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#1753 - Wednesday, March 31, 2004 - Editor: joyce (know_mystery) 


music: allusions-pond.mid from 


"Thus shall you think of this fleeting world
-- it says in one Buddhist sutra --
a star at dawn, a bubble in a stream,
a flash of lightning in a summer cloud,
an echo, a rainbow,
a phantom and a dream."


~  Jack Kornifeld  ~

 on the Diamond Sutra

{ from "Eightfold Path for the Householder" }



Happiness cannot be found through great effort and willpower,
But it is already there, in relaxation and letting go.
Don't strain yourself, there is nothing to do.
Whatever arises in the mind has no importance at all,
Because it has no reality whatsoever.
Don't become attached to it,
Don't pass judgment.
Let the game happen on its own, springing up and falling back
Without changing anything -
And all will vanish and reappear, without end.
Only our searching for happiness prevents us from seeing it.
It is like a rainbow which you run after without ever catching it.
Although it does not exists,
It has always been there and accompanies you every instant.
Don't believe in the reality of good and bad experiences;
They are like rainbows.
Waiting to grasp the ungraspable, you exhaust yourself in vain.
As soon as you relax this grasping, space is there -- open, inviting, and comfortable.
Nothing to do--
Nothing to force --
Nothing to want--
Everything happens by itself.


~  Venerable Lama Gendun Rinpoche  ~

Kevin Large ~ OmniConscious 


Granite Tors Rainbow Flags

I've just finished reading a beautilful book by Thich Nhat Hanh, " The Miracle of Mindfulness. "

There is a story of Tolstoy's contained therein which ' moved me' and your post has brought it back into my mind, so I shall share it with you.
The Emperor's Three  Questions :
One day it occurred to a certain emperor that if he only knew the answers to three questions, he would never stray in any matter.
What is the best time to do each thing ?
Who are the most important people to work with ?
What is the most important thing to do at all times ?
    The emperor issued a decree throughout his kingdom announcing that whoever could answer the questions would receive a great reward. Many who read the decree made their way to the palace at once, each person with a different answer.

    In reply to the first question, one person advised that the emperor make up a thorough time schedule, consecrating every hour, day, month, and year for ceratin tasks and then follow the schedule to the letter. Only then could he hope to do every task at the right time.

    Another person replied that it was impossible to plan in advance and that the emperor should put all vain amusements aside and remain attentive to everything in order to know what to do at what time.

    Someone else insisted that, by himself, the emperor could never hope to have all the foresight and competence necessary to decide when to do each and every task and what he really needed was to set up a council of the Wise and then to act according to their advice.

    Someone else said that certain matters required immediate decision and could not wait for consultation, but if he wanted to know in advance what was going to happen he should consult magicians and soothsayers.
    The responses to the second question also lacked accord. One person said that the emperor needed to place all his trust in administrators, another urged reliance on priests and monks, while others recommended physicians. Still others put their faith in warriors.
    The third question drew a similar variety of answers. Some said science was the most important pursuit. Others insisted on religion. Yet others claimed the most important thing was military skill.
    The emperor was not pleased with any of the answers, and no reward was given. After several nights of reflection, the emperor resolved to visit a hermit who lived up on the mountain and was said to be an enlightened man. The emperor wished to find the hermit to ask him the three questions, though he knew the hermit never left the mountains and was know to receive only the poor, refusing to have anything to do with persons of wealth or power. So the emperor disguised himself as a simple peasant and ordered his attendants to wait for him at the foot of the mountain while he climbed the slope alone to seek the hermit.
Reaching the holy man's dwelling place, the emperor found the hermit digging a garden in front of his hut. When the hermit saw the stranger, he nodded his head in greeting and continued to dig. The labor was obviously hard on him. he was an old man, and each time he thrust his spade into the ground to turn the earth, he heaved heavily.

    The emperor approached him and said, " I have come here to ask your help with three questions: What is the best time to do each thing ? Who are the most important people to work with ? What is the most important thing to do at all times ? "

    The hermit listened attentively but only patted the emperor on the shoulder and continued digging. The emperor said, " You must be tired. Here, let me give you a hand with that." The hermit thanked him, handed the emperor the spade, and then sat down on the ground to rest. After he had dug two rows, the emperor stopped and turned to the hermit and repeated his three questions. The hermit still did not answer, but instead stood up and pointed to the spade and said, " Why don't you rest now ? I can take over again." But the emperor continued to dig. One hour passed, then two. Finally the sun began to set behind the mountain. the emperor put down the spade and said to the hermit, " I came here to ask if you could answer my three questions, but if you can't give me an answer, please let me know so that I can get on my way home."
    The hermit lifted his head and asked the emperor, " Do you hear someone running over there ? " The emperor turned his head. They both saw a man with a long white beard emerge from the woods. He ran wildly, pressing his hands against a bloody wound in his stomach. The man ran towards the emperor before falling unconscious to the ground, where he lay groaning. Opening the man's clothing, the emperor and hermit saw that the man had received a deep gash. The emperor cleaned the wound thoroughly and then used his own shirt to bandage it, but the blood completely soaked it within minutes. He rinsed the shirt out and bandaged the wound a second time and continued to do so until the flow of blood had stopped.
    At last the wounded man regained consciousness and asked for a drink of water. The emperor ran down to the stream and brought back a jug of fresh water. Meanwhile, the sun had disappeared and the night air had begun to turn cold. The hermit gave the emperor a hand in carrying the man into the hut where they laid him down on the hermit's bed. The man closed his eyes and lay quietly. The emperor was worn out from a long day of climbing the mountain and digging the garden. Leaning against the doorway, he fell asleep. When he rose, the sun had already risen over the mountain. For a moment he forgot where he was and what he had come here for. He looked over to the bed and saw the wounded man also looking around him in confusion. When he saw the emperor, he stared at him intently and then said in a faint whisper, " Please forgive me."

    " But what have you done that I should forgive you ? " the emperor said.

    " You do not know me, your majesty, but I know you. I was your sworn enemy, and I had vowed to take vengeance on you, for during the last war you killed my brother and seized my property. When I learned that you were coming alone to the mountain to meet the hermit, I resolved to surprise you on your way back and kill you. But after waiting a long time there was still no sign of you, and so i left my ambush in order to seek you out. But instead of finding you, I came across your attendants, who recognized me, giving me this wound. Luckily, I escaped and ran here. If I hadn't met you I would surely be dead by now. I had intended to kill you, but instead you saved my life ! I am ashamed and grateful beyond words. If I live, I vow to be your servant for the rest of my life, and I will bid my children and grandchildren to do the same. Please grant me your forgiveness."
    The emperor was overjoyed to see that he was so easily reconciled with a former enemy. He not only forgave the man but promised to return all the man's property and to send his own physician and servants to wait on the man until he was completely healed. After ordering his attendants to take the man home, the emperor returned to see the hermit. Before returning to the palace, the emperor wanted to repeat his three questions one last time. He found the hermit sowing seeds in the earth they had dug the day before.
     The hermit stood up and looked at the emperor, " But your questions have already been answered."

    " How's that ? " the emperor asked, puzzled.

    " Yesterday, if you had not taken pity on my age and given me a hand with digging these beds, you would have been attacked by that man on your way home. Then you would have deeply regretted not staying with me. Therefore the most important time was the time you were digging in the beds, the most important person was myself, and the most important pursuit was to help me. Later, when the wounded man ran up here, the most important time was the time you spent dressing his wound, for if you had not cared for him hw would have died and you would have lost the chance to be reconciled with him. Likewise, he was the most important person, and the most important pursuit was taking care of his wound.
    Remember that there is only one important time, and that is now. The present moment is the only time over which we have dominion. The most important person is always the person you are with, who is right before you, for who knows if you will have dealings with any other person in the future ? The most important pursuit is making the person standing at your side happy, for that alone is the pursuit of life."



Above the sea
a rainbow, erased by
a flock of swallows


translated by Michael Bourdaghs

Rainbow Flight 




"Rainbows are intriguing phenomena. Three conditions must be met for there to be a rainbow: there must be a light source such as the sun, there must be water droplets in the air, and there must be an observer. If any one of these is missing, there will be no rainbow. Additionally, no two people ever see exactly the same rainbow, for no two people can ever stand in exactly the same place at the same time, so each will see a rainbow composed of slightly different droplets.  

Anyway, did you know that a rainbow isn't a rain-bow at all? It may look like a bow, an arc out there in the distance, but that's because we rarely stand in the rain to see one. If we did, then we might see that the droplets refracting the sunlight into those brilliant colors are close by as well as far away. A rainbow isn't a bow at all, but a cone. We are seeing it from the exact apex of the cone, looking along the sides edgewise, and since all the droplets refracting color tend to blend in with each other, the sides of the cone look from our perspective like a bow. Nobody will ever get a side-view of a rainbow, because there is no such thing.  

While there may be two ends of a true bow, there is only one end of a cone, and that is at the apex, where you are standing while seeing it, at a point directly between and behind your eyes. Therefore, the gold at the end of the rainbow is precisely where you are.  

Perhaps rainbows enthrall us because we perceive them from the focal point of a pyramid-shaped phenomenon and are receiving more than just the visual kicks. Whatever, you are already the gold; there is no need to go chasing after what you already have, unless you have been talked out of it, in which case you will never find it if you confine your search to the exterior world."  

~  Roger Stephens  ~


Bathurst Rainbow, Australia

"I want a rainbow for my inkwell."

~ Pablo Neruda ~


With nature, art, and simplicity must come a sense of inner peacefulness so that things are not always being viewed in the context of equipment, as Sekida, following Heidegger, would have it. The mind has to stop its practical mode of operating, where each tree represents so many boards and each piece of ground a potential field, and simply let nature be, for it is this very sense of letting being be that brings us closer to our goal. It is the beauty of a spider's web caught in the ray of the rising sun, or a drop of water sparkling like a rainbow on the tip of a pine needle after a storm, that we have to see. These objects have no utilitarian value. They cannot be put to any human use, and as such, they can help inspire a sense of the mystery of existence that exceeds concepts and human consciousness. The senses become filled with the incredible variety of natural being, with the manifold faces of existence, and at the same time, each individual existent begins to loom up as actively exercising the extraordinary mystery of existence.

~  James Arraj  ~  

"God, Zen and the Intuition of Being"




Look at the moon,
Ringed by rainbow ice,
Winter came late,
Stunting the weeds.

~ Tasogare Shinju ~

Rain_Bow 2

Maihkel Eklund

Yasunari Kawabata    

- 1968 Nobel Prize Lecture  for Literature -  

The following is from the biography of Myoe by his disciple Kikai:  

"Saigyo frequently came and talked of poetry. His own attitude towards poetry, he said, was far from the ordinary. Cherry blossoms, the cuckoo, the moon, snow: confronted with all the manifold forms of nature, his eyes and his ears were filled with emptiness. And were not all the words that came forth true words? When he sang of the blossoms the blossoms were not on his mind, when he sang of the moon he did not think of the moon. As the occasion presented itself, as the urge arose, he wrote poetry. The red rainbow across the sky was as the sky taking on color. The white sunlight was as the sky growing bright. Yet the empty sky, by its nature, was not something to become bright. It was not something to take on color. With a spirit like the empty sky he gives color to all the manifold scenes but not a trace remained. In such poetry was the Buddha, the manifestation of the ultimate truth."

~  Yasunari Kawabata  ~




Canyon Rainbow, Troop 19

    Thousands of feet high towers the Yellow Mountains;
With its thirty-two magnificent peaks
Blooming like golden lotus flowers,
Amidst red crags and rock columns  

And pick your way through fragrant bushes,
Many a stream and many a ford,
Peaks upon peaks shutting out the sky
That's where I'll call on you some other day
Across a bridge that spans cliffs like a rainbow.  

~  Li Bai  ~    

In "Thought As A System,"
David Bohm says that self
is like a rainbow in that if
you walk toward it, you
will never get there.

Trying to touch self is not
like trying to touch a table


HeelStone Rainbow by Vicky


 Panhala ~ Joe Riley  

But perhaps God needs the longing, wherever else shall it dwell,
Which with kisses and tears and sighs fills mysterious spaces of air -
And perhaps is invisible soil from which roots of stars grow and swell -
And the radiant voice across fields of parting which calls to reunion there?
O my beloved, perhaps in the sky of longing worlds have been born of our love -
Just as our breathing, in and out, builds a cradle for life and death?
We are grains of sand, dark with farewell, lost in births' secret treasure trove,
Around us already perhaps future moons, suns, and stars blaze in a fiery wreath.
~ Nelly Sachs ~
(Translated by Ruth and Matthew Mead)
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What a thing it is to sit absolutely alone,
in the forest, at night, cherished by this
wonderful, unintelligible, perfectly innocent speech,
the most comforting speech in the world,
the talk that rain makes by itself all over the ridges,
and the talk of the watercourses everywhere in the hollows!
Nobody started it, nobody is going to stop it.
It will talk as long as it wants, this rain.
As long as it talks I am going to listen.
~ Thomas Merton ~

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Nonduality: The Varieties of Expression Home

Jerry Katz
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