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The wind carves shapes into the beach sand

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Nonduality Highlights: Issue #3693, Thursday, October 22, 2009, Editor: Mark

When we learn to deal directly with our complaints and difficulties, romanticized ideas about the spiritual path are no longer meaningful. We see that what is important is to take responsibility for ourselves, and to always be aware of our thoughts, feelings, and actions.

Tarthang Tulku, posted to Distillation

Question: How can we overcome the duality of the doer and done?

Maharaj: Comtemplate life as infinite, undivided, ever present, ever active, until you realise yourself as one with it. It is not even very difficult for you will be returning only to your own natural condition.

Once you realise that all comes from within, that the world in which you live not has been projected onto you but by you, your fear comes to an end. Without this realisation you identify yourself with externals, like body, mind, society, nation, humanity, even God or the Absolute, but these are all escapes from fear. It is only when you fully accept your responsibility for the little world in which you live and watch the process of its creation, preservation and destruction, that you may be free from your imaginary bondage.

- Nisargadatta Maharaj

Question: Does the Punya (merit accumulated from virtuous acts) extinguish Papa (demerit accumulated from sinful acts)?

Sri Ramana Maharshi: So long as the feeling `I am doing' is there, one must experience the result of one's acts, whether they are good or bad. How is it possible to wipe out one act with another? When the feeling that `I am doing' is lost, nothing affects a man. Unless one realises the Self, the feeling `I am doing' will never vanish. For one who realises the Self where is the need for Japa? Where is the need for Tapas (austerity)? Owing to the force of Prarabdha life goes on, but he who has realised the Self does not wish for anything.

Prarabdha Karma is of three categories, Ichha, Anichha and Parechha (personally desired, without desire, and due to others' desire). For the one who has realised the Self, there is no Ichha-Prarabdha but the two others, Anichha and Parechha, remain. Whatever a Jnani (Self-realised) does is for others only. If there are things to be done by him for others, he does them but the results do not affect him. Whatever be the actions that such people do, there is no Punya and no Papa attached to them. But they do only what is proper according to the accepted standard of the world - nothing else.

Those who know that what is to be experienced by them in this life is only what is already destined in their Prarabdha will never feel perturbed about what is to be experienced. Know that all one's experiences will be thrust upon one whether one wills them or not.

- Ramana Maharshi, from The Teachings of Sri Ramana Maharshi, edited by David Godman

Nirvana is the actual antidote or "active ingredient" in the medicine of the Dharma. A single, direct, nondualistic realization of emptiness eradicates permanently some portion of the desire, hatred, and ignorance that have bound one in misery for infinite cycles of time up until that moment. Repeated realizations over many lifetimes are still needed before all of the ancient roots of ignorance can be eradicated. During this training, the bodhisattva alternates between periods of meditation on emptiness and periods of compassionate action in the world. Even after the bodhisattva escapes samsara altogether, she must still practice for a long time to overcome the "hangover" of dualistic appearances, the aftereffects of having been ignorant for so long. Finally, these last limitations are cleared away and the bodhisattva becomes a buddha. A buddha continuously knows emptiness directly while also simultaneously acting compassionately in the world of persons and forms.

- Guy Newland, from Introduction to Emptiness: As Taught in Tsong-kha-pa's Great Treatise on the Stages of the Path, posted to Distillation

On Gambling

To a frog that's never left his pond the ocean seems like a gamble.

Look what he's giving up: security, mastery of his world, recognition!

The ocean frog just shakes his head. "I can't really explain what it's like where I live, but someday I'll take you there."


If you want what visible reality
Can give, you're an employee.

If you want the unseen world,
you're not living your truth.

Both wishes are foolish,
but you'll be forgiven for forgetting
that what you really want is
love's confusing joy.

Gamble everything for love,
if you're a true human being.

If not, leave
this gathering.

Half-heartedness doesn't reach
into majesty. You set out
to find God, but then you keep
stopping for long periods
at mean-spirited roadhouses.

In a boat down a fast-running creek,
it feels like trees on the bank
are rushing by. What seems
to be changing around us
is rather the speed of our craft
leaving this world.

- Rumi, version by Coleman Barks

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