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Sunday, June 29, 2003 - Editor: Joyce (Know_Mystery)
MJM Gilbert ~ AlongTheWay
A world accessible to all
I live in a world
of realities, while yours is
~ Nisargadatta Maharaj ~
SPIRITUAL FIDELITY: BEING TRUE TO YOUR OWN NATURE
A teaching by Jetsunma Ahkön Lhamo
Buddha taught that one of the most heinous crimes one can commit from the spiritual point of view is to proclaim oneself to be more advanced or spiritually competent than is actually the case. Why that is, is a very involved subject but to understand it is to better understand spiritual fidelity.
According to the Buddhas teaching, cyclic existence is unbearable because it is pervaded with suffering. Even the happiness that there is within cyclic existence is temporary. And so we suffer from impermanence and cling to all manner of experiences. This fixation on maintaining a permanent, continuing ego-self in order to feel safe causes all suffering. According to the Buddha, self nature is not inherently real. Our true nature is the primordial wisdom state, which is free of all conceptualization, including the perception of self nature. It is clear, luminous and innately wakeful. It is not empty and dark in the way we would think of nothingness, but it is simply aware with a non-specific awareness or wakefulness. This is our nature not the egoself that we conceive ourselves to be.
According to this view, there is no being who is greater than another. Even in the case of lamas who sit on thrones giving spiritual teachings, if they are truly realized, they do not consider themselves to be greater beings than anyone else. In fact, their realization comes from realizing the sameness of all phenomena and the equality of all that lives. Thus to think of oneself as being more advanced or greater than others is a falsehood. Yet many people do have this idea. And when they come here, they say, "You must know who I am and why Im here. I know I have a special mission." People have even written to me from across the country, asking me to recognize them as a tulku. In the first place, I dont have the authority to recognize anyone. And even if I did, I would never recognize someone who asked for it. Never. In fact, I would pay the least attention to such a person.
Why? According to the Buddha, the goal is not to become a greater or vaster ego. The goal is to realize the primordial wisdom state, which is the same inherent nature in all sentient beings. Anything that we build on top of that is false and actually takes us in exactly the opposite direction from the Buddhas teaching. True nature is innate. It cannot be grown. It will never be bigger or smaller than it is now. It will never change, and therefore it cannot be manipulated.
So when people come here feeling that they have an honored place or a special mission, they are only contributing to the size and rigidity of their egos, and they must simply wait it out. As a woman I know in Tennessee once said, "If it doesnt come out in the wash, it will in the rinse." What youre going to do, youre going to do. And if it is in accordance with the Buddhas teaching, you will achieve realization.
The Mahayana path cultivates the desire to benefit beings and eventually leads out of the very self-absorption that causes the desire for special recognition. Consider yourself merely a function of the Buddhas kindness. If you are transforming your life into being a vehicle by which sentient beings are benefited, you really cant be concentrating on the idea that "Im helping you," because then the "I" will become very inflated and the "you" will become dependent. To prevent such obstacles, we must think about the inherent equality of all that lives although our egos have various appearances, our nature is the same. Thus we are completely equal, and anything but kindness is a waste of time.
According to the Buddha, we should apply the antidotes that purify our mindstream and perception and lead to enlightenment. What are those things? They are the things that we call meritorious activity: generosity, recitation, contemplation, meditation, prayer, offering, studying and teaching. Over time, these activities will loosen the minds tight fixation on ego and one will spontaneously view the natural state. Ultimately one will remain stable in that state, awake as the Buddha is awake.
The Buddha never said, "I am God." Nor did he say, "I am the Son of God." Or even, "I am here to help you." All he said was, "I am awake." Our job is to awaken to our true nature, and that is what we do. Quickly? Probably not, although with diligent practice, the Vajrayana vehicle can lead to enlightenment in one lifetime, or three, or seven.
Each of us walks through the door of liberation alone. Each of us is absolutely responsible for our own awakening. So to come to a teacher and say, "Please recognize me," or "Please enlighten me," is a little silly. One should be humble. One should study. One should practice. And however long it takes is however long it takes.
Students come to me and they ask to know the secret of the universe. Here is the secret of the universe: work hard. There is no other secret. To attain the precious awakening one should purify the mindstream; one should make ones life a vehicle for generosity. Always think more of the welfare of others than your own. Be honest. Be courageous.
square in the eye and get the big picture. All sentient
beings are the same. They
There is no excuse for not starting now. If you think youre not ready, get ready. No one is ready. If you think youre not kind, get kind. Its a discipline to think of something greater than ones own self-absorption. Start small, with 10 seconds of pure generosity, caring only for the welfare of others. When you get 10 seconds, move on to 12. In a couple of weeks, try 30 seconds. Then go for a minute; thats a years worth of work. Pretty soon youll be thinking an hour. And after a while it will become a habitual tendency.
If you find yourself backsliding, dont be surprised. Thats the nature of samsaric existence. Be patient with yourself; do the best you can, give yourself a break and dont let yourself get away with murder. Those are my three cardinal rules for following the Path.
In closing, let me connect this with spiritual fidelity. One is true to oneself when one is honest, when one faces that one is a samsaric being involved in cyclic existence and is no longer shocked or ashamed or surprised at that. So it is. This is where we start. But you should start with honesty, courage and responsibility. You are responsible for the humility that you have within your mind, the honesty and devotion you have toward the Three Precious Jewels, which are the very display of enlightenment itself. Apply discipline and work hard. Be worthy and be true. This is spiritual fidelity.
© Jetsunma Ahkön Lhamo
Manuel Hernandez ~ ANetOfJewels
The least effort on your part prevents what otherwise might happen naturally and spontaneously. Awareness cannot be an act of volition.
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~
See the false as false, and what remains is true. What is absent now will appear when what is now present disappears. Negation is the only answer to finding the ultimate truth - it is as simple as that.
~ Ramesh S. Balkesar ~
Steve Toth ~ BuddhaWay
We Who Know
We who know
The old gods
Anipanchen ~ DailyDharma
"Is not suffering due to the fact that it is forced upon us? Suppose we would do consciously what nature does unconsciously? Suppose we could offer ourselves willingly to be molded and buffeted by life?
We are the offering placed on the altar of the world.
If we would sacrifice what we wish most, we would gain a tremendous freedom.
This is what is asked of us, the greatest gift of all, always what we want most, for ourselves, for the inner most of ourselves, our own heart.
It is the acceptance of the unacceptable that is asked of us.
So we are tested. To make evident whether our heart's treasure is earthly or heavenly.
There is no Good Friday without an Easter. No dark night without a dawn, and no oppression without a release, and the sacrifice is followed by an outburst of such momentum that it shakes the very heavens.
The veil of the temple is split; there is a tremor on earth.
You are resurrecting every time you overcome yourself."
~Pir Vilayat Kahn ~
Brigitte Mohr ~ BuddhistWellnessGroup
PERCEPTION AND OBJECTIVITY
When we perceive an object, we automatically tend to label it (like nice, bad, wet, dry, light, dark, etc.). As soon as our mind puts a label on an object, the label takes the place of the actual object in our mental processes. As our mental image or label can never represent all the different qualities and characteristics of any object, it is always just a simplified, usually exaggerated, subjective snap shot. However, our mind reacts on the basis of our own mental label of an object. No wonder we tend to react simplistic, exaggerated and subjective situations. All perceived objects are conditioned by our senses and our own mind. This leads to the dramatic conclusion that we are not and by definition can never be objective!
Or, as the famous physicist Werner Heisenberg said,
"What we observe is not nature itself, but nature exposed to our method of questioning"....
Vicki Woodyard ~ NonDualitySalon
of Our Garden
In this garden people are hoeing, weeding and propagating, planting, etc. There is soil, compost, fertilizer, sun, water, bugs, etc. This is an organic garden for the most part.
What we plant is up
to us. Some plant deliberately and others strew seeds
Some wear sunhats
and others nothing. It's interesting that the garden
No one sells the
flowers or produce that arise in the garden. It is free.
There is a flower
in this garden that is said to have healing
Susie ~ TrueVision
Gabriele Ebert ~ RamanaMaharshi
The Be-ing Alone is Bliss
Sri Bhagavan commented:
"In sushupti (deep sleep) one enjoys the whole ocean of bliss
like a king; whereas in the other two states the range of
bliss is as wide as are the classes of men, from the king
down to the penniless."
Mr. C: "Sushupti is often characterised as the state of
Bhagavan: "No, it is the pure State. There is full awareness in
it and total ignorance in the waking state. It is said to be
ajnana (ignorance) only in relation to the false jnana (knowledge)
prevalent in jagrat. Really speaking jagrat is ajnana and sushupti
prajnana (wisdom). If sushupti is not the real state where does
the intense peace come from to the sleeper? It is everybody's
experience that nothing in jagrat can compare with the bliss
and well-being derived from deep sleep, when the mind and
the senses are absent. What does it all mean? It means that
bliss comes only from inside ourselves and that it is most intense
when we are free from thoughts and perceptions, which create
the world and the body, that is, when we are in our pure Be-ing,
which is Brahman, the Self. In other words, the Be-ing alone is
bliss and the mental superimpositions are ignorance and, therefore,
the cause of misery. That is why Samadhi is also described as
sushupti in jagrat, the blissful pure being which prevails in deep
sleep is experienced in jagrat, when the mind and the senses
are fully alert but inactive.
S.S. Cohen: Guru Ramana
Brigitte Mohr ~ BuddhistWellnessGroup
TO THINK OR NOT TO THINK?
One issue which can create much confusion is about our dualistic mind. Normally, our mind functions on a very dualistic level, which means that we continuously make distinctions, like black and white, good and bad, hard and soft. This level of mind reasons and is the basis for our ability to think logical using concepts. However, the goal of the teachings on emptiness is to lead to a non-dualistic experience (realisation) of emptiness. Different schools may approach this problem differently; for example, the Zen schools tend to emphasise first achieving a non-dualistic state of mind in meditation, the Tibetan schools first emphasise proper dualistic, inferential, logical understanding of the subject, and then meditating on it to achieve the direct realisation.
A question was put to to His Holiness Dalai Lama:
"How does one go from inferential knowledge to nonconceptual knowledge? Since analysis is used to arrive at total inferential knowledge any more analysis would still be inferential."
His Holiness' answer:
"Among meditations there are many different types and in special situations such as certain levels of Highest Yoga Tantra for example, analysis is discouraged. The general mode of procedure on the Buddhist path is that through constant reflection on the knowledge which is initially inferential, through various stages of familiarisation, reflection and contemplation, that knowledge which is initially inferential could eventually become nonconceptual. The engagement of that knowledge in relation to the object becomes subtler and subtler, eventually the knowledge becomes direct and unveiled.
Generally speaking it is very true that there must be a correlation between cause and its effects. Any cause can not give rise to any effect. There must be some causal relationship and connection but that does not mean that every effect must have completely similar causes. Take for instance the omnisicent mind of the Buddha; if we insist that its cause must be completely similar in characteristics with its effect which is omniscient mind, then we will have to maintain that within us we possess the seed for attaining Buddha's omniscient mind and wisdom. Then we must possess within us, even to a slight degree some form of Buddha's omniscient mind which cannot be maintained. As far as non-conceptual awareness or wisdom of Arya beings is concerned, the causes need not be such high states of realisation. Therefore regarding the non-dualistic awareness or wisdom of Arya beings, their causes can be said to exist even within ordinary beings.
If we examine our mind, as long as we remain in an ordinary state of existence, our mind is characterized by dualistic perceptions, dualistic experiences. Within this dualistic experience and perception we must be able to seek some kind of seed which would give rise to non-dual wisdom and awareness. Therefore in the initial stage of knowledge, it is inferential, dualistic and characterized by duality between subject and object. As you train your mind and constantly reflect and cultivate your familiarity with that object, then that subject and object duality will gradually diminish in its intensity. Gradually it will lead you to realization. Your knowledge of the object becomes direct, intuitive and non-conceptual.
When we talk of non-dual awareness in the context of dualistic appearances or dualism, one must bear in mind that there are many different meanings of the term. Dualistic experience could be understood in terms of a multitude of ways: conventional appearance as dualistic appearance, subject and object duality or separateness as being dualistic appearance; or as a generated image through which we can conceive as object, that image can be seen as dualistic appearance. Similarly when we come across the term non-conceptuality we do not have the notion that there is only a single meaning which is universal in every single context. Non-conceptuality will have different meanings in different contexts."
Robert O'Hearn ~ AllZenPoetry
Panhala ~ Joe Riley
POETRY And it was at that age ... Poetry arrived
in search of me. I don't know, I don't know where
it came from, from winter or a river.
I don't know how or when,
no, they were not voices, they were not
words, nor silence,
but from a street I was summoned,
from the branches of night,
abruptly from the others,
among violent fires
or returning alone,
there I was without a face
and it touched me.
I did not know what to say, my mouth
had no way
my eyes were blind,
and something started in my soul,
fever or forgotten wings,
and I made my own way,
and I wrote the first faint line,
faint, without substance, pure
of someone who knows nothing,
and suddenly I saw
with arrows, fire and flowers,
the winding night, the universe.
And I, infinitesimal being,
drunk with the great starry
likeness, image of
I felt myself a pure part
of the abyss,
I wheeled with the stars,
my heart broke free on the open sky.
~ Pablo Neruda ~
Eve ~ BuddhistWellnessGroup
Photo by Richard Burnett
Buddha's ashes draws crowd in Catholic Chile
Ed Kelly ~ AdyashantiSatsang
Why does the world exist?
Because emptiness dances, because it is wild,
because it endlessly gives birth.
~ Adyashanti ~
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