Friday, January 29, 2010

There Is No One,...again

There is the knowing of thoughts, feelings and actions.
But there is no knowing of anyone who thinks, feels and acts.
There is the knowing of the results of those thoughts, feelings and actions.
But there is no knowing of anyone who is affected by those results.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Just Knowing Is Living Lucidly

In a dream I was being chased by a lion which had an enormous head. It roared behind me as I ran with my heart pounding so hard I thought it was going to stop. As it got closer and I knew that I would be killed and devoured soon I suddenly became lucid; I knew, right in the middle of the dream, that I was only dreaming. I stopped, turned around and faced the roaring enormous head. I put my hands out towards it and started to play with its face which now looked and felt like play-dough. I laughed and laughed as I played with its face. Then I woke up. There was a smile on my face.

There is only knowing. Everything is only an appearance in that knowing. Is there a tree? No, there is just the knowing of a tree. Is there shame of being exposed to be ignorant? No, there is just the knowing of shame. Knowing is the only constant. Everything is changing appearances, changing formations in this ongoing and constant knowing. There is no Mulla. There is the formation of matter and energy (the body) and of thoughts, concepts, and feelings (the mind) which are all happening in knowing.

What is the difference between living with this realisation, that there is only knowing and living ordinarily, without this realisation? It is like the difference between being lucid while dreaming and dreaming ordinarily, without being lucid. There is peace and laughter in living with the realisation that there is only knowing. Life could not be taken that seriously again.

In ordinary dreaming there is the experiencing of fear, pleasure, seeing, hearing, touching, etc. This shows that there is knowing going on and is present all the time during the dreaming process. But this knowing is mixed with the belief that what is experienced is 'real' and out is there. When one becomes lucid that belief in the 'reality' of what is happening is gone. There is then laughter and play in the middle of what was fear before; the frightening lion was only made of play-dough after all!

In the same way, in our everyday life, knowing is always present but also is almost always mixed with the belief in the 'reality' of what appears to be happening. In a dream, 'reality' is spun out of pure thoughts. In everyday life, what we take to be 'reality' is spun out of our thoughts about 'what is' (haven't you noticed how different people respond differently to the same happening? And haven't you noticed that the same person may respond differently to the same thing depending on what and how he/she thinks about it?) This belief in the 'reality' of what thoughts say about 'what is' determines the next response of the mind which is taken to be 'real' again and thus the next response and the same again and so on again. In this way the mind is kicked along its way to 'dream' the everyday life with its pleasures and pains.

Realising that there are only appearances in the knowing (of 'what is') is pure knowing without the extra belief that mixes with it and deludes the mind into responding with thoughts, feelings or actions.

There is only knowing and you are that. It is not reducible to anything simpler. You are that knowing-experiencing that knows fear but is not and cannot be fearful. It knows all the manifestations and appearances but is not and cannot be any of the manifestations and appearances. Do you see that? How now can you not laugh in the face of someone who is screaming at you with anger?!

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Nasrudin's Dandelions

Mulla Nasraldin decided to cover the floor of his courtyard with beautiful tiles. He pulled out the wild dandelions overgrowing everywhere in the yard, levelled the ground, pounded it hard solid and then laid his chosen tiles. But it would be only a matter of a few weeks before dandelions will start sprouting out from underneath the floor and cracking his beautifully laid tiles in several places. Day by day more cracks will just keep appearing. Mulla sought advice from neighbours and masons and tried every method to get rid of the wild dandelions but to no avails. Finally he went to the royal mason who was famous for his expertise in building and laying tiles. The wise old man had counselled many masons before and suggested a variety of remedies to expel the dandelions. Mulla tried them all but failed. He went again to the royal mason. They sat together in silence for some time and finally the wise man looked at Nasraldin and said, "Well Mulla, there is just one cure left." "And what is that?" Mulla inquired hopefully. "Just start loving them" replied the royal mason.

To no avail we try to smother our thoughts because we believe that if they would just stop and disappear we would be happy. We forget that they are like everything else; their appearance or disappearance has nothing to do with true happiness. If it did, true happiness would be conditional.

The dandelions are fine as long as there is no floor to crack.

Thoughts are fine as long as it is seen clearly that there is no thinker or ego to own them and be affected by them.

(The story was inspired to this Mulla by another traditional story of Mulla Nasrudin.The painting is by Ken Foster at

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

There Is No One

There are only actions in awareness.
There are only the fruits of those actions in awareness.
There is no one who takes action in awareness.
There is no one who eats the fruits of those actions in awareness.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Living with our Mirages

Thought will continue to seek liberation, whatever that means. It will seek and find nothing. It will seek again and again find nothing. It will continue in this vain until it is convinced that it is futile and stop seeking just as a thirsty man would stop chasing mirages after discovering a couple of times that they were not true water.

The idea of seeking arises from what one has read or heard about regarding the existence of a different way of living and being that is full of peace, love and happiness which is different from what one has been leading till now which is characterized by conflict, rejection, strife and suffering.

Who is not hungry and would not seek food? Who is not cold and would not look for warm cloths? Who is not paining and would not seek relief?

Our good minds which have been trained to seek what it identifies as wanted will certainly set about searching for what it lacks, namely; peace, love and happiness.

The only trouble with this that is not usually explained very well, or even when explained well the mind does not get it because of it preconceived ideas, is that the very attitude of the mind to believe and seek something that is capable of giving it peace, love and happiness, this very attitude is what gives rise to conflict, rejection and suffering.

And how is that? First you perceive that you are suffering and, second, you believe that there is something that is capable of relieving or ending that suffering and, third, you go on to search for that something. Such perception, belief and action, all three, stand on the false premise that there is a you that is experiencing, believing and seeking when in fact all there is are metal activities arising from a special perception of the world.

Once this is seen then it is left alone and not much due is given to it. It is a necessary illusion of interpreting 'what is' by thinking about it; a sort of a mirage arising from the nature of words, concepts and thinking much the same as the ordinary mirage that arises from the nature of heat and light and is not water despite all appearances.

Imagine some nomads living in the desert. Their life will centre on finding water in this vast desert which is their home. Now imagine them complaining about mirages that constantly appear to them and waste their precious time and energy. Wouldn't this be ludicrous? Desert nomads don't complain about mirages because they can easily tell the difference between a mirage and real water. So, mirages don't bother them. On the contrary, they use the image of a mirage as a metaphor in their poetry to point to meaningful things in their lives. They can't and need not do anything about mirages.

In the desert of our minds we also see mirages which needn't bother us. All you need is to not follow them thinking that they are true and contain what is of real value.

All thoughts are lies that are useful in technical and practical circumstances but are misleading when they pose as representing the truth about intimate relationships and what living and experiencing is.

Be like the desert nomads who are not bothered about appearances because they know what real water looks like. Don't you also know what real living is? If not, find out. Find out what is this 'I' which seems to be the centre around which your life revolves.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Stopping Thoughts

One does not need to try to stop thoughts. They might stop by themselves. But even this is not necessary or especially desirable for experiencing 'what is'; thoughts, after all are 'what is' when they are present. All one needs is to realize that they are not what they say they are. In a way, a mirage is really saying that it is water but one knows that it is not water. It is an illusion due to the nature of heat and light and thus one does not run after it even when one is thirsty. Similarly a thought may say something but realizing that it is merely an illusion (i.e. what it says about 'what is' is not true) arising from the nature of words and perception through conceptualization one or aliveness does not become dragged by it along the train of generating more thoughts and their consequent emotions and actions.

In this way thoughts may fade away and may even stop (and if they didn't stop that is fine too), not because one desires that they do so (in a way, since they do not carry the force to compel, why be bothered about them) but they just stop because they no longer have the energy of belief in what they say to compel emotions to arise and thus leading to more and more thoughts.

I am tempted to say that the key is to try and let thoughts just go by as simply thoughts that are not different from any other natural phenomena such as the fluttering of leaves in a gentle breeze or the sound of a barking dog in the distance. I use the word 'try' for lack of a better word because the word 'try' carries with it desire and tension which will tend to prompt even more thoughts. But what really happens is that through understanding that thoughts do not represent reality the aliveness that you are become suddenly free from any compulsions to follow the dictates of thoughts; thoughts, losing their power to smash and make more thoughts erupt, gradually fade away. Aliveness is like a vast empty space. A thought will arise and then just vanish silently into the distance without meeting anything to smash.
Living Non Judgementally

There is something in the dynamic of living that does not fit with our ways of going about judging everything; nice, ugly, good, bad, right, wrong, acceptable, unacceptable and so on. Consider the following Zen story:

Zenkai, the son of a samurai, journeyed to Edo and there became the retainer of a high official. He fell in love with the official's wife and was discovered. In self-defense, he slew the official. Then he ran away with the wife. Both of them later became thieves. But the woman was so greedy that Zenkai grew disgusted. Finally, leaving her, he journeyed far away to the province of Buzen, where he became a wandering mendicant. To atone for his past, Zenkai resolved to accomplish some good deed in his lifetime. Knowing of a dangerous road over a cliff that had caused death and injury to many persons, he resolved to cut a tunnel through the mountain there. Begging food in the daytime, Zenkai worked at night digging his tunnel. When thirty years had gone by, the tunnel was 2,280 feet long, 20 feet high, and 30 feet wide. Two years before the work was completed, the son of the official he had slain, who was a skillful swordsman, found Zenkai out and came to kill him in revenge. "I will gived you my life willingly," said Zenkai. "Only let me finish this work. On the day it is completed, then you may kill me." So the son awaited the day. Several months passed and Zenkai kept digging. The son grew tired of doing nothing and began to help with the digging. After he had helped for more than a year, he came to admire Zenkai's strong will and character. At last the tunnel was completed and the people could use it and travel safely. "Now cut off my head," said Zenkai. "My work is done." "How can I cut off my own teacher's head?" asked the younger man with tears in his eyes.

If Zenkai did not have an affair with the woman he would not have killed his benefactor and if he had not killed his benefactor he would not have dug the tunnel that would save many people's lives and if the son of the benefactor was not driven by hate and desire for revenge (which is conventionally considered bad) to seek the where about of Zenkai he would not have had the opportunity to find a good teacher.

Haven't we often ourselves experienced how what we thought was bad turned out to be good eventually and how what we thought was good became bad in the end. In fact if we did not stop at any point and considered it as the final point in the unfolding of the process of happenings we would have found many bad and many good things at various stopping points. What does this mean? It means that our way of judging what is happening is not in harmony with 'what is' or reality.

Happenings are happenings. They are neither this nor that. Only when being interpreted by the judging mind do they acquire the attributes of good and bad. (The mind is constantly translating or interpreting reality into concepts and sticking labels or words on them in order to handle them easily and quickly by thoughts. This is fine and immensely useful for practical living such as when you want to buy clothes, cock a meal or plan a trip abroad but could be a source of great suffering when applied to our psychological life and relationships with others.)

The only thing that can be said about a happening for the sake of communication is that it is apparently bad or apparently good. In truth every happening is the result of the confluence of many factors that are in transition.

It is really unskillful to comfort someone by saying that may be the bad thing that has happened to him or to her will turn out in the end to be of greater good because by the same logic this greater good might evolve to even greater bad.

One must be watchful and sensitive to our usual way of living by judging. Things and events are only apparently so and so to the mind which is conditioned and in bondage to its past and not to awareness or direct experiencing which is in tune with life and flows with it without friction.

Next time you find yourself angry or sad or positively excited about something or a happening know that the emotion arose in response to a judgment of bad or good and remember silently that, "it is only apparently bad or apparently good" and experience the present moment non judgmentally as it is. In this way you will come to know the natural way of living which is equanimity and peace.