Click here to go to the next issue
Highlights Home Page
NDhighlights #1302 Saturday, December 28 Edited by john
Disasters of Mysticism Roberto Matta, 1942
Jan B. NDS
a grJaeen ands
a green alien lands
inspecting castor-oil leaves
looking for some friends
inject with nondual genes
starting up enlightened trends
Michael Read NDSNews
The title of the Guide is intended to evoke the controversy about the role of heredity in determining human behavior. The Buddhist rejects heredity as the prime determinant of behavior while the neurobiologist thinks it rules it.
In Buddhism, it is believed that by focusing deeply within oneself, an individual can learn to completely control his mind and the feelings which emanate from it. A principal teaching of Buddha is that a root of human suffering is craving, the desires and the "thirsts of the physical body." By following a certain path in life, through meditation and mind-control, Buddhism teaches that craving, and other feelings which cause suffering, can be eliminated.
For the neurobiologist, the mind is the brain, a highly sophisticated organ comprised of billions of specialized cells, called neurons. These neurons are interconnected with one another to form an elaborate cellular network. All our unconscious and conscious activities originate in this vast network, arising from coordinated interactions between neurons, integrating and shunting information from one region of the brain to another. The mind-brain, itself, is a product of the genes. Like a musical score which is followed by an orchestra playing a melody, the genes provide the directions to build and operate the brain. The mind is commanded, controlled, and confined by the DNA in the genes. According to the neurobiologist, a Buddha-mind can not be achieved unless one is endowed with the genes -- the Buddha-genes -- which allow it.
Brother Void salon.com
"Having said clearly that
it is no longer possible to speak innocently, [the ironist] will
nonetheless have said what he wanted to say."
-- Umberto Eco
We live in an age that has lost faith in itself. It is naive to care, gauche to be sincere, and downright suspicious to believe in a better tomorrow. But underneath your cool indifference you probably do care, although you distrust these feelings and you're ashamed to reveal them. Instead, you protect yourself with irony. Irony lets you off the hook and distances you from what you love. But irony also helps you negotiate your faithlessness. When you believe in something but also believe it's foolish to believe in anything, your only honest option is irony. It's how you pay lip service to your nihilism but also vaguely point beyond it.
To have faith today, you must at once affirm your faith and also ironically observe all that makes faith impossible. With one hand you must admit that it's all been done before, that everything is relative, that there's no ground for authenticity, and that every claim to truth is suspect. With the other hand you must stake your claim with all your heart. In a faithless age irony is the only way to take yourself seriously, and the only way to show others that you distrust yourself enough for them to trust you.
Irony is the only way I can take myself seriously.
Reprinted with permission from "Daily Afflictions" by Andrew Boyd, published by W.W. Norton. To order a copy, click here
Daily Dharma INGREDIENTS OF THE SUPREME MEAL
"How do we find the
ingredients? We open our eyes and look around us. We
take the materials that are at hand, are right in front of us, and
prepare the best meal possible. We work with what we have in each
Our body is an ingredient. Our relationships are ingredients. Our
thoughts, our emotions, and all our actions are ingredients.
The place we live, the snow that falls, the haze around the moon, the
traffic in the city streets, the corner market - all these are also our
ingredients. In order to see the ingredients in front of us, we have to
open our eyes. Usually we create our own boundaries, our own small view,
our own territory, and that's the only place we look. With practice, our
territory expands, and all the objects of the world become our
As we see ourselves as the world, as we see the oneness of life, the
whole world becomes available. Then the Zen cook knows that every
aspect of life is an ingredient of the supreme meal."
~Bernard Glassman and
From the book, "Instructions To The Cook," published by Bell Tower,
Blessings to all. May peace and peace and peace be everywhere.
Patrick Collins thomasmerton
Evagrius wrote that if we want to know God, we must first know ourselves.Here's another way of putting it in Merton's terms :
Augustine has said
that "Men go to gape at mountain peaks, at
the boundless tides of the sea, the broad sweep of rivers, the
encircling ocean and the motions of the stars: and yet they
leave themselves unnoticed; they do not marvel at themselves."(53)
The true or real self of a person was for Merton the psychological,
anthropological, sociological, ontological and spiritual geography
for the experience of the sacred or holy in the very ambiguity and
facticity of history. Already having tried to find meaning
outside of himself, Merton spoke of finding God and all of
humanity within your own self and experience. The sacred center
or axis mundi or omphalous (navel) for Merton was the self in
union with God and God in union with the self. All people were
beginners in such a journey, but some were more beginners
As 2002 ends, I find myself full of gratitude that Thomas Merton has been my companion along The Journey this year. Sometimes I ask myself why he has come to mean so much to my spiritual pilgrimage. In this section of an article I find something of an answer. Maybe it is why you too find meaning in Merton's quest for friendship with God.
Happy New Year, Patrick Collins
All of Merton's
paths and influences converge in an understanding
of the sacred which is undifferentiated from love whether in the
monastery, on a trip to Asia, in a relationship with a young nurse,
or in the very ambiguity of life itself. Thus, Merton's geography
became both inner and external, a paradoxical cruciform movement
going more deeply interiorly and exteriorly simultaneously. Even
though Merton was a Catholic priest, he bore some of the qualities
of a shamanic traveler experiencing human and spiritual surprises
beyond the boundaries of the traditional and routinized rituals and
concepts of holiness. The article concludes with the position that
Merton rediscovered the sacred to be more catholic, more mysterious
and more inseparable from the profane.
A Net of
Ramesh S. Balsekar
You may think you are doing something. I assure you, you are not. There is
no individual doer.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
The malignity of all problems arises precisely where there is a mistaken
identification with a body-mind apparatus as a separate entity that thinks
it is in control of itself.
Wayne Liquorman quoted in The Teachers Of One by Paula Marvelly
Ram Tzu knows this...
You clever ones
Are always looking for a way
To beat the system.
You want Enlightenment
You want eternal bliss
You want the ultimate orgasm
You want it all...
You want to be around
To enjoy it.
This renders you
The ultimate sucker.
You are fair game.
You get baptized and analyzed.
You get rolfed and ESTed.
You meditate and vegetate.
You're rebirthed and realigned.
You're fucked and sucked.
You chant, you rant,
You heal the child within.
You collect money in airports.
You get in touch with your feelings.
You have your palms, your cards,
Your auras and your chakras read.
If you're very clever...
You go to India, Tibet,
In your heart
You know the Truth is incompatible
With indoor plumbing.
You humbly contract dysentery or hepatitis.
You pretend that Sai Baba
Is different from Oral Roberts.
It's a wonder Ram Tzu hasn't died laughing.
'No. 23', No Way for the Spiritually "Advanced"
Let your life be what it is.
Do not expect individuals,
events, objects and circumstance
to provide the satisfaction
you are seeking.
They will not.
Indeed, they cannot.
only the Whole
With this understanding
you will begin to recognize that
within all the separate aspects
of your life,
this larger Wholeness
is constantly manifesting.
And, when you trust this larger movement,
nothing more will ever be needed.
Instead, you will find yourself
immersed in the Fullness of what is,
and Satisfaction will be
the inevitable fruit.
wandertheearth/David H. LiveJournal
I once wrote a journal entry
about the Blessed Empty Ones. I keep meaning to type it into the
computer. One Sunday morning I saw a young woman wandering the
downtown streets looking dazed and lost. I immediately felt a
connection with her. She had orange hair and disheveled clothes
and ragged sneakers, yet there was something noble about her. I
think it is people like her who bless a city or a neighborhood.
They aren't rushing to Starbucks to meet a friend for a study
date or to tell stories about last night's party. They feel the
wind of emptiness blowing through them and don't know where to
The Blessed Empty Ones are those who bear the world's pain. Or at least the pain of their corner of the world. Sometimes they come snarling out of their silence, not with pretty pictures but with acid-tinged words and a raw throat.
Basho was one such person. His little poems are not containers of meaning, they are open portals to the emptiness that is everywhere.
All we're trying to do is
construct a self. I'm so sick of it!
Self is a worse illness than the flu I've got, and I can't get rid of it.
But the language of self is the stock-in-trade of relationships of all kinds and it is hard to do without it. If you stop trying to explain yourself, express yourself, define yourself, intuit your future, justify your past, align yourself, repair yourself, retrieve yourself; if you stop all these things, then you come across as aloof.
Better to adopt the pose of a clown, a joker, or a naive innocent than to withdraw into noble silence.
The spiritual quest reaches a
kind of point where the seeking self is blasted into smithereens.
Used to be, I'd read spiritual books to find clues and seek direction. Now I read them to try to figure out what the hell happened to me.
Wu Wei Wu says, "I am I-less I Am".
But the old I hangs around like a phantom limb or hungry ghost.
Okay David pick yourself up off the floor and start living that way. Call Buffy the Vampire Slayer to come and kick some phantom butt and get past that phantom pain.
My difficulty comes when I try
to live a normal life. And I have so many good things - I have a
lovely daughter, devoted friends, a prospering business that
generates a good income, and limitless freedom. But that all
lulls me into forgetfulness, and forgetfulness invites in the
disease of self.
Before realization banged me over the head, the Quest wouldn't leave me alone. I was a pilgrim soul. I did not wander, I marched.
Now I wander the earth without a mission, without a quest, without a Jerusalem for my pilgrim's progress's goal.
Beingness lives and expresses in this body-mind, it all happens on its own accord. There is no "other side" of all this, but from within the whirlwind it seems that there is an other side of life where awareness, pure, distilled, is all that is. Of course all I do, as soon as I say it, is to switch on the inner light and feel the shift. Its a start.
Al Larus HarshaSatsangh
top of page