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#1683 - Tuesday, January 20, 2004 - Editor: Jerry  

Pure Silence: Lessons in Living and Dying  

Audio CD by Mark McCloskey  

Listen to a sample track:  

Visit the site:    


Hi everyone!
Here's wishing  everyone a Happy Chinese New Year!  

Best of Health and Wealth in the Lunar New Year

Best of regards,


Fireworks explode over the Shanghai skyline to celebrate the beginning of Chinese New Year early Thursday, Jan. 22, 2004. China's biggest city kicked off the Year of the Monkey with an all-night fireworks barrage.

Read about it:


Daily Dharma  

At the beginning of many Tibetan Buddhist practices ("sadhanas") an
Emptiness (Shunyata) mantra is said that sets the stage for the
visualizations that follow, reminding the practitioner that everything
that they are visualizing is coming from Emptiness, as is everything
they perceive in daily life. It is a fine mantra to recite each morning
to remind ourselves of the true nature of all that appears to us during
the day, and that perhaps it might be a good idea to not take things so
seriously. ,^)) ~dg   Here is an explanation of that mantra.


"The Shunyata mantra purifies the environment and mental misconceptions.
It involves dissolution of defiled projections of mind from the point of
view that all things lack true existence because they are interdependent
and impermanent. With the word, 'shunyata,' meaning 'emptiness,' we
acknowledge the essential emptiness of all phenomena. Keep in mind that
Emptiness in the Buddhist teachings is emptiness beyond dualistic
extremes, beyond reference point. It is not nothingness, (nihilism).

"Through developing this pure outlook, wisdom (jhana) develops. This is
ultimate awareness, free of dualism. The inseparable union of unchanging
or indestructible ('bedzra') wisdom and emptiness is the nature
('sobhawa') of all phenomena, free of contradictions.

"The words, 'emako ham,' say that 'I am resting,'  in this
inseparability of indestructible wisdom and emptiness. With this mantra
we rest in the nonconceptual fundamental nature of mind - clarity and

"Putting it all together, the literal translation of the Shunyata mantra
is, 'All things and I are the embodiment of that indestructible wisdom
that is emptiness.' 

"Remember though, that this mantra is not some kind of magic spell that
causes things to disappear or dissolve into a state of emptiness. It is
what they already are. So the purpose of the mantra is not to transform
things, but merely to help you recollect the actual nature of things as
they are."

~Khenpo Karthar Rinpoche

From the book, "Wish-Fulfilling Wheel, The Practice of White Tara,"
published by Rinchen.    

Ben Hassine

Typed from I AM THAT, by Nisargadatta Maharaj, chapter 11, pages 28-29  

Questioner: What do you do when asleep?

Maharaj: I am aware of being asleep.  

Q: Is not sleep a state of unconsciousness?

M: Yes, I am aware of being unconscious.  

Q: And when awake, or dreaming?

M: I am aware of being awake, or dreaming.  

Q: I do not catch you. What exactly do you mean? Let me make my terms clear: by being asleep I mean unconscious, by being awake I mean conscious, by dreaming I mean conscious of one's mind, but not of the surroundings.

M: Well, it is about the same with me. Yet, there seems to be a difference. In each state you forget the other two, while to me there is but one state of being, including and transcending the three mental states of waking, dreaming and sleeping.   Q: Do you see in the world a direction and a purpose?

M: The world is but a pale reflection of my imagination. Whatever I want to see, I can see. But why should I invent patters of creation, evolution and destruction? I do not need them. The world is in me, the world is myself. I am not afraid of it and have no desire to lock it up in a mental picture.  

Q: Coming back to sleep. Do you dream?

M: Of course.  

Q: What are your dreams?

M: Echoes of the waking state.  

Q: And your deep sleep?

M: The brain consciousness is suspended.  

Q: Are you then unconscious?

M: Unconscious of my surroundings --yes.  

Q: Not quite unconscious?

M: I remain aware that I am unconscious.  

Q: You use the words 'aware' and 'conscious'. Are they not the same?

M: Awareness is primordial; it is the original state, beginningless, endless, uncaused, unsupported, without parts, without change. Consciousness is on contact, a reflection against a surface, a state of duality. There can be no consciousness without awareness, but there can be awareness without consciousness, as in deep sleep. Awareness is absolute, consciousness is relative to its content; consciousness is always of something. Consciousness is partial and changeful, awareness is total, changeless, calm and silent. And it is the common matrix of every experience.  

Q: How does one go beyond consciousness into awareness?

M: Since it is awareness that makes consciousness possible, there is awareness in every state of consciousness. Therefore, the very consciousness of being conscious is already a movement in awareness. Interest in your stream of consciousness takes you to awareness. It is not a new state. It is at once recognised as the original, basic existence, which is life itself, and also love and joy.  

Q: Since reality is all the time with us, what does self-realization consist of?

M: Realization is but the opposite of ignorance. To take the world as real and one's self as unreal is ignorance, the cause of sorrow. To know the self as the only reality and all else as temporal and transient is freedom, peace and joy. It is all very simple. Instead of seeing things as imagined, learn to see them as they are. When you can see everything as it is, you will also see yourself as you are. It is like cleansing a mirror. The same mirror that shows you the world as it is, will also show you your own face. The thought 'I am' is the polishing cloth. Use it.  

Wim   Thanks Ben for the quote,  

"To know the self as the only reality and all else as temporal and
transient is freedom, peace and joy. It is all very simple."

Now, how to read this as it is meant, beaware, :-)

The above quote includes two parts that do not exclude each-other:
"To know the self as the only reality ..... is freedom, peace and joy.
It is all very simple."

"To know ....all .... as temporal and transient is freedom, peace and
joy. It is all very simple."

That "all else is temporal and transient" is joyful play in freedom and

"The self as the only reality" does not come down on "all else that is
transient and temporal" it rejoices with it.

Sam P.

this is what I saw out our bedroom window a few dawns ago  

Didn't God (who doesn't exist) make a beautiful world for us to live in..    

Daily Dharma  

"We have men among us, like the whites, who pretend to know the right
path, but will not consent to show it without pay! I have no faith in
their paths, but believe that every man must make his own path!"

~Black Hawk

From the book, "Native American Wisdom, " edited by Nerburn, published
by  New World Library.    


The Life Story Store
By Pete

I found the store on a side street. One of those short side streets
which seems to go from here to nowhere, just a shortcut from my
parking place to my work. I could've sworn the storefront had
not been there yesterday, but I wasn't sure. Distracted by Lynn's
betrayal, I could only think of her.

"Forget about me. Get a new life," she had said.

Easy for her to say. I wish I could erase her memory from my brain.
Short of that, I would like to write our story. That, I think, would
exorcize my obsession with her. Maybe these people could help. It
could be that they specialize in writing memoirs for others. On an
impulse, I pushed the door, and found myself in a large bare room,
painted in a way that suggested a shimmering ocean. In a corner,
gleamed a futuristic stainless steel desk with two matching chairs
facing it. I took a seat.

"Good morning, sir. I didn't expect you back so soon!"

I looked down at the snow melting on my shoes. An elderly man with
very short hair, neatly trimmed mustache and beard had entered the
room unnoticed. He took a seat behind the desk.

"You're mistaken. This is my first time here."

" Or so it seems to you. My name is Jan, at your service, sir," He
extended his hand.

"You look like Sri Ramana," I said He smiled pleasantly and shook his
head sideways in the Indian manner. "Yes, You definitely look like
him, except... your eyes are more like Nisargadatta's."

"So they tell me, sir."

"So you are familiar with these two gentlemen?"

"Most of our customers are of that persuasion."

"What persuasion is that?"

He smiled mischievously. "Seekers of the ineffable, Dan."

"Dan! How do you know my name?"

He shook his head sideways smiling. "Dan, here, we help people who
have trouble with their past."

"Do you help them write their life story?"

"No. We help them forget. Give them new memories."

"How do you do that?"

"We have a new technique which erases all their memories and gives
them new ones of their choice. You can understand, we can't discuss
the technology."

"Erases all of them?

"All. The procedure can't be partial."

"Would they remember that this procedure was done?"

"No. That's why we ask full payment in advance."

"But wait a minute, here. If they won't remember that this procedure
was done, how will they know those memories are really new?"

"They won't. The memories would look quite natural and old."

"If I don't remember the old, and the new ones seem old, how would I
know I'm still Dan?"

He smiled cryptically and looked at me in silence with his piercing


"I'm just a merchant, Dan, not a sage. It's hard to know anything for
sure..What is Dan to you? Is it what you remember about Dan, or the
feeling of existing right now?"

I thought for a moment. "The feeling of existing right now."
"That feeling is not always the same, is it? Sometimes it's very
faint and dull as if you had just awakened, and sometimes it's very
sharp and exhilarating. Is it not?"

"Yes, one can be more or less conscious."

"Exactly. A consciousness of 100 CQ is average, and one of 200 CQ is

"What does CQ stands for?"

"Consciousness Quantum."

"Never heard about that one before."

"We coined the phrase in this store. Here, we sell the highest grade
of consciousness possible, I'm happy to inform you."

"Wait a royal minute. If you change someone memories, and his
consciousness also, what will be left of him? That person will be
completely lost."

"Are you lost now?"

"No, of course not, but I haven't gone through that procedure."

"Are you sure?" He stared mockingly. "How do you know the procedure
wasn't performed already? If the old memories are gone and the new
seem old... how can you be sure?"

I didn't know what to say. I stood up and turned to leave.
"Look in your jacket's inside pocket, Dan."

"Look for what?"

"The receipt I gave you an hour ago."

Expecting to find nothing, I found a piece of paper, and hesitated to
take it out. My feet felt like ice. Finally, forcing myself to pull
it out, I looked at it. It was a receipt for one hundred thousand
dollars. Returning to my seat I felt faint.

"What could those memories have been that forgetting them was worth
so much money to me?"

He smiled. "Better not to know. You made a wise choice. You choose
good memories."

"Why didn't I choose to be a king, or a movie star. Why did I choose
to be someone who was betrayed by a girl named Lynn?"

He shrugged. "I think you made a good choice. Lynn introduced you to
the writings of Ramana, Nisargadatta and many other sages. With that
knowledge you won't repeat the old mistakes."

"Who am I, really?"

"Ah! That is precisely the question!"    


Remember the sky that you were born under,
know each of the star's stories.
Remember the moon, know who she is. I met her
in a bar once in Iowa City.
Remember the sun's birth at dawn, that is the
strongest point of time. Remember sundown
and the giving away to night.
Remember your birth, how your mother struggled
to give you form and breath. You are evidence of
her life, and her mother's, and hers.
Remember your father. He is your life also.
Remember the earth whose skin you are:
red earth, black earth, yellow earth, white earth
brown earth, we are earth.
Remember the plants, trees, animal life who all have their
tribes, their families, their histories, too. Talk to them,
listen to them. They are alive poems.
Remember the wind. Remember her voice. She knows the
origin of this universe. I heard her singing Kiowa war
dance songs at the corner of Fourth and Central once.
Remember that you are all people and that all people are you.
Remember that you are this universe and that this universe is you.
Remember that all is in motion, is growing, is you.
Remember that language comes from this.
Remember the dance that language is, that life is.
~ Joy Harjo ~
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Nonduality: The Varieties of Expression Home

Jerry Katz
photography & writings

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