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Highlights #172

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Astavakra Samhita

Translation by Thomas Byrom

Chapter 3 - Wisdom

1 You know the Self
By nature one
Without end.

You know the Self,
And you are serene.

How can you still desire riches?

2 When from ignorance
You see silver in mother-of-pearl,
Greed arises.

From ignorance of the Self
Desire arises
For the world where the senses whirl.

3 Knowing yourself as That
In which the worlds rise and fall
Like waves in the ocean,
Why do you run about so wretchedly?

4 For have you not heard?

You are pure awareness,
And your beauty is infinite!

So why let lust mislead you?

5 The man who is wise
Knows himself in all things
And all things in himself.

Yet how strange!
He still says, "This is mine."

6 Determined to be free,
He abides in the oneness
Beyond all things.

Yet how strange!
Indulging in passion, he weakens,
And lust overwhelms him.

7 Feeble with age,
Still he is filled with desire,
When without doubt he knows
That lust is the enemy of awareness.

Indeed how strange!

8 He longs to be free …

He has no care for this world
Or the next,
And he knows what is passing
Or forever.

And yet how strange!
He is still afraid of freedom.

9 But he who is truly wise
Always sees the absolute Self.

Celebrated, he is not delighted.
Spurned, he is not angry.

10 Pure of heart,
He watches his own actions
As if they were another's.

How can praise or blame disturb him?

11 With clear and steady insight
He sees this world is a mirage,
And he no longer wonders about it.

How can he fear the approach of death?

12 Pure of heart,
He desires nothing,
Even in despair.

He is content
In the knowledge of the Self.

With whom may I compare him?

13 With clear and steady insight
He knows that whatever he sees
Is by its very nature nothing.

How can he prefer one thing to another?

14 He is beyond all duality.

Free from desire,
He has driven from his mind
All longing for the world.

Come what may,
Joy or sorrow,
Nothing moves him.

Chapter 4 - The True Seeker

1 The wise man knows the Self,
And he plays the game of life.

But the fool lives in the world
Like a beast of burden.

2 The true seeker feels no elation,
Even in that exalted state
Which Indra and all the gods
Unhappily long for.

3 He understands the nature of things.

His heart is not smudged
by right or wrong,
As the sky is not smudged by smoke.

4 He is pure of heart,
He knows the whole world is only the Self.

So who can stop him
From doing as he wishes?

5 Of the four kinds of being,
from Brahma to a blade of grass,
Only the wise man is strong enough
To give up desire and aversion.

6 How rare he is!

Knowing he is the Self,
He acts accordingly,
And is never fearful.

For he knows he is the Self,
One without two,
The Lord of all creation.



I have this book "The Zen Teaching of Hui Hai - On Sudden
Illumination", translated by John Blofeld, Rider & Co., 1962
Here is a passage on the non-dwelling (non-abiding):

Q: Whereon should the mind settle and dwell?
A: It should settle upon non-dwelling and there dwell.

Q: What is this non-dwelling?
A: It means not allowing the mind to dwell upon anything

Q: And what is the meaning of that?
A: Dwelling upon nothing means that the mind is not fixed
upon good or evil, being or non-being, inside or outside or
somewhere between the two, void or non-void, concentration
or distraction.
This dwelling upon nothing is the state in which it should
dwell; those who attain to it are said to have non-dwelling
minds--in other words, they have Buddha-minds!



Excerpts from The Transmission of the Mind Outside the

One day a monk asked Ma Tsu, "Why do you say that mind is
Mat Tsu replied "To stop a child from crying".
The monk asked, And after the child has stopped crying?"
Ma Tsu replied, "Neither mind nor buddha."

Yun Yen’ asked Pai Chang, ‘Venerable abbot, for whom are you
so meticulous the whole day?’ Pai Chang replied, ‘Some one
needs it.’ Yun Yen asked, ‘Why don’t you teach him to do it
himself?’ Pai Chang replied, ‘Because he is deprived of
livelihood.’14 (14. The mind depends on man to purify it
for it cannot purify itself).

When expounding the Dharma to ascetic monks (sramana) you
should know that they have been fully ordained for the
practice of sila, dhyana and prajna; if you again insist on
their performance thereof, your talk is inopportune and is
also called affected speech.




1. Big companies don't do business via chain letter. Bill
Gates is not giving you $1000, and Disney is not giving you
a free vacation.

There is no baby food company issuing class-action checks.
You can relax; there is no need to pass it on "just in case
it's true." Furthermore, just because someone said in the
message, four generations back, that "we checked it out and
it's legit," does not actually make it true.

2. There is no kidney theft ring in New Orleans. No one is
waking up in a bathtub full of ice, even if a friend of a
friend swears it happened to their cousin. If you are
insistent on believing the kidney-theft ring stories, please
And I quote: "The National Kidney Foundation has repeatedly
issued requests for actual victims of organ thieves to come
forward & tell their stories. None have. That's "none," as
in "ZERO". Not even your friend's cousin.

3. Neiman Marcus doesn't really sell a $200 cookie recipe.
And even if they do, we all have it. And even if you don't,
you can get a copy at: Then, if you make the
recipe, decide the cookies are that awesome, feel free to
pass the recipe on. (But I hear they stink.)

4. We all know all 500 ways to drive your roommates crazy,
irritate CO- workers, gross-out bathroom stall neighbors,
and creep out people on an elevator. We also know exactly
how many engineers, college students, Usenet posters, and
people from each and every world ethnicity it takes to
change a light bulb.

5. Even if the latest NASA rocket disaster(s) DID contain
plutonium that went to particulate over the eastern
seaboard, do you REALLY think this information would reach
the public via an AOL chain-letter?

6. There is no "Good Times" virus. In fact, you should
never, ever, ever forward any email containing any virus
warning unless you first confirm it at an actual site of an
actual company that actually deals with virii. Try: And even then,
don't forward it. We don't care.

7. If your CC: list is regularly longer than the actual
content of your message, you're probably going to be
punished eternally. (Ever heard of BCC:?)

8. If you're using Outlook, IE, or Netscape to write email,
turn off "HTML encoding." Those of us on Unix shells can't
read it, and don't care enough to save the attachment and
then view it with a web browser, since you're probably
forwarding us a copy of the Neiman-Marcus Cookie Recipe

9. If you still absolutely MUST forward that
10th-generation message from a friend, at least have the
decency to trim the eight miles of headers showing everyone
else who's received it over the last 6 months. It sure
wouldn't hurt to get rid of all the ">" that begin each
line. Besides, if it has gone around that many times, we've
probably already seen it.

10. Craig Shergold in England is not dying of cancer or
anything else at this time and would like everyone to stop
sending him their business cards. He apparently is also no
longer a "little boy" either.

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