|Dr. Robert Puff||
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#1747 - Thursday, March 25, 2004 - Editor: Jerry
This issue is about silence.
From: 'Ask The Awakened: The Negative Way'
by Wei Wu Wei
The faculty that distinguishes man from all other animals is
that of speech, and he makes use of it with the enthusiasm
of a convert and the lack of moderation of a child with a
new toy. The popular notion of government, at all levels, is
government by talking, and often it amounts to little else.
The inefficiency of this is demonstrated by the fact that
when obvious security is at stake, as in the case of ships at
sea and armies on land, government by talking is abandoned
and there is substituted for it the rule of one man, whose
word is law and whose words of command are so brief as
to ignore syntax. When it has happened that in the first
enthusiasm of popular revolutions that natural law has been
temporarily abrogated the ship has been known to sink and
the army to be beaten.
It is instructive, and also entertaining, to observe that one of
man's methods of showing respect, on the death of a celebrated
individual or in commemoration of a catastrophe, is to observe
one minute, or even two, of silence, that is to refrain from talking
for that all too brief period; and that has been apt to prove too
great a strain for regular application. It would appear that the
maintenance of silence is well-nigh insupportable to the average
man, and at the same time he cherishes an illusory notion that
almost anything can be achieved by chatter. Verbiage is his primary
occupation, and his method of self-assertion, and in many countries
even a musical programme on the radio rarely lasts for more than
a few minutes without being interrupted by an outburst of entirely
superfluous 'gab'. 'Gab', in short, is his idea of living, and he
expresses his ideas, even the most erudite, with the exception of
higher mathematics, in the greatest possible number of words
instead of in the fewest.
But talking is probably the greatest hindrance to the development
of man's spiritual possibilities, and of all forms of activity the
one which most efficiently bars his way to that higher state of
consciousness which is his unique possibility, his right, and his
only certain justification. This is hardly an original observation;
the Ch'an masters evidently knew it - since they spoke so briefly
as to be barely comprehensible, and the most vital sutras, shorn
of subsequent repetition, give their message in a few lines.
The fact is recognised in Christianity by the Trappists and in
India yogis impose on themselves long periods of silence, and,
when abroad, single days at stated periods.
This need not be taken to mean that even the most serious
occidentals who follow the urge towards enlightenment should
abandon speech. In the course of every twenty-four hours one-
third is already devoted to silence, but they might perhaps
realise that chatter is not only a hindrance, as has been pointed
out, but is quite clearly a psychological mechanism of defence
against progress on that path on the part of the skandha-impulses
operating in collaboration with the I-concept developed by the
phenomenal 'individual'. It is neither difficult nor rare to be able
to observe that mechanism in operation, and in such cases at
least mental discipline, as it is called, is necessary, though the
element of discipline should be merely a result, the result of
understanding and observing that mechanism at work.
This understanding need in no way hinder communication of
ideas, of all kinds of interesting observations, of humour, even
of gossip - for there are sixteen hours available for all that as
well as for periods of silence. Perhaps there need not even be
anything so formal as periods of silence, but just an abandonment
of absolutely superfluous 'gab'?
I Am (Reflections on the Road)
I just had the most wonderful life experience of traveling
around the earth on a three week business trip, flying 37,000 miles,
stopping in 6 countries, meeting scores of new friends, experiencing
new situations, different cultures, foods, and ideas and yet being able
to be a still, ever open witness to the miracle of being, the miracle
of I am.
You see dear friends, the secret of who you are is
"that" you are. This
"I am" is constant. It is the pure silent consciousness of the here and
now within you. It is the sameness in you and I and all. It is, because
it is, and you are, because it is. It is you, it is I and it is one,
and that is love.
Speeding 7 miles above the earth, at night, in a floating
at nearly the speed of sound allows one to see glimpses of this truth.
As the earth moves slowly by below, one cannot see the borders and
boundaries of countries, the separations of cultures and languages, the
histories and struggles and stories of billions of peoples and
traditions. No, one can only see a glimmer of lights glistening
silently below, each a separate jewel reflecting together as simple
light-beckoning me above to see this magnificence-to behold the wonder
as it unfolds: mere light, shining forth in the darkness, and yet each
light expressing its being and its connection to all, as one. And yet,
I too, 37,000 feet above. am just another light in this collection of
splendor, all reflecting the simple fact that "I am" is light itself.
And when the plane lands in different cities and towns, the
differences, though seemingly apparent, fade quickly, for the I am
manifests its sameness through and within the apparent dualities. There
is but one heart and one light and it is all. Whether in the busy
cities of New York, Sao Paulo, Frankfurt, Bangkok, Saigon, Guagzhou or
Hong Kong, or the smaller places like Bucks County, Porto Belo,
Samutsakorn, Phan Thiet and Shantou, all which appear as separate and
different become one in a continual echo of "I am" in the eyes of each
person I meet, each smile that opens itself, each hand shake and each
hug that warmly beckons to be met in kind. You see my friend, the
lights which glimmer are mere reflections of the light of oneness
within each and every heart, the light of sameness which is the gentle
light of silent love. There is only one self, one heart, one smile in
all this. This has always been and shall always be. There is only this.
One does not need to travel the earth to know this. Merely
gaze in the
eyes of your beloved, your friend, your child, your boss, the guy in
the car next to you on the expressway: it is the exact same statement:
I am you! With this simple phrase, this simple realization, you can
know the secret heart of the universe and in that find the joy and
peace of just this, right here and right now. I am.
To the world and all the many beautiful friends I have met and
this trip I say: Thank you, Obrigado, Danke, Khawp khun khrap, Cám ón,
Xie Xie, Doh je. Thank you all for showing me who "I am."
The most perfect and direct expression of Nonduality is the silence of
Being. But, since silence is a somewhat ambiguous communication tool,
we concede grudgingly to the use and proliferation of slightly less
ambiguous words and concepts.
--Dennis L. Trunk
The Dharma-Door of Nonduality
Then, the Licchavi Vimalakirti asked those bodhisattvas,
please explain how the bodhisattvas enter the Dharma-door of
(Many bohisattvas spoke, among them Priyadarshan.)
The bodhisattva Pratyaksadarsana declared,
'indestructible' are dualistic. What is destroyed is ultimately
destroyed; hence, it is called 'indestructible.' What is indestructible
is instantaneous, and what is instantaneous is indestructible. The
experience of such is called 'the entrance into the principle of
(Others continued to speak.)
When the bodhisattvas had given their explanations, they all
the crown prince Manjusri: "Manjusri, what is the bodhisattva's
entrance into nonduality?"
Manjusri replied, "Good sirs, you have all spoken well.
all your explanations are themselves dualistic. To know no one
teaching, to express nothing, to say nothing, to explain nothing, to
announce nothing, to indicate nothing, and to designate nothing--that
is the entrance into nonduality."
Then, the crown prince Manjusri said to the Licchavi
have all given our own teachings, noble sir. Now, may you elucidate the
teaching of the entrance into the principle of nonduality!"
Thereupon, the Licchavi Vimalakirti kept his silence, saying
The crown prince Manjusri applauded the Licchavi Vimalakirti:
"Excellent! Exellent, noble sir! This is indeed the entrance into the
nonduality of the bodhisattvas. Here there is no use for syllables,
sounds, and ideas.
When these teaching had been declared, five thousand
entered the door of the Dharma of nonduality and attained tolerance of
the birthlessness of things.
Thurman notes that this moment is the most famous of this
Vimalakirti's moment of silence on the subject of nonduality, i.e., the
ultimate. He points out the Vimalakirti had spoken about this issue on
many previous occasions and that his silence here is the appropriate
silence to the profound contemplation induced by the elucidations of
For about six months Ramana lived in the temple in a trance, maintaining almost complete silence and seemingly oblivious to his physical discomfort. ... "Ramanas primary teaching was the teaching of the quest for the self. He called this the atma-vicarana, the enquiry into the atman or Self. Between 1900 and 1902, while he was maintaining silence in Virupaksha cave, he wrote out instructions for the disciple Gambhiram Seshayyar. After Seshayyars death, these were arranged and published as a book under the title Self-Enquiry. To read Self-Enquiry, click here: http://nonduality.com/ramana3.htm. Here is a brief portion to get your started:
D: What is meant by saying that one should enquire into one's true nature and understand it?
M: Experiences such as "I went; I came; I was; I did" come naturally to everyone. From these experiences, does it not appear that the consciousness "I" is the subject of those various acts? Enquiry into the true nature of that consciousness, and remaining as oneself is the way to understand, through enquiry, one's true nature.
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|Dr. Robert Puff||