Nonduality: The Varieties of Expression Home

Jerry Katz
photography & writings

Search over 5000 pages on Nonduality:

Click here to go to the next issue

Highlights Home Page | Receive the Nondual Highlights each day

#2010 - Tuesday, December 21, 2004 - Editor: Jerry



The Yogis of Tibet
a film for posterity

Film synopsis:

Since the invasion of Tibet over 50 years ago, China has
systematically destroyed the Tibetan culture. One of the
most profound losses is the tradition of the great master
yogis. The entire system which supported these fascinating
mind masters has been inexorably eliminated. In order to
record these mystical practitioners for posterity, the
filmmakers were given permission to film heretofore secret
demonstrations and to conduct interviews on subject matter
rarely discussed.

This profound historical, spiritual and educational film
will someday be the last remnant of these amazing

  ~ ~ ~    

A brief history of Tibet  

The early history of Tibet was marked by fierce wars among
tribes and outsiders. The king who had finally united them
as a people wished to unite them in faith as well. He
invited a charismatic leader from India, Padmasambhava, to
bring Buddhism to his land. Tibetans had believed in a host
of deities, both benevolent and wrathful. Padmasambhava
succeeded by blending these beliefs with the teachings of
the Dharma, or Buddhist Scriptures. Over the course of
centuries, spiritual and state leadership converged.
Tibetans began a tradition of identifying those among them
believed to be reincarnations of the Buddha of Compassion.
Eventually, the one identified as the reincarnation of His
Holiness the Dalai Lama would take his place as temporal
leader of Tibet. In 1949, Chinese leader Mao Zedong,
announced that Tibet would be "returned to the motherland"
and the army of the People's Republic began invading
villages and monasteries. As the invasion swept across
their country, Tibetans who proclaimed allegiance to the
Dalai Lama were imprisoned, tortured or killed. Over a
million Tibetans lost their lives. All but a few of the
6000 monasteries were destroyed. Eventually, the Dalai Lama
was taken out of Tibet under disguise across the mountains
to India, where he was given refuge, and established a
government in exile in Dharamsala. Chinese cruelty
escalated following the escape of the Dalai Lama and over
the years a flood of Tibetans have followed his holiness to
india for refuge.

  ~ ~ ~    

Watch video clips:      

    contributed by Gloria Lee to NDS News.

You must subscribe to access the link.  

The man under the bridge
Big-hearted 11-year-old learns lessons for all seasons

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Published on: 12/19/04

From the window of a bus, Sade Law saw the man under the bridge almost every day.

She'd be riding along Peachtree Road on her way to an after-school program. And he'd be in the shadows of a bridge near the Brookhaven MARTA station, sitting on a milk crate and reading the newspaper, or sleeping.

Before he met Sade Law, Billy Watson's best friend was a fat rat. Watson, a carpenter and plumber by trade, is a 46-year-old alcoholic who's been homeless most of the past 14 years.

"You could never see his face under there," says Sade, who's 11 years old. "I wanted to see him."

She also wanted to help him. But her mom said no, the man was a stranger.

Sade is in sixth grade at Montgomery Elementary School in north Atlanta.

She plays basketball and soccer and likes rap music and shopping. She has a hamster and two dogs.

From the bus, she always looked for the man under the bridge. At school, when she was told to pick a topic for a project, she chose "home- lessness."

Under the bridge, Billy Watson made friends with a rat he called Willard.

"I would go to Dunkin' Donuts and get him some doughnuts out of the dumpster, and I would feed him," he says. "I had nothing better to do."

The rat got so fat he'd tumble down the steep concrete embankment under the bridge. Watson slept at the top of the embankment, on a narrow ledge.

The rat was thriving, but Watson, 46, was sick and tired. He'd been living under the bridge for months, drinking. He foraged in Kroger dumpsters for food, and he stole wine.

"The nights were full of people coming by under the bridge," says Watson, who armed himself with a knife. "Crackheads. People with drugs. People drinking. Just continuous, all night. All night long. It was a living nightmare under that bridge."

Some mornings, he'd vomit in the nearby weeds.

And he'd shake. "Tremors," he says. "I had to have a drink."

He wanted out. "I wanted help," he says.

Under the bridge, he bowed his head and prayed.

 • • • 

In early October, Sade told her mother that she wanted to volunteer at a soup kitchen as part of her school project.

Her mother, Cherece Law, liked the idea because she thought it would be good for her daughter. She went online and found volunteer work through Atlanta Urban Ministries.

She and Sade also launched a food and clothing drive, collecting from neighbors in their north Atlanta apartment complex and from Law's co-workers.

Law, 38, is an administrative assistant at the architecture firm BRPH Inc. in Marietta. She and Sade's father divorced nine years ago, and he lives in San Antonio, Texas.

Sade and her mom collected enough food and clothing to fill a van.

Through their newfound passion for helping the homeless, Law met a man who works with the homeless in his free time, trying to help them get off the street. She told him about the man Sade wanted to help. Touched by the story, the advocate — who insisted he not be identified in this article — went to the bridge.

That night, he reported back to Law by e-mail. The man under the bridge was named Billy. He was a plumber and a carpenter who couldn't hold a job because of his alcoholism. His liver was visibly swollen. He had no family. He had been homeless on and off for 14 years, and in and out of prison.

Billy Watson's prison record reflects periods of incarceration for shoplifting and other thefts. After serving four months on his last conviction, he was paroled in July and eventually found his way to the bridge in Brookhaven, not far from where he grew up.

The advocate told Sade's mother in the e-mail that the man "seemed genuinely touched that he had a friend in the neighborhood who was concerned for him."

In mid-October, Sade and her mother met with the advocate to give him a blanket, a pair of boots, jeans and other clothes they had purchased for the man under the bridge.

And Sade asked him to deliver a letter.

 • • • 

Hi Billy, My name is Sade and I am 11 years old. I chose to do a project at school because I saw you sleeping under the bridge. I think about you often and wonder if you are Okay? . . .

I hear that you aren't doing so well and that you are kind of sick. I see you and wonder if you are going to be Okay. I pray for you at night and just want you to know that there are many people in this world that you matter to, you matter to me! . . .

Please take Care of yourself and be Safe. I will pray every night that God will watch over you and that something will happen good for you. YOU DO DESERVE GOOD THINGS TO HAPPEN FOR YOU! Please don't give up!

As he sat on a milk crate reading the letter, Watson cried.

"It was like God sent an angel in the form of Sade."

 • • • 

By late October, Sade was itching to meet Watson.

He had written to her — on the back of her letter to him — thanking her and urging her to "keep being the good person you are throughout life."

Soon Sade's mom heard through the advocate that Watson wanted to check into a hospital to withdraw from alcohol. She told Sade the news when she picked her up from her after-school program at Wieuca Road Baptist Church. They both were thrilled.

On their way home, they spotted Watson under the MARTA bridge, reading the newspaper.

Sade asked if they could stop and meet him. Her mom said no.

But when they were almost home, Law did a U-turn, telling her daughter, "I can't promise we're going to stop."

At the bridge, they saw that Watson now wasn't alone but was talking with the advocate, so Law felt it was safe to approach. She parked at the Waffle House next to the bridge, and the men walked over to say hello. Sade noticed that Watson was wearing his new boots.

She hugged him. He smelled like alcohol, but she wasn't deterred.

"I told him I had faith in him."

Watson was dumbfounded when he met Sade.

"I couldn't believe that this little girl had started the process to help me."

The next day, at Northside Hospital's emergency room, Sade sat at Watson's bedside, holding his hand for hours as he trembled and sweated. Law watched over them, in awe of her child.

"She sees every person for who they are inside, and not what they may look like on the outside," Law says. "I guess in my heart of hearts, when she asked me to help Billy I knew that somehow we would."

That night, Watson was transported by ambulance to a treatment center, the DeKalb Regional Crisis Center, in Decatur.

People coming off drugs or alcohol typically stay there about seven days. Watson didn't last that long. He fibbed to a doctor and left after three.

"I told him I had a family emergency," Watson says.

"I felt a feeling of being incarcerated again," he explains. "I felt like I just needed to get out, which was wrong, but that's just the way I felt. And as soon as I got out, I got another drink."

He found his way back to the bridge. He felt guilty, he says, because he knew Sade would be disappointed.

"I didn't want to let her down."

Sade didn't know Watson had relapsed until she saw him under the bridge that day. She felt confused and "a little bit disappointed." But she says she understood that her new friend suffered from an addiction, kind of like her mother's cigarette habit.

Sade wasn't allowed to visit Watson after he left the treatment center, but she always kept an eye out for him when she passed the bridge.

Her mom went to see Watson once before Thanksgiving.

"He wouldn't look me in the eye," Law says. But she had something to say. "I know you did your best," she told him. "And I'm proud of you for trying."

 • • • 

In mid-November, police told Watson to move on. He relocated to some nearby woods. Sade and her mom heard from the advocate that he was all right, but Sade was filled with anxiety because she no longer could see him from the bus.

"Is he OK?" she constantly wondered. "Is he safe?"

The day before Thanksgiving, it was raining hard. Sade and her mom's fiancÚ, a construction worker named Craig Taylor, were traveling down Peachtree to pick up a ham. Sade looked for Watson under the bridge, hoping he had sought its shelter. It was raining so hard, she couldn't see if anyone was there.

On Thanksgiving, Sade and her mom got a call: Watson was back at the bridge. They loaded some plates with food and drove to him, along with Taylor and one of Sade's aunts.

Watson was grateful to see them. "I was hungry," he says.

That night, he told Sade's mother he wanted to try again.

Law returned to the bridge the next night, with her fiancÚ, and asked Watson if he could be ready to leave for the hospital in the morning.

He said yes.

She told him she'd be back then, and not to drink any alcohol that morning.

But when morning came, Watson had other plans. "I went to Kroger and tried to steal a bottle of wine," he says. He was ordered to leave the store.

He walked back to the bridge to wait for Law, who showed up without Sade.

He knew the drill. First stop, Northside, then the treatment center in Decatur.

Sade got to visit Watson in the treatment center that Sunday, and, again, she held his hand.

This time, Watson stayed for 10 days.

 • • • 

On Dec. 7, Watson was released to the Tangu residential recovery program in Sandy Springs. He now shares an apartment with three other men also in recovery, and he plans to stay in the program for at least six months.

He relishes the cleanliness of the apartment, hot showers, regular meals and the company of others striving for healthy lives.

"I'm happy to have another chance," says Watson, who has gained at least 10 pounds since leaving the bridge.

"Thanks to Sade, I've pulled my life back together. If it wasn't for her, I wouldn't be here. I'd probably be under that bridge."

Watson has a job lined up, through a friend of Sade's mother, and expects to start working full time in January. The job is with J&L Construction in Atlanta, and Watson is eager to get started.

Watson and Sade have seen each other once since he moved into his apartment, when he was invited to her home in early December for a pizza dinner. As a Christmas tree sparkled in the corner, they talked happily about seeing each other again on Christmas Eve.

Watson is invited as long as he's still sober. Cherece Law says her daughter understands Billy could relapse.

Law has told Watson that she and Sade now consider him family.

Says Sade, "He's like my uncle, in a way."

Law and Watson talk on the phone daily. He lets her and Sade know he's all right and asks how Sade is doing in school. Law chirps "Love you!" before she hangs up.

Law admits that Sade's persistence on behalf of a stranger changed something in her.

"I have come to realize that . . . when you are only looking for the bad in people, the bad's all you ever see," Law says. "And we chose to look past that. I'm so fortunate to have met him. He has blessed me as much as we have blessed him."

Sade's school project on homelessness, which she dedicated to Watson, won first place in Montgomery Elementary's social science fair. This month, it took first place in a DeKalb County social studies fair. Soon it will be a contender in a regional competition.

But for Sade, the most important prize is this: She reached out to a man she noticed from a bus, and that man doesn't live under a bridge anymore.



David Spero

It's not so much the behavior of the Mad Avadhoot that
concerns me, although this is a legitimate and fascinating
point in this context. My real concern is that Being, or
the Self, is the Shakti. Shakti is not an "event" or
experience "in" advaita Vedanta.

Sometimes the ocean is silent, without waves. Other times
waves crash, spraying vapor into the air, landing on a
human body. You can gaze into water and realize the ocean
by “seeing” it and you can also know it through “feeling”
its vapors. In either case, ocean can be experienced.

There’s no evidence that the ocean, in its silent state, is
residing in its preferentially Ultimate Condition. There is
nothing to justify, from the viewpoint of Total
Realization, that silence is more characteristic of the
Absolute than its manifesting power, Shakti, or its felt
(emotional) intensity as Bhakti, Devotion.

Shiva (Absolute), Shakti (Kundalini). and Bhakti
(Devotional Feeling) birth into and as each other. From
this perspective, neither Shiva, Shakti, nor Bhakti offer a
superior viewpoint. When Shiva, Shakti, and Bhakti
interpenetrate, one is wrapped in Absolute Love Energy. One
becomes Living God-ness.

Shakti is bodily ecstasy, a thrilling form of orgasmic
consummation in Energy. Shakti is what the Absolute "feels
like." Shakti is the force that carries human attention
into the Absolute. It is the Absolute, vibrating.

Some can reach Awakening through feeling-less communication
(the "You are That" talk associated with advaita Vedanta).
Others require a more visceral, experiential connection and
for them Shakti (or Bhakti) is a Way.

Many beings enjoy Shakti as a ladder to "climb," or that
which "climbs them," an energetic rope to grab onto, or
that possesses them, so they can lift into the Supreme
Reality. Shakti sages insist that Mother-Shakti does
everything. She accomplishes their entire sadhana, without
effort. Such can also be said of the Guru who radiates

One of the dangers of advaita Vedanta language is to reduce
enlightenment to the Subject, disregarding the movements of
relative existence, thereby pointing to Being as ("merely")
immutable and Absolute--when in fact it is constantly on
fire, burning in its own intensity, radiating the "heat" of
Energy and Devotion. Of course, for those with a strong
disposition toward a phenomena-less enlightenment, it is a
heatless or cool heat.

Radically, in Total Awakening, (experience of) the Absolute
vanishes. Understanding the fateful eclipsing of the
Absolute is essential, otherwise one will indicate the
Absolute as a (separate) actual place or (exclusive) state
(of inner Self-Realization). One might even become
profoundly depressed upon realizing that one has actually
realized Nothing.

Another issue comes up in this context--the various forms
of spiritual transmission. For me, there are four, clearly
discernable, yet mutually arising qualities within Total
Awakening, Advaita Vedanta (Unknowingness or Absolute
Being), Divine Love (Inebriating Feeling), Kundalini-Shakti
(Upward Moving, Descending, and circulating Spiritual
Current) and the Multi Dimensional Lights in Consciousness
(frequencies, subtle energies, and healing vibrations,
which heal and integrate the gross and subtle bodies).
There is no hierarchy among them. They are all infused in
non-dual liberation, one that cannot be seen, felt, heard
or touched.

You know, nature has all kinds of beings in it. Some you
like to cuddle up to and others want to dine on you. There
are many different kinds of Enlightened Beings,
idiosyncratic manifestations of the Absolute.

The Great Ones are all nuts, let's face it!

Going mad in God can take on any form or expression, even
those of attachment and delusion. When I sit with people,
they are all assumed to be embodiments of
God-Consciousness, no matter what state of consciousness
they are in.

You may also say that realization of the Shakti is the
"whole story.” Can you find the “real ocean” only after all
of its waves have ceased? Only in a picture book can you
find such a quiet ocean.

I want to walk to the real ocean, not some picture of an
ocean, where it is crashing, smashing all the spheres of
existence, breaking in the beauty of sahaja samadhi, its
natural state.


top of page