The Sufi Wave
Near Casablanca we have ocean that has nice waves and the water is warm and clear, so clean. And, I used to go there to do body surfing, just surf with the waves and I enjoyed doing that, and I enjoyed teaching that to all my neighbors, all the kids, I swim with the Moroccan National Team. And so, I was able to swim fast enough to catch the wave and then ride with the wave, it was such an enjoyable thing. And then one day I went there and the ocean was flat like a rug. There was no waves.
'Ah,' I say, I walked all this way I was there walking one hour to the beach there is no waves. What should I do? So I decided I am going to lay on my back and feel those little tiny waves going under my back, and enjoy that, so I floated on my back, and feel the water and listen to the vibration of the water sounds and I'm enjoying that position like that--with my arms way open, and my legs in a 'V' so I can float and look at the sky, and I close my eyes.
While I was doing that, I felt my body growing out of dimension. Rising and rising like yeast in the bread, growing and growing and I couldn't stop my body from growing. It was growing, growing until it became as big as the whole Atlantic Ocean, and I couldn't bring myself back from that. And I felt that the ocean and me were one. And then I realized the unity of everything- there is something that is similar with me and everything else--even the ocean.
At that time, those verses I was hearing made sense to me. When it says: [speaking in Arabic], it says everything is one. And I said, 'ah, now I understand.' And to witness means to look, this ocean is a treasure. Everything is a treasure and people are treasures also. And that's what opened for me the wave towards Sufism--that's the road for it.
-Yassir Chadly, story teller from Morocco
The Four Noble Truths
Monks, what is the noble truth about suffering?
Birth is suffering, old age is suffering, death is suffering, grief,
lamentation, discomfort, unhappiness and despair are suffering; to wish
for something and not obtain it is suffering; briefly, the five factors
of attachment are suffering.
Monks, what is the noble truth about the origin of suffering?
Just this craving, leading to rebirth, accompanied by pleasure
and emotion, and finding satisfaction now here now there, namely,
the craving for sense-pleasure, the craving for new life and the
craving for annihilation.
Monks, what is the noble truth about the cessation of suffering?
Just the complete indifference to and cessation of that very craving,
the abandoning of it, the rejection of it, the freedom from it, the aversion toward it.
Monks, what is the noble truth about the way that goes into the cessation of suffering?
Just this noble eightfold way, namely, right view, right purpose, right speech,
right action, right livelihood, right effort, right mindfulness, and right
True Sacred Scriptures
'There is One Holy Book, the sacred manuscript of nature, the
only scripture which can enlighten the reader.'
consider as sacred scriptures only certain books or scrolls written by the
hand of man, and carefully preserved as holy. to be handed down to
posterity as divine revelation. Men have fought and disputed over the
authenticity of these books, have refused to accept any other book of
similar character, and, clinging thus to the book and losing the sense of
it, have formed diverse sects. The Sufi has in all ages respected all such
books, and has traced in the Vedanta, Zendavesta, Kabala, Bible, Qur'an,
and all other sacred scriptures, the same truth which he reads in the
incorruptible manuscript of nature, the only Holy Book, the perfect and
living model that teaches the inner law of life: all scriptures before
nature's manuscript are as little pools of water before the
To the eye of the seer every leaf of the tree is a page of
the holy book that contains divine revelation, and he is inspired every
moment of his life by constantly reading and understanding the holy script
When man writes, he inscribes characters upon rock,
leaf, paper, wood or steel; when God writes, the characters He writes are
It is when the eye of the soul is opened and the
sight is keen that the Sufi can read the divine law in the manuscript of
nature; and that which the teachers of humanity have taught to their
followers was derived by them from the same source; they expressed what
little it is possible to express in words, and so they preserved the inner
truth when they themselves were no longer there to reveal it.
The Heart of Perfect Understanding
'The Bodhisattva Avalokita, while moving in the deep course of Perfect Understanding, shed light on the five skandhas and found them equally empty. After this penetration, he overcame all pain.
"Listen, Shariputra, form is emptiness, emptiness is form, form does not differ from emptiness, emptiness does not differ from form. The same is true with feelings, perceptions, mental formations, and consciousness.
"Hear, Shariputra, all dharmas are marked with emptiness; they are neither produced nor destroyed, neither defiled nor immaculate, neither increasing nor decreasing. Therefore, in emptiness there is neither form, nor feeling, nor perception, nor mental formations, nor consciousness; no eye, or ear, or nose, or tongue, or body, or mind; no form, no sound, no smell, no taste, no touch, no object of mind; no realms of elements (from eyes to mind-consciousness); no interdependent origins and no extinction of them (from ignorance to old age and death); no suffering, no origination of suffering, no extinction of suffering, no path; no understanding, no attainment.
"Because there is no attainment, the bodhisattvas, supported by the Perfection of understanding, find no obstacles for their minds. Having no obstacles, they overcome fear, liberating themselves forever from illusion and realizing perfect Nirvana. All Buddhas in the past, present, and future, thanks to this Perfect Understanding, arrive at full, right, and universal Enlightenment.
"Therefore, one should know that Perfect Understanding is a great mantra, is the highest mantra, is the unequaled mantra, the destroyer of all suffering, the incorruptible truth. A mantra of Prajnaparamita should therefore be proclaimed. This is the mantra: Gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi svaha [Gone beyond, beyond, utterly beyond]."
-From the Heart
Creating an Enlightened Society
The current state of world affairs is a source of concern to all of us: the threat of nuclear war, widespread poverty and economic instability, social and political chaos, and psychological upheavals of many kinds. The world is in absolute turmoil. The Shambhala teachings are founded on the premise that there is basic human wisdom that can help to solve the world's problems. This wisdom does not belong to any one culture or religion, nor does not belonging to any one culture or religion, nor does t come only from the West or the East. Rather, it is a tradition of human warriorship that has existed in many cultures at many times throughout history.
Warriorship here does not refer to making war on the others. Aggression is the source of our problems, not the solution. Here the word "warrior" is often taken from the Tibetan pawo, which literally means "one who is brave." Warriorship in this context is the tradition of human bravery, or the tradition of fearlessness. The North American Indians had such a tradition, and it also existed in South American Indian societies. The Japanese ideal of the samurai also represented a warrior tradition of wisdom, and there have been principles of enlightened warriorship in Western Christian societies as well. King Arthur is a legendary example of warriorship in the Western tradition, and great rulers in the Bible, such as Kind David, are examples of warriors common to both the Jewish and Christian traditions. On our planet earth there have been many fine examples of warriorship.
The key to warriorship and the first principle of Shambhala vision is not being afraid of who you are. Ultimately, that is the definition of bravery: not being afraid of yourself. Shambhala vision teaches that in the face of the world's great problems, we can be heroic and kin at the same time. Shambhala vision is the opposite of selfishness. When we are afraid of ourselves and afraid of the seeming threat the world presents, then we become extremely selfish. We want to build our own little nests, our own cocoons, so that we can live by ourselves in a secure way.
But we can be much more brave that that. We bust try to think beyond our homes, beyond the fire burning in the fireplace, beyond sending our children to school or getting to work in the morning. We must try to think how we can help this world. If we don't help, nobody will. It is our turn to help the world. At the same time, helping others does not mean abandoning our individual lives. You don't have to rush out to become the mayor of your city or the president of the United States in order to help others, but you can begin with your relatives and friends and the people around you. In fact, you can start with yourself. The important point is to realize that you are never off duty. You can never just relax, because the whole world needs help.
While everyone has a responsibility to help the world, we can create additional chaos if we try to impose our ideas or our help upon others. Many people have theories about what the world needs. Some people think that the world needs communism; some people think that the world needs democracy; some people think that technology will save the world; some people think that technology will destroy the world. The Shambhala teachings are not based on converting the world to another theory. The premise of Shambhala vision is that, in order to establish an enlightened society for others, we need to discover what inherently we have to offer the world. So, to begin with, we should make an effort to examine our own experience, in order to see what it contains that is of value in helping ourselves and others to uplift their existence.
- Chogyam Trungpa, Shambhala
The Unification of Mankind
"Gloriously situated by life at this critical point in the evolution of Mankind, what ought we to do? We hold earth's future in our hands. What shall we decide? In my view the road to be followed
Is clearly revealed by the teaching of all the past.
We can progress only by uniting: this, as we have seen, is the law of Life. But unification through coercion leads only to a superficial pseudo-unity. It may establish a mechanism, but it does not achieve any fundamental synthesis; and in consequence it engenders no growth of consciousness. It materializes, in short, instead of spiritualizing. Only unification through unanimity is biologically valid. This alone can work the miracle of causing heightened personally to emerge from the forces of collectivity. It alone represents a genuine extension of the psychogenesis that gave us birth.
Therefore it is inwardly that we must come together, and in entire freedom.
But this brings us to the last question of all. To create this unanimity we need the bond, as I said, the cement of a favoring influence. Where shall we look for it; how shall we conceive of this principle of togetherness, this soul of the earth? Is it to be in the development of a common vision, that is to say, the establishment of a universally accepted body of knowledge, in which all intelligences will join in knowing the same facts interpreted in the same way?
Or will it rather be in common action, in the determination of an objective universally recognized as being so desirable that all activity will naturally converge towards it under the impulse of a common fear and a common ambition? These two kinds of unanimity are undoubtedly real, and will, I believe, have their place in our future progress. But they need to be complemented by something else if they are not to remain precarious, insufficient and incomplete. A common body of knowledge brings together nothing but the geometrical point of intelligences. A common aspiration, no matter how ardent, can only touch individuals indirectly and in an impersonal way that is depersonalizing in itself.
It is not a tete-a-tete or a corps-a-corps that we need; it is a heart-to-heart.
This being so, the more I consider the fundamental question of the future of the earth, the more it appears to me that the generative principle of its unification is finally to be sought, not in the sole contemplation of a single Truth or in the sole desire for a single Thing, but in the common attraction exercised by a single Being, ForŠif the synthesis of the Spirit is to be brought about in its entirety(and this is the only possible definition of progress), it can only be done, in the last resort, through the meeting, center to center, of human units, such as can only be realized in universal, mutual love."
-Pierre Teilhard de Chardin in The Future of Man.
|The Five Elements
The elemental wheel exists in each person just as it is present in
each clan and in every community. This means that each person, on a
smaller scale, must maintain a state of balance at all cost. Each
person needs to keep the waters of reconciliation flowing within the
self, in order to calm the inner fires and live in harmony with
others. Each person needs to nourish the ancestral fire within, so
that one stays in touch with one's dreams and visions. Each person
needs to be grounded in the earth, to be able to become a source of
nourishment to the community. Each person needs to remember the
knowledge stored in one's bones--to live out one's own unique genius.
And each person needs to be real, as nature is real, that is, without
pretense, keeping in touch with a sense of mystery and wonder and
helping to preserve the integrity of the natural world. To be out of
balance in any of these areas is to invite sickness to come dwell
Patrice Some,The Healing Wisdom of Africa
May all beings be happy and at their ease!
May they be joyous and live in safety!
All beings, whether weak or strong--omitting none-in high, middle, or low realms of existence, small or great, visible or invisible, near or far away, born or to be born--may all beings be happy and at their ease!
Let none deceive another, or despise any being in any state!
Let none by anger or ill will wish harm to another!
Even as a mother watches over and protects her child, her only child, so with a boundless mind should one cherish all living beings, radiating friendliness over the entire world, above, below, and all around without limit. So let everyone cultivate a boundless good will toward the entire world, uncramped, free from ill will or enmity.
-From the Majjhima Nikaya
What does one person give to another? He gives of himself, of the most precious he has,
he gives of his life. This does not necessarily mean that he sacrifices his life for the other---but that
he gives him of that which is alive in him; he gives him his joy, of his interest, of his understanding,
of his knowledge, of his humor, of his sadness---of all expressions and manifestations of that which is
alive in him. In thus giving of his life, he enriches the other person, he enhances the other's sense of
aliveness by enhancing his own sense of aliveness. He does not give in order to receive; giving is in itself
exquisite joy. But in giving he cannot help bringing something to life in the other person, and this which
is brought to life reflects back to him; in truly giving, he cannot help receiving that which is given back
to him. Giving implies to make the other person a giver also and they both share in the joy of what they
have brought to life. In the act of giving something is born, and both persons involved are grateful for
the life that is born for both of them.
-Erich Fromm, The Art of Loving
Concentration is the mental state of focusing single-mindedly on a virtuous object.
Our ordinary mental state is one of distraction. Our ordinary minds are too uncontrolled and weak to
be able to understand the nature of reality. And it is essential to understand the nature of reality
if we are going to liberate anyone, ourselves or others, from the sufferings of the cycle of birth and
death. It is therefore necessary to develop the mind into a suitable tool for investigating reality,
like a strong microscope. It is necessary to develop the mind into a suitable weapon to sever the root
of suffering, like a sharp sword. Concentration is the practice whereby one's ordinary, distracted,
uncontrolled mind is developed to the point that it can remain powerfully, effortlessly, and one-pointedly
on whatever object one chooses. Bodhichitta [the compassionate wish to achieve Buddhahood for the sake
of others] should be at the basis of the practice of concentration.
-The Dalai Lama,The Way to Freedom
|The Mind of Absolute Trust
The Great Way isn't difficult
for those who are unattached to their preferences
Let go of longing and aversion,
and everything will be perfectly clear.
When you cling to a hairbreadth of distinction,
heaven and earth are set apart.
If you want to realize the truth,
don't be for or against.
The struggle between good and evil
is the primal disease of the mind.
Not grasping the deeper meaning,
you just trouble your mind's serenity.
As a vast infinite space ,
it is perfect and lacks nothing.
But because you select and reject,
you can't perceive its true nature.
Don't get entangled in the world;
don't lose yourself in emptiness.
Be at peace in the oneness of things,
and all errors will disappear by themselves.
If you don't live the Tao,
you fall into assertion or denial.
Asserting that the world is real,
you are blind to its deeper reality;
denying that the world is real,
you are blind to the selflessness of all things.
The more you think about these matters,
the farther you are from the truth. Step aside from all thinking,
and there is nowhere you can't go.
Returning to the root, you find the meaning;
chasing appearances, you lose their source.
At the moment of profound insight,
you transcend both appearances and emptiness.
Don't keep searching for the truth;
just let go of your opinions.
For the mind in harmony with the Tao,
all selfishness disappears.
With not even a trace of self-doubt,
you can trust the universe completely.
All at once you are free,
with nothing left to hold on to.
All is empty, brilliant,
perfect in its own being.
In the world of things as they are,
there is no self, no non-self.
If you want to describe its essence,
the best you can say is "Not-two."
In this "Not-two" nothing is separate,
and nothing in the world is excluded.
The enlightened of all times and places
have entered into this truth.
In it there is no gain or loss;
one instant is ten thousand years.
There is no here, no there;
infinity is right before your eyes.
The tiny is as large as the vast
when objective boundaries have vanished;
the vast is as small as the tiny
when you don't have external limits.
Being is an aspect of non-being;
non-being is no different from being.
Until you understand this truth,
you won't see anything clearly.
One is all; all
are one. When you realize this,
what reason for holiness or wisdom?
The mind of absolute trust
is beyond all thought, all striving,
is perfectly at peace, for in it
there is no yesterday, no today, no tomorrow.
- Seng-Ts'an, from The Enlightened Heart-An Anthology of Sacred Poetry
|The Dangerous Self
The root cause of all suffering is the ignorance that misconceives the nature of phenomena and apprehends oneself as self-existent. This ignorance leads us to exaggerate the status of phenomena and create the categories of self and others. These bring about experiences of desire and hatred(aversion), which in turn result in all sorts of negative actions. These in turn bring about all our undesirable sufferings.
-The Dalai Lama, The Way to Freedom
Some say that my teaching is nonsense.
Others call it lofty but impractical.
But to those who have looked inside themselves,
This nonsense makes perfect sense.
And to those who put it into practice,
This loftiness has roots that go deep.
I have just three things to teach:
Simplicity, patience, compassion.
These three are your greatest treasures,
Simple in actions and in thoughts,
You return to the source of being.
Patient with both friends and enemies,
You accord with the way things are.
Compassionate toward yourself,
You reconcile all beings in the world.
|The Great Circle
You have noticed that everything an Indian does is in a circle, and that is because the Power of the World always works in circles, and everything tries to be round. In the old days when we were a strong and happy people, all our power came to us from the sacred hoop of the nation, and so long as the hoop was unbroken, the people flourished. The flowering tree was the living center of the hoop, and the circle of the four quarters nourished it. The east gave peace and the light, the south gave warmth, the west gave rain, and the north with its cold and mighty wind gave strength and endurance. This knowledge came to us from the outer world with our religion. Everything the Power of the World does is done in a circle. The sky is round, and I have heard that the earth is round like a ball, and so are the stars. The wind, in its greatest power, whirls. Birds make their nests in circles, for theirs is the same religion as ours. The sun comes forth and goes down again in a circle. The moon does the same, and both are round.
Even the seasons form a great circle in their changing, and always come back again to where they were. The life of a man is a circle from childhood to childhood, and so it is in everything where power moves. Our tipis were round like the nests of birds, and these were always set in a circle, the nation's hoop, a nest of many nests, where the Great Spirit meant for us to hatch our children.
- Black Elk Hehaka Sapa, Oglala Sioux Lakota, from In a Sacred Manner I Live.
|Native American Law
Our fathers gave us many laws, which they had learned from their fathers. These laws were good. They told us to treat all men as they treated us; that we should never be the first to break bargain; that it was a disgrace to tell a lie; that we should speak only the truth; that it is a shame for one man to take from another his wife or his property without paying for it. We were taught to believe that the Great Spirit sees and hears everything, and that he never forgets; that hereafter he will give every man a spirit-home according to his deserts: if he has been a good man, he will have a good home; if he has been a bad man, he will have a bad home. This I believe, and all my people believe the same.
- Chief Joseph Inmutooyahatlat, Nez Perce Tsutpeli, from In a Sacred Manner I Live.
|The Tree of Life
We are familiar with the unflattering expression, "He can't see the forest for the trees," Similarly, it can be said that most of us don't see the tree for the leaves. We fail to see the Tree of Life because we are fascinated by the leaves. We are so obsessed by millions of little fragments of foliage that we are not aware of the tree at all. We do not see that without the tree leaves do not have any life - that is the sap, coming from the very life of the tree, that flows into the leaves and supports them.
In the modern world most of the emphasis is on separateness, on the leaf rather than the tree. Every day in countless ways we receive the message, "Find your joy in your own way, live your life in your own way." This drive for personal satisfaction is based on a complete fiction: that the leaf can prosper without the leaving tree. In reality, none of us are separate. We are all part of the same creation, drawing our strength, happiness, and fulfillment from the cosmic tree.
Doing Your Best
"Doing your best, you are going to live your life intensely. You are going to be productive, you are going to be good to yourself, because you will be giving yourself to your family, to your community, to everything. But it is the action that is going to make your feel intensely happy. When you always do your best, you take action. Doing your best is taking the action because you love it, not because you're expecting a reward."
-don Miguel Ruiz, The Four Agreements.
The Dalai Lama on Compassion
"I believe that it is all right to remain a nonbeliever, but as long as you are a
part of humanity, as long as you are a human being, you need human affection, human
compassion. This is actually the essential teaching of all the religious traditions: the
crucial point is compassion, or human affection. Without human affection, even religious
beliefs can become destructive. Thus, the essence, even in religion, is a good heart. I
consider human affection, or compassion, to be the universal religion. Whether a believer
or nonbeliever, everyone needs human affection and compassion, because compassion gives us
inner strength, hope and mental peace. Thus, it is indispensable for everyone.
Let us, for example, examine the usefulness of the good heart in daily life...in order to
create a pleasant atmosphere within ourselves, within our families, within our
communities, we have to realize that the ultimate source of that pleasant atmosphere is
within the individual, within each of us--a good heart, human compassion, love.
create a friendly and positive atmosphere, it automatically helps to reduce fear
and insecurity. In this way we can easily make more friends and create more
smiles. After all, we are social animals. Without human friendship, without the
human smile, our life becomes miserable. The lonely feeling becomes unbearable.
It is natural law--that is to say, according to natural law we depend on others
to live. If, under certain circumstances, because something is wrong inside us,
our attitude toward fellow human beings, on whom we depend, becomes hostile, how
can we hope to attain peace of mind or happy life? According to basic human
nature, or natural law, affection--compassion--is the key to happiness."
|- Dimensions of Spirituality,
The Dalai Lama, 1995.
Understanding the World
"The world exists for the education of each man...He must attain and maintain that
lofty sight where facts yield their secret sense, and poetry and annals are alike. The
instinct of the mind, the purpose of nature, betrays itself in the use we make of the
signal narrations of history. Time dissipates to shining ether the solid angularity of
facts. No anchor, no cable, no fences avail to keep a fact a fact. Babylon, Troy, Tyre,
Palestine, and even early Rome, are passing already into fiction. The Garden of Eden, the
sun standing still in Gibeon, is poetry thence-forward to all nations. Who cares what the
fact was, when we have made a constellation of it to hang in heaven an immortal sign?
London and Paris and New York must go the same way. "What is History", said
Napoleon, "but a fable agreed upon?" This life of ours is stuck round with Egypt,
Greece, Gaul, England, War, Colonization, Church, Court, and Commerce as with so many
flowers and wild ornaments grave and gay. I will not make more account of them. I believe
in Eternity. I can find Greece, Asia, Italy, Spain, and the Islands,---the genius and
creative principle of each and all eras in my own mind."
The Function of Evil
"Those who are innocent always try to exclude from themselves and to negate in the
world the possibilities of evil. This is the reason for the persistence of evil--and this
is evil's secret. The function of evil is to keep in operation the dynamics of change.
Co-operating with the benevolent forces, though antagonistically, those of evil thus
assist in the weaving of the tapestry of life; hence the experience of evil, and to some
extent this experience alone, produces maturity, real life, real command of the powers and
tasks of life. The forbidden fruit--the fruit of guilt through experience, knowledge
through experience--had to be swallowed in the Garden of Innocence before human history
could begin. Evil had to be accepted and assimilated, not avoided."
Reverence for Life
"Slowly we crept upstream (on one of the long African errands of mercy), laboriously
feeling--it was the dry season--for the channels between the sand banks. Lost in thought I
sat on the deck of the barge, struggling to find the elementary and universal conception
of the ethical which I had not discovered in any philosophy. Sheet after sheet I covered
with disconnected sentences, merely to keep myself concentrated on the problem. Late on
the third day, at the moment when, at sunset, we were making our way through a herd of
hippopotamuses, there flashed upon my mind, unforeseen and unsought, the phrase,
'Reverence for Life.' The iron door had yielded: the path in the thicket had become
visible. Now I had found my way to the idea in which world-and-life-affirmation and ethics
are contained side by side."
The Positive Meaning of Depression
"As the word implies, in a depression the person is pressed down, compressed, usually
because a part of the psychological libido is below and has to be fetched up; the real
energy of life has fallen into a deeper layer of the personality and can only be reached
through a depression. So unless there is a latent psychosis, a depression should be
encouraged and people told to go into it and be depressed--not try to escape...and if the
depression says that life means nothing and that nothing is worth while, then accept that
and say what about it? Listen, go deeper and deeper, until you again reach the level of
the psychological energy where some creative idea can come out and suddenly, at the
bottom, an impulse of life and creativeness which has been overlooked may appear."
|-Marie Louise von Franz,
Alchemy, p. 104.
An Egypt That Doesn't Exist
I want to say words that flame
as I say them, but I keep quiet and don't try
to make both worlds fit in one mouthful.
I keep secret in myself an Egypt
that doesn't exist.
Is that good or bad? I don't know.
For years I gave away sexual love
with my eyes. Now I don't.
I'm not in any one place. I don't have a name
for what I give away. Whatever Shams
gave, that you can have from me.
The Prophet said, "There are some who see me
by the same light in which I am seeing them.
Our natures are one.
Without reference to any strands
of lineage, without reference to texts or traditions,
we drink the life water together."
Here's a story
about that hidden mystery:
The Chinese and the Greeks
were arguing as to who were the better artists.
The king said,
"We'll settle this matter with a debate."
The Chinese began talking,
but the Greeks wouldn't say anything.
The Chinese suggested then
that they each be given a room to work on
with their artistry, two rooms facing each other
and divided by a curtain.
The Chinese asked the king
for a hundred colors, all the variations,
and each morning they came to where
the dyes were kept and took them all.
The Greeks took no colors.
"They're not part of our work."
They went to their room
and began cleaning a polishing the walls. All day
every day they made those walls as pure and clear
as an open sky.
There is a way that leads from all-colors
to colorlessness. Know that the magnificent variety
of the clouds and the weather comes from
the total simplicity of the sun and the moon.
The Chinese finished, and they were so happy.
They beat the drums in the joy of completion.
The king entered their room,
astonished by the gorgeous color and detail.
The Greeks then pulled the curtain dividing the rooms.
The Chinese figures and images shimmeringly reflected
on the clear Greek walls. They lived there,
even more beautifully, and always
changing in the light.
The Greek art is the sufi way.
They don't study books of philosophical thought.
They make their loving clearer and clearer.
No wantings, no anger. In that purity
they receive and reflect the images of every moment,
from here, from the stars, from the void.
They take them in
as though they were seeing
with the lighted clarity
that sees them.
In your light I learn how to love.
In your beauty, how to make poems.
You dance inside my chest,
where no one sees you,
but sometimes I do,
and that sight becomes this art.
Drumsound rises on the air,
its throb, my heart.
A voice inside the beat says,
"I know you're tired,
but come. This is the way."
Are you jealous of the ocean's generosity?
Why would you refuse to give
this joy to anyone?
Fish don't hold the sacred liquid in cups!
They swim the huge fluid freedom.
The Fire Sermon
The Reverend Gotama, having stayed in Uruvela as long as he wished, continued on his wanderings in the direction of Gaya Head, accompanied by a great many followers, said to be a thousand in number. And there in Gaya, the Buddha stayed with the thousand followers and
"All things, O' monks, are on fire ... And what are all these things that are on fire?"
"The eyes are on fire; forms are on fire; eye-consciousness (visual consciousness) is on fire; visual impressions received by the eyes are on fire: and whatever sensation originating and dependent upon visual impressions received by the eyes, whether pleasant, unpleasant, or indifferent, are also on fire."
"And with what are these things on fire?"
"They are burning with the fire of passion, I say, with the fire of aversion, with the fire of ignorance (delusion); with becoming (birth), aging (old age), dying (death), sorrow, lamentation, misery, grief and despair."
"The ears are on fire, sounds are on fire, and so on..."
"The nose is on fire, odors are on fire, and so on ..."
"The tongue is on fire, tastes are on fire, and so on ..."
"The body is on fire, tangible things are on fire, and so on ..."
"The mind is on fire; ideas are on fire; mind-consciousness is on fire; mental impressions received by the mind are on fire; and whatever sensation originating and dependent upon mental impressions received by the mind, whether pleasant, unpleasant, or indifferent, are also on fire."
"And with what are these things on fire?"
"They are burning with the fire of passion, I say, with the fire of aversion, with the fire of ignorance (delusion); with becoming (birth), aging (old age), dying (death), sorrow, lamentation, misery, grief and despair."
"Perceiving this, the discerning Noble Disciple becomes disenchanted with the eye, disenchanted with forms, disenchanted with
eye-consciousness (visual consciousness), disenchanted with visual impressions received by the eyes, and disenchanted with the sensations originating and dependent upon visual impressions received by the eyes, whether pleasant, unpleasant, or indifferent."
"Becomes disenchanted with the ears, disenchanted with sounds, and so on ..."
"Becomes disenchanted with the nose, disenchanted with odors, and so on ..."
"Becomes disenchanted with the tongue, disenchanted with tastes, and so on ..."
"Becomes disenchanted with the body, disenchanted with tangible things, and so on ..."
"Becomes disenchanted with the mind; disenchanted with ideas; disenchanted with
mind-consciousness; disenchanted with mental impressions received by the mind; and disenchanted with the sensations originating and dependent upon mental impressions received by the mind, whether pleasant, unpleasant, or indifferent."
"And disenchanted, the Noble Disciple becomes dispassionate, and with no longer being bound by passion, the Noble Disciple becomes free, and when he has gained liberation he knows he has reached True Freedom; and he knows rebirth is exhausted, that the holy life has been lived, that he has done what had to be done, and that there is nothing further for this world."
"Now during the talk, the minds of the many followers became free from attachment and
released from the depravities."
Chief Seattle's Reply
In 1854, the "Great Whie Chief" in Washington made an offer for a large area of Indian land in the American West and promised a 'reservation' for the Indian people.
How can you buy or sell the sky, the warmth of the land? The idea is strange to us. If we do not own the freshness of the air and the sparkle of the water, how can you buy them? Every part of this earth is sacred to my people. Every shining pine needle, every sandy shore, every mist in the dark woods, every clearing and humming insect is holy in the memory and experience of my people. The sap which courses through the trees carries the memories of the red man.
The white man's dead forget the country of their birth when they go to walk among the stars. Our dead never forget this beautiful earth, for it is the mother of the red man. We are part of the earth and it is part of us.
The perfumed flowers are our sisters; the deer, the horse, the great eagle, these are our brothers. The rocky crests, the juices in the meadows, the body heat of the pony, and man - all belong to the same family, so when the Great Chief in Washington sends word that he wishes to buy our land, he asks much of us. The Great Chief sends word he will reserve us a place so that we can live comfortably to ourselves. He will be our father and we will be his children. So we will consider your offer to buy our land. But it will not be easy. For this land is sacred to us. This shining water that moves in the streams and rivers is not just water but the blood of our ancestors.
If we sell you land, you must remember that it is sacred, and you must teach your children that it is sacred and that each ghostly reflection in the clear water of the lakes tells of events and memories in the life of my people. The water's murmur is the voice of my father's father. The rivers are our brothers, they quench our thirst. The rivers carry our canoes, and feed our children, that the rivers are our brothers, and yours, and you must henceforth give the rivers the kindness you would give any brother.
We know the white man does not understand our ways. One portion of land is the same to him as the next, for he is a stranger who comes in the night and takes from the land whatever he needs. The earth is not his brother, but his enemy, and when he has conquered it, he moves on. He leaves his father's graves behind, and he does not care. He kidnaps the earth from his children, and he does not care. His father's grave, and his children's birthright, are forgotten. He treats his mother, the earth, and his brother, the sky, as things to be bought, plundered, sold like sheep of bright beads. His appetite will devour the earth and leave behind only a desert.
I do not know. Our ways are different from your ways. The sight of your cities pains the eyes of the red man. But perhaps it is because the red man is a savage and does not understand. There is no quiet place in the white man's cities. No place to hear the unfurling of leaves in spring, or the rustle of an insect's wings. But perhaps it is because I am a savage and do not understand. The clatter only seems to insult the ears. And what is there to life if a man cannot hear the lonely cry of the whippoorwill or the arguments of the frogs around a pond at night? I am a red man and do not understand. The Indian prefers the soft sound of the wind darting over the face of a pond, and the smell of the wind itself, cleaned by a midday rain, or scented with the pinon pine. The air is precious to the red man, for all things share the same breath -- the beast, the tree, the man, they all share the same breath.
The white man does not seem to notice the air he breathes. Like a man dying for many days, he is numb to the stench. But if we sell you our land, you must remember that the air is precious to us, that the air shares its spirit with all the life it supports. The wind that gave our grandfather his first breath also receives his last sigh.
And if we sell you our land, you must keep it apart and sacred, as a place where even the white man can go to taste the wind that is sweetened by the meadow's flowers.
So we will consider your offer to buy our land. If we decide to accept, I will make one condition: The white man must treat the beasts of this land as his brothers. I am a savage and I do not understand any other way. I have seen a thousand rotting buffaloes on the prairie, left by the white man who shot them from a passing train. I am a savage and I do not understand how the smoking iron horse can be more important than the buffalo that we kill only to stay alive. What is man without the beasts? If all the beasts were gone, man would die from a great loneliness of spirit. For whatever happens to the beasts, soon happens to man. All things are connected.
You must teach your children that the ground beneath their feet is the ashes of your grandfathers. So that they will respect the land, tell your children that the earth is rich with the lives of our kin. Teach your children what we have taught our children, that the earth is our mother. Whatever befalls the earth befalls the sons of the earth. If men spit upon the ground, they spit upon themselves.
This we know: The earth does not belong to man; man belongs to the earth. This we know. All things are connected like the blood which unites one family. All things are connected. Whatever befalls the earth befalls the sons of the earth. Man did not weave the web of life: he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web, he does to himself.
Even the white man, whose God walks and talks with him as friend to friend, cannot be exempt from the common destiny. We may be brothers after all. We shall see. One thing we know, which the white man may one day discover -- our God is the same God. You may think now that you own Him as you with to own our land; but you cannot. He is the God of man, and His compassion is equal for the red man and the white. This earth is precious to Him, and to harm the earth is to heap contempt on its Creator.
The whites too shall pass; perhaps sooner than all other tribes. Contaminate your bed, and you will one night suffocate in your own waste. But in your perishing you will shine brightly, fired by the strength of the God who brought you to this land and for some special purpose gave you dominion over this land and over the red man. That destiny is a mystery to us, for we do not understand when the buffalo are all slaughtered, the wild horses are tamed, the secret corners of the forest heavy with scent to many men, and the view of the ripe hills blotted by talking wires.
Where is the thicket? Gone.
Where is the eagle? Gone.
The end of living and the beginning of survival.
"All of us are apprentices to the same teacher that all masters have worked with---reality. Reality says: Master the twenty-four hours. Do it well without self-pity. It is as hard to get the children herded into the car pool and down the road to the bus as it is to chant sutras in the Buddha Hall on a cold morning. One is not better than the other. Each can be quite boring. They both have the virtuous quality of repetition. Repetition and ritual and their good results come in many forms: changing the filters, wiping noses, going to meetings, sitting in meditation, picking up around the house, washing dishes, changing the dipstick. Don't let yourself think that one or more of these distracts you from the serious pursuits. Such a round of chores is not a set of difficulties to escape so that we may do our practice that will put us on the path. It IS our path.