Thursday, July 24, 2014

Yoga Vasistha, The Supreme Yoga

(Yoga Vasistha is a Hindu spiritual text attributed to the sage Valmiki. It is believed by some Hindus to answer all the questions that arise in the human mind, and can help one to attain Moksha (liberation). It recounts a discourse of sage Vasistha to Prince Rama, during a period when the latter is in a dejected state. The following is a free transliteration of a salient portion of the much longer text, the Maharamayana.)

Simply by considering this Teaching with attention and devotion, everything that needs to be recognized is recognized – what could be easier?

However, if freedom from ignorance provokes no interest, then just walk on.

Those who seek lasting peace at heart will pay attention to these words, carefully inquiring into the root of both liberation and bondage, in order to discover their true nature.

Letting go of all clinging pacifies the mind, while fixation only disturbs it.
Still, we hold on tightly to our limiting beliefs and mental fabrications, grasping at this and avoiding that – how foolish!

We are relentlessly ruled by desire, so let’s at least want what’s best – the very freedom to which this Teaching points.

Nothing has any independent existence, there is only naturally occurring timeless awareness - utterly lucid awakened mind.

This expanse of spontaneous presence is the unborn ground of all that arises – a single state of evenness without interruption. 

Whatever appears is mind, but that mind itself in which dreamy phantasms arise and dissolve is empty of any self-essence.

There is nothing but unfathomable mind – neither creator nor creation -- only the limitless open spaciousness of pure awareness without center or circumference.
Regardless of how diverse or solid any dream phenomena may seem, their appearance itself is deceiving, since they are actually compounded from other dream phenomena, which are themselves dream compounds. 

No dream affects one’s true being, which is the light in which all dreams appear and disappear. Awareness alone is prior to consciousness, and awareness alone remains.
This awareness in which the play of consciousness rises and falls is none other than you – you are awareness.

The body is a vehicle in which spirit touches matter, and consciousness is born. You are not the body, or the consciousness which comes and goes. 

You are timeless awareness, the spontaneous presence from which is spawned the universe of appearances and possibilities.

What has no beginning can never end, what is forever unborn can never die.

Consciousness personified is the sense of self, but when the sense of self is recognized as empty of any inherent substance, pure awareness remains unchanged.

Consciousness is the dream – that which changes -- but whatever appears in the dream, you are not. You are before, during, and after the dream.

This pure spacious awareness is the same within all, and is not implicated by the dreaminess of whatever appears in consciousness.

There is no greater relief than to recognize one’s true nature, beyond the alternating cycle of birth and death, craving and aversion, pleasure and pain.

All suffering stems from ignorance of who and what we really are. Recognition is liberation.

Clinging to the belief “I am the body” is the true calamity, from which arise the poisons of greed, envy, delusion, and vanity.

The only real antidote is the direct recognition of our true nature, pure awareness, prior to and after the disappearance of the body vehicle.

It is only in consciousness that one indulges the dualistic notions of birth and death, knowledge and ignorance, nirvana and samsara, pleasure and pain, self and world, or even liberation and bondage. 

All that appears is consciousness, but consciousness itself is empty. 

Awareness of consciousness is emptiness, the source and basis of all, the ultimate principal. 

Beyond all intellectual comprehension, it cannot be attained, grasped, or manipulated.
It is not the dream, the dreaming, nor the dreamer.

It never arrives, and never departs.

It cannot be said to either exist or not-exist.

All appearances and experiences are transient and non-binding modifications of consciousness within the limitless sky of awareness. 

Awareness is the light behind consciousness which grants it the power to shine.

Awareness itself doesn’t change, nor is it modified by the happenings in the dream.
It is the motionless timeless background.

You are that.

See all else as a dream.

Monday, June 9, 2014

The End of All Understanding

Next, the aspirants, persisting in more ardent surrender, are taken up into simple awareness itself, and leaping beyond all sensible things, they pass as if from sleep to wakefulness, from hearing to sight. And, there, those things that are seen cannot be revealed because they are beyond all hearing and beyond all instruction by voice. For there, incomprehensibly heard, as the end of all speech, is Love, blessed forever, the end of all understanding, because Love is truth, and the end of all sense, because Love is life, and the end, finally, of all being, because Love is being itself, and the perfection of every creature.

Such things are shown in stages to one who submits to Love by unshakeable trust at the heart. For if the trust is great, it unites the aspirant with Love, so that the aspirant transcends all that is not in union with Love Itself. Without Love, trust is not living but dead, and not trust at all. None of the wise of this world can grasp true happiness if they do not know Love. None can see anyone happy except with you, Love. For everyone of happy spirit subsists in your Spirit, as the vivified in the vivifier. And thus in you the finite is united to the infinite and to that which cannot be united, and the incomprehensible is seized by an eternal fruition, which is a most joyous and inexhaustible happiness.

~ On Learned Ignorance
Nicholas of Cusa
1401 to 1464 CE

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Where God Comes From

Every once in a while in the course of timelessness, as the story goes, the universe contracts down to a point that is smaller than the period at the end of this sentence. As it nears the extreme extent of its contraction, sentient beings for the most part are shipped off to a happy land of radiant joy in the upper reaches of the possible places to land in such event. For a very long while, they live and play there with the greatest of ease, unbothered by snakes and fleas, with rays of pure light flashing from their mind-made bodies as they feed on rapture, float through the air as if there was nothing to it, and generally have a real good time. Every so often you can hear them shouting out in joy, “Hey, alright!” That’s because they are feeling good, and are moved spontaneously to make that understood! They may even start to imagine, given the extended happiness that they are experiencing, that this pleasurable condition will just go on forever. After all, it certainly seems like heaven, so why not?

Because things are the way they are, however, and sooner or later, after the lapse of a very long period as we might measure time, the cosmos begins to expand once again. In the course of this re-evolution, a vacancy one level down from Joy City opens up. As possible dwelling places go, it is really like a mansion with many attractive features, great views, excellent curb appeal, and so forth. Then a certain being, having reached his expiration code date, drops down from Happy Land and proceeds to occupy the vacancy made available in the course of the expanding universe. There he lives and plays with the greatest of ease, unbothered by snakes and fleas, with rays of pure light flashing from his mind-made body as he feeds on rapture, floats through the air as if there was nothing to it, and generally has a real good time (although not quite as good as the previous engagement). And he continues on in that enjoyment for a long, long period of time.

 After a while, however, as a result of dwelling there all alone for so long a time, there arises in him dissatisfaction and agitation, and so he says to himself: “Oh, I wish that other beings would come to this place!” Sure enough, just at that moment, due to their number coming up, certain other beings drop down from Joy City and find themselves knocking on the door of the first guy’s mansion. He is happy to welcome them in, and there they live and play with the greatest of ease, unbothered by snakes and fleas, with rays of pure light flashing from their mind-made bodies as they feed on rapture, float through the air as if there was nothing to it, and generally have a real good time (although it is not quite as much fun as the last place). And they continue on in that enjoyment for a long, long period of time.

 Eventually, the one who re-arose there first, pauses in the midst of his fun and thinks to himself: “Hey, I must be God, the Great One, the King of the Hill, the Top of the Heap, the Lord Himself, the Creator, the Supreme Being, the Almighty, the Father of all, and these beings have been created by me. Why? Because first I made the wish, and sure enough, they all appeared!"

Moreover the beings who re-arose there after him also think: “This must be God, the Great One, the King of the Hill, the Top of the Heap, the Lord Himself, the Creator, the Supreme Being, the Almighty, the Father of all. And we have been created by him. Why? Because we see that he was here first, and we appeared here after him.”

 Just so, the being who re-arose there first possesses longer life, greater beauty, and greater authority than the beings who re-arose there after him. One might say it’s an “early bird” kind of deal. In any case, in the course of time, it comes to be that a certain being, after dropping down from that glorious plane at the expiration of his code date, takes rebirth in this world. Having come to this world, it feels as if he has gone from home to homelessness. He sits down to ponder his fate, and after considering the matter for a good long time, he begins to remember his immediately preceding life (but none previous to that). In the meantime, others gradually drop down and join him in this world, filled alas with snakes and fleas and other bothersome things.

Remembering what had gone before, he exclaims to his new disciples: “We were created by Him, by God, the Great One, the King of the Hill, the Top of the Heap, the Lord Himself, the Creator, the Supreme Being, the Almighty, the Father of all. He lives and plays there in His heaven with the greatest of ease, unbothered by snakes and fleas, with rays of pure light flashing from His Body. He feeds on rapture, floats through the air as if there was nothing to it, and generally has a real good time. But we, who have been created by Him and born into this world, are impermanent, miserable, and doomed to perish. We better start offering stuff to Him, like those sheep over there.”

Just so, theistic religion is born, and what follows next – the confused history of the people -- is based on that initial misunderstanding about God and the universe.

~Based on a free transliteration of the Brahmajāla Sutta

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Hsin Hsin Ming

Verses on The Mind of Absolute Trust,

By Seng T'san

Satisfying the deepest longing
at the heart isn’t difficult – 

just practice letting go
of grasping and avoiding,
and recognize what remains
as your own native happiness.

When we cling to differences,
heart and mind conflict.

If you want to end the inner war,
don’t be for or against.

The argument with oneself
is the primal disease of the mind.
Relentless suffering.

Not awake to the deeper principle,
we persist in disturbing our natural harmony. 

Luminous spaciousness, empty and full --
that's the mind of least resistance,
the mind of carefree humility.

Habitually craving and avoiding,
we can’t allow mind’s true nature,
Clear Light, to reveal itself.

Don’t get bewildered by things;
don’t lose yourself in what changes.

Be at peace in the immaculate
transparency of all arising;
stop trying to be
a knower.

When we don’t live as Tao Itself,
boundless and non-dwelling,
we part ways with our natural happiness,
confusing ourselves with borrowed
schemes and dogmas, claims
and superstitions.

Believing the world is real, we're
ignorant of its deeper reality.

Denying the world is real, we're
blind to the selfless innocence
of all forthcoming things.

Open those eyes!

The more we think about it all,
the farther we are from the truth.

Dropping off both body and mind,
there’s nowhere we can’t go.

Returning to the heart, we’re welcomed home;
chasing appearances,we lose their source.

In one moment of unbiased clear seeing,
we can transcend both form and emptiness.

Don’t keep searching for truth;
just let go of all opinions,
and truth will find you.

For the mind surrendered,
all selfishness dissolves.

Free of doubt, fearless in love,
we can trust the universe

Nothing to gain, nothing
to lose - all is empty,
brilliant, perfect
in itself.

In the world of all-as-is,
there is no self, no non-self.

If we want to speak plainly,
the best we can point to is

At the heart of surrender
there’s no separation,
nothing to add
nor subtract:

no lost nor found,
no bondage nor liberation,
no here nor there,
no this nor that -- 

the awakened awaken
to this truth, as
this truth.

The tiny is as large as the vast
when conceptual distinctions vanish.

The vast is as small as the tiny,
when mental limitations dissolve.

Being is an expression of non-being,
non-being is no different from being.

Until we understand this truth,
we won’t see anything clearly.

One is all, all is one -- 
when this becomes self-evident,
what interest in stages or categories
can occupy one's attention any longer?

Preachers become obsolete.

The mind of absolute trust is beyond
all thought, all striving, all motive
to know, to cling, or to turn away.

It is non-dwelling mind,
perfectly at home, at peace,
for within it there is no past,
no future, no present --

only what is.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Rhapsody on a Discourse from Symeon the New Theologian

As we fall deeper into That which is already perfect, the One Who is without form or shape – Source Itself -- may manifest Itself in form and shape in order to experience Itself as that. Nor does the only One cause the Light to come to us and be present with us in solitary quietude only. But how? This One comes in a definite form indeed, though it is a Divine One.

Yes, the Divine does not shine in an incomprehensible, inaccessible, and formless light only, but also appears in a particular pattern or likeness, in the simplicity of ordinary creation, so as to come to know Itself in the living pulse and Radiance of Itself, and to submerge itself in the love It Is, all for the very sake of Love. Source is Love, and Love must Love.

We cannot possibly say or express more than this. Still, This One appears clearly and is consciously known and clearly seen, though invisible while even visible. Source sees and hears invisibly and, just as Love speaks, beloved to beloved, face to face, heart and soul to heart and soul - so the One Who by nature is God speaks to and through those whom by grace It has begotten as gods, in order to reveal Itself to Itself. They in turn become the Lover Who loves so fervently that they become like mirrors in infinite reflection of each other, with not a trace of self between.

Thereupon, your heart may find itself merged in the form of an effulgent light of deep peace and radiant joy. However comforting, this light is but the prelude of the immortal and primordial light; it is the reflected brightness of Source. When this Glory appears, every selfish thought will vanish and every stricture of the soul be loosened, even as every bodily clinging is released.

The eyes of the heart are utterly purified and see That to which all mystics testify. Then the soul sees, as in a clear and spotless mirror, even its slightest failures, and in such vision is brought down to the gentle abyss of humility.

Next, as it perceives the greatness of the glory, it is filled with all joy and gladness; it is struck dumb with amazement at this wonder beyond all hope and tears of heart-felt bliss pour forth. Thus of the old the new emerges, and original innocence is reborn. In this unceasing river of beatitude  all praise flows, though circumstances follow the natural course of coming into view and passing back into that from which they emerged - the primordial ocean of being itself. In deed and truth, all activities of nature are seen at last as naught but This One, the very Living One, 'I Am that I Am'. Even now, this is no secret to the Heart!

One who is united thusly, merged in the ineffable Light of unconditional Love, sees things of which I am not able to write. The mind beholds marvelous visions and is wholly illuminated and becomes as of light, yet is unable to conceive of them or describe them. This mind is itself light and sees all things as light, for it is not other than the light Itself.

One perceives the light in their soul and is in ecstasy. In such ecstasy one sees it from afar, but as they return to themselves they find themselves again in the midst of the light. They are thus altogether at a loss for words and concepts to describe what they have perceived in their vision.

The light already shines in the darkness, both by day and by night, both within and without. It shines on us without change, without alteration, without form. It speaks, works, lives, gives life, and changes into light those whom it illuminates. We bear witness that "God is light," and those to whom it has been granted to recognize this have all beheld the Lord as light.

Those who have received the Divine have received the Divine as light, because the light of Its glory goes before It, and it is impossible for It to appear without light. Just as one who looks at the sun cannot but fill their eyes with light, so too one who always gazes intently into their heart cannot fail to be illumined.