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#1418 - Thursday, May 2, 2003 - Editor: Jerry  

Shoveling Snow With Buddha

In the usual iconography of the temple or the local Wok
you would never see him doing such a thing,
tossing the dry snow over a mountain
of his bare, round shoulder,
his hair tied in a knot,
a model of concentration.

Sitting is more his speed, if that is the word
for what he does, or does not do.

Even the season is wrong for him.
In all his manifestations, is it not warm or slightly humid?
Is this not implied by his serene expression,
that smile so wide it wraps itself around the waist of the universe?

But here we are, working our way down the driveway,
one shovelful at a time.
We toss the light powder into the clear air.
We feel the cold mist on our faces.
And with every heave we disappear
and become lost to each other
in these sudden clouds of our own making,
these fountain-bursts of snow.

This is so much better than a sermon in church,
I say out loud, but Buddha keeps on shoveling.
This is the true religion, the religion of snow,
and sunlight and winter geese barking in the sky,
I say, but he is too busy to hear me.

He has thrown himself into shoveling snow
as if it were the purpose of existence,
as if the sign of a perfect life were a clear driveway
you could back the car down easily
and drive off into the vanities of the world
with a broken heater fan and a song on the radio.

All morning long we work side by side,
me with my commentary
and he inside his generous pocket of silence,
until the hour is nearly noon
and the snow is piled high all around us;
then, I hear him speak.

After this, he asks,
can we go inside and play cards?

Certainly, I reply, and I will heat some milk
and bring cups of hot chocolate to the table
while you shuffle the deck.
and our boots stand dripping by the door.

Aaah, says the Buddha, lifting his eyes
and leaning for a moment on his shovel
before he drives the thin blade again
deep into the glittering white snow.

  ~ Billy Collins ~  
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from the I AM list  

Dear Group    

I share this mail which came in here just now   :-)  

     A feast for one's eyes.
Ramana was golden hued; his eyes were like fully
bloomed lotuses. his smile was bewitching. An eternal
divine beauty was there in his captivating face, for
he reflected fully the splendour of the Self
 Ganapati Muni would sometimes deride the foolishness
of those who used to sit near Ramana and immediately
close their eyes for Meditation. One would then miss
the joy of feasting on Ramana's eyes, his face, on
every limb of his body Which is auspicious.
    Om Aksipeyamrtambodhaye namaha.

Ramanachala ~ Inner Tranquillity  

The most difficult part about the warrior's way is to realize that
the world is a feeling. When one is not-doing, one is feeling the

Journey to Ixtlan
from The Other Syntax   

When the mind is a tornado.
No one knows its path
Or the territory it traverses
Or whether it will let the old lady
in the rocking chair
Or not.  

One Man Standing  

Excerpts, one and all, taken from 'Whisper the Winged Unicorn in: A Wish for Whisper.' Age range.. hrr. About five. Maybe six. Younger if mom and dad read it:

Whisper and the Flowers (pg 4ish):
"Don't you get bored staying in one place day after day?" asked Whisper.

"Bored?" the flowers replied. "No. This is what we do best. We cheer up the landscape. Isn't that something special?"

"But nothing ever happens to you. It's always the same."

"Nothing is ever the same," the flowers said. "Every day the wind changes. Every day the light changes. Every day we change, too. Our lives are far from boring."

Whisper meets Dorian (a dragon) (p.5)
"How can the flowers find happiness in doing nothing, while the geese, the beavers, and the squirrels find unhappiness in being so busy? The flowers should be bored, but they aren't. The animals shouldn't be bored, but they are. I don't understand."

Suddenly, from the other side of the stream came a rustling noise. Whisper took a step backward. A large dark shape reared up through the trees.

"You cannot learn anything by complaining," a deep voice said. "the answers to your questions can only be found if you search for them."

"Dorian!" cried Whisper, recognizing her friend the dragon. "You surpised me. For someone so large, you move very quietly."

Dorian smiled. "creatures who make a great deal of noise never hear what's going on around them. Fortunately, I was quiet enough to hear your complaints."

Whisper's commentary on Dorian's Quest:
"I wish my friend would tell me the answer sometimes. That would be much easier than finding out for myself."

Whisper talks to the Goldfish (at the Wishing Pond):

"That's right," said the Goldfish with a smile. "If your life is boring, it's up to you to change it. Only you can make your life important."

"But what about the geese and the beavers and the squirrels?" asked Whisper.

"They have yet to learn the lesson. The flowers, however, understand the magic of being alive. They accept their role in the world and try hard to be the best flowers they can be. They bring joy to all of us. You must use your gifts to the fullest, too."

  from Daily Dharma   "Remember,
we are all affecting the world every moment,
whether we mean to or not.
Our actions and states of mind matter,
because we're so deeply interconnected with one another.
Working on our own consciousness
is the most important thing that we are doing at any moment,
and being love is the supreme creative act."
                             ~Ram Dass

From the website  

Advaita to Zen

The nature of "self" in not actually opposed
  to any "other" -- yet in order to define "self"
  an imagined distance must be maintained.

Across this distance, the self can perceive beauty,
  pleasure, pain to be avoided, something which will
  gratify it, fulfill it, or diminish it, threaten it.

Whether material or spiritual in nature, the perceived
  other will always be tinged with ambivalent feelings
  of love and hate -- I love that you could be there for
  me, give something I need and want to me, I hate having
  to depend on you, hate that you can disappear, die, leave
  me.  And these relations with the other are projections
  of the self's attempt to have a relationship with itself --
  so there is love that "I" can be there to enjoy things,
  and fear that "I" could be lost, could die.  Or there is
  fear that "I" will continue to exist to suffer, and
  desire to be rid of "I."

These kinds of relations come into play in every aspect of
  life -- so with teachers and students, no exception.

Because the self does not have the imagined position in
  which there is separation by distance from object, it
  cannot be that any experience, any object, and event
  could appear out of place.  With no real distance apart,
  "out of place" cannot take place.

Whatever happens to me, and me, is the same thing.

Wherever I go, I never encounter something separated from
  who I am.

And this can be said in reverse -- whatever experience or
  appearance happens -- no separable "I" has ever been
  there to get something from it which could be brought
  along somewhere else, nor has there ever been a possibility
  for an "I" to avoid anything that has happened.

So, in one sense, there is never really such a thing as a false
  teaching, because whatever is said or experienced is
  what is to take place in that context at that moment, which
  already has "happened."

In another sense, there is no such thing as a true teaching,
  because what ever is said or experienced never has an "I"
  which could learn from it, bring something forward with it.

Yet, we prattle on.

We enjoy the communication, the game of appearing to one
  another, the play of being affected by whatever one
  imparts to the other.  And it cannot be any other way.
  For this already has happened, as it is to have happened.  

from Petros-Truth  

"That that we cannot talk about, we cannot talk about. That that we are,
that we cannot explain, cannot be discussed. That that we are that has no
beginning and no end cannot be discussed. That that we are that has no
beginning and no end can't be classified. We say things like that because we
don't even know what to say, because we try to search for something to say
that you cannot even say. But it gives me pleasure to try to search for
something to say about That that I can't say anything about."

-- Yudhishtara
(an enlightened student of Sri Poonjaji)

From the May, 2003 issue of TAT Forum

Accident, Sublimation, Transformation
by Bob Fergeson

The events of childhood do not pass, but repeat themselves like seasons of the year. - Eleanor Farjeon

I was in the midst of a crowd of people, when I realized that everyone's lives were just accidents. No one was in control of themselves. I became very out of it, just like on LSD. I then realized that the answer was sublimation, then transformation. Accident, sublimation, transformation. These three steps were the key. - Bob Fergeson

paintbrush flowers, photo by Bob Fergeson Accident: Let's take a look at the above quotes and see how they can provide a road map for self-knowledge. Many of us have had the experience or shock of realizing that the patterns and coping mechanisms of childhood are still with us and active, perhaps long after they are needed. As Eleanor Farjeon points out, these events, and their emotional reaction patterns, are still in us, dictating our behavior year after year. If we take the time to observe our day-to-day patterns with a bit of objectivity, over time we may see that we are mechanical, a robot. We may even realize that any reaction we have to change our mechanical pattern is also mechanical, just another reaction to a reaction. This realization can put us into quite a quandary, and is death to certain egos. The removal of these egos is paramount to progress, for they will never admit the need for real change.

Sublimation: We will become frustrated with this apparent paradox, and hopefully take our search more inwards. How can we find something in us that is not of the world of accident, something which is not just an endless chain of thought begetting thought? The next quote, taken from an old journal, provides the clue. We must refine our machine, for as we are, we are not capable of moving beyond the mechanics of associative thought. Here we move into the realm of sublimation. Our limited energy must be withdrawn from the associative world of behavior, saved and used for other purposes than the accidental world of desire and fear. This sublimation is akin to a refinement of our observation and thinking processes. We turn inwards and begin to look for the motivations of our actions, to question why we think as we do. We no longer can believe in the ego's story of "I did this because 'I' wanted to." Try as we might, we cannot find this 'I' we put so much faith in earlier. And thus, through sublimating our energy through the questioning process, we have transformed our thinking and observing.

Transformation: This new level of of observation, one of seeing the patterns of our self and their mechanicalness, is still within the realm of the thinking mind, even though it brings a certain relief from the former sense-based thinking. If we are honest and keep on observing, driven by the still ever-present restlessness, we may come to the realization that we will never find anything Real in the mind, with the mind. If we are lucky, this realization may bring periods when we drop the whole game and become quiet. Here, another quandary with its trauma is necessary, for another set of egos must be dropped. Knowing that all thought is reactive and one step behind the present moment, we may begin to just listen, to observe without reaction. In this quiet, listening mind, something Real has the possibility of entering.

From the Mystic Missal

Michael Gluckman

Light-Up-Your-Life Newsletter

The Secret of Consciousness

Note, in this article I use Consciousness and Awareness

You may have seen courses on consciousness studies. If you
want Self -Knowledge you study consciousness in a different
way. You study consciousness by becoming it. You study it
from the inside.

Consciousness is not an objective state. This means that you
do not see your awareness. You see from your awareness.
This is a little secret that most people miss. Why? Because
there is no sense that looks at consciousness. Rather you see
from Consciousness. This is like the sun. You do not need a
flashlight to see the sun. You see the sun by its own light.
Similarly you see Consciousness by its own light - you see
Consciousness because you are Consciousness.

Now what's the advantage of being Consciousness? You see
all of your limitations. You see if you feel limited by a body,
or a set of thoughts or feelings - if you feel too young, too old,
too sick, depressed or lacking in self-esteem.

You will find that when you become aware of these feelings of
limitation, you become free of them. When you recognize the
power of this innate Awareness you can no longer feel limited
by what you see. This is because you begin to shift your identity
from the limitations to this boundless Awareness.

The best part of my practice was when I began to see the
limitations that I was living by. That was when by life
started to change by leaps and bounds. I recognized fully that
whatever I could see I was not. Rather I was just the seer,
this Consciousness.

This Consciousness is like space. It fills all boundaries and
limitations and it stretches beyond them. Pot space in no way
limits space. The space fills the pot, the walls of the pot, and
on into infinity.

Similarly, your Awareness fills all of your limitations, the
person that appears to have these limitations and beyond.
This consciousness is the sword you use to cut through your
chains and to remain free.

For more on this see "Making Your Wisdom Come Alive"
at and see, An aid to self discovery.



Over the years, prattlings appeared in
Some one has embarked to collect, past leaves floated in
cyber-space and collate at

If moved to vist, have a look.  
Dooooooobeeeee Doooooobeeeeee Doooooooo

Zen master Changqing Huileng entered the hall to address
the monks. After a long silence he said, "Don't say that it
will be any better tonight." He then got down and left the

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Nonduality: The Varieties of Expression Home

Jerry Katz
photography & writings

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