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issue 1340 Tuesday, February 4, 2003 editor michael
Non Duality Highlights
the early edition
a taste of zen with spices
Readers Write Back
The old saying has it that to know something you must name by its true name. Find your true name here. Captain Fuzzypants. http://www.bouncyflea.com/nametrue.html
Zen stories to tell your neighbors. This site has been around for some time. The many stories are followed with different ideas and opinions by lay people. Those have been ommitted in this sample. http://www.rider.edu/users/suler/zenstory/zenstory.html
A master of the tea ceremony in old Japan once accidentally slighted a soldier. He quickly apologized, but the rather impetuous soldier demanded that the matter be settled in a sword duel. The tea master, who had no experience with swords, asked the advice of a fellow Zen master who did possess such skill. As he was served by his friend, the Zen swordsman could not help but notice how the tea master performed his art with perfect concentration and tranquility. "Tomorrow," the Zen swordsman said, "when you duel the soldier, hold your weapon above your head, as if ready to strike, and face him with the same concentration and tranquility with which you perform the tea ceremony." The next day, at the appointed time and place for the duel, the tea master followed this advice. The soldier, readying himself to strike, stared for a long time into the fully attentive but calm face of the tea master. Finally, the soldier lowered his sword, apologized for his arrogance, and left without a blow being struck.
Readers Write Back!
One of our dear readers offers a perspective on his insights as a long time practitioner of Zen, Dzogchen to be precise. He has been a vocal critique of these pages from time to time. Which is to say that I don't really mind him asking me where I find all that 'crap' as I ponderously fumble my way through yet another edition. After exchanging several to the point letters with Mr. McHugh I have decided that his wit and wisdom and straight talk was much better than the crap I usually find. Not one to overlook a goldmine, I sincerely recommend the following by Earl McHugh.
Many of us devote large chunks of life to
seeking "enlightenment " "
liberation" " peace of mind" "
freedom" or whatever we may choose to call it. We pursue
this goal by reading, meditating, and following
various teachers, like Maharishi Maharesh,
Bhagvan Shri Rajneesh or Da Free John. Some adopt faiths strange
to most Westerners, involving dedication, worship and adherence
to teachings which primarily originated in Asia.
What are we seeking? It seems to me that the search we engage in so avidly is largely a groping for some imaginary state of psychological well-being that will insulate us from the ordinary torments of human existence. The Buddha, for example, proposed a system to deliver us from " suffering". Buddhism has many fine points, particularly as a psychology, but upon close inspection it develops that for most people the promised deliverance may be a number of lifetimes away.
It seems, however, that the Buddha was able to penetrate the secret of enlightenment ( after only six years of meditation ) by actually looking into his own mind. Since he had supposedly lived many,many previous lives as a Buddha it does seem a little odd that his journey took him so long.
What the Buddha did any one of you can do on your own, without any guru, prostrations, or self-denying practices. And it need not take six years. In fact, within the ordinary mind of every sane and sound person there is a key to the freedom we seek.
It takes only a relaxed, sincere and open look into your mind. The important quality of clear, unobstructed awareness is available to everyone. When you do simply relax and look, you can clearly discern that you mind is free when you don't cling to any idea or set of ideas or beliefs.
That is not really as easy as it sounds, but it is within the reach of every one of us. You don't have to " kill the ego " or deny that you exist or believe that the world is just a dream. When you do take time to look into your mind you may be appalled, at first, by why you find there since our minds are restless, ever-moving flows cluttered by all sorts of dross. You have to have the will and the patience to look through that stuff to see into the basic clarity that is there.
Once you reach that clarity you will appreciate and understand that freedom is our basic condition. It is not some reward that is to be conferred by some religion nor a remote prize that can be won only by spending a number of years on a cushion, reciting mantras, prayers or incantations of any sort.
After your first " aha " experience of clarity it seems advisable to pay attention to your clear awareness on a daily basis if you wish to expand the influence of freedom in your life. This path of freedom won't make you sexy, rich or even wise. It may, however, enable you to be a more fulfilled person better able to deal realistically with the problems that go with being human.
It seems likely that some readers will sneer at these thoughts because it sounds just too simple. In fact, many ancient Zen masters and some teachers in other traditions have taught the power of simply seeing with naked, untainted awareness. A basic Dzogchen text by Padmasambhava sums up the teaching neatly in its title, in English, " Self-Liberation through Seeing with Naked Awareness."
I must hasten to say that I did not stumble into this insight on my own. I meditated for a number of years following the teaching of "mindfulness " of the Theravadins. Then, I was fortunate to attend a Dzogchen retreat where the great benefit derived from simply looking into the depths of our own minds became clear to me. I never did become a "Buddhist."
Most of us want a technique to follow or some authority to study. I would suggest the writings of Peter Fenner. Three of his books, Intrinsic Wisdom, Wisdom Teachings and The Edge of Certainty are available in paperback. Peter also teaches in many places ( he is a professor in Australia ) and offers a two or three day seminar in which you can readily learn and practice familiarity with your own freedom of mind. You don't even have to worship Fenner or join a cult.
I have read writings by some of the fine teachers whose work is exposed on the Nonduality site which are similar to Fenner's. However, I have not met or heard any of them teach, as I have with Peter, so I cannot personally endorse them. Some of the most popular writers, like Eckhard Tolle ( The Power of Now ) seem to wind up teaching slavish adherence to some magical state - like clinging to "Now" - whatever that is.
The best thing about Peter Fenner's teaching is that he clarifies the fact that no attachments work. Like an ancient Zen master, he stresses that nothing is to be clung to- no beliefs, no teaching, no magical state, no enlightenment, no deliverance, no saintly state, etc. etc. Only by living freely can one be free.
Earl lives in the Pacific Northwest of the US of A.
Ask Moses http://www.n0by.de/2/rst/sarcastic/askmoses.htm
|The Buddhist Biker Bar and Grill|
Enlightenment? Try it Jewish-Buddhist Style
A Q&A With Author David Bader
By Hinda Mandell
To practice Zen and the art of Jewish motorcycle
maintenance, do the following:
Get rid of the motorcycle.
what were you thinking?
GenerationJ: What do you think accounts for the trend of many Jews looking towards Buddhism for spiritual development and direction?
David Bader: Well, for one thing, people who practice Zen seem so calm! It's inevitable that Jewish people would ask, "How can I be like that without a prescription?" More seriously, Jews have always been seekers and intellectual explorers and are interested in alternative approaches to spirituality, whether through Kabbalah, Eastern religions, or something else. Perhaps there's a feeling that, while Judaism is a perfectly nice religion, for ultimate truth, Enlightenment, and insight into the meaning of life, something more exotic is required.
more at http://www.generationj.com/issues/nov_02/fiction_rt.html
THE WAR PRAYER by Mark Twain
It was a time of great and exalting excitement.
The country was up in arms, the war was on,
in every breast burned the holy fire of patriotism;
the drums were beating, the bands playing,
the toy pistols popping, the bunched firecrackers
hissing and spluttering;
on every hand and far down the receding and fading spread
of roofs and balconies a fluttering wilderness of flags
flashed in the sun;
daily the young volunteers marched down the wide avenue
gay and fine in their new uniforms, the proud fathers and mothers
and sisters and sweethearts cheering them with voices
choked with happy emotion as they swung by;
nightly the packed mass meetings listened, panting, to patriot oratory
which stirred the deepest deeps of their hearts
and which they interrupted at briefest intervals
with cyclones of applause, the tears running down their cheeks the while;
in the churches the pastors preached devotion to the flag and country
and invoked the God of Battles, beseeching His aid in our good cause
in outpouring of fervid eloquence which moved every listener.
It was indeed a glad and gracious time, and the half-dozen rash spirits
that ventured to disapprove of the war and cast a doubt upon its righteousness
straightway got such a stern and angry warning that for their personal safety's sake
they quickly shrank out of sight and offended no more in that way.
Sunday morning came--
next day the battalions would leave for the front;
the church was filled;
the volunteers were there, their young faces
alight with martial dreams--
visions of the stern advance, the gathering momentum,
the rushing charge, the flashing sabers, the flight of the foe, the tumult,
the enveloping smoke, the fierce pursuit, the surrender!--
then home from the war, bronzed heroes, welcomed, adored,
submerged in golden seas of glory!
With the volunteers sat their dear ones, proud, happy, and envied
by the neighbors and friends who had no sons and brothers
to send forth to the field of honor, there to win for the flag or failing,
die the noblest of noble deaths.
The service proceeded; a war chapter from the Old Testament was read;
the first prayer was said;
it was followed by an organ burst that shook the building,
and with one impulse the house rose, with glowing eyes and beating hearts,
and poured out that tremendous invocation--
God the all-terrible!
Thou who ordainest,
Thunder thy clarion and lightning thy sword!
Then came the "long" prayer.
None could remember the like of it for passionate pleading
and moving and beautiful language.
The burden of its supplication was that an ever-merciful and benignant
Father of us all would watch over our noble young soldiers
and aid, comfort, and encourage them in their patriotic work;
bless them, shield them in the day of battle and the hour of peril,
bear them in His mighty hand, make them strong and confident,
invincible in the bloody onset; help them to crush the foe,
grant to them and to their flag and country imperishable honor and glory--
An aged stranger entered and moved with slow and noiseless step
up the main aisle, his eyes fixed upon the minister,
his long body clothed in a robe that reached to his feet, his head bare,
his white hair descending in a frothy cataract to his shoulders,
his seamy face unnaturally pale, pale even to ghastliness.
With all eyes following him and wondering, he made his silent way;
without pausing, he ascended to the preacher's side
and stood there, waiting. With shut lids the preacher,
unconscious of his presence, continued his moving prayer,
and at last finished it with the words, uttered in fervent appeal,
"Bless our arm, grant us the victory, O Lord our God,
Father and Protector of our land and flag!"
The stranger touched his arm, motioned him to step aside--
which the startled minister did-- and took his place.
During some moments he surveyed the spellbound audience
with solemn eyes in which burned an uncanny light;
then in a deep voice he said:
"I come from the Throne-- bearing a message from Almighty God!"
The words smote the house with a shock;if the stranger perceived it he gave no attention.
"He has heard the prayer of His servant your shepherd and will grant it
if such shall be your desire after I, His messenger, shall have explained to you its import--
that is to say, its full import.
For it is like unto many of the prayers of men,
in that it asks for more than he who utters it is aware of--
except he pause and think.
"God's servant and yours has prayed his prayer. Has he paused and taken thought?
Is it one prayer? No, it is two-- one uttered, the other not.
Both have reached the ear of Him Who heareth all supplications, the spoken and the unspoken.
Ponder this--keep it in mind.
If you would beseech a blessing upon yourself, beware!
lest without intent you invoke a curse upon a neighbor at the same time.
If you pray for the blessing of rain upon your crop which needs it,
by that act you are possibly praying for a curse upon some neighbor's crop
which may not need rain and can be injured by it.
"You have heard your servant's prayer-- the uttered part of it.
I am commissioned of God to put into words the other part of it-- that part which the pastor,
and also you in your hearts, fervently prayed silently. An ignorantly and unthinkingly?
God grant that it was so! You heard these words:
'Grant us the victory, O Lord our God!'
That is sufficient.
The whole of the uttered prayer is compact into those pregnant words.
Elaborations were not necessary. When you have prayed for victory you have prayed for
many unmentioned results which follow victory--must follow it, cannot help but follow it.
Upon the listening spirit of God the Father fell also the unspoken part of the prayer.
He commandeth me to put it into words:
"O Lord our Father, our young patriots, idols of our hearts, go forth to battle--
be Thou near them! With them, in spirit, we also go forth from the sweet peace
of our beloved firesides to smite the foe.
O Lord our God, help us to tear their soldiers to bloody shreds
with our shells; help us to cover their smiling fields with the pale forms
of their patriot dead; help us to drown the thunder of the guns with the shrieks of their wounded,
writhing in pain; help us to lay waste their humble homes with a hurricane of fire; help us
to wring the hearts of their unoffending widows with unavailing grief; help us to turn them out roofless
with their little children to wander unfriended the wastes of their desolated land in rags and hunger
and thirst, sports of the sun flames of summer and the icy winds of winter, broken in spirit,
worn with travail, imploring Thee for the refuge of the grave and denied it-- for our sakes who adore Thee, Lord, blast their hopes, blight their lives, protract their bitter pilgrimage, make heavy their steps, water their way with their tears, stain the white snow with the blood of their wounded feet!
We ask it, in the spirit of love, of Him Who is the Source of Love, and Who is the ever-faithful
refuge and friend of all that are sore beset and seek His aid with humble and contrite hearts.
after a pause:
"Ye have prayed it; if ye still desire it, speak!
The messenger of the Most High waits."
It was believed afterward that the man was a lunatic,
because there was no sense in what he said...
Work like you don't need the money.
Love like you've never been hurt.
Dance like nobody's watching.
Sing like nobody's listening.
Live like it's Heaven on Earth.
activism is seductive because it seems to offer the
possibility that one can improve society, make things better,
without going through the personal ordeal of rearranging one's
perceptions and transforming one's self." -Tom Robbins
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