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#1952 - Sunday, October 17, 2004 - Editor: Gloria    

everything he does is worship

Surrendering all thoughts of outcome,
unperturbed, self-reliant,
[the sage] does nothing at all, even,
when fully engaged in actions.

There is nothing that he expects,
nothing that he fears. Serene,
free from possessions, untainted,
acting with the body alone,

content with whatever happens,
unattached to pleasure or pain,
success or failure, he acts
and is never bound by his actions.

When a man has let go of attachments,
when his mind is rooted in wisdom,
everything he does is worship
and his actions all melt away.

Bhagavad Gita
  Josie from MillionPaths 


Walk the Talk

  Are there steps to be taken in order to walk the talk instead of
talk the walk or even talk the talk of nondualism?  As a beginner of
nondualism, how can I live nondual way in a world of duality?
Please forgive me for my two basic questions above.
~ Andy

dear Andy:

great questions.
(no apologies required)

what if your life is the answer?

what would be the difference you would notice
between someone that you labeled as walking the
talk and someone that was talking the walk and
talking the talk?

when you look inside, is it possible to see
anything that is not lived as non-duality in
a world of "duality"?

what if true non-duality includes everything?
what if true nonduality holds on to nothing,
no concepts, dogmas, steps, ways, talks or walks?
what if therefore one cannot meet this moment
knowing anything? what if truly living in
non-duality therefore means one is always a
beginner? new. fresh. wide open. innocent.
what if you may never need more than who you
are right now?

can you be other than someone who is this already,
as you refer to yourself as a "beginner/novice
in nondualism"? what if you're already here?

today i too had a question. i wondered is it possible
for anything to really be other than inquiry? and it
struck me that absolutely everything is inquiry and
inquiry manifested. every movie, every life, every
theory, every possible variation experiencing itself
as this. including anything one can label and all the
nuances and inbetweens. and then it was clear, that
inquiry is simply one name, i can as well say what is
not love? or what is not of source? what is not in
consciousness? what is not here? and i could find
nothing excluded. not even "nothing". that all is being.
no separation between the stillness, the agony, the bliss,
the simpleness, presence, silence or the desire to word.



from nondualnow

Welcome to the new Nonduality Salon

Have you noticed the latest catch-phrase and credential in the world of spirituality these days? It is "Former Zen Monk," or "Former Zen Priest." Or "Former Buddhist Nun." If someone's a Former Zen Monk, suddenly they're a god. If they're a Former Buddhist Nun, suddenly a saint. It's as though the designation is dangled like a promising gemstone in front of the consumer hungry for spiritual gems.  

I, too, have decided to get on the bandwagon. I am now Jerry Katz, Former Zen Monk. That's right. Admit it. For a second I made you think I held some inner secrets or something. Right? And, I mean, who's gonna check? I can tell them I was in some monastery in wherever the hell they have monasteries. And that suddenly I saw the limitations of the monastery life and stood in my own freedom. Or something like that.  

But don't get me wrong. I do my research. I actually considered going the route of Former Catholic Priest. I mean, I love Thomas Merton, who was never a Former Catholic Monk. So I went to Google and plugged in "Former Catholic Priest," just to see what I'd be getting into if I went that route. What I found for headlines in the top twenty listings wasn't pretty:  

--Former Catholic Priest Pleads in Grand Theft, Tax Fraud
--Former Catholic Priest Arrested - The Daily Utah Chronicle - World
--Former Catholic Priest Convicted of Pedophilia.
--Former Catholic priest Robert Burkholder, 82, admited he has had homosexual
--Father Seromba, a former Catholic priest at Nyange Parish, Kibuye Province, surrendered
to UN authorities in Italy
--Officers from the Oxnard Police Department arrested former Catholic Priest, Father George
--Former Catholic priest Charles F. Dearing pleaded innocent yesterday in Jefferson
Circuit Court to a charge of sexually abusing a girl

Damn. I'm sure there are wonderful Former Catholic Priests, but this ain't a good time to be a Former Catholic Priest. Nope. I don't think so. And I got a website to run, ads to sell, and organic vegetables high in anti-oxidants to buy. I can't align with that crap.   So I followed my impression that it was totally cool to be a Former Zen Monk. I went back to Google and plugged in "Former Zen Monk." Sure enough, I found the following headlines in the top twenty listings:  

--A former Zen priest and survivor of “terminal” cancer, she uses meditation and
other self-healing modalities in her practice and teaching. ...

--Edge’ Voices from the Edge Speaker Series will present "The Transcendent Unity of
Science, Art and Spirituality," a forum with a former Zen priest from Japan

--I was given this book as reading for a course in Japanese religion taught by a former
zen monk who had become a professor of Japanese religion after marrying ...

--MEDITATION AS A HOBBY, NOT A CAREER. Former Zen Monk Advocates Self-Study.
"To meditate…doesn’t require that you have a teacher…. ...

--Also the author of The Wooden Bowl: Simple Meditation for Everyday Life, and a former
Zen monk, Clark Strand has here written a book that is as much about Zen ...

--A former Zen monk, Mu Soeng takes us back in an extensive introduction to the beginnings
of Buddhist sutras and traces their development up to the appearance ...

Yup. Definitely. I was convinced to go the route of Former Zen Monk. And that was that. I'm on the bandwagon.  

Not that I'm not a little sad. It should just as beautiful to be a Former Catholic Priest. It should be JUST as beautiful. There are men who have been Catholic priests who have seen a bigger picture to life and have left the priesthood. They're as wonderful as Former Zen Monks and Buddhist Nuns, if not more exemplary. They don't flash their title to consumers of spirituality. They don't sell it. HEAR THAT, Former Buddhist Nun?   In fact, the more I think about it, the more I say screw this Former Zen Monk stuff.   Just call me what I am: Jerry Katz, Former Hebrew School Student Who Failed Every Test Because He Never Listened, He Was Staring Out the Window At Buses As They Went By And Wishing He Could Be Out On The Street.    

Buddha image from

Typed from: Old Path White Clouds, Walking in the Footsteps of the Buddha, Thich Nhat Hahn

Chapter Eighteen, pages 119-124

 The Morning Star Has Risen


Through mindfulness, Siddhartha’s mind, body, and breath were perfectly at one. His practice of mindfulness had enabled him to build great powers of concentration which he could now use to shine awareness on his mind and body. After deeply entering mediation, he began to discern the presence of countless other beings in his own body right in the present moment. Organic and inorganic beings, minerals, mosses and grasses, insects, animals, and people were all within him. He saw his own past lives, all his births and deaths. He saw the creation and destruction of thousands of worlds and thousands of stars. He felt all the joys and sorrows of every living being—those born of mothers, those born of eggs, and those born of fission, who divided themselves into new creatures. He saw that every cell of his body contained all of Heaven and Earth, and spanned the three times—past, present, and future. It was the hour of the first watch of the night.

Gautama entered even more deeply into meditation. He saw how countless worlds arose and fell, were created and destroyed. He saw how countless beings pass through countless births and deaths. He saw that these births and deaths were but outward appearances and not true reality, just as millions of waves rise and fall incessantly on the surface of the sea, while the sea itself is beyond birth and death. If the waves understood that they themselves were water, they would transcend birth and death and arrive at true inner peace, overcoming all fear. This realization enabled Gautama to transcend the net of birth and death, and he smiled. His smile was like a flower blossoming in the deep night which radiated a halo of light. It was the smile of a wondrous understanding, the insight into the destruction of all defilements. He attained this level of understanding by the second watch.

At just that moment thunder crashed, and great bolts of lightening flashed across the sky as if to rip the heavens in two. Black clouds concealed the moon and stars. Rain poured down. Gautama was soaking wet, but he did not budge. He continued his meditation.

Without wavering, he shined his awareness on his mind. He saw that living beings suffer because they do not understand that they share one common ground with all beings. Ignorance gives rise to a multitude of sorrows, confusions, and troubles. Greed, anger, arrogance, doubt, jealousy, and fear all have their root in ignorance. When we learn to calm our minds in order to look deeply at the true nature of things, we can arrive at full understanding which dissolves every sorrow and anxiety and gives rise to acceptance and love.

Gautama now saw that understanding and love are one. Without understanding there can be no love. Each person’s disposition is the result of physical, emotional, and social conditions. When we understand this, we cannot hate even a person who behaves cruelly, but we can strive to help transform his physical, emotional, and social conditions. Understanding gives rise to compassion and love, which in its turn give rise to correct action. In order to love, it is first necessary to understand, so understanding is the key to liberation. In order to attain clear understanding, it is necessary to live mindfully, making direct contact with life in the present moment, truly seeing what is taking place within and outside of oneself. Practicing mindfulness strengthens the ability to look deeply, and when we look deeply into the heart of anything, it will reveal itself. This is the secret treasure of mindfulness—it leads to the realization of liberation and enlightenment. Life is illumined by right understanding, right thought, right speech, right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right concentration. Siddharta called this the Noble Path: aryamarga.

Looking deeply into the heart of all beings, Siddharta attained insight into everyone’s minds, no matter where they were, and he was able to hear everyone’s cries of both suffering and joy. He attained to the states of divine sight, divine hearing, and the ability to travel across all distances without moving. It was now the end of the third watch, and there was no more thunder. The clouds rolled back to reveal the bright moon and stars.

Gautama felt as though a prison which had confined him for thousands of lifetimes had broken open. Ignorance had been the jailkeeper. Because of ignorance, his mind had been obscured, just like the moon and stars hidden by the storm clouds. Clouded by endless waves of deluded thoughts, the mind had falsely divided reality into subject and object, self and others, existence and non-existence, birth and death, and from these discriminations arose wrong views—the prisons of feelings, craving, grasping, and becoming. The suffering of birth, old age, sickness, and death only made the prison walls thicker. The only thing to do was to seize the jailkeeper and see his true face. The jailkeeper was ignorance. And the means to overcome ignorance were the Noble Eightfold Path. Once the jailkeeper was gone, the jail would disappear and never be rebuilt again.

The hermit Gautama smiled, and whispered to himself, ‘O jailer, I see you now. How many lifetimes have you confined me in the prisons of birth and death? But now I see your face clearly, and from now on you can build no more prisons around me.’

Looking up, Siddharta saw the morning star appear on the horizon, twinkling like a huge diamond. He had seen this star so many times before while sitting beneath the pipalla tree, but this morning it was like seeing it for the first time. It was as dazzling as the jubilant smile of Enlightenment. Siddharta gazed at the star and exclaimed  out of deep compassion, ‘All beings contain within themselves the seeds of Enlightenment, and yet we drown in the ocean of birth and death for so many thousands of lifetimes!’

Siddharta know he had found the Great Way. He had attained his goal, and now his heart experienced perfect peace and ease. He thought about his years of searching, filled with disappointments and hardships. He thought of his father, mother, aunt, Yasodhara, Rahula, and all his friends. He thought of the palace, Kapilavatthu, his people and country, and all of those who lived in hardship and poverty, especially children. He promised to find a way to share this discovery to help all others liberate themselves from suffering. Out of his deep insight emerged a profound love for all beings.

Along the grassy riverbank, colorful flowers blossomed in the early morning sunlight. Sun danced on leaves and sparkled on the water. His pain was gone. All the wonders of life revealed themselves. Everything appeared strangely new. How wondrous were the blue skies and drifting white clouds! He felt as though he and all the universe had been newly created.

Just then, Svasti appeared. When Siddharta saw the young buffalo boy come running towards him, he smiled. Suddenly Svasti stopped in his tracks and stared at Siddharta, his mouth wide open. Siddharta called, ‘Svasti!’

The boy came to his senses and answered, ‘Teacher!’

Svasti joined his palms and bowed. He took a few steps forward but then stopped and gazed again at Siddharta in awe. Embarrassed by his own behavior, he spoke haltingly, ‘Teacher, you look so different today.’

Siddharta motioned for the boy to approach. He took him into his arms and asked, ‘How do I look different today?’

Gazing up at Siddharta, Svasti answered, ‘It’s hard to say. It’s just you look so different. It’s like you were a star.’

Siddharta patted the boy on the head and said, ‘Is that so? What else do I look like?’

‘You look like a lotus that’s just blossomed. And like, like the moon over the Gayasisa Peak.’

Siddharta looked into Svasti’s eyes and said, ‘Why, you are a poet, Svasti!’ Now tell me, why are you here so early today? And where are your buffaloes?’

Svasti explained that he had the day off as all the buffaloes were being used to plow the fields. Only the calf had been left in the stall. Today his only responsibility was to cut grass. During the night he and his sisters and brother were awakened by the roar of thunder. Rain pounded through their leaky roof, soaking their beds. They had never experienced a storm so fierce, and they worried about Siddharta in the forest. They huddled together until the storm subsided and they could fall back asleep. When day broke, Svasti ran to the buffaloes’ stall to fetch his sickle and carrying pole, and made his way to the forest to see if Siddharta was alright.

Siddharta grasped Svasti’s hand. ‘This is the happiest day I have ever known. If you can, bring all the children to come see me by the pippala tree this afternoon. Don’t forget to bring your brother and sisters. But first go and cut the Kusa grass you need for the buffaloes.’

Svasti trotted off happily as Siddhartha began to take slow steps along the sun-bathed shore.

 Ben Hassine from awakened awareness

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