Thursday, April 15, 2010

Indra Net

"In the Heaven of Indra, there is said to be a network of pearls, so arranged that if you look at one you see all the others reflected in it. In the same way each object in the world is not merely itself but involves every other object and in fact IS everything else. In every particle of dust, there are present Buddhas without number."
(around 600 b.c.) 
from F. Capra, "The Tao of Physics"
Far away in the heavenly abode of the great god Indra, there is a wonderful net which has been hung by some cunning artificer in such a manner that it stretches out infinitely in all directions. In accordance with the extravagant tastes of deities, the artificer has hung a single glittering jewel in each "eye" of the net, and since the net itself is infinite in dimension, the jewels are infinite in number. There hang the jewels, glittering like stars in the first magnitude, a wonderful sight to behold. If we now arbitrarily select one of these jewels for inspection and look closely at it, we will discover that in its polished surface there are reflected all the other jewels in the net, infinite in number. Not only that, but each of the jewels reflected in this one jewel is also reflecting all the other jewels, so that there is an infinite reflecting process occurring" 
 from F. H. Cook , Hua-Yen Buddhism: The Jewel Net of Indra, 1977

Tao Truth

Sometimes while just sitting, the question comes up in the mind: What is Truth? But by the time I come here I realize that I am not capable to ask. But may I ask what happens in those moments when the question arises so strongly that had you been nearby I would have asked it. Or if you had not replied, I would have caught hold of your beard or collar and asked,
"What is truth?"

That is the most important question that can arise in anybody's mind, but there is no answer for it.

The most important question, the ultimate question, cannot have any answer; that's why it is ultimate.
When Pontius Pilate asked Jesus, "What is truth?" Jesus remained silent. Not only that, the story says that when Pontius Pilate asked the question, "What is truth?" he did not wait to listen for the answer. He left the room and went away. This is very strange. Pontius Pilate also thinks that there cannot be an answer for it, so he didn't wait for the answer. Jesus remained silent because he also knows it cannot be answered.
But these two understandings are not the same, because these two persons are diametrically opposite. Pontius Pilate thinks that it cannot be answered because there is no truth; how can you answer it? That is the logical mind, the Roman mind. Jesus remains silent not because there is no truth, but because the truth is so vast, it is not definable. The truth is so huge, enormous, it cannot be confined in a word, it cannot be reduced to language. It is there. One can be it, but one cannot say it.
For two different reasons they behaved almost in the same way: Pontius didn't wait to hear the answer, he knew already that there is no truth. Jesus remains silent because he knows truth, and knows that it could not be said.
Chidvilas has asked this question. The question is absolutely significant. There is no question higher than that, because there is no religion higher than truth. It has to be understood; the question has to be analyzed. Analyzing the question, trying to understand the question itself, you may have an insight into what truth is. I will not answer it, I cannot answer it; nobody can answer it. But we can go deep into the question. Going deep into the question, the question will start disappearing. When the question has disappeared you will find the answer there at the very core of your heart -- you are truth, so how can you miss it? Maybe you have forgotten about it, maybe you have lost track of it, maybe you have forgotten how to enter into your own being, into your own truth.
Truth is not an hypothesis, truth is not a dogma. Truth is neither Hindu nor Christian nor Mohammedan. Truth is neither mine nor yours. Truth belongs to nobody, but everybody belongs to truth. Truth means that which is: that is exactly the meaning of the word. It comes from a Latin root, verus. Verus means: that which is. In English there are a few words which are derivations of the Latin root verus: was, were -- they come from verus. In German, war -- that comes from verus. Verus means that which is, uninterpreted. Once the interpretation comes in, then what you know is reality, not truth. That is the difference between truth and reality. Reality is truth interpreted.
So the moment you answer the question, "What is truth?" it becomes reality; it is no longer truth. Interpretation has entered into it, the mind has colored it. And realities are as many as there are minds; there are multi-realities. Truth is one because truth is known only when the mind is not there. It is mind that keeps you separate from me, separate from others, separate from existence. If you look through the mind, then the mind will give you a picture of truth. That will be only a picture, a photograph of that which is. And of course, the photograph depends on the camera, on the film used, on the chemicals, on how it has been developed, how it has been printed, who has done it. A thousand and one other things enter in; it becomes reality.
The word reality is also beautiful to be understood. It comes from the root, res; it means thing or things. Truth is not a thing. Once interpreted, once the mind has grabbed it, defined it, demarked it, it becomes a thing.
When you fall in love with a woman there is some truth -- if you have fallen absolutely unaware, if you have not 'done' it in any way, if you have not acted, managed, if you have not even thought about it. Suddenly you see a woman, you look into her eyes, she looks into your eyes, and something clicks. You are not the doer of it, you are simply possessed by it, you simply fall into it. It has nothing to do with you. Your ego is not involved, at least not in the very, very beginning, when love is virgin. In that moment there is truth, but there is no interpretation. That's why love remains indefinable.
Soon the mind comes in, starts managing things, takes possession of you. You start thinking about the girl as your girlfriend, you start thinking of how to get married, you start thinking about the woman as your wife. Now these are things; the girlfriend, the wife -- these are things. The truth is no longer there, it has receded back. Now things are becoming more important. The definable is more secure, the indefinable is insecure. You have started killing, poisoning the truth. Sooner or later there will be a wife and a husband, two things. But the beauty is gone, the joy has disappeared, the honeymoon is over.
The honeymoon is over at that exact moment when truth becomes reality, when love becomes a relationship. The honeymoon is very short, unfortunately -- I'm not talking about the honeymoon that you go for. The honeymoon is very short. Maybe for a single moment it was there, but the purity of it, the crystal purity of it, the divinity of it, the beyondness of it -- it is from eternity, it is not of time. It is not part of this mundane world, it is like a ray coming into a dark hole. It comes from the transcendental. It is absolutely appropriate to call love God, because love is truth. The closest that you come to truth in ordinary life is love.
"What is truth?"
Asking has to disappear; only then do you know.

If you ask, "What is truth?" what are you asking? If I say A is truth, B is truth, C is truth, will that be the answer? If I say A is truth, then certainly A cannot be the truth: it is something else that I am using as synonymous with truth. If it is absolutely synonymous, then it will be a tautology. Then I can say, "Truth is truth," but that is silly, meaningless. Nothing is solved by it. If it is exactly the same, if A is truth, then it will mean truth is truth. If A is different, is not exactly truth, then I am falsifying. Then to say A is truth will be only approximate. And remember, there cannot be anything approximate. Either truth is or it is not. So I cannot say A is truth.
I cannot even say, "God is truth," because if God is truth then it is a tautology -- "Truth is truth." Then I'm not saying anything. If God is different from truth, then I am saying something, but then I am saying something wrong. Then God is different, then how can he be truth? If I say it is approximate, linguistically it looks alright, but it is not right. 'Approximately' means some lie is there, something false is there. Otherwise, why is it not a hundred percent truth? If it is ninety-nine percent truth then something is there which is not true. And truth and untruth cannot exist together, just as darkness and light cannot exist together -- because darkness is nothing but absence. Absence and presence cannot exist together, truth and untruth cannot exist together. Untruth is nothing but the absence of truth.
So no answer is possible, hence Jesus remained silent. But if you look at it with deep sympathy, if you look into the silence of Jesus, you will have an answer. Silence is the answer. Jesus is saying, "Be silent, as I am silent, and you will know" -- not saying it in words. It is a gesture, it is very, very Zen-like. In that moment when Jesus remained silent, he comes very close to the Zen approach, to the Buddhist approach. He is a Buddha in that moment. Buddha never answered these questions. He had eleven questions listed: wherever he would move his disciples would go around and declare to people, "Never ask these eleven questions of Buddha" -- questions which are fundamental, questions which are really significant. You could ask anything else, and Buddha was always ready to answer. But don't ask the fundamental, because the fundamental can only be experienced. And truth is the most fundamental; the very substance of existence is what truth is.
Go into the question. The question is significant, it is arising in your heart: "What is truth?" -- a desire to know that which is, is arising. Don't push it aside, go into it. Chidvilas, whenever it happens again, close your eyes, go into the question. Let the question become very, very focussed -- "What... is... truth?" Let there arise a great concentration. Forget everything, as if your whole life depends on this simple question, "What is truth?" Let it become a matter of life and death. And don't try to answer it, because you don't know the answer.
Answers may be coming -- the mind always tries to supply answers -- but see the fact that you don't know, that's why you are asking. So how can your mind supply you an answer? The mind knows not, so tell the mind, "Keep quiet." If you know, then there is no need for the question. You don't know, hence the question.
So don't be befooled by the mind's toys. It supplies toys: it says, "Look, it is written in the Bible. Look, it is written in the Upanishads. This is the answer. Look, this is written by Lao Tzu, this is the answer." The mind can throw all kinds of scriptures at you: the mind can quote, the mind can supply from the memory. You have heard many things, you have read many things; the mind carries all those memories. It can repeat in a mechanical way. But look into this phenomenon: that the mind knows not, and all that mind is repeating is borrowed. And the borrowed cannot help.It happened at a railway crossing. The gates were closed, some train was to pass, and a man was sitting in his car, waiting for the train to pass, reading a book. A drunkard who was just sitting by the side of the gate came close, knocked on the air-conditioned car's window. The man opened the window and said, "What can I do for you? Do you need any help?"
And the bum said, "Yes, for two days I have not eaten anything at all. Can you give me two rupees? That will be enough for me, just two rupees."The man laughed and said, "Never borrow and never lend money," and showed the book to the bum and said, "Shakespeare -- Shakespeare says so. Look."The bum pulled out of his pocket a very dirty paperback and said to the man, "You sonofabitch -- D. H. Lawrence."
Beware of the mind. The mind goes on quoting, the mind knows all without knowing at all. The mind is a pretender. See into this phenomenon: this I call insight. It is not a question of thinking. If you think about it, it is again the mind. You have to see through and through. You have to look deeply into the very phenomenon, the functioning of the mind, how the mind functions. It borrows from here and there, it goes on borrowing and accumulating. It is a hoarder, a hoarder of knowledge. Mind becomes very knowledgeable, and then whenever you ask a question which is really important the mind gives a very unimportant answer to it -- futile, superficial, rubbish.A man bought a parrot from a pet shop. The shop-owner assured him the bird would learn to say hello within half an hour. Back home he spent an hour 'helloing' to the parrot, but not a word from the bird. As he was turning away in sheer despair, the bird said, "Number engaged."A parrot is a parrot. He must have heard it in the pet shop. And this man was going on and on, "Hello, hello, hello," and the bird was listening, and waiting for him to stop. Then he could say, "Number engaged!"You can go on asking the mind, "What is truth, what is truth, what is truth?" And the moment you stop, the mind will immediately say, "Number engaged" or something. The mind will give you an answer. Beware of the mind.
The mind is the devil, there is no other devil. And it is your mind. This insight has to be developed -- of looking through and through. Cut the mind in two with a sharp blow of the sword. That sword is awareness. Cut the mind in two and go through it, go beyond it! And if you can go beyond the mind, through the mind, and a moment of no-mind arises in you, there is the answer -- not a verbal answer, not a scripture quoted, not in quotation marks, but authentically yours, an experience. Truth is an existential experience.
The question is immensely significant, but you will have to be very respectful towards the question. Don't be in a hurry to find any answer, otherwise some rubbish will kill the answer. Don't allow your mind to kill the question. And the way of the mind to kill the question is to supply answers, unlived, unexperienced.
You are truth! But it can happen only in utter silence, when not a single thought moves, when the mind has nothing to say, when not a single ripple is in your consciousness. When there is no ripple in your consciousness, your consciousness remains undistorted. When there is a ripple, there is a distortion.
Just go to a lake. Standing on the bank, look down at your reflection. If there are waves, ripples on the lake, and wind is blowing, your reflection is shaky. You cannot figure out what is what -- where is your nose and where are your eyes -- you can only guess. But when the lake is silent and the wind is not blowing and there is not a single ripple on the surface, suddenly you are there. In absolute perfection, the reflection is there. The lake becomes a mirror.
Whenever there is a thought moving in your consciousness it distorts. And there are many thoughts, millions of thoughts, continuously rushing, and it is always rush-hour. Twenty-four hours a day it is rush-hour, and the traffic goes on and on and on, and each thought is associated with thousands of other thoughts. They are all holding hands and linked together and interlinked, and the whole crowd is rushing around you. How can you know what truth is? Get out of this crowd.
That's what meditation is, that's what meditation is all about: a consciousness without mind, a consciousness without thoughts, a consciousness without any wavering -- an unwavering consciousness. Then it is there in all its beauty and benediction. Then truth is there -- call it God, call it nirvana, or whatsoever you like to call it. It is there, and it is there as an experience. You are in it and it is in you.
Use this question. Make it more penetrating. Make it so penetrating; put everything at stake so that the mind cannot befool you by its superficial answers. Once the mind disappears, once the mind is no longer playing its old tricks, you will know what truth is. You will know it in silence. You will know it in thoughtless awareness.

Tao Tribute: Erik Satie

It’s not a question of Satie’s relevance. He’s indispensable.

John Cage

Honfleur, May 17, 1866 – Paris, July 1, 1925
"Here lies a great musician, a man of heart, an exceptional citizen"

Monday, April 12, 2010

Possibilities (2 of Wands)

The eagle has an overview of all the possibilities contained in the landscape below, as he flies freely, naturally and effortlessly through the sky. He is really in his domain, very grand and self-contained. This card indicates that you are at a point where a world of possibilities is open to you. Because you have grown more loving towards yourself, more self-contained, you can work easily with others. Because you are relaxed and at ease, you can recognize possibilities as they present themselves, sometimes even before others can see them. Because you are in tune with your own nature, you understand that existence is providing you with exactly what you need. Enjoy the flight! And celebrate all the varied wonders of the landscape spread before you

Mind can accept any boundary anywhere. But the reality is that, by its very nature, existence cannot have any boundary, because what will be beyond the boundary? - again another sky. That's why I am saying skies upon skies are available for your flight. Don't be content easily. Those who remain content easily remain small: small are their joys, small are their ecstasies, small are their silences, small is their being. But there is no need! This smallness is your own imposition upon your freedom, upon your unlimited possibilities, upon your unlimited potential.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Tao without time

A music outside time and space.

A piece of Tao fallen on Erik Satie and of which he gifted us forever.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

ingredients of Tao: the Yuga of Kali

We are the archangels pain of a world that collapses,
we are the children of a new breed unborn,
but he lives through us
as a wind load of new threats and pollen.
We do not know what we mean,
our oracle is sealed
our darkest dreams, our contradictory signs.
We do not have the key,
but we are still faced with a new threshold,
to knock at the door,
to beat as it had in the forest
the first ape, who wanted to be a man.
But we get lost in the revolt,
we get lost in the pride of the rich
or appeal the refusal.
We get lost in the seduction of the government or dreams.
But our sense is not to be victims nor escape
our sense is beyond rebellion.
Our sense is knocking on this door,
cry like children in the night until the door opens.

Sri Aurobindo

standard description:

KalYug (Devanāgarī: कलियुग, lit. "age of (the male demon) Kali", or "age of vice") is the last of the four stages that the world goes through as part of the cycle of yugas described in the Indian scriptures. The other ages are Satya Yuga, Treta Yuga and Dvapara Yuga. According to the Surya Siddhanta, an astronomical treatise that forms the basis of all Hindu and Buddhist calendars, Kali Yuga began at midnight (00:00) on 18 February 3102 BCE in the proleptic Julian calendar, or 23 January 3102 BC in the proleptic Gregorian calendar. This date is also considered by many Hindus to be the day that Krishna died after being mortally wounded by an arrow. Most interpreters of Hindu scriptures believe that earth is currently in Kali Yuga. The Kali Yuga is traditionally thought to last 432,000 years.
Hindus believe that human civilization degenerates spiritually during the Kali Yuga, which is referred to as the Dark Age because in it people are as far removed as possible from God. Hinduism often symbolically represents morality (dharma) as a bull. In Satya Yuga, the first stage of development, the bull has four legs, but in each age morality is reduced by one quarter. By the age of Kali, morality is reduced to only a quarter of that of the golden age, so that the bull of Dharma has only one leg.
Kali Yuga is associated with the apocalypse demon Kali, not to be confused with the goddess Kālī (these are unrelated words in the Sanskrit language). The "Kali" of Kali Yuga means "strife, discord, quarrel, or contention."

ingredients of Tao: Tao Teh Ching


The Tao that can be told
is not the eternal Tao

The name that can be named
is not the eternal Name.

The unnamable is the eternally real.
Naming is the origin
of all particular things.

Free from desire, you realize the mystery.
Caught in desire, you see only the manifestations.

Yet mystery and manifestations
arise from the same source.

This source is called darkness.

Darkness within darkness.
The gateway to all understanding

In a few simple phrases the Tao Te Ching (Daodejing, The Book of Tao and Virtue) says all that can be said, and all that cannot be said, about everything that exists, and about everything that does not exist.

Note: the english translation here used is the one by Stephen Mitchell

Thursday, April 1, 2010

ingredients of Tao: the Pattern that Connects

What pattern connects the crab to the lobster
and the orchid to the primrose,
and all the four of them to me?
And me to you?
And all the six of us to the amoeba in one direction
and to the schizophrenic in another?

Mind and Nature, 1979
Singular figure of the scientist, one that has made this kind of questions and much more singular person who devoted his life searching for answers. Gregory Bateson was this type of scientist: impatient with all academic forms, he devoted himself to mess up things rather than to order them. Bateson with his work forces us to rethink the whole, to relate what is theoretically correct relationship, leads us to a new and different perspective on things. "Draw the lines of an ecology of mind is to lay the foundations for a science that still does not exist as organic corpus of theory or knowledge," writes in the opening of Steps to an Ecology of Mind, his most known and appreciated book. And that is precisely what Bateson tried to do for a lifetime: to put on the table of the most seemingly unrelated questions, like "bilateral symmetry of an animal, the structural arrangement of the leaves in a plant, the subsequent amplification of the arms race the practices of courtship, the nature of the game, the grammar of a sentence, the mystery of biological evolution and the crisis in which we found the relationship between man and environment. " This is the core, the heart of the search for Bateson: the attempt to discover, describe, systematize the "pattern that connects."

Multifaceted figure of a scholar, he devoted himself during life to multiple disciplines: biology, anthropology, psychology, ethology, so as to make himself the author of a singularly innovative thinking. The formation of Bateson owes much to his father. Biologist William Bateson was a very well known, to him it must, inter alia, the term "genetics". Gregory Bateson graduated in natural sciences and, as in the best traditions in the footsteps of Darwin reached the Galapagos to seal his apprenticeship biologist. Later he devoted himself to anthropology and met and married Margaret Mead with which he led the fieldwork in the island of Bali. Collaborated with the Langley Porter Neuropsychiatric Clinic in San Francisco for a study of the psychiatric community. In the years that followed deepened communication studies, addressing in particular the behavior and communication of otters and seals in contexts of play. Created its own working group with whom he developed the theory of "double bind." The findings of this group, particularly on family communication and the genesis of schizophrenia will be very important and will inspire more research, laying the foundations of family systems therapy. Its vicissitudes sospinsero him down to Hawaii where he worked on the language of dolphins. All these experiences led him to mature his ideas and then condense to an Ecology of mind that will bring the first official recognition. And hence its tremendous ability to relate the various fields of its object of study to make a figure so exceptional.

In 1972, Bateson published his most famous book, Steps to an ecology of mind, which sought to rethink the human condition. There had thickened studies of a life, his reflections on schizophrenia, on animal and human communication and cybernetics. It is in this book that deals with those who will be the themes of his thought, an attempt to delineate the "connecting structure" that underlies all his work. Research that attempts to systematize definitely Bateson in Mind and Nature published in 1979, a few months before his death. Bateson for each biological organism has the ability to learn, think and decide. If epistemology is the way in which individual organisms and assemblies of living organisms know, think and decide, then everything is epistemology, all is process knowledge. Bateson has devoted his life to finding a property that connects the man to other living organisms and living organisms to the environment. Enemy of all rigid dualism, it was increasingly convinced of the centrality of the relationship. Liquid Descartes because his allegations were "simply shattered the universe in which we live." For Bateson the self is not separated from others and from the context, everything is interconnected, interdependent. Man is part of the whole, it is a key component, an organic piece of the universe. And, like any part of a cybernetic epistemology and is able to influence anything, but is not able to control everything. Along with a number of scholars such as Norbert Wiener, John von Neumann, Claude Shannon, Warren McCulloch and others from life to "Macy Conferences" and cybernetic theory that attempts to explain the behavior and dynamics of complex biological systems. Bateson was defined above all a "stir of ideas," but it was also the author of some real breakthroughs as the theory of "double bind" that has permission to look at it another way the problem of schizophrenia. In the latter part of his life, when he was seriously ill, he wrote, along with Mary Catherine, daughter, where angels hesitate. The unity of nature which he allegedly opened up the field to a series of reflections that were the land par excellence of religion. "His thoughts," wrote the daughter, "was understandable perhaps only with the kind of metaphors to which we have used the religion." Atheist training, Bateson realized that he was venturing into dangerous territory, where it was easy to be misunderstood. Obviously, the scientist will be approached with caution, on the other hand, his work had led him to ask questions before which warned of having to field a wisdom and courage of a different type from that followed until then.
That was a major turning of its path of man and scientist

Freely adapted from an article by Louisa Sberlati

ingredients of Tao: Global Dynamics Processes

Process: a network of changes, exchanges, relationships, activities or actions all related together. A process takes place, or define, a system (system or framework of interaction), a set of entities (elements of the system) connected together through reciprocal relationships visible or defined by its observer. In the systems defined as complex the elements and inter-relationships between them belong to different types, describable or synthesized as system levels, or levels of complexity. Similarly processes that occur in a complex system are describable, or synthesized, into levels of complexity of the process. The broader context of description in which it occurs, or apply, a process is called matrix of the process.

Dynamic:(as opposed to static); by its nature any process is inherently dynamic. A static process is one where the number and type of elements interconnected, the system of interaction, the type and number of interactions are defined and do not change. A dynamic process means a process where the number and type of inter-linked elements, the system(s) of interaction, the type and number of interactions and levels of complexity of the system(s) and process vary dynamically. A particular case of dynamic process is a meta-process, a process of processes, where the elements of interaction are both elements of the system, systems and processes.

Global (as opposed to local and universal), a process by which the system of interaction is the entire planet.

The greatest possible example of GDPs, or better than UDPs, is the Te of Tao, the realization of Tao in the universe, a ...-meta-meta-meta-meta-... dynamic universal process with infinite levels on infinite systems and infinite elements which lasts from about 13 billion years and whose matrix is the indescribable and unknowable Tao:

The Tao that can be trodden is not the enduring and unchanging Tao.
The name that can be named is not the enduring and unchanging name.
Having no name, it is the originator of Heaven and Earth;
Having a name, it is the Mother of all things.