Jerry Katz
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Highlights #565

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Friday December 15, 2000

'Haiku and Empty Space' is a new article by David Hodges.


A straw mat;
The Milky Way aslant
In my saucepan



>Truly, perceptions of another based on words appearing from cyber
> space are a projective construct based on the minimal information
> that letters arranged in spatial sequence can provide.

I went to a customer service seminar yesterday, and the teacher told
us that our believability is composed 55% by our appearance, 38% by the way
we say what we say, and only 7% by the words that we say. He also claimed
that "85% of our behavior comes from what we think about ourselves...only
15% comes from reacting to someone's words and actions."

>In fact, why go back when there is some much just
> right here, now? Why rehash when there is fresh
> hash to be hashed?
Absolutely. People think having a good memory is fine, but they
rarely realize that having a good 'forgettor' is at least as important.

>And I'm not claiming to be a "realized sage", whatever
> that is, or what such a claim implies. I'm an ordinary
> human, not claiming that hostility doesn't occur here,
> nor that anxiety is foreign, nor love, nor peace, either.

Not claiming to be a sage, that's fine. Asserting that you are an
'ordinary human,' that is another thing. It tends to solidify the
difference between sage and ordinary, it implies that there are such people
and that you are different from them. I would say you are as much a 'sage'
as anyone I know.
There are three people who I wouldn't mind being the reincarnation of:
Hui-neng, Chuang-tzu and Rinzai. One of my favorite stories from Rinzai


The Master was entering an army encampment to attend a dinner when he
saw one of the officers at the gate. He pointed to a bare wooden gatepost
and said, "A common mortal or a sage?"
The officer had no reply.
The Master struck the gatepost and said, "Even if you had managed a
reply, it would still just be a wooden post!" With that he entered the

Hui-Neng (sixth patriarch of Zen) also speaks of the difference between the
ordinary man and the sage, and gives his version of the Dialectic (from the
Sutra of Hui-Neng, chapter X):

"...Whenever a question is put to you, answer it in the negative if it is
an affirmative one; and vice versa. If you are asked about an ordinary man,
tell the enquirer something about a sage; and vice versa. From the
correlation or interdependence of the two opposites the doctrine of the
'Mean' may be grasped. If all other questions are answered in this manner,
you will not be far away from the truth."

These quotes indicate that the distinction between sage and ordinary
man is a false one, that we are all both and neither. There is a sufi
story about one of the great sufi sheiks riding with a good number of his
followers, when suddenly his ass farted. The sufi started crying and
pulling his hair and clothes, and his disciples asked him what was the
matter? He explained that, just as the donkey farted, he had been thinking
to himself that he had really arrived, look at him here with all these
followers, and everyone thinking him a great man; to him the donkey's fart
was the voice of God telling him what he thought of the sheik's
Of course the ego would like to think itself a sage, but it is equally
wrong to think of ourselves as any less than the buddhas and patriarchs.


Who/what is the entity that isn't a witness? Is it the real I (=God or
whatever we may call it)? Is it the void as Buddha calls it? How can we
arrive at this state of unconditioning and total freedom?

When a name is given to "IT", that is suggestive of subject/object
relationship which doesn't apply. Yet there are names given and they open
the doors to speculation. As you will have grasped by now, once the ongoing
frenzy of the mind has subsided sufficiently, self-awareness is obvious and
of course it will appear to have been that way always. But when the mind
starts to function in the sense of "business as usual" again, nothing
appears to have changed. So whatever happens "next", does relate to the
mind-body. For some, the collapse of the conditioned mind will be automatic
whereas others will have to make an effort to "arrive" at that. Literature
on this collapse of the conditioned mind abounds, and often concerns
Kundalini. All discussions regarding "progress, stages,moksha, nirvana with
substratum remaining, nirvana without substratum remaining" are relating to
the collapse of the mind, a process that although gradual, does exhibit a
few "universal" road signs - "the holy grail" being another one.

The witness can only function when aware of events happening that make an
impression on the mind.
Differentiation is a function of the mind and a term like "empty mind" is
no more than an indication
that such a differentiation no longer is spontaneous, but more like a
"requested response" - for the sake of argument only.
Is it possible for someone to be aware of events without making impression
on his mind?

Not in the sense of "recording events" - recording just continues - but in
the sense of "reviving emotions". For the sake of argument, memory can be
described as having the property to recall an event and the emotion,
pertaining to the event. When the emotional property no longer works,
grudges, blaming, prejudice due to "improper" treatment etc. have lost both
meaning and impact; no experience can lead to an emotional bias anymore, as
the basis for that (emotional memory) no longer works. The emotional memory
could be compared to a white sponge - when a drop of red ink falls on it, a
relatively large area will become red - that is the emotional impression
and it will color adjacent areas red (influence judgement of- and behavior
regarding to- non-related events). Without emotional memory, every emotion
is "now and new" :-)


> A computer is a bunch of transistors and other hardware, and the
software is something
> else, the energy/information flowing in the circuits. Is there not
something analogous
> going on here? and if so, is it the neurons, or the
energy/information that is of
> interest?
> andrew

Whats of interest is the intense green brilliance of a gully of
shining ferns glistening along a mountain trail after a tropical
storm. What has energy is the awesome presense of a 1000 year old
tree. What is pristine is intense yellow ochre clay spontaneously
drawing one to touch. What holds still, deep, silent information is
an ancient cave. Why fumble for something analogous going on?
Absolute perfection is right here, right now, when the self is not.



andrew wrote:

I meant that the same light seems to be shining in everyone,
and it's as though
I see this light, in everyone's face.

we see the "others" like a projection
through what is perceived as self
light sees light
transparency in love with transparancy



dmarhas wrote:

Wake me up
Into a world of light
where there is
No language
To restrict me
No words, no deception
No contamination
Of spirit

Wake me up
Into a new life
Free of expectation
Where there is
No bondage to ideals
No promises
No naked bodies
To hide

Wake me up
Into a new dream
Where there is
No limitation, no force
To goad me
No desire, no panic
No conformation
To a reality

Wake me up
Make me feel I am born today
No ideas, no creativity
No commitment
No need
For survival

Wake me up


......What's the matter bunky, can't cope with the way things are?
You have incarnated into a realm which includes darkness, language,
deception, contamination, expectations, bondage to ideals, promises,
limitations, desire, panic,commitment, and an urge to survive. Grow
up and deal with it.


Actually, the consequence of not being able to cope with the way things are,
would be to give up involvement.
When "enlightenment" or death wouldn't be considered worthwhile or an escape
either, conditioning
would start to slide off like thick mud from a lotus leave. Such individuals are
rare though
- rather cling to pain or suffering than give up the lot - .



I would say, that it is complex in itself; it is a bundle of
information with the potential to significantly modify the workings
of any human organism. This 'bundle' is always available for
'download', or to say it another way, access is always possible. What
stands in the way of this potentially transforming 'invasion' of
upscaling information is 'identity', which some mistakenly refer to
as 'ego'. As long as identity is the _'dog in the manger'_, a human
is NOT functionally, a 'living alias' of the Living Universe.

There has been speculation, that this bundle of information is itself
alive, and that it survives by residing in text (or oral) form, to
then 'infect' via the optic or aural nerves. The libraries at
Alexandria may have been burned, with the motive to cause the
extinction of this living information.

Interestingly, today's internet has enabled global infection... the
effect of which, is a 'quickening' of each person's inner conflicts,
on the way to resolution.

The 'Great Secret', which is supposed to be well-hidden, is this:

_1 The human can survive and function superbly with NO identity; and,

_2 The real 'reason' for every battle of every sort that has ever
been fought, is for _memory-space_.

When we discuss 'emptiness', we are also discussing what intervenes
in that emptiness. To make what would otherwise be fleeting, into a
'permanent' fixture (artifact of memory), is the motive behind the
majority of human 'doings'. This can be compared to the impulse to
amass great amounts of gold or other wealth; the 'camel and eye of
needle' injunction seem to apply here, also.

> >The fact that these awarenesses can and do occur on a stepwise
>basis, is no cause for embarrassment, even though the idealistic
>viewpoint seems to differ.

>I would venture to say they *seem* to arise "stepwise" but there is
>really no telling how they arise, or if they're even arising at

What appears to be, is how we can see it. How it is, is what we
(admitted or not) would like to know.

> >snip
>The thing is, the question "what is memory" is prior to "what
>validity does memory have?" and also has no answer. How do salmon
>migrate back to their spawning ground, with such a tiny brain... or
>the monarch butterfly as pointed out in another post?
>Memory is an utter mystery. Perhaps it actually exists in everything
>living, even plants... perhaps everything EXISTING...

On the issue of memory:

Consider how Photoshop can be used to create a composite image,
composed of many 'transparent' layers. I see memory working in a
similar way. This is of course merely a speculation, but potentially
a useful one.

In each instant, impressions impose on perception; each impression is
separate from each other one. However, 'memory' is experienced as a
composite of all layers (discrete impressions). To see one, is to see
all of the many layers, at once, like looking through a stack of
clear glass plates. on each plate, is the impression of that instant.

As in the addressing scheme used by storage media such as the
hard-drive, each layer/impression is assigned an 'address', yet, to
access one single impression/layer can be very difficult. Hypnosis
can be used to address specific groups of layers/impressions.

To contrast this (above) concept to the usual assumption, compare
looking at a rod from the end (the view I am trying to present above)
as opposed to looking at the rod from the side. From the end, it
appears to be a 'dot', but from the side, it seems to be a line.

The line represents the usual 'linear' model of time. From this POV,
our 'impression-pictures' would be lined up like a series of pictures
on a museum gallery display, each one available for examination.

In contrast, viewed end-on from the 'now moment', the stack of
layered impressions would present what seems to be a rather muddied
or indistinct picture; all impressions are seen at once from the
'now'. I see, when looking at it this way, a picture of a multi-armed

Why would it look this way? Is there 'really' a multi-armed deity,
living independent of 'time'? The Hindu tradition says this is the
case, or at least, a certain group of useful metaphors is derived
from this viewpoint.

And because all impressions/layers are actually of 'me' (as were seen
by me), when I look into my 'memory', what I am really looking into
is a mirror. So the multi-armed, timeless deity is actually me.

"There is only Self".

>It just became clear that to remain at the heights of 'absorption'
>is really impossible, at least while the body is alive. I don't care
>if 24 hours/day are available, it is *impossible* to just dismiss
>the 'apparent universe' (as Shankara, for example, seems to do in
>some of his writings).

I take your point!

It is possible to open communications with Universe.admin, as is seen
in the lives of many advanced yogis and others. One version of this
is 'bliss'. It seems to take tremendous concentration and
self-discipline to enable this latent possibility. Universe.admin
access is always available, through 'surrender' (there is that
troublesome word again!) rather than will. Or I could say, that the
will to surrender, is actually the will to allow (abide) the
dissolution of identity, the 'dog in the manger'.

One who 'succeeds' in this, may become a living alias of the Living Universe.

The Living Universe, which we walk in, is Self; how we see this, is
as 'Display'. Our task is to abolish (from our selves) superstition,
which occludes, via superimposition, 'what is'.

In the meantime, nothing is wrong; "There is only Self".


from the Hui-Neng Sutra, Chapter X

"In the functioning of the Essence of Mind and in conversation with others,
outwardly we should free ourselves from attachment to objects, and inwardly,
we should free ourselves from attachment to the idea of the Void. To believe
in the reality of objects or in Nihilism results in fallacious views or
intensified ignorance respectively.
"A bigoted believer in Nihilism blasphemes against the Sutras on the
ground that literature (i.e., the Buddhist Scriptures) is unnecessary (for
the study of Buddhism). If that were so, then neither would it be right for
us to speak, since speech forms the substance of literature. He would also
argue that in the direct method (literally, the straight Path) literature is
discarded. But does he appreciate that the two words 'is discarded' are also
literature? Upon hearing others recite the Sutras such a man would criticize
the speakers as 'addicted to scriptural authority'. It is bad enough for him
to confine this mistaken notion to himself, but in addition, he blasphemes
against the Buddhist scriptures. You men should know that it is a serious
offence to speak ill of the Sutras, for the consequence is grave indeed!
"He who believes in the reality of outward objects tries to seek the
form (from without) by practicing a certain system of doctrine. He may
furnish spacious lecture-halls for the discussion of Realism or Nihilism,
but such a man will not for numerous kalpas realize the Essence of Mind.
"We should tread the Path according to the teaching of the Law, and not
keep our mind in a state of indolence, thereby creating obstacles to its
understanding. To preach or to hear the Law without practicing it gives
occasion for the arising of heretical views. Hence, we should tread the Path
according to the teaching of the Law, and in the dissemination of the Dharma
we should not be influenced by the concept of the reality of objects.
"If you understand what I say, and make use of it in preaching, in
practice, and in your daily life, you will grasp the distinguishing feature
of our School.
"Whenever a question is put to you, answer it in the negative if it is
an affirmative one; and vice versa. If you are asked about an ordinary man,
tell the enquirer something about a sage; and vice versa. From the
correlation or interdependence of the two opposites the doctrine of the
'Mean' may be grasped. If all other questions are answered in this manner,
you will not be far away from the truth.
"Supposing someone asks you what is darkness, answer him thus: Light is
the hetu (root condition) and darkness is the pratyaya (conditions which
bring about any given phenomenon). When light disappears, darkness appears.
The two are in contrast to each other. From the correlation or
interdependence of the two the doctrine of the 'Mean' arises.
"In this way all other questions are to be answered. To ensure the
perpetuation of the aim and object of our School in the transmission of the
Dharma to your successors, this instruction should be handed down from one
generation to another."


{{}{}{}{}...} wrote:

║How does an atom of Sodium 'remember' to combine with one atom of
║Clorine to make a molecule of salt?

If it WOULD remember, it could forget - and that just never happens :))



see message 48296 for image



>I believe that those who are involved in these lists can somehow
>picture their involvement as being with some kind of group. Without
>trying to describe it, something is pictured or imaged that describes
>the communion. It is know visually, viscerally, emotionally, mentally,
>and so on. The communion is brought into one's senses and being. That
>kind of consciousness or picturing is what I think could be built upon.

terry, responding to jerry:

There is (always, dialectically) a macro and a micro group. The micro
group is the members of the list itself; the macro group is the
identification each of us has with the cosmic egg, the nondual reality, the
Universe. Seeing this way I can move on and off the list with out
personally feeling any great discontinuity. I make the point because any
group devoted to Nonduality is likely composed of individuals who have to
some degree made that connection between themselves and literally everything

>Regarding political action, I have no model to refer to. I am not
>calling for anyone to do anything than what they are already doing. The
>action I'm really calling for is strictly attentional.

I agree with this. I encourage people to be mindful of truth at all
times, and to refuse to be convinced of what they know in their hearts is
false. That may not sound like much but it is a revolutionary act that will
ultimately set us all free.

What I do invite
>is simply awareness that when anything is done in the way of activism,
>political influence, social change, is that it be done with an
>awareness that the visualized and felt group of which each one is a
>part, is doing the the act. It's hard to say what I've just said
>without it sounding like mind control. However, I'm talking to people
>who are artists at attentional refinement and I trust I'm being heard
>in the purist way possible.

I found this paragraph hard to understand. I also think that social
change is the aggregate behavior of society, not something any individual or
even group can effect. But what people do reflects their core values, their
awareness of what is right, and that awareness can be affected by both
individuals and groups. I think groups have a greater effect, because we
are social animals, and it is easy to dismiss an individual's ideas and much
harder to do so when several agree.

>Although I've said let's start a political party, and though there's
>even been discussion of forming retreat centers and even buying a house
>several of us could live in, I think all those ideas are not as big,
>important or fundamental a simple change in attention as described in
>the preceding paragraph.

I was impressed with the seminar I went to yesterday. There were fifty
or sixty in the room, and the guy told me the businesses who paid the fees
were charged $59.00 for each of the fifty or so in the room. He also had a
load of books and tapes for sale which helped pay for the show.
That is a potential model, to do lectures on Nonduality, if there is
sufficient interest. What impressed me about the seminar I took is that so
many ideas from nondualism are present in these motivational seminars.
These are ideas that are genuinally inspirational and arouse great
enthusiasm and heightened feelings of self-worth. Such ideas - and in the
motivational seminar they stressed ideas which were empowering - are good
for communities and businesses. I am leary of the donation model; most
people like would be charged upfront rather than be pressured to contribute.
The 'retreat' idea, other than for teachers who then go out into 'the
world' to enlighten others, I'm not so sure about. It might work; it could
be combined with ecotourism and capture a niche market.
Communal living is a tremendous savings of money, and can be a great
way to assure the members of sufficient 'spare' time to reflect and enjoy
life; it is made easier if the members share values. It is a bit like a
marriage though, washing other people's underwear and cooking for them. Bad
marriages are painful things and divorce is expensive and difficult. Things
can be easy to combine and hard to separate.
A retreat could be combined with sufficient land to build a number of
small dwellings for permanent members. One's whole life can become a
showcase, part of the act. We're talking some serious human resources here.
Success in any of these endeavors would depend greatly on the actual
people doing the work. And people who are living and working together
aren't going to be part of an e-group any more. Success would be a bit like
hitting the numbers though, the payback would be an hundredfold or a

>Therefore, all I suggest is that a person do nothing other than what
>they are doing -- I'm not going to recommend causes we 'should' be
>fighting for. The causes aren't the point.

Causes, in fact, are like Views: Right View is to cling to no views at
all. Rather than be a member of a group which advocates ecological purity,
better to be part of a coalition of interests, a group combining hunters,
fishers, mining interests, forest companies, recreationalists and
ecologists, and come up with viable solutions to real problems that leave
people more-or-less satisfied and willing to continue to work together.

All I ask is that when
>anything is done, whatever it is, is that it be done not by the
>individual but by the felt group. I say this at the risk of sounding
>cultish, however I trust that people 'know what I'm talking about.'

The 'felt group' doesn't ring any bells here, jerry, I feel I am obtuse.

>That is the kind of action I would call for. It's strictly attentional.

As far as being associated with Nonduality, perhaps. People, I think,
are going to have individual 'causes' that appeal to them in particular,
perhaps due to things that have happened to them. Not everything needs to
be done in lockstep, eh?

>Out of that all kinds of movements and events would crystallize,
>including specific political actions. But to seek political change
>without the change in attention might not be so effective.

Yes, absolutely. Non-action is key. Let others fight the battles, and
us work for peace; perhaps as part of ad hoc coalitions with other
Non-Governmental Organizations. *Live* peace and others will emulate it,
peace is desirable and when it gets hard to find, people become willing to
change their values to get it.

>Now, to describe my call for action to any group other than
>nondualists, would be inviting blank stares, mockery, accusations of
>mind control, or, at best, support from New Age or religious groups
>which might be unable to accept a call for a slight attentional
>movement without incorporating it into a ritual, and not without
>standing firmly for that ritual and its particulars.
>We don't need rituals unless ritual is part of a person's real culture,
>as in the case of the Original People or part of an individual's
>personal and private ritual (we probably all have those). Let people
>practice their rituals. There's no specific rituals associated with
>this call for an attentional shift. I sense, Terry, that one could be
>put off by the ritualistic nature of the retreat opening near you when
>you say "are based on a special reverence for certain materials."

Perhaps one of our contributions to the field would be to strip away
the cultural baggage and get to the heart of the matter, which is
Nonduality, not Advaita or Zen or Taoism or what have you.
One of the reasons such retreats use the methods of hinduism is to give
credibility and structure to their program. You would need credibility and
structure for your NDS retreats as well.

Sure, to lots of people in hawaii 'meditation' is foolishness,
navel-gazing, slacker stuff. People here objected to the retreat in front
of the planning commission, they saw it as an outside organization using up
prime agricultural land (currently cows), an organization having no useful
local purpose. The hawaiians, like many other cultures, have a very
significant spiritual inheritance of their own, and might be amenable to
devices based specifically in their culture; there is little chance of them
adopting hindu ways or dress or methods or culture. Still, they might be
open-minded as far as whatever else works; and they said they would make the
space available to the community if they were not having retreats, so I
imagine their facilities could be rented, right down to the incense. I'm
personally not big on group meditations, especially where rigid postures are
required and people are allowed to hit you and shout at you. Dharma talks
are OK though, depending on the teacher. This is another case in which the
trappings of one of the great wisdom traditions is an aid to credibility and
structure. What will you say? What exercises shall we perform? Still, one
does not put new wine into old bottles, as I sense you agree.

>That, then, is the political agenda that I know. It's not like any
>other political agenda. It's a very simple way of changing
>consciousness. When combined with traditional ways of changing
>consciousness, such as debate, demonstration, education, expression
>through different media, the world itself, civilization itself changes.
>I hope I've struck the right chord with my description.
>How does this fit into your outlook?

Needs work, I'd say, but I am feeling obtuse, like I am missing what
you are saying here. Perhaps you could read my remarks and tell me what I
am missing here.

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