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The Spiritual

"If you begin to understand what you are without trying to change it, then what you are undergoes a transformation"
J.Krishnamurthi


"Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves - slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future; Live the actual moment. Only this moment is life"
Thich Nhat Hahn


"From the first, nothing is"
Buddha


"A donkey with a load of holy books is still a donkey"
Sufi Proverb


"If you begin to understand what you are without trying to change it, then what you are undergoes a transformation"
J.Krishnamurthi


"Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves - slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future; Live the actual moment. Only this moment is life"
Thich Nhat Hahn


"From the first, nothing is"
Buddha


"A donkey with a load of holy books is still a donkey"
Sufi Proverb


"If you begin to understand what you are without trying to change it, then what you are undergoes a transformation"
J.Krishnamurthi


"Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves - slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future; Live the actual moment. Only this moment is life"
Thich Nhat Hahn


"From the first, nothing is"
Buddha


"A donkey with a load of holy books is still a donkey"
Sufi Proverb


"If you begin to understand what you are without trying to change it, then what you are undergoes a transformation"
J.Krishnamurthi


"Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves - slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future; Live the actual moment. Only this moment is life"
Thich Nhat Hahn


"From the first, nothing is"
Buddha


"A donkey with a load of holy books is still a donkey"
Sufi Proverb


"If you begin to understand what you are without trying to change it, then what you are undergoes a transformation"
J.Krishnamurthi


"Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves - slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future; Live the actual moment. Only this moment is life"
Thich Nhat Hahn


"From the first, nothing is"
Buddha


"A donkey with a load of holy books is still a donkey"
Sufi Proverb


"If you begin to understand what you are without trying to change it, then what you are undergoes a transformation"
J.Krishnamurthi


"Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves - slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future; Live the actual moment. Only this moment is life"
Thich Nhat Hahn


"From the first, nothing is"
Buddha


"A donkey with a load of holy books is still a donkey"
Sufi Proverb


"If you begin to understand what you are without trying to change it, then what you are undergoes a transformation"
J.Krishnamurthi


"Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves - slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future; Live the actual moment. Only this moment is life"
Thich Nhat Hahn


"From the first, nothing is"
Buddha


"A donkey with a load of holy books is still a donkey"
Sufi Proverb


"If you begin to understand what you are without trying to change it, then what you are undergoes a transformation"
J.Krishnamurthi


"Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves - slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future; Live the actual moment. Only this moment is life"
Thich Nhat Hahn


"From the first, nothing is"
Buddha


"A donkey with a load of holy books is still a donkey"
Sufi Proverb


"If you begin to understand what you are without trying to change it, then what you are undergoes a transformation"
J.Krishnamurthi


"Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves - slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future; Live the actual moment. Only this moment is life"
Thich Nhat Hahn


"From the first, nothing is"
Buddha


"A donkey with a load of holy books is still a donkey"
Sufi Proverb


"If you begin to understand what you are without trying to change it, then what you are undergoes a transformation"
J.Krishnamurthi


"Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves - slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future; Live the actual moment. Only this moment is life"
Thich Nhat Hahn


"From the first, nothing is"
Buddha


"A donkey with a load of holy books is still a donkey"
Sufi Proverb


"If you begin to understand what you are without trying to change it, then what you are undergoes a transformation"
J.Krishnamurthi


"Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves - slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future; Live the actual moment. Only this moment is life"
Thich Nhat Hahn


"From the first, nothing is"
Buddha


"A donkey with a load of holy books is still a donkey"
Sufi Proverb


"If you begin to understand what you are without trying to change it, then what you are undergoes a transformation"
J.Krishnamurthi


"Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves - slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future; Live the actual moment. Only this moment is life"
Thich Nhat Hahn


"From the first, nothing is"
Buddha


"A donkey with a load of holy books is still a donkey"
Sufi Proverb


"If you begin to understand what you are without trying to change it, then what you are undergoes a transformation"
J.Krishnamurthi


"Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves - slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future; Live the actual moment. Only this moment is life"
Thich Nhat Hahn


"From the first, nothing is"
Buddha


"A donkey with a load of holy books is still a donkey"
Sufi Proverb


"If you begin to understand what you are without trying to change it, then what you are undergoes a transformation"
J.Krishnamurthi


"Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves - slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future; Live the actual moment. Only this moment is life"
Thich Nhat Hahn


"From the first, nothing is"
Buddha


"A donkey with a load of holy books is still a donkey"
Sufi Proverb


"If you begin to understand what you are without trying to change it, then what you are undergoes a transformation"
J.Krishnamurthi


"Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves - slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future; Live the actual moment. Only this moment is life"
Thich Nhat Hahn


"From the first, nothing is"
Buddha


"A donkey with a load of holy books is still a donkey"
Sufi Proverb


"If you begin to understand what you are without trying to change it, then what you are undergoes a transformation"
J.Krishnamurthi


"Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves - slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future; Live the actual moment. Only this moment is life"
Thich Nhat Hahn


"From the first, nothing is"
Buddha


"A donkey with a load of holy books is still a donkey"
Sufi Proverb


Random Thoughts

In Search of Spirituality: From Here to Nowhere

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There is a parable in the ancient Buddhist texts. One wealthy young man became inclined towards spirituality and went in search of a master to learn meditation techniques. He heard of a Zen master living on top of a hill just outside his village. Curious, he went to enquire about the master and knocked on his door.

“Who is this?” Came a sharp enquiry.
The young man announced his name.
“Go Away. I have no time for you?” The master replied.

He hurried back to his home thinking he might have somehow offended the great master. His family was quite wealthy and known around the province. He pondered the situation that night and came to the conclusion that the master had not properly identified him, and perhaps taken him for some stray visitor. He waited until the sun was up and went to the hill once again and knocked.

“Who is this?” The master asked from behind the doors.
This time the young man added the names of his father and the clan to his name to make it a proper introduction.
“Don’t waste my time. Get Lost?” The voice was harsher than the day before.

Worried, he went home and wondered what could have gone wrong? For next seven days, he followed the same ritual and presented himself as elaborately and differently as he could each time to satisfy the master. None worked. His mind got completely engrossed in the problem. Exasperated, he took a break from all his normal activities, sat under a tree and decided to carefully ponder the problem. He knew that there was an error somewhere. Then, one night it suddenly occurred to him. Calm and smiling, he waited until the sun was up next morning and went to see the great master.

He reached his hut and knocked.
“Who asks my audience?” The master enquired.
“I wish to know that myself, the great master, that is why I seek your blessings.” The young man replied calmly.
The door opened and the master accepted him as his new pupil.

This is just the beginning. Our ego primarily stands on the pillars of numerous social identities that we have created in order to distinguish our material existence in the society. We have been given so many titles, roles, identities and personalities that we start believing and living in those illusory domains without knowing about our natural self. It is like an actor playing the role of a king in a movie and never coming out of that role. The movie goes on, so the dream. Self realization is nothing but a realization of the dual state of mind that keeps us away from our natural, integral self. Then again, to use the word “self” is not right because it portrays another identity. The key is to become aware of the dual nature of the mind and witness the thought process that creates our ego. The inevitable question will then arrive, “who is doing things and who is the one watching”? If they are both “me” then who I really am? The thinking mind, and the ego, can produce numerous arguments and confusions when it comes to logically define the spirituality. To become aware of this very nature of mind and look for the answers is the beginning.

Our ego, the false identity of “me” that rests primarily on thoughts, ideas, beliefs and perceptions is the biggest obstacle to spiritual enlightenment. Spiritual enlightenment is not some word?bound information of what?is?what or who?is?who that can simply be read, understood and believed. It is also not some sort of self?discovery, as many today believe, that comes with a higher vision of life and a sense of exhilaration. It is also not a logical interpretation of terms such as consciousness, energy or knowledge. May be there is some sort of consciousness, some energy in the universe, not necessarily described through these names, but it is not in the form that we think or believe. As long as we “think” or “contemplate” something, we go in an imaginary world where we try desperately to put some information together. This is the dilemma of present day, so?called new?age spirituality. Without first knowing who is this “me” that wants to know things, we want to “know” the truth and “become spiritual”.

Watts (1966) has beautifully illustrated in his poem;

There was a young man who said,
“Though It seems that I know that I know,
What I would like to see Is the “I” that knows “me”
When I know that I know that I know.”

If you want to “become” spiritual, it is an impossible thing to do. It would not seem impossible, though, if you think about it. The books are there, methods are there. You can sit cross?legged, mediate and after some practice you will start experiencing some strange things. You might find yourself wandering in the space amidst stars or sink to the core of the earth in one tantalizing experience. There are plenty of new?age gurus available today who can make you have one of these experiences or the other. There are others who will “awaken” your powers and take you to the other “realms” of the universe. These thought?based, thought?induced experiences make you believe that the ultimate truth is “knowable” or “achievable” as well. That is where the thinking and logical mind takes precedence over natural human processes.

This also brings the science in perspective in which the scientists claim that these so?called ‘spiritual” experiences are nothing but stimulation of certain brain cells. They have succeeded in achieving the similar sense of “spirituality” by inducing and copying the similar brain cell responses externally through instruments in people. In a most recent development, a researcher has developed a video game that is controlled by thoughts. Various sensors are connected to the finger tips and other parts of the body and as the players react to a situation on the screen, the sensations are relayed through the sensors to the game. Some might look at it as a tremendous achievement. I would say that this is another proof of the existence of the thinking mind and its capacity to produce mental sensations.

As long as we do not distinguish between the brain and the mind as two separate entities, such experiments will appear as another “mind power”. However, if we just step back for a moment and think carefully, we will realize that the mind that we think as so “powerful” has no control whatsoever over the normal human life. Who is controlling and managing the vital organs and complex systems of the human body? If “me” is so intelligent and knowledgeable as to make “decisions” and pass “judgments”, does “me” have any say in how the body functions? Does “me” think to breathe, circulate blood, digest food and keep the organs working? If not, then who is the one doing all these things? If the brain ran on thoughts, we would not be alive more than a few minutes. Look closely, you will realize that the thinking mind, or “me” is separate from the natural, thoughtless and sensitive brain. The body and the brain are true, as true in existence as the trees, mountains and seas. But the one we think lives inside the body is not true. It is just the thinking. We have imposed our thinking mind or ego or “I” on the natural process of the body and brain.

I wish to reproduce a conversation between Zen master Hui?chung and his disciple Ling?chiao (Suzuki, 1972);
Q. “I have left my home to become a monk, and my aspiration is to attain Buddhahood. How should I use my mind?”
A. “Buddhahood is attained when there is no mind which is to be used for the task.”
Q. “When there is no mind to be used for the task, who can ever attain Buddhahood?”
A. “By no?mind the task is accomplished by itself. Buddha, too, has no mind.”

What the ancient Buddhists termed as no?mind refers to the human brain void of all the thoughts. Thoughtlessness is the key. As long as “I” am there to know or experience “something”, it will only be an illusion.

Before we worry about the God, nature, consciousness or energy, we should first become aware of our mental activities. Since our present mind is completely engrossed in thinking, justifying logic and interpreting things, the quest to find the truth will have to start with a mental note. The basic realization should dawn that “I”, the ego or “me” that I know as “myself” is nothing but a perception of the personality based on thoughts, ideals, beliefs, preferences and choices – all thought?based mental activities in themselves. Today, most people do not want to give up their egos. Indeed, it is very hard to imagine how a person can live in the society without a title, role, status or standing. Giving up ego seems like giving up all that has been created for the world – the presentation of the self or the smokescreen called “personality” that hangs between us and the world. No, people do not want to lose their identity. On the contrary, they do everything to preserve and strengthen it by all means. The opposite is not so different, though. Lots of people also believe that “giving up” the world is another way of achieving self?realization. One may easily give up material things but the ego may still remain intact ? only the situation changes. It is like going from one dream to another.

The question that troubles most of the people is, “if I, as an ego, am a thought?based illusion, how can “I’ free myself from myself?” In other words, if for an instance I do accept that if I am myself an illusion, how can an illusion free itself from itself? Confusing? Not really. The conversation between Zen master Hui?Chung and his disciple Ling?Chiao is the answer. It is a scary situation for the mind. I am here, eager to know the truth, ready to take a plunge into the divine spiritual lake. But, wait a minute, when the truth really dawns, “I” will not be there? Whoever will then ever know what really happened? If “I” cannot know what freedom is then what is the purpose of the whole thing? That is the dilemma that has caught the imagination of everybody from Freud to Deepak Chopra. Our society is so strongly based on personalities that we still embrace people gone centuries ago. How can then, someone talk about giving up identity, personality and all that social status things? Spirituality is considered a desired wisdom indeed. However, we wish that it comes as another add?on to our existing social status. This is the mind talking. As long as the mind thinks, spirituality will only remain a concept.

Spirituality cannot be achieved by literally giving up things. If the brain is in its natural thoughtless state and the ego is absent, you have something, or you do not, will not make any difference. When there is no acceptance and no rejection, the thing in itself becomes indeterminate. Things in themselves have no qualities. We put thoughts into them – good, bad, nice, ugly, bright, beautiful, square, round and so on – all arising from individual perceptions and beliefs. We do not hesitate to simply label something “good” or “not good” straight away. We even do not think before saying, “it’s a good day today.” The day can neither be good nor bad. It is the way it is. You may see it through your mind as you wish. But that is your perception only which has nothing to do with reality. When mind vanishes, the concept of good and bad vanishes as well. Then, what is or isn’t does not make any difference for the choice has disappeared.

When you become a self?realized entity you will yourself not know, for there is no one present (and that is why you are self?realized in the first place) to experience anything. Other people will know. A basic personality (there is no other word to describe it) will be there. But that personality will not be standing on thoughts, imaginations and choices. You will still talk, but this talk will be different. Here, the one who is talking and listening will be one. Beware. Do not let these words create a dream in your mind, an imagination of self?realization. We have to face this contradiction of using words and concepts to describe a natural process that is completely devoid of them. If these words create an unknown, un?thinkable spark somewhere within you, look for its origin. As human beings, we are an integral part of the nature and naturally spiritual.

References:
Suzuki, D.T. 1972, The Zen Doctrine of No?Mind, Samual Weiser Inc., York Beach Watts A., 1966, The Book, Pantheon Books, New York

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