Why Bodhidharma Still Matters…

bodhidharma

Bodhidharma was the 28th successor of the Buddha in the Ch’an tradition.

He traveled from India to China in the sixth century. When he arrived he saw that the people he encountered had a very shallow understanding of Buddhism.

When he came to understand Chinese philosophy, he developed the teachings that we now call Ch’an (and Zen). He taught two primary methods of Awakening.

He taught students that there was really no line separating them from the Buddha. The only difference is that the Buddha understood he was Enlightened and the rest of us don’t realize that yet. If we are motivated in the quest to understand our true nature, then we will attain Enlightenment too.

Meditation is a powerful tool for delivering us to Awakening. Bodhidharma called his main teaching wall-gazing. It is simply silent meditation while facing a wall. In this, no thought is given to goals or the path. There is only us and the wall. In this teaching Bodhidharma doesn’t really show us anything, he just instructs us to seek the truth ourselves. We just sit there and stare at a wall until we realize that we don’t need to be shown anything. The truth is within us.

Bodhidharma suggested four methods for walking the path. They are:

1) The practice of repaying wrongs.
2) The practice of adjusting to circumstance.
3) The practice of non-seeking or asking for anything.
4) The practice of upholding the Dharma.

These are the main ideas of Bodhidharma’s teaching.

Bodhidharma suggested wall gazing, but he never said we had to do it all the time. We are also supposed to get on with our lives. When we understand many of our problems come from our own minds, we can get out of our own way. When we control our minds, we control our lives. This is my understanding of the central teachings of Bodhidharma.

- Daniel Scharpenburg

Source: http://www.elephantjournal.com/2015/01/why-bodhidharma-still-matters/

our path…

Our path is basically the path of the heart and not the path of the mind. This does not mean that we are criticising the path of the mind. Far from it. We just feel that the path of the heart leads us faster towards our goal. Suppose I want to go to a place 500 miles away. I can reach my destination either by walking or by flying.

Undoubtedly, I shall reach my destination considerably faster if I fly in a jet plane. Similarly, if we use the aspiring heart and not the doubting mind, we shall reach our goal much faster. The heart is all love. The mind is quite often all confusion. When we say the heart, we mean the spiritual heart, which is flooded with divine love.

The heart is strikingly significant because inside it is the living presence of the soul. True, the consciousness of the soul permeates the entire body, but the actual location of the soul is inside the heart. The soul has everything: Peace, Light and Bliss in infinite measure. We get these divine qualities inside the heart directly from the soul. And from the heart, we can bring them to the mind, to the vital and to the physical proper.

God is extremely simple. It is we who think of Him as someone complicated. God speaks the simplest language, only we don’t understand Him. We are all deaf. We have been deaf for millennia. Poor God, He has been talking constantly, tirelessly, but we do not have time to listen to Him.

Our path is the path of simplicity. A child is simple; he loves his mother. He does not have to love anybody else: his mother is his whole world. He devotes himself to his mother. If his mother asks him to do something, he listens to his mother. A child is so simple that he tries to do everything to please his mother; and in pleasing his mother, he is doing the right thing and reaching his highest goal.

In the ordinary life, if someone loves another individual, then he spends most of his time with that particular person. He devotes his precious time to that person. If it is real human love-not divine love, but human love-then he sometimes surrenders to the other’s whims even if they are absurd. He surrenders because the two of them have formed an inner and outer bond on the strength of their love. So if one loves another person, then one is ready even to sacrifice one’s precious wisdom.

In the spiritual life it is totally different. Divine love never binds us. On the contrary, it expands us and liberates us. When we see and feel that we are being liberated, we feel inwardly a divine obligation to do something for our Inner Pilot. How can we remain aloof from the One who has given us everything, who has brought us the message of divine Love and Compassion? Will it be possible for us not to offer Him something in return? If we remain in the outer life, we only try to grab and possess everything, even what belongs to others. But if we live in the soul, we try to constantly give all that we have and all that we are to the Inner Pilot. Divine love means self giving.

Sri Chinmoy, Our Path

a never ending grace….

Silence is never-ending speech. Vocal speech obstructs the other speech of silence. In silence one is in intimate contact with the surroundings. For vocal speech, organs of speech are necessary and they precede speech. But the other speech lies even beyond thought. It is in short transcendent speech or unspoken words.

Language is only a medium for communicating one’s thoughts to another. It is called in only after thoughts arise. Other thoughts arise after the ‘I’-thought rises and so the ‘I’-thought is the root of all conversation. When one remains without thinking one understands another by means of the universal language of silence.

What one fails to know by conversation extending to several years can be known instantly in silence, or in front of silence. Dakshinamurti and his four disciples are a good example of this. This is the highest and most effective language. The silence of Dakshinamurti removed the doubts of the four sages. Mouna Vyakhya Prakatita Tattvam means the Truth expounded by silence. Silence is said to be exposition. Silence is so potent.

dakshinamurthy

Silence is the true teaching. It is the perfect instruction suited only for the most advanced seeker. The others are unable to draw full inspiration from it. Therefore they require words to explain the Truth. But Truth is beyond words. It does not admit of explanation. All that it is possible to do is to indicate it.

A realised one sends out waves of spiritual influence, which draw many people towards him. Yet he may sit in a cave and maintain complete silence. We may listen to lectures upon truth and come away with hardly any grasp of the subject, but to come into contact with a realised one, though he speaks nothing, will give much more grasp of the subject. He never needs to go out among the public. If necessary he can use others as instruments.

The Guru is the bestower of silence who reveals the light of Self-knowledge that shines as the residual Reality. Spoken words are of no use whatsoever if the eyes of the Guru meet the eyes of the disciple.

Silence is the best and the most potent initiation. Dakshinamurti observed silence when the disciples approached him. That is the highest form of initiation. It includes the other forms. There must be subject-object relationship established in the other diksha. First the subject must emanate and then the object. Unless these two are there how is the one to look at the other or touch him? Silent initiation is the most perfect; it comprises looking, touching. It will purify the individual in every way and establish him in the Reality.

Silence is the most potent form of work. However vast and emphatic the scriptures may be they fail in their effect. The Guru is quiet and peace prevails in all. His silence is vaster and more emphatic than all the scriptures put together. These questions arise because of the feeling that, having been here so long, heard so much, exerted so hard, one has not gained anything. The work proceeding within is not apparent. In fact, the Guru is always within you.

Source: http://www.inner-quest.org/Ramana_Silence.htm

I am grateful…

Quote

I am grateful to my Beloved Supreme, for out of His infinite Bounty He has given me the capacity to love Him more than I love myself.

I am grateful to my Beloved Supreme, for out of His infinite Bounty He has given me the capacity to feel His Need more than my own need.

I am grateful to my Beloved Supreme, for out of His infinite Bounty He has given me the capacity not to drag Him into my desire-world, but to implore His Presence in my aspiration-world, and also to offer Him my earth-bound will and desire-life, and soulfully declare, “Let Thy Will be done.”

I shall be extremely grateful to my Beloved Supreme the day He makes me a chosen instrument of His.

I shall be extremely, extremely grateful to my Beloved Supreme the day I can feel that my soul-bird lives only for Him inside my body-cage here on earth and there in Heaven.

I shall be extremely, extremely and extremely grateful to my Beloved Supreme the day I can declare to the world within and to the world without that I am what He has and I have what He is.

- Sri Chinmoy, Everest-Aspiration Part 1

Experience the supreme silence…

Only those who have known their reality to be Shiva [the Self], are those who are soaked in the perfect and natural state of silence. Therefore having removed the ‘I’-sense in anything other than Shiva [that is, having given up one’s identification with all adjuncts such as the body], abide without action in Shiva.

The glory of the state of silence – in which one has merged and dissolved in the real principle, God, who is the egoless Self, by enquiring “Who am I, the false first person?” – alone is the nature of the observance of self-surrender.

If we scrutinise what the method is to end forever the movements of the wavering mind or ego, which is like a reflection in wavy water, we will discover that the method is for one to remain silently attending to oneself alone, and not for one to attend to that wavering mind, which will make one slip down from the state of Self.

Those who have perfect knowledge say that the state of true knowledge, in which one remains without ‘I’ [the ego], alone is silence. In order to experience that silence, which is devoid of the feeling “I am this body”, clinging to the Self in the Heart is the spiritual practice.

The pure silence which shines forth when the ‘I’-sense is lost by abiding in the Heart, knowing one’s own real existing state instead of going outwards cherishing and attending to other things, alone is the limit of true knowledge [jnana].

Since, just as the activities seen within and by a dream-person become laughable and non-existent in the outlook of the waking person, even the activities of the individual self [such as his birth and death], which are an imagination seen by him within himself, become non-existent in the true awakened outlook of Self-knowledge, all of those activities, including his bondage and liberation are unreal and are a mere play of illusion.

When the pure gracious Supreme reveals the nature of Self, he who was in the dark room of ignorance will merge in the silence of Self-abidance, drowning in God-knowledge or existence-consciousness, which is the beauty of the Reality.

Know that silence – which is the perfect knowledge of the form of Self and which shines within when the ego reaches the Heart by rejecting all the juggleries of thoughts, which are rarely rejected – alone is the glorious Supreme word [paravak].

Only those who have not keenly listened to the Lord’s language of grace [silence], which is the Supreme word, which shines forth when the wandering mind subsides, will say that the sound of a flute is sweet, that the sound of a veena is sweet, or that the prattling speech of their own babbling children is very sweet.

If the noise of thoughts rising incessantly within does not subside, the ineffable state of silence will not be revealed. Those whose thoughts have subsided within, will not leave the strong and perfect state of silence even in a big battlefield.

Tell me, is not the vocal silence observed by those who do not engage in Self-enquiry and who do not know the real goal, which is the silence that shines forth when the ego, “I am the fleshy and filthy body”, subsides and reaches the Heart, a mere mental endeavour?

The life of Self – the true knowledge which shines forth devoid of the ego-sense due to the drowning of the ego in its source when the madness of desire for the petty, illusory and delusive sense-objects has been completely destroyed – alone is That which can truly satisfy the mind.

Those whose Hearts are surging with joy by experiencing the ever-new ambrosia [amrita] of Self, which shines brightly in the pure silence, will not be spoilt in the world by experiencing the petty sense-objects, which give a little mad pleasure caused by mental delusion.

The Reality which is very clearly known by sages as the goal of all Vedas and Agamas, and the observance of Reality recommended by all the spiritual instructions, is nothing but silence, the state of Supreme peace.

The complete giving up of the other three objectives [purusharthas] of human existence beginning with righteousness, is the glorious state of peace, which is the nature of liberation [the fourth and only true goal]. Therefore completely giving up all thought of the other three false objectives [wealth, desire and righteousness], cling only to silence, the knowledge of the Supreme Self, which is Shiva.

Keep your mind still. That is enough. You will get spiritual help sitting in this hall if you keep yourself still. The aim of all practices is to give up all practices. When the mind becomes still, the power of the Self will be experienced. The waves of the Self are pervading everywhere. If the mind is in peace, one begins to experience them.

Source: http://www.inner-quest.org/Ramana_Silence.htm

Silence – The Speech of Self

Initiation into silence is the most perfect initiation; it comprises looking, touching and teaching. It will purify the individual in every way and establish him in the Reality. Silence is the most potent form of work. However vast and emphatic the scriptures may be, they fail in their effect. The Guru is quiet and peace prevails in all. His silence is more vast and emphatic than all the scriptures put together.

Silence does not mean negation of activity or stagnant inertness. It is not a mere negation of thoughts but something more positive than you can imagine. The one Self, the sole Reality, alone exist eternally. When even the ancient Master, Dakshinamurti, revealed It only through speechless eloquence, who else could convey it by speech or with words?

The silence of the Self is ever there. As long as you run with the running mind you cannot have it. It is a Supreme peace, immutable like a rock, that supports all your activities, in fact, all movements. It is in this silence that God and the liberated souls are rooted. Contact with a enlightened sage is good. They will work through silence. By speaking their power is reduced. Silence is most powerful. Speech is always less powerful than silence, so mental contact is the best.

True realisation is to cherish with one’s understanding, without any obstruction, the first cause of all that is, that silence which is liberation. The perfect silence in which the ego, the root, has been destroyed is the true nature, which will never be vanquished. The eminent and powerful state of silence can be reached in the Heart only by attaining the Self-state, the unmoving axis. Only silence, which is the end point of jnana [the direct knowledge of the Reality that is the Self], is that true vision which is the profound truth of Vedanta. Silence is the ocean into which all the rivers of all the religions discharge themselves. It is the speech of the Self.

Silence, the unique language, ever surging in the Heart [a synonym for the Self], is the state of grace. In silence one is in intimate contact with the surroundings. In the state of silence one merely abides as ‘I-I’. Apart from this, there is neither thinking nor knowing. Silence will manifest itself when the clarity of Self-knowledge, which overflows with the exalted direct experience, causes the trinities of seer-seeing-seen and knower-knowing-known to depart. If the trinities that have risen from silence subside in silence, then bliss will arise.

A mind that has experienced the light of silence will not readily accept the conceptual drama, consisting of the trinities, that appears in the other light [chidabhasa]. It is the mind that is diminished when there is a feeling of deficiency. In the fullness of silence, there is only consciousness, but no thoughts. That bliss that grows in the field of silence is not attained and experienced in any other field. Those who have seen the light of silence are without any attachment to the world, which is an infatuating snare that rises from the “I am the doer” idea, the feeling that there is a person who is performing the actions that the body engages in.

The feeling of remaining young forever is attained in nothing else other than silence, the blossoming of Truth. Since it is thought that creates a sense of deficiency, only thought-free silence is fullness. In order to attain the Supreme state of silence, that which is worthy of attainment by seekers of Truth is the loss of individuality. You should know that the Supreme state of liberation exists only in a mind who has attained the state of silence and nowhere else. The concept-free experience of the vast emptiness of silence will rise, putting an end to the delusion of the ego, the deceiving fixation.

The direct experience of the Self, silence, is the axis of everything. This is the summit, the highest good. Those who have sunk deeply into the ocean of silence and drowned will live on the summit of the Supreme mountain, the expanse of consciousness. From silence came thought, from thought, the ego, and from ego, speech. So if speech is effective, how much more so must be its source?

The pure state [turiya] exists and shines as unceasing pure being in the Heart after the other thoughts that rise from oneself and the Self-forgetfulness that is the basis for their rising are fully destroyed. Clinging to that pure state, which remains without any attachments, is clinging to divine grace. This alone is one’s own state of silence wherein naught else exists. To know and to merge in this state of silence through practice of Self-enquiry, and to remain always as That, is true mental worship. This you should know.

Take either God or Guru as your Lord. Until you attain liberation, keep in your Heart the conviction that you are his subject. Remain without desires and live according to his command. Oh foolish mind, why do you forget this and get deluded? Remaining quiet is what is called wisdom-insight. To remain quiet is to resolve the mind in the Self.

Enthroning the Lord upon the seat of the Heart and fixing the whole mind at his feet, worship him as your own Self, without a sense of difference, because He is your own true nature. You should know that true worship, performed naturally and without a break, is the fair nature of divine silence. The inner silence is self-surrender. And that is living without the sense of ego. Subjugation of the mind is meditation; deep meditation is Eternal speech. Silence is ever-speaking; it’s the perennial flow of ‘language’. It is interrupted by speaking; for words obstruct this mute ‘language’. Silence is permanent and benefits the whole of humanity. Oral lectures are not so eloquent as silence. Silence is unceasing eloquence. It is the best language.

Which is the better, to preach loudly without effect or to sit silently sending out inner force? Know that Self, which is to be enquired into and attained in the Heart as the state of happiness through the requisite tapas or Self-attention, is only the state of silence, which is experienced by removing the delusive and worthless knowledge of differences along with its root, the ignorance or wrong knowledge “I am this body”.

The state of the experience of the one non-dual silence, which is attained as the experience of the unlimited true knowledge, is only the shining of oneself as the empty space devoid of the false imagination which is the rising of the wicked ego-mind. Since the silence of Self, which shines through the pure mind [the pure existence-consciousness which is devoid of all thoughts], alone turns out to be the gateway to liberation, even though they proceed along any path which is agreeable to them, that gate alone is the final refuge.

Attending unceasingly and with a fully concentrated mind to Self, which is the non-dual perfect Reality, alone is the pure Supreme silence; on the other hand, the mere unthinking laziness of the dull mind is nothing but a defective delusion. Know thus. Know that the inner silence – the undecreasing strength of unceasingly praising and worshipping, without worshipping, the Feet of Lord Shiva by the beautiful Supreme word [paravak], which is the pure unrising speech [that is, worshipping by Self-attention, the non-rising of the ego] – alone is the true and natural worship of the Reality.

Source: http://www.inner-quest.org/Ramana_Silence.htm

Silence is my language

Ramana Maharshi is the silent one, teaching the pure non-dual essence through perfect silence. What exists in Truth is the Self alone. The Self is that where there is absolutely no ‘I’-thought. That is called silence [mauna]. The Self itself is the world; the Self itself is ‘I'; the Self itself is God.

The inner silence is self-surrender. And that is living without the sense of ego. Solitude is in the mind of humanity. Silence is ever speaking; it is the perennial flow of ‘language’. It is interrupted by speaking; for words obstruct this mute language. Silence is permanent and benefits the whole of humanity. There is consciousness along with quietness in the mind; this is exactly the state to be aimed at.

By silence, eloquence is meant. It is the best language. The thought-free experience of the Self is silence. There is a state when words cease and silence prevails. That state which transcends speech and thought is silence. That state in which the ‘I’-thought does not rise even in the least is silence. The experience of silence is alone the real and perfect knowledge.

Sages say that the state in which the ‘I’-thought does not rise even in the least, alone is Self which is silence. That silent Self alone is God; Self alone is the individual soul. Self alone is this ancient world. All other knowledge are only petty and trivial knowledge; the experience of silence alone is the real and perfect knowledge. Know that the many objective differences are not real but are mere superimpositions on Self, which is the form of true knowledge. That which is, is silence. How can silence be explained in words?

A vow of silence is but a vow. It may help in meditation to some extent, but what is the use of keeping the mouth shut and letting the mind run riot? The pure state of attention to the Self alone is one’s own state of silence, which is devoid of any other thing.

The Guru is the bestower of silence who reveal the light of Self-knowledge, which shines as the residual Reality. Spoken words are of no use whatsoever if the eyes of the Guru meet the eyes of his disciple. Silence, which shines alone as consciousness of being, possesses the glory of being the highest and most potent tapas [spiritual effort].

Silence – which is not only the means to liberation but also that which abides as the very nature of liberation itself – has a matchless magnificence. If you adhere to that path of silence, the means to liberation, there will be no suffering of any kind. The Supreme Reality that is liberation is experienced only by perfect silence. Indulging in thoughts drives it away. To attain liberation, the door to which is silence, the ego that rises as a separate ‘I’ should be completely destroyed.

Silence is the best and most potent initiation. That was practised by Dakshinamurti. Initiation by touch, look, etc. are all of a lower order. Silent initiation changes the Heart of all. Silence of a realised being is most powerful. He sends out waves of spiritual influence which draw many people towards him. Yet he may sit in a cave and maintain complete silence. He never needs to go out among the public. If necessary he can use others as his instrument.

Silence is ever-speaking. It is the perennial flow of language which is interrupted by speaking. These words which I am speaking obstruct that mute language. For example there is electricity flowing in a wire. With resistance to its passage, it glows as a lamp or revolves as a fan. In the wire it remains as electrical energy. Similarly, silence is the flow of language obstructed by words.

When one remains without thinking, one understands another by means of the universal language of silence. What one fails to know by conversation extending to several years can be known instantly through silence. Dakshinamurti is a good example of this. This is the highest and most effective language.

Source: http://www.inner-quest.org/Ramana_Silence.html