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Editors: Jerry Katz, Gloria Lee, Christiana Duranczyk, Michael Read, John Metzger

Highlights Issue #1062

Sunday, May 5, 2002

Today's Highlights compiled, edited and designed by Gloria Lee

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"The purpose of meditation is to awaken in us the skylike nature of
mind, and to introduce us to that which we really are, our unchanging
pure awareness that underlies the whole of life and death".
  and more from Sogyal Rinpoche:

"If your mind is agitated by waves of confused thought, then these coarse thoughts, which are your mind running after various objects, obscure the true face of your mind.  Under such circumstances, because of this obscuration of thought, you will not be able to identify (recognize) mind's true nature (Awareness), even if a teacher points it out to you. At a minimum, coarse conceptuality must be allowed to be naturally pacified. (leave thought alone and it naturally dissolves - clouds arising in the sky naturally disappear on their own).  Thus mind is allowed to settle in relaxation.

Neither allow yourself to be distracted nor attempt to fabricate anything, and in particular, do not try to figure it out.  While it is the case that one's mind, allowed to rest naturally, is itself the luminous wisdom that one attempts to identify, one will not be able to recognize the nature of mind as long as there is any fabrication present.

The basic instruction is simple (like any insight practice instructions) namely to allow the mind to settle completely and thereby recognize the innate wisdom (or awareness) that is always present. For beginners, it is impossible for there not to be the adulteration of some clinging to the various experiences that arise.  As one allows one's mind to come to rest, the various qualities of stillness will naturally arise, such as sense of ease or bliss, an experience of clarity, and an absence of conceptuality.

There is nothing wrong with experiences in themselves, but as long as one is a beginner, it is impossible not to be caught by them, because one is experiencing a bliss and clarity and non-thought that one has never known before.  (These are nice - they will grasped at as "me" and "mine" and thought about - its a mental habit).  Something must be introduced into one's practice that would enable mind to break through all experiences that will naturally arise.  There has to be something that frees mind from fixation, because all fixation obscures awareness, the innate wisdom of awareness, the nature of mind".

But: one has to be investigating directly - where do thoughts come from?  Where do they go?  What is it here and now when there are no thoughts (perceptions conceptions etc) appearing? Could it then be said that mind is spacious and like the sky?  What is "naked-awareness?" Awareness not dressed up in passing conceptuality.  So - if a yogi took "awareness" as object of contemplation - what is it like?  Pentrating? Unobscured? Unobstructed? "Transparent"?  Totally Open? Is it fabricated?  Is it not always present whether one has bum on cushion or not? Obscured?  "Veiled?" By what?

Posted by Joyce Short on Million Paths **** Buddha from 

  Question:  Are there degrees of illusion?   Ramana:  Illusion itself is illusory.  It must be seen by somebody outside it, but how can such a seer be subject to it?  So, how can he speak of degrees of it?  posted by Alton on Million Paths 

   BAMIYAN BUDDHAS   A sculptor in Afghanistan has begun a project to reconstruct one of the large Buddha sculptures that were blown up by the Taliban last year. Amanulah Halderzad has returned to Bamiyan after living abroad since the 1960's. Before leaving his country, he had established a Fine Arts Department at Kabul University. Mr. Halderazad intends to maintain the site of the smaller destroyed statue as a reminder of what terrorism can inflict on a nation. He estimates that his project will take five years. Internet 


In springBe the golden glowBe the sound from melting iceBe the hidden stream beneath the snowBe the first bumblebeelook for nothing in everything

Alan Larus on Harsha Satsangh 

 A few penneth of contributions.....

You are awareness and thus can't come to it.
Likewise your are 'now' and thus can't attend to it.
You are yourself and thus pass beyond self understanding.

What is wanted is the 'truth' so that you might know who you are and
know where you stand to others. An improved version of this is that
one would like to be 'enlightened' and then be in relation to other
enlightened or unenlightened ones. But this won't be forthcoming as
one finds only pretensions.

This is not a criticism because there is no 'Rashmi' being criticised
and no 'Gary' doing any criticism. There being no independent
'thinker' or 'critic'. Rather these questions arise as a matter of
intelligence, as a matter of clarity.

And being is being when there is no one to be.
And doing is doing when there is no one to do. Gary Merrill on NDS

 ............there are no byproducts of enlightenment. there are no
similarities between the two [being & doing], yet they are inseperable. form and
emptiness are not opposites, neither are they complimentary.
 matthew files on NDS 


Pema Chödrön 
"Start Where You Are"
Everybody Loves Something

 "Love and compassion are like the weak spots in the walls of ego. If we
connect with even one moment of good heart and cherish it, our ability
to open will gradually expand."

The Buddhist term bodhicitta means completely open heart and mind.
"Citta" is translated as heart or mind; "bodhi" means awake.
The cultivation of the noble heart and mind of bodhicitta is a personal
journey. The very life we have is our working basis; the very life we
have is our journey to enlightenment. Enlightenment is not something
we're going to achieve after we follow the instructions, and then get it
right. In fact when it comes to awakening the heart and mind, you can't
"get it right."

On this journey we're moving toward that which is not so certain, that
which cannot be tied down, that which is not habitual and fixed. We're
moving toward a whole new way of thinking and feeling, a flexible and
open way of perceiving reality that is not based on certainty and
security. This new way of perceiving is based on connecting with the
living energetic quality of ourselves and everything else. Bodhicitta is
our means of tapping into this awakened energy and we can start by
tapping into our emotions. We can start by connecting very directly with
what we already have.

 Bodhicitta is particularly available to us when we feel good heart; when
we feel gratitude, appreciation or love in any form whatsoever. In any
moment of tenderness or happiness, bodhicitta is always here. If we
begin to acknowledge these moments and cherish them, if we begin to
realize how precious they are, then no matter how fleeting and tiny this
good heart may seem, it will gradually, at its own speed, expand. Our
capacity to love is an unstoppable essence that when nurtured can expand
without limit.

 Bodhicitta is also available in other emotions-even the hardest of
feelings like rage, jealousy, envy and deep-rooted resentment. In even
the most painful and crippling feelings, bodhicitta is available to us
when we acknowledge them with an open mind and heart and realize how
they are shared by all of us-when we acknowledge that we are all in the
same boat feeling the same pain. In the midst of the most profound
misery, we can think of others just like ourselves and wish that we
could all be free of suffering and the root of suffering. When we tune
into any of our feelings, become aware any of our feelings, they have
the capacity to soften us and to dissolve the barriers we put up between
ourselves and others.

 On Cape Breton Island, where I live in Nova Scotia, the lakes get so
hard in the winter that people can drive trucks and cars on them.
Alexander Graham Bell flew one of the early airplanes off that ice. It's
that solid. Our habits and patterns can feel just as frozen as that ice.
But when spring comes, the ice melts. The quality of water has never
really disappeared, even in the deepest depths of winter. It just
changed form. The ice melts, and the essential fluid, living quality of
water is there.

 The essential good heart and open mind of bodhicitta is like that. It is
here even if we're experiencing it as so solid we could land an airplane
on it.

 When I'm emotionally in midwinter and nothing I do seems to melt my
frozen heart and mind, it helps me to remember that no matter how hard
the ice, the water of bodhicitta hasn't really gone anywhere. It's
always right here. At those moments, I'm just experiencing bodhicitta in
its most solid, immovable form.

 At that point I often realize that I prefer the inherent fluidity of
situations to the frozenness I habitually impose on them. So I work on
melting that hardness by generating more warmth, more open heart. A good
way for any of us to do this is to think of a person toward whom we feel
appreciation or love or gratitude. In other words, we connect with the
warmth that we already have. If we can't think of a person, we can think
of a pet, or even a plant. Sometimes we have to search a bit. But as
Trungpa Rinpoche used to say, "Everybody loves something. Even if it's
just tortillas. " The point is to touch in to the good heart that we
already have and nurture it.

 At other times we can think of a person or situation that automatically
evokes compassion. Compassion is our capacity to care about others and
our wish to alleviate their pain. It is based not on pity or
professional warmth, but on the acknowledgment that we are all in this
together. Compassion is a relationship between equals. So in any moment
of hardness, we can connect with the compassion we already have-for
laboratory animals, abused children, our friends, our relatives, for
anyone anywhere-and let it open our heart and mind in what otherwise
might feel like an impossibly frozen situation.

Love and compassion are like the weak spots in the walls of ego. They
are like a naturally occuring opening. And they are the opening we take.
If we connect with even one moment of good heart or compassion and
cherish it, our ability to open will gradually expand. Beginning to tune
into even the minutest feelings of compassion or appreciation or
gratitude softens us. It allows us to touch in with the noble heart of
bodhicitta on the spot.

 When I was a child there was a comic-strip character named Popeye. At
times he was really, really weak and at those vulnerable moments, the
big bully Bluto was always standing there ready to reduce poor Popeye to
dust. But old Popeye would get out his can of spinach, open it up, and
gulp it down. He'd just pour the spinach into his mouth and then--wham!
Full of confidence and strength, he could relate with all the demons.
That's what happens when we use our emotions to touch in with our noble
heart. Bodhicitta, it's like spiritual spinach. But please don't quote
me on this!

 Posted by Alton on Million Paths 



 Ramesh S. Balsekar

That this entire phenomenal show of the universe has no purpose indicates
the obvious futility of seeking a goal in life.  No sooner is a goal
conceived than spontaneity is at once destroyed and the self conscious ego
takes over in destructive competition against everything that comes, thus
missing all that is worthwhile in life.  It is, indeed, the "purposeful"
life which entirely misses out on the purpose of life!  The true purposeless
vision misses nothing and enjoys everything without inhibition.

Posted by Manuel Hernandez on A Net of Jewels

Nisargadatta - I followed (my teacher's) instruction My teacher told me to hold on to the sense 'I am' tenaciously and not to swerve from it even for a moment. I did my best to follow his advice and in a comparatively short time I realized within myself the truth of his teaching. All I did was to remember his teaching, his face, his words constantly. This brought an end to the mind; in the stillness of the mind I saw myself as I am -- unbound.

I simply followed (my teacher's) instruction which was to focus the mind on pure being 'I am', and stay in it. I used to sit for hours together, with nothing but the 'I am' in my mind and soon peace and joy and a deep all-embracing love became my normal state. In it all disappeared-- myself, my Guru, the life I lived, the world around me. Only peace remained and unfathomable silence.

My Guru ordered me to attend to the sense 'I am' and to give attention to nothing else. I just obeyed. I did not follow any particular courseof breathing, or meditation, or study of scriptures. Whatever happened, I would turn away my attention from it and remain with the sense 'I am', it may look too simple, even crude. My only reason for doing it was that my Guru told me so. Yet it worked! Obedience is a powerful solventof all desires and fears.~~~~I Am That ,excerpt found on InternetPosted by Viorica Weissman on Million Paths 

 By accepting yourself, you are cutting the roots of the mind. The mind
survives only as long as you desire to become something. When there is no
becoming, there is no goal. Without a goal where is the mind? Now it is
just a beautiful instrument. The moment you accept the mind, which was
fighting all the time to become something, the problem is finished. (link may no longer be working.)

Posted by Joyce Short on Million Paths 



Chan and Zen - list of links 

WWW Virtual Library of Buddhist Studies 

ZEN  - Zen Mountain Monastery  

Zen Art Gallery 


Nonduality: The Varieties of Expression Home

Jerry Katz
photography & writings

The wind carves shapes into the beach sand

Search over 5000 pages on Nonduality: