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Highlights #1210 - Friday, September
27, 2002 - Editor: Gloria Lee
"It is not from ourselves that we learn to be better than we are."
iceberg photo from NDS list files
This came from a Rig Manager for Global Marine Drilling in
St.Johns, Newfoundland. They actually have to divert the path of
these things away from the rig by towing them with ships! This
particular case the water was calm & the sun was almost directly
overhead so that the diver was able to get into the water and click
this pic. They estimated the weight at 300,000,000 tons.
A Phone Call From Nothing
I hope this settles the isssue.
Nothing does Nothing! :-).
Per the thread about who met or
did not meet Ramana, Mark Otter
told me he remembers a Dobie Gillis
episode in which Maynard G. Krebs
channeled Jack Kerouac. John
Brother Void salon.com
"We contain the other, hopelessly and forever."
-- Dietrich Bonhoeffer
We live in a society scarred by hatred and misunderstanding. You
look out at this world and figure that because you're not a
church-burner, a gay-basher or an officer of the LAPD, you're
not a bigot. But inside each of us is an inner bigot waiting for
things to get personal. Maybe you get iced out of a promotion,
maybe Johnny's new teacher is gay, maybe your neighborhood is
changing. That's when the inner bigot slithers into your throat and
you hear yourself saying, "Those bastards are taking our jobs. Do
what you want, but not near my children. Why do they all have to
talk so loud? Can't you find a girl of your own kind? We moved
to the suburbs for the schools."
Your inner bigot is the part of yourself you blame on others. It's
how you flush out into the world the fear and self-hatred you
refuse to take responsibility for: It's that exiled splinter of yourself
you call niggerhomobitchpussykikewetbackwhitetrashfatfuck. To
set things right, you must track it down. As you follow its
treacherous movements and gather up what you have loosed
upon others, you may also salvage the pieces that can make you
I have met the Other and it is me.
Consider even a flash of a moment when everything is really,
really fine. Orgasm, sunset, the birth of your child, winning the
lottery, whatever comes up as fine, as great. AT THAT MOMENT
there is no commentary, no monitoring or evaluation of the
situation, no discernable entity present to talk about it. But that
never lasts forever. Then, as soon as you say it's fine, it's not!
----from the movie, "The Scent of Green Papaya".
The spring water
nestled in a hole in a rock
shimmers softly when
The vibrations of the ground
have given birth to strong waves...
which crash together
in an irregular swell...
on the surface
If there's a verb meaning,
"to move harmoniously"...
It must be used here.
The cherry trees,
gripped in shadows,
spread out and curl up,
sway and twist
to the rhythm of the water.
But the interesting thing
however much they change,
they keep the shape
of a cherry tree.
Kindling the Inexhaustible Lamp
- Yuanwu (1063-1135)
By even speaking a phrase to you, I have already doused you with dirty
water. It would be even worse for me to put a twinkle in my eye and
raise my eyebrow to you, or rap a meditation seat or hold up a whisk, or
demand, "What is this?" As for shouting and hitting, it's obvious that this is
just a pile of bones on level ground.
There are also the type who don't know good from bad and ask questions
about Buddha and Dharma and Zen and the Tao. They ask to be helped,
they beg to be received, they seek knowledge and sayings and theories
relating to the Buddhist teaching and to transcending the world and to
accommodating the world. This is washing dirt in mud and washing mud
in dirt - when will they ever manage to clear it away?
Some people hear this kind of talk and jump to conclusions, claiming, "I
understand!" Fundamentally there is nothing to Buddhism - it's there in
everybody. As I spend my days eating food and wearing clothes, has
there ever been anything lacking?" Then they settle down in the realm of
unconcerned ordinariness, far from realizing that nothing like this has
ever been part of the real practice of Buddhism.
Leaving behind all leakages, day by day you get closer to the truth and
more familiar with it. As you go further, you change like a panther who
no longer sticks to its den - you leap out of the corral. Then you no longer
doubt all the sayings of the world's enlightened teachers - you are like
cast iron. This is precisely the time to apply effort and cultivate practice
and nourish your realization.
After that you can kindle the inexhaustible Lamp and travel the
unobstructed Path. You relinquish your body and your life to rescue living
beings. You enable them to come out of their cages and eliminate their
attachments and bonds. You cure them of the diseases of being attached
to being enlightened, so that having emerged from the deep pit of
liberation, they can become uncontrived, unencumbered, joyfully alive
people of the Path.
So then, when you yourself have crossed over, you must not abandon the
carrying out of your bodhisattva vows. Be mindful of saving all beings
and steadfastly endure the attendant hardship and toil in order to serve as
a boat on the ocean of all-knowledge. Only then will you have some
accord with the Path.
Don't be a brittle pillar or a feeble lamp. Don't bat around your little clean
ball of inner mystical experience. You may have understood for yourself,
but what good does it do? Therefore the ancient worthies necessarily
urged people to travel the one road of the bodhisattva path so they would
be able to requite the unrequitable benevolence of our enlightened
predecessors who communicated the Dharma to the world.
Nowadays there are many bright Zen monks in various locales who want
to pass through directly. Some seek too much and want to understand
easily. As soon as they know a little bit about the aim of the Path and how
to proceed they immediately want to show themselves as adepts, yet they
have already missed it and gone wrong. Some don't come forth even
when they are pushed to do so, but they too are not yet completely
You are a master of Buddhist teaching methods only when you can
recognize junctures of times and patterns of causal conditions and manage
not to miss real teaching opportunities.
- Taken from Zen Letters - Teachings of Yuanwu - Translated by J.C.
Cleary and Thomas Cleary (1994)
These letters were written by the Zen teacher Yuanwu, best known as
the author of The Blue Cliff Record, a collection of meditation cases with
prose and verse commentary. In this collection of letters, Yuanwu offers a
more direct and accessible style of learning.
I once spoke to my friend, an old squirrel, about the Sacraments
he got so excited
and ran into a hollow in his tree and came
back holding some acorns, an owl feather,
and a ribbon he had found.
And I just smiled and said, Yes, dear,
~ Saint Francis of Assisi
(Love Poems From God: Twelve Sacred Voices from the East and West by Daniel Ladinsky)
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Double-bind communication often matches a verbal message with a
contradictory nonverbal message. But it can also match two
contradictory verbal messages, one which is the content and one
which is the way that the content is delivered. For example, if I
am saying "this is the way it is," but then, in the way I am
telling you the way it is, contradict myself, there is a double
bind. Thus, if I say, "everything is about love," and in the
process of telling you about that, manage to put you down in a
subtle way, perhaps by inferring that you are missing out on
knowing or feeling this, there is a double-bind. The double-bind
is used to hypnotically induce a situation in which one person is
too confused about the rules to organize an effective response,
and the other person seemingly achieves the upper-hand, being in
control of how the rules have been defined and used.
LISTEN AND UNLEARN - Anthony de Mello
Some of us get woken up by the harsh realities of life. We suffer
so much that we wake up. But people keep bumping again and again
into life. They still go on sleepwalking. They never wake up.
Tragically, it never occurs to them that there may be another
way. It never occurs to them that there may be a better way.
Still, if you haven't been bumped sufficiently by life, and you
haven't suffered enough, then there is another way: to listen. I
don't mean you have to agree with what I'm saying. That wouldn't
be listening. Believe me, it really doesn't matter whether you
agree with what I'm saying or you don't. Because agreement and
disagreement have to do with words and concepts and theories. They
don't have anything to do with truth. Truth is never expressed in
words. Truth is sighted suddenly, as a result of a certain
attitude. So you could be disagreeing with me and still sight the
truth. But there has to be an attitude of openness, of
willingness to discover something new. That's important, not your
agreeing with me or disagreeing with me. After all, most of what
I'm giving you is really theories. No theory adequately covers
reality. So I can speak to you, not of the truth, but of obstacles
to the truth. Those I can describe. I cannot describe the truth.
No one can. All I can do is give you a description of your
falsehoods, so that you can drop them. All I can do for you is
challenge your beliefs and the belief system that makes you
unhappy. All I can do for you is help you to unlearn. That's what
learning is all about where spirituality is concerned:
unlearning, unlearning almost everything you've been taught. A
willingness to unlearn, to listen.
Are you listening, as most people do, in order to confirm what you
already think? Observe your reactions as I talk. Frequently
you'll be startled or shocked or scandalized or irritated or
annoyed or frustrated. Or you'll be saying, "Great! "
But are you listening for what will confirm what you already
think? Or are you listening in order to discover something new?
That is important. It is difficult for sleeping people. Jesus
proclaimed the good news, yet he was rejected. Not because it was
good, but because it was new. We hate the new. We hate it! And
the sooner we face up to that fact, the better. We don't want new
things, particularly when they're disturbing, particularly when
they involve change. Most particularly if it involves saying, "I
was wrong." I remember meeting an eighty-seven-year-old Jesuit in
Spain; he'd been my professor and rector in India thirty or forty
years ago. And he attended a workshop like this. "I should have
heard you speak sixty years ago," he said. "You know something.
I've been wrong all my life." God, to listen to that! It's like
looking at one of the wonders of the world. That, ladies and
gentlemen, is faith! An openness to the truth, no matter what the
consequences, no matter where it leads you and when you don't
even know where it's going to lead you. That's faith. Not belief,
but faith. Your beliefs give you a lot of security, but faith is
insecurity. You don't know. You're ready to follow and you're
open, you're wide open! You're ready to listen. And, mind you,
being open does not mean being gullible, it doesn't mean
swallowing whatever the speaker is saying. Oh no. You've got to
challenge everything I'm saying. But challenge it from an
attitude of openness, not from an attitude of stubbornness. And
challenge it all. Recall those lovely words of Buddha when he
said, "Monks and scholars must not accept my words out of respect,
but must analyze them the way a goldsmith analyzes-gold by
cutting, scraping, rubbing, melting."
When you do that, you're listening. You've taken another major
step toward awakening. The first step, as I said, was a readiness
to admit that you don't want to wake up, that you don't want to
be happy. There are all kinds of resistances to that within you.
The second step is a readiness to understand, to listen, to
challenge your whole belief system. Not just your religious
beliefs, your political beliefs, your social beliefs, your
psychological beliefs, but all of them. A readiness to reappraise
them all, in the Buddha's metaphor. And I'll give you plenty of
opportunity to do that here.
Anthony De Mello, SJ in his book "Awareness"
* The Stages Of The Work *
If we were to really observe ourselves,
we would become aware of our tensions and habits.
If we were to become aware of our tensions and habits,
we would let go and relax.
If we were to let go and relax,
we would be aware of sensations.
If we were to be aware of sensations,
we would receive impressions.
If we were to receive impressions,
we would awaken to the moment.
If we were to awaken to the moment,
we would experience reality.
If we were to experience reality,
we would see that we are not our personality.
If we were to see that we are not our personality,
we would remember ourselves.
If we were to remember ourselves,
we would let go of our fear and attachments.
If we were to let go of our fear and attachments,
we would be touched by God.
If we were to be touched by God,
we would seek union with God.
If we were to seek union with God,
we would will what God wills.
If we were to will what God wills,
we would be transformed.
If we were transformed,
the world would be transformed.
If the world were transformed,
all would return to God.
"The Wisdom Of The Enneagram:
The Complete Guide To Psychological and
Spiritual Growth For The Nine Personality Types"
by Don Richard Riso and Russ hudson, 1999
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