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#2419 - Monday, March 13, 2006 - Editor: Gloria Lee

 As wax melts near a lit wick and burns, it emits light near the tip of the candle. For the most part, this place from which light is emitted remains the same and appears as a fixed shape; it is this seemingly unchanging shape that we refer to as flame. That which is called I is similar to the flame. Although both body and mind are an unceasing flow, since they preserve what seems to be a constant form, we refer to them as I. Therefore, actually there is no I existing as some substantial thing; there is only the ceaseless flow.... That there is this seemingly fixed form based on various conditions is interdependence.   --Kosho Uchiyama, Opening the Hand of Thought  

photo by Alan Larus


Here's your Daily Poem from the Poetry Chaikhana --

  Love plays its lute behind the screen --

By Fakhruddin Iraqi
(? - 1289)

English version by William Chittick and Nasr Seyyed Hossein

Love plays its lute behind the screen --
where is a lover to listen to its tune?

With every breath a new song,
each split second a new string plucked.

The world has spilled Love's secret --
when could music ever hold its tongue?

Every atom babbles the mystery --
Listen yourself, for I'm no tattletale!

  -- from Fakhruddin Iraqi: Divine Flashes (Classics of Western Spirituality) , by William Chittick / Nasr Seyyed Hossein

Thought for the Day:

Don’t strain toward enlightenment.
Relax into it.



  Don't Expect Applause   T

he next slogan is "Don't expect applause," which means "Don't expect thanks." This is important. When you open the door and invite all sentient beings as your guests, and not only that, but you also open the windows, and the walls even start falling down, you find yourself in the universe with no protection at all. Now you're in for it. If you think that just by doing that you are going to feel good about yourself, and you are going to be thanked right and left - no, that won't happen. More than to expect thanks, it would be helpful just to expect the unexpected; then you might be curious and inquisitive about what comes in the door. We can begin to open our hearts to others when we have no hope of getting anything back. We just do it for its own sake. On the other hand, it's good to express our gratitude to others. It's helpful to express our appreciation of others. But if we do that with the motivation of wanting them to like us, we can remember this slogan. We can thank others, but we should give up all hope of getting thanked back. Simply keep the door open without expectations.

From Start Where You Are : A Guide to Compassionate Living by Pema Chodron, Copyright 1994, Shambhala Publications.

  from The Sun Must Come

If anguish is not delicious meat for you,
It is because you have never tasted this wine.
The Prophets accept all agony and trust it
For the water has never feared the fire.

- Jelaluddin Rumi (1207 - 1273)
Perfume of the Desert: Inspirations from the Sufi Wisdom, edited by Andrew Harvey and Eryk Hanut


Understood this way, the pain is its own cure... when we stop avoiding it.


The universe
     is a kaleidoscope:
now hopelessness, now hope
     now spring, now fall.
Forget its ups and downs:
     do not vex yourself:
The remedy for pain
     is the pain.

- Sarmad (d. 1659)
The Drunken Universe: An Anthology of Persian Sufi Poetry, translations by Peter Lamborn Wilson and Nasrollah Pourjavady

***   Thirst is not the absence of union, it is the dawning awareness of union. Thirst is what calls the cupbearer. And the cupbearer dances upon empty space!

This, of course, confounds the mind. The Eternal is very real but, to the object-oriented mind, seemingly intangible. The mind tries and fails to grasp at God, like trying to grasp a liquid. No liquid can be held in the hand, and nothing so formless and immense as the Eternal can be grasped by the limited mind. The only way to hold formless liquid -- is to drink it! Drinking, we become a part of it, and it becomes a part of us.


The Sea is Our Essence

We are of the sea, and the sea is our essence;
why then is there this duality between us?
The world is an imaginary line before the sight;
read well that line, for it was inscribed by us.
Whatsoever we possess in both the worlds
in reality, my friend, belongs to God.

His love I keep secretly in my heart;
the less of the pain of His love is our cure.
Companions are we of the cup, comrades of the saki,
lest thou suppose that he is apart from us:
it is the assembly of love, and we are drunk --
who ever enjoyed so royal a party?
So long as Mi'mat Allah is the slave of the Lord,
the king of the world is a beggar at his door.

- Shah Nematollah Vali (1330 - 1431)
Poetry for the Spirit, edited by Alan Jacobs


from Ivan of Poetry Chaikhana

    The Dharma of the Buddha is not found in books. If you want to really see for yourself what the Buddha was talking about you don't need to bother with books. Watch your own mind. Examine to see how feelings come and go, how thoughts come and go. Don't be attached to anything, just be mindful of whatever there is to see. This is the way to the truths of the Buddha. Be natural. Everything you do in your life is a chance to practice. It is all Dharma. When you do your chores try to be mindful. If you are emptying a spittoon or cleaning a toilet don't feel you are doing it as a favor for anyone else. There is Dharma in emptying spittoons. Don't feel you are practicing only when sitting still cross-legged. Some of you have complained that there is not enough time to meditate. Is there enough time to breathe? This is your meditation: mindfulness, naturalness in whatever you do.   --Achaan Chaa, in Jack Kornfields Living Dharma


    What is Awareness?


Jackson Peterson (Jax)

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