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#2002 - Monday, December 13, 2004 - Editor: Gloria

A Place to Start

If beginners studying Zen fear they have as yet no place to start
and no direction, even so, there's nothing else to say but that you
each have an original face, which you have never recognized.
This original face is one with all buddhas: twenty-four hours a day,
as you are speaking, silent, active, quiet, walking, standing,
sitting, and lying down, all of this is due to its empowerment.
Just recognize this inwardly, and there you have a place to start;
there you have direction.

~ Wei-tse (d.1348)

The Subtle Path

The subtle path of buddhas and Zen masters is not an irrational
creation of knotty problems, nor is it eccentricity or wierdery. And
it is not something that is very lofty and hard to practice: it is just
what you presently use all the time in your everyday activities. If
we have to give it a name, we might call it the natural real Buddha
in your own nature, or the master within your own self.

In everyday terms, at all times and in all places, you see and hear
with Shakyamuni Buddha's eyes and ears, you speak and breathe
with Zen founder Bodhidharma's tongue and nose. In ultimate terms,
the individual lives of all the buddhas and Zen masters of the ten
directions are all in your grip - whether to gather them together
or let them disperse is all up to you.

~ Wei-tse

From Teachings of Zen, translated by Thomas Cleary


Dear Editors,


Please feel free to post my comments below on your website.


I’ve always been puzzled by advaita-Vedanta proponents' strange silence about Adi Shankara’s later life. Adi Shankara was the founder of the “I am That” philosophy of advaita Vedanta. This odd silence, intentional or innocent, conveniently skirts the deeper issue of the relationship between "advaita Vedanta" and devotion. For many contemporary advaita Vedanta teachers, no such relationship exists, nor has one ever existed, for the Self, or Absolute, is phenomena-free, without any association to devotion or energy (Kundalini-Shakti).


Reflecting (upon Shankara's later life), one sees that advaita Vedanta proponents have unfortunately hidden behind a curtain of denial, one that readily dismisses the crucial topics of devotion and energy in the state of Self-Realization. These phenomena are caustically dismissed by advaita Vedanta fundamentalists as extraneous and incidental to 'full enlightenment."


Adi Shankara, in His later years, abandoned His earlier, adolescent, "I am That" style of enlightenment-talk. He sang love-hymns to the Divine Mother. The Divine Mother became the total focus of His attention. Consumed in adorational intensity for The Mother, devotionally inebriated, Shankara manifested Devotional Advaita Vedanta. He founded Divine Mother temples throughout India.


My invitation to those who think that advaita Vedanta is all there is to enlightenment is to contemplate the entire life of Adi Shankara. How do you reconcile His (later) behavior with a feeling-less, energy-less enlightenment, one that is often justified in the names of Ramana Maharishi and Nisargadatta Maharaj? Do you think Adi Shankara perhaps became overly emotional in His old age? I think not. Perhaps realization of the Absolute merely, has never been, is, and never will be, the real story of full awakening.


Only the simultaneous merger and interpenetration of Divine Light (realization of the Self), Divine Love (Devotional Intoxication) and energetic awakening in the Kundalini-Shakti, describes entire spiritual awakening.


Without its spouses of devotion and energy, advaita Vedanta is just a convenient, pathetic excuse not to go mad in God.




David Spero

P.O. Box 4773

Palm Springs, CA 92263


Editor's note: Take a look at David Spero's website for more.


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The Faces of CalWORKs

Let's Be Thankful

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