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Nondual Highlights Issue #2105 Wednesday, April 6, 2005

"I do not see how one can surrender to suffering."

Forget about surrender for a moment. When your pain is deep, all talk of surrender will probably seem futile and meaningless anyway. When your pain is deep, you will likely have a strong urge to escape from it rather than surrender to it. You don't want to feel what you feel. What could be more normal? But there is no escape, no way out.

When there is no way out, there is still always a way through. So don't turn away from pain. Face it. Feel it fully. Feel it -- don't think about it! Express it if necessary, but don't create a script in your mind around it. Give all your attention to the feeling, not to the person, event or situation that seems to have caused it. Don't let the mind use the pain to create a victim identity for yourself out of it. Feeling sorry for yourself and telling others your story will keep you stuck in suffering. Since it is impossible to get away from the feeling, the only possibility of change is to move into it; otherwise, nothing will shift. So give your complete attention to what you feel, and refrain from mentally labeling it. As you go into the feeling, be intensely alert. At first, it may seem like a dark and terrifying place, and when the urge to turn away from it comes, observe it but don't act on it. Keep putting your attention on the pain, keep feeling the grief, the fear, the dread, the loneliness, whatever it is. Stay alert, stay present -- present with your whole Being, with every cell of your body. As you do so, you are bringing a light into this darkness. This is the flame of your consciousness.

- Eckhart Tolle, posted to The_Now2

in classical teaching the self-nature of all living beings is said to be sat-chit-ananda (truth-consciousness-bliss).

a long time ago a naive young man in india went to his teacher and asked "it is obvious i am the truth. it is obvious i am conscious. but where has the bliss gone? i am full of misery".

the teacher took a stick and pushed at an ant walking nearby. the ant recoiled from the pain and went another way.

the teacher said: "the ant was already in bliss. it became aware of the pain and tried to go back to its state of bliss."

it took him almost ten years to understand.

-posted to Nisargadatta

No Water, No Moon

Chiyono's Well

The original source for the following was translated into English from a book called the Shaseki-shu (Collection of Stone and Sand), written late in the thirteenth century by the Japanese Zen teacher Muju (the "non-dweller"), and from anecdotes of Zen monks taken from various books published in Japan around the turn of the 20th century.


The nun Chiyono (Mugai Nyodai, 1223-1298) studied and meditated for years, most noteably under the venerated Zen master Wu-hsueh Tsu-yuan (Bukko, 1226-1286, founder of Engakuji temple), on the ultimate question of existence, but was unable to reach the far shore.

The more she longed for Enlightenment the further off it seemed. But one moonlit night she was carrying an old bucket filled with water from the well that eventually came to bear her name, and as she walked she noticed the full moon reflected in the pail of water. As she continued along the path the bamboo strip that held the pail staves broke.

The pail began to come apart, the bottom broke through, and the water disappeared into the soil beneath her feet, the moon's reflection disappearing along with it. In that moment Chiyono realized that the moon she had been looking at was just a reflection of the real thing...just as her whole life had been ... she turned to look at the moon in all it's silent glory, and ... that was it. Like the moonlight driven event surrounding the Enlightenment of the mysterious wandering monk Totapuri, Chiyono herself disappeared. She was NOT ... and what IS, was.

Afterwards she wrote the following:

This way and that way
I tried to keep the pail of water together,
hoping the weak bamboos
would never break
But suddenly the bottom fell out:
no more water
no more moon in the water
and emptiness in my hand!

- Mugai Nyodai -- Japan's first female Zen Master, from
The Wanderling, posted to SufiMystic

The Way to the Other Shore

Generosity is the first of the ten
paramis, or perfections, in the Theravada Buddhist tradition. Parami literally means "the other shore," and the paramis are understood both as the means to reach the other shore of enlighenment and as an expression of the qualities of one who has done so. These are the virtues that the Buddha brought to perfection during his journey as a bodhisattva, as described in particular in the jataka tales, which recount stories of the Buddha's previous lives. The ten paramis are: generosity, morality, renunciation, wisdom, energy, patience, truthfulness, determination, loving kindness, and equanimity.

Mahayana Buddhism also has a list of ten virtues (
paramitas) of a bodhisattva, although a slightly different list from the Theravadan's, but it is the first six that are emphasized as the cornerstone of Mahayana practice. They are presented in a number of sutras and are guiding principles in the two great manuals on the bodhisattva path: Shantideva's The Way of the Bodhisattva and Atisha's Seven-Point Mind Training. They are treated both as independent virtues and as a progression. The perfections are cultivated in this order on the Mahayana path:

dana, reverses ego's basic direction, which is to absorb and engulf everything into its self-created territory. The continual act of giving out - physically, psychologically and spiritually - subverts ego's central methodology of possessing everything in its path and leaves richness and resourcefulness in its place.

shila, refers to mastering one's impulses and cultivating an evenness of temperament that transcends agitation and depression. This in turn inspires such evenness in other sentient beings.

kshanti, does not imply waiting for what you want or tolerating its absence with composure; rather, it refers to the quality of abiding or remaining in the face of aggression, rather than meeting aggression with aggression.

virya, means never tiring of leading the life of bodhisattva. One takes joy in helping others and is able to overcome the desire to give up in the face of the insurmountable task of bringing all beings to enlightenment.

dhyana, refers not so much to the formal practice of meditation, but to the meditative nature of all experience, an unmoving quality that transcends goal-oriented activity and that exudes compassion that does not depend on results.

prajna, refers to the highest kind of knowledge, complete understanding that all phenomena are empty of inherent existence yet still display form, as expressed in the threefold purity: no actor, no action, nothing acted upon. Prajnaparamita is the source of a vast body of teachings and practices, since it is the capping experience of all the paramitas. Without prajna - the sword that cuts even itself - all the other paramitas will be perverted into a quest for self-improvement that is masquerading as selflessness and compassion.

- Barry Boyce from
Shambala Sun, March 2005

Q. Can I stop this "I Amness" and be before the "I Amness"?

M: What natural processes can you stop? Everything is spontaneous. Presently you are in the consciousness, which is stirring, vibrant. Don't think you are something separate from this stirring, vibrant consciousness. You, the consciousness, are the product of the food consumed. At the level of active consciousness, which is Self, and which is in activity, there cannot be identity of a body.

Q: How can I be convinced of this?

M: When you remain still in your Self, then you receive the conviction. You stay in quietude. Give up your identity with the body-mind.

Q: I know all of this intellectually, but I am not experiencing it, so I came for satsang.

M: What do you mean by satsang? This is merely a conventional spiritual jargon. Now you go from here with the firm conviction the "I am the Brahman, without any shape, form or design, and without any mental inclinations. I am the manifest consciousness." When you realize that you are formless, there is no caste or creed for you, there are not concepts left.

Excerpt from
Consciousness and the Absolute: The Final Talks Of Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, posted to JustThis

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