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