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Nondual Highlights #2190 - Saturday, July 2, 2005 - Editor: Gloria Lee
The thing about Zen is that it pushes contradictions to their
where one has to chose between madness and innocence.
- Thomas Merton
This robe of freedom from cold
isn't matched by ordinary clothes.
This concentration free of hunger
is unequaled by ordinary meat and beer.
This draught at the stream of enlightenment
isn't matched by ordinary drink.
This satisfaction born within
isn't equaled by ordinary treasure.
-Milarepa, "Drinking the Mountain Stream"
Copyright Wisdom Publications 2001. Reprinted from "Daily Wisdom: 365 Buddhist Inspirations," edited by Josh Bartok
Poppy photo by Sam Pasiencier
If you understand, things are just as they are;
If you do not understand, things are just as they are.
Although a suspicious mind is bad, still it is wrong to cling to what you shouldn't believe in, or to fail to ask about a truth you should seek.
From "The Pocket Zen Reader," edited by Thomas Cleary
Walking the spiritual path is a very subtle process; it is not something to jump into naively. There are numerous sidetracks which lead to a distorted, ego-centered version of spirituality; we can deceive ourselves into thinking we are developing spiritually when instead we are strengthening our egocentricity through spiritual techniques.
-Chogyam Trungpa, "Cutting Through Spiritual Materialism"
From "365 Buddha: Daily Meditations," edited by Jeff Schmidt
The Ego of Seeking
by Shawn Nevins
Assuming you accept the notion that the ego is the great barrier to discovering our true nature and curing what ails us, you will eventually confront the ego of spiritual seeking. Egos are poses, beliefs about our self, which range from the ridiculous belief we are great lovers or unrecognized geniuses to the core belief that we exist. Many say that the ego of seeking is the greatest barrier to finding. There is a grain of truth in that, yet the untruth lies in trying to eliminate this ego. The ego of seeking will resolve itself at the proper time. As Ramana Maharshi says, the stick that stirs the funeral pyre is itself consumed by the fire.
I think it is often beginners on the path who torment themselves the most about the ego of seeking, and thereby threaten to short circuit their quest. In their enthusiasm for identifying egos, beginners realize they've assumed a new pose -- they are now spiritual seekers. As other egos diminish, the spiritual ego and pride grows. They determine that this ego is as illusory as the rest and must be eliminated.
That is not how the process of ego elimination works, though. We don't choose to give up or let go of egos. They wither as their painful ridiculousness causes us to turn from them and slowly cease giving them attention and life. Alternatively, egos are stripped from us when the sharp sword of psychological trauma leaves no other route of survival but the dropping of a pose in order to preserve the whole.
Yet these mistaken seekers try to let go and stop seeking in hopes of finding. They attempt to do nothing, thinking that doing nothing eliminates the ego. Of course, they don't do nothing. They imagine doing nothing -- they "do" doing nothing based on what they've read of letting go and acceptance. If they are really intelligent, they recognize they are "doing" doing nothing and really tie their selves into knots. All the while, other egos are growing to fill the vacuum. This is much ado about nothing.
You can seek without the ego of seeking. Giving up seeking doesn't mean that you stop -- only that you no longer admire the seeker. Don't be like the athlete admiring himself in the mirror. Get down to business rather than play. It is the actor seeking that is not real. Yet none of this will be revealed without trauma and tension -- without seeking. You must observe your many egos and reject that which you see as not you. This process will strip you to your essence.
from July TAT forum: http://www.tatfoundation.org/forum.htm#6
A drop of water has the tastes of the water of the seven seas: there is no need to experience all the ways of worldly life. The reflections of the moon on one thousand rivers are from the same moon: the mind must be full of light.
Hung Tzu-ch'eng (1593-1665)
The more faithfully you listen to the voice
within you, the better you will hear what is sounding outside.
Little Summer Poem Touching the Subject of Faith
I listen and look
under the sun's brass and even
into the moonlight, but I can't hear
anything, I can't see anything --
not the pale roots digging down, nor the green stalks muscling up,
nor the leaves
deepening their damp pleats,
nor the tassels making,
nor the shucks, nor the cobs.
the leafy fields
grow taller and thicker --
green gowns lofting up in the night,
showered with silk.
And so, every summer,
I fail as a witness, seeing nothing --
I am deaf too
to the tick of the leaves,
the tapping of downwardness from the banyan
all of it
beyond any seeable proof, or hearable hum.
And, therefore, let the immeasurable come.
Let the unknowable touch the buckle of my spine.
Let the wind turn in the trees,
and the mystery hidden in the dirt
swing through the air.
How could I look at anything in this world
and tremble, and grip my hands over my heart?
What should I fear?
in the leafy green ocean
the honeycomb of the corn's beautiful body
is sure to be there.
~ Mary Oliver ~
version at www.Panhala.net/Archive/Little_Summer_Poem.html
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