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#2000 - Saturday, December 11, 2004 - Editor: Gloria

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Thanks to all the editors who contributed to reaching this milestone of issue #2000. Our thanks to all of you who make our work worthwhile by reading the highlights. More thanks to all of you who keep posting so many great posts, giving us all so much.  


photo by Alan Larus  

  If we can recognize that change and uncertainty are basic principles, we can
greet the future and the transformation we are undergoing with the
understanding that we do not know enough to be pessimistic.
- Hazel Henderson 

The secret waits for the insight
Of eyes unclouded by longing;
Those who are bound by desire
See only the outward container.
- Tao Te Ching
  posted to Morning Zen  

    Some people came from the south for Bhagavan’s darshan. Among them was a small boy about five years old. He did namaskaram and then approached Bhagavan and looked at him lovingly. Bhagavan placed his left hand on the boy’s head and asked him, ‘What do you want?’
The boy replied firmly, ‘I don’t want anything’.
‘Oho!’ said Bhagavan, ‘You belong to us.’
Then, addressing the people he came with he added, ‘If he remains in the “don’t want” state everything will come to him’.
edited by David Godman

posted to MillionPaths by Viorica Weissman  


"When the wind blows through the scattered bamboos,
They do not hold its sound after it has gone.
When the wild geese fly over a cold lake,
it does not retain their shadows after they have passed.

So the mind of the superior man begins to work
  only when an event occurs;
and it becomes a void again when the matter ends."
- Hung Tzu-ch'eng

From the book: "A Chinese Garden of Serenity - Reflections of a Zen
Buddhist," published by Peter Pauper Press
posted to Daily Dharma

  Thus, there is nothing arbitrary  

Although those who do not know consciousness find fault with things that happen in the world, all events that occur do so in accordance with a unique divine ordinance.  

The ‘divine ordinance’ originates with Iswara, as Bhagavan makes clear in the following comment on the first verse of Upadesa Saram:  

Question: In ‘Karthuragnaya prapyathe phalam’ [action bears fruit by the ordinance of God] who is the karta [God]?  

Bhagavan: Karta is Iswara. He is the one who distributes the fruits of actions to each person according to his karma. That means He is saguna Brahman [Brahman with attributes]. The real Brahman is nirguna [without attributes] and without motion. It is only saguna Brahman that is named Iswara. He gives the phala [fruits] to each person according to his karma. That means that Iswara is only an agent… Without that sakti of Iswara, this karma will not take place.  

Elsewhere Bhagavan has explained how the allocation of destiny, or prarabdha karma, takes place:  

Bhagavan: A man might have performed many karmas in his previous births. A few of them alone will be chosen for this birth and he will have to enjoy the fruits in this birth. It is something like a slide show where the projectionist picks a few slides to be exhibited at a performance, the remaining slides being reserved for another performance.  

Bhagavan: Individuals have to suffer their karmas but Iswara manages to make the best of their karmas for this purpose. God manipulates the fruits of karma but he does not add or take away from it. The subconscious of man is a warehouse of good and bad karma. Iswara chooses from this warehouse what he sees will best suit the spiritual evolution at the time of each man, whether pleasant or painful. Thus, there is nothing arbitrary.  

recorded by MURUGANAR

from chapter Iswara and destiny

edited by David Godman

posted to MillionPaths by Viorica Weissman  

Today   Swami had been recalcitrant of late.  No longer did he begin satsang meticulously on time. Instead, he was slouching in, slumping down in his chair and heaving big old sighs.  What was that all about?  Maybe he was in need of a good colonic.

He began portentously, "Today is all you've got."  I looked around at the faithful few.  Rose was radiating good cheer, Larry was laconic and Jim was the jewel in the lotus, complete with dewy skin.  He smelled like Aqua-Velva.  Ruin was propped in the corner and I was suspicious.  Swami was on the brink of being downright stubborn.

"Tomorrow will bring you nothing but more of what you already are," he said flatly.  "Yesterday was just like today. That is a high teaching and not a weather forecast.  You are stalled out, to use another figure of speech." Swami sighed again before taking a swig of water.

"Vicki," said Swami, "why am I wasting my time with you people?"  I had no earthly idea, but I tried to come up with something halfway meaningful.

"Because it is our karma?" I offered, already thinking ahead for my next possible answer.

Larry raised his hand and Swami nodded at him.  "Because it is your karma," said Larry smugly.  Obviously, Swami had done nothing bad enough to deserve us, so that was not the answer he was looking for.

"I am here because you are ready to have your cage rattled....and that is all that I can do," said Swami emphatically.  He rolled his eyes upward as if pleading with God to take him off the case.

It is time that you people began making super-efforts to awaken.  I am an alarm clock and all of you are oversleeping.  Now for the love of Mike, pay attention.  I want each of you to try harder to see one thing...that you have nothing to give to God.  If you will empty your mind, you will see that there was nothing there in the first place."

The silence in the satsang room was not nearly loud enough.  As we sat quietly, though, a strange thing happened.  Nothing.  Swami had a half-smile as he stood up from behind his desk and cast a glance in my direction.  If we were lucky, we would get something out of nothing, which is what surrender is all about.

posted to nondualnow by Vicki Woodyard


On my way back on my bike I said to myself: 'Enlightenment is a pile of
dung' and I was stunned by this most compassionate and wise observation. It
was not my observation but just an observation that in the end doesn't

Enlightenment is a dirty word was the way I put it a few years ago. My friend Peter who has lived with illness nonstop for many years feels the same way. Is the wind on your skin enlightened?

Casseroles make you fat; be forewarned. When I was a bride, all I did was make casseroles and we ate every bit of every one. Until Bob rebelled and we both got fat. I think there was a lot of mixed vegetables and tuna involved.

Just so. Talk of enlightenment has many empty calories and someone has to do the dishes anyway.

Enlightenment is a carrot to keep you going…It’s silly. Waiting for the miracle life passes by. And when the miracle doesn’t come we invent one. In the next life. Or the life after the next life. As far as I am concerned these illusions are symptomatic of fear and escapism.

I am frightened…so what? It won’t go away so I better face it. I don’t need enlightenment. And I don’t need god either to be frank. If there is a god it would be a perverted god if you ask me. I just need truth I can chew on.

I don’t mind what others believe or do, and I respect it for that matter, but I threw it all out.

I am faced with ‘what is’. There is no escape from that. There is no way out. Resistance is futile. That may seem dark or even morbid but in fact it allows me to investigate in freedom. I lost all hope and what is left is not so bad after all. It allows me to see things as they are as good as I can.

I am not dependent on gurus, religions and fancy philosophies. I have had it with that. These are nice toys to dwell in for a while but I day came the urgency of change slapped me right in the face. And this slap in my face made me see the stupidity of dependence on all kinds of disguised ideologies and other second hand knowledge. I don’t follow dead people. I am not being disrespectful but honest.

The muteness I wrote about is another way to admit I cannot overcome the aversion to describe things and make claims of universality, or worse to buy others into my truths. I don’t know what is good for others. It is none of my business either. People who think they know what is good for others and think they have the right to guide others—to tell them how life should be seen and lived—are dangerously deluding themselves and the others they try to help, however good their intentions. When I read the papers and watch the news the catastrophe which results from this mechanism becomes obvious. But that is only how I see it…

Anyway, this list is one of the few lists I am a member of. That is because I sense a kind of honest realism in here. The fresh and liberating winds of spiritual reformation blow in here. And it is good to abide where the cool breezes dance. Even desperados like yours truly like to eat chocolates and enjoy Ma’s finest casseroles. Blowing in the wind we share, giggle and lose hope so we can grow up and wake up.

Oh I am chattering again. Slept a few hours and have to get ready for a new day of work and adventures.

Love to all of you,

PS I don’t mind my belly, so pass the casserole, please!

posted on nondualnow

The Zen master Hakuin Ekaku in a small Japanese coastal village at the foot of Mt. Fuji.

Though his parents opposed his decision, Hakuin took monastic vows at the age of 15.

He studied the Buddhist scriptures intensely, but was deeply shaken by reading of the painful death of a famous Chinese Chan master. The young Hakuin lost his faith in the Buddhist path for a while, hiding himself in the study of literature.

But, at the age of 22, he had his first experience of satori or enlightenment when he heard a sentence from a Buddhist scripture being recited.

After that, he dedicated himself wholeheartedly to the full realization of Nirvana, unshakable peace.

At this time, the Zen Buddhism had become the court religion and lost its inner spiritual vitality. Hakuin is credited with saving the tradition from its decline virtually single-handedly, returning Zen to its rich spiritual essence.

He organized koan training (authoring the famous koan, "What is the sound of one hand clapping?") and re-emphasized the zazen practice of sitting meditation.

Hakuin's reforms were highly effective, as seen by the profound impact Zen has in the world of spiritual practice today.

This poem by Hakuin is saying a great deal about the sacred state in its few lines.

Hakuin states that past, present, and future are "unattainable." That is, they cannot be grasped. They are always in motion. People instinctively want to reside in a fixed place within time, but Hakuin is reminding us that that is an impossibility; one can only acknowledge the ceaseless flow of experience without clinging.

This realization leads to a still mind. Sky is often a metaphor for the awareness, that which overarches and reveals all things to perception. When the awareness is "moteless," no thoughts obstuct the mind, making it clear.

The moon is often a codeword in Buddhist poetry for the individual mind attaining enlightened awareness. And plum, cherry, and other spring blossoms, represent the natural flowering or awakening of Buddha mind in early spring after the long winter of spiritual practice. So when Hakuin speaks of how "the moonlit window smells of plum," he is poetically telling us how this glimpse of pure insight resulting from a deeply still mind holds the delightful promise of Nirvana.


Thought for the Day:

Deep awakening
requires a tremendous journey,
but nothing much
needs to happen.


Here's your Daily Poem from the Poetry Chaikhana --

Past, present, future: unattainable,

By Hakuin
(1686 - 1768)

Translated by Lucien Stryk and Takashi Ikemoto

Past, present, future: unattainable,
Yet clear as the moteless sky.
Late at night the stool's cold as iron,
But the moonlit window smells of plum.

-from Zen Poetry: Let the Spring Breeze Enter, trans. Lucien Stryk / Translated by Takashi Ikemoto


The Eclipse

I stood out in the open cold
To see the essence of the eclipse
Which was its perfect darkness.

I stood in the cold on the porch
And could not think of anything so perfect
As mans hope of light in the face of darkness.

~ Richard Eberhart ~
  (Collected Poems, 1930-1986)

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