George Adie : The point of doing

georgeadie85ansIf only we could understand that because of our work here, we are on the point of “doing”.

One of the first things we are told here, is that we cannot “do”.  And it takes a long, long time before we really realise that we can’t – that everything happens.  We still think that we can do this and decide that, but in fact it all happens mechanically.  At this moment, nobody here could suddenly think differently from what they think.  We can’t change our history – we walk into this room with a history, and now we are like this.

But we have a certain possibility, and that is what I call the “point of doing”.

if we approach the point of doing, we have the opportunity of a new beginning, but with an understanding that can subtly alter everything. And this, the point of doing, is what Is missing from the ordinary theories and practices which abound in the world.

We are passive.  By “passive”, I mean that our actions and thoughts are not intentional: we resist nothing, we go, we are forced, a thought comes, and it takes me.  Only I rarely notice this, because I am passive. I do not think or act according to a conscious intention – but we can intend an “inner doing”.

When people first come to the work, we nearly always ask what we have got to do.  And this seemingly simple, transparent and completely practical question has a significance.

But after years, so to say, “in the work”, it has almost utterly disappeared from our questioning. It is as if we have lost the realisation that an action of doing is essential to any real work.

Of course, when I first asked: “what shall I do?”, my idea of doing was totally wrong. But maybe that doesn’t matter – there is something about us which realises that something is required.

It Is not much good to come here in search of something, only to end up passive.

Yet, gradually, as we hear and as we practise, and are disappointed, and try again, gradually this question “what shall I do?”  disappears.

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Dhammapada – Sayings of the Buddha – Chapter 2 – Vigilance

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Vigilance is the path to Life Eternal. Thoughtlessness is the path to death. The reflecting vigilant die not. The heedless are already dead. (21)

The wise distinctly understand this. Therefore they delight in wakeful watching. They graze in the pastures of the Aryas, the Noble Ones. (22)

Meditative, persevering, ever strenuous in endeavour, the tranquil ones attain Nirvana, the highest freedom and happiness.  (23)

Continually grows the glory of that person who is wakeful and mindful, whose deeds are pure, whose acts are deliberate, who is self-controlled and who lives according to Law.   (24)

By endeavour, by vigilance, by discipline and self-control, let the wise persons make for themselves an island which no flood can overwhelm. (25)

Fools and witless persons give themselves to sloth. The wise value vigilance as their best treasure. (26)

Be not a sluggard. Have no dalliance with lust and sense delights. They who meditate with earnestness attains great joy. (27)

When the prudent persons overcome sloth by vigilance, they ascend to the terrace of wisdom. Sorrowless they survey the sorrowful crowd. These wise persons regard the foolish as the mountaineers from their high peak look at those who are dwelling on the plains.     (28)

Vigilant among the heedless, awake among the sleepy, the wise one forges ahead even as a charger outdistances a weak horse. (29)

By vigilance did Indra rise to the lord ship of the gods. Vigilance is always praised, heedlessness ever deprecated. (30)

A Monastic who delights in vigilance, who sees the danger of heedlessness, advances like a fire consuming fetters, small or large. (31)

 Monastics who delight in vigilance, who see the danger of heedlessness, will not fall; they are close upon Nirvana. (32)

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Swami Ramdas : There is no greater ennemy than lazyness

RAMDASMeditation at stated times and remembrance of God at all times is necessary in the case of all sadhakas. Conceive a thirst and hunger for God. Feel discontented for want of that hunger. A lukewarm desire does not result in much progress. Pray to God to give you that, keen hunger. If you do sadhana, you will get that hunger. Only be thorough and stead. Do not do things off and on. Have your sadhana every day with greater and greater intensity.

The path of the spiritual aspirant is not an easy one; but one who is determined to progress along it, is sure to reach the goal.

The only way to control the mind and free it from undesirable thoughts is to put your life under strict discipline. Above all, don’t come under the insinuating influence of laziness and inactivity. There is no greater enemy that comes in the way of an aspirant’s advance on the path than laziness.

The Divine Life

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Ian Stevenson : interview on his work about the children who remember their previous lives.

Omni: Why do most Westerners ridicule the idea of reincarnation?

reincarnation



Stevenson: It’s hard to find any single explanation. Some southern European Christians believed in reincarnation until the Council of Nice banned such beliefs in 553 A.D. In The Republic, Plato described souls about to be reborn as choosing their future lives. Schopenhauer took it seriously, and Voltaire’s observation that it is no more surprising to be born twice than once is wellknown. Yet most scientists nowadays do not believe in survival after death. I suppose Darwinian ideas contributed to a sort of dethroning of the soul. Reincarnation may be particularly uncongenial because it’s so much identified—mistakenly I think—with the Hindu and Buddhist ideas of being reborn as an animal.

Omni: Your new book discusses some misconceptions about the idea of reincarnation. What is the most common? 



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Stevenson: The idea that reincarnation must include what Hindus call Karma, especially retributive Karma. 

Omni: Retributive Karma being the idea that whatever bad you do in this life is paid for in the next by having the same amount of evil done to you? 

Stevenson: Something like that. It can be more specific, so that if you put out someone’s eyes, you will be blinded. There is no evidence for the idea of retributive Karma.

Omni: Scientists usually dismiss reincarnation as some sort of wishful thinking. Yet William James noted that our desire to believe in survival after death does not automatically negate its possibility. We do want to believe in it, don’t we? 



Stevenson: No, in fact we don’t. That’s a misunderstanding concerning Hindus and Buddhists. They believe in it, but they don’t particularly want to. Hindus see life in terms of a constant cycle of births in which we are doomed to struggle and suffer until we have reached perfection and can escape. Fear of death is almost universal; and some two thousand years ago Patanjali, an Indian sage, said it was due to our fear of having to undergo a postmortem review of our lives, to be judged and presumably be found wanting.

reincarnationbiologyWhen I talked to Ramakrishna Swami in Chandigarh, he asked me what I was doing, and I replied with a certain enthusiasm. After a long silence he finally said, “We know that reincarnation is true, but it doesn’t make any difference because here in India we have just as many rogues and villains as you have in the West”

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Edward Salim Michael : The fight to master the mind

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The aspirant must realise, that, whichever spiritual path he is committed to, there can be no guarantee in succeeding to know, in a veritable way, the Infinite dwelling in him. Among all those who followed a given path, very few have attained this so out-of-the-ordinary goal. An uncompromising honesty towards oneself, a maximum of scruples, a painful sincerity and an extreme seriousness represent the only guarantee there can be in this domain – as is depicted by the life of great mystics.

         Any form of concentration, in a meditation practice, when accomplished by the aspirant with the required seriousness, implies without doubt some suffering at the outset – suffering that he cannot in any way avoid – and, according to his level of being, even perhaps for a long time.

         He will notice that, as soon as he will want to control the aimless wanderings of his mind, the force of habits being too strong, he will encounter a strong refusal in him; and the fight he will have to lead to win over this resistance will produce, at the beginning of this work on himself, suffering, until the day when he will become able – at least to a certain degree – to master his mind.

Translated from French ‘S’éveiller, une question de vie ou de mort’
(To Awaken, a Matter of Life and Death) chap 6

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Jalal-uddin Rumi : Past and future veil God from our sight

« Past and future veil God from our sight ;
Burn up both of them with fire. How long
Wilt thou be partitioned by these segments, like a reed ?
So long as a reed is partitioned, it is note privy to secrets,
Nor is it vocal in response to lip and breathing. »

Maulana_Jalaluddin_Rumi

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Kobori Roshi : There is a Buddha for those who do not know what he is really

kobori roshi

There is a Buddha for those who do not know what he is really, there is no Buddha for those who know what he is really

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Bhagavad-Gita : Continually, remembers Me

bhagavad-gita12-13. All the doors of the senses closed, the mind shut in into the heart, the life-force taken up out of its diffused movement into the head, the intelligence concentrated in the utterance of the sacred syllable OM and its conceptive thought in the remembrance of the supreme Godhead, he who goes forth, abandoning the body, he attains to the highest status.

14. He who continually remembers Me, thinking of none else, the Yogin, O Partha, who is in constant union with Me, finds Me easy to attain.

15. Having come to me, these great souls come not again to birth, this transient and painful condition of our mortal being; they reach the highest perfection.

16. The highest heavens of the cosmic plan are subject to a return to rebirth, but, O Kaunteya, there is no rebirth imposed on the soul that comes to Me (the Purushottama).

Bhagavad-Gita chap 8

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Jetsunma Tenzin Palmo : Virya Paramita or Effort

 

tenzin palmoContemplating viryaparamita, or the perfection of effort, leads us to the question of enthusiastic energy. Does the idea itself make you feel exhausted? We never can accomplish anything if we don’t really try, if we don’t have some ongoing perseverance. On the spiritual path, the two qualities most needed are patience and perseverance. For instance, many people who want to meditate do sit down but after only two or three sessions they say, “Oh, I can’t meditate. Too many thoughts.” And they give up. Nothing worthwhile was ever accomplished without diligence, without perseverance, without effort. When they train for the Olympics, athletes are completely one-pointed. They change their diet and give up smoking and alcohol. They get up early; they go to bed early. They train the whole day long. Everything else is sacri­ficed. And for what? To get a medal.

In Buddhism, laziness is described as being of three types. First, there is the laziness that says, “Yes, I like going to the Dharma center, I like medi­tating, but there is a really good movie on television, so sorry.” It is the kind of laziness in which we have lots of enthusiasm for something that we really want to do, but when it comes to meditation or any kind of serious Dharma reading, suddenly we find ourselves saying, “Oh goodness, I am so tired. I’ll do my practice later when I have time.” It is the kind of laziness in which we remember what a late night we had the night before, and that’s the end of that. We all suffer from this gross kind of laziness, which is easy to recognize.

The second kind of laziness is the laziness that comes when we are unable to practice because we feel so unworthy. The conviction that everyone else but me can practice and meditate and get realizations—”I can’t because I always fail at everything; I did try to meditate but I couldn’t do it because I have too many thoughts”—that is laziness. The sense that we can’t do the practice because of this or that is not regarded as humility but rather as gross laziness. We are shirking. We all have buddha nature; all we have to do is to discover it. Therefore, it is not a question of being higher or lower or unworthy. Unworthy of what? We all have the potential of being enlightened; we all have this human birth; we all have some intelligence.

The third kind of laziness refers to being so busy with mundane activities, even Dharma activities, that we have no time for inner cultivation. Whatever excuse we make to ourselves does not matter. If we find ourselves filling up our days with things to do week after week, month after month, year after year, we never have time to go inside. Even if we are like rodents on a wheel, that is still laziness. We are avoiding the real task. Our task here is first to realize our innate Buddha nature, and anything which takes us away from that is just avoidance.

Into the Heart of Life

 

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To those who have meditated much

Yama_tibet“To those who have meditated much, the real Truth dawned as soon as the body and consciousness-principle part. The acquiring of experience while living is important : they who have (then) recognized (the true nature of their own being), and thus have had some experience, obtain great power during the Bardo of the Moment of Death, when the Clear Light dawneth.”

“Now, if thou art to hold fast to the real Truth, thou must allow thy mind to rest undistractedly in the nothing-to-do, nothing-to-hold condition of the unobscured, primordial, bright, void state of thy intellect, to which thou hast been introduced by thy guru.”

The Tibetan Book of the Dead

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