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Nondual Highlights Issue #2365, Saturday, January 14, 2006, Editor: Mark

One in whom the syllable OM
rises steadily upward
from the sex through the navel,
and only OM, forms a bridge to God.

That one has no interest
in different kinds of magic.
That one is a spell.

- Lalla, from
Naked Song, version by Coleman Barks, posted to AlongTheWay

All that is required
to realize the Self
to be still.

Ramana Maharshi, posted to MillionPaths

Take time to listen to what is said without words, to obey the law too
subtle to be written, to worship the unnamable and to embrace the
Love your life.
Trust the Tao.
Make love with the invisible subtle origin of the universe, and you
will give yourself everything you need.

You won't have to hide away forever in spiritual retreats.
You can be a gentle, contemplative hermit right here in the middle of
everything, utterly unaffected, thoroughly sustained and rewarded by
your integral practices.

Encouraging others, giving freely to all, awakening and purifying the
world with each movement and action, you'll ascend to the divine realm
in broad daylight.

The breath of the Tao speaks, and those who are in harmony with it
hear quite clearly.

- Hua Hu Ching 83, posted to Poetic_Mysticism

From a talk Ajahn Chah gave to a dying lay-disciple:

Even if your house is flooded or burned to the ground, whatever the danger that threatens it, let it concern only the house. If there is a flood, don't let it flood your mind. If there's a fire, don't let it burn your heart, let it merely be the house, that which is external to you, that is flooded or burned. Allow the mind to let go of its attachments. The time is ripe.

You've been alive a long time. Your eyes have seen any number of forms and colours, your ears have heard so many sounds, you've had any number of experiences. And that's all they were - just experiences. You've eaten delicious foods and all the good tastes were just good tastes, nothing more. The unpleasant tastes were just unpleasant tastes, that's all. If the eye sees a beautiful form that's all it is, just a beautiful form. An ugly form is just an ugly form. The ear hears an entrancing, melodious sound and it's nothing more than that. A grating, disharmonious sound is simply so.

The Buddha said that rich or poor, young or old, human or animal, no being can stop the body from being how it is, from birth 'til death, it's old and sick and you can't forbid it from doing that, that's the way it is. Wanting it to be different would be foolish as wanting a duck to be like chicken. When you see that that's impossible, that a duck has to be a duck, that a chicken has to be a chicken and that bodies have to get old and die, you will find strength and energy. However much you want the body to go on and last for a long time, it won't do that.

The Buddha said: 'Anicca vata sankhara Uppadavayadhammino Upajjhitva nirujjhanti Tesam vupsamo sukho.'

The word 'sankhara' refers to this body and mind. Sankharas are impermanent and unstable, having come into being they disappear, having arisen they pass away and yet everyone wants them to be permanent. This is foolishness. Look at the breath.

Having come in, it goes out, that's its nature, that's how it has to be. The inhalations and exhalations have to alternate, there must be change. Sankharas exist through change, you can't prevent it. Just think: could you exhale without inhaling? Would it feel good? Or could you just inhale? We want things to be permanent but they can't be, it's impossible. Once the breath has come in, it must go out, when it's gone out it comes in again and that's natural isn't it? Having been born we get old and sick and then we die, and that's totally natural and normal. It's because sankharas have done their job, because the in-breaths and out-breaths have alternated in this way, that the human race is still here today.

As soon as we're born we're dead. Our birth and our death are just one thing. It's like a tree: when there's a root there must be twigs. When there are twigs, there must be a root. You can' t have one without the other. It's a little funny to see how at a death people are so grief-stricken and distracted, fearful and sad, and at a birth how happy and delighted. It's delusion, nobody has ever looked at this clearly. I think if you really want to cry then it would be better to do so when someone's born. For actually birth is death, death is birth, the root is the twig, the twig is the root. If you got to cry, cry at the root, cry at the birth. Look closely: if there was no birth there would be no death. Can you understand this?

Don't think a lot. Just think 'this is the way things are.'"

- Ajahn Chah, from the wonderful talk,
Our Real Home., posted to DailyDharma

Wonder Is the Dawn of Wisdom

Q: What is false, the world, or my knowledge of it?

M: Is there a world outside your knowledge? Can you go beyond what you know? You may postulate a world beyond the mind, but it will remain a concept, unproved and unprovable. Your experience is your proof, and it is valid for you only. Who else can have your experience, when the other person is only as real as he appears in your experience?

Q: Am I so hopelessly lonely?

M: You are, as a person. In your real being you are the whole.

Q: Are you a part of the world which I have in consciousness, or are you independent?

M: What you see is yours and what I see is mine. The two have little in common.

Q: There must be some common factor which unites us.

M: To find the common factor you must abandon all distinctions. Only the universal is in common.

Q: What strikes me as exceedingly strange is that while you say that I am merely a product of my memories and woefully limited, I create a vast and rich world in which everything is contained, including you and your teaching. How this vastness is created and contained in my smallness is what I find hard to understand. Maybe you are giving me the whole truth, but I am grasping only a small part of it.

M: Yet, it is a fact - the small projects the whole*, but it cannot contain the whole. However great and complete is your world, it is self-contradictory and transitory and altogether illusory.

Q: It may be illusory yet it is marvelous. When I look and listen, touch, smell and taste, think and feel, remember and imagine, I cannot but be astonished at my miraculous creativity. I look through a microscope or telescope and see wonders, I follow the track of an atom and hear the whisper of the stars. If I am the sole creator of all this, then I am God indeed! But if I am God, why do I appear so small and helpless to myself?

M: You are God, but you do not know it.

Q: If I am God, then the world I create must be true.

M: It is true in essence, but not in appearance. Be free of desires and fears and at once your vision will clear and you shall see things as they are. Or, you may say that the satoguna creates the world, the tamoguna obscures it and rajoguna distorts.

Q: This does not tell me much, because if I ask what are the gunas, the answer will be: what creates - what obscures - what distorts. The fact remains - something unbelievable happened to me, and I do not understand what has happened, how and why.

M: Well, wonder is the dawn of wisdom. To be steadily and consistently wondering is sadhana.

Q: I am in a world I do not understand and therefore, I am afraid of it. This is everybody's experience.

M: You have separated yourself from the world, therefore it pains and frightens you. Discover your mistake and be free of fear.

Q: You are asking me to give up the world, while I want to be happy in the world.

M: If you ask for the impossible, who can help you? The limited is bound to be painful and pleasant in turns. If you seek real happiness, unassailable and unchangeable, you must leave the world with its pains and pleasures behind you.

Q: How is it done? M: Mere physical renunciation is only a token of earnestness, but earnestness alone does not liberate. There must be understanding which comes with alert perceptivity, eager enquiry and deep investigation. You must work relentlessly for your salvation from sin and sorrow.

Q: What is sin?

M: All that binds you.

- Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj, from
I Am That, posted to NondualitySalon

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