These four books, most commonly known as Tao Te Ching, Hua Hu Ching, Chuang Tsu and Lieh Tzu, are spiritual food of the highest order providing clarifying guidance to those who study them. For those who are open to a Taoist viewpoint, the books give profound insights into human nature, society, the natural world and the processes of life. Slowly but surely altering the reader's outlook and values, and guiding he or she on their way. The insights gained here are not just for intellectual stimulation. This is a collection which can be applied to everyday situations and yet does not shirk from metaphysics.
Wu Hsin repeatedly returns to three key points. First, on the phenomenal plane, when one ceases to resist What-Is and becomes more in harmony with It, one attains a state of Ming, or clear seeing. Having arrived at this point, all action becomes wei wu wei, or action without action (non-forcing) and there is a working in harmony with What-Is to accomplish what is required. Second, as the clear seeing deepens (what he refers to as the opening of the great gate), the understanding arises that there is no one doing anything and that there is only the One doing everything through the many and diverse objective phenomena which serve as Its instruments. From this flows the third and last: the seemingly separate me is a misapprehension, created by the mind which divides everything into pseudo-subject (me) and object (the world outside of this me). This seeming two-ness (dva in Sanskrit, duo in Latin, dual in English), this feeling of being separate and apart, is the root cause of unhappiness.
Nisargadatta Maharaj asserts that the purpose of existence is to know who you really are. He talked about the direct way of knowing, in which one becomes aware of one's original nature through breaking the mind's false identification with the ego, resulting in a knowing that "You are already That". In a sense, it is a recognition of that which had not previously been recognized. His talks were not for academics, but for those with the earnest desire to know their essential nature. His style is provocative, confrontive, at times combative, and immensely profound, cutting to the core and wasting no time with the non-essential. His potent words are known for their ability to trigger radical shifts from mere philosophical mental exercises to the purity of consciousness itself, even just by reading them. This compilation is an excellent introduction to the power of his words.
The philosophy of Advaita or Non Duality has become, along with Buddhism, one of the most popular spiritual paths being pursued by those interested in enlightenment today. During the past three decades, Advaita has become more widely recognized in the West through the ever growing popularity of Ramana Maharshi. His point of view has for its aim Self-realization. The central path taught in this philosophy is the inquiry into the nature of Self, the content of the notional 'I-thought'. Carl Jung wrote of Ramana: “Sri Ramana is a true son of the Indian earth. He is genuine and, in addition to that, something quite phenomenal. In India he is the whitest spot in a white space. What we find in the life and teachings of Sri Ramana is the purest of India; with its breath of world-liberated and liberating humanity, it is a chant of millenniums.” The core of Ramana’s teachings are presented herein; also included are three Ramana classics: Who Am I?, Self Enquiry, and Spiritual Instruction.
At the heart of Shin (Pure Land) Buddhist teaching lies a vision of true reality as alive with wisdom and compassion, working to bring all beings to the highest fulfillment of human life, the attainment of Buddhahood. Shinran teaches that this activity manifests itself as Amida Buddha, who resolved to save all beings by bringing into his Pure Land, the realm of enlightenment, all who say his Name, entrusting themselves to his Vow. He thus performed practices for long eons and fulfilled this Vow, so that his Name, Namu Amida Butsu, came to resound throughout the universe, awakening all beings to the reality of great compassion. Interestingly, in the end, Pure Land and the more traditional Zen share the primary framework of removing the individual as the central point out from which all else is referred.
Solving Yourself: Yuben de Wu Hsin focuses on the transcendence of the body and mind, which results in sudden insight into one's true nature. It produces an involuntary reversion to one's essence, a clear seeing that there is no place that one can call the center or a reference point here. There is nothing substantial that would allow one to declare ‘This is where I begin, this is what I really am.’ It is the recognition that what one is is nothing perceivable. Solving Yourself is unique in that it is structured in the format of daily contemplatives. The Yuben or Compendium of the Master’s Aphorisms can act as a stimulant; they are not so much about what Wu Hsin says but about what they evoke and how we respond. What makes this work of Wu Hsin such a rare find is that the articulation of his experience pre-dates, by many hundreds of years, the expressions of the great Channa (Ch’an) masters of the T’ang Dynasty, often considered to be the apogee of Chinese thought.
The number of beneficiaries of the Maharshi's grace while he was in the mortal frame is very large, but the limitation as usual was lack of inclination and inspiration of the individuals to record the event. I am most grateful to the chroniclers presented here for leaving behind a record of experiences of their visits / stay at the Ashram. What was their experience while they sat in his proximity? Sitting in his presence one was convinced for the time being that all troubles were ended and one was forced back on oneself in spite of all obstacles. And this was the wonder of his presence. They saw before their eyes the grand manifestation of that majestic light. They saw the grandeur of that spiritual light before them. You will discover that spirituality is not something vague and uncertain but substantial and proven as got manifested in the Maharshi.
Wu Hsin repeatedly emphasises that when one ceases to resist What-Is and becomes more in harmony with It, one attains a state of Ming, or clear seeing. Having arrived at this point, all action becomes wei wu wei, or action without action (non-forcing) and there is a working in harmony with What-Is to accomplish what is required. As the clear seeing deepens, the understanding arises that there is no one doing anything and that there is only the One doing everything through the many and diverse objective phenomena which serve as Its instruments. Last, the seemingly separate me is a misapprehension, created by the mind which divides everything into pseudo-subject (me) and object (the world outside of this me). This seeming two-ness (dva in Sanskrit, duo in Latin, dual in English), this feeling of being separate and apart, is the root cause of unhappiness.
With No Other to Each Other, Wu Hsin raises the bar. No longer content to speak about the transcendent, he now addresses the immanent, clarifying that it is included in the transcendent. Such a view provides a resolution of the seeming incompatibility between the One and the many that has plagued philosophers since the beginnings of philosophy. It reminds one of the analogy of the fire and its sparks: the sparks that come off of a fire are both the same as that fire and different from it. They are the same insofar as they came from the fire, and are constituted by the same substance as fire. But they are also distinguishable from the original fire, as occupying a separate point in space. That-Which-Is contains both distinction and unity, substance and attribute, universal and particular, whole and parts, all the while maintaining the integrity of Identity immanent within differences.
The Dhammapada, an anthology of 423 verses, has long been recognised as one of the masterpieces of early Buddhist literature. From ancient times to the present, the Dhammapada has been regarded as the most succinct expression of the Buddha's teaching found in the Theravada Pali Canon of scriptures known as the Khuddaka Nikaya ("Minor Collection") of the Sutta Pitaka. Buddhist tradition has it that shortly after the passing away of the Buddha his disciples met in council at Rajagaha for the purpose of recalling to mind the truths they had received from their beloved Teacher during the forty-five years of his ministry. Their hope was to implant the principles of his message so firmly in memory that they would become a lasting impetus to moral and spiritual conduct, for themselves, their disciples, and for all future disciples who would seek to follow in the footsteps of the Awakened One. This edition, with verse-by-verse commentary, captures the full flavor of this Buddhist classic.
When one reduces and eventually eradicates this false identification with worldly phenomena, including the inner phenomena of thoughts and images, what is discerned is what was and is always already the case. The instruction of Wu Hsin to disciple Xu Fengqin directly calls for a dissociation of one’s sense of identity from the panoply of spatiotemporal objects and events that rise and subside in the world that presents itself. In so doing, the I-me-mine complex dissolves and that which is antecedent to all becomes clear.
Daisetz Teitaro Suzuki was a remarkable man. Throughout his long life he worked untiringly to bring the message of Zen, and Buddhism in general, to the West, and his reputation as a scholar and gifted teacher was internationally recognized. He touched the lives of many—from theologians and philosophers to psychologists, poets, musicians, and artists the world over; thinkers as diverse as Thomas Merton, Paul Tillich, Carl Jung, Erich Fromm, Dr. Hu Shi, Allen Ginsberg, and Bernard Leach—to name a few. This collection of excerpts from his works brings together the many diverse elements that made Suzuki’s writings the springboard for greater understanding for millions of his readers. It features lengthy sections from such works as Manual of Zen Buddhism, Outlines of Mahayana Buddhism, Mysticism: Christianity and Buddhism, Shin Buddhism and his Introduction to the Lotus Sutra.
Do we possess an individual self or soul that is separate from our physical biology or are we simply an enormously complex biological network that mechanically produces our hopes, aspirations, dreams, desires, humor, and passions? Disillusionment provides provocative insights into this ages-old question and challenges the reader to re-examine their most closely held beliefs.
Is there a distinction between the experience of consciousness and the consciousness of experience? Is there a line that separates the two or are they the very Oneness that is sought after by so many? In Seeking the End of Seeking, Roy Melvyn examines this and other issues such as: 1. When did I become "me"? 2. How do you locate that which can't be described? 3. How do you know when you are dreaming? 4. By what light is darkness discerned? Taken from personal journal entries and talks with other curious seekers, the author traverses this landscape with boldness and insight. Students of zen, advaita and dzogchen will want to add this important work to their library.
Nonduality is a hard concept to grasp at first. The most fundamental proposition is that ”I" exist, and all else in the universe is”not I". Our conditioned awareness also expresses itself as a judgmental spectrum with negative at one pole and positive at the other. In other words, our dualistic viewpoint -- which we take for granted -- is at the root of our divisiveness, dissatisfaction, and conflicting values; in short, of our unhappiness. For millennia, teachers of nonduality have assured us that it is possible to transcend this limitation and thereby live in an awareness of dualities absence, which turns out to be: harmony, contentment and equanimity. These four texts from the Hindu tradition clearly delineate the One Reality, That-Which-Is.
The purpose of Zen is to awaken to the bodhisattva within us. This perception, also called kensho, “seeing self-nature,” opens the way to a true Zen life lived in unrestricted liberation. To attain such freedom, one must strive in all of one’s activities to live in accordance with the Bodhisattva Vows. It would be easy to spend an entire lifetime studying and contemplating the various source documents of the Zen tradition. The selections herein, including works of Nargajuna, Hsin Hsin Ming, Dogen and others, capture the full flavor and essence of Zen and can easily stand as both the beginning and terminus of one’s studies.
The real life of Wu Hsin is a historical puzzle that may well never be resolved. Long lost texts have emerged from more than two milennia beneath the soil in South China. Written on bamboo and silk and entombed in burial sites of sages of the Southern Region, the writings of Wu Hsin are indeed a treasure. In this volume, he takes his students on an interior journey, figuratively and literally. Leaving their mountaintop hermitage, the students send several months inside Water Cave, during which time the Master expounds a timeless wisdom in his inimitable style.
Throughout many centuries, religion and philosophy have sought to rescue man from his ego; both have failed. The last thousand years of acquired knowledge has made man neither more peaceful nor happier. Our energies must be redirected away from acquiring more knowledge regarding the world and inquiring into why all our knowledge has failed us. Only then can man begin to understand that the solution does not reside outside. The solution is not exoteric, but instead esoteric. The intellect seeks to make the unknown knowable. Memory, is the storage of the known. It is re-cognition, knowing again. However, where the intellect fails is in its attempts to know the Unknowable. When the intellect is exhausted, there is the opportunity for deeper sight. What is our exact relation to the Conscious Life Energy that pervades the phenomenal existence?
The world is entering a new phase, a phase in which we are finding out the nature of the reality in which we live; not a world only of the mind, nor a world of material substance alone. This is the reason why many people are now showing an interest in Buddhist belief. However, the real world is beyond description, and this is the reason that both Buddha and Master Dogen urged the practice Zazen. Zazen reveals the true nature of reality to us. We are compelled to think about what is impossible to think about. This is the fundamental reason why we must take time out and just sit, nothing more. "In this moment of sitting look into what sitting in itself is. Is it turning a somersault? Is it a state of vigorous activity? Is it thinking? Is it not thinking? Is it doing something? Is it not doing anything? Is there sitting inside of sitting? Is sitting inside of the body/mind? Is sitting free of 'sitting inside' and 'inside of the body/mind'? Master Dogen
It is often said that Understanding is everything. Understanding, unapplied, is not enough. To have understanding while living as if one is a mere body/mind in a world, changes nothing. Understanding must be applied. One must be the Understanding. In that context, the truth is that the author really has no information for anyone. What he continues to say in many different ways is simply that what you believe isn't so. Investigate that fully and you'll see that de-energizing mental projections and assumptions, and not enhanced understanding, is all that is needed.
The Bodhicaryavatara is one of the most significant works in Mahayana Buddhist literature. Written entirely in verse, the text is a remarkable piece of didactic Sanskrit poetry, extolling the bodhisattva ideal and guiding a Buddhist practitioner along the complete Mahayana path, culminating in the attainment of enlightenment. The text is generally thought to have been written in the 8th century at the Buddhist university of Nalanda by the Indian master and monk Santideva. With this updated translation, we see that Shantideva as a superbly sophisticated ethical and philosophical theorist.