there being only Brahman,
be of the certitude that there is not anything that is non- Self.

13. In the absence of mind, there is no thinking; in the
absence of the body, there is no aging. With the conviction
of there being only Brahman, be of the certitude that there
is no non-Self.

14. Because of the absence of feet, there is no walking;
because of the absence of hands, there is no work. There
being only Brahman alone, be of the certitude that there
is no non-Self.

15. Because of the absence of Brahma, the Creator, there is
no world; in the absence thereof, there is no Hari, the
sustainer. There being only Brahman alone, be of the
certitude that there is no non-Self.

16. In the absence of aging, there is no death; nor is there
the world or the Vedas or the gods. There being only
Brahman alone, be of the certitude that there is no non- Self.

17. There is no dharma (righteous conduct), no purity, no
[concept of] truth, no fear. There being only Brahman
alone, be of the certitude that there is no non-Self.

18. Because there is no decay, there is no movement.
Because there is no decay, there is no insentience. There
being only Brahman alone, be of the certitude that there is
no non-Self.

19. The Guru, indeed, does not exist; truly, there is no
disciple. There being only Brahman alone, be of the certitude
that there is no non-Self.

20. There being nothing that is the first, there is nothing
that is the second; there being no second, there is nothing
as the first. If there is the concept of truth, something as
nontruth will also arise.

21. If there be any concept of nontruth, a concept of truth
will also arise, with it. If there is inauspiciousness, know
that thereis a notion of auspiciousness. Likewise, if there is
auspiciousness, there will be inauspiciousness.

22. If you think of fearlessness, fear is postulated; fear is
concomitant with fearlessness. There being only Brahman
alone, be of the certitude that there is no non-Self.

23. If there is bondage, there is liberation; in the absence
of bondage, there is no liberation. If there is death, there
is birth; in the absence of birth, there is no death either.

24. If there is "you," there is" I;" if there is no "you," there
is no "I." If there is "this," there is "that;" in the absence
of "that," there is no "this" either.

25. "If it is there" implies something not being there; "it is
not there" implies something being there. If there is an
effect, there is some cause; in the absence of effect, there
is no cause.

26. If there is duality, there is (a concept of) nonduality; in
the absence of duality, there is no (concept of) nonduality
either. If there is something to be "seen," a seer is also
there; in the absence of anything to see, there is no seer
at all either.

27. If there is an interior, there surely is an exterior; if
there be no interior, there is also no exterior. If there be
(a concept of) completeness, it implies something of

28. If there is a little that can be thought of, it becomes
all in no time; if there is not a little--nothing whatsoever
of anything at anytime--nothing arises.

29. Therefore, all this does not exist in the least at any
time: neither you nor I, neither this nor that. There being
only Brahman alone, be of the certitude that there is no

30. There is nothing by way of example in this world, nor
is there anything for which an example is to be given. There
being only Brahman alone, be of the certitude that there is
no non-Self.

31. There is no mind to think, "I am the Supreme Brahman,"
"This universe is only Brahman alone," "You are also only

32. I am Consciousness, and there is no non-Self. Be of this
certitude. Thus, in brief, the definition of the Self has been
told to you.

33. By hearing this once, one becomes Brahman oneself.

- Excerpt from the Ribhu Gita, translated from the original Sanskrit
by Dr. H. Ramamoorthy and Master Nome

Friday, August 21, 2009

The momentum for this cosmic Game is created whenever
you pretend that what isn't, somehow, is far superior to what
is. Although this belief keeps you focused on a never-ending
journey towards happiness, enlightenment, etc., it also
guarantees that you will never reach a point of permanent
satisfaction and peace. Why? Because this whole notion of
being on a `journey-to-fulfillment' is actually the secret
method that the desperate ego uses in order to survive in
the face of personal annihilation by Consciousness.
In other words, as long as the ego stays more focused on
making the `journey,' it can continue to avoid disappearing
entirely in the blinding realization of the true identity of the
mystic `traveler.' This frenzied activity around pursuing
enlightenment helps the ego to maintain a sense of personal
doership. When what is not present is perceived as better
than what is present, the precious reality contained in this
very moment is inwardly resisted. However, Consciousness
has no opposite, it's the only thing that's present, and it can
never really change into `what isn't.'
It just is what it is. However, by pretending that `something
else is better,' the ego hopes to survive by enthusiastically
pursuing the disowned `other.' Of course, the cosmic joke, is
that the ego is caught on a selfgenerated treadmill because it
already `is' what it is looking for.
The valiant struggle to be enlightened secretly protects the ego
from being exposed as the phantom it truly is. As long as the
search continues unabated, the searcher is validated as being
separate from the very thing that he is searching for.
But, in Truth, we can never really run away from ourselves
because we already are who we are running from, and we
already are where we are running to.
-Chuck Hillig

Tuesday, August 18, 2009


And so
it has taken me
all of sixty years
to understand
that water is the finest drink,
and bread the most delicious food,
and that art is worthless
unless it plants
a measure of splendor in people's hearts.

~ Taha Muhammad Ali ~

Friday, July 31, 2009

The Path

All of us are apprenticed to the same teacher
that the religious institutions originally worked
with: reality. Reality-insight says ... master
the twenty-four hours. Do it well, without self-
pity. It is as hard to get the children herded
into the car pool and down the road to the bus
as it is to chant sutras in the Buddha-hall on
a cold morning. One move is not better than the
other, each can be quite boring, and they both
have the virtuous quality of repetition.

Repetition and ritual and their good results
come in many forms. Changing the filter, wiping
noses, going to meetings, picking up around the
house, washing dishes, checking the dipstick-don't
let yourself think these are distracting you from
your more serious pursuits. Such a round of chores
is not a set of difficulties we hope to escape
from so that we may do our "practice" which will
put us on a "path"-it is our path.

- GARY SNYDER, 'The Practice of the Wild'

Saturday, July 25, 2009

I Am That

What you are looking for is what is looking.”

Saint Francis of Assisi

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Now is the Time

Now is the time to know
That all that you do is sacred.

Now, why not consider
A lasting truce with yourself and God.

Now is the time to understand
That all your ideas of right and wrong
Were just a child's training wheels
To be laid aside
When you finally live
With veracity
And love.

Hafiz is a divine envoy
Whom the Beloved
Has written a holy message upon.

My dear, please tell me,
Why do you still
Throw sticks at your heart
And God?

What is it in that sweet voice inside
That incites you to fear?

Now is the time for the world to know
That every thought and action is sacred.

This is the time
For you to compute the impossibility
That there is anything
But Grace.

Now is the season to know
That everything you do
Is sacred.
~ Hafiz ~

Wednesday, July 15, 2009



Sunday, July 12, 2009

Sunday Sermon VI

The teachings of Advaita have resonated with me for some time. When I hear the words, "I am that", something in me knows that it's true. I know on a cellular level that I am not this. I'm not what I think I am. Neither are you. We've bought into this incredibly convincing story about ourselves, and the illusion is so real that we believe it without question. We cling to our stories, we become our stories, and seemingly there's no alternative to the attachment. Pain, joy, jealousy, lust - we're caught in a web of emotions, and the only escape is to numb ourselves with painkillers or to take ourselves out of the game completely. Or so it would seem.

But there's another way out. Recognize the illusion. See the emotions and the circumstances of your life for what they are - persuasive stories. Notice who's at the center of each story, and who's always "right". That in itself should tell you that something is amiss. We should be so tired of spinning our stories, but we go right on doing it, and thus the pain persists.

Advaita teaches that there is only a nondual universe, and everything is made from the same soup, and that soup is God (or Brahman, or That). So instead of being an independent ego that runs around making itself the center of every story, you're actually That. It's the most mind- and ego-blowing piece of information that you'll ever receive, and something inside you resonates when you hear it. Advaita shows up in Christianity as well: Saint Francis (pictured above) said, "What you are looking for is what is looking." And Meister Eckhart: "The eye with which I see God is the same eye with which God sees me." All the enlightened ones knew it, embodied it, and tried to show us that we too are it. You are it. There's nothing that you have to do. Running around and trying to find it would be like searching hither and thither for your own nose. Just relax, take a deep breath, let go of all effort, and there it is - you've found your nose. Awakening to your true nature is like this. It's so simple that almost everyone misses it.

I love the simplicity of Advaita. It's so counterintuitive to our culture. We think we need to work hard to gain anything, and in most cases that's true enough. But not when it comes to enlightenment. There's nothing to achieve. Just a simple recognition of what is, and that's
-Meg Hitchcock

Monday, July 06, 2009

Caretake This Moment

Immerse yourself in its particulars.
Respond to this person, this challenge, this deed.

Quit the evasions.
Stop giving yourself needless trouble.
It is time to really live; to fully inhabit the situation you happen to be in now.
You are not some disinterested bystander.
Exert yourself.

Respect your partnership with providence.
Ask yourself often, How may I perform this particular deed
such that it would be consistent with and acceptable to the divine will?
Heed the answer and get to work.

When your doors are shut and your room is dark you are not alone.
The will of nature is within you as your natural genius is within.
Listen to its importunings.
Follow its directives.

As concerns the art of living, the material is your own life.
No great thing is created suddenly.
There must be time.

Give your best and always be kind.

~ Epictetus ~

Saturday, July 04, 2009


Peter says if you’re going to talk about suffering
you have to mention pleasure too.

Like the way, on the day of the parade, on Forbes Avenue,
one hundred parking tickets flutter
under the windshield wipers of one hundred parked cars.

The accordion band will be along soon,
and the famous Flying Pittsburgettes,
and it’s summer and the sun is shining on the inevitable flags—

Something weird to admire this week on TV:
the handsome face of the white supremacist on trial.
How he looks right back at the lawyers, day after day
—never objecting, never making an apology.

I look at his calm, untroubled face
and think, That motherfucker is going to die white and right,

disappointing everyone like me
who thinks that punishment should be a kind of education.

My attitude is like what God says in the Bible:
Love your brother, or be destroyed.

Then Moses or somebody says back to God,
If I love you,

will you destroy my enemies?
and God says—this is in translation—, No Problemo.

Here, everyone is talking about the price of freedom,
and about how we as a people are united in our down payment.
about how we will fight to the very bottom of our bank account.

And the sky is so blue it looks like it may last forever
and the skinny tuba player goes oompahpah

and everybody cheers.

In the big store window of the travel agency downtown,
a ten-foot sign says, WE WILL NEVER FORGET.

The letters have been cut with scissors out of blue construction paper
and pasted carefully to the sign by someone’s hand.

What I want to know is, who will issue the ticket
for improper use of the collective pronoun?

What I want to know is, who will find and punish the maker
of these impossible promises?

Tony Hoagland

from What Narcissism Means to Me; Greywolf Press, 2003

Kris Johnson July 4, 1951 - January 5, 1985


Mondays are meshed with Tuesdays
and the week with the whole year.
Time cannot be cut
with your weary scissors,
and all the names of the day
are washed out by the waters of night.

No one can claim the name of Pedro,
nobody is Rosa or Maria,
all of us are dust or sand,
all of us are rain under rain.
They have spoken to me of Venezuelas,
of Chiles and of Paraguays;
I have no idea what they are saying.
I know only the skin of the earth
and I know it is without a name.

When I lived amongst the roots
they pleased me more than flowers did,
and when I spoke to a stone
it rang like a bell.

It is so long, the spring
which goes on all winter.
Time lost its shoes.
A year is four centuries.

When I sleep every night,
what am I called or not called?
And when I wake, who am I
if I was not while I slept?

This means to say that scarcely
have we landed into life
than we come as if new-born;
let us not fill our mouths
with so many faltering names,
with so many sad formalities,
with so many pompous letters,
with so much of yours and mine,
with so much of signing of papers.

I have a mind to confuse things,
unite them, bring them to birth,
mix them up, undress them,
until the light of the world
has the oneness of the ocean,
a generous, vast wholeness,
a crepitant fragrance.
Pablo Neruda

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Tarantulas on the Lifebuoy

Align Left

For some semitropical reason
when the rains fall
relentlessly they fall

into swimming pools, these otherwise
bright and scary
arachnids. They can swim
a little, but not for long

and they can't climb the ladder out.
They usually drown - but
if you want their favor,
if you believe there is justice,
a reward for not loving

the death of ugly
and even dangerous (the eel, hog snake,
rats) creatures, if

you believe these things, then
you would leave a lifebuoy
or two in your swimming pool at night.

And in the morning
you would haul ashore
the huddled, hairy survivors

and escort them
back to the bush, and know,
be assured that at least these saved,
as individuals, would not turn up

again someday
in your hat, drawer,
or the tangled underworld

of your socks, and that even -
when your belief in justice
merges with your belief in dreams -
they may tell the others

in a sign language
four times as subtle
and complicated as man's

that you are good,
that you love them,
that you would save them again
Thomas Lux

Monday, June 29, 2009

Classification Is A Human Achievement

To see and feel nature from within means not asking what the world is. Classification is a human achievement which separates the human from nature--and separation always means conflict and unhappiness.
Continuous change and ultimate destruction after a certain duration is the very nature of all phenomena. Adversity and prosperity, happiness and misery, birth and death are inescapable aspects of the natural process of causality, but it is only anxiety and nothing else that is the root cause of suffering in this world. The man of wisdom, divorced from his senses, wants nothing, grieves for nothing, and fears nothing, and thus he lives in total freedom from anxiety.
Ramesh S. Balsekar

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Sunday Sermon V

I invite you to listen really deeply and with your whole body, every cell, to the wordless invisible Aliveness that is here. Say yes to being no one. Yes to resting in Nothing. Yes to open palmed, emptied-out pockets, open-hearted clueless offering of your whole being to just right here. Good-bye cleverness, good-bye being right, good-bye getting ahead, good-bye being on top. Welcome to nowhere.

Let everything die here. Let everything be washed away here. Let yourself be made so new, bathed in your own Innocent being. Giving over everything else to the Ocean and letting it dissolve like salt.

We must be emptied over and over and over. We must empty as the Holy, before the Holy, humbled, nothing, offered, waiting on nothing, listening deeply to nothing.

We are much vaster than our minds can conceive. We must be charmed, tricked, invited, welcomed, kept company with, to drop out of our everyday social reality, into right here.

We want to be moved by something other than fear. We have to let the winds come and the rains come and the storms come and be pushed to the ground. We must cling to It, beg Its mercy for every foolish moment that we thought that we were someone and could get somewhere without This.

Dare to say the dangerous prayer: Holy Nothing, take everything that's not You and leave me here, naked, stripped of every pretending and striving. Only in the Nothing, only as Nothing, only as No One, will I ever find what I'm looking for. So take my quest for enlightenment and take my fears that I'm a schmuck and just leave me here without a clue, completely open. No idea what I am or where I'm going. Just here, the quiet open, waiting for your Breath to play me.

We don't need any improvement. We don't need anything more. We just need to stop and notice. And let be whatever's here, meet it. Until we have the kind of heart that's so empty for having kissed everything in it, that it can kiss anything and call it Beloved.

There are a few kinds of peace. There's one that can be shattered because it's based on quiet music and having things just the way we feel comfortable having them. There's that kind of peace, which is a relative peace. And then there's the peace that is always here, if we check, as this content-less awareness looking out of our eyes. That content-less awareness that all of our freak-outs arise in, is never freaked out.

To be a sensitive squishy being in a loud world hurts sometimes. To witness cruelty, or to have it aimed at us, hurts. That's not a mistake. It's not a shortcoming. This is the nature of being alive and in the raw moment, is that things that are delusion, hurt.

We think when our hearts start to melt that there's something wrong. When the heart starts to ache we start to become so sensitive to the smallest hatred, whether at us or someone hating themselves. We think that's all wrong, that we're supposed to transcend all that and just smile. The only true transcendence, truly embodied transcendence, happens by meeting everything and kissing it right on the face. Anything else is an escape.

We are here for the Holy to unfold through us. There is not a single one left out of that. Not a single one in whom the process of unfolding is not happening, just perfectly.

- Jeannie Zandi. .

Stonewall June 28, 1969 - June 28, 2009

"Perish miserably they who think that these men did or suffered aught disgraceful."
Philip II of Macedon

Statue erected at the mass grave of The Sacred
Band of Thebes, 300 male lovers annihilated by
Alexander at the Battle of Chaeronea, 338 BC

The Unreal

"Christianity is one way of putting words together and
Hinduism is another.
The real is behind and beyond words, incommunicable, directly experienced, explosive in its effect on the mind. It is easily had when nothing else is wanted. The unreal is created by imagination and perpetuated by desire."
Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

Friday, June 26, 2009

James Baker Hall 14 April 1935 - 25 June 2009

The Mother on the Other Side of the World

a yellow cat from the next field over hungry finds

her way to the feed bowls inside our toolshed atop

the deepfreeze our striped gray lets this happen

then moves low to the ground

into position crouching outside
staring at the only escape

too frightened now
to eat the stray too stares at it

neither can see the other
for the longest time
something dark emerges

almost audibly circles

of their silence their

motionlessness pulse out
into the greater commotions the spins and counterspins

including the entire backyard the neighboring fields
many horses the adjoining areas
each of us moving in God knows

how many different directions at once

these two cats one almost wild

the other almost domesticated

get their version of it

line up perfectly
great longing compacted

their own little seesaw

the whole backyard seesaws

the mother on the other side

of the world

many fears

but only this one silence
the stray’s tail was all I saw

of her when she got out of there

that night beginning the plot of this story

I was to see about that much of her

again the next night in my headlights

at the side of a narrow road
a half mile away

yellow eyes

echoing outward the darkness it was
gonglike and out there in the expanding middle

I was to see more and more of her

in the days to follow

she hangs out in the culvert

I pull off the road and climb down
with a plastic cup of food

emptying it out on a scrap board I took down there

she stays at the other end of the culvert
as though she’d never ever come closer

sweet talk doesn’t run her off
but she prefers quiet it seems

occasionally she’ll have a dead mouse

or chipmunk prominently displayed

a gift for me perhaps or maybe

a reminder of the role

she allows me to play

she never lets me see her
lick herself or sleep

James Baker Hall, The Mother on the Other Side of the World (Sarabande, 1999)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Monday, June 22, 2009

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Sunday Sermon IV

They Ask: Is God, Too, Lonely?
When God scooped up a handful of dust,
And spit on it, and molded the shape of man,
And blew breath into it and told it to walk—
That was a great day.

And did God do this because he was lonely?
Did God say to Himself he must have company
And therefore he would make a man to walk the earth
And set apart churches for speech and song with God?

These are questions.
They are scrawled in old caves.
They are painted in tall cathedrals.
There are men and women so lonely they believe
God, too, is lonely.

Carl Sandburg
from Harvest Poems 1910-1960; Harvest Books 1960

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

"I Am That I Am"

sums up the whole truth; the method is summarized in "Be Still."

To know the truth of one's Self as the sole Reality, and to merge and become one with it, is the only true Realization. Just be the Self, that is all.

Because people want something elaborate and mysterious, so many religions have come into existence. Only those who are mature can understand the matter in its naked simplicity. The ultimate truth is so simple; it is nothing more than being in one's natural, original state. It is a great wonder that to teach such a simple truth a number of religions should be necessary, and so many disputes should go on between them as to which is the God-ordained teaching. What a pity!

Your duty is to Be, and not be this or that.

The state we call Realization is simply being one's self, not knowing anything or becoming anything. It is not a matter of becoming but of Being. Because people love mystery and not the truth, religions cater to them, eventually bringing them around to the Self.

Whatever be the means adopted, you must at last return to the Self; so why not abide in the Self here and now? There is no greater mystery than this: Being Reality ourselves, we seek to gain Reality. Abide as the Self. Do not look for teachings...for the Self is beyond knowledge and ignorance.

- Ramana Maharshi, from The Essential Teachings of Ramana Maharshi- A Visual Journey


Since one was not concerned with the phenomenon of one's birth,
why should one be concerned with phenomenon of death? Indeed, there really is no ONE who need be concerned with anything. It is only this very concern, in fact, that constitutes one's bondage as a personal entity.

Monday, June 08, 2009

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Sunday Sermon III

Believe those who are seeking the truth.
Doubt those who find it.

Andre Gide (1869 - 1951)

Monday, June 01, 2009

Dzogchen Practice in Everyday Life

The everyday practice of dzogchen is simply to develop a complete carefree acceptance, an openness to all situations without limit.

We should realize openness as the playground of our emotions and relate to people without artificiality, manipulation or strategy.

We should experience everything totally, never withdrawing into ourselves as a marmot hides in its hole. This practice releases tremendous energy which is usually constricted by the process of maintaining fixed reference points. Referentiality is the process by which we retreat from the direct experience of everyday life.

Being present in the moment may initially trigger fear. But by welcoming the sensation of fear with complete openness, we cut through the barriers created by habitual emotional patterns.

When we engage in the practice of discovering space, we should develop the feeling of opening ourselves out completely to the entire universe. We should open ourselves with absolute simplicity and nakedness of mind. This is the powerful and ordinary practice of dropping the mask of self-protection.

We shouldn't make a division in our meditation between perception and field of perception. We shouldn't become like a cat watching a mouse. We should realise that the purpose of meditation is not to go "deeply into ourselves" or withdraw from the world. Practice should be free and non-conceptual, unconstrained by introspection and concentration.

Vast unoriginated self-luminous wisdom space is the ground of being - the beginning and the end of confusion. The presence of awareness in the primordial state has no bias toward enlightenment or non-enlightenment. This ground of being which is known as pure or original mind is the source from which all phenomena arise. It is known as the great mother, as the womb of potentiality in which all things arise and dissolve in natural self-perfectedness and absolute spontaneity.

All aspects of phenomena are completely clear and lucid. The whole universe is open and unobstructed - everything is mutually interpenetrating.

Seeing all things as naked, clear and free from obscurations, there is nothing to attain or realise.

The nature of phenomena appears naturally and is naturally present in time-transcending awareness. Everything is naturally perfect just as it is. All phenomena appear in their uniqueness as part of the continually changing pattern. These patterns are vibrant with meaning and significance at every moment; yet there is no significance to attach to such meanings beyond the moment in which they present themselves.

This is the dance of the five elements in which matter is a symbol of energy and energy a symbol of emptiness. We are a symbol of our own enlightenment. With no effort or practice whatsoever, liberation or enlightenment is already here.

The everyday practice of dzogchen is just everyday life itself. Since the undeveloped state does not exist, there is no need to behave in any special way or attempt to attain anything above and beyond what you actually are. There should be no feeling of striving to reach some "amazing goal" or "advanced state."

To strive for such a state is a neurosis which only conditions us and serves to obstruct the free flow of Mind. We should also avoid thinking of ourselves as worthless persons - we are naturally free and unconditioned. We are intrinsically enlightened and lack nothing.

When engaging in meditation practice, we should feel it to be as natural as eating, breathing and defecating. It should not become a specialised or formal event, bloated with seriousness and solemnity. We should realise that meditation transcends effort, practice, aims, goals and the duality of liberation and non-liberation. Meditation is always ideal; there is no need to correct anything. Since everything that arises is simply the play of mind as such, there is no unsatisfactory meditation and no need to judge thoughts as good or bad.

Therefore we should simply sit. Simply stay in your own place, in your own condition just as it is. Forgetting self-conscious feelings, we do not have to think "I am meditating." Our practice should be without effort, without strain, without attempts to control or force and without trying to become "peaceful."

If we find that we are disturbing ourselves in any of these ways, we stop meditating and simply rest or relax for a while. Then we resume our meditation. If we have "interesting experiences" either during or after meditation, we should avoid making anything special of them. To spend time thinking about experiences is simply a distraction and an attempt to become unnatural. These experiences are simply signs of practice and should be regarded as transient events. We should not attempt to re-experience them because to do so only serves to distort the natural spontaneity of mind.

All phenomena are completely new and fresh, absolutely unique and entirely free from all concepts of past, present and future. They are experienced in timelessness.

The continual stream of new discovery, revelation and inspiration which arises at every moment is the manifestation of our clarity. We should learn to see everyday life as mandala - the luminous fringes of experience which radiate spontaneously from the empty nature of our being. The aspects of our mandala are the day-to-day objects of our life experience moving in the dance or play of the universe. By this symbolism the inner teacher reveals the profound and ultimate significance of being. Therefore we should be natural and spontaneous, accepting and learning from everything. This enables us to see the ironic and amusing side of events that usually irritate us.

In meditation we can see through the illusion of past, present and future - our experience becomes the continuity of nowness. The past is only an unreliable memory held in the present. The future is only a projection of our present conceptions. The present itself vanishes as soon as we try to grasp it. So why bother with attempting to establish an illusion of solid ground?

We should free ourselves from our past memories and preconceptions of meditation. Each moment of meditation is completely unique and full of potentiality. In such moments, we will be incapable of judging our meditation in terms of past experience, dry theory or hollow rhetoric.

Simply plunging directly into meditation in the moment now, with our whole being, free from hesitation, boredom or excitement, is enlightenment.

by HH Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Sunday's Sermon II

Willing to die,

You give up

your will. Keep still

until, moved

by what moves

all else, you move.

Wendell Berry

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The entire manifested creation presents a cosmic dance by the
Divine Dancer, executed to the tune of time on the stage of space, and the dance cannot be differentiated from the dancer.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The little space within the heart is as great as the vast universe. The heavens and the earth are there, and the sun and the moon and the stars. Fire and lightening and winds are there, and all that now is and all that is not.
— The Upanishads

Monday, May 25, 2009

"Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn't learn a lot today,
at least we learned a little, and if we didn't learn a little, at least
we didn't get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn't die; so,
let us all be thankful." - Buddha

Memorial Day 25 May 2009

Soldiers are not chunks of identical clay; each of them has a story,
their own reasons for being caught in a war.

Brave? Maybe - sometimes, under some conditions. Scared, mostly.
The younger they are, the more likely their presence had to do with
restlessness, cockiness. The need to be part of a winning team, the
desire to even a score. Kick ass, take names. Kill them all, let God
sort them out.

The older they are, the more realistic they are. This was a steady
paycheck, or a way to supplement the one they already had. When
they join, it's with their eyes on the future benefit. When they're
in the middle of a war, they think only of surviving the next five
minutes. Please, God, please. Let me see my family again.

And when they die in the war, each death leaves a hole in the
world. It's important to remember that, to not see them as a
monolithic casualty list or as an acceptable loss.

No loss is acceptable. Ask the parents, the spouses, the children.
They try. They tell themselves stories of nobility, sacrifice, a
greater cause. They cover it up with the ritual rhetoric. But deep
down, they must wonder.

Here is how to count the cost: In high school graduation pictures
that will never be replaced with wedding pictures.
In wedding
rings that will never be worn smooth by years.
By the daughters
who will walk down the aisle with an uncle
or brother instead
of Dad. By the sons who will find themselves
angry and lost,
not understanding why. The children who
will hear about their
mother's eyes, their father's chin but
won't ever see themselves
reflected in that face.
By the parents who now understand the
quiet obscenity
of outliving their own children.

Each and every one of these deaths left a hole in the world.

That is why we count them.

They mattered

~Susan Madrax, Memorial Day 2005

Sunday, May 24, 2009

In true acceptance of the will of God, there is no acceptor at all.
Ultimate understanding can only be pure silence. There is no
question of any "one" understanding anything or accepting
Ramesh S. Balsekar

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

James Kirkup 23 April 1918 – 10 May 2009

Damn the culture ministry

My lover from Asakusa, a blooming boy,

He who adorned his amber body
With a swirling tattoo
Of the goddess Kwannon surrounded
By ferns, wildflowers, flags
And had a capering carp
Illuminating each vigorous buttock —

He whose suit of ink,
Blue and black and dogrose pink,
Was the one garment
I could not divest him of —
When he pulled back
His periwinkled foreskin, he discovered,
Always with a broken smile,
A gay butterfly on the glans penis.

Now the Culture Ministry
Has proclaimed him
Not only a National Treasure, but
An Intangible National Treasure!

Now I no longer
Hold him in my arms like a warm
Sheaf of poppies and wheat, no more
Stroke that golden-amber shoulder
Stained with a lace of sugarbag blue,
No more bedew
With tears and kisses his
Empurpled butterfly...

I can't get my hands on him.
Our love is finished,
Broken by banal politicians.

Now he belongs to the Nation,
Which means he belongs to no one,
And especially not to me.
I always put him on a pedestal,
But not like this!
He might as well be behind glass,
Stuffed and docketed in the National Museum.

This poem appeared in the seminal anthology of gay
male poets edited by Ian Young in 1972: The Male Muse.

Monday, May 18, 2009


Everyone should be born into this world happy
and loving everything.
But in truth it rarely works that way.
For myself, I have spent my life clamoring toward it.
Halleluiah, anyway I'm not where I started!
And have you too been trudging like that, sometimes
almost forgetting how wondrous the world is
and how miraculously kind some people can be?
And have you too decided that probably nothing important
is ever easy?
Not, say, for the first sixty years.
Halleluiah, I'm sixty now, and even a little more,
and some days I feel I have wings.

~ Mary Oliver

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Wonder of Silence

The wonder of silence, of being, of God, of nothingness, of awareness is that there is nothing you need to do to get anything or any of it. I repeat there is nothing that needs to be done, by you or anyone else. Pure Silence is, now. Our only problem is that we have been taught and conditioned by years and years of belief systems that we are not in touch with that which is infinite, that which is unnamed, unknowable and all mighty. And so we have invented philosophies and religions and techniques and there have been prophets and messiahs and teachers and gurus and a myriad of self-help seminars and books about it all. I say to you now, you need none of it. There is nothing to find out which is not already here right now. There is nothing to understand, nothing to learn ,nothing to experience, no enlightenment, no salvation, no heaven and no hell, no savior and no devil. There is only a subtle awareness you have right now that you are and that this awareness is gentle, silent and loving. You are the silence. All you need do is realize that by attending to that. Jesus said "the Kingdom of Heaven is within you." Yes, that is where you should look, within your very being, mind, brain, soul, whatever. See what is always there, always stable, always you. Once you see that, once you feel that, once you know that, there is nothing more to learn or know. Then you start to live your human life with it's myriads of problems and situations out of that. And your life is lived out of this silent peace and anything that arises in your life will be met in the Pure Silence and you will know how to respond to whatever comes your way, in truth, in compassion and in total reliance on that which contains you and is you.
- Mark McCloskey

Meditating deeply

... reach the depth of the source. Branching streams cannot compare to this source! Sitting alone in a great silence, even though the heavens turn and the earth is upset, you will not even wink.
~ Nyogen Senzaki