Monthly Archives: October 2012

What is the use of searching if you are what you search?

Standard

Everything that comes together must fall apart. This is a law that cannot be avoided. It is a source of suffering that permeates our whole existence. As long as we cling to things we will suffer from being separated from them. As long as we build up something we will suffer from its collapse. Throughout history, we have repeated this pattern of union and dissolution countless times and it has generated so much unneeded suffering. Everything we can grasp with our senses will die. Nothing is permanent. The more we search for permanence, the more we will be disappointed and perpetuate our suffering. This perpetual search for permanence in this life has its origin in the ignorance of our true self. It is only by dying to the now that we might find something permanent in our life. But what are we really searching for when we try to perpetuate things? What do we expect? Is it happiness we are searching for? Can we really find happiness “outside”? Isn’t this impermanent happiness we try to find outside but suffering in disguise? Did you ever find lasting happiness that did not turn to suffering in the phenomenal world called Samsara?

Please do not simply read this. Go into it deeply and try to find a source of everlasting happiness “outside”. If you find a girl and you fall in love you might think that you have found happiness. But does this happiness not fade after several years? It might perhaps not but you certainly know how much suffering the death of a beloved one is causing and how much pain a separation is causing. And this is definitively unavoidable.

Have you ever asked yourself the reason for searching happiness? If we search something it is always something that we know. It is something that we have lost. If I search for my wallet or my keys, I know what I am searching for. Have you ever searched for something that you didn’t know, before you have searched for it? How would such a thought come about? It is very important to inquire deeply into this question. You might want to become something that you have never been before. You might want to become famous and you have never been famous. You might want to be beautiful if you feel ugly. You might want to become rich. But the very core of these longings is a quest of happiness. In the ignorance of your true self you search for happiness “outside”. You think that fame, fortune, beauty or social position will bring you happiness. And when you have achieved all that you wanted to, you still feel unsatisfied and you might have a lot of psychiatric medication in your cupboard to balance out the fears of loosing what you think you have achieved until now. And so the search and the suffering continues for the rest of your life.

The funny thing about that is that we all search for something that we have already and that we always had. We are happiness and we have never been separated from happiness. It is by dying to the now, by loosing everything that we imagine to have or that we long to get that we will eventually find true happiness. For happiness, as our true nature is beyond what is graspable, it is beyond what is perceivable and it is beyond words. We are what we are searching for and we have ever been what we have ever searched for, hence we know what we are searching for because it happens every night in deep sleep and we sometimes perceive it briefly during the day when the mind is very calm and aware in the now, but we have to die to it to really fulfil our deepest wish. Life is not possible without death, in the same way happiness is not possible without abandoning all those worldly concerns and dying to the self, dying to the now… simply being… and you will know that you have never been separated from the whole.

Love,

JC

Advertisements

Impermanence

Standard

Die! Die!
Cut off those chains
that hold you prisoner
to the world of attachment

— Jalāl ad-Dīn Muḥammad Balkhī (Rumi) – Love Poems of Rumi (edited by Deepak Chopra) – Excerpt of Dying to Love

Time has come to say goodbye. I have been thinking seriously over the last month about the future of this blog. As you might have read in the “About the Author and this Blog” menu, this blog was initially intended to be a 365 day project for me. The question recently came up what would be the future of the blog after this period of time. I have seriously taken into consideration to continue this blog with text I would have written from my own experience and how I live my spirituality. It is now a year that has passed since I started to put one quote a day and this was not easy at all. I remember running down the stairways of the Shechen Monastery Guesthouse in Nepal to ask Tashi, may he blessed, to start the WiFi connection at 4 o’clock in the morning, just to put my article online on time.

Yes, all this has been a challenge I have decided to take up. After several years of spiritual practice I decided to dedicate one year to cultivate only positive thoughts every day and shape my mind constantly towards virtue, to do positive deeds and to spend as much as possible of my time reading what other lineages, religions and spiritual teachers have written. My root lama once told me to study other spiritual texts to broaden my view, and I think that was a good idea. And this has been fulfilled this year. It has brought me a lot of good and I hope that the readers of this blog have found some interesting meditations here too.

For due to acquaintance with what is wholesome,
The force of my faith may for a short while
increase because of these (words).
If, however, these (words) are seen by others
Equal in fortune to myself, it may be
meaningful (for them).

— Shantideva – The Bodhicharyavatara – Chapter I – 3

Now, the day has come that this project is over. I think that this is the best teaching about impermanence I personally could receive and give to those people reading the quotes posted here day by day. I don’t pretend to be enlightened and I don’t pretend to have deep knowledge about spirituality, but I know that we have to let go this body one day. We die every moment and every day. Death permeates our existence but we avoid to look at it or understand it. Keeping in mind that death is but a step away, we will certainly understand the urge to abandon worldly concerns and turn towards virtue and spirituality in order to free ourselves from the bondage of our false self. The deathless is always in the palm of our hand and we just have to grasp it instead of grasping to concepts and living in ignorance and illusion.

During the time I maintained this 365-day-project, I have made many friends and discovered many different blogs about spirituality. I went personally through a lot of hardships on my spiritual path during the last years, knowing that truth is a pathless land. But to reach this land I had to tame the elephant that is my mind. I did a lot of meditation and purification practices to prepare my mind to stay in the light of awareness and abide in it like one of the pillars of Ashoka. The mind is like a monkey that needs to be hold tightly by the rope of mindfulness. I guess I am a very bad disciple because I have discovered some people through WordPress blogs that have attained perfect enlightenment without taming their minds and without the guidance of a true spiritual master. Today everything seems to go quicker and instantly and so it seems to be with spirituality too. I’d call it “Instant Enlightenment” (like the coffee)  and it will probably be sold in tin cans in a couple of years. Neo-Advaita teachers spring up like mushrooms with always the same message… “there is nothing to do”. The only message I personally would like to leave here is that there is a lot more to do than to understand that there is no such thing as a separate “I”, an observer, observing the “outside world”, grasping, rejecting and putting labels on it and hence seeing it through the veil of ignorance. Theory is not enlightening. Most of us need a certain preparation before we will be able to bring those teachings into practice and fruition. This preparation is consisting of preliminary practices to purify and tame the restless mind. Mind being conditioned and agitated for ages will not be tamed only by intellectually understanding that duality is ignorance and that there is only one divine non-dual reality. This knowledge is a nice point of entry to spirituality, but it is not a means to its end. So, always beware of thinking that you may have reached enlightenment because this could cut you straight from the path of spiritual evolution. Truth is a pathless land, but there is a path that should be followed to unveil truth, no matter what tradition you are into. There are very interesting articles on the Internet about this issue and the traps and pitfalls in the “Neo-Advaita” or “Pseudo-Advaita”. You may want to read the article on www.enlightened-spirituality.org.

But anyhow, I have met a lot of very interesting people through WordPress. There were a lot of true seekers and some true enlightened beings. I will continue to read the blogs I have subscribed to and this blog will be kept up, at least as long as the domain name is still active. I’ll leave it to the ‘now’ whether I’ll continue to put new posts from time to time or not, but my daily updates are definitively over now.

Meanwhile I would like to thank all the readers and give all of you great hugs with lots of love. May all of you attain timeless happiness and love.

Metta,

JC

Quote

Shunryu Suzuki

The big mind in which we must have confidence is not something which you can experience objectively. It is something which is always with you, always on your side. Your eyes are on your side, for you cannot see your eyes, and your eyes cannot see themselves. Eyes only see things outside, objective things. If you reflect on yourself, that self is not your true self any more. You cannot project yourself as some objective thing to think about. The mind which is always on your side is not just your mind, it is universal mind, always the same, not different from another’s mind.

— Shunryu Suzuki – Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind (p. 128)

(image source: http://www.delphinequeme.com)

To reflect on yourself

Quote

Nagarjuna

There is no reality in a dream but nevertheless we believe in the reality of the things seen in a dream. After waking up, we recognize the falsity of the dream and we smile at ourselves. In the same way, the person deep in the sleep of the fetters (saṃyojananidra) clings (abhiniviśate) to the things that do not exist; but when he has found the Path, at the moment of enlightenment, he understands that there is no reality and laughs at himself. This is why it is said: like in a dream.

Moreover, by the power of sleep (nidrābala), the dreamer sees something there where there is nothing. In the same way, by the power of the sleep of ignorance (avidyānidrā), a person believes in the existence of all kinds of things that do not exist, e.g., ‘me’ and ‘mine’ (ātmātmīya), male and female, etc.

Moreover, in a dream, we enjoy ourselves although there is nothing enjoyable there; we are irritated although there is nothing irritating there; we are frightened although there is nothing to be afraid of there. In the same way, beings of the threefold world (traidhātukasattva), in the sleep of ignorance, are irritated although there is nothing irritating, enjoy themselves although there is nothing enjoyable, and frightened although there is nothing to be afraid of.

— Nagarjuna – Mahaprajñaparamitopadesa – Chapter XI

 

Like a Dream

Quote

Amma (Mata Amritanandamayi Devi)

The common expression is ‘I love you.’ But instead of ‘I love you,’ it would be better to say, ‘I am love — I am the embodiment of pure love.’ Remove the I and you, and you will find that there is only love. It is as if love is imprisoned between the I and you. Remove the I and you, for they are unreal; they are self-imposed walls that don’t exist. The gulf between I and you is the ego. When the ego is removed the distance disappears and the I and you also disappear. They merge to become one — and that is love. You lend the I and you their reality. Withdraw your support and they will disappear. Then you will realise, not that ‘I love you,’ but that ‘I am that all-embracing love.’

— Amma (Mata Amritanandamayi Devi)

(image source: hinter-den-schlagzeilen.de)

Love

Quote

Ajahn Chah

Don’t think that only sitting with the eyes closed is practice. If you do think this way, then quickly change your thinking. Steady practice is keeping mindful in every posture, whether sitting, walking, standing or lying down. When coming out of sitting, don’t think that you’re coming out of meditation, but that you are only changing postures. If you reflect in this way, you will have peace. Wherever you are, you will have this attitude of practice with you constantly. You will have a steady awareness within yourself.

— Ajahn Chah

(image source: http://www.yamashitariki.com)

Cultivating steady awareness