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#2670 - Wednesday, December 13, 2006 - Editor: Gloria Lee

The Nondual Highlights    

When you behold the void nature of Mind,
Analyze it not as one or many
Lest you fall into the void-of-annihilation!
Son, rest yourself without wandering thoughts.

--Hundred Thousand Songs of Milarepa  

It is essential that our understanding be translated into practice, not with
an idealistic vision that we suddenly will become totally loving and
compassionate, but with a willingness to be just who we are and to start
from there. Then our practice is grounded in the reality of our
experience, rather than based on some expectation of how we should be.
But we must begin. We work with the precepts as guidelines for
harmonizing our actions with the world; we live with contentment and
simplicity that does not exploit other people or the planet; we work with
restraint in the mind, seeing that it's possible to say no to certain
conditioned impulses, or to expand when we feel bound by inhibitions and
fear; we reflect on karma and the direction of our lives, where it is
leading and what is being developed; we cultivate generosity and love,
compassion and service. All of this together becomes our path of

--Joseph Goldstein, Seeking the Heart of Wisdom

    How to make our lives an embodiment of wisdom and compassion is the
greatest challenge spiritual seekers face. The truths we have come to
understand need to find their visible expression in our lives. Our every
thought, word, or action holds the possibility of being a living expression
of clarity and love. It is not enough to be a possessor of wisdom. To
believe ourselves to be custodians of truth is to become its opposite, is a
direct path to becoming stale, self-righteous, or rigid. Ideas and
memories do not hold liberating or healing power. There is no such state
as enlightened retirement, where we can live on the bounty of past
attainments. Wisdom is alive only as long as it is lived, understanding is
liberating only as long as it is applied. A bulging portfolio of spiritual
experiences matters little if it does not have the power to sustain us
through the inevitable moments of grief, loss, and change. Knowledge and
achievements matter little if we do not yet know how to touch the heart
of another and be touched.

--Christina Feldman and Jack Kornfield,
Stories of the Spirit, Stories of the Heart  

    There are three integral factors in Buddhist meditation--morality,
concentration, and wisdom. Those three factors grow together as your
practice deepens. Each one influences the other, so you cultivate the
three of them together, not one at a time. When you have the wisdom to
truly understand a situation, compassion towards all parties involved is
automatic, and compassion means that you automatically restrain yourself
from any thought, word, or deed that might harm yourself or others. Thus
our behavior is automatically moral. It is only when you don't understand
things deeply that you create problems. If you fail to see the
consequences of your own action, you will blunder. The fellow who waits
to become totally moral before he begins to meditate is waiting for a but
that will never come. The ancient sages say that he is like a man waiting
for the ocean to become calm so that he can take a bath.
--Henepola Gunaratana, Mindfulness in Plain English


[235] Here's a message for the faithful

By Han-shan (Cold Mountain)
(730? - 850?)

English version by Red Pine (Bill Porter)

Here's a message for the faithful
what is it that you cherish
to find the Way to see your nature
your nature is naturally so
what Heaven bestows is perfect
looking for proof leads you astray
leaving the trunk to search among the twigs
all you get is stupid

-- from The Collected Songs of Cold Mountain, Translated by Red Pine

  by Alan Larus  

Sisters of Mercy

Leonard Cohen

Oh the sisters of mercy,
they are not departed or gone.
They were waiting for me
when I thought that I just can't go on.
And they brought me their comfort
and later they brought me this song.
Oh I hope you run into them,
you who've been travelling so long.

Yes you who must leave everything
that you cannot control.
It begins with your family,
but soon it comes around to your soul.
Well I've been where you're hanging,
I think I can see how you're pinned:
When you're not feeling holy,
your loneliness says that you've sinned.

Well they lay down beside me,
I made my confession to them.
They touched both my eyes
and I touched the dew on their hem.
If your life is a leaf that the seasons
tear off and condemn
they will bind you with love that is
graceful and green as a stem.

When I left they were sleeping,
I hope you run into them soon.
Don't turn on the lights,
you can read their address by the moon.
And you won't make me jealous
if I hear that they sweetened your night:
We weren't lovers like that
and besides it would still be all right,
We weren't lovers like that
and besides it would still be all right.

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