Strong in the rain
Strong in the wind
Strong against the summer heat and snow
He is healthy and robust
He never loses his temper
Nor the quiet smile on his lips
He eats four go of unpolished rice
Miso and a few vegetables a day
He does not consider himself
In whatever occurs…his understanding
Comes from observation and experience
And he never loses sight of things
He lives in a little thatched-roof hut
In a field in the shadows of a pine tree grove
If there is a sick child in the east
He goes there to nurse the child
If there’s a tired mother in the west
He goes to her and carries her sheaves
If someone is near death in the south
He goes and says, “Don’t be afraid”
If there’s strife and lawsuits in the north
He demands that the people put an end to their pettiness
He weeps at the time of drought
He plods about at a loss during the cold summer
Everyone calls him “Blockhead”
No one sings his praises
Or takes him to heart…
That is the sort of person
I want to be
— Kenji Miyazawa – Strong In The Rain (Ame ni mo Makezu)
Your direct insight tells you that yourself you know first, for nothing exists without your being there to experience its existence. You imagine you do not know your self, because you cannot describe your self. You can only say: “I know that I am” and you will refuse as untrue the statement “I am not”. But whatever can be described cannot be your self, and what you are cannot be described. You can only know your being by being yourself without any attempt at self-definition and self-description. Once you have understood that you are nothing perceivable or conceivable, that whatever appears in the field of consciousness cannot be your self, you will apply yourself to the eradication of all self-identification, as the only way that can take you to a deeper realization of your self.
— Sri Nisargadatta Maharaj – I Am That – p. 517-8
The human spirit has always been in search of the infinite, to see and hear and know what is unseen, unheard and unknown. But, all along man’s search has remained directed to the exterior regions only – the vast expanses of land, oceans and the sky. Few have cared to peep into their own internal regions, their heart and mind and soul. Fewer still have realized that it is only through our inner consciousness that we experience what is outside. For a pilgrimage into one’s interior, into one’s own self, it is not necessary for one to be a learned man or a religious man, nor is it necessary to seek the help of a spiritual guide or guru. What is needed is a radical change in one’s attitude towards life, beginning with the dispersal of ego. And no bookish knowledge, no spiritual guide can be a substitute for such a deliberate inward orientation. With the dispersal of ego the basic duality between the self and not-self, abam and idam, progressively disappears and a new realization of I am that dawns – I am that. I am the cosmos. I am Brahman. My body is a micro-cosmos in constant change, yet maintaining a changeless design-pattern, as in the case of the cosmos, which is both a living unity and a bewildering diversity, like myself.
— Sudhakar S. Dikshit – I am All (p. 17-18)
Your eye has not strength enough
To gaze at the burning sun,
But you can see its brilliant light
By watching its reflection
Mirrored in the water.
So the reflection of Absolute Being
Can Be viewed in this mirror of Not-Being,
For non-existence, being opposite Reality,
Instantly catches its reflection.
Know the world from end to end is a mirror;
In each atom a hundred suns are concealed.
If you pierce the heart of a single drop of water,
From it will flow a hundred clear oceans;
If you look intently at each speck of dust,
In it you will see a thousand beings,
A gnat it its limbs is like an elephant;
In name a drop of water resembles the Nile,
In the heart of a barley-corn is stored a hundred harvests,
Within a millet-seed a world exists,
In an insect’s wing is an ocean of life,
A heaven is concealed in the pupil of an eye,
The core in the centre of the heart is small,
Yet the Lord of both worlds will enter there.
— Sa’d Ud Din Mahmud Shabistari – The Secret Rose Garden – Part V – Time and this Dream-World
Psychologists talk about people who are co-dependent because they don’t have a sense of self. What psychologists mean when they say a person has no sense of self is very different from what the Buddha meant by no-self or selflessness. People with psychological problems actually have a very strong sense of self in the Buddhist sense, although they may not in the psychological sense of the word. Psychologically, they don’t see themselves as efficacious individuals in the world, but they still have a very strong sense of “I”: “I am worthless.” When somebody criticizes them, they don’t like it. They get into co-dependent relationships to protect or to please this “I.” When they fall into self-pity, their sense of an inherently existent “I” is very strong. Thus they still have self-grasping even though they lack a psychologically healthy sense of self.
Buddhism recognizes two kinds of sense of self. There’s one sense of self that is healthy and necessary to be efficacious on the path. The object of this sense of self is the conventionally existent “I.” The other sense of self grasps at an inherently existent self that never has and never will exist. Within Buddhism, when we talk about realizing emptiness, we’re negating the false self, this self that appears inherently existent to us.
— Thubten Chodron – Cultivating a Compassionate Heart: The Yoga Method of Chenrezig
Have you ever searched yourself? — If you seriously searched the ‘I’, you didn’t find it. But if you never seriously got into that question, you probably see and maintain a very complex composed illusion of something without inherent existence. The ‘I’ exists only through the veil of ignorance. The ‘I’ is not permanent nor stable. It changes from moment to moment as we add or remove illusory content to it, and our attachment to it is so strong that we defend this mirage by all means. This illusion is the center of our world and the construct of what we would like to be as a person. It is our prison and as long as we are enchained to this illusion, we will never experience true freedom.
— personal comment
“I am not, I will not be. I have not, I will not have.”
That frightens all the childish
And extinguishes fear in the wise.
— Nagarjuna – Precious Garland
“A human being is part of a whole, called by us the ‘universe’,
a part limited in time and space.
He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings,
as something separate from the rest
– a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness.
This delusion is a kind of prison for us,
restricting us to our personal desires
and to affectation for a few people near us.
Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison
by widening our circles of compassion
to embrace all living creatures
and the whole of nature in its beauty.”
— Albert Einstein