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#1653 - Sunday December 21, 2003 - Editor: Gloria

Enjoy a classical music concert while you read.  


1971 Gonzalez organ at Chartres Cathedral, France

For Unto Us
The Christmas image of a newborn babe brought into a cold world conjures sentiments of joy and astonishment. So it's not entirely surprising that the music on this week's program does the same. We celebrate the season with trumpets and choirs, as well as organs both in solo and duet performances. Join in and sing along with familiar old tunes and embrace some new music, too, heralding the good news of the Nativity. For Unto Us: a holiday for heart and ears.
archived audio Listen  

Please Note RE: NDS Highlights #1651 "The Spirit of Tibet" film. There is an error in the link, the site of the Buddhist Broadcasting Foundation, the correct URL is:  

Thanks to Ben Hassine  

  Viorica Weissman ~ MillionPaths  

When we celebrate Christmas or the birth of the Buddha,
we celebrate the coming into the world of a very special child.
The birth of Jesus and the Buddha were pivotal events in human

A few days after the Buddha was born, many people in his
country of Kapilavastu came to pay their respects, including an
old sage named Asita. After contemplating the baby Buddha,
Asita began to cry. The king, the Buddha's father, was alarmed.
"Holy man, why are you crying? Will some misfortune overtake
my child?" The holy man replied, "No, your majesty. The birth of
prince Siddhartha is a wondrous event. Your child will become
an important world teacher. But I am too old and I will not be there.
That is the only reason I am crying."

A similar story appears in the Bible. Eight days after His birth,
the baby Jesus was brought to the temple for circumcision. When
a man named Simeon looked at Him, he was able to see that Jesus
would bring about a profound change in the life of humankind:
"When the time came for the purification according to the law of
Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the
Lord... and they offered a sacrifice according to what is stated in
the law of the Lord, a pair of turtle doves, or two young pigeons.
Now there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon.
This man was righteous and devout, looking forward to the consolation
of Israel, and the Holy Spirit rested on him. It had been revealed to him
by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the
Lord's Messiah. Guided by the spirit, Simeon came into the temple
and when the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what was
customary under the law, Simeon took him in his arms and praised God,
saying 'Master, now you are dismissing your servant in peace according
to your word, for my eyes have seen your salvation which you have
prepared in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the
gentiles and for glory to your people, Israel.' And the child's father
and mother were amazed at what was being said about him."

Whenever I read the stories of Asita and Simeon, I have the wish
that every one of us could have been visited by a sage when we were
born. The birth of every child is important, not less than the birth of a
Buddha. We, too, are a Buddha, a Buddha to be, and we continue to
be born every minute. We, too, are sons and daughters of God and
the children of our parents. We have to take special care of each birth.

Living Buddha, Living Christ
Thich Nhat Hanh

Daily Dharma  


"Ryokan never preached to or reprimanded anyone. Once his brother asked
Ryokan to visit his house and speak to his delinquent son. Ryokan came
but did not say a word to the boy. He stayed overnight and prepared to
leave the next morning. As the wayward nephew was lacing Ryokan's straw
sandals, he felt a warm drop of water. Glancing up, he saw Ryokan
looking down at him, his eyes full of tears. Ryokan then returned home,
and the nephew changed for the better."

~a Zen tale

From the book, "Zen And The Ways," edited by Trevor Leggett, published
by Tuttle.


"'Would you teach me Silence?' I asked.

'Ah!'  He seemed to be pleased. 'Is it the Great Silence you want?'

'Yes, the Great Silence.'

'Well, where do you think it is to be found?'
he asked.

'Deep within, I suppose. If only I could go deep within, I'd escape the
noise at last. But it's hard. Will you help me?' I knew he would. I
could feel his concern and his spirit was so silent.

'Well, I've been there,' he answered. 'I spent years going in.  I did
taste the silence there. But one day Jesus came - maybe it was my
imagination - and said to me simply, "Come, follow me. "  I went out,
and never came back.'

I was stunned. 'But the silence....'

'I've found the Great Silence, and I've come to see that the noise was
inside. '"

~Father Thesophane

From the book, "Soul Food," edited by Jack Kornfield, published by
Harper Collins.

Reflection by Christiana (to Lectio Divina list)
Advent -  personal preparation and prayer

Week 3- The bowing of my animal nature

This third week of Advent, I struggle with this
season's appearance of duality. The resplendent
silence of the natural world; often in sharp
contrast with the busyness which our animal
natures succumb to in this season's enticements.
The joy of silent nights and loving fellowship,
always at risk of being consumed by the cacophony
of shopping and doing.

With intention, I call up the wildness of the
untamed animal within, and lead it gently to the
crèche being formed in this heart's altar. I abide
and witness. The animal cocks its head as it
listens to the whispers of silence; then opens its
eyes in discernment of That which is poised to be
birthed. In awe, the animal surrenders and bows
down next to the manger in anticipatory readiness
to receive This Birth.

Pausing now to light this third Advent candle,
I await your birth dear Lord.
My prayer is that I will remain humble enough
to receive your birth within my heart.

Viorica Weissman ~ Million Paths

D. The final state of Realization is said to be according to Advaita the absolute union with the Divine and according to Visistadvaita a qualified union, while Dvaita maintains that there is no union at all. Which of these should be considered the correct view?    

Maharshi: Why speculate as to what will happen some time in the future? All are agreed that the "I" exists. To whichever school of thought he may belong, let the earnest seeker first find out what the "I" is. Then it will be time enough to know what the final state will be, whether the "I" will get merged in the Supreme Being or      stand apart from Him. Let us not forestall the conclusion, but keep an open mind.  

     D. But will not some understanding of the final state be a helpful guide even to the aspirant?  

M. No purpose is served in trying to decide now what the final state of Realization will be. It has no intrinsic value.    

D. Why so?  

M. Because you proceed on a wrong principle. Your ascertainment has to depend on the intellect, which shines only by the light it derives from the Self. Is it not presumptous on the part of the intellect to sit in judgement over that of which it is but a limited manifestation, and from which it derives its little light? How can the intellect, which can never reach the Self, be competent to ascertain, much less decide, the nature of the final state of Realization? It is like trying to measure the sunlight at its source by the standard of the light given by a candle. The wax will melt down before the candle comes anywhere near the sun. Instead of indulging in mere speculation, devote  yourself here and now to the search for the Truth that is ever within you.        

  The nature of the one Reality must be known by one’s own clear spiritual perception; it cannot be known through a learned person. Similarly, the form of the moon can only be known through one’s own eyes. How can it be known through others?

- Shankara

  Ben Hassine ~ NDS  

I typed this from the book "Self-Liberation Through Seeing With Naked Awareness", translated from Tibetan by John Myrdhin Reynolds, page 12-17

Now, when you are introduced to your own intrinsic awareness, the method for entering into it involves three considerations:
Thoughts in the past are clear and empty and leave no traces behind.
Thoughts in the future are fresh and unconditioned by anything.
And in the present moment, when your mind remains in its own condition without constructing anything,
Awareness at that moment in itself it quite ordinary.
And when you look into yourself in this way nakedly without any discursive thoughts,
Since there is only this pure observing, there will be found a lucid clarity without anyone being there who is the observer;
Only a naked manifest awareness is present.
This awareness is empty and immaculately pure, not created by anything whatsoever.
It is authentic and unadulterated, without any duality of clarity and emptiness.
It is not permanent and yet it is not created by anything.
However, it is not a mere nothingness or something annihilated because it is lucid and present.
It does not exist as a single entity because it is present and clear in terms of being many.
On the other hand it is not created as a multiplicity of things because it is inseparable and of a single flavor.
This inherent self-awareness does not derive from anything outside itself.
This is the real introduction to the actual condition of things.

Within this intrinsic awareness, the Trikaya are inseparable and fully present as one.
Since it is empty and not created anywhere whatsoever, it is the Dharmakaya.
Since its luminous clarity represents the inherent transparent radiance of emptiness, it is the Sambhogakaya.
Since its arising is nowhere obstructed or interrupted, it is the Nirmanakaya.
These three, the Trikaya, being complete and fully present as one, are its very essence.

When you are introduced in this way through this exceedingly powerful method for entering into the practice,
You discover directly that your own immediate self-awareness is just this and nothing else,
And that it has an inherent self-clarity which is entirely unfabricated.
How can you then speak of not understanding the nature of the mind?
Moreover, since you are meditating without finding anything there to meditate upon,
How can you say that your meditation does not go well?
Since you own manifest intrinsic awareness is just this,
How can you say you cannot find your own mind?
The mind is just that which is thinking,
And yet, although you have searched for the thinker, how can you say that you do not find him?
With respect to this, nowhere does there exist the one who is the cause of mental activity.
And yet, since activity exists, how can you say that such activity does not arise?
Since merely allowing thoughts to settle into their own condition, without trying to modify them in any way, is sufficient,
How can you say that you are not able to remain in a calm state?
Since allowing thoughts to be just as they are, without trying to do anything about them, is sufficient
How can you say that you are not able to do anything with regard to them,
Since clarity, awareness, and emptiness are inseparable and are spontaneously self-perfected,
How can you say that you sat that nothing is accomplished by your practice?
Since intrinsic awareness is self-originated and spontaneously self-perfected without any antecedent causes or conditions,
How can you say that you are not able to accomplish anything by your efforts?
Since the arising of discursive thoughts and their being liberated occur simultaneously,
How can you say that you are unable to apply an antidote?
Since your own immediate awareness is just this,
How can you say that you do not know anything with regard to it?

It is certain that the nature of the mind is empty and without any foundation whatsoever.
Your own mind is insubstantial like the empty sky.
You should look at your own mind to see whether it is like that or not.
Being without any view that decisively decides that it is empty,
It is certain that self-originated primal awareness has been clear and luminous from the very beginning,
Like the heart of the sun, which is itself self-originated.
You should look at your own mind to see whether it is like that or not.
It is certain that this primal awareness or gnosis, which is one's intrinsic awareness, is unceasing,
Like the main channel of a river that flows unceasingly.
You should look at your own mind to see whether it is like that or not.
It is certain that the diversity of movements arising in the mind are not apprehendable by memories,
They are like insubstantial breezes that move through the atmosphere.
You should look at your own mind to see whether it is like that or not.
It is certain that whatever appearances occur, all of them are self-manifested,
Like the images in a mirror being self-manifestations that simply appear.
You should look at your won mind whether it is like that or not.
It is certain that all of the characteristics of things are liberated into their own condition,
Like clouds in the atmosphere that are self-originated and self-liberated.
You should look at your own mind to whether it is like that or not.

There exist no phenomena other than what arises from the mind.
Other than the meditation that occurs, where is the one who is meditating?
There exist no phenomena other than what arises form the mind.
Other than the behavior that occurs, where is the one who is behaving?
There exist no phenomena other than what arises from the mind,
Other than the samaya vows that occurs, where is the one who is guarding it?
There exist no phenomena other than what arises from the mind.
Other than the fruition that occurs, where is the one who is realizing the fruit?
You should look at your own mind, observing it again and again.

When you look upward into the space of the sky outside yourself,
If there are no thoughts occurring that are no emanations being projected,
And when you look inward at your own mind inside yourself,
If there exist no projectionist who projects thoughts by thinking them,
Then your own subtle mind will become lucidly clear without anything being projected.
Since the Clear Light of your own intrinsic awareness is empty,
it is the Dharmakaya;
And this is like the sun rising in a cloudless illuminated sky.
Even though this light cannot be said to posses a particular shape or form, nevertheless, it can be fully known.
The meaning of this, whether or not it is understood, is especially significant.

This self-originated Clear Light, which from the beginning was in no way produced by something antecedent to it,
Is the child of awareness, and yet it is itself without any parents - amazing!
This self-originated primordial awareness has not been created by anything - amazing!
It does not experience birth nor does there exist a cause for it's death -amazing!
Although it is evidently visible, yet there is no one there who sees it - amazing!
Although it has wandered throughout Samsara, it has come to no harm - amazing!
Even though it has seen Buddhahood itself, it has not come to any benefit from this - amazing!
Even though it exists in everyone everywhere, yet is has gone unrecognised - amazing!
Nevertheless, you hope to attain some other fruit than this elsewhere - amazing!
Even though it exists within yourself and nowhere else, yet you seek for it elsewhere - amazing!

How wonderful!
This immediate intrinsic awareness is insubstantial and lucidly clear.
Just this is the highest pinnacle among all views.
It is all-encompassing, free of everything, and without any conceptions whatsoever:
Just this is the highest pinnacle among all meditations.
It is unfabricated and inexpressible in worldly terms:
Just this is the highest pinnacle among all courses of conduct.
Without being sought after, it is spontaneously self-perfected from the very beginning:
Just this is the highest pinnacle among all fruits.

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