Taking the Bow

‘Bathing Buddha’ – Photo by ViaMoi on Foter.com

Here is a reminder inspired from the words of Rupert Spira. It is necessary and terribly efficient to look into these matters for ourselves. This is why I like to share here the parts of a spiritual teaching that sounds like ‘something to do’, something to experiment and verify for ourselves:

See that your experience is made of thoughts, feelings, sensations, and perceptions. Where is the ‘I’ that is orchestrating all of those? Where is this ‘I’ in the system? Take any thought that appears in you. Did you choose that thought? See if there was any entity, a chooser that decided to have that particular thought. Go slowly and observe carefully. See that there is no chooser in between each thought. The notion of a chooser is simply itself a thought appearing along many other thoughts. It’s only a thought that says ‘I was there in between each thought choosing it’. It’s the clown that wasn’t actually present but claims responsibility afterwards, and takes the bow. There is a choosing thought, but there is no chooser…’

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Further exploring on the subject:

There is no entity present who could either have or not have free will. Experience is too intimate and immediate to admit of one who may stand back and orchestrate it like a conductor, willing, choosing, deciding, and so on. There is no time present for such a one to exist in. The idea of free will is an inevitable side effect of the belief in a separate entity. If we believe there is a separate entity, we will by definition, whether we know it or not, believe there is free will. If, as this apparent entity, we then believe there is no free will, then that is simply a belief that we superimpose onto our much deeper conviction that we are a separate doer, chooser, decider, and so on. Once the separate entity is seen clearly to be non-existent, the idea of free will dissolves. All that is left is the freedom of consciousness.”
~ Rupert Spira (’Interview with Paula Marvelly: Contemplating the Nature of Experience’)

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Who is the entity that exercises will to do this or that? Please follow this carefully. If the observer is the observed what need is there for decision at all? … When there is any form of decision, depending on choice, it indicates a mind that is confused. A mind that sees very clearly has no choice, there is only action. And this lack of clarity comes into being when there is this division between the observer and the observed.”
~ J. Krishnamurti (‘Beyond Violence’ – Part IV, Chapter 1 – Brockwood Park, 3rd Public Talk)

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When the mind returns to the heart, when the separate self is divested of its separateness and stands revealed as the only self of pure awareness, then it becomes clear that there was never a separate self to begin with. And therefore the question as to whether that separate self has choice or not is mute.” 
~ Rupert Spira

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Freedom, I say, does not mean getting to do whatever one wishes. Nor does freedom have anything to do with so-called ‘free will’, which is a fantasy. Freedom arises with the understanding that in each moment what is, is, and cannot be different, including whatever ’myself’ sees, feels, thinks, or does. In the light of that understanding, while acceding outwardly to social conventions which require playing the role of chooser and decider, inwardly — within one’s private understanding — one may come clean and admit that the ‘myself’ who chooses is a fiction, a story I have learned to tell myself. In that admission one may find freedom — not the freedom to ‘choose’, but the freedom to be.”
~ Robert Saltzman (‘The Ten Thousand Things’)

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In Hinduism the very idea of free will is non-existent, so there is no word for it. Will is commitment, fixation, bondage. … You must be free first. To be free in the world you must be free of the world. Otherwise your past decides for you and your future. Between what had happened and what must happen you are caught. Call it destiny or karma, but never — freedom. First return to your true being and then act from the heart of love.” 
~ Nisargadatta Maharaj (‘I Am That’)

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Doing happens, and then you appropriate the doer-ship, but there is no doer-ship. Things happen. When you breathe, you don’t need to think that you’re a breather. When your heart beats, you don’t need to think that you’re a beater. When you’re digesting, you don’t need to think that you’re a digester. These things happen by themselves. The same way, thinking happens by itself; there is no thinker, there is only thinking. The thinker is a thought of other thoughts. So, there’s nothing to do actually means that there is no appropriation in life. Thus, you must give yourself to the fact that life is happening through you, but there is no need to pretend to be the doer. It’s not that there is nothing to do, it’s just that things happen by themselves.”
~ Eric Baret (‘There is No Doer’ in Science & Nonduality)

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Bibliography:
– ‘Being Aware of Being Aware’, – by Rupert Spira – (Sahaja Publications)
– ‘I Am That‘ – by Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj – (Non-Duality Press)
– ‘The Ten Thousand Things’ – by Robert Saltzman – (Non-Duality Press)
– ‘Krishnamurti’s Notebook’ – by J. Krishnamurti – (Krishnamurti Publications of America, US)
– ‘Let the Moon Be Free: Conversations on Kashmiri Tantra’ – by Eric Baret (translation by Jeanric Meller) – (CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform)

Websites:
Rupert Spira
J. Krishnamurti
Robert Saltzman
Nisargadatta Maharaj (Wikipedia)

Suggestions:
Fleeing to God (other pointers from the blog)
A Day at Brockwood Park (Homage to J. Krishnamurti)
Khetwadi Lane (Homage to Nisargadatta Maharaj)

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The Wrath of the Lamb

Anatoly Solonitsyn (the Writer) – ‘Stalker’ by Andrei Tarkovsky

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Keep awake, keep awake, artist, 
Do not give into sleep…
You are eternity’s hostage
And prisoner of time
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~ Boris Pasternak

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The film ‘Stalker’, made in 1979 by Andrei Tarkovsky, is an absolute wonder. As usual with Tarkovsky, every shot in it is unique and intrinsically harmonious. As usual with Tarkovsky, you will have your breath taken away. And you will be bored too. And puzzled. Searching for a meaning that will elude you. For his cinema is not about entertainment, plot, revelation, or resolution. His cinema is about poetry, beauty, and the search for bringing forth art’s ultimate purpose, which is the uncovering of the core and substance of our being. With ‘Stalker’, you will feel what it is to be locked in a maze. And as usual with Tarkovsky, amidst the shallow words are pearls. And amongst the mud and the stagnant waters is the eternal truth.

The Stalker is a simple man living with his wife and his little girl in an undetermined country. His job is to guide people who want to enter into a mysterious place called ‘the Zone’, protected by barbed wires and police forces. This is a green, lush, deserted land where stand some vestiges of settlements. Maybe this is the consequence of a fallen meteorite. We don’t know. There is a place, concealed in the Zone, where desires come true. But as one of the protagonists finds out, “it is not merely a desire but one’s most secret desire that is granted here. Here will come true that which reflects the essence of your nature. It is within you, it governs you, yet you are ignorant of it.” As a result, many people want to reach this place in the Zone called the ‘Room’, and they need guides to lead them to it. This time, the Stalker is on again for a new trip with two men called the ‘Writer’ and the ‘Professor’. 

[…]

A reflection on the qualities of Andrei Tarkovsky’s movie ‘Stalker’… (READ MORE…)

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The Rightful King

‘The Crown’ – Odilon Redon, 1910 – WikiArt

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A thought never comes alone. It appears with a container attached to it. But unfortunately, in our most habitual way to relate to experience, this container is felt to be the negligible part. And the same applies to feelings. Every appearance in the mind comes wrapped up with something that supports it. But that support is unseen, ignored, and the fleeting appearance is too often upgraded as being mind itself. Yet I think that the opposite is truer. That thought is the negligible, feeling is the dispensable. Not that they should be neglected. Far from it. For they are pointers. They are blooming flowers brought to our attention for a mission. They are flagging a message to our conscience. One that says, we — thoughts and feelings — are the negligible. We are not mind, but only temporary appearances in the mind. The mind is what matters. The container matters the most. That which we have taken to be secondary, unimportant, negligible — and that we have as a result pushed in the background — is our innermost reality. It is what needs to be raised in and as the foreground. This is the one and only entity there is, far before — and above — any fluttering thoughts or feelings which, to the mind that supports them, are no more than waves on the surface of an ocean. The container — this vast, indomitable expanse — wants to be explored, visited, admired. Cease taking a few thoughts and feelings to be you. They are not you. They only express the parts of you that are blind, unconscious, indolent. By emphasising them, we neglect all that is around them, behind them, beyond them. All that is supporting them, allowing them to be. Every objective appearance is secondary to that unmatchable presence, to whom even the body is a negligible. How could a few unruly servants think that they are the King, that they run the kingdom in place of the rightful King? But be careful here. Don’t neglect any of these unruly servants. Only remind them of their right place and rank. Invite them at your table. Make them see and understand where lies their interest. By thinking they are themselves little kings and queens, they miss an opportunity to surrender to the one who gives them food and lodging. Consciousness is our rightful King. Only give Him allegiance and contemplate His loving and all encompassing nature. He will make you to His likeness, and will send you back to life with a crown on your head. So be yourself the very subject of this majestic presence. Let Her crown you with Her very crown. And you’re not Her only subject, for everything in the kingdom of experience is Hers. Every house, every being, every tree, every expansive sea, every reflection of the sun on every crested wave, are Her subjects. And every subject subjects only one thing: Herself. So let yourself be the ultimate subject. The one that never bows to any object. Many objective appearances will mistakenly think to be subjects, but never will be, never can be. For this is a kingdom of one subject only. Nobody is meant to take the lead, except that which is the rightful King. 

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Text by Alain Joly

Painting by Odilon Redon (1840-1916)

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Website:
Odilon Redon (Wikipedia) 

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Ten Bulls

‘Ten Verses on Oxherding’, 1278 – Metropolitan Museum of ArtWikimedia

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十牛图

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Back in the 12th century, in China’s Zen tradition, appeared a series of ten drawings and their accompanying poems. They were meant to describe the ten stages on the path to enlightenment, or to the recognition of our true nature. This series is traditionally named the ‘Ten Ox Herding Pictures’ or more simply ‘Ten Bulls’, and its best known version was created by the Chinese Zen master Kuoan Shiyuan in the 12th century. The present drawings are copies of the originals by the the 15th century Japanese Zen monk and artist Tenshō Shūbun.

The bull and the herder is an old theme in the Buddhist literature of the first centuries AD, and was borrowed and developed in the tradition of Zen. Although other versions have a different number of drawings, this series with ten pictures was adopted in Japan and made famous in the West through the 1957 book ‘Zen Flesh, Zen Bones: A Collection of Zen and Pre-Zen Writings’, by Paul Reps and Nyogen Senzaki. The poems have been translated and commented numerous times, as is often the case with Old Chinese, a language which lends itself to many interpretations.

The main contribution of this version is that the series doesn’t end with the awakened state, shown by a mere circle representing emptiness, but with two more drawings where the realisation of truth is taken further into the realm of form, or everyday life. As the Zen master Jitoku Ki said: “Every worldly affair is a Buddhist work, And wherever he goes he finds his home air; Like a gem he stands out even in the mud, Like pure gold he shines even in the furnace.”

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Form is not different from emptiness, 
and emptiness is not different from form.
Form itself is emptiness, 
and emptiness itself is form
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~ Heart Sutra

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Taste the poetry and evocative power of these old poems and drawings… (READ MORE…)

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Churning the Ocean

‘Sagar Manthan’ – Unknown author, 1820 – Wikimedia Commons

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We cannot be fully established in our true nature as peace and happiness without integrating all our latent tendencies, all these reflexive and self-protective habits born out of our belief in separation. These would prevent the advent of bliss. This is the meaning behind this ancient myth of India called the ‘churning of the ocean of milk’ (‘Samudra Manthan’ in Sanskrit), which is narrated in many religious texts. 

In brief, as the Gods were bored, they decided to gather with some evil beings and unite their strength to churn the ocean of milk with the help of a sacred mountain as the rod, and Shiva’s serpent king as the rope. By doing so, the snake spitted out a deadly poison — called ‘Halāhala’ or ‘kālakūṭa’, literally: ‘black mass’ or ‘time puzzle’ — which Shiva, in its compassionate heart and presence, swallowed to prevent the destruction of the world. The path was cleared for the formation of many precious, invaluable gems, including the ‘amrita’, or ‘soma’, which is God’s drink, the elixir of happiness, or consciousness’ butter. 

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A playful inquiry into the meaning behind this famous Indian myth… (READ MORE…)

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There is No One and Nothing

The world doesn’t exist
and we just come to see that clearly. 
It’s all an illusion. It never did exist. 
There is no way it can exist —
it’s all the reflection of a concept attached to inside. 
There is No One and Nothing. It’s literal. 
Are you ready to live without a world? 
Is that what you really want? 
Are you willing to lose the moon?

~ Byron Katie

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Quote by Byron Katie

Photo by Alain Joly

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Bibliography:
– “Loving What Is, Revised Edition: Four Questions That Can Change Your Life” – by Byron Katie – (Harmony)
– “A Mind at Home with Itself” – by Byron Katie and Stephen Mitchell – (HarperOne)

Websites:
Byron Katie (Wikipedia)
The Work of Byron Katie

– An article on Byron Katie’s life and work by The Guardian

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The Cradle

Nothing I’ve come to see brought me as far 
As I had thought it would — what silly thought!
For I’m forever here where I began,
Locked for eternity in this cradle —
That empty space of birth where I belong.

Never could I travel so long or wide,
As to find a new place away from me.
I live and get busy like in a dream,
But home is immobile — a dreamer’s mind
From where it is impossible to leave.

So this is my cherished destination,
To where I time and again longed to be. 
I thought I left a thousand times before
But had been still at home unknowingly,
Had reached my paradise before journey began.

So now I will not part again and roam
Amongst far lands and promises that fail.
I’ll be simply a humble home keeper,
With all my travels and activities
Kept here at bay and safe in that cradle.

And if I may be blessed with some delight,
I will not make it mine — what impudence!
The twitches I may own but not the peace;
For my home is too broad to be enclosed,
Laughter too wild for an identity.

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Text and photo by Alain Joly

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Suggestion:
Voices from Silence (other poems from the blog)

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