The Buddha and all sentinent beings
are nothing but expressions of the one
mind. There is nothing else.
Saw the new Harry Potter film, “The Order of the Phoenix” Thursday. I think it is the best so far, lots of levels. Recommended.
Rain last night, thunder, and wondrous beauty. Cool this morning, a nice break from how it’s been over the last several days. We were watching Errol Flynn in “Captain Blood”…. excellent old film!
Off to work, and a full weekend, and don’t forget:
Monday the 16th, 7:30PM Powell’s Books on Hawthorne
In part a nonfiction discussion of the Burning Man festival, in part a poetic romp through Nevada’s Black Rock desert, Dale Pendell’s Inspired Madness: The Gifts Of Burning Man is both an irreverent introduction for those curious about the notorious event and an exhilarating reminiscence for veteran “burners.”
On The Menu:
A lesson in Karma
Huang Po Quotes & Poems
A lesson in Karma
-Robert Anton Wilson
Lao-Tse says (at least in Leary’s translation) that the Great Tao is most often found with parents who are willing to learn from their children. This remark was to cause me considerable mental strain and dilation around this time in our narrative, because my children had become very self-directed adolescents and were getting into occultism with much more enthusiasm and much less skepticism than I thought judicious.
For a few years, we could not discuss these subjects without arguing, despite my attempts to remember good old Lao-Tse and really listen to the kids. They believed in astrology, which I was still convinced was bosh; in reincarnation, which I considered an extravagant metaphor one shouldn’t take literally; and in that form of the doctrine of Karma which holds, optimistically, that the evil really are punished and the good really are rewarded, which I considered a wishful fantasy no more likely than the Christian idea of Heaven and Hell. Worst of all, they had a huge appetite for various Oriental “Masters” whom I regarded as total charlatans, and an enormous disdain for all the scientific methodology of the West.
My own position was identical to that of Aleister Crowley when he wrote:
We place no reliance
On Virgin or Pigeon;
Our method is Science,
Our aim is Religion.
After every argument with one of the kids, I would vow again to listen more sympathetically, less judgmentally, to their Pop Orientalism. I finally began to succeed. I learned a great deal from them.
A “miracle” then happened. I know this will be harder for the average American parent to believe than any of my other weird yarns, but my horde of self-willed and self-directed adolescents began to listen to me. Real communication was established. Even though I was in my 40s and greying in the beard, I was able to talk intelligently with four adolescents about our philosophical disagreements, and our mutual respect for each other grew by leaps and bounds.
This, I think, is the greatest result I have obtained from all my occult explorations, even if the unmarried will not appreciate how miraculous it was.
Luna, our youngest-the one who might have levitated in Mexico and who had her first menstrual period synchronistically on the day Tim Leary was busted in Afghanistantaught me the hardest lesson of all. She had begun to paint m watercolors and everything she did charmed me: it was always full of sun and light, in a way that was as overpowering as Van Gogh.
“What do all these paintings mean?” I asked her one day.
“I’m trying to show the Clear Light,” she said.
Then, returning from school one afternoon, Luna was beaten and robbed by a gang of black kids. She was weeping and badly frightened when she arrived home, and her Father was shaken by the unfairness of it happening to her, such a gentle, ethereal child. In the midst of consoling her, the Father wandered emotionally and began denouncing the idea of Karma. Luna was beaten, he said, not for her sins, but for the sins of several centuries of slavers and racists, most of whom had never themselves suffered for those sins. “Karma is a blind machine,” he said. “The effects of evil go on and on but they don’t necessarily come back on those who start the evil.” Then Father got back on the track and said some more relevant and consoling things.
The next day Luna was her usual sunny and cheerful self, just like the Light in her paintings. “I’m glad you’re feeling better,” the Father said finally.
“I stopped the wheel of Karma,” she said. “All the bad energy is with the kids who beat me up. I’m not holding any of it.”
And she wasn’t. The bad energy had entirely passed by, and there was no anger or fear in her. I never saw her show any hostility to blacks after the beating, any more than before.
The Father fell in love with her all over again. And he understood what the metaphor of the wheel of Karma really symbolizes and what it means to stop the wheel.
Karma, in the original Buddhist scriptures, is a blind machine; in fact, it is functionally identical with the scientific concept of natural law. Sentimental ethical ideas about justice being built into the machine, so that those who do evil in one life are punished for it in another life, were added later by theologians reasoning from their own moralistic prejudices. Buddha simply indicated that all the cruelties and injustices of the past are still active: their effects are always being felt. Similarly, he explained, all the good of the past, all the kindness and patience and love of decent people is also still being felt.
Since most humans are still controlled by fairly robotic reflexes, the bad energy of the past far outweighs the good, and the tendency of the wheel is to keep moving in the same terrible direction, violence breeding more violence, hatred breeding more hatred, war breeding more war. The only way to “stop the wheel” is to stop it inside yourself, by giving up bad energy and concentrating on the positive. This is by no means easy, but once you understand what Gurdjieff called “the horror of our situation,” you have no choice but to try, and to keep on trying.
And Luna, at 13, understood this far better than I did, at 43, with all my erudition and philosophy… I still regarded her absolute vegetarianism and pacifism as sentimentality.
Huang Po Quotes & Poems
Only awake to the One Mind and there is nothing whatever to be attained.
This pure Mind, the source of everything, shines forever and on all with the brilliance of its own perfection. But the people of the world do not awake to it, regarding only that which sees, hears, feels and knows as mind…. If they would only eliminate all conceptual thought in a flash, that source-substance would manifest itself like a sun….
…To awaken suddenly to the fact that your own Mind is the Buddha, that there is nothing to be attained or a single action to be performed – this is the Supreme Way….
People are scared to empty their minds
fearing that they will be engulfed by the void.
What they dont realize is that
their own mind is the void.
Here it is right now. Start thinking about it and you miss it.
Our original Buddha-Nature is, in highest truth, devoid of any atom of objectivity. It is void, omnipresent, silent, pure; it is glorious and mysterious peaceful joy – and that is all. Enter deeply into it by awakening to it yourself. That which is before you is it, in all its fullness, utterly complete. There is naught beside. Even if you go through all the stages of a Bodhisattva’s progress towards Buddhahood, one by one; when at last, in a single flash, you attain to full realization, you will only be realizing the Buddha-Nature which has been with you all the time; and by the foregoing stages you will have added nothing to it at all. You will come to look upon those aeons of work and achievement as no better than unreal actions performed in a dream.
This is why the Tathagata said, “I truly attained nothing from complete, unexcelled enlightenment.” He also said: “This Dharma is absolutely without distinctions, neither high nor low, and its name is Bodhi.” It is pure Mind, which is the source of everything and which, whether appearing as sentient beings or Buddhas, or as the rivers and mountains of the world which has form, or as that which is formless, or penetrating the whole universe, is absolutely without distinctions, there being no such entities as selfness and otherness.
When practitioners of Zen fail to transcend
the world of their senses and thoughts,
all they do has no value.
Yet, when senses and thoughts are obliterated
all the roads to universal mind are blocked
and there is no entrance.
The primal mind has to be recognised along with the senses and thoughts.
It neither belongs to them nor is independent of them.
Dont build your understanding on your senses and thoughts,
yet dont look for the mind separate from your senses and thoughts.
Dont attempt to grasp Reality by pushing away your senses
Unobstructed freedom is to be neither attached not detached.
This is enlightenment.
The Real Buddha
People perform a vast number of complex practices
hoping to gain spiritual merit as countless as the grains
of sand on the riverbed of the Ganges:
but you are essentially already perfect in every way.
Dont try and augment perfection with meaningless practice.
If its the right occasion to perform them, let practices happen.
When the time has passed, let them stop.
If you are not absolutely sure that mind is the Buddha,
and if you are attached to the ideas of winning merit from spiritual practices, then your thinking is misguided and not in harmony with the Way.
To practice complex spiritual practices is to progress step by step:
but the eternal Buddha is not a Buddha of progressive stages.
Just awaken to the one Mind,
and there is absolutely nothing to be attained.
This is the real Buddha.
About Huang Po
“…his words were simple, his reasoning direct, his way of life exalted and his habits unlike the habits of other men. Disciples hastened to him from all quarters, looking up to him as to a lofty mountain, and through their contact with him awoke to Reality. Of the crowds which flocked to see him, there were always more than a thousand with him at a time.”
Thus P’ei Hsiu (pronounced pay shoo), a scholar-official of great learning according to Blofeld, described Huang Po (hwong bo; Japanese: Obaku), whose teachings he recorded for posterity. Blofeld also tells us that P’ei Hsiu was devoted to Huang Po, so we can forgive him if he may have used a little puffery in describing the size of the crowds always in attendance, but his description of the man rings with honest conviction.
Lest you get the impression that Huang Po was mild-mannered, though, you might be interested to know that his teacher, Pai-chang (whose teacher was Ma-tsu), compared him to a tiger in his ferociousness.