A Whiter Shade Of Rabbit…

Inability to accept the mystic experience is more than an intellectual handicap, lack of awareness of the basic unity of organism and environment is a serious and dangerous hallucination.—Alan Watts

“There was nothing so very remarkable in that; nor did Alice think it so very much out of the way to hear the Rabbit say to itself, `Oh dear! Oh dear! I shall be late!’ (when she thought it over afterwards, it occurred to her that she ought to have wondered at this, but at the time it all seemed quite natural); but when the Rabbit actually took a watch out of its waistcoat-pocket, and looked at it, and then hurried on, Alice started to her feet, for it flashed across her mind that she had never before seen a rabbit with either a waistcoat-pocket, or a watch to take out of it, and burning with curiosity, she ran across the field after it, and fortunately was just in time to see it pop down a large rabbit-hole under the hedge.

In another moment down went Alice after it, never once considering how in the world she was to get out again.

The rabbit-hole went straight on like a tunnel for some way, and then dipped suddenly down, so suddenly that Alice had not a moment to think about stopping herself before she found herself falling down a very deep well.

Either the well was very deep, or she fell very slowly, for she had plenty of time as she went down to look about her and to wonder what was going to happen next. First, she tried to look down and make out what she was coming to, but it was too dark to see anything; then she looked at the sides of the well, and noticed that they were filled with cupboards and book-shelves; here and there she saw maps and pictures hung upon pegs. She took down a jar from one of the shelves as she passed; it was labelled `ORANGE MARMALADE’, but to her great disappointment it was empty: she did not like to drop the jar for fear of killing somebody, so managed to put it into one of the cupboards as she fell past it.”


On The Menu

The Links

Mash Up: Alice Amphibian

INTERBEING – Thich Nhat Hanh

The Poetry Of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson

Bio of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson…




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Mash Up: Alice Amphibian…


INTERBEING – Thich Nhat Hanh

Through mindfulness we experience Interbeing

which means everything is in everything else.

Therefore, one should know that Perfect Understanding

is a great mantra, is the highest mantra,

is the unequalled mantra, the destroyer of all suffering,

the incorruptible truth. This is the mantra:

“Gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi svaha.”

A MANTRA IS something that you utter when your body, your mind and your breath are at one in deep concentration. When you dwell in that deep concentration, you look into things and see them as clearly as you see an orange that you hold in the palm of your hand. Looking deeply into the five skandhas, Avalokitesvara (the Buddha) saw the nature of inter- being and overcame all pain. He became completely liberated. It was in that state of deep concentration, of joy, of liberation, that he uttered something important. That is why his utterance is a mantra.

When two young people love each other, but the young man has not said so yet, the young lady may be waiting for three very important words. If the young man is a very responsible person, he probably wants to be sure of his feeling, and he may wait a long time before saying it. Then one day, sitting together in a park, when no one else is nearby and everything is quiet, after the two of them have been silent for a long time, he utters these three words. When the young lady hears this, she trembles, because it is such an important statement. When you say something like that with your whole being, not just with your mouth or your intellect, but with your whole being, it can transform the world. A statement that has such power of transformation is called a mantra. Alokitesvara’s mantra is

“Gate gate paragate parasamgate bodhi svaha.”

Gate means gone. Gone from suffering to the liberation of suffering. Gone from forgetfulness to mindfulness. Gone from duality into non-duality. Gate gate means gone, gone. Paragate means gone all the way to the other shore. So this mantra is said in a very strong way. Gone, gone, gone all the way over. In Parasamgate sammeans everyone, the sangha, the entire community of beings. Everyone gone over to the other shore. Bodhi is the light inside, enlightenment, or awakening. You see it and the vision of reality liberates you. And svaha is a cry of joy or excitement, like “Welcome!” or “Hallelujah!” “Gone, gone, gone all the way over, everyone gone to the other shore, enlightenment, svaha !”

THAT IS WHAT the bodhisattva uttered. When we listen to this mantra, we should bring ourselves into that state of attention, of concentration, so that we can receive the strength emanated by Avalokitesvara. We do not recite the Heart Sutra like singing a song, or with our intellect alone. If you practise the meditation on emptiness, if you penetrate the nature of interbeing with all your heart, your body, and your mind, you will realize a state that is quite concentrated. If you say the mantra then, with all your being, the mantra will have power and you will be able to have real communication, real communion with Avalokitesvara, and you will be able to transform yourself in the direction of enlightenment.

This text is not just for chanting, or to be put on an altar for worship. It is given to us as a tool to work for our liberation, for the liberation of all beings. It is like a tool for farming, given to us so that we may farm. This is the gift of Avalokita.

There are three kinds of gift. The first is the gift of material resources. The second is the gift of know-how, the gift of the Dharma. The third, the highest kind of gift, is the gift of non-fear. Avalokitesvara is someone who can help us liberate ourselves from fear.

TheHeart Sutra gives us solid ground for making peace with ourselves, for transcending the fear of birth and death, the duality of this and that. In the light of emptiness, everything is everything else, we inter-are, everyone is responsible for everything that happens in life. When you produce peace and happiness in yourself, you begin to realize peace for the whole world. With the smile that you produce in yourself, with the conscious breathing you establish within yourself, you begin to work for peace in the world.

To smile is not to smile only for yourself, the world will change because of your smile. When you practise sitting meditation, if you enjoy even one moment of your sitting, if you establish serenity and happiness inside yourself, you provide the world with a solid base of peace. If you do not give yourself peace, how can you share it with others? If you do not begin your peace work with yourself, where will you go to begin it? To sit, to smile, to look at things and really see them, these are the basis of peace work.

Yesterday, we had a tangerine party. Everyone was offered one tangerine. We put the tangerine on the palm of our hand and looked at it, breathing in a way that the tangerine became real. Most of the time when we eat a tangerine, we do not look at it. We think about many other things. To look at a tangerine is to see the blossom forming into the fruit, to see the sunshine and the rain. The tangerine in our palm is the wonderful presence of life. We are able to really see that tangerine and smell its blossom and the warm, moist earth. As the tangerine becomes real, we become real. Life in that moment becomes real.

Mindfully we began to peel our tangerine and smell its fragrance. We carefully took each section of the tangerine and put in on our tongue, and we could feel that it was a real tangerine. We ate each section of the tangerine in perfect mindfulness until we finished the entire fruit. Eating a tangerine in this way is very important, because both the tangerine and the eater of the tangerine become real. This, too, is the basic work for peace.

In Buddhist meditation we do not struggle for the kind of enlightenment that will happen five or ten years from now. We practise so that each moment of our life becomes real life. And, therefore, when we meditate, we sit for sitting; we don’t sit for something else. If we sit for twenty minutes, these twenty minutes should bring us joy, life. If we practise walking meditation, we walk just for walking, not to arrive. We have to be alive with each step, and if we are, each step brings real life back to us.

The same kind of mindfulness can be practised when we eat breakfast, or when we hold a child in our arms. Hugging is a Western custom, but we from the East would like to contribute the practice of conscious breathing to it. When you hold a child in your arms, or hug your mother, or your husband, or your friend, breathe in and out three times and your happiness will be multiplied by at least tenfold. And when you look at someone, really look at them with mindfulness, and practise conscious breathing.

At the beginning of each meal, I recommend that you look at your plate and silently recite, “My plate is empty now, but I know that it is going to be filled with delicious food in just a moment.”While waiting to be served or to serve yourself, I suggest you breathe three times and look at it even more deeply, “At this very moment many, many people around the world are also holding a plate but their plate is going to be empty for a long time.” Forty thousand children die each day because of the lack of food. Children alone. We can be very happy to have such wonderful food, but we also suffer because we are capable of seeing. But when we see in this way, it makes us sane, because the way in front ofus is clear – the way to live so that we can make peace with ourselves and with the world.

When we see the good and the bad, the wondrous and the deep suffering, we have to live in a way that we can make peace between ourselves and the world. Understanding is the fruit of meditation. Understanding is the basis of everything.

Each breath we take, each step we make, each smile we realize, is a positive contribution to peace, a necessary step in the direction of peace for the world. In the light of interbeing, peace and happiness in your daily life mean peace and happiness in the world.

Thank you for being so attentive. Thank you for listening to Avalokitesvara. Because you are there, the Heart Sutra has become very easy.


The Poetry Of Charles Lutwidge Dodgson


“How shall I be a poet?

How shall I write in rhyme?

You told me once ‘the very wish

Partook of the sublime.’

Then tell me how! Don’t put me off

With your ‘another time’!”

The old man smiled to see him,

To hear his sudden sally;

He liked the lad to speak his mind


And thought “There’s no hum-drum in him,

Nor any shilly-shally.”

“And would you be a poet

Before you’ve been to school?

Ah, well! I hardly thought you

So absolute a fool.

First learn to be spasmodic –

A very simple rule.

“For first you write a sentence,

And then you chop it small;

Then mix the bits, and sort them out

Just as they chance to fall:

The order of the phrases makes

No difference at all.

‘Then, if you’d be impressive,

Remember what I say,

That abstract qualities begin

With capitals alway:

The True, the Good, the Beautiful –

Those are the things that pay!

“Next, when you are describing

A shape, or sound, or tint;

Don’t state the matter plainly,

But put it in a hint;

And learn to look at all things

With a sort of mental squint.”

“For instance, if I wished, Sir,

Of mutton-pies to tell,

Should I say ‘dreams of fleecy flocks

Pent in a wheaten cell’?”

“Why, yes,” the old man said: “that phrase

Would answer very well.

“Then fourthly, there are epithets

That suit with any word –

As well as Harvey’s Reading Sauce

With fish, or flesh, or bird –

Of these, ‘wild,’ ‘lonely,’ ‘weary,’ ‘strange,’

Are much to be preferred.”

“And will it do, O will it do

To take them in a lump –

As ‘the wild man went his weary way

To a strange and lonely pump’?”

“Nay, nay! You must not hastily

To such conclusions jump.

“Such epithets, like pepper,

Give zest to what you write;

And, if you strew them sparely,

They whet the appetite:

But if you lay them on too thick,

You spoil the matter quite!

“Last, as to the arrangement:

Your reader, you should show him,

Must take what information he

Can get, and look for no im-

mature disclosure of the drift

And purpose of your poem.

“Therefore, to test his patience –

How much he can endure –

Mention no places, names, or dates,

And evermore be sure

Throughout the poem to be found

Consistently obscure.

“First fix upon the limit

To which it shall extend:

Then fill it up with ‘Padding’

(Beg some of any friend):


You place towards the end.”

“And what is a Sensation,

Grandfather, tell me, pray?

I think I never heard the word

So used before to-day:

Be kind enough to mention one


And the old man, looking sadly

Across the garden-lawn,

Where here and there a dew-drop

Yet glittered in the dawn,

Said “Go to the Adelphi,

And see the ‘Colleen Bawn.’

‘The word is due to Boucicault –

The theory is his,

Where Life becomes a Spasm,

And History a Whiz:

If that is not Sensation,

I don’t know what it is.

“Now try your hand, ere Fancy

Have lost its present glow – “

“And then,” his grandson added,

“We’ll publish it, you know:

Green cloth – gold-lettered at the back –

In duodecimo!”

Then proudly smiled that old man

To see the eager lad

Rush madly for his pen and ink

And for his blotting-pad –

But, when he thought of PUBLISHING,

His face grew stern and sad.


WITH saddest music all day long

She soothed her secret sorrow:

At night she sighed “I fear ’twas wrong

Such cheerful words to borrow.

Dearest, a sweeter, sadder song

I’ll sing to thee to-morrow.”

I thanked her, but I could not say

That I was glad to hear it:

I left the house at break of day,

And did not venture near it

Till time, I hoped, had worn away

Her grief, for nought could cheer it!

My dismal sister! Couldst thou know

The wretched home thou keepest!

Thy brother, drowned in daily woe,

Is thankful when thou sleepest;

For if I laugh, however low,

When thou’rt awake, thou weepest!

I took my sister t’other day

(Excuse the slang expression)

To Sadler’s Wells to see the play

In hopes the new impression

Might in her thoughts, from grave to gay

Effect some slight digression.

I asked three gay young dogs from town

To join us in our folly,

Whose mirth, I thought, might serve to drown

My sister’s melancholy:

The lively Jones, the sportive Brown,

And Robinson the jolly.

The maid announced the meal in tones

That I myself had taught her,

Meant to allay my sister’s moans

Like oil on troubled water:

I rushed to Jones, the lively Jones,

And begged him to escort her.

Vainly he strove, with ready wit,

To joke about the weather –

To ventilate the last ‘ON DIT’ –

To quote the price of leather –

She groaned “Here I and Sorrow sit:

Let us lament together!”

I urged “You’re wasting time, you know:

Delay will spoil the venison.”

“My heart is wasted with my woe!

There is no rest – in Venice, on

The Bridge of Sighs!” she quoted low

From Byron and from Tennyson.

I need not tell of soup and fish

In solemn silence swallowed,

The sobs that ushered in each dish,

And its departure followed,

Nor yet my suicidal wish

To BE the cheese I hollowed.

Some desperate attempts were made

To start a conversation;

“Madam,” the sportive Brown essayed,

“Which kind of recreation,

Hunting or fishing, have you made

Your special occupation?”

Her lips curved downwards instantly,

As if of india-rubber.

“Hounds IN FULL CRY I like,” said she:

(Oh how I longed to snub her!)

“Of fish, a whale’s the one for me,


The night’s performance was “King John.”

“It’s dull,” she wept, “and so-so!”

Awhile I let her tears flow on,

She said they soothed her woe so!

At length the curtain rose upon

‘Bombastes Furioso.’

In vain we roared; in vain we tried

To rouse her into laughter:

Her pensive glances wandered wide

From orchestra to rafter –

“TIER UPON TIER!” she said, and sighed;

And silence followed after.


AY, ’twas here, on this spot,

In that summer of yore,

Atalanta did not

Vote my presence a bore,

Nor reply to my tenderest talk “She had

heard all that nonsense before.”

She’d the brooch I had bought

And the necklace and sash on,

And her heart, as I thought,

Was alive to my passion;

And she’d done up her hair in the style that

the Empress had brought into fashion.

I had been to the play

With my pearl of a Peri –

But, for all I could say,

She declared she was weary,

That “the place was so crowded and hot, and

she couldn’t abide that Dundreary.”

Then I thought “Lucky boy!

‘Tis for YOU that she whimpers!”

And I noted with joy

Those sensational simpers:

And I said “This is scrumptious!” – a

phrase I had learned from the Devonshire shrimpers.

And I vowed “‘Twill be said

I’m a fortunate fellow,

When the breakfast is spread,

When the topers are mellow,

When the foam of the bride-cake is white,

and the fierce orange-blossoms are yellow!”

O that languishing yawn!

O those eloquent eyes!

I was drunk with the dawn

Of a splendid surmise –

I was stung by a look, I was slain by a tear,

by a tempest of sighs.

Then I whispered “I see

The sweet secret thou keepest.

And the yearning for ME

That thou wistfully weepest!

And the question is ‘License or Banns?’,

though undoubtedly Banns are the cheapest.”

“Be my Hero,” said I,

“And let ME be Leander!”

But I lost her reply –

Something ending with “gander” –

For the omnibus rattled so loud that no

mortal could quite understand her.


Lewis Carroll is the pseudonym of the English writer and mathematician Charles Lutwidge Dodgson, b. Jan. 27, 1832, d. Jan. 14, 1898, known especially for ALICE’S ADVENTURES IN WONDERLAND (1865) and THROUGH THE LOOKING GLASS (1872), children’s books that are also distinguished as satire and as examples of verbal wit. Carroll invented his pen name by translating his first two names into the Latin “Carolus Lodovicus” and then anglicizing it into “Lewis Carroll.”

The son of a clergyman and the firstborn of 11 children, Carroll began at an early age to entertain himself and his family with magic tricks, marionette shows, and poems written for homemade newspapers. From 1846 to 1850 he attended Rugby School; he graduated from Christ Church College, Oxford, in 1854. Carroll remained there, lecturing on mathematics and writing treatises and guides for students. Although he took deacon’s orders in 1861, Carroll was never ordained a priest, partly because he was afflicted with a stammer that made preaching difficult and partly, perhaps, because he had discovered other interests.

Among Carroll’s avocations was photography, at which he became proficient. He excelled especially at photographing children. Alice Liddell, one of the three daughters of Henry George Liddell, the dean of Christ Church, was one of his photographic subjects and the model for the fictional Alice.

Carroll’s comic and children’s works also include The Hunting of the Snark (1876), two collections of humorous verse, and the two parts of Sylvie and Bruno (1889, 1893), unsuccessful attempts to re-create the Alice fantasies.

As a mathematician, Carroll was conservative and derivative. As a logician, he was more interested in logic as a game than as an instrument for testing reason. In his diversions as a photographer and author of comic fantasy, he is most memorable and original–the man who, for example, contributed, in “Jabberwocky,” the word chortle, a portmanteau word that combines “snort” and “chuckle,” to the English language. (Donald J. Gray)

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