Friday, April 6, 2012

From ‘Life and teachings of Sri Ma Anandamayi’ by Bithika Mukerji

Apply your reasoning power, your intellect, to the quest for Immortality – all else will follow as a matter of course. It is just like watering the roots of a tree. The tree grows by it's own power, throws out branches and leaves, gives forth blossoms and fruits at proper season.

The supreme duty of man is, therefore, to undertake the quest for his true Being – whether one takes the path of devotion, where the ‘I’ is lost in the ‘Thou’ or the path of self-inquiry, in search of the true ‘I’ – it is He alone who is found in the ‘Thou’ as well as in the ‘I’

- Sri Ma Anandamayi

…..samyamavrata …….. Once a week one should make a strong resolve to live in the sphere of Truth only. On that day, one should eat sparingly, watch one’s speech and action carefully to avoid the least incorrect utterance or unworthy behavior; emotions should be controlled. One should look upon the children as child manifestations (bala-gopala) of the Divine; one’s wife or husband as not only an object of love but of reverence as well. One should render services to all the members of the family (including servants) in a spirit of humility. Even if there should be occasions for anger or other provocations one should respond with calmness and not be jolted out of a tranquil frame of mind. In spite of a few or many failures in the beginning one should persevere till the goal of perfect samyama in thought, speech and action is attained. If one member of the family practices this vrata then the entire family will feel the calming effects of that one day.

From ‘The Rupa book of travellers' tales’ Edited by Ruskin Bond

And how did you like India?

And when I go home
and the first, fond frenzy of welcome has quieted,
They’ll say “Well, and how did you like India?”
And I
too happy to think, will reply,
“Oh, it was all right” –
India, the Golden Peacock of the World was “all right!”
But later the wells of memory will flood
and I shall see again
a dawn breaking over the distant hills,
filtering sunlight on to a misty plain
where cattle move like legless ghosts.
Noontide in the bazaar
and a queer nostalgia for the sounds and smells,
Oxen carts and donkeys
and a motley of vendors.
And to round the day a sunset
over the Plains
an aching desert of sand and scrub
and far away a distant tree,
solitary against the sky.
The train surges on, gulping distance in days
where once the Moghuls trod in years.
Yes, each morning brings the same sight,
the plain and the distant tree.
Sunshine, heat; flies, desert, mountains
and lush green valleys
and though it all a thin wailing.
Memory holds the door
and I can leap an age and live again
with the Conquerors.

(The poet who chose to remain anonymous, was a Lance-Corporal in a wireless group. The poem was published in The Soldier’s Corner of The Statesman, January 3, 1943)

From ‘If you meet the Buddha on the road, Kill him! - The pilgrimage of psychotherapy patients’ by Sheldon B Kopp

A favourite method of Zen guidance is the Koan exercise. The disciple is given a problem on which to meditate, a problem that is insoluble by conventional or intellectual means. With it the Zen pilgrim must struggle until either he gives up in despair or he gives in and is enlightened. A classical example is for the master to direct him to concentrate on “the sound of one hand clapping.”

Lao Tzu tells us that:

What is in the end to be shrunk
Must first be stretched.
Whatever is to be weakened
Must begin by being made strong.
What is to be overthrown
Must begin by being set up.
He who would be a taker
Must being as a giver.
This is called “dimming” one’s light.

……. “to a mind that is ‘still’ the whole universe surrenders” [Chuang Tzu]

Camus crystalised life’s absurdity when he wrote: “There is but one truly serious philosophical problem, and that is suicide.” There is only this life. Live it, or give it up! It does no good to choose to live it reluctantly hedging by whining that it's not sufficient, that someone must make it better for you.

No plain not followed by a slope.
No going not followed by a return.
He who remains persevering in danger
Is without blame.
Do not complain about this truth;
Enjoy the good fortune you still possess.
- I Ching

……… the disciple learns only that there is nothing that anyone else can teach him, He learns, once he is willing to give up being taught, that he already knows how to live, that it is implied in his own tale. The secret is that there is no secret.

…….. There are no hidden meanings……….

The Zen way to see truth is through your everyday eyes. It is only the heartless questioning of life-as-it-is that ties a man in knots. A man does not need an answer in order to find peace. He needs only to surrender to his existence, to cease the needless, empty questioning. The secret of enlightenment is when you are hungry, eat; and when you are tired, sleep.

The Zen Master warns: “If you meet the Buddha on the road, kill him!” This admonition points up that no meaning that comes from outside of ourselves is real. The Buddhahood of each of us has already been obtained. We need only recognize it. Philosophy, religion, patriotism, all are empty idols. The only meaning in our lives is what we each bring to them. Killing the Buddha on the road means destroying the hope that anything outside of ourselves can be our master ……….

…… the Yaqui brujo answers: “……. any path is only a path ….. All paths are the same: they [all] lead nowhere.” The only important question you must ask is: “Does this path have a heart?” If it has heart for you, then dare to follow it.

…… “the Sage arrives without going.”

Once, in the Orient, I talked of suicide with a sage whose clear and gentle eyes seemed forever to be gazing at a never-ending sunset. “Dying is no solution,” he affirmed. “And living?” I asked. “Nor living either,” he conceded. “But, who tells you there is a solution?

…… Allen Ginsburg ….. summed up his howling anguish in this way:

I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by
madness, starving hysterical naked,
dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn
looking for an angry fix,
angelheaded hipsters burning for the ancient heavenly
connection to the starry dynamo in the machinery
of the night ……

7. You can’t have anything unless you let go of it.