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Sunday, September 22, 2002
Editor: Gloria Lee
Gems from Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj's Conversations
"When you don't require anything from the world and nothing
from God, when you don't desire anything, when you don't strive
for anything, don't expect anything, the divine will enter you,
unasked and unexpected."
----Posted by Manuel Hernandez on A Net of Jewels
The third volume in the series, "The Power of the Presence" has
recently arrived here directly from India, and may be purchased
from us via e-mail; [email protected] or shortly via the web site:
www.kalpatarubooks.com under the Ramana Maharshi link. It
retails for $18.00 plus shipping, the same price as the first two
volumes in the series.
This volume concludes this fascinating accounts of life and of
living with Ramana Maharshi told by devotees, started in the first
two books. These devotees lived with Ramana for many years in
most cases. Each chapter or personal story has a different flavor,
but each has at it's core an undying devotion and love for Ramana
and tales of their "service" to him. Several of the authors/tellers
of these stories were regarded by many as being Self Realized.
Most of the source material has never been told or published
before, though a few of the tales will be known already via other
books. In previous volumes the tales of Kunju Swami,
Lakshmana Swami, Muruganar, Viswanatha Swami and others
were told; in this new book the tales of Laksman Sarma, the
Kitchen Workers, Echammal and Mudaliar Patti, Ramanatha
Brahmachari, Lakshmi, Mastan and others are told, and the only
Westerner to have a chapter: Wolter Keers.
David Godman has made copious foot notes in each chapter plus
an index, bibliography and other useful notes. Each "Author" has
an introductory text as well, at the beginning of each chapter.
John Maynard ([email protected]) and www.kalpatarubooks.com
Open Source Spirit
hello, just a little song,
really don't struggle so hard, let go and let it come
"Talk! Talk! listening
Like the first words ever to reach out
Like the first sounds, in a silent spring
Talk! Talk! Listening
Like the first words ever to reach out to you
Like the first sound you start to sing"
Words are such a powerful tool, how best shall we use them?
It seemed, at first, Springs rose-milk breath--
this embracing, haunting zephyr from the west;
incense-imbued, an exotic dancers veils, the breeze--
flirts sweetly, brushing all the bashful leaves.
Blessed with deep intoxication of the soul,
the inner way of mystic love unfolds:
ya-Hayy, pulse of life, nurturing hand,
ya-Hayy, the breath of seedlings, breath of land,
an evolving palette, the skys uncommon beauty
tattooed in delicate cloud calligraphy...
Oblivious to consumer/profit bestiality
the wine of grace his only guarantee,.
this poor dervish dodges attachments ugly snare,
by living simply, gently, mindful and aware.
Even relentless CEOs return to earth,
a Sultan of Compassion, what is he worth?
Free of organized religion, without borders...
Allahs torch ignites the Qutb, not Sufi Orders.
Ignorance attacks unconventional Hafiz,
maya-mind cant decipher who he is.
To Hafiz a mystic-key and trust was given,
a light, a seal, in brilliant third-eye vision.
When Hafiz returns to Allah, what can you do?
His legacy and will is Allah-hu.
----rendering by Sayyeda Claire Costello Barry 9/02
Disclaimer: If theres anything wonderful, intoxicating or
enlightening in this rendering its due to Hafiz beautiful being
and the grace of my Master, Sant Darshan Singh Ji Maharaj. If
theres anything ignorant, annoying, unprofessional, lustful,
deceitful, depraved, egoistic, creepy,
or downright irritatingly Irish-American, cest moi. Peace all.
From: Fudo: If only it were so easy.
Nobody mentioned "easy" did they? Actually, even within a
formal practice situation, right understanding and correct
intention/motivation are important. When we don't have the aid
of a formal practice situation, we have to be even more careful.
Fudo:If only right intentions were enough...Would it not be wonderful
if the road to hell was not paved with them?
Yes, it is difficult enough with the correct, (not necessarily
"good"), intentions. Much more difficult without them. Forget
heaven and hell. Think ignorance and wisdom. (8^)
It is Dharma 101, really. Karma is related to volitional actions.
From the Buddhist perspective, the karmic repercussions of
stepping on an ant unknowingly, are not as great as purposely
stomping on an ant to kill it. The mind matters.
We've gotten off the original subject (my disagreeing with
Anjin-san about practice not being a part of an email list), but
peripheral practices directly relates to a main theme of the book I
am working on, so I've thought more than casually about the
One of the features of Zen Buddhism that came about in a unique
way in Japan, is the relationship of Zen practice to various
non-religious practices. You find zen practice principles applied
to art, calligraphy, painting, sculpture, flower arranging, poetry,
tea ceremony, incense, gardening, bonsai, the list goes on & on.
There is some parallel in the martial arts and arts in China. In the
West, we are, so far, rather anemic in these peripheral
I had a realization about "intention" about a year into my
apprenticeship at the pottery. As our mutual friend, Shoken
Wince Sensei recognized during his visit, the pottery grounds and
building are very similar to a traditional monastery and garden.
Our shogotoba (workshop) is a lot like a Soto Sodo, where the
monks live and meditate. The main difference is that there is no
tatami and there is a hole with a wheel in the middle of it, at each
work station on the platform. You sit on the zabuton and your legs
are on either side of the wheel, in the hole on foot rests, when
you are not kicking the wheel.
The grounds are beautiful, full of nature. Our work is done in
silence and with reverence, much like work is done at the
monastery. Working at the kickwheel is very meditative. The
great advantage of working at the kickwheel over doing zazen, is
that your legs are exercised so you don't have pain in them, even
after working at the wheel for the whole day, for many days at a
time. What I puzzled about was that while my teacher, who is in
his middle 80s, is much like an old zen master, the Foreman and
the Retired Foreman, who are craftsmen who have been doing this
work for 45 and 60 years, are more like 14 year old boys. The
environment is wholesome and the approach to work is, like I
said, very similar to how work is done in the monastery. But it
hasn't had the same effect upon them as it has my Sensei.
If you look in my teacher's house, there is a Buddhist altar and
many scrolls and statues and other Buddhist related objects.
Sensei is an educated man and has studied Buddhism. His
intention was to make his creative work his spiritual practice. The
two old craftsmen started in this work when they were 14, when
they graduated from middle school. It is "their job" and they
never had any intention to make "their job" their spiritual practice.
I'm sure traditional monasteries were exactly like this. Many
people came to study "as a job", while some people came to
study as dharma practice. We cannot take advantage of fortunate
environments or situations unless we recognize them and then
have an intention to do them as practice.
Of course, sometimes situations have an effect upon us without
our having an intention for them to do so. But it is, at best,
So, in trying to develop a personal "peripheral" practice, my basic
recommendations would be:
First, decide that it will be "practice" and apply practice methods
to the tasks related to it. Mindlessly shooting arrows into a bale of
hay isn't going to be anything like "practice", but Kyuudo is,
because the form was intended to be so.
Second, a face-to-face relationship with a Zen teacher is helpful.
They can help guide you in the "peripheral" practice, if you
cannot do it directly with a Sensei teaching that form.
Third, the practice of zazen is a touch point that can inform your
Fourth, dedicate the merit of the practice. Two things I do at the
pottery to help focus "a practice mind" is that at the start of the
day, before I start sweeping my section of the garden, I make a
water offering to the two stone Buddhas in my part of the garden.
Also, when I sit at the wheel, before I start work I take three
breaths and recite silently:
May all beings have happiness and its cause
May all beings be freed from suffering and its cause
May all never part from sorrowless bliss
But live believing in the sameness of all.
Sorry this has been so long, but I think it is important.
-- Lee Love [email protected] Mashiko JAPAN
"Really there is no East, no West,
Where then is the South and the North?
Illusion makes the world close in,
Enlightenment opens it on every side."
- Japanese Pilgrim's Verse.
Ada's English Garden, Pastel by Bobby Graham
I think your book sounds like a very good idea. The idea of
intentions opens doors for people in everyday life to experience
the fullfillment of a spiritual life. The time is right.
I studied Impressionism with a master that took his study with a
master and so on back to the roots of Western art and it was a
great privilege. He told me to teach what I had learned. The
images you brought up with the grounds and potter's wheels
would be a wonderful addition to your book, the artisan
becoming the clay so to speak. I hope you intend to have some
great photos in it.
I have a few photos of the grounds where we studied on Cape
Cod Massachusetts, and his backyard where he demonstrated
painting on Friday mornings. I was young but I did take a few
photos and later I painted his wife's beautiful garden from one of
them. I will upload the image to the files section.
I read a passage in Ramana Maharshi's teachings this morning
where he gave advice to someone asking if he should seek a life
of solitude. R. said that one can have solitude in the thick of
activity or be disturbed when alone in the jungle.
In yoga the mental abilities are listed as logic, memory,
dreaming, imagination, and intuition. Within the scope of these
abilities fluctuations (vrittis) occur we call thoughts and they are
divided into five types. Two of these are accurate cognition and
Your mention of 'correct' intentions brought this to mind.
Good luck. Think rewrite. Love Bobby G.
From the perspective of conventional reality all
things, appearances, all functional realities, in
samsara and nirvana, are inseparably of One Taste with
the nature of emptiness.
There is no awareness of self and other,
All share in the vastness of the great union.
The wise who realize this truth,
no longer see mind, but wisdom-mind,
They no longer see living beings, but buddhas,
They no longer see phenomena, but the essential
'This essential nature is who we all are - eternal,
unmoving and unchanging, with no beginning and no end,
everywhere, as the space of the sky. Today, as we
inter-act with others, let's look beyond these forms
in which the essence is temporarily manifesting, and
see the 'great union' of all. One Taste. One Heart.
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