Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Free rendering of Dharmapada Chapter Two - Vigilance

I now attend to the unchanging and undying.

I now attend with intense wakefulness to being alive.

I now attend to the conditions supporting wakefulness, and wakefulness brings me great happiness.

I now seek freedom and happiness with great perseverence through meditation.

I now stimulate wakefulness, remember the truth, act with kindness, and do the right things the right way so that I shine with intense wakefulness.

I am an island of calm, attentive, awake clarity, and I am still in the storms of life.

I am wealthy in attention and clarity. I let go of pride and distraction and just let things be.

I now find great joy and bliss in meditation, and I bless sensual pleasure with love and let go.

In my heart I grow gradually more still and attentive. I see a tower of wisdom and ascend the terraces one by one to great happiness and joy. I bless with love the crowd below.

I now pay pure attention among the inattentive. I am now as energetic as a racehorse among nags.

My clarity and wakefulness are a fire that warms my world and burns through my illusions.

Now great joy and happiness in meditation fills me with powerful concentration and compassion.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Confucius on social politics

I read a Chinese philosopher, (maybe Master Kung Tse, maybe a modern Chinese novelist, I’m not sure) saying that when a wise man meets someone he wants to understand, he asks about the person’s work, family, and ethnic loyalties.

This is the cat equivalent of staring straight at another cat, looking down and blinking, then staring again for the exact same length of time. This is the dog equivalent of smelling one anothers genitals with wagging tails. This is the frog equivalent of – well, the frog social millieu is perhaps the subject of another blog entry and for another time.

Asking about a stranger’s work, family and ethnic loyalties is the social skill that comes just after being able to say hello. Political correctness be damned: I like to do it a lot. It is traditional, fresh, universal and commonplace all at once.

Success with people for me arises from friendliness and awareness of our common wealth, which in turn implies the willingness to put away childish things, things that intervene and obscure clear and friendly talk.

Two disciplines of Kung were chatting about his politics. One had noticed that whenever Kung arrives in a new country he is always well informed about the politics. How does he manage to learn so much about a new country, he asked his friend.

The answer is fascinating:

“The master learns about the politics of a country by being cordial, kind, courteous, temperate and deferential. The master has a way of learning which is quite different from other peoples, isn’t it?” (Rendered from Simon Ley’s translation of Analects, 1.10.)

Kung was a man who had certainly put away childish things. In his courteous friendliness and plain awareness of things as they are, he seems to me to have been a wiser statesman than perhaps any politician we have in the world today.

Guru Stories

Once a guru walked out to sea on the water with a disciple holding his hand. When, far out at sea at night and standing on water, the guru let go of the poor man’s hand, the man promptly screamed and sunk and began to drown, so he reached in and drew the man back up to the surface. On reaching land much later he immediately fell into “a black sleep” said the storyteller.

But the guru was not finished with him. He stared at him like a Siamese until he awoke, and on the moment he opened his eyes the guru said “That walk was the manifestation of the Adi-Shakti (original power).” The poor guy screamed with shock at the realization and promptly fell unconscious. Sacre blue!

Another time the British authorities came to visit this guru to ask him where he got the money to build his ashrams, hospitals, roads, villages, and farms. The guru had simply walked into the forest and began building with the money on hand, so he had nothing to show the visitors.

So he led them deep into a black swamp, filled with alligators as far as the eye could see. And he began to produce huge wads of pristine notes. “Whenever I need money,” he told the men, “I simply wrestle that big she-alligator over there and when she is submissive I take money fresh out of her mouth.” And he produced piles of fresh money from nowhere.

The visitors backed away, praying for the guru’s mercy and did not bother him again.

Another time…
The guru used to close and open his palm, face downwards, and money would fall from it into the waiting hands of his workers in exactly the denominations needed. This happened every day with every workers, and they all knew and trusted him to do this.

Anyway, one day the authorities arrested the guru in the morning and put him in a holding cell on the way to prison. As the day drew on the guru decided to get out and pay his workers so he called for a chamber pot to piss into which they brought.

He pissed until the pot was full then kept pissing into the fry pan, the shit bucket, the laundry baskets and the potted plants. He did not stop pissing until his captors set him free, and then he walked back to his workers to pay them on time, out of this air as usual.

Another time he was in prison and he decided to go for a walk. So he went into turiya, meditative absorbsion, and bilocated to the rooftop where he enjoyed some nice exercise in front of his captor’s eyes, all the while meditating in his cell.

He wore no clothes until he was thirty, and then only a loincloth afterwards. When he taught he spread his legs wide open and exposed him often. When he got an erect penis it meant no more to him than an elbow or an apple in a dish.

When it came to food he would eat anything. He would eat shit or delicate crab meat. One day he went behind a female cow and cupped his hands behind her hole to catch her steaming fresh cowpats, then cheerfully ate the shit with his whole face.

Another stream of stories have to do with offerings to the guru and their consequences. One time a magician put a mantra said to cause death on a cigar and gave it to him. The guru smoked the cigar contentedly and two days later the man was dead. Another time a fisherman brought crab meat to the guru as offering, and that same day he and his co-worker were caught in a dreadful storm out at sea. Their boat capsized, and the deck hit their heads and knocked them both unconscious in the water.When they awoke they were stunned to discover that they lay in their boat amid piles of freshly caught fish, and they were in tow to a fast moving boat, at full sail, with the guru waving at them from the boat.

Suffice to say, all of these stories and more were witnessed by people still living among us today. Countless people blind from birth and many ill from all diseases now see and live among us well and happy by the guru’s grace. The guru would climb a tree and toss leaves by the armful down to visitors, and when they took the leaves home they would find healing from illness. So these stories are as numberless as the stars about this particular guru.

I do not have any opinion about them. I have no view of any kind about this guru or these stories. However, I did laugh and laugh when they were told, so I thought I would pass them on. Enjoy!
Technorati Profile