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#1609 - Thursday, November 6, 2003 - Editor: Jerry  

Don’t Muddy the Pure Stream of Mind  

by Sudhamahi Regunathan  

A teacher and his disciple were travelling, for it is said
that travelling helps acquire knowledge. The journey was hot
and tiring; finally they reached the edge of a lush green

The master said to the pupil, “Young man,we shall rest here
for the night. I hear the sound of water. Will you go fetch
some to quench our thirst?”  

The young man hurried forth to carry out his master’s
bidding. On reaching the little rivulet that was gurgling
past, he was happy to see that the water was clear and pure.
“I’ll fill it to the brim and take it to guruji”, he thought
to himself.  

So joyous was the young man that he even paused to look
admiringly at a beautiful purple flower by the wayside.  

Suddenly, he saw a bullock cart cross the river to the other

Carrying some wares, the cart driver was singing loudly —
keeping time with the jingle of bells tied round the
bullocks’ necks — as he drove across the shallow waters.  

The young disciple stood still. The cart had unsettled the
waters. The water that looked pure just a little while ago
was now slushy, dirty and chaotic. How can one drink this
dirty water?  

Disheartened, the disciple traced his way back to his master.  

“Sir,” said the dejected pupil to the master. “A cart just
drove across the waters and the waters have become muddy. So
I could not fetch any.” The guru asked him to go back a
little later when the waters would have settled.  

Half an hour later the young man picked up his jug and went
to fetch water. The waters had not yet settled.  

For the rest of the day, he kept repeating this operation,
thirst unquenched. The waters were still muddy.  

At dusk, the disciple went for the last time and returned
with an empty jug. The master smiled.  

“Have you learnt anything from this?” he asked the student.
The disciple said: “What, noble sir, is there to learn? When
a cart traverses through a stream, it brings up the slush.
One has to wait for it to settle.  

What else is there to know?”  

The master called the disciple to his side. “Sit down”, he
said. “Such is the state of our minds too... If one cart
crosses the river and it takes so long for it to settle down,
can you imagine how many carts cross our minds and how much
longer it should take to settle down? Can you stop the flow
of thoughts? Purity, clarity and a tranquil state is the
experience of consciousness. This is possible only when
thoughts are emptied out, in a thoughtless state, when
bullock carts stop traversing our minds.”  

Acharya Mahaprajna explains that spirituality is the path of
purity of consciousness; the awakening of a consciousness
that develops because of sublimation of attachment and
aversion. This results in an appeased mental state and the
true experience of peace and freedom from inner turmoil.  

For this, concentration and a strong resolve are necessary.
Will power is more powerful than any bullock cart, it can
stop all intrusions at the banks of the river (mind). Perhaps
of greatest importance is the need to restrain emotions.  

Today, most of our problems are caused by volatile emotions.
They agitate our minds and make it slushy. We have to learn
to exercise control over emotions through meditation; you
have to watch yourself, your thoughts and your soul as
distinct from the body. We have to wait patiently for the
agitated mind to settle down in order to attain bliss.  

Chiyo-ni's (1703-1775) calligraphy of her famous poem on the morning glory, illustrated by Toho Naito, Matto City Museum. The poem reads:

The morning glory!
It has taken the well bucket
I must ask elsewhere for water.

Painting and calligraphy by Chiyo-ni. The poem reads:

Butterfly on a maiden's path
now behind
now in front.

More poems by Chiyo on the butterfly

A butterfly --
What dream
is making your wings flutter?

Butterfly --
you also get mad
some days.

Even the butterfly --
Buddhist service.

In mid-flight
the butterfly returns
to the pines of Shiogoshi Shrine

What the butterfly
wants to say --
only this movement of its wings.

  Big secret diet. Love

The "Fuck It" Diet

Margaret Cho

I have lost some weight which has set off a strange wave of paranoia among people that I have either had my stomach stapled or shut off with a rubber band, or am on some freaky raw food diet or whatever.

What happened was that I was fucking sick and tired of dieting and working out. I fucking was sick and tired of buying clothes that were too small for me so I could 'thin into them.' I was fucking sick and tired of eating 5 to 7 small meals a day. I was sick and tired of no carbs. I was fucking sick and tired of thinking about food and not thinking about food. I was fucking sick and tired of my trainer and any type of exercise. I went to a nutritionist and I lost a lot - of money. I never left his office without dropping at least a grand on bullshit. Shakes, pills, supplements, food substitutes, exercise programs. I said "FUCKING FUCK THIS FUCK IT FUCK IT SERIOUSLY FUCK IT FUCK IT FUCK IT FUCK FUCK FUCK IT!!!!"

I stopped going to Fred Segal and getting the one thing in the whole store that fit me. I started buying clothes that fucking fit me, like now. I put away all notions of what diets meant to me, what I was supposed to eat and not supposed to eat. I altogether lost the thought process that carried me through my life - my dieting and exercise regimen - and started thinking about the people I loved, hated, tolerated, laughed at, laughed with. There was a lot of time to read. I wanted to watch old movies. I ate a lot of shitty food. I gained some weight and it was scary. But it didn't really make a difference. Fuck it. Fuck it. Fuck it. I stopped exercising, and started writing. I played with my dogs. I looked at shit on Ebay. I started to eat what I wanted - and kept doing it. Not a food vacation - not a respite between diets. I just was going to eat eat eat eat eat eat and fucking eat some more.

Then, I kind of started to get weirdly thinner. I get it now. Because I don't care about food, it is there when I want it, I don't crave it and want it and think about it. Since I can have everything, nothing is that important. I don't need to eat a whole cake because I can eat a whole cake every day every meal if I want and I don't care. I don't prepare to eat because I might be hungry later and 'they' won't have what I have to eat. When I am hungry, I eat. You know, that is what the weird diet is.

Here is what I usually eat every day. In the morning I have a bowl of cereal with two kinds mixed, granola and LIFE. If I am in a hotel, I have granola and yogurt, croissants, one chocolate and one regular and then a big cranberry juice. I drink a lot of water, and a lot of lemonade, regular COKE - no diet anything ever. After that, I usually eat a peanut butter cup or something like that. Then I get to work, which is writing usually, recording sometimes, interviews, etc.. I get hungry later around early afternoon, and so I eat what I think is a good thing at the moment, which could be mac and cheese, or pizza. I eat as much as I want, but it is usually too rich to eat all of it and since I am not dieting and I don't need to cram the forbidden food in before the diet starts up again, I eat as much as I feel good eating and leave the rest. I leave a lot on the plate because I need not clean my plate. Why? I don't have to. And the value of not having to finish all my food, probably has been the biggest contributor to my healing around food. I used to feel like I needed to eat all of it, all and then some, but actually, it doesn't feel good to do that. It doesn't taste good. I can have more when I am hungry again. I eat dinner late, usually with friends. I like appetizers. I will order 3-4 types, so I can have a variety of edible treats, instead of an entrée. If I order entrees, it would be more than one, because I deserve to eat what I like. I never eat leftovers. I never take anything home. I never eat anything that doesn't taste heavenly. I never eat when I am not hungry. I never let myself get too hungry. I never deny myself a fucking thing because I have denied myself enough for 1000 lifetimes and there is no more denial for me in the way that I live. I deserve all the mozzarella sticks, all the fucking chocolate, all the fucking pizza, all the chicken a'la king, and I deserve to leave what I don't finish on the plate.

So there you go. Big secret diet. Love. Love and the audacity to actually waste food.

Meditating on Compassion and on Our Buddha Nature Counteracts

By Venerable Thubten Chodron

When we suffer from guilt and low self-esteem, we put all
attention on ourselves. There is little space in our mind for
thoughts of others, and everything related to ourselves is
overblown. Guilt is an inverted feeling of self-importance:
"I'm the worst one in the world, unforgivable," or "I'm so
powerful that I can make all these things go wrong." This is
totally unrealistic!

Compassion is the wish for sentient beings, including
ourselves, to be free of suffering and its causes. Meditating
on it works in two ways. First, we think, "I am a sentient
being, worthy of happiness and freedom from pain, just like
everyone else. I have the Buddha nature - the underlying
purity of mind - just as all living beings do. Therefore, I
can wish myself to be happy and to be free of suffering, and
I know that these are achievable goals because the basic
nature of my mind and heart are pure. The clouds that cover
them can be dispelled." Thinking in this way helps overcome

In addition, spreading our love and compassion out to others
alleviates the pain of the self-preoccupation lying behind
guilt and low self-esteem. By taking the focus off of
ourselves, compassion enables us to realize that everyone is
in the same position. Thinking of others and reaching out to
them pulls us out of the isolation of guilt and low

Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?"

"That depends a good deal on where you want to get to," said the Cat.

"I don't much care where -" said Alice.

"Then it doesn't matter which way you go," said the Cat.

"-so long as I get somewhere," Alice added as an explanation.

"Oh, you're sure to do that," said the Cat, "if you only walk long enough."

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Nonduality: The Varieties of Expression Home

Jerry Katz
photography & writings

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