Making Images: the greatest test of all for humans

3a0d9fd4-ac13-44d8-82a3-1183d7090482_post

Humans are actually taught to make images to symbolize or represent almost everything – for remembering, for recognizing, to navigate, and so on – and we excel at it. This aptitude to bring to bear rich imaginations and wide vision in our daily lives is one of the things that differentiates us from animals and plants.

But actually, this often becomes an abstract route to creating our exclusive way of seeing the world. It literally forces us to identify, to stamp ‘me’ and ‘mine’ on that mind moment, and if we are not mindful we may become attached to such images, mistaking them for reality.

1

This temptation to ‘identify’ with the images we constantly create is our major test as humans – our conditioning and DNA (countless ancestors who have lived distant to the sacred) lead us to etch a clear line between reality and the imaginary, to make a distinction between the visible and the invisible. Also, we unknowingly consign ourselves to experiencing life always from the sidelines, via concepts and archives.

But many of us have never even heard of this ‘test’ which means that we have fully and unconsciously turned our backs on our divine mission. Instead, we favour and over-cherish a synthetic ‘self’ invented by the dictatorial intellectual mind. This is pure ego and arrogance: some would say it is the dark side of human beings, our personal ‘Satan,’ our samsara. It is as if we are constantly resisting the gravitational field of love and goodness. These resistant consumers are the norm in modern life, whereas those who live lives of surrender and desirelessness are increasingly rare. Most of us are attracted to those who are similar to us because we somnambulate through a spiritual wilderness.


Science informs us that human beings have evolved physically as much as they can; in other words, that we are at our peak as a species. But evidently, our spiritual evolution is badly retarded. As a result, most of us are not truly happy and neither is the world at large. We are restless, insatiable, destructive and primitive, unable to create harmony in our social groups for the most part and constantly craving artificial stimulation or oblivion.

In our short-sightedness in life, most of us convincingly conceal our terror of death and disappearance. But this endemic fear has caused us to lose the use of so many subtle tools available to the higher mind: the mind of ‘grace’ (Christian) or emptiness (Buddhist) or moksha (Hindu). Instead, we invest all our energy in the visible, the intellectual and in acquiring. We give over our precious human existence to shopping, possessing and questing for attention, and as a result, we have become major stakeholders in the worlds of materialism and sensual satisfaction.

Given our huge stake, it is logical that we sit back in our high comfortable chairs, flicking switches and frittering away our time viewing visual collections. Logic?  Another resistance to what is natural.


We may even make images to represent our own minds: for example, the iceberg with its small tip showing above the water surface and its mass below, symbolizing the conscious mind and the unconscious mind respectively. Or the onion with its tender centre and its layer upon layer of ever-hardening skins. Although these may be useful to try to appreciate or recognise the difference between these two contrasting aspects of our mind, they do in fact separate them from one another in an Aristotelian way.

By attaching ourselves to such images, we are unwittingly identifying with them and so coaxing our contrived ‘self’ to acquire and possess compulsively. In actuality, there is no ‘self’ to identify with anything material because we are beings of energy made flesh for the express purpose of evolving spiritually.

It is preferable then to avoid making or encouraging these images even though they may seem to ease understanding. Ironically, understanding in its original sense is connected to listening not looking. Perhaps, rather than finite blocks of black and white as captured on screens and pages and in bold framed linear scenarios, there is only a boundless greyness which floats and fleets in whatever shape is needed to embody the essence of love and full awareness. Our existence in human form is only an unconditional listening, a subtle flickering of our essence of light.


If we give up trying to pin down our feelings, cementing them into our foreground, crying out for witnesses to come forward and acknowledge us, asserting our view to others, we might realize that the field of awareness is infinite and has no boundaries, no images or archives. Then we can quietly coalesce in the field needing no images or intermediaries at all.

By closing the busy outer eyes so addicted to colour, shape and orientation we can close the image albums and lock the archives, walking away to our real home beyond all concepts created by the human mind. Then we will be able to clearly hear the sound of reality moving and merging, the concrete sound of infinity and eternity, of goodness and the divine.

True understanding consists of universal unconditional listening during which nothing is pinned down, nothing is owned and everything becomes one. We embody love with our true nature enabled only by the privilege of breathing air granted from the universe. Everything else is simply arranged only to stimulate the intellectual mind.

1

‘We shall know each other by our deeds and being,

and by our eyes and no other outward sign save

the fraternal embrace.’

Above is a verse from the Cathar Creed (1244), The Church of Love. The spirit of life is played out whilst silently respecting everything on the material plane though not identifying with it; accepting everything but quietly supporting those who need support. It is clear from our human history that ‘identifying’ and ‘possessing’ destroy and engender greed and ignorance. Using images is, in a way, an attempt to possess aspects of the visible, to keep them for reference as a source of knowledge.

The medieval mystic Cathars possessed nothing material, not even the Bibles showy Roman Catholics had become slaves to. Indeed, all the great spiritual adepts dispensed with material supports. Instead, they did what was natural and wholeheartedly embodied their spirit of compassion and humility.


I have deliberately positioned myself in my life in a different culture (Japan) in which I cannot easily read or write or even understand the society around me. This is the most precious opportunity to stop making images and concepts. I notice that I am not using my mind in the same way as I did living in my native culture because it is often impossible to make interpretations of my environment here.

As I wander down crowded streets decked out with loud kanji, katakana and hiragana neon signs so characteristic of Japanese cities whisked aside by bicycles mounted on the pavement and bustling people pushing through the crowds, I can often only listen deeply and breathe. It is no use bringing out my image albums and brandishing metaphors and idioms because they are meaningless in a culture which reads the air instead of dissecting and deeply analysing ideas.


Here, it is often impossible to imagine what is going on in other minds around me because there is no pattern I can predict, no pictograph I can possibly imagine, and no inherited template. I can only embody my love.  Mostly I float around having sealed away the intellect allowing visions to temporarily occupy me. I rely only on my ancient senses to help me to navigate.

In my life here, there is only the field of awareness. I am the terraced shaking paddy. I stand in sluiced rice rows, paddled by ducks and frogs. I am activated by tremors from the inflamed warts of the Earth’s crust below me. I am harvested and bundled, eventually finding my way into famished stomachs.

Here, I have dramatically learned how not to be separate from anyone or anything in a Land created from the hair and kimono of the million gods. 

To interfere with this seamlessness for even a second to create an image, to snap a shot, would make me gasp for air!

1

Images: courtesy of megapyxl.com

Bird and web – Alisen.com; Sensing Energy between palms – Nikkizalewski.com; Man hunting. bushman’s prehistoric cave art – Wilad.com; Three geisha – Razvanjp.com; Cosmic Transformation – thefinalmiracle.com; Iceberg – Luislouro.com; South and North pole and all things related – Stuidoclover.com

nirvana-linden-logo1

Chunda: the beginning of liberation for all without discrimination

Chunda

2600 years ago, under twin Sala trees among all the dignitaries and enlightened monks gathered to say farewell to the Buddha Shakyamuni, there was a deeply devoted lay follower named Chunda. He was the son of a blacksmith from the nearby area of Kushinagara castle who came to pay his respects to the Buddha, bringing with him 15 of his friends.

To show his devotion, he had discarded his daily clothes and put on a simple robe, bearing his right shoulder in the traditional way of monastics, kneeling on his right knee and bowing at the feet of the Buddha. He then made a speech confidently and sincerely, which was to change the future course of Buddhism.

In essence, he begged the Buddha to accept the simple offerings of homemade food he and his friends had brought. All the distinguished members of the congregation had already offered luxurious gifts of precious commodities like livestock and gold, but the Buddha had refused to accept everything until this point. To everyone’s surprise Chunda’s modest offerings were accepted. Chunda eloquently expressed his deep sadness at the prospect of losing the Buddha and begged him to accept the offerings from himself and his 15 friends before he entered Parinirvana, the special Nirvana only Buddha’s can enter, so that all sentient beings would not suffer from spiritual poverty.

In ancient India, and to a certain extent there today, the rigid caste system rejected people such as Chunda because he did not fit into any of the four main castes: He was not a clergyman or scholar, not of the nobility or a warrior, not a merchant or farmer, or a general labourer or servant. But he had confidence that all humans, despite their caste imposed at birth, were equal, and that when the Buddha left them, they would all be equally spiritually destitute. He said:

‘O World-Honoured One! My situation is like that of anyone among the four castes who, because of poverty, has to leave his country to find work and then buy domesticated cattle and fertile fields. After removing the stones and weeds and tilling his land, he has only to wait for the rain to fall from the sky.’  (Chapter 2, Mahaparinirvana Sutra)

Chunda’s words displayed great wisdom despite his lack of formal education or spiritual training. He knew that all living beings needed simply the rain of the Dharma to make them spiritually fertile, and that the Buddha, the truly awakened one, the Tathagata, could bring such rain into the human world of suffering (samsara). The Buddha was delighted and immediately conferred eternal life on him and connected him to the ever-presence. In other words, he was enlightened on the spot.

The Buddha during his ministry had insisted that his disciples should leave their ordinary life and become monastic practitioners, learning strict moral discipline and upholding monastic rules. The assembled disciples who had reached the pinnacle of all spiritual training were looking on as Chunda, a lay person, and an ‘untouchable’ – a person outside the caste system – became immediately enlightened with no training, and therefore supposedly little virtue. Chunda became the exception that was to be a crucial part of the Buddha’s last will and testament as he moved back to the spiritual source.

There were two ways in which this moment in the history of Buddhism brought fundamental changes to the aspirations of Buddhists. Firstly, this unprecedented enlightening of Chunda, a lay person and householder(someone who had not given up ordinary life or entered a monastery), was to open the path for all beings, no matter what their caste, whether lay or clerical, to aspire to reach Nirvana (or enlightenment). It is easy to imagine just how radically this changed the course of Mahayana Buddhism because now anyone could become enlightened, and hence the emergence of many lay Buddhist orders later.

Secondly, Chunda became enlightened within his own lifetime as a relatively young man and did not have to work hard to accrue merit and virtue in order to become enlightened in a future lifetime, which was the prevailing Brahminbelief at the time. The Buddha’s acceptance of humble Chunda’s offerings was symbolic of the fact that all sentient beings are endowed with Buddha Nature, and that when the rain of Dharma waters the seeds of Buddha Nature, they will ripen and all negative karma and human suffering will be cut away.

By bringing so many of his friends in a sincere gesture of reverence to the Buddha, and by having the confidence to make his offering in front of all the dignitaries and esteemed disciples, he had exhibited the spirit of a Buddha, without either training or privilege.

In other words, this courage and wisdom was a facet of Chunda’s true nature, and thus true human nature is Buddha Nature. The Buddha’s exclusive mission was to liberate all beings from the sufferings of being a human.

In appreciation of the Buddha’s acceptance of his humble offerings, Chunda said,

‘It is hard to be born a human being, and harder still to encounter a Buddha. It would be like a blind sea turtle encountering a floating log with a hole in it and poking its head through.’

This comment moved the Buddha to leave his final instructions before shifting into Parinirvana. His final teachings on impermanence and detachmentfollowed, known as the Dharmakaya, which he left in place of his physical body. These final teachings would exist for all eternity and were indestructible.

Chunda is especially significant to my own spiritual journey. During my lengthy Buddhist career, I can trace the beginnings of my Buddhist faith to the sea turtle that Chunda mentions. As a young child in urban Britain, I heard this maxim on a radio program and retained it as I searched for a way into Buddhism without any leads.

I was a quite devout Christian through my family’s influence, but the Buddha, even though at that time I had no idea what or who it was, somehow penetrated into my unconscious mind and I began to yearn to receive the teachings and become a disciple. I had neither Buddhist friends nor contact with the Buddhist teachings in northern working class Britain in the sixties, and yet, I was certain that I would be like that turtle, and that one day I would find the Buddha.

Chunda is also reputed to have described the rareness of meeting a Buddha in the Sala grove as follows:

‘An udambara blossom (a flower said to bloom once every 3000 years) can rarely be seen, and so is it to encounter a Buddha…..who can nurture the faith of all sentient beings and …extinguish the suffering of death and rebirth.’

The Buddha’s revelation that even lay people and women, in fact, anyone, could train spiritually and so enter enlightenment is also pertinent to my case. As a Tibetan Buddhist in the Kagyu lineage, I was intent on taking vows and becoming a Lama, but at the final stage I had a tiny doubt about committing myself to monastic life because I felt the best training ground to learn how to love unconditionally, was in ordinary human life. I searched to find a lay order so I could fully devote myself to humanity. Also as a woman, as is commonly known and still the case in some lineages, there was no equal treatment with men.

Finally, the Nirvana teachings have found me in Japan, and I am fulfilled and engaged in normal human life while holding a priestly rank, and serving at the Temple whenever possible.

In Japan, for historical reasons, Buddhism has been and continues to be perceived as training for the elite or monastics only, so my order is working hard to make Mahayana Buddhist practice accessible to all Japanese people and people of the world. It is a challenge to guide Japanese people of great humility to have the confidence to practise rituals that were once only available to the Imperial family.

Kobo Daishi, or Kukai, was responsible for single-handedly bringing Buddhism to Japan from China in 9th century, but at that time the national popular religion was Shinto, and it remained so until 1945. Here, in modern times, Buddhism has become the principal means of conducting funeral rites within society, but the main emphasis on Buddhism still lies in monastic practices at a distance from general society.

Chunda then, is a seminal figure in my Dharma stream. We aspire to do as he did: to bring as many people as possible to the other shore of Nirvana. A recent sculpture of Chunda in the Sala Grove with his 15 friends executed by a modern Japanese sculptor, Nakayama Hideo, is one of our objects of devotion. It is truly inspirational.

As Mahayana Buddhists, the welling up of or generating of Bodhicitta – the wish to take all sentient beings with us to enlightenment – is made all the more possible by knowing that every being is capable of polishing their Buddha Nature and reaching Nirvana. That just as Chunda’s Buddhahood was identified by the Buddha because of his sincere heart and wish for all his friends unconditionally to have the opportunity to experience the presence of the Buddha so rare in the world, we can each experience the ever-presence of the Buddha through the Nirvana teachings, and our sincerity will be recognised

The Buddha’s acceptance of the final offerings of a lay householder and untouchable signalled the very final instructions, which could not have been revealed before that moment. The essence of them is that we must each learn to control our own minds; our minds determine our behaviours in the world, either as a self-serving beast or a magnanimous and compassionate Buddha. We must rid ourselves of human passions, driving them out of our rooms as if they were poisonous vipers.

He then reassures everyone that his death is only of the flesh – as it was born and nurtured by parents, so it must deteriorate and perish – and that Buddhahood is not of the flesh, but of the spirit. The final teachings were to become the body of the Buddha –the Dharmakaya – and he begs all his disciples to preserve them just as they had followed and cherished him in life. In doing so, the Dharma Body of the Tataghatas will be ever-present and so never disappear.

Chunda’s deep humility and sincere heart radiated out beyond that of the advanced practitioners and enlightened who had perhaps become arrogant or complacent. So we can learn from this that practising as a true being of the heart is not about worldly success and reputation, but about humility and sincerity, and simple but total belief in the power of loving goodness and pure faith in the world.

I believe we are all Chunda. Even if we have low status and are poor in materialist terms, even though we might have shortcomings and little knowledge, everyone has the capacity to love all beings unconditionally and indefinitely, and this is our principle mission in human life – to become a Bodhisattva – the embodiment of spiritual ideals.

I
images courtesy of Megapixyl:  Chunda sculpture –  Shinnya Nakamura – permission to use from Shinnyo-en, Tachikawa, Japan.

Integrate into Life’s True Course

Cover Picture
(The following will be interspersed with the indigenous voice of an Australian tribal leader.)

Putting aside the man-made lenses of ‘time,’ ‘space,’ ‘race’, ‘gender,’ and ‘money,’ and so on, is the only way to integrate into life’s true course. This is how we can best begin to repair what we perceive as the damaged links of the broken chain of existence.

The human race has interfered persistently with what is natural, almost insisting on creating its own reality and then imposing it on others instead of listening to the truth and staying put. We have traditionally searched outside for our sensual satisfaction and the realization of dreams, when all the time the glories of our human existence lie inside, deep within our divine spirit.

We have therefore become ‘disintegrated’ beings because we block what is natural, always choosing to ‘live’ indirectly, vicariously, or ‘outside’ reality in our minds, our noses pressed up against the glass. We were given life 2.5 million years ago, but why do we still utilize so little of our cerebral potential(10% maximum) and fail to realize our divine potential. We claim that we are ‘civilized’ when we lie and cheat, abuse and kill, suffer and seek revenge so readily.

Given the passage of so much time since our birth, is it reasonable to assume that we are handing down the information and knowledge needed to improve and develop us? Or are we unable to access our immense resources because we have lost the skills and tools to do so? We mostly defer to one crude tool only, the intellect. Is this why we are presently swallowing our pride and seeking the help and ingenuity of indigenous people whom we once pronounced ‘savages’ in a last ditch attempt live in a way meaningful to the planet?

In our present state, it seems that we may never repair the conceptual ‘circles’ and ‘cycles’ and ‘phases’ of universal energy we have adopted in order to try to understand it. The irony is that we were never meant to understand it, just accept it, integrate with it, because our personal energy is already a component part of it. The leaves of a tree do not question their existence.

We are on the inside if only we looked directly but education in the developed world is designed to develop individual intellects, to produce leaders and hierarchies, in short, to control. In contrast, indigenous people in their traditional lives are always inside looking out; they are active participants in the centre of a universal reality. They stand in the eternal stream of energy, both visible and invisible, and in their natural, uncorrupted state, they are entirely accepting and consequently wise. Unlike ‘civilised’ people who rebel if there are insufficient options, there are no choices for them because they are finely tuned to something far greater than the human ego.

ninija, traditional landowner of thousands of miles of the Lands and spiritual leader, says:

White-fella they come before, talking on and on. They tell ninija what ‘best.’ We not understand ‘best.’ We not choose. We no choice. We just. White-fella choose, count, talk and point with long-long white finger.

By way of an example of this ‘disintegration’ mentioned above, we outsiders can visualize beautiful things in immense detail by virtue of our superb memories. Beautiful flowers have been immortalized by photographs and works of art which are also quickly recalled. In fact, thousands of images are stamped onto our memories so that there is no need to go to find the real thing. Even if we do encounter the real flower itself, it may be in a contrived garden and we may compare it with those in our mind collections.

We are addicted to recalling a flower’s name, both common and scientific, its country of origin, the soil and climate type it prefers, as well as its use as a motto or symbol, its rarity and health benefits, and so on. So, we are rarely experiencing the flower directly but instead through interpretations, knowledge or representations.

It seems that no stone is left unturned in the present world so that the drive to make everything common knowledge is at its height. Traveling to remote places to bring back mementoes is applauded and now the Internet is fully at our disposal to further accelerate these global trends. As a consequence we have become inveterate consumers with the means to go anywhere and everywhere to acquire whatever takes our fancy.

Indigenous peoples in their traditional state actually ‘own’ nothing except what they can custom-make from raw materials provided by the Earth. Here is a description of what the tribal members I helped to move from a state settlement back into their traditional lives were carrying as they departed. They were walking back into the Lands in the scorching center of Australia.

…they took only a few handmade possessions which they habitually carry or wear. Their dilly bags woven from Mangrove string, containing personal effects such aschuringas (totemic identity badges). Their Wood and Grass carrying bowls,coolamon, sported on heads, shoulders or against bellies. Their custom-madedigging sticks slung across shoulders with ornate Kangaroo straps. A range of beautifully crafted decorated boomerangs for hunting both for children and women. And perfectly cylindrical Hollow Log coffins containing Bones of their deceased. Churinga. Coolamon. Hollow Log Coffins. All hand-crafted and customized from Desert materials.

The party of shiny black skins with their blond and red topknots of wild hair was occasionally joined by competing Kangaroos. On one side, they were flanked by a massive flock of high Emus, great scratching Bird of the Lands, and on the other by a troop of wild Camels. Above the whole assembly, white Pelicans flapped their slow wings through an indigo Sky, muttering to full Moon.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     These desert people most probably will die if they leave their Lands for any length of time, especially if they move into synthetic, urban environments. Following is a description of the experience of Ninija and her granddaughter Gina going to ‘white-fella’s city’ to collect the body of dead Ginger-son. Lumaluma is the ghost of white-fella who comes to plague Ninija to be his concubine, all the time distracting her from her duties to officiate at her son’s Burial Ceremony. The Djang, or climax of the burial ceremony, is the greatest of all rites of passage for their people. (Notice the writing convention of all things belonging to Mother Nature are capitalised, and all those to humans are in lower case. ninija insists on this to show utter respect and gratitude)

When we bring ginger body back to Lands from city, lumaluma, he follow us. He bring him terrible sounds with him. Car. Truck. White-fella whirring engine. Many many people loud. i think i stop breathing because i not hear my own lungs crinkling shut then open again. i not hear lovely sweet flapping sound of just-knowing – lumaluma he call it “waiting.”

And smell? Smoke! They fill Sky so it like white night. i breathe fast because white night sting if it inside me. i pant like Dingo. i look out but only see white-fella wall, wall, and more wall. wall bigger than ninija Rock or Buga Mountains in Lands. wall and roof so I not see Sky. I cannot run without big hard concrete stop!

In fact, knowledge of something is an indirect way of ‘knowing’ it. It stimulates our intellects and memories, but it is not reality. The phrase ‘snap-shot’ has become popular in recent years to describe how our minds are continually opening camera shutters, recording, archiving, attempting to make everything we encounter permanent. We are image consumers with very little need to turn away from our fantastic internal collections. But, this habitual activity always pulls us back to our minds where everything is convenient and controllable. How can this be reality?

This is how I felt before I went to the Desert and encountered ninija and the Dreaming, and before ninija became my spirit guide.

Before the Desert and ninija ‘back-then,’ i was a human camera. i was an archivist, and a repository for captions. “Say it. See it. Check it. Now prove it!’ After arriving here, i soon stopped looking and listened instead, and so slid into my rightful place. Now, if i cease listening to the Universe for an instant, ninija strides into to my mind and elbows me roughly in the ribs. she strictly guides me back from the needy eye, and from the very needy ‘i’ of my ego.

Another aspect of the integration/disintegration mentioned above involves the concept of time. Indigenous peoples use only the moon and sun to regulate their days and nights, so they never wait, recover/change gear, or smoke a cigarette or swig time concept alcohol to help them to overcome the ordeal of living. Rarely do they become stressed by external pressures as we do, counting the seconds ticking on.

They move smoothly from one instance of their life to the next, listening for their roles, so there are no concepts of work or leisure, etc. There is nothing else except seamless immersion in what the Earth and Great Mother Nature, their totem group, and their fellow tribesmen need. There is no media but instead the songs and stories of celebration and morality, which are handed on orally and need no interpretation because they are concrete.

The original energy source of modern urban humans is permanent and indestructible as it is for indigenous peoples, but we moderns have become compulsive archivists and rebuilders and therefore have damaged it. Surely, it is not possible to compartmentalize and analyze such sacred energy as we do: concepts and theories will never heal the diseased flora and fauna, rebalance the planet or prevent us from destroying each other.

These interferences and interruptions in what is natural, fueled by human hubris and synthetic, excessive emotions, have turned us into an invasive species, a common garden weed, aliens. Shockingly, we move around intently seeking pleasure, status and the fulfillment of our desires and wishes, almost exclusively to any other concerns.

We are also frantic to achieve something notable before our visible life ends and we become invisible and, as we see it, powerless. Whereas those who protect the natural environment and never ‘die’ have no white-fella status.They find contentment and pleasure exactly in the natural world and live in the moment. They never hanker after tangible signs of their existence or use filters to alter their perceptions, change their mood, forget or bury the things that are distasteful or brutally honest.

We are all animals and yet we humans diverged from animal species as our brains developed. We wanted to be different, standing on two legs instead of four, reaching for the best fruit at the top of the tree instead of groveling for grubs. In this divergence, we lost touch with our instincts and intuitions, refusing to fit in with the natural order and went all out to exploit the world’s resources for personal, religious or national gain.

In so doing, we needed to stamp out the traces of ancient and indigenous cultures as they presented an obstacle to our betterment. This was when we broke the virtuous circle, becoming determined to create something entirely new. And because we turned our backs wholesale on natural wisdom, we were forced, ironically, into ‘survival’ mode, using trial and error, making fatal or fortunate mistakes and supposedly learning from them.

It has frequently been pointed out by religious and spiritual wisdom that ‘there is nothing new under the sun,’ and yet we constantly think we can invent and innovate, throwing out what already exists. Our motivation is often power, recognition, money and worse, and while we are investing all of our precious life’s moments in this ‘progress’ pursuit, ancient peoples are absorbed in being the stalwart custodians and protectors of reality. They are single-mindedly devoted to preserving, blending in, and living in awe of what already exists. Without a doubt, radical change is needed inside each of our minds not in the natural world. Our leaders need more wisdom to be able to work in equal partnership with what is natural.

In hindsight, it is easy to see that it is unnecessary to make devastating often fatal mistakes, rushing blindly into situations and taking over officiously. We ‘developed’ people are constantly end-gaining, striving to reach goals which are often arbitrary in terms of the planet and the natural world, not to mention our spiritual well-being. As indigenous peoples and the enlightened will tell you, there actually are no ends as there are no beginnings. Existence is one eternal circle.

So, why can’t we use our higher minds to innovate and extemporize to enhance what already exists, rather than sweep it under the carpet? We could effortlessly stay in the universal circle in harmony, integrated and eager to gather wise beings around us. After all, rash acts spring from rash thoughtsproduced from our lower minds; whereas wise and considerate thoughts emanating from our higher minds, our true and divine origins, produce wise and balanced acts. Thoughts are actually acts in rehearsal.

In contrast, in their traditional lives Australian aboriginals are fully integrated. They flow with the tide of reality not against it and so are absolutely ready to catch any ball that may be thrown to them. For them, there is no meta-reality, no perceived reality, no personal interpretation, because they are reality itself. They absolutely embody their Dreaming Lands. They are their feelings not simulacra as we are. But above all they are love and respect and awe for each other, and for the forces of nature and the Universe, which they consider to be their loving parents.

They just embody what is – never thinking or speculating, selecting or deciding, always submissive to and fully aware of their divine origins and mission. That is why they easily die or succumb to outside influences if they are removed from their Lands.

They are part of the Dreaming reality at all times, fully integrated, and not at all separate. They are immersed in what is known as the seamless ‘here-and-now.’ The arrogance of ‘civilized’ people tears them out of their own origins, their own ‘Lands,’ leading them to pursue life for gain and power, always at a distance from reality, and often from sincerity. They are rarely submissive and if they are, they are negatively judged by the mediocre majority and feel a sense of shame or loss of pride.

http://youtu.be/8Tc7XuC U38k

You can read ninija’s story in ‘Easy-Happy-Sexy: on the Twelfth Day,’ Strategic Books, 2013 PB, 2015 epub., to get a taste of desert integration and wisdom: http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00UUSPLYM

I wrote this article ‘Integration into Life’s True Course’ in response to David Suzuki’s article in the Vancouver Sun, ‘Aboriginal People not environmentalists, are our best bet for protecting the planet.’ June 8th, 2015, link: http://www.vancouversun.com/technology/David Suzuki Aboriginal people environmentalists best protecting planet/11112668/story.html

article images courtesy of Megapixyl.com: Aboriginal woman-Rosedarc.com; Didjeridoo3-Fotandy.com; Part of a native Aboriginal wall painting-Ingehogenbijl/com; Man Hunting-Bushman’s primitive art-Wilad.com; Quantas Beoing 737-800-Amlindley.com; Devils Marbles-Teedee.com; Indigenous Australian Art-Lucidwaters.com; Didgeridoo-Lucidwaters.com

Temple Chronicle: 6th February

 

ellipse 2

It is entirely possible to become attached to practice, to achieving and succeeding, either cheered on or envied by our Dharma siblings. It is a human characteristic to compete with others, but it is not natural because it involves a separation. These distinctions that we make when comparing ourselves with others both outwardly and in our own mind secretly are imaginary. Status and its indicators have become a requirement of modern life, and in achieving that status many of us come to believe that it is due entirely and exclusively to our own effort. The mind gets carried away with itself and forgets all the myriad conditions that allow us even to take a breath of oxygen.

In short, we are liable to place too much emphasis on achievement and success in human terms. This is perhaps inevitable in our huge urban communities in which most people have a strong survival instinct for themselves and their families. The way these large groups are managed also provides perfect conditions for self-centredness to thrive: we are forced to comply with education, health and governing systems, often abdicating responsibility for ourselves and so losing contact with our own hearts and talents.

To adapt to and flourish in these situations that most of us cannot avoid, we need to treasure ourselves without over-cherishing, so that the ego does not become an impenetrable but transparent screen. If we are intimate with ourselves, entirely self-honest and appreciative of our innate goodness, then we can use the mind as a bridge to pass into the limitless field of consciousness. There, we can live each moment without escaping the suffering, without creating a gap between what is suffered and the one who is suffering. They are not different. We don’t have suffering like a possession, we are suffering. We are suffering. But it is the habit of the mind always to be at the side of our experiences, interpreting, analyzing, judging.

Loving-kindness or compassion is the main constituent of our nature, so if we let the mind fall away and stop all resistance to what is natural, extending it universally to every being we encounter in daily life requires little effort. We imagine that we have to do something, to achieve, to struggle, to reach out in kindness to others. But there is nothing to do. We only have to be.

Breathing is a wonderful practice in this respect. Focusing on the breath closes down the doing, achieving mind. The breath links us to the universe, so the Buddha taught this as his first meditation. Without borrowing oxygen from the atmosphere, our lives would be impossible. It is the basis of chi, fundamental life force or energy. Breathing occurs automatically in the majority of creatures when a demand for air is made. The breath is invisible, so it links us with the infinite invisible and natural world and removes our arrogance. Watching the miracle of the breath rising and falling takes us into our unique core in the same way that sound does.

Sitting together with sangha members, she watches her breath and listens to the voiceless voice of the Dharma. There is no duty, no guilt, no comparison because there is no achievement to make or end to gain. Allowing air inside where it is purified, then the detrimental gasses expelled, makes her part of everyone else and the master. The master breathes with them all linking them to the spiritual current of the Buddha-dharma. Breathing with the Buddha as he reached enlightenment under the Bodhi tree out in the field of all awareness. Breathing as a Buddha. Benefits and concerns have no place in the breathing field.

self-knowledge 2

 

 

 

Status