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Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Interview with Bernadette Roberts

Lead me from dreaming to waking.
Lead me from opacity to clarity.
Lead me from the complicated to the simple.
Lead me from the obscure to the obvious.
Lead me from intention to attention.
Lead me from what I'm told I am to what I see I am.
Lead me from confrontation to wide openness.
Lead me to the place I never left,
Where there is peace, and peace
- The Upanishads


*note*..good interview..
-added by danny-
............
In this exclusive interview with Stephan Bodian, (published in the Nov/Dec 1986 issue of YOGA JOURNAL), author Bernadette Roberts describes the path of the Christian contemplative after the experience of oneness with God.
Bernadette Roberts is the author of two extraordinary books on the Christian cnontemplative journey, The Experience of No-Self (Shambhala, 1982) and The Path to No-Self (Shambala, 1985). A cloistered nun for nine years, Roberts reports that she returned to the world after experiencing the "unitive state", the state of oneness with God, in order to share what she had learned and to take on the problems and experience of others.

In the years that followed she completed a graduate degree in education, married, raised four children, and taught at the pre-school, high school, and junior college levels; at the same time she continued her contempative practice. Then, quite unexpectedly, some 20 years after leaving the convent, Roberts reportedly experienced the dropping away of the unitive state itself and came upon what she calls "the experience of no-self" - an experience for which the Christian literature, she says, gave her no clear road maps or guideposts. Her books, which combine fascinating chronicles of her own experiences with detailed maps of the contemplative terrain, and her attempt to provide such guideposts for those who might follow after her.

Now 55, and once again living in Los Angeles, where she was born and raised, Roberts characterizes herself as a "bag lady" whose sister and brother in law are "keeping her off the streets". "I came into this world with nothing," she writes, "and I leave with nothing. But in between I lived fully - had all the experiences, stretched the limits, and took one two many chances".

When I approached her for an interview, Roberts was reluctant at first, protesting that others who had tried had distorted her meaning, and that nothing had come of it in the end. Instead of a live interview, she suggested, why not send her a list of questions to which she would respond in writing, thereby eliminating all possibility for misunderstanding. As a result, I never got to meet Bernadette Roberts face to face - but her answers to my questions, which are as carefully crafted and as deeply considered as her books, are a remarkable testament to the power of contemplation.



Stephan: Could you talk briefly about the first three stages of the Christian contemplative life as you experienced them - in particular, what you (and others) have called the unitive state?
Bernadette: Strictly speaking, the terms "purgative", "illuminative", and "unitive" (often used of the contemplative path) do not refer to discrete stages, but to a way of travel where "letting go", "insight", and "union", define the major experiences of the journey. To illustrate the continuum, authors cone up with various stages, depending on the criteria they are using. St.Teresa, for example, divided the path into seven stages or "mansions". But I don't think we should get locked into any stage theory: it is always someone else's retrospective view of his or her own journey, which may not include our own experiences or insights. Our obligation is to be true to our own insights, our own inner light.

My view of what some authors call the "unitive stage"is that it begins with the Dark Night of the Spirit, or the onset of the transformational process - when the larva enters the cocoon, so to speak. Up to this point, we are actively reforming ourselves, doing what we can to bring about an abiding union with the divine. But at a certain point, when we have done all we can, the divine steps in and takes over. The transforming process is a divine undoing and redoing that culminates in what is called the state of "transforming union" or "mystical marriage", considered to be the definitive state for the Christian contemplative.

In experience, the onset of this process is the descent of the cloud of unknowing, which, because his former light had gone out and left him in darkness, the contemplative initialy interprets as the divine gone into hiding. In modern terms, the descent of the cloud is actually the falling away of the ego-center, which leaves us looking into a dark hole, a void or empty space in ourselves. Without the veil of the ego-center, we do not recognize the divine; it is not as we thought it should be. Seeing the divine, eye to eye is a reality that shatters our expectations of light and bliss. From here on we must feel our way in the dark, and the special eye that allows us to see in the dark opens up at this time. So here begins our journey to the true center, the botton-most, innermost "point" in ourselves where our life and being runs into divine life and being - the point at which all existence comes together.

This center can be compared to a coin: on the near side is our self, on the far side is the divine. One side is not the other side, yet we cannot separate the two sides. If we tried to do so, we would either end up with another side, or the whole coin would collapse, leaving no center at all - no self and no divine. We call this a state of oneness or union because the single center has two sides, without which there would be nothing to be one, united, or non-dual. Such, at least, is the experiential reality of the state of transforning union, the state of oneness.

How did you discover the further stage, which you call the experience of no-self?

That occurred unexpectedly some 25 years after the transforming process. The divine center - the coin, or "true self" - suddenly disappeared, and without center or circumference there is no self, and no divine. Our subjective life of experience is over - the passage is finished. I had never heard of such a possibility or happening.

Obviously there is far more to the elusive experience we call self than just the ego. The paradox of our passage is that we really do not know what self or consciousness is, so long as we are living it, or are it. The true nature of self can only be fully disclosed when it is gone, when there is no self. One outcome, then, of the no-self experience is the disclosure of the true nature of self or consciousness. As it turns out, self is the entire system of consciousness, from the unconscious to God-consciousness, the entire dimension of human knowledge and feeling-experience. Because the terms "self" and "consciousness" express the same experiences (nothing can be said of one that cannot be said of the other), they are only definable in the terms of "experience". Every other definition is conjecture and speculation. No-self, then, means no-consciousness. If this is shocking to some people, it is only because they do not know the true nature of consciousness. Sometimes we get so caught up in the content ofconsciousness, we forget that consciousness is also a somatic function of the physical body, and, like every such function, it is not eternal. Perhaps we would do better searching for the divine in our bodies than amid the content and experience of consciousness.

How does one move from "transforming union" to the experience of no-self? What is the path like?

We can only see a path in retrospect. Once we come to the state of oneness, we can go no further with the inward journey. The divine center is the innermost "point", beyond which we cannot go at this time. Having reached this point, the movement of our journey turns around and begins to move outward - the center is expanding outward.

To see how this works, imagine self, or consciousness, as a circular piece of paper. The initial center is the ego, the particular energy we call "will" or volitional faculty, which can either be turned outward, toward itsef, or inward, toward the divine ground, which underlies the center of the paper. When, from our side of consciousness, we can do no more to reach this ground, the divine takes the initiative and breaks through the center, shattering the ego like an arrow shot through the center of being. The result is a dark hole in ourselves and the feeling of terrible void and emptiness. This breakthrough demands a restructuring or change of consciousness, and this change is the true nature of the transforming process. Although this transformation culminates in true human maturity, it is not man's final state. The whole purpose of oneness is to move us on to a more final state.

To understand what happens next, we have to keep cutting larger holes in the paper, expanding the center until only the barest rim or circumference remains. One more expansion of the divine center, and the boundaries of consciousness or self fall away. From this illustration we can see how the ultimate fulfillment of consciousness, or self, is no-consciousness, or no-self. The path from oneness to no-oneness is an egoless one and is therefore devoid of ego-satisfaction. Despite the unchanging center of peace and joy, the events of life may not be peaceful or joyful at all. With no ego-gratification at the center and no divine joy on the surface, this part of the journey is not easy. Heroic acts of selflessness are required to come to the end of self, acts comparable to cutting ever-larger holes in the paper - acts, that is, that bring no return to the self whatsoever.

The major tempation to be overcome in this period is the temptation to fall for one of the subtle but powerful archetypes of the collective consciousness. As I see it, in the transforming process we only come to terms with the archetypes of the personal unconscious; the archetypes of the collective consciousness are reserved for individuals in the state of oneness, because those archetypes are powers or energies of that state. Jung felt that these archetypes were unlimited; but in fact, there is only one true archetype, and that archtype is self. What is unlimited are the various masks or roles self is tempted to play in the state of oneness - savior, prophet, healer, martyr, Mother Earth, you name it. They are all temptations to seize power for ourselves, to think ourselves to be whatever the mask or role may be. In the state of oneness, both Christ and Buddha were tempted in this manner, but they held to the "ground" that they knew to be devoid of all such energies. This ground is a "stillpoint", not a moving energy-point. Unmasking these energies, seeing them as ruses of the self, is the particular task to be accomplished or hurdle to be overcome in the state of oneness. We cannot come to the ending of self until we have finally seen through these archetypes and can no longer be moved by any of them.

So the path from oneness to no-oneness is a life that is choicelessly devoid of ego-satisfaction; a life of unmasking the energies of self and all the divine roles it is tempted to play. It is hard to call this life a "path", yet it is the only way to get to the end of our journey.

In the 'Experience of No-Self' you talk at great length about your experience of the dropping away or loss of self. Could you briefly describe this experience and the events that led up to it. I was particularly struck by your statement "I realized I no longer had a 'within' at all". For so many of us, the spiritual life is experienced as an "inner life" - yet the great saints and sages have talked about going beyond any sense of inwardness.

Your observation strikes me as particularly astute; most people miss the point. You have actually put your finger on the key factor that distinguishes between the state of oneness and the state of no-oneness, between self and no-self. So long as self remains, there will always be a "center". Few people realize that not only is the center responsible for their interior experiences of energy, emotion, and feeling, but also, underlying these, the center is our continuous, mysterious experience of "life"and "being". Because this experience is more pervasive than our other experiences, we may not think of "life" and "being" as an interior experience. Even in the state of oneness, we tend to forget that our experience of "being" originates in the divine center, where it is one with divine life and being. We have become so used to living from this center that we feel no need to remember it, to mentally focus on it, look within, or even think about it. Despite this fact, however, the center remains; it is the epicenter of our experience of life and being, which gives rise to our experiential energies and various feelings.

If this center suddenly dissolves and disappears, the experences of life, being, energy, feeling and so on come to an end, because there is no "within" any more. And without a "within", there is no subjective, psychological, or spiritual life remaining - no experience of life at all. Our subjecive life is over and done with. But now, without center and circumference, where is the divine?

To get hold of this situation, imagine consciousness as a balloon filled with, and suspended in divine air. The balloon experiences the divine as immanent, "in" itself, as well as transcendent, beyond or outside itself. This is the experience of the divine in ourselves and ourselves in the divine; in the state of oneness, Christ is often seen as the balloon (ourselves), completing this trinitarian experience. But what makes this whole experience possible - the divine as both immanent and transcendent - is obviously the balloon, ie, consciousness or self. Consciousness sets up the divisions of within and without, spirit and matter, body and soul, immanent and transcendent; in fact, consciousness is responsible for every division we know of.

But what if we pop the balloon - or better, cause it to vanish like a bubble that leaves no residue. All that remains is divine air. There is no divine in anything, there is no divine transcendence or beyond anything, nor is the divine anything. We cannot point to anything or anyone and say, "This or that is divine". So the divine is all - all but consciousness or self, which created the division in the first place.

As long as consciousness remains however, it does not hide the divine, nor is it ever separated from it. In Christian terms, the divine known to consciousness and experienced by it as immanent and transcendent is called God; the divine as it exists prior to consciousness and after consciousness is gone is called Godhead.

Obviously, what accounts for the difference between God and Godhead is the balloon or bubble - self or consciousness. As long as any subjective self remains, a center remains; and so, too, does the sense of interiority.

You mention that, with the loss of the personal self, the personal God drops away as well. Is the personal God, then, a transitional figure in our search for ultimate loss of self.

Sometimes we forget that we cannot put our finger on any thing or any experience that is not transitional. Since consciousness, self, or subject is the human faculty for experiencing the divine, every such experience is personally subjective; thus in my view, "personal God" is any subjective experience of the divine. Without a personal, subjective self, we could not even speak of an impersonal, no-subjective God; one is just relative to the other. Before consciousness or self existed, however, the divine was neither personal nor impersonal, subjective nor non-subjective - and so the divine remains when self or consciousness has dropped away.

Consciousness by its very nature tends to make the divine into its own image and likeness; the only problem is, the divine has no image or likeness. hence consciousness, of itself, cannot truly apprehend the divine. Christians (Catholics especially) are often blamed for being the great image makers, yet their images are so obviously naive and easy to see through, we often miss the more subtle, formless images by which consciousness fashions the divine. For example, because the divine is a subjective experience, we think the divine is a subject; because we experience the divine through the faculties of consciousness, will, and intellect, we think the divne is equally consciousness, will and intellect; because we experience ourselves as a being or entity, we experience the divine as a being or entity; because we judge others, we think the divine judges others; and so on. Carrying a holy card in our pockets is tame compared to the formless notions we carry around in our minds; it is easy to let go of an image, but almost impossible to uproot our intelletual convictions based on the experiences of consciousness. Still, if we actually knew the unbridgeable chasm that lies between the true nature of consciousness or self and the true nature of the divine, we would despair of ever making the journey. So consciousness is the marvelous divine invention by which human beings make the journey in subjective companionship with the divine; and, like every divine invention, it works. Consciousness both hides the chasm and bridges it - and when we have crossed over, of course, we do not need the bridge any more.

So it doesn't matter that we start out on our journey with our holy cards, gongs and bells, sacred books and religious feelings. All of it should lead to growth and transformation, the ultimate surrender of our images and concepts, and a life of selfless giving. When ther is nothing left to surrender, nothing left to give, only then can we come to the end of the passage - the ending of consciousness and its personally subjective God. One glimpse of the Godhead, and no one would want God back.

How does the path to no-self in the Christian contemplative tradition differ from the path as laid out in the Hindu and Buddhist traditions?

I think it may be too late for me to ever have a good understanding of how other religions make this passage. If you are not surrendering your whole being, your very consciousness, to a loved and trusted personal God, then what are you surrendering it to? Or why surrender it at all? Loss of ego, loss of self, is just a by-product of this surrrender; it is not the true goal, not an end in itself. Perhaps this is also the view of Mahayana Buddhism, where the goal is to save all sentient beings from suffering, and where loss of ego, loss of self, is seen as a means to a greater end. This view is very much in keeping with the Christian desire to save all souls. As I see it, without a personal God, the Buddhist must have a much stronger faith in the "unconditioned and unbegotten" than is required of the Christian contemplative, who experiences the passage as a divine doing, and in no way a self-doing.

Actually, I met up with Buddhism only at the end of my journey, after the no-self experience. Since I knew that this experience was not articulated in our contemplative literature, I went to the library to see is it could be found in the Eastern Religions. It did not take me long to realize that I would not find it in the Hindu tradition, where, as I see it, the final state is equivalent to the Christian experience of oneness or transforming union. If a Hindu had what I call the no-self experience, it would be the sudden, unexpected disappearance of the Atman-Brahman, the divine Self in the "cave of the heart", and the disappearance of the cave as well. It would be the ending of God-consciousness, or transcendental consciousness - that seemingly bottomless experience of "being", "consciousness", and "bliss" that articulates the state of oneness. to regard this ending as the falling away of the ego is a grave error; ego must fall away before the state of oneness can be realized. The no-self experience is the falling away of this previously realized transcendent state.

Initially, when I looked into Buddhism, I did not find the experience of no-self there either; yet I intuited that it had to be there. The falling away of the ego is common to both Hinduism and Buddhism. Therefore, it would not account for the fact that Buddhism became a separate religion, nor would it account for the Buddhist's insistence on no eternal Self - be it divine, individual or the two in one. I felt that the key difference between these two religions was the no-self experience, the falling away of the true Self, Atman-Brahman.

Unfortunately, what most Buddhist authors define as the no-self experience is actually the no-ego experience. The cessation of clinging, craving, desire, the passions, etc., and the ensuing state of imperturbable peace and joy articulates the egoless state of oneness; it does not, however, articulate the no-self experience or the dimension beyond. Unless we clearly distinguish between these two very different experiences, we only confuse them, with the inevitable result that the true no-self experience becomes lost. If we think the falling away of the ego, with its ensuing transformation and oneness, is the no-self experience, then what shall we call the much further experience when this egoless oneness falls away? In actual experience there is only one thing to call it, the "no-self experience"; it lends itself to no other possible articulation. Initially I gave up looking for this experience in the Buddhist literature.

Four years later, however, I came across two lines attributed to Buddha describing his enlightenment experience. Referring to self as a house, he said, "All thy rafters are broken now, the ridgepole is destroyed". and there it was - the disappearance of the center, the ridgepole; without it, there can be no house, no self. When I read these lines, it was as if an arrow launched at the beginning of time had suddenly hit a bulls-eye. It was a remarkable find. These lines are not a piece of philosophy, but an experiential account, and without the experiential account we really have nothing to go on. In the same verse he says, "Again a house thou shall not build", clearly distinguishing this experience from the falling away of the ego-center, after which a new, transformed self is built around a "true center", a sturdy, balanced ridgepole.

As a Christian, I saw the no-self experience as the true nature of Christ's death, the movement beyond even is oneness with the divine, the movement from God to Godhead. though not articulated in contemplative literature, Christ dramatized this experience on the cross for all ages to see and ponder. Where Buddha described the experience, Christ manifested it without words; yet they both make the same statement and reveal the same truth - that ultimately, eternal life is beyond self or consciousness. After one has seen it manifested or heard it said, the only thing left is to experience it.

You mention in 'The Path to No-Self' that the unitive state is the "true state in which God intended every person to live his mature years". Yet so few of us ever achieve this unitive state. What is it about the way we live right now that prevents us from doing so? Do you think it is our preoccupation with material success, technology, and personal accomplishment?

First of all, I think there are more people in the state of oneness than we realize. For everyone we hear about there are thousands we will never hear about. Believing this state to be a rare achievement can be an impediment in itself. Unfortunately, those who write about it have a way of making it sound more extraordinary and blissful that it commonly is, an so false expectations are another impediment - we keep waiting and looking for an experience or state that never comes.

But if I had to put my finger on the primary obstacle, I wouls say it is having wrong views of the journey. Paradoxical though it may seem, the passage through consciousness or self moves contrary to self, rubs it the wrong way - and in the end, will even rub it out. Because this passage goes against the grain of self, it is, therefore, a path of suffering. Both Christ and Buddha saw the passage as one of suffering, and basically found identical ways out. What they discovered and revealed to us was that each of us has within himself or herself a "stillpoint" - comparable, perhaps to the eye of a cyclone, a spot or center of calm, imperturbability, and non-movement. Buddha articulated this central eye in negative terms as "emptiness" or "void", a refuge from the swirling cyclone of endless suffering. Christ articulated the eye in more positive terms as the "Kingdom of God" or the "Spirit within", a place of refuge and salvation from a suffering self. For both of them, the easy out was first to find that stillpoint and then, by attaching ourselves to it, by becoming one with it, to find a stabilizing, balanced anchor in our lives. After that, the cyclone is gradually draw into the eye, and the suffering self comes to an end. And when there is no longer a cyclone, there is also no longer an eye.

So the storms, crises, and sufferings of life are a way of finding the eye. When everything is going our way, we do not see the eye, and we feel no need to find it. But when everything is going against us, then we find the eye. so the avoidance of suffering and the desire to have everything go our own way runs contrary to the whole movement of our journey; it is all a wrong view. With the right view, however, one should be able to come to the state of oneness in six or seven years - years not merely of suffering, but years of enlightenment, for right suffering is the essence of enlightenment.

Because self is everyone's experience underlying all culture, I do not regard cultural wrong views as an excuse for not searching out right views. After all, each peson's passage is his or her own; there is no such thing as a collective passage.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

What do you want? Money? Sex? Power?

Lead me from dreaming to waking.
Lead me from opacity to clarity.
Lead me from the complicated to the simple.
Lead me from the obscure to the obvious.
Lead me from intention to attention.
Lead me from what I'm told I am to what I see I am.
Lead me from confrontation to wide openness.
Lead me to the place I never left,
Where there is peace, and peace
- The Upanishads

*note*..now you are dying..what do you want?..money?..sex?..or power over people?..or you want the truth ?
-added by danny-

Illness Helps Your True Self

Zen Master Seung Sahn


Our physical body is not our true self. What is our true self, our true I? Every human being must find their true I. If you find the answer to this question then freedom from suffering and freedom from life and death appears.

Don't be afraid of your sickness. At times everybody is afraid of what will happen to their body. However, the only difference between human beings when it comes to death is: go early, go late. So again, what is a human being? You must find this! Then when you die, your direction will be clear.

Some people are strong, very smart and have a lot of power. But still, if the direction of their life is not clear, when they die their consciousness will go round and round.

Being alive is very lucky. At this time you must find your owner, your master. You must ask yourself, who is my master? If you find your master, then throwing away your body at any time will not be a problem for you. Don't be afraid of life and death. This body is like a floating cloud that appears and then disappears. What are you?

No matter what the disease, your true self has no sickness; only your body is sick. Sickness, any sickness, helps your practice. Without sickness, there is only more wanting and desire, wanting and wanting; so you don't understand your true self, your direction is not clear. If you die at that time, you will have a big problem.

To know that you are dying is very important. For a dying person, completely putting it all down is very easy. Letting go of desires and attachments is easy because at that time you cannot get anything. Now you are sick. What do you want? Money? Sex? Power? What do you want? Finding your true self when you know that you are dying is the easiest way. So this sickness helps your true self.

I understand that I have two holes in my nose

Lead me from dreaming to waking.
Lead me from opacity to clarity.
Lead me from the complicated to the simple.
Lead me from the obscure to the obvious.
Lead me from intention to attention.
Lead me from what I'm told I am to what I see I am.
Lead me from confrontation to wide openness.
Lead me to the place I never left,
Where there is peace, and peace
- The Upanishads

*note* indeed he understands..
-added by danny-
.............

Bodhisattva Clothes

Zen Master Seung Sahn

One snowy evening in January 1974, Seung Sahn Soen Sa was invited to speak at the Boston Dharmadhatu. He came with several of his students who, like him, were wearing long gray robes and brown kasayas. After the Dharma talk, one person asked, "Why do you all wear uniforms?''

Soen Sa said, "Did you eat supper?''

"Yes.''

"Why?"

"To relieve pain.''

Soen Sa said, "I am a monk." There was a long silence. "Okay, I will explain. Look at our face. The nose has two holes, the eyes have two holes, the ears have two holes. Only the mouth has one. Why only one? It would have been very easy to have another hole in back of our head. We could eat rice in front and drink wine in back. But we have only one hole. This is people-karma. The cat catches the mouse -- that is cat-karma. The dog barks at strangers, wong wong wong wong!-- that is dog-karma. It is all karma. Do you understand?''

"I understand that I have two holes in my nose. But I choose to wear a uniform or not."

"I am not finished yet. This is only on the way.... So life is karma. In our past lives we have made karma, and the action of this karma is our life now. I like this uniform, so I wear it. It is Bodhisattva clothing. The Bodhisattva wears necklaces and bracelets and earrings and beautiful clothing. He doesn't wear them for himself, but only for all people. These robes have the same meaning as Bodhisattva clothing. Do you understand?''

The person said, "Is everyone in your party a Bodhisattva?''

Soen Sa said, "What do you think?"

''I think not.''

Soen Sa pointed to one of his students and said, "You ask him.''

"Are you a Bodhisattva?"

The student shook his head.

Soen Sa laughed and said, "Very good.''

The person again asked Soen Sa's student, "Why do you wear these robes?"

"Why do you ask?''

"Because I have a great deal of difficulty dealing with uniforms.''

Soen Sa said, "You asked these clothes a question, and they are already teaching you. If I hadn't worn them, you wouldn't have asked me about them. I am wearing them, so you asked me your question. So I am teaching you. So these are Bodhisattva clothes.''

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Happy birthday:)

Lead me from dreaming to waking.
Lead me from opacity to clarity.
Lead me from the complicated to the simple.
Lead me from the obscure to the obvious.
Lead me from intention to attention.
Lead me from what I'm told I am to what I see I am.
Lead me from confrontation to wide openness.
Lead me to the place I never left,
Where there is peace, and peace
- The Upanishads

*note* Happy birthday,Shri Mataji!..and kisses:)
-added by danny-
.......................




Q: Is there a difference between the awakening and Self-Realisation?
Shri Mataji: Yes. Very good question. There is a difference between awakening and realization, it’s true.

It awakens, it passes, you can see with your naked eyes in many people when there is obstruction, you can see. It passes through various chakras, you can see. In some people it is so slow moving, otherwise it takes just split of a second. But if there’s an obstruction you can see it and the awakening has taken place.

But the breaking of the Sahasrara is the realization where you get cool breeze in the hands. If you don’t get cool breeze in the hands at least you must get cool breeze here. Minimum. But sometimes this center is very bad in many people. Then you don’t feel it in the hands but you must feel it here. But still, it’s just the beginning, just the germination.

Like Christ has said that some seeds fell down here and some seeds fell there. It happens like that. So awakening is not the end of it. It’s just the beginning. It has started and then realization is established.

First, when the Kundalini goes over these chakras you get a state called thoughtless awareness, where there’s no thought in your mind. It’s very easy to get. This is the center of Christ. It goes above that. When it passes through all these centers of Moses and Abraham and all that, it passes through the center of Christ and it passes through this Brahmarandra, fontanel bone, then you get your baptism, then you feel the cool breeze in the hands. But, it may be sucked back into the places where there’s a problem because with me I’ve seen people get it just like that. It flows like a great … river, in flood. It happens. But then, sometimes it comes back. But once it is awakened, it is awakened, you have to learn how to establish it. It’s a very good question. You have to know about it.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Turning Japanese?

Lead me from dreaming to waking.
Lead me from opacity to clarity.
Lead me from the complicated to the simple.
Lead me from the obscure to the obvious.
Lead me from intention to attention.
Lead me from what I'm told I am to what I see I am.
Lead me from confrontation to wide openness.
Lead me to the place I never left,
Where there is peace, and peace
- The Upanishads

*note* hahahaha..turning japanese indeed.
-added by danny-
....................

I've got your picture
Of me and you
You wrote "I love you"
I love you too
I sit there staring and there's nothing else to do
Oh it's in color
Your hair is brown
Your eyes are hazel
And soft as clouds
I often kiss you when there's no one else around
I think I'm turning Japanese
I think I'm turning Japanese
I'm turning Japanese
I really think so...

Monday, March 16, 2009

Why Sentient Beings Are Sentient Beings?

Lead me from dreaming to waking.
Lead me from opacity to clarity.
Lead me from the complicated to the simple.
Lead me from the obscure to the obvious.
Lead me from intention to attention.
Lead me from what I'm told I am to what I see I am.
Lead me from confrontation to wide openness.
Lead me to the place I never left,
Where there is peace, and peace
- The Upanishads

*note* nice talk about samsara and nirvana quote"According to Ch'an, nirvana and samsara (birth and death) both exist and do not exist"....and this is the problem when one tries to explain this stuff....because they do exist,and don't exist in the same time...no possible explaining,no words could describe it.All that remains is ALL.
-added by danny-
ps..I observe that the website link is gone..like the wind..like my few hairs from my head..like the shadows from under my bed..like the flies when I slap them hard on my forehead when they try to lick my wisdom muscles...like the bears who try fighting with the mahayogi,but I use my love as weapon...good thing I saved it in my kripto locker from heaven..see?..that's why I post the full text....because while websites come and go like my coyote pet when I spank him for stealing my cheese sandwich..the kripto locker is forever..for you ..just for you..just for you..grasshoppers from heaven...to enjoy my formidable wisdom muscle(loved in the 3 worlds..respected in 10..celebrated also in the 19th by myself,since there is nobody else there)..kiss:)
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Why Sentient Beings Are Sentient Beings
Lecture Given Sunday, June 10, 1984

According to Buddhism, the original nature of sentient beings is identical to Buddha-nature. But to us this identity seems completely absent: the Buddhas are perfectly wise whereas sentient beings are profoundly ignorant. How has this difference arisen?
The Sutra of Complete Enlightenment tells us that Buddha-nature and ignorance are one. Both have existed from beginningless time. Sentient beings have always been ignorant, but this ignorance is only a different form of Buddha-nature. The identity between ignorance and Buddha-nature is similar to the identity of ice at the North Pole with the water in the ocean. The same substance can be both ice and water depending on its location. We can further extend the analogy. The ice at the North Pole is permanently frozen just as sentient beings have always been ignorant. And as some ice may occasionally melt due to climactic irregularities, some few sentient beings do attain Buddhahood. So ignorance and Buddhahood, just like ice and water, are essentially the same although they may appear different according to perspective. The difference, thus, that we perceive between Buddhas and sentient beings is really but an illusion.
This raises an interesting question. Buddhism teaches us that sentient beings can become Buddhas. But if Buddhas and sentient beings are one by nature, what is to prevent Buddhas from falling back and once more becoming sentient beings?
According to Ch'an, nirvana and samsara (birth and death) both exist and do not exist. They exist from the perspective of sentient beings because sentient beings are attached to a sense of self and thus they cling to form and appearance. Samsara and nirvana do not exist from the perspective of a Buddha because Buddha is unattached to a sense of self and is independent of form and appearance. But the Buddha will assume form and appearance for the benefit of sentient beings. A Buddha can manifest equally the dharma of samsara or nirvana depending on the needs of sentient beings. So just as water can freeze again into ice, there is nothing to prevent a Buddha from turning again into a sentient being. But sentient beings who are manifestations of Buddhas are very different from the sentient beings who have never been Buddhas. The former have become sentient beings because of their wisdom and the latter remain sentient beings because of their karma -- their impurity.
What is this impurity? It is the result of attachment to the four kinds of phenomena. The first of these is the ego, the second refers to a human being or group of people (the object of the ego), the third, an extension of the second, refers to all sentient beings, and the fourth is life, the temporal continuum of self and all others.
As illustration of the four kinds of phenomena, let us say a young man meets a girl and the two fall in love. If the two are deeply in love, it is unlikely that one day they will feel for each other and the next day they will not. More commonly, people want to remain in love forever -- even until they reach Buddhahood. People in love do not care that religion does not view great attachment very favorably. They would say, "It does not matter even if we go to hell so long as we stay in love." Here we can perceive three of the four kinds of phenomena: the ego who falls in love, the person who is beloved, and the desired continuity of love throughout time, or life. Through the couple's relationship a child is likely to be born. Its parents will aspire for it to have a great career, get married early and have a large family. Moreover, when it in turn has children, the child will probably aspire similarly, as will its own children and their children and so on throughout endless generations. Thus the third, general phenomenon of sentient beings.
I once asked someone if he wanted to become a monk. He said, "It is not that I don't want to become a monk, but my father would like to have some grandchildren." So I said, "Well, why don't you first have a son, and then become a monk? After you have a son, you will have fulfilled your obligation." He responded, "Sure, that's what I'll do." But I assured him that he would never leave home after he had a son. He would definitely want the son to marry so that he himself could have grandchildren. This is life for all sentient beings and it is without end.
These four kinds of phenomena are but a mirage arising and perishing through causes and conditions. Holding on to the phenomena as if they were real causes the attachment to ego. But the ego by itself is impossible to establish. It is only through interaction with others -- with an individual, a group, or sentient beings in the continuum of life -- that the attachment arises which is the cause of the feeling of ego or self.
Attachment can be of two kinds; it can be directed mainly towards outer objects, relationships or events, or it can be mainly self-centered. There is a mayor of certain city who is already over fifty years old and has never been married. With no family do you think that he has fewer attachments? Not at all. It is as if the city totally belongs to him. He always says, "I want my city to be like this, I want it to be like that." This is the first kind of attachment. Those whose attachment is of the second kind care little for interaction and external objects but they are deeply bound to their ego. They feel no sense of duty and exist without direction. Since the first type of attachment necessitates fulfillment of responsibilities, it is preferable to the second.
There was once a general who understood the first kind of attachment. He would assign important jobs only to men with wife and children. Having found the appropriate man for a job, he would have his family placed in a very secure environment both to prevent anxiety and to guard against his desertion.
We have seen that impurity comes as a result of attachment to the four phenomena. But what is it that indefinitely sustains impurity? I will give two answers.
When the self is erroneously taken as eternal, attachment arises not only for the self of the present but also the self of future. So as someone makes preparations for the future, he creates karma relating to the future. Having by the end of his life accumulated much karma of the future, he must be reborn to experience the consequences of this karma. Since they constantly prepare for the future, sentient beings must time after time suffer rebirth. Always thus attached, they remain impure indefinitely. This is the first answer.
My second answer pertains to practitioners on inner or outer paths who seek to reach Buddhahood, nirvana, or any kind of heavenly world. These people feel aversion to the world and a corresponding desire for escape. Practitioners on outer paths who seek residence in heavenly worlds can certainly attain their desire through accumulation of merit. But their stay in these worlds is limited, for departure is unavoidable once the energy of their previous practice is exhausted. Similarly, those Buddhists who seek Buddhahood as an escape from the world may gain entrance into the "Convenient Pure Land." Though such practitioners may feel that they have achieved nirvana, they also will find as their power subsides that they are compelled to leave. Once either of these two kinds of practitioners is forced to leave, they immediately yearn to return. Time after time they work to accumulate sufficient merit to gain respite in the heavens. Thus they never lose their attachment and remain impure indefinitely
It is attachment which causes impurity, and it is by attachment that impurity is sustained. If the ice is to melt into water -- if sentient beings are to become Buddhas -- then there can be no attachment, no seeking, and NO GOAL.

When the wise speak, listen!

Lead me from dreaming to waking.
Lead me from opacity to clarity.
Lead me from the complicated to the simple.
Lead me from the obscure to the obvious.
Lead me from intention to attention.
Lead me from what I'm told I am to what I see I am.
Lead me from confrontation to wide openness.
Lead me to the place I never left,
Where there is peace, and peace
- The Upanishads

*note* a nice buddhist tale quote"The moral is: When the wise speak, listen!"
-added by danny-
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Achieving Nothing (No Thing)

Once upon a time the Bodhisatta - the Enlightenment Being - was born into a high class family in northern India. When he grew up he gave up the ordinary desires of the everyday world and became a holy man. He went to the Himalayan Mountains where 500 other holy men became his followers.

He meditated throughout his long life. He gained supernatural powers - like flying through the air and understanding people's thoughts without their speaking. These special powers impressed his 500 followers greatly.

One rainy season, the chief follower took 250 of the holy men into the hill country villages to collect salt and other necessities. It just so happened that this was the time when the master was about to die. The 250 who were still by his side realized this. So they asked him, "Oh most holy one, in your long life practicing goodness and meditation, what was your greatest achievement?"

Having difficulty speaking as he was dying, the last words of the Enlightenment Being were, "No Thing." Then he was reborn in a heaven world.

Expecting to hear about some fantastic magical power, the 250 followers were disappointed. They said to each other. "After a long life practicing goodness and meditation. our poor master has achieved 'nothing'." Since they considered him a failure, they burned his body with no special ceremony, honors, or even respect.

When the chief follower returned he asked, "Where is the holy one?" "He has died," they told him. "Did you ask him about his greatest achievement?" "Of course we did," they answered. "And what did he say?" asked the chief follower. "He said he achieved 'nothing'," they replied, "so we didn't celebrate his funeral with any special honors."

Then the chief follower said, "You brothers did not understand the meaning of the teacher's words. He achieved the great knowledge of 'No Thing'. He realized that the names of things are not what they are. There is what there is, without being called 'this thing' or 'that thing'. There is no 'Thing'." In this way the chief follower explained the wonderful achievement of their great master, but they still did not understand.

Meanwhile, from his heaven world,, the reborn Enlightenment Being saw that his former chief follower's words were not accepted. So he left the heaven world and appeared floating in the air above his former followers' monastery. In praise of the chief follower's wisdom he said, "The one who hears the Truth and understands automatically, is far better off than a hundred fools who spend a hundred years thinking and thinking and thinking."

By preaching in this way, the Great Being encouraged the 500 holy men to continue seeking Truth. After lives spent in serious meditation, all 500 died and were reborn in the same heaven world with their former master.

The moral is: When the wise speak, listen!

Sunday, March 15, 2009

The funny hermit

Lead me from dreaming to waking.
Lead me from opacity to clarity.
Lead me from the complicated to the simple.
Lead me from the obscure to the obvious.
Lead me from intention to attention.
Lead me from what I'm told I am to what I see I am.
Lead me from confrontation to wide openness.
Lead me to the place I never left,
Where there is peace, and peace
- The Upanishads

*note* this is the funniest scene from the ,,Life of Brian,, movie..really.
-added by danny-
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Friday, March 13, 2009

Creations of the Mind

Lead me from dreaming to waking.
Lead me from opacity to clarity.
Lead me from the complicated to the simple.
Lead me from the obscure to the obvious.
Lead me from intention to attention.
Lead me from what I'm told I am to what I see I am.
Lead me from confrontation to wide openness.
Lead me to the place I never left,
Where there is peace, and peace
- The Upanishads

*note* how did Hsu Yun build monasteries in his mind?..read and learn...
-added by danny-
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Creations of the Mind
(Lecture given Sunday, July 21, 1985 by Master Sheng-Yen)

There was a Ch'an Master named Hsu Yun who traveled to many different places in Asia, and wherever he found a monastery or temple in ruins would collect donations and rebuild it. Many people were quite amazed at his ability, and came to him saying, "Oh, Master, how is it so easy for you to build one monastery after another? For us it is difficult to build one simple hut". Hsu Yun replied, "Because I have monasteries in my mind". When they asserted that they too had monasteries in their minds, the Master said, "No, you people really don't. I have been building monasteries in my mind for a long time, so these monasteries were already built. When I want to build monasteries now, it happens. However, you haven't truly started to build the monasteries in your mind. Your so-called monasteries are just daydreams."

The Surangama Sutra states that all phenomena are creations of the mind. We can't interpret it, however, as saying that all things are created by the wandering mind. If you just daydream, and do nothing about it, you will not be able to create any dharma, or phenomena. On the other hand, if your mind has certain tendencies to do something, and you act according to it, then that which you accomplish can certainly be said to be a creation of the mind. If you have feelings towards people, such as anger, sadness, happiness, and you establish relationships with them based on these feelings, then this can also be considered a creation of the mind.

It is said that one's mind is like an accomplished, expert painter who can paint all sorts of worlds from one palette. It's true that whatever exists in the mind can be manifested eventually. And whatever previously existed can turn up in the future. The process is something like the following: You have a huge tank of water with a lot of fine grains of sand in it. As the water is constantly being stirred, the sand grains sink to the bottom -- and then rise to the top again. Each movement of the mind is like adding a color to a certain sand grain. Sometimes you add a very strong color that is long lasting, and sometimes you add just a tiny touch. The grains that are colored will sink to the bottom, and then appear again at the top as the water is agitated. But those with a lightly applied color will gradually get paler -- only the strongly colored grains will retain their hue. Good and evil karma work in just this way. Thoughts and actions of different intensities may seem to "disappear" for a while, but they all come back at some time. We just don't see their effects until they rise to the surface. So sometimes we have good fortune, and sometimes we have disasters. All of these events are our own doing. We often speak of promoting welfare for others, or for ourselves, but we do not often speak of promoting disaster. Nonetheless, it is a fact that all disasters are created by ourselves for ourselves.

Whatever exists in our mind will most likely manifest in the future. In fact, it would be really difficult for it not to result in some consequence. Of course, it depends on how strong the karmic actions are -- just as the example of the pigments applied to the grains of sand; the stronger colors will last longer.

In the city of Goshwan, in Taiwan, there was a certain factory that treated waste water generated by the many households and industries. Eventually this factory began to have problems because it was itself producing large amounts of waste water, and it was unable to treat it all. So although the purpose of this factory was one of good intention -- treating the waste generated by other people -- it in fact generated further waste. It is the same with our lives; we do not want to create evil karma, but somehow we just end up doing so. We do not want to cause other people harm, but very often the results of our good intentions ultimately bring some harm. Many wars have occurred in human history due to certain political and religious views. The leaders who brought about these wars were not necessarily evil people; many of them sincerely believed that they were doing things for the good of mankind. Yet, as a consequence, many people underwent great suffering.

Someone asked Master Hsu Yun: "Why are you building monastery after monastery? Eventually they will fall into ruin, or be destroyed by others. So by building monasteries you are in fact providing the occasion for other people to destroy monasteries. You are giving them the opportunity to do evil karma. Why bother to do all this then?" Hsu Yun answered: "When sentient beings do not have good enough merit and virtue, yes, the monasteries will go into ruin or be actively destroyed. But on the other hand, when sentient beings do have better karma, better merit and virtue, then they will need the monasteries. Later the monasteries will go again into ruin. I don't concern myself with that. According to the Buddhadharma, all things are actions done by sentient beings in the sentient being's mind. They are comparable to the vision of a flower in the sky, to the reflection of the moon in the water. They are all illusions, but nonetheless, these Dharma activities are things I would like to do at every moment."

So the important thing, in fulfilling certain intentions that we have, is to ask ourselves if we have seriously started building these wishes or vows in our minds. If you are already going in the proper direction for the accomplishment of your goal, then the saying that all phenomena are creations of the mind is definitely true. If you really want something, for example if you wish to attain Buddhahood, then you must have sufficiently strong determination.

There is a story about a couple who were in their late forties, and didn't have any children. They really wanted to have a son, so they went around to many different temples, praying to the
deities. All of their supplications were in vain, however, until they finally reached a temple with an old monk, who was willing to give them advice. He said, "Okay, you just go around to different monasteries and temples, and see if there is any monk living there who is growing old and sickly, with no one to take care of him. You should then take him home, care for him, cure his disease -- and you will eventually have a son." So the couple did just that. In time, after visiting several more temples, they found one old monk who was seriously ill, and hadn't anyone to take care of him. So they brought him home. They were very nice to him and cured his illness. However, the monk was indeed quite old, and in two years was about to die. The monk said to the couple: "You two have been so kind to me. How can I pay you back?" And the couple said, "You really don't have to pay us back, because we are doing this in order to have a son." So eventually the monk died. Not long after the couple did indeed have a son. He was very intelligent and quite a nice boy, as it turned out. His parents were really proud and pleased to have him. After many years had passed, and the boy was in his teens, an interesting thing happened. The old man who had first given the advice to the couple came around to visit, and recognized their son. "Why, you are actually an old friend of mine!" Then the boy realized who he was and said, "Well, I hadn't much choice. I had to repay this couple."

The story ends here. Perhaps it was really not so smart to repay the couple by being reborn as their son; it is kind of a foolish thing for an old monk to do. Nonetheless, there is an important point in it. When we seriously want something, we should also make an effort to help other people, and eventually our wishes will be realized.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Our fractal nature

Lead me from dreaming to waking.
Lead me from opacity to clarity.
Lead me from the complicated to the simple.
Lead me from the obscure to the obvious.
Lead me from intention to attention.
Lead me from what I'm told I am to what I see I am.
Lead me from confrontation to wide openness.
Lead me to the place I never left,
Where there is peace, and peace
- The Upanishads

*note* Gregg Braden re-discovers the eternal truth...interesting interview.
-added by danny-
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http://www.greggbraden.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/09/greggbraden-e1.pdf

"Our entire civilization has been based upon two central false assumptions that
are still being taught in our schools today.
The first false assumption is that the space between things is empty. We say, “Ninetysix
percent of the universe is empty space.” What is matter—or you could say, what
matters—is at most 4 percent.
The second false assumption is that our inner experience—our thought, feeling,
emotion and belief—has no effect on the world beyond our own bodies
"

"We now know there’s a field of energy that underlies all physical existence. This field
so new in its discovery that scientists have yet to agree upon a single term; it’s called
everything from simply “the field” to “the mind of God,” to “nature’s mind.” In 1944,
Max Planck, the father of quantum theory, called it “the matrix.”
We also know that we have the ability to “speak” in a language that resonates with
this field, a nonverbal language of feeling and belief in our hearts. When we do this, we effect physical healing within our bodies’ cells. The key is to feel the feeling in a very precise way, as if the outcome of our heart’s desire has already happened. This sets into motion a response within our bodies where the chemistry matches that feeling.
Likewise, when we create the very precise feelings as if our career is already
successful, our relationships and our partnerships are already in place and we have just the right people to accomplish all of the goals in just the right way, this sets into motion a mechanism in this field that allows those things to come to fruition.
Once we understand the mechanism, it becomes a technology, and we can do it
consistently and repeatedly.
"
''But we’re shifting from a purely Newtonian way of engineering and solving
problems, believing that everything is separate and we must work toward our goal, to a quantum way of thinking, where we strongly and clearly identify with the outcome.
We’ve got powerful video documentation of just how quickly the physical world
responds to this language. In one video, we see a woman who is diagnosed with an
inoperable, cancerous tumor, in the presence of three practitioners who are trained in this language we’re talking about. Through ultrasound, you see that tumor melt away and literally vanish from the screen
.'

Sunday, March 08, 2009

The wind blowing through the pines

Lead me from dreaming to waking.
Lead me from opacity to clarity.
Lead me from the complicated to the simple.
Lead me from the obscure to the obvious.
Lead me from intention to attention.
Lead me from what I'm told I am to what I see I am.
Lead me from confrontation to wide openness.
Lead me to the place I never left,
Where there is peace, and peace
- The Upanishads

*note* Harada Roshi explains prajna wisdom
-added by danny-
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The old pine is talking prajna wisdom

by Shodo Harada Roshi

This line forms a couplet with, "The mysterious bird is singing the truth." It is from the Ninten Ganmoku, which portrays the flow of China's Zen through the Rinzai, Soto, Igyo, Hogen, and Unmon schools.

The poet Sotoba wrote these lines:

The mountain—Buddha's body.
The torrent—his preaching.
Last night, 84,000 poems.
How, how make them understand?

Practicing at a mountain temple, Sotoba sat all night in deep samadhi. The valley's streams resonated, sarasarasarasara, but he could not tell if he was the sound of the stream's flow or if the sound of the stream's flow was him. Had he become the stream and was he flowing there? He tasted clearly the flavor of becoming totally one with this world around him.

Normally we see our body and the relative world as separate; we live a life apart. When our world and our body meld, we experience the awakening of the Buddha. We join with this world of material things, and become a perfect whole.

Our zazen can't be for playing around with our own thoughts. This world is filled with problems; our bodies are imperfect too. But putting it all aside and becoming one with this world, completely and totally, is what has to be tasted.

"Last night 84,000 poems": listening to the river's song, we become its verses. Daito Kokushi said, "If we see it with our ears and hear it with our eyes it is beyond doubting, the rain dropping from the eaves." At the beginning we heard the raindrops dualistically, dripping as they fell. Then the raindrop became me, and I became the raindrop as we merged. I'm the raindrop and falling—drip, drip, drip. This mind of seeing with our ears and hearing with our eyes is beyond any doubt. The dualistic world has disappeared completely; our entire body is one with the whole world.

The willow is the subtle form of Kannon
The wind blowing through the pines
is the Buddha teaching through the pines

The sun rises, and we make out the mountain scenery. In all directions, the light brings forth the forms—this is truly Kannon Bodhisattva appearing. One after the next, as the mountains appear they're our body. This is the state of mind where we are the world and the world is us.

The wind blowing through the pines is the Buddha's teaching. As the trees bend and moan, that sound is the very teaching of the Buddha. We don't think about receiving it but with our whole being we become it. Sotoba is relating the experience of awakening, and we have to know this in our deepest mind. In the Lotus Sutra it says, "A Buddha appears in the world to open the treasury of truth, to indicate its meaning, to cause sentient beings to see into it, to cause sentient beings to enter it and abide in it." In this way it's said that the Buddha came into this world so that all beings might be able to open that same eye of wisdom and live from there.

Before his enlightenment, the Buddha studied with two sages, Ararakarama and Utaramaputara. Because he wanted to go beyond their teaching of not thinking, he went to the mountains in order to deepen further. He deepened and deepened that absolute Mu of not thinking anything at all—not even thinking about not thinking. Then, in one moment, on the eighth of December, he realized that absolute Mu when he saw the morning star. Until then he had known an absolute Mu that was completely focused into a single point. This mind then exploded and became the heavens and earth; as the whole universe this energy merged, becoming the mountains, the rivers, the trees, the grasses, the animals, the birds, the sun. All of the ten thousand things expressed the radiance of his life energy completely. When we experience this, that which is seeing and that which is being seen are one and the same; they may appear separate, but they are one. We realize the truth of an absolute infinite great self. We are the world and the world is us, and there is no "me" to suffer.

As Rinzai Zenji has said, "In our eyes it will be seeing, in our ears it will be hearing, in our mouth it will eating, in our hands it will be grasping, and in our feet it will be walking." That which is hearing, that which is seeing, is not the slightest bit separated from anything. To realize this true self we open our wisdom eye. Humans are born into this world in order to open this eye in the same way that plants are born into this world in order to bring forth flowers.

When we live in accordance with the great way of nature and open our wisdom eye, then,

The old pine is talking prajna wisdom
The mysterious bird is singing the truth

Everything in existence is teaching prajna wisdom, and the truth is expressed everywhere.

We can't do zazen only to forget our body and let go of our thoughts. Realizing emptiness is not the goal. Having realized emptiness, we then have to become a truly dignified, quality person. No matter what we encounter, it arises from our wisdom and polishes our wisdom, enabling the bright light of the Buddha Dharma to shine brightly and illuminate everything. In becoming this world we discover our true worth.