The Sacrament of the Present Moment

Mark Mallet

As I have written here frequently, I believe that Heaven’s treasuries are wide-open. That God is pouring tremendous graces upon whomever will ask for them in these days of change.

The question then, is how to receive these graces. While God may pour them out in very miraculous or supernatural ways, such as in the Sacraments, I believe they are constantly available to us through the ordinary course of our daily lives. To be more precise, they are to be found in the present moment.

AN UNFORGETTABLE NEW YEAR’S EVE

I define the present moment as "the only point where reality exists." I say this because too many of us spend most of our time living in the past, which no longer exists; or we live in the future, which hasn’t happened yet. To live in the future or the past, is to live in an illusion. To build a house on sand is unwise; building our lives on illusions is no more stable.

At a New Year’s Eve celebration, my wife and I were sitting at a table with friends, laughing and enjoying the celebrations, when suddenly a man at the table across from us slumped off his chair onto the floor. Gone—just like that. Thirty minutes later, the guy who attempted CPR on the deceased, was now lifting a child into the air to pop balloons hanging over the dance floor. The contrast—the frailty of life—was startling.

Any one of us could die in the next second. That’s why it is senseless to be anxious about anything. -Anything.


Remembering Nisargadatta Maharaj

David Godman
A conversation with Harriet

Nisargadatta Maharaj

Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj I.
01 -Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj - Awaken to the Eternal
05 -Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj - Awaken to the Eternal
06 -Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj - Awaken to the Eternal

I was sitting with a visitor recently, looking at a new book on Nisargadatta Maharaj that consisted of photos and brief quotes. I knew some of the people in the pictures and narrated a few stories about them. This prompted a wider and lengthy discussion on some of the events that went on in Maharaj's presence. After she left I felt prompted to write down some of the things I had remembered since I had never bothered to record any of my memories of Maharaj before. As I went about recording the conversation, a few other memories surfaced, things I hadn't thought about for years. This, therefore, is a record of a pleasant afternoon's talk, supplemented by recollections of related incidents that somehow never came up.

Harriet: Every book I have seen about Maharaj, and I think I have looked at most of them, is a record of his teachings. Did no one ever bother to record the things that were going on around him? Ramakrishna had The Gospel of Ramakrishna, Ramana Maharshi had Day by Day, and a whole library of books by devotees that all talk about life with their Guru. Why hasn't Maharaj spawned a similar genre?

David: Maharaj very rarely spoke about his life, and he didn't encourage questions about it. I think he saw himself as a kind of doctor who diagnosed and treated the perceived spiritual ailments of the people who came to him for advice. His medicine was his presence and his powerful words. Anecdotes from his past were not part of the prescription. Nor did he seem interested in telling stories about anything or anyone else.

Harriet: You said 'rarely spoke'. That means that you must have heard at least a few stories. What did you hear him talk about?

David: Mostly about his Guru, Siddharameshwar Maharaj, and the effect he had had on his life. I think his love for his Guru and his gratitude to him were always present with him. Nisargadatta Maharaj used to do five bhajans a day simply because his Guru had asked him to. Siddharameshwar Maharaj had passed away in 1936, but Nisargadatta Maharaj was still continuing with these practices more than forty years later.


Personal or Impersonal?

Tony Parsons

Welcome to The Open Secret

The titles non-dual and Advaita attempt to describe the principle of wholeness, unicity or that which is already at one.

A unified reality in which there are "not two" or there is "no other" surely confirms the illusory nature of separation. If separation is illusory, then any attempt to not be separate is rooted in a dualistic perspective. So the basic principle of any teaching which attempts to transform an illusory state of being separate into a state of at-oneness is based on the belief in a divided reality and cannot therefore claim to be non-dual.

During the last decade there seems to have been a growing interest in what is known as “Advaita” or “non-dual” communication about enlightenment. The recent “Conscious TV” interviews and the beautifully crafted dvd “Who’s Driving the Dreambus” represent a fair cross-section of people of so-called “non-dual” persuasion but whose perceptions seem to vary considerably.

There are millions of books published on the same subject with wildly differing views. These days the term “non-dual” is being used for all kinds of seeking activities. You can go to non-dual conferences or indulge in a “12-month course on non-dual enlightenment”. Non-dual therapy is available, and there is even an on-line “non-dual” speak club which “no-one” can join!

For anyone interested or newly investigating this subject, it can all be very confusing.


The Lotus Sutra

Translated by Burton Watson

Chapter Twenty-five: The Universal Gate of Bodhisattva Kanzeon

At that time the bodhisattva Inexhaustible Intent immediately rose from his seat, bared his right shoulder, pressed his palms together and, facing the Buddha, spoke these words: "World Honored One, this Bodhisattva Perceiver of the World's Sounds-- why is he called Perceiver of the World's Sounds?"

The Buddha said to Bodhisattva Inexhaustible Intent: "Good man, suppose there are immeasurable hundreds, thousands, ten thousands, millions of living beings who are undergoing various trials and suffering. If they hear of this Bodhisattva Perceiver of the World's Sounds and single-mindedly call his name, then at once he will perceive the sound of their voices and they will all gain deliverance from their trials.

If someone, holding fast to the name of bodhisattva perceiver of the world's sounds, should enter a great fire, the fire could not burn him. This would come about because of this bodhisattva's authority and supernatural power. If one were washed away by a great flood and call upon his name, one would immediately find himself in a shallow place.

"Suppose there were a hundred, a thousand, ten thousand, a million living beings who, seeking for gold, silver, lapis lazuli, seashell, agate, coral, amber, pearls, and other treasures, set out on the great sea. and suppose a fierce wind should blow their ship off course and it drifted to the land of raksasas demons. If among those people there is even just one who calls the name of Bodhisattva Perceiver of the World's sounds, then all those people will be delivered from their troubles with the raksasas. This is why he is called Perceiver of the World's Sounds.


THE UNKNOWN LIFE OF JESUS CHRIST

Nicolas Notovitch
Translated by J. H. Connelly and L. Landsberg

Project Gutenberg, The Unknown Life of Jesus Christ by Nicolas Notovitch

One day, while visiting a Buddhist convent on my route, I learned from a chief lama, that there existed in the archives of Lhassa, very ancient memoirs relating to the life of Jesus Christ and the occidental nations, and that certain great monasteries possessed old copies and translations of those chronicles.

Preface

After the Turkish War (1877-1878) I made a series of travels in the Orient. From the little remarkable Balkan peninsula, I went across the Caucasus to Central Asia and Persia, and finally, in 1887, visited India, an admirable country which had attracted me from my earliest childhood.

My purpose in this journey was to study and know, at home, the peoples who inhabit India and their customs, the grand and mysterious archæology, and the colossal and majestic nature of their country. Wandering about without fixed plans, from one place to another, I came to mountainous Afghanistan, whence I regained India by way of the picturesque passes of Bolan and Guernaï. Then, going up the Indus to Raval Pindi, I ran over the Pendjab--the land of the five rivers; visited the Golden Temple of Amritsa--the tomb of the King of Pendjab, Randjid Singh, near Lahore; and turned toward Kachmyr, "The Valley of Eternal Bliss." Thence I directed my peregrinations as my curiosity impelled me, until I arrived in Ladak, whence I intended returning to Russia by way of Karakoroum and Chinese Turkestan.

Pages: 1 · 2 · 3 · 4 · 5 · 6


Love and Strife: Don't Spill A Drop

Chris Floyd

Listen now to a further point: no mortal thing
Has a beginning, nor does it end in death and obliteration;
There is only a mixing and then a separating of what was mixed,
But by mortal men these processes are named 'beginnings.'
~ Empedocles

***

"Dream delivers us to dream, and there is no end to illusion. Life is a train of moods like a string of beads, and as we pass through them they prove to be many-coloured lenses which paint the world their own hue, and each shows only what lies in its focus."
~ R.W. Emerson

***


Zen teachings of Master Lin-Chi

Master Lin Chi
(Died 867)

Those of you who wish to discipline themselves in the Buddha's Dharma must seek true understanding. When this understanding is attained you will not be defiled by birth and death. Whether walking or standing still, you will be your own master. Even when you are not trying to achieve something extraordinary, it will come to you all by itself.

O Followers of the Way, from olden times each of my predecessors had his own way of training his disciples. As to my way of leading people: all that they need is not to be deluded by others. (Be independent) and go on your way whenever you desire: have no hesitancy.

Do you know where the disease lies which keeps you learners from reaching (true understanding? It lies where you have no faith in your Self. When faith in your Self is lacking you find yourself hurried by others in every possible way. At every encounter you are no longer your master: you are driven about by others this way or that.

All that is required is all at once to cease leaving your Self in search of something external. When this is done you will find your Self no different from the Buddha or the patriarch. Do you want to know who the Buddha or patriarch is? He is no other than the one who is, at this moment, right in front of me, listening to my talk on the Dharma. You have no faith in him and therefore you are in quest of someone else somewhere outside. And what will you find? Nothing but words and names, however excellent. You will never reach the moving spirit in the Buddha or patriarch.


Heart of Perfect Wisdom

Unknown
Rochester Zen Center

[From WikiPedia:] The Heart of Perfect Wisdom Sutra or Heart Sutra or Essence of Wisdom Sutra (Sanskrit: प्रज्ञापारमिताहृदय Prajñāpāramitā Hṛdaya; Chinese: 摩訶般若波羅蜜多心經) (the word sutra is not present in known Sanskrit manuscripts) is a well-known Mahāyāna Buddhist sutra that is very popular among Mahayana Buddhists both for its brevity and depth of meaning. Buddhist writer and translator Bill Porter calls the Heart Sutra the best known and most popular of all Buddhist scriptures.

The Heart Sutra is a member of the Perfection of Wisdom (Prajñāpāramitā) class of Mahāyāna Buddhist literature, and along with the Diamond Sutra, is perhaps the most prominent representative of the genre.

The Heart Sutra is made up of 14 shlokas in Sanskrit; a shloka composed of 32 syllables. In Chinese, it is 260 Chinese characters, while in English it is composed of sixteen sentences. This makes it one of the most highly abbreviated versions of the Perfection of Wisdom texts, which exist in various lengths up to 100,000 shlokas. According to Buddhist scholar and author Geshe Kelsang Gyatso in his commentary to the Heart Sutra:

The Essence of Wisdom Sutra (Heart Sutra) is much shorter than the other Perfection of Wisdom Sutras but it contains explicitly or implicitly the entire meaning of the longer Sutras.

This sutra is classified by Edward Conze as belonging to the third of four periods in the development of the Perfection of Wisdom canon, although because it contains a mantra (sometimes called a dharani), it does overlap with the final tantric phase of development according to this scheme, and is included in the tantra section of at least some editions of the Kangyur. Conze estimates the sutra's date of origin to be 350 CE; some others consider it to be two centuries older than that. Recent scholarship is unable to verify any date earlier than the 7th century CE.

The Chinese version is frequently chanted (in the local pronunciation) by the Chan (Zen/Seon/Thiền) sects during ceremonies in China, Japan, Korea, and Vietnam respectively. It is also significant to the Shingon Buddhist school in Japan, whose founder Kūkai wrote a commentary on it, and to the various Tibetan Buddhist schools, where it is studied extensively.

The sutra is in a small class of sutras not attributed to the Buddha. In some versions of the text, starting with that of Fayue dating to about 735, the Buddha confirms and praises the words of Avalokiteśvara, although this is not included in the preeminent Chinese version translated by Xuanzang. The Tibetan canon uses the longer version, although Tibetan translations without the framing text have been found at Dunhuang. The Chinese Buddhist canon includes both long and short versions, and both versions exist in Sanskrit.


THE ESSENCE OF RIBHU GITA

"THE ESSENCE OF RIBHU GITA" here preceded by "A Story of Sage Ribhu & his Disciple Nidagha" (Chapter 26 of the Ribhu Gita) as told by Sri Ramana Maharshi (1879-1950)

The Sage Ribhu taught his disciple the supreme Truth of the One Brahman (Pure Consciousness) without a second. However, Nidagha, in spite of his erudition and understanding, did not get sufficient conviction to adopt and follow the path of Self-Knowledge (Jnana Yoga), but settled down in his native town to lead a life devoted to the observance of ceremonial religion (Bhakti Yoga). But the Sage loved his disciple as deeply as the latter venerated his Master. In spite of his age, Ribhu would himself go to his disciple in the town, just to see how far the latter had outgrown, his ritualism. At times the Sage went in disguise, so that he might observe how Nidagha would act when he, did not know that he was being observed by his Master. On one such occasion Ribhu, who had put on the disguise of a village rustic, found Nidagha intently watching a royal procession. Unrecognized by the town-dweller Nidagha, the village rustic enquired what the bustle was all about, and was told that the king was going in the procession.

“Oh! it is the king. He goes in the procession! But where is he?” asked the rustic. “There, on the elephant,” said Nidagha. “You say the king is on the elephant. Yes, I see the two,” said the rustic, “but which is the king and which is the elephant?” “What!” exclaimed Nidagha. “You see the two, but do not know that the man above is the king and the animal below is the elephant? What is the use of talking to a man like you?” “Pray, be not impatient with an ignorant man like me,” begged the rustic. “But you said above and below— what do they mean?”

Nidagha could stand it no more. “You see the king and the elephant, the one above and the other below. Yet you want to know what is meant by 'above' and 'below'” burst out Nidagha. “If things seen and words spoken can convey so little to you, action alone can teach you. Bend forward, and you will know it all too well.” The rustic did as he was told. Nidagha got on his shoulders and said: “Know it now. I am above as the king, you are below as the elephant. Is that clear enough?” “No, not yet,” was the rustic's gentle reply. “You say you are above like the king, and I am below like the elephant. The 'king', the 'elephant', 'above' and 'below'— so far it is clear. But pray, tell me what you mean by 'I' and 'you'?”

When Nidagha was thus confronted all of a sudden with. the mighty problem of defining a 'you' apart from an 'I', light dawned on his mind. At once he jumped down and fell at his Master's feet saying: “Who else but my venerable Master, Ribhu, could have thus drawn my mind from the superficialities of physical existence to the true Being of the Self? Oh! Gracious Master, I crave thy blessings”


The Dharma of Mind Transmission: Zen Teachings of Huang-po

In the version of Dharma Master Lok To

Introduction

The Mind is neither large nor small; it is located neither within nor without. It should not be thought about by the mind nor be discussed by the mouth. Ordinarily, it is said that we use the Mind to transmit the Mind, or that we use the Mind to seal the Mind. Actually, however, in transmitting the Mind, there is really no Mind to receive or obtain; and in sealing the Mind, there is really no Mind to seal. If this is the case, then does the Mind exist or does it not exist? Actually, it cannot be said with certainty that the Mind either exists or does not exist, for it is Absolute Reality. This is expressed in the Ch'an Sect by the maxim: "If you open your mouth, you are wrong. If you give rise to a single thought, you are in error." So, if you can quiet your thinking totally, all that remains is voidness and stillness.

The Mind is Buddha; Buddha is the Mind. All sentient beings and all Buddhas have the same Mind, which is without boundaries and void, without name and form and is immeasurable.

What is your Original Face and what is Hua-Tou? Your Original Face is without discrimination. Hua-Tou is the Reality before the arising of a single thought. When this Mind is enlightened, it is the Buddha; but when it is confused, it remains only the mind of sentient beings.

The Ch'an Master Huang-po Tuan-Chi was a major Dharma descendent of the Sixth Patriarch and was the Dharma-son of the Ch'an Master Pai-Chang. He was enlightened by the Supreme Vehicle to realize the Truth. Transmission of Mind is this alone ? nothing else!

The Dharma of Mind Transmission, the teaching of Ch'an Master Huang-po Tuan-Chi, is a cover-title that includes both The Chung-Ling Record and The Wan-Ling Record. These Records are sermons and dialogues of the Master that were collected and recorded by his eminent follower P'ei Hsiu. Both a government official and great scholar, P'ei Hsiu set down what he could recollect of the Master's teaching in 857 C.E., during the T'ang Dynasty, eight years after the Master's death (ca. 850 C. E. ), fifteen years after his first period of instruction by the Master at a temple near Chung Ling (842 C.E.), and nine years after his second period of instruction at a temple near Wan Ling (848 C.E.). The Records were presumably edited and published somewhat later in the T'ang Dynasty by an unknown person, and they contain a "Preface" by the recorder, P'ei Hsiu. I would like to say to all present and future students of the Dharma, both in the East and in the West, and to all my good friends: If you want to practice, you should practice just as this Ch'an Master Huang-po Tuan-Chi did. Then you, too, can realize Sudden Enlightenment.

Dharma Master Lok To
Young Men's Buddhist Association of America
Bronx, New York
December, 1985


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