Readings

Chinese Taoist Story

A very old Chinese Taoist story describes a farmer in a poor country village. He was considered very well-to-do, because he owned a horse which he used for plowing and for transportation. One day his horse ran away. All his neighbors exclaimed how terrible this was, but the farmer simply said “Maybe.” A few days later the horse returned and brought two wild horses with it. The neighbors all rejoiced at his good fortune. but the farmer just said, “Maybe.” The next day the farmer’s son tried to ride one of the wild horses; the horse threw him and broke his leg. The neighbors all offered their sympathy for his misfortune, but the farmer again said “Maybe.” The next week conscription officers came to the village to take young men for the army. They rejected the farmer’s son because of his broken leg. When the neighbors told him how lucky he was, the farmer replied “Maybe.”

Desiderata

Go placidly amid the noise and the haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence. As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons.

Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant; they too have their story.

Avoid loud and aggressive persons; they are vexatious to the spirit. If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain or bitter, for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself.

Enjoy your achievements as well as your plans. Keep interested in your own career, however humble; it is a real possession in the changing fortunes of time.

Exercise caution in your business affairs, for the world is full of trickery. But let this not blind you to what virtue there is; many persons strive for high ideals, and everywhere life is full of heroism.

Be yourself. Especially do not feign affection. Neither be cynical about love; for in the face of all aridity and disenchantment, it is as perennial as the grass.

Take kindly the counsel of the years, gracefully surrendering the things of youth.

Nurture strength of spirit to shield you in sudden misfortune. But do not distress yourself with dark imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.

Beyond a wholesome discipline, be gentle with yourself. You are a child of the universe no less than the trees and the stars; you have a right to be here.

And whether or not it is clear to you, no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should. Therefore be at peace with God, whatever you conceive Him to be. And whatever your labors and aspirations, in the noisy confusion of life, keep peace in your soul. With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams, it is still a beautiful world. Be cheerful. Strive to be happy.

— Max Ehrmann

From The Master To A Disciple

From the Master to a disciple 25 years ago:

You don’t need any methods to get rid of wrong
ideas you have about yourself. All that
you have to do is to stop believing them.

The best way to do this is to replace them
with ideas which more accurately reflect the
real state of affairs.

If one tries to live like this you will be face
to face with your natural state.

One’s vasanas and all the wrong ideas one
has about oneself are blocking and hiding the
experience of the Real Self.

If one does not identify with the wrong ideas
one’s self-nature will not remain hidden.

Do not make the mistake of imagining that there
is some goal to be reached or attained. If you
think like this you will start looking for
methods to practice and people to help you.

Cultivate the awareness ‘I Am the Immanent
Consciousness’. When this understanding becomes
firm the non-existent mind will not trouble you.

Talk when you must. Think when you must.
Look when you must. KEEP QUIET!

I Had Been A Devotee

I had been a devotee of Krishna from childhood.
So much so that Krishna even would manifest in front
of me in physical form. I could register him with all my
senses in the same way that I could see ordinary things.

I had been spending about four days in Adi-annamali
on the other side of the mountain. On my return the
Maharshi asked me, ‘Where you have been?’

I replied, ‘On the other side of the mountain, staying by
myself and playing with Krishna’.

Oh, very good, you have playing with Krishna!’
he exclaimed.
‘Yes sir, I have been playing with Krishna. He is my
friend.’
‘Do you see him now?’
‘No sir, I don’t.’

Then he said, ‘What appears and disappears is not real.
You saw him, then he disappeared. Now you are
here, the seer remains. Now find out who the seer is.’

This ‘seer’ was just a word spoken by the Maharshi, but
it struck me with such an impact that I became the seer.
I became the seer.

Nowadays when I give satsangs, I tell people, ‘Don’t
hold onto the word. Go to the root of the word. Go to
that which the word is pointing to. If you do this, instantly
you will get true understanding.’

SRI HWL POONJA

I Call It A Spontaneous Happening

I call it a spontaneous happening
without any cause of a person even.

The Buddha gave a soft smile at Kashypa
and instantly he was enlightened.

Who can say what happened between the two?

Sri HWL Poonja

Pointing The Staff At The Old Man

While the great master Padmasambhava was staying in Great Rock Hermitage at Samye, Sherab Gyalpo of Ngog, an uneducated 61-year-old man who had the highest faith and strong devotion to the master, served him for one year. All this while Ngog didn’t ask for any teachings, nor did the master give him any. When after a year the master intended to leave, Ngog offered a mandala plate upon which he placed a flower of one ounce of gold. Then he said, “Great master, think of me with kindness. First of all, I am uneducated. Second, my intelligence is small. Third, I am old, so my elements are worn down. I beg you to give a teaching to an old man on the verge of death that is simple to understand, can thoroughly cut through doubt, is easy to realize and apply, has an effective view, and will help me in future lives.”

The master pointed his walking staff at the old man’s heart and give this instruction Listen here, old man! Look into the awakened mind of your own awareness! It has neither form nor color, neither center nor edge. At first, it has no origin but is empty. Next, it has no dwelling place but is empty. At the end, it has no destination but is empty. This emptiness is not made of anything and is clear and cognizant. When you see this and recognize it, you know your natural face. You understand the nature of things. You have then seen the nature of mind, resolved the basic stare of reality, and cut through doubts about topics of knowledge.

This awakened mind of awareness is not made out of any material substance; it is self-existing and inherent in yourself. This is the nature of things that is easy to realize because it is not to be sought for elsewhere. This is the nature of mind that does not consist of a concrete perceiver and something perceived to fixate on. It defies the limitation of permanence and annihilation. In it there is nothing to awaken; the awakened state of enlightenment is your own awareness that is naturally awake. In it there is nothing that goes to hells; awareness is naturally pure. In it there is no practice to carry out; its nature is naturally cognizant. This great view of the natural state is present in yourself: resolve that is not to be sought for elsewhere.

When you understand the view in this way and want to apply it in your experience, wherever you stay is the mountain retreat of your body. Whatever external appearance you perceive is a naturally occurring appearance and a naturally empty emptiness; let it be, free from mental constructs. Naturally freed appearances become your helpers, and you can practice while taking appearances as the path.

Within, whatever moves in your mind, whatever you think, has no essence but is empty. Thought occurrences are naturally freed. When remembering your mind essence you can take thoughts as the path and the practice is easy.

As for the innermost advice: no matter what kind of disturbing emotion you feel, look into the emotion and it tracelessly subsides. The disturbing emotion is thus naturally freed. This is simple to practice.

When you can practice in this way, your meditation training is not confined to sessions. Knowing that everything is a helper, your meditation experience is unchanging, the innate nature is unceasing, and your conduct is unshackled. Wherever you stay, you are never apart from the innate nature.

Once you realize this, your material body may be old, but awakened mind doesn’t age. It knows no difference between young and old. The innate nature is beyond bias and partiality. When you recognize that awareness, innate wakefulness, is present in yourself, there is no difference between sharp and dull faculties. When you understand that the innate nature, free from bias and partiality, is present in yourself, there is no difference between great and small learning. Even though your body, the support for the mind, falls apart, the dharmakaya of awareness wisdom is unceasing. When you gain stability in this unchanging state, there is no difference between a long or short life span.

Old man, practice the true meaning! Take the practice to heart! Don’t mistake words and meaning! Don’t part from your friend, diligence! Embrace everything with mindfulness! Don’t indulge in idle talk and pointless gossip! Don’t become involved in common aims! Don’t disturb yourself with the worry of offspring! Don’t excessively crave food and drink! Intend to die an ordinary man! Your life is running out, so be diligent! Practice this instruction for an old man on the verge of death!”

 


 

Because of pointing the staff at Sherab Gyalpo’s heart, this is called ‘The Instruction of Pointing the Staff at the Old Man.’ Sherab Gyalpo of Ngog was liberated mid attained accomplishment.

This was written down by the Princess of Kharchen for the sake of future generations. It is known under the name “The Instruction of Pointing the Staff.”

“These teachings are the central advice of the collected words of Padmasambhava, the great nirmanakaya master. They are words from his heart, meant to be personally practiced. Please keep this in mind!’ – Yeshe Tsogyal

From the book, Advice from the Lotus-Borne.

It’s A Blessing – Rumi

Don’t hide. The sight of your face is a blessing.
Wherever you place your foot, there rests a blessing
Even your shadow
Passing over me like a swift bird
Is a blessing
The great spring has come
Your sweet air, blowing through the city,
The country, the gardens
And the desert is a blessing
He has come with love to our door
His knock is a blessing.
We go from house to house asking of Him,
Any answer is a blessing
Caught in this body, we look for a sight of the soul
Remember what the Prophet said:
One sight is a blessing
The leaf of every tree brings a message from the unseen
world
Look, every falling leaf is a blessing.
All of nature swings in unison
Singing without tongues
Listening without ears
What a blessing
O soul, the four elements are your face.
Water, wind, fire and earth
Each one is a blessing.
And once the seed of faith takes root it cannot be
blown away
Even by the strongest wind
That’s a blessing.
I bow to you, for the dust of your feet
Is the crown on my head
And as I walk towards you
Every step I take is a blessing.

His form appeared before me, just now as I was
singing this poem
I swear
What a blessing! What a blessing!
Every vision born of earth is fleeting
Every vision born of heaven is a blessing
For people, the sight of spring warms their hearts
For fish, the rhythm of the ocean is a blessing
The brilliant sun that shines in every heart
For the heaven’s earth and all creatures
What a blessing!
The heart can’t wait to speak of this ecstasy
The soul is kissing the earth, saying
Oh God, what a blessing!
Fill me with the wine of your silence,
Let it soak my every pore
For the inner splendor it reveals
Is a blessing
Is a blessing.

Rumi

From “The Way Of Passion: A Celebration Of Rumi”
By Andrew Harvey

Spontaneous Vajra Song

Free and Easy: A Spontaneous Vajra Song
by Venerable Lama Gendun Rinpoche

Happiness cannot be found
through great effort and willpower,
but is already present, in open relaxation and letting go.

Don’t strain yourself,
there is nothing to do or undo.
Whatever momentarily arises in the body-mind
has no real importance at all,
has little reality whatsoever.
Why identify with, and become attached to it,
passing judgment upon it and ourselves?

Far better to simply
let the entire game happen on its own,
springing up and falling back like waves–
without changing or manipulating anything–
and notice how everything vanishes and
reappears, magically, again and again,
time without end.

Only our searching for happiness
prevents us from seeing it.
It’s like a vivid rainbow which you pursue without ever catching,
or a dog chasing its own tail.

Although peace and happiness do not exist
as an actual thing or place,
it is always available
and accompanies you every instant.

Don’t believe in the reality
of good and bad experiences;
they are like today’s ephemeral weather,
like rainbows in the sky.

Wanting to grasp the ungraspable,
you exhaust yourself in vain.
As soon as you open and relax this tight fist of grasping,
infinite space is there– open, inviting and comfortable.

Make use of this spaciousness, this freedom and natural ease.
Don’t search any further.
Don’t go into the tangled jungle
looking for the great awakened elephant,
who is already resting quietly at home
in front of your own hearth.

Nothing to do or undo,
nothing to force,
nothing to want,
and nothing missing–

Emaho! Marvelous!
Everything happens by itself.

— Venerable Lama Gendun Rinpoche

The Practice Of Letting Go

The practice of letting go is very effective for minds obsessed by compulsive thinking: you simplify your meditation practice down to just two words — ‘letting go’– rather than try to develop this practice and then develop that, and achieve this and go into that, and understand this, and read the Suttas, and study the Abhidhamma…and then learn Pali and Sanskrit… and then the Madhyamika and the Prajna Paramita…get ordinations in the Hinayana, Mahayana, Vajrayana…write books and become a world-renowned authority on Buddhism. Instead of becoming the world’s expert on Buddhism and being invited to great International Buddhist Conferences, just ‘let go, let go, let go.’

I did nothing but this for about two years—every time I tried to understand or figure things out, I’d say ‘let go, let go’ until the desire would fade out. So I’m making it very simple for you to save you from getting caught in the incredible amounts of suffering. There’s nothing more sorrowful than having to attend International Buddhist Conferences! Some of you might have the desire to become the Buddha of the age, Maitreya, radiating love throughout the world– but instead, I suggest just being an earthworm, letting go of desire to radiate love throughout the world. Just be an earthworm who only knows two words – ‘let go, let go’.

Ajahn Sumedho

Who Says Words

Who Says Words With My Mouth?

All day I think about it, then at night, I say it.
Where did I come from, and what am I supposed to be doing?
I have no idea.
My soul is from elsewhere, I’m sure of that,
and I intend to end up there.

This drunkenness began in some other tavern.
When I get back around to that place,
I’ll be completely sober. Meanwhile,
I’m like a bird from another continent, sitting in this aviary.
The day is coming when I fly off,
but who is it now in my ear who hears my voice?
Who says words with my mouth?

Who looks out with my eyes? What is the soul?
I cannot stop asking.
I could break out of this prison for drunks.
I didn’t come here of my own accord, and I can’t leave that way.
Whoever brought me here will have to take me home.

This poetry, I never know what I’m going to say.
I don’t plan it.
When I’m outside the saying of it,
I get very quiet and rarely speak at all.

From Essential Rumi by Coleman Barks