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#3957 - Monday, July 19, 2010 - Editor: Gloria Lee

The Nonduality Highlights -    

'How can I be more like you?' she asked the guru.

And the guru answered: 'The best way to be more like me is to be more like you.'   —Alan Cohen     As long as there is a 'you' doing or not doing, thinking or not-thinking, meditating or not-meditating, you are no closer to home than the day you were born.

—Wei Wu Wei
  by Sandra Ma Percy on Facebook  

Trust With an Open Heart

"In order to communicate very openly with the world, you need to develop fundamental trust. This kind of trust is not trusting 'in' something, but simply trusting. It is very much like your breath. You do not consciously hold on to your breath, or trust in your breath, yet breathing is your very nature. In the same way, to be trusting is your very nature. To be trusting means you are fundamentally free from doubt about your goodness and about the goodness of others."

When we trust with our open heart, whatever occurs, "at that very moment that it occurs," can be perceived as fresh and unstained by the clouds of hope and fear. Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche used the phrase "first thought, best thought" to refer to that first moment of fresh perception, before the colorful and coloring clouds of judgment and personal interpretation take over. "First thought" is "best thought" because it has not yet got covered over by all our opinions and interpretations, our hopes and fears, our likes and dislikes. It is direct perception of the world as it is.

-Jeremy Hayward, read more at "First Thought"

Skillful Desires

All phenomena, the Buddha once said, are rooted in desire. Everything we think, say, or do—every experience—comes from desire. Even we come from desire. We were reborn into this life because of our desire to be. Consciously or not, our desires keep redefiningThe Buddha Enthroned our sense of who we are. Desire is how we take our place in the causal matrix of space and time. The only thing not rooted in desire is nirvana, for it’s the end of all phenomena and lies even beyond the Buddha’s use of the word “all.” But the path that takes you to nirvana is rooted in desire—in skillful desires. The path to liberation pushes the limits of skillful desires to see how far they can go. [...]

Trying to manipulate your desires like this is unnatural. Actually, you’re already manipulating your desires all the time, when you choose one desire over another, so you might as well learn to do it skillfully. And there are plenty of people out there only too happy to manipulate your desires for you—think of every advertisement you’ve ever seen, heard, or read—so it’s better to put the manipulation in more trustworthy hands: your own.

Trying to change your desires is an attack on your very self. This argument works only if you give your sense of self—which is really just a grab bag of desires—more solidity than it deserves. You can turn the argument on its head by noting that since your “self ” is a perpetually changing line-up of strategies for happiness, you may as well try changing it in a direction more likely to achieve true happiness.

To think of “skillful” and “unskillful” desires is dualistic and judgmental. You don’t want nondualistic mechanics working on your car, or nondualistic surgeons operating on your brain. You want people who can tell what’s skillful from what’s not. If you really value your happiness, you’ll demand the same discernment in the person most responsible for it: yourself.

It’s too goal-oriented. Just accept things as they are in the present. Every desire tells you that things in the present are limited and lacking. You either accept the desire or you accept the lack. To accept both at once is to deny that either has any real truth. To try to dwell peacefully in the tension between the two—in a “path of no craving” to be rid of either—is what the Buddha called limited equanimity, and what one Thai forest master called the equanimity of a cow.

It’s a futile attempt to resist such a divine and mysterious power. Desire seems overwhelming and mysterious simply because we don’t know our minds. And where would we be if we kept slapping the term “divine” or “cosmic” on forces we didn’t understand?

Arguing with unskillful desires is too much work. Consider the alternative: an endless wandering from one set of limitations to another, continually seeking happiness and yet finding it always slipping from your grasp, repeatedly taking a stance with one desire one moment and shifting to another desire the next. Right effort at least gives you one steady place to stand. It’s not adding a more demanding desire to the chaotic mix; it’s offering a way to sort out the mess. And the Buddha’s path holds open the hope of an unlimited happiness, preceded by increasing levels of happiness all along the path. In short, his alternative is actually the one that’s more enjoyable and involves less work.

- Thanissaro Bhikkhu, "Pushing the Limits"

Click here to read the complete article.

Almost an hour-long interview with H.H. the 14th Dalai Lama in his 75th year.

His Holiness is interviewed by Barkha Dutt for NDTV at his residence in Dharamsala in front of a live audience. This program was originally broadcast on July 6th, 2010.  

A reader's contribution by Gyan.

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