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#1809 - Wednesday, May 26, 2004 - Editor: Jerry r.
From: 'The Places That
by Pema Chodron
With unfailing kindness, your life always presents what
you need to learn. Whether you stay home or work in an
office or whatever, the next teacher is going to pop right
~Charlotte Joko Beck
The essence of bravery is being without self deception.
However, it's not so easy to take a straight look at what
we do. Seeing ourselves clearly is initially uncomfortable
and embarrassing. As we train in clarity and steadfastness,
we see things we'd prefer to deny - judgmentalness, pettiness,
arrogance. These are not sins but temporary and workable
habits of mind. The more we get to know them, the more they
lose their power. This is how we come to trust that our basic
nature is utterly simple, free of struggle between good and
A warrior begins to take responsibility for the direction of
her life. It's as if we are lugging around unnecessary baggage.
Our training encourages us to open the bags and look closely
at what we are carrying. In doing this we begin to understand
that much of it isn't needed anymore.
Question for everyone
I received via a form on
nonduality.com the following question. Responses invited.
"Are there "churches" that non-dualists attend? Where do non-dualists go to seek communion, ask questions, learn more, etc.?"
"churches" that non-dualists attend?
Yes, but the churches are invisible
> Where do non-dualists go to seek communion,
> ask questions, learn more, etc.?
The place is not called a church
unless you happen to sit in one ...
Depends on where satsang is happening
while an anchoring factor
( read Enlightened One )
is actually offering it
besides, cliché alert,
satsang never ends.
But if asking questions and communion is the ticket;
I'd recommend attending satsang
and maybe find out about 'shaktipat'.
But I don't know of any Nondual Church yet ...
Maybe in the the California Yellow Pages ?!?
non-dual perception observes all of the creation as an ongoing worship.
non-dualists do not go nor return, they do not seek nor find; in truth,
'they' do not exist... melted in the ever-present all-including unity of
The purely nondual and
metaphysical responses stand by themselves. I'll
speak from a bricks and mortar place.
You might want to attend a Buddhist church or Hindu temple near where you
live. However, leadership has to be open to your questions and disposition.
You might want to try contacting a Zen or Catholic monastery. There are
Rabbis known to come from the nondual place. Sufi practitioners cover
People attend satsang and services of various teachers, gurus, masters,
pundits within a physical place known as an Ashram, Church, Temple, etc.
Information about these people and places can be researched online and on
this list. We would need to know if you wish to travel, where to, or if
would rather find a person and place near you.
Give us more information and we'll give you more specific answers.
This question made me remember a
place in the eastern parts of the
Netherlands (near Deventer). Around the turn of the 19th to 20th
century there was quite an interest in Advaita in that part of
Holland (as well as adjacent areas of Germany). There was even an
enlightened educator and poet who was widely read and even admired by
those from western Holland. If I recall it well, he (Johan Der Mouw)
wrote a poem that went something like, "I am Brahman and I'm doing
When I was roaming through the country-side attempting to retrace his
life, I found an opening in the woods where I felt very strongly that
once there must have stood a place of worship, maybe a chapel or a
small church of some sort, but while searching for its ruined
remains, I found a stone slab raised on a pillar with the following
text chiselled in:
"Verheft zich hier geen bidplaats meer,
't Heelal is tempel voor den Heer"
"Nevermore will this spot be a prayer shrine of some sort,
After all, is the whole universe not a temple for the Lord?!
Over the centuries, that part of the Netherlands has witnessed the
existence of quite a few 'successful utopias' not necessarily
a 'contradictio in terminis') from religious monastic communities to
spiritually inspired communes... and in between even some idyllic and
idealistic far-out communal experiments. Even today a few communes
from the sixties are still flourishing there.
One of those movements still stands out in history, as for almost 700
years there have been commune-like settlements in that region whose
participants called themselves "Brothers and Sisters of Shared
It may be worthwhile to look up writers and thinkers like Ruysbroeck
and Geert Grote who from about the thirteenth century on propagated a
movement called 'Devotio Moderna'. Most literature on this movement
comments of course on its rather Christian orientation, but what set
that movement apart from ordinary religious Christianity was that it
was not rite- but life-based. Initially there were no religious
observances either, only the practice of real day-to-day living in
common love, common-wealth, common-health... A holistic, integrated
approach almost before its time.
> Where do non-dualists go to seek communion,
> ask questions, learn more, etc.?
As distinct from 'striving non-dualists' advaitists do not need to
seek communion... by definition they live communion. Realized non-
dualists do not need to seek nor ask anymore, as they recognize
oneness exemplified in the seeming diversity of all. Aspiring non-
dualists :-) are of course still 'dualists' :-) as they are 'as of
yet' not realizing the directness and immediacy of unity with one and
Realized non-dualists may very well be ultimate humans, living love
... as if there were a choice - really...
Four chairs on a field,
the body of the non dual.
"Like winged Jewels,
Glowing colors indescribable,
And wearing wings afire
With stripes and spots
And patterns unimaginable.
Richly dressed are you.
O Butterfly, now lighting on my toes!
So delicately you fan yourself,
As though you were
From out of Amitabha's wondrous Realm.
They say that there
The birds do preach in song
Existences' Three Marks.
And do you not now preach
To me -- Impermanence?"
From the web site:
"All right,'' he said,
"maybe it is of no use, so what? You felt the loss, did
Then I understood that we did not go to him for profit, but because
away from him there was no life for us."
From "At the Feet of Bhagwan" by T.K. Sundaresa Iyer.
Nice. Thank you for this. Maybe that's why people come here
too...not "for profit", but to share together. It's one way to
express ourselves...to reach out to another human. Apart from that,
what life is there for us? LOL...this made me feel a little
less "guilty" about that! Sometimes it seems like "non-dual" people
are "supposed" to be so self-sufficient, so tough, so strong. There
is strength to be found in the teachings, but we're human too...and
human connection doesn't make us weak. Thanks again.
Audience.: Dear Bhagwan (Self/God), you are self. Can you tell me
when I will get realized?
Ramana: If I am self, then there is no one besides me and there is no
one to be realized.
If I am not self, then, I am just an ordinary person like you.
...either way, I can't answer your question.
Beautifully succinct. This
is enough to puncture the ego's balloon--when it is time.
"In the still night by the
Wrapped in monk's robe I sit in meditation.
Navel and nostrils lines up straight;
Ears paired to the slope of the shoulders.
Window whitens the moon comes up;
Rain's stopped, but drops go on dripping.
Wonderful the moon of this moment,
THE SPEAKING TREE
Tracking the Ego To its Source
A R NATARAJAN
The vision of the self and awareness of it as the abidance in the heart - where the unbroken awareness of one's existence can be felt spontaneously as the 'I-I' - has been described by Ramana Maharshi.
What obstructs one's awareness of the fullness of existence is the ego - the mind's wrong identification with a particular body, mistaking it to be the 'I' or the subject. Hence the destruction of ego, or its merging with the source, the only way to experience the joyous and uninterrupted throb of 'I-I'.
Like the diver diving deep, searching for pearls on the ocean floor, Ramana says we have to explore within, with keen intellect as one would do to recover a thing that has fallen into a deep well.
"The ego falls, crestfallen,/ when one searches and/ enters the Heart/ Then another 'I-I', throbs/ Unceasingly, by itself,/ It is not the ego but the self/ Itself, the whole."
This absorption of the mind in its source - or its subsistence in it - is as natural as it is for a salt doll placed in the ocean to be absorbed into it. This is because the essence of both the salt doll and the ocean is saline.
Similarly, the core of the mind, too, is only consciousness; it is the false notion resulting in its identification with a particular body that has caused the limitation.
If one searches for the source of the mind with vigilance and diligence, this false notion drops off. This happens
gradually as the mind comes closer to its source. What constitutes self- enquiry? Ramana's first disciple Gambhiram Seshier asked: What is meant by saying that one should enquire into one's true nature and understand it?
Ramana replied that experi-ences such as, 'I went, I came, I was, I did', come naturally to everyone. Does it not appear, then, 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.
'I'-consciousness cannot be the body or the mind because both are different or non-existent as in dream and deep sleep respectively. Once this false notion is negated, one is off the mental movement.
Only this search for the source of the mind can end its restlessness. The object-oriented world in which it is now caught up can never give peace to a mind because "there is no place like home".
Ramana points out that just as raindrops risen from the sea cannot rest until they reach the ocean (home) or as a bird must return to its 'earthly perch' at night... the mind "may through various ways, self-chosen wander aimlessly for a while, but cannot rest till it rejoins you Arunachala, the source."
Ramana's emphasis is on the unitary nature of the mind in contrast to its present divisive state, always thinking in terms of the opposites - good and bad, ignorance and knowledge, rich and poor.
Self enquiry is the search for the source of the mind by the mind. In Arunachala Pancharatnam he says: "If one enters within, enquiring, 'Wherefrom does this 'I' arise?' he dissolves in his own true nature and merges in you, Arunachala, as a river in the ocean."
( Talk delivered at the Interfaith funded meditation programme, Foundation for Universal Responsibility of HH the Dalai Lama, Apr 1-June 3. The writer is founder-president, Ramana Maharshi Centre for Learning. E-mail [email protected] bgl.vsnl.net.in )
Contributed to NDS News by Mary Bianco
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