If you're interested in Zen, it's a good idea to sometimes look into the sayings of the Chinese Patriarchs and Masters for clarification. What's the goal of Zen? Am I supposed to meditate? How do I begin? Where do I stop? Ma Tzu was towering figure in Chinese Zen. In his discourses we get the pure stuff -- a big block of Zen itself, basic and unmodified.
So what's the problem? The problem is words. The problem is dualism ingrained in words. An added problem is that Ma Tzu may have been a big fake. Most of his discourses are "boilerplate Zen." He might have been a phony just aping Bodhidharma! Except that his mondo (dialogues) are so startling.
Naturally, translation is treacherous. Is Ma Tzu really saying to "do nothing?" What does Ma Tzu want you to attain, if anything? What is Ma Tzu's version of the Zen that Buddha supposedly passed onto Mahakasyapa in India? Here are some of Ma Tzu's sayings with my notes.
The Normal Mind:
The Way does not require cultivation - just don't pollute it. What is pollution? As long as you have a fluctuating mind fabricating artificialities and contrivances, all of this is pollution. If you want to understand the Way directly, the normal mind is the Way. What I mean by the normal mind is the mind without artificiality, without subjective judgments, without grasping or rejection.
[You can't get plainer than that. The Way is direct and simple. Don't muck it up with your fluctuating mental states. Don't grasp onto events or sensations, don't judge, don't reject.]
The founders of Zen said that one's own essence is inherently complete. Just don't linger over good or bad things - that is called practice of the Way. To grasp the good and reject the bad, to contemplate emptiness and enter concentration, is all in the province of contrivance - and if you go on seeking externals, you get further and further estranged. Just end the mental objectivization of the world. A single thought of the wandering mind is the root of birth and death in the world. Just don't have a single thought and you'll get rid of the root of birth and death.
[Ah! So there is a "practice" of the Way! But it's negative. Don't grasp some things as good, others as bad; don't cultivate some idea or principle such as Emptiness, and don't think Zen is about contrived states of concentration. Ma Tzu is speaking pure Dzogchen here! Don't seek externals, or you'll get lost. So what do we do then, Master Ma Tzu? Cease! Cease and desist. Stop objectifying the world. A single thought arises, and you're engulfed in the Triple Realm -- that's almost a direct quote from Bodhidharma. So the answer is clear. "Just don't have a single thought."]
The Oceanic Reflection:
Human delusions of time immemorial, deceit, pride, deviousness, and conceit, have conglomerated into one body. That is why scripture says that this body is just made of elements, and its appearance and disappearance is just that of the elements, which have no identity. When successive thoughts do not await one another, and each thought dies peacefully away, this is called absorption in the oceanic reflection.
[Some steep Buddha Dharma shit here, resolving quickly back into Zen. Make it so that your thoughts don't wait for each other, but just die away without creating further thoughts; then you'll be absorbed in the Great Samadhi of the Ocean.]
Delusion and Enlightenment:
Delusion means you are not aware of your own fundamental mind; enlightenment means you realize your own fundamental essence. Once enlightened, you do not become deluded anymore. If you understand mind and objects, then false conceptions do not arise; when false conceptions do not arise, this is the acceptance of the beginninglessness of things. You have always had it, and you have it now - there is no need to cultivate the Way and sit in meditation.
[Simple! Deluded, your fundamental mind mistakes itself for changing "stuff"; enlightened, it knows the essence, and so troubles cease. You have to "understand" mind and objects, to keep false conceptions from bewildering you. How? Get a clear view that it's "just this" -- beginningless, inconceivable. You don't need to get something you don't have. You're It already. There is no need to "sit in meditation." Every instant in the awakened state of Zen is meditation.]
Right this moment, as you walk, stand, sit, and recline, responding to all situations and dealing with people - all is the Tao. The Tao is the realm of reality. No matter how numerous are the uncountable, inconceivable functions, they are not beyond this realm. If they were, how could we speak of the teaching of the Mind-ground, and how could we tell of the inexhaustible lantern?
[How could you ever get out of the realm of Tao? How could you evade the Mind-ground? THIS is the inexhaustible lamp that keeps burning no matter what you do to it.]
All phenomena are mental; all labels are labeled by the mind. All phenomena arise out of mind; mind is the root of all phenomena. A sutra says, 'When you know mind and arrive at its root source, in that sense you may be called a devotee.'
[Phenomena are just Mind; labels pasted on phenomena are just Mind making distinctions within Mind. Zen is really seeing this, "knowing" it. Mind again!]
The Dharmakaya is infinite; its substance neither waxes nor wanes. It can be vast or minute, angled or smooth; it manifests images in accordance with things and beings, like the moon reflected in a pool. Its function gushes forth yet does not take root; it never exhausts deliberate action nor does it dwell in inaction. Deliberate action is a function of authenticity; authenticity is the basis of deliberate action. Because of no longer having fixation on this basis, one is spoken of as autonomous, like empty space.
[The Dharmakaya, the Truth Body of the Buddhas, may manifest infinite types of forms but it never sticks to any of them -- it remains open, free, autonomous, baseless. That's the Unborn Zen Mind. It's the "sound" of one hand clapping. Perfect!]
The true Suchness of mind is like a mirror reflecting forms: the mind is like the mirror, and phenomena are like the (reflected) forms. If the mind grasps at phenomena, then it involves itself in external conditions and causes; this is what 'the birth and death of mind' means. If it no longer grasps at such phenomena, this is what 'the true Suchness of mind' means.
All dharmas are Buddhist teachings; all dharmas are liberation. Liberation is true Suchness, and not one thing is separate from this true Suchness. Walking, standing, sitting, and reclining are all inconceivable actions.
[Suchness is the nature of things just as they are. Here the substance of the Mind is said to be like a mirror, insofar as reflections don't interfere with or change the basic radiant nature of the mirror. If that's all Mind is, there's no problem. But if Mind starts to grasp at its own manifestations, it creates an "external" world that becomes a problem (samsara, a realm of birth and death). So the Mind shouldn't grasp at phenomena via name-and-form thinking, thereby resolving into its Suchness-nature. Note that the Chinese word for "mind" and "heart" is the same -- xin.]
Objectifying mind falsifies everything. If you are reading this with that kind of mind, you will take "Mind" to be an object, maybe a higher object, maybe even the highest object. But you will be wrong. "Mind" in Ma Tzu's terms is just what you are reading these words with right now. In fact, it is just what is reading these words. But that "what" is not a "that" to be objectified. Do you see? Do you hear?
Maybe you feel some intimation now of what Ma Tzu was "after." Or "before."
Question: How do I get it?
Answer: You are it! But I realize that answer won't help you. So here is another: Look for that which is looking. Try to hear that which is hearing. Do not just accept the intellectual concept of "that" as "nothing" or "void" or "emptiness" or "mind." See what Xin really is for you right now. Okay? Then go on to read the "mondo" below.
Translated by T. Cleary.
The following mondo are all taken the book "Sayings of the Ancient Worthies", fas. I (Ku tsun-hsiu yu-lu], translated by D.T. Suzuki:
Someone asked Ma-tsu: "How does a man discipline himself in the Tao?"
The master replied: "In the Tao there is nothing to discipline oneself in. If there is any discipline in it, the completion of such discipline means the destruction of the Tao. One then will be like the Sravaka. But if there is no discipline whatever in the Tao, one remains an ignoramus."
"By what kind of understanding does a man attain the Tao?"
On this, the master gave the following sermon:
"The Tao in its nature is from the first perfect and self-sufficient. When a man finds himself unhalting in his management of the affairs of life good or bad, he is known as one who is disciplined in the Tao. To shun evils and to become attached to things good, to meditate on Emptiness and to enter into a state of samadhi--this is doing something. If those who run after an outward object, they are the farthest away [from the Tao].
Only let a man exhaust all his thinking and imagining he can possibly have in the triple world. When even an iota of imagination is left with him, this is his triple world and the source of birth and death in it. When there is not a trace of imagination, he has removed all the source of birth and death, he then holds the unparalleled treasure belonging to the Dharmaraja. All the imagination harboured since the beginningless past by an ignorant being, together with his falsehood, flattery, self-conceit, arrogance, and other evil passions, are united in the body of One Essence, and all melt away.
"It is said in the sutra that many elements combine themselves to make this body of ours, and that the rising of the body merely means the rising together of all these elements and the disappearance of the body means also merely that of the elements. When the latter rise, they do not declare that they are now to rise; when they disappear they do not declare that they are now to disappear.
So with thoughts, one thought follows another without interruption, the preceding one does not wait for the succeeding, each one is self-contained and quiescent. This is called the Sagaramudra-samadhi, "Meditation of the Ocean-stamp", in which are included all things, like the ocean where all the rivers however different in size, etc., empty themselves. In this great ocean of one salt-water, all the waters in it partake of one and the same taste. A man living in it diffuses himself in all the streams pouring into it. A man bathing in the great ocean uses all the waters emptied into it.
"The Sravaka is enlightened and yet going astray; the ordinary man is out of the right path and yet in a way enlightened. The Sravaka fails to perceive that Mind as it is in itself knows no stages, no causation, no imaginations. Disciplining himself in the cause he has attained the result and abides in the Samadhi of Emptiness itself for ever so many kalpas. However enlightened in his way, the Sravaka is not at all on the right track. From the point of view of the Bodhisattva, this is like suffering the torture of hell. The Sravaka has buried himself in emptiness and does not know how to get out of his quiet contemplation, for he has no insight into the Buddha-nature itself.
If a man is of superior character and intelligence he will, under the instruction of a wise director, at once see into the essence of the thing and understand that this is not a matter of stages and processes. He has an instant insight into his own Original Nature. So we read in the sutra that ordinary beings change in their thoughts but the Sravaka knows no such changes [which means that he never comes out of his meditation of absolute quietude].
"'Going astray' stands against 'being enlightened'; but when there is primarily no going astray there is no being enlightened either. All beings since the beginningless past have never been outside the Dharma-essence itself; abiding for ever in the midst of the Dharma-essence, they eat, they are clothed, they talk, they respond; all the functioning of the six senses, all their doings are of the Dharma-essence itself. When they fail to understand to go back to the Source they follow names, pursue forms, allow confusing imaginations to rise, and cultivate all kinds of karma. Let them once in one thought return to the Source and their entire being will be of Buddha-mind.
"O monks, let each of you see into his own Mind. Do not memorize what I tell you. However eloquently I may talk about all kinds of things as innumerable as the sands of the Ganges, the Mind shows no increase; even when no talk is possible, the Mind shows no decrease. You may talk ever so much about it, and it is still your own Mind; you may not at all talk about it, and it is just the same your own Mind. You may divide your body into so many forms, and emitting rays of supernatural light perform the eighteen miracles, and yet what you have gained is after all no more than your own dead ashes.
"The dead ashes thoroughly wet have no vitality and are likened to the Sravaka's disciplining himself in the cause in order to attain its result. The dead ashes not yet wet are full of vitality and are likened to the Bodhisattva, whose life in the Tao is pure and not at all dyed in evils. If I begin to talk about the various teachings given out by the Tathagata, there will be no end however long through ages I may go on. They are like an endless series of chains. But once you have an insight into the Buddha-mind, nothing in Lore is left to you to attain.
"I have kept you standing long enough, fare you well!"
Layman Pang proclaimed one day when Ma-tsu appeared on the platform: "Here is the Original Body altogether unbedimmed! Raise your eyes to it!" Ma-tsu looked straight downward. Said Pang, "How beautifully the master plays on the first-class stringless lute!" The master looked straight up. Pang made a bow, and the master returned to his own room. Pang followed him and said, "A while ago you made a fool of yourself, did you not?"
Someone asked: "What is the Buddha?"
"Mind is the Buddha, and there's no other."
A monk asked: "Without resorting to the four statements and an endless series of negations, can you tell me straightway what is the idea of our Patriarch's coming from the West?"
The master said: "I don't feel like answering it today. You go to the Western Hall and ask Shih-tsang about it."
The monk went to the Western Hall and saw the priest, who pointing at his head with a finger said, "My head aches today and I am unable to explain it to you today. I advise you to go to Brother Hai."
[1. Ho-koji in Japanese. He was one of the greatest disciples of Ma, and for further quotations see my Essays on Zen, I, II, and III.]
The monk now called on Hai, and Hai said: "As to that I do not understand."
The monk finally returned to the master and told him about his adventure. Said the master: "Tsang's head is black while Hai's is white."
A monk asked: "Why do you teach that Mind is no other than Buddha?"
"In order to make a child stop its crying."
"When the crying is stopped, what would you say?"
"Neither Mind nor Buddha."
"What teaching would you give to him who is not in these two groups?"
"I will say, 'It is not a something.'
"If you unexpectedly interview a person who is in it what would you do?" finally, asked the monk.
"I will let him realize the great Tao."
The master asked Pai-chang, one of his chief disciples: How would you teach others?"
Pai-chang raised his hossu.
The master remarked, "Is that all? No other way?"
Pai-chang threw the hossu down.
A monk asked: "How does a man set himself in harmony with the Tao?"
"I am already out of harmony."
Tan-yuan, one of Ma-tsu's personal disciples, came back from his pilgrimage. When he saw the master, he drew a circle on the floor and after making bows stood on it facing the master. Said Ma-tsu: "So you wish to become a Buddha?"
The monk said: "I do not know the art of putting my own eyes out of focus."
"I am not your equal."
The monk had no answer.
One day in the first month of the fourth year of Chen-yuan (788), while walking in the woods at Shih-men Shan, Ma-tsu noticed a cave with a flat floor. He said to his attendant monk, "My body subject to decomposition will return to earth here in the month to come." On the fourth of the second month, he was indisposed as he predicted, and after a bath he sat cross-legged and passed away.
Saturday, April 27, 2013
“Just as a hand moving in empty space touches no object and meets no obstacle, so the Bodhisattvas who practice the equality of emptiness transcend the mundane world. Moreover, Subhuti, because all the elements of the five aggregates merge in the Dharmadhatu, there are no realms. If there are no realms, there are no elements of earth, water, fire, or air; there is no ego, sentient being, or life; no Realm of Desire, Realm of Form or Realm of Formlessness: no realm of the conditioned or realm of the unconditioned; no realm of samsara or realm of nirvana. When Bodhisattvas enter such a domain free of distinctions, they do not abide in anything, though they remain in the midst of worldly beings. If they do not abide in anything, they transcend the mundane world.” -The Demonstration of the Inconceivable State of Buddhahood Sutra
Posted by ALW at 7:14 AM
Friday, April 26, 2013
Everything is Here-Now.
All life's phenomena vanish
in the very instant they appear
like drops of water
tossed into a hot skillet.
Wake up to it!
Tell me: does this fact
cause you anguish,
or a brilliant joy?
Here-Now is Instantaneous Awareness
aka the Natural State,
Rigpa, Pure Being, One Mind,
Tathata, "Buddha," Zen.
Why did you ever stray from it?
Are you so sure you did?
Maybe it's time for you to come home!
Ignorance creates delusions.
Delusions veil the Natural State.
Ignorance is not Bliss,
but the fear of transience!
Ignorance causes the belief
that one can grasp, possess,
hold, defend, store up,
or make "one's own"
anything, anything at all.
From ignorance springs
all the delusions
that drive people crazy,
and create sorrow and unease,
Get rid of ignorance
by cutting it at the root
and "the leaves of samsara
will wither of themselves."
Cut it at the root
by cutting off the delusion
of an Ego.
Cut off the delusion of Ego
by shattering thinking
and seeing It directly
and vividly all at once.
Be Enlightened --
laugh and play.
Everything is just a fierce,
sublime, laughable and pure
No beauty, no ugliness.
Here it is all at once!
What's the problem?
Shake the snow out of your ears
and we'll build a snow Buddha!
"Wearing a straw hat
under the hot summer sky."
"A crow screams on the mountain.
Ants crawl out of a hole.
One thousand nights of cold rain."
Posted by ALW at 7:28 AM
Friday, March 22, 2013
If an ordinary man . . . could only see the five elements of his consciousness as void; the four physical elements as not constituting an 'I'; the real Mind as formless and neither coming nor going; his nature as something neither commencing at his birth nor perishing at his death, but as whole and motionless in its very depths; his Mind and environmental objects as one – if he could really accomplish this, he would receive Enlightenment in a flash. He would no longer be entangled by the Triple World; he would be a World-Transcendor. -Huang Po
Master Dried Shit Stick sometimes teaches an infallible method of attaining Satori. He claims this can be done in a single afternoon (a single instant, actually, but there is some working up to it). I sketch it out here with some trepidation, because it can be dangerous. One person I know tried it and went stark raving mad, or at least felt he was going stark raving mad. Nobody else noticed anything, which annoyed him a little. Luckily, this was not the case -- after a few days he snapped back completely and once again felt like his usual self. He said he was never going to touch Zen again. Ever.
Master Dried Shit Stick admitted that this method is not necessarily superior to Za-zen. "Sit down, face a wall, cut off thinking." That's what I'd always heard him teach before. But this method has some new twists, and the advantage of freshness.
Master Dried Shit Stick claims he invented this method after reading an aphorism by Nietzsche: "If you gaze long enough into the Abyss, the Abyss will gaze back into you" then recalling Joshu's "oak tree in the courtyard" koan. It occurred to him that a koan is the Abyss, and that a tree could be used just like a koan. Anyhow, here it is. At your own risk:
-Raise strong Ki, preferably by walking at a fast but not exhausting pace.
-Stop and gaze intensely at a tree (preferably a pine tree).
While gazing at the tree, suddenly cut off thinking and completely enter the resulting sensation of Great Doubt ("reckless bravado" is needed at this point; also, please note that the Great Doubt is not a matter of intellectual questions, since one's head should feel "completely empty as if all thoughts were burnt up in the great fire of your penetrating gaze" but of "a hair-raising sensation like what you might experience in confronting a tiger about to spring"; furthermore, this gaze should take in the tree all at once without breaking it down into parts or dwelling on details.)
"See it as it is; see it completely. Don't let any thoughts intervene. Don't drift off into a reverie. Don't fall into a trance. There it is! Do you see it?"
When asked what to do if this technique does not work, if one feels hopelessly stuck, Master Dried Shit Stick laughed and offered one further piece of advice: "See it [the tree] with your ears, or your tongue. Hear it with your eyes."!).
If one doesn't attain Satori using this method in a single instant of a single afternoon, Master Dried Shit Stick says that one should do it at the same time every day, always using the same tree, until the big breakthrough. "Exert yourself to the utmost. Strive on! Strive on!" (Huangbo).
At a certain point the Abyss will engulf you ("the most terrifying instant of your life -- don't draw back") followed by a flash of illumination ("laughing and crying, a cold sweat -- these are the usual signs") leading to "joy-filled amazement" and rebirth into a fantastic and amusing new world. "Strange and harmless walks in the midst of life." "A cold March wind playing with white clouds."
"Profound is the state of Treeness, lofty and beyond illusions!"
Posted by ALW at 12:22 PM
Thursday, March 21, 2013
1. Reality is appearing right here now, complete as it is. Or incomplete, if you prefer. It is not a product of teachings. It has nothing to do with ideas or beliefs. Nothing is held back in this instantaneousness.
2. "Is" just means this -- appearing right here now. Can you experience it? Yes. Can you grasp it? Can you pick up a broom and sweep all the dust from empty space?
3. This experience of isness is Enlightenment. Life itself, with all its sorrows and difficulties, is Supreme Realization.
4. Does or can anything, then, ever obstruct this instantaneous Reality? Yes! Teachings, ideas, beliefs, worries and expectations when clung to by the so-called "mind" obstruct Reality and thereby create feelings of confusion and un-ease. [Takuan Soho calls this "moshin," the false mind or mind of delusion, as opposed to "honshin," which is the natural and inherently self-liberated Mind. "The Original Mind, Honshin, is the mind which does not stop anywhere or become fixed to or identified with anything but pervades the whole body and being. When this Original Mind becomes fixed on particular things it fails to function and becomes Moshin, ignorance and suffering. Original Mind is like water, flowing freely into various shapes, while deluded mind is rigid like ice." Honshin and Moshin are not opposites. Nor are they "one." There is a pragmatic difference between water and ice. But they are "not two." Here is another way of putting it: the Mind of Instantaneous Reality is always just the Mind of Instantaneous Reality, but when it gets distracted by and mis-identified with particular phenomena it becomes the Small Mind of Delusion without ever ceasing to be the Mind of Instantaneous Reality. However, trying to understand this wonderful truth with the Small Mind of Delusion is useless, because Moshin believes only in the Either/Or world of name-and-form, made up of rigid distinctions and opposites such as "good and evil," "existence and non-existence" and so on and so forth. So if a Zen Master like Master Dried Shit Stick tries to explain it to you, you'll scoff that it's not rational. It isn't rational; that's a fact! It just is. Stop believing in the "rational" dogma of this Small Mind of Delusion and you'll wake up instantaneously, like a thunderclap out of a clear blue sky!]
5. An indescribable ease and bliss is achieved simply by dropping any and all adherence to the entire mass of teachings, ideas, beliefs, worries and expectations. (Drop it all! Or better yet -- burn it all up like the trash it is!) [Note Mumon Ekai's somewhat overheated evocation of this simple, indescribable state: 如奪得關將軍大刀入手、逢佛殺佛、逢祖殺祖、於生死岸頭得大自在、向六道四生中遊戲三昧 "It will be as if you snatch away the great sword of the valiant general Kan'u and hold it in your hand. When you meet the Buddha, you kill him; when you meet the patriarchs, you kill them. On the brink of life and death, you command perfect freedom; among the sixfold worlds and four modes of existence, you enjoy a merry and playful samadhi." -Mumonkan]
6. Once you've woken up to This, live like a simpleton! Just look at what is in front of your face and don't create concepts about it; act in a direct and minimal way according to whatever changing circumstances happen to demand.
Posted by ALW at 2:46 PM
Monday, January 28, 2013
Tuesday, January 15, 2013
Unrelenting attention cuts through mind-activity with a one-pointed focus on "this-here-now"; suddenly the bottom drops out of the shitpail.
Unrelenting attention is used to break through to simple awareness; absorbed into awareness, this "watcher" is spontaneously annihilated.
That's the basic Ch'an method and it's what Nisargadatta taught, too. Nath and Zen are one.
"Have you felt the all-embracing emptiness in which the universe swims like a cloud in the blue sky?" -Nisargadatta
Posted by ALW at 10:24 AM
Sunday, January 13, 2013
In this particular "practice" you give light back to the sky, darkness to empty space, body to the four elements, thoughts to books, &c. You consciously give everything you've borrowed back to its particular source, and then you rest nakedly in the no-thing left over. I can vouch that this particular shamanic/Taoist/Bonpo practice leaves one in a state of great openness, calm and bliss. With everything borrowed returned to its original place, the naked source of the mysterious "I Am" sense shines all by itself.
Give light back to the sky.
Give darkness back to empty space and shadows.
Give hate and suffering from hate back to the Hell demons.
Give pride, love and joy back to the gods in Heaven.
Give body back to the four great elements.
Give speech back to writing.
Give everything you borrowed back to its source.
What's left? That's the real "I Am."
The great bindu with no size or location --
original, mysterious, before all thoughts.
The source and root of baseless self-cognizing (Mind)!
Give light back to the sky.
Give darkness back to empty space and shadows.
Give hate and suffering from hate back to the Hell demons.
Give pride, love and joy back to the gods in Heaven.
Give body back to the four great elements.
Give speech back to writing.
Give everything you borrowed back to its source.
What's left? That's the real "I Am."
The great bindu with no size or location --
original, mysterious, before all thoughts.
The source and root of baseless self-cognizing (Mind)!
Posted by ALW at 10:15 PM
Friday, January 11, 2013
This book of aphorisms [some excerpts below] is designed to help you realize your true nature.
Some call it the Buddha Nature.
Some call it the Great Self.
Some call it Nothingness or Emptiness.
How about clearly investigating if there's ever a "person" surviving intact through successive "moments" in time?
Shed the conceptual, like Shakyamuni did under the Demon - er, Bodhi - tree, and you will realize all your past lives, good and bad. Oh no.
Who were you before your parents were born?
Where will you be after you die?
These are the essential questions of Zen.
The use of these questions as ko-ans, such as Hakuin's "What is the sound of one hand clapping?" can liberate you by "stopping thoughts."
At that instant you will "see" it directly for yourself, like someone drinking water and knowing if the water is cold or hot!
My cat spat out the baby vole when I picked her up. It lay shivering for just a few seconds, then jumped up and dashed into the underbrush.
Starry Sky Meditation, the poor man's Madhyamika.
Do the Starry Sky Meditation until it works and You See It. Suddenly It Is.
It may take ten minutes or an hour, lying on one's back gazing at the Starry Sky, but if one is intent on the Starry Vastness Itself . . .
The main point is, of course, to be intent and single minded about looking beyond thoughts, no matter what thoughts pop up.
Instead of extending awareness temporally (in thoughts of past and projections of future), try the lateral route.
"The lateral route" means: extending awareness into space, all directions at once. Via Starry Sky Meditation for example.
1,000000000000 things to do before you leave samsara.
The "ring-of-light" exercise found in Paolo Coelho's Aleph does "regress" one to past life moments, but one soon wonders: so what?
Owning to the self-disintegration of the grasping onto objects, one is entirely liberated from Samsara and Nirvana. -Virupa
According to Zenkei Shibayama, "discriminating consciousness" is precisely what causes Samsara, so how will you think your way to Nirvana?
The Lankavatara Sutra says, "Getting rid of the discriminating mind is Nirvana." Of course, those words themselves discriminate!
It's possible that most problems could be solved by living on a bowl of rice and some raw fruit and vegetables a day.
You are never more than an instant away from Direct Realization.
The Zen method developed by Chinese Masters is "direct entry with a sharp chopper."
Tradition says that Buddha himself predicted that the Dharma would be devoured from within, like a lion by thinking-parasites.
Buddhists no longer get Satori; they mock and "critique" it from the standpoint of a conceptual Emptiness.
Experiencing all concepts drop away, one also experiences forms melting away, along with a frighteningly intense energy and bliss.
The physical universe is a transient, unstable manifestation of Ki.
The First Church of Buddha, Yogic Scientist.
Shakyamuni was a yogic scientist of the highest order, but his bonehead disciples collected his talks as scriptures rather than notes.
It's lucky for us that Buddha's words got written down, but it's too bad for us that they became the basis for a feudalistic religion.
Yogic science = exploring and observing how to shift, redirect and refine internal energy, taking careful note of results, sharing notes.
Those who are unsuited for yogic science tend to be the ones who want a Guru to solve all their problems.
In Ch'an the Two-fold Egolessness has to be instantly "realized," not intellectually grasped..
Revel in the absurdity of the momentary!
"After" Nirvana "before" Nirvana seems no different. It was always just "thus." Shakyamuni washes his feet and sits down.
Nirvana = extinction, total cessation. Of what? Of any mental grasping at name-and-form.
In one Pali Sutta dealing with contemplation of egolessness Buddha says that anybody who does it right will attain Nirvana in seven seconds.
First Rule of Nirvana Club. You don't talk about Nirvana Club.
Samsara is flooded with shoddy goods: toys that break as soon as you try to play with them, cheap glitter that rubs off on the first wear.
The "quality-control" problem is rampant in samsara.
In Naked Awareness, the reality without heads or tails,it seems karma doesn't come up at all.
I've seen the best minds of my generation destroyed by Buddhism.
Master Hua sometimes told his students that any pile-up of strange coincidences was most likely demons trying to break their samadhi.
When one starts noting chains of weird coincidences, synchronicities, it's time to sit down and do some intense Zen.
Synchronicities are a veil of irritation you must go through -- keep your "right concentration" clear and don't worry about them.
I've seen talented and serious Zen people go right off the rails in the belief that they can now control reality with their thoughts.
Don't store anything. Wipe out your traces in Great Space.
"Events happen, deeds are done, but there is no individual doer thereof." Raising the question of where "karma" could ever be stored
"Cast aside all things, become without thought and without mind." -Hakuin Zenji
"Duality" isn't anything objective but arises from a glimmer of possibility in the non-dual; in other words, duality is non-dual.
There are of course people one shouldn't "teach" or interact with but instead quietly avoid.
Although our subtle form is empty and all pervasive we've entered into a karmic game that is too interesting not to play out!
To the one behind all the words. (Point to your own face.)
Chop off the pointing finger/& all at once/ you might see the moon!"
In the martial arts it is easier to "know" the power of empty form.
Empty form is energetic form. This is not the same as conceptualized form -- "signs, marks (lakshana)."
China, Japan & other Asian areas never developed the dialectical idea of even & equal opposites that plagues us Western logic zombies.
Dialectics -- slavery to logical norms -- never arose there. Nor in many other places, of course.
Here is an example: in Japanese thought is Mushin ("No mind") considered to be the polar and equal"opposite" of "mind"? Not at all.
It is quite fascinating to see the "thinking-process" fall apart as you go to sleep then spontaneously reassemble in dreams.
Even more interesting if you've had some experience in Dhyana of the thinking-process disappearing completely.
The profundity of Zen arises from its total simplicity.
If you have an analytic mind, instead of taking "Emptiness" on faith why not break everything at this instant down to most "basic elements"
"As I've told you, the Tonal and the Nagual are two different worlds. In one you talk, in the other you act." -Don Juan Matus
I truly don't have a problem with "duality" or anything philosophical. I'd like to help some people get over horrific stress, that's all.
That reminds me to pick and dry some yarrow stalks.
Unmoving mind -- one can achieve this by keeping mind in the Hara. Eventually it`s no longer necessary to make effort.
The basic condition of Samsara is that we're all nailed to a self-illusion. Consistent Hara-practice should take out the nails.
The Yoga trick of making the Universe disappear -- as you jump Qi from one chakra to another, for example. Mysterious! Wonderful!
Sometimes you remind me of a Zen U.G. Krishnamurti. -a friend
Confusing the Self with ideas and judgments and other linguistic nonsense, you've conceived some absurd ideal of being right all the time.
The rope that was one hundred billion "snakes."
Anything you do once you have "cast off all things, become without thought and without mind" is instantaneously the Flower of the True Law.
It may be this simple. Your Operating System has been infected with the language virus, overloaded, and has slowed down to a crawl.
Yoga Tip #4: Move attention and energy from the front to the back of your head to suddenly experience "choiceless awareness" (Rigpa)
Hey! It's as if space doesn't even exist for you, because your brain is always projecting such a great and important imaginary world!
Note the energy concentrated right inside your brows as "thinking, remembering, conceiving, judging, imagining" and other such horseshit.
This life is appearance-emptiness like a water-moon. So past & future lives are also appearance-emptiness like water moons. ~Tsultrim Gyatso
Enlightenment misconceptions #1: enlightened people don't get angry. Nisargadatta was famous for his rages.
Enlightenment misconception #2: Enlightened people like to tweet quotes by famous dead monks, rinpoches, tulkus and karmapas.
Yoga enlightenment is just seeing that it's only a dirty piece of rope. Kick it aside. Snakes are more interesting, I agree!
Enlightenment misconceptions #3: Every new enlightened person is a problem for you and a threat to you, because there is a scarcity of it.
Enlightenment misconception #4: Enlightened people aren't on Twitter.
Enlightenment misconception #5: Enlightened people don't die ordinary, dog-like deaths. Buddha died of food poisoning. Hui-K'o, decapitated.
Enlightenment misconception #6: There is a defined "path," like guru-yoga, that invariably leads anyone who follows it to enlightenment.
Enlightenment misconceptions #7: All enlightened people have certificates from other enlightened people certifying they are enlightened.
What is clear to me may still be obscure to you! I might spend an entire afternoon laughing to myself but that doesn't help you get Satori!
Zen. The suffering & the glory!
As a habitué of Great Space, I can certainly be "invoked" just like O-Sensei or the original Sai Baba or many others & we'll meet up there.
Let's not deny "sentience" to our enemies -- they are sentient, even if they are stupid or demons.
What's more, "enemies" have a special karmic relation with us, like between a bee and a flower.
I congratulate all "sentient beings" (what other kinds are there? that's another issue) for subjecting yourselves to all this. Daredevils!
"I know there's an objective universe because other people experience it" -- that's an interesting idea right there!
Hosso Buddhism definitely agrees that co-subjectivity (group karma) is what creates an "objective" universe. So do the Australian Aborigines.
Plunging the Universe into the black hole of the Hara -- don't worry! It disappears then it comes back.
Life can be wearisome! But the Alien Armada is on its way, so we may soon be able to choose rebirth as a hyper-intelligent lizard.
My personal contribution to Zen doesn't lie in verbal paradox or mystifying claims but in quite direct and simple "Awareness-experiments"
How to get Satori and how to deepen and stabilize the satori-state into "everyday enlightened be-ing" (Daigo) was the point of Chinese Zen
Your weird religious temple doesn't pay taxes but you want the government to prosecute people who criticize your weird religious ideas!
Buddhas tend to spend much enjoyable time going over their past life and lives, re-experiencing what seemed terrible then as pure nectar.
This aggressive bee-like "gathering" of "experiences" offers a plausible solution to what Christian-nihilists call "the problem of evil"
Are you familiar with William Burroughs' idea that language is an Alien virus?
A sure way NOT to get enlightenment. Become Buddhist, spend most of your time with other Buddhists and be condescending to non-Buddhists.
Individuals have only one need, and that is -- to wake up to the fact that they are NOT "different individuals"!
To speak of different individuals or different teachings is to lose the razor's-edge direct path that is the Buddha Way!
Yet it's not a matter of denying life, denying the senses. How could it be? Awareness is "all this" -- and beyond.
You can do a kind of negative good to people by leaving them alone. (Consider this carefully, evil ones.)
"Small mind," (following the shoga/taiga distinction in Zen) is like a sock monkey puppet with Big Mind's hand stuck up its ass.
Big Mind magically shrinks itself into small mind. It's like having the dream where you're much stupider than you really are.
You go to a puppet show & later say "this puppet said this, that one did that"; but it's really the hidden guy who is saying & doing.
Big Mind is Punch, Judy, the baby that gets tossed out the window, the cop &c.
The Greatest Show on Earth! A real 7 billion ring circus.
"Subtler than the banyan seed, subtler than the hundred thousandth part of a hair, this Self cannot be grasped or seen." -The Upanishads
Let us meditate on the shining Self, the ultimate reality realized by all the sages in samadhi." (Tejobindu Upanishad)
So the essence of the Guru and of Guru Yoga is just "awakeness" or "being aware" itself!? Yes!
Buddha's Liberation was just the Instantaneous Realization of This-As-It-Is. However, his teaching obviously went through some contortions.
"The bare cognition of all Buddhas/, The flame of deep awareness, the excellent clear light."
It is! It is! It is!
I find the sheer number of my past lives embarrassing.
As if I needed to experience everything -- enjoy and suffer from every possible situation, face every calamity, glory in all victories.
Zen sword. You really don't care if you get cut or not.
The Mind-Dharma is that it all happens in Mind.
The Void Dharma, all that happens in Void.
Hua T'ou, Kensho, Satori, Bodhi, Amida, Pure Consciousness, "before thoughts," "don't know Mind," all the same.
Every moment in Zen is infinity.
Become aware of the need to meet your Mystical Friend.
When Manjusri was on Twitter.
Here-Now is Empty/of Both Form and Emptiness.
Don't have to die to "see the light." The light is everything and nothing.
When Awareness fixates on an object it stupidly forgets that Awareness itself is no object.
In picaresque Zen terms, Absolute Awareness searching anxiously for itself is "riding your Ox in search of your Ox." Where the fuck is it
Hey! Don't tell anybody, but the "universe" as any kind of object does not exist. There's just You. Great, isn't it?
In the Surangama Sutra (very important to Chinese Zen), Buddha gives a number of thought experiments to prove Seeing-Nature is infinite.
"Hey, Ananda! When your head turned just now, did the nature of Seeing turn?" "Actually, no, World Honored One."
Generally, when one does some real lucid past life regression (not hypnosis), one doesn't recall ruling a whole galaxy.
Rather than remembering being Marie Antoinette, however, you might just recall drinking cold water in the desert from an iron ladle.
Or, maybe you'll experience being a baby vole getting eaten by a cat. In any case, it's nothing to boast about.
Hell happens when mirages begin to conceive of their own personhood.
Theory of mind is the only mind there is.
In the Upanishads, the Self is said to be pervasive, ultimately real, without attributes. How is this different from the Dharmata? It isn't!
The Ganesh School of Intergalactic Zen. Who else but a drum playing elephant headed god,
Embodied -- do you mind?
At some point one moves to dream yoga, since the "small self-mind" -- shorn of its daily feather-fluffing -- will take refuge in the night.
History is made of wake-up calls, but most people just hit the "snooze" button and go back to sleep.
The Olympic Firing Squad team.
"The dharmas spoken by the Tathagata cannot be grasped and cannot be spoken. They are neither dharmas nor no dharmas."
The creation of an exalted "religious Ego," a "holy personality" -- Nietzsche described the underhanded resentment at work in all this.
Nagarjuna says the same as Huang Po: drop all views, cut off all concepts, and Reality is instantly revealed.
In Zen seeing forms, hearing sounds, & so on is all by itself Great Mind Realization!
"Seeing form is seeing Mind." -Huang Po
In Zen, "anger" -- even murderous rage -- is no obstacle to Enlightenment. Yet obsessive plotting, scheming & physical cowardice *are.*
As the Vijnana Bhairava Tantra says, anger by itself is pure Reality but *thinking* is not.
May we know furious anger, crazed jealousy, and unbreakable attachment as the Hannya dance of primordial wisdom.
Admittedly, my approach is direct yoga -- "cutting through." I know how easy it is to get entangled in words & miss This..
Go on a Raw Reality diet.
Raw Reality = Spontaneous Energetic Appearance. Unfortunately, the human brain compulsively "cooks" Reality via thinking.
The secret of Starry Sky Zen is to reduce thinking by half, then by half again, until it approximates zero. Then the Raw Reality appears.
Finger points to moon. Well, is it a worthy finger? Does it belong to a real Buddhist? Isn't it a bit crooked?
The Spontaneous Energetic Appearance has no right or wrong, no good or evil.
If this instant here-now isn't the supreme Tantra, with all the shining Buddhas present laying fragrant hands on your forehead, what is?
listening to an owl hooting in a dream/waking up --/same owl hooting,
There is no "path" from the pointing finger to the moon -- just seeing It clearly & instantaneously. "Ah!"
"Everyone can instantly become a Buddha." -Master Hsi Yun
Why not look into Martin Heidegger's Introduction to Metaphysics -- which has a different definition of "physical"
In the energetic play of Karma we all must pretend we didn't understand everything from the very start.
My Zen is so good it should be illegal. It almost was!
My Root Guru is a soccer ball named Wilson.
Pure Consciousness is actually closer to the idea of the "objective" than to the subjective.
It's really far more egotistical to identify oneself as a suffering, limited being than to appreciate one's original enlightenment.
May you someday get the exact knock on the head that allows the Starry Reality to rush in.
Personally, I don't ever remember not being aware. And even "being" is an idea that only appears, it seems, in Awareness.
"It's a matter of being determined and having the spirit to break through to the other side." - Hagakure
Don't know mind and Beginner's Mind are precisely the Hua T'ou and also "before thoughts" Sambodhi Mind. It makes no sense to be sectarian.
"Experiencing is all there is." This is so objectively pure it is transcendent. Someone in ancient China listening to a bird sing at dawn.
"All manifestations of phenomena are unrestricted within a state of wide open clarity . . . free of conceptual elaborations." Dudjom Lingpa
Apprehension" is grasping-onto experiencing. "Phenomenon" is abstraction-from experiencing. So, what about "experiencing" itself?
The Hui Ming Ching or Book of Consciousness and Life -- breath-energy yoga as the way to liberation.
Every "moment" of Zen is infinity. Realization self realizes. Neither of "us" needs to do a thing!
The instantaneous, before-words-and-thoughts, incredibly vivid realization of colors, forms, sounds -- isn't this the Great Mind-Dharma?
Experiencing isn't subjective.
I personally (ha ha) realized that Pure Consciousness was "objective" at 12 years old listening to a bird sing at dawn.
As "I" (12 years old) struggled with some very dark dreams and subjective dissonance, I had the bright idea of just "hearing" a bird sing.
Actually, it wasn't even an idea, it was just a turning away from "subjective consciousness" to the sharp purity of the bird singing.
The result was blissful instant reversion/opening up to to aboriginal non-dual Awareness -- or, if you prefer, a minor satori.
In Zen, "experiencing" itself in its rawest "nothing" state is before subjects and objects, and is all that is.
Try to find your head in space.
Dudjom Lingpa got transmission from many great mahasiddhi like Shri Simha -- in his dreams.
I don't lie which is why I have no money.
O son of Kunti, I am the taste of water, the light of the sun and the moon, the syllable om in the Vedic mantras; I am the sound of OM
A flying arrow that hasn't hit anything yet since the arrow is itself Everything.
Anybody who suddenly and completely drops the "labeling" function of "the mind" (by whatever means necessary) will get Satori.
It's in the Vedas. Prana creates dependent sub-dimensions and universes to hypnotic effect.
There is subtle Prana and not so subtle Prana. Everything is Prana.
Under all the mental labels and emotion-charged layers of conceptual overlay, what is it that's really here-now?
You will know you are "in this" by a feeling of exaltation, freedom, spaciousness, and spontaneous kindness and devotion. *Svaha!*
"What could it enjoy if not Itself? To what could it awaken if not Itself?"
In Zen we speak of the "white-ox vehicle" instead of rafts. Wouldn't you rather ride to Nirvana on a white ox?
Consider finding a unique smooth oddly shaped beach stone then training yourself so that every time you hold it your "thinking-mind" stops.
Yes, a modicum of self-hypnotic suggestion *can* be used in the service of Dhyana (Zen). What else is the lotus posture?
You can experience This anywhere anytime as Rigpa, choiceless awareness lacking any conceptually fixed frame of reference.
The Infinite is just the finite without ignorance that projects fixed names-and-forms.
My own "rebirth" or "reincarnation" model is that what we are is essentially extra-dimensional.
Yogic Science has to get beyond the various "religious" boundaries.
Nietzsche said that Christianity is the supreme curse laid on life; I say humorless people are.
Two monks were arguing at a movie over whether the images are moving or only the projector is. Hui-Neng said, "Your mind is moving"
Maybe neural activity is necessary strictly for the mental labeling and conceptual recall process, and not at all for Awareness as such.
It is true that even merely grasped intellectually, "Buddhism" can help people attain detachment and stoic resignation.
I do not deny that this is a help, just as classical Stoicism can be comforting and helpful (Marcus Aurelius, for example)
However, I'm talking about it from the angle of Satori, or "direct recognition of the intrinsic nature"
Give yourself some time each day for greater Awareness experiments. You can make up good ones, just as I can.
Greater Awareness -- the "mind" begins to function less as a social node and more as the Intrinsic Brilliance.
Eventually, you find yourself laughing like a madman at the Starry Sky, and the sound of dripping water brings on Satori
It is a practical, experienced, long-known fact that without purifying and heightening Prana (Qi, Ki), it is impossible to get Satori.
This is why "Buddhism" must always be parasitic on Shamanism (Vedic yoga, Tibetan Bon, Southeast Asian and Japanese nature spirit-worship).
That isn't a cut against "Buddhism," by the way -- it's just a recognition that intellect is by itself helpless.
it's like those little lice-picking birds that sit on top of rhinoceroses
I suspect those lice-picking birds feel that they are very tall, taller than and therefore superior to the rhinoceros!
Emptiness is full of shit, which is why I used to tweet as "Dried Shit Zen"
"The true Way is as vast and boundless as outer space. How can you talk about it in terms of right and wrong?" -Nansen
Although I subscribed for some time to the Yogacara "Mind Only" view, I was thrown one day by the realization that there is no mind, really.
What's the mind of a flower -- a golden California poppy, for instance? Tell me. Quick!
I was just watering the cucumber plants one day, and suddenly I glanced up at the sky, broke out in a cold sweat and I knew it.
A flower senses everything, uses everything -- it manifests the whole universe in a flash
Proving yourself to the world. Proving what? That you have ears, a nose and eyes?
Enlightenment misconception #9: Enlightened people all have fixed and crazy smiles on their faces and wear robes.
Express anger in the moment then the storm blows over. People who repress it end up unhappy and condescending.
"Enjoy your Self!" The Great Attitude
Vedic yoga and Zen both insist there is only "One Vehicle" -- the straightforward and Absolute Be-ing of inherent Awakeness you already are.
Yogic systems for Realization require no logical support; if effective, they are "proven"
"Annihilated now; Enlightened, after."
Buddhadharma is a yogic system that A) describes everything as "empty" while B) claiming there is something to be gained (liberation).
Another way of putting it is Buddhism claims there is "no self" but also that people are reborn and suffer from their karma.
I feel it's interesting to live in the Great Doubt, without drawing any conclusions.
Try defocusing your eyes just a little when any hint of a personal "confrontation" happens; look into the space all around the other person
Note that when Bruce Lee fights his eyes are always slightly unfocused and he is smiling.
Neurons are switching mechanisms, either "on" or "off." This can create "data" but does it create knowing of the data?
Luckily, since Zen like Advaita is experiential it's not necessary to know how the brain works in order to be liberated
Cut your mind at its root and rest in naked awareness. -Tilopa
A language Virus has hijacked the human mind-body system with distracting, absurd "pop up windows" (thoughts)
The thought "I am hungry" comes after the evident, experienced reality of "hunger" & adds nothing (but a self concept)
The thought is already an afterthought
If you were extremely hungry and somebody handed you a piece of bread, you would eat it without thought or frames of reference.
"Functioning" always happens before thought/frames of reference.
One instant is all instants. There is no time.
Looking into eye-consciousness -- is it not just a wide open expanse going far beyond the "eye" itself?
Bringing attention back to bare awareness of breathing, and practicing until breathing is natural and easy, pervading the body.
Your mind goes beyond thought, open like space.
The True Self can obviously never become an object of thought, nor even of devotion, since it's the non-objective source of both
Lie down, roll your head slowly back & forth. Does your Awareness roll back & forth?
"Why does your eye see darkness. By what light?"
A satori so intense one begins hitting oneself on the back of head with one's gloves to stop it.
Too "blissfully empty."
One acts with honor and kindness in everyday life. THIS cannot be taught.
The Moment of Terror! Great yogic opportunity for direct integration of naturally occurring awareness with overflowing Ki-energy!
Mind as wide as all of space. Heightened clarity of awareness free of thoughts. Spontaneous, blissful energy. Thank you, moment of terror!
"The only real demon is conceptual thought." -Dudjom Lingpa
Happenstance has no enduring stance. It's merely instantaneous.
OM SHANTI SHANTI SHANTI
OM SHANTI SHANTI SHANTI
Posted by ALW at 10:10 AM