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#1855 - Sunday, July 11, 2004 - Editor: Gloria
Jonathon ~ The_Other_Syntax
Gazing at Stone
The outline of the stone is round, having
no end and no beginning;
like the power of the stone it is endless. The stone is perfect of
its kind and is the work of nature, no artificial means being used in
shaping it. Outwardly it is not beautiful, but its structure is
solid, like a solid house in which one may safely dwell.
Chased-by-Bears (1843-1915) Santee- Yanktonai Sioux
Stacy Fair ~ The_Other_Syntax
Natural Spirit Body
The heavenly heart lies between sun and
moon (i.e. between
the two eyes). It is the home of the inner light. To make light
circulate is the deepest and most wonderful secret. The light is
easy to move, but difficult to fix. If it is made to circulate long
enough, then it crystallizes itself; that is the natural spirit
DharmaG ~ Daily Dharma
"Spring, cherry blossoms.
In summer, the cuckoo's song.
The bright moon in autumn and
in winter, snow,
The eye cannot see itself. The fingertip
cannot touch itself. Knowing in itself cannot be made into an object
that is known. Awareness cannot be reduced to something there is
Awareness of. It is not a thing. And yet still there is something. And
it shines as you. What shines as you is who you are. This face, this
body, this rice cake are only its reflections. Compared to it, a
painting of a rice cake is as real a rice cake as a rice cake is.
Come on, take a bite."
~Ven. Anzan Hoshin roshi
From "White Wind Zen Community,"
[The birthday of Pablo Neruda is July 12, and this poem of his was heard on the radio Sunday.]
From Sonnet XVII by Pablo
(Translated by Stephen Mitchell)
I don't love you as if you were the
or arrow of carnations that propagate fire:
I love you as certain dark things are
secretly, between the shadow and the soul.
I love you as the plant that doesn't bloom
hidden within itself the light of those flowers,
and thanks to your love, darkly in my body
lives the dense fragrance that rises from the earth.
I love you without knowing how, or when, or
I love you simply, without problems or pride.
I love you in this way because I don't know any other way of loving.
but this, in which there is no I or
so intimate that your hand upon my chest is my hand,
so intimate that when I fall asleep it is your eyes that close.
Viorica Weissman ~ MillionPaths
A dialogue between David Godman and Maalok, #2
Maalok: If somebody wants to start practicing the teachings of Ramana Maharshi, where and how should they start?
David: This is another classic question: 'What should I do?' However, the question itself is misconceived. It is based on the erroneous assumption that happiness and peace are states that can be experienced by striving, by effort. The busy mind covers up the peace and the silence that is your own natural state, so if you put the mind in gear and use it to pursue some spiritual goal, you are usually taking it away from the peace, not towards it. This is a hard concept for many people to grasp.
People found their own inner peace in Sri Ramana's presence because they didn't interfere with the energy that was eradicating their minds, their sense of being a particular person who has ideas, beliefs, and so on. The true practice of Sri Ramana's teachings is remaining quiet, remaining in a state of inner mental quiescence that allows the power of Sri Ramana to seep into your heart and transform you. This can be summarized in one of Sri Ramana's classic comments: 'Just keep quiet. Bhagavan will do the rest.'
If you use the phrase 'practicing the teachings,' the following sequence is assumed: that Sri Ramana speaks of some goal that has to be attained, that he gives you some route, some practice, to reach that goal, and that you then use your mind to vigorously move towards that goal. The mind wants to be in charge of this operation. It wants to listen to the Guru, understand what is required, and then use itself to move in the prescribed direction. All this is wrong. Mind is not the vehicle one uses to carry out the teachings; it is, instead, the obstacle that prevents one from directly experiencing them. The only useful, productive thing the mind can do is disappear.
Sri Ramana himself always said that his true teachings were given out in silence. Those who were receptive to them were the ones who could get out of the way mentally, allowing Sri Ramana's silent emanations to work on them. In the benedictory verse to his philosophical poem Ulladu Narpadu Sri Ramana wrote, and I paraphrase a little: 'Who can meditate on that which alone exists. One cannot meditate on it because one is not apart from it. One can only be it.' This is the essence of Sri Ramana's teachings. 'Be what you are and remain as you are without having any thoughts. Don't try to meditate on the Self, on God. Just abide silently at the source of the mind and you will experience that you are God, that you are the Self.'
In 1968, I was travelling with
Thich Nhat Hanh on a Fellowship (of
Reconciliation) tour during which there were meetings with church, and
student groups, senators, journalists, professors, business people,
and (blessed relief) a few poets.
After an hour with him one was haunted with the beauties of
Vietnam, and filled with anguish at America's military intervention in
the political and cultural tribulations of the Vietnemese people.
One was stripped of all the ideological loyalties that justified one
party or another in their battles, and felt the horror of the skies
raked with bombers, houses and humans burned to ash, children left to
face life without the presence and love of their parents and grandparents.
But there was one evening when Nhat Hanh awoke not understanding
but rather the measureless rage of an American. He had been talking
in the auditorium of a wealthy Christian church in a St. Louis suburb.
As always he emphasized the need for Americans to stop their bombings
and killing in his country. There had been questions and answers when
a large man stood up and spoke with searing scorn of the "supposed
compassion" of "this Mr. Hanh."
"If you care so much about your people, Mr. Hanh, why are you
here? If you care so much about for the people who are wounded, why
don't you spend your time with them?" At this point my recollection of
his words is replaced by the memory of the intense anger which
When he finished, I looked towards Nhat Hanh in bewilderment. What
could he-or anyone-say? The spirit of the war itself suddenly filled
the room and it seemed hard to breathe.
There was silence. Then Nhat Hanh began to speak-quietly, with
deep calm, indeed with a sense of personal caring for the man who had
just damned him. The words seemed like rain falling on fire. "If you
want the tree to grow" he said, "it won't help to water the leaves.
You have to water the roots. Many of the roots of war are here, in
your country. To help the people who are to be bombed, to try to
protect them from this suffering, I have to come here."
The atmosphere in the room was transformed. In the man's fury we
had experienced our own furies; we had seen the world as through a
bomb bay. In Nhat Hanh's response we had experienced an alternate
possibility (here brought to Christians by a Buddhist and to Americans
by an "enemy") of overcoming hatred with love, of breaking the
seemingly endless chain reaction of violence throughout human history.
But after his response, Nhat Hanh whispered something to the
chairman and walked quickly from the room. Sensing something was
wrong, I followed him out. It was a cool, clear night. Nhat Hanh stood
on the sidewalk beside the church parking lot. He was struggling for
air-like someone who had been deeply underwater and who had barely
managed to swim to the surface before gasping for breath. It was
several minutes before I dared ask him what had happened.
Nhat Hanh explained that the man's
comments had been terribly
upsetting. He had wanted to respond to him with anger.......
"Why not just be angry with him," I asked. "Even pacifists have a
right to be angry."
"If it were just for myself, yes. But I am here to speak for
Vietnamese peasants. I have to show them that we can be at our best."
The moment was an important on in my life, one pondered again, and
again since then. For one thing, it was the first time I realized
there was a connection between the way one breathes and the way one
responds to the world around.
excerpt from chapter by James Forest
in The Miracle of Mindfulness
Thich Nhat Hanh
translated by Mobi Ho
Long Afternoon at the Edge of Little Sister Pond
As for life,
I'm without words
sufficient to say
how it has been hard as flint,
and soft as a spring pond,
both of these
and over and over,
and long pale afternoons besides,
and so many mysteries
beautiful as eggs in a nest,
though warm and watched over
by something I have never seen
a tree angel, perhaps,
or a ghost of loneliness.
Every day I walk out into the world
to be dazzled, then to be reflective.
It suffices, it is all comfort
along with human love,
dog love, water love, little-serpent love,
sunburst love, or love for that smallest of birds
flying among the scarlet flowers.
There is hardly time to think about
stopping, and lying down at last
to the long afterlife, to the tenderness
yet to come, when
time will brim over the singular pond, and become forever,
and we will pretend to melt away into the leaves.
As for death,
I can't wait to be the hummingbird,
- Mary Oliver
from Owls and Other Fantasies. © Beacon Press
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