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#1135 - Sunday, July 14, 2002 - Editor: Gloria Lee
Reading an Anthology of
Chinese Poems of the Sung Dynasty,
I Pause To Admire the Length
and Clarity of Their Titles
It seems these poets have nothing
up their ample sleeves
they turn over so many cards so early,
telling us before the first line
whether it is wet or dry,
night or day, the season the man is standing in,
even how much he has had to drink.
Maybe it is autumn and he is looking at a sparrow.
Maybe it is snowing on a town with a beautiful name.
"Viewing Peonies at the Temple of Good Fortune
on a Cloudy Afternoon" is one of Sun Tung Po's.
"Dipping Water from the River and Simmering Tea"
is another one, or just
"On a Boat, Awake at Night."
And Lu Yu takes the simple rice cake with
"In a Boat on a Summer Evening
I Heard the Cry of a Waterbird.
It Was Very Sad and Seemed To Be Saying
My Woman Is Cruel--Moved, I Wrote This Poem."
There is no iron turnstile to push against here
as with headings like "Vortex on a String,"
"The Horn of Neurosis," or whatever.
No confusingly inscribed welcome mat to puzzle over.
Instead, "I Walk Out on a Summer Morning
to the Sound of Birds and a Waterfall"
is a beaded curtain brushing over my shoulders.
And "Ten Days of Spring Rain Have Kept Me Indoors"
is a servant who shows me into the room
where a poet with a thin beard
is sitting on a mat with a jug of wine
whispering something about clouds and cold wind,
about sickness and the loss of friends.
How easy he has made it for me to enter here,
to sit down in a corner,
cross my legs like his, and listen.
BILLY COLLINS's most recent collections are PICNIC, LIGHTNING and THE ART OF DROWNING,
both published by the University of Pittsburgh Press, which has also reissued his QUESTIONS ABOUT
This poem appears in the June 1999 POETRY.
BERKOW on HarshaSatsangh
Re:"this whole universe is just a bubble on the sea of all"
If you see fish, it is only because
a "fish-lens" is being used.
It is all ocean, the whole time.
It's never been something else, where
would there be room for something else?
Whatever lens is used, will show pictures
Using my "person-lens" to say hi to you,
ALAN LARUS on HS
lets give this lense a cleanse
if i see fish
a broken sealing
this must be my ceiling
if i see birds
a perfect floor
won't have to use the vacuum cleaner anymore
VIORICA WEISSMAN on MillionPaths
When a human becomes steadfast in his abstention
from harming others , then all living creatures will
cease to feel enmity in his presence.
We are accustomed to use the word "harmless" in a rather derogatory sense;
it has become almost synonymous with "ineffectual" . Yet the perfected
harmlessness of the saint is by no means ineffectual; it is a positive
psychological force of tremendous power. When a man has truly and entirely
renounced violence in his own thoughts and in his dealings with others ,
he begins to create an atmosphere around himself within which violence
and enmity must cease to exist because they find no reciprocation.
Animals, too, are sensitive to such an atmosphere. Wild beasts may be
temporarily cowed with whips, but they can only be rendered harmless by
the power of genuine harmlessness, as every good trainer knows.
A lady who was accustomed to to handle deadly snakes used to explain:
"You see, they know I won't hurt them."
"The test of ahimsa [ harmlessness ] is absence of jealousy," said Swami
Vivekananda. "The so-called great men of the world may all be seen to
become jealous of each other for a small name, for a little fame, and
for a few bits of gold. So long as this jealosy exists in a heart, it is far
away from the perfection of ahimsa."
How to Know God,
The Yoga Aphorisms of Patanjali,
tr: Swami Prabhavananda & Cristopher Isherwood
BILL CADMAN on Spiritual-Friends
From William Martin's "The Parent's Tao Te Ching"
Your children do not need more.
Each day adds more facts,
and more confusion
to their lives.
Your task is to subtract.
Each day seek to remove,
Society's wisdom adds,
and confusion grows.
The wisdom of the Tao subtracts,
and serenity flourishes.
If each day one minute less
was spent doing something.
And one minute more
was spent being present,
in simple pleasures,
with your children.
In two months
you would transform your life,
One minute less.
JAN SULTAN on NDS
John Wren-Lewis being interviewed:
When I asked him if it was worth it, he says definitively that "Yes, this
is the best thing that's ever happened to me and it's the natural
birthright of everyone and I haven't got a clue how to reach it!"
In fact, he feels that most methods people practice to try to reach
Enlightenment are counter-productive in that they concentrate on
self-effort and think along the lines of time and causality. Although the
acausality of enlightenment may sound like bad news at first, John says
that it is also good news in a sense because there is no need to kill
yourself with spiritual practices or worry about making irreversible
mistakes on the spiritual path.
In the sixteen years since his experience, he has sought out other people
who have had permanent Enlightenment experiences. He has thus far found
fifteen, and only two had previous spiritual backgrounds.
Just as we are all different people, John told me, there is an infinite
variety in the types of Enlightenment experiences that people have. John
says the Eternity/God/Dazzling Dark loves the variety.
JOHN DUFF on NDS
A few observations. Although I embrace, overall, a non-dual view of things I remain stuck on
the idea of not going straight there. What is meant has to do with the tradition I come from
where self-consciousness is a pre-requisite for, and to, objective consciousness. I relate
non-duality to objective consciousness.
There are specific injunctions around this process of becoming familiar with your peculiar
self, circumstances and stories. One of them is that is if you dont know yourself you will be
continually surprised by unconscious and unobserved manifestations [of yourself]. Whatever
that self may be comprised of objectively.
There are benefits also. Not the least of which is that in the process of looking at yourself,
and listening to others [while looking at yourself] we come to find we are not all that unique
and that, lo, some others tragedies dwarf our own closely held injustices. Or that we cannot
'see' something in someone else that is not in ourselves.
Well, maybe its not a benefit. We are then faced with a choice, and it appears that choice is
of the nature of justifying, or embellishing, our own stories of unfairness or the failure of life
in its manifold manifestations to live up to our own high expectations and ideals. Or of simply
letting the whole gooey personal drama go.
Letting gooey drama go is work. Work on self. Personal work. And regardless of whether, at
the end of the day, there is no real, personal self to let go of anything is of little consequence
when we are stuck to and chewing over something. We, in terms of our attention, do not
exist at any other level regardless of what sages, past or contemporary, have to say on the
For me a measure of understanding is registering what I am chewing on and knowing that
nothing else is possible until that chewing stops. This often involves gnawing off a
metaphorical leg and leaving it in the trap.
It is in the same sense that many who estimate that this view is wrong or mistaken and who
would move to clarify everyones understanding around this question, including my own,
often do so not so much for the comfort of those they are addressing as for their own comfort
of maintaining an undisturbed world view. Of course I do not know this of others, I only
know this from observing myself, and assume by means of projection that others dwell on
this same ground from time-to-time.
Surely this is not the case with everyone, but only [your] intent can determine this and your
intent can only be determined by knowing yourself. Knowing your intent then, from long
exposure and study of yourself, would inform you if this was perhaps vestigial limb once
gnawed off whose shadow or ghost image is once again ensnared.
Otherwise it is real, and needs to get resolved.
If you are of the opinion that work on, or a personal self, is illusion that is of course your
business. I this is indeed so lets then at least try to define what the Universe itself wants
because it seems to want a bunch of different things at the same time.
Perhaps the slaying of the dragon of duality? We, then, as apparent conscious agents of the
Universe. If this is the case how can there anything remotely resembling disagreement?
Enmity by proxy? We would have to know ourselves to make such a determination, to know
what is ours and what is someone elses.
Resentment at the unfairness of it all? Well, was it not what the Universe needed for itself at
every moment along the way? How can we resent that? Did this change a moment ago?
Perhaps we have known better all along, at every juncture? Well I can say that I have always
known better all along, and still do today, even though I know Next to Nothing about almost
Everything J. Kettering. Now I can quit fighting more easily and try to absorb the lessons
about myself that is, what stimulates my pique.
Im just guessing.
In learning these lessons I get easier access to what I want. Access to Unity. This access is
denied no one from my observations, and the door to this type of experience can be opened
momentarily by any number of people. The problem is that it is not often a permanent
situation, however much we would like to believe it to be so.
So one aim is being able to open it and keep it open yourself, without an external reminding
factor, another, living or dead, to open it for you. If you are not moving in this direction, that
is self-reliance as to your own integration, or you are becoming more sensitive within a
narrow range of how you take things, then it might just be an opportune time to evaluate
Besides, if the Universe did not want you to know this at this time then you would not have
gotten this letter.
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