Showing posts with label Tao masters. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tao masters. Show all posts

Sunday, July 20, 2014

1000 Taos: the conclusion of Tao

In the 1001 posts (433 in this english partial version) of the full italian version of this blog an attempt was made to describe the complexity of multi-levels systems and processes that in this century will bring a radical destructive and irreversible change of the global ecosystem, here identified with the myth of KaliYuga.

The two main guidelines are represented by Global Dynamics Processes - GDPs - the description of the physical-chemical-biological-social-mental and environmental processes involved starting from the hierarchical levels of natural sciences and of the knowledge domains to the logical levels of knowledge of knowledge.

The second guideline is called Pattern which Connects and is mainly based on the wide variety of ideas developed in the systemic-cybernetic-environmental fields by Gregory Bateson, subsequently carried out in the neurosciences and sciences of cognition fields by Francisco J. Varela and Humberto Maturana and finally merged in the modern science of complexity mainly due to the work of Edgar Morin.

Into these two guidelines - interlaced with each other - there are the connected lines of Tao, based upon the 81 chapters of Tao Teh Ching, the one of Synchronic Tao, based on the description ensemble of the 78 +1 symbols of Tarots, Tao Interlude and, starting at a specified point, the one of of Tao Level 3 and beyond, linked to the two main guidelines for descriptions in areas higher then the logical level 2 of complexity.
The full italian and this partial english versions coincide till June 13, 2011; afterwards only some selected posts are published in the english version, tagged Over The End of Tao.

The evolution of the real KaliYuga - not mythological - in the next decades is naturally unpredictable, both because it involves an ensemble of the most complex systems known, and because phenomena and conditions never occurred in the past will become effective.

Though everything brings to believe that quantitatively the global ecosystem will be destroyed or radically transformed, it is always possible that in a highly complex system of this type relevant choices and actions different from the past may lead to other types of evolution.

One moment it was there, another moment it is gone.
One moment we are here, and another moment we have gone.

And for this simple moment, how much fuss we make - how much violence, ambition, struggle, conflict, anger, hatred.
Just for this small moment!

Just waiting for the train in a waiting room on a station, and creating so much fuss: fighting, hurting each other, trying to possess, trying to boss, trying to dominate - all that politics.

And then the train comes and you are gone forever.

Heaven's Reason is to benefit but not to injure;
the holy man's Reason is to accomplish but not to strive.
© Elena Cinguino Illustrations

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

the last words of Tao

wat Pho Buddha, Bangkok
Last Words of the Tathagata

      216. Then the Bhagava said to the Venerable Ananda:

      It may happen that (some among) you have this thought: 'The Doctrine; (lit, the word) is bereft of the Teacher of the Doctrine; our Teacher is no more.' But Ananda, it should not be so considered. Ananda, the Doctrine and Discipline I have taught and laid down to all of you will be your Teacher when I am gone.

      Ananda, when I have passed away, bhikkhus should not address one another as they do at present by the term 'avuso' (Friend) (irrespective of seniority). Ananda, the senior bhikkhus should address the junior bhikkhus by name, or by family name, or by the term 'avuso'. And the junior bhikkhus should address the senior bhikkhus by the term 'bhante' or 'ayasma' (Venerable Sir).

      Ananda, after I have passed away, the Samgha, the Order of the bhikkhus, may, if it wishes to, abolish lesser and minor Rules of Discipline.

      Ananda, after I have passed away, let the Brahma penalty be imposed upon Bhikkhu Channa.

      "But, Venerable Sir, what is the Brahma penalty?"

      Ananda, let Bhikkhu Channa say whatever he wishes to. The bhikkhus should neither advise him nor admonish him, nor deter him.

      217. Then the Bhagava addressed the bhikkhus thus:

      O Bhikkhus, if any bhikkhu should happen to have any uncertainty or perplexity regarding the Buddha, or the Dhamma (the Teaching), or the Samgha (the Order of bhikkhus), or Magga, or the Practice, then, bhikkhus, ask (me) questions. Do not let yourselves feel regret later with the thought that 'even though our Teacher was (with us) in our very presence, we were not able to ask him questions personally in return.'

      When this was said, the bhikkhus remained silent. ..............

      For a third time, the Bhagava said:

      O Bhikkhus, if any bhikkhu should happen to have any uncertainty or perplexity regarding the Buddha, or the Dhamma, or the Samgha, or Magga, or the Practice, then, bhikkhus, ask (me) questions. Do not let yourselves feel regret later with the thought that 'even though our Teacher was (with us) in our very presence, we were not able to ask him questions personally in return.'

      For the third time, too, the bhikkhus remained silent.

      Then the Bhagava said to the bhikkhus:

      O Bhikkhus, it may be that you do not ask questions out of respect for the Teacher. Then, bhikkhus, let a bhikkhu tell a companion (his uncertainty or perplexity).

      Even when this was said, the bhikkhus continued to remain silent.

      Then the Venerable Ananda said to the Bhagava:

      "Wonderful it is, Venerable Sir! Marvellous it is, Venerable Sir! I believe that in this community of bhikkhus not a single bhikkhu has uncertainty or perplexity regarding the Buddha, or the Dhamma, or the Samgha, or Magga, or the Practice."

      Ananda, you say this only out of faith. Indeed, Ananda, the Tathagata knows for certain that in this community of bhikkhus not a single bhikkhu has uncertainty or perplexity regarding the Buddha, or the Dhamma, or the Samgha, or Magga, or the Practice.

      Ananda, amongst these five hundred bhikkhus, even the least (in attainment) is a Sotapanna, a Stream-enterer, not liable to be reborn in any apaya realm of misery, assured (of reaching desirable realms of existence or of teaching the end of dukkha), bound for (the three higher levels of Insight, culminating in) Enlightenment.

      218. Then the Bhagava said to the bhikkhus:

      O Bhikkhus, I say this now to you: "All conditioned and compounded things (sankhara) have the nature of decay and disintegration. With mindfulness endeavour diligently (to complete the task)"

      These were the last words of the Tathagata

Angkor Wat

Angkor Wat
Part Six: The Passing Away

The Blessed One's Final Exhortation

1. Now the Blessed One spoke to the Venerable Ananda, saying: "It may be, Ananda, that to some among you the thought will come: 'Ended is the word of the Master; we have a Master no longer.' But it should not, Ananda, be so considered. For that which I have proclaimed and made known as the Dhamma and the Discipline, that shall be your Master when I am gone.

2. "And, Ananda, whereas now the bhikkhus address one another as 'friend,' let it not be so when I am gone. The senior bhikkhus, Ananda, may address the junior ones by their name, their family name, or as 'friend'; but the junior bhikkhus should address the senior ones as 'venerable sir' or 'your reverence.'

3. "If it is desired, Ananda, the Sangha may, when I am gone, abolish the lesser and minor rules.

4. "Ananda, when I am gone, let the higher penalty be imposed upon the bhikkhu Channa."

"But what, Lord, is the higher penalty?"

"The bhikkhu Channa, Ananda, may say what he will, but the bhikkhus should neither converse with him, nor exhort him, nor admonish him."

5. Then the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "It may be, bhikkhus, that one of you is in doubt or perplexity as to the Buddha, the Dhamma, or the Sangha, the path or the practice. Then question, bhikkhus! Do not be given to remorse later on with the thought: 'The Master was with us face to face, yet face to face we failed to ask him.'"

6. But when this was said, the bhikkhus were silent. And yet a second and a third time the Blessed One said to them: "It may be, bhikkhus, that one of you is in doubt or perplexity as to the Buddha, the Dhamma, or the Sangha, the path or the practice. Then question, bhikkhus! Do not be given to remorse later on with the thought: 'The Master was with us face to face, yet face to face we failed to ask him.'"

And for a second and a third time the bhikkhus were silent. Then the Blessed One said to them: "It may be, bhikkhus, out of respect for the Master that you ask no questions. Then, bhikkhus, let friend communicate it to friend." Yet still the bhikkhus were silent.

7. And the Venerable Ananda spoke to the Blessed One, saying: "Marvellous it is, O Lord, most wonderful it is! This faith I have in the community of bhikkhus, that not even one bhikkhu is in doubt or perplexity as to the Buddha, the Dhamma, or the Sangha, the path or the practice."

"Out of faith, Ananda, you speak thus. But here, Ananda, the Tathagata knows for certain that among this community of bhikkhus there is not even one bhikkhu who is in doubt or perplexity as to the Buddha, the Dhamma, or the Sangha, the path or the practice. For, Ananda, among these five hundred bhikkhus even the lowest is a stream-enterer, secure from downfall, assured, and bound for enlightenment."

8. And the Blessed One addressed the bhikkhus, saying: "Behold now, bhikkhus, I exhort you: All compounded things are subject to vanish. Strive with earnestness!"

This was the last word of the Tathagata.

How the Blessed One Passed into Nibbana

9. And the Blessed One entered the first jhana. Rising from the first jhana, he entered the second jhana. Rising from the second jhana, he entered the third jhana. Rising from the third jhana, he entered the fourth jhana. And rising out of the fourth jhana, he entered the sphere of infinite space. Rising from the attainment of the sphere of infinite space, he entered the sphere of infinite consciousness. Rising from the attainment of the sphere of infinite consciousness, he entered the sphere of nothingness. Rising from the attainment of the sphere of nothingness, he entered the sphere of neither-perception-nor-non-perception. And rising out of the attainment of the sphere of neither-perception-nor-non-perception, he attained to the cessation of perception and feeling.

10. And the Venerable Ananda spoke to the Venerable Anuruddha, saying: "Venerable Anuruddha, the Blessed One has passed away."

"No, friend Ananda, the Blessed One has not passed away. He has entered the state of the cessation of perception and feeling."

11. Then the Blessed One, rising from the cessation of perception and feeling, entered the sphere of neither-perception-nor-non-perception. Rising from the attainment of the sphere of neither-perception-nor-non-perception, he entered the sphere of nothingness. Rising from the attainment of the sphere of nothingness, he entered the sphere of infinite consciousness. Rising from the attainment of the sphere of infinite consciousness, he entered the sphere of infinite space. Rising from the attainment of the sphere of infinite space, he entered the fourth jhana. Rising from the fourth jhana, he entered the third jhana. Rising from the third jhana, he entered the second jhana. Rising from the second jhana, he entered the first jhana.

Rising from the first jhana, he entered the second jhana. Rising from the second jhana, he entered the third jhana. Rising from the third jhana, he entered the fourth jhana. And, rising from the fourth jhana, the Blessed One immediately passed away.
Wat Pho Buddha, Bangkok

Monday, July 14, 2014

a new Tao

You ask me: What according to you is the most significant thing that is happening today in the world?

A new man is emerging. The image of the new man is not yet clear, but the horizon is becoming red and the sun will soon be there. The morning mist is there and the image of the new man is vague, but still a few things are very crystal clear about the new man.
And this is of tremendous importance because since the monkey became man, man has remained the same. A great revolution is on the way. It will be far more deep-going than the revolution that happened when monkeys started walking on the earth and became human beings. That change created mind, that change brought psychology in. Now another far more significant change is going to happen that will bring the soul in, and man will not only be a psychological being but a spiritual being too.
You are living in one of the most alive times ever.
The new man has already arrived in fragments, but only in fragments. And the new man has been arriving for centuries, but only here and there. That's how things happen. When the spring comes it starts with one flower. But when the one flower is there, then one can be certain: that spring is not faraway—it has come. The first flower has heralded its coming: Zarathustra, Krishna, Lao Tzu, Buddha, Jesus—these were the first flowers. Now the new man is going to be born on a greater scale.
According to me, this new consciousness is the most important thing that is happening today. I would like to tell you something about this new consciousness, its orientations, and its characteristics, because you are to help it come out of the womb—because you have to be it. The new man cannot come from nowhere, he has to come through you. The new man can only be born through your womb. You have to become the womb.
Sannyas is an experiment to clean the ground so that new seeds can fall in. If you understand the meaning of the new man, you will be able to understand the significance of sannyas too. And it is because sannyas is concerned with the new man that the old orthodoxies of all kinds are going to be against me and against sannyas, because this will be their end. If sannyas succeeds, if the new man succeeds, the old will have to go. The old can live only if the new man is prevented from coming.
It cannot be prevented now, because it is not only a question of the new man's coming into existence, it is a question of the survival of the whole earth, of consciousness itself, of life itself. It is a question of life and death. The old man has come to utter destructiveness. The old man has reached the end of his tether. Now there is no life possible with the old concept of man but only death. The old man is preparing for a global suicide. The old man is piling up atom bombs, hydrogen bombs, in order to commit a collective suicide. This is a very unconscious desire. Rather than allowing the new man to be, the old man would like to destroy the whole thing.
You have to understand, you have to protect the new, because the new carries the whole future with it. And man has come to a stage where a great quantum leap is possible….
The new man will have to find new forms of community, of closeness, of intimacy, of shared purpose, because the old society is not going to disappear immediately. It will linger, it will put up all kinds of fight to the new society—as it always happens. It has so many vested interests, it cannot go easily. It will go only when it becomes impossible for it to remain in existence.
Before it goes the new man will have to create new kinds of communes, new kinds of families, new communities of closeness, intimacy, shared purpose.
That's why I am trying to create a small commune where you can be totally yourself—away from the structured and the rotten world—and you can be given absolute freedom. It will be an experiment, because the future is going to move on those lines. It will be a small experiment but of immense significance….
This, according to me, is the most important phenomenon that is happening today. A new man is coming into existence. The first rays are already on the horizon. Prepare yourself to receive the new man. Get ready. Become a host to the guest who is just about to knock on your doors at any moment. And that's what sannyas is all about: a preparation—getting ready to receive the new man. It is going to be a great adventure to receive the new man. It is going to be risky, too, because the old will not like it.
Now you can understand why the orthodox mind is against me. I am preparing their graveyard, and I am preparing for something new. I am preparing a garden for the new. You are to open your hearts for the new. Uproot all the weeds of the old, drop all the conditionings that the old has given to you, so you can receive the new. sos114
I teach a new man, a new humanity, a new concept of being in the world. I proclaim Homo novus. The old man is dying, and there is no need to help it survive any more. The old man is on the deathbed: don't mourn for it—help it to die. Because only with the death of the old can the new be born. The cessation of the old is the beginning of the new.
My message to humanity is a new man. Less than that won't do. Not something modified, not something continuous with the past, but utterly discontinuous.
Man has lived up to now not truly, not authentically; man has lived a very pseudo life. Man has lived in great pathology, man has lived in great disease. And there is no need to live in this pathology—we can come out of the prison, because the prison is made by our own hands. We are in the prison because we have decided to be in the prison—because we have believed that the prison is not a prison but our home.
My message to humanity is: Enough is enough. Awake! See what man has done to man himself. In three thousand years man has fought five thousand wars. You cannot call this humanity healthy. And only once in a while has a Buddha bloomed. If in the garden only once in a while a plant brings a flower, and otherwise the whole garden remains without flowers, will you call it a garden? Something very basic has gone wrong. Each person is born to be a Buddha: less than that is not going to fulfill you.
I declare to you your Buddhahood.

You ask: How can I become the new man that You speak about?
When I say the new man, I mean the conscious man. Humanity cannot be saved if the conscious man does not arrive. In the past it was not so necessary, but now it is absolutely necessary, it is a must. If the new man does not arrive on the earth, if more and more people are not going to become conscious, alert, awake, then this earth is doomed. Its fate is in the hand of the stupid politicians, and now they have immense power of destruction, such as they never had before. That is something new.
Just five years ago they had so much power that they could have killed every single human being seven times—although you don't need to kill any human being seven times, once is enough. We had five years ago so much atomic energy—atom bombs, hydrogen bombs—that we could have destroyed this earth seven times. And within five years we have really progressed—now it is seven hundred times! We can destroy seven hundred earths like this earth, and we go on piling up…. And any moment, any mad politician can trigger the process of self-destruction.
The coming twenty years are going to be the most dangerous in the whole history of humanity; it has never been so dangerous—we are sitting on a volcano. Only more consciousness, more alertness can save it; there is no other way. We have to de-automatize man. The society automatizes you. It creates efficient machines, not human beings.
My effort here is to de-automatize you. I am doing something absolutely antisocial. The society makes you a machine and my effort is to undo it. I would like this fire to spread and reach to all the nooks and corners of the earth, to help as many people as possible to be conscious. If in a great quantity consciousness grows on the earth, there is a possibility, a hope, we can save humanity yet. All is not lost, but time is running short. Everything is being controlled by politicians and by computers, and both are dangerous. Politicians are mad. It is impossible to be a politician if you are not mad enough. You have to be absolutely insane, because only insane people are power-obsessed.
A sane person lives life joyously; he is not power-obsessed. He may be interested in music, in singing, in dancing, but he is not interested in dominating anybody. He may be interested in becoming a master of himself, but he is not interested in becoming a master of others.
Politicians are insane people. History is enough proof. And now computers are dominating. You know the saying: To err is human…. That is true, but if you really want to create a great mess, human beings are not enough—you need computers. Now machines and mad people are dominating the whole world. We have to change the very foundation. That's what I mean by a new man.
A new man means more conscious, more loving, more creative. This whole process is possible through being more meditative. Become more meditative, silent, still. Experience yourself deeply. In that experience, a fragrance will be released through you. And if many many people become meditators, the earth can be full of a new perfume.

August 1978

Thursday, January 23, 2014

in Memoriam Tao: Claudio Abbado

Claudio Abbado in Memoriam (26.06.1933 - 20.01.2014)
Gustav Mahler, "Adagietto", Symphony No 5
Lucerne Festival Orchestra

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Tao party

Golders Green Crematorium, Golders Green, Greater London, England
The ashes are buried under a rosebush, plot #39802. The rosebed is located at the far end of the crematorium complex,
next to the Chapel of Memory columbarium.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

the Tao Book: inside information - II


This feeling of being lonely and very temporary visitors in the universe is in flat contradiction to everything known about man (and all other living organisms) in the sciences. We do not "come into" this world; we come out of it, as leaves from a tree. As the ocean "waves," the universe "peoples." Every individual is an expression of the whole realm of nature, a unique action of the total universe. This fact is rarely, if ever, experienced by most individuals. Even those who know it to be true in theory do not sense or feel it, but continue to be aware of themselves as isolated "egos" inside bags of skin.
The first result of this illusion is that our attitude to the world "outside" us is largely hostile. We are forever "conquering" nature, space, mountains, deserts, bacteria, and insects instead of learning to cooperate with them in a harmonious order. In America the great symbols of this conquest are the bulldozer and the rocket—the instrument that batters the hills into flat tracts for little boxes made of ticky-tacky and the great phallic projectile that blasts the sky. (Nonetheless, we have fine architects who know how to fit houses into hills without ruining the landscape, and astronomers who know that the earth is already way out in space, and that our first need for exploring other worlds is sensitive electronic instruments which, like our eyes, will bring the most distant objects into our own brains.)(1) The hostile attitude of conquering nature ignores the basic interdependence of all things and events—that the world beyond the skin is actually an extension of our own bodies—and will end in destroying the very environment from which we emerge and upon which our whole life depends.
The second result of feeling that we are separate minds in an alien, and mostly stupid, universe is that we have no common sense, no way of making sense of the world upon which we are agreed in common. It's just my opinion against yours, and therefore the most aggressive and violent (and thus insensitive) propagandist makes the decisions. A muddle of conflicting opinions united by force of propaganda is the worst possible source of control for a powerful technology.
It might seem, then, that our need is for some genius to invent a new religion, a philosophy of life and a view of the world, that is plausible and generally acceptable for the late twentieth century, and through which every individual can feel that the world as a whole and his own life in particular have meaning. This, as history has shown repeatedly, is not enough. Religions are divisive and quarrelsome. They are a form of one-upmanship because they depend upon separating the "saved" from the "damned," the true believers from the heretics, the in-group from the out-group. Even religious liberals play the game of "we're-moretolerant-than-you." Furthermore, as systems of doctrine, symbolism, and behavior, religions harden into institutions that must command loyalty, be defended and kept "pure," and—because all belief is fervent hope, and thus a cover-up for doubt and uncertainty—religions must make converts. The more people who agree with us, the less nagging insecurity about our position. In the end one is committed to being a Christian or a Buddhist come what may in the form of new knowledge. New and indigestible ideas have to be wangled into the religious tradition, however inconsistent with its original doctrines, so that the believer can still take his stand and assert, "I am first and foremost a follower of Christ/Mohammed/Buddha, or whomever." Irrevocable commitment to any religion is not only intellectual suicide; it is positive unfaith because it closes the mind to any new vision of the world. Faith is, above all, open-ness—an act of trust in the unknown.
An ardent Jehovah's Witness once tried to convince me that if there were a God of love, he would certainly provide mankind with a reliable and infallible textbook for the guidance of conduct. I replied that no considerate God would destroy the human mind by making it so rigid and unadaptable as to depend upon one book, the Bible, for all the answers. For the use of words, and thus of a book, is to point beyond themselves to a world of life and experience that is not mere words or even ideas. Just as money is not real, consumable wealth, books are not life. To idolize scriptures is like eating paper currency.
Therefore The Book that I would like to slip to my children would itself be slippery. It would slip them into a new domain, not of ideas alone, but of experience and feeling. It would be a temporary medicine, not a diet; a point of departure, not a perpetual point of reference. They would read it and be done with it, for if it were well and clearly written they would not have to go back to it again and again for hidden meanings or for clarification of obscure doctrines.

"AlanWatts was not a buddha, but he could be one day. He has moved closer to it. THE BOOK is tremendously important. It is his testament, his whole experience with Zen masters, Zen classics. And he is a man of tremendous intelligence; he was also a drunkard. Intelligence plus wine have really created a juicy book."

the Tao Book: inside information - I

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

the Tao Book: inside information - I


THIS BOOK explores an unrecognized but mighty taboo—our tacit conspiracy to ignore who, or what, we really are. Briefly, the thesis is that the prevalent sensation of oneself as a separate ego enclosed in a bag of skin is a hallucination which accords neither with Western science nor with the experimental philosophy-religions of the East—in particular the central and germinal Vedanta philosophy of Hinduism. This hallucination underlies the misuse of technology for the violent subjugation of man's natural environment and, consequently, its eventual destruction.
We are therefore in urgent need of a sense of our own existence which is in accord with the physical facts and which overcomes our feeling of alienation from the universe. For this purpose I have drawn on the insights of Vedanta, stating them, however, in a completely modern and Western style—so that this volume makes no attempt to be a textbook on or introduction to Vedanta in the ordinary sense. It is rather a cross-fertilization of Western science with an Eastern intuition.

Sausalito, California                                                                                                  ALAN WATTS
January, 1966


JUST WHAT should a young man or woman know in order to be "in the know"? Is there, in other words, some inside information, some special taboo, some real lowdown on life and existence that most parents and teachers either don't know or won't tell?
In Japan it was once customary to give young people about to be married a "pillow book." This was a small volume of wood-block prints, often colored, showing all the details of sexual intercourse. It wasn't just that, as the Chinese say, "one picture is worth ten thousand words." It was also that it spared parents the embarrassment of explaining these intimate matters face-to-face. But today in the West you can get such information at any newsstand. Sex is no longer a serious taboo. Teenagers sometimes know more about it than adults.
But if sex is no longer the big taboo, what is? For there is always something taboo, something repressed, unadmitted, or just glimpsed quickly out of the corner of one's eye because a direct look is too unsettling. Taboos lie within taboos, like the skins of an onion. What, then, would be The Book which fathers might slip to their sons and mothers to their daughters, without ever admitting it openly?
In some circles there is a strong taboo on religion, even in circles where people go to church or read the Bible. Here, religion is one's own private business. It is bad form or uncool to talk or argue about it, and very bad indeed to make a big show of piety. Yet when you get in on the inside of almost any standard-brand religion, you wonder what on earth the hush was about. Surely The Book I have in mind wouldn't be the Bible, "the Good Book"—that fascinating anthology of ancient wisdom, history, and fable which has for so long been treated as a Sacred Cow that it might well be locked up for a century or two so that men could hear it again with clean ears. There are indeed secrets in the Bible, and some very subversive ones, but they are all so muffled up in complications, in archaic symbols and ways of thinking, that Christianity has become incredibly difficult to explain to a modern person. That is, unless you are content to water it down to being good and trying to imitate Jesus, but no one ever explains just how to do that. To do it you must have a particular power from God known as "grace," but all that we really know about grace is that some get it, and some don't.
The standard-brand religions, whether Jewish, Christian, Mohammedan, Hindu, or Buddhist, are—as now practiced—like exhausted mines: very hard to dig. With some exceptions not too easily found, their ideas about man and the world, their imagery, their rites, and their notions of the good life don't seem to fit in with the universe as we now know it, or with a human world that is changing so rapidly that much of what one learns in school is already obsolete on graduation day.
The Book I am thinking about would not be religious in the usual sense, but it would have to discuss many things with which religions have been concerned—the universe and man's place in it, the mysterious center of experience which we call "I myself," the problems of life and love, pain and death, and the whole question of whether existence has meaning in any sense of the word. For there is a growing apprehension that existence is a rat-race in a trap: living organisms, including people, are merely tubes which put things in at one end and let them out at the other, which both keeps them doing it and in the long run wears them out. So to keep the farce going, the tubes find ways of making new tubes, which also put things in at one end and let them out at the other. At the input end they even develop ganglia of nerves called brains, with eyes and ears, so that they can more easily scrounge around for things to swallow. As and when they get enough to eat, they use up their surplus energy by wiggling in complicated patterns, making all sorts of noises by blowing air in and out of the input hole, and gathering together in groups to fight with other groups. In time, the tubes grow such an abundance of attached appliances that they are hardly recognizable as mere tubes, and they manage to do this in a staggering variety of forms. There is a vague rule not to eat tubes of your own form, but in general there is serious competition as to who is going to be the top type of tube. All this seems marvelously futile, and yet, when you begin to think about it, it begins to be more marvelous than futile. Indeed, it seems extremely odd.
It is a special kind of enlightenment to have this feeling that the usual, the way things normally are, is odd—uncanny and highly improbable. G. K. Chesterton once said that it is one thing to be amazed at a gorgon or a griffin, creatures which do not exist; but it is quite another and much higher thing to be amazed at a rhinoceros or a giraffe, creatures which do exist and look as if they don't. This feeling of universal oddity includes a basic and intense wondering about the sense of things. Why, of all possible worlds, this colossal and apparently unnecessary multitude of galaxies in a mysteriously curved space-time continuum, these myriads of differing tube-species playing frantic games of one-upmanship, these numberless ways of "doing it" from the elegant architecture of the snow crystal or the diatom to the startling magnificence of the lyrebird or the peacock?
Ludwig Wittgenstein and other modern "logical" philosophers have tried to suppress this question by saying that it has no meaning and ought not to be asked. Most philosophical problems are to be solved by getting rid of them, by coming to the point where you see that such questions as "Why this universe?" are a kind of intellectual neurosis, a misuse of words in that the question sounds sensible but is actually as meaningless as asking "Where is this universe?" when the only things that are anywhere must be somewhere inside the universe. The task of philosophy is to cure people of such nonsense. Wittgenstein, as we shall see, had a point there. Nevertheless, wonder is not a disease. Wonder, and its expression in poetry and the arts, are among the most important things which seem to distinguish men from other animals, and intelligent and sensitive people from morons.
Is there, then, some kind of a lowdown on this astounding scheme of things, something that never really gets out through the usual channels for the Answer—the historic religions and philosophies? There is. It has been said again and again, but in such a fashion that we, today, in this particular civilization do not hear it. We do not realize that it is utterly subversive, not so much in the political and moral sense, as in that it turns our ordinary view of things, our common sense, inside out and upside down. It may of course have political and moral consequences, but as yet we have no clear idea of what they may be. Hitherto this inner revolution of the mind has been confined to rather isolated individuals; it has never, to my knowledge, been widely characteristic of communities or societies. It has often been thought too dangerous for that. Hence the taboo.
But the world is in an extremely dangerous situation, and serious diseases often require the risk of a dangerous cure—like the Pasteur serum for rabies. It is not that we may simply blow up the planet with nuclear bombs, strangle ourselves with overpopulation, destroy our natural resources through poor conservation, or ruin the soil and its products with improperly understood chemicals and pesticides. Beyond all these is the possibility that civilization may be a huge technological success, but through methods that most people will find baffling, frightening, and disorienting—because, for one reason alone, the methods will keep changing. It may be like playing a game in which the rules are constantly changed without ever being made clear—a game from which one cannot withdraw without suicide, and in which one can never return to an older form of the game.
But the problem of man and technics is almost always stated in the wrong way. It is said that humanity has evolved one-sidedly, growing in technical power without any comparable growth in moral integrity, or, as some would prefer to say, without comparable progress in education and rational thinking. Yet the problem is more basic. The root of the matter is the way in which we feel and conceive ourselves as human beings, our sensation of being alive, of individual existence and identity. We suffer from a hallucination, from a false and distorted sensation of our own existence as living organisms. Most of us have the sensation that "I myself" is a separate center of feeling and action, living inside and bounded by the physical body—a center which "confronts" an "external" world of people and things, making contact through the senses with a universe both alien and strange. Everyday figures of speech reflect this illusion. "I came into this world." "You must face reality." "The conquest of nature."

Thursday, April 18, 2013

the Tao of Mirdad

There are millions of books in the world, but The Book of Mirdad stands out far above any other book in existence.
It is unfortunate that very few people are acquainted with The Book of Mirdad for the simple reason that it is not a religious scripture. It is a parable, a fiction, but containing oceanic truth.
It is a small book, but the man who gave birth to this book... and mind my words, I am not saying "the man who wrote this book." Nobody wrote this book. I am saying the man who gave birth to this book - he was an unknown, a nobody. And because he was not a novelist, he never wrote again; just that single book contains his whole experience.
The name of the man was Mikhail Naimy.
It is an extraordinary book in the sense that you can read it and miss it completely, because the meaning of the book is not in the words of the book. The meaning of the book is running side by side in silence between the words, between the lines, in the gaps.
If you are in a state of meditativeness - if you are not only reading a fiction but you are encountering the whole religious experience of a great human being, absorbing it; not intellectually understanding but existentially drinking it - the words are there but they become secondary. Something else becomes primary: the silence that those words create, the music that those words create. The words affect your mind, and the music goes directly to your heart.
And it is a book to be read by the heart, not by the mind. It is a book not to be understood, but experienced. It is something phenomenal.
Millions of people have tried to write books so that they can express the inexpressible, but they have utterly failed. I know only one book, The Book of Mirdad, which has not failed; and if you cannot get to the very essence of it, it will be your failure, not his.
He has created a perfect device of words, parables, situations. If you allow it, the book becomes alive and something starts happening to your being. And naturally, because you have never come to such a state, you are puzzled about what it is - sadness? blissfulness? There are tears, but those tears can be either of sadness or they can be of immense joy.
You have come to a point where you have never been before, so naturally you cannot categorize it. You cannot put a label on it according to your old experiences. But the name does not mean anything. What matters is that you have taken a step beyond yourself. You have never been in this space; you have entered into the unknown, and it is so unknown that you don't have the vocabulary even to give it a name.
Just see the point: It may look like sadness... because for the first time in your life you will become aware that up to now you have not been alive. Life has happened today.
And it brings a great sadness... you were alive - but knowing this new experience, your whole life becomes so mundane, so meaningless, that it is better to say that it was more death than life. And a sadness arises that, "Why could I not reach this space before?" It is so close - just a step beyond the boundaries of your old mind and the whole sky with all its stars becomes available. You were confined in such a small prison - and nobody was imprisoning you. You were the prisoner and you were the imprisoned. You were the jailer and you were the jailed. Naturally... a sadness, looking to the past.
But looking to the present... a great blissfulness, a peace that passeth understanding, a silence that is not just the opposite of sound... a silence which is absence of sound, not the opposite of sound. A music without any instruments, a song without any words....
For the first time you start feeling that, "Up to now I have been living in the head; and only this moment the doors of my heart are open."
There is an old Chinese story. Because of the story a proverb has come into existence - that when the musician becomes perfect, he burns his instruments; they become not only useless, they become a nuisance because they only create noise. Only between the noise are there a few moments of music - why not have it all?
And when the archer becomes a perfect master, he drops his bow and his arrows and forgets all about it. A strange proverb - because ordinarily we think that when we become perfect our instruments will also attain a perfection with us; their working will also become perfect.

Monday, March 18, 2013

the song of Tao

Tilopa (988 – 1069) was an indian mahasiddha of Vajrayana Buddhism and developer of the set of spiritual practices of the tibetan tantrism known as Mahamudra.
The Song of Mahamudra, addressed to his disciple Nāropā, expresses what is inexpressible - "beyond all words and symbols" - which represents the supreme understanding, where the subject which knows and the object which is known disappear and only knowledge remains:

Mahamudra is beyond all words and symbols,
but for you Naropa,
earnest and loyal,
must this be said:

The Void needs no reliance,
Mahamudra rest on nought.
Without making an effort,
but remaining loose and natural,
one can break the yoke -
thus gaining liberation.

If one sees naught when staring into space;
if with the mind one then observes the mind,
one destroys distinctions
and reaches buddahood.

The clouds that wander through the sky have no roots,
no home, nor do the distinctive thoughts
floating through the mind.
Once the Self-mind is seen,
discrimination stops.

In space shapes and colours form,
but neither by black nor white is space tinged.
From the Self-mind all things emerge,
the mind by virtues and by vices is not stained.

The darkness of ages
cannot shroud the glowing sun,
the long kalpas of samsara
never can hide the mind’s brilliant light.

Though words are spoken to explain the void,
the void as such can never be expressed.
Though we say “the mind is bright as light”,
it is beyond all words and symbols.
Although the mind is void in essence,
all things it embraces and contains.

Do nought with the body but relax;
shut firm the mouth and silent remain;
empty your mind and think of nought.
Like a hollow bamboo rest at ease with your body.
Giving not nor taking, put your mind at rest.
Mahamudra is like a mind that clings to nought.
Thus practicing, in time you will reach buddhahood.

The practice of mantra and pāramitā,
instruction in the sutras and precepts,
and teaching from the schools and scriptures,
will not bring realization of the innate truth.
For if the mind when filled with some desire
should seek a goal,
it only hides the light.

He who keeps tantric precepts, yet discriminates,
betrays the spirit of samaya.
Cease all activity, abandon all desire,
let thoughts rise and fall
as they will like ocean waves.
He who never harms the non-abiding,
nor the principle of non-distinction,
upholds the tantric precepts.

He who abandons craving
and clings not to this and that,
perceives the real meaning given in the scriptures.

In Mahamudra all one’s sins are burned;
in Mahamudra one is released
from the prison of this world.
This is the dharma’s supreme torch.
Those who disbelieve it are fools,
who ever wallow in misery and sorrow.

To strive for liberation
one should rely on a guru.
When our mind receives his blessings
emancipation is at hand.

Alas,all things in the world are meaningless,
they are but sorrow’s seeds.
Small teachings lead to acts -
one should only follow teachings that are great.

To transcend duality is the kingly view.
To conquer distractions is the royal practice.
The path of no-practice is the way of all the buddhas.
He who treads that path reaches buddhahood.

Transient is this world,
like phantoms and dreams, substance it has none.
Renounce it and forsake your kin,
cut the strings of lust and hatred,
and meditate in woods and mountains.

If without effort
you remain loosely in the natural state,
soon Mahamudra you will win
and attain the non-attainment.

Cut the root of a tree and the leaves will wither;
cut the root of your mind and samsara falls.
The light of any lamp dispels in a moment
the darkness of long kalpas;
the strong light of the Mind in but a flash
will burn the veil of ignorance.

Who ever clings to the mind
sees not the truth of what is beyond the mind.
Whoever strives to practice dharma
finds not the truth of beyond-practice.
To know what is beyond both mind and practice
one should cut cleanly through the root of the mind
and stare naked.
One should thus break away from all distinctions
and remain at ease.

One should not give or take,
but remain natural - for Mahamudra
is beyond all acceptance and rejection.
Since Alaya is not born,
no one can obstruct or soil it;
staying in the unborn realm
all appearance will dissolve into dharmata,
and self-will and pride will vanish into nought.

The Supreme Understanding
transcends all this and that;
The supreme action
embraces great resourcefulness without attachment.
The supreme accomplishment
is to realize immanence without hope.

At first a yogi feels his mind
is tumbling like a waterfall,
in mid-course, like the Ganges,
it flows on slow and gentle;
in the end it is a great vast ocean
where the lights of son and mother merge in one.

The experience of the ultimate is not an experience at all – because the experiencer is lost. And when there is no experiencer, what can be said about it? Who will say it? Who will relate the experience? When there is no subject, the object also disappears – the banks disappear, only the river of experience remains. Knowledge is there, but the knower is not.

That has been the problem for all the mystics. They reach to the ultimate, but they cannot relate it to those who are following. They cannot relate it to others who would like to have an intellectual understanding. They have become one with it. Their whole being relates it, but no intellectual communication is possible. They can give it to you if you are ready to receive; they can allow it to happen in you if you also allow it, if you are receptive and open. But words won’t do, symbols won’t help; theories and doctrines are of no use at all.

The experience is such that it is more like an experiencing than like an experience. It is a process – and it begins, but it never ends. You enter into it, but you never possess it. It is like a drop dropping in the ocean, or, the ocean itself dropping into the drop. It is a deep merger, it is oneness, you simply melt away into it. Nothing is left behind, not even a trace, so who will communicate? Who will come back to the world of the valley? Who will come back to this dark night to tell you?

All the mystics all over the world have always felt impotent as far as communication is concerned. Communion is possible, but communication, no. This has to be understood from the very beginning. A communion is a totally different dimension: two hearts meet, it is a love affair. Communication is from head to head; communion is from heart to heart, communion is a feeling. Communication is knowledge: only words are given, only words are said, and only words are taken and understood. And words are such: the very nature of words is so dead that nothing alive can be related through them. Even in ordinary life, leave aside the ultimate, even in ordinary experiencing when you have a peak moment, an ecstatic moment, when you really feel something and become something, it becomes impossible to relate it in words.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

the imperial touch of Tap

Vladimir Ashkenazy, third movement "Rondo"
Beethoven´s Piano Concerto No. 5 "Emperor".
London´s Royal Festival Hall 1974.
London Philharmonic Orchestra conducted by Bernard Haitink.

Monday, February 18, 2013

the merry touch of Tao

Vladimir Horowitz
Mozart's Piano Concerto No.23 in A Major-K. 488-Allegro
The Orchestra of La Scala, Director:Carlo Maria Giulini
Burial site in the crypt of Toscanini family, his father-in-law Arturo Toscanini.
Cimitero Monumentale, Milano, Italy

The Horowitz Website

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

tribute to Tao: Pandit Ravi Shankar

It is with heavy hearts we write to inform you that Pandit Ravi Shankar, husband, father, and musical soul, passed away today, December 11th, 2012.
As you all know, his health has been fragile for the past several years and on Thursday he underwent a surgery that could have potentially given him a new lease of life. Unfortunately, despite the best efforts of the surgeons and doctors taking care of him, his body was not able to withstand the strain of the surgery. We were at his side when he passed away.
We know that you all feel our loss with us, and we thank you for all of your prayers and good wishes through this difficult time. Although it is a time for sorrow and sadness, it is also a time for all of us to give thanks and to be grateful that we were able to have him as a part of our lives. His spirit and his legacy will live on forever in our hearts and in his music.
- Sukanya & Anoushka Shankar

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Tao and the selfish

The Sufi teaching story, "Bayazid and the Selfish Man", shows how difficult it is for an adult to free himself from the power of ordinary consciousness and consensus reality, even when he believes he wants to:
One day a man reproached Bayazid, the great mystic of the ninth century, saying that he had fasted and prayed and so on for thirty years and not found the joy which Bayazid described.

Bayazid told him that he might continue for three hundred years and still not find it.

"How is that?" asked the would-be illuminate.

"Because your vanity is a barrier to you."

"Tell me the remedy."

"The remedy is one which you cannot take."

"Tell me, nevertheless."

Bayazid said: "You must go to the barber and have your (respectable) beard shaved. Remove all your clothes and put a girdle around yourself. Fill a nosebag with walnuts and suspend it from your neck. Go to the marketplace and call out: 'A walnut will I give to any boy who will strike me on the back of neck.' Then continue to the justices'session so that they may see you."

"But I cannot do that; please tell me something else that would do as well."

"This is the first move, and the only one", said Bayazid, "but I had already told you that you would not do it; so you cannot be cured."
Shrine of Bayazid Bastami in Bastam near Shahroud.