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Non Duality Highlights Issue #1367 - Tuesday and Wednesday, March 4-5, 2003 - Editor: michael  

Tuesday, March 4, 2003

Illusion, Reality and Spiritual Materialism  

another non duality highlights double-issue


"The nature of reality is this:
It is hidden, and it is hidden, and it is hidden."
--Rumi, 13th-century Sufi mystic  

    Spiritual Materialism newsletter.htm



Chögyam Trungpa

"There are numerous sidetracks which lead to a distorted, ego-centered version of spirituality; we can deceive ourselves into thinking we are developing spiritually when instead we are stengthening our egocentricity through spiritual techniques."


 "I've told you a ll that constitutes the very core of the truth;

There's no you, no me, no superior being, no disciple, no Guru.

The paramount Reality is self-evident and simple;

I'm nectarean knowledge, unchanging bliss; I'm everywhere, like space."

from: The Song of the Avadhut

editor's note: this is an Aikido site


There is one spiritual well that waters the whole world. It is fed by a spring of pure water. It is the water of compassion. It is the well of love. All people want to drink there. It is, whether we know it or not, our deepest need. Nothing else will meet this need. Nothing else brings true peace of mind. Nothing else brings real happiness.

Many people draw from this well. Many beliefs and faiths hold out cups to the thirsty.

We often pay whatever is asked for the chance to drink from them. Many of us are desperate. Many of us also live in cash economies, where money is an important measure of worth. We believe that money is the only way to get what we want. If we don't pay, we think we're not getting anything worthwhile. And the more we pay the better we believe the solace will be. This isn't so, but there are plenty of entrepreneurs ready to behave as if it were.

Spiritual commercialists sell something they get for nothing. This can make for a very profitable business. Aikido, too, has often been commercialised in this way.

Institute for Spiritual Materialism

Cyberswami Avidyananda  

In his moment of vision, he perceived the world as perfect for its divine purpose, and utterly holy. Upon his return to the world, the distinguished* Cyberswami tested his hard-won wisdom with every available temptation of the flesh, repeatedly, so there could be no mistake. The ancient writings are true; there is _no_ real difference between the spiritual and material worlds. Divine nature permeates both the Manifest and Unmanifest equally, and their seeming separation is but an illusion to maintain the stunningly complex multi-billion year drama of existence.

Spiritual Materialism

I had two psychics from the Berkeley Psychic Institute read me on Friday (Thanks LJ!). Like dueling fiddles, except it was psychics. My dad wants to start the Berkeley Sidekick Institute - with classes like “Be the best #2 you can be!” and “Capes: colors and fabrics” and “Superhero Co-dependence - the pitfalls of sidekick life”. Having a psychic reading is like looking at the back of your head after you get a hair cut. It's interesting to see - but doesn't really matter since you can't see it every day.

One of the psychics called the Dalai Lama “The Daddy Mama” - an appropriate nickname for the most integrated and evolved public figure on the planet. The psychic said that I should ask my Tibetan Lama past life to recede into the mists of time - having him hang out with me in this life is like letting a bus driver have the wheel in a new neighborhood. No Steven Segal jokes please. But I let my inner Tibetan Lama come out to play at the Dalai Lama “concert” at Shoreline Ampitheater yesterday.

I got there around 8am and found a spot on the lawn facing center stage - and more importantly, behind a cute punk rock girl named Gina who had come down from Oregon. She had been to the last 3 days of the Dalai Lama's teachings and was pretty blissed out. After finding the optimal seat, I went shopping. I probably dropped $300 at the Dalai Lama's gig - $50 ticket, $10 to park and $100 for videos of the 3 days I had missed (a ridiculous purchase as I have no TV), plus a wide array of religious tapes, accessories and crap that I have no room for. In every line I stood in, I made the same dumb joke about going home and rereading “Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism” - I was laughing, but the people next to me just nodded sagely and looked guilty. The author, Tibetan crazy guy Chogyam Trungpa, would have laughed and asked me to buy him a beer.

Fellowship of     
Spiritual Materialists     
I just wanted to let everybody know I started a new religion today.     
It's called "Spiritual Materialism  
Tenants of Spiritual Materialism:  
	The main purpose of Spiritual Materialism is to help those with less  
Stuff than you. Stuff of value being more Holy than cheap, crappy Stuff. So  
it is the duty of a Spiritual Materialist with Good Stuff to share it with those  
who are less fortunate.  
	Now I don't like religions with lots of complex moral codes, as I value  
freedom of thought and action almost as much as I value Good Stuff.   
However, it seems to me that religions need rules, so I created a list of the  
major laws of Spiritual Materialism. Here they are (not necessarily listed in order of importance).  
1. All Stuff is Holy. Do not break, abuse, misuse or otherwise defile the Holy Stuff.  
2. Do not steal anybody's Stuff.  
3. Treat your Stuff well, for you may loose it.  
4. Giving freely of your Stuff to others is the Most Holy of all Acts.  
5. Respect Stuff given to you by others, as you would Stuff you bought yourself.  
6. If Stuff breaks, and is not fixable, recycle it, so there can be more Stuff.  
7. Whenever possible, strive to make the world around you better through Stuff.  
8. If you are skilled, create Stuff.  
9. Do not force your will upon the Stuff of others.  
10. These aren't the Ten Commandments, so I stopped at nine.   

Buddhist Terms Your Guru Never Taught You

By Gary L. Ray

I’ve compiled this list of modern Buddhist terms over the last several years through a combination of listening to how American Buddhists talk and coming up with my own terms describing how they behave. I also credit Douglas Coupland for the idea of compiling the list.

If you would like to submit a term for the next issue, please e-mail me at the address above.

  ZEN SICKNESS: Also known as Madhyamika Sickness. The belief that everything is empty, nothing matters, and that the world is illusory. This sickness is usually cured by a Zen master with a big stick who asks: "Does emptiness feel pain?"

  GURO-OMETER: The parameters one uses to quickly access the quality of a Buddhist teacher when first encountered, such as how they walk, the way they speak, or my own personal favorite, how late they show up for an event: the later they show up, the more insight they have.   From the ship's counsellor of the USS Enterprise    

Unitarian Universalist Fellowship
of Kaiserslautern

The New American Spirituality

Above all other descriptions, Spirituality is about fearlessness, about the "brave search for the truth about existence." What is there to fear? The temporal quality of the human condition, which has, in the past, reduced us to absurdism, having come to doubt veracity of traditional solutions. "Some fear the terror of death; some fear the prospect of life unlived; some fear the loss of what we hold dear and familiar. These are not thoughts on which we usually enjoy lingering. Spirituality invites us to linger...with curiosity and openness, and a relaxed fearlessness the Buddhists call 'tranquil abiding.'" This seems to me an outstanding formulation for discussing spirituality among Unitarian Universalists.

Our emotional need to interpret our spiritual experience and systematize it into religious rationalizations has tied us in terrible knots. We are spiritually confused as a species and at each other's throats as a result. Each religion believes its interpretations are the ultimate truth and has fought the most horrific and barbaric wars to prove the point.

Our inherent sense of spiritual unity with each other and with all of nature has been replaced with nonsensical arguments about immaculate conceptions, days of judgment, yugas, bardos, and how many hells there are. This has imprisoned us in self-imposed chains of delusion, from which we must break free.

Inner  Frontier

The Illusion of the Ego 

            What in us blocks our connection with the spiritual depths? If heaven is real, why am I not in contact with it? All religions and paths address this central question, under a variety of names, the most common today in the West being “ego.” The term ego, in this context, alludes to our deeply ingrained self-referential, self-seeking disposition. Ego cuts us off from other people, from Nature, from God, from our true self, from our true responsibility, and from fulfillment of our destiny. Our ego is the great usurper. It focuses on our local independence, falsely presuming it to be a global independence. The ego convinces us that we are truly separate beings with ultimately separate will, having no inherent connection with other people or with God. 

Religions and paths portray the nature of our egoism and how to deal with it in one of two quite distinct modes. Usually, and to our misfortune, the ways reify and solidify ego into a something, an enemy, which must be overcome, which must die, which inherently resides in our tainted nature, which must be purified. True enough. One cannot argue with the accumulated wisdom of great religions. For our modern culture, though, the notion that our ego must die seems frightening. More importantly, the notion that we harbor inherent spiritual taints gets interpreted by our self-bashing, insecure psychology to mean that we are bad ¾ something that we in the West have been trained to believe since childhood. We believe we are not good enough. So we don the knowledge of being corrupt to our core as a mantle of supposed wisdom, and flock to those that teach it. Then the religious teaching about egoism simply gets co-opted by the self-denigrating side of our ego, eagerly adopted and accepted as yet another weakness. We hang our heads and beat our breasts and feel the better for it. Unfortunately, all this only strengthens our egoism and leads us into an endless cycle, akin to a dog chasing its tail.

Halfway Up the Mountain
The Error of Premature Claims to Enlightenment

"Caplan's illuminating book calls into question the motives of the spiritual snake handlers of the modern age and urges seekers to pay the price of traveling the hard road to true enlightenment."
~Publishers Weekly

"This is a valuable, timely book, although readers will need to keep an opening, questioning mind, especially in the sections devoted t the "hot" issues of authenticity, ego inflation and corruption with respect to spiritual teachers."
~Shambhala Sun

Chapter 12
by Giulio Iacobini (Age: 42)
copyright 01-02-2003

Insufficient Ratings Yet
Age Rating: 18 to 127

  Illusion by Giulio Iacobini

I reached the conclusion that everything in life as well as otherwise is an illusion of some kind or other ...

Now, illusion is spirit of spiritual nature and everything that ever exists can be explained as a spiritual illusion ...

Since the time created we live nothing but a Great Illusion of the time-space ...

I was a cadet in the nautical military school in Romania from 1976 to 1983 preparing to become an officer in the Merchant Navy which led me to sailing towards Australia where I am even now in 2002 ... when I am about to reach the age 42 ...

The whole of my life is a illusion in my mind ... and since everything is an illusion even God is an illusion ... and I got to continue to feed the illusion of life ...  

A Tendency to Shine

If you prefer smoke over fire
then get up now and leave.
For I do not intend to perfume
your mind's clothing with
more sooty knowledge.
No, I have something else in mind.
Today I hold a flame in my left hand
and a sword in my right.
There will be no damage control today.
God is in a mood to plunder your riches and
fling you nakedly
into such breathtaking poverty
that all that will be left of you will be
a tendency to shine.
So don't just sit around this flame
choking on your mind.
This is no campfire song
to mindlessly
mantra yourself to sleep with.
Jump now into the space
between thoughts and
exit this dream
before I burn the damn place down.

~ Adyashanti - from My Secret is Silence

   This site is an excerpt from the the ex-premie forum. Premies were what followers of the Guru Maharaji called themselves during the Guru's heydays of the early 1970s. These postings are from former followers of that guru. Nope, I'm not bashing that guru. Let the ex-premies speak for themselves...  

  Readers Write Back  

Here is a bit of satire offered by our most vocal critic and all around curmudgeon, Earl McHugh. Thanks, Earl.                                 

Being That

Recently I was visiting a friend at a lonely little town in the green hills of West Virginia when I saw a vast estate with a huge , open gate. Over the gate was this intriguing sign, " Abandon all Illusions." Enticed by this admonition, I entered.
As I strolled down a tree-lined path, I soon came upon a  large oak, behind which a long-haired rather stout old man was talking with a younger, confused looking man who knelt before him.
          I recognized the older man as Thaddeus  Parsnip, author of that leading book on eternal truth, " I am Nothing and You are Less than Nothing"  and many others. I crept behind the tree and listened in as they chatted.
       TruthSeeker ( hereafter TS ): why can't I seem to put my mind at ease?
TP: What is this "my mind" ?
TS" you know - the stuff I think with.
TP: what is this " I " shit?
TS:You know, just me.
TP: There is no " I " haven't you learned that after six weeks with me?
Ts:: Well, I listen very carefully but sometimes I don't hear you ….
TP: That is you problem. There is no you, no me and no one here at all.
TS: If that is so, why am I paying $2,000 a week to stay here?
TP: My son, someone has to pay the upkeep on this spread.
TS: Do you get to keep much of it?
TP: What do you mean, " you." There is no me, no you, nothing and nobody here.
TS: How did you come to learn such great Truth, oh Parsnip?
TP: Well,  there was always this great  yearning in what I thought was my mind to know more than I seemed to know, and selling vacuum cleaners in Waco didn't seem to be providing all the answers I needed. So, I stowed away on a freighter to Jakarta, and from there I hid in a load of betel nut being carried to India. A few weeks later the betel and I were unloaded  in a rather large ashram where a tiny,brown man, clad in a rather dirty dhoti was reclining in the lap of a curvy, naked young lady and lecturing  to a large crowd of Westerners who seemed to be sweating quite a lot. The temperature was 112 degrees.
            The Westerners were passing forward   large,wicker baskets, mostly filled with U.S. currency and  a few thousand yen, and prostrating frequently ( or passing out from the heat).
           The little brown man, I guessed from the large signs at the doorway, was Marharshima Moomanji of  Gilgamesh, better known as  Gotchaji.He was chewing a large cheekful of betel nut and smoking some rather strong-smelling handrolled cigarettes. The naked lady wiped away the betel-juice that dribbled down his chin.
            Creeping  out from under the load of betel nut, I slipped up to this old man." What is the Truth ? " I asked.  His slightly reddish eyes blinked in my direction, and he said:
   " What do you mean? There is NO truth, there is no you, no me and definitely no Truth. The only thing that matters is that there is only Seeingness, Hearingness and Beingness and what you think is "you"doesn't  exist and what is called "I" doesn't exist either.
        "Then", I said softly," just what is there?"
    "There is only  THAT and the sooner you realize it, the better off you will be. I am THAT and you are THAT and the rest of it is all delusion, I tell you young d**khead."
Struck dumb with the revelation of this great  truth. I asked him, when I recovered my breath," How did this incredible epiphany come to you?"
          " Well," he said, "I had been begging in the gutters of Calcutta for 30 or 40 years and drinking jars of nettitnetti whenever I collected a few rupees. One day a tourist gave me an actual U.S. dollar bill. This was enough for 10 jars of nettinetti. I drank those down, slept a week or so and when I awoke in some clinic the missionaries ran, this great insight was with me   and it has never left me."
       Thad  then said,       " Not being a total fool, I ran out of there as fast as I could, joined a band of traveling hippies from Kansas and they naturally brought me back home. I have devoted the rest of my life to imparting this Wisdom to puddingheads like you in my 14 great books, 212 tapes and  several annual retreats. It beats selling vacuum cleaners."
Earl McHugh   by Jinendra Swami  

Circle of Desire

The essence of liberation is in
    breaking the Circle of Desire

As an infant all you desired was food and comfort 
Then your desire for nice clothings and 'stuff ' 
   was so much necessary in your youth 
But as you 'matured',  your desires 'progressed' 
   to having spouse, house, wealth, and child too 
Then with 'age', when you have possessions, positions,           
   and credentials, you reach deep understanding of life
Now your mind desires, 'god' or enlightenment too
So from clothing, to spouse, to desire for 'god'
You imagine you've made great progress in life

In reality nothing has changed 
But the objects of your desires 
Know that the essence of liberation is 
In breaking the Circle of Desire

The rich and the poor
The servant and the master 
The 'grahastha'  and the 'sadhaka'
The disciple and the 'so-called spiritual man' 
And also all those still rooted
  in 'Longing' of  'some kind'
They're all equal in their illusions
Still Circumscribed by the Circle of Desire 

Do I 'know'?
Do I 'understand'?
How can I be attached, and still attain Liberation?  
Your so called progress is simply a change 
From one illusion to another 
Maybe from a material to a spiritual illusion 
But your life is still full of delusions

All your 'Actions' are 
   to 'gain' something and 'avoid' other things 
Your efforts for the future are affected by your past
You Forget in the process the 'present' is a Fact

Can you Act without any motive?

Just observe your every action 
It gives a 'Desired fruit'
   or may be an 'Undesired fruit' 
But is there a way you can act
  so  'no fruit' accrues to you ?

Know that without Renunciation
You cannot experience 'no fruit' 
Isn't that really the Truth?
But, Renunciation is not in the act
It cannot be learned nor taught
The secret is revealed to you
When you experience
   a state of  'Changeless Desire' 
You will know exactly how to live and act 
So 'no fruit' accrues to you 

You think you have progressed by having virtue of
  'Wanting nothing, Doing nothing, Being nothing'
But, aren't you still caught up in Circle of Desire?  

Be Aware and realize
From the Circle of Desire
Arises all ideas of acceptance and rejection 
How can pleasure and pain be absent
    while you are Perturbed?

Leave aside all 'ideas' of acceptance or rejection 
And remain Steadfast and Equanimous 
Then, through self-experience you'll know 
In Enlightenment
Pleasure and Pain don't dissolve 
Nor is there Freedom from their experiences 
But it's Wisdom that acts as an armor 
Protecting you from either pain or pleasure 
Any experience leave no imprint on the mind 
This is Freedom from the mind 
And it is 'this state of mind' 
That brings Freedom from all Actions

Be Aware 
You are always conscious of  'what Changes'
Can you be Conscious 
   of  'That which does not Change'?
Know that 'this state of mind' is the Essence 
   that brings liberation from the Circle of Desire 

It's when nothing else is wanted
   amazingly the Reality is right there!!

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Jerry Katz
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