Jerry Katz
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Highlights #980

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Tuesday February 19, 2002


Clear Light/Dalai Lama

From a talk given by HH Dalai Lama. Oct. 11-14,
1991 New York City. Path of
Compassion teaching preliminary to Kalachakra.

"Question: When people hear of luminosity of clear
light that dawns at the
moment of death they ask why it is called clear
light. What has this got to
do with light as we know it?

Dalai Lama: I don't think that in the term clear light, light should be
taken literally. It is sort of metaphoric. This could have its roots in
our terminology of mental will. According to Buddhism, all consciousness or
all cognitive mental events are said to be in the nature of clarity and
luminosity. So it is from that point of view that the choice of the term
light is used. Clear light is the most subtle level of mind, which can be
seen as the basis or the source from which eventual experience or
realization of buddhahood, Buddha's wisdom might come about. Therefore it is
called clear light. Clear light is a state of mind which becomes fully
manifest only as a consequence of certain sequences of stages of
dissolution, where the mind becomes devoid of certain types of obscurations,
which are again metaphorically described in terms of sun-like, moon-like and
darkness. These refer to the earlier three stages of dissolution which are
technically called, including the clear light stage, the four empties. At
the final stage of dissolution the mind is totally free of all these factors
of obscuration. Therefore it is called clear light. Sort of a light.

It is also possible to understand the usage of the term clear light in terms
of the nature of mind itself. Mind or consciousness is a phenomena which
lacks any obstructive quality. It is non-obstructed."

"Kuan" part 1

Here is a tid bit (more like a snack) from something I'm reading-it may interest. Its Jan's fault. (if it was she
who mentioned Alan Watts. Quotes from "Nature, Man and Woman")

"If we pursue the question, "How then does feeling work?" recognizing that an answer in terms is no
answer, we shall have to say it works as if it feels from the inside, in the same way that we feel how to
move our legs. We can easily forget that this is a more intimate knowledge of our nature than objective
description, which is of necessity superficial, being knowledge of surfaces. Thus it is of relatively little use
to the scientist to know, in terms, how the brain works, for in practice he gets his best results when he
resorts to feeling or intuition, when his research is a kind of puttering without any specific result in mind.
He must of course, have a knowledge of terms which will enable him to recognize a result when he sees it.
But these enable him to communicate the result to himself and to others; they do not supply the result any
more than the dictionary. "Kuan" as feeling without seeking, or open awareness, is therefore as essential
to the scientist with all his analytic rigor, as to the poet. "Kuan" is no more a mind that is merely empty
than "li", the pattern of Tao, is a featureless blank. "Kuan" is not so much a mind empty of contents as a
mind empty of mind. It is mind or "experiencing" at work without the sense of the seeking and staring
subject, for the sensation of the ego is the sensation of a kind of effort of consciousness, of a confusion of
nerves with muscles. But as glaring and staring do not clarify the eyesight, and as straining to hear does
not sharpen the ears, mental "trying" does not enhance understanding. Nevertheless, the mind is constantly
making efforts to fight off depression, to stop being afraid, to get the most out of pleasure, or to compel
itself to be loving, attentive, patient or happy. On being told that this is wrong, the mind will even make
efforts to not make efforts. This can come to an end only as it is clearly seen that all these efforts are as
futile as trying to leap into the air and fly and useless as struggling to sleep. Everyone is familiar with the
contradiction of trying to recollect a forgotten name, and though it happens again and again, we never
seem to trust the memory to supply the information spontaneously. Yet this is the same as the effortless,
spontaneous and sudden dawning of an insight or realization. The difficulty is of course that the mind
strains by force of habit and that until it loses the habit, lets go, it must be watched-gently-all the time. The
sensation of ego as apart from the whole is the result of an excess of activity - using more energy than is
necessary to think, see, hear or make decisions. Even when lying on the floor, people make needless
muscular efforts to retain their position almost as if they are afraid of the organism losing its shape and
dissolving into jelly. All this arises from anxiety acquired in learning control and co-ordination, for under
social pressure the child tries to speed up his neural skills by sheer muscle power."

"Kuan" part 2

From: "Poetical Remains of the Old Gentleman of Chi
Mountain" - Lin

Scholars of old time said that the mind is originally
empty, and only
because of this can it respond (resonate-for my eye to
discern color it must
be free of color) to natural things without prejudices-
(Prejudices/traces -
what is left behind to infuence later vision). Only the
empty mind can
respond to things of Nature. Though everything resonates
with mind, the
mind should be as if it had never resonated, and things
should not remain in
it. But once the mind has received impressions of natural
things, they tend
to remain and not disappear, thus leaving traces in the
mind. It should be
like a river gorge with swans flying overhead; the river
has no desire to
retain the swan, yet the swans passage is traced out by
it's shadow without
any omission. Take another example. (from Chi Shan Chi).
All things,
whether beautiful or ugly, are reflected perfectly in a
mirror; it never
refuses to show anything, nor retains anything afterwards."

The Sutra says, "Good and ill are one; villainy and honesty
are of like
kind." Indeed, what standard have we whereby to discern
good from bad? We
can only take what suits the need of the moment and call it

go shopping for light

> that pic in the meanwhile received some scientific backing:
> The bright side of going out and shopping, it alleviates depression,
> which has been shown in health statistics.
> Jan

Laugh-agreed. At the end of six months of sensory deprivation also called a
Canadian winter, mobs of us (not able to get to Mexico this year) haunt the
Malls even just window shopping-o lookie, some color, hey, theres something
moving-could it be, yes..another person....a whole lot of folks-all
desparate to party. Mall practice is almost as much fun as airport lounge
practice. My friend tells me that I can get a SAD hat-some visor thing with
light bulbs to wear to cheer me up. I do have a plant room full of
gro-lights-I call it Cancun. I must go now and turn on Cancun for the day.

Having lived 49 years at a some 53 deg North, the issue is well known.
The skull doesn't shield completely hence a strong light has a profound
influence on the hormonal balance and once adjusted, a beneficial one.
When i left the 'dark lands', both running and light therapy were used
to treat depression but not the combination.

When in 1991 i left Tenerife after a long vacation, i took along seeds
from a plant growing at some 7,700 ft under unfavorable conditions:
always arid and extremely cold in winter too, and often stormy.
In my living in Belgium, with a total of 3,500 watts from halogen lights, the
seeds germinated speedily and then, started looking for something, apparently
missing - instead of growing upwards, they were creeping over the soil,
as if seeking for light. Soon, the plants lost any resemblance with their
Tenerife kin and i put them in the garden when winter was over. There,
despite the sheltered place facing South, the same behavior continued:
seeking for light... The plants didn't spot the sun and died, despite the
availability of better soil, more water, no storms....



I must go now and turn on Cancun for the day.


Thanks, Joyce! I'm enjoying the images that come to

Love, Mark
ps Now everybody go back to your business. There's
nothing to see here. Go on home now...


AHAHAHA! Actually, we all just got together and prayed.
It was all very somber. You'd be surprised by what turns on Cancun.



Hi Joyce,

Hee, hee! I'm living in an ashram and am finding myself rather
surprised at what turns me on.

Love, Mark

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