|Dr. Robert Puff|
Click here to go to the next issue
Highlights Home Page | Receive the Nondual Highlights each day
#1542 - Tuesday, September 2, 2002 - Editor: Jerry
I Am list
By the Grace of Sri Bhagawan, the translation of Atma Bodha got completed. http://nonduality.com/shankr10.htm#3
jai jai ramana,
who by mere mention of his name,
conveys his grace
forming this company of friends
whose mere remembrance
elicits the purest and noblest in us
paving the road
to our very own
one and only
which we never
I Am list
Question: If it is true
that the Guru is one's own Self, what is the
principle underlying the doctrine which says that, however learned a
disciple may be or whatever occult powers he may possess, he cannot
attain Self-realisation without the grace of the Guru?
Sri Ramana Maharshi: Although in absolute truth the state of the Guru
is that of oneself (the Self), it is very hard for the self which has
become the individual (jiva or embodied soul) through ignorance, to
realise its true state or nature without the grace of the Guru.
Question: What are the marks of the Guru's grace?
Sri Ramana: It is beyond words or thoughts.
Hari Aum !!!
...is the Guru's grace, whatever that is, ever withheld by
the Guru? Does he bestow it on some and not others? If it is freely
bestowed to all, then the whole business about needing the Guru's
grace is rather meaningless, isn't it?
I'll answer this part first, as I think I know this part better. The
Guru's Grace is always freely available to all. He doesn't withhold
it against anyone. Even though it's freely bestowed upon all, one
must be attuned to receive it and to make use of it to be really
helped by the Guru's Grace. For this effort is necessary, and we must
work for it.
To give an example: Guru's Grace is like the radio waves that travel
all over. We are like the radios. There is no use of the radio waves
being present everywhere, unless you tune the radio to receive it.
That tuning is our sadhna / effort. ONly then will we receive Guru's
What does "grace of the Guru" mean?
Question: What is the significance of Guru's grace in the attainment
Sri Ramana Maharshi: Liberation is not anywhere outside you. It is
only within. If a man is anxious for deliverance, the internal Guru
pulls him in and the external Guru pushes him into the Self. This is
the grace of the Guru.
What precisely is it that the Guru gives to the disciple?
The Guru doesn't give anything to the disciple, as we are the Self,
and there is nothing to be attained. If there is something to be
attained, then it cannot be eternal, and if something is eternal,
then it already is there. We talk of achieving Self REalisation. But
in reality, as Maharshi says, we are already Self Realised. The only
thing is we don't feel it, as we are caught in this web of Maya. So
what Guru does is remove the obstacles to enable us to realise what
there already is. He unravels the hidden truth.
Question: It is said that the Guru can make his disciple realise the
Self by transmitting some of his own power to him? Is it true?
Sri Ramana Maharshi: Yes. The Guru does not bring about Self-
realisation. He simply removes all the obstacles to it. The Self is
Hari Aum !!!
So since, as you say, the guru's grace is always freely available to all, then it would seem that there is no need to physically see the guru-person, hang around with him, soak up his "vibes," etc. But then this seems to conflict with the second part of the quote, where Ramana says the guru removes the obstacles to self-realization. If he means acting as an inspiration to someone, or pointing out where he is deluded, etc., then I understand it. But the notion that one must physically be in presence of some other person to receive a "transmission" of some kind seems to me to be superstition. And unfortunately, I think that this is the way many, if not most, seekers understand it. They think the guru is there, but not here, so they have to keep going back to see the "Guru" to get their fix.
"So since, as you say,
the guru's grace is always freely available
to all, then it would seem that there is no need to physically see
the guru-person, hang around with him, soak up his "vibes," etc."
Guru is not the physical form.
So the contact will remain
even after the physical form
of the Guru vanishes.
One can go to another Guru
after one's Guru passes away,
but all Gurus are one
and none of them is the form you see.
Always mental contact is the best.
Yes what you say is true Mark. One need not be in the physical
proximity of a guru to receive his Grace. Following is one more
teaching of Bhagavan.
Question: Does distance have any effect upon grace?
Sri Ramana Maharshi: Time and space are within us. You are always in
your Self. How do time and space affect it?
When Bhagavan was about to leave his physical body, many devotees
wept and asked him, as to why Bhagavan was leaving them. Then
Bhagavan replied, "They say I am going, but where can I go ?"
It is really not necessary to be in the proximity of a guru to
receive His Grace, especially we as Ramana Maharshi devotees know
that, 'cos He is no longer in His physical form. However many people
find it hard to make mental contact with a guru, as our minds are not
that strong to keep focus in the presence of the distractions of this
dual world. To help focus, a Guru in the physical form is necessary
till we reach a stage when we can concentrate or make mental contact.
After we reach this stage it time and distance really do not matter.
Hope this helps.
Hari Aum !!!
NDS News Service
http://www.hindustantimes.com/news/181_360269,00050001.htm link no longer active
Indian godwoman to talk peace with Rumsfeld Indo-Asian News Service Washington, September 3
A visiting Indian spiritual
godwoman wants to talk peace with
US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld.
Brahma Kumari Shanti was
hoping to get a few minutes with
Rumsfeld during her trip, according to a report in the Sun
Sentinel newspaper of south Florida.
"I would welcome the
opportunity. I would be in a state of
meditation, and talk about peace to him, from the heart," she
said. "I have that faith in God and myself that we could move
beyond the physical to pure consciousness."
technique was a huge hit in Miami, the
paper said. Her visit was one of her several stops on a
two-month tour of American meditation centres operated by the
Brahma Kumaris World Spiritual University.
Her organisation of Brahma
Kumaris runs 5,000 centres in 85
countries. She has taught the technique of meditation to police
departments, conducted management seminars for World Bank,
and run courses on leadership for corporate chiefs at Honda.
The notion that a few
minutes of calm meditation could be an
antidote to the hectic and stressful pace of everyday life,
or change the course of world events, may seem a bit too much
But long-time practitioners
swear that it works. And thereby
hangs a story of how spiritual leaders from India can still
hold an audience of Americans to the benefits of practicing
Shanti's message is simple:
"The world is a drama, and all
the souls are actors. So we have to spread vibrations of
peace and love. It has to start with the individual."
Now 51, Shanti has been a
spiritual teacher since she was
seven years old.
Shanti and other teachers
travel the globe to talk about
positive thinking, self-management styles and stress-free
living as well as conduct meditation sessions that can last
The scope and intensity of
global strife, from Iraq to the
West Asia, can be daunting to anyone committed to the idea
that changing the world is accomplished with one peaceful
heart at a time, Shanti says.
"We are all connected,
so suffering anywhere affects us all,"
Guerrilla of the
Editor's Pick, September 1, 2003
Up to ten thousand French
citizens die in a catastrophic heat wave in the hottest summer in
2,000 years. Scientists
announce the Arctic ice cap will melt completely within
the next century if we continue to spew carbon dioxide at current
rates. Hurricanes, floods and extreme weather batter the
planet with increasing frequency. The Bush administration's
response: in the news lull before this holiday weekend, quietly
declare carbon dioxide from industrial emissions -
the main cause of global warming - is not a pollutant.
The radical decision by the Environmental Protection Agency will allow corporations to increase emissions with near impunity. As the London Independent writes, "It is also part of a pattern of casting doubt on scientific evidence, going back to the U.S.'s rejection of the Kyoto Protocols in 2001. Earlier this year, the Bush administration excised a 28-page section on climate change from an EPA report. It also ignored a report by the U.S. Academy of Sciences that argued that the evidence of climate change could not be ignored."
Now more than ever we need to listen to people like scientist, philosopher and broadcaster David Suzuki, best known as the host of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's popular science series, The Nature of Things. In his most recent series, The Sacred Balance, Suzuki examines how human beings are intimately connected to all life processes on Earth. Last week, he talked with Bill Moyers on his PBS show Now:
MOYERS: We get so many
reports of what we're doing to our air, our soil and our water.
But I ask you as a scientist, is the diagnosis lethal?
SUZUKI: I don't think
anyone can say at what point it will be lethal to us as a
species. I like to say that in Canada not long ago, Cape Brettan
coalminers took canaries in the coal mine. When the canary keeled
over, they didn't say, "Hey, Jack, come on over here. This
bird just fell over. What do you think? Do you think
They hauled their backsides
outta there as fast as they could go. Birds are, especially
canaries are super sensitive to hydrogen sulfide, and sour gas.
So, they give you an early warning.
Well, canaries have been
falling all around the planet for decades now. Plants and animals
that no longer are able to survive in the plan
conditions that we've created. And what have we done? We've
ignored this. We've always said, "Oh, well, there's plenty
more where that came from."
There aren't plenty more
where that came from. And now our own children have become the
canaries. One out of five children in Canada will now have
asthma. When you and I were boys, asthma was a rare disease.
MOYERS: And that's as
recent as the 1930's, right?
SUZUKI: Exactly. Exactly.
So, our own children are now telling us we're doing something
And all you have to do is
every time you have a smog alert, go down to the emergency room
in the hospital, and sit there for a day. You will see that room,
those emergency rooms jammed with people in deep respiratory
Well, you don't have to be
a genius to say, "Maybe it's got something to do with what
we're taking into our lungs." And the point of the sacred
balance that I did was to say, "Look, people, we can't
continue to act as if air is something out there. And we are
here. And we manage our interaction with the air."
"We are the air."
At our ages, I reckon we've taken about 350 million breathes.
We've taken one to four liters of air, breathed it deep into our
bodies, and fused to the air, and filtered whatever was in that
air into our bodies. The idea that we use air as a toxic dump,
and somehow it goes away and doesn't affect us is absurd.
MOYERS: Or water.
SUZUKI: Or water. We are
over 60 percent water by weight. We're just a big ball of
blob of water, with enough organic thickener added so we don't
dribble away on the floor.
MOYERS: That is
interesting. You're changing the metaphor. You're saying that
air, water, soil, are not outside of us. They are us.
SUZUKI: We are made of
those things. And this isn't rocket science. This is ancient,
I apologize to my
aboriginal friends when I talk about this. Because I am a
Johnny-come-lately. They all look at me, and go, "Where the
heck have you been? It's taken you a long time to figure this
MOYERS: I can hear people
in the audience saying, "Oh, no, here we go again. Back to
that kind of romantic idea of human beings living in the Garden
of Eden, in an innocence that." You know, it just doesn't
in this 21st
SUZUKI: The whole problem
with modernity today is we think anything new is good. Anything
that's old is bad. You know? So, even old timers like us gotta
get those old guys out of the way, so the young, hot-shots can
come in there.
MOYERS: The fact of the
matter is you and I are living longer because of modern
technology. I had heart trouble nine years ago. And I've had a
productive nine years, whereas 100 years ago, I would probably
MOYERS: So, there's a
SUZUKI: Oh, of course.
There have been huge, huge advances. I mean, what are we doing
right now? We're sitting in a studio.
And this miracle of modern
television, global telecommunications, computers, we can't
imagine existing without it. I would hope that with all of this
so-called technological progress, there would be enormous
benefits. And there have been. But I think it's important to put
it all into perspective.
We have to put it into a
perspective of are human beings now so intelligent that we've now
escaped the physical, biological constraints of the planet? I
think most people today believe that, that we're somehow special,
and different. What again, to refer back to aboriginal people
tell us is the Earth is our mother.
Now people immediately
think a Mother Earth, you know, that's a metaphor. That's poetic
way of speaking. They mean it literally. And I, as a scientist
have come to understand, they are absolutely right in the most
profound scientific way
MOYERS: How so?
way. We are
created out of the most important elements of the planet.
People don't even
understand that every bit of our food was once alive. We take
another creature, plant, animal, microorganism, tear it apart in
our mouths. And incorporate those molecules into our own bodies.
We are the Earth in the most profound way.
And we are fire. Because
every bit of the energy in our bodies that we need to move, and
grow and reproduce is sunlight. Sunlight captured by plants,
converted into chemical energy that we consume and store in our
bodies. So, when they speak about the Earth as our mother, and
the four sacred elements: Earth, air, fire and water, they mean
it literally. And they are right.
Read the full transcript of the interview here.
To discuss this Article and other issues please visit the Guerrilla News Forum
365 NIRVANA HERE
AND NOW Living
Every Moment in Enlightenment By Josh Baran
This is the introduction to 365 Nirvana Here and Now.
Whether you know it or not,
you are at the end of your search
for relief, peace, and meaning in your life. No more seeking.
No more wandering. No more waiting. The peace you seek is
hiding in plain sight. An open secret.
This treasury of insights,
a chorus of the present moment
sung by ancient and modern voices that span time, distance,
religion, tradition, and cultureis an invitation to become
aware of where you are, who you are, as you areright here,
right now. The wisdom contained in this book points the way
to life, freed from the burdensome stories of your past and
the worries about an imagined future.
Stop now and look. It is in
front of your nose. In the palm
of your hand. In the light of your eyes. In the taste on your
tongue. You may have ignored this truth your entire life, but
you have never been apart from it for a single moment.
Nothing is required. No new meditation practices, therapies,
ceremonies, or gurus. No path. Everything you need is already
here, unfolding before you in every instant. Right here,
How This Book Came To Be
I begin with a memory. I am
fourteen years old. Along with
several close friends, I am attending a concert by the folk
music group Peter, Paul and Mary near the beach in Santa
Monica, California. I have been looking forward to this event
for months. We have good seats and I love the songs, but for
some reason, in the middle of the concert, I become acutely
preoccupied with the thoughts in my mind.
What had been background
chatter suddenly leaps into the
foreground of my attention. My thoughts are constant, loud
and random, telling stories about the concert, rehearsing
what I will say to friends later, comparing this event to
previous concerts, and on and on. I feel as if Im trapped on
a carnival ride, spinning out of control. I also notice a
sense of separation from the world, as if imprisoned inside a
glass box. This is a seminal moment in my life: from this
point on, I will become intensely and increasingly aware of
this non-stop mental turmoil. And it is this desire for
relief from this inner chaos that initiates my quest.
I began my search alone,
digging into philosophy, religion,
and psychology books. At one point, I found myself drawn to
Asian mysticism. When I discovered the Buddhas description
of the human state of confusion and suffering, termed
samsara, I felt that he was directly addressing me. What a
relief to learn that I was not alone after all! And what a
thrill to discover that there was a way to wake up, to
realize nirvanaa state of peace accessible to anyone.
A deep yearning for the
truth took over my life. I began to
devour tales of Zen monks, Tibetan yogis, and Indian sages. I
longed for firsthand realization. I was one throbbing
question mark: Who or what am I? What is this?this reality,
this feeling of me, this life and death, this moment?
Something enormously significant seemed hidden, urging me to
By age 19, I was a
full-time seeker. It was the late 1960s. A
spiritual renaissance was unfolding in the West. Ancient
wisdom filled the air, antithetical to the current American
culture: the Vietnam War, materialism, and Richard Nixon.
Swamis, Sufi masters, whirling dervishes, and Buddhist sages
found audiences in North America and Europe. I attended every
spiritual workshop I could find and scoured bookstore
shelves, hunting for the latest works on mysticism. After
months of bouncing between traditions and teachers, I decided
that the only way to get to the heart of the matter was to
choose one path and devote myself to it. My choice was Zen
Zen seemed the quickest and
most direct way to understanding,
even though I had heard that Zen monasteries were legendary
boot camps where masters pushed their students to the
breaking point. I joined a newly established community in
California, composed entirely of fellow Westerners. I shaved
my head, donned black monastic robes, and entered into this
unknown world of meditation and discipline. For the next
eight years, I would live as a Zen monk and priest.
There is an old Zen saying:
With the ideal comes the
actual. My Zen experience was complexenlightening in many
ways and en-darkening in others. The demanding routine and
meditation practice enabled me to become more focused and
mindful in my daily activities. I began to notice the way my
mind created confusion and clinging. Soon I had glimpses of
the peace that Id read about.
But as the years passed, my
eyes opened to the shadow side of
my Zen community. As my fellow monks and I drove ourselves in
the name of devotion, we began to repress personal feelings.
Questioning was not merely discouraged, but strictly
forbidden. Total obedience to the teacher eclipsed every
other consideration. I found myself ignoring my feelings and
denying my doubts.
At first, I blamed myself
for these negative feelings,
attributing them to my own shortcomings. If I only meditated
harder and surrendered more fully, then everything would be
perfect. But I soon came to realize that the problem lay not
in me, but with the harsh and unkind culture of the
monastery. It took me the better part of a year, but I
finally mustered the courage to walk out the door. I later
learned that my experience was hardly unusual; by the early
1980s, hundreds of spiritual groups started to unravel under
the weight of their authoritarian cultures.
Yet, even after my
departure, the internal questioning that
had brought me to Zen in the first place was still inside me,
burning more urgently than ever. For the next fifteen years,
I steered clear of spiritual organizations, continuing my
exploration on my own. Sometimes enlightenment seemed further
away, others times a bit closeryet always out of reach. No
matter how many hours I meditated, distracting thoughts
At times, I had powerful
experiences, including intense
states of bliss. I would then try to hold on to them, only to
see them change or fade away. Was I really advancing on the
path? Was I getting any closer? After two decades of
meditating and searching, I still felt like that
fourteen-year-old back at the Peter, Paul and Mary concert.
After so much time meditating on my own, I still felt
confused and wanted some help.
During this period of my
life, friends had periodically urged
me to journey to Nepal to receive Dzogchen teachings from a
revered master, Tulku Urgyen. Dzogchen, a tradition of
Tibetan Buddhism, emphasizes direct personal experience. For
centuries, these teachings were zealously kept secret and
only given to accomplished students who had completed decades
of meditation practice. Fortunately, Tulku Urgyens approach
was different. He not only believed in sharing knowledge with
Westerners, he did so at the beginning of instruction.
One day, I found myself
jetting halfway around the world to
Nepal. I made my way to Tulku Urgyens temple, perched high
above the Kathmandu Valley, where I joined a small group of
other Western students. Each morning we sat with Tulku Urgyen
in his small room, where he imparted traditional Dzogchen
teachings, pointing out the true nature of the mind.
So powerfully and directly
did Tulku Urgyen communicate this
timeless and immediate reality, that I found my self
instantly stopped cold. There were no fireworks, no
thunderjust the sudden, obvious, stunning realization of the
pure awareness that I had overlooked my entire life, not
hidden or elsewhere.
In the face of this
presence or nowness, all seeking,
wandering, and waiting vanished before my eyes. I saw how
much of my lifes energies had been focused on looking
forward to some imagined future, rather than simply
celebrating the all-pervasive present: trying to get there
instead of being here. My previous years of forced
meditation and effort seemed, in retrospect, useless. All I
needed was to take to heart Tulku Urgyens words, Simply let
be in naturalness without technique, without artifice.
Mystics have shared this
same insight for thousands of years.
In the words of Zen Master Hakuin:
At this moment, is
there anything lacking?
Nirvana is right here now before our eyes
This place is the lotus land.
This body now is the Buddha.
The second line is also
translated, Nirvana is
immediatenot hidden, distant or in the future, but right
now, before your face this body, this place.
When I returned to America,
I found that I could no longer
stomach my library of spiritual books. It seemed filled with
unquestioned assumptions that glorified seeking, wishful
thinking, and magical experiences. Many authors gave lip
service to the concept of living in the present moment, but
then proceeded to promote their own agendas and more
fruitless seeking. Before Nepal, I had bought into the New
Age cliché that all paths lead to the top of the mountain.
Now, I saw that these paths often served to create more
layers of illusion. I hungered for words that were alive with
realization and that reflected the timeless view that Tulku
Urgyen had pointed out. I slowly began to gather writings.
My collection began with
teachings from the Zen and Tibetan
Buddhist traditions, and soon expanded to include wisdom from
Indian masters, Christian mystics, Sufi poets, Jewish rabbis,
and Western sages. Each selection embodied an outlook often
referred to as nonduality, which is not exclusive to any
single religious tradition and transcends any doctrine or
system. Nonduality reflects the understanding of the unity of all
things. Self / other, nirvana / samsara, form / emptiness,
body / mind, past / futureall are actually the same essence,
having one taste. When the Buddha says, This is the All,
when Meister Eckhart writes, Everything tastes like God,
and when Ramana Maharshi teaches, There is only the Self
these words all express the same realization.
As I gathered these
spiritual teachings, I also began to
include pieces from poets, novelists, songwriters, artists,
screenwriters, and scientists. In addition, I came across
inspired accounts from ordinary people who had experienced
the divine in their everyday lives. After years of gathering
these treasures, I joyfully share them with you.
Gigantic A big, big Love
Live this big, big Love In streets, company and solitude
Eating rice, working hard
Seeing movies and playing the six strings
This war and peace Depression and the sweetest of joys
All over the place am I Forever befriended the Friend
Thus am I
I see now
top of page
|Dr. Robert Puff|