Wednesday, November 21, 2012

sayings and comment 3

"On the Buddha's birthday, as he sprang from his mother's side, I hit him once and killed him, and feed him to a hungry dog.  The whole world was at peace."  (Yun-Men, Chinese Zen Master)


This blatant, cold, cruel statement startles us.  It is beyond our imagination that such a cruel, action and such a confession in a unremorseful tone could ever be conceived within the mind of a human being.  To stoke the outrage more, lets put the statement closer to home, "If you see the Christ along the side of the road, kill the Christ and bring peace to the world"

The above saying is typical of Zen teaching, making straight forward, outrageous statements, leading the student to see through the outrageous to a more clear spiritual meaning.  In line with this indirect method of teaching, is what is called a "koan."  It is a mind puzzle, usually nonsensical, but made to appear rational, i.e. "You know the sound of two hands clapping.  What is the sound of one hand clapping?"  (I am kind of sorry for giving you the koan, because I expect some of you may be up all night trying to figure it out.)

Gautama the Buddha is recorded as saying, "Be lamps unto yourself."  This simple statement opens the door to understanding Yun-Men's saying.  The Buddha did not mean that, physical you is the intellectual light that can enlighten and liberate you.  His meaning was based upon his enlightenment.  He knew that there is a non-modifying consciousness, that remains unaffected and pure throughout our varying interactions with the physical, sensual, mental, and spiritual planes of our being.

This non-modifying consciousness can not be defined, for Its essence lies beyond duality, and abides within the realm of infinity.  We humans, consciously stuck in duality, can only reason by measuring and judging one thing or condition against another thing or condition.  However, our essential core of being is pure consciousness.  We are a Spark of the Infinite; we are It and It is us.

It is this Spark of Infinity that the Buddha meant when he said, "Be lamps unto yourself."  This Spark is where all truth and wisdom resides.  If we are aware and connected with It, we need no doctrines, teachings, rituals, ceremonies.  It is the Light of lights.

Yun-Men is referring to the same Spark of Infinity.  His meaning is, do not become attached to the spiritual master who speaks universal or non-modifying truths; don't let the master become the object of worship, for such attachment only keeps us in the consciousness of duality.

Become your infinite Self by directing your consciousness towards devotion to the universal truths the masters represent.

Friday, November 9, 2012

sayings and comment 2

"Words are the fog one has to see through."  (Zen Buddhist)


Words are not mere puffs of wind shaped by the tongue, but are alive.  Although we have a developed lexicon to tract their meaning, their essential force, power, and life comes from the desire and intent of the human being who speaks them.  When someone intends to mislead, he takes words out of context and forms them in a manner that misleads the original intended content, implanting his own intention.  We see this kind of derailing of original intention on to misleading meaning happening countless times daily on T.V. ads.  The user of transplanting content currently comes under the heading of "rhetoric," (artificial eloquence; showiness and elaboration in language), but its use , more accurately, should come under. "propaganda," ( ideas, doctrines or allegations used disparagingly to connote deception or distortion. 

I wrote a poem called, "Wasted Words," that will, I believe, help dissolve "the fog of words."

Hold your tongue and listen a minute,
  to the great avalanche of words entering your ears.
Day and night, words pumped out through mouths
   in rapid-fire succession.
Where once they were used sparingly and with care,
   now derelict of truth they spew out faster then a
   machine gun with little care and little heart.
Words wasted, as if there were an eternal supply;
    mere puffs of wind, traveling the air and dying off
    as smoke.
But where do they go?
Do they reverberate through the cannons of space like
   some eternal echo?
Do they completely dissolve into emptiness?
Do they gather at some cosmic point and mark their
    selves on some universal verbal ledge?
Every word and its intent imprints upon the cosmic waters.
    There, every cures, every boast, every syllable, every atom
    of sound lives and follows its path to effect.  There is no
    escape, not under the deepest ocean, not atop the highest
    mountain.  It is your breathe that breathes them out and they
    will seek their effect directed by your will.
Thunder is the voice of lighting and responds only to the bolt-
     never more, never less.
What would the world be like if all humans spoke so succinctly?

Monday, November 5, 2012

sayings with comment

"We can easily forgive a child who is afraid of the dark, the real tragedy is when men are afraid of the light." (Plato)


A child not yet invested with his full compliment of rational capacities can be easily frighten, especially in the dark.  In the dark, where our out stretched hand cannot be seen, our imagination is inspired with limitless possibilities.  As I remember, my first frightful experience was in a dark movie theater, watching "the Wizard of Oz," when the "Wicked Witch of the West" suddenly pop on the screen, with her green face, large crooked nose, and her menacing laugh.  I bet most adults can relate.

The idea of human beings tragically being afraid of the light, can be explained by a consideration of their spiritual side.  The light side represents a chosen path leading to liberation and unification with the Source.  The dark side, is where 90% of the time we live and have our ego identity, as Darth Vader said to Luke, there is great, ..."power in the dark side."  The reason we have blinders on in relationship to the light side is because we know , deep in our soul, that in order to follow the light path we must renounce our dark identity; its pleasures and its pain.  We in truth, are not ready to renounce our familiar dark side because of our ignorance and fear of the light side.