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Jerry Katz
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The wind carves shapes into the beach sand

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Nondual Highlights Issue #2396, Saturday, February 18, 2006, Editor: Mark

The relationships you keep have a great effect on
you: you become what you associate yourself with.
So stay only in holy company, only travel with those
in the same boat. Nothing is better than satsang
so keep your friends here. Associate only with
those going in the same direction and go to Truth
at any cost.

- Papaji, from
The Truth Is, posted to AlongTheWay

Suzuki Roshi once told us a story from his childhood that left a particularly poignant taste in my mouth. Food is not just food. The entire universe comes along with it. Human nature makes its appearance bite after bite.

As a boy of perhaps ten or eleven, Suzuki Roshi had been sent by his father to study with another Zen teacher who was his father's disciple. There were apparently four or five boys altogether. In the spring they would help their teacher make daikon pickles. The long white radishes would be put in barrels with salt and nuka (rice bran), layer upon layer.

We used to make these pickles at Tassajara. The mixture is dry at the outset, but as the barrel sits, water comes out of the radishes, moistening the nuka, and the radishes become salted. At least that's how it's meant to work. The salt acts as a preservative. The rice bran provides flavor and perhaps nutrition.

One year at the temple in Japan a batch of pickles the boys and their teacher made didn't quite make it--a number of the radishes developed noticeably 'off' flavors, which happens when there is not quite enough salt. What to do when something doesn't turn out the way it should, the way you wanted, the way you planned. The teacher served them anyway! All well and good for him, but boys will be boys, and the young Suzuki Roshi and his companions refused to eat them. Each day the pickles would be served, and each day studiously avoided.

At last Suzuki Roshi decided to take matters into his own hands. One night he got the pickles, took them out to the far end of the garden, dug a hole, and buried them. Isn't that what you do with something distasteful? Dig a hole, put the rotten stuff in, and cover it with dirt. A straightforward, elegant solution, returning earth to earth. Let it compost. Keep it covered.

Yet life is not always that simple. The next day the pickles were back on the table! Things that you bury don't always stay there. What an unpleasant surprise, and what a sinking feeling to have what you were trying to hide come out into the open. The teacher, however, did not say anything about the pickles having been buried, or whether or not he knew who had buried them. He merely stated that those pickles would have to be eaten before they got anything else to eat.

Sometimes we have no choice. At last we have to taste and digest what we find distasteful. Suzuki Roshi said that it was his first experience of "No-thought," when the conceptualizing mind stops, and one experiences something non-reactively with no added comments. Chew and swallow. Chew and swallow ... He only could eat the pickles if his mind did not produce a single thought.

The world itself is swallowed up. For a time the storyline disappears. No more "This is awful," "How distasteful," "How unfair," "What did I do to deserve this," or even "Yuck," because then you would have to spit the pickle out, or choke it up. Just chew and swallow.

We need to be able to conceptualize, to decide what is good to eat and what is not, yet we can suffer a lot by trying to have nothing but delicious experiences. Inevitably we will have to chew on and digest some difficult, painful moments.

We would like to say, "Skip the pickles," but this is the great dilemma that life serves up: not everything is tasty and cooked to perfection and there is no way to avoid all that is unpleasant. If we become too finicky we just don't eat.

The dirt of our life contains both good and bad, sweet and pungent. The cook unearths what is there, and labors to make it nourishing.

- Ed Brown, from
Tomato Blessings and Radish Teachings: Recipes and Reflections Stories of life and practice with Shunryu Suzuki, posted to NondualitySalon

Just as a mother at the risk of life
Loves and protects her child, her only child,
So one should cultivate this boundless love
To all that live in the whole universe
Extending from a consciousness sublime
Upwards and downwards and across the world
Untroubled, free from hate and enmity,
And while one stands and while one walks and sits
Or one lies down still free from drowsiness
One should be intent on this mindfulness -
This is divine abiding here they say.
But when one lives quite free from any view,
Is virtuous, with perfect insight won,
And greed for sensual desires expelled,
One surely comes no more to any womb.

- Buddha, Sutta Nipata, from
Being Nobody Going Nowhere published by Wisdom Publications, posted to DailyDharma

Life is God

Life is more than just an illusory reflection of its source, more than a dream-like appearance in consciousness, as advaitists are inclined to theorize.

Existence is multidimensional and complex. Existence is the ultimate _expression of divine conscious creativity. It is created out of consciousness, to give God a vicarious experience of limitation and the satisfaction of reunion as each soul finally finds freedom from the suffering of samsara, the world. When the ultimate reunion of mahaparanirvana devours the soul, the cosmic orgasm gives Source and the soul the experience of ultimate ecstasy.

Those who are connected to that fully enlightened soul are showered with grace for months. Life and existence are consciousness-in-motion.

The universe is the immanent aspect of God; it is part of the multidimensional reality of the seven realms of the Whole. The illusion is not the world but the individual ego. This divine creation is God’s means of creating the suffering and separation that must precede your awakening. The ego is essentially an illusory over-identification with an individual part of life called 'me'.

Every body-mind-soul is unique, individual, and a part of the flow of life. Egocentric over-identification with 'me, myself and I' creates separation and neuroses. When the ego dissolves, you still exist as an individual body-mind-soul but the obsession with 'me' disappears and the flow of life carries you where it wants to go. This allows you to live consciously in the flow of life without advaita’s unnecessary adornment - an unhelpful rejection of existence as illusory.

The doctrine that the world is illusory is unverifiable by and unhelpful to humans. Existence is created in the cosmic mind of God, and in this sense is a divine dream. But the universe is real and does exist independent of human observation. The illusion that you must transcend is your own mind, your personal dream machine: the maya of ego. Let the universe be real and focus on transcending your unhealthy preoccupation with 'me'.

- taken from the 2006 edition of the book
UNITY -The Dawn of Conscious Civilization by Maitreya Ishwara, posted to ConsciousOneness

Beautiful Radiance Within

Re-arranging the furniture
in your outer life
does not bring you closer
to contentment.

is what you are
beyond thought.

Contentment is
here and now

and the only way
to get closer to here
and now
is to be
here and now

to notice that
you are
here and now
using whatever technique that works for you.

The path of awakening is not a romantic one.
It does not require going
to this place and that place,
but requires the constant attention
in now using whatever method attracts you.

And using the tools available,
sitting in the presence of an enlightened teacher,
immersing yourself in
Ocean Euphoric/Shakti Silence.

To be in that shakti-meditative presence
letting go of who you think you are,
where you think you've been,
what you know,
what you believe

unscrewing the flood cap
and letting it
all flow out of you.

It is challenging,
it reduces you to nothing,
to awareness itself.

And in this conscious presence
beyond mind you see the true beauty,
and that everything is of this beauty.

And this is the greatest reward:
to see that you are of
this beautiful radiance.

To rest in and as
this beautiful radiance.


- Kip, posted to ConsciousOneness

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