Jerry Katz
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Highlights #804

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Dear Gene & Eric,

When I was talking about 'abuse' as a teaching tool I had in mind the
Zen masters of old who would ask a question like 'What is the Way?'
and say '30 blows if you answer, 30 blows if you don't'! At other
times when the student was ready the master might physically kick
them over (kicking over their carefully thought out world view in the
process). That the student might get up and kick the master over in
return was generally viewed as a good sign that the student had
understood. Thereonin they were best friends if self deprecatingly so
and transmission had happened.

Of course nowadays everything is institutionalised and apparently in
a Japanese Zen monastery a tap with a stick is standard practise if
the poor zazen practiser is getting sleepy. Even worse the student
can even ask for wake up tap. Such is the nature of organised

So nothing new under the sun and I dare say the odd student got
kicked over who wasn't ready (and that never got recorded in the
books!). Of course once the 'shock value' ceases to exist (and I
don't personally subscribe to that kind of thing ayway by the way)
there would be no point in flogging a dead horse.

I rather think laughter is one of the most subversive things around
and a lot more fun.


I can't help you here. Not that you asked "me"! I do not try to "love


Nina, a little-known concept is that if you 'want it all', you have
to be able to 'accept it all'.

How is it possible to 'have it all' while having only part of it (the
'good' part).

Crime and Punishment - Dostoevsky... oops ...Nisargadatta

Punishment is but legalized crime. In a society built on prevention, rather
than retaliation, there would be very little crime. The few exceptions will
be treated medically, as an unsound mind and body. (512)
Pain and pleasure, good and bad, right and wrong: these are relative terms
and must not be taken absolutely. They are limited and temporary. (264)
There is no evil, there is no suffering; the joy of living is paramount.
Look, how everything clings to life, how dear the existence is. (384)
There is no good and no evil. In every concrete situation, there is only
the necessary and the unnecessary. The needful is right, the needless is
wrong. In my world, even what you call evil is the servant of the good and
therefore necessary. It is like boils and fever that clear the body of
impurities. Disease is painful, even dangerous, but if dealt with rightly,
it heals. In some cases death is the best cure. (283-4)

With Love,
Cyber Dervish

poems by Michael Read

life is not fair
cares not for your belief system
holds nothing sacred
will sucker punch the mighty
elevate the lowly
permeates everything
cannot be held back
will not go forward
struggles until the bitter end
gives up easily
defies description
is obvious
plays as fanatsy
cries as reality
is given freely
and as freely - taken away

you are the universe incarnate
live as you will

peace - storm - eternity - Michael


if you do not see god
who is looking?


Self-realization is thought to be possible only by surrendering all effort to achieve it. Some think that
a practice is required to prepare the body-mind before this effortless surrendering might take place.
Both views seem valid, depending on the conditioning of the individual body-mind.

My approach has been to assess the conditioning of my body-mind through self-inquiry as to what
is blocking the ability to surrender all effort. Of course that would seem to put me in the bind of
making an effort to be effortless. But is that really true?

Suppose I was to discover that what was blocking and motivating my effort to be effortless was a
great deal of stress that was heretofore unnoticed.

Would the conscious relaxation of that stress be considered an effort?

Greg Goode

Hi Ed,

Below you make a good point about stress, I have a URL for you on that....

The effort/no effort distinction depends on your outlook. What seems like effort now will be seen after the
realization you seek as effortlessness. Why? Because wanting realization, however you understand it, IS

It is sort of like the descriptive/prescriptive distinction. At first, the pronouncements and teachings seem
prescriptive, that there is much to do. Later, after the seeking has stopped, it is seen that what was
prescribed was actually nothing more than a DEscription.

Effort/no effort are like this. After the realization that was sought, it is seen that there was no effort at all.
So "effortlessness" becomes kind of a description.

If the question arises as to which side of the diestinction is true, then effort will be applied, and it will
continue, till it doesn't. If there is a feeling of wanting to do something, then you can't make this feeling go
away just by hearing and thinking about a teaching on non-effort. What actually happens is that effort is
made, along a finer and finer line towards the goal. One will follow this ever-more refined line till it reaches
its conclusion. What makes the line finer and finer is the discovery that more and more just doesn't work,
so the area sought will thin out over time. The conclusion partially involves the insight that hits you
intellectually, emotionally and physically that there CAN'T be effort at all, and that it's all right here, right
now, and always was.

You mention stress. This is a good point. If there are subtle levels of stress going on, then one can't
imagine how things would be without them. If stress leaves, clarity and good feelings arise that one never
know possible before. There are some therapeutic techniques that two of my friends took that helped
immensely. They have been studying advaita and later, practicing Buddhism for decades. And when they
did this technique, lots of stress left the body and mind. One of the techniques I know about is called
EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing). ( It is like guided questioning
and inquiry while also getting the body involved. It is said to be powerfully effective for survivors of
traumas, abuse, war, crime, as well as other things such as depression, self-esteem issues, etc.

This is a very insightful and important question you ask!

Pieter S. Samara

Dear Ed,

Ramana Maharshi has said that until realization comes effort is required,
once realized you cannot make effort even if you tried.

Effort is like using a stick to stir a fire, once the fire is stirred, you
toss the stick in with the fire.

Yoga and self-enquiry are using Maya like a stick to churn the fire in the
nerves, which results in a purification, balancing and sudden isolation of
the seer, the subject "I"

We feel the sensation of "I" along with the sensations of the body and
images, impressions and thoughts in the mind and assume that there is an
identity between the 2. Enquiry (and yoga practiced for spiritual purposes)
is simply meant to "isolate the seer." Once the seer is isolated, there is
a pulling sensation in the Hrdayam, like Steve Hawkins Singularity of a
Black Hole, which sucks in the "I" dissolving the attention to the body
sensations and mind and in the process outshining everything.

In the Middle Ages, the stars were often described as being pinpricks in a
shroud that covered the world, behind which was the infinite light and glory
of God. This analogy is not far from the Truth, but with the difference
that the pinprick is the Spiritual Heart, the Hrdayam, which is the
all-pervasive substratum of everything seen and unseen (conscious,
subconscious, unconscious, superconscious).

Stilling the mind is an essential in the beginning. Once the sense of "I"
is isolated, which is to say that you have recollected your True Self, you
abide as That and the activities of the body/mind continue automatically,
without attention, without a sense of being the doer. The pulling sensation
in the Hrdayam turns the mind inward and the "whole body is filled with

A longing to know the Truth is also essential, but you wouldn't have posted
the question of that wasn't there already.

Greg Goode

Maybe it's shorthand for no *separate* self.

In Buddhism, no-self teachings are gauged and have many levels, and they
pertain to the "ulitmate" nature of persons and things:

-some Buddhist teachings do emphasize a self - the object of these
teachings is not philosophical or insight-based, but rather to encourage
ethical behavior.
-no permanent self that is separate from the body/mind (like a soul in
Christian teachings - one can stretch this to mean no "atman" or Brahman -
the least subtle teaching of no-self)
-no self-sufficient, substantial entity (like owner or controller of
-no inherently-existing self (no self that is independent from imputation
by language or thought - the most subtle teaching on no-self)

Both persons and other objects like tables and chairs are said to lack a
self of this ultimate kind. But persons and things have conventional
selves - the self that goes to the store, writes e-mail, etc.

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