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#2150 - Saturday, May 21, 2005 - Editor: Gloria            

Essence is emptiness.
Everything else, accidental.

Emptiness brings peace to your loving.
Everything else, disease.

In this world of trickery emptiness
is what your soul wants.

                   - Rumi
        ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `

Version by Coleman Barks
Maypop, 1993

     posted to Along the Way 


photo by Alan Larus      

Excerpt from "I Am That I Am" - Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj

Q: Then what am I?

M: It is enough to know what you are not.
You need not know what you are. For, as long
as knowledge means description in terms of
what is already known, perceptual, or conceptual,
there can be no such thing as self-knowledge,
for what you *are* cannot be described, except
as total negation. All you can say is:
`I am not this, I am not that'. You cannot
meaningfully say `this is what I am.' It just
makes no sense. What you can point out as `this'
or `that' cannot be yourself. Surely, you cannot
be `something' else. You are nothing perceivable,
or imaginable. Yet, without you there can be
neither perception nor imagination. You observe
the heart feeling, the mind thinking, the body
acting; the very act of perceiving shows you
are not what you perceive. Can there be perception,
experience, without you? An experience must `belong'.
Somebody must come and declare it as his own.
Without an experiencer the experience is not real.
It is the experiencer that imparts reality to
experience. An experience which you cannot have,
of what value is it to you?

Q: The sense of being an experiencer, the sense of
`I am', is it not also an experience?

M: Obviously, every thing experienced is an experience.
And in every experience there arises the experiencer
of it. Memory creates the illusion of continuity.
In reality each experience has its own experiencer
and the sense of identity is due to the common
factor at the root of all experiencer-experience
relations. Identity and continuity are not the same.
Just as each flower has its own colour, but all
colours are caused by the same light, so do many
experiencers appear in the undivided and indivisible
awareness, each separate in memory, identical in
essence. This essence is the root, the foundation,
the timeless and spaceless `possibility' of all experience.

Q: How do I get at it?

M: You need not get at it, for you *are* it.
It will get at you, if you give it a chance.
Let go your attachment to the unreal and the
real will swiftly and smoothly step into its own.
Stop imagining yourself being or doing this or
that and the realization that you are the source
and heart of all will dawn upon you. With this
will come great love which is not choice nor
predilection, nor attachment, but a power which
makes all things love-worthy and loveable.

~ Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, from "I Am That I Am"

"The Circle Around the Zero"

A lover doesn't figure the odds.

He figures he came clean from God
as a gift without a reason,
so he gives without cause or calculation or limit.

A conventionally religious person
behaves a certain way to achieve salvation.

A lover gambles everything,
the self, the circle around the zero!
He or she cuts and throws it all away.

This is beyond any religion.

Lovers do not require from God any proof,
or any text, nor do they knock on a door
to make sure this is the right street.

They run,
and they run.

~ Rumi, transliteration by Coleman Barks
from "Feeling the Shoulder of the Lion"

Love & Peace,


posted to Allspirit  

Sri Ramana once said to Madahva, his attendant, "I am not real Madhava!"
Bhagavan often pointed out that if we take Ramana to be the body, it is
a mistake. Ramana is the Heart, the Self which is of the nature of
consciousness, Existence, Bliss. It is the Bliss which is Self-Knowing,
Self-Aware and free from sorrows. It is found in One's Own Self and not
anywhere else. What is illusion? It must be something that stems from
Reality. What is individuality? It is that which arises from the Self.
So no need for resistance and no need to despise the mind or the ego or
individuality for its limitations and weaknesses. It is simply the
nature of things. If we understand the nature of things and are
accepting of our divinity and humanity as equally natural then we do not
create artificial barriers in our mind. Becoming gentle, both with
ourselves and with others, or at least having that perspective of
gentleness, allows us not to contend. A victory that is costly to others
is not a victory. Real strength always lies in good humor, forgiveness,
and readiness to embrace. Self is the ultimate form of nonviolence.

A wave that rises high seems like it has become separate from the ocean
but in fact always has its foundation and home in the ocean. The nature
of water in the wave and ocean is the same. A wave rises high and
appears to become separate. The fear is in the separation, in the
individual becoming separate from the whole. Then after some time the
wave merges back. It is in that merging where the wave has started to
fall back on the ocean that the wave realizes the Truth. I am the Ocean!
I have always been the Ocean! Similarly, the essence of the
individuality and the Self are the same. Mind rises from the Heart but
is never separate from it. It is always supported by the Heart and the
essence of the Heart permeates it as consciousness. Individuality rises
from the Self and subsides back into it. On the merging of the mind in
the Heart arises a Self - Knowing which has always been present as the
undercurrent but now manifests to itself in full and overwhelming
force. Then the mind and the Heart become One and this Knowing Knows It
Self fully and completely as the Self. The One without a second.

posted by Harsha to HarshaSatsangh - RamanaGuru

  Mind is consciousness which has put on limitations. You are originally unlimited and perfect. Later you take on limitations and become the mind.

-Sri Ramana Maharshi


"The heart of the path is so simple. No need for long explanations.
Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are.
That is all I do in my own practice.

"Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself in to anything.
Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened.
When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be.
Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing.

" all comes back to this- just let it all be.
Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle.
Why not give it a try? Do you dare?"
  ~Ajahn Chah

From the book, "A Still Forest Pool," published by Quest Books.

posted by Mia to Daily Dharma  


photo by Alan Larus

The Sandokai

of Sekito Kisen

The Harmony of Difference and Equality

(the many and one shake hands)

The mind of the great sage of India

is intimately transmitted from west to east.

While human faculties are sharp or dull,

the way has no Northern or Southern Ancestors.

The spiritual source shines clear in the light.

The branching streams flow on in the dark.

Grasping at things is surely delusion;

according with sameness is still not enlightenment.

All the objects of the senses interact and yet do not.

Interacting brings involvement.

Otherwise, each keeps its place.

Sights vary in quality and form, sounds differ as pleasing or harsh.

Refined and common speech come together in the dark,

clear and murky phrases are distinguished in the light.

The four elements return to their natures

just as a child turns to its mother;

fire heats, wind moves, water wets, earth is solid.

Eye and sight, ear and sound, nose and smell, tongue and taste;

thus for each and every thing, depending on these roots,

the leaves spread forth.

Trunk and branches share the essence; revered and common,

each has its speech.

In the light there is darkness, but don't take it as darkness;

in the dark there is light, but don't see it as light.

Light and dark oppose one another like front and back foot in walking.

Each of the myriad things has its merit,

expressed according to function and place.

Phenomena exist, like box and lid joining,

according with principle, like arrow points meeting.

Hearing the words, understand the meaning;

don't set up standards of your own.

If you don't understand the way right before you,

how will you know the path as you walk?

Practice is not a matter of far or near,

but if you are confused, mountains and rivers block your way.

I respectfully urge you who study the mystery,

don't pass your days and nights in vain.




Commentary on Suzuki Roshi's Sandokai Lectures

by Sojun Mel Weitsman

This lecture is reprinted from the June 2000  Berkeley Zen Center Newsletter.

Note: Suzuki Roshi's quotes are in italics.

Suzuki Roshi was always very sympathetic to people's problems, realizing that people have these problems because of our human nature. He made an effort not to criticize but to understand the basis of our desire, why we are driven and attached to things so much. "We must include our desires as one of the many factors in order to see things as it is."We don't always reflect on our desires. "Without stopping to reflect on our selfish judgement we say, 'oh, he is good' or 'she is bad.' But someone who is bad to me is not necessarily always bad. To someone else, he may be a good person. Reflecting on this we can see things as it is and this is Buddha Mind." Suzuki Roshi is talking about not being one-sided. We tend to evaluate our friends or people we know on the basis of some strong characteristic. We tend to see people through that lens. But we don't see the whole person because of our label. Then we tend to think about that person in the same way, over and over, and always relate to them in that way. Even if they change we tend not to notice the change -- this person is like this, that person is like that -- , instead of seeing everyone for who they actually are, aside from our label, aside from evaluation.

I think it is very important to always look at the other side, or look underneath this covering, this emotional or intellectual covering. This is actually how we work with everyone and create a harmonious sangha. We accept everyone as they are and donŒt try to change people even though we would like to see them change. Even if we wish someone was different or would change, we accept them just as they are. In that way we have the possibility to see them just as they are and to allow what is just beneath the surface to come to the surface. I think our practice is a slow maturation process of trusting even when there is no trust. Even when you feel you can't trust, you trust the maturation process. When above, Suzuki Roshi says: "Reflecting on this we can see things as it is," this is the Buddha Mind. The Buddha Mind is the Great Mirror Wisdom Mind, which reflects everything as it is, not distorted through our conceptions.

"The poem begins, 'the mind of the great sage of India.' That is Buddha's big mind that includes everything. The mind we have when we practice is we're not bothered. That's zazen, whatever happens to us, we're not bothered. This is the stage you have to reach, the stage of not being bothered, whatever happens. "It is something happening in the vast sky. Whatver kind of bird flies through it, it doesn't care. This is the mind that is transmitted from Buddha to us."

During tea I was talking about mind, big mind which is likened to a blank screen, or the vast sky. Sometimes they use the term "a white sheet of paper," or a blank sheet of paper - nothing is written there. In a movie, the action is projected onto the screen, we don't think we're seeing a screen, we're just seeing the movie, but the screen is there all the time. The movie is being played on the screen of big mind. Big mind and small mind are really integral with each other but small mind is the expression on the screen of the activity of big mind. When we practice zazen, we're not concerned with the projection on the screen; we're only concerned with the screen itself, like the vast sky. But then the movie goes on or the bird flies across the empty sky. We are continuously writing our story on the empty sky, painting our picture, but at the same time, the empty sky is always the empty sky. When we get off the cushion, the movie comes into the foreground and we pay attention to the movie, but the big sky is just the same. In zazen, although the movements of the mind are interesting, we don't engage them. So the movie of the mind doesn't bother us. Because we discriminate the pain, we experience suffering.

"Many things happen as you sit. You may hear the sound of the stream. You may think of something but your mind doesn't care. Your Great Mind is just there, sitting. Even when you are not aware of seeing, hearing or seeing, something is going on in big mind." If something nice comes, you just enjoy it and let it go, if something distasteful comes, you notice it and let it go. Whether it's good or bad, you just accept it and let it go. When you stop and attach to it or grasp it, that's called the arising of a self. When there is no attachment or grasping, and you're just allowing things to come forward and present themselves, when you simply acknowledge and let them go, no self arises. This is what is meant by self-arising or self-not-arising.

Self is the consciousness that attaches to things and creates a picture. It's characterized as the seventh level of consciousness (manovinana), which is the ego consciousness. When it allows things to come and go, that is its function. When it takes the center stage and attaches to what comes and goes, then it's called the self. When it's no longer attaching and not self-conscious, it's called the wisdom of equality. "We observe things without saying good or bad, we just sit." It's the self which says good or bad; when we say good or bad, like or dislike, this is the self arising. "We enjoy things but have no special attachment to them. We have full appreciation of them at this time but that's all. After zazen, we say, 'Good morning.'" We're just totally open. Nothing to attach to. After zazen, everything is very fresh and new and a whole realm of possibilities lies before us. "In that way, one after another, things will happen to us and we can fully appreciate them." We have no preconceptions about what things are.

This is the mind transmitted from Buddha and this is the way we practice zazen. It is called unassuming mind, even though I may know something. I know this person is angry and reticent and so forth, but even though I know that, I don't assume it. I wait until something happens leaving open the possibility that it may not happen. When the mind is open like this, one can see everyone as Buddha because one is looking beyond those characteristics to the deeper reality of this person. The person's characteristics are part of that person, but there is something more than just those characteristics. We must always try to go beyond the characteristics to the true person. That's why I often say, treat everyone as Buddha without exception, which is difficult. it's hard to see the person who is harming you as Buddha, but you have to look for that somewhere in that person. Otherwise you don't know where you are, you lose your footing and you start reacting on the same level as that person. If you practice zazen in this way, you are less likely to have trouble when you are interacting with others.

(Rohatsu, 12/99)

(Suzuki Roshi's lectures can be read in the book Branching Streams Flow in the Darkness, co-edited by Sojun Mel Weitsman.)

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