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#2601 - Sunday, October 1, 2006 - Editor: Gloria Lee  

Happy is one who knows samsara and nirvana are not two.

--Milarepa, "Drinking the Mountain Stream"

Kurt Vonnegut, from A Man Without a Country  

Dear Fellow-reader:  

The October issue of the TAT Forum is now on-line at  

This issue includes: Inner Guidance by Jim Burns | Richard Rose on Controlling the Mind by Art Ticknor | The Light of Friendship by Bob Fergeson | A Relentless Man by Gary Harmon | Bernadette Roberts Retreat by Kiffy Purvis and Doug White | Poems by Shawn Nevins | Humor | Reader Commentary    

Note: A previous NDhighlights also had a review (by two completely different people) of a Bernadette Roberts retreat, for comparison.  

  A reader contribution from Rick Grunwald  


After seeing the "Free Hugs" video I found this - it may be of interest

Enlightenment is liberation from the dross of learning
and experience  that, without one's being aware of it,
has accumulated and settled like so  much
sediment--or like cholesterol into one's arteries! It is the
vivid,  lively manifestation of the heart with which one is
born--the heart that is  no-form, no-mind, nonabiding,
attached neither to form nor to thought,  but in dynamic
motion. Consequently, enlightenment is not an
endpoint, but  rather a place to start. 

--Soko Morinaga in Novice to Master 

Enlightenment is a way of saying that all things are
seen in their intrinsic empty nature, their Suchness,
their ungraspable wonder. Names or words are merely
incidental, but that state which sees no division, no
duality, is enlightenment.

--Prajnaparamita From "Buddha Speaks," edited by
Anne Bancroft, 2000


First forget what time it is
for an hour
do it regularly every day

then forget what day of the week it is
do this regularly for a week
then forget what country you are in
and practice doing it in company
for a week
then do them together
for a week
with as few breaks as possible

follow these by forgetting how to add
or to subtract
it makes no difference
you can change them around
after a week
both will help you later
to forget how to count

forget how to count
starting with your own age
starting with how to count backward
starting with even numbers
starting with Roman numerals
starting with fractions of Roman numerals
starting with the old calendar
going on to the old alphabet
going on to the alphabet
until everything is continuous again

go on to forgetting elements
starting with water
proceeding to earth
rising in fire

forget fire
--W.S. Merwin from Migration: New and Selected Poems

  Ten Things To Be Understood

by Gampopa

Understand that outer appearances are unreal
because they are mistaken.
Understand that inner mind is empty
because it is devoid of self-identity.
Understand that thoughts are momentary
because they occur due to conditions.
Understand that both your physical body and your voice are
because they are conditioned.
Understand that the consequences of your actions are inevitable
because all pleasure and pain of sentient beings results from karma.
Understand that pain is your spiritual friend
because it is the cause of renunciation.
Understand that pleasure and happiness is the demon of attachment
because it is the root of samsara.
Understand that many engagements are obstacles for merit
because they hinder spiritual practice.
Understand that enemies and obstructors are your teachers
because obstacles are inspiration for spiritual practice.
Understand that everything is of equal nature,
because all phenomena are ultimately devoid of self-nature.
These were the ten things to understand.

--Gampopa, from "The Precious Garland of the Sublime Path"
(trans. by Erik Pema Kunsang)

(Gampopa was Milarepa's main disciple, and the founder of
the KagyuSchool. His disciple was the First Karmapa.)
posted by Gill Eardley to Allspirit

  photo by Alan Larus  


I Never Knew

Take off the backpack
Lie down in the long grass.
Pull up the blue sky-blanket.

So many years of Dharma practice,
Straight-spine diligence, straining toward
This hillside.
Just this.

Lie down in the long grass.
Let the earth take you.
Deer tracks and horse dung
and the eye within the eye,
revolving and luminous.

I never knew this.
Did no one tell me?

I remember my Zen master in the interview room,
"Trust yourself," he said. "Just be yourself."

I think his meaning was this:

Take off the backpack,
Lie down in the long grass.
Let the sky take you.
Breathe space
into space
into space.

I never knew there was this much light!

--Helen Dhara Gatling-Austin 1998

posted by Gill Eardley to Allspirit

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