He who rules men lives in confusion:
He who is ruled by men lives in sorrow.
Yao therefore desired
Neither to influence others
Not be influenced by them.
The way to get clear of confusion
And free of sorrow
Is to live with Tao
In the land of the great Void.
If a man is crossing a river
And an empty boat collides with his own skiff,
Even though he be a bad-tempered man
He will not become very angry.
But if he sees a man in the boat,
He will shout at him to steer clear.
If the shout is not heard, he will shout again,
And yet again, and begin cursing.
And all because there is somebody in the boat.
Yet if the boat were empty,
He would not be shouting, and not angry.
If you can empty your own boat
Crossing the river of the world,
No one will oppose you,
No one will seek to harm you.
The straight tree is the first to be cut down,
The spring of ckear water is the first to be drained dry.
If you wish to improve your wisdom
And shame the ignorant,
To cultivate your character
And outshine others;
A light will shine around you
As if you had swallowed the sun and the moon:
You will not avoid calamity.
A wise man has said:
“He who is content with himself
Has done a worthless work.
Achievement is the beginning of failure,
Fame is the beginning of disgrace.”
Who can free himself from achievement
And from fame, descend and be lost
Amid the masses of men?
He will flow like Tao, unseen,
He will go about like life itself
With no name and no home.
Simple is he, without distinction.
To all appearances he is a fool.
His steps leave no trace. He has no power.
He achieves nothing, he has no reputation.
Since he judges no one,
No one judges him.
Such is the perfect man:
His boat is empty.
- Chuang Tzu
Being unattached is quite different from being an ascetic.
What is emptiness? Emptiness (shunyata) is the reality of the existence of ourselves, and all the phenomena around us. According to the Buddhist point of view, seeking reality and seeking liberation amount to the same thing. The person who doesn’t want to seek reality doesn’t really want to seek liberation, and is just confused.
If you seek reality and you think that it has to be taught to you by a Tibetan Lama, that you have to look for it outside yourself, in another place - maybe Shangrila! - then you are mistaken. You cannot seek reality outside yourself because you are reality. Perhaps you think that your life, your reality was made by society, by your friends? If you think that way you are far from reality. If you think that your existence, your life was made by somebody else it means that you are not taking the responsibility to understand reality.
You have to see that your attitudes, your view of the world, of your experiences, of your girlfriend or boyfriend, of your own self, are all the interpretation of your own mind, your own imagination. They are your own projection, your mind literally made them up. If you don’t understand this then you have very little chance of understanding emptiness.
This is not just the Buddhist view but also the experience of Western physicists and philosophers - they have researched into reality too. Physicists look and look and look and they simply cannot find one entity that exists in a permanent, stable way: this is the Western experience of emptiness.
If you can imagine that then you will not have any concrete concepts; if you understand this experience of physicists then you will let go of your worldly problems - but you don’t want to understand.
It seems to me that we twentieth century people are against nature, against reality, the very opposite of reality. Each moment we build up our artificial, polluted ego; we cover ourselves with heavy ego blankets - one, two, ten, one hundred blankets against nature, against reality. Modern life is the product of the intellectual mind, and we create it. The intellectual mind is superstition. We don’t understand reality, and the intellectual life that we lead keeps us far from reality.
So we don’t accept who we are. We are always looking to cover ourselves with thick blankets and say “this is me”. We hide our own reality and run away from natural beauty, completely neglecting it. By not touching our reality, our modern life becomes so complicated and we create problems with our superstition. We are like a spider spinning his web, climbing on his thread then falling down; climbing up again and falling down again. In the same way we build our own intellectual web, a way of life, that is so complicated, that doesn’t touch reality, that is so difficult to live in. This construction arises from our own mind and does not arise from anything else.
If I told you that you are nothing, you are zero, that you are nothing that you think you are, then you would be shocked. “What is this monk saying?” But what if I say that it is the truth! In fact you are non duality, non self existence. You do not exist, relatively or absolutely, as you think you do. If you really understood this then you would become more realistic and you would really gain satisfaction and peace. But as long as you hold on to the fantasy, concrete conception of yourself and project this wrong conception onto your environment, then no way will you understand reality.
In Western cities nowadays, you can see, the older you are the more problems you have. When we are young, not so many problems, but then there are drugs and sex, and eventually they become dissatisfying, then more depression, more depression. So, as your body becomes bigger and your brain becomes wider, you have more and more problems and become more and more depressed. The more money you have the more problems come. You can see this.
You only take care of your body, you never take care of your mind, and the result of this imbalance is depression. For most western people this is the case: only the body is reality and they don’t care about the existence of the mind, the soul, the consciousness. They don’t believe they can change their minds. They can change their nose through an operation, but they don’t believe they can change their mind. And when you believe this, then no way can you resolve your depression.
Our thoughts, our mind or consciousness are mental energy and cannot be localised in the body. It cannot be touched; it has no form and does not travel in time and space. We cannot touch it or grasp it.
What is important to understand is that the view you have of yourself and the view you have of your environment are based on your own mind; they are the projection of your mind and that is why they are not reality.
I will give you a good example. When a western man or woman looks for a girl or boyfriend, there is this research energy from both sides and when suddenly they see each other they make up an incredible story. “Oh, so beautiful! Nothing wrong inside or outside”. They build up a perfect myth. They push and push., the mind makes it all up. If they are Christian they say, “Oh, he looks just like Jesus. She looks just like an angel. So nice, so pure”. Actually, they are just projecting their own fantasies onto each other.
If she is Hindu, then he would say, “Oh, she looks like Kali, like Mother Earth, like my universal mother”…and if you are Buddhist you fold your hands and say, “Oh, she is a dakini and she is showing me the true nature of all things”. You understand? “When I am near her she gives me energy, energy. Before, I was so lazy, I couldn’t move, I was like a dead person. But now whenever I go near her I can’t believe my energy!” I tell you all this is superstitious interpretation. You think that she is your spiritual friend and all she does is really perfect, even her kaka and pee pee are so pure! Excuse me, perhaps I shouldn’t talk like this - I am a Buddhist monk! But when we speak about Buddhism, about reality then we have to speak practically, from daily life, about what is earthy, what we can touch and see, not just get caught up in concepts.
What I mean is this: you should recognise how every appearance in your daily lift is in fact a false projection of your own mind. Your own mind makes it up and becomes an obstacle to touching reality. This is why, our entire life, no matter what kind of life we have, it is a disaster. If you have a rich life, your life is a disaster. If you have a middle class life, your life is a disaster. If you have a poor life, your life is even more of a disaster! You become a monk and your life is a disaster. If you become a Christian your life is a disaster. A Buddhist, disaster… Be honest. Be honest with yourself.
In fact reality is very simple. The simplicity of the mind can touch reality, and meditation is something that goes beyond the intellect and brings the mind into its natural state. We have the pure nature already, this reality exists in us now, it is born with us… The essence of your consciousness, your truth, your soul is not absolutely negative, it does not have an essentially negative character. Our mind is like the sky and our problems of ego grasping and self pity are like clouds. Eventually they all pass and disappear. You should not believe, “I am my ego, I am my problems, therefore I cannot solve my problems”. Wrong. You can see. Sometimes we are so clear in our life we are almost radiating. We can have this experience right now. Now!
So it is wrong to think that we are always a disaster. Sometimes we are clean clear, sometimes we are a disaster. So, stay in meditation, just keep in that clean clear state as much as possible. All of us can have that clean clear state of mind.
Actually, maybe this is the moment to meditate. My feeling is to meditate now. So, close your eyes, don’t think, “I am meditating”, just close your eyes and whatever view is there, whatever view is there in your mind, just be aware. Don’t interpret good, bad. Just be like a light - light doesn’t think “I like this, I like that”. It is just a light. Whatever is in your consciousness, whatever experience, just be aware. That is all.
Whatever your experience at the moment, whatever your colour, whatever appearance is there, just stay aware. Be aware. If it’s black energy, then that black energy is clean clear. If it’s white energy, just feel that clean clear state. Be aware of whatever is happening. No interpretation … Don’t try to hold onto something or to reject something.
Lama Thubten Yeshe.
Photo by Barry Easton.
Lillian Hellman (via bearnakedisdead)
Our exaggerated sense of self and our compulsion to find happiness for this larger-than-life self we have fabricated cause us to ignore, neglect and harm others. Of course, it is our right to love and take care of ourselves, but not at the expense of others. While ‘As long as I’m alright’ is our motto, we have no hesitation in acting with total disregard for others.
Geshe Sonam Rinchen.
Photo by prayforsnow.
“A person who thinks all the time has nothing to think about except thoughts. So he loses touch with reality, and lives in a world of illusion.”
It’s crazy how our concepts of truth, no matter how true they may be and how much they resonate with us, totally transform when we get to KNOW them exempt from concept. It’s like you never truly knew them before, and pretended you did, until their true, definitionless, non-conceptual essence slap you in the face. It’s nice.
I challenge you all to revisit all of the concepts you have adhered to, whether it is ‘Oneness’, ‘All is Love’, ‘Nothingness’, ‘Spirituality’, ‘You are not your thoughts’, ‘Life is an illusion’, or ‘The power of Now’, and feel inside just how much of it is mental blabber, and how much of it is actually known, felt, and lived. The mind likes to get concepts in the way of genuine growth. I can see it in myself and others ;). If you are truly ready to inquire about it, (or perhaps you already have) this should be the beginning of an internal garage sale of so many false identities and attachments that hid themselves in the corners of your mind. This should begin to make some room for true, rock solid KNOWING.
“A concept of truth sure can be a pointer to the truth, but never will be the Truth itself. Truth is the consciousness in which all concepts and ideas arise, yet remains unwavered by such concepts and ideas.”
Meditation needs no results. Meditation can have itself as an end, I meditate without words and on nothingness. What tangles my life is writing.
Hélène Cixous, “Coming to Writing” and Other Essays (via srjoo)
Nothing is more dreadful in life than the profound thought that death may only greet you with eternal nothingness. - Kim Elizabeth
It isn’t only in Western society that religion or somebody’s sense of purpose breaks down. But it is increasingly more common in the globalist and technological world of today. Now I know that the greed, violence and hate of today has caused a lot of unsettlement. But I think one of the main causes of disconnectedness comes from a change in our sleeping pattern. The removal of the cool down. 2 hours in darkness doing nothing? Forget about it! I want to just watch the television, my laptop, and my mobile phone simultaneously and then lay crash into the pillow and pass out! Besides the SUBTRACTION of cool down time, there is the ADDITION of
Maybe this is just my explanation of why meditation is so effective at culling those feelings of distance worthlessness.
It has appeared that there is a very simple way to prevent these feelings of dread and confusion. It seems more and more, that at any point in my life, through any existential crisis I may have had, it is meditation and deep thought that has always proven to be the resolution - allowing me to effortlessly untwist riddles of life and living.
Man men swear by it, yet they are ignored. If you were to listen to one man in your life, let that man be Osho.
“You have to learn meditation to enjoy your emptiness. And that is one of the greatest days in life — when a person starts enjoying emptiness, aloneness, nothingness.” - Osho
Similar to the way reduced time asleep brings reduced levels of concentration and cognition, reduced meditation may bring feelings of confusion and disconnectedness and complete reduction of meditation may be the main cause of the immortal worries of man.
To illustrate that the act of meditation was once a natural and daily part of living:
I try and live by the motto “natural is best” in any situation, as would most of us to some extent. Diet, exercise, biological, psychological, or environmental dimensions. The more natural method is always the best method. Naturally, humans shouldn’t have electricity. Or at least, humankind has evolved to be in darkness for hours before we sleep over hundreds of thousands of years in accordance with the day and night cycles of our planet, yet we haven’t evolved to cope with the rewards and demands of electricity that has only been common for the past 90 years.. This essential behaviour of thought and reflection in large periods before sleep has been ripped from a large portion of the majority of humans, and we question why we are insecure, mentally unstable and feel lost in life and beyond it….
Meditation, whether to achieve enlightenment or simply reflect, is an essential behaviour of human existence, which when removed or too strongly interfered with suddenly, has a negative impact on an individuals sense of self and existence.
Meditation isn’t spiritual ‘extra work’, it’s an essential act of living that many of us have forgotten.
Somethin’ for you to think about, from my head to yours.