Nonduality: The Varieties of Expression

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#1563 - Sunday, September 21, 2003 - Editor: Gloria Lee

A return to classic sources edition  

All the precious words
you and I have exchanged
have found their way
into the heart of the universe.
One day they'll pour on us
like whispering rain
helping us arise
from our roots again.

~ Rumi

Mazie ~ Rumi to Hafiz


photo by Al Larus  

Most recent of Alan's photos in higher resolution:    

  Viorica Weissman ~ MillionPaths    

D. If the mind is merely a shadow , how then is one
     to know the Self ?   

Maharshi -
  The Self is the Heart, self-luminous. Illumination
  arises from the Heart and reaches the brain, which is the seat
  of the mind. The world is seen with the mind; so you see the world
  by the reflected light of the Self. The world is perceived by an
  act of the mind.  When the mind is illumined, it is aware of the
  world; when it is not so illumined, it is not aware of the world.
  If the mind is turned in, toward the source of Illumination,
  objective knowledge ceases and the Self alone shines as the Heart.  

The moon shines by reflecting the light of the sun. When the sun has
  set, the moon is useful for displaying objects. When the sun has
  risen, no one needs the moon, though its disc is visible in the
  sky. So it is with the mind and the Heart. The mind is made useful
  by its reflected light. It is used for seeing objects.
  When turned inward, it merges into the Source of illumination,
  which shines by Itself, and the mind is then like the moon in the

When it is dark, a lamp is necessary to give light. But when the sun
  has risen, there is no need for the lamp; the objects are visible.
  And to see the sun no lamp is necessary; it is enough if you turn
  your eyes toward the self-luminous sun. Similarly with the mind:
  to see the objects, the light reflected from the mind is necessary .
  To see the Heart, it is enough that the mind is turned toward it.
  then the mind does not count and the Heart is self-effulgent.  

Pete Seesaw ~ NDS  

No Scape  

Scaping from self
To self, I returned to Self-
Rocks are my bones,
Vegetation, my flesh,
The wind is my mind,
my soul, the blue sky.
No exit, no scape,
No refuge from self. 

Karta ~ NDS  

Those who dismiss sacred ritual and myth should remember that even
in the face of (or precisely because of) our societys rampant
secularism, people still ritualize their lives and mythologize their
world. The big difference, though, is that secular rituals (watching
football on Saturday) and secular myths (notably the notion of
limitless progress) do not have the power to uplift or change us for
the better. As psychiatrist Rollo May has shown in his last book, we
cry out for myth. This is why so many people who have been deprived
of their more traditional mythic anchorage seek intellectual and
emotional refuge in aliens, end-of-millennium revelations, and other
similar products of New Age provenance.

Although the seer-bards aspired to give voice to the fruit of their
prayerful meditations in the form of poetry, or hymns, they knew
that essentially prayer was beyond the mind, or transcognitive
(acitta). Yet sacred utterance was important to them. For, through
masterful verbal communication and the seer-bards were superb
crafters of language, the unnamable Reality could be hinted at and
thus become an efficient means of self-transformation for their
listeners. Their hymns are called mantras because they are tools for
focusing the mind (manas) to accomplish the great work of
penetrating into the mysteries of the cosmos and winning
the "highest heaven," the abode of immortality.

In a famous hymn, dubbed the "Creation Hymn," one Vedic seer-
composer by the name of Drghatamas ("Long Darkness") displays a
wonderful loftiness of thought:

In the beginning, desire, the first seed of mind, arose in That.
Poet-seers, searching in their heart with wisdom, found the bond of
existence in nonexistence.

Their [visions] ray stretched across. Perhaps there was a below;
perhaps there was an above. There were givers of seed; there were
powers: effort below, self-giving above.

Who knows the truth? Who here will pronounce it whence this birth,
whence this creation? The Gods appeared afterward, with the creation
of this [world]. Who then knows whence it arose?

(Rig-Veda X.129.4-6)

The entire Rig-Veda is traditionally held to be a nonhuman
revelation, because its 1028 hymns were all the fruit of the seer-
bards prayerful meditations and visions. Thus this hymnody is in
effect a product of yogic creativity, and the oldest one at that.
For this reason, the translation of the Rig-Veda presents formidable
difficulties, and several generations of Western scholars failed to
do justice to this scriptures spiritual depth and symbolic
intricacy. It took a great Yoga adept like Sri Aurobindo to wrestle
from the difficult image-laden Vedic hymns something of their deeper
meaning and to point scholars in a new, more credible, and rewarding
direction. No doubt it will take several more generations of
scholars who are spiritually sensitive or Yoga adepts with a
penchant for scholarship to unearth the deeper layers of Vedic
thought and symbolism.

At present we can know the Archaic Yoga of the the Vedic period only
partially (and this short article has barely touched on what we do
know about it). To be sure, it is useful for Yoga students to
acquaint themselves with the Rig-Veda. After all, it is the
fountainhead of Hinduism and all later Yoga. Among other things, it
shows us that the earliest masters of Yoga, the Vedic seers, were
far from being life-denying ascetics without education or talent.
They did not shun the mind but trained it for a higher purpose that
of realizing their true nature in the immortal dimension of
existence. They loved this world but were not captives of it. They
loved the Infinite but did not fail to realize that for the Infinite
to be truly infinite it must include the finite realm. These
pioneers of the spirit were no primitives, as is overwhelmingly
evident from their highly skillful poetry. If their symbolic
language is alien to us, it is perhaps because we ourselves have
become so alienated from the deeper levels of our own psyche and
from the invisible realms of existence.

Readers of Patanjali's Yoga-Stra will know that study (svdhyya)
is one of the elements of Classical Yoga. This always meant
primarily study of the sacred scriptures. From the vantage point of
the twentieth century, this kind of study, which was intended to
enrich ones personal practice and inner growth, is at the same time
a study of the history of Yoga. Obviously, it would be beneficial to
begin such a study with the Archaic Yoga of the Rig-Veda. Rather
than being a chore, this would be an edifying task. Reading the
Vedic hymns attentively, even given the less than imperfect English
renderings, is like listening to the great Yoga masters of yore. If
we can shelve our presumptions and prejudices and, in Francis Bacons
words, "ask councel" from the Vedic adepts, they can still teach us
much. chart for the yogas

from Yegar Yoga page

Gautam Madan ~ NDS original post by Tim Gerchmez  

From Chapter VI: The Yoga of Meditation


(Krishna speaking to Arjuna)
With the mind harmonized by Yoga he sees the Self abiding
in all beings and all beings in the Self; he sees the
same everywhere.

He who sees Me everywhere and sees everything in Me,
he does not become separated from Me nor do I become
separated from him.

COMMENTARY: The Lord describes here the effect of oneness.

* View the ENTIRE Bhagavad Gita online, with
commentary provided by Swami Sivananda at:

* More Bhagavad Gita selections with commentary by Swami Sivananda
available at:

* Sanskrit->English dictionary available at

Jerry Katz ~ NDSN  

Meditation as healing science still tied to religion. The most recent book by the seminal researcher on meditation and health, Harvard University's Herbert Benson, indicates that patients who practice meditation for health reasons often report religious experiences, often in the form of sensing a closeness to God or some other spiritual force. "You and I might think this is like saying, 'If you go swimming, you're going to get wet,' " Spiegel said. "But here they were, trying to be good scientists and take meditation out of a religious context. What they found is that when people begin a religious practice, they have a religious experience." -more-

If you can't see the links, please visit You'll see several other recent stories never posted to this list. --Jerry  

    Gloria Lee
     All copyright materials are used under authority of the Fair Use statute.
(United State Code, Title 17) Fair Use chapter.  

by Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche (Mudra, 1972)

A teaching on the awakened state, by the great Dzogchen teacher Jigme Lingpa (1730-1798)

Translated by Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche

Maha ati

THIS IS THE LION'S ROAR which subdues the rampant confusions and misunderstandings of those meditators who have abandoned materialistic attachments to meditate on the Innermost Essence.

The maha ati [Tib.: dzogchen], which is beyond conceptions and transcends both grasping and letting go, is the essence of transcendental insight. This is the unchanging state of non meditation in which there is awareness but no clinging. Understanding this, I pay ceaseless homage to the maha ati with great simplicity.

Here is the essence of the maha ati tantra,

The innermost heart of Padmakara's teachings,

The life-force of the dakinis.

This is the ultimate teaching of all the nine vehicles.

It can be transmitted only by a guru of the thought lineage

And not by words alone.

Nevertheless I have written this

For the benefit of great meditators

Who are dedicated to the highest teaching.

This teaching was taken from the treasury of dharmadhatu

And is not created out of attachment

To theories and philosophical abstractions.

First the pupil must find an accomplished guru with whom he has a good karmic link. The teacher must be a holder of the thought lineage transmission. The pupil must have single minded devotion and faith, which makes possible the transmission of the teacher's understanding.

The maha ati is of the greatest simplicity. It is what is. It cannot be shown by analogy; nothing can obstruct it. It is without limitation and transcends all extremes. It is clear-cut nowness, which can never change its shape or colour. When you become one with this state, the desire to meditate itself dissolves; you are freed from the chain of meditation and philosophy, and conviction is born within you. The thinker has deserted. There is no longer any benefit to be gained from "good" thoughts and no harm is to be suffered from "bad" thoughts. Neutral thoughts can no longer deceive. You become one with transcendental insight and boundless space. Then you will find signs of progress on the path. There is no longer any question of rampant confusions and misunderstandings.

Although this teaching is the king of the yanas [vehicles], meditators are divided into those who are highly receptive to it, those who are less receptive and those who are quite unreceptive. The most highly receptive pupils are hard to find, and it sometimes happens that teacher and pupil are unable to find a true meeting point. In such a case nothing is gained and misconceptions may arise concerning the nature of maha ati.

Those who are less receptive begin by studying the theory and gradually develop the feeling and true understanding. Nowadays many people regard the theory as being the meditation. Their meditation may be clear and devoid of thoughts and it may be relaxing and enjoyable, but this is merely the temporary experiencing of bliss. They think this is meditation and that no one knows any better than them. They think, "I have attained this understanding:' and they are proud of themselves. Then, if there is no competent teacher, their experience is only theoretical. As it is said in the scriptures of maha ati: "Theory is like a patch on a coat day it will come apart."

People often try to discriminate between "good" thoughts and "bad" thoughts, like trying to separate milk from water. It is easy enough to accept the negative experiences in life but much harder to see the positive experiences as part of the path. Even those who claim to have reached the highest stage of realization are completely involved with worldly concerns and fame. They are attracted by Devaputra [personification of the force which causes attraction to sense objects]. This means they have not realized the self-liberation of the six senses. Such people regard fame as extraordinary and miraculous. This is like claiming that a raven is white. But those who are completely dedicated to the practice of dharma without being concerned about worldly fame and glory should not become too self-satisfied on account of their higher developments of meditation. They must practice the Guru Yoga throughout the four periods of the day in order to receive the blessings of the guru and to merge their minds with his and open the eye of insight.

Once this experience is attained it should not be disregarded. The yogi should thenceforth dedicate himself to this practice with unremitting perseverance. Subsequently his experience of the void will become more peaceful, or he will experience greater clarity and insight. Or again, he may begin to realize the shortcomings of discursive thoughts and thereby develop discriminating wisdom. Some individuals will be able to use both thoughts and the absence of thoughts as meditation, but it should be borne in mind that that which notes what is happening is the tight grip of ego.

Look out for the subtle hindrance of trying to analyze experiences. This is a great danger. It is too early to label all thoughts as dharmakaya [the body of ultimate truth]. The remedy is the wisdom of nowness, changeless and unfailing. Once freed from the bondage of philosophical speculation, the meditator develops penetrating awareness in his practice. If he analyzes his meditation and post-meditation experiences, he will be led astray and make many mistakes. If he fails to understand his shortcomings, he will never gain the free-flowing insight of nowness, beyond all concepts. He will have only a conceptual and nihilistic view of the void, which is characteristic of the lesser yanas.

It is also a mistake to regard the void as a mirage, as though it was merely a combination of vivid perceptions and nothingness. This is the experience of the lower mantras, which might be induced by practice of the Svabhava mantra. It is likewise a mistake, when discursive thoughts are pacified, to overlook the clarity and regard the mind as merely blank. The experience of true insight is the simultaneous awareness of both stillness and active thoughts. According to the maha ati teaching, meditation consists of seeing whatever arises in the mind and simply remaining in the state of nowness. Continuing in this state after meditation is known as "the post-meditation experience."

It is a mistake to try to concentrate on emptiness and, after meditation, intellectually to regard everything as a mirage. Primordial insight is the state which is not influenced by the undergrowth of thoughts. It is a mistake to be on guard against the wandering mind or to try and imprison the mind in the ascetic practice of suppressing thoughts.

Some people may misunderstand the term "nowness" and take it to refer to whatever thoughts happen to be in their mind at the moment. Nowness should be understood as being the primeval insight already described.

The state of non meditation is born in the heart when one no longer discriminates between meditation and non-meditation and one is no longer tempted to change or prolong the state of meditation. There is all-pervading joy, free from all doubts. This is different from the enjoyment of sensual pleasures or from mere happiness.

When we speak of "clarity" we are referring to that state which is free from sloth and dullness. This clarity, inseparable from pure energy, shines forth unobstructed. It is a mistake to equate clarity with awareness of thoughts and the colors and shapes of external phenomena.

When thoughts are absent the meditator is completely immersed in the space of non-thought. The "absence of thoughts" does not mean unconsciousness or sleep or withdrawal from the senses, but simply being unmoved by conflict. The three signs of meditation clarity, joy and absence of thoughts may occur naturally when a person meditates, but if an effort is made to create them the meditator still remains in the circle of samsara.

There are four mistaken views of the void. It is a mistake to imagine that the void is merely empty without seeing the wild space of nowness. It is a mistake to seek the buddha nature in external sources, without realizing that nowness knows no path or goal. It is a mistake to try to introduce some remedy for thoughts without realizing that thoughts are by nature void and that one can free oneself like a snake unwinding. It is also a mistake to hold a nihilistic view that there is nothing but the void, no cause and effect of karma and no meditator nor meditation, failing to experience the void which is beyond conceptions.

Those who have had glimpses of realization must know these dangers and study them thoroughly. It is easy to theorize and talk eloquently about the void, but the meditator may still be unable to deal with certain situations. In a maha ati text it is said:

"Temporary realization is like a mist which will surely disappear' Meditators who have not studied these dangers will never derive any benefit from being in strict retreat or forcibly restraining the mind, nor from visualizing, reciting mantras or practicing Hathayoga. As is said in the Phagpa Dudpa Sutra,

"A Bodhisattva who does not know the real meaning of solitude,

Even if he meditates for many years in a remote valley full of

poisonous snakes

Five hundred miles from the nearest habitation,

Would develop overweening pride."

If the meditator is able to use whatever occurs in his life as the path, his body becomes a retreat hut. He does not need to add up the number of years he has been meditating and does not panic when "shocking" thoughts arise. His awareness remains unbroken like that of an old man watching a child at play. As is said in a maha ati text: "Complete realization is like unchanging space."

The yogi of maha ati may look like an ordinary person but his awareness is completely absorbed in nowness. He has no need of books because he sees apparent phenomena and the whole of existence as the mandala of the guru. For him there is no speculation about the stages on the path. His actions are spontaneous and therefore benefit all sentient beings. When he leaves the physical body his consciousness becomes one with the dharmakaya, just as the air in a vase merges with the surrounding space when the vase is broken. •

From Mudra, by Chogyam Trungpa   return to Beezone Articles

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