Thursday, October 31, 2013

profisee 16 - the diamond contra

they say there’s a diamond in your pocket—

the affluence of consciousness
the wealth of pure awareness
the flourishing power of now

it’s not that material wealth is something wicked—

it’s just superfluous and
possibly an encumbrance to
seeing that being is all and everything

now is the power and the wisdom and the wealth—

there's no knowledge of
the now in the now for the now
itself is the only actual knowledge

and there’s not even a diamond in your pocket

when you see the now, you're not in the now
when you're in the now, you don't see the now
when you are the now, there's not a you or now

for you aren’t even you but actually the diamond

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Bodhidharma Documents and Brief Selections

There are two books that deal exclusively with ‘Bodhidharma’ texts: The Zen Teaching of Bodhidharma translated by Red Pine & The Bodhidharma Anthology translated by Jeffrey L. Broughton. There is another book which contains two ‘Bodhidharma’ texts also included in the Red Pine volume: Zen Dawn, translated by J. C. Cleary. For all intents and purposes, this is the Bodhidharma canon in English.

Before going any further, it might be useful to say who Bodhidharma is. Scholars can get intense about the details and chant the word ‘hagiographical’ or ‘epistemology” as some learned mantra. I prefer Red Pine’s simple summary:
Unknown to all but a few disciples during his lifetime, Bodhidharma is the patriarch of millions of Zen Buddhists…. He is the subject of many legends as well… As often happens with legends, it’s become impossible to separate fact from fiction. His dates are uncertain; in fact, I know at least one Buddhist scholar who doubts that Bodhidharma ever existed.

If the man never existed, the texts do, relatively speaking. They are bright expositions of early Chan (in Japanese, Zen). And it is my intent to list all of them here along with some information about each, including, most importantly, a brief but substantial selected quote. I find the texts to be refreshingly spare as well as skillful pointers to nondual truth.

The Red Pine is a small volume of what may, for the most part, be apocryphal works, but also mostly quick and insightful. In the end notes, he describes his sources:
The Chinese text used for this translation is a Ch’ing dynasty woodblock edition that incorporates corrections of obvious copyist errors in the standard edition of the continuation to the Ming dynasty Tripitaka. I’ve added several corrections of my own, based mostly on textual variants found in Tunhuang versions, for which see D.T. Suzuki’s Shoshitsu isho oyobi kaisetsu (Lost Works of Bodhidharma).

The Broughton may be more academic, but the translations are luminous and the commentary, brilliant. He describes their importance:
Of the ten texts we now have attributed to Bodhidharma or claiming to present his teaching, the one generally held to contain material that is authentic in some sense is the Bodhidharma Anthology, which itself is composed of seven texts…The Bodhidharma Anthology as a continuum was discovered only in the early part of this century, and it is fair to describe it as one of the most important finds among the Tun-huang manuscripts, a small portion of which constitute the “Dead Sea Scrolls” of Zen…[D.T.] Suzuki was able to find and reproduce a number of Zen texts, including an anthology that came to be called the Long Scroll of the Treatise on the Two Entrances and Four Practices (Ninyu shigydron chokansu); he subsequently published the reproductions in Japan. The Long Scroll is the work I have dubbed the Bodhidharma Anthology…For decades discussion of the Long Scroll or Bodhidharma Anthology, both Japanese and Western, has concentrated on the second section, the Two Entrances, and has come to the consensus that only this text can be attributed to Bodhidharma…A purpose of this book is to give the Records, particularly Record II and Record III, their due as the real beginnings of Zen literature, the true ancestors of the Zen genre known as recorded sayings…

The Cleary is as the Clearys are: clean and thorough.

1.         Two Entrances and Four Practices

-Red Pine: Outline of Practice

-Broughton: Two Entrances (section 2 of Bodhidharma Anthology)
Bodhidharma Anthology is called by D. T. Suzuki: The Long Scroll of the Treatise on The Two Entrances and Four Practices, and includes a Biography, 2 letters, and 3 records (in Suzuki, 2) [see 5-9 below] in addition to the Two Entrances

-J. C. Cleary: Section Two of Records of Teachers and the Students of the Lanka: Tripitaka Dharma Teacher Bodhidharma

compiled by Tanlin (per Broughton)

Now, in entering the path there are many roads. To summarize them, they reduce to two types. The first is entrance by principle and the second entrance by practice. Entering by principle means that one awakens to the thesis by means of the teachings, and one deeply believes that all living beings, common and sagely, are identical to the True Nature; that it is merely because of the unreal covering of adventitious dust that the True Nature is not revealed. If one rejects the false and reverts to the real and in a coagulated state abides in wall-examining, then self and other, common man and sage, are identical; firmly abiding without shifting, in no way following after the written teachings-this is mysteriously tallying with principle. It is nondiscriminative, quiescent, and inactive; we call it entrance by principle.

~trans Broughton

2.            Bloodstream Sermon

-Red Pine: Bloodstream Sermon

Yanagida attributes authorship to a member of Oxhead Zen School (per Red Pine, although “I see no reason why they shouldn’t be accepted as the sermons of the man to whom they’ve been attributed for more than 1,200 years.”)

Buddhas of the past and future only talk about this mind. The mind is the buddha, and the buddha is the mind. Beyond the mind there’s no buddha, and beyond the buddha there’s no mind. If you think there’s a buddha beyond the mind, where is he? There’s no buddha beyond the mind, so why envision one? You can’t know your real mind as long as you deceive yourself. As long as you’re enthralled by a lifeless form, you’re not free. If you don’t believe me, deceiving yourself won’t help. It’s not the buddha’s fault. People, though, are deluded. They’re unaware that their own mind is the buddha. Otherwise they wouldn’t look for a buddha outside the mind.

Buddhas don’t save buddhas. If you use your mind to look for a buddha, you won’t see the buddha. As long as you look for a buddha somewhere else, you’ll never see that your own mind is the buddha. Don’t use a buddha to worship a buddha. And don’t use the mind to invoke a buddha. Buddhas don’t recite sutras. Buddhas don’t keep precepts. And buddhas don’t break precepts. Buddhas don’t keep or break anything.

Buddhas don’t do good or evil. To find a buddha, you have to see your nature. Whoever sees his nature is a buddha. If you don’t see your nature, invoking buddhas, reciting sutras, making offerings, and keeping precepts are all useless.

~trans Red Pine

3.         Wake-up Sermon
-Red Pine: Wake-up Sermon

Yanagida attributes as an eight-century work of the Northern Zen School (per Red Pine)

Using the mind to look for reality is delusion. Not using the mind to look for reality is awareness. Freeing oneself from words is liberation. Remaining unblemished by the dust of sensation is guarding the Dharma. Transcending life and death is leaving home. Not suffering another existence is reaching the Way. Not creating delusions is enlightenment. Not engaging in ignorance is wisdom. No affliction is nirvana. And no appearance of the mind is the other shore.

When you’re deluded, this shore exists. When you wake up, it doesn’t exist. Mortals stay on this shore. But those who discover the greatest of all vehicles stay on neither this shore nor the other shore. They’re able to leave both shores. Those who see the other shore as different from this shore don’t understand zen.

Delusion means mortality. And awareness means buddhahood. They’re not the same. And they’re not different. It’s just that people distinguish delusion from awareness. When we’re deluded there’s a world to escape. When we’re aware, there’s nothing to escape.

~trans Red Pine

4.            Contemplation of Mind Treatise

-J.C. Cleary: Treatise on Contemplating Mind

-Red Pine: Breakthrough Sermon

This mind is the source of all virtues. And this mind is the chief of all powers. The eternal bliss of nirvana comes from the mind at rest. Rebirth in the three realms also comes from the mind. The mind is the door to every world and the mind is the ford to the other shore. Those who know where the door is don’t worry about reaching it. Those who know where the ford is don’t worry about crossing it.

The people I meet nowadays are superficial. They think of merit as something that has form. They squander their wealth and butcher creatures of land and sea. They foolishly concern themselves with erecting statues and stupas, telling people to pile up lumber and bricks, to paint this blue and that green. They strain body and mind, injure themselves and mislead others. And they don’t know enough to be ashamed. How will they ever become enlightened? They see something tangible and instantly become attached. If you talk to them about formlessness, they sit there dumb and confused. Greedy for the small mercies of this world, they remain blind to the great suffering to come. Such disciples wear themselves out in vain. Turning from the true to the false, they talk about nothing but future blessings.

If you can simply concentrate your mind’s inner light and behold its outer illumination, you’ll dispel the three poisons and drive away the six thieves once and for all. And without effort you’ll gain possession of an infinite number of virtues, perfections, and doors to the truth. Seeing through the mundane and witnessing the sublime is less than an eye-blink away. Realization is now. Why worry about gray hair? But the true door is hidden and can’t be revealed. I have only touched upon beholding the mind.

~trans Red Pine

5.         First Letter

Broughton: section 3 of Bodhidharma Anthology

written by Tanlin or Huike? (per Broughton)

I have always admired the former wise ones. I have broadly cultivated all the practices. I have always esteemed the Pure Lands of the Buddhas and looked up to the teachings that have come down to us as a thirsty man longs for water. Those who have been able to meet Sakyamuni Buddha and realize the great path are in the millions; those who have obtained the four fruits are numberless. I really thought that the heavenly mansions were another country and the hells another place, that if one were to attain the path and get the fruit, one's bodily form would change. I unrolled sutra scrolls to seek blessings; through pure practice I [tried to produce karmic] causes. In confusion I went around in circles, chaSing my mind and creating karma; thus I passed many years without the leisure to take a rest. Then for the first time I dwelled upright in dark quiescence and settled external objects in the kingdom of mind. However, I had been cultivating false thought for such a long time that my feelings led me to continue to see characteristics. I came to the point where I wanted to probe the difficulties inherent in these illusionary transformations. In the end I clearly apprehended the Dharma Nature and engaged in a coarse practice of Thusness. For the first time I realized that within the square inch of my own mind there is nothing that does not exist. The bright pearl comprehends clearly and darkly penetrates the deep tendency of things. From the Buddhas above to the wriggling insects below there is nothing that is not another name for false thought. They are the calculations of thought.

~trans Broughton

6.         Second Letter

Broughton: section 4 of Bodhidharma Anthology

written by Layman Hsiang incorporated in Hui-ko-B (Huike) of Continued Biographies of Eminent Monks by Tao-Hsuan (per Broughton)

Shadows arise from bodily forms; echoes follow upon voices. Some play with their shadows to the point of tiring their bodies, not realizing that their bodies are the shadows. Some raise their voices to stop the echoes, not realizing that the voice is the source of the echo. Searching for nirvana by eliminating the defilements is like searching for the shadow by getting rid of the body. Seeking for Buddhahood by rejecting sentient beings is like seeking for the echo by silencing the voice. Therefore, we know that delusion and awakening are one road, that stupidity and wisdom are not different. In a place of namelessness they mistakenly think of erecting names, and because of these names, is and is-not are born. In a place without principles they mistakenly think of creating principles, and because of these principles, disputations flourish therein. Illusionary transformations are not real, so who is right and who wrong? Falsity is unreal, so what exists and what does not exist? One should know that obtaining is having nothing to obtain and losing is having nothing to lose. Having not yet been able to talk with you, I have composed these lines, but how can one discuss the dark purport?

~trans Broughton

7.         Record I
Broughton: section 5 of Bodhidharma Anthology

Broughton: “Record I, the Method for Quieting Mind, consists of forty-five sections. The format is both lecture and dialogue. Some sections are fairly lengthy, some only a few lines. One characteristic separates Record I from the Two Entrances, the First Letter, and the Second Letter. The latter are in literary style, and Record I contains quite a few colloquial elements… These colloquial forms should alert us. They are the beginnings of a tendency that culminates in Sung Dynasty Ch'an literature, the most conspicuous characteristic of which is the use of colloquial language. Of course, in that literature the colloquial once again solidifies into a literary language… Record I takes the first big step toward breaking into the colloquial range of the recorded-sayings (yu-lu) genre of Ch'an literature; Record II is on the verge of breaking into that range. The vibrancy, the resonance with the spoken word, tells us more about original Ch'an than Tan-lin's elegant, balanced Two Entrances. These texts tell us of the deepening Sinification of Buddhism, in the sense of a move toward a spoken Chinese form of expression and away from the venerable, but artificial, style of the translation and commentarial traditions…”

Yen-shou calls it Bodhidharmatara’s The Method for Quieting Mind (per Broughton)

Question: "Why does the common man fall into evil rebirths?" Answer: "Because he has an ego, is stupid, and therefore says: 'I drink wine.' The wise one says: 'When you have no wine, why don't you drink winelessness?' Even if [the stupid person] were to say 'I do drink winelessness,' the wise one would say: 'Where is your I?' The stupid person also says: 'I commit a sin.' The wise one says: 'What sort of thing is your sin?' All of this is conditioned arising, lacking an essence. When it arises, you already know there is no ego, so who commits the sin and who receives punishment? The sutra says: 'Common men insist on discriminating: "I crave; I am angry." Such ignorant people will then fall into the three evil rebirths.' The sutra says: 'Sin is intrinsically neither internal nor external, nor is it between the two.' This illustrates that sin is unlocalized. The unlocalized is the locus of quiescence. When human beings fall into a hell, from mind they calculate an ego. They remember and discriminate, saying: 'I commit evils, and I receive punishments. I do good deeds, and I receive rewards.' This is the evil karma. From the outset no such things have existed, but they arbitrarily remember and discriminate, saying that they exist. This is the evil karma."

Question: "Who can cross over the ego to nirvana?" Answer: "Dharma can cross over the ego. How can this be known? By seizing characteristics, one falls into a hell. By examining Dharma, one is liberated. If you see characteristics, remember, and discriminate, then you will suffer from a scalding cauldron, a blazing furnace, the ox-headed [guards of hell], the Hell of the Sound of Cold, and so forth. You will see manifested before you the characteristics of birth-and-death. If you see that the Dharma-Realm nature is the nirvana nature and you are without memory and discrimination, then it is the substance of the Dharma Realm."

~trans Broughton

8.         Record II

Broughton: section 6 of Bodhidharma Anthology

Broughton: “Record II truly constitutes the beginnings of the recorded­sayings genre of Ch' an literature. There is a direct line from this work to the vast literature of Ch' an recorded sayings, and neglect of Record II has led us to place the beginnings of the recorded-sayings genre much too late in the history of Ch'an literature-usually in the ninth century. Record II’s eighteen sections seem to break naturally into three parts. Sections 50-56 center on Master Yuan; sections 57-62 center on Hui-k'o; and sections 63-67 provide miscellaneous dialogues. We could dub Record II the Recorded Sayings of Yuan and Hui-k'o…”

Another question: "What is the path?" Answer: "When you desire to produce the thought of moving toward the path, crafty ingenuity will arise, and you will fall into having mind. If you desire to give rise to the path, ingenious artifice will arise. If you have devices in your mind, crafty artifice will always arise." Another question: "What is crafty artifice?" Answer: "If you use intellectual understanding to seek a name, a hundred ingenious schemes arise. If you desire to cut off crafty artifice, don't produce the thought of enlightenment and don't use knowledge of the sutras and treatises. If you can accomplish this, then for the first time you will have bodily energy. If you have spirit, do not esteem understanding, do not seek Dharma, and do not love knowledge, then you will find a little quietude." Further: "If you do not seek wonderful understanding, do not serve as a teacher for people, and also do not take Dharma as your teacher, you will walk alone spontaneously." Further: "If you do not give rise to a demon mind, I can lead you."

~trans Broughton

9.         Record III

Broughton: section 7 of Bodhidharma Anthology (most not in Suzuki’s The Long Scroll of the Treatise on The Two Entrances and Four Practices)

Broughton: “Record III is a collection of sayings, not dialogues. Eschewing the question-and-answer mold, it consists of sayings of numerous masters, many with the title Dhyana Master. Some sayings seem to be followed by commentary, often including one or more sutra quotations.”

The nun Yuan-chu says: "All dharmas are nonreacting. They are intrinsically liberated. Why? When the eye sees forms, there are none that it does not see. Even when the mind consciousness knows, there is nothing that it does not know and nothing that it knows. At the time of delusion there is no understanding; at the time of understanding there is no delusion. During a dream there is no awakening; at the time of awakening there is no dream. Therefore, the sutra says: 'The great assembly, having seen Aksobhya Buddha, no longer saw that Buddha. Ananda! No dharma associates with the eye and ear organs to create a reaction. Why? Dharmas do not see dharmas. Dharmas do not know dharmas.' Also, the sutra says: 'The nonproduction of consciousness due to forms is called not seeing forms.' "

~trans Broughton

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Chan Master Yuan, Bodhidharma Disciple, On Bodily Energy (t'i-ch'i) and Spirit (ching-shen)

Record II [of the Bodhidharma Anthology] truly constitutes the beginnings of the recorded­ sayings genre of Ch' an literature… Sections 50-56 center on Master Yuan…

Who is this Yuan? We do not know, and we will never know, but below I will list him as one of Bodhidharma's disciples. We might call him a forgotten Bodhidharma disciple, or at the very least a forgotten member of the Bodhidharma circle…

His name is a Buddhist technical term. The Sanskrit would be pratyaya (condition). Related expressions include idampratyayata (this­conditionality) and pratitya-samutpada (dependent origination). Perhaps we could call him "Master Conditioned," his name suggesting the profound teaching of conditionality, which must be seen and understood or one remains in samsara…

The Master Yuan sections of Record II are true Ch'an question-and­answer encounters (wen-ta) between practitioners. Later Ch'an literature is filled with such encounters, but it is startling to see them in such an early text and in such a developed form…

Yuan (section 50) speaks of escaping karma-the force of the effects of intentional actions in this and past lives that binds one to the wheel of the rebirth process-through a Singularity, an act of will: "When you are on the verge of seizing a lofty sense of willpower [jo yu-ch'u yuan-i shih], bondage and habit energy will surely melt away." He is iconoclastic, consistently criticizing reliance on the Dharma, reliance on teachers, reliance on meditative practice, reliance on canonical texts. Faith in Buddhist teachings and teachers, praxis according to the traditional rules, and learning in scripture lead to nothing but self-deception and confusion. From this stance Master Yuan never budges. His relentless boldness prefigures much in the stance of the full-blown Ch' an tradition.

He does speak positively of one thing. He calls it "bodily energy" (t'i-ch'i) or "spirit" (ching-shen). The first is a general term for physical strength, and the latter is found in classical Taoist texts, the Chuang Tzu and the Lieh Tzu, where it means the spirit or mind associated with Heaven, and in medical works, where it means vim, vigor, or stamina. This is not the only classical Taoist terminology he employs, for he says that if one evinces even the slightest desire to advance in religious training, "ingenious artifice" (ch'iao-wei) gains the upper hand. This term also comes from the Chuang Tzu. Energy and spirit are all a practitioner needs (sections 51 and 55-56):

If you have bodily energy, you will avoid the deceptive delusions of people and Dharma, and your spirit will be all right. Why? Because when you esteem knowledge, you are deceived by men and Dharma. If you value one person as correct, then you will not avoid the deceptive confusions of this person .... If you desire to cut off crafty artifice, don't produce the thought of enlightenment and don't use knowledge of the sutras and treatises. If you can accomplish this, then for the first time you will have bodily energy. If you have spirit, do not esteem understanding, do not seek Dharma, and do not love knowledge, then you will find a little quietude .... If you can understand that intrinsically there is neither quiescence nor disturbance, then you will be able to exist of yourself. The one who is not drawn into quiescence and disturbance is the man of spirit.

edited from The Bodhidharma Anthology, Jeremy L. Broughton (bold characters not in original)

Monday, October 21, 2013

Robert Adams & Last Words of Ramana Maharshi

When I was eighteen years old, I arrived at Tiruvannamalai. In those days they didn’t have jet planes. It was a propeller plane. I purchased flowers and a bag of fruit to bring to Ramana. I took the rickshaw to the ashram. It was about 8:30 a.m. I entered the hall and there was Ramana on his couch reading his mail. It was after breakfast. I brought the fruit and the flowers over and laid them on his feet. There was a guardrail in front of him to prevent fanatics from attacking him with love. And then I sat down in front of him. He looked at me and smiled, and I smiled back.

I have been to many teachers, many saints, many sages. I was with Nisargadatta, Ananda Mayi Ma, Papa Ramdas, Neem Karoli Baba and many others, but never did I meet anyone who exuded such compassion, such love, such bliss as Ramana Maharshi. There were about thirty people in the room. He looked at me and asked me if I’d eaten breakfast. I said, ‘No’. He spoke some Tamil to the attendant and the attendant came back with two giant leaves, one with fruit and one with some porridge with pepper. After I had consumed the food, I just lay down on the floor. I was very tired.

It was time for his usual walk. He had arthritis in the legs and could hardly walk at that time. After his attendants had helped him to get up, he walked out the door. When he was outside he said something to his attendants, and his attendants motioned for me to come. He guided me to a little shack that I was going to use while I stayed there. He came inside with me, and I bet you think we spoke about profound subjects. On the contrary, he was a natural man. He was the Self of the universe. He asked me how my trip was, where I was from, what made me come here. Then he said I should rest, so I lay down on the cot and he left.

I was awakened about 5 o’clock. It was Ramana again. He came by himself and he brought me food. Can you imagine that? We spoke briefly; I ate and I slept. The next morning I went into the hall. After the morning chanting there was breakfast, and everybody sat around just watching Ramana as he went through his routine. He would go through the mail and read it out loud, talk to some of his devotees. I just observed everything. His composure never changed. Never did I see such compassion, such love.

Six months prior to his leaving his body, I went to Bangalore to see Papa Ramdas. While I was there, I was informed that he [Bhagavan] had left his body. I went back to Tiruvannamalai. The crowds had already started to come, thousands and thousands of people. So, I climbed the hill and went into one of the caves. I stayed there for five days. When I came down, the crowds had dispersed. Ramana had already been interred.

I enquired of the devotee who saw him last, ‘What were the last words he spoke?’

The devotee said, ‘While he was leaving his body a peacock flew on top of the hall and started screeching. Ramana remarked to his devotee, ‘Has anyone fed the peacock yet?’ Those were the last words he spoke.

Now, let’s talk about you. Think of the problems you believe you have. Think of the nonsense that you go on with everyday. Think how furious you become, how you always want to stick up for your rights, as if you had any. The problem is, you think. If you would only stop thinking.

You say, ‘How can I function if I stop thinking?’

Very well, thank you! As a matter of fact you will function much better than you do now, for you will always be taken care of. The universe loves you. It will always supply you with your needs. Forget about other people, what they do, what they don’t do. Do not listen to malicious gossip. Be yourself. Understand who you really are. You are the absolute reality, unconditioned consciousness. Work from that standpoint. Do not work from your problems. Do not get lost in meaningless gossip. Understand your true reality. Be yourself.

What Ramana taught was not new. Ramana simply taught the Upanishads. ‘Who am I?’ has been around since time immemorial. If a teacher always tells you he has something new to teach you, be careful, because there’s nothing new under the sun. Ramana simply revised the ‘Who am I’ philosophy and made it simple for people in the twentieth century. But what did he teach? He simply taught that you are not the body-mind principle. He simply taught that if you have a problem, do not feel sorry for yourself, do not go to psychiatrists, do not condemn yourself. Simply ask yourself, ‘To whom does this problem come?’ And of course the answer will be, ‘The problem comes to me’. Hold onto the ‘me’. Follow the ‘me’ to the source, the substratum of all existence.

How do you do that? How do you hold onto ‘me’? How do you hold onto ‘I’? By simply asking yourself, ‘Who am I? What am I?’ It’s the same thing. Ask yourself again and again, ‘Who am I?’

Forget about time. Forget about space. Forget everything. Keep yourself from thinking. When the thoughts come, ask yourself, ‘To whom comes the thoughts?’

Again, ‘They come to me.’ Hold onto the ‘me’. ‘I think these thoughts. Well then, Who am I? Who thinks these thoughts? Who am I?’

An easier way to do this I have found is to simply say to yourself, ‘I-I, I-I,’ and you will notice as you do this, the I-I goes deeper, deeper, deeper within you into your Heart centre, right to the source. For westerners I have found that saying ‘I-I’ seems to be more helpful than ‘Who am I?’ Again, do not look at time. Do not ask yourself, ‘When is something going to happen?’

A devotee went to Ramana and said, ‘I’ve been with you for twenty-five years, doing “Who am I?” and nothing has happened yet,’ so Ramana said, ‘Try it another twenty-five and see what happens’.

~Robert Adams (edited) via David Godman post on Arunachala and Sri Ramana Maharshi

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Ramana Maharshi: First Words to the West

Paul Brunton was born in London in 1898. He was originally born Raphael Hurst. He was a bookseller and journalist. Brunton wrote under various pseudonyms, including Raphael Meriden and Raphael Delmonte, Later, he chose the pen name Brunton Paul, but for some reason, perhaps a printer's error, the names were reversed to Paul Brunton, a name that he kept. He served in a tank division during the First World War, and later devoted himself to mysticism and came into contact with Theosophists. Being partner of an occult bookshop, The Atlantis Bookshop, in Bloomsbury, Brunton came into contact with both the literary and occult British intelligentsia of the 1920s. In the early 1930s, Brunton embarked on a voyage to India, which brought him into contact with such luminaries as Meher Baba, Sri Shankaracharya of Kancheepuram and Sri Ramana Maharshi. When Brunton met the Shankaracharya of Kanchipuram he was directed to meet Sri Ramana. Brunton's first visit to Sri Ramana's ashram took place in 1931. ...Brunton has been credited with introducing Ramana Maharshi to the West through his books A Search in Secret India and The Secret Path. (from Wikipedia)

There is something in this man which holds my attention as steel filings are held by a magnet. I cannot turn my gaze away from him. My initial bewilderment, my perplexity at being totally ignored, slowly fade away as this strange fascination begins to grip me more firmly. But it is not till the second hour of the uncommon scene that I become aware of a silent, resistless change which is taking place within my mind. One by one, the questions which I prepared in the train with such meticulous accuracy drop away. For it does not now seem to matter whether they are asked or not, and it does not matter whether I solve the problems which have hitherto troubled me. I know only that a steady river of quietness seems to be flowing near me; that a great peace is penetrating the inner reaches of my being, and that my thought-tortured brain is beginning to arrive at some rest.

How small seem those questions which I have asked myself with such frequency? How petty grows the panorama of the last years! I perceive with sudden clarity that intellect creates its own problems and then makes itself miserable trying to solve them. This is indeed a novel concept to enter the mind of one who has hitherto placed such high value upon intellect.

I surrender myself to the steadily deepening sense of restfulness until two hours have passed. The passage of time now provokes no irritation, because I feel that the chains of mind-made problems are being broken and thrown away. And then, little by little, a new question takes the field of consciousness.

“Does this man, the Maharshi, emanate the perfume of spiritual peace as the flower emanates fragrance from its petals?”

I do not consider myself a competent person to apprehend spirituality, but I have personal reactions to other people. The dawning suspicion that the mysterious peace which has arisen within me must be attributed to the geographical situation in which I am now placed, is my reaction to the personality of the Maharshi. I begin to wonder whether, by some radioactivity of the soul, some unknown telepathic process, the stillness which invades the troubled waters of my own soul really comes from him. Yet he remains completely impassive completely unaware of my very existence, it seems.

Comes the first ripple. Someone approaches me and whispers in my ear. “Did you not wish to question the Maharshi?”

He may have lost patience, this quondam guide of mine. More likely, he imagines that I, a restless European, have reached the limit of my own patience. Alas, my inquisitive friend! Truly I came here to question your Master, but now ... I, who am at peace with all the world and with myself, why should I trouble my head with questions? I feel that the ship of my soul is beginning to slip its moorings; a wonderful sea waits to be crossed; yet you would draw me back to the noisy port of this world, just when I am about to start the great adventure!

But the spell is broken. As if this infelicitous intrusion is a signal, figures rise from the floor and begin to move about the hall, voices float up to my hearing, and wonder of wonders! — the dark brown eyes of the Maharshi flicker once or twice. Then the head turns, the face moves slowly, very slowly, and bends downward at an angle. A few more moments and it has brought me into the ambit of its vision. For the first time the Sage’s mysterious gaze is directed upon me. It is plain that he has now awakened from his long trance.

The intruder, thinking perhaps that my lack of response is a sign that I have not heard him, repeats his question aloud. But in those lustrous eyes which are gently staring at me, I read another question, albeit unspoken:

“Can it be — is it possible — that you are still tormented with distracting doubts when you have now glimpsed the deep mental peace which you — and all men — may attain?”

The peace overwhelms me. I turn to the guide and answer: “No. There is nothing I care to ask now. Another time ”

The midday meal is over. For once I am grateful that India is favoured with a climate which does not foster activity, because most of the people have disappeared into the shady groves to take a siesta. I can therefore approach the Maharshi in the way I prefer, without undue notice or fuss.

I enter the large hall and sit down near him. The Maharshi holds a folded manuscript book in his hands; he is writing something with extreme slowness. A few minutes after my entry he puts the book aside and calls a disciple. A few words pass between them in Tamil and the man tells me that his master wishes to reiterate his regrets at my inability to partake of their food. He explains that they live a simple life, and never having catered for Europeans before do not know what the latter eat. I add that I regard the question of diet as being far less important than the quest which has brought me to his hermitage.

The Sage listens intently, his face calm, imperturbable and non-committal.

“It is a good object,” he comments at length.

This encourages me to enlarge upon the same theme.

“Master, I have studied our Western philosophies and sciences, lived and worked among the people of our crowded cities, tasted their pleasures and allowed myself to be caught up into their ambitions. Yet I have also gone into solitary places and wandered there amid the loneliness of deep thought. I have questioned the sages of the West; now I have turned my face towards the East. I seek more light.”

The Maharshi nods his head, as if to say, “Yes, I quite understand.”

“I have heard many opinions, listened to many theories. Intellectual proofs of one belief or another lie piled up all around me. I am tired of them, sceptical of anything which cannot be proved by personal experience. Forgive me for saying so, but I am not religious. Is there anything beyond man’s material existence? If so, how can I realize it for myself?”

The three or four devotees who are gathered around us stare in surprise. Have I offended the subtle etiquette of the hermitage by speaking so brusquely and boldly to their Master? I do not know; perhaps I do not care. The accumulated weight of many years’ desire has unexpectedly escaped my control and passed beyond my lips. If the Maharshi is the right kind of man, surely he will understand and brush aside mere lapses from convention.

He makes no verbal reply but appears to have dropped into some train of thought. Because there is nothing else to do and because my tongue has now been loosened, I address him for the third time:

“The wise men of the West, our scientists, are greatly honoured for their cleverness. Yet they have confessed that they can throw but little light upon the hidden truth behind life. It is said that there are some in your land who can give what our Western sages fail to reveal. Is this so? Can you assist me to experience enlightenment? Or is the search itself a mere delusion?”

I have now reached my conversational objective and decide to await the Maharshi’s response. He continues to stare thoughtfully at me. Perhaps he is pondering over my questions. Ten minutes pass in silence.

At last his lips open and he says gently:

“You say I. ‘I want to know.’ Tell me, who is that I?”

What does he mean? He has now cut across the services of the interpreter and speaks direct to me in English. Bewilderment creeps across my brain.

“I am afraid I do not understand your question,” I reply blankly.

“Is it not clear? Think again!”

I puzzle over his words once more. An idea suddenly flashes into my head. I point a finger towards myself and mention my name.

“And do you know him?”

“All my life!” I smile back at him.

“But that is only your body! Again I ask, ‘Who are you’?”

I cannot find a ready answer to this extraordinary query. The Maharshi continues:

“Know first that I and then you shall know the truth.”

My mind hazes again. I am deeply puzzled. This bewilderment finds verbal expression. But the Maharshi has evidently reached the limit of his English, for he turns to the interpreter and the answer is slowly translated to me:

“There is only one thing to be done. Look into your own self. Do this in the right way and you shall find the answer to all your problems.”

It is a strange rejoinder. But I ask him:

“What must one do? What method can I pursue?”

“Through deep reflection on the nature of one’s self and through constant meditation, the light can be found.”

~Paul Brunton, 'A Search in Secret India' 1934

Thursday, October 17, 2013

profisee 15 - the dream of saint francis

last night i dreamt
the world was waiting for
saint francis to awaken

and on awakening
the world was seeing
it was nothing but a dream

as in the mind
light descends
into a body

yet in the light
of loving truth
there's ever always

only light

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

profisee 14 - in the belly of consciousness

consciousness is
umbilical cord

separation is
the dawning of a dream
that always ends
in nightmare

the center is
and its point is

unconditional love is
just the way
undivided consciousness

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

profisee 13 - sans world, sans everything

all the world
in the mind

and none of it is real

but acting in the world as if it isn’t real
just the mind thinking that it is

there's no reason to reject the you

for the you

Friday, October 11, 2013

profisee 12 - the atomizing of creation

Mind dreams body-mind
and touches it with

this Touch of Mind is in
the finger of

in the chapel of love,
awaken to
the touchless

Thursday, October 10, 2013

footnote to profisee 11 - self-remembering fixedly

Nothing written here is original. Often there’s a response to words read. If it was possible to see the writing behind the wall, this is what would be revealed:

Nisargadatta Maharaj:
These [qualifications and opportunities] will come with earnestness. What is supremely important is to be free from contradictions: the goal and the way must not be on different levels; life and light must not quarrel; behavior must not betray belief. Call it honesty, integrity, wholeness; you must not go back, undo, uproot, abandon the conquered ground. Tenacity of purpose and honesty in pursuit will bring you to your goal.

Stephen Levine on Miao Shan (Kuan Yin):
She found her heart in the first breath upon waking...

And she found that noting the intentions at the beginning and end of each breath kept her even more focused on her purpose. And, most wonderfully, this recognition of intention, a choice, before action purified her actions and seemed to clear much of what many refer to as karma (which she defined as simply “momentum”).

Able to enter her original heart, she was getting the teaching from every nook and cranny.

Bodhidharma (Tanlin) (tr- John McRae):
The entrance of principle is to become enlightened to the Truth on the basis of the teaching. One must have a profound faith in the fact that one and the same True Nature is possessed of all sentient beings, both ordinary and enlightened, and that this True Nature is only covered up and made imperceptible by false sense impressions.

If one discards the false and takes refuge in the True, one resides frozen in "wall contemplation", in which self and other, ordinary person and sage, are one and the same; one resides fixedly without wavering, never again to be swayed by written teachings. To be thus mysteriously identified with the True Principle, to be without discrimination, serene and inactive: This is called the entrance of principle.

P. D. Ouspensky:
I was once walking along the Liteiny towards the Nevsky, and in spite of all my efforts I was unable to keep my attention on self-remembering. The noise, movement, everything distracted me. Every minute I lost the thread of attention, found it again, and then lost it again. At last I felt a kind of ridiculous irritation with myself and I turned into the street on the left having firmly decided to keep my attention on the fact that I would remember myself at least for some time, at any rate until I reached the following street. I reached the Nadejdinskaya without losing the thread of attention except, perhaps, for short moments. Then I again turned towards the Nevsky realizing that, in quiet streets, it was easier for me not to lose the line of thought and wishing therefore to test myself in more noisy streets. I reached the Nevsky still remembering myself, and was already beginning to experience the strange emotional state of inner peace and confidence which comes after great efforts of this kind. Just around the corner on the Nevsky was a tobacconist’s shop where they made my cigarettes. Still remembering myself I thought I would call there and order some cigarettes.

Two hours later I woke up in the Tavricheskaya, that is, far away. I was going by ivostchik to the printers. The sensation of awakening was extraordinarily vivid. I can almost say that I came to. I remembered everything at once. How I had been walking along the Nadejdinskaya, how I had been remembering myself, how I had thought about cigarettes, and how at this thought I seemed to fall and disappear into a deep sleep. At the same time, while immersed in this sleep, I had continued to perform consistent and expedient actions. I left the tobacconist, called at my flat in the Liteiny, telephoned to the printers. I wrote two letters. Then again I went out of the house . . . And on the way while driving along the Tavricheskaya I began to feel a strange uneasiness, as though I had forgotten something. And I suddenly remembered that I had forgotten to remember myself.

These would be endless, but I stop here, to begin at the beginning again.

The concept of a spiritual warrior is a pervasive one in the literature. It can be a dangerous one as well. One’s identification with thought is divisional in essence. Thought in essence separates and categorizes. War is its nature.

When closely investigated, its seen in everything people do, although it’s covered up and hidden in daily self-deceptions. It’s a god eat god world. It's every thought for themselves. If you don't look out for your self, surely some concept will.

It’s important to see this is not a pointed attack on warriors in the military; they are merely people made plainest. Every person is a warrior, fighting for their security at work, at play, and even in relationships. It’s such a part of the personal daily existence, it’s not even recognized as anything untoward. Thoreau called this silent acceptance of the world “quiet desperation.” What else can a person do but takes things personally?

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

profisee 11 - an effortless resting within the power of impersonal affectionate omnipotent potential

the true warrior
the no-warrior

the real work of the mind
is to stay in
the heart

its every thought exhaled
a silencing inhaled

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

footnote to profisee ten - all in wonderwall

“Begin at the beginning,” said the King in Wonderland. Our western materialist paradigm and its method of scientific inquiry looks to what it fiercely calls the Big Bang as the point where everything begins, investigating its aftermath and reporting its discoveries as foundational truth. And although there are many benefits from this method, it’s obvious science doesn't really heed the King’s dictate. Even the White Rabbit could tell you that.

Science turns away from that which is before (or rather, beyond) the Big Bang; there’s nothing there for its kind of inquiry. Bodhidharma, though, gazes directly at that wall. Nisargadatta Maharaj vigilantly watches the “I Am.” Ramana Maharshi inquires “Who am I?” This is the wisdom of true discovery.

The Heart Sutra says “form is emptiness and emptiness is form.” So the wall upon which one gazes is revealed to be no wall at all, and vice versa. The Big Bang is no bang. Like the proverbial Maineiac says: “ayuh, you can’t get there from here.” Relying on the tools of the mind will take you further down the rabbit hole.

Thus, Nisargadatta Maharaj says to take it down to the primary level of one’s obvious self-existence, I Am. In this energetic, impersonal, fully aware, unitary consciousness, rest and watch. Gaze in and at Bodhidharma’s wall, or as it is transcribed in Tibetan, abide in brightness. This is the Upanishadic meditation of the Kena: “meditating only yourself is the way it’s understood.”

No words can take you there for you are already there; some just don’t know it yet. No thought, theory, or belief can tell you something that you are. Their domain is the world of the Big Bang. And although we are here in thought, we are not of thought. There is only one way to discover ultimate knowledge and that’s to rest in that ultimate knowledge you already are.

This is why there’s so much talk of quieting the mind, silence and surrender. Listening carefully to the noise of the Big Bang will tell you much about the intricacies of the Big Bang. But to know your absolute truth about that before (timelessly, that is) the Big Bang, one must rest in the Bangless.

Monday, October 7, 2013

profisee ten - i am not i am

science turns its eyes away from that before the big bang
but bodhidharma gazes at this wall
and nisargadatta watches the i-am:
true wisdom

pure awareness that
this wall is no-wall
and that no-wall is this wall
is pure awareness

in thought
but not of thought,
this world is nothing
but a wonderwall

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

profisee nine - coyote hears a who

the word is the original

my name is coyote
and my story is you

in the word
begins the beginning

the ending is in
the howling of who