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#1545 ~ Friday, September 5, 2003 ~ Editor: Gloria Lee  

A Meeting With A Buddhist Teacher -
by Joyce Short
Volume III of the HarshaSatsangh Magazine is now out.
http://www.harshasatsangh.com  


September 2003

The TAT Forum

This month's contents:

General Aims by Richard Rose | Who Do You Love? by Bob Fergeson | To Practice or Not to Practice by Joel Morwood | The Final Step by Gary Harmon | Poems by Shawn Nevins | The Key by Jim Burns | A Koan for Today by Shawn Nevins | Gauging the Need to Continue the Search by Bob Cergol | Humor

  http://www.tatfoundation.org/forum.htm    


Who Do You Love? by Bob Fergeson

"We can be aware of our Source of Being. The illusions of the mind may hold our love for a time, but to love Love itself, we must turn within. The soul's longing for its true Home is the guide to finding this Love. Follow the lover of the Beloved back upstream to your Source." ~ St. John of the Cross

In the search for our true Source of Being, or what might be called "God," we would do well to use the proper part of ourselves. In other words, what is searching will determine what is found. The above quote gives us a clue as to what not to use. The "customary self," " robot," or "personality" are selves formed by life, as a reaction to that life, and will die when that life ends. If our goal is to find the real, it would further us to use the most real part of ourselves as the searcher. Gurdjieff referred to this problem using the terms of "essence" and "personality." The essence, or "soul," refers to that part of us which is immortal, was there before this life and will be there after. "I do not know her origin. None. Yet in her all things begin" is one way St. John describes this. "Personality" is the reaction program and pattern formed by life and is only capable of seeing that life. For this self, the realm within is just a blank, an emptiness, which it disregards and refuses to cross.

St. John uses the term "soul" for essence, and the word "creature" for the life-created reaction pattern or personality. His poetry and sayings tell us the story of the soul's love for the Beloved, the essence's longing for its divine state, being lost in the world of form. He advises us to leave the parts of us that long for the world in favor of that which longs for God. These are not idle words, written to amaze or entertain, but a clue as to how to carry our search past the limits of the world of form, and what we must become in order to venture into the formless.

Using the mind to seek that which lies beyond it is a trap we all fall into. We have lost contact with our souls and, puffed up with the pride of our personality, we vainly insist on using the learned formulas we have been unconsciously taught by life to attempt to enter the realm beyond thought. Let's look at another method, which will carry us perhaps a bit farther, beyond the path of logic and reason as it vanishes in the Unknown. Think of a scene of beauty or wonder you once saw, that had a profound effect upon you. Most of us have had this experience, one in which we are breathless, and the awe renders us speechless and quiets the mind. This feeling/perception was not just a thought-reaction but had something of the eternal in it -- remember? What part of you was this, that could remember the feeling of eternity, something beyond the mundane, and linked you directly to it? How can you find this soul within, hidden in the heart? Look within for it in the course of everyday life, and let it help you find your way back, back within through the formless realm to your Source, your true Being.

This essence within, this soul of longing, is not of much use in getting through the workday, paying the bills, or worrying about your taxes, but when you find you can no longer find total interest in life, and begin to wonder what is really up, it then once again comes to have meaning. Let the personality or customary self deal with the things it was created for, but do not let it become your only guide in matters of the spirit. It will only lead you further into the death-dream of life and its creatures. Find what you truly love, that can love Love Itself, and let that be your guide through the dark night. The soul comes into its own once the mind dies, and then the words of St. John burst with meaning : "All things of the Maker forgotten -- but not Him; exploration within, and loving the Lover."

See Bob's web sites, The Mystic Missal, the Photo Site, and The Listening Attention.


Manuel Hernandez ~ A Net of Jewels  

"Accept that, engrossed in petty personal affairs, you have forgotten what you are; try to bring back the lost memory through the elimination of the known."

~ Nisargadatta


  Muni ~ Along the Way    

Bliss is Eternal,

        even though it appears to arise when the mind dies.
        Bliss is not an experience, it is your nature.
        This is the Heart of the Wise.
        This Gift is always calling to everyone,
        "You are seated in the Heart of all Beings."
        This is the Truth: Your face shines.

                                    - Papaji


JP ~ NDS  

A few months ago, I was in Oregon
for a few weeks, visiting an old friend.

We met many years ago while we were both
fresh-faced and naive missionaries
in the remote villages of the Bolivian Andes
mountain plateau. The ancient Aymara people
taught us, stripped us of our young religious
fantasy.  We had nothing to teach them, this
people whose ways of wisdom were raped and
looted and almost exterminated in the
name of God and the hunger for silver.

We've kept in touch all
these years. We get together each year,
share our parallel journeys of mortal life;
sharing the changes, the births, deaths,
marriages, careers, divorces, mid-life crises,
relationships, healings, learnings,
unlearnings, the mysteries.

During my final week there, we spent time with
a young woman, a friend of my old chum from one
of his art therapy classes. I'll call her A.

A. is 27 years old. She has a face that could grace
the cover of any glamour magazine. She loves black
and white photography and has an eye for the beauty
of the play of light and shadow. She loves foreign films.
She has a keen wit. She lives alone in a tiny apartment,
with her two cats - far away from her family of origin.

She moved to Portland last year to study art therapy,
after living in a small coastal town for a few years.
She has no local friends other than my old chum.

A. was dying of anorexia nervosa.

She was a skeleton, like a concentration camp survivor.
With bone grinding against bone, walking was difficult
for her. She kept a bottle of high protein, weightlifter's
liquid mix that she would occasionally sip as I sipped
my coffee in a downtown Portland Starbucks.

We just spent time together, just as we are. She felt
safe and accepted. We laughed some, cried some,
stayed quiet.

A. is not anorexia nervosa.

But she was dying.

She wanted a way through what she said was her
slow suicide of self-loathing and rage.

She decided she needed to go to the hospital and
do what she could to recover, to stay alive.

We went with her, stayed with her. She was terrified
and we felt her terror and were reminded of our own
experiences with terror.

In the afternoon of her first day, she was taken
to have a feeding tube inserted into her frail body,
have IV drips and cardio moniters attached to her. Her
hearbeat was irregular, her potassium at critically
low levels.

We sat in her room, waiting for her return.
We then heard her voice, her screams, her sobs
and wailing echo down the hallway.

She was wheeled into the room. We watched her,
opening to take it all in. She made sucking and smacking
sounds with her mouth and tongue.
She whispered, "Momma, Dadda".

She bawled, eyes shut tightly.

She then opened her wild eyes, saw us there.
She asked us,

"What is my name? Is my name A.? Does the sun shine?
Do I like art? What is my name? Is the sun shining?
What is my name? Is it okay to exist?".

Her questions were answered. Your name is A. The sun
is shining. You like art. It is okay to exist.

I have no fear of anyone who is delirious.
Growing up in the midst of my father's delirium,
I was always calm and knew what to do in those
moments. Only afterwards would I beg God for a
way to make it through. There is a lot being expressed,
very clearly, in these heightened states of intense
anxiety and fear.

We sat with her as she said many things through her
sounds, her body, her words, her presence.

We sat with her as she ripped out her feeding tube,
sobbing, raging, fighting with her pain.

Many things we experienced in her holy presence, for
me, for my old friend.

I wanted to weep in my friend's car on the drive to
his house that first day of her hospital admission.

There is a plague, there is a plague,
there is a plague, there is a plague
in the minds of women and men.

There is a plague of self-hatred, self-loathing,
self-destruction.

These bodies of flesh and starlight are hated,
their beauty abhorred, their unique shapes
seen with disgust. These bodies are made to be
an enemy, a thing of dread. Death is feared, decay
is a monster.

The mind is hated. The very sense of an
individual self is hated. Spiritual
seekers look for ways to crush and conquer
what they call ego, calling it evil, demonic,
while they seek the annihilation of themselves
not into the vibrancy of the emptiness of Shunyata,
but in the extermination of all that is naturally
alive and everchanging. Or the escape from their
own shadows in the castles of light.

The self-loathing, the hidden outrage, the
wish to kill and be killed, control and be
controlled, punish and be punished,
oh how it is destroying the
lives of millions!

Humans are drawn to spiritual paths to find
some meaning, some solace - and often gravitate
to approaches that reflect their own
neuroses and self-hatred and desire to deny
their temporary and beautiful existence.

To say:

I love myself.

I celebrate myself.

I love my body.

I love this breath.

I love this skin.

I love this mind.

It sounds like a curse, a taboo, a heresy
in the minds of those who hate themselves
so much, deny what they truly feel so much,
fight with their own minds so much.

The sense of self is spit upon, shit
upon, puked upon.

When it is just a cloud arising in
the infinite sky in its temporary beauty and display.

A. is doing her best to get better. She may not make
it if she gives up.

A. has courage.

She is doing her best to come
to love herself, her body, her
feelings, her mind.

A. exists and she is beautiful to me.


Sarojini ~ NDS   This is a poem by Nancy Ore called:

YOU ARE ENOUGH

A Woman Seminarian's Story  

It is not enough said her father that you     get all A's each quarter     play Mozart for your kinfolk     win starred-firsts in contest you must come home on your wedding night.  

It is not enough said her mother that you     smile at Auntie Lockwood     take cookies to the neighbors     keep quiet while I'm napping You must cure my asthma.  

It is not enough said her husband that you     write letters to my parents     fix pumpkin pie and pastry     forget your name was Bauer you must always you must never.  

It is not enough said her children that you     make us female brownies     tend our friends and puppies     buy us Nike tennies you must Let us kill you.  

It is not enough said her pastor that you     teach the second graders     change the cloths and candles     kneel prostrate at the alter as long as there are starving children in the world you must not eat without guilt.  

It is not enough said her counselor that you     struggle with the demons     integrate your childhood     leave when time is over you must stop crying clarify your poetic symbols and not feel that you are not enough.  

I give up she said I am not enough and laid down into the deep blue pocket of night to wait for death.   She waited...   and finally her heart exploded her breathing stopped They came with stretcher took her clothes off covered her with linen then went away and left her locked in deep blue pocket tomb.  

The voice said    

YOU ARE ENOUGH              

naked             crying             bleeding             nameless             starving             sinful        

YOU ARE ENOUGH  

And the third day she sat up         asked for milk and crackers         took ritual bath with angels         dressed herself with wings and flew away.     


  Gill Eardley ~ Allspirit Inspiration  

From: 'The Zen Teachings of Huang Po:
On the Transmission of Mind'.
Edited and translated by John Blofeld

Only come to know the nature of your own Mind, in which
there is no self and no other, and you will in fact be a
Buddha.
 


  Daily Dharma  

"In The Flower Ornament Sutra, a good part of the ninth chapter is
about Buddha helping us to wake up. He keeps throwing truths out
into the crowd, right and left. So much energy is generated by his
teachings that the bodhisattvas surrounding him can't keep their
mouths shut! So they also start shouting teachings right and left.
It is hilarious. They are just too happy to sit still.

Then a wonderful sentence appears: 'Always rejoicing, they go to all
lands to explain such a teaching for all.'

When I first read it, it stopped me in my tracks. Always rejoicing.
Not, 'sometimes rejoicing', or 'occasionally rejoicing'. Always."


~P'arang Geri Larkin


From the website http://www.stillpointzenbuddhisttemple.org


Lee Love ~ E-zendo  

The practice/enlightenment approach acknowledges that our conceptualitzation of the dropping off of ignorance is not the dropping off of ignorance.     

This is especially important to US Westerners, where Logos is so essential. You cannot make a mirror by polishing a stone.   Forget words and practice.            

Practice instead of conceptualization.   Of course, we need goals.  But there is a time for thinking and a time for being.    A goal points us in a direction, but then we must forget and just practice.          

It is like my moku hanga teacher's print:      

What it says literally is:  

Drink your Tea and go away!

 

It's deeper meaning is:  

Loose your sense of self in the simple act of drinking tea

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