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Issue #1510 - Friday, August 1, 2003 - Editor: Gloria

Linked together words...
surprise edition  

from The eye  

Eye to 'I'

Language is so funny and so inadequate. What does one take when one 'takes a photo'?
Taking pictures, is inextricably intertwined with 'the moment'. Bresson called it 'The Decisive Moment'. Advaita calls it 'The Now'.

Thinking about what I would write about this process it suddenly came to me that 'Existence' is the real photographer. This little 'I' here puts it's 'eye' to eyepiece.. looks, adjusts, focuses, chooses, sees something... pushes the button.. click .. the pixels sit in the box..
Later, when the photo is 'developed', or looked at on the computer screen there are many elements in the composition, and perhaps the very best, that were not seen by that little 'eye' at first glance.

Accident? That's just a word.
No shutter is fast enough to capture the moment, the instant, of the timeless here and now.
The light shines on 'objects' makes them seemingly visible, photographable, but the light itself can not be photographed.

So, I'd like to say, Existence is a marvelous 'photographer'. The little 'eye' sees only a small portion of the existential 'picture', the All that is there.
Our perceptions are limited by mental filters, we quickly paste words and concepts on everything we see.

The camera has no such limitations, it simply takes in everything in its field of focus without words or judgments. For the camera there is only light revealing objects. The light itself can only be 'seen' thanks to the objects it illuminates. It makes itself visible. [..]

One magic evening, I 'saw' my body as a man in a full length mirror in my bathroom, the identification was broken for an instant. It was there, present, without the thought of me looking at me, and I realized that I loved others but not myself. Suddenly it was as if all the energy I had been putting into the love of others came flooding back to me and with it a sense of my presence and the presence of all things in the manifest world. Everywhere I looked the presence was there. Smoking a cigarette I saw, with love, the presence of the curling smoke. In the kitchen the presence was in the steam arising from the kettle.

Jacob Boehme was a shoemaker in Lutheran Germany, born in 1575. We know almost nothing of his early life, but we do know that when he was twenty four, he caught the reflection of the sun in a polished pewter dish, and was instantly plunged into an ecstatic vision. Boehme later wrote, "in one quarter of an hour I saw and knew more than if I had been many years together at a university." This unlearned man would spend the rest of his life attempting to describe in feeble and limited human language, what he saw in that pewter dish.
Many people have had such transforming 'experiences' of the presence. The book 'The Common Experience' by Cohen and Phipps has many accounts of such experiences collected for the Religious Experience Research Unit of Oxford University.

Our daily world is filled with light, gleaming, and reflecting, and casting shadows on the all too familiar corners of our kitchens.

The presence can not really be photographed, but it calls, it wants to be seen and to reveal. A photograph can only hint at the presence of the light that makes it visible.

There is a meditation given by Osho from the ancient Hindu treatise the Vigyan Bhaurav Tantra in The Book of Secrets:
Shiva says,
Look lovingly on some object,
Do not go on to another object.
Here in the middle of the object - the blessing.

Osho goes on to say:
'Have you ever looked lovingly at any object? You may say yes because you do not know what it means to look lovingly. You may have looked lustfully - that is another totally different thing. So first try to feel the difference.'

I think by 'lustfully' he means much more than the obvious sexual dimension, I think lust here means wanting to make use of something, any use.
The light falls on objects, makes them visible, the eye sees, the heart moves in love, says yes to the image, the instant. There is a recognition, a spoor to follow, leading to the source of light behind both light and object.
Morning and evening seem to be the very best times to take photographs. The light is long and glancing, warm with the rays of sunlight almost saying: 'Here. Look, look at this. See me here.'

This scene met me one morning when I opened my door onto the hall.

A moment in time, caught by the morning light. The next instant the figures move, the scene changes.
In fact 'I' was attracted at first only by the fall of the light. Existence placed the figures where they were, wove that momentary pattern.
Our eyes are needed by existence in order for it to see itself. In a sense that is existence looking at itself. Or to use that much overused word god looking at God and that is worship, existence worshipping itself.

Love is attention. Attention is love.
The maker is visible in its creation. Our eyes are there to see that. And only our eyes can see that.
'You see', invites this stream, 'I hide nothing from you, I reveal my presence by my light.'

And sometimes some bit of presence says like an eager kid: 'Hey Mister. Take my picture'.

[Sam Pasiencier, June 2003]

  Chilukuri Bhuvaneswar ~ HarshaSatsangh

Dear Seer Al Larus,

You really capture the glory that is God in his infinite forms!

What a beautiful sunrise you captured in your early photograph!

I am only waiting for your red lotuses extravaganza with a sunrise
similar to the one you captured in your photographic mind.

As I already said,your pictures speak more of ADVAITHA to me than
the dry and boring discussions about what God is!

Brahman is anirvachaneeya 'beyond words' and how lucky you are to
watch HIM in HIS naked splendour.

With Love to you and all Harshasatsanghis,

Chilukuri Bhuvaneswar

Viorica Weissman ~ Million Paths  

My mind keeps running and tripping me. How do you deal with an active mind ?    

The are two ways : one way is vichara , or inquiry; the other is devotion. Inquiry is the question "Who am I?" which takes you discover the answer. When you ask "Who am I?"  you have no other thoughts. You can have one thought at a time and you hold onto this thought  "Who am I?"  When the mind is engaged in this question , you stick to it - absolutely alert. Place full attention on finding the answer to this. No other thought will come because you are firmly engaged in this enquiry . You start with ego .. The ego wants to know "Who am I?" Doesn't it ? Thought is ego.  


         satsangh with H.W.L. Poonja
         vol. 2


Daily Dharma  

"The path includes all experiences, both serene and chaotic. We
delight in the beauty of the snow falling outside the windows or the
light reflecting off the floor. But when the fire alarm rings and
confusion erupts, we feel irritated and upset... we've done
something wrong, or more usually someone ELSE has done something to
ruin our beautiful meditation. As someone once said about a loud,
bossy woman, 'What is that woman doing in my sacred world?'

How can we help? The way that we can help is by making friends with
our own feelings of hatred, bewilderment, and so forth. Then we can
accept them in others. With this practice you begin to realize that
you're capable of playing all the parts. It's not just them,
it's 'us' AND 'them.'

So lest you find yourself condescendingly doing tonglen for the
other one who's SO confused, you could remember that this is a
practice where compassion begins to arise in you because you
yourself have been there. You've been angry, jealous and lonely. You
know what it's like and you know how sometimes you do strange
things. Because you're lonely, you say cruel words: because you want
someone to love you, you insult them. Exchanging yourself for
others...doesn't happen because you're better than they are but
because human beings share the same stuff. The more you understand
your own, the more you're going to understand others."
~Pema Chödrön

From the book, "Start Where You Are," published by Shambhala.

Along the Way  
        ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `

        Each soul runs from poverty and destruction.
        How sad!  It is running away from happiness
        and joy.  No one can triumph before being
        destroyed.  O Beloved!  Reconcile me with

                        - Rumi
        ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `

Muriel Maufroy
"Breathing Truth - Quotations from Jalaluddin Rumi"
Sanyar Press - London, 1997

Margaret James ~ Rumi - Hafiz  

My favorite Rumi poem:

Zuleikha let everything be the name of Joseph, from celery seed
to aloes wood.  She loved him so much she concealed his name
in many different phrases, the inner meanings
known only to her.  When she said, The wax is softening
near the fire, she meant, My love is wanting me.
Or if she said, Look, the moon is up or The willow has new leaves
or The branches are trembling of The coriander seeds
have caught fire or The roses are opening
or The king is in a good mood today or Isn't that lucky?
or The furniture needs dusting or
The water carrier is here or It's almost daylight or
These vegetables are perfect or The bread needs more salt
of The clouds seem to be moving against the wind
or My head hurts or My headache is better,
anything she praises, it's Joseph's touch she means,
any complaint, it's his being away.
When she's hungry, it's for him.  Thirsty, his name is a sherbet.
Cold, he's a fur.  This is what the Friend can do
when one is in such love.  Sensual people use the holy names
often, but they don't work for them.
The miracle Jesus did by being the name of God,
Zuleikha felt in the name of Joseph.

When one is united to the core of another, to speak of that
is to breathe the name of Hu, empty of self and filled
with love.  As the saying goes, The pot drips what is in it.
The saffron spice of connecting, laughter.
The onion spice of separation, crying.
Others have many things and people they love.
This is not the way of Friend and friend.

The Essential Rumi
Translations by Coleman Barks with John Moyne
C 1995 Coleman Barks

Manuel Hernandez ~ A Net of Jewels  

"Between the banks of pain and pleasure the river of life flows.  It is only
when the mind refuses to flow with life, and gets stuck at the banks, that
it becomes a problem.  By flowing with life, I mean acceptance - letting
come what comes and go what goes.  Desire not, fear not, observe the actual,
as and when it happens, for you are not what happens, you are to whom it
happens.  Ultimately even the observer you are not."

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Joe Riley ~ Panhala

  Buddhist Barbie   I

n the 5th century B.C.
an Indian philosopher
Gautama teaches "All is emptiness"
and "There is no self."
In the 20th century A.D.
Barbie agrees, but wonders how a man
with such a belly could pose,
smiling, and without a shirt.

~ Denise Duhamel ~  

Joyce Short ~ Advaita to Zen  

A post from Pete that turned up on a Buddhist list.
It's from Zen, but could be any Dharma from anywhere.
Here it is with Pete's Good Wishes.

"The Zen teacher ascended the platform and looked at us.
"Why do you stare at me like dogs about to be fed?
The Dharmakaya can't be put into words.
It can't be transmitted, it can't be received, it's
because you want it that you can't have it.
To transmit mind with mind both minds need to be empty.

"How can I stop thinking?" I asked.

"Pay attention to something else."


"Anything.  The Dharmakaya is not this or that.
It's everything you look at and the mind you see it with."

"So the Dharmakaya is the whole universe then?"


"What is it then?"

"Nothing in particular."

"I don't understand."


He descended the platform and walked away."



Pete ~ Advaita to Zen

After I read my first book on Zen, I phoned the temple to inquire about
meditation schedules. To my surprise the Roshi himself answered the phone. Instead
of telling me the times meditation was available he asked me, "Why do you want to come?
Are you sick?"
"No, I'm not sick"
"Then, you shouldn't come. I have a very contagious decease."
" What's its name?"
"I don't know, maybe it has no name."
" How is it caught?
"If you look at me you're in mortal danger, if you touch me you'll die."
I laughed. "When can I come?"
When I saw him in person, I reminded him of the conversation. He laughed good
naturally." Yes, it's a matter of time now. Nothing can save you."
"How long you think I'll last?" I joked.
He shook his head. "A long time. You're a thinker, they take a long time to
die. Very painful. He shook his head again, "Not good!"

Now that my lungs sound like rattle snake's tails, I think of him fondly.


Steve Toth ~ Awareness the Way to Love

Homecoming Queen

Gary was a 35 year old philosopher who was often homeless &
unemployed, but always reading & talking. Within two weeks after I
first met him, I came to understand from things he said that he was
gay & had a crush on me. I figured he would get over the crush & we'd
become friends which is what happened. None of these things was
spoken of openly or even referred to. He thought of himself as a
possible modern day Socrates. One day he was going to teach me basic
philosphy, but we got into a laughingly loud debate about the nature
of the word "nexus." It wasn't until some people started jumping in
that I realized that we had attracted a crowd. That's the way I met
Sheila. She was one of the ones who agreed with me.

One day some friends of mine said that Gary was coming out of the
closet & talking to all his friends. They said that he was especially
nervous about telling me as I had let him sleep on my floor one night
when he was homeless. This went on for two weeks with friend after
friend telling me what was going to happen. It seemed he was
avoiding me so I finally had to seek him out. I was trying hard to
keep from smiling as he went into his speech as I had known what he
was going to say for two weeks. He said that our relationship would
be Platonic. We both had to laugh at that. I said, "We'll get along
just like we always have."

One evening Sheila & I were studying on a coach in the music
room in a student center called Wesley House. We heard a group of
people talking at the door. Then the door burst open and talking,
laughing, smiling people came in. But when they saw us there, they
all froze like statues. Then I heard Gary's voice. "It's all right.
Come on in. It's just Steve & Sheila." So every one came in &
started talking & playing music. Gary told us that they were starting
a new group called the Gay Liberation Front & this was their first
meeting. "We're calling it a group grope, but don't worry, we're not
going to grope each other that way. But please stay. All these
people are coming out of the closet to you. It's important to them."
So we stayed until 8 pm when we wanted to get something to eat. Even
though we had just sat there like silent witnesses Everyone wanted us
to stay. After having been frozen like statues a few hours before.
Then something strange started happening the rest of the school
year, which was just a couple of weeks. We'd be sitting together in
the student union when we'd be approached by a very nervous young
person. They would ask if we were Steve & Sheila. When we said that
we were, the person would introduce themselves & say that they were
gay or coming out of the closet. We would say "glad to meet you," &
they would float off in bliss without another word. Never have I seen
anyone made so happy, so simply. Once this happened three times in a
single hour break between classes. We joked that they would have to
start forming a line. It wasn't just in the student union, but all
over town, the guy behind the desk at the library, a waitress at the
Mexican Restaurant, two down stairs neighbors in my building.
Personalities changed before my eyes, people that had seemed aloof &
even somehow hostile before, now seemed open & even funny.
The next fall Gary approached Sheila. He said that the GLF
wanted to have a float in the up coming homecoming parade. He said
that everyone wanted to be an attendant surrounding the float &
throwing candy kisses. But none of them felt good looking or brave
enough to be the queen. So he was asking Sheila. She thought it over
& said that he was missing the obvious choice. Gary himself. He was
shocked. "Oh, No. I'm not that kind of gay man." Sheila told him
that she didn't mean to wear a dress, just a crown & then smile & wave
& hope they don't rush you. So Gary was the homecoming queen &
survived. Then to his horror, he found out that the parade had made
the national news, & the the camera had zoomed in on his face on his
mother's favorite news show with Walter Cronkite. He hadn't come out
to his mother, thinking that she would never speak to him again if she
found out, as she had many times expressed a dislike of gays.
So he went home. His mother treated him as always. So he grew
bold & asked her if she had seen the parade in the town he was living
in with the gay homecoming queen. She said that she had seen it & it
was sickening & that the camera had zoomed in on his disgusting face.
She had seen him close up on her own TV, but had not seen him at all.

  The August issue of the TAT Forum is now online at   This month's contents include: The Simple Truth by Richard Rose | The Circle Where Nothing Grows by Gary Harmon | Relying on the Unknown by Douglas Harding | Poems by Shawn Nevins | Passed Away by Shawn Nevins | Pieces from my Road by David Weimer | On Spiritual Pretense by Bob Cergol | What Shall I Do When I Meet a Zen Master? by Alfred Pulyan | The Trap of Projection by Bob Fergeson | Humor | Reader Commentary    Sincerely, The Forum staff

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Nonduality: The Varieties of Expression Home

Jerry Katz
photography & writings

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