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Highlights #1159 - Wednesday, August 7, 2002 - Editor: Gloria Lee
They Call to You To
Stones are longing for what you know.
If they had the graceful movements
Of your feet and tongue,
They would not stop laughing
Between their ecstatic dance steps and unbroken praise.
Your heart beats inside a sacred drum,
Its skin is tanned and stretched -
Our skin is alive and stretched -
With the wild molecules of His Wondrous Existence.
Your mind and eyes are an immense silk cloth
Upon which all your thoughts and movements paint.
Your soul once sat on an easel on my knee.
For ages I have been sketching you
With myriad shapes of sounds and light;
Now awake, dear pilgrim,
With your thousand swaying arms
That need to caress the Sky.
Now awake with your love for the Friend and the Creation,
Help this Old Tavern Sweeper, Hafiz,
No more enemies from this golden view -
All who have entered this holy mountain cave
Have dropped their shields and swords.
We all cook together around a fire
Our yearning music builds.
We share our tools and instruments and plates;
We are companions on this earth
As the sun and planets are in the sky.
We are all sentries at our sacred humble posts.
The stones and stars envy the movements
Of your legs and tongue
And call to you to sing on their behalf.
The atoms in your cells and limbs are full of wonderful talents;
They dance in the Hidden Choir I conduct.
Don't sleep tonight, dear pilgrim,
So I can lead you on my white mare to His Summer House.
This love you now have of the Truth
Will never forsake you.
Your joys and sufferings on this arduous path
Are lifting your worn veil like a rising stage curtain
And will surely reveal your Magnificent Self
So that you can guide this world like Hafiz
In the Hidden Choir
God and His friends will forever
("The Subject Tonight is Love" -- versions of Hafiz by Daniel Ladinsky)
Ajahn Ekachai Sapparojpattana
from Lotus Friends
What Is the 'New Buddhism'?
A Buddhism defined by national borders is not Buddhism
By David Brazier
Excerpted with permission from "The New Buddhism"
by David Brazier by permission of St. Martin's Press,
White or Western Buddhism is a contradiction in terms.
If Buddhism means the life of enlightenment, then there
cannot be a specifically English or American Buddhism
and we should not be looking to create one any more
than our spiritual ancestors should have wanted to
create a Chinese or Thai Buddhism, specifically.
Buddhism does not belong to countries and should not
become caught up in national pride.
We need to understand that when you look through Buddha
eyes, England and America do not exist. They are just
conventional designations that have been blown up into
a justification for some of the worst barbarities in
history and currently stand as ramparts in defence of
the world racist system. Do not be proud to be British,
or American, or French, or any other nationality. As
soon as you begin to feel any such sentiment coming
over you, you should smell the blood of all those who
have died for such follyand hear the cries of the
excluded. Buddhism, therefore, should be profoundly
People are conditioned to think that nationhood is
inevitable and even noblesomething to die for evenand
certainly something from which to exclude nonnationals.
That, however, is definitely not Buddhism. There have,
in consequence, been repeated crises in history over
whether or not the Buddhist sangha would recognize or
acknowledge the supremacy of the state. One different
occasions, this issue has gone different ways in
specific cases, but the Buddhist position in principle
is that the sangha does not recognise the state.
The original spirit of Buddhism is, on the one hand,
positive compassionate action and, on the other hand,
noncoopration with coercion and oppression. This spirit
needs to be dug out from under the accretions of
history. To ask what a Western Buddhism would be like,
therefore, is already to have surrendered.
All this is symptomatic of the fact that people do not
see the extent to which Buddhism is radical. It is
common for people to think that a little bit of
tinkering with the status quo will accommodate Buddhism
quite nicely. This is, in turn, rooted in the
assumption that most of what the status quo consists of
is inevitable. Once you can persuade people to believe
that something is inevitable, they will generally
accept it, no matter how immoral or inappropriate it
Most people place subordination to the state as the
highest inevitability, and subordination to economic
factorseven relatively trivial onesas the next
highest, and then try to fit their spirituality into
whatever space is leftif that has not already been
used up by the energy consumed in the dynamics of
personal life. In consequence, spirituality means
little to them and their lives are built on other
The modern world maintains its caste system (delusion)
by relying upon national rivalry played out through
force (politics, hate) and money or debt (economics,
greed). We think that our white countries are
democratic and feel proud, for instance, but where
there ever to be a worldwide electionfor the United
Nations Security Council, saywhere would the white
caste be then?
As long as Buddhisms primary goal is subsumed within
nationalism and national cultures, it will never be
met. Unless Buddhism can help us to rise out of our
local culture, caste and so on, no real enlightenment
will occur. An enlightened person is a citizen of the
world, not a citizen of Japan or Germany or Britain or
any other local power structure. We have, therefore, to
start seeing countries simply as organizations and not
as part of our identity.
Ideas of historic or economic determinism are myths
that seek to excuse what should not be perpetrated, and
to lull people into thinking that the things that they
knowingly do that are bad, or not the best they can do,
are necessary and inevitable. Determinism of either
kind is, simply put, a lie. There are better myths and
a cleaner conscience is possible. If we cannot find
better ways to live, then we will continue to make new
Copyright 2002 by David Brazier. All rights reserved.
River of sound
A thousand women
a thousand men
two thousand children
on the beach
Screams and laughter
cars and planes
a mountain of joy
the single sound
a peak of quiet ecstasy
Did you hear the geese
landing on the lake,
the rooster's call
and cattle bells
A pigeon in the wood,
flies and bees
a butterfly's wings
Below the surface
in the river of sound.
In an effort to rule with an iron hand, the Ottoman Sultan Murat
earned the distinction of being the first sultan to order the
execution of a Sheikh-al-Islam (the highest religious authority in
the Islamic world back then). Despite his addiction to alcohol, he
banned alcohol and smoking. With his Vezir (chief of staff), dressed
as merchants, he'd sometimes mix into the crowds to check how his
strict anti-drinking laws were being obeyed. The Ottoman capital city
of Istanbul is built on two continents. The Vezir and Sultan hired a
boatman to cross the bosphorus, the channel that separates the
continental Europe from Asia. The boatman, who happened to be the
infamous drunk Bekri stopped the boat halfway. He pulled out an
oversized wine bottle and offered it to his customers. The small boat
was rocking with the swift currents. Out of politeness or fear the
Sultan and the Vezir took a sip. The hospitable boatman offered them
more wine. The Sultan remained silent and the Vezir refused. When the
boatman insisted, the Vezir became very impatient and said, "Do you
know who you're dealing with here? This is the Sultan Murat, the
shadow of God and I'm his Vezir, you fool!"
The boatman slapped Vezir on the spot and said, "I'm not giving you
guys more wine. You took one sip and you think you're the Vezir and
the Sultan. I'm afraid if you had more to drink, you'll claim you're
the Prophet and God himself."
ps. in an ironic twist of fate, sultan murat died from overdrinking.
by the way, this story is not a cut&paste. these type of boatman
stories are common in the east when there were not very many bridges
and people depended on boatman to cross waterways. it's also symbolic
since boatman is us, crossing the chasm of fire. on our journey we
come across some who believe they're the dualistic prophets or
from Million Paths
Subject: Talks - 6th January, 1936
6th January, 1936
130. Lakshman Brahmachari from Sri Ramakrishna Mission
Enquiry of 'Who am I?' or of the 'I'-thought being
itself a thought, how can it be destroyed in the
Maharshi .: When Sita was asked who was her husband
among the rishis (Rama himself being present there as
a rishi) in the forest by the wives of the rishis, she
denied each one as he was pointed out to her, but
simply hung down her head when Rama was pointed out.
Her silence was eloquent.
Similarly, the Vedas also are eloquent in 'neti' -
'neti' (not this-not this) and then remain silent.
Their silence is the Real state. This is the
meaning of exposition of silence. When the source of
the 'I'-thought is reached it vanishes and what
remains over is the Self.
D.: Patanjali Yoga Sutras speak of identification.
M.: Identification with the Supreme is the only the
other name for the destruction of the ego.
John R Loganis
In private discussion with another discussion group member he made an
interesting remark to me:
When seeking and practicing, and in studying the experiences of
others in the sutras and writing and in even records of current
experiences and teaching it is important to recognize the difference
between "answers" and "conclusions".
As I have thought about that remark, I have realized that "answers"
are the direct results of practice, and may be uniquely personal for
the practitioner. "Conclusions" would seem to be the principles or
statements DERIVED from the "answers". It is easy for these two
things to be confused.
As I have searched for "Who am I?" and waited in silence for the
answer, many realizations have occurred. The most recent of which was
a strange sort of awareness in which "I" was part (not separate) of a
sea of molecules and atoms. There were no objects to be
distinguished. Jus a sea of molecular energies, none more important
or valuable than another; it was all pulsing and vibrating with
an "awareness-identity" of all-together-oneness. The best analogy I
have for this is poor but will have to do: In English the words are
separate and strung together to make sentences and meanings. We hear
the words basically one at a time. I am in a place where I need to
learn Spanish and have had much trouble because of the rapidity of
native Spanish speakers -- and then I got it -- it sounds fast to my
ears conditioned for separateness -- the native speakers run their
words all together with little or no separation between the words.
Their speech is like a running river, slow speech is for emphasis
only. Well, the point is that this molecular field feeling awareness
was like that kind of a flowing (sort of).
Now for me at that time, the awareness WAS the answer.
For me to take the next step and "conclude" that what I was aware of
was one of the views of Brahman, the Infinite All, the Absolute, and
to further conclude that therefore there is no "self", is not an
answer but is a conclusion -- subject to belief and faith.
The "conclusions" become "doctrine" and "dogma" eventually. To be
a "good" Buddhist one must absolutely agree with the three or
four "Dharma Seals". To be a "Non-Dualist" one must agree with the
whole view of Brahman-Atman, and reading the writings or the
teachings tends to "freeze" conclusions for those who have not gotten
the answers yet.
Reading Poonja's teachings, in THE TRUTH IS, he attempts to keep the
practice separate from beliefs or conclusions, yet the cultural
context from which he come requires a constant use of the glossary,
or the learning of much of the "jargon" he uses. Reading Ramana
Maharshi's teaching is very confusing in that in one moment he is
focused on the practice, and yet he is clearly coming out of the
Shivite context of Advaita Vedanta including the need to not only
handle "conclusions" passed down for hundreds, maybe thousands, of
years, and therefore the jargon coming from the Sanskrit but also the
Tamil. The follower is pointed into the Bhagavad Gita, the Yoga
Sutras, and other works such as the Ribhu Gita.
So much time is spent on just learning the words and the maps that
one is busy learning about the "conclusions" of the "masters" and
measuring one's own "answers" and "experiences" by the "conclusions"
of others. If I don't "get" it the same way the "master" did, then I
am not on the "right", "correct" path and practice. So I go to
the "guru" and have to measure up to his/her "answers"
and "conclusions" till I find my own somehow in the midst of all that.
The best I can get for now is
Conclusion = a definition or a stated principle, a quotation from
Answer = an experience, or description of a direct awareness, or an
expression of what is "found" such as a poem or song or an artwork.
Kheyala, for instance, is giving us her experiences without telling
us what to do with them.
Mazie, for instance, is giving us her experiences as poetry in wild
abandonment, clearly from the heart.
I see these as answers. They make a statement, ask a question, and
issue an invitation:
"This is what I have found. What have you found? Come let us share."
John R Loganis
You called this a "Memoir".
I would call it actual "presence".
I had an old friend make his transition and some months later he came
and sat with me on my old glider on my backyard and after a while as
I was looking at the sky, he suddenly got very, very large and
transparent and rose up filling the sky, and I can still hear his
astonished cry, "O My God, the universe is MADE of Love!"
So your father's "huge" presence seems very real to me.
six wheeled spiral spin
carrying events along
superluminal its wheels
just delight of light is seen
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