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#1422 - May 5, 2003 - Editor: Jerry
a fork in the path
Just received an invitation from Rocky Mountain Shambhala center with an offer for a 2 months residency this summer. It would be incredible to have the opportunity to immerse into a lively practice and study environment. And also to reconnect with beloved old friends and teachers from Naropa.
Meanwhile, as I
hadn't heard from them, I made alternative plans to visit friends
on the southwest coast of England in September.
That particular trip would be more of a solitary wandering of hiking the moors and the coast.
Ideally I'd love to do both, yet 3 months is too long to be away from my family. I have a lot of responsibilities here, practical and financial.
At one point in my life I would have just gone for both and let the others deal with it. I am learning to take others into consideration.
I have to choose.
It's pretty clear to me what I should do, but I will sleep on it
first before I decide.
What would you do?
Teachings of Zen, edited by Thomas Cleary)
I do not understand Zen, I do not understand Tao: I only know how to dissolve glue and remove bonds, to give medicines according to ailments.
There is no Zen to study, no Tao to learn. Abandoning the fundamental to pursue trivia, busily working on externals, is not as good as coming back to get to know your own citadel.
In the citadel is your own spiritual monarch to honor, who answers a hundredfold when called once, who wants all people to wake up themselves.
Come, come! What you must do is put down your previous views all at once; then the mental stamp of your own cosmic Buddah will be clear through and through.
I think that what
many of us do not realize is that it
is right here. Of course, this is what all the
teachers say, but we really don't believe it, or
rather, we don't have confidence in our own ability to
let go into it. When we get into a seeking syndrome,
our mind is always looking for answers, and can become
very active. It then finds it difficult to simply
stand back and not be involved. But even this is not a
problem. We have to be gentle with ourselves, and not
get frustrated that we continue to make the same
apparent mistakes. These 'mistakes' are merely a
familiarizing process - becoming familar with a new
way of Being.
We may usually walk along the river with a dialogue
going on in our mind, not really fully in contact with
our surroundings. Then one day, a bird sings in a
certain way, or the sun shines through the leaves of a
tree in a certain way, and suddenly we may find
ourselves in what I would call 'the listening'. In
this listening there is also 'feeling'. Everything
seems to come out of the 'silent emptiness', and
certainly not from the mind which always has its own
script. I wouldn't even call it 'presence', because
that can imply that something objective has appeared.
But in reality, nothing has appeared. The thinking
mind has simply fallen aside for a while. What we are
now open to was always there - it's just that we were
somewhere else, not present to it. And in the
listening, it is not we who are listening - it is just
I am sure you know all this.
As to 'feeling', my own experience is that listening
and feeling go together. When we allow ourselves the
time and space to really listen, we also begin to feel
everything at a deep level. We also need to realize
that we are not fixed at one centre. Consciousness is
not personal, but the individual mind is informed by
it. When we are living from the 'feeling' (from the
'listening'), we are open. We are also not holding on
to any experiences. This 'feeling' has an almost
tactile quality. There is a subtle sensation of
'receiving' in the body - but no longer is there a
personal involvement and reaction. To some, this might
appear to be a pretty boring way of living, but there
is no limit to how deep we can be taken into this
'feeling' mode. It is full of surprise and delight -
like listening to a really beautiful piece of music
and hearing the clarity of the strings, the guitar or
I am hesitant to refer to any 'personal' experiences
other than in a general way, because this is not
personal. We have all known such moments when the mind
was not active, and something beautiful happened. Then
we may have spent the rest of our life since trying to
find it again. But we don't really need to try at all
.... all we need to do is to listen ... and feel - not
in order to gain this experience, but simply to enjoy
Being in the listening. It is its own reward. I hope
this doesn't sound too pretentious?
processes are out of my control. When one sees this with
understanding, then one is disillusioned with the things of
suffering. This is the Path of Purification."
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