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.


Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Prayer of St. Francis


all polarity is perfectly

resolved in Your Peace --

hatred and love, injury and pardon,

doubt and faith, despair and hope,

darkness and light, sadness and joy

are complementary expressions of

essential unity functioning as

Your Play in time and space.


Divine Friend, by Your Grace

all seeking to be consoled,

to be understood,

to be loved

is surpassed by the natural

motive to comfort, heal, and bless,

for it is in relinquishing our demand to be

consoled, understood, forgiven, and loved that

we become true to Love, just as it is

in the death of our willfulness that we are

born to the eternal life of Thy Will.


Saturday, July 14, 2012

Gaudupada Re-Visited

(Musings based in part on the writings, such as the Māṇḍukya Kārikā, of Sri Gaudupada, (c. 8th century CE), a prominent early Teacher in the Advaita Vedanta school of Hindu philosophy. He is traditionally said to have been the grand-guru of the great teacher Adi Shankara, one of the most important figures in Hinduism).

Nothing we can see, think, or know is actually real. From the angle of vision coincident with awake awareness, there’s neither birth nor death, neither appearance nor disappearance, neither creation nor destruction, neither bondage nor liberation. There’s none who works for freedom nor is there any who is liberated – this is the truth proclaimed by Sri Gaudupada, and elaborated by the sages of Advaita.

The wise know that there’s neither unity nor plurality – the world is neither one nor many. It's more like a virtual reality game, and we have taken our places here in these game bodies to test ourselves, to see what we are really made of deep down at the core. Whatever appears in life or vision is part of that test, to gauge what our reaction will be. We are not here to acquire some enlightenment that is not already true of us, and progress through various stages until we arrive at some exalted destination. We ourselves are the destination -- we go nowhere. There's never been a human being in need of honor, protection, and freedom. That's all props and stage sets for the game, the play of consciousness, the dream.

The external world has no existence independent of the consciousness which perceives it. Mere perception and practical utility cannot prove the reality of the world. For even in dreams there is perception and practical utility – water in a dream can quench the dream thirst as much as real water can quench real thirst. The waking state is on par with the dream state, and both are real within their own order -- that's important to recognize. But from the ultimate standpoint, both are unreal.

Reality is the pure Essence of Self – the ultimate subject, which is radiant consciousness. It is not the empirical self, because that which has empirical existence cannot be ultimately real. The real is pure consciousness, awareness itself, which is immanent in both the subject and the object and yet transcends them both. It transcends the trinity of the knower, known and knowledge. It has neither attachment nor connection nor relation to anything else. It is self-proved, self-existent, innate and uncaused. Even to say that it is the “unborn” is valid only from the empirical standpoint – for it is beyond the intellect.

The self-luminous Source, by the power of its own illusion (Maya), imagines itself by itself and it is this Self which cognizes the ephemeral diversity of the world, with all its drama and shifts and upgrades and downgrades, and so on to infinity. Just like a rope, which is mistaken for a snake, the Self is mistaken to be the individual subjects, the mental states and external objects that constitute our 3-D take on what's what. And just as when the rope is known, the imagined snake vanishes, likewise when the non-dual Self is realized, the duality of subject and object disappears.

The non-dual Self is realized when the individual self (soul) passes the tests it has established for itself in the 3-D program and is awakened from its amnesia. The Absolute is unborn, dreamless, sleepless, motionless. It's "where" all the categories of the intellect are merged, where all duality finally ceases. There’s neither going to nor coming from it. It is the "Lord" immanent in the universe, abiding in the hearts of all. It is realized by the sages who know the essence of reality, and are free from greed, envy, hatred, delusion, and attachment to any dreamy outcome arising from virtual causes and conditions.

The Absolute is like space, and souls are like space placed in containers of various sizes, shapes, and descriptions. When the bottle is broken open, the space in the container merges into the open space. Likewise, when ignorance is destroyed through direct recognition, the soul merges into Source. Spaces in bottles may differ in form, function and name, but still there’s no difference in space. Likewise though the souls may differ in form, function and name, yet still there’s no difference in Source. All elements, subjective as well as objective, are by their nature serene from the beginning, unborn and merged in the Absolute. They are so because they are nothing else than Source itself, which is unborn, uncaused -- only. In truth, there is only "This". All else is ignorance, delusion -- virtuality.

So what constitutes the "prison", this container, which is the apparent cause of our seeming bondage? The container is nothing but ignorance, including the belief that we are the body-mind organism. The test is to see through that delusion. Duality is the product of the intellect and when the intellect is transcended, duality disappears. What’s left is pure awareness, devoid of all thought determinations and imagination. It is the serene eternal Light behind the mind. It is incomprehensible bliss, which transcends happiness and misery. It is indescribable, unborn, changeless and non-dual.

If I was to cut to the bottom line, I'd say . . .

"It's You!"

"We live in illusion and the appearance of things. There is a reality. We are that reality. When you understand this, you see that you are nothing, and being nothing, you are everything. That is all."

~Kalu Rinpoche

Saturday, June 16, 2012

A Little Han Shan

Some might laugh at my poems but no matter --
they’re fine just as they are, and fun besides!

They need no commentary, no studious explanation,
not even any signature.

Who even cares if they're read or not --
certainly not me!

The pine just sprouts needles,
the wind just blows.

I have no literary pretense, no wordy ambition,
but still, these poems can offer a taste of light.


If you would read my poems,
prepare yourself well: be pure of mind.

Open your tight-fisted heart; flatter none
but honesty with your authentic voice.

From the bag of Self, unpack selfishness;
refolding what remains, your Buddha-body.

This is your first assignment. Do it now,
and quickly. I speak the law of what's true.

In our hearts, I'm not the same as you --
if in your heart you should become like me,
then you can reach the core of it too.

I choose to bray at the cock-eyed moon,
to dance through mountain clouds at dawn.

Why bury my hands in my sleeves,
place a lock on my tongue, tie legs in knots
and sit like a stone?

My hair flows and cascades!

Among the winding creeks and towering crags
there lives a happy hermit of a man.

In daylight he wanders freely 'round the mountain,
intoxicated by the mere existence of anything.

At night he sleeps wherever he pleases,
at home in any cave or pine needle nest.

Let all the springs and summers pass themselves,
selfless peace and serenity wrap around him
like a robe of comfy light.

What a great and indescribable pleasure -
Real Freedom!

Suchness sometimes means just sitting,
relaxing, in a cool autumn stream.

On Tien-Tai Mountain I make my home,
clouds and fog keep the tourists away.

This very life is a magic picnic
laden with oodles of bliss!

Tzon Tze said:

`The good death you are having
makes the earth and sky your coffin.'


The Unborn is prior to this world --
it has no form, health or disease.

It's the master of all things,
following nothing, at rest in all.

Climbing Cold Mountain --
the path forward never seems to end.

In the long stream there are many stones;
on either shore the grass is the same.

White clouds silently drape the hillside,
the peaks are obscured in the morning mists.

Building my hut was easy enough -- just borrowed
some light from essence of moonshine.

Wild deer make an excellent audience!

A man beyond both existence and non-existence,
I thoroughly enjoy this beautiful life!

Birth and death are just like water and ice.
Water becomes ice and ice turns to water.

There is nothing otherwise.

Han Shan-Tze,
Ever Thus!

Living alone --
no birth, no death!

I stand on the peak, lit by bright sunshine,
gazing out at the clear blue sky.

Crane and friendly clouds fly by, beckoning me
to pick flowers down by the lovely riverbank!

We play till dusk, watch wind rising, waves rippling,
water birds lifted on wings of flight.

Afloat in this boat my mind expands --
no place to hide, essence of space!

Now the old year is gone, the spring has come.
Flowers smile at the stream, cliffs dance
playfully in clouds and mist!

Butterflies seem so glad, while
fish and birds are sporting like mad!

Our friendship is endless, I am so happy
I can no longer sleep!

How sublime is this nature --
creation with no creature therein!


The Tao is like a stream from nowhere,
yet there is water in every mouth!

I gaze far off at Cold Mountain's summit,
alone and aloft above the crowding peaks.

Pines and bamboo sing in the swaying winds,
sea tides wash beneath the shining moon.

I gaze at the mountain's green borders below
and ponder philosophy with the puff-ball clouds.

In the wilderness mountains and forests are fine, but
I yearn for my companion to delight in this Way.

Han Shan was a Chinese hermit who lived in a world called Cold Mountain in the T'ien-t'ai Range that spans the coast of Chekiang Province, south of the Bay of Hangchow, in the late eighth or early ninth century. Mostly what we know of him originates from a mysterious intuition that is shared by that which is Free in all of us, and from a preface, written by a T'ang Dynasty official named Lu-ch'iu Yin, for Han Shan's collected Cold Mountain Poems:
"He looked like a tramp. His body and face were old and beat. Yet in every word he breathed was a meaning in line with the subtle principles of things, if only you thought of it deeply. Everything he said had a feeling of the Tao in it, profound and arcane secrets. His hat was made of birch bark, his clothes were ragged and worn out, and his shoes were wood. Thus men who have made it hide their tracks: unifying categories and interpenetrating things."
Lu-ch'iu Yin sent clean clothes and incense to Kuo-ch'ing Temple, near Cold Mountain, asking that the gifts be delivered to Han Shan and his friend Shih Teh. But on the approach of the messenger, Han Shan disappeared inside a mountain cave. Shih Teh vanished too. Lu-ch'iu Yin then asked the monks to collect any of the poems they left behind.
Many claim that Han Shan was the incarnation of the Bodhisattva Manjusri. People say a lot of things, but Han Shan paid little mind to the opinions of dreamers and interpretations of myth-makers, choosing instead to play among the peaks and white clouds of his beloved Cold Mountain, and leave the world behind.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Amritanubhav, by Jnaneshwar

Moved by a love indescribable, we adorn ourselves with the passionate radiance of each other's dreamy form, Lover and Beloved, to celebrate the engaging mystery of duality's play of conciousness.

How amazing, this miracle of Love -- that the Beauty we are can know and honor itself as two, not-two!

You and I both share the same unspeakable Divinity, and are consumed in the same fire at the Heart.

At the playful banquet of our dervish delight, we have become each other's hunger, food, and satisfaction.

What elegant sufficiency is this!

If they say we are two, we say, "Not so!" If they say we are one, we can only smile in reply and skip away.

No one can say exactly what we are, nor can we.

What use are names and forms to such lovers, for whom the whole multiverse is one great juicy plum!

Our yearning is our secret -- what greater bliss than this?

It's our yearning that draws us into these luminous forms so we can gaze back upon our essential unity in awe and wonder, clapping and spilling warm tears of pure happiness!

What can disturb this unity, if there is nothing else but this unity itself?

Even to call it "Unity" is a kind of superimposition, a puny fantasy of knowing in the face of the magnificent Unknown of our true being.

Even though the entire world of apparent phenomena is but a tiny cell within our infinite body, never for a moment do we let some sense of separation come between us.

Both the sentient and inanimate arise, sustain, and dissolve within our own vast emptiness, so why talk about an "other"?

Wrapped in robes of golden light, we dwell together in the same heart, as that very heart itself.

Reclining on the perpetually flowering blossom called "Endless", we persist, indivisible, and yet out of such Supreme Enjoyment we have conjured a magical sense of self and not-self with which to play.

In child-like innocence, we've dreamed a fictional story of "you" and "I", but when our true intimacy is recognized, we cannot help but drop off the different masks and merge again into our prior union.

Without you there is no me, and without me there is no you. I am, because you are, and you are, because I am.

How sweet is that, how utterly sublime!

Although even the immensity of the universal manifestation is too small to harbor us, nevertheless we can blissfully exist within the smallest atom.

Your life is mine, mine is yours. Not even a blade of grass can grow between us.

We live in a house called "The Vastness".

When you doze off, I stay up all night and act out both our roles. You do the same for me. What ingenious fun!

When we awaken in each other's arms, the whole multiverse dissolves into quiescent extinction without remainder.

For the sake of the game, we pretend to be two, but the aim is always to realize again our basis -- Oneness.

We're both seen and see together, live and are lived together, by virtue of the sheer divine perfection that we are.

Such is our happiness, that we have become all polarities: light and dark, male and female, day and night, hot and cold, hard and soft, yes and no, and yet we are also beyond both affirmation and denial. Beyond even that!

Through our union, everything has its existence. By the light of our Presence, all becomes visible, bright and alive.

Two voices, one sound.

Two flowers, one scent.

Twin flames, one light.

Two lips, one kiss.

Two eyes, one vision.

God and Goddess, one celestial realm.

Though appearing as two, forever united.

Always drinking from the same chalice, always dining from the same bowl.

You cannot live without me, and without you, I cannot even appear.

How can we be told apart?

I appear because of you, you exist because of me.

Who can tell honey from its sweetness, or wetness from water?

The sun and its light are not two, and so it is with you and I.

The world of form and function is but our playful reflection.

If "to be" meant to be many, none of this endless multiplicity could be, unless we are.

Whatever appears is mind, but we are before mind.

Out of pure emptiness, the unspeakable void, you gave birth to the entire cosmos.

In Union, nothing is seen or known, so out of the abundance of your grace, you brought forth the multiverse as your happy play.

I assume the Witness position, out of love of watching you.

What I behold is your inifinite form -- a Glory words can't touch.

You adorn me with that very Glory, by melting yourself and becoming everything, and all I need do is step out of the way!

In the incomparable thrill of watching you, I can behold the grand totality of the cosmic manifestation. Amazing!

If I couldn't exult in your creative dance, I wouldn't have even come here.

I'd have no reason to exist.

I assume the form of all phenomena as a robe you've woven out of love for me. Without your gift, I'd be naked.

It is only through your graciousness that I appear.

You awaken me and serve me a breakfast the size of the galaxies.

It is good!

I swallow the floating worlds in a single gulp, and then I swallow you too!

This makes us laugh out loud, and we are consumed in pure joy.

Look! Now I am hiding, and can't be found without you, because we are mirrors for each other, each revealing the other.

Since there is no other, this makes us laugh all the more!

Embracing you, I embrace my own bliss.

The love I bring to you is your own love, circling back to you in return.

The simple mechanics of this natural loving is our supreme happiness, though in reality nothing happens. This recognition makes us even happier!

We enjoy the nectar of union by blending and merging, though we have never been separated.

For true lovers, this is no paradox.

Though all the joy of the world is mine, there is no joy without you.

Shiva and Shakti are one, like incense and its fragrance, like fire and its heat, and cannot be separated.

If night and day were returned to the sun, there would be no difference between them.

In the same way, the veil of duality would dissolve if our essential unity was realized.

In the Light of the Supreme Truth, there is no difference between Shakti and Shiva, nor between you and I, Beloved.

When we discover our prior Unity, all words, thoughts, and interpretations melt into silence.

Still, the ocean can enjoy its waves, just as a flower its own fragrance.

Likewise, all can enjoy the vision of Shiva and Shakti, even though there is no real and enduring separation from them.

When the wind becomes still, ripples merge back into the water. When the night is over and dawn breaks through, the one who was sleeping awakens.

Just so, when the sense of separate self is seen through and abandoned, as if it were merely last night's dream, all returns to the clear light of Union.

When the lid is removed from a jar, the air inside rushes out spontaneously and merges with the outside air.

This is how we honor our fundamental truth -- by joyfully seeing through and discarding all superimpositions and facades of separation, thus realizing our prior and immortal nature -- Union.





Sunday, May 6, 2012

Analects of Kung Si Hsiang

(Note: The following text is not my transliteration. It is a document I found in my files from nearly a decade ago, with no attribution. Moreover, I have attempted to track down the two characters, Kung Si-hsiang and Liang Tou-nao, but without success. This leads me to conclude that the story is a fictional work, but intriguing nonetheless, especially for its keen insight and eloquent exposition. If any reader does happen to be aware of the work's origin, I would be most appreciative to be notified.)

The Great Sage Kung Si-hsiang was out and about in her garden one early morning with her favorite young protégée, Liang Tou-nao. After watching a small army of ants go about their business, the young woman suddenly asked, "What, I wonder, is the meaning in our lives?"

Well, that question is posed to Great Sage Kung by every person who seeks wisdom from her. Such people want to be handed a belief, some comforting temple bauble gotten cheap and carried away in the pocket of their minds to be later taken out when needed to bolster one's existential angst or to impress other, even greater, fools.

Usually, Great Sage Kung responded to those seekers with some metaphorical phrase that has a profound ring, but which is vague to the extent of being void of sense altogether. Often, the hidden and uncomplimentary message to the inquirer was "If you have to ask, then you are incapable of understanding the answer." or simply "Such a stupid question is quite in character for you." Such messages are, of course, never frankly stated, but rather are heavily veiled in ironic or even self-contradictory parables or in terse assertions that seem as pithy kernels of true understanding, but which always evaporate completely when clear thought is applied to them.

But Liang, in her usual way, was not asking to be handed an answer as talismans are handed out at the temple. Rather, she was taking the first step in her own search for understanding, so Kung gave a sincere response.

Kung: "The meaning of life? Well, I've never given it any serious thought. Why should our lives have any particular meaning?"

Liang: "Well, these ants that I see are so busy and earnest, each driven to do what it's doing. Their actions have results that are beneficial to them and to their collective. The overall effect of their behavior is that the colony survives, grows and creates new colonies in other places. The ants and their colony both seem to have purpose, but there is no meaning to the life of an ant beyond the effect of its behavior, because its behavior is simply that of a machine. It merely reacts according to its rather complex, but fixed, nature."

Kung: "Well, that seems to be true as you've said it."

Liang: "When I see the ants, I am reminded of people. Especially in the city, we scurry about, following common paths, driven by natures that are largely similar. As individuals and as society, the effects and purposes of our activity seem quite the same as those of the ants, especially when viewed by some distant entity in the same way as I am viewing these ants."

Kung: "Yes, I would say so."

Liang: "But people are different from the ants, aren't we? Our individual behavior is greatly more complex. Our actions result from the interplay of countless competing motivations, and we are capable of understanding and manipulating our own motivations and those of our fellows. We are capable of deciding what to do or what to not do. Also, we are aware of our own existence."

Kung: "Well, it's hard to not agree. Looking at the details, there is a lot more going on with people than with ants."

Liang: "Not only can we model the real world and describe it to others, we are also capable of imagining things that are not real. We can postulate things that are intangible. We can abstract concepts. We understand good and bad. We are even capable of believing things that can be demonstrated as false and basing our actions on those beliefs. Our minds are rich and boundless. We are free. We each have a soul. We are quite special in this way, a unique phenomenon in the universe."

Kung: "So it seems, indeed."

Liang: "Because we are aware of ourselves and free to decide and to believe and to act according to our will, it is essential to know the meaning of life. There must be a grand scheme, an immutable definition of good and bad by which we can exercise our freedom of thought and action and fulfill a higher purpose, a destiny even."

Kung: "It is certainly easy and appealing to think in that direction."

Liang: "But then, what of these amazing abilities of ours? To begin with, our ability to imagine is good in that it allows us to consider the future with more flexibility and increases our chances of finding a solution to a problem. The bad side of that coin is that it allows us to not only consider false and unreal ideas, but, combined with that complex soup of motivations that we call personality, it allows us to accept untruths and make them part of our understanding and beliefs."

Kung: "That cannot be doubted by any reasonable mind."

Liang: "Also, looked at in a practical light, our unique mental powers give us the advantage of a better ability to make predictions about events in the world we live in, thus giving us unprecedented power to control that world and alter it. However, that may increase our ability to survive or it may reduce it. Indeed, these great mental powers make us quite capable of exterminating not only ourselves as a species, but most other life on the planet as well. I have to wonder whether any ability so dangerous can really be considered an advantage, to say nothing of a source of pride. The ants, at least, without any concept of self or higher purpose, are not dangerous to themselves or the ecosystems in which they participate."

Kung: "I can see wisdom in that thought."

Liang: "A sense is growing within me that this concept that life must have some higher meaning that is above nature, is a false concept, like so many of our other self-centric concepts, including 'mind', 'free will', 'Good and Bad', and even our most treasured concept of 'self'. These are actually no more than useless, delusionary abstractions to which we assign great, but undeserved, importance out of some dysfunctional need to feel good about ourselves. Such thinking is surely a tortuous path leading to a dead end that is charmingly disguised as a goal."

Kung: "Let's sit here by the stream for a while, and watch the clear water flow over the rocks."

Saturday, March 31, 2012

Song of Solomon


my Beloved!

Let us go fearless to the bonfire!

Let us spend our dark night among the holy

hyenas and all that would rip and tear at

our facades until we are cleansed raw

of any pretense, any subtle sense of self

believed in need of preserving.

Let us rise early to the mist-kissed vineyards,

let our lingering sleepiness and dreamy self-images

 be crushed like bunched grape clusters --

tart juice to sweet fruit wine.

Let us see if the vine of real love has budded,

its vulnerable tenderness blossomed open, light

into light, a song, a miracle of sound birth,

what no heart has even known, this

particular touch, this one.

Ancient balm, ever-fresh, the supernal grace

of welcoming spaciousness, of blue sky

dawning, this touch of Presence,

the mysterious movement

of life itself.

The jasmine beckons with its fragrance,

and at our doors are delicious fruits,

both new and old,

which I have kept for you,

my Beloved --

each is perfect death to

one whose appetite for truth is

greater than their need to salvage

dusty relics from the weary search.

By night on my worn cushion

I sought that which my soul loves;

I sought it, but I found it not.

I rose up then, and searched

the temples and high holy places,

and yet found it not, that which

my soul loves, that which

grants the heart

true peace.

Oh my Beloved,

you who tantalize the very air

with your majestic absence, why do you

yet hide your countenance from me,

why hold your sweet tongue mute?

My Beloved is mine, I am My Beloved’s.

Between us is the vast and windy chaos,

a filmy, blowsy garment stitched of

luminous dreams and dark imagination.

When we are at last stripped bare in the furnace

of love’s annihilation,  our naked brilliance will

outshine sun and moon; our starry joy, bliss

entwined, will whirl through the shattered

gates of time.

Yes, for what I have sought, I am

not other; the eternal is not elsewhere,

and what I am, Beloved, and where I am,

You are.

Come, come my Beloved,

my Radiant One, my breath,

my blood, my tender heart beat!

The fire awaits, its impersonal flames

leap up at our approach.

Come, my Beloved—

we sleep now, but our

heart wakens.